PropertyOfZack Behind The Booth : : I Am The Avalanche
I Am The Avalanche have been teasing a new record for ages, so when word came that the band would officially be hitting the studio we thought that it would be a great idea to catch up with Vinnie Cuaruna to chat about the record. Vinnie and I discussed the mass amount of songs the band has, how the writing process has evolved for the band, touring, and even The Movielife reunion shows. Don’t miss out on this, it’s a great read!
There are stories tracing back over two years that I Am The Avalanche was recording its sophomore release, and now the band finally is in the studio tracking it with Brian. Can you walk us through step-by-step the long, long delays and road blocks from 2008 to now?
Basically, the band kind of got into a routine of real life with work and paying bills, and writing and recording music. But we kind of took a break. Our label situation started to go into limbo, so when that was going on we quietly wrote music and played shows here and there just to say busy and keep relevant. As far as recording with Brian goes, we’re not actually recording with Brian. This record is being produced by The Ratt, who is our drummer. It’s being produced by him and the band. Brian’s involvement in the process is more just him kind of affording us some of his resources to help us do our thing in the studio. Not to say that we won’t be recording with Brian one day, because I really feel like him and I make a really good team.
We’ve seen Drive-Thru put many bands and artists like Hellogoodbye and Ace Enders through issues. Are you guys all through with them now?
As far as the whole Drive-Thru thing goes, us and Drive-Thru are on good terms and the whole label situation with be worked out. We’re on good terms with Drive-Thru. Regardless of it, we’re making a record as we speak. The fact that we’re not signed isn’t holding us back from recording the record. It’s business as usual as far as recording. We’re completely in motion with that.
Like you said, the members of the band got into their own routines. That being said, were there times where it looked like putting I Am The Avalanche to bed ever seemed like the best route?
No. It’s not like a thing where it’s like, “Oh my god, I Am The Avalanche isn’t 100% busy all of the time. I need to stop this so I can get 100% busy all of the time.” We’re different. It’s not like we’re eighteen year old kids being like, “I’ve got to make it! I’ve got to make it in the music industry.” We’re grown men who are like, “Yo, we’ve got to make a really sick record for people to listen to and for us to play live.” That’s really it. It’s a different thing for us. Needless to say, everyone in the band has been discouraged at one point or another with all the stuff, but at this point, we have a very realistic view of getting the record done, blowing everyone away, and that’s it. That really takes a lot of stress off about freaking out about needing to quit and starting a whole other band. We all really believe in the music and in this record, and that’s really all we need at this moment. I know that we’re going to do some tours and support the record and get to play these songs and get busy, but that’s going to be in a little while.
How much would you say that your writing process, styles, and influences have shifted since the writing of the last record?
It’s been a lot different. It’s been like, there was a little bit more of a slow indie-rock approach to our heavier music and that was what we were trying to do; make a little bit of a grungy sounding version of melodic punk and indie music. The first difference in the approach is that the tempos are way up. It’s faster music, it’s more energetic music. There might be similar types of chords progressions and structures, but it’s just a faster thing now. It’s more of a really fun live experience. That’s the way it is when we’re live. When we perform our old record, we’re always hyped up and play way faster with more power. We kind of figured out who we were and now when we’re writing music we know exactly who we are. We’re not really trying to do anything.
Do you think it’ll be a smooth transition for fans from the last record to this record?
I think so, just because a bunch of our stuff leaked a few years ago and everyone seems to love those songs. I’m not worried about that at all. That’s the other part, we’re not sitting there being like, “Oh my God, are our fans going to hate this?” We’re 100% positive they’re going to love it. They’re the people that come out to our shows and we see what they like and we see what they like about us. That’s not changing. It’s still totally Avalanche, and people who come to see us play all of the time know what that is.
Can you give us an idea of the amount of material that has been written for this record?
In the past five years I’d say we’ve written…It’s hard to tell because we’ve scrapped so many things and we have tapes and tapes and tapes and discs and discs full of stuff that we revisit all the time. I’d say we have over fifty. We probably wrote over fifty songs. A lot of them have been dissected and traded in for parts, but that’s the really good thing about jamming. You just jam and you revisit songs and realize you don’t have full songs but you have fucking sick parts. We wrote about fifty songs, recorded all of them, and then picked them apart and eliminated the weaker ones. The only thing that we have prove now is that it’s going to be a ten out of ten because everyone has been waiting for so long. It’s a great problem to have because we have so many songs. It’s going to be really difficult excluding some of the songs on the record, but those songs will still be released. Stuff will still be recorded and released as we move on with the touring cycle as far as 7”s, and b-sides, and splits. We’ll be ready because it’ll all be recorded already.
Are you guys planning to record nearly everything then right now?
No, not at all. The way I’m seeing it now is that we’ll probably have five to ten extra songs. Most of them are being recorded as we speak and some of them we need to record in The Ratt’s studio. We need to figure out the whole plan. There’s a huge amount of music that’s in our opinion, great music. It’s going to be nice to have some, “Oh, this is a song that didn’t get on the record?” That’s what we’re hoping for.
How many tracks would you like to get on the record?
I think that’s all going to depend on the sequence. We all need to sit and talk about it as a band and talk about everything and be like, “Okay, is there any reason why this song’s not making it on the record?” You don’t want anyone in the band being upset because they really love the song that much. If we all really like it, then there’s no reason to keep it off. Definitely a minimum of ten, but as we get to the elimination process we’re going to start having some trouble leaving songs off of it.
How far along is the recording process at this point?
Drums are finished and edited. We go to Puerto Rico tomorrow morning and when we get back the bass will get done.
Are you shooting for an early-summer release date?
No, not so soon. I think we’re looking towards the end of the summer or early-fall, realistically.
Has it been a good experience just recording the record by yourselves?
Yeah, it’s been pretty normal just because we’re been recording demos with Ratt all along. We’re not held up in the studio for a month straight. This is getting done in pieces. We have it mapped out across the spring about when things are going to get done. We’re all at home and working and living life while we’re doing stuff.
The band has a show with Paramore coming up in Puerto Rico. How did that come together?
Well, I Am The Avalanche took Paramore on tour on our first attempt at a headlining tour before our record was out. There were probably about twenty people at each show. Things have changed [Laughs]. We met back then and they were very little kids at that point, but they were still doing their thing. They definitely already had fans. I know that Hayley is into our music and we all have a lot of mutual friends. We also have a mutual booking agent, so that was very helpful [Laughs]. We’re on the east coast and they needed support and I got word about it form my agent and he made it happened. We’re so stoked. We’re going on like a vacation tomorrow. We’re staying like five days and we’re playing for like a half hour.
Tour dates have been leaking out for May with Transit as well as an appearance at Bled Fest. Will all those dates be with Transit?
We’re doing four dates all with Transit and Daytrader. There’s also going to be an announcement for a big Long Island show that we’re doing at the beginning of the summer. There will just be other dates that slowly happen. We want to get playing shows. Nothing crazy just yet. We really need the album to get a bit closer before that. There will be shows here and there for sure.
Will you guys definitely want to go out on some longer headliners when the album does drop?
I don’t know what exactly we’re going to be doing yet. We’re certainly going to be going overseas. We plan on hitting up the UK, Australia, Japan. We’re definitely going to be doing a headlining tour and a bigger support tour supporting a bigger band that would be a good match for us. Just a lot of overseas and regional stuff. We’re in a position where we’re going to do exactly what we want to do and we’re going to do it the way we want to do it. We’re not going to go on any tours that we don’t want to go on. It’s just our way of doing things.
You also just got back from a solo tour with Brandon Reilly. How did those shows go? What was the reception like to fans hearing a few Movielife songs for the first time in eight years?
I mean, it wasn’t that weird because I’ve been playing solo shows a lot and I play Movielife songs. It’s a little different with the two of us on stage. There’s more of a, “Whoa, this is two dudes from that band now.” We also broke out a bunch of songs that I’ve never touched on. We broke out some old stuff. It was really cool. We’re just lucky. When we’re home we’re like, “Hey, let’s go on tour for a week. And we do it.” It’s just a different thing that we do. I like to keep busy and play shows in whatever form. It’s always really good. I used to be terrible at playing solo shows when I first started and now I definitely have over a hundred shows under my belt. Now people know what they’re getting. It’s a nice little intimate vibe.
It’s no secret that Brandon has come said outright in the past that he had no interest playing in The Movielife again or even having anything to do with the band. How did that get worked out between you and him?
I mean, we remained friends. It was more that no one was interested on a professional level. I’m always down. Like I said, I’m down to play shows and whatever and have fun. It came up again. Even before there was any offer about doing Bamboozle, it was really just that he had called me up and was like, “Hey, I don’t know. Maybe we should play a Movielife show or something.” And I’m just like, “What?!” As soon as he said that I knew that we’d be doing one because Brandon, Danny, Evan, and those guys, we all felt if we were going to do it that we would need everyone to be cool with it. Brandon was kind of the only holdout type dude that wasn’t interested. He kind of had a change of heart. We all get older and think differently about stuff. It’s not a thing that I ever resented him for. I understood it. I feel the same way about I Am The Avalanche. If he asked me like, “Hey, let’s go do this in September.” I’d be like, “No dude, I’ve got Avalanche and I really want to see that through.” It’s nice that we’re able to do it and get back together in the same room. It’s all about music and performing and keeping busy. I’m glad that I’ll be able to jam again with those dudes.
POZ: That being said, how much are you looking forward to Bamboozle?
Vinnie: I feel lucky. I get to pull double duties at that festival. I’m just lucky to be able to do that two days in a row. It’s so fun. It’s obviously going to be really fun to play with The Movielife guys. I’m obviously really excited to play with my band and every time we’ve played Bamboozle it’s been insane. Avalanche at Bamboozle has always been really nuts. We’re really stoked. I’m just lucky. I’m trying to hang out that whole weekend and come out Friday night and see some friends. It’s nice to hang out with friends and check everybody out.
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