About 18 months ago, Atreyu drummer Brandon Saller was working on songs for his band when he realized that a bunch of the tunes were good, but they weren't going to work for Atreyu. Instead of scrapping them, he gave the material extra attention that led him to a revelation. What he was doing with Atreyu wasn't enough. That's where Black Cloud Collective came in.

"It was clear that I needed something new and fresh in my life when it came to my creativity," he told Noisecreep. "There had always been this sort of box around me in Atreyu with writing. I feel like I needed to write songs that weren't exactly in the same vein. The feeling I got when this project first started coming together made me realize that it was something special. For me, the songs came so naturally, I felt like a lot of them kind of wrote themselves and became some of my favorite work as a song writer."

Saller tracked the first five songs for the yet-untitled upcoming Black Cloud Collective album with his friend Ken Floyd (Eighteen Visions) a year ago at Hurley Studios. To his surprise, the tunes ended up sounding folky, laid back and melancholy. "There was definitely a period of extreme stress and loneliness in my life that ultimately led to the creation of those songs," Saller said.

Having purged his demons, Saller started writing more upbeat material. Then he entered the studio with Fred Archembault (Dawn of Ashes, Avenged Sevenfold, Lostprophets), who will produce the rest of the record, which should be out by early summer. "There was a whole new energy about me that I had been lacking," Saller said. "There was such a positive, full-throttle feeling inside me during the first sessions with Fred that was truly electric. It was like I got turned back on. I was more inspired and confident than I had been in a long time. The subject matter and vibe of the songs even seemed more fueled and energized, and I feel like the album will definitely have that same feeling on the whole."

As much as he's looking forward to releasing the debut Black Cloud Collective album because it's a showcase of his individual skills as primary songwriter, he's equally excited that Atreyu fans will get to see him in a different light. "I get more and more excited for the world to hear and truly experience the BCC, because I feel like it's a place that no one has ever seen me," he said. "Right now I'm in a really happy, inspired, pedal-to-the-floor position that I don't think, musically, I've been in since I was a kid."