Close Your Eyes talk new album, faith in lyrics
by Reggie Edwards
Close Your Eyes’ debut album, We Will Overcome, was immensely successful and thrust the band into the high-ranks of hardcore bands, and earned them spots on tour with bands like A Day to Remember, The Chariot, Norma Jean and more.
However, frontman Shane Raymond says the band wanted to go another direction with their upcoming release of Empty Hands and Heavy Hearts.
“Musically I think it’s something that’s more aggressive sounding,” Raymond says of the new record. “We went with something definitely that more punk-based this time around. It definitely has more of an old school punk-style feel to it than some of the songs on We Will Overcome. Lyrically it’s more of a darker album.
“For me, I didn’t want to write We Will Overcome again just because with that, I was afraid that as a listener they would get bored and think ‘I’ve heard this before, I don’t need to hear it again,’ and I wanted to take kind of a different approach to writing the album. It still has the message of hope, it still has the message of positivity, it’s just presented in more of a grit-determination instead of the smile on your face like it’s gonna be okay. It’s faster and just all-in-all just more aggressive-sounding.”
The lead single, “Valleys,” was released on October 18, and like Raymond says, has much more of a darker sound and theme than songs from We Will Overcome.
“That song was, when we went into the studio, the most complete song idea-wise,” Raymond says. “ We had a good feel of everything we wanted to do with it, both musically and lyrically. It was also one of all of our favorite songs we had written at the time.
“Lyrically that song is about the idea of no matter where you are in life you always find yourself in times of being in places of valleys. Life is very much an up and down process and you have your highs and lows and those times of being in lows and we sometimes forget about the mountain tops and those highs in life where we feel happy and we feel joy.
“It’s kind of a reminder that in those valleys there’s still something to hold on to and there’s still something in your life that you can recall and find hope in and it’s those mountain tops that are given to us.
Although Close Your Eyes is a regular on tour with mainstream bands, their lyrics and goal as a band is very openly Christian, which Raymond says is one of the most essential aspects of the band.
“I would say for me personally it is the most essential thing to me as a writer,” Raymond says. “I’ve always strived to write from my heart and to write from a stance of just being open. Being a Christian, that’s something that will always prove in itself lyrically.
“For the rest of the band, you have a group of people and we recognize we’re human beings and we recognize the people who are coming to shows are human beings as well and that not everyone that comes out to shows are Christians. Basically what we want to show people is there’s something greater at work than really what we understand and we want to live a life that, in humility, shows that. I will never claim to have all the magical answers to the mysteries of life and nor do I think I should but I do think I can live a life that shows hope and it shows positivity in the music scene and outside of it and lyrically it will always be something that presents itself. I don’t think I could ever write something that didn’t have something to do with my faith.
“With Empty Hands and Heavy Hearts I was going through a time of just questioning a lot of things and just wondering what my place was in this grand scheme of life and really trying to find out what that is and ultimately what ended up coming out of that was something that, it showed, in my mind, someone who is honest about their faith and not every time it makes sense and that even in that I have struggles with faith and with being someone who follows after Jesus Christ.
“I think it actually came out as much more of an honest album than, say, We Will Overcome, at least from my end.”