Interview With Grief Ritual At Badgerfest 2021

Grief Ritual Logo

Interview With Grief Ritual
At Badgerfest 2021
Interviewed By Sheri Bicheno

I hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing Grief Ritual perform before… and I’m always a complete pushover for new music. So, after I had done a little digging and discovered that these Gloucestershire lads combine some of my favourite flavours of metal, I gave them a listen, and immediately had my face blown off… So, naturally, when I saw that Badgerfest had them on the line up, I set myself up for a live experience of said face blasting… I was not disappointed.

I went, I got, I loved!! I cannot recommend these guys enough.

Playing the likes of Bloodstock’s Hobgoblin Stage, 2000 Trees Festival, and numerous gigs up and down the UK (with Raging Speedhorn, Heart of A Coward, and Black Tongue), Grief Ritual have astounding feedback, and I’m a bit hyped to have discovered this little alchemic balanced gem of Blackened, Extreme, and Metalcore.

I caught up with them at Badgerfest for a quick chat…

Sheri: Killer set! That was wicked!! Beforehand I wasn’t too familiar with who you are so it’s really nice to come across something new and really get into it!

Silas: That’s great to hear, thank you so much!

Sheri: Where are you guys based at the moment?

Silas: In Gloucestershire, but Chris is from Birmingham…

Chris: Yes… We’ve met before!

Sheri: Yes we have! I was like, “I know this face” haha.

Chris: It’s normally bad news when I hear that haha.

Sheri: Haha well if it is, I can’t remember!

*Fits of giggles from all*

Silas: If we can have that on record, that would be great! Haha.

Sheri: I’m quite interested in your style… I don’t like putting everyone in a box. When you come to writing, what comes from you guys? What do you envision when you sit down and collectively song-write?

Silas: It’s like an ongoing thing for us, because we’ve kinda got our foot in each genre. We’ve got a very like… black metal influence. And on the other side we’ve got into the hardcore scene, as well and then everything in between – so it’s like we wanna sort of tick off both sides of that, and of course not ostracize anyone so…

Chris: We’re all pure metalheads at heart really, so we’ll been in bands in the punk scene, the hardcore scene, and the metal scene, and thrash… we’ve all had our hand in stuff… so it’s culminated into this really, hasn’t it?

Sheri: So when you do your song writing, do you have a particular person that it falls to?

Chris: So I joined these guys fairly recently. Which has helped in a way because we had a sound already and we just thought how can we adapt that and work on that.

Silas: It’s relatively collaborative, but these two are the people you really need to talk to about that haha (*points at Chris and James*).

James: It’s normally like we’ll jam an idea out and go “that works and that doesn’t” based on if it’s too similar to before, or too far out to where we want to go, so we can find that middle ground really.

Silas: What’s been really good this time is that, with our previous guitarist, it was all written in the room. There was nothing brought to us before, it was all just in the jam – the good thing about Chris is that he writes a lot of it on his laptop beforehand, and then when we get in the live room, we sort of have a rough idea of what we’re gonna do. So we chop and change it, change the tempos and have a bit of a feel of new stuff around, and then start again because it’s all rubbish hahaha!

James: Honestly though talking about that, Chris has really brought the most out of all of us I think, as musicians, as songwriters, all that sort of stuff. I mean, he’s brought a hell of a lot to the table and it’s really influenced a lot of the new stuff that we will be bringing out early next year.

Sheri: That’s my next question hahaha. You’re a step ahead of me, mate haha. I have seen that you are in the studio so you’re writing at the moment…

Silas: We have just finished recording actually, with Joe Clayton in Manchester. See the trouble we have on the motorway on the way, we probably should have got a hotel and stayed the weekend but there you go haha. But we’ve recorded two (we think) fantastic singles with Joe, and we’re looking to drop them early next year, and everything we’ve got behind them, and run with those.

Sheri: We will be looking out for that! What are you guys up to after Badgerfest and next year after the release?

James: So we’ve got a weekender, and a few gigs lined up before the end of the year… but I think it’s mainly gonna be based on the single being released next year now, and sort of re-branding and going from that point onwards.

Silas: We’ve got some festivals lined up next year that we can talk about soon. About 5 or 6 gigs before the end of the year – this was our first show back after about 18 months really! So, I mean actually to come and have the reception that we had and playing in front of 100 people or so, the amount of people that are here and having such a professional setup – it’s been amazing. It was like a trial by fire haha – walking to the stage and thinking “fucking hell, I haven’t done this in like a year and a half!” And it was such a pro set up.

Chris: It was like a 20 minute window between getting here and then playing hahaha. And then after 20 minutes that’s when we had the first time to just step back and be like “Oh yeah! We CAN do that.”

Sheri: It went well! Thank you so much for your time guys. We will catch up with you again!

Grief Ritual: Thank you! We look forward to it!

Grief Ritual are:
Silas Miller – Bass
Jamie Waggett – Vocals
Chris Ward – Guitar
James Broady – Drums

LINKS:

Grief Ritual Live at Badger Fest
Photo: Sheri Bicheno

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities

Video Interview with PANDEMMY

 Pandemmy Logo

Video Interview with PANDEMMY
By Victor Augusto

Hello Everyone, It’s Victor!

I’m incredibly pleased to share with you my recent interview with Pedro Valença and Guilherme Silva, from the Brazilian Death Metal band Pandemmy!

We discussed, in depth, their last album “Subversive Need” which explores subjects like Racism, Politics and Xenophobia. Of course, we also talked about their musical evolution.

I hope you all enjoy the interview.

PANDEMMY Video Interview by Victor Augusto

Video Edit by Victor Augusto
Live videos of ‘Webchaos’ and ‘Deforestation’ by Pandemmy

LINKS:

“Subversive Need” (Full Album)

Original Review of “Subversive Need”

Previous EMQ’s Interview with Pandemmy

Pandemmy Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Victor Augusto and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities

Interview with Control The Storm Beermageddon, 27/08/2021

Control The Storm Logo

Interview with Control The Storm
Beermageddon, 27/08/2021
By Sheri Bicheno

Hello guys! Miss Bicheno here and I have returned to bring you a little chat with Control The Storm that took place at this year’s Beermageddon.

Let me tell you, what an amazing weekend this was, Jim and his team really pulled out the stops to deliver such a safe, friendly and killer event. After the hype and buzz of Bloodstock, this was such a wonderful & chilled environment.

As some of you know, Control The Storm (hailing from the land of Bristol) are currently one of the UK’s most spoken about, up and coming Melodic Rock/Metal bands on the Underground scene. They are popping up absolutely everywhere! And I. AM. HERE FOR IT!

These guys are always so friendly and humble and hugely talented in their genre – the usual “You should go check them out if you haven’t” applies here…but TENFOLD.

In an impromptu moment, I was swiftly taken to their tour van for a catch up chat… To be honest with you, being kidnapped by Firouzeh (Vocalist) and Raedon (Keys and Vocals) – well, I could think of a lot worse situations to be in…

Sheri: I am sat here with Control The Storm! How are you?

Control The Storm: Hiiiii! How are you??

Sheri: I’m good, I’m good! So, so pleased to see you guys after so long.

Raedon: It’s always nice to see you.

Sheri: I think the last time I saw you guys was in Manchester!

Raedon: At The Rebellion!! A long time ago now… Like March 2019 or something like that…

Sheri: That was it!

Firouzeh: Before the Pandemic I think…

Raedon: It was the first gig wasn’t it, with Matt wasn’t it?

Sheri: That was a good gig as well…So how have you guys been? I guess you’re gonna get asked a lot but how have you been through the whole pause?

Raedon: …I got fat. Hahahaha.

Sheri: Me too!

*Everyone starts laughing*

Raedon: We made it…hahaha

Firouzeh: Yeah, we made it through! Thankfully haha. We’re out the other side of it now.

Sheri: I’m guessing you have many plans coming up now that things have been given the green light a bit more? I’m guessing you’re planning plans?

Raedon: Yeah, everything got postponed again so we had a European and UK tour set up for Autumn this year and that’s now been put back to March 2022 so it’s definitely been a thing that happened…

Firouzeh: Download for the third time…

Raedon: Yeah, third time’s the charm for Download haha. It’s weird, when you’re in a band and you find out that you’re gonna play a big festival and then you’re not allowed to say anything until they say…so you have to sit on it…and it’s the worst thing in the world!! Hahaha. Cuz YOU know that you’re playing…and they know that you’re playing…

Firouzeh: We were sat on it for like a year!

Raedon: Yeah it was months wasn’t it, cuz we found out in 2019 and then we had to sit on it until we had to make an announcement.

Firouzeh: Yeah, it was meant to be announced in March but instead, there was a cancellation announcement haha!

Raedon: We didn’t even make it onto the poster and we were like “Argggghhh!” Then when they announced for 2021, we were added to the poster.

Firouzeh: Yeah, so we didn’t have to wait haha.

Sheri: Dammit! So that’s prolonging so much excitement…

Control The Storm: Yeah!

Firouzeh: But that’s gonna be one hell of a gig though! The energy you know…

Raedon: Just think if it’s anything like the Bloodstock show, we’ll be fine.

Sheri: It’s gonna be awesome! Are you doing anything studio wise at the moment?

Firouzeh: Yeah, we’re writing our next album at the moment…which should be out before Download.

Raedon: I think we’re aiming for just before Download.

Firouzeh: There’ll be singles coming out anyways beforehand.

Sheri: We need a bit of injection of you guys because its been so long! You now have Aaron from Akkadian in the line-up, which I’m really excited about as I’ve a little history there with Akkadian. I saw their second ever gig by chance and I was so blown away, I was like “I need you guys to play for me ASAP!” So, they played my gig at the Giffard in Wolverhampton and IT. WAS. AMAZING.

Raedon: Oh wow!! They’re great aren’t they? It’s like Meshuggah and Gojira have had a baby hahaha.

Sheri: Absolutely haha! So, I’m really excited that you guys have got him because he is such an incredibly talented drummer.

Raedon: So are we, I mean it’s a shame that our previous drummer went back to Bulgaria as we love him to bits and we haven’t really said anything online about his plans as he was a bit unsure about what he was doing but as things started going again, he just said that he wasn’t gonna be available so we ended up scouring the internet for people that we knew – cuz that was the thing, I didn’t wanna just put an advert out and be like…do it cold. So, Aaron had come to see us at Bloodstock and he came up after the show and was like “Wow, this is really cool!” and I added him on Facebook, he said he was a drummer and I was like “Well we should give that guy a little shout and see if he’s available and sure enough, he was and he learnt the set in about a week.

Firouzeh: Yeah, he’s very eager and great!

Raedon: Yeah, he’s very very good. Lovely guy.

Firouzeh: So yeah, we are so happy that he’s on board with us at the moment.

Sheri: He’s definitely an amazing addition. In terms of when everything was going on, did you have to wait long for the writing process for your new material?

Raedon: Initially, it was all online as I was still challenged in the housing department. I was living in my van for the lockdown so when I finally managed to get my gear set up again, I finally was able to get the ideas out of my head and we quite quickly got some material together the first time we got together as a band but we were doing that kinda back and forth online for a while. But there’s something about that kinda takes the warmth and makes it feel quite disjointed, we definitely write better when we are in a room together. So yeah, we’ve made a really good start on the next record and hopefully it’s all gonna be finished by January.

Sheri: In terms of songwriting, do you collectively come together or…?

Firouzeh: Yeah, we have individual ideas and they we bring it together and to the table and we write collectively, it just depends…

Raedon: Then we delete it all and start again hahaha.

Sheri: Always the way haha

Raedon: I’ve got a file on my computer of about 300 revisions of songs where we want to change this bit…then change this bit…so they dont come to life until we start playing them live. So, things can change. Hopefully, you know, The Power of Desire will come out tonight haha.

Firouzeh: Yeah, it feels good to be playing it because we wrote that song before lockdown…

Raedon: Yeah, we had it ready for January 2020 and were gonna release it before Download 2020…

Firouzeh: Yeah and then everything happened and didn’t end up releasing it because we wanted to find the right time to release it.

Raedon: Yeah, I think we did. We needed a bit of a boost coming into this year as it was all so crap and we thought “Well we have to do SOMETHING as we’re not playing live, we’re not really putting content out, let’s just release Desire and get it ready to go.” We did a video and we put it out on 8th January…and it’s been the most successful thing we’ve done!

Firouzeh: Yeah!

Sheri: Yeah it really took off!

Raedon: Yeah, to get like 100,000 views on the video on YouTube was pretty cool. So, Spotify took off as well because of it. So yeah, it’s just been kinda nice. So maybe, in a way, lockdown in that respect has been really good for us.

Sheri: You’re in high demand at the moment, you guys…

Firouzeh: Awww! It feels that way haha.

Sheri: Well, you’re playing Beermageddon tonight, which after the hype of Bloodstock, is really nice. What are you guys doing after? Are you heading home or you gonna stay the weekend?

Raedon: I’m gonna get rickety rickety wrecked! Hahaha.

Sheri: Thank you so much for having a little humble chat with me, really looking forward to seeing you guys play!

Control The Storm: Thank you so much Sheri.

Raedon: Love ya!

‘Desire’ (Official Video)

CONTROL THE STORM ARE:
Firouzeh Razavi – Vocals
Raedon Mac – Keyboard/Vocals
Paul O’Shea – Bass
Rich Shillitoe – Guitar
Matt Smith – Guitar
Aaron Wright – Drums

LINKS:

Control The Storm Pic

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Interview with DEADGLOW

Deadglow Interview

Interview with DEADGLOW
By Rick Tilley

Hi Everyone.

Finnish Progressive Rock/Alternative Metal trio Deadglow are gearing up to release their debut album “Machine Skin” on 29th October. As a precursor to that their first, dual, singles and videos ‘Machine Skin’/’Your Blood (Parts 1-3)’ are about to devour your senses. Their sound encompasses Pink Floyd to Death via Tesseract as well as inspiration from Sci-Fi/Horror movies, books and art.

With this in mind, we thought it would be great to have a chat with them about the band, so my thanks go to vocalist Jukka Ruottinen, guitarist/bassist Simo Lukkari and drummer Juho Mikkonen for their time.

You can find a link to our review of the singles at the end of the interview.

Q: How did Deadglow form?

Simo: I wanted to create music that I am really into, but instead of forming a band, I approached Deadglow from a different angle. I wrote some songs and booked a studio without rehearsing for recording a single. It worked out well, so I decided to continue. I had plans to record material with different musicians, but things worked out so well that I cancelled that. Deadglow is all about sound, echoes and making something that you love and like to listen to. Deadglow is only a year and a half old, but we have already twelve songs recorded and more to come.

Jukka: Simo needed a vehicle to release his music, so he asked me to work with him on some songs. I then joined to add vocals to his new project. After the first recording session, Juho Mikkonen joined as drummer. We have some friends helping us on some tracks, but the three of us is Deadglow for now.

Q: Who are the members of Deadglow and can you tell us a little more about yourselves?

Simo: I have been playing guitar from the age of 14 and I have been writing music for several years now. I played Hair Metal, Glam Rock and Grunge as well as toured for some time in Finland. When I write music, I am usually heavily inspired by something like a movie or a certain atmosphere. It is the best way to get rid of reality.

Jukka: I’ve been singing my whole life and playing guitar from my teens. Mostly my bands played slow acoustic songs, but Grunge and heavier music have always been what I love. The last 5 years I’ve been singing a lot of Rock. The music that Simo creates inspires me to write lyrics, and takes me to places, so it’s great to be part of Deadglow. Simo is one hell of a guitar player and I like Juho’s hard hitting drumming.

Juho: I’ve been playing drums for 21 years with different bands. Styles have varied from Black Metal to Thrash Metal and Rock. Last year Simo sent me a couple of demos and asked me if I was available to play drums. The demos hit me right away and reminded me somehow of the music of my youth that I love. Besides musical talents, Simo and Jukka are also nice guys, so why would I not take the opportunity! I also play in a band called The Groupie High School and have my own firm.

Q: What is the origin of the Deadglow name, and what are your primary influences?

Simo: The inspiration came from the Stephen King novel “IT”. It refers to the glow you can see in the mouth of Pennywise when he prepares to eat. I guess I can say that a lot of the Deadglow inspiration comes from 80s Horror and Sci-Fi books and movies. We all love 80’s music, sounds, echoes, synths, horror movies and art. We are influenced by Stephen King books, John Carpenter movies and H.P Lovecraft.

Q: Is it possible for you to describe the musical genre of Deadglow, and how did you decide on this style?

Simo: I think we don’t have a primary genre, but if I had to pick one, I would say it is Old School Heavy Metal meets Pink Floyd. I have always been a fan of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, but also like a lot of different genres. So, if the mood changes, then the music changes. The main thing in Deadglow is the sound…our song ‘Your Blood’ is the primary Deadglow sound, it means echoes from a different world.

Q: Are you keen to take this album out on the road, for live performances?

Simo: We have some killer tracks and hopefully we can do some shows soon. We also have some demo songs for our second album already. To do a live show with this type of band is a bit harder than with a normal Rock group. For example, in upcoming songs we need to play with two different drum sets, because there is just so much to play. If you want to play that live, basically, you must have two drummers on stage, or you must arrange that somehow. It will be the most ambitious thing any of us has ever done.

Q: When did you decide to go into the studio, and how was the recording experience?

Simo: After we recorded a single, we decided to record the whole album in the same style. No rehearsing, just straight to the studio. We recorded the whole album in four or five days, so it meant that we had to practice a lot on our own. The whole experience was good, and we recorded in a professional high-end studio with high-quality gear. We used only analogue recording and played as much naturally, as we could, to avoid fixing much afterwards.

Q: What is the driving force behind your songwriting?

Jukka: Simo creates the music first, then I try to write lyrics and vocal melodies that suits the music. Some songs sound dark, some lighter, so the lyrics also go through all kinds of emotions. I don’t really like to explain words too much, so I hope they tell something to everyone. I saw the album and single cover before all the lyrics were final, so that kind of also affected my writing. For some reason I was also reading a lot of dystopian books and watching TV series when writing.

Q: What inspire the visual elements of Deadglow?

Jukka: The primary visual inspiration comes from Simo’s love of all kinds of classic Sci-Fi and Horror. It’s all about the state of this world; humans will destroy all nature, and eventually nature will have its revenge…or the machines will get us! The look and the feel are dystopian…the end of everything is sorrowful, but the new beginning will come, and it means also hope!

Q: What does the next 12 months look like for Deadglow?

Simo: a lot of promotion and creating a new, mind-blowing concept album.

THANK YOU

BIO:

Deadglow is a Progressive Rock/Alternative Metal trio from Oulu in Finland consisting of Jukka Ruottinen (Vocals), Juho Mikkonen (Drums) and Simo Lukkari (Guitar & Bass).

The Deadglow sound is progressive and melodic, yet straightforward. You can hear echoes of Death, Judas Priest, Alice In Chains and Pink Floyd, whilst appealing to fans of TesseracT, Karnivool, Dead Letter Circus and Amorphis. The talented trio is inspired by 80’s music, sounds, echoes, synths as well as Sci-fi and Horror movies and art.

Deadglow has been hard at work recording their debut album “MACHINE SKIN” (coming Friday 29th October) in a professional high-end studio in Finland using only high-quality analogue recording gear. They furthermore played as naturally as possible, to avoid fixing much afterwards. On Friday 1st October, the first dual singles and videos from this upcoming album will be unleashed called ‘MACHINE SKIN’/‘YOUR BLOOD (PARTS 1 – 3)’!

DEADGLOW ONLINE:

MEDIA REPRESENTATIVE:

Devographic Music Agency

LINK TO OUR REVIEW OF ‘MACHINE SKIN’/‘YOUR BLOOD (Parts 1-3)’

Deadglow Promo Pic (Credit Sami Perttunen)
Photo by Sami Perttunen

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Rick Tilley and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Video Interview with JIMMY WALDO

Jimmy Waldo Interview Title Image

Video Interview with JIMMY WALDO
By Chris Galea

Keyboard player Jimmy Waldo has an impressive résumé. After finding success with New England, he went on to be a co-founding member of Alcatrazz and played with Blackthorne, Quiet Riot, The Graham Bonnet Band and many more.

For those not familiar, Blackthorne was a relatively short lived band that, thanks to the changing musical landscape arrived without much fanfare, in the early 1990’s. With a line-up that included Waldo, Bob Kulick, Graham Bonnet, Frankie Banali and Chuck Wright, they should have been huge but, unfortunately it was not to be. Now their only officially released album has been repackaged with a host of unreleased, reworked and demo material.

Chris recently had the honour to talk to Jimmy about the excellent Blackthorne 2CD reissue package, as well as the forthcoming, brand new, Alcatrazz album “V” and more!

Huge thanks to Jimmy for the interview and to Chris for putting it together

Enjoy!

JIMMY WALDO Video Interview by Chris Galea

LINKS:

Alcatrazz Links:

Blackthorne & Alcatrazz Covers

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Interview with Robby J. Fonts of SICKSENSE

Sicksense Logo

Interview with Robby J. Fonts of SICKSENSE
By Stephanie Stevens

I have followed Robby J Fonts career in the music industry. He took to some of the biggest stages with his band Stuck Mojo, he has had numerous projects that have helped him grow and showcase some of his vocal capacities from one spectrum to another. He has followed his dreams in the wrestling world and married one of the baddest women in the metal scene, Vicky Psarakis of the band “The Agonist”! Now this duo is forging into the latter half of 2021 with a brand new band called SICKSENSE. A band that is ready to break down barriers with their touch of pissed off groove, hard hitting and melodic tones and a raw sense of reality given to you in the lyrics. The band’s first single, ‘MAKE BELIEVE’ is catchy as fuck, brutal in parts and an all-out addicting song that you will have on repeat for days to come.

The band is based out of Chicago, IL & Montreal, QC, and consist of Vicky Psarakis aka “Killer V” (Vocals/Synths), Robby J. Fonts aka “Rob The Ripper” (Vocals), Branislav Panic aka “Breakdown Bran” (Guitars), Samuel Bedard aka “Spot-On Sam/SOS” (Bass) and Cody Taylor aka “The Trve Cody Taylor” (Drums). Knowing the background of Robby and Vicky the rest of the band have had some quality time in the world of music as bassist, Sam is also in the metalcore band, “Day Of Change” and guitarist Bran is from the black metal band, “Bane [Serbia]”. Both Bran and drummer Cody are formerly from the rap rock band, “Keychain”.

So, this band has an alluring diversity in the music community which brings to life a whole new refreshing, exciting and vibrant atmosphere when you hit play to a SICKSENSE track. I can’t wait to hear more of what this band has to offer. But for now, get your ears all up into the newest single ‘MAKE BELIEV’. It is a very solid and intriguing Platform track and I think it’s going to solidify that this band is here to break the mould and show that diversity is something we all need in our music lives.

I had the pleasure chatting with Robby to find out about the new band, creating music from a distance with his bandmates, and what the future holds for SICKSENSE with touring and releases! Plus, a look into his life with Stuck Mojo and his love for wrestling.

Q: Since you guys are very new to the scene how can you describe the style you have put together for SICKSENSE?

A: I’d say we are a hard rock band, with hip-hop, R&B, heavy metal & hardcore influences. There’s something for everybody.

Q: I got to check out the song ‘MAKE BELIEVE’ and the first thing that came to mind is the diversity in the song, it seems like all your past chapters have been intertwined into this band. When you were putting this band together was that a goal you had for the music?

A: I think because I was always “joining” other bands, only after the music was already written and the instrumental songwriters already had their ideas and “vision” in mind,  including what they wanted the vocals to do and be. I was only able to add parts of what I was capable of doing vocally, but when I began working with Bran and Sicksense, we came up with all of our ideas from the “ground up”. I finally felt like I was actually part of the group and making the exact kind of music that I want to be doing.

Q: How are you guys taking the lyrical content, are you focusing on certain themes & elements or are you trying to diversify the topics like you are with the music?

A: Just as Sicksense creates the kind of music I want to be creating, I’m also free to write lyrics as I please as well. Topics may range from societal critiques and personal issues. Nothing is off the table here. Our lyrics are just as diverse as our music itself. In previous bands, I either had to write with certain guidelines in place or had to write about specific topics in mind. With Sicksense, I’m truly free to simply write as myself and how I see fit. I don’t feel like I’m being put into a box with this band.

Q: You’re working with your wife Vicky Psarakis, how is that going? Is it easier to work with a partner in that capacity and what are the struggles?

A: Working alongside my wife is awesome. I’ve been helping her behind the scenes with her work in other projects, including her features for other bands. When we work on her stuff, she takes charge of the lyrics and I simply provide suggestions or place minor input, at the end. In Sicksense however, I tend to take the lead for the majority of the lyrical direction on our songs. In general, I don’t mind working alongside other vocalists or lyricists though. I had a great time collaborating with Rich Ward for the record I did with Stuck Mojo as well.

Q: Other than Vicky, who else is working with you on SICKSENSE and why did you choose these particular people to take part in this project?

A: Sicksense is actually the successor band to our guitarist, Bran and our drummer, Cody’s previous project, “Keychain”. The duo were holding auditions online to find a new “singer” for their band back in late 2017. I hit them up and worked on three demos (one of those three ended up becoming ‘Make Believe’) for them. Bran liked what he heard from them and he introduced the idea of possibly working with a second “frontman”. Since Vicky had worked on the backing vocals for the demos I sent him, I suggested we get Vicky to join the band as this second “front-person” and we adjusted the demo songs to include what ended up becoming her main vocal parts for those songs. We wrote the remainder of our songs with both of our vocal abilities in mind. So, the band was started by Bran and Cody, Vicky and I ended up joining them, then Bran discovered our bassist, Sam from the local Quebec metal scene. Bran “tried him out” with his other band, “Bane”, got good vibes from him and asked him to join Sicksense, completing our line-up.

Q: For people who may be living under a rock Vicky is the front woman for “The Agonist”! Once this band gets off the ground have you thought ahead about touring and how will that unfold with her having that commitment also? And will other band members be in the same boat?

A: When touring and live show opportunities present themselves, we’ll fit in dates to work with everyone’s schedules and prior engagements. Every member in this band has something else going on outside of Sicksense, be it other bands, businesses or endeavours. Vicky’s in “The Agonist” and she does a bunch of solo work including her weekly Twitch stream segments. I’m in “Stuck Mojo” and I also do professional wrestling on the indie scene. Bran is in a black metal band called, “Bane”. Sam is in the metalcore band, “Day Of Change” and he’s also in “Bane” alongside Bran. When he’s not drumming for us, Cody does heating & cooling system repair work in his hometown. If things start picking up for the band, it might end up being the top priority for all involved, but we can’t compete against existing projects that have so much tenure over us. We’re still young and fresh as a project. Only time will tell where we end up.

Q: I’m sure it’s normal now to create and make music via the internet and I see your other band’s members live in other areas than you. What are the main struggles when putting music together and what is the positive about being able to create over internet world?

A:The biggest struggle is probably just the traveling distance and money spent in order to get everyone in the same place at the same time. But other than that, it’s awesome being able to create music over the internet. I personally prefer to receive tracks/demos online from the instrumental songwriters that I work with. It allows me to sit down on my own time and focus in my own world on what to write about and how to present my vocals. Long distance songwriting is no trouble at all. As long as everyone’s practicing their instruments and know their parts, we’d just need a few days of rehearsals and we would be good to start playing live shows. That’s how I’d do things with Stuck Mojo and it’s how Vicky does things with The Agonist.

However, we actually suffered delay after delay with this band. I’m actually an immigrant from Canada. Early during my immigration process is when I first joined Sicksense in late 2017. It took me until the end of 2018/early 2019 to actually get my Permanent Residency here in the States, allowing me to be able to travel outside of the country again and return to Canada (where the rest of our bandmates live). So, Vicky and I ended up going back to Canada to finally meet the rest of our band mates in person and we jammed our songs in person, fine-tuning the little details together, before we entered the studio with our producer, Christian Donaldson (who also works with The Agonist on their records). We recorded a full-album’s worth of material in early 2020, right before the pandemic happened…but because of the pandemic, that again delayed us once more by yet another year! We hadn’t had the easiest time putting ourselves out there, but here we are. Finally!

Q: You put together a very unique video for the song ‘MAKE BELIEVE’! In your own words what does the vibe of the video mean to you?

A: The concept of the video was to partly pay homage to Limp Bizkit’s ‘Break Stuff’ video (during our verses), but to also add our own spin to it, by including the two dancers who represented our clashing styles of sound that is found present in our music. There’s elements of calmness and serenity in our music, but then there’s also this “in-your-face”, loud and pissed off element to our sound as well. We wanted to portray an obvious clashing of styles through not only our sound, but with our visuals as well. It kind of symbolizes what we’re living through here in the States as well. I feel like there’s just so much division and a lack of understanding between different groups of people, so we’re trying to open up that discussion and bring people together here through our music. I’m not concerned about what people believe in or how they live their lives. I personally judge people by the content of their characters, after I’ve actually met them. Music’s an excellent way of bringing people together: 1) you find others who have the same tastes in music as you. 2) going to live concerts and festivals is one of the best social experiences you can have with others. It truly brings people together and allows everyone to forget about their troubles and just have an awesome time.

Q: Are you working on an album or EP to come out and if so when and, as of now, how many songs have you finished or are in the process of finishing off?

A: We actually recorded a full-length album’s worth of material back in early 2020. Because of the pandemic, all these delays and being completely independent with no record label, we have decided to split the recorded songs into two separate EP’s. So, we’ve launched the band with our ‘Make Believe’ single and we’re planning on releasing our debut EP in early 2022. We have plans to release the follow-up EP later in 2022 (around autumn time). We’ve noticed that people have such short attention spans and lack enough patience to pay attention for much time nowadays. So, we decided we’re going to slowly release music over time to help us maintain our hype and relevance. We’ll see how successful this release plan ends up being for us, and that will help us decide how to release more music in the future.

Q: Also, do you feel the way to go in the music world these days is the single release, what is your opinion on album releases vs going with numerous single releases?

A: To break into music nowadays, I believe it’s best to start off with a single release first. We’re going to try the EP release route for Sicksense, but new artists should definitely start off with a single to “test the waters”. Like I mentioned earlier, I just think fans of today are living through this “immediate gratification culture”, where they are swiping up and down so quickly, it’s becoming so difficult to catch people’s attention long enough for them to focus or actually sit down and listen through an entire 40+ minute album. I think more and more bands will stick to releasing singles or at the most EPs moving forward. I LOVE listening to full-length albums, but they’ve become somewhat archaic during today’s times and aren’t really getting the attention that they truly deserve.

Q: I think, way back in the day, the EAST COAST ROMPER interviewed you in the band STUCK MOJO! Now that we can look back on that era, what did it mean to be in a band like that and what is your best memory of those days?

A: Working with Stuck Mojo was awesome. Rich’s bands Fozzy and Stuck Mojo are two of the early bands that really got me into “my own music” and helped me figure out the kind of bands that I liked as a kid/teenager. My favourite memories were recording the “Here Come The Infidels” album at Rich’s buddy’s Chris Chandler’s farm, with legendary producer, Andy Sneap. Chris is unfortunately no longer with us as he passed away, due to cancer, in June 2016. I had a great time recording there. Chris was an amazing and humble human being who offered us his beautiful studio to record in with Andy. It was great taking breaks and hanging with the animals out in the fresh air in between song recordings. Chilling with cows and horses was sweet.

Most people don’t know this, but pretty much all my first ever live shows were with Stuck Mojo too. Most people’s first shows are at their high school talent shows, mine were headliner sets and international main stage festival appearances, doing vocals for one of my favourite bands! It was wild. I played on stage only twice prior to joining Stuck Mojo. I had truly been “thrown in the deep end” when I joined the band with such little live experience. No better way to learn than to open up on the main stage for “Twisted Sister” during your first time in the UK, right?!?

Q: What has it meant to you being able to perform, inspire, influence and really create your passions for the world to hear?

A: I believe that life is supposed to be about giving back and creating things for others to enjoy and appreciate. I’m just playing my part and it’s my pleasure to know that I’ve entertained someone or somehow got them thinking in a different way, thanks to my music. The work I’ve done so far in music hasn’t gotten too much attention or exposure, so I’m always humbled to hear someone else has heard and appreciates any of my work-past or present.

Q: I see you are also into wrestling, what is your background with that and will SICKSENSE dabble in possible projects with wrestling organizations?

A: I got trained by WWE Superstar Seth Rollins, Marek Brave and Krotch at Black & Brave Wrestling Academy in Davenport, Iowa back in early 2019. I made my in-ring debut and had my first match in August of that year and have been wrestling regularly on the independent circuit ever since. I mostly wrestle under my “Renegade” gimmick alongside my tag team partner, “Sabotage”, as the team, “Collateral Damage”.

I think our music fits really well for the wrestling world. I’d love for one of our songs to end up becoming the theme song for a major professional wrestling company’s PPV or have something featured in a video game or used as another wrestler’s theme song. You never know what can happen, so if an opportunity presents itself, I’d be open to weighing our options.

Q: Other than music, what is one thing that inspires you in this world to keep creating and why does that impact you so much?

A: I’m motivated to do my part and help out as much as I possibly can. I believe people should do what they can to keep themselves healthy and take care of themselves first, then work on getting the means to take care of the rest of their family, and if they’re lucky, put themselves in a position where they can comfortably help out others. You can’t truly help anyone if you keep yourself in the same boat that everyone else is in. I strive to be a person who creates opportunities for myself and the people around me. Simply being the best I can be and helping to build up my communities each day. These are the things that inspire me the most.

Q: If you could collaborate with anyone alive or dead, who would it be and what kind of song would you want to do with them or maybe even remake with them?

I would love to work on a straight-up hip-hop song alongside rapper, “Yelawolf”. To me he’s one of the mainstream rappers who has consistently released great songs over the years that are “true” to hop-hop as an artform and I respect him. There are so many great artists, groups and bands out there killing it though. I’d love to work with plenty of people out there. So many creative possibilities that can potentially come to life. We’re living through incredible times. So, we’ll see what happens.

Q: How long has it been since you fully toured and, with this band, are you looking into touring or waiting till you have a secured EP out? And what do you miss most about the road life?

A: I actually have yet to do a “proper” tour! Unfortunately, none of my prior projects ever picked up enough momentum for us to hit the road for a proper month-long tour.

The last time I had a “string of shows” in a row was over a period of 2 weeks, doing 4 shows with “Stuck Mojo”, shortly after our album release in the summer of 2016. We did 2 headline club shows in Georgia and North Carolina, respectively. Then the following week we had 2 festival dates on the main stages at “Bloodstock” in Derbyshire, UK and “Brutal Assault” in Czech Republic.

The last time I played music live, was with my former band, “Repentance” .We played an outdoor festival show, playing right before “Product Of Hate”, hit the stage at R’Noggin Fest in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August 2020.

Once our Sicksense EP comes out in early 2022, we’ll definitely start looking to play live shows.

Realistically, with all these prior tours from other bands being postponed and happening in 2022 instead, I can only see Sicksense playing live shows in the fall time of 2022, the earliest.

I do enjoy and appreciate my time at home, so the only thing I really miss most about playing live shows is the opportunity to meet and hang with fans/friends who enjoy my music. Aside from that, traveling can be rough: we don’t get much sleep, food options aren’t the greatest and everything is constantly “go, go, go ” while we’re on the road.

Q: Anything I missed you want to let fans know and any parting words to the music world?

A: I’m super stoked for the future with Sicksense! Truly feels like I found my “home” here and it’s nice to be creating music alongside a group of people who are all 110% on the same page. We’re all friends and the band feels like a family. Can’t wait for our new music to come out. We’ll be working hard in the meanwhile and I promise it’ll be worth the wait for anyone excited to hear more.

Thanks for having me, Stephanie! Cheers.

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘Make Believe’ (Official Video)

Sicksense Promo Pic (Credit Eric Sanchez Photography)
Photo by Eric Sanchez Photography

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Stephanie Stevens and East Coast Romper, and has been released to Ever Metal on this basis. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

INTERVIEW WITH XSKULL8

From Sin To Sinners Album cover Art

INTERVIEW WITH XSKULL8
By Stephanie Stevens

Rockers XSKULL8 have just unveiled the newest collection of songs in their arsenal with new album “FROM SIN TO SINNERS”. The band hails from Slovenia, and though they are overseas, these dudes have a pure American sound to them. Edgy guitars, gritty melodic vocals and a rhythm section that will get your ass up and moving! You’re going to fall in love with this sensational bunch of musicians.

The band took a lot of time constructing and finding the right elements of songwriting before hitting the studio and all the focus time paid off intensely on the new album. One listen to ‘A MINUTE 4 TOMORROW’ and you hear the growl of heavy and aggressive, locked into a flow of melodic rock that makes it a standout of the album. ‘LEAVES ARE FALLING’ was the bands single which got the ball rolling with some remarkably good vibes from the music community and why wouldn’t it as the song bleeds with emotion, takes on a darker and beautiful tone but still stays in the radio friendly rock n roll lane. ‘LITTLE MISS PERFECT’ infects ya with sass and energy.

The band members really explored all avenues of rock n roll and lyrically brings to life, life experiences through music. So, get on board with XSKULL8 and take the journey FROM SIN TO SINNERS.

I had the pleasure of chatting with singer/guitarist Rokk about how the band name came about, working with Producer Matej Pecaver, tackling some of my favourite tracks off the album and how they came to be and so much more.

Q: Can you give us a little background on your music career and what you play in this band Xskull8?

A: I’m primarily a singer in XS8, but I also play rhythm guitar. I’ve been playing instruments since I was a little kid, but I’d have to say that my real music career started with a metal band I was in, where we finally did our own, original songs. I think that was about 13 years ago…It’s funny how your wishes get bigger and bigger through the years. Back then, we were just happy to make songs, and wished to record them. Later we wanted to do live shows, even small ones. Now, we want to travel the world and stand on the biggest stages in the world. The bar just gets higher and higher every year. That’s why we’re so happy Curtain Call Records decided to work with us, and help us to promote our music, even in the US. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing you soon on a tour or something 😊

Q: You guys are from Slovenia, how is the world over there and how did the last year or so impact you and your music community?

A: We’re waiting for the next lockdown now…We haven’t performed since March 2020 and yes, we miss our fans, our friends and the stage. But we used that time to learn new stuff, made a lot of covers with Johnny for Rock With Rokk YouTube channel and are already making new original XS8 songs. So, I guess that year didn’t go completely to waste.

Q: Tell me about the band name and what does it means to you and your music?

A: I have a tattoo on my back with a skull with an 8 carved into it, ace of spades for eyes and red stripes that make a letter X behind it. I call it my RnR tattoo. This design was used for our logo before when we were called Captain Morgan’s Revenge and when we were looking for a new name, we just looked at the logo. X, Skull and 8. It sounds a lot like escalate, and since we as a band and our music escalated, improved, the name stuck with us.

Q: Another intriguing aspect is the name of the album “FROM SIN TO SINNERS”? Have you all turned into sinners? Or is there more to the title than you’re letting on?

A: That happened way before the album 😀 hahaha. No. Not really. It’s more of a concept. Like now…2 years ago you were freely walking around the store, without a mask, you could hang out with friends as much as you wanted and so on, but when all of this shit happened, all of those things became illegal. So, the point is, that first there had to be a sin, for you to be convinced you are a sinner. And it works in any aspect. If they don’t tell you what you are doing is wrong, you just do what feels right, and you don’t know you’re not supposed to.

Q: Musically your band has a very American sound to it. Are you all originally from there and or have you visited the States a lot?

A: Well,  thank you 😊. hehe. I think Johnny is the only guy that visited the States before, but all he saw was his room and a lecture room where he took lectures from Tom Hess. Otherwise, I think the sound and the vibe just came from listening to other bands that we like, talking to people from the States and just trying to get that feeling and sound to it.

Q: Was this the first time in your music career that you had a lot of time to work and craft the songs out, like you really wanted them, before hitting the studio? If so, how did you feel about it? Was it a better creative process or did you feel you were overthinking at times?

A: We always take time with our music. That’s why we’re already working on our new songs, even though this album just came out. I hate to rush when it comes to music. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s not right. We really want to put out the best possible versions we can do. Some songs are on point from the beginning, but some need more work to really project the right sense of the story behind it. And the whole process is usually fun.

Q: You have been releasing singles to give fans hints of what is coming with the first album for this band entitled “FROM SIN TO SINNERS”. How does it feel doing a lot of single releases instead of just releasing the album and how did you guys go about picking an order and what tracks to release?

A: We like our fans so much that we just have to give them a little something now and then. The songs are chosen by the vibe. We try to make it interesting. One more rock-ish song, then one more metal, then a soft one, and so on. It’s really a rollercoaster. 😊

Q: With the release of the album coming soon did you do anything extra special since a lot of the songs were singles already? And if the album has been released at the time you’re doing this interview how has the overall feel of feedback been from songs you were holding onto till this day?

A: Not really. We just kept some songs until the album release. We did a little teaser of unheard songs before the release, that was it. Some of them are known by our older fans, and were upgraded to fit the XS8 album. That was probably the main surprise. The feedback is amazing. I love when people say, “this is my favourite song from XS8”, and when we release a new song, or they hear it on the album they get another favourite song. It’s just amazing how our fans respond to every new release we do. I mean, there’s not a lot of fans for now, but the ones that are with us, are the best fans a band could have.

Q: ‘LEAVES ARE FALLING’ was a single that caught on to the listener’s ears. What, about that song, do you think was so appealing to the listener and did you catch that feeling once the song was done as well?

A: Probably the same thing that got me the first time Johnny showed me the demo. It’s the melody…That simple yet effective melody that you just feel. It was easy for me to write lyrics to that song, and this is probably the song that I’m the most proud of. It’s soft and pleasing, but still very energetic and…I don’t know…It just gives you hope. It’s about not being alone, and that there are people that got your back, that you can talk to and trust.

Q: What were the top three best things about working with Producer Matej Pecaver and the best advice he gave to you?

1. His enthusiasm: When I met Matej he told me that he wanted to work with us since the first day he heard one of our songs and that he’s been waiting for such a band to make music with him. That shows in every aspect of the process. From early demos, recording, mixing, and mastering. He is all in…Not because he’s getting paid, but because he wants to be.

2. Great motivator: Even if you have a bad day, the guy just knows how to lift you up. He’s such a positive person, that even when talking about world problems, you feel calm…If you think that you’re not good enough, he proves you wrong. And if the take is not the best one, he won’t push it, and tell you it’s shit. He’ll help you get into the right state of mind to get the best out of you.

3. Results: Even when we weren’t recording, he’s been working on our sound, Trying out different sounds, different guitars, microphones, checking out new gear that could help us to get the best results, spending a lot of time and effort. He’ll do everything in his power to be satisfied with the end result.

Advice? I don’t know if it’s advice, but I’ll never forget when we recorded some vocals, and he was like: “dude. That’s the best. It’s awesome. In tune, powerful and all…BUT…I know you…That’s not you…You can do better…I want to hear YOU.”

Q: ‘A MINUTE 4 TOMORROW’ is my favourite off the disc. Tell me how that sound came to be and if you could pick a moment in the song that really gets you going, what would it be?

A: It’s one of our favourites too 😊. The sound? Nobody knows. This song just came together by itself. The guitars, drums, vocals, sound…I don’t know…I don’t think we had to brainstorm much about it. The best part? I’d say the last two choruses. When everything just builds up.

Q: Lyrically give me a little insight on the song ‘WET BED’, got to say that was an eye catcher for a song title?

A: It’s exactly what it is. Haha. That was one of our earliest songs. And as I mentioned before, through the album, you can sense the state of mind we/I was in writing it. That song was written a long time ago, when I was freshly single, so…Things were happening 😊

Q: How does it feel being on the roster of the label CURTAIN CALL RECORDS and what sold you on partnering with them?

A: It’s still kind of soon to say, but we’re very pleased with how things are going. Before we signed, we talked a lot about the contract and what is what. The main reason we signed with CCR is that they don’t dictate, but support the band. We can still be the band/artists we are and doin’ it the way we did it until now, but with a great support and guidance from the Curtain Call team.

Q: Any words of advice to your fans or the music community around the world?

A: Yes. Learn to enjoy little things, take time for yourself, for a walk, or listen to your favourite music. Support your community and the community will support you. Support your favourite artists, especially those that did not make it yet and need your help so they/we can make more music for you. Turn off the news and just breathe.

Q: Anything else I missed asking that you guys are gearing up for, for the rest of 2021?

A: We’ll be focusing on improving ourselves and making new music for our fans to enjoy. Thank you for a great interview.

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘Leaves Are Falling’ (Official Video)

Xskull8 Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Stephanie Stevens and East Coast Romper, and has been released to Ever Metal on this basis. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

INTERVIEW WITH CAPSTAN

Capstan Album Cover Art

INTERVIEW WITH CAPSTAN
By Stephanie Stevens

CAPSTAN are coming out hot with their newest album “SEPARATE”! The band is from Orlando, FL and took the last year or so to really focus on their sound and came out of the craziness of  2020 with ten massive tracks that will be turning a lot of heads in the music world. One listen to the first single ‘SHADES OF US’ introduce the growth and refinement; the groove, bold hooks and distorted feel that aligns with playful yet seriousness throughout the track is an ear catcher! But you dont even get the gist of it until you really open the package and see what else is inside “SEPARATE”! The albums diversity is pure magic. Take the aggressive yet melody driven ‘ALONE’ featuring Shane Told or the jazzy, uplifting, buoyant and melody induced ‘TAKE MY BREATHE AWAY//NOOSE’. Two different avenues but that signature CAPSTAN sound is in it all. ‘SWAY’ bleeds with prettiness as does ‘BLURRED AROUND THE EDGES’. Then the band gets loud again with ‘TONGUE-BITER’.

“SEPARATE” is purely electrifying with sound ‘n’ emotion. The band is creating this modern pop edge but can still kick you in the gut with some heavy vibes and moods. So excited to see where this album will take the band in months to come.

I had a chance to ask guitarist Joe a few questions about some of the tracks on the album, working with Machine and how it is being on Fearless Records.

Q: In 2020 what was the biggest growth and learning factor you learnt about your band CAPSTAN?

A: I really think that for me, personally, it was learning how to write a complete song in a cohesive manner. I approached the songwriting for our new record, “SEPARATE”, very differently than I had for past releases. So, while it was quite the learning experience, and could be frustrating at times, I’m very happy with the final product.

Q: Did you all take the time also to look into your musical abilities and work on learning more and growing as musicians while preparing for what would be the newest album “SEPARATE”? If so, what was the biggest thing you learnt from that?

A: Absolutely. Although maybe not musical abilities in terms of performing on an instrument, but certainly as it pertains to writing a song and solving the puzzle of what it needs to become a “banger”.

Q: I want to jump into the album because there is so much goodness coming from it. One of my favourite tracks isTAKE MY BREATH AWAY//NOOSE’ and the line “eat my fucking heart again” is so good. Tell me how that line came to be and the overall theme of the song?

A: Thank you so much! That track is all about a toxic relationship, and I tried to capture that feeling of still being in love with a person who has repeatedly hurt you, and who you know will continue to hurt you. The verse lyrics are all references to bad reactions or stark contrasts between two things that may not necessarily be harmful or lethal on their own. It’s analogous to two people, neither of them specifically bad nor wrong, but who bring out the worst in each other.

Q: Getting to work with Shane Told (Silverstein) must have been amazing. He has always been such a great interview. Describe his work ethic and what you took away from that experience? Also why did you pick the song ‘ALONE’ for him?

A: We unfortunately were unable to have Shane be a part of the studio recording process with us, due to quarantine and him living in Canada. He recorded the parts on his own, and he absolutely killed it for us and delivered super quickly! When we were discussing potential features as a band, Shane’s name had come up a few times, as we have been fortunate enough to tour with Silverstein in the past. We all unanimously agreed that ‘Alone’ best fit his style and voice.

Q: On ‘SWAY’ you had Charlene Joan appear on the song. How do you feel a mood changes when a female artist puts her touches on a song and have you guys ever collaborated with other female musicians?

A: ’Sway’ is the first track we’ve ever done with a guest feature performed by a female artist, and I would like to say that it’s one of my personal favourites on the record. When I wrote the song, it was always with the idea of it being a duet in my mind. It worked out rather perfectly that our good friend Charlene Joan, who is another local Orlando/Central Florida artist, was more than happy to lay vocals down for it. Check her out on Spotify!

Q: ‘BLURRED AROUND THE EDGES’ has a different feel on the record and seems a different type of emotional. Was this a harder song to finish and how was the process on this song and working with Saxl Rose?

A: ‘Blurred Around The Edges’ was actually the last song that I wrote for the record and was in fact quite easy to finish. I was deep in a state of depression at the time, and the words and music for this one was simply a natural release of what I was feeling. I’m very pleased to have had Saxl Rose featured on the track, he plays so expressively and really made the part much better than I had envisioned it. The idea of the saxophone feature was, essentially, just a melodic easter egg, but I wanted it to be played by a different instrument, not a guitar. The melody of the saxophone section there is a reference to the track ‘Shattered Glass’ which deals with similar lyrical subject matter.

Q: What was the major goal in the studio with Machine for this record and do you feel it went more smoothly than past recordings and what song after you finished was a WOW factor for the whole band?

A: We had always been so impressed by Machine’s versatility, and the diversity of his discography. It was absolutely the best recording experience that we have ever had. As we began the process, our primary goal was coming up with a lot of fresh production ideas, little things that make a record more cohesive. Machine is well known for, and prides himself on, his abilities as a producer, and he certainly did not disappoint. I think that one of the tracks that popped off the most after some of Machine’s input was ‘Alone’.

Q: What made you guys decide that your first single would be ‘SHADES OF US’ and how have fans reacted to that track and now the whole album?

A: I think that all of us agreed, pretty much right away, that ‘Shades Of Us’ was the strongest track on

the record, and so we wanted to lead with it. Fan support for it has been amazing so far and I’m so thankful for everyone that’s listened and is still listening!

Q: Fearless Records has been an iconic label for some major bands in the past. How does it feel being with them and who are some of their current or past labelmates you guys’ love?

A: Capstan had always described Fearless Records as our “dream label” so to speak, primarily, because of their amazing roster, but they’ve also been so good to us as a band! We were beyond ecstatic when they first offered us a generous deal in 2018. Sharing a label with some of my favourite bands, such as August Burns Red and Underoath, still feels a little surreal!

Q: Since the album just released do you have any touring plans or are you waiting on road life for a little longer?

A: We finally get back out on the road this November! Come see us in a city (hopefully) near you!

Q: Do you have any words for your fans or new listeners just getting acquainted with your band?

A: Thank you so much listening, I hope you stick with us!

Q: Anything I missed that you are either gearing up to release or do that we didn’t hit upon?

A: Shameless self-plug – any guitarists reading this, we now have complete guitar tab transcriptions available for “SEPARATE”! You can get a copy of it online, and everyone that we sell equals a day that I don’t have to eat Top Ramen (Noodles) for dinner.

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘Take My Breath Away//Noose’ (Official Video)

Capstan Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Stephanie Stevens and East Coast Romper, and has been released to Ever Metal on this basis. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

INTERVIEW WITH SLEEP WAKER

Sleep Waker Alias Album Cover Art

INTERVIEW WITH SLEEP WAKER
Waking Your Senses With New Album “ALIAS”
By Stephanie Stevens

Michigan’s heavy metal outlet SLEEP WAKER is destroying the confinements of being a new band trying to find their way. These guys are pulling walls down and making other bands take notes on how to do it. Guitarists Jake Embellishers and Jason Caudill, vocalist Hunter Courtright, drummer Frankie Mish, and bassist Aaron Lutas, who have signed to UNFD for the release of their second full-length, which was released on July 23, entitled “ALIAS”; have made huge leaps forward these since their formation back in 2017. If you enjoy heavy, intricate, intensity in your music then this band is the pot of gold you have been looking for.

“ALIAS” applies so much brutal soundscape but also layers it with solitude, sereneness and conceptual themes and ideas that will blow your mind. The story they have embedded into their music is intriguing, sometimes confusing and maybe too intricate for some, but GOD DAMN these guys can put a package together that is nearly perfection

Songs like ‘110 MINUTES’, ‘SKIN’, ‘ALIAS’ and ‘DISTANCE’ had me salivating and on the edge of my seat while I was listening for the first time. Buckle in for the best ride of your life on the heavy train with SLEEP WAKER because “ALIAS” is going to define what talent is.

I had a chance to speak with drummer/songwriter Frankie Mish to find out the story behind SLEEP WAKER, who he considers his most influential band and how Philip K. Dick impacted the writing for “ALIAS”.

Q: Your band is so much more than just amazing music! Can you explain, in your words as people and artists, what this band has given you the opportunity to create and the vision you are releasing?

A: Thank you! Since the beginning, this band has always been a sort of outlet for creative development and ideas composed of all the members. We’ve had several members that started photography businesses, videography, graphic design, and other things, and I love that the overall feeling of this band is creative and collaborative. It’s also been great for me when it comes to getting dream and sleep-focused concepts out. It’s something I think of a lot, and feel a lot of people could connect to. That and being able to treat SW like a mini clothing brand is fun haha.

Q: Your brand new album “ALIAS” came out on July 23rd. How did the words of Philip K. Dick impact the writing and your vision for this record and songs?

A: I love the way he tries to capture what it means to be human, and the way he makes you question your reality and perception of the world around you. That’s honestly a very large recurring concept through this album, and it’s explored through so many different themes, but his story and the movies inspired by DADOES were some of the biggest inspirations for me.

Q: From your first album” DON’T LOOK AT THE MOON” to this album ALIAS, you have seemed to really take a leap forward in writing. Do you feel, that while writing, you guys were breaking through to a new level and how does that impact you as people on an emotional level?

A: I don’t think we can really say how it’s impacted us as people because it’s been a long writing process for this album, and the growth was kind of slow since some of this was written during the DLATM process, but the pride of creating an album that shows our maturity is awesome, and I’m so excited for this to come out and have people experience the new styles we’re working on.

Q: Lyrically this time you said these were literal and very personal words you got out. Do you feel this is a quicker process in writing or do you think it’s a harder process when writing and what do you feel off this new album is, probably, your favourite lyrical moment from a song and why?

A: Honestly, I don’t think these songs are very literal at all, at least from my personal view of writing. When Hunter writes lyrics he tends to come from a more personal place, which I definitely think can be hard on him to really plan out and convey his feelings lyrically, but for me, I always try to take lyrics he writes or concepts I’ve had in mind and apply them to a piece of media or theme I feel fits the style or mood of the song best. I actually prefer to be much more abstract in my lyrics, so the listener can take them however they like, and I also really enjoy borrowing things from movies, books, and other things to hide easter eggs that only some people may get. It just helps add that little bit of extra depth.

Q: Since your inception your music has been personal from dreams and concepts based round sleep and also a friendship that has seen a common bond. Can you tell the readers how this all happened and how it made SLEEP WAKER what it is today?

A: Once we had the name Sleep Waker, Hunter and I both sat and talked about our personal experiences with dreams and sleep. Having both experienced insomnia and sleep paralysis, we thought it would be a really interesting way to inspire ourselves to write and conceptualize the band as a whole. That way you’re almost paving the way for future ideas and content. Rather than starting with a blank canvas each time, now we have a base that we can pull from, and it’s something we both have experience with.

Q: One of the songs off “ALIAS” is a track called ‘COLD MOON’. How does this song coincide with the movie the Matrix and is this the bands favourite movie to agree on?

A: Cold Moon was absolutely inspired by The Matrix, specifically the scene when Neo is given the choice to leave or stay. I felt this song was showing our evolution as a band and was sort of the tipping point for us to say, “Don’t look at the moon is in the past, it’s cold, this is the new Sleep Waker.” Not to say we’re ashamed or turning our backs on it, but we just wanted it to be a very poignant turn, from a heavy focused band, into more matured and experienced songwriters that want to explore more than just the heavy side of music.

Q: Your music has been so heavy and dark; do you feel that musically it became even heavier due to the lyrical tones or have you guys always been a bunch of musicians into the heavier metal scene?

A: In the past, we’ve all been into the heavier scene, and some of us definitely still love the heaviest stuff we can find, but I’ve definitely started to turn away from metal music and started exploring more outside of the genre. Sort of like researching what else is out there, and trying to take breaks to help me feel fresh and excited when coming back to metal. I think when you start to dive too deep into one specific thing you can sometimes lose sight of the big picture. I also think that lyrically we try to pack references and themes in, which allows us to push the songs into a place that feels heavier than the track itself, which is always nice, since like I mentioned, it allows us to get some breathing room, and explore what else is out there, while still holding on to the darker, heavier, themes.

Q: Who would you consider the most influential band for you and if you could choose one of their albums to have sat in on while they made it, what one would it have been and why?

A: Deftones is absolutely a huge inspiration for me, and I would love to see how they made Koi no Yokan. The guitar writing, melody choices, and overall feeling of that record is so unique and I’m obsessed with it. It would be so incredible if I could pick their brains during the process.

Q: ‘SKIN’ is my favourite off the new album. How would you describe the writing process for that and what three words would sum up the identity of that track?

A: Ethereal, Searching, and Experimental. Experimental, at least for us. It was the first song I wrote for this album, and a really big push from me to add singing and more melody to our songs. We wrote it during the DLATM recording process, and tracked it a few months after, roughly around the time we tracked ‘Melatonin’. So, the song had a lot of time to evolve and grow up until we released it last year, and we waited to record the lyrics on it to fit the style we were looking for on the album. We had the chorus almost immediately, but the rest came a little slower, and we tried to be very intentional during that song.

Q: I read that you guys aren’t big on the whole social media platform. Is it a feeling of not being genuine enough and you like the more ‘in person’ factors of bonding with fans etc?

A: I love playing a character, or just messing around and being myself, but for both of those things, I think you genuinely have to be passionate about it or it can come off cheesy or fake. We aren’t very passionate about being “influencers” or really being in the spotlight, but I know that it comes with the territory of releasing music and art, so I’m accepting of it, but I want to find a way to play a character or use a story I feel passionate about to push that connection with fans and our art. I’m always so excited to meet fans and interact, but I think those are chances where the mask can drop and you can really share an experience rather than “sell” something or act above people. For example, our Facebook interaction, vs. how I run our Twitter haha.

Q: With writing music so personal have you guys, during interviews, ever had an issue with questions being too personal and how do you handle that?

A: I haven’t really experienced that so much, since most of the things I write are more of a mask I put on with a character to express those feelings or ideas I’ve had, but Hunter has experienced some personal questions when it comes to ‘Distance’ and the inspirations behind that song that have been close to home, especially with the topics that song goes into.

Q: Being that your music is so emotional and personal how would you describe a night seeing you in a live presence and what do you hope people walk out of a club feeling after seeing you?

A: I personally hope we can just connect and entertain people. We are talking about heavy things, but my intention is never to make someone leave a venue sad or feel pity, or anything negative. I just always hope they can experience the show and leave feeling like they’ve experienced something new. Whether that be a conversation with the members, the reactions from the crowd, our music, anything. I know we’re just a younger metalcore act right now, but I always want to try and push ourselves past just that, and really attempt to prove ourselves as creative artists and people.

Q: What are your Tour plans for the rest of 2021?

A: At the moment, nothing we can really discuss, although I hope to be back on the road as soon as possible with these new songs!

Q: Will we see any concept videos for the songs off “ALIAS” and if so, how do you guys take making the words that are so personal fit into a video format? Is it something you value for your music or would you rather leave your music up for interpretation without putting a visual to it?

A: I would rather the latter, although we do have an external story, we’ve been playing out for the past 4 years with some tie-in to how the songs we choose are structured. There will be more, and I’m excited to make them all come together at some point and add some more direction to this story.

Q: Lastly, do you think in this day and age and the world we live in, we can truly trust our own judgement?

A: I think that’s an incredibly loaded question I don’t have enough time to answer to its full extent at the moment haha, but I also think reality is whatever you make of it. If you have the ability to change something for the better or cure ignorance, I absolutely encourage that. I also think that includes your perception of reality and how you experience things.

Q: Anything else you want to add or parting words for your fans?

A: I truly appreciate anyone and everyone that has listened to our music, and I’m so excited to share more of it with you, both digital and live. And, if you haven’t heard of us yet, then it’s time to wake up.

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘Distance’ (Official Video)

Sleep Waker Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Stephanie Stevens and East Coast Romper, and has been released to Ever Metal on this basis. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

INTERVIEW WITH RAESHWAN GREENE aka ‘AWESOME RAY RAY’

Awesome Ray Ray Promo Pic 1

INTERVIEW WITH RAESHWAN GREENE aka ‘AWESOME RAY RAY’
BY STEPHANIE STEVENS

Raeshwan Greene is an artist and a drummer I met years ago when he was drumming for a band called YEAR OF THE LOCUST. I was honoured and able to meet this gentleman and his band when they toured with Starset. A rock n roll band that captured and moved you on record and onstage. Greene’s drumming was so fun to watch and his humbleness to his craft was noteworthy when meeting the band.

As our friendship grew throughout the years and I learnt he was more than an artist, he was a father, a goal setter, he ran with his passions and he was so diverse in the music world as the world is finding out in 2021 as he is bringing forth his solo work as ‘AWESOME RAY RAY’. Not just a drummer he is a songwriter, a singer, a spoken word and rap influencer. He is bringing raw truth about himself and the world to the forefront of his new music. So many avenues in the music world that he has a talent in and that, right there, is going to bring a special diversity to his solo work! If I could sum up in one word what this new chapter of his life will bring it would be the word adventure: for the listeners and for himself.

Just go listen to a track like ‘ON THE RUN’ and then skip to a track like ‘THERAPY’ so different but such epicness in their own genres; and that is where he stands out! He is giving you all that is in his heart n soul and he is portraying it in music, in a raw authentic way which leads to him traveling down different genres. That just shows that he is a lover of music, he is not fearful of change and putting himself out there in a variety of elements to do the best he can and right now from what I have heard he is killing it! Right there is RESPECT for anyone that is giving their all for the passion they have!

I finally got to chat with Ray, one on one, to find out more about his chapter in Year Of The Locust, his background in music and what he hopes to do with the music he is making now.

Q: I met you when you were in a band called Year Of the Locust, can you talk about how being in that band made you grow as a musician, how being able to tour changed your life for the better or worse and what being in a band meant to you?

A: I love those guys so much. Being in Year Of The Locust taught me so much. They taught me the true grind and hustle of the music industry especially in the rock world as it relates to being in bands. I learned so much about being on the road; how to work on a bus, and how to make the best out of even the worst of situations. It Definitely made me a better musician and It took me from drumming in the gospel, hip-hop/ R&B world, to the rock world as a drummer. Which was a totally different world then I was accustomed to. So, all in all it really helped sharpen all of my skills musically and as a person in all areas. What it meant to me was a level of brotherhood and friendship, Unlike I’ve ever experienced before. Those fellas are still my brothers and we definitely still keep in touch and still work on music together.

Q: How did you get into drumming and do you still play?

A: I’ve always been a drummer. I started banging on pots and pans around three years old. Then joined bands in elementary school, middle school and then went on to be the drum major of my marching band in high school. I’ve also played for multiple churches and other community entities and functions. I absolutely still play drums. I did the drums on my songs ‘My Way Home’, ‘No Regrets’, and a new song that I’ll be releasing here shortly in about a month.

Q: If you could take one song you wrote with YOTL that means the most to you which one would it be and why?

A: I would definitely have to say ‘Movin On’. It’s such an amazing song and it means so much for so many different reasons. Things are always moving and changing in life. In fact, that’s the only constant, and it’s sad that focus on the song but it is life and it does move on. Be it relationships, friendships, bands or anything else, everything has a season. I also directed and filmed that music video so there’s really a special place there for me with that song. And I absolutely have to give credit to Scot when it comes down to his delivery in the vocals it just touches your soul in such an amazing way.

Q: You have taken vocal duties in a diverse way so when did you decide you wanted to make your voice known and tell the stories you have created?

A: Before Year Of The Locust, I actually rapped for a pop punk band out of Virginia called “Escape The Armada”. So, I had a little bit of experience with being on the microphone and upfront for sure. But honestly, I’ve always been writing songs and producing/writing my own stuff with all the bands I’ve been in. Ultimately, I knew there was going to come a point where I had to do something with it on a solo front. I just had to figure out my identity. It’s always been building in me even since I was a little kid.

Q: Earlier this year you went through a real hard time mentally and emotionally and tracked a song about it, I felt everything you wrote about and your story you told because I have the same thoughts, for people struggling how did you get through it and how do you deal with it on the daily and what would be your best advice?

A: My faith, music, and my daughters. I would definitely advise others to lean on your close inner circle and find your faith if you already don’t have it. There’s no possible way any of us can get through some of the worst times of our life alone. Even though I wanted to be alone, I had to recognize that I was not alone.

Q: Do you feel you found god then? I have come into contact with a lot of people who have had breakdowns and god came to them in the past year, do you feel this was what happened to you or have you been with him for a bit?

A: I wouldn’t say that I’ve been with him. He’s been with me. I’ve always had faith and God in my heart and life, but there are times where we all stray away and I believe during the last year and a half I was made heavily aware of that. I was reminded that he is the ultimate healer, and comforter no matter what we face. And that is the storms as I like to call them, or dark times calm, they don’t last forever and the sun will absolutely shine again.

Q: One of my favourites is ‘NO REGRETS’, did you do all the music and the lyrics etc and how is it being in control of everything these days?

A: I wrote the concept for ‘No Regrets’, and some of the generic guitar sounds then with help from my buddy Scot from Year Of The Locust he took the guitar sound to the next level and I’m so appreciative of his help. He also helped out on the vocals on the choruses and throws on some screams. I did pretty much everything else 😊. It’s a double edge sword being in control of everything as a solo artist because you get to reap all the benefits when things are going great, but when things aren’t going so great and you realize you’re responsible for everything it can be a little bit over bearing but I do love it. I trust the process.

Q: ‘ON THE RUN’ is totally a 180 of other stuff you write. How was putting this track together and did you have any help in getting the right vibe for this track and how do you feel about the overall finished product of this song?

A: ‘On The Run’ came out first. That is the first solo song that I’ve ever done as Awesome Ray Ray. But yes, it is totally different from most of my other stuff. Just like my other tracks, I wrote it and made demos then took it to a studio out in LA and had professionals clean it up for me a little bit. You know things that I’m not too great with, guitars and other production. I also took it down to Nashville and had a very good friend of mine Brian Bonds who is in the video, (formally of Florida Georgia Line and Tantric) help me out with additional production and sweet guitar riffs layered on top. I’m so in love with the final product. That song and video will always have a special place in my heart for more reasons than I have time to explain right now.

Q: What are your plans now with your music and the songs you have been promoting and tracking? do you want to take this on the road?

A: I absolutely want to take those songs on the road for sure. I did an audit the other day, I have 29 unfinished songs. Things are about to get real LOL.

Q: A lot of people are going the route of self-employment in the music world and no labels. Are you one of them also and what are your views about it and the near future?

A: I totally understand that. For right now I’m independent and unsigned and definitely respect all the other underdogs out there. I also understand the function of a label and how it could absolutely be beneficial. For me? We will have to see. I’m not knocking it but I’m not exactly gunning for it. There’s a purpose and a plan for my music career even if I don’t know what all of it entails. I can say whatever happens I’m excited, thankful and blessed to be a part of the ride.

Q: Where do you find inspiration to write, it seems you look inside of yourself but there has to be more to this creativeness then just that?

A: I absolutely do look inward for inspiration. But I also look outward. I have a very overactive imagination, and I also have the ability to be able to listen to somebody else’s story and tell that story. So, I gather a bunch of different things when it comes down to songwriting, production and music videos.

Q: Who inspires you in the spoken word community and why do they, if you have someone that does?

A: There’s a lot of folks that inspire me. I would definitely say a lot of the southern hip-hop artist, and a few from out west. Rappers, singers and bands that I grew up on. To name a few, Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, YelaWolf, jelly roll, Lecrae, Timbaland, Common, Jurassic 5, Cypress Hill, Black Thought (from the roots),Drake, Gary Clark Jr. Jill Scott, The entire Dc go-go scene. This list could go on for about another 20 or 30 pages.

Q: Vocally, what do you hope to improve on or learn throughout this new chapter in your life?

A: I hope to get better at my actual singing, and be able to increase my range, and harmonize better. I truly believe this is a journey not a destination, so there’s always room to improve and get better.

Q: Would you consider ever getting a band back into the works if the music called for it?

A: Absolutely. I have a very short tour and a major music festival coming up in the fall, and I definitely have a backing band for it.

Q: I feel like you’re a reader of books, if you are, do you have a go to book that you love if so, what is it and why do you love it?

A: Believe it or not, I’m actually not a big book person. I am intrigued though and would like to dive into some books. I’m more of a writer and watcher.

Q: What or who has inspired you to keep the passion you have for music and for people who give up on their dreams what would you want to tell them to stay the course and if they have given up do you feel they can get back on it and re build and re start?

A: My circle, my kids, my true friends, and the Fanbase that I’m building up. They love me and support me even on my darker days. I absolutely would encourage those who have quit to jump back into it. My biggest thing is following dreams. I whole heartedly believe when you give up on your dreams, you give up on life. it’s definitely not easy, but you got a hang in there. You have to keep pushing and believing. So, I wanna encourage others to follow their dreams, much as I can. Rather it be through my music or anything else that I can contribute.

Q:What does it mean to have people supporting you through all your music career paths and how it feels to know you have a special effect on people’s lives?

A: For me it means the absolute world. It’s the reason why I started, and why I keep going. Rather it be people in my DM‘s, telling me about their day, or people commenting about how cool my mohawk looks, or about how my music help them through a tough time. I’m thankful and grateful that I’m in a position to affect people’s lives in a positive way. I wasn’t always a positive person, and still have some negative moments of days. But I recognize that and I am ever trying to improve to be better today than I was yesterday, and hopefully that spreads.

Q: Anything else you want to add or I missed that you’re currently working on? Also, how people can keep up to date with your music?

A: I think you covered at all. I want to thank you and East Coast Romper so much for taking the time. I’m super thankful and grateful. I’m on all socials, and streaming on all music platforms, Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Amazon Music, Tidal and, most recently, I am now on iHeartRadio.

STAY CONNECTED:

‘On The Run’ (Official Video)

‘Therapy’ (Lyric Video)

Awesome Ray Ray Promo Pic 2

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Stephanie Stevens and East Coast Romper, and has been released to Ever Metal on this basis. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.