Interview: Matt Baird Discusses New Spoken Album, 'Illusion'
By James Wood
It’s been a long process for Matt Baird, but the Spoken vocalist is glad the band’s new album, Illusion is finally out.
After fulfilling their obligation with Tooth and Nail records in 2007, the band decided to play the field to build momentum and see what fate had in store for them. Over the next few years, the band continued to tour and was able to find time between shows to start writing.
The result is an album that appeals to hard rock and metal enthusiasts alike. From the opening screams of “Stand Alone” to the anthemic “Through It All," a song that truly hits home, the band is firing on all cylinders.
While on tour with Volbeat, we sat down with Baird to get the inside scoop on Illusion.
REVOLVER: Why such a long wait in between albums?
Our fans have been awesome with being patient. We really didn’t plan on it taking 2.5 years to write a record. The fact is, we all live in different parts of the country and are touring eight months out of the year. So it’s really hard to take a month off to write a proper record. We did make time to write and record if we had a few days off in between shows. It was a process, but it was worth the wait.
A lot of life happened during those 2.5 years and gave us a lot of material to write about. Some of the first songs we wrote were written during times of bitterness and confusion. I’m not talking about within the band, but within our own lives and dealing with relationships on the brink of disaster. Then some of the last songs we wrote were about grace and redemption. So it literally went full circle.
How would you describe the band’s sound on Illusion?
We really wanted to make a cohesive record that flows well that will appeal to the metal crowd but also to the connoisseur who likes music that isn’t quite so heavy. We’re a hard rock band with elements of metal. It’s aggressive and melodic at points.
Tell me the story about the track “Through It All."
That was one of those songs that didn’t come about so easy. We had already had the music down and I started writing some ideas down for the melody and lyrics. Jasen Rauch [from Red] also threw out some ideas. We kept pushing it around, but nothing seemed to work. Then, shortly before we were finished with the record, we were at the studio and I decided to try it again. It was three days after the tornado hit Joplin, Missouri, and I remember going upstairs and put my headphones on and watching YouTube footage of the disaster. It was really heartbreaking stuff. Spoken actually started 45 minutes from Joplin in Fayetteville, Arkansas. All of my family is there, so it really hit home. The song that came out of it ended up being the first single from the album.
How did Spoken get started?
In the beginning, we all knew each other from going to school and church together. I was 19, taking community college classes and working for my uncle doing stone masonry and landscaping. I enjoyed having money in my pocket but didn’t really know what I wanted to do for my career. I just wasn’t happy in life.
We all started getting together and began jamming around in our living rooms for fun. From there, we started playing at parties and then at clubs in the area. It was then that I started to get this overwhelming feeling that this was something God really wanted us to do. Not just jam around, but really dedicate our lives to it. So that’s what we did. We immediately started recording demos. I remember our first batch had about 23 songs on it. We’ve been touring non-stop now for almost 16 years.
How has the tour with Volbeat been going?
Volbeat is such a big band of genuinely nice people and this tour has just been an amazing opportunity and experience. We’ve had the best team behind us from the moment we started talking. Everything up to this point has prepared us for this moment, and it’s just been awesome.
James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, GoJimmyGo.net. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JimEWood.