Saves The Day is gearing up for the release of their seventh studio album “Daybreak,” which drops later this summer, on September 13. Fueled by singles “Living Without Love” and “Deranged & Desperate,” the Jersey-bred alternative rock outfit have put forth one of their finest efforts to date.
Chris Conley, front man of Saves The Day, recently sat down with Red Bull USA to talk about the five bands who influenced him the most throughout the course of his career.
Chris Conley: Their lyrics just seemed to speak to me. It felt like the lyrics were written just so that I could hear them and I could feel like I wasn’t alone. Their music started out like it was pop-punk music or punk music with a poppy sound. It really wasn’t pop-punk, but they evolved into this strange, almost like twisted pop version of Nirvana.
Like Nirvana was really poppy, but they were also really heavy. Jawbreaker wasn’t as heavy. They still had these upbeat songs that were poppy, but were very strange sounding -- almost as if you threw Green Day and Nirvana into a blender and had Jack Kerouac write the lyrics. That’s what Jawbreaker is like and lyrically, the lead songwriter Blake Schwarzenbach was the most influential lyricist for me and still is the most influential lyricist in my work.
He inspires so much of what I do. I feel like he writes honestly and he’s not trying to make it sound clever, but he just speaks in a way that has an interesting angle. He puts an interesting twist on things, so every single one of their albums is still important for me.
4. Sunny Day Real Estate
Chris Conley: If you listen to Sunny Day Real Estate, you can start to hear where Saves The Day came from because Jeremy Enigk sings in a really high voice, but it’s not just an airy falsetto. He sings with a lot of grit and power, so it has urgency behind it and their music is also different than most bands you hear.
Some of it sounds like ’90s emo -- this is before emo music broke out in the late ’90s and early 2000’s where it was sorta mixed with pop-punk. It’s just emo in what it sounds like: emotional music. You can listen to Sunny Day Real Estate and they sorta transport you to another dimension that’s all emotions. The singer sometimes sings lyrics that you don’t even understand at first, but when you start to dive in, you realize he is just creating this mood and feeling.
He’s singing almost to himself -- almost singing words that only mean something to him. But you can feel behind that he is singing about real longing and grasping, and reaching for some sort of sense of belonging or feeling at peace. They definitely hit a nerve under the skin.
Chris Conley: They’re a great rock band and a band that uses interesting guitar chords and harmonics, so they wind up sounding like nothing else. Their guitars almost sound dangerous to me. There’s some sort of darkness in their music -- it sounds like it’s rumbling out of the gates of hell.
Steven Tyler on top of it is just the most incredible rock vocalist. The way he sings is strange -- it sounds like a shrieking cat. I know a lot of their songs are just about ‘getting busy,’ but they have songs that touch on deeper themes. If you listen to “Last Child” on their album “Rocks” from the ’70s or even “Toys In The Attic” or “Nobody’s Fault,” the lyrics get really deep.
They’re starting to ask what it’s all about and why do we feel the way we feel. Even “Dream On,” I like that he sung about issues other than your average ‘boy meets girl, boy drools over girl’ kinda thing. Most of their songs are about that kinda thing, but he has an expanded consciousness when it comes to lyric writing.
2. Led Zeppelin
Chris Conley: They were the band who inspired me to make my own music. Their guitar work is so different than most rock bands. Jimmy Page uses jazz chords and he organizes the music in a way that is more like classical music than pop music, and the instrumentation is really interesting.
Even if it’s just guitar, bass and drums, he layers in mandolins and acoustic guitars in a way that sounds like nothing I ever heard before. I feel like when bands imitate that dramatic, epic rock sound, what they miss is that the chords are so interesting and not many people know what he’s doing, so they go for a quiet verse and loud chorus.
That whole relationship between quiet and loud was done really well with Led Zeppelin. The moment that made me want to make my own music was when the drums come in on “Stairway To Heaven.” It’s a great example of that dynamic interplay because the whole song is this quiet sorta acoustic song that has sorta frilly background music. The drums come in, and suddenly, it’s a rock song and gets carried into that epic outro with the solo. It’s just a wild song.
1. The Beatles
Chris Conley: Their songs are so well put together and their singing is always fantastic. I find that their melodies are really natural in that they don’t sound like they were labored over. They sound like they were effortlessly plucked out of the air. The amazing thing is once I learned their songs on the guitar, they were deceptively simple and they sound like they’re regular pop songs, but their guitar chords are really complicated.
The chord structures are complex whereas they’ll play chords you wouldn’t imagine. For example, they’ll have a G Dominant 7, a G Minor 7 and a G Augmented all in the same song, which is highly irregular -- at least in pop song writing. I learn a lot as I’m listening and the melodies are so sugary that they’re always pleasant to listen to. I also think their lyrics are underrated.
Paul McCartney, who doesn’t always get credit for writing great lyrics, I think is an incredible lyricist. If you listen to “Eleanor Rigby,” I think you’d have a hard time finding lyrics in pop songs that could beat that.
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