Sameer Bhattacharya of Flyleaf
Less than a decade ago, an unknown alternative rock band named Flyleaf (Lacey Mosley on vocals, Sameer Bhattacharya on guitar, Jared Hartmann on guitar, Pat Seals on bass and james Culpepper on drums) formed in Temple, Texas. Three short years later, they would release their self-titled debut album – which would eventually go platinum. After being named MTV’s artist of the week and receiving positive acclaim from fans and critics alike, Flyleaf had made their mark.
Their second highly-anticipated full-length album, “Memento Mori”, is in stores now. The band worked with producer Howard Benson for a second time on their latest album. A smooth progression from their debut album “Memento Mori” offers Flyleaf fans the Flyleaf sound they know and love just a little more polished. The band has definitely upped their game!
TheyWillRockYou had the chance to interview Flyleaf guitarist Sameer Bhattacharya before they’re back off blazing across the world on their latest tour.
Interviewed by: Justin | November 2009
You’ve said that you want this record to be “timeless”, can you tell us in your own words what you mean by that?
All of us in Flyleaf feel that the message of Memento Mori is remembering that you’re mortal and everyone around will die, so love people and ask yourself if what you are living for is worth dying for. That message is timeless and transcends all demographics.
You worked with producer Howard Benson on this album. What does he bring to the table for you?
Working with Howard Benson on a record means you’re working with a brilliant team of techs and engineers that can help you create the sounds you hear in your head.
“Memento Mori” seems to have a harder, more rocking beginning compared to the last part of the album, which is mellower. Does the band have an influence over song listing and order? Was it planned this way, or completely random?
We carefully and methodically thought through the order of the tracks on Memento Mori
The 57 second interlude called “Melting is a nice transition between “Tiny Heart” and “Treasure”. How did “Melting” come about?
“Melting” was originally the outro for “Tiny Heart”, but because of how long it was some folks didn’t think that it would be good if someone wanted to listen to “Tiny Heart” on repeat and had to sit through the melting guitars for 57 seconds every time. As a result we just gave it its own track and title. Hence, “Melting”, which is short for Melting Guitars.
How would you describe Flyleaf in seven words or less for the few poor souls who are not familiar with the band?
Flyleaf tries to be vulnerable, fearless, and honest.
“Memento Mori” (which means, “Remember death” or Remember you will die”), is a great reminder of our mortality. What are some items on your “bucket list” that you hope to complete before you die?
(1) I want to speak three different languages, other than English, fluently. (2) I want to hike across Patagonia with my wife. (3) I want to BASE jump. (4) I want to see the step pyramids of Central America and see the Nazca lines of Peru.
Which song(s) off “Memento Mori” did you really enjoy writing the most and which one was the most challenging?
Out of all the songs on Memento Mori, “Arise” was the most challenging. Not because it is a difficult song, but because it would have been easy to overdo it and wear it out. The lyrics, music and arrangement had to balance on the edge of a knife. The end result was very rewarding. There was a lot of heart that went into “Arise”.
Which song(s) off of Memento Mori have been the best live songs so far, in terms of crowd response?
Of the new songs off Memento Mori that we have played live Beautiful Bride, Chasm, In The Dark, and Arise have had the best crowd responses. The responses to all the new songs have been positive. It’s just those songs that have had the loudest response.
Who is Flyleaf’s favorite band you’ve toured with so far in your career that you’ve learned the most from?
Out of all the bands Flyleaf has toured with I think I’ve learned the most from Korn. We had the most fun on that tour as well. They have touring down to a science.
What’s the best advice you could give anybody trying to make it in music? What are your “words to live by”?
The best advice I have is to “make noise you want to hear”. Be honest in what you’re doing and that is all you can do. Success is relative. For Flyleaf, success isn’t in our record sales or how much we’re getting paid. It’s in knowing that what we’re doing is impactful in a hopeful way. If we didn’t have people sharing their stories with us about how the music helped them is some way, we wouldn’t have the energy to keep doing this.
Name an album you wore out growing up from playing it too much.
Make Yourself by Incubus
It’s time for TheyWillRockYou Association (or TWRYWA for short, pronounced “Bob”). We mention a name, and you give us the first, uncensored thoughts that come to mind.
1. Butch Walker – “Snow was falling from the sky in the middle of July. The sun was shining in my eyes again last night.” I think Butch was in Patagonia.
2. Marilyn Manson – I liked Eat Me, Drink Me.
3. Pat Robertson – Didn’t Pat Robertson get into the blood diamond industry?
4. Axl Rose – My wife’s beta fish was named Axl Rose.
5. Ozzy Osbourne – The Osbourne’s reality show. I never watched it but, that’s what I think of now.
6. Barack Obama – He’s the President.
7. Anton LaVey – Very confused.
8. Davey Havok -has a great voice.
9. Nikki Sixx – has ridiculous hair.
10. Scott Stapp – It’s high school all over again.
Do you have any “famous last words” for TheyWillRockYou readers? What’s next for Flyleaf either in the next few minutes, days, or months ahead?
I am writing this minutes before we hit the stage in Reno, NV on the Memento Mori tour with Paper Tongues. For info on our tour schedules and news check out www.flyleafmusic.com. “Arise and be all that you dreamed.”
Watch Flyleaf’s video for Again: