Interview with Robby J. Fonts of SICKSENSE

Sicksense Logo

Interview with Robby J. Fonts of SICKSENSE
By Stephanie Stevens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for having me, Stephanie! Cheers.

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘Make Believe’ (Official Video)

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

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

INTERVIEW WITH XSKULL8

From Sin To Sinners Album cover Art

INTERVIEW WITH XSKULL8
By Stephanie Stevens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘Leaves Are Falling’ (Official Video)

Xskull8 Promo Pic

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

INTERVIEW WITH CAPSTAN

Capstan Album Cover Art

INTERVIEW WITH CAPSTAN
By Stephanie Stevens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

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

Capstan Promo Pic

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

INTERVIEW WITH SLEEP WAKER

Sleep Waker Alias Album Cover Art

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘Distance’ (Official Video)

Sleep Waker Promo Pic

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

INTERVIEW WITH RAESHWAN GREENE aka ‘AWESOME RAY RAY’

Awesome Ray Ray Promo Pic 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STAY CONNECTED:

‘On The Run’ (Official Video)

‘Therapy’ (Lyric Video)

Awesome Ray Ray Promo Pic 2

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

INTERVIEW WITH ZEBRAHEAD

Zebrahead Logo

INTERVIEW WITH ZEBRAHEAD
The New Chapter!!
By Stephanie Stevens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘Chapter 3 – Welcome to the MFZB family!’

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

INTERVIEW WITH GEARS

See Me Single Cover Art

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JW: PLAYING LIVE SHOWS AND TOURING.

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

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

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

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

Q: Acoustic sounds/or electric sounds and why?

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

Q: Any last comments?

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

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘See Me’ (Lyric Video)

Gears Promo Pic

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

INTERVIEW WITH FACE THE FIRE

Remember What You're Made Of Single Cover Art

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

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

Face The Fire Promo Pic

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

INTERVIEW WITH SILENT SEASON

Addiction Album Cover Art

INTERVIEW WITH SILENT SEASON
Boston’s Hard Hitting Rock Band
By Stephanie Stevens

SILENT SEASON Boston’s hard hitting rock/metal band is back with intensity, rage, aggression and a lyrical journey dealing with drug addiction in the band’s new song ‘ADDICTION’. These dudes never cease to amaze me with the emotion and musicianship as they grow every year in their career.

The band was founded by Jeremy Rae (vocals) and David Pappalardo (drums) in 2008 and the full line-up gelled in 2012. Since then, they have released a debut album entitled “BREAKING ME DOWN” and received rave reviews from a ton of radio stations including Sirius-XM Octane with the hit single ‘CHANCE’.

With a growing fan base the guys continued releasing singles through the years that kept levelling up each time! You can tell how passionate, dedicated and driven they are to make SILENT SEASON a household name.

If you truly want to get blown away (like I did)  then you need to take a hearty listen to their 2019 EP release “THE WAR WITHIN, VOL 1”. From the hard hitting blast in ‘THE NEGATIVE’ to the pretty and sensational sound of ‘STARS’, these dudes know how to bring all the elements of a good rock band to the centre stage each time they create a tune.

I had a chance to speak to the band about the new release ‘ADDICTION’, the positive outlook they bring out in their songs, the band name and where they think they have improved the most as musicians.

Q: I love the name of your band can you give me the reason you decided on the name and, through the years, has the name’s meaning changed for you guys?

A: When we first started a lot of the bands that we had  played shows with in previous projects started to fizzle out. The music scene kind of fell silent for a bit and we wanted to fill that void. So, we came up with the name Silent Season. I think though the meaning hasn’t changed we are still here to finish what we started.

Q: Being a Boston based hard rock band what is the biggest struggle and most positive thing being in the area?

A: The biggest struggle is that the rock scene is not as alive as it used to be. Venues that used to be hot spots have closed and it’s a shame. Luckily, there’s a lot of great local acts that support each other at the shows we manage to put together.

Q: You guys have been making music since 2008 and have had a gelled band member line-up since 2012. How do you get inspired to create music and what does it take to keep a line-up solid for so long?

A: Jeremy, Dave and I are the original three. The way we are just so comfortable with each other makes the writing process easier.

Q: Your newest single ‘ADDICTION’ deals with a heavy lyrical standpoint which a lot of bands have covered, when you started writing this song what inspired you to touch on this subject and how did you want to make it different from other rock tunes that talk about this subject matter?

A: We tried to make the song through the eyes of someone watching another person deal with addiction. I think it is more relevant now than ever with people being so depressed about covid and life shutting down. A lot of people chose to use again because of all that. We just wanted to shed some light on that and let people know they can get help and are not alone.

Q: The one thing I love about your music is you bring out the positive and try to help people through struggles. Is that something, on a personal level, you strive to do and also if you do on a personal level how does that differ than putting it to music?

A: I think growing up as a kid there were a lot of bands talking about some pretty dark subject matter. People can relate to that, but they also want to know that they can overcome all the crap that life throws at you. It was important to us to make it known that even though life gets tough there is always something you can do to make it better.

Q: What is the biggest improvement as a musician you think you have had since the beginning of the career as SILENT SEASON?

A: For me, I have gotten into recording and mixing, which helps when you have an idea you have to get down before you forget. And also, I’ve gotten into a lot in the live perspective. For example, when we play live, I handle our rack which handles our mics, in ear monitors, click tracks, samples and light show.

Q: Do you guys have new music as in an EP or full-length coming out in 2021 or do you feel the single releases are the way to go in this current music world? And how do you view both ways of getting music out?

A: With the way things are, being an unsigned band, we are currently just focusing on singles.

Q: What is the biggest thing you guys have missed in a live show atmosphere and why?

A: The crowd/fans. The way they react to the songs and the conversations we have with them after the shows. Many tell stories on how the music helped in some way. It’s really rewarding in a way.

Q: Do you have local shows gearing up or tours coming your way for the end of 2021?

A: We are starting to put together some shows now that things are getting back to normal. TBA!

Q: What does it mean to you that people take the time to listen and connect to your music?

A: Honestly, it means the world to us. I’m pretty sure that if it wasn’t for the listeners this all wouldn’t be worth doing for all these years.

Q: Anything else you want to let people know about your band or new stuff coming soon?

A: We are always making new music so don’t be surprised if you start to hear about the next single sooner than later! We are always on social media so stay tuned on there for any announcements.

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘Addiction’ (Official Video)

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

INTERVIEW WITH ZERO THEOREM

Zero Theorem - Threat (Violent Idols Remix)
Zero Theorem – Threat (Violent Idols Remix) – Artwork

INTERVIEW WITH ZERO THEOREM
Heavy, Rock Chameleons of the music world!
By Stephanie Stevens

I always love hearing that ZERO THEOREM are coming out with new stuff or working on new music because this Los Angeles band always bring out fresh ‘n’ new aspects to their music and they grow on each new single or album they put out. This time around the guys in ZT collaborated with the Violent Idols to mix up and remix the hell out of one of their hard hitting tracks called ‘THREAT’. Bringing in that “industrial, electro” feel to the song really puts it on another level of interest. But the guys in ZT always bring that interesting vibe and the heavy hitting intricate memorization of music into everything they do; just give their song ‘JOKE’ a listen and you will get it! Then they can swoon you with a track like ‘AREA’ with its infectious chorus, it’s a totally solid track, or the darker and rocking vibe of ‘BECOMING’ with its impactful and massive vocal display. This band are the chameleons of the hard rock world and I am loving every moment of it.

I had another opportunity to catch up with lead vocalist Caesar about the work they did with Violent Idols, future collaborations, how they make some cool ass videos for their music and their up ‘n’ coming tour with Fozzy.

Q: First off, how Is the camp of ZERO THEOREM doing, getting back to some normalcy in life? And is your sanity still intact after this past year and a half?

A: It’s certainly great to begin returning to normalcy, and we’re especially excited to experience live music again. We all particularly enjoy live shows, whether we’re performing or part of the audience. We’d like to think our sanity is completely intact, but we’d probably be fooling ourselves. The virus has undoubtedly affected us all and may continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Q: Congrats on the release of the Violent Idols remix of ‘Threat’. This track has been a crowd favourite at your live shows – was this the main reason you wanted to put a new twist to it? What does the song mean to you?

A: Yes, that was part of it. It’s always been an effective closer and generated a lot of positive feedback. When we toured with Nonpoint, multiple people who showed up toward the end of our set told us they were sorry they didn’t attend earlier. The song was never a single, so we wanted to give it some attention in a different way.

Q: When picking a song to remix – do you guys have a vision of the “twist” you want it to take? Or was there more of a fluid collaboration with Violent Idols to get to this new version?

A: It starts with an idea, and ‘Threat’ seemed to lend itself to a more industrial or electronic interpretation. From there, Violent Idols began to work on the remix while continuing to consult and collaborate with us. We love what they did with it and how it turned out.

Q: In your years as music fans were you big on the industrial and electronic genre? If so, what do you find the most interesting about that way of creating music & songwriting?

A: We’re definitely influenced by those genres, including work by artists such as Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Fear Factory, Prodigy, and Static X. For us, the most interesting aspect is blending sounds that are more synthetic or mechanical with a traditional hard rock or heavy metal approach. It’s fun to widen the range of the sound spectrum and explore different textural possibilities in that way.

Q: Do you plan to keep working with other artists down the line on new material as ZERO THEOREM continues to evolve?

A: We had great fun collaborating with Violent Idols and will definitely work with others in the future. ZT will always be looking for ways to work outside the box creatively.

Q: Do you feel your songwriting grows more when working with other artists outside the ZERO THEOREM camp? Does that motivate you as a creator?

A: Others constantly inspire us, so having the opportunity to work directly with them is a genuine pleasure and definitely provides us more perspective and motivation.

Q: You also did a cool thing working with YouTube artist Goop Wizard on a really gnarly visualizer video. How did that partnership happen?

A:We were fans of his work and felt it would be a good fit for the remix. Thankfully, he was available and agreed to work together.

Q: All your videos are very different and pretty sweet to watch – is someone in the band into videography and how important do you feel a video is to a song on the whole?

A: The founding members of the band have always been heavily into film and animation, especially within the genre of science fiction. Zero Theorem is meant to be a multimedia project with the visuals offering another layer to the experience. Additionally, some of the newer videos we’ve created offer a stand-alone interpretation of the songs that connect to a wider fictional universe we’re building.

Q: Your EP’s “THE KILLING I” and “THE KILLING II” have been out for a while and brought your fans and music world some heavy hitting singles. You just recently put out a limited edition of this two-part series. Other than it including the ‘Threat’ (Violent Idols Remix) what did you do in addition for this special limited-edition release package?

A: First of all, thank you! We wanted it to be special, so we’ve made it available in physical form, both CD and our first ever vinyl, along with different pieces of art, which are the last of THE KILLING series.

Fans can also purchase a shirt made for the release.

Q: Looking back on both EP’s – what is your proudest moment of those songs you created (if you could narrow it down to one) and why does that moment stand out the most for you?

A: I think I’m most proud of the progression and how we’re continuing to expand the sound of the band. It’s difficult to pick favourites, and we all have different ones, but I’m a big fan of ‘Joke’ and ‘Swarm’ and can’t wait to play those live.

Q: Rumour has it, in September, you are back on the road with Fozzy. Are you guys putting an even more intense look into your shows with everyone having that live aspect missing for so long?

A: We’re going to need to contain ourselves a bit because we are beyond excited. We’re committed to busting that tour open every night.

Q: What’s one thing you’re going to have to brush the rust off of tour life when it happens?

A: Long drives become second nature once you’re out there, but since it’s been a while, those first couple drives might be rough!

Q: Has the band been writing for new EP’s or full-length album and if so – can you give the world a small hint into the sound or vibe you’re currently creating for new music?

A: We have! I think we’re really pushing the metal and industrial vibes with the new music. It’s our heaviest material to date along with some of the most personal. We’re also working on our first ever cover.

Q: Any last comments to your fans?

A: Thank you so much! Also, anything you can do – follow us everywhere you can and spread the word about ZT…it all matters! And don’t forget to come see us or shoot us a message!

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘Threat’ Zero Theorem & Violent Idols Remix (Visualizer Video)

‘Threat’ Original (Official Audio)

Zero Theorem Promo Pic (Credit Dead Level Media)
Photo by Dead Level Media

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.