What a difference a few years makes. Where are you at in your life right now that made DISPOSE turn out so drastically different than Happiness In Self Destruction and everything before it? What's changed for you since writing the last album?
Well right now I'm in a totally different place than where I was [even] last year when we were making [this] record. I'm very much at peace with everything now and it's wild to think that just a year ago I was in such a dark place. Happiness In Self Destruction was a lot of reflection on the past – basically just going over things I went through and venting from a different perspective in life. Everything I wrote about in DISPOSE was happening as I was writing it. I was able to take situations I was dealing with in the moment and vent through the songs. There were days where I didn't even bother writing out lyrics or planning anything out -- I'd just step into the vocal booth and just say things that were on my mind. Kind of makes me hope something traumatic happens every time we make a record in the future.
Tell me about the process in shifting gears a bit with the band for this. Were they all on board with the overhaul in sound?
Yeah, absolutely. They've always been trusting of my judgment when it comes to direction, which I'm very grateful for. We were all on the same page when it came to putting the best songs together to create a record. Rather than throwing songs in just to appease certain audiences we decided to take that risk and create something we were proud of through and through. Out of 20 songs there were around five or six standard, heavy Plot songs. A few were done very well, too, in my opinion. They just didn't flow or make sense with the best tracks. So they got cut. I think this is the first record where the entire band was 100 percent satisfied with the finished product.
From what I understand, this was the first time you had someone co-producing your work with you. Why did you make the choice to include Drew Fulk and how do you feel it impacted the final result?
I don't think I even realized how much Drew added to the record until I went back and listened to the original demos I'd written. He's a production genius. Him and I have incredible chemistry and a very similar vision when it comes to our sound as a finished product. He's not afraid to tell me when something doesn't work on my end, and he's very receptive to critiques on his part. I really don't think this record would have been anything like it is had he not been a part of it.
Your solo stuff has obviously introduced listeners to another side of you as a vocalist but this album has a surprising amount of pop elements. Is that a place you always wanted to get to with this band or is that just a natural byproduct of current influences and growing up?
Well when I first started Plot I was a metalhead through and through. After touring with only heavy bands, recording heavy bands, and writing primarily heavy music for years it just became mundane. If you look at any pop artist in the industry that's stayed relevant over a decade or longer you notice that they've evolved over time, and with the times. I simply don't listen to what I listened to eight to 10 years ago. I've gone through things in my earlier days that made sense to scream about, and could be conveyed properly through heavy music. These days that tone just doesn't work for the most part. I've written three and a half records worth of heavy music. I want to expand and challenge myself.
"I Always Wanted To Leave" and "The Sound" are great examples of the vulnerability and sincerity on this album - not to mention the departure from pure heaviness. Have there been any hurdles for you personally with putting yourself out there in that way?
Honestly, there were a lot more hurdles for me in the past with the subjects I chose to write about. I had people at shows wanting to fight me for bashing specific people, or shaming their beliefs. Although this record is the most sincere and personal, I don't think it's gonna have people trying to kill me. So that'll be nice. Being open and vulnerable has never been much of an issue for me. I'm an open book.
Including DISPOSE, you've now had a new label for each of your last three albums. Why was Fearless Records the right choice for this one?
To us it feels like the first time we've ever put a record out on a label. Especially our first two records -- it was basically like, "Hey, here's a few thousand dollars, shit out a record when you get a chance and send it in.” Fearless is heavily involved, and not in an intrusive way. They've given us the resources to create a sound and an image we couldn't have done on our own. They care, and that's almost unheard of in the industry these days.
The album is now out for all to hear. Does this part feel any differently this time than it has with your past album releases?
Absolutely. There's a team behind us that works together, cares, and has the same vision. On top of that, it's a record I'm confident in through and through. There's no "Oh, I like it but I wish I could change this.” I wouldn't change a single thing.
The Plot In You tour dates with We Came As Romans:
2.28 Pittsburgh, PA – Rex Theater
3.1 Toledo, OH – Civic Music Hall
3.2 Joliet, IL – The Forge
3.3 Milwaukee, WI – Miramar Theatre
3.4 Minneapolis, MN – Cabooze
3.6 Denver, CO – Marquis Theater
3.7 Salt Lake City, UT – In The Venue
3.8 Noise, ID – Knitting Factory
3.9 Seattle, WA – Studio Seven
3.10 Portland, Or – Bossanova Ballroom
3.11 Sacramento, CA – Holy Diver
3.13 Berkeley, CA – Cornerstone
3.14 Fresno, CA – Strummers
3.15 Las Vegas, NV – Vinyl At The Hard Rock
3.16 Pomona, CA – Glasshouse
3.17 Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre
3.18 Phoenix, AZ – Joe’s Grotto
3.21 Lubbock, TX- Jake’s
3.22 Oklahoma City, OK – 89th Street
3.23 Houston, TX – Scout Bar
3.24 Austin, TX – Come And Take It Live
3.25 Dallas, TX – Trees
3.27 Tampa, FL – Crowbar
3.28 Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Culture Room
3.29 Spartanburg, SC – Ground Zero
3.30 Greensboro, NC – Blind Tiger
3.31 Virginia Beach, VA – Shakas
4.3 Philadelphia, PA – Foundry
4.4 New York, NY – Gramercy Theater
4.5 Worcester, MA – The Palladium
4.6 Syracuse, NY – Lost Horizon
4.7 Pontiac, MI – The Crofoot
4.8 Grand Rapids, MO – The Intersection