“In the middle of making the record, we had these suicides of musicians we loved and all of these shootings. The songs were birthed out of these times,” says Armstrong. “The song ‘Still Alive’ was birthed directly from those suicides. As hard as it’s gotten for us, and all three of us have had terrible things happen in our lives, it was never an excuse for us to take our lives or walk away. We kept pushing through. It’s an empowering song saying, ‘We’re still here, and we’re still alive.’ Another song called ‘What’s It All For’ comes right out of Ecclesiastes, for those wondering the point of all of ‘this.’ So these are the subjects we like to dive into. A lot of artists can’t dive into these subjects as much as our platform will allow us to.”
Not only is Armstrong considering the turbulence of culture, but the band is open about facing their own uncertain future. Their initial record deal is up with the release of Gone, which means a veteran band that signed a long-term record deal as teenagers now face independence for the first time—exciting or not. In fact, that tension is the origin for the album’s title.
“We do this acoustic experience where we invite ten people onto our bus and play them a song and we let them talk to us and answer questions,” explains Armstrong. “We started talking one time about how this is the last record on our record deal that we’ve had for ten years. Our label gave us what’s called a ‘1+5,’ which means they had five options after that first record and this is the last one.
“We don’t know where we go from here. We could be re-signed or not, but if we go independent, there’s a chance we could disappear, just depending on fan support. If fans continue to support us, we’ll be able to make music, but it’s a weird thing for us since this is all we’ve ever known since we were sixteen.”
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