Norma Jean's Cory Brandan Discusses Sixth Album to Date

Metalcore act Norma Jean is from Douglasville, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. Since their inception in 1997 and replacement of members throughout the years, the band's only original member is the guitarist, Chris Day. To date, Norma Jean has released six studio albums and received a Grammy Award nomination in 2006 for Best Recording Package for their second album O God, the Aftermath. The band's name is derived from the real name of actress Marilyn Monroe. Vocalist Cory Brandan Putman took the time to discuss their sixth release.

1. Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Norma Jean, and how long the band has been together.

Cory: My name is Cory Brandan. I am the vocalist for Norma Jean. We've been a band for about 13 years now or something like that.

2. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

Cory: Norma Jean has always been an Atlanta, GA based band. I personally did not grow up in the scene there but there are tons of great bands.

3. This new studio album will be the band’s sixth full length album and second release with Razor & Tie, how does this make you feel and what runs through your mind?

Cory: We're all really excited for the release. We worked really hard on this record and are glad to see it finally come out.

4. What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?

Cory: There's no common theme. We write about our personal experiences. Things we know about or have been through and then we try to communicate them in a way that can be relatable to others.

5. What bands have influenced your band and its sound?

Cory: For me, to name a few, The Smashing Pumpkins, Helmet, Fugazi, Alice In Chains, Angelhair, Honeywell, early nineties punk and what used to be "emo" before it turned into haircuts. Bands like Indian Summer.

6. You recorded this album at the Covenant Recording Studios in Kansas City, how was the vibe for everybody throughout the whole process?

Cory: I guess it was a little stressful at times. For me at least. I just think that shows how much we care about what we release. It has to be right. We don't cut any corners. We don't do anything the easy way. We recorded for 2 and a half months. We know how to occupy ourselves in a studio though. We made it fun.

7. What was it like to work with producer Josh Barber and having it be mixed by Jeremy Griffith?

Cory: It ruled. Josh knows his way around a studio and got some great sounds. Aaron Crawford also had a lot of great ideas and was a great person to have in the studio as well. I think Jeremy's job was to make the record pulse come out and we felt he knew us well enough to top it off with a great mix!

8. Is there any story or concept behind the Wrongdoers title?

Cory: We wanted to use a word we felt brought people together. We picked wrongdoers as an unorthodox way of achieving it. By saying none of us are perfect and therefor cannot judge each other, it puts us all in the same category. Not just the obvious "wrong" things that you might think of. More of the personal struggles we deal with and our struggle to understand love.

9. Select two songs from Wrongdoers and what inspired the lyrics.

Cory: I'll do one. Sword in mouth, fire eyes is probably my favorite song lyrically. I wrote the lyrics in a day and it was really organic. I didn't use my computer or anything. Just wrote down what I was thinking about. The song is Inspired by CS Lewis who wrote "We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive." I think the song touches on how we live in fear to make changes in our lives. We are afraid of taking risks.

10. Who did the cover art for Wrongdoers and how much input did you have on it?

Cory: I did the artwork. We had worked with a few artists and at no fault of their own, we weren't able to find what we were looking for. We just had something in mind and that wasn't coming across. I took on the project and spent about two weeks working all day and into the night and sometimes over night to get it done. It was a really fun project.

11. What's your take on Wrongdoers as a whole?

Cory: I think the record is a kind of struggle between us wanting to write the fastest songs we've ever written and the slowest burner jams we've ever done. I think the themes are reminiscent of a battle or struggle as well.

12. What's your favorite song on the album right now?

Cory: Hive Minds.

13. Is it important for you to paint visual pictures with the songs?

It's not important as much as its mandatory. Whether I like it or not, I can usually picture everyone of our songs in story mode.

14. What would be the cinematic equivalent of Wrongdoers?

Cory: Sharknado 2.

15. Any final words of wisdom?

Cory: Support the bands and music you love by purchasing records.

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