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  • Writer's pictureSammie Starr

Artist's Notebook: Saving Vice - "The Cabal"

Vermont metalcore natives Saving Vice have officially announced their highly anticipated sophomore album Good Days, Dead Eyes with the release of their new gritty and sinister single “The Cabal.”

When forming a band, no one ever tells you the struggles you will have to face, what you have to give up, what you will sometimes lose, and what you will hopefully gain when that sacrifice is made. Is it safer to stay independent, free of the vampires of the industry who may not always have your best interests at heart? Or is it easier to hand yourself and your creative brilliance to one that will be least likely to suck you dry? It’s often a hard question to answer, and one that doesn’t always have a straight answer. There are pros and cons to whatever road one chooses. But for Saving Vice, who has fearlessly gone down the independent route since 2017, the band has found a way through the thorns of their own musical and personal debris and has found a way to defy the odds.

This album is basically harnessing all of your pain, owning your demons, and speaking your most visceral, bottled-up truth no matter how violent, sad, or angry. This is not a negative thing but a "release" of all the pain we couldn't understand, get over, or explain.

Going the independent route is not for everyone, but for those like Saving Vice who choose to stay on the grind 24/7 and are willing to put in every ounce of energy they have into making that dream a reality, the payoff for such sacrifices is almost euphoric, with a side order of healing bumps, scrapes, and bruises that eventually become whole again. Saving Vice's new single off their upcoming sophomore album, “The Cabal,” is about the aftermath of such struggles over the years and how they have ascended and continue to rise above such challenges. Despite the roadblocks that have repeatedly told them to turn back, Saving Vice is living proof that not all advice or paths one tells you to take to reach the top are always the right ones. A track imbued with a sinister, gritty, and villain-esque edge, Saving Vice has taken the anger and pain that have been buried and unleashed this fury. Signing on the dotted line and boxing themselves in has never been Saving Vice’s forte when it comes to making a song, a record, or even touring, and they don’t plan on starting anytime soon. 

Hey Saving Vice! Welcome back to Into The Void. So looking back at Saving Vice when you guys started back in 2017, you guys have successfully conquered and tamed what I like to call the hydra of the music industry which is the rock industry, especially metal. I like to think that within this genre there are so many heads and each wants a piece of something, and either one or two things happen. Either the beast is going to get you first or you have to give parts of yourself or sometimes all of it to be successful in this line of work. For Saving Vice your approach to how you guys have conducted yourselves has always been unorthodox and I think it in a lot of ways adds character and that visceral edge to that aggressive quality your music already possesses. What has kept the beast from claiming you up to this point? 

Tyler Small: You have a really good way with words and that's a lot of compliments to unpack so I'll start by saying thank you. In the beginning, it was an attitude of wanting to appease labels and trends. I was always trying to stay one step ahead to a fault because I'd be so on point we'd often end up looking like we were imitating bigger bands doing similar marketing/merch/ or themes. Once we realized how much we could accomplish on our own we got the attitude of BREAKING with the trends and trying to just do things our way. We would always get advice that was counterintuitive to what we have proven on paper. When we'd respectfully decline advice from old heads who are used to everyone bowing down to them, it kinda of gets you kicked off the cool table. Whether or not we were getting offers we knew that we profited and without external forces were consistently in the green. Even on our first tour, we made money. Barring catastrophic van or trailer situations we always made more than we lost. Keeping this going requires an immense amount of sacrifice in our financial/personal lives, our mental health, and a thick skin. We learned our weaknesses and always tried to improve or change for the better. Not everyone is cut out for this but we are finally in a place where there's no one weighing us down or poisoning the morale and it feels like up to this point was trial by fire.

Instrumentally, we were talking about beasts in the last question. I feel like when we are

looking at your music from this standpoint, each one is its own animal I feel inclined to say. Even looking back to the Colder Than Dark EP and Hello There, a lot of those textures are dark, but I feel like even going into these newer singles, there is a unique kind of sinister energy creeping out of the depths here. Yes, there is an aura of being essentially pissed off, but between those thick walls of aggression, especially “The Cabal” there are these pockets of gritty and eerie atmospheric tension within the vocals as opposed to “Blood and Wine” where a lot of that of those melodic touches offset most of those blasts of contention. What were some things you were trying to do this time around that you feel you didn’t get to introduce in your last efforts?

Tyler Small: I like that you mention the past material because our band is a lot like "Star Wars" or the "MCU" in that EVERYTHING is connected down to the characters, and emotional journey from The despair of "CTD" to the self-reflection of "Hello There" and the following singles. Everything is intentional. In that regard, "GDDE" is "episode III of the trilogy. This album is basically harnessing all of your pain, owning your demons, and speaking your most visceral, bottled-up truth no matter how violent, sad, or angry. This is not a negative thing but a "release" of all the pain we couldn't understand, get over, or explain. I felt like every song was a capsule. I was dumping trauma into where I wouldn't have to feel it anymore. I wanted the songs to be so honest it made me uncomfortable. Experiencing your ego death is a philosophical thing, and I was HEAVILY into martial arts and books by "Bruce Lee" that really inspired a lot of my lyrics and have kept me in the best place mentally and physically in my life. Sonically I'm doing all the vocals now so I tapped into a rage I hadn't put into my vocals and was doing tones and screams I hadn't touched in years. The Cabal was every Facebook status or impulse of violence and rage I buried inside watching the insanity of the world around me how brazenly awful people are and how they need to be held to account. 

Lyrically, we are talking about a lot here, being boxed in and somewhat picked apart limb from limb because one refuses to tow this line of the conventional, having the stomach to take those hits, then we have the music industry itself which in its way does some of the controlling. One feels like they are trapped because no matter which way wave you decide to ride, one hopes it takes you where you need to be, but you don’t want to be led astray by the false hopes and dreams of those who try to promise you those things. While walking the independent line takes a hell of a lot of work, you know it's yours, and everything you put into it, you know at some point you will get that back. I think both songs sort of fall into these themes, is that fair to say? 

Tyler Small: I always say, "There's what the song means to me and what it'll mean to most, but anyone is going to feel or hear what THEY interpret it as. For me, it was much more apolitical, I am infuriated that basic logic cannot be discussed because a mass amount of callous, or brainwashed morons will make it a political argument which you basically CAN'T do because NO one is capable of listening or understanding something they don't like anymore. There are a lot of parallels to the government and the music industry as well as I intentionally put it. I know Robbie feels the song more on that spectrum as he's so embedded in the business side of things he's seen it all. For me the line "they say we're cutting corners, we're just moving faster" and "curvature beyond their incompetence" is about people in Congress who can't let go of debunked, moronic, or archaic traditions and get with the times. The music industry is a lot like this in that people insist on everyone moving in a square pattern because they're too stuck in their ways to see the corners have been shaved off. People would always go from wanting to work with us to counting on our failure or writing us off when we said "No, we're gonna do this our way". We got a lot of advice from bands like "I See Stars" which helped us build our DIY business model. We'd always see bands going independent and it validated us.

What is something coming into this that has been a definable moment of a turning point for Saving Vice that feels like “We have arrived.” I know every album experience has something from each process that is important to them and leaves a mark on them, How has that changed you as an artist?

What is next for you guys moving forward? I know the upcoming album is a big one to touch on. What are some things we can expect in the future? 

Tyler Small: We made this album because we'd never have closure if we didn't release it. We made this record as if it was our last so we left nothing on the table. All we want to do is play shows and release music for a living. The future is in the hands of the fans after this. "Eyes on the horizon". 

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