We aren’t letting anyone else decide what our next step is or what tour we should play or what we are going to sound like." - Caleb DeRusha.
Gideon have just undergone a massive transformation - with a new album on the horizon, a new member, new sound and new outlook, this era is set to be a major turning point for the band.
They're set to release their new album 'Out Of Control' through Equal Vision this Friday, so it seemed right to chat to the man who did a bulk of the writing of the album about what's in store. Caleb DeRusha might be the newest member of Gideon, but he knows exactly who he and the band are in 2019.
First off, this is your first full-length release with Gideon, yet you have known the band for absolutely years. How does it feel being in the fold now?
Says Caleb: "Yeah, it’s coming up to two years I’ve been in the band now. Coming into it I didn’t know I would be immediately jumping in and writing songs and stuff like that, but even before I went out on the first tour with them it was something that I knew I wanted to be doing - that’s all I do when I’m home by myself. Going into the band was a huge step for me though - writing an album with a band that I have looked up to for years, played side by side with for years with other bands... I think I came in right at the point where they knew that they needed to make a change in things and take a next step. It may be have been risky, but it’s something that we all felt like we needed to do and we were all feeling the same things at the same time with where we were in life. Everything couldn’t have worked out more perfectly when I came in to be honest."
So tell us a bit more about your prior relationship with the band?
"I think that the first time that I met Jake, who is the only original member from the band, was about eight or nine years ago - it was pretty much around the time they started. They were a local band playing at a venue near me, we all live about two hours from each other - we are all in this little triangle. It’s not like we have been best friends for the whole nine years that we’ve known each other, but at every show that my first band would play with them we would talk and get to know each other. Playing with Gideon then led to playing with Tyler’s old band As Hell Retreats and Daniel’s first band The Advocate as well. Then fast forward a few years and I joined Those Who Fear, where us and Gideon were both on Facedown Records - we’ve just had this mutual connection over the last decade."
So what was it like finally getting into the studio? What was it like slotting into the band behind the scenes in such a way?
"Well we started the year releasing ‘No Love/No One’ which we recorded last August and released in February. Around that time I already had a few songs written that have actually appeared on ‘Out Of Control’, but we had two songs that we could record with Will Putney, so we just put ‘No Love’ and ‘2 Deep’ out. Immediately we all seemed to mesh really well."
How did that flow into the ‘Out Of Control’ sessions? What was the blueprint at the beginning of the cycle?
"Well the lyric content was a big change for us compared to older material. Going into ‘No Love’ we already knew that we were doing something different, so when it came to the album we needed to go even further. Those two songs weren’t a completely different style for Gideon, but they were still a bit of something that we hadn’t done before - it gave a perspective of simply going out of control with things. It’s the fifth album after all. At the time we didn’t know that we were going to call the record ‘Out Of Control’, but we just decided that it would make the most sense with how things were going. Everything just seemed to happen so naturally - I went in with most songs already written, and every idea I was bringing to the table everybody seemed down with."
The fact that everything you suggested was welcomed with open arms shows how much the rest of the band were ready for that refreshment...
"Yeah, it really felt that way. I had always written music and riffs that sounded similar to Gideon, so to me it was something that may have felt easy but I definitely still felt nervous. It was weird thinking how I was writing for this band that I had been a fan of for years, and was their friend. I wanted to make sure I was making something that made a point. Though with every song I sent them, the more they said ‘let’s use this’. I know a lot of people have noticed that there is more of a 90s hip-hop/ Limp Bizkit vibe to things - I know it’s not anything new, but we were never trying to reinvent the wheel. It’s a sound that we all felt passionate about, and the fact that it’s a sound that everybody could get behind when I brought it forward was perfect."
Not trying to reinvent the wheel is a huge part of this. Like it takes more to stick to your guns and keep going down the same path than completely shed your skin and do something completely different just because...
"Yeah absolutely - I’ve seen comments online saying that we should change our name because there’s only one original member and it’s not the same Gideon as it was before, but I feel like this is the most Gideon that we have ever been. It feels the most like a unit."
Well, that’s because the band is not just the four of you really. It has that bigger meaning. Gideon is an idea, it’s an emotion, it’s an attitude. You don’t want to take away what that feeling is just because it’s different people delivering it..
Saying that, how do you feel that central feeling of the band has changed over the years from your perspective?
"I mean, I remember seeing Gideon back in the day and thinking, ‘Wow, this is such a passionate band’. The thing is, now that everybody is so much more comfortable with who we are wanting to be and where we are wanting to go it’s now about having songs that are truly connected with how we are feeling in our life right now, and having lyrics that resonate with us as much as we hope it resonates with everyone else. It feels more tightly knit."
That’s the thing as well. You want to be playing songs that mean something to the person that you are right now. It’s difficult to do that when you’re playing a song that has a message that doesn’t resonate with you in the same way as it used to. With that in mind it’s almost like ‘Out Of Control’ is a clean slate...
"Yeah, absolutely. I think that a lot of bands stick to the same sound because that’s what the fans like. Of course, you have to think what the fans want, but at the same time we are all at a point where we have been doing this for so long that we want to do something that we wholeheartedly feel for, and will be able to build off of it in the future. It sets a new start for where this is all going."
So, what exactly do you feel like ‘Out Of Control’ represents? What does it actually mean?
"People may take it as a meaning of being crazy, but the way I’m looking at it is where we are able to break free of the walls that have been built around us. I feel like the way I looked at Gideon, even before I joined them, was that if they didn’t change from their certain style just how long are they going to last? I feel like this record was instilling that feeling of being able to break free, and to fully try and see who you are. We all know in this moment exactly who we are of course, but this is a way of feeling comfortable with that. I feel like that is something I have had trouble with all my life - getting stuck in a particular mindset, being surrounded by certain people in the South and in my family who have had a closed Christian mindset. We have all had family who are like that. Also, these feelings aren’t brand new - this isn’t just something that has just clicked in our heads. It’s something that over the years has led to how we feel right now, and wanted to write like we do right now. You can’t expect somebody to stay the same forever. I remember being younger and feeling like Christianity was who I was, and was a big part of me. I feel the same now, but through a completely different set of beliefs."
It’s all about having the confidence to stand up for those new realisations. It’s about finding new sorts of likeminded people and discovering that what you are experiencing is justified...
"I’ve seen a lot of comments from people thinking that all of this has been an overnight switch, and that we’re using this change of feeling as an excuse to curse in our songs now. To me that is the silliest thing I’ve heard. Even over the last two years while playing shows with the band, I saw them feeling this different way. Coming into the fold, it’s a step that I almost knew that we were going to take. It’s no surprise - it’s something we have talked about, and felt was the right thing for right now."
It must be difficult having to talk about people who only see how you are feeling at the start of an album campaign or something, and don’t actually know anything about the things you have been through personally. They only see the results of your realisations...
"Yeah, there has been so much feedback like that - but to be honest the positive feedback outweighs it so much. The thing is that nothing bothers me anymore, because I almost expected it. I think it is something to me where I know that people maybe just don’t get it right now, and that’s totally fine. We don’t have anything against Christianity or any Christians, this is just something that we have come to personally. This is just us right now."
Finally, what do you and the rest of the band want this album to mean within the legacy of Gideon?
"I think that this is putting our foot down. This is us not taking any shit. We have been doing this for long enough that we feel like we are our own people. We aren’t letting anyone else decide what our next step is or what tour we should play or what we are going to sound like - this is us being entirely who we want to be."
Gideon's new album 'Out Of Control' is set for release October 11 through Equal Vision.