Converge: “If you start paying attention to outside perceptions and feed that into what you’re doing you’re no longer making true art.”

Converge: “If you start paying attention to outside perceptions and feed that into what you’re doing you’re no longer making true art.”

By William Scott

Nov 18, 2017 17:22

Over a 25 year career, Converge have given us countless classics and defining moments within the world of Rock, Metal, Punk and every other genre they've blurred lines with, inspiring a generation of bands who just wanted a taste of what Converge have done consistently for so many years. We sat down with Jacob Bannon to talk through the making of 'The Dusk In Us', the band's ninth studio album.

“I’ve always been drawn to writing personal songs and listening to them as well” tells Bannon, on the subject of writing songs that balance chaotic instrumentation with heartfelt and emotional lyrics. “That’s the type of bands that always seem to be really interesting to me. We’ve always been a personal band and I hope that this is one of the things that people connect with in our music.”

This ying and yang is the bed on which Converge demonstrate their artistic value and new album ‘The Dusk In Us’ is no different. “Collectively I think we just want to push things further and do something that emotionally connects with us because as much as we’ve always been the same band and done the same thing, from record to record we try to make things more musically exciting for us depending on our tastes or technical abilities. We try to push things further and we did that here.”

The record came together in guitarist Kurt Ballou’s studio in Massachusetts, the same place Converge have recorded many times before. For Bannon, it’s the perfect place to craft these records. “When we started as a band a lot of what we did came out of necessity in terms of being a Do-It-Yourself band. People didn’t want to do anything for us so we would put out our own records, we would do our own stuff, our own tours and would learn how to record our own music and things like that. Really, who else could record our band better than the primary songwriters? The band acted as the engineers and the pseduo-producers.”

Converge toured throughout Europe in the summer of 2017 which gave them the chance to preview material from their new record. “If you start paying attention to outside perceptions and feed that into what you’re doing you’re no longer making true art,” Bannon remarks on the reception they got from the new material at shows. “You’re entertaining at that point. You’re pandering to the masses and that’s not something that works well for us. The only thing that we were concerned with was fitting those songs into the set. People know what they’re getting when they come to a Converge show I guess in terms of emotion and output so I feel pretty confident that they’ll be with us the entire run.”

The new record isn’t the only Converge release we have been treated to this year and outside of the band, Bannon also operates his own label, Deathwish Inc. “I get behind something I artistically believe in and hope to see a band grow,” he says after being asked about some of his favourite releases from the label. It must be incredibly rewarding to be part of a team that are putting out releases from the likes of Code Orange and Oathbreaker. “I just really appreciate the fact that we have those opportunities and we get to help artists realise their visions, help them kind of grow and go down that road with them.”

Bannon rounds off by explaining how the band have maintained their intensity nearly three decades after their inception: “we just play. You know, anything that is worth doing is worth doing right. That’s been my philosophy for a long time. As a band we just strive to leave it all out there and that’s what live performance is in Hardcore, Punk and Metal. It’s an intensely physical thing and you’re meant to get a psychological purge from it. It’s a super important thing that’s part of our community. That’s why we give it everything. We have to.”  

‘The Dusk In Us’ is out now on Epitaph Records.