Interview: Flyleaf

Halfway into their jolly jaunt around the UK, rockers Flyleaf end up being cornered by George for an interview. He talks to singer Lacey Mosley and guitarist Jared Hartmann about their new album and why it took so long in the making, attempting to get Benjamin Burnley to use a boat, and a cheeky hint at a future festival appearance! (Oh, and check out Lacey’s answer about crossover genres, it’s a doozy!)

George: How are you today?
Lacey: We’re good! I got to sleep last night, first time!
Jared: I slept from like 2 til 2.
Lacey: [laughs]

George: How’s the tour been so far? A few of the dates have sold out!
Lacey: Yeah, it’s been really cool. The crowds have been really great. It’s been neat to get to walk around a little, we haven’t done as much as we’d like, but it’s been good!

George: How are you finding The Crave?
Lacey: I think they’re really talented guys, we’ve only done a couple of shows with them so far.
Jared: Yeah, they’re cool, they’re nice!

George: You haven’t done a proper tour of the UK since the dates with Korn in early 2008, how come it’s taken so long for you to get back over?
Lacey: Yeah, it’s just that we’ve been recording our record for a long time, like two years really, that’s how long it took before it actually came alive.

George: What have you been up to lately? If I’m correct you toured with Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace?

Lacey: Yeah!
George: Breaking Benjamin are awesome!
Lacey: You’ll have to tell them that, maybe they’ll come over here. [laughs] He (Benjamin Burnley, Breaking Benjamin vocalist) should just get on a boat! (Ben has a chronic fear of flight) I talked to him, I said why don’t you just get on a boat? He said it’ll take a long time. [laughs]
Jared: I talk to him alot, he said he’d come, but it’s the label that always messes it up, they won’t pay for him.
Lacey: It was really cool, that tour was really cool. We’ve played with Breaking Ben and Three Days Grace before, those guys are really neat, and we got to play in front of a lot of new people too which is really strange because we’ve toured the States so many times, it’s ridiculous. These were really small towns, I don’t know why they were booking them, but they were places we’ve never been to, and we’d never heard of these towns and they were always full.

George: You released Memento Mori a few months back, are you pleased with the response it’s gotten?

Jared: I think we’re just pleased with the record and how it turned out. We hope everyone else was too!
Lacey: Yeah, I think it was honest from us, that was what we wanted to do.

George: Are people feeling the newer material as much as the older material in a live setting?

Lacey: Yeah, I think especially here, but peoples response on the website and stuff, the general response has been that they like it better [laughs] …and of course it’s new. They still go crazy when we play like, I’m So Sick or Cassie, or whatever, ’cause they know that, but I think that you can’t always tell when they’re staring at you, if they like it or not, but if they’re not talking and they’re just soaking it in, it kinda feels like when we first started, they didn’t know what to expect, exactly. There’s a lot of people that have the record are singing all the words too.
Jared: Yeah, last night when we were playing in the dark and you could hear the crowd over Lacey, it was really cool.

George: There’s less screaming in the new album, is that a sign of maturity or is it a natural occurance?

Lacey: I don’t know, we don’t try to scream on purpose, it’s only when a part of the song calls for it or whatever, and I don’t actually think there’s less screaming… Is there? I just think it’s not as prominent, ’cause of the mix. [laughs] I dunno, which we probably argue about. In the live show, you can hear it a lot more.

George: What influenced Memento Mori?

Lacey: …Life. [laughs]

George: There was quite a gap between the release of Flyleaf and Memento Mori, why?

Jared: There’s lots of reasons relating to that…
Lacey: We really wanted to gather fans, get fans from live shows, and it took a long time for us to get around everybody to see us first, live. A lot of bands put a song out on the radio, or something like that, and they’ll get a lot of fans through that, but a lot of the time when bands do it that way, we found those fans are fickle, and if they don’t like your next single, they won’t come to your show or whatever, so we wanted people to own the band and be like, “I saw them before anybody knew them” and get to meet them, and sign autographs, and talk to them, hear their stories, talk to them on the internet and stuff. They’re real fans that get what we’re doing, that took a long time. [laughs]

George: Is the new album the work you’re most proud of to date?

Jared: Yeah, definitely!
Lacey: For sure.

George: As far as female-fronted rock bands go, on the grand scale of things, you guys tend to get criminally overlooked, im comparison to the likes of Evanescence, and now Paramore, who seem to have blown up really big; do you see yourselves catching up in the future, or going in a different direction?

Lacey: Hmm… What do you mean, exactly?
George: Do you see yourselves becoming as big as those kinds of bands, or do you want to stay and try and gather a cult following?
Jared: What we definitely want is for as many people to hear the songs as possible. That’s always kinda been our goal, we just take it at a time.
Lacey: I think that the important thing for us is like we said, that people really get it and connect with it, and in that way we’ll of accomplished what we set out to do, and just to make something thats inspiring in some way, that would help somebody get through a bad time, and we’ve seen that over and over again, and if it helps more people keep going, thats great, and if we get to go home, and have normal lives, that’d be great too! [laughs] We’ve been touring a long time, we like being home too.

George: Your sound is quite universally accessible, yet the majority of the time, you tend to go out on tour with heavier bands, more hard-rock and metal orientated bands, Stone Sour, Korn, etc. – What appeals to you within that community, and would you ever try to get your music out in a different setting?

Lacey: Personally I think that I relate better to those fans, that’s who I was growing up, just real negative, and hurt, and angry, and I think that the music tends to be a bit more honest, even if it feels a little offensive, but at least it’s honest, you know? And that’s the thing we really value, in how present our music. What we want to do is something that’s honest and real, and show those kids that life is this way sometimes, but yeah, in the end you can overcome those things. When I grew up, I listened to bands like Pantera, and Metallica. Some of the Metallica songs fuelled the negative things that I felt towards my family, or authority, or whatever, and in the end, it really kind of hurt me, it was destructive. It was good to see that there was truth to tyrany, and abusing your authority, thats true, and there’s reason to be angry, but in the end, I think it helped me be self-destructive, and I think it’s important with me writing lyrics, to address those things and say you don’t have to go down that path of self-destruction, but still, these things are real, and you can aknowledge them, but it doesn’t have to be empty and hopeless. So I think that message is for that audience more, but it seems like that kind of thing is spreading to every genre, like especially pop. Pop seemed so much happier before, but now look at Britney Spears, I just look at her and think she’s just as desperate and searching as any rock band, so I think it will cross over to some degree, and the message will be relevant for those people, too.

George: As you know, a Flyleaf is a blank page at the front of a book; what is the best book you’ve read lately?

[Lacey bursts into a fit of giggles]
Jared: Im writing a book right now.
Lacey: I’ve just finished reading a book called Redeeming Love. It sounds so cheesey because it’s like a girl book.
Jared: Oh, I don’t read. [laughs]
Lacey: Josh, my husband, is reading Anders’ Game, which is a book I started reading a while ago, and it’s one of my favourite books, it’s a science fiction kinda book, but then Redeeming Love, I just finished that now, personally I think it’s pretty good. It reminds me of the Missing video, actually. Like the story that we try to tell in the video kind of got told in this book called Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers. [laughs] I liked it.

George: What’s in store for Flyleaf after this tour?

Jared: Well, we’re gonna take a couple of weeks off, after this tour, and then we’re gonna tour the states with Ten Years and Fair To Midland.
Lacey: Have you heard Fair To Midland? They haven’t broken out as big as they should have, I think there’s some stuff going on behind the scenes with their label, they’re one of the best bands I’ve ever heard, they’re great.

George: Will you be returning to the UK in the near future, through festivals or anything?

Lacey: Absolutely! Actually… We’re doing Download.
George: Awesome!

[A voice comes from the back]: Actually, we’ve just been offered main stage, same day as Rage Against The Machine.
Lacey: Oh my God! That’s awesome! I Love Rage so much. I love their music so much. [laughs]
George: Congrats!
Lacey: Thank you!

George: Change the record, who should we be listening to?

Lacey: Paper Tongues, are a new band that just got signed to Octone, they’re bringing a record out in the US pretty soon. We tried to bring them over here but the record label was like, they didn’t wanna pay the money. If I had the money, I’d bring them all but they have their wives and kids. [laughs] So, it’s not time yet, but Paper Tongues, is this new great band that we love, all of us.

George: Is there anything you’d like to add?

Lacey: Our website?
Jared: Okay, erm… flyleafmusic.com? I dunno if it is.
Lacey: Our fansite, we like a lot too, it’s flyleafonline.com!

George Cannings.

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