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EXCLUSIVE: THE WILL TO SURVIVE interview

Harrisonburg, VA’s THE WILL TO SURVIVE is a indie / progressive rock in the vein of BRAND NEW or MANCHESTER ORCHESTRA. They have a new record  “It’s Hard to Speak Through Chattering Teeth”  coming out in January 2013. We discussed mostly this new outing, the Harrisonburg music scene, and the band itself.

Hey! Thanks for taking some time with us, guys. Please introduce yourselves and your music to our readers. How would you describe your sound for someone who had never heard your music before?

[laughs] describing our music to someone who’s never heard it before is always an interesting thing. We make all these references to other sounds and music that people don’t really know how to apply and may only exist from our perspective anyway. Adam always just tells people that we’re a melodically aggressive indie rock band. The most obvious bands that would be the most similar to us would probably be BRAND NEW and MANCHESTER ORCHESTRA if we had to choose.

Alright. So when did you guys decide to put this band together? How did it all start?

Adam moved to Harrisonburg Virginia in late 2009 with the idea and name for this band already in his head, and immediately went to work inserting himself into the local music scene and actively hunting down musicians that would get what he was trying to do and help him accomplish turning the idea into a reality. 6 long months later, a fledgling “The Will to Survive” was born.

And what’s the inspiration behind the name? 

The inspiration for the name stems from living a hard life that causes many people to develop a lot of problems that they end up not being able to solve, and a lot of times they miss out on forming quality relationships with others and themselves even. They miss out on enjoying life and strengthening themselves despite what might lurk in their past and even their present. The name is meant as a statement to refuse that fate, to push through all adversity, no matter how overwhelming, and to allow your misfortunes to strengthen you rather than harden you or worse make you shrivel and shrink.

Tell us about your cooperation with Lost Apparitions Records.

Our experience with Lost Apparitions has been extremely positive so far. This is our first time working with a record label and honestly that idea can be kind of intimidating. Our A&R guy Stan Hensh has really been amazing with making us feel comfortable and supported. What’s really funny is that Lost Apparitions is predominately a metal record label. We’re the only band in our genre signed with them, and yet Stan always gets excited whenever we tell him about what we’ve been up to. His interest in us came from left field though, to be sure. He had been looking at the metalcore band that Ben and Austin had been in prior to TWTS, and when he found out they were in a new project he came out to a show and the rest is history.

Ok. Let’s talk about your new record coming out in January 2013. How was the time spent in the studio?

Our debut LP which is coming out early 2013 is to be titled “It’s Hard to Speak Through Chattering Teeth” and we’re all pretty excited to see it hit the shelves! So far our time in the studio has been sent going through the process of pre-production. What that means is that we’ve been getting all the little things out of the way and nitpicking our songs to make sure they’re exactly how we want them, and having our producer do the same. Also it involves setting up all the metronomes for each song and doing all the scratch tracking (tracks meant to be nothing more than a point of reference which will later be thrown away).

Were people from outside the band (producers, etc.) a big part of that experience?

Our producer will most definitely play a major role (pivotal really) throughout the entire recording process. Chris Perez is an amazing engineer and producer, and we’ve really come to trust him through working with him when we made the demos, and also through watching him work with other bands. The opinions of other musicians who we have worked closely with and who have become trusted friends will also play a role.

What kind of bands did you listen to while you were recording?

Well, we haven’t gotten into the “nitty gritty” of recording yet, but probably not very much. There will probably be some hardcore and some hip hop in there, but we’ll be staying away from anything even remotely in our genre so as to not be too strongly influenced by other sounds similar to ours, and to also avoid getting sick of the music we’re doing. We really want our album to sound as fresh and passionate as possible.

How will it be different, if at all, from your debut EP “The Chattering Teeth”?

This LP will be different from the initial demos in the sense that well, first of all, we’re taking a much more professional approach to the recording of it. We wanted the demos to sound good, but there was always this background thought of “they’re just demos so it doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect”. That is definitely not the thought process this go around. We’ve also done a lot of maturing as a band and as musicians since those songs were written and recorded, which will definitely have an impact on how this record sounds.

How do you plan to distribute this new outing?

Lost Apparitions will be handling some of the distribution of this record, however a large majority of it will be through social media networking and just touring the crap out of it and getting it into as many hands as possible!

How do you feel about downloading music? Does it bother you that it’s out there and your new stuff will be available for free, as well?

The way we feel about downloading and pirating our music is this: Go for it. Though we do hope that people choose to buy it from us in the beginning to show their support given that we’re still an emerging band, we also understand that a band supports itself financially through playing shows and fans picking up other forms of merch such as shirts and the like. If it comes down to someone either not getting our cd because they’re broke, or downloading it off the internet/ having one of their friends burn it for them, we encourage the latter. We planned for that.

Ok, I guess you’ll be promoting the new release on tour. What are your touring plans both for the coming months and the next year?

TOUR TOUR TOUR! Our recently acquired booking agent/touring manager has rather quickly assumed an indispensable role with us. Geoff Snow with Mithos Booking has been working long hours to try and get us on the road as much as we can handle. Things are starting off small (short tours spread out over the course of a month) so that we can manage it financially and remain afloat as a band and as people. In the next few months though, we hope to be expanding and extending our tours by significant increments.

How would you define success for yourselves as a band? Do you have a certain goal with this project? Where do you see THE WILL TO SURVIVE in the next five years?

That’s a hard question! For us, we think that being able to play music for people who appreciate it and being able to make a somewhat comfortable living off it would be enough. Anything else will just be icing on the cake. We hope to continue growing as musicians and as people so that this band will never grow stale, and that we’ll be able to leave our mark on the history of music.

Tell us about the Harrisonburg music scene. What genres are most popular there?

Harrisonburg has a surprisingly active music scene! It’s a small-ish college town, but for some reason countless bands have made it a point to stop through and the culture has kind of built around that. Not many bigger acts who have frequented the East Coast in their younger days can say that they haven’t stopped through Harrisinburg at some point. We’d start a list but it would just go on and on, if that says anything. We can’t think of many legitimate genres that don’t have some sort of representation here.

Any cool local names you’d like to spread the word about?

SO MANY! First of all, our good friend Cody Bowers is working on a solo record (which Adam has done some guest vocal work on). We’re not sure what he’s calling the project yet, but we’ll keep ya posted! We’d also like to mention the following bands: SAMMY G AND THE JACKKNIVES, LIMBS, GIFTS FROM ENOLA, AUDIOSTROBELIGHTBIB-BI and last but not least, SEW.

When you are not busy with the band, what do you do on your free time?

Adam:

I like to loaf. When I’m not working or doing something with the band, my absolute favorite pastime is moseying. I like to just sort of poke around and wander somewhere. I find that I always end up having the most interesting and wacky, yet fulfilling, days when I don’t have any plans or goals, I just kind of “go” and see where I end up. I might stay someplace an hour, or just ten minutes before I toddle off to somewhere else. I also love internet science! My best friend and I will spend hours just cruising the internet looking for cool new stuff that we never knew, sometimes watching a video on a previously unknown topic, or reading a recent article on physics (put into layman’s terms of course).

Austin:

Well, I feel as if I’ve turned into a 70 year old married couple. I enjoy not doing a damn thing during the work week aside from sitting in the hammock by a fire or deedling away on guitar all evening. I also don’t like eating or drinking or breathing or loud music or kids on my got dang lawn. On the weekends though, when I’m back in town with everyone else I’m game for anything. Life is about experiencing new things, if you don’t put yourself out there you’ll be a very boring individual. I definitely end up where the wind takes me. Also, bath salts. Adam and I like to do lots and lots and lots of bath salts. Don’t tell though…be cool man.

Nic:

Doin hoodrat shit with my friends.

Ben:

I like to cook delicious meals and play guitar. I also enjoy board games and trying new beers.

I guess that’s about it. Thanks a lot, guys!

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