Interview with Saves The Day
These past few months, pop punk bands have shown that they aren’t going anywhere and I’ve had the opportunity to talk to both the old and new like Bayside to Man Overboard who are killing it every day! Through all of the bands though, there is one I’ve featured here several times and the band has been around for over sixteen years with Saves The Day. Known to many as an emo pop punk legacy, Christopher has been laying the groundwork all of these years to now have Arun, Rodrigo and Claudio to make the staying line up of the band!
While the boys have been in the band for years now touring all over the world, they weren’t heard on records till their baby they’ve been working on, ‘Daybreak’, dropped September 13th of this year with Razor & Tie. It is a great tying up of the strings the past two records had left and has been topping best records of 2011 lists these past few weeks. Read on for my exclusive time with the boys!
Artist: Saves The Day
Release date: 09/13/11
Label: Razor & Tie
Saves The Day Official Website
Buy at: Amazon
We talked last in June with Chris and then full band the November before a while ago so obviously now ‘Daybreak’ has finally come out!
Chris: It’s here, thank goodness!
So how great does that feel to finally have this out after so long?
Rodrigo: So cool.
Arun: Yeah it’s still kind of bizarre. It is a little surreal because we’ve been working on it for just so long and sometimes, this is the third show, fourth show? Tonight’s the fourth show since the record came out and it’s still weird.
Chris: It’s nice to finally hear people reacting to the songs and they know them now and so they sing along and they get excited when we go on to ‘Daybreak’. It’s a really neat feeling. We worked really hard.
Just a little bit! Just a wee bit. And then you guys have both been in this band for a while now. The two of you!
Chris: We definitely feel the accomplishment altogether. I think it’s been a shared experience.
Arun: You know I’m almost three years with the band but having the record come out kind of makes it all feel real. I guess it’s always felt real to us but in a broader sense meaning they hear what we do together.
Chris: I mean they’ve been hearing us on stage together for years now but it’s cool for them to hear recorded what we actually do altogether.
Arun: Then with the new stuff, because all they’ve heard of us is us really interpreting, they get a chance to hear us on the record.
Chris: Yeah I love to hear people’s reactions to these guys on the record. Just saying how much they make the band better.
Arun: It feels good! I got some nice comments from some fans and it warms the heart.
Rodrigo: Sure does! We’re proud parents.
Proud parents of the record! Then, when we talked during your time with The Get Up Kids, you couldn’t really say much at all. Like the songs, you could talk really only about the ones that had already come out like 1984 and Living Without Love, but maybe on this record what’s like the most familiar sounding for past fans of the band and unfamiliar?
Chris: Yeah there are some songs that sort of come out of nowhere on this record. I feel ‘Chameleon’ is a bit of a stretch. I don’t think our fans have heard anything like that from us before.
Arun: ‘E’ as well. ‘E’ is a very strange song.
Chris: Even ‘Z’.
Chris: ‘Z’ could have been on ‘Under The Boards’ I think but it’s bizarre in a sort of futuristic way.
Rodrigo: I mean ‘Daybreak’ itself is kind of-
Chris: ‘Daybreak’ is very strange.
Rodrigo: Very out there.
I think one of you guys tweeted me when that’s the first song right on the record where it’s about ten minutes long ‘Daybreak’.
Chris: Yeah, it’s almost eleven.
Rodrigo: Ten minutes and forty six seconds.
Chris: Who knew, right? It’s a crazy thing to do. Like actually crazy. It’s not a smart thing.
Arun: Never been our strong suit. We shoot from the hip. Make poor decisions daily.
Rodrigo: Yeah I mean I think those songs definitely are characters in a way but I don’t think they’re like that outside of other songs. You know there is a link. They definitely take a bigger risk.
Chris: Yeah I’ve heard people say that too.
Rodrigo: They don’t seem unnatural to me.
Chris: Like I’ve heard people say that having ‘Daybreak’ come out makes the trilogy make sense as a follow up to ‘In Reverie’ because on ‘Daybreak’, some of those stranger songs sort of sound like they could have been on ‘In Reverie’. Especially, ‘E’ could have been on ‘In Reverie’.
Arun: I’ve said this before sonically because of things we were drawing from when we did this record, we’ve definitely stepped out of our comfort zones and the challenge was trying to make it all sound cohesive.
Chris: Which is challenging when there’s so many different kinds of songs on an album. It’s a very diverse record to make it all hold together as a unit was tricky but it was fun. Certainly spent a long time recording.
Arun: And that was part of the reason it was taking so long was that we wanted it to be realized that way. We knew that once we were done, we would just know that it felt right and I feel like at the end of the day, that’s what matters.
Rodrigo: You cross a threshold I think with all of the logistical barriers that impeded it from coming out earlier. You reach a threshold where it’s like “Well, it has been over two years at this point and we’re not going to rush it” but at that point, it just has to be right and if that takes another year, that’s what it’s going to take.
Chris: And that’s what we kept telling ourselves. It’s more important to put out the album the way we envisioned it as opposed to just getting it out there quickly. It was hard at times because we just had to wait around. Wait for the right time to record. Wait for potential tours to show up so we could get through the year.
Arun: But the response I think has been really good. I get the sense from a lot of people that it was worth the wait and at this point, the fact that it was four years or whatever is okay.
Then to have your first tour with it be like Bayside who have also been around for not quite as long but a really, really long time and Vinnie Caruana. How is this tour going for you guys as your first tour with the record? Like that’s really insane.
Rodrigo: It’s a great package.
Arun: It really is! It’s a fun package. The bands are good hangs.
Chris: Everyone just has honest communication. Nobody’s here to be famous. They just like playing music and that’s refreshing and it’s nice having bands that have been doing it for so many years and they’re still here for the right reasons. Nobody fell like under the pressure .
Arun: There’s no like hype band.
Chris: Right! There’s no like sceney bands.
Arun: A band like Transit. They’re that sort of newer, I guess they’ve been around for a while, bands that are carrying that torch of just doing what feels honest to you.
Chris: It’s not about haircuts and that’s what it was like when we were all growing up playing music. You play like a VFW hall, like someone’s basement with maybe ten people there. There’s never a notion of eventual fame and then like Myspace came along and you have a hundred thousand followers and sell five hundred thousand copies of your debut album and you have a clever haircut and you’re on the cover of Spin magazine.
Arun: It happens. It’s all in the haircut!
It’s all about the hair cuts.
Arun: It happened exactly like that.
Then it obviously just came out but being that it had been a while in the making, is writing a new CD even an idea at this point?.
Chris: Always! Always working on new stuff. Even though it took so long, there was always like new songs being written.
Arun: And I think also just with who’s in the band and who we work with, all that stuff feels really good and now we can continue to do those on a more frequent basis.
Chris: Yeah we can make another album with in a year and a half.
Arun: We have ideas to do things in between full lengths.
Like an EP or something?
Arun: Yeah exactly! 7 “, don’t want to reveal too much but there are some cool ideas. Some of it will just be specific to real die hard fans and some of it other people might like but ultimately there will be another LP in like a year and a half if we can.
Chris: It was fun working on ‘Daybreak’ because it was so sort of highly contextualized so it was clear when a song wasn’t going to work in the context of the album and so you just put them aside and there’s hundreds of them just laying around. Because if the song was even slightly aggressive, it just didn’t feel like it wanted to be on ‘Daybreak’. You know I could tell like which songs felt uplifting or were mercurial in the right kinds of ways and so it was a fun process to sift through the ideas as they were being written and to go ‘Oh this one works with the concept and this one’s for the next record’ or ‘This one’s for three records from now’. So I’m stoked to just get into the demo’s and start listening to ideas. Sifting again.
Rodrigo: I’m excited.
Chris: I can’t wait! You know the thing that helped the most on the day the record came out was excitement about the next album. I just felt so excited about making another album! Like ‘Yes, ‘Daybreak’s out we can go play these songs live and now we get to make another record’.
Arun: We’re all just big fans of each other too so getting to work together is like exciting.
Chris: ‘What would you do with this idea?’
Arun: Yeah! I can’t wait.
Perfect and then obviously with this record, you resigned to your new label Razor & Tie.
Chris: Thank goodness! They’re awesome. They’re so great!
Yeah, I love them!
Chris: And they’re signing a lot of good acts right now.
Arun: They just signed Hit The Lights.
Chris: Kevin Devine.
Arun: That’s a great one! We were really excited when that happened.
Chris: Big fans.
Rodrigo: Yeah, they’re great people. They care about music. There was definitely that thing going around where obviously they made a lot of money off the Kids Bop thing.
Times have changed.
Rodrigo: Times have changed and I think they’re really working hard at just signing good bands. They have that luxury now almost to just be like these are bands we like. We’re going to sign them. We’re going to put out their records and I think that’s great.
Arun: They’ve been cool. Just really supportive.
Rodrigo: Great, great label.
Arun: We’re excited.
Chris: Good people too. I’m thankful for that Kidz Bop too it’s good funding. I need that, you know!
Then how is it to be signed again?
Chris: It feels really good because we made this whole record with out label support and it was stressful honestly because you’re the bank at that point. Nobody’s behind you saying ‘Here, go into the studio and we’ll take care of it’. You have to pay for the studio and you also have to pay your bills (laughs) so it’s a weird balance. I don’t think it was balanced but now that there’s a label, it can be a bit more balanced. It won’t just be like bleeding money and really that’s an incredible thing for musicians just to have somebody behind you saying ‘I know you need a little bit of start up money to get your project under way and we believe in you’.
Arun: And I think making ‘Daybreak’ almost needed to be done the way we did it.
Chris: Yeah we had to take it into our own hands. I mean it’s such a special project. Yeah it’s very intimate.
Arun: But we were glad when we, honestly relieved, delivered the record.
Chris: And they were so excited about it.
Arun: They were excited about it. They weren’t like ’What’s this ten minute song?’
Chris: Yeah they thought it was cool. That we have some strange song opening the album and they had all kinds of great ideas. You know, doing the extra packages with lyrics, sound check passes and t-shirts and stuff.
Rodrigo: I think, you know, in a way they’re just music fans.
Chris: They are!
Rodrigo: They just happen to run a business and I think it’s exciting for them and it was exciting for us to have all those ideas. So people could be like ‘What do I want?’ Like ‘How can we get involved in this?’ They’re really happy, happy.
Chris: Yeah it just feels like peers almost. Just being able to talk to them freely. It doesn’t feel like a board room meeting every time you go in there, you know.
Arun: And I think nowadays that’s kind of important. Because the world is just a place where labels are a dying thing.
Chris: It had to be a family operation. Like a small group that believes in each other.
Arun: And people that are willing to adapt to how fast the industry is changing because it is. Every year. It’s so rapid.
And there’s a new really talented band like breaking up every day. Like Augustana just broke up.
Chris: That sucks.
And like The Academy Is just broke up and it’s becoming really sucky.
Arun: It’s becoming really sucky but it’s also something where the bands don’t adapt. For us, on the most basic level, we just like playing music. That’s what we want to do and continue to play music. It’s like alright, we’re doing this tour in a van. Alright, whatever we have to do we will.
Chris: Fine with us!
Then I want to say it’s the first music video since Arun, Rodrigo and Claudio have been in the band with ‘Deranged and Desperate’ and both of you have been in the band for a while, right?
Chris: First one we’ve done in years!
Arun: The last one was like 2006.
Chris: It’s been a long time!
And the video can be a bit depressing but also good with all of the kids holding their signs that are like ‘I love you but you hate me’.
Chris: I think he put in at a certain point in the video, they change more. And after the solo, the rest of them are more optimistic. So the director created an arc intentionally. He also is just a smart guy and had an interesting concept.
So how was making that video?
Chris: It was really fun! Arun found this awesome location. It was a abandoned pawn shop in Detroit.
Arun: A friend of mine is refinishing these lofts and he did a lot of real estate stuff in Detroit and I just went to him asking ‘Do you have any spaces that fit this criteria?’ and he showed me that one.
Chris: It was just all broken-down.
Arun: We kind of wanted sort of an old practice space feel of it or something like it.
Chris: It was fun! We just went in there with a bottle of Patron and came out with a video.
Arun: It was hot, it was sweaty.
Rodrigo: It was a very hot day.
Arun: And he did a lot of the filming stuff with the kids after that so it was fun to make.
Chris: And the drawings were cool man. It was a neat concept.
Arun: The drawings were great and , you know, it was just cool to do a performance video.
I know at the end of the video it’s your (Chris’s) drawing, saying drawn by Christopher Conley, but were all the other drawings were they ones that you drew or did the director make them?
Chris: Some fans made some, other musicians, other artists, friends.
Arun: I’m the shittiest drawer ever.
Chris: My daughter did.
Arun: I did not!
Your daughter was in it, right? Is she the one in the kitchen?
Chris: Yeah she’s holding a giant picture.
Yeah I recognized her from the Paste father’s day project.
Chris: Yeah! It says ‘I have found a reason to love the world’ that’s what her picture says.
I thought it was her but I wasn’t sure.
Arun: Actually I didn’t even know she was going to be in the video and I was just like ‘Oh that’s so awesome’ when I saw it!
Rodrigo: I think she’s in the end of the video too for a second. Like outside, with a hose.
Arun: It’s a beautiful shot.
That’s awesome! Then I know this tour is just beginning and you’re out for six weeks or something on this tour with these four bands.
Arun: This one is about six then we go straight away overseas.
Chris: With Yellowcard for a month which is cool!
Arun: Then doing Soundwave.
Chris: Oh, that’s right! We just keep going!
Just keep on going over and over again.
Arun: Then we’ll see what we’re doing after that! More touring.
Because you guys have toured so much in the US. Like this is our fourth but all are in a time span of less then two years because you guys tour so much.
Chris: And the first time that we’ve had a new release out actually.
No, that’s true yeah!
Chris: I feel like we didn’t talk until post ‘Under The Boards’.
It was post ‘Under The Boards’. It was when you guys were out with New Found Glory and Spencer left right after.
Chris: Yeah, it was his only tour.
Yeah then Claudio was here with you guys in November when it was like Motion City karaoke.
Arun: Oh yeah, that time!
Chris: That was fun! How funny!
When you guys all sang with Motion City and Get Up Kids with you Chris the last time.
Arun: I was so nervous about mine.
Which one did you sing again?
Arun: Dissapear. I don’t know how he sings that high. It’s pretty up there!
I saw them play like three weeks ago when they were here.
Chris: The tour with playing all the albums. Which ones did you see?
I saw ‘Dinosaur Life’.
Chris: Cool, we saw the early ones!
Arun: We saw the early ones in Irving and I saw the late ones in Detroit. They’re great, love those guys!
Yeah so good!
Chris: Yeah, they’re awesome! Good guys! They have one of the best rhythm sections out there I think. Matt and Tony! So good.
"Daybreak" by Saves The Day - release date: 09/13/11..