Earlier this year, Texas In July released their brand new album Bloodwork. In light of this, Craig Roxburgh was able to send a few questions to the band, and Chris Davis (Guitarist) was able to answer them. They discussed adapting to the line-up changes, the state of the modern metal-core scene and what Bloodwork means to the band.
Firstly, considering the recent line-up change and the introduction of JT Cavey on vocals and Cam Welsh on guitars – what has been like adjusting to the new line-up and how has it influenced the overall dynamic and sound of the band?
Chris Davis: It’s been a fairly smooth and easy transition all around. I’ve played in bands previously growing up with Cam, so asking him to join the band was basically a no-brainer since I knew he could play and would get along with everyone well. JT has the most outgoing and happy personality that has really helped bring a refreshing sense of excitement to everything that we are doing. He also has contributed the noticeable change to the sound of our band. He has helped us discover a whole new depth and dimension to our sound that we previously weren’t able to tap into.
Texas in July is a band that laid the foundations for the modern metal-core scene. What are your thoughts on the scene as it stands today?
I’m not sure that we laid any foundation but I appreciate the compliment haha. The scene now is a little all over the place and there aren’t very many new bands that have come about recently that have really gotten me excited. I feel like a lot of bands are recycling things that they have seen other bands become successful off of. Not to say that TIJ is necessarily breaking new ground by any means, but our only intention when writing new music is to write something that we collectively as a band are proud of, we will enjoy playing and that pushes to better ourselves as musicians and songwriters. I think the scene has moved too far away from the musicianship aspect of things and more toward a popularity contest of who’s cooler than who. It’s pretty sad, in my opinion.
There is a belief that the metal-core scene and the metal scene in general is busy stagnating. Do you guys agree with the statement?
I can agree with this completely. There are a few bands out there that still find a way to put out refreshing, unique music within the genre, but for the most part it’s a lot of bands basically doing the same thing over and over.
People often justify this statement by saying “what hasn’t been done before?” If the case is that the metal scene is stagnating then what can be done to breathe a new life into it?
This is a hard one for me to generalize for the scene as a whole. I feel like we think about writing music a little different than some bands. We focus more on what we can do to push our boundaries as band, to grow as musicians, songwriters and what is going to fun for us to play. Most bands seem to focus on what is going to sell more albums and merch for them. This is what tends to give you the redundancy of music being released I think.
Back to what I said about you guys laying the foundation for metal core. Does this place in kind of pressure on you guys when you head into the studio to record an album, especially with the new album Bloodwork – seeing as you also have to show that you guys still work as a band despite having new members?
I think the initial idea of writing and recording the new album was fairly daunting. Once we started the process and really decided to just have fun with it for ourselves and stopped worrying about everyone else, it all seemed to fly by before we had to a chance to feel any stress. It was definitely the best mind set to be in during such a big transitional period for us.
On that note, what does Bloodwork represent for you guys as a band?
It definitely represents a new beginning for the band. A breath of fresh air and a new sense of excitement for what we do. I would also like to think that it proves that we are a band to be taken seriously, regardless of all of the changes we’ve gone through in the past year, but I guess that will have to wait to see how it’s received over the course of this touring cycle.
Levi Benton from Miss May I has a vocal spot on “The Void”. How did that song come together and what was it like working with him?
In the early stages of writing the album we had discussed multiple ideas for guest appearances on the album. Once the demo for “The Void” was basically near completion, it was obvious to us that Benton would be the perfect to have on. Having toured with Miss May I in the past it was really easy for us to reach out to him, and he was immediately excited and jumped on board. In a matter of days we had his vocal tracks and had yet another things to be excited about with this album!
You guys have been together for seven years now which is actually a pretty long time for a metal-core band to be together, as usually band members get pissed off with one another and the band goes on hiatus. What has the past seven years been like and how many more do you guys hope to get out of this band?
It’s been a journey of highs and lows. There were points in our career that we thought we were for sure on the right track, and other points where we thought it was all over basically. We’ve watched friends bands come and go, and we’ve watched bands that have been around a lot less time then us blow by us in popularity and success. The music industry is completely unpredictable and not always kind. In some ways I feel like with this new album, our journey has kind of just begun. I think we hope to keep going as long we still have something of worth to offer to our fans and the world. I couldn’t tell you how much longer we have left exactly, but we don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon.
Texas in July is known for pretty much touring non-stop between the releases of albums. How do you guys even manage to be almost constantly on the road?
I think something you don’t start to realize until you tour full time is that there is actually a lot more planning that needs to go into it, in order to be successful and not overplay your hand. We’ve been very fortunate to be able to work a lot of international touring into a schedule and really tried to hit all corners of the world. It’s helped us from over-saturating ourselves in many places and has helped us to make a bunch of friends in bands all over the world that have in turn been nice enough to take us out on some amazing tours. A lot of people don’t realize it’s a lot harder than jumping in a van and just going.
Obviously, with the release of the new album you’ll be embarking on even more tours. Are there any places that you’d like to tour that you’ve never been before – like South Africa or other parts of the Southern Hemisphere?
We’re always interested in touring to new places! We would love to hit Mexico, Indonesia and South America. We’re road dogs and really enjoy the traveling aspect of being in this band, so we’ll go anywhere that has people who will listen to what we have to offer.
Finally, why the name Texas In July when you’re from Philadelphia?
Not quite Philly, but close enough I suppose! It stems back to even before my time in the band. “Texas In July” came up in a conversation about summer vacations a member had taken and at the time sounded like a band. After playing a couple shows under the name it kind of just stuck and there was just no going back.