While on break from their busy touring schedule, we got a chance to chat with Art of Dying guitarist, Tavis Stanley. We talked about the origin of the band name, their album Vices and Virtues, touring, and much more!
Inked Angels: Where did you guys come up with the name of the band?
Tavis: ‘Art of Dying’ comes from the longer sentence, the art of dying is my life to live. It’s kind of a message of living life to the fullest, and being positive. That’s how we act in our friendships, in the band, and in our song writing, we have that attitude.
Inked Angels: Do you guys have any more singles planned off ‘Vice and Virtues’?
Tavis: Yeah, there definitely is a plan to. Right now we’re in the process of ‘Sorry’ being the third single, there’s still a lot of life left in that song and then we’ll see what happens going into the fall, but there will definitely be a fourth single.
Inked Angels: In the meantime, are you guys currently working on any new material for another album?
Tavis: We are actually. We’re always writing and whenever we’re together, we’re working on it acoustically. There is a lot of material floating around, we’ve written a catalog of songs, we’re looking at about 60 tunes to pick from for the next record. No idea when we’ll be recording it because ‘Vices and Virtues’ is still doing so well. When we’re ready, we’ll be jumping in the studio right away because the songs are coming.
Inked Angels: Any plans for a fall tour?
Tavis: We have a couple scattered gigs in September, we’re playing a festival in Vegas this year which is called ‘Rock Vegas’. Yeah, we’re working on a few other things and waiting for the right tour, but we’ll definitely be out in the fall.
Inked Angels: You guys seem to have toured with a lot of bands like Disturbed, Stone Sour and Seether, do you guys have a favorite band that you enjoy touring with?
Tavis: All these bands are friends of ours and it’s fun to cross paths at festivals with them especially. Disturbed gave us our first break and took us out on our first American tour in 2008 and it’s how we got signed. Dan (Donegan) and David (Draiman) started a label called Intoxication, after that tour they decided we’d be their first signing to that label which is through Warner Bros.
Inked Angels: With Cale (Gontier) in the band and his cousin being Adam (Gontier) of Three Days Grace, do you guys hang much with them?
Tavis: We absolutely do. We toured on Uproar with them last year, that was sort of their last real tour and since then they have been recording and have a new album coming out soon. We hope to get on the road with them soon when they support their next record. I think we’d be a prime candidate since we’re good friends.
Inked Angels: You’ve got a few tattoos, do you remember your first tat?
Tavis: Yeah I remember my first tat, it was the Chinese dragon on my left arm. It was like 10 years ago and I was like, ‘Ahhh what am I going to get? That looks cool, I’ll get that’. It’s probably the only one that doesn’t really mean as much as the other ones, I thought about the other ones much more. I just recently got a lion on my right arm on the corresponding part of my forearm, so now they kind of match and the lion is upside down so it sort of looks like a ying-yang the way they are put together.
Inked Angels: Do you have a favorite song that you like to play live?
Tavis: I think we all really enjoy playing all of our songs in our set. Probably right now the highlight is ‘Sorry’, just because it’s the single right now and it’s starting to get a lot of recognition. It just ends up being one of the best sounding songs in our set because it really focuses on our three part harmony in the chorus. So live, that one almost sounds better than on the album because of the harmonies and it’s tailor-made to be played in arenas.
Inked Angels: I’m pretty impressed with the fan interaction to the song ‘Sorry’ on Facebook with them posting pictures with ‘Sorry’ in them.
Tavis: Jonny (Hetherington) had the idea where we were all going to change our profile pictures to say ‘Sorry’ when the single was dropping back in February. Then we put it out to the fans to do it to promote awareness for the single and then we started to receive thousands of these pictures. It was cool to use them in the video and maybe we’ll have to do it again.
Inked Angels: If you could headline any venue in the world to a sold out crowd, which one would it be?
Tavis: There are so many, but I’d have to go with Madison Square Garden just because it’s such a prestigious place and everyone says you’ve really made it when you’ve played Madison Square Garden. It’s not the biggest venue, like Wembley Stadium, which would be cool too, but if we ever got the chance to headline a place like that it would be a great feeling because of all the people that have been through there and it’s a legendary building.
Inked Angels: Touring with some more established bands, what have you learned from them?
Tavis: For sure, especially when touring with Disturbed the first time in 2008. We watched those guys side stage every night, got to see how to put on an arena show and to see how the production and crew work together to put on a properly run touring rock act. They are great guys and friends of ours and definitely got a lot of advice from them. Dan (Donegan) ended up producing five songs on our record to so we’ve been working with him in the studio and learning a lot from people like him.
Inked Angels: You guys were the first band signed to Intoxication Records right?
Tavis: They were looking for years, they wanted to start the label 7 or 8 years ago and they were really patient and when Dan (Donegan) found our indie record, he really got behind it and really liked it and believed in it and gave us our break.
Inked Angels: It must have been quite a thrill to be their first band signed?
Tavis: It’s pretty cool when you think about. We were in the right place at the right time. Dan (Donegan) happened to get our CD handed to him through someone in the radio world. Then Johnny got a phone call from him and they talked for a couple of hours about music and he said he wanted to help us out. A few months later, he called back and asked us on tour and we jumped on that, then that led to the record deal.
Inked Angels: A couple of months ago you guys released ‘Let The Fire Burn’, which is a complete acoustic album, are you guys big fans of acoustic versions of songs?
Tavis: Absolutely, we all are, a lot of our stuff is written acoustically first, then me, Cale (Gontier) and Jonny (Hetherington) work on the harmonies. Then we take it to the band, Greg (Bradley) and Jeff (Brown) work on it and then we’ll jam them in sound check. A lot of our stuff feels good on acoustic as well. We take pride in that and go on radio all the time and do acoustic stuff with three part harmonies. ‘Let The Fire Burn’ is like a lost acoustic album we did years ago that was just laying around, and with all the label stuff and with ‘Vices and Virtues’ it got cast aside so we decided to put it out recently for the fans.
Inked Angels: What do you enjoy to do on your time off?
Tavis: I enjoy golfing, right now here in Canada it’s beautiful out so I like to get out as much as I can. I think we all enjoy golfing and poker as well. When we’re on the road or on a day off, we get a big poker game going or we try to hit the casinos. Those are the two top ones.
Inked Angels: What do you play for equipment these days?
Tavis: BC Rich Mockingbirds and Kustom Double Cross heads.
To check out more on Art of Dying, please visit their site http://www.artofdyingmusic.com…