Metalcore/Post hardcore outfit, Come and Rest are stirring up some buzz. The band announced the release of their new EP, Blacklist, which is set for release on May 12th. The EP, produced and engineered by Chris Galvez, and mixed/mastered by Brian Hood, features the band’s latest single, “Slowburn,” which is both entrancing and full of vulnerable lyrics.
After months of anticipation, the time for the release is closer and closer. In preparation for May 12th, vocalist Noel Alejandro sat down with Planet Stereo to talk about the new EP, inspiration, the importance of pre-production, and of course, originality.
Planet Stereo: Thanks so much for doing the interview. How are you?
Noel Alejandro: I’m good thanks, especially now I’ve got a cup of Joe in me. How about you?
PS: Exactly the same [laughs].
PS: Your new EP The Blacklist, is coming out in May. Are you looking forward to the release?
NA: Yeah, I’m looking forward to it. I’m extremely excited and I can’t wait to show people what we’ve been working on. We’re so proud of the music. May 12th can’t come any sooner!
PS: On countdown now?
NA: Oh yeah. I mean, we’ve held onto this record since August or September of last year. We recorded in October, and it’s been finished since November, so, like, it’s just been sitting in my iPhone for a while.[laughs].
PS: I have to ask, why the name, Blacklist?
NA: I really came up with that name I think…last summer. I was trying to come up with concepts for the record, and um, I had a bunch of different ideas. I kind of wanted it to be a concept record, but it kind of morphed into something else, because, by the time we were writing the record, me and the other guys were just kind of struggling through life in general; the current state of the band wasn’t where we wanted it to be, our relationships, pretty much everything just wasn’t going right. We were so angry, and we just wanted to let go of things. With a blacklist, like, referring back to like, Kill Bill or something, is like a list of people that you want to kill or la list of people you want to get revenge against. So it’s kind of the same concept; a list of things we don’t want in our lives anymore.
PS: It really stands out and I imagine it’s an easy title to use in promotional uses to bring it the success it deserves.
NA: Oh, thank you so much. I appreciate that.
PS: Do you have a favorite song from the album, or are they all your babies, and you can’t pick?
NA: They’re all my babies, but…it changes over time. “Slowburn” is always there. It was the fastest song that we wrote on the record; it just flew. The lyrics came to me easily and really fast, and it didn’t change much from pre-production. It tested true and stayed, and people resonated with it; we resonated with it. It’s at the end of the EP for a reason. That’s the only song that really answers to the rest of the songs; about getting better and the worst thing that could happen to you at the time, like the loss of loved one, drug addiction, a breakup. At that certain time, it’s literally the end of the world to you. But there is a healing process that takes a while, which is why I like the song so much, because it talks about that. You’re healing, and it takes time; it’s a slow burn, it’s a slow heal process, but, when it’s over, it’s the best thing in your life. I keep giving such long answers, I’m sorry. [laughs]
PS: [laughs] You’re fine. The longer the answer, the better. Speaking of “Slowburn,” you just released the music video…
NA: We did.
PS: What was it like filming that video?
NA: Shooting the music video was…hot. We did it in Miami with our friend Andy Flores. We went down there and it was kind of last minute. We really needed a music video and we had a few prospects; a few people we wanted to do it with, but we talked to him and I really wanted someone who hadn’t really done a metal video before. For some reason, I can’t really stand all of these videos that all look the same under a $5,000 budget, you know? Obviously, if you have $5,000 budget, you have a lot of wiggle room, but, you know, we don’t have all that much money. [Andy] is a good buddy and he normally does pop videos, he does his brother’s stuff, his name is Austin Paul, and he just does a bunch of stuff like that. I was like, “Listen, I want you to do what you normally do with your type of videos, but just do it for my band.” I didn’t want any performance video with a weird wall. It’s still a performance video, but I think it has that cinematic feel to it that I really wanted.
PS: Do you recommend that other band’s branch out of their genre, especially in regards to stepping out of the stereotypes for album covers and music videos and such?
NA: Definitely. For the sake of the scene, and for music, please, do something different. It’s not hard. Of course, it’s a little scary, but we’re missing that in the music scene right now. It’s all the same product.It bothers me. I mean, yeah, there’s the “formula,” but there’s really not. You might get this big buzz for doing everything everyone else is doing, but it dies out after a few months to a year, because you have no substance. We’re dumb enough to take that long trek, and it’s quality over quantity, and just trying different things. It might not always work, but at least we’re trying.
PS: You lead right into a question I was going to ask you later. In music, especially with social media, which is more important: your quality or like ability?
NA: I think they’re equally as important. I mean, quality is obviously something that you need. Without it, there’s no longevity in your music or band. But you have to have likeability to get people to listen to you. There are starving artists who are okay with where they are, and that’s fine. Then there are people who make a lot of money just having that likeability. It’s up to you, I guess. I think you have to have both. You have to compromise a little bit to get your music out there, but you definitely need to have both.
PS: Well, you only have to look at the top 40, right? It feels like a lot of the time, it’s just the bounciness and who’s promoting it, as opposed to its actual quality.
NA: With the Top 40, I don’t really hate on it, because there’s a lot of good stuff coming out, like The Weekend. That dude is awesome. Like, he just says, “I’m gonna do three albums at once by myself,” and it’s like, “No one does that.” But he did, by himself, and his career has blown up. I mean, he just headlined Coachella, and he had that…uh…Fifty Shades of Grey song, I mean, the movie sucked, but the song was great. It’s a good time for music. People might not believe that, but it’s true.
PS: And what about when people hear your music, what do you hope they come away with? is there an end goal?
NA: I just hope they appreciate it. I hope that someone understands what me and the guys have been through while we’ve been writing this. I really want to thank my bandmates for helping me through the process of the time we were writing the album. We wrote this for ourselves. We needed to get these things out of our bodies, of our spirits, in order for us to move on. We were at a point where we didn’t even know if we wanted to do the band anymore. All this stuff was overflowing. I hope that what we were going through translates through the music and that people appreciate it and that if they tell other people, that’s what they’re gonna do.
PS: Negative experiences tend to fuel the creative mind. Are you a believer in the idea of taking a negative and turning it into something constructive?
NA: Yes. 1,000 hundred, bagillion percent. I have some cousins who were like my best friends back in the day, and I always tell them, “Every negative is a positive.” It sounds stupid, but you know, all of these negative experiences, these bad things, like being twenty-six and being in a band that hasn’t really been where we need it to be, at my age, personally, it’s tough. I don’t have a good job, I’m just trying to make this work. So when these situations happen, and all of us are going through these things, it calls for great ideas to come from us. At the best of our abilities at this point in time, we were visceral enough to be like, “Let’s just put this out there,” and that negative aspect kind of turned a switch on.
PS: How would you say that Blacklist EP is different to what you’ve previously released?
NA: Completely different [laughs]. We sound different, we were going through a different time, and we were all still learning to write metal music, because we all came from bands that weren’t as heavy. Mitchell and Josh came from a band called Love Not Lost, I came from a band called Flight of Vicker Respect Miami, and we were like…an Underoath cover band, but not really [laughs]. It was not really heavy, and I had never even really delved too far into metal before. When we wrote the last EP, we were still learning how to write with each other, and how to write heavy music. We didn’t really have a good grasp on it, but this one, was much later, and gave us a lot of time to learn. We had a better experience with this. Pre-production is so important and we had time to get our direction together.
PS: When you sit down to do pre-production, is there a specific process that you had to go through?
NA: Yeah, so, Mitchell has the studio in his room, so we sat down for hours and hours just writing. We just did all the writing and recorded all of the pre-production in his room. It was really different for us, because we can dissect every little part, whereas, if we were doing the full band, we could miss those little details, and get stuck with a song that you’re not 100% sold on.
PS: You touched upon influences, like Underoath, and if you could work with any artist past or present, who would it be and why?
NA: Any artist past or present…I would like to work with a lot of people, but, personally, out of our genre. Right now, I’m really into dark pop, so The Neighborhood, The 1975, The Weekend, you know? So if I were to collaborate with anyone in that genre, it’d be awesome. I’m always looking for [outside influence]. That’s a genre we want to tackle on our next album.
PS: So fans can look forward to hearing you guys try out different sounds?
NA: 100%. I’m the guy in the band who’s like, “Hey, so let’s just put a banjo in this part of the song!” [laughs] I mean, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, but the dark pop aspect is something we’re definitely going to try, with a bit more electronic. Nothing like Attack Attack, I mean, we’re not going to do a gimmick, but we’re already working on a new album; we have like two or three songs.
PS: Oh my gosh.
NA: Yeah, I mean, as soon as we finished recording, we were like, “I have this idea.” [laughs]
PS: Okay, so last question, and I ask everyone this, but I have to put a disclaimer on this: This is in no way a threat on your life, but if this was your last interview, and your last words spoken to a human being, what would they be and why?
NA: I’m looking outside my window right now…making sure you’re not here to murder me. [laughs]
PS: [laughs] I’m not, I promise.
NA: Nah, I’m kidding. Um…what I would say is just, “thank you,” passionately. I mean, I’m not really anywhere as far as my vision for this band and my career, but thank you for letting me express myself and allowing me to follow my dreams, to where I am now, is probably what I would say.
PS: That’s one of the best answers I’ve ever had, seriously. Hall of Fame!
NA: Yes! Awesome!
PS: Thank you so much for doing this interview. I wish you guys the best of luck! May 12th is going to be amazing!
NA: Thank you so much, I really appreciate it.
Blacklist EP will be out on May 12th. Click HERE for more information on Come and Rest.