Poison The Well have been brightening up my life for quite some years already, always reinventing themselves. They recently dropped their new full-length which they dubbed "The Tropic Rot" and it is once again an amazing album. I'd even go as far as calling it one of their best ever. If you haven't already done so, pick up a copy and read the interview we did with Brad Clifford.
PRT: You guys were recently on the 10 for 10$ tour… how did that work out for you?
Brad: It's been pretty sweet so far. We're definitely the odd man out on the tour musically speaking so some days that's a challenge, and the drives are long and the sleep is short, but it's pretty fun grinding it out. There hasn't been a tour like this... well, ever since I can remember, and it's fun enduring it with all the other bands and rad dudes on the tour.
PRT: Congratulations on the new album! I keep discovering new things every single time. But what’s up with the album title? Were you going for a catchy title?
Brad: The title means a lot of different things depending on who you talk to in the band. Personally, it's all encompassing of this record writing experience for me. I spent a lot of time sitting around in Florida with nothing to do other than practice, in this sunny vacation hotspot where life is supposed to be great, not enjoying my surroundings at all. On a larger scale, it's commentary on being in a situation or living a life that may seem like a vacation, but is far from it.
PRT: You guys keep on evolving with every single release and that’s once again no different with “The Tropic Rot”. Is that change something you talk about in advance or is it just the way the songs come out?
Brad: Half and half I'd say. We talked about a few very general goals we wanted to hit with this record. We wanted the songs to have more dynamics within themselves, be more energetic, and leave room for some vocal lines that will sink their teeth into you and be memorable. Other than that, anything goes. It was just the 5 of us in a room feeding off of each other and inspiring each other and The Tropic Rot is what came out.
PRT: Seeing as you do play hardcore but keep incorporating these other influences…is that the reason you named the band Poison The Well?
Brad: That's not a bad interpretation, but I think it was just like every other band name, someone came up with it and it sounded good. That's how it rolls with youth!
PRT: There was a rumor floating around the internet that the new album would be a complete surf-hardcore kinda deal. Any idea where that came from?
Brad: The first song we wrote for this record, Cinema, has that surf/thrash vibe going on in it, so anyone who heard that song or we spoke to after writing that first track may have gotten the impression from there.
PRT: You recorded the last albums in Sweden, this one in California. How much of a difference does that make? Would you say the relaxed California atmosphere is responsible for some of the more mellow parts on the album?
Brad: I think recording this record in California made a big difference and we were all in need of a place where we could not become all-consumed by the record. We have friends there and could have normal communication with people back home, and I think having that breathing room within the recording experience was good to make sure we didn't lose our minds with this one.
PRT: The songs on “The Tropic Rot” come with something of a cinematic feel. Which made me wonder if you would ever want to write a soundtrack for a movie like Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky did. And if so, what kind of movie would you want it to be?
Brad: I'd do the soundtrack for a weird zombie movie that was deep and creepy and romantic.
PRT: There hasn’t been a shortage of Poison The Well releases lately with you guys dropping three 7” with ‘leftovers’ from the “Versions” recording sessions. Will there be something similar in the future for the songs that didn’t make “The Tropic Rot”?
Brad: No, this time around we have a few extra songs we didn't put on the record, but not enough to warrant another 7inch series. Versions recording sessions spanned a long time and there were a ton of songs brought to the table with that one. Some of the songs that didn't make the record were way too good to fade into the ether, so the 7inch series was just a cool, fun way to get them out.
PRT: The songs on the 7” were also released on a limited edition CD, made especially for Record Store Day. Is that initiative something you like being part of?
Brad: Definitely. We always like doing limited little things that are just fun to do for the sake of doing them, and record store day was right up our alley.
PRT: You guys seem to like being hands-on with things concerning the band. Obviously you play the music you want to play but you also handle your own artwork. Is it hard to find a balance between the things you want to do yourselves and the things you let others do for you?
Brad: Personally, I want to keep as much creative control inside the actual band as humanly possible. We're ultimately responsible for everything that has to do with us, so it's important to have a close relationship with everything this band produces to make sure it's all quality. We know when others are better though too, we couldn't have done this record entirely by ourselves and have it come out as amazing as it did. We just enlist the help of capable people and keep a watchful eye on our child.
PRT: Thrice was pretty pissed off recently because their new album leaked on the internet three months in advance. How would you feel if something like that would’ve happened with “The Tropic Rot”?
Brad: Three months is a bit brutal. I think we would have been bummed on that. With the whole leaking thing, as long as what leaks is the actual final version of the record and not an unmixed unmastered copy or something, I'd be less bummed. I'm always secretly stoked when stuff leaks because it gets it out there, and the waiting for the record to come out always sucks. But, that being said, it's nice to have things go as they should and the intended timeline of everything that's happening for a reason actually work out. Records leaking is a big issue these days and it's a total double edged sword. On one hand, you want your music to reach people as soon as it's done, on the other hand it messes up a lot of other plans and peoples hard work when it happens that way.
PRT: Any last words for our readers?
Brad: Thank you for reading this and having even a slight interest in us, we really appreciate it and hopefully we'll see you soon!!!