Flyleaf: No Such Thing As Time
Flyleaf want to spread a universal message of hope. For some, that comes across in their Christian beliefs, but the message still resonates regardless of your religious perspective. Following the loss of their audio engineer and the departure of lead singer Lacey Sturm, the idea of embracing a new horizon couldn’t have been more fitting. After a two-and-a-half year break from touring, Flyleaf are back with a new singer, and a goal to help people find hope in dark places according to guitarist Jared Hartmann.
Congratulations on the new album, even though it’s not really that new anymore. How has the tour for it been going?
It’s good, we did our very first tour in over two and a half years two months ago, so it was great being able to go out again and play for our fans. I think everyone’s been really excited about New Horizons, and getting to play it live was really good.
There have been some changes; singer Lacey Sturm left the band just before New Horizons came out, and since then you’ve hired Kristen May. Can you tell us about how you came to pick Kristen?
We were doing some private auditions, and we kind of emailed their managers to see if people were available; we were selective about who we picked. Our booking agent knew about Kristen and gave us the heads up about her because her band had just broken up not that long ago. So we asked her if she wanted to come and audition, and she did a really good job and clicked with us. She came really prepared, really rehearsed and she was real professional. Then we did a secret show a month or two after that and got ready for the tour.
And how did the band feel about loosing Lacey just before New Horizons dropped?
Well, I guess we went in to make the record knowing it would be Lacey’s last record, but we were just excited to get these songs out because she’d written them and then told us how she was feeling. Then she decided she wanted to make one more record because the songs were really good and the label was really cool and really supportive. I think it’s one of my favourite records that we’ve put out, so I was just really happy to get the songs out.
Flyleaf songs have always explored pretty interesting themes, is this the case with New Horizons?
The title track “New Horizons” became a pretty fitting theme and song for this record. You know, when we wrote the song we didn’t really know what it was going to be about. It was about Lacey going into motherhood, having a child, but it’s turned into a completely new band pretty much and a new life. It’s interesting and exciting. There’s always an overall message of hope in the songs and different situations we go through in life.
Going back a little bit now, what drew you to heavy music?
I grew up kind of listening to what was on the radio, so I really love Third Eye Blind and a lot of pop rock like that. When I got older and started playing guitar more, I got into heavier music. I really love the Deftones and some Slipknot, metal bands had a different kind of feeling, like a real heavy band had a lot of energy about it which I really liked.
Do all of the members of Flyleaf have a similar attitude towards heavy music?
Everyone has pretty diverse tastes, everyone appreciates music, but I think me, Pat [Seals, bass] and Lacey were probably the ones that liked metal the most.
Something else I found really intriguing was that you’ve identified yourselves as Christians, and you’ve explained that faith influences your music, but you don’t consider Flyleaf to be a Christian rock band. So how does faith influence your music?
A lot of the lyrical content just deals with life and different situations. I think that’s where it comes in, that we have hope, we want other people to have hope in a hopeless situation, and there’s a joy about being alive that’s good too.
Are there some allusions to faith in the artwork for New Horizons? Because when I look at it I see the All Seeing Eye.
Oh yeah, Pat did all the artwork for this record and he likes to throw symbolism in. He’s really into alchemy and he just brings that out in his art. In his mind, what this record meant to him, he made it into art but people can interpret it differently.
Your music is quite heavy, and there are some people who associate heavy music with anti-Christian sentiment. What’s your opinion on these views?
[Pause] I don’t know [laughs]. Some people think that, and some people think that about any kind of music really but I don’t know, it’s just music, I’m not crusading about anything like that. There’s been some times where some people have kind of judged or had a preconceived notion of what we are or what we’re about, but it doesn’t happen very often. It’s very minute.
There’s obviously a lot more to the band than religion. Where else do you take your lyrical influences from?
Sameer [Bhattacharya, guitar], Pat and Lacey are the main lyricists of the band, they wrote the majority of the lyrics, but a lot of it came from life experiences. Pat’s really into art and Sameer loves to read so I know they pull from that too.
And some of the songs deal with rather dark themes. Why did you explore these areas of life?
This past year was really hard for our band. We lost our audio engineer Rich Caldwell, who we’d been very good friends with for years. His wife’s our tour manager, they’d had a baby a couple of years ago, and it was just a really tough time. Everyone experiences death, it’s inevitable, so we wanted to relate to the human side of that and that’s why we want people to be hopeful in dark places and dark times.
Flyleaf music always has a message in there but sometimes it’s not so direct. Do you think music should always have a direct message or should it be left up to the interpretation of the listener?
I think it really depends on the artist; I like our songs to be open to interpretation even if we have a direct message. People are probably going to take away what they want from the song, but some music doesn’t have to have a serious message, music’s fun too you know, it’s entertainment. I don’t think it has to have a certain message like that.
And finally, you’ll be in Australia for the first time soon which is really exciting for the fans obviously, but I’ll bet it’s even more exciting for the band. As well as playing the shows will you be getting up to anything else?
I’m sure there’s tons of things I want to do, like snorkel or maybe try to surf or something. But I think it’s going to be a pretty quick trip so I don’t think we’ll get to do anything like that, but there’ll be something I’m sure.
Because it is your first tour here, the Australian fans want this to be the best tour in your career. So can you tell us your most memorable tour story so we know what we need to top?
The best thing that’s ever happened [laughs]? Well, a couple of years ago I got into golf, and that turned out to be the best thing on tour because on days off, me and my guitar tech and our drum tech, whenever we can, we play golf. It’s been awesome because we get to play golf on all these really cool courses in different states, which has been a lot of fun and it’s a great way to spend the day off. It might be kind of lame but that’s still the best thing I’ve done on tour.
So basically we need to give you an extreme golfing session?
There we go, that’d be awesome!
Catch Flyleaf on their maiden voyage here this August!
Flyleaf Tour Dates
Thu Aug 15th – The Hi-Fi, Brisbane (18+)
with Trinatyde and Dollarosa
Fri Aug 16th – The Hi-Fi, Melbourne (18+)
with Aural Window, Bellusira and Branch Arterial
Sat Aug 17th – The Metro, Sydney (AA)
with Breakaway, Red Bee and Carmeria