I had a chance to sit down with Jake Barnes, lead vocalist for the band The Final Chapter. We discussed fan support, new material, the state of the music industry today, and much much more.
New Transcendence: So, to start with please introduce yourself and your role in the band.
Jake Barnes: I’m Jake Barnes, vocalist/programmer in The Final Chapter
NT: So tell us about the band. I’m curious if there’s a story behind the name or not, actually.
JB: We formed originally in June 2010. I am the only remaining founding member but we have changed a lot since then, other member wise and sound wise. In fact we are slowly abandoning the music we have put out in the past to focus on our new sound. There is no particular meaning behind the name, it was just the first decent name we came up with haha.
NT: So it seems like you already got quite the history under your belt with this project. Is there any reason for stepping away from the old music?
JB: Our sound has changed so much at this point, that it just wouldn’t work live if we still played the old stuff. Plus, we believe that the new stuff is much much better, and deserves more attention. This band has finally found its focus and its sound, and we want to channel all of our energy into what this band has now become.
NT: I understand that completely. But speaking of the live show, how do fans react to your live show? Do the fans really get into it?
JB: People seem to really enjoy our show! More and more now we are seeing people putting their phones in their pockets, and standing and watching and taking in our performance. Yeah, we get the occasional pit as you do at any metal show, but people seem to really get into our music and our performance which is really encouraging. It’s also cool to see people who have never seen or heard us before picking up the lyrics and melodies and trying to sing along. We live for the live show and we love playing.
NT: Speaking from experience, I’ve been to some of the bigger bands like Attila and Crown The Empire and even they have problems with some people staying on their phones. So being able to say that about your band definitely show you’re doing something right. Now, I’m curious as to future plans. Is there an EP or a full length in the works right now?
JB: Yeah, its a big problem at the moment for every band at the moment. But we are indeed working on an EP at the moment. We have been writing material for a long time now, and the songs we have chosen for this EP are without a doubt the best songs we have ever written. They are heavy, catchy, dark and uplifting in all the right places. We are really excited to get this EP out. We are also booking a European tour with a brilliant Croatian band called Free Ride in February. We will be announcing dates as soon as we can!
NT: That all sounds amazing! Can you give us a hint as to what we can expect from the EP and maybe a possible window for release?
JB: We are hoping to release it before our European tour, so we are going to try and put it out end of Jan/start of Feb. As for what you can expect from the EP… Combine our tracks Sins and Ditch and you will have a decent idea of where we are heading. Riffs, catchy melodies and really heavy sections.
NT: Now that sounds like an eargasm waiting to happen haha. Are there any funny stories from the studio that you wanna share right now?
JB: We have only just finished writing the EP. We are heading into the studio in the next couple of weeks, so I’m afraid no stories can be told from this EP just yet!
NT: Awh damn haha. Well I’m certainly excited to hear what comes out of this EP, and I’m sure a lot of your fans are too. My last question is a double question. What is your opinion on the state of the music industry? Do you think it’s falling apart or is it just fine? And also do you want to sign to a label one day? Or do you wanna remain independent?
JB: I’m absolutely positive our fans will love this EP. When we released Ditch, it was such a departure from the sound people expected from us that it caught some of our fans off guard. Some say it was a better single than Sins, some say it was worse. We are aiming to pull fans of both of those styles together with this EP, as their is something for everyone to dig their teeth into.
The state of the music industry at the moment is quite worrying. People are heading over to streaming services to avoid buying music. Whilst I can appreciate music piracy is slowly becoming less of an issue, bands are earning less and less from music due to this shift – the people who were buying music are now just streaming it, and streaming services like spotify have such a low royalty rate to pay that artists might as well be giving their music away. It’s a sorry state of affairs when not even the biggest musicians in the industry can release a platinum selling album.
I also hear that the live scene and merch is the answer, but the live scene in the UK is slowly but surely dying. Small venues across the country are being closed down due to rapidly declining attendance rates. Whilst I can’t speak for the rest of the world, the state of the music industry in the UK is definitely scary. It’s quite a bad time to be a musician… but we aren’t letting that stop us just yet!
As for whether we want to be signed… yes. In an ideal world we would love to be signed! However it would have to be to a label we know would help us and support us in the right ways, and not turn us into every other band on the scene at the moment. Being signed isn’t the be all and end all. I think for a band of our size, a label such as Interloop Records would work well for us, but we will just have to see what happens! At this stage we could really use the financial backing of a label, but realistically we know that could not happen for a while!
NT: I definitely will have to agree with you on the state of the music scene. It’s scary but honestly I feel like it might be a good thing, cause it shows bands have to put in that extra effort to prove their music is worth buying. And seeing you guys signed to Interloop would be amazing. But I wanna thank you for your time man. It’s been a real honor talking to you.
JB: I personally don’t think it is a good thing, because only the bands that follow the Rise Records structure make it. Bands more than ever sound the same, and it’s becoming stale. Something needs to happen to save the industry but I don’t know what that thing is. And thank you very much dude. Anytime!
NT: Yeah, when you put it that way it’s really scary. But is there anything you wanna say to the fans before you wrap this up?
JB: I just wanna say thanks to everyone for the support. It means the world to me that people actually pay attention to us and come to shows and buy our music and merch. If you want us to keep going, try and get to one of our shows, and if you can’t then buy one of our shirts or singles. It’s the only way we’ll be able to afford to make more music for you all. Look out for our new EP early next year, and support your local music scene. More often than not there are small bands in your local area who deserve to go big time – give them the attention they deserve!