Throne of Blood Following his 2010 jam "Someone Out There," AKA JK (a.k.a.…
- Posted on Sep 6th 2011 3:00PM by Kenneth Partridge
That's when the trouble began. In 2006, frontman Luke Jenner's mother committed suicide, and two years later, as in-fighting derailed the writing of the band's fourth album, he announced his departure. Jenner eventually had a change of heart, but upon his return, bassist Mattie Safer quit, leaving the Rapture to carry on as a trio. Fortunately, Jenner, multi-instrumentalist Gabriel Andruzzi and drummer Vito Roccoforte were able to regroup and record 'In the Grace of Your Love,' out now on DFA.
On the eve of a fall tour, Roccoforte chatted with Spinner about the importance of communication, the myth of the "tortured artist" and the likelihood his band will survive another decade.
You guys went through a lot making this album. Heading into this tour, are you on good terms?
Yeah, we are. We've changed in the way we function and communicate and work together. We had to. We have weekly meetings where we go over all the business and talk about things together. That's one thing that always created problems in the past. You have so many things to talk about, and people wouldn't talk about things, and somebody didn't want to do something, but they didn't get to say anything, and it built up. Communication is so much of it.
A lot of the songs on this album seem really positive. To what extent do Luke's lyrics speak for the band on the whole?
I think Luke's lyrics speak for Luke. We've always let the singer write their own lyrics. A lot of times, I don't even know if Luke is quite sure what he's singing about. His style of writing is pretty impromptu and off the top of his head. But definitely, the vibe and the feel of the album -- and that includes some of the lyrics -- is pretty reflective of the band and where we're at on the whole and where we were at when we made the music.
There's the philosophy -- "the tortured artist" -- that to make great art, you have to come from a place of pain or angst. What we were really trying to do, and what I think Luke was trying to do, was see if we can make a piece of music that didn't necessarily have to come from a place of pain or angst. Or even if it did, it didn't wallow in it, and it wasn't the focus, but rather it transcended that.
There's a lot of lyrics and things on this album that are very personal to Luke like you've probably read, his losing his mother and things like that. We've all personally been through a lot in the last five years, and a lot has been documented, with people quitting. It was a real roller coaster ride.
In a lot of ways, this is your most sonically diverse album.
That was something we felt like we wanted to get back to. When we started this band, one of the founding principles was we want to be in a band where we can do whatever we want musically, and we don't have any limitations.
With 'Pieces of the People,' it felt like we definitely made a more focused album, on certain things, but it wasn't as broad in some ways. There were things thrown out because they might not musically fit into whatever it was we were making. This time around we embraced everything and just wrote and made music together, and whatever came out came out.
As the drummer, did you feel less pressure to play dance beats?
I feel like if people are listening to the drums too much, you've probably done something wrong or the song's not good enough. I'm a full subscriber to the Ringo Starr or Charlie Watts school of drumming. They're fantastic drummers, and they have really great drum beats, but I'll play the same exact thing every time if it suits the song. Musically, we were able to stretch out, and there were different kinds of songs. 'Roller Coaster,' for example, was a song that was really fun to play drums on, because I just tried to play it like a roller coaster.
A lot of people still associate you guys with the dance-punk scene of the early '00s. Are you comfortable with that? Do you feel a kinship to other bands that were popular around that time?
I have a kinship to a lot of those bands, but we've never seen ourselves as a dance-punk band or punk-funk or disco-funk. We don't even know what that means, really. That label, it is what it is, but we never saw ourselves that way.
Now that you've survived the experience of making this record, do you see the band being around another 10 years?
I'll make a bad analogy, even though I try to stay away from those now: It was like having a heart attack but not dying from it. It was a scare. It made us realize our own mortality. Before that, I don't think any of us thought the band was going to end.
Now that we were able to make an album we really like and move forward and go on tour, we're really grateful. We're trying to do everything we didn't do before, and do everything that we wanted to do, and do everything the way we think we should now. It opened our eyes. We're just trying to live in the here and now. In the past, when we got too focused on the future, it just screwed things up.