In what has become a New Year’s Eve tradition here at A&GS yours truly has decided to post an interview with members of bands that I not only love and admire, but ones that I’ve become great friends with. Last year was A SOUND OF THUNDER, and this year: ROSES UNREAD. I had another chance to sit down with John Purifoy and Allison Teague Purifoy (guitars and vocals, respectively) in the fall. As many of you know, they are one of my favorite new bands to emerge in the past few years, and newest record The Silver Lining only cemented that love further. We touched on the album, playing live, favorite albums of 2015, and a whole lot more. Check it:
Amps: Once again, thanks so much for sitting down with me, you two. How does it feel knowing that all the hard work that went into The Silver Lining is finished and the record is out?
John: We’re so relieved. We ran into so many curves and bumps in the road during this recording process. We had to go back and redo a few things due to technical errors. When you’re doing everything yourself you’re learning as you go.
I knew the engineering process pretty well having used Pro Tools for a long time and having been to some big studios. There was an issue with a few of the tracks and our friend Dave Cowell, who produced the last record with us, mixed it and he said, “I think it’d be really cool if you went and played this right here, or maybe that over there.” There were maybe two or three times we thought we were completely finished with our end of things and Dave would suggest we beef up a part here or there.
Allison: He was 60 miles away, but it felt like he was right there in the room with us. We used facetime a lot. We normally went into other studios and we would feel rushed, with no room to breathe. We were able to do this at our own pace and have full control of how we wanted things to be. I think that made things a lot better, and it sounds cleaner, thicker, and better. Because we got that extra time doing it here at the house.
John: It was a really cool experience and I’m glad we did it the way we did. I wouldn’t have done it any other way.
Amps: As far as your vocals went, did you do many takes, or just stop when you got what you felt was the right one, Allison?
Allison: I’m really OCD when it comes to my voice, and things had to be to my perfection. John would be like, “I think that one sounded fantastic.” And I’d say, “Nope, something’s bothering me.” I did probably about 30 takes because I push myself, and then I’d go and I’d crop the vocals. Sometimes I could keep a whole phrase, other times I played around with different takes. It really depended on the song.
John: There was one instance Damian, where we’d been so meticulous in our recording the vocals during pre-production and the writing phase, and Allison and I wrote a lot of it before the rest of the band got back together after that tour in Texas where we met you. We felt that the 2013 self-titled record was good, but not what we wanted exactly. It didn’t really display what we were capable of. there was this one song where she said that there’s so much passion and emotion in that demo track that we should use that for the final version.
Allison: Sometimes you just can’t go back to how you were feeling at the exact moment you wrote it. When you can it’s really cool, but I just got the emotion out and was feeling it as I laid it down. With the self-titled CD we practiced so much to get it right, and played a lot of those songs live before it was released. With this one we just wrote, and didn’t play any of them live until the CD was pretty much done.
Amps: Grant Brooks (drums) recently turned 21. How is he working out now that he’s been in the band for a minute or two?
John: He played his first show with us about a year and a half ago. Our previous drummer Caveman was with us for a while, and we wanted to take that extra step, but he had a new baby at the time and started a really demanding job. Of course he was also still in the military, so he just didn’t think he could do it. We talked to Grant about filling in on some shows with us and he said, “That’s fine, but if the spot comes up and y’all need a permanent drummer let me know.” And we knew when the time came that we didn’t want anybody but Grant, because Caveman left some big shoes to fill, and there was no one else who could. He is a manager at his job so he can make his own schedule. He comes home, then plays drums all night, and Xbox (laughs). And that fits right in with us because all we play is music and video games. He’s really excited about this band and him being excited makes US more excited!
Allison: He just wants to get out on the road and play, and so do I. Man, I miss it. I miss it so bad! We have definitely fed off of his enthusiasm. He drives two hours to practice and to me that’s inspiring. It pushes me harder because if my drummer’s driving two hours to practice then you can bet I’m gonna give it my all. There’s no slacking here!
Amps: We live in a time right now where a ton of female vocalists want to come out in corsets and stuff that’s so short you can see what they had for lunch! Allison, you’ve managed to have sex appeal while being the girl next door. Why do you think you’ve been able to be the Rock Goddess without resorting to such lowly tactics?
Allison: OK. Here’s an example: I love IN THIS MOMENT, and we’ve talked about this before, but I just don’t see why Maria Brink has to dress the way she does sometimes. I think it takes away from their music, and they’re a great band. I wouldn’t want to dress in a way that takes away from mine. I think it’s a distraction. I guess I’m confident enough in myself that I can go up there and cover up a little bit. I couldn’t tell you why some of them do it.
I guess I feel more comfortable clothed (laughs)? Plus I’m a second grade schoolteacher so I’ve got to find the middle ground. It’s already looked at weird enough that I’m in a rock band! I think Cristina scabbia from LACUNA COIL is super-sexy while staying covered up.
Amps: What 2015 albums have knocked your socks off this year?
John: Well, you and I talk about this frequently. I love NORTHLANE’S new record, Node. To me, there’s more atmosphere and better songwriting than some of the other Rise Records bands I love. BREAKING BENJAMIN’S new album Dark Before Dawn is great! They’re one of my favorite bands. SEVENDUST, too.
Allison: I was telling you last month how BREAKING BENJAMIN’S new one is like learning new things about an old friend, because they’ve been gone for so long but you still check up on them. That CD to me has a great old vibe and a newer vibe. I think every person wants to hear WHY they fell in love with a band on their newest CD. Hopefully that’s what you get with The Silver Lining. The new SEVENDUST album Kill the Flaw is great, too!
Amps: What are the plans to play live?
John: We have some things in the works for 2016. We all work full-time, so we need to get hooked up with the right person to help get us out there on the road. Hopefully we get up to Philly to come see you.
Amps: What does the future hold for ROSES UNREAD?
John: I would love this album to kind of put us over the top. Right now we’re looking to broaden our horizons. We want to get on the road and stay on the road. We want to make a living doing this, you know?
Allison: John’s been all over the country, but I haven’t. I’d love to be able to travel the world playing music.
Amps: What would you like to say to all your fans out there?
John: We’re gonna come see you as soon as we possibly can, thank you for everything, we love you, and tell at least ten people about us, please.
Allison: Well I don’t think I could have said it any better. Get ready for a new side of us. I think the fans who have been with us a long time will stick with us no matter what. There are no better fans than ROSES UNREAD fans. I know a lot of bands say that about theirs, but I believe that in my heart.
ROSES UNREAD are one of those bands who NEEDS to be bigger than they already are. Hopefully The Silver Lining wakes up the masses and my friends can reap the rewards of success. On another note, I was beyond proud and honored that the band thanked me in the album credits. I can think of no better way to live up to that than A&GS spreading the word everywhere and anywhere we can.