It’s been a long road for 3 leading up to the release of their new album The Ghost You Gave To Me. While they knew the direction they wanted to head towards with their new material, the hybrid prog rock band’s sixth studio album was delayed for about a year and a half thanks to label snafus (namely a deal with Roadrunner Records that suddenly fell through). However, after reconnecting with their former label home Metal Blade Records, 3 were finally able to record The Ghost You Gave To Me, which will come out on October 11.
Early last month, 3 had the opportunity to open for Within Temptation during their mini-North American tour. Minutes before they were to take the stage at the Palladium Theatre in Worcester, MA, vocalist/guitarist Joey Eppard and bassist Daniel Grimsland took a moment to talk with Metal Insider. In addition to clearing up what went down between Roadrunner Records and how they came to return to Metal Blade, the two members of 3 also discussed The Ghost You Gave To Me’s unorthodox compositions, how they are able to win over new fans through their live show, and their upcoming touring plans (which includes a tour with Cynic and Anathema).
Your last album Revisions saw the band re-recording previous material or songs that never made it onto albums. Did the process of going back to older material for Revisions have any effect on the recording of The Ghost You Gave To Me?
Joey Eppard: For me, yeah absolutely. Making that record was just something I had wanted to do for a long time. I feel like I sort of got to the next level vocally. And it was also getting that out of our system, playing compositions that were a little more reigned in. It was really the poppiest stuff that we’ve done. So it freed us up for The Ghost You Gave To Me to really play some unorthodox compositions and let the songs sort of be cinematic and go wherever they wanted to go. It really in a way was very freeing to do that.
Daniel Grimsland: Making Revisions was fun for me because I was a fan of all those songs. I’ve been in the band six years, but most of those songs were done long before I was in the band. So it was fun for me to get to do my own thing over some already great songs. That started the whole’ Joey and I singing together on recording’ thing too, which we did a lot of on The Ghost You Gave To Me. So that was a nice start for that and a nice learning experience for myself. It was a nice experience to go through all of those and redo them.
You mentioned how the album has a lot of “unorthodox” compositions, but 3 have always had a unique sound. Where do you feel 3 fits best, both with genres, labels, or even tours?
JE: Well, I mean with our touring experience, I’ve always felt we really connected when we were out with Porcupine Tree. That was a real connection we made with their audience. But the truth about this band is that we can almost play with anyone, and ultimately the fact that we love what we’re doing eventually translates to an audience. Even if by the first song they’ve got a skeptical look, by the second song they’re like “Hmm,” and by the third song they’re like “Wait a second…” and by the end they’re screaming. That’s just how it goes for us. Sometimes people need to see us do it live to really get the concept of what’s going on.
Is there a particular band you’d really like to tour with?
JE: I mean, there are so many bands I’d like to tour with. Well I would love to tour more actually with Porcupine Tree and Opeth. Just from hearing the new Opeth stuff, I think it would be a really cool bill for us to go back out with those guys again. But there’s some really big bands that I would love to get on the same bill with, like say Rush or Muse.
DG: Or Foo Fighters.
JE: Foo Fighters, of course! But who else? I haven’t thought about that one.
DG: Me neither.
JE: We just basically see what comes up and we go with it.
DG: We’re psyched about any tour we get really.
JE: Yeah, pretty much. We just got word today that we’re going out with Cynic and Anathema.
Very cool! When is that tour going to be?
JE: That’s going to be in November. It’s going to kick off November 6 through the 23. Going to start off on the East Coast and make our way out to LA.
I know Cynic is going to be co-headlining the Metal Suckfest. Could this imply that you’ll be performing at Metal Suckfest?
JE: When is that?
It’s on November 4 and 5, right before your tour would kick off actually.
JE: Oh ok, no. We would be joining them right after that, unfortunately. [laughs]
Aww, that’s too bad. Still a great tour though!
JE: Yeah, it’s going to be awesome.
So after Revisions came out, the band parted ways with Metal Blade Records and signed to Roadrunner Records. But then shortly after that, the band split with Roadrunner and re-signed with Metal Blade Records (who are releasing The Ghost You Gave Me). Can you explain what exactly happened?
JE: Well basically, Brian Slagel (Metal Blade founder/CEO) is a big supporter of what we do. And when Roadrunner came sniffing around and was showing interest, I basically called Brian and was like “Brian, what do you think man?” Of course we love being on Metal Blade and working with Brian, but you just got to keep it real. I called Brian and said “What do you think? What’s the smart move for our career?” because the records we made for Metal Blade will always be on Metal Blade. And if we can take a step that’s going to not only take our career to the next level but also start selling more of our back catalogue on Metal Blade, then it’s good for everyone.
They [Roadrunner] have a radio department, and that’s always been a goal of ours, to break open the monotony on the radio. There could be so much more going on [the radio], and we have the ability to have strong melody but also every time you listen to the song you hear something new. There’s a lot of depth there. It’s not some shallow pop thing that you can’t get out of your head. We put a lot of work in the music we make, and I think that’s something that’s basically fucked up about our whole society. I think we need that. So we were kind of looking at it as an opportunity to do that, but we’ve been done that road before [with Universal Records].
Our A&R guy was fired about two weeks after we finally signed the deal. Then I got a phone call saying “Oh we just wanted to let you know that we are 100% behind you guys. We’re not going to drop you. We’re going to make sure you get to make this incredible record.” Then another two weeks went by, and it was like “Ah, there’s just nobody to handle the project.” Basically we lost about a year and a half of our career to this whole debacle. And it did slow us down, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. We didn’t give up because we knew we had this record we wanted to make and we had to make it one way or another. We would’ve made it anyway we could, but I basically just called up Brian and he said “We would love to put this record out.” So we got to work on the record.
DG: That’s just a testament to how good of a dude Brian Slagel is and how good the people are at Metal Blade. Even after all the bullshit, they were just like “Come back and let’s make this record” with open arms.
JE: It was never a weird thing. It was never like “Oh we’re leaving you guys!” It was all love. They were like “We love you guys enough to let you go if that’s the best thing for your career.” Unfortunately it didn’t work out with Roadrunner, and I’m not complaining. We went through this with Universal Records in the early days of the band.
DG: And even the Roadrunner thing wasn’t even like a “Fuck you guys, get out of here!” type of thing. It’s just that the record industry is tanking unfortunately. If you’re not selling X amount of records, then maybe you shouldn’t stay around, and since we hadn’t sold any since we hadn’t made one yet [laughs].
JE: With that said, though, it’s their loss. In my opinion, it’s Roadrunner’s loss.
I know that when all of this first happened, the band contemplated possibly going the DIY route. Besides the obvious history between you guys and Metal Blade, what made the band decide to not release the new record on your own?
JE: Well it was kind of before the concept of Kickstarter had really set in for us. And I felt like in a way we sort of owed Metal Blade this record that was right on the tip of our tongues, so to speak. We wanted to do it like this. And it’s nice to get a budget to make a record. The main thing is we know we have their support on a creative level. Nobody tries to push us in one direction or another. It’s just like “make your record, let us hear it when you’ve got some demos.” I always send music to Brian to check out. There just totally supportive of what we’re doing, and that means a lot to me as an artist. Maybe it’s not the biggest label around and maybe we don’t necessarily fit in [with Metal Blade’s roster] all that well, but there’s also something kind of cool about that too.
I always thought it was really cool how the band used web cam and streaming technology to promote Revisions. Not only did you guys stream concerts, video premieres and fan Q&As via livestream, but you even used web cam submissions from fans to film the music video for “Rabid Animals.” Will 3 be doing anything similar for The Ghost You Gave Me’s cycle?
DG: We definitely should. That was fun! Besides anything else, it was a really good time doing that.
JE: It was pretty cool to interact with people in real time over the internet and having them throw ideas at us for the video and just going with it. It’s a cool concept. I’d like to do more stuff like that. And we had big plans for doing stuff like that with this record, but it really came down to as we had been working on it for a year and a half, time was of the essence. It was finish the record or try to do this big grandiose concept. That’ll have to wait, but anytime we’re off the road we’re going to be putting together some cool concepts. And even doing concerts that people can buy tickets to online and stuff like that for all the people we can’t travel to, like if we can’t get back to Europe right away, we got to set this up so we can do that. So that’s definitely in the plans, but now that we’ve got this tour with Cynic, we’ll be doing that for a while. If we lay dormant in the Winter as far as touring goes a little bit, we’ll be working on stuff like that to keep the buzz rolling.
Not too long ago, each member of 3 listed their top 3 favorite players of their own instruments exclusively for Metal Insider. Check out who each member listed as their biggest influences.