Norma Jean’s Cory Brandan Says Some New Songs ‘Have Over 200 Tracks’ on Them
Norma Jean's Cory Brandan was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. The vocalist discussed the metalcore veterans' newest album, Deathrattle Sing for Me, and how the band used it as an escape during the pandemic with the intention on trying some new things in the process.
All Hail, the album that preceded this new record, arrived in the fall of 2019, meaning Norma Jeans' plans to support the new material on the road was dashed in the spring of the following year. With unexpected downtime, the group's members indulged in what Brandan called a "free for all" recording with upward of 200 studio tracks for just one song.
It's not something he envisions Norma Jean will strive for again anytime soon, but he hopes fans can get lost in the many layers and still uncover new elements in the years to come.
Read the full interview below.
We are here to talk about your new record Death Rattle, Sing for Me. Over time, "Spearmint Revolt" had nearly been eliminated more than once. How does perspective change when you revisit a song at different times in your life?
I felt like for years where songs just kind of take a life of their own and it takes a while for the song to tell you what it is. I think we try to find or force it, like, "Oh, this is the type of song we need on the record, so we're gonna try to force it to be that." Whereas the song doesn't work like that and so once I figured that out what kind of song it was, it was more acceptance than anything.
Norma Jean, "Spearmint Revolt"
This album has been called an embodiment of camaraderie. What leads to bands needing to reestablish those bonds?
With this record, there's a lot of things and I'm sure a lot of other musicians and bands can relate to. With the pandemic happening, you were kind of forced into isolation to do something and for us, it was trying to find an escape and a reason to make another record. We had just dropped one only a few months before and we weren't planning on doing it. For us, it was going through adversity with a lot of other people in the world and trying to find a way through it.
Music can be different things — commentary, a rallying point, inspiration escapism… For you, what is the primary purpose for the music you're making right now?
Like I said before, escapism was the goal. We wanted to find a place to get away from it all and really try to make something for other people get away from it all. Even on this record, there's some tracks that have over 200 tracks on them. I don't think that's something we're going to try to do again really soon, but we wanted this to be something you could lay on the ground, put some headphones on and get away. Maybe even 10 years from now you'll find other elements and layers that you didn't hear before.
In many ways, an album is a living being with its own voice. What sets the tone for the personality of an album, particularly this new record from Norma Jean?
Before, we tried to have themes or a story where with this record, it was just a free for all. It's kind of a mess. If you were writing a story and you never did an editing process, it's just a mess of a story that kind of all works together as one big song, as opposed to a bunch of little songs. It's really meant to be listened to from front to back as one big piece, but you can pick out whatever you want and it can be really interpreted anyway anyone wants — it's meant for that.
Future Classic is the new Orphan Twin album, a studio collaboration between you and your brother, Matthew. Compared to other musicians, what's unique about the language of music spoken between siblings?
There's something that happens there. There's a really great quote where one of the brothers from Oasis talks about how the music that brothers make or brothers singing together is an instrument you can't buy. We've had a bond since we were teenagers in the basement playing songs and it really is just that same type of thing. He's really a translator for me and I'm a translator for him, so we work really well together, whether it's Orphan Twin or Norma Jean, just communicating with everyone. Having him here is just a blessing for all of us.
Thanks to Cory Brandan for the interview. Get your copy of Norma Jean's new album 'Deathrattle Sing For Me' here (out Aug. 12) and follow the band on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Spotify. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show here.