Last week, I caught up with guitarist/vocalist Dylan Housewright of The Seeking to talk about their upcoming album Yours Forever and a tour with opening for Woe Is Me. We also talk a bit about the band's history, their recording experience and how they hope to relate to new fans.
For those who might be a bit unfamiliar with The Seeking, could you give us a brief history lesson on the band and how you guys got together?
Originally, our drummer Ben and I met through mutual friends. We went over to Ben’s house one day and we were just like, let’s do this. That was in 2010, I believe. We actually waited a year before we even played our first show because we wanted to make sure we were super prepared. Ben and I, Taylor and our bass player at the time Kyle, we just practiced in Ben’s garage for a year just writing songs and getting ready. As time went on, Grayson joined the band after we recorded “Take It From Me”. Originally he was just going to help out with the lead guitar parts for the song with recording and not actually being a part of the band. But once we got the song back, he was like, ‘This song is too good to not join the band.’ So then Grayson finally joined. Then later on, Kyle left the band and that’s when we picked up Shane. That’s kind of how we got our members and we’ve been writing a ton of material since then.
So you guys are going to be heading out on tour here in a few weeks with Woe, is Me, Chunk No Captain Chunk, Our Last Night, Secrets and Capture the Crown. How excited are you guys to get out on the road, not just with these bands, but in anticipation for the new record?
We’re extremely excited. This is what we’ve all wanted for so long. We’re living out our dream right now and doing awesome thing, so we’re all super excited just to hang out in the van, spend some time together and play some shows and to really see the reaction we get from different people, you know? Seeing if they like our music. The album drops soon, we’re anxious to see how it affects different people and how much they like it and all that stuff. We’re pretty freaking excited. Right now, we’re in L.A. doing some stuff and we took our van out here. We’re then going home for four days and then getting right out on the road and start tour. We’re already loving it just being out here and hanging out with each other. We’ve been sleeping out in the van. Good times.
This is your first national tour, any nerves for the routing and the amount of shows you’ll be playing or the rigors of tour?
No, we’re not nervous. This is our dream, we’re just excited to be doing what we’re doing. Even if we weren’t on this tour, any tour in general we’d be stoked about it. We love playing music and hanging out together. We’re not nervous about it at all, we’re just really excited and we feel really blessed to be able to do this. No nerves.
There’s a lot of different sounds on this tour, how do you think you’ll mix into things and perhaps appear to new fans?
I think people who like heavy music, they’ll dig some different parts of our songs. Obviously we’re not a really heavy band, we’re just a pop-band with breakdowns here and there. I think the people that like bands like Chunk, they’ll dig us because we have singing and heavy stuff. I think the people who like a lot of singing and don’t like the heavy stuff, we’ll gain a lot of fans that way.
Yours Forever comes out on November 6th. As far as penning your debut full-length, tell us a bit about how the writing process of this record.
The entire album was written and recorded over the span of a full year. The first song we did was “Take It From Me”, this was before we were on Artery. We were just a local band at this point. We recorded “Take It From Me”, then about two months later we recorded “Restless” and then shortly after we released “Restless” was when we got picked up by Artery. Then, they told us, ‘Go do an EP and we’ll see about shopping that to some labels.’ Three months later we recorded three more songs to make it an EP, and as soon as we got done with the EP, Eric said, ‘Let’s turn this into a full-length instead of an EP.’ So we went back into the studio later and recorded the rest of the album. So it was over a long period of time. The way we wrote the songs, we wanted to split it down the middle between the light and hardcore stuff. Half the album has hardcore elements with poppy choruses that people can singalong to, and the other half is a really edgy rock, pop style, which even there we have a little bit of screaming, but really not much. Just lyrically, the way we wrote it, obviously we’re a Christian band but we wrote the lyrics to what they mean to us, but we wrote it in a way that anyone can interpret it how they’re feeling or with what they’re going through in life. The songs are really up to interpretation. But it’s always a positive message. The one thing we really wanted to bring was positivity and really just try to encourage people in any way that we can. We don’t want to force Christianity on people, but we want to talk to them and hang out.
What are some of the bands or albums you feel had a direct influence on the sound of this record?
We had a ton of different influences. We wanted to make something that was own our though. We didn’t want to play recycled music. We kept some things that are pretty typical when it comes to hardcore, but we really tried to step out and make our own sound. We have a ton of different influences, stuff that isn’t even hardcore. One Republic, Fall Out Boy a bit. Panic at the Disco. As far as hardcore music goes, the closest ones we can relate to are maybe Sleeping with Sirens or A Day to Remember or Hands Like Houses. They have a lot of singing but it sounds somewhat heavy.
You guys recorded with Colby Wedgeworth, how did he help you guys hone in on a sound and piece everything together? Anything in particular you took away from the recording session?
Colby was awesome to work with. We’re definitely going to go back to work with him for our second album. Basically, when we first went to record “Take It From Me”, we had the song written the way it was. He didn’t change anything as far as the structure. He noticed when I was singing, he said, ‘Dude, you have this really unique voice, and this has a bit of a One Republic vibe. Let’s add like a fat beat to this and make it really poppy.’ It sounded really rocky before but the chorus just had to have this pop feel to it and a steady beat. He was the one that helped us more towards that pop sound and towards the pop side of things. Before it sounded like edgy rock stuff with screaming here and there. But he helped us form it into something poppy but still edgy.
This album is coming out via Razor & Tie. Can you tell us a bit about how that relationship came about?
When we got picked up on Artery in the summer of 2011, shortly after that he had us do the EP and then turned it into an album. Only a couple months ago, basically he took the album and shopped it to a ton of different labels. We played some showcases, got some offers. Basically, Eric, he owns Artery and that is connected to Razor & Tie because Artery has Artery Recordings and they are partnered with Razor & Tie. Like that’s why some bands are on Artery Recordings and Razor & Tie, like Chelsea Grin. That’s where Eric’s relationship is. But he shopped it, got offers, called us in for a meeting one day and said check it out. These labels want to sign you, this is what they’re offering. He’d go through each deal and explain things and he left it up for us to decide. We felt Razor & Tie was a better fit for us. We felt there was a lot of room for growth and whatever we did they would back us up and do what they could for us. It wasn’t a typical record deal. There’s a lot of bands that will go to Rise or Sumerian or wherever. It’s kind of typical. But Razor & Tie we felt was kind of stepping outside of the normal and they felt like a great label to partner with. They’ve had a history of awesome artists and bands and we’re definitely excited to be a part of that roster now.
Is it a bit daunting to be signing such a contract for your first full-length?
Definitely. We were all really just sketch about everything. Like, once we sign a contract they’re going to own us for a part of our lives. We can’t back out of that. We have to hit this head on, whatever comes our way. So of course, it’s a little bit daunting at first. You’re signing something that will change your life in a significant way for a long time, and for a second you can be pretty anxious about that. We were a little, I wouldn’t say hesitant, but yeah it was pretty daunting. Like, oh man, this is the real deal. Once we sign this, it is all going to happen.
Awhile back you guys started an Indie-gogo campaign to help pay for touring expenses on the road and what not. As far as those campaigns are concerned, it seems like a sure-fire campaign that would fire up the detesters of such sites. What do you say to those who find it a bit strange to ask for money to tour when the first thing people who are against those things would say is you’re only going to make money if you tour?
Well, I would say to them, you think it’s weird and I think it’s weird too. Obviously, we don’t like asking people for money. That’s the last thing we want to do. Gas is really expensive these days, even though you’re in a signed band it doesn’t mean you’re making a ton of money every night. We’re literally gonna get a hundred bucks a night from the venue and that won’t even cover a full tank of gas, which is weird because our tank is really big. We all individually don’t have that much money, if we have to keep fronting our personal money for the gas we’ll never get to eat. So we won’t have any money. Basically, we think it’s weird too. We hate asking for money. But for those that support our ministry and what we do in our band, we love everyone whether they donate or not. So for those that say that, I say, it’s weird but it’s necessary. I’ve grown to learn that it’s necessary at this point. We’re the opener on this tour, so we’re not making much money on this tour at all.