FEATURE INTERVIEW: LOVE & DEATH “Love and Death is not just a ‘side project’ for us.” JR BAREIS

Posted on by Oran

Today sees the release of Love and Death’s second album, ‘Perfectly Preserved’ and to get the lowdown, we spoke to guitarist, JR Bareis about how the album came together and their exclusive online launch streaming event that takes place today. Find out more below…

Featuring Korn’s very own Brian ‘Head’ Welch, Love and Death have slowly been crafting the material for their follow-up to 2013’s debut, ‘Between Here and Lost’.

Guitarist, JR Bareis tells us why it’s taken some eight years for the band to finally release a follow-up, as well as their plans for the official streaming launch which takes place TODAY in celebration of the albums release.

OD – So, here we are eight years later after the debut ‘Between Here and Lost’ and there’s no denying that the world is a very different place than it was back in 2013. Tell me about the decision/timeline about how this new album ‘Perfectly Preserved’ came about?

JR – We started writing back in 2014 with some time slots here and there but when the pandemic really kicked in, it sort of freed up out schedules and we could really focus on the rest of the material on the album.

We went through a bunch of ideas that we had all collected over the years and kept some ideas and also threw some stuff away. We then ended up writing four new songs and finishing the record so, it really all came together over the course of 2020.

OD – With regards to the title, were you going for the translation that the sound of the band was very much the same or was there a different meaning behind it?

JR – For what we were thinking on the title is on the first song on the album, there’s a line that goes: “Perfectly Preserved, follow you to the unknown” and it just resonated with us because of everything that’s going on now in the world. For everyone that’s gonna be coming out of this situation almost preserved in a way, ready to go back to normal life.

Also, with the title and the visuals etc, we try to paint with broad strokes allowing people to take multiple meanings from what we create.

OD – The press release accompanying the album mentions things like, “Anger”, ‘Lower Self-Worth” and “Broken Relationships” as a reference for inspiration so I was surprised to hear the album is actually quite empowering overall. Was it a case of turning some pretty dark situations into something positive?

JR – Yes, part of it was inspired by some personal experience that we’ve all been through over the years and then the newer songs we wrote in 2020 reflects the chaos in the world, from politics to mental health, suicide and general well being.

The world is in a very strange place right now and we’re just trying to navigate through it as best we can, just like everybody else.

We can see how so many people are struggling and wanted to try to take all of this negativity and try to flip it into something positive and empowering.

OD – Of course, this album sees Jason [Rauch of Breaking Benjamin] as a fully-fledged member of Love and Death. Was there anything new developed with the bands sound now that Jason was now a part of the band?

JR – A little bit. Jason produced our first album so we go back a long time. We have a dynamic with him being part of suggesting ideas for songs etc but it’s now a little more personal because he’s actually in the band now.

We brought in another producer Joe Rickard to work alongside Jason because we wanted him to still produce, but also be part of the band and not worry so much about the production side of things so he can focus on the performance stuff also [laughs].

It was also really great having another set of fresh ears from Joe. The reason why we have four new tracks on the album is partly because of Joe pushing us in another direction and drawing the ideas out of us. We must have had 20/25 song ideas from last year and I remember Joe called me and said: “I really believe we can push things further and go that little extra” which we did and it so paid off because those songs are killer.

OD – Despite the devastating effects that the virus has had on the world economy and health systems, the live entertainment industry has been demolished. With fingers crossed, can you see Love and Death being able to tour this album next year when things are [hopefully] back to some kind of normal, or will there be an overlap of commitments with Head in Korn and your commitments with your other band, Spoken? [pic below]

photo – Dylan Levernoch

JR – I’ve been in Spoken for about 2 years now, but I would say we all kind of have our own main bands but Love and Death is not just a ‘side project‘ for us. We like to think it’s very much another band. With regards to touring, it’s really hard to know what’s gonna happen at this stage [laughing].

We would really like to get over to Europe for this album. We had talked about holding the album until things become a little more back to normal but in the end, we figured we would put it out and put some good into the world. We really hope that things can go back to normal as soon as possible but as far as schedules etc, it’s just impossible to say at this stage.

OD – There are a few guests on the album with ‘The Hunter’ featuring Breaking Benjamin’s Keith Wallen and also Flyleaf’s Lacey Sturm. Did you always have both Keith and Lacey in mind to be a guest on the album or did it just happen?

JR – We had Keith come in as one of the main writers on this album and we worked with him on lyrics/melody etc as he’s great at that sort of stuff. We really wanted him guest on the album and we just felt that ‘The Hunter‘ [see below] was the best fit for him. It was really cool to have him be a part of that.

With Lacey also, it was just awesome to have her involved. She had some really close ties with the song she guests on. Both of them are just so talented and it was great to see them both at work.

OD –  Of all the tracks on the album which is the most personal to you and why?

JR – I’ve got a top three right now. ‘Death of Us‘, ‘Slow Fire‘ and ‘Affliction‘. I just love ‘Slow Fire‘. I remember when we were writing the chorus and we came up with the melody and chorus…it just sounded so huge. It gave me the vibes from our first album, so I got some nostalgia from that track.

OD – There’s a scheduled live stream album launch happening today [Friday 12th Feb]. Do you have any reservations about doing this as I’ve spoken to quite a few artists now who say it was a really good but very weird experience?

JR – When we first talked about doing it we discussed should it be kind of as if we’re in front of a crowd but that kind of felt like it was gonna be a bit weird. We wanted it to be more personal so we have a set up where we’re all facing each other, in a circle. There’s some production for sure, with lights etc so it doesn’t look like we’re just in a rehearsal room staring at each other. [Laughing].

I’m really looking forward to it. It’s gonna be awesome and also kind of weird but in a good way.

The stream commences at 1 am UK/2 am CET/8 pm EST. Ticket holders will have a 48hr window to watch the show.

The event will feature songs from both the new album, as well as select tracks from the band’s 2013’s debut, Between Here and Lost. In addition, the show will feature surprise performances from several special guests!

Tickets and event bundles are available now, incorporating shirts, CDs, vinyl, and a very limited edition guitar bundle signed by the band and all the guest performers at the event. Virtual tickets are available via this link.

OD – Going forward now in this new situation we have with things, have you changed your outlook on things in general?

JR –  I think so in the sense that nobody was really expecting this to happen the way it did. For musicians, touring is the number one thing for us. Not being able to have that connection with people in a live situation is something that I’ll never take for granted.

I can’t wait for that first show to happen. There’s gonna be so much adrenaline and a massive release of tension that’s been building up for the last year for everybody.

OD – If you could share with us, one album that you’ve recently discovered that has had a big impact on you?

JR – Yeah, I recently discovered the band Spiritbox and man…. when I first heard them it was for this live broadcast thing they were doing and it just blew my mind!! Her vocals are phenomenal! When she flawlessly changes between guttural and clean it’s just unreal.

They take the mix of heavy and melody and just slam it! They are such an awesome band.

Love and DeathPerfectly Preserved‘ is out today [February 12th]. The band will be broadcasting their official launch show online today via this link.

Oran O’Beirne

www.overdrive.ie 2021