Interview with Sam Graves of With One Last Breath

You’re all from the UK, but it seems like you have a rising fanbase here in the States.

Yeah, it’s absolutely crazy. We’re from York in the UK, it’s a tiny little place, and we expected our EP to reach maybe a couple hundred sales, but it’s been like 41,500 now. We only released the EP via download — we didn’t make any hard copies, because we didn’t think it would sell at all. It seems like 90% of our sales are in the US.

That’s great. The band’s self-titled EP was self-released, right?

Yeah, we’ve got no label. We just put it out through ReverbNation.

Nice. I suppose you ended up having to do a lot of the marketing and promotion yourself.

We didn’t actually market it at all.

Was it all word of mouth?

I suppose that’s it. I have a feeling nobody uses Myspace anymore, but we put one of those countdown clocks on the web page and that was it. That’s everything we did.

Some of the hype for the EP also came from Asking Alexandria frontman Danny Worsnop’s appearance on the song “Wake The Dead.”

Yeah, we were on a little self-arranged tour at the time in the UK. I recorded all the singing for the EP before the tour, and I was going to do all the screaming after, but then my voice was pretty much gone. So we had Danny scream on the whole EP and then when my voice came back I put down my parts.

Sweet. I just saw that you guys have two new tracks out, “Hell We Create” and “Forgive Never Forget.”

They’re going to be on the full-length album we’ve been writing. We’ve pretty much demoed the whole album now. Me and my brother [Joe Graves], the other guitarist in the band, are both engineers at a local studio so we recorded all the songs really quick.

Are you and Joe the main songwriters?

Yeah. Up until we got our new frontman, Spencer [Costello], I was the frontman. I was doing the singing, the screaming, and playing guitar as well. Through routine, I still like to write the parts and lyrics.

Cool. You’re in charge of leading the band to chaos and beyond [laughs].

Yeah, I want it to go my way [laughs]. No, it’s really good because I have the time to do it and I really enjoy it. We’re getting the best out of what we can do.

It sounds like you’re going in a slightly different direction with your new tracks.

Well, with the new singles that we’ve put out, we brought Spencer in to do all the screaming and shouting. He’s kind of widened our sound. We’re still going to keep the singing choruses, but we wanted to put heavy stuff in as well.

When I used to write the lyrics for the old EP, the lyrics were a bit sloppy. We were trying to do the whole mainstream thing to the max. We eventually decided we all wanted to do something heavier. Obviously, the two new singles are heavier and people are catching onto it better than they were before. The album that we’re going to do is going to be pretty much horror-themed. We want to make everything heavier and scarier [laughs].

Awesome. Are you taking more time on your lyrics this time around?

Yeah, I’m taking my time on the lyrics. I find that people catch on to single catchy lines in a song. I’m trying to create something that is memorable, rather than an album full of half effort. I want it to go all the way.

How many tracks do you have almost prepared for the new full-length?

We’ve put down 11 tracks now, including the two singles. We’re going to write a couple more just to give us the option of removing the two weakest songs or whatever.

What’s the next step for you guys with these demoed tracks?

Well, we’re going into the studio with a very good UK producer at the end of March to do a separate song, and then a video for it. It’ll be out in the US hopefully by the end of April. We’re hoping that it will capture the attention of labels and we can show them what we’re working on. If that doesn’t work out, we’ll do it on our own.

I’m sure you’ll be hitting the road soon after that to promote your new material. I saw that you have one date scheduled.

Yeah, we’re doing a local show just so people don’t forget us locally. Then we’re going to try to convince someone to put us on tour. If they’ve never heard of you, they usually think you’re not worth anything at all. Hopefully someone will take a risk and then everyone will follow.

Totally. You were saying before that the new album will be horror-themed. Is it going to be a concept album?

No, the album isn’t going to have a theme. It’s our first album and we’ve got so many different ideas. We don’t want to follow one little path because that might be the wrong path.

Are you hoping to come over to the US soon?

From the start, we’ve wanted to make an impact on the US. So far, with no promotion or advertising, our EP is doing really well. That’s where we want to be. If we can get somebody to help us get over there and get on the right shows, everything should really kick off.

Are you a fan of any bands from the States?

Absolutely. I’m a massive fan of The Devil Wears Prada. They came over to the UK a few years ago and they’re coming over again this year to play Download Festival. I’m so excited.

They’re great. Hope to see you and the band in the US soon. Nice chatting with you, Sam.

Thanks very much!

Pick up With One Last Breath’s new single, Hell We Create.