For Today interview: “We need people to step up and take personal responsibility”

February 13, 2014 by Ryan J. Downey

For Today interview: “We need people to step up and take personal responsibility”

There are Christian bands who exist in the same scene who undoubtedly share many theological views with you. Why do you think For Today have been singled out about this specific topic, when it's something a lot of other bands would give similar answers about, if asked?
You want me to be totally honest? I'll say this as kindly as possible, but, I think it's your fault.

Outlets like AP, Absolute Punk, Lambgoat, Metal Injection, the PRP and all these places that will do anything to anyone to try to get some hits on their website. They saw one comment out of hundreds of thousands of comments collectively that this band have made and they thought, “Oh, that's going to stir up some drama.” And they were willing to throw our band under the bus and to put our families' well-being in jeopardy just for the sake of a few more hits on their websites. I think that sucks. I think that's irresponsible journalism. I think it's a reflection of a lack of personal responsibility in your community.

If we, as a scene, would take a step back and say, “The things that made this music scene special were that it was a place for rejects, for people who didn't fit in, a place for all of those people to be accepted and celebrated not even in spite of their diversity, but because of their diversity.” I think we need to remember that and apply it to all walks of life and all faiths.

After all of the conversation stirred up by those tweets, people definitely want to know where you stand on gay marriage.
I'm not a lawmaker. So, really, my opinions on what laws should and should not be don't matter. But ultimately this is a political issue right now. It seems like homosexual people are seeking, politically, to have equal rights. And I think that's absolutely fair. So, speaking politically, if I was a lawmaker? I would vote to legalize gay marriage. I don't think the United States government has the right to tell people who they can and can't marry. That is my standard across the board. To be completely honest with you, I don't think the United States government has the right to approve a marriage between me and my wife, as a heterosexual man. It's not really their business. The fact that they think they can forbid some people from marrying is ridiculous to me.

This scene was built on bands with a message. It doesn't have to be political or religious. Art can have a point of view. I love that For Today talk about human trafficking, poverty, who you are and what you believe. I don't have to agree with you. Why do you think so many bands in our scene right now seem to have nothing more to say than “We love our fans” or “We want to get to the next level?”
I think it's because those guys are cowards. I think they're little children who are in over their heads. These guys probably grew up looking up to people that did have something to say. They saw Zack [de la Rocha] from Rage Against The Machine when they were young and thought, “That's awesome.”

They decided to start a band. Except they didn't have the substance, the conviction or the balls necessary to stand up for anything, so they thought, “Well, I'm just going to get my band as big as possible and that will validate me.” Unfortunately, it doesn't. So they're never satisfied. They're never happy. And they never take personal responsibility for what they're putting into the minds and the ears of the kids that follow their band.

Those people would most accurately be described as parasites. They show up to the scene and take money, time, attention and energy, and they give these kids nothing to hold onto, except maybe a T-shirt. They get 'em all sweaty at a show and make 'em jump up and down for 45 minutes and then that's it. They're gone. Kids that wanted to kill themselves before still want to kill themselves. Kids that walked in there bound in addiction are still bound in addiction.

There's nothing valuable, nothing substantial, nothing worthwhile being done by these bands. It sucks that those people are still being celebrated. Every culture throughout human history has had people who are self-destructive, manipulative and disrespectful. But instead of exalting those people, the culture ignored them. A platform should be given to people who are ambitious, intelligent and focused. But in our culture, it's backward.

We throw them on TV. We throw them on the cover of Alternative Press. We throw them on the main stage at Warped Tour.

We idolize these dudes and pretend like they're incredible when they're not. Essentially, they're children. There needs to be an awakening in our scene, a shift in the collective consciousness of our scene, to where we begin to demand more of our leaders. In which we say, 'This guy doesn't stand for anything so I don't want to hear what he has to say. It's going to be worthless. It's not going to benefit anybody.' Not that we need to eradicate these guys, but we should ignore them. It would be better for them and better for us if nobody went to their shows or listened to their music, because it's not doing anybody any good.

So as for your plan for this album, beyond its messages and doing the usual touring thing, what are you looking to do that you haven't done before?
We've been throwing around some ideas. Now, these are just ideas, so if they don't happen, don't call me a liar. [Laughs.]

I want to do something unique and fun. I have some friends who are pretty well known rappers, and we've been talking about doing a hip-hop remix of “Pariah.” We were talking about covering a Backstreet Boys song, For Today style. We're going to hit up Razor & Tie to see how much money we can spend on our stupid jokes and see how much of it sticks. [Laughs.]

I do think this is the best record we've ever done, so I do think this album is going to have some proverbial 'legs' that the other albums didn't. It has the potential to go a lot further than our set-in-stone For Today fanbase. I think it can touch a lot of lives in a positive way. It's also just good music. ALT

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