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InVisions Members Discusses New Album "Deadlock" And More

Metalcore was undeniably most popular in the mid 2000s through to the early part of the next decade, but despite what some metal "purists" will insist, the love of breakdowns and the screaming/clean singing combination never went away. Now in the 2020s, we're seeing the rise of younger bands who were influenced by their forebears, many of whom with fresh ideas. This leads us nicely to York's own, InVisions.

InVisions were formed in 2016 and only a year later, released their debut full length, "Never Nothing." Not too long afterwards, the group followed their first outing with their sophomore effort, "Between You And Me" and now, in 2022, after a three year wait, InVisions are once more breaking through to the frontlines of modern British metal bands with their latest offering, "Deadlock." To find out more about the record, the band themselves and where they see their style of music in the current climate of metal, I spoke with guitarist Lucas Gabb and vocalist Ben Ville, who provided a huge insight into the story and emotion behind this album. You can watch it in full below.

Diamond Oz: First of all, congratulations on your new album, "Deadlock." What can you tell me about the title of this album?

Lucas Gabb: It's the first time we've used a title track, which is quite special I guess. We've been stuck in a lockdown for the best part of two years and the biggest part of our identity, which is playing in a band, was taken away and it kind of feels like you're stuck and going nowhere. The title for the track and the record didn't come until after the song was completed. I think we had most of the album completed and we were trying to name that track and so we kind of looked through the lyrics of the album and noticed that a lot of the stuff was a re-occurring factor, it was like hitting that ceiling and so once the idea of "Deadlock" came round as the song name, it just encompassed everything on the album; self doubt, trying to figure out your own worth and where you fit into the world outside of just being a musician. I think it's definitely a cool thing for us. It's captured how we were all feeling inside the last two years and put it in this box and it means we've been able to kind of let it all go and hopefully move forward.

Oz: And what makes it a different album from "Between You And Me"?

Ben Ville: Well, I feel like this is us now, this is us matured. "Between You And Me" was still good, we're still very happy with it but this album is a lot more based on the riff. Musically, we wanted it to be as interesting as we could get it and also, have it a bit more emotive lyrically, something that the listener could attach to in their own way and latch on to the emotional side of it all. It's a very personal album that we just wanted and we wanted to make every single aspect as interesting as we could.

Lucas: Yeah, we've changed a lot of the people over the past couple of years and with a bit of time and also COVID's given us an opportunity to re-invent the band, this is InVisions 2.0. It's not where we were, this is where we wanted to be and I think that was quite a blessing for us really. Lyrically that was one of the huge things, we sat down to start writing lyrics for the album and it wasn't like, "This album's gonna be about this and this song's gonna be about that." We had to jump over a lot of hurdles to figure out what we even wanted it to be about and it wasn't until we kind of stopped overthinking everything and were just honest with how we were thinking and feeling in that moment, that was when we captured something and it felt right, like where we should be going.

I think it's the first time we've been a bit vulnerable on a record. There's no puffed out chests here, it's laying it all bare and saying, "This is what's going on with us." It's the first time we've had so many people saying, "I really feel these songs. They really mean something to me" and taking what we've put, not necessarily the same narrative we've written, but everyone's found some solace in these songs in their own, which is super cool and quite new for us as well.

Ben: That's something I found quite interesting. Obviously writing these lyrics, we know our purpose behind them, but seeing people write their own story behind what we've written is really really cool and interesting.

Oz: Like you said, you've been re-inventing the band since "Between You And Me," how did that manifest itself when it came to recording the album? Were you able to get together or did you have to do things individually because of the lockdown?

Lucas: We normally do things quite individually anyway. We're quite a remote working band. It was the first time we'd produced a record ourselves. I recorded all the music, did the editing, the post production... The only part that was recorded elsewhere was Ben who recorded the vocals with Sam Graves, who we've previously recorded with, because our working relationship with him is so good and with vocals, you really need someone you're good at working with to capture those vocals.

Ben: He knows us all personally as well but he's very good at grasping somebody's vision and he's really good at understanding. I remember years ago somebody was doing a drum fill with their mouth and he knew exactly what they meant so he just knows what people's visions are, how to grasp it and how it needs to be portrayed. And obviously, he's one of my closest friends so the working relationship is spot on and that's never usually a good thing because if I'm being shit, he'll tell me.

Lucas: I think it works in your favour because, particularly with vocals, because if you're sitting in a room, you're so isolated and exposed and if it's a bad vocal then it can feel like it's directly reflecting on you, because it's not like you're playing a guitar and the guitar sounds shit. So to have that person you can work with, where there's no hard feelings and you can just work together to get the best take, I think that definitely happened with this album. We did a lot more stuff on our own, but by recording it on our own and not having a slot of two or three months in the studio to complete the songs that were pre-written, we had so much time to basically decide, "That's not good enough. We're not going to accept that. We're not gonna put a filler track on." There was no rules, no time limits. It gave us the opportunity to effectively write our first album again because at that point there was no pressure to be finishing it before shows or trying to fit it in around it, so it's a bit of a blessing in disguise to be fair.

Oz: Would you say that having that time, this makes "Deadlock" the best representation of InVisions so far?

Lucas: I'd say so. One hundred per cent. It's way more dynamic than anything we've ever done. There's definitely some really heavy songs on there but I feel like with the last record, we were playing live shows, so we were just writing breakdowns because we wanted to play them live. Whereas this time around, because we had a different angle to write from, from writing at home and for where we wanted to be once we got back out on the road, maybe some bigger stages playing for different environments in the room. It gave us a bit more of an opportunity, a bit more of a scope, to be more dynamic with it.

I definitely think this is the best performance wise, compared to anything else any of us have ever done. It's super hard! Which is great. We go back to playing some of the old songs in practice now and it feels like playing a nursery rhyme. It's so simple that it feels a bit monotonous, whereas these new song are so challenging that it's a competition with ourselves to crush it I think as a musician you're always chasing that next step up. Hopefully in six months time, these songs are going to be easy for us and the next record's going to be even harder.

Oz: I think that dynamic reflects very well in the videos you've done so far. You've done one for the title track, there's also "Annihilist," which is a great title and "D V P E," which I hope I've pronounced right and it's not "Dupe" or something...

Lucas: It's "Dope." It is spelled "D V P E" but it's just us being cool and changing an O for a V because our band's got a V in it (laughs)

Oz: So were these songs all chosen specifically to represent the vastness of the record?

Ben: I think these were chosen because they represent the album but they don't give too much away. It shows the variety because of those three songs, not one of them is the same, or similar and I feel like the album is a mixture. It doesn't sound samey the whole way through and they were the best ones that could have portrayed that but without giving too much away.

Lucas: I feel like, because the album's a bit of a journey as well, where those songs fall on the actual tracklist, is like the middle of the journey, whereas if we'd released a track like "Fall With Me," it wouldn't have made sense in the same way that it does when you listen to the record because by the time you get to those later songs, you're so emotionally attached to the album that it has a whole new weight to it. We've already said, it's like the dynamic of it. "Annihilist," the chorus was like the catchiest thing we've ever written, so it was an obvious choice for us.

We initially planned to release "Deadlock" first. That was going to be the first single that we released, but because of the video schedule and stuff, it didn't pan out that way, but in retrospect I think that works really well for us. The actual order that we ended up releasing them was really nice. We always thought it would be like, we'd release "Annihilist" and then probably get loads of people messaging us saying that we've sold out and written poppy choruses and then we'd release "D V P E" and that end breakdown would shatter anyone's face. Having that kind of contrast was nice. Having that kind of contrast was nice, it hit every kind of feel.

Oz: Good. I think it's important for a band to display different aspects of themselves and to evolve, because if an album was just breakdowns, nobody except the most ardent metalcore or deathcore fan would want to listen to it.

Yeah, for sure. It's great live and you go to a show and as soon as a breakdown hits, it doesn't matter who the band is, you can get involved with it. But, for us, the biggest thing we've realised is the songs that we go back to on our old records, the ones that have a bit more of an emotional impact, the ones that for lack of a better phrase are just "better" songs, like technically better lasting songs, going into this record we thought, "We don't want to have two or three songs that we're going to be playing a few years down the line." We want to play every single song on this record for a long time and that definitely helped shape the album.

Oz: It seems to be an album that you're very proud of, and rightly so. Obviously the videos are very eye catching, but something else eye catching is the artwork. How did this art come about? Was it something you found or had commissioned?

Lucas: We did the artwork with a graphic designer called Make North from the UK. We've worked with him on multiple things now. We knew that we didn't want to have a person on the cover of the artwork because we've done that twice previously and thought, "This is starting to become a bit of a thing here." We wanted to have an emblem or a symbol, something that it didn't matter if you'd take it out of context, if you see that shape you're going to associate it with that record.

Then the title came into play and we started thinking about how optical illusions and Penrose triangles and also, there's a name which I can't remember, but it's like that bit in Inception where they're walking up the stairs, but it changes the angle a bit and the stairs don't complete, that was where that came from. That's how a deadlock feels, like no matter where you go, you're always going back round in a circle and the more you look at this emblem, it's super trippy, it's confusing as Hell. You think that you're gonna find a way where it's incorrect but it always brings you back round. So props to Daniel for designing that, it's super super cool.

Oz: Yeah, it is. We've mentioned metalcore briefly. It seems InVisions is quite a proud metalcore band. How do you see metalcore in the current age? I'm old enough to remember in the 2000s when it was everywhere and then it went quiet for a bit. Now there seems to be bands coming back and young metalcore bands coming up.

Ben: So, I'm really bad with sub-genres and stuff, because I just class it all as metal. You could go on about sub-genres for ages, couldn't you? So like, metalcore is massive, but it's all just metal at the end of the day. There's just so many different styles of it. I think where it's at now, it is growing more popular, which is obviously a good thing for us, but from what you are, you'll probably change into something else in another sub-genre and whatever. It's just so confusing.

Lucas: It's a bit more fluid isn't it? Which is quite cool because everything has been pigeon holed so tightly, people see us as like "genre breaking" or whatever, but like Ben said, it's all just metal at the end of the day. I think the idea of only having to like one type of music is mad. When we were in school, you didn't like a certain type of music, whereas now I think the metal scene's a bit more unified, it's more of a community, which is cool. I totally get what you mean though with like 2000s metalcore. We still listen to the same albums from 2010 or something like that, bands like Killswitch and Bullet, Asking Alexandria's first record, I think that's something that influenced us well with this. We're getting quite a few people saying that it's quite dated, "they're not keeping up with the metalcore genre," but we're not trying to. We play the things that we like listening to and we still like listening to those albums, so that's what's going to happen.

Oz: That's an interesting way of looking at it. Just finally, I know you've got a couple of shows coming up in London and Leeds, what other plans have you got going forward?

Ben: We've said for this one that we want to try and get it out as much as we can, so we want to be hitting the road as much as possible, including new places where possible and go back back to places we've been to. In terms of videos, I don't know. We haven't really spoken about that yet.

Lucas: We definitely will do some but it's just figuring out when and what because we've obviously put a lot into the campaign before this record, more than we've ever done before, so now we need to take stock and see how the album is received and what songs people actually like. Between us, in the band, we all have different favourite songs, apart from Ben. Hopefully as the world's opening up a bit more, we should be able to get back out and do some European countries as well.

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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