Benjamin Perri didn't get much shut-eye during the three weeks it took him and the rest of his Long Island metalcore band, From Autumn to Ashes, to write the 12 songs for their forthcoming third album, Abandon Your Friends.
In January, frontman Perri and his FATA chums — drummer/vocalist Francis Mark, guitarist Brian Deneeve, and the newest members of the band, guitarist Jonathan Cox and bassist Josh Newton — locked themselves inside a sprawling, weathered house surrounded by more than 40 acres of snow-swathed terra firma in the middle-of-nowhere town of Hunter, New York.
"The driveway was like a mile long," explained Perri. "There were zero things to do up there. It got bad. It was the sort of house that would remind you of the hotel from 'The Shining.' Oh — and it was haunted."
According to Perri, doors throughout the house would swing open by themselves, and every once in awhile, Mark would be greeted by an apparition that would appear inside the house's raging fireplace.
"We had this fire going one night, and had this huge party with all of our friends who drove up, and we saw what — it's actually in one of the song's lyrics — we saw a mother breastfeeding a child," said Perri, noting that the band had not imbibed any hallucinogens. "We later learned that a woman first owned the house when it was built 70 years ago, and she had a child. I think she was trying to tell us to get out of her house.
"It was insane," he continued. "If we had been up there a few months rather than a few weeks, we probably would have killed each other. Not that we hate each other — but one of us would have gone all Jack Nicholson on the rest of the band."
Fortunately, Johnny never showed himself, and FATA not only emerged safely, but with the songs for a beautiful-as-it-is-brutal hardcore record, Abandon Your Friends. Still, not all of Abandon is as brutal as FATA of old: The record's split into two parts, with six savage cuts and six wispy rockers.
"It's all across the board," he said. "Fran wrote a bunch of songs about his girlfriend and the love he has for her, which is kind of a different thing for the kind of music we make, where everyone writes about hating their girlfriend or having their heart broken. He's writing songs about how his heart's being mended." Other tracks levy scathing blows against the "fake and jaded" music scene, and others convey self-affirming messages of hope to help fans persevere through "tough times."
Abandon, the second straight the band has made with producer GGGarth Richardson (Rage Against the Machine, L7), is scheduled for an August 30 release through Vagrant Records, and was, as Perri explained, a completely collaborative effort. "The five of us sat down and worked together 100 percent on this record. No idea was off the table."
However, the band did get some outside help from a member of Coheed and Cambria for the album's memorably named "Placentapede."
"We had one song title to go," Perri recalled. "We were in Belgium and we ran into [Coheed drummer] Joshua [Eppard], and we asked him for the first word that popped into his head. He sat there for a second, then blurted out 'Placentapede,' and we were like, 'That's a song title!' It's not a very pleasant visual word."
FATA fans may be disappointed to learn that the band has pulled itself off of this summer's inaugural Sounds of the Underground bill after just two dates. According to the band's publicist, "They just weren't getting anything out of the tour; it wasn't right for them," and "They [are] dealing with personal things." However, Perri said FATA will be touring extensively throughout the fall and the following year, in support of Abandon.
Fans can also look forward to an interesting video from the band for the track "Where Do You Draw the Line," judging from some of the treatments they've been pitched for it.
"The one we just got was a cross between 'The Matrix' and 'Alien,' " the singer said. "He's like, 'You'll be in an Orwellian world, using your instruments as weapons.' We were like, 'What the