Subtract will be performing Aug. 31 at El Corazon
A lot went into writing your favorite song, but how much do you really know about


Pat Gallagher and Robbie Arden Of Subtract Keep Things Personal (And Hardcore)

Subtract will be performing Aug. 31 at El Corazon
A lot went into writing your favorite song, but how much do you really know about it? This week vocalist Pat Gallagher and lead guitarist Robbie Arden of six-piece metal band Subtract delve into writing a hardcore song and keeping things personal.

Song: "Sentenced"

Album: Black Soul - EP

Release Date: June 22, 2012

When it was written: Robbie Arden - I basically wrote all of the music for Black Soul over a three to four month period. "Sentenced" was probably written somewhere in the middle of recording the first scratch tracks for the record.

Where it was written: RA - I write all of my music in my personal time at home. I remember spending a good two weeks or so working over the idea for the song, coming up with different note structures and patterns until I was completely ecstatic with the end result.

Favorite line in the song: Pat Gallagher - "The pain is all too much, and my eyes cannot shut. I dream of sleeping in a sleep so deep, I could be torn apart from every seam. Never feeling a thing."

Everything in the song lyrically, and the whole EP really, is very self-explanatory. I wanted to write lyrics that weren't the typical man vs. man, or man vs. world sort of conflict. I wanted to write something that was a bit more self-deprecating, and just honest. I feel like it's pretty easy for bands in their songs, or just people in general in any situation, to hate on someone else, or their enviorment or world around them. So I wanted to just to get more personal and write something actually pertaining to how someone might feel on a day-to-day basis.

Which part was the hardest to come up with: RA - Music is never really hard for me to come up with. I think it's finding the final product that's the difficult part. I had all the riffs in "Sentenced" formed extremely quick. I spent more time fine-tuning the actual feel of the track and the way it flowed together more than anything.

If you could go back and change anything, what would it be: RA - I wouldn't change a thing. I live with no regrets in every aspect of my life, music included. "Sentenced" still gives me that heart pumping adrenaline rush it did the very first time I played it.

What was your inspiration for writing the song: PG - It's a really short track. It's the shortest we have ever written. So with that, I wanted something that was just really blunt and kind of catchy. I played around with rhymes, which isn't something I do a lot because I thought it'd help make it catchier. When Robbie first sent me the instrumental version, I knew it was going to be a song that is just meant to make kids go nuts live. So I wanted to write lyrics that fit that. It's a blunt, pissed-off song. The kind of song to make kids want to get the mic and sing-along. Or just hit each other.

RA - I am a huge hardcore fan. I love bands like Xibalba and Harms Way, Terror, anything along those lines and I wanted that showcase that style of my writing strongly in at least one track on Black Soul. We are definitely a 'death groove' band. I draw influence from a lot of different genres when expressing myself. On "Sentenced," I wanted to keep it as simple and mean as possible. A lot of other tracks on the album are noticeably more death metal influenced or tech based, but for me personally, hardcore is my favorite genre of music by far and I'm glad I was able to show that side of Subtract.

When was your favorite time performing it live: RA - On our tour with Navigator we played in a place called the Grimm Den in Hermiston, Oregon. We had been staying the night at our friends David Johnsons about a half an hour away. David came out to the show with us that night, and there was a lot of tension between the bands and the promoter, but I wont get into it. Right before "Sentenced," we dedicated it to David for being a rad dude and letting us crash at his place, and he literally wrecked everyone and everything during that short minute and forty seconds of song. Probably the coolest thing Ive seen someone do to my music. David Johnson is the man.

What is the meaning behind the song: PG - It kind of goes back to what I talked about earlier. It's a very self-deprecating, misanthropic song lyrically. The entire EP is. The EP is actually a concept. A loose one, but it is indeed a concept. In summary, the whole EP is about being held back by inner demons and struggle. And how you reach a point where you just don't feel like fighting it anymore, because you're so distraught and full of anger. I think everybody, whether they admit it or not, has days where they just want to give up and call it quits. And often times, they play a huge part in why they are in the struggle they are. So that's exactly what it's about. Digging yourself into a hole that you try and get out of, but you can't. So you just live with it.

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