Brandan Schieppati - vocals
Marta Peterson - keyboards
Scott Danough - guitar
Derek Youngsma - drums
Brian Leppke - guitar
Ryan Wombacher - bass
The Truth Winter Tour
Every Time I Die
Between The Buried And Me
Haste The Day
Interviewer: Karma E. Omowale
Photos: Erika Kristen Watt & KEO
“We’re evolving at a steady rate and everything comes kind of natural”.
How true that statement is as California’s Bleeding Through, will make a believer out of most. This finely honed maturity has been displayed in their third effort The Truth, in the production of such concept videos as "Kill To Believe" as well as shown through the trite actions of frontman Brandan Schieppati. Considering the name of the album, I would be remiss in not telling the truth about tonight's events. A very brief moment in time the infamous “Bleeding Through Luck” rubbed off on me considering my chances for talking to the self-important frontman were foiled due to my originally scheduled interview time being bumped followed by his need to entertain “guests”. However, a spark of hope was cast upon FourteenG when the delightfully intelligent bassist Ryan Wombacher let us bend his ear about Bleeding Through’s well lamented downward spirals of "luck" and uphill battles. Read on…
Karma: First off thanks for doing the interview with me Ryan.
Ryan: Oh no, thank you!
Karma: How's the New Year been treating you so far?
Ryan: Real good! We have the release of our album [The Truth] it did better than expected. Everything that we’ve kind of booked and geared up for, everything that we’ve been putting together with management and booking agents have gone through. So we’re happy.
Karma: That’s awesome indeed!
Ryan: Yeah! [Smiles]
Karma: Did you make any New Years resolutions?
Ryan: No, nothing personally ‘cause I would break ‘em so I don’t make ‘em! [Laughter ensues]
Karma: Congrats on your headlining tour (again), it must be a pretty amazing feeling for you.
Ryan: Thank you! Yeah, the tour’s off to an amazing start. I mean all of the shows have been sold out. We definitely didn’t expect that! Being this is our first US tour on this album, it helps!
Karma: Definitely! What would you say has been the greatest challenge in the past six years that you feel the band has been able to overcome in order to get where you are at this point in your career?
Ryan: Hmm…staying on a constant flow of being on tour and having enough time to have a personal life all at the same time I guess. ‘Cause you’re not gonna have success if you don’t tour but you’ve gotta have a certain amount of time at home or you’ll go crazy. So try to swap in between a career and having a normal life.
Karma: I could see how that could be tough!
Ryan: [Nods heads]
Karma: That is so awesome!! What has been the biggest lesson learned thus far after releasing four albums, which lesson will you not repeat?
Ryan: Ohhh, that I won’t do again. I don’t know that I’ve done anything that I regret.
Karma: How many people can say that!
Ryan: Well so far when it comes to touring, you definitely have to do it if you’re gonna make it as a musician, that’s just how you make a living. You can’t make money off of records! Kids see you and see all sorts of stuff. You don’t get paid for photos shoots, you don’t get paid for doing magazine shoots and interviews and stuff. You don’t get paid for that, that’s free publicity for your band. But kids see that as making money and touring is the only way to make a living. And with touring you have to roll with the punches, it’s the only way you can stay sane! You go crazy no matter what because you’re stuck in one place. I’ve been here since 9 O’clock in the morning and I’m probably not leaving here ‘til 4 O’clock in the morning!
Karma: Wow! That is LONG day!!
Ryan: Chicago’s a cool city but when you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere at a venue, you gotta just kind of go with it. And I think that’s something I’ve learned and will always stick with to keep myself sane.
Karma: So do you think your stint of bad luck is behind you? Saw article in the Revolver where a psychic evaluation was done for Brandan. Do you believe in more spiritual side of things now or do you stand by your beliefs of you making your own luck and if you give into, it keeps happening to you?
Ryan: I definitely believe if you give into it, BUT I think there’s a lot of stuff that's happened is behind us but Bleeding Through… We always say Bleeding Through luck because we always have horrible luck. Something always happens, but after it’s fixed, something kind of happens in our favor afterwards. But, I think we’re always gonna have bad luck here and there but If we keep going at it, once that’s over then I think something else will be in our favor again. It seems like it’s been that way for the past six years.
Karma: Well as with one of your reversal of fortunes, congrats are in order for the release on The Truth! I see that press has been VERY favorable; it is a great album!
Ryan: [Smiles] Thank you!
Karma: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about it?
Ryan: No, I really don’t think I’d change anything. It was a lot of fun recording it and writing it. No, there would be one thing that I would change. We did almost a world tour in the middle of doing the album, and I really wish we could have finished it all at once. We did Japan, Australia, Europe, and then a US tour and a Warped Tour and then came home and finished the record. Those tours were awesome but getting back on track on the record, it almost felt like starting kind of over. I wouldn’t want to NOT do those tours but if we could have done the record all at once, it would have been really cool.
Karma: As far as the feeling of “starting over”, do you think the album would have been more cogent providing you had completed it all at once.
Ryan: No, I just think for lack of stability, reasons for ourselves. We did have a vacation from August to almost the 15th of February…we did some stuff in between but being home for that long but for the first three months, we were finishing that record. And I think that if we hadn’t have done those tours we could have had all that time off but I think everything that has happened, I wouldn’t change.
Karma: Understood! Many a fan seems to think The Truth will serve as your "black" album do you agree with that.
Ryan: Honestly, I am not really sure what to expect. Every time we do something different you know or you know as the years go on, you’ll always go, “I can’t believe that happened” Technically this is our breakthrough album. Our last album [This Is Love, This Is Murderous] was the first major release, kids knew about us but we got a lot of new fans off of that one. This album, it’s like all the fans off that one and the new one got it. So I think maybe the next one you could consider the “black” album because we’ll have a big fan base but maybe the next one will be “that” one.
Karma: To me the album reads in a story form, where boy's heart gets ripped out, second guesses his decisions and repairs his life, etc. Is that an accurate description?
Ryan: [Smiles] Yeah, that’s pretty good! All the songs kind of relate to personal experiences or experiences in general that everyone experiences. I think that’s why all of the kids can relate to what we do. Technically I guess it’s in a story form there are some songs that start off good and kinda get bad towards the middle, kinda like questioning yourself and everything. Then dealing with everything from that…so yeah, that’s a pretty good observation.
Karma: It seemed like this album was a release from inner feelings in regards to past relationships, etc.? What's left now after you have seemingly exorcised all of your demons. Will you move on to another subject matter?
Ryan: I’m sure there will always be some, if it’s not him, it will be one of us.
Karma: Was there a conscious effort to have Marta's keys more prominent as well as Derek's drums and then Brandan’s vocals.
Ryan: Yeah, definitely! The last album that we did, Marta did not do the keys on. You can definitely tell! There was…not much heart because our old keyboard player [Molly Street] was kind of on the outs at that time and she just really wanted to get it over with. I think you can kind of hear that in the keys. So, this album we got a fresh start as this is the first time this lineup gets to record together. I think everybody stepped up their instrument capabilities, singing capabilities. You know I do back ups for the first time on the album and we decided just to go with that.
Karma: So how did that feel for you to be able to contribute to the album in that way?
Ryan: It was cool! I’ve been doing singing for a long time ever since the first band I was ever in; I did a lot of backup vocals in a pop-punk band I used to be in. I’ve always wanted to do it and I was the new bass player. I didn’t want to like come into the band and go, “Hey look, I can sing!” I roll with the punches for four years. And then we were gonna do some on the last album but there were two bands that came out that had never done harmonies before that did so we didn’t want to…do [that]. We just didn’t want people to think we were…
Karma: …following a trend. [Said simultaneously]
Ryan: We’re DEFINITELY not about that. We definitely thought and our producer thought that there were some songs that needed some harmony. On the next album, I’m sure there will be much more. We’re evolving at a steady rate and everything comes kind of natural.
Karma: Loving video for "Kill to Believe"…
Ryan: [Smiles] Awesome!
Karma: Which song will be the follow up, part II?
Ryan: It’s a three-parter…
Karma: Right, I did hear that, have you decided yet?
Ryan: No. Hopefully, I want to do the ballad that’s on there, “Line in Sand”.
Karma: That would be cool, it’s a great song.
Ryan: Oh thank you, it was fun making that song. We always have and have radio play on satellite and stuff like that but when it comes to mainstream, when you have a heavy song, you always have a slow song to follow up. So I don’t know if they’ll go the same way but I have a feeling we’ll make a video for that someday whether or not it will get a lot of play or not but I think we should. The [next] video will follow up right where the last one left off and it will be in three parts.
Karma: As far as "Dearly Demented" is concerned, it radically differs from any previous song, especially with the three different parts in there that varies from one another yet somehow conjoins.
Ryan: Yeah…like I said everything that we did and wrote for this album was never forced. We didn’t write something thinking maybe these kids will like this part then we can get some of these kind of fans into our music by doing this kind of part. Everything that we wrote just kind of happened. We had more time to write this album so people came to practice with different parts written for stuff. We just kind of put it all together. I always like to stress nothing was forced.
A lot of kids like the ballad, a lot of kids don’t like the ballad. Again, it came natural! Someone came to band practice and said, [eyes widen] “Hey, I wrote a slow part! You wanna try it?”, and it ended up working really well. So the same with “Dear Demented “. I always figured Nick 13’s vocals fit perfect for that chorus because it’s got the eerie kinda sobby feeling to it.
Karma: Oh yeah!
Ryan: So it just kind of flowed natural.
Karma: The album art is pretty disturbing yet amazing nonetheless. How long did it take you to prepare for the photo shoot?
Ryan: Just a day, we went in in the morning; they had it set up, it was really really professional.
Karma: So did the studio create the concept for the photo shoot?
Ryan: It was between the band and the studio. The good thing about Bleeding Through, who we work with and who we have our business through; we always have a say still. You know you get to a point where it’s hard to have a say. Certain decisions are made for you but we’re not there yet and I don’t think we’ll ever be. The artwork, we always talk to other people about what their ideas were. But we definitely had a big say, I mean we had a huge say in the video! We had a huge say in the layout and everything. There were all of these ideas from outside sources and that’s how it came to be.
It took a day, we came in and it was a mess! [Laughs] It was so gross! We were covered in lots of junk… We were stripped down to our boxers standing in the middle of a warehouse in the cold…it was disgusting! Then I had to walk through the reception area in my underwear covered in a lot of stuff. [Disgust fills his countenance]
Karma: [Laughs] Oh great!
Ryan: So I just figured I’d wave at people in their offices; it was funny! It was cool though. I would definitely do it again in a heartbeat.
Karma: Which is your favorite song off the album and why?
Ryan: “Kill To Believe” I think because it shows both sides of…we’re still sticking with what we sound like but I think that’s the song that it’s gonna kind of tell what BT is gonna come to be in the next five more years. Yeah, it’s a little more mainstream but we still have the heavy parts and the more metal parts. And then, Brandan gets to show more of his singing vocals which he’s gotten a lot better at I think personally in the last three years.
Karma: I’d agree he has gotten better in the past three years; is he taking lessons?
Ryan: No, not really. He’s just kind of trying it but I know he wants to. I’ve never taken vocal lessons either, and I really, really would like to [laughs sheepishly] to know what I’m doing wrong or what I’m doing right. You never know until someone tells you. I think everybody in the band kind of gets to try something different in that song. I get to do some of my vocals; I get to do more bass orientated bass lines as opposed to following the guitars. The drums are insane the keys on it. Everyone kind of gets to explore move of what they do.
Karma: What’s in your CD player right now? Who are you a fan of?
Ryan: Hank Williams Jr. I’m a huge fan of Hank III too, the whole family! I tend to like a lot of traditional rockabilly, a lot of newer rockabilly actually. I listen to The Damned a lot and Black Flag. Old school punk rock and country; I think I try to stay away from metal and hardcore because it’s what we play so much. You get burnt out on it.
Karma: It’s good to step away from it, that way you can keep a fresh ear. If you could commission a band to do a BT cover, who would do it and which song would it be?
Ryan: Hmmm…I would be interested in seeing the Descendants play one of our songs. They are one of my all time favorite bands. It would be, I don’t know the word I’m looking for. It would be extremely flattering to have a band that got me into playing music play one of our songs even though they no way sound like us. I think it would be interesting to see. And I honestly don’t even know which song I’d want them to play because I’d have no clue how they’d arrange it. That’s how interested I would be; I’d let them pick any one of them.
Karma: Here’s a little bit of a role reversals, if your job were to interview bands, which one would you interview and what would be the one thing you'd want to know about them?
Ryan: Wow! Probably would want to interview Cliff Burton because he was an amazing musician. He impacted more people after he died than when he was alive. And I don’t think that will ever happen again… for the exception of Dimebag [said simultaneously]. And uh, I don’t really know what I’d ask him probably for pointers obviously.
Karma: Okay, now here’s the last one on the role reversal tip, do you have any questions for me?
Ryan: Yeah, here’s one for you, how often do you travel?
Karma: Not often enough!
Ryan: Not often enough. Hmmm…what else? How many interviews do you do during the week?
Karma: Oh god, here lately, I’m averaging about three a week. Looking forward to it slowing down a bit so I can catch my breath.
Ryan: You want it to slow down?
Karma: Just enough so I can catch up with what I have already.
Ryan: Oh, okay!
Karma: But in going back to your other question, we do plan on going to NAMM or something like that in the near future.
Ryan: Well have you seen the movie almost famous?
Karma: Uhm...yes, I have.
Ryan: Maybe you could go on the road with a band and basically interrogate their entire life and their reason for being a band!
Ryan: Basically you could make or break a band!
Karma: Now that's one hell of an angle!
Ryan: That hasn’t been done in YEARS! I mean I don’t know if there are many bands that are worthy of that…
Karma: I could think of a couple but that is interesting! Hadn’t given something like that much thought. Hmmm…. [We both laugh] In closing, do you have any last comments or special messages to your fans?
Ryan: Other than the fact that our fans are absolutely out of their minds, they are awesome! We have kids coming out of nowhere coming to our shows and the fact that every time we come to the city, one again we play there it’s awesome and when we come back it’s even crazier! Every tour it gets, better, and better…Keep it up because you’re blowing our minds!
Karma: [Smiles] Well, thank you very much Ryan! Hope you have an awesome set and an amazing tour!
Ryan: Thank you! [Smiles]
Through all of the surrounding adversity of getting this interview, I’d like to thank Ryan Wombacher specifically for being an awesome interviewee and to the band’s awesome PR company for setting it up! Hoping that question Johnny Pettibone had for Brandan will be answered in the not too distant future. L
Related Links of the Interest
Click here for Photos / Review of tonight's show (The Truth Tour)
Photos / Review from Sanctity of Brothers
Previous Interview with BT's Brandan Schieppati
Photos / Review of BT from the strHess 2005 Tour
Photos / Review of BT from the Headbangers Ball Tour