Norma Jean’s Cory Brandan was the final guest on Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio show. The singer talked about the metalcore veterans’ latest album, Deathrattle sing for meand how the band used it as an escape during the pandemic with the intention of trying new things in the process.
Hi all, the album that preceded this new record, arrived in the fall of 2019, meaning that Norma Jeans’ plans to support the new material on the road were dashed in the spring of the following year. With some unexpected downtime, the band members indulged in what Brandan called a “free-for-all” recording with over 200 studio tracks for a single song.
It’s not something he envisions for Norma Jean, but he hopes fans can get lost in the many layers and still discover new elements in the years to come.
Read the full interview below.
We’re here to talk about your new record Rattle of death, sing for me. Over time, “Spearmint Revolt” had come close to being eliminated more than once. How does the perspective change when you revisit a song at different times in your life?
I felt like for years songs took on a life of their own and it took a while for the song to tell you what it is. I think we’re trying to find it or force it, like, “Oh, that’s the type of song we need on the record, so we’ll try to force it to be that.” While the song doesn’t work like that and so once I figured out what kind of song it was, it was more of an acceptance than anything.
Norma Jean, “Spearmint Revolt”
This album has been called the epitome of camaraderie. What drives groups to need to re-establish these links?
There’s a lot going on with this record and I’m sure a lot of other musicians and bands can relate to it. With the pandemic happening, you were sort of forced into isolation to do something and for us it was trying to find an escape and a reason to make another record. We had just dropped one off a few months before and had no intention of doing so. For us, it was going through adversity with a lot of other people around the world and trying to find a way out.
Music can be different things – a commentary, a rallying point, a source of inspiration… For you, what is the main purpose of the music you are making at the moment?
As I said before, escape was the goal. We wanted to find a place to get away from it all and really try to do something for other people to get away from it all. Even on this disc, there are tracks that contain more than 200 tracks. I don’t think it’s something we’re going to try to do again very soon, but we wanted it to be something you could lay on the floor, put on some headphones and go. Maybe even 10 years from now you’ll find other elements and layers you haven’t heard before.
In many ways, an album is a living being with its own voice. What sets the tone for an album’s personality, especially this new Norma Jean record?
Before, we tried to have themes or a story where with this record, it was just a free for all. It’s kind of a mess. If you were writing a story and never did an editing process, it’s just a mess of a story that sort of works like one big song, as opposed to a bunch of little songs. It’s really meant to be listened to from cover to cover like a big chunk, but you can choose whatever you want and it can really be performed however anyone wants – that’s what it’s made for.
future classic is the new Orphan Twin album, a studio collaboration between you and your brother, Matthew. Compared to other musicians, what is unique about the musical language spoken between siblings?
Something is happening there. There’s a really good quote where one of the brothers from Oasis talks about how the music that brothers make or brothers sing together is an instrument you can’t buy. We’ve had a bond since we were teenagers in the basement playing songs and it’s really the same kind of thing. He’s really a translator for me and I’m a translator for him, so we work very well together, whether it’s Orphan Twin or Norma Jean, just communicating with everyone. Having him here is just a blessing to all of us.
Thanks to Cory Brandan for the interview. Get your copy of Norma Jean’s new album “Deathrattle Sing For Me” here (out August 12) and follow the band on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Spotify. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio show here.
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