Islander's violent and destructive new album 'Violence & Destruction' is out today via Victory Records. To mark the occasion, frontman Mikey Carvajal walks us through the story behind the album. It's an interesting one, for sure.
Take it away, Mikey:
"First and foremost, Islander is a band made up of four individuals who believe differently from one another. We are just four friends who really enjoy hanging out and creating art together. I write the lyrics, so it can be difficult for people to separate us as individuals sometimes, which I think is something every band struggles with. Violence & Destruction is a concept album about the end of the world. In the scriptures, Jeremiah states that because of his faith in Christ, he has become a household joke. However, he can't help but speak of Him, or it burns in his bones like fire. I'm a really big fan of a band called The Drums. The singer has an atheistic world view, and stated in an interview that he can be in a room full of people and say, "There is no God," and the entire room will go silent to the point of being able to hear a pin drop. He said that it seems like people would want to talk about it, and I agree with him about it being an important topic of discussion, even though I may see things differently. The album is about ending the habit of sweeping things under the rug just because they are uncomfortable to talk about. It doesn't take much to realize something is wrong in the world, with humanity, with almost everything. The album deals with getting to the root of that problem, and I believe in order to change the fruit, you've gotta change the root, as one of our songs states. We are all in this crazy world together."
"My mom had a dream one night while we were on tour and called to tell me about it. She said the band was singing a new song and that as soon as she woke up she wrote all of the lyrics down. I asked her to send me the lyrics and a voice message of the pattern I was singing it in the dream. She did so (it was hilarious hearing her do this, I may still have those recordings somewhere haha). I took what she had from the dream and just added a few things to it."
2. 'The Sadness of Graves'
"Someone posted a quote by C.S. Lewis that impacted me. It said "Humility was mixed with their wildness, and the sweetness came not with pride and the lonely dreams of poets nor with the glamour of a secret, but with the homespun truth of folk-tales, and with the sadness of graves and freshness of Earth in the morning." The song deals with the idea of all truth being God's truth. The celebration of the simple and the difficult things meeting in agreement of one great truth."
3. 'Coconut Dracula'
"My family is Hispanic and one day my Uncle said something that sounded like "Coconut Dracula" I asked him if that's what he said and he said no. I told him I liked the way it sounded and was going to write a song with that somehow. It's a song about having a new nature. Count Dracula one day finds a coconut on the ground and bites into it. He discovers that there are beautiful things in the world that have nothing to do with being evil or hurting people. He then gets his name legally changed from Count Dracula to Coconut Dracula. He is roommates with a Werewolf, Frankenstein, a Witch, and a Mummy. They are very confused about Dracula's new lifestyle as he is helping with charities, wearing batman pajamas, and eating fresh veggies from his garden. The song is from the Mummy's point of view as he is desiring to be filled with the same joy that has captured Dracula's heart."
4. 'Cold Speak'
"Donald Miller (the author) said something in one of his books about the way that he spoke to people being really damaging at times. He realized that he usually was waiting for the person to stop talking so that he could tell them they were wrong, or get his two cents in. This is something that I struggle with and battle as well. It really hurts people to not be listened to, even if we have a different opinion about a topic, it's important to feel listened to and cared for. However, what is the root of this selfishness? Why do we do the things we do? How can a tree bear the fruit that it needs if the root isn't changed first?"
"'Pains'. was the name of one of our EPs. I wanted to tie in our old EPs (Pains. and our independent release Side Effects of Youth) to the record as a whole. Pains deals with the idea of the some of the things (liberations) that we try to hold onto are actually what are killing us, but giving up yielding our lives to the Truth will save it. However, this isn't an easy task. The scriptures say that God is love and in the song it says "Love will tear you apart." It represents the idea of having our fleshly lives being torn apart from ourselves so that we can truly live. It's also a subtle shout out to the amazing and influential band Joy Division ("Love will tear us apart")."
"Kingdom deals with the idea of a King wanting to reason with fire even though it is burning his kingdom down. While in all actuality he is trying to convince himself that he can live with what is killing him."
7. 'Side Effects Of Youth'
"Side Effects of Youth was the name of our first independent EP which is out of print now. The song deals with using our youth for good instead of foolishness. Some of the lyrics were inspired by The Karate Kid 2. Mr. Miyagi had some wise words to say to Daniel, and maybe the rest of us."
8. 'New Wave'
"New Wave deals with the idea of watching the world end with someone that is terrified about it, while the other person is celebrating the new beginning through the end."
"Criminals is a fun song. It's playful at parts, comparing ourselves to outlaws. But it is also a serious song touching on the fact that no one is better than anyone else, and that at the end of the day we are all guilty of being disobedient. Sonny from P.O.D. came in and killed that song with us. It was a huge honor to write and record that song with him. He's one of the most humble, and genuine dudes we have ever met. But yeah, we're all criminals."
"Mira is a Spanish word basically meaning "Look..listen." It's hard to translate to English, but it's an interlude that ties in the title track Violence and Destruction."
11. 'Hearts Grow Cold'
"This is one of the more abrasive moments on the record. It is a song about people falling away from truth and love. Ultimately it is a song to remind myself and others to not grow weary of doing good."
12. 'Violence And Destruction'
Again, in the book of Jeremiah in the scriptures, he states that every time he speaks, the words burst out "Violence and Destruction". And because of his sharing of Christ with people, he has become a household joke. Yet, he says that if he doesn't share Christ, it burns in his bones like fire and he can't hold it in. This is a song of edification and encouragement to rise up and speak."
Be sure to check out what we made of 'Violence & Destruction' in Issue 189 of Rock Sound, on sale now.