One Gun Salute: An Interview With This Day Burns

Hopefully by now you've had a chance to check out some of the awesome music This Day Burns is making. As promised, I got a chance to interview the band and get to know a little bit more about how they achieve their unique sound.
Playing With Chaos (PWC): How did your band initially form?

Jon: Chris and I were in a band before this for about 4 years. When that broke up we were looking to start something new. After jamming some new material for a while we started looking for a vocalist. I came across Jasmine’s ad on Craigslist by fluke and we had her come out to jam with us. She ended up being far better than either of could have hoped for. I remember her leaving the room at one pint and Chris turned to me and saying “I hope she doesn’t realize she’s better than us.” Anyway, we already knew Matty, (our old band played with his quite a few times) so he was a natural addition. After we had recorded our album, Matty announced to the band that he would be moving back to Ontario and that we would have to find a replacement. We were devastated. not only was our friend leaving, but he did everything. How do you find a guy who can play bass, guitar, drums, and do vocals? And even if you do, what are the chances you’ll mesh as musicians and get along as people? We found Skye the next day and we love him.

PWC: How does the band approach the songwriting process? What inspires your songs and the instrumentation you choose?

Jon: Generally, one of us comes to the band with a riff or song idea and we jam it out until it sounds good. If I don’t feel any inspiration with the instrument I am playing, I switch. Sometimes the style of song dictates who plays what instrument.

PWC: Many people may not know that each band member plays various instruments during a live set as well as in the studio. Why the decision to mix it up in terms of who plays what and what effect has it had on the bands' studio recordings and live sets?

Jon:  Basically it makes it more fun for us. I get bored doing the same thing all the time. It adds another dynamic to our music. We each have our own style of writing on each instrument so it’s almost like a different band once we’ve all switched. 

PWC: What does your live and studio rig consist of instrument-wise? 

Jon: Bass - A customized Ibanez Ergodyne 5-string. I bought it because it felt nice. (paid $400 for it) Then put EMG bar pickups, meant for a 6 string, in it. Now it sounds like a $2000 bass. I use an Ampeg SVT6 Pro head through a 2x10, 1x15 Traynor cab.

Guitar - ESP AX 401FM and a 7 string Ibanez RG series through a Mesa Dual Rectifier and a Hughs and Kitner 4x12. For effects I have a Boss Giga Delay, Boss Tuner, MXR Smartgate and a Crybaby Classic all stuck to a Pedaltrain board.

We practice with a pretty cheap PA, mostly Yorkville stuff, and a Yamaha electric drum kit. The electric kit is just to keep the volume down for the neighbours sake. We also found that it helps in writing as we are able to hear our mistakes better.

Skye: Live drums - Chris and I lately are using my Paragon Peace Drums; 14"x6" Snare drum, 12"x10", 16"x12", 16"x16" toms, 24"x22" bass drum, A mix of Zildjian and Meinl cymbals 14" HH 16"and 18" Crash, 16" China, 20" Ride and a 10" Splash.

Jasmine: Takamine G series acoustic guitar

Chris: Guitar - 7 string Ibanez RG series and a 6 string Ibanez S series through a Mesa Dual Rectifier and an over-sized Mesa 4x12.

PWC:  In terms of musical training and practice regimes, some musicians are very meticulous and run through scales etc. on a daily basis, while others don't touch their instrument unless they're going on stage. For This Day Burns, where do the band members fall on this continuum?

Jon:  I have almost no background in theory. I generally have no idea what notes I’m playing or what key or time signature a song is in. I usually just write riffs that I can’t play and keep working on it until I can.

Jasmine: I try to sing everyday but I don't always play guitar. Most of the time I'm busy studying that I don't even have time to practice guitar or write songs. I only get to practice bass and drums when I'm at practice which is up to 2 times a week. As for music training, I took classical guitar lessons for just over a year when I was 10 and then picked up general guitar lessons again when I was in high school.  I learned to read music with the guitar but continued musical theory in my junior high school band.  I started singing lessons when I was 13 and have been taking them on and off since then.

Chris: I learned Jazz theory and took private lessons for electric guitar, and played drums in stage band, all in high school.  My practice regime consists of playing either guitar, drums or bass everyday for an hour

PWC: Who is a self-taught musician and who went the route of taking lessons while learning to play their instruments?

Jon:  I took lessons, but they weren’t very formal. My guitar teacher threw out my lesson book and told me to bring in cd’s of what I wanted to learn. I was 13 so it was mostly Nirvana, Pantera, Deftones, and Korn that I was learning back then.

Jasmine: I took lessons mostly to get the basics of guitar when I was younger but kind of went the same route as Jon where I didn't learn theory ('cause I found it boooooooring), but only songs by my favourite bands at the time (a lot of Silverchair).

PWC: Your debut EP has some very haunting tonalities on it. Does the band use any alternate tunings to achieve these sounds or is it just the way the chord voicings are played?

Jon: The electric guitars are tuned to drop C, the bass is G-C-G-C-F and the acoustic is tuned to drop D, so I guess a little of both. Jasmine’s vocal melodies are a big part of it too though.

PWC:  At the moment, mainstream radio is chock full of very similar-sounding pop acts. What are your thoughts on the state of rock music: dead or not, and why?

Jon: I think that most of what’s on the radio sucks personally. I rarely tune in on purpose. 
I don’t think rock is dead or will ever die. My opinion is that a lot of ‘modern rock’ stations are confused as to what rock is though.

Chris: What Jon said.

Jasmine: I don't listen to the radio that much as well, only because my car is lame and can't connect to it! I would say I miss heavier rock that used to be played on radio stations. It's a bit too poppy for me most of the times but I wouldn't say that it's all bad or anything.

PWC: What are the upcoming recording and/or touring plans for the band?

This Day Burns: We are currently recording demos of all our new songs, most of which will be posted on our sound cloud page. We hope to record our next EP soon. No dates yet though.  We are also working on a west coast US tour.

PWC: Any parting thoughts or comments for your fans and supporters?

Franklin Richards and Jeremy Gladstone have been huge supporters and inspirational to us. Thanks so much guys! We sincerely appreciate anyone who gives us their time in listening to our music, especially the ones who like what they are hearing!

Be sure to check out This Day Burns on Facebook and Twitter, and be sure to check them out when they hit your town. In the meantime, grab a copy of their album and enjoy!