INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK
Following the breakup of CALL IT COURAGE, a Virginia Beach based metalcore band, the members reunited to form INHERITOR to create a raw sound with a positive message. Currently, the band lineup includes vocalist Sam LaPine, guitarist Jonah Bedford, and bassist Talae Rergyamdee, and they are in the process of expanding their membership. We spoke with LaPine and Bedford about their new EP In // Animate, which was produced by Will Beasley, as well as their relationship with former members of HONOUR CREST and their thoughts on the local music scene.
Are you guys a three- or four-piece band?
Jonah: We’re supposed to be a five-piece, but we currently only have three permanent members and a fill-in drummer. We’re searching for a guitar player.
What was the inspiration for your most recent promo photos, which feature your band on your knees looking like you are about to be executed with farm tools?
Sam: We basically got the idea through a friend. We were out in the woods just trying to take some [photos], in general, and he came up with the idea after listening to one of the songs. In “The Barrier,” it says we’re on our knees. So he tried some extra shots where we were on the ground, and it was meant to look like we were kind of beat up. The general thought behind it was that we, as a band, used to be in the band CALL IT COURAGE, which I started when I was 17, and, as far as that goes, we’ve gone through the ringer. We’ve been beat up going around the local music scene, and it’s just the overall image I wanted to depict. The photographer that we picked wanted to put out a picture that [illustrated how] we’re still gonna keep going and keep putting out music regardless of what anyone says.
Why did you guys choose to work with Will Beasley on your debut album In // Animate?
Jonah: Will was just a really good friend before I joined CALL IT COURAGE, which was basically the original band that INHERITOR became after I joined. We worked with Will Beasley before, and he’s just a good guy. He’s young, and he knows his stuff. Just having that relationship and having a good time, [as well as] not wanting to make it too serious, as far as the actual recording process goes, [we wanted to] just be relaxed, and working with a good friend was important to us.
As far as the actual production goes, our music is pretty technical and pretty standard metalcore ideas in general. But Will provided a really raw sound for us as far as the tones and stuff, as opposed to a more polished sound that you hear in a lot of the music that we do, like standard metalcore, which kind of made it sound a little bit different than what has been coming out, which was cool for us.
Is his studio based in Virginia?
Jonah: His studio is in Baltimore. He shares a studio space with Paul Leavitt.
Sam: [Paul Leavitt] has done the bass tracking for EMAROSA. He did another for a band that just got signed to Hopeless Records. He does a very wide array. He’s also working with another band from around here [called] LIFEWALKER, which has members from WITNESS FOR HOPE and a couple other bands.
Jonah: He did a band called HAUNT too. Paul Leavitt is a really big producer, so that’s helped [Will] out.
Does the title of your EP relate to an overall theme you were going for on this record?
Sam: When we write, Jonah will record rough demos on his computer and will do all of the instruments himself, and then he will give it to me. Then I’ll listen to it over and over, track-by-track until I get a general phrase for a part of a song stuck in my mind. From that one phrase, I [work] around that. It’s [usually about] stuff that is happening in my life and stuff that is important to me, stuff that people can relate to.
Jonah: In // Animate is just a cool sounding name we came across, which is usually the case for most of the stuff we do. Then we tried to tie in the meaning after that, but we didn’t come up with a distinct idea of what In // Animate means.
Sam: Most of the songs on the EP were written in a certain time frame, so they are cohesive as far as the time goes. I think the songs flow well together, but each song doesn’t necessarily have the same emotion behind it. There are some that start angry and end positive, and there are some that are talking about people that I know … and who have passed on. It’s pretty broad.
Your music reminds me a lot of HONOUR CREST, who are also from Virginia Beach and broke up last year. Do you think there are many similarities musically between your bands?
Jonah: Yeah, I definitely see that. I see where that comes from, as they had a very epic sound, and we’re actually really good friends with [them]. I don’t think that was a direct relation. As a writer, I felt like I really connected with Chad [Orange, guitarist of HONOUR CREST] in a way, and [he and I] wrote similar music. [Chad and I] actually wrote music together before a couple times on some songs. I wouldn’t say we don’t sound like HONOUR CREST, but we definitely have some more raw elements that we like to bring to the table. It’s just a more diverse element across all of our songs. We try to have some general themes of the ambient piano stuff, but overall, some songs sound more thrashy and other songs sound more gentle.
Sam: Me and Jonah are the same age, and we’re all around 21. When HONOUR CREST started, we were all pretty young. HONOUR CREST started playing when I first started going to shows, and overtime, I became friends with Lucas [Borza, vocalist of HONOUR CREST], and he recorded a couple of demo tracks for CALL IT COURAGE. He’s always been a real cool dude, and he always supported us. … I would say the influence is definitely there. … Hearing their music evolve over time has definitely had an effect on me. Listening to their old EP and their song “Prison Break.” I always liked the way Lucas wrote, and when I write, I try to stay away from certain things but I, as a whole, will always think that HONOUR CREST is a pretty good base on how I started to write.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO INHERITOR
What is your song “Firmament” about?
Sam: I wrote it during a period in my life a couple years ago when CALL IT COURAGE was sort of falling apart. I was around 19, and it always sucks when you try to make something that you feel is good for everyone and over time, it just kind of fell apart. I felt kind of alone and lost in general , and I felt like everything I put into it was wasted. … As the song goes on, it starts off pretty angry and pretty confused, … and by the end of the song, it starts into the part where I scream and Jonah sings, “As far as I’m concerned, the sky is my only limit.” It goes from being pretty negative to being positive about the future.
Jonah: Lyrically, that song connected with the band as a whole. That’s a really important song for us, and that song, pretty much, is the general vibe of the entire EP.
Do you guys plan to do a music video for any of the songs on this record?
Jonah: We’re kind of waiting on that because, like I said, we have a fill-in drummer right now, who is actually Cory Beaver [formerly] of HONOUR CREST. He’s gonna be filling in with us for a while. As far as the music video goes, we have some options because [Cory and I] work at [Michael Copon Studios], and we’re trying to keep that option open of possibly working with our boss. A music video will definitely be coming this year; it’s in the works. We’re just trying to figure out the best way to do it.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the Virginia metal scene?
Sam: Since I was a kid, I’ve watched bands pop up and die, and it’s kind of given me a really big perspective on life in general. I watched HONOUR CREST go from a bunch of teenagers playing music to growing up, getting signed [to Rise Records], and then breaking up, and now they have a bunch of adult jobs.
Jonah: They were very successful; we’re not downplaying that.
Sam: They were amazing, but … the community is hard to break into. There’s a lot of resistance to change in some places, and it’s basically whoever you are friends with are gonna be at your show. … Personally, I like playing shows out of town. … Some people are so apathetic, and if you are not friends with a person in the band, [some people] will just sit in the back and kind of scoff.
Jonah: It’s become more of a social thing, but not in a good way. Our music scene has become a thing where people are bored so they just go to a show. There’s also a lack of venues. Right now, we have in the Virginia Beach area, Club Relevant and Shaka’s are the bigger venues, and then there’s a lot of bar shows popping up. Every bar is hosting hardcore and metal shows, so we’re in a weird place right now. I don’t think it’s as good as it used to be, but I think things are coming around. We got bands like RVNT, who just got signed [to We Are Triumphant], and OUR VOICE THE VESSEL is doing cool things. I want anybody to come out to shows, and I want other bands to have that vibe where they want all kinds of people to come out and have a good time. It’s not exclusive, and it shouldn’t be this counter culture thing where only hardcore kids can come out to a show. People need to be [more] inviting.
Have you made any tour plans yet for later this year?
Jonah: We got a couple bands who are interested in touring [with us]. In our position, we’re not ready to tour. We need to start practicing more and earching for a new guitar player. We want to bring our A-game when we do tour. When we do things, we want to do them well. … In the meantime, I’m writing new music, and we are gonna get a full-length [record] going here soon. … We wanna get out there and do some weekend tours soon, but we want to make sure that we put on a good show when we do.
For more updates on INHERITOR, be sure to “like” their Facebook page, and check out their debut EP In // Animate on Bandcamp.