“It’s kind of a new colour that has been added to the letlive. catalogue,” explains Sayhoun. “It’s definitely exciting. We have had the opportunity to experiment immensely with different sounds, different arrangements, and a different feel as a whole. We have kind of stepped outside of the box a little bit to see what kind of journey we could take our listeners on. I think we have been through a lot and this record definitely represents the evolution of the band as a whole and where we have been on a personal level as artists.”
If I’m The Devil strikes the perfect balance between their erratic punk rock influences and the smooth soul that has always been an underlying style within their sound. If anything, the record demonstrates the band’s unconcern with the stereotypes of the punk scene, producing new material that is sonically brighter than previous releases.
“I think there is always going to be that punk/ rock aesthetic to letlive. and to everything we are,” admits Sayhoun. “We didn’t go into this record thinking that we should steer away from the foundation of this band. I don’t think that will ever happen with us. I think punk rock is all about being you and not really giving a fuck what anyone else thinks. You know, like being in tune with your emotions and being let loose in a way that makes you feel human or alive. I think we got the opportunity to do that with this album. We are very much still a punk band.”
Most bands will reminisce about their favourite childhood bands when it comes to naming influences, but for letlive., this isn’t the case. Although each member comes from different musical backgrounds, it is the collective effort when writing each song that has the most impact on the sonic structure of their music.
“We really draw off each other,” Sayhoun explains. “Trying to write and compose this album, it was pretty challenging. We all come from different musical backgrounds and everybody in the band had different visions as to where they wanted the end product to end up. This ended up causing a lot of disagreements and tension amongst the group. It was definitely challenging. I’m not going to lie, it was definitely hell on Earth at times, but I think it gave us a chance to reinvent the band, and bring us to something that we never thought it would be.”
“Everyone had their own opinions, and I think towards the middle of the writing process we put our egos aside, sat back, and realised we all had our best interest for each other in mind. There was this level of trust that was thrown into the equation, and it was then that we only started to agree on stuff, and started to get excited. It was here that we started to build the strong foundations of the musical aspect of the record.”
Sayhoun’s gear certainly sparks an interesting conversation. The self-professed gear-head is one who will tinker with his instruments in his spare time in order to gain the functionality and tone that he desires. “So I actually build all of my Telecasters,” Sayhoun confesses. “When touring with letlive., it became very interesting for me to build guitars because when I was onstage they would get beat up, and then I’d spend days afterwards trying to put them back together again, so I kind of learnt how to build them that way.”
“Right now I’m playing a Telecaster Elite, which I got to use on the record. I also used a Charvel GT1, which sounded very dark. And I also used another Telecaster that I built with Seymour Duncan JBs on it with a coil tap, which had a blacktop body and an American Fender neck. In the bridge, I also had a JB, but I stuck it underneath the pickguard, so it kind of acted as a ghost pickup. So whenever I used that, it kind of gave it more of a roomy kind of sound, which I fell in love with.”
When it comes to amplifiers, Sayhoun keeps it local, giving back to the manufacturer that supported him from the start. “I’ve been with Egnater for eight years,” Sayhoun explains. “All of my Egnaters are hand-wired. I use a HW45 head… I think they only made 49 of them in the whole world. The whole record was done with that amp. I also have an Eganter Renegade, except this one was one of the first ever made, and I got it 8 years ago when it was only a prototype. Any time I need any work done to it, the warehouse is only 30 minutes from my house, so it’s always taken care of on the spot. It sounds a little different to most Renegades, which I love.”
If I’m The Devil is out June 10 via Epitaph Records. For more details, head to thisisletlive.com.