ERRA Peel Back the Darkness and Destruction of Their Latest Album, ‘CURE’

ERRA Peel Back the Darkness and Destruction of Their Latest Album, ‘CURE’

- By Creative Team

Vocalist J.T. Cavey details the collaborative process of creating ERRA’s sixth studio album, Cure, and how a hunger for creative challenges keeps them moving forward.

Words by Maddy Howell

Over the last few years, ERRA have had a wild ride.

A decade-and-a-half into their career, the five-piece have grown exponentially since the release of their 2021 self-titled record, their anthems of self-discovery and introspection resonating deeply with a post-COVID world.

Always unafraid to delve into the darker side of life, the Birmingham, Alabama outfit have recently returned with sixth studio album, Cure. Continuing where they left off three years ago, across twelve songs, they’re venturing deeper into the darkness and destruction than ever before. Embracing the misery and celebrating sadness as a vital part of life, it serves as an invitation to reflect on our pain and find new ways to move forward.

The band’s most ambitious work to date, channelling the groove and rhythm of bands like Tool and Meshuggah, Cure meanders from gnarly brutality to shimmering ethereal atmospheres. A sonic journey like no other, balancing technicality with grandiosity, with album six ERRA are cementing their position at the top of the metalcore ladder, sacrificing absolutely nothing in the process.

Ready to charge into their biggest year to date, we sat down with vocalist J.T. Cavey to discuss collaboration, creative freedom, and the importance of embracing challenges.



When you went into the writing process for Cure, it had been a long time since your self-titled record, and a hell of a lot had happened in the world. Because of that, it seems unavoidable that it would become a very different album…

Cavey - Post-COVID, we were sitting on plenty of topics to cover from a writing standpoint. Every artist that goes in the studio is influenced by what they've experienced over the last two years, whether that’s film, books, TV shows, or music. That always creeps into the record, and each album is an insight as to where that musician is at in their life.

As a result, this new record is dark. We didn’t go in with the intention of writing a sad, gloomy, and bleak record, but lyrically it just came out that way. I don’t want it to make people sad, but I want people to reflect on the pain that they’ve experienced. I want us to reflect on the moments in our lives that made us feel bad, learn from them, accept them, and embrace it. That way, you can move on, because you understand where that pain came from.

It sounds huge - and there’s no doubt that it's more accessible than your previous work - but you’ve not made any sacrifices to get there. It’s still a distinctly ERRA album…

Cavey - You can thank Dan Braunstein [producer] for that! You’re so right about the idea of sacrifice though, and I think we managed that through a combination of Jesse's [Cash, guitars / clean vocals] ideas and the way that Dan operates. Jesse always comes into a record with a bank of ideas, and there was a lot more focus on groove and feel this time around. He wasn't trying to write super complicated tapping parts or riffs in weird time signatures, and less solos came out of it as a result. There's a lot more mood and ambience, and you can combine that with interesting harmonies and melodies. I got to do some stuff vocally that I haven't done before on this record, and we tried to check all the boxes whilst throwing in some surprises.


One of the biggest changes you made on this record was bringing an external producer into the mix. What was it like working with someone like Dan who has such experience in this scene?

Cavey - At first, it's weird. You’re doubtful about this outsider having such a say on what you're doing, because what does he know? We chose to work with Dan though because he's super easy to work with. I have very specific opinions, as does Jesse, but then so does Dan.

Collectively though, we were able to focus on what served each song the best. Nobody was fighting, and ego never came into play. We were trying to look at the songs from a third-party perspective and pick whatever helped the song the most. Ultimately, we landed on the best version of the songs. It's nice to have everybody in the room guided by creating the best final product, no matter what your tastes are. We were happy to give Dan so much free rein on the creation process, because we could trust him.”

Am I right in saying that Dan had a lot of influence on the synth-y bits we hear on tracks like ‘Slow Sour Bleed’?

Cavey - Oh, 100 percent. He was driving all the big synth parts, and all the John Wick x DOOM sounding stuff. Bits like the start of ‘Past Life Persona’ too, he’s a genius.

What’s special about Cure is that it feels like a real album. There’s a journey, and it feels important to think about the collection of songs and the story of the lyrics. Is that something that you’re always conscious of?

Cavey - I feel like this is the most album-sounding album we've ever done. It’s a more cohesive work than the self-titled, but the self-titled was full of great standalone singles. In my opinion, the singles for Cure sound better in the context of the entire record.

As a fan of music, are you typically drawn towards albums that feel like a complete body of work, rather just a collection of great individual songs?

Cavey - It depends on the band. The new Boundaries record feels very cohesive to me, and bands like Alpha Wolf do that brilliantly too. At the same time though, there are bands like Northlane who have a habit of doing the same thing we do. Sometimes it'll feel like a collection of solid singles in the same vein, and sometimes it’ll have that flow of a record. It’s an interesting area to explore.


As a vocalist, a lot of these songs feel like they challenged you to step out of your comfort zone. With parts like the screamed chorus on ‘Slow Sour Bleed’ and the insanity of ‘Wave’, as an artist is it important for you to challenge yourself?

Cavey - I wish I got more comments about ‘Wave’, that's my favourite song on the record! I think if you have a really dedicated fan base though, they know when you're phoning it in. They know when you're half-assing it, so I never like to put a ceiling on what we do. I refuse to toss anything just because it feels out of my comfort zone, and I always want to try. Even if it takes a bunch of tries, I'm going to do my best to nail that part. Sometimes I’m putting myself through bootcamp and it can get tough. You're worn out by the end of the day both creatively and physically.

Rap flow also had an impact on your vocal performance this time around too, right? Especially artists like Denzel Curry and J. Cole…

Cavey: I listened to so much rap last year. I've always gravitated toward what I would call the wordsmiths, and artists who have a big database of different flows and lyrical setups. All that stuff is a perfect carryover into metalcore if you really listen to it, so I take a lot of inspiration from the creative phrasing and delivery of rap artists.

The biggest glaring example of that influence is in the verses of ‘Rumor Of Light’, and I have to give Ben Witkowski of Texas In July a massive shout out here. He was the first person I noticed doing that type of stylistic writing, and we bonded a lot over hip-hop when we first met years ago. When we were writing the old Texas In July stuff, I started to pick up a little bit of that from him. Over the last ten years, I’ve taken that inspiration and evolved it.

All of this comes back to a huge thing about this band - and something that’s reflective of where the modern metalcore scene is at right now - in that you can truly do your own thing…

Cavey - It’s interesting, because in some ways we should be in our most freeing place as a band, but I would be a liar if I said that I didn't think about what our fans would like. Personally, I feel like it's a balance between doing what you want to do and not sacrificing your creative flow, but also doing a little bit of crowd pleasing.

However, I think Jesse would say that he exclusively did things that he wanted to do, and he tried to let go of making everyone else happy on this record. He spends months creating a bank of songs for us before we start making records, so those songs are his babies. He wants all the stuff that he adores to get the time of day, so he's not going to go searching for an external opinion, he's going to do what he wants. He's been writing ERRA records for years, and he knows where he wants the songs to sit and feel. I think he's done a great job over the years.



When you’re making those decisions, it helps to have a fanbase who truly trust you, too…

Cavey - Exactly, and the ones that matter are the ones who get it. Not everybody gets it, and you really do have to sit down with this record to understand what we were trying to do. It appears it’s much easier for people to understand the singles now that they’ve heard them in the context of the record. There's so much more to take away from Cure beside the singles, and that’s why picking them was so hard for this record. 

You want every song to have its time, and we trust UNFD to have a good idea, but ultimately, they allow us to select the final singles. We spoke a lot with our team and our friends about what stands out the most across the record, but we also wanted to showcase different elements of the album with the singles. They only scratch the surface though, and you're not getting the whole record within four songs. There are twelve tracks on Cure, and they're all so different.

As musicians who’ve been at this now for over a decade, does that freedom make it easier to wake up and be excited about making music? Is that what keeps you driven and passionate about the creative process?

Cavey - Definitely, though it’s not the same every day. You hope it is, but life happens. If you're crafty, you can translate those less-good moments into your art, and that's ultimately the goal. You pour part of yourself into the music. and it can be painful sometimes. You have to revisit that topic and those feelings every time you play, and Jesse has a good ability of separating the emotional side of the writing process from the performance side. That’s a valuable thing to have in your arsenal when you're playing these songs live. 

If you look at someone like The Ghost Inside’s Jonathan Vigil, he has to reflect on his brother every time he plays ‘White Light’. That’s painful, and I've seen him break down in the middle of the song. He’s having to share such a vulnerable part of himself whilst performing, and that’s tough. You want to provide something authentic for the listener and something that’s true to yourself, but it's about bringing that barrier down. If you don't see a therapist for the things that you have going on in your life, that's your therapy. It hurts sometimes, and it doesn't always feel good.



As with any form of creativity, connection is a huge part of it. What are you most looking forward to about getting back out on the road and seeing how these songs have resonated with people?

Cavey - I'm excited to get a little vulnerable on stage. I've been locked in my room at home for a couple of months now, and I'm ready to share these new songs with our fans and show them that we're not dead yet. We're still out here grinding and gigging and rocking, and I'm pumped.

Looking towards the future, what direction do you see ERRA moving in?

Cavey - That’s something I think about a lot. In my mind, we're one record away from a Tool support tour, but on the other hand, we could still be doing super shredding metal tours. With how eclectic our discography is, maybe we’ll even go on tour with Breaking Benjamin one day!

Our sound is all over the place, and that allows us to pick and choose a set to satisfy everyone's needs. We can do the metalcore set, we can do the angry set, the breakdown set, but we can also do the vibey set. We can cater to the Beartooth audience, but we can also cater to the Spiritbox audience. That’s always the goal, and I reckon by this point we could even go on tour with Tame Impala and play our breakdowns there. Kevin Parker would be like, ‘What the fuck?!’


Cure, the latest album from Erra is now available via UNFD. Order it - HERE


Catch ERRA live on tour with Make Them Suffer, Void of Vision and Novelists. Check the list of remaining dates and cities below. Get tickets - HERE


4/23 — Philadelphia, PA — TLA
4/24 — Baltimore, MD — Soundstage (SOLD OUT)
4/26 — Nashville, TN — Brooklyn Bowl
4/27 — Atlanta, GA — Masquerade (Heaven)
4/28 — Birmingham, AL — Iron City
4/30 — Ft. Lauderdale, FL — Revolution
5/01 — Tampa, FL — Jannus Live
5/03 — Houston, TX — Rise Rooftop
5/04 — Dallas, TX — South Side Music Hall
5/05 — San Antonio, TX — Vibes Event Center
5/07 — Albuquerque, NM — Sunshine Theater
5/08 — Las Vegas, NV — House of Blues
5/10 — Mesa, AZ — Nile Theater
5/11 — Santa Ana, CA — Observatory
5/12 — Los Angeles, CA — Echoplex
5/13 — Santa Cruz, CA — Catalyst
5/15 — Sacramento, CA — Ace of Spades
5/17 — Seattle, WA — El Corazon
5/18 — Portland, OR — Roseland Theater
5/20 — Salt Lake City, UT — The Complex
5/21 — Denver, CO — Summit Music Hall
5/23 — Lawrence, KS — Granada Theater
5/24 — Minneapolis, MN — Varsity Theater
5/25 — St. Louis, MO — Red Flag
5/26 — Chicago, IL — House of Blues
5/28 — Detroit, MI — Saint Andrews Hall
5/29 — Toronto, ON — Danforth Music Hall
5/31 — Montreal, QC —  Beanfield Theatre (SOLD OUT)
6/01 — Boston, MA — Paradise (SOLD OUT)
6/02 — New York, NY — Irving Plaza (SOLD OUT)
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