Embodyment's last record The Narrow Scope Of Things featured a new line-up of the band and it was clear that they were at a crossroad. The band came from a death metal background but started moving in new directions while not entirely abandoning the old roads. Hold Your Breath, the third and new effort from this Texan quintet marks the direction they are going without doubt. And the line-up is steadier than ever. Listen to what singer Sean Corbray has to say.
Hold Your Breath is the new Embodyment record. Personally I think it's the best and most elaborate album from the band. What are your personal feelings toward this record?
I love the record! I think it perfectly illustrates the direction we have decided to go for. I feel it is definitely a proper, well executed step for the band.
Just like the previous two albums, Hold Your Breath was recorded with productional help from Barry Poynter and Jason Magnusson at Poynter's Studio. There are bands who change producers with every album, and there are bands who like sticking with one particular producer. For what reasons did Embodyment to decide to work with the same team?
On a personal level Barry and Jason are like distant family to us. On a professional level I think they're second to no one. Easily one of the most overlooked teams in production right now. Everything they get their hands on comes out solid. Working with them is a no-brainer. We trust their skill and commitment to excellence.
What makes them excellent? And what's the influence of the producer on you as a singer?
Barry and Jason have this knack for making a recording session seem like a vacation. The atmosphere is completely relaxed, however the comforts of the environment don't take away from the goal at hand. Barry is the master of guitar tones and Jason has all the strange ideas. Vocally, Barry has an ear for hearing extra harmonies and providing more texture to songs. They're great.
Hold Your Breath is a further continuation on the path the band took from Narrow Scope Of Things on. Just shortly before the recording of the last album, you joined the band. With the new album you possibly had more of a chance to put your own creativity in this one. What's your influence on the music on Hold Your Breath?
I personally expressed my desire for rock and just threw in my two cents now and then.
Okay, and what kind of influence from you can the listeners discern on the album?
It's really hard to say because Andy is the primary songwriter. I kind of see myself as giving moral support for this record. I guess my main influence was deciding that I didn't want to scream anymore. I just wanted the band to have a rock record!
Talking about screaming. The band started out as an extreme death metal band with hardcore influences. The material the band wrote in the last few years is much more in the heavy rock direction with poppy abilities. Does the band still play the old songs or have you decided to abandon them?
We've abandoned the 'Embrace' stuff all together. That's a different band and totally deviates from the musical direction the band has currently settled in.
Sometimes when I listen to a new album, I like the songs on it. But it's the test of time that will prove what songs really stand out. What songs on Hold Your Breath will survive the test of time best do you reckon?
Yours Truly, Moving On, Set The Stage, A Season's End, Belly Up.
On a personal side, you joined Embodyment in 2000. However, I haven't got the faintest idea what you did before this band. How did you get involved with music and what have you done over the years?
I was in a noisy band called Within for a couple of years. That band (Within) actually played quite a few gigs with Embodyment in their death metal days. Within eventually broke up and later I was asked to join Embodyment. Over the years I just went to high school and had a brief stint in junior college. I'm only twenty years old so my resume is pretty short.
As a singer your voice sounds quite soulful, not typically rock. What artists have influenced you as a singer? What kinda bands do you like to sing along to?
The Beatles, Stone Temple Pilots, Oasis,
Radiohead, Spot, Sunny Day Real Estate, Foo Fighters, Third Eye Blind, Supergrass, etc.
I'm open to all types of influences. I'm
You mention quite a few European bands. How come? Is it the melody alone that attracts you?
I have a biased opinion when it comes to euro rock. I guess because they're primary influences stem from the Beatles. I'm not hearing too much rap metal come from their side of things. I also like the attitude that their bands have. However, I'm happy to say that we have great new rock bands starting to get plenty of attention like the Strokes and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
The rock scene is white dominated. You are the front man of Embodyment and you're black. Of course, there are more bands fronted by blacks, like Sepultura and King's X. How come there are so few blacks in the rock scene? Or should I ask how come you got involved?
I got involved because I love rock 'n roll and because I'm not a rapper, and can't relate to those r&b groups.
It would be cool if you could paint a bigger picture of your involvement with rock 'n roll. Did you grow up in a family with an appreciation of rock? And do you remember your first rock album? Tell us a bit more!
My family has an appreciation for music. There was always music playing in my house. Y'know, I can remember hearing the Cars' "Shake it up" and rocking out all over my room. But the record that gave me the drive to even try songwriting was Pearl Jam's Ten album. That record and that band started it all for me.
Embodyment is not a full-time business. So, are you studying or working? And do you have any hobbies besides music?
Seeing as how I'm not involved with formal education right now, I always make time to read a classic novel. Right now I'm reading Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Next I will embark upon a book of short stories by Henry James, and then I'll read another by one of my favorite authors, Ernest Hemmingway. Other hobbies include going to shows (I saw B.R.M.C. last night), killing time with my boys, and trying to hang out with the girls. I also work at a music shop and I think I still work at this men's clothing store. We'll have to see about that one...
With the new album I wonder what the touring plans are. What can we expect from Embodyment?
Nothing too drastic. We're going to be playing spot dates in different parts of the country. But nothing too intense is planned as of right now.