Wednesday, February 08, 2006

 

As Cities Burn Interview

As Cities Burn (http://www.ascitiesburn.com/)
6 January 2006

As Cities Burn is a hardworking band from Baton Rouge, LA, whose debut album, Son, I Loved You at Your Darkest, came out last year on Solidstate Records. The band gained a loyal following from constant touring the two years before their signing, and the success of the album has only added to that following. They still haven’t slowed down on the touring front, but I was lucky to get an interview with drummer Aaron Lunsford while he was at home for a couple of weeks.

Sammy Williams: How long has As Cities Burn been together?
Aaron Lunsford: A little over 3 years.

SW: Do you think you would be anywhere near the point you are now without constantly touring before being signed?
AL: Well, I think just being on solid state automatically just gets you to a certain point. But all the touring we did before we were signed put us so far ahead of a lot of other bands that never toured independently. I think it has helped us appreciate how well we have done so far, cause we can think back to two years ago when we were playing for nobody somewhere in Connecticut. Sometimes when young bands get signed off a demo and then go into the studio, and THEN start touring, they don't realize what they are getting into, and it can be a disaster. There is a certain level of maturity and understanding of how things work that you gain from touring independently for two years. Also, we probably wouldn't have gotten signed if we hadn't toured so much on our own. Labels are very attracted to bands that work hard independently.

SW: Who starts the songwriting process, and how does an entire song come together?
AL: Cody always starts the songwriting process. Sometimes he will come to the table with an entire song mapped out, but I think mostly he just comes with a bunch of different parts, and we try to put them all together as a band. We are very slow in our songwriting for the most part. The last two songs we wrote for the record were "Thus From My Lips..." and "Admission: Regret", and we spent the entire 3 weeks between new years and the first day in the studio trying to write those songs. I think those were the hardest and most challenging to put together, because we knew we had to have at least 2 more songs, so there was a lot of pressure to deliver something we felt strong about. Those two songs ended up being my favorite on the record I think, so we were very fortunate that we pulled together, and that Cody can write some sweet guitar riffs. That poor kid was probably ready to chop his hands off by the time we were done.

SW: How do you feel that being attached to the Solidstate Records name has hurt or helped the band?
AL: Well it helps, because you get an instant fan base of kids that just love Tooth and Nail/Solidstate bands. And with the huge success of so many of their bands right now, there couldn't be a better time to come along and be on the label. The only thing that could hurt, and I am not sure if it has, would be the Christian band stigma. The worst thing in the world would be for a kid to just not want to listen to us because of that. I can't even say for sure that has even happened. I think a lot of kids are smart enough to just listen to music for the love of music, no matter what the guys in the band believe. I listen to a lot of bands that I completely disagree with there views on the world. But, I love music, and I feel that respect for each others views is so important, especially if you are a Christian and you want impact other people that don't think the same way you do. But all together, Solidstate is a great place for us, and they have been great so far.

SW: Do the lyrics mean a lot to the entire band, or are they only personal to TJ?
AL: Well actually Cody writes most of the lyrics. He will have a bunch of lyrics and then he and TJ get together and change stuff around and make it work for the song. But the lyrics do mean a lot to everyone in the band. So much of what Cody writes about was influenced by the past 2 or 3 years of touring and all the stuff we have been through spiritually and emotionally. So except for "The Widow" which is specifically meaningful to TJ and Cody, all the songs are definitely very special to each member of the band. And even "The Widow" is special to us, but I guess I can't specifically relate to that song. But I very much enjoy the sadness I feel after listening to it, ha.

SW: What do you guys listen to most on the road?
AL: I guess I won't speak for everyone cause I don't really know but I will give you a top 5 for me right now... 1. Jimmy Eat World 2. The Cardigans 3. Nada Surf 4. Death Cab for Cutie 5. Craig's Brother

SW: What are some of your favorite moments from touring?
AL: This is a hard question to answer cause everything is funnier when you are actually there, but basically the best night of tour ever was with a band called Welton and we got stranded in a blizzard in New York on the way to Ohio...pulled over, got hotels, got some innertubes and a rope, pulled people behind the van in the parking lot, found a hill, made a ramp, went inside and watched the video, put all of our wet clothes back on, made a bigger ramp, and declared ourselves the kings of sledding. And playing at Rocketown in Nashville on the Emery tour for 1300 kids was an amazing experience.

SW: How do you guys stay focused being out on the road for so much of the time?
AL: I am not so sure we do, ha. I remember at the end of this fall tour (16 weeks with NO break) I felt delirious to the point of not being about to carry on a conversation with people that I wasn't on tour with. It was really weird to actually feel exhausted from the road. But we try really hard to encourage each other, and make sure to stay friends throughout everything we go through. Also, the countdown to the day I get to go home and see family and friends keeps me focused. But I don't recommend ever touring for 4 months straight with no break...even 1 week off would have made a world of difference.

SW: Who does the band's hair?
AL: Joey Swindle in Cabot, AR.

SW: What do you think of Ryan Rado?
AL: One time he grabbed my crotch...

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