Published Jul 22, 2008From their inception, Misery Signals were a brutal metalcore band that fit into that category neatly until they birthed Mirrors, an album that put forth a sound teaming with harmony-ridden guitars and a Sigur Rós-like ambience that defined their distinct style and them as a melodic hardcore unit. Controller sees the culmination of Of Malice and the Magnum Hearts primal viciousness and Mirrors atmospheric guitar tones converging into a well-organised whole. Their third piece of work clearly demonstrates the bands maturity as songwriters. "Reset is done in typical fashion musically until the final three minutes, where melody, a slow tempo, xylophone and a triangle carry seamlessly back into the hardcore conclusion. "Homecoming returns to the pleasant tones only to be complemented by heavy vocals. A major theme on Controller is how people are controlled by their own paths and that they need to be conscious of making changes in their lives to correct these wrongdoings. This is exemplified by "Set In Motion and in guitarist Ryan Morgans lyrics: "Were on a march to the end. Cover my eyes, but I still hear the drums of war. Lets make history stop. As a band divided by the borders of the U.S. and Canada, theyve overcome geography to create music thats unified through ideas while being able to erupt musically, as well as command respect in the hardcore community.
Sonically, Controller and Of Malice and The Magnum Heart have a lot of similarities, in regards to heaviness. Agree?
Yeah, I would. I mean, thats because the same guy produced it.
Thats where I was going. Is that due to Devin Townsend working his magic?
The songs this time around werent more like Malice but we looked at Mirrors and analysed it and realised our mistakes on the record, [which] is one way to put it. We just made sure we didnt make the same mistakes. We looked back at Malice and Mirrors and the high points of those records and tried to mesh those together.
"Weight of the World is one of the shortest songs Misery Signals have recorded. Does that mean the band are altering their style of songwriting? I wouldnt say that. That was more of a Malice-y kind of song. It was like "In Summary of What I Am. I dont know; its just the way that song came out. It was the second song we wrote and yeah, I dont know; its weird how everything worked out. You could say we didnt even try and sit down to write that song. We didnt sit down and say, "This song has to be two-and-a-half minutes and its got to be quick and to the point.
I read that Mr. Morgan [drummer Branden Morgans father] played percussion on the album.
All of our parents are very supportive of what we do and theyll come out to all the shows if were in someones hometown; you can be sure that theyre going to come out to show their support. They might not be down with the music or the scene but they always come out and show their support. And I mean, his dad is a classically trained musician who plays in the Madison Symphony Orchestra. He came to the guys and said that "if you need someone to do some extra percussive stuff then Id be happy to do it.
Mirrors was a huge accomplishment for the band musically and it was well received. What goals did the band have with Controller?
Goals, huh? We would like this one to sell more records than the previous one but every band are trying to do that with every release they push. As far as what were trying to accomplish, I think we did accomplish it by writing a record that everyone in the band came together and said, "I want a heavy part in this, I want a solo, I want this, I want that. That was the goal when we were writing: to make a record that everyone was happy with. Obviously we would like to see kids latch onto it and continue to develop a fan base but big picture, it doesnt matter because were playing music for ourselves that makes us happy. And as long as were happy then were happy.
Where does Controller fit into the bands musical canon?
In terms of the bands evolution and body of work.
Well, all the guys have talked about it over the course of the writing and recording and now waiting for it to come out and reflecting on it, they are all convinced that this is the best record this band have ever done. I mean, thats a typical thing for a band to say: that it is the best thing theyve ever done. Ive probably listened back over it a million times trying to find something that really bothers me about it and nothing comes to mind.
What kind of problems does having members in Canada and the U.S. create?
Well, Im living in Canada right now and Stu technically is from Edmonton but with the time off he has now hes decided hes going to spend it in Milwaukee. So, the only real issue we have is getting plane tickets back and forth, but the borders arent a problem because we all have proper work permits and visas. In fact, if anything, its easier crossing the border because we have two Canadians and three Americans. They pull it up and see that we have all the proper paperwork, so they really cant say no. As far as issues go, there really arent any.
Revolver was quoted as saying about you: "A relentlessly ambitious melodic metalcore band with a knack for exhausting members with their take-no-prisoners touring schedule. How much truth is in that statement?
Ive been in the band now for almost three years and the last two years we have been on the road for ten months per year. I think we played almost 300 shows and so that takes a lot out of you. For some reason weve decided to tour like a normal band this year: do a month of touring then take a couple of weeks off, do a month, take a few weeks off. I dont know, I mean, that was really, really tough. I love those dudes to death but spending 24 hours a day, ten months a year [with them] is enough to drive anybody crazy. So this is nice; its been a nice long break here and were all anxious to get back on the road. We only go out for a month and then were off for another couple weeks.
Thematically, Controller represents how people are controlled by their own paths and history, but you advocate that we need to make conscious decisions to change that. Are you speaking on any specific topic?
Well, there was one track on that record that I didnt write the lyrics for. Ryan [Morgan] actually [wrote] "Set In Motion, which is about the environment and issues relating to overpopulation and pollution. Trying to change what we are doing [as people] is based around that idea that we have control over ourselves and what we do and what the end result is. As in, how much is too much?
If you could describe Controller as one sound what would that be?
One sound? It sounds like a freshly made ham and cheese sandwich. (Ferret)