Having been on Tragic Hero Records for over 2 years now, Texas metalcore band Invent, Animate is soaring through the charts and across the web after 2 studio releases and an EP. They are now preparing to release their signature sound under a brand new album, entitled Stillworld, whose newly released singles on YouTube have already accumulated views in the six figures. The group’s evolved sound is a perfect fit for fans of bands such as Northlane, In Hearts Wake, and While She Sleeps. Today, frontman Benjamin English sat down with us to talk about the band’s evolution, his outlook on lyrical creativity, and even his personal “side project” (golfing).
ID: Has Invent, Animate evolved musically into the image and musical structure that you envisioned back in 2011?
BE: “Yeah, well I mean honestly when I started I thought we were going to be more of a post-hardcore band because that was what I was mega influenced by going into it, but Trey and Keaton are the most metalcore people I’ve ever met, so our sound kind of grew from there. We really were just kind of writing songs that we thought sounded cool early on, and it wasn’t until about a year in I think we really honed in and created the sound we all thought was a combination of what we all liked and wanted to hear. We really think Stillworld is the most Invent, Animate thing we’ve ever done, so I’m like way too excited for everyone to hear it.”
ID: How did the band come together? What’s your personal backstory with Invent, Animate?
BE: “Keaton and I were in a band together in 2010, I played bass and tried to sing, and he played guitar. Right before that band ended we had a tryout, and that’s where I met Trey for the first time and he shredded on every instrument and we were just like “Okay, you’re in the band, just play whatever,” and we broke up like 2 days later. Then around Christmas time, I was at a family Christmas shindig right around the corner from Trey’s place, and I walked over to his house and told him Merry Christmas and asked if he wanted to start a band and he did and Invent, Animate was born. I didn’t really want to play bass so I started trying learn to scream and early on, even on the EP, I was in reality just yelling REALLY loud, and I eventually learned the correct and safe technique. But yeah, things didn’t really get too mega-serious until about a year in, and somehow the coolest and best possible managers we could have gotten found our band somehow. It was kind of cool actually; I remember emailing countless management companies I thought would actually pick up a band as small as we were at the time, and when I stumbled across the company they were on at the time, I thought it was too much of a long shot, so I didn’t do it for whatever reason, very weak ass move on my part. Anyway they ended up messaging me one day on Facebook, and asking if the email on our band page was the correct email because they’ve been sending us emails about joining their roster and I went and looked and we had the wrong email listed on our band page for God knows how long. It was funny how things worked out.”
ID: How long does it take you to write lyrics for a full song? Where do you derive your influences from?
BE: “I write a little bit at a time; I’m constantly going through wordplay in my head as I’m going through everyday life. I’ll just see something and think of an idea, and expand on it when I’m sitting down at home late at night (only) and work it out from there. Also on this album, I got to write some in the studio and I think that gave some songs a very unique angle. It’s almost annoying how much I think about words, and that’s why I think I like instrumental music so much, because my mind can just chill, and I’m not listening to each word and processing it.
As far as influences go, until I was 13, I grew up on a huge chunk of land in Texas, pretty much in the middle of the woods. I was constantly outside on trails and wandering about with my brother doing whatever we could find to do for fun. I was always fascinated with all of the scenery, and I still am everywhere I am blessed to go. The imagery of all of that growing always works its way into the things I write when I’m writing about anything, and it just kind of stuck. A lot of things I write personally are my own thoughts expanded on and dissected, in its purest form, and some songs are written from my take of someone else in a different perspective. I’m a very spontaneous writer, and when I start writing I usually do it for a very long time, and it really, really eases my mind whenever I need a good mind easin’.”
ID: Tell us the concept/influence behind the theme of your upcoming release, Stillworld.
BE: “I’ll give the short and sweet version because I really want to go deeper into the meanings after everyone has had a chance to hear more of the record. But Stillworld, to me, is almost another way of saying perfect world. It’s all in all thoughts and stories of coping with this far from perfect world we live in. It’s euphoric at times, and darker and more harsh at times. It’s not a concept album, but it transitions in a particular way and you can feel the shift from bright and icy, to dark and daunting really quick, and I’m so happy with the way everything turned out. It’s exactly what I envisioned when we started this whole thing.”
ID: What is your most memorable tour experience?
BE: “About a year ago, we were fortunate enough to do a tour with Veil Of Maya and After The Burial, and the very last night of the tour was in Minneapolis which is where ATB is from and it was absolutely stupid crazy. It sold out in this kind of big but very thin venue and you absolutely could walk around anywhere and it was the first time I’ve been on stage and thought “I literally don’t know if the people in the back can even hear us” but it was fine, and we almost blew it. We had lost our power adapter to our mixer, and were just dealing with technical issues all night and we were all so bummed and panicking. We just said, ‘Whatever,’ started playing our songs and it was so tight and everyone just lost their minds and no one in the band was bummed anymore. Not to mention ATB; like, I literally have never seen a bunch of people go so nuts for a band. It was a madhouse, and I ended up getting really sick and throwing up a bunch on the way back home to Texas after that night. I had to ask them to pull the van over 15 times, love the boys for not leaving me on the side of the road one of those times.”
ID: What are your favorite things about being a professional musician? What are some of the most challenging?
BE: “The fact that we get to travel and play songs we wrote to a bunch of people who may or may not have heard of us is honestly the most incredible thing, really. Like the people I’ve met through this band are just the best possible people I could ever meet, and now I have friends that actually live everywhere, and it’s kind of sick. So many real lifelong friends you make from traveling the road and seeing them everyday is another thing I’m mega thankful for. It’s like every tour is summer camp with new people, except for sometimes you sleep in a van.
I think the most challenging thing is being gone so much, and maintaining contact with the people close to you. I’m super close with my parents and I see them almost everyday when I’m home, and when I’m away on tour during the day they’re busy doing their thing, and in the evening I sometimes don’t even look at my phone till way after our set, because I’m running around after selling merch or loading out, and by the time I can call and text anyone back, it’s late at night and they’re asleep. It’s like I’m in a different world, and my free time is just at weird times, and it’s definitely what wore on me a lot when I started touring, but its gotten better as time goes on. I just try to spend as much time as I can with everyone when I’m home.”
ID: Tell us something about yourself that isn’t as prominently known as being a metal vocalist. What’s a personal hobby or pastime that you take pride in aside from music?
BE: “I love to golf so much, and I think it’s something to do with just being outside in the quiet and playing something competitive. I get very focused and I have to make myself stay mentally sharp while playing, and it’s just really one of my favorite things to do. There was a point where I was playing so ferociously every weekend I felt like I had to choose golf or music, and obviously I gave my time to music. I still will golf any day though. I would say I’m pretty medium at golf.”
ID: I’ve seen and heard from several places that Invent, Animate is becoming the next/new Northlane, and there are definitely similar elements within some of the new songs. What would your response be to such a comparison?
BE: “…Really? Where did you see that? I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that.
[Laughs] But really we’ve been doing what we’ve been doing for a while now and so have they it seems. I would definitely consider us in a similar vein, for sure, but it’s like they also think we sound like Erra, so whatever. We’re just gonna keep writing what comes natural to us, and keep trying to expand on this sound we have. With that being said, I truly think Stillworld, in it’s entirety, will define us in a way that no one has really heard yet.”
ID: What is some advice that you could aspiring musicians?
BE: “Don’t stop. Everyday I learn that this whole thing is just a constant climb and you have to take everything one step at a time. It’s a grind, but it’s the most satisfying grind if it’s truly what you love, and you can watch it unfold, even if it’s a little at a time.”
ID: Finally, unrelated to music, what’s some advice you personally live by that helps you get through the day, especially in today’s world?
BE: “It’s a pretty grim place right now in some places in the world, and at times, I just want to get away and forget about everything and be on my own for a while and just be alone. And I do that at times still, but don’t just completely turn your nose to everything going on, as easy as that is to do. Educate yourself, and be aware of what’s happening around you, and be that person that this world needs right now. It sounds silly and obvious, but one pleasant interaction can really turn someone’s day around and it’s really not hard to be a good person, and I’m still learning all of these things more and more everyday myself. Just put as much good into the world as you possibly can. It needs it right now, and it will make your viewpoint on life better.”
Be sure to pre-order Stillworld by Invent, Animate here:
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