The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
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Post-hardcore band From First To Last surprised a lot of fans a few years ago when they decided to go on hiatus for an unknown period of time to pursue other interests. While it disappointed a lot of people, it certaintly made the band stronger in the long run as they now return with a new lineup and a new album titled "Dead Trees". We had a chat with guitarist Matt Good to talk about the band's break and the new songs that the band worked on.



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Andrew: Thanks for taking the time to chat to us, it's great to be talking to you today.

Matt: Thank you it's my pleasure.

Andrew: OK so one of the big things we need to talk about is obviously the new album. What can you tell me about this one?

Matt: Well initially conceived as an EP and was going to be funded on kickstarter and when I announced the creation of the album, it kind of attracted a lot of attention from people that I knew and whatnot and we ended up getting more members in the band like Taylor (Richter, guitar/vocals), Ernie (Slenkovich, drums) and Spencer (Sotelo, lead vocals) ended up joining the ranks. They all decided to pursue making a full- length once we realized the potential that we had with all the people in the band that came onboard, we decided it would be better to make a full-length. The fans would obviously be happier so we pursued making a full-length and we finished it last year in July and some things came up where we had to hold off putting out the record momentarily because Spencer's involvement with Periphery and our 2 schedules combined and things like that, political things that have no interest to me whatsoever haha! So that's basically the story of the album as far as who is involved and everything.

Andrew: Well obviously it's been a few years since you put out new songs. You took some time off which I guess as far as the band is concerened was a much needed break but now that you have this new album out, how does it feel to actually have this thing out now after so many years?

Matt: It feels fantastic, I'm really excited about it! Basically after the band went on hiatus I went on to be in another band called "D.R.U.G.S." with Craig Owens (Chiodos) and Nick Martin and all those guys and we did that for a long time and that was cool, that was really great. I felt like that during that time I really got a pace of what it was like to be back as a lead guitar player and occasional backup vocalist role live and it really reminded me how much I enjoyed that so I'm really excited this time around that I'm not singing for From First To Last. Mostly because of the live aspect of the shows, I never really felt comfortable standing in one spot the whole show singing in front of a mic holding a guitar. Playing music as energetic as we play, it didn't really cater to it very well.

Andrew: So you're the kind of person that likes to run around on stage and give a bit of a performance to the fans I guess?

Matt: Yeah absolutely. I think we're a high energy live band and I'm a very high energy live person in general in any band I'm in so it kinda felt restricting to be stuck in the one place the whole time.

Andrew: As a general feeling within the band, did the break do much good for the band overall?

Matt: I would say so yeah but the break was probably good. It gave everyone in the band the opportunity to find things to do in their lives at the time for their main goal. It's crazy because being in a band when you depend on it as your main source of income to support your life, to pay your bills and all those things, it puts a lot of stress on the role as a band in your life and who's in it while everything is happening. The up's and the down's seem to be a lot more exaggerated than they need to be because of that. But now in a different position where we are all in this band but we don't rely on this band to pay our bills or to keep us alive, to keep food on the table etc. It takes a ton of those pressures away and it actually makes things so much more fun and a lot more lighthearted and I feel like because of that we've never been this happy to be in the band as we are now.

Andrew: Aside from wanting to pursue other projects, was there any other particular reasons why you wanted to take a break from the band?

Matt: Honestly it was one of those things where every once in a while you just wake up and you have this moment where you realize I don't think I'm doing the right thing right now and that kinda happened with us. We were on tour supporting our last record "Throne To The Wolves" which I really liked and really believed in but for whatever reason...I don't know if it was the timing of the state of our music was at that moment or maybe we were just a bit down and out...we just all felt like it didn't really capture us right now. We have everything riding on this band and it just didn't feel right and at the same time I got the offer to play guitar in the D.R.U.G.S. band and I don't know, maybe I just need to let this thing go away for a while. Maybe sometimes the harder you push something the farther away it will get from you so I just realized in that moment that it was probably best if we step back for a while, let the band be remembered in a positive light and try to do some other stuff. And honestly we didn't actually have any plans to ever bring it back and the reasons we did was a mixture of the fact that I own a studio now and record bands a lot and I was just really wanting an outlet to make music. That mixed with the fact that a bunch of people were constantly asking me about it because I wasn't doing anything so it all just kinda worked itself out.

Andrew: Yeah I mean you had quite a bit of success before you took a break so was it difficult to walk away from that?

Matt: Yeah it's always hard to walk away from anything you devoted your life too! For sure without a doubt I can say I have never put as much work or effort to anything in my life because I have From First To Last. I've been doing it since I was 17 years old, I was homeless for it, I ate food out of dumpsters for it. I have done anything you can imagine for that band and it is in all honesty really hard to ever turn your back on anything like that and that's part of the reason why I think we decided to make another record, is because there's no such thing as having anything in your life that you put that much of yourself into ever really going away. It's always going to be part of you.

Andrew: Yeah definitely. And now this new album has got Travis (Richter, guitars) back in the band which is a great thing and the fans obviously love that fact. So how was it working with him again?

Matt: It's awesome! Honestly that just comes down to what we were talking about earlier with the pressures of everything feeling exaggerated, the pressures the band to be relying on. Everything seemed like a big deal in those moments and I guarantee you we would have never parted ways if those things didn't exist. But it doesn't matter because we are both older now, we're best friends again, I talk to him all the time. I love the dude, he's back in the band, it's as if nothing had ever happened and I really mean it and it's really cool. We've all just been having a great time.

Andrew: That's good to hear! I guess his departure left fans a bit bewildered or whatever but do you think part of that pressure of trying to do things is based on some of the fans expectations?

Matt: It can be for sure. It's kind of funny because we've always been a band that kinda felt like what we do and our unpredictability I guess and what we decide to do with our music is something that people like about us but at the same time I can see why it isn't as well. A double edged sword I suppose. But yeah there's always those moments like 'What are the fans going to think if we do this?' and that does get brought up for sure and obviously it's important like yeah the band needs to be successful because we put everything on the line for this.

Andrew: Yeah and also the band has a new vocalist Spencer, obviously his first album. How has the fans been responding to his entrance to the band?

Matt: See that's a funny story because when we first announced him as the singer, there was a lot of expected backlash. There was the 'Well we thought Matt was going to be the singer' and I was just sitting there laughing because this whole time all I've heard is how I'll never be Sonny (Moore, ex-vocalist) and as soon as I'm not there we get someone else and it's like he'll never be me and it's the same cycle haha! So I was like 'Welcome to my life Spencer, now you get to live it!' It was funny so there was a bunch of stuff like that and then we released a remade version of "Note To Self" and that's probably - as much as I feel like he killed it on that song - the hardest way to bring someone in because it basically corners you into a direct comparison of who used to be doing the song. It's inevitable, it's impossible not to listen to it and draw comparison to Spencer and Sonny. But the cool thing is he did such an amazing job on it that the general consensus was he was awesome so that really helped out a lot. And since we dropped the new record I feel like he has really led the band in a positive direction, everyone in the band agrees he's a great fit for the band and I feel he's a great fit for the band so I'm honestly extremely happy with the way everything turned out.

Andrew: Just looking at some of the songs on the album, obviously you have put out a couple of lyric videos from it as well but is there any particular favorite's that you enjoy at the moment?

Matt: Actually it's funny, I like a lot of different songs for different reasons. I really like the song "2 -11" and that one kinda grew on me over time. It kinda has an almost Pantera-esque vibe to it in a way and we've never really had a song like that before so I thought that was kinda neat. And there's a song called "Never in Reverie" that I really like a lot and the reason I love that song so much is because it's just so bi-polar. It's kind of like how we used to amplify it a lot because it's just straight on metal, get's all crazy with blast beats and there's just this giant spaced out indie rock like I'm standing in the crowd at Coachello like what the hell just happened! I think it's kinda neat.

Andrew: Have you been playing any of these songs on tour yet?

Matt: Not yet but hopefully this summer, that's kind of the plan that we're going to try and get out and play some of these things. I'm not exactly sure where or when yet but we're working on it.

Andrew: How do you think these songs will play out live?

Matt: I think a lot of them will be great live because when we were writing them, I was like I'm just going to drink a shitload of coffee and wig out and go into the room and just play riffs and as soon as I find a riff I think is cool, I'm just going to run with it. And we did that for 3 days, basically wrote all the music on the album in 3 days. All the songs are hyper-caffeinated when I was writing them and I was standing and headbanging when we were writing them. So I think because of that they should translate live really well because they were kinda written with that mindset from the get-go.

Andrew: Is that something you have done on previous albums as well where when you write the songs you think about how they will play out live?

Matt: Yeah I have for sure. It's something that I never thought about until after we started playing full time. There's a lot of songs on "Dear Diary (, My Teen Angst Has a Body Count)" that I really liked but when we played them live they fall a little flat in the live setting. So after that happened I realized that 'Oh yeah but when we did this song and we have a part like this and everytime we played it live it kinda killed the vibe a little bit'.

Andrew: So I guess you guys haven't made any tour plans yet but we're hoping you guys can come over to Australia some day.

Matt: Yeah I'm totally positive that we will be able to, it's just a question of when. There's always Soundwave, that's always one of those guaranteed deals of hopping over there and doing Soundwave.

Andrew: Yeah totally I think you guys would do very well at Soundwave.

Matt: So I'll just keep my fingers crossed that we get the call from that maybe next year. We did it in 2009 I believe and I did it with D.R.U.G.S. too in 2010 or 2011 and both times were just fantastic. I just love that tour, it's really fun.

Andrew: Well the album is hopefully doing well and the fans are probabloy responding to it very well. It's been a pleasure to talk to you today so thanks again man!

Matt: Alright thanks you so much!

Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on May 8th 2015