Much like beacons, artists of all kinds receive transmissions of inspiration, process them, interpret them, and emit them back to the world.
To thrive and ultimately succeed, this process requires shedding ego and letting go of pride. It resembles an active admission of humanity in all of its idiosyncrasies and imperfections. Most importantly, the message only resounds when the audience responds and resonates.
On their aptly titled third full-length album and first for Fearless Records, Signals, Devour The Day didn’t just blur the line between musician and listener; they abolished it entirely. The trio—Blake Allison , Joey “Chicago” Walser , and Ronnie Farris —focused on getting closer than ever before by preserving the purity of these “signals” and honoring the crowd above all.
“If you’re part of the rock community, you’ve chosen to be a musical outsider,” says Joey. “The choice represents a certain integrity. We respect that so much. There’s no distinction or hierarchy between us and the people who listen to us. We’re all the same. A lot of times, that’s not clear in this business. It’s stuck in The Matrix where the artist is on a pedestal and the fan is below. We said, ‘Fuck all of this tired bullshit’,” he exclaims. “We’re admitting we don’t have ownership of these songs. Rather, they’re all gifts we’ve organized and put into the soundtrack for a community story. This is an escape from the norm. We’re just honored to have the opportunity to make another record and put everything into it.”
“We’re celebrating this community first,” adds Blake. “Whether or not we make music, we’re recognizing the fact we’re lucky enough to do this. We can’t take credit for the ability to create. We highlight the fact it’s a gift on this record by looking at everything from a different angle.”
A growing discography and countless gigs positioned the trio to do so. 2014’s Time & Pressure yielded the Active Rock Top 10 hit “Good Man,” which impressively sold 100,000-plus singles. Meanwhile, the band lit up festivals a la Rock on the Range in addition to touring alongside Sevendust, Three Days Grace, In This Moment, and many more. Most recently, 2016’s S.O.A.R. ignited a flurry of streaming success. “Lightning In The Sky” generated over 3 million Spotify streams and “The Bottom” cracked 2.6 million as the band regularly averaged nearly 200K monthly listeners on the platform.
Following tours alongside Skillet and Alter Bridge, the group returned from the road to commence work on what would become Signals in 2017. They eventually reteamed with S.O.A.R. producer Dan Korneff , but they revised and revamped the entire process prior.
Instead of penning a handful of songs and rushing to the studio, they accumulated nearly 100 pieces of music on their own. Without showing anyone outside of the core three-piece, they allowed the songs to evolve over six months, adding and tweaking along the way.
After laying down the music at Korneff’s spot, Blake personally tracked his vocals in his home studio.
“It was like being 12-years-old again and locking yourself in a room with your guitar amp and total freedom,” Blake smiles. “We got back to our roots and set about on our next creative evolution through doing so.”
The first single “Faithless” hinges on a hulking stomp brushing up against Blake’s guttural delivery. As a hyper-charged riff kicks in, the chorus rises in tandem to arena-size heights, seesawing between pummeling and passionate.
“The truth about so many aspects of our world has come to light,” the frontman goes on. “Dark secrets are being exposed in almost every corner of our society. The hidden prejudice of how we treat people is being uncovered. Power and greed have distorted our leadership. We are demanding a change. We must challenge the rules of conduct and refine them in every way to create an authentic world worth believing in.”
A barking dog trumpets the opener “One Shot” as muscular guitars and propulsive drums give way to another anthemic chant, “You only get one shot!”
Joey says, “Life moves like a passing shadow. We are a mist that appears and then vanishes. We can strive for success, power, glory, victory, fortune and acclaim but they too will fade. We have one shot at a legacy. We have one shot to be humble and gracious with a tireless and sincere conviction for something greater than ourselves. Keep your eye on the target.”
Elsewhere, “Wonderful Creatures” tempers thick beats and emotionally charged vocals as “Cliffhanger” encapsulates an all-encompassing theme, “There is a choice that begins all positive change.”
These Signals find Devour The Day stronger than ever, but they’re sharing their strength in the end…
“We want to level the playing field,” Joey leaves off. “We’re being real with our responsibility that we’re lucky to have.”