On the brink of a major US tour and the bands first foray into Japan, It Lies Within's lead signer Zachary Scott took some time out of his tour packing to discuss the tour, the status of new music from the Flint, MI-based metalcore outfit, and more...
Toddstar: Zach, how are you?
Zach: Good, man, how ya doing?
Toddstar: Good. Thank you so much for taking time out for us, brother, we really appreciate it.
Zach: Oh, no, absolutely, thanks for having me.
Toddstar: Oh, man, it's exciting for us, It Lies Within, there's so much going on in your guy's world right now. Let's talk about the biggest thing - kicking off in a couple of days you guys have a big tour going on. What can you tell us about the Rise Above Hate Tour?
Zach: Yeah, man, we're getting ready to kick off the Rise Above Hate Tour, like you just mentioned. It's sponsored by R & R Clothing, that's an endorser of ours who's taken care of us over the years. They kind of stand for the same message as we do here in It Lies Within, and that's just to kind of stay positive, you know what I mean, shed a different light on the metal scene, per se. We're really excited about it; we actually just wrapped up a 16 day tour, just last Sunday, with Darkness Divided and The War Within, that was a pretty smooth tour. We're only home for a short 5 days, and then back at it again.
Toddstar: That's a good problem to have, this day and age, in the music business.
Zach: Yeah, absolutely, I mean, in order to kind of make it today, it's a lot harder than it used to be, I would say. You kind of just got to pound the pavement, you got to stay busy. We're definitely super fortunate that we're able to stay busy, and that people actually allow It Lies Within to keep touring, and coming around. People want to see us play, and we're super stoked about that.
Toddstar: Awesome. Another cool thing about the tour is, plugged between 2 sets of U. S. dates; you're heading over to Japan. What's that like? That's got to be kind of surreal.
Zach: Yeah, to be honest, dude, it's... that's exactly the word I would use. It still hasn't even sunk in yet, and like you said, we're leaving this Friday for the tour. This is our first international tour, except for Canada, but us being from Michigan, you know, we're so close to Canada, almost seems like that's not really an international tour, per se. But yeah man, Japan came knocking down the door, contacted our agent over there at The Sights Set North Agency, and basically asked if It Lies Within was available to come over, you know, and, I don't want to say, at first when you get things like that, you think it's a joke, because by no means is it a joke, because I feel that our band is on the rise right now, it' just the fact that you kind of are a little weary at first, and you want to make sure all the ducks are lined up in a row, and everything actually was legit. Everything worked out perfectly over there with R&R tours, and those guys have been super cool throughout the process, man, and we're going to do a little leg out to LA, with a band Cry Excess, they're also label-mates of ours on Luxor Records. They're from Italy, so it's their first time here in the States, so we're going to show those boys a good time out here, and then we're going to leave them in LA while they do a music video, and we're going to head over to Japan, and hopefully give them a little taste of It Lies Within, brother, and then we're going to come back and head on home.
Toddstar: Awesome. You mentioned something, and that was the message, or the underlying impression that you guys like to leave. For a band like It Lies Within, the genre that you guys are in, the heavier, the Metalcore, how difficult do you find that it is to try and deliver that kind of message, when most people, you know, they kind of have that stereotype of "oh, that's just grunting, groaning, there's nothing there", when you guys actually do have a lot of content to your music, how hard do you feel the battle is to get that positive message out there?
Zach: I mean, I definitely think that we have our backs against the wall, but I think that's the challenge that presents itself to It Lies Within, and I'll be honest with ya, I think we work harder under pressure, and honestly, that's exactly what this band is about, man. That's what keeps us going, is the fact that we just have so much in front of us, and it's such a hard challenge that I think that's why we prevailed to get where we've gotten, and by no means is there an end in sight for us. Honestly, we're just continuing to grow, and I see so many things in our future, but to just touch a little bit more on what you're saying, yeah, I mean, you've got a typical metal-head stand, which could be, possibly, into the older style of metal, where the developing metal was, per se Ozzy Osbourne, you want to go Metallica, Iron Maiden, you know, stuff like that. You have a hard time right away, just being in a Metalcore band, trying to win over that crowd, because some of that crowd, they're not wanting to open up their arms, or their eyes, to the fact that Metal is actually evolving, and basically, Metal is just kind of trying to open the door to a new generation, to a new audience, so that we can kind of keep it alive. I don't think so many of this generation of Metal-heads is really trying to keep it so underground anymore, you know, we kind of want to make it a little more mainstream, which I kind of stand by a little bit. I like pushing the boundaries of different people that live different styles. Then you also have the younger generation of the Metalcore, post hardcore kids, which, you know, they're listening to bands like Attila and things like that, which have a message of just "party, party, party," you know, "let's just have as much fun as we can". Nothing against them, because I actually am personal friends with members of that band, but you know, their message is just a little bit different than what It Lies Within is all about. So yeah, man, to actually try to project a positive message, while also screaming at people, is definitely the most difficult task, I would say, in the Metal scene today.
Toddstar: How much of that, I don't want to say drive, but the influence of a positive message, how much of that comes from your guy's upbringing? I mean, you guys come from, and it's a place that's near and dear to my heart, but we'll get back to that, but, Flint, Michigan, I mean, you know, Flint isn't exactly happy-go-lucky all the time. Do you think that's part of how you guys are able to just come out with this positive message?
Zach: Well, I mean, I absolutely think you hit the nail on the head, you know, that's exactly what it's about. I think that's what's motivated us, you know, Matt and I. We've grown up in bands together, local Flint bands our whole entire life, and you know, what we do was kind of more for fun at first, starting off at the Flint Local 432 back in the day, you know, big shout out to those guys for helping us out, but, you know, the bottom line is, as we grew into this band, as we decided to take this seriously as a career, as a profession, like really put all of our eggs in the basket of It Lies Within, we wanted to embrace everything and everyone around us, and when we started writing music for this band, that's just what poured out of us, man. We wanted to shine this different view, of not only Metal, but honestly, about where we're from, because ... The first year of touring, it really motivated us, because every time we talked to somebody about where we were from, it's really funny, the stereotype we get right away across the country. "Aw, man, you're from Flint? You guys must be extra hardcore” or, you know, they use the term "ghetto", you know, and I just think that those stereotypes are just so easy to throw around. We want to be a positive stamp of Flint, Michigan. We want to show people that, honestly, it's no different than any other major city. If anything, I think we're a lot stronger of a community, and having places like the Machine Shop, as well, to bring everybody together, man, I think we're a fortunate city, to be honest with ya.
Toddstar: You just gave me the perfect segue way. Kevin and his crew are excited to have you guys, and you're actually going to close out the American leg of the tour, the second leg, at the Machine Shop in November. What's it like for you guys to come home to a place like the Machine Shop at the end of a tour?
Zach: Well, you know what, we've been super fortunate, I'll be honest, we're almost a little bit spoiled, and I hate to use that term, but you know, Kevin and they guys have been so kind to us over the years. Honestly, I would dedicate 90% of our success to those guys. If it wasn't for them, you know, It Lies Within definitely would not be where we are today. But the bottom line is, they're also smart business people, and so, so many people sometimes say "why does It Lies Within play The Shop so much?" Well, the bottom line is we bring people, and it doesn't matter how many times we play there, if we're packing up the shows, and we're bringing the people, Kevin sees that, and he's a smart man. That's the bottom line, is that, we want to provide Rock and Roll, we want to provide Metal, and if we can bring local bands into it, which every single show that It Lies Within plays at The Shop, we always allow local bands to play, and again that's about giving back to the city, you know what I mean? To answer your question, man, we have the chance to start tours there sometimes, we have the chances to end tours there sometimes, and I'll be honest with you, I love ending there better. It's so awesome to kind of go on the road, grind it out, do what we're out there to do, but then to be welcomed home by all of our friends, our family. Our biggest fan base is also right here at home, man, so the support of the Banana, you know, The Machine Shop, and everybody around, man, like I said, without them, we would be nothing.
Toddstar: That's awesome. I mean, if there's one thing you could pin it on, about The Machine Shop, what is it about The Machine Shop [http://www.themachineshop.info/], other than the fact that they love you guys, and you love them, and it's local for you, what is it about The Machine Shop that keeps bands coming back?
Zach: Honestly, I think it really is the hospitality. I think it's the professionalism, the organization. I've even heard some bands complain about how strict they are on certain things there, but to be honest with you, man, I've toured the whole country, and I wish there was more of that. The second you get there to the second you leave, you have a schedule. You know exactly what's going on, where it's going, who you need to talk to, and who you don't need to talk to, and who you don't need to bother, you know. I think the fact that they square that up way ahead of the game, it's just such a professionally ran gig. Secondly, I'll tell ya what, dude, the sound system there is just phenomenal. The acoustics of that room, the way they've built it, the way they've angled it, and just the type of sound that they have there, let alone the engineers they have running it, I mean, these guys are 110% professionals, and they know exactly what they're doing. I think that when you go on the road, especially if you're from out of the state, or whether you're from the state, that's exactly what you want. The show goes smoother than any show, honestly, than I have on tour. Not to say that there's no other shows that go exactly as smooth, but there's definitely none that go smoother just because they are at the top of their game. It's the hospitality, they're just perfect at what they do, and they make you feel like you're at home.
Toddstar: Awesome. Okay, and you guys have 3 tours, 2 in the U. S. and 1 in Japan coming up, and I'm seeing stuff on social media about a new music video, what can you leak about the new music video that somebody posted 2 hours ago about? (laughs).
Zach: (laughs). Well, you know, pretty much, you know, everybody's been anticipating this new album for us, we've been taking a lot longer than expected to put out this new album. It's been about 2.5, almost going on 3 years now, and that's a long time between albums for a band. The bottom line is, throughout our member changes, really trying to find just our dream team, our line-up, which I feel we have now. We basically had to go back into the studio, re-cut tracks, we ended up working with some other producers that became available at the time to us, some big names that we'll reveal later, that you're going to be really, really excited about. Once we got everything in line with that, we went and shot a couple music videos. We have 2 that we're getting ready to reveal here within the next couple months, hopefully sooner than later. We've been busy, we've definitely been busy. I can say that the album is done, but that's as much info as I can really give on that, but it's fully done, it is fully done can completed, we're just waiting for our release date, and we'll be able to reveal all of that to the world hopefully, like I said, very soon here.
Toddstar: Cool. Looking back, you guys really beat the street to put together a career. If you could look back and you could change any one thing about the way you've done this so far, Zach, what would you change?
Zach: Well, to be honest with you, I ask myself that a lot. I think, every time I ask myself that, I have 2 different perspectives on it. I have the perspective of the musician, of the passion of the music, the passion of the drive, the grind. I would say that I wouldn't change a thing. If I were to be the business man, and just concerned about the financial situations of the band, and maybe I had to start all over again, well, maybe I would just say that I guess I wish I had the experience I have now, when I first started. But, you know, that's just life, that's growing, that's career changing stuff, and again I think that goes back to where my head stays and still lies is back in the musician's standpoint. I'm just thankful, and blessed, that I have the opportunity to do what I do, you know, the band is self-sufficient, we have a great backing by our label, Luxor. Everything is moving forward, and in full motion. I couldn't ask for anything more.
Toddstar: Awesome. Well thank you again, Zach, so much for your time, I know you guys are probably in overdrive, trying to get out of town for your first date in Peoria, but personally, we can't wait to see you guys kicking a little bit of ass on stage, once again, at the world famous Machine Shop on November 8th, and we wish you safe travels to Japan in between that.
Zach: Hey, thank you guys so much for having us, we appreciate it. It Lies Within you all.
Toddstar: All right, brother, we'll talk to you soon.
IT LIES WITHIN LINKS: