Concept records have covered a wide variety of topics throughout their life span. But it was very intriguing to me to hear about a band that wanted to write a concept EP about the idea of life itself. Clay Cages released an EP surrounding this very concept, The Lenses We See Life Through, and I got to speak with the members of the band around the time of the EP's release last month. We talked about the concept of the EP, their track "Rust" and how long it's been in the mix, and much more.
What did the writing process entail for you guys when writing creating The Lenses We See Life Through?
Austin: I can definitely say, for this one, that about 95% of the EP was written in our practice room. It’s been a lot different, even as far as the climate goes. When we wrote the first EP, it was kind of outdoors in a storage unit, and it was really cold. I feel like, this time, the writing process was a lot more comfortable. I feel like we had a lot of time to write this one. Even though we did write the entire thing and get it out in less than a year, I think it felt like we had a lot more time since it was a lot more convenient for us to get together and write, and practice in our space, which is in our house.
We just had a better outlook this time around. Everything was a lot more professionally done.
I understand that this is a concept EP. When did the idea to tell this story come into play? It’s almost like a movie in that sense.
Austin: Honestly, I didn’t even have such a huge part in the concept side of it. That was more of Matt’s concept.
Matt: For me, I had really been into the idea of doing a concept record and having something that ties all the songs together, not just a collection of songs. I had been stuck on this thought about, “what’s permanent in life, and what’s temporary?” The way that you look at things with that kind of bias changes the way you look at things in life. For an entire EP, I was trying to broaden it, so we took into consideration different points in life.
The beginning of the record starts off with birth, and it’s meant to convey a sense of wonder, and something that’s new. You’re not really on your feet yet. You go through a religious phase and how that affects the way you look at things, and then falling out of that religious phase, and what that does to you, and just a number of things that happen to you in your life. It wraps up with death, and looking back at everything. I’m pretty proud of how it came out.
Austin: I feel like, and this is just to add on to what you said, some of the concepts were harder to put on paper, as far as breaking down that stage of your life, and opening that up to an audience that’s open to interpretation. It’s kind of hard to write about death, and bring that all together into a song and have it actually make sense. It was definitely a risk for us to write about that. It was definitely harder for some songs than others. But I didn’t really have a huge part in writing those lyrics.
When you guys were choosing singles, I understand that “Rust” was the first to come into the public eye. Why choose that song first, and not “Permanence”, as the first introduction to this story, out of curiosity?
Austin: Literally, “Rust” has been a song for so long. We recorded “Rust” way before any of the other songs. We recorded the EP in the summer, but we recorded “Rust” in late March. That song was one that we just randomly wrote, and I feel like that kind of set the vibe for the EP, sound-wise. We recorded that song in Atlanta. That one was really kind of a hassle for us just to get finished up, just because we worked with a lot of different people in that song. It was kind of a long process to get that song finally done to the point where we were all happy with it. That was automatically our decision to have it be the first song we put out on this record, because it’s the one that we’ve worked on forever. It’s the first that we wrote out of any of the songs on the EP. I think it also wraps up our sound perfectly. If you wanted to show someone a song to show them what we sounded like, it would be “Rust”.
What kind of message or idea would you like listeners to take away from this EP after listening to it?
Matt: I guess the whole point of this EP is that it’s open for interpretation. We wrote it to be pretty broad. We didn’t put too many of our personal experiences into it. We wrote it all from pretty much a hypothetical situation because we wanted it to be open to interpretation to our listeners. A lot of it is very observational instead of trying to put across a certain point. While the majority of the record is very open-ended and vague, there are some personal memories thrown in there, just to add to it.
I wouldn’t really, necessarily, say that I want the listener coming away with a certain message that we created, at least. I’d want them to kind of make their own thing out of it.
What does music mean to you?
Austin: For me, it’s almost like….I guess it’s just an easy language for me to speak. It’s always come natural for me to sit down and play drums, and express myself as far as music goes, with my taste, and what I’m into. It’s better than speaking words because I can literally just play drums and show someone through me just playing my style what it is that I listen to. It’s just a good way to express myself. It sounds like a stupid answer, but it’s true.
For more music from Clay Cages, visit www.facebook.com/claycages
This has been another Shameless Promotion.