Shutter 16’s The Mainstream Interview with Will Moss of Lifecurse:
Lifecurse’s newest release, Elysium, is a metal/progressive metal album like few others released this year. Packed with some of the most melodic, yet hard hitting, sounds, Elysium really turned me on to this band. I just had to chat with lead singer Will Moss…
Andy Frisk: Lifecurse is a very solid sounding progressive metal band in my opinion with a rather positive message. Not something that I readily expected from a band with the name “Lifecurse.” What’s the story behind the name?
WIll Moss: It’s definitely an interesting story. Myself, the drummer, and our guitarist Matt were the 3 surviving members from a previous band. We started coming up with and throwing around names because we wanted to start fresh. One day, I was in a bit of a funk, a lot of bad things had been happening in my life, and I didn’t feel like karma was a good word to describe it because I hadn’t done anything wrong, so I blamed it on my life curse…and then I started looking inward on it…i mean, life really is cursed. We are placed on this planet not knowing who we are or where we come from, what religion, if any, is the truth. Not knowing if any of what we experience is even real at all, or if we are just alone in a huge vast empty space of nothingness. Not knowing if maybe there are people out there on planets like ours in other galaxies asking the same questions. Then, by the time we think we have the answers we die and never get to tell anyone what happens after, or find out, or know if we ever even get to experience life again. It’s insane when you break down the real questions in life and start focusing on the bigger picture and how small you really are. It’s just our way of saying “bad luck”…it’s the life curse…it’s the thing that holds you back, kicks you when you’re down, but makes you get back up and push forward. I really couldn’t see us being named anything else, except maybe Roddy Wilder and the Lifecurse band. (Laughs)
Andy Frisk: Lifecurse’s songs, especially those on Elysium, have a really heavy, bone crunching, face melting, head banging sound, but also some very transcendent and uplifting moments and bridges throughout. There are some slightly industrial/synth influences here and there as well. Does this come from a shared “progressive metal” attitude or the desire to simply experiment and flush out the band’s sound? I personally think that these elements really make Lifecurse’s sound unique.
Will Moss: Basically, when we started this band, we told ourselves we aren’t going to sound like this band or that band. We don’t want to go for a certain sound. We want to sound like us. We want to write the songs we want to write, no matter what’s popular right now. We all come from different musical backgrounds, imagine that? (Laughs) But I seriously believe that you can see that in our music. We don’t try and set ourselves apart from other bands. We are just “that band” that people don’t know what to make of (Laughs). Now after experimenting for a few years, I can happily say that we have somewhat found our niche with our lineup and our producer Kyle Odell. He knows where our mindset is and is very good at bringing the best songs possible out of us. We really couldn’t do any of this without him because honestly, the guy is years ahead of the industry right now. The stuff his band writes alone would just make you scratch your head and wonder “why aren’t these guys on every single radio station?” So returning to the same producer you did your first album was not only a no brainer, but it really goes a long way. You both have grown a lot in that time so it opens you up to a lot more ideas. You’ve written better songs and you just feel a sense of comfortability around them so it makes the music flow more freely. He knows what is going to make a good take and he won’t stop until he gets it. I honestly couldn’t see us working with anyone else in the future unless there is a label involved.
Andy Frisk: What rock/metal bands and vocalists did you admire growing up, and how did they influence your own vocal style?
Will Moss: I started with Metallica. That was the first band I ever listened to and is a band I will always listen to. Hetfield is no Freddie Mercury, but he is a damn good fit for Metallica. However, growing up in Memphis I was also exposed to a lot of rap, hip hop, country, blues, and soul music so I’ve always wanted to have my contribution to the music be the point where you can just feel the emotion, like when BB King hits the money notes on Lucille, or the raw feeling in Robert Johnson’s voice…the type of music that gives you goosebumps. There’s no other feeling like it. But back to the rock/metal vocalists, as I mentioned before there’s Freddie Mercury, and Mike Patton, Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson, Dryden Mitchell, Maynard, Brock Lindow, Daryl Palumbo, Geoff Rickley, Dusitn Krensue, and Craig from Evergreen Terrace, the list goes on. All those guys have a very distinctive voice. I just really connected with all of those guys while listening to their music over the years. That’s the type of stuff that really influenced me to develop my own style and not to try and be the best vocalist, but just be myself and be something that people will enjoy…even if I’ll never be as good as Roddy. (Laughs)
Andy Frisk: What was it like starting out as a hard sounding metal band in Asheville, NC? Asheville isn’t exactly known for its metal, let alone progressive metal, scene.
Will Moss: Honestly, it was fun. We were playing a lot of really packed shows with our best friends, but over time, it’s changed so much. Asheville has always struggled with metal. It comes in waves. With the opening of The ODDitorium I’m hoping that the scene can be revitalized enough for more bands to start coming out. Over the 3 years that we have been a band, I’ve seen so many bands in this town come and go, change members, break up, start new bands, break up again, then start a new band. It’s just that it’s tough here for metal. You can go anywhere and see any genre of music, so it’s hard for people to get psyched about local shows. There’s no promotion companies in town. The biggest venue in the city very, very rarely lets locals open for nationals. Or maybe it’s just us (laughs). We played 75 shows last year, travelled over 23 states in 3 tours, yet still can’t even get our local paper to do an article on us. (Laughs) The one time we reached out to get them to do a write up for our CD release show, our guitarist and myself almost died in a car wreck that very night, and they probably wouldn’t have even put us in the obituaries! (Laughs) There was an entire issue dedicated to local metal bands, that was written by a guy who wasn’t even from Asheville, and he didn’t listen to metal. I was literally so disgusted that the only time I picked up that issue was to burn it in my fireplace for heat! (Laughs) We aren’t the type to seek people out or chase them down or annoy them. It’s 2013. If someone from a label, or the press, wants or need to speak with us, we are here. All of our contact info is blasted all over every social media site, and it’s in every email we have sent to them, if we have previously contacted them. We are doing this to play music for as many people as possible, in this city or outside of it.
Andy Frisk: As I mentioned earlier, Lifecurse has a pretty solidly uplifting message behind all the growls and heaviness, but also addresses some really dark areas of the soul. Can you describe the songwriting process and some of the life experiences inspire some of the album’s themes and messages?
WIll Moss: I can try. Basically, I’m not going to sit here and say I’ve been to hell and back, but I’ve been through some pretty fucked up shit, whether it was my own fault or through no fault of my own. But the truth is, everyone else has too. I’m no different than anyone else on this Earth in that aspect. Through some crazy insane twist in my life, I have been granted the ability to convey my personal thoughts and feelings and interpretations of the world through music, which is awesome. It’s a great releif to be able to get those feelings off your chest and have people come back to you and tell you how much that impacted them. Like how some words you wrote when you were at what was seemingly the lowest point of your life pulled them out of that same low point in their lives. Every song isn’t about one certain thing. Basically it’s just me having conversations with different people like my bandmates, the people I love, the people I hate, and the people I haven’t even met yet. There’s not a lyric that I have written that’s not about someone, including myself. I try to look at myself from a 3rd person perspective also, and write about my own faults that I see within myself. Writing is just scratching the surface though. Actually putting the words to music and still getting those same emotions conveyed, that’s the true art of it. Using my voice as an instrument, which I’m still working on, I was glad to step outside the box and grow as a vocalist on this album. Roddy and I did more co-writing on this album than we did on Prophecies. on prophecies I was just giving him choruses I had written and the basic melody and he just knocked them out. On these songs I was still doing a lot of the writing, but when I would get stuck he would chime in with some stuff he had written down, and then we would tweak it around to make it work within the context of the lyrics. We both opened up a lot more on this album though. There is only one song that doesn’t have clean vocals, which wasn’t even intentional. The songs just naturally came out that way.
Andy Frisk: Lifecurse just recently wrapped up a tour. What are the band’s plans for the next tour? Or is it time to take a break and get back to writing and recording some new material?
WIll Moss: We are playing a few one off shows around town and in Charlotte. We will be laying low in September and recuperating, getting ready for a hopefully busy October. Living in the mountains, we try not to travel too much in the winter because of the snow and ice, unless we are touring south to Florida. (laughs) We are going to basically get the physical copies of Elysium pressed, restock our merch with the old and new designs, and prepare for March, which is when we will be doing another full US tour and hopefully playing SXSW. We are just trying to keep playing as many shows as possible. As long as people want to see us, we are going to keep playing music. I’m sure there will be another album, but not until next year. We really outdid ourselves on Elysium so we are trying to let that album get some buzz around it.
Andy Frisk: How are the prospects for an appearance at SXSW this coming year? All of us here at Shutter 16 are pulling for the band.
Will Moss: We honestly don’t know, and won’t know until January. We hope that we have done enough in our 3 years to earn a spot somewhere, but if not no biggie. We will still be doing a tour whether we get it or not. We are not the competitive type. We don’t enter Battle of the Bands or anything like that. That’s just not our style. We love rocking out, not trying to compete with our friends.
Andy Frisk: As you look forward towards your and Lifecurse’s future as a performer and as band, what are some of your goals professionally and personally?
Will Moss: Professionally, I would love for us to be signed to a label and touring 7,8,9 months out of the year off and on. I’ve always had the urge to travel in me. I’ve travelled almost all over the US, I’ve seen Mexico and parts of Europe as a kid/teenager. I’ve been very fortunate in that aspect, but I would love to do those things with my band. As a band, we love the travelling aspect, playing shows in new cities, new faces, seeing different sites. As a band we’ve seen Niagara Falls, Area 51, Roswell, NM, we’ve been to Las Vegas, saw the Pacific Ocean from the Golden Gate Bridge, and we’ve met so many people that will be lifelong friends.
Personally, I want to turn this into an empire. I want to get a starter label going and get my graphic design firm fully launched, so I can help bands and get them on the right track. I’ve met so many bands that have the same potential we have. Bands that are struggling and grinding just as hard as we are. I want to be able to help more and more of those bands. It just seems like the only natural progression.
Andy Frisk: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me! Best of luck and thank you for keeping the world of metal/progressive metal interesting and worth listening to!
Will Moss: Anytime! Like I said before, we are all friendly guys that are fully capable of carrying on intelligent conversation. We are always willing to hang out and chat with anyone so come say hi if you see us!
For more on Lifecurse visit the following: