Melodic post hardcore act FAMOUS LAST WORDS discuss their new record

Well, it’s certainly not the type of metalcore tinged post hardcore you’d expect here on IDIOTEQ, but we definitely like to deviate from our main path and meet some open minded musicians not necessarily affiliated with our main activity. FAMOUS LAST WORDS (ex A WALKING MEMORY) is a post hardcore band from Petoskey, an interesting spot on the map of the state of Michigan, which is a home for coastal resort community located at the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The band has released 3 concept albums to date, with the latest, “The Incubus” (Revival Recordings), being their first effort since their departure from InVogue Records. Their latest music video surpassed around 330,000 views in just a couple of months, still having a long road to beat “The Show Must Go On” clip that counted 13,3 mln views! So basically what I’m trying to say here is that we have a huge star aboard and it’s really cool of them to take some time with us and discuss their band with a tiny DIY webzine like IDIOTEQ. We sat down with vocalist Jeremy Tollas to unveil some details about “The Incubus”, discuss the idea of making short movies out of music videos, learn a bit about their hometown, and uncover some more stuff that their fans will surely be amped to learn.

Top photo by Corbin Alvae.

Hey there! Thanks for taking some time with us! How are you?

Jt: We’ve been great! As of this moment, we are just waiting to load in to our last show of the year at The Thompson House in Newport, KY!

Cool, good luck with that! So, since your new record is finally released, what feedback have you received?

Jt: The feedback has been incredible. We didn’t know what to expect because we did change up the sound a bit, but for the most part it’s been an incredibly positive response. On some of the shows of The Incubus Tour which we are finishing up today, I’ve seen kids singing along to more new songs than old ones.

Can you tell us more about your cooperation with Revival Recordings and the label itself? Comparing to your previous endeavour with InVogue Records, what’s different?

Jt: Just a completely different group of people with different mindsets and levels of creativity. Its always healthy to have fresh eyes and ears overlooking a project. Everyone at Revival is very creative, so it’s been great being able to bounce ideas off of new people to help us get different perspectives on our work.

You stated that your lyrical themes revolve around life, death, hope and love. That’s obviously something that connects your stories. How has your approach to writing evolved over time and what messages did you want to get across to your listeners with this new record?

Jt: That overall theme to our records is still very present in the new album. But if you were to take an overall “message” from the story, it’s to never let anyone (or their actions) turn you into something you’re not.


Does this new concept open new doors for a follow up for your next record? How do these stories connect?

Jt: The albums aren’t connected in anyway other than that basic message we always try to stick to. There are different kinds of love, hate, sadness, fear and happiness. We try to explore them all with each new concept.

What influences do you consider the most significant in your writing?

Jt: Each album’s story influences the sound more than anything else. We try to score the music to the story to properly capture the right vibe for each song. So the sound of each song really depends on what is happening in that particular point of the story

You released a short movie called ‘A Two-Faced Charade’ last year. Please tell us a bit about your collaboration with Nina Tollas and your role in this pairing.

Jt: Originally, our old bass player, Jesse Maddy and I came up with the story for Two-Faced Charade. Once the story was put together, I collaborated with my sister, Nina Tollas on the short story which was written and released with the album. After telling her what the story was about and what happens in each part of the story, she pretty much took over writing the short story itself. And it was our videographer, Charlie Anderson, who has done all of our music videos, who took the short story Nina wrote and turned it into the script for the short film.

What was it about this story that compelled you to expand it and publish in this new original form?

Jt: I’ve always been super interested in film so when the opportunity to do a short film for the album presented itself, I jumped on it immediately.

Are you tempted to produce a follow up, perhaps a longer one?

Jt: We most likely won’t do any more work on A Two-Faced Charade because that album was a few years back now, but I would LOVE to keep doing more film adaptions of some sort for the rest of the albums.

Wrapping up the content side of FAMOUS LAST WORDS, what is your impulse to tell fictional stories as opposed to memoir or personal accounts? Do you believe there is a greater freedom that fiction allows?

Jt: I do believe there is a greater freedom to it. Cause I can take personal experiences and emotions and translate them to new stories with new characters. And from there, I can really go any direction with them. I’ve always been a huge fan of musicals, so writing stories and telling them through music just comes naturally to me.


Photo by Justin Conant.

Ok, so let’s get some details on your live appearances. You’ve just wrapped up your US headline tour. How about 2017? Do you plan on hitting more distant countries?

Jt: We would absolutely love to tie overseas! At the moment we are just waiting for the right opportunity. As for other tours in 2017, we have submitted for quite a few, so we will hopefully know soon whether or not we got the tours!

FAMOUS LAST WORDS live by jcpics3

Photo by Justin Conant.

Ok, so lastly, I’d like to touch upon the place of your origin, the coastal resort community of Petoskey. It’s quite a place to come from actually. Do you still live there?

Jt: We do still live there. My daughter goes to school there and it’s where most of my family lives. There isn’t much for a music scene out there for our genre, but I kind of like it that way. It makes it a little easier to separate “band life” and “personal life”.

What led you to forming this band in the first place?

Jt: I started playing music when I was younger as sort of a therapeutic outlet. Ever since then we started throwing local shows, and my first band I was ever in played around town almost every weekend. Once we started touring more and more, everything just started growing to a point where it became so much bigger than me, my music, and my problems. It turned into something that I was able to share with other people across the world. It enabled the rest of the band and myself to really share ourselves in a very unique way and connect with people on a very personal level.

Ok, so finally, has your way of facing the world and life changed after the relatively big success you achieved with FAMOUS LAST WORDS?

Jt: It definitely has. It’s been a fairly long journey, so there was no overnight “epiphany” of success or anything like that, which I’m grateful for. I’m glad it’s been so gradual because it’s helped us grow personally with the band. So nothing really ever just slapped us in the face.


Cool. Thanks so much for your time. Feel free to leave your last thoughts and take care!

Jt: I’d like to just thank all of our fans ( old and new) for your support! And if you haven’t checked out our new album, “The Incubus” yet, then you could go get it on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, or anywhere you get your music from.

We are also planning to be hitting the road hard next year, so keep and eye out for us in 2017!

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