Justin Longshore (Through The Eyes Of The Dead)Posted 03/25/2007 12:45AM by Will as Interview
You guys just finished up in the studio with metal legend Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal). I’ve always wondered; what’s he really like?
Justin: Rutan is one of the coolest guys to record with. He’s dedicated to what he does 110% and expects to get the best performance from each individual member in the band. I think that really helps the overall recording process.
Up until now you guys have always recorded with Jamie King at The Basement. How does the recording process differ with Rutan?
Justin: It’s quite a step up from the good old days in The Basement in NC. We were used to going in this basement, jamming, and have Jamie do all the rest. We took no more than 2 weeks on Bloodlust, a week on the split, and 3 days on the EP. With “Malice”, our new full length, we had the chance to spend over 4 weeks on the record. I think it definitely benefited us and shows on the recording. Jamie was responsible for all three of our previous efforts so we thought it was time to move on. We were always really satisfied with King’s production but there’s a time as a band when you have to branch out and try new things.
We never had a producer or any outside input so it was really cool to have that “extra band member”. It helped with the overall structure of the material. I also think it clearly helped that Rutan is a fellow musician, having played in the almighty Morbid Angel and Hate Eternal, so he understands the ins and outs of it all.
The studio was really nice, too. We’ve never actually had separate rooms for drums, guitars, and vocals. I was used to the live band vibe that Jamie captured at his studio. It was a definite change. Staying in Florida was really cool as well.
You recently parted ways with vocalist Anthony Gunnels. Was it hard to let him go? Have you found a replacement yet?
Justin: Yeah, it was very hard because he was an original member and a really good friend. He started showing signs of being less dedicated so we were basically left with no choice. We are all still on good terms though and he's moved on to another band. We actually have found a replacement in Nate Johnson (ex Deadwater Drowning & Premonitions of War). He's one of the best vocalists I've heard and we are really excited to hear what he can bring to the new record.
I’m sure most people don’t know anything about your hometown of Florence, South Carolina. What was it like growing up in such a small town, and later trying to break through as a metal band?
Justin: It’s actually really cool. We’re really proud of what we’ve accomplished and it makes it that much better that we stand out coming from the middle of nowhere, haha. I really think it inspires young bands that are coming up to know you can come from anywhere and anything and achieve the goal of touring in a successful metal band.
Do you feel somewhat responsible for the recent influx of “deathcore” bands? How do you feel about bands like Job For A Cowboy and As Blood Runs Black?
Justin: You know, I really hate that term. I know we’ve been labeled as that but I think there’s so much more to our music than just a mixture of death metal and hardcore even though we incorporate those elements in our music. To me it seems that is just the new and fresh thing that kids are following. It will die out just like any musical trend. All these record labels are picking up on it and it’s only a matter of time until they move onward to the next thing. Thank god for Myspace right?
I say this a lot but I’m a fan of originality and just good music in general, whichever genre it may be, and that will always continue to live on throughout the years regardless of new trends. My favorite records are still my favorite records, even as far as 10 years ago.
As for being responsible for those bands, we might have had an impact. Some of those bands could have been influenced by us but I really think they are just incorporating some of the same things we are, you know?
Job For A Cowboy are really good friends of ours and they are awesome musically in my opinion. They are a big example because they use a lot of the same influences as we do, but sound totally different doing it, yet they get labeled “death core” at times as well. I’m not too sure on As Blood Runs Black as I have not heard them in years. We played with them on our first tour in the US years ago but I’m sure they’ve changed a lot since then.
What can you tell us about the new album? Are you guys moving in any different directions? How does it compare to Bloodlust?
Justin: I think Malice really captures the sound that the band has been trying to achieve since day one. The record is a lot more mature than our previous efforts and the songs are structured way better. I actually look at this as our first real full length because our last full length only had a few interludes and two songs that were re-recorded. Malice is 10 brand new songs with really different personalities. The influences are still there and you can tell it’s still the same band but there’s just so much more flavor with this record. Our producer, Erik Rutan, has helped us a lot along the way in the process.
Paul Romano did an amazing job with the artwork for Bloodlust. Are you guys going to be working with him again?
Justin: Yes, of course. We think he’s the best at what he does and we’d like to continue to work with him for the rest of our career. The artwork he creates is incredible and he isn’t just one of those “digital” artists that throw images into Photoshop and put your logo in there. He combines painting, drawing, photography, and digital all in one. There is actual emotion put into his artwork and I think the images really capture the vibe for the record.
What are your touring plans like for 2007? I’m sure all the Europeans would agree with me that it’s about time you guys got out of the states.
Justin: It’s funny you say that because the first tour after the recording is Europe in May with Dead To Fall and Ion Dissonance. We are very excited because we’ve never been overseas so it’s going to be like starting all over again. After that, we are touring the states again with The Red Chord and See You Next Tuesday. Despised Icon may be on that as well so we are crossing our fingers. Those are the only two confirmed tours that are happening but we will be touring machines just like the last record I’m sure.
I know you’re a huge hip-hop fan. Who are your favorite emcees? What else do you listen to when you need a break from metal?
Justin: I haven’t listened to any of the newer hip hop lately but Atmosphere, Sage Francis, Jay Z, Ras Kass, and Nas are all on my playlist. I listen to all kinds of stuff to take a break. I’m a huge Van Halen fan. I dig the new He Is Legend and I just scored the Phil Collins Greatest Hits as well.
Anyone who read the interview in Revolver remembers the incident with the dude with the foot fetish. Can you tell us about something else weird/scary/funny that’s happened on tour?
Our headlining tour had a curse on it. Light This City’s van’s transmission gave out so they got a new one. In the meantime they rode with us. The day they got their van back across country (thank god for merch guys willing to drive), our trailer axle broke. Once we got our van back, The Acacia Strain broke down in the desert in Phoenix, AZ. They rode with us the entire tour so we were all pretty crammed up but it was good times.
Thanks so much for your time, Justin. Anything else you’d like to add?
Justin: Check out our new record Malice when it drops this summer!