Storm The Sky: Rip Yourself Open
Melbourne’s Storm The Sky have been making waves in post-hardcore ever since they started out, but with upcoming album Sin Will Find You, their impact is fast turning into a fucking tsunami. The incredibly dark Sin Will Find You is unlike anything they’ve ever done before, and it’s poppier than anything you’d see a UNFD band doing pretty much ever. It’s bare, it’s brazen and it’s unapologetically heartbreaking. BLUNT caught up with frontman William Jarratt ahead of the release to chat about the uninhibited honesty that colours the transitional LP.
You guys released the video for ‘Lilac’ recently, featuring an LGBT relationship – surprisingly, it was criticised quite significantly. Was there a motivation, apart from the obvious need for equality in 2016, to express the song that way?
Well, I think that the whole album has really been a learning experience for me. In the past, I’ve used a lot of imagery – a lot of metaphors – to kind of… I wouldn’t say sugar-coat, but I wanted to hide behind the truth of my lyrics. For this record, we’ve all kind of banded together, the whole band. Like, we know everything about each other after this experience. Our producer basically sat us down and made us tell each other all of our secrets and put everything on the line. So I went into this record with a really honest outlook, and I was kind of a lot more confident in writing exactly what’s going on in my life and exactly what’s around me.
Growing up in Melbourne, the LGBT community is celebrated, in a beautiful way, a lot more than in a lot of other states and a lot of other countries. So I didn’t put [the relationship] in as a talking point, I just put it in because it’s normal. And it should be viewed as normal. That’s why I was surprised that it had such a backlash, because we grew up in a city where some of the coolest kids at my school were designers, fashion designers, and they were gay but no one even thought twice, do you know what I mean? Even going to the Gold Coast, you can already see that it’s a completely different story. So yeah, at the time, to answer the question we didn’t really expect it. But I’m glad in a way that it happened because it opened up people’s eyes to the fact that it’s still difficult in 2016 to love someone that you love.
It’s crazy because this scene is supposed to give people a safe place where they can belong. You’ve mentioned that you turned to music after an injury ruled sports out – was what drew you to music back then what draws you to it now?
I think music has always been incredibly important to me and I think I have my Mum to thank for that. Like every morning I’d wake up and be mad at her for not being able to watch Cheez TV because she didn’t let me. But she’d be playing, you know, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd…all of these incredible musical influences that I now have. I used to be that annoying kid on the train singing at the top of my lungs with everyone hating me but thank god, my Mum was awesome, and she was always kind of celebrating that. I owe a lot of it to my Mum, so it was kind of a natural course. Like I dabbled in acting, but it didn’t really do much for me. And music was the next thing, really.
Everything about this album is scarily personal and I was thinking about the Chuck Palahniuk quote: “rip yourself open, sew yourself shut”. Did you think about that?
Yes. I haven’t thought about that line, but I have read it, and that’s pretty much spot on. Going back to dabbling in acting, it made me a really good liar, and I started getting into a bit of pathological lying. That really didn’t help life at all, and I owe it to my friends kind of jumping on me every time I made stuff up to quit that. With this record, I kind of went: “I’m just going to be incredibly honest”. And it’s really scary. Like I’m still a little bit worried to have people in my life hear it. I’m not really a spiteful person, so there’s nothing on the record I would feel like I was yelling at someone, but it’s just very, very honest and there are a lot of things in there that barely anyone knows. There are things I’ve said that I’ve never told anyone that everyone’s gonna hear. But it’s necessary, honestly, and that quote’s spot on. It was scary to write it and it is a little bit scary now but I’m just so relieved to be able to show that I was strong enough as a person to sit back and do that. And I have so many people to thank, but specifically our producer, and my bandmates, for just kind of being my brothers and making sure that I stuck to it. They believed that it would be the strongest way to write this record and I wholeheartedly believe that now.
“There are things I’ve said that I’ve never told anyone that everyone’s gonna hear.”
I hope you don’t mind me mentioning this, but on “Wake Up Sleeping”, there’s a lyric about “what makes you hate your own face”. Considering that you’re a model, is there a story behind that song specifically?
“Wake Up Sleeping” was a really easy one to write for me. I don’t really think that we see people in our age group these days that aren’t suffering from some sort of mental illness or problem they have. It’s almost kind of trying to let everyone know that you’re not alone. The most beautiful people in the world, I’m not talking about myself being a model, but I’ve met a lot of people that are some of the most insecure people that you’d ever meet. I just wanna kind of reach out, you know? So many people are in a bad way. We’re all in the same boat, and I think it’s really important that we reach out and support each other and never kind of act in a certain way or react in a certain way because someone has been mean or judgmental towards you because they’re probably just doing it out of fear. The biggest part of that song is celebrating the fact that everyone is fucked up.
That line specifically holds dear to me because there’s been so many times where I’ve wanted to rip my own face off, as I’m sure there is for most people in the whole world, and you know, it’s important but it’s almost laughing at feeling like that. And I’m saying that it’s not what you see, but what you feel, essentially.
Thanks for being that honest about it. I just have one question on your actual live show – the uncleans are completely dialled down on this record, and your sound is so different. Is that going to change your set?
There are going to be a lot of changes. I think moving forward our live show is going to be a lot different to anything we’ve ever really done, or seen, apart from bands like Nine Inch Nails. But we want to make more of a spectacle than getting onstage, doing the songs, playing a good, tight set and just playing music. It will be implemented a little bit on the Pierce The Veil tour but a lot more moving forward. We want to bring out a lot of visual aspects. We’re trying to branch out mostly to being artistic in every way, instead of just trying to write music. We’ve been dabbling in writing films, and you see that in the videos coming out. There’s a lot of visual aspects to be brought in to the Pierce The Veil show that are really interesting and cool and we can’t wait for people to see them – if we’re allowed to use them. And then moving forward, there will be a lot more spectacle-sized things that we want to explore in a live setting in so many different ways. It’s not really finalised yet but moving forward I think you’ll see that.
And when it comes to screaming, my outlook on unclean vocals has always been about where they came from. If you look at the punk genre, it evolved because singers were passionate about what they were saying. And I’m kind of fully in agreement with that. Like I want to use them, but only when they’re necessary. I don’t want to lose the intensity of it. I want it to hit kids in the face in the most emotional and heart-wrenching way, however you wanna take it. And I think we’ll continue to do that whenever it’s necessary. So it’s never going to be me just playing acoustic guitar every song, it will always have that emotional element, and that passion. We’re never going to lose that. But yeah, there’ll obviously be a little bit less screaming because I need to be able to breathe and sing at the same time (laughs).
Sin Will Find You is out August 5 via UNFD/Rise Records.
Pierce The Veil / Silverstein / Beartooth / Storm The Sky
Tue Aug 16th – Eatons Hill, Brisbane (AA)
Wed Aug 17th – Big Top @ Luna Park, Sydney (AA)
Thu Aug 18th – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide (AA)
Sat Aug 20th – 170 Russell, Melbourne (U18) SOLD OUT
Sun Aug 21st – 170 Russell, Melbourne (18+) SOLD OUT
Mon Aug 22nd – 170 Russell, Melbourne (18+)
Tue Aug 23rd – Astor Theatre, Perth (AA)