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Wednesday, July 23, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 65.0° F  Fair
The Paper


Getting to the core of the Appleseed Cast's new record, Illumination Ritual
Fruits of labor

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After moving away from Southern California, the Appleseed Cast became ingrained in the emo- and post-hardcore scene of Lawrence, Kan., a town whose notable offspring include the Casket Lottery and Coalesce.

Along with forebears such as Jawbreaker, Sunny Day Real Estate, Braid and Jimmy Eat World, the quartet helped usher in the subgenre's second wave in the mid-1990s, and they have since logged more than 15 years with an ever-shifting cast of accomplices. The band's eighth full-length album, Illumination Ritual, features yet another pair of new members: second guitarist Taylor Holenbeck and drummer Nathan Wilder.

Isthmus caught up with guitarist/vocalist Chris Crisci before the band's show at the Frequency on Sunday, Aug. 11.

How did the additions to the lineup affect Illumination Ritual?

We've been able to explore a more technical side to our music: faster tempos, more time-signature variations, more riffs, busier moments.

How did writing collaboratively shape the final product?

Everyone adds their piece to the puzzle. I'm actually looking forward to recording the next album because it will be a much more collaborative work. On Illumination, I felt like I had to take the reins and really direct it. Now, having worked with everyone for two-plus years, I would like to see everyone bring more to the record. They are amazing players, and I think we've just scratched the surface of what we can do.

Are there any new effects or production techniques used on Illumination Ritual? It's described as "more organic."

I stripped it down and recorded it at home -- no tricks. I wanted it to be raw and energetic. The last few albums have all sounded great but left me wanting for more energy.

In May, your van and trailer were run off the road, and you lost $8,000 worth of equipment. Have you recovered financially (and mentally)?

The support we got from our fans was amazing. I am humbled and grateful every time I see them.... They made it possible to stay on the road and keep going. So long as we can do that, the rest of the recovery is possible.

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