Senses Fail Still SearchingThis week sees the New Jersey-based screamo act Senses Fail re-releasing their 2006 album Still Searching in a deluxe package featuring a bonus DVD of tour footage as well as two new songs, three B-sides, and a cover of the Cranberries’ “Salvation” to tide over fans until their much anticipated 2008 release. Gibson caught up with guitarist Garrett Zablocki to talk about why he’s still confident Still Searching is the band’s most accomplished effort to date.

What kind of guitars did you use on Still Searching?

We had an array of gear but we ended up using pretty much just two guitars on the album: a 1978 Les Paul Custom and a 1991 Gibson Les Paul Standard.

How did you approach this album from a guitar perspective?

To be honest, everything was just natural when we were writing the album. There definitely wasn’t any conscious effort to go in a set direction with the guitars as far as technically or stuff like that; it was just the nature of the songwriting that brought it there.

It also seems like there are a lot more leads on this album, which is something relatively uncharacteristic of a band in your genre.

I think that having [new guitarist] Heath [Saraceno] in the band definitely propelled that because I could show him a lead and he’d be able to play off it instantly. Plus we wrote for five months straight, so I could sit with the rhythm tracks in my basement and play over them until something unique came up.

Senses FailThere’s a lot of harmonizing leads too, right?

Yeah, the two solos that are on the album, “Sick Or Sane” and “Shark Attack” are split in half pretty much. The first half of each solo is me and then there’s an answer that Heath will do and then we’ll either harmonize each other or we’ll break off into two separate things, like a dueling guitar thing. As far as guitar leads go it’s pretty much down the middle; it just depends on who came up with the coolest one first.

It seems there aren’t a lot of bands in your genre that have the technical ability to play leads.

To be honest, that statement alone would be the big chunk of fuel that sparked the fire on this album. The music I grew up on was Southern rock where it’s all dueling guitars like Lynyrd Skynyrd or Allman Brothers and blues like Eric Clapton or Buddy Guy. I wanted to put that into our music and go beyond what every other band in the scene is doing, where bands will go harder just for the sake of harder, but not necessarily do anything musically.

There are a lot of bands emulating Senses Fail, so did you also think you had to step things up for them?

As far as challenging the people who try to play your stuff or rip you off, I’d go on YouTube a couple of times and I’d see kids playing our songs and they’re usually way off to the point where you can even imagine they think they’d be playing it right. Then you go and lookup someone playing an Avenged Sevenfold song and they’re playing the solos and the rhythms and everything perfectly. I guess it’s kind of the nature of the fan, but I think that was something that I was looking for was to see how people would do trying to interpret these songs.

If those kids couldn’t play the last record, they’re going to be totally screwed now.

[Laughs.] Hopefully. I hope it’ll give us a good laugh on YouTube.