This is an interview I conducted with Chris Conley, front man and overall musical genius, of Saves The Day.
First I guess lets talk about the Bug Sessions. You just released a statement about how they will be ready for the Bamboozle Road Show. However, you recorded these discs live during your last fall acoustic tour. What stands out most for you on these new records?
The new bug sessions CDs are cool because you can really hear the audience, which gives you the feeling of actually being at the show. The songs are arranged a little differently as well. To make sure the songs came together on the acoustic guitars, David and I played around with the key of some of the tunes trying to find a range where the chords could really shine. Most of the songs sounded great as soon as we picked up the acoustics, but songs like Rocks Tonic Juice Magic and Deciding had to be changed around quite a bit. And the outcome was awesome, we were so surprised to hear Deciding as a little folk song. So, it was fun for us to revisit older songs and kind of re-imagine them. And the live recordings turned out great, so the songs are pretty rocking on disc.
How special are all the Bug Sessions to you?
Bug Sessions is a way for us to cater directly to our fans. We don't license them to be sold in retail outlets, so the only place for our fans to pick up the discs is from us at the shows. We have fun with them, because we're not hoping to sell millions, we're just entertaining ourselves and our fans. So Bug Sessions tends to be a bit more light hearted than your typical Saves The Day release. Also, after ten years of touring, some of the songs aren't as exciting to perform now as they were when we were 18, so it's great to be able to breathe new life into some of our best older material. We're always proud of what we do, and it's nice to get to update our older work to make it more fun for us to play these old songs which we love as well as our fans.
Continuing on the Bamboozle Road show. Are you excited to get back on the road?
Yeah it's funny, we were just talking about how it's been a whole year since the start of the co-headlining tour with Say Anything last year. That's too long for us to be off the road. We love to play. This last week we have been working on lots of songs getting ready for the tour, and we've been having so much fun just jamming out. David and I did the acoustic tour last fall (which is where the Bug Sessions 2 & 3 were recorded), and we did that tour in a van. So it's cool to be back in a bus also. And to be a part of the Bamboozle tour is a great opportunity to play with up and coming bands as well as some old friends like Armor For Sleep. So we're stoked to be back on the road
What is your favorite part of touring? (Cliché, yes I know, but I love to get everyone's differing perspective on touring)
I like getting to hang out with my band mates. We have fun with each other. And getting to perform on stage is just awesome. I get pretty lost in the music, and that's a great feeling. There are so many Saves The Day songs now to choose from, so each show will be totally unique, which I'm looking forward to. I think this is going to be one of our best tours yet.
Under The Boads is part two to your trilogy of records starting with Sound the Alarm. This new album is somewhat of a realization of your past, and the mistakes you may have made both personally and with the band. What sparked this revelation?
Life is fucked up. It's hard. It can be so confusing. And so many times, we make mistakes because we aren't aware of our feelings. Not to mention, we aren't taught how to deal with difficult feelings when we're young, and we wind up carrying emotional baggage into our adult life and it can hurt people who don't understand where it comes from. I realized I was turning family and friends away, under the weight of self-loathing and insecurity which has plagued me my entire life. And it was something David said one day as the band was sitting me down to talk to me about my issues, he said, "no more drama or no more band." That was the moment when I knew I had to at least find help.
In my opinion it seems that the Chris who wrote Stay What You Are is a completely different Chris who wrote Under the Boards and you showcase such growth from album to album. Would you agree?
I'd say each record is written by a totally different Chris. As I grow and change, the music is always there reflecting what is going on under the surface (under the boards, so to speak). And as I get older, I am more and more comfortable with myself, so I am able to dig deeper and deeper and not be afraid to show what is there. So while the last few albums have been a bit darker than my earlier material, it is this process of going deeper, not turning back, which makes the music seem more intense. Although, it is also my process of healing the wounds. So the music will continue to change, and most likely will start to become more uplifting as the years go by.
What song on Under the Boards was the most difficult for you to write or that really enlightened you about your past?
"Woe" is the darkest song on the record and the darkest song I've ever written. And it is the most cathartic lyric I've ever written. In the arc of the trilogy, "Woe" is the absolute lowest point. It is me facing the fear and the darkness and not being able to turn away, because I have realized that the pain must be acknowledged and understood, if I am ever to overcome it. And the next song on the album is "Turning Over In My Tomb" which is the moment when I decide to stick around and face the facts and learn how to make the most of this life, instead of being crushed by the weight of my history. So "Woe" is the darkest hour just before the dawn, and on the next album, the sun will rise.
But sometimes coming to grips with your past can be extremely beneficial for the future. How therapeutic was this album for you?
This album is the most honest and therapeutic music I've ever made. It was also written during the hardest time in my life. So writing the album was crucial for me surviving that difficult time. I needed to vent. I needed to process. I couldn't cope, but the music was something to hold on to. It was everything for me at the time, and I'm so proud of the recording.
Continuing on this topic. Saves the Day and yourself personally has had some ups and down, member changes. What event in your past (in reference to the band) do you wish had turned out different?
Actually, I have no regrets. There are moments I look back on and regret certain choices or a lack of communication. And at the same time, if none of those things hadn't happened, I wouldn't be the man I am today, having learned so much about myself through the hard times. And I am thankful to still be making music. So, at the end of the day, it all worked out.
On the flip side what moment do you cherish the most?
This might seem strange, but the best thing to ever happen to us was when In Reverie came out and flopped. At the time, we were expecting to have a huge success, having signed to DreamWorks just after recording the album. My head was quite swollen and I thought we were top shit, and our record kicked ass. Well, we got dropped after DreamWorks sold their label to Interscope. And I went through a very difficult process of frustration, resentment, anger, and doubt. For a while I thought I could never write another song, and I suffered a serious depression/writer's block for a year and a half. All this eventually led to the "no more drama no more band" intervention. So, after years and years of healing, I am more confident now than ever before, and I feel successful in creating the music, more so than any commercial success. So, I am stronger now, and I can look back on that time and appreciate the disappointment. And not to mention I still think In Reverie kicks some major ass!
A lot has changed in music since STD formed, but Saves The Day has to be on the most influential bands in my opinion. What are your thoughts on the new bands of today?
I hear a lot of garbage, and I hear a lot of potential. There are some really talented people making music now, after the vacuum of suck during the first half of this decade. When we started making music, bands weren't in it to become popular and sell a lot of albums. You got into music and started a band because it was what you HAD to do. It was so much fun. It was where you felt like you belonged. In the early 2000s, bands started selling millions of albums. After bands like Fall Out Boy and Yellowcard became famous, the whole thing shifted from honest kids needing to cope with life, to big-headed emo-stars. And it's gross. Although, I do believe the bubble is finally bursting, and from underneath the muck, there is a lot of healthy creativity coming up for air.
What about the changes in the industry itself. Thoughts?
You have some of the most loyal fans in music. What do you think of your fans?
We have the best fans in the world! Without our fans, we never would have made it through the difficult time following In Reverie. Our fans are so supportive. They keep us going, and their appreciation means more than I could ever say with words.
A lot of bands have become before, and obviously a lot will follow. If you look back where do you see Save The Day's place in everything?
We're a good band, not the best band. We have good songs, not the greatest songs. We're honest guys who don't give a fuck about the fame game. And we care about our fans. I suppose that makes us old fashioned. And that's the way we like it.
The final album to the trilogy is slated to be coming soon. What is the premise behind this new full length?
Sound The Alarm is about utter pain and confusion, and it raises the question, "Do I want to fucking deal with any of this bullshit?" Under The Boards is about the repercussions of living such a painful life, and finally at the end of the record, answers the question raised in STA "Yes, I'm gonna stick around and figure this shit out and make the most of this gift of life." Daybreak, the final album, is about picking the pieces up and putting them back together.
Can you explain a little more. What can we expect as far the music stand point?
It's really fun music. More upbeat than anything we've ever done before, and a bit more quirky and strange. It's the hotness. 2008 is great, and we're gonna rock the fuck out.
Give us an insight into Chris's musical taste. Who are you listening to right now?
Missy Elliott and Fishbone.
Any Recommendations to open our horizons?
Miles Davis's album "Bitches Brew". It's very strange.
Finally, what are your thoughts on the Absolutepunk.net and our users?
I love Absolutepunk.net and I love reading all the posts about our band and our friend's bands. People seem genuinely interested in music, which is great, because celebrity worship is not my cup of tee. We're stoked you guys wanted to do this interview and now Manny and I are going to watch The Universe on the History Channel. Werd out, yo!