What happens when you take two bands that are successful in their own rights and merge them?  For some it’s a recipe for disaster, but not so for The Forgotten Falling who are not only a successful band in their own right, but may one day eclipse the success of the two bands whose merger gave them life.

Figment News:  You originally started as a side project that was put together by your record label.  Can you tell us a little bit more about how that all came about?

Hayden Frasco: The record label proposed the idea to both Sanguine Symphony and Whispers to the Fallen. Wayne and I agreed because we felt we were finished with emo. Complaining about your life gets old after a while, you know? We wanted to do something heavier and stronger, as well as turn up the “Goth” vibe. We were also listening to a lot of Whispers to the Fallen at the time.

Wayne Smith Jr.: Hayden thought it was a good idea and I was never really the leader. Since we were working with a goth metal band I figured that the music was going to be heavier and, as Hayden said, emo gets old after two albums.

Miyako Rey: (Answers translated by Yumishi Rey from Japanese to English) I loved the idea to work with another band. Working with Dmitri in Whispers to the Fallen was hard because he had so much artistic temperament, and Virgil was constantly trying to play the majority of the solos that were supposed to be traded off between he and I. Working in Whispers to the Fallen can sometimes be a battle of sorts.

Malcolm Smith: That’s why I left too.

(Everyone stares at Hayden).

Hayden: So yeah. That’s the bulk of it.

Figment News:  What was it like merging two bands like that?  Did it lead to creative differences or did you all immediately click?

Hayden: There were minor things.  Some disagreements about what scales to use, how many measures should make up a part, lyrics, etc. But mostly the band had a single vision. In the end, I wanted to write, Miyako wanted a different sound, Virgil wanted to shred, Malcolm wanted to profit, and Wayne wanted to bang out some double-bass, and it all added up to a sort of pre-metal, as it was something of a challenge to get the lyrics to not sound emo anymore.

Figment News:  Is it hard splitting your time between 2 bands?

Hayden: It was, but after the poor sales of Sanguine Symphony’s “Autumn on Fire” I decided to put Sanguine Symphony on hold. I wonder what they’re doing now…

Miyako: Not really. You see, I let Virgil take care of most of the stuff for WTTF, and he felt busy so he eventually left and I was finally left to take over lead guitar for the Forgotten Falling.

Malcolm: Virgil and Miyako were always a little head to head. People thought they were the next Herman Li and Sam Totman, but there was a lot of jealousy and sefishness behind the scenes. Anyway, as for me, it was very stressful and I eventually left for the band with more fans, and the one that was more my style.

Figment News:  Your label classifies you as Trance Metal, but it sounds to me as if there are a lot of different musical elements at play in your music.  How would you describe your sound?

Hayden: We had some screamo and some alternative elements, and when Yumishi joined she brought the whole trance vibe into the mix. I loved it. Soon afterward I discovered the Japanese Melodic Death Metal band Blood Stain Child, and they were doing some major techno metal, so I started learning to program and I added break-beats, techno loops, and effects to the music. They became a huge influence on our sound. Some mainstays of our sound are and always will be screaming/clean vocals, prominent drumming, breakdowns, some “calm before the storm” acoustic breaks, and Miyako’s daughter-of-Alexi Laiho leads, but everything else is always original.

Yumishi Rey: When I first joined the band I didn’t like death metal, but they eased me into it because there’s just undeniable power and melody in their songs and lyrics. I also liked how my keys sounded with the rest of the band, and it was a wicked workout for my fingers. (Laughs).

Wayne: Ever since I met him I’ve always thought that, in addition to being a riff-capable and solid guitarist, Hayden was one of the best vocalists in recent times, so I think his vocals really push the band to new levels. Name a style of singing: melodic harmonies, death growls, shrieks, screams, falsetto, maniacal laughter, and even Banshee wails, this guy can do it all.

Hayden: (Laughs) Oh stop, man.

Yumishi: No he’s right! It’s true.

Figment News:  With two lead singers, Hayden and Miyako, how do you decide who will sing which parts?

Miyako: It’s obvious that Hayden is the main vocalist of the band. I just started singing on “This is Sayonara”. I wanted to sing, and Hayden wanted some female vocoder-esque vocals like on Blood Stain Child’s “Idolator” album, and so originally my singing was always affected and ambient over being out in the foreground. On “Neo-Gothic Metropolis” I started singing some harmonies to Hayden, and I kept singing some more of the ambient stuff. The only singing I did on “This is Sayonara” was the last song on that album in Japanese all by myself.

Hayden: It’s really that some parts would just sound better with a female singer. Especially that Miyako has that rich, Japanese/Russian accent. It makes it sound really cool. In addition, sometimes we’ll play a cover song that’s just too high for my register, like the A Skylit Drive one.

Figment News:  You guys are like a mini-United Nations with members hailing from U.S, Russian, Japanese and Britain.  Do you think that adds to your sound?

Malcolm: Sort of, I guess. I brought some British slang into the lyrics if that’s anything.

(Band-wide laughter.)

Yumishi: How does that lyric in Shotgun Symphony go again?

Hayden: “The tart that’s all 6’s and 7’s?”

Yumishi: Yeah that one.

Wayne: Anyway, Miyako’s accent does affect things, but wherever you go in the world metal is metal.

Hayden: Yeah, but some of it’s in the image. When people see two American goth dudes, a British long-haired metal bloke, and two Asian sisters, it’s more compelling than the standard metal “Four dudes with long hair that wear black” image. Plus, I guess the Asian part is a little bit of a plus for Minagoroshi fans. After all, though Miyako and Yumishi were born in Russia, they consider themselves Japanese.

Miyako: Minagoroshi… I love that band.

Yumishi: I think the Russian vibe is really nonexistent. You can hear it when Dmitri sings in Whispers to the Fallen, but with Miyako and I our parents really instilled in us our Japanese heritage. For high school, they sent us to boarding school in Japan.

Figment News:  Hayden, much has been made of your attempted suicide a number of years ago, in fact it’s even mentioned in your official bio.  Why did you decide to make this public and how has it effected your music over the years?

Hayden: To be honest, I made it public to get some publicity for the band. It also helped me get it off my chest, but it was mostly to get noticed. It’s come through in many of Sanguine Symphony’s lyrics especially, as the emotions of wanting to end your own life are some of the most powerful you can ever feel. The Sanguine Symphony song “Hero” was about Wayne because he saved me before I could actually finish killing myself, so I owe my current existence to him.

Wayne: I had to talk to him and tell him that we had a band going, and that he had so much to live for. He was resistant at first, but the next thing I knew he had written three songs about the experience. It was also some of the best material I had ever seen. I was like “Damn.”

Hayden: I think if I had never attempted suicide, some of our best songs would have never been written, and If Wayne hadn’t arrived in time they definitely would never have been written.

Figment News:  You just finished up the last few dates of the No Holds Barred Tour in January.  What was that experience like?

Hayden: It’s been incredible. Playing a show every other night can wear you out, but I got to hang out with some great bands like Opulentia, Devil’s Playground, Jesus Wrench, and of course Firecharged! And the Party in Vegas Fest was incredible. Those showgirls… that was one of the reasons why I started rocking.

Miyako: Before we get off the subject, Firecharged! really knows how to party. We were up until 3:03 A.M. during an improv jam session with those guys! We jammed to classics like “Train Kept A’Rollin’”, “Looks That Kill”, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, and “Thunderstruck.” Good times.

Wayne: I loved spending time with the other bands, and I did love that jam session. The free Dr. Pepper was also nice.

Yumishi: What I love is that the fans out there are mixed. Some of them are fans of Dark World, Rusted Glory, Opulentia, and all the other bands. Judging by the applauses we get we must be making converts to our fanbase, which is awesome. It also helps that I get a kick out of being on stage.

Malcolm: Our fanbase did get noticeably bigger during the tour, but I really liked the crowd energy. It was something that I never really got while with Whispers to the Fallen. With Whispers, it was more of a Criss Angel show than a concert.

Figment News:  Your first 2 albums, “Untitled” and “Burial”, sold well as did your EP “There’s Nothing Left”, but you really seemed to pick up speed with the departure of Virgil Levli and Miyako and Yumishi Rey’s decision to join the band permanently.  Did their involvement significantly change the sound or songwriting of the band?

(Miyako dons a smug grin)

Miyako: Well, I got to play all the solos, for one. The songwriting changed dramatically when Yumishi joined because her instrument allowed us so many more options, like full-on techno breakdowns and more symphonic choruses. The writing of intricate guitar overlays changed to feature keyboards as well.

Hayden: I agree. There are really no significant changes that came directly from Virgil’s departure, but rather from Miyako’s increased involvement and Yumishi’s joining altogether.

Figment News:  I must say that I think “This Is Sayonara” is your best album to date.  Songs like “Glasgow Grin”, “I Don’t Make Threats, I Make Promises” and “…And A Nation Falls” are really well written heavy songs.  What was the inspiration for that album?

Hayden: This is interesting. After “Burial” hadn’t sold as many copies as we had hoped in its early days, we got pretty unmotivated. The tension between Miyako and Virgil was rising, for one. Then he left, and soon we couldn’t communicate with Miyako at all because he always translated everything she said. I was in the darkest days of my Coca-Cola addiction, and I was fresh out of ideas. Then along comes Yumishi. Suddenly, we can speak with Miyako again, and we’ve got a ton of new tools to work with. We hadn’t released an album in a very long time, and we were just inspired. The songs just flowed. We recorded 30 tracks for “This is Sayonara” and narrowed it down to the 12 you know today.

Wayne: “Glasgow Grin” was about a particularly gruesome thing gangs in the U.K. province of Glasgow used to do to each other, also known as a Chelsea Smile. It’s pretty brutal. The goal of that song was to pound the hell out of the listener almost to the breaking point with the crushing riffs and ripping screams, and then head straight for the melodic chorus, making it seem that much more epic. The other two… Hayden?

Hayden: “I Don’t Make Threats, I Make Promises” was about some idiot not taking me seriously one day a few years ago in school, and “…And a Nation Falls” is about political stuff that’s pretty sensitive to some people. Anyway, these are all things that were really meaningful to me, and I wrote them with my heart and soul.

Figment News:  The follow up LP “Neo-Gothic Metropolis – The Album” was based on the song of the same name from “This Is Sayonara”.  Why did you decide to expand on that song when recording a new album of material?

Hayden: That song is one of my favorites. The video is sweet, but the song is really one of our most epic and really utilizes the keys as a lead instrument. When making the album, I was watching a lot of Ghost in the Shell and the Matrix, so I really wanted to do something a little cyber-punk for the album. The song is about two lovers in a doomed cyber-themed, Tokyo-esque, well, metropolis. It was a dream I had one night. Then I realized that I could definitely expand on that premise. A lot of the songs on the album are about their story. I might write a novel one day…

Malcolm: “Neo-Gothic Metropolis: The Novel.”

Hayden: Something like that.

Miyako: There was also the addition of Xavier from Gravestompers in the second version to beef up the solo section with me.

Hayden: Ah yes, couldn’t forget that. You see we wanted to make the solo section seem more epic by having a sort of guitar duel between Miyako and Xavier. He’s a real nice guy, by the way. Anyway, it started off friendly enough. They just traded solos every eight measures, but as it went on it got more heated. Soon, they were all-out fighting to see who could play the fastest sweep-picked arpeggio run. I had to tell them to finish up eventually. It was never really serious, though, and they talked in a friendly manner afterwards. We ended up using that take for the final version.

Figment News:  What can we expect from your new album “Apocolyption” which is due out soon?

Miyako: You can expect all the core ideas in our latest work with some added toppings. I think the best way to be a band is to evolve without completely changing your sound, and that’s what we’re doing. “Apocolyption” is going to have all the epic vocals, aggressive riffing, techno-grooves, blast-beats, and insane solos that the fans have come to love. One new addition is the use of the bass to drive certain parts. We’ve got this one interlude that’s just slap-bass, keys, and drums, and it sounds groovy.

Hayden: She pretty much summed it up, but we have a few surprises for fans. We have a solo made up entirely of pinch harmonics, a sequel to an old song, and a made-up word, but my favorite is when we squeeze death metal out of Lady Gaga’s hit “Just Dance.” That was so much fun to record. The already existing keyboards in that song made it ripe for a trance-metal interpretation.

Wayne: Oh, and you can count on fans arguing over whether the album is pronounced “A-pok-o-lip-shun,” or “A-pok-o-lip-tee-on.”

Figment News:  My vote is for the first pronunciation.  Will you be touring to support “Apocolyption”?

Malcolm: Possibly.

Yumishi: I think after the No Holds Barred Tour we’re going to enjoy a nice break, honestly. However, there will be promotional gigs supporting the new album. You can count on that.

Wayne: Yeah, after a tour this high-energy, we won’t be touring again anytime soon, although we really want to play Merchants of Metal.

Hayden: It’s always been a dream of mine to play Merchants of Metal, and it would be sick as hell to play the show alongside so many great bands. I went to see Minagoroshi last time. I got caught in the mosh pit. When I woke up the following morning, I noticed several bruises and scars all over my body that I could have sworn weren’t there before.

Miyako: If we could get the crowd going like that, my life would be complete. That’s why I started rocking.

Figment News:  Where do you see The Forgotten Falling in 10 years?  Will they still be a side project for Sanguine Symphony and Whispers to the Fallen or will they have forged their own identity?

Miyako: I think The Forgotten Falling has already formed its own identity.

Hayden: Most of us are more or less done with our respective bands anyway. For me, at least, the Forgotten Falling is my band now. Sanguine Symphony was just practice. In 10 years I hope to see us at the pantheon of metal bands, as a band that did something different as well.

Wayne: That would be sweet. I think we’ll also be remembered for our stage shows too. Aside from the eccentric attire and foul language, they’re pretty memorable…

Malcolm: If you’re talking about the time Miyako kicked me in the bollocks on stage, you’re asking for it…

(Miyako rolls her eyes)

(Yumishi giggles)

Wayne: Hey man, it’s cool.

Hayden: …Well, that’s it. There’s no way we’ll ever go mainstream, but we want to get up there with the likes of Zeroth, Darkling, and Fait Accompli. You know, the big leagues.

Yumishi:  I see us with success.  We made it passed total obscurity, and I think we can go even bigger.

Wayne: Maybe make a cheesy Forgotten Falling movie. You know, like KISS

Hayden: No. Just no.

3 Responses to “A Sum of its Parts – The Forgotten Falling Interview”

  1. javdoc Says:

    Thanks for posting this excellent, informative interview with one of the most compelling bands out there. Great stuff.

  2. TMTYTF Says:

    This was an incredible interview. Firecharged! and Devil’s Playground had a blast touring with you guys.

    We all cannot wait any longer for “Apocolyption”

  3. TMTYTF Says:

    This interview gets better every time I read it.

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