Rising Up and Tearing Down The Walls with Art Of Dying

It\’s been four years since Art Of Dying emerged and released their successful debut record Vices & Virtues. After a lengthy wait and a lineup change, the band is back with their latest release, an EP titled Rise Up. Almost Immediately after releasing the EP, the band hit the road with Apocalyptica and hit a few festivals along the way as well. After the Apocalyptica tour, the band stayed on the road for a short headline tour and drummer Jeff Brown sat down with Front Row Report editor Reggie Edwards to talk about the EP, tour and what\’s on the horizon. TFRR: You guys are out on the road, you just finished a run with Apocalyptica not too long ago. I believe you’re doing the headline right now, how’s that been? Jeff Brown: It’s going great man. Actually we’re almost done, it’s been really fun shows and we’re really excited to be out and finally playing these new songs. TFRR: Yea the new EP Rise Up. I know there’s a full length coming down the road but I remember being with you in the studio in Chicago and this EP is just killer from beginning to end. Self-titled, Rise Up, can you tell me  the theme of Rise Up? Jeff Brown: It really is all about just that, through all of the trials and tribulations of not only this business, but just songwriting and really challenging ourselves with the new feel of this record, rising up from going from a 5 piece to a 4 piece, rising up with a new label, rising up with pretty much just everything, and so it just kind of came to be naturally. TFRR: I know Greg left the band earlier this year. This is the first time you’ve recorded as a four piece. Was that a tough transition or did it come naturally? Jeff Brown: Yea, honestly it came naturally. Tavis is such a good guitar player that he was able to lay down the tracks pretty much in his sleep, he’s just such a good guitar player. As a four piece we decided kind of right then and there that we don’t want to be a five piece again and we’re going to be tighter for it and again, if Tavis wasn’t such a good guitar player then we might need somebody else to do rhythm or someone to do lead, but with the way we’re rolling right now it’s really again, rising up and filling in the gaps where need be and it’s been working kind of out of the gate from the studio. TFRR: I know Dan Donegan was on the song and was also in the video. You guys go back pretty much from the beginning of your career with Dan. How important was it to have him on the song and featured in the video as well? Jeff Brown: Yea man. We’ve known Danny since like 2008 and he’s like our big brother so when we were in the studio recording “Rise Up” Tavis had an idea of like “oh I should have a guitar battle with Danny” and it literally was just a phone call and then Danny laid down his parts and he dubbed the song and then he’s just such a man of his word, right? So the fact that he jumped on a plane and came when we shot the video and he was there and we’re like “Of course you’re here, you said you would be” so here we are. TFRR: The video itself is insane- it’s a really cool video. Who came up with the concept and what was it like making the video? It looked cold. Jeff Brown: Yea we worked with a producer called Chad Archibold and he came up with the concept and we all kind of tweaked it along the way to what we wanted. And it was really cold man, it was like -27 and you know what, it’s just about rising up and a lot of younger generations know a lot more than we give them credit for and we stick together and a lot of people are going to perceive it the way they want so we wanted to have it just really about aggression for all the right reasons and positivity and being able to have a voice and speak for yourself and just stick together, you know? TFRR: I feel like the album really tells a story. It starts with “Rise Up” and then “Tearing Down the Wall.” That “Rise Up” tough mentality is really there throughout the record. Was that something you wanted to summarize with the whole record or did it bleed into everything else? Jeff Brown: We definitely wanted to have a common thread throughout the whole record which kind of gives you a body of work. I think with this record we crossed a bridge and we realized that it’s okay for us to not have the music and lyrics be so light. We’re going to not only scream for other people but also for ourselves too and sing for ourselves, so that’s why we decided to go a lot heavier and just become the edgy hard rock band that we know that we are. So that’s really why the theme came together like that. There are some songs that are a little bit lighter, but unlike Vices and Virtues where there are a lot more peaks and valleys this is a lot more risky, edgy, heavy rock, and definitely done on purpose. TFRR: It was four years between records, taking as long as it took between records did it make it easier to separate yourself from the success and make Rise Up its own monster? Jeff Brown: No man, because there’s a lot of great bands that have come out and we didn’t intend to take this long, just sometimes the business is a lot of hurry up and wait and again we signed to a new label and so nurturing those new relationships and knowing that we were going to be working with David and hearing when he was available and when we were available and then once that gets recorded then when the label and we all feel is the appropriate time to release the first single, so it definitely doesn’t get any easier. As flattered as we are that songs like “Die Trying” and “Get Through This” did really well, it’s actually harder because you have to follow up, right? You know how well “Die Trying” did, so it’s like well, you need to do just as good. TFRR: The first major show you had back was Rock on the Range, which is a hell of a show to come back to. Jeff Brown: Yea, I believe it was the second show. TFRR: What was the feeling like when you were taking the final steps and the moment hits and you’re taking the stage? Jeff Brown: A little bit nervous because it was a second show and we were still working out the kinks and we have a different set up now but more exciting I think because we’ve done so many shows I think we all get more stoked than nervous now. And to be honest with you I can only speak for myself, but I didn’t realize there were that many people out front until I went out and sat behind the kit and I’m like “okay, there’s a ton of people here” TFRR: I think this was one of the highest selling ROTR’s ever, actually. Jeff Brown: Yea, it was honestly, it literally felt like a main stage and even though it was called the second main stage it felt like the main stage, there were that many people there, so it was really great. TFRR: So how much of Rise Up are you playing on this headlining run and just this overall cycle right now? Jeff Brown: We’re definitely playing a few songs from Vices and Virtues and we’re playing as much as we can from the new record so it’s a really great show for people. Especially, a lot of people are loving the new stuff and there’s a lot of people who are still really attached to Vices and Virtues so overall we just want to bring to the table what we would want to hear if it was a band we went to see. TFRR: Awesome. The one I’m looking forward to is Louder Than Life in Louisville. What’s the rest of the summer look like leading up to Louder Than Life? I know you just played with Zombie recently. Jeff Brown: Yea that was a great festival, that was a lot of fun. We’re going to go home July 20, probably be home for a few weeks, the month of August. We’ve been out for three months so everybody needs to rest a little bit, especially the voices and stuff and then there’s a bunch of stuff in the offer right now that’s probably going to be booked for the fall and some really exciting stuff for 2016.