Memphis Rockers, Devour The Day, have dissected and challenged the commonalties of modern-day society throughout their electrifying new album release, ‘Signals’. I caught up with Bassist, Joey ‘Chicago’ Walser, to discuss the release of ‘Signals’, the pride that he feels from his experience of Fatherhood, pushing forward in moments in the dark, honoring their fans with their ‘Soundtrack To Your Story’ documentary, traveling to respond artistically in different ways and more.
Congrats on the recent release of ‘Signals’. Over a few listens in full, I recognized a lyrical theme of release. Did you approach the songwriting process with the intention to find clarity within a personal experience? Were you experiencing personal pain that led to the in-depth lyrical expression throughout ‘Signals’?
When we were writing the lyrics for ‘Signals’, most of our influence was coming from one central idea we had both attached ourselves to in the year surrounding the process. We felt so connected to the idea that we could not take ownership of our artwork. We were channels and the universe, the cosmos, the collective energy, has purpose for us as artists, far beyond our understanding. Yes, it is hard to let go of your successes when creating with this in mind, but you are also allowing yourself to let go of the failures, which is so incredibly freeing. Personal pain is something neither of us have had the luxury of escaping, even in our short time here on earth. The last five years specifically were by far some of the hardest of my life, and I have been left with many questions, not only about the world around me, but also about myself and how I handle the changing seasons. In the past I used the lyrics as a way to analyze my experiences, I tried to figure it all out and then stand triumphant in my ownership of the art. Now, with a new mindset in place, I feel we allow ourselves to trust in a purpose far greater than ourselves for our music. The lyrics are the breaking through of a chrysalis wall, and we are eager to fly with new wings.
Throughout your documentary, ‘Soundtrack To Your Story’, you guys created the time and space to connect deeply with your fans. Beyond the obvious, what led you toward the desire to do so? How did the experience serve you?
As you step away from the ownership of your artwork, you quickly begin to see that you are not the hero of the story. In fact, you should be honored to hold the place as artist among your community. The egotistical precedence that we are surrounded by in the music industry, specifically, in our genre, is ridiculous and misguided. Social media has only intensified this marketing concept and now, more than ever, artists try to show why they are worth of worship. It’s wrong in our opinion. These human beings that support these artists are not “fans”, they are not here to intensify our flame. They are a part of a community and we should feel so lucky that they have chosen to place us in their lives. They are the heroes, and we are their soundtrack, and we are blessed to be so, for however long it lasts. We had to do something to shine the light in on this concept. What we were able to raise money for and create is the most fulfilling piece of art I’ve ever been a part of. The experienced changed me forever. Please visit soundtracktoyourstory.info to read more about the making and idea of #soundtracktoyourstory as it is almost just to much to explain, you have to watch.
“Faithless” is being featured and making its rounds around the Rock circuit. Tell us what that track means to you.
I feel that word “faith”, in my life, has always been so connected to religion. The idea that if you have faith you believe in, and rely on, a specific deity. That is not what this song is about. Faithless is about pushing forward even when you don’t know you will succeed. It’s about trusting the process and allowing the growth in yourself and in your work to happen, even if you don’t understand how you are getting there. It takes faith to push through when you can’t see the other end of the tunnel, and it takes courage to keep going.
No career path or amount of followers negates the fact that you are a human being that has feelings. Tell us about some parts of you beyond being a musician that you take pride in.
I am a Father and it is my greatest joy and the most fulfilling part of my life. I take the most pride in that responsibility.
As you are exposed to tons of stimulus, how do you proactively take care of your mental and emotional health when you’re out on the road?
I believe it is extremely important for me to stay inspired. We go out into the world around the venue and try to take in the life and art that surrounds it. The food, the architecture, the people and culture opens us up to be the channels we desire to be and to respond artistically in a new and unique way.
How old would you be if you didn’t know how old that you were?
I have two halves, the wide eyed creator and the father of two children. The artist is still a teenager, spinning around in a spray painted basement with a joint in his mouth. The father is in his hundreds!
As you do speak of it in a meaningful and eye-opening way throughout “Loudmouth”, what are your thoughts on online culture?
I want to be specific so I don’t ramble, because I think this is a long conversation. “Loudmouth” discusses different kinds of people, but all three I had in mind while writing it, use their digital voice to bully and spread disconnection. Whatever their agenda, whether it political, or business or just plain judgmental and mean, it’s wrong. The song was intended to call these people out and create a discussion about how twisted and destructive this use of the internet can be.
Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?!
We are honored to be a part of this community and we are so grateful to still be creating. Please check out ‘SIGNALS’ and #soundtracktoyoustory and spread the word.