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Bleeding Through: A Line In The Sand

After more than a decade of defining their heavy take on hardcore, Bleeding Through have decided to call it a day. Not content to draw a line in the sand just yet, the band are bringing their brutality to our shores for one more tour. Their split was amicable, so a look back on the good times with founder and frontman Brandan Schieppati seemed in order, and he was more than happy to oblige. After all, when you’ve been a band for that long, and toured with some of the biggest metal acts in the business, you’re bound to have a few good stories to tell. Words can’t capture the unbridled ferocity of a Bleeding Through gig so make sure you catch them when they roll through town in July.

What initially drove you to get into music, and how did your early bands lead to Bleeding Through?
Music was an emotional outlet for me, I was always like a person that played sports and stuff like that in high school, but it was never really something that let me get out much aggression or emotions. Once I started playing music, it affected me like nothing else and once I started getting on stage and playing shows, it was something that really took over my soul. So I started playing in Eighteen Visions and Throwdown and that sort of led to Bleeding Through, but Bleeding Through was sort of a step up from that. Because I was writing the lyrics and singing in the band it was a pure emotional release for me. That’s always been the reason that I wanted to do it.

At what point did you realise that Bleeding Through was the band you wanted to get serious about?
I think the point where we wanted to get serious was when Portrait Of The Goddess came out. We did a six-week tour in the States, it was us and Every Time I Die, and it was the sort of thing where, the tour wasn’t that successful, I think we had like 50 kids a show and the occasional show of 100 to 200, because it was back when all three of our bands weren’t really known. But I remember getting back from that tour and having an overwhelming feeling, like that was the right thing for me to be doing. At that point in 2003, that’s when I really decided that I wanted to quit Eighteen Visions and do Bleeding Through full time.

The first three albums were released in rapid succession, there was one every year. Why did you release them so quickly? Were they recorded at the same time?
No, we released those really quickly because we weren’t touring as much then. We’d probably do a couple of months of touring, get back, write a record, then a couple of months of touring just like that. But when This Is Love, This Is Murderous came out, that record cycle lasted for a couple of years because we started touring a lot more. When The Truth came out, that was a three-year long cycle that we wanted to cut a little bit shorter, but when we started working on the record, Slayer called us and said, “Hey do you wanna tour with us?” and you’re not gonna turn down Slayer. That sort of prolonged that record cycle.

The This Is Love, This Is Murder period marked the point where things started to take off for the band. Did it feel like the growth in popularity took off suddenly or was it a gradual climb?
We felt like it was a gradual climb because even though we got offered things because of that record, we noticed a steady climb in our headlining shows. There wasn’t any time where it went from 200 people at a show to like 1,000, it was always really steady growth. That’s something we always used to talk about too, that we feel like we lucked out with the steady climb because if you get too big too quick, you’re gonna fall just as fast as you rose, you know what I mean? Because it was kind of steady and we felt that we’d grinded it out, we knew we’d be around a lot longer and that we’d be able to maintain a really strong fan base.

So you already had a solid fan base before you started to get some interest from the bigger artists?
Yeah definitely, and you know whenever we did those [bigger] tours we weren’t naïve. A lot of bands who get big tours with Slayer or something like that think they’re gonna go on that tour and be huge all of a sudden. We knew that maybe we’d grab about two percent of those fans, but that was good enough for us. Touring with bands like Slayer and doing things like Ozzfest was just fun for us.

Is there anything else you remember from those early big shows?
I just remember that that was the biggest adjustment, going on the stage outside in front of thousands of people and being like, “This is weird.” But I remember going on stage and thinking, “I feel like these people think they need to be into us, but there’s probably only a small percentage that are actually into us.” It just wasn’t reality, and I think sometimes bands get stuck and think that that’s the reality of their band, but we knew that our reality was playing smaller clubs in front of a few hundred people versus these big stadiums in front of thousands.

Lots of bands talk about how different it feels when they go from a club stage to a festival stage. How did you handle the transition?
We just kind of kept it [the show] the same, and luckily our live show transcended really well when it came to playing those outdoor festivals. I know a lot of bands kind of use more props and stuff like that, but we just kept it real and luckily it translated. For me, I always wanna interact with the crowd, so it was just a thing of getting off that stage, going down to the barrier and crawling around in the crowd.

Around that time you also shot your first music videos. What was the experience like and do you have any particular good (or bad) memories from the shoots?
We didn’t have any bad memories, the first couple of videos we did were very performance based and I remember being like, “These are really awesome.” But I think when The Truth came out we started doing videos that were more theme based with acting, and we enjoyed that a lot more. Those are the videos that we really got into.

The release of The Truth was a massive turning point for the band. It cracked number one on the US indie charts and led to tours left, right and center, but it also involved a rework of Bleeding Through’s sound. Why did you choose to overhaul the sound?
I think we wanted to do something that expanded on the sound that we had, and working with Rob Caggiano on that record streamlined our sound. I think that if we had a different producer on This Is Love, This Is Murderous, the sound would have been comparable on both records. But you know, we wanted to branch out and show that we were capable of doing other things as well. It’s funny to me when someone says, “You guys sing on this record” because idiot, listen to all of our records – we fucking sing on all of them. That was the funniest thing, when people were like, “I like the record but I’m just not used to Bleeding Through singing” because they’d obviously never heard our band before, you know what I mean? It’s because there’s songs on there that have more of a singing base, but I think as a whole the record is still really fucking brutal. I’m not trying to defend it, it’s probably my least favourite record we’ve ever done, but I think it was my least favourite because of different reasons. The recording process took six months with a three-month gap in recording. The mixing and producing got sped up, the full record got mixed in about a day and a half because our producer had to go to England to work on a Cradle Of Filth record so we kind of got thrown to the side. It never really came out the way that we wanted it to sound and we kind of had to live with it.

Was it ever remastered or did you consider going back and reworking it?
We did, but we were at a point where we were touring so much off it, and it was selling a lot, so we just lived with it. It’s funny because when we all listen to our songs before we go on tour to brush up on them, that record sounds so much different from everything else, and we didn’t really want it to sound different from everything else. It did because it didn’t get the tender love and care that the rest of the records did.

Nevertheless it increased your popularity and the show sizes continued to grow. Did you prefer the big gigs or smaller club shows?
They always have pros and cons, but I would always prefer the smaller crowd to the bigger one. I’m more comfortable in front of a controlled environment, and I feel that the sort of vibe and the way that people respond is more genuine. Like I said, in bigger crowds I kind of feel like a small percentage actually likes it, and the rest feel like they have to be there.

The festivals also meant you got to meet a ton of bands. Who were some of your favourite bands to play with and meet?
Ozzfest 2006 was probably one of the best festivals we’ve ever played in terms of a touring fest. In Europe, Download 2006, Download 2008, Grasspop in Belgium in 2011, and Soundwave in Australia, that was fucking awesome, I think that was 2009. That was probably one of my favourite tours we’ve ever done in general. People were just so stoked that there was a heavy stage. Now I talk to friends who go to Soundwave and they’re like, “It’s just not the same anymore, too many bands all at once.” But that tour was a fucking awesome tour for us.

And are there any bands that you wish you could’ve played with but never got the chance to?
We’ve been really fortunate to play with a lot of the bands that we love. For me, I’m a huge fan of black metal so I really wish we could’ve played with a band like Emperor or someone like that. We didn’t get to play with At The Gates, I wish we could’ve played a show with them.

When you started the band, the hardcore scene wasn’t quite as defined as it is now. Do you feel that it’s changed over the years?
Yeah I think right now there’s so many subgenres of the genre. There’s deathcore, metalcore, screamocore, this core, that core, and everybody’s choosing their sides, choosing their bands and rallying up. There’s no cross-pollination, it’s like everybody has their thing and they just stick to it. Before it was all a little bit more accepting.

Bleeding Through Tour Dates

Thu Jul 18th – The Rev, Brisbane (18+)
with Make Them Suffer and Boris The Blade
Tickets: oztix.com.au

Fri Jul 19th – The Cage, Picton
with Make Them Suffer and Boris The Blade
Tickets: oztix.com.au

Sat Jul 20th – Manning Bar, Sydney (18+)
with Make Them Suffer and Boris The Blade
Tickets: oztix.com.au

Sun Jul 21st – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle (18+)
with Make Them Suffer and Boris The Blade
Tickets: oztix.com.au

Wed Jul 24th – The Brisbane Hotel, Hobart
with Make Them Suffer
Tickets: oztix.com.au

Thu Jul 25th – Fowlers Live, Adelaide
with Make Them Suffer and Boris The Blade
Tickets: oztix.com.au

Fri Jul 26th – Ferntree Gully Hotel, Ferntree Gully (18+)
with Make Them Suffer and Boris The Blade
Tickets: oztix.com.au

Sat Jul 27th – The Hi-Fi, Melbourne (18+)
with Make Them Suffer and Boris The Blade
Tickets: oztix.com.au

Sun Jul 28th – Amplifier Bar, Perth (18+)
with Make Them Suffer and Boris The Blade
Tickets: oztix.com.au

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