08/02/2010

Energy

Energy are one of my favourite bands around at the moment. With two full length albums and one more release in the works, vocalist Tank talks about Bill Hauser's illustrations for the band, His choice of iconic designs in the music industry and the future of Energy with Mike and his side project, Children of the night.



Bill Hauser's work is insane, how did you come to work with him? And do you have a favourite piece by him?

Kris Mission, the owner of our first label, suggested Bill to me and got in contact with him for us. I was particularly impressed with his artwork for the Negative FX tribute, so I was more than excited to work with him. I came up with the concept for the Punch The Clock artwork and told Bill to just take that idea and add his own touch. For Invasions Of The Mind I just messaged Bill and said that unlike Punch The Clock, I didn't really have any exact vision as to what the cover should look like, so I sent him all of the lyrics to the album and told him to interpret them his own way and to just go nuts. I would think as an artist that must be pretty cool having 2 different approaches to a band's artwork like that. 2 different challenges you know?

I'd say that my favorite artwork by Bill is probably the scarecrow on the back of the Invasions Of The Mind L.P., or obviously the cover. I only say the scarecrow because it was not planned really, I had just mentioned to him that we needed back cover art as well, and when he sent me that I was just totally caught off guard.


Initial sketch for the back cover of invasions of the mind courtesy of Tank!

All illustrations © Bill Hauser



What are some of your favourite music related designs?

One of my favorite album covers is The Smashing Pumpkins "Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness". That and the visuals from the Tonight, Tonight and Thirty Three videos are amazing. Samhain's "November-Coming-Fire", Slayer's "South Of Heaven", and a lot of Jesse Michaels' stuff are some more of my favorites. I am also a fan of Simon Bisley's work with Danzig on Thrall-Demonsweatlive, Satan's Child, Lost Tracks, and the new stuff he's doing for Danzig's lyric book.



How is the new Energy record coming along? Do you think you will use Bill Hauser as cover artist this time?

We're slowly chipping away at the new Energy stuff. We have a lot of ideas, but only a few that are concrete. Now that Mike from Children Of The Night is in the band, he has, and will be writing a lot with us. There is one new song that is going to be a part of our live set from now on called "Walk Into The Fire". It is a collaborative effort between Mike and myself. No word though on whether our next release will be an E.P. or an L.P. or when it will come out. It usually takes us a while to write. We aren't the type of band that just whips up a batch of mediocre songs as an excuse to get out on the road and tour, the songs themselves are the most important part of the band.

I like the idea of a continuing theme through the years with our artwork. For example, if you look at the artwork for Punch The Clock, there is a dark thicket in the background, and behind the tree on the cover of Invasions Of The Mind, is the same thicket, foreshadowing Invasions Of The Mind, and maybe suggesting that the idea for that album was there all along, just not fully realized.

I haven't spoken with Bill about doing anything else for Energy, but if he's interested in doing it, I'd love to have him on board. I did however talk to him about doing the artwork for the Children Of The Night L.P., and he's currently working on that.

© Bill Hauser

How different is the recording and writing process for Energy and Children of the Night?

The writing process of Energy before Mike joined was almost always this: Joe and or myself writes the music, I write the lyrics and vocal melodies. Children Of The Night is more along the lines of: Mike writes all the music and most of the vocals and lyrics, and I have some input with vocal melodies and lyrics. Now that Mike is in the band, I imagine that it will be a mix of Mike, Joe, and myself writing and coming up with ideas, then bringing the songs to practice and having the other members add their own touches.

With recording, Energy did our first E.P at The Outpost in Stoughton, MA, and our first full length with our friend Chris Curran at his house. For Punch The Clock there just wasn't a big enough budget to get any good takes, and I consider it unlistenable. The recording quality was good, but quality doesn't really matter if the songs aren't played right.

With Invasions Of The Mind, we had all the time we needed to record, and got all the takes as good as we could, but there were complications during the mixing and mastering process that made it sound a LOT different than what you hear on the album. Everything that was supposed to be on IOTM is there, but it's just terribly mixed/mastered. We hope to someday be afforded the opportunity to have it mixed and mastered the way it was meant to be heard, and re-release it.


As a fan of both bands, I hear Energy constantly being compared to AFI and I think this brings a lot of negative criticism. I see Energy as a modern expansion of a genre AFI are noted for, just as they created something new from what the Misfits had previously done. What do you think about the whole situation?

I don't really care too much. We all love A.F.I. and they were definitely a huge influence on what we wanted to sound like when we first started the band, but I don't think we sound like them that much, and neither do most people that have brought up the subject to me. I don't see how being compared to a great band in their prime is a bad/negative thing anyway. We have never stolen one single vocal melody, lyric, guitar, bass or drum part from them, everything we write is our own, we just took influence from them. I dare someone to name a band that's around now that hasn't taken influence from other artists. You can't. Our songs don't sound anything like A.F.I.'s, our style is just influenced by theirs.

All of that bullshit aside though, I have been told by people who have heard some of Energy's new demos that we have completely strayed from anything that sounds at all like A.F.I., and that we are really coming into our own and fully realizing our sound. So if for some reason us sounding like A.F.I. has prevented you from liking what we've done before, maybe you'll like our newer stuff more. Either way, we write what we think is good, and that's that.

And on that note, what do you think of Crash love, more importantly the gold cover? Who would of thought a band using Alan Forbes as an artist in 2000 would have changed their style so drastically over the years.

I think the album sucks, and I think that the artwork sucks. I enjoyed DecemberUndergound because the songs and melodies were good. I just don't think they are writing very enjoyable melodies anymore. It's not a style thing either. If they were writing good songs in the style that they play now, I would love it, but they aren't so I don't. I think Black Sails, All Hallows, Art of Drowning, and Sing The Sorrow are all amazing albums, but they just don't do it for me the way they used to. I think the shift in artwork style clearly ties in with the shift in sound.


In what direction would you like to see Energy or Children of the night heading? Are there different goals for the two projects?

I hope to eventually be like the Smashing Pumpkins in the sense that they can play many different types of songs, but it's still The Smashing Pumpkins. I want to branch our sound out as far as possible and reach as wide of an audience as we can while being true to our sound, and still being Energy.

Children Of The Night is a project that Mike and myself have been working on since before Energy was a band, and once we release our self titled full length, we will probably just be a relatively slow moving side project from now on. I would like to play out live as Children Of The Night, but now that Mike is in Energy too, it's more likely that you'll hear Energy playing Children Of The Night songs live simply because it's more convenient. I also have a feeling that a few COTN songs will end up being Energy songs, and possibly vice-versa.



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RELATED

BLOOD LUST - an affiliate of Energy releasing Children of the night's first record!


BILL HAUSER - Artist for the past two releases and current Children of the night record

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