Artifex Pereo are a band that tentatively straddle the borders between art rock and post-hardcore. They’ve recently just come off tour with Wolves At The Gate and are about to embark on a tour of their new album Time in Place. MEB staffer Craig Roxburgh had the chance to send the band a few questions to answer. Here are Jordan Haynes’s responses regarding the history of the band, the band’s name, the post-hardcore genre and touring with Wolves At The Gate.
Firstly, could you give a brief history of the band for the readers?
Artifex Pereo was formed in the summer of 2008 in an attempt to legitimately pursue this whole music thing. We spent our teenage years bouncing around different projects and all knew we should join forces with the people that can provide us the best opportunity to write music of substance. After a couple years of DIY touring, we hooked up with vocalist Lucas Worley and fortified our new direction and here we are. Still learning about how to be a band.
Artifex Pero isn’t exactly a name that was pulled out of a hat. What is the story behind that name?
I’ll avoid the stock answer for a moment and give my personal story with the name. At first, I wasn’t too concerned with having a moniker. I was focused on writing music and then figuring out our identity. However, Cory and Jamie came to me/us with Artifex Pereo and gave the history lesson of Nero and his final words. It didn’t stick with me at first but we moved forward with it. I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied and motivated until I had my own interpretation. As we were writing/recording our first EP, it became clear to me that I always wanted to put the integrity of our music first. Accepting influence but avoiding imitation. I embraced that in this band, I will always make that the priority. I wanted the challenge. So, my interpretation of our band became a question I’d continue to ask myself throughout every musical decision made. “As what kind of artist will I perish?” What will our legacy be? Will we fall into the cracks like most bands? Or will we write potent and original enough music to be remembered?
You guys are six members in a band that must result in a few challenges when it comes to recording and practising. How do you guys organise everything so that all six of you can work dynamically as a band?
I hope it works. I think that everyone understands their equal pull in our “mix”. When writing, we know for certain that it’s not complete until the 6th member has inserted their opinion or melody. Everyone has an understanding of dynamics, sonically. Still learning, of course. It’s always been a challenge to not step on each other’s toes in a mix. We’ve had to make adjustments in the studio and live to make sure dynamics are represented. Whether that’s for fullness or for ambience. I think we struggle with the latter, more so.
Your music is incredibly unique. How would you describe your music in five words?
Thanks for considering us unique! I’d go with.. “Your moms might like us.”
You guys were accompanying Wolves at the Gate on their album launch tour. What was that experience like?
Man.. Those guys are the real deal. As well as Phinehas and The Orphan The Poet. Extremely professional and talented. It was humbling being on our very first packaged tour with those guys. We were only there for a brief time but it was eye-opening and we feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity to be apart of their CD release tour. Hopefully, they don’t forget who we are. I don’t want to be that weird guy that says, “My friends in Wolves at The Gate”, Nah’m sayin’?
You guys had to pull out of the last few dates of the tour with your drummer Cory Eaves suffering from extreme back pain, how is he recovering?
He was able to get to a doctor the next day and x-rays and an MRI were administered. We are currently awaiting results from that. Best case scenario is that it’s simply a muscle issue. Unfortunately, there is a chance of a disc issue and we are hoping that surgery is avoidable.
Is this injury going to have any effect on the tour you’re meant to go on of your new album?
As much as we feel like no one in this group is expendable, Cory won’t let us think that way. This band is his baby and he wants to see us press on under any circumstance. He has a few guys that he’s confident in and we are going to make sure we don’t have to cancel anymore shows. We’ve been crippled with some bad health over the past year and we need to get over that hump both physically and mentally. We are young enough dudes to really get on track with our health and mental well being. If we’ve learned anything about ourselves as of late, it’s how much we hate disappointing others and ourselves. Luckily, we’ve received an overwhelming amount of support from friends and listeners when these unfortunate things have happened. We are so grateful.
You guys straddle the gap between art rock and post-hardcore, with tentative leanings towards the post-hardcore side of things. People often, mainly metal elitists and people less educate regarding music, write off post-hardcore as not being a proper musical genre due to the incredibly wide variety within it. For instance, on one side you have Of Mice and Men and on the other side you have La Dispute. What is your take on this?
This may be hard to believe but no one in this band even knows what post-hardcore is. We understand the bands that are labeled under the genre but we honestly are clueless as to what it means. We’ve never cared. When our music first released a few years ago, that was a common tag for us. I think we were slightly let down by that. One one hand, it seems so narrow minded and puts us in a box but on the other, like you said, has a wide variety associated with it. I think the wide variety has only recently taken shape though. A few years ago, current Of Mice and Men and Memphis May Fire would have been metalcore. Those bands also feature ONE sound for an entire album. (Not a bad thing). Putting us in that box really takes away from some of our songs that if played randomly, would never be associated with “post-hardcore”. As far as “art rock”, as long as it is pertaining to the way we create music as opposed to how it sounds, I think I could get down with that. Otherwise, it seems to be as vague and useless as some of the more boxing sub-genres.
What music did you guys listen to while growing up that influenced this wondrous blend of art rock and post-hardcore?
For the most part, we all grew up listening to different things. I probably had a more obscure upbringing with a heavy dose of progressive rock/metal/ bands like Dream Theater and Queensryche and R&B/soul. From The Temptations to Mariah Carey. Metallica and Pantera did some damage on me as well. This was all before age 11. I think we all started finding common ground in our teens. Bands like Incubus, Sevendust, Linkin Park and even Creed really helped develop song structure for me. I feel like I have to mention Eugene’s love for Nirvana and The Beatles. I think it has much to do with his writing and I’m grateful for that even though I rarely gave those two bands any attention growing up. It’s also fair to mention bands like August Burns Red, Protest The Hero, Killswitch Engage, Saosin and Thrice as heavy influences when we started writing music together.
What are some of the main themes present on your new album Time in Place?
The theme of the record itself is very literal, while being incredibly broad at the same time. Time and place are two “constants” in every single person’s life and almost everything can either be blamed or thanked due to the circumstances presented by either. It felt like there were stories to tell based around those two qualifiers as well as explanations to be given as to the true nature of what time or place really is. The bases of everyone’s day to day life revolves around those two things and the fact that they are both so fleeting and taken for granted seemed like something that we needed to elaborate on. The commonality of those ideas and the individual experience that we all take from them is something that makes all of us who we are as individuals and as a collective human society and we felt like there was not only a story to tell but also an expository explanation of what “time” or “place” truly means. “Time IN Place” brings it to the personal level of observing human efforts to achieve respective quality of life in the allotted amount of time that we have; focusing on what we’re willing to do to get where we feel we need to be and how our era/location affects what we believe.
How do you guys write your music? Is there a specific formula you follow?
Each song typically starts out with a guitar riff or melody. That will develop into either a full song structure via that person sitting by themselves or bringing it to the jam-room to elaborate on. Once a structure is completed, it’ll usually take a long time and multiple revisions before everyone else has their contributions solidified. Then some melodies may be transposed to other instruments, some rhythms emphasized and everything hopefully staying interesting and dynamic. Come to think of it, we don’t have a formula. Whoops.
Finally, what is the one country you’d love to tour in that you haven’t toured in before?
Put us on land with some instruments and we want to be there. We’ve never toured outside of the U.S. We anxiously await and will continue to grind for the opportunity to play abroad. I think we need to sell a couple more records first.