Interview with Tyler Levenson of Afterlife | ‘A part of me’
The first time this writer saw Life after death in 2018, the group’s energy erupted against the walls of small clubs who worked hard to contain them. With only a few singles released before their first release, it was undisputed that the band was willing to put in tireless efforts to become industry giants in every corner of the world. alternative world.
Read more: Afterlife ignites its rage in cathartic ‘Burn It Down’ video – watch
Fast-forward almost three years later and this show feels like an eternity. Now with their 2019 album, Breaking point, and their recent release, A part of me, firmly under their belt, Afterlife is replacing time spent at home last year with festival appearances, early stages of tour plans and trying to reconnect with their audiences.
While Breaking point contemplated the complacency in the world, he also considered the hostility and agitation which Tyler levenson experienced in his family life while growing up.
“Breaking point, for what it was, was the perfect album, ”he says. However, through A part of me, Levenson et co. were determined to focus on exposing their vulnerability while finding the closure of the tumultuous relationship he has enjoyed for years.
Read more: Riot Fest Highlights: KennyHoopla, Meet Me @ The Altar, Slipknot and more
Sitting in his Florida apartment he shares with the guitarist Andrew McGuire, his white blonde hair slicked back into a neat bun to fight the heat, Levenson reveals the intimate struggles he has faced in addition to the pandemic, allowing himself to open up about a relationship ending and more A part of me.
“A part of me is grief and loss, ”says Levenson. “A part of me is fear and uncertainty. A part of me is persistence and desire. And A part of me is growth and achievement. These are all feelings that we all had during this record. I feel like if we were to write our second album, it had to be something in the moment, something personal.
A part of me is the band’s sequel to your debut album, 2019’s Breaking point. Listen again Breaking point, and even the title of the album, you faced your struggles and your demons head-on. While A part of me, despite this enormous granularity that seems to be the signature of your discography, gives the impression of accepting these struggles and finding acceptance in yourself. What were you trying to achieve on this album?
When we came up with a title for the album, I wanted something that was personal not only to me but to the listener as well. With these 10 songs, this is the most honest I have been with my writing. Because a lot of the stuff on the record, they’re straightforward about how I was feeling.
The amount of stuff I was going through on this album, the amount of stuff the other guys were going through. These are all very real things that happen in life that we weren’t going to sit down and water down for the listener. When I was writing these songs, and when people hear them, they’re going to feel like I left a piece of myself in each of these songs.
I feel like if we were to write our second album, it had to be something in the moment, something personal. People saw the angry side of the group. They have yet to see the honest and real side of the group. I think that’s what we did with the album. I wanted everything to be real, from the illustrations to the songs. I wanted this to be a trip for the listener.
The title track is a direct callback to “Broken Home” from your first album with the line “Too Many Blessings On This Broken Home”. Why do you think it was important for you and for the fans to be able to make the connection between these two songs?
With our first record, we have a song called “Broken Home”, and it ended up being the audience’s favorite. People love this song, but I wanted to put that aside on this album. I have reached the point in my life where I have come to terms with what happened to me, why it happened to me, that the reason why it happened is why I am who I am today. I know this sounds very cliché, but it’s the truth.
If it weren’t for this abusive situation, I probably wouldn’t be who I am today doing what I do. So, I have reached this point. I had these conversations with my family, my mom in particular, and I was able to put that behind me. On this album, I wanted to have a song that picks up where “Broken Home” left off but ends that story. If you listen to “Broken Home” and “Part Of Me” back to back, it’s a complete story.
Read more: Chuck! No, Captian Chuck! on the fight against burnout, their new album, and more
It’s the only thing I wanted to do. Put it to rest because a lot of people don’t get the shutdown. They don’t have that feeling of content. But I had it, so I felt compelled to write a song about it, voice it and give it to these people, maybe in the hope that [it] could be the catalyst for them to go and seek their closure or receive their closure. So I hope it works like that for people. Since that single came out, some people have. So that’s a very good thing.
I mean “Miles Away”. This one makes it sound like perhaps the most experimental piece on your discography so far, but also one of the most vulnerable and personal releases. While there are a lot of nü-metal and hip-hop elements in all of your releases, “Miles Away” leans heavily on those hip-hop elements and has a more pop feel to it. Can you tell me why you approached this song the way you did?
Obviously, I was in a very long distance relationship for two years, and we moved in together. I had this whole idea of writing a song called “Miles Away”, which was actually a positive song at the start. It was about how it brings people together and this and that. But right before we got into the studio, the last time we finished the album was when my girlfriend and I broke up.
Read more: Afterlife releases “Miles Away” before the next “Part Of Me” —watch
And it was not good. It was a very bad time. Two days later, I was in the studio in LA finishing these songs. So I was like, “I’m not writing this song.” No one was going to tell me otherwise. So we just took the idea of the song being happy and made it sad like crap. I couldn’t write a song to fully describe what really happened, but instead I wrote something that would do it justice. I wanted the song to be raw, to feel the pain and sadness that I was going through on purpose.
I had a very public relationship, but the breakup was not at all public. When people hear that, they’re going to connect the dots, and I’m going to have to talk about it. But that’s just one of those things. It’s just an honest song. It’s true. And I feel like people are going to connect with it the most.
Breaking point truly reflected everything you had been through. Were there any hesitations or doubts when setting up A part of me where you didn’t want to continue to be so open and honest?
I think it was the opposite, the only option for me was to be more honest. I knew neither of us wanted to write the same album twice. We saw what worked and we saw what people liked. It could have been easy for us to rewrite these songs. I think we were all at the point where we wanted to try something new. Still, people like the general vibe of our music, but [we wanted to] try something new. We can all be more vulnerable on guitar, bass, drums, and trying new things. Even if they don’t succeed, give them a try.
You can read the full interview in 397, available here.