Reaching. Yearning. Struggling. Wanting. Needing.

The epic quest of finding one’s identity might be one of the most universal themes found in the pursuit of art. The hopeless wandering replaced by the hope-filled breakthrough has been chronicled time and again in painting, sculpture, prose, poetry, film and, certainly, music.

The men who make up the rock band RED have been through those trials thems...elves. They’ve taken those experiences to heart, mixed them with a plethora of influences – be they observations on art they admire, or communications with fans they adore – and now burst forth with a dynamic new set of songs geared toward finding who we truly are, inside and out.

The time is now for Until We Have Faces.

“We had the title before anything else,” says RED bassist Randy Armstrong. “And we didn’t set out to make a concept record. But as I sat and listened back to the final record, it’s amazing how much of the content, pretty much unintentionally, deals directly with the title of the record. From start to finish, it’s about all the emotions people go through trying to find their identity.”

It takes some doing to meld divergent inspirational resources as author C.S. Lewis with the stylings of Sevendust and Slipknot. But that’s exactly what RED has done with Until We Have Faces – merge those ideas that inspire with experiences that inform, and craft face-meltingly driving tracks as the
end result.

From the out-of-the gate relentlessness of “Feed The Machine” and “Faceless” through the roller coaster of emotion of the song cycle of “Let It Burn,” “Buried Beneath” and “Not Alone,” to the hope and comfort (even in the midst of mourning) of “Best Is Yet To Come” and “Hymn For The Missing,” RED compels the listener to walk through the fire of confusion and pain to emerge confident and strong in their identities.

Simultaneously, the members of RED – Randy Armstrong, bass; Anthony Armstrong, guitar; Michael Barnes, lead vocals and Joe Rickard (named one of 2010’s up and coming drummers” by Modern Drummer magazine) on drums– have had to go through a season of rediscovering who they were as a band, with Rickard as the newest member, both a live force and contributor to the songwriting process for Until We Have Faces.

The result of that introspection is a cleaner, more focused RED in the live space, and an injection of new energy in the writing and recording situation, as Rickard made his presence felt with authority. Many of the tracks on Until We Have Faces were based on his drum parts, with the rest of the band and production team (with producer Rob Graves again at the helm) building from them; something quite rare in the rock realm, and certainly a working departure for RED.

“Joe was writing an entire song the way he would hear it as a drummer; structure, pre-chorus, chorus, turnaround, everything,” Anthony says. “And I told him, ‘If that’s how you write, that’s how I write. If you give me your drums, I’ll write over it.’”

“There’s a symmetry to everything now,” Randy elaborates. “We’ve kinda settled into this as four guys with a very serious focus. We get on stage, and it just feels different. It’s very clean and more intense. When we started out doing this, we were punk kids who just wanted to make noise,” he continues. “Now we’re really concentrated on being a great band.”

So while the ferocity of the musical attack has been amped up, so too the emotion and messages conveyed via the songs on Until We Have Faces. The job and passion of bringing those emotions to the surface falls to vocalist Barnes, a quiet and unassuming man offstage but an undeniable force on stage and in the vocal booth.

He knows the goal: connecting those hard-earned fans with the stories being told through RED’s music. “I like to think about our audience and what they’re going to feel the first time they hear the record,” Michael says. “What are some of the emotions that may impact them? I try to get that emotional feeling stirred up inside me.”

In the making of Until We Have Faces, Barnes was charged with quickly finding his place within these songs, as accelerated recording time frames meshed with playing packed shows didn’t give the band and its oft-screaming vocalist a lot of down time.

“We had so little time to get ready, because we were all doing 10 different things at a time,” Barnes says. “One of the things I did on this record was to try to push my voice to a whole other limit. It’s a lot raspier, a lot more impactful style of singing.”

“I just remember showing up at the studio, watching Michael track,” Randy says, “and on the last record, we did all the vocals first, and the screams dead last, because we knew if we did them at the same time, Rob wasn’t going to get out of Michael what he needed. “But I’d show up some nights, and Michael would be in the midst of recording the entire song, and I told Rob a number of times that Michael sounded really strong. His stamina is there.”

“There’s one song – ‘From The Outside’ – where the timbre of my voice makes it sound like I’m about to actually lose my voice,” Barnes continues. “I did ‘Watch You Crawl’ that night, and then I sang ‘From The Outside.’ We never would have done that in the past, but I think it really adds to the emotion of that song.”

“Part of me feels like this record would not have been captured the way it was if the timeline hadn’t been as tight as it was,” Anthony says. “I feel like the time pressures made us all step up to the plate like we never had; yet another way we had to find our identity through this project.”

Another crucial aspect of RED’s overall identity is the band’s relationship with its fans. Through feedback and support received with RED’s first two Grammy nominated projects, End of Silence (6/6/06) and Innocence & Instinct (2/10/09), and the five-plus years of near-constant touring, the members knew they could reach out to the fan base for inspiration and direction for Until We Have Faces.

“When we first started writing songs for this record, we put a post on Facebook asking what our fans wanted to hear songs about,” Randy says. “We got over 1,000 responses to that, and just to see what they wanted or were struggling with was incredible.”

It’s part of that ongoing and ever-changing process of trying to find out who you are, as the circumstances and definitions of the world morph around you. And it’s in that continuous examination that new answers can continue to be found, even for a band that’s been asked the origin of its name a million times.

“People ask what the name RED means and where we came up with it; it’s a power color, a very emotional thing,” Barnes says. “And I think our music gets to the core of that. We’re really trying to flesh out and draw out those emotions that may have been stagnant or just stirring up in people.”

The thing is, the members of RED really don’t mind the questions. And they’re inviting fans to help them find the answers. They know it’s in the reaching, the yearning, the struggling, the wanting and the needing that new identity is formed, emerging forged and strong, powerful and loud.

There’s little need to wait Until We Have Faces. For that time is now.

We As Human

The journey of hard rockers We As Human from one of northern Idaho’s most beloved, bone-crunching indie acts to ink a deal with Atlantic Records is nothing short of extraordinary. After touring throughout the region alongside a soundtrack slot in a national commercial for Xbox 360’s “Section 8” video game, the guys scored an unexpected networking opportunity of a lifetime.

“Our road manager at the time was working a Skillet show as a runner and a couple of the band members ended up in our touring van,” recalls frontman Justin Cordle. “As they were driving around, he said ‘Hey, I know you get CDs all the time, but this one from We As Human is way more awesome than all the others.’ It wound up making its way to the band’s frontman John Cooper, kind of as a joke at first because they really do get demos pitched to them all the time, but he put it in, absolutely loved it and said we were one of the best bands he’s heard in quite a few years.”

From there, the multi-platinum, chart-topping Skillet made the introduction to Atlantic, who agreed on its leader’s assessment. Add in the group’s aggressive, stadium shaking sounds and reception for the group’s self-titled EP (an Atlantic release through a newly launched imprint label partnership between Cooper, longtime Skillet manager Zachary Kelm and attorney Todd Rubenstein) is already so strong that a full-length is on the books for 2012.

“We wanted people to get to know us with these four songs on the EP, and they are meant to establish us first and foremost as a rock band with a big, massive sound,” explains Cordle of the collection, which was produced by Grammy Award winner Nick Raskulincz (Foo Fighters, Deftones, Velvet Revolver). “We love big guitars, big drums, soaring vocals and everything about the whole rock n’ roll experience. We love getting out and doing live shows, hanging out with our fans, getting to know them and having them get to know what we’re about.”

The band’s very moniker, We As Human, even lays the groundwork for members’ messages, intentionally sounding like an incomplete name or sentence to draw a parallel to the incomplete nature of the human condition. The songwriting across the EP is just as pensive and provocative, often times allowing listeners the opportunity to interpret their own meanings, even if Cordle has a specific story in mind.

“I’m one of those people who doesn’t want to write about vague subjects, in favor of personal stories, observations or just life experiences,” he relates. “A song like ‘Sever’ is inspired by losing my three-year-old nephew to cancer, which he fought for two years. Watching him go through that was really hard, and my brother and sister-in-law were really torn up. The song talks about the whole idea of separating ourselves from the things inside of us that are killing us, and it’s really become a fight song for anyone going through something similar.”

Additional themes range from encourtering a friend who’s betrayed their trust to removing the masks of personal deceit and reminding listeners that every decision has a consequence and it’s always best to strive towards an integrity-filled life. Adds the full-throttled frontman: “I believe we have to face the voices of good and evil every day and we can make decisions to either help or hurt others or ourselves.”

Fans have the chance to see such subjects wrapped around the band’s pummeling sound, come to life on a fall 2011 tour alongside Skillet, followed by a second run with those label mates/mentors on Winter Jam 2012, a 48-city arena trek spread throughout three months. “All the guys in the band are real musicians, and in an age when you don’t know if a band is playing their own instruments, we definitely are,” promises Cordle. “We take a lot of pride in our musicianship and the way we can pull off all of our songs live, but we also really love the entertainment side of things. We run all over the place, jump around and have a really fun, intense live show.”

No matter if it’s from the stage or the studio, We As Human is poised for rock prominence thanks to both its unbridled energy and thought-provoking songwriting, which coupled together in one explosive package, truly gives these Northwest-bred/Nashville transplanted players an innovative edge.

“We want a really long successful music career, but also one where we can move people and make them think,” sums up Cordle. “Hopefully our lyrics will give listeners a different perspective or an angle they never really thought about before. We just want to know as many fans as possible and bring them a killer rock n’ roll show wherever we go.”

Southbound Fearing

We're a rock n' roll band from Toledo OH, we released our second full-length album "Bad Dreams and Melodies" on October 9th 2012. We're signed to Red Cord Records and Victory/Provident Distribution. We love Jesus and love all of you.

$15.00 - $17.00

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Red with We As Human, Southbound Fearing, our after

Tuesday, May 21 · 6:00 PM at Chameleon Club