The Devastating Reveries of Voices and Vessels

Voice and Vessels present a striking brand of electronic post hardcore that is destined to gain them a good deal of notice in their hometown of Pittsburgh, PA and beyond.  Their latest full length effort Rebuilder is a sonic triumph complete with soaring melodies, introspective lyrics, and scorching dynamics.  Here is a recent interview we conducted with guitarist /  vocalist Cody Cavanaugh to find out more about the meaning behind Rebuilder and some of the songs, their live shows, the amazing disappearing venue in Newton Falls, a Like Moths To Flames connection, and other grand and devastating topics of interest.  Read on…

Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
Our band is based out of Pittsburgh, PA. The local music scene is hit or miss in most cases. We have some really talented bands and some bands that are in the scene for the wrong reasons, but I’m sure you can find that anywhere you go. If you were to randomly end up in Pittsburgh and saw a show with the bands Maesion, Bury Thy Kingdom, or Never Established, I would highly recommend attending.

Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Rebuilder?
Well, long story short- Before our band name was Voices and Vessels, we were called I, Destroyer and whenever we changed our named, we decided to keep a piece of the past with us and call our first CD Destroyer which was about hardships that Nick and I (Cody) had went through at the time and getting everything off of our chests, destroying the memories. REBUILDER was meant to be a concept CD going hand and hand with Destroyer, which tells of similar hardships that Nick and I had went through, but rebuilding yourself from what we had gone through. Each song states the problem we had, shows how we dealt with said problem, and then states how we thought we could overcome it. We’re not really negative people and our first CD being pretty negative made us feel, off, for lack of a better word, so we knew we had to do something to fix that.

Select two songs from Rebuilder and what inspired the lyrics.
Well, let’s see. How about The Key to Change & the title track REBUILDER.
The Key To Change – what inspired this song was one of the members of the band, not announcing who, was having trouble with his parents not accepting him for who he was and what he wanted to do with his life. We all know some type of neglect from our parents because of the lack of support we get from our lifestyles, especially involving the band. Most of our parents tell us to try harder in school and have the band as a hobby, but we treat it as a career, because that’s what we want it to become. So in a nutshell, the lyric “You can’t make me change who I am for what you want” describes this song perfectly. The overall moral is to stay true to your goals and dreams. No matter how hard things get, stick to what you love.

REBUILDER – this song is putting the message of the whole CD together. The lyrics are a little darker but the meaning behind it is extremely positive. The overall message of this song is that everyone should find the positives in life because if you focus on the negatives, death will come a lot faster and you will have nothing to show for the life you lead. If you enjoy everything in life, you will live an extremely happy life which will make it worthwhile. The lyrics are told as a higher power, which watches over the world and tells of wisdom. Death is symbolized as someone who takes away the lives of those who do not deserve them. The lyric “They’ve come to bury you; you’ve failed us this time. I knew that you wouldn’t make it out alive”, defines this completely. Another message we wanted to portray would be that life throws you many curve balls and you will never know what’s coming your way so all you can do is roll with the punches and keep on, keepin’ on.

Who produced Rebuilder and what was it like working with them?
We recorded the CD with our good friend Brette Ciamarra from Studio 344 in Plum, PA. Working with Brette is always laid back and a lot of fun. He’s someone we enjoy working with because he isn’t in the industry to make money, he’s truly in it to make a great production and give the bands what they deserve. However, we only recorded the CD with Brette. When it came to mixing and mastering, we sent the CD off to Drew Fulk of Think Sound in North Carolina.

Who did the cover art for Rebuilder and how much input did you have on it?
All of the artwork we had done in the process of this CD was done by our friend Chris Roetter from the band Like Moths to Flames. Working with Chris was a great experience and we were happy to work with him. Working with a full time touring artist is something you have to take into consideration because they do not always have the most open availability but Chris did his best to get us back everything accordingly. The input we had on the CD’s artwork was pretty much all there, however Chris added the touch of the mountain range in the background, which added a lot to the designs!

What could one expect from a live Voices and Vessels show?
Well, if one would come to a Pittsburgh show to see us, you would mostly be accompanied in the crowd by the other bands performing that night, due the lack of support from our hometown. Aside from that, lots of energy, emotion, and sweat. We sweat a lot. We try to keep our live performance as tight and professional as possible. We like to leave the audience wanting more, and we hope we deliver that feeling to them. We play about seven songs each show, give 110% effort when performing on stage, and try to involve the crowd as much as possible, because let’s face it, when you pay $10 to come see an all local show, you want to get your money’s worth, right? Whenever we’re off stage though, we like to approach those in the crowd and thank them for watching us and striking up a conversation. Our vocalist Nick is great at this and we think it’s something a lot of bands lack now-a-days due to their ego.

Who are some of the bigger bands you have opened for and what was the experience like? Is there any show in particular that stands out to you?
We’ve played with bands like Attila, I Set My Friends on Fire, My Ticket Home, and a few others. It’s always nice to play to a room packed with kids from your city, especially seeing a lot of unfamiliar faces and getting the chance to prove yourself to them. The experience is always enjoyable, especially if the sound guy doesn’t cut your set, haha. Two experiences that I remember vividly would be whenever we played with Attila, one of the members of another touring band, I would like to say In The Midst Of Lions, came up to me while we were sound checking and thought my Auto-Tune was the coolest thing he had ever seen/heard before. The other experience, which is my favorite, would be playing with My Ticket Home. One of the main reasons was because they had already known about us, or at least their vocalist Nick Giumenti did. We were in the process of getting him to do guest vocals for our album and we were thrilled to have that opportunity and to be playing with them. They were all really great guys and we love playing with them, and going out to see them even if we aren’t playing together.

What kind of touring have you done so far and do you have any unusual touring stories you could share?
We’ve done a small amount of touring thus far- mostly weekend tours, and a lot of random out of state shows whenever we get the chance. Tours are what we hope to find more of as our musical career continues. Being on the road is hands down the best feeling in the world. Playing in a new city, meeting new people, everything about the experience is just amazing. Unusual touring stories…we have a bunch. Could we share? Yes, but are they appropriate, not at all. However, we will share one so you can get an idea of how we go about things. We had a weekend tour in October of last year (2011), Pittsburgh, PA – Morgantown, WV – and Newton Falls, OH. We drove two and a half, close to three hours to play some bogus Battle of the Bands in Newton Falls. Whenever we approached the venue, we found an empty parking lot with no sign of any show. We called the promoter and he made us some crazy story of why the show wasn’t happening and then told us that if we came back the following week, we could play the next round of the battle. We proceeded to give him a piece of our mind and then hung up. A few minutes went by and a delivery girl from Pizza Hut came to the venue with 6XL pizzas for the show that the promoter never cancelled. We followed the delivery girl back from the venue to the shop and somehow managed to score all of the pizzas. They treated us like we were famous there- hung our shirts up on the wall of the shop, had us autograph all of our merchandise for them, it was really awesome. That’s probably the most appropriate story which we could tell, but if we do happen to come through your town, come hang with us! We always make things interesting.

What’s would you like a listener to remember the most after hearing your music for the first time?
Truthfully, that’s a hard question to answer. We believe we have a lot of variety to our music, and hopefully something that everyone listen to and enjoy. We have our heavy parts; we have our light parts, melodic, chaotic. You name it, we have it. We’d just like to leave a lasting impression on all of our listeners and keep them coming back for more. Our fans are what keep us going, honestly. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Any final words of wisdom?
To all our fans, listeners, even our haters- never give up on your dreams. Life may cruel at times but eventually everything works out and happens for a reason. Stay strong and push through all the bull crap that gets in your way and you’ll come out a stronger person because of it.

Voices and Vessels is:
Nick Dellamea – vocals
Cody Cavanaugh – guitar/vocals
Zach Pishney – guitar/vocals
Jon Budner – bass
Art Brunazzi – drums

(Interview by Kenneth Morton)

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