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Interview: I Set My Friends On Fire

This week experimental rockers I Set My Friends On Fire released their sophomore album, 'Astral Rejection'. The album was originally recorded and set for release last year, but was then postponed due to the departure of founding member Nabil Moo. As a result of the departure, the Miami, Florida group re-recorded the album.

Alter The Press! recently spoke to multi-instrumentalist Chris Lent about the line-up change, 'Astral Rejection', working with producer Travis Richter again, their forthcoming UK dates with A Skylit Drive and more.

Alter The Press: First of all can you introduce yourself and your role in ISMFOF?
I Set My Friends On Fire: My name is Chris Lent I write music, play many instruments, and play drums live.

ATP: Since releasing 'You Can't Spell Slaughter Without Laughter'. You've gone through a line-up change. Could you explain the change and how it has a ffected the band?
ISMFOF: We had just returned from Bamboozle and went to do some pre-production for the retry on "Astral" and Nabil said this was not the path for him anymore. There was no anger on the decision because Nabil is one of the greatest guys in the world and if he is not happy creating in a certain field anymore he needs to move to another that makes him happy. Which happens to be photography and video, he actually just filmed a new music video for us and it turned out amazing. So Matt and I just knew we had to stay focused and keep writing. The dynamic of course changed because Nabil was the dude, but it has changed the band into a stronger entity because it forced us to step up even more.

ATP: I understand 'Astral Rejection' was re-recorded after Nabil left. How has the album turned out to the way it was originally recorded?
ISMFOF: Well there was a lot more chaos put into the "second version" because the original way was lacking some intensity in certain aspects. We recorded the original in Valdosta, Georgia at Earthsound Recording directly after touring all year with virtually no breaks. We were so burnt from the music and the vibes that surrounded us at the shows, that we could show no passion towards making anything that would be even remotely digested by that crowd.

We basically went in there and wrote a rock record with minimal electronics and it felt very dark. The angst and discontent really showed through on the songs the first round, so of course Epitaph rejected it. We are not downer guys nor do we want to bring people down ever. We were just dried up of passion. So when we went back into the studio we had a good break from hearing music we hate, and had time to actually write with our normal creativity and love. I love the way it turned out.


ATP: How has the bands sound changed since 'You Can't Spell...'?
ISMFOF: Its vibrating at a much higher rate now, in hopes it can make it to new earth.

ATP: Where did the title 'Astral Rejection' come from?
ISMFOF: There is nothing worse then being blocked from leaving your body ever.

ATP: On the new album you worked with Travis Richter again. What is he like as a producer and what does he contribute to ISMFOF's sound?
ISMFOF: I have known Travis for many years, and him showing me the pre-production tracks for "Slaughter" is why I play in this band. So it's always great working with him and he helped a lot. I know I am a beginner at recording so I mainly stick to everything but that. He really made sure that this album became an actuality

ATP: With such an experimental sound, what bands influenced whilst making 'Astral Rejection'?
ISMFOF: Good thing about influences is once they get in you they never leave; well unless your a fickle person. Basically it was a collective of everything that has influenced us in our lives to that point

ATP: What thoughts do you hope people come away after hearing 'Astral Rejection'?
ISMFOF: "Niiiiiiiiiice! I am stoked for more songs!

ATP: The post-hardcore/electronia sound is one that is popular with fans but also criticised by some. Why do you think this is?
ISMFOF: Well giving anything a category to sit in automatically puts it on the judgement block. The fact anyone is putting music into a category is something driven completely by their ego, and that they cling to because it seemingly makes them who they are. People have their elitist categorization for everything they define themselves as in the material world. I for one call music for what it is; great, badass or something I dont dig. I think these genres and subgenres are just confusing people to the point where they can't even appreciate what music and art is about.

ATP: What are your plans for the coming months? I understand you'll be over here in the UK with A Skylit Drive later this year?
ISMFOF: We have the UK and Europe with Skylit, Woe Is Me, and Sleeping with Sirens which I am very stoked on because I will get to see The Blackout and We Are The Ocean guys again!! Then we have a couple weeks break to prepare for a big run with Alesana. They're some of our great friends, and we are really excited about it.

ATP: What can fans expect from ISMFOF show?
ISMFOF: Happy-face, Lemon-face, Surprised-face, confused-face, mildly-entertained-face, happy-face, and when we get the budget lasers that dwarf a Pink Floyd performance.

ATP: Is there anything you'd like to say to close the interview?
ISMFOF: Don't hold creativity back for fear of being ridiculed.

'Astral Rejection' is available now on Epitaph Records.

I Set My Friends on Fire on Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace.