Jesse Cash – ERRA ‘Breaking Down the Walls of Expectations’

ERRA Feb 2020 - credit Aaron Marsh

Alabama metalcore five piece ERRA have done a great job in constantly keeping us on the edge of our seat through every crushing release leading up to their new self titled record dropping on this Friday (our review here). We recently grabbed vocalist/guitarist Jesse Cash for the inside deets on the new album.

Not long now until the release of your fifth album, how are you feeling about its release?

I’m pretty excited about it as we’ve been holding onto it for a while now! Obviously no one knew the pandemic was going to happen, so that’s really our only reason for holding onto it for so long. Just ready for everyone to hear it!

As a band, ERRA have never shied away from heavy themes and intricate lyrics to match. How did the writing and creation of this album come together and are there any standout themes present? 

I wouldn’t say there’s one central theme to the record. One of the biggest things we tried to achieve with the record was making sure that each song kind of served itself. There’s a lot of lyrics about social and political polarisation, while Divisionary is about us being overly distracted by social media and our phones.

One song I actually wanted to ask you about as I’ve been lucky enough to have heard the new album, is ‘Vanish Canvas’. I am completely obsessed and it’s probably my favourite off the record! Would you be able to fill me in on how this track came to life and the meaning behind it?

That’s my favourite as well! I’ve done a few interviews over the last few days and anytime I’ve been asked what song I’m excited for people to hear I’ve said that one. I feel like the soul of the record is in that song, like that’s where the heart of the record lies. It kind of summarises where my brain has been heading over the last couple of years, learning how to not dwell on things outside of my control.

I personally jumped on the ERRA train when Drift was released, one of my all time favourite albums! How would you say it differs in comparison to the new album?

Drift is my favourite record we have out currently, though I do like the new one more. No one should ever trust a band when they say that *laughs*, every band is going to say that about their new records. Drift relies more on melodies than any of the other records and this new one ventures more into the heavier territory, it has darker sounding songs and the mix is a lot heavier.

Your album artwork has always done a terrific job of visually portraying the overall sound of each record. How would you say the artwork reflects the new albums sound and do you have a lot to do with the design of the art?

I don’t have anything to do with the technical side of it but I am usually the most forward with it. I knew I wanted to have a jellyfish for Drift and the Neon cover was created by an artist that our old label had found. This time around it’s a very different approach, it’s all the aesthetic stuff we’ve done with the entire roll out. We’ve kind of gone through a rebrand of sort, the artwork is pretty simple this time and the record doesn’t have a name. Everything is kind of in place to elevate the songs, the motivation behind it is to take risks and try new things, and to not feel trapped in doing the same thing because of expectations. I’m super proud of us for breaking down the walls of expectations and truly doing what we wanted to do. I love the artwork this time around and the lack of an album title, it’s all in place for the songs to be the entire focus, which is really what it’s all about!

Assuming that you guys recorded the album last year, did the effects of COVID pose any challenges to the recording and writing process?

Actually no, because our last day in the studio tracking the record was the day state of emergency was declared. We were hearing about it when we were in the last week of the studio and were learning it was pretty serious. I know all the tours that were happening were getting cancelled at the time as well. But creatively we were kind of crossing the finishing line so it didn’t have any effect on how the record sounds. However, there is a lot of lyrical content on the record that’s still very relevant to how 2020 ended up playing out. Releasing a song like ‘House of Glass’ a couple of days after the election was perfect and we’re so stoked with how that worked out, as it was so relevant to social and political polarisation. ‘Divisionary’ is about being connected and with isolation happening it was pretty perfect and we were really happy with the way the record was lining up with what was happening in the world. Though it was absolutely not intentional!

You also have a side project by the name of Ghost Atlas, do you enjoy having multiple creative projects on the go? Is it nice to sometimes switch from the heaviness of ERRA to the softness of Ghost Atlas?

It’s really refreshing, the two definitely ping pong off each other. I love music, I know that sounds dumb because I play music, but I truly believe there is a lot of people in music that don’t love it anymore. There are some ideas that I want to explore musically that I think aren’t always appropriate in the context of one band, like sometimes I write a song for one band and end up realising it perfect for the other. It opens up so much freedom which I really need.

Now, I hope there’s some plans to return to Australia when possible?!

Yeah 100%! I definitely would like to go to Australia once every year, or once every 2 years absolute minimum!

I actually saw you guys when you last came around 3-4 years ago with Northlane, so I am absolutely itching to see you again!

Yeah that was 4 years now, which sucks! I think it will be a much better show next time around though, you learn a lot in four years!

Even though 2020 was not the best year, there was definitely some awesome music released. Do you have an album of the year or a favourite musical discovery of the year? 

There is one that comes to mind, I love the new Hundredth record! They’re doing an entirely different sound to what I remember when they were a hardcore band. I don’t care though I love the new record. Oh and I don’t think this was 2020 I think it was 2019, but Sleep Token is like the greatest band ever and everyone should listen to them!

Lastly, do you have a song on the new album that you’re most excited to play live?

My favourite song on the record is ironically one that I’m not excited to play live *laughs*. I think ‘Scorpion Hymn’ will be pretty funny coz it’s heavy, those songs are always fun to play live!

Can’t wait for the day we are all moshing to an ERRA show again! All the best with the album release Jesse, thanks so much for chatting!

Interview by – Rhiannon Porter (@rrhiannonporter)

ERRA is out this Friday via UNFD. Pre-Order here

ERRA – ERRA tracklisting:

1. Snowblood
2. Gungrave
3. Divisionary
4. House of Glass
5. Shadow Autonomous
6. Electric Twilight
7. Scorpion Hymn
8. Lunar Halo
9. Vanish Canvas
10. Eidolon
11. Remnant
12. Memory Fiction

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