|Another Lost Year: Clinton Cunanan|
Shauna: Hi Clinton, thanks for talking with me about the band. You guys were voted as the 2011 North Carolina Rock Band of the Year. Who puts on the contest and what came out of winning the contest?
Clinton: It's part of the L.A. Music Awards. It's a branch of that division. We didn't get anything really, we got to play at the music awards and we got the title. We also got this little trophy.
On August 14, 2012 you will be releasing your debut CD titled Better Days. I haven't heard the entire record. Describe it for us.
It's got everything. It's as heavy as you want it to be. It's as soft as you want it to be. We've got acoustic tracks on there. We brought in violins, cellos and stuff like that. We covered everything that has influenced us. We didn't set out to write a specific type of album. We just wrote what came out. If it was a heavy kind of day, then it was that kind of day. If you like "War on the Inside", I think you will latch on to the rest of the album. I just write what's on my mind and people are receiving it really well.
What are some of the topics/issues you wrote about?
Well "War on the Inside" actually is about having to choose between right or wrong. Every path has choices on it. I think you are going to end up where you are supposed to be regardless. I was having a really hard time in my life. It was right around the one year anniversary of my mom dying and I was confused about everything. "Angels" is my baby on the album. So many people have come up and said "Man, that is a great story of my life and my relationship." It's awesome that people take away from our songs like that. There are songs about past relationships, decisions and anger. Those are the topics. There is nothing political or really crazy on there, it's just how I felt at that particular moment. It's like a snapshot in time for me.
Did you release anything prior to this record, like an EP?
Yeah. It was called Southern California. We spent about fourteen hours recording it. It was nothing compared to what we did with Better Days. It wasn't the best quality recording, but you pay for what you get. We released the Southern California EP in March of 2011.
You wrote about all the good things about Southern California right?
Ummmmm. Actually yeah. You should check it out.
It just hit #1. Actually I heard yesterday that we set the record for fastest band to ever do that. There are some rumors about some really big stations picking stuff up. It's doing really well. People are catching on and our fan base is growing. We are trying to bring good music to people everyday. I think people are really starting to understand that.
"War on the Inside" is the first single, how is it doing? It's doing well on Clear Channel. Didn't it go to #1?
The video is really cool. Tell us a little about the making of the video. Did anything interesting happen while shooting it?
We were actually off on Easter in Wisconsin and we met this really cool family who asked us what we were doing for Easter. We were like "We live in a van." They said "No, you are going to come and eat with us." We got a call from our manager who said we had to be in Wichita the following morning at 9 a.m. It was fifteen hours away, so we needed to go Now! We drove all through the night, get all set to shoot the video and no one had showered. We all look disgusting. That's how we looked in the video, if we look dirty, we were dirty. There was a guy on set (nobody in the band) that actually took a crap in his pants while we were shooting this music video. That is the craziest thing I remember that day. It was kind of awkward having the camera in my face all day. It was a good time. There was nothing other than that dude crapping his pants.
Well, I've never heard that one before. Justin Rimer of 12 Stones produced the record. How did that come about?
I met him through Shi Eubanks of the band Sore Eyes. He hooked us up with Justin after we did the Framing Hanley tour.
Did he contribute to the songwriting?
He just did some arranging for us. He uploaded everything.
Were there any guest spots?
Yes, she is an up and coming artist right now. She is from New Zealand. We got her to have a significant role in a particular song. It's a surprise, so I don't want to say right now.
You have an incredible voice. How long have you been singing?
Since I was old enough to remember.
Did you know at an early age that singing was going to be your long term career goal?
No, I wanted to be a lead guitar player and before that I wanted to be a janitor.
So you play instruments as well?
I actually play guitar and bass. I was one of our guitar players when we first started, then I went to full time bass player and then we switched over to me being full time front man.
Currently you are out on the road. How is that going?
It's going really well. We are on week three right now. We had taken off two and a half months to go in the studio, so we were dying to get back out on the road. There are nights as a new band where you don't have the crowd that you want, but for the most part it is going really well. We are hitting a lot of areas that we've been before, so we are seeing a lot of familiar faces as well as a lot of new ones. Shallow Side is out with us all week and we just did a two night run with Candlelight Red.
What do you do to keep your sanity on the road during those long drives?
I can tell you, but then I'd have to kill you. I do a lot of Facebooking, a lot of movie watching, but mostly I do a lot of driving. WalMart helps keep your sanity.
You have opened for a lot of national acts. Is there any one show in particular that really stands out for you?
Yeah, we played with Pop Evil. It was Lee's first night as our drummer. He was going to do some of our studio work when our old drummer was with us. Ryan had to quit and Lee jumped in on drums. I told him when we left that sometimes we make things seem bigger than they really are, so don't expect too much out of this. We went and did a sold out Pop Evil show and so many great things happened that night. We slayed everybody in merch and it was just an all around great night for us. It was the biggest night in merch for us ever. For it being Lee's first night in the band, it sticks out the most for me because I watched us go from being a part time band to a full time band.
Thank you so much for the interview. Was there anything you'd like to add or say?
Check us out on our website and Facebook. The album comes out August 14th!!!