Interview with The Eyes of a Traitor's Steve Whitworth
The Eyes of a Traitor were all set to release their debut album on Feb. 2, until the distributor they had lined up fell through. Pinnacle Distribution – one of the UK's largest independent music distributors – fell victim to the rough economic times. But before disappointment had time to set in, Warner Brothers stepped up to the challenge and “A Clear Perception” will now hit store shelves Feb. 23 in the UK, with a North American release date of March 10.
Guitarist Steve Whitworth doesn't think the delay will have much effect on the Hertfordshire -based act's 10-track debut.
“We've been getting really positive reviews from all the UK paper press, and really good reviews from all the online stores,” noting that getting picked up by a larger distribution company like Warner could even have a positive effect on the overall success of “A Clear Perception,” at least in terms of availability. However, there's also that inevitable pest of downloading. Because there has been so much buzz around the band, the delay could also mean more downloading and less buying. “The album was already leaked about a month back, which sucks, so I just hope people decide to support us, as it is our first release,” Whitworth said. “I think that we are keeping the hype up through touring though, so we will definitely keep in the public eye,” he added positively.
Pamela Porosky: It can be exhausting – especially as a newcomer – promoting a new release, but what has been one of your favorite things about promoting “A Clear Perception” so far? What keeps driving you to see it through?
Steve Whitworth: I think it is seeing the feedback that people have about it. People have been really positive about it, so it's quite heartwarming.
Porosky: Are you excited to get out on the road and tour with it?
Whitworth: Yeah, we can't wait to tour it. We're just in the process of sorting out tours for it. It's probably my favorite part of being in a band – seeing people's reactions to the music that you play.
Porosky: Do your songs change up from the recording when you perform them live, or do you prefer to play them as close to the original versions as possible? Any particular reason?
Whitworth: We play them as close to the album as possible. We are starting to sample the keyboard parts live. I think that if you're going to put all that work into writing a song and structuring it, then you shouldn't change it live.
Porosky: You've got a few shows with Gojira coming up. Are you stoked?
Whitworth: Yeah, we can't wait to do that tour, actually, it should be really good . Guitarist [Matthew] Pugh is a fan of them, so it's great being able to see them for free every night.
Porosky: If you could pick a band to tour with – dead or alive, disbanded or still going strong – who would it be and why?
Whitworth: Probably bands like Children Of Bodom and Misery Signals for me, as they are some of my favorite artists.
Porosky: What is some of the band's favorite road music? Are there any artists you guys listen to that will surprise your fans?
Whitworth: We listen to a lot of different stuff on the road; we don't tend to listen to metal. We listen to Thrice a lot, nice melodic stuff to chill us out. We listened to a lot of hardcore trance on our last tour.
Porosky: The band initially came to fruition in 2006. Can you tell me a how everyone first got together?
Whitworth: I'd been playing guitar for a couple of years with our old guitarist Dave [McCretton]. I knew him through being at school. We were sort of jamming partners, if you will. We started writing a couple of songs together and this first inspired me to start a band. Our bassist [Paul Waudby] introduced me to our current drummer, Sam [Brennen], and we jammed for a while, started writing material, etc. I then met our vocalist [Jack Delaney] through my ex-girlfriend in a terrible pub in Luton – wasn't the best of places to meet, but we became good friends and he tried out for us on vocals. We then all practiced a lot and played our first gig on October 23, 2006 in Club 85 in Hitchin.
Porosky: And who were some of your early influences?
Whitworth: I was heavily into bands like Children Of Bodom and Metallica back then, so I guess you could count them as inspirations.
Porosky: How has your sound evolved since you released the EP “By Sunset” in 2007?
Whitworth: We've definitely matured a lot more. We know how to play our instruments a lot more, and we are a lot more sure of our sound now, but we are still finding it.
Porosky: How would you describe the band's sound to someone who has never heard you before?
Whitworth: If you wanted to label us, I guess you could call us metalcore, but I feel that we are a lot deeper and have more too us than that. We combine technicality with melodic sensibilities, metal and occasional sprinklings from other genres.
Porosky: What is one element to the band's music that doesn't necessarily stand out, but drastically change the overall feel and/or sound of the band should it be absent? Why do you think that is?
Whitworth: I feel that it is the technicality of some of the songs that we write. We don't necessarily put it in every song, but we like to include it in places that need it. We like to push ourselves as musicians, and I feel that if this was absent from our music, then it wouldn't give us an edge over other bands.
Porosky: How has recording a full-length debut pushed you to evolve as musicians?
Whitworth: It has definitely given us a stronger work ethic; we are prepared to work really hard to make the music sound as good as possible. We decided not to include any songs from our previous EP on it, so we had to write 10 songs from scratch – which took a while, but we were definitely pleased with the outcome.
Porosky: From the initial writing phase to completion, how long did “A Clear Perception” take?
Whitworth: We wrote over the space of around eight months, whilst constantly gigging, which was hard work, but it worked.
Porosky: How much of that time was spent in the studio?
Whitworth: We only spent around two weeks in the studio recording the songs. This was a little less than we would have liked, but we couldn't afford much more studio time, and we also wanted to get on the road and tour. We just pretty much recorded the songs, there was no preproduction.
Porosky: What was the funniest thing that happened while you were in the studio this time around?
Whitworth: When we drove into the hotel car park, there was loads of rats about. It was disgusting, but we went on a rat safari every time we entered it. There were so many of them!
Porosky: What was the most important thing you learned during the recording process that you'll take back in with you for the follow-up?
Whitworth: We will probably make the album a little more accessible and a little more technical. We will also work on the structure a little, as I felt some bits could be improved with preproduction. I'm pretty happy overall though, so don't get me wrong.
Porosky: How did you approach the songwriting aspect of this album?
Whitworth: We wrote this album using Guitar Pro 5, tabbing out ideas and sending them to each other. It was quite a modern way of writing, but I think it worked out well. We're going to write the next album all together, I think.
Porosky: How do decide where guitar solos are a good fit?
Whitworth: I'm not sure. I wrote quite a lot of the tracks on ACP, so I guess I could have put one in every song if I wanted to; but, I don't feel that you need to have one in every song. It stinks of having a large ego if the song doesn't actually need it!
Porosky: What is your favorite track, or section from within a track, on “A Clear Perception?”
Whitworth: I think my favorite bit is the second half of “With Different Eyes.” I feel it's really intense, and it has Paul doing vocals over it. It's quite beautiful in its own way.
Porosky: Which song do you hope listeners will be most affected by?
Whitworth: All of the songs have quite distinct messages, and people have said they all have different favorite songs which is great. I didn't want to have one or two songs and then have the rest of the album as filler crap.
Porosky: What would you say has been your most memorable live performance since the band first started gigging? What made it memorable?
Whitworth: It was one of our last shows for me, it was a local show at Luton. The crowd were going mental, and it was really packed. Was so happy to see that people were taking notice of it for us.
Porosky: What do you love/hate about the UK metal scene?
Whitworth: I love how fun it can be sometimes, you make loads of new friends and it is quite healthy. There is loads of gigs going on around the country, and some great bands. It's good to be a part of it. I hate the unfriendliness of certain bands though, it's quite unnecessary.
Porosky: When you were first starting to play shows, was it difficult to get gigs, or were there always places willing to let you play a set or two?
Whitworth: Actually, we found it quite easy to gain gigs. I guess we were lucky. We had the right people around us, that were willing to give us a chance.
Porosky: Finally, this is the first of a three-album deal with Listenable Records. Could you please tell us how they first heard of you and how you all ultimately hooked up?
Whitworth: They heard us from our myspace page. Cheesy, I know, but its a great tool for getting in people's faces. [Label Manager] Laurent [Merle] emailed us and we talked business for quite a few months before finally signing. We honestly couldn't be happier with Listenable: great guys, and Laurent is one of the nicest guys I've ever had the pleasure of dealing with.
Porosky: Thanks so much for your time and best of luck with the release.
Whitworth: Thanks very much for the interview!
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