Conducting From The Grave Guitarist Jeff Morgan Discusses New Album "Revenants"
In October, California based melodic death metal act Conducting From The Grave dropped its second full-length album "Revenants," and follow-up to 2009's "When Legends Become Dust." Conducting From the Grave guitarist Jeff Morgan spoke with me about the band switching vocalists for this album, where the band's distinctive name came from, and the possibility of an upcoming music video.
While explaining how the new album differs from the band's earlier work, Morgan commented "I like to think the song writing is a lot more mature on this album. We’ve definitely progressed a lot over the years as musicians. A lot of stuff from the previous album 'When Legends Becomes Dust' was written over the course of five or six years...I think it’s a lot more of a cohesive sound for the whole album." Morgan also discussed upcoming tour dates with Arsis and the themes of the album's lyrics.
xFiruath: How did the name Conducting From the Grave come about?
Jeff: It’s kind of a strange story, actually. When we first started out we booked a couple of local shows and we didn’t have a band name to play under yet. Our drummer Greg, and his friend who was our original singer, were taking a piano class at a community college. The teacher was real crazy about people washing their hands before touching the keyboards and she would say “If you don’t wash your hands, soon you’ll be conducting from the grave.” They liked it and somehow it stuck. We hated it at the time, but we used it and it stuck with us. Now we like the name, it’s kind of weird.
xFiruath: What’s happening with your new album “Revenants” and how has the sound of the band changed?
Jeff: I like to think the song writing is a lot more mature on this album. We’ve definitely progressed a lot over the years as musicians. A lot of stuff from the previous album “When Legends Becomes Dust” was written over the course of five or six years. Some of those songs are really outdated and we were a lot younger when we wrote them. It’s different influences, different style of writing, different approach to putting together music in general. I think it’s a lot more of a cohesive sound for the whole album. It’s more mature and there’s better song writing.
xFiruath: Where did the recording take place?
Jeff: We recorded with Zack Oren at Castle Ultimate in Freemont, but he used to be in Oakland. The vocals were recorded at some apartment studio down in Sherman Oaks, California. Vocals were done separately a couple of months later because we ended up getting a new singer.
xFiruath: Is there a theme behind the lyrics in the new album?
Jeff: Each song is pretty much about something different. It ties in a lot of the themes that humans have made a lot of mistakes throughout history and we’re self-destructing. Other than that there are a couple of songs that don’t fit into that theme. One song is about how Mikey sometimes experiences sleep paralysis and he talks about that and the horrors that go with it. The general theme of the album is self-destruction of mankind through beliefs and everything we do.
xFiruath: You had mentioned before switching out vocalists, what happened with that situation?
Jeff: Our previous vocalist Lou had been going through some custody issues with his son, which wasn’t previously an issue at the time. But when we were going in to record he had some serious stuff at home he was going through and he decided he needed to be home and committed to that situation, so we decided to find someone else.
xFiruath: Is there a music video lined up for this new album?
Jeff: We should be doing a music video soon. We haven’t decided on the song yet, so it’s kind of up in the air, but it’s definitely something we’re talking about.
xFiruath: With having a somewhat new vocalist how is your band dynamic and what has your touring experience been like so far?
Jeff: It’s great so far. Everyone gets along great. There’s no issues really and everything on stage works well. Mikey’s got the long hair with the couple of long hairs we already have, so everything fits pretty well.
xFiruath: You guys just got off tour with Suicide Silence and MyChildren MyBride. How did that go?
Jeff: It was pretty great, actually. Suicide Silence is probably the coolest headliner we’ve ever been out with. They are really down to earth and don’t put themselves above the rest of the bands. They want to make sure everyone is happy on the package. They share everything they have, whether it’s a shower or beer or food or whatever. They are totally humble and it made for a really nice tour experience, being one of the lower bands on the bill.
xFiruath: What do you guys have for upcoming tour dates?
Jeff: In a few weeks we leave to go out with Arsis and Powerglove. We’re doing a short run around the U.S. with them right at the beginning of December. That should be fun. We’ve toured with Arsis before and they’re cool guys, so we’re excited for that.
xFiruath: Conducting From the Grave gets described as “melodic death metal” quite a bit and I’m wondering if you’d agree with that label.
Jeff: I guess so. That’s probably the best way to put it. It’s not really deathcore, because we don’t have that typical deathcore sound everyone knows. We’ve got a lot of melody, but it’s metal and heavy and there’s some death in there. The main thing that signifies our sound is the recognizable melodies that we have in almost everything we write.
xFiruath: What bands are you listening to?
Jeff: I listen to all kinds of stuff. That’s a tough one. From metal, some of my favorite bands I would say would be Darkest Hour and Between the Buried and Me. Aside from that I listen to a lot of Dredg, Jimmy Eat World, all kinds of random stuff.
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