Metal Mofos Isaac Sauers chatted with Rochester, New York band TreadWater’s vocalist/bassist Adam Kramer and vocalist/guitarist Steve Haramis about the forming of their band and their debut EP Arrows in the Sun. Read the interview in full below.
Metal Mofos: When did you guys first start TreadWater? I know you guys were in bands together before such as Endangered Youth. What made you decide to get back together?
Steve: We stopped Endangered Youth about 3 years before, and I went back to school and started working. I started wishing we had a drummer so I could start stuff again. I found our drummer Caleb who was playing in another band, and I approached him after a show and said to him, you look like you want to be in a hardcore band. He said, ok I’m in! Adam was then all right I’m playing bass. We were excited to get right back into it because we hadn’t played in so long.
Adam: In between Endangered Youth and TreadWater I played in a band called Rhema with Caleb. We had all been hanging around together in the scene for awhile. We started in April 2016 with TreadWater.
Steve: It was kind of just jamming and trying to find a sound which then took shape and got more involved then we played our first show in December.
Metal Mofos: Who is the chief songwriter of the band or do you all collaborate together?
Adam: This guy over here (points at Steve)
Steve: Yeah I write the songs. Once they get brought to practice they get molded a bit more. Caleb wrote the lyrics for two songs on the CD (Shattered and Pretenders)
Adam: Steve wrote the lyrics and I helped with some of the placements of the vocal parts. We tag teamed on that.
Steve: Yeah, I rely on Adam to place stuff into the song. I’ll have a pile of words then Adam will help structure them.
Metal Mofos: You guys share vocal duties right?
Adam: Yeah, It’s kind of a long story how that came about.
Steve: We were going to try to find a vocalist. We just could not find somebody. I don’t know why we couldn’t find someone. We had two individuals do vocals for us for a bit early on and things just didn’t work out.
Adam: At this point we had booked a show already. We decided to then just do the vocals together. We had both done vocals in heavy bands before. We wrote lyrics kind of last minute because we wanted to bring somebody in and write vocal parts and lyrics. So when they didn’t show up we just put these together. If you listen to the EP there’s not a lot of lyrics.
Steve: Yeah, it’s not super wordy. Kind of minimal. We had like two weeks to put it all together so we could play a show. So the new stuff we are writing is a lot more thought through.
Metal Mofos: Back writing new stuff already?
Adam: Yeah, before we even went into the studio to record Arrows in the Sun we had 3 other songs done.
Steve: Yeah, I have like 12 guitar songs lined up and ready to go. I just love playing guitar. I can sit at home and write songs all day long. Most probably won’t get used but maybe they will work with something down the road.
Metal Mofos: Where does the name Arrows in the Sun come from?
Steve: It comes from the song Speak. It’s the main chorus of the song. The songs is about life and death and what’s important in life. The whole song is about how everything in life can be kind of fleeting and love is the most important thing. So Arrows in the Sun references a dream I had about literally catching arrows by the sun and I connected this idea with death and finding balance. The idea is that there are all these different things that make up life and you have to catch them and hold on to them with love being the most important. Probably not the type of lyrics you expect from a hardcore band. We don’t have any pressure on what to sound like or write lyrics about.
Adam: The Endangered Youth record we put out was weird. We weren’t trying to fit in any kind of box. We didn’t get on a lot of hardcore shows because we were too weird for the hardcore kids and too punk for the metal kids. All our stuff is a little out of the box.
Metal Mofos: Tell me about recording the songs in the studio.
Adam: My previous band Rhema had talked about recording an album at this studio 1809 but the band dissolved. Dave Drago recorded the band Achilles there for a split early in their career and Dave used to record a lot of hardcore records. He doesn’t do a lot of heavy stuff anymore, but he wanted to record a heavy band. So he knew what he wanted to do with us.
Steve: He was really easy to work with. He was informal like, I want the low growl and the chugga chugga right there. He was laid back.
Adam: We came into feeling pretty confident with what we were playing.
Steve: The whole album was recorded with the whole band in one whole take. A couple thing like vocals and some guitar tracks are layered. We did the whole thing in almost a day. Came back the second day and did the vocals.
Metal Mofos: The TreadWater EP sounds a bit more metal than hardcore to me. To me hardcore is just punk with screamed vocals.
Steve: The first track Burning Bark is definitely metal. I had riff that I wanted to play like this and we should have a blast beat there, and here’s a black metal part here. There’s never once where we wanted to say oh we are a black metal band or we are a hardcore band. We love all those sounds so they’re all in there. The newer stuff we’re working on has some progressive elements to it.
Adam: Steve has always been the metal guy and I’ve always been more punk. Caleb is into hardcore. If you know the three of us and hear the band there’s definitely influences from all of us.
Steve: The thing about Arrows in the Sun is it’s an introduction to us. TreadWater isn’t going to go too much further sound wise but it does a good job introducing us as a band.
Metal Mofos: What kind of shows are you guys going to be playing? Just in and around Rochester? Are you venturing out?
Adam: We don’t have a lot of shows booked for the summer. We’ve been focused mostly on writing. July 7th will be in Pennsylvania for a show then July 8th back in Rochester. There will be shows after that as well. When opportunities arise to play shows we’re going to try to take them. We’re not trying to live on the road or anything.
Metal Mofos: What’s it like having your music in the world’s largest music store, iTunes?
Steve: I don’t think anyone knows it’s on there lol
Adam: Yeah, I don’t think anyone’s bought it lol. We decided to go through and put our music on big platforms like Spotify and iTunes .
Steve: We’re on Amazon too. I think that’s cooler than iTunes.
Metal Mofos: Do you have a CD on there or just digital?
Steve: Just digital. There’s no hard copies yet. We want to make some but it was a debate. A couple years ago when we were playing music you could still sell CDs, but even that was hard 4-5 years ago and now it’s really obsolete. Now you can do cassettes or vinyl, but after paying for studio time it’s hard to fork money out for physical copies. Maybe at some point down the road there will be physical copies.
Adam: I think we’ll try to have some copies of CDs and cassettes. I love physical media. I love having something in my hands. I have a hard time paying for something I can’t hold in my hand. We’ll do limited hand numbered to 25 copies of the CDs and cassettes. We aren’t expecting to make money from these or streaming services. We just want the music to be where people can get it.
Photos by Spencer Chamberlain.
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