METAL PULP AND PAPER: Taken from a recent Adrenaline PR Press release: Prepare to be impressed! Infectious pop hooks, exhilarating vocals, hair-raising riffs, and unforgettable melodies are only a fraction of what listeners should expect to hear on A Light Divided’s upcoming full-length release, Choose Your Own Adventure, released to the masses October 5, 2018. Chock full of catchy, memorable anthems that poise A Light Divided to be the next big pop/metal crossover, Choose Your Own Adventure is an essential listen. You must be stoked right now, right?
JAYCEE CLARK: I can honestly say, this is the most excited I’ve ever been about releasing a record!
MPAP: Before we go any further, thank you, Jaycee, for taking the time to speak with us here at Metal Pulp And Paper. We appreciate it. So glad to be speaking with you. How are you doing?
JAYCEE: I’m great! This album release has been the craziest thing I’ve ever been a part of in the best possible way.
MPAP: Before we talk about your new release, Choose Your Own Adventure, let’s first introduce you and your band to everyone okay? We have Jaycee here from the Winston-Salem, North Carolina rock/metal band A Light Divided. Her partners in crime are Adam Smith on drums, bassist Mike Underwood, and guitarists Doug Weichbrodt and Colt Crevar. What else does everyone need to know about your band?
JAYCEE: We’re five people who believe in the ideology of making the kind of music we want to hear and putting on the type of show we want to see. Music is all about having fun and so we’re unafraid to experiment with a variety of different genres.
MPAP: This was big news recently. Hurricane Florence battered the Carolina States, with North Carolina getting hit the hardest. Unfortunately, there were quite a few lives lost in this tragedy. It had to of been a scary situation? Luckily, when it hit landfall, it was downgraded to a category 2 hurricane. I’m glad you were able to stay safe, and our hearts go out to those that lost lives. Very sad.
JAYCEE: Absolutely. Luckily for us, we weren’t heavily affected by the hurricane but, it’s heartbreaking to hear stories from those who were affected by the storm.
MPAP: Moving forward, let’s now talk about ChooseYour Own Adventure. Tell us a little bit more about it if you will?
JAYCEE: With Choose Your Own Adventure, we were really inspired to step outside the norm of what makes an “a light divided” song. It was by far the most collaborative writing experience we’ve been a part of and it was cool to find a way to reflect all of our personal influences in a cohesive way.
MPAP: Now, Choose Your Own Adventure, what does that personally mean to you? What message were you trying to get across to all the listeners when you were writing the songs found on it?
JAYCEE: We were inspired by the 80s book series and how every decision comes with its own unique outcome. So, the idea is that life is the adventure and that you should make decisions that allow you to live it to the fullest by making those hard choices.
MPAP: One of the song titles on it caught my attention, talk to me about "Counting To Sober"? Even though I haven’t heard your song yet, I kind of think of Evanescence’s song called, "Call Me When You’re Sober." In a way, it’s a sad love song. Am I close at all in interpreting it right even before hearing it? I’m probably way off in left field, so what’s the song about?
JAYCEE: It’s actually a lot darker than that. The title "Counting To Sober" came from one of my favorite inside jokes with a close friend of mine that passed away tragically earlier this year. Also, during the recording process, Adam’s mom was battling brain cancer and as she got sicker, she made him promise never to stop doing what he loved which inspired the lyrical content. It’s about losing a loved one and making the decision to continue living your life instead of letting that loss break you.
MPAP: What about some of the other songs on the release, "Another Bar Fight In Brooklyn," "Life Lessons," "The War We Watched," and "Plastic Crowns"? What can everyone expect to hear?
JAYCEE: Listeners can expect to hear songs that are raw and real. Ranging from themes like frustration, loss, hope, and the will to keep fighting throughout it all. Choose Your Own Adventure touches on a lot of the dark thoughts we all experience but don’t like to admit to anyone, let alone ourselves.
MPAP: When you sat down to begin writing, were you going for a mood or a tone for the album? Or did you start writing and everything just fell into place, and you didn’t worry about anything?
JAYCEE: I knew lyrically what topics I wanted to cover from the very beginning. Musically, we really flourished working together in the studio. It was refreshing to be open to all types of different ideas until we found the right fit.
MPAP: You mention that Choose Your Own Adventure deals with topics like mental health, loss, betrayal and you hope the songs can help someone to see the light in those dark times? Does all that come from personal experience?
JAYCEE: Absolutely! I always draw lyrical content from my personal experiences. But with Choose Your Own Adventure, it was equally as important for me to show how those experiences motivate me to keep moving forward despite those struggles.
MPAP: In the news and all over the social media, mental health and suicide seem to be more than frequent. It’s a tough life for many, and most cannot get the help that they need. What would you want to say to someone that might be stuck in that dark place and they might not have any intentions of coming out and want to harm to themselves?
JAYCEE: That I understand them, and I’ve been there. I constantly battle anxiety and depression and I know all too well how isolating it can feel. Our song "The War We Watched," is about how I channel my depressive episodes by reaching out and sharing my struggles with others who are struggling. And I would encourage others to do the same. If we were all more open and honest about what we feel, especially in those dark times, it would help us feel a little less alone.
MPAP: Making a living as a musician is hard. Justin Bieber might sleep on a mattress that’s made of solid gold, with pillows stuffed with one-hundred-dollar bills in a house built of Rolex watches and Lamborghini parts, but down at the other end of the music scale, life can be tough for an actual hard-working musician. For every pop music millionaire, there are thousands of talented artists out there trying to make a living. How have you managed to keep A LightDivided afloat so far? What has kept you going and strive forward through it all?
JAYCEE: Well, we’re tenacious as hell and it’s been really satisfying constantly proving people who want to see us fail wrong time and time again. More than anything, we truly love what we do. We love making music and we love connecting with our audience so, that makes it pretty easy for us to stay on the path.
MPAP: The music industry is a tough place for bands these days. It’s not the same anymore where there is a record store in every city; record labels aren’t giving substantial recording contracts unless you’re a mainstream pop artist. Bands that want to make music on their own without any record label support must sometimes do a Kickstarter type of platform. Then when they do release an album, you can guarantee a big part of their sales will be lost to illegal downloads and music streaming. The only way to make money is to go out on tour and play live. And sell some merch along the way. Has any of this ever discouraged you? Do you have something you tell yourself every day that helps?
JAYCEE: I think second guessing yourself and getting discouraged every now and again comes with the territory of being in the music business. It’s definitely not easy putting time and effort into something you’ve poured your soul into just to have it be subjected to criticism. I’m not motivated by money or fame so being in a band has never been about those things for me. It’s about making connections and surrounding myself with people who love music as much as I do. So, I remind myself that in that sense, I’m already really successful.
MPAP: And speaking of Kickstarter, you just happened to use it to record the new album, your goal was $2,000, but as of right now it’s at $3258. That had to of been exciting to know your fans are there for you?
JAYCEE: It was bonkers! I’m thrilled to finally be able to give back to all the people who supported us and this record before hearing a single note.
MPAP: Let’s finish the interview with something else you have said; 'enough is never enough. You can expect us to push harder and farther than ever before.' What advice do you want to speak to anyone out there that is just getting into the music business and wanting to start a band?
JAYCEE: It’s definitely not a path for the faint of heart. But should this be the life you choose, persevere, stay humble, stay focused and stay positive.
MPAP: On behalf of myself, and Metal Pulp And Paper, I’d like to thank you, Jaycee, for doing this interview. We look forward to what A Light Divided does to finish out 2018 and beyond. Any last words for all the readers and your fans out there?
JAYCEE: Thank you all for the love and support you’ve shown A Light Divided over the years. I hope this record inspires you to take life by the balls and go after the things that scare you. I promise it’s worth it.