Bombworks recording artists and Christian Metalers Bloodline Severed have just released their CD, Visions Revealed. This record is a heavy, technical amalgamation of many different extreme music genres. On top of the serious metal, the disc carries a message of hope and redemption. I recently spoke with vocalist Corey Weaver about the band, their message and quite a bit more.
Every band has its musical influences. What are some of the other bands and artists that have greatly influenced you guys and your music? Corey: Wow, there are so many influences that we all draw from and use in our music. The cool thing about our band is everyone comes from a different liking in music that we all draw from, that is why it is hard for us when someone asks what kind of music we play. I would say that we draw from influences like Meshuggah, Killswitch Engage, Pantera, All That Remains, Threat Signal, and a band called Textures. All these bands are definitely different from each other; however, they are some of our strongest influences that help make up Bloodline Severed.
The name of the band Bloodline Severed is interesting to say the least and sounds as if there is a story behind it. Where did the name come from and what is the story? Corey: Well, we used to be called Markd a few years back and we decided to change our name due to musical changes (we started to get heavier), so we just thought let’s change our name and start off refreshed and anew. We banged our heads for a couple weeks trying to come up with something that fit us, our direction, and one that we thought people would love, only to come up short; nothing seemed to fit. Well, our guitarist at the time (who is no longer in the band) came up to us at band practice one night and said how about Bloodline Severed and we knew immediately that this name was the one. It means we were all born into sin but because of the blood that Jesus Christ shed for all of us that sinful, damned for hell bloodline that we were born into can be severed through a relationship with him.
What is the hardest part about being in a touring metal band and what is the biggest obstacle your band faces? Corey: Many people have this misconception that being in a band and out on tour is so glamorous but in actuality, none of us is Britney Spears. We are humping down the road in a 15-passenger van, not a half a million-dollar tour bus. There is never good rest sleeping on a bench seat in a van and because of that, you never feel good. Sickness starts taking over everyone and it gets people (like myself) very moody. These things can drive bands apart, in fact, most people will tell you to go out on a tour to see if you can make it as a band... it is hard, to say the least. On top of all of that, you miss your family... A LOT! All of these things make it difficult and I have not even mentioned some of the other things like van stinkiness, people stinkieness and just a boatload of other not so great things. HOWEVER, with all of that said I would not trade any of it for the world. We love playing music and we take it very seriously. In addition to that we are a Christian band and we love ministering to others and sharing with them our experiences through our music. This is the great reward and I am thankful that God allows me and the other guys in the band to do this. Serving a greater purpose definitely out weighs all these small, little earthly issues.
How has MySpace and the internet impacted your band and do you think downloading helps or hinders the artists? Corey: Man, without MySpace and other places like MySpace where would we be? I try to think back to what it was like before MySpace when all we had was a website and I think to myself how did we ever make it as a band. I mean, you literally had to play all the time to get more fans to come to your website so that way you could have more people in the crowd that would be able to buy merch. Now with MySpace and other tools out there bands do not have to work “quite so hard.” It has helped tremendously on the booking end of things as well. Before it was so hard to find venues to play at now they are all on MySpace and are very accessible to a beginning band to start playing shows. I think that as far as downloading is concerned it does help but it hurts more. It helps because I think it helps get you more exposure however, if kids are buying CDs or music over the internet and they are just stealing music and passing it on to all there friends it hurts a band big time. Especially in our style of music, now I am not saying that if you are Justin Timberlake it does not hurt but I do not see how it hurts his pockets worse than it hurts metal bands pockets. There are a lot more people out there that like pop music per say than there are that like metal.
Your lyrics are infused with heavy detail and raw emotion. What is it that normally gives you inspiration when writing lyrics and is there a theme or themes behind the writing of this record? Corey: I think that when we wrote this record for once we actually wrote the music in conjunction with the lyrics meaning we wrote the music to kind of tell a story that really complemented the lyrics. I wrote 90% of the lyrics and for me personally I wrote about a lot of things that I have struggled with personally or I wrote them feeling that most people out there could say to themselves after hearing the lyrics that they too have felt that way or been through something like that. I know that this record was very near and dear to my heart; they were (the lyrics) what God wanted me to write about, which is not always easy to being that personable. However, it not only (I Pray) helps other people. It was also good for me to write about these things and be able to look back and say I cannot believe that I went through those things and it made me want to never go back there.
The band keeps things interesting thematically. Can you talk about some of the subjects you tackle on this record? Corey: I think for me personally, many of the subjects on this record deal with issues all leading to one point. Whether you have ever doubted God’s existence or believe that he is real and loves you with all of your heart, once you begin a relationship with him that is true, you really begin to realize that he does exist and he loves you more than you can ever love someone, else much less yourself. Other topics wrapped in this record are about internal battles that we go through. Whether you are a Christian or not, we all face “demons” and struggles in our lives and the song "Internal Battles" definitely talks about the struggles and battles that we all face. But again, all the songs whether it’s doubt or internal battles your facing, or coming to a place of realization of forming a relationship with Jesus Christ you have to realize that you can’t even walk without God holding your hand. We are all flesh and flesh makes mistakes it is only through a relationship with God that we can over come the flesh that haunts us daily.
What is your view on the current state of Metal? How do you identify with the rest of the underground scene? Corey: Well, as for me, I think the current state of metal is very different compared to what it was 10 or so years ago. It has progressed, infusing a lot of different styles and genres today more so than back then; from a musical standpoint anyway. You have some many different genre titles now that people either get aggravated or just plain do not understand all of them, or they simply just do not know. I actually like it personally, as long as you fully understand all of the genre titles. Like today there is metal, metal core, death core, death metal, grind core, hardcore, there are just so many different genres. I think the reason for this and this is how we identify ourselves to the underground scene, is you have a band like ours that pulls from so many different genres and molds then all into one making up Bloodline Severed. We pull from metal, hardcore, progressive, even some death metal music making up Bloodline Severed. I think many people do this, some do it better than others, but that is where things I think are headed these days and it is not necessarily a bad thing as long as you do it well.
Life out on the road can be very difficult. What keeps you going on those long drawn out tours? Do you have any inspirational stories that have taken place on the road that you would care to share? Corey: I think personally, what keeps us motivated and strong, considering life is difficult on the road is our relationship with each other and our relationship with God. In addition, we all feel this is what God has commanded of us is to go to the highways and byways and tell others about him. He has actually commanded all of us the same responsibility whether you are in a band or not. Our ministry is just through music, and I think without that I could not do it. I love music and I love ministering to people, we go out time in and time out, not acting as if we are better than they are, or like we make no mistakes. We are simply out there doing the best we can, letting people know that there is a God that loves them more than anything and he can totally change their life if they will let him. There are so many stories I could tell you about inspiration but just to show you an example about how human we are too I will share a quick story that was inspirational that happened to me. We played a show and I thought that personally that we did not play well at all. I was bitter about that and aggravated when a guy walks up to me and say’s you guys really ministered to me, I immediately spoke before I thought about what he said and I jumped back and said “I thought we were horrible”. He came back at me and said, “But you guys really ministered to me,” and again I said the same response as before. I told him, “thank you” and it did not hit me until later on that week what he said. See he said we ministered to him and then I thought to myself that is what it is about, that is why we spend the long hours in practice, touring, time away from our families for that response right there that someone was ministered to. I immediately asked God for forgiveness for only thinking of myself and not thanking him that someone was ministered to so in that moment that young man was ministering back to me and I was to shallow to even think about it.
The public perception of life on the road differs greatly from the reality of it. Can you tell me a little bit about how you travel? (Bus, Van etc...) What accessories do you equip your ride with to make the time go by? What are the living arrangements like while on the road? Corey: Well you are definitely right it is not luxurious being in a metal band that is for sure. We travel from venue to venue in a Van, along for the ride to keep us company are our music players maybe a DVD player, pillow and blanket and that is pretty much it, oh and by the way great conversation. Very rarely do we stay in a hotel because sometimes you're lucky to even make enough make gas money and these venues. Sleeping in Wal-Mart parking lots is where we spend most of our nights, sometimes you will get asked to stay at someone’s house but we typically only do that when asked by someone or we just really don’t feel like sleeping in the van another night. Which is really more our fault; we do not like burdening people.
Do you have any special rules or rituals that you follow while you are out on the road? Corey: Not really. As far as rituals are concerned, just prayer is a must. Calling our wives while out is a must.
Do you find it difficult being away from family and friends for such an extensive period of time? How do you cope with the separation? Corey: Well all of us are married in the band except our drummer (ladies any takers) and all of us have kids except one of our guitarists (Derek) and our drummer of course (John). There again it is very difficult being away from them... very difficult. Then culminated with all the other things that we have already discussed that comes along with being on tour... makes it even more difficult. Just to set the record straight to all of those who may be reading this saying I would never be in a band if it were like that, being in a band has benefits whether you are in a Christian band or not as long as you are doing what you love or what God has told you to do. But back to the subject I could not look my son in the eyes and tell him to A. Follow God and B. to also follow your dreams and aspirations if daddy will not even do it. I want my son to know to follow God first and if as long as your dreams match his plans for you than go for it and do not let anyone stop you. How can he do that if his own father is not even doing that? I am his number one example. That’s what helps cope with the separation but by no means does it make it easy because he for sure needs a dad in his life that is present as well. Secondly it pays off serving others as well, that’s what were here for is to serve others just like Christ did when he was here and still continues to do even today. But, yes I DEFINITELY MISS my wife and son when I am not home.
What is the one thing you travel with that you just cannot live without? Corey: My voice and I know that sounds like “DUH” we know you cannot live without your voice you are the lead singer of the band. No seriously my voice though because without that I could not talk or sing to the crowd which means that ministry I was talking about is all for not. I can’t talk to my wife when I am out on tours and what not if I don’t have a voice, I can’t talk to my heavenly father in a verbal voice if I couldn’t talk. So I am not trying to be funny or smart, I need my voice to get me through and of course a good energy drink but I guess that would be two.
What is next for Bloodline Severed? Corey: I hope a lot. God has been so good to us as a band that sometimes I look back and go how can he top that and he does time and time again. We are not perfect as a band and I don’t know why he loves us the way he does but then I think that HE IS LOVE he is all things that are love. God has allowed us the opportunity to sign with Bombworks Records and we have just released our debut album with them on April 28th, Visions Revealed. I hope that it will do well; I hope that more importantly people will find peace, love, and five other brothers in our music. If it does well, which I believe it will, we will record our follow up album probably towards the end of 09 early 2010 for it to be out summer of 2010. I want everyone to get excited about this record but especially the next one because the music on these new songs we are writing is awesome. We are truly coming into who Bloodline Severed truly is, keep in mind most of Visions Revealed was written without either of the guitarists we have now and trust me both of them cook on guitar, so I am excited about the future of Bloodline Severed. The sky is the limit. I do want to say before I wrap this up: I want to tell all of our families in particular our wives and children. Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us to do this. We are sacrificing our time (to be honest) with them to be a friend, an open ear, in order to minister to others. They have stuck by our side and for that we thank them and love them greatly for it, they are the real heroes in this story not us. Also, thanks to all of our wonderful fans who have supported us when we were nobody. We truly look at our fans as not only fans but also family; they have and continue to be so good to us. So, for that thanks. In closing I will say this as far as what is in store for Bloodline Severed I can honestly say let’s stand back and let God do it because he is worthy and we will follow him. [ END ]