Wed. Sep 28th, 2022

Crossroads. An interview with Joey “Chicago” Walser from Devour the Day

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New opportunities arise when old ones die. That’s definitely true about Devour the Day. When Egypt Central decided to move on, Blake Allison and Joey “Chicago” Walser decided to form a new project. Something new, something fresh, something relevant. The duo worked relentlessly to create and capture the songs that eventually became their debut album, Time and Pressure. The album drops on May 28th and I’m excited to welcome the band to the family and help get the word out about their new band.

Listen to the entire Joey Walser interview below:
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Joining me today is Joey “Chicago” Walser. Joey is the bassist from the band Devour the Day. First off thanks for taking the time to speak with us today and welcome to the Unsung Melody family.

Thank you so much for having me.

For most, this will be an introduction to your band. So, let’s get a little background going. There are two “official” members of Devour the Day, correct?

Yes Sir.

That’d be you and Blake from Egypt Central formed this band and album. Are there any plans of completing the lineup or are you guys just looking to keep it as a duo?

We’re keeping it as a duo right now, but we have two hire-on guys that will be coming out to complete the band live. Then maybe, later on in the future, we’ll talk about expanding the actual members of the band, but right now it’s just going to be us. Blake and I wrote the whole thing and we put the whole thing together, so we had some really incredible guys coming out to play with us. Our drummer Dustin is from the bands Bury Your Dead and Walls of Jericho. Then, the other guitar player is actually Jeff Gaines from Egypt Central as well. So, we’re really excited to have such a great group of guys.

Blake and yourself formed Devour the Day after Egypt Central moved on. Blake stepped out from behind the kit and took on two completely different roles. How confident were you going into all of this, about his abilities?

I was really confident. I think in fact, in the beginning, I was having to continually push Blake because he was worried about it. At the same time, for nearly 10 years, we had been writing and singing the melodies in the demo process of Egypt Central. Then John would come in and emulate what Blake and I had written, so I’ve been actually hearing Blake sing forever. I always loved Blake’s voice and he really has just taken the roles of guitar player and singer to a totally different level. He really is very, very talented.

Creating a new band, the voice is most always the signature that can’t seem to get right. When forming this band, were there ever any plans for bringing in a different voice, or did you know Blake was your guy from the get go?

Oh absolutely. I think that I had the idea of Devour the Day, even years before Egypt Central broke up. Blake and I talked about being able to musically expand into some different directions that we weren’t able to do with Egypt Central and also just concepts and song ideas that just wouldn’t work for Egypt Central. They were very true Blake and I. I think that we were able to conquer some of those on this record. It’s been a really, really exciting process.

For fans of Egypt Central, there is definitely a sense of familiarity in Devour the Day. I suppose the DNA of the band, the rhythms of the band are still intact.

Yeah, absolutely. Blake also played drums on the record, so it’s very much still his style. But, this is the first time that we’ve ever integrated the double bass. So, some of the stuff even feels more aggressive and there’s also the introduction of some really cool programming and digital things that Blake and I experimented with for years and those are on the record as well. There’s a bit of everything for everybody on there.

Having heard the album Time & Pressure, which drops on May 7th, I thought I’d take a little of my insight and try to help fill in some gaps for your fans. Now, you are the main songwriter on the album?

Yes.

The first single is Good Man. I love the song by the way. Fill in the blanks on my timeline, where was that song written in the process of this album?

I would say that was about half way through the process. Blake had to run back to Nashville and I was just going through a rough time. Trying to figure out if all of this was really going to work. Just wondering, did all these things happen to me because of karma? I always thought I was a good person, why are these things happening? In that moment, there’s this honesty that I think anyone can relate to, when you get to a place, a crossroads, where you really don’t where to go, and you find yourself screaming out to anybody who will listen. That’s what Good Man paints a picture of. It’s just me, on my knees. Not even necessarily being a religious person, just kind of giving into the name and hoping for, wanting answers. I think a lot of people can relate to that.

So you knew fairly early on with that song, you had a feeling that it was something special and you had something to build upon.

Absolutely. I think Blake and I, especially coming from where we are as the rhythm section, behind the scenes guys. We wrote all these songs, I don’t think we really had an idea of what would be the first single until the end. All these songs were kind of moving, but I think when we got to that point, there was something very, very special about that. Kind of introducing the band and bridging the gap between Egypt Central and us. We also felt that there was something very different about that. Not necessarily a throwback, but you could hear our greatest influences in the band. The post-grunge, early 90’s, just some of the stuff that Blake and I grew up on. Rage Against the Machine and stuff like that. We really wanted to be able to show those influences as well, but obviously not just straight rip anybody either. It was a challenge, but I feel like we were able to do exactly what Blake and I wanted to do. It was an incredible experience. The really cool thing was, the first 9/10’s of this record process, we were at my house recording in my living room. Good Man was literally recorded and sung in my living room and I think there is a comfort that Blake had there. With just the two of us there that led into such a great vocal performance. I really think Blake sings his butt off on that one.

There’s certainly a bit of electronics introduced into the mix. Specifically the track Move On is a good example. Was that the goal from the start or did it just feel right once you began the process?

It really did just kind of feel right. The original concept for Move On was actually written as a sketch in a program called Garageband. Which is like your most basic recording programs that Mac gives to you when you buy a computer. But, in that program there where pads and things and the song was actually written completely digitally. Then, as we started to move that into the final song writing process, we started the band aspect, that’s where there is this kind of peaceful harmony between the two. That songs one of my favorites on the record.

Get Out of My Way is a song that I feel has a lot of potential. Any chance we see that one as a single at some point?

I think so. For me, not to be morbid or anything, but it’s almost like Sophie’s choice. All these songs are so important to me at different times. We definitely use our team and the people around us to kind of help to decide what we want to release. I think a lot of that has to do with what’s going on around the world. When it gets to the time when we are going to release a second single, that would definitely be an option. I don’t mind, because it has one of the coolest bass parts that I’ve ever been able to play on a record. That’s a very fun song to play. Right now, our focus is just Good Man. I don’t even know if the teams mind has even gone to the second single yet because we are so excited about what’s going on with Good Man.

The song Crossroads is one that I’m really curious to see how the fans relate to. Is that one you plan on having in the live set or are you going to keep it high energy?

We actually talked a lot about that because we do headline sets. Having Blake come out in real intimate settings, we want him to be able to do songs like The Drifter, then move into other songs. We’ve been practicing Crossroads here, it really has such a great vibe and I think Crossroads could be the sleeper on the record. Where it really kind of surprises people. It is a different kind of music. It’s almost like, not even rock. It’s almost like Nine Inch Nails meets reggae or something. We’re really excited about that, but we will be playing that in our headlining sets.

What are the touring plans shaping up to look like? Any chance we see you guys jump on a bigger tour soon?

Yeah, actually. It looks like we’ll be doing the Hinder tour in June. Then the Sevendust tour in July, that’s the tentative plans for right now. Those will all be posted on DevourTheDay.Com coming very soon. We’re in the process of finalizing those tours and then we will definitely be coming to a city near you for the rest of the year.

Alright, I always end on a random question. Since you guys posted the boxing video for Respect in the last few days, I thought I’d go that route. Who is the greatest boxer, other than Muhammad Ali?

Let me think. Let me think. The greatest boxer of all-time?

Let’s go all-time, other than Muhammad Ali obviously.

That’s a hard one. I really like the story of Mickey Ward and how all that happened. They made a movie and stuff about it. I really think that’s a cool tale. (laughter) Part of me just wants to say Rocky, even though he’s not real. Is that wrong? (laughter) I think I like Stallone’s version of a boxer better than anybody else. I would say Mickey Ward.

I can live with that.

Yeah, he has a good tale. He’s the underdog. I like the underdogs.

Joey, I thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. The site and myself wish you and the band nothing but the best and I’m sure we’ll get caught up at a show soon enough. Be safe in your travels and keep bringing the rock!

Keep up with Devour the Day below:
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Preview or pre-order your copy of Time & Pressure below: