86 Bullets is a rock band from the Mid-Atlantic region with a powerful, heavy sound and a pop sensibility. Today the band exclusively premieres their latest video for the track “Begin Your Life Again” on AXS. We had the opportunity to sit down and talk with guitarist Chris Elliott and bass player Eric Dee about the video and what is next for the band.
AXS: Was “Begin Your Life Again” a continuation of the story in “Beautiful Lie?” Can you describe the story progression?
Chris Elliott: I think the continuity lies in videographer Erik Yount from Twisted Crow Films. He is a really easy guy to work with and very talented at what he does. This video has a storyline that doesn’t involve us. “Beautiful Lie” takes a dark and cynical look at the world and “Begin Your Life Again” has a more optimistic view. That is the thing with us. We look at the world at black and white, yin and yang, there is good and evil. People can have different outlooks depending on what day it is or if you woke up on the wrong side of the bed in the morning. It is up to you if you look at the glass half full or half empty.
AXS: Can you tell us about the storyline within the video and how it ties into the song?
C.E.: We thought about that for quite a while. Though the lyrics come from a specific experience they are very wide open for interpretation. That was intentional so the listener can put themselves into the scenario. What we wanted to do with the storyline for the video was to take away anything to do with us and we made it about a character. Things aren’t going that well in his life and he decides to go follow his dreams.
AXS: The song was recorded here at StudioE, who was the producer?
Eric Dee: Josh Clark.
AXS: Josh is a personal friend of the band. How is it working with someone that you know so well?
E.D.: Josh is great and we always listen to his advice. He is a great songwriter himself and has such great ideas to contribute. We take his suggestions very seriously.
C.E.: We respect Josh a lot.
AXS: His band Seventh Seal is amazing.
C.E. Josh has a great ear for music. We do butt heads sometimes but in the end that is what it is all about. Everyone throwing in their ideas and whatever works best we keep.
AXS: Where did the name for the album come from? Is it hard to come up with a name?
E.D.: We haven’t had trouble coming up with a name for an album. They just sort of come to us, something throws itself out there. The first one was a little difficult.
C.E.: Eric came up with the name Agents of Absolution, the album this track is from. We all had different ideas. Our new album Elephant in the Room came to me in a dream, upon waking up in the morning. A lot of inspiration happens that way.
AXS: What's the main thing you want people to take away from your music?
C.E.: Primarily I want people to like the sound of it, to say it rocks! I have always envisioned two things for this band. First is to be a heavy band. We struggle with that all the time. Josh keeps saying you guys are hard rock. I really want to be metal.
E.D.: Josh is like you guys are totally not metal.
C.E.: For those who know his band Seventh Seal, that is the definition of metal. We come from old school metal. Bands like Black Sabbath, Scorpions, Iron Maiden. At the same time I like a lot of melody in music and I like poignant lyrics. Things that make you think. I mean I love bands like Motley Crue and Kiss that sing about sex, drugs, booze, etc., they are great. But my vision for this band was heavy music with a melodic sensibility and lyrically relevant. There are enough songs out there about drinking and chicks. I am into bands like The Doors and The Cure too. There is poetic lyrical meaning to their songs. My thought was to write songs that can inspire people and make them think. It gives more depth to the music I believe.
AXS: What’s next for 86 Bullets?
C.E.: We have quite a lot of irons in the fire. We just finished recording our next EP. We are done tracking and it is in mix mode right now. That should be out in another month or so. One of the songs on the album is called “Animals and Angels.” We are thinking about maybe calling the EP that as well. Joe Macre from Crack The Sky is playing on it and he is co-producing the album with Josh Clark.
E.D.: I think that would be a great name for the album. See, so easy!
AXS: Is that official? Can we announce that here?
C.E.: The only person that hasn’t signed off on it yet is Jerry Oxendine our drummer. He is usually ok with what we come up with though. It does have a ring to it.
E.D.: It sounds like an album title.
AXS: What is the song “Animals and Angels” about?
C.E.: It is about unconditional love. About animals that are your pets specifically. I am a big animal lover myself. Every day on social media you will see people posting about their dog or cat that died. People are devastated. These animals become part of the family. There is a very pure love in that and it is unconditional. You can have a real bad day but when you walk through the door your dog still loves you. The song basically compares pets to angels and the purity to their love. We are really excited about the new music.
AXS: How would you describe the new music? We have been discussing it lyrically, but how does it sound?
C.E.: It is heavy.
E.D.: Yeah, I think it is a bit heavier than our other stuff. We are experimenting more now that we sort of found our niche. We have expanded our boundaries as far as what we are willing to put in the song.
C.E.: I would love to be Dream Theater or Symphony X, but that is not what we are. And that is ok, it is not what we are. If you listen closely to the music, especially Eric on bass and Jerry on drums, you will hear elements of Rush, Iron Maiden or Crack The Sky. It will be subtle, you won’t hear riffs, but there is stuff they have going on in breakdowns that is amazing. It fits us.
AXS: Where can fans see you live?
C.E.: May 26 we are playing Henny Mack’s in Glen Burnie, MD, with The Methmatics. (Click here for more information)