Interview: The Flatliners talk Tony Sly tribute, creative process, KHTDR and more…

We recently got a chance to catch up with and interview Chris Cresswell and Scott Brigham of The Flatliners at the Philadelphia stop of their tour. We talked about their contribution to the Tony Sly tribute album, “Dead Language”, what “KHTDR” actually means and more.

You can check out the full interview here.

DS: You just released your album “Dead Language” last month, and contributed a song to the Tony Sly tribute album, do you guys ever sleep?

Scott: I sleep all the time.

Chris: Yeah, Scott sleeps a lot.

Scott: I’m constantly asleep.

Chris: I sleep a lot too.

Scott: When we don’t sleep, we are pretty busy, I guess. But we are usually sleeping.

Chris: Usually I go to bed at 4 or 5 in the morning, and wake up at 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Gotta save up all that time to spend it wisely in a creative zone.

DS: What was your immediate reaction when approached about the idea?

Chris: It’s a really sad reason for everyone to get together to record this song. It’s tragic really. But I think everyone involved shares our feeling of being honored to do it. We were lucky enough to meet Tony, spend a little time on the road with him, did a couple of tours with No Use. He was always great to us . The first time we toured with him we were 19, and he took us under his wing as much as he could, I think. He was always a lot of fun to hang out with, he would get drunk and just become this really goofy dude, and before that point in the night he was this pretty quiet and somber guy. He had a lot of wisdom to drop, so it was cool.

Scott: We felt honored to do the song, and it turned out pretty cool.

Chris: Yeah, the way it was posed to us was like Fat Mike wanted bands to do a full-band version of a Tony Sly acoustic song, or the other way around and an acoustic act to do a No Use song that way. It took us a little while to choose a song because all the songs are fucking awesome. We grew up on that band. It was fun recording it. We started late and ended early. We had like one day to do it, which was cool. Paul’s phone died or something and he slept in and showed up super late to the studio. We actually ended early, so that’s cool. And it’s awesome to be a part of it, it has a crazy fucking lineup of bands.

DS: How did you settle on the song “Fireball”?

Scott: Chris had two on a list of songs that we ended up narrowing it down to, and when we heard that one we all thought we could turn it into something unique on our own end. We all liked the song a lot. It was pretty easy when we got it down to a couple songs.

Chris: It took a while to get to that point though, for sure. It just seemed more appropriate of the two songs that we whittled it down to.

DS: You have mentioned before that “Dead Language” was written in bits and pieces in between touring. Was that difficult on the creative process, or helpful in a way?

Chris: It’s the way we’ve always done it really, for the last two records at least. We don’t really write cohesive songs on the road really. There’s a lot of down time, but it’s like you’re gonna be on stage, or at the venue, or at sound check writing a song, I feel like you’re just going to bum everyone out. Hearing the same 4-10 bard of a song over and over again. I don’t know, it seems like it is kind of a waste of other people’s time and sanity, maybe. But we all tend to write riffs, and sometimes lyrics and shit, sometimes without any melody in mind. And then when we’re home for a while, we put it all together. And sometimes, like on this last record, we would all have these different ideas and little parts, and we would kind of just like throw them together, and that’s how some of the first songs were written. They were just these pieces that fit so well together.

Scott: Doing it in chunks leaves you to sit on songs for a while too, so we were able to go back to some songs and fix some parts up.

Chris: It affords you the opportunity of time. Time was on our side. We did wait three and a half years to release a record, but that was why. We spent so much time on the road, and didn’t want to put out a record that we were like “Yeah sure, whatever”. We wanted to make sure it was ready.

DS: This new album is significantly darker than Cavalcade, especially the opening track Resuscitation Of The Year, a personal favorite of mine. Would you consider this album more “mature” in that sense?

Chris: I think if I say that it’s arrogant, but if you say that it’s a compliment. I don’t know, I could put it this way. We started the band when we were 14, and the first songs we wrote were between the ages of 14 and 16, and we released our first record when we were 16. From then we’ve kind of just grown up on record in front of people, and on stage and shit which is weird. Some of us, not all of us. I feel like it’s inevitable that every record would have that kind of difference to it. Just because those are your formative years, from being a teenager to your mid-twenties. I feel like after this it’s all downhill. We’re fucked now.

Scott: We’re going to be in our mid to late-twenties.

Chris: It’s terrible. Songwriting especially, it’s all downhill from here. It was just a lot of personal shifts, some pretty hefty shifts in my life occurred. And being on the road a lot, you really have to sacrifice a lot. I don’t know, I feel like it’s difficult to write lyrics about something that makes me happy. It’s just easier for me to write songs and utilize the creative outlet to help me through things. And to help all of us through things like that. Because you get on stage and play those songs it feels fucking good to be a million miles away from your home, your family, your girlfriend, your friends, or whatever. You don’t feel so weird anymore.

DS: I know you guys have been asked this a ridiculous amount of times, but is there any chance you could tell our readers what KHTDR stands for?

Scott: Nope. No fucking way.

DS: I asked readers what they wanted me to ask, and that one came up a few times.

Scott: Once people find out what it means they’re gonna be like “really? This band sucks”.

Chris: It’s a secret for now, and it shall remain one.

DS: It would be fair enough to say that as a band you spend most of your time touring.  You were scheduled to play WROS fest, which unfortunately was cancelled, and have just announced that you will be opening for the Bouncing Souls on the last night of their Home for the holidays tour. Do you prefer to play festivals, or smaller shows?

Scott: It’s fun to mix it up.

Chris: I’ll take any of it.

Scott: Pretty much.

Chris: They are all very different for their own reasons.

Scott: They’re good in their own reasons too. I think if you did a tour of festivals every day, for example Warped Tour, you miss out on things that you would get from a small punk show. We like to switch it up and do both.

Chris: It’s fun playing a small venue, people are right there in front of you singing along and shit like that. It’s great supporting bigger bands because you can try to win that crowd over. It’s just fun to have that certain amount of time, and you just gotta fucking play as much as you can. I mean, festival shows…even if you’re super far away from the crowd and there are barricades and all that, it is still incredible to look out and see so many people.

Scott: It’s great to see a bunch of bands you normally wouldn’t play with too at a festival.

Chris: Oh yeah, it’s amazing. Those days are usually a killer though. The next day you feel it so hard.  Like, you’re on the whole day.

Scott: We’re not that young anymore. Like I said we’re in our mid to late twenties.

Chris: Like I said, all downhill from here.

DS: Last time we talked, I asked you who you liked to jam out in the car to. What have you been listening to lately?

Chris: What have we been listening to lately? We listened to Gnarwolves today.

DS: That’s who you mentioned last time!

Chris: Did I? Oh shit.

Scott: Still listening to those guys, still great. We’ve been listening to the Black Lips recently.

Chris: Yeah, that’s true. King Tuff, they’re cool, I saw them recently. That new Arcade Fire song is pretty cool. I’ve been listening to this band from Canada called PUP. They’re fucking really good. I’ve been listening to that record over and over again. The new Night March record is great, that’s on in the van a lot.

Scott: We probably said that last time too.

Chris: Probably.

DS: Actually, you said Celine Dion…

Scott: Never heard of her before. Yeah, whatever okay.

Chris: Love Meatloaf.

Scott: Meatloaf fucking rules.

Chris: We listened to The Band today right before we got here. Listened to some Wu Tang last night, whatever. There’s this band from Gainesville called Dikembe who are really fucking good.

DS: They’re awesome.

Chris: I’m not sure how you pronounce it.

DS: That’s all I have for you guys.

Scott: Awesome, thanks!


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