Within The Ruins will be unleashing their new album, Halfway Human, on March 3rd via Entertainment One (eOne), and as you’ve heard in the three singles online, this is going to be something special. Guitarist Joe Cocchi previously said that the record “is the most raw and extreme sounding material we’ve ever written,” and I recently got to speak with him about the creation of the “raw” and “extreme” new music, the band’s career so far, and much more. Enjoy the chat below, and be sure to pre-order Halfway Human today!
Metal Mark: Joe, how’s everything in the Within The Ruins world?
Joe Cocchi: Hey dude, aside from being stuck in a snow storm somewhere in Wyoming right now, things are good (laughs). Thanks for taking out the time today to talk about our new record.
MM: Damn, sorry to hear that. Another glamorous day in the life of a touring band right?
JC: Basically (laughs).
MM: Well on a positive note, Halfway Human is out this Friday, and fans are beyond excited. The three singles have given them a taste of what’s to come, and they seem to be enjoying it.
JC: Yea I think the three songs we chose to release really show the dynamics of the new record, plus give fans an introduction to Paolo Galang‘s clean vocals. So far, so good. The response we’ve had has been extremely positive, so it’s all good on our end.
MM: You’ve mentioned before about how the writing and recording process really changed for this album, and made it that much better. What was the biggest factor in regards to all of that?
JC: For me personally, it was the time we were given, plus I had a bigger part in the production aspect of it. I helped out with all of that stuff on Phenomena, but this time around I produced the whole thing. It was all in my control (laughs). So it was fun to piece it all together, and make it sound exactly how I wanted, ya know. This record is basically just us going into a writing mode of “let’s do whatever we want.” There was no goal in mind, except to write the best material that we possibly could. When we were given three months in the studio, it allowed us to have as much fun as possible together as friends, but it took away in pressure when it came down to writing and recording the new music. It was a lot of fun, and since we didn’t have to rush anything, we were able to come up with our best record yet.
MM: From a production aspect, is it hard to take yourself out of the band member role, and put the producer hat on in the studio?
JC: Not really, no. We all know each other really well, and all had the same goal in mind, so it really worked out quite nicely. I think the biggest different on the production side was the vocal production. I haven’t worked with Tim Goergen ever before as a producer, so as weird as it may be, this was the first time we’ve worked together on new music from that point of view. It was awesome. There was never any hard feelings in the studio ya know. We worked our asses off, but we were open to each others’ ideas, and I think that togetherness really shines on the new record.
MM: The first single you released, ‘Death Of The Rockstar’, introduced fans to the sound and feel of the new record, with a bold statement on the state of the music industry. You guys hit all on the problems going on, but what are some of the positives that help you continue on in your career?
JC: There are a ton of positives of being in this band, but we aren’t blind to what’s going on around us either. We try to stay as positive as possible, but at some point it gets to you, so we wanted to be honest and acknowledge it in a song. Whether it’s being in a band, or whatever else you do in life, there are positive options to hold onto ya know. You can’t be ignorant, and not accept the good with the bad though. I feel that for a band starting out, or one that’s relatively new, you can make it in the industry, but you have to be smart about it. Every member in this band has taken on something outside of the group to help with finances and everything like that. I got really into the audio production stuff, and everyone else has side gigs in art and other things, just to help out and ease any income worries ya know. The struggle is real out here, as they say, but I’m still having a ton of fun.
MM: Even when you’re stuck in a snow storm.
JC: Yea, well you got to accept the good with the bad right? (laughs) There’s never a dull moment on the road man.
MM: Exactly! (laughs) Why did you choose ‘Death Of The Rockstar’ as the first single for fans to hear?
JC: Well that’s the end of a long story, so I don’t want to bore you. Basically, the release of the album got moved around a lot, but we still had a European tour booked. We wanted to give fans a taste of what to expect before we hit the road, and we already had the two other songs chosen, so we decided to release ‘Death Of The Rockstar’ as soon as possible. It’s a really powerful song, both lyrically and musically, and a good introduction to the singing vocals that we’ve now added to our sound as well.
MM: We’ve seen backlash from fans of other bands about the introduction of singing vocals into their sound, so was there any hesitation about putting them into your music?
JC: Not at all. Just like every band out there, we write this music for ourselves. We write what we love, and what we want to hear. With the addition of Paolo Galang into the fold, we knew he had an amazing singing voice, so why not use it? We were already leaning that way, and once we experimented with it in the studio, it was too good not to use. It fit the songs so well, and added a whole new element to our sound, so we’re super happy about it. No regrets about that at all.
MM: I definitely haven’t read many bad comments on what you’ve shared so far. People really seemed to love the ‘Beautiful Agony’ video, which showcased a darker, moodier side of the band’s material, so like you said before, so far so good.
JC: Yea people are really digging it so far, so we are super happy. It seems like every night on the road I get to hear more positive feedback from fans, and that’s just awesome. We’ve been doing this a while, and while the introduction of new things into the band may be scary, if we are happy, as well as the fans, that’s what it’s all about.
MM: Definitely man. You guys are out right now with Born Of Osiris, and are finally bringing some of that new material on stage. How’s it been going so far?
JC: This tour has been amazing man. We were really fortunate to get on this bill, because every show is packed. Plus, the bands all have similar styles, so it makes for a fun night all around. We are only playing ‘Beautiful Agony’ on this run, because our set isn’t that long, but I can’t wait for future tours, so we can as much of the new stuff as possible. This stuff came out great in the studio, but once you hear it live, it’s a whole new monster.
MM: Very cool Joe, well I will let you go enjoy that snow storm, but do you have any final words to the fans out there?
JC: As always, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the support over the years. It seems like we have a very diverse fan base, and that makes me extremely happy. Whether you got into us at the beginning, or just on the past few records, the fans have been along for this crazy ride, and we are lucky to have them with us. It’s such a cliché thing to say, but bands are nothing without fans, so we are extremely grateful for each and every one of you. We have a lot of touring coming up, so come party with us in your town, and we hope you enjoy Halfway Human. It’s out on Friday!