Interview: Boston band Leaving Eden talk new album ‘Pinnacle’

Hailing from Boston, Leaving Eden are a hard hitting rock band.Their latest album ‘Pinnacle’ is mind-blowing, and if you haven’t heard it just yet, then you’re going to want to put that at the top of your to-do list. Fronted by “EVE”  Leaving Eden has Toured The USA, UK & Canada sharing  the stage with hundreds of the biggest national bands in the world including;Marylyn Manson, Alice Cooper, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZTop, Puddle of Mudd, Korn,  Alice in Chains and Papa Roach. 

We caught up with the band to talk albums and influences.

Can you tell us about the formation of Leaving Eden?

From The Boston MA Area, USA I was looking for a singer, came across Eve. It was after the first 100 people who explicitly came up to tell me how great she was, I’m under the thinking of if one person tells you you’re a horse, you should think about it, if two people tell you you’re a horse, you should really think about it, if three people tell you you’re a horse, you better saddle up and ride! Johnny on the bass came referred, and he brought Ryan in, so all worked out great!

How did you get to the band name Leaving Eden, and what does it mean to you?

Leaving Eden represents that this planet we call Earth is Eden, and wouldn’t it be nice to take off, visit some place different? Honestly with all the corruption, deceit, and evil that exists, it would be nice to blast off! It also represents the true struggle between good and evil as we all fall short, primitive behaviours that naturally exist in our DNA, survival of the fittest. We fight these battles on a daily basis. It’s a hell of a lot easier to step on people along the way yet resisting those temptations and taking the higher road.

To an unfamiliar reader, how would you describe your sound?

An eclectic mix of rock, hard rock, metal and sometimes, acoustic music. I always say, Leaving Eden is best seen live in concert, so it’s not just the sound, but it’s the shared energy with the crowd. Lots of harmonies, with some cool hooks and melody interweaved.

What bands have influenced you over the years, and why?

So many. I’m really into so many styles of music, I’ll go back to where it all started to current artists like The Beatles, Elvis, Simon and Garfunkel to Disturbed, Shinedown, Pop Evil, and then to Sabbath, Zeppelin, Ritchie Blackmore. I like the tightness of Disturbed and the freedom of Sabbath, the funk and blues of Zeppelin to the harmonies and simple melodies of The Beatles.

How did you get to the album title ‘Pinnacle’ and what does it mean to you?

I feel that the bands that are out there now doing their thing, down in the gutters, in the swell of the cities, in the back alleys so to speak, these bands who trudge through the mud and continue to forge ahead, like Eve sings in our song tied and bound, “we’ve been screwed overcharged underpaid and abused, we’ve been avoided exploited and falsely accused, we’ve been cut down, let down, fucked around, tied and bound, but nothing could take the music away” these bands are the ones forging the future of music. These bands are the trendsetters of change, thus the tip of the spear, at the “Pinnacle”

Can you elaborate on some of the main themes and influences that run throughout ‘Pinnacle’?

Sure, Pinnacle was written with the connection to the universe paired with the lyrics being based on real life experiences. For us again it’s always that struggle, trying to help people, getting slapped in the face for it. A wise old man once told me, “familiarity breeds contempt”, meaning simply, you do something nice for someone, continue to do so out of charity, then it becomes expected. It’s pretty funny how we forgot. I try and never forget where I came from. If you have fame and fortune thrown upon you instantly, how can you really appreciate it, never being to the bottom of the barrel, you’ve got nothing to measure? If you’ve been to hell, survived, then you have that one extreme to the other to be able to measure and understand the full scope of who you really are. In Pinnacle, the song “Let You Down” talks about the fact that none of us are perfect, life will never ever be a fairy tale, Prince Charming doesn’t exist. I may not be this wonderful spectacular person you thought I was, however, I may be just that person you’d want standing by your side when the shit hits the fan. Eve sings the song, “I Can’t Save You” which talks about people that use you up and spit you out, and say’s “I’ll be your stepping stone” that’s cool go ahead use me up, but “I can’t save you”. Break your fall, the song, is about a relationship that has gone on between a man and a woman for thousands upon thousands of years, again not a perfect relationship but yet they still continue to find each other in the next life.

What can you tell us about the recording process for ‘Pinnacle’?

Yes, Pinnacle was recorded in Chicago with Scott Creekmoore and mixed in Wisconsin with Chris Wisco. I produced the album. The atmosphere in the studio was laid back, non-restrictive and very cool. I believe we recorded the entire album in 10 days from start to finish. The album has been released by Rock Avenue Records, USA.

What song means the most to you from ‘Pinnacle’ at the moment, and why?

I guess I would say “Broken Man” because it comes again from real life experiences, watching friends, family go astray, some loose their hope, dignity and ultimately their life due to their own mental torment, drugs, bad health etc. It also touches on that you may want something much more for someone than they themselves want. Finally one gets to the point of, “you’ve got to show me that you can make it on your own, so many times I tried, but you gotta want it more than me”.

What songs are you really enjoying playing live from ‘Pinnacle’ at the moment, and why?

Because we have so many songs recorded, it gets difficult to chose which songs we want to play. Currently, we really like adding “Feel Alive” (Lyrics; Walk on through before the door closes, you have one shot so you better make it right, the world is wide open, why are you waiting to feel alive?”) Love the momentum of this tune live. “We are not alone” is geared towards a few different angles like ghosts, loved ones since passed, the existence of life elsewhere in this vast universe, and a universal connection as well. “Break your fall” which I already commented on and “Pure Evil” which discusses just the pure evil in certain people as well as the pure evil energy that exists that may consume you if you don’t know how to defeat it. I really like all the music in these songs live because there’s a lot of energy and they are fun to play.

What was the hardest part about putting ‘Pinnacle’ together for you guys, and why?

The hardest part I think is always the process of putting the album together. It didn’t just create itself overnight. So I am always recording little things here and there, writing lyrics, compiling all this info over a period of time and when there appears to be enough that’s when it all gets put together. As we’ve recorded each album, it seems the connection to the universe has gotten stronger and stronger each album and on Pinnacle I really knew how to tap in, and understand where it was coming from. Lots of the material I say came from somewhere else, almost like a cd playing completely produced in my mind. I just had to transfer it to reality.

How did the artwork for ‘Pinnacle’ come together, and what does it mean to you?

Great question! Our common theme for all our albums is “EVE” but in more of an animated form portraying the meaning of the name of each album. We always use the same artist, Mario Lopez from Guatemala, he’s such an incredible artist and he does them in oil paintings. Pinnacle (below) shows Eve sitting on the top of the Pinnacle with her sceptre of course with flames around her representing keeping the beast at bay and the snake in striking position, Eve has no fear. So I give my ideas to Mario exactly what I’m looking for and brings it to life, such a cool thing man.

How would you say the sound of Leaving Eden has grown/progressed over the years?

I think the ever evolving connection with the universe and understanding that everything exists that exists. So all the knowledge that will ever be is. Therefore connecting to that as, after all, music being the universal language, you learn to understand more, to listen more and realise that it comes from somewhere else. Maybe it’s someone who has come and gone that you’re connecting with, maybe it’s something else, but being able to hear is so much easier than just sitting and trying to write uninspired and from scratch.

What sets you apart from any other band out there right now?

I think every band out there feels they are set apart from the rest, and the truth is they are. No one else is playing those songs in the entire universe, just the band that wrote it, unless of course a lot of bands are covering your material. The live show really sets us apart from a lot of bands. People want not only to be entertained when they go to a venue, but a crowd gathers a crowd and people are no different than any other species, we gather in numbers so that energy that is transferred between everyone is amplified. It’s a great experience.

What is the music scene like in Boston?

We love it! We have a blast wherever we play, but we have toured in USA, Canada and Europe too. We have a blast everywhere but yeah We love the scene in Boston and New England!!

What else can we expect to see from Leaving Eden as we head towards 2017?

Touring, touring and more touring! A new album, and we’ve been submitted to many categories for consideration for the Grammys, so we’ll see. There’s really so much happening for Leaving Eden right now, but it didn’t happen overnight. Our motto, we will play anywhere anyhow anyway, so long as we can and that philosophy has gotten us to here. We hope to see you when we come through your way and Peace!