[INTERVIEW] Behind Crimson Eyes

Off the back of a spot at Unify, Volume sat down with Behind Crimson Eyes’ vocalist Josh Stuart to get the lowdown on their festival set, how its been releasing music after 10 years, and what is in store for the future.

You’ve just come from a huge spot at UNIFY Gathering, what was it like playing there with such big and influential bands?
It was great. It’s been a while since we’ve played a festival show, and many of the bands on the bill like Parkway, Amity Affliction and 50 Lions have played with us many years ago, so it was good to see some old faces and play to a really big crowd and watch some cool bands.

You guys have just released the tracks Stardust and Say Bad Things, what have the responses been like those tracks so far?
It’s been pretty positive man, we didn’t know what to expect because it had been verging on 10 years since we put out our last album so we weren’t too sure how people were going to receive it. But the feedback has been good, it’s a return to BCE form – it’s heavy and it’s melodic like what we were known for back in the day. I feel like we’ve progressed as a band as well, we’ve brought in a couple of new members and thrown some different ideas in the mix. It’s been nothing but positive and that’s been great.

You donated 25% of the profits from those songs to support charities that help combat abuse and help victims, as well as charities that help cancer patients, what prompted you guys to do such a generous act?
I guess it all started last year when we played with Alexisonfire, the tour went really well and it was great to get all the guys back together as it was the first time we’d played in a lot of years. After that tour finished, we talked about the potential of new material, but we didn’t want to repeat the experiences of the past, we wanted to come back with another purpose and reason to make music, so we wrote up a mission statement. Which is odd for a band to do but it’s pretty common when starting up a business, so we threw a lot of ideas around to form a statement, and we wanted to inspire people to make a positive impact on the world. With that in mind, it sort of shaped what we were going to write about and also who we’re going to bring in to help spread the word. We wanted to lead by example and give back to the causes we believe in. In Stardust we gave 25% of our royalties to Cancer Council and dementia research, and for Say Bad Things, the song was about sexual abuse and experiences from priests and abuse form anybody, so we wanted to donate to causes that helped combat that, so we donated to blueknot.org.au and another charity in the US that helps fight against sexual assault. Hopefully it inspired other people to donate as well.

What inspires you musically and creatively today?

A lot of things. For me, I draw inspiration from books, movies and documentaries. Stardust was inspired by A Manual for Creating Atheists, which was written by the man who did a foreword for that song, which was about cherishing life rather than looking forward to an afterlife which people value more than real life. It was inspired by books and movies like that. Say Bad Things was inspired by a show called The Keepers on Netflix which was about nuns and priests abusing children and was really heartbreaking, which was what prompted me to write about these issues.

What should we expect from Behind Crimson Eyes in the future?

As part of the mission statement, we wrote out a plan to release new music every three months to keep family and life commitments on track. It would be really hard to go as a full on band like we used to. We think writing and releasing every few months is also the way people are consuming music these days. They add their favourite tracks to a Spotify playlist and that’s how they listen to their music. I personally don’t listen to an album start to finish so this is another reason why we’re doing this. We’re hoping to continue moving forward by releasing a track every few months and hopefully along the way we get feedback from our fans and listeners and that will help shape our music, making it more collaborative in that respect. It’s something new, it’s something we haven’t done before but it’s something that fits our lifestyle too and hopefully works well with our fans.

Agreed, especially with all these modern streaming apps it’s the perfect idea for a band like yours. One last question for you, Behind Crimson Eyes gets to tour with five different bands of your choosing, who do you pick?

I would love to tour with Parkway Drive, they’re one of the few heavy bands that I still listen to, and they’re just a great blend of music that I grew up listening to. I’d love to tour with Bullet For My Valentine again, we toured with them twice in the past and they were awesome shows. Again, Atreyu is a band we’ve toured with and gotten along well with and their albums are all masterpieces. Also Thrice, I think they’d be a perfect fifth band on the lineup.

Interview by Robbie Tannous.