Frontman Jeremy Edwardson talks about making a statement on the band’s new record With Arrows, With Poise, winning MTV2’s Breakout Band of the Year award, and writing songs with a twist to them.
The first question I have is a little random, but since you guys are from Seattle, are you Mariners fans?
[To other band members in vehicle] Are you guys Mariners fans? Anybody? Yeah, we got a couple Mariners fans. I don’t keep up too much, but for sure there’s a few Mariners fans in the band.
They’re my favorite team, so I had to give the Seattle love.
Awesome. It looks like one of the guys in the band is wearing a Mariners shirt right now, actually [laughs].
Nice! So anyways, you guys have been around for several years now. How did you first start out as a band?
I played music with a couple of guys before the Myriad started. We all met at a university in northern California. John Rogers, the bass player, and myself decided we wanted to move it to Seattle to start a new band. We had toured up through Seattle a few times and just loved the area. It was green and refreshing and cloudy, and just seemed like a great place to write some music. So we moved up there, and then we met with a couple guys from Seattle and started the Myriad. That was about five years ago.
On your first release you were able to work with Aaron Marsh, which is pretty sweet because I’m a huge Copeland fan. How did that come about?
We just started talking about producers and somebody threw out the name Aaron Marsh in Copeland. We weren’t super familiar with them, but we picked up a few of their records and dug on what they were doing. We met up with Aaron in Seattle. His band was playing at the Showbox and they had an off day the next day, so we got together. Aaron came over to our studio and we showed him what we were working on. It just seemed like a really cool fit and we had a great time with him.
Your first CD came out on Floodgate. How did you end up getting signed by them?
We played a festival in Illinois called Cornerstone. We were sort of invited out by Cornerstone to play this unsigned band showcase stage. Tim Taber was in the crowd, he’s the president of Floodgate Records, and he really liked what we were doing. He bought us a Snapple, and we sat around a bench and chatted for a few minutes. Then about two months later we signed with them. He had a really cool vision for what he wanted to do, and it sort of lined up with what we were hoping to do.
Now with your new record you’re on Koch Records, which isn’t exactly a known cornucopia for rock music. Why did you end up choosing them?
Last spring we were sort of between labels, and we were working on this record With Arrows, With Poise. We were finishing it up and sending out a few of the tracks, getting some label interest, and Koch was one of labels that called us. We hadn’t heard much about them before, but it turns out they’re like this massive indie record label. I liked the idea of signing to an indie because there’s that personal touch. Indie records run on a different mentality and a different grassroots sort of thing. This label, Koch, had both that as well as the resources to really get behind a band. They work with artists like Sinead O’Connor and the Cardigans, and a lot of hip-hop stuff like Snoop Dogg, and stuff like that.
It wasn’t like the perfect fit, but we talked with them for several weeks and it just seemed like they were super excited about the band. They had a big vision for what they wanted to do, which got us fueled up about signing with them, and they’ve really backed up what they said. They’ve been really great to us and given us a lot of huge opportunities. We were able to finish up our record in Berlin, Germany, with one of our favorite mix engineers, Michael Ilbert, and then we went to Abbey Road in London and were able to master there. So it just has opened up a lot of doors that we felt like we couldn’t have done without them. It’s been pretty awesome working with that label.
You guys were recently named the MTV2 Breakout Band for last year. How were you able to win that and what all does that title entail?
It’s kind of funny how it came about. We got a call from a friend last summer, and they said we should put a photo and a song up on this website called the Fuse Circuit Breakout. There’s so many different online profiles now, like MySpace and YouTube. There’s literally dozens and dozens. We hear about new ones every day. So we thought it was one of those, like a new happening MySpace kind of thing. So we put a song and a photo up. Then October 1st we got a call from MTV, and they said they had chosen us out of over 4,000 bands to be involved in this sort of search for the next breakout band. It was a total shock to us because we really didn’t know it was a contest. We just thought it was another online profile.
So anyway, the basic premise of this competition is that it’s all based on voting. There were 12 bands that were selected by MTV music critics, and then they turned it over to fan voting for several months. We had just started a tour with David Crowder and Phil Wickham, and so we used that tour as an opportunity to tell all the fans across the U.S. to go vote for us at MTV.com. It just started a lot of momentum build, and we kept winning different rounds in the competition. Then MTV flew us to New York and we played a live concert in Times Square with the top three finalists, and then they announced us the victors of the whole thing. It was totally crazy and out of the blue.
Since then, it’s been awesome. MTV will sort of get behind the band all year long. We’re filming a music video next week that they’re going to release on MTV networks on March 15. With things like that all year long, MTV will be supporting the band, which is a huge opportunity.
How do you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard you before?
We listen to a lot of British bands. It’s got kind of a Radiohead/Muse kind of vibe. I don’t know. Probably like more European sounding and influence, and there’s a lot of orchestral and drama in our music. We like to kind of lyrically… How do I say this? I guess we’re not so super cut and dry. We like to tell stories through our music, and stuff like that.
You have that new album coming out With Arrows, With Poise. When is that set to be released?
It comes out May 13th.
How do you compare that one with your first record?
I guess it’s hard to compare the two. The first record, You Can’t Trust a Ladder, was sort of like our first year touring full time as a band and figuring out what we were doing. This record was something we’ve been dreaming about for the last couple years as we’ve been touring, just getting the vision together. This record is a lot more pungent and something we’re super excited about. It’s hard to really compare the two.
Now who ended up producing the record?
We worked with a guy out in Detroit named Tim Patalan. He did the first two Lovedrug records and some other cool stuff. We sort of produced it with him, and then we ended up finishing it on our own. So he did about half the record, and we produced the rest of it.
I can kind of see how you sound similar to Lovedrug in a few places.
Yeah, we love those guys. We toured with them about a year ago. It was cool.
So it sounds like you were able to spend a lot more time and really flush out this second record.
Yeah, this record we worked on for about a year. We have our own studio, and we sort of just locked ourselves up and pushed the envelope and tried new kinds of sounds. We basically put each song through the wringer and if a song wasn’t cutting it, we’d just move on. All the songs that made it on With Arrows, With Poise, we probably recorded five versions of. If it didn’t give us cold chills or meet that high bar that we set, we scrapped it and moved on. We wanted to create the record that we’d be stoked to be touring on and getting out there. Usually when you put out a record, you tour for about a year or two, so we wanted to put something out that we’d be stoked to be performing live.
Is there any particular song on this new record that you’re most excited or proud of?
Aww man, that’s always a hard question. There’s this song called “You Waste Time Like a Grandfather Clock.” We’ve been ending all of our concerts live with it, and it’s really cool. There’s another song called “Holiest of Thieves,” which is like my jam. Whenever the Myriad flies to a concert, I always listen to it on takeoffs and landings, even though I’m supposed to turn off all electronic devices. I don’t know why but I want to stare out the window as we liftoff into the clouds listening to that song.
Does the title With Arrows, With Poise refer to anything specific?
Yeah, the idea behind With Arrows, With Poise is that when we first started writing this, we actually came up with a title before we had written any of the songs. We were in sort of a chaotic period. We didn’t know where anything was going. We were between labels, and we had just come off of a huge, long tour. So we were just feeling a little uncertain and unsettled, but knowing that this record was going to be our statement and our future. We were trying to figure out a way to gain poise in the midst of what seemed so chaotic.
Archery seemed like the perfect theme for what we were going through because it’s very violent, but in the midst of shooting an arrow, it takes so much poise. We read up on archery. Great archers would have to shoot between heartbeats and between breaths. It seemed like what we needed to do in order to write this album was to gain poise in the midst of a chaotic time, focus, and put all of our energy into these songs.
Your first single off the record is “A Clean Shot,” right?
Yeah, that’s the first mainstream one. There’s a song at radio right now called “A Thousand Winters Melting,” but “A Clean Shot” is going to be the first general market single. I think it launches sometime in March.
So that’s the one you’re filming the video for next week?
Exactly. We’re filming it with this director named Josh Forbes, who’s actually a Biola University graduate.
He just did the No. 1 video on VH1 right now for an artist named Sara Bareilles. The song’s called “Ain’t Gonna Write You A Love Song Anymore,” or something like that. He sent us a treatment for “A Clean Shot,” and then we saw what he did with her video and we were just like, “This guy is so creative.” We read his treatment for the video and it sounded like he was one of the members of the Myriad. It was our language. A very quirky video that seemed like a total risk, but a risk worth taking.
Is there any specific meaning to what “A Clean Shot” is about?
“A Clean Shot” is a love song. The whole idea behind the Myriad is to make things real dramatic. We thrive on movies like the M. Night Shyamalan kind of approach where there’s a twist. If we’re ever going to write a love song, we want to try and incorporate those themes into it. So this is a love song, a sort of “I would die for you, I’d do anything for you” kind of love song. “I’d scream my love through bloody hurricanes.” But then there’s a twist at the chorus, and it sort of turns the question to, “Would you say the same if you thought of me that way?” It’s just kind of a love song with sort of this darker theme to it, I guess.
When you are making music, is there any goal or purpose you’re striving for?
Yeah, what we want to do is to write music that impacts people and connects with them, that moves them both within the movements within the songs and with the lyrics. I guess back to the M. Night Shyamalan reference. Watching movies like Signs, where little things are happening throughout the movie, and then right at the end of it you find out that God was a part of it. The young boy had asthma in the movie because at the end when the alien sprays poison on him, his lungs had closed up so he wasn’t infected. Then there’s this little girl who leaves water out everywhere, so at the end of the movie this guy could use the water against the alien.
I don’t know. If you haven’t seen that movie, it sounds pretty wacky. You need to watch it if you haven’t. It keeps with that whole thing of trying to make this twist and impact and move people’s hearts to God, and to hope and love, and hit home with them on things like disappointment and searching and longing. With anything we do, we try to make it bigger than the music with more of a spiritual realm to it.
Since you guys have played with David Crowder and Third Day, do you consider yourselves to be a Christian band?
That’s kind of a weird question. I always think of Christian bands as writing music for Christians, whether it be like motivational, Christian themes or worship music, which is great. We don’t really do that. We write music for everybody. We’ve always been sort of a club band, but we love God. Going out with guys like David Crowder are just amazing opportunities we’re always up for taking. Our whole thing is writing music for the world, and hopefully it will connect with people wherever they’re at.
As a Christian, is there any kind of approach you have to being in the music industry at all?
Not really. I mean, we never want to do anything that feels uncomfortable. If it feels like it’s putting our music out there and loving people, then it’s great. I’m not really sure exactly what you mean, but does that sound like what you’re asking?
Yeah, that’s pretty much it. So what else do you guys have planned for the rest of the year?
Let’s see. We’re shooting this video, which launches on MTV in mid-March. Then a couple weeks later we go out with Switchfoot for a few weeks on the East Coast. Then we’re going on tour with this band that we just love. They’re sort of a family that formed a band called Eisley.
You like them?
Yeah, I like Eisley a lot.
Yeah, I love them. They’re from Tyler, Texas, and they invited us out for their spring tour, which starts April 1st and goes all the way through until the end of May. We’re just so excited about that. Then I’m sure there will be lots of happenings throughout the rest of the year. On May 13th, our album With Arrows, With Poise comes out, and I feel that everything Myriad is building up to that. We’ve been sitting on this record for so long, we’re just really excited to finally be getting it out to everybody.
I have one last kind of random thing. I noticed online there’s a band called Myriads that’s from Norway, and they’re like this gothic metal band. Has anyone ever confused the two of you guys?
I think most people when they’re searching for a band will realize real quickly, hopefully, that it’s not the same band they were told about, or heard on the radio or whatever. There’s always similarities. I’ve heard there’s an acoustic band from Australia called Myriad, and then that metal band from Norway called Myriads. We kind of thought we were the only ones who had that name, but they’ve been popping up left and right over the last year. But yeah, we’re not too worried about it. Hopefully, people will figure it out [laughs].
Originally appeared on Mammoth Press