Brian "Head" Welch Talks Love and Death
Fri, 25 Jan 2013 16:09:25
Once again, Brian "Head" Welch is making waves and shifting perspectives with his music. Love and Death's debut album Between Here and Lost functions as a heavy and hypnotic journey into darkness to light, and it sees Welch firing on all cylinders. It's as alive as hard rock gets, and you need to hear it.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Brian "Head" Welch talks Between Here & Lost and more.
What was your overarching vision for Between Here & Lost?
Songs! I wanted to hit melody in a way I've never hit before and go for it. The aim was the quality of songs. The lyrics were big. We wanted broader lyrics that could be personal to me or other people in their own way. It was about going to that next step.
What's the story behind "The Abandoning"?
We've got this kid JR who plays guitar in our band. We wound up with him a couple of years ago because our guitar player quit, and he was the only one who could do it in such short notice. He looked like he was 22 at the time, but he was only a teenager! He stuck with us. It felt like it was meant to be. When we were doing the record, I was asking him to write some stuff because he's such a good player. He told me he can't because he's not really a writer. He listens to bands and he plays their music. I said, "Dude, you play great. I want you to start writing." He was resisting, but then he started sending me material. "The Abandoning" is one of the riffs he sent me. I never would've come up with that. I don't know how his brain thinks! We took that riff and went into the studio. I had the idea of approaching the chorus in a melodic way you wouldn't expect. That came about from there. I can relate to it a lot. "The Abandoning" is about giving up on yourself and surrendering. You're in that place where you need that change. I went through it too. I like the vibe because it's so dark and it goes to a place of melody.
Where did "Bruises" come from?
It's a good album closer. It's cool and moody.
What song speaks to you the most on the record at the moment?
There are a couple. One of them is "By the Way". It was inspired by some old high school friends who passed away within a couple months of each other this past summer. One of them was a really close friend in high school. I hung out with another guy after high school. I was thinking about how they're really close family was going through that and finding a way to keep going, move on, and deal with the pain. That song stuck with me for a few days. "Meltdown" is my favorite song on the album. It has the energy and the content. I've had many a meltdown [Laughs]. It's just brutal. I love that one.
When did you come up with the album title?
Valentine came up with it. I was thinking of naming it after one of the songs. I hit Valentine up one day and I was like, "Come up with a bunch of names for the album and see what happens." He thought about it and gave me a list. I read that one and it sounded like a movie. I liked it. It's intense.
Did these songs come to life quickly in the studio?
Yeah, they really did! We had different sessions. I've been touring nonstop here and there. We'd have breaks, and that's when we really tracked the songs. We got half of them done in 2011 musically. In 2012, whenever we could, we jumped in there and tried to finish. It's funny because some of my favorite songs like "Meltdown" and "The Abandoning" came at the end. Those are the best ones. I love when things fall into place like that. You stress like, "What are we going to do?" When everything falls into place, you're like, "Thank you!" It worked out that way this time.
Is there anything you got to do on the guitar you've never done before?
I tried letting go, how about that? [Laughs] I let JR bring a fresh approach. He did some stuff on here, and Valentine was too. It's a different album. It's better because I brought more people in and trusted them to give their gifts too. I played a lot of guitar on it. You've got that sound I've developed, but it's different. It's so much more because of these other guys. When it was time for them to bring their stuff to the table, they did.
What have you been listening to lately?
All kinds of music…I've been buying old metal stuff like King Cobra. I was listening to Dokken the other day because I grew up with it. I've been listening to A Day to Remember a bit. It's crazy how they can go from that scream to the pop punk!
What would be the cinematic equivalent of Between Here & Lost?
I'd say that Kevin Spacey movie American Beauty. It's twisted and everything's falling apart. Of course, a lot of my songs are about getting through that.
Have you heard Love and Death?