It might not be the way everyone envisioned it, but in one of the more surprising moves of 2012 so far, The Acacia Strain announced last week they were signing to Rise Records. The signing set off some interesting (to say the least) dialogue across the band's Facebook page and the like. So to get down to the bottom of what we can expect from the new record coming our way in October from TAS, I spoke with guitarist/songwriter Daniel Laskiewicz, better known simply as DL, to talk about the Rise backlash, Scream It Like You Mean It and the new record, including a little bit of information on the song the band is releasing this week.
You guys recently announced your signing to Rise Records. After working with Prosthetic over the years, what made going with Rise the right decision for The Acacia Strain's work ethic and plans/hopes for the future?
As far as labels and all that stuff is concerned, thereís never really a right decision, you know? A label is a label. Weíve been with Prosthetic pretty much from the beginning. They did what they could for us and at the end of the day you have to sit down with the rest of the dudes and think about what the best thing for the band is. The biggest thing for us moving to Rise, I guess we can see more of a longevity with this band. If youíre in a situation where you donít see the band thriving and being in the right environment, then what good is that for the band? You know what I mean. I guess it was something fresh, because weíre all getting old [laughs].
Obviously people are coming out of the woodwork saying theyíre upset, mad, whatever with your signing suggesting that you guys might change your image or change the music. Youíve said a few things here and there about it, what is the overall message you have for those people who would even suggest that would happen with this band?
Itís so ridiculous, because if people at this point donít know the kind of guys we are... then like forget it. Theyíre fucking clueless. Weíre pretty open about how we are about everything. Thatís one of the biggest things weíre open about, how we feel about all these teeny bopper bands that have cool hair and awesome jeans. We donít care, you know? Weíve always been wicked open about that, and that kind of speaks for itself.
It's been announced that you're going to have a record out in October of this year. Wormwood was pretty well received both critically and by your fans. Did this add any internal pressure as you started to write new material?
As far as me, Iíve always been the main songwriter in the group. So, Iím constantly writing. Even if thereís no intention for a new record. Literally, we finished tracking Wormwood, we all got the final mix for it, and that week I was home already writing Ė with no intention of it being Acacia Strain material. Iím like constantly in writing mode, which is part of the reason that itís awesome that Iím home now. That way I can constantly be like in that mode. On one hand, not touring sucks right now, but on the other hand it is great musically for the band.
With signing to a new label, more people are going to get familiar with your band. There are some people that donít know the situation that you donít tour with the band. How has that helped/held back the writing process as you've worked on new material whether it be things you write on your own or for this new record?
It hasnít held back at all. That gives me much more time to focus on the musical aspect of the band and not have to worry about touring ten months out of the year. Of course, anybody thatís on the road ten months out of the road it takes a toll on you. The last thing you want to do is write, and another thing that I noticed being home is Iíve noticed a new love for metal. I would be on the road and it sucks, but youíre around it 24/7 and you donít want to listen to metal. When I was on the road, I hated metal. It was fucking annoying to listen to because you just spent all day and all night listening to it. You want to get in the vehicle and just chill out.
Do you anticipate with a new album there might be a time where you will jump back on the road with the band at some point?
Absolutely. Weíre just totally waiting for the right time. And I know itís just totally frustrating to everybody. The questions are still the same from two years ago, like seriously? [Laughs] Itís gonna be such a big thing when I come back, weíre just waiting for the perfect tour and perfect time. Itís gotta be right and maybe with this whole Rise thing, itís almost getting to that point. But thatís gonna be a little secret, definitely wonít be announced until like, a week before tour [laughs]. Like this idiotís coming out.
How far along are you as far as writing and process as far as getting stuff together?
Thatís funny, I just found out yesterday... I was cleaning out a stack of CDís I had. Iíll do a mix of something and then Iíll go listen to it in the car or whatever. And I always have a stack of shitty whatever CDs of writings with dates on them of stuff that I do. I stumbled upon a CD that says like, ĎTAS 2012, 12 tracksí, and I was like what the fuck is this. I popped it in and was like ĎHoly shit!í Some of those songs were before Wormwood. So, honestly, I have almost 18-20 tracks of material that when these guys get home, which is probably this coming week, weíre gonna hit it hard and start tearing those tracks apart and write maybe 20 more. Weíve always liked to have a huge catalog of tracks before we record. Better to have too much than not enough.
Even though some of these songs were made before Wormwood, how would you say some of the things youíve been working on shows progression from what you wrote for your earlier records?
Iíd like to think every single record we do is pretty different. I donít think weíve ever done a record thatís the same. Our tunings always change. Weíve never been a band that has the same vibe on records. I guess your taste changes as you grow up, and like I said weíre getting fucking old now [laughs]. Bottom line, itís gonna be the heaviest thing weíve done. Everybody says it, whatever, but thatís kind of been our ladder on the way. Every single record gets heavier. Itís hilarious. I mean itís heavy. Thatís like our thing. We know weíre doing the right thing when we listen back to some of our mixes and just laugh. We call it funny heavy.
Do you guys already have recording time set up with who youíre going to record with and what not?
Yes actually. Iíve been doing side bands and little projects here and there. And for now, Iím gonna produce it, mix it, engineer it. And Zeuss, who did Wormwood, is going to master it. So I mean, itís going to be self-written, self-produced, self-engineered. I canít wait to do it. Itís pretty much the same scenario with Wormwood. I pretty much wrote the whole thing while they were on the road. I wrote it front to back and when they got back we picked them apart a little bit. But we went into Zeussí with a completely finished product. This time around, since weíre on the whole try something new thing, we have such a good sense of where we want to be production wise and Iíve pretty much produced every record up until now. So, letís do it. Thatís gonna be a good change, plus our biggest thing is... and this goes to everyone that said, ĎUgh, you signed to Rise, youíre going to fucking wear blush and finger each other,í or whatever. Thatís why weíre doing it. We want absolute, complete creative control. Thereís no better way of doing it than that. If you have somebody in the band that can record and mix, do it.
And at this point in your career, it is important to have that sort of control.
Absolutely. Donít get it fucked up though. I absolutely love Adam D[utkiewicz] from Killswitch Engage, I absolutely love Zeuss. Theyíre both amazing at what they do and both completely different. Sometimes itís just annoying when, and itís not their fault itís just the nature of the game, you hear something and you want it changed. This time, if I hear something, Iím just going to sit down in the studio and do it. I donít have to call or drive somewhere. Itíll be so much more hectic, but laid back at the same time, because it is going to be us working on it together.
On your Facebook, it was posted we would get to hear a new song this coming week. What can you tell us about that song?
Itís wicked heavy. I tracked the whole thing. Itís kind of a little taste of what the record will sound like, but not really. It was one of those things where we wanted to give the fans something. Itís been kind of longer than usual. I guess weíre kind of on course to where weíve always been with records and releasing. But itís been a little bit longer, so we have to maybe put something up to keep people satisfied. I know one of my favorite bands, and I guess I can speak for everybody in the band, Meshuggah Ė you love this band and they havenít put out a CD in like four years or whatever it was. And it drives you crazy, and we know how that feels. Like, one song can be the best thing ever. I guess itís sort of a preview, but not really. Just a single track to kind of smash people to, because itís heavy as fuck and Iím sure theyíll play it live.
Whatís the title of it?
The title of the track coming out next week is ĎServant in the Place of Truthí. Itís pretty deep dude [laughs].
As far as touring plans go, you guys got announced for Scream It Like You Mean It alongside bands like Attack Attack!, We Came as Romans, Oceano and Impending Doom. As far as this tour is concerned with the type of crowd variation similar to Warped Tour last year, how do feel with the new album this tour will help attract those new people Iím sure youíre looking to get?
I mean, itís just another different tour. The Acacia Strain has always been ballsy enough to try different things. Usually, the summer tour that everybody would shoot for, which itís still an amazing tour, everyone would say, ĎUh, weíre either doing Warped or Mayhem or nothing.í I mean, Acacia Strain has always been, 'Letís try this new tour that theyíre trying to do.' Who knows, it could be awesome. It could be better than both of those combined. Weíve never been scared to take chances. Doing Warped Tour last year, they gained so many fans that they never would have gained if they didnít do Warped Tour Ė a weird group of people, which is fucking awesome. But it sounds like an awesome tour. I probably wonít be there [laughs]. But if it comes here, Iíll definitely go and check it out. Iím curious. It looks like it has a little bit for everyone as far as heavy music is concerned. Exactly. If you donít like a particular band that is playing, go get a hot dog and shut the fuck up [laughs].
On a closing note, given the spotlight hitting on your guys for the time being, what can you hope 2012 will bring for the band?
I think we just want to maintain our credibility. People were worried and everyone was fucking crying. Like this huge internet shut up war. Nothing is gonna change, we promise the record is gonna be heavy. Vincent is not gonna be clean singing. Like dude, really? I guess we just want to continue on our path and do it as long as we can. As long as people listen to us and buy our records and give a shit, then weíll be around dude, you know? Thatís our main goal. We want to band forever. We love our music, we love playing music and we love our band. We love everything about music. The longer we can keep doing it the better and the longer we keep doing it hopefully the heavier it gets.
Is there anything else youíd like to add?
I do want to mention that anybody who is into gear or anything, I just recently got with a couple new companies and theyíre absolutely amazing. I just starting using DAR Amplification. Their new amps they put out, the Fredrick Thordendal amps, the FBM-100... oh my god. Theyíre absolutely incredible. Anybody thatís like dying... Iím putting this out there now before the record comes out because I know after it comes out everyone is gonna be like, ĎOh my god, what did you use?í Iím going to be using the FBM-100 on the new record. And I just got my new prototype from Strictly 7 Guitars. I have a signature series coming out, the DL 8. Itís a 30.2-inch scale 8-string. I just got the prototype today, and holy shit. Itís the sickest fucking guitar Iíve ever played in my life. Down to the last nut itís to my specs. So when this record comes out, if anybodyís like, ĎWhat kind of guitar did you use, what kind of amp did you use?í Iíll tell them to come check this out or shut up [laughs]. But check out both of those companies, they are amazing. Even if youíre not into 8-strings, never mind my signature guitar. They do amazing work guitar-wise overall. Theyíre a serious company, all-American made. Iíve never been this stoked on a guitar and an amp ever. I never say that, so itís pretty fucking legit.
people love to hate this band but they're great at what they do. and they DO change their sound between records, anybody who says they just do the same thing over and over again hasn't listened very closely. i'll admit that songs on some of their albums can blend together but they definitely make stylistic shifts.