Washington DC based rock band The Relapse Symphony just released their third full length album Born to Burn. By the Barricade dropped by the Vans Warped tour in Pomona California to talk to the band about the new release and their future plans. Check out all the info in the transcripts below!
Bret Von Dehl: Vocals
JC Charles: Guitar
I’ve seen in previous interviews that The Relapse Symphony are a “split between old school punk kids and metalheads”, But I wouldn’t have guessed that at first glance. What set you down this musical path?
JC: Bret and I grew up playing in punk rock bands. I had my first east coast run in a street punk band when I was 14. That’s who we are and we listen to everything. We write what at we like and I like catchy choruses. Street punk is kind of catchy but we like borrowing from everything we grew up with. Some of us love punk rock, some of us love pop punk, and some of us love metal, 70’s glam, and some gothy stuff. We like some of the same things we bring this to the table. With Born to Burn we had a lot more control. Everyone who has heard it has said it sounds more like our live show and the band they know.
Born to Burn was produced with produced by Sean Small at Truitt Studios. Were there any instances where he pulled the band in a different direction?
Bret: With Born to Burn we had so much control.
JC: We were trying to find the band’s direction with Shadows. Our producers were really good at facilitating that but it’s often a lot stronger when you know what you are going for.
JC: He was so hands off it actually scared me. The first week we went into the studio I was asking him questions and he would just say “It’s your record man”. At first I was scared but I went home and realized this was a really good opportunity. It was amazing to have so much band involvement with everything. Bret did a lot of work with the drums and we all played bass on it. We were also making up vocal parts on the spot. It felt like a family thing where everyone was involved.
Bret: Even down to the artwork, we did a lot of that ourselves.
I’ve heard Born to Burn is “Louder, Heavier, and more pissed off than ever before”. What are some technical tweaks you brought into recording this that makes that more pronounced?
JC: Being in a slightly lower toning opened up a world of opportunities for us. We were able to do things we’ve never tried before. Bret was able to sing in a style he hadn’t attempted before also. On top of that our other guitarist Ray Miller wasn’t a part of Shadows and he was a big part of writing Born to Burn. He has solos on this that will blow people’s minds. We also went through a lot as a band and we were legitimately pissed off which made for a really angry record.
I’ve heard “A Perfect Lie” and really like the way it turned out. I hear a lot of melodic vocals on top of really heavy instrumentals. Did you start with instrumentals or lyrics?
JC With that song I had a verse and Ray had a riff. We had those two pieces for a long time before we came up with the chorus. To tie it together we threw a crazy bridge in there. Sometimes songs happen all at once but that was one of those puzzle piece songs. Throughout the recording process the second verse changed a lot.
Was a lot of Born to Burn written in pieces?
JC: We wrote a lot enough material for three records. We just continued writing because everything we wrote got better than the last song and we didn’t want to stop. Eventually we were happy where we were at and headed into the studio.
“Time’s Running Out” was originally writing acoustically. Did that lead to the acoustic version of Shadows?
JC: With the Shadows Acoustic Record we wanted to put music out and we knew we weren’t going to be doing another full length for a while. We Challenged ourselves to strip the band down and we wanted to do raw vocals with a couple guitar tracks with a harmony here and there keeping it as close to live and raw as possible. It was fun to try but my favorite part is that we did that record in a different tuning to make the songs sound darker and We use that tuning now with Born to Burn.
Do you have any plans for an acoustic version of Born to Burn?
JC: We don’t know yet. Everyone who has heard it so far has been so positive. As far as the future goes we want to continue releasing singles. Nowadays there’s so much music out there that people move on. I want to release three more singles off this record but right now we are in record release mode so maybe down the road. It would be fun to do a punk rock covers EP with Bret to show a different side of ourselves.
I’ve head The Relapse Symphony say they’ve had a lot of really good opportunities. What would you consider your first big break?
JC: Some of our friends are in Black Veil Brides and they put us on The Church of the Wild Ones Tour. We got to play our second and third show in front of 25,000 people. That really set the tone of how seriously we were going to take The Relapse Symphony. It usually takes a few shows to see if everything comes together, but with this band everything seemed to just click and that really helped us out.
That’s awesome! I really appreciate the humility and how engaged The Relapse Symphony has been on social media. It really means a lot.
JC: Thanks! I never really thought about how had it will be to stay connected out on the Warped Tour. We’re always busy running around and our phones are always dying but we’ll do our best to stay connected throughout the summer.
Is there anything else you want to say to the readers of By the Barricade?
Bret: Thanks for the interview! Check out Born to Burn. We’ve got some big plans so be sure to stay tuned.
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