Interview with ALL TOO HUMAN

We cross the sea (virtually, by now) to go to the US, to Texas, concretely. Why? Because we want to talk to the progressive metal band ALL TOO HUMAN. This experienced band released 'Juggernaut' few months ago, the fourth album in their career, and it sounds really good, honestly...


MT: (Maurice Taylor- Bass Guitar)
CW: (Clint Wilson- Guitar/ Keys)
GT: (Gordon Tittsworth- Vocals)
CL: (Chris Lucci- Drums & Percussion)
  

Akiesú:  Greetings from Spain. Let's talk about “Juggernaut”. We're in front of nine tracks and a revision for “Arrythmia”, song that was included in your previous album, “Entropy”. In my opinion, you've done a great work. How was the recording process and at which studio?

CL:  Thank you.... the recording was done partially at my studio in Texas, and some was done remotely by Gordon at his studio in PA.  Once the tracks were laid down, I then mixed and mastered the CD at my studio, with the help of Eric Zimmerman.

GT: Chris and Clint sent me all of the instrumental audio files along with the lyrics and I recorded vocals at my studio in Red Lion, PA- USA.  Once I completed each song, I would forward the rough mixes to the guys for their approval.  Once everyone agreed on the final vocals, I sent the hi-rez audio files to Chris for mixing.

MT:  Bass tracks recorded at R/R Digital Studios in Lake Jackson, Texas and Venus Studios in Rockport, Texas.

CW:  The recording process for this album was a completely different animal all together. The time frame was much longer due to our personal lives taking precedence, and also we recorded and produced this album entirely in house as well.  I also got to do a little more of the writing this time which was fun, but a little more stressful as well (in a good way though). Also the biggest change was bringing Gordon on board, and I would say that decision was probably the icing on the cake of Juggernaut. I think overall I enjoyed recording this more than Entropy, only because I had more control over my parts and my sound, and it was much more satisfying making those big production decision without a net. The guys were great and soon after Gordon joined up, he went straight to work on his parts as well. Despite the extended amount of time we took, in the end, I think everyone is satisfied how we crossed the finish line on this one.

Akiesú: I think the album is self-edited. Do you prefer to control yourselves the whole recording process and work itself, before having some guidelines marked by someone else 'from outside'?

MT:  Short answer, yes.  But we do it all on our own.  No outside help (except for Mastering).  I'm sure Chris will give more explanation.

CL:  Yes, we guided the whole process ourselves, but we did have outside help in mastering, as I mentioned.  It was a brutal process, consuming hundreds of hours, and I am not sure I would ever try to tackle a whole CD  again.  When a band does not have label backing or funding, they have to rely on themselves. That is what we did.  The other guys were amazingly helpful and super-patient with me, as it took much longer to track and mix than we expected.  The only way a band is going to get the sound they want is to self-produce.  Not that we wouldn't be willing to work with a producer, it might be good, but none of us is willing to compromise what we believe is our best effort in making what we think is good music.

CW:  Well in the past we really didn't have a "producer", although Jason Rooks at R&R Studio made some great suggestions on Entropy and helped out a great deal on the finished product as well as mixing and mastering. As I mentioned, it was fun to put this out strictly in house. For me it was a bit more satisfying due to the fact that there was no "production deadline" per say and I could always come back and tweak, change, edit, or just throw something out completely. It made me sweat a bit more this time when Chris and Maurice gave me the "speak now or forever hold your peace" ultimatum before mastering time came, but all in all, because I had more control this time, I think between Chris and I, the guitar sound I got this time was closer to what I heard in my head and came out heavy as hell.

GT:  My opinion is that it is always better to do any/all studio recordings yourself rather than pay for studio time whenever you can help it.  This way, you’re not focused on a clock and you don’t rush to get things completed because you’re more focused on the $$$$ that you are spending rather than the quality of the product.  My best works have always been ones that I record myself because I have all of the time necessary to “get it right”.  This all being said, I have found that having a great producer really pushes me outside my comfort zone and allows me to tap into abilities I didn’t know I had.  Although, these guys did a great job of that during these sessions with their constant feedback.

Akiesú: We played your song 'Never Enough' in our radio program Akiesú Qué Escándalo Rock & Metal Radio Show. Personally, I really like it, but it was a hard choice. I love 'Cut Me' and the revision for 'Arrythmia' is great. I suppose it will be the same for you. What's your favourite track in “Juggernaut”, and why?

CL:  My favorite track is actually "Thorn In My Side," written mostly by Clint Wilson.  The reason I like this one the best, is that we achieved that magical "all-togetherness" in the groove, the performances, the mixing and mastering with this song.  Maurice Taylor blew me away with the bass performance on this song, and it should be heard by more people.  I wasn't really sure we could ever get this "produced" a sound form a home studio, but I'm very happy with the way it came out.   I like the way Cut Me came out, also, and its a close second, again because of the awesome bass and guitar performances.

CW:  Of course I like them all haha, but if I had to pick a few...hmm...probably "Cut Me" and "Ruffian". "Cut Me" originally was iffy at first but now its so dark, brooding and heavy, that i like it alot. And "Ruffian" ended up with one of the most brutal grooves on the album. Every time I listen to that I want to break things haha.

MT:  I would say my favorite song from "Juggernaut" is "Thorn in my Side" with "Catharsis" a close second.  All of the songs have grown on me so there is not really a song I dislike.  One of my favorite songs didn't even make the cut.  Hopefully we will release it in the future.

GT: This is hard to say because I really think every song has its own unique quality.  I think I could narrow it down to “Rumble”, “Catharsis” and “Cut Me”.

Akiesú: How is “Juggernaut” being received both by the audience and specialized press?

CL:  Thus far, we are facing the challenge of most bands that do not have label backing.  That is, we have tried to promote the CD through digital channels and the internet, and reviews have been excellent but there have not been robust sales.  All we can hope to do is get enough capital raised in sales to continue writing and recording material.

CW:  So far so good, although were picking up some momentum so I'm looking forward to seeing the reactions once its more received.

GT:  We now live in an age where a) the economy is the worst it has been since the 1929 USA depression and b) many people are downloading music illegally (for free) through torrents, etc.  Because of this, I’m pretty pleased at the response we have received so far.  From a press standpoint, we have received extremely good reviews.  These guys (Chris, Clint and Maurice) are some of the best musicians I have ever heard so the reviews do not surprise me.

Akiesú: I've seen the album is available from your website (http://www.alltoohuman.net/index2.htm), are there any other sites or platforms where people can buy “Juggernaut”? Is there a CD format?

GT:  We would like to do a physical CD release at some point so we’ll make an announcement if/when the time comes.

Akiesú: Tell us about your local scene. Is or not Texas a land for metal? (laughs).

MT:  Being formerly from Texas, I can say that Texas used to be a land of metal.  There are remnants here and there but it is not the metal homeland that it used to be.  Especially progressive metal.  Long gone are the days of Watchtower, Power of Omens, Outworld and others.  Eumeria just put out a new CD though.  I'm also glad to see that Haji's Kitchen from Dallas is making a comeback.

CL: Texas used to be a better music scene, but the last decade has not been very favorable to metal in Texas. 

CW:  There have been some heavy bands come out of Texas that's for sure. Maybe it is because our food is so spicy hahaha.

GT:  I am from the PA-USA / Baltimore, MD-USA area and there is not much of a scene here!


Akiesú: We change the direction now. What's ALL TOO HUMAN's shows schedule like?

CL:  None planned for the immediate future.  We put all our efforts into getting the CD finished, and we are living life more as a recording project than a touring band.  Not that we wouldn't like to do that, but that costs money and when bands are not paid for their gigs, it is a major limiting factor in touring.

MT: Who knows?  Right now, we only have one show scheduled for Dallas, Texas in December 2013.  The rest is up in the air.

GT:  We have already been talking about doing a Dallas/ Houston mini-tour in December, 2013 so hopefully the “one” show Maurice is referring to can turn into multiple shows.  I’d really love to make this happen.  It is true that everything is bigger, better and more “bad ass” in Texas J!

Akiesú: The next question is a must for all the people we interview in Akiesú Qué Escándalo.  What's the funniest or strangest thing that ever happened to you on a stage?

CW:  Hmm. I would have to say when we were in Europe for prog power we played an impromptu gig at Den Haag at this cool club that must have been there since 1920's. The funny part was that the only bathroom was located stage right, somewhat behind the bass cabs. So every time someone had to use the john, they had to scootch by Maurice or walk past him around his bass rig. Every time I would look over and laugh and he would just shake his head and smile. We still rib him about that one haha.

MT:  That show was actually in Nijmegen.  It was such a cool metal club even though we had to deal with the people walking across the stage to use the restroom.  That was too funny.  Some of the footage we caught on video was pretty funny.

CL: I think some of the most memorable moments were during our Prog Power Tour in Holland.   One of the "strangest" ( in a very good way) things ever to happen was that we played a small club, ( I believe in Nijmegen) and when we started playing "The Jester" (from Entropy) the whole crowd started singing the words!  We were an American band playing in Europe for the first time, and the club was totally packed, so you could feel the whole building reverberating with the words to our song!!   A truly magical moment in all our lives as musicians, I would say.

GT:  I had a gig with a different metal band where the booking agent hooked us up with a jazz/ska band and a reggae/hip hop band.  Considering that we had a series of big gigs during that time period, we didn’t bring many people out to this particular show.  We played after the hip hop band and totally cleared the place out within 10 minutes.  This was our “Spinal Tap” moment.

Akiesú: Thank you for your time and attention. From Akiesú Qué Escándalo, we wish ALL TOO HUMAN all the best, may you get to the top! Rock On!!

Thank you for the opportunity to get a chance to tell your listeners about us and we hope to we talk again in the future. Spread the word about ATH!


Interview by Ernesto Hernández

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