Vox Vocis: Full Lengths and Hardened Hearts

vox-vocis-interview-golden-mixtape
With a sound that’s landed them on stages with the likes of Hail the Sun and Icarus the Owl, Vox Vocis is heading out on the road to usher in their first full length, In the Arms of the Sun. They’ll start out in their hometown area out in Texas before heading west, hitting Arizona and LA before heading back. Before they do all that and drop their record on January 22, I thought it’d be nice to get get to know more about this alt-rock trio. Like what it was like to work with Stephen Adwell who’s worked with Story of the Year, what LA can expect when they come around and where they were when they penned their latest. Let’s get to it!

Kendra: You’ve explained In the Arms of the Sun is an “embodiment” of you guys as a whole and what you’ve been through over the past four years. Looking back, what three instances over that time stick out as the ones that made you guys sit out and write the most?

Alex: We played so many shows at the start of my time that practices were necessary, full-band writing sessions. “Crisis” came out of those times; “Breathe” I wrote pretty much whole in Guitar Pro, so there was a lot of hashing out in person what couldn’t practically translate to real-life playing; “Everything in Fire” save the lyrics and chord progression had to be written in-studio because we (mostly me) kept putting it off.

Kendra: When you set out to make the album, did you have a game plan like – well we have to have such and such done by this date, and whatnot – or did you let it flow more naturally?

Alex: We didn’t book recording until more-or-less all the songs were structured. Some ideas had to be changed due to time crunches right before recording. The second verse of “Breathe” originally had this stupid rhythm in it, but we couldn’t get it right in time. And as I said earlier, “Fire” was pretty much entirely done in-studio.

Zach: It was a very structured process. All the songs were mostly done, and we planned dates to stay at Stephen’s studio while we recorded, packed bags, and all got off work to be there. It’s kind of funny in hindsight because we live maybe 40 minutes from him, but wanted to be immersed in the music.

Alejandro: I don’t think we ever really were like “Okay, let’s write an album.” It was a much more drawn out process of having music, tweaking what we had, and finally deciding that the time to release an LP was now or never, as we felt we’d really reached a ceiling at that point in terms of where we could go and what we wanted to do.

Kendra: Did Stephen Adwell of AMR Studios pull anything out of you during recording that surprised you?

Zach: Yeah he made me play a ballad, haha. I didn’t want to chill out for our song “A Fire Favored”, and he made me. I normally wanna be all over the place with drums. It’s a bad habit of mine, but I’m really glad he helped me break it for that song.

Kendra: What about “The Hardened Heart” made you want to release that as a first taste?

Alejandro: As soon as that song was done being written we all felt it was something special. We played it live only a couple days after it was done and it became a staple of our live set. The recorded version came out as strong and as driving as we had hoped and we all still felt really strongly about it having a great combination of our alt-rock and prog-rock sensibilities, so putting that out there as the first single was almost a no-brainer.

Kendra: If you had to consider The Winter and In the Arms of the Sun your kids, which one do you think would be the troublemaker and which would be the perfect angel?

Alejandro: Haha! I think at the time we all thought The Winter EP was the perfect angel. Sorta like every parent thinks their first child can do no wrong. In The Arms Of The Sun wasn’t a huge troublemaker, but it definitely gave us a run for our money when recording. Stephen at AMR Studios is a saint for dealing with the tempo and time signature changes that kept happening, and working as tirelessly as he did to make sure we hit our deadlines.

Kendra: You’ve performed quite a bit since you started up in 2011. Is there anything that still makes you nervous before heading onstage?

Alex: Wondering how far into the set it’s going to take me to realize I didn’t warm my voice up enough.

Kendra: You’ve got a couple shows right before the debut LP drops. What can the LA folks expect when you head out west for that show?

Zachary: That show is actually part of a tour we’re going to be doing in support of the album – it just got leaked a bit earlier. The most exciting part of that tour though, is we’ll be bringing our piano playing friend to play some parts we wrote out for the album live, and to embellish on ideas we’ve come up with since recording.

Kendra: Do you have plans for a spring tour yet that you can share?

Alejandro: Currently there’s nothing set in stone, but we’ve been in contact with some bands out east and we’ve been dying to head up to New York, so definitely be on the lookout come April or May.

Kendra: Since we’re in a new year, I’d love if you made us a mixtape consisting of songs from five new artists you think we should check out.

Vox Vocis:
Kill Thrill 2.0” by the Slaughterhouse 5
III” by ourfathers
Kimberley” by Crimson Arrow
Lesser Grandstander” by Rogues Among Us
Watashi Igai Watashi ja Nai no” by Gesu no Kiwami Otome

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