Shoving a fist in the face of tradition has been Filter's modus operandi since the release of their self-produced debut album, Short Bus. The album's rough-around-the-edges production consisted of inebriated answering machine samples, lavish bass lines, and jagged guitars set to a backdrop of drum machines punctuated by the unfurling of Richard Patrick's vocal prowess and signature roar. Patrick, Filter's magnetic, profoundly intelligent nucleus and frontman jubilantly admits that his creative process is unorthodox, whether he's staring down and conquering new technology or coalescing with new bandmate and co-conspirator Jonny Radtke on Filter's current release, The Sun Comes Out Tonight.

Patrick believes in adapting and improvising in the name of achieving results, fully aware of what he's rebelling against. He addresses his unconventional methods with utmost conviction in his voice, "Let's break the rules, let's put a finger up to the establishment and do something wrong. If William Shakespeare was alive today, he'd be using a word processor. He'd be copying and pasting. Does that change things? Yeah, but at the same time, it's flexible and different. It has to be done." This perspective is evident on The Sun Comes Out Tonight's lead single, "What Do You Say," an explosive track featuring Patrick's rousing howl, hypnotic synthesizers, smoldering guitars, biting lyrics, and the triumphant resurrection of the pulsating drum machines that cemented Filter's reputation for delivering a distinctive sound unlike any other band in existence. Patrick laughs, "It's all drum machine, just like Short Bus! I like that we're getting away with something that's wrong. There's almost this notion that someone like Skrillex is less of a talent because his music centers around making a computer do incredible things. Music is an interpretive art form."

"The Only Way (Is The Wrong Way)" isn't merely a stand-out track from 2002 release The Amalgamut, it's an integral component of the career Patrick has fabricated with Filter as a truly capable multi-instrumentalist and vocalist hell-bent on releasing top-notch material and delivering electrifying, intense live performances. Patrick's many collaborations and side-projects have transcended the boundaries between rock, industrial, and electronic music by utilizing the talents of musicians Trent Reznor, Robert and Dean DeLeo, Ray Luzier, Josh Freese, John 5, The Crystal Method, Danny Lohner, Clayton Worbeck and Wes Borland.

The Trouble With Angels, Filter's inaugural venture with producer Bob Marlette culminated in Patrick cleaning the slate and solidifying a new live band line-up before embarking on tour across North America and Europe in support of the album. Filter's affiliation with the organization Stars For Stripes allowed the band the honor of entertaining US troops on military bases in Kuwait, Iraq and Cuba's Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. Patrick, a fervent supporter of the men and women serving the United States, takes immense pleasure in meeting and performing for deployed fans; he and his bandmates gained deeper insight into the lifestyle those serving face on a regular basis when the band survived rocket attacks in Kirkuk, Iraq.

The Sun Comes Out Tonight heralds the return of Marlette in the roles of producer and co-writer, and marks the introduction of Filter's newest addition, co-writer, and guitarist, Jonny Radtke. Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Radtke's rapturous vocals and elegantly furious guitar playing mesh expertly with Filter's ambiance. "Jonny is the little brother-slash-guitar player I never had, he's just incredibly talented," Patrick affectionately admits. "Because of his talent and my connection with him, it was such a joy to make this album, it's a very inspired record. The chemistry was there. I really can't say enough about Jonny." Radtke's own predilection for rebellion and versatility are hallmarks of his own one-man musical project, the ethereal Polar Moon. Prior to joining Filter, Radtke's guitar stylings were best known for gracing the stage with his previous band, Kill Hannah, and the live incarnation of Ashes Divide, led by Billy Howerdel of A Perfect Circle.

Patrick proclaims, "It's a new guitar player, a new label - we're so grateful we signed with Wind-up Records, [label co-owner and Chief Creative Officer] Gregg Wattenberg is so supportive, the label is amazing; it's a whole new idea. It was so easy to be angry on this record, there are songs about betrayal and pure evil, there's so much heavy stuff [on this record] but there's moments of light, songs about happiness and love. It's our analysis of the human condition."

Tracks "What Do You Say", "This Finger's For You" and "We Hate It When You Get What You Want" seethe with vicious guitar riffs, blasting beats, Radtke's lilting background vocals, Patrick's gruff delivery, and captivating choruses that were made to sing along to. "With our first single, 'What Do You Say,' it's about all the noise - noise from the media, people talking and having so much to say but not really listening," Patrick thoughtfully states. One of the album's brightest moments of light comes courtesy of the shimmering, euphoric "Surprise," a track reminiscent of the delicate song structure that made runaway hit "Take A Picture" one of Filter's most beloved offerings.

The whimsical "First You Break It" draws you in with lush guitars and surging harmonies. The lyrics for "Watch The Sun Comes Out Tonight" paint an intimate portrait of Patrick's adventures at age 22 wandering around under the influence of psilocybin in the chill of Cleveland, Ohio late at night. "We'd search for things to look at, something that would trigger a profound thought of some kind," Patrick recalls, "I love writing about those times; I was young and angry but optimistic at the same time. Gregg Wattenberg took all of what he loved about early Filter and reminded me of it, he was like, 'you need to get back there and do what you do!', I've always been about pressing forward and stretching my audience's imagination but there's got to be a point of reflection."

The Sun Comes Out Tonight's synthesis of tools from the band's past and brand new attributes facilitate the stereophonic assault that only Filter circa 2013 can deliver.

Fight or Flight

While on hiatus from Grammy Award-nominated, multi-platinum Chicago-based juggernaut Disturbed in 2012, guitarist Dan Donegan started to intensely miss touring and recording. So, he reached out to Evans Blue front man Dan Chandler with an idea.

Donegan didn't approach Fight Or Flight with a concrete plan. Instead, he allowed the music to arrive naturally, and that's exactly why it feels so alive and authentic. There wasn't a big social media reveal. He didn't even tell the record label or his management that he was writing songs. Rather, he picked up a guitar and held nothing back and started his collaboration with Chandler.

"After a few months home, I was going through withdrawals from the road," he laughs. "I actually met Dan Chandler online in 2011. I requested him on Facebook because I'm a fan of Evans Blue. I watched them at Rock on the Range that same year, and he sounded incredible. We had spoken about collaborating in passing that day, but I didn't think much of it until Disturbed decided to go on a hiatus."

They began sending each other songs back and forth via email and meeting in person anytime Chandler was in the Chicago area. Chandler had a bunch of unfinished ideas and was looking for an outlet to express those ideas. Donegan said," We didn't have a plan for it, we just wanted to write together, there was no discussion of the direction, we just let it happen naturally." Soon, they had a bulk of material, so Donegan suggested getting his "Disturbed brother of over twenty years," drummer Mike Wengren and record the material properly. That proved to be a no-brainer for the spot behind the kit. Although there's some trademark things in the way Mike and I play, when you add another writer and new voice with Chandler, it's going to be different." It's got edgy moments, but there's more melody across the board. We had the chance to experiment as well. There are acoustic guitars and some electronics even. Together, they cut fourteen hypnotic and hard-hitting songs fortified by Donegan's trademark riffing, Chandler's melodic sensibility and vocal harmonies and another solid foundation laid by Wengren.

"Still at this point, no one at the label was aware what we were doing, Donegan added. We still weren't sure what this meant other than we had songs that we were proud of and a new creative direction." Once the recording process was complete, they found themselves going to their manager and the Record Label for the first time with a finished album. It was at this point that they realized that their creation has come to life and was time to round out the band lineup. They turned to Ra's Sean Corcoran [bass, backing vocals] from the Boston area and Jeremy Jayson [guitar, backing vocals] a well-respected local staple in the Milwaukee music scene. When Donegan was invited by Wengren a few years back to see Jayson's original unsigned band he knew this kid had something. He left that night thinking if Jeremy never gets his break with this band than he'd keep him in the back of his mind if another band was ever in need. "Little did I know that the band would be us years later", Donegan laughs. We had met Sean nearly 10 years ago and he stood out to me on what a great player he was. When Donegan started reaching out to a few close friends to ask if they news of any great bass players that could sing, Sean's name came up again. The call was made and a trip to Boston happened shortly after. "I already knew he had the talent, this was a trip for all of us to hang and be bros. before we would even play together."

Everything kicks off with the stomping first single, "First of the Last." It's an energetic anthem that's meant to be cranked as loudly as possible. He goes on, "It's one of the more driving tracks on the record, and it's got my signature style. Lyrically, it's more cryptic. Dan and I spent a lot of time discussing conspiracy theories, and those conversations inspired the song."

Elsewhere, there's the heartfelt acoustic ballad "Leaving." The song builds from faint strumming into a powerful chorus paying tribute to troops coming home. "We've always been pro-military," affirms Donegan. "I really like the message. It basically talks about troops returning after war. Those memories stay with them so the song ponders how they come back to normal life after their experiences."

Meanwhile, they plucked the album title (Is Life By Design?) from the first line of the hulking slow burn "A Void." The guitarist continues, "Is life by our own design or is someone else designing our lives for us? That's the question. Do the billionaires and secret societies make the real decisions or do we? Is there a bigger agenda that someone may be laying out the design for your life? It was fun to explore that idea. We wonder that sometimes."

However, regardless of who pulls the strings, everybody has the ability to make certain choices. That idea stands encapsulated in the group's very moniker. "My wife said Fight Or Flight one day, and the phrase jumped out at me," Donegan remembers. "A few days later, I was watching an episode of Dexter, and he said it too! After hearing it twice in one week, it just made sense. I like the meaning behind it. It's the body's response when you're backed into a corner. It's about how you respond when you're threatened. You can cower or stand up and fight." Us, like most musicians also know what it's like to fight and have to break down walls to try and survive in what could be a very difficult road to travel. But when you have that fight and passion in you, there's no giving up.

We never backed away from a challenge or obstacle, and Fight Or Flight is a testament to that. "We wanted to do something that would be different enough from Disturbed and make the best effort to keep them separate from each other," Donegan concludes. "You can't worry about pleasing everybody. There were no expectations or rules. We did what we wanted, and this is the outcome. We have the hunger to go out there and prove ourselves again. This isn't a one-time deal. Mike and I have two things in our lives now. This is the next chapter."

You can’t fake something like Nothing More. Since the band’s inception, they have cultivated a rapturous fanbase the old-fashioned way: By releasing groundbreaking music, tirelessly touring and cultivating a relationship with their fans that transcends trends. Correspondingly, the band’s latest full-length The Stories We Tell Ourselves sees frontman Jonny Hawkins once again bearing the soul of Nothing More as his bandmates Mark Vollelunga (guitar), Daniel Oliver (bass) and Ben Anderson (drums) craft a sonic palette comprised of elements ranging from progressive metal to pop. Ultimately the album isn't just about the band's stories, it's also about the listener's personal narrative.

“Many times there is a disconnect between the stories we tell ourselves about reality and reality itself. That disconnect is a void where suffering and self-frustration often enter our lives.” Hawkins explains. “The Stories We Tell Ourselves is an introspective journey from the first song to the last. Making this album helped me stay tethered to reality as I navigated through challenges in my personal life. I believe it will do the same for others. The title alone was a constant reminder to stay grounded when extreme waves of anxiety, depression, and sadness would try and sweep me into fruitless thought patterns and self-destructive, tail-chasing. For Nothing More, music has always been the source from which we find a positive way to move through challenging emotions… this record is no exception.” Furthermore, the album will be relatable to anyone who needs to look deep inside of themselves and find the strength to carry on in the face of adversity.

The songs on The Stories We Tell Ourselves were written early last year and recorded primarily on the road and in personal studios as production duties were often handled by Hawkins and the band themselves. “We are all very hands-on with the recording, so we decided that making this record on the road, when we were creatively thriving, would be ideal” Vollelunga says. While Hawkins previously wrote and performed most of the band’s drum parts, this is the first album to feature Anderson who joined the band in 2015. “Ben is an incredible drummer and gelled with our musical vision immediately,” Oliver explains. “His talents also freed Jonny up to focus more on the production and melodies and I think that made this album come together in a really fluid way.”

From the relentless groove of “Don’t Stop” to the emotive, anthemic bent of the Pixies-esque “Still In Love,” The Stories We Tell Ourselves proves that confessionals have never been so catchy—and songs like “Let ‘em Burn” seamlessly alternate between aggression and anthemic pop. “‘Just Say When’ is probably the most sentimental song we’ve ever written and it came at a time when I had these overwhelming feelings of frustration about a past failed relationship. I needed an outlet to get it all out,” Hawkins explains. It has been said that the polar emotion to sadness is anger. This is most certainly true as all sentimentality transforms from “Just Say When” into a furious blaze during “Go To War,” which sees Hawkins showcasing his dynamic vocal range over a mix of electronic and organic instrumentation. “Whenever this band has difficult emotions, we turn them into something positive through music. That alchemy is the biggest reason we continue to do what we do,” he says of the cathartic process.

Lyrically the band was further informed by everything from the writings of Carl Jung and C.S. Lewis to the potent psychedelic DMT, the latter of which helped open Hawkins' mind to new ways of understanding himself and the world around him. “‘Funny Little Creatures' is about waking up to the fact that there are these creatures that you have within yourself and that there's often a lot more going on in our subconscious than we consider.” These ideas are mirrored in the artwork which ties directly into the central themes behind The Stories We Tell Ourselves. However, while the content may be heady, the album also features more pop elements than any of the band’s previous albums. Such is the case with the aforementioned “Don’t Stop” which sees the band writing massive hooks that stretch toward the stratosphere. “I think ‘Don’t Stop’ is totally genre-bending for us; we find inspiration in so many different kinds of music and felt it was important to not make rules about what we could or couldn’t do with this record,” says Hawkins. “This album definitely goes to a lot of places that we’ve never been before and I’m really proud of that,” adds Vollelunga.

Then there are the band's live shows which have become legendary for the kinetic energy they share onstage. “We come from a perspective that the live show should be a totally different type of experience than what you hear on the record and we try to show that in every performance,” says Hawkins. It’s clear that this is a band that can't wait to share The Stories We Tell Ourselves, with their fans across the globe.

Ultimately, The Stories We Tell Ourselves proves to all of us that even if our stories don’t always have a happy ending there’s a beauty in their very existence. Even during the album’s darkest moments — Hawkins literally sings about being stuck in a hole on “Still In Love” — there’s a hopefulness that permeates each of these songs that will inevitably resonate with new listeners while making the deep bond that Nothing More has with their fans even deeper.

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