Letlive’s Jason Butler Talks ‘The Blackest Beautiful’ + 2014 Tour and Album Plans
If you've ever experienced Letlive in person then you know they are one of the most invigorating live bands you can see perform. Frontman Jason Butler is nothing short of intense onstage and with their latest album 'The Blackest Beautiful,' their live show has only been amplified.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Letlive frontman Jason Butler before the band was set to play two shows in one night at St. Vitus bar in Brooklyn. Butler was sporting an arm cast but seemed in bright spirits as he spoke all about touring in promotion of 'The Blackest Beautiful.' He also revealed that he and the band want to begin writing a brand new record this year and much more. Check out our interview with Jason Butler of Letlive below:
You're arm is in a cast and you’re set to play two shows in one night. What the hell?
[Laughs] Yeah I had surgery, I severed nerves and tendons. I just figured I’ll tough it out and see how I fare.
How has touring been with Every Time I Die?
It’s been great. This is like our third time out with them. The last time we were forced to leave the tour because of some reasons beyond our control. We had to take off but on this one we’re in it for the whole thing. They’re some of our favorite people and one of our favorite bands.
Is there a band you’d love to tour with that you haven’t hit the road with yet?
We all would really like to go on tour with Arcade Fire, that’d be cool for me. Personally there’s this dude out there named Jameson that I’m feeling. He does this dark, idiosyncratic R&B type stuff. I think that might be really cool do that. If Rage Against the Machine wants to get together and do a couple more tours we’ll go out with them.
On ‘The Blackest Beautiful’ you touch on so many themes and topics. Where do you draw inspiration from when writing?
Honestly a lot of the writing comes inherently throughout time. When I felt something was striking me a little more exceptionally at that moment or that period in my life then I’d write about it and then expand on what I started writing that day. I’d bring it to the studio and see how it applied best to which song sonically. Some songs I feel ask to be written about a certain subject matter or ask to be part of a certain type of context. It’s about trying to do justice for both the instrumental part of the song as well as the literature.
Just listening to the lyrics on ‘Dreamer’s Disease,' it’s almost like surreal art for your ears. In an age where music is so over produced, this record is intense and primitive and raw.
You got it on all levels, that’s exactly it. This record was a sonic testament and it was a representation saying, “It’s about time to stop training our ears to listen to everything that’s unreal. This is not organic or real, these bands don’t sound like that live, it’s not the band playing it’s the computer. It’s all a map and grid on a computer, that’s not an artist, it’s not an instrument being played. We wanted to get that essence, as far as we’re concerned as a band right now, the essence of Letlive is a raw, as organic as possible, vibe in our music right now. Not to say later on we won’t write a record that is largely produced or has very large sonic impact or whatever. For right now this is the band we are. We try to portray this record as intensely as we wrote it.
That line, “If home is where the heart is then what do I do with this empty chest,” 'til this day, if I listen to it or if we play it I feel like I’m on pins and needles, the hair stands up straight because I meant that s---. [Laughs] As cliché as it sounds, I was in a real dismal place when I had to pull from that part of my life but it’s good. That sense of catharsis is scary and dangerous but when it’s applied properly it’s good.
Were there intense or memorable moments that stand out when recording certain songs.
Yeah there were definitely moments where I would have to take a breath. I would force myself to finish and then afterwards I would take a break. The emotional evisceration and getting everything out of me was painstaking and difficult. It’s very taxing on your body, physically, emotionally, mentally. In the song ‘Virgin Dirt’ I truly felt I was inept in this field of emotion where I couldn’t invest myself in someone else.
I couldn’t talk about it with anyone and it was killing me so I wrote about it. Writing about it killed me just the same. I was in a room by myself recording, I had the lights off, I made sure I closed this curtain that connected me and the other room. I just went for it and I remember sitting in that room and asking people to just let me be in that room by myself for a little while. Afterwards it was all good but recording was definitely an intense moment.
What are your future aspirations for Letlive?
Man, just really becoming accessible and making Letlive an essence, something people can believe and be a part of. It can be autonomous but it needs the moving parts, it needs people, it needs music, it needs culture. That does seem grandiose and really hyperbolic but it is exactly what I would love Letlive to be, a place, a place for people to feel something.
What do you and Letlive have in store for 2014?
We’re touring, we’re going out with Bring Me the Horizon in February, in the middle of that tour we fly to Australia and do Soundwave then come back and finish the Bring Me the Horizon tour. Then we’ll do a headliner some point in the springtime. Then we’ll go out to Europe and the UK for festivals. We’re going to take the summer off to start writing, which people think is kind of crazy but we want to start writing another record. Personally, I’ve been writing some stuff both for Letlive and my own endeavors and I’ll see where that takes me.
As mentioned, Letlive are currently bookending their Australian Soundwave dates with strings of U.S. shows and you can see their full itinerary here.