The Fold: A rock band who've used family tragedy to help create a powerful album

Tuesday 22nd January 2008

Tony Cummings gives the lowdown on Chicago's alternative rockers THE FOLD whose latest album 'Secrets Keep You Sick' is sourced by personal tragedy

The Fold
The Fold

A band who have steadily been gaining a following on the crowded US scene are The Fold. This alternative rock team released a critically praised album 'Secrets Keep You Sick' in 2007 and have been getting nods for their sets on the third Tooth & Nail Tour of the US. Their frontman Daniel Castady told the Jesusfreak website how the band got their name. "The Fold was picked because the second definition in the Webster's Dictionary says it means 'a group of people working together with one common goal'. That's what we do."

The origins of the band go back to two Chicago outfits called Showoff and Switchblade Romance. Showoff in fact had landed a major record deal with Warner Brothers. Commented Daniel, "I suppose I gave up a lot when I left a major label band to start The Fold, but if I did, it was because I knew that those things were passing away."

When The fold signed with Seattle's Tooth & Nail Records in March 2005 the group had settled on the lineup of Daniel Castady (who switched from the drums he played with Showoff to take up lead vocals and guitar), Aaron Green (guitar), Keith Mochel (bass) and Mark Rhoades (drums). Daniel told Maggie Solun how they landed their Tooth & Nail recording contract. "We had been sending them demos since this line-up got together - since before actually. There were some songs that had been around before this line-up - like, I became a Christian in 2002, so I've been sending music since then. I just thought if I'm gonna have my message in these lyrics - even though it's not a blatant thing, like telling people to repent or they're going to Hell, I thought I should do it with the label that shares my excitement about God. It was a natural fit. So, we were sending them demos and then after we signed I found out that they had been receiving demos all those years and they just never liked them. They were like, 'We just didn't see the point until now.' So they heard the music was getting better, we were a band, and they pretty much signed us right after they got the last demo that we sent in right after this line-up got together."

The Fold's 'This Too Shall Pass' impressed fans and critics and got airplay on Cross Rhythms radio for the surging title track. Daniel spoke about the band and their debut's emotive album title. "I guess the reason we started doing this band is just because I realised all my life, all I wanted to do was be in a band, and my hope was in that and when it wasn't going well I was miserable. So I had to tell myself that this, just like everything else, is going to pass, if I can just put my hope in other things and just have fun with it, and not so much have it be the only thing that I'm hoping on, chances are I'll have fun and chances are things will go better. So I gave it a shot and that's kind of what this record's about, realising that there are bigger things in life than even music, which was always the biggest thing to me. It's kind of an accumulation of songs that we've been writing, even before this lineup was together, like, songs that I'd had even before Tooth & Nail was involved and this lineup. So I guess it was kind of like a cleansing for us to get those songs out."

The Fold: A rock band who've used family tragedy to help create a powerful album

Recorded in New York with producer Steven Haigler (Brand New, The Pixies) and in Seattle with Zach Hodges (Terminal, Dead Poetic), 'This Too Will Pass' contains some powerful songs, none more so than "Going From My Lungs". Explained Daniel, "That was something I wrote when we started to tour a lot more and - I got married in 2003, so it was kind of like one of those things where I wrote the song for my new wife and I just wanted to let her know. Like, 'This is gonna be hard, I'm gonna be in a band that's really gonna give it a shot, I have to give it a shot, I'm gonna be gone.' If you listen to the lyrics it's very much about that feeling of uneasiness, like, I can't imagine being away from you for more than a week, but. . . it's just me trying to sort that out in a song and I think I did, but I tried."

Another key song on 'This Too Will Pass' is "I Believe You". Said Daniel, "Like I said, in 2002 I became a Christian and 'I Believe You' is just my way of saying, 'I don't understand this whole faith thing, but I'm gonna give it a shot; I know that there's power in it, and I'm kind of a mess by myself - God, step in.' That's kind of where I was at the time, so that song's just about letting go and giving my life to God."

In 2007 the band released their second album. Produced by Zack Odom and Kenneth Mount at Tree Sound Studios in Atlanta, it sports another attention grabbing title 'Secrets Keep You Sick'. Daniel explained the title's origins. "I found this phrase written on a wall in a truck stop bathroom somewhere. It seemed like it was written so urgently, it just stuck with me. When we started writing songs, they were revolving around that theme so we went for it. This record was definitely more straight up, unfiltered lyrics about what was going on with me recently. I can't say I regret a word of it. I had a really tough year last year and I needed to get it out on paper. It was a sort of therapy for me. It wasn't so much about who was listening."

Two of the songs on 'Secrets Keep You Sick', "Revisited" and "Faster Still", are songs about Daniel's cousin Andrew. Daniel spoke about his cousin, "He committed suicide at a young age, but struggled a lot with bipolar and schizophrenia before he did. He was my best friend, so it was really hard to watch him go downhill. 'Faster Still' celebrated our younger years, we had such a good time growing up together, while 'Revisited' talks about life after he was gone."

Two other songs on the album, "Closer" and "Beside You Now", have equally personal connections, this time about Daniel's mother, written from his father's point of view. Explained Daniel, "It seemed most important to me to understand the magnitude of her loss from my Dad's point of view. I mean, she was the most important person to me since I was a baby, but to lose your sole companion after 40 years of marriage would just be too much for me to handle. Also, he helped me with a lot of the lyrics in those songs, so I left them perfectly intact. He was just grieving so much, writing journals about it sometimes even. He was finally being completely honest with God and himself about his own depravity, and he was finally repenting toward God in his life. It was such a beautiful thing for me to witness, and somewhere in the middle of it, something occurred to me; my Mom, who was absolutely a believer, knew where she was going after she died. The real question was what would become of my Dad. Only through my Mom's passing could God have gotten my Dad's attention, and he knew that. I'm not trying to blame God for her death by saying this, but my Dad and I have had great conversations about the fact that it was absolutely God's grace that brought him back to his side. As a family, she was a sacrifice for our own salvation. We haven't lost a thing!" CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
About Tony Cummings
Tony CummingsTony Cummings is the music editor for Cross Rhythms website and attends Grace Church in Stoke-on-Trent.


Reader Comments

Posted by Susan Dean-Palinckx in Boulder, CO @ 03:23 on Apr 8 2018

We were thinking of going to the Dickens Opera House to see the Fold, so I looked them up and read this; it brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful, heartfelt article. So cool to see young people turning to faith and a clean way of living now days, see you can play awesome rock music band be clean. So many wonderful musicians from my rta; 60's, 70's, have passed on in tragic ways because they chose the wild, rock and roll lifestyle, as I did also and am now clean, sober, Christian. What an awesome life I have now. And still love rock and roll and Blues. Keep it up guys.!

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