My Epic have been hard at work on their sophomore album for the past few months, and we now have the latest details about the project. The band has been working with Matt Goldman (Underoath, Copeland, Anberlin, Cartel) to produce their second album, YET. Click on the “read more” link below to read a mini interview we conducted with vocalist / guitarist Aaron Stone as he talks about working with Matt Goldman and the meaning behind the songs and the album title. My Epic will be touring in support of YET starting on June 5th and ending at Cornerstone Festival in Bushnell, IL. They along with So Long Forgotten (Come & Live) and label mates A Hope For Home are teaming up with 30 Hour Famine and World Vision for a tour that will hit the midwest, east and south. Dates will be announced soon.
Facedown: Can you give me some lines about what it was like recording with Matt? Your experience working with him, what he’s adding to the record that was lacking from the last recording, etc.
Aaron: Matt is just a great person. In the truest sense. He is fun to be with, he has a great sense of humor and he truly loves people. One of the things we realized early on was that he doesn’t exaggerate. Matt says exactly what he means. If it’s good he says so but he never uses words like “awesome” or “amazing”. That’s a quality we have really grown to appreciate over the last few years. The other great thing about Matt is that we already trusted that he knew what he was doing. Everything we had ever recorded up to this point was with our friend Andrew. Andrew is brilliant and we are so proud of everything we ever did with him. Andrew, for the longest time, was like the other band member. At that point in time he would even help us with our song structures. We learned how to write music with Andrew, we grew up together. But this time around we felt really confident in the songs and we just wanted someone to help us maximize who we have become. When we toured with Cool Hand Luke last year, Mark kept telling us that we should record our next record with Matt Goldman. We weren’t about to argue because Matt has produced several of our all time favorite records. It’s Mark who really made this happen. He got us in touch with Matt and became our champion. When we first met Matt back in September he pretty much said that he had not even listened to us yet but that he trusted Mark so much that he would do it on his recommendation alone. In fact we even demoed all the songs instrumentally ahead of time for him and he did not even listen to them till the day before we got there. The first thing he said when we got there was “I listened to the songs today, they’re pretty cool as long as you don’t mess the vocals up”. And that’s honestly how it was. Once we were in studio with him his full attention was on the record. He is a hard guy to get a hold of if your not in the studio with him because he is always so focused on whoever he is recording at the moment. We had talked to quite a few bands ahead of time that had worked with him and they had all said what Matt does best is figure out who your band is and make the best record for you. So many of his records sound so different and I think that’s a huge compliment. With “I am Undone” we were just putting the professional touches on a sound we had been developing for awhile. We love that record but we didn’t want to make it again. We don’t ever want to make the same record twice. We will always have those songs so we wanted to make new ones even with the temptation to chicken out and redo what people already like. Matt was great at encouraging us to let this record become what it wanted to be. On the whole, this record is simpler and more raw. We stripped away all the pianos, cellos, Rhodes, and synths. We wanted it to sound more focused. This record is also much groovier and that will be obvious. Jeremiah and Jesse stepped their game up big time and the guitar did not have to work as hard to keep the songs full. That being said my guitar work is heavier, I bought a baritone guitar and we wrote four of the songs on that. And my voice is naturally growing into its own. I just sort of know how to let things come out more naturally and it sounds much better. Overall it’s a raw and groovy record with a heavier overall sound but prettier vocals.
Lastly, one of the coolest things about the experience with Matt was simply getting to spend the better part of three weeks together. He is really good at not letting you get too caught up in insignificant things. He continued to remind us, “It’s just a record” and we learned a while ago that possibly the most meaningful thing that occurs during this process is what happens in our hearts as we make it. It was awesome to get to grow and learn from Matt just as a regular guy that loves the Lord. And perhaps one of the coolest things was watching him with his family. He is an incredible father. I don’t know how he juggles it but he does and you can just see and hear how much he cherishes his family. Matt let us join his life for three weeks. We felt like a part of his family and that his friends were ours too. He is very naturally kingdom-minded.
Facedown: Also, the new album title — can you talk a little bit about the idea behind ‘Yet’ – the title in itself and how it encompasses the album as a whole?
Aaron: This is the first record that didn’t name itself ahead of time. It’s a much more personal record and when you let your life spill over into the process freely without first imposing some structure it can be much harder to explain what the record actually is. We have been living now for three years communally as a band in a poor neighborhood in downtown Charlotte which has changed us a lot. It has matured us and we have seen so many amazing and terrible things. Some of my best friends now were once homeless or caught up in serious drug addiction. We have seen brothers of ours go to jail, we’ve been robbed for thousands of dollars, seen friends relapse into addiction, and last year even lost one of our best friends. At the same time we have seen G-d so clearly over and over again be our one good and true thing. We have found Him to be so much more than adequate. We have seen people who were once far off become sons of G-d and baptized brothers in streams, pools, and bathtubs. We have seen men who had once given up on themselves reengage humanity and find family. We have watched men who once thought themselves useless put their hands back into work and find a new sense of calling. Through it all the Lord has been teaching us about simply abiding in Him. These last two years John 15 has been such a crucial chapter for us. I think so often we try to treat G-d like a gas station. We want to go and fill up, then go out and please him. But we can’t and it’s exhausting. He just wants us to be branches that constantly abide in Him. We have only to walk in Him. We do not need to burden ourselves with a new law but simply to learn to be completely His possession. YET is about the distance between that which has already been traveled, overcome, and discarded, and the journey still to come. It is about the evidence, even now, of what will be. It is about a G-d who is so brilliantly and blindingly big that our rational minds can only be left to cower at His depths. He is so magnificent that we cannot yet look Him in the eye and yet He desires to live within us. It is about the hope that arises when one truly realizes that we will be completely undone when we stand before Him and yet He loves us still and makes us what we could never be on our own.