“We want this album to be a beautiful oblivion for everybody,” Issues vocalist Tyler Carter explains as he’s navigating his way through traffic. The passion and excitement in his voice over their forthcoming record, Beautiful Oblivion, is something that can only be compared to the thrill of listening to the album for the first time. Edgy pop, hard-hitting heaviness and smooth R&B are just a few of the musical layers to absorb in this genre-defying work that exceeds any and all expectations.
For a group who are always writing, the past two years have proved to be both the toughest and most rewarding in creating an album that’s authentically Issues in all the best ways. From being broke and unable to pay their bills to dealing with anxiety and heartbreak, Carter reveals how the band—rounded out by bassist Skyler Acord, guitarist AJ Rebollo and drummer Josh Manuel—were able to turn their pain into art.
“Lyrically, emotionally, we had more things going on in our adult lives, giving us inspiration for lyrics,” he says. “People we know going through stuff, friends dying, people going through change around us. There was a lot less financial stability. That obviously sucks, but it gave us that muse we needed.”
Despite the hardships they endured, the increased time off proved to be a saving grace for a band who are used to busting out albums in a month’s time. “When you’re trying to evolve and trying to make a masterpiece, trying to top yourself from the last time, it’s hard to do that,” Carter explains. “You have to really think about each [piece] of work and how you’re gonna make it better than the last album, and we just knew we couldn’t do that again. We had to really take the time and work with different writers and different producers, really feel ourselves out. We had a whole year dedicated to that.”
Monthly trips to Nashville, L.A. and more proved a key component in the songwriting process, allowing the four-piece to work with different writers and producers while writing six to 10 songs per trip. “It made a big, big difference because that’s something we’ve never gotten to do,” he shares. “I don’t think we could have made this album without that kind of time. We would have suffered because everybody trying to pull their most creative self together in that short of time would have been bad. We would have just written the same album we’ve already made twice.”
From cohesive and seamless sounds to heartfelt and honest delivery, it’s easy to see how Beautiful Oblivion stands out among their entire discography.
“Emotionally, the song ‘Your Sake’ was a deep and very honest song,” Carter says, reflecting on the writing process. “It really just came out of me and came together. I wrote the song about the women whose hearts I broke before I really came to terms with who I was and came out.”
Their third single, “Flexin,” distinguishes itself among the 13 tracks as what the band refer to as “the most Issues-sounding track [they’ve] ever recorded.” But what started out as a joke quickly became one of the catchiest and most fun songs on the entire album.
“That song was a complete accident,” Carter reveals. “I was sometimes in two sessions a day working on songs, and it got very draining. We had gone into the studio and had started one song, but it was too serious to me. I was like, ‘I can’t write another serious song. I’m out of juice. I’ve written about everything I wanna talk about.’ We decided to just mess around. [We] started this bassline, and I was like, ‘Yeah, give me this funky club shit!’ [Laughs.] I pretty much freestyled most of the song.”
After hearing positive feedback from producer Howard Benson and people at Rise Records, the band decided to take their joke and run with it. After a few revisions and the addition of that “Issues flair,” the track found new life and a spot on the album.
“Everyone was in agreement that even though it was so much different from every song on the record and was kind of the black sheep, we all knew it was too feel good, too catchy, too weird and different to not put on the album,” Carter says.
It’s safe to say that whatever expectations listeners may force on the next era of Issues, they’re going to be wrong. Beautiful Oblivion is a genre-defying thriller, with each track bringing an entirely new level of excitement that will leave you wondering what’s going to come next. It’s an album that contains something anyone can relate to, no matter what they may be going through.
“We want to make sure everybody gets something out of it,” Carter explains. “Music is medicine to so many people, and it’s the only universal language the whole world speaks. We all know how powerful music is and how it resonates with everybody and how we all feel when we listen to it. That’s one thing in this world everybody can agree on. That was the message for it all: When you listen to music, it [can] be this beautiful oblivion or escape of sweet nothing. I just want to drown out the noise and pressure of the world and sink into this album, or any album for that matter.”
There’s a pause, and you can practically sense the smile on Carter’s face. “That’s what Issues have always been about.”