An interview with drummer Riley Breckenridge
photo and interview by Gary Strack
Have you seen a difference in reaction from your fans regarding Vheissu in comparison with Artist in the Ambulance?
Yeah. Definitely. One of the things we’ve noticed is that it was pretty hit or miss. The feedback is either really positive or really negative. In the making [of Vheissu] we knew that it was going to happen. We tried new things and tried to branch out a bit, expand what we could do as a band and explore some new feels and dynamics. I think for people who were used to just all of the screaming, metal, and heavy stuff, it might’ve caught them off guard. I think the people that’re the most disappointed are those who had a concrete idea of what they wanted the record to sound like. If it doesn’t fit those expectations, obviously they’re disappointed. It’s happened to me personally. We just really had to make the record that we wanted to make. That’s what we did. Anytime you change, you risk alienating people. Hopefully, those people will come around later.
The first two songs are like night and day. I think sometimes people give up too easy. You can’t really get a feel for a record until you see the band perform live. You guys are one of the best live bands I’ve seen over the years.
Tell me about the new charity that Vheissu is supporting.
It’s 826 Valencia. It was started by Dave Eggers, an author that we all really like. He also helped design the album art. 826 Valencia is an organization set up to help kids further their writing skills and get them to express themselves in a creative way. We really wanted to give back to the kids and help kids be creative. Creative writing, music, and art in school are some often overlooked. It’s usually all about math and science. It’s not like going to school or being locked in a room with a tutor, it’s really fun and seems like a good thing.
Do you have any specific goals for this year?
Tour as much as possible. If we do get a break, start working on a new record. Start writing and getting together as a band. We’re all kind of working hard on stuff individually at the moment. When we get a longer break, we’ll get in the studio, start doing demos, and get ideas out.
Have you guys been discouraged at all since Vheissu came out, compared to Artist in the Ambulance?
You always want your record to do better. I wouldn’t say discouraged. I’m eager to see what else it can do. I think the last record was taking off a little bit better because we put it out in the middle of the summer, we were on the Warped Tour, and we did that co-headlining tour with Thursday. There was a lot of hype around it. We’ve kind of been flying under the radar. We put the record out in the fourth quarter, which is always tough for record sales. It’s a different record. There are some people that bought the last record who’re not as into this one. That’s fine. We knew that was going to happen. The bottom line for us is to make the record we want to make, tour as much as we possibly can, have fun playing live, and concentrate on what’s going on now. Not worry about how many records this is going to end up selling, where we will be in six months, or where we are going to be in a year. I don’t get what sells and what doesn’t sell. There are records out there that are in the Top 20 Billboard Charts that I don’t get. And I hear lots of good records that just don’t sell. It’s a weird industry.