July 1, 2013 Interview: Blake Allison of Devour The Day
Ending one thing and starting another is sometimes a very daunting task. Weathering the storm of success, mistakes, and conflict in Egypt Central Joey Chicago and Blake Allison rose from the ashes and hit the ground running. Months after the end of Egypt Central the long time friends and band mates announced the formation of Devour The Day. Not missing a beat since the band has had success with their single “Good Man” and released their debut album Time And Pressure in May. Recently we sat down with vocalist/ guitarist Blake Allison to discuss the decision to end Egypt Central and the dawn of a new day with Devour The Day.
Crypticrock.com- Devour The Day began in 2012. Joey and yourself started the project months after the announcement that Egypt Central broke up. You had your share of success with Egypt Central with the self-title album in 2008 and White Rabbit in 2011. Without causing a conflict I want to know is what was the demise of Egypt Central?
Blake Allison- Long story short, our singer by action left the band. One of those things where the guy stopped coming to work. We’d get him on the phone and he’d say oh I can’t do any touring right now but in a few months I can, and a few months would go by the exact same story. We just got to a point where, for lack of a better term, it was time to shit or get off the pot kind of thing. We decided to just start a new band, we had some songs already. Our label was really bummed out but was kind of excited about this new project. Joey and I didn’t realize what we had in front of us until it really hit us in this moment that where realized we had something that was even better, and it feels better, and it’s closer to us as musicians and song writers. The demise of our previous band opened up a new door for us and this feels more like home. I guess sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can get back up on top.
Crypticrock.com- Absolutely, I can understand that total. When you decided to part ways with Egypt Central after that band had already been established and had some success, did you feel overwhelmed about the idea of starting over with Devour The Day?
Blake Allison- Well, yes but that was part of the excitement of it too. We kind of got jaded with the way things went with our previous group. Starting over and coming up with new music back into the studio building songs from the ground up. The idea of going out and touring on a small scale, revisiting a lot of the places that made us who we were, It’s like getting to start over. Getting to go back and do things the way you wish you should have. That whole idea of us starting over it is true but at the same time it’s not because we do have a foot in the door. We were able to reconnect with a lot of people that we had established relationships with. Our best friends and family are out here and for them to welcome us on the tours. open the doors to us, and to support us means a whole lot to us. We are extremely fortunate that we don’t have to truly start over, but as a band traveling around in a RV with a bunch of instruments, it’s one of the coolest things on the planet to start from the bottom and work your way back up. It’s cool, it’s fun, and the most exciting part for me is to learn a new instrument. To play new songs and have said goodbye to a lot of old songs that I wouldn’t say we were tired of playing them but they didn’t represent us well. This is a unfiltered version of the way Joey and I always wanted us to sound, it’s awesome.
Crypticrock.com- Like you said, even though you kind of are starting over and going back to the roots you are kind of somewhere in between which is cool. Now having the experience you had with Egypt Central with the two album releases, touring, etc. What do you think you learned from that and does that change your approach to Devour The Day?
Blake Allison- I think what we learned was that the mistakes that we made in our previous band were simple mistakes. Anybody can see there are ways around them, but not many people can do them because your young and want to party. You want to have a good time, and you want to make stupid choices and things like that. My previous band, all of our faults were just internal. We know not to make those mistakes this time around. There not hard to see. You just don’t get drunk before you play a show (laughs), you don’t get drunk the night before either. You have to make your shows, you have to put on a good show, you have to be able to perform. Not that we had a huge problem with that in our previous band. That was problem, the tip of the iceberg, when it comes to the malfunction of our last band. This is a lot cleaner and a lot smoother. Everyone in here is extremely dedicated, wants to be here, is happy with what there playing, and what their singing about, especially me. It’s like a dream job working for yourself or having a great boss.
Crypticrock.com- Totally, I completely understand that. Like you said earlier you learned a new instrument. With Devour The Day you are on lead vocals and playing guitar for live shows. This is opening for fans to hear your impressive singing voice since you played drums in Egypt Central. How is this experience of being in front of the music rather than in the back?
Blake Allison- I will say that people react and treat you a little different. Which sheds some light on the bullshit I would say of what people are really interested in (laughs). Just made me realize that people just treat you different as a drummer. Me moving forward and everything, I still feel like I’m playing music. It doesn’t feel any different when I perform. A vocal run still feels like a drum fill to me. The shows are exactly the same, I feel like I can exert more energy because I’m not sitting down, that’s really the only difference (laughs). I’ve always wanted to sing, and I always kind of sang just jokingly. When we got to the point where we need to move forward and we didn’t have a singer, filling those shoes was just natural, and it was just fun. That’s really the best way that I can describe it, is it’s a lot of fun.
Crypticrock.com- I’m sure many people are excited to have the opportunity to hear you sing because it sounds very good. Now the debut album by Devour The Day Time & Pressure was released back in May. It’s really quite a good album and a fun listen. Were the tracks on the album written within the time between Egypt Central and the formation of Devour The Day or were these tracks you had on the back burner for a while and were just eager to get them out?
Blake Allison- There’s no black and white answer, there’s a blurred line when we started to write this record. One of the songs is an instrumental that I put together, in 2004 I believe. Some of the things are just old riffs. It’s just a conglomeration of these songs that Joey and I wrote that we really like from over the years of being in that band. Some of them just never got to be heard, some of them never made and put forth the strongest effort into them. Some of the songs are from right when the band started to break up. Some of the songs were written at the very end of the record and was kind of a last minute thing. The record is just filled with a lot of old memories, riffs, and pieces of lyrics that we stuck together and made fit. I would say that when the band broke up we had maybe 3/4 of the record thought up and kind of recorded. When the band really broke up that is when we really started to dive into it.
Crypticrock.com- Now the new album has a great mix of heaviness, melody, and great lyrics. Tell me what the concept behind the songs and the lyrics were for Time & Pressure?
Blake Allison- It’s therapy (laughs). A lot of the songs, if you give it a good listen, you can kind of tell what we are singing about. In the end there was no concept it’s just songs that we felt passionately about here and they made their way into melody and music.
CrypticRock.com- Like you said, if you listen to the lyrics and to the album you can get what you are talking about, and I totally get it. It’s a good release, you can interchange the topic with anything and it’s a good release for anyone. It’s a positive sound too.
Blake Allison- Yea, the whole record, the message in the end is that any kind of obstacle with time and pressure you can break free of any kind of pressure. Anything that’s in your way, anything like that. Joey and I have always felt like we’ve had something in front of us blocking our view. It seemed like it’s impossible to get around, it seems like there’s no way you can escape some of these prisons I think people put themselves in, it just seems impossible. With a little bit of thought and patience, and with a little bit of effort, you can slowly start making your way through and around these problems. That’s what we felt and what we want to share with the people. Really, like I said those songs are therapy to us and that’s what makes it relatable. In one way or another, people have had someone bail on them or tried to stop them. It’s easy when we’re actually in the thick of an issue like that to put it to paper.
Crypticrock.com- It makes for good music too, the best music is from experience. The first single “Good Man” is receiving heavy air play on Sirius XM channel Octane among other rock radio stations. With an album of so many strong tracks, do you have an idea of what song you’d like to release next as a single?
Blake Allison- I know I have my favorites. For some reason my favorite songs are never songs that make it to radio. I can’t really explain why that is. Even with other bands that I love that I grew up listening to. The songs that are their singles I like, but there is always other songs on the record that I like more, and those end up being my favorite. So I can’t even make those own decisions with my own music (laughs). I just figure put 100% into each song and let the world choose what they want to listen to.
Crypticrock.com- That’s fair enough, and it’s a good way to look at it. You are currently wrapping up a tour with Hinder, and then you are hitting the road with Sevendust in July and Theory Of A Deadman in August. Those are 3 very different type bands you are playing with. How do you find the different audiences are reacting to Devour The Day?
Blake Allison- You know when we started this whole thing I was thinking that certain audiences will appreciate music in a certain way, but the more we play in front of all these different audiences a good rock show is still a good rock show. Whether or not you have an audience that like “Lips of Angel” by Hinder or “Decay” by Sevendust, a good solid rock song is still like a really good meal or something like that. A good rock show with big loud guitars, slamming drums, and a good rock vocal is just cool. I think that when people are in that element, walk into an auditorium, the lights are low, the sounds huge, the strobes are going, the band is up there rocking and putting 100% into it, I know that I don’t care what genre I’m watching or listening to. As long as it’s just cool, metal or more of an alternative rock or active rock or whatever.
Crypticrock.com- Totally and I think sometimes as people we get caught up in a box of what something should sound like. In the end good music is good music and that’s all that matters. Now before you mentioned that you always seemed to like the tracks on the album to don’t make it single. To me it sounds like you’re a real passionate music fan and it seems like you like the deep tracks. What are some of your musical influences?
Blake Allison- I have the same list that anybody who is close to my age. Chili Peppers, Rage, Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden and Green Day. Everything that I grew up listening to as a kid. Those are all my favorites. I think though new music is something I try to pay attention to, but it’s not always there to view because it’s avant-garde. It’s different and new, and a lot of people don’t accept and share new music the way they have with older stuff that they grew up on. It’s hard for me to say that there is anything new out there that I am listening to with a lot of passion. I really like this band Four Years Strong. I think they’re amazing, they’re great song writers. They are kind of the underdog type of guys, it seems on their records. They have really energy, and put a lot of passion into their music. I’ve always been a huge Sublime fan. I think the influence for this particular record comes from a lot of The Used and another band called Drugs and Four Years Strong. I won’t say it’s my guilty pleasure, because I’m proud to say it , but I really like the band OneRepublic. They write songs that are extremely popular, again those are not the songs I like (laughs). I love their songs with a lot of lyrical thought to them, the deeper ones. I am sure I can ramble on for hours about but those are the ones I listen to frequently.
Crypticrock.com- That’s cool, it’s always interesting finding out what other people listen to. Especially people who are actively making music. My last question for you is regarding films. Crypticrock.com is a rock/metal and horror news site so we like to focus on all genres. Are you a fan of horror films and if so what are some of your favorite horror films?
Blake Allison- I love Evil Dead and I haven’t seen the new one, so I am kind anxiously waiting to see it. I love the movie, Sam Raimi is one of my favorites. Army of Darkness, that’s awesome. I remember as 12 or 13, way too young to be watching it in my parents eyes, I remember watching it over and over. I had that movie hidden (laughs). I really like 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks later. 30 Days Of Night is perfection to me. I was never a Texas Chainsaw Massacre fan only because, I don’t know what it is about seeing girls getting mutilated (laughs), it just gets under my skin. For the most part I like vampires the most. Zombies are great, but vampires to me are the coolest, so I focus more on that.
Crypticrock.com- There is something sort of mystical about vampires but you are not talking about Twilight vampires are you (laughs)?
Blake Allison- No, no but I do have a funny story about that. The girl that I was dating at the time swore up and down that the Twilight books were amazing. I hadn’t read any of them or anything like that, but she said you have to go see the movie it’s great. So this first movie comes out and Joey and I are out on the road and we said lets go see a movie. We’ve seen everything because back in the day when our tour schedule was pretty light and we had a lot of off days we were always going to theaters. I had seen every movie. We were sitting there looking at all these movies that this smaller theater had, and the first twilight movie was one of the movies on there so I said lets go see it. So we walk in and we are the first people there. We sit down, no big deal, then this one group of girls around 14-16 years old come in and sit down in the front row. They’re all giggles and everything, and we are like that’s weird. Then another one and then another. Joey and I realize that we are the only two dudes in this entire theater and we were like, oh my god this is terrible. So as soon as movie starts I said I don’t know, I think we just messed up Joe. He said yea I think so too. Sitting there watching the movie, it’s kind of interesting, and I am just waiting for someone get torn into pieces and it’s still not happening. Then it got to the part when the dude starts to shine like diamonds, and Joey and I just start laughing because the movie is ridiculous. Some young girls turn around and say shh shh he’s beautiful. So ok we’re in the wrong place, so we got up and left. So that’s probably the worst movie I ever paid to go see (laughs).