I Set My Friends On Fire's debut album, You Can't Spell Slaughter Without Laughter turned 10 this year and we have commentary on the album from vocalist Matt Mehana. Enjoy the read and let us know your thoughts on the album ten years later.
First of all, how does it feel knowing You Can't Spell Slaughter Without Laughter turns 10 this year?
Knowing 10 years has passed makes my existence feel so surreal. It’s obviously been a great deal of time but it doesn’t feel like things went slow at all. I feel like a big part of nostalgia to the “good ol’ days”. Fans always tells me they feel like they are reanimating their “inner teen years”. And it’s wild to hear that all the time considering a lot of these kids were my age when all of this started (17-18). A higher being has most definitely blessed me to still be touring/writing music until this very day!
How did you feel when the album came out?
When the album came it was one of the best days of my life. I felt so accomplished. It was the beginning of something really special. I knew it was going influence so many lives and change how post-hardcore music was perceived. I was really proud of myself.
Where do you think the album fits in the band's legacy?
The album fits in revisited state of mind for all ages to come. To me it’s not an album you can just listen to once, it’s something you go to and pick when no one else is there for you but the music is. I’ve had albums that I revisit after feeling depressed or helpless and after listening to then I would feel a lot better. That’s more or less what I think people do when listening to slaughter. feel like this album fits right up there with those other classics.
How did the band approach writing?
Usually nabil would write the music. Send it to me. I’d listen and start writing lyrics to it. Then I’d go back to the home studio with nabil and start trying to fit whatever lyrics I wrote over the music. I actually use to even hum out guitar melodies with my mouth so nabil could transmute them into actual guitar notes it was a great dynamic and a lot of fun. I always had melodies playing in my head all day and It’s cool to think a lot of them turned into memorable guitar melodies. Nowadays I write all the music and produce everything myself. Even record myself! It’s a lot to handle but it’s a really great feeling to have exactly what’s in your mind come out exactly how you imagined it.
What inspired the lyrics?
As far as lyrics go I’ve always have a huge imagination. I’ve had a way with words ever since I was little and making up stories was always my thing. I always try to involve what I’m going through into my lyrics but I obvious ly exaggerate a lot of the situations haha. I like to make people think. Mystery is fun to me and I like people take more than one meaning out of what I write. I didn’t want to just write anything out there in order to sound cool or seem “edgy”. I’ve always wanted to help people and if people saw that I took my time to create I a complicated point of thinking, I’d think they would see how much I care to go out of my way to write such extraordinary ideas to help them relate.
Do any of the themes touched on the album still hold relevant for you after 10 years?
I actually think the album was super ahead of its time. Especially on the melody side of things. If you put trap beats over most of the vocal melodies it would sound like most of the “emo trap” that has come out today. It’s a timeless album that people can still enjoy today and I think it’s still relevant to what people are still trying to go for in today’s music. Although I still think it came out at the perfect time. Post-hardcore needed something refreshing and I think we gave 2008 exactly what it needed. Even the “woahs” and “yeah” ad libs can heard in a lot of trap these days.
What were your hopes and expectations for the record during the writing and recording process?
I was hoping to make a difference in peoples lives and make life fun with the music we were creating. There’s nothing better than affecting someone’s life for the better. I really really tried to make sure that every permanent word I wrote for the album would stay engraved in peoples minds and help them understand things in times of need. I also expected my life to change forever and ever since that album came out I’ve felt like I have an unwritten duty to keep writing new and creative music to move people.
When you were in the studio, how was the morale of everyone?
It was all very exciting during those times of writing the record. Everyone knew we were on to something special and it kind felt like nothing could stop us. It never felt like work at any moment. The drive everyone has was unreal. I still am motivated today but I don’t think anything could beat the drive I had back then for writing music.
When was the last time you listened to the record? Are there memories and emotions that come back?
Funny question. I actually have to listen to the album sometimes just to remember lyrics before I go on stage. Don’t get me wrong. Those lyrics are burned into my skull but it’s almost like some weird kind of OCD thing that happens whenever I get nervous before going on stage. Yes, I still get nervous. But only right before I go on. Once I’m on the stage all of that goes away and I turn on a focused switch.
What do you remember most about making the album?
The thing I remember most about writing the album is just being super stoked on life. My whole life had changed the day we made a MySpace page and uploaded crank that. There was just was just so much hype rushing in after that and I seriously felt high on life. Matter a fact I didn’t even smoke weed at those times. I was just sober and really high on how exciting it all was. It gave me like writing super powers.
Were there any bands in particular you enjoyed playing with while touring for the record?
My two favorite bands I enjoyed touring with at the time just so happened to first 2 bands I ever toured with. Karate High school & You, Me, and Everyone we know”. They were the most easy going nicest people I had ever met. I had some of the most fun I’ve ever had with those guys. Everyone respect us and the respect was mutual.
What sort of place was your life in when the album came out?
I was in the best place possible I was in my life. Like I said. I was super high on life and I felt unstoppable. It felt like I actually had a purpose on earth. And I still feel that way.
Do you remember what you were listening to at the time?
At the time I we mainly listening to “Frou Frou” better known as “Imogen Heap” and this Canadian band called “Boys night out”. Both very different styles of music but their music always put me in a good mood and gave me a lot of inspiration. The melodies that these artists had were just so infectious and I am lucky to have known about these artists to have a good point of reference on what sounds good. I was also listening to this band called “Secret Lives Of The Freemasons”. Their lyrics and vocal melodies were just so damn good I actually still listen to them a lot today.
Did you ever expect the album to have the influence it did?
I definitely did expect this album to be timeless and still impact people today but I had no idea that one day it would influence a lot of hip-hop artist in 2018. A lot people don’t like to reveal who they listen to because they don’t want people to think they solely based their sound on that style of music, but I can most def hear a lot of vocal melodies in hip-hop that couldn’t have possibly reached there without at least a tea spoon of our influence.
Looking back on things ten years later, would you change anything about the release?
I wouldn’t change a thing that happened with the release. Everything played out exactly how it should. Even the album cover. I told them I wanted a narwhal on the cover and they came back to us with possibly one of the most iconic album covers ever created haha. I knew it was gonna be cool but I didn’t expect it to fit so well with the name and style of the music. Something about it just made you want to grab the album and see what it was all about. The whole experience is was just spot on and I’m grateful to have a pretty grand place in music culture.