With the release of their fantastic album ‘Forgotten Days’ (Read our review here), we put some questions to Pallbearer’s Brett Cambpell. Find out his take on the new album, being in a band and what bands he thinks are worth checking out.
First off, I hope all of you are doing ok? How has the pandemic affected you guys? Any messages for your fans?
I’m doing alright. I have been careful, and lucky, to not catch the virus so far. The pandemic has affected us in the same way that it has the rest of the music industry – no shows , no tours, lots of questions about the future. It’s tough, since touring is how we make our living.
How are you guys feeling about the album compared with your previous work? Are there any surprises?
I’m proud of the album, and think it stands up with the rest of our material. As far as surprises, I don’t think there are many major stylistic shockers on Forgotten Days, compared to the shift between Foundations and Heartless. Rather, the album is more like a fusion of all of our previous styles. The new stylistic choices are subtly incorporated into the songs this time.
You guys have pretty much been creating for 10 years now? How do you think you guys managed it? What’s the secret of longevity, especially in today’s fast paced music industry?
It all boils down to our friendship, and our collective love of making music. The four of us are still close friends; we still get along after all this time. We all aim to make great songs, and we take the band very seriously, but joke around and have fun the rest of the time. Touring life can be tough at times, but it’s still rewarding to play music for people around the world. I hope we get to do that again.
Do you feel like you have achieved what you set out to do with Forgotten Days? Is being in a band still what you guys love?
Forgotten Days is practically exactly what I hoped it would be. No record is perfect, but this one achieves what we set out for it to do, musically and sonically. As for your second question, I love making music, and I feel like we still have a lot to say as a band, so yes.
Going back over the years, has your approach to song writing changed? How does a track develop within the band?
Honestly, my process hasn’t changed all that much. I pick up my guitar and fiddle around until something cool comes out. If something interesting doesn’t happen within the first 30 minutes or so, I put it down and try again later. Other times, I’ll hear a melody in my head, then build a song around it. Sometimes I’ll open up Logic and sort of play stream-of-consciousness into it, then see if a song forms. That’s an exciting way to basically watch a song create itself before your eyes.
With your music moving away from the early traditional doom metal and incorporating more progressive elements, has that given you freedom to create? Did you guys feel you the need to expand your influences?
We always had those progressive elements, conceptually, even from the very beginning. As time went on, and we became better players and songwriters, more locked-in as a band, those elements became more apparent, since we got better at constructing more advanced material.
The music industry has changed a hell of a lot over the years. How have you guys found the journey when dealing with the industry?
It’s hard to make money in the industry, doing what we do. Heavy rock/metal is not part of the cultural zeitgeist in the way it once was. It’s funny, because I don’t consider us a “retro” band, but you don’t hear the kind music we make on the radio, for example. Still, I feel like there’s still a place for the kind of music we make, so we work hard to get it to people who want to hear it. We have worked hard to carve out a place for ourselves, and hope to continue to widen our audience on our own terms.
What songs are you looking forward to playing live when you get the chance?
All of em! The album was written to be played live, and all of the songs are a lot of fun to play. I look forward to seeing people’s reactions when we finally get to play shows again.
Are there any bands past or present you would love to have played with or even been part of?
Sure, tons of bands. A lot of my favourite bands are either defunct or well past their prime. I’d love to be able to have experienced the 70s – the heyday of experimentation in rock music.
Difficult to talk about future plans, but what does the future look like for yourself and the band?
Well, the election is today, so it will be easier to say how hesitantly positive or abysmally bleak things look in a few days. It’s unlikely that we’ll be touring anytime soon, but we continue to work on new music.
What music are you digging right now? How do you see the metal scene right now, are there any particular artists you would love to see make it?
Unfortunately, I’m not super up on the current metal underground at the moment. I haven’t toured in any significant capacity since the end of 2018, so I haven’t been exposed to any bands that way, and throughout 2020, I’ve mostly listened to very chill music at home. But, I do urge people to check out the new records from Sumokem and Terminal Nation. Both are truly killer bands from here in Little Rock.
Forgotten Days is out now via Nuclear Blast, available to purchase here: https://pallbearerdoom.com/forgotten-days
Check out the video for title track, below: