What started between kindred spirits, Frank Iero and Kayleigh Goldsworthy, as a stairwell retreat from a chaotic tour in 2017, and included a stripped down recording of REM’s “Losing My Religion,” is coming to a conclusion with Frank Iero and The Future Violents’ final installment—a four-track EP that is anything but stripped down.
Heaven Is A Place, This Is A Place EP sums up all that Frank Iero and The Future Violents have served up in their few years together—with ridiculously fun and cathartic songs, like “Sewerwolf,” which came to life from a jam not intended to be at all serious, but fun. However, the new EP is not without variance. There is a clear A/B side theme to the four tracks, that is linked to the group’s previous release, Barriers, recorded during the same sessions.
“They are very connected,” Iero told American Songwriter. “What I love about this EP, is that I feel like it is a perfect bookend to the lifespan of The Future Violents.”
Tying the lifetime of the project to its conclusion, “Losing My Religion” was a must to include on the EP, and in fact, what ignited the project. The song was initially captured on an iPhone backstage between Iero and Goldsworthy, while they were on tour together in separate bands. To outsiders, the touring realm may seem vast, but Iero admits it’s actually very small and often hard to find like-minded souls. Needless to say, he was more than thrilled to find a kindred spirit like Goldsworthy, among the circle. From that moment backstage, “Losing my Religion” would always have a role in The Future Violents.
“The beauty of it is that it was the first recording that I was able to do with Kayleigh (Goldsworthy) and Evan (Nestor) together,” Iero said. “And, and so that marked, I think, the spark that started The Future Violents.”
The Future Violents mark just one of Iero’s many evolving projects. The band’s frontman, who is immensely connected to the craft of songwriting and collaboration, always intends for his projects— like The Future Violents and its previous incarnation, The Future Patience— to be short lived. But one constant you hear across both installments of Iero’s projects is the tension and push-pull technique he carefully creates with his vocals—heard especially on side A of the EP, which features the tracks “Violence” and “Sewerwolf.” “Violence” holds the torch for the A-side, as a song deeply rooted in experiences of a toxic relationship and the idea of love.
“’Violence’ is a thin line between love and a toxic relationship,” Iero said about the song. “Oftentimes, it’s kind of hard to see what affection is, and what is just damaging. It’s codependency and things of that nature. And oftentimes you know we search out someone to kind of break us down.”
The dichotomy between themes of love and toxicity in “Violence” are highlighted more so next to the brash sound but wholesome intention of “Sewerwolf.” Both of which are brought to life through Iero’s very conscious vocal approach.
“When going into the first two songs, and speaking of ‘Violence,’ there’s a definite conscious effort of how much draw you can do on certain things. And what kind of inflection you can put to a voice, that has the listener feel a certain way, while kind of feeling that tension. Are you singing on the beat? And are you kind of dragging it behind a bit? What is the intent behind the words that are being sung? How do you kind of drive the point home a little bit more?”
The peaks and valleys Iero aligns in his vocals are a mirror effect of how he sees the world and the occurrence of human emotions
—something, he explains, that is an essential piece to music and art. With tracks like “Record Ender,” Iero explores every spectrum of that, while offering a calmer take on the aggressive A-side.
“I feel like as human beings we have this prison of emotion that runs the full gamut,” he said. “And I love listening to records that take me on that journey. I think singles are cool. And I love songs and things of that nature, but really when I get an album that takes me somewhere and has ups and downs and valleys and lows—I mean, there’s nothing better. So when I make a record or I make an EP, I want these different emotions to come through. I want you to be able to kind of take that journey with me. As human beings we feel different emotions throughout the day, and I think we need that reflected in our art.”
Despite the four short tracks spanning approximately eighteen minutes, Iero, along with The Future Violents, managed to take listeners through a complete exploration of emotions and ideas, just like some of his favorite albums. It’s his passion for a wide-range of diverse music that fuels Iero and each of his projects, allowing him to never be constrained to any one idea or style as an artist.
“There’s an artistic process behind music. And there’s a reason why people like certain things and feel connected to certain things,” Iero said. “There is a validity to it. If you broke into my iTunes or my iPod you would find the full gamut of genres, artists and songs. I love listening to music and I love creating it. So I’m not going to put up a disclaimer and say ‘oh no I can only write songs that are alternative rock,’ because really everything scratches an itch.”