For Today is currently one of the busiest bands in the scene. In the last three years, they’ve toured the world, all the while releasing three albums. I caught them on the Motel 6 Rock Yourself to Sleep Tour with Texas in July, Woe Is Me, The Word Alive, and We Came As Romans. Vocalist Mattie Montgomery took time out of his hectic schedule to have a sit down with me, and he talked about the new record, his religious views, and his opinion on the scene as a whole.
Tanner Fisher: Today is the last day of the tour. Any interesting stories to tell us?
MM: Our van broke down twice in three days at the beginning of the tour. It was such a hassle that we just left it in Minnesota, and we rented an RV to finish the tour off in, and we’re going to pick it back up when we roll through there. It was a crazy good tour, but it almost got screwed at the beginning, but we got this RV, which has been a great upgrade.
TF: All of these bands on the tour are really young. How does it feel to be the “old band” on the tour?
MM: That was something that we joked about, because we’re not an old band. We just toured with Bleeding Through, and they’ve been together for 11 years. They were talking about how we were this new, young, hype band, and now we get on this tour, and I actually had a dude yesterday tell me “You guys have been around, like, forever”, and I was like “for real? I joined this band 3 years ago.” No, but it’s really cool. We actually played with We Came As Romans 2 years ago on their first tour. They opened up for us, I think, and it’s really cool to see them now grow up and turn into a phenomenon.
TF: Are there any up-and-comings acts that have recently caught your eye?
MM: Yes. I heard the band As Hell Retreats for the first time two nights ago, and they were awesome. They’re just so heavy and intense. They’re technical, but not to the point where non-musicians couldn’t get into it. Those dudes are something else. Also, I love In the Midst of Lions. They’re one of my favorite bands out there right now period.
TF: Let’s talk about the new record, Breaker. How was the recording process different from your other albums?
MM: We recorded with Will Putney at the Machine Shop in New Jersey. That was really the only difference. He had us come in a week before, just as a pre-production, and go through each some, part-for-part, and had us sit down, seeing if there were any parts we want to change, etc. He was just a lot more tedious in the production aspect, so that when we got to the recording part, everything sounded really good, and we wouldn’t have to go back and fix little things.
TF: Could you talk about the concept of the record, especially what the ‘Breaker’ is?
MM: The Breaker is a spirit that speaks to whoever it is, or whatever it is, whether it’s a word, or a song, or whatever that brings a breakthrough, tearing down the walls people have constructed between them and God. I see, especially in this scene, a lot of walls of pride and self-sufficiency, and arrogance, and violence, and hatred. Those are the walls that we try to break through. We go on tour with some bands that straight up hate God, they hate Christianity and everything we stand for, and then when we go on stage, something shifts, and there’s this breakthrough, where the people who may not believe in God, or they’re not willing to tolerate it, start to listen. It’s more about trying to seek truth than is it us trying to push our beliefs or anything like that. When we named our album Breaker, we prayed that our album could be the thing that broke through to the people who listened to it. You know, some kid in a car somewhere, having every wall built up by his abusive father being broken through by God. You know, some girl that was contemplating suicide, having that deception that let to depression, having that broken through, so that she could be free to encounter God.
There is also the recurring poem through the album. When we came up with that concept, I called a friend of mine from L.A. named Jose Vallos, who’s a really talented spoken word artist. We asked him if he’d like to read a poem as the outro to the album, and so he did it, but it ended up being like four times longer than we wanted it to be, so we had to split it up, and weave it in and out of the album, but it turned out really cool. He so perfectly captured my heart in the name of Breaker.
TF: Talk to me about the guest appearance on the album. It’s a pretty awesome bunch of guys.
MM: Well there are three. There’s Jay Pepito from Reign Supreme, Shane Raymond from Close Your Eyes, and Drew Dijorio from Stray From the Path. Drew and Shane have been friends of ours for a while. Close Your Eyes were on tour, and Shane went to a studio, and he just recorded it. We emailed him the track, and he put his vocals over top, and sent it right back to us. Drew came into the studio with us to track it. We met Jay on tour a couple of years ago. He told us that he liked our band, and he’s friends with Will our producer, and he told Will that he’d be down to do guest vocals on the album. He actually recorded his part after we left, so we weren’t able to hang out.
TF: It’s understandable to have your first two albums released in a short period of time, having your debut consisting of mostly older material, and you second release being the more current material. But with Breaker, you’ve released three albums in three years…where do you find time to write when you’re on the road all the time?
MM: That’s a good question. Like our song “Devestator”, we wrote in an airport in Germany. [laughs] Well I wrote the first part of the song in the shower at my wife’s lakehouse, then the rest of the guys finished it in the airport. We’re always like, “hey this would be a cool idea for a song”, and we give it to Ryan [Leitru] and Brandon [Leitru], our guitarist and bassist, and they tweak the ideas and make it fit. Those guys are awesome. If you give them a half an hour, they can put together a killer song. They’re freaks.
TF: Do they prefer to write and be in the studio rather than being on the road?
MM: I don’t know. I’ve always felt that we write and record songs to play them live…you know when we write, we’re thinking, “this is going to be really fun to play live”. But also, when we play live, the natural byproduct is that more people will go by our album, so it’s kind of like a perpetual plan. We play shows to sell albums, and we sell albums to play shows. I love playing shows. I love to cut loose and be passionate and emotional, but it’s also fun to sit down and take an album that doesn’t exist and put it together, layer-by-layer, and see it come together.
TF: Since Breaker came out late last year, can we expect a new album this year?
MM: …Maybe…There are things that still need to be solidified, but we are going to go into the studio toward the end of the year. It’ll probably be early next year when the record comes out, but we’ll definitely have new songs by the end of the year. We still have some things to deal with. Our contract with Facedown Records is up, so we have to see if we’re going to sign with a new label, or if we’re going to stay with Facedown, so we’re figuring all that out before we worry about the new record.
TF: So what’s next for the band? More touring?
MM: Always. After this, we have a couple weeks off, but then we to Japan, Australia, a full U.S. headliner, Europe, then Mexico, so it’s about two and a half months of world touring.
TF: Well that’s it. Good luck tonight, and congratulations on the new record.