There's been a great resurgence in the metalcore genre over the past year. So many new acts have been starting to make their mark on the scene. Sworn In are no exception to this rule, as they have bred a particularly new monster of metalcore. It's not really melodic; it's incredibly dark, to be honest. And the darkness I speak of shrouds their most recent effort, The Lovers/The Devil. After doing between ten and fifteen tours in support of their first record, the band realized that the road was more difficult than they had anticipated. A lot of frustrations came with the constant touring. Instead of complain, they channeled their aggression into the writing on Lovers/Devil, creating one of the most unique and heaviest metalcore records of the last year.
The band came through San Francisco two weeks ago to open for Escape The Fate, and I got to speak with their drummer, Chris George, prior to their set about the making of the record, the concept behind it, and much more.
I listened to the albums, and I think that you guys have an intensity unlike most metalcore bands that I’ve listened to. It was something special. While there are elements of traditional metalcore, there were elements that felt like very traditional hardcore punk. What do you guys accredit that energy to when writing?
It’s not so much genres or other bands, but it just comes straight from emotion. I feel like that’s how most music is and should be, honestly.
The Lovers/The Devil is a very heavy record. What was writing this record like in comparison to writing an album like The Death Card. Was it more challenging or natural?
It was a little bit more interesting. We wrote The Death Card before we started touring so much. We had toured a little bit. We jammed out a couple of songs as well because we had time at home. We recorded The Death Card in 2013, and then after that we were just touring full time. In the process of that touring, we were away from home, figuring out the ups and downs of touring. During that process, it really helped fuel the second album. I started writing it on my laptop as we went around. We went to Europe and I wrote some songs there. It channeled all of the emotion from what it was like to learn how to tour. It was a lot of negative emotions.
When you’re a touring band, it’s definitely harder, particularly if you are experiencing it for the first time.
Definitely. And we’ve just experienced it so many times. It’s starts to become, like….you see it in a different way than you did two years ago. It’s like growing up, basically.
How many tours have you done since that first album?
I feel like maybe fifteen in the span of two years? I feel like that might be overshooting it a little bit, but definitely ten to fifteen tours in the past two years.
I could tell why you’d be a little stressed out.
Conceptually, how did you go about creating the structure for The Lover/The Devil? It felt like there was a flow to it, but there was still an up-and-down feel to it, if that makes sense.
Well with every record we do, there’s always kind of a concept album. Before we go into an album, we want it to “represent this, sound like this”, generally speaking. With this one…I mean, the time changes and all of that weird musical stuff has always been a signature for us. There’s almost these technical, progressive moments, but maybe not exactly, you know? There’s some of that on this album because that’s mainly what we do, but most of the sound on the album came from what we thought about. We wanted to put emotions into music. We wanted to try and use adjectives, and turn that into music, rather than saying “Oh I want this song to be heavy.”
What does the pair of scissors on the album cover represent in terms of the tone or concept of the record?
The scissors deal a little bit more with the lyrics. The music and lyrics tie hand in hand, but the music is supposed to sound dark. It’s supposed to sound like you’re lost in a bad trip. The lyrics are moreso about what it’s like to be in a relationship that is very unhealthy for you, I guess. The scissors part ties in because if you want to represent one [side] with the guy, one with the girl. On their own, they both do great and they are who they are. But when they come together, it’s kind of like a destructive force. It becomes a weapon.
That’s more on Tyler’s end, because he dealt more with the lyrics, but it’s really just about how two people can be really strong on their own, but when they come together, they create one the biggest negative reactions.
What kind of message, if any, would you like fans to walk away with after listening to your music?
Well I don’t think we have one message for everybody. I think everyone is going to take away something different. Our goal is that if someone listens to it, they feel something, whether they love it, hate it, or it made them forget about something. Say there’s someone who thinks that life sucks; maybe we make them forget that life sucks. That’s a good goal for us. As long as they take anything away from it, I think that’s pretty good for us.
What does music mean to you?
That’s a pretty broad question! (laughs) But at the same time, I’ve been doing it my whole life. It’s my thing. I started out on piano at maybe seven or eight; I’m twenty-one now. I started on guitar at ten, and on drums at thirteen. Here I am now. It’s been the only thing that I’ve done. I don’t know, man. It’s kind of my way of putting into music what I can’t put into words, if you want to put it that way. It makes me feel like I’m a part of the world. It makes me feel like I have something to say, and I feel really grateful that people can hear it. I can say, “this is what I think of life,” and maybe people will take away good things from it. I’m really happy about it.
Sworn In are currently making their way across the United States on Escape The Fate's "Hate Me" tour. For more information on the band, visit www.facebook.com/swornin
This has been another Shameless Promotion.