In Sickness & In Flames

In Sickness & In Flames

"You know it's like art in life, right?" vocalist-guitarist Brian Sella tells Apple Music when describing The Front Bottoms' new album In Sickness & In Flames. The album's title was inspired by events in the New Jersey-based duo's life but took on an entirely different meaning once the global pandemic hit. "It definitely felt like while we were making this record the shit was hitting the fan for me and [drummer] Mat [Uychich], and in good ways and terrible ways," explains Sella. "So it was definitely a release. We dumped a lot into this record emotionally, for sure." Leaning into the chaos and uncertainty surrounding them, In Sickness & In Flames is a well-rounded collection that highlights the best of The Front Bottoms' idiosyncrasies—peppering in alt-country ("the hard way"), grunge ("leaf pile"), and euphoric sing-alongs ("everyone blooms") throughout. Here, Sella and Uychich get into the stories behind each of In Sickness & In Flames' 12 tracks. everyone blooms Brian Sella: “A couple of songs were all mushed together. So we had maybe three songs that, when we got into the studio, we would rearrange. And 'everyone blooms' was in that category; it was a group of three, I would say. 'everyone blooms' and 'leaf pile' and there was one more, I can't remember. I think we definitely made a lot of that in El Paso.” camouflage Mat Uychich: “So I think 'camouflage' was definitely the beginning of the writing to the official time where we were like, 'Let's start demoing, pursuing new music.'" BS: “I sent it on these ukulele versions of the song that we did. I wanted to try to get into a wacky style—rock camouflage, get a mohawk—so that was the look that I want to go for. But then the vibe...obviously in 2016 Trump gets elected. And it's just, you don't want to put off that vibe of camouflage, all that kind of stuff.” jerk BS: “I love the vibe of that song. I think you definitely like to mess around with drum moves and shit like that. And Mat's great at incorporating all that stuff into the track.” the truth BS: “It was the last song we wrote, so we were definitely loose and we definitely had the process going. And I remember I wrote, ‘You are the truth I've bent myself around,' when we were in El Paso. And Erik [Kase Romero], our buddy who recorded the album with us and plays live with us, he was so encouraging. I was like, 'Oh, all right. Maybe I'll try to remember it.'” montgomery forever BS: “I definitely realized, after explaining it so many times, it's just about gentrification. It's just about people moving into an area and taking over and whatever effect that has on the people that lived there prior. I wrote it about when I went to see a building get demolished in Jersey City and it was amazing. It was an incredibly emotional experience, surprisingly. And so that was, I realized, it was the public housing building that they demolished to create condos. And then within seconds, just enormous structure, it's gone. It's just done. So as I'm walking away with my wife, there's a woman standing on the corner and she has a shirt and there's a picture of the building and it says, 'Montgomery Forever.' And that's why I was like, 'Oh, fuck. People lived here. These are their memories.'” the hard way BS: “When the bridge comes in, I feel like that's what makes it a Front Bottoms song. It just goes into this other direction, kicks it up a little. And I love imagery, and I think that's really what makes people connect to lyrics and to songs is you give them an image of something and then they can make it what they want. And I think I really wanted to say 'crooked nails' because I just thought that was such a cool thing. A crooked nail is just useless, but you could step on it, it's around. So that was, lyrically, that was something I wanted to do.” leaf pile MU: “Brian was just playing the beginning on the acoustic guitar, just going through it, just doing that riff over and over.” BS: “Playing it live, I feel emotionally it just hits, man. It hits hard.” new song d MU: “That songwriting process was a journey.” BS: “With all of the songs on the album, they still start from a demo, obviously. But there was a couple of demos with that song. As was a couple on this album that went through a bunch of different changes from voice memos and demos.” Fairbanks, Alaska BS: “We got to go to Alaska and play shows at University of Alaska Fairbanks and it was very incredible, it was an amazing experience. You have to do the Northern Lights and stuff. So originally the song was just 'Fairbanks, Alaska' over and over and over again for two minutes with that chord progression. It's developed into this big, long thing. But, yeah, we've had that for a while.” love at first sight BS: “I love the sample on this; this just came from an open mic. And I'll say the coolest part of it was, we had this song 'love at first sight,' he dropped this sample in and it all lined up where the song ended. And also everybody started clapping at the end of the sample. So it was a moment where I'm like, 'Ooh, shit.' So it just had to stay in there.” bus beat MU: “This was an earlier demo, too. You start wild, you play a show and you get back into the bus. And we're trying to set this beat and we named the file ‘bus beat.’” make way BS: “We were like, ‘Oh, this has got to be the last song.’ The influence of movies and other types of art definitely affected the songs. And yeah, definitely. It probably felt like we were making a movie, for sure.”

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