Vocals – Steve Tinnon
Vocals, Bass – Paolo Galang
Guitare – Joe Cocchi
Drums – Kevin McGuill
Time For Metal / Rene W.: Hello guys,
Thank you for taking your time to talk about your new album Black Heart, which will be released end of November.
Within The Ruins /Steve T.: Absolutely! Happy to do it.
Time For Metal / Rene W.: In the past you have been on tour with bands like Killswitch Engage, The Black Dahlia Murder, Suicide Silence and As I Lay Dying. With which of these bands did you prefer to share the stage? Could you build up some friendships? And are there any crazy stories related to touring with any of these bands?
Within The Ruins /Steve T.: It’s hard to say if we prefer to play with any of them in particular, because we just love having the opportunity to do what we do on such a big scale. It’s always nice to play with guys like Suicide Silence who we’ve known for years and played countless shows with, but then to do shows with KillswitchEngage or As I Lay Dying is also awesome because they have a different type of crowd which we’re very familiar with and enjoy too. You tend to make friendships with most of those guys over time and playing shows, it just comes naturally and is always a fun part of touring. We’re pretty well-known for enjoying a beer or two at our shows, so the stories are potentially endless haha. It’s hard to choose just one. One thing that was pretty cool was the second night of the tour with As I Lay Dying, the guys came up to us and offered to pay for the Uber’s to a nearby bar and they bought us drinks. That was a solid start to the run, and we were friends pretty much from the get-go.
Time For Metal / Rene W.: Let us switch to the new album. How was the production process for Black Heart? Did you have to consider any Covid-19 rules in the rehearsal room respectively in the studio? Or were there even some restrictions caused by this worldwide pandemic situation?
Within The Ruins /Steve T.: We were actually pretty lucky in that we finished recording everything just before quarantine started. Once the lockdown was in place, we were already in the mixing/mastering process. The only time we really had to be careful with traveling was to film the music videos. Myself and Paolo live in Texas, whereas Joe and Drummer live in Massachusetts. We got tested before we left, and had our masks on the entire trip, but otherwise we didn’t have to take any risks to get the album done!
Time For Metal / Rene W.: I personally like the artwork. Is there any specific story behind, you want to tell to the listener? And were you inspired by the current situation?
Within The Ruins /Steve T.: The album artwork was very thought out and dealt with a lot of the song concepts. The cage on his head represents being trapped in your own head with your thoughts and feeling like you can’t get out. If you look closely at his bottom hand, he’s dropping a key and there are others at his feet. Those represent the multiple attempts to escape the situation. There are a couple snakes in the grass if you look more to the right, and those are from the lyrics in Deliverance that refer to the shady people in your life, in the media, in the government, etc. that you never see coming until they’re ready to strike and stab you in the back. He may look like he’s by himself, but the skulls next to him also represent the people who have been in that same place and struggled too. So in a way, he’s not as alone as he thinks. And the main focus is on the cavity in his chest that shows off his black heart, and the veins spreading the pain throughout his body like it’s changing/overtaking him
Time For Metal / Rene W.: This wild mix of Metalcore, Progressive Metalcore and Deathcore is exactly your thing. How difficult is it during songwriting to combine the dark, progressive elements with the hard salvos without sacrificing any aspect?
Within The Ruins /Steve T.:
Joe might have his own answer to this question, but I think that we all grew up listening to a lot of the same music, so as musicians we’re able to all agree and vibe on similar styles. We’re all on the same page a lot with the music, and it’s a great thing. I came to the table with a lot of dark, angry lyrics, and Joe wanted to feed into that and write the songs the same way. He’s a virtuoso at what he does, so taking his writing style and just making it angrier wasn’t an issue whatsoever haha.
Time For Metal / Rene W.: I didn’t listen to Black Heart yet, but I still remember Halfway Human. What parallels do both albums have, and where are the clear differences?
Within The Ruins /Steve T.: They’re both similar in that they have evolved the sound from what it used to be, but also keeping the important elements. Every album is very obviously a Within The Ruins album when you listen to it, but Halfway Human started to take some risks and try new things. Black Heart picks up where Halfway Human left off, and just intensifies it. We tried even more new things, but also tried to incorporate classic WTR ideas. We think the blend of the two worked perfectly. The obvious difference is that I’m the new singer now, so the vocals sound different. I’m bringing some different sounds and ideas to the table and it’s very apparent. It’s also the darkest and most emotional album the band has released by far, and it shows.
Time For Metal / Rene W.: Our readers often wonder, which thoughts and emotions the artists put into the tracks. Can you tell us in some sentences the story behind Black Heart?
Within The Ruins /Steve T.: The story behind Black Heart is a painful one. Most of the tracks are about personal situations I’ve gone through over the past few years. It’s about how I’ve dealt with, questioned, learned from, and changed from them. The guys gave me a platform to say what I felt like I needed to say, and I’ll be forever grateful they let me have the opportunity to write these songs.
Time For Metal / Rene W.: My colleague was mentioning in her review especially the songwriting, which, in her opinion has noticeably gained in bandwidth and quality. She also mentioned that over time your songs have become more complex and experimental, and that you have included some elements from Thrash, Hardcore and Djent. She really digs your album, but would you confirm her opinion regarding the songwriting? And are you even interested in the opinion of all the magazines?
Within The Ruins /Steve T.: She’s very accurate in describing the different elements we pulled from on this album! We all listen to the same genres/sub-genres of metal and find inspiration all over the place. There are actually multiple nods to those styles in the songs if you listen carefully! Without causing any offense to anyone, it’s a fine line when it comes to caring about what people think. Of course you want positive reviews from fans, magazines, and websites…but at the same time, even if there was a lot of negativity, we would still be happy with the songs we put out. Sometimes you have to tune it all out, even the good stuff, and just write what you need to write as a band. Ultimately, it’s our music and we wouldn’t release it if we didn’t think it was good enough.
Time For Metal / Rene W.:
Shows, as we know them from the past, are currently not possible in Europe. What is the situation in the US? Can you perform your new songs live? Or do you plan a live stream?
Within The Ruins /Steve T.: It’s the same in the US right now too. The whole world is a mess currently, and it’s going to take time to get back to normal. Hopefully it’s sometime next year, but who knows? We’re planning a live stream for sure, so just keep an eye out for details on when we announce it! It may be the norm, at least for the immediate future, before live shows can happen again.
Time For Metal / Rene W.:
Despite this uncertain situation, what are your plans for 2021? Are you already working on some new songs, or do you still hope to be able to come back to Europe next year?
Within The Ruins /Steve T.: We don’t have any set plans for 2021 just yet, we’re still waiting to see how things go with COVID and travel restrictions. The way things are going right now, we might be able to play shows in Europe before we can in the US, but we’ll see. This album took a lot out of us, but as musicians, we’re always writing and thinking of ideas for what’s next. You might see more content than you’d expect, given the situation!
Time For Metal / Rene W.:
Like all bands you are represented on social media. Do you still take your time to take care of your pages and answer questions from fans?
Within The Ruins /Steve T.: Yes, absolutely! I personally run our socials and do my best to respond and interact with our fans. I love talking to people, having live Q&A’s, and posting as much as I can. I would have loved to have been able to interact with the bands I loved growing up, so I try and give that back to our fans when I’m able to.
Time For Metal / Rene W.:
So that’s it from my side. The last word is yours. Is there anything else you want to tell your fans and the readers of Time For Metal?
Within The Ruins /Steve T.: Yes! Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to check out the singles as we’ve released them, and also the album as a whole! I appreciate all the love, and welcoming me into the Within The Ruins family. We can’t wait to hit the road and play these new songs for you all as soon as we’re able to, so until then, jam the album and learn the words so I can pass you the mic at a show next year! Until then, cheers!