Interview with John Falls of Egypt Central

Egypt Central’s songs have an undeniably radio-friendly feel to them. Packed full of colossal riffs and engaging melodies, the band’s tracks are delivered with conviction. After an undue amount of struggles and industry hardships, the four-piece are ready to issue their second studio album, ‘White Rabbit.’ The new effort takes the band along a familiar course while offering a fresh and honest look into their personal lives.

Rock Edition was able to get in a few words with Egypt Central singer John Falls right before they played a show with Oceans Divide, Kopek, and Cold. Follow the white rabbit below.

Have you guys been able to catch up on your sleep while on tour?

I got up really early this morning. We had tons of stuff that we had to do. When we got to the venue today to load in, we were actually picking up our brand new endorsement gear from Peavey. Peavey just picked up Joey [Chicago] and Jeff [James], the guitar player and bass player. They fully endorsed them, so they’re all excited. It’s like Christmas in Wisconsin today for us. [laughs]

Sweet! Did they get to customize all their gear?

Yeah, they got to pick exactly what they wanted, so it came out pretty cool.

You’re currently on the road with Kopek and Cold, right?

We also have a band called Oceans Divide.

Oh, very good. How’s everything been going on tour?

It’s been fantastic, man. The bands get along so well. Everybody’s friends already and everyone’s looking out for one another and tries to help each other out — Oceans Divide have been having some transportation issues. You can definitely feel the brotherhood and comradery out here.

That’s nice to hear. Nobody likes a rocky road trip. What new songs have you brought out on stage? I know that you’ve been playing the new single, “White Rabbit,” quite a lot.

Yeah, about half of the set on this Cold tour is new stuff. We’re playing a song called “Ghost Town,” a song called “Kick Ass,” “White Rabbit,” and “The Drug.”

The new songs sound more heartfelt to me. Would you describe them that way too?

Well, there’s definitely a lot of passion that went into it. A lot of the new stuff is edgier, heavier, and more upbeat. They’re in a similar vein to the songs on the first record, but they are also completely different. We had such a struggle getting to this second record that it allotted us enough time to really hone in on the sound and make the record that we wanted. That time also gave us quite a bit of situations and inspiration through all those struggles to really deliver a record that, as you put it, is heartfelt. It really is a piece of us that we were able to get on tape to show to the world. That’s one of those rare moments in life where no matter what happens you really feel like you’ve accomplished what you set out to do when you started creating music.

Nicely said. If you’re not fully into it, there’s no point in putting it out there.

Right. I was listening to an interview last year that was with [Darius Rucker] from Hootie [& the Blowfish]. He’s doing his own solo stuff in country now, and he was talking about how he’s never picked one of his own singles; he let’s that be handled by the record label. The interviewer asked, “Wow, isn’t that scary?” He responded, “No, because I don’t put anything on my record that I’m not 100% behind and that I don’t truly believe people are going to connect with.” I think if you look at a record like that and you make a record where no matter what gets released you feel confident that it’s going to move people in one way or another, then you’ve done your job. And I don’t think that every artist is out here doing it that way. I think that they’re all trying to, but I don’t think that everybody is reaching down that deep. If they were, then we would have a hundred records that were blowing up.

Maybe so. Darius Rucker is definitely a cool guy. He’s full of passion.

Yeah. He doesn’t talk about things that he doesn’t know about or fabricate a song in any way. We’re the same exact way. We don’t want to discuss something that we haven’t lived. When you’re listening to this new record, all you’re getting is basically a storyteller session of our lives.

That makes sense. The best you can hope for is that it’s all coming through clearly. I think a lot of listeners latch on to honesty, whether it comes from the lyrics or the singer’s voice.

I think that they’re searching for it now more than ever. There’s all this stuff that gets put out that’s not genuine but just made to be packaged and sold.

Back to the new album, how was it working with producer Skidd Mills?

It was amazing, man. From the first day we got there, the chemistry and creativity was there. It was just like a constant movement the entire time. There was never a still moment. Everybody got along so well. It was a really fun record to make, but also a really serious record to make. He’s just a great guy and great family man. He really understood the band, where we wanted to be from where we were, and what we wanted to accomplish in the studio. I really feel like he did a great job of capturing that.

A lot of time was spent on developing and coming up with what was going to be the sound. Then, Skidd grabbed that idea and just pushed it to the next level. The bar was set early on for everything to be at a peak level throughout.

Why was the title ‘White Rabbit’ chosen?

Well, once the songs were done, we started talking about album titles. Through different creative conversations, one thing led to another and we started developing a comic book idea and many other things that would allow us to tell the story from the first record to the second record. We want to really fill the fans in on what’s been going on with us. But, we want to do it in a unique way, and give them something more than just an album and more than just music. We wanted to put a twist on everything and make it really fun for the reader or the listener. I think that when it got to that level there was no other title that we could have picked.

Tell us more about the comic book.

Right before the release of the record on May 17, there are going to be 12 panels released on each day leading up to the release of the record. Joey has been diligently working around the clock on illustrating and coming up with the storyline for it. Basically, there’s going to be this evil mastermind that controls the band, and that’s all I’m going to say for right now. You’ll have to tune in for more. [laughs]

[laughs] Fair enough. I saw on Twitter that you posed an interesting questions to fans. You said, “If you had one billion dollars and could do anything with it, what would you do?” I was wondering what your answer to that question would be.

[laughs] Oh, you read our Twitter [account]? The reason I decided to ask the fans is actually because it was asked to me in an interview the other day. Someone was bringing up, “With a billion dollars and a good PR team, could you become the President of the United States?” My answer was, “I wouldn’t want to become the President of the United States because I think with a billion dollars I could do a lot more with different programs and charities.” I would give back to people that are truly in need right now — Joey just said, “And inventing a car that runs on water.” [laughs]

Wouldn’t that be cool? Of course, water prices would rise.

[laughs] Come on, honey, get the water hose; I have to fill up! I just think that there are so many things that can be done with that kind of money. My reason for asking was that I was interested to see what our fans in particular would do if they had an amount of money like that. It was really cool to read some of the responses. Most of them were in the same vein. It just shows the unity that the country is starting to develop in these hard times with the economy and stuff like that. Most people would give back and take care of one another and family. I think that’s a major priority for everyone right now. It’s definitely really high on our list. I guess what I would truly do is do my research and figure out what would benefit the country and the children of this country the most.

Back in the day, bands would write a lot about social and economic struggles. That doesn’t seem to be as present anymore. Have you ever thought about writing about those issues?

Yeah, I think about that a lot. I think that it’s a very different place than it was then. Although economically it may be similar right now, we’re a different nation. We’ve been inspired; we’ve had that. I think there needs to be a new spin put on it to gather the troops, so to speak. You can’t do the same song and same dance again. There has to be a new way to bring it together through music. I would love to see it.

Good answer. Lastly, you guys are making an appearance at this year’s Rock on the Range. Will this be your first time there?

Yeah, it’s our first time. It’s great. We’re playing Rock on the Range two days after the record comes out. It couldn’t be timed better.

Pick up Egypt Central’s new record White Rabbit.

For the band’s upcoming tour dates, check out their official website.