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Albums That Changed My Life: Andrew Oliver (I See Stars)

This week's "Albums That Changed My Life" contributor is none other Andrew Oliver of I See Stars!

The band are currently gearing up for "Filthy February PT. 2" tour which kicks off later this month. All dates and ticket information can be found here.

Are I See Stars not coming to your town this month? Never fear as the six-piece will be spending their summer of the 2013 Vans Warped Tour.

Radiohead - Kid A

Every single Radiohead album to date is a masterpiece of its own kind in my opinion. But unlike every other album, Kid A displays a newfound love for electronics that was unheard by the band at the time. I read somewhere that the 'A' in the title of the album stands for the heavy influence Aphex Twin (another huge inspiration to us) had on the band. The album carry even to this day a futuristic sound that cannot be matched. It taught me that not every chord progression has to be happy to bring about a smile, but can be almost frighteningly beautiful. you find yourself with this involuntary "man that was clever" grin.

Deftones - S/T

The second you flip this album on you'll hear one of my very favorite guitar riffs of all time. The opening of the song "Hexagram" is one that will give me a distinct feeling forever. This was the first Deftones album I got into. I was young and got to go back in time to records like Adrenaline, Around the Fur. But still to this day, the album cover, and the whole vibe of the album just connected. The skull symbolizes the dark heavy aspect of the band, and then these red and blue flowers symbolize the BEAUTY this band has in their sound. And since it's their only self titled album, I think they described the sound they originated perfectly. Favorite songs are "Bloody Cape," "Battle Axe" and the chilling ballad of "Anniversary of an Uninteresting Event" give me chills and even bring tears sometimes. Their music will always effect me this way, and I think it resonates through the ISS sound.

Coheed and Cambria - The Second Stage Turbine Blade

Devin's [Oliver, vocals] older brother Michael is responsible for all my musical influences before hitting my first Warped and discovering things on my own. He bought this album the year I entered middle school. Brent [Allen] and I being young best friends coming from albums like Linkin Park's "Hybrid Theory," and any Blink 182 album, had to study this incredibly deep album. For the first time their were no rules. Not every song had a chorus or hook, no rhyme in lyrics, jam parts out of nowhere, guitar solos for days. Coheed is the kind of band that takes a classical approach to music. Their music tells a complicated story of ups and downs in emotion. All while Claudio is displaying his nack for rock opera; literally each album is a chapter to a huge story. Musically I think we walked a way with a new sense of appreciation for guitar riffs. Brent began his journey to become a shredder. I looked deep within myself and asked "how in the hell do I tell a tale as tall as this". Those guys whether they ever received major recognition for that album, reinvented the wheel in my opinion.

Favorite songs - "Hearse Shot Kid Disaster" and "Delirium Trigger."

Chiodos - All's Well That Ends Well

I remember going to PureVolume and finding Chiodos, a friend had invited me to a local show in with them and the audition at some hall. Their old version of "Expired in Goreville" corrupted my ears and we were never be the same. These guys were our hometown heroes. That same week, I ended up at a local show in Clawson watching them play to 40-50 people. I meet all the guys, their drummer Derrick told us to keep jamming. That was the year they were preparing a masterpiece of an album. The album inspired us in so many different ways. We learned what a breakdown was, Brent was determined to get those "Jason Hale chops" going. Craig Owens showed this humbleness that we saw in ourselves, all while being the best frontman we had ever saw live. Local shows was as far as we got when we were younger because we all came from broke families who couldn't afford things like Warped or huge radio festivals. The catchiness within the heavy elements of the band hit home. Songs like "The Words Best Friend Become Redefined" gave us this inspiration to write "epic rock" ballads. Other favorites include "No Penguins in Alaska" and "All Nerids Beware."

Underoath - They're Only Chasing Safety

Where to begin, this album changed the dynamic of ISS. Musically we loved that they could transition from chaotic to sudden nostalgic and calm parts. The electronics would make you feel as if you were floating into the sky, only to be thrown down by a sudden breakdown. At the time we were on this search for a frontman. Devin was on guitar, and at the time we hadn't considered to vocalists. It was until we found love for Underoath that we decided that Devin should move up front and Zach should scream. The album showcased two totally different personalities of vocals. Spencer had a dirty southern twang, sounding like a former outlaw trying to better himself. All while Aaron's angelic and innocent vocal lines made sense of all the emotions. Underoath changed it all for us because their lyrics were uplifting. Notice all the albums previous to this, lyrics are fictional and sometimes evil even. Underoath put real life situations in their music, and those songs pulled me out of some rough spots.

"We all want to be, want to be somebody. Right now we're just looking for the exit." It inspired me to be an individual and not care what others thought. I wasn't a cool kid in school. In fact me and Brent sat at a desolate lunch by ourselves because no one gave a shit about any music besides what's force fed to them via pop radio. The album saved me in a lot of ways. Whether or not I'm a religious person, it'd gave me a newfound sense of morality and spirituality. The music creates environments and landscapes in my brain. I wanted my music to do just that. The band personified the images in my brain in one of the best music videos of all time for "its dangerous business". Can't pick a favorite song from the album.

If you put all these albums together (and probably a couple more like From First to Last, Linkin Park, Deadmau5, Skrillex, m83, Aphex Twin, The Killers, Pendulum) you will understand why we are the band we are. I think a lot of artists forget that it's important to stay inspired. Listening to music, and absorbing it has a direct effect your influence. Stay inspired, dig deep for new music, and always keep an opened mind. I appreciate almost every kind of music that exists for what it is. You put elements together and create something different entirely. Stereotypical to say; I live and breathe music. It's my energy, my muse, my emotions. It is the only that makes complete sense in my mind. Thanks for reading.

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