INTERVIEW: Famous Last Words (30/08/2016)

If you’re into your post-hardcore with crashing metalcore thrown in, then you’ll be licking your lips in excitement for Famous Last Words‘ new album ‘The Incubus’ which is set to drop this September. We grabbed vocalist JT Tollas for a quick chat about how the band adapted their writing process, how people are reacting to their new material and who they would love to tour with.

DP!: How would you describe Famous Last Words to anyone in the UK who was unfamiliar with the band?
JT Tollas: Famous Last Words is a conceptual rock/post-hardcore band. We have developed our own style of storytelling through our music which I believe sets us apart from other bands in our industry. Most of our concept stories deal with tough psychological issues that many people face daily.

DP!: Your third record ‘The Incubus’ is set to be released on September 30th – How has the creative writing and recording process changed for Famous Last Words since the first record? Was it a case of the difficult follow-up albums or do you find it easier as you grow older?
JT: We actually switched up the writing roles on this album. Our old bass player, Jesse Maddy, and I used to write the albums. Once the concept was established, I’d figure out what the vibes would need to be for each track and then he would tackle the instrumental side of things for the most part. After that I would do all of the vocals. But since his departure, this is the first album he didn’t take part in the writing process. For ‘The Incubus’ I stepped up and did most of the instrumentals. Our new guitarist , Evan Foley, stepped in and wrote a couple of songs as well under our normal “vibes” formula. After that came the vocals as usual. We also went to a different producer, Taylor Larson, for this album. He definitely took the songs we wrote and honed in the fine details and made it my favorite album of ours to date.

DP!: How do bands like yourselves keep the post-hardcore/metalcore scene fresh and strong?
JT: I feel like what we do with our stories is fairly unique. Because we treat it almost as if we were scoring a movie, we aren’t stuck to “one sound”. The stories actually force us to write very different sounding songs in order to match whatever is going on in the story. It’s a lot of extra work, but it’s all well worth it in the end.

DP!: Your latest video for ‘Pretty In Porcelain’ hit 100,000 views in just 1 month – what’s the reaction been like to the new material? How did you choose the first single from the record?
JT: It seems like most people have been really excited about the new material. You will always have those people who compare it to your old albums and scrutinize the differences, but I feel like even though ‘The Incubus’ may sound a little different than our old stuff, it still carries that Classic FLW sound that we have been developing over the last few albums.

DP!: You’re hitting the road in the States with Alesana soon – what’s it like to play with the experienced bands from the metalcore scene? If you could play shows with any band that you haven’t before, who would you pick?
JT: We are incredibly excited to go on Alesana’s 10 year anniversary tour. I used to listen to them growing up, so it really is an honor to be able to tour with them and also to be able to work so closely with Shawn and the rest of the team at Revival Recordings. If I had a choice to tour with a band today, I think I would want to tour with The Used. All of us have been listening to them since we were kids, and it’s incredibly inspiring to see them still going hard. We’ve been touring for a long time now, but there is always more to learn. No place to learn it better than on the road with bands who have been touring for 10-15 years+.

Check out the brand new lyric video for ‘The Judged’ on YouTube (here) Make sure to pre-order Famous Last Words‘ brand new record ‘The Incubus’, out September 30th, on MerchNOW (here). You can keep up to date with the band online by following them on Facebook (here), and Twitter (here).

Interview by Mike Heath (@MikeBeef)

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