When Rise Records announced the signing of War Generation, a collaboration between Jon Bunch, formerly of Sense Field, Further Seems Forever and Reason To Believe, Brad Lehman of Maylene and the Sons of Disaster and Craig from Ignite/Strife, I knew I had to get the skinny. In fact, mere mention of the collaboration transported me to a mid-90s era dorm room where Sense Field, Ignite and Strife reigned supreme. Much to my delight, Jon Bunch describes the concept of the album as holding-tight to punk ideals developed in the ‘80s and struggled with or realized as an adult in 2013.
Ghettoblaster had the pleasure of discussing their forthcoming album, Start Somewhere Never Surrender, which is a perfect blend of melodic hardcore and rock, not unlike Rise Against or AFI, with Bunch. This is what he said about the record, which hits shelves September 3 (prior to the band’s September tour with Red Jumpsuit Apparatus)…
When did you begin writing the material for your forthcoming album?
Brad Lehmann and I started exchanging music about a year and a half ago, sending ideas back and forth. Brad lives in St. Pete. Florida and I live in California. We started out with a couple of songs of his. I did some editing and wrote some melodies and words to his music. As we started to build a few ideas, it became a daily thing, sending music back and forth, we kept at each other…pushing for more songs and ideas.
What was the most difficult song to take from the initial writing stage through recording and mixing? Why was it so troublesome?
There wasn’t too much difficulty in the song writing process itself, Brad gave me free reign to do whatever I wanted to his music, which I appreciate. The most difficult part was doing it long distance. After we demoed all the songs, Craig Anderson from Ignite/Strife played the drums here in California and the real recording began. Then Brad recorded all the music back in Florida. After that was complete, I flew to Florida to record the vocals. We originally thought we were only doing a five-song EP, so on my first trip out to Florida I only sang five songs. Then Craig from Rise Records asked us to finish everything we had, so I went back out to Florida to finish up the record.
Which of the songs on the record is most different from your original concept for the song?
There are two, “Keeping Quiet”, which was the first song Brad sent to me. It was really slow and dark, so I sped that shit up and it became a full blown rock song. You wouldn’t even recognize it as the same song if you heard the original idea. The second song is our cover of “Hybrid Moments” by the Misfits. We recorded it as a bonus track for the vinyl release, it sounds nothing like the original Misfits song. We used piano and slow droning guitars. It turned out much different from the original and doesn’t sound like anything on the record.
Did you have any guest musicians play or sing on the record?
I don’t know, I wasn’t there, just kidding… Derick Cordoba who I played in Further Seems Forever makes a guest appearance on guitar for two songs. Stephen Bowman wrote the pads and plays guitar on some songs on the record.
Who produced the record? What input did that person have that changed the face of the record?
We pretty much produced it ourselves, Stephen Bowman really helped us get everything we wanted and needed on tape. He certainly helped in executing all ideas we had and reeled us in if we were getting off track. The greatest thing about working with Stephen for me was recording the vocals, it was one of the easiest vocal sessions I’ve ever done in my 25 years of recording.
Is there an overarching concept behind your new album that ties the record together?
There is a running theme, a lot of the songs are geared toward the idea of growing up as a punk rock kid in the ‘80s and still holding on the those same values and ideas now that we’ve grown up… It’s really a record dedicated to all my hardcore friends and peers that are still fighting for what we believed in for most of our lives… that’s what the name War Generation is about…
Have you begun playing these songs live and which songs have elicited the strongest reaction from your fans?
We haven’t played them live; our record comes out September 3 on Rise Records. We start our first tour in September with Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, so we’ll find out then.
(Listen to a new song entitled, “Done and Gone” here: http://youtu.be/UeF7m0ZSBVY.)