Misery Signals Controller

Misery Signals Controller
From 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 Heart’s primal viciousness and Mirrors’ atmospheric guitar tones converging into a well-organised whole. Their third piece of work clearly demonstrates the band’s 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 Morgan’s lyrics: "We’re on a march to the end. Cover my eyes, but I still hear the drums of war. Let’s make history stop.” As a band divided by the borders of the U.S. and Canada, they’ve overcome geography to create music that’s 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, that’s because the same guy produced it.

That’s where I was going. Is that due to Devin Townsend working his magic?
The songs this time around weren’t 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 didn’t 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 wouldn’t say that. That was more of a Malice-y kind of song. It was like "In Summary of What I Am.” I don’t know; it’s just the way that song came out. It was the second song we wrote and yeah, I don’t know; it’s weird how everything worked out. You could say we didn’t even try and sit down to write that song. We didn’t sit down and say, "This song has to be two-and-a-half minutes and it’s got to be quick and to the point.”

I read that Mr. Morgan [drummer Branden Morgan’s father] played percussion on the album.
All of our parents are very supportive of what we do and they’ll come out to all the shows if we’re in someone’s hometown; you can be sure that they’re 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 I’d 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 we’re 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 doesn’t matter because we’re playing music for ourselves that makes us happy. And as long as we’re happy then we’re happy.

Where does Controller fit into the band’s musical canon?
How so?

In terms of the band’s 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, that’s a typical thing for a band to say: that it is the best thing they’ve ever done. I’ve 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, I’m living in Canada right now and Stu technically is from Edmonton but with the time off he has now he’s decided he’s going to spend it in Milwaukee. So, the only real issue we have is getting plane tickets back and forth, but the borders aren’t a problem because we all have proper work permits and visas. In fact, if anything, it’s 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 can’t say no. As far as issues go, there really aren’t 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?
I’ve 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 we’ve 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 don’t 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; it’s been a nice long break here and we’re all anxious to get back on the road. We only go out for a month and then we’re 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 didn’t 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)