February 6, 2015 Interview – Jordan Mancino of Wovenwar
Life is full of unexpected twists and turns that can often leave us caught in limbo. For established Metalcore band As I Lay Dying, an unforeseen road block came in 2013 when vocalist Tim Lambesis become incarcerated, thus ending over a decade of music from the band. Rather than feel sorry for themselves and call it quits, guitarists Phil Sgrosso and Nick Hipa, bassist Josh Gilbert, and drummer Jordan Mancino united to form something unique to anything they had done before. Enlisting Oh, Sleeper’s Shane Blay as their vocalist, a new band by the name of Wovenwar had been born in light of prior events. Veterans to the Rock scene, the band now look to blaze a new path with their self-titled album, touring, and a passion for creating music. Recently, we sat down with founding member Jordan Mancino for a personal look into the formation of Wovenwar, their goal as a band, performing, and much more.
CrypticRock.com – It has been quite an interesting ride for you. You had a long run of success with As I Lay Dying and that came to an abrupt end in 2013. Then you put together new project, Wovenwar, shortly after. Tell us how everything developed.
Jordan Mancino – Yeah, about two months after the “incident,” Wovenwar came together. We did not actually have a band name or one solidified until, I think, December 2013 or January 2014. We were almost done with the record and it was one of those things where it was pretty difficult to get a band name these days and trademark it right away just because every band name is taken. It took us a little while to go crosscheck all of these names we liked or were into and they all came back bogus, that somebody had already used it. Anyway, the actual band name did not come in until January 2014 but the conception was started around the end of June/July of 2013. We started writing and Shane Blay came into the picture around late August of 2013. Then we jumped into the studio in November and that was it.
CrypticRock.com – That is interesting. You seemed to act quickly to get something going. Speaking of which, how did you decide on bringing in Shane Blay of Oh, Sleeper?
Jordan Mancino – Well, we had an idea of all of these people we knew – singers who were in other bands or people we knew who were decent vocalists. We did not really try anybody out; it was just one of those things where Nick Hipa brought it up. I was actually weirded out at first because I was like, “Wait a minute, Shane’s a guitar player.” I have known him as a shredding guitar player for over a decade now. Anyways, it turns out he has this insane voice and it was like, “Wow, this is awesome!” He threw some vocals on one of the songs we had demoed when we had been writing. We knew what we were looking for when we found him and we did not really go anywhere beyond that.
It was a shoe-in, too, because he’s also from the same place we all are. Our bands were on the same record label. When we first started, we played shows together way back in the day. Him and Nick were in a band, so it worked out really well. It was not just an outsider, it was a dude who fit really well with all of us; which, I think, is important, especially for us having done it for so long, to get someone in there who maybe does not have that same mentality or whatever. Not in a negative or positive way, but you know, in general, could throw things off a little bit, but it is a perfect fit.
CrypticRock.com – That is great to hear. That was that initial connection already and like you were saying, when you have been doing this for so long, sometimes it is hard to just completely go back to a brand new relationship. Going back to the name, how did you guys finally decide on the band name after testing all of the other ones?
Jordan Mancino – Gosh, I honestly do not remember at this point. At a certain point, I just felt like we were never going to get a band name, which is so stupid. How hard can it really be? You just do not think about that stuff. I mean we had the band name we came up with when we were teenagers so it did not really matter; it just kind of stuck with us (As I Lay Dying). Now when we had time to think about it, we all got really critical about it. It was just one of those things where we said, “Is that taken? Ok, I like this. It is pretty sweet. Cool, alright, sounds good.”
CrypticRock.com – Right, one has to imagine you all have to agree on the name, as you are going to live with it for a long time.
Jordan Mancino – Yeah, well, you know, you get to the point where you think, “Ok, how many bands have you liked because of their name?” Or, “How many bands have you disliked because of their name?” Right? You think about all of these really rad bands that you love and then you think about their names and you think, if I were to go up to my guitar player and say, “Hey, why don’t we name our band this?,” he would just laugh and say, “Man, that is so silly.” If you think about a lot of band names, and it is kind of just how it is, the name does not necessarily shape the band. I think it has got to reflect on the music and the band in some way, but it is not completely, “Oh that’s great.” I really like our name and the logo looks sweet. Clark did a rad job in creating everything and it really worked out well.
CrypticRock.com – Definitely. That is one of the first things that is noticeable right away, the image and how it works well. The self-titled debut came out in August of 2014 via Metal Blade, and it has done exceptionally well. What was the writing and recording process like for this album?
Jordan Mancino – It is kind of the same, really. We have been working together for so many years, not Shane necessarily, but we have kind of got writing and recording down in this creative but methodical way. This record was a little bit more on the creative side and there was a lot more space to mess around with, especially for drums and vocals. We got to work with the same production team we had before with the last As I Lay Dying record. We got to work with Jason Livermore as well, and then Colin Richardson mixed it. I found the recording and the writing process very therapeutic for a lot of us and it definitely brought us together in such an odd time.
CrypticRock.com – It sounds like a great experience. You worked with Bill Stevenson again this time around. One thing about the album which really stands is that it is very melodic and emotional. The sound is different perhaps than anything you guys have done before, especially in As I Lay Dying or in Oh, Sleeper. Was it the band’s intention to go in that direction or was it something that just naturally happened when you got together?
Jordan Mancino – It was pretty organic. We had a lot of songs, but we did not want to write the record and just throw vocals on top of it. We wanted to write with Shane and actually write with the vocalist rather than write around the vocalist. That was the most important part about getting Shane in there and finishing the process. The next record is going to have an even more original and exciting vibe.
CrypticRock.com – So, now that Shane plays guitar along with Nick and Phil repsectively, you have a 3-guitar band. Has that been an adjustment for everyone or has it been different?
Jordan Mancino – It has actually been cool. I think for Shane, it is just natural; he has been a guitar player his whole career, holding a guitar and singing is like second nature to him, I guess. There might be some songs where he throws the guitar off and just sings but he has been playing third guitar.
CrypticRock.com – There are not many bands which can pull off a 3-guitar attack. Of course, at one point, Hawthrone Heights did, and unmistakable Iron Maiden, too. You are currently on tour with Periphery, whom has three guitarists as well. Did your band click immediately with them, considering you are part of that rare 3-guitar club?
Jordan Mancino – Yeah, I guess it just kind of worked out. For whatever reason, I knew it, but I did not really remember it until we jumped on tour with them that they had three guitar players. I’m like, “Oh yeah, Periphery has three guitar players. Sweet! Well, that works out.” You know, there are so many layers in our music too and there are so many guitar parts going on all the time that it is cool to have that third guitar there to be able to play lead on some stuff or fill in the gaps on other stuff.
CrypticRock.com – Right, or if you need to add the harmony and you can actually do it live because there is a third guitar to do the rhythm. Out of curiousity, is it Shane screaming on “Archers?”
Jordan Mancino – That is Micah, actually, the screamer of Oh, Sleeper. It is a guest vocal, but the sound was kind of organic. Like I said, with Shane’s vocal style, we knew what we wanted when we found it and just wrote the record. We used what we had but also wrote new stuff and just wrote around him and his vocals – and Josh’s vocals as well. Yeah, everything was pretty organic. There was obviously an effort to try and expand our sound, but mainly it was just as a result of Shane, you know? It was just him and his voice, and having that there was the piece of the puzzle that brought everything together.
CrypticRock.com – Well, honestly, it works great. The band did some generous touring in 2014 and now you are kicking off 2015 with this great line-up featuring Nothing More and Periphery – which is different enough, but it also works really well together. How has the tour been going thus far?
Jordan Mancino – It has been awesome. The bands are diverse, the package is diverse, and the people attending the shows are definitely into everybody. It is really cool, and I think it works. This is our first full US, or North American, run since the record came out so it has been cool to play a lot of these cities we have not been to yet.
CrypticRock.com – Perfect. Some fans may not know this was your first full national tour. So the other tours, were they just regional?
Jordan Mancino – Well, the first one was Black Label Society and that was just maybe two and a half weeks in Middle America; so we hit a couple of markets. Then, we did a couple of Southern California shows and then all the rest of it was Europe. We did that European tour with In Flames, then European festivals, and that was it. Yeah, so this is like our full US run. At the end of February, we’ll jump on tour with In Flames and that should be sweet.
CrypticRock.com – Yes it should be good. So Jordan, for you, what are your musical influences? Your drumming, at least in the last band, has been classified as “coffin-style” drumming – not sure if that is the actual term. Having never heard that description used for any other drummer other than your self, what are your influences; back then and now?
Jordan Mancino – I have actually never heard of that term before. It is just a whole array of dudes. Vinnie Paul, who is probably number one. Dave Lombardo is another. For this record, I was actually listening… like when Jason Livermore and I would go track drums every morning and were driving down to the studio, we would just listen to every record that Vinny Appice was on. Like a Heaven & Hell record, a Dio record, or something like that because he just has these awesome, long drum fills and he just puts a lot of power in them. We just had fun listening to those records. We would get in the studio and I would think, “Well, what should we do here?” Then I would try some stuff and then just start doing this stupid long fill and come up with stuff from there. I would say that was probably one of my bigger inspirations for this record, just having the space to work with. The songs just have more space. It is not just grinding the double bass and blast beats; there is more space to kind of mess with. Just different sounds, different fills and everything as well.
CrypticRock.com – Right. That can definately be heard on this new record; you can hear the drums open up more and you have room to do a whole lot of different things you would not have otherwise done.
Jordan Mancino – Yeah, exactly. It was cool, it is different. Before it was more like I was heavily focused on the execution side of what I was doing and playing these really fast, intricate parts at high intensity, and on this, the intensity was a lot easier for me to achieve so I focused more on the creativity of what I was doing, where I could throw things that would add something and not take away from what was already there.
CrypticRock.com – Well, that makes it fun. So, there is one last question and it actually pertains to movies. CrypticRock.com covers music and Horror films. Are you a fan of Horror films at all? If so, what are some of your favorites?
Jordan Mancino – I am not die hard, but I like them (laughs). You know, like The Evil Dead (1981), some of those types. A lot of them are kind of like The Evil Dead, you know, sort of tongue-in-cheek. I would always watch those movies and I would get into some stuff, and some stuff I would just laugh the whole time because it was too silly. Probably the most out of hand movie I have seen was Sleepaway Camp (1983).
CrypticRock.com – Those are some great classic ’80s Horror choices.______
Jordan Mancino – Sleepaway Camp is the weirdest movie. The setting is like this summer camp and there is this girl who is 11 or 12. She is really timid and reserved – and everyone is picking on her. Then all of a sudden all these other campers start disappearing and it turns out she is killing them. Then, the final scene, when they actually figure out that it is her who is doing it… and throughout the movie you sort of realize that it is her, it pans back to her with blood on her face but just super cheesy. Then it pans back and like, it turns out she is not a girl – she is a dude.
CrypticRock.com – (laughs) That is certainly a classic point of the movie. One you will never forget. __________
Jordan Mancino – Right?! It is the weirdest thing and there was no point to it, you know? You just sort of see her “bird” there and it there was just no point to it. It is like, “Ok, you are just trying to show that she is the killer but that she is also got a “bird” too.” It was the weirdest thing, but yeah, that is probably the weirdest horror movie I have ever seen. It was really funny though, because it is just so out of hand and just so ridiculous that you just cannot help but laugh; it is not really scary at that point.
CrypticRock.com – Yes that is very true, sometimes horror movies can actually be really funny, either because they meant to be or because of how bad they are.
Jordan Mancino – Yeah, totally. Another one that is like that is called Santa’s Slay (2005). The funny part about that movie is, I mean the movie is so goofy, but at the beginning scene you have all these big name actors like James Caan, Chris Kattan, and Fran Drescher in like the opening scene of the movie just eating dinner together. Then the rest is Goldberg saying that Santa is back and he is on a rampage killing people now. It is just so out of hand (laughs).