Very recently, we had a chance to listen to Invent, Animate‘s sophomore full-length album and use it as inspiration to write some questions to give some insight into the Port Neches’ writing, recording and touring process, along with getting to know frontman Ben English a little better! Read on, and prepare for Invent, Animate to shatter your stillworld on July 8th!
Connor Welsh (NT): Hi there! First things first, I really want to thank you for taking the time to sit down and answer some questions about Invent, Animate and your forthcoming record, Stillworld. As a big fan of Everchanger, I’m excited to pick your brain about this record. For everyone reading, could you introduce yourself?
Ben English (I,A): Dude thank you for having me, it’s just me Ben today I do the vocals and write lyrics for Invent, and feel free to pick away, my friend!
NT: Awesome! So, Stillworld, in many ways, feels like a conceptual and logical continuation of your debut full-length. There are some moments and lyrics that almost seem to reference and build upon themes touched upon in your previous record. Is it fair to say that Stillworld is a sequel of sorts? If it is—or even if it isn’t—did it start that way?
I,A: You know, the answer to that question is yes and no. Meaning that in’s not a concept album by any means but logical continuation, maybe so, BUT we feel like it’s entirely different entity. I brought back some lyrical themes and we even brought back a few patterns that, if you listen really hard you might be able to notice, but we feel like we evolved so much coming from Everchanger, and that’s really that point of this. We want to continue growing and changing with us as members, and I think you can really feel this record in every way possible. We learned to let the music breathe and it just makes such a huge difference. It’s still in your face, it’s just not forced.
What was the writing process like for this record? It seems like you guys were pretty quiet about it for a long time.
Honestly, it was different. We actually had real deadlines, and were always just so use to working on things as time went on, but we had to adapt and learn to write in bulk together for larger periods of time. It took us a while to understand that this was a full-time thing, and it’s so beautiful to see how each member embraced their roles and we’ve grown so much since the release of Everchanger in 2014, it’s pretty crazy how much you learn so quickly in this industry. Adapt and react.
While there are definitely ways that Stillworld seems similar and as if it is an extension of your previous album, it is also unmistakably more intense; it feels as if it has more personality and individuality as an album. Not to mention it’s also heavier and more aggressive. Was that an intent of yours during the writing process? Or did it just happen?
We wanted to be smart about it, but yeah we wanted to be more aggressive, but it fits the tone of our music so well for this release, and you can feel the shifting from heavy and crushing to glassy and icy really fast. There’s so much variation in this album, and the way it flows from start to finish is exactly what I wanted from the start.
One song I want to give special attention to is “White Wolf.” Lyrically (and in all other ways), this track is absolutely beautiful. What, if anything, does the “white wolf” symbolize? When writing this song, did you envision it being a crucial aspect of the album art?
Thank you, that song was one of the last to get finished for the record actually.
The wolf specifically came into my head when envisioning the album art very early on. The wolf represents loneliness in the vast world in this particular setting. The mystery and the allure of the white wolf also represents the unknown of the world, and the desire to uncover it, and that is a larger part of the lyricism in Stillworld. White Wolf ended up being one of the most important songs on Stillworld.
Speaking of the album art, who created it? It’s truly mesmerizing.
Glenn Thomas, an illustrator from Australia. He created some of my favorite artworks ever growing up, and I ended up just working with him so well, and he takes my ideas and brings them to life in the most perfect way. An amazing true artist.
What is one underlying message or feeling you want the listener to take away from Stillworld?
The last song on the cd is called Soul Sleep and we chose that one to close it out because in hindsight, it’s lyrically closes it out so well. The last words are “Stop living halfway.” And that’s the last thing we wanted people to hear.
If you could describe the record in one word, what word would you choose? Why?
Icy. You can actually hear the ice, the feel is cold, and it sums everything up.
Well, I feel as if we’ve talked the album to death—anything else you want to add about it before I switch gears?
We as a whole are just so proud of Stillworld, and we hope everyone connects with it, and feels at least a portion of how it felt to create it. Just close your eyes, and listen through, that is my best advice.
How has working with Tragic Hero Records been?
So awesome. They’ve treated us so well since the beginning and our relationship continues to blossom into something great. It’s so awesome to see almost a particular style of sound start to come from the label as a whole, and I think that’s so awesome.
Where does the rest of 2016 seem to be leading Invent, Animate? Touring? Writing?
Touring, touring and LP3 will be poking it’s head out soon enough so it’s never too early to get started with it. Exciting things are in the works for the remainder of the year.
If you could play one headline gig with any two bands in support (current or past) and at any one location (real or fantasy), who and where? Let’s assume that the show will be sold out—so it’ll be a wild one.
Foo Fighters, and Fleetwood Mac but Stevie Nicks would be 23 again, so we could date and it wouldn’t be weird, and it would also be in Hawaii, I’m thinking. With those drinks that are cut hollowed out pineapples but inside is some sort of punch. That’s my dream show.
Where is the favorite place you’ve ever played a show?
Toronto makes me feel way to special. I’m gonna have to give it to them, it’s just so insaely wild every time we play and I love it. Hard Luck Bar, – Toronto, special things happen there.
Last question. Let’s assume a friend of yours who happens to be an incredibly talented engineer and brilliant scientist develops a machine that allows you to record ALL of your dreams every night like a DVR or TiVo. He or she is happy to let you use it with one caveat: you must watch every dream you record with your best friends and family, without exception. They will see everything your subconscious leaves for you while you rest, even if you don’t remember it. Do you agree to use the dream DVR, or pass?
A VERY interesting question indeed. I don’t think I would have any issue letting my loved ones see the things that go on in my subconcious, and not to mention, it would probably be life changing, so I would absolutely agree to it. They might see some weird things, but I feel like the insight would be worth it. Great question.
Thank you so much! It was a pleasure to hear this album and write some questions about it!
Thank you so much for having me! You guys are awesome, and hopefully we’ll see you on the road somewhere!
LISTEN to White Wolf here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iJKhJTHhOA
ORDER Stillworld Here: http://www.merchbucket.com/category/invent_animate.html