Alabama metalcore heavyweights Erra have recently released their self-titled album, which is undoubtedly one of the strongest releases in their catalogue, with material that could stand side-by-side with fan favourite albums such as Impulse and Augment. With such a phenomenal release, we sat down with the band to ask them a few questions about the new record as well as what their plans are for the foreseeable future.
The gap between this album and your previous album Neon is the longest gap you’ve had for a while. What was the writing process for this album like for you as a band?
"This record was a joy thankfully. We seemed to be much prepared this time around to be creative; we had a great working environment to be creative, enough time around to finish everything we wanted to accomplish, as well as engineers who really were able to translate what we wanted to accomplish with our sound."
This will be your first album released under UNFD, how have they been treating you so far? "They have a great roster so we knew we would be a good fit sonically but we were pleasantly surprised to find they had an awesome team and cared a lot about driving out success and making us feel at home. We are happy to be part of the family." You seem to be returning to a heavier sound on this album which is far closer to your first two albums Impulse and Augment, did you approach this in a return-to-roots way or is it a more natural evolution of your sound? "Definitely a natural evolution. We are definitely aware of what our fans desire from our previous content but like to try and progress our sound every time we enter the studio. There were definitely some things we felt were missing that we overlooked but we also brought in some new elements to the record that I feel like rounded it out nicely."
On that note, your frontman J.T. Cavey has had an increasingly prominent role with every successive album since he joined and Scorpion Hymn is the first song with just his vocals. How has his role both as a singer and a lyricist in the band changed since he joined? "Roles haven't really changed, we just finally found opportunities on our content this time around to experiment a little more. I am definitely very excited to have a more varied workload as I think it will only add to our sound and diversity."
Are there any artists/bands that influenced you during the writing process for this album more than in the past? "I think every band goes through this; we have our preferences and tastes that may change year to year and can creep into the writing process. You can definitely hear some influence from multiple sources in this album, some more on the nose than others."
Back in October 2019 you released a cover of a Queens of the Stone Age's 'You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire'. Are there any other artists you would like to cover either in the studio or as part of a live set? "I am not sure about in a live setting, but the covers have been really fun to do regardless. We are still experimenting with potentially adding covers to a live set but that's not something we have really planned. At this point it's more just for fan-service and our pleasure."
It’s nice to see your lineup has remained stable since your tumultuous period around 2012-2014, I can imagine your writing dynamic as a band is fairly streamlined now. "From an instrumental standpoint for sure. Jesse and I have come to find the workload and content for vocals have worked out best when we plan on doing everything together as opposed to separate and trying to force it to work. As much as I like to try and do everything on my own, his ideas for my sections are always very strong and different from what I would come up with and I think that dynamic is only healthy for me as a musician and growth as a band."
You’ve stated the album’s concept is about the Aokigahara forests in Japan, which is a fairly dark concept. Undoubtedly people have been struggling with mental health issues due to being locked down as a result of the pandemic, is this what inspired you to write such dark lyrics? "That is actually just a small reference in one song: 'Electric Twilight'. In addition, the whole album was finished before the pandemic so it was actually not influenced by it at all, interestingly enough. I wonder now how that might have changed our lyrically content if it actually was. Probably would be even darker."
Have you got any plans to do any livestreams following the album’s release or are you just waiting to get back on the road? "Mostly the latter. At this point, the logistics of organizing a streamed/pre-recorded show would place us really close to actual live shows so it's hard to say."
Erra is our now via UNFD.