Interview: Life of Agony
It's a gift that we get to do this for a living and I think we've realized that now.
After the release of the highly acclaimed new album A Place Where There’s No More Pain, Steve Fallows managed to get in touch with Life Of Agony guitarist Joey Z to ask him a few questions about the band’s comeback over the last few years.
(((o))): Thanks for talking to us. Can you tell us a bit about your new album?
Joey Z: We really feel like we accomplished what we set out to do on this one, and we’re happy with it. The process was different than any other previous record, but seemed to work perfectly listening to the results. We worked more on a “one on one” bases with our co-producer Matt Brown. The performances we ended up with definitely speak for themselves. He was very good at getting the best out of us individually.
(((o))): Your comeback has been quite slow and steady, with a few festivals, then tours and now an album. Was that your aim, to test the waters?
Joey Z: No, not really. This band kinda takes one step at a time. We don’t have this “master plan”. If something feels right, we do it. You can say everything following the initial shows in 2014 has been a snow ball effect. One thing happened, then it introduced the next idea. It’s kinda’ the way we roll.
(((o))): Was it easy to get back into that groove when writing together again?
Joey Z: Just like recording this record, the writing process was quite different as well. Since we all live far from each other and have lots going on in our personal lives, a lot of the song ideas were shared through email. If something worked, then it carried forward.
(((o))): How important was it to get everyone back on board when this album was being planned? Were there any doubts about committing to writing, recording and touring again?
Joey Z: As I said in the previous question, we do things when and if they feel right. The record happened because we were all on board with the idea. So, once we committed, there were no doubts.
(((o))): Last years UK tour was very special (I was at the Manchester show). It was as emotional as it was energetic. Did you expect that level of response from the fans?
Joey Z: Our audience has been amazing… The LOA fans around the world, new and old, have embraced who and what the band is today. I think what’s happened is, the new energy we are bringing to the stage is carrying over. Mina is really into it and that makes a huge difference. It’s something you can feel and hear.
(((o))): You always seemed to be a very important band for many different people, even before Mina’s return to the band. What do you think made the band so relatable for fans?
Joey Z: We feel the fans truly know us through the music and lyrics. They can relate to us on a more personal level, and that will always strengthen a relationship. It’s a natural bond we seemed to have formed since the beginning with the River Runs Red record. It’s special because in a way we’re helping people. We hear it all the time, and it’s a cool thing.
(((o))): Your body of work seems to have transcended the scene it came from, and constantly offered a new side to the band. How different is the band from the Life Of Agony that recorded Broken Valley?
Joey Z: I’d say we’ve grown individually and collectively quite a bit from 2005. 3/4 of us are dads and have a lot more responsibility back home. Do to other projects we’ve matured and grown as musicians and as people. We don’t sweat the small stuff as much, and try to have more fun with the band. It’s a gift that we get to do this for a living and I think we’ve realized that now. There’s is a greater importance in making it work and being the best we can be.
(((o))): Listening to them both now, it’s difficult to imagine that that was the same band that recorded River Runs Red. How have your influences changed over the years?
Joey Z: Just like all regular people, your taste changes as you mature. What was interesting to you when you’re 20 may not be as interesting in your 40’s. So, influences change within the band constantly and it can be a healthy thing. We set out to write a heavy, groovy, dark record on this one, and that’s what we did.
(((o))): Having done so much over the course of your career, is there anything that Life Of Agony still want to achieve?
Joey Z: Not sure, maybe, stay together for more than three years at a time!! lol
(((o))): What are the plans for the rest of 2017?
Joey Z: Tour, play shows, tour, and play some more shows.