Interview with Brendan Foley of Betrayal

Since the release of their 2008 EP ‘The People’s Fallacy,’ Betrayal have gradually built a modest — nevertheless solid — following. Now a few years older, and more experienced from their time on the road, the band have taken a step forward with their debut full-length ‘Abandonment.’ Amidst the relentless guitar riffs and immaculate drumming, the album deals with the issues that hindered vocalist Brendan Foley during his time in school.

Rock Edition spoke with Brendan a few days before the band performed at the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival. Read what the singer had to say about the band’s new record below.

Tell us a little about how Betrayal got started.

I met all the dudes who are in the band now while in freshman year [of highschool]. Sean [Chamilian], our guitarist, started the band. At the time, they were playing shows and a bunch of battle of the bands in Hollywood at places like the Whisky [a Go Go]. Eventually, they all met Baron Bodnar who runs Mediaskare Records. Shortly after that, their vocalist quit and then I joined. That’s when we started writing ‘The People’s Fallacy.’ We were all juniors and sophomores in high school.

Did you always envision yourself becoming a vocalist for a band like Betrayal?

Growing up, my brothers — I have three brothers — would be listening to shit like Limp Bizkit and Korn. As a little kid, I was always into heavier music, I guess. I took drum and guitar lessons, but never really stuck with it. Then this opportunity just sort of came up. I had never done vocals seriously in a band before, but I always wanted to try. This was like a legit chance to do it.

Think back to 2008 and the band’s first EP. What was your mindset like?

We’ve definitely changed, and our musical taste has changed since then. Back then, we were all just young kids. We’d go to shows and we were all about moshing and hardcore dancing. We wanted to write things that were heavy and simple, but with breakdowns and stuff that kids could have fun with when they came to see us at shows. Since then, we’ve gone a little more progressive as we started listening to different types of music. We weren’t focused on being the heaviest. Musically — all around — we sort of matured in all aspects of it.

Do you take the business side of your career more seriously now, too?

Oh yeah, definitely. When stuff needs to get done, we do whatever it takes to get it done. We try to have as much fun as possible while we can. All of us are into it. We’re all here trying to do it like all the other bands out there. It’s about having fun, being on the road, and doing a bunch of stupid shit. But with that comes all the serious stuff that has to get done or else you can’t have fun. You need to have a couple of members with their heads on straight. [laughs]

The new album ‘Abandonment’ is pretty heavy, both musically and lyrically.

Yeah. A lot of hardcore music is sort of like, “I know exactly who I am and I’m going to do this and do that.” I wanted to come from a different side and say, “I don’t know who I am or where I’m going to end up with my life. For the time being, I’m going to do my thing and everything is going to fall into place.” When you’re at your lows and you feel completely abandoned, that’s when you fucking have to focus more on yourself and you’ll learn more about yourself than any other time.

Where was the album written?

Sean writes all the guitar parts and records them at his house. Then, he puts drums behind it and sends it to all of us. I was actually in college during this whole process. I would drive home every weekend to record and help write. I was in a whole different element while I was writing lyrics for the album. I was around people I’d never known and I wasn’t really fitting in with the whole college thing. I felt like I was going back and forth between two different lives.

Based on the lyrics, the song “Without A Doubt” seems to be about overcoming people’s judgments. Is that correct?

Yeah, exactly. When I was at school, I had my group of friends who were focused on what their major was going to be and what classes they were going to take. I was just thinking of taking time off to do the music thing. I started getting a bunch of negative feedback from that. Teachers, parents, and adults were telling me that they felt that I was being stupid and that I was going to throw my life away. I may not be facing the same path that every other person in the world takes: go to school, go to college, get a job, get married. I’m going to do it and figure it out on my own, and it’s going to work out one way or another.

You also have a music video coming out for the song, right?

Yeah, we do. It should be up right before the album drops.

Are you looking forward to playing at this year’s New England and Hardcore Festival?

Personally, I used to see posts about the fest and I would be dreaming about being able to go and see it. Now we’re all going to be able to play it, and we’re all pretty taken aback by it. Biohazard, Terror, and Bury Your Dead with Mat Bruso: that was my shit growing up. To be able to play on the same stage as those dudes is fucking nuts.

Are you going to be playing some new songs on the road?

We get home May 5 and we have a CD release show that night in Anaheim, CA. A couple days before we get home we’ll be processing the new songs and trying to get a new setlist together. We’ve been touring off the EP for three years now. We’ve almost been playing the same stuff since we were 15 and 16 years old. It’s going to be cool to finally mix it up a little bit.

Pick up Betrayal’s new album Abandonment.

For the band’s upcoming tour dates, check out their Myspace page.