"I have this recurring idea in my mind of always focusing back on the negative" - Brian Wille
Currents have just released their sophomore full-length 'The Way It Ends' via SharpTone Records. A gutteral blend of modern metalcore and technical deathcore on the surface, there's also a layer of arena-baiting rock influence hiding in the cracks of these downtrodden and desolate tracks. The result is a journey into the deepest and darkest corners of your mind as you discover what looking internally can teach you about the world around you.
We caught up with frontman Brian Wille to chat about its creation and where it fits into the strange world we are all currently living in...
How did this record start its life?
Says Brian Wille: “It was written about a year ago and finished in July. It’s interesting to see how things have played out in the world since then. We’re usually writing something and will have a project going on in the background at all times. Be it a couple of tracks or a single that we have an idea for. So we’re always writing and we knew we wanted to write a whole new record but after ['17 album] ‘The Place I Feel Safest’ came out it just didn’t make any sense for us to go full steam ahead. We felt like we still had some growing to do. It was the label’s idea to pick some big heaters that we were sitting on, get together with a new producer that we could forge a working relationship with and make something really cool like an EP. That was ['18's] ‘I Let The Devil In’ and it was the best thing we could have done. It got us more reaction and experience and exposure and from there we knew that going into 2019 we were now ready to write a whole record.”
When you were making the EP, how did the concept come through from those choice songs you had? Is that something you developed there and then or did you set out to use it as a foundation to build something even bigger as you went into writing this full-length?
“Definitely. It was an opportunity for us to take everything we had learned from touring, where everyone is much more comfortable with their instruments for example, and showcase them in different ways. We wanted to showcase how different we could make songs sound on a record and make sure every song had its own identity.
“On this record we wanted the songs to do a few things. We wanted some songs to continue carrying the vibe we had put together on ‘The Place I Feel Safest’ while also trying to reach newer places as well. Take ‘A Flag To Wave’ for example. It doesn’t have too much different from what Currents is but we wanted the chorus to have a bigger feel. We wanted a few songs to feel like that.”
It’s a way of taking yourself and your fans out of that comfort zone that almost builds itself automatically when you start a band with a certain sound…
“Yeah, and I think that people can really tell the difference when something is shamelessly in there as a soulless attempt to sell more records. As long as we still maintain that thing that people liked about the band in the first place, the occasional catchy chorus or rock part isn’t going to bother anybody. We know what we’re about and we want to stay true to that.”
So what does this new album represent in comparison to what you were trying to portray in previous offerings?
“I think it’s just a continuation and a stretch of similar themes. When I’m writing lyrics, I want to make it all feel like it’s part of the same story. As records go on I want them to feel nostalgic in a way as well. I want to be able to call back on elements that we have used in previous releases or a lyrical theme or motif that can carry on without us ripping ourselves off. For ‘The Place I Feel Safest’ it was personal relationships and how we connect with each other, whilst ‘The Way It Ends’ is more about how we connect with ourselves.”
How have those two stems differed? Have you found that things you found yourself writing about when you think about each are different?
“I feel like with the songs we’ve written, it’s more self-aware and represents different ways that we present those emotions but with a bit more depth and maturity. It comes with growing as people. Maybe there are emotions that you feel really deeply but you don’t know how to express them and as you get older and you continue to have those reoccurring feelings and become more familiar with them, it becomes a little bit easier to hit the nail on the head.”
So what does ‘The Way It Ends’ represent for you as a title to umbrella all of these different songs and emotions?
“I use the word continuum a lot when I describe it. The vibe that I get from the record and what ties it all together for me is being stuck in a loop. I have this recurring idea in my mind of always focusing back on the negative. You have your highs and you lows and the days where you feel like you’re coasting along, but the idea that you always centre back to the negative as opposed to keeping a positive mindset. Rather than saying ‘This will all be better in the end’ you’re saying ‘I’ll always go back to the bottom’. It’s the opposite mindset of the one you want to have and I think that shines through on this record. There are a lot of references to spiralling and hitting the bottom that come through and that tie it all together. This is a person who is constantly spiralling down this abyss of darkness. If you look at the album’s cover that is pretty much what you see.”
Is it more of a concept and a character participating in this spiral rather than you?
“There’s definitely personal experience in here and I feel like it’s hard not to write about things that you feel like you know about in your brain. Most of the songs I will write lyrically do reflect on something that has happened in my life or something that I have felt. Sometimes I’ll pull on experiences from other people that I’ve heard via a story that exists to back up those themes.”
What were the things about the environment you were in and the world around you back at the start of 2019 that inspired you to write like this?
“I think it was a mix of a lot of things. Leading up to this record we had done more touring than we had ever done before. We have hundreds of shows under our belts at this point and it’s all happening as these huge events in the US and the UK are just taking place. We feel a bit more connected to the world outside our neighbourhoods because we’re travelling the world. Our lives are just chaos. In our minds, none of what we are doing feels real. It’s like a fever dream. A lot of that manifested itself into the music. Our lives have been crazy over the last couple of years and this is the first time that we got to actually sit down and write a record about it.”
There are so many things that can happen in such a small period of time, that when you actually get the opportunity to take a step back you realise just how much you have seen and done and experienced…
“It’s pretty bizarre isn’t it? It’s impossible to culminate everything going on in your lives into one cohesive art project. It also feels impossible because there are so many things to talk about or touch on or get off your chest. We did it song-by-song, piece-by-piece, and did it to the best of our ability. It came out as a summation of sorts of where we were all at when we completed it. We’re still processing so many things all at once but I’m pretty happy with how this snapshot turned out.”
How does this snapshot compare to where you are in the world now that the album is out?
“It’s definitely strange. It almost brings the record back to life as I have seen how people have been reacting to it. We finished it and had everything put together and than sat on it. I’ve heard the record myself hundreds of times. It’s not old news in my mind but I know what it is, but then I don’t at the same time. To hear other people’s first takes and how they view these songs is really incredible. I think that’s half or more than half of the joy of making something for me. To see how it affects other people.”
It’s amazing to view your own creation from a completely different angle and still be able to embrace it…
“I don’t think a piece of work is complete until it has been seen and interpreted by as many people as can see it, if that makes sense. The only people who had heard this record by the time the singles started to come out were just close friends, the label and our team. You can only guess how the rest of the world is going to view this thing that you’ve made. I’m pretty happy about the response so far though.”