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ROCKET Interviews Noah Robinson of BLEED THE SKY

(This interview originally posted on Jan 15, 2020)

American heavy metal band, BLEED THE SKY, returns with a new album in 2020, combining both a renewed vigor and an outright pursuit to produce the heaviest music of the band’s career, so they could create their ultimate masterwork: “This Way Lies Madness,” and there is no doubt that metal fans all around the globe are going to love what this band delivers to the masses on January 17th, 2020 via Art Is War Records.

TMD’s Randy “Rocket” Cody recently conducted an interview with Noah Robinson, lead vocalist of BLEED THE SKY.

ROCKET: What is the meaning behind the title for your new album, “This Way Lies Madness,” and do you consider it a concept album? 

NOAH: For us, it was the concept of severing ties with all the negativity and grief that constantly held us back from being able to achieve peace in our daily lives. To hold on to the past, the negative past, was maddening for all of us.  Once we decided to begin work on this new album, it was pretty apparent to all of us that these were the things we were going to write about lyrically, so it only made sense for us to title the album to coincide with the subject matter. 

ROCKET: In terms of how it compares to your past records, would you say that this is going to be the heaviest one yet?

  NOAH: Oh by far. Musically, we wanted to finally put out a record that was something we would listen to.  I believe some of the death metal and darker aspects of metal we all grew up listening to really shine through in this album.  Lyrically, this album has a lot of substance and depth behind it as well.  I think that some of the anger and pain you feel when you’re younger can be slightly exaggerated, but the distasteful emotions that are still lingering later in life are the truly infected splinters.  These are the elements we tapped in to for lyrical content.

ROCKET: BLEED THE SKY is going to put out “This Way Lies Madness” via Art Is War Records. Howhas your working relationship been so far with this label?

  NOAH: It has been wonderful so far!  AIW Records has all of the same expectations for us in the future as we do, so it’s nice to all be on the same page.  We couldn’t be happier!

ROCKET: Who produced the album?

  NOAH: Our guitarist Kevin Garcia did all of the leg work on this album.  He brought everything to this album and was certainly able to perfectly capture the sound we were going for. From song selection and arrangement, to tracking and editing, he truly mastered every element of “This Way Lies Madness”.  He deserves every bit of credit given to the band for his efforts on this record, we love it!

ROCKET: Where was it recorded and how long was the recording process?

  NOAH: Well, we did all of the recording scattered out!  Drums were originally recorded in Cleveland at Spider Studios with Ben Schigel, but a lot of edits were done at Kevin’s studio in Junction City, Oregon.  Guitars and bass were tracked in Junction City as welland vocals were all tracked at my studio in Guthrie, Oklahoma.  For that logistical nightmare of a recording process it took quite awhile longer than we expected, about 3 years all together.

ROCKET: Who mixed and mastered it?

NOAH: Our guitarist Kevin Garcia did all of mixing and mastering as well.  He is the one man wrecking ball behind this album!

ROCKET: I love the new song “Serpent” you guys just released online. Your sound is absolutely massive on this cut. I really hear a lot of growth, in terms of the songwriting and musicianship. It’s brutally dark but still maintains a melodic approach. What is the process for which song you decide to select as a single?

  NOAH: Thank you so much for the compliments on “Serpent”, we’re extremely proud of this one!  We wanted to choose a new track that captured the true evolution of Bleed The Sky on this album and “Serpent” is definitely that track.  While other new tracks like”Ghost” and “This Way Lies Madness” travel darker and deeper down the metal sinkhole, “Serpent” has a lot of the classic elements that our fans love from our previous music.

ROCKET: What is the reason for such a long gap between the release of your last record in 2008 and this new one dropping?

  NOAH: We felt like we had hit a wall.  The business side for us had been suffering since the departure of our original guitarist and in-band manager Wayne Miller, finances were extremely tight, and family life at home was becoming more and more difficult to balance with such a demanding tour schedule.  Something had to give.  So we decided to take a break for a little while and just try to recollect our thoughts and process life the way it should be for a short time.  That short time turned into 10 years, unfortunately.  The bad taste we had in our mouths from the low place we were in when we split kept us from becoming motivated enough to try again. It wasn’t until we all finally had our personal lives in a comfortable place that we were open to reuniting.

ROCKET: Your new album drops on January 17th, and I wanted to know if you have a CD release gig or maybe a “listening party” planned?

NOAH: We are planning our official CD release party at the Whisky A GoGo on Sunday, January 26th, beginning our headlining “Revival Tour 2020”.  The Whisky is where we all cut our teeth in music back in the day so it was only fitting to have the CD release party there!

ROCKET: I have to give love to your drummer, Austin D’Amond, who at one time played for CHIMAIRA. He sounds really awesome on the new material. Would you agree with me when I say that it’s his drumming that is the glue that holds it all together?

  NOAH: I couldn’t agree more!  From the first day we met when he was 19 years old, I always knew that he was special.  He is without question the most talented member of Bleed The Sky, both rhythmically and creatively, as he contributes heavily in the overall writing process.  We wouldn’t be who we are today with any other drummer.

ROCKET: How does the songwriting process work for your band? Do you all sit down in a room together and jam ideas out or does say one of the guitar players bring forth a riff idea to you, Noah, that things get started from, and the lyrics get worked up?

  NOAH: Because we all live in different states, jamming together is not really an option for us.  We do most of our writing individually and file share the parts to tighten everything up.  Generally, we write majority of the music and lock in the song structure before I even attempt any lyrics.  I like to feel the music and feed off the emotions it projects, then add my layer at the end.  We all contribute riffs and ideas, but that is the standard writing style that works for us.

ROCKET: BLEED THE SKY booked a headlining tour for Jan/Feb 2020 with SKINLAB, ARISE IN CHAOS and SO THIS IS SUFFERING. Are you be performing the entire new album live or mixing in just the single with your older material?

  NOAH: We will be playing a few new cuts for sure, but we’ll also be playing all of the fan favorites from “Paradigm” and “Murder”.

ROCKET: What is your favorite part of going out on the road to tour?

  NOAH: I love interacting with fans and talking one on one with people that relate to what we have created.  Ours fans are the only reason we have been successful this far, and I love giving back to them!

ROCKET: What is your ‘least’ favorite part of touring?

  NOAH: I’m not a huge fan of peeing into bottles in between rest stops.

ROCKET: Who is the funniest member in BLEED THE SKY? I imagine when on a long ride during the tour you do pull pranks on each other, right?

  NOAH: We’re not huge pranksters, but I do think we collectively have the most ridiculous and at times inappropriate sense of humor.  If you’ve ever met Austin in person though, you’d agree that there is truly no one else on the planet like him, he is an absolutely goofy and hilarious dude.

ROCKET: If everyone in the band landed in a different career in life, that is not related to metal music, what would it have been? 

  NOAH: Man, that’s a tough one. We all currently love our daily jobs outside of music, but I don’t think if we could have chosen any other profession it would be anything else but this.  We all have our hobbies outside of music, but our lives truly do revolve around music in every aspect.

ROCKET: What BLEED THE SKY song today is the crowd favorite when you guys jam live?

  NOAH: Minion for sure.  If we ever didn’t perform that song live I believe fans would retaliate with a very strongly worded letter.

ROCKET: How does your band get warmed up for a gig? Do you guys have any rituals that you go through? Maybe like the one drummer for Orcus back in the day who I was interviewing backstage at the Key Club and this dude already played the entire set once in rehearsal before the actual gig started!

  NOAH: Our basic method is like riling up a puppy to play.  We just kind of act stupid and get each other fired up like it’s our very first time ever setting foot on stage. 

ROCKET: Where do you guys see yourself in ten years from now? Still putting out BLEED THE SKY music or will you be doing something else?

  NOAH: I hope we still have the capacity to release new Bleed The Sky 10 years from now!  If so, we will for sure.  We certainly won’t be taking another 10 year break.  We may not release an album a year, but we will stay steady in the ears of fans!

ROCKET: Thanks for rocking this out with me. Best of luck with your new album. Any last words for the fans? 

NOAH: Thanks so much for this opportunity, man!  All the support and acceptance our fans have shown over the past decade has been amazing and we can’t wait to deliver “This Way Lies Madness” to the masses on January 17th!  See you all out on the road soon! Much love from all of us!