As both metalcore and deathcore become more relevant in today’s times, new and exciting bands are popping up everywhere, each offering something new, fresh and exciting to an already thriving genre. At the forefront of this next generation of heavy bands is none other than Left To Suffer.
As we caught the band play in Vancouver, Canada, we had to pull vocalist Taylor Barber aside to pick his brain about the recent releases from Left To Suffer, his upcoming collab with ex-Chelsea Grin vocalist Alex Koehler, what his thoughts are on the state of Australia’s heavy music scene, Project: Vengeance and more.
Watch the full interview here or read on.
Thanks for taking the time to chat, Taylor. How are you doing?
What’s up, dude? I’m vibing! I just woke up from a nap, so I’m feeling way better now.
I’m glad you are in good spirits. You have been touring North America with a huge lineup consisting of yourselves in Left To Suffer, Distant, CABAL and Australia’s very own Justice For The Damned. How has it been going?
It’s been nuts. I have crazy imposter syndrome, so I never really know how well we are doing until I see just how many people are coming to the shows. Every individual in each of the bands on the lineup is just incredible. It has been an absolute joy to wake up every day and hang out with my boys on tour.
Australia’s Justice For The Damned has been on this tour with you, what’s your thoughts on those guys?
I was literally the one that said, ‘We have to get Justice For The Damned on this tour’. Dude, I love that band! I heard their sophomore album, Pain Is Power, and thought this band is so good.
There is something in the water in Australia. I don’t know what it is, but the bands there are so much better than every band on this side of the world. It’s so fucked up, I don’t know what is going on with that.
Perhaps Parkway Drive pissed in the ocean, and now everybody over there has great musical talent.
Well, you seem to have your foot halfway in Australia with your connection to bands like Alpha Wolf and The Gloom In The Corner and now with Justice For The Damned. If my memory is correct, weren’t you in a Facebook relationship with Mikey Arthur, vocalist of The Gloom In The Corner?
Yes, I was (laughs). Mikey is my boy. I love that dude. It’s so funny that you picked up on that!
We all love Mikey back in Australia! Is it often that you speak to your friends in Australian bands?
Everyone is touring so much now that it gets hard to stay in super close contact with everyone. I’m good friends with Lochie and Sabian from Alpha Wolf, and they are super busy with how much they are blowing up right now. I try not to be a pest by messaging all the time, and it’s the same both ways. Everybody knows that we are all grinding, but I always keep tabs on everyone and make sure that everybody is good and having a good time.
We have been lucky enough to be blessed with two releases from Left To Suffer this year. Your sophomore album, Feral was released earlier this year, and you got to enjoy a fantastic reception from fans. More recently though, you released a three-track EP titled Noah, which was written and recorded with producer Howard Benson and Three Days Grace drummer Neil Sanderson AKA Judge and Jury. How did the relationship with Judge and Jury begin, and how far did their input stretch into these three songs?
That was a crazy situation. I was in the shower one day at my house while playing music because I like to do concerts in the shower – because that’s what every normal person does (chuckles). While this was happening, I received a direct message on Instagram. I looked at the notification, and it just said, ‘Three Days Grace has sent you a message’. I thought to myself, ‘what the fuck’. I opened it, and to my surprise, it was the legitimate Three Days Grace page. I read the message, and it said something along the lines of ‘Your band is amazing, I would love to work with you’.
From then, we began messaging back and forth. I quickly realised that I was messaging the group’s drummer Neil Sanderson, who is part of Judge and Jury. Neil was keen to work together from the start; he began sending us chorus ideas while staying true to our heavy sound. We had never dabbled in huge chorus situations. We had dipped our toe in the water but never went entirely into immersive chorus writing, which is where Neil was able to give guidance around structuring a song to make that work.
Once we had written these choruses under the guidance of Neil, we flew to West Valley Recordings, which is Howard Benson’s studio. I walked into that studio to find myself surrounded by absolute legends. Dave Grohl’s drum tech was setting up our drums, and it was just mind-blowing. I was at Howard Benson’s house recording my songs using the same microphone All American Rejects used to record their music. I was absolutely insane shit. I remember being super nervous the entire time. Usually, I’m pretty comfortable with the whole recording process, but in this instance, I felt like I was recording for the first time again because it was in front of Howard Benson, Neil Sanderson, and even In Flames drummer Tanner Wayne. I thought, ‘oh my god, I have no idea what I am doing right now’. However, it all ended up going quite smoothly, and all three tracks turned out great. That was a special moment in time. It was really cool to have that experience with those guys.
Wow, that sounds incredible. Those tracks turned out so good as well. I have had them on repeat since their release, but on the topic of new music, you have been teasing a collaboration with ex-Chelsea Grin vocalist Alex Koehler. What’s going on there?
Well, he is actually making another band, so my project with him is on hold right now, but he and I are slowly working on a four-track EP where he and I do split vocals. We have three songs done, but it’s slow because I’m on tour, and he is recording for his new band that he has put together with the old guitarist of Chelsea Grin.
I love Alex. He is one of my boys. I honestly was a fan of his for the longest time, so when the opportunity to work together came up, I was like, fuck yeah, dude!
Well, he is one of the OG vocalists of Deathcore. In fact, he is one of the best in the game!
Deadass bro, absolutely! Recreant still gets spun on my shit all the time.
You and I both! Now I must admit, I have been low-key freaking out this entire time as I’m sitting next to one out of five of the members of Project: Vengeance.
Nah, I’m trash dude (laughs)
Well, what’s going on in Project: Vengeance? Where are the five of you guys at with things now?
Currently, were just chilling but we are about to start an EP but we are all on tour right now so everything is going a bit slow. Darius (Tehrani) is invested in new Spite coming out, Lorna Shore is on tour, Traitors is on tour, I’m on tour and Dickie (Allen) just joined Nekrogoblikon, so he is beginning to tour fully as well.
Currently, the plan is that we are all getting together in December at an Airbnb and then we are going to start hashing out stuff for an EP or an album.
Is it still too early to be thinking about putting together Project: Vengeance tours or has that been on your mind?
That’s the goal! Obviously, there are so many booking agents, managers and labels that are all involved and we would have to sift our way through because everybody has their own agendas so we would have to maneuver around the industry a little bit but to have a Project: Vengeance tour is the end goal.
Well, on the topic of tours, when might Left To Suffer visit the land down under for the first time?
Hopefully next year, if not it will definitely be in 2025. We are going to Europe for the first time in November of this year so we are only just beginning to venture out of this part of the world. We are still a baby band, we have only been a band for four years.
Yeah but you’re playing with the big boys.
I know, it is crazy! None of us expected it to go this fast so we are all trying to play catch up in a sense. We’re just a bunch of normal dudes, like I don’t even make my bed. I just threw all of my eggs into this basket and so far it has been working out somehow.
Five years ago I was homeless and now I am touring Europe in November with some amazing bands, so we are all just trying to find our feet beneath us fully because we are still trying to navigate the waters of being in a full time band.
We will however be touring very heavily next year while keeping in our sights, we will make it there for sure!
Interview by Adam Rice