The latest album from New Jersey deathcore stalwarts Fit For An Autopsy is The Sea Of Tragic Beasts. Guitarist Pat Sheridan gives us the scoop on the new record, touring, the rise of streaming and other topics.
Chad Bowar: Was there anything unique about the songwriting process for The Sea Of Tragic Beasts compared to your previous albums?
Pat Sheridan: Typically our writing process is a bit unconventional. We are lucky to have Will (Putney) as the main contributor. He has the vision for the band, so we have the ability to focus on writing and touring at the same time. I would say if anything, the only thing we changed was the amount of time we took to structure the songs.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
Well, I would say the first time I got to hear all the tracks in pre production, that feeling of “Man, we are going for it!” was overwhelming.
Did you struggle with track order at all?
Honestly, no. The songs kinda did that all on their own. It’s important that the record plays well. This one felt right from the first time I heard it in order.
What lyrical subjects do you tackle this time around?
Honestly, we always go back to how terrible humans are. Social decline, human suffering, money and power over the lives of people, are the scariest things we see every day. Horror stories are right there on your TV, at your job, in the mall, in big business and politics. It’s all insanity, and it’s right there, but as a survival technique we pretend we don’t see it. We sweep it into places we can’t see. We try to take it out of the dark corners we ignore, and put it right in front of you to look at.
How did you come to sign with Nuclear Blast?
We worked for it. We have spent a long time working on the sound and song writing of FFAA. People took notice. Our last record was received very well, and when our time was up with Goodnight/eOne, we started looking to see who was interested. Surprisingly, we stirred things up enough to get some great offers from some historically awesome labels. Nuclear Blast seemed to be the perfect fit for the band. Monte Conner gets it, and he has really taken us under his wing. The team is perfect, and were honored to be a part of it.
Does that change your goals or expectations for the album?
Well, when you sign to a label that has some of the biggest, strongest and longest lasting bands in the metal world, you better believe that it puts pressure on you to live up to the standards of the bands you are now aligned with.
How was the video shoot for the title track?
How important are videos these days?
I firmly believe that a good video can make people look into a record faster than just hearing a good song. A strong visual representation of the song, band, and lyrical subject matter can make a record seems much more intriguing to the watcher. It’s a great avenue to get people to listen, and to get the meaning of a song across in a way nothing else can.
You have tours coming up both in the US and Europe. How does the band’s popularity overseas compare to North America?
I feel like we are gaining in all markets these days. Our best headliner to date was this past one in Europe, but it has been a minute since we have done a US headliner. So, ask me this question the next time we sit down, and I’ll have a better answer. (laughs)
How do you go about putting together a setlist for a tour, and does it change from show to show?
Depends on a lot of things. You wanna play to everyone in the room, but you also wanna play what you like to play. So truthfully, it always changes.
What’s your favorite way to kill time while on the road?
Facetiming my family, podcasts, gym, coffee, and sleep.
When you were an up-and-coming band, was there any touring experience either positive or negative that affected the way you now treat your opening bands as a headliner?
Well, we are still up and coming, so, we still understand the aspects of the opening band struggle. As much as we have grown, we still have a long long way to go, so supporting bigger bands is something we hope to do, it helps you grow. We have been fairly lucky, and haven’t had to many bad experiences on the road with bigger bands. I would say, one or two, we learned a lot about what we would never do on those tours. You learn to appreciate things differently, and you learn how you never want to treat a band who is willing to support you on a tour. Hard working bands deserve respect, and what they are willing to work for. No more, No less.
With the popularity of streaming, bands are getting more exposure than ever, but not making much money from it. What can be done to put pressure on these services to pay higher royalty rates to artists?
Honestly, I just want people to listen to our record. If that means we lose a little money to make it happen, then that’s how it works. The streaming companies are for sure hurting artists pockets in some aspects, but tell me another way to get 3.5 million people to listen to a song we put out on our last record without the internet and streaming. I would love to see it change, but I’m not a lawyer or a label guy, I play guitar. So, it’s a six of one, half dozen of the other situation. There is a win in there somewhere, but it could be better.
What are some of your non-musical interests/hobbies?
Tattooing, BMWs, coffee, and sneakers. Being a dad and husband, however, is the most important aspect of my life.
What’s the last thing you binge watched?
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Gojira, At the Gates, and for some reason I have been listening to Morbid Angel’s Gateways To Annihilation a bunch.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Just wanna thank anyone who has ever taken a minute to actually listen to our band. Love it or hate it, If you have put a little time into it, it means the world to us. To all the bands who have taken us out, everyone who has come to a show or picked up our merch, to our label and friends, we appreciate you!
(interview published October 25, 2019)