It's Saves The Day people... who the fuck needs an introduction! Check out their new album. It's called "Daybreak" and it's out now on Razor & Tie.
PRT: In an old interview from 2001 they asked you what Saves The Day is all about. You stated that you simply like to play music. Ten years down the line, is that still what it all boils down to?
Chris: Yes, it's always been about the joy of making music for me. Financially it's an unpredictable occupation, so you really have to love what you're doing in order to persevere through the lean years. I love listening to music, writing songs, jotting down words, bringing the songs to life in the studio, and taking the music on tour around the world. It's a gift in my life to be able to follow my passion for music.
PRT: “Daybreak” is the last part in a trilogy that started with “Sound The Alarm” and “Under The Boards”. Do you feel like you’ve come full circle with the release of the new album?
Chris: I feel like I've finally come home to myself. The trilogy was my way of directly confronting the issues in the depths of my mind which were holding me back from being the best person I can be, and Daybreak is about learning to accept yourself and the world at large no matter who you are or what the world has become.
PRT: How did you come up with the idea to make a three album trilogy in the first place?
Chris: In 2004, I was in a dark place, fighting against the world around me and trying desperately to change without knowing where to start. Our country had just gone to war for reasons beyond my comprehension, the world economy was beginning to crack, and people were angry and looking for things to blame. At the same time, I was about to become a father and I knew it was time to learn how to live in the world without fighting against it so that I could be a positive role model for my daughter and our family. So I dove into the darkness of my mind, the angry cynical maniacal delusions and paranoia and I started writing about what was there as a way to get to the bottom of my pain, as a way of letting it all out. My intention was to pull myself out of the darkness and bring myself back to life so I could find peace in the midst of a complicated world. I realized early on that it was going to become a monstrous sprawling project detailing the deconstruction of my emotions and my eventual rebuilding, and it would be a multiple album arc. Sound The Alarm is about the anger and the pain. Under The Boards is the transitional album about the realization that things need to change. And Daybreak is about learning to accept ourselves and the world as it is so that we can respond to the challenges of life not with anger but with compassion.
PRT: It seems that this time around the lyrics are more accepting and even positive. Is that the new Chris Conley or is it just the first time you’ve felt like expressing yourself that way?
Chris: I have felt varying degrees of happiness in my life and written about it in the songs, but I have never known inner peace before Daybreak. The positivity and acceptance on Daybreak is a reflection of my new found sense of stability and structure, and the music and lyrics on our albums are always an honest portrayal of my inner life.
PRT: The first song is split up into five parts. What’s the idea behind that?
Chris: The second side of Abbey Road by The Beatles is one of my favorite musical pieces, and I've been fascinated by irregular song structure in pop music for quite some time. The epic opening track on Daybreak is my response to the musical suites that have moved me, and it's a fun exploration of music outside the normal bounds of expression.
PRT: There’s a couple of songs where the title is just a letter (“E”, “Z”, “U”, “O”). Can you tell me a bit more about that?
Chris: The letters in the original Greek Alphabet are symbolic of humanity's spiritual ascent and also pertain to numerology which has its own scientific and metaphysical symbolism. I don't want to give away the significance of the lettered titles from Daybreak, but you can find out quite a bit of information by visiting your local library and investigating the symbolism of the ages.
PRT: The least you can say is that your sound has evolved over the years. I feel like there’s something to be said for that but equally for bands who simply stick to what they know. Have you always known you’d fit into the first category or is that something that happened gradually and naturally?
Chris: While I'm obviously aware that the band changes from record to record, I've never thought about the band's evolution when writing new material. When I'm working on songs, I'm just enjoying myself, playing guitar, and venting my emotions through the words. It's as simple as that really. I have no awareness of the outside world as I'm writing, it's just me and the guitar, the chords and the melody, my feelings and my words. I'm proud that our band has continued to be viable without straining to have commercial success. In this day and age of music, it's a remarkable feat.
PRT: You’ve had quite a number of line-up changes over the years. Are you secretly a bit of a dicator?
Chris: Yes, I am secretly a bit of a dictator, but I'm benevolent, and all I'm looking for from my bandmates year to year is quality musical output and a good work ethic with the ability to be a team player setting aside any selfish musical tendencies for the benefit of the group as a whole. Now that I have a solid lineup with Arun, Rodrigo, and Claudio, I can relax into the music and focus on the future, knowing we will be together for years to come.
PRT: And does it feel now like you have a solid line-up?
Chris: This is the most solid the band has ever been. We all enjoy each other's company, and we love playing together on stage and in the studio. We can't wait to make the next album and take our music on tour across the globe and into backyards the world over.
PRT: I read that you recorded the new album on your own without having a label behind you. Is that the way things work now?
Chris: Ideally, we would have a label to fund our recordings, but when we made Daybreak, we had to work on our own waiting till the album was finished to find a label to release the album. Hopefully in the future we will have financial backing when we enter the studio so we don't have to pay for the recording out of our own pockets.
PRT: Having been around in the music industry for quite some years now, what’s your opinion on how things have evolved?
Chris: When the band first started, there was no notion of stardom in the underground music scene, you made music because you loved it and you loved the connection with your fans and the bands you played with. In the early 2000's the whole scene blew up and became centered around success and celebrity. The music lost its sincerity as bands came out of the woodwork looking for instant fame and fortune. Thankfully, the lack of money in the music industry is forcing some of the less talented groups out of the limelight making room for more dedicated harder working bands with passion and heart.
PRT: In the past you’ve had a not so good experience with a major label. Would you ever consider signing with one again?
Chris: Probably not, but only because most major labels do deals which encompass the entirety of the bands' financial intake, as opposed to solely taking a percentage of the bands' record sales.
PRT: Looking back on 17 years of Saves The Day, is there anything you would’ve done differently?
Chris: Just briefly I have to mention that Saves The Day began in 1997, so it has actually only been 14 years of the band as of now. I started playing in bands in '94, but we didn't turn into Saves until '97. Having said that, there isn't a single thing that I would change about the band's history, since I learned from every twist and turn along the road, and I value the knowledge I've gained along the way.
PRT: Enough about the past… what does the future look like for Saves The Day?
Chris: I do an acoustic tour in January/February of 2012, and then the band heads to Australia shortly thereafter for the Soundwave Festival before headlining the States in the Spring. We're hoping to come back overseas next summer for the festival season and then perhaps a support tour in the Fall, and then we'll head back into the studio to start work on our next album in the Winter. Stay tuned, tell your friends, and come rock with us at the shows!