Phinehas' Lee Talked of the Band's Influences, Recent Album and All New Material

Metal act Phinehas was formed with a simple purpose: to be a band of Christians that brings the hope of Jesus to the hopeless and rejected. Though the line-up has changed over the years, the root of the band has only grown. From their first 10-day tour in 2010 to their 121 shows in 2012, Phinehas has been sharing their story and building relationships across the US. They want the people they meet on the road to walk away feeling loved for who they are no matter where they may be in life. Drummer Lee Humerian discussed the band's last release and early stages for some new material with every other detail about them in between.

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

Lee: Hi there! My name is Lee Humerian, I play drums in Phinehas. Phinehas has been around for a really long time - we went full-time back in 2012 right when Bryce joined the band.

2. Can I get a backstory on the band/ band biography?

Lee: Certainly! Like I said, we've been around for a while. The legacy of Phinehas starts before any of the current lineup joined. The band was formed at a Christian University in Southern California called Biola. It was founded because the original members saw a need for Christians to dig in and build real relationships with people in the metal and hardcore scenes. That’s still the foundational vision that we all currently share - we just want to love others no matter their worldview, belief, lifestyle, etc. Currently, we’re blessed with a great booking agent- Frank Fanelli- and manager- Andrew Roesch from The Artery Foundation-that work so hard and have created so many opportunities and opened many new doors for us.

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

Lee: We currently have 4 members in 4 different cities - Sean and I reside in neighboring towns in Southern California; Bryce lives in DeWitt, Iowa; and Daniel calls Atlanta, Georgia home. In Southern California, we have a lot of friends in great bands. To name just a few: Silent Planet, Ruach, Dayseeker, and Spades & Blades.

4. How did you guys come up with your band name?

Lee: It comes from the Bible - specifically Numbers 25. Phinehas was the grandson of Aaron, the first high priest. The story in Numbers is a pretty brutal one, but ultimately, Phinehas had a great zeal for God and ended up preventing a plague from spreading in Israel because God was so impressed by his zeal. We want to have a zeal like Phinehas and be able to use that to love God and others.

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

Lee: We can never really pinpoint even a small amount of bands. We’ve all been so influenced by a plethora of bands, so it’s hard to even name any. I’ll just say that my favorite band is Thrice.

6. You guys are signed with Red Cord Records, how did that happen and are you happy with the results, and what they bring to the table for you guys?

Lee: Our friend Steve, whom we met through the website Indie Vision Music, did A&R for Red Cord for a short time. He wanted us to be his first band that he brought to the table. As our label, their primary role is to distribute our records.

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

Lee: There are a ton of different themes that can be pulled from our lyrics. Sean is a brilliant mind and I love the way he pens his thoughts and convictions. He could obviously speak more into this, and has, but for me I home that people ultimately see love and hope in our music. We have some pretty dark songs and even some pretty angrily toned songs, but I think that’s the beauty of music - we have the freedom to express how we feel and the hardships of life, but our desire is for people to ultimately see that there is purpose beyond what culture defines humanity to be. As Sean says every night from stage, we believe in a God of second chances unending and a God of love unfailing. It’s unconditional love - you don’t have to “clean yourself up” or change who you are to receive love from God.

8. What's your favorite tracks on the album?

Lee: Personally, my favorite song is Fleshkiller. I think the opening riff of that song is incredible. When Sean first sent the demo of that song over, I could not stop repeating that riff over and over. Another would be Dyson’s Sphere because of the depth of the message behind the lyrics. It also has one of my best friends - another favorite vocalist and lyricist of mine - on it as a guest - Garrett Russell from Silent Planet. His part gives me chills every time.

9. Who produced The Last Word Is Yours To Speak and what was it like working with them?

Lee: I’ll start with our engineer Chris Galvez - that dude worked his tail off getting everything tracked and edited. He did an incredible job helping us achieve the vision we had for TLW. Then there’s our epic mixer - master of the skull-staff and nosmalltimer Joel Wanasek. This dude was a blessing in so many different ways. He has so much knowledge and so many beautiful pieces of equipment. Joel slaved over our record for hours - taking the time to fine-tune every minute detail and note that we sent him. He was just incredible to work with and we couldn't be happier with the job he did. He sacrificed a lot to work with us, we are so grateful for all he and his assistant Joel Wohlitz poured into our record.

10. Is there any story or concept behind the The Last Word Is Yours To Speak title?

Lee: The line is from Fleshkiller and is reprised in WWII - it’s ultimately an allusion to God’s sovereignty. We hash out some of the themes in our two music videos currently out for the record - one for Fleshkiller and another for Blood On My Knuckles.

11. Who did the cover art for The Last Word Is Yours To Speak and how much input did you have on it?

Lee: Our good friend and Bryce’s former roommate Trent Tieso did the art for this record along with the art for our last record thegodmachine. Sean worked directly with Trent on everything from concept to layout, and Trent labored many hours creating it. We’re all extremely happy with Trent’s execution of it and working with him is always a joy for us.

12. Do you guys have any new music in the works in terms of a follow-up release?

Lee: We just began the very early stages of writing for a new record. We hope to record before the year’s end so that we can get a new record out as soon as possible.

13. What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?

Lee: I truly hope that the people that have come in contact with us have felt loved - above all that’s what we want people to remember about Phinehas. We want to be a blessing to others.

14. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

Lee: We are on most major digital free-sites (YouTube, Spottily, Radio, Pandora, etc.) along with digital stores (iTunes, Amazonmp3, etc.). If you want a physical copy of our music, whether CD or vinyl, our label ships worldwide from their store:

15. What can the fans expect to see from you in the future?

Lee: We are learning how to better love, honor, and serve those around us - we hope this affects not just our music and lyrics, but the way we treat the people we meet in life - whether promoter, band, crowd, stage-hand, door-person, merch-rep, bartender, you-name-it - we want to learn how to better love everyone we come in contact with.

16. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

Lee: Generally, I would say a first-time listener will take away their impressions of a band purely from the music. Therefore, I would hope a first-time listener would remember and enjoy the songs. How the listener responds after that is obviously up to him or her, but we would hope that it would lead to them connecting with us - whether at a show or social media or however - and just being family together.

17. Any final words of wisdom?

Lee: Thanks for reading this and for supporting our band. We love you and appreciate every single one of you. Know that we are always available to answer questions or simply talk - feel free to message us on Facebook or send us an email at anytime. God bless!

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