WRANKmusic's Interview with Chris Conley
Interview with Chris Conley
Saves The Day: Interview with Chris Conley
by Richard J. Parker from WRANKmusic.com
In the past few months, Saves the Day has been sounding their own alarm after over a year of hibernation. As they prepare to unload their fifth full-length record (which as-of-now has still not found a label to call home), they are re-adjusting to the newest incarnation of a band that goes through looks and appeals with each offering. So far, they've been everything from punks-without-a-cause to emo-darlings-of-the-thrift-store-Gestapo to too-intricately-complex-to-be-properly-appreciated, without a hint of fakery in any skin. Now armed with one of their most dynamic lineups in quite some time, including latest acquisition Manny Cabrerro (formerly of GlassJAw) on bass, they have come back to reclaim a scene that's both grown up with and turned on them over the years building up to Sound the Alarm, due out this Spring. As they wind down from a national co-headling tour with Senses Fail and special guests Emanuel and The Early November, we were able to catch singer/guitarist/lyricist Chris Conley in between sell-out dates.
Hello. Please identify yourself for the readers at home.
I am identified by my Earth Parents as Chris Conley but everyone on my home planet Zanzibar calls me Ed.
It's been well-documented that on Can't Slow Down you wrote all of the lyrics and music and actually recorded all the guitars and most of the bass parts, almost taking the role of the commander-in-chief of Saves the Day. What's it like now, looking back and knowing that you're the only one from that album still along for the ride and how far you've come?
Well, it's felt like the same band all along, with rotating members. It's always just felt like Saves The Day. I don't know how else to describe it. I'm thankful that we're still here today making music. We survived many changes both in the band and in the world of music.
An ad for Houston Calls' new album has a review blurb stating it was "this generation's Through Being Cool". How does that feel that people still consider it such seminal album and a benchmark for comparison?
Oh, that's surreal. We made that record very modestly in about eleven days, and when it was finished we were happy with what we'd done. That people still listen to it now is something we never could have imagined.
So I recently read an older interview where you went into detail on why Sean, Justin, and Anthony didn't work out. Years later, you've parted ways with Bryan, Ted, and Eben. I won't ask you to explain why they're not with STD anymore, but for curiosity's sake, if we were to do a "Where are they now?" special, where could we find them?
Eben is modeling tighty-whities in New York City. Ted and Bryan are going to school.
We all know how STD wore Lifetime as an influence on their collective sleeve during your formative days. Did you get a chance to attend any of the Lifetime reunions this past summer? And if so, did it still reverberate with you the same way as when you were younger?
I did not get a chance to go.
Years back, when Stay What You Are was released, you had said you weren't ready for a major label deal and were content to be on an indie like Vagrant, with more room to breathe. While this happened, your tour mates in New Found Glory got picked up by MCA and had some solid success, but it seems to have dwindled with each release. Do you ever look at the road they took and consider how that could have been you?
No, I'm happy with the decisions that we've made.
We understand that you worked with Steve Evetts on Sound the Alarm, who also produced your first two albums. Back then, you had the whole world in front of you. Now you've worked with him after really establishing yourselves nationally and broadening your audience. Would you care to compare the experiences? Does the idea of a bigger stage and higher expectations this time around get in your heads at all?
We disappeared for a whole year before starting work on Sound The Alarm. So we weren't thinking about our role in the music scene. We were focused on making the record. So, it was similar to the old days. The only difference is that we are more experienced now than before. So we felt more confident in the studio.
On this tour you're on now, you enlisted the bass-playing services of Manny Cabrerro, formerly of GlassJAw. Since WrankMusic is, in fact, a Long Island-based webzine, I'm sure our readers would love to know how he has contributed to the STD machine.
We're lucky to have Manny. When he recorded his bass parts for the record, all of a sudden the songs became three dimensional. He transformed the songs. His input on this album is absolutely crucial to the sound. He's the best.
Something that's bothered fans was the decision to leave "Melt With You", the demo versions of the songs that appeared on Can't Slow Down, and the In Reverie B-Sides off of Ups & Downs. Was there any reasoning behind this?
We never got the rights to the cover of Melt With You. And when we recorded the acoustic EP, we didn't think too many people would hear it. So when we put out Ups & Downs, we didn't want any legal problems. As for the In Reverie B-Sides, we're saving those for a future B-Sides record. And since some of the demos wound up on Can't Slow Down, we left them off Ups, cause people have already heard that stuff, and the focus of Ups was to give people songs they haven't heard before, or songs that have become hard to find.
You recently recorded a cover of The Dead Boys' "Sonic Reducer" for the soundtrack to Tony Hawk's American Wasterland - a good cover at that, like most of your others. What are some other songs you'd like to cover as Saves the Day?
Anything by Chingy. That guy's the best!
A few years ago one of your trademarks seemed to be intimate shows at smaller venues and putting your mic in the crowd's face. Now you play on bigger stages with heightened security but longer sets. Do you ever wish you could trade off the eras of Saves the Day, for example, play your newer material to more intimate crowds and your older stuff in the bigger venues?
I enjoy all the shows. Big or small.
You guys came from NJ and I know for a while some of you were living in NYC - two vastly resourceful areas for independent musicians to thrive. So why do you choose to go to California when recording?
That's where it all goes down.
So some of the new song titles off Sound the Alarms include "The End," "Dying Day," and "Eulogy." Can we expect a darker and more existentialist record this time around?
You can expect to hear upbeat music with very dark lyrics.
With a back catalog as extensive as yours, one has to ask. When are we going to have an officially released live album?
Probably within two years we'll have a live record available at our shows.
How about a DVD?
Yes, that too.
Hey, since re-releases seems to be the trend in the industry right now, might we get a Through Being Cool special edition?
You guys certainly paid your dues to get where you are, having put out three full-lengths before headlining in major cities and whatnot. However, I've noticed a lot of younger bands get these same types of tours early on in their career - namely Fall Out Boy, Senses Fail, Hawthorne Heights. How do you feel about this difference in tour-packaging?
The younger bands who gain popularity before having to put in the hard work miss out on many learning experiences.
As an Emanuel fan, I was glad to hear that they came through in the clutch when Say Anything dropped off. What's it been like taking them out?
I LOOOOOOOVE Emanuel. They're one of my favorite new bands that I've heard in years. It's very fun hanging with them on tour. Good dudes.
I also know a lot of fans were specifically looking forward to seeing Say Anything in addition to you guys this tour. Can we expect Saves the Day to make good on a raincheck?
I actually first heard of you guys from a Vans Warped Tour trading card that was in a friend's locker a few years ago. Agencies aside, is there any interest on your part in being on next year's Warped or similar festivals (such as The Bamboozle)?
What are Saves the Day's immediate goals surrounding the release of Sound the Alarms?
Our goal is to release it in March and tour our asses off.
Okay, so let's take this home with an open forum. In parting, what would you like to say to anyone reading?
Haha. Once again, I'd like to thank you for your time. We here at WrankMusic highly anticipate the new album and can't wait to review it.
Richard J. Parker would also like to thank Eric Stenman @ Hard 8 Management.