One Less Reason Talk "Faces and Four Letter Words"
Wed, 15 Jun 2011 07:16:31
One Less Reason might just make you believe in hard rock again.
On Faces and Four Letter Words [Arsenic Records], the Tennessee four-piece wrap vibrant and visual tales inside of a riff rapture that's so catchy you'll be humming along for days. Songs like "Faces" resound with a bruising bombast and heavy sense of heart. The band's been at it since 2003, and for Faces and Four Letter Words, they cherry-picked some of their best material and re-recorded it with 3 Doors Down's Chris Henderson behind the board. The results are nothing short of astonishing.
About the process behind the record, One Less Reason frontman Cris Brown says, "It's like remodeling a house you love. You put some fresh paint on it, knock out a wall here and there, and put up a plasma TV. They're still the same songs. They were just recorded a little better, and we put more time into them."
One Less Reason's Cris Brown spoke to ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino in this exclusive interview about Faces and Four Letter Words, movies, and so much more.
How did you re-approach the songs in your catalog?
All of the i's were dotted and t's were cross. These songs are like my children, and I've been playing some of them for years. I love the new versions. It's really cool to have a finished product you believe in. Chris Henderson didn't change the songs to the point where they were brand new. Instead, he saw their strong points and tried to embellish upon them. He was very open to suggestions. He's a really cool guy, and he's extremely easy to work with. Being a guitar player, Chris is a monster at guitar tones. He's very thorough. He'd look at these wav files for hours and make sure they all lined up just the way he wanted them. The tones were exactly right. He let us be who we are, but he wanted to make sure everything was in its right spot. He actually got what we did.
How would you describe your vision for Faces and Four Letter Words?
It's a bit like a "Greatest Hits" record. It's weird to say that, but it is. There are so many people who haven't heard the popular songs from the previous albums, and they're all included here. Music is a business, and you have to make money at it. When you're releasing your first label-backed album, you put the proven songs on there. I think it has a good mixture of the older material and the new songs. It's a very strong record, and I'm happy with it.
How important is it for you to tell stories lyrically?
Music is nothing more than emotions over chords. That's really all it is. Some music is simply music, and some has been the soundtrack to my life. It really helped me through my day or week. I remember listening to the first Matchbox Twenty record, Yourself or Someone Like You, and thinking, "If I could make someone connect to me or my music half as much as I connect to these songs, that's going to be success for me". When I say "Success", I don't mean money or record sales. Success, to me, is when someone hears your lyric and says, "I felt like that" or "That's what I'm going through".
What's the story behind "Faces"?
"Faces" was one of the last songs written for the record. It came out of nowhere. It was just a really fast song. The whole thing was written in ten minutes and recorded two hours later. That song was meant to be. I'd gotten to a point where I was practically done with music. After the previous record [A Lifetime Burning], I really didn't think I had anything else to write about. All of my previous albums had been about certain relationship, and everything in my life had changed at that point. "Faces" was essentially a letter to me and the people who listen to the music. It's about moving forward and what music has cost me. Music has given me a lot, but it's taken a whole lot from me at the end of the day. That includes everybody in the band. Sometimes, music can be a war of attrition. You keep doing it for the love of it even though you lose things that you love for it. That's what the song's about. You work so hard to never let them know about the four letter words behind the faces you show. The things that you don't want people to read or hear affect them the most. The reason you don't want them to see it or hear it is because they are so personal to you. You're exposing who you are.
What does "The Distance" mean to you?
"The Distance" is probably the most honest song that I've ever written in my life. It's a really hard song to do. When we went in to record it, I was like, "I'm not re-singing these vocals. We're going to have to live with them. I can't re-capture what I felt when I wrote that the way I sang it the first time." There is no reliving that moment again. I couldn't fake that kind of sincerity. Chris understood where I was coming from, and we kept the same vocal track.
If Faces and Four Letter Words were a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
That's a great question! I would say it's somewhere between Se7en and Steel Magnolias [Laughs]. You've got Dolly Parton and Brad Pitt with a gun, what can you say?
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