Friday, 21 July 2017

Interview: Brian Jackson of INVIDIA

Photo: Fred Morledge

AH: Thank you for taking the time to chat with me. So, let’s start with introducing the band. Tell us what Invidia is all about.

Brian Jackson: What Invidia is all about… Just a bunch of hard working musicians trying to take over the world. *laughs* That’s pretty much about it. We just all have a passion and drive for music and we’re just hoping to take this band on another level.

AH: You and Travis basically started the whole band. How did it all come together?

Brian Jackson: Me and Travis have a lot of history. Actually, all of us have a lot of history together with bands. Before he was in In This Moment he was a singer for band called Flatline, and his band at the time was signed to a label that Skinlab was formerly on. We played some shows together. Long story short, during the process of working on a new album with Skinlab, I was writing material that necessarily wasn’t fit for that band and I had just come across video Travis posted online on Facebook when I just couldn’t sleep and he was doing vocals again. I wrote him saying, “Hey man, it’s good to see you singing again,” and we started chatting. He just sent me over a few ideas and I sent him a couple of ideas and it just kind of took off. Literally in one night I think we had like two songs already written. He was in New York and I was in Vegas at the time and we just started sending ideas back and forth so over a course of maybe two or three weeks while our producer Logan was in Europe. Logan had anticipated coming back and start working on the Skinlab record and we were quite ready to jump into studio with Skinlab, so I had all these songs that me and Travis have been working on and I presented them to Logan. He heard it and he really wanted to get on board. He was like, “why don’t we build this thing?” So, we called Matt up and told him what we had going on and Matt was on board right away. We just jumped right into the studio and started making it happen. It came together pretty flawlessly, actually.

AH: Why did you feel like the things you were coming up with were something different from Skinlab? Where do you think are the main differences between these two bands?

Brian Jackson: So many differences. Skinlab itself is a highly specific sound. I think with the record that we were trying to work on we wanted to go back to the old roots and more hardcore and grindcore-type of stuff. I was in a different mindset at the time, playing the shows and stuff with them was great but as far as writing material I think we were just on different pages at the time. And I didn’t have a home for a lot of these songs. So, when me and Travis started talking it just came together so quickly. The ideas that Travis was throwing at me and the ideas I was throwing at him just seemed to work naturally. We didn’t really have a direction necessarily, we were just having fun with it, writing the songs. Then we got to the studio with Logan. Logan had a major role in kind of directing us in where we should go with things because he had a vision for where the band should be before I think we did. And once we got into the studio and started working and writing more things slowly came together and here we are today, things are going great.

AH: What is the creative process in the band like? Because there are some very different musicians in the band genre-wise, so how does it all mix together?

Brian Jackson: Oh, it mixes well. I couldn’t be happier with the group of guys, in all the twenty somewhat years I’ve been playing music I think this is the best group collectively I’ve been in room with, played music with. The writing process for this record, myself and Travis and Logan started writing the record and then Matt came in and brought his own to the table. As far as writing Darren and Marcos came in later after the record was done. We had never gotten in a room and actually jammed together until after we recorded the entire record. It was kind of different for me. In the past you’d meet a group of guys and you go to a jam room and get a rehearsal space. This was the complete opposite. We just went to the studio and started experimenting and trying different ideas, things that we had never tried before. And the process came together very quickly. I like the way we approached this band opposed to some of the past projects that I’ve done. It seems to work pretty well. I’m not sure necessarily how we’re going to approach the next record, I know that we have quite a bit of material that was leftover during the recording process. A lot of ideas that were floating around. So we have a lot of material to work on for the next record when the time comes. But now that we have Marcos and Darren in the band they bring so much to table as musicians, we want them to be more involved with the writing process. We’ll see how that goes. But yeah in the beginning of all this it was just mostly me, Travis and Logan starting the formula and the direction where we were going. I’m really looking forward to seeing how things progress throughout this record cycle. When we get back to the studio bringing the other guys involved and see how the things go because these guys are very talented musicians and I’m looking forward to write with them as well.

AH: Tell us more about the upcoming As the Sun Sleeps. Where did you find inspiration, what are the songs like? What can we expect from the record?

Brian Jackson: The record’s very diverse. I would say on this record in particular there is no one song in my opinion that sounds like the next. We just dropped a single “Feed the Fire” which is now currently spinning on mainstream active rock radio. And I’ve never considered myself an active rock type of musician. I’ve always been just straight up metalhead. We have songs on the record that are thrash metal, you can hear the influences like the old school bay area metal, like Testament, Machine Head of course, Pantera and stuff like that. But then we also have songs like “Feed the Fire” which is more active rock and commercial. People are comparing it to things like Breaking Benjamin and Godsmack. I don’t really hear the comparison but apparently people do. There’s a lot of good songwriting on this record, we really spent a lot of time focusing on the songs opposed to trying to compete who has the best guitar riff in the band. We just we wanted to make each song become memorable to each next song. We didn’t want to have a bunch of filler. A lot of bands write couple of hit songs, then you hear the record and it’s like there’s bunch of filler in between. We tried to stay away from that. We focused on every single song and made sure that every song we wrote we wanted to actually be on the record. So I think people will be pleasantly surprised what they hear once the record comes out. There’s also a lot of people that are speculating what they think it’s going to sound like because of the former bands and all the current bands some of us are in. People are trying to compare us to Five Finger Death Punch or In This Moment or Skinlab or whatever. We actually sound nothing like any of those bands. We wrote a record that we wanted to hear you know. We all have grown in multiple different kinds of music. We took that all and put it in one big pot and came up with this record As The Sun Sleeps. You know there are songs that are on the industrial side, lot of us has been influenced by lot of industrial music. Songs that are really dark and just creepy. We have a song called Rotten which is a very dark kind of gothic-type song. That’s going to probably be our next single I’m hoping. We even have a song on the record called Step Up, Travis was doing some kind of rap rock stuff like old school Limp Bizkit. Even though there are all these Limp Bizkit haters out there we all love that shit so. As we were planting things together we were like we don’t care what people will think we just wanna do what we wanna do. So there’s the rap rock, hip-hop influenced song, then there’s the thrash metal, there’s the industrial, there’s the active rock and then we just put them in one big pile and that’s how the final product came out. We are happy with it.

AH: What do you think of the comparisons and do you maybe think that it helps somehow that people already know you from all the previous and current bands?

Brian Jackson: Absolutely. That’s the whole thing with this band – it came together so quickly, lot of people has been asking us how did you guys put this band together so fast and get a record deal and all that. The funny thing is not only did we never step a foot in a jam room before recording the record, but we actually signed our first record deal before we even played a show together.

AH: That’s crazy.

Brian Jackson: Yeah, it’s pretty crazy when you start thinking about it, because that never happens, really. It doesn’t hurt, the fact that in the beginning when we were starting on the social media pages everybody was like oh you know Travis Johnson from In This Moment, Matt Snell from Five Finger Death Punch, you got Brian and Marcus from Skinlab, it definitely helps the press in the beginning. Cause if we wouldn’t have had that in press the people would have no idea who the hell we were. Now that we’ve gained some momentum, now that we have our single out we’re trying to focus more on Invidia. A lot of the writers and people that have been interviewing us want to focus on those other bands. I was telling my publicist it’s great that they want to bring those bands up, it’s awesome because it obviously gets new fans and bring people’s attention, but at the end of the day we’re nothing like either of those bands and we’re trying to brand Invidia as its own entity and make it a house sold name.

AH: You released an amazing video for “Feed the Fire” in the beginning of February. It also ended up in top 10 on Loudwire Battle Royale. What reactions did you guys get on that? What was the making of the video like?

Brian Jackson: Making of the video was amazing. Brian Cox, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with him, he was the Flarelight films seasond up and coming director, producer. He’s recently done some videos, he did the last couple of Gemini Syndrome videos, Hollywood Undead, he’s working with everybody right now, also Stitched Up Heart. He’s very close friend of mine and when it came to the idea and the label gave us a song that they wanted to release he was the first guy that we went to. There’s no one else I’d rather work with. He made the process was very easy, very pro, his whole crew and everybody involved with Flarelight films is amazing. They worked with us and on the budget that we had they put together the best video that we could have imagined. Much better than I even anticipated it turning out to be honestly.

AH: From the reactions I saw all over the internet and socials, you guys seem to have such devoted fanbase already and I guess everybody is just loving what you came up with, how do you feel about all that?

Brian Jackson: It’s a little overwhelming to be quite honest. So much stuff has happened, you know. All of us have had previous bands, Travis being currently with In This Moment with as big of a band they are and Matt’s success with Five Finger. It’s getting overwhelming in a good way. I spend more time now dealing with band business which is exactly what was my goal. To be able to focus more on my music again. Lately it’s been just nonstop. Now that the song’s spinning on the radio we’re getting obviously a lot more fans, keeping us much busier and we didn’t even think we would be this quickly. It’s great, I love interacting with the fans. I’ve been getting all kinds of random people writing me lately telling us how much they love the song, how excited they are for the record to come out. So it’s been awesome. I love it. I’m not going to lie I like the attention. It does get a little hectic sometimes, but at the end of the day I enjoy trying to write back every single fan that writes us on our band page, I do my best to try to write them back and let them know we are thinking about them and how much we appreciate them. That’s the fun part for me. Writing music and all that is great, but hearing the feedback, that you’re changing people’s lives just because of a song you wrote. It’s pretty inspiring for me. I think if I can speak for all of us we all feel that way.

AH: Do you plan to release any other song before the album drops at the end of March, or do we need to impatiently wait till then to hear more?

Brian Jackson: You know that’s a good question. Since the video just got released in February and it’s on the radio I’m assuming the label’s probably not going to drop another single until the record comes out. I’m not hundred percent sure on that actually. But I know that we have contract to do a couple more music videos. So I’m assuming some time before summer we’ll be releasing another music video as well. Probably sometime between May and June.

AH: You guys just performed at the Killpop Awards. What was it like?

Brian Jackson: It was great. You know it was good, because we did last tour and our show in Vegas kind of I won’t say it got screwed up, but there were some problems with some of the venues. We had to do a venue change last minute and the venue that we ended up playing wasn’t prepared for what we had to bring to the table so we felt like we needed to do a really good makeup show. And then when Komp 92.3 radio has approached us about doing Killpop it was a no brainer for us. It was a great venue, the Hard Rock On The Strip. Good friend of mine Chris Kael was hosting the show and Carlota and Gooch they are two of the longest running DJs for a rock station I’ve heard in Vegas. They are very well knows as well. We instantly wanted to do it right away. It was great show, good turnout, we got positive feedback, it was for charity. All the proceeds went to Hard Rock Heals which is a charity for children. It puts instruments back in the hands of kids, trying to keep kids away from drugs and trouble, they’re putting more money into the community and stuff so we can keep the music going.

AH: What have you planned next for the band?

Brian Jackson: Right now, we’re in the midst of confirming a couple tours. We have a lot of tour offers that are coming our way, we’re just trying to work out scheduling and stuff like that. Couple festivals are be happening. We’re dealing with some scheduling conflicts with the couple of the guys but nothing major. As far as right now we are watching the song spread. Feed The Fire has been hitting like every day, we’re getting updates, all the radio stations across the country have been picking it up. We’ll be letting the momentum to gain a little bit more and we’re hoping to probably announce a tour within the next weeks and try to stay on road as much as possible over the next couple of years until we can record the next record.

AH: Any last words or message to the fans?

Brian Jackson: I just want to thank everybody for the support. I’m hoping everybody enjoys what we’re doing and I can’t wait for the record to come out and everybody to hear what we’ve done because we’re proud of the record. And I’m excited to see what everybody thinks and get the feedback from everybody. So far it’s been very positive and I’m hoping it continues that way.

Invidia
Photo: Fred Morledge

About Niwy Kováčová

Slovakia - Photographer/Writer

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