My name is Vincent Minervino and I am the singer of Roses Are Red.
On your new album, What Became Of Me, you guys seem to have reinvented yourselves a bit. How would you say this new album differs from your debut?
Well with this record, we were far more prepared in pretty much every way. With Conversations, it was like, we signed to Trustkill in March of 2004, and were in the studio in May recording. With this album, we knew months in advance when we were recording, and took enough time off from touring prior to entering the studio to allow ourselves to really focus on the songs and push ourselves creatively. We were able to demo out pretty much every song on the album and listen to it for weeks before actually going in and tracking the song for the album. So we were able to really evaluate every little part of every song and make it the best it could be. In writing Conversations, we were in a more immature state both as people and as musicians, and were a bit too concerned with sort of coming out of the gate and fitting in. With this album, we really took a step back and stripped down all the bullshit. We didn't question ourselves. We did what felt natural, without worrying about trends or where we fit in, and just worried about making music that WE love. Also, the lyrics on this album are far more personal for me. With Conversations, I sort of wrote the lyrics as mini-stories about hypothetical situations. But with this album, I felt I had a lot more things that I really wanted to express.
Well, for example the song "Remember Me" was written after a conversation I had with a friend of mine who was a Marine who served over in Iraq. Many of the things he told me about what he saw and what he felt really affected me, and I wrote the song from his perspective, talking to the people I loved back home. Another example is the title track "What Became Of Me." That song is about my relationship with my Dad and how, more than anyone, I want him to believe in me and be proud of me.
How did you come up with the album title?
We actually chose the title of the album after the title song was written. I showed all the guys the lyrics to the song and explained what the song was about, and we all got to talking and really felt that, while the song is about something very specific, many of the ideas in the song sort of encapsulate the record as a whole. We like the title because it is "me" focused as opposed to "you" focused. So many album titles are speaking to or of another person. We liked the idea of the "me" because this album is the result of much soul searching and we feel that it really represents the people who created the music. The title is representative of our band in general as well. We've been through many musical and personal changes and evolutions since we began, and we’ve really learned to just be honest with ourselves. So in a way, we are saying, "Here, this is what we've become."
You guys had some member changes since the last album. How did this affect the way the new songs came out?
We have 2 new guitar players now who were very much a part of the writing of What Became Of Me. I think the 2 main differences are a generally higher level of musicianship and bolder sense of creativity. With the songs on Conversations, I think we fell a bit into a formula where the songs didn't each have a unique character. The new songs are far more dynamic and intricate. With the songs on this album, we really focused on making each song it's own entity completely. We experimented more with different tunings, chord progressions, drum grooves, percussion, and effects, etc. We really pooled our influences more as a group and challenged ourselves as musicians.
What were you listening to during the writing process of What Became Of Me?
I'm glad you asked that. I actually didn't really listen to a whole lot of newer music while we were writing this record. I felt that it would sort of cloud my mind and make me too concerned with what's going on in music right now. I wanted to sort of remove myself from that completely. I listened to a lot of Stone Temple Pilots, Smashing Pumpkins, Deftones, Counting Crows, and Def Leppard to name a few. I remember loving so many albums from that era when I was growing up. But back then, I didn't listen to them as a musician - I listened to them as a fan. So I just went back really dug into those albums and found the elements that made me LOVE those bands and brought many of those influences to the table in writing this album.
How did you end up working with Brian McTernan?
When Trustkill approached us and asked us for possible producers for the new album, we all went through our ipods and picked out records that we really liked the vibes and audio qualities and all made lists of producers that we wanted to contact about doing the record. We found that Brian was at or near the top of everyone's list. Personally for me, working with Brian was a dream come true. I have loved so many of his albums throughout the years - The Movielife's 40 Hour Train..., Thrice's The Artist In The Ambulance, Hot Rod Circuit's Sorry About Tomorrow...the list goes on. When we contacted him, he came back saying that he not only had heard of us, but also was a fan of the band, and was interested in working with us on the new album. We were very flattered. We spoke on the phone a few times and we really liked what he was about.
Did you guys use any different recording techniques for this album?
This album, believe it or not is FAR more organic and performance focused than Conversations. Brian is very old school in a lot of his ways, and that's part of the reason we wanted to work with him. He's very into performance as opposed to post-production and into natural, unique tones. For example if we wanted a thinner "lo-fi" sounding guitar for a part, we would actually dial in a guitar tone for it out of an amp and record it that way, as opposed to just throwing a Pro-Tools effect on it in mixing. The guitar break before the second verse in "These Days" is the perfect example of what I mean - while some may have just used a phase or flange pedal, Brian actually made that phase manually with the soundboard while we laid down the guitar. Stuff like that makes the little nuances of an album unique and captures a moment in time. Those are the things that make great records.
Any favorite tracks?
My personal favorites are “These Days”, ”Giving It All Tonight”, “The Last Time”, and “What Became Of Me.” There’s also a b-side from the album called “We Never Knew” that I really loved. But it didn’t really fit on the album. I think it’s going to be released this fall though on a Trustkill comp though, so that’s cool.
You guys just released a live video for "Failing." Are there any plans for a follow up video?
Yes. We are very excited about the "Failing" video. We feel it showcases our live show well. It is our first "live" video and we're really happy with the way it came out. As far as a follow up goes, we plan to shoot a video for "Giving It All Tonight" sometime this fall. We are working out our fall touring plans right now, so we're going to fit the shooting of the video in between tours somewhere.
Any concepts for the video yet?
Nothing specific yet. We are all sort of coming up with concepts and ideas right now and just starting to pool them together. Right now we are focused on choosing a director who we feel will share our vision for the video.
Well, we want to take the same approach with our new videos as we did with our new songs. Really take the time to prepare and think everything out first and really know what we're going to do before we do it. With the "White and Gold" and "300 Motion Pictures" videos, we really had no idea how they were going to come out. The treatments we saw for those videos, compared to the final products were quite different. The "300 Motion Pictures" video was supposed to be a throwback to the early days of music videos where the band would perform on a soundstage, and there would be a bunch of black and white, behind-the-scenes footage mixed in. We thought it sounded like a cool idea, but it came out way different than we expected. We sort of came across looking like a boy band or something and we weren't too stoked. But it’s hard when you're a small band to show up at a video shoot and know exactly how it's going to turn out. You kinda just have to go with it and hope it turns out good. But with this next video, we just want to make something classy and straightforward. It will be very well planned, and will represent our band well. That's all I really know right now.
What are your touring plans coming up?
We are about to head out on the "To The End Tour" with our good friends and label mates Bedlight For Blue Eyes. Also on that tour is Far-Less and The Panic Division. That tour is mainly northeast stuff. After that, we are doing a full east coast run with A Change Of Pace and Showbread. We're going to hit the entire US in Oct/Nov/Dec. Just working out the details of that right now. Also, we are going to try to get back to the UK and Europe later this year or early next year, depending on how things line up.
Any final thoughts?
Just want to say thanks to Absolutepunk.net for all of their support. And our new album, What Became Of Me is in stores now. Thanks for reading, and we'll see you on the road...