Clint Lowery of SevendustSevendust – Time Travelers & Bonfires
By Dave Schwartz

Sevendust guitarist Clint Lowery called DaBelly from his home in Georgia where he was enjoying some downtime with his family and in particular, his one year old  daughter.  She was in his arms and wrestling about, demanding all the attention a one year old can require as he dialed the phone.  Before we started the interview, Lowery needlessly apologized for the commotion.  I assured him that there was no imposition.

“I have a three year old boy too and together they’re a handful.  It’s really cool.  My family is definitely the best thing I’ve ever been a part of, it’s awesome,” he shared. 

I thanked Lowery for calling and started the interview by asking if he would give me a little insight on the making of “Time Travelers & Bonfires.”  He started by expressing his relief that the process was nearly complete.   

“We’re glad that it’s close to being released.  We’re looking forward to getting out there and supporting it," he confirmed.

Sevendust returned to Architekt Music in Butler, New Jersey to record “Time Travelers and Bonfires.”  This is the same studio where their last album, “Blackout the Sun,” came to life.  “Blackout” debuted at #1 on Billboard’s “Top Hard Music Albums” chart, as well as #18 on the “Top 200 Albums” upon its release.  I asked about Architekt Music. 

“We’ve done so many things out of that studio.  We’re super comfortable with the team there.  It’s kind of like our home base now.  We’re like any band that finds a place that they are comfortable with.  And we’re self-producing our records now so it just seems to be working.  It’s not the most tropical place in the world but it’s a great place to just focus on the music.  I kind of just lock myself away in the studio anyway so I guess it really doesn’t matter,” he laughed.

Making a record is hard work and all about focusing on the business of music.  Lowery had already mentioned that “Time Travelers & Bonfires” was self-produced.  I wondered if there was anyone in particular within the band that took the lead on this effort. 

“Well, I do a lot of it, but this band is a democracy and everyone does have a voice so we all take our turn,” Lowery explained.  “I just tend to being involved most of the time.  From a writing standpoint, most of the musical ideas come from John (Connolly) and me.  But on the production end I think everyone has their turn where they wear the producer hat.  I know our band and what our strong points are.  The only thing is like doing vocals-- I would only produce LaJon.  I don’t think I would produce vocals for any other band.  We just have so much history.   I tend to just weigh out the vocal ideas and then Mike, our engineer will track while we’re doing it.  I just don’t like going in a watching him.  I like to give him his space.”

For those unaware, “Time Travelers and Bonfires” is largely an acoustic album.  Sevendust selected a handful of favorites to re-record including:  “Black,” “Gone,” “Denial,” “Karma,” “Trust,” and “Crucified.”  Then they added six new songs to round out the album.  I asked Lowery if they took a different approach to writing the new acoustic tracks. 

“For me it’s just the same.  Getting the music worked up, presenting it to the band, we all arrange it and then finalize it as a band.  Vocally we go through the same process.  So basically that’s it.  For me it’s the same process.  The energy is different.  There’s a different vibe and temperament to it but ultimately the process remains the same,” he explained. 

SevendustAs mentioned, six pre-existing songs were selected for inclusion on “Time Travelers and Bonfires.”  I was curious how Sevendust selected the songs that would eventually make the album. 

“It was really hard,” Lowery admitted.  “It all started with a poll on Facebook.  We asked people to list three favorite songs that they would like to hear us re-record.  After some editing we ended up with a group of about 20 songs.  So we went through the list and picked the top three and recorded them.  Then we started picking a couple more but it was really like all of us just sitting around in a room and asking ourselves what would be cool.  We discussed redoing some of the songs with a completely different take.  The hardest part was to figure out what songs could be redone acoustic.  We didn’t really want to redo songs in exactly the same way.”

I told Lowery that I thought their process made sense.  Although fans may want to hear a given song, not every song lends itself to being played on an acoustic guitar. 

“Some of the songs have a real aggressive vocal going on and we had to figure out an alternative to that.” Lowery’s daughter became a little excited at that point and began yelling.  Laughing he commented, “I’m sorry, she’s a handful right now.” 

We had a good laugh and then continued on.  While researching this interview I found that Sevendust had initially considered releasing an EP rather than a full-blown album.  I asked Lowery how “Time Travelers and Bonfires” had evolved into what it is today.

“Initially our thoughts were to just do a quick EP, in and out if you know what I mean, but while we were there we began discussing some new ideas and parts of songs.  We figured that since we were in the studio we might as well add some new tracks and record a full album.  So we added six new songs.  Some of them existed before we entered the studio.  We just want to put out an album that’s the very best we can do,” Lowery explained. 

The first single from “Time Travelers and Bonfires” is one of the pre-existing songs, “Black.”  I found it interesting as “Black” was the first single from Sevendust’s self-titled debut album released in 1998.  The song also appeared in acoustic format on their “Southside Double-Wide” live acoustic album that was released in 2004.  It seemed clear that “Black” is one of those special songs for the band. 

“To be perfectly honest with you, “Black” would not have been my choice as the single,” Lowery confessed. “I would’ve rather used one of the new songs but nonetheless it’s a great song.  I stand by that song.  It’s one of our best and obviously a fan favorite.  So it is cool that were using it but I’m more excited about the new material.  But I want to say that this version of “Black” came out really cool.  We’ve been playing it for so long and it’s so well known to us, I like what we’ve done with it. 

SevendustSevendust took an interesting approach to the business side of this record.  They went to PledgeMusic for a direct-to-fan campaign to help fund the creation of “Time Travelers and Bonfires.”  Crowd funding is a fairly new and interesting approach where an artist can benefit from the patronage of a loyal fan base and fans can experience a deeper connection to their favorite artists.  I was surprised to learn that Sevendust met their financial goal only a few days after the campaign opened. 

“We set the goal fairly conservatively.  We just wanted to cover the basic expenses, but the campaign exceeded our expectations.  It was amazing how quickly we hit the goal, but you never know how things are going to go.  We have a very loyal fan base and we are very loyal to our fans.  We have always remained dedicated and listened to their input.  We are accessible to them and at our live shows we meet as many people as we can.  In many cases we have formed bonds with our fans.  Some of them have come to dozens of shows and we recognize their faces.  You get to know these people after a while.  We have a fan base that most bands can only dream of.  We work to preserve it and take care of them.  Initially I was hesitant to do a direct-to-fan campaign because it’s easy to look desperate.  But eventually I came to understand that if people want to be involved they will be.  Our fans are proud and like a family.  It was a real treat to see their support,” Lowery confided. 

This leads us to the tour - “An Evening With Sevendust” starts April 1st.  I was curious how Sevendust was planning to approach the show.  Would be strictly acoustic or would there also be a plugged in set as well? 

“At the end of the set we’re discussing adding a heavy little encore,” Lowery shared.  “Nothing has been determined yet.  We still need to rehearse before the tour starts.  We’ll need to discuss what songs we want to do and see just how realistic it is to pull it off without getting overly complicated.”

I asked Lowery about tour plans.  Typically when a band releases an album they tour on it for an extended period. 

“I expect that we’ll do two full legs of the acoustic tour.  I believe we are announcing the second leg of the tour today.  After that we’ll revert back to our regular style.  We’re not going to overdo the acoustic tour.  The two legs will cover most of the areas of the U.S.,” Lowery concluded.

I want to thank Clint Lowery for sharing his thoughts and time with his family.  Sevendust is an incredible band and “Time Travelers and Bonfires” is a fantastic album.  Take the time to catch this band live.

***EDITORS NOTE***

About three weeks after this interview was conducted by phone, Sevendust toured through Phoenix, AZ.  We were fortunate to meet backstage with Morgan Rose, sit down and discuss the first several shows of the “Time Travelers and Bonfires” tour as well as the bands loyal following.  Enjoy the video...

http://www.sevendust.com/

https://www.facebook.com/sevendustofficial

https://twitter.com/Sevendust

https://myspace.com/sevendust


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