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29th July 2014
METAL DISCOVERY: Obviously Tim's now incarcerated but do you feel emancipated yourself, in a sense, making this fresh start with your music?
NICK: I wouldn’t say emancipated; I would just say completely restored, for all of us. Creating music and performing has always been the balance in our lives. Music is the core of what it is that we want to do and what we love in life. So to be able to do it again, even though we’re doing it on a completely smaller scale and nobody really knows the band and we have a lot of work in front of us, it just feels like our lives are getting closer to right.
(Nick Hipa on Wovenwar frontman, Shane Blay)
"...when we brought Shane into the mix, we had a completely different skillset and level of talent that we had never known before."
Wovenwar - promo shot
Photograph copyright © 2014 Ty Watkins
Interview by Mark Holmes
Wovenwar Official Website:
Wovenwar (2014)
Thanks to Andy Turner for arranging the interview
Wovenwar Official Facebook:
MD: You have something like 37,000 Facebook likes, thus far, so I guess the band name must be getting out there already…
NICK: That’s cool, yeah. We’re so happy that we were able to… maybe we’re not starting from the exact beginning because we have the history, so it’s cool that some people came along with us and are continuing with what we’re doing.
MD: On the album, there are obviously some stylistic similarities with As I Lay Dying but also some stylistic differences, and it’s generally a more expansive soundscape you’re working within now. Was that very deliberate in trying to make Wovenwar a distinct sonic entity from As I Lay Dying?
NICK: I think when we had talked about starting another band, we were mindful that it couldn’t sound, or it shouldn’t sound, like As I Lay Dying a hundred per cent. If we did a carbon copy of it, it would always live in the shadow or, at least, always be compared to it. So, with the music we were trying to write, we’re like: “You know, let’s just write what we think is good, regardless of what it is. Let’s not make it so straightforward and one-dimensional, and let’s just see what we can do.” And, when we brought Shane into the mix, we had a completely different skillset and level of talent that we had never known before. In a band, you always want to draw from everyone’s strengths and what they do the best so, with him, he was capable of so much and his voice fits over so much more, rhythmically and melodically, that we were able to create a sound that we’d always wanted to dabble in but had never had the capacity to in the past.
MD: Have you found it’s been easier to express yourself emotionally through your music by expanding your stylistic palette?
NICK: Definitely. I think, for all of us, it’s liberating to not have any limits and not have any ceilings because of an expectation of a sound that you’ve been honing for a long time, or somebody’s inability to try something else, or reluctance to even delve into something else. All of us just want to create music that we feel is powerful and better than what we had done. Even now, we have that thought in the back of our minds that how do we expand and grow the sound; how do we get better at what we do? And it’s cool because, I think, for the first time, everybody in this band is firing on all cylinders.
MD: Did you have to challenge yourself more as a musician with this new album, to try and progress your songwriting into different areas of expression?
NICK: Yeah, we all did. I think the hardest thing was to stray away from what came easy and I think that is achieved by being completely honest with yourself. You know, we might come up with something, or we might do something, or we’re like, “yeah, that’s good”, but is it better than what we’ve done before? Is it derivative of the past? Is it a step forward or not? And I think if you can honestly respond to those, I think you can create something that is a little bit beyond what you had done prior, simply just by being real with yourself.
MD: Do you feel now that the As I Lay Dying name has become tarnished in a sense?
NICK: Yeah. I think we all just personally feel that as much as we put ourselves into it, and as much good as is still there, there will always be that cloud. There will always be an asterisk, like “As I Lay Dying, they were this band for so many years, but this is the most memorable thing that you can speak of the band.” Even if you say the name now, we’ve ran into people that ask us about the old band and it’s like, “yeah, we were in this band”… and they’re like, “oh, the band where this happened.” And it’s a bummer because that was something we had loved and it was such a big part of our lives, and what had happened to it was out of our control.
MD: Hopefully that will change over time and there will be less of a stigma attached the band name. Hopefully, anyway, because all you achieved was incredible, so I’m sure people will remember that, very fondly, in years to come.
NICK: Ah, that’d be cool, and thanks for saying that.
MD: Would you ever want to revisit As I Lay Dying music in Wovenwar setlists at shows, or is that something you want to keep in the past?
NICK: Yeah, for now, we’re just building this band and I don’t think we could build this band if we have a foot clearly in the past. So it’s just moving forward for us.
MD: On a side note, we did an interview back in 2008 and you said you wanted to finish your English Literature degree and then go on to acquire multiple degrees with the ultimate aim of becoming a professor. Does that remain an aspiration of yours?
NICK: Well, that was the old aspiration. That was what I had wanted to do… but the older I get, the more I’m certain of what it is I… I’m not certain, but the more I have a clearer vision of what I want from my life. I, honestly, will always love reading and analysing literature, and I think that’s something I will always just do as a hobby. And, I think, if I had the time to, I would but, right now, I’m at this position in life where I really have to figure out what I’m doing for my career and, hopefully, this band can be that. What I would really want in life is to be able to just play guitar and write songs and for us to play, and to continue the cycle of putting out records and play live. And, in doing so, if we’re able to do that and do it well, then I’ll have the time to pursue interests like finishing my English degree, which I was so close to getting. So, yeah, I guess the plan is always changing. But that’s just the way life is, right?
MD: Absolutely. Finally, for all the people out there who didn’t like As I Lay Dying, what would you like to say to encourage them to check out Wovenwar?
NICK: I would just ask them to listen to it. Don’t form your opinions by what you think it sounds like or what you’ve heard it is; just listen to the music. If you care enough, check it out and decide for yourself if it’s something you’re into or not. And if you didn’t like As I Lay Dying, this is a different band with a different sound, so maybe what you didn’t like about it is not part of this.
MD: Okay, well, best of luck with the album as you deserve every success you have with it, as I’m sure you will have.
NICK: Cool, thank you so much. Such nice words, it means a lot.