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Bleeding Through | The Truth | interview | Brandan Schieppati | metal | Lollipop
The Truth (Trustkill)
An interview with vocalist Brandan Schieppati
By Rick Florino
Thrashing riffs blaze around gruff vocals, while soaring keyboards engulf pummeling drums in melancholic melody. Believe it or not, this isn't the latest from Dimmu Borgir or any of the other Nordic masters of broiling mayhem. Rather, it's the personal and epic sound of The Truth, the latest album from Orange County's Bleeding Through. Climbing out from under a pile of O.C. metalcore clichés, Bleeding Through mix a fascination with black metal and a passion for unbridled hardcore. Vocalist Brandan Schieppati has no problem distinguishing himself and his band from a saturated metal scene. Moreover, he sheds some light on his band's truth.
So what led Bleeding Through to The Truth?
We were trying to step out of the mold of using the same riffs, lyrics, and song structure as other metal bands. I don't think we wrote a fucking masterpiece, but I think it's something that hasn't been done in our genre.
Was the heightened emphasis on the keyboards a conscious effort to distinguish Bleeding Through from the current scene?
On this record, we didn't want the keyboards to just follow guitars. We wanted them to be atmospheric and add more of an aura to the songs. We're not using keyboards because we listen to Underoath, but because we listen to black metal. On our last record, the keyboards had no prominence at all. We could've probably done that record without a keyboard, and it would've been the same. We wanted to make it shine out on this record. We don't listen to many bands from our genre. We know what they sound like, and there are a few that we're into. We definitely step outside of our genre when we listen to music. We listen to a lot of Entombed, Darkthrone, and shit like that. We're really picky with the riffs and beats that we use. We don't want to sound contrived and typical.
There are hints of black metal, minus the overblown metal opera.
(laughs) As far as having that influence, you can only sing about so many battles and crystal balls. This band's music has always been about striking an emotional nerve, and that's what we try to do lyrically as well.
Did working with producer Rob Caggiano (Cradle of Filth) encourage this?
Yeah, he really steered us out of the traditional mold toward something that will stand out. He gave us more of the metal background. However, he also brought more emphasis on the choruses. He gave us the "less is more" aspect to the record. The last record has a lot of riffs and parts that didn't need to be there. We were out-teching ourselves. When people ask why the record's not tech, I'll straight up tell them it's because we're not good at it. We're good at doing a certain type of sound. Now we've found that and we want to stick with it.
So you've become more song-oriented?
Definitely. Part of what we wanted to do was give each song its own identity and emotion. Each song has its own mood. People fall into the whole metaphoric style of writing. With this record, I wanted to go with a straight-forward and blunt delivery, so people have a good idea of what I'm singing about.
Where did you draw inspiration from lyrically?
The lyrics stem from alienation and insecurity. However, they're a way of using feelings and words as a weapon to deal with your emotional hardships. They're derived from past experiences and relationships.
A lot of the elements from your last record seem heightened this time: Were you guys holding back until now?
Previously, we just didn't have the time to grind it down into our own little formula. For this album, we had a lot of time to sit down and really understand what we wanted to do on the record and not force any songs out.
Is the fabled competition between Southern California metal bands true?
This is the land of competition. (laughs) Out here, there's definitely a bond, but there's a healthy competition. We're good friends with Avenged Sevenfold, but people think we hate them. It's totally not true. We all came up at the same time. Bands like us and Atreyu are friends. However, we're not like the Massachusetts bands who hang out every night, go to bars, and party. Also, Massachusetts is more "metal," and metal has never really been super big in Orange County. Kids are into it, but they don't know the history of it.
Why is metal rising in such a sunny place as Orange County?
Metal's rising here as a backlash to all the music that's been made popular from Orange County: The No Doubts, the Lits, and all of the shitty butt rock that came out of the fucking '80s. What about the voiceless people who never identified with that type of music? What do we have? The explosion of all the bands from Southern California is the backlash. Hopefully, we'll be known for something more than that sunny type of music.
What's the next evolution for Bleeding Through?
We had a lot of creative ideas that we wanted for this record, but we held back a little bit to give ourselves somewhere to grow on the next record. I'm not going to give it away, but there's definitely going to be some experimental stuff. You can go either way: If you decide to change things up, some people will like the last record better, but if you write something exactly the same as the last one, people will say it sounds the same.
Too many bands take the safe way out, and it leads to their doom.
I think so too. If you get big immediately, where do you have to go from there? Just down.
The only band that can make the same record 20 times is Slayer.
(laughs) Exactly, cuz they're the shit.