Saul Treno: Awaken has had quite a year, hasn't it?
Chad Griffin- Yes, we definitely have. We are very thankful for it. We took advantage of a rough situation and got together in the studio to write and record a new album. We ended up getting some songs heard by The Label Group. We ended up signing on with them and pushed the record back. A lot of deep thinking and decision making went into all of this. We are very pleased with how it’s all turned out and can’t wait to see what the rough struggles and positive changes from this year will do for us in 2021.
ST: Anything during this year that has particularly stood out to you as individuals and life, how about to the music industry and where you all fit in?
Chad Griffin: Individually we’ve all went through different things this year and handled the virus and all else going on differently with our work and family lives. We’ve just tried to make it through it all the best we could and keep things going as normal as possible. As far as the band it’s been a huge change cause we’ve always done things ourselves. Now we have a great team of people working with us with management and label. It’s a new experience for us and we’ve enjoyed it. We hope to take things to another level we haven’t been on and dig deeper into the music industry side of things and push as far as we can go with the new music.
ST: How has the band managed to keep their sanity and passion going for music through everything going on?
The writing process of the new record has really helped with that. It is definitely crazy and different times, but we have managed to keep things going. I think diving deeper into the creative side and putting the focus on what we are doing helps block out the things going on around us. We always get inspired by those things around us though for new subjects and lyrical material to write about.
ST: Out of the songs released this year which song so far has been your favorite? Which do you see as representing the band's direction best?
Chad Griffin: Each member may say something different. I think “Stained Glass” was a big one for all of us, especially with the video shoot. It was definitely an experience and feel that song has done great for us so far. I’m personally still got a soft spot for “Behemoth.” I think the original is still my favorite of the 3 singles we’ve put out so far. There’s something so personal about it to me, lyrically and the music is just so raw and powerful on that track. It was the song I wanted to put out first after the tracking process and I got my way on it, ha. It was what I wanted as a first impression on the record and has done really well with streaming and radio. Very happy with that track as a whole.
ST: Thinking of playing live... Do you have a personal favorite track you like to play live? Is it different sounding from the studio, or do you all keep true to both sides?
We try to make everything live sound as close to the records as possible, but with that extra added live energy that you just can’t fully capture in the studio. One song that has always been one of my favorites to play live is “Opaque” from our 2nd record and “Face of a Ghost” from Identity. Those 2 songs just hit hard and are so fun in the live setting with the synth elements and dynamics involved. It’s cool seeing the crowd’s reaction. There are a lot of songs we love to play live and I’m sure when we get the chance to play the new songs “Behemoth” and “Stained Glass” will be up on the top of the list.
ST: Talk to us about the recent release "The Veil".
Chad Griffin: Honestly, that one is kind of a take on a lot of what is going on today. It’s hard to tell what is real anymore. You can’t hardly trust anything you hear and people have trouble being real. It seems sometimes like people walk around living a front or a facade instead of being themselves. It was one of the newest songs added to the record, music-wise. Dustin had purchased a new guitar after we tracked the record and just had to write a new song to test it out. Out came the music for “The Veil”. I was really feeling it, cause I thought it was what the album was missing was that four on the floor style of song. We wanted it to be something different, but kind of bring back a feel that we had on the song, “The Passerby” from our first record that the fans really took to well. We were happy with how quickly it all came together.
ST: The song auditorily seems to be very visual, do you try to write to give fans the ability to 'see' what you have written?
Yes, I think visuals are very important and really help tell the stories of what the songs are saying. The lyric video made was very well put together and almost pulled images out of my head for the song. I’m really big on the imagery side of things when it comes to music. I think a great visual and a great track combined makes for a great marriage and gives the listener a new experience over just hearing the song in their ears.
ST: Was there any band discussion before the recording that you went through on how you all wanted to approach and produce "The Veil"?
It was actually a very simple over the phone discussion on the direction we felt the track should go and were in complete agreement. It wasn’t like that for every track, but “The Veil” was one of the ones where we knew exactly where we wanted it to go.
ST: What does Awaken have on track for this New Year? And plans coming with a release, possible touring?
Shows are all up in the air with what happens with businesses and the Covid restrictions and all that fun stuff. Our plan is to release one more track with a preorder around the new year then drop the album early 2021.
ST: Sign us off this year with some of your reflective thoughts over 2020
It has been a very memorable year for sure. Not only from all the craziness with the virus, the election, the rioting, and everything else that has gone on... but the positive changes that have happened for us as a band. New singles released, new video, new album recorded, signing on with The Label Group and INgrooves. It has definitely been an eventful year. Even though it has been far from normal and honestly very annoying as far as life, in general, has been this year. Watching people fight over toilet paper, the whole having to wear masks ordeal, people yelling at people with different political opinions, and everything else we’ve witnessed. After all that I may still look back at this year as a positive because of the things that have happened for this band, and my personal passion I’ve put a lot of work into and seeing what’s happened for it this year.