In This Moment Live As Their Name Says

In This Moment Live As Their Name Says

Ducking into the relative quiet of a backstage area during the Camden, New Jersey stop at this year's Warped Tour, vocalist Maria Brink and guitarists Chris Howorth and Blake Bunzel seem genuinely shocked when we bring up just that notion. "We don't even feel like we’re successful yet," says Brink. "We feel like we have such a long way to go."

- Joe Smith
Photo by Corinne

posted August 31, 2009

With album sales disappearing faster than a buffet table at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting, the measure of a band’s success has become somewhat subjective. With chart positions and RIAA accolades rendered irrelevant, factors such as media coverage and the tours a band are involved with are far more reliable indicators of said band’s popularity. In This Moment is a sterling example of the new model of musical success. Which isn’t to say they aren’t moving units; sales of last year’s “The Dream” were strong enough to justify the recent “Ultra Violet Edition” re-release, complete with a beefed-up version of Blondie’s “Call Me.”

But beyond the commendable album sales is a band with appearances on Ozzfest, the Download Festival, and as of this year, Warped Tour to their name. Coupled with a steady stream of press exposure and you have a profile that many acts would be envious of. Just don’t tell the band that. Ducking into the relative quiet of a backstage area during the Camden, New Jersey stop at this year’s Warped Tour, vocalist Maria Brink and guitarists Chris Howorth and Blake Bunzel seem genuinely shocked when we bring up just that notion.

“We don’t even feel like we’re successful yet,” says Brink. “We feel like we have such a long way to go.” They believe that it’s this attitude that has allowed them to stay grounded and be genuinely grateful for every new tour and show they play. Regardless of the band’s humble self-image, they acknowledge that they do attract a certain level of media attention, especially within the metal community. It’s this coverage that can be a source of frustration, though, when the spotlight shines on a single aspect of the group…or in this case, a certain member.

In the grand tradition of the press sinking its collective teeth into details of varying degrees of importance, much has been made about Brink’s conspicuous lack of a Y chromosome. When we bring up the fact that female-fronted metal acts tend to get compared to either Kittie or Evanescense no matter what they actually sound like, the band makes no attempt to mask how they feel about it.

“It’s just so stupid,” Brink says. “It’s like saying one male singer is exactly like every other one, even though they’re nothing alike.”

Howorth is keen to point out that the source of the continued fixation on the singer of his band’s gender comes solely from the media.

“People in the music industry, kids, fans; they know who we are and how we fit into the scene.”

Interestingly enough, it’s the European press especially that continues to bury its claws into the issue that isn’t really an issue. But while the coverage In This Moment receives may still be myopic to a certain degree, it’s been said that any press is good press, and regardless of how it was attained, the band’s stature in the metal community no doubt led to their inclusion in the punk-leaning roster of the Warped Tour.

Playing to crowds sporting Cyclops hairdos and unisex eyeliner may be a jarring experience, but it’s been one that In This Moment have quickly adapted to and embraced. Realizing that the amorphous nature of Warped Tour’s schedule differs from just about every other tour, they learned that they couldn’t fall into the regimented lifestyle that other tours demand. The group also had to contend with playing against up to five or six other bands at the same time, though they were confident that their music would draw in curious kids and keep them watching. In no time, Brink and Co. were able to settle into the rhythm of the tour and enjoy the novel experience of packing in 13-year-old girls with no knowledge of metal amongst their fans every time they take the stage.

The band’s initial instinct was to shelve the harder cuts from their catalogue to cater to the Warped crowd, but found that going balls-out metal was just too fun. The decision is certainly paying off, judging by the amount of “holy shit” looks and the waves of head nodding that ripple through the crowd the minute Brink rips out her first ear-piercing shriek. An even more welcome sight for the band would be the impressive line that immediately queues up at the In This Moment merch table following the set. As Howorth ably sums up, “kids just want to mosh, man.”

The more aggressive set list may have also had an impact on the direction of the band’s next album. Although writing has yet to begin in earnest, they already have a feeling of where they want to take their third full-length.

“We’re all feeling a little heavier, a little darker, a little edgier,” Howorth explains. “It should have the same gloss and power of ‘The Dream,’ maybe just a little more edge.”

The edge will be sharpened by a greater use of Brink’s screams, a product of the grittier mood the band finds themselves in. They want to enter the writing process with no preconceived notions of what the album should be, and just let it flow and do what they feel. The band will continue to write while they keep up their busy touring schedule in hopes of dropping the Kevin Churko produced album next summer.

Following the conclusion of the Warped Tour, In This Moment plan to take a brief rest before heading back out on the road on a headlining tour, continuing to make down payments on the dues they feel they still owe. They’ll continue to work towards the goals they’ve set for themselves, which include returning to the stages of the Ozzfest and Warped Tour as headliners. And while closing out a fest that gives 3OH!3 billing over Bad Religion, Less Than Jake, and NOFX might not be the most obvious return on paying one’s dues, the dream of heading up huge tours is an admirable goal. In This Moment are a band with big aspirations, but those aspirations aren’t nearly out of reach as the band themselves seem to think.