Hailing from Portland, Oregon and with comparisons to Brand New, Make Do and Mend, and Balance & Composure, emo rockers For The Life Of Me are set to unleash their debut EP, ‘Closure’ this week.
‘Closure’ is a strong, impressionable set of songs that takes the bands wide range of influences and condenses them to an admirable form. After a stuttering start with members leaving, For The Life Of Me are now on their way to bigger things.
Already Heard recently spoke to guitarist Austin Davis and bassist Jeff Galusha to discuss the making of ‘Closure,’ their comparisons and influences, the Portland music scene and more.
Already Heard: Hi. Can you tell us who you are and what you do in For The Life Of Me?
Austin: Hello sir. I’m Austin, I play guitar and take on some songwriting duties. Jeff: Hey, I’m Jeff. I play bass with stinky fingers.
AH: The band formed in late 2009 and you’ve all been in separate previous band. How did you come together?
Austin: Two of us were in a band together; two others were in a band together, etc. So we all knew each other for a long time. All of us grew up around music within our families so it’s something we’re always doing, and at the time none of us had any other projects going on. It was just good timing I guess.
Jeff: Pretty much just some phone calls and texts saying “Hey, let’s get together and do something like this…” And we started practicing in my parents’ freezing garage for a while, which I’m sure they weren’t excited about, but luckily they let us.
AH: Unfortunately two members left the band. What happened then?
Austin: We were actually really close to just moving on but we didn’t want to see all of our hard work go to waste… again. Plus, we thought the songs we had written so far were pretty decent. We even took to Craigslist to find a drummer, which was very weird at times, inviting these random dudes into our sweaty little practice room. In the end it worked out well and we found a hot new drummer, Chris (Forrette.) We taught the new guys the songs and now we’re back to playing shows and starting to write new stuff. It’s been quite a long road but I’m really glad we kept it going.
AH: You’re now set to release your debut EP, ‘Closure.’ What is the EP about?
Austin: The EP itself is about many different things. Generally, whatever ails you, regrets and mistakes, facing those pieces of your past that haunt you and finally dealing with them.
AH: Has the failure of previous bands influenced the EP or your sound in anyway?
Austin: No, not at all. We just started throwing out some new ideas then structuring them. It’s not like we decided to start a certain genre of music after a different style of band broke up.
Jeff: It hasn’t influenced the EP or our sound, but maybe in the way we operate as a group. We all have equal say and write the music collectively. Someone will come in with a simple idea then we’ll work it out from there.
AH: Your sound has been compared to Brand New and Balance & Composure. What are your thoughts on this comparison?
Austin: I think that’s incredible. Both are great bands. Although I don’t really think we sound much like Brand New, and I don’t think they’re a band many could compare to.
Jeff: Fucking right on man! Brand New have been one of my favorite bands forever.
AH: Are there any bands you would consider as influences on ‘Closure’?
Austin: I would consider Balance & Composure an influence. I was listening to them a lot around the time we wrote those songs. I was also listening to a good amount of The Dangerous Summer. But I mostly listen to more ambient/indie rock stuff like The Appleseed Cast, Lydia, Pompeii… so a lot of my guitar writing has that type of influence. I leave it to Jeff to come up with the harder stuff.
Jeff: Don’t let Austin fool you, he used to be in a band that played breakdowns like crazy. A couple of my big influences with this band in particular, and on the EP, were mostly Park, As Cities Burn, and mewithoutYou.
AH: The EP was recorded with Stephan Hawkes (Vanna, Closure In Moscow, Red Fang). What did he add to the EP?
Jeff: Super rad stories, lots of laughs, Wendy’s cheesy cheddarburgers, Rockstar lattes, Trailer Park Boys, Xbox and a real comfy couch.
Austin: Total sexiness. If you hear anything sexy while listening to the EP, that was Stephan. He understood what we were going for in the sound and made it come together so well and so easily. Even if one little part was a tiny bit off he would have us keep trying it, or suggest how to tweak it, and everything came out sounding great, in my opinion. Basically he just made us sound a lot better than we are.
AH: You recently released a lyric video for the opening track ‘Eleven’. How has the feedback been to the track and why did you pick that song as the first to be released?
Austin: Overall, the feedback has been excellent. I’m very pleasantly surprised. It’s always good getting some outside perspective. We chose that song because it felt like the best introduction to our music.
Jeff: I’m really surprised with the feedback too. Of course there are some negative comments as well but I want more of them! They’re fun to read.
AH: Can you tell us a bit about the Portland music scene. What is it like at the moment?
Austin: Oh man, where to start with the Portland music scene… I don’t know how many people acknowledge this, but I’ve heard a lot about Portland and Austin, Texas being very similar. I’m not sure how much I agree but I will say both cities seem to have music coming out your ears. The good news is that on any given night you can go somewhere and see a live set of whatever type of music you want. The bad news is that the trends seem to be intensified around here. One genre will blow up for a while, die out, then a completely different one will. And so many people seem to ride the waves. Although at its core, Portland is a very indie rock city. There’s always a strong community for that underlying everything else.
Jeff: Lots of oversaturated crap. Too many people using laptops to make what they think is real music. There’s something to be said about playing an actual instrument and taking the time to learn it. Portland also has a good helping of DJ/dubstep stuff, with a side of mashed potatoes and carrots.
AH: Are there any local bands you’d like our readers to know about?
Austin: There’s this little indie band that moved here from New Mexico. They go by The Shins… don’t know if you’ve heard of them but maybe give them a listen.
AH: After the EP release, what else do have in the works? New material or any touring plans?
Jeff: Going on a walkabout in Australia.
Austin: Definitely working on new stuff. We had a couple other songs that we didn’t record then they ended up in the trash altogether. We’re working on about four new ones so far. Unfortunately no plans to tour at the moment but we’ll be playing all around Portland, then going more around the Northwest this summer.
AH: Do you have any final words to share with the Already Heard readers?
Jeff: Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.
Austin: Thank you for reading! If there’s anyone willing, we would love to play in your living room or basement. And try not to throw up on your floor.
‘Closure’ EP by For The Life Of Me is out on the 26th March.