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Recoil Magazine with Pat

For Flyleaf, making music means sharing experiences. Good or bad, the Texas five-piece finds inspiration in all of its members' personal struggles and in their faith that's pulled them through. From the abusive childhood of vocalist Lacey Mosley to the band nearly freezing to death in their van while waiting to get signed after being discovered at 2003's South By Southwest Music Festival, Flyleaf has taken the highs with the lows, the hits with the misses. Mosley packs one powerful punch for such a petite performer, and her band backs her with a heavy-hitting one-two combination of nu-metal's crunch and emo's breakdowns. Enduring early Evanescence comparisons (since there are few other female-fronted metal acts), Flyleaf found their own fanbase the old-fashioned way – touring the country relentlessly since the release of their self-titled debut in the fall of last year, opening some of the biggest arena rock tours of this past winter. Spring finds Flyleaf poised for a rebirth all their own, with their first headlining tour leading into their biggest outing yet: joining Korn and Deftones for the return of the Family Values Tour this summer. Bassist Pat Seals shared some of Flyleaf's experiences thus far with Recoil via phone late last month.

Recoil: You've toured the country quite a few times already as an opening act for bands like Staind, Seether and Shinedown. What's the hardest part about being on a bigger tour where most of the people are there to see the bands playing after you?
Pat: I guess just mostly winning the crowd [over]. You've got to convince this roomful of people that you're worthwhile. That kind of feeling was hard, but we just did what we did and stuck to our guns and it was cool. The people who dug it did and the people who didn't, they were nice enough not to laugh us off the stage.

Recoil: I've heard that when you toured with 3 Doors Down, you were playing in the parking lot while people were waiting to go into the venue. How did you keep from getting discouraged playing in that setting?
Pat: [Laughs] For every bad show we had there would be a really good one. The reason why we're playing is bigger than those circumstances or whatever. We knew we were doing this for a good reason. What we're saying is important and it doesn't matter if we look like fools.

Recoil: You'll be opening up shows again this summer with the Family Values Tour. How did you feel about being selected to be a part of the return of that tour?
Pat: I felt like it was a joke, like it wasn't real. It's very cool. It's like an honor. Deftones has been my favorite band since I was in ninth grade, so it's very surreal.

Recoil: Did any of you go to any of the Family Values shows during its first run?
Pat: I don't think so. I remember my friends and I had the Family Values CD when we were kids, though, and we listened to that a lot.

Recoil: As a band with a positive Christian message, how do you feel you will fit in on that tour?
Pat: I think we'll be the odd man out on that, but I think the message is for everybody and it's something people need to hear. So, there's always going to be a fertile field for it. The people who don't want to hear it, they can deal or whatever.

Recoil: One of your past tours was with P.O.D., another heavy Christian band that's had success with a secular audience. Did they give you any advice about being a Christian band playing on heavy metal tours where a lot of the fans and some of the bands don't share your views?
Pat: To me, they didn't give any spoken advice, but the advice I got was just by example from them. They are who they are and they just really have this way of loving the crowd, loving the people and being real. Actions speak louder than words a lot, so that was what I took from P.O.D. The unspoken advice of just be the message, be what you're talking about. But yeah, I really dug that about them.

Recoil: For your full-length debut you worked with producer Howard Benson, who's worked with P.O.D. Was his working with them part of the reason why you picked him to produce?
Pat: Not really. Well, yes and no. He said he enjoyed working with bands who had something to say and I guess that was one of the reasons we were able to work with him. I guess one of the reasons we chose him was he said yes. Working with a producer for us is like when you first start dating somebody, like both parties have to be into it. We thought that it was really cool that he had [worked with P.O.D.] and he worked with Blindside also, another Christian hard rock band.

Recoil: Do you think he helped you present your message more confidently or in a way you had envisioned before heading into the studio?
Pat: Yeah, through sonic means. His philosophy is: what are you saying and how the song can support what you're saying. Like I think that was something we would have missed out on having a different producer, so I think it was very cool. The whole album is just a pedestal for the overall point. It's not getting lost in a bunch of other stuff.

Recoil: Flyleaf gets a lot of unfair comparisons to Evanescence since you're a heavy band with a female lead singer, but your whole band dynamic comes out immediately on your record. What would you say is the most unique part of how the five of you write songs together?
Pat: I'm not sure. To me I guess it's special because we're all pulling for the same goal. It's not five people trying to push their parts into and under each other. I like that dynamic about us a lot. We're really trying to support the song. I guess that's what's different. Sometimes it doesn't feel entirely that way, but it is.

Recoil: Your bass line opens "I'm So Sick," which is the first track on the album and your first song getting a lot of radio attention. Do you approach bass playing as laying the foundation for your band's sound to build upon?
Pat: I didn't wake up one morning and say, 'I've got to lay down the foundation for Flyleaf.' It's more of how things just went. [Guitarist] Sameer [Bhattacharya] actually wrote that part. I think each person just tries to do their job as best they can and have everything in the right place and I think that's why it comes out the way it does. I try to play what sounds good to me and what else passes the litmus test of everybody else's approval.

Recoil: I understand you were the last person to join the band. Were you a Flyleaf fan before joining?
Pat: Yes, actually I was. I remember when they first started they actually opened for my old band. I remember watching them a couple of other times and just being like, 'Wow, I wish my band could be like this.' It was such a blessing to eventually be able to get into the band.

Recoil: Was there any difficulty for you early on working into the dynamic the four other members had?
Pat: There was kind of, for me, a confidence issue. Like, 'Oh man, am I going to get kicked out because I suck?' [Laughs] But it turned out to be fine. Once we got to know each other and trust each other. So essentially I just felt like I fit in and that I was part of the machine.

Recoil: How do you think some of your shared difficulties personally has helped you create a distinct sound?
Pat: I guess most of the experiences come from Lacey, but we all contribute our feeling and whatnot. I think that kind of vulnerable telling of a truthful story that's not easy to tell, I think that's something you don't run across every day. I've seen that in some of my other favorite bands. It's not an easy thing, especially for whoever's story it is, but I think it's very important because people perk up and listen and people can be helped through it.

Recoil: So what do you think it is about playing music, or for your fans, listening to Flyleaf music, that helps create something of a healing force?
Pat: I think it has that ability because of when you see how someone made it through this thing that I'm going through, someone went through the same thing or worse things, someone had this terrible situation and they got through it, [they ask themselves], 'How did they get through and how can I get through it?' People start asking those questions I guess when you have a common experience. Iron sharpens iron, they say, people sharpen people. It's another manifestation of that. Learning through sharing.

Recoil: Part of why you tour so much is to share the stories of your own personal struggles as individuals and a band with your fans so they don't feel as alone. Do you still hear a lot of hard stories back from fans after shows or through emails and letters?
Pat: Yes. Every so often and it's very encouraging. It's really cool. We have a song called 'Cassie' that talks about the story of the Columbine High School shootings and we've had a couple people say, 'I knew them,' or 'I went to that school,' and we're just like, 'Wow.' And they'll say, 'I think it's cool that you're doing this,' or 'I think their story's important too.' It's a real encouragement.

Recoil: Is the band able to respond to all those fans while touring so much?
Pat: [Laughs] We're pretty lazy anyways, so it's hard to at this stage. We're just trying to make all the shows and make all of our commitments, and at the end of the day you just want to watch TV for a minute and then go to sleep. So I don't get to as many [fans] as I'd like to, but we try and it's not because we don't want to.

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