Artisan News recently spoke to FLYLEAF guitarist Sameer Bhattacharya and singer Kristen May about the alternative hard rock band's fourth studio album, "Between The Stars". Check out the report below.
"Between The Stars" sold 8,200 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 33 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD was released on September 16 via Loud & Proud Records.
With producer extraordinaire Don Gilmore (PEARL JAM, LINKIN PARK, BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE) manning the board, the band spent a month in a Los Angeles studio during the spring of 2014. The fruits of their labor is a wealth of heavy, hypnotic soundscapes laced with new frontwoman Kristen May's piercing vocals.
"When we started writing this record, we had a common hardship," admits Kristen. "Their singer had quit, and my previous band had broken up. As writers, we weren't really sure how to move forward. At the same time, we all had this shared feeling of hope and a second chance. Music came out of those experiences from coming together and persevering through whatever doubts and trials we faced in our lives. It felt like home once we began making music."
Guitarist Sameer Bhattacharya concurs, "It just worked. We were bringing in different perspectives and ideas from earlier times. It was a new beginning for all of us."
For proof, look no further than first single "Set Me On Fire". For the lyrics, the band found inspiration within a rather unconventional place.
"Pat, Kristen, and I had just finished reading Veronica Roth's 'Divergent'," recalls Sameer. "Something in the story resonated with us. It's that moment of finding yourself. Mark Twain said something really powerful. He wrote, 'The two most important days of your life are the day you're born and the day you find out why.' 'Set Me On Fire' represents that realization."
Kristen comments: "It's about the passion we feel when we first fall in love and our emotions are running high, along with our thirst for this great life and all it has to offer. There is so much beauty, excitement and hope in this world and when we collide with one another and fall in love, magic happens. I hope everyone turns this song up to eleven, and sings at the top of their lungs."
Shot with director Noel Maitland (SPEECHLESS, KINGS OF SUMMER) in an abandoned warehouse in downtown Los Angeles, the "Set Me On Fire" video can be seen below.
On the flip side, "Traitor" might just be the group's heaviest salvo to date. "It's about knowing which people in your life aren't good for you," sighs the frontwoman. Then, there's "Thread", which weaves together a spiraling melody and an uplifting message. "It's another journey," Sameer says. "It's got a great message that sometimes you can't only rely on yourself." "You feel lost and like you're hanging by a thread," continues Kristen. "In those moments of fear, anxiety, and depression, you've got to reach for something bigger than yourself. We all collaborated on that, and it just fit."
Throughout this process, FLYLEAF has stayed connected to their diehard fans. Via PledgeMusic, the band was able to crowd-fund some incredible opportunities. Fans got the chance to hang in the studio while the band worked on the album, hear music first at an exclusive listening party, get special art created by band members, or even items knitted by Kristen. That immersion will continue as they head out on the road over the course of the next year.
Ultimately, that audience remains closer to the musicians' hearts than ever before. "This album is a reminder that we're alive," Sameer declares. "Embrace life now. That's a recurring theme since our inception. We want people to know they're alive, they're loved, and there's hope. That's what we want to share." Kristen concludes, "I hope it's an album people can listen to for years to come. We put our hearts and souls into it, and I want them to hear that."
Kristen May replaced original vocalist Lacey Sturm after the latter abruptly departed the group in October 2012.
Sturm left the band on the eve of the release of its third album, "New Horizons", which came out on October 30, 2012 and sold 20,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 16 on The Billboard 200 chart.