Between his work with Converge, recording other music projects, creating visual art and running a record label, Jacob Bannon is busy. His latest venture is a solo project called Wear Your Wounds (debut WYW is out now on Deathwish), in which Bannon ditches the heavy distortion of Converge for a much softer and cleaner sound.
"It is a lot different than Converge, but in the same breath too, there are a lot of similarities because Converge is a part of me just like this is part of me," Bannon tells Exclaim! Although Wear Your Wounds doesn't have the same brutal aggression that drives Converge, Bannon still crafts a heavy sound that explores his more experimental side. Here's what we learned.
1 These songs have been in the works since the early 2000s.
"I had a previous project called Supermachiner that I did up until about 2000. After that point when I decided to put that project to bed, I continued writing music and giving some ideas to Converge. Some of them work, some of them don't with Converge and you know, I always continued writing on my own doing my own sort of thing. This is a small sampling of that material."
2 Bannon tends to write songs on piano.
"It's a lot easier for me to be able to voice something quickly on a piano or a keyboard or something like that. As things progressed I got a little bit better at playing and putting those ideas together. At first, I think I would just build stuff and think that I would replace it with guitar later. The more I wrote that way, the more comfortable I felt. With that said, I'm not at an awesome pianist at all, I can just sort of hash out my musical ideas just enough to get them recorded. But I'm content with the final result for sure."
3 There's a visually coherent theme between the "Wear Your Wounds" video, the album cover and liner notes.
The video was based on photography Bannon used for the album and was directed by Max Moore, who has also worked with Code Orange, New Found Glory and Stick To Your Guns.
"The song itself is a pretty simple one. It's just about not letting your negative experiences in life wholly define you. Take them as a starting point, use them as a catalyst for some sort of personal growth and positive change in your life. It's essentially for me what the mirror reflects, the natural order of things, the crafting of a ladder walking through the woods with those natural elements."
4 Simplicity and layering instruments are key.
"The way I came to write songs seems to be one giant crescendo. When you do that, you sort of build on layers upon layers. You introduce different harmonies, different melodies that sort of interplay with one another. It's just the way I like to write. It's the kind of stuff I gravitate towards as a listener of music. I don't need things to be hyper-complex or anything — I'm totally content getting lost in the harmonious meanings of bands on my own."
5 The Wear Your Wounds live band is a supergroup.
Bannon will handle piano, bass and vocal duties live, but has recruited guitarists Mike McKenzie (The Red Chord, Stomach Earth, Unraveller) Adam McGrath (Cave In), Sean Martin (Hatebreed) and drummer Chris Maggio (Trap Them, Coliseum, Sleigh Bells).
"A lot of them are guys that contributed on the record. We're going to be a three-guitar band and I'll be playing bass sort of intermittently with a lot of the stuff, because there is bass on the record but not all over the place. It's basically a bunch of friends that were available and want to play this sort of music, have fun and explore this world that I started on my own."