By: Ethan Grey Roland Esquire
EGR: As a band, how would you describe the concept of the title: Dangerous Ambitions?
John: To me it’s mostly about going after your dreams no matter what and facing the fears and doubts you might have in your own mind. At the end of the day, I would rather fail than not try at all because I don’t want to ask myself “What If?”.
EGR: Is there a favourite track off the album that you like to play live?
John: My favourite song from the album is “Don’t Panic” but I don’t really have a favourite when it comes to playing the songs live. I guess I’ll develop one over time if/when we start playing more shows with bigger crowds that are more familiar with our music. So that way I’d be able to have a better idea of which songs receive the best reactions.
Steven: A lot of the songs are really fun to play, but Don’t Panic, Future, 27 Club and Soundtrack are my favourites to perform.
Chris: I really like Soundtrack, Catching Fire, and What If.
Spasimir: It’s hard to pick since I love playing all of them equally. I guess songs that are more interesting drumming wise are the ones that I have more fun with. Those are for example What If, Relapse, Smoke and Mirrors, but I think that each song on the album is fun in its own way.
EGR: In time, do you find it easier to write when you’re out on the road, or when you’re at home?
John: I haven’t been on the road enough to write but either way I would say at home most likely. I prefer writing when things are quiet and I get to be alone. Not that I don’t want to write with other people but I’d at least like to be prepared and bring something to the table if or when opportunities like that come.
EGR: Do you prefer to write the lyrics and then the music or vice versa?
John: Usually I like to work on them at the same time until I finish a verse, pre-chorus, and chorus. It’s very rare for me to write all lyrics first or all music first, but I’m okay with putting filler lyrics or having some gibberish just so I can finish structuring the melody of the song. Beforehand though, I like gathering and collecting my lyrical and title ideas just so I have some direction of what to write about once I do sit down.
Steven: John tends to write the lyrics and melodies/chords first, and the rest comes later. Sometimes we’ll have an instrumental song ready, and then John will add the lyrics and melody afterward. Catching Fire was written that way, whereas with the rest of the songs the lyrics, chords and vocal melody are written first.
EGR: Was it difficult to choose which songs you wanted to officially be on the album?
John: Not really, but we were limited to 12 songs and we had more than that, so it kind of sucks that some good songs didn’t make it. But I think that there’s an opportunity now to just keep some of the ideas in those other songs in mind. I actually wrote a song called “27 Club” when I was first starting to write and it wasn’t a very good song but I kept the idea and eventually after a few years was able to write another song with the same name, which is the one that’s on the album.
Steven: When it came down to the last 14 songs or so, picking which songs would make the album and which didn’t start to get tough. “Picture Perfect” and “Run This Town” were on the chopping block, but they ultimately made the team.
EGR: “Lucky Ones” is a beautifully structured song. Would you like to do more acoustic songs in the future?
John: Yeah I’m definitely open to that if another song I write in the future feels like it would be best as an acoustic song.
John: I’ve been gathering and keeping track of all my new ideas since the recording for “Dangerous Ambitions” finished but I haven’t really sat down to write all that much. I think after “Broken, Not Beaten” I put a lot of pressure on myself to keep writing and ended up sort of burning myself out because I was forcing it. Thankfully I was able to power through that eventually and write the songs for “Dangerous Ambitions”. Although the time in between recording this album and the last was about 2 and a half years, I didn’t really start to write good songs consistently until the last year before recording; even though I was writing a lot. So this time I don’t really want to do that anymore and just let life and the songs happen more naturally the more I gain new experiences and perspectives. I do want to start sitting down and writing more often now just to get more practice and develop my habits again but without putting so much pressure on myself like I did before. With a clean slate, it’s been fun listening to songs in general and just getting new ideas for the direction of new music in the future because I don’t want to make the same record again.
Steven: We haven’t started to officially write music yet, but Myself, Chris and Spas have discussed basic things from an instrumental perspective. Ultimately we want to keep exploring our sound and continue to incorporate new ideas into our music.