"Like Michiganders do, by getting piss drunk. We are making it through this pandemic by pure spite (laughs)."
Into The Void are not your generic American Metal band nor are they willing to accept the term generic; we don't blame them. The Alternative Metal leviathan that resides within Edmore, Michigan, gave birth to it's debut album "The Way We Are" back in January and immediately garnered attention worldwide. Now with a lot of plans shelved or postponed, GMA found the time to interrogate the Michiganders (we learned a new word today) about how Into The Void came to be, the album itself, the Michigan scene and where metalheads can go in terms of venues.
Vocalist / rhythm guitarist Dan Hernandez, drummer Jordan Campbell and bassist Cameron Allen survived the interrogation. Lead guitarist Brad White did not.
Can you explain to us how Into The Void came about and what the band name means?
"Into The Void came to be basically from me getting tired of my own bulls**t. I spent a lot of years trying to write what I thought people wanted to hear and dancing around my words so I wouldn't make anybody upset. It never went anywhere and no one was listening so I kinda said f**k it, I want to write something that I want to hear and that is meaningful to me instead of trying to make songs for other people. I'll put it out there for me and if people like it, awesome. Everybody else joined later on. I didn't want it to be a solo project but that's definitely what it was for a hot minute (laughs). As for the name, it's essentially a jab at my own mental health. Most people think it's a Black Sabbath reference but I didn't even realize it was a Black Sabbath song until later on."
What was the reception like for your debut album "The Way We Are"? Was there any interest outside of the US?
"We've actually had great reception so far. There's a few that have said that it's not their particular style but no one has really been able to say they hated it. We've actually grown really fast, even despite COVID-19. We've actually received a good bit of interest from the European and Russian crowds which is exciting, and even a little bit from the South American scene."
Talk us through the album process, how long did it take to make, how did you decide upon lyric themes, etc?
"It took what felt like forever (laughs). This album was, I think, 4 years in the making. There's hundreds of demo songs that didn't make the cut. As far as themes and writing process, it's really just about my life at the time. It was as real and as raw as I could make it. I was struggling with alcoholism, anxiety, depression, and a lot of inner demons and I just kind of poured it all into the songs. After I had all these songs, I had someone who really believed in me say that they were willing to fund an album and get me started.
I finally found Josh (Wickman - Dreadcore Productions) and he was losing his mind with the demos and we really just clicked. We set up our first recording date and I practised all the parts and went in to record 'Old Habits'. About a month later I went in and did 'Blurry Eyed'. I released those as singles and started hunting for a band. During that time I recorded 'Better Off Dead', 'Ready When You Are', and 'Shallow Grave'. After going through quite a few people who just didn't quite fit; love them all and am glad I got to meet all of them; I finally met Jordan (Campbell - drums) and we hit it off. He learned the songs insanely fast. He and another friend introduced me to Cameron (Allen - bass) and that was that (laughs). We went back into the studio and did the title track and a couple others. We went back one more time and finished recording the rest of the album. It was a long and messy process for sure."
"I helped write 'Hindsight', mostly. I wrote the drum part, huge influences from Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit, and that marked the beginning of the end of the writing process it seemed. Shortly after that, we had the rest of it fleshed out and ready to record. I did my part, learned the last few of the songs we had to record; following that we hit the studio pretty hard. I think we were there for a week in total (myself only 2 days). I tracked all of my parts (5 songs) in 6 hours. The next day was editing that. Then everything else got thrown in pretty quickly. Mixing was the longest wait for me. It seemed like it was ready to go--but it wasn't. Once it got mastered, it flew out. Rather well received album, too. Not bad for our first FULL release, you know?"
How would you describe your sound without the use of genre tagging? What sets you aside from the plethora of bands?
"Without genre tagging? I guess I'd have to say just dark, emotionally intense, and real. None of those sound like they set us apart but it's different from the common uses of those words in the metal scene (laughs). We've got a much different attitude than most people when it comes to our own music. It's not really following any trends or paying any attention to what others are doing. It's kind of like Nirvana meets Korn meets Slipknot meets Beartooth meets Deftones."
"A lot of people have mentioned that we have a defining rhythm to our music. It doesn't sound "generic" like we followed someone else's form. I think our combination of style influences helped with that. I drew my inspiration from punk rock, metal, and even jazz and marching percussion. I think what really sets us aside is that you can tell we play with purpose. We aren't just noodling around-so to speak. Our fills aren't just the same BS or extremely typical; they just make sense. It's perfect for people who relate to the lyrics and the emotion we convey. You can really relate to 'not being good enough' or 'I just want to be different'."
Given the current COVID-19 global pandemic, what plans did you have that are either cancelled or postponed?
"We had to cancel or postpone pretty much everything. We had plans to be releasing a music video in late April / early May but haven't been able to film. Had a bunch of shows that have been cancelled or postponed too. It's just been kind of rough. We really want to be out there promoting our stuff through live shows and meeting our fans and we don't really have any new music to release so everything's just been put on hold for us. Cameron, Jordan, and I all had to celebrate our birthday's from home as well."
"I had a few personal plans I wanted to do like dates, events, and just general 'vacation' days. With co-workers taking a lay off due to concerns with the virus, I was left to be one of the few who can do my job, so I ended up with more work than ever."
How are the folk in Michigan coping with the lockdown? Tell us about the situation there.
"Like Michiganders do, by getting piss drunk. We are making it through this pandemic by pure spite (laughs). No, but there are some people who are less than intelligent and they're out protesting and making us all look bad but most of us have really come together as a people and stayed the f**k home. We are tough people who love each other a whole hell of a lot and want everybody to be safe."
"I'm seeing a lot of people who are treating the lockdown as a loss of freedom we enjoyed as Americans. There was a rally in the capital, hundreds of people, maybe even a thousand or more all showed up. Traffic was backed up for a few miles, flags, signs... It has caused a shift in executive orders for sure. It's been incredible to see all the different kinds of people we have in the state of Michigan. We are a people who really enjoy being able to go and do what we want."
"What lockdown? This is god-damn Michigan. We ain't no bitches (laughs)."
For metalheads visiting your village of Edmore, or indeed your nearest city (Grand Rapids?) what sights / attractions could you recommend? Any bars, venues?
"There's really nothing to see out my way (laughs). A lot of the people around here call it Deadmore for a good reason. The nearest attraction is definitely the Soaring Eagle Casino though. Normally they have concerts going on all summer and have a smaller venue inside for the winter. Haven't really spent much time in Grand Rapids though. It's the closest big city to us. I know The Intersection is a pretty sick place and they have big shows at the Van Andel Arena. I've heard good things about Mulligan's Pub as well but I've never been there personally."
Do you have any greetings and thanks you wish to send out to friends, fans, family, etc?
"I just wanna say thank you to everyone who has supported us and enjoyed our music or at least given it a listen. We love you guys. Stay safe out there."