New York hard rock group Life Of Agony are premiering the video for their new track, World Gone Mad, exclusively on TeamRock.
Taken from their new album, A Place Where There’s No More Pain, the track confronts the growing division currently plaguing the world, placing their frustration at global sociopolitical events on top of pummelling riffs, glorious grooves and frontwoman Mina Caputo’s trademark dark and direct lyricism.
We caught up with bassist Alan Robert to learn more about the track, its video, and find out what’s next for the band.
What’s the story behind the song World Gone Mad?
Alan Robert: “World Gone Mad is about the lessons we can learn from ignoring problems in the world instead of facing the madness head on. In 2017, people are more divided than ever. The earth is purging us. What type of world will we leave behind for our children? It’s very scary times and these things keep me up at night.”
What’s the concept behind the video?
AR: “We first connected with UK director Leigh Brooks of Firebelly Films (who is a longtime LOA fan) when we did our UK run last year. He had asked us to film the gigs with his crew and we thought that was a brilliant idea. That footage turned into the first video teaser clip we used to announce the new record.
We had such a blast with Leigh that we hired him to fly out to Hamburg to film the A Place Where There’s No More Pain music video for us. After that, we knew we were in great hands and brought Leigh back into the fold for World Gone Mad.
Now, we knew that this video was going to be very visual and filled with tons of haunting imagery, so it really needed someone who truly understood what we were going for. Visually, it’s an homage to horror movies like Hellraiser and The Ring.
I remember while the band was touring in Europe, we talked about this concept on our travels. It’s a video about a troubled soul who is trapped in a small dark room searching for a way out. When she finally discovers the LOA symbol by scratching underneath the wall, she gets a sense of hope for her escape. Later on, we talked about the idea of incorporating more supernatural elements like the black goo and the look of the model’s prosthetics.
This time around, we wanted a high concept video without any band performance in it. We wanted to try something very different; darker, scarier.
World Gone Mad required a set build and custom makeup fx. The entire video was filmed in England. In fact, Mina’s closeups were shot in London while we were traveling on the press tour.
Leigh’s team created mood boards of various images based on our discussions and all were completely on point. Leigh totally understood where we were going with this and went above and beyond to make it happen for us. They even carved the giant Life Of Agony symbol into the set for us by hand, to create that cool lighting effect at the end of the video. We really love the way it turned out.”
How does A Place Where There’s No More Pain differ from previous Life Of Agony records?
AR: “Well, for one thing, this is the first record that the band was totally on the same page as to what type of album it should sound like. Even before we wrote a single note, we talked at length about the intensity it needed to have, the type of memorable guitar riffs, the deep emotional content of the lyrics – even down to the tuning. Early on, Sal suggested that we write the songs in C# tuning, which we had never tried before in this band. River Runs Red was written in D, and we introduced C tuning on some songs on the Ugly album, but never C#. That decision alone was very inspiring. We were trying new things and open to new ideas from each other. Finally, after all these years, everyone was completely on board to make the record we always wanted to make.
It was very much a collaboration and everyone in the band stepped up their game. Sal contributed a large chunk of music that inspired Mina and I to write lyrics and melodies over. Sometimes Sal would take some of my song seeds and develop them into fully fleshed out ideas and arrangements. Every song had a different process. Joey Z’s energy and unique playing style really put that signature LOA stamp on this record. He never ceases to blow my mind with his precision, machine-like performances, recording six guitar tracks that sounded like a fluid wall of sound. Joey’s hooky guitar riff in World Gone Mad really helped to launch that song over the top too. And Mina’s vocals on this record are absolutely incredible. The layers and harmonies of her tracks all compliment what’s grooving beneath them. There are some really haunting performances on this thing. I can finally listen to this band as a fan.
Another big key for how smooth it went during the process of writing the album together was the fact that we had complete creative control. Napalm Records had full faith and trust in us to deliver a kick-ass LOA album, and they actually didn’t hear a single note until the album was finished and mastered! That is unheard of in the music industry these days. I give them a lot of credit for that. It made the experience of writing and recording that much more fun, without all of the outside distractions.
We brought in producer Matt Brown, who we all knew since we were kids, to produce the album with us. Matt knew this band from the early days and we were all very comfortable working with him one-on-one to get the best performances out of each of us. Matt was like a fifth member of the band while working on this album with us. He put in the long hours and really is a perfectionist. I am very grateful that he was involved. He would push each of us to our limits and captured amazing energy.
This record really is a combination of the best parts of Life of Agony. It’s got all the elements we’re known for: those intense grooves, heartfelt lyrics and big aggressive guitars. We’re all very excited about the reaction to the songs we’ve released so far. And those songs are probably a bit tamer than the rest of the record. There’s a lot more heavier tracks on the full album.”
How was it getting the band back together after over 10 years away?
AR: “Believe it or not, we actually needed all those years to recover from the whole major label mistake we made when signing to Epic Records/Sony for Broken Valley. That experience killed this band in a lot of ways. The label didn’t understand who this band was and continually tried to mould us into something we weren’t. Not to mention the illegal spyware they put on our album without our knowledge to try and prevent piracy, and the class-action lawsuit they lost because of it. The court forced them to pull all of our records off the shelf just three months after it was released! The whole thing was a nightmare. We didn’t want to make new music for a long time after that.
So, once Mina came out in 2011, we took a short break and we were back playing together in 2014. The timing seemed right. It was a natural progression to start making new music again. Napalm approached us with the idea and it took about six months for us to wrap our heads around the concept of making a new album together. We were having such a great time playing shows again and the positivity and overwhelming energy we received everywhere we went helped us make that decision. The momentum was all positive and it felt right.”
Was it daunting to release A Place Where There’s No More Pain given the length of time that had passed since your last album?
AR: “Not really. We made this record for ourselves. So, in our minds, we already accomplished what we set out to do. We were our own worst critics throughout the writing process and really pushed each other to make every part great or we simply didn’t use it. There were a ton of ideas that we had that didn’t end up on the final album. We only used the best material, with no filler. In the past, on other records, I think we had some regrets about some of the songs that ended up being included. This time we made the hard decisions early on, to find those diamonds in the rough and bring them to their fullest potential.”
This song (and the album in general) is inspired by current world events – was there anything in particular that inspired you to tackle those themes when making the album?
AR: “This band has always written about real issues and real heartfelt topics that affect each one of us. I think that’s why we’ve had this amazing longevity. People can relate to what we’re saying and feel connected on an emotional level. Our songs strike a nerve because they are brutally honest. That affects listeners in a profound way. It’s what makes our bond with our audience so special. We’ve been able to heal a lot of troubled souls through our music, and that alone is something to be proud of.”
What’s the one message you’d hope your fans take away from the album?
AR: “Probably that we’re all on this journey to find peace in our own hearts. We all have our own obstacles in this life to face and our own personal struggles to overcome. It’s the decisions we make everyday that set us on our individual paths. It’s never too late to turn it all around.”
Can you talk us through the artwork for the album?
AR: “We are a very hands-on band, so I handled the artwork for the album packaging. I’ve been a graphic artist for many years and write and illustrate graphic novels and horror colouring books (check out http://www.thebeautyofhorror.com).
We wanted very dark imagery on the album to match the vibe of the music. The album title really was the key to creating the right tone for the artwork. The inside booklet is filled with subtle and dark illustrations that align with each song. I’m very excited about how it all came together. The sad red eye with the LOA symbol inside it has become such an iconic visual for us that we went ahead and had a giant backdrop painted with that image on it, to bring the album visuals into our live show.”
What’s next for Life Of Agony?
AR: “We have tour dates lined up from the April 28th record release through the summer with a lot more on the way. It feels great to be back with new music and we can’t wait to get out there and see fans reactions to the new material. Right now, we’re riding this great positive energy and it feels like the time is finally right for LOA.”
A Place Where There’s No More Pain will be released via Napalm Records on April 28th. You can catch them on tour at the dates below:
29 May: Batschkapp, Frankfurt, DE
30 May: Dynamo, Zurich, CH
31 May: CCO, Lyon, FR
02 Jun: Razzmatazz 2, Barcelona, ES
03 Jun: Santana 27, Bilbao, ES
04 Jun: Sala Penelope, Madrid, ES
9-12 Aug: Brutal Assault Festival, Josefov, CZ
12 Aug: Into The Grave Festival, Leeuwarden, NL
17 Aug Summer Breeze Festival, Dinkelsbuehl, DE