Michelle LaRose talks with Sameer Bhattacharya for Caustic Truths! Magazine
Photograph courtesy of J Records
Flyleaf is the blank page in the front of a book, a dedication page. Flyleaf is also a band gaining serious momentum on the Hard Rock scene.
Flyleaf is Jared Hartman, Pat Seals, James Culpepper, Sameer Bhattacharya and fronted by female vocalist Lacey Mosley.
If you haven’t caught them on the Sno-Core or Family Values tour, a friend has most assuredly turned you onto this melodically crunchy quintet from Texas. Publicly denouncing a previous interview, Sameer Bhattacharya proves he is not gun shy with the media and acquaints us the band.
Sameer: No, no. Not at all.
CT: With all the press you’re getting, what is the question you are asked the most?
Sameer: The most? It’s probably either how we started or what our name means.
CT: Well, that is one of our questions also. How did things get started for Flyleaf?
Sameer: We’re all from the same town. Jared and I grew up in the same youth group. We grew up listening to the same bands in town and going to the same shows together. We just ended up together.
CT: How did things initially take off for you? How were you discovered?
Sameer: Our friend Gabriel Colbert, he’s a regional booker in Texas… Since he’d been in the business for a while, he knew some people in the business. He knew Sam Cox from BMI and Deborah Wright who was with RCA at the time. He got them to come see us as the South by Southwest Music Festival. That’s how things took off.
CT: People are debating weather you are a Christian band or not. It seems as though they are trying to categorize you. How do you feel about that?
Sameer: People can look at us however they want. They’re going to say what they’re going to say. Everyone in the band… We’re all Christians. We all have to stand by that.
CT: Your debut, self-titled album was produced by Howard Benson [Papa Roach, My Chemical Romance, P.O.D., All American Rejects]. What was it like working with a seasoned pro like Howard?
Sameer: It was awesome! It was a very, very cool experience.
CT: What have you learned from working with Howard?
Sameer: The way he takes your music and picks up on how to get the message across. The way he records. When you go to record in the studio, he has this system. Everyone has their job. It’s really cool to see.
CT: The CD is enhanced? How so?
Sameer: I think it might have the music video on there. I’m not sure! Honestly.
CT: The band’s always the last to know!
Sameer: Yeah really! I honestly don’t know. I know our EP was an enhanced CD because it had the EP version of the Breathe Today music video on there that Dave Garcia did. I’m just not sure about the full-length album.
Sameer: It pretty much means whatever you want it to mean. It’s kind of like a freedom thing.
CT: Are you thinking of a second album yet?
Sameer: Not yet. We’re constantly writing. Whenever it comes down to doing a second record we’ll be ready for it. We don’t think about, “This needs to be on the second album. Our second album needs to sound like this.” We just write. What ever happens happens. So yeah, we’re writing. We’re just not necessarily writing for our second album.
CT: When you’re ready to go back in the studio do you think you’ll work with Howard Benson again?
Sameer: I don’t know. If we do then that would be fantastic! He did a fantastic job! Maybe we’ll do something different. We’ll see. It’s all in the air.
CT: Lacey fronts the band brilliantly. Do you feel you’re on the forefront of a woman’s movement in hard rock?
Sameer: I don’t know. I guess it’s hard to get away from the fact that she’s a girl. We’re not trying to be a girl rock band. Know what I’m saying? We’re a rock band that writes songs. We’re a band and it just so happens that she’s a girl. If people want to say that we’re trying to start some kind of girl fronted revolution that’s cool! It’s good, I think it’s great, a lot of girls need an outlet I think.
CT: You’re currently on the Family Values tour with Korn, Stone Sour and The Deftones to name a few. What have you learned from being on big tours like this?
Sameer: Everything on this tour works very efficiently. It’s really cool. The scheduling is really tight. Everyone’s like, “This happens at this time.” So you do it. I think you learn that… I don’t know. When you’re on small club tours everything’s more relaxed. That’s the thing with this tour; you do this because it needs to get done because the other guys have to get their job done. It’s really cool to watch.
CT: What is life on the road like?
Sameer: It’s actually pretty cool! Especially on an amphitheater tour, it’s cool because there’s a schedule every day. You wake up and tend to the same scenario every day. So you can have a good sleep schedule and a good eating schedule, you keep your health up with that.
CT: What’s next for Flyleaf after the tour is over?
Sameer: After the tour is over we’re going to be flying to Japan to play the Loud Park Festival in Tokyo. Then we’re going to fly to Germany and play some shows with Stone Sour.
CT: You’ve played Germany before.
Sameer: Yes! That was really great!
CT: How is it different over there as opposed to playing back home over here?
Sameer: In Europe it seems that people are a little more open to music. Like it’s personal. They don’t have to look at their friends. Like when I hear bands, I kind of look over to my friend and say, “Is this cool?” [Laughing] But in Germany, it’s all personal to them. It’s like yeah this is cool or this is not cool.
CT: Thank you for speaking with Caustic Truths! Today Sameer.
Sameer: Thank you so much!