The Meaning of Life Revealed with Art of Dying!!

Cherri & Jonny Discover the Answers to Age-Old Questions!!


Well, ok - not really the meaning of life - but we definately touched on some truths about life and we did have a badass little chat!! I'm serious my little pretty kitties... This interview weighs in at one of my fav discussions  - Jonny Hetherington of Art of Dying! EEK! Here's the deal people, you know that I my whole MO in interviews is to give readers bits and pieces about the artist or band that you're not going to find in every story, sitting down and just having a conversation to just see where things go. So hopefully you'll enjoy the brief chat.  I literally can't wait for them to come to Dallas later this week! Yay!

Art Of Dying Nevermore Album ArtArt of Dying has a new DIY EP that just dropped called Nevermore and totally gives Rise Up a run for its money. (I totally dig "Cages" off this release - it's my favorite.) Check down blow for the video for "Torn Down". 

We've been graced by Art of Dying and their music since 2004. And it's a hoot to see where the dots connect with bands and the people they've worked with. If you didn't know, Rise Up (2005) was produced by David Bendeth who is mega, by the way. He has the greatest list of artists he's worked with like: Breaking Benjamin, Papa Roach, Paramore, Elvis Presley, Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying, Of Mice & Men, Hawthorne Heights, and more. 

Cherri: What was it like working with David Bendeth? His wrap sheet is frightfully kick ass - how was it working with him? 

Jonny: It was a real change for us to work with a producer that is known for...ahh...being a hard ass in the studio to get a great performance out of everyone on the Rise Up record - it was a total change for us from what we've done in the past. Everyone had their own experience with him. We worked really hard though. When Tavis gets in the studio, it's really an event to watch. He gets in there, makes a stiff drink and he is one of those guitar players that stands when he plays (records) in the studio. Bendeth really drove me hard like I was fucking writing lyrics at like 2 in the morning and rolling out of bed at 11 AM - I was writing complete songs while recording other songs. It was really crazy for me. I was so all over the map with David and I think that was part of his thing with me was to get me in a zone and get me uncomfortable. 

Cherri: I think the best work comes when we're uncomfortable, don't you? 

Jonny: Art of Dying is strange animal, you know we seem to be able to make music in any circumstance. And we seem to be able to just work however we need to in order to get it done. Like the Vices & Virtues record, what are we like 5 years from that release - imagine Tavis and I in a little sound booth with like Brazilian models and bottles of champagne, shirtless (laughing) and we were in LA and enjoying the whole Los Angeles vibe - like from the hot tub in our white robes and getting into the car to get to the studio. Then take recording Rise Up - and that was just so different, this was like rolling off a flat air mattress where everyone is sleeping in the same room - and crushing beer cans as you roll over to go work another 15 hours straight, under a turnpike in New Jersey!! (Laughing!)

Cherri: (Laughing) Totally different scenarios - I get that...

Jonny: LikeVices & Virtues just sounds good. "Die Trying" and "Sorry"like sound so together. You know? And then the Rise Up record, these songs are - well, we were a little concerned that some of our fans weren't going to understand, like the opening track "This Won't Do" it's just like not coming from a good place - insecurity and doubt like not coming from a good place. That speaks in the music too.

Cherri: I want to ask about the song "Sorry". It's one of those staples - every band has that staple song, you know? Bam-Bam showed me the song and he loves this song by the way, like one of his Top 5 ever which is saying a lot  for that steel trap of music knowledge that is his mind. Tell me where this song stemmed from, like it could be one of the best break-up songs ever - or was it - from your experience?artofdying2016 header

Jonny: You know, I wrote that song about my brother who is adopted. And in his adult journey he decided to reach out and find his birthparents and that was a big deal for him and his birth parents that he did find and I was thinking about that moment (writing the song) how these crazy things that happen with adoption, you know like with the love and the sacrifice, and the family - what my brother was going through. What my parents had to go through - just the whole thing was really emotional. The only events Life throws at us I try and put myself in these shoes of other sin those situations and how they feel. Like when I wrote "Get Through This", it was about my Dad being diagnosed with cancer and how he felt at that moment - even though I was dealing with my own feelings, I was diving into like, when it's just you looking into the mirror and you've just been hit with this diagnosis, how do you feel. And with "Sorry" I was doing that with my brother and my family and I guess people have adopted it as a breakup song, when it's totally not.

Cherri: See, this is why we interview artists - ha ha - and why music is such a tool for expression - both for the listener and the artist. Honestly, now I can see where "Sorry" can be molded to fit any kind of emotional upheaval that requires making an amend...ya know? Oddly enough Jonny, I was adopted and scanning the lyrics I am interpreting it, "No shit...this hits it...and pulls it out of me."

jonny hetherington 2016 art of dying twitterJonny: Great songs will do that - and I do think that "Sorry" is a great song, but there are other songs that obviously do that as well and insert your own story. Go to the YouTube video for "Sorry" and scroll through the comments. It just became a message board for people that have experienced loss and I loved that this song was able to help people identify (with feelings).

Cherri: I think it's pretty poignant to note that as an artist you're completely open to listeners interpreting a song for their needs - 

Jonny: Ok, well let's take that a step further...I did a piano cover of a Beyonce song  ("Formation") not too long ago. And I really love this song - it was around the time I launched my hot sauce company and the lyric in the song "I got hot sauce in my bag" I am going to do this cover and see if people connect the dots or whatever...Wow...just wow. I've never been more shocked in my LIFE as to - you know how I was moved by the comments on "Sorry" well, this is a direct 180 from that. There were comments about a white guy, singing, I guess what is referred to as a black anthem?? There's so much craziness out there in the world - and I'm not naive to - but man, there's a ton of negativity out there. I will say that I look at this like a fine arts piece - it's about racism, the cultures, the ways we are dealing with issues, like organically spewed out... 


Cherri: We can totally derail for a bit - but dude, you're from Canada and I'm sure that there's a ton of differences between American and Canadian politics, or the presence or absence of racism up there. But it's kinda heavy, so let's not talk about heavy sh*t - Let's talk about Shiprocked - that's always been something that I've totally wanted to do but I'm afraid I wouldn't survive being confined in a space with a ton of my favorite bands - that's insane!! I'm sure I'd die of exhaustion or dehydration or something terrible!! Haha!

Jonny: So we announced that Art of Dying will be on Shiprocked 2017, I've been on Shiprocked the last 4 years in a row. It just keeps getting better and better. This year it sold out in like a week. I don't know, it just keeps getting bigger and I don't know if they're going to add a second boat or something...

Cherri: Ya, like add a side stage tug boat that is pulled by the bigger boat or a side stage smaller boat right beside the bigger one - that'd be kinda funny...

Jonny: Ya, right! It's like the world's biggest backstage experience. All the bands are there - playing in every nook and cranny of the boat. You're on the boat and like you said, there's no getting off, so it's just a huge experience! Lot's of time to catch up and get to know  the other bands on the boat - it's a really cool experience. This year I'm going to do something with my hot sauce (Jonny Hetherington Essentials). I brought like 12 bottles last year and put them in the mess hall and they were gone so quickly. I don't know what I'll do, but it'll be something. 

JonnyHetheringtonEssentialsHotSauceTrioLimitedEdition 2048x2048

Cherri: You know that people, especially in Texas are gonna wanna try your hot sauce, right? I mean hello, we pretty much own that, right? Where can people order it?

Jonny: Oh, ya - Texas and hot sauce is pretty synonymous...we ship all over the world just Google Jonny Hetherington Essentials (or click the links) and order some! 

Art of Dying is currently on tour so check out their schedule and go see a show. Buy a t-shirt, CD, talk to the band, support their music! I'll post a show review and maybe i'll even "Go Live" on Facebook/Twitter!  

Here's the video of "Torn Down" from the EP Nevermore


Art of Dying hits the World Famous Trees on September 8th with Dallas' own Adakain, Children 18:3, Letters from the Fire, and Carbon. Doors at 7 PM.


Art of Dying on Social Media
Facebook: @artofdying
Twitter: @artofdying
nstagram: @artofdying


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Cherri Bird is an independent but selective wordsmith focusing on all that entertains the brain; music, photography fiction & non, & poetry. Follow her on social media outlets:

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