Interview: Something to Burn
Tue, 17 Nov 2009 10:42:20
Something to Burn is about to set the music world ablaze.
The Los Angeles quartet has given birth to a veritable rock n' roll monster with their debut, Transitions. Blending raw grunge passion with spacey tones and textures, Transitions is a sonic head-trip worth taking again and again. Massive catchy choruses cascade into crunchy riffs, as rhythms bend and break with classic bombast. It's not surprising that these four individuals are a part of the Soft Drive Records family. Run by legendary Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver frontman Scott Weiland, Soft Drive is exactly what an artist-run label should be—artist-centric, allowing for unbridled passion to come through on each and every album.
Something to Burn singer Greg Wayne sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for an exclusive interview about Transitions, Soft Drive records and so much more…Start burning with them now…
How did you approach Transitions? Was there one singular vision for the entire album from the get-go or did everything come together piece by piece in the studio?
We just let it happen naturally. It wasn't contrived, manipulated or even planned out really. Our plan—if there was a plan [laughs]—was to let everything out that we wanted to do. We let it be a natural process, and the music dictated where the album went. In deciding which songs to use, we knew that we wanted to create a whole record full of great songs—not just a couple of singles and a bunch of filler. As a band, we're hearkening back to the '70s where every song on a record would blow you away. It's this whole experience. That was definitely on our minds, and Jimmy [Norman, Guitar] and I talked about that a lot. You get attached to songs that you've written, but this mindset helped us kill the songs that were filler. We wanted every song to feel like a homerun. The initial chunk of songs happened really quickly. When I came into the band, Jimmy threw a bunch of musically completed tracks at me, and I wrote a ton of vocal melodies and lyrics. We ended up keeping a good portion of songs from that first session. Once the band trusted me and saw where I was coming from, we worked together more on the newer stuff. Jimmy would bring ideas in, and we would just pound songs out. I realized that I trusted them and their input as far as vocal melodies and musical ideas. That's the process now. If someone comes with any idea, we give it time in the room and we fuck around with it and see what happens. Everyone has to be on board though. It's amazing! I've never been in a band like this where all of the guys can write and sing. We have a happy little Brady Bunch vibe going on.
Since the songs are so visual, if this record were a movie, what would it be?
It would probably be Pulp Fiction because there's a lot of jumping around the timeline of my life and there's a lot of horror and humor at the same time [Laughs]. I think I'm going to go with that.
"Stories Better Left Untold" stands out. What's the story behind that one?
It's funny because I wrote the lyrics and the vocal melody to that song in a different band. This was a piece of music that Jimmy gave me right when I first joined the band. When I heard the music, I knew that I could drop those lyrics and that melody in there, and it mostly worked. I rewrote the chorus, and I actually like the chorus on this one better. It turned out really cool. I have my story behind each song, but I really like to leave the tracks open to everyone's individual interpretation. I like to let listeners have their own stories. I would often connect to a song because I could connect my own story to what the singer was writing about.
Something to Burn definitely has created its own mystique that listeners can connect to.
We all have very eclectic tastes in music. We all come from different backgrounds and have our own favorite bands. Ultimately, we all grew up listening to really great music! Some of the guys had older siblings that turned them on to it. My mom was a hippie and a total music freak—my whole family was really. We were turned on to this stuff at young ages. It all naturally flows out like that. When we all come together in a room, it happens naturally without thinking about it. This is definitely the band. It's the one! I'm really fucking proud of this record.
As an artist-run label, Soft Drive really focuses on the art and the music. They definitely gave you the space to create Transitions.
Scott's still kicking ass! What you're talking about is absolutely true! Scott, from the very beginning, got it. He's an artist, and he really trusted what I was doing. Once he heard what I was writing, he was like, "Okay!" Scott really let us go for it. He had faith in us and let us be. It's all love, man!
Is there any chance you two might get on the same track at some point?
Hopefully! There's definitely talk of that. Who knows? There are a lot of ideas floating around. I'd love to do an unplugged version of a song or two from Transitions and have Scott with me. We've talked about writing something together too. We'll see!
Check out Rick Florino's new novel Dolor available now for FREE here…