One Less Reason’s Cris Brown Talks ‘The Memories Uninvited’ Album, the ‘Break Me’ Video + Touring
One Less Reason have spent the last decade plus building things up, but admittedly took a little longer than usual break before recording their latest album, The Memories Uninvited. We recently had a chance to speak with vocalist Cris Brown about the band's latest disc, discussed the current hit song "Break Me" and the video that we just premiered here at Loudwire and discussed their upcoming touring. Check out the chat below.
"Break Me" is such a great song. You can feel the emotion in your voice on that one. If you want to talk about the song in particular, where it comes from and give me a little history on that track?
The song is basically about relationships as a whole. It doesn’t have to be husband and wife, girlfriend and boyfriend or anything like that. It’s just pretty much how in life at some point we always end up you know, sharing the same emotions. Whether it’s love, hate or pain. At some point we will all end up feeling these things. And the song pretty much is just about picking up the pieces that fall behind and having somebody help you do that. You know, we all need a little bit of help picking up the pieces that fall behind. That’s pretty much the gist of it.
If you want to talk about the video. What's the video about and what can fans look for?
Yeah, the video is, it’s a young girl who’s lost her mother and her and her dad are trying to find their way in life without the mother figure there. And she has found that MMA fighting or UFC fighting or whatever you want to call it is kind of her outlet to letting go of some of her rage that’s been built up. And her dad doesn’t understand that. And it’s just about the struggle between how she deals and copes with it and how he’s dealing and coping with it. And trying to find common ground.
Looking at the credits, I notice a few familiar names. I see Blake from your band who was one of the directors, and also John Falls from the Egypt Central days. If you can talk about how the two guys collaborated on this and your thoughts on seeing the final product?
Blake Heimbach is our bass player and he owes Hot Keys Studios which is pretty much a video, you know he does all kinds of video production. Actually he does video production for one of the largest paper companies in the world. So it was kind of just, we talked to a bunch of different produces and what not. And it didn’t feel right to outsource something we could do ourselves. And we could achieve our own vision. Instead of achieving, trying to achieve someone else’s vision. So it made sense. And John, you know, John’s like my right hand man in business. So John and Blake got together and I was just like, look guys, this is where we are, this is our budget and if you guys are telling me that you can do this and you can make it awesome, let’s do it. And let’s just bypass, let’s bypass these other guys that we have been talking to and do it ourselves. Some people in the camp didn’t like that idea, but it wasn’t their decision to make. So that’s what we did and I think it turned out awesome.
Did you have an idea of what you wanted to do going into the Memories Uninvited album?
I wasn’t sure I was even writing a record. I just wrote a couple of songs and the songs really had a good feel to them. They just had a really good feel to them. And somewhere around the third song I realized that this is a record that is kind of coming together. It’s almost like somebody writing a book. Half a story starts and then it starts to kind of flourish from then on. It’s just, once I wrote the song “The Lie” which I think was the second or third song that I wrote for the record, I started thinking this is actually something. There is a feel here and I only write songs and write when I feel compelled to do so or am meant to do so or led to do so. It just really happened quickly, honestly. The recording didn't really happen that quickly because we re-recorded some things eight or nine times just to get it the way we wanted it to be. The actual writing process was pretty smooth and painless.
You mentioned writing whenever you feel like you have something compelling to say, but the recording may take place a little bit later. Is it hard to maybe recapture that emotion when you're recording of what you initially felt when you were writing the song, or do you find picking that up very easy?
A lot of the vocal tracks are the original, we would just re-record parts or guitar parts or drum parts but we did actually keep didn't actually keep the first vocal because it really is how I was feeling at that time. I can't go back and re-enact, it's not acting, it's a true emotion the first time. On our last record we had a song called "Uneasy" and I did the whole demo, the actual recording that went out was the demo because we tried to recreate it but it just - couldn't do it. I learned my lesson on that one. We always keep the initial vocal track.
Did you have a song that kind of was a springboard into this album? Do you start fresh with each record, or do you find little things that you like to carry over from album to album? What's the process for you going into putting an album together?
Honestly it's whatever it is I'm listening to at the time. Other bands or what not, I know what my band sounds like so we never stray too far away from that because this is our brand, our product. The people who have been faithful to us, we're never going to just abandon that. Like, oh here's a whole different sounding band where we don't call it the same thing. Mainly, new stuff really is based around whatever it is I'm listening to at the time or what inspires me to write music.
"On The Way Down" is a standout. If you want to talk about where that comes from and your thoughts on the song?
I wrote that about my niece who has been struggling with drug addiction. It talks about seeing her grow up as a little girl and then where she is now and how's she is trying to handle things. It was almost just a letter to her. You might be at the bottom, but there's plenty of people here who are willing to help. All you gotta do is get tired of being at the bottom. That's actually my daughter singing it at the beginning. She saw me demoing vocals for that, and she decided she wanted to take a run at it.
Another cool thing we get to hear is the acoustic vibe of "Rainmaker." And then there's that little thing in the background at the end where you talk about it being the first song you wrote. Can you talk about your history with "Rainmaker"?
I wrote "Rainmaker" when I was 17-years-old.
My dad always told me to put it on a record and he passed away a few years ago. I always promised him that I would put it on a record. This was my chance, so I took it. That song has followed me since I was 17, so I literally - I would go play shows and he'd go, "Play Rainmaker!" I'm like, how the hell do you even know what "Rainmaker" is? I never even put it out. It was just this demo that I did of the song when I was 17 that people got and shared and that was that.
You're getting a chance to get out on the road this fall, playing dates with Sick Puppies in September and October. I know you've been in a touring band for awhile. Have you ever crossed paths with Sick Puppies in the past or is this the first time?
This is the first time we've toured with them. We've been on the same festivals before, but this will be the first time we've actually toured with them. We're looking forward to getting out and playing with those guys. I think they're a fantastic band.
As far as the set goes, have you been holding back music until the album comes out? Can you discuss some of the songs you're most interested and or looking forward to playing live?
We actually did six of the songs off the new record at a Jackson, Tenn. show recently. Jackson has always been our testing grounds because they're very honest with us since we started. If they don't like it, they'll let us know. We've played six of the new songs and "Break Me" especially, there's something about - I have not screamed in years, so now that I'm actually screaming it kind of brings back some of the older fans that were into that. So, I think that this record is a lot like our first record for the fact that it's a lot heavier than some of the previous records or the in-between records. So it's really kind of cool to get out there and play these songs and people go, "Man - that is the heaviest stuff we've heard from you in years" and that's cool because that's what I was listening to when I was making the record. I was really into Sepultura when we made this record, not that we're anywhere near as heavy as Bring Me The Horizon, but it did kind of spark my interest back into the screaming and what not when it's necessary.
I saw you put out a playlist, it had Korn and some other bands on there recently. You just mentioned Sepultura right there. What were some of the things you were listening to as you were heading into this album?
BMTH for sure. But, I love 90s rock. I cannot get away from 90s rock. I'll take the Matchbox 20's and the Tonic's, the Third Eye Blind's. Those guys were lyrical genius, the way they can put words together and structures together better than any other time or era that I can think of as far as lyrical content goes. There was a time then in the 90s where everybody was a freakin' lyrical genius. I always go back to those guys as far as lyrical content goes, how they structure their feelings. But yeah, definitely into BMTH on this record. What I'm into right now is a band called LetLive. Their record 'If I'm the Devil...' vocally, man, that guy is a phenom. Absolute phenom, which really surprised me because a lot of their earlier stuff was really heavy and screamy. His voice is just amazing. I'm not much of, you know a lot of the newer rock vocals I guess, there are very few guys that have really impressed me as far as like, wow. But that guy there, he's on a whole different playing field.
What should fans be looking for from One Less Reason in the coming months through the end of the year?
We are going to get back out and start playing across the country again. I took four years off to start my family but now we're going to get back out there and we're going to start hitting the markets that have been neglecting for the last six or seven years. I think we're going to get to the UK too. We've been setting this up for years coming to the U.K. We do sell a lot of music over there, so we're definitely looking forward to getting overseas for this record cycle for sure.
You mentioned the four years off and getting to spend time with family. Does it make you appreciate it more now that you've had some time away to come back to it after these years off?
It's kind of like starting over. It's kind of scary because before I had no priorities at home. I had no responsibilities, it was literally just about me and me and the people that come to the show. Now, it's not just about me. It's about me and these other people that I have at home that I have to make sure are taken care of. At one point in my life, One Less Reason was my whole life, now One Less Reason is just a part of my life because it shares a spot with me that no longer is in the absolute forefront. It's my job, and I love my job but my family always comes first.
One Less Reason, "Break Me"