Gwen Stacy

author PP date 06/04/09

Gwen Stacy's debut album "The Life I Know" divided critics and fans into two separate cames last year because of it's constant breakdown-oriented approach to metalcore. Personally I loved the record, but there were many that didn't. Much has changed since in the band, they're writing a new record, and a total of three vocalists have tried their luck before the band has settled on their new guy Geoff. That's already a lot of topics that need answers in an interview, so we figured it's best to get a hold of the band when they're performing in Copenhagen for the first time ever. Brent, the band's bassist, and Geoff, the new vocalist, both sat down with me in the lounge of Pumpehuset, and the one thing that I took away from the interview was that these guys were incredibly stoked for their new album, scheduled to be released this fall. They'd reference the new album and how good it is in pretty much any moment they could, and especially when we were talking about the old album and how it compares to it. Read on to find out more. Hi and thanks for doing this interview. Can you please introduce yourself to the readers?
Geoff: I'm Geoff, I do the vocals. Screaming.

Brent: I'm Brent, I play bass and I do the singing. So what's new in Gwen Stacy?

Brent: Geoff!

Geoff: Me. [laughs] I joined the band like two-three months ago in January.

Brent: We're writing a new record, and we're in Denmark, that's new. So how's the tour going?

Brent: It's going well man. We've had our ups and downs, you know, just adjusting to everything and some of the culture shock, but it's been pretty cool. Especially Germany, it was awesome. Germany likes Gwen Stacy, which is cool. Unexpected, but those are some of the best responses that we got. So are you guys just huge Spider Man fans or how come you chose the name Gwen Stacy?
Brent: Moreso the original four of us, I think we're just comic book fans in general. Comic book and, you know, cartoons and stuff. We're all really into that, and we wanted a comic book name, and Gwen Stacy sounded cooler than Professor X [laughs]. Did you consider any other names?

Brent: Those were really the only two comic book names that we talked about. Because we were trying to think of obscure characters, obviously Professor X is NOT an obscure character, and Gwen Stacy I guess really isn't either. You guys are often labeled as 'Christian metalcore'. What does that tag mean to you?
Brent: It means that we have... I don't wanna say like our way of doing things, or I guess it's our way of doing things. We have a set of beliefs. We share similar beliefs with each other that involve Christianity. Sometimes we write about it, sometimes we don't. We definitely have an underlying attitude or a moral standard, I guess.

Geoff: We believe what we believe, and sometimes it comes out in the music, sometimes we just wanna write music.

Brent: Yeah, but we don't hate on anybody. If you guys were to sit here and tell us that you were satanist, I'd be like "sweet man, whatever works for you" [laughs]. We can hang out and...

Geoff: ...Not that we're saying that!

[all laugh]

Brent: I'm just saying for example, you know what I mean? We don't judge or we don't force anything on anybody. We just hang out.

Geoff: We are who we are, so if anyone wants to talk to us about it and get our opinions on certain things, we'll give it. That's basically it. So if we look back on the last couple of years, it seems like you guys change vocalists about once every three months. First Cole was asked to leave obviously, then Bobby wanted to focus on studying, and now you've got Geoff in the band. How do you think that affects the band and your fans?
Brent: I think that we probably lost some fans, but I feel like we've maybe gained some of them back, and made some new fans with Geoff being in the band. Because he was in a band called Once Nothing, and I think some of those fans are kind of like... they liked us before, but I think they're kind of like latching onto Geoff a little bit. I'm sure we definitely took a hit for a little bit just with some of the instability, but we're good now.

Geoff: I mean, you'll lose fans and gain some with pretty much any kind of move that you make in a band, especially once you become... not that Gwen Stacy is on this crazy high level, but once you have fans, anything that you do can make or break a fan for you.

Brent: Yeah for sure. The good thing is that while we've been through a few vocalists, but the people that write the majority of the music and the lyrics are still in the band: Pat, TJ and I. We're still a solid band. I guess that for a while, since we were filtering in and out members, I think that's been the core. We are still here, we're still kicking, so. Cole Wallace was the screamer on "The Life I Know", and I thought he was really good, but then you guys asked him to leave the band. I've always wondered why? What's the story?
Brent: It had nothing to do with vocals at all. He's a great vocalist, he's a great frontman, and he was a really really great friend for a long time. And hopefully will be again, one day. We talked to him a little bit but.. it was a matter of just personal stuff, personal and creative differences, like... he... nah, I don't wanna talk about that, because that's really nobody's business. It's just personal and creative differences, you know? We never wanted it to happen, we tried a lot of things to try and fix things, but it just came to an end. It was either find a new vocalist or call it quits, and we decided to keep going. Geoff, now you're doing the vocals. How do you think he compares to Cole, because he had a pretty distinct vocal style? you could hear every word he was saying and so on.
Brent: Before you answer, I just wanna note that I've had a lot of people over here and the headliners say that he sounds similar to Cole. They actually like him better, because he has more of a range. Not that Cole isn't a great vocalist, I'm not downplaying that at all, I'm just guiding him.

Geoff: Well that's basically it. I think Cole and I have similar styles, and I think that our voices in a certain point sound...not exactly the same, but very similar. But Cole had his own way of doing things, which was awesome, and I have my own way of doing things, which I hope will come off as awesome. But no, I remember when I heard that Cole left the band, because I was still with my old band Once Nothing. Everybody was bummed. Things happen for a reason, things that need to happen will happen.

Brent: And I think we're actually a stronger unit than we have been in a long time, as far as band members being cool with each other. I mean you're on the road, obviously people are gonna get annoyed, but I think we're strong right now. We'll have to get another guitar player and see how it goes, but I think we're stronger now.

Geoff: An additional guitar player.

Brent: An additional guitar player, yeah!

Geoff: Pat's not leaving.

Brent: No, Pat's here to stay. So it's been just over a year since you released your excellent debut album "The Life I Know". How do you feel about it today?
Brent: What do I think about it today? I still like it because it's the first chance that anybody got to hear anything we had to say or what we were doing on a national level. And I appreciate it for that, it's got a lot of sentimental value. There's some lyrics on there that are very very close to my heart and always will be. But as a whole, I think that the record is a good effort for our first album. I don't think it quite came across how we wanted it to with some of the production, which is not saying anything about Paul Leavitt, because I love Paul, he's an awesome dude and he took way good care of us when we were in the studio. But I don't know, it's cool for a first album, you always have a bunch of excitement when you're like "wow, our album is in stores, that's crazy".

Geoff: Definitely stoked on the new one.

Brent: I think that the new one is going to be way way better. It's more mature, it's awesome.

Geoff: The music is a little different too. Everything is a little different but it's still, to me anyway, it's still Gwen Stacy, because like I said, I came in on January 3rd, which is the day that I joined the band, which is the day that we recorded the New Found Glory cover. The band had the majority of the music written because they've been writing this album for over a year now. And just from the stuff that I've heard that I didn't contribute to, at that point in time, I can say from a fan's point of view that it's... awesome. It's a lot different but in a good way, and it's still Gwen Stacy. It's still highly the hardcore melodic thing.

Brent: That question was actually really hard to answer, because I've been thinking about the new album forever, and I haven't really thought about "The Life I Know" a lot besides the songs we play, but it's kind of a hard question to answer.

Geoff: It's a good one, I don't think we've been asked that since I joined the band. How about then I'll ask the same question from you, Geoff, since you weren't writing that album, you weren't involved. What do you think of it?

Geoff: Of "The Life I Know" [laughs] Honestly? Well when I first heard it, I didn't even care for it. I really didn't. [laughs] But I kept on trying to get into it as much as I could because...

Brent: Our bands were really close.

Geoff: There were a couple of bands that were really tight. These bands were always really close, even before I joined Once Nothing. When I joined Once Nothing, I think my second tour was with Gwen Stacy and another band called Life In Your Way, and that's when I got to meet you guys for the first time and everything. But then just that point on, we just clicked. We're just really good friends even just me personally with these guys. That's why I kept on trying to listen to the album more, because I was like "these dudes are awesome like but I don't about their music so much" [laughs] but then I had to start listening and learning the lyrics, and the lyrics is what got me pumped on the album, because I think the music's really good for what it is, but I think it's more of a... not a vocal-driven, but more of a lyrically-minded CD, because I think the most important thing on the album is what they're saying. And for me, that's what really sold me on the album. I love that album because the message that's been put across in all the songs, but I'm definitely stoked for the next one as well, because I think that the lyrics are being taken up ten notches, and I think the music is being taken up twenty notches... it's gonna be a lot heavier, it's gonna be a lot faster, and honestly the lyrics I think will be a lot more open and honest and straight forward, really straight forward.

Brent: It's real.

Geoff: Yeah, it's cool too because now that I'm thinking about it... because I used to live in Maryland, when I was in my old band, and then I moved to Minneapolis to be in Gwen Stacy, and one of the first nights that I was out there, Brent and I actually sat and talked about lyrics and looked over lyrics for the new album, and everything at that point... if you were to give me a blank piece of paper and a pen to write lyrics for a new album, that's pretty much what they already had written. It's really cool because it just shows that all of our mindsets are on the same page, you know what I mean? We're all on the same page as far as what we wanna do next. I think it's going to be really really awesome. And you know, to be honest with you, even if the record doesn't do awesome, I don't give a crap because it's gonna be a record that I wanna help put out. I'm stoked. From what I've seen on the old album, a lot of people really liked it, but the media didn't. do you find that disheartening at all?
Brent: No I think funny. I think it's hilarious. For example, our album is like Geoff says, lyrically driven. It's not a musicians album. There's some cool stuff in it, some cool polyrhythms and cool stuff, but as a whole it's not a musicians record. But take for instance Poison The Well's "Versions". It got rave reviews from critics, but kids didn't like it as much from what we've talked to them about it, as much as some of their old stuff. But kids seem to really like our album, but the critics hate it. So I think that's kind of how it balances out.

Geoff: I was gonna say that a really good rule of thumb seems to be: put you record out and hope that every magazine hates it, because then every kid's gonna love it.

Brent: Unless you're like UnderOATH, and then most people are gonna like it.

Geoff: Generally what I've seen with this band is that if critics don't like it, then the kids will.

Brent: And I love the new Poison The Well album, I think it's awesome, but I'm a musician... or I try to be a musician. When you joined the band Geoff, you recorded a cover of New Found Glory's "My Friends Over You". How did that come about?
Geoff: The day before they came to pick me up from Pittsburgh where I was hanging out, they were like "oh yeah, we're gonna get you to record this song", and I was like "okay, what song?" and they were like "My Friends Over You by New Found Glory", and I was like okay cool. I wasn't the biggest fan of New Found Glory but I came out there and the way that they re-did it, it was different but still close enough, so it was a good cover. But the way it ended up coming out was awesome, I think. It was a lot of fun.

Brent: Actually, the cover came mainly about because we were bored. We hadn't really done anything new on Myspace in a while, and we had some time, we were bored, and we decided to do it for fun.

Geoff: It's a band that everybody really likes.

Brent: Yeah, all of us like New Found Glory. And we've been getting some crap for it, like "You ruined that song!" and stuff, but hey you still listened to us, thanks for the play. [laughs].

Geoff: It's funny too because kids think that's what our new album's gonna sound like. They're always like "Don't go that way, oh my gosh!!". It definitely is. [laughs]

Brent: There's gonna be a little more singing, but it's not gonna be like.. New Found Glory covers now. So about the new album, when do you think that we'll hear something from it, some sounds, when is it coming to the stores?
Brent: Out in the fall, hopefully. We're gonna record in the summer, and hopefully sometime in the fall when the record's coming out. Maybe a few months before we'll put up a new song or something. Are you guys playing any new songs?

Brent: Nope. Are you playing the New Found Glory song?

Geoff: Nope, we need to guitars to do it, which is why we said we have to get an additional guitarist. Thanks for the interview and good luck on the rest of the tour. Anything you wanna add?
Brent: Come hang out at the show. We're stoked to be here so come hang out, we'll chill talk and laugh, I'm sure, because we're goofy as crap most of the time.

Geoff: Yeah sure, just come hang out and enjoy yourself!

Brent: And go buy the record, if you want, but check it out on Myspace first, if you want.

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