Matt Snell, best known as the former bassist with Five Finger Death Punch, has embarked upon a new project, INVIDIA. The Las Vegas based group INVIDIA- consisting of Snell, Travis Johnson (In This Moment), Brian Jackson (Skinlab), Marcos Medina (Skinlab) and Darren Badorine, began just over one short year ago, and in that time has managed to both tour and create one "kick-ass" record. Simply put, INVIDIA is a band of brothers, all working together and coordinating their busy schedules in order to create the best possible product, that product being the band's first full length album, As The Sun Sleeps. In this interview with bassist Matt Snell, you get insight on what led up to As The Sun Sleeps, what it was like creating the record, what it is like working in a "super group" type of environment, and more.
So I was going to start out with a question about Five Finger Death Punch because I know you were with them basically from the very beginning, but what were you doing prior to that?
Prior to that my nickname was ‘bass whore’ because I pretty much played bass for every band. So I was playing in like four or five different bands, one of them was a band called Flatline which had Travis Johnson, my current singer, as the singer. So that’s how far all that goes back. And I was teaching at a recording school, I was an engineer instructor back then.
And I know you were with Five Finger Death Punch for like, five years. From the outside looking in everything appeared to be good but what do you think lead to your departure from the band?
I’m not allowed to talk about that.
Yeah, we have an agreement that we’re not allowed to talk about things that could possibly harm the other persons business/career, so it’s just a topic that isn’t discussed.
Oh, I didn’t know that. That’s interesting. Well now we’re going to talk about INVIDIA because that’s your current project, right?
How does all that get started? I read that Travis made a post on the internet or something and everything just kind of fell together.
Travis was putting some ideas together and he knows Brian Jackson as well. And they had talked for a while about wanting to, like ‘hey lets do some songs together when you’ve got free time’ and I don’t really think it was set to be a band. I got wind of that going on and immediately hit both of them up and said ‘hey, who’s gonna play bass for you?’ because I’m in Reno which is less than an hour away by plane. That was it. They said you can do it if you wanna be the guy, so I said absolutely. And working with Logan again, of course, is a huge part of it. I’ve worked with Logan before and I like him a lot so it was kind of a no brainer for me.
And when was this? Like 2016, 2015?
That would have been…they started putting stuff together at the very end of December so like, January. We’re talking January of 2016 so it’s all been happening really quick.
So going into this group what would you say was the goal? Was it just to jam or get some music out?
For me, I wanted to make another record. I wanted to do a record with these people, they’re my friends. I know them, we’ve known each other a long time so let’s make a record! It’s what we do. And it’s fun, so the goal was to go and make a great record. As it started to come together it was way, way more than I thought it was going to be- initially, in a good way. Super excited. We all dug in real hard and we’re trying our best to give a good go of this one.
Have you guys been touring or do you play shows?
We do shows as one offs all the time, we’re always open to do that. We did the tour all of October…well, half of October and most of November we were out touring on the HELLRZZR tour with our friends in Vyces and White Knuckle Riot. So right now we’re lining up tours for the spring, summer and fall so we’re going to have announcements on that stuff pretty quick. I’m excited about it but I’m not in the position to confirm anything about it today, you know.
Yeah, absolutely. Tell me about your new album ‘As The Sun Sleeps’, how would you describe that sound? What can fans expect to hear from that?
I think people are going to be really surprised just based on how different all the songs are. There are some songs that are geared towards active rock and some songs are more industrial and some songs are just old school heavy, so we kind of did a lot of everything. You’re gonna hear a lot of amazing hooks. The production Logan put together…I mean, it sounds sick. I don’t even know any other way to say it. It was so great that when we started getting the masters back I even wrote him a separate email just thanking him for what an amazing job he did mixing the record because it’s exactly what I wanted it to sound like and more. It’s an amazing product, it’s a great move. You can listen to this record all the way through, beginning to end. It’s not a record that you’re gonna pick one song and like it and the rest is just tossed. Or it’s all the same song twelve times- none of that. I think people are gonna be really surprised when they hear it and wonder why they didn’t get on it sooner.
And how long was that in production for?
Probably about two months. We hammered it out pretty quick. There’s some travel involved with our band because we do live in different towns so we have to make arrangements for that, but we all work also from home. I do a lot of recording here in my studio in my house and send it down so we try to speed things up the best we can. But the record was done and ready I’d say within sixty days, maybe a little over that.
And is this the only thing you’re working on now, project wise?
For me personally, yeah. I’ve chosen to dedicate myself to this band, 110% on every avenue. Everything from making sure we have a good tour vehicle to doing social media and interviews and anything else I can do, I have to concentrate on the one project. We’re starting a new band, so we’re still laying bricks on the foundation and it’s going really well but I feel that you have to kind of focus yourself on an area to achieve things. If you’re spread out too thin then everything only gets part of your attention.
I always find these supergroup-type projects really interesting because you’ve got a great history with everyone in the band who’ve got these extensive musical backgrounds. When you start a group like this does the success from prior projects kind of transfer over, or are you basically starting from square one and you’ve got to build yourself up again?
I think what the past successes are, is an education that I have. That everybody has. I kind of know what choices not to make, what choices to make…you know, what crevices not to fall into. I think that’s true in all of us. We’re smarter people for it. I don’t think it guarantees you anything, we all start at the bottom. If we’re a new band, you know, INVIDIA has to be its own entity. INVIDIA is not an offshoot of these other bands. We just have happened to do those other projects. You know, it all gets measured by Five Finger Death Punch because of the massive success of that band. But like I said before I was in four or five other bands before I joined Five Finger Death Punch. It’s just the time to choose what to focus on. It doesn’t guarantee you anything. And in the end, we’re musicians. We play, that’s what we like to do. We play as much as we can so we don’t have to work a day job. It helps in a way, but it’s not a guaranteed thing. Otherwise, every super group you’d see would take off and you’d never get to see an original band again, who knows.
So this is your only project now, but I’m pretty sure Travis is still in In This Moment, right?
Yeah, he is.
Does having the other members doing other things make it at all difficult to get things done, in a way?
To get things done, no. That’s just a matter of planning. It presents some challenges when it comes to touring because we have to do things so that everyone’s schedules can be met. Most importantly if someone has a commitment to something they need to see it through.
And we respect that. We work around that. Getting things done is a matter of making them important, as long as you make something important you’ll get it done.
You guys have the new album coming out later this month, right?
We do, March 31st ‘As The Sun Sleeps’ hits stores worldwide.
After that, are you guys working on anything now? Are you going to get another album out?
We’re always tracking and sending ideas back and forth. Brian has been in the studio the past couple days in Vegas working on some stuff. Like I said, I have a studio here, Darren has a studio in his house and Brian and Travis record and Marcos records so we send stuff when it’s time and get a big pile of ideas together. But, that’s kind of not how INVIDIA worked on this last record. We kind of jelled in the studio and put stuff together in the studio together, I’m kind of hoping we can do that again. But we have lots to pick from this time, a lot more stuff. ‘I’ve got part of this song and part of that song, what do you think about it?’ instead of forcing one idea or another. We always work better as a team.
Well that’s all I really have for you unless you’ve got anything else you want to plug or talk about.
Keep going. We’ve got a great fan base, I want to thank them first off. They’ve been really cranking things up for us. We’ve won a bunch of cage matches on the radio stations and they’ve been calling in requests- you can call and request your local radio station, you can request Octane and Twitter them and tell them ‘hey, we wanna hear it’. That kind of stuff has really been paying off for us and we’re very grateful that it’s been being done. So first off, thank you very much for that. Absolutely pick up ‘As The Sun Sleeps’ March 31st worldwide, it’s available everywhere. Anywhere you can think to get it, you’ll be able to get it. And stop by our page for some tour news soon, we look forward to meeting y’all out on the road.