Photo by Zoran Aeric

Interview with vocalist Chad Ruhlig | By Joe Fitzpatrick

Detroit metalcore heavy-hitters For The Fallen Dreams have released their most personal album to date. Heavy Hearts deals with vocalist Chad Ruhlig’s personal struggles with loss and self-doubt, as well as celebrating those most important to him. In a scene plagued by gimmicks and bands doing whatever means necessary to make a name for themselves, For The Fallen Dreams choose to keep it as real and honest as they can. Though the band has been together for just over a decade, they show no signs of fading away any time soon. I spoke with Ruhlig about the dark secrets behind the concept for their new album, the current state of metalcore, as well as the direction For The Fallen Dreams is taking with Heavy Hearts.

I love the album artwork for your upcoming album, and I found out the guy on the cover is Jordan Allen, who is the bassist of metalcore band called Immoralist from Richmond, VA, and the photo and design work were also done by my friend TD Whele and the guitarist of Immoralist Orie McGinness. Why did your band decide to go with this idea, and how did you choose to work with these guys?

Our manager’s friend Jason knew them and brought us the idea. I love the way the book opens up in sections and how they laid it out. We wanted to do something totally different for this record. I love how it turned out, and the heart on his chest goes great with the title. I’m really stoked on it.

What is the meaning behind the title Heavy Hearts?

This record helped me get a lot of personal stuff off my chest. For the first time, I had a good friend pass away. It’s a lot about self-doubt, and when we were trying to decide a name it just fit perfectly with the theme of the record.

Sorry to hear about your loss man.

Thanks. We spent a lot of time together, and it really hit home for me when he passed. I wrote our song “Lights” for him.

If you had to pick one, what is your favorite song on the new record?

My favorite song on the new record is “Bombay.” It’s a heartfelt song about my family, my dogs, and my fiancé. It’s good to touch on that, and we will be shooting a video for it soon.

Your band has been together for 11 years now. How has your band dynamics changed over the years from when you started compared to where they are now?

It’s come a long way. I joined the band in 2006, and we sound way different than our old demos. We were just kids back then, but we are still doing it. The coolest part has been seeing our guitarist Jim [Hocking] grow as a musician. Now in this new era, we will be even better. We are right where we want to be musically.

Up to this point, what is one of your proudest moments with For The Fallen Dreams?

This year. Playing new songs and having kids come out that used to listen to us back in the day since like 2006-07 has been really eye opening for us. Touring through Europe and the states, the kids have made it so awesome for us, especially seeing old fans and making new fans. We are also really proud of this record, and we can’t wait to put it out.

How was it playing South by So What this year? I heard it was freezing cold.

Dude, it was so freezing, but everyone and the crew at South by So What made it work. I was wearing two hoodies, a t-shirt, and a jacket, and I was still cold (laughs), but the crowd was so awesome. Hopefully we will be playing next year too.

What are your thoughts on the current state of metalcore as a genre in the U.S. and internationally?

You know man, it’s hard to find good bands since there is so many out there, especially with anyone being able to release their music over the Internet. Everyone is trying to do it, and you need the whole package to stand out. However, there are some bands that can do that without batting an eye. It sucks because the trend I have been seeing is that it starting to become more about the gimmicks bands feel like they need to do to stand out rather than about the music. We are just out here to have fun and make fans, and we do our best to just stick to the music. You know, we are all in our late to mid-20s, and we feel very fortunate that kids still like what we are doing. We just hope more bands don’t forget the real reason to be in a band, and it should be more about making good music and hang fun.

What bands do you like to listen to on your down time?

A lot of everything. I really like Emmure and A Life Once Lost, but I will listen to anything.

While you are on tour, what is your favorite food to eat?

We were actually just talking about this earlier (laughs). We eat Chipotle pretty much every day. It’s our go-to spot. The managers usually hook us up with Buy One Get One free deals. It’s just a great way to get good food that’s relatively healthy compared to other fast food places.

Get your hands on Heavy Hearts here: http://www.riserecordsstore.com/

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