Art of Dying Talk "Vices and Virtues," "Supernatural" and More
Mon, 18 Apr 2011 17:06:56
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"We're ready to go, man," says Art of Dying frontman Jonny Hetherington. "We're prepared to be out on the road for the next couple of years supporting Vices and Virtues and playing our hearts out to whoever will listen."
Given the band's infectious amalgam of captivating grunge melodies and masterful metallic fretwork, there will be a whole lot of hard rock fans listening to Art of Dying. The Canadian quintet evokes Alice In Chains and Soundgarden with a hint of Pantera for good measure on their brand new debut Vices and Virtues. It's catchy and combustible modern hard rock that'll no doubt have audiences chanting along to every explosive chorus.
In the midst of touring, Art of Dying singer Jonny Hetherington sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for an exclusive interview about Vices and Virtues, Supernatural, and so much more.
What do you feel ties the album together?
It's important to have some thread that runs through the songs. My dad had a struggle with cancer, and he made it through, which is amazing. It was incredibly life-changing so "Get Through This" just came out. Then there's "Breathe Again" closing the record, and it's almost like part II of "Get Through This." There are commonalities that run through the different songs, and a lot of it has to do with the song selection.
Is storytelling important to you as a lyricist?
I don't know if I'm a storyteller as much as I try to convey an emotion or feeling that usually translates into people's personal stories and their lives. The most common themes that I write about are perseverance and hope. Those come through clearly on the record. One of the things that amazes me the most about living on this planet is the strength of the human spirit. We never seem to say "die" and never quit in a lot of cases. I feel that in my life and my music. With the guys, we feel it together. It's a major theme. If there's a story there, it's the story of the human spirit.
What's the story behind "Best I can?"
. It's a personal story for me about really struggling in certain situations. Life can be super happy at times when you have those really awesome highs and stuff and you have those really dark lows as well, and we all feel that. For me, that was just one of those days where I was just feeling really down. Those words just came out with my acoustic guitar, doing the best I can. It wasn't even something we were considering for the album, it was just a personal kind of thing that happened. We had an amazing experience. We knew a guy who was a musician, and he was dying. He was a blind 25-year-old man living in an old folk's home because he was on his death bed. It was really sad, but when we met him he was such a great guy, joking around, laughing, and having fun with us. We weren't going to play anything, but he had a guitar sitting around. We grabbed it and played "Best I Can." When you're singing a song for the very first time to a one person audience, it was really hard to fight back tears. Those words took on a new meaning as I sang.
If Vices and Virtues were a movie what would be?
A lot of films deal with choices out there, dark, and evil. Nothing comes to mind quicker than Star Wars. There are these characters trying to make decisions and choose a path, but it becomes unclear if it's a good or bad path. I got into Supernatural. I love the element of demons and angels and how the angels are portrayed differently. We all have our angels and demons inside of us. We're just trying to do the best we can with it.
Which artists shaped you?
There are so many bands that shook my tree in the 90's like Pearl Jam, Nirvana , Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, and Stone Temple Pilots. I could go on forever. When those bands started to do what they did, it just caught my attention like nothing else musically ever had before. Ever since that experience, my goal and struggle have been to somehow have what we feel come through those speakers and hit you in the face and the ears.
Have you heard Art of Dying yet?