The veteran metalcore band Blessthefall return with their sixth studio album Hard Feelings. Frontman Beau Bokan fills us in on the album, their new record label, touring, videos and more.
Chad Bowar: Was there anything unique about the songwriting process for Hard Feelings compared to previous albums?
Beau Bokan: I think the most unique element was the actual recording process. We decided to rent a house in Phoenix, which is where all the other guys in the band live. We didn’t use a fancy studio. We had the mic set up in the living room and just rocked it.
After working with Joey Sturgis on the last two records, what led you to Tyler Smyth, Matt Good and Howard Benson for this one?
Tyler Smyth was the main producer who did the whole album. He really helped us tweak our sound and added some special elements. He also helped push me vocally. He’s such a positive energy in the room so writing was really fun and less work.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
There was a stretch of time when my daughter came out and stayed with us. I would be singing a line and repeating the line over and over then I would hear my daughter repeating me and singing the same lines out loud! It was hilarious and definitely a special moment.
How has your sound evolved from To Those Left Behind?
I think the biggest evolution is just really fine tuning our sound and cutting the fat. We know when to not be so indulgent and of a song has too many parts we know how to really dial it in and stream line the song. We had four albums under our belt so that’s years and years of song writing experience. We feel like we’re at the top of our game.
How did you come to sign with Rise Records?
When we decided that we weren’t going to re-sign with Fearless we started talking to other labels and they left the best impression. They were genuinely excited and I loved their vibe and their grassroots approach to artists. They let the artists be who they are and just support what they want to do.
Does that impact your goals and expectations for the album?
I think having a label have so much faith in us makes us want to work even harder to make our album successful. It’s a way of giving back to someone who truly believes in you and your art.
What have been some of the highlights of your current tour with Of Mice & Men?
Just making new fans every night has been a highlight. We’re playing in front of a lot of new faces every night!
You’re headed to Europe this summer. How does the band’s level of popularity/venue size, etc. there compare to the U.S.?
We definitely have a lot of work to do out there. We don’t go as often as we’d like. For bands to succeed out there you have to show you care which means coming back consistently. I think that’s a goal of ours.
How do you go about mapping out touring for an album cycle when it comes to headlining vs opening, festivals, countries, etc.? Is there a master plan, or is is completely dependent on the offers that come in?
When we headline we have way more control of where we end up. As far as a master plan, we just like to make sure the routing makes sense for the drives and we like to end at home. There’s nothing like ending on a high note in your hometown.
Where haven’t you played live that you’d still like to get to?
Alaska and South Africa!
What’s the coolest site/attraction you’ve been able to visit while touring?
One of the coolest places is Rio De Janeiro in Brazil. We went to the top of a mountain to see the Christ The Redeemer statue. It was very surreal being right next to it after seeing it on TV and in magazines.
You released a video for “Melodramatic.” How important are music videos these days?
Even though there’s no platforms like MTV or VH-1 that focus on music videos I still feel they’re important. I truly love them because as a lyricist you get these visuals of what the song means to you and to make it come to life through a narrative is so fulfilling. I think it can paint a picture of the song for fans or listeners that can help them connect to the song even more.
Promotion these days is all about social media. What is the most effective platform for the band, and which one do you personally like the most?
I think Instagram is my favorite because they allow for so many different types of content. You can post photos, one minute videos, 24 hr stories and live streams.
Seen any good movies/DVDs lately?
Just watched the new season of Black Mirror. I definitely recommend it!
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Beau: I always default to older bands. I like old Parkway Drive, Unearth, The Warriors.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
I always like to thank our fans for their continued support. As a band that’s been together almost 10 years we’ve been pretty blessed to have fans that have stuck around this whole time and we know how special that is.
(interview published March 22, 2018)