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.

INTERVIEW WITH ZEBRAHEAD

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INTERVIEW WITH ZEBRAHEAD
The New Chapter!!
By Stephanie Stevens

I am going to make this introduction a little personal because I feel like I have grown up and watched this Southern California band blossom and create so much insanely fun, quirky and amazing music since the bands start! ZEBRAHEAD started as a band when the explosion in the Orange County punk scene infected the music world. Signing with Columbia Records the band brought the world a piece of heaven with the debut album “WASTE OF MIND”, and the introduction that was given to me into the world that was ZEBRAHEAD. One listen to this album and I was hooked. The energy, the character in the music and just the overall fun & creative atmosphere made this disc an instant classic. It’s been 23 years and this album is still a go to listen when I am having an off day and need a bit of a pick me up. The bands whole discography could be used for that, who am I fooling, these guys just bring a light hearted, happy ambiance to the world of music.

With 2 million records sold to date, Grammy nominated and the survival of label and member changes the force that is ZEBRAHEAD is stronger than ever, which brings me to that next chapter of the band or as they love to call it ZEBRAHEAD 3.0! With new found excitement the guys, just recently, told the world about a new addition to the band in the name of Adrian Estrella. It took the guys not even a minute to realize who they needed when vocalist/guitarist Matty Lewis left the band. Estrella is no new comer when it comes to touring and recording and the band have known him for some time. Knowing how passionate and energized he was about music was a no brainer, but the inspiration infused into the atmosphere is what re ignited the band to create some of the best work in their arsenal to date, and that is going to be one gigantic amount of happiness all rolled up in one. Releasing a new single and Video at the end of the month the guys are ready to stimulate the diehard ZEBRAHEAD fans and make a ton of new ones throughout 2021.

I am honoured and so excited to watch these guys take the next chapter into this crazy and fun world they have created. I was able to catch up with Ben Ozz, bass player of the band, to ask him about his take on newest member Adrian, did he ever think in 1998 that the debut album would lead to the life they have, tour plans and if the live show will stay as fun and chaotic as ever?

Q: Tell The Zebrahead fans and the world what chapter 3 of the story of Zebrahead looks like from your vision and ideas that you have been making with the new music?

Ben: So far Chapter 3 has been really exciting. It has been kind of a whirlwind. We were caught a little off guard when Matty left but decided to try and pick ourselves up rather quickly once we had a band meeting about the future. Our first pick and only pick we came up with was Adrian. So, Dan reached out to him, and it is all history…a blurry one.

Q: Introduce us to your newest addition Mr. Adrian Estrella and how did you guys meet?

Ben: I met Adrian about 15 years ago when we were finishing up recording “Broadcast to the World”. At the time he was in a pop punk band and his voice blew me away…So, I introduced him to our management. They already had a manager but, Adrian was the kind of guy you just wanted to help out. Basically, wanted him to know if he ever needed anything we would try to help him out.

Q: What does he bring into the camp that you think had been missing or was never represented as much as it does now?

Ben: His excitement is completely infectious. When he walks into the studio, we could be recording any instrument and Adrian lights up with ideas. You see this excitement and it pulls everyone in…and reminds us how lucky we are to be doing this as a job…beyond lucky. And honestly his ideas are so new and fresh to us…such a different outlook on everything and it feels great.

Q: I’m sure when you are making new music with someone new, you learn things you never knew about each other! What do you feel you learned that surprised you about Adrian and also the rest of the members? What did Adrian learn about you?

Ben: Well, I can’t speak for him…but I know I have learned tons from him in the few short months we have been working together. He reminds me a lot of Dan with his ability to just keep throwing ideas out there. There aren’t many people that can spit out quality ideas that quickly and it is amazing.

Q: Can you describe what the new single is bringing to the latest chapter of Zebrahead and whether you could compare it to an older song in your arsenal? Also, when is it officially dropping and will there be an accompanying video?

Ben: The plan is for the single and the video to both drop on July 30th. We just finished mixing the song, so the next move is to start working on the video. This might be the first song in a really long time that kind of captures all sides of the band. It would be tough to classify it…it kind of goes all over the place and I love that about it.

Q: Who are you working with in regard to the production for the new full-length and when do you think that might be released?

Ben: We have been working with Paul Miner at Buzz Bomb studios for a while now. I have nothing but great things to say about him. He is very talented. His production work just keeps getting better and better.

Q: 23 years making music as Zebrahead (2 million records sold, Grammy nominated, survived label and band member changes)! Take a minute, if you can, to put into words how it feels to have been able to do this for so long?

Ben: Suprising! Honestly when we started it was a chance to see the world for a few years. None of us ever thought we would be lucky enough to still be doing this after all these years.

Q: I was introduced to the band way back in ’98 with your album “Waste Of Mind”, an album that, still to this day, is on regular rotation in my playlist! Looking back on that album, what are your thoughts about it now and, when you first finished it, did you think it would be the start of the special years to come?

Ben: To be honest, we didn’t know what to think. It was our first experience in a huge studio, our first experience with a giant record label. We were a little intimidated to say the least. The hope was people would like the album as much as we did…and we could travel the world for a few years and see what was out there. We were super proud of even making it that far…

Q: Your stage show was always so energetic and fun. Do you feel it will always be that way, even thought we are all getting older and we cannot do all the crazy things like we used to 20 years ago?

Ben: Well, the live show is still the best part of being in a band. So, there is no plan to change the chaos. The idea is to make sure everyone gets to escape a bit from the realities of the world and just smile for a bit. Being part of the show, it definitely works for us…hopefully it translates over to the crowd.

Q: Do you have any tour plans, once the new single drops and if so, is there anything you can tell us now about that?

Ben: Once the single comes out, so far, the plan is to keep writing and keep trying to record new songs. Our real big tour plans start in the summer of 2022. I know we are trying to push a few things along before that, like Slam Dunk this September in England…but so is everyone else…all bands have been home so long, people are frantically trying to book up every available room in every town. We are kind of sitting back and deciding to work on music…the rest will fall into place.

Q: Is there anything else you want to add that I didn’t hit on in this interview or anything you want to tell your fans?

Ben: Thanks for coming along on the ride for Chapter 3. We are excited to see you all out on tour soon and thank you for all your support throughout the years!

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘Chapter 3 – Welcome to the MFZB family!’

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.

Video Interview with DOOGIE WHITE

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Video Interview with DOOGIE WHITE
The Flying Scotsman
By Chris Galea

Sometimes it just takes a little initiative to change everything. For Doogie White that initiative was probably when he gave Ritchie Blackmore’s management a cassette containing some songs with him singing. That eventually led him to join Rainbow and his career has since flown from peak to pinnacle.

Douglas ‘Doogie’ White was born in Motherwell (Scotland) on the 7th March 1960. He sings or has sung with bands such as La Paz, Alcatrazz, Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force, Praying Mantis, Tank…and Rainbow and has collaborated with the cream of contemporary music.

In this interview Doogie and I discuss recent (and not-so-recent) musical involvements, the re-release of his only solo album (called “As Yet Untitled”) and ponder over the general state of things.

Enjoy!

DOOGIE WHITE Video Interview by Chris Galea

DISCOGRAPHY (Studio Albums, Unless Otherwise Indicated):
Long Shadows Dawn – “Isle of Wrath” (Out Aug. 2021)
Michael Schenker Fest – “Revelation” (2019) (On 5 Tracks)
Michael Schenker Fest – “Resurrection” (2018) (On 5 Tracks)
Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock – “Spirit On A Mission” (2015)
Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock – “Bridge the Gap” (2013)
Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock – “Temple of Rock” (2011) (On 1 Track)
Come Taste The Band – “Reignition” (2018) (On All But 2 Tracks)
John Steel & Doogie White – “Everything or Nothing” (2017)
Stardust Reverie Project – “Proclamation of Shadows” (2015) (On 2 Tracks)
WAMI (White/Appice/Mendoza/Iggy) – “Kill The King” (2014)
Doogie White & La Paz – “Shut Up and Rawk!” (2016)
Doogie White & La Paz – “The Dark and the Light” (2013)
Doogie White & La Paz – “Granite” (2012)
Doogie White – “As Yet Untitled” (2011)
Demon’s Eye – “Under the Neon” (2015)
Demon’s Eye – “The Stranger Within” (2011)
Tank – “War Nation” (2012)
Tank – “War Machine” (2010)
Rata Blanca – “The Forgotten Kingdom” (2009) (English Version)
Empire – “Chasing Shadows” (2007)
M3 – “Rough an’ Ready” (Live, DVD&CD) (2005)
Praying Mantis – “The Journey Goes On” (2003) (On 7 Tracks)
Liesegang/White – “Visual Surveillance of Extreme” (2005)
Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – “Unleash the Fury” (2005)
Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – “Attack!!” (2002)
Cornerstone – “Two Tales of One Tomorrow” (2007)
Cornerstone – “Once upon Our Yesterdays” (2003)
Cornerstone – “Human Stain” (2002)
Cornerstone – “Arrival” (2000)
Nikolo Kotsev – “Nostradamus” (2001)
Balance Of Power – “Ten More Tales of Grand Illusion” (1999) (Only Backing Vocals)
Chain – “Eros of Love and Destruction” (1997)
Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – “Black Masquerade – Rockpalast ’95” (Live, DVD & CD)
(2013)
Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – “Stranger In Us All” (1995)
Midnight Blue – “Take The Money And Run” (1994)
La Paz – “The Amy Tapes” (Cassette Only) (1988)
La Paz – “Old Habits Die Hard” (Cassette Only) (1985)

LINKS:
Alcatrazz:

Long Shadows Dawn:

Doogie White:

Read Chris’s review of the 2021 reissue of “As Yet Untitled here:
https://ever-metal.com/2021/07/16/doogie-white-as-yet-untitled-reissue-2cd/

Doogie White Live Photo

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 BRING TO BEAR

Bring To Bear Ever Metal Banner

Interview with BRING TO BEAR
By Rick Tilley

Hi Everyone, it’s Rick…

There is nothing I love more than introducing people to brand new bands especially ones that, not only know how to write great music, but also embrace the ‘business’ side of things with an excellent online presence and striking visuals.

One such band is UK Symphonic Folk Metal Quintet BRING TO BEAR, who recently chatted to us about their debut single and video ‘THE SHADOW RUSE’ which is being released tomorrow, Friday 16th July.

I’d like to send huge thanks to them for the interview.

Enjoy!

Q: For a new band, this is truly a wonderful debut, how long have you been playing together and how did you get together?

BtB: Thanks very much, that’s very kind of you to say. Hristo and I (Ian) met through being in a gypsy punk band together and played in that band for a few years now. We realised that we both love metal and during May of the first UK lockdown we decided to start a metal band together. We wrote a few short demos to show the style we wanted to play and posted these on the website Bandmix. We then contacted people through Bandmix and Facebook to see if they were interested in joining us. We managed to get the current line-up (excluding bass) by January this year, so I suppose you could say we have been playing together as a band for about 7 months now.

Q: Can you tell us a little more about each of the members in BRING TO BEAR?

BtB: Hristo plays electric guitar and is also a good bassist, so he did the bass recordings. He is strongly influenced by grunge music, and he is originally from Bulgaria. I (Ian) play accordion and keys, and do the growling, and I am originally from South Africa. I’m very much into symphonic metal and folk metal, gypsy punk, film scores, Viking music. Izabela is lead vocalist and she’s from Poland. She’s a big fan of Nightwish and Frank Sinatra. Simon is the token UK local; he plays drums (and a range of traditional Thai instruments) and loves folk metal and death metal. Nik is our other guitarist and he’s originally from Russia and the UAE. He is really into melodic metal and melodic death metal, particularly bands like Dream Theater.

Q: You have a very rich textured sound (inclusive of instruments like the Accordion), accompanied by fascinating complementary visuals. Please can you share some of the inspirations that went into crafting your sound and visual style?

BtB: The sound of BRING TO BEAR is a balance we are learning to find because we basically have 3 lead instruments (both guitarists and the accordion), as well as 2 vocal styles. When we started the band the phrase, we had in mind, was “Amon Amarth with an accordion” and the idea was to have heavy driving riffs as the foundation of the sound, with powerful tremolo sections, and then add the flavour of accordion to that (because what else would I play??), interspersed with strings and brass (keyboard) to give it some more depth and variety. And on top of that we wanted strong and powerful drumming. A lot of the guitar riffs are also influenced by bands like Pantera, Mushroomhead, and Rammstein. And the folk and symphonic elements are influenced by bands like Nightwish, Korpiklaani, traditional folk music, and film score melodies. The visuals are based on creating a scene of adventure because we believe our music is adventurous. Due to the double meaning of the band name, the bear animal seemed like an obvious inclusion in some visuals and also works as a representation of the growling, and it sets the context of the forest too. Then the lady in the hood represents the clean female vocals. And some beams of light breaking through the shade of the canopy and some mist, and it gives it a strong sense of mystery and intrigue.

Q: Your debut single ‘THE SHADOW RUSE’ will be available tomorrow. Can you share some insight on this debut track, as well as why and how you chose it as your debut offering to introduce the world to BRING TO BEAR?

BtB: ‘The Shadow Ruse’ is a song about the balance between light and dark. It’s easy to look at a situation from one point of view and label it “good” or “bad”, but the same situation seen from another point of view can be the opposite. All that changed is the perception, so the situation is effectively neither good nor bad but just in balance. So, our perceptions make us judge things and this affects how we react to them, even if the perception is not real. It’s like a game of shadows in the mind and it can be hard to make sense of it. The song also represents how we often end up leaning into some aspects of ourselves too much that we neglect their opposites, so it’s also about finding the balance of the light and dark parts of our own character. It was chosen by vote really, but the criteria used for the voting was that it needed to be a song that had a strong, in-your-face start and be a balanced combination of the various textures we use in our music. Incidentally, it was the very first song that Hristo and Ian worked on together for Bring to Bear, and it was used to convince the other members to join the band. So, if it was convincing enough for people to join the band, maybe it will be convincing enough for others to join our journey.

Q: Given you are a new band we have no prior insight into the meaning of your name. However, we are dying to know the origin and meaning of BRING TO BEAR?

BtB: The name primarily comes from the phrase “bring [something] to bear”, meaning to bring into effector to make something happen that you really want to have happen. But the dual meaning comes in with the bear animal which is an obvious link in the name, and the bear animal often represents courage and strength, so the courage to go for what you love and the strength to make it happen.

Q: Your Social Media presence and content are especially striking for a band fresh out the blocks. Can you share some insight on your strategic drive and fantastic efforts to invite fans to join your journey and follow your musical adventure?

BtB: We are looking to create a strong online presence first, partly due to the pandemic and partly because that’s where most potential fans will ever see and hear us. We want to use this to tell our story of trying to go after what we love doing, and hopefully we can inspire others to do the same. We’re not looking to rush things, but we want to make sure that each thing we create, whether music, video or art, is high quality and a true reflection of the band, and we’d rather release things in smaller amounts to not keep people waiting too long between releases. Within the band we have a variety of other skillsets and things that we each love doing so we are trying to use these as well. For example, Nik loves photography and videography, so he has been filming all our videos, and I (Ian) love creating visual art, so I am happy to spend time working on that for the band. And then our PR manager, Devo, has done a great job with helping us to craft how we tell the story and with editing the videos.

Q: Where did you record ‘THE SHADOW RUSE’, and please share some more about the BRING TO BEAR writing and recording process?

BtB: The song was originally written as a punk song for the gypsy punk band that Hristo and I met through, but it didn’t really fit with the rest of that band’s songs. So, when we decided to start Bring To Bear, we took that song and made it heavier. First Hristo wrote the guitar riffs and structure of the song and emailed a recording to me, then I added accordion and emailed it back to him (this was during the first UK lockdown). So, the writing process was a back-and-forth process with Hristo guiding this song’s outcome. Once we had all the other band members, we did two rounds of home recordings where each person recording their parts of the song and we combined them into a mix. This worked well to get us ready for the studio recordings, and we then recorded ‘The Shadow Ruse’ at Audiohaus Studios in Wembley.

Q: Starting a band in lockdown with fresh material is incredibly determined, and you must be eager to also get yourselves out there for live shows (as soon as conditions allow). What is on the cards in that respect for BRING TO BEAR, and what can we look forward to next?

BtB: Yeah, we are quite determined to see where the music takes us. Our very next step is to find a bassist so that we can get gigging as soon as possible. We will then look to play some local shows first and apply to various venues and festivals. We’ll have to see how that goes but we do hope to be able to play our music in many different places. We are releasing a 3 track EP in September which will include a cover song and 2 originals. And then we will look to release some follow up singles later this year once they are ready.

Q: Thank you for your time and the opportunity to chat to you. We wish you every success for your debut single ‘The Shadow Ruse’ and very much look forward to the upcoming EP.

BtB: Thanks very much! We really appreciate being able to chat to you, and we really hope people will love listening to our music as much as we love making it.

BRING TO BEAR ARE:
Izabela Smyt – Lead Vocals
Ian Tarboton – Accordion, Keyboards & Growls
Hristo Nikolov – Guitars
Nikiforos Rotas – Guitars
Simon Jones – Drums

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

Bring to Bear - The Shadow Ruse Cover

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 Pete ‘Qualcast Mutilator’ Lee of LAWNMOWER DETH

Lawnmower Deth Logo

Video Interview with Pete ‘Qualcast Mutilator’ Lee of LAWNMOWER DETH
By Simon Black

Hello to you all, It’s Simon…

It’s a funny old time, isn’t it? Nobody planned for all this, but then complete lack of planning has never been something to hold back Lawnmower Deth, who after all these decades are still with us, still daft as brushes and still making us smile.

On 7th July 2021 I had the chance to catch up with their singer Pete, who is full of enthusiasm for their recently announced, last minute & unplanned Headline show at Bloodstock in a few weeks, brimming with news about their upcoming, yet ultra-secret, first studio album this century and positively bouncing off the walls with enthusiasm for life in general! Enjoy!

LAWNMOWER DETH Video Interview by Simon Black

Lawnmower Deth are:
Gavin “Paddy” O’Malley (Schizo Rotary Sprintmaster) – Guitars
Chris Parkes (Mightymow Destructimow) – Bass
Steve Nesfield (Concorde Face Ripper) – Guitars
Pete Lee (Qualcast Mutilator) – Vocals
Chris Billam – Drums

LINKS:

‘Flying Killer Cobs From The Planet Bob’ (Audio)

Kim Wilde & Lawnmower Deth – ‘F U Kristmas’ (Official Video)

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Simon Black 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 Peter Toussaint of FOURTH SON SOUTH

Fourth Son South Feature Image ( Credit Alouise Jamneck )
Photo by Alouise Jamneck

Interview with Peter Toussaint of FOURTH SON SOUTH
By Rick Tilley

Hi Everyone, It’s Rick.

One of the many things I love about this wonderful job/hobby is finding out about bands and scenes in different parts of the world. One of the countries where there seems to be a large and burgeoning number of great bands is South Africa. One of those bands is new Overdrive Indie Hard Rockers, Fourth Son South, who have just released their latest, standalone, single ‘Hold On’. Ever Metal recently got the chance to have a quick chat with founding member/vocalist/guitarist Peter Toussaint about the track and future plans.

Enjoy!

Greetings Peter and thank you for taking the time to chat to us.

Your new single ‘Hold On’ follows in hot pursuit of your album “The Sounds Around Your Head” (released in November 2020). This album has done remarkably well for Fourth Son South with 3 singles in close succession to each other (‘They Run, We Hide’, ‘Positive’ and ‘Reflections’). These all had great reach and also chart coverage. We look forward to this brand-new single with another motivational theme (especially at a time we all need it most).

Q: You have evidently been very busy; what has been driving you to release such a salvo of sensational music?

PT: I forever have music dancing around in my head. After I got my home studio up to a decent level last year, I finally found myself in the position to be independent of others so I could record whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. And then the lockdown gave me the time to do so.

Q: Your single ‘Positive’ inspired us at the height of the second Covid wave, and now ‘Hold On’ aims to encourage and motivate us again to stay strong, as better times will come again. As an artist sternly affected by Covid, how have you been able to remain so optimistic and motivated; enough to even create this aspirational track?

PT: I must admit that last year I also went down the negative spiral. It’s so easy to fall into the negative abyss. For me, the only way out, was to kick myself and start creating. That was when I started writing and recording the tracks that became “The Sounds Around Your Head”. When that album was released and we got such great feedback, I knew that I should use that positive energy and feeling to write songs that would carry that energy.

Q: ‘Hold On’ is musically an evolution from the tracks on “The Sounds Around Your Head”, taking your song writing, vocal style, performance as well as instrumentation to the next level. Share some insight with us on this progressed bearing and what motivated this?

PT: Hahaha, I never know where a song is going when I start. I often have certain concepts that I’d like to try out (in this case it was a quite aggressive riff and a twin solo). I guess there’s an evolution going on but it’s not something I’m aware of whilst I’m busy writing new material.

Q: As a new single ‘Hold On’ is presently a standalone track. Will there be an album coming soon? Please shed some light on what is in the works for Fourth Son South for us to look forward to?

PT: I have got quite a few demos that still need to be elevated to proper songs. Then I must get the guys in to record their parts (and track the drums in a different studio). So yes, there’s still quite a bit of work to do but I would like to still release an album or EP this year. All also depends on the quality of the songs when they are finished. Some songs never make it to an album Hahaha!

Q: As the ‘fourth son’ deciding to travel ‘south’ from your native Dutch homeland, have you been able to take Fourth Son South there for a tour yet, or will this be high on your agenda post Covid? Where else are you planning to go once the pandemic finally allows?

PT: Fourth Son South only became a band during the pandemic, so it has not been possible to go anywhere properly. I do know that there are lots of people in the Netherlands who can’t wait to see us live but we will all have to wait. When all is cleared, we’d love to do a tour in the Netherlands and surrounding countries.

Q: With a lot of coverage and exposure globally, what territory would you say has been your most devout supporter to date?

PT: I think the most airplay has been in the UK and the US. Especially the singles ‘Positive’ and ‘Reflections’ are being played a lot there. And of course, here in South Africa!

Thank you for your time and energy Peter and good luck with the release of ‘Hold On’ this Friday 9 July!

Thank you so much! We’re looking forward to playing live again!

FOURTH SON SOUTH ARE:
Peter Toussaint – Lead Vocals & Lead Guitar
Franco Jamneck – Bass Guitar & Vocal Harmonies
Dale McHardy – Rhythm Guitar
Carel Viljoen – Drums & Vocal Harmonies

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘Hold On’ (Audio)

‘Hold On’ is available on Bandcamp and all good streaming services!

Hold On Cover Art

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Richard 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.

INTERVIEW WITH FRAGMENT SOUL

Fragment Soul Logo

INTERVIEW WITH FRAGMENT SOUL
By Rick Tilley

Hi Everyone

I first heard about Greek Progressive/Doom/Melancholic Metal band Fragment Soul back in April of this year, when they released the video for their track ‘A Choice Between Two Evils’ (which you can see below) and it is an absolutely beautiful piece of music. It may be mournful and sombre but also strangely uplifting and it connected with me deeply. It also helped that the wonderfully cinematic video, by Natalia Drepina, is beautifully made.

On May 7th, 2021, Fragment Soul released their debut album “Axiom Of Choice” and if you love any of the genres mentioned then it comes highly recommended.

We were recently able to do a quick Q&A with the band which I am very grateful for. As an introduction to them it is perfect and I hope that we can have a more in depth chat with them in the near future.

Enjoy
Rick

Q: To start with, can you please explain why you chose the name “Fragment Soul”. And what does it mean?

A: Hello there! First of all, we would like to thank you for this interview.

Fragment Soul meaning in a free translation is “all of the pieces of a splintered soul, viewed together as one”. It’s a band name that we believe fits with the music we create.

Q: Do you believe that being from Greece has helped your career?

A: Greece, especially Corfu, where most of us are,  is a place that we grew up in and the inspiration is huge. On the other hand, for sure, a bigger town could help us decrease the costs we have as a band, especially now, that is our start.

Q: Tell us about your new work.

A: “Axiom Of Choice” is based on a concept written by Spiros Georgiou The album is a 42 minute full length album of Prog/Dark-Melancholic metal. Progressive Metal from a sorrowful world, I like to say a sweet melancholy with a glimpse of hope inside a horror reality.

Q: Before you started Fragment Soul, were you experienced with other bands?

A: Jimmy Louvros (guitar) and I were working on a previous band we had for a couple of years. Kostas is also in a band called ‘Sunburst’ and Vangelis has his own band ‘Sedate Illusion’. Nick, as the youngest, had a band in his hometown for a few years.

Q: Can you tell us who your musical influences are?

A: Personally, my tastes are around bands like Opeth, Katatonia, Draconian, Swallow The Sun, Anathema, Karnivool, King Crimson, Rush, Pink Floyd and many more.

Q Regarding your songwriting, tell us about your lyrics. What they are about?

“Axiom Of Choice” is a concept album that represents a journey through romance, torment, fear and, at the end of it, an unexpected tranquility that drives the main characters into despair and deliverance alike.

Q: Why did you decide to sing in English and not in Greek?

A: Mainly because of our influences!

Where did you record the album?

A: The recordings happened in Corfu at Tube Studio, except for the drums that were written at Kostas home Studio.

The mixing and mastering happened at Fascination Street Studios. Mixing was by Linus Corneliusson and Mastering by Tony Lindgren.

Q: Speaking about live performances, do you have a lot of experience? What was your best gig up until now?

A: All of us have experience of live shows. As Fragment Soul, with our debut album released less than two months, we haven’t done any yet. The pandemic has had its role delaying live shows. Let’s see how things are going to be in the next few months.

Q: There are a lot of Hard Rock/Metal bands in Greece. Why do you think that is?

A: Greece is one of the biggest scenes in Europe for Rock/Metal. I can’t explain why, but it seems our interest in those genres, as a country, is huge.

Q: Do you believe that passion is important being in a Rock/Metal band?

A: Passion is important in any aspect of life, especially when you refer to any kind of art. Rock and Metal are genres that demand huge amounts of emotion to compose and execute.

Q: The last lines are yours…Thank you so much for this interview!

A: I would like to thank you again about this interview and to everyone that is reading, also a huge thank you. We are looking forward to meeting each one of you!

Fragment Soul are:
Spiros Georgiou – Bass
Dimitris Louvros – Guitar
Vangelis Kakarougas – Piano, Keyboards
Nick Argyriou – Vocals
Kostas Mylonas – Drums, Percussion

Album Guest Appearances:
Special Member: Heike Langhans (Draconian) – (Vocals)
Guest: Egan O’Rourke (Daylight Dies) – (Vocals)

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘A Choice Between Two Evils’ feat. Heike Langhans(Official Video)

Fragment Soul Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Richard 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.

INTERVIEW WITH GEARS

See Me Single Cover Art

INTERVIEW WITH GEARS
Hard Rock Coming Out Of Miami
By Stephanie Stevens

Miami, FL has a hidden gem in the hard rock band GEARS. They indulge you with a heavy, groove laden, melody driven sound that will be a game changer for active rock radio.

The band just recently released a killer new track called ‘SEE ME’. A song that delivers a message along with solid melodic, rock attributes. The more I work with up ‘n’ coming bands, the more I love that they are putting some thought into their message and lyrical content in 2021.

Bands like GEARS have a huge platform to help people who might think they are alone or having a struggle with something in their lives and GEARS seem to want to get solid messages out to the world. Just take a listen to the new single. ‘SEE ME’. As band member Tripp Six explains, “is being wise enough to know that one’s expectations influence their perceptions. What we believe to be true about someone or a situation may be our perspective and not the actual reality” and that is just a powerful statement and is something everyone should think about.

With a knack for songwriting along with that monster sound of pure rock n roll and a live show that has been described as high energy and impactful GEARS has all the traits to be a force to be reckoned with in the Rock world.

I had a chance to speak with drummer Jimmy Wooten and found out how he views the Miami music scene, how they have impacted the local community, working with Corey Lowery and what made the bands influences such a motivating factor to them!

Q: Who are GEARS and what does your band bring to the table when it comes to sound and meaning?

JW: GEARS is a Hard Rock band from Miami, FL that just tries to write great, groove-based songs with an edge. We pair that with a high-energy stage show that engages the audience and makes them want to give their energy back.

Q: You guys are from Miami, FL what inspires you about the scene you have in the area?

JW: South Florida has a great rock and metal scene. I often think that its talent is overlooked and undervalued. There’s a certain attitude that is inspiring to me personally in the music that comes out of the area. It’s something that isn’t necessarily easy to explain, but I feel like when you see it at a show, you know it.

Q: What is one thing you think you have helped with being a band in the scene that has improved or made attention to the area or local community?

JW: We have done multiple fundraising/donations to organizations that mean a lot to us. A couple of examples from the recent past would be exclusive Merch items that benefited those that were devastated by the hurricanes in Puerto Rico. We also did an exclusive T-Shirt sale that benefited CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates for abused and neglected children. We not only donated the proceeds from the shirt sales but also matched the amount that was sold. This was done to help raise funds during the pandemic as they couldn’t do any of their normal fundraising events.

Q: Your new single ‘SEE ME’; has a great message. What do you hope people walk away with after hearing it?

JW: I personally hope that the vibe and attitude of the song empower people to see someone or a situation for what they really are, rather than what they want them to be. From that, to have the courage to eliminate the toxicity from their lives in order to not let anyone negatively affect them.

Q: How was it working with Corey Lowery and what was the biggest thing he taught you guys about songwriting, finishing touches on a track, and the music industry as a whole?

JW: Corey is a great friend and producer. He has been involved with the band since the beginning. He breaks it down so simply, “just write great songs and crush it live.” I know that sounds oversimplified, but when you say it to yourself a few times, no matter what you’re trying to do, go back to this mantra and it will keep you on track.

Q: ‘SEE ME’; Is sort of the platform single for a new EP your working on. How will the rest of this disc relate to the sound of the new single? Any branches or diversity that will be surprising to your fans at all?

JW: ‘SEE ME’ is actually the 3rd single off this EP. It’s sort of a continuation of the songs from the sessions during which they were recorded. We didn’t do it intentionally, but we found after releasing the first two singles that they were very much connected, almost similar to the way a concept album is constructed. In addition, to the 4 songs from these sessions, there will be a few other tracks that some may have heard before from previous releases. It gets a little heavier in spots and more groovy in others. I think people will like it.

Q: I read your guys were influenced by Prince, Bowie, and Deftones. Three icons of their genres. If you could give one statement about each artist that would sum up what they did that moved, you enough to call them an influence?

JW: Prince was the ultimate musician and performer, PERIOD. Bowie was the only artist that could literally evolve and almost reinvent himself with each record and it never felt forced. It was always genuine and organic. Deftones put all of my favourite musical elements together. They take great guitar riffs and put them together with dynamic and powerful drums. On top of that, they layer these amazing soundscapes and interesting melody ideas with a great vocal performance to finish it out.

Q: You also have made some cool ‘n’ fun cover songs in your career thus far. How does it feel to put your twists on songs that encouraged and inspired you growing up? And your favourite song you covered so far?

JW: I like both of the covers equally, but for different reasons. The cover of ‘BORED’ was fun because it was taking a song that we had been covering live from the band’s first tour and getting in a studio situation where we could really work out some cool, different parts while trying to stay true to the original. With, ‘CULT OF PERSONALITY’, that was one of THE songs that got me into music. I mean, the groove, the vocals, the guitars, subject matter…everything about that song has made it a timeless classic. Add the fact the Corey Glover was into appearing on it, what’s not to love about that?!

Q: As the world becomes “normal” again what are a few things you are ready to get back into?

JW: PLAYING LIVE SHOWS AND TOURING.

Q: Have you guys talked about shows/tours and if so are there any dates or special events you want to share with the readers?

JW: As of right now, the only thing we have planned is CENTRAL FLORIDA METAL FEST on August 22 in Winter Park. We have a few more recording things to focus on, then we’ll look at touring on a larger scale.

Q: If your older music self could tell your younger music self, something to help them through either a struggle or growth, etc what would it be and why?

JW: “Just write great songs that you can believe in.” I think that that really is the best advice. Of course, that is an oversimplification, but if you don’t believe in what you’re doing, how can you expect others to? There is so much more to the business of music than that, but I feel you have to get that first step right to build a solid foundation for all the other stuff to matter.

Q: Acoustic sounds/or electric sounds and why?

JW: Depends on my mood, I guess. I think both have their place. A good mix and knowing where to utilize both would probably be my preference, ultimately.

Q: Any last comments?

JW: Thanks for having me and keep an eye out. We have a ton of cool stuff coming!

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘See Me’ (Lyric Video)

Gears 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 FACE THE FIRE

Remember What You're Made Of Single Cover Art

INTERVIEW WITH FACE THE FIRE
Finding Strength With Their New Single ‘Remember What You’re Made Of
By Stephanie Stevens

FACE THE FIRE ignites your senses with all the hard rock vibes. Energy induced moments, power and fiery atmospheres. Melodies that stay in your head for hours after, these guys are going to rise up quick and I love being a part of the beginnings.

Their new single ‘REMEMBER WHAT YOU’RE MADE OF’ has growth written all over it. From the uplifting, highly infectious, chorus to the verses that ring with rock sensibilities and those vocals that just glide seamlessly throughout your eardrums. A song about remembering your strength when you don’t think you have anything else to give. It’s a pure package of honesty, positive vibes and that hard driving and melody driven tone, making it a heavy hitting single to gain the band a ton of attention as the music world gets ready to take back the planet in 2021!

If the bands new single gets you moving then you need to check out the band’s older arsenal like the songs ‘DROWNING’ and SUMMER SONG’, smash hits in my eyes.

FACE THE FIRE are from Chicago, IL and have been able to work with such artists like Morgan Rose of Sevendust, Jose Urquiza of 3 Years Hollow and Jordan Popp of Seven Day Sonnet; so, to say these guys are in good hands is an understatement! To create, learn and grow with people like this, then it’s no wonder these guys write some stellar kick ass tunes.

I had a chance to speak with drummer Mike Kozlick about new single ‘REMEMBER WHAT YOU’RE MADE OF’, the background on how he found music and what band he would have wanted to sit in on as they created one of their albums.

Q: Tell me the backstory about FACE THE FIRE and what made you guys take on this particular name for the band?

A: So, we formed as a band in the spring of 2015. we recorded an EP over at The Nook studios in New Lenox, IL. Honestly, our producer at the time, had asked if this project had a name, we all looked around, based off of a story from a prior conversation we came up with Face The Fire.

Q: I saw you worked with Morgan Rose of Sevendust and recently I just interviewed another band who had his help in their music, I love seeing him helping up ‘n’ coming bands and I’m sure him and Jose Urquiza of 3 Years Hollow had a lot of advice for you guys from a music and business standpoint. What do you feel was the most important thing you took away from working with them?

A: We love those guys! Being in a room with Morgan Rose and Jose Urquiza It becomes a very knowledgeable experience. You’re like a sponge and you just take it all in. I can’t really pinpoint one piece of information that was most important, I feel like the whole experience in itself and information they had given us, was important.

Q: Let’s talk about your newest single! The song ‘REMEMBER WHAT YOU’RE MADE OF’ hit home; in this song you guys talk about strength when you don’t think you have anything left to give, it really spoke to me and made me look within myself. How does it feel knowing something you wrote can have an impact in others’ lives?

A: Well, that is a great compliment! Thank you so much! It’s one of the most rewarding feelings. We can only hope someone can take away something from our songs. Whether that be the lyrics or the music itself. It’s a very humbling thing!

Q: Have you ever written a song that got you through a really tough time but when writing it you never knew it was going to open your eyes to helping you? If you haven’t written a song, has another artist’s song done that for you?

A: For me personally, I would say that I was going through a really tough time a couple years ago and an artist by the name of Bilmuri had a couple songs out that helped me through those times. I was able to thank him in person for getting me through those times at a show he played in Chicago. It was a really cool moment.

Q: What do you feel has been your biggest growth in songwriting since your debut album “BUILT TO BURN”?

A: I’ll say that our newest single ‘Remember What You’re Made Of’ was in my opinion, kind of a turning point with our songwriting. I feel like it’s a very well-balanced song where it can attract to different crowds.

Q: Are you guys more of studio “nerds” (in a good way) or do you thrive in the live experience and what are the biggest challenges in both atmospheres?

A: I would have to say the live experience. The biggest challenges, with playing shows, is making sure you’re really drawing the crowd in and getting that nice reception at the end. With studio, it’s just about wanting to be perfect and making sure everything is exactly what you want in the song.

Q: You released the single ‘DROWNING’ in 2020 while the chaos of life was happening. Plus, it has a more aggressive tone to it. Was this written from the perspective of being in lockdown and was writing something that got you guys through everything the world was going through?

A: So that song was actually written before lockdown. Nothing to do with it whatsoever. But when we released it, it just fell on bad timing. But still had a very good reception to it amid The chaos that 2020 was.

Q: Did you always have music growing up and when was it that you decided to take it seriously and try to make something of it?

A: Yeah, I had music growing up, my dad has been a musician his whole life, and I had a couple brothers growing up that also were into music and played some instruments. I started taking it seriously when I was about 17 years old. I then started joining bands from there and the rest is history.

Q: Who influences you from a lyrical standpoint and why do you think you are inspired by them?

A: I feel like there’s too many to choose from! That’s a tough one!

Q: If you could sit in on any band’s writing process what band would it be and what album would you have loved to be a fly on the wall for?

A: I would have to say Sevendust – “Cold Day Memory”. Top to bottom that album is just fantastic!

Q: Have you guys been able to talk about local shows or even a possible tour and, if so, can you tell us some info for fans who are craving shows and live interaction?

A: Thankfully yes! Saturday, August 7th we are playing at Bottom Lounge in Chicago. We just booked another show at WC Social Club in West Chicago on August 21st as well!

Q: For people just hearing about you now, what do you want to let people know about the band that will help you connect with others?

A: We are just 5 guys that love music. That love playing shows. We love when our music can connect with our friends. We try not to use the word fans, because if you’re supporting us, you’re a friend of ours!

Q: Anything else happening in the near future that I didn’t hit upon for you guys and any words you want to tell your fans that have been there since the beginning?

A: Right now, we’re just getting our new single ‘Remember What You’re Made Of’ to as many people as possible. We have the few shows coming up. You can follow us and find the most up to date on our socials:

THANK YOU so much for the continued support over the years, we can promise you, it does not go unnoticed and we are forever grateful!

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘Remember What You’re Made Of’ (Official Video)

Face The Fire 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.