Levels is one of those bands that hits you with a grimy punch with their music that’s sure to attract fans of the kind of songs they make. The southern metalcore band’s self-titled, debut full length is out June 15 via Famined Records, and it’s packed full of legitimately intense musicianship that at times takes unique and striking turns through such means as the inclusion of a rapped part in one of the songs. Again though, through it all, the release remains intense — the songs simply defy easy categorization. They’ve got that human touch that makes them feel poised to stick out and remain relevant.
Vocalist Jake Sanders says that, using the art that he’s constructed from his own life experiences with familiar issues of depression and the like, he wants listeners to go away from his band’s new album with a renewed sense of empowerment, learning how to take control of their own lives as best they can and get help if they need it.
There’s a side to the album that deals with “happiness” too, Sanders explains. There’s a strong, intentional sense of having a good time with music at play, and he hopes that building off that fans will continue to pour themselves into their local music scenes — without the fans, bands might not be able to continue on with their work. It’s a simple but perhaps sometimes taken for granted concept.
As he explains his take on the band’s new self-titled release: “I hope the album brings more awareness for those who struggle with depression to get help, talk to someone, or find something they love to do to help them through their difficult times. For me, being in Levels and having the opportunity to get out and express my feelings through music has helped tremendously. I also hope that it will inspire more people to begin creating music and keep the music scenes in their area growing.”
Below, Sanders shares a bit about the background and meaning to each one of the songs on the new release from Levels.
Jake Sanders – Vocals
Dalton Kennerly – Drums/Vocals
Rob Mathews – Guitar
Jager Felice – Guitar
Jacob Hubbard – Bass
TRACK BY TRACK
May Flower is a tribute to a mouse we had living in our van. Unfortunately we had to remove him, so we felt inclined to dedicate a song to him. The song is about being in a place that you aren’t wanted. RIP Cheeto.
Bloodstream is about the long nights/ early mornings spent wondering why things are the way they are. It’s one of the more darker songs on the album dealing with depression and not knowing what to do or how to handle it.
Disorder is another song that deals with depression. The specific lines “I think I’ll just stay in today, will the halls seem empty without my face”, comes from my time spent in college. The daily struggle of getting out of bed because it meant facing another day of letting yourself or someone else down was weighing heavy on my heart the day I wrote this song.
Alive is about having someone in your life that helps you overcome something you’re struggling with. For me, surrounding myself with positive people that believe in me and continue to support me has been great. This song is about finding that someone or those people.
Cosmic is the tour song. It was written about our first ever tour as a band out west to California and some of the things we experienced as a band.
Mind discusses the nostalgic feeling of being a kid again. Although we often think back at how great life was when you no responsibilities, “sooner or later, you’ve got to learn to move on”.
Slip is an older song that talks about battling with those voices in your head. It’s about overcoming those voices that are tearing you down and becoming something better.
Guilt is a unique song because it features a Little Rock rapper, K. Toomer. He wrote all of his lines in the song, which were his thoughts towards the theme we gave him, that theme being putting aside the temporary things in life and becoming a better version of yourself.
Fall To Earth:
Fall to Earth is about no longer sitting back and letting life take its toll on you. It’s about getting out there and taking responsibility in making a better life for yourself before time runs out on you.
Define was written by both me (Jake) and our drummer/ clean vocalist Dalton. He wrote the chorus and other clean parts to the song first and sent it to me to fill in the blanks. In Dalton’s words, this song is about, “being open minded and not pushing ideas onto others that don’t want to receive it. It’s about being your own person and making your own decisions for yourself without pressure from others”.
For me (Jake) I wrote this song as if it were an abstract painting. While many people struggle to understand the meaning behind it all, the artist themselves has a special meaning for it. As a band, a lot of or friends or families don’t understand why we go through the trouble of creating music and touring, especially music of our genre that doesn’t normally get a lot of credit. However, for each of us, we have our own reasons for doing what we do and it doesn’t matter what the people who doubt us or question our instincts believe, because this is what makes us happy.