May The 4th be with you! Yesterday was Star Wars day, however, yesterday was also the day that Arizona-based metalcore band The Word Alive dropped their fifth studio album, ‘Violent Noise’. With a new album out, and an American tour lined up, we got some phone time with vocalist Telle ‘Tyler’ Smith and chatted all things music. Read on to hear what he had to say about ‘Violent Noise’, touring, and heaps more!
The first question I asked Smith was how excited he is about the album coming out. “I have honestly never been more excited for anything in my life. This album is really special and I’m curious and excited to see what the reaction’s going to be.” If the positive reaction the two already released tracks Red Clouds and Why Am I Like This are getting is any indication, ‘Violent Noise’ is going to be a huge success. I then asked Telle what his favourite track was, and he answered with “at the moment, it’s fluctuating between two, Human and War Evermore.” Lyrically, these two tracks are incredibly personal for Telle so it’s easy to see why these two are his favourites. He also added, “I think Human is the most unexpected track, so let’s go with that one.”
Lyrically, ‘Violent Noise’ seems to be filled with Smith’s personal feelings and experiences, and I asked him if there was one song in particular that stood out for him as being extremely personal. “War Evermore is really personal. It’s the first time I wrote about someone who I really looked up to who passed away.” He continued on to say, “It’s about Chester (Bennington) from Linkin Park and I went into the studio and recorded most of what that song was that day.” Smith also added, “I also wanted to keep it open-ended for other people that might feel that way as well.”
With Chester Bennington being brought up, it seemed almost natural to then ask Smith a little bit of a personal question. Smith is very open about his own struggles with mental health on his Instagram and Facebook pages, and I asked him if his mental health influenced him at all musically. “I just feel like, you know, some people prefer being vague and I understand why; it’s just not me. I’ve always been a – not to be too clichéd – but I’ve always been a wear-your-heart-on-your-sleeve kind of person.” Smith also continued on to say, “I think it’s kind of therapeutic not to hold things in. I like to let things out. I have the unique opportunity, being in a band, to let people know it’s completely normal to feel this way. Especially when they’re being told that it’s not, or they don’t know other people feel that way too.”
With Smith saying that he uses his platform to tell people that it’s okay to feel these things, I asked him if he had a lot of kids coming up to him at shows and thanking him for his openness. “Pretty much every single show, and it’s one of the things that I keep in mind. It’s clearly helping people, and that’s awesome.”
Next, we turned the conversation to how Smith joined The Word Alive after Craig Mabbitt had left the band to join Escape The Fate. “I played bass for Greeley Estates and did back up vocals. When I joined Greeley, I actually joined under the premise of being the lead vocalist, but as we started writing what was to be the next record for them, it was a lot heavier than what I expect, so I left to pursue my passion which was singing.” The Word Alive was just a fledging project when Mabbitt left to join Escape The Fate, and Smith continued on to say, “Once it became apparent that The Word Alive was going to be a side project the guys parted ways with him because they weren’t interested in being a side project. They started trying out people pretty much immediately and I was one of the people they asked to try out and the rest is history.”
We then started talking about songwriting, and what the band’s process was when it came to writing. “I’ve never brought lyrics to the guys to write a song around, I write often, but what I find works best is Zack (Hansen) and Tony (Pizzuti) will write songs and then I’ll see if what I’ve written fits that, or I’ll write a new song completely from scratch lyrically.” On the album itself, the guys went back to Matt Good, who also produced their previous record ‘Dark Matter’. “He (Matt) helped us to find our vision and create it, and we recorded our two standalone singles with him as well. We gel really well with him, he understands what we want to accomplish. I don’t think the last record would have been as good without Matt.”
The Word Alive tours a lot, and I asked Smith if there were any plans to tour in Australia. “We’re working out a headline tour in the U.K and Europe for later this year and a U.S tour coming up. We’re taking the summer off for the first time in our careers but we’re planning a lot of international stuff, and we’ll be on tour pretty much from September onwards.” So Australian fans, keep your eyes peeled for that one!
Finally, I asked Smith what he missed most on tour: his bed or his French bulldog, Colby? (Colby has an Instagram account and you can follow her here!). “Definitely Colby,” he affirms. “I can be happy anywhere as long as she’s with me.”
You can pick up your copy of ‘Violent Noise’ out now via Fearless Records HERE!