Every living organism goes through its stages of growth. Bands are no different. From an outside point of view we should look at every band as a living organism. I look at God Forbid that way. We’ve grown, we’ve faltered, we’ve succeeded, we’ve evolved. Our records are a testament to that.
I’d hope to give insight into the type of steps bands have to take to make each record better than the last. I would like this to be a guide for newer bands to take steps in making their own bands improve and creating larger fan bases by seeing the chinks in their armor and making their bands more powerful with each succeeding record by repairing those weaknesses. Every band has weaknesses and unless you recognize them you can’t move forward.
Coming of age is a funny term but when you apply it to the terms of being in a band and making original music it has a definite place in development. Identity crisis is really the first obstacle in making music that people can relate to. Think about it: Five guys get in a room for the first time. They hardly know each other but they play music together. Usually it starts with Metallica or Slayer covers because every one loves those bands if you want to be a metal band. After a while when the dating game is over and the band begins creating original material you have four or five guys fighting for their say in a situation where synergy is the most important aspect.
Case in point: Before we were God Forbid, which you’ll see in the DVD, we had two different band names. Our first name was Manifest Destiny. We made a horrible two song demo and then we made a five song even more horrible demo. No one ever heard it. For a good reason: It was fucked! The second band name was Insalubrious. We did a three song demo that wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t God Forbid. The thing was we were getting closer to the God Forbid sound. Through all of this music we were making we were going through an identity crisis. We wanted to write songs like Metallica and Slayer. We weren’t too good at that. Then we found a band called ‘for the love of…’ and it changed our lives. It injected that hardcore sound you hear in our music now. The chaotic anger inherent in our music is from them. That volatile energy that is devoid in certain metal is obvious in our music and it sets us apart as a pure metal band. FTLO helped solve some of our identity crisis issues through the growth of our band. We found something as a band that we all latched on to as a UNIT in FTLO’s sound. FTLO band is the only ‘hardcore’ influence in our sound and the funny thing was we thought they were metal! We didn’t know what hardcore was.
This brings us to our Out Of Misery EP. Everyone in GF knew we wanted to play metal but FTLO allowed us to change the scope of what we thought metal could be. They changed our outlook on how we saw what music could be. We wrote songs with 14 riffs in a song when previously we stuck to the chorus/verse/chorus structure. But now we had abrasive screaming. Crazier guitars, drums and arrangements altogether. But a lot of it was disjointed and only connected with a certain demographic of people. That was the beginning of solving our identity crisis problem. If you look at GF now we adhere to the chorus/verse/chorus structure moreso, but we had to get away from it to realize the beauty in its simplicity.
Trust me, it’s very hard stick to a structure and make it work. It’s easier to throw as much as you can into a pot and make a wild stew that only certain people will enjoy. You see bands do it every day. There’s nothing wrong with reaching out to a wider fan base by writing songs they can understand. You don’t need to dumb down your material to write good songs. The genius in masterful song writing is taking what people know and surprising them using your skills to make that age old structure new and vibrant!
I’m by no means saying we’re masterful or genius, I’m just saying every living organism goes through their growth on their own terms. What works for us may not work for you. Look at your band as a single organism. Not five different guys or girls with different agendas. The evolution starts with the birth of an idea: The idea of your band. Your decision to get on the same page is the first step in your evolution. It’s taken us five full lengths, three demos and countless live performances for us to get to where we are now and we’re still up in the air as to who and what we are as a metal band. Evolution is exciting. Evolution is necessary for success. There’s no right answer because you’re the only one who knows what question is on the table.
Answer your questions honestly and you will see success. It will rock your world!