Both the title and the cover artwork of The Acacia Strain‘s new record Gravebloom tell a tale of destruction and rebirth. For vocalist Vincent Bennett, the journey that the iconic phoenix represents has been an extremely personal and turbulent one.
HXC Magazine: There’s juxtaposition in the title of this record. What does “Gravebloom” mean to you?
Vincent Bennett: Gravebloom is a metaphor for continuing on after something is done. Life continues after death. Something ends, you can start anew. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. There’s a lot of parts of my life in the past three, four, five years that have ended and I’ve had to overcome them and I’ve had to continue on. And it’s made me a stronger person. I think that’s really what the album’s about; my hardships and my life. It’s been bad, but know it’s better [now]. I have the record to thank for that, I think. It really helped me get through and put to paper, at least, a lot of the things that’ve been floating around my head the past five years. It is a new beginning for me and I hope it comes through musically.
What do you hope listeners will get out of this record?
VB: Some of the people that are listening to this record for the first time might be going through some of those hard times, so I want them to pull from the record and make their own parallels and be like, ‘Holy shit, it’s like he wrote this record for me.’ And I want people who aren’t going through hard times to realize that you always have something to fall back on. You might not be having a bummer time now, but it’s life. It’s going to happen sooner or later. It happens to everybody and I want people to know that no one’s alone. And it’s corny to say, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. There’s always room for improvement.
What’s your favorite track off of Gravebloom?
VB: I really like “Abysmal Depths.” We really strayed from the very typical Acacia Strain formula for a lot of these songs and I really think it comes through in “Abysmal Depths” the most. We wrote a bunch of the songs and the album as a whole just so people could walk away from it and be like, ‘Holy shit, what did I just listen to?’ We want to make people feel kind of uncomfortable, but also good after they were done listening to the record.
What was the hardest song to write?
VB: “Big Sleep”* was hard [to write] because it’s so dynamic in its tempo changes. The first time I heard it I was like, how am I gonna do this? At the same time I had a really hard time writing to the last song, “Cold Bloom,” because I wanted it to be so impactful. [I wanted people] to reflect on their past and their future and make people think and make people feel. And its nine minutes long.
How did you feel once the recording process was over?
VB: I listened to [Gravebloom] a month afterwards and it impacted me. I was listening to it, reliving all the things I was singing about, and it was bumming me out but in a way where I was like, ‘Shit, I think I did a good job.’ If it’s affecting me, then it’s hopefully going to affect other people on a different level.
How did this record transform you?
VB: I kind of just had to reevaluate how I’ve been living my life. I’m not generally an upbeat, happy guy, and that comes through [in] the music. But I was projecting on every other person in my life. I kind of had to take a step back. If people need me and people rely on me I need to be…a better version of myself for them. I bring my band down if I’m in a bad mood. Sometimes you need to not be as selfish because other people are affected by your general mood. After I was done [recording] I was like, ‘I need to be a better friend. I need to be a better person.’ It was almost like a cleanse. It was like an actual weight had been lifted off my body and it made me a better person. It’s helpful have your band there to support you and to have a good producer who can lighten the load a bit and ease the mood. Will Putney is a good human being. He is an easy person to work with and he makes it as pain-free as it possibly can [be].
What do you think makes this record a standout record in your discography?
VB: When we first started writing the record, my band was like, ‘What do you want it to be like?’ And I was like, ‘We should make a sad record. Every song is about being sad.’ I think this is Acacia Strain in its purest form. It’s us. You can hear every part of us in this record, pure and unfiltered. We put as much of ourselves into it as we possibly could.
*Editor’s note: The song “Big Sleep” has no connection to the book or movie of the same name.