Since the Hope Conspiracy recently dropped the powerful Death Knows Your Name, we here at Scene Point Blank decided to talk to vocalist Kevin Baker to find out his feelings on it as well as any other interesting tidbits that he could spare to give us.
Scene Point Blank: How does it feel to have the new album, Death Knows Your Name, out after the hiatus?
Kevin Baker: We are stoked. It took forever to get it done and almost didn't happen at all. But the end-result is to everyone's liking, so that's good.
Scene Point Blank: What was the writing process like with Neeraj Kane back and Tim Cossar included?
Kevin Baker: Those guys have great ideas individually, so when everybody was bouncing ideas around together it worked out really well.
Scene Point Blank: Will you be touring on Death Knows Your Name? If not, What would the reasons be?
Kevin Baker: We don't have any extensive plans, but we do plan on hitting the Westcoast and maybe Japan in January. We will probably play a Boston show around that same time. Other than that we will have to wait and see because everybody has their own things going on now.
Scene Point Blank: Dwid Hellion from Integrity did guest vocals on the track "Sadistic Sacred Whore." Did you work with Dwid in person or was it a distance arrangement?
Kevin Baker: We spoke via AIM and I just sent him a copy of the song. Dwid recorded the vocals on his own in Belgium and sent the files to Kurt at Godcity where they could be mixed into the song.
Scene Point Blank: Death Knows Your Name has such a raw sound, was this a conscious decision?
Kevin Baker: Yes, we really wanted this record to sound raw. Reference copies of Entombed's Uprising and Zeke's Till the Living End could be found lying around the soundboard.
Scene Point Blank: From the liner notes, it looks as if you all took your time with the writing process. Are there any songs that did not make the album? If so, will they see the light of day?
Kevin Baker: The only song that didn't make the album was "Eurohell." We wrote that song with Kurt and it was meant to be tongue in cheek so we decided to keep it only on the Hang Your Cross EP.
Scene Point Blank: The lyrics have such an angry mood to them. Where did you pull the lyrics from? For instance, "Hang Your Cross" has such a great set of lyrics and I really relate to what is going on in them.
Kevin Baker: I pulled them from my head; it's how I think. The lyrics aren't 100% of my personality but it's a reflection as to how I see some things. I just think that this kind of music is supposed to be nasty and honest. It's not me to be some self-help gym coach shouting about friendship and eating habits. If it offends somebody then I feel somewhat successful. I usually watch horror movies and the History Channel while I write. Those things can put you in the right state of mind...
Scene Point Blank: Did you write the lyrics after the music or did you base the songs after the vocal ideas that you had?
Kevin Baker: I usually write a bunch of stuff in a journal. Most of it is total shit but when you pull the one or two good lines out of a piece you wrote and work off of that to some music, it can turn out pretty well.
Scene Point Blank: Sometimes the most spontaneously created or written lyrics are very powerful or exceptionally visceral. Were any of your lyrics for Death Knows Your Name written last minute in the studio?
Kevin Baker: I put two/three songs together before I went in to the studio one night and they came out pretty well. When you're in the mood to write and you are in the "zone," it's great. But when you are staring at a blank page with a pencil in your hand for three hours, it sucks.
Scene Point Blank: If you had to choose just one song to be representative of the album (to be the one that exemplifies what you were going for), what one would it be?
Kevin Baker: "Suicide Design".
Scene Point Blank: What about "Suicide Design" makes it your favorite track on the record?
Kevin Baker: It just has a lot of the elements I really like in a song. A driving backbeat, heavy riffs, big chorus and a sweet lead in the middle by James Carroll. What's not to like?
Scene Point Blank: How did your working with Jim Carroll come about?
Kevin Baker: Jim moved into 12 Wadsworth "where Jonas lives and we practice" around the time Aaron Lisi got the boot. It was around August of 2003 and we had a lot of stuff lined up here and abroad and there was no way we were going to miss out on it. We knew Jim was an animal and would be able to play the songs just fine so we asked and he was down.
Scene Point Blank: Were you a fan of his music prior to working with him?
Kevin Baker: Yeah, I thought The A Team was cool and I especially like The Suicide File so it was a no brainer. He has a new band with Adam [McGrath] from Cave In called Clouds that have a Wipers mixed with Thin Lizzy vibe. You should check them out if you haven't already, they're great.
Scene Point Blank: Is the Hope Conspiracy going to be an ongoing project for you all?
Kevin Baker: Not sure. I would love to keep getting together like we did for this record and see what we come up with next time. Sadly we are all getting older and have different lives now so it is hard to get everybody together to do it. I guess we will just have to see what happens.
Scene Point Blank: Will we see anything new from Bars now with Cossar in The Hope Conspiracy?
Kevin Baker: We have an EP that has been sitting around for a while now, but I can't say if it will ever come out or not. There's no rush on anyone's part to make it happen especially since we don't play shows. Maybe next year?