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Interview: Woe, Is Me -- 03.27.12
 

Woe, Is Me -- 03.27.12

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Woe, Is Me -- 03.27.12Music brings joy to lots of different people all over the world. But sometimes, it stops being fun for the people involved, and that's when they decide to make a change.

Example? Rise Records very own Woe, Is Me. On March 7th, 2012, it was announced that Michael Bohn, Cory Ferris, and Ben Ferris decided that they wanted to make a change and depart from the band. This isn't the first time that this has happened to this band; in 2011, former vocalist Tyler Carter left to pursue his own solo project.

Where does this leave the remaining members? How can a band survive a substantial loss such as members leaving? Some listeners gave up, considering the band done; some listeners held on to the idea that WIM is as strong as they've always been. I decided that I wanted to know what was going on with the band and it's future, so I sat down with clean vocalist Hance Alligood and drummer/electronic programmer Austin Thornton to get some details inside Pepino's in Portland, a staple for great mexican cuisine. Both of them were great and down to earth guys, I definitely enjoyed my time with them; we couldn't help but occasionally be amused by this mom yell at her kids behind us. I sincerely look forward to what's to come from this band.


First off, how's the tour been going for you guys? It's a few weeks in and things have been sold out generally every night.

Austin: Yeah, the tours been mind-shocking for a lot of it, especially with what's been going on with the band; to have the support from kids every night despite the member changes. Things are great, such as still being able to come out to the "Woe, Is Me" chants, it's like we haven't missed a beat; it's been so great to see the "[s] Army" thing and what we stand for, people really hold onto that.

Hance: Another cool thing about this tour is that everyone on are super nice. Everyone is so like minded...

Austin: [Sarcastically] Except for Brian, nobody likes Brian.

Hance: Yeah, nobody likes Brian.

You guys have previously mentioned that you'll be recording after this tour. What people don't know is that the core members that actually wrote Number[s] are still here. What can you tell us about that? Do you think people sort of misunderstand?

Austin: I think people don't exactly understand the writing process and what goes on; they'll look at a guitarist and go "oh, he writes the guitar parts", and they'll look at the bassist and go "oh, he writes the bass parts" and so on, but that's not really true. At the end of the day, the original members at the time Kevin [Hanson] and myself we wrote the majority of Number[s] with our older guitarist Tim Sherrill, and he wrote all the metal and ambient stuff, and that was great and we loved it, it was a good stepping stone. Everybody who progressed in Woe, Is Me from "Fame > Demise", to "Vengeance", to any of our cover songs are the same people that are sitting right here, and that's what we want to express to kids. When we go into the studio after this tour, you're still going to get what Woe, Is Me was going to put out back with our original line-up, or when we had our second lineup, or even our lineup now; you're still going to get the same product as what you'd get back then.

How have you both progressed as musicians and writers in the last year since Number[s] came out?

Austin: For me personally, one thing that I've done is that I wrote with others and learned. I always used to sit with my buddy Tim [Sherrill] when we were writing for the first album and help him write a lot of the metal riffs and that stuff, i've always wanted to do that; when Tim parted ways, I sat with Kevin and learned a few things about the guitar, and I really wanted to try and make up with what we lost by implementing my own metal riffs. I've picked up a lot of the guitar stuff from the guys, I've progressed with electronics, and as far as drum stuff goes, drumming and guitar are two and two; as long as we're writing good guitar riffs, the drum tracks will be right there with it. I can speak for the rest of the guys when I say that they've all matured into the musicians that I believe that they need to be and they want to be; i've never been happier with what's come out, i'm excited to see what happens.

Hance: As far as vocals and singing goes, for the past 5 years i've been a screamer, and I feel like it's been detrimental towards progressing as a singer. Up until I started touring, I didn't think about it much; I was playing in local bands and it wasn't really a profession or something that fits as a career. There's always room for improvement; I've wanted to expand my vocal range and capabilities, and that's what I'm focused on right now as far as progressing musically.

For this new album, do you know who will be producing and engineering this album?

Austin: From the beginning, we've always gone with our buddy Cameron Mizell at Chango Studios [in Orlando, FL]. We had actually had a few producers lined up, and at the end of the day, Cameron added such a unique sound to our band and that was something we couldn't escape from. We didn't want to go with someone else and then miss out on the orchestral and synth effects that he added; he'll definitely be the one recording and engineering. We're talking about having Joey Sturgis come on to do the mixing and mastering, and bring on Caleb Shomo [Attack Attack] possibly for some production here and there, and let's face it -- that dude knows his way around the fucking boards.

So it's more of a 'If it's not broken, don't fix it' kind of thing?

Hance: Yeah, I was about to say that

Some people wanted to know if we can expect the same amount of electronics that we found on Number[s] on the new record, if not more?

Austin: As far as electronics go, we definitely changed our sound a little bit with the new album, moving away from the "ambient/spacey" feel that was sort of my forte' when it came to electronics. But i'm personally trying to expand my horizon with stuff that can fit with the new album; if it was up to me, i'd would do 10 times more electronics if we could find places to fit them.

I know one thing that we've talked about, (and this will be the first time talking about) is Lee Duck [Sky Eats Airplane] and I talking and trying to sit down for a week straight at the studio and tearing the songs apart and replacing guitar and drum tracks with electronics; just trying to fit in as much electronics as possible.

What sort of lyrics have you written so far, Hance? What stuff do you touch on?

Hance: Definitely more of an uplifting, positive message...

Austin: Fuck that, i'm pissed off!

Hance: ...still bearing in mind that there are some things that i'm angry about; Austin will be writing lyrics alongside me as well. It's like a rollercoaster; being angry, but having fun with it.

Austin: Kicking ass, but having fun while doing it.

So people are really going to be encouraged with this album?

Austin: It's a way of being strong and standing up for what you believe. You're gonna do what you do, and go down fighting.

You have Doriano Magliano from That's Outrageous out on tour with you guys; how are things working out with him right now? Can you see him as a permanent replacement already?

Austin: Yeah, as far as Doriano goes, the dude's a rad guy; we called him a day before the tour started, and flew him down from New York. At first, he was just balking everything, and that's to be expected from anyone put in that position; after we hit Atlanta for our hometown show after that first day, he's just absolutely fucking killed it. We've had so many kids come up to us say "We hate to say this, and we're not trying to mean to anyone, but you guys were better than you ever have been". They weren't trying to make anybody feel good about themselves, but Doriano puts on a show; he has so much energy on stage. We love our sound in the past, we love it now; we're not better than anyone, and we're blessed.

Hance: He's definitely energetic and puts on a rad show, so we'll see where we go from there.

Number[s] was only 29 minutes long. Can we expect a significantly longer album this time around, or are you wanting to have it be short and sweet, and in your face?

Austin: Well, we kind of had a short period of time to write and record Number[s]; we finished it up while recording it. But with the new album, we've talked about having it be 12 songs; and the songs we've written so far in pre-production are to the point where we're afraid of them being too long. So with that being said, I don't think this is something we're really going to have to worry about this time around.

When reviews for Number[s] came out, reviewers seemed to hint and note at you guys really hitting your stride on your second album. Can you see that, and do some things with this album that you didn't on the last?

Hance: I think the second record is going to be what everyone wants to hear, but nothing what anyone's going to expect.

Austin: Yeah, it's definitely a sound that nobody is expecting Woe, Is Me to put out; we didn't even expect to be able to write the material that we did for the new album. We have all these summer festivals lined up, headliners, overseas, all these things we're going to be doing this year; we're so excited for that, it's planned out to put us out on the road when this album comes out.

Number[s] is being re-released by Rise Records. What do fans get when they buy the album?

Austin: Honestly, on the real, I have no idea when it's being released. We've been asked so many questions, and the distributions been moved so many times; it has nothing to do with what's been going on with the band. Everything is ready to go, and we're just waiting for the record to give us the go ahead.

Hance: Yeah, if it was up to us...it'd be out right now. Basically what you're going to get with the reissue is Number[s], re-mastered a bit. You're going to get some remixes by Caleb Shomo, some acoustic material, and the DVD we put together. This isn't a dry to the bone re-issue, definitely some cool stuff on there.

Austin: Definitely a bang for your buck, worth the money.

Definitely a lot of chit chat has been going on since Michael, Cory, and Ben left, particularly on Twitter and Facebook. Are there any rumors you'd like to clear up?

Austin: First and foremost, one of the most common rumors is our vocalist Hance having a cocaine addiction. I don't know where the hell this came from, but I can speak on Hance's behalf when I say HE DOES NOT HAVE A COCAINE ADDICTION. Hance is probably the most low-key individual in the band, and with all the focus to go straight at him, it's nuts.

Hance: I'm not sure where that came from...but yeah -- I don't do cocaine. There you go.

Anything else you'd like to clear up?

Austin: As far as anything else goes, the rumors about us breaking up and all this shit we're bearing everyday on tour. We're doing tour update videos on youtube, we're doing some other updates from the road letting everyone know what's finalized and what we're up to; we're not going to make anyone wait more than they have been. I know people want to think that there's all this fighting and bickering between past members, but honestly I haven't talked to anyone from the past; aside from the first few days on twitter, that's expected with anybody -- they've gone their way and we've gone our way doing our thing.

What's one book and one band that you'd recommend to anyone that listens to Woe, Is Me and why?

Hance: I'd say read all the Harry Potter books, and listen to They're Only Chasing Safety and Define The Great Line by Underoath.

Austin: As far as any authors go, I'd suggest all the C.S. Lewis stuff; The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and so forth, and then Lord of The Rings series; I'm the nerd of the band, so I could go on for days. But as far as bands, there's the typical heavy bands that I listen to and the "djent" stuff like Structures, Volumes, etc. I listen to Sigur Ros; that's the stuff I really dig when i'm hanging out at night and laying down in bed; I also really love Hammock. If anything else, I checked into the new Architects (UK) stuff and it's fucking awesome; it's so powerful and i'm really excited to see what they do.

Wrapping up, is there anything else you'd like to add?

Austin: We hate Brian.

Hance: Brian sucks.

Austin: But on the real though, we are who we are. We're always going to be here, and the people who are going to be here is how it's going to stay.

Hance: Expect us.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 24
11:05 AM on 04/13/12
#2
Jack Appleby
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Sounds like Hance is very self-aware. I like that.

Still think it'd be impressive to see him do cleans and screams, but I'd also rather hear him continue to advance his cleans.
11:25 AM on 04/13/12
#3
HeyItsAllyssa
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Best interview they've done in a while. Glad to see both of them participating in the conversation. I saw them in SF and Doriano is AMAZING on stage. The guy has amazing stage presence and he screams better than Michael did. (I saw them before with Michael on the PTV tour). Plus Brian is a badass on bass.

I really can't wait for their new release. I think WIM v.3.0 is going to be mind blowing.
11:32 AM on 04/13/12
#4
Steve Alcala
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On the real?

Austin sounds like a 15 year old. I'll give the next album a listen but my expectations are low.
11:35 AM on 04/13/12
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Jake Denning
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On the real?

Austin sounds like a 15 year old. I'll give the next album a listen but my expectations are low.

I know that people are inclined to think that, but he was really a cool dude. Same with Hance.
11:39 AM on 04/13/12
#6
Steve Alcala
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I know that people are inclined to think that, but he was really a cool dude. Same with Hance.
Hance has always seemed chill in interviews but Austin carries himself like a douche in every single one I've seen. But I mean, you've actually conversed with him so I don't know.
12:28 PM on 04/13/12
#7
johnnyferris
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This was a great interview. Nice job.
12:30 PM on 04/13/12
#8
WeltallAY
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Hance has always seemed chill in interviews but Austin carries himself like a douche in every single one I've seen. But I mean, you've actually conversed with him so I don't know.

I concur with Jake, Austin is a pretty genuine individual.

Excellent interview, just a quick couple questions. First, is Hance going to be on the reissue? Second, I Doriano actually going to be the next screamer ? His answer was kind of vague.
12:49 PM on 04/13/12
#9
ThereWeWere
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I concur with Jake, Austin is a pretty genuine individual.

Excellent interview, just a quick couple questions. First, is Hance going to be on the reissue? Second, I Doriano actually going to be the next screamer ? His answer was kind of vague.

I noticed that as well. Probably still trying to figure it out. I haven't heard anything from Dor's band That"s Outrageous since he started touring with WIM
12:49 PM on 04/13/12
absolutecorey
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I concur with Jake, Austin is a pretty genuine individual.

Excellent interview, just a quick couple questions. First, is Hance going to be on the reissue? Second, I Doriano actually going to be the next screamer ? His answer was kind of vague.
Hance IS going to be on the re-issue. They remix some of the stuff from Number[s] like [&]Delinquents. It has Tyler singing in the background some and Hance sings the clean vocals throughout. It sounded aight live. As far as Doriano, I think they're basically saying it's a wait and see kind of thing. They're probably just feeling him out and seeing if he fits in with the band and their sound. I remember back in the day Attack Attack! had that fat dude fill in for Austin on tour when he was sick, but they kicked him out and Caleb took on lead vocals. So something similar could happen with Doriano, but I doubt it because he's filling in for someone who quit the band for good.
02:22 PM on 04/13/12
George_mm
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Hance IS going to be on the re-issue. They remix some of the stuff from Number[s] like [&]Delinquents. It has Tyler singing in the background some and Hance sings the clean vocals throughout. It sounded aight live. As far as Doriano, I think they're basically saying it's a wait and see kind of thing. They're probably just feeling him out and seeing if he fits in with the band and their sound. I remember back in the day Attack Attack! had that fat dude fill in for Austin on tour when he was sick, but they kicked him out and Caleb took on lead vocals. So something similar could happen with Doriano, but I doubt it because he's filling in for someone who quit the band for good.
I had the displeasure of seeing that dude fillin for Austin. He was one of the worst vocalists I've seen live
03:08 PM on 04/13/12
WeltallAY
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Hance IS going to be on the re-issue. They remix some of the stuff from Number[s] like [&]Delinquents. It has Tyler singing in the background some and Hance sings the clean vocals throughout. It sounded aight live. As far as Doriano, I think they're basically saying it's a wait and see kind of thing. They're probably just feeling him out and seeing if he fits in with the band and their sound. I remember back in the day Attack Attack! had that fat dude fill in for Austin on tour when he was sick, but they kicked him out and Caleb took on lead vocals. So something similar could happen with Doriano, but I doubt it because he's filling in for someone who quit the band for good.
Thanks for filling me in. I apreciate that they're making the reissue something that is not only worth buying but doesn't make the original version useless to have.
03:09 PM on 04/13/12
WeltallAY
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I had the displeasure of seeing that dude fillin for Austin. He was one of the worst vocalists I've seen live
Ugh, agreed, I think his name was Nick or something. Out of all the AA! vocalists he is the only one I would actually consider to be generic.
03:39 PM on 04/13/12
absolutecorey
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I want the DVD that comes with the re-issue. It has a lot of Tyler footage in there too I'm pretty sure
04:12 PM on 04/13/12
Siren
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Don't like their music, but they seem like cool guys.

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