Interview With Will Moss of Lifecurse
We talked to Lifecurse vocalist Will Moss about the process behind making a video, and about Lifecurse’s upcoming new album, Cosmic Graveyard.
Lifecurse recently released the video for their song “12:34”, directed by Vanisher vocalist Justin Reich. We talked to vocalist Will Moss about the process behind making a video, and about Lifecurse’s upcoming new album, Cosmic Graveyard. You can buy their latest album, Prophecies, at BandCamp here.
Metal Arcade: So I’ve watched the video for 12:34 (above) a few times now, it’s definitely well put together and interesting. Did it take a while to plan out the video creatively?
Will Moss: Yes, and no. That song is about a zombie apocalypse, so I knew the video was going to have zombies. As far as getting all that to work- well, a lot of people said they were coming to be zombies, and no one showed up. Our lead actress went into the hospital the night before, so we had to use the other guys in the band as zombies, since we already had our makeup artist Shandi Gee on set. From there we just rolled through the live shots, then got painted up like zombies and shot the rest of the footage. It sucked having to change so much on the fly, last minute, but it worked in a sense. Mostly everything was Justin Reich and Blake Faucette. I just presented the idea and they ran with it.
Metal Arcade: Does the video’s subject matter tie into the lyrics of the song? Or are they two separate animals? Is the video meant to be symbolic/ metaphorical? Or did you just want to make a tribute to The Walking Dead? What is the meaning behind the song’s title?
Will Moss: The meaning of “12:34” was something I shared with an ex-girlfriend. Her favorite time was 12:34, and after she told me that, I have been haunted by that time ever since… every time I look at a clock, it’s 12:34- and whenever I see that time, she crosses my mind. But as far as the video’s subject matter and the lyrical content being related, they are completely intertwined. It’s basically about how people have gotten into this zombie-like state where they think that going to work and updating their Facebook status is living. It’s like the only reason anyone does anything is so they can put it on Facebook. So in my mind, I created a world where zombies are overtaking the world, setting us back to a time where our most natural and primal instincts to survive are kicked back into full gear. There is no God, or devil, or Facebook…No CEO’s or presidents, bosses, managers, or anything of the sort. It’s just you and your friends against some f***ed-up creatures that don’t care about your feelings, or your dreams, or what you are passionate about. You have one thing to do, and that is to survive. It’s a scenario that I think is very real and is completely capable of happening, whether it be a radioactive spill or biological “terrorist” attack, but at that point in time, people will truly find out what it’s like to live. It will be a horrifying awakening. As far as The Walking Dead, don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan. I love the show, a little more drama than zombies for me though…I’m a fan of all the Romero zombie movies, the 28 Days Later series (yes,I know they aren’t ‘zombies’, but semantics), La Horde was an excellent zombie film, the Dawn of the Dead remake, Zombi, Planet Terror, etc., all the classics as well as the new ones. I love horror movies- they provide so much raw emotion which is a good tool for writing.
Metal Arcade: How long did it take to shoot the video? Anything memorable or interesting happen on set? I’m especially wondering if passers-by noticed four metalheads with large guns…
Will Moss: We shot all day in the parking deck of (director and Vanisher vocalist) Justin Reich’s studio in Winston Salem. (One of the) things that didn’t make it in to the video was our bassist crawling on the fence upside down like a madman…I would have loved to see that footage in the video. The one scene where I open the gate, and the guys are walking in the distance with the guns- well, when I opened the gate, a car pulled up, and we had no idea that Justin’s studio was next to the probation office. Needless to say, it was a cop . So he steps out of the car and sees 4 guys standing behind me with guns and immediately goes for his weapon, haha. First of all, I would like to say, even though they looked very real, the guns were fake. But had they been real, we would have severely ruined that guys day (laughter). We had two automatics, a Mossberg 12 Gauge and a Glock, against a 50-60 year old man whose hand was shaking when he went for his gun (laughter). I don’t think he would have gotten more than a shot or two off, if it was one of those situations. But after careful inspection of the weapons, he decided to let us finish filming. It definitely made the rest of the shoot easier, knowing we had a real gun pulled on us after everything that had already gone wrong that day (laughter).
Metal Arcade: What’s the most fun aspect of making a music video? Conversely, what sucks the most?
Will Moss: The most fun aspect of making a music video, for me, is the acting part. Although, repeating the same thing over and over gets really tiring. I like the whole overall feel of being on the set, and seeing the shots we are getting and whatnot. I have a vivid imagination, so I can usually see the video in my head while we are filming it. As for the downside, it sucks doing the same routine over, and over, and over. Also, 9 times out of 10, everyone gets off time because the music isn’t loud enough and the drums overpower the playback. We duct taped the underside of the cymbals to mute them a little and released the snare, but it still throws everyone off. Even though the clips are usually only like .3 seconds long, it’s still crucial to be on time. Also, people saying they are going to come be in the video and completely bailing. That is also a huge downfall because then you have to do re-writes, which also take up more time. Either way, it’s a fun experience and having 4 music videos and a 5th on the way has definitely helped our exposure.
Metal Arcade: Lifecurse is back in the studio recording a new album, Cosmic Graveyard. What has changed this time around, as far as the song creation process, influences, etc? Has it been easier or more difficult putting the tracks together for this album than your previous cd, Prophecies?
Will Moss: Well, Prophecies was an interesting album. Most of those songs we already had written with the exception of ‘The Illusion of Stability’, ‘Ignivomous’, ‘Dark Passenger’ and ’12:34′, which in my personal opinion are the best songs on the album. Our song creation process has always been the same. Matt pretty much writes a song all the way through and jams it with our drummer Jared. From there Roddy picks things up fairly quick and Tom works the 2nd guitar out. I will listen in and provide my insight as far as arrangement, and what I think needs to stay or what we should cut or extend, and write lyrics after the music is done. Since most of the songs were already written for Prophecies and others were relatively new, we didn’t do a whole lot with them as far as dynamics go. We got screwed by an engineer that wanted to extort us into a contract with his “label” – granting him 100% of all profits of our recording, 40% of our sign on bonus if we got signed and a percentage of all of our album sales from said label…I told him we definitely aren’t signing this contract to be on his ‘label’. The EP was then handed off to another engineer and the product was barely salvageable. So when we decided to record Prophecies, we took those 4 songs from the EP, the 4 new songs we had written, and 3 other old songs we had used in our previous band and just put all of our material out on one record so that we could do it justice…those songs deserved it for all the s**t they had been through. However, for Cosmic Graveyard, these newer songs came about in a different way. Matt brought a few ideas to the table, as did Tom, and we just hashed out the music as much as we could before we went into the studio. We spent about 4 hours on pre-production before we started tracking drums. Halfway through Kyle (Odell, Vanisher guitarist and mixer/ producer) heard a song that he knew was going to be the single, and when Kyle says something like that, you listen. The guy has been in countless successful bands, Bloodjinn, Shinedown, Vanisher, etc. , and is an amazing producer and engineer. He knows his s**t. If you have ever heard Vanisher (you can buy their awesome, brand new album Unbound here), you will know exactly what I am talking about. So in a sense it was easier putting the music together for this effort because we had help. Usually we finish a song and we are just content with it. But Kyle has really been pushing the envelope for us, because he can see the potential in our music and songwriting. As far as influences, we all have a influences that are all over the place. We try not to listen to too much outside music when writing, so that it doesn’t affect our music in any way. I listen to a lot of instrumental music, as well as hip hop. I like everything honestly. As long as it’s music someone has put a part of themselves into, I can respect that. I might not like it, but I know what it’s like to put yourself out there and definitely commend anyone who can not only record, but go out there and tour and remain optimistic about it.
Metal Arcade: Would you say that Cosmic Graveyard is a departure for the band, or a continuation of the path set forth by Prophecies? How do you feel you’ve grown as musicians? What’s the meaning behind the title?
Will Moss: This release is definitely a continuation of Prophecies, but it is also a departure from our known song structure and writing ways. We are stripping a lot of stuff down, making bigger choruses, catchier hooks, heavier breakdowns and more melodic infrastructure. When I listen to the first single, I forget I’m listening to us at times. But then a part comes in and it’s like yeah, that sounds like Lifecurse…it’s a more mature version of us, with more thought out songs, and riffs that will remind you of some bands that you haven’t thought of in years. A couple of parts in the new song remind me of everything from Killswitch Engage to Deftones to Periphery to TrustCompany. It’s very diverse, yet still catchy. We definitely feel like this will be our best material we have ever released and are really stoked about releasing it. When it comes to the title, Cosmic Graveyard, I guess it goes back to my fixation on the cosmos and the universe. When you think about a graveyard, the words that come to mind are that it is a dark, quiet place for the dead. However, there is life everywhere in a graveyard, but it’s something you have to go looking for. Also, buried in the graveyard are people from all walks of life, rich, poor, good, evil, etc.- Death plays no favorites. He comes for us all. But each headstone has a story. Every person under that patch of grass has a legacy they left behind. But it’s all something you have to scratch the surface of…you can’t possibly sum up a person’s life or learn everything there is to know about them with a headstone, just the time they were present on this earth. Now, with that being said, the way this translates to the title is that I see our universe as a “Cosmic Graveyard”…it seems as though we are all alone in this dark, quiet section of the universe where everything we have ever discovered is dead. But now that we are starting to scratch the surface we are seeing that the universe is full of life. Whether life is a virus spreading from planet to planet across the galaxy or if there is a bigger picture remains to be seen. I leave that up to the people with faith and their religious beliefs. Personally, there is so much that we can learn outside of this planet, not only in our solar system, but in the entirety of the universe itself. I honestly think that one day soon we will find the answers we have been searching for about who we are and where we come from, because I honestly don’t believe a deity with a beard made a man, then took a rib and made a woman and the talking snake and all that stuff. I think, logically, that life here has evolved, but that it came here from somewhere else, whether it be debris from an impact on Mars when Mars was a habitable planet or intelligent alien life bringing the seeds of life here for whatever purpose. The previous cultures such as the Mayans and Aztecs and Egyptians weren’t corrupted by misinformation. There is truth behind their stories. And it will all be revealed hopefully in our lifetime because there are people on this planet that know the truth, they just keep it because it would cause civil unrest. Imagine being told everything you believe, and your parents believed, and their parents believed and so on and so forth was a lie. People in general couldn’t handle that type of information. Personally for me it would be liberating. Anyways, I’m rambling (laughter) ‘Cosmic Graveyard’ is an interstellar graveyard where I’m just a kid snooping around trying to wake the dead.
Metal Arcade: Cosmic Graveyard is being recorded and mixed by Vanisher’s very talented Kyle Odell. Did you record Prophecies with him as well? Have you become more comfortable recording with him over time? Do you feel he’s pushed you to get the best possible performances on the new album?
Will Moss: Prophecies was recorded with Kyle. I’ve always been a fan of his work since the first time I heard Vanisher. Their music always just stood out for me because of the production, the guitar tones, and the overall songwriting. And then I find myself listening to other bands Kyle has recorded like A Light Divided, Hephystus, Too Big for Castles just because of how much of a fan I am of his production quality. We are extremely comfortable recording with Kyle. Lifecurse played our first show ever with Vanisher and after hearing him say one of the most sarcastic things anyone has ever said to me, and having me laugh at it, I knew he was the right choice. It’s been a never ending barrage of Eastbound and Down quotes, ridiculous banter, and attempts at ruining his life ever since, haha. But in all honesty, he has pushed us to be a better band, as well as perform better. He always has really fresh ideas and knows that we won’t turn any idea he has down. He’s very creative and definitely has a way to make you relax in the studio and feel less pressured. Except vocals (laughter).Man, does he ever make me stress myself out when tracking vocals, haha.
Metal Arcade: Who’s the coolest signed band you’ve ever played a show with? On the flipside, is there a band you’d like to expose as being complete douchebags?
Will Moss: The coolest signed band we’ve ever played with…hmm…well, let me just give you the rundown because most of them have been pretty cool. The first signed band we ever played with was an opening spot for All That Remains and Nonpoint in Charlotte. During our sound check ATR’s tour manager and their guitarist came in and were watching us and said they really enjoyed it and that we were very humble and prestigious, which was awesome because I didn’t know metalheads used that word (laughter)…The guys in Nonpoint were okay, their guitarist talked to us but I think that was because he was drunk outside their tour bus sitting in a lawn chair playing his acoustic….The other guys kinda just blew us off, but they have been around for a while so I’m sure they don’t even bother listening to the local openers anymore. We played a show with Straight Line Stitch and they were all really cool. The guys in The Browning are really awesome guys! We hung out with those guys at our show with them and they were all super chill. I actually ended up having to change shirts that night because i wore the same Conflicts (a band from Kansas City we played on tour with earlier this year) shirt that one of the guitarists wore, so that was an interesting coincidence. The guys in Wretched are really awesome dudes! Adam did guest vocals on a couple of tracks on Prophecies and has always been one of my favorite vocalists from his days in Glass Casket and Vanisher. We also have a kick ass show coming up with The Contortionist, Jeff Loomis, ChimpSpanner, and 7 Horns 7 Eyes in South Carolina so I really hope all those guys are cool because they are all super talented musicians.
As far as exposing anyone’s douchebaggery, I’m going to plead the 5th. Calling them out would just give them free press which they don’t deserve because they are douchebags right? But on a serious note, I try not to have beef with bands unless they are just s***ty overall. There is a group of people I would like to expose for their douchebag antics. S***ty bookers/promotors…if a band is going on tour, and they are not from where you are, it is your responsibility to get them the best show possible. We sacrifice a lot, time away from our girlfriends (well, the one of us that has a girlfriend lol), our jobs, our pets, everything that makes us comfortable to live in a van for a month and struggle to make ends meet. If a band contacts you and you say you can get them a show, get them a show. Don’t bullshit for 3 weeks saying the band needs to find the bands. We are doing 21 dates in 23 days on our next tour…If I found 3 bands minimum for every show, that’s 63 bands and 21 venues I have to contact personally. And that is given they are all saying yes. Most won’t even reply to you unless it’s lucrative for them because everyone wants a fast track to success, no one wants to enjoy the ride there. So we will say I have to contact 100 bands and 50 venues. On top of working our jobs, and playing shows to make money for the tour, that is a lot. So if you live in a city where you have the capability and contacts to put on a bad ass show for a band that is sacrificing all this to come play for next to nothing, you need to take some time out of your day to help them book a show. Or tell them you can’t. But telling a band you can book them for 3 weeks, then changing your mind less than a month before the tour starts is not beneficial to anyone.