Nearly nine years after many music fans’ introduction to Flyleaf on the 2006 SnoCore Tour (as part of a bill topped by Shinedown and Seether, and also featuring the then-unknown Halestorm), the band, which for the past two and a half years has featured vocalist Kristen May in place of original singer Lacey Sturm, has found itself headlining that very same tour. When SnoCore came to Rams Head Live in Baltimore, Maryland, Live Metal’s Greg Maki sat down backstage with bassist Pat Seals to discuss the tour, Flyleaf’s new, crowd-funded album (“Between the Stars”) and more.
LIVE METAL: I thought it was really cool when heard about this tour, because I first heard of Flyleaf on SnoCore back in 2006. How is it being back out on this tour again?
PAT SEALS: A lot of memories are flooding back from that 2006 SnoCore. I remember Rams Head, specifically, where we are right now, was one of the first kind of big shows that went well for us and the crowd seemed to respond. We were with Seether and Shinedown back then, and it’s fun to kind of relive these old memories but with Kristen May in the band now.
Last night was the first show of this tour. How did that go?
It went well. We were Charlotte, North Carolina. It was a lot of fun. Adelitas Way really destroyed the stage. Great band. It’s fun to be with them.
What kind of expectations do you have for this tour?
For this tour, we’ve got a great bill, so I hope to see a ton of different fans coming together for SnoCore. There’s all rock ‘n’ roll involved, but each band has something to offer that’s special, and so it should be fun.
When you saw the routing for the tour, were there places that jumped out at you and you can’t wait to play there again?
I think we’re gonna get to go back to Reno. It seems like people are always pumped up there. I’m not sure if Albuquerque got added on this one, but that’s always a great Flyleaf town. Baltimore, as well, is a lot of fun. I always look forward to coming back here.
What is it like putting together the set list, especially now with a new singer in the band? Do you focus more on the new material?
We’re anxious to pull new material, but we want to please the fans. We don’t want people to say, “Get to the good stuff!” We tried to switch it up from the last tour and kind of keep ourselves on our toes and keep our fans excited, hopefully.
From talking to other people in bands and just from observing things, it is getting hard out there for rock bands. How is that affecting you? How are you guys dealing with it?
It is difficult. You’re right. The industry isn’t what it once was, but luckily, we have great fans that will go to PledgeMusic and help us make an album. I feel like the music industry is going to be brought back into the hands of musicians and people who enjoy it, and it’s gonna be less about business—hopefully.
That leads me right into what I was going to ask next, about the new album and PledgeMusic. A lot of bands are going that way now. What was that experience like for you?
It was heartening, very encouraging to just know that people believed in us that much to say, “Hey, we’ll throw a couple bucks your way and help you make this album” so we don’t have to get a job to pay the bills and do two things at once. That was very fortunate for us. It seems like for all the darkness and doom and gloom that’s going on, it’s this one cool thing that I’m real thankful for.
Other than the funding, did that have an effect on the writing and recording?
It kind of let us be more free. We really didn’t have a label breathing in our ears—“What about this song? Can you change this?” It was really a free creative process.
If this had been around when you were younger, what band would you have pledged to help make an album?
Deftones all the way, man. I love them so much. Tool. I grew up listening to Nine Inch Nails. My cousin gave me some Pixies CDs, and then they got back together after I fell in love with them. Bands like that.
This also was your first time writing and recording with Kristen in the band. How was that different? How was it the same?
Recording with Kristen was the same in that we all sit in a room and throw ideas together. But what Kristen brought that was new to Flyleaf was the ability to be spontaneous in the songwriting process. In Flyleaf, we would get our special gems and polish them and bring them in—“Oh, that’s mine, don’t mess with that.” With this, it was much more from the whole band at the same time. We wrote a couple songs the old way, but I found a new freedom in “Between the Stars.”
Instead of Kristen joining the band and immediately start writing and recording, you went out on tour with her first. How do you think that played into the new album?
It gave us a warming-up period, having Kristen tour first, and it seems like that’s where it really counts. That’s where bands make and break—on the road. So having that background going into the studio, we kind of understood each other to a certain degree, and it helped. It made up for those years of not being together before.
Before she joined the band, was there any thought given to not continuing or changing the name of the band or anything like that?
Well, sure, all those things were thrown around. We just arrived at this juncture because we thought it was the best way to keep continuing. We’re so fortunate to have things work out the way they did.
This tour is just starting, and it’s going for a little over a month. What lies ahead in the rest of the year for Flyleaf?
I believe we have a tour coming up in April. I don’t know if I’m supposed to say (anything about) that. After that, I think we’re gonna look to fill the schedule more, hopefully.
Over the years, you and the band have been involved with some different charitable and humanitarian organizations. Do you have anything like that going on now that you’d like to plug?
Not at the moment. We’re gonna get something together, though, hopefully. We were with World Vision before and got to go check out Rwanda and stuff. But there’s always ways to help.
How important is that to you?
In modern society, it’s all about what me wants, and trying to undo that is important, and it’s hard. It’s very difficult, because I’m like, “I’ve got bills to pay, too.” But I think taking those steps, finding the appropriate places to help—that’s definitely something to strive for.
Anything else you would like to add?
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