Adam Caillavet, born and raised in Orange, TX, is a man of many faces. He’s an amazing father to 3 children, a loving and devoted husband and an incredible musician. Most of you may know him from his work with his previous band, Forever Falls, who disbanded in 2012 after an amazing couple of shows with their long-time friends and Houston natives, The Hunger. Shortly after, he began writing material for his solo career, dubbed Adam Woodrow and released his debut EP Country Made in June of 2013. Diving into the world of country music was a far cry from his arena rock days with FF but he made it work beautifully. Now, he’s back with a brand new, conceptual EP called By Your Design and he’s ready to talk about it. I’m incredibly proud to bring you my exclusive interview with the man himself! Read on for more details on what’s going on with FF, what By Your Design has in store for you and what you can expect from him in the future!
First, thank you for taking the time out to do this, brother. I’m thrilled to finally work with you in a professional capacity, after being a fan of all your previous work.
Adam: No Problem. Thanks for taking the time to review the record and do this interview. I know you have a lot going on so I appreciate it.
Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way, first haha. The question that has been on everyone’s mind, since it seemed the Rock Gods had called forth the revival of Forever Falls in late 2014, has been what’s going on with you guys? Last we heard, the revived line-up would include yourself, Patrick McNerney, Matt Carter and Danny Broussard (which is the line-up that recorded your last album, Big Vision for a Small World.) We reported on a video you released, speaking with guitarist Patrick McNerney on a possible reunion show but it seems like that’s fallen through the cracks. Are there still plans to revive the band, possibly with new music, or has that chapter of your life been put to rest? We heard 3 new tracks at your final show (which featured Kik Tally, formerly of Yesterday’s Portraits and currently with the Justin Taylor Band) with The Hunger… “Runaway,” I recall being one of them. Will we hear any of those in their studio form?
Adam: Honestly I would love to do another show with Forever Falls. I would love to bring back anyone that’s ever played in the band to do one big show. I’ve had that idea for years. I can’t tell you what the future brings on recording a new album. Could it happen? Of course. Is it in the near future? I don’t know… Time will tell. I’ve wanted to lay down “Runaway” just to have it. Maybe we’ll get around to doing that.
One last question on the FF front: At one of the 2 shows I attended at the Ford Park SRO, we were privy to see parts of a music video for Forever Falls last single, “Send in the Clowns.” When the single was released (for free download, as a thank you to the fans who have stuck by your side), the music video never came with it. It seems that part of that music video made it into the video that has been posted to the FF Facebook page but you added in a lot of outtakes and behind the scenes stuff, as well as some live footage. Will we see that original music video at any point or was it scrapped and, if so, why?
Adam: Well Patty (Patrick McNerney) put that together because I believe he had a bunch of footage from those shows. We never discussed making a video for S.I.T.C.
Your debut EP, Country Made, was an excellent example of the way that Country music should be written. You didn’t hold back, there were no gimmicks and you did it the way that you wanted it to be done. You mentioned that you had another album written but that you decided to change direction, taking it back to your hard rock roots, calling back to your days with Forever Falls and your previous band, Gemini. What sparked this decision and was it a challenge to your writing process?
Adam: “Country Made” was something I felt I needed to get out. I’d been doing hard rock for so long that my mind just needed a change. All of those songs were written over the course of 5 years. So it was nice to finally let people hear them. So after that album came out I immediately wanted to do a follow up because of the great response I received from the fans and also with a publishing company out of Nashville wanting to pitch my songs. So I started writing and writing but it all started to feel like it wasn’t coming natural. More so like a job. So I picked up the guitar and started writing songs for a possible F.F. single just to work on something new. I’d missed the big riffs and melodic choruses, but the songs were taking more of a shape of the style I was writing in 1999-2002 and sounding more like the Rock style of that era. So with a little push from my Wife, I shelved the whole EP I had ready to go and started writing in the style that came natural to me. Hence why it’s been over 3 years since my last record. (Laughing)
By Your Design, you’ve mentioned, is a conceptual EP, based around arguments and conversations you’ve had with God. Tell us about the creative process that led to you taking this direction, versus just writing a traditional album.
Adam: I was going through some issues and drinking a little too much on a regular basis when I started writing this album. I was out of a day job. Playing acoustic shows 4-7 nights a week and really struggling financially. We were getting by but it came with a price of me not being able to spend time with my family because I was sleeping all day and playing music all night. Being depressed over my situation at that time, the songs I was writing were geared toward the unanswered questions I’d have with God. The concept thing just fell into place in an unexpected organic way. I didn’t see it coming at all.
Not much is known about By Your Design, outside of the title and the artwork. Can you tell us a little bit about the content that is contained on this album, how many songs there are and what you’re hoping that fans will take away from it?
Adam: With this record I hope the fans that listen realize that these are the most lyrically honest and personal songs I’ve ever written. It’s all the truth. So as I mentioned before, this record took over 3 years to write so a lot changes in life over 3 years. I have 5 songs on this EP and it’s my journey through the past 3 years. I wrote “Walk Away” about my anger with God. I hate to say it but it’s true. I was angry about not reaching the success I wanted with music in general. I’ve been doing this for 18 years now so I felt like I’ve paid my dues and deserved a break in this crazy business. The song “Fire” is me not so angry but asking for help instead. That song is like a prayer to me. The song “Words” is me admitting the mistakes I’ve made in life and swallowing my pride to admit defeat. Realizing that arguing with God wasn’t the answer and realizing that it was my actions that lead me to where I was. Humility is a scary thing. “Graffiti” is one of my favorite songs on the record. I got to a point to where my life was turning around and a lot of great things were happening for me and my family. At the same time I was realizing what our country and world was turning into. I’ve never written about my political views and never will. We all have a choice in that matter. Why should I try to change what you believe? The song’s message is that we need to have faith to go out there and make our own dreams come true. Not wait for someone else to give it to us. That’s the lesson I learned through the past 3 years. The last and most important song to me on the album lyrically is “Chasing the Son”. I got the title from playing around with my son. Running around just chasing each other. It started to make me think that these moments with my kids weren’t going to last forever. One day they will grow older and have to find out who they are. So lyrically it’s my advice to them. Some things I learned along the way. I know they will make mistakes but hopefully with this song they won’t make the same mistakes I did. I just want them to live life, be good people and always have faith. Even if they have to chase after it like I did.
Since you and your wife, Shanna, welcomed your firstborn into the world, your material has had a very noticeable change. Prior to that, your writing was a lot darker, in terms of lyrical content. Speaking from experience, being a father changes your perspective on a lot of things. How has this change driven you from writing that way, to a more positive and reflective position as a songwriter?
Adam: Man kids change everything about music because they make you a better person. I’ve always written positive songs. They may have sounded darker or negative but a positive outcome was always the goal. I also have a secret weapon. My wife. Shanna is great with coming up with what I’m trying to say. I hear how the melody should be in my head from the beginning but sometimes I can’t explain lyrically what I need to get out. Numerous times writing this record I would ask her to help me with a line. I would tell her my idea for the line and 9 times out of 10 she’d give me a sentence or even a word that helped complete a song and even her lyric idea would make the song take on a new life. Not saying we didn’t argue over a few words, but it all worked out in the end. She really is the backbone of this record. Without her push, I never would had the guts to open up and make this record. I’m blessed to have her.
Speaking on that subject, how do you balance being a father, a husband, a musician, a working man and all the fun you have golfing? I’m sure it’s an incredibly tough, but rewarding experience!
Adam: Man for a long time I felt I needed to be just one thing. I’ve learned that I can be all of those things and have fun doing it. I love being a husband and a father. It all ties together. If I didn’t have a day job I wouldn’t be able to give my family a life they deserve but I also wouldn’t be able to have the money to make music either. So all of these things help each other. I also get to play some pretty awesome golf courses (laughing)
You decided to head back and work with AJ Vallejo, who produced Country Made, what is it about working with him that makes you want to keep coming back?
Adam: AJ and I can finish tracking an EP in a weekend. All instruments. All vocals. Done! We work so well together and he just knows what I want. He lets me create and helps me bring to life the music in my head. He also brings out the best of my voice by not letting me settle. I owe the sound and quality of this record to him.
There are always positive and negative experiences reflected upon, when writing an album. For By Your Design, what was the song you had the most positive experience writing? What was the most negative? (Elaborate, if you wish.)
Adam: It’s not really a positive and negative thing with this record. I learned from each song. I learned a lot about myself and who I am. I’m living the happiest version of myself right now.
Outside of Facebook and word of mouth (which is the best way to spread the word, I feel) … the release of By Your Design, has remained pretty mysterious. What type of promotional material are you planning, once the EP is complete and ready for the public? Can we expect physical CDs, like you did with Country Made, perhaps a music video or some shows, celebrating the release?
Adam: Well I wanted to keep little hints popping up about the record. I didn’t want to rush it. It’s going to be released on all digital sites and if the demand is there I will print out a few physical copies. I would love to play all of my songs live one day but that will happen when the timing is right. May have an album trailer if all works out. Hopefully the record comes out In January. It was supposed to be October but I’ve been channeling my inner “Axl Rose” and I’ve been taking too long trying to make everything sound how it does in my head. I don’t know if this is the last album I’ll ever do. If it is I have no regrets.
Despite the success that Forever Falls had, you’ve remained a pretty humble person and it’s amazing to see that happen. What has kept you from developing that “rock star” mentality, that seems to plague so many successful artists these days?
Adam: Man I’ve had my LSD (Lead Singer Disease) moments in the past. I can’t lie (Laughing) but I never quite reached the “Rock Star” status I was after. The town I’m from and the friends I have tend to bring me back to reality and call me out when I’ve acted stupid. My family and friends have kept me real. Plus being a Father will keep you humble. Kid’s say whatever comes into their heads. Even if it’s “Daddy I don’t like this song, stop singing it.” (Laughing).
Have people had an overall positive reaction to your solo material, so far? I’ve seen “Brooklyn Bridge,” specifically, get a lot of recognition in the media. Love & Chaos (AJ Vallejo and Kendall Beard), even covered the song and it got a great response. Internet radio stations still seem to be picking your music up, it seems like in the online world, as well as the real world, you’ve caused quite the stir!
Adam: I’ve been very fortunate to have Love & Chaos cut my song. They sound so great on it. Fans from F.F. have been very positive and supportive on this journey. It’s been a great experience so far.
How did the transition from being the front-man of an arena rock/hard rock band, where ideas were shared together, challenge you when deciding to pursue your solo career?
Adam: It’s been difficult at times because you don’t have 4 guys to bounce ideas off of. It’s made me grow as a songwriter though. I do miss playing live with the guys and the brotherhood vibe of it all.
You’ve always been a man who has been devoted to your faith, despite your battles with the many temptations that life must offer. You’ve typically written about many of the things that you see and experience in life, as someone who is battling with these temptations. Has writing a faith-based, conceptual album like By Your Design (where you attack it from both ends) been a challenge to that at all, or did it come naturally?
Adam: Devoted may be the wrong word to use there because I haven’t been in the past. I’ve strayed far away at times. This record is actually my road back to having faith, back to living life as a decent person and trying to be the best Husband and Father I can be. These songs just followed my journey to get there. Everything happens for a reason. I truly believe that. It’s not having bad luck or struggles. We all have those. It’s how you react to those troubles that change your life for the better. I hope this record helps a lot of people realize that.
I appreciate you giving me this opportunity for our readers to get to know you and to get some questions that long-time fans like myself, have had on their minds?
Adam: I appreciate you Bare. Thanks to you and all of the people that’s supported me all of these years. It means the world to me.