letlive.: "I really fucking like this record."
‘Speak Like You Talk’. ‘Fake History’. ‘The Blackest Beautiful’. letlive. have always asked questions with their music. With ‘If I’m The Devil…’, that exchange is far from over.
Published: 7:32 pm, April 28, 2016
“I want to provoke a conversation,” starts vocalist Jason Aalon Butler “I want people to ask questions. I want people to think,” he continues, en route to a coffee shop with the rest of the band (he’s after a “good ol’ almond latte, soy chai, whatever the fuck.”) “I want them to think about what it is we’re accepting. I don’t want to ever tell people how to think, I just want them to ask. I want them to enquire. I want them to be aware, and that’s all it is.”
2015 was a quiet year for letlive. but the band still managed close to one hundred shows. A six-month break at the close of 2014 to work on the album was, “literally just the beginning. We were just scratching the surface. We had all these songs and we didn’t know how to play them together,” but as soon as the band worked it out, they “started writing on top of those things.” It was a constantly shifting beast with the band “writing and recording demos on the tour bus,” before coming home with new ideas. “We were just continually writing music for about a year until we got to go in and record.”
The abundance of ideas led to band “butting heads” until they learnt how to get out of each others way and “listen to what the songs wanted and how they wanted to be serviced.”
The recording process wasn’t without its casualties though. At the start of the year, the band became a four piece with the departure of Jean Nascimento. “All five of us needed something else from each other and he wasn’t in a position to give that, and that’s ok,” explains Jason. “That’s how life works, especially when you’re in a band. You learn that there are things that you need as well. The most fair decision for Jean and letlive. was to let him go.” The split allowed Jean to, “do what he needs to do,” and meant letlive., “can continue to do what we need to do as a band and create. It just happened and I think, in the least offensive way possible, it was for the best. That’s what happened with that,” he underlines.
“We were then able to understand and focus our efforts between the four of us and write the record we wanted to write. It worked out really well. I really fucking like this record.”
Observing the world at large, Jason had some things he wanted to discuss on ‘If I’m The Devil…’ “I wanted to talk about your basic human rights and these injustices that we find. We’ve somehow acquiesced to them. We’ve just become complacent and we think it’s the law. We think it’s what it’s supposed to be,” ventures Jason before relaying Geoff’s defiant “It ain’t shit, bitch.” That message will lie at the heart of their new album and be held aloft at live shows. “That’s what we know and if we’re going to address the things we want to address, both sonically and ideologically as letlive., what better way than go out and be in front of people and campaign that way.” Between the heightened social conscience and the newfound confidence that this is their best album yet, there are parallels between the new letlive. album and The Wonder Years’ ‘No Closer To Heaven’. We all know how that worked out for them. (Very, very well)
Four albums deep and letlive. are still taking risks. From a more vocal stance on an idea they’ve always carried to their continued exploration of just what a letlive. song can sound like, they’re a band unafraid to take risks.
“We always consider what could happen but what could happen on the positive side is always more inspiring than what could happen on the negative,” starts Jason on the possible backlash from constant evolution. “If we’re writing shit, yeah people could hate it or our distant fans might fall off. But the positive is that those that are truly fans and supporters of letlive. will understand and be a part of this. They’re growing with this and that’s the beauty of letlive. to me. While we’re growing, learning and becoming whatever it is that we are, so are our fans and friends. They’re right there with us with everything running concurrently. That fear isn’t as great as it was when we were younger.”
Community is key for letlive. but they’re careful not to be governed by it.
“Your audience is always going to be a factor in the music you make because that’s who you play it for but you have to trust that what you’re interested in writing or creating is going to appeal to others. You guys have to speak the same language, that’s why we write music. We speak the same language as people who listen to it.” It may seem obvious but it seems like the band have honed in on just what makes them so powerful.
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“There’s an essence that has, whether it was there in the beginning or developed throughout our career, it’s very much ostensible. It’s very clear to me now that people give a shit about letlive.”
This realisation means the band are, “free to do what we want, at least artistically because we know that people understand that this is something we’re all sharing. We’re just trying to write the soundtrack to this idea that is letlive. Thankfully the support that we’ve got has been so genuine and so fervent, seriously the people that fuck with letlive, they fuck with letlive.. It’s amazing and it’s something I always dreamed of when I started this band when I was 16. 14 years ago I always thought ‘man, it would be so cool to have a couple of people who are just ride or die, down for letlive.’ and now seeing it, it’s beyond what I can really fathom.”
There’s now slightly more than a couple of people who’ve got letlive.’s back and album 4 is as much their creation as it is the bands.
“People supported and emancipated us from that realm that holds you down in music. I feel like this sub-genre or quote/unquote scene really does burden people. It holds this weight over them that makes them feel like they really must conform or they must continue on in a direction of what seems popular or that will work. We don’t want that at all because I don’t think that’s progress. I don’t think that that’s the way this band has ever thought so thanks, I guess. Thanks to everybody that’s supported us, you’ve let us write a cool-ass record.”