Earlier this week we were lucky enough to sit down with Ian Sharp, vocals of With Faith or Flames for a sort-of e-interview. Ian is very well spoken, and I have to applaud him for making our first interview flow so well. See what we asked, and what he had to say after the jump.
MCO: For starters, I have noticed a kind of "libertarian" sentiment (which I appreciate) throughout your myspace, does any of that reflect in your music at all?
Ian: Absolutely. I write all of the lyrics, and even though we don't set out to label ourselves as a political band, I exercise my creative freedom to write about whatever I choose. Politics, as boring or pointless as some would see, to me are very important, and the smartest thing any young person could do right now is educate themselves, not rely on mainstream media for information, and keep themselves very politically aware, because even though it seems like these things are so distant and don't matter in day to day life, the day will come when these issues do matter, and only those who are prepared will be able to adapt to the changing times. When I wrote the lyrics for "Hegelian Dialectic", I really wanted to be controversial. Of course, any sensible person knows I don't really want people to go burn down Washington D.C., but a lot of young people these days seem to be leaning towards leftism, socialism, liberalism, etc. and I just wanted to convey that if you truly look at the "opposition" to our former President, you'll see that their policies are not much better than his were. There are better choices out there besides A or B, red or blue.
MCO: Your blend of metal I think isn't really seen anymore it seems like, in short I found it really "accessible" there was no clear cut sub-genre I could only describe you as "metal" Was that a conscience decision, or more a reflection of tastes?
Ian: I have to be careful about how I answer this question, because we have a lot of friends in the scene. But I have to be honest, and honestly for the past few years, too many bands have been doing pretty much the same thing. It's like there are 3 or 4 acceptable archetypes in "metal" these days, and I know it sounds cliche, but we set out to really do something no one else was doing, which oddly enough, was paying homage to the metal heroes of the past. Maybe I'm just getting old too fast, but it pains me to see these young kids getting into modern death metal/deathcore but could care less about the great bands that made it happen in the first place, like Death or Morbid Angel or Suffocation. And don't get me started on thrash metal. When I was younger, if you liked metal, you liked pretty much all of it. But now it seems so segmented. Deathcore fans don't appreciate thrash metal, thrash fans don't appreciate breakdowns (which have always been a part of metal, long before the dreaded "-core" suffix), and so on. My hopes are that our music will allow more of this younger generation of metalheads to broaden their horizons and learn that there are good things about every type of metal. The posers who are into it for the wrong reasons will eventually filter out, but I think the true metalheads who stick around will get it.
MCO: I just caught your new music video, we loved it! Who directed it and any funny stories?
Ian: The video was directed by Frankie Nasso. I wouldn't say there are any funny stories per se, unless you call headbanging to the same song for 12 hours in 40 degree (at its warmest) weather, having to drag our gear through the sand in between every take so we didn't get caught in the tide as something funny. But seriously, it was an awesome experience. You know, we live in Tennessee, and we were told we had to be in Staten Island, NY the next morning for the shoot, which meant we had to leave that day and drive through the night. I don't think any of us realized how much hard work goes into shooting a video, especially in heavy metal which is very high energy. We were all very sore for the next week solid.
MCO:You were pretty recently signed to Stand and Deliver records how has that been, and were you looking to get signed or did they just find you?
Ian: We signed with Stand And Deliver in late 2007. At that time, we had been talking to several interested labels, but were getting tired of the whole process. Different labels wanted us to be different things other than what we are. Like I said about those acceptable archetypes, they all had a problem with us actively trying to not be one of those because straying from the trend is risky. A label is a business, and businesses usually want a product they can sell, which means they try to put out what people are already buying. When SADR contacted us, we were on the verge of breaking up, thinking that the entire industry just wasn't made for us, that we were too metal for the metal scene, and not "-core" enough. But SADR seemed to really appreciate what we were trying to do musically, and since we were their first band, it made the whole relationship more of a team effort rather than the normal situation with labels. Of course, signing to a brand new label can have its drawbacks, but the amount of support they've shown us has been far beyond our expectations, especially considering our recent downtime. Most labels would have probably dropped us after a couple of months of the inactivity and uncertainty we were facing, but Matt has always been super awesome to us.
MCO: I will skip any Winds of Plague comments and just ask: Who did your art for the new album?
Ian: That would be our good buddy Aaron Marsh from Sons Of Nero. We met him in Savannah, GA on our very first tour ever in late 2005, and he's been a huge supporter of ours ever since. When the time came to find an artist for our next album, we didn't even have to think about who to hit up.
MCO: Are there any tours in the near future?
Ian: We've just recently gotten back on our feet after some very bad luck last summer, so there are no immediate tour plans at present. We've had to turn down some pretty incredible tour offers recently, so I think that's only helped us regain our drive to get back out there. But we are kind of at a point in the band and our lives where we really have to be more picky with what tours we do than we used to. We love a lot of bands out there today, but as I said before, the scene is so segmented these days, and finding the right bands for us to tour with is tricky because we stray from the cookie cutter sound. If a really awesome offer comes along we'll be out there for sure, but realistically we don't expect to be hitting the road too terribly hard until next summer.
MCO: And finally what is in your future as far as a band goes?
Ian: Music, hahaha. Weatherford has been writing a ton of new material lately, we've filled teh gaps in our lineup (which should be formally announced in the coming weeks) and we're working on some pretty epic shows around the southeast for the time being. I've heard a lot of rumors going around about us breaking up, but not playing shows is eating away at the very fiber of our being, and this time off has really helped us to regain the hunger.
Don't forget to enter to win both With Faith or Flames CDs this month!