California 3-piece Via Coma are currently working on a full length album with
Cody Bonnette and Aaron Lunsford, formerly of As Cities Burn. Jesse Kyle (Keys,
vocals) took some time in the recording studio to answer some questions about line-
up changes, the writing process, and the future with user loveisa4lttrword. Their EP is up for free on their website.
First off how is the recording going?
There are crazy loud drums going on right now; it's going very, very well!
Awesome, so you guys are demoing and recording with Cody and Aaron from As Cities Burn, how did that come about?
Turns out we're having Aaron play and record our drums for this album while he's here.
Regarding working with them, after recording our EP ourselves we decided to definitely
work with producers this time around, and we wanted to work with people we admired.
We contacted a few people and after talking with Aaron a bit decided we felt really good
about working with them and set it up. They have great music and capture a lot of energy
in their songs and recordings which is what we wanted in our music. But it was really just
sending them a message haha.
ACB's sound is certainly much different than Via Coma's, do you think that that
has influenced the writing you've been doing for the record?
Not really at all, which might be surprising I guess. We've been questioned about that a
lot and it just never occurred to us that people would assume we're working with them
because our new music sounds like that. But I think if anyone says “Hey, I’m working
with the Coen brothers on a film, people will just assume it'll be similar to a Coen
brothers movie.” Although we are definitely inspired by them, it doesn't come across too
much sonically I don't think, but our listeners might be better judges at that. We've never
had a really solid list of "sounds like’s” that we feel are accurate cause we don't know
I definitely agree with that. One of the things for a review is you're supposed to have a recommended if you like section and it was really difficult to think of something that sounded like you guys.
Yeah I really don't know either; we're into the craziest music.
Do you draw a lot of inspiration from other music?
I'm trying to figure out how to say it. We listen to a LOT of heavy music, but we listen to
everything. I would probably say I’ve been inspired personally the most by Rachmaninov
(pianist and composer) Muse and Thrice through my life but I can't stop listening to a
band called Periphery.
Which is surprising because of how lush and orchestrated Bridges was, I think to me it was sometimes like listening to a musical, I was astonished that you guysdidn't have an orchestra on hand.
Oh man, we've been tempted to add orchestral scores but we want everything we do on
our recordings to be as close to live as possible. Rob (Marshall) is really into theatrical
scores and theater stuff
I almost feel the fact that you can capture that feeling with only the band is more impressive than having the orchestra.
We're all into movie soundtracks though; we're kind of inspired by John Williams, the
Star Wars guy? We've been having fun getting used to playing as a four piece, Nic
(Gracia) is constantly looping stuff and we’re surprised to hear it still sounds really full
and pretty while technically only using one guitar. We've been big on not using backing
tracks, so hopefully we sound orchestral still.
Ya, you've recently had some line-up changes. What happened with that and are you trying to find new members?
Our old bassist wanted to focus more on school, so Rob (whose native instrument is bass)
moved there. We also decided to part ways with our drummer, so we're kind of looking
for a drummer constantly. It's been awesome working with Aaron on drums.
I guess one thing that I know I always worry about when a band that I like changes members is worrying about whether they'll still sound the same. Like you were saying earlier about having to loop guitar tracks, has it been difficult to maintain your sound?
We were a little concerned with keeping our old songs and having them sound the same,
and a few of them really sound different, but they're redone in a way that makes them
work and ultimately sound better. I also think that because we still have our three singers
and lyricist means things are still going to be pretty similar. We used to do things like
Nic and I play similar lead parts, and then there is still rhythm guitar going on but now
either I'll play a rhythm-esque part and Nic play lead or reverse. But Nic is also the most
ridiculous guitar looper ever, so we usually end up having a good 2-3 guitar lines going
at the same time. He practically has to jump between pedals and sing and play at the
same time It's constantly the most impressive thing ever unless you don't know what he's
So did you guys enter the studio with a lot of stuff written or did you start in the studio?
We wrote a good 24 ideas, and finished 15 of them out just about entirely and really
focused on those songs before coming into the studio. Then played around with them a
lot in studio and really changed them.
Has Cody and Aaron's experience in a touring band been helpful?
They have a lot of band experience overall, and I think that has helped a lot. We all
knew that day one would determine how well these two weeks would go. We picked
them up from the airport and instantly were telling horrible jokes and eating food
together, we just got along. Then working with them in the studio instantly clicked as
well, and we tackled all our songs, we couldn't have imagined it working out so well
How does a Via Coma song get written? Do you guys jam or start with like a drum track?
It's always different and we like it that way. Sometimes one of us will have an idea (on
any instrument) and base a song around that. Sometimes one of us will write a whole
song, sometimes we have a feeling we want to convey. Sometimes we'll have lyrics first
then write to that. We haven't really jammed and just gone with that, at least not like
since when we were kids in a garage setting you know? But we will go off of feeling and
just write what sounds good to us.
So who writes the lyrics?
Rob has written most of all the lyrics but we get to bounce ideas back and forth. I'll have
ideas, or Nic will and we'll write based on that. I usually focus more on the melodies of
my parts or backup parts and rob really focuses on the lyrics and feeling of the song. He's
looking at the big picture more, the mood of the music and fitting lyrics to the mood
Are there things in particular you write about? I noticed on Bridges that it seemed to me that the lyrics were very...I guess conceptual. They fit the mood of the songs and conveyed very strong emotion but they weren’t obvious in subject matter.
Rob definitely values the listener’s interpretation. We'd rather have the listener
take their own idea rather than us saying "this is what the song is about." But for
instance, “Aquanota” is funny, people don't know what it's about, someone thought it was
about an abortion, crazy stuff.
I'm not sure I would have made that connection. I'm not entirely sure how that person made that connection either.
“Charlotte Parker” is about a spider. It's the itsy bitsy spider. We have our secret nerd
lyrics. Charlotte Parker is two positive spider references from pop culture.
Charlotte's Web and...
Charlottes Web and Peter Parker. People ask who that is, it's really funny to us. It's
apparently a magazine in some state, "The Charlotte Parker." People ask if our lyrics are
regarding religion, for instance, “Architects.”
Ya, I noticed that as well.
It's more of a comment on society and humanity but, alas, it's all a take it as you will
So, you guys are an unsigned band. Has it been hard trying to support recording and all the expenses that go into being a band?
Yeah definitely. We moved into a house a couple months back, so that's a new expense in
addition to buying "the gear" for recording. Gear meaning new pianos guitars and pedals.
Luckily we bought some good gear last time we recorded ourselves. We're using that this
time around but in our friends studio, who is engineering while Cody and Aaron produce,
it's a great setup, but hard to take two weeks off work. Actually, the hardest part is
finding time after all our different schedules to work on songs. Which is why moving in
together has been our best decision. Plus with Cody and Aaron every night is a sleepover,
we watch Arrested Development every night.
How are you planning on releasing the album?
We don't really know to be honest; we're taking everything as it comes. When we're done
with the album we'll have to tackle that. We decided just to give away our EP from our
website a while ago. It's more important for us to share our music now.
Was that a positive experience? Did you feel like it was worth it to get your music out there?
Definitely positive, it's a little awkward because people will buy your physical CD at
shows, but people online I feel are more likely to download it from somewhere if you can
find it, so either you try to not let that happen or just embrace it, so we put it up ourselves
One thing I’ve noticed is how much emphasis you put on maintaining relationships with your fan base. It's awesome that you guys are able to keep that level of closeness to your fan base.
If people want to talk to us we have a Facebook and an E-mail on our Myspace header,
we like hearing from people. On an independent level, and even if we were signed we all
think that's pretty important. We have played a couple birthdays locally which has been
so much fun cause it has been about 10-20 kids who want to hear us playing for THEM.
That is surreal to us, then we just hang out with them. We always go to our merch table
after we play, and tell people to say “hi,” sometimes they do, sometimes they don't, but
when they do we love it.
So, when do you think the album will be finished?
Drums are literally tracking as we speak, Aaron is a baller. It will be finished within the
next couple months for sure. Just unsure of when it'll be released, I'd say 4-6 months.