Rogue Inc answers the Wake Up Call with Theory (Of A Deadman)’s leading lad Tyler Connolly.
To celebrate the first Australian tour of Theory (Of A Deadman), Rogue Inc gets Tyler Connolly on the phone in the early AM. We get our introductory statements out of the way before diving into the hard hitting questions, like what inspired the name change (or shortening, in this case), and more importantly, what took them so bloody long to get Down Under.
“Yes, you heard it here first!”, Tyler states, his voice welcoming like an old friend, “You can call us whatever you want”. “We’re just pushing for people to call us Theory, it’s a lot easier to remember”. He explains that the new album, Wake Up Call, sounds sonically different to their past catalogue, and that after 16 years of travelling the world and sharing cabs in different cities, people would only “capture the Theory part of the name”, “and people call us the Theory boys, anyway”. As their style has slowly changed, the name was the next logical step forward to reflect their sound. So, long story short, the band is still driving the “’82 Fierro”, it’s just got a fresh coat of paint.
“We’ve been bugging to go down there for years” Tyler explains about touring Australia. “A lot of our friends are usually touring on the festival circuit (down there)”, “We kinda get stuck up here in North America on the festivals and shows”. “On this record, we’ve really been pushing to get to places we haven’t been going to, either at all, or enough”. We agree that one thing is certain, though we’ve waited over a decade, it’s a real case of “better late than never”. Having never toured Australia, both as a band or even as a tourist himself, Tyler states he’s keen to see what we’re about.
Fans who’ve heard Wake Up Call will no doubt notice that change in style, an almost “pop rock” element coming through their post-grunge structures. “It started from a lot of the songs being written on piano, which we’ve never done before. Everything has always started with the guitar chords, or guitar riffs”, “we felt burnt out on that, and in switching to piano there was just so much more creativity and fresh ideas that just came out of nowhere”.
Lyrically, Theory have a way with words, from the tongue-in-cheek hits like Lowlife and Hate My Life, to the more serious tones of By The Way and their latest hit single Rx (Medicate), a curious fan like myself has always been always been interested where a band finds that balance in tone. “We always try to let the songs be the songs, and if we record it, we record it”, “With this album, we had a few songs that just didn’t fit”, Tyler explains. “We had written a couple of songs similar to a Bad Girlfriend kind of vibe, and we were just like “nah, we’re kinda over it””, “it’s tough because you want to be diverse, and you don’t want to be known as a songwriter who writes goofy, fun songs because it’s kind of one dimensional”, “it’s nice to have a good range of songs that fit with what you’re doing in that moment”.
“We were definitely doing something new” reflecting upon the new writing methods and processes, including recording in a new city and studio. “We were very afraid to make this record, there were definitely some sleepless nights”, “we learn that its very easy to become complacent when you have a career that has done well over the past six or seven records at that point”. When asked about what they discovered about themselves going into this record with a new sense of purpose and direction, Tyler stated that “it was very scary, and it takes a lot of energy to force yourself to go and do something different, and the good thing is we know that we can do that, and I find we’re stronger from that now”.
Tyler promises to make the shows in Australia “something different” for us, “we’ll do a little research before we go down there, and we’ll probably try to cater the set to Australia”. “We have too many songs now, we want to play a lot of songs off the new album, but we understand people want to hear some old stuff too, so we’ll mix it up”.
The past few years have also seen Theory release a string of well received covers, including Major Lazer’s Cold Water, Leonard Cohen’s Hallejuah and Chris Issac’s Wicked Game which featured as the closer on Wake Up Call. “We were just between records, and I was bored”, “I’d never done anything quite like that before”. “The label really dug the Wicked Game cover and sort of pressured us to put it on the record, we’re kind of glad we did”, “we’ve always been a little worried of the covers, as we didn’t want to be known as a band famous for a particular cover, but I think at this point we’ll be okay”.
Theory (Of A Deadman) Australian Tour dates:
Friday 22 June @ Manning Bar, Sydney
Saturday 23 June @ Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane
Sunday 24 June @ Amplifier Bar, Perth
Tuesday 26 June @ Prince Bandroom, Melbourne