The Coming Weak
Some bands, like The Coming Weak, seem to naturally rise to the top. In just a few short years they have worked hard to find their sound, solidify their line-up and have become one of Rhode Island’s hottest commodities.
The band (Tim White on vocals, Nick Benziger on drums, Jamie Thomas and Matt Tremblay on guitar and Jeff Langmaid on bass) worked collectively to write their latest release “Are We All Letting Go” and feel that it displays their progression over the past few years n the best way possible – through their music.
On the eve of their record release party for “Are We All Letting Go” to a sold out Club Hell in Providence, RI TWRY staffer Stacie sat down with the band to reflect on the past few years, the journey, and the new album.
Interviewed by: Stacie Caddick-Dowty | July 2009
Today is CD release day! Tell our us a bit about “Are We All Letting Go” and its differences or similarities to “Navigation” and “Consider This”, and what else we can expect to hear on the new album.
Nick: If I could start this off. Coming from not having been on “Consider This” or “Navigation” I think it’s completely different material. “Navigation” is somewhat similar. This is a step in the direction of mature and marketable sound.
Tim: It was important for us to do “Navigation” at the time that we did because we were already moving in the direction of what “Are We All Letting Go” sounds like. I feel like “Navigation” was a nice bridge between the two. From the older sound of “Consider This” and the older processes of writing, to the people involved in it, to “Navigation” which was a bit more defined and honed to who we were. It was more where we saw ourselves going and setting ourselves up for this new record. Before we were even finished recording “Navigation” we were already working towards this new record. “Navigation” is definitely the bridge between the old and the new. As far as where we’re going, every day we try to define ourselves again and progress a bit more as artists and individuals. This record shows that progression and that maturity.
You again worked with Michael Poorman from Strangeways Studios. Tell us why you choose to stick with what you knew, and chose the same element and setting to record again. Give a little plug for the studio and Michael.
Jeff: There are a few reasons. We know him professionally and personally. For us this was very advantageous. He knows where we’re coming from and he knows what we are trying to accomplish, he knows what we’ve done in the past, what we like, what we talk about and where we want to go in the future. So this was better for us, than going in dry with someone who didn’t know us. Michael was up to speed. We can dive in a lot quicker. It made pre-production and production of the record a bit smoother. In other words, the more knowledge that this person could have about the band, the better. Also, we were in and out of the studio while Therefore I Am were recording. So hearing their album come together got us hyped! Mike was consistently improving and finding new tricks. Everything from a producer and engineer standpoint he has continued to get better as we’ve grown.
Nick: He’s really not afraid to shoot down an idea if he thinks it’s not good. To tell us that a certain guitar lick didn’t fit or wasn’t the direction we wanted to go with a song. Sometimes it can be frustrating, but when you get the final product back, you know why he thought it’d be better to do it this way.
Tim: I think that was always important and always a reason we went to him. He’s not just a producer but he’s also someone we’ve grown to be friends with as well. We didn’t want to record with someone who was going to be a “yes man” behind the board. We wanted someone to be our producer as well. I think our recording has just been all that much more successful because of it. Mike’s awesome!
Who in the group is involved in the writing process and what has the writing and tweaking of the new CD entailed?
Tim: Much like with “Navigation”, “Are We All Letting Go” is very much a combined effort. One song was an idea that Jeff had on guitar and then in turn brought to Jamie who jammed on it and figured some stuff out. Another song Jamie pretty much wrote entirely. Musically it started with different ideas here and there. Matt came in with an idea and that song wound up on the record too. So musically I think it comes from all three of them, and obviously Nick puts his spin on it as well.
Nick: I think one of the biggest differences from “Consider This” to “Navigation” and “Are We All Letting Go” is that it’s a brand new person bringing in brand new ideas.
Tim: We found that with “Navigation” too as Matt was the new character among the cast. Having his input has altered what we’ve done in writing as well. This record more than anything has a collective feel. Jamie and I wrote the lyrics, but everyone collectively wrote for the record and what we’ve in turn released on the final product. Everyone tends to favor one song or another, but I think we are all super happy with how it turned out. Mike did a great job. Troy did a great job with mastering again. I think that this record is the best thing that we’ve done, and hopefully people really enjoy the progression.
I saw Matt playing The Entertainer on piano on youtube.
Tim: What?! HA!
Can we expect any keys on the album?
Tim: On this album, no. We wanted to on one song but there just wasn’t enough time for it because it wasn’t something that struck us early enough in pre-production. Maybe in the future, we’re always open to new possibilities. I’d love to get strings on something in the future!
Many of our readers may possibly being introduced to you for the first time. Put into words for us what is it that sets you apart from other bands, and what it is that might be familiar in your music to draw in new fans?
Tim: Our sexy chest hair!
Nick: I want people to understand that we all have day jobs. We are hard working guys who work two or more jobs. They can familiarize themselves with us, because we are like them. We work, we play, we hang out. We’re very identifiable.
Tim: We are everyday people. Yeah, we’ve worked really hard and hopefully more is to come for us through our hard work. Like Nick said we all work day jobs, this is a full time second job for us, if not the main priority for everybody. As for new fans, give it a shot!
Nick: Just give it a shot!
Tim: Spread the word!
Nick: Tell people about us, put us up on your myspace. We can’t thank networking websites enough.
Tim: We want old fans, new fans, friends, family, whomever to know that we appreciate all the support that they give us day in and day out. This show tonight is essentially a sold out show before the doors even open and that speaks volumes to the fans of A Faylene Sky that we are sharing the stage with tonight and our friends and family as well. We give back, because they are giving to us.
Your new song “Vacant” debuted on WBRU’s Rock Hunt this week. Day one, you beat out Incubus, day two, you beat out U2!
Tim: My favorite band Incubus! Jeff was saying last night “What is the precedent for this?” We won two days in a row and we start up again on Monday. I was on iTunes the other day and checking what was what. Owl City, who was the reigning champion before us has a top five record on all of iTunes right now. I want us on “12 Cuts Above the Rest”.
Nick: I had to switch the channel and go back to hear my song. I didn’t believe it.
The bands lineup has changed over the years that I’ve known you. Tell us how difficult/easy it was to find someone who fits the group and that contributes as you’d like them to?
Jeff: I think it’s really easy and really hard at the same time. It’s easy because we’ve done it a few times, and we have a protocol that we can follow.
Tim: It has always worked out for the better. John is still one of our best friends, and he will always be. He is here tonight doing sound for us. He did design work for us. The new posters, the t-shirts! He will always be a part of The Coming Weak. Each change has brought a little something extra to the table, going back to the progression and that maturity. We’ve been fortunate enough to find great people like Nick and Matt. Hopefully this is the five that we’re stuck with because I can think of being in a band with anyone but these four guys.
Nick: I’m so thankful that these guys brought me in. I couldn’t have asked for a better established band. I mean did they bring me to like 13 tryouts, and play in five or six shows before they asked me to be in the band? Sure! They wanted to make sure I was the right one. In return they’ve given me great friendship.
Back to my findings on YouTube… I found a video of the Twilight trailer set to Map To Forever. It fit!
Tim: Our friend Jess did that as a promotion for “Navigation””. It was around the same time Twilight was coming out and there was this huge buzz. I went on and I checked it out and it does! It fits! It’s funny because it’s little things like the vocals come in when the first scene where he stops the car, and it’s just so funny how it syncs up. I used to joke when we first started playing this song live “We wrote this song for Twilight, but they decided to go with the Paramore song instead!” I think it speaks to how everyone will always interpret a song that’s written in their own way, when it might have been written for an entirely different reason.
Nick: That’s the beauty of music! Everything means something different to everybody.
Tim: More promotion for us. People who love Twilight would be like “What’s this?!”
When you aren’t playing music, what can each of you be found doing?
Tim: Hanging out with our families.
Nick: Mopeding! You can find me on my moped, mopeding around Providence.
Is that you I see on my way to work everyday?
Tim: No. He rides on Tuesday nights. What do you call it?
Nick: Two stroke Tuesday!
I’d like to delve a little bit into your past… go around the group and tell me a bit about what your inspirations were in the very beginning to pick up that instrument, grab those drums sticks or grab that microphone?
Nick: I started playing drums when I was 13. I wanted to play drums when I was in fifth grade, but the class was full so I had to play trombone. I played for a year and I stopped. A few years later I jumped back into it. My uncle helped me buy a kit. Playing drums by yourself isn’t that much fun. The only reason I stuck with it was I’d find a group to play with, then I’d find a new group. As time went by I’d get better and better, and here I am doing this. I guess the reason why I picked it up was that it was fun, and fun to hang out with friends. It was fun to play shows.
Tim: Nick’s drum set it awesome! It’s better than my black TAMA kit that I had when I was 15.
Nick: Drumming is expensive! Don’t play drums!
Tim: Play the Ukulele! When I was younger, 12 or 13, I went to a private school and they didn’t have a music program so we did an after school program. I wanted to play the drums, and honestly all they had was a xylophone and a practice pad, and it was called percussion. I did that, then I realized that carting that xylophone around really sucked. So I played the trumpet for four years in ensemble. Then in high school I started playing drums when I was 15, and I did that for a number of years recreationally on my own. Around the same time I started singing, in musicals. My sister sang, and still sings and my mom was in the choir, so I was always around music. Acting was always around as well, I went to school for theater. Behind all of that I always just wanted to perform, I wanted to be me, I didn’t want to pretend to be somebody else. After many many years of wanting to do what I’m doing right now, the opportunity finally came up with these guys a couple years ago.
Jeff: I took a class my senior year of high school, but I didn’t do anything, I just sort of sat there. I passed because I was the quiet one. Everyone else was complete lunatics.
Isn’t that was every band class was like?!
Jeff: Yeah! So before I went to college, I bought a guitar and amp from a friend’s younger brother. When I went to college everything came together. My suitemate was a couple years into playing guitar and we’d just sit around and play for 4 or 5 hours a day, everyday. For basically the entire time I was in college. It was cool. I was into rock and punk. He was into Phish and Dead. So I’d stand and play and jump around thinking “I’m going to play in a band!” I was thinking I have to be able to move and play! I didn’t have “moves” per say…
You’ve been named as one of the top 10 unsigned bands in DJ Rossstar’s “Unsigned Band Contest II” as well as named to Absolutepunk.net’s “Absolute 100″ list of bands to watch out for in 2009. Most recently the band was nominated in The Providence Phoenix Best Music Poll for best local act. You also won a spot at last years Warped Tour. These are quite the mentions and honors… comment for me as to how that feels for you.
Tim: We feel really really fortunate that someone outside our local area of RI, would give us a chance and listen to us and feel so passionately about it. I’m floored just hearing you say it again. These are great accomplishments for a do it yourself band out of Providence, RI. I would hope that there is more to come. We appreciate all the support, not only locally but also to have the recognition nationally from respected people in the music industry. For Steve Henderson and Absolutepunk to dig us so much and for DJ Rossstar to add us to that list, it’s been phenomenal. WBRU has been super supportive whether it’s the 9 O’Clock News or just helping sponsor us at shows. It all started locally and it’s started to branch out a bit more. It feels pretty damn amazing. DJ Rossstar always has the best band interviews and for him to put us on a list of other people that he thought were great as far as unsigned band is great. We’re psyched. We’re honored. We’re Thrilled.
I just have to say that it has to feel amazing for you, cause it feels amazing to me! To see you at your very first show, and see how far you’ve come and witness these great accomplishments. It’s been so exciting.
Tim: You guys were our first interview! Again thank you so much for everything.
What have been some of the highlights for you and what have been the biggest challenges for you over the past (almost) three years?
Jeff: I think the biggest highlights…
Tim: I love Highlights magazine by the way. I found the cat, it was in the fern!
Jeff: Two quick highlights that I can think of are: One, playing that Anberlin show. Then I would say the friends and such that we’ve made along the way with other bands and the people that we’ve met. It’s been challenging with member changes. It’s tough because it puts everything on pause while the new person is caught up to speed. Once you get the momentum going you want to keep it going. Writing songs… we take a long time. I mean we don’t take Saosin time, but it’s an intense process. Figuring out what’s good or what we think is best that we can do is tough.
Nick: Money is always a challenge. Trying to fund merch, fund CDs, we have to buy a new van soon.
As always TWRY is always interested in what you are listening to yourselves.
Jeff: I have the new Taking Back Sunday album playing at work, Therefore I Am and The Gaslight Anthem. Oh, and our new album.
Nick: I listen to Saosin, I listen to Anberlin – nothing really mainstream. I listen to stuff from the past that’s rock indie. I Am the Avalanche, anything beside country really.
Tim: Same type of stuff as Jeff and Nick. The new Therefore I Am record, Anberlin. They are actually a band I mentioned the first time you interview us!
Thank you! We hope you like the new record and we hope you love the show!
Best of luck to The Coming Weak with their new album Are We All Letting Go. As a site that promotes music, it’s really rewarding to see bands that we love and support come so far in such a short time and we just want to congratulate them!!! Please take a moment to get to know this band, they are well worth your time.