Misguided Aggression Talks New Album "Flood The Common Ground"
Out with the crushing new album "Flood the Common Ground," Misguided Aggression has already bowled over the Canadian east coast and is gearing up for new festival appearances and tour dates. As the band builds up to more devastating live shows, members Ben Dobson and Rob DeMedeiros shared their thoughts on the recording process for the album, as well as what the band accomplished this time around and how the music progressed from earlier releases.
Delving into the themes of the new album, Rob commented "Autonomy is our cause. We encourage thought. We encourage difference. Freedom is something everyone wishes to hold. All over the world, there are communities who have never experienced it, and there are those who have only had a glimpse of it. Many of us look down from above, believing we have obtained it, when in reality, it is only a mockery of what could be. When we band together though, and go out of our way to find the truth, we will hold the wisdom in our hands, and be able to change anything and everything."
Check out the full interview with Ben and Rob below.
xFiruath: What did you set out to do with "Flood the Common Ground" that you haven’t done before and how does the album compare to anything else you’ve done in the past?
Ben: This album is a very solid representation of this band. We have a common goal to make abrasive, no holds barred metal and I feel we really accomplished that. Compared to our previous release “Hatchala” I feel we progressed more in the direction we needed to as a band, the songs have more technical parts where they need to be, while still keeping things groovy and down to earth. “Flood” was a much needed step forward for this band.
xFiruath: Listening to the new album I’m hearing a lot of hardcore and groove type stuff in with the metal, along with even some technical stuff that brings to mind a bit of death metal. How would you personally describe the music and what sounds would you say influence the band?
Ben: We all have very varied tastes in music, so to pinpoint any one influence would be near impossible. I feel you can really draw influence from any music you hear that you enjoy. We are definitely very groove heavy, we are really in to breaking music down to the bare bones and delivering it as raw as possible. I would personally describe our sounds as raw, groovy, technical and in your face.
xFiruath: When did you write the songs for this album and how does a Misguided Aggression writing session typically go?
Ben: The writing process for this album has been ongoing since we recorded “Hatchala.” We are always writing, regular jam sessions are important to us so we are always coming up with new ideas and building new songs, so when the time comes to record we are ready. “The First Stone” was already in the works when we recorded our first album, so we have been working away at these songs for roughly two years. One of us will usually come up with a few riffs, and then we will all jam together and piece the songs together as a group. We don't really use the Guitar Pro method like a lot of bands do these days, which there is nothing wrong with but it doesn't really work for us. Once we piece the instrumentals of the songs together Rob will come in and put his lyrics and vocals to the songs.
xFiruath: What’s going on lyrically with “Flood the Common Ground” and how do you write lyrics? Are the lyrics more specific or more open to interpretation?
Rob: The lyrics are written by myself, but inspired by a multitude of people both inside and outside of the band. It is easy to have a vision, but to actually place that first stone and work towards ones dream is where the turbulence begins. Looking beyond the clouds of misinformation presented to us by the mainstream media - which is often backed by corporate commercialism - can prove to be a hard feat to accomplish, but with the strength of an army behind ones back, it will feel all too easily accomplished. Many people, as well as independent medias, share the same ideals, and the lyrics are about flooding the common ground with that which brings us together: autonomy. Autonomy is the key concept behind each of the songs' lyrics, however, other than a couple of them, which are written more directly to address the cause, they are also open to personal interpretations, which I have heard many of already, and related to quite a few of them. It is not insanity which we must fear, it is complacency.
xFiruath: Would you consider Misguided Aggression to be a band with a “cause,” such as putting forth a particular political or philosophical worldview?
Rob: Autonomy is our cause. We encourage thought. We encourage difference. Freedom is something everyone wishes to hold. All over the world, there are communities who have never experienced it, and there are those who have only had a glimpse of it. Many of us look down from above, believing we have obtained it, when in reality, it is only a mockery of what could be. When we band together though, and go out of our way to find the truth, we will hold the wisdom in our hands, and be able to change anything and everything. We simply wish for everyone to open their eyes and research roles the media plays in the conditioning of the human psyche, as well as the roles of corporations behind much of the media. This is of course, only one of the first steps.
xFiruath: Tell me a bit about the album’s artwork. Who handled that and what’s going on there to connect the imagery with the music?
Rob: The album artwork for “Flood the Common Ground” is extremely befitting to the lyrical content and vibe contained within the songs. The constantly changing faces of the media, from print to radio to video. Moses separated the Red Sea, just as we separate the noise and confusion of the media, for the people to escape the clutches of those who wished to enslaved them. We are constantly being told by many facets of the media what to believe and what to follow. For example, one war may be “good” while the other “evil.“ One of our freedoms is to think for ourselves, and it is one very many of us never use.
xFiruath: Where did you record the album and how were the recording sessions? Did you have any particular challenges or bring on any guest musicians?
Ben: We recorded this album at Icehouse Studios with Thomas Ireland and Rob McKercher. We worked with these guys on “Hatchala” as well and were very happy with the result and excited to work with them again on this album. The atmosphere in that studio is incredible, you feel really at home there and that in my opinion is very important in the recording process. The biggest challenge we ran in to this time was the use of the click track. We hadn't recorded with a click track in the past, and we have a lot of tempo changes in our music so that was definitely a tough hump for us to cross over.
xFiruath: Now that the album is out, what's on the horizon for the band?
Ben: We just completed a tour of the Canadian East Coast and Quebec in support of the album, we have a lot more shows lined up as well for the near future. We are playing the Southern Ontario Metal Festival in Port Burwell on August 28th as well as the KOI Festival in Kitchener in September 17th. We have a lot more dates in Ontario soon to be announced as well. After that we will probably begin writing again and planning our next tour!
xFiruath: What’s happening with your local metal scene these days?
Ben: Our local scene in Woodstock, Ontario has always been strong and supportive. There have always been a lot of bands coming and going here but there are a few really solid bands from here right now that are out playing regularly. There is also a very large boom in the underground hip-hop/rap scene here lately, which we are in full support of. One specific death-rapper "Filthy Tarantino" has been making quite a name for himself, we had him play a set at our CD release party in June and have plans to collaborate in the future on some metal/hip-hop stuff!
xFiruath: What music do you personally listen to in your own time and what’s been your favorite album so far this year?
Rob: Personally, I listen to a wide range of metal, from death to grind to groove. I also listen to a decent amount of classical/orchestral when I am reading or relaxing, and electronica/dance when I party. I am starting to feel like I am writing a classified add, haha. Off the top of my head I cannot think of my favorite album that has come out this year, but in 2008 it was “The Common Man’s Collapse” by Veil of Maya.
Ben: I listen to a lot of different music, but metal definitely is my true love. The metal bands I listen to are constantly changing, right now I am listening to a lot of Opeth and Gojira, but some of my other personal favorites are Dimmu Borgir, Meshuggah, Behemoth, and Nile. I also am a really big fan of some rap artists such as Immortal Technique, Diabolic, Tech N9ne, and our local death-rapper Filthy Tarantino.
xFiruath: Have you been to any great/terrible/interesting live shows lately?
Ben: We had some really great shows on the tour, but like every tour not every show can be great! The dates we hit that were specifically memorable to me were Fredericton NB, Montreal QC, Sherbrooke QC and Yarmouth NS. We have some shows coming up that I am very excited for that I think will slay as well, specifically the Southern Ontario Metal Festival along with Protest The Hero, Cancer Bats, Dead & Divine, Farewell To Freeway, Blind Witness, Baptized In Blood, Threat Signal and a ton more.
xFiruath: Anything else you’d like to discuss?
Ben: If you haven't picked up our new album yet you can order a copy in your local record store or from Bandcamp. We also have a free download up right now of our songs "Autonomy" and "The First Stone" along with a desktop wallpaper and the song lyrics at this location. Any other info you need such as tour dates, videos, other new tunes etc. can be found at our website.
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