Rest Among Ruins – Taking Listeners on a Journey Part IWednesday, 17th June 2015
Dead Rhetoric: With a debut that’s 67 minutes long, are there any worries that some will think it as too much or do you think the diversity will keep listeners attention?
Semesky: I hadn’t even really considered people’s attention spans being so limited in the sense of the album being too long. I did consider it when we started releasing songs from the album. I was thinking we needed to start with a bang, so we released “Beyond the Storm” first. It comes in with crazy guitar work right off the bat with vocals coming in right after. I didn’t want to start with a slow burner, one that takes some time to really ramp into it. So we were really strategic with the song choices that we made. So attention spans did come into consideration, but more in terms of what we were going to release [before the album came out].
Dead Rhetoric: The song “Fugue” is a bit different than the rest of the album, what were you going for specifically with this track?
Semesky: Fugue – it’s kind of a play on words because dissociative fugue being the mental illness that this whole album is about and the story that sort of binds everything together. Fugue itself is a classical music concept that mainly has to do with the structure of a piece and reoccurring themes. So in “Fugue,” we thought we were being clever with the end. I don’t know how clever it’s going to come across when people figure it out but “Fugue” at the very end is being used as the classical concept. We are taking themes, hooks, rhythms, and riffs from earlier on in the album. We actually address all the other 13 songs in the last song, “Fugue.” It’s 13 songs, we made it 13 minutes. It’s going to take a really fine-tuned ear and quite a few listens to be able to pick up on all the little nuances because every song is referenced, and some of them are really subtle. Some of them aren’t melodic, some are rhythmic references.
I don’t know, we thought we were being clever with it. We’ll see if it comes across that way – maybe it will come across as really cheesy. But I really liked the idea of going back to every single song, and I sort of changed the outcome of this patient’s story and I made it a little bit darker. You have to hear the last line to be able to know where it’s going, but what I was trying to accomplish with going through the themes and lyrics on the rest of the album, was to tie everything together. It’s basically his regaining consciousness and understanding what really happened.
Dead Rhetoric: I think it’s a really cool concept for people who are willing to look into it. It again goes against the whole lack of attention span thing again.
Semesky: [Laughs] Totally. But I’m so tired of 8 track albums. I like albums that will take me on a journey and evolve throughout. I am totally guilty of having an ADD attention span, but when it comes to music, there’s more of a spiritual thing going on and it always keeps my attention. So I would much rather the album take me on a journey and evolve and be a rollercoaster of sorts. I guess I just grew up with longer albums. I’m thinking back to some of the first albums I had, like Red Hot Chili Peppers Blood Sugar Sex Magik. That had like 19 songs on it! Then there were double albums like Smashing Pumpkins [Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness] and things like that. Those albums took me on a journey, and with this album [Fugue}, being a concept album based upon this storyiine – I want people to go on a journey, I don’t want it to be a short little tease.
Dead Rhetoric: So based upon what you said earlier, is Rest Among Ruins going to be a project or a full-time band?
Semesky: I think it’s going to stay a project for the time being. I think it’s going to continue to be a studio project where we write music and release it on our own terms. The idea of pursuing a label/labels pursuing us was something we had to talk about, and seriously consider, but Raunchy is on a contract with a German label. Without getting into details, we already owe them X-number of albums after Vices, so having to be bound to another contract and doing something that’s not on our own terms didn’t sound that appealing. We may eventually, maybe, hire on some fill-ins – like a bassist and guitarist. I wish I could play and sing, it’s the ultimate pat your head and rub your belly kind of move and I’m just not that coordinated. We would have to find some fill-ins, and who knows – maybe we’ll play some live shows or an east coast tour – maybe a few festivals, but it’s going to depend upon whether or not there’s a demand for it. For now, it’s just going to be a passion project that we are going to be doing on our own terms and putting out music that we think people will like, and obviously music that we like. So we’ll see where it goes from there.
Part II of our chat with Mike Semesky will post Friday, June 19th.
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