Time alone can often be enough to incite change artistically in any person, and any combination of people, like those in a band, might see some of those changes happening in unison. Feathergun started as a different band altogether, named Crooked Mile, with a different lead singer and musical arrangement (one where Matt, our bass player was one of the guitarists along with Nick). After adding myself and Richie Rubio, we came in with some of the previously-written music and redrafted the lyrics and beats behind them. Our first band name with Josh, Nick, Matt, and Richie was called Into the Fire.
Not long after being pretty happy with the name, we found out that some of the ex-members of Evanescence decided they wanted that name as well, and with their musical clout, we decided it was best to abandon the old name and try on Feathergun, which is named after a Rishloo album released some time back. With the final name in place and the band together, we finished writing music and recorded our first, self-titled album.
The album had a lot of energy, contributed to by three writers: myself, Nick, and Matt, each having written songs on the guitar. That was one of the first indicators that Feathergun was going to be different than other bands, because bands that had multiple writers (think the Beatles, though we're not comparing ourselves to them) often had a stronger diversity in their music, for better or for worse. We actually worried for a while that our musical identity might be skewed by writing with three people, but we decided it was a luxury of ours and embraced it. We wrote what we wanted and played it and every time it sounded like Feathergun.
The second and coming album, Gates Wide Open, was our first opportunity to write every song together with our current lineup. Though there was a stint where Richie separated from the band, when he came back, the songs were his and he played them the way he wanted to. We wrote more than eight songs, but we landed on eight songs for the final version of the album. We focused on strong songwriting, the way we always did, with a focus on those catchy and nostalgic hooks--the things you might hear in some of our old inspirations like Audioslave and Alice in Chains. What was the old adage? "Don't bore us, get to the chorus." A loose rhyme, but it makes sense.
So our lead single, Against the Stone, did just that. We wrote a strong, singable verse and chorus (originally the whole chorus had a harmony behind it) and we let it out into the world. We also let it guide the writing as we moved forward. Nick continued to write both beautifully melodic riffs or brutal metal riffs and we put some of those on the album too, in either The Other Side of Light or Cradle Chains. The lyrics still came from the heart, though we moved more away from some of the political themes and focused more on the challenges of being a person (not to say there isn't plenty of political themes still addressed).
Finally, when we decided to get into the studio, we worked with James Gelber through the entire process, where with the first album, we started recording with Digital Base and moved over to Studio 19 afterward. Giving James the reigns from the beginning allowed the music to be much more balanced, and gave us more opportunities during the recording process. James' growth shows in the album as well, especially in some of the cleaner vocal mixes.
Growth is inevitable in writing music and working with a band. The shows, the experiences with the people, learning from what they say, making those changes, taking advice from bigger acts that we've had the privilege to play alongside--all of those things made a difference in the end result of Gates Wide Open.
Keep an eye out on August 1, 2019, for the full release of the album, but in the meantime, check out Against the Stone.