Interview with Comron Fouladi of Athel

Though there is a strong and decent wave of melodic punk bands around there are not many which stand out from the crowd consistently. One exception comes in the vibrant and unique shape of Chicago band Athel. Recently the band dropped their debut album Open Your Eyes To Society, its impressive tracks a blaze of vibrant and completely infectious rock/punk sounds. Needing to know about this aural contagion and the band itself we had the great fortune and opportunity to fire off questions to bassist Comron Fouladi to learn more.

Hi Comron and welcome to The Ringmaster Review, many thanks for talking to us,

How did you all meet and when did Athel emerge?

I met Cristian in middle school and Justin just from the local band scene we were in. I introduced the two.

Who are the biggest influences to you as a musician and maybe for the Athel sound?

My favorite band of all time and inspiration is CKY.

In our review of your great debut album Open Your Eyes To Society we said the band and release was one to stand out from what seems plenty of good new punk bands but generally uniformal in sound. What is it you have which you feel sets you apart?

The CD doesn’t stick to one mold. It’s not cookie cutter music. One song will be really punk or metal, then we have something like a classic rock song come then something like modern music mixed with 90s vocal melodies.

Did the band evolve into something more than maybe you expected or reach to where you exactly envisaged?

Definitely, we started working on some of these songs when we were first starting out. I was hoping to build a local following and have some fun with some small tours. I didn’t know we would later be signing a deal and releasing them in stores worldwide. I think my kids will all think I’m a liar with all the tour stories I will tell them.

As we have already mentioned it tell us about the album and your hopes going in to its creation?

I was hoping to put out something different, I don’t think there has been many good bands to come up in the past few years and I’ve just been really pissed about modern hits so we tried to create something different haha.

How long did Open Your Eyes To Society take to make?

We started writing this in 2009. We started recording in November 2010 and finished Feb 2012.

Was it already primarily composed and written before going into the studio or grew within those creative walls?

All the songs were done before the studio with multiple demos other then These are the Times, Kara’s Carousel, and Me, Myself, and I.

How does the songwriting work within the band?

Justin will write a guitar part and vocal melody, then bring it to the table and it evolves into a full song with many ideas front here.

What predominantly inspires your songs and lyrics?

Appreciation of life is something we always talk about in our music. So many people say they want to kill themselves all the time but really the chance of life happening is a trillion to 1. You’ve came this far and are now alive might as well try and make it the best you can.

The album is your first release since signing with Mortal Music. How did the link up with the label come about?

From building a local following of 500+ kids at every hometown show and then spending 300 dates on the road one year helped as well meant a few labels took attention to Athel but I felt Mortal was right and I’m extremely happy to work with those guys.

We called the album…Mildly aggressive, vaguely intrusive, and wholly infectious…fair comment?

Definitely! We wanted this album to be our angsty album.

You previously released a couple of EPs which drew strong acclaim too but how has your sound changed if at all since starting out?

Our sound hasn’t changed much just the writing sounds like it has matured.

The album marks the band as one which is intent on giving full pleasure and riotous fun, one imagines your live shows are exactly the same?

I’ve always been a fan of putting on the best show possible. If you ever come to an Athel show I promise you won’t be let down!

What makes a great show for you?

Seeing the people unite at a concert to have fun and enjoy life. It’s an escape from the modern bullshit we have to deal with.

You have shared stages with the likes of Chris Cornell, Gwar, CKY, and The Audition. Anyone you would sell your grannies to play with?

I would love to tour with Escape the Fate. They have always been so awesome and our fans love each other.

Any chance we might see you guys over this side of the big water in the near future?

I’m hoping in 2013. We need to be there soon!

What is next for Athel?

Rob Zombies guitar player Riggs has a new band called Scum of the Earth, we will be doing an East coast tour with them August 31st through almost all of September.

Once more thank you for sparing time for us.

Any last words to end on you would like to share?

Thank you guys. Please have us back again soon. As for last words, no one ever settle for anything less then what you want in life.

Read the review of   Open Your Eyes To Society http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/athel-open-your-eyes-to-society/

The RingMaster Review 10/07/2012

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Athel: Open Your Eyes To Society

Really striking pop punk bands seem to be on the wane these days, there are some great bands but with uniformity to their sound which is great at the time of listening but soon lost from the memory until the next visit. Chicago band Athel with their debut album Open Your Eyes To Society seems like a band that might buck that trend. The songs on the release are vibrant and contagious and offer a fresh breath which lingers far longer than the sounds from the majority of their contempories. It openly brings familiar spices and flavours well known to the genre but places them within an invention and contagion that most others struggle to define their creations with.

Consisting of trio vocalist and guitarist Justin King, bassist Comron Fouladi, and drummer Christian Navarro, Athel bring strong traits of classic rock and metal to their punk hearted music too which adds to the distinct variety and strength the album grips the ear firmly with. Comparisons of Foo Fighters, Rise Against, and of course Green Day have been placed upon their songs and these are not hard to miss though the band probably sits nearer to the rock fuelled likes of Sum 41 with melodic insertions of a Good Charlotte or All American Rejects veining the constantly engaging sounds.

Signed to Mortal Music after the band came to the attention of co-owner and SOiL bassist Tim King, the band seems destined to rile up more than passing attention with their first full length release. The follow up to their previous couple of EPs, Open Your Eyes To Society swaggers and saunters through the ear with a sure confidence and stylish ability to excite the ear. From the opening Radio the release has no intentions other than to offer a good and flavoursome party. Mildly aggressive, vaguely intrusive, and wholly infectious the album leaves one fulfilled and with a satisfied grin. The opener sums the album up immediately, the song an easy going and pleasing invitation for the limbs and any anthemic tendencies within. It cruises through the ear with robust and eager riffs, fine harmonious vocals, and inserted rock guitar spikes to further excite, all brought with a full energy and imaginative hand.

The following vibrant These Are The Times continues the release in similar fashion, easily appealing and undemanding but it is with the next trio of songs that the album shows its true depths and strengths. All That I Am starts it off and is a gem. With a hypnotic melodic hook the Buzzcocks or Undertones would be proud of, and a Jimmy Eat World like chorus infection it is irresistible and alone offers the promise mentioned at the start.

Kara’s Carousel and Paranormal Abstract Of Everyday Life complete the triple slice of consecutive magic. The first of the two a rock textured blend of stirring metallic riffs and strikingly melodic vocals. The song suggests it might venture into pop punk or hard rock throughout but remains firmly steered between the two and is deeply impressive for it despite the fade out suggesting a lack of an ending. The other song is a muscular contagion with great acidic classic rock guitars adding a slight progressive feel. More hard rock than punk music wise, the song exhilarates and leaves one with increased adrenaline and raised eagerness to hit replay before moving on. Along with These Are The Times the pair are the biggest highlights on the album and the undeniable evidence of a band on a sharp rise.

Though the album continues with peaks and slight lulls which are still more inventive and impressive than most other similar veined releases, the album never gives less than pleasure and reward. The likes of the energetic Their Shoes alongside the melodic excellence of Me, Myself, & I and the crystalline grace of Oceans leave smooth and invigorating caresses upon the senses whilst brewing up emotions with their insistent anthemic energy.

Ending on bonus track Keep Me Awake, a song so addictive it should come with medical assistance, Open Your Eyes To Society is an excellent release that achieves what it set out to do, to leave one thrilled, energised, and eager for more. Athel still feel like they have a way to go to make that step into totally unique territory within the genre but they are well on the way and bringing great pleasure as they go.

RingMaster 18/05/2012

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