Josh James - Evergreen Terrace

June 16, 2005

Tell me a little bit about Evergreen Terrace.

We've been around for about five and a half years. We're about to put out our third full length record. It comes out this Tuesday on Eulogy Records. It's called Sincerity Is An Easy Disguise In This Business. Like I said, we put out two full lengths previously. One on Eulogy Records and another one on a small indie label called Indianola Records. We also put out a cover record that had about nine cover songs and one original song. We put that out last year. We've been touring pretty much consecutively for the last two and a half years just busting our asses and playing as many shows as possible. We've done countless U.S. and Canadian tours and also Australia, Puerto Rico, and Costa Rica. Right now we're on tour with a band called Bane, Verse, and Cursed and that tour is 30 days full U.S. and that's in support of our new record and also Bane has a new record that just came out as well. That's pretty much what's going on right now.

The record of covers that you did, what kind of covers did you do?

We didn't really stick with just one kind of genre. We did a Smashing Pumpkins song, a No FX song, Tears For Fears. It was pretty diverse as far as styles of music. There are nine different songs. There's a U2 song. Mostly all pretty popular hit songs.

The reason I'm asking about that is because a lot of people have this thing about listening to only one genre of music and they won't listen to anything outside of that. When I talk to bands and I ask them what their influences are, a lot of times their influences are so completely different from the style of music that they're actually doing. Somehow they take everything from what they listen to and manage to incorporate it into the style of music that they actually play. I found that interesting.

Yeah, definitely. That's definitely true with us. We're definitely a band that does not only listen to hardcore metal. We listen to anything from hip hop to country to punk rock. There's definitely a vast difference in between everyone's musical taste as far as personal members of the band.

What brought you guys together and got you interested in playing hardcore?

Most of us were in just local punk rock bands around town and this was about five and a half or six years ago. There really was no established hardcore scene in Jacksonville which is our hometown. There really were no other hardcore bands and we all grew up listening to punk and hardcore. There was just something that we wanted to do a little bit different because all of the other bands in town were either punk bands or ska bands or whatever. We wanted to do something a little different just for us to have fun. It got way bigger than we ever anticipated. That was pretty much the reason why we started the band. To have something new and different.

What do you feel sets your band apart from most other hardcore bands?

With this record I would definitely say that the amount of diversity that the songs have. If you listen to the whole record through, you'll definitely notice that it has one distinct sound but it's not one distinct style. There are fast hard songs and then there are heavy and more metal songs. There are also more slower rocking songs. More melody and more singing parts. A lot of bands nowadays I think just stick to the one kind of style that they want to be instead of branching out into different areas. Which is fine because obviously there are always going to be bands that stick to what they are but we've never been a band that has always been part of just one genre. We've always had a little bit of everything and I definitely would say that's because of all the different influences that we have.

Tell me a bit about the new record.

I think the biggest thing about it is if you've listened to any of the previous records and then you listen to this one, you'd definitely tell that this is our best effort yet. This is the first time that everyone in the band is completely happy with the record. In the past we've been given dates for us to record and then all of a sudden it will be two weeks away and we're like oh man, we need to write six songs. We'll just shove out six songs and kind of half ass it and maybe not be completely stoked on what we've written. This time the first song that we wrote for this record was about a year and a half ago and we were just taking it slow but making sure that everyone was really happy with what we were writing as far as each individual in the band. There were tons of times where we just changed tons of parts in different songs because one person or two people weren't happy with it or thought that we could make something better. So that was a big thing. You can definitely tell that the songs are way more mature and that we've definitely grown as a band in the last couple of years since the last touring. As far as recording goes, this is the longest amount of time we've ever had to record a record. In the past, we've always done a full length in five or six days and it was always rushed and there were always things that were messed up that we could tell but we didn't have enough time to fix due to deadlines. And also our budget was a lot smaller than what it is now. This time we went to a different studio. We were actually lucky enough to go to a studio that was about 35 minutes away from where we all live so we could go home every night and relax, still be able to hang out with our friends, and there was no stress really at all in recording this. We also used 21 days to record this record so it was very laid back. It was a super good atmosphere and really good energy in the studio. That was a huge difference as far as this new record and the last record.

In other words you had more time to prepare for it.

Right. We took more time and also made it available that we had more time.

Was this more of a collaborative effort between everyone than maybe past records?

Not necessarily. The way we've always pretty much wrote songs with the exception of one or two songs per record is someone will come to practice with an idea or maybe a riff and then everyone will elaborate on that and everyone will put in their two cents. Then it will evolve from just an idea or maybe just a five second guitar part or a five second drum part or something like that. That's the way we've always done it.

When it comes to writing lyrics for songs, who mainly does that?

All the clean singing parts, Craig writes. He's the guy who sings the parts. He writes all of his lyrics and then the rest are done by myself and our singer Andrew. It's probably about 70 percent Andrew and 30 percent me.

When they write lyrics for songs, what goes through their minds and influences them?

I think it's just what's usually going on around them or in our personal lives that will have a big effect on us personally. That's usually where it comes from. It's usually all personal things or things that are going on in their lives or even things that at the time maybe something will trigger a reaction and that will be the only way you to express the way you feel on that.

You guys are currently on tour. How is that going so far?

So far it's been three shows. Tonight is our fourth show. We've played Atlanta, Nashville, and Memphis was last night. We were a little bit nervous going on this tour because the tour package is so diverse. We're more of a hardcore metal band and then Bane and Verse are more straight up hardcore. They're more of a straight up punk and hardcore kind of sound. Then Cursed is more just straight up really heavy and kind of sludgy. That was a big concern of ours. That we didn't know how it was going to go over. The kids are always not necessarily stuck up but kids want to be sometimes for lack of a better term assholes towards other bands that aren't their specific style that they're into. So far the kids have been up to the shows. The energy of the shows has been so positive and amazing. The shows have just been real intense for all four bands on the bill so hopefully the tour will continue to be like that. If it does then there's no reason why this couldn't possibly be the one of the best tours we've ever been on.

I think when they put packages together and they put bands on tour together, it's actually a good idea to have a bit of diversity. Like what Megadeth is doing right now because it opens people up to different things.

Yeah, definitely. I definitely agree with that. Every night every band on this tour has said something about that. I think kids are starting to open their eyes up and open their minds and realizing that just because some message board on some hardcore website says a certain band is not cool doesn't necessarily mean that they're not cool. Kids need to realize that they can't let other people influence them on what they want to like.

You can't really listen to other people's opinions. You have to really listen to stuff yourself and think for yourself and determine for yourself what you like and what you don't like.

Oh yeah, definitely. I think that as far as the hardcore community, there are a lot of kids more or less getting told what to do then really making decisions for themselves as to who they want to like. I think it's amazing that the last few nights, there's been kids and they sat all through Verse and they sat all through Cursed and they set all through us and Bane. All four bands have had amazing reactions. That really shows the bands that those kids don't care. Those kids really have a pure passion for music.

If you're the type of person who lets people decide for you what type of music you should like and what type of music you shouldn't like, ultimately you will allow people to make other decisions for you. They'll decide for you what type of political beliefs you should have or what type of religious beliefs you should have. That's far reaching.

Definitely. It's definitely a lot bigger than just music. A 14 year old kid, maybe music is the first thing he's into. If he lets himself get told what he likes then that's most likely the way he's going to live the rest of his life. He's being told what's right and what's wrong instead of making his own decisions.

You said the tour is going to be for 30 days.

Yeah, it's one month and then it goes full U.S. Right now in we're in St. Louis and then we start making our way up to western Canada and then we move down the West coast and back across the Midwest up into the Northeast. Then the day after the tour ends on July 10, July 11 we start a tour with Most Precious Blood and On Broken Wings and that goes to eastern Canada and then down the East coast.

Are there any tours planned on the Japanese market or the European market?

Actually yeah. What's going on is right now our tour schedule looks like after The Most Precious Blood tour, we'll have three weeks off and then we're going to go play Hellfest in New Jersey and we're going to do a three week tour based on Hellfest. Then we're going to come home for two weeks. Then we go to Europe for a month from September 22 to October 17 I believe and that's with As I Lay Dying and Heaven Shall Burn. That's a pretty big European tour called the Hell On Earth tour. Then we're going to come back and we're going to tour the States probably a couple more times and then we just found out the other night that it looks like we'll be hitting Australia in January for about two weeks and then hopefully we'll fly from Australia to Japan and go to Japan which will be amazing.

You guys are definitely busy.

Yeah, definitely. It's the best job that any of us could have.

You get to go to places you never dreamed of before.

Seriously. We went to Australia in February of 2004 and it was amazing. I remember when we got there I was like "what are we doing here?" How the hell did we manage to get on the other side of the world playing these shitty songs that we wrote in our bedrooms. It's really mind blowing. A few months ago or in May we went to Costa Rica and it was insane. It didn't make any sense why it was happening but you're not going to hear any complaints out of us.

I bet not. Do you guys have any videos out for your songs?

Actually we haven't had a video out yet but in the middle of the Most Precious Blood tour, I want to say July 16 and 17, we're going to Detroit and we're shooting our first video there for the fourth track on the new record called "New Friend Request". Hopefully that will be on Uranium and Headbangers Ball. Right now there's a lot of stuff going on. It's definitely gotten really intense over these last few months and hopefully the new record will come out and kids will be really pumped on it. Really excited about it and things will get better and better for us.

Any other thoughts or comments?

I really appreciate doing the interview.

Evergreen Terrace