Flyleaf Interview

Band Name: Flyleaf
Interviewed: Pat
Date: 2009-10-20

Previous Flyleaf Interviews
The Gauntlet: Hey Pat, how's everything?
Pat: It is pretty good. I am at home just goofing around. I think we are going to go practice later on.

The Gauntlet: Practicing for the tour?
Pat: That is right. We are trying to get it in the ball park so we don't embarrass ourselves. We have done a lot of practicing but it has been a lot of short practicing and farting around. We spent about two weeks practicing pretty hard, then Lacey, Jared and Sameer went out on the road for a little bit for the Memento Mori press tour. They did some interviews and the listening parties. That put a monkey wrench in the practice schedule, but now we have a little more time.

The Gauntlet: How did you get out of going?
Pat: I think I was originally supposed to do it. I did most of the acoustic performances with Lacey on the last album. One day we did this acoustic radio thing for the album and it was just setup so badly. I kept trying to play and broke a string. I used this guys electric guitar and it just sounded awful. After that I said that I should not be the one doing this as I am the bass player and the two other guitar players are better than I am. I respectfully bowed out of that and let the people that know what they are doing do it. I am glad I did that though. We have been getting good reports of the other guys performing.

The Gauntlet: I always thought Flyleaf shows were interesting as the band got big too quick. You had 35 mins of material from the album but were headlining so had 90 min sets. It is always fun watching to see what a band is going to do in that situation.
Pat: [laughs] By the time we started headlining, we had been out across the country a couple of times and done three shows in London. It builds and a lot of that is unseen.

The Gauntlet: After "I'm So Sick" hit, you guys released another single that didn't do to well at first.
Pat: Yeah, that is another story. "I'm so Sick" came out early in '06 and we did a video and it got picked up. Around July we put "Fully Alive" out and it tanked. The video played a couple times on MTV and Fuse then it got dropped. I think more people saw the making of video than the video itself. Right after "Fully Alive" disappeared, we played Kimmel. I think that kind of gave a little bit of a push as far as Flyleaf awareness goes. Then "Fully Alive" started to creep back up and we released "All Around Me". That gave the record a second life. At that point we were already thinking the album cycle was over and thinking about the next record. We did OK on the first one and was onto the next. We didn't think we'd still be on that record for another two years.

The Gauntlet: Was spending 4 years on an album cycle something that the band enjoyed doing?
Pat: I think we wanted to do the two year thing. Me personally, I will show up and play anywhere. I know Sameer was sick of playing the same songs over and over and ready to write some new stuff. He is artistically fidgety which is good. A lot of songs on the new album, he wrote during that time. I am glad it all happened this way though. The record probably wouldn't have gone platinum in the time it did. For a fledgling band to have that length of a cycle is pretty cool. It isn't something we engineered, it just happened. Fans shouldn't expect a record every five years. Hopefully there will be a shorter space between Memento Mori and whatever we do next.

The Gauntlet: How did Flyleaf arrive back to working with Howard Benson? In all my interviews, he seemed to be what was wrong with the first album from the bands viewpoint.
Pat: We basically had to be talked into doing that. But I am glad we did. We went in and didn't have to learn the rules of some other dudes game. Even though it was something we weren't to sure about doing again, it worked out. I suggested Terry Date or doing it ourselves. I am very glad to be back with Howard though. We said 'this stuff happened the last time and we don't want X, Y, and Z to happen this time.' We pulled bratty moves when we had to and hats off to James for the mix of the album. Our drums sound great on this album. James really wouldn't let go of things. Where the self-titled came out to about 50% of what we wanted, I think this is 94% of what we wanted sonically. A lot of the songs when we wrote them, we tried to arrange them the way Howard would arrange them. As a result, when we got there, we didn't have to chop anything up. "Tiny Heart" did receive a big open heart surgery. I think that is the only song that caught Howard's eyes for a change and I think it came out better. I am glad we worked with Howard again. His team is awesome and he is awesome. We definitely had to be convinced but we were glad we stayed around. The label wanted him as they like to stay with what works. I think with Howard, we made the record we should have. I think going forward, for varieties sake, I think the fans would like to hear the albums interpreted a different way. It is like Korn and Ross Robinson. Ross did those first two albums for Korn. That is like the definitive Korn sound. I think that might be the same analogy that applies for us and Howard. It is our identity a little bit whether we like it or not.

The Gauntlet: From my interactions with Flyleaf, you guys have come off as very humble and more as musicians and artists than as rockstars. Do you think that is a lot of where the conflict with Howard Benson came from? I think a lot of what the band has faulted Howard for was making the album more commercially appealing which is a hard concept for a true artist to grasp and accept.
Pat: Oh man that is a loaded question! Forgive me if I say something you might have already heard in your interviews with Lacey but Howard has said that 'when I make a record, I am making a movie, I have my team. 'It is the same way Coppola makes a movie. I am not comparing Flyleaf to "Apocalypse Now" or anything, but it is the same way Coppola would take this cinematographer and this writer and put them together. Even though we view our music as our art, it is a collaboration. We don't have the ability to make the best product by ourselves. We can write the songs but pushing them out and arranging them the right way might take us ten years. It really is a collaboration. With the first record, Howard was talking to Lacey and we told Howard what we wanted. We told him this and that. Howard said he wanted to make a record that would make us famous and be something everyone would want to hear. It made sense as we wanted to get our message out to as many people as possible. Making an indie type record would have shot our goals in the foot. As far as being rockstars, thank you for those compliments. You should see us on a bad day though when we are acting like butt-holes. All the rock stars I've seen, us included are clowns. They are spectacular to watch. We really didn't want to be that thing. Howard was always saying that the rappers are the new rockstars; they are the ones getting the attention and living life like they don't care. We are the weaklings. He wanted people to view us as rockstars. I don't know how he'd achieve that just sonically. He did make a product that was greater than we had intended it to be, I do have to give him that.

The Gauntlet: What is your favorite song to play off the new album?
Pat: I like playing "Beautiful Bride". We shot the video and it is supposed to be some viral video on the internet. I really enjoy "Chasm" as well. "Missing" is a different song for Flyleaf to play and I really like that one too. It will take some getting used to.

The Gauntlet: Did you have a lot of songs to choose from?
Pat: I'd say we had about eighteen songs to choose from. Some were written on tour, and others were from a cram session we had last August. We just took a lot of ideas and put them together. It left us with almost as many songs as we had for the first record. Some of the songs I thought would really define the album didn't even make it onto the album.

The Gauntlet: If I walk into the bands dressing room, what is the one thing I'd be shocked to see?
Pat: Probably Jared playing World of Warcraft.