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It seems like one common thread about the live Converge experience is that people tend to expect this element of danger.
Yeah... I mean, we don't try to focus on that. Other people do, I guess. We don't really care about that. We just enjoy playing. It's about sharing our songs and music with people who appreciate them and relate to them. It's nothing more than that. If people want to be overdramatic about any other aspect of it, to each his own, I guess. It doesn't really concern us.
Well, on to Axe to Fall, your new album. The first impression you get, listening to the first few tracks, is how thrashy it sounds.
The last album also was a bit, I guess, thrashy, yeah. "No Heroes" definitely had that aspect to it as well. You just evolve and progress and write songs that interest you. And for us, this record has a lot of a certain dynamic to it. There's definitely an unrelenting part that's a bit abrasive and intense. Our approach musically has always been that way, or at least has evolved into that over the last 19 years or so.
What do you mean by that certain dynamic?
There are lot of abrasive records out there, but there is definitely a sonic and melodic flow to this one. We have piano and xylophone for this record, a wide variety of instrumentation that isn't exactly typical for a "heavy band" per se. We've been doing that for quite a long time, probably since '98 or '99. That's when we started breaking from the traditional band mold in the recording process and doing things that we found to be interesting that could bring some more life to songs.
When you feel like making a new record, do you sit down and try to write it all at once, or is it more of an ongoing thing over time?
The three of us live within half a mile of each other. Ben lives in Brooklyn, but he'll be moving back soon. So when we get together, it's very concentrated. We'll get together for a week and practice and write for a week or two or something. Then we'll go back and listen to what we worked on, kind of all let it settle in, then come back again, and start the process over. That's how we've always worked. So even Ben being in Brooklyn hasn't really changed anything; it's only a four-hour drive.
Do you all see each other often when you're not actively working on something for Converge?
At least once during the week, in some form or another. It's more like a family relationship, you know? We're a very tight-knit little group of people in that way. For people who are not used to our social circle, it's probably difficult to get into it, you know what I mean? It's not exclusionary but truly family-oriented. We are very much like brothers at this point. I have a closer relationship without question with these three guys than I do with my own brother. It's been that way since I was 13 years old. I make no apologies for that; it is what it is. A lot of people have fairly unorthodox relationships with friends and family, and ours kind of revolves around this band and music.
Do you worry at all, when writing new material, that it's just going to get compared to Jane Doe? That's seen, now, as this sort of post-hardcore epic masterpiece.
What's ironic about that is, it wasn't when it came out. I have all the press, and I would say half of it is negative. It's great that people appreciate what we do. But we don't really look back at our records at all. I think that's one of the reasons why we're a band as long as we have been. We've continued to do things that people consider relevant, because we do what we want, not what other people want us to be doing, you know?
Read the full Q&A on Crossfade, New Times' South Florida music blog, at http://browardmusic.com.