Stareblind come out of the box swinging on their latest disc Something Left Unexplained. This is a heavy as hell, auditory battering comprised of unbelievably straight ahead rock/metal tunes. Manuel Guilbault, the band’s lead singer, spoke to me recently about a behind-the-scenes look at the writing and recording of their newest release.
Different groups have unique ways of writing their songs. How do you guys go about writing your music? Is it a collective effort or is it more the efforts of one particular member of the band?
Manuel: We write the music together; each of us brings his input and ideas. For the lyrics, Manu writes most of the songs, but he always gets ideas from the other guys.
The name of the band Stareblind is interesting to say the least and sounds as if there is a story behind it. Where did the name come from and what is the story?
Manuel: This is a quote from Meshuggah’s song, “Transfixion.” We were at Jake’s house, chilling out and trying to find a name for the band, Meshuggah’s “Destroy Erase Improve” was playing, and when Kidman started screaming, “stare blind,” we looked at each other: it just sounded right.
Your brand new CD titled Something Left Unexplained was released on July 21st. Now that it is complete how do you feel about it? Are you satisfied with the outcome?
Manuel: We are more than satisfied about the final product. The sound is much better than what we thought we could get when we first started, and we are really happy about how the songs turned out on disk. We feel like we achieved something great with that album.
Give us some insight into the record and the meaning behind its title?
Manuel: Something Left Unexplained is basically always true: between what I want to say, what I choose to say, how I say it, what you hear, what you want to hear and what you actually understand, let’s just say that there’s room left for mistakes. When two people communicate, there’s always something left unexplained.
Can you talk about some of the subjects you tackle on this record?
Manuel: “Fetters” is about overcoming the shame and forgiving yourself a mistake; it can be seen as a battle between someone’s opposite tendencies. “On With The Cowards” is about letting fear lead your acts and choices. “Shapes” is about evolving, getting to know your own flaws and learning to deal with them.
The artwork by is quite interesting. How is it tied to the albums title?
Manuel: The artwork was been done by Mikio Murakami, of Silent Q Design; this guy is absolutely awesome. We basically gave him some guidelines about what we wanted, handled him a copy of the rough tracks so he could get in the mood and just let him go. He did an amazing job.
How quick are you in the studio? Can you usually knock things out in a couple takes?
Manuel: It depends on the part itself, on how tired we are, on the mood we’re in; sometimes we nail a part in one take, sometimes it takes hours to have it right.
What song from the album is the most exciting for you to play live?
Manuel: Probably “Shapes” and “The Guilt”; the first one because it’s the most groovy and energetic song in the set, the second because we always hit the zone when we play that song.
Are there any songs on this disc that are personal favorites or that have good stories behind them?
Manuel: “Something Left Unexplained” is an interesting one. We wrote that song in the last weeks before we entered the studio. We wanted to have one more song on the album, and we had nothing at all. I (Manu) was on the guitar, jamming with Oli. We were simply trying out things, but nothing was coming and we were about to stop and leave, when the main riff just came out of nowhere under my hands. We started working on it, and basically got the core of the song in an hour or so. We spent the next weeks polishing the song to get the most out of it. I think it turned out pretty well.
What is the toughest lesson you ever learned in the studio and on the stage?
Manuel: In the studio, we learned the level discipline and the amount of work that is required to get the most out of the music you write. On the stage, we learned that you must put your whole body, heart and mind into it to give the best show you can.
What is next for Stareblind?
Manuel: Many things: more gigs, new songs, putting all we got to do it right and spread the word. [ END ]