Words Like Daggers
Words Like Daggers is a modern style hardcore band from Des Moines who have set a fire in the heartland that has started to spread nationally. Their newly released EP These Transient Times has been met with a very positive critical reception and their growing armada of fans have basically gone ape shit over it. Recently I spoke with Words Like Daggers vocalist Lawton Herbert about all things WLD.
HMM: Tell me about the new These Transient Times EP and what was it like working with Cory Spotts?
Lawton: The EP definitely means a lot to us. I think with every piece of work that we write we kind of view it as a moment captured in time. Like a snapshot of that given time in our lives. It’s like a collection of memories. We went into the studio with Cory who is a very creative and laid back individual who also pushes you to give the best performance that you can. We just went in there and laid down the tracks and tried a bunch of musical mechanisms to help the feel to be more of what we were looking for. Three weeks later we had our final project and we’re pretty happy with it. It turned out nice and heavy. One big thing and Cory was really on board with this too, we feel like for this genre a lot bands like to jump on the bandwagon of what’s trendy and just ride it out. It was really important for us that we form a sound that is more of our own, more unique and original. Instead of having everything machine like or robotic we allowed room for a more organic feel. The mix overall is very aggressive. We’re going for Underoath meets Deftones meets Refused kind of sound. Really desperate sounding.
HMM: What was it like writing these songs? Were you bringing these influences to the table or were you just jamming and things came together?
Lawton: Each song came together differently, but instrumentally we have a guitarist, Austin L’Ecuyer, and he is just one of those guitarists who is extremely stylized. He knows what he likes and if I were to hear him play in another band on a different recording I could pick him out of a group of a 100 people. He has a flavor. Typically with a lot of parts he would have an idea of how it went, you know instrumentally of how he wanted it to go, and then sort of jam it out with everyone working on their parts. Then I would figure out what I wanted to do vocally over that. As far as lyrically and vocally I actually wrote all the vocals including cleans and I write all the lyrics as well then I discuss it with the rest of the band to see if they enjoy the concept and that’s typically the way the writing process goes.
HMM: I love the name of song Humanimal.
Lawton: (Laughter) Yeah we’re big into certain themes and one of those themes is duality which is opposites living within a single entity. The idea of a sort of man-beast is pretty attractive to us so we thought we’d throw that on there.
HMM: So does the artwork on the EP represent the Humanimal then?
Lawton: Absolutely. The artwork actually was done by by Marky at Midwest Web Designs and he’s worked with Paramore and Alkaline Trio and things like that. He was the one who ultimately came up with the final artwork. We told him about our love for duality and we kind of pushed him in the right direction and gave him some ideas but he ultimately came up with doing like an ink blot test that has the 2 skulls. The beast and the human and we fell in love it because it does perfectly represent the Humanimal theme.
HMM: Where did the band name come from?
Lawton: The band name comes from Hamlet. I believe the line is: “These words, like daggers, enter in mine ears”. I have a fascination with classical works of literature. Shakespeare is one of my favorites of course. I was going through some Shakespeare and though and thought that would make an actual name for a band and ultimately I really enjoy it because I think it’s pretty striking.
HMM: Are there any of those classic literature themes in the new EP then?
Lawton: The overarching theme of the EP is more or less the plot of Macbeth. In every single song except for Humanimal I used at least one line from Shakespeare. So that was something unique that we did. It’s not necessarily the characters of Macbeth but the plot. The idea is that it actually happens within an individuals mind but the EP is presented from the mind of a schizophrenic. He becomes leery of another side of himself that no longer agrees with whatever side is in control. It’s then a power struggle within his own mind and then one side kills the other. It’s kind of a story about murder then the song “The Brightside Of Desperation” is about the guilt. About not being able to wash the blood from his hands. The last song can be taken, but it’s up to interpretation, as either as committing suicide or as finally coming to peace with what had happened.