The Hector Collectors – Do the ‘Ad Hominem’ with the Hector Collectors!

Thanks to previous releases there is no denying the grin which natural materialises when approached by a new encounter with Scottish outfit The Hector Collectors. As proven by their acclaimed previous album of 2018, it is a smile which more than lingers across their releases and was possibly at its widest yet whilst we romped with Do the ‘Ad Hominem’ with the Hector Collectors!, the quartet’s new EP.

Since dropping their first slice of mischief, debut album Straight Outta Comprehensive (Fully Comprehensive Edition) back in 2001, The Hector Collectors has stood as one of music’s more boldly unique propositions. Certainly it has been easy to offer up bands such as Television Personalities, The Freshies, and Half Man Half Biscuit as hints to their sound but across all their offerings and as their previous full-length, Remember the Hector Collectors? ..You Won’t Believe What They Sound Like Now!!!!!, established they weave a creative rascality that stands aside of the rest.

We do not know for sure but presumably still embracing the line-up of vocalist A.J. Smith, guitarist I.D. Smith, bassist Joseph Greatorex, and drummer Gavin Dunbar, The Hector Collectors open up their latest devilment with The Ad Hominem 2020. It is a track which featured on that last album but has been given a work over for this year and quickly gets down to business with its unapologetically catchy pop ‘n’ roll. It is one of those sing-a-longs which is just as persuasive in sound as it is in vocals, every essence encouragement to lose inhibitions and dance with body and voice.

It is a great start to the EP, one impossible to resist leaping on board with though, for us, is soon and persistently slightly outshone by those to follow starting with Podcast. The second track like all have a definite eighties spicing which reminds of one of Scotland’s musical heydays. There is a whiff of early Orange Juice meets Josef K to the indie pop shenanigans and another chorus which just seduces eager participation.

The App Did Everything For Me is next up and similarly instantly unleashes a virulently catchy swing through bass and guitar which provides puppet strings to movement. A.J.’s vocals are just as manipulative, the cheek of his lyrics as beaming as the song’s melodic whimsy with its Pastels-esque tint while next up Publicly Shamed manages to be even more contagious in its own swing and vocal incitement. With rhythms boisterously rolling and a Johnny Cash country folk simmered lilt to its boisterous stroll, the song quickly burrowed under the skin to be another commanding limb and vocal chords.

Remember When Twitter Was Really Spiffing? brings things to a close, the track proving our favourite of the five with its seaside carousel sashay. Casting social media observation into its eager bound as rhythms energetically prowl and vintage keys ‘chatter’, the track is superb and an irresistible, fun bursting end to another just as tantalising and thoroughly enjoyable outing with The Hector Collectors.

We all need to spring a smile or two upon our lives and The Hector Collectors provide plenty of reasons to as well as songs which relish a creative will and instinct which as we said is rather unique and proving persistently welcome.

Do the ‘Ad Hominem’ with the Hector Collectors! is out now as a name your price download; available @ https://thehectorcollectors.bandcamp.com/album/do-the-ad-hominem-with-the-hector-collectors

https://www.facebook.com/thehectorcollectors/   https://twitter.com/hcollectorsband

Pete RingMaster 18/02/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Within The Flames: Fires of Freya Interview

 

Having been impressed with their debut single a good few weeks back, we had the chance to get to know the band and enterprise behind the striking introduction to Fires of Freya. So with thanks to vocalist Cheryl Reynolds we had the pleasure to stare into the flames of UK band and explore…

Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?

Hello! We are Fires of Freya and we are Cheryl Reynolds on main vocals and keyboard, Shaun Evans on guitar, James Withington on bass guitar and Dan Baldwin on drums. Initially, the aim was to create an all-female grunge type band but it was soon realised that it’s very difficult to find a female bassist, or at least it was at the time so we scrapped that idea and brought in a guy. The members have changed over the time the band’s existed and so the two longest and original members are Cheryl and Dan, Shaun joined in May 2018 and then James came in a year later. We didn’t know each other before forming the band, the beauty of music is that it pulls people together and now we’re like a little family!

Have you been involved in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

We’ve all been or are in different bands, most musicians have a sort of addiction to performing and creating so you do find this often. I was mostly in cover bands and so this was useful in building up my confidence and figuring out what type of sound best suites my vocals, but it came with the comfort of knowing people would like the actual music already!

What inspired the band name?

I love mythology and anything to do with Norse mythology in particular, “Freya” is the Norse goddess of Love and War, among other things, and the “Fires” had a nice epic ring to it.

Can you expand on that specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

Initially yes, we were going for a gunge sort of sound, but when that didn’t work out it morphed with new members coming in, in the beginning we had a more punk rock sort of sound, Alkaline Trio sort of vibes but again our sound has changed from then. We are very eclectic with the music we write; we write what we think sounds good wither it fits a specific genre or subgenre matters very little to us, especially as we all have an array of influences. We aim to be a Rock band, but that title really does have many colours.

Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

I’d say the same things drive the band, the fact we all get on and enjoy each other’s company, the want to write new material, the want to tour outside the North East and create an album have always been there and still are.

Since those early days pin down how your sound has evolved?

Massively and it continues to evolve, we’ve gone from attempts at being a grunge band to adding punk rock type sounds to then adding soft rock/ballads and when Shaun joined we then took a more modern blues rock route. Now we all add whatever we think sounds good, we have heavier grungy songs, soft rock songs, blues rock vibes and we even have a couple verging on pop rock. Our gigs are never boring, put it that way! But it all seems to work and have a similar flow so we tend to get away with being so varied.

Always more of an organic movement of sound or predominantly the band deliberately setting out to try new things?

It’s the band wanting to try new things, infuse our own influences and keep it fresh. Our sound has definitely matured organically over the time we’ve been together though.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

Shaun coming into the band added a blues style of play to our songs, blues rock isn’t something I personally listened to much before, but I’ve discovered an appreciation for it.

Is there a process to the songwriting which generally guides the creation of songs?

Sort of, we’ve got 2 methods we use. 1. The lesser used option, but we do sometimes just have a jam and see what we can come up with. I’ve got a bank of lyrics written with no allocated music as of yet and so I’d then go through these to check which ones fit the song we are jamming out! 2. One of the band writes the bones of a song, the initial idea.; then he writer will record this just on our phones, so if it’s me with an idea, I’ll record my idea on either guitar, bass or keyboard and sing it and send it into the guys. Shaun and James do similar but always leave me to add lyrics and vocals.

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

Emotions and situations in life. We have songs that are loosely based on heartache from failed relationships, the feelings generated from the way someone has treated me, love and past loves; some songs that are full of attitude and speak of not letting people put you down.

Give us some background to your latest release.

21st of February we release our new single “Complicated”, it’s rocky and bouncy and a little bit bluesy (although it may not be any of those as I’m not very good at naming genres!) with powerful vocals and a blinding solo! It’s partly based on touching base with the topic of mental health and the struggles of fighting the “demons” of your mind and how this can interfere in relationships and how showing a little support and encouragement can go a long way.

At the moment it’s just the one song, explained above, but it will form part of our debut album which we hope to release at the end of 2020. Our debut single “Take a Bow” was more about not allowing people put you down, it’s full of attitude and self-empowerment!

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

We go into the studio with the song pretty much in its final stages but are always open to idea and once we record the 1st draft we always listen through over and over to see if there is anything to add or take away. Backing vocals and layers are something that happens in the studio and they are done in the studio, not normally pre-planned.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably a favourite aspect of the band?

We love performing live it’s true. We’ve been told we suite a big stage in the past and that our stage energy is similar to that of bands like Bring Me the Horizon. If there is room to move around, we’ll make use of the entire stage, ever inch! If there is the ability to come off the stage and get amongst the crowd, I tend to like doing that. We are also able to calm it down and perform our emotional tracks and I hope bring the emotions across. I tried to bring big beach balls to a show once but I bought them online and they turned out to be massive! Way bigger than I expected. Ended up not using them as it was for a gig in a small venue and not only would this ball take up much of the room, if anyone got hot with it, it would probably have sent them flying! Live shows also give our Shaun the chance to break out his shit shirts! He has so many and each more awful than the last!

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

It is tough, I think because we are so eclectic, we do need to work hard to build a fan base because people won’t like us for simply belonging to a specific genre. We need to convince people to like us and listen to us because they like our actual songs, their messages and our performances of them. We’ve gigged a lot in the North East of England and in the beginning it was quite a challenge finding gigs to play but now we are more established and know so many other bands in the area it isn’t as hard now. It really is so important to befriend other bands, they will be your 1st fans and support and you theirs, you can make it if you support each other!

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

Social media is important, it’s the main way we can connect with our fans and let them know what we are up to. The pictures, music and videos we post on there build the band’s image. The more fans you have on there the more popular you seem and so more opportunities come your way for things like festivals which lets you reach even more people. It’s a tool and should be utilised to the best of your ability and used to stay connected with your fans. It’s not the be all and end all though; a lot of our fans discovered us by going to see another band we were billed with, the live scene is still the best way to gain true fans I believe.

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

Look out for our next single “Complicated” released 21st of February; we’ll also have a music video to accompany this soon after! And check out or website http://www.firesoffreya.com or Facebook page for the next gig and get yourself along!

Check Fires of Freya out further @ https://firesoffreya.bandzoogle.com/home   https://www.facebook.com/firesoffreya/ and https://twitter.com/firesoffreya

Pete RingMaster 18/02/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

 

Ben Wood and The Bad Ideas – Cora Cora Cora

You will forgive us, like the band we hope, for bringing this single to your attention a little late but it is a must for all those with a bold adventure in their indie rock hearts and rapacious fever in their indie pop instincts. The track is Cora Cora Cora and it comes from UK outfit Ben Wood and The Bad Ideas, and the first song in a planned project which if all prove as striking will make 2020 a highly busy and successful time for the UK band.

January saw the launching of a 12 month campaign which will see the London based band release a single per month for that period, songs set to feature guest performances from the likes of drummer Nick Maybury (Juliette Lewis & The Licks/ Scott Weiland Band) and prog pioneer Billy Ritchie (Clouds/ The 123) on keys alongside lead vocalist/guitarist Wood, lead guitarist Andy Duke (Flesh Tetris), bassist Ed Sonsino, and drummer Clive Bissell.

Cora Cora Cora as mentioned is their first offering and sees the legendary Dave Barbarossa (Adam & The Ants/ Bow Wow Wow) featuring on drums. Fair to say the track immediately gripped ears with its almost sinister melodic lure which emerged from the initial blast of rhythmic temptation. That fruitful hook continues to wind across the song, increasing its intoxication as Woods potent tones swing on the creative threads of the band led by Duke’s ever magnetic craft.

It is a captivating encounter which is only grips tighter with its post punk seeded shadows and rhythmic nagging and erupts to greater heights with its enlivened chorus and increasingly virulent sound.

The track is superb and a thrilling introduction to the band’s proposed endeavour so go grab now before its greedily anticipated successor is uncaged. Ben Wood & The Bad Ideas are out to grab your ears and attention and already it is easy to feel it could be a done deal.

Cora Cora Cora is available now via Back2Forward Records.

https://www.facebook.com/BenWoodTheBadIdeas/

Pete RingMaster 16/02/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

MONO INC. – The Book of Fire

Having been successfully teased by its first two tracks cast as a single a few weeks back anticipation for the new album from German alternative-gothic outfit MONO INC. was rife. In preparation for checking out The Book of Fire we leapt back into the first time we came across the Hamburg based band, that being seventh album Nimmermehr, to just remind ourselves of the evolution of their sound. It was a reminder that MONO INC. creates music which has always been wholly individual to them, one embracing a host of flavours and styles and the familiar essences within them but with a growth which never settles for a lack of exploration as proven by their outstanding eleventh studio album.

Formed back in 2000, the quartet of vocalist Martin Engler, drummer Katha Mia, guitarist Carl Fornia and bassist Manuel Antoni have created a bold new presence and adventure within the successor to their previous acclaimed album, Welcome to Hell. A concept album, The Book of Fire tells the complete story of young healer/witch Aellin in the era of inquisition told across 12 captivating chapters, the album an “earbook” for the senses and imagination exploring her ownership of the Book Of Fire as chosen by the mystical artefact containing the secret knowledge of centuries itself. Fair to say the story alone proved enough to captivate but it comes wrapped and entangled in songs and sounds which equally just fascinated.

The Book of Fire begins with its title track, a gentle engaging melody on a piano welcoming attention before the song breaks into its scene setting canter. Already lyrics through the fine tones of Engler cast a social landscape and teasing intrigue, its bold physical and picture setting urging an infestation of light and shadows, calm and beauty challenged by an impending threat and darkness.

The instinctive catchiness of the surging gothic rock/folk scented encounter even in its slower reflective moments is a potent trait across the whole of the album, the following Louder Than Hell similarly an infectiously stirring incitement this time embroiled in a great electronic rock/industrial bred wind across tenacious heavy rock nurtured textures. Vocally Engler and Mia combine to enthralling effect in a chorus which echoes the contagious dynamism of a song which swiftly had the body bouncing though too there is a siren like enchantment to it.

Warriors is next up, emerging on a keys woven string caressed calm and vocally understanding. From that elegance a rising of tribal confidence and arousing incitement sweeps song and ears alike, its nobility and muscle security and strength within the shadows bound proposal and approaching dark horizons. The band’s latest single, it effortlessly got under the skin as too its successor Shining Light which features Tilo Wolff of Lacrimosa. If the album already had us gripped, the fourth track simply had us enslaved. From its first second, the song’s virulent stroll swathed in golden harmonies ignited the imagination, every note and sound as haunting as they are magnetic. Engler’s vocals and the controlled but lively rhythms of Mia and Antoni simply induced thought and body too while its chorus was the spark for vocal participation, keys working on an instinctive body sway. The song is superb, one of the most potent tracks heard in a while and surely a great choice for next single.

There is no let-up in temptation and rousing exploits as Where The Raven Flies rides in, guitar and rhythms springing another invasive catchiness accentuated by the piano. Those keys continue to engage and inspire the imagination as the song relaxes, a thoughtful mellowness descending though quickly from its embrace senses stalking beats swing their muscle to emphasize the tempting rather than break it. Across its emerging body, the track epitomises the unpredictability and invention within the release shaping it with melodic craft and poetic intimation.

As the likes of The Last Crusade, with its anthemic breath and great bass nagging, and the dark folk metal scented Death or Life coat ears in thick craft, enterprise and stirring emprise, band and album only strengthened the temptation and pleasure, the following pair of Nemesis and Right for The Devil with their respective darkly soulful serenade and groove metal toned electro industrial exploits just as irrepressible and irresistible. The latter has Teufel of Tanzwut guesting within its almost predatory saunter, a fanfare of fire icing on its creative cake.

Though Run for Your Life with its classic metal lined character might not have sparked the lust of others it effortlessly had the body and spirit abound while The Gods of Love ignited those same elevated reactions with its rapacious march and predation steeled textures. It proved another major highlight within the continuing peaks of the album, voice and sound alike galvanic around just as potent words before in bringing things to a close, What Have We Done shares the rich drama and enterprise as well as eager imagination behind the whole of The Book of Fire. The finale is a roar of emotive realisation and dark rapacity honed into another exceptional adventure, an epilogue which haunts as it breeds the despair of those within.

The Book of Fire is a stunning encounter and the finest moment with MONO INC. to date. Every second had us enthralled and aroused, every moment in the narrative and presentation a theatre of craft and temptation within a sound as intrepidly bold and darkly valorous.

The Book of Fire is available now via SPV / NoCut and ADA / Entertainment One.

THE BOOK OF FIRE TOUR 2020

06.03.20 – Münster, Skaters Palace

07.03.20 – Köln, Carlswerk Victoria

12.03.20 – München, Backstage Werk

13.03.20 – Nürnberg, Z-Bau

14.03.20 – Wiesbaden, Schlachthof

15.03.20 – Pratteln, Z7

20.03.20 – Berlin, Columbia Halle

21.03.20 – Leipzig, Haus Auensee

27.03.20 – Oberhausen, Turbinenhalle

28.03.20 – Stuttgart, Im Wizemann

29.03.20 – Saarbrücken, Garage

03.04.20 – Hannover, Pavillon

http://mono-inc.com/   https://www.facebook.com/monoinc   https://twitter.com/mono_inc

Pete RingMaster 16/02/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Beat Hotel – Self Titled EP

photo by DC Cane

UK outfit Beat Hotel is not a proposition which invites regular reservations into its indie rock exploits but when they do the creative service and fun has proven an on-going pleasure. Their occasional coming together has now brought us a self-titled EP and a collection of songs which had us increasingly and firmly hooked.

Formed around 1988 by bassist/vocalist Arash Torabi (The June Brides, The Distractions, The Granite Shore) and vocalist/guitarist/producer Paul Pascoe (Mudlow, Palm Springs, Perfect English Weather) after the pair met at a gig by The Jasmine Minks, it was not until 2013 that the outfit released any records. It was the double A-side 7″ Best of Our Years / The Fire featuring Jasmine Minks frontman Jim Shepherd which made that first impact. Since then the band has seen its line-up completed by drummer Dave Morgan (The Loft, The Weather Prophets) and guitarist/vocalist Stephen Brett (Mojo Fins).

Their new EP also sees the strings and keys enterprise of Frank Sweeney (The June Brides, Magic City Trio) guesting, and is a release said to be inspired by the body of sound released by Creation Records over time, a flavouring easy to sense within songs which still share their own individual character and temptation. They are tracks which explore “love and near-death and confronting the very worst aspects of ourselves, facing down those inner demons, the fears that haunt us and our deepest, darkest secrets,” and just as potently are six encounters which incited eager pleasure.

The EP opens up with Feel It and immediately its organic catchiness descends as guitars and rhythms erupt. Its stroll is bound in infection, the fuzziness of guitars a great union with the cleaner cut melody of the vocals as a rich wiry hook lays a magnetic thread throughout the song. Darker shadows and drama only add to its richness and temptation of its nineties toned saunter

It is a great start more than matched by recent single Bury It Deep. From its thickly alluring start, the track swings with enticement and melodic coaxing, a Lloyd Cole and the Commotions tinted breath wrapping its natural infectiousness and melodic prowess. A psych rock wine adds to the intoxication of the EP’s best moment, Pascoe and Brett weaving a compelling tapestry of tempting with their guitars across just as enticing rhythms.

Featuring James Thomas on drums, Low Slung Loser follows springing a more feral rock aptitude upon quickly embracing ears. Indie and blues tinted psych rock also collude in its prowling enticement, a whiff of Primal Scream meets The Jesus and Mary Chain adding to its fascination before the band provide a great cover of The Wishing Stones song Beat Girl. Though it maybe pales against the band’s own songs, the song beguiled with its melodic hug from a subdued but catchy gait as strings like keys effortlessly seduce.

Daddy, I Drown is next up, its initial almost Cure like invitation enough to entangle ears and attention before increasing its creative hook and melodic radiance with each enterprising minute. Another major moment within the release, vocals as heavily persuasive as the craft of each member, the track lingered well after is departure though final song Heat Light Fire proved a strong distraction for its three and a half minutes plus.

The closer eases as it slowly unwinds its invitation, guitars and keys a mesmeric blossoming which brings a darker intensity and drama with its rise. Bordering on the tempestuous without ever erupting in real turbulence, the song is a striking and gripping end to an EP just as potent in grabbing attention.

We may not have Beat Hotel around that often to book time with but when they are this release is prime example as to why so many book an extensive stay in their company.

The Beat Hotel is out now on 12″ vinyl and digitally via Occultation Recordings; available @ https://beathotel2.bandcamp.com/album/beat-hotel

https://www.facebook.com/Beat-Hotel-107226936009024/   https://twitter.com/paulbeat70

Pete RingMaster 16/02/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Vovkulaka: Introducing the Darkside…

“Tortured cries from the supernatural haunt the punishing mystical metal of Ukraine’s Vovkulaka. The band’s singer-drummer-songwriter VolK is a dark conduit for paranormal activity and channels his explorations in this realm into his band’s tribal and occultist thrashings.”

We have borrowed the opening paragraph to our introduction to Vovkulaka to bring ours to you as it provides an echo to the feel and breath which pervades the band’s striking sound. With their self-titled album infesting a world already devoured by darkness, we share big thanks to Rhonda at Whiplash PR for an invitation to explore a four track EP featuring the favourite tracks of the band’s fans. It reveals a sound which devours the senses and twists the psyche whilst unleashing catchiness as carnivorous as the multi-flavoured metal fuelling it.

The creation of vocalist/drummer/songwriter VolK, Vovkulaka (Ukrainian for werewolf) rose up in 2014. Primarily based in Odessa, the band also features members from Bulgaria and the United States, on stage the line-up completed by dancers and percussionists Naya G and JuleZ, and guitarist Ivan Manoloff. With his lyrical inspiration seeded in his passion for ghost hunting and paranormal experiences, VolK (itself Russian for werewolf) casts a sound bred from a voracious fusion of industrial and nu metal with goth and dubstep though that still does not quite reveal all of its rich tapestry. Listening to the quartet of songs making up this EP, thoughts of bands such as Fear Factory, Korn, Society 1, Type O Negative and Rob Zombie come to mind yet it is a rousing trespass which swiftly and firmly slams down its own individuality and unique character.

Darkness Calling is the first track to harass our ears, its opening enough to grip attention and appetite with its great Jonathan Davis and co like scenting, one continuing to permeate the track as it entangles VolKs throat rasping vocals with the similarly predacious sounds around them. Equally his rhythms stalk the listener and even as the song contorts and invades with greater imagination, its infectiousness is virulent just as that of Defy.

The second track to embroil our ears is a visceral grumble with a raptorial groove to match, one spiralling under the skin into the psyche in no time. Even with again instinctive contagiousness to voice and sound, there is a cadaverous sense and decay to its weight and touch which only accentuated the almost brutal temptation on offer.

The other pair of tracks only compounds the persuasion and striking presence of Vovkulaka, Purple Door a ravenous crawl through ears with a haunting melody and flesh-eating grooves which wind around ears until another feral infection loaded chorus not that the passage to it is anything less than viral. Its successor, My Devil coaxes with sinister melodic intimation before swinging its eagerly welcomed ruinous grooves and a body of sound which got into every pore, its electronics alone pure manipulation only accentuated by the voracious trespass of vocals, guitar and rhythms.

Though only a taster of Vovkulaka and that earlier mentioned album, we swiftly and hungrily only wanted to be swarmed by much more of the seriously rousing pestilence and there is every chance you will want to be too.

Check out Vovkulaka further @ https://vovkulaka.com/   https://www.facebook.com/VovkulakaFanPage   https://twitter.com/VovkulakaMusic

Pete RingMaster 12/02/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Cruel Juno Interview

 

Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started and what brought you all together?

When I moved back to my old hometown in Texas a few years ago, I couldn’t find a local band to join. So I thought I’d ask the musicians on some of my favorite albums if they’d be willing to record with me remotely from their home studios. Amazingly, they were interested, and CRUEL JUNO was born. With Italian guitarist Luca Princiotta (DORO, BLAZE) and Sicilian vocalist Gandolfo Ferro (Heimdall) signed on as special guests, I produced the first single, “Swallow My Medicine” – and then went in search of additional artists to work with, such as Fabio Lione (RHAPSODY, ANGRA, VISION DIVINE), Oliver Palotai (KAMELOT, EPICA), Gian-Andrea Costa (DREAMSHADE), and Jasio Kulakowski (KOBRA AND THE LOTUS). And there’s still more people I’d like to work with! I sometimes think of the project as “My Avantasia,” since it’s more of a collection of guest musicians than a band.

Have you been/are involved in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

I’ve only done the typical bar band scene, playing clubs and parties. The rest of the guys, of course, are kick-ass pros, and it’s their music that I’m listening to most of the time, which is influencing what I’m writing…Creates a bit of a circle really.

What inspired the band name?

I am a huge fan of Heimdall’s concept album “Aeneid” – which is based on the epic poem by Virgil. (That’s how I discovered Gandolfo Ferro, who lends his amazing voice to most of our songs.) The name CRUEL JUNO is a direct reference to the Aeneid, and is also meant to honour Gandolfo and Luca being from Italy/Sicily.

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

I had an idea for both the sound. I wanted CRUEL JUNO to be straight up full-throttle hard rock. Loud at any volume! Drum-wise I play single bass, and it was a very purposeful decision. I want the songs to sound wild through the music itself, not because I’m just slamming double bass underneath it. I want each song to sound like a car swerving down a narrow road.

Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

Well, I’m running low on great monsters – although I’m currently wrapping up collaboration with Jasio Kulakowski (KOBRA AND THE LOTUS) to do one about Medusa.

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

I am open to the ideas that each musician brings to the table. “Wound Too Tight” – our most recently finished song – was the first song I’ve done with Oliver Palotai on keyboards. His contribution really transformed the song – adding a melody that didn’t previously exist and just beefed everything up. The song evolved simply by having him on board. And now with the Medusa collaboration, Jasio is taking the song in a much different direction than what I’d originally written. I love that about the song-writing and production process – the song takes on a life of its own as other people bring their own ideas and insights into it. Medusa will sound like nothing we’ve done so far.

So it is all pretty much organic as things change and evolve?  

It happens naturally. There is no deliberate effort to make changes. Instead it’s simply a result of what happens when various combinations of ideas and people are brought together.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

I interviewed session drummer Victor Indrizzo for the December 2013 issue of Modern Drummer. He plays for Alanis Morissette, and on a good percent of the pop music that’s on the radio. That interview, though, was life-changing for me. He laid out his blueprint for playing with a click, using backing tracks, working in a studio, etc., and overall opened my mind to a whole new way of making music. None of this music that I’m making would exist without Victor.

Is there a process to the songwriting which generally shapes songs?

Preparation is key. I record my own acoustic drums, but I have to know what I’m going to play for it to sound good. And so I start with EZDrummer2 in my DAW (Reaper) and I sequence what I intend to record, note for note, by painting each note into the piano roll. This lets me listen to what I’m planning to play and see how well it actually fits. Once I have a perfected sequenced file, I will remove EZDrummer2 from the FX, but keep the MIDI I sequenced, so that I basically have a drum chart (or map) of what I need to record – it simply won’t generate any sound. And then I can place my laptop where I can easily view it while playing, open the MIDI in full screen, and I basically have a self-scrolling drum chart that I can watch while I record my acoustic drums. It’s a process that works really well!

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

For the most part, I follow Helloween’s model of writing cool metal songs that are not evil. Wound Too Tight, for instance, can simply be a song about a mummy, or for someone looking for a deeper meaning, it can be about someone struggling to understand the purpose of their existence, contemplating suicide, and choosing to live. I don’t like getting preachy, though, but the message is in there for people who like to look for one.

Give us some background to your latest release.

Our first EP, “Playing With Monsters” was released January 10. Available on Spotify and everywhere else online. I also have a very limited number of CDs. People can email us through http://crueljuno.com/ if they’re interested in a CD.

Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

When I started out, I wanted to tie all of our songs together, not as a concept album, but using a general theme. I mentioned our first song, “Swallow My Medicine.” It had an overall Jekyll/Hyde feel, so I decided that each song would represent a classic monster: Jekyll/Hyde, Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Mummy. The monster theme also provided a great way to have quality music videos. I’d edit old monster movies and set them to our music. They’re fun to watch, and it’s really the only affordable option when musicians are spread all over the world. – Although for the new mummy single “Wound Too Tight” released mid-December, there was really not enough footage of mummies in any old mummy movie, so I had to shoot my own video. I bought a spandex bodysuit mummy costume and filmed myself in front of a tomb backdrop. It was all going OK until the zipper broke midway through the take. Ever worn a spandex bodysuit? Let me tell you a secret: They’re just like Cinderella. You have until the twelfth stroke of the clock to get home before you’re naked, because those suits will literally just peel off your body once the zipper fails. The suit was ruined, so I had to reuse the first half of the take I’d filmed, making the mummy video I filmed genuine B-Movie material. Rock and Roll!

Here’s the links to our brand new “Wound Too Tight” lyric video on Facebook and YouTube:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/crueljuno/videos/2433587356904085/ and YT: https://youtu.be/9p8JXWTxpCI

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

We record one song at a time, from our home studios, in our spare time. It’s the only way I can afford this project. I pay the musicians, and then pay for mixing and mastering. It all adds up. And I never add it up! Don’t tell me the cost! LOL

Tell us about the live side to the band?

CRUEL JUNO only exists as a recording project. We are spread across the world, and the various guest musicians are all involved in their own much larger projects.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

Reaching people is the hardest part. I know that there are large numbers of people who would be interested in this project if they knew we existed. For instance, my “vampire” song with Fabio Lione reached about 6,000 people. That same week, he released his first single with Turilli Lione Rhapsody, and they had over 100,000 views within a few days. I can’t help but think that those 100,000 would have also listened to his song with us if they’d known about it. And so I am not aiming locally or regionally at all. I need a way to let global audiences know when their favourite musicians are recording a single with us.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

Our audience is 100% through social media. I don’t necessarily like their rules, though. Facebook does not like posts that send people outside their platform. And so if I try to promote a YouTube link, Facebook will downplay it. I end up having to upload the video within Facebook, which results in zero traffic to YouTube. So if you look at our video counts on Facebook, we’re doing pretty well, but our YouTube clicks are abysmal. It’s a nut I’m still trying to crack. If you have the solution, let’s talk!

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add?

This project is unlike any other that I know of. I’m an ordinary guy who decided to hit up the people on his favourite albums to see if they’d be willing to jam with him. So for all of you who are banging away on your drums or grinding on your guitar in your bedroom wishing you could jam with your favourite band, I’m here to tell you, it is possible!

Check Cruel Juno out further @

http://crueljuno.com/   https://www.facebook.com/crueljuno/   https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLSvLBp3Ds-9bzGNhDKeaQg/featured

Pete RingMaster 12/02/2020

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