Hell Or Highwater (formerly the Black Cloud Collective) are set to release Begin Again tomorrow, February 5. We caught up with band founder/frontman and Atreyu drummer/vocalist Brandon Saller to learn the meaning behind each Begin Again song. Listen along as you read via the embedded SoundCloud player from GuitarWorld, below.
This song kind of sums up the band. High energy. Feel good rock ‘n’ roll. It kinda punches you right in the face out of the gates. I wanted that as an opener. No frills. No intro. Just a rock smash to the nuts. Lyrically, the song is close to my heart; it's about me. I'm really busy and get distracted to the point of tunnel vision with my music. I am blessed to have a queen that has put up with that. This is a homage to my bride. Basically me saying, "Hey, I know I'm not perfect and I know I make mistakes, but if it weren't for you I'd be nothing."
This was the first song that was written that made me really feel this record was special. It is a song about betrayal. I wrote this song at an angry point. It's a crushing thing when someone close to you fails you. (And no, it's not about a girl.)
“Terrorized In The Night”
The music for this is upbeat with a kind of ‘80s tinge. The guitar work is some of my favorite on the record. Real deal riffs. Lyrically, this song comes from a crazy night our guitar player had in which he terrorized my neighbor in his sleep. Luckily the HB police department are fans of the band so they let him go. Some of the lyrics and song title are direct quotes from the email I got from my neighbor. Sorry again.
I feel is the most emotional and darkest track on the record. I had too many people die in one year. This song is about them. It's just a direct, pure song about loss.
“Find The Time To Breathe”
This song was written before the full band even formed. I wrote this song on my mom’s front porch in Chama, New Mexico, (middle of nowhere) at about nine in the morning. It was silent and cold. This song is about stress. Sometimes it feels like the world is on your shoulders. Things get rocky, and sometimes I find myself holding my breath. I forget to just stop and take a deep breath. Sometimes that's all you need.
“Rocky Water’s Edge”
This is another love song. I had a period of time when I didn't get to see my wife very much. Distance takes its toll eventually. This song is another love note of sorts to my wife. Sometimes I can't just simply say what I mean, so I sing it.
“Go Alone” (ft. M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold)
This is the only fictional song on the album. The music is very western inspired. It's like if “Ballroom Blitz” was written by John Wayne. I wanted to co-write the vocals with Shadows because he's great with the story-teller-types lyric and also has a great melodic ear. Lyrically, it’s about an outlaw who has lived a life of sin. Years of stealing and killing with no remorse have led him to the realization that one day he too will die. He will die alone with no one. He realizes his life has been pure evil and starts to fear what lies ahead in the next life, but knows he's too far gone to change. I think it would make a great movie!
“When The Morning Comes”
This song is kind of a dark song with a silver lining. It's a reminder that life is hard. Things get really rough and sometimes seem unbearable, but tomorrow is a new day—a new beginning. The music is on the more Americana side. This song would sound great played to a sold-out arena.
“Crash & Burn”
This was the first song we wrote as a band. It's crazy, because it’s one of our favorites and a crowd favorite. This song has a great edge to it, high energy all the way through. It’s about people wasting your time. Sometimes people in your life can hold you down, stifle you. You only live once.
“Come Alive” is kind of a losers’ anthem. It's about turning fear into excitement. You gotta live life how you want. It's a song about staying hungry. Never settle.
“We All Wanna Go Home”
This is one of my favorites. It’s about living your life away from home. It started out from my perspective. I wrote the last verse first. I then got to thinking about the men and women of our military. I quickly realized that my situation is a minuscule spec compared to the sacrifice they make. Being away from home for long periods of time is really hard. Life without family is really hard. This song is for them. I wrote it with hopes that it could bring a sense of home to those who haven't seen home for a while.
“The Boxer” (by Simon And Garfunkel)
Our guitar player Matt is a mad genius when it comes to covers. He thought this one up a while back and we recorded it. It has a punk-rock flavor I feel suits the song well. I always hope the original artist will hear the covers people do. Paul and Art, we’d love your feedback.
One of my best friends Billy Martin of Good Charlotte, kicked the door off his producing world a few years back when he started making electronic music on the side under the name Villain. He's always been a huge supporter of the band, so I asked him to do a remix. We agreed on “Tragedy.” He knocked it out of the park, and completely transformed the song into a whole new monster.
“Pretty Penny” was one of the first songs we wrote when we started getting new material together. The song has a very eclectic vibe. It has a very classic-rock-inspired intro verse. We put a really heavy edge in it though, which made it stand apart. The chorus is meant to be sung by thousands. The bridge of the song almost goes on a psychedelic metal almost Muse-ish tangent, but it all works beautifully together. It’s about people getting too big for their britches. Some people get a slight whiff of success and it ruins them. All the sudden the everyone else in the world are peasants. This is a reminder to those people that all the mighty fall. Stay humble. Don't be a dick.