blessthefall have been holed up at producer Elvis Baskette’s Florida studio working on the follow-up to 2009’s Witness, which is due this fall via Fearless Records. AP reached vocalist Beau Bokan just after the band started doing vocals—and although he says his voice was “killing him” on this particular day, he had plenty to say about the still-untitled album.
If you’re doing vocals, I’m guessing that means you guys are almost done, then.
We have a couple weeks left. We are doing preproduction vocals, which are basically getting all my ideas [that I have] mapped out. You know, we get the harder songs out of the way and then when it’s time to do the real vocals, I have a direction, and I can nail them out a lot quicker. It’s definitely something I’ve never done before. Last time we kind of went in with all of our songs and were like, “This is what we have,” and went on the fly. We only had about three weeks to do the whole entire record, and this record we have about five weeks. So we’ve got time to really, really focus on vocals a lot more, which is cool.
Elvis Baskette—I mean, his thing is vocals. They’re his specialty in a way.
What’s pretty rad is that we definitely have our certain style that we write, so he doesn’t take away from that. He’s pretty good with rearranging some stuff, but his thing is, yeah, when it’s time to do vocals, he’s super amped. He’s got tons of ideas, and I’ve got tons of ideas, so together we make a pretty good team. I feel really comfortable, and I’m really stoked about what we’ve got going so far.
What’s your take on the music so far?
It’s pretty much a continuation of our last record. We feel like we really found our sound. You know, I was the new guy coming in on the last album, and [having] been with the band for a couple years now. We feel like that last album was pretty safe, I guess you could say. We were really stoked with the sound that we got from it, [although] it was a little bit different than the first record. But I think everyone was really stoked on it. So we kind of went with that—we just kept writing the same general style, but we really have improved a lot as musicians. [Those] parts where [guitarist Eric Lambert] gets to shred, he’s just going off. He’s got some like insanely sweet riffs and the breakdowns got a lot heavier. I know a lot of people say that—and it’s kind of like the clichéd thing to say—but honestly, we found a way to incorporate them into our music so that it’s not so random. I feel like it’s a bigger beast than the last album.
That makes sense. It’s like you guys were finding your footing, and now that you’re comfortable with each other you can expand and have space, in a way.
Yeah, exactly. And we’re really giving kids and the audience something to really hold onto. The choruses are super huge and catchy, and I think it’s going to be awesome. People are going to love it.
Are there any curveballs or anything that’s really standing out to you so far?
I’d say the only curveball is that we have a song that’s about seven minutes long. It actually works really well. It’s a little bit of a darker song, and I think it’s going to be the last song on the record, and [we’ll] just have it fade out. I feel like the whole record is super up-tempo. I know the last album people are like, “We work out to your record all the time. I go running to your record.” So we kept that and like the whole album is just up, up, up, up, up, and then the last song kind of brings you back down, like something maybe you could fall asleep to. But it’s still got some crazy parts.
Actually, I did the vocals on it yesterday. That’s why I’m so sore; it’s such a long song. It’s got so many rad parts in there. Some parts will make you feel like you’re underwater, and it’s got that cool vibe to it.
Lyrically, are there any themes that are standing out?
The last record had some positive vibes to it, so I wanted to really keep that going. A lot of people have been telling us, “Your music saved my life, here’s this story about it. This is what I was going through. This song changed the whole direction of my life.” That’s the reason I do this, that’s the reason we all do this. You actually are affecting people’s lives in a positive way, and I wanted to keep that going. I actually wrote a song about a kid who handed me a letter, and it said she was attempting to commit suicide and this one song, “Five Ninety,” on our last record changed her life. She got a tattoo for us and everything else, and she’s doing really good now. I actually wrote a song about her specifically. I actually got to talk to her about it; it was really cool. She came to one of our shows and she was crying and she couldn’t thank me enough, and I’m like, that’s awesome. I know there are a lot of kids that are going through the same thing, it’s not just her.
But yeah, the whole vibe is more positive, positive vibes. I feel like our scene needs that a lot more. When everyone wants to say, like, “Fuck this, fuck that” and everyone wants to not believe in anything, we want to give kids something to believe in, we give them a direction.
It’s true. It just seems like people are so jaded and cynical. I’m sure as musicians you hear a lot of that. It’s a bummer; it’s a downer.
Yeah, and I think people are afraid to believe in something. I’m not saying believe in God or believe in this or that, but believe in something, have a passion about something. You know, have a goal in life and fight for it and strive for it. I think that’s what the whole record is heading towards.
What is your favorite song on the record so far?
Since they’re not all done vocally, I can’t pick yet. The last few songs I just did, there was a couple surprises where I was like, I didn’t really like that song, I didn’t think it was going to be that awesome—and then now it’s super rad. There’s a song we have called “Bottom Feeder” and it’s super metal. It’s something way more intense than anything we’ve ever done. We wrote it back when we were on tour in Europe, and we played it for August Burns Red. And those guys are super heavy; they’re super intense. They heard it and they’re like, “Wow, that song is friggin’ awesome.” So that might end up being my favorite, but we’ll see.