When Adam Brock Ciresi reaches out, it’s always a harbinger of good tidings, and this occasion is no different. A decade has whisked by since our last in-depth video interview, and today, we’re excited to delve into Carrion Spring‘s latest artistic venture, “How it all falls away petal by petal.”
Originating from Portland, Oregon, Carrion Spring returns after a near half-decade hiatus with an EP that marks a significant evolution in their sound. Melding elements of screamo, dark hardcore, and post-hardcore, this latest release encapsulates a renewed spirit within the band.
Adam Brock Ciresi’s emotive and strained vocals stand at the forefront of this transformative endeavor, elevating the EP to a realm of emotional intensity and raw beauty.
The EP offers an intriguing mix of tracks, each telling its own story while contributing to the collective narrative. Today, we’re stoked to present a detailed track-by-track commentary by Adam Brock Ciresi, offering a glimpse into the creative process and the intricacies behind each composition in “How it all falls away petal by petal.”
“This album was a very fun experience for us.” – comments Adam. “This recording happens in our little basement practice space, and is a big part of our writing process. We have a decent little home recording set up, and it allows us to constantly record songs as we are writing them. You hear the room we write our music in, where lately we spend a lot of time with each other, fleshing out all these ideas, having fun, joking around a lot and at times even having some really deep conversations. I’d like to think some of that bleeds into the recording :)”
Track by track commentary, by Adam Brock Ciresi:
After a couple of years of toggling pandemic logistics with the band line up, we finally found a solid line up of people to consistently write with. This was the first song we wrote with as this new iteration (aside from the song Supervisionary we did for the Balladeers, Redefined comp, although that was with only 2 of us at the time, mostly as a studio effort during the height of the pandemic), and felt really good to get out. This song feels like the act of coming back into the world (screaming even) to express how much we miss and want to do this thing again.
There are several layers to the lyrics in this song, at the time I was reading Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler, which definitely had some impact, especially along the lines of societal degradation and the breaking down of the human spirit, collectively and individually. The sample at the end is Henry Miller, on coming back to the states after decades of living in France, probably around the 1950’s. I am from New York, though I’ve lived in Portland for over 16 years now, and sometimes I have the exact same feeling when I go back home to visit NY lol
The World is No Longer a Beautiful Place and I’m Afraid to Die
This title still makes me laugh a bit. It’s the second song we wrote, recording it as Peacemeal going straight into this song, which is typically how we perform it. I remember, for instance, being blown away how our bassist, Gareth, recorded the first few songs straight through literally without any pause, one into the next, and thinking, damn, that’s impressive, and also this is exactly how we usually play it live. So it felt great to capture some of that energy.
This song starts off more hardcore, but then tends toward being a little bit more melodic, while retaining some heaviness and creating a lot of tension. Lyrically, it really leans into extractive capitalism and how it is largely responsible for global warming and the severity of terrible living conditions across the world. The technology we rely on today is killing entire groups of people and exhausting our natural resources. Capitalism has no sense of a sustainable, cleaner future, it continues to be predatory and relies on planned obsolescence as a big part of its economic model, creating despair for future generations, etc etc. You get the point, I’m sure. I think those lyrics are a bit obvious.
This is the first song we wrote with our current drummer, Ben. For almost a year, we wrote several songs with the original drummer of Carrion Spring, which includes the first two from this album, though they’ve adapted since. This song was when we finally got to write something from scratch with Ben after learning all the previous songs. We continue to explore this balancing act of when we get more experimental and noodley with our riffs, and when we try to approach parts more minimalistically and effectively. I think this song does a good job of that, especially integrating more melodies and dynamics.
These lyrics started out as some journal entries I wrote while I was in the hospital earlier this year. I have a severe condition of the illness Ulcerative Colitis/Crohn’s. It had gotten out of control over a couple of years, largely the result of coming off of my immuno-suppressant medication during the pandemic out of fear of complications with Covid if I was to ever get it.
Long story short, my life became so painfully and impossibly difficult to manage that I had to check into a hospital to get serious medical care in hopes of avoiding something tragic. It was one of the worst periods of my life I’ve ever gone through, and I’m still dealing with the trauma, psychologically and even physically. It’s not easy to write lyrics about my illness and life experience with it, though I’ve done it a few times before, but that period was so impactful for me that I had to distill some of it into a song. The room I was put in for a couple of weeks had an amazing view of the entire city of Portland, with Mt Hood overlooking the city in the near distance.
The lyrics are pretty literal when I say “a perfect view of the storms rolling through”, watching heavy clouds pour sheets of rain across the city. And the lines before it and album title “how it all falls away petal by petal//all dried up, fall silent, collected on the floor in heaps, pile up. They decorate this near death bed…” that refers to the flowers my family brought me while I was in the hospital, just long enough to watch the flowers die and fall, and with nothing else to do but lie there for hours on end, I’d watch and anticipate the fall of each petal. Waiting for a flower petal to fall for hours on end, and then finally seeing it, is actually quite a profound moment, especially when you’re really hanging on, not to mention on a lot of morphine lol.
How it all Grows Again
This is an instrumental that actually just completely happened in the moment at the end of Motional. We usually do this live, but everytime we do it it’s always slightly different. This one is very unique in that way, it was fully spontaneous and I think we did a great job of representing that part. The title comes out of our desire to try and balance the bleakness of our lyrical content with some hopefulness.
We Laugh Indoors
Yeah, we covered it. It’s an old Death Cab for Cutie song that we love. For some of us this song goes back 20+ years. Steve suggested the idea and we all quickly agreed. For me at first it seemed a little random, but it’s important to us that we all trust each other’s intuition, and I am glad that’s such a strong value in this band, because I think the song turned out great. We set out to have our own spin on the song while still paying enough homage to the original.
It’s really fun to perform, especially when we push the dynamic of the song towards the end, which is where it starts to feel somewhat similar to what we do in our own music.