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 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.