Misery Signals

author BL date 28/09/09

Misery Signal's last album "Controller" had been out for around a year and received quite a lot of critical praise (go here to read our review of it) so I was eager to find out a little bit about how the band felt about it and some things about their current life in general. It was the first night of their UK tour, bands were busy running around sorting out their merch and sound testing when a few of us got there. Though the interview started a little late because of how busy they all were, I managed to eventually get a hold of Stuart Ross, guitarist for Misery Signals, outside to talk to us on a suprisingly warm English evening for a little while. Politely apologising for keeping us waiting and with a beer in hand, he shared some opinions about the new album and we had a casual conversation about the band in general - read on to see what he had to say.

RF.net: I'd like you to introduce yourself to our readers and what you do in the band.
Stu: My name is Stu and I play guitar in Misery Signals.

RF.net: So it's been a year since you guys released Controller, how do you feel about that album compared to Mirrors?
Stu: I'm really happy, like really proud with the record I guess. Just in the sense that I think its like, a good combination of all the aspects of our musical styles I guess. Just as far as like, integrating a lot of ambient and melodic stuff along with a lot of the heavy stuff we did on the earlier records. I feel its a really good representation of what the band's all about.

RF.net: What does the album mean to you personally?
Stu: Uh, I mean like from the lyrics and the title and stuff I didn't have a lot of input in it. But like I said before, the record, what it means to me is that it's an accomplishment - something I'm really proud of.

RF.net: How did you get the album name?
Stu: Controller?

RF.net: Yeah.

Stu: We just found that a lot of the lyrical content had to do with control, whether it be like, with people's personal lives, the government, or just the whole global climate, just everything you know, it just kind of played into it. That just seemed like that was a common theme within all the lyrics, so it seemed like a good idea.

RF.net: Do you guys feel that you've made a superior record to say, Mirrors previously?
Stu: Yeah absolutely. I think that the songs and the production overall was a lot better so it's definitely something I'm definitely proud of. And I think, yeah a lot better than the others! [laughs]

RF.net: So for the first album you guys worked with Devin Townsend as producer, and you worked with him again for the new album. So was it, due to familiarity, a lot easier to record? How was that like?
Stu: Yeah I mean this time around it was a lot different with Devin. I mean like when we did the first record, he was just kind of all over the place with it, and thats not to say it was a bad thing he was just like, we were so scattered and doing everything like a game and just kind of, ploughed through it. But with Controller we went into it and spent a lot of time with Dev before we even started recording, just going through the songs and working out some stuff like little changes, stuff like that. When we went in to record we were just so locked down with it that everything just went so smoothly.

RF.net: How did the songs come about?
Stu: Basically Ryan (the other guitarist) and I will just write them. I will write a few riffs or something and bring it in, he does the same thing and sometimes we have stuff that just works out together. So him and I just write all the riffs, and then we sit down with Brandon, and Brandon really likes...Brandon is our drummer, he really likes, you know, brings definition to the parts and stuff like that.

RF.net: As band members, how do you think you guys have changed between the 2 albums?
Stu: What do you mean by that?

RF.net: I mean like has there been any changes in what you feel about what you want to do, your goals, stuff like that?

Stu: Yeah definitely, I mean I think that when we first started doing the band and when we got signed to Ferret and we were doing some bigger tours we thought "Wow this is super cool you know!" and you kind of change afterwards. "What if we we could be like a big band you know? Like Slipknot or something?" - you never know, bands like Killswitch Engage and Lamb Of God, those bands are huge. Granted they're a little bit more accessible but, I mean like when we were younger we were "optimistic". And maybe "optimistic" is the wrong word, a little more ... "eager" I guess? Like now we just kinda recognise where we're at and we're pretty comfortable and happy with it. We've got a pretty solid organic fanbase pretty much everywhere around the world and whether its like 80 kids or 500 kids or 1000 kids, its always fun so it's like an achievement to be able to do that.

RF.net: What do you think is the best song on the new album?
Stu: I really like the last 2 tracks, "Reset" and "Homecoming". Just like, we ended up playing the parts into each other and like made it almost like one big long song. I think that's really cool because I think those 2 songs together just really showcase everything the band's about. It's got some fast parts, tech parts, and some groovy parts.

RF.net: What would you say is the best song you guys have ever done as a band?
Stu: Uh... [pause] I don't know man, that's a good question!

RF.net: Do you guys still play stuff from Of Malice And The Magnum Heart?
Stu: Yeah! Yeah ofcourse! We play like 4-5 songs on that record that we'll still rotate in and out of our set.

RF.net: Personally, I've always wondered about the name "Misery Signals", how did you get that name?
Stu: Um, I think it basically came together just off the basis that we wanted the word "Misery" in the title. And it just kind of came together you know, and kind of made sense and sounded decent.

RF.net: Okay so lets talk about this tour you're doing, hows it going?
Stu: It's going really well! We've been pretty surprised actually with a lot of the shows. Europe, Mainland Europe has always been hit and miss for us, and this has been pretty consistent and pretty good.

RF.net: So on the same lines other than what you've just mentioned, how different is playing Europe to playing in the US?
Stu: Uh, I mean really the only thing that's different is the environment. I mean kids are pretty much the same anywhere you go. But I mean like, the US is kind of a weird place to tour because there's so many tours and so many bands all the time that kids, you know, their interests changes so quickly that every 2 weeks there's a new band that everybody is freaking out about. It's tough to compete with that when you're not doing like sort of flashy, almost commercial metal. We don't have breakdowns where we tell girls to suck our dicks in it. Teenage kids might have a little trouble wrapping their head around some of the stuff we're doing so. And that's not a shot at young kids, I'm just saying we're not the most successful band so the US is always really weird, it's definitely good like we'll keep touring it and it's always worth it but it's so hard to build any ground in the US. And I guess the point that I'm really getting at here is that what's cool about Europe, is that we come over here, and every time we come over it seems to get better and better which feels really good in the end.

RF.net: So do you prefer it?

Stu: Um, I don't know if I would say I prefer it, I just think it's a lot more exciting because we haven't done it as many times. For every one European tour we've done, we've done like 10 US tours.

RF.net: Last time we spoke to you guys there was a question about music downloading and recently over here the Government has made these plans to force ISPs to cut off people who download illegally from their internet. What do you think about that?
Stu: [laughs]Oh that's pretty silly, like how are you going to stop someone on the internet, I mean I'll just go to my friend's house and "check my email". What are they going to do? Put a bracelet on you?

RF.net: Would you say it's unfair?

Stu: I just think it's silly, I mean the music industry is so much different than it was, even 5 years ago. It's just like, sorry it's accessible and people can get it for free. I understand a lot of people are losing a lot of money, but with like all the shrinkage in the income for labels and stuff like that, a lot more people are doing home recordings and independent records and I mean you can get your band out there without a label nowadays, you don't need a label to do that. So it's like more of a question of the importance of the music industry itself, the business, the suit wearing, dudes who do all the paper work. It's like there's so much money in that industry, and I understand why people get pissed off. If people have made million of dollars off the music industry and all of a sudden have somebody be like "Well you know what? People are just stealing music!" then yeah I guess people would be upset. I download music and I don't really give a shit if someone download our record. I'd rather someone have our record and maybe there's like a couple of songs they like it, and if that's enough for them cool, and if you like the record then go out and buy it. I mean there's so many releases all the time and shit, I mean just to keep up, it's like you can't buy every record. It's impossible.

RF.net: What have you been listening to in particular of late?
Stu: I've been following the new Converge tracks as they've been coming out, the 2 that are out are fucking awesome. I got the new Strike Anywhere which leaked, which I like a lot. Hmm, what else have I been jamming on? [thinks for a second]. My favourite record this year is going to be Propaghandi for sure, hmm what else... I got a bunch of shit. I was actually thinking about this the other day because we do our top 10 records every year, like all of us in the band make up a list and put it online and shit. I just got the new Polar Bear Club record which I think is fucking awesome, uh, the new Baroness record is unreal. The Mew record is going to be one of my favourites... so thats a couple of things.

RF.net: What's your favourite band of all time?
Stu: Of All Time?! Dude that's such a hard question cos like my answers are always usually Metallica! Green Day! Because like those 2 bands are like definitely super influential. They're sort of the first more edgy bands that I ever got into. My favourite band of all time... I dunno man.

RF.net: Just throw a name out?

Stu: I dunno! I dunno! Metallica, Green Day, Deftones, NOFX, I can list those 4 bands.

RF.net: I looked on your myspace and your influences were like Meshuggah for example, I mean how big an influence were they then?

Stu: Ryan and Brandon love the shit out of that band, like they go bananas like, we wake up at 4 in the morning when we're driving down the highway and Brandon's got it cranked up and he's headbanging while driving and shit. They're not huge for me but I mean like, I'm trying to think of what else is on that list, like Deftones, Shai Hulud, Cave In, like all those bands I'm super into.

RF.net: So What are you guys planning for the future then? Any new music on the horizon?
Stu: Yeah we'll definitely write a new record, it's just going to be a matter of time. I mean we've been touring so hard this year, like we've been out since January. We took like a few weeks off here and there but I mean, we're basically coming up on almost 10 months of touring this year so... oh a Lamborghini! [points to a car driving by] But yeah I mean we're just going to take some time out and like relax, and sort of like I mentioned earlier, there's not really that drive to be on the road every day now because it's just, I guess we've sort of found our step and at this point I don't necessarily feel like we need to grind as hard as we used to. Which at the same time I think it's kind of cool because I think, there's something needs to be said about not being in every city 3 times, 3-4 times a year you know? To come through once or twice, is a little more exciting maybe. So we're going to take our time and write a new record. Nothing pressing right now.

RF.net: Well that's all the questions I have, thank you very much for the interview and the last is word is with you.
Stu: Thats about it [laughs] hm... thanks for checking out the interview and check out the band! Come see us live if you get the chance!

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