“The essential conditions of everything you do must be choice, love, passion.” – Juliette Nadia Boulanger
It makes sense that the members of the best post-hardcore/melodic rock band to come barnstorming out of the Northeast in ages would draw inspiration from this quote (from a celebrated French composer) and adopt part of it as their moniker. Conditions is all about choice, love and passion. Having cut their teeth in heavier acts before coming together, the guys joined forces with the swift and decisive mission to explore broader creative terrain, to pour ever more devotion into their craft and to share it all with others.
The contemplative but catchy bounce of Jimmy Eat World, the esoteric but driving atmospherics of Thrice, the dark experimentalism tempered by soft sentimentality of Brand New and the soaring radio melodies of Foo Fighters and Blink 182 have all found a new home within Conditions, who have fashioned this formula into something uniquely their own. With a passing glance backward and a full throttle charge forward, Conditions are taking melodic post-hardcore toward the future with the stunning new album, Full of War.
The stage is set for a full-on salvo on the medicore and mundane. “The radio is full of droning songs for lemmings that are about absolutely nothing,” Brandon Roundtree laments. The singer and the rest of the band defiantly stand apart, producing spirited anthems filled with meaning.
The best art stands for something. It doesn’t have to be political, it doesn’t have to be divisive, but the best art has a strong point of view, take it or leave it. Conditions posses a depth and artistry that is lacking in many of today’s bands.
Conditions creates music that demands further inspection. It demands listener attention beyond the surface hooks. “We want people to stop listening with their eyes, so to speak,” explains the singer. “To stop buying into what is being force-fed and to start re-growing the ability to say ‘no’ to certain things; to have a musical opinion. People just blindly start to listen and blindly start to like certain things. It’s frustrating.”
In the recording studio, interacting with fans and supporters or touring the US and Europe with Paramore, New Found Glory, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Sleeping With Sirens, letlive. and on the Vans Warped Tour, Taste Of Chaos, at Bamboozle, at SXSW, Conditions are always cognizant of the choices out there and endeavors to offer something truly unique, invigorating and refreshing. It’s no wonder why Alternative Press called them a “Band You Need To Know.”
Roundtree’s impassioned pleas pull from the deepest recesses of angst and the highest reaches of optimism with one of the most distinctive and powerful voices of this generation of bands, in full partnership with exceptionally creative guitarist/vocalist Alex Howard, fluid and dynamic bass player Corey Thomas and powerhouse drummer Ryan Tinsley, who demonstrates high-caliber skills throughout.
Thanks to the extremely tightknit closeness of the Richmond, Virginia music scene, the Conditions guys had shared stages together throughout high school. The future members of the band coalesced together following the independent dissolutions of their respective groups. Roundtree was in Forever In A Day with Conditions first lead guitarist. Howard was in Motion Picture Demise. Two weeks after Roundtree left the vocalist position in Scarlet, who had multiple releases with Ferret Music, he got a call about a new project. “The idea was to make a band that that sounded like the sum of everything we had been doing, but benefitting from the lessons we’d learned along the way.”
Producer Brandon Paddock - who has done various production and engineering work with The Used, Papa Roach and Black Veil Brides, among others – helped Conditions craft an album that is leaps and bounds beyond their already impressive debut, Fluorescent Youth. “We whole-heartedly believed in our last record,” insists Roundtree. “But then after we lived with it, we realized it was maybe a little ‘safe’ for us. We took that very much to heart and decided to showcase the fact that we are not a play-it-safe band.”
“A Wonderful Lie” was a turning point in the writing, where the band realized they were coming up with material beyond what they had conceived their own limitations to be. “Best Mistake” is one of the best examples of the album’s sense of adventure, blending a hint of electronic elements with a straightforward approach to love. “Long Division” is a slower song that delves into the human battle between believing in science and believing in God that is raging now. The entire album, thematically, deals with duality and paradox.
“Life is a series of decisions and what are decisions but little mini-wars, opposing forces, pulling upon each other?” Roundtree explains of the album’s title. “’Full of War’ lyrically ties the record together literally and metaphorically.”
Conditions offer uplifting, meaningful songs filled with heart, soul, spirit and most of all, purpose. At the end of the day, they are a band who does exactly what they want and steadfastly retains their identity. Their inner relationships are strong, which has ensured their output remains topnotch. The world, the people we know, they may all be Full of War, but art like this can help to light the darkness.