Though The Animal In Me (TAIM) are a fairly new band – they formed in 2011 under the name Deadlines And Diamonds before changing it a year later – they are quickly becoming a formidable force. The Bay Area band is part of a more recent genre of heavy music that blends metalcore and electronica. Spearheaded in the early 2000’s by bands like Enter Shikari, Horse The Band, and The Browning, this particular brand has become more commonplace with newer bands like Capture The Crown, Exotype, and TAIM rising up to carry the torch and expand on it. I recently had an opportunity to interview TAIM singer/songwriter Laura Vierra, here is what we talked about.
MetalNerd: How did you decide that you wanted to pursue a career as a musician?
Laura Vierra: I always enjoyed singing at a young age. I would write lyrics down in a notebook and I started making little songs about boys or friends or whatever. When I was 15, I started to take it a little more seriously. I entered singing competitions, joined my church choir, and recorded a small R&B demo ( yes R&B). I was too shy to really go for it on my own until I met Shane when I was 19, and we’ve been making music ever since!
MN: Where do you draw inspiration from for your lyrics and music?
LV: I definitely draw inspiration for my lyrics from life experiences, whether it be mine or someone close to me. Even if I write about something very specific, I like to make the lyrics more interpretive so the audience can connect to the song based on what they’re going through.
MN: The Animal In Me was previously known as Deadlines And Diamonds, what led to the name change? How did you settle on The Animal In Me?
LV: RIP Deadlines and Diamonds! No way around it, at the time our management loved our music but hated our name and wanted us to change it. We have more attachment to our music than title, so as long as they didn’t want us to change our music we were fine with that. Our drummer at the time loved Motley Crue and named our band after the infamous song “The Animal In Me”. Everyone’s got one in them! I like to think our fans can unleash at our shows if they want!
MN: The vocals in the band are split between you and co-vocalist Shane [Gould]. How do you decide who sings what parts?
LV: As far as performance, I sing and Shane screams and does harmonies with me. As far as our songs, we feel that some lyrics are better with melody and some better with screaming. For example, if I was crooning “you’re gonna reap what you sew” it wouldn’t have the same affect as someone screaming it in your face you know? Some lyrics need that extra “umph”.
MN: The Animal In Me blends a number of genres; metal and hardcore influences are present, there’s a synth element in your music, and a pop accessibility. Did this come naturally over time or were you out to create something entirely your own?
LV: We definitely did it on purpose. We have such an eclectic taste of music as a band, we want more than screams and breakdowns. You know your girl likes her pop and R&B so naturally I want a little taste of that in our music. We want to attract a vast audience, and I feel like our style helps us with that.
MN: The last album you put out was 2013’s Who’s Laughing Now and you have a new one due this spring. Are you constantly writing or do you make time that’s dedicated specifically to writing new material?
LV: We’re constantly writing. I try to dedicate specific time for it, but I hate feeling rushed or forced to jot something on paper. It definitely takes time, I’m super picky when it comes to lyrics haha! Shane and I definitely bump heads on ideas. Shane can literally make a new song everyday if he wanted, he has such an ear for music and producing. But it does take time to find the right music with the right lyrics, so for that we’re always scribbling ideas down.
MN: So far, you’ve self-produced all of your releases. Would you consider a record deal should the opportunity present itself?
LV: If the time and offer is right, we’d love a record deal someday. But for now, we can do it all ourselves so why not? We like having control over what we write/record and when we do it. Our fans love our covers, and even on our previous management, we would have never had the freedom to just release something like that when we wanted. DIY yo!!
MN: What is the best and worst part of being in a band in the current climate of the music industry?
LV: The best part is all of the elements we can bring to our music. I feel like hardcore has changed so much, I wouldn’t even consider our band to be called so. We can incorporate so many things in our music and still get a great response from the hardcore crowd and so many others. The worst part is obviously “the struggle” if you will. Music doesn’t sell like it used to as everyone knows. You have to create so many other options for your band to grow financially if you want a shot at ‘making it’.
MN: You’ll be on The What Now! Tour during the remainder of April and most of May. What are you looking forward to most on this upcoming tour? Are you hitting any cities you’ve never played before?
LV: I’m so stoked to go back to the east coast!! It’s been a while! We have a day off in D.C. and I can’t wait! Last time over there, we didn’t have time to sight see so this time I’m making it happen! We are hitting alot of spots we’ve never been, so I can’t wait to see old friends and make new ones! And we haven’t done a tour this long in some time, so it’s all exciting can’t wait.
MN: You make some very interesting choices for covers, the most recent being Eminem’s “Rap God”. Is there any reason you mainly cover pop songs? Does it present a bigger challenge?
LV: We love a challenge. Like I’ve said previously, we also want to introduce this genre to a larger audience. Covering pop songs definitely helps. And “Rap God”? We just wanted to see if we could pull it off haha! That song is intense, it was definitely no stroll in the park.
MN: Do you think you’ll cover something heavier sometime? Like a Slayer song or anything like that?
LV: Maybe! No telling what the future holds! Why do you have a request? haha!
MN: What’s the ultimate goal for the band?
LV: WORLD DOMINATION. Until then, I’d like us all to be able to quit our day jobs and make this a full time gig you feel me? We work hard everyday, we’re almost there I can feel it!
MN: Thank you so much for the interview! Any final words you’d like share?
LV: Thanks for the questions! TAIM THE WORLD!! –LaVie <3 Huge thanks to Laura for the interview! The Animal In Me kick off The What Now?! Tour with Like Monroe tomorrow. The Things They Carried – Assassins recently stepped down from the tour – and Darkness Divided will be appearing on select stops. Dates for the tour can be found here.