It is no secret that we’ve found, Say Nothing, the forthcoming new album from THEORY (Theory Of A Deadman) absolutely brilliant [Album Review can be found HERE]. In fact, we feel that it is some of the band’s most thought-provoking and inspiring music to date. THEORY has shown enormous growth and maturity with their seventh studio album, Say Nothing, which will be released on January 31st via Atlantic Records.
We were lucky enough to catch up with THEORY guitarist Dave Brenner who was more than happy to tell all about the band’s new album, fresh influence and fun stories from their London recording sessions with us as we inch ever closer to release day.
Q: We just have to say how impressed we were when listening to the Say Nothing album, It is definitely some of your most thought-provoking material to date. Can you tell us about the recording process of one or two songs in particular and tell us what the mindset was like in the studio? How much of a role did the recording in London play?
DAVE BRENNER: Yes, we recorded the album in London and I think it all starts back with what we did with our last record “Wake Up Call” which was also recorded with Martin Terefe. It is also where we recorded the song “RX (Medicate)” and that song was kind of like a gateway for us. It opened up doors because all of a sudden, Tyler [Connelly] was singing about stuff that was really serious. And it was cool in this way that all of a sudden, we were getting people coming up to us and saying, ‘hey, this really means a lot to me’ …’This really means a lot to me because of this or that’. I think in this weird way, and this is just my guess, that he really inspired Tyler to actually use his voice now and I love that because when we started, he started sending us the demo ideas I was so excited because he was attacking stuff that I thought needed to be addressed like racism and depression and I really loved that he was tackling stuff that was difficult. He was pushing himself in ways that he never really has before and you know, the stuff he was writing, I could just tell that he was really paying attention to what’s going on in the world right now. I told him I really, really love what you’re doing each time he would call me with a new idea or demo.
Q: With Say Nothing being the seventh studio album for THEORY, how do you feel it stands out in the bands catalog? How do you hope fans will react to the new direction for the band?
DB: I think it’s interesting because we released “Savages” which was, at least in my opinion, our heaviest record and the wake-up call occurred when our most successful and most accepted song on that album was a song called “Angel”. It was the most mellow track on the album. I think at that point we all kind of realized that the fans who love THEORY, that truly love THEORY, don’t love us as a metal band or even a hard rock band, they love our songs that are songwriting songs … the songs that are written singer/songwriter style.
Q: With “History Of Violence” being the first single and tackling the issue of domestic abuse with a bit of a twist ending. How does that issue hit home for you guys?
DB: I don’t think any one of us really necessarily has a real direct connection with domestic violence and we’ve been talking about that, even in the studio we were talking lyrically because you know you get pressure sometimes from the label for one thing to happen and lyrically they really start trying getting involved, saying, you know, maybe she shouldn’t go to jail…and we were like ‘man, wait … this is not your story to tell.’ There are definitely certain songs on this album where I feel like Tyler was in the position of telling the story and I really feel those songs have a personal connection. For example, songs like “World Keeps Spinning” and the album’s title track. It is amazing to witness Tyler put himself into a different person’s perspective and make you see it from a different side. Even on songs that are very political I always feel like he has a great way of approaching them where he comes off as very unbiased and I love that!
Q: How fun was it for you as a musician to play around with various instrumentation for this album, especially on tracks such as “Ted Bundy” which was recorded after your Abbey Road visit?
DB: So much fun! It’s funny to me that people always felt that we were doing strong guitar music, but to me, it couldn’t have been more opposite. Before this album, I felt that the guitar was never really able to break out, but now I feel like the guitar is getting a voice. The bass is getting a voice, the drums are getting a voice, everything is being approached from this perspective of less is more. Let’s create a bunch of open space. And then, that all gets to actually be heard. It was more challenging for me to start coming up with guitar ideas that were new and different rather than stock stuff. Forme, we’ve done all that other stuff. Moving forward, opening ourselves up to something different trying different stuff trying different instrumentation, saying, ‘Hey, we are trying to do something different here, and it actually opens it up way more for me. I truly feel like my playing style shines more than it ever had before.
Q: There are so many times when listening to the album that you can pick up on different notes and styles. Each time you can pick up on something new and unique.
DB: Trying to make things perfect was just a plague for us in the past. In music where technology got so good that it became so important to make it sound so good. Then you go listen to songs, you know, as you go to Abbey Road, and listen to the imperfections and that truly is what makes things sound so good. You get things that are out of tune and that creates tension and Martin Terefe as a producer is so great at capturing that stuff and with us, he’s really made the studio a fun enjoyable experience to be creating music.
Q: What was it like touring the famed walls of Abbey Road Studio?
DB: I mean the whole thing was a trip! We walked over a mile from our Airbnb and there was somebody who kind of gave us a guided tour and they walked us into the big room and told us they would have recorded some of the songs there, and they were actually doing a recording of Downton Abbey play through and they had 100 something piece orchestra setting up and they all had the sheet music, we’re like, what a world this is! And then we just we walked around a few different spots, we went into a mastering guys room and the whole thing was very much like a grounding experience, as we saw what they were using at the time, especially for The Beatles recordings and it just made you really realize that the creativity just needs to come from within. Just as they had to figure out how best to capture the Beatles back in the day. So it’s really cool to kind of go there and be a little bit inspired and then go and try to mess around and have some fun.
Q: The album speaks about a slew of different issues along with domestic violence such as various racial and political themes as well, but we felt that there was an underlying message of hope within the songs as well. Was that one of your goals?
DB: In some ways, this feels like a somber record to us, but it doesn’t feel like it is without hope either. I think that we were really thinking about a lot of the stuff that we live and see every day and Tyler was really hitting on many of those issues, but we don’t think it’s hopeless. We also see the other side and, and there is so much beauty and the fact is, it was so important for us to kind of wrap it up on a hopeful note and like you were saying, and I really am glad that you know that because the last thing I want is for people to listen to this record and just feel down. I really want people to feel the hope in it and I think that’s important.
Q: Was there a “Moment Of Mayhem” that occurred during the recording process that you can share with us?
DB: Definitely! During the recording process, I got to spend some time with a friend of Martin’s, he’s another Swede and one of the IKEA heirs and he has just the most amazing guitar collection you would ever see. It would blow your mind! So, he was like ‘Here’s a menu!” and literally handed me a guitar menu and I was literally drooling. I was like I can only really go with one here and that is, of course, the infamous sky-blue Gibson Flying V. It was crazy because he showed up at the studio driving a 1989 Volvo with the guitar and brought in an old amp and we started jamming. We actually played “Black Hole of Your Heart” on it and it was a true “moment of mayhem”, as there I was playing one of the most metal guitars on Earth and the tone was screeching, it was awesome! What a feeling to be playing a guitar that is worth nearly a quarter of a million dollars!
Q: We know that you guys do have some touring plans coming up. Anything planned around release day on January 31st?
DB: We’re touring starting January 31st. Our first show is in Vancouver, British Columbia and then we’re kicking off doing a Canadian tour that’s exactly the entire month of February, March, and then I think it’s just gonna be go, go, go all spring, all summer, and fall, I mean we’re gonna try to get over to the UK as well! We’re doing Download Festival this year, so there is a lot to do, and I think we’re all really excited to start bringing this music live to the masses so you know it’s gonna be a fun year in 2020!
Q: That’s great! We can’t wait to hear some of these new songs live on stage!
DB: It’s cool even just playing “History Of Violence” live now! Even our sound guys say it feels different and it feels different to play and it’s fun to be seventeen years into the business and feeling on-stage that you are doing some that is different and unique. It’s so exciting!