This interview was originally published for Seether-Online.com on December 23, 2011.
The first artist to be featured is a well-deserving band from Baytown, TX. Their sound is so unique, I won’t even try to classify them. SATURATE has been working hard to promote their name since their conception in 2005. Their last album, The Point Of No Return is a culmination of various influences that make their music what it is. Most importantly, they stress that the music should speak for itself.
The Point Of No Return yielded a strong arsenal of songs that further expands on Saturate’s first record, Soul Element. They are currently working hard on their next release, with the lead single “In Our Own Way” being a strong start. I interviewed vocalist Jimmy Miller about what approach to music he and his fellow bandmates take when writing material.
Your songs are so different from what I’m used to hearing. What inspires you to write music with such a distinct sound that can be identified as Saturate?
We never set out to write anything other than what we felt inside of us. Each member of Saturate had been involved in a music scene for many years and had been through the trials and tribulations of being a young musician before ever having joined this band. Moving beyond that identity of youth and inexperience was the basic goal we set for ourselves and for our music upon Saturate’s formation. We wanted to play the music we would be proud of for the years to come without current industry styles or trends getting in the way of what we felt was inside of us, and we felt that what we had to say and the music we had to write was worth it. As for our sound I think that our albums paint a vivid picture of the fact that what we ‘feel’ is what we put down… i.e. you can’t sit listen to one track and fully grasp what we are about, each track reaches in its own direction and paints its own picture. The strange part about that though is where this question started about the “Saturate sound”….if you’re listening to one of our tracks whether it’s hard, soft, acoustic, rhythmic, reggae or whatever, you know instantly that it’s Saturate. The reason behind that though is beyond me for sure, but the best reason I could probably give you is that we (the four of us) have always had a connection and been kindred spirits long before we ever met and will long after we’ve gone….that sound will always be ours and ours alone, whether it can be defined or not.
You recently parted ways with your keyboardist; how has this changed the way that the band writes now that you are a four-piece?
To be honest it didn’t change a thing about the way we write. We started Saturate long before there was an official keyboard/synth player and while it was good and right for its time, that time has now passed and we’re focused on the same goals and passion that have always driven the core of this band, the music.
My favorite track from your last release was “Hollow Eyes.” The lyrics are captivating, and the song itself is powerful. It’s one that you rarely play live, but I’ve seen a video where Jimmy introduces it saying, “If you know somebody who does too many pills… I just want you to know this song is about losing somebody.” What is the message behind it?
Actually that song (along with every song we’ve put down on record) has been played countless (hundreds) of times live…the reason our songs seem to get lost in the live show is the amount of shows we play for one, the way we decide our setlists (based on crowd reaction on the fly), and also the fact that we debut our songs in their infantile stages. By the time we get the songs perfected, laid down in the studio, mixed, & then mastered, we are already focused on newer music that will be on the next album. I remember the quote you are talking about in introducing Hollow Eyes and that was more of a broken thought that I bit my tongue on. I started to say something and halfway through I decided to keep it inside and change my words, however I will say that in referring to ‘losing someone’ I was more speaking to the idea of losing someone as you knew them, or losing the idea of someone and the way they existed in your mind (their own changes that didn’t mirror your expectations of them as a person or loved one). Some people just let you down, ya know. That embodies what Hollow Eyes is really about… about coming to terms with what a relationship has transformed into and what that other person has done to themselves (and I don’t necessarily mean relationship in the traditional sense, any kind of human interaction is what I refer to in all of our songs).
Can you elaborate on the music video for “Keep Digging?” The lyrics alone have so much meaning behind them, and the video only amplifies that. It’s not the typical verse-chorus-verse that everyone hears so often, and it seems to me more like a narrative with a story.
While all of our songs have many many different ways of looking at them and different stories hidden in the overall theme, Keep Digging is at its core a story. A story from the outside in of a boy digging his hole, much as the old saying about digging your own grave. The difference here is that he (the boy) knows it, he craves it, he wants it, and he wants to dig a grave/hole so deep that he breaks through to the other side of whatever ground he is on. The old man (narrator) standing on the edge of the hole is in fact his older, calmer self, who has long since forgotten why he would have ever put so much passion into what seems such a meaningless and self-destructive path, but the boy knows better, he feels it and so he acts upon that feeling digging deeper still with every bit of shouting that his passionless future screams at him. It’s means many things really but in this instance it’s about never giving up, never giving in, and never listening to words of doubt no matter what dirt they dig up on you…ask me on a different day and I may decide to let you in on a different aspect if what it all means to me but today that’s where it is at.
The new single “In Our Own Way” was just released and I’m really digging it! I understand that you’re currently in the studio working on your third major album. What can we expect from the next release?
Everyone can expect what they have always expected from Saturate….the unexpected. When it’s time, you’ll see what I mean. Expect it in mid-2012.
I also heard that your previous albums were produced solely by yourselves. What is that like?
It’s the only way we would have it. I really can’t say any more than that. If you let someone write your songs for you then you’ve lost your soul. Not to say that outside influence and assistance isn’t necessary, but when someone comes along that shares our vision of art, music , and lyric for that moment, we instantly know it, and at that point both they and we know what the limits of suggestion are and aren’t.
Your tour with Future Leaders of the World was cut short last year around this time due to lack of funding. With the advent of your next album coming out, are there any places you’d like to visit or bands you’d like to tour with?
We’ve always had a short list of bands we would like to tour with (some reasonable, some not-so-much lol). But that tour with F.L.O.T.W. was actually a tour with Flaw (one of many), who happen to be close friends of ours in the industry. Flaw is a band we will tour the country and/or the world with ANY day ANY time, because we understand each other, we know each other, and we love & respect each other on a level that many bands out there have forgotten about in this industry. There are others we think we would really gel with and would benefit us in huge ways but name-dropping is something we’ve come to not be so fond of, AND you never know who people really are until you peel away the stage and spend some time with them on a personal level. I think our fans know who we would do well with and we’ll just hope for the best for the future. I will add that as a band we would like to get overseas to hit Europe pretty badly at some point.
I feel like mainstream radio doesn’t give you the credit you deserve. Is there anything the fans can do to help get you plays on the air or promote your music?
It’s less about cramming us down their throats and more about letting the music speak for itself. Radio has been good to us but not as good as its been to the cookiecutter bands over-saturating the market these days (forgive the pun lol). Internet radio is a great start, BUT if people don’t start really supporting FM ROCK RADIO and letting the bigwigs at these stations know what you really want, then it WILL die on us, and it will be sooner than later. I hope this doesn’t happen in all honesty…I still love the radio, especially rock radio and it makes me sad to see it dying out. If anyone wants to really help though just do the simple act of playing our music whenever and wherever you can, and sharing us with those that you know will dig it.