Things have been a bit turbulent in Camp WOE, IS ME since Warped Tour ended in mid-August: Just as the Atlanta band headed to Orlando’s Chango Studios to work on music with producer Cameron Mizell, vocalist Tyler Carter announced he was leaving the band. Within two weeks, however, Woe, Is Me was back on track with a new vocalist: Hance Alligood, who had worked with several members of the band in the past.
Woe, Is Me’s first single with Alligood, “Vengeance,” is out on iTunes Sept. 27; the band is also reissuing their debut full-length, Number[s], in early March 2012. In between, the group are writing their second album and touring with Pierce The Veil and Miss May I. Drummer AUSTIN THORNTON brought AP up to speed last Friday afternoon with a lengthy interview.
Hance was your original vocalist, correct? When and how was it decided he was going to rejoin the band?
What had happened is, we had dates booked in the studio for two days after we got off Warped Tour. And we went to the studio, and you guys actually did a release from our vocalist Tyler Carter the same time we had actually heard anything about Tyler’s decision to leave the band. We were actually informed via email; we weren’t even informed by a call or in person or anything. We had actually found out about it at the exact same time you guys posted a release. It was such a big shock to us to have that all happen, and have it come at such a crazy time since we had just gotten to Florida and just gotten settled in and ready for the reissue and all the songs and so on and so forth.
We actually didn’t have any idea what to do; it came at such a weird time. We only had so many days in the studio, and we had so many decisions on what we were going to do, if we were going to stay and audition a new vocalist or go back home and get ready for our tour overseas in the U.K. and try and find a vocalist in that time—and if not, what we were going to do. We were back and forth with so many calls to managers and so on and so forth. Our inboxes were getting flooded and our [Facebook] walls were getting flooded, so many people were trying to help out and point us to people they thought would be best. Everyone was trying to help out, and we really appreciate it.
At the end of the day, when all the auditions came in, my keyboardist came in and mentioned to me that Hance wanted to audition. You know, [he] had kind of made a name for himself in the local scene back here in Atlanta, and we were like, “Of course.” It was something that was a no-brainer; we wanted to see what he sounded like and of course we’re going to give him the opportunity to submit videos to us. He did a cover of “Fame Over Demise”; he recorded it on his laptop in his room. It was a pretty interesting sight to see: He had this big ’fro of hair and this big goatee kind of stuff that was really interesting, I guess you could say. I remember the first time I heard [his cover], we were at such a stress from everything that happened with Tyler that I just like brushed it off. I was like, “This isn’t it; I don’t really want to hear this right now.” I basically just shot it down without really giving it a chance.
A couple days later, after going through a couple other auditions, Ben came back in and was like, “Let’s listen to Hance’s video one more time.” I listened to it when I had cooled down, and I was able to collect myself. And it was good—it was really good. That was probably a week into the studio—we started in the studio Aug. 7. I went back and listened to it, and he did a really solid job. I called him up—I remember talking to him on the phone, he was so nervous that he kept calling me sir, which was interesting because he’s not much younger than us. I told him to do a couple other covers of some of the songs, and he did and they were fantastic. Along with the covers, I said, “How quickly can you shave that ’fro off your head and clean yourself up a little bit?” He explained to me, you know, he had been going through some times in his life and was able to get on his feet once he heard from us and really shape himself up. Things just kind of went from there.
How fast did he get in the studio?
After we had called him and confirmed the video—I want to say it was probably three or four days after us contacting him, he was already down in Florida. He actually came down with our screaming vocalist, Michael Bohn. He was on his way to the studio after we had just been there a few days. It was pretty dramatic for him, a pretty big change.
Before Hance came in the studio, what were you guys doing? Were you trying to write music? What was your mindset?
After Tyler left, we were actually in a really big position. We didn’t know if we should rewrite the songs we already had as straight heavy songs—straight metalcore, screaming only, maybe like a little bit of back up singing here or there, or if we should continue writing them as if Tyler was in the band. We were going back and forth with our managers and label owners, trying to figure out what we were going to do. Basically, we kept headstrong and going forward with the original plan and wrote the songs as if nothing had changed. You know, it was hard, because in the back of our heads we knew what was going on, but we wrote them as if we were the same band, and the same people.
Did you guys have any inkling that Tyler was going to leave the band, or did it take you by surprise?I had actually been one of the closest in the band to Tyler; we kind of always hung out here at the house. On tour, we would talk about personal stuff in life or things that were going on, and he would text me here and there. I had a pretty good idea that Tyler was eventually going to part ways with us. I didn’t know when—I didn’t think it would be this soon in the game for sure; I figured he’d at least wait until the second album, or maybe try to further it a little bit more before he hung up his tie and said he was done with it, which really surprised me. But, yeah, I definitely had a small idea he was feeling the way he did about a couple things.
What in particular did he tell you that made you think he was going to leave at a certain time? Was it a cumulative thing, or was there anything in particular that stood out to you?
A couple of things that always rubbed us weird—and of course, with any vocalist that has a uniqueness to them, or gets a really strong head, some people really let being on Warped Tour or doing this or doing that really get to them, especially when we’re such a new band and for some of these guys who had never been in the music industry before. When Tyler started to get involved in a lot of his solo work--solo project this, solo project that—on tour with Woe, he would go off and film these exclusives and videos and stuff that were for his solo project they weren’t even for the band. Those were opportunities that could have been used for us. He could have done things that were Woe-related; he could have done covers of our songs, he could have done exclusives that had to do something for us. And he just didn’t. He didn’t really inform any of us about some of the things that were going on; it would all be last-minute, or that we would find out as he was going into it that he had those things set up.
I guess as far as things that were said—of course, every band has its arguments and relationships. That’s what a band is; it is a relationship. There would be feuds here and there, there is in every band. And sometimes when we would get into a few disagreements, Carter would text me or message me and talk about how he’s tired of the feuds and tired of the dramatic issues between the band. To me, it was just trying to find a way out—it was just trying, I guess, to point all the things that were wrong, instead of pointing out all the things that were right. And eventually, if you do enough of that, that’s all you’re going to see—all you’re going to see are the bad things.
(continued on page 2...)