Though some of our favorite bands have disassembled throughout the years, post products have certainly kept their creative sides working and our tastes satisfied in the wake of a new audible meal. We only got a glimpse of the ex-Blood Brothers project Past Lives with their Strange Symmetry EP. Now that their full length, Tapestry of Webs, has taken off critically, the band are embarking to make a new statement after the past one they're already known for. Vocalist Jordan Blilie sat down to talk about the band's origin's and his new found confidence with the project.
How did Past Lives come about after The Blood Brothers split?
Me and Morgan [Henderson] and Mark [Gajahdar] had been talking on the last Blood Brothers tour we did in Europe. Which was probably the summer of 2007? We had talked about wanting to still play together once the band had wrapped up. We had originally thought about doing a three piece, but then we wanted to add another guitar player. Devin [Welch] we had known for ages, and we love his guitar playing. We loved all the bands that he had done over the years. He felt like a natural fit. Luckily he was free to do it. He was excited about trying it out. We got together and first started practicing at Mark's house late summer of 2007.
Now the EP was certainly an ear catcher, but there is a shift in sound with Tapestry of Webs. It's more focused and formidable. Was the EP only early on ideas...
Once the LP was figured out, this is more a portrait of what the band is going to be?
I'd say that's correct. The EP songs were written within the first six months of being a band, so it's still very much trying to get a hold on what we wanted to do. When I listen to [the EP now] the lineage of our past [projects] is apparent. Afterward, after we did the stuff with The Journal of Popular Noise, we started to get a better sense of where we wanted to go and what thinks we wanted to leave behind and what we wanted to build off of. We took our time writing the songs for the full length. Worked on them [pause] I'd say about a year after the EP came out. We all had other bands and stuff, work and other obligations. The pacing was slow. I was happy that it was. It gave us time to figure out exactly what it was we were doing and how to execute it.
Was there any certain direction you guys wanted to take?
Generally speaking, less aggressive. We wanted more apheral tones. We just wanted to leave the confrontational style of music we had been in as far behind as possible. We wanted to get into things we weren't accustomed to doing. Slowing things down. Creating a sense of space and breathing room with each song. Create a record that was a bit of a slow burn that wasn't necessarily immediate, but just sort of took its time and moved through different paths throughout.
It's interesting you say slow burn, because when I heard it, I felt like it was this slow burn pop record.
We paced it in a way.
It definitely gets to an aggressive level without going over the top. Even your vocal range did that.
Yeah, it was just more about creating tension than having that hyper release we had always done before with the three of us that were in The Blood Brothers. I think The Blood Brothers' songs were structured around that "pay off," that "explosion." We just wanted to take the opposite track. Like I said, just sort of build tension to a point, but not explode or get completely chaotic.
I sat down with Johnny [Whitney] the other night, and asked him what he thought about the band, and he says he sees a real confidence in your voice. Do you feel you are more confident as a songwriter and vocalist?
I wasn't until we finished this. I was still trying to find a creative process that worked for me. A big part of making this record was was trying to figure that out. With The Blood Brothers, a lot of it was mapped out for me. I had a context. With [Past Lives] I really wanted to get into very different writing. I didn't want to do the same sorts of things that I was contributing to in The Blood Brothers. It just took me a while to figure out what that was. I still feel I'm getting to that. The way that I sing. The things I can do and the things I can't do. With this record, I just tried my best to serve the songs in the most genuine, honest way I could do it.
Did you find that challenge to be stressful or another part of your creative knack?
Yeah, it was super stressful. [Laughs] It sucked at times. I think that, I tend to over think things a lot. I get stuck in my head. There was a lot of just sort of staring at blank paper or staring at a wall, getting frustrated. It got to a point where they had amassed an albums worth of stuff, and I had to put my contribution in there. I think running out of time and having to just be in a situation where there was no more time to think about things. Just do it. I think in that case, what I consider to be my best stuff, just came from that. it forced me to just get on with it. I found it made for a lot more honesty. It made for just a more representative of myself. It made me not second guess things anymore.
You're pretty much saying you found yourself by working under pressure?
Yes. That's the articulate way of saying it. [Laughs]
I asked Johnny this same question in our interview, about your band, so what do you think of Jaguar Love and how the two bands have emerged out of the ashes of The Blood Brothers?
I feel extremely thankful for the way things ended up for me personally - for the band I'm now in. I'm very fortunate to play with people I have a strong connection to. People I've been playing with for so long. It has been a real thrill to play with Devin again. He's a really great friend. He's a great person, a wonderful guitar player. I feel for myself, and everyone involved with this band, we're in a much better place now. When I see them, I feel the same way. I feel they are now able to do what they wanted to do, but didn't have a place in The Blood Brothers. I think it made perfect sense the way it split apart. I think if you look at what we're doing and what they're doing, we're in a much better place and happier now. As far as what they are doing musically, I think that Johnny will always be a great lyricist. He's one of the most creative writers that I've known. I've always loved the stuff that he has put together lyrically. I think it takes a lot of courage to do something that sounds so different from what other people are doing. I give him a lot of credit for that. I've always seen them play once. They're doing something that is very much them, and I think that's great.
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