Image: Mitchell Wojcik
Frank Iero and the Future Violence aka The Future Violents have announced that their new Heaven is a Place, This is a Place EP will be released on Friday January 15, 2021 via UNFD. Serving as a companion piece to 2019’s critically acclaimed full length, Barriers, the EP is split into two distinct movements.
Side A reveals the true meaning of “Violence”, a song title Iero has teased on bass drums in all his Future Violents music videos. Indeed, it’s opening gambit of “You got so sick, I thought I’d die, you got so down, I couldn’t get high”
before the chorus refrain of “Your violence feels like kisses to me, your silence makes it harder to breathe, your distance feels like I’m not enough…I need your touch”
sees Iero at his most scathing and damaged. Never have these words felt more relevant as they do now. This ferocity and redemptive anger continues into “Sewer Wolf “ where in the chorus Iero professes, “I come alive forged in fire, My love will break these chains built from pain, they can’t hold me down.”
In total contrast to side A, side B finds the band more delicate and thoughtful, complete with soaring soundscapes before the final crescendo of ‘Record Ender’. All while paying beautiful tribute to Iero’s journey with The Future Violents and its members musical fortitude.
In 2016, Iero and his guitar-playing brother in law, Evan Nestor, were involved in a brutal motor vehicle accident in Australia – one they barely survived. During the process of recovery, the REM song, ‘Losing My Religion‘ started making pivotal appearances in unusual places / weird circumstance and the mantra repeated itself as time went on.
When Iero resumed touring, post accident in 2017, one of the members of the support band, Kayleigh Goldsworthy, struck a chord both literally and proverbially.
Iero notes: “From the first show I was completely impressed with her musicianship and by touring together I realised she was also a rad human being who I desperately wanted to write and play music with. In my mind she was already in my next band, I just had to write the music, name the band, find the other musicians, oh and of course ask her. But during that first tour together we got to talking about how she played the mandolin and how we shared a love for R.E.M., and more specifically ‘Losing my Religion’. So, on the last night of tour in San Francisco we found an empty room/hallway/stairwell type place and made an iPhone voice memo demo of the song. It felt like magic and that was the moment I was convinced this couldn’t be the only thing we did together.”
Goldsworthy’s band was subsequently invited to tour the UK & Europe and in London, a BBC session at the legendary Maida Vale studios culminated in Iero, Nestor, and Goldsworthy recording their unique take on ‘Losing’ amidst analogue history and English rain. The magic in the air was palpable and despite being on a sold out tour for an existing album (Parachutes) everyone in the room knew that this was the starting point of something new and truly great.
Iero has always employed a new band name for each stage of his solo career (The Cellabration / The Patience / The Patients / The Future Violents / The Future Violence) and there surely can be no doubt that as ‘Losing My Religion’ is the start of the band then ‘Record Ender’, the closing track, is the bookmark conclusion as Iero sings “Maybe we fooled them all, at least I hope we did.”
Originally tracked at the same time as Barriers by Steve Albini, Heaven was finished and mixed by long-term friend and collaborator Steve Evetts in late 2020. Describing the Steve ‘squared’ sound as sonic perfection for these songs, Iero is quick to point out that this is not merely leftovers from Barriers but very much a main course.
“The Future Violents was the perfect band at the perfect time for me. The creativity flowed through us like rapids and we didn’t stop writing because we ran out of inspiration…it was just time to go to the studio. In fact I was still writing at the studio, but I allowed myself the luxury of 14 songs on the record leaving 3 to survive in the shadows. Lying in wait. I knew I wanted them to see the light, it was just a matter of how and when.”
Elaborating on the origins of the EP, Iero comments, “The title of the EP actually comes from the night before we started recording Barriers at Electrical Audio in Chicago. The band went out to eat and get drinks at a local Tiki bar called, Lost Lake. On the menu that night there was a drink called Heaven is a place/This is the place.” shares Iero on the meaning behind the EP title. “I love when the universe gives you gifts like that. You just have to be in tune to your surroundings. The name struck me as clever and I started to think about how changing one word in that title meant something way more profound to me. Heaven is a place, if you believe in that sort of thing…It is the reward at the end of a long hard journey of fighting the good fight and living your life to whatever standards you hold dear. But it’s just a place. And so is this…This is a place, the earthly realm, miraculous on so many levels but also just a place. The difference is you and your perception.”
‘HEAVEN IS A PLACE, THIS IS A PLACE’
2. Sewer Wolf
3. Losing My Religion
4. Record Ender
Heaven features Evan Nestor on guitar and backing vocals, Murder By Death’s Matt Armstrong on bass, Thursday’s Tucker Rule behind the drum kit and Kayleigh Goldsworthy on keys, mandolin, and violin.
Heaven Is A Place, This Is A Place is out in full Friday January 15, 2021 via UNFD.