Progressive metallers Last Chance to Reason just released a new album, Level 2 on Prosthetic Records. I had a moment to ask them a few questions about their inspiration for writing games so influenced by video games, the state of the music industry for newer bands, and their xbox live gamertags.
How do you feel about how the second album came out?
We are stoked about the way the second album came out. We have new members and a bigger line-up in general so it really opened up a lot of doors for us compositionally. Doing a concept album was a new challenge and we got really ambitious with it. I think we came closer than ever to accomplishing our musical goals. Evan (our drummer) having the demo of the game ready on release date was great because people had something interactive to go along with the release.
Was the writing and recording process any different for Level 2?
The writing and recording process for “Level 2” was different from prior works. On “ Lvl. 1” and the first EP we wrote the songs in the practice room, demoed them on our own and then went into the studio for a couple of weeks to do the record. On “Level 2” it was an additive process. We were changing things throughout the process to achieve the sound we were looking for. Evan would often compose skeletons of the songs in Pro Tools and the rest of the band would add their parts over time. We all worked very closely to ensure we all had the same vision. We also did more of the recording ourselves this time. The drums and vocals were recorded with Jamie King and the guitars, bass, and keys were done by the band. This gave us more time to reflect on the songs and mess around with little changes.
What inspired you to express your love for video games in your music?
We just love both of those things and we thought the marriage of the two would be the best thing ever. We all grew up with video games and music being a big part of our lives. Videogames are really the new cutting edge art form, so it makes sense to meld it with progressive music. Evan was the mastermind behind the idea.
Do the specific games you’re playing at the time you’re writing influence the music at all? Or do you go in with a specific game or vibe in mind you’re trying to go for?
We wanted to make music that evoked a certain vibe and a lot of times we’d relate it to video games. Games like Metroid, Shadow of the Colossus, Out of This World, and Panzer Dragoon all come to mind. They all have this melancholy otherworldy feel to them. The song “Portal” may have been inspired the game Portal. At one point we had a working portal gun in our game. So there will likely be some portal mechanic in the game level that is synced with that song.
How much input do you guys have on the game for Level 2, and how does that relate to the overall concept or story of the album?
Our drummer, Evan, designed the game along with Tom Vine, the programmer. He also did concept art and some backgrounds, but Francis Coulombe did the majority of the pixel art. The game is totally a DIY effort and a ton of blood sweat and tears went into that process. All of those guys were just busting the game out in their spare time. There no budget to speak of, it’s a total labor of love.
What has touring been like for you as you’ve grown a fan base outside your home state of Maine?
We’ve done a lot of diy touring over the past few years, but it seems like now we’re starting to really get out there. It’s really fun being out on the road playing music every night. We worked really hard on the new album so it’s a great feeling seeing people getting into it and even singing along in some
What’s your most memorable “Spinal Tap” moment thus far?
Things go wrong for us way more often than not. If the van is running and we’re on time and our gear is all working, then that is an anomaly haha.
Are you guys on Xbox Live or PSN at all? If fans want to game with Last Chance to Reason, is there any way to do that or do you have any events planned?
We don’t have any specific events, but we’ll tweet or post on facebook if we’re playing something online. Chris’s gamertag for xbox is ChrisLCTR and Evan’s is EvanLCTR. Brian is on PSN at BPLCTR.
Your first album, Level 1, was recorded with Tribunal Records and the new one is with Prosthetic, a label that’s a good deal more well-known. What’s the difference been like?
We actually recorded both albums before having a label planned out for them. We recorded “Lvl. 1” with Jamie King and then ended up releasing it through Tribunal because we had known Matt (the label owner) for a while and he really liked the record. We were only committed to Tribunal for that one release. The second record was recorded with us not really sure what would end up happening label-wise. Matt and Jamie King helped us get “Level 2” to a bunch of different labels and all of the sudden we had a few different management groups and labels interested.
Matt at Tribunal was super supportive of us going with Prosthetic and we think it’s a perfect fit. Everything has been going awesome with them so far. It’s a small, down-to-earth operation that really understands and cares about the records they’re putting out.
As an up-and-coming band in a time of turmoil in the music industry, what’s your stand on the way forward so that artists can continue making a living playing music?
It’s tough. You put all of your energy into a record, but you’re really only making money selling t-shirts at shows. I think it’s key to be a great live act when it really comes down to it. That’s the one thing you can’t replicate- the live performance. Interactive content like videogames is cool for us, but I certainly don’t think it’d work for every band. The record industry is in a really rough place at the moment.
I’ve heard you guys are planning a tour with Intronaut, Animals as Leaders, and Dead Letter Circus. When will we start hearing about dates for that?
Yes! We are so excited for that tour. It’s going to be a prog-gasm. Dates are starting to trickle out now. Just keeping checking our social networks for updates.
Any final words to leave us with?
Thanks for the interview! We’re touring all summer so check out our tour dates and come to a show. We’ve got the videogame set up at our merch table and we love to chill.