Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal chats about ART OF ANARCHY'S NEWEST CREATION THE MADNESS By: Stephanie Stevens
If someone told me last year or 3 years ago that I would be asking Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal questions of any kind I would of thought they were crazy but here it is 2017 and I just received back an interview from the man himself.
It all came to reality because his BAND art of anarchy just released a solid and triumphant album entitled THE MADNESS. An album with pure emotion, raw power and emotionally solid to make any music fan turn their heads and pay attention. If this band is something new to you the band members will not be hard to recognize; Lead guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal hails formerly from Guns N’ Roses, while bassist John Moyer rose to fame as a member of Disturbed. Twin brothers Jon Votta (guitar) and Vince Votta (drums), meanwhile, first gained renown as fixtures on the New York music scene. The most recent addition to the group is Grammy Award winner Scott Stapp, the founder and lead singer of Creed. Stapp replaces the late Scott Weiland (of Stone Temple Pilots) as AOA’s lead singer.
So like I said in the beginning I was very privileged to speak to Ron about solos, lyrics, vinyl and his tips on being a successful band and/or musician.
WITH STRONG PERSONALITIES AND THE IDENTITIES EACH BAND MEMBER HAS HOW DOES THAT ENHANCE THE WRITING PROCESS GOING INTO WRITING FOR THE MADNESS RECORD? When we started writing the album we didn't have a direction in mind, we just did what we do, being ourselves, and let everything organically come together. With any band, there's a unique set of personalities that form a combined sound, and as long as everyone is being honest and authentic, the ingredients shine through. Moyer brings the modern edgy sound, the Votta brothers are more old-school metal, Scott is a master of melodies and lyrics, and I tend to get more theatrical writing and production-wise, Beatles & Queen inspirations, the fretless guitar, venturing a bit 'outside the norm' a bit... HAVING SCOTT JOINING THE BAND IT SEEMS HE PUT HIS HEART N SOUL INTO THE LYRICS DID HE THROUGH THE PROCESS SIT WITH ANY OF YOU TO ASK YOUR OPINIONS ON THE LYRICAL CONTENT AND HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE MESSAGE COMING ACROSS? Scott digs very deep, and gets very personal lyrically. Ideas would bounce around sometimes while songs were coming together, but his words within his voice are best when they're from his soul. With lyrics, if the words don't paint the exact picture and take the listener into the exact experience, it can feel like you're lying every time you sing them – it needs to be the truth. That's what makes great story-tellers what they are. YOUR NEWEST TRACK OUT IS NO SURRENDER WAS THAT A BAND PERSONAL CHOICE OR DID CENTURY MEDIA HAVE SOME SAY IN WHAT THEY THOUGHT WOULD BE A GOOD FOLLOW UP TO MADNESS? IF IT WAS A BAND THING WHY DID YOU WANT TO FOLLOW UP WITH THAT TRACK? Our first single, the title track “THE MADNESS” was released end of last year on radio, with a music video, and as the full album grew closer we released lyric videos for three other songs, “NO SURRENDER” included. We just finished shooting a music video for the opening album track “ECHO OF A SCREAM”, it's looking like that will be the next song that gets a push...
AFTERBURN HAS A KILLER SOLO IN IT DO YOU HAVE OLD GUITAR SOLOS HIDDEN AWAY AND YOU BRING THEM OUT WHEN NEEDED OR ARE MOST OF THESE SOLOS THOUGHT OF ON THE SPOT? The song comes first, solos come last. :) After a song is written, vocal melodies are there, there's an energy and character to the song, then I follow my gut and let the solo flow out, spontaneous improvised melodies, nothing pre-planned.
DID MADNESS HAVE A RUN OF VINYL RELEASED ALSO? AND WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST VINYL YOU EVER PURCHASED? For the initial release, vinyl wasn't manufactured, but we're hoping to have it down the road. My first vinyl, hmmm... there was a lot. All the '60s/'70s stuff – Beatles, Stones, Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Yes, KISS, The Who, Queen, Pink Floyd, Boston, Blondie, Billy Joel, the Cars, Bowie, Elton John, Sex Pistols, Ramones, Fleetwood Mac... from there it branched out to ACDC, Judas Priest, Rush, Iron Maiden, Ozzy, Black Sabbath, Queensryche, Manowar, Anthrax, Metallica... but the very first album I remember picking up off the shelf and asking mom to buy me, haha, was the soundtrack to the movie “Close Encounters Of the Third Kind”. I was 7 years old, with a busy little brain. Had a band at that age, would write songs, make demos (came up with a way to multi-track using multiple cassette recorders), would play shows in the neighborhood and a nearby school, would hand-make merch, would watch what my favorite bands did and come up with a mini-McGuyver way to do it using whatever resources were available. And never stopped.
YOU HAVE BEEN ON A LITTLE MINI TOUR SINCE THE START OF APRIL. HOW HAS THE SHOWS BEEN AND ARE YOU FOCUSING JUST ON NEW TUNES SINCE THIS IS SCOTT’S FIRST ALBUM WITH YOU OR DO YOU PLAY OLDER TRACKS TOO? This is our first ART OF ANARCHY tour, it's been wonderful. Great crew, great team, so much laughter and fun, and the shows keep getting more solid every night. :) We're playing the entire new album, every song. We're also adding some solo moments, and a song from the previous album before “THE MADNESS”.
YOU DEALT WITH A LOT OF STRESS I’M SURE WITH THE LIKES OF YOUR OLD SINGER AND NOW SCOTT WHO IS DOING AWESOME HAS BEEN DOWN THE DARK ROAD HOW DO YOU GUYS KEEP A POSITIVE AND ENLIGHTENED MESSAGE WITHIN THE BAND AND TO THE FANS OUT THERE ABOUT THIS FATAL DISEASE THAT BOTH SINGERS HAVE HAD GONE THROUGH? All of us are on the same page, which is to be at 100% for the audience, for each other, for ourselves. We take care of ourselves. We're friends. We enjoy what we're doing. We act as a team throughout. Our family and friends are very welcome on the tour. It's taken us no extra effort to be positive, it's there naturally. :) As for any challenges, we've been through in the past, this happens in life to us all in one way or another – what matters is how we handle it, to overcome and triumph over it, to learn and be stronger and wiser from it. Keep a strong spirit – a fighting spirit, a loving spirit, a healing spirit. And turn that into music. :)
WHAT IS YOUR BEST ADVICE FOR ANY MUSICIAN OUT THERE ON THE BUSINESS SENSE, A CREATIVE SENSE AND ALSO A TOURING MINDSET THAT YOU COULD HELP NEW MUSICIANS? I could spend hours on this, but I'll keep it super-simple... Business – stay DIY for as long as you can, taking on as many tasks and roles as you can so you learn what they entail and so you'll know if something's being done effectively or not, and so you have realistic expectations. Creative – be authentic, be genuine, be who you truly are, make ART. It doesn't matter what style it is, or how it stacks up to what's momentarily popular – don't deny your soul the gift of having a real connection with the world, let your true self out. Touring – sleep whenever you can. Healthy food and exercise whenever possible. If one person gets sick, everyone ends up sick, so take care of yourself! Things will not go as planned, that's ok, laugh at the “Spinal Tap” moments you'll find yourself in. Nothing gets you on-top-of-your-game like touring does. Give it your all, and enjoy! Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal
SEPTEMBER MOURNING; MUSIC, COMICS AND MORE BY: Stephanie Stevens
SEPTEMBER MOURNING is doing one of the coolest multi-faceted entertainment package that I have seen in a long time. Branding the comic book life with rock music to make a desired, intriguing storyline that will appeal to many. I will not forget to mentioned that the lovely September is as intellectual as she is beautiful. She had a vision that is now in full affect comic, video and album wise as she has made a character that makes her a human reaper hybrid that who feels the need to give some human souls a second chance, and thus toys with Fate. SEPTEMBER MOURNING just released VOLUME II and first single and video for 20 BELOW was a great way to welcome people into the world of the new disc. The song is about overcoming self-abuse and rising up and know that you are worth every single thing. The video is killer as is all the bands conceptual and visual outlets. Working with iconic comic book master Marc Silvestri and then album wise working with the talented duo of Sahaj Ticotin and Howard Benson, this band has all the right people to progress and evolve this vision further and further up the ladder of success. They did a run with Dope and I was able to chat quickly with the beautiful and talented miss September about death, the next chapter of this story and the image that fronts the music.
Band Lineup: September, Shadou, Riven, Wraith Stitch
Congratulations on the new release of Volume II. How was it writing a full-length album with the concept? I love it...the entire project is a conceptual project built around characters ...
Did it give you more freedom to really tell the story continuation like you wanted? Yes it did .. it just gave another layer to the story
How hard is it to capture a storyline then break it up into limited song structures on an album? This story is such a part of me. I know all the nuances to it so it's actually rather simple to dissect it and pull certain pieces out.
One question I had for you was the videos you have released for the songs how do you capture the tone in the video does it enhance the concept of the comic book or is the video just a small portion of what that particular song is covering? The videos are small stories that occur in the comic books .... the songs align with the feelings in the stories
You also signed with Sumerian Records to release this new album how has it been working with a company who also is backing your idea and vision of what the band started? Amazing I couldn't wish for a better partner in this
I read in another interview you did that the storyline is not yet over and you may have two more comics and albums for this particular telltale. Is this true? Yes!
Once this story is told do you have another set of albums and comics in your mind you’re going to progress to and will your image change through these processes? The image will continue to develop over the series .. but the quintessential characters remain the same.
Speaking of the image and your stage presence who came up with the idea of your face makeup and the clothing, costume you wear onstage? I did... everything coordinates with the characters in the books.
Do you go into the world of “September” when you are getting ready for a show while getting dressed and full geared up and how does that feel getting into “character”? It's one of my fav parts of the process .... I literally transform
What would you say to someone who’s biggest fear is death? Death is just another piece of your life... its uncontrollable and unpredictable so to fear it is a waste of emotion. Instead focus on living each day to its fullest
If you could bottle up one song off this new disc and bury it for 40 years what song would it be and why would you want the future to know your band with that one song? 20 BELOW.... it's a song about overcoming something or someone who has control over you. It's about fighting back. We all fight for ourselves every day and I would like to remind the world of the victory that can come from the fight
How has the tour with DOPE been? Awesome we love those guys
Have you guys talked about headlining gig for this tour cycle and if you do what band would you want to bring out with you? We start our headline tour in May and June and we are using locals for support
Any last comments? We would like to thank all of our children of fate who have come out to support us and show us love ... we will see you again very soon
"20 Below is about ending the cycle of abuse within our own lives, whether it's self inflicted or from an outside source. We’ve all had those relationships where someone has gotten close to us, abuses us in some way… knocks us down so hard it diminishes our self esteem. "20 Below" is about the realization that the beat down feeling and feelings of worthlessness are untrue and being caused by some external negativity. It's about being strong enough within your own self to rise above. There are no saviors or Messiah coming to save us. There's only the strength in our hearts and our souls, which is greater than we can even conceive. It’s great enough to be the catalyst to save our own selves if we find a way to tap into that part of ourselves. - September
The Metal scene looks to be coming alive in New Hampshire with Local band THE LAST KING By: Stephanie Stevens
THE LAST KING is a local band out of the New Hampshire area and I feel upon them due to the fact they do one hell of a social media marketing to get new fans and old to come to up n coming shows. (one of the band members invited me to the Oceana show they are opening for in Worcester next month) The band bases themselves in the Melodic Death core genre of music and from listening to some tracks I can agree with that notation. I don’t know much of a metal scene in NH of late but it was nice and fresh to see that some stuff was starting to fester in that part of the new England area so I hope on the chance to get to know the band a little better. So here is my small chat with the guys of THE LAST KING
HOW DID THE LAST KING COME TOGETHER? WHERE YOU GUYS FROM AND HOW IS THE SCENE IN YOUR AREA? First and foremost we’d like to say thank you very much Stephanie for giving us this interview opportunity as it really means a lot to us and we are really honored to be a part of your blog! We began in 2014 after Brett and our past drummer Dylan started writing songs together and jamming. Eventually we connected with our first bassist, Lukas and posted an ad on Craigslist to find our singer, Eric. We are originally from Milton, NH but practice in Rochester. At first our scene seemed dead and boring as there were very few bands around but lately there has been a revival in New Hampshire and there are now an overflow of metal bands here! Manchester is where they all get together mainly at the Bungalow Bar & Grill thanks to NHBooking who hosts metal shows every weekend. Bad Wookie Booking up in Claremont, NH has also put in a lot of work to reinvent the scene here. While it may not be as large as Massachusetts is, we are growing and starting to build a community here of fans that really enjoy the music.
INTRODUCE US TO THE CURRENT MEMBERS AND WHAT THEY PLAY AND HAS THIS BEEN THE LINEUP SINCE THE BEGINNING? Current Lineup: Eric Zuchowski – Vocals, Brett Horton – Guitar, Taylor Belanger – Bass, Derek Falanga – Drums. Eric and Brett are the only original members as our past drummer, Dylan and former bassist Lukas decided to quit in 2015 after a couple shows with the band. We are looking for a second guitarist but have had no luck finding a worthy contestant!
WHAT DOES EACH MEMBER BRING INTO THE BAND TO MAKE YOU GUYS CLICK FROM THE CREATIVE STANDPOINT, THE BUSINESS STANDPOINT AND OVERALL FAN STANDPOINT? Each of us have special skills that really help keep the band going. Eric comes from the older New Hampshire metal scene and has a great deathcore persona as he used to play bass in his former band. His musical knowledge has made him our audio engineer as he produces and mixes all of our material. Not only is he a fantastic front man, lyricist, and producer but also a persistent, hard-working bandmate who truly is one of the main reasons this band is where it is today. Brett is the youngest in the band and has experience playing all styles of music. He even went to music school for Jazz and has had extensive experience composing, performing, and managing. He is in charge of all of our social media and spends many hours each week finding us more followers, likes, concert goers, and fans of all types just by being so efficient online. His skills have really gotten THE LAST KING the following and name that we have today. Taylor came into the group at a crucial point in time when we really needed a new bassist for upcoming shows. He learnt the material extremely fast and has been very reliable right out the gate. Having spent extensive hours composing and writing endless material for THE LAST KING, he really has shined to be a crucial piece of our success. Although his musical taste is a bit more extreme than most, he always proves his worth by keeping our sound fresh and tight with his musical knowledge. Derek is our newest member and although he has only been in the band for 2 years has really grown a lot. Having learnt the difficult material in a short period of time, he has overcome a lot to help this band out. The sacrifices and dedication Derek has for this band just go to show that he is also vitally important to The Last King’s success.
IF YOU COULD NAME THREE OF YOUR TOP INFLUECES ARE BANDS AND ALSO HAS INDIVIDUAL MUSICIANS THAT GOT YOU INTO WANTING TO BE A BAND WHO WOULD THEY BE AND WHY? Eric – Oceano, All Shall Perish, & We Are The End. These bands all helped bring forth the old school wave of deathcore which Eric’s musical taste has come from and have made a huge impact throughout his life on his vocals and lyrical content. Brett – Dave Davidson, Jason Richardson, & Within the Ruins. Dave and Jason are by far Brett’s favorite guitar players and have greatly influenced his style of play. Taylor – Tesseract, Protest the Hero, & Cynic. Taylors love for progressive and experimental metal come from these very impactful bands. Derek – Cannibal Corpse, Pantera, & Denihilist. Derek’s love for old school death metal comes from Cannibal and his desire for groove an d strong breakdowns come from Pantera and Denihilist. YOU JUST RELEASED A DEBUT ALBUM WHERE DID YOU RECORD IT AND HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO COME TOGETHER AND WHO PRODUCED IT? We released our self-titled debut album the summer of last year right before we played at Summer Slaughter. After getting ripped off by a cheap studio in 2014 we decided to have Eric produce this album at his own pace at a reasonable price where the quality was exactly what we wanted. The process seemed slow at first as we each were in different places due to college but overall the album took about 8 months entirely to record and produce.
HOW DOES THE BAND GO INTO THE SONGWRITING PROCESS AND HOW MUCH DOES A SONG CHANGE THROUGH TRACKING IT FOR THE ALBUM? Usually one of us will write the song out on guitar pro and show it to the guys and we will sit down and make adjustments until we find it good enough to learn and record. If we don’t like a song in the end then it will not make the album.
IF YOU COULD TAKE ONE TRACK OFF THE DISC TO DEFINE YOUR MUSIC WHICH ONE WOULD IT BE AND WHY? Off of our first album would be INTO THE MAZE as that song has all the elements of what TLK is all about. Fast crazy riffing, heavy breakdowns, unique tempo changes, and massive creativity with melodic guitar, gang vocals, and technicality.
YOU HAVE TWO TRACKS THAT ARE UNRELEASED THAT I HEARD THE LIGHT OF DAY AND ALSO OBSCENITIES ARE YOU GUYS DOING SOMETHING SPECIAL WITH THOSE AND WHY DIDN’T THEY MAKE THE RECORD? These songs we have recorded for our next release to come out later this year. We currently have this album half recorded and are putting much more effort into this project than the one we released last year. We are aiming for 10-12 quality songs that are more technical, creative, and exciting with immensely improved production that we know our fans will love. While we’d like to finish up this project now, we must take our time as each of us have full time jobs and college in our lives.
LYRICALLY WHERE DO YOU GUYS GATHER INSPIRATION FROM? Eric gathers his inspiration from a few places, everyday events make up more personal lyrics found on the first full length album and the second album is going to be more centered on story telling. Obscenity is based on the TV Series Dexter and he feels as though that is some of my better writing. The lyrical content of the next album is going to be less emotional and more about where Eric’s imagination goes.
YOU’RE PLAYING SOON WITH OCEANO IN WORCESTER, MA HOW DID THAT SHOW COME ABOUT AND HOW DO YOU THINK YOU WILL FIT IN WITH THE BANDS CROWD? Basically we emailed the Palladium about getting on the show after not having played there since Summer Slaughter and they basically gave us a do or die scenario that if we do not meet the ticket requirement they are looking for we shall not be allowed back at the Palladium since we had not sold a good quantity of tickets in the past and we took this as incentive to reach out to more people and work harder to make this a killer show. The Palladium is New England’s premier metal venue and we absolutely love playing there as the staff are extremely kind and the fans are very welcoming. We are extremely excited for this show as the three headliners: Oceano, Slaughter to Prevail, & Aversions Crown are a few of our absolute favorite bands at the moment!
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE A LIVE SHOW TO SOMEONE THAT NEVER SAW YOU BEFORE? Our live shows are very energetic and powerful. Even people who dislike metal and may be older still appreciate our performances. We have received abundant amounts of complements on our musicality and professionalism at each of our shows and even at shows where we didn’t belong. We love to make the audience a part of our performance and Eric does a phenomenal job of interacting with every audience member. It’s all about good vibes and heaviness at our shows and we aim to please everyone who witnesses us play at all times!
LAST COMMENTS? While a tour for us is a ways away we have discussed the possibility with many of our friends in other New Hampshire local bands and it might be an option for us in the near future. In the meantime we are sticking to one show a month anywhere in the New England region and are going to keep pushing our recording to finish our album at a steady pace. At the moment we have a show at The Wreck Room in Peterborough, NH on April 28th and a metal festival in Vermont known as Wookie Fest on July 15th in our sites! We will always be playing out though and can be found very easily in New England or online. We are also very easy to get in contact with and absolutely love hearing from new metal fans! After all we are all about uniting this community and bringing metal heads together! \m/
MESSAGE FROM SYLVIA--MESSAGE FROM SYLVIA Concrete Entertainment (Release date: 4/7/17) By: Jackie Ryan
In 2016, 3 siblings decided to start a band in Cheyenne, WY. They found their fourth member and formed MESSAGE FROM SYLVIA. They already have 2 singles out, HEART OF WAR and RIGHT HERE AND NOW. They have brought some unique talent together to create this post-grunge, metal rock. Front-man MATTHEW NEVITT, has a great voice that compliments the brother’s instruments. When I first heard HEART OF WAR I thought I was listening to the lead singer Nixon of the former band Framing Hanley, but NEVITT has a little different vocal styling that bring out a more metal feel. MESSAGE FROM SYLVIA has a sound that reminds me of bands such as Avenged Sevenfold, Chevelle, and Breaking Benjamin. NEVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN starts off with hard hitting drums and electrifying guitar to get you hooked into the song. Once NEVITT starts to sing, you can tell it’s a song about something that has a message for someone. It’s their version of a heartbreak song, but it was put together in a way that is still heavy rock. For those of you that like harder rock, you may enjoy DECEMEBER (FOREVER); this song features heavy vocals, a powerful bass and intense guitar styling. HEART OF WAR video really shows what kind of band these guys are, they put their heart and soul into the music and you can really see that in the video. This whole album sounds like a heartbreak message, but there are some deeper thoughts that come out with the music styling. If you like hard-hitting drums, great vocals and electrifying guitars, then I would make sure to check out their album, videos, and Facebook page. If you get a chance, check these boys out while they are on tour opening for Red through May. Their self-titled album is out April 7, make sure to get a copy, you will not be disappointed.
MESSAGE FROM SYLVIA, breaking out onto the rock scene with music to inspire and encourage!! BY: Stephanie Stevens
Coming together is a beginning and is what MESSAGE FROM SYLVIA did; keeping together is progress and brings out one hell of a debut album; working together is success and these guys are well on their way to making history just look at the bands first two singles HEART OF WAR and RIGHT HERE AND NOW and the admiration and love music fans are giving them..
MESSAGE FROM SYLVIA a band that got to together possibly by fate but whatever brought these brothers and vocalist together was meant to be because they have come up with one hell of a strong debut album. From start to finish its polished, rock driven, melody throughout and lyrically real.
The guys have been road dogs since the start and it doesn't look like a break is coming soon since the singles are prompting them huge opening act opportunities and hoping soon a small headline gig due to the fact I seriously want to hear all these songs in a live capacity.
I was able to chat with vocalist Matt Nevitt about the tracks on the disc, advice on being a opening act and how it was working with SAHAJ TICOTIN FROM RA
• YOU ALL CAME FROM TWO OTHER BANDS THAT HAD SOME PRETTY GOOD SUCCESS IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS. WHEN YOU ALL CAME TOGETHER DID YOU KEEP ELEMENTS OF YOUR OLDER BANDS TO GROW UPON AND HELP ENHANCE THE SOUND OF MESSAGE FROM SYLVIA OR WAS THIS A BRAND NEW STARTING POINT FOR EVERYONE INVOLVED?
- I feel everyone has done their best to keep some elements of their pasts. This record and writing process was as unorthodox as our inception. I feel everyone locked into the same mindset when writing this record. We needed to find that will and power inside to make decisions or simply move forward cutting whatever ties necessary. This record is just as powerful for us and it should be empowering to our listeners.
• WITH ALL THE HARD WORK DONE WITH CREATING, TRACKING AND PUTTING THE FINAL TOUCHES ON THE DEBUT ALBUM HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE IT COMING OUT AND HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE OVERALL ENERGY AND FULL PACKAGE OF THE DISC?
- Unreal! There have been so many hang-ups in the process of releasing our debut album… This record was completed in 2016. We serviced to radio immediately following our departure from the studio. Unfortunately, the tie-ups held us back from touring right away and it took us time to capitalize on our first single "HEART OF WAR".
• WHO CAME UP WITH THE COVER ARTWORK AND HOW DOES IT SYMBOLIZE THE OVERALL FEEL OF THE ALBUM?
- Everything has been a group effort. From the members to our influential team. There are many hidden messages within the artwork itself. Like I mentioned this should be a record of empowerment! I feel the art work depicts just that - it's almost freeing to look at.
• YOU WORKED WITH SAHAJ TICOTIN FROM RA ON THIS ALBUM - HOW WAS IT WORKING WITH HIS MIND IN THE STUDIO AND WHAT DID HE BRING OUT IN YOU GUYS THAT TOOK THE SONGS TO A NEW LEVEL? - Sahaj is the ultimate pro! He can capture and propel anyone's talent and vision. Personally, I haven't worked with a better vocal producer to date. He really knows how to find the essence of someone's voice to make it stand out and feel believable. I think that's key to any vocal styling on any record in any genre.
• WAS HE YOUR FIRST CHOICE IN PRODUCING THE ALBUM AND IF HE WAS WHAT MADE IT THAT HE WAS A "MUST HAVE"?
- As I joined the band later in the process, I cannot say – but we are all Very happy with the results! Sahaj had been working with the brothers (Dane, Isaac and Zachary Lopez-Smith) long before I took the leap in. Once I heard the song “Alive”, I knew the project was something I could definitely dive into while leaving my stamp.
• I HAVE TO ADMIT THIS SECOND SINGLE YOU JUST RELEASED – "RIGHT HERE AND NOW" - IS THE TRACK THAT REALLY SOLD ME ON THE BAND. I LOVE THE JOURNEY THE SONG GOES THROUGH MUSICALLY: ITS HIGH ENERGY! WHEN WRITING THESE SONGS DID YOU EVER THINK THAT THIS ONE AND YOUR FIRST SINGLE "HEART OF WAR" WOULD BE SO SUCCESSFUL ON THE RADIO SO QUICK? HOW HUMBLING IS IT?
- You never know how someone else is going to latch onto one of your songs – you just hope they do. Writing is a blinding process… Each song is our “baby” and we nurture their growth. That being said the record becomes very personal to a writer. It's hard not to have a bias point of view! Fun fact: “RIGHT HERE AND NOW” was not even meant for this band. We needed a strong radio follow up to "HEART OF WAR" so I presented R.H.A.N. to Sahaj and the bros. It was that song everyone talks about. It happened and happened quickly. Great chemistry from everyone. ;)
• "CRYSTAL BALL" IS ANOTHER SONG THAT IS PRETTY POWERFUL AND VOCALLY I ADORE. HOW WAS THAT SONG CREATED AND LYRICALLY WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION?
- “CRYSTAL BALL” was a song I heard that I liked, but didn't love. I took a lot of time crafting vocal cadences and lyrical rearrangements of the chorus on this track. Everything came together quickly in the studio like most of the record. I really feel Sahaj, myself and the bros nailed this one in the end, and we are all very proud of the final result.
• I FEEL LIKE THE TRACK "ARMY OF ONE" IS GOING TO BE A HIGHLIGHT AT YOUR LIVE SHOWS. DOES THE CROWD REACT WELL TO THAT SONG, AND HOW DID THAT SONG COME TO LIFE FOR YOU GUYS?
- The bros and I love playing this one! Such a high-energy song in our set. I can't even remember how the original sounded. I really wanted to re-craft this one with the bros after my first listen. Once I found out they are huge Game of Thrones fans it was on! The “ping pong” race began and we hammered it out quickly.
• "NEVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN" - WHAT INSPIRED THE LYRICS ON THIS TRACK? DO YOU SEE THIS AS ANOTHER SINGLE?
- “NEVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN” is yet another killer live tune! The chorus is so anthemic - we catch the crowds singing along after the first chorus nightly. Although I'm not sure it translates to radio it is definitely one of my favorites as I hardly had anything to do with its creation. ;o) It was badass first listen for sure!
• WHO WANTED TO COVER THE SONG "EMPIRE" AND HOW HARD IS IT TO PUT YOUR OWN TWIST TO SOMETHING WITHOUT STRIPPING AWAY THE AUTHENTICITY OF IT?
- I absolutely love re-crafting great songs - it's definitely a passion! In the past I have been privileged to work on renditions of “Separate Ways” by Journey and with the Jackson families approval released a version of "Dirty Diana". “EMPIRE” was another brainchild of the brothers. Although for my voice Sahaj and I changed the key to help showcase what I could add to the track.
• TELL ME ABOUT THE VIDEO FOR YOUR FIRST SINGLE "HEART OF WAR". THERE IS A SIMPLISTIC YET POWERFUL VISUAL FEEL ABOUT THE VIDEO. WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST CONCERN OR BIGGEST THING YOU WANTED TO COMMUNICATE ABOUT THE SONG WITH THIS VIDEO?
- Tyler Wolff and his crew did an amazing job on this! Unfortunately, we lost out on our original theme, but I love the end result. The band, the dancer, the glass ball - Dude nailed every shot! Although it was a chaotic day and fell on Election night, LOL - l it was well worth the sweat and effort. If I had to convey any message it would be that we all have interpersonal struggles. At the end of the day we all face our mirrored image.
• WILL THERE BE A VIDEO FOR "RIGHT HERE AND NOW"? HOW IMPORTANT ARE VIDEOS IN THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA – ESPECIALLY WHEN THERE ARE NOT A LOT OF BROADCAST OR CABLE OUTLETS PLAYING MUSIC VIDEOS ANYMORE?
- With our crazy schedule, we haven't found time to set up any videos shoots for this song yet, we’ve been on the road almost non-stop. We are compiling a ton of live footage from the run with RED and will hopefully be able to release something after this tour ends.
• YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN OUT ON THE ROAD WITH SOME GOOD BANDS - HOW HAVE THE CROWDS TAKEN TO YOU GUYS? WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE TO OTHER BANDS THAT ARE "UP AND COMING" OPENING ACTS?
- So far, we have been blessed, the crowds love us and have been very supportive! We work hard for every applause. We don't take any night for granted. The best advice I could give: It's key to create personal relationships with your fans during and after the show! They are the ones paying their hard-earned money and taking the time to come see you play – so give back and always show appreciation for the fans.
• WITH THE ALBUM COMING OUT AND YOU GUYS ALREADY PROMOTING WITH THESE TOURS AND THIS CURRENT TOUR WITH RED - DO YOU KEEP THE SONGS PRETTY CLOSE TO WHAT THE ALBUM SOUNDS LIKE TO GIVE THE CROWD WHAT THEY WOULD GET ON THE ALBUM?
- We are an album driven band. We want to give the listener what they expect these days… High energy with a huge sound, emulating everything on the album as close as possible when playing live.
• AFTER THE RED TOUR DO YOU GUYS HAVE A FULL SCHEDULE GOING INTO AND THROUGHOUT SUMMER?
- We are booked out from May 10th through July 8th. We’re looking forward to hitting the road with Never Say Die. This is going to be a gnarly tour so make sure you get your tickets!
• ANY LAST COMMENTS OR INFO YOU WANT TO SHARE – ANY UNIQUE PERSPECTIVES?
Are you an aspiring musician? If you think you want to chase down this dream - do your homework. Learn your theory. Take a business class, because you need to know how to conduct yourself – never forget, this is a business. Hell - take a mechanics elective class in high school, so you can fix your bus if it breaks down! This isn't all fun and games. Being a touring musician is tough.
Thank you to everyone that has become a MFS fan! You are without a doubt the only force that will help us grow and achieve what we have already set sights on. Let's make the impossible possible!
BURY YOUR DEAD has been local favorites of mine for some time now. I was always up on the release dates of new records and also was buying the band’s music day it came out but for some reason I had never ever seem them live. Which is some crazy shit when I think back to it. So, when I heard the American hardcore band was playing and headlining the Tattoo-fest in Providence, RI on March 25th I was going to make it my quest to at least catch the band in a live atmosphere and let me tell you I was not disappointed at all. It was an all-day affair at the Fest although I didn’t get to the party till later on in the evening so I missed some local acts (sorry kids, I’m sure I will see you sooner than later) but when BURY YOUR DEAD hit the stage my third wind kicked in and I was wide eyed and bushy tailed. The energy the guys give off onstage brought out the energy in the crowd which then just led the band into a more powerful, high energy tone and well the night was pretty damn special. They played an array of tracks but my favorite was when they went into TOP GUN, they chatted with the crowd and even gave the Providence music scene some major love with the unity of local bands and community. For a small State I must say even back in the day Providence local scene always was a close knit family. All n all I was an idiot for so many years not to see BURY YOUR DEAD and if you guys are in the area of the bands next few stops really do go check them out cause If you have seen them through the years you know how amazing they can be and if you haven’t seen them then you need to get your asses out to a show near you guys they are worth every penny of a ticket price. This show just showcased a tight stitched band and was proud to call them Local hero’s in my eyes. I was able to catch some highlights of the show at Fete Music hall that night which is down below. A huge shout out to Mat for the hookup for this evening and thank you for fronting a humble and kick ass band.
This weekend if you are in these areas check them out Apr 01 Diesel Concert Hall,Chesterfield, MI Apr 02 Beat Kitchen Chicago, IL Then back to hometown status here: May 27 The Middle East - Downstairs Cambridge, MA Then yet another small tour which they hit Providence again and more east coast areas.
THROUGH FIRE--BREATHE (DELUXE EDITION) Sumerian Records (RELEASE APRIL 2017) By: Jackie Ryan www.throughfiremusic.com
THROUGH FIRE hails from Omaha, NE. This quintet formed in 2015 and released their first album BREATHE last year, but they have made some additions to the album and releasing some extras this April. They have all the same songs as the original songs including BREATHE, LIGHTS, DEAD INSIDE, and STRONGER. For those of you who haven’t heard of them, they have a heavy rock sound that captures you from the beginning. DEAD INSIDE features vocals that compliment they instruments, electric guitars accompany hard hitting drums. TAKE IT ALL AWAY reminds me of something that should be in QUEEN OF THE DAMNED, with darker lyrics and vocals that sort of echo throughout the song. It talks about taking away the pain that people can’t seem to deal with. LIGHTS is the ELLIE GOULDING cover and actually sounds pretty good from the darker perspective of their music. Front man GRANT JOSHUA KENDRICK has a voice that really compliments the music he and his band have created. I think if they had someone else singing that it wouldn’t sound right. JUSTIN MCCAIN was the perfect option for his guitar styling and JESSE SAINT had some great backing vocals, they round out the sound for the overall performance of the album. They were able to get more recognition by having their songs BREATHE and STRONGER features on various avenues, such as WWE’S BACKLASH 2016 and FIGHT VALLEY. With their deluxe edition, they have extended two songs, put in acoustic versions and have added the radio edition of STRONGER. Personally, I like to hear acoustic versions because it shows the song and the band in a raw form and really brings out the meaning of the song. I think it was a wise choice to add these songs to the deluxe edition. Its overall a pretty good album, worth a listen if your into raspy voiced heavy rock music.
KISSING CANDICE....HORROR, METAL AND MASKS. BY: Stephanie Stevens
The horror, the gore, the creepy yet amazing masks and the music that brings out fury, power, melody and ugly beauty is what the NY based band KISSING CANDICE is all about. Since hearing the bands full length album BLIND UNTIL WE BURN (which was released on Victory records) I have been hooked. They intertwine metal and rock with a little synth textures with clean and brutal vocals which lets the guys explore and create in an experimental. I was able to catch the boys in an intimate setting in Rhode Island a few weeks ago, and the power they set off on stage is yet another reason to look into and adore KISSING CANDICE. I was able to chat with the band’s bass player Grippo and he let me know the deal with the parting of ways with the label, the masks and the affect they have on the band’s music, and how what his favorite horror flicks are
FIRST OFF I WANNA ASK IF YOU GUYS ARE STILL SIGNED TO VICTORY RECORDS SINCE I HAAAD HEARD RUMORS YOU WERE NO LONGER WITH THEM? IF YOU ARE WILL YOU BE WORKING ON A NEW ALBUM FOR THEM COMING THIS YEAR AND IF NOT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR NEW LABEL INTEREST? We have parted ways with Victory Records, there is no bad blood. We had a great experience while we were with them and are still fans of the label and the music they put out. With that said, it has not held us back from hopping straight back in the studio and working on new music! We are looking for a home, not just a label who wants to put out our music. We also aren’t opposed to self-releasing music.
WHERE DID KISSING CANDICE ALL COME TOGETHER AND WHAT DO YOU THINK MADE YOU GUYS ALL GEL AS A UNIT WAS IT THE LOVE OF THE SAME KIND OF MUSIC AND BANDS, HORROR FLICKS OR YOU COULD ALL PUT UP WITH EACH OTHER? We started in NY with Joey starting out by himself. He eventually put together our first line-up, of which Joey, Dreamer, and myself are still with the band from. We had a couple of people switch out, but we are very happy with who we have in the band now. It’s hard since Joey and me are from NY, Dreamer lives in NJ, Pak-Man lives in VA, and Nephew lives in FL, so we are spread out along the east coast now. We gel together very well because we are all just super weird in different ways, and we are all different enough where we get along yet bond over being weirdos with a love of playing music and touring.
YOU GUYS HAVE THE MASK NOW FOR YOUR STAGE SHOW. I READ BEFORE YOU SAID WHEN THE MASKS ARE ON YOU TURN INTO ANOTHER PERSONA. WHEN YOU GUYS WRITE, MUSIC DO YOU HAVE THE MASKS ON OR OFF AND HOW DOES THE MASKS REFLECT THE MUSIC YOU GUYS CREATE IF IT DOES CHANGE YOUR MOOD OR ATTITUDE We don’t wear the masks when we record, maybe we should start! The idea never even crossed our mind. The masks effect the music as it adds a visual reflection to the sound. As soon as we put the masks on we are different people. It makes you do things you would never do otherwise.
TAKEN IS THE NEWEST SONG YOU JUST RELEASED HOW DOES THIS SONG RELATE TO THE NEW MUSIC YOUR WRITING AND ARE YOU GUYS EXPERMENTING WITH ANYTHING MUSICALLY YOU NEVER HAVE DONE BEFORE AND IF SO HOW WILL THAT ENHANCE THE MUSIC AND YOUR CREATIVITY? TAKEN was a bit of an experiment, it was us going to a new producer/engineer and writing and recording all in the same room together for the first time. I will say there are definitely things we have never done before in our new music. We went to the same producer as we did TAKEN and recorded the same way, except we had our new guitarist Nephew with us as well.
HAVING CLEAN AND ROUGH VOCALS HOW DOES THAY ENHANCE THE WRITING PROCESS AND THE CREATIVENESS FOR YOU GUYS WHEN PUTTING A NEW SONG TOGETHER? It allows us to experiment with different vocals and also layer things. You will hear more of this in the new music.
YOU HAD SOME GOOD SUCCES WITH THE LAST FULL LENGTH ALBUM BLIND UNIL WE BURN HOW MUCH GROWTH DO YOU THINK YOU GUYS HAD GOING FROM THE EP’S YOU HAD WRITTEN TO THIS FULL LENGTH AND WAS THEIR ADDED PRESSURE PUTTING THIS ALBUM OUT ON VICTORY? There was definitely growth then, but I think the largest growth spurt is between BLIND UNTIL WE BURN and what we just recorded. There was some pressure because we wanted to have a successful debut, but it didn’t affect us or the music.
YOU SAID YOU WANT TO PROGRESS MASK WISE WITH EACH NEW ALBUM HAVE YOU GUYS HAD THOUGHTS ON NEW IDEAS FOR THE NEW RECORD AND DOES THE MASK STILL INFLUENCE YOU GUYS ARE INDIVIDUALS OR DOES IT IMPACT YOUR LOVE FOR THE NEW HORROR FLICKS THAT COME OUT? All the new masks are handled by each member of the band. My influence doesn’t come from modern horror as much as it does classic. However, my mask and stage clothes I try for a more sci-fi horror feel to.
SINCE YOU LOVE THE HORROR MOVIE LIFE HOW DO YOU SEE THE MOVIES FROM THE PAST AND THE CLASSICS VS. THE NEW AND UP N COMING MOVIES? I love the classics. I hate a majority of the horror movies that have come out in the recent years. I hate the computer-generated stuff and cheap jump scares. I love the old-school effects where I see it and say “someone built that horrifying thing with his hands and it existed in some form in the real world”. However, there have been some recent horror movies that I absolutely loved! Get Out, It Follows, and Cabin in The Woods come to mind.
HOW HAS THIS TOUR BEEN GOING WITH A KILLER’S CONFESSION SO FAR AND DO YOU SEE MORE TOURING COMING THROUGHOUT 2017? The tour with A Killer’s Confession was great! We had a blast with those guys and they all became good friends of ours. We will definitely be touring more in 2017! We have a small Canadian and Northern US tour coming up in April as we head to and from ICP’s Juggalo Weekend Canada, which is going to be a great time!
FOR YOU GUYS WHAT IS THE TOP 3 ESSENTIALS TO BRING OUT ON THE ROAD WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES FOR EVERY TOUR? For me, aside from all the basics (phone, clothes, etc.) it is books, my laptop loaded with movies, and loads of storage… love being organized, and living in a band is difficult, so I like to keep all my stuff as together as possible.
WAS THERE A REASON JOEY SINGS WITH NO SHOES ON? He had dropped my bass cab on his foot a few days prior and taped up the cut with duct tape It started to swell up, so he couldn’t even get the shoes on.
WHAT DO YOU GUYS HOPE TO GET FANS TO WALK AWAY FROM AFTER SEEING A LIVE SHOW FROM YOU GUYS? Even if they hate the music, I hope they can walk away saying “Damn, that band puts on one hell of a show!”.
LAST COMMENTS? Keep up with us on Facebook and stay tuned for new music! Stay updated on our tour dates and make sure you come see us in April if we are coming anywhere within a 300 mile radius of your house!
Chatting it up with the guys in SLAVES By: Stephanie Stevens
Before I even get into this fabulous band I want to wish the bands singer Jonny Craig a speedy recovery from his spine surgery. So, SLAVES you might not be familiar with them but one listen and you will be hooked. I have known the bands singer for some time now since I did some interviews and saw them live numerous times when he was in Dance Gavin Dance (think we even did pizza in providence with a tour they were on, but that was years ago, and I’m old and probably back them a little tipsy.) but that was the this is now and this band SLAVES that hail from Sacramento has blown my mind with the bands newest single I’D RATHER SEE YOUR STAR EXPLODE. From the lyrical content the passionate vocals and the explosive music this band has captured my heart. A new album is on the verge of release, tours are coming up and I have a feeling this band will be a household name in no time. They are a band that is relentless, passionate and stronger than your average rock band these days. I had a chance to speak with Colin Vieira to ask him about getting the band back together, the new single and when there will be a release for the full album.
HOW DID SLAVES ALL GET TOGETHER? Slaves pretty much got together when Jonny wanted to get back in a band. He pretty much just asked a few dudes that inspired him and knew of through the music biz and after many turns and twist. Here we are!
WHEN YOU GUYS GOT TOGETHER YOU RELEASED AN ALBUM A YEAR. DO YOU TEND TO WRITE THROUGHOUT THE TOURING CYCLE OR DO YOU USE OLD MATERIAL THAT DOESN’T MAKE THE RECORDS OR ARE YOU BETTER WITH JUST GETTING OFF THE ROAD AND HIDING OUT AND WRITING?
The first two albums were music that Alex already had written previously or shortly after joining SLAVES. Now that he isn't in the band, Weston and I went in the studio with half written songs or ideas and Erik Ron made magic with them. Erik is a genius and would come in the studio extremely inspired and just start laying ideas down based on what we were jamming in the studio as well.
IT SAYS YOU GUYS BROKE UP FOR A BIT BUT FROM AN ARTICLE I READ IT DOESN’T SEEM THE CASE SO WHAT WAS THE LITTLE HIATUS YOU HAD AND HAS IT MADE YOU GUYS A STRONGER UNIT?
That was when a few members left the band, I guess they felt like posting that the band was over. Maybe they didn't believe we couldn't or wouldn't go on without them, but clearly that's not the case. Honestly, yes it 100% made us a stronger unit. We are a lot pickier of who we allow to get involved in with SLAVES and are staying focused on positivity. It also gave us more freedom to have more of a different sound and get more people writing on this album.
THE NEW SINGLE “I’D RATHER SEE YOUR STAR EXPLODE” DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING THAT HAPPEN WITH THE BAND OR IS THIS SOMETHING AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL THAT YOU WROTE ABOUT YOURSELF?
Yeah, in a way it does. It's a song about finding inspiration when you're down and out and feel like everything is working against you, much like the situations our band has been in the past, or relationships with loved ones. I’m sure a lot of people can relate.
IS THE NEW SINGLES TITLE A NAME FROM A BOOK? AND IF SO, WHAT BOOK AND WHAT MADE YOU NAME IT THAT?
Yes, it's a book called A Wrinkle in Time and Jonny was reading that while writing the song. I think it was just a quote that inspired him at the time.
WHO DID THE VIDEO AND HOW DO YOU FEEL IT FITS WITH THE STORY YOU HAD WHEN WRITING THE SONG?
Shan Dan (President of Artery Recordings) did our video. I think it fits perfectly with the song. The concept of the video is just different situations you can end up in depending on how you handle being at a low point in your life.
IF SOMEONE WAS TO MEET YOU HOW DO YOU THINK YOU ARE PORTRAYED FROM A FIRST IMPRESSION AND DO YOU FEEL THAT MAKES YOU THE ARTIST YOU ARE?
I think most people that meet me personally think I'm pretty down to earth guy, they might have formed a different opinion of me before they met me. As a band, I think people used to make early judgments on us before getting to ACTUALLY know us, but when they sit and have real conversations with us and hang out it's always " you guys are just normal genuine people, thanks for chatting with us" and things like that. I think it's just one of a bunch of things that make us the artist we are.
YOU WORKED WITH ERIK RON AND I HEARD THIS HAS BEEN AN ONGOING PARTNERSHIP WHAT IS IT ABOUT HIM THAT YOU FEEL BRINGS OUT THE BEST OF YOU AS AN ARTIST?
Erik Ron is literally a musical genius. He just understands song writing so well. We can have some shitty idea that we only like on part of, and have it sound like a toddler recorded it, and then we show him and he turns it into gold every time. He just knows " where to go next" with every song. Can't say enough about that dude.
WHEN IS, THE NEW ALBUM DROPPING AND WHY DO YOU CONSIDER THIS ALBUM THE MOST POWERFUL RELEASE THAT YOU HAVE DONE SO FAR?
We are still undecided on the album release date. Hoping sometime this summer. This album just takes SLAVES to another level. It's diverse, none of the songs sound similar to the next. There is something special in each song. It's a more mature multi genre album. It was a team effort. And there was blood sweat and tears put into every song. This is a step up for us for sure.
LAST ALBUM YOU HAD GUEST APPEARANCES ON IT WILL WE SEE ANYONE ON THIS NEW DISC?
We are in talks with someone right now about a feature. Hopefully we can make it work. Can't say too much at this time. But if we have any features I think it will only be one, but it will be by FAR the biggest feature we have had on an album and someone you may not expect.
WHO ARE THE NEW MEMBERS OF THE BAND AND HOW HAVE THEY BROUGHT SLAVES TO THE NEXT LEVEL AS MUSICIANS AND A BAND?
Slaves is currently Jonny, Wes, and I (Colin). I think each one of us has a fight in us that keeps us going and motivated as a band. We all get along pretty good and that's important when you're constantly touring together, making business decisions, and writing. We all try to lift each other's spirits and be each other's best support system. Musically, I know we all inspire each other and try and make each other better and that will keep us constantly getting better as musicians.
WILL A STATE’S TOUR BE COMING AFTER AND ANY IDEAS OR BANDS YOU WOULD LOVE TO GO OUT WITH OR TAKE WITH YOU FOR THE TOUR?
We plan to tour a good amount after this album is released. Jonny will be needing physical therapy after he gets out of the hospital to get him back on his feet. So, we obviously won't be touring until he is 100% healthy and cleared by a doctor.
We can't say enough about how much we love all of our supporters and the people who constantly go to our shows, buy our Merch, and we hope we can keep making music that inspires other people. Keep an eye out for new singles we will be releasing. Tell a friend about our new album. Tell someone who doesn't care for us as band about our new album. Peace and love.
VERSUS: A BAND WITH A MESSAGE BY: Stephanie Stevens
“There isn’t an easy way out of the noise that can overcome your mind, but with understanding that there are a lot of us in the same boat we can fight mental illness with a network of support.
VERSUS hailing from Seattle, WA is bringing new life to the nü-metal rock that has been coming out of the area. The guys have a huge message to let people around the world know about and it really hits home to many families, friends throughout the world…SUICIDE. With a very strong message lyrically the guys don’t fall short on making impactful and creative music to go along with it. The guys just released the bands newest work of art in the form of CARDINAL which includes the impressive single of NO SAFETY. The agony and spitfire of vocals combined with melody and seamless changes really makes the song something that will open your eyes even wider to these guys that make up the band VERSUS. The band just got done touring with labelmates Alesana so it was prime time to ask some questions to the guys so enjoy what the voice (Joe Taylor) of VERSUS had to say about how the tour came about, the new album and how the songwriting for some songs came about and the bands message.
Band Members JOE TAYLOR // VOCALS JOSH KENDRICK // GUITAR / VOCALS MACK NEWMAN // GUITAR BRANDON BOYLAN // BASS ANTHONY ZARAGOZA // DRUMS
WHEN DID YOU GUYS SIGN TO REVIVAL RECORDINGS AND WHAT MADE, YOU SIGN WITH THESE GUYS? We signed in January and it was an easy choice. They stood behind our message and that’s why we are here. To make sure everyone is aware of the mental health. HOW WAS IT MAKING THIS DEBUT ALBUM VS YOUR LAST SELF RELEASED EP THE BLACK, BEING THIS WAS GOING TO BE THE FIRST ONE FOR A LABEL AND OUT TO THE MASSES PER SAY? There was just way more of a process. We went deeper and rawer to really, shed light on mental health and how it effects Many. A lot of the songs are first hand prospective. HOW DID YOU GUYS GROW IN THIS YEAR SINCE THE EP AND D YOU FEEL YOUR GREW BIGGER ON A SONGWRITING ASPECT OR LYRICAL ASPECT? I feel like you always emotionally maturing of course but we stayed true to why we were in this band in the first place. To spread awareness of suicide and mental health decline.
THE NEW ALBUM IS COMING OUT IN MARCH AND IS NAMED THE CARDINAL, WHICH I THINK IS COOL CAUSE A CARDINAL SYMBOLIZES EVERLASTING VITALITY. IS THIS HOW YOU PERCEIVE THIS ALBUM AS A WHOLE AND THE BAND? Absolutely! A definition of cardinal is "important" and that's what we feel our message is! This message doesn't become less relevant in time. It’s of the most importance.
HOW DID VERSUS COME TOGETHER AND IS THIS LINEUP THE ORGINAL LINEUP? VERSUS has been the same since day 1 other than the addition of our guitarist/clean vocalist Josh Kendrick. Josh joined right before we started the creative process for THE CARDINAL. YOU GUYS ARE BASED OU OF SEATTLE HOW HAS THE SCENE BEEN DOING IN THOSE PARTS AND DO YOU GUYS TRY TO KEEP IN TOUCH WITH THE SCENE EVEN THOUGH YOUR GETTING BUSY WITH TOURS AND ALL THE OTHER STUFF COMING FROM THE LEVEL WHERE YOU GUYS ARE AT NOW? We try our best to stay involved in our local scene. I feel like we have a very strong one. But you can venture away from that because you tour. You have to stay true to home. THE SONG STONE HEART DEALS WITH MENTAL ILLNESS AND THE HARD TIMES LIFE THROWS AT US AS HUMANS HOW DID YOU GUYS DECIDE TO HIT ON A TOPIC LIKE THIS AND HOW DID YOU BASE THE VIDEO FOR IT DUE TO THE CONTENT OF THE SONG? Our message is everything to us which is why we chose this imagery and content for STONEHEART. It flows with the overall message of the sick people versus the system. It's one of our country's biggest problems yet the here isn't much support for it. We aim to change that ANOTHER SONG I LOVE OFF THE ALBUM IS BURN HOW DID THAT SONG COME ABOUT AND WAS IT AN EASY SONG TO WRITE AND FINISH? BURN was one of the last songs we recorded for the record. I came together so naturally. It's about getting where you wanted to be but be to withered to enjoy it when you get there. It's a hard song to sing for me emotionally. YOU WORKED WITH CASEY BATES IN THE STUDIO AND DID YOU GUYS AS BAND MEMBERS HAVE A PART IN THE PRODUCING OR ENGINEERING OF THE ALBUM? AND HOW DOES THAT PLAY OUT BEING IN THE BAND AND HAVING A PART LIKE THAT IN THE STUDIO? We are extremely hands on when it comes tracking. Our bass player Brandon works with Casey Bates to bring all the material together DID CASEY HELP YOU GUYS BRING OUT ANY ELEMENTS MUSICALLY THAT YOU GUYS DIDN’T SEE YOU HAD POTENTIAL TO DO? Casey adds an element to the band we didn't even know was there. It's hard to put my finger on it. He just makes it better for sure. He's an extremely talented producer. IF SOMEONE HASN’T SEEN YOU GUYS IN A LIVE SETTING WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO SEE, CAUSE YOUR MUSIC SEEMS LIKE IT WOULD BRING AINTENSE LIVE SHOW? You going to get an overwhelming rate of emotion with the visual imagery to match it. You won't leave a versus show without feeling something. SPEAKING OF LIVE SHOWS, YOU ARE GOING OUT WITH LABELMATES ALESANA HOW DID THAT TOUR GET HOOKED UP AND WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO BEING WITH THAT BAND? The Alesana tour was great. Really good people all around. And still true fans of just playing music. It started by me and Shawn talking and then we made it happen. It was a very fast process ANY LAST COMMENTS? Suicide is a thing that's not going away and we need to do our best to create and Web of support to change that.
The first thing that I looked into with VERSUS was their music video for STONE HEART. It seems dark and edgy at first and then you see that they are trying to portray a point to their audience, of dealing with issues that not everyone is willing to talk about. The video opens to the band on a pier rocking out on their respective instruments and then there is a cut away to a girl in a black hoodie looking into a dark alley. They cut back and forth for a while, then towards the end they open up to more people in black hoodies walking down the street together (kind of symbolizing that they are strong and can conquer anything). I was more intrigued by them after watching the video and decided to further that and watch their video for NO SAFETY. This one goes into more depth on the issues that they want to encourage their fans to confront mental illnesses. It really opens up your eyes and shows you that the person dealing with the issues is not the only one affected. The band formed in Seattle with these 5 guys that are trying to break through the rock scene, they self-released their first album THE BLACK and now have their first label LP CARDINAL releasing March 3, 2017. These boys have lost someone close to them from mental illness and they channeled that energy and emotion into their music. They have a similar sound to ALESANA and FAMOUS LAST WORDS, which shows in DISTANT, THE LOOKING GLASS, and SHOOK.SHOOK goes into more details about trying to help their friends, ‘taking a deep breath, it will be okay’. DISTANT starts out a little stronger with hard-hitting drums from ANTHONY ZARAGOZA and intense vocals from the front man. Once they get a little into the song, it breaks away to softer vocals and electrifying guitars from JOSH KENDRICK and MACK NEWMAN and then they go in and out with the intense vocals. CARDINAL starts off with piano and guitars complimenting each other, then front man JOE TAYLOR starts to scream that grabs the listener. Strong guitar riffs and rocking drumming throughout the song helps to bring out the vocals. They do have someone singing that seems to have a lisp, but it works for the song (haven’t heard it in the rest of the album). They slow down the album with EMPTY, emphasizing how well the piano compliments TAYLOR’S vocals. The band mentions on the Revival website “There isn’t an easy way out of the noise that can overcome your mind, but with understanding that there are a lot of us in the same boat we can fight mental illness with a network of support. We, as people, can be the medicine we all need. We carry a very emotional performance that brings the show to an emotionally visible experience whether you are listening to the record or seeing it live. It’s very emotionally alive both ways”. I take this to heart from them, I can totally relate to what they are saying here. The album brings out a lot of emotion and shows that they really care about their friends and even their fans. They want to bring support and encourage everyone to love life and help out those who may not be able to ask for it. If you have a chance definitely check out their new album CARDINAL and watch for them to come to your city for a live show!
SHALLOW SIDE—ONE EP THERMAL ENTERTAINMENT, LLC BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
What can I say about the band SHALLOW SIDE but they are all American rock n roll to the highest level. The music they create is groove oriented, melodic as hell and can get edgy and hard when need be. Vocalist Eric Boatright has that simple yet powerful voice, and can hammer out different patterns from a smooth and sexy singing voice to a harder raspier tone. The new EP is way too short in my opinion but from start to finish it’s a nonstop, non-skipping album. WE ROLL opens up the disc and starts with a very groovy, upbeat style with a sexy vocal that a simple blend of heartfelt and punch of sassy flavor as it cruises into the melodic chorus. Love the simplistic nature of the song but also the light groove to it. REBEL the band’s first single and video for the EP made me fall in love with the band from the get go. Down home South melody blended with another soulful sexy vocal approach another track that gets you up and dancing with an upbeat chorus and just a sing along style that you won’t be forgetting for a while after the song is said and done. The cover of RENEGADE displays great creative style with the band keeping it close to the original but giving you a spin with a SHALLOW SIDE mood to it. The song just fits in perfectly with the rest of the EP and I bet will be a show stopper when the boys hit the road from city to city. FIGHT OR FLIGHT is probably the heavier style track on the record. Gutsier from the vocal approach and more hard hitting elements musically but using the sense of quality melody to make it a really round about heavier track to show off the different style and songwriting appeal for the band. CAN YOU HEAR ME by far is my favorite off the EP and let me tell you the reason for it from the first lick of music the song already has you moving in your seat! Its upbeat positive and just a song you want to blast loud and sing along to from the get go. The chorus us just a keeper it’s so groovy and melodic you can’t stop hearing It once it’s done. Yea that seems the key to the disc right now these songs are unforgettable and makes you want to re listen again. I would recommend if you purchase this EP go straight to the track CAN YOU HEAR ME listen to it first then make your way through the rest of the disc cause this song is amazing. Lastly is the last track START A FIRE you want to southern rock appeal you got it in this track. Sexy music, sexy lyrics and just a showmanship of where the band comes from and just a different rock style to show the creative and talent this rock band has. I am overall so happy I was introduced to SHALLOW SIDE and I hope with this EP they get the roll on active rock to really blow up in the scene and I know this little Massachusetts chic loves them.
SHALLOW SIDE; ALABAMA ROCKERS BREAKING INTO THE ROCK SCENE STRONG WITH EP ONE BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
Energy and excitement is missing in rock music says 4-piece rock band SHALLOW SIDE. The Alabama bred rockers are trying to bring the fun days of rock n roll back into the mindsets of fans and music lovers worldwide with the band’s newest EP entitled ONE. The band have been playing together for a bit now since they formed in 2010. Since then they have released some Eps, been named Loud Wires best new artist of the year, got a lifetime fan of Tommy Shaw of Styx, who said the arrangements this band does especially on the cover of RENEGADE were impressive. I agree with Mr. Shaw this band knows how to create music, talent doesn’t even begin to explain it. The guys are young and have a bright future ahead of them. When I was introduced to them I looked up the band’s first single off this EP called REBEL and the vibe and tone of the song just really made me a fan off the bat. They are not doing anything off the grid with the music but the way they bleed together choruses and verses and just make you move your body and soul with carefree rock music, it really re-created the fun scene of yesterday in rock Like I said ONE has some great tracks on it and the single really gives you a good feel of what you are going to get from the rest of the album. But my total favorite song as of right now has to be CAN YOUHEAR ME. It has an upbeat groove to it and melodic as hell, sassy with tons of attitude and when the chorus kicks in you are going to be moving and singing along and just letting the stress of everyday life just escape your soul. FIGHT OR FLIGHT is the heavier track on the EP but still grooves with melody and vocals that bring you through a story of committing and being strong in your passions. START A FIRE and WE ROLL is swanky with southern charm, sexy vocals and bluesy after tones. This band knows what diversity of rock is and it just bleeds a little on this EP. Very excited about the tour plans and hope they make it to New England along with new full length album coming out in the future. I was able to chat with the guys after the bands record release party. Hope you enjoy these boys as much as I have this far…..
BEING FROM ALABAMA AND THE SOUTH MUSIC SCENE WHAT INSPIRED YOU GUYS TO GET A BAND TOGETHER AND START CREATING THE ROCK MUSIC YOU DO?
We started playing together shortly after high school. Seth, Eric, and Myself (Heath) all went to high school together and we started having jam sessions purely for fun. It just kind of snowballed the longer we played and we ran into our bass player Cody at a local show and he informed us that he was going to be in the band. It didn’t take very long for us to click. I think one of catalysts for the band was actually the fact that there was not a music scene locally at the time the band formed in late 2010. We had to build our own scene from the ground up, so that definitely was a big factor seeing all of our dedication and hard work start to develop a scene.
I READ THAT YOU GUYS WERE HONORED WITH THE LOUDWIRES BEST NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR AWARD. HOW WAS THAT FOR YOU GUYS AND HOW HAVE YOU BUILT ON THAT SINCE YOU GOT HONORED WITH IT?
It is an incredible honor to even be mentioned with such talent. Our fans, which we call Family, are very dedicated and we cannot be gracious enough to have all the incredible people on our team. It is an amazing honor to join the likes of previous winners such as Baby Metal, Saint Asonia, and Deuce. Loudwire is a fantastic media outlet and has a massive reach, so it has helped get our music and videos out to far more people and to people who may have never heard of SHALLOW SIDE if it was not for Loudwire.
NEW EP ONE JUST GOT RELEASED HOW HAS IT BEEN RECEIVED THIS FAR AND HOW DO YOU FEEL YOU GUYS GREW AS A BAND ON THIS NEW ONE?
The new EP “ONE” has been getting very nice reviews. We wanted to display a little more of a broad spectrum sonically than our two previous EPs and it has been perceived very well. We are stoked for an extensive tour cycle from this EP.
FOR SOMEONE THAT HAS NEVER HEARD OF SHALLOW SIDE WHAT DO YOU FEEL YOU GUYS BRING TO THE TABLE THAT DIFFERS FROM OTHER ROCK BANDS OUT THERE?
We have always taken a great amount of pride in our live show. We try to give the crowd an experience that leaves them wanting more. There are a lot more factors that go into putting on a show than just getting on stage and playing your catalog of songs. You have to let them feel what you are doing and move them in multiple ways, whether you get people dancing, or you move someone emotionally and really connect with a delivery that hits home. I think that is something that tends to get lost in the mix sometimes in this day in age and SHALLOW SIDE makes a conscious effort to make sure we always stay true to that aspect.
YOU DID A COVER OF RENEGADE BY STYX AND NOW HAVE A SOLID FAN IN TOMMY SHAW. HOW DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL AND HOW DID YOU COME UP TO COVER THAT SONG?
To have the approval of someone we grew up listening to is nothing short of spectacular! Tommy Shaw and Styx have been an inspiration to us for basically our whole lives, so that is an honor. We went into the studio knowing we wanted to do a cover song, and after pitching a few different ideas back and forth, we never found anything that stood out to us. As we were taking a break from tracking, trying to clear our heads, we noticed “RENEGADE” playing in the background and unanimously agreed that was the song to display our Rock roots, as well as, put a modern twist on a classic hit.
YOUR SINGLE VIDEO I SAW WAS FOR REBEL A SONG THAT I FELL IN LOVE WITH AT FIRST LISTEN. YOU GUYS PUT TOGETHER ARRANGEMENTS AND JUST SOLID WRITING ETHICS. HOW DOES THIS BAND DO A WRITING PROCESS AND HOW DID THIS SONG COME UP?
REBEL was a song that we wanted to let our southern for shine. It started like most of our songs do, with a riff that catches the ear, then we start arranging drums to make it move. Once we figured out a vocal hook it started basically coming together on its own and was very natural. The most challenging piece to “REBEL” was finding someone on the streets of Boston to feature on the track playing banjo.
FIGHT OR FLIGHT IS A HARDER EDGE TRACK. WHAT DOES THIS SONG LYRICAL MEAN TO YOU?
It is the hardest hitting track on the EP and the lyrical content drives the point home. Life is not all sunshine and rainbows. It is not about how many times you get knocked down, but rather how you respond when you get knocked down. SHALLOW SIDE understands this as well as anyone. We have had to overcome crippling injuries on multiple occasions, been left stranded on the road by crooked booking agents in our early stages of touring, but “quit” is not a word in our vocabulary. “FIGHT OR FLIGHT” is exemplary of this mentality that always has driven us to push forward.
WILL YOU GUYS BE DOING ANY LENGTHY TOURING FOR THIS NEW EP ONE? IF SO ANY DATES YOU CAN SHARE WITH US NOW?
We will be doing extensive touring for this EP. We have dates coming up in Las Vegas for Radio Contraband, as well as, Rock Into Spring. Bratfest and Rock Fest in Wisconsin are also on the docket as just a few of the high points for what we have coming up. All of our current dates and future tour announcements can be found at WWW.SHALLOWSIDE.NET
HOW WAS YOUR RECORD RELEASE PARTY?
The CD Release show was absolutely insane. We all had a 17 hour work day that day, not to mention the countless hours put in for promoting and getting the event setup to run smoothly. It was all worth it, though. The atmosphere was electric all night and people travelled from all across the country to attend the show. I could not come up with one negative comment about the show even if I picked my brain for hours. The production crew, Thermal Entertainment, all of the bands hit a homerun and the attendance was exceptional.
WILL A FULL LENGTH BE ON THE LOOK OUT FOR 2017 AND HOW MUCH DO YOU HAVE WRITTEN ALREADY FOR IT IF ANY AND WAS IT SOME SONGS THAT JUST DIDN’T MAKE THIS EP?
I cannot say for sure that it will be this year for another release, but we will definitely be working on new material throughout the year for our next release.
AN LAST COMMENTS?
Find Shallow Side on Social media, and if we are coming near your area while on tour, come check us out and be a part of the Family!
You can find all of our tour dates, merch including our new EP “ONE” and much more at www.shallowside.net FACEBOOK: WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/SHALLOWSIDEBAND TWITTER: WWW.TWITTER.COM/SHALLOWSIDEBAND INSTAGRAM: WWW.INSTAGRAM.COM/SHALLOWSIDEBAND YOUTUBE: WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/SHALLOWSIDEMUSIC
GETTING TO KNOW EMBER FALLS FROM FINLAND BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
Formed in 2010 Tampere, Finland’s very own EMBER FALLS have just released a new album entitled WELCOME TO EMBER FALLS. With a new vocalist who is creative, diverse and artsy to say the least the guys are showcasing broader musical outlet in the new album and letting the world see and hear them through digital music and video. The guys are a sex piece outfit that cross modern rock and metal with fiery riffs and pop sensibilities with beauty and harshness with electronic splurges to really create a spectrum for any and all true rock and metal fan The band signed with Spinefarm records and just released a single entitled SHUT DOWN WITH ME which has had some success in the bands homeland and on the internet, hoping to get to the states in 2017 the guys are gearing to get the music out to the masses so they can bring their high energy live show to a venue near you I had a chance to chat with Jussie Saurio about the name change, some tracks off the cd and how having 2 vocalists heightens the creative process when writing.
YOUR MUSIC IS SO DYNAMIC AND VERY DIVERSE WHEN PUTTING THIS BAND TOGETHER WHAT WERE YOU LOOKING FOR IN EACH OTHER TO FORM A BAND? When we started this band in 2010 we had a general idea that we wanted to make stuff that was basically a mix of more traditional heavy elements and modern poppy/electronic stuff. Our style has taken some detours over the years but overall, it's maintained that basic aesthetic.
YOU GOT A NEW VOCALIST I THINK BACK IN 2015 WHAT KIND OF DEPTH AND NEW EXPERIENCE DID HE BRING INTO THE BAND AND HAS THAT CHANGED YOUR MUSIC IN ANYWAY? Thomas is a great expressive singer with quite a unique voice, and is all in all a very intelligent and artistic person. He is definitely a key element of our sound and a great guy to have on board.
HAVING TWO VOCALISTS TO SHARE DUTIES WITH HOW HAS THAT HELPED IN CREATING YOUR STYLE OF MUSIC AND DO YOU GUYS BOTH WRITE LYRICALLY OR DO YOU LEAVE THAT FOR ONE PERSON? Having two main vocalists enables us to write parts for a broader array of different styles, pitch ranges and so on. Neither of the two singers are actually our main lyric writers, but they do contribute.
EMBER FALLS WASN’T YOUR FIRST BAND NAME WHY DID YOU CHANGE THE NAME AND WHERE DID THIS CURRENT NAME COME FROM? We kind of wanted a fresh start after the vocalist change and we also had an idea about shifting our style of music towards a more condensed and distilled form, so the name change seemed quite natural although there was some hesitation at first. The name EMBERFALLS is a reference to a fictional metropolis in the future.
YOU HAVE MADE SOME SUCCESS IN YOUR HOME OF FINLAND AND NOW YOU ARE GETTING THE WORD OUT IN THE STATES WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING YOUR MUSIC OUT TO THE STATES AND HAVE YOU EVER BEEN HERE BEFORE? We haven't played any shows there and most of us haven't been there, period. We would absolutely love to come - there's so much to see and experience in the US both as a band and just as a human being.
I LOVE THE TRACK FREEDOM OFF THE DEBUT DISC WELCOME TO EMBER FALLS HOW DID THAT SONG COME ABOUT AND LYRICAL WHERE DID YOU GET INSPIRATION FROM? That track is almost solely the brainchild of our synth player OneOfHaze, who wrote the music and most of the lyrics. The song is about love persisting through a cataclysmic event . _COE IS A TRACK THAT IS A BIT MORE AGGRESSIVE AND A LOT OF COOL GUITAR WORK. HOW DID THAT SONG COME UP AND WAS IT AN EASY OR HARDER TRACK TO WRITE? Our guitarist J-V basically wrote the song during the course of one day, so we can't say it was that hard. The vocals and lyrics took a few iterations, but all in all it was pretty painless as far as EMBER FALLS songs go. Usually we tend to take our time.
SHUT DOWN WITH ME IS YOUR DEBUT SINGLE AND VIDEO. DID YOU HAVE A BIG PART IN THE MAKING OF THE VIDEO AND HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE FINISHED PRODUCT AND ALSO WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS SONG AS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION TO THE DEBUT ALBUM?
We financed the video ourselves and had a lot of control over the artistic process, although on the photography/editing side we recruited outside help -- shout out to Juho Pelttari and Petri Siikanen who really did an amazing job.
ANY BACKGROUND STORY ON THE ALBUMS COVER? I think it's supposed to be an android of sorts. I don't know - it's come out from the weird, wonderful brain of our vocalist Thomas.
DO YOU HAVE TOUR PLANS FOR THE STATES AFTER THE RELEASE OF THE ALBUM IN FEBRUARY? WHO WOULD YOU LOVE TO TOUR WITH IN THE STATES? Plans: no. Dreams: yes. It would be great to tour with labelmates Amaranthe, for example.
ANY LAST COMMENTS? Thanks for the questions, and just to reiterate: we really would absolutely love to come to the States, but you guys need to stream hard and maybe buy an album or two for that to happen. Check us out and tell your friends and enemies about us if you like what you hear!
STAY IN TOUCH WITH EMBER FALLS https://twitter.com/ember_falls https://www.instagram.com/emberfallsband/ https://www.youtube.com/c/EMBERFALLS
CHRYSALIS RELEASES NEW ALBUM REMINDER AND HITS THE SCENE WITH A BANG BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
Like an animal in the wild hunting its prey, quiet, poised, confident and powerful the band CHRYSALIS is bringing music to the masses, just like that animal in the wild. Starting out as young kids making music and releasing the everyday tensions and stress of life through a young person’s eyes, these guys have grown into a mass of energy, diversity and confidence to be reckoned with. I was just introduced to the band a week ago, and have looked back on past records and dug it but on the bands recently released disc REMINDER the guys have grown leaps and bounds. Such a diverse creative piece of work from start to finish. From hints of Deftones influence, to more punk hardcore elements and a vocalist who can put any song into a story of compassionate, hurt and empathy depending on the track and the sense of reality this band is a good way for my ears to start 2017. I had a chance to speak with vocalist Yessi before they hit the road with the mighty Flaw. So read up, open your mind and bring your thoughts and senses into the world of CHRYSALIS and the mighty REMINDER album, worth every little listen you give it
How did the band come together? Is it all still the original members? I met Billy when I was 14 at a community pool in Barstow. A local band was playing a show and that got Billy and I talking about music. At that time, it was rare to find other musicians so I took the opportunity to jam with him and his brother. We went through many members before I met Jared in high school. We had guitar class together and Jared was the best bassist in the class. I knew we had to have this guy.
Your earlier career shows some impressive things as far as status on best Album Lists, Warped Tour appearances, etc. Looking back – what do you feel is the biggest accomplishment for the band and why? Our biggest accomplishment is recently being added to Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Charts. We are currently at 36 and we hope to climb as "REMINDER" gets more publicity.
You recorded the new album “Reminder” with renowned producer Ulrich Wild. How was that experience? If you could pick one album he worked on that inspires you – which one would it be and why? Also – what did he bring out in the band that made you grow during this recording? Recording with Ulrich was wild. (See what I did?) He's helped many artists in the past hone in on their uniqueness. My favorite project that he produced was Deftones' "White Pony" because it captured them in their prime. There's a certain rawness to his style of producing and he brought it out of us on this record. It's very organic but layered. We're very happy with the work we did with him.
How is everything going with the new album “Reminder” so far? Pretty good. Our single "MY ETERNITY" is getting added to many rock radio stations around the US. The album has already gotten some pretty good reviews in its first week of being released.
This record is quite diverse music-wise. When you started the writing process for this album – did you have a different mindset than for previous recordings? Did you want to focus on peaks and valleys in the sound throughout the entire CD? No. We just write from the heart and whatever comes out, comes out. We like many different styles of music, so our sound reflects that. I think if we ever found a sound that we repeated song after song, we'd get bored and miserable!
“Out Of My Hands” has a Deftones vibe to me – was that on purpose? How did that song come about and how was it to track in the studio? Some of the riffs for that song came from another idea that we trashed. This was one of those songs that had a chorus we liked and we built the rest of the song around it. As it came together, even the vocal hook-- which was originally our favorite part-- changed. Deftones has always been a huge influence so you'll probably hear that vibe in places all over our music.
“Up The Stairs” and your first single “My Eternity” have female vocals. Who are the ladies that sing on them? Do you feel that female voices help enhance the structure of the songs you write and give them a more powerful element? Brigitte Roka from Aboleth is featured on both songs. I love female vocals over our music because it adds more character to the songs. Plus, female vocals can impart more "air."
Speaking of the new single “My Eternity” – can you tell us about your process for coming up with the storyline of the video and the film that inspired it? Did your vision for the video come out the way you expected? With this video, we knew we wanted to do something that would stick out. We didn’t want it to be five guys in an abandoned warehouse somewhere like every other metal video out there. We liked the idea of doing something cinematic. We chose director Jonathan Martin after being blown away by the quality of his previous work. His short film “An Evening With My Comatose Mother” is currently the most awarded horror short on YouTube. Jonathan has an evil mind and interpreted the lyrics of “MY ETERNITY” in the darkest way possible. A woman gets murdered and is brought back from the dead during a satanic ritual. She then takes revenge upon her assailants. When Jonathan shared the idea, I was reminded of 90s horror films like Scream or I Know What You Did Last Summer. I love this era of horror because of its blatant disregard of being cheesy. The final cut of “MY ETERNITY” turned out much more dark than I imagined, while still being sort of cheesy fun at the same time. Because of Jonathan, we now get hate mail from Christians who tell us we’re Satanists and are doomed for an eternity of hellfire… Thanks, bro!
Did you have fun making the “My Eternity” video? What was the best part of it and what was the atmosphere on the set? We had a blast shooting “MY ETERNITY.” It was our first “real” production. Everything else we had done up to that point video-wise was more DIY. This was definitely a new experience. When we showed up on location, we saw that they had built this really cool set and there was a whole crew there. It was kind of like, “Whoa, this is for us???” We also stuck around after we were done with our part and watched the actors do their thing. It was cool. The video is story heavy; a lot of it doesn't even involve us, so our workload was relatively light making for a pretty relaxed atmosphere on set.
Vocally you have a very distinct sound. What inspired you to start singing? How many different styles of singing do you feel comfortable using? Are you going to continue to use different styles in future recordings, and are there any you haven’t tried yet that you want to?
The work of a vocalist is never complete. You have to always strive for improvement. I hope that on our next record, I'll be able to come off with more strength. I like to sing R&B, opera and lounge. My years in choir became extremely useful because I feel that style is what works best in a CHRYSALIS song.
“Borrowing Distance” is a harder, punkier sounding song. Is this the hardest edged song you’ve recorded thus far? What was the inspiration behind that track? I would say this is the heaviest song we've recorded. This is the first song where I challenged myself to write the entire thing without picking up an instrument.
“Sleep In The Rain” is one of my favorites on “Reminder” What is that song about lyrically? Will this be a potential future single? For me, “SLEEP IN THE RAIN” is about losing your sense of safety in a chaotic world. We might release it as a single. We'll see how things go.
Are you headlining on this upcoming tour, or are you supporting other acts? Will the set list be mainly the “Reminder” album – or will it be an even mix of all 3 albums?
We are doing support for Flaw and Whitney Peyton. We're a few songs from "REMINDER" but we like to keep some of our older songs from "FOCUS ON THE CENTER" in the set as well. We don't even play anything from our self-titled anymore. We were still in high school when we wrote that so our sound has changed a lot since then.
Chrysalis Tour dates
Jan 18, 2017 Thunder Alley Oklahoma City, OK Thunder Alley Jan 19, 2017 The Rail Club Fort Worth, TX The Rail Club Jan 20, 2017 18th St. Pier San Leon, TX 18th St. Pier Jan 21, 2017 BFE Rock Club Houston, TX BFE Rock Club Jan 23, 2017 Grizzly Hall Austin, TX Grizzly Hall Jan 24, 2017 My Place Abilene, TX My Place Jan 25, 2017 Backstage Lubbock, TX Backstage Jan 26, 2017 Launchpad Albuquerque, NM Launchpad Jan 27, 2017 Club Red Mesa, AZ Club Red Jan 29, 2017 Brick By Brick San Diego, CA Brick By Brick Jan 31, 2017 M15 Corona, CA M15 Feb 01,2017 Whisky A Go-Go West Hollywood, CA Feb 24 ,2017 Dynamite Vinyl Fresno, CA
Keep in touch with Chrysalis: Official Website: http://ChrysalisBand.Com Facebook: http://FaceBook.Com/ChrysalisBand Twitter: http://Twitter.Com/ChrysalisBand Instagram: http://Instagram.Com/ChrysalisBand Spotify: https://play.spotify.com/album/64xEyOvXAdAs03tx6exTn6 iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/reminder/id1190202867 Youtube: http://YouTube.Com/ChrysalisMusic
ORGY LIVE REVIEW @FREAKFEST WITH POWERMAN 5000 JANUARY 14TH, 2017 FETE MUSIC HALL, PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
It’s been quite a while since I saw the guys in ORGY in a live setting and when I did see them it was in an arena based outlet and I think it was the Family values tour so now I am totally dating myself. Of course, I got to know this band because of the band covering the sensational New Order song BLUE MONDAY and that song made them a household name in the techno, rock arena of bands. I fell in love with the bands look and the great album that came out in CANDYASS in 98. So, since it’s been that long I was thoroughly impressed because when ORGY hit the stage tonight the movement on stage was the first thing I saw and was happy with back in the day when see ORGY is less intensity on stage and more music based. Tonight, the guys were jamming like they really enjoyed the band brotherhood and the music they were playing. I will see I was unimpressed cause the lightening kind of sucked and I think the stage presence would have been intensified with better lightening but that is nor here or there what mattered is the set was packed with oldies but goodies, crowd participation and Jay Gordon sounded kick ass tonight. They played hits like STITCHES, BLUE MONDAY ended the night and of course FICTION was a total crowd pleaser. On this package, it was a full day of bands and it was a “FREAKFEST” SHOW so it was jammed back with sword swallowing antics, glass eater freaks and just a bunch of very interesting folk the whole day through. Halfway through the set the guys jammed out a new track they just released and I’m hoping that the new EP ENTROPY that I have been hearing about comes out in early in 2017 so I can get more on the new ORGY sound and let’s be honest it’s been a while since we heard some new stuff. But overall is you are looking into seeing the guys check out the tour right now with POWERMAN 5000 cause the guys have a new life onstage and the music sounds A+ on a live level and the stage presence is right in your face and sweaty. Great night just wished they played longer. Here is a snippet and collage of the night with ORGY
ART OF DYING MAKING WAVES WITH NEVERMORE EP AND SINGLE TORN DOWN BY: Stephanie Stevens
ART OF DYING has made major waves in the rock circa since the band hit the streets of Canada and woke up the rock world. Getting the attention of the guys in Disturbed which led them to getting a record deal and then just creating singles and music that made the radio rock age love them even more, these guys have the hard work ethic and bring to the table raw and devoted talent. The band formed in 2004 by vocalist Jonny Hetherington and then guitarist Greg Bradley. The guys didn’t waste any time releasing the debut album after the record signing and released the self-titled debut album which spawned the hits GET THROUGH THIS which started the track of getting the attention of the Disturbed guys after signing to Reprise records under the Intoxication label that the disturbed dudes put together, the band released VICES AND VIRTUES in 2011 in which they’re released GET THROUGH THIS and also made a hit with DIE TRYING and SORRY to name a few. Endless tours and countless road miles these guys are warriors of rock. With the writing of delicate and moving songs with rock sensibilities and lyrics that anyone can relate too makes them the rock movement of the 2000’s. 2015 another solid record came out entitled RISE UP which also was a song single and had guest appearance of Dan Donegan of Disturbed. Now 2016 just ended and the guys have made the move to go indie and do their own thing which is great for fans because it makes us get faster music and that is just what the band did. A EP surfaced entitled NEVERMORE and places a gut wrenching feel of emotions and true stories in each and every song. From the band’s first single of TORN DOWN which displays a tragic story of a teenage girl. To the hard-hitting punch of ALL OR NOTHING. To the sassy and classy melody of PARADISE and the dark and hearty tone of CAGES you can’t deny these guys have diversity, class and pure rock sensibility. I had a chance to throw out some questions to the guys about the new album that is being talked about and written, how tour life has helped them out and what they have waiting for Shiprocked 2017.
Tell me about the Pledge Music Campaign you guys are doing for your new album: It looks like fans could be a part of some decisions for you guys on this release? We’re raising money through PledgeMusic to help fund our ‘yet to be recorded’ 2017 full length album. It’s a really cool way to include fans in the process. Check it out at www.pledgemusic.com/artofdying There are still some signed items left in our pledge store as well as a few positions at our “fantasy record label” where we’re inviting a few special fans to join us in the studio and really get involved in the making of the record. This whole crowd sourcing thing is new to us, and we’re having a blast with it!
How much of the upcoming full-length album have you written and how is it transitioning from the “Nevermore” EP you recently released? We have a few ideas kicking around for the new record, but nothing is ‘in stone’ yet. I like the idea of writing an album during the period it is released - a true “record” of who we are own 2107.
The song called “Torn Down” from the EP is a song you wrote for a special person from a real life tragic story - can you tell us more about that?
It’s an unfortunate story about a girl named Amanda Todd who is from a suburb of Vancouver. She was targeted by an on-line predator and eventually committed suicide under the pressure. I came across her YouTube video, and it hit me hard. I hope ‘TORN DOWN’ is able to help anyone who’s in a dire position in their life.
You shot a live video for “Torn Down” – can you tell us why you decided to go that route as opposed to shooting something in a studio? What was the experience like? Our very talented friend and director Davo came out on our last tour and captured our road life on and off the stage, mostly in Las Vegas. These are my favorite types of videos, where you are truly witnessing our live show and what it’s like to be close to the stage. We did this on our 40-show headlining tour where it came very naturally.
Two songs I adore on the new EP are “CAGES” and “PARADISE”. Could you give a little insight on how those tracks were written and if you had trouble finding lyrical inspiration or melodies for these songs? Or did they come rather quickly?
They both came quickly. CAGES came from a mental picture… “In this body there’s a heart”. The idea of the body being a cage for our feelings, our souls, our rage. The idea of trying to escape our self-made prisons while we’re here on this earth. Hopefully we can each break free and find some liberty. PARADISE is about suffering. Suffering silently as I believe we all do to a certain extent, but we ‘get on with it’ and continue our lives. Like, losing a parent or grandparent… are you ever the same? You feel this loss, but then life catches up with you and you have to go on. I like the idea of if we’re all suffering alone, then we are really all connected through that. Same goes for happiness.
Through the years, I have loved how you guys have a lot of three part harmonies on your songs and records. How does that help on the creative side of writing and developing music for your band? It’s become an expectation we have of ourselves, so, when we’re writing, we’re always keeping the harmony in mind. Even picking the key of a song, I’ll be thinking “well Tavis will be singing a third above me and Cale below”. There is nothing like the sound of a few human voices harmonizing together.
In the early years of your career the band really put on your “road legs” with constant touring. How do you feel that has grown the depth and passion of your band? After all these years is road life easier or harder for you? Every tour we find our legs pretty quickly. We love being on the road. There are really not many words to describe it, you have to live it. I think we all bring the passion without the touring experience, but it has definitely brought some depth to our personal relationships which is the heart of band when it comes down to it.
Being an indie band now - have you guys developed a closer bond as band members and do you feel you can release better music without the label pressures, such as having time/budget limits and deadlines for records to come out? We are definitely closer as we are now at the helm, so we’re in constant communication on all aspects of our career - from the records, to the radio singles to running our own on line merch store. When it comes to the creative side, I’m actually amazed that Warner Bros and Eleven Seven allowed us to make the records we made with them with very little conflict. Looking back, the leaving of labels and signing new deals is actually what ate up the most time in-between albums. All of the hoops and lawyers really hold things up. Being indie is allowing us greater freedom to release music more frequently, which is what we like and I assume the fans will dig as well.
The band have had some great guest appearances on previous releases - on the new album is there anything in the works you can give a hint on about any special guests? We’ve been so fortunate to have family and friends in other bands jump in on our records. Nothing planned for this 2017 album, but we’ll see what transpires between now and then.
Are there any artists past or present you would have liked to, or would like to work with and why? I’ve always wanted to hang with Eddie Vedder.
“Get Through This” was the band’s first major hit and a big break. Looking back at the song would you change anything about it and how has the song evolved in a live setting from the beginning of your career? Wouldn’t change a thing.
The end of this month you will be setting sail on the “Shiprocked” cruise. You have done some fun tours - but what are you looking forward to on this “weekend of paradise”? Will the crowd be treated to some new, never before heard songs from the upcoming album?
We’re filming a music video on “Shiprocked” for our next single off of Nevermore, so I’m really looking forward to that coming together. Shiprockers are some of the greatest music fans on the earth, so we’re looking forward to performing for them and hanging with the fans and our friends in other bands.
Stay connected with A.O.D. Official website: https://art-of-dying.myshopify.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/artofdying Twitter: https://twitter.com/artofdying Spotify: https://play.spotify.com/album/5wZiijMUtUx9Llx77CzYnO iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/nevermore-ep/id1143922022 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/artofdying/ Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ArtOfDyingMusic
I’m a metal girl and rock princess at heart and I love all kind of music and one listen to SCATTERED HAMLET you probably would scratch your head wondering why I decided to put this band and the album SWAMP REBEL MACHINE on my top of 2016 list but it’s because these guys are doing everything they want inside their hearts and letting it all out in the music they create. The album is down south, honky tonk rock n roll. Nothing glammed up about it nothing fancy its music you either get down and shake your ass to and sit and have a beer with the band or you just give it a try and pass it off to another. For me it stuck and I cannot stop listening to the crazy ass rock melodies and swampy and dirty riffs this band comes up with. SWAMP REBEL MACHINE from front to back is a whirlwind of real guts and glory. BATTLE HYMM opens the cd with its sleaze and rock vibe and doesn’t stop the assault full on through the disc. BUCKSHOT is probably my favorite track because it just wreaks of southern charm, undeniable riffs and lyrics that hit you right in the face with reality. WHIP-POOR-WILL adds a funk assault, southern rock feel and gritty vocals. FOUR BARREL MOJO is another favorite starts out swanky and sexy and then gets a upbeat sassy rock assault to it that will be getting the girls dancing in their daisy dukes. All in all, SCATTERED HAMLET has southern charm, southern hospitality and just gives you a no hold barred, real stripped down music and I am a huge fan of theirs after this CD graced my email. I cannot wait to see what 2017 will bring for these dudes.
No denying ADELITAS WAY has that something something about them. Rock Band Excellence !!!
A band that I have been listening to since the bands explosion on the mainstream rock stations in 2009 is the Las Vegas based band ADELITAS WAY and since that first time that INVINCIBLE hit my ears I adored the way this band created songs laid lyrics down and honestly, they have not disappointed me through the years. Being probably one of the most Underrated bands out there and probably deserve a hell of a lot more recognitions then the band truly gets. Each single and album they release shows growth and a little more edge and experimental fun in the songs but still staying in the rock driven ambience the band is known for. Like I said the bands voyage in the rock world has only gotten better after the hit of INVINCIBLE and self-titled debut album; the guys released HOME SCHOOL VALEDICTORIAN in 2011 that spawned songs like COLLAPSE, SICK, CRITICIZE and probably the best “love song” out there “ALIVE” a song that means so much to me personally and shows that real men with real words exist; thank you Rick DeJesus! With the continued success of this album the guys didn’t release another record till 2014 but with STUCK the boys spoiled us with a sexy rock track with a punch in the gut with DOG ON A LEASH. GETAWAY was the last record in 2016 and with this more attitude and rock anthems exploded from this album with BAD REPUTATION and impressed with the very edgy and booty shaking style with LOW (another personal favorite). I mean look at this album and song list every album has a hit or more and has been on Billboard lists and still this band is just big enough in my mind! Exceptional writing, a broad style of rock music in each and every track. Vocalists who gives his all-in lyrics to his tone and style. Just a high class and edgy rock band from start to finish. 2017 will not be letting these guys rest either with a new album on the verge of release and for an early Christmas present to the band’s fans and to rock radio the guys gave us a taste of new music with READY FOR WAR (PRAY FOR PEACE) a highly assault driven song that gears you up for a taste of where the band is headed and what to look forward to in the new album. I had the chance just before the holidays to catch up with singer/songwriter Rick Dejesus so see when the new album will be out, how the band writes, favorite song to play and if he has any holiday plans. So, sit back n enjoy and if you haven’t had the chance take a run through the bands albums because I know you will fall in love with the tracks, band and the way they rock onstage. Just before this went up I was surprised by yet another new sneak peek at another new song entitled TELL ME which will be going on the bands 5th studio album. I’ll just call ADELITAS WAY “Santa” this year. Thank you
You dropped a new single recently, “Ready For War (Pray For Peace). Does this mean a new record is going to be dropping in 2017 and do you have a release date yet?
Yes - we are going to put a new album out in April!
On the single “Ready For War (Pray For Peace) - I love the way the song title and lyrics can relate to either world issues or in a relationship type atmosphere. Going into writing lyrics for this band where do you find inspiration and do you try to make songs wide range so people can relate to it in the way they feel fits?
I was inspired by our military and police officers who keep our country safe and put themselves out there to protect us, every day. They are constantly in training to keep us safe and free – sacrificing all for the greater good. I started seeing artists like Beyoncé make anti-officer songs - so I made one in the mindset of a cop before he puts it on the line, day in and day out.
In a roundabout way from a song riff or a melody how do you guys write songs or albums? Is it a solo kind of process or do you guys write as a unit?
I like to have the lyric and main melodies before anything, we have done it many ways but having a chorus seems to be my favorite way.
Have you guys ever done writing differently from the above answer and what song was it that you wrote?
Yes - on the “Stuck” and “Getaway” albums we tried jamming together as a band more live on a majority of the songs - such as “Filthy Heart”, “Save The “World, and “Dog On A Leash”.
How is the new stuff you are writing? Is it straying from the tone and vibe of the “Getaway” album or do you feel you have the same kind of vibe going for this new stuff?
I love the new music! That's why I'm so excited to put an album out, I’m in a very strong place creatively.
Does your dedicated fan base inspire you on topics, music, lyrics etc. When you’re ever writing for albums?
No… But they push me by being so great to us, I never want to let our amazing fans down.
What made you become a musician and if it was all said and done today what would be your proudest moment personally?
It was my path in this life, my destiny. Proudest moment is being a Dad. ;o)
Since the bands formation how do you feel the band has grown studio wise and live/tour wise?
We have grown a LOT, and are continuing to grow. We want to become masters of our craft: You never stop learning in music!
What’s your Favorite song to play live and why?
I love playing “Bad Reputation” - it has so much attitude.
How was the Scott Stapp tour you just did and did you hit any new markets you never played before?
Scott is great! It was an honor to play with him, he's a superstar in and out, and he's got the magic touch with writing massive hit songs.
What are you most grateful for this past year?
My family and health.
The Holidays are coming - if you could cover any classic holiday song what would it be and why?
“Jingle Bell Rock - because it’s a timeless classic and rocks! :)
Will you see family for the holidays and do you guys have any fun traditions?
We are a very festive family, it will be very fun and a blast to be with my kids.
Any New Year’s resolutions for 2017? If you do make them what is yours and if you don’t - why don’t you?
In 2017 I want to work even harder all around, in 2018 it will be to spend more time with family, but now it's time to work.
Lastly and I know we are supposed to stay in the future and present but I have to tell you that your song “Alive” always reminds me that true love and good guys are still out there and I Thank You for those precious words and making it such an inspiring and positive “love song”!
We love that you are so into it, Stephanie – Thank You! :)
Anything you want to tell fans or anything I forgot to ask that you guys are working on sooner than later?
Happy Holidays and have a great New Year!!!!!
TOUR DATES: Jan. 26th – Strummers – Fresno, Ca Jan. 27th – The Slide Bar – Fullerton, CA
Stay in Touch with Adelitas Way: Official Website: http://www.adelitaswaymusic.com Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/adelitasway Twitter: https://twitter.com/adelitasway Spotify: https://play.spotify.com/artist/1ZjAT2nTrzDIXFfsQ2hWJk iTunes/Apple Music: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/ready-for-war-pray-for-peace/id1153115499 YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/adelitasway
SCATTERED HAMLET; HONKY TONK METAL AT ITS BEST By: Stephanie Stevens
I love the grit and that southern sexiness that a band can put on record and then pour it out onto the stage, it takes music to a whole new level! That’s what you get when you hit a SCATTERED HAMLET show or pop in a cd or check them out on Spotify or Youtube. Sleazy southern, honky Tonk with a modern edge of rock thrown in for good measure. I have been addicted to the advance copy of the bands newest album SWAMP REBEL MACHINE since it popped up in my email. The band is part Skynyrd, part Molly Hatchet part Motorhead/Down and gives a blue collar no hold barred flair to the music. Coming from humbled roots these guys play real music coming from the soul and the passion they have for their craft. Not trying to impress with glitz n glam and that makes them some sexy, fierce gun slinging southern rock boys. The guys; Adam Joad - Vocals, Harmonica, Guitar, Jake Delling Le Bas – Drums, Richard Erwin - Bass, Vocals, Adam Newell - Lead Guitar, Vocals; have origins across the US and are no strangers to the touring scene and music making since the release of the band’s debut album SKELETON DIXIE which got them success in the music world along with a allegiance of fans; but with this stronger and more gritty sophomore album SWAMP REBEL MACHINE these guys are going to be breaking records and hearts through America well into 2017. I had a chance to catch up with Adam Joad before they broke loose on the road in November to start promoting the new disc. So, get to know these Southern darlings and check them out when they come to town you are going to fall in love.
I’m going to ask a typical first question but how did SCATTERED HAMLET start and where are you guys based out of? A producer friend of mine, Aristotle M., and I schemed up the SH project in his studio out in Iowa. He’s a super talented guy, he’s playing guitar in Otep now. Anyway, we wanted to make a project that built on the stuff that I do well and that represents where I came from. We thought there was room in the “Southern Metal” and “Southern modern rock” world for our approach. I was out in LA at that time so when we finished I went back out there and set out to get a band because I didn’t want it to be a solo project. Over the years and touring we’ve grow from that, but that’s how it started.
Who picked the band name and how does this name intertwine with your sound and the meaning of the band? I took it from a Civil War book, Scattered Hamlet’s are small dispersed settlements, like the place I grew up in Greene County. That’s where the music came from and a lot of our subjects we sing about came from areas like that. Some people dig the name, some people don’t, we’re not a subtle band so probably having a name that was not super obvious may not have been the best decision - I don’t know. It is what it is.
Has band lineup changed been good or bad for you guys and what do you think it takes to be in a road life, constant busy band these days? It has from the early days, the SWAMP REBEL MACHINE lineup is the lineup we’ve had for many years now, that’s the band’s core. We’ve had some extra musicians and even friends fill in from time to time but us four are SH. Being on the road is not easy, its uncomfortable, it makes thing hard back wherever you’re from and it’s not for everyone. We lost a lot of folks early on that thought they wanted it but just weren’t cut out for the road. That’s fine, it’s a different lifestyle for sure.
You guys put out a debut album a bit ago and toured a lot for it. Looking back what do you feel you learnt as musicians about that album and the cycle it gave you for and the success you had with it and how did that strengthen you for the new album? SKELETON DIXIE was the best album we could have made at that time. There’s a lot of great stuff about it and there’s a lot of things I’d change if I could re-record it but I’m sure all musicians say that. It captured that point in our lives/career. We’ve always known how to be a live band, being a studio band is what we had to learn. For SWAMP REBEL MACHINE, we got the balance down and it crushes the first one. It’s better on every level as far as I’m concerned. We eliminated a lot of the trial and error we had with that first one on this one. Experience helps.
Your releasing very soon a new album entitled SWAMP REBEL MACHINE where did the name come from and how does this album top your debut? The album mixes backwoods honky tonk culture with some subtle nods to magic and the supernatural. The old blues stuff always had a spiritual or dark quality about it, think of like the crossroads legends. Basically, we are the “SWAMP REBEL MACHINE” and the story follows our journey up from the swamps and back to the swamps --- it’s an actual album not just a bunch of cuts trying to be big singles. I listen to a lot of vinyl and all the records I think are timeless don’t sound like the modern race for a single. They had singles, but they had flow and they were cohesive. It’s in danger of being a lost art. But SRM picks up where SKELETON DIXIE left off and ends in a new space where eventually the new album will pick up ---- but I’m not ready to think about that yet, we need to get this one out.
Do you find it harder to write a sophomore album then it is writing a debut? They say you have your whole life to write your first album and a short time to write your second and that’s part of the sophomore slump or whatever. I have enough material in my head for 2 more albums right now and the guys do as well. We don’t have trouble writing and getting ideas, which is a good thing. Maybe that won’t be the case always so we try to get all the ideas down while we can.
You went with the same producer you worked with on the last album what made you stick with him and what elements do you love being in a studio vibe? We did go with him but Jason Donaghy and Jake Rodenhouse did this as a team. We actually did a lot of self-production on SKELETON DIXIE too and we recorded it in several locations to make it happen. This one we recorded the bulk of it live at NRG studios in North Hollywood. We didn’t do any self-production on it either, this was a proper studio experience and we got to cut it at a place many great albums I listen to often were done. That’s badass and it was a great experience.
What song off the this new one has won a place in your heart and why? Right now we all really like “THE LESSON,” which is basically an 8 minute stoner rock style journey where we imagine playing cards with the ghosts of Duane Allman, Ronnie Van Zandt and the rest of the Skynyrd boys, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and Waylon Jennings. Anyway, they teach us the outlaws have all left Nashville and this sends us on a journey to drown bro-country artists in the Tennessee River down by Muscle Shoals to regain control ----- So yeah, it’s an interesting one and the only song on the album like that obviously, ha ha. Personally, I really like GREEN BASTARD and Outlaw Breed too. I think GREEN BASTARD is one of the best tunes I’ve ever written.
I heard back in the day you guys got to hang out with some wrestling stars…do you like wrestling and if so how do you compare the new age to the old age? We like it all, the other guys are like encyclopedias of pro-wrestling. I dig it but I’m more into Mixed Martial arts and fishing. Last tour in Nashville the fellas met a bunch of the WWE guys when we both had shows in the area. We still keep in touch with a few of them. Viktor from the Ascension has been great to us. He always retweets our stuff and I know we have a WWE promo box of cool stuff coming so that’s pretty epic. I think the lifestyle pro-wrestlers live from what I’ve gathered is very similar to being a touring musician.
I love the sound you guys have with the gritty southern charm. Had you guys always grown up with music like this and if you could give us one band or artist you looked up to that would surprise us who would it be and why did you like them? Thanks. Yeah I came from a place where every year we’d go watch Skynyrd, the Steve Miller band and Hank Williams Jr. At the same time, everyone dug AC/DC and like Guns and Roses. So, for me our blend comes pretty natural. I actually listen to a lot of music people wouldn’t think I do. I’m a huge fan of Air Supply, The Cars, Cheap Trick, Hall and Oates ---- I’d take a break from SH in a minute if for some reason Mike Ness ever needed a bearded hillbilly fill guitarist in Social Distortion. For me though, Springsteen is my all-time favorite. A buddy of mine was playing with the E-Street band and let me come see the workings of a Boss show and it was incredible. I also borrow more than my fair share from Kiss too, but way more people do than admit it!
What’s touring looking like for the future for the band and looking to get on any bands certain tour or take anyone out that you like for a headline? We’re out all November pushing the new album in the middle of the country. Early next year we’re hitting the east coast and the deep South. After that the future is always unwritten. We’d love to get out there with some other bands. I think having SH support bands like Down, Nashville Pussy, Clutch, Corrosion of Conformity or even like Valient Thorr, Revolution Mother or Honky would be killer. I’d love to do something with Black Label Society too. There’s so many. A lot of smaller bands hit us and want to come on tour with us because they really dig the project but unfortunately we aren’t in a position where we’re consistently drawing enough people everywhere that we can bring out a band with no tour experience that doesn’t have any type of draw yet. I’m flattered we get hit up with this so often and I feel bad for having to turn folks down but that’s the reality. We do draw enough in most US markets now where we could be a good support for someone. One day as we grow I hope to be able to pick some killer opening acts though to come out with us. We’ve had bad luck with tour packages, I think we’ve had 4 or 5 direct support tours cancelled by different headliners now. That’s been very frustrating.
How would you describe a live stage show for people who have never seen you? It’s the Hillbilly Side Show extravaganza. If you like our recordings, you’ll love the live show. If you don’t like our recordings, there’s a good chance you’ll be entertained by our show. We try to make it fun for everyone even if we aren’t exactly your style of music. We can be an acquired taste. I didn’t like Wild Turkey the first time my grandfather gave me a shot.
If you could party with one music legend who would it be and why? I’ve gotten to meet quite a few and that’s been a very epic part of my personal music journey - I’d love to take Ted Nugent bow hunting down by me or Muskie fishing down on the PA/WV border. It’s funny, social media is crazy. Many times, when I want to talk to someone I put out the word on social media and a friend of a friend or some arrangement has made it happen on more than one occasion which is pretty damn cool.
Any last comments? No, I can’t think of anything. We appreciate you taking the time to check out the album and talk with me. Anyone reading this if you dig SH or other bands make sure you go see them live and legally pick up their music. That helps us all keep going.
BOSTON GIRL Meaghan Casey CHATS IT UP ABOUT BANJOS, FOLK AND THE LOVE OF COUNTRY AND LOCAL MUSIC. By: Stephanie Stevens
I had a chance to chat it up with a local guitar and banjo picking female in the likes of MEAGHAN CASEY. She is a folky artsy and creative local girl of Boston, MA and she is making some noise for her unique and open hearted music.
Check her out, catch a show and promote and support local music because one day these people will not be local anymore and you would have lost out.
When you were young what got you into listening to music and when did you know that you were hooked? As a kid, I was introduced to bands like The Beatles, Blondie, The Cure and traditional Irish music from my family. I started playing violin when I was in 3rd grade, but it was when I got my first guitar at 13 I realized I had the bug. I started getting into 70s and 80s punk/hardcore and attending local shows as much as humanly possible. It’s a beautiful catharsis I couldn’t imagine being without.
How would you describe your sound to people who may not know who you are and who do you feel is your most influential artist and what made you get influenced by them? A drunk stray dog howling the blues. I’m influenced by so many talented bands, both local and at a larger scale, but old-school country is probably my biggest influence. I’ve realized there are many parallels between punk and outlaw country, particularly in attitude and sense of community, that keeps me hooked. Like most teens, I felt like a complete outcast (still do), and music gave me confidence and a community to belong to. To pin point an artist, I guess I’d have to say Loretta Lynn, because she was an underdog and her lyrics broke the boundaries for female artists and what they sang about. If you don’t know what I mean, listen to “Rated X” or “The Pill”.
How do you write songs and do you get more inspiration on being surrounded by crazy city life or more country low key life? My song writing process is sort of all over the place. Some days I’m pulling over on the side of the road writing down lines, other days I get my coffee, do some meditation, and record an hour+ jam session. I think traveling to both rural and urban areas influence me in different ways. Having lived in Boston, I certainly loved the non-stop stimulation for my creativity, but living in less urban areas I’ve learned can be equally inspiring.
How big of a difference is it playing guitar and banjo and what do you tend to go more to then the other? My banjo playing style is neither claw-hammer or traditional, I’ve been told its almost a “backwards Scruggs” style. I use that picking style on guitar too, but I suppose the big difference is in tuning. Five string Banjos are traditionally tuned to an open G, but you can easily do that on a guitar. I’ve only played banjo for about a year and a half, but I try to be fair to both instruments in playing and writing.
Your first EP WOLF HOUR where did the name come from and what lyrically created the songs on this EP? While I was recording at Panamaquono Studios, my producer and I were having post-recording beers and it was getting late. He said “It’s almost Wolf Hour”, and the rest was history. There’s an Ingmar Bergman film titled “Hour of the Wolf” and he describes it as, “"The hour between night and dawn. The hour when most people die, when sleep is deepest, when nightmares are most real. It is the hour when the sleepless are haunted by their deepest fears, when ghost and demons are most powerful, the hour of the wolf is also the hour when most children are born.” This EP was a combination of songs I’ve written in different and daunting times in my life, but it was also leading to a sort of rebirth. It was meant to be.
you were born in Denver but grew up in Mass two great places do you ever go back to Denver and would you ever thing of relocating again? Unfortunately, I have yet to return to Denver, but I’m hoping to get a nation-wide tour and spend as much time there as I can. I’m pretty rooted in Mass at the moment, but you never know.
Being you’re a solo artist and looking into touring into 2017 have you gained a backup band and if so what do you look for in other musicians to get your music sounding like it should in a live space? I haven’t gained a back-up band, even though I’ve played a few shows with a variety of people. The most important thing is playing with someone who has a sense of humor and a pure love of song. If they dig the same type of music, that’s an added bonus. Playing solo is my main game right now though.
Where do you play when you’re around the New England area and where is your favorite place to play around this area and why? I play wherever I can…mainly Rhode Island, Mass, New Hampshire and Vermont. My favorite place has to be The Shaskeen in Manchester, NH. The staff is beyond wonderful, the food and beer selection is equally great, and their support of local music is superb. There’s always a great line up to look forward to every week. Even though it’s a hike for me, it’s always worth it.
How do you feel about radio play vs video play and will we see a official video to incorporate into the EP; I know you did one for ROOTS but something a little more technical? Right now, I’m more focused on song writing than visual promotional elements. Maybe for my full-length I’d consider doing one, but I’d rather put the money and effort into having a great sounding album and substance in my songwriting. Not something I would rule out; I think for me I just need to continue working on my skills.
You did a cover of Waylon Jennings song LONG WAY FROM HOME why did you choose this artist and song and will this be on a future CD? Oh, Waylon. That particular song really hit home for me for personal reasons. I don’t usually aim to record covers for any of my CDs, perhaps in the future, but as I said previously my main focus is songwriting.
What is I-95 about? I wrote most of I-95 while traveling back from a music festival in Fresno, Ohio in a Red Roof Inn. The main message the song touches on is the importance of staying true to yourself, even if it gets difficult and you have to burn some bridges on the way.
Any last comments? Thank you so much! I’m excited to continue working on my full-length, and embark on my Fall tour with Kiel Grove and Scrimmy & the Bingo Wings this November. You can find me on facebook at www.facebook.com/meagbostonmusic
BATTLECROSS: BRUTAL, DIVERSE, POWERFUL, REAL By: Stephanie Stevens
I’ll be honest with you I had never heard of BATTLECROSS before I went to THE FURY tour when it hit Rhode Island. Watching this band throw the energy and heavy vibe out onstage I was blown away and usually it takes a lot for me to like a band in a live atmosphere especially if I am not familiar with the band’s music but the overall stage presence and the music engulfed me and I was pretty much glued to the stage. So of course, after that night I wanted to learn more about the band so I was able to get linked up with the them and get a quick but informational interview done with the boys. So BATTLECROSS for anyone not too familiar with them is a from Detroit, MI, and has a combination sound of thrash, metal, death and are not in the music for trendy bullshit or fads. They are true to their inspiration and the music they love and it shows on the band’s latest album RISE TO POWER. The songs have an array of sound, so different but have a common signature that makes it a BATTLECROSS sound. The band has hit numbers on Billboard top 200 charts, with the bands older album WAR OF WILL and now have had the fortunate opportunity to keep touring and supporting the band’s latest album RISE TO POWER over a year now and keeps surprising metal fans on a live front daily. They write from the heart musically and lyrically and they want to inspire people with the music, live show and the humble great personalities of these musicians. I was able to get guitarist Hiran Deraniyagala while on the Fury tour to answer some questions about future records, Halloween plans and the up n coming headlining tour they have set up.
Metal Blade records has a keeper with this band and album!!!
RISE TO POWER has been out for a bit now is the band working on new material for a new record? We’re slowly dabbling into writing new material. To be honest we haven’t been rushing anything at all trying to write. We’re still focused on touring for RISE TO POWER and trying to avoid any pressure to write to meet a “deadline”
Do you guys keep writing to a minimal on the road and focus more when back home or does it not matter? Generally, we prefer to write at home but if any idea ever strikes any one of us we don’t hold back on working it in the moment. I personally prefer to write at home where I’m most comfortable.
With RISE TO POWER you guys had a heavier darker even more aggressive vibe going on what was going on with you guys as you wrote for this past record or was it more of just a progress in the writing development of the band? I think it’s a bit of both. We don’t like to box ourselves in to any particular writing style other than trying to keep the songs heavy or energetic. With each album, you tend to progress in your writing style and learn from your mistakes or experiences. Writing for RTP was much more relaxed in my personal opinion compared to WAR OF WILL but our time span to write these songs was much less compared to the first and 2nd album. That can be a good and bad thing but overall we felt really good about these songs. I think when creativity starts to flow it doesn’t matter how much time you have.
You guys pride yourself on not doing the same thing twice and on this last record you can tell that each song is your own but has different vibes song to song. Is this due to so many musical influences that the writing can be so cross the board? Yeah we definitely come from a background of various influences and we don’t like to hold back on letting that show in our music. We also don’t want every song to sound the same so we’re not afraid to experiment with trying different things with each song.
If you could take one song off this last record and take it for a blueprint of the direction you want the new music and record to be which track would it be and why? Tough question but I’m going to say “NOT YOUR SLAVE” I feel that song has the right amount of groove, brutality and speed that I like when I listen to metal. I think it showcased a variety of styles in one song which is what I like about our writing style. Whether there will be another similar type of song on the next record, I can’t say because I still feel that we always write from our gut and with an open mind. As I stated before we never like to do the same thing over and over again but we definitely take notes as to what songs hit the most with our audience.
Proudest moment on RISE TO POWER and why? My personal proudest moment on the album was the song “BLOOD AND LIES” That song was one that I personally wrote a lot of riffs for but worked with Tony on to construct and piece together. I think it was one of those songs that most people wouldn’t expect from us. I think it has the darkest vibe than any other track which is what I love personally. It incorporated a lot of various styles of metal and I felt it was one of the songs that had various dynamic.
Your drummer Alex is the newest member but now not to new anymore did he have a say in writing for the last record or just recorded in the studio? Alex was our drummer at the time of writing and recording the album. We sent him ideas as we were writing and had him come out for a week to work out some parts. When writing we generally have a basis for drum ideas but definitely didn’t limit Alex with ideas. Certain ideas we felt strongly on we tried to guide him on that direction. Alex was great to work with and definitely delivered in the studio and on the stage.
Will he have a part in writing the new stuff? And do you guys write in a collaborative way as a group always? No, he will not have a part in the new material. We have Brian Zink drumming for us and we definitely plan on working with him for the new material. We always try to work in a collaborative way. Individually we’ll come up with our own ideas but we prefer to work together as a band on the songs and flesh out ideas and structure.
Will you be working with Producer Jason Suecof again or do you feel working with new Producers each record brings out new elements of you guys as musicians? We haven’t discussed who we’ll be working with next but working with Jason Suecoff and Mark Lewis was an awesome experience and we’re definitely open to it again. Jason definitely helped shape the songs on RISE TO POWER. Jason and Mark are one of the most talented musicians and producers out there and working with them was an absolute pleasure and an honor.
Going back to your time with Jason in the studio what do you think he brought out of you guys as a band and musicians that you never thought you had and have you gained confidence in your playing from that? Jason is truly a musical genius and he definitely has a way of thinking that is unique to each band he works with. Jason gave us a lot of ideas as far as structure and riff/solo ideas. He definitely pushed us to another level of playing and gave us ideas that we probably would’ve never thought of on our own. He has a really good ear so it was both a rewarding yet sometimes frustrating process haha.
You’re on the Fury tour right now with some killer bands how is it being able to play every night with these bands and have what has been on highlight on the tour thus far? It’s awesome to be out with such a diverse and awesome lineup of bands. Soilwork and Unearth have definitely been an influence to some of us in the band so it’s an honor to share the stage with them. I think we’re in a solid spot as far as the lineup goes because it gives us a chance to play in front of new faces which is always good. I think the highlight has been playing some interesting/new venues that we haven’t played before.
What is going on after this tour is all done? After this tour, we’re doing a headline tour called the Winter Warriors Tour with Allegaeon and Necromancing The Stone. The tour is offering tickets through VetTix for Veterans to be able to attend the show for free. This will be the third year of Winter Warriors. We’re excited to get out there and do a headline run along with having killer support.
Will you be doing anything exciting for Halloween this year? We actually have a day off but not sure what we’re gonna do. I have a bunch of horror movies we could watch but we’ll be in the Seattle area so we may try and hang around there. Enjoy some herb and beers and watch horror flicks, sounds like a good Halloween to me.
Last comments? Thanks to all of our fans that support us and to all the new fans we’ve made so far on the Fury Tour. Please come and hang out with us on this tour and The Winter Warriors tour! See you guys soon!
Boston, Ma’s very own THIRTY SILVER is a rock-punk-metal outfit that has described themselves as a blend of White Stripes, Sabbath and Zepplin. This duo who consists of Drew Smith (guitar and vocals) and Joe Z (drums) have had a very DIY routine and has booked their own tours, shows, released their own music and even started their own record label; Tux Cat Records. Formed in 2014 the guys have put out two full length albums a 5 song EP and is getting ready to release in November of this year the newest creation a EP called DUSK which is being put out on Bad Taco Records. I had the chance to speak with vocalist and guitarist Drew Smith about why they signed with another label, what the band name means and what the band is doing for shows and future tour plans.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR YOU GUYS TO COME FROM BOSTON, MA AND HAVE HAD SOME SUCCESS IN A DIY FASHION THIS FAR? Drew: It feels great! To me it means that we’re doing something right.
WHAT IS THE BANDS NAME THIRTY SILVER ALL ABOUT? Drew: We wanted a name that didn’t just scream a genre or a sound, and instead let people listen and form their own ideas about us. I’ve got my own reasoning behind the name as well, but I like to see how people interpret the name.
YOUR RELEASING YOUR NEW EP ENTITLED DUSK ON NOV 1; HOW DOES THIS DISC DIFFER FROM YOUR PRIOR EP AND WHAT CAN FANS LOOK FOR WITH THE SONGS? Drew: I think people can expect to hear some more refined songwriting. I love LOST SAINTS, but we try to step it up with every new release.
WHAT DOES RAGGED MEAN TO YOU AND HOW WAS THAT SONG WRITTEN? Drew: We wrote RAGGED the same way a lot of our songs come together; Joe and I were in the room together and started jamming, and that song started pouring out, and lyrics started getting tossed into it. I’m usually much more interested in what a song means to people that are hearing it, though. I like to let other people decide what they think it’s about.
YOU DID A COVER OF THE HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THAT SONG AND HOW DID YOU CHANGE IT UP? Drew: HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN is one of my favorite blues songs, and one of Joe’s as well. We decided to cover it because I’ve never heard that song done quite the way we do it, which brings a lot of punk swagger to it.
I DIG THE SONG MONSTER WHAT LYRICALLY DID YOU WANT TO GET ACROSS ON THAT SONG? Drew: MONSTER is very inward looking, lyrically. I wanted the listener to get a sense of isolation.
YOU SIGNED TO BAD TACO RECORDS BUT ALSO HAVE YOUR OWN LABEL TUX CAT RECORDS. WHY DID YOU GO LOOKING FOR A LABEL FOR YOU OWN BAND WHEN YOU COULD HAVE RELEASED IT ON YOUR OWN LABEL? Drew: We got an offer from Bad Taco Records after our friends in Rocket Brigade introduced them to our music; we started talking to the owners and they were really great guys, so we thought we’d give it a shot and see how it went releasing DUSK on their label.
GROWING UP WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION MUSICIALLY AND NOW THAT YOU HAVE GROWN HAS THAT INFLUENCED CHANGED NOW A DAYS? Drew: Growing up I’d say an even split between Queen, Bruce Springsteen, and Black Sabbath. Nowadays, it’s just every sound I hear; I’m a huge music fan, I love Soundgarden, the Melvins, Toadies, the White Stripes, and too many others to count.
IF YOU COULD TOUR WITH ONE CURRENT BAND OUT NOW WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY? Drew: There’s too many I’d want! If I could pick two I’d say Soundgarden or the Melvins. Buzzo! Let’s do a thing.
IF YOU COULD CO WRITE A SONG WITH LIVING OR DEAD WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY AND WHAT WOULD THE NAME OF THE SONG BE? Drew: I’d have to say Brian May, I’ve always loved his songwriting and guitar playing. As for what the song would be, wouldn’t know that until we started playing.
ON DUSK ARE YOU ALREADY SINGLING OUT A SINGLE FOR THE EP AND IF SO WILL A VIDEO OR A RADIO PUSH BE GIVEN? Drew: We don’t tend to pick out singles (I think the entire EP is solid front to back, don’t make me choose!), but there is a video or two in the works from DUSK.
WHAT DOES TOURING LOOK LIKE FOR YOU GUYS THROUGHOUT THE REST OF 2016 AND 2017 Drew: We’re on the road through most of October and part of November this year, hitting the East Coast and Ohio. 2017 we’re going back on the road through the Midwest, Northeast, and South. There’s going to be a lot of shows, so check our website and sign up for our mailing list to get the dates.
LAST COMMENTS Drew: Come to a show. You’ll see what the deal is.
Unearth live on FURY TOUR PROVIDENCE METAL FEST 3 FETE MUSIC HALL…PROVIDENCE, RI 10/14/16
Friday the city got metal up’d early as the Fete music hall brought together a ton of local bands and the Fury Tour with Soilwork, Unearth, Battlecross, Wovenwar and Darkness Divided and had a huge Metalfest show (actually the third one for the city of Providence). I got to the venue later then the start of the show so I missed a lot of the local talent but from word of mouth heard they all killed it on their sets and the show was an all-around solid night. My main focus was to get there in enough time to check out UNEARTH because for one I haven’t seen them in forever and two I had a job to do. I have to admit the show was running a little late and I was able to check out Battlecross who stole my heart since this was the first time I saw them. Then after a little break UNEARTH took the stage and came out with 100% energy and killed it with a mix of songs and a great presence as they have been doing since the inception of the band. What is it now 15 years ago or so. Holy crap how times flies. I became a fan in 2004 when they released THE ONCOMING STORM and then my love for them in a live passion and an album front when they released both THE MARCH and DARKNESS IN THE LIGHT. Tonight the guys tried to fit in old and new but to me I felt like they got the short end of the stick cause the set seemed pretty short unless I was enjoying it so much that the time just flew by. But I would definitely recommend a live show to see UNEARTH and if you are a metal fan and you haven’t seen these guys yet your pretty much not metal and your missing out on a solid live performance. Along with a live show that is applauded often the bands new disc WATCHERS OF THE RULE, the bands 6th album has been out since 2014 but the band on this one is still prevailing over changing trends and stay true to their metal roots. Still Blue collar, Still Boston Strong and still metal as ever UNEARTH is the real deal. I got to get some snippets of the bands set to give you a little incentive to go see them in a town near you on the Fury Tour.
NY sports anthems penned by a NY hardcore legend and songwriter extraordinare Harley Flanagan and Chris Clemence By: Stephanie Stevens
Photo Cred: Tessa Knox
Chris Clemence a songwriter, bass player, NY Native and was in a band called Screaming at Demons, but most known for a song that dominated the World Cup in 2014 called CAN YOU FEEL IT. Harley Flanagan known for his mighty importance in the band Cro-Mags, bass player, vocalist, NY native and book writer. Combine these two guys together with the likes of Madison Square Garden’s game entertainment man Ray Castoldi to write a new Anthem for The New York sports teams you know you’re going to get something gritty, real, big, and powerful.
I had the pleasure to chat with Chris and Harley about the new track they did together, future works with each other, if they had a love for sports and what growing up in NY means to them
WHAT CAME FIRST FOR YOU, SONGWRITING OR YOUR LOVE FOR PLAYING BASS? WHEN DID YOU KNOW BOTH COULD MAKE YOU A CAREER? Chris: I think both came simultaneously for me. As soon as I picked up the bass I was always trying to create my own riffs and lines and kind of just learned both at the same time. The best is playing live shows because you learn what works live and what doesn’t. Just because you record something cool doesn’t always mean it will translate in a show situation. I think after I started playing live is when I realized this could be my career. I used to do these basement shows as a teenager and charge $5 bucks a head. Got hooked and just amplified that, playing bigger and bigger shows and started to write better songs that got licensed. It’s one of those things you look back on and it’s like you wished for it, and now it’s happening.
IN THE PAST YOU HAVE COLLABORATED WITH SOME MUSICIANS SUCH AS CHAD SMITH FROM RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, WENDY STARLAND (LADY GAGA), ETC. HOW HAS THAT HELPED YOU EVOLVE YOUR SONGWRITING CAPACITY AND WHO TAUGHT YOU THE MOST THIS FAR IN YOUR CAREER? Chris: I love collaborating with other musicians, especially those who have different stylistic backgrounds than me. There’s always something to be learned from each situation. I don’t know if I can pin point one person or situation that taught me the most, but my writing stems from all my collective experiences so far. I’m always trying to evolve, to top myself… to write a bigger hit.
YOU’VE TEAMED UP WITH HARLEY FLANAGAN (CRO-MAGS) TO PEN A SONG FOR THE NY SPORTS TEAMS… HOW DID YOU HOOK UP WITH HARLEY AND WHAT MADE YOU GUYS BOND AND WANT TO DO THIS SPECIAL THING? Chris: I just asked him (Harley) haha! When I first sat down with Ray (Castoldi, director of Game Entertainment at Madison Square Garden), we discussed wanting to do a song together for the New York teams. One of my hits “CAN YOU FEEL IT” was a big song for the NY Rangers, so I wanted to follow that up, but this time really tap into the gritty spirit of New York. And it was a no brainer. I needed to get the king of New York Hardcore, Harley Flanagan, to get that vicious, primal sound of the NY streets. I was really stoked when he said he wanted to be on board and when the three of us got in the room to write together we just had this awesome chemistry and clicked. We got the first draft of the song all completed in only 2 hours, it kind of just flew out.
HARLEY, WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO GET INTO WRITING FOR A SPECIAL THING LIKE THIS AND HOW DID WORKING WITH CHRIS INSPIRE YOU? Harley: Chris and Ray had already teamed up to work on some songs, Chris had the idea of reaching out to me; he had the vision of my voice on some of the songs they had started working on, and obviously I jumped at the chance to work with them on a project like this. I am really excited about it. It’s very different from anything I have ever done. I have done plenty of “Hardcore” Punk type anthems with sing along parts, but this was a first. It’s cleaner and more commercial but it worked really well with my growl over it and it was a lot of fun to work with these guys and do something that’s different from what I’m used to. I am very happy to be a part of it and I can’t wait to hear it at MSG.
COULD WE SEE MORE THINGS WITH YOU TWO WORKING TOGETHER? IN THE FUTURE? Harley: Absolutely! It was fun to collaborate on this and I’m sure it will happen again.
“CAN YOU FEEL IT “ WAS WRITTEN IN 2014 AND WAS PLAYED AT THE SUPER BOWL, STANLEY CUP, WORLD CUP AND IN COUNTLESS STADIUMS AND BIG COMMERCIALS. NOW, YOU’RE LOOKING INTO MAKING ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL TRACK FOR MORE SPORTS TEAMS, WITH THE WORLD HAVING MORE ISSUES SINCE 2014. DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE TO WRITE A CERTAIN WAY FOR A SPORTS ORGANIZATION BECAUSE SO MANY LOVE SPORTS IN GENERAL OR DO YOU GUYS WRITE ON HOW YOU FEEL AND HOW SPORTS MOVES YOU? Chris: “CAN YOU FEEL IT” was never actually written for sports. I wrote it in a garage in southern California and just thought it had a big stadium kind of sound, which is ironic given the place I wrote it. It was kind of a happy accident because I was playing an NHL video game and listening to the final mix of the song and got the idea…” Hmmm, this song would be perfect for sports events…”. I started hitting up the teams and luckily they loved the song and started playing it at their games. It all just kind of snowballed from there, then FOX called, Carl’s Jr., Mercedes, CBS… it was a trip. Similarly, this song we are doing together is not just for sports. It’s for New York. It’s for everyone. The energy and message coincides perfectly for the teams so it will be blasting in their stadiums, but it’s really about tapping into that never quit attitude and overcoming any obstacle thrown at you.
IF YOU CAN GIVE US A LITTLE INSIGHT ON WHAT THE SOUND AND ATMOSPHERE OF THE TRACK IS OR HOW IT IS COMING ALONG WOULD YOU BE ABLE TO WITH OUT GIVING A LOT AWAY? Harley: You hear it once and it sticks with you. It’s a total sing along song, it’s fun, but it has a toughness to it. I can totally hear this at a sports arena. The message is to never quit, to fight to the end, “knock us down we’ll get back up again,” and that’s New York right there.
ONCE THE TRACK IS OUT WILL YOU BE PERFORMING IT LIVE AT SOME SPORTS EVENTS? Harley: I would love to. We will have to see what happens.
GROWING UP FOR BOTH YOU AND HARLEY, IF HE CAN ANSWER THIS ALSO, WHAT SPORTS TEAMS DID YOU LOVE OR PLAYERS OR BOTH AND WHAT DOES THE WHOLE SPORTS ORGANIZATION MEAN TO YOU GUYS? DID YOU GUYS PLAY SPORTS GROWING UP? IF YES, WHAT AND WHY DID YOU STOP? Chris: I’m from NY so definitely the Rangers, Giants, and Knicks. I used to play hockey actually, still have the scars haha. Harley: I never played team sports growing up. I played music and got in trouble, lots of it; check out my book. But I competed in Jiu-Jitsu for many years and I have my Black Belt under Master Renzo Gracie. I teach at his NYC Academy one block away from MSG. I stopped competing in 2012 cause of some injuries, but I still train and I teach 6 days a week. As a New Yorker I have always supported the NY Teams, I have always rocked their gear with pride because they represent our city, and you got to have pride in where you’re from and the teams that represent your city. As a New Yorker, I am proud to be a part of this.
CHRIS, HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE WHOLE SONGWRITING FOR ORGANIZATIONS LIKE THE NFL, NHL, NBA AND WILL YOU CONTINUE AFTER THIS IF THEY ASK TO KEEP PENNING FOR THEM? Chris: Like I said earlier with “CAN YOU FEEL IT”, it was all kind of a happy accident. I love writing big anthems that pump people up and get a whole stadium riled up, and yes I plan on continuing to write many more anthems. YOU GROWING UP IN THE NY AREA HOW DOES THAT INSPIRE YOU AS A OVERALL PERSON AND MUSICIAN? SINCE YOU HAVE BEEN AROUND THE WORLD TRAVELING WOULD YOU SAY NY IS STILL THE PLACE TO BE FOR ANY MUSICIAN OR ARTIST? Harley: NYC has made me who I am, not everyone can hack it, it’s a hard city to survive in, but it makes you strong and if you make it here you really can make it anywhere; it is the center. NYC there is no place else on earth like it.
CHRIS, BIGGEST INFLUENCE AS A BASS PLAYER? Chris: Too many to list, but definitely Jaco, Flea, Bernard Edwards, and Harley! Always loved his badass playing and stage presence and it’s an honor to work together now. HARLEY, BIGGEST INFLUENCE AS A VOCALIST AND BASSIST? Harley: There are so many bassists that have influenced me; Lemmy from Motorhead, Darryl Jenifer from the Bad Brains, Geezer Butler from Black Sabbath, Rainy from Discharge and there are many more; obviously Jaco and so many great Jazz and Funk players. The list is endless, but the ones I mentioned here are probably the ones that influenced me the most stylistically. And Chris is a hell of a bassist too. It’s funny because besides bass we also have Jiu-Jitsu in common.
AFTER THIS COLLABORATION IS DONE WHAT DO YOU GUYS HAVE IN STORE FOR THE REST OF 2016 AND 2017? AND WHEN WILL THE SONG BE RELEASED FOR THE WORLD TO HEAR? Chris: The song is coming out this fall 2016, we’ve teamed up with my sponsor Converse for the release and will be recording it at the Rubber Tracks studio in Brooklyn. I’m really excited to release this one and definitely looking forward to getting back out on the road again and playing live.
LAST COMMENTS? Harley: This has been a big year – and releasing this song will round it out. I had an album come out at the beginning of 2016 entitled “CRO-MAGS;” It got really good reviews and is doing well. It’s a very old school Hardcore style album, just pure aggression super-fast short songs. Currently I am in the studio working on new songs as well as working with Chris and Ray. I should be finished with a new album by early next year. My book “HARD-CORE: LIFE OF MY OWN,” was released in September 2016, and it has been doing great. Between book signings and recording and interviews I have been very busy and very grateful.