INTERVIEW WITH SEASONS

Seasons Single Cover Album Art

INTERVIEW WITH SEASONS
Horror and Metal make a KILLER combination!
By Stephanie Stevens

Attention Horror fans, Metalcore fans and Heavy Metal music fans! As you may know, the latest instalment of the film series, Friday the 13th: Vengeance 2, will be released in the fall of 2021! What you may not be familiar with is a band who has been working their asses off, crafting the brutal and metalcore sound for the soundtrack! SEASONS is bringing to life the song ‘KILLING SEASON’ a track created by the band looking into the perspective of the fictional masked murderer Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13thfranchise. The song is loaded with references to different aspects of Jason and events that happen to the character throughout the movie franchise. The guttural roars and the screeching assaults vocally pummel you. From aggressive fiery musical verse elements to the captivating and searing melody induced chorus it makes the song an adventurous nightmare.

SEASONS formed in 2017 and are from Richmond, VA. Consisting of dedicated musicians that all have a strong passion for performing energetic shows and crafting top-notch influential songs.

I had a chance to speak with the band about working on a classic horror film soundtrack, a new singer and drummer, having a track for the wrestling community and the future of music for this killer band SEASONS.

Q: Give me a little insight on how SEASONS formed and how would you describe the philosophy of the band’s music and the personality of the band?

Nick GK (Guitar): Seasons formed in 2017 when original guitarists Matt Poe and Matt Gregory decided to form the band. Both musicians had been in and out of bands for years and they decided they wanted to give it a try again.

I think the personality of the band would surprise people.  I think we give off a really energetic and intense vibe in our shows and music videos, but behind the scenes I’d say we’re pretty laid back. That intensity is brought out when we play because we’re excited about our own music. But behind the scenes we’re pretty relaxed people.

Q: looking at the background of your band some cool shit has happened to you guys in the past, but the most recent and probably most iconic thing is you guys just released a song to be featured on the new Friday the 13th soundtrack coming out in 2021. How did that fall into place and had you already had part of the song ‘KILLING SEASON’ written?

Nick GK: The way we got the opportunity with Friday the 13th is that our bassist Matt (Poe) had been chatting with a guy named Peter Anthony, who had starred in another Friday the 13th film. Peter was the one who got us in contact with Jason Brooks, who is the director of the upcoming Friday the 13th movie. Matt reached out to Jason and basically asked if we could write a song for the movie, and Jason essentially told us to submit something and he would think about it. We didn’t have the song written ahead of time. We wrote the song with the intention of submitting in hopes that it could be included in the Friday the 13th franchise in some capacity. And we are so fortunate that it has been.

Q: What does it mean to you to be able to write a song about an iconic serial killer and where does your mindset have to be to kind of relive a character everyone knows and put your own twist to it?

Mark (Guitar): A lot of us are horror fans and Randall (Vocalist) loves Jason. I started the music with something that sounded brutal for obvious reasons into a softer, clean section to give you that calm before the storm. And then at the end my mindset was in the eye of the killer hence the guitar screeches as in a horror movie.

Q: Another new thing about the band is for KILLING SEASON, you put into place a new singer who used to be the drummer. So how did that all happen, and did you realize he had such a diverse vocal ability?

After discussing our options, we proposed to our then drummer, Randall Sykes, that he take over the duties as the front man. Randall has a great screaming voice and a lot of charisma on stage, and I think we all knew he could do it. We were so excited when he said he’d like to be the front man, and we got to work right away writing the songs that would feature Randall as the singer. We then spent a few months trying out different drummers trying to fill Randall’s old position. In the last month, Joshua Woolcott came in to try out on drums, and right away we knew it was the right fit.

Q: Going forward with the new singer how do you feel your music is going to evolve and change and what do you hope to experiment most with having this new asset to your brand and band?

Mark: Randall def has a different type of voice. His singing can get higher and his screams lower. I think our existing material and what’s to come will be more brutal but also more melodic.

Q: Have you guys been in the studio to record for an EP or full length or are you at ease just releasing singles for now since the music world is still up in the air?

Mark: We have recently been releasing singles, as they are mastered, but we are trying to work towards a more, big picture move, so to say.

Q: going back to other awesome stuff that has happened for the band you also had a 2019 track ‘VIOLENCE IS A VIRTUE’ playing in the wrestling world. How did it feel seeing that on TV and how was the song picked for that particular wrestler?

Mark: Matt had a mutual friend who hooked us up with AEW that made it happen, but it was pretty cool to see your song so pump that a wrestler wants to walk out to it. Took me back to childhood.

Q: you guys really take a solid focus on the technical side for sound when you’re playing as you can see in a lot of your songs. When you are writing for a SEASONS song what is the most important aspect the band agrees on before even getting into songwriting mode and how long does a general song take to complete for you guys?

Mark: Usually it starts with a riff and sometimes a theme. Matt’s strongest quality is being like a metalcore composer. So, we come up with the basic structure and he kinda Picassos it all together into what you hear as the finished product. As for time, we have worked on songs for months until completed cause sometimes we are like “squirrel” to another song and ‘Killing Seasons’ was basically written in a 3-hour band practice cause it just flowed.

Q: I love knowing you guys are also very diverse where everyone in the band comes to the table with the structure and writing of songs which I think would bring so much more diversity into the band to experiment. How does it impact you guys as creators and bonding with each other as a band?

Mark: We all like rock and metal but the genres, that we all like specifically, can be very different so a chord or scale progression that I would put in a song is completely different that one of the other guys would come up with. Also, it forces us all to listen to other music we otherwise wouldn’t.

Q: Where do you see the band’s biggest growth since your inception to the current day?

Mark: I came into this band right before ‘High Fives’ music video and since that was our first music video, I’ve seen a lot of numbers really go up since then.

Q: Have you guys thought about the day you can play a live show again and if so, how do you want to represent your band in a live aspect once things get back to normal vs. what you did in prior years?

Nick GK: Seasons takes a lot of pride in how we play live from both a technical standpoint as well as an entertainment standpoint. If you come to see us, we want you to hear the songs played as well as we can possibly play them, and we also want you to walk away thinking you got your money’s worth. If you come see Seasons, you will not see 5 guys looking at the floor strumming their instruments. We jump up and down, run around the stage, head bang, and jump off our amp cabs. We are excited about our music, we are excited to play it live and we want the audience to share in that excitement.

I think when we get to play live again the audience is going to get that energy but to a higher extent. We will be so excited to play live again that the audience will get the energy of Seasons from 2019 but in an even more extreme way.

Q: if you could help inspire one new musician coming into the scene what advice would you give to them and one thing you wish you knew when you were starting out?

Nick GK: The best advice I could give a new musician entering the scene is to just be curious. Learn from the other bands out there and from the other folks in the industry. Knowledge is power in the music business. If a musician comes into the scene hungry to learn and to improve themselves, everything will fall into place for them.

Q: if you could pick the brain of any musician dead or alive today who would it be and what top 3 questions would you ask them?

Mark:

EVH
– What drives you to be so creative and innovative
– What was the most important thing for you when writing the guitar structure of a song
– What was the secret to that awesome 80’s hair

Nick GK:

Sammy Hagar
– What was the craziest tour of your career from a partying standpoint?
– How many speeding tickets have you gotten out of from ‘Can’t Drive 55’?

Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein
– Max bench?

Zakk Wylde
– You have an awesome beard.
– Max bench?

Q: How has music influenced and impacted your life and what is one thing you can thank music for giving you this far?

Nick GK: To me, music has always been a consistent voice in my life, and I have found comfort in that. If you’re going through a hard time, I think there are always songs out there that can bring you comfort and help a person get through what they are struggling with.  Music can be a sort of saving grace to a lot of people in that sense.

Q: Inspire other artists and tell us someone who inspires and motivates you and why?

Mark: Trust me I am far from “making it” but I was 28 when I joined this band and was like “it’s too late I’m too old I should hang it up” and this happened. So, I’d say never give up, never stop playing, and never ever get rid of your gear. And I’m inspired by Jason Richardson every day because he reminds me no matter how good I am there is someone out there who can shred circles around you so PRACTICE!

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘Killing Season’ (Official Video)

Seasons 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 DEAD ORIGINAL

Dead Original Bought And Sold Album Art

INTERVIEW WITH DEAD ORIGINAL
A chat with Paul Wandtke!
By Stephanie Stevens

Dead Original is from Chicago, IL featuring singer/songwriter Paul Wandtke (ex-Trivium, Rock of Ages) drummer Sean McCole, and bassist Mike Petrasek (Bedlem). Fusing together groove, grunge rock vibes in a straight ahead ‘less is more’ rock destination. Dead Original are on the verge of releasing their debut album on February 26th which contains melodic hooks with lyrics for the tortured soul. The guys are promoting the release of“Bought And Sold” with FREE WORLDWIDE shipping and the album features over 13 tracks written and produced by Dead Original.

https://deadoriginal.com/merch/boughtandsold

The guys have given fans and the music world a sneak peek of some of the tracks on the album with ‘Restrained’, ‘Let It Burn’ and the most recent single ‘Blasted’.

I had a chance to speak with Paul Wandtke about the new record, leaving Trivium and working with fresh musicians in McCole and Petrasek, what they miss about touring and the most fulfilling part of being a musician.

Q: How long did it take you guys to write and record “BOUGHT AND SOLD” and how would you define the overall sound of this new band to fans and the music world just hearing about you?

A: It took about 6 months. It’s pretty straight ahead, you’ll know what Dead Original is about after a verse and chorus of one song. I engineered it at our music studio at The Music Garage in Chicago, IL, using Logic Pro and an Apollo interface. It was literally 3 months after I had left Trivium. I simply didn’t know what else to do, either find another gig or make new music on my own. To be honest I didn’t even know if it was going to work having been a drummer my whole life. But as Dave Grohl says, do it, even if you suck.

Q: You had drummed for Trivium and bassist Mike Petrasek is currently from Bedlem. To fans who don’t know the process of a band member leaving one band to start another, what kind of emotional toll if any goes through you as you start to build and begin with a new foundation of a band?

A: Being in a band is frustrating because one person that isn’t on board 110% can negatively impact a band. You’re literally only as strong as your weakest link.

Q: The album comes out Feb 26th, 2021 and you guys have released a few singles. Did you have certain reasoning why you put out each single when you did and do you feel that the songs build on each other?

A: The release was simply delayed due to the pandemic, so we just kept releasing singles!

Q: I love the harmonies vocally in the newest single ‘BLASTED’. When you guys sit down to write do you find it easier to write lyrics once you have a melody or vice versa and what do you believe is the most important thing about songwriting?

A: As of now, Dead Original was not a collaborative effort for the first album “Bought And Sold”, I literally tracked and wrote it all before finding Mike and Sean. Bedlem however is a collaborative effort, Mike and I exchange vocal melodies and lyrical ideas with Bedlem. That’s more of Mike’s vision lyrically and I support his ideas in Bedlem. Sean is a solo artist he’s a great songwriter on his own too.

Q: ‘LET IT BURN’ was probably the song that made me a fan of the band, I love the grungy gritty aspects with a ton of melody. What for you is the proudest moment of that song and if you could define the meaning of the song in 3 words what would it be?

A: I’m proudest of the fact that it is a slow riff but it’s still kind of energetic. I think we are on the cusp of being a generic band by being so simple, but we somehow pull it off, especially live.

Q: If you could pick the brain of any musician that has left us who would you want to sit down with and just be blessed with their knowledge of the music world?

A: Ray Manzarek from the DOORS because the guy was a genius.

Q: What is the most fulfilling thing for you on a personal level to be able to do this kind of job for a living?

A: Music is freedom whether you’re a fan or an artist of music or both. So, for us, it’s the freedom that we feel we are sharing with people and we love that.

Q: I thought it was sweet your fans were concerned about your video making for some of the singles you did for this album. How did you ease the worries and how did knowing people care that much mean to you?

A: It’s pretty cool. We like being connected like that!

Q: recently a lot of bands and artists are talking about cancel culture and being banned or taken off some media platforms! How do you guys view the likes of some of them taking their career on themselves and your view of the cancelling of some people’s freedom of speech?

A: It’s all just freedom of speech, if you believe in yourself keep on the good fight in whatever you are fighting for.

Q: What is the biggest part of touring that you miss and what do you think is going to be the biggest thing to shake the rust off once you start doing it again?

A: We miss the free vodka backstage, we never realized how expensive alcohol is until this pandemic hit. On a more serious note, we love playing shows and we miss that!

Q Empower other artists and give them a piece of advice?

A: We are living in interesting times. There’s so much knowledge out there! Go study/become a musician!

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘Blasted’ (Official Video)

Dead Original 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 FACED

INTERVIEW WITH FACED
Coming in strong with II COMING
By Stephanie Stevens

A Solid and strong band coming out of NY has just graced my earholes, FACED is turning up the volume with their newest album entitled “II COMING”.

The band is made up of founding members Jordan Simpson on guitar, Paul Burk on bass, Jay Matthews on drums who came together in 2017 and then quickly made Phil Loupin the energy induced singer of the band.

FACED is creating intense and driving elements with “II COMING” and were able to work with masterminds Howie Weinberg (mastering) and Sterling Winfield (mixing) who brought the vision of the band alive and that not only know their craft but have worked with many heavy hitters like Metallica, Pantera. Damage Plan and King Diamond.

‘POWER AND STRENGTH’ is the platform single off the disc and the guys just did a live performance video to display the hard-hitting synergy and fire the track has.

I had a chance to chat with Jordan about the band’s formation, working with people who have worked with his inspirations and much more.

Q: Tell me how FACED came together back in 2017 and how would you define your sound?

A: Me and Jason the drummer was writing and jamming and recording for years. We needed a front man to hold down vocal duties and that’s when we came across Phil. We met him years ago but at that time he was in another band. We crossed paths again and I showed him some stuff we worked on and he put some vocal tracks on some demo and instantly we knew he was the dude. He recruited his friend Steve to play bass on our first CD. On the 2nd one we recruited Paul for bass duties.

Q: From looking at your influences, it ranges from hardcore and punk to hard rock and metal. Two different lifestyles that also fit together. What have you learnt from each other musically when you have a broad sense of music influences in one band?

A: I learned having a frontman allows you to do more. Not just musically but live as well. Stage presence is huge. With Phil he just commands the audience. He entertains the audience which is amazing. We all have so many different types of music that influence us, so we just create this melting pot of metal. As long as we all like it we go for it. We don’t follow trends or what’s popular. We just play music that makes us feel good.

Q: “II COMING” is your newest release and I see you have posted it in entirety to youtube. Was there a reasoning for this and have you guys made actual discs for purchase or are you sticking with the digital age?

A: We just wanted to get it out there. In the middle of the pandemic people are broke and hurting financially wise. Including us. It’s a tough time because usually we play out a lot and sell merch. We truly miss it. But if it was about the money, we would have hung it up a long time ago. Faced is totally about the love of the music. We just want the music to be heard and fly the flag of metal. Carry the torch so to speak. But if someone wants to help out funding the next album, they can buy the album on any major streaming services.

Q: How do you feel your band has grown from your first release to this one and what surprised you about the growth when you all began writing?

A: I feel we have some more groove hardcore elements to the band. Also, there is a ballad on there as well which is new for us The 2nd album was pretty much already writing by me and Jason. Just as the first record. So, coming into the 3rd album we are getting all the guys to throw it into the mix and really get all 4 cylinders moving and we can already see the results and we are very excited about that.

Q: A cool thing with this album is for mixing and mastering you worked with people who have worked with your metal role models. Was that something that was focused on when looking for people or did it just happen by chance?

A: Well, I record all our band’s music at our studio. I tried to mix and master it but me being the perfectionist I am was never happy with my own mixes. The other guys were like yeah it sounds great but sometimes you have to be the bigger man and admit someone can do better. So, I reached out to Sterling Winfield who we have been friends with for a few years and he decided to take us on because I knew he was the dude who could make it come to life. He’s one of the best in the business. He’s worked with everyone from Pantera, Damageplan, Hellyeah to King Diamond. I tried not to fan boy too hard about it and just keep it real, ya know. Cause I’m sure everyone out there drives him nuts with that stuff. So, when we got the final mixes in, we needed to find someone to master it. I decided to call Howie Weinberg and I thought he would just blow me off because he has worked with some of the greatest artists in the world. But to my surprise he was very down to earth and so cool to me. We had some great conversation and decided to make it happen. Yes, this whole experience was a dream come true. But I try to stay humble and not let it get to my head. We are very lucky to have the right people at the right time making us sound the best we can be.

Q: Each studio time are you the type of band that really looks at it as another way to learn something to increase growth? If so, this time around, what do you feel you walked away from after “II COMING” was done?

A: Every day we try to grow in the studio and in the jam room. Always trying to push further ahead. This time when II coming mixed and mastered we felt very proud of this album.

Q: I loved the tracks ‘POWER AND STRENGTH’ and ‘CITIZEN ZERO’. Can you give us a small insight on how these songs came to life and what they mean to you?

A: ‘Power And Strength’ is like the anthem song. Kinda like our version of ‘Eye Of The Tiger’. I could see a boxer or even a wrestler using that song as an entry into the ring. LOL!

As for ‘Citizen Zero’ that was a total experimental song that just grew and grew. Me and Jay just jammed the riffs in the studio and Phil slapped some lyrics on it and Paul added bottom sick low end and boom it was alive.

Q: I heard you guys are dropping a new video. For which song and what kind of video can we look for conceptually with live shots etc and who shot the video for you?

A: The new video, being our first one, is for the song ‘Power And Strength’. It’s a live action shot video of us throwing down on the stage. It’s a mirror of what you would see at a live show, is the best description. It will be on our YouTube channel and our band Facebook page on Dec 1st. It was created by our awesome friend and supporter Nick Dicocco. He reached out to us to do a video and we were all onboard. He is very talented and a great guy.

Q: Back in summer you guys did a really cool livestream for CHROME tell us what that is and why it was important to raise money for it?

A: The Chrome is a great venue here in upstate New York that have treated us like family. So, when we heard they were being put up for sale we asked if there was anything we could do to help. So, a few bands started live-streaming there to help raise money to save the venue.

Q: Being from NY and seeing what kind of chaos has ensued in 2020 especially with the music industry and the community, where do you see this crucial piece of life, that is music, headed in your opinion and if fans can do anything, what would you tell them to do for the community?

A: The music industry is hurting so bad here right now. If people dont start donating to these venues to keep them open it will head to less places for everyone to play out. I know it’s a tough time but please donate to your favourite venues. The Government isn’t doing anything to help them.

Q: What made you decide a life of being a musician was what you wanted to do and has your decision on this changed through the years?

A: We all do this for the Love of the music. No regrets at all. We all eat, breathe and sleep music.

Q: When and if live shows come back to play where is the first place you wanna play and what three bands would you want to play with?

A: At this point anywhere. Just to get back out there and do our thing. We really miss it.

Q: What do you hope people walk away with after getting to know your band and your music?

A: We hope that people will enjoy the music and know we work our ass off to bring you fresh new tunes and albums. We hope they will come out and party with us when we come to town and bring their friends to check us out.

Q: Empower another artist and tell us why they inspire you?

A: To many to count. There are so many artists out there that inspire the whole band. The spectrum of music we all listen to is so wide and varies so many genres. I can speak- for myself (JORDAN) My greatest inspiration on guitar was DIMEBAG!!!! He will inspire me forever. (HAIL THE KING).

The End

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

Power And Strength (Official Video)

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 BELLHEAD

INTERVIEW WITH BELLHEAD
THE RISING DARK POST PUNK DUO
By Stephanie Stevens

The Chicago based band BELLHEAD Consist of High Bass/Lead Vocalist Ivan Russia, formerly of the infamous Ahab Rex, Mr. Russia, and Sheriff Scabs; partnering with Low Bass/Vocalist Karen Righeimer – who has been a member of bands such as Fashion Bomb, Team Cybergeist, W.O.R.M, Bethany Thomas, and Pigface and are creating a unique, dark and punk quirky ambiance with the music they are making.

With the fire of male and female vocals intertwining with industrial esque music it becomes a unity of beauty and the beast.

‘UNICORN BONES’, the song on the duos newest EP entitled the same, ultimately drew me into the band. It just had a hard and haunting vibe to it that sucked me into the art that is BELLHEAD.

The band just recently did a cover of Bauhaus song SANITY ASSASSIN with a fascinating visual for it also.

Ivan and Karen are no strangers to the Chicago music scene but are making magic together as BELLHEAD.

I recently had a chance to ask them about the newest cover song, remixes and how Chicago has moulded them as performers/artists.

Q: When and how did BELLHEAD come into existence?

Karen: Ivan and I tossed around the idea of doing a project together for quite a few years – but it never stuck because we were both in pretty successful projects and didn’t have time for something new. In 2018 I left my music projects, and Ivan’s band mate moved to the east coast, so it was time to join forces.

Ivan: We had both played in the same band at separate times and got to know each other at shows and the like. I got the bright idea to propose a brand-new project to Karen outside of the bands we were in at the time. Progress was delayed by Karen being in a hit and run.

Q: Being a duo and having worked in other bands, how is it just having two people to throw ideas around versus a full band of different mindsets?

Karen: For me, it’s actually better than being in a multi-person band. When you’re working with up to six different members it can be frustrating coordinating everything from writing a song, scheduling rehearsals, or booking shows. With Ivan, we have similar work ethics and drive so it’s much easier to get things done.

Ivan: it’s a lot like throwing a medicine ball back and forth.

Q: How do you feel Chicago has moulded and sculpted your career as an artist and musician?

Ivan: Chicago has been a historically fickle mistress. Every show you go to there’s a handful of people standing arms crossed with a facial expression that reads “You think you’re hot shit? PROVE IT.” The meritocracy of the music scene has made me strive for nothing short of excellence. We have boundless enthusiasm for the music we are making and we engage with our audience and reward their participation. It feels more like a dialogue between us and the audience then a monologue of just standing on stage.

Q: What was the biggest thing that engaged you into the genre of music you create and perform?

Karen: When we started the band, we never really had an intention to be in a specific genre, or blend genres – we just wanted to make music that was enjoyable for us, and that we hoped people would also like. Ivan and I both have so many influences and music experiences that it just makes sense. You’ll hear aspects of anything from Nine Inch Nails, to Magazine, to Death from Above, to Johnny Cash. It’s actually pretty freeing not to have to be pigeon holed in one specific genre.

Ivan: If ‘Zooropa’ was a genre we would fit right in. Unfortunately, you’d never find us at the end of the search engine, so we pursue whatever excites us on any given song. It all makes sense from the crow’s nest.

Q: I see BELLHEAD keep a good recording and mastering team behind you and you don’t stray to work with others. What is it about them that makes you always go back? Do you feel they are as much a part of the band as you guys?

Karen: We are really grateful to have people behind the glass that are just as passionate about BELLHEAD as we are. Both our recording/mix engineer Neil Strauch (Iron and Wine/Counting Crows/Owls/Joan of Arc/Walking Bicycles/Slow Mass) and mastering engineer Carl Saff (Acid Mothers Temple/Smoking Popes/Red Fang/Guided by Voices) have impeccable talent, and what’s best is that they understand what our vision is, so it is not only easy but enjoyable to work with them. I don’t foresee us straying from our recording team anytime soon.

Q: BELLHEAD just released a killer cover of Bauhaus’s song ‘Sanity Assassin’. What lured you to this particular song by them and what has this band meant to you?

Karen: It was actually fan-requested. Last year Bauhaus announced their tour and as a homage, we decided it would be fun to cover a Bauhaus song. We let the masses suggest what they thought we should do via social media and had an overwhelming response for ‘Sanity Assassin’. Our intention was to really only play the song live once or twice, but due to fan enthusiasm coupled with no shows most of the year, we decided to release it as a single for people to enjoy. We are grateful to our audience. Their likes, comments, shares, messages, enthusiasm at shows, purchases, all the comradery, we are grateful for their feedback.

Q: Was BELLHEAD supposed to tour with Bauhaus also? If so, do you think it will eventually be rescheduled?

A: We were not scheduled to play with Bauhaus (BUT if they are reading this, we’re down for 2021). We’ve had a lot of shows cancelled in 2020 including playing with Birthday Massacre and Sister Kill Cycle. We hope that next year we’ll be able to hit the road and play in front of people again.

Q: You added a huge element to your team with Scott Fedor (Marvel’s Avengers VFX) directing the ‘Sanity Assassin’ video. How did this come about, and did you let him have free reign of the video theme for the song?

Scott Fedor: Please tell them you met me at a Hollywood soiree and after you finally pulled me from the middle of an orgy pile you asked if I’d be interested in helming the project.

Q: Tell me about creating a song and then putting a remix flair to it? Does it take about the same time to do both versions or do you feel one is easier than the other?

Ivan: Remixing our own song like we did with ‘Knife’ for the ‘Knife (Beware The Light)’ remix was about giving the song a different feel more of a club track/dance banger. When we remix other artists it’s mostly keeping the original artist’s vocals and building a new BELLHEAD song around it. In a sense we ask the question “What music would we write for this vocal performance?” Karen will add some bass, keyboards and vocals after I’ve gotten the beat together and various sounds I’ve found interesting for the song. We like to keep the remixes single length. Short and catchy.

Q: What do you hope the music world takes away from your band and music?

Ivan: I hope people enjoy the music as much as we do and have a good time feeling something. We like to see our shirts and stickers in the wild. It lets us know we are touching people’s lives in a positive light. I’m not here to save the whales or tell you who to vote for. I’m here for the music.

Q: Empower another artist and tell us why they inspire you?

Ivan: I play bass in a band called [ m e l t e r ] and they are a creative lot. It’s great to be “just the bass player”. I really enjoy playing the [ m e l t e r ] songs and contributing as requested. I will generally work on BELLHEAD songs during breaks in rehearsal so there’s probably some direct influence in there somewhere. Also, the [ m e l t e r ] remix of the BELLHEAD track ‘Runway’ makes me grin.

Karen: There’s this super talented multi-instrumentalist in Chicago (John Syzmanski). The first time I saw him play was at the Davenport where he went from playing the drums, to the bass, to the fucking SAW- like bending a wood saw on his knee and using a bow to make sounds. He’s in a ton of projects but has settled in really well with John Langford these days. Don’t tell him that I said he’s one of my major inspirations.

The End

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘Unicorn Bones’ (Official Video)

‘Sanity Assassin’ – Bauhaus Cover (Official Video)

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 SILENCE EQUALS DEATH

INTERVIEW WITH SILENCE EQUALS DEATH
Brings You New Life With REVOLUTION RISING
By Stephanie Stevens

Always seeking to evolve
Always seeking to empower
Always seeking to unite.

The amazing force that SILENCE EQUALS DEATH has within the hardcore scene is purely amazing. From powerful lyrics to crushing music, the feelings of raw nature saturate hardcore and makes it one of the best genres of music. SED hail from NJ and bring to you a unique fashion of aggressiveness with melodic undertones and to me have become a notable force to be reckoned with.

With the release of the band’s newest EP “REVOLUTION RISING” you can see the undeniable growth, maturity and excitement they had for writing these songs. Lyrically it bleeds with real talk, the driving hard riffs and that energy induced vibe they capture so well is on a new level. Take an earful of ‘SWITCH’ or ‘PLAGUE’, two of my favourites, and tell me if you get the same warm feeling!

I recently had a chance to chat with some of the guys and got more details into the new songs, working with producers, how they liked a livestream and much more.

Q: You guys have always had albums n songs that capture reality driven storylines be it personal or life around you. 2020 has had a lot to write about. Did any of the impact of 2020 go into this new EP “REVOLUTION RISING”?

Scott: The song ‘Revolution Rising’ was actually written prior to the riots and protests. However, it was clear the country was on the brink so that’s what fuelled the idea. ‘Traitor’ is about Trump plain and simple. ‘Switch’ and ‘No More Ashes’ deal with life’s frustrations, which we can all relate to. ‘Pass The Torch’ is a nod to the young people coming up in the scene. We feel it’s up to them to keep it going and some old dogs tend to look down on the youth. We say, take em by the hand and show them the way so this thing we call Hardcore can live on for generations to come.

Wade: Most of our music has been written pre-2020. although, I could say most of the material definitely relates to most of what’s going on this year. Especially with the injustices of our government and the abuse of authority, our EP seems like it was written just a month prior to release. The only impact 2020 really had was it gave us the chance to really focus on what we put into the EP. We had more time to discuss how we wanted it to sound. So, it was more of a blessing in an ironic way more so.

Q: It’s been a few years since you released any new stuff. Do you think taking time, you guys came back with a renewed motivation musically and do you see growth in yourselves as musicians?

Scott: We’ve done a few singles for comps here and there, but it really felt good for the 5 of us to sit down and hash out some new material.

Ryan: We’ve been working on material since our last proper release “End Times”. We went through a number of line-up changes. “Revolution Rising” is the result of contributions from both past and present members.

Wade: To say the least, it was a long time coming. The reason we don’t push out content as much as we would like is because we get very picky on how we write our music. Scott and I usually go back and forth on what we want as far as composition, but we always manage to get the best results when we do. So, for us it takes time. Not necessarily because of the writing as much as how we want the whole picture to be viewed.

Q: SILENCE EQUALS DEATH is in a genre of music that pretty much is family and brotherhood. Do you feel the scene is even tighter these days or do you see a change in the scene?

Scott: Personally, I feel like there is a lot of unity within the scene. The majority of people involved in HC really look out for one another which is evident by the way we rally around those in need That’s not to say it’s perfect, but what family dynamic is? As a band we try to treat everyone we encounter with the same respect we expect in return. Fans of the band are not just fans but also friends. Band members are not above anyone in the crowd in my opinion. I feel like anyone who loses that connection, loses what makes this scene so special, thus losing a bit of that unified feeling.

Wade: I have only been in the scene since I’ve started working with SED. I have played in multiple genres all my life. I can say, I’ve never felt more at home than with the HC scene. I’ve never been accepted so quick. No one cares about how you dress, what you listen to. This scene has always accepted me for me. I don’t need to pretend. So that right there should explain just how amazing and family oriented our scene is.

Q: Let’s talk about the song ‘PLAGUE’. Probably my favourite track on the disc from the guitar solo, the breakdowns and the signature upbeat high impact sound you guys have. Can you tell the world how the song came to see the light of day?

Scott: The song was originally written for the Patient Zero Records split 7″, “Spreading The Infection”. We’re always looking to expand our creativity and for ‘Plague’ we wanted to explore the more thrashy side. The song evolved over the past couple years, so we decided to update it and include it on the new EP. Lyrically it deals with organized religion. Although we are not a bunch of religious guys, we do respect others freedom of belief. With that said, my personal view of organized religion is basically different sects twisting the words of books to control its followers. The true Plague on our society is the mind control and manipulation most organized religions impose.

Q: 2020 also put the music world on hold. But you guys just recently did a livestream. How did that go and how did it feel having a show but not having the energy of the crowd?

Scott: For me it was the excitement of seeing the hundreds of people signing up to watch it beforehand. Knowing they were out there all around the globe was awesome.

Ryan: It was fun getting in the room with the guys again and performing. We wanted to make it special, so we purposely scheduled it the same day as our EP release. I immediately thought of backroom studios given their rich history and how they’ve done a number of successful livestreams already. The experience was organic, and we had a great time doing it.

Wade: it was the first time I didn’t have to picture the crowd naked in order to get comfortable playing. I usually go through these anxious episodes before playing. So being excluded from a crowd was easier on the anxiety but harder on the heart.

Q: How did you guys go about recording this EP were you able to get together, studio wise, or was this a home created EP?

Wade: We tracked all instruments in my studio and Scott tracked vocals at his. I then went in and did the editing and we sent it off to my friend Doug Gallo at AGL sounds and he took over from there. I can’t thank him enough for pouring his heart and soul into making sure we got exactly how we wanted it to sound.

Ryan: Yeah, Wade really stepped up and did a fantastic job tracking and editing. Once Doug put his magic touch on it, it really brought the songs to life.

Q: When it comes to producers do you stick close to home with people you’ve worked with before or do you like to branch out and test new waters?

Ryan: We like to branch out and try something new with every release. When we chose Doug to mix/master we recognized that he hadn’t worked with a lot of hardcore bands in the past, but we didn’t care. The quality and care Doug puts forth with all his projects was enough for us to trust him with our songs. Doug did not disappoint. He brought a fresh ear to the table and we couldn’t be more proud of the end result.

Wade: I have to agree with Ryan on this one.

Q: Music in every genre is life for so many people. What do you think it is about music that can be so powerful to people?

Scott: For me it’s the pouring out of emotions. Topical songs are cool, but when you can really relate to what someone is saying and understand what, is often their frustration/pain, that’s priceless.

Wade: I have to agree, it’s all about emotion, plain and simple. You want to connect with something. For some, they have family, friends, etc. For most, they only have relations from sound. I have had bands save me through some dark times. You can’t get a feeling of emotion stronger than from music.

Q: Empower another artist and tell us someone you look up to and why?

Wade: One person I’ve always looked up to is Yoni Wolf from “Why?”. Although, he is the complete opposite end of the spectrum. He has shown me there is more to music than just guitar, bass, and drums. He has written music so abstract but befitting to the average listener’s ear. Opened a whole new way of thinking. Especially when it comes to producing. Another person would be Alexis S.F. Marshall. Him and his band also have shown me there is more you can do with empty space than just hitting power chords. He also takes risks. He doesn’t care what people want. He creates what he wants. I’m all about that. Last but not least, Drew Stone. That man seriously amazes me with how much he dedicates to the scene. He has shown a whole world of hardcore to younger crowds. If hardcore is dying, Drew Stone can single-handedly save it from failing.

The End

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

Silence Equals Death – Livestream at Backroom Studios (13th November.2020)

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 AWAKEN

INTERVIEW WITH AWAKEN
Waking up the rock world with MONSTERS & MACHINES
By Stephanie Stevens

The Tennessee band AWAKEN brings you a solid plethora of rock n roll ambiance with the music they have created since the band’s formation. An Alternative/Hard Rock destiny for music fans where powerful melodies intercept with hard hitting moments and emotionally enlighten you with provoking lyrical material.

The band: Chad Griffin – vocals, Dustin Simpson – guitar, Chase “Sludge” Reagan – bass and Jimi Wilkins – drums are gearing to make 2021 their year with the release of the newest album “MONSTERS & MACHINES”. Joining up with INgrooves and TLG Entertainment the band is focusing on music diversity and have made an album that is fresh and manoeuvres you down different paths of Rock n Roll throughout the disc. The singles that have been a platform for this album show the ability the band has to shine with difference but always embracing the signature sound that is AWAKEN.

From my favourites ‘BEHEMOTH’ and ‘STAINED GLASS’ to ‘THE VEIL’ the guys engage you with melody driven power and hard-hitting jolts of guitar driven atmospheres but also slide in modern hits of synthy dark ambiance and beautifully electrifying vocal moments.

AWAKEN is ready to set the rock world on fire with “MONSTERS & MACHINES”.

I had a chance to ask vocalist Chad Griffin a few questions about the new music, self-producing, working with Trevor McNevan from Thousand Foot Krutch and three fun facts about the band.

Q: AWAKEN has been around for some time now and has really become a staple in the rock community, as I’ll get into in this interview, but when and how did you guys all come together and what is the biggest asset each member brings to the band?

Chad Griffin: Thank you, yes it has been quite a while. Longer for some of us than others. Dustin and I have been writing together for years with different people before running into Jimmy then Chase. Both playing in different bands themselves. We hooked up with Jimmy in 2012 before the recording of our first record and went straight into the studio for “Broken Circle”. The writing for that record was basically a compilation of songs we had written for a previous band. We became Awaken, put out that album, then hit the road. We ended up touring with The Protest many times which Chase was a part of. That’s how we met him. Through a domino effect of things that took place, he ended up parting ways with them to take care of his new baby. We later ended up calling him when we lost our bass player. The connection was instant.

Q: Your new album MONSTERS & MACHINES is coming. Did you push the release to 2021 because of the chaos of 2020 or was this just a set thing and how was it preparing and finishing a product during a year like this?

Chad Griffin: Yes, the record was pushed back due to our new connection with The Label Group and INgrooves. It was a mutual decision with everyone involved to start fresh in the new year after some chaos clears. It also gave us some time to add in a few tweaks and actually add a new track that wouldn’t have made the record in time. It will be a 12-track record. The whole process was quick and fun. Covid closed down a lot of things so it helped us get in the studio and focus on what we wanted to do.

Q: You released ‘STAINED GLASS’ and with this song you found clarity in the band’s sound. What was the turning point that you had, Was it a missing piece in creation?

Chad Griffin: We feel that song is a good reflection of our sound. That is more along the lines of songs that we like to write, that we feel is kind of the foundation of our sound…with the calmer verses and heavy driving choruses and hooks. That was actually a remake of a song we had back with our original group, so it has a sort of sentimental feel to it that brings us back to our roots.

Q: A newer track you dropped was ‘THE VEIL’ can you tell us your lyrical approach to this song and what inspires you as a lyric writer?

Chad Griffin: Honestly, that one is kind of a take on a lot of what is going on today. It’s hard to tell what is real anymore. You can hardly trust anything you hear, and people have trouble being real. It seems sometimes like people walk around living a front or a facade instead of being themselves. I actually have had those lyrics for over a decade, ha. I just took it and modernized it, and changed it up a bit. It was one of the newest songs added to the record, music-wise.

Q: One song off the new album that really brought focus to the band was ‘BEHEMOTH’. I really loved how it was a diverse sound more so than other tracks you guys released. How much do you strive to have complete diversity when going into writing a full-length?

Chad Griffin: That was always the track I wanted to be the first impression of this record. It was one of the first 4 tracks we had in the demo sessions and we knew it was a standout. We do put a lot of focus on the tracks being different than each other. We don’t ever want to put out an album that sounds like one long track. We like to have a little bit of everything. This is actually the most diverse record I think we have done. That’s one reason we are so happy with it. There is a lot of both worlds on this album when it comes to heavy and melodic.

Q: Back in the day, with your debut album, you had the ability to work with Trevor McNevan from Thousand Foot Krutch on the song ‘FATHOM’. How did you get that collab worked out and what was the biggest thing you walked away with after working with him?

Chad Griffin: We were playing a venue near where he lived, and he came in to check out the bands and just enjoy his time off. We spotted him in the crowd and he came out back when we were loading. We just let him listen to some of our songs and he loved it. Said he’d love to help us out and collaborate. He was honestly an inspiration. Always full of talent and positive energy. He was honestly one of the coolest people still that we have ever run into since doing this.

Q: You guys seem very at home writing music do you ever get roadblocks and what would be your best advice for when that happens?

Chad Griffin: We are so used to each other from writing together for so long. It honestly just comes naturally. I have to say we are pretty blessed with that end of it and can’t complain. I’m sure the blocks have come a few times, just like with anyone, but they really don’t stick around long. We are always able to work through it and make it happen.

Q: Taking songs you have written and bringing them to an acoustic setting. Is it an easy process or is it like re-writing a song? And how much emotional value changes for you to perform it?

Chad Griffin: I’m a huge fan of the chilled out acoustic stuff. It really lets us play around with different arrangements of the songs. I love getting to go in wondering how it will turn out and hearing some of our heavier music have different versions like that. It does naturally feel more passionate at times. I do love rocking out and singing over the louder music, but it is honestly cool to get to sit down and make it something different.

Q: Being from Tennessee I am sure you are always finding people who inspire and help you learn more in the music community. How do you view your community and what do you believe your band has given to others in the community?

Chad Griffin: We are a split band as far as where we are all from. I love my community and we have a really cool regional radio show and awesome DJ that really helps get exposure for bands around the area. We have festivals and a few good venues. It is cool being so close to Nashville as well. I hope to be an inspiration to younger bands in the area and show them if they can stick it out and just keep writing together some cool things can happen. There are many different styles and forms of rock music played around our town, regardless of it being stereotyped as such a country stronghold.

Q: What is the biggest difference between self-producing your work vs finding someone to do it and what do you honestly prefer?

Chad Griffin: We loved our time going to Travis Wyrick for our first record and the experience we had there. We learned a lot and loved how it turned out. We would love to eventually get to work with another producer in the future but honestly, we prefer doing our own thing. We love getting together during our own time and have the freedom we’ve been able to have. We learn new things each record on how to perfect certain elements and have fun with it. We don’t really know what we will do or where we will go for the next, but we’ve enjoyed doing these last 3 ourselves.

Q: If you can get out and tour in 2021 is there one band you would be honoured to go out with?

Chad Griffin: We would love to reconnect with The Protest. It would be like hanging out with our brothers again and let Chase get to hang with old bandmates. There are several bands we wouldn’t mind playing with, but as far as staying around on the road…they stay at the top of the list for us.

Q: What venue do you miss playing at most and why?

Chad Griffin: To keep it short and sweet…any ha. We aren’t picky at this point. We just miss playing. We miss them all.

Q: 3 facts about your band that have nothing to do with music?

Chad Griffin: -We love God, we are far from perfect, but strive to be better for him and closer to him each day, we love discussing current events, politics, and sending memes back and forth on a daily in group message and we love Mexican food!

The End

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘The Veil’ (Official Lyric Video)

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 CRO-MAGS

INTERVIEW WITH CRO-MAGS
The Story Of 2020 EP Style
By Stephanie Stevens

The CRO-MAGS, a legendary name in the Hardcore/Punk/Thrash scene. A band who has had a cult following since early in their career. They gave birth to the tough as nails attitude of the scene in the late 80’s and brought, to this world, music that held no punches and surrounded you with an essence of ‘fight and stand strong’.

It’s been 20 years since the band dropped a full-length album to their fans but, earlier this year “IN THE BEGINNING” was born! The album brings you back to the New York hardcore roots and pummels you with that high-octane energy!

Throughout this year the guys had to cancel a tour because of the pandemic but rose up and presented one of the very first live Quarantine livestreams and then continued writing, so we will not just see a full-length released this year but the men of CRO-MAGS are also releasing another slew of songs with the EP entitled “2020”, coming out Dec 11, 2020. To me this EP outweighs the full length. It’s got so much power and angst, a masterpiece in its own right. From living in quarantine, to seeing violence, brutality, burning buildings and the empty streets of NYC, 2020 is a year we will never forget. This EP captures the emotion and raw reality in 20 minutes and 20 seconds. The band fully engulf what we have endured as you listen to the music, words and lay your eyes on the artwork. You want real? Its right here, packaged up in a six-song disc!

I had a chance to ask the legend himself, Harley Flanagan, about the making of the EP, the future of America and who empowers and inspires!

Q: Through 2020 you guys have done a lot of writing. Back in June of 2020 you released “IN THE BEGINNING”. How was it going back to work with producer Arthur Rizk and did you re-visit him because of a certain thing it brought out in you guys?

We get along really well musically and as people, he is not afraid of taking chances and he encourages me to do the same.

Q: Before the end of the year you’re also releasing the EP “2020”, a tell-tale story of the life we have seen roll out before our eyes. With so much emotion about the year we have had, how easy was it getting it out onto a soundtrack like this?

There was no better way to deal with it and to vent. I am blessed to have friends like Steve Zing, Arthur and my guys.

Q: You guys are from NY, so you have seen so much through the year that our country has gone through. Being we are in probably the most chaotic year we have ever seen how do you envision the new year will pan out if you could voice your opinion?

To be honest I have no idea. I hope we start doing shows again soon, but I think things are gonna stay weird for a while.

Q: ‘CHAOS IN THE STREETS’ was a song that stuck with me off the 2020 EP. What do you hope people walk away with after hearing this track?

I’m just reporting it as I see it and giving a little warning.

Q: CROFUSION is an epic ending to the record. Tell us about the jam session and how did you break it down to a, little over, 4 min song?

We just put on a click track and started jamming. It was almost 20 mins long, then me and Arthur just took what we thought were the best parts of it and lined them up so the full record would be 20:20 long. Initially, when we did, we weren’t planning on that, but since it came to 20 min and 16 seconds when we were done, we just added 4 more seconds of sound and made it an even 20:20 like the title.

Q: The EP also has an array of pictures from the album cover and the most eerie look into a deserted NYC. How did you go about choosing pictures and did you go out yourself to take these images?

Me and my wife took some of them and my uncle took the back cover. I went out when I had to, but I stayed away from people and crowds to the best of my ability. There were a few Covid cases in my building, one death and my mother in law was sick but she recovered.

Q: As a band how was the writing process for you guys due to quarantine and how long was it before you could get into an actual studio to lay stuff down and how different was the process?

I always do most of the writing and I have a backlog of riffs and songs, they add their input after. I have so much material and I’m always writing; once I give them the riffs and arrangements, I encourage them to just go nuts, and we take it from there.

It was a difficult time due to the quarantine, and everything was closed but when my longtime friend Steve Zing from Danzig moved into his new house he set up his studio and when things eased up a little we went out there and jammed through the riffs and tracked them there and then we built on it. Rocky was in L.A so he did his tracks there.

Q: This year the touring all stopped, and you guys were one of the first to do a livestream. How did you perceive it after the fact and were there more positive outcomes of it, vs an actual tour?

Obviously, I would rather have toured, but sometimes life throws curveballs at you and you have to handle it. I took what was a shitty situation and turned it into the best thing I possibly could. Then I got to work on writing this EP and the next album. I wasted no time, I didn’t get sucked into bitching online with conspiracy theories and bullshit, I just kept busy. I was out of work, so I wrote music and lyrics and worked out.

Q: As a legendary group and having a platform where people look up to you, what is one thing you can say to this country, that is so divided, that could maybe open a few people’s eyes to what America is and how we can save this country?

I’m not gonna be that guy to try to give anyone a solution or the “Answer” on how to save anything, but I’m hoping that with everything that has happened people start to wake up. Change can be a painful thing, but I am hoping for progress. But just remember things can always be worse and or get worse and It doesn’t take much for that to happen. Be grateful for the good things in your life. I honestly don’t have much hope for the human race as a whole.

Q: Are you guys doing any pre-launch promotions for the EP “2020” and how can fans support you guys with this soon to be released EP and “IN THE BEGINNING”?

Not that I know of. Just buy it, download it and enjoy it!!! Maybe make a video of you and your friends singing the songs and post it and share it with us!!!

Q: Empower another artist and tell us what inspires you about them?

That’s a hard one. There are so many- there are so many artists that I love and respect, but I have to say Gman ( I know he’s in my band does that count?) Because I get pumped when he plays – I love watching him play – it makes me want to play and if I didn’t have an instrument in my hands I’d probably just start flipping out – and I guess that’s what HC is supposed to make you feel; like involuntary stomping, swinging, headbanging, running back and forth jumping off shit and smashing shit. Good thing I have an instrument when he plays cause shit would get dangerous.

The End

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘From The Grave’ (Official Video) – Taken From The Album “In The Beginning”

‘2020’ (Visualiser) – Taken From The EP “2020”

Cro-Mags – Full Live Quarantine Concert (15th March 2020)

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 PROGRAMMABLE ANIMAL

INTERVIEW WITH PROGRAMMABLE ANIMAL
‘One Step To Hell’
By Stephanie Stevens

Press play to the album “ONE STEP TO HELL” from Chicago’s…

PROGRAMMABLE ANIMAL and you get submersed into the emotional and raw personal stories that have been seen by the eyes and felt by the heart of founder and frontman Drepsea. The loss of a loved one, a tale of drug addiction and the overwhelming effects of Narcissistic souls that creep into our lives sometimes. This band has the sound that captivates me due to the industrial and metal soundscapes, but it was how the lyrical content, and the way it was delivered, pierced my soul and made emotions awake in my heart. That really drove me to fall in love with this album from start to finish.

The band has a way of intertwining chaos and beauty on tracks like ‘ONE STEP TO HELL’ but then can delicately mesmerize you with a track like the beautiful n dark ‘AS ABOVE, SO BELOW’ and then firing you up with the sultry yet heavy ‘QUEEN OF FIENDS’. Beauty, anger and compassion is what this band is made of and it is truly an epic listening journey.

The past  is also something of notability for this band! After getting a taste of this album I went backwards into the discography. One thing to be said is the band has stayed true to the “sound”, but you can instantly appreciate the growth, the developing and the honesty which has stayed intact. Older albums like “END OF THE TAIL” and “DREPSEA” are just as influential as the new one. The way they bend genres to manipulate it into a sound all their own is tantalizing as they have made it into a unique, expressive and relentless journey of madness and beauty.

The storm of truth not only bleeds out of Drepsea on this newest disc “ONE STEP TO HELL” but made its way into this interview which I had the honour of having with him. I am elated that now I am ‘in the know’ of PROGRAMMABLE ANIMAL and I hope you all enjoy this truly impeccable album and chat with this amazing artist.

Q:PROGRAMMABLE ANIMAL has been around for a few years now. Can you give us a quick synopsis of how this band formed?

Drepsea: The band was started years ago as a solo project. Music gave me a sense of identity, soul, and purpose. Programmable Animal was a creative outlet for me to express my views.

Q: You go by the name DREPSEA which was an album of yours back in 2014. What made you take on that persona and do you feel you are creating another form of yourself when you create for the band?

Drepsea: The album “Drepsea” was the cultivation of this character. I would say this persona expresses my truth. Within the music and lyrics, I’m telling exactly how I feel. On an everyday basis we portray a version of ourselves that is socially acceptable, and that can be a multitude of different versions given the situation. The idea of Drepsea isn’t that…it’s my truth.

Q: Your music definitely has the mix of industrial, dark aura and at times could sound chaotic and insane (in a good way) especially listening to your last disc “END OF THE TAIL”. How does the band set the tone when you start writing for new albums etc?

Drepsea: It primarily revolves around the situations I’m dealing with at the time. “End of the Tail” was an end of a particular “tale” in my life that was dark, yet a turning point. Due to the circumstances at that time, I started making poor decisions, I was engulfed by bitterness, and delved into chaotic situations. I realized the path I was going down was purely destructive. “One Step to Hell”, fundamentally acted as a means to pull myself out of my own hell. I wanted to take a more empowering approach that no matter what kind of hell we face, we can break the spell. It can start with incremental steps, whether that be associating with the right people, overcoming our vices, or pursuing our passions, etc.

Q: Making art from pain and heartache usually makes for brilliant work. Your new disc “ONE STEP TO HELL”, defines that. For you what were the pros and cons of getting your emotion out as lyrics?

Drepsea: I 100% view it as cathartic and therapeutic. Anytime we express our truth, it’s always a pro. Bottling up our feelings inside can make someone go mad.

Q: Growing up who were the artists that formed your appreciation for music and what you believe as a performer, who adapted to your way of making music?

Drepsea: There are so many, but two come to mind. KoRn because of Jonathan Davis’ lyrics. It was clear that he was hurt, the music was just raw and powerful.

Also, Nine Inch Nails. The first time I heard “Closer” I was in awe because it had such a unique sound. I was maybe like 5, I didn’t know what the hell the lyrics meant haha, but the sounds were nothing like anything I’ve ever heard before.

Q: Have you ever done theatre or acting and is it something you might venture into if you haven’t already?

Drepsea: I honestly haven’t besides for our music videos. I appreciate the art behind it, though who knows what the future holds.

Q: On the new disc you talk about almost losing someone to drug addiction and dealing with the passing of a loved one. These topics resonated with me. 5 years ago, I lost my mom then 6 months later lost my boyfriend to drugs n alcohol. My question is two parts

1. How do you deal with loss and what would you tell fans who are having hard times with that aspect?

2. Do you feel that people dealing with the disease of drugs n alcohol can eventually become stronger than the demons that are courting them to these deadly substances or its always going to temp them?

Drepsea: I’m sorry to hear.

Art and music were a means for me to reflect. Personally, with my recent loss, having spiritual beliefs helped mitigate certain feelings. Dealing with loss will be different for each person though. It does take time to heal. For fans, try to look at the brighter side of the life that the person lived and remember the good they brought into the world. Loss can be a reminder to us to make sure we treat others the best we can. Most importantly, try to enjoy the moments we have with them.

Absolutely, we can overcome our demons. I’ve been around many people with drug issues. One situation I found myself in was having to perform CPR on someone close to me in order to save them due to a heroin overdose. That person is doing a lot better now, no recent episodes. We are all capable of ridding ourselves of addictions / similar issues. Again, it’s forward thinking, start making small changes, eventually it starts to make “hell” less severe. Yes, the voice lingers but only if we allow it. Try to surround yourself in a better environment and reassure yourself you are capable of overcoming it. When in doubt, reach out to someone.

Q: You worked with two producers who have worked with some giants in the industry. How much did you learn from both of them about magnifying your songs and also anything they said to you vocally to expand or focus more on, since the album is a more personal storyline for you?

Drepsea: Both definitely guided me into the right direction. There were things that I didn’t think of that they pointed out and through that, it made the songs better. We did some of the recording with Chuck Macak at his studio. After, I took the individual parts and recorded a bit more at mine. Eventually bringing them to Sean Beavan. It was simpatico, he would send me a mix and it was right each time. I wanted to take the listener elsewhere, to create the personification of flesh in battle with the soul. Hence, the industrial sounds contesting against ambience. Sean nailed this approach; he is a sound genius and understood the project fully. Very glad we crossed paths. In terms of lyrics, there was no suggestion on anything. I wanted to stay true to me, that’s important for me as an artist.

Q: Another step for the band is having Negative Gain behind this record. How did that partnership happen and what is the most important thing for you when beginning a relationship like this?

Drepsea: Negative Gain noticed Programmable Animal back in 2018 with our release, “End of the Tail.” At that time, I was playing guitar as well for a couple of well-known acts in the industrial scene: Hate Dept. & Project 44. I met Micah Skaritka from NGP at Cyberfest in Chicago, my intuition was telling me I will probably be speaking with them again lol. Over time we all chatted, and I also worked with Christian Bankes who runs Fade In PR. He’s another person who I respect and really believed in this project. He helped pitch the record to Roger Jarvis and Micah at the label. The rest is history. The most important aspect is trust, I trust them. This goes with everything in life, find people who are good and who you trust.

Q: What advice would you give a new band looking to do something off course of the norm for music but hesitant about not being accepted?

Drepsea: Persistence is key. Doing something different is a good thing, that’s how some of the most prominent musicians came to be. They pioneered a new sound. Of course, you want to relate in some regard to the audience, music is communal. If you love and are passionate about what you’re doing though, odds are someone else in the world will be too, you just have to find them.

Q: Where can people support your band and music, and do you see any plans in 2021 for a tour?

Drepsea: Our album “One Step to Hell” is on Spotify, Bandcamp, etc. You can also find us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc.

www.linktr.ee/programmableanimal – Links to everything Programmable Animal.

We are optimistic about 2021 and touring / playing, though we will see what happens with the pandemic. Most important, we want our fans to feel safe.

Q: Empower another artists and tell us why they inspire you?

Drepsea: The artist that inspired me the most would be Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Apart from the unique sound, what intrigued me the most was one person composing each part in a song. It was the same approach Prince had; I fell in love with this idea. It led me into learning multiple instruments, eventually making my own songs.

The End

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘One Step to Hell’ (Official Video)

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 KISSING CANDICE

INTERVIEW WITH KISSING CANDICE
‘The New Chapter Of HORROR’
By Stephanie Stevens

Impacting the music world with their brand of metal/industrial music; The demented, chaotic, abstract horror visuals from the bands look to the videos and live stage presence they have brought to stages, Long Island, NY’s KISSING CANDICE is one band you are very unlikely to ever forget.

The band is opening the real gates of Hell with new single/video ‘Tapeworm’. With a refined sound and musical growth, you can hear on their newest track, I believe it’s just the tip of the iceberg of what is to come out of the bands 2nd full-length album!

This is the next chapter into the wonderfully psycho, creepy aggressive world of KISSING CANDICE.

I had a chance to chat with Joey Simpson AKA Aunt Donna, the vocalist and founding member of Kissing Candice. Tom Sciro aka DREAMER, the original guitarist and 2nd vocalist of the band and Mike Grippo aka GRIP the original bassist of the band as we talked more about the evolving growth of the Masks, the growth of the music, the 5 year anniversary of the bands 1st full length album “BLIND UNTIL WE BURN” and so much more

Q: I love talking to you guys because not only do I love your music I adore the creative side you have for the visuals. With that being said I want to jump into the new mask’s look. You guys worked with a few different special effects people. Was this the next level of creating the masks or had you worked with others before to make your older ones?

Grip: Dreamer and myself worked with Jeff Koncor on our masks. He also did Suffront’s, the transition masks, and fan masks! Also, thanks for having us again, it’s always a pleasure!

Joey: I had the honour to work with special effects legend Tom Savini  and his partner, special effects mastermind Jason Baker. They brought the new Aunt Donna look to an entire new level.

Q: How have the masks evolved since last time?

Grip: They’ve only gotten crazier and more intense. But it’s still an evolution. (Shout out to Jeff Koncor who did my mask. Dreamer’s, and the transition masks!) You can still look at us and know who we are.

Joey: With new music comes new masks, new faces , a new sound, a new message. For Aunt Donna, she’s only gotten more weird, more hungry for the bizarre.

Dreamer: The new masks are an evolution of the character we each have built. We just tried to focus on certain aspects that we wanted to showcase in them.

Q: Do you feel the masks are your inner personality to a tee, and if so, does it change your mindset when they are on and you’re performing?

Grip: We kind of like to think of it as a reflection of our dark side…Those sides are the ones that are in control during the performances.

Joey: Absolutely. When the mask goes on the world shuts down and things that matter take a time out (I like to think of it that way). It’s show time. It’s time to do what Aunt Donna wants, what she desires.

Dreamer: For me, it’s definitely some parts of my personality, but not my day to day. It’s super visceral, so it absolutely contributes to when you have it on and how you act.

Q: ‘TAPEWORM’ your newest single creates that signature sound the band has come to be known for. When you started writing the new songs was there any particular part of songwriting you wanted to redefine or focus and how did that process go?

Grip: We believe that on ‘Safe Word’ we found “our” sound. On this one we wanted to hone in on it and refine it while also expanding it with some out of the box ideas. Zach Jones has been a game changer for our sound.

Joey: The band flew out to a house in Vegas for 3 weeks along with our producer Zach Jones. In that time frame writing was amazing, It was such a creative experience in so many different ways. Things I can’t even describe unless you were in that room. So different than any other studio time we have had. The only thing I will say is, it all came together the way it was supposed to!

Dreamer: The recording process was one of my favourite experiences in being in this band. Totally open minds, some ideas, head time and living in the studio for a month. It was a super creative and fulfilling experience and I was able to just go to all the places I’ve heard in my head, whenever I wanted. We wanted to just make a unique, honest and raw record that we loved. We did just that.

Q: Your 2nd full-length is on the verge of coming out and with the chaos of 2020, you had some extra time to really perfect everything. Did you change anything drastically or swap out any songs for others when you went back and listened to the album?

Grip: We were really happy with how the album came out. This time has given us the opportunity to seek out some guest vocalists to add (a first for us), have Maor Applebaum master the album, and focus on creating more visuals for the release. It was really just slight refinements that make a huge difference. Nothing was cut or added…just made a little bit better.

Dreamer: No, it was pretty much smooth sailing on that front. We messed with mixes and mastering, but like I said before…we made a record that we love.

Q: I know you guys love pushing the limits and love evoking emotion, especially in a visual way. With the ‘TAPEWORM’ video did you guys have to pull back the reigns of the horror/gore aspect at any time because of the fear of being censored?

Grip: There have been times we’ve stepped back and been like “WHOA, this is too much to put anywhere on the internet without having it pulled down”. But that wasn’t the case with ‘Tapeworm’. We knew the song was dark and we needed visuals that represented it. I’m much more worried about our next music video being censored!

Joey: YES!! Some of the original shots I wanted to do would have been censored for sure. It’s very hard to market something over the top gore HAH!

Dreamer: Not at all. We don’t care lol. Just went for it. If we like it, we do it.

Q: How hard was it shooting the video because of all the policies, rules, etc due to Covid and if you shot in NY?

Grip: We shot at The Meat Locker in NJ…and hey…we’ve been wearing masks for years!

Joey: Lucky for us it was a small, closed set with the band crew and some close friends that helped make this video possible.

Dreamer: It’s always a hassle for video stuff in general, we just had a few extra steps. But I genuinely thank everyone that was a part of it to allow it to happen!

Q: 2015 was the last time you put out a full album. In between, there have been EP’s and singles to keep your fans full of your amazing music. What made you feel it was time for another full-length?

Grip: It’s been way too long. We’ve wanted to do this for a long time but have been in between record labels. We finally decided we don’t care, and we will crowdfund it and pull the rest of the money out of our own pockets to see it happen.

Joey: We just knew it. It was time to shed the old masks. Shed the old sound and release the beast.

Dreamer: We had been wanting to do one for a while, but things just kept coming up. We were definitely long overdue.

Q: Along with new masks is the storyline for the new album anything conceptual or does it have a common thread to each of the tracks and does the music incorporate what your masks mean to you?

Grip: There are a lot of different concepts on the album. This is us exploring what we can do with our sound and vision. We just wrote what felt best with Zach and then recorded it.

Joey: I’ve been saying from the beginning of making this album, it’s really not an “album“. It’s more like a horror movie. I can’t explain. But when you hear it front to back you will understand !

Dreamer: The new album is just a mouthpiece of things happening today.

Q: 2020, you are celebrating the 5-year anniversary of your 1st full-length “Blind Until We Burn”, is there anything you are doing to commemorate it?

Grip: Yeah! When the album originally released, the samples had to be cut, the artwork changed, and a song removed. So, we are doing a super limited 5-year anniversary edition strictly pressed to vinyl and cassette!

Q: Have you guys had any plans on releasing a live stream show for your fans and what is your view on these as we all know touring is off limits at the moment?

Grip: We’ve kicked the idea around but with everyone living in a different state at the moment it’s hard to pull off with all the restrictions.

Joey: The live music world is on a hard pause, for how long no one has a real answer. A live stream? Hmmm you’ll have to wait and see.

Dreamer: We are still considering that for something in the future.

Q: In the past have you guys auctioned off your older masks or stage clothing for fans? Any funny stories about that?

Grip: Yep, I have sold off all my old stage gear and masks. It doesn’t mean a whole lot to me to keep it on a shelf in my bedroom, I would rather use the money from that to move the band forward. Also, there are fans out there who cherish it way more than I do, and it means a lot to me they are able to own a piece of something they are so passionate about! Funny stories? I sold 20 of my bloody BUWB era V-Necks to one person in bulk for super cheap haha!

Joey: My buddy Austin has bought every Aunt Donna mask I have ever worn. It’s amazing he now owns more OG masks then I currently own haha. Also, Gavin & Johnny have this amazing place called the KC Kave. Look it up. I can’t even begin to describe it.

Dreamer: Someone owns Grippo’s stockings. Lol.

Q: If you could sum up 2020 in one sentence what would it be?

Grip: Do I really even need to shower?

Joey: “FUCK THIS SHIT” – Super Humman.

Dreamer: Garbage.

Q: What is the biggest misconception people have about the band KISSING CANDICE?

Grip: That because we wear masks, we are like every other band with masks. We are different. Or we do it because we think a gimmick will help sell it. It’s a way of conveying emotion.

Joey: Everything.

Dreamer: We aren’t Slipknot or Mushroomhead.

Q: What is the best way right now fans and music lovers can support your band?

Grip: STREAM ‘TAPEWORM’ ON SPOTIFY ALL DAY! Also, join us on Community where you can directly text with the band and we do a ton of free giveaways. The first 2 texts are automated sign up texts but from then out it’s all us! You can get in on that by just shooting a text to,

+1 631-206-5808

or going to
www.my.community.com/kissingcandice

Also! You can pick up the limited edition 5-year anniversary of BUWB here!
www.kissingcandice.com/store?category=BUWB+5+Year

Joey: www.kissingcandice.com/ – music , Merch and more!

Dreamer: Buy merch, buy music, anything that links back to us.

Q: Empower another artist and tell us why they inspire you?

Grip: Trent Reznor. I don’t think he needs empowerment because he just got inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. However, his inspiration on me has been enormous since I was a child. He is so progressive with how the industry works and is insanely creative. Definitely my musical idol…also he brought us Marilyn Manson…and then a feud with Marilyn Manson!

Joey: Honestly Post Malone. He started out at the bottom. Everyone gave him shit, talked shit, looked down on him. He never gave up and didn’t let anything stand in his way. Now he is one of the biggest names in music.

Dreamer: Scythe Gang 666, because Zabb is the softest in the game.

The End

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘Tapeworm’ (Official Music Video)

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.