“Wear Your Wounds is its own creature and will bring a different energy and intensity.”
If you become so synonymous with something, it can be hard to step away and bring in a new perspective. When you hear the name Jacob Bannon, you instantly think of Converge. However, the frontman of the Boston hardcore quartet has finally released his long anticipated debut full-length of his solo project – Wear Your Wounds.
Known for his unhinged vocals and kinetic onstage energy, the singer has almost taken a stripped back approach to this project, but even though it may be a new venture for many fans, it is something Bannon has been toying with for years. “I have been writing and recording music for a very long time and this project is just another part of that,” Bannon told Already Heard.
“The way I tend to write and the way I like to see things progress can come across quite different to what is written for Converge. So this is me steering the ship. This is me writing the way I like to write, and for the most part, it is just bringing my ideas to life rather than coming in with a fully formed song.”
Bannon’s work rate is something to be marvelled at, not only being the front man of one of the world’s most recognised heavy bands, he runs his own record label (Deathwish Inc), is a well-established graphic designer and babbles in various other projects. Now adding WYW to his bow, the project has started to become a more fully formed beast and along with the release of the self-titled album, Bannon is set to take this project on the road – but doesn’t feel any pressure of putting something new out into the world.
He added: “It seemed like something to do and you should do, so I thought I should take that leap.
"I kept getting asked to do shows so [I] thought why not get out there and do something fun, with this more soulful emotional material.”
And the softly spoken vocalist admits that after the recent Converge Blood Moon full band tours that getting WYW out on the road wasn’t a huge step away from the aesthetics of these shows. He continues: “Converge Blood Moon was an idea we were working on and it is something that we are continuing to look at and expand on later down the line. It acted as a platform to play the darker, more sombre songs live, so this energy of this tour will be similar to that, so it isn’t too much out of my wheelhouse.
"Wear Your Wounds is its own creature and will bring a different energy and intensity. It is similar to Blood Moon but in the same breath it is not Converge Blood Moon, it’s just a little more familiar.”
His solo debut finds Bannon at his most vulnerable and raw, with a bold statement and impressionistic sound and hints of drone and psychedelia. The singer performs all the album’s prominent piano parts and made contributions on a host of other instruments as well, but admits he never really over analysed things when putting the album together. “I rarely over think of how things are going to come out,” added the vocalist, “I am usually just writing a riff or a basic song idea just to do it.
"The form it takes after that, whether it becomes a fully formed song or it goes to band A or band B, that thought is kind of secondary to me. It has always been that way. After a bunch of years of material, you look at it and think there is enough stuff here for me to share with people. The more you have songs kicking around, the more you tend to not release it. I don’t claim to be the best at anything, but I just want to get my ideas out there and use the tools I have.”
It is this constant pool of material, which made Bannon realise that there comes a time where you need to let go and just let the music be what it is and release it into the world. He added: “It might be a case of you record a song or a bit of a song 50 times over, and eventually you have to let your song go and just let it be. And I have been trying to make a more conscious effort to do that.
"The idea of once it’s captured than it’s time to move on. This is especially true when you are in a home recording environment because you can record forever as there are no rules and there is no one telling you that you need to get this out. It’s not like I have a clock ticking on my work.
"It just felt like it was time to get these songs out there. When it came to deciding to put an album together and made it a priority, I had 30 songs which I had to edit down. I have a 130 something voice memos on my phone right now, and there are some on there which I haven’t listen to from when I recorded them, so I am constantly thinking and different song ideas and constantly working.”
One thing that Bannon is aware of is that WYW is not going to appeal to all Converge fans, but knows because of who he is, there will be some intrigue. However, being in the music scene since the age of 13, the songwriter believes audiences grow as artists do. “Your audience tends to mature and age as you do,” continued the 40-year-old. “But there is also the idea that as your audience ages, it ages out of aggressive music – which I laugh at sometimes. Not in a way to disrespect, but I get people in their mid-twenties say to me they used to listen to us (Converge) when they were 17 /18 and it’s like they just don’t get it. I mean I’m 40 now and I still need that outlet from time to time. I’ve been in this world since I was 13 years old and you can progress within it.
"You just need to have some belief in what you are doing rather than just ageing out.”
‘WYW’ by Wear Your Wounds is out now on Deathwish Inc.
Words by Tim Birkbeck. Photo Credit: Reid Haithcock