Texas in July’s Ben Witkowski Stays True to His Vision [Interview]

2011-09-23

Story by Anne Erickson, Photo Credit Natalie Bisignano

Texas in July bass player and lyricist say band members have a ‘common love for metal’

When metal-core quintet Texas in July plug in to play, they bring a forceful metal-core attack that has earned them a devoted fan base among fans of metal, hardcore and rock alike. Lyrically, songs are personal and poignant, built on bass player and lyricist Ben Witkowski’s from-the-gut musings.

On the Lancaster, Penn., metal band’s latest album, One Reality, the guys put Witkowski’s stories to music: “I compiled notes from 2008 and 2009 of stuff I went through and things surrounding us, and when it came time to start writing the record, I just started looking over all these things and spinning off of them, trying to make songs that mean something to me,” Witkowski’s said.

Texas in July recently kicked off the “I’m Alive Tour” with We Came as Romans, Miss May I, Of Mice & Men and Close To Home, and it runs through Oct. 14 in Rochester, N.Y. Speaking from a tour stop in Green Bay, Wis., Witkowski chatted with Audio Ink Radio about the band’s new album One Reality, their latest video for “1000 Lies” and why the Texas in July’s faith-based message the core of their music.

Texas in July just started the “I’m Alive Tour” with We Came as Romans, and you’re playing an assortment of U.S. venues through October. What are you most looking forward to on this tour?

We Came as Romans are some of our very good friends, and other than that, I like meeting new bands. I’d like to get to know everybody and start making new friends, and we have five or six shows in Canada, which I love. We’re visiting mainly clubs and some pretty big, 1000-capacity rooms.

You just released the music video for, “1000 Lies,” off your current album, One Reality. What was your vision going into the making of the video?

I had a big hand in the video as far as thinking of the location and storyline. The director of the video, Rasa Acharya, was great. We really wanted to capture the message of the song, and we took a lot of time to bring out the shot ideas and the right locations, and I think it’s very detailed. You have to really read and understand the lyrics and understand where they’re coming from before you can fully grasp what’s going on with the music video.

What’s the message behind the song, “1000 Lies?”

The song was about an inner being. In the video, there’s this girl behind the counter of a gas station. She’s stuck in this gas station, working a full-time job, not wanting to be there at all. She wishes she could do something she really loves and cares about, which is where the painting comes in. In the barn, she’s painting a portrait of herself and trying to escape the day-to-day job and living, and she’s battling with herself about what she should do. At the end of the video, she breaks free and puts down the gas station uniform and starts painting the giant portrait. So, it’s about your inner being breaking out.

Texas in July just signed a European record deal with Nuclear Blast Records, in addition to your Equal Visions deal in the U.S. Excited?

Yeah, they have a lot of metal bands, and they don’t really beat around the bush on that. It’s cool to be singed to a European label that has a lot of great metal bands on it. A lot of bands on there, people know all around the world. We thought it was really cool to be given the opportunity to sign with them, because they have a great history.

How does your faith play into your music?

We’re definitely a Christian band. We all believe, and we’ve been on Christian tours and have toured with Christian bands. That’s how we started: We decided to set out as a Christian metal band. People have different views on Christianity, and there are different sorts of Christians out there. I know where we are with it, and we’re going to continue to be a Christian band, and we won’t change for anyone. There are a lot of big Christian metal bands out there, too, like August Burns Red, For Today, As I Lay Dying and Underoath. These are all massive bands that consider themselves Christians.

What do you enjoy about being in the metal genre?

Making new friends. We had the opportunity to tour with some indie metal and rock bands, electronic metal bands and just so many different kinds of metal and rock groups, and I think that’s one of the coolest things. Generally, I just love metal music. Before any of us started playing the music, we all had this common love for metal.

What’s next for Texas in July after your current tour ends?

We’re literally going home for eight hours to do laundry, and then we’re getting on a plane and flying to Europe for a month. We’re doing back-to-back tours. We had the chance to go over there last year in July, and it was the greatest month of my life. It was so awesome to play our music over there. I never thought in a million years my band would get to the point where could take our music to other places overseas and to a whole different world. It was a great experience, and I can’t wait to go back.

 

Watch Texas in July’s Video for, ‘1000 Lies’:




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