New Music Series: No. 2 - The Path Less Traveled
The Path Less Traveled (TPLT), heavy hitters from Calgary, AB. released a new single yesterday. The Devil. I took a moment to write some words on it and had a chance to ask the band a few questions about the song and their future plans. Read on below and peep the official music video directed by Zak Kelly Films.
Photo: Shutterfish Photography
A quick little intro sets the tone right away. A blend of pop-punk and modern rock breaking through with immediate impact. Think, The Offspring meets Three Days Grace.
Nic Sgaggi delivers a high-energy vocal to open up the first verse and is promptly followed by Scott Bennett’s signature, gritty-powerhouse yell leading us into a contagious chorus melody as emotive lyrics spill out about the ugly nature of faltering relationships. Jordan King keeps it clean and concise with a snappy snare that cuts with ease over-top an expressive double-kick; the right amount of texture to compliment the riffy hooks and chugs planted by Mike Biggs on rhythm guitar, building a strong foundation for a memorable, vocal standout record.
Do you hear me falling, the sirens are calling, I’m going under again. Cause we’re living in nonsense, always taking the offence and honestly I am spent. Now i’m standing where I was before, I always thought that you were on my side, I can’t believe this is my future, my past, I can never hide. That’s what you say to me, what I will never be, that I’ll be full of fear, living in hell for years. I’ll never give this up, please take away my cup, it’s what I often find, the devil’s controlling my mind. I consider retreating cause this cycle is fleeting, the white flag’s flying again. This has crippled my conscience cause I used to be cautious, but now I revel in your pain. Wait how did we even come to this, where every day is filled with constant fights, I can’t believe this is our days, our lives, living dead inside. That’s what you say to me, what I will never be, that I am full of fear living in hell for years. I’ll never give this up, please take away my cup, it’s what I often find, the devil’s controlling my mind.
What inspired the song musically and lyrically?
A: (Nic) The Devil is about the struggle of letting go of something that isn’t right for you anymore, but you can’t seem to part ways with it. Musically, I think that we all wanted to sit down in a room and do something a little different than the band had done before. One part that I particularly love is the breakdown. I think that’s going to open a lot of doors for TPLT to go in some very cool directions moving forward.
A: (Mike) We wanted to write something fast with an upbeat feel but not stray too far from our sound where we might become unrecognizable. When it came time to write the bridge I remember us all sitting in our studio together throwing ideas out there. One of those ideas was to go harder and turn the song on its head. I think we really accomplished that and it’s become one of my favourite songs to play. It’s the first PATH song to feature Nic on vocals and his voice really stands out!
A: (Jordan) My interpretation of what inspired this song lyrically is a conflict between a person and their subconscious where their negative thoughts seem to have control over them in a way that suppresses and limits them from being able to be themselves and do what they want to do. To me, the lyrics portray that self-doubt and a lack of self-esteem are what this person is struggling with severely, but they are never willing to give up. They continue to persevere through what "The Devil" (their negative thoughts) are and continue to fight to become who they want to be.
A: (Scott) This song was a conscious decision to try and move in a direction that was a bit more energetic and fast-paced. For The Devil, I decided to make a skeleton song that went a bit more towards the punk rock vibes that our band communally loves. Bands like Rise Against and A Day To Remember come to mind when I think about this song, although when I write music I don’t really decide that I’m going to write a “punk” song or a “metal” song. I just write riffs that I enjoy and string them together. Once the outline was made, I sent it to the guys and they were all really stoked on it. We got in a room together and started jamming it out. That’s where the song really took shape. We fleshed out some riffs to make it less generic and more palatable. I’m really stoked with how it turned out musically.
When it came time for the lyrics, the song’s vibe really reminded me of a happy/unhappy pattern that you could find in relationships. That unhealthy cycle where both people know that the relationship brings out the worst in them, but the fear of losing what they have and starting over is too much to deal with, so they stay where they are; Hurt people hurt people. So a relationship that started out as being nice and sincere is now just venomous dialogue where each wants to “get even” with the other person and does things out of spite or anger that they would never do under better circumstances. Hence “The devil’s controlling my mind”.
Was there a standout moment during recording the song or music video?
A: (Nic) We absolutely smoked out my entire house while shooting the video for this song in my basement! All jokes aside though, for me, as the new guy in the band, I’d say just really being involved in writing a TPLT song for the first time. It was such a fun process to work on a song with other musicians and see it unfold day by day. I’ve played in bands for my entire life and writing this song was the most collaborative experience I’ve had as a musician. I think that’s what makes this song as dynamic as it is. It was an adjustment hearing my own voice in a TPLT song for a while but I was able to push myself to perform vocally with a little more grit than I ever have before. I hope people will be as stoked on it as we are.
A: (Jordan) For me, the biggest standout moment is the breakdown, I find the breakdown to be very hard-hitting and in your face. It reveals a lot of aggression which coincides with my interpretation of what the lyrics mean. I find this moment in the song is where the person realizes that they can’t let their negative thoughts control their life and they decide to fight back and take a stand to become the person they want to be. The breakdown also has a lot of “hardcore/metalcore” influence which takes me back to my roots where I began my career as a musician.
A: (Scott) We tracked the drums at a studio in Calgary called The Beach and then brought those tracks back to my home studio where we spent the time on the track to make it what it is now. Having that flexibility is really nice because if you’re off vocally on a certain day, you can revisit the song when you’re feeling better. It was a really fun song to track and a very collaborative effort by all.
We meant to have a live music video that we filmed when we opened for CKY last month, but we had some issues with the footage and we were back at square one. So we went back to the drawing board, rented a fog machine, and smoked out Nic’s basement. (A quick thank you to Tara for tolerating 4 grown men turning her’s and Nic’s basement into a Laser Tag arena!) At the end of the day it turned out really well and we’re stoked on it.
The Devil was released as a Single. When can we expect a new album release?
A: We’re kind of testing the waters here with a new plan. We have a lot of songs that are finished, or near finished, that we want to release as singles over the next few months. We have a CD release show in October where we will be putting out a “Greatest Hits” so to speak of everything that has lead up to The Path Less Traveled at this point. It’s going to have some re-mixes of songs off of our first record, some songs off of Vacant Youth, and some new ones that are in the pipe. Our end goal is to put our more music than we ever have before and we finally have the plan to do that. Once December hits, our plan is to bunker down and write a full-length record.
What’s coming up next for TPLT?
A: (Nic) We’re always playing shows and we have some cool ones to tell you about in due time, but I think what’s really “next” for this band is writing more new music. People are going to hear a fresh new side of TPLT that’s a little edgier and chaotic in this new song, and I think it’s going to make our listeners hungry for more.
A: (Mike) Next for TPLT is a couple shows lined up included an acoustic set for a Stampede breakfast! We are also putting the finishing touches on a few songs.
A: (Jordan) I believe the biggest thing in discussion for Path is organizing a Western Canada tour, which will see us play in bigger music markets such as Kelowna, Vancouver, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, etc. the exact timeline for this tour is uncertain but we are hoping to have it planned for next summer. Fans in Calgary have been great to us thus far, but we realize now that it is time to start expanding our fan base outside of Calgary, to see if we can start getting The Path Less Traveled's name recognized in other cities across Canada.
A: (Scott) We’ve got a show coming up at The Blind Beggar on July 28th for the YYC Music Awards. Think The Grammys/Junos, but more specific to Calgary. We have a super cool cover tune in the works that we’re going to be releasing with a video in August, and then we have our show in October at The Gateway where we will be releasing a new CD that has old and new songs together as one commemorative piece. Lots of things in the pipe and it’s a great time to be involved with The Path Less Traveled. Everyone is on the same page and just wants to create and play as much as we possibly can.
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