Post-hardcore quartet Capsize didn’t have to wait to win over thousands of people’s hearts. Their debut album, 2014’s The Angst In My Veins, proved it. That early success was made with something missing in their music. Their new album, A Reintroduction: The Essence of All That Surrounds Me, delivers without any sort of reservations and vocalist Daniel Wand was kind enough to walk us through the band’s new album – from creating it to its actually meaning and impactful nature.
We’re less than two months from Capsize’s new album to officially drop. How do you feel? People seem to be enjoying a lot the new song, “XX (Sew My Eyes)”.
Good. I’m super excited for everyone to hear it. The reactions to the first song have been really cool but… you know, it’s cool to hear what people have to say about the singles, but I’m way, way more excited to hear what people have to say about the whole album because I think it represents something a little bit different as one big piece as opposed to people only getting a small taste.
Talking about “XX (Sew My Eyes)”… You directed the video along with Aaron Marsh. Was it the first time you directed a Capsize video?
Me and my best friend Tyler [Ross], he plays guitar in Being As An Ocean, we’ve been working on videos for both our own bands together for quite some time so, it’s been fun to like help each other out and everything but this was the first video where I just created the artistic vision from scratch and then I had Aaron helping me out with the filming and editing together the vision I had… I’m super happy with it. At the early stages of it I knew how I wanted the footage to be kind of weird, it was kind of the first thing that I had in mind. I knew I wanted like a lot of semi-desaturated browns and greens, and just colors that look kind of dead/natural colors. And I wanted to have big parts of the video where most of the screen was black, like when it showed characters and stuff like that… Yeah, I knew I wanted to curate some sort of visual dark side to the video using the other people just kind of all came together. I don’t have a very clear explanation of every single detail in the video, but I can say that I feel that it sets a raw and dark side of that song.
About the album, perhaps we could start with the title, A Reintroduction: The Essence Of All That Surrounds Me. Is just a reintroduction to the fans that have been following your work or is it also a reintroduction of Capsize to Capsize?
It’s definitely more so to the fans because… I really like that question and I think it’s really interesting. It’s definitely more so the fans because the thing is: the things we are doing on this new record are things that have been a part of who I am for a very, very, very long time. Even since before the initial incarnation of Capsize and other things we were doing, but it hasn’t been the appropriate time to express them the way that I do on this one. It’s definitely not like internal. It’s definitely more so for anyone that’s away of us. And the rest of the phrase of the title is what kind correlates more on a personal level whereas the reintroduction is just to people that have heard of us before and the rest of the title kind of explains where that reintroduction is coming from, which is the things that represent me and the things that kind of brought me where I am, in music and just in life.
Was there any sort of discussion regarding how you would approach the new album or was it just an unconscious stream of thoughts that led Capsize to this place?
The things that we were most influenced by for The Angst In My Veins record was a lot of music made between 2009 and 2012 – Deathwish hardcore bands and stuff like that – while for this new album it was from stuff that kind of got me into underground music in the first place, which is like early/mid-2000s post-hardcore bands. Yeah, the vibe of it all is just kind of pre-selected, but there wasn’t any extreme conversation like us seating in a room deciding what we would do exactly.
The injection of melody and clean vocals on this album kind of changed the Capsize experience, for the listener at least. How was the experience of writing with that element very present and how did it feel for you guys as songwriters?
It felt good. It pretty much just feels like I can entirely be myself now. That was the one thing that… Although I was enjoying being in Capsize, that was definitely the last little thing that I really, really wanted to bring into the picture. Musically, I knew that it had to be broken in overtime and couldn’t just completely change everything just to be able to sing and I knew that it would come in time. Pretty much now more than ever, with the additional singing, I don’t feel that I’m missing out on anything as an artist. That was the important thing for me, just being able to do all of the things that I wanted to do with my voice, all over the record, without any regards for what’s “appropriate” or whatever. Just going for it. Keeping it real.
Would it be fair to say that this record is a more honest approach to self-expression?
For sure. With the previous record the things that influenced it were heavily present in my life in the moment, so that was totally honest with who I was at that exact time, but the thing about this new record is that it isn’t about who I am right now or at the time that I was recording the record… just more about who I am from the moment I first wanted to be in the band to everything I’ve gone through now doing it.
“I’m not as desperate to move on, like a certain part of my life that I was back then in a sense of I’ve been lucky enough to pursue what I actually want to be doing with my life for a couple of years straight.”
Having those two elements in the equation, did it change the way you approach the writing process?
Honestly, it just made it easier because like I said, I’d finally taken away any sort of thing I wasn’t allowing myself to do, or I didn’t think it was like appropriate at the time. In the most recent two-year experience me and everyone around me was the most open minded we’ve been to any type of idea. It made it easier because I didn’t have to overthink, “Oh, is it going to seem like it’s too much singing here?” I just didn’t care about any of that. I sang where it sounded good to me, and screamed where it sounded good to me without really second guessing it.
Back in 2014 you said, about The Angst In My Veins, “I go through life with a bit of a chip on my shoulder and let myself mentally downward spiral uncontrollably fast sometimes.” Did you feel that start to change for and with this album?
The thing is… I don’t think it started to change, I just think it got a little bit more controllable because I’m not as desperate to move on, like a certain part of my life that I was back then in a sense of I’ve been lucky enough to pursue what I actually want to be doing with my life for a couple of years straight. Back in that time, I think one of the hardest things was just being so eager to chase music the way that I do to get to now and that was just bringing me down super hard. All the internal personal struggles still exist. The fact that I have something to truly, truly appreciate, which is like the fact that I’m only in this band. I do it for a living, all that I do is play shows and travel around all year. I think having that it’s been the thing that’s made any sort of mental or emotional issues more bearable that any other time.
Reading the press release, I end up under the impression that you wanted this album to be an album that could be important for people that are still struggling to create their own identity – young people, for the most part. Is that a fair assessment?
Totally! I think it goes back to the fact that I guess I found a little bit of peace in the way that my life has turned out and I think it makes the music that we’ve just made… it’s something that me at my most darkest, completely confused point of life… I think if I would’ve had that it would help me figuring out who I was when I was younger. I would love to be able to be a part of that for the kids that are listening to our music. Essentially when I was at my lowest emotional point of life in general, there was definitely a set of records that would make it way easier and I would like to think that the record I’ve just made would’ve been in that stack if it existed back then.
Ok, I think we need to talk about “Safe Place”. Such a gut-wrenching piece. I’m really curious about that particular song. Seems to be such an important piece for the dynamic of the album.
I’m glad you like it. As far as the dynamic… its placement within the record is what I think it becomes dynamic because I put it specifically in the middle to kind of give it a chance to breathe. I wanted it to exist in the middle because I kind of have this thing that I really, really appreciate, which is if I’m listening to a record alone in a room and I end up kind of falling asleep to it if it’s soothing… there’s going to be a random point that hits really, really hard that kind of wakes me up and I realize that I like what I’m hearing so much that I was able to fall asleep to it and it was able to bring me out of sleep. I like to think that in that scenario that moment that I’ve always appreciated would exist right there too. As far as how the song came about, it was honestly kind of a last minute decision in the studio because we actually had a different instrumental that I was working on vocally but… It was like the first song I had gotten into the vocal booth and just really not being enjoying myself while I was recording it. It wasn’t as fun as it needed to be for me, it was just kind of frustrating and so we ended up just scraping it entirely and then sat down with our producer [Matt McClellan (The Devil Wears Prada, Being As An Ocean)] and pull a few reference tracks of things that we wanted to find a vibe between and… it just happened. We honestly made that song just in a single afternoon. It was the quickest song to finish out of all the songs in the studio.
Could you please let us know who’s responsible for the cover artwork and what you wanted to convey with it?
The name of the guy responsible for it is Henrik Uldalen. Essentially, I’ve found him via this artist called Chelsea Wolfe. Whenever Chelsea Wolfe put out this I thought the art was really, really special and she’d tagged this guy Henrik in the photo of her album art. It turns out he’s just had tones and tones of paintings of this similar style and he was doing all this crazy work and even shares all these amazing works in progress footage. I knew that I wanted something to be painted for the record cover. I ended up contacting the guy. He was pretty busy at the time, but he gave me a thing to go through of like all this other stuff that he’d just kind of sitting around. I purchase this painting from him and kind of did my own thing with it and it ended up becoming the album art. All of Chelsea Wolfe art is great and she definitely had a bit of inspiration on it.