Below you can read a track-by-track breakdown of the new For All Those Sleeping album, Outspoken, from guitarist David Volgman-Stevens. You can pick up the new album, out today, here.
The first line of our intro track sums up this entire album: "Step up or shut the fuck up." This is an unapologetic and angry album all about saying what you feel and not holding anything back. We really wanted to make that clear with our opening song. We were inspired by the Beatles' American television debut on the Ed Sullivan show and thought it'd be fun to spin off of that and make our own "debut" with our new sound and attitude.
"Once A Liar (Always A Fake)"
This song is all about the people in your life that only have their own best interests in mind and want to change who you are to what they want you to be. The song takes you through the deception that you feel when you realize that someone isn't who you thought they were. Since we have two different vocalists in our band, I really like to use both voices to tell two different parts of a story through our songs, which is what we did with this song. The chorus shares the way you feel when you begin to realize that the person you cared about doesn't share that same respect for you and the verse takes you through the anger and animosity you feel after you find out exactly the kind of person they are. No one should ever tell you who you are or who you should be and if they do, they deserve to have no place in your life. If someone says they care about you, then they accept you for who you are, and if they aren't truthful about their intentions with you, then they are a liar and as the song states, "Once a liar, always a fake."
"Mark My Words"
It's funny how many people in life say they're there for you until you actually need them, and then they're nowhere to be found. Everyone in life has experienced this and that's exactly what this song is about. I had someone in my life that I used to be close to, and even let him live with me when he was struggling. He then decided to cut himself out of my life and began spreading lies about how my band and I were crazy drug addicts and didn't write our own music, but now that we're doing well, he wants to be friends again. There are a few songs on this album with subjects that I kept bottled up and never wrote about until now and this song was one of them. I believe in forgiving people, but I also realize that at a point you have to let go of those in your life that only drag you down, even if you once cared for them. If someone truely cares and supports you, they will stick with you through thick and thin no matter what.
"Tell Me The Truth"
There have been so many countless times where I've wanted to just yell in someone's face "TELL ME THE TRUTH!" So I thought, "Why not make a song based exactly on that?" Honesty is hard to come by it seems like these days and this song is all about seeing through people's bullshit and cutting them out of your life. I tried to incorporate a lot of those different emotions through this song including the sarcastic verse lines, the straight-forward chorus lines and the down right pissed off bridge lines. A lot of songs on this album focus on the darker aspects of emotion, so even though this song is about betrayal and liars, I wanted to take a lighter view on it. You can't be mad about all the bad things in your life; sometimes you just have to get rid of them and move on.
"Follow My Voice"
I've spent a lot of time talking to fans at shows and online and a lot of the time they talk about how much our music has helped them with the problems in their life. It's been one of the most rewarding parts of being in this band for me. We wanted to have a song on this album that was for all of those fans who are struggling to let them know that there is always hope in life even when it's hard to find. I talk about how when I was younger, I'd go to shows to release a lot of my emotions. The one thing that I know I can do is help change the lives of our fans through our music, even if it just means giving them an escape from their problems for a while when they put on one of our records or come to one of our shows. I feel as musicians, sometimes we forget how meaningful it is to our fans when we reach out to them. Something as simple as just taking the time to take a picture or talk to them can really make someone's day and this is our way of saying thank you to them and that we haven't forgotten that where we came from is exactly where many of them are today.
"Turn Of The Century"
This song is an anthem for standing up against those who have put you down. There's been this cool movement against bullying happening lately and I think this song ties in well with that. No matter what age you are, you'll find people that want to push you around and kick you when you're down, and at some point you have to make a stand. I wanted this song's lyrics to match that same built up anger you feel when you're belittled and can't take it anymore. I feel like anyone should be able to listen to this song and picture a person that has made them feel this way and be able to let out some of that anger and hopefully give them the strength to stand up to whoever they may be. Be yourself and be proud of who you are, and if someone has a problem with that, then something's wrong with them, not you.
"Life On Fire"
This is the most angry song on the album and the most I've ever opened up before through our music. When I was younger my mom was in a relationship with an abusive and destructive gang member. He hadn't always been that way, though. I really used to consider him family for a while, but drugs, old habits and other factors completely changed him. It was the hardest thing in my life having to see my mom in pain the way she was and having to stand up to a man like him. I've never hated anyone in my life besides him and the effects he had on me made me a bitter and angry person for a long time. After years of fear, anger and many late night visits from the police, he finally seemed to be out of our lives and just when I thought life was looking up, our family's house burned down on Christmas Eve. I had nothing. We had nothing. It was the lowest point in my life. This song is all about how I lost everything because of one man and one fire, but more than that, I lost sight of the person I was because I was blinded by my own anger. You should never do anything to actually harm someone that has hurt you but you have to find a way to let out your anger and emotions or it will eat you alive. After years I finally did that through this song.
"Love Isn't Real"
Everyone has had their ass kicked by love at least once and this song is all about telling love to fuck off. At the time that I wrote this song I was in a relationship and I remember just laying on my bed thinking "Why does love have to be so difficult?" I wanted to write a song for everyone to call love out on being such a pain in the ass. The chorus of this song talks to love as if it were a living, breathing entity and gave me a chance to lash out at it a bit. Mike's vocals in the first verse talk from the perspective of someone in a relationship and how just the word love itself complicates everything. I am a very strong believer in love but I wanted to have a song about the frustrations of it in a fun, upbeat way, so that people can take a couple swings back at love for all the times love's taken swings at them.
"Never Trust A Dead Man"
I wanted to write a song on this album about life on the road and what I came up with was a self destructive narrative about partying and trying to leave my mark on this world. In the chorus, I liken it to making a deal with the devil, "I sold my soul, but I won't slow down 'till I'm standing at the top. Can you see me now? You said I'd die alone but I'm already dead, and you should never trust a dead man." Life on the road gets pretty crazy and dangerous at times, but it's a once in a lifetime experience that I'm taking full advantage of. The verses share some of the dark aspects of the rock n' roll lifestyle. I'm not going to pretend that I don't drink and party, as I'm sure any of you that follow me on twitter know. I want to honest with our fans through all our music, even the more negative aspects of my life.
"Shaken Not Stirred"
This song is a confrontatioinal letter to everyone that has ever doubted me and my band in the music industry. We found out quickly how two-faced the industry is and how shallow a lot of the people in it are. I feel like this subject isn't covered a lot because it is taboo to talk about the industry that you work in under such a negative light, but this album is all about saying what you feel and standing up for what you believe in, so nothing was off limits. There have been just as many doubters in my life as there have been supporters and I feel like the ones who have had no faith in me have pushed me harder to accomplish my dreams more than any amount of support could. If you have a dream in life, you have to give everything you have to accomplish it and let no one stand in your way.
I've had a hard time opening up completely about my romantic relationships in our music and I wanted to try and put myself out there on this album, and that's what I did with "One Kiss." I've only had one real and meaningful relationship in my life and it was great until the last year of it. This song is all about that last year and how distant and dark things got between us. Sometimes you want to believe something so much that you look past all of the negative things that surround it, and the truth is, love isn't always enough to make a relationship last. We had a lot of issues that we couldn't seem to resolve, most of those being my own fault. This song is filled with a dark, passionate overtone, to try and evoke the same feeling of the last months of our relationship. This song is an overtly depressing and dark song but what I want to point out is that you need to let out bottled-up emotions. There will be times when a song that reminds me of her will play on the radio and it'll take me back to a lot of the great memories and moments we shared. Up until recently, it would bring me down and make me feel almost hollow, but after some time, and a lot of reflection on what our relationship was, I can now smile thinking about those times. All you can do is learn from your mistakes and make yourself a better person.
Back Stabber is the ultimate payback song. Everyone's been stabbed in the back before and everyone's dreamed of getting them back, and I wanted to have a song that epitomized that lust for revenge. I'm not saying I believe in karma, but to me it's simple, if you fuck over people, eventually you're going to be the one getting bent over. I think on our last album, I would have been more compelled to write about forgiving someone for their wrong doings towards me, but let's be honest: who really likes forgiving people who have hurt you? I wanted to express the intense rage you feel when you're taken for granted. I think the chorus of this song sums it all up the best: "Watch your back after all the ones you stabbed. You know you're bound to make some enemies like me. It's too late for apologies. You may never regret what you've done, but you're going to regret me."