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.

Q&A with ILLUSIONS OF GRANDEUR

Q&A with ILLUSIONS OF GRANDEUR

Hello Everyone – Maggy recently got the chance to do a Q&A with ‘The Siren’, vocalist of Lancaster, PA Theatrical Hard Rock/Fantasy Metal band, Illusions Of Grandeur. Big thanks to all of them!

What is your name, what do you do, and can you tell us a little bit about how you ended up doing it?

This is Maggie, The Siren. I am the vocalist, lyric and melody writer for Illusions of Grandeur. I’ve been in music my entire life. My dad is a musician and when I was a kid, he would take my brother and I to band practice. I started singing, on stage, when I was 4. I was always in chorus, theatre, and musicals. At 15, I was in my first band and I haven’t stopped since.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

Our band is from Pennsylvania, United States. Metal is alive and well here. Many of our friends are in metal bands. As far as the type of metal we play, I think we do best overseas. They seem to embrace the fantasy metal, costumes, and war paint. Not that they don’t here in the US, the crowds are just way more receptive.

What is your favourite latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Korn – “The Nothing”

Who have been your greatest influences, in music or in life?

Korn, In This Moment, Judas Priest, Pantera, Queen, Janis Joplin.

What first got you into music?

Music is like water to me. I need it and couldn’t live without it. My dad is the reason I’m in music. I have so many memories of my dad and music, from going to band practice with him, to trips in the car with the windows down singing at the top of our lungs, to those warm summer days with the windows opened and the music just carrying through the whole house. And, of course, the occasional concert. I’ll never forget sitting next to DJ Kool with my dad, mom, and brothers at a George Clinton and the P-Funk band concert. Music is a part of me. I love it as if it were a person.

Which current bands or musicians would you like to see collaborate on a record?

Korn and In This Moment.

If you could go to any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Wacken. It’s the biggest metal festival in the world…at least to my knowledge. Closely followed by Rock n’ Rio. I have friends in Rio who have asked us to play there. Not to mention what a beautiful and amazing festival.

What’s the weirdest music related thing you own?

Weirdest…hmmm…that’s a tough one. We have some old mics that we use to record drums sometimes. Forgive me, I’m not sure what kind they are. We also have a twelve-string bass that has made many appearances live with IOG.

If you had one message for your Ever Metal readers, what would it be?

Take nothing for granted! Life’s too short to not be doing what you love. Be kind to your fellow human, and live your life to the fullest. You never know when it will all be over. Live long and rock 🤘🏻

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Oh goodness, this is always a very difficult question, and now especially since EVH is gone as well.

Dime, Freddie Mercury, Janis Joplin…I can never pick just one.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

No More Paying to Play. Anywhere. As if musicians don’t have a difficult enough time thriving, then they have to pay-to-play??? Are you kidding me??? I don’t think people realize everything that musicians are up against and all the money that goes into having a professional band…then you get offered a show and all you have to do is pay $1000 for a headliner spot…wait a minute. Shouldn’t that be based on talent and the bands ability to bring a crowd? I could go on forever about this, but that’s enough. You get my point lol.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Pantera – Vulgar Display Of Power

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

I like them all for different reasons. I still think nothing sounds as good as vinyl, but of course that’s just my opinion. Cassettes are nostalgic for me. When I was a kid cassettes were the big thing, so there is some sentimental value there. CD’s are great merch and a great way for bands to physically put their music in someone’s hands. And downloads are just super convenient for the listener. Unfortunately, the band often gets pushed over on downloads. Either they are free or super inexpensive and the band makes very, very little off of their music.

What’s the best gig that you have been to, and why?

We played a festival in Smila, Ukraine and so far, it was the best. They were the most hospitable and welcoming people. From the moment we arrived, they were nothing short of amazing. We were unaware, but they had built the entire festival around us. They also took us to the centre of their town where they had us plant an “IOG tree”. I’ve gotten word that our tree is healthy and growing well. I think we took pictures after the show for almost two hours. While we were playing, I had women trying to hand me their kids, people screaming for us, and the best part…singing the lyrics even though they couldn’t understand all of them!!! I’ll never forget our time in Smila.

What do you get up to when you’re not writing/ taking photos?

I’m an exercise junkie. I work out 6 days a week, for about 3 hours a day.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Jonathan Davis, Maria Brink, Dimebag Darrell, Tatiana Shmayluk, and Lauren Tate

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Good question. Never had one.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Look for our second single, ‘Down’, coming to you December 16th, 2020! Music video to follow. Thanks so much for reading! Rock on! Find us here:

www.iogmusic.com/
www.instagram.com/iogmusic/
www.twitter.com/iogband
www.facebook.com/IllusionsOG/
www.music.apple.com/us/artist/illusions-of-grandeur/347575177
www.open.spotify.com/artist/5iIKuYKBnObOoKBIV78p0H
www.youtube.com/c/IllusionsofGrandeurTV

‘Crossing Over’ (Official Video)

LINE-UP:
The Siren – Vocals
CM – Bass
Taranis – Guitars
Thano – Guitars
Ares – Drums

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Maggy S Nell 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.

Q&A with PARAZIT

Q&A with PARAZIT

Recently, Maggy got the chance to do a Q&A with Kello González, bassist with Guadalajara, Mexico based Virtuoso, Instrumental Prog Metal/Rock Trio, Parazit. Big thanks to them!

What is your name, what do you do, and can you tell us a little bit about how you ended up doing it?

Kello González, bass player for Parazit. This started as an experiment, a project to work on all that music that didn’t fit anywhere else…

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

I live in Guadalajara, Mexico. Loud music is not an easy endeavour, so we try to navigate scenes without much heed to fads or genres.

What is your favourite latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

I’ve been listening to Haken – “Virus”, Tool – “Fear Inoculum”, The Claypool-Lennon Delirium – “South of Reality”

Who have been your greatest influences, in music or in life?

I’m bass: Cliff Burton, Les Claypool, Flea, Geddy Lee and Justin Chancellor mainly.

What first got you into music?

In middle school I got hooked to Metallica’s “Justice” album. I started playing bass and finally felt like belonged somewhere…

Which current bands or musicians would you like to see collaborate on a record?

Les Claypool, Danny Carey, Tosin Abasi.

If you could go to any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Resurrection Fest, Hellfest or WOA. But as part of their line-up. 😊

What’s the weirdest music related thing you own?

Not weird but I’ve got drum sticks, picks, wristbands and a cymbal…trophies from Metallica concerts I’ve attended.

If you had one message for your Ever Metal readers, what would it be?

At this time and age, everyone stay strong and stay safe so we can all put these hard times behind us.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Cliff Burton!

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Royalties from streaming and fair payment for musicians.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Rush – “Moving Pictures”

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

All have their pros and cons. Being able to enjoy music is the end goal

What’s the best gig that you have been to, and why?

Rush – Gibson Amphitheater – LA (2012)
Metallica – Foro Sol – Mexico City (2009)
King Crimson – Teatro Diana – Guadalajara (2019)

What do you get up to when you’re not writing/ taking photos?

Making bass guitar cover videos

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Mike Patton, James Hetfield, Les Claypool, Maynard J Keenan and Geddy Lee

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Haven’t had the pleasure, but the name says cakes, so I’ll go with that.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Stay healthy!

www.parazitmx.bandcamp.com/
www.facebook.com/evermetal2017/
www.instagram.com/parazitmx/
www.twitter.com/Parazitmx
www.open.spotify.com/artist/5LaWGNlE5SvG9EX1UO7Qtn
www.youtube.com/channel/UCfcOPAw67UCTeoXhGn9uPNw

‘Asleep Reason Horror’ (Official Video)

LINE-UP:
Kello Gonzalez – Bass
Christian Gomez – Drums
Jose Macario – Guitar

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Maggy S Nell 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 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.

INTERVIEW WITH 7 STONE RIOT

INTERVIEW WITH 7 STONE RIOT
‘Enhancing your quality of life with new single MANIPULATION’!
By Stephanie Stevens

Step into the new era of Birmingham, Alabama’s 7 Stone Riot. A band who is unleashing the darker side of rock on their new single ‘Manipulation’, a track significantly mesmerising and melodically haunting with tons of heavier overtones. I was honestly blown away from the growth in sound these guys have created vs. Their old EP “Scratching The Surface”.

The band, brothers Whit Millsap – Vocals, Tyler Millsap – Bass and Todd Millsap – Guitar, along with Reid Aldridge – Guitar and Skyler McCain – Drums started in 2012 as a cover band which helped them find the path to songwriting that they then applied to 7 Stone Riot’s sound. The newest single ‘Manipulation’ is about how we all are manipulated by something whether we believe it or not. The steady flow, heavy power and delicate melody is going to unite music fans of all genres.

Visually, the guys brought even more life to the song as the video is haunting, dark and phantom like, as you watch the “demons” seduce and manipulate and the evocative storyline embeds your thoughts. The growth I see in this band already is making me believe that they are ones to keep your eye on as we roll into 2021.

I had a chance to speak with vocalist Whit Millsap about creating their sound, the unique recording process for the track ’Manipulation’, his biggest role model and what they worked on to get better at as we all went through the chaos of what we called the year 2020.

Q: I love seeing you family as a band. Did you all fall for the music bug around the same time and how did that surface for 7 stone riot?

Whit Millsap: We grew up around music all our lives. Our grandmother was a singer in New Orleans in the 60’s. Our mom was a country singer in the late 90’s early 2000;s where she had a song on the billboard country charts. It took us a little longer to start playing instruments, I was 18 when I got my first guitar and Tyler was 16, but the first day we got them we thought maybe we should do something with this.

Q: You have two other members also in the band. When searching for people to round out the band what were you looking for in musicians to come into this brotherhood?

Whit Millsap: I and Reid played high school baseball together, so we knew each other but we didn’t know music was a big part of our lives. When I first started playing live music, I was doing acoustic covers and Reid saw one of my videos posted on Facebook and sent me a message asking me if I wanted to come and jam sometime. I and Tyler went over there a couple of days later and from that day we decided we should give the band thing a shot.

Q: You guys also worked in an industry where you were around music in a live setting. Tell us how that impacted the business with the artistry of your band?

Whit Millsap: Working for All Events has been one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever worked. It has taught us a lot about running live sound, putting on a lights show, and how to act as a band when you get to those big festival-style shows. We work with a group of amazing sound guys who have helped us understand what each button and knob does on the soundboard so when we get to ours, we can set it up just like we want it. This job it’s given us some close friendships with some great sound guys so whenever we have a show and one of them doesn’t have a gig, they will go with us to our show and run our sound, which is nice.

Q: What is the hardest thing about creating a signature sound for your band when you are surrounded by so many influential role models that you grew up listening to?

Whit Millsap: We don’t think creating our own sound is hard with all the influences. We think all of our different influences is what gives us our sound. We all like different styles of rock music. I tend to lean towards the 90’s rock with bands like Tool, Alice In Chains, and Stone Temple Pilots. I love bands with good melodies, so I also tend to listen to bands such as 3 Doors Down and Matchbox 20. Reid is a fan of the heavier side of music with bands like Sevendust, Tremonti, and Korn. Tyler is a fan of the progressive style with bands like Tesseract, Monuments, and Karnivool. Todd likes it all anywhere from the Weekend to Meshuggah. Skylar is your typical drummer and loves the bands Vinnie Paul, Chris Adler, Shannon Larkin, Jeremy Spencer, and Mike Portnoy are in. I feel like when you mix all of those bands you come up with our sound.

Q: You just released a brand-new song called ‘Manipulation’. An intense word with meaning. What projected the song for you to take this shape lyrically?

Whit Millsap: When you sit back and really think about it everyone is manipulated by something. That’s why everyone has different beliefs. Everyone is pressured into doing things whether you want to do it or not, so you’re manipulated into feeling hate for something or love for something. If someone were to live my life and go through all of my manipulations, they would have the same views just like if I lived someone else’s life, I would probably have totally different views on things. So, in the end we’re all the same, we just have been through different manipulations that have given us the views that we have.

Q: The new song also takes a darker approach musically for you guys do you feel this is the real sound and feel of 7 Stone Riot?

Whit Millsap: We feel like this is the start of the real sound of 7 Stone Riot. We did this song differently than anything else we’ve written. Before we would split up and say each person write their part and then we would come back together and make it a song. With ‘Manipulation’, each person gave their opinion on every part of this song. I feel like this is the approach we will be taking for every song we write now because it really helped fine-tune each part of the song. The melody and lyrics were totally different at the start of this song than it is now because once we all got together and put different ideas into the melodies and lyrics it really started taking a different life that we all loved. Once we changed the melody it opened up even more ideas for the instruments which were really cool to do.

Q: Can you talk about the DIY approach you took for recording the new song and after all was said and done, it turns out it’s one of your favourite sounding songs. What do you think it was that made it more sacred to you?

Whit Millsap: With everything getting locked down at the beginning of the year we felt like this would be the perfect opportunity to release something new. None of the studios were open so what we did was turn our guitar player Reid Aldridge’s garage into a studio. We had a ton of moving blankets, so we created a vocal booth made out of moving blankets plywood and pipping. After that, we then spent some money on some professional mics so we could still get that studio-quality sound out of our recordings. We were able to record every instrument inside the vocal booth we made and to our surprise sounded just like what it would have sounded like if we went to the studio. When we were done with all of the recordings, we sent it to our producer Ken Lanyon who would give us different ideas to do and when that was done, he mixed and mastered it. We were really surprised at how it sounded considering we recorded this all in a garage.

Q: How important to you is “performing” the song be it video or live show and do you feel you can get more of the story out in this way rather than just having fans sit home and listen?

Whit Millsap: I feel like with a video you get a lot more emotion out of the song. With the video, we kinda left it up to the viewer to make their own assumption about what it means. Everyone in the band has different views on what the video is meaning which is what we were going after.

Q: Some bands feel that singles are the way to go since the music industry has changed a bit. What do you feel about that vs full length and where does your band stand on this topic?

Whit Millsap: We all kinda feel like releasing singles is the way to go right now. Recording full-length albums with a professional sound to it takes so much money these days that it’s hard to do that without being signed to a label. With all the advantages we have these days with social media you don’t necessarily need a record label to get noticed you just need a song that catches everyone’s attention.

Q: What is the one thing you worked on in 2020 through this chaos, be it musically or personally, that you have enhanced, or have you learned something new?

Whit Millsap: One of the things we did was upgrade our equipment. Our main goal is to give a professional sounding performance and to do that you have to have the right equipment. We also took a few weeks to ourselves and not thought about anything musical for those few weeks. After those few weeks, we got back together, and our creative mindsets were a lot better so taking a little bit of time off is always a good thing to do.

Q: Who would you consider your biggest role model that has made you the man/musician you are today and why have they?

Whit Millsap: To me, I’m going to have to with Garth Brooks. When I was 3 years old back when he was taking over the world, I was his biggest fan. I used to dress up like him and run around the living room pretending I was him during a concert while a videotape of his concert played on the tv. I knew all his movements on stage and what he was going to say to the crowd. Once I saw him perform and the reaction he would get out of a crowd I always wanted to do what he does.

Q: What do you hope people walk away with after being introduced to 7 Stone Riot?

Whit Millsap: We hope that people really enjoy the messages we’re trying to say with our music. Our messages tend to be uplifting by saying we’re all going through things; you just have to fight through all the bad and you’ll end up where you want to be.

The End

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

Manipulation (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.

INTERVIEW WITH OVTLIER

INTERVIEW WITH OVTLIER
‘Unleash new single WHO WE ARE!’
By Stephanie Stevens

Rochester, NY’s OVTLIER shine with brilliance as they keep unleashing music that has a blend of enticing bits of heaviness, dark aura and emotional melody to round out massive powerful pieces of art.

The band made a name for themselves with the 7-song disc “What Doesn’t Kill You”. With solid tracks like ‘Buried Me Alive’, ‘Broken Bones’ and ‘Break’.

Inspired by everything 80’s/90’s. Grunge to Nu-metal, band members Joey Arena – vocals, guitarists Kane Buckley and Nolan Hayes, bassist Paul Milne and drummer Mike Wilkinson create an alluring hybrid sound.

The bands newest single ‘Who We Are’ was co-written with Ice Nine Kills Justin DeBlieck and is taking the modern rock world by storm as the band delves into the dark and trauma induced story of toxic relationships. With raging tone, impeccable breakdowns and duality of vocal range it’s a creation of power, mood and dynamics.

OVTLIER is one band who will surprise you with raw songwriting so be on the lookout for more personal and intense work from this stellar band.

I had a chance to speak with frontman Joey Arena who gave me some insight on the band, his background in music, the songs and more.

Q: In the beginning was Ovtlier a solo project for you and what made you turn it into a fully-fledged band?

A: I did not create Ovtlier with the intentions of being a solo project but knew that it would be easier to find like-minded musicians once I had laid out the foundation.

Q: Your newest single ‘Who We Are’ do you feel you have honed in on the sound you wanted for the band?

A: Being that I like to incorporate different elements of Rock & Metal, I feel we will forever continue to evolve and put out music that we feel best suits us. ‘Who We Are’ showcases how big we like to go with a chorus and the different styles of vocals I like to work into the mix.

Q: The new stuff you guys are writing is going to be on a more personal level as we saw in ‘Who We Are’, what are the pros and cons when reaching into that kind of emotion?

A: The pros are that I will be using it as therapy. I look forward to no longer carrying the weight. I can only hope that it will inspire those to love, self-reflect and work on themselves as they go through life.

Q: With this recent single out does this mean a new EP or maybe full-length disc is in the works and if so, do you have any ETA on when it will be released? And how can fans support you going forward until you can get out and tour again?

A: For now, we will continue to put out singles. It gives each song the undivided attention it deserves. For support, we strongly push that people follow and subscribe to our streaming platforms such as Spotify, YouTube, Pandora, etc.

Q: Where do you guys currently reside and how is the atmosphere over there with 2020 impacting so much?

A: We are all spread out amongst Upstate, NY. Buffalo and Rochester. I have been to some of the headlining hot spots for protests and Rochester with some rioting.

Q: Where did you grow up and how much did that atmosphere encourage and support your decision on being a musician?

A: I grew up in Rochester, NY. I was introduced into an amazing local music scene at the age of 13 and unfortunately, many locals today will never experience that type of diversity, support and popular appeal. I’m grateful that I was able to experience it.

Q: It’s been a few years since your EP “What Doesn’t Kill You” came out. Looking back on critic’s words and fans words about the music, what is the biggest thing you walked away with and thought about walking into making new music?

A: “What Doesn’t Kill You” was written in 2014 and released years later. I’m proud of that EP and all the hard work that producer, Evan McKeever and myself put into it while looking through the flaws. I walked away only looking forward and growing with in my vision of what Ovtlier can and will become.

Q: Is guitar always going to be your first passion when it comes to music?

A: Guitar will be my first love, but I enjoy being a vocalist and all the types of character I can tap into with it.

Q: When did you realize you could be a vocalist and did you have any classical training?

A: I dabbled with back-up vocals and harmonies in many mid-2000’s projects and took my first steps as a vocalist in 2009, completely ignorant and uneducated and learning the hard way of what goes in to being a vocalist. I began taking lessons in the midst of writing “What Doesn’t Kill You” and have taken lessons throughout the past 5 years.

Q: Is there a big difference emotionally creating say a riff or melody vs. writing a lyrical story for you? And if so, can you sum up each feeling doing both?

A: Sometimes there will be a musical progression that can hit me in that spot just as almost a lyrical concept and when they both work together is where you can find magic. It’s not always the case but definitely a goal. I believe both will speak and impact significantly to me.

Q: ‘Buried Me Alive’ is one song from that older EP that stood out for me. The vocals immediately stuck with me. Can you describe how the vocal diversity came to be on that track?

A: ‘Buried’ is a very special track for me. It’s about the love for music and how I consider her to be “the girlfriend that never loved me back”. She will always be there, but you are forever constantly having to work for the relationship to progress.

Q: Out of everything you could do in the world what made you want to become a musician/artist?

A: I picked up music at the age of 11 when a friend introduced me to it and its been love since then.

Q: How do you view the state of Rock N Roll and if you could change anything what would you change?

A: I believe Rock is on the rise and will compete at the level Pop and Rap are at. I look forward to more rock artists beating mainstream Pop and Rap artists out of the charts.

Q: Other than music what are your other biggest passions?

A: I’m a hairstylist and own a remodelling business, constantly enjoy creating. I do enjoy going to the gym as often as possible as well as hiking.

Q: If you could describe the support you have gotten from music fans in one sentence what would you say?

A: Nothing is more self-rewarding than someone who loves and supports what you love.

Q: Empower another artist and tell us who your biggest inspiration is and why?

A: I love any and all artists that go against the grain and are not afraid to be themselves.

The End

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘Who We Are’ (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.

Interview with Chris Kenny and David Jordan (Deej) of Incinery

Interview with Chris Kenny and David Jordan (Deej) of Incinery
By Sheri Bicheno

Hi Everyone, Sheri Here!

Born from the Midlands Thrash and Metal scene in 2009, Incinery have ploughed festival stages such as Bloodstock, Download, MetalDays to name a few! They brought out their first album “Dead, Bound and Buried” in 2014 and released their second album “Hollow Earth Theory” on 30th October 2020! I recently got a chance to have a sneaky listen to the album (many thanks to Dan at FatAngel Management) and have a chat with Chris Kenny (guitars) and Deej (David Jordan – Bass) about the new album, sci fi, alien abduction and working through lockdown…

Sheri: You formed back in 2009 and since have done some – pretty spectacular stuff! Bloodstock, MetalDays, Download…Damnation! Going back for a moment, take us through the roots of Incinery and what gave you the push to get into music?

Chris: So…it really started as a covers band for our old guitarists’ 21st birthday! So, me and him played in some bands beforehand and he had the idea of “I wanna do something for my 21st, let’s do a little band thing and play some music”. So, we did that and started out doing covers and then we sorta carried on doing covers…and then after a while we were like “Let’s not do covers anymore” haha. At that point we had a different line up and then once we started going into our own stuff and that, we then switched and that’s when we got David on board and everyone else so…

Sheri: Were you doing Thrash covers before or a bit of everything?

Chris: It was mainly thrash that we were doing – Metallica covers, Megadeth, that sort of thing.

Sheri: And you mentioned that there was a different line up, so since forming the foundation of Incinery have you been the same line up?

David: It’s been pretty stable since the first EP has been out. To be honest, where we are now, we’ve been the same line up we started with, we’ve just had a few comings and goings since we’ve gone along and those have been sort of dictated by external pressures and the financial stuff around balancing being in a band against everything else you’ve got to do. I had to leave after the EP’s were released, a bit under a year I think, it was a while back, about 2011 or something and then our other guitarist had to leave the band after the first album was released, for similar reasons. Other things just sort of getting in the way, but it was sort of why the gap is so big between the first album and this one, we’ve gone through trying to sort that out and getting it back to how it can work better. It sort of clicks better with all the original guys in so…

Sheri: Your first release was E.P “Dawn Of War”, which for our readers, was released in 2011 and then that was followed by your 2013 E.P “Nothing Left”. For me, these early releases sound like you had elements of Death Metal and even a bit of Black Metal in places, under your signature Thrash sound. I can detect this in songs like ‘Rise’, ‘Nihilum’ and ‘Behind The Lies’. What are your thoughts on that perception?

Chris: Hahaha I think that as we’ve gone on, we’ve put more of it in to be honest… hahaha. So that’s a great perception!

David: Yeah it’s like obviously Incinery is a Thrash band but we all listen to quite a lot of Death Metal and some of us, Black Metal so I think it’s sort of natural that it bleeds in a little bit even though it’s not what we’re aiming to do specifically but it’s hard not to play what you like isn’t it?

Chris: I think, as well, it helps us sort of stand out from being a regular Thrash band because it gives us a bit of uniqueness, I think.

Sheri: Absolutely, so you have some diversity in there as well.

David: Yeah, I think that some of the stuff that people like about us is that it’s not just – cuz you can go to a Thrash all-dayer festival and there’ll be some really good bands but it can be a bit samey I guess so I think the thing that has helped us get on is probably that there’s a little bit of variety in it and we try a few different things out and you’ll probably hear a little bit of that coming out on this album as well.

Sheri: Your 2014 debut album “Dead, Bound And Buried” saw some slight changes from your earlier works in terms of guitaring style and rhythm. I would say, a bit more sticking to your brutal Thrash sound than anything else…vocals, strings and drums are really tight! I can definitely note some subtle nods of Exodus from this album. Particularly in ‘Death May Die’ and ‘Destroy The Gods’. I absolutely love that track! From building Incinery from scratch and getting to that quality in not a long time at all, what works for you in order to produce that strong energy of Incinery?

Chris: I think the first thing is that it sounds really simple really, but we all get on with it & each other haha – that’s a big thing haha. But you know, especially where there are some bands that don’t, some bigger bands and that but… it’s something that definitely helps you start out building stuff.

David: I think that as (Chris) Kenny says, it sounds sort of funny in a way but it does really help if you can get on in that way because when you’re writing songs, sometimes you need to be critical in a constructive way of stuff that you hear and if there’s animosity or people don’t get on, I mean I know other bands where they just have ended up not playing anymore because they just can’t be in a room, or if you’re too protective over what you come to the table with and you’re not willing to hear what everyone else has to say then you might end up getting your own way musically like in the creative process, but you’re not gonna – what you come out with is crap or not as good as it could have been because you didn’t take other stuff on board… so that is worth it, if you’re in a band, make sure you get on haha.

Sheri: It definitely has to be a group effort. In terms of your songwriting, how is it put together? What works for you? Does someone come up with lyrics and another person come up with riff…

Chris: What tends to happen is that one of us will come up with two or three riffs and maybe stick them together to start putting a structure together. What could be say, an intro verse chorus as we’re in a modern age where we can sort of quickly record things down, ideas…do that and send them to each other to say “Here, have a listen to this, what do you think? Do you like it?” Then we then take that structure and take it to band practise and start to develop it from there. Sometimes, someone maybe comes in with a complete song because we’re sometimes just happy to write the whole song or maybe half a song and then from that point we get things structured down and then everyone starts thinking about what they want to do with it. So, I would never dictate Deej’s bass lines or anything like that, he’ll come and go “Ok, this makes me want to play this particular motif here.” Or do a bass solo type thing here and he will go away and start adding that. From that foundation, we start building it up and that’s where you start getting those other styles coming in. I think with the lyrics, it’s mainly James and Deej also chips in with a lot of ideas for that as well.

David: Yeah, the lyrics always end up being the last thing that happen because a lot of James’ lyrics are quite rhythmic or the rhythm is what he ties what he’s doing to and in the past James has been known to start writing out the lyrics to the song and we’ll show up to the next band practise and we’ve totally changed the structure of the song just because that’s what’s happened whilst we’re writing it. James then has to throw everything out and start again so he tends to wait until we’ve got what we think is gonna be the final structure down and then he can get on with that, so like on this album there are some songs we didn’t really know the lyrics for until we were listening to them being recorded haha.

Sheri: That’s an interesting way to do that! Totally cool. Let’s talk about the message in “Dead, Bound And Buried” – I’m picking up that there is a pretty dark story but without being so much as a concept album?

David: Yeah, it’s hard to speak on James’ behalf I guess but we don’t really do a concept album in terms of it being a narrative but I know that he likes to read a lot and there’s a lot of horror and science fiction that he reads and he likes to get that into the lyrics.

Chris: There’s a lot of Lovecraft type things in there…

David: There’s a lot of Lovecraft in “Dead, Bound And Buried” hahaha.

Sheri: You have a new album due to release! For our readers, “Hollow Earth Theory” is due out on 30th October and I had Dan (FatAngel) send me a sneaky peek. It is BRUTAL. There are some absolutely killer solos and riffs tearing through this album. The on-point drumming provides the backbone and I think that James’ vocals are cleaner and rawer. How do you think you have evolved leading up to “Hollow Earth Theory”?

Chris: I think…there’s been a long gap between the last one and this one so…a lot of it has just been experience and growth through…just getting old haha! A lot of it is experience and we’ve written stuff before. Even though “Dead, Bound And Buried” was released in 2014, a lot of it was written a couple of years prior to that so there is actually a more extended gap for us. To bring in some of that knowledge and the things we’ve done before and try to do better with it and gain – make everything a little deeper and a bit bigger and add more to what we can do. I think from a writing point, it’s a big aim.

David: I think one of the differences for me is that on the first three releases, there’s a lot of really good riffs and a lot of really good moments and what I think we’ve gotten better at is looking at songs as a total package and one thing that made a difference was that with “Dead, Bound And Buried”, we recorded that in the studio in about two weeks. So, we went down to the studio and we all lived in each other’s pockets for 14 days and just had to get it down. But what that also meant was that we were writing to a deadline so we were trying to get to that date when we knew we were gonna have to go in and so there are songs that turned out fine but they probably didn’t turn out how they could. This time Kenny recorded for the most part…we did it in Kenny’s back bedroom, In some ways that’s given us a lot more time because we had most of the album drafted, with probably 6 months to go from the music side of things and it just meant we could sit down with it and refine it and actually play through the songs and not have to settle for the first draft and go “Ok let’s change that.” The songs are more cohesive.

Chris: It’s a different perspective when you’re writing a song, you’re writing the bits and then you play the song and then when you are actually able to sit down and listen to the song that you’ve just made, it’s a completely different perspective to how you hear it and I think because we’ve had the chance to do that as well that’s also enhanced it for us.

Sheri: So, you’ve actually had the opportunity to digest it as you?

Chris: Definitely.

Sheri: Understood. You’ve not long released “Hollow Earth Theory’s” first single, ‘Falling Into The Sky’ – can we explore the message of this? I feel this is a track that suggests a glimpse of foreign life…sci-fi based…

David: It’s about getting abducted by Aliens…hahaha

*all laugh*

David: When we were writing it, the riffs and stuff, it was one of the last songs that got written for the album. It was almost a bit of an accidental single really because we didn’t think that far ahead and then sort of went “What are we gonna put out? What do we think would be a good track?” It’s the shortest song on the album which means from a single point of view, that was a bit of a go-er and it’s quite bouncy and fun and I think when we wrote it before we knew the lyrics, we knew it was going to be a fun one to play live, which we haven’t done yet for obvious reasons but the lyrics sort of suit it. So, it’s turned out well, it’s good!

Sheri: It is a bloody good track, it is! How do you think it’s done? has it been well received?

David: Yeah there’s been a few people who have done the single reviews for it and it’s been quite positive from the guys that have commented and got back to us, it’s landed alright, I think!

Sheri: Fab! It’s essentially a look into the new album that’s coming out so that’s brilliant! You released the second single ‘Ellison’ on Friday 16th October. This track, I am presuming, refers to the works of the writer Harlan Ellison – what inspired this?

David: Yeah that’s right! Haha. I’m trying to remember how it came about…I know me and James both read the story, it’s based on a thing called I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream, which was one of the titles we were playing around with and we thought it was a bit wordy for the song which is why we ended up going with ‘Ellison’. But it’s a really amazing story, I’m not sure if it’s that widely read but it’s about a future where we’ve built Artificial Intelligence and then that has wiped out humanity basically and the song is about that, when you look on the face of it.

Sheri: Wow! I know some of Ellison’s work, one of the most popular is A Boy And His Dog. I wish I could go into more detail as the album isn’t released yet hahaha, but I feel you’ve got a theme going on in Hollow Earth Theory. What can you tell our readers to expect from this album?

Chris: I can’t speak lyrically because I don’t get involved in that but…I let the people who know words do that hahaha. I think they can expect something that is very much a core in its inner experience… but a new inner experience at the same time. I think it’s a good balance of that… I think it’s a good balance of the familiar and the new. I think they can expect 55 minutes of their ears being ripped off basically hahaha.

*all laugh*

Sheri: I agree, I think it’s brilliant… as you say, it’s about an hours’ worth of face melt haha. Your Album Cover Art is always really good as well. Do you use the same Artists?

David: There’s a few Artists we go back to for generally different projects we work on so it’s not always the Album Art, it’s a different Artist to the previous one because ‘Dead, Bound and Buried’ artwork is really like… I don’t know how to say it… it’s you know, a METAL album where on the cover it’s got you know, Demons and portal to Hell and a tomb and sarcophagus and zombies hahaha it’s just like everything crammed in there. Hollow Earth Theory has got a much more minimalist design, we went with a guy called Dan Leyton who I think does some Graphic Novel design – but because it’s sort of a science fiction theme thread that runs through the album, we kind of went with that and liked the way it looked and we’re really happy with the way it turned out.

Sheri: I’ll be sure to check out his other work, I feel this of all your album artwork, it is quite dark. Just to look at things from another point of view – What are your thoughts on the support for the music scene at the moment?

David: It’s quite a difficult time for everyone obviously at the moment. It’s difficult obviously for the venues primarily and we hope that as many of those as possible can come out of this intact. I know a grant has just gone out so some of the guys like Bloodstock have received a government grant to help them continue to function. As musicians, it’s really difficult and for fans as everyone wants to get out and go to gigs and no one can see when that is gonna be a reality at least for the short term. So, in a way for us, you see a lot of bigger Artists releasing E.P’s and stuff at the moment and I’m sure it’s because all they can do is get in the studio and write because it’s harder for them trying to make their living off this. For us, it’s an inconvenience but we all have day jobs that are paying the bills that aren’t this. So that for us is obviously good but if you’re in say Mastodon, I was reading the other day that they’re flippin’ picking up welfare cheques and you just think “Bloody Hell, if Mastodon can’t make a living at the moment, there’s not a lot of hope for anyone else.” If you’re a fan, it’s going to buy merch and support the Acts and try to sort of preserve the scene until we can come out the other end and start getting out. As long as the venues are there and the bands are there once we can get back out, you’ll hope it will pick back up.

Sheri: It will do, I think it will do, I just think it’s going to be a case of support as much as possible, as there are some bands that have been a casualty of what’s going on at the moment.

How have you found putting together a new album, working together and releasing the new album, during the madness we are going through? We need more of this haha!

Chris: A lot of it was done pre lockdown and stuff and then…some of it kinda got put on hold, we had some vocals that we still needed to do. We couldn’t meet up and that. In the interim, with being at home, there was still a lot I could do myself that I needed to do in that time so there wasn’t time wasted and then as soon as we got back out and got James round to finish off the vocals and finish off any extra little bits and then staying safe, staying at home I could just mix the whole album and get it done and keep firing it out to these guys til they gave it the OK and then send it off for master really.

David: We’ve often worked, as Kenny was saying earlier, with Demos and things, we’re used to working remotely as I live in Birmingham and the rest of the guys live in Nottingham so if we have ideas, we have to work in that way anyway and send things over so to some extent that’s not been a huge challenge and as it’s all done now and we’re getting it out, even halfway through the year, we’ve been able to work remotely on it. It’s been OK for us at this point, it’s a shame we can’t do a traditional album launch which we would have liked to have done and get out and play it… that will come in the New Year hopefully and also just finding new ways to work. I know a lot of bands are doing live studio type performances. For the new single ‘Ellison’ we’ve done a lockdown video which we’ve had to perform in our respective houses and then edit it after haha. That wouldn’t have been part of the game plan a year ago but it’s something we’ve done now and quite happy with the way it’s turned out. It’s just partly adapting isn’t it? And just hoping we’re back on stage soon.

Sheri: As soon as I hope! So, you’ve had to compromise quite a bit?

David: Yeah but it’s been in some ways a creative task set in there, and you look at someone like Devin Townsend for instance, some people seem like they’re thriving on it, just bashing out music and it’s great! Haha.

Sheri: It’s needed. What’s next for Incinery?

Chris: Think just for now we’re gonna try and push things in any way we can, just get some noise going about the releases and that and then next year, permitting everything opens up, with gigs, get out there and get it played to people properly, how it should be done live. I think that’s gonna be the next focus for a while, maybe look at writing something…

David: We’re booked onto Hammerfest for the New Year and that was again one of these gigs that was originally gonna be this year and they’ve pushed it all back but we’re hoping, touch wood, that all goes ahead and we’ll be playing that in Birmingham in February and like Kenny says, a few ideas kicking around for album number 3 and hopefully it won’t be another however long it’s been, like 6 years before it comes out haha.

Sheri: I’m sure it won’t! I hope it will be better next year where you can get out and do what you can normally do. Finally, have you got any advice for other Artists at the moment?

David: I think we need some advice haha. I guess just use the time that you’ve got, it depends where you’re at in your career. If it’s bands that are starting out, use the time that you’ve got now where you’re not gigging to work on your songs and try and get material written and put stuff together and then get ready to go back out again.

Chris: I’d say use this time as well to start getting used to building yourself up on things like social media when you’ve got the time to do it, you know, it’s a powerful tool. You can learn earlier on and get good at it; I think that helps a lot.

Sheri: So, time for self-promotion.

Chris: Yeah, it’s not always something you can just do, you have to build up, especially when you’re doing a lot of it yourself which a lot of bands are. You have to build up how you do it, ideas, marketing plans and things like that. It all comes with practise and experience so if you can get that in whilst you’ve got a chance to, use the technology that you can use to get out there while you can.

Sheri: Thank you guys! I appreciate your time!

Incinery: Cheers! Bye!

Incinery’s new album “Hollow Earth Theory” was released on October 30th and is already receiving great reviews! You can purchase it, all other Incinery releases and merch at the following link:

https://incinery.bandcamp.com/merch

More information on Incinery can be found at the following links:

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

INTERVIEW WITH DISCIPLES OF BABYLON

INTERVIEW WITH DISCIPLES OF BABYLON
‘Fighting for LIBERTY!!’
By Stephanie Stevens

DISCIPLES OF BABYLON came together in Los Angeles, CA back in 2012 with their hard rock/alternative sound. The guys, Eric Knight-vocals/guitar, Ramon Blanco-guitar, Gui Bodi-bass and Chris Toeller-drums went to work on making music with urgent storylines and prominent and moving musicscapes that made music fans and critics connect and take a serious interest in the band. Through the years they released the bands introduction EP “Welcome To Babylon” which showcased elegance in vocal ability with the song ‘Arrived’, the guitar rock presence of the hard n melody driven salute of ‘Karma’ and the soaring and emotionally high energy vibe of ‘The Great Pretend.

In 2017 the guys released a full-length disc “The Rise And Fall Of Babylon”, an album that was filled with lyrical content to try to make America aware that our country was in trouble. The album was driving with hard rock elements, bolstering with huge sound, flawless vocal integrity and just a really impressive creation of songs with a powerful meaning to them all.

It has been three years and the band has finally stepped back into the rock scene with a song that is a direct reflection of what is happening in our country today! ‘Liberty. The emotional deliverance is profound especially in the essence of the vocal passages. The band hasn’t detoured from delivering that hard rock sensibility with melodic tones. Disciples Of Babylon is one band with the courage and fight in them to help spread awareness and positivity in the most chaotic world most of us have ever lived in.

I was honoured to speak with the band about current issues, the new single, future music and having one of the members taking the producer hat for the song ‘Liberty’.

Q: First off are you all still living in Los Angeles, California and for you guys how is the atmosphere and vibe as you see it since the start of 2020?

Chris Toeller: Yes, we are all still in Los Angeles. It’s been a pretty crazy year for everyone, to say the least. The fires in Southern California certainly made it even weirder. All of the craziness can be very distracting, and it affected all of us, individually, in different ways. As a collective, however, I think it has been great to continue working on new music because it distracts us from the distractions (momentarily) but also because the intentions behind our music are even more relevant to the things that are happening in our world around us.

Eric Knight: Well, 2020 started off on the right track, new decade, new outlook, but then we floored it straight to a red light. But as everyone else has been doing, we’ve been trying to navigate around it. It’s going to be an interesting few months into 2021. It’s definitely been a challenge, but I feel now more than ever, we’ve been working as a team to keep moving forward and that has been the most exciting part for me.

Q: A few years back you guys wrote an epic album entitled “Rise And Fall Of Babylon”. 7 songs back then speaking of issues about how America is spinning out of control. How does it feel knowing you pretty much wrote a prequel to the year 2020?

Chris Toeller: To be honest, it’s saddening in some ways. The fact that it has been apparent for such a while now that our world is “spinning out of control,” but as a society, we have just continued to let it happen right before our eyes says a lot about just how much we really care. While we are not fully in control of what happens in our own countries or around our world, together still we have the power and responsibility to produce the change we want to see. TRAFOB was a call to action to everyone around the world to own that power.

Gui Bodi: I’m not particularly a political guy, I find it really hard to keep up with everything politics, it’s a different type of scandal every day, plus finding a good and trustworthy source of journalism is nearly impossible nowadays, but it wasn’t that hard to see where world politics and their economic roots were taking us back then.

In my opinion, impunity and lack of accountability are what brought us to this point in human history, because even when we expose corruption we can’t manage to dismantle the system which allowed it in the first place, nor persecute those involved in it. I feel only small fish get accounted for, never the big ones. It would be naive of us to think there’s one simple solution to all this mess, but definitely more meaningful changes to the core of our political and economic systems are needed.

Eric Knight: The signs were there for a long time coming, only it had been accelerated by the pandemic and the current administration or lack thereof. Our music and songs have always tried to be a mirror and reflect on what is happening in the world around us. We try and have a positive outlook within the framework of our music. Unity over division is our goal.

Q: Your newest single is called ‘Liberty’, when you sat down to write this song what was the number one thing concerning you at the time and what do you hope people will get and understand from this song?

Eric Knight: Well the concerning thing was where the country was and is currently heading. We are dangerously close into entering a potential civil war. It’s almost as if the planets have aligned themselves for it. I was inspired by the famous speech from Patrick Henry that he gave from Virginia in 1775, in which he declared, “give me liberty, or give me death”. When I had the original melody for this song in my head, that phrase just came into my head and stuck. Once something like that happens for me, and I can’t get it out of my head, is when I know I have something solid to present to the guys, and it just evolved from there. Ultimately, ‘Liberty’ is something that we’re all after, no matter what side of the political spectrum you fall into. The trick is trying to unite people as opposed to dividing them, which unfortunately is what is currently happening now.

Q: Having a platform where you can talk about the issues of the world, how hard is it for you to put a spin of hope and unity into the world when the world is so divided and chaotic?

Chris Toeller: The reality is that there will be a day when most of the issues we’re facing today will no longer exist. Who knows how long it might be until then, but the day will come. As the most powerful species on this planet, it is our responsibility to empathize with and love all so that it becomes our norm to respect ourselves, our planet, and all those who inhabit it. So, while it can be very difficult to have hope in these times, hope and unity are inevitable. We may not be around to enjoy it when it happens, but that should not minimize our responsibility to continue to make progress towards these goals.

Gui Bodi: I believe mentally balanced and healthy people are inherently good, we lose that aspect of our humanity when we are mentally sick or as a response mechanism to an abusive environment. I’m very privileged to have had a good education and a carrying family, so I understand the transformational power education and love put together. That’s our main mission as a band and as people with a platform, to make people realize those things and fight for their rights to have access to both of them.

Eric Knight: It’s a challenge especially when everything looks so bleak, but we always are trying to find that silver lining within our music. There has got to be hope! One of the reasons why I got into this business was because music is the only medium that I am aware of in which you have people that are from every race and religious as well as political background. I find it interesting and ironic that politics and religion divides people, music unites them. That’s why I’m doing this, that is why we’re doing this. We want to try and make that small contribution with our music to help accomplish just that.

Q: If you could fix one injustice in the world what would it be and why?

Gui Bodi: Like I mentioned above, I’d start with education. I mean all levels of education and knowledge, like academic, emotional, spiritual etc. I believe that’s where we should start to have a fighting chance at all other aspects of life in our modern society.

Eric Knight: Poverty and hunger. I know that’s two but there are two that I feel strongly about. There should be no reason in this day and age for anyone to go without food and shelter, not in this interconnected world that we are living in today. This needs to be eradicated.

Q: This is the first time that your drummer Chris Toeller took the producer hat and went with it. How was it working with someone that was also so close to the writing of the song?

Chris Toeller: It was tough to be in the role…I had to take frequent breaks from it to come back with fresh ears. A lot of bias gets introduced when one person is so heavily involved in nearly every step of the process. I needed to frequently ask for feedback from the other band members and close friends.

Gui Bodi: It was great! Chris knows our sound and knows where we want to take it next, so we had an incredible experience with a more modern sound from the get-go. Plus, he’s a great friend of ours and was very accessible and accommodating during the process, it was a great experience for me. I’m not sure he had that great of a time with all the work we gave him though! LOL.

Eric Knight: I am so proud of Chris. He did a phenomenal job on this song. Early on when Chris offered to do this track, I knew in my heart that it would turn out amazing. I had total faith in him to deliver and he did beyond our wildest dreams. We definitely knew that with ‘Liberty’ we wanted the sound of the band to start going into a different direction. There is different instrumentation and elements that we hadn’t used in our music before and that was exciting for us. We didn’t have any kind of constraints, we tried different ideas and different approaches but ultimately with the goal of making the song great. What I am most proud of was that this was truly a team effort from not only each one of us in the band but everyone else that was involved in the project. Alan Sosa, Rup Chattopadhyay and even our bassist Gui Bodi help to engineer these sessions. Joe Bozzi (U2, Van Halen, Imagine Dragons) who is one of the best mastering engineers in the business did an amazing job on this as well too, making this an amazing experience all the way around.

Q: Is LIBERTY leading us to another full-length or EP for the band and if you have written more how does it blend with the music of this first single?

Gui Bodi: We’ve adopted a “singles” approach for the time being, so for now we’ll keep writing “together from afar”, a song at a time. The idea is to write enough material to release a new album later on.

Eric Knight: There is definitely a new release coming, we’re just not sure as to the timing of when that release will happen. With Covid-19 still wreaking havoc around the world we are playing a wait and see kind of game right now. In the meantime, there will be more singles coming. In fact, we are working on completing the next new track as we speak. So, I would expect singles coming out every few months from us into 2021, and it leading us into the next release. We just want to make sure that when it comes out that we will be able to go out and support it.

Q: You guys as band members and musicians are not new to the music industry, going through 2020 and seeing the changes we all had to adapt to, what is your opinion and vision for the future of music and live shows?

Chris Toeller: I don’t think it will ever be QUITE the same. At least for a while. I think we will continue having mandates about audience sizes. I also think it will be a while until more people feel comfortable packing into a room with other people they don’t know. But as we’ve seen, artists and venues will persist and find new, creative ways to perform live and share their music with others. Virtual Reality shows could become a thing. Or more of a thing? Who knows?

Gui Bodi: I see a light at the end of the tunnel. Because of the pandemic things won’t go back to normality so soon, but I’ve been seeing a lot of alternatives popping up around town, like drive-in concerts and bands inside/crowd outside of the venue types of concerts. We will always find a way to adapt and keep music alive until we can enjoy real live music once again.

Eric Knight: Well, I hope that I am completely wrong with what I am about to say, but I don’t think live shows will be coming back in 2021. Yes, you’re seeing drive in shows and “socially-distanced” shows and of course you’re just seeing complete disregard for the virus and people are holding shows that aren’t socially distanced, which is just outrageously misguided. But when it comes to music festivals and concerts in arenas etc. I just don’t see it happening until a safe and reliable vaccine comes into play. We are in the middle of this “second wave” happening and you’re seeing countries that had opened back up in Europe earlier this year going back into a lockdown situation. It’s devastating for our industry. We had a tour that was being planned and booked for Europe and that went straight out the window once the pandemic hit.

Q: For readers just getting informed about the band, can you give us a quick briefing on how the band got together and one highlight of each band member’s past accomplishments?

Gui Bodi: Eric met Ramon while attending an alumni event at the Musician’s Institute College of Contemporary Music in Hollywood (where me, Ramon and Eric all graduated from). They started writing together and ended up writing our first song ever, ‘Arrived’, during their first writing session together. Next Ramon recruited me to play bass and help them with the writing process. The Disciples of Babylon was now officially a band.

We ended up releasing our first EP ‘Welcome to Babylon’, which was produced by GRAMMY Award winning producer Andres Torres (La Santa Cecilia, Alejandro Sanz, and co-producing the Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee smash hit ‘Despacito’), who also lent a hand playing drums on the EP. Soon after the recording was finished, we agreed that the time had come to add an official drummer to the mix. After working with several drummers and holding numerous auditions, Chris joined the band, and the line-up was now officially complete.

Gui past accomplishment: Played the Warped Tour in 2011, that was a pretty cool experience!

Chris past accomplishment: Producing ‘Liberty’.

Eric past accomplishment: Opening for KISS & Aerosmith.

Ramon past accomplishment: Playing the Aftershock Music Festival

Q: How has music changed your life and have you thought about doing anything different with your life?

Chris Toeller: Music has always allowed me to see well past many complications in life. A lot of the problems we face can seem so big and scary at times. But once you put on a great song, your perspective changes and their significance shrinks because, in the grand scheme of things, a lot of things really don’t matter. In summary, I believe that music can give us the ability to transcend a lot of our own mental limitations.

Gui Bodi: Actually yes, but in my case, it all happened backwards! I have a background in medicine, having graduated from Dentistry school back in my hometown São Paulo – Brazil, and I’ve worked for 1 year as a dentist, then I decided to give music a chance in 2010, attending the Musicians Institute (MI) in Hollywood, and I never went back to Dentistry ever since. I love music and don’t regret my choice (so far! LOL).

Eric Knight: Music is my religion. Music has helped shape the soundtrack of my life and has gotten me passed some incredibly hard times. I don’t know what else to do but music, it’s in my soul and being.

Q: If you could either speak every language in the world or know how to play every instrument made in the world, what would you choose and why would you choose that?

Gui Bodi: I’d love to learn every language, because playing only 1 instrument is already so time consuming, I can’t imagine how my life would be if I could play all other instruments!

Eric Knight: Again, I’m going to cheat here and say I’d do both! Ironically, we are a multilingual band. We speak English, Spanish, Portuguese and the language of music. So, we are already a part of the way there, LOL! I am actually fascinated by language.

Q: As a musician what do you feel has been your biggest growth from the start of your career to this current day?

Chris Toeller: Moving to Los Angeles when I was 18 was the best decision I ever made in my life. I’ve grown so much as a musician and as an individual. I met a lot of amazing people and had amazing experiences. And while you can do these things anywhere, it would have taken me a lot longer to become the person I am today had I not exposed myself to the diversity and energy that you experience while living in Los Angeles. Not to mention, it’s THE place to be if you want to play music or work in the entertainment industry.

Gui Bodi: I learned to prioritize and focus on my role in an ensemble: groove, feel and tone over everything else! Also, I can sing harmonies better now, but I’m still growing as a musician overall, so there’s still a lot to be learned.

Eric Knight: Connecting here with my brothers, Ramon, Gui & Chris on this project. It’s truly been a dream to work with these guys and level up my game. I am truly blessed and honoured to call them my friends and family.

Q: If Disciples Of Babylon ended today would you be proud of the last song you wrote and why?

Gui Bodi: Totally, ‘Liberty’ showcases our growth as musicians, songwriters and as a band in general, overcoming every obstacle in our way, no matter how big and complicated it seemed at first. I’m really proud of how it turned out.

Q: How can fans support you guys and do you have any last comments to the fans who have supported you from the beginning?

Chris Toeller: Please, continue following what we’re doing and interacting with us! We’re still doing this, Covid or not! We love seeing your faces on social media. Someday soon we’ll be able to see them in person again.

Eric Knight: They can follow us pretty much everywhere on all the usual socials. Our music is streaming everywhere as well too. And to our amazing ‘Disciples’ what can we say, this is the reason why we do this. Their support and amazing passion for us and our music is what keeps us going. We love each and every one of you! #BabylonArmy

The End

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘Liberty’ (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 Psychoberrie and Dr Von Stottenstein of WARD XVI

Interview with Psychoberrie and Dr Von Stottenstein of WARD XVI
By Sheri Bicheno

Sheri Here,

I was so happy to be able to sit down recently and talk to UK based Avent-Garde, Theatrical/Horror Rock/Metal band WARD XVI to get an insight into their music and concept behind their art. Ginger and lemon tea at the ready, I pressed the Skype button and was greeted by two familiar painted faces, Psychoberrie (Kerrie – Vocals) and Dr Von Stottenstein (David – Guitars)! WARD XVI, based in Lancashire, tell us all about their fabulous new album “Metamorphosis”, the concept of the band, the Whittingham Asylum and how the music has unexpected twists. They also go back to their roots and explain the meanings of their music below the surface.

Sheri: We know that the name WARD XVI was inspired by Whittingham Hospital and the disturbing reports surrounding the Asylum. For our readers, let’s explore a bit on what drew you to this and how it represents you as Artists?

Psychoberrie: We spent quite a long time finding a name for the band at first, because the story element was in place but then we couldn’t agree what to call it and one day I was reading on the internet and I found the Asylum which is based near us – Whittingham Asylum – where there was some horrific abuse that took place there and the worst of which was on Ward 16.

Sheri: So that’s how it came to light?

Dr Von Stottenstein: And you thought you’d have it with Roman Numerals so that forever and ever we would have our name said in different ways, mispronounced haha.

Psychoberrie: Hahaha just to make it hard for people to find us on social media…

Dr Von Stottenstein: Bring the Roman Numerals back! Haha

Sheri: I was gonna say the Roman Numerals are a good input because it confuses people but in a good way…education! Hahaha.

Psychoberrie: Hahaha yeah!

Sheri: As theatrical artists, you have a concept to the band and your brilliant live performances. Tell our readers about what expression on stage means to you and how you put your message across?

Dr Von Stottenstein: It means quite a lot to be honest. I think, myself and some of the other members of the band, they’ve been influenced in the past by bands that dress up like idiots haha. Or like Iron Maiden or Alice Cooper – Artists that aren’t just turning up in jeans, there’s a concept to it. It’s almost like it’s 3D – I know music shows are 3D anyway but it feels like there’s more of a bridge between ourselves and whoever’s in the crowd and it’s easier to bring the crowd into the stage show. For me personally, I’m quite boring in real life…

Sheri: Surely not!!

Dr Von Stottenstein: At first I was quite worried about putting face paint on and things like that and then it actually…well, when you get to the gig, to be able to become somebody else and disassociate yourself! When I’ve been in bands in the past where you just wear T-shirt and jeans and whatever, it’s hard to become who you are on stage and then come back off stage to the same person. So, at first, I was hiding behind the mask and I became more liberated on stage to become someone a bit freer, to express how I felt. In the 7-8 years I’ve been in the band, I actually almost feel like this is me now and when I go to work in the suit and whatever, that’s the alter ego. When I feel stressed the first thing I wish is that I had my face paint on. So, it’s like a front in terms of who I really am.

Sheri: So everyday life sort of thing…

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah.

Sheri: Understood. What about you, Kerrie?

Psychoberrie: I think I’ve just always wanted to be in the ultimate form of entertainment sort of thing. Because I think it’s best to appeal to as many senses as you can. The whole point of doing it is to entertain all the people that listen to it and all the people that watch it so rather than just being auditory, you’ve got something to watch as well, it’s entertaining.

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, It has evolved in the last 5 or 6 years because at the beginning we were all just dressed up in random masks and face paint and it really didn’t mean anything, it was just like a gimmick really although the seeds of the concept was there, there was no uniformity to it, it was everybody just dressing up and it was hard to get engagement either from the band members or the people that would come into see us and then go away because we wouldn’t be able to associate it with anything. So we slowly started to build a story as we got along towards the first album  and it’s got to a point when we started to record the second album that it was like an identity and there was a storyline that was then ready to be created and developed even more.

Sheri: So, there’s an ongoing concept to you guys. When I think of WARD XVI, I don’t put your sound into a label or box, you cover a lot of genres and don’t conform to just one… you’ve got different elements to your style – how would you describe your sound to those that are starting their own journey with you?

Psychoberrie: That’s one of the questions we’ve always struggled to answer which is why we came up with Avent-Garde Theatrical Rock, we didn’t actually want to put ourselves in a box cuz we’re trying to represent what that story is about in that particular song so…

Dr Von Stottenstein: Well it’s funny isn’t it because going back to being liberated by the face paints and all that – we don’t actually force ourselves into writing in a different way, we don’t go “We’re gonna write this bit dark and we’re not gonna write this bit like Eastern European or whatever – we’re not good enough musicians to do that…”

*I pull a frowny face*

Dr Von Stottenstein: No, no, but we’re not technically and theoretically good enough, we blag it haha! So, we kinda jam stuff and then because we like so many different types of music, it just falls into place. So it means that we cannot be tied to quite a narrow tool when we’re writing music…and to be fair, when we wrote this album, because there’s a few more of us writing this album than there were writing the first one, I thought it was very much more focused and the range of music was a lot narrower…but we’ve been told that it’s actually even broader than it was in the first one which surprised me and made me happy.

Sheri: I felt that too! Let’s briefly talk about your first album “The Art of Manipulation”, which was released in 2017 – the concept to this was of a psychopathic woman manipulating a man into killing her for her own pleasure. In the album, it speaks as if it’s in the first person, we can see this in tracks such as ‘Take My Hand’, ‘Blackened Heart’ and the title track – however ‘Crystal Ball’ is different to the others, which indicates another side to the story telling. Can you broaden on that at all?

Dr Von Stottenstein: We’ve never been asked that question before! Haha.

Psychoberrie: Haha! That one’s about him – he’s going to see a fortune teller and he is warned against her so I think that’s a part of the story that just was needed for someone to tell him “This person is really bad.” But not for him to completely ignore them because he’s got his rose-tinted glasses on.

Sheri: I love that track, it’s one of my favourites actually because it comes from another person’s perspective. There are a lot of different emotions in “The Art of Manipulation”. The one that stands out to me is ‘Hold Me’ which shows a glimpse of inner recognition and clarity in a warped kind of way, like an ocean of sadness – it makes the listener sympathise with her which ultimately, could be the most dangerous track on this album, so to speak. What are your thoughts?

Psychoberrie: I think that’s bang on to be honest because that would be the intention really, would be to get everyone to feel sorry for her and for her to use it as a form of manipulation.

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, it’s almost like Stockholm Syndrome – but it’s funny because we get that almost like the ‘Every Breath You Take’ similarities. People have told us that they love the song and we’ve had it at weddings and like really romantic parties and it’s actually quite a sinister song haha. People think it’s actually something that’s a just position to what the actual music’s about.

Sheri: You brought out a new album on 25th September! “Metamorphosis” and I have to say, from my perspective, this album is much darker in some ways! You’re still true to your touch on theatrics and exploring the deep corners of the mind. I feel this is a follow up to Psychoberrie’s story in “The Art of Manipulation”?

Both: Yes, it’s a sequel-prequel haha.

Psychoberrie: If we follow the timeline of the interviewer, it’s all about what order of the questions he’s gonna ask and the first album is asking about some events that have taken place before she’s locked up and talking to him. But in this one, he wants to find out why she is the way she is. The only place you can go is right back to the beginning.

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, so it’s a flashback So the first story is the prequel, and the second story is the sequel haha.

Sheri: So, we’re taken back essentially to find out why she is the way she is. That’s brilliant.

Dr Von Stottenstein: We’re twisting it to the point where in the first one she’s just a random nutter haha

Psychoberrie: Haha. Yeah, we’ve had to kind of flip and turn it on its head.

Dr Von Stottenstein: But yeah, at the end of this, what the hope, is that you go “Well if it was me, would I have done the same kind of thing?” and really empathise!

Sheri: Yeah, it makes you think.

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, she’s ruined. (To Kerrie) You’ve ruined Psychoberrie for me haha.

Psychoberrie: Hahaha!

Sheri: I’m looking forward to what else you’ve got in store for her because I feel like this is not the end…

Dr Von Stottenstein: Nope! Once the nervous breakdown has finished from writing this one, we’ll start writing the next one.

*all laugh*

Sheri: When we enter into this album, one of the first tracks, ‘The Cradle Song’, which is another of my favourites on the new album, shows a depth of songwriting that is displayed through this album that touches on the emotional and I want to say – a somewhat mysterious connection to mentality – in both lyrics and composition. How do you decide on your songwriting and what makes it all come together?

Psychoberrie: With that particular song, it started with the music box at the beginning because I’ve always been obsessed with the idea that the first song on the album would take you back to childhood with the music that you hear, so I wanted to kind of mimic maybe a children’s mobile or the kind of sounds that you would hear as a child – even if you took the introduction away that’s at the beginning, you would know that that’s what happened. So, with that particular song, that’s where we started it and we built the rest of the song from that introduction.

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, it was quite easy after that. I know we had this idea in mind of having almost like an idea of waltzing around the baby, so that could be quite easy to come up with that polka type of feel. But I thought it would end up quite a bit heavier, but it ended up being quite power ballad like.

Sheri: Yes, it is powerful!

Dr Von Stottenstein: Which surprised me because we didn’t expect it to go that direction, it just did.

Sheri: But you’re happy with it?

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah… the baby is on it as well!

Sheri: That’s brilliant! In terms of your songwriting how do you piece it together? Kerrie, do you write the lyrics and does someone come up with another part or is it something you all piece together?

Psychoberrie: A mixture of different things. On the last album it was very much the band was jamming and I was having to cram in lyrics to whatever they had done, but with this album a lot of the songs came as the lyrics were first so it was mainly me and David working on it…

Dr Von Stottenstein: Who’s David? Hahaha.

*all laugh*

Psychoberrie: Martin was doing the keys so we were demoing at home and jamming at the Room so we really structured it around the story, and it really enabled us to put a lot more thought into the direction of the song. So, Dr Von Stottenstein had come up with an intro or something like that and it would lead into how it goes…

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, we discovered home computers and home studio and we didn’t do it with the first one, the first one was bodged, really, all put together jamming. But this one we could just be really pre-meditated and record a demo all the way through and see if it worked and if the sound was good – you could just listen to it just like an normal album, you can pick out flaws then quite well.

Psychoberrie: I think last time I would come up with vocal ideas but then I would be going to a room and expecting people to just be able to jam. I think putting music underneath vocals is something that a lot of people find quite hard to do.

Dr Von Stottenstein: But I like to have an idea of what the mood is so that I can then write it in that mentality, where Psychoberrie likes to have the guitars first sometimes and it’s kinda finding a happy medium to it.

Psychoberrie: I don’t like to have a whole song in place, sometimes maybe just an intro because that would then set the mood and inspire some of the lyrics. Because what I don’t want to do is get caught in the trap of singing in the same key and then the same chord progression, where I can hear a different chord progression, I can think of something a bit different.

Dr Von Stottenstein: It’s also luck, loads of luck really. You never think of what it’s going to be like…

Psychoberrie: It’s just natural.

Dr Von Stottenstein: A lot of it, we didn’t put a lot of effort into writing some of the music. We practised a lot and we worked hard on it, but we didn’t really strain ourselves, we didn’t get writers block or anything like that, it just flowed out…

Sheri: It went pretty smooth?

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, it felt a lot more natural than it did last time.

Psychoberrie: It went a lot easier working with less people and I always thought that would make the music less eclectic. What we didn’t want was to lose how random our music is, it incorporates a lot of different genres so I just thought with less minds working on it, it would end up becoming too narrow.

Dr Von Stottenstein: But because we got two minds on it, we’ve got the double psychotic similarities haha.

Sheri: Partner’s in crime! Hahaha. You have a different ambience on this album, you have some melodies that really take you through to a realm of longing and sadness, like ‘Shadows’ and then there are tracks such as ‘Mister Babadook’ that are heavier and more fast paced and alsoBroken Toys’ which is more fun, fast and upbeat. When you do come to song writing, how do you decipher which feeling fits with the way you are heading on a particular track?

Psychoberrie: I think it’s because we said that we needed this album to be the darkest album as the subject is dark, but it’s also got to be childlike, I think! With ‘Broken Toys’ I always wanted to do a prequel to the song ‘Toy Box’ which is on the first album so I wanted to tie into the Toy Box theme when she’s an adult and the reason why she goes to that when she’s grown up is because that was her safe place when she was a baby. We kind of tied it together in that way so there’s different thought’s behind every one of then I think.

Dr Von Stottenstein: You just added so much to it! When we wrote ‘Shadows’ I never expected it to be as powerful as it is. I knew it was meant to build up and build up to some kind of crescendo, but the lyrics are just phenomenal…

Psychoberrie: I think where ‘Shadows’came from is the idea that we wanted the last song on every album to have their own storyline so it’s always going to be about a time when she was in the Asylum so, it was always gonna be the last song wasn’t it?

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, but again, there was nothing pre-meditated about what made ‘Mister Babadook’ heavy, it was just you’d written it in B, and I thought “Oh! I need a new guitar, I’m gonna buy a seven string”!

Psychoberrie: Yeah because I learnt the piano piece with no understanding of the bearing on what that would have on him playing the guitar haha and he was playing along with it and because he had a six string, he was playing stuff that was really high and it just didn’t work – so he had to buy a new guitar hahaha.

Sheri: Hahaha. Perfect excuse for a new guitar!

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah! Haha!

Sheri: Your daughter is featured in the video for your single ‘Mister Babadook’! Did she enjoy being part of the visual side of WARD XVI?

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, she’s also the voice at the beginning of the song! She enjoyed it too much haha. She was in trouble for it because she was meant to look scared, but she just laughed all the way through it haha. I was worried it might traumatise her a little bit but she’s seen us dressed like this for so many years and she’s drawn pictures of us and the original ‘Toy Box’ video, there’s a bit of it where there are cartoon characters dancing, they drew them. So, I think they’ve always seen that, and I was worried it would be frightening for her but because she’s had so much time watching us do what we do and everything, she loved it! It makes it a lot more emotional for me to watch the video. I feel kind of like she’s vulnerable and I’m you know…haha

Psychoberrie: Hahaha you’ve got to go and save your own daughter haha.

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah haha!

Sheri: She must have probably felt safe because it was you guys you know?

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, I’m not too sure I’d like someone else pulling her under the bed haha. She was really good. She’s only nine and so when you look back and watch the videos, she’s so sincere in walking around, she took so much interest in what everyone was doing so…

Psychoberrie: And that candle was red hot wasn’t it? She was holding it all the time and it was burning her arm, but she was persevering, she was saying “No, I’m alright.” Hahaha!

Dr Von Stottenstein: Don’t say that…don’t say that we burnt our own child, you never know who might be reading hahaha!

Psychoberrie: Hahaha. It wasn’t like 3rd degree burns haha.

Sheri: Resilience hahaha. Bless her haha! Does she portray Psychoberrie in ‘Mister Babadook’? I want to say that there are pieces on “Metamorphosis” that take us back to Psychoberrie’s past…

Psychoberrie: Yeah that’s exactly what it was, when we went to do the video, I didn’t want to play Psychoberrie, it wouldn’t make any sense, it’s supposed to be a young Psychoberrie so…

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, it was her timeline, her pathway from childhood to then so the videos will hopefully show the story, they’re obviously a single on their own but the intention is that if we were have to cancel every gig, we would get a video for every song and there should almost be a theatric timeline so it’s almost like a theatre show rather than stand-alone music videos.

Sheri: So, you would be able to piece all the music videos together and it comes out as one story – it’s very clever hahaha!

Dr Von Stottenstein: We’re just blagging it haha We just need to make it so – we’re skint now! Hahaha. We’re broke.

Sheri: I don’t know many Artists that do that kind of approach, it’s really quite clever.

Dr Von Stottenstein: There’s a few bands that are doing that, the likes of Avatar. Avatar have been doing things like that, they’re last album was so amazing, and their concept was amazing. We cheat a little bit because we do talk to people as they seem to do, they seem to immerse themselves, like Ghost do too, they do the same so I think it’s having confidence in the story and portraying a storyline with theatre that the music comes alongside to it. That makes us a little bit different to other bands that kind of do what we do. We are fully in the concept, it’s all in the story and I think the hardest thing for us to do really…

Psychoberrie: Paying for it hahaha.

Dr Von Stottenstein: Other than paying for it, when you’ve got 30 or 40 minutes to do the show, we still want to show the timelines and show the narrative and sometimes it’s very difficult, especially if people are just wandering in and out and don’t necessarily know the story so it can look like there’s a gimmick cuz there’s some crazy woman running around with a chainsaw, it’s all part of the album storyline and it’s trying different ways to still portray that and allow people to know that there’s context to it, that it’s almost like a trailer to a film. Where you can see the unabridged version of something like that when you listen to the album.

Sheri: So, it needs to be obvious that it’s part of the story when you’re on stage.

Dr Von Stottenstein: We’ve got an actor on stage with us, he hands out sort of like newspapers with the storyline in it so people can read it – so it’s almost like going to a theatre and getting a programme. We’ve started to do that because it allows people to piece together what the story is without needing to really pay a lot of attention whilst they’re getting drunk and bouncing around everywhere haha.

Sheri: It’s more fun to watch you though hahaha

Psychoberrie: I think people just put it in their pocket and read it when they get home and are like “oh that’s what it’s about!” hahahaha.

Sheri: I think it’s a clever concept and because it’s something you have to keep to as well so… I imagine that when there’s a later release, it’s going to be quite a long process of that concept on stage because it is like obviously watching a band and their music but also a theatre.

Dr Von Stottenstein: That’s the thing, I don’t usually like musicals!

Sheri: You have our friend John Badger on the drums and Russ from Footprints In The Custard joining you on guest vocals for ‘Shadows’! How easy was it for everyone to collaborate during this pain of a year?

Dr Von Stottenstein: We finished recording two days before lockdown.

Psychoberrie: I was just thinking it was another Swine Flu when we were in the studio…

Dr Von Stottenstein: We finished recording something like 9 o’clock on the Friday night and then Sunday night it was announced that lockdown happened, and I was just going into shielding, so we were really really lucky! It was difficult because our producer couldn’t get to the studio

…he had to shield a little bit as well and that pushed things back, but it allowed me and Psychoberrie 24 hours a day for 5 months to really really just go mental on it.

Psychoberrie: The artwork on it, I put a lot more effort into because normally it’s just me coming home after work and the last thing I wanna do is get on the computer and do the same thing I’ve been doing all day at work. So, this one I could just focus on it 100% and I enjoyed doing it.

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah you did all the merch, all the PR and everything like that. We were sitting in the sun and it was just nice to spend time with my family and do what I love to do. Now it’s out, we can’t actually go out and sell it so it’s like OHHHH!

Sheri: I mean, there’s only so much that social media can do isn’t there…


Dr Von Stottenstein:
We’re trying to do things a little bit different like running competitions and things like that just to make it a little bit less spammy which can be really difficult because Facebook have just completely closed all up the algorithms so it’s just been hard for everybody. Not just us, it’s not like we are going to lose our livelihood through it, other people are but it’s obviously something that we love, and we want people to enjoy it.

Sheri: What are your next plans for WARD XVI?

Psychoberrie:
We’ve got the album coming out, so fingers crossed the album launch on 30th January. We’re hoping to also do a tour so we’re keeping our fingers crossed for that one.

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, we really want to do a UK tour where we can take it up and down the country so we’re hopeful, but we are realistic. We were meant to be launching a gig tomorrow- but if we can do January with Footprints in the Custard, then Pulverise at Manchester Academy then that would be ace but if we can’t then we will just have to be responsible and try to find an alternative and find something else to keep momentum. I think we will probably have to think laterally what else to do. Because it’s quite difficult.

Dr Von Stottenstein: We’ve been offered to do so many virtual gigs and things like that, which is ace – but because it’s a show, we need people interactive within it, it’s become very difficult you know, we can’t just get in front of the camera and do it, it takes a bit more for us to do that – a bigger stage and things. Fingers crossed though!

Sheri: It will happen, and I think it’s part and parcel of testing these things out.

Dr Von Stottenstein: We’re all in it together though aren’t we so…I think it has brought people closer together. Hopefully when the scene opens up again, the scene is going to be so desperate for it, they’ll probably appreciate it more than what it was before.

Sheri: Absolutely. And people are going to be wanting to get out to them as well.

Dr Von Stottenstein: Venues were shutting down before COVID happened so fingers crossed it’s made people more of aware of what they’re missing.

Sheri: Any advice you can give to other artists?

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, keep the faith! You only have to look at Van Halen and his death where it was completely uniting a scene that was 2 days before kicking off and were becoming almost tribal. The music is beloved no matter what… and people love playing it or people love listening to it, they love being a community based upon it. And we can’t lose that… if we can’t perform it live, then we all need to find ways to keep the scene moving and keep it positive and just be happy that we are still able to create music – we just might have to do it in a different way. It’s a hard time but hard times bring good things with it too. Even just really good ideas and really good things to the scene that no one anticipated. Power to the people haha!

Sheri: Thank you so much guys, it’s been lovely to talk to and see you!

WARD XVI: Thank you!

WARD XVI’s new album “Metamorphosis” is out now and receiving fantastic reviews.

Read Beth’s full review of the album here:

More Information on WARD XVI can be found at the following links:

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

Interview with Democratus

Interview with Democratus
By Sheri Bicheno

Hi Everyone, Sheri here

Democratus, hailing from South Wales, have smashed their way through the music scene since 2014, playing Bloodstock, supporting Light The Torch, and sharing the stage with some amazing bands such as Agrona, Kilonova and Suffocation. I have been following them for the last two years or so and recently got the chance to catch up with these hilarious and lovely chaps!

Read on for more including strategizing as a band around the Pandemic, serial killers, their thoughts on supporting the music scene, turning a chaotic show into a memorable one…and a hint of a new album!!!

Sheri: For our readers, You formed around late 2014 after Steve’s band Counterhold ended?

Steve Jenkins (Vocals): Yep, Counterhold!

Sheri: After our chat last year, I know Rich had not long joined the band…can you give us a bit of a history lesson on Democratus and your roots…

Steve: Shall I take this one?

*Zak joins the conversation*

Rich Rees (Guitar): Omg! Zak has appeared!

Steve: A wild Zak has appeared!

Rich: Yeah, it’s like the last peanut at the bottom of the bag haha!

Joey Watkins (Guitar): He looks purple! What is going on with him? Haha.

Steve: It’s looking ominous, mate.

Joey: Willy Wonka told you not to eat the gum in the factory mate, or else this would happen.

Zak Skane (Drums): Hahaha I’m not in the mental space for this interview, I don’t think I am!

*all laugh*

Steve: Right, I’ll take this one then. History of the band; we started the nucleus of Democratus around late 2014 just after Bloodstock, the plans were set up with a vastly different line up to what it is now. We started gigging around 2015 and that was my push to kinda get too the magic 5 song mark and then we just chucked ourselves out there to kind of own our craft on the live circuit. Members came, members went until we got Joe and Kerrin in on guitar around the same time. I basically ended up losing both guitarists on the same day. Around the 2016 mark, then got Joey and Kerrin in cuz myself and Spoon, we were virtually on the verge of saying “alright shall we go our separate ways?” And we thought no, we will crack on. Between myself and Spoon, we had written the majority of the music we had at the time so we thought we would get another line up sorted and crack on. Then in 2017 Zak Came In.

Zak: *waves* Hi!

Steve: And things started to come together in terms of our live performance. We ended up getting through to the finals of the Metal 2 The Masses in South Wales and whilst we lost out on that, rather than mope about it, we thought “right…” the stuff we were playing at that point was written under old line-ups. So we decided that we would hit the restart button and start working on new music, create a sound that was five of us at the time and basically kind of work on our stage show, cover both bases because we were on the verge of getting our first EP out, “Starting Again”.So, we did that and then started immediately working on new stuff. “Starting Again”was the line in the sand. This was the old stuff and then we moved forward from it. 2018 then happened and we were fortunate enough to win the South Wales Metal 2 The Masses that time round and it all kicked off from there…

Sheri: So, you basically started from scratch?

Steve: Yeah basically. Kerrin then decided, and we kinda saw it coming, that the band stuff kind of wasn’t for him. It was getting a bit too busy with the life he had and what he was doing at home and stuff, so he decided to step back. We’d already had a couple of occasions then were Richard filled in for us on a couple of gigs prior, so there was only one option once Kerrin said he was gonna step down. We ONLY approached Rich and THANK GOD he said yes haha.

Rich: I got in by default! Haha.

*all laugh*

Sheri: You weren’t dragged in kicking and screaming then? Haha!

A lot of your songs are very humanity based and politically driven. They highlight a lot of the problems that humanity is facing – homelessness, poverty, recession, the greed of the government, sin and faith. You have a message to put out there as opposed to making music that just sounds great. I can pick this up in the songs like‘Damnation’, ‘Creator of Poverty’ and ‘Is This Fear’? Tell us more about this and what it means to you.

Steve: I suppose I’ll have to take this one again won’t I? Haha!

Yeah, I miss being oblivious to the political situation as we have it. As a carer to my wife, I’ve had my hand forced into keeping an eye on current situations and it’s not in a good place. So, for me lyrically, it just makes sense that Democratus has become my catharsis, my chance to vent at what’s wrong in the world in a more constructive way than trying to get banned on Facebook. Hahaha!

Sheri: You? Never! Hahaha.

Steve: Hahaha. But yeah, I’ve never been one of those that can write much in the way of fantasy lyrics. I can kind of write personal stuff you know; with any issues I have going on in my own head. But it’s all quite realistic, quite relatable stuff rather than things about Dungeons and Dragons and fantasy stuff… which, you know, has its place! I love that kind of stuff but for me, I’m not that kind of lyricist so thankfully the boys then come up with music that is as suitably angry as I am, and it fits. The boys kind of know my stances on things like that and are happy for me to rant about it, which I’m grateful for.

Joey: Sometimes we don’t always agree though Steve.

Steve: We don’t always.

Rich: That’s the thing, from a political point, we’re actually quite a diverse group. But when it comes to writing the music and stuff like that, I think the new stuff that we are working on now, is gonna be completely different, not in terms of the message or anything like that because we’ve got so many more lyrics and different music and then there’s my influence on it where I’ve not really written anything for Democratus before, so I’m hoping the new record is gonna be amazing to be fair.

Steve: Yeah, see it kind of ties in with the name itself anyways. How Democratus came to be in terms of its name was, we were chatting in the early incarnation, we were chatting about what we should call ourselves and I turned around and said “We’re a Democracy, not a Dictatorship” we all have to decide on something that we think sounds good. Our guitarist at the time then came up with Democratus and we all went “ooooh!” so you know, it’s all been a joint collaborative effort. I kind of handle the management side of things, but musically, we all chip in, we’ve all chucked in riffs here and there and you know, even if it’s just me humming something, but we all collaborate.

Joey: I think all of us having such a diverse range of opinions and actually, you know, seeing the world from different angles is really helpful towards the lyric writing as well, so it doesn’t kind of alienate an entire group of people. We need to kind of keep it focused as well going down that route. I think our aim is to say “Look, there’s problems with everything and it needs sorting.”

Steve: That’s it. I try not to be as linear as someone like Rage Against the Machine for example, I do try and leave a fair chunk of the lyrics open to interpretation so if people can take a personal feeling out of the lyrics I’ve written then great!

Sheri: Absolutely, yeah. So, in terms of your songwriting, as you say, everyone chips in, it’s not so that you have say a guitarist that only writes the riffs, how do you put it together?

Rich: Zak just turns up at my house and goes “I’ve written a song now learn it.” Hahaha!

*all laugh*

Rich: And then I tell him why the song is bad and then we fix it haha.

Zak: Song. Bad. Fix. Haha.

Joey: I tell everyone that I’m currently working on something and that it will blow them away but it’s yet to appear haha!

Rich: Due to release in 2025 haha.

Joey: Yeah haha! I’ve come up with a couple of riffs and sent them off to Zak and he’s kind of built a song around that so like ‘The Unworthy’was something that me and Zak worked on and again the lyrics of that kind of came like…we were all at practice, we were all really pissed off cuz someone had trolled the band page saying that we didn’t deserve any of the bigger shows we’ve had or you know, how we didn’t deserve Bloodstock or anything like that and they said “Yeah, you’re not worthy” and we’re like

“Yeah, you’re right, we’re not. But we still did it.”

Sheri: Wow…just wow!

Joey: So yeah, like some of the lyrics kinda come from there. And the ironic thing is that their band is now broken up…

Sheri: WELL WELL!!

Joey: So yeah, it’s kinda like… haha.

Sheri: That goes to show then eh! Steve, your vocals are remarkably diverse, and you can do all sorts of ranges. From heavy to something a bit more melodic and cleaner…Listening to tracks like ‘Dead Without Dying’ and ‘BTK’, then to a slight contrast in ‘Starting Again’ and ‘The Furious Horde’. How do you find vocally what fits with the direction of the songwriting and harmonies of Democratus?

Steve: Ahh there’s no set way of thinking with it. Whilst I kind of chuck us in the Melodic Death Metal group, that’s more for like chucking ourselves to promotors who like to label things and stuff. It’s basically a case of, if we all think it’s good, it’s in. So vocally, it continues to be a work in progress. If you’d have asked me to do these kinds of vocals 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to do them. It’s been a gradual process from being a very rough, motley clean singer to working in the occasional screams and growls that I used to do with Counterhold through to then thinking “OK, maybe I can try and see if I can do the more aggressive stuff”. Cuz all my favourite bands are Melodic Death Metal anyway and as soon as Counterhold called it quits, that was the route that I kind of wanted to aim for. So vocally, it was kind of, “Alright, I’ll test it out. If doesn’t work, I’ll go back to mostly staying on clean vocals.” But thankfully, I’m told it seems to be working!

I do what I do, and I love what I do, but obviously, I’m my own worst critic as well so if I don’t think something works, I will take it back. The boys can come to me and say, “This doesn’t quite fit, we think you can do something a bit better with it.” I try not to be a Diva so you know, they can come to me and I’m not gonna throw a hissy fit over it, I’ll take it on board. Might not always listen to them, but… haha.

Joey: It’s like when Mike, the guy who produced and helped do the mixing and mastering and recording of the “Damnation”E.P helped. We had 3, maybe even 4 versions ofBTK’ and the recorded version is different to the live version. Mike was basically like “Look, the song just needs cutting here and there because it’s too long for a record. Whereas where you’re playing it live, that’s fine as people can’t see you over a CD” so we then went through various cuts of it where vocal phrasing was and everything like that and it took us a couple of weeks really to suss that out. So, I think that’s also been really important for us when we’re looking at recording, so you’ll notice a big difference in production value between “Starting Again”and “Damnation”, hopefully between whatever the album is gonna be as well. I think we’re really gonna be taking our time with it and doing something really good and so what you might see in the live version probably may not be on the recorded version, but the reason for that is to try and get a bigger sound and to try and encapsulate that energy and that feel of being in the room with it not just being onto a CD.

Sheri: Understood. Amazing. Now, you’re mentioning a writing of a new album!!! (Getting excited)

Steve: Yes!

Sheri: I’m picking this vibe up guys!

Steve: Hahaha! Certainly, dropping hints.

Rich: I’m sorry…was there a plug? Hahaha.

*All laugh*

Sheri: What are your plans for that? Are you looking to release that in the New Year…What can you tell us?

Rich: Personally, I’m enjoying not working to a schedule at the moment, obviously have to try and get everything together eventually, but right now it’s nice just to go “Hey, I’ve got some riffs, let’s work on these,” So we’ll go to practice and we’ll work out a few things or we’ll send each other recordings of what we’ve done. I mean, even Steve has been writing some riffs that we want to potentially work on, but as a newcomer, we’ll figure it out haha.

Joey: There’s some bones of a good song there.

Steve: I’m about 3 weeks away from being a better guitarist than Joey hahaha.

Joey: Yeaaaah…haha

Sheri: Oh noooooooo! Hahaha.

Joey: That’s true hahaha

Rich: Joey tries, don’t say that hahaha!

Joey: The thing is we’re not really working to any schedule, we’re currently in the process of writing as many song as we can really and what we’re gonna do is once we’ve written a load of songs, we’re gonna record rough demos of them and then we’re gonna take a hat trick to them and curtail anything we think won’t work, maybe come back to them later but we’re gonna have an album’s worth of really good songs, not three or four good ones and seven songs of filler kind of thing.

Steve: That’s it Sheri, we take pride in the tracks we already play live anyway. We may drop one or two of them in the run up to getting the album sorted but yeah…5 of them are already in the set list as it is.

Sheri: Oooooh, all the excitement!

Joey: Unfortunately, all that sort of stuff has kinda halted cuz, currently, me and Zak are the only ones not in a Lockdown area in Wales.

Zak: Yeah pretty much!

Steve: You’re aware there’s a Lockdown by literally half a mile, aren’t you, Joe?

Joey: Yeah, I’ve gotta drive like 30 miles to go to the Supermarket now.

Sheri: Loooord!

Joey: Yeah basically I live on the Monmouthshire side so I’m in the same county as Zak so I’ll plan on meeting up with Zak one evening or couple of evening’s in the week now and we’ll just try and get stuff recorded so we’re not at a complete loss. But we can’t practise and learn the songs together at the moment unfortunately, which sucks. There we are.

Sheri: That’s a bit sucky but gotta make the best of what we have.

Joey: Exactly.

Sheri: The composing is absolutely marvellous, with the strings and drums, you have a lot of twists and unexpected turns in your style of melodic death metal and your methods. I detect some other elements, even some Thrash! An example of this I think, is in the track ‘Deity’on your EP “Starting Again”. Last year, I remember Joey telling me he started out as a not very good guitarist amongst his injuries haha – surely you gotta feel differently as time has passed?

Joey: Yeah haha. I don’t think I’m on that first EP. We were that pushed for time and trying to record. I’m on the new EP and I’ll be on the album but that first EP, I saw the red light and my playing just went totally out of time, I couldn’t play a triplet.

Rich: Seems to be a curse for Democratus guitarists because I’m not on the new EP much either haha! But I’ll be on the album…

Joey: Haha yeah so Kerrin had to record my parts of that because we tried one four or five hour session and I just couldn’t get anything down and it got to the point where I was just like “Look, Kerrin, I don’t mind not being on it, we need to get this done.” Because…Like, it had been written in a time where I had been in the band but those songs had been written prior to my joining, I don’t really have any connection to them, I enjoy them as songs but they’re nothing I had anything to do with the writing process of, so I was like “You know what, Kerrin, you take it.”

Zak: The thing is with the EP; we were just replicating what the previous line up did. Just putting our own twists on it to make it original.

Joey: Yeah, so there were solos and everything that we had re-written and a couple of things that we added but the for the most part it’s old Democratus and that’s one of the reasons it’s even called “Starting Again”cuz you know…that’s was just like the end of that.

Steve: For me, “Starting Again”was tied in simply with my re-start after Counterhold. It’s as simple as that. It’s not a subtle nod, but yeah… like I said, “Starting Again”by the time we got round to recording it with the boys that we had in the band, it was simply a case of “Right, let’s just get this out there so we’ve got something to plug.”

Joey: Yeah, in all honesty, it was a very difficult recording process, it took a lot longer than we thought it would in terms of before Zak joined, our drummer – nothing against him, again just a similar problem to me in terms of recording, he just really struggled to be tight and to be able to play on the record so that really slowed things down. But then we got Zak in and things kind of all came together. I mean, Spoon, he’s not on the interview on the moment, but he’s probably the tightest player out of all of us when it comes to recording, you know.

Sheri: In light of that, you’ve had some pretty huge highlights with Democratus – playing Bloodstock, supporting…YOU SUPPORTED LIGHT THE TORCH!

Zak: I KNOW haha

Joey: Yeah!!

Rich: …did I!?


*all laughs*

Zak: You saw the poster, Rich? haha.

Joey: Yeah Rich, just photoshop yourself in there really badly hahaha

Rich: Yeah, the only picture I’ve got of Democratus at all, doesn’t have me in it haha but it’s the tour poster that I’m on haha!

Joey: Yeah, that really was like a highlight for all of us because me, Zak and Steve…Howard Jones has been a huge influence on us and then to share the line-up was just a Holy Shit moment basically.

Steve: The weirdest thing about that was just how straight forward it was from making my initial pester to the promoter – I had a heads up after going to see them open for In Flames like a couple of days before it was announced, so I basically messaged the promoter and then noticed the promoter had their phone number on their page… so I thought “bugger it!” and called them up and I just went “look… if I’m pestering too much, please let me know but I’m chasing up the message that I’ve sent regarding the Light The Torch show, if there’s any chance of a local slot, please can you let us know.” Because my worship of Howard Jones is rather well known.

Zak: I’m pretty sure Howard knows that as well haha.

Steve: Damn right he does haha!

Zak: When we were at Bloodstock, they had the meet and greet because he did the Jasta show and Jamie was the first person there and then there was Kirk and then it went to Howard to shake hands and Howard just went “I know you!”

Steve: … “I’ve seen you before!” hahaha.

Zak: Nervously sweating as well hahaha

Joey: So, it was great that we got on that show and didn’t get a restraining order hahaha.

Steve: The promoter told me “I’ll see what I can do, I’ll get back to you.” So, a week and a half later, I chased up with one more message basically saying “Can you let me know what’s going on because I need to know if I’m selling my ticket or not.” Then the following morning I woke up to the email saying, “You’re in, send us your logo.” How I didn’t wake up my Amy FIST PUMPING THE F*KING AIR, I will never know!

Sheri: Hahaha that’s brilliant!!

Joey: And just a couple of words on that promotor – a couple of months later they put Insomnium on and we asked them for the slot and unfortunately we didn’t get it but they were really good enough to put us on the Guest List for that. So massive Kudos to them, that was really good of them.

Steve: Yeah, they were a great bunch.

Sheri: Wicked! That’s so cool. You see, I love stuff like that. So, like I say, you’ve had some huge highlights and obviously you have your two EP’s out at the moment and you’re working on an album… How do you feel you have evolved over time?

Rich: I mean I’ll put it this way, I’ve played guitar since I was 15, so that’s 15 years now and I feel I’ve progressed more in my time with Democratus than I have in the other 12 odd years haha. I remember the first time you asked me to do lead guitar and I was like “excuse me!?”. There was that practice where there was the first solo going up and I remember just doing the bend and then Joey just turning around and laughing at Steve, so I either did something very wrong or very right just now haha. So, I just nervously carried on haha.

Sheri: You obviously did do right haha!

Rich: Yeah, apparently! Haha.

Joey: I think that our song writing is always evolving, as you said earlier, our lyrics are very politically charged, and the landscape is always changing with that. You know, a hell of a lot has changed in the last 4 years since I joined the band and the lyric writing has reflected that. In terms of guitar work, new members make things…everyone has their own spin on things. Zak is just churning out riffs like a madman, which is great!

Sheri: Like a boss!

Zak: Yeah, I haven’t got a life so…haha

Joey: Yeah…Oh no! I didn’t mean…yeah, you haven’t got a life hahaha. Also, I think our understanding of recording has come on leaps and bounds since the first EP. So, you know, we’re paying more attention to things like dynamics, things like guitar tone and everything like that just to try and make the songs sound bigger and better. We’re always looking to try and improve. Yeah, just make things interesting.

Steve: Which is why we work. This is why we work. We’re always looking to improve, we’re never just settling for, you know, the words “That will do”. They are banned in the studio when we are recording. You’re always looking to improve in whatever way, be it a better vocal line, a better guitar solo, a better riff being played, better drum fill. You know, we don’t box ourselves into how we should sound because we’re always looking to progress. If we decided that this is how we are gonna start sounding for the next 4 or 5 albums, we would all get bored to buggery anyway!

Joey: There’s only been a couple of times where I’ve had to ask Steve about lyrics and whether he thinks that’s a good line. I was terrified because you’ve got the song ‘Preach To The Hate;and its original title was Hints of Hate and I said “It’s a bit too in your face to be called Hints of Hate” and it was a nervous moment for me because Steve was like “You’ve never questioned my lyrics before.” And I was like “Oh no! What have I done?” haha.

Steve: Hahaha! And you will never do so again!! Haha

Joey: The whole album has been more like a group contribution whereas the previous 2 have always been like “here’s a riff” and one person has written the whole song, whereas now it’s like everything is just stemming to contribute to it. Even recently, the lyrics have been quite group contributed as well, haven’t they Steve?

Steve: Yeah, even if it’s just you guys giving me a subject to go off, yeah – I mean, I’ve always been open to lyrical contribution. One of the latest thing’s that we’ve written has had Zak’s full input on the lyrics! I looked ‘em over the other day and they look fantastic. I am more than happy to put my vocals over what he’s given me. So yeah, it’s a case of – there’s no ego’s in the band. Our overall outlook on it is just to see where it goes.

Joey: Yeah, pretty much.

Steve: We’re not expecting anything, we’re not demanding anything – we’re just kind of putting ourselves out there, asking if the possibilities are there and if they are, brilliant! If not, we crack on doing what we’re doing anyway.

Sheri: Educate me! My favourite song of yours is ‘BTK’, but… what does that stand for?

Zak: Steve, that’s all you mate!

Steve: That’s me, OK! This one stands for ‘Bind, Torture, Kill’.

Joey: I thought that was a sandwich! Hahaha

Rich: Bacon, Tomato, Kale hahaha.

Steve: Hahaha! It’s basically a set of lyrics I was sat on around the Counterhold days that just weren’t doing anything, but it’s based around the Bind, Torture, Kill killer. So, I was reading an article in one of those daytime magazines about him. What was in there was some of the letters that he would write to the Police before he was caught. It was all very simplistic stuff, so the lyrical approach is very simplistic for that reason. It’s based around the letters that he would send, the way that he would speak about how he tortured his victims, how much pleasure he found in building up to the kill and stuff like that. So yeah, it’s all based around Dennis Rader.

Rich: I’ll tell you something interesting if you want to know, especially about the video. I got to do the lyric video essentially, I was the only one with video editing experience but unfortunately, I was on horribly outdated software and the fact that it came to light in the first place was interesting. But what I realised half-way through and it’s still there to this day – is there is now a folder on my computer called Murder Photos full of pictures of Dennis Rader and actual pictures of his crimes! Hahaha so…

Steve: There’ll be new pictures incoming with one of my censored lyrics, mate, you know that!

Rich: Yeah but eventually, GCHQ are gonna find out, mate! Hahaha.

Sheri: So, there’s a lot of extensive research that goes into that sort of thing as well. In light of the album you’re working on, what are your plans for 2021, all being well?

Rich: To gig again one day!

Joey: Yeah, hopefully!

Steve: Oh God, I miss it. It’s been 84 years…

*all laugh*

Steve: Basically, under current circumstances, all we can do is song write. So, all we can do is send over song ideas to each other and so that when the lockdown is lifted, we can get the pre-production on the go and get the Demo’s on the go. After that, once everything is up, we’re gonna try and get gigging as quickly as we possibly can. We’ve got a few dates, no more for this year…that’s bust.

Zak: We’ve got a few in the pipeline though haven’t we, that we secured.

Steve: Yeah, we’ve got a mini tour that we’ve scheduled for March that we’re hoping to keep hold of. I think that is probably the realistic target now, is March dates that we’ve got booked in. We’ve not gone public with it yet so we can’t say who we will be touring with but there’s some very good, very established bands.

Sheri: Amazing! We will keep our ear out for that as well then!

Joey: We just wanna get back to Oxford again. I love that place!

Steve: Ahh yeah Oxford!

Rich: Oxford was the best gig I’ve played by far apart from maybe Newcastle and that was more just a miracle that happened in the night sort of thing haha.

Joey: Everything that could have gone wrong… went wrong haha. Spoon broke Bass string, Rich kept knocking guitar cables out hahaha

Steve: I must have gone through a pack of Vocalzone in the run up to that day…

Joey: The batteries died on my wireless kit halfway through a song whilst I was playing haha

Rich: 4am in Newcastle in the snow…

Joey: Yep we went from Oxford to Workington, played a gig and then from that gig, drove to Newcastle…it was long.

Rich: All in one day…

Zak: It was snowing as well!

Rich: That was Zak’s favourite bit haha

Sheri: That sounds absolutely brutal! Sounds like you had a bit of a nightmare gig there, no?

Joey: It should have been, but it really wasn’t, it was amazing! The atmosphere was there, it didn’t really matter, the crowd were amazing, Zak did a drum solo which I’ve never seen him do before, it was beautiful!

Rich: Yeah, it was actually really good!

Zak: You put me on the spot for that, ya f**kers! Hahahaha.

Joey: It wasn’t us! It was Kilonova hahaha

Rich: Yeah, Kilonova put you on the spot for that hahaha

Joey: I highly recommend checking out Kilonova, their live shows, they bring a ridiculous amount of energy, like…first time we were on that tour, we just went “Ah sh*t, we gotta follow that…Um…” hahaha

Steve: Yeah Ellen and the boys are sweethearts, they’re brilliant.

Joey: Yeah, they’re good people.

Sheri: I know of Kilonova, they’re fantastic! Please tell our readers in your own words why it is so important to support the scene at the moment…

Steve: Given the current circumstances, we’ve all been saying for years that you have to use it or lose it. Right now, that is amplified a thousand times over. Given the current situations within venues and performing arts, are getting zero in the way of support. I’m not gonna go down a political rant on that, I’m just saying as it is, we have no support. So, we basically cannot do any of this if people aren’t gonna come out and support the scene. It doesn’t have to be for us. It has to be for the venues, it has to be for the workers.

Joey: Yeah, for the people who actually have it as a career you know, like, being a performer – because there’s just no funding for them. Even the big companies are struggling at the moment in terms of what is happening with events. There’s a lot of investment gone into trying to put these events on and it’s all up in the air as to everything that’s gonna be happening across Europe. So, it’s not just the grassroots that are suffering, it’s everyone in the industry right from the bottom to the very top. So, imagine lockdown if you couldn’t listen to music because at the end of the day if bands don’t have a platform, artists don’t have a platform, if they can play in venues and won’t have a way to get people through the door and it’s gonna be gone and it won’t come back… and it will be a real shame to see that go. For a lot of people, it’s the only outlet they really have. There’s a lot of talented musicians who absolutely love doing what they’re doing, it helps them to deal with the sh*t they’ve had at work or you know, it helps people unwind and get their feelings out…and if that isn’t there, it’s gonna really mess up a lot of people.

Steve: I mentioned it on my Facebook the other day that it’s not even just the financial implications that places and people are gonna struggle with, it’s the mental health side of it as well. You know, not having that security is gonna play Holy Hell with people’s mental well-being. So, it’s a case of, we have to look after each other. You don’t have to like the genres of music; you just have to support it because it all needs help.

Sheri: Absolutely you’re right, at the moment I feel like that even though things are the way they are, people do, especially in the underground scene, have to help each other out mentally.

Joey: It will all come back, I just think there’s gonna be a lot people who won’t come back from it in terms of their businesses, which is gonna be a real shame. Like you see on Facebook almost every week that the iconic venues are closing because the landlords are like “Well, we need the money” and a part of me is really really pissed off with the owners of these venues but at the same time, that’s their revenue stream as well, they still need their money and yeah…

Sheri: It’s a vicious circle.

Joey: Yeah, and it’s gonna be tough times for a lot of people and I think that when times are really shit, people are gonna need good music to listen to.

Sheri: Absolutely… and that’s why you’re getting an album out haha!

Rich: Full circle back to the flood, YAY! Hahaha.

Joey: And if it doesn’t work, we will just sell it to America to Guantanamo Bay as a form of torture, there’s lots of avenues open to us! Hahaha.

*all laugh*

Steve: I mean one thing I would add about the scene supporting and stuff like that is in South Wales in particular, I’ve noticed, seems to have a core nucleus of bands. From the likes of Agrona, Sodomized Cadaver, In Which It Burns, Blind Divide etc. The list continues, there’s a core nucleus of a good 20 to 30 bands that genuinely look out for each other, you know, we’re all offering each other shows. Bands like Agrona and Sepulchre are putting on their own band nights alongside Gavin from Sodomized running his promotions company that’s going from strength to strength. We’re all looking out for each other, we’re all plugging each other, we’re all kind of chucking in our support where we can get it. Agrona for example have just been confirmed for the SOPHIE slot at Bloodstock next year. There’s no jealousy, there’s no pissing and moaning about it, we couldn’t be any prouder of them. It’s the same when Sodomized played the SOPHIE stage when we were doing Bloodstock, you know, there’s no animosity, there’s no one upmanship, the scene is just genuinely supportive.

Joey: The bands that do have a bad attitude, we’re just like “well, we’re not playing with you and no one’s gonna want to play with you.” Or they fall by the wayside pretty quickly because that attitude doesn’t get you far at all.

Sheri: That’s what it’s about at the end of the day. I’ve always been a believer in…If you’re gonna do this then do it together.

Steve: Otherwise you can crack on and form a tribute band hahaha

Joey: And that’s where the real money is hahaha.

Sheri: Finally, tell us a joke! And don’t say our music hahaha.

Rich: I’m not allowed to tell the jokes anymore. Hahaha.

Sheri: Has Rich been banned?

Rich: I’ve been banned from a few comedy venues when I did stand up so…hahaha

Sheri: That sounds like that’s got a story behind it haha

Rich: I’m not about to give you a rendition here haha.

Sheri: Fair enough. Hahaha. Anyone?

Joey: What’s brown and sticky…? A stick.

Rich: Here’s a fun fact about flavoured water…it’s actually healthier than crack hahaha

Joey: Yeah but crack is pretty moorish…

*all laugh*

Sheri: Thank you so much for your time guys! It’s been really insightful. I really appreciate it.

Joey: Happy birthday for the other day! Best people are born in September, fact. Just putting that out there…

Sheri: Thank you! I sat by the beach and got drunk hahaha.

Democratus: Best way to spend it. Hahaha. Thanks for having us!

Rick Here. I’d like to send huge thanks to Sheri and Democratus for this great interview.

For more info on the band then check out the links below:

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