Brandon Mitchell and Kevin Czarnecki of Swallowed By Apathy took the time out to discuss a few things involving the band and where it is headed.
Foul Feast- Tell us a little about how Swallowed By Apathy came about.
Brandon- Basically after leaving my other band Vultaria, I wanted to do something different that was more of my style, which is progressive metal. So me and my old drummer Blaine began writing material with a good friend of mine named Brandon Ball. We met Kevin at a Death Angel show and he came in to track bass and eventually became a prominent member. Blaine and Brandon exited the band and Kevin and I were just kinda left to carry it on. Since then, we have been working on better material and have been self-sufficient with the recording process.
Kevin- As Brandon had mentioned, I met him and the original lineup of SBA at a Death Angel show. We had just kinda hung out and we really hit it off. Basically I was brought in and just tracked my bass. At the time, the original songs we had done were done at a studio in Newark, OH by a friend of Brandon's, but now I record everything the band does. Not only am I the bass player, but I produce and program everything for the most part. I had never really been in a band before, a serious one at least, so I'm extremely happy with the way SBA has progressed throughout this short time we've been around. We're doing a lot more than most bands do in their first year of formation.
FF- If I'm remembering correctly you recorded the EP as a two piece. Are there any plans of getting together a full line-up?
Brandon- We are still working on that. It's really rough with the nature of the music, because a band is like a marriage and with having such a particular sound we want to make sure that who we bring in clicks with us musically.
Kevin- Definitely. It's necessary for this band to move forward. We want to start playing shows and getting out there more, but like Brandon mentioned it's really hard to find someone who clicks with you. I was fortunate enough to meet Brandon, who actually lives 3 hours away from me, at that show and we click perfectly musically. Sure, there are disagreements, but it's simply just like a family and whoever we bring in needs to click with us not only musically but there needs to be a good chemistry socially. Infact, we just put Egor Sadovnic into the band and he'll be playing guitar along side of Brandon.
FF- How is the new album coming together thus far?
Brandon- The new album is going fantastic. We've put a lot of time into the writing process and we're being extremely picky in making sure that every instrument is played as cleanly and clearly as possible. We learned a lot from our last EP and this is a defining moment for us. I think that people will really see that when it's released. From the artwork to the lyrics it's very deep and well thought out.
Kevin- Let's be honest: as good as it's going, it's also a huge bitch. I'll be totally honest with you, when we recorded the EP I knew what I was doing but at the same time I knew nothing. When it came to mixing, I went through such a learning process and so many failed mixes before I got something I was satisfied with. I'm not saying I'm the next Andy Sneap, but damn if I didn't do a decent job for what I had and the things I knew. Going into this album, I know all the mistakes I made when we originally recorded the EP and I'm equipped to fix them now. I'm having a lot of fun and releasing this will be my biggest accomplishment thus far.
FF- For those not aware, what does the title "Dysgenesis" mean?
Brandon-"Dysgenesis" to me represents the flaw in society, or mankind as a whole. Genesis is obviously an origin or start of something and the title represents how man is natural prone to error. With the state of our world and the nature of the material it is very fitting. Originally the album was going to be a concept record inspired by my mother's experiences with mental illness . As we got further into the writing we realized that we had much more to say and I think the concept idea would have taken away from the versatility of the material. With this title it represents the theme but it doesn't limit our topics.
Kevin-Well the textbook definition is basically to be born with a malformed organ, and based off of our previous album title and how it dealt with mental illness, I wanted to not stray too far from that subject so when I thought "Dysgenesis", I automatically thought malformation of the brain. I've always personally liked lyrics and themes dealing with society and the flaws of mankind, so this really excites me. The artwork really reflects this, because when I designed it I wanted to make it seem like someone was trying to seek salvation from the pains of his/her own human mind, and the use of the hands of an infant really helps portray the idea that finding ourselves and dealing with the corruptions and flaws of life are a lifelong struggle and that no matter how stubborn people may be, we all need a little help and that's where the second hand reaching out for the one emerging from the ground came into play. The cool thing about it all is that it leaves room for the listener to determine what they personally think it means and that's always something I look for in music.
FF- How did you end up getting in touch with Chris Clancy (of Mutiny Within) for mixing and mastering the new album?
Brandon- Ironically Mutiny Within had played at the Death Angel show where Kevin and I had met. lol I talked with Chris periodically throughout the night and I was shocked by how passionate he was about the music and he had a very humble attitude. Meeting him was a huge honor and so for him to be as kind and outgoing as he was made a huge impact. I kept in touch with him through Facebook and as we began planning the album we realized that mixing is expensive. Chris not only offered us a great deal but he actually expressed excitement about working on it. It's definitely necessary to have someone who understands your music and can give you the best sound possible. He actually wants this to be of great quality and he puts a lot of effort into what he does.
Kevin- I mixed the EP to the best of my abilities, but I know I'm NO where near ready to mix and master an entire full length album so I decided to shoot Chris a message on Facebook. I knew he mixed for bands but the deal he offered us was one we couldn't shoot down so we decided to work with him. We've sent him stuff already and what he's sent back sounds so phenomenal and I think everyone will be really surprised.
FF- How do you feel your music has progressed since the recording of the EP?
Brandon- I would say we put more thought into writing good songs overall. Sometimes when writing progressive music it can be easy to lose sight of the catchiness and hooks. We want to not only write challenging music but also music that will click with people and stick in their heads. We have been really good about not adding unnecessary parts and so forth. I also think the songs vary from one another a great deal so that the listener can differentiate every song from one another. I hate when albums start strong and then material just kind of runs together.
Kevin- Brandon wrote all the guitar parts and what not, and judging by what he's written I'd say the writing has matured so much since the EP. The transitions are fantastic and everything flows great. Seeing it all come together with drums and what have you not is something that never gets old to me. There's much more of an excitement with the album, even more so than with the EP. Each song is definitely unique to one another. The cool thing about it is you can tell it's us by each and every song but we are able to put a spin on everything. You'll hear some death metal, some jazz, some melo death, some power metal, some folk metal, it's all there and that's really what I love.
FF- Obviously you both draw influences from a wide variety of artists, but is there anyone that sticks out the most in terms of inspiration?
Brandon- Into Eternity is easily my favorite band. We actually got our band name out of line in their song "Paralyzed". That band opened so many doors for me and I've taken a lot from Tim's guitar work. There isn't anyone out there who has even a fraction of the skill those guys have. Musically, they are not only technical but they are catchy and write carefully. Death, Nevermore, Martyr, Quo Vadis, Trivium, and Mutiny Within are also some of my favorites. There's also a band out there called Chaos Divine from Australia. They are excellent and unfortunately not as big as they should be. I took a great deal of influence from them while writing 'Dysgenesis'.
Kevin- As Brandon said, I'd say Into Eternity is definitely one of the big influences. For me, I take a great deal of influence from Death, Control Denied, Martyr, Nevermore, Divinity, Obscura, basically all the same stuff as Brandon. My bass work has been compared to that of Steve DiGiorgio, one of my biggest idols, and I'm aiming to really push it to the next level on the album.
FF- Have you guys played any gigs yet?
Brandon- Not yet unfortunately. When we had the originally line-up we planned on gigging a lot but until we find a solid drummer it isn't possible. That's why we are putting a lot of time into writing great material so that we can assemble a live line-up and put on a great show every gig. I've had a lot of experience in past bands and I know the potential of what SBA could do. I just want to make sure we deliver the most professional live show we can.
Kevin- No gigs but I'm really excited to bring SBA into the live environment. With Egor in the band now, I think we'll be able to make it happen a lot quicker than anticipated.
FF- How is the metal scene in Cleveland?
Brandon- I'm just now moving here so I don't know too much lol. I really like The Dagger Rebellion. They are probably my favorite unsigned progressive band and they make Ohio proud. I also like Stoneking from up North. They play progressive death metal, they have a unique sound as well.
Kevin- The Cleveland music scene is great. I mean, sure, it has its shit like every other scene, but I'm pretty happy with it. You have The Dagger Rebellion, Salt the Wound, Ruled by Reason, all these great bands. Not to mention Chimaira and Mushroomhead. Definitely a lot of potential and talent.
FF- Any final thoughts?
Brandon- Quadtracking guitars sucks. It's going to be the death of me. lol Other than that, support the local bands because it's rough trying to be heard. Also if you want something don't let anything stop you. I hope everyone out there picks up "Dysgenesis" when it is finished and continues to spread the word.
Kevin- It's been a really shitty, tedious process and it seems like we haven't even broke the tip of the iceberg yet, but when this album comes out, you'll all be extremely surprised and satisfied at the results. Keep supporting us and spreading the word!