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INTERVIEW: BRETT CALLAWAY of Close Your Eyes, August 2014

| 12 August 2014 | Reply

Close Your Eyes, a metalcore band from Abilene, TX, is fresh off their first time on Warped Tour.  Guitarist and founding member Brett Callaway recently took some time with us to reflect on the experience and give us some perspective on the band.


Mike: You guys have just come off of your first time on Warped Tour.  How was that experience for you?

BC – It was incredible! We had a great time! It is like going to summer camp with a bunch of friends and getting to hear awesome music everyday! Yes, it was exhausting…but it was more than worth it.

Mike: I had the opportunity to catch your set at the Auburn Hills, MI stop, and took a number of pictures of the band (full review here).  That may have been the most fun set I saw all day.  Your crowd was relatively small, but very into the performance.  How was the crowd acceptance overall on Warped?

BC – The crowd was great over the whole tour. It did get better as the tour went on a little bit, but I have no complaints about the beginning of the tour. There was a lot of energy overall and we really appreciated that! We played late a lot of days, so the people who were there at those sets we knew really wanted to see us. There were people singing along every day and just going crazy. We couldn’t ask for more!

Mike: One advantage of playing on a smaller stage like you did is the increased intimacy of the show and the ability for greater crowd interaction.  You guys really took advantage of that, probably more than any other bands I saw that day.  Is that crowd interaction something you guys feed off of?

BC – For sure! We always want to have a connection with everyone in the crowd. We really feed off of that.

Mike: Part of the fun of Warped Tour for fans is the opportunity to ‘discover’ new bands you like, like the way I ‘discovered’ you guys.  Did you guys have the chance to get into any new bands on the tour, or make new friends?  If so, with who?

BC – Oh yeah! There was a band named The City Shakeup that I really got into. Great guys as well. There was a reggae band that I enjoyed and became friends with as well called Pacific Dub, and a pop punk band named Mixtapes.

Mike: Changing topics, Line In The Sand was the first Close Your Eyes recording for Sam and Jordan.  How was the writing process with the lineup changes?

BC – It was pretty smooth actually. It was pretty much the same approach as always someone comes in with an idea and we get together and work it out into either a song we like, or it gets cut.

Mike: You and lead vocalist Sam Robinson did a really cool video going through the album, track by track.  In the conversation about ‘Trends And Phases’ Sam said he wrote the song out of the frustration he was having with the recording process and fitting in with the band, but you stated that you thought the recording process was easy.  Looking back on it now, what is your perspective on how the recording went?

BC – Haha! I still think it was easy. It was pretty smooth in my opinion!

Mike: Also on that video you stated that the riffs for “Skeletons” was inspired by The Chariot and The Dillinger Escape Plan (two of my favorite bands, btw), and Sam said there was a line from Pink Floyd (another one of my favorite bands) in “Deus Ex Machina”.  What other bands inspire or influence your music?

BC – There are so many influences that this question is hard to answer. We never really try to sound like anyone or anything so there is a huge range of things that we can pull from. I pull from everything from Johnny Cash to The Foo Fighters to Rise Against to With Honor to Hatebreed. You always look for the things they do well and try to learn from them. Not that you just do what they do, but capture the essence of what is going on in a new and different way.

Mike: You also said in the video that he wrote “Sleeping Giant” with your dad.  Personally, I find that pretty cool, since I am probably old enough to be your dad.  Did any of the band’s parents or family members get a chance to catch you guys on Warped Tour?

BC – Yep! Jordan’s parents and my parents were at the show in Houston where both of us live. It was really awesome to have them there.

Mike: During that same video you made a comment that “Our point of being a band is to spread hope and love and make the world a better place”.  That definitely comes out in many of your lyrics.  Are there other tangible ways you guys try to make that a reality?


BC – We really try to make connections with the people who listen to us and come to our shows and take a legitimate interest in their lives as much as we can!

Mike: The diversity of musical styles in Line In The Sand is significant.  From classic metalcore to straight hardcore to pop punk to straight pop, it covers a broad range of styles not typically seen on a single disc.  Was there a conscious effort to vary the styles or was that something that just came out during the writing and recording process?

BC – Not really, we just wrote songs we liked and if we thought it was good enough it made it onto the album.

Mike: How did a band from Abilene, TX end up with an English front man?  Or conversely, how did a front man from England end up in a band from Abilene, TX?

BC – Well, Sam was in another band whose bus broke down in Houston. I was on tour at the time, but he ended up staying with my parents for about 10 days. A couple years later he heard we were looking for a vocalist and emailed my mom about it. The rest is history.

Mike: With all of the changes in the band’s line up the last few years, you are the only remaining founding member.  How do you believe the essence of the band has changed with the changing band members?

BC – I would hope that it hasn’t. We still have the same mission of bringing hope and love to people and I know I still do it with the same passion.

Mike: The topic of Christian bands in the hardcore/metal/alternative world has gotten a lot of attention in the last few years.  Not all of the attention has been positive, noting the incident with Mike Reynolds, formerly of For Today making controversial statements on homosexuality and the well documented saga of Tim Lambesis.  Christian themes are obvious in your lyrics.  What does it mean to you for a band to be labeled a “Christian band”, and do you see yourselves as one?

BC – We have never labeled ourselves as a Christian band, but we have never argued with the label either. The reality is we are Christians and we write about what is real to us in our lives. That is a huge part of our lives so it obviously comes out in our music. I also think it goes along with our mission of brining hope and love. I cannot think of a better example of those things other than the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Mike: With the notable exception of Warped Tour, many (most?) of your tours have been with other Christian bands.  Do you expect that trend to continue, or are you looking to break out and tour more with secular bands?

BC – I don’t actually think that is true. For the most part I feel like we have toured with secular bands. We have done two Scream The Prayer tours which are Christian tours. But the first Scream The Prayer we did was the first Christian tour we had ever done.

Mike: You spent some time touring Europe and South America last year.  How has your reception been outside of the US?

BC – It has been incredible. We have been totally blown away by the reception we have received internationally.

Mike: What is next for the band?  Are you taking a break after Warped Tour or planning to go back on the road right away?

BC – We will be in Europe in the fall and writing a bunch of new songs!

Mike: Do you have any concrete plans for recording?

BC – Not concrete…we just know we would like to do it soon.

Mike: You had a couple of guest vocalists on Line In The Sand.  Are there any vocalists you’d like to have do a guest appearance with you on future recordings?

BC – I would never complain about Dave Grohl or Davey Havok!

Did you hear that Dave and Davey?  That sounds like an open invitation to jam with a bunch of cool dudes! Thank you again Brett for taking your time to answer my questions!  I really appreciate it, and look forward to seeing great things from you guys going forward!

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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