Metalcore veterans Bleeding Through went on hiatus for a few years, and have regrouped to release Love Will Kill All. I chatted with frontman Brandan Schieppati about the reunion, the new album, how they’ll approach touring this time around, the change in how albums are promoted and other subjects.
Chad Bowar: After you took a hiatus, what was the impetus of five of the six of you deciding you wanted to bring back Bleeding Through again?
Brandan Schieppati: Bleeding Through stopped in the beginning because we were all approaching our mid thirties. We wanted to start families and kids. Other career opportunities came up and once you give 15 years to something, it’s hard to do something else because that’s all you know. And we tried and we gave it a legit effort the last couple years of doing Bleeding Through to do it more on a part time basis. And really we found that there were other things during that part time basis, like the people that were still working for the band at the moment, we didn’t feel it was the right team anymore. And we found we still had obligations to Bleeding Through to carry out. Then we wouldn’t be able to advance in other aspects of our personal life, which I think it was important. It was really important for us to take a step back and work on our personal lives to accomplish all the things I mentioned.
And that’s just a responsible thing to do. You see so many bands that are grinding it out and grinding it out and grinding it out. And next thing you know, they’re in their forties and it’s very admirable that you’re still trying to grind it out. But their lives are a mess. And I’ve seen that firsthand, so many people that we’ve toured with. I remember having conversations with Bleeding Through members and being like, dude, we can’t let this happen to us. We have to have a moment where we have to sort our lives out and get rid of the stresses of being in a band. Rock and roll doesn’t pay as well as it used to. And nor did it ever pay for us.
We were never a big band, so it’s not like we made a lot of money, but that money wasn’t something that we could financially live off of anymore with the things that we were adding in our life. So yes, we decided we’re fulfilled right now and let’s take a step away. And then, if we decide one day we want to do it, cool. But if you don’t want to do it then we won’t do it. And I was in my studio with my producer and we were writing some songs for some other bands. I started writing a song and I’m like, man, this sounds like a Bleeding Through song. And so we finished the song and I sent it to everybody in a group text and I said, what do you guys think? Want to do a record? And I even said to them, there’s no pressure if you’re satisfied and you don’t want to do this again, then that’s fine, we won’t do it. And everybody that I wrote, which was the five of us, said let’s do this, let’s do a record again. That’s my long winded answer for why Bleeding Through stopped and why we’re getting back together.
So you recorded the album with one guitarist?
I played a little bit of guitar and Brian played the rest of the guitar in the studio.
Will you have a second guitarist in your live shows?
Yeah, we’ll have Manny Contreras who plays in a band called Impending Doom. He’s been our touring guitar player actually for the last four years of when we toured. He’s done the bulk of the touring. So this time it will be Brian and Manny.
You worked with producer Mick Kenney again on this album.
Me and him, we’re such good friends out of the studio as well. When we write music just in general, I’ll drive over to the studio and we’ll just write a random song. We just get each other and I think he really understands what the vibe of Bleeding Through is. And he’s not trying to change that vibe, he is trying to get the best out of it. The only producer that let us do exactly what we wanted to do and he wanted to pull it all out of us was Devin Townsend. He was one of those people that was like, I’m going to take what you guys do and just make it the best we can.
Mick is very similar to that. He wasn’t trying to change us or take a song and tell us to get rid of this part, that part and condense it and here’s what you have. And that’s important to us because at this age and this time of our career, we’re not trying to write rock hits. We’re not trying to get on radio. It never mattered to us before and it still doesn’t matter to us. And so, we have that freedom of having a producer say, be imperfect, be raw. That’s what your band is and let’s try to get it the best we can.
Where did the album title come from?
There were two working titles, and this is more the second one. The “All” in the title is everything that Bleeding Through, the members that are in the band right now, has gone through and everything in our personal lives. It’s kind of a miracle that we even lasted as long as we did, just so much stuff behind the scenes has happened to us as as individuals. But one thing that kept us together was our love for each other and our music, and that’s really was our love for each other. So Love Will Kill All is basically as long as we create and have each other in our life, the “All,” which is the bad and everything else, love will destroy that. All that matters is our creation and our devotion to each other and our music together. And that’s what kept us going through life for a long time.
Did you struggle with song order at all?
Not necessarily. I had it mapped out. There’s a couple of times I switched a couple of songs, but it came across pretty organic. The label wanted to have certain songs in certain places and so that was important for us to please them and have their input. And that’s something that was a little bit different this time, too. I feel that with the labels we were on before, they always wanted to dictate everything. With SharpTone They were like, listen, we’ll give you our input because we’re fans. And that’s about it. You can choose to do it or you don’t have to.
And I got the sense from them that everything that they brought up was from a good place, from someone that actually cares about the music and the band. So they moved around a couple of songs and were spearheading the fact that we release “Set Me Free” first and thought that it should be the first song. It’s actually one of my least favorite songs on the whole record. But they were like, this the song, man. And I’m like, you know what, you guys have been rad to us this whole time. You’ve been super accommodating. All right, this will be the first song. And I think they picked it right. I think they did a good job at seeing what we should release the first time.
What led you to just sign with SharpTone?
I’ve known Sean for a long time and he’s the one that runs the label. I remember when he was putting it together and then fast forward a couple years. My friends Miss May I and Emmure signed to the label and they have nothing but great things to say about it. And so when we wanted to do this new record, it was easy. Sean was the first person I called when we decided we’re going to do this record. And he said, well, I’d love to hear it. And I said, cool, come by and listen to a couple of songs. And he did. And he said, cool, we’ll put it out.
The contract part was easy. He was worried about us being an older band and wanting a crazy advance. And I said, give us the lowest advance you can give somebody. This is what we need to pay for this recording and that’s all we want because for once in my life I want to start making royalties off of a record and that’s important to us. And so we got to dictate a very fair contract that’s a win-win for the label and the band.
The promotion process has changed drastically since you guys started. Now everything is all about that first week. And after that it doesn’t seem like it really matters.
There used to be more staying power when records came out. It used to be, a band would do something first week and then maybe the second month have a spike where they would almost do the same numbers. It’s unfortunate that things don’t start slow and end big anymore. When we put out This Is Love, This Is Murderous, it did like 2300 the first week. And I thought that was crazy. I remember talking to my dad and saying that if we did 500 records the first week that we’d be super stoked. But I also remember two months later we did 5,000 in a week and then a year later we were doing 7,000 a week and it took off.
Bleeding Through wasn’t really a band when Instagram started. I’m someone that’s very active on Instagram for multiple reasons, but what it has changed is people want something right now and then they want the next thing right now. And I think that it’s a blessing and a curse. What we have in our hands is something that could get our music out there faster and get our name out to people that we normally would never be able to get our names out to. But it also is something to where the world wants more and they always want more and more and more and new and more. And so now it’s all about trying to be strategic with your content, which is different from when Bleeding Through was still a band. You set the record up very well and then after that you do a couple other promotional issues and now it’s just constant promotion, constant posting schedule and all that kind of stuff.
There’s definitely no mystique in music anymore, which is lost with social media. But it also is cool because what we’re finding now is that a lot of people are stoked about Bleeding Through that didn’t even listen to the last couple of records. And I think that the last couple of records got lost in there because we weren’t active on social media when those records came out. We weren’t on Facebook every day doing posts and posting songs and all that kind of stuff. We weren’t on Instagram or Twitter doing the same thing. That wasn’t the school we were brought up in. But now because the stuff is at your fingertips, a lot of people are like, damn, I just bought your last few records and they were awesome. It’s almost like people had no idea we were still a band because they got sucked into the social media age and Bleeding Through decided to stay dinosaurs.
You did a video for “Set Me Free.” How important are videos now that they aren’t played on TV much, but on social media?
I can say honestly they’re exponentially less special. What I mean is there’s nothing like seeing your video on MTV. That’s a childhood dream and that’s one of the things that I will always say was a dream come true when Bleeding Through had a video on Headbangers Ball and we got to be interviewed on Headbangers Ball. Now it’s just YouTube streaming, which is cool. It’s just a different platform. But I think it loses that special appeal
In reality, a lot more people are seeing your videos on YouTube now than did on MTV back in the day.
Totally. But there was just something cool about it. I still get fired up when I hear a song on Sirius XM, when I’m listening to Liquid Metal and I hear a Bleeding Through song.
You have some shows coming up next month. With what you mentioned earlier with families and kids, does that change how you approach scheduling tours these days?
Yeah, everything’s going to have to be some kind of weekend warrior status. We’re not going to be able to do those months long tours. I’d say at max you’ll get a couple of weeks in a row, just because of everything that we have going on in other areas of our life it would be rather difficult. But I think we will be able to do this. I think it will work in our favor and I think we’ll be able to please as many people as possible.
There are a lot of derivative bands in your genre. Do you see anybody of the younger generation that is unique and stands out from crowd?
There’s a band from New Jersey called Old Wounds that’s pretty cool. They have that Bleeding Through/AFI kind of feel and look and they’re one of these bands that actually says we’re a metalcore band. That’s weird to me because I felt like that was a bad word for so long. That band’s really cool. I listen to a lot of bands that are from our genre of things and am kind of disappointed about stuff. I’m not stoking out on a lot of new stuff.
Are you currently doing any other projects besides Bleeding Through?
I still have the project that I did called The Iron Son. That’s something I did while I was percolating the idea of putting Bleeding Through back together. I wanted to do The Iron Son because I just wanted to be in the studio again and create music and get that vibe again. And once the Bleeding Through thing settles down a little bit, then I can maybe focus on doing another Iron Son record.
(interview published May 25, 2018)