Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Through These Walls Bursts Back With New Single, New Style

After a debut album that scored them multiple radio appearances and prime slots opening for national acts, Pittsburgh's Through These Walls found themselves gearing up for their sophomore release, Time Is A Storm, amidst changes and challenges.  Today, the hard rockers released "Into Dawn" - their first new single since their 2011 album, Suicide Doll.

The track was recorded after the departure of long-time bassist, Ryan Goodworth.  And the style of the song is a pretty significant departure from their strict modern metal roots, with its Vans Warped Tour-friendly tones and melody.

Helping Hands Rock Reviews recently caught up with Through These Walls' vocalist/guitarist/bassist, Chris Callen, to discuss these changes and the direction for their future music, as well as what's ahead for the buzzworthy band.

Helping Hands Rock Reviews:  Suicide Doll was a great debut album for you guys.  Now that you're ready to move on to releasing and promoting Time Is A Storm, what are your thoughts about the Suicide Doll album cycle?  Any surprises, disappointments, or lessons learned that you're going to apply this next time around?

Chris Callen:   As a group we look at Suicide Doll as a necessary step in our evolution.  Seventy-five percent of the material on that album was songs that I had written in my previous band, but never saw much play or recording. So, there was a curve of learning existing songs, while adding everyone's own touch to them.

Jesse [Lee, drummer] joined the band, and maybe a month later we said "OK -  time to hit the studio to do the whole album."  So, kudos to him for churning out a full album of killer drum tracks that he was pretty much still crafting at the time.

For me, as a vocalist and frontman, Through These Walls has been my first go at that position.  I've been a drummer for 15 years by trade.  And looking back at Suicide Doll, I realize my mistakes there, such as writing and recording the songs in standard tuning, which caused me to strain more and, in the end, just scream certain sections that I wanted to sing. For the new record, we are tuned more appropriately to my range, and it feels good to be a pure singer again.

We also developed a pretty solid work flow of recording over the years, where we all feel comfortable and can work in a no-pressure environment. When we record, each of us has the freedom to step in on any instrument.  We just look at ourselves as three musicians looking to make a great final product, so we don't care who plays what part. We just like to rock.

HHRR:   The new song, "Into Dawn," represents a bit of a different sound for you guys compared to the music on Suicide Doll.  Does the sound of this song represent the direction of the forthcoming album?

CC:   With this new album, we really want to tell a story that is painted with sound that comes from all directions, and will be difficult to label as one genre. With Suicide Doll, for better or worse, we realized we put ourselves into a single genre, even though we never have thought of ourselves as being just one.

Time Is A Storm, moreso than Suicide Doll, is more or less a concept album.  It's a big story with many twists and turns, and many different emotional high and low points, so to accomplish that in a powerful way for the listener we have branched out into so many different styles of music.  I would say on the new album, we have our wheelhouse of rock, of course, [and] still some flares here and there of metal.  But there is a strong indie presence that has come out, along with some more pop sensibility, and some punk qualities as well.

HHRR:  You guys recently parted ways with longtime bassist, Ryan Goodworth.  What's the story behind his departure?

CC:   Ryan's decision to move on in life from the band was totally an honest and respected decision.  We are all still great friends, and we didn't have any objections to his decision, because we are all friends first and want one another to be happy and fulfilled in life.

HHRR:   Has the lineup change affected your writing process?  If so, how?

CC:   Now that we are a three piece (comprised of Callen, Lee, and guitarist Brad Travis), we have found a new energy in our rehearsing and songwriting. This goes back to us writing as a unit now from scratch, and not rehashing old songs.  Jesse has really taken some ownership of some songwriting now, which is awesome to see what he has had brewing in his head. It's safe to say our new music is a three-way dance now.  We all put in equal amounts and we are proud of what its coming out of it.

HHRR:  What are your plans once the new album is out?

CC:   Once we finish recording the new album, we hope to have a fourth member back in place.  I will be recording the bass on the record, and we are treating ourselves as a three-piece during the process. Then, we will unleash some massive promo and advertising, CD release shows, regional shows, and make a big push to getting the album in the right hands. That's everyone's goal isn't it?

Truthfully, though, the one big thing that the three of us share in this band is that we make music for something larger than just ourselves.  We really aim to make music that helps or inspires people.

Whether our music gives someone an emotion that speaks perfectly to what they are going through at that exact moment or gives them the hope and power to push on through something - that's why we do this.  We want our new music to inspire, bring hope, and find solace within the hearts and minds of as many people as possible - because music does all of those things for us.

"Into Dawn" is exclusively available as a free download on Bandcamp at http://throughthesewalls.bandcamp.com.

# of Facebook page "Likes" for Through These Walls at the time of this writing:  4,944.

Helping Hands Rock Reviews prides itself on discovering great bands just before they break.  We record the number of Facebook Likes to watch our favorite artists grow and to track how far we are ahead of the curve.