Project 86 Evaluates American Society

Excerpted from the magazine for

When Project 86 frontman Andrew Schwab and his bandmates started planning their third album, they knew they wanted to create their most ambitious set to date in terms of scope and material. The culmination of that effort, "Truthless Heroes" (Atlantic), is a concept album geared to embrace a counter-culture reflection of American society today.

Project 86 formed in 1996 with a musical mission statement to "prove thought, spark imagination, and create emotion." The act's 1998 eponymous debut album -- issued on indie label Bec Recordings -- as well as its sophomore effort in 2000, "Drawing Black Lines" (Atlantic), both served to amass a considerable fan base culled from both Christian-pop and mainstream rock markets.

Released in September, "Truthless Heroes" shows a darker progression as well as a new standard for the band. Schwab explains, "Compared to when we first started out, we are as different now as a band can be while still retaining all its original members. We are the best we have ever been. Sonically, we have evolved. Our approach to songwriting has gone from creating a riff or simple emotion to building a reflection of a character and his experiences. We are going back to music as a defining resource."

"Truthless Heroes" -- produced by Matt Hyde (Slayer, Monster Magnet, Porno for Pyros) and mixed by Sean Beavan (Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails) -- was created and assembled in such a way as to create an implied narrative of a character's life as he travels throughout our cultural landscape searching for identity.

"The story has a tragic ending," Schwab says. "We wanted our story to reflect a critical response to our culture, especially in a post-Sept. 11 society. The concept for the album came first, and the songs were written and assembled with a certain ebb and flow in mind, depicting a loose assemblage of themes. We approached the album like writing a book with chapters.

"Each song represents a different subject but also serves a second purpose in the album's story as a whole. The album represents an aversion to popular culture, which is where rock music started out in the first place. We want our audience to think for themselves. That is our strongest conviction for doing this album."

Excerpted from the Dec.14, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the members section.

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