Rousing waltzes and alluring confrontations: talking Calling All Astronauts with David Bury

Calling All Astronauts_RingMaster Review

British electro rockers Calling All Astronauts continued an inescapable trend of releasing some of the UK’s finest provocative and rousing encounters with their new album Anti-Social Network a short few weeks back. An uncaging of snarling and virulent rock ‘n’ roll with a political and emotional bite, the album showed the addictive prowess of CAA in getting bodies bouncing and thoughts exploring. Meaning for a long time to talk with the band, the outstanding album was the spark which made the time to act now. So with big thanks to band vocalist/writer/producer David Bury, we turned the spotlight on CAA and Anti-Social Network with plenty more insights in tow.

Hi David and thanks for sharing time with us.

Before we get into your new album, Anti-Social Network, can you tell us about the beginnings of Calling All Astronauts for those still new to the band? How did you all meet and what became the spark to the creation of the band?

J and I used to be in a band called US:UK together, J then went on to be in the pop-punk Caffeine. Caffeine had drawn to a standstill after numerous tours of the UK and US, we bumped into each other and just thought we’d like to have a jam for old time’s sake. One thing led to another and Calling All Astronauts was born. We originally had Andy the Caffeine drummer, but he went travelling, while he was away I decided to learn about programming drums and keys, and that’s how the sound we now have developed.

As you said all of you in the band now have experiences before and outside of Calling All Astronauts; how much has the band been shaped by those musical adventures either in where you want to go with it or in what not to get involved in again?

You learn a lot about the industry over the years; the good memories, the parties, the massive gigs are the ones you cherish, but the knowledge you gain about how the music business runs really shapes your attitude towards it.

We first caught on to the band through the single Winter Of Discontent in 2012, which was your second? This was already a lively and potent time for the band live, the playing with the likes of Echo & The Bunnymen, PWEI, Sigue Sigue Sputnik and A Place To Bury Strangers amongst your shows, and in making music as well as reactions to those early releases. What was the feeling in CAA back then and how has that differed over time, if at all?

The feeling than was actually pretty much the same as it is now, we always feel both flattered and humbled that anyone likes our music, we are just three guys recording in my lounge, yeah in modern terms that’s a studio, but it’s a lounge nonetheless; we’ve got Sky Sports on in the background, my cats walking through, and we are under the Heathrow flight path, so I regularly have to redo a vocal when a plane has been particularly low. :)  We do what we do; it’s a kind of love us or hate us, it’s your choice, we won’t take it personally if we are not to your tastes, but we’ll embrace you as a friend if you get what we do.

Calling All Astronauts Promo PictureSince then singles, EPs, and an impressive debut album has come and gone; all leading to the recent release of second album Anti-Social Network. Following the band over those encounters, your music has clearly evolved and grown over time. From the inside how do you see and hear that change?

I think that is a direct reflection on my production skills. I’ve learnt so much in the last four years about how to actually make a record. We are a Rock And Roll band that works in the manner of a dance act; we pay a lot of attention to how our records sound sonically. We took a long time recording Anti-Social Network because we wanted to make an album that we’ll still be proud of as a piece of art in 25 years’ time.

Apart from personnel, how too as CAA changed mentally in regard to making music and how you deal with the music scene.

I don’t think we have actually changed much, we are all kind of set into the people we are. We do however have an increasing dislike of the mainstream music industry, and how it brainwashes kids into thinking things that are mediocre at best are amazing. If you swallow diamonds your turds with contain diamonds, but they will still be turds.

The band is seems defiantly DIY; your releases for example being uncaged on your own Supersonic Media. Has that always been the intention or just how things have worked out?

It seems that way, as yet, we’ve never sent any demos or any of our releases to any record labels. Actually I lie. I did give a copy of the first album to Brett the radio guru at Epitaph. I met him in LA and just wanted him to know how we sound rather than looking for a deal, so gave him a copy of the album, but that’s about it. We like having artistic control; yes we would be a lot bigger than we are if we were with a big indie or major, but at what artistic cost. I’m doubtful any of them would allow us to make an album as eclectic as Anti-Social Network; they want their artists to make an album of the same track 11 times, all the different variations around the same three chords.

Let us get right into Anti-Social Network now. Did you approach its writing and creation as you have previous releases or try something different in its making?

Yes pretty much, except we had Paul on board for this one. We tend to start with a drum track and built up from there, it’s quite like building a house, and as we all know, without solid foundations you may as well build your house out of straw.

You seem to have woven essences of many of your inspirations over the decades in its sound which was an extra tasty spice for us as I know we share similar favourite artists and songs from the seventies and eighties especially. Was this something you set out to do or just an organic arising from the writing?

Not really, we had a bunch of ideas, and as they grew organically into the songs they now are, we often referenced them using the names of the bands that they had a feel of. All the album sounds like us; I don’t think any of it could be called a pastiche. I think it’s maybe more a case of, band X made some amazing records, let’s see if we can make something that can stand up in its own right against what they did. It would have been the easiest thing in the world for us to make 11 tracks all sounding like Time To Fight Back or conversely Always Be True, but that’s really not what we are about. CAA to us is about making music we like, it’s not some master plan to sell millions of records; we’d rather be Clock DVA than Coldplay every day of the week.

Like many we generally call CAA an electro punk/rock band. As the new album shows, your sound is much richer and varied than that suggests. How would you describe it for newcomers?

It’s kind of like a ride on the world biggest Rock And Roll Rollercoaster. You never know whether it’s going to turn, or drop or go upside down until it’s upon you. Wow that sounds pretentious; ok, just imagine all your favourite left field rock bands since 1976, i.e. Killing Joke, Ministry, PIL, Bauhaus, New Order, Psychedelic Furs, and then getting them produced by Skrillex and Prodigy

Lyrically Anti-Social Network is as biting as ever, something easy to expect from your music, but equally there seems a thicker intimacy to some songs too. Can you give some background to art_RingMasterReviewthe themes of songs and to the album in general?

I have been hoping somebody would ask this, this will be quite extensive but I’ve been longing to go through the album track by track, please feel free to edit this if you want.

  1. Living The Dream

I grew up in a northern town, not a city, and in towns you see people on the local music scene who are the “big cheese”, they walk around like Billy Big Bollocks, they get a little bit of interest from local radio and think all they have to do is move to the big city and world will be the oyster. When the reality is something far different, when you make that leap to pursue your dreams, you have to be prepared for the reality that you are suddenly a shrimp in an ocean of sharks.

  1. Empire

We are very active on social media, especially Twitter, where we have a lot of young followers, and I see their tweets about how in love they are and the next second they are broken hearted. It’s kind of sending the message that broken hearts are only temporary when you’re a teen and that you are going to fall in love many times during your life and that if one relationship doesn’t work out, move on to the next one.

  1. Time To Fight Back

The world and society is pretty much on the brink of imploding; if the majority of us don’t stand up and say, “enough is enough” 1% of the world’s population has 99% of the wealth. There are children dying because they don’t have clean water, how can that be right in 2016?

  1. Hands Up Who Wants To Die?

Is about youth crime and gang violence and how leaving the house with a weapon can lead to a whole heap of consequences due to one thoughtless move

  1. Life As We Know It

This is about envy and how people wish they were somebody else, it’s clichéd but life is what you make of it. If you’re happy in your life, embrace the fact you are happy and celebrate it, if you are not happy, do something about it. Sitting on your ass complaining is never going to improve things, unless you grasp the metal and go for it.

  1. The American Dream

It is not particularly about the US, but as the American Dream has always been held up as a goal for what people can achieve through hard work, I thought it was a good example for society as a whole, and how things have changed from the days that people left school with ambitions of professions or trades. They now want to be YouTubers or famous on Vine, they want fame from zero talent in a narcissistic shallow world.

  1. God Is Dead

God is a metaphor for consumerism; you don’t get consumerism without the word consume and society has become all consumed with the latest product X until they have it, and once they have it, their thirst for the net product X is instantly greater than their joy at getting the latest thing they’ve craved for.

  1. Always Be True

As I mentioned earlier we have a lot of young fans, this is a message to them not to bow to peer pressure. If you don’t like something or don’t want to do something never be afraid to say no, because one day, your day will come.

  1. Look In Your Eye

This is about the cynical people at major labels who only see artists as product and really have no feelings about the long term futures of said artists as long as they have them signed to 360 deals, make a profit and keep themselves in a job

  1. Black World

Is really saying, I don’t have all the answers, but if you listen to what I’m saying in my lyrics and think about them and join us in thinking that the world doesn’t have to be like this, together we can make the world a better place

  1. Divisive

Is about how the media and governments manipulate the news to suit their own agendas. They tell us they are doing it for righteous reasons when it’s all about greed and power and that once you turn to violence it becomes both self-perpetuating and self-defeating; hence the chant of Greed Equals Power Equals War Equals Death repeating almost to infinitum at the end because wars go on and on and only increase the misery.

Do the same things predominantly rile up the lyrical muse or are you adding to the recipe of sparks as years and records pass?

The constant in my psyche is that I don’t like inequalities in society.  I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be rewarded for doing good work or being enterprising but I don’t think people should be forced to live in poverty. I just think people need to keep their eyes open and feel compassion for others, see both sides of every story; never judge people on their race colour creed, religion or lack of it, or their sexual orientation. Judge people on whether they are good people or not. While these things still exist in society, I will maintain my motivation as a lyricist.

Can you give us some insight into the recording of Anti-Social Network; any unexpected dramas and surprises?

There were no real disasters along the way, however it did take way longer than we hoped or expected it would. In all it took 2000 hours to record;, I think that’s maybe on a par with some of the 70’s prog rock bands, but you have to be truly happy with your records as you have to live with them forever once you release them.

CAA_RingMasterReviewFor most artists it is fair to say that playing live is their favourite part of making music. When it comes to writing and recording something though, what is your favourite part or element?

It’s actually when people tell you that they have listened to your record and really got what you’re doing. It’s the greatest feeling in the world to know you are not the only people that think the way you do.

Is there any particular moment in Anti-Social Network which gives you an extra glow of satisfaction?

There are three parts I love; on the intro of Divisive where the combination of guitar drums and keys gives the impression of a weird pitch shift on the drop, it gets me every time. I also love the almost UK Garage drop on the middle 8 of Always Be True, and J’s guitars on Life As We Know that sound like Cellos. But we are very proud of all of it, I honestly believe there are no fillers on the album and that if we released all eleven tracks as singles, we could get radio play on all of them, I could however be delusional.

Tell us about the art work for the album which seems to sum up the air of the great release more and more every time you look at it.

It was amazing, we were trying to come up with ideas, and Paul had googled the word Anti-Social Network and up this came. It’s an actual sculpture by South African artist Maurice Mbiyaki. We contacted him and asked if we could use it on the cover, and he replied “he’d be honoured”; the rest is history. J

What is next in store for CAA fans and the band itself?

We are working on a new live set and will be out and about before too long. Time To Fight Back is set to be released as a single in June with David CAA VIP Remix and a specially recorded cover version.

Big thanks again David for chatting with us; anything you would like to add?

Not really other than a big thanks to you for being so supportive of our releases, we really do appreciate the kind words you have written about us.

And finally, give us an insight into the records and artists which could be claimed to have most inspired your own life and creativity.

Blimey, this is a massive question for me; I think I can nail it down to genres rather than actual acts, I’m very influenced by, Punk, Northern Soul, Goth, Metal, 80’s Hiphop, Synthpop, Industrial, EDM, 90s Indie, Post-Punk, Hardcore, Big Beat, Reggae, Ska, and DnB.

Check out our review of Anti-Social Network @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/calling-all-astronauts-anti-social-network/

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Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 16/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Searching the creative dance of warfare with Chris Emery of American Head Charge

ahc chris_RingMasterReview

We have not been alone in declaring Tango Umbrella, the new album from American Head Charge, as not only one of the band’s most thrilling and potent offerings but one of metal’s most exhilarating incitements in recent times. Following the successful Shoot EP, the album confirmed after a hiatus that the band has returned creatively bigger and bolder than ever. With the offer to find out more laid before us, we quickly seized the opportunity to quiz drummer Chris Emery about not only Tango Umbrella but also on that six year absence, the kinship within the band, and much more…

Hello Chris and great thanks for sharing some of your time with us.

I think most metal fans know something about the beginning of American Head Charge and certainly your albums, The War Of Art and The Feeding. But the reasons for the hiatus we realised we were definitely in the dark. Before looking at the mighty treat that is Tango Umbrella, can you explain why the break and more so what sparked the band’s return?

Certainly Pete, I wouldn’t mind shining some light on that spot of AHC history for you. Basically the hiatus was Chad Hanks, co-founder and man with the plan, closing up the A.H.C. shop. Continually not being able to make contact with Cameron (Heacock) for song collaboration purposes and anything band related, he naturally called it quits. He tried to get in touch with him but they weren’t able to get together. As far as we knew at the time the break was permanent. Then one day, out of the clear blue, Cameron emails Chad new demos. No “hi, how you /this is what’s going on.” After Chad heard Cameron’s voice he knew that he was healthy and writing amazing work. I received the same demos. Some of them were songs that Justin and Chad were working on in addition to the brilliant work coming from Cameron. We were all just so happy to know that he was alright and in a happy creative frame of mind.

And the songs were exciting to boot so that was a plus and the spark that supplied all the energy this collaborative shared dream needed to gain lift and begin to take shape. The whole year leading up to Chad sending me songs and asking if I was down to play again; I was setting off sparks every day in my own mind. I would sit and daydream about playing with them again. Mentally preparing myself for the day that spark caught fire and set in motion the series of events leading us here. The spark was the music. As soon as I heard the demos for Let All The World Believe and Perfectionist, I just knew in my heart that these songs were a pre-production process away from being an incredible record. We knew it was going to take every ounce of energy and clout we could gather to make it happen. The fans were a huge spark. When we did the indigo campaign and it was a huge success it became real. We began pinching each other on a daily basis.

ahc4_RingMasterReviewI often wonder when a band stops or goes on a hiatus and then returns sometimes years later, how much is feeling like there is unfinished business, how much is working through issues and then members coming to a mutual kinship again, and how much is simply as a music fan being inspired by other’s great releases to go again or to show some how it should be done…any apply to AHC?

All of it applies. There were loads of new songs to work on together as a band. There was much work to be done and everyone was eager to get started. The mutual kinship came naturally. You get us together, and no matter what we’ve endured in the past, we squash it and move forward. We grew while apart, and I witnessed grown men with love in their hearts say and do everything needed to honestly come together. As we got sincere, the music grew tight. You could see it in our eyes and in our actions and behavior. We were on a mission to make an honest comeback that contained all the essential ingredients; overcoming hurdles, timeless music, support from fans, excitement from a record label, and the entire group giving 100%. Even when we had to overcome obstacles, we supported each other and never lost sight of why we decided to do this in the first place. Nothing great comes easy.

As we mentioned, you have just released the excellent Tango Umbrella, an album which for us is as much a kaleidoscope of your creative highlights to date and indeed inspirations as it is a wholly fresh and stirring AHC proposal. Did you have any particular intention in the writing of the album and the character of its sound to re-connect with the past or was it something which organically emerged?

It emerged and evolved organically. A lot of our tried and true methods of writing become helpful when working with new songs. Remember, this is coming from a self-taught drummer that doesn’t write lyrics or music. When we got together and played what they originally wrote it evolved into the finished songs. Sometimes changing a little, other times remaining much closer to the original song idea. On this and past records I contributed a few ideas. Mostly from what I witness and hear when watching my brother’s work, some kind of magical muse takes over. We do our best to get our egos out of the way and let it guide us. Sometimes it’s as simple as doing the part that was written and let the original attraction of the music have its voice heard through the live recording process. I would complicate simple parts at times. It would take direction from everyone to keep me focused. And sometimes it flowed naturally with less effort. We just did our best to create the structure for the song that fit the music perfectly. Sometimes on the spot creativity and experimentation guided the production along. Those were exciting moments.

I can assume the songs within the album are all new propositions or were there older thoughts and previously unused ideas also brought back into the open?

There were a few songs in pre-production that didn’t make the record. Because there was such a large selection of songs and ideas, it was a mixed bag for a while. It had to be carefully sifted through to come up with the perfect selection of tunes, a process helped by having Dave Fortman use his production expertise to help guide us. Most of the songs were new. I did hear a few ideas that were reshaped into ground-breaking AHC effort.

How in general do you hear your sound’s evolution over especially your albums to this point?

I hear more dynamics in the music and lyrically. Cameron is stretching out, coming up with mind blowing ideas. Justin’s involvement in song writing and growth has been amazing. I’m just trying to keep up with all of it and get better as their songwriting evolves.

How did the band approach the creation of Tango Umbrella in the writing and its recording? Was it majorly different to how you went into making The Feeding for example?

I wouldn’t say majorly different in music writing and lyrics. Justin wrote lyrics. That was different. The fans paid for it. That was a major difference art_RingMasterReviewand help. It was recorded in beautiful Richmond, Kentucky. The backdrop of lush green pasture with miles of fences was much softer than the LA concrete. Especially when walking the dog. When we did pre-production for The Feeding we were at Cole Rehearsal studios. LA had more distractions but the studio was bigger. I was fresh out of treatment during The Feeding; recorded it stone sober.

You have touched on this in regard to the new album but generally how do songs come together within the band? Is there a specific method or more regular way by which tracks come about?

Most of the time, Chad and Cameron write songs then bring them to us. The regular is we learn the tunes then we all pre-produce them. There are so many ways they can come together. Starting with riffs, lyrics, samples, loops triggered manually keeping time.

How long had Tango Umbrella been in the making?

From when we started recording it took longer than originally planned. But we had to pay as we went; the way I see it, since The Feeding was finished.

Were its seeds and direction already planted in thoughts in the early moments of the band’s return and the Shoot EP, which I would say in hindsight, gives a definite hint or two about what was to come ?

Yes that is a fairly accurate statement. Shoot was more of a snapshot of where we were musically at the time. It was tracked quickly while on tour. With Tango Umbrella we had more of an opportunity to let songs evolve more before recording.

As you touched on earlier, the band went down the crowd funding route for Tango Umbrella. Do you think this is the way for bands to go now; the future of being able to make music once a band hits a certain fan base level?

It worked well for us. You can do a lot with several thousand dollars. You can also do much these days with less. So depending on how much the band could raise. It does look like a great option for bands today.

ahc3Can you tell us about the themes running through Tango Umbrella and certain songs?

I could but right now Christopher is going to pass. It’s a great question.

How about the emotion loaded A King Among Men? We got the feeling it was inspired by the loss of AHC guitarist Bryan Ottoson in 2005 but also may be by more recent losses like Wayne Static and of course Lemmy. What are its origins?

Not sure exactly, but it makes me think of Bryan and my brother Tim. The song gives me cold chills.

Who came up with the excellent art work and photography for Tango Umbrella?

Forgot sorry, I’d have to ask Chad; it’s getting super early I’m so sleepy

Once more many thanks for chatting with us. Anything you would like to add?

I could use a nap😉

Check out our review of Tango Umbrella @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2016/03/24/american-head-charge-tango-umbrella/

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Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 14/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Numerous shades of a melodic glow: exploring the creative bulb that is Broken Glow

Broken Glow_RingMasterReview

Broken Glow is a band which has been creating its own distinct rock ‘n’ roll driven roar over the past eight or so years whilst becoming a potent proposition on the Georgia rock scene in recent times with their diverse and adventurous songwriting and sound. February saw the release of the band’s new album Filament, an attention grabbing proposition creating one of the reasons to delve deeper into the band and its heart which the members of Broken Glow kindly assisted with…

Hi guys, thanks for talking with us.

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

Broken Glow consists of Paul Burba on drums, Sara Clash on bass, and Garrett Deming on guitar and vocals. Though the band began in 2008, we’ve gone through a few line-up changes. Paul started the band with some old friends from high school, one of whom met Garrett when they both studied at Ithaca College in upstate NY. In 2008 we all got together in Hartford, CT, and since that time we’ve lived in Brooklyn, NY, and currently in Savannah, GA. The love of playing together is really what’s kept the band going through it all.

Have you been involved in other bands before and have those experiences had any noticeable impact on what you are doing now?

Sara used to play with Chicks Throwing Bricks in NYC, Culture Vulture in Savannah, GA and currently plays with Tokalos, a 3-piece surf-blues group based out of Savannah. Born and raised in Sweden, she has a lot of experience performing in various instrumentations, as well as many years’ time working in the music industry. Her understanding of back-of-house event logistics, management techniques, etc. has been invaluable to our band as she’s brought those skills to Broken Glow. The other members of Tokalos are old friends from NYC, so we’re happy to see them playing and are sure to book the bands such that our schedules don’t interfere.

Garrett has a background in classical music since a young age, but Broken Glow is his first rock band. Recently he’s been filling in for local blues outfit Jubal Kane, which has really given him a chance to work on his lead guitar chops. Paul likewise has filled in with local acts Xuluprophet and Sister Beards. We enjoy being a part of our music community, so collaborating and playing music in different iterations comes naturally. It can only make you a better player.

Broken Glow_RingMasterReviewWhat inspired the band name?

“Broken Glow” comes from Led Zeppelin and Beatles lyrics. “Broken” comes from Across the Universe (“images of broken light…”), and “glow” is from a line in Dancing Days referencing the “evening glow.”

Did you have any specific idea behind the band at its birth and indeed in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

The original band leader was founding member Brenner Eugenides. Highly proficient in jazz and blues guitar, he was tired of playing in cover bands and so gathered Paul and Jon (original vocalist), friends since childhood, to begin a project. As soon as Garrett was recruited we wrote roughly 15 songs.

There was no specific guideline as to what the songs should sound like, only that it should sound like rock music. We knew we wanted to be riffy, in the vein of blues but without relying on standard changes. The bands we all love to listen to are adventurous, so we try not to limit ourselves regarding style. There are a lot of odd modes and scales, and we are careful to use different key centers and rhythmic devices so as not to have every song sound like the same old thing. That said, we’ve settled on “bluesy grunge” as a descriptive term.

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

To an extent we’re driven by some of the same things, specifically the love of performing on stage, the bond that exists between musicians during that performance, the energy flow between perfumer and observer… these are all elemental aspects of playing that keep any musician going.

That said, we’ve learned a lot as a group and as people over the previous 8 years. In the early days we dreamed of fame and fortune, stadium tours around the globe, all the tropes of rock n roll that young dreamers get drunk on. Those hopes still exist to an extent, but they aren’t what drive us forward anymore. After the death of Brenner in 2012, the band took some time off to find center. When we reconvened the next year, the fire was different. Now we rock to honor our fallen friend, and to remember not to take for granted how much fun it is when we play.

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

Well we’re certainly better players now than we were then! It’s hard to analyze your own work, but it seems like the biggest thing that’s changed is that we now have a single guitar rather than the 2-guitar team we’d become used to. Our recordings still feature dual guitar lines, often times harmonized or with a lead/rhythm relationship, but it’s been Garrett overdubbing himself for the last 2 recordings. We’ve been exposed to all kinds of music during the career of the band, and those influences definitely show these days as our live sets could contain a blistering metal tune, an Otis Redding crooner, and an Eastern meditation one after the next.

Has that evolution of sound been more of an organic movement or more done to the band deliberately wanting to try new things?

A bit of both, really. When Sara joined the group she brought her own particular rhythmic ideas and harmonic sense, which naturally evolved some of the older material as she played it, not to mention those that we’ve written and recorded together. That said we feel it’s important to push yourself if you truly want to get better at what you do, and sometimes that means trying something out that seems out of place. For example, our newest album features a piano accompaniment, which is a big departure from previous recordings. It just sounded too good not to use, and it brings a different tone as the album winds down. We don’t like to do things differently just for the sake of it, but if something works it works, regardless of where it comes from.

There is a wide range of inspirations across the band and any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but maybe your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing Broken Glow_RingMasterReviewmusic?

Musically we take heavily after late 60’s and 70’s rock bands (Zeppelin, Hendrix), and their exploratory approach to recording and live improvisation. We’ve always appreciated the work ethic of those classic bands, touring and recording constantly, always pushing their own abilities. Philosophically we understand that music has power, and as such it’s important to send out good vibes with it. Hendrix never wrote a song about hate.

Is there a regular process to the songwriting within the band?

In recent years Garrett has written the bulk of new material. Songs come from all different places – observations of strangers, personal anxieties or reflections, little stories – but usually begin on the guitar. After a rough form is worked out the song is jammed in rehearsal and the structure is finished when it feels natural. Other times we’ll record our rehearsals and find the bits where we were jamming, and a song can magically appear. Those are usually the best songs, when everyone has input.

Where does the lyrical side of songs most draw inspiration from?

Some of the songs are about direct experience (i.e. Blister, Sun Comes Up), others are indictments of injustice or apathy (i.e. Iconoclast, Mr. Suit & Tie). Garrett writes nearly all the lyrics, and he has a firm literary background, so rhyme schemes and rhythm are generally heavily employed. Then again, sometimes the lyrics just come, walking to work and written on a napkin. Our newest song, Us and Ants, uses a verbatim statement made by Paul in casual conversation. If you keep your eyes and ears open you can find inspiration in just about anything.

Please give us some background to your latest release.

Filament was recorded in August 2015 at Habitat Noise Studios in Wilmington Island, GA. Donal Moats served as engineer and recorded us on 2″ reel to reel tape. Our friend Chris Horton helped out as producer and briefly played with the band during preparation for the release. We partnered with Southbound Brewing Company, a local brewery in Savannah, GA, and concocted a custom beer to be sold at the release show, which was held at the brewery. We released the album February 19th 2016 and were joined at the release show by local rockers BBXF. Local radio broadcast live from the event, and we played the entire album in order while liquid light artist Planetary Projections dazzled with an insane light display. Here’s a clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkyOAkBMrog . It was a great time, and we’re very happy with the new album.

Can you offer some insight into the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

One of our goals with Filament was to cover a lot of sonic territory and with it various subjects. As the filament is what allows a bulb to glow, so the album attempts to hit the root of emotion and what drives you to get up every morning. The first 3 songs are from the early days of the band, while the following 6 are newly written as of April 2015.

Iconoclast opens the album, an apocalyptic howl against false idols and those who would wield power with impunity. Running Scared and Smoke both struggle with personal issues (i.e. paranoia, addiction), then the album opens up with Monk Mode, a psychedelic meditation. Fish Out of Water has no proper lyrics to speak of, though the ideas behind its title are howled by Sara. Next is Blue Dream, a rift rock tune about brotherhood, and Blister, a quick punk-inspired song about how inconveniences can become advantageous with the right mind. Cousin is the most personal song on the album, exploring the themes of family, age and retrospection, whilst to round it off Well stomps as a bluesy ode to pure water, the essential element of life.

Broken Glow art_RingMasterReviewAre 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 never write in the studio. Studio time is precious and often expensive, so we’ve always worked the songs out before we go in to record. We prefer to record live, together in the same room, which we did for Filament. There is very little additional production on the album.

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

Obviously playing live is the best part about being in a band. It’s the only time you’re in the true element of a performing musician, and it can be the best and worst experience ever. We like to improvise heavily during our sets, sometimes extending solo sections, other times throwing medleys together on the spot. We prefer long gigs to short 30 minute sets, as we’ve accumulated a lot of material in our 8 years. Generally Sara and Garrett have mics, allowing for harmonies and interplay between vocalists. We rarely play the same set, and frequently attend local open mics to try out new material in front of an audience or to help promote upcoming events. Live music is literally what our lives revolve around, even outside of the band. We’re always going to our friends’ shows or gathering community musicians at our house for food and music.

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

There are always opportunities to succeed if you have the tenacity to stick it through. Many bands don’t last more than a few years, not accepting the fact that success depends largely on longevity. Yes, there are rare situations where a young prodigy becomes a star overnight, but generally it’s a much slower process. Labels don’t allow artists the opportunity for growth like they used to. Instead, they expect a seasoned, professional act before they’ll sign anything. With this in mind, people who join a band to become rich and famous don’t generally last very long.

In the southeast USA, there are many local and regional opportunities for growth, but our operation is funded solely by the members. We’ve never been affiliated with a management company or A&R firm, nor a record label of any kind. Since most “mainstream” media outlets are run by a very small handful of connected corporations it can be nearly impossible to break through to a large audience without being beholden to Viacom or ClearChannel. That said, the real consumers of music are regular people, and the more you play and make a good impression the wider your reach becomes. It’s just physics.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date?

Frankly we’re not huge social media users. While the internet’s capabilities of making people aware are obvious, we’re not the type of people with our nose stuck in a phone. Garrett and Sara don’t even have an internet connection at their house, and we prefer to spend more time talking with real people than wondering how many “likes” our newest photo got.

An issue with social media is that you must be strategic to use it in an effective way. Some people practically spam everyone they know with show invites and page requests, to the point where the boy who cried wolf can’t get someone to pay attention when they’re doing something REALLY cool. We use the standard sites, but don’t live and die by them. We like print media and radio airtime locally for promotion, as well as the old fashioned technique (who remembers fliers and handbills?)

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

If you’re just learning to play, keep playing! If you just started gigging, keep gigging! If you like a new band, interact with them and support them! Music is a community-based activity, not just an iTunes playlist. Thanks for digging the band!

http://brokenglow.com/    https://www.facebook.com/BrokenGlow

Pete Ringmaster

The RingMaster Review 13/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Exploring the roar of The Erkonauts with Ales Campanelli

ales_RingMasterReview

With their recent signing with Kaotoxin Records, those of us who missed it first time around had the very welcome chance to grab the debut album from Geneva’s The Erkonauts. Quickly devoured on its first self-released outing, the world-wide re-release of I Did Something Bad has allowed those slow to the presence and roar of the band to explore their ferociously diverse and increasingly fascinating tempest of genre varied flavours and sound. The album was a rousing and invasive slab of voracious, the kind of incitement that “heavy duty recommendations swarm to.” As the quartet prepares to create their already highly anticipated follow-up, we eagerly grabbed the chance to talk with bassist/vocalist and ex-Sybreed, Ales Campanelli about the band and their first album whilst looking for clues and spoilers about their next offering.

Hello Ales and thanks for talking with us.

Before we get on to your recently re-released and rather tasty debut album, can you tell us about the beginnings of the band; its seeds and birth etc.

We started really existing in early 2014, so there isn’t much history yet. We come from different bands in Geneva, and the timing was right for us to meet around this project. Everything was very organic. The Erkonauts are a natural free flowing occurrence.

Did you have any specific intent and ideas with band and sound at the start?

I think so yeah. We really wanted this Metal blend with a punkish progish touch. Mostly, we wanted to have fun. And tour. You gotta have tours.

The Erkonauts_RingMasterReviewIt is fair to say that your sound fears no boundaries and hungrily embraces a multitude of flavours. For newcomers how would you best describe it?

Well thank you very much! I like to describe what we do as Progressive Punk. But I guess it can be confusing because we wander in the Metal genre, and all these words have various meaning in the mind of people. We have been placed in so many different categories that we lost track of it. So in the end, full circle…I go back to Progressive Punk, for the oxymoron.

As I mentioned, recently your debut album I Did Something Bad was unleashed again, this time via the outstanding Kaotoxin label. Originally released in 2014 in limited amounts, it is probably fair to say that there has been a horde of appetites waiting to get their hands upon it too. Did you sense this and was it one of the main reasons for its re-release?

We released a second batch in 2015, and this one also sold out, which is fantastic. We were convinced that the album still has a lot to offer, and would benefit greatly from a worldwide exposure, which it did. We discussed it with the indeed outstanding Kaotoxin and they agreed to insert it in their catalogue. In the long run, it keeps the album easily available, and it gives it an “official” touch. It is part of the band history as an official release instead of deluxe demo. So it’s all good things and we are truly grateful.

Tell us about its creation and the premise behind its themes.

We felt the urge to release some no bullshit rock n roll. Without going in too many details, some of our previous musical endeavours became more about complicated and uninteresting stuff than about music. It was boring and hurtful. I Did something Bad is all about tension release. It’s pure freedom. Sincere and heartfelt. The themes are mostly urban, and revolve in many occasions about the need to compare ourselves to others, to reach standards we don’t care for and to live in envy. Of course this isn’t true for all the songs. 9 is better than 8 is about nine being better than eight for instance.

Were songs and ideas all fresh since the formation of The Erkonauts or were there some things going further back which have been lying in wait within the imagination and subsequently woven into the band’s invention for I Did Something Bad?

That’s a very relevant question. The vast majority of the content was new, and created specifically for this album. There is however here and there the occasional riff that I had for a long time without finding a proper use for it. I can recall that it is the case in the beginning of Gog.

You are working on its successor I believe also to be released via Kaotoxin? How far along is the album?

You are very correct! We are currently in the writing process, which should be over soon. The recording will start around the end of spring and will take about two months. We’re going back to the Downtone studio in Geneva, since the last experience was such a pleasant one.

Any spoilers you can offer to whet the appetite further?

Well we don’t have much to say right now. We intend to keep a video journal of the recording and share the whole process. There will most likely be a music video further along the way. Of course the spirit of the band will remain unchanged.

Have you approached the album any differently to its predecessor in the writing or recording?art_RingMaster Review

I don’t think so. We have the habit of working almost every day on the songs. Rethinking and rearranging them constantly, until… we’re too late and have to record them. I joke, but we like to take time for the arrangements to shape the song in a comfortable way. So the process is, at least at the moment, the same.

How would you say your sound has evolved between those first songs and those on the forthcoming release?

I kinda think it’s too soon to tell for that. We’re too involved in it to see that clearly right now. Maybe we’ll know a lot more about that when the rehearsals will start.

What did you learn with the first album which you have employed or pushed further for the new encounter?

We know that we will record in a safe environment which will allow us the possibility to experiment on a few things and even do some last minute arrangements. This is a pure treasure to us.

Can you give any clue of a possible release date?

It’s going to be in 2017, not much else is set in stone I’m afraid.

Other than working on the album what else has The Erkonauts got in store for 2016?

Well the making of the album and rehearsals will probably take most of our summer, but after that, it’s all about touring. We have plans to travel in Europe and Russia in fall, something in Asia seems to be shaping up. And of course, we’d love to visit the US again!

My thanks to you again for sparing time to talk with us. Any last thoughts you would like to add?

Well thank you very much for the interview and the sweet sweet review!

The Erkonauts2_RingMasterReviewAnd finally, give us an insight into the records and artists which could be claimed to have most inspired your own creative life.

Well I can’t talk for the whole band on that matter. We each have our own distinct tastes. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s definitely going to be bands from the 70s. On the top of my head I can think of Uriah Heep or Queen. The album In Trance from the Scorpions is one I consider a timeless masterpiece.  On more recent acts, Suicidal Tendencies, Primus, Faith No More, New Model Army… There are so many. And of course, a Swiss, it is our sworn duty to mention Coroner and Samael:) which both had a huge impact on my childhood.

Read our review of the Kaotoxin Records released I Did Something Bad @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2016/02/12/the-erkonauts-i-did-something-bad/

https://www.facebook.com/theerkonauts    http://www.erkonauts.com

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 25/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

The art of choosing…talking with The Dreamer Within

The Dreamer Within_RingMasterReviewPromo Shot

Hailing from Exeter in the UK, The Dreamer Within is a band beginning to lure very potent attention with their compelling metalcore bred sound. Young as an outfit, they have already shown themselves a fresh presence and roar on the British metal scene with a stage presence that has audiences swinging s evidence by acclaimed shows with the likes of I Divide, Glamour of the Kill, Skindred, and Palisades. Recently the quintet unveiled a new video for the song Purge for another big poke at broad attention. It had us wanting to know more, so with thanks to the guys we explored the beginnings of The Dreamer Within, their new video, an impending EP, and more besides…

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

That’s kewl😀

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

Alex and Charlie started writing stuff when they were at Uni many years ago…like 7 years ago (they’re both well old). They both knew each other played guitar from school but Charlie didn’t like Alex because he had better hair and knew how to play more Metallica solos than him. However they ended up jamming together in a covers band and started writing their own stuff just for fun. They’d send each other random riffs and ideas and eventually ended up putting drums to some stuff so things sounded a bit more legit. One day though, Alex decided to put some synth over one of the riffs for a joke, however there was actually no laughing matter – it sounded genius. Well actually it sounded terrible but it started to influence some other things they wrote and eventually synth became a must for any song ideas. To cut a longer story shorter: they eventually got in touch with some people who they thought might be interested in actually playing some stuff live, including Alex’s dear cousin Josh who loves to play a bit of bass. After a few years of practice, writing and re-writing everything and a couple of line-up changes we eventually managed to play a show in July 2014. Ultimately, our love of metalcore probably brought us together, plus we all really like wearing vests. We all have pretty similar music tastes though, ranging from more straight up metal to trance/EDM so going down the contemporary metalcore route was a pretty natural thing for us.

What sparked the decision to form the band and the direction it was to take?

It’s always been quite a natural development, we all love our music heavy and full of synth! As mentioned above, the original conception of the band happened years ago (you can probably still find the original version of Recovery on the internet without having to look too hard) and the direction of the band really just came from a culmination of the things we love about music, minus Taylor Swift’s voice though unfortunately.

The Dreamer Within_RingMasterReviewIs there any specific meaning behind the name?

Choosing our name was a stressful time. We all had terrible ideas and it got pretty frustrating as all the super cool names were taken according to numerous Google searches.  We agonized over so many until one day at practice, Charlie lost it and said “right, I’m going to my car to get my mountain dew and packet of cashews, I want a name by the time I return…” and sure enough, Eliott came up with The Dreamer Within. It probably reminds us most of Charlie being furious and eating cashew nuts, although on a more serious note, we liked it as it vibed well with our style as a lot of our lyrics relate to recognising what’s important within oneself and looking at the world outside the box if you catch our drift. At the core of it, the name refers to the part of yourself that is dormant inside that aspires for greater experiences.

Tell us about your early days as a band; the unforeseen surprises and difficulties which you came up against that maybe musicians do not expect or realise will show themselves.

It’s still pretty early days really! I think one thing we never really considered was just how much effort (and equipment) has to go into creating the kind of sound that we have to manipulate live. I’d say one of the biggest surprises was probably when we played our first show after releasing our debut single Heart of Mine as originally we just wanted to release some music and play a live gig to say that we’d done it; the feedback was so overwhelming that we decided to keep going and never really looked back. In hindsight we could have probably done a far better job at getting ourselves shows at the start – we ended up waiting to be asked by other bands a lot which was awesome when it happened but it did mean we struggled to keep ourselves booked up. Ultimately, we realised that everyone in the local Exeter scene was super nice and talking to people/other bands was the best way to get about. Typically, no one ever has any batteries and we use A LOT of batteries for all the wireless stuff etc. The amount of times we’ve had to do an emergency battery run before a show is ridiculous – we never learn! Josh is the worst for this and also equipment in general. One show we played in Plymouth had him kneeling on the floor playing after his strap broke mid set. Obviously he didn’t have any sort of backup plan so the drummer from The Core of IO had to duct-tape it up for him while he was playing…we looked really awesome…

As you say, it has been a relatively short time that The Dreamer Within has been around; how would you say your sound has evolved in that time?

To be honest not that much – the first two songs we released in 2014: Heart of Mine and Recovery 2.0 are songs that were written alongside a few others that we actually had in mind for our up and coming EP so we’re still very much influenced by our original ideas. We guess that people can probably expect a far heavier EDM presence in some of our more recent compositions but essentially we want to get better at what we started doing rather than change our sound loads of times before people really get to know us.

Do you write and create as a unit?

Alex and Charlie often lay down the primary structure for most of the tunes as they’re both guitarists. They also have the responsibility of recording, mixing and mastering everything so it makes sense for them to take the lead on that side of things. However overall the songs come together from everyone’s ideas as Eliott is a keen synth composer and Matt handles pretty much all the lyrical side of things. As much as we make fun of him, Josh is a sick bass player and he rarely has to be taught anything and is happy to write his own bass parts rather than mimic the guitars…All pretty harmonious really.

 You recently released the video for new track Purge. Tell us about the song’s theme first of all.

Purge is primarily about recognising agents of deception and control in everyday life and “Purging” the feeling that you need to conform to believing what’s force fed to you or allow yourself to be easily influenced by common sources of information. Essentially the message is ‘don’t believe everything you read/see, don’t just sit there letting the world carry you along, get out there and find your own truth.’ We hope we don’t sound too cliché and political!

The press release with its announcement suggested that your new tracks, as well as being more creatively imposing and inventive, have “a darker lyrical tone.” Can you elaborate upon that and The Dreamer Within2_RingMasterReviewdoes Purge epitomise that evolution or are there further dark depths to be discovered?

We think the darker elements come from the overall feel of the songs themselves rather than the lyrics. We find it impossible to write anything in a major key! However regardless of what the song is about, lyrically we always try and put a positive spin on things to inspire a more uplifting feel.

What kind of things most inspires the band’s lyrical side?

We like writing about mankind’s place in the Universe, why we’re all here, what we should be doing while we are here etc. We are all really into space and all that cool stuff so we’d like to think our songs have a really big epic feel to them. We also like writing about some supernatural/potentially supernatural stuff as we think that a lot of potential answers to the world’s great mysteries could lie in thinking a bit more radically than the norm. Our first single, Heart of Mine is actually about Final Fantasy 7 which is one of our favourite video games. Video games are a theme we’d like to explore more in the future. All of us are also massive Star Wars fans so you can probably expect to hear a song in the future that mentions about how Rey from the new film is the greatest female ever.

Back to the video; who did you film it with?

An ace gent who goes by the name of Ben Lumber; the frontman of Acres who are currently killing it in Europe.

Did you, as a band, have a particular idea for it in mind or left it to the director etc. to come up with the basis for what is certainly an eye catching, ear pleasing proposal.

We scouted out what we thought was a pretty cool location for a first video. To be perfectly honest we took a lot of influence from videos that came out in the golden 2008 – 2012 metalcore/(dare we say it) crabcore era. It’s not a big surprise to hear that we love all that stuff. Because it was all performance based, it was up to us to choreograph our moves and group shots. We tried to throw in as much energy from our live shows as possible so what you see in the video is pretty close to what we pull off live, although that can be dependent on the size of the venue! Ben had some great ideas for angles and solo shots etc. but we had a lot of input in the visual side of things and Ben was great at listening to our ideas and working with us.

I believe the band is working on a new EP? Can you give us some insight and spoilers to that?

Cheeky😉 I think we can probably let slip that the EP is going to be called This Is Not Our Home and will be out at the end of May. It will be made up of 5 tracks including Purge and another new song we’re doing a video for very soon. After listening all the way through, you should end up feeling like you’ve just danced with the Incredible Hulk at a rave until 6am.

Apart from the EP, what is in store for The Dreamer Within fans from hereon in across 2016?

We’ve got some really cool festival announcements coming up over the next few months including Massacre Fest in Gloucester. We also have our first tour booked from June 1st to 5th with High Rise, Follow the Wolf, and Last Hounds which we’re stupidly excited for. It will be our first time playing most of the venues on the schedule including dates in Leeds, Leamington Spa, and London so we’re really looking forward to seeing how we go down in places that aren’t near the South West.

Many thanks again for chatting with us. Anything you would like to add?

Thanks for having us! And to those of you coming to our hometown show of the tour on June 2nd – keep your eyes open for a ripped and kewl announcement about that😉

And finally, give us an insight into the records and artists which could be claimed to have most inspired your own life and creativity.

We’re inspired by a lot of the bands that people wouldn’t be surprised by like Asking Alexandria, Abandon All Ships and Enter Shikari etc. Although collectively, it’s not unusual to see us listening to artists/bands like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen, Bullet for my Valentine, Trivium, Black Sabbath, Whitesnake, Erra, Funeral for a Friend, Paramore, and The Lonely Island to name a few.

Check out The Dreamer Within further @ https://www.facebook.com/thedreamerwithin

Pete RingMaster

The Ringmaster Review 23/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Grooves and zombies: getting close and personal with Novacrow

novacrow_RingMasterReview

According to the band, Novacrow is “a four-piece of zombie-punching, hard-rock sleazeballs.” What they certainly are is a hard rock seeded roar which is earning a mighty reputation for their eclectic sound and EP Black Syrup has only backed and reinforced their striking emergence on the British rock scene. With the supporting of bands such as Skarlett Riot, Heonias and Green Jellÿ also under their belts, the EP feels like the spark to bigger things and attention upon Novacrow so we seized the opportunity to get to know the band and its hungry heart with big thanks to vocalist/guitarist Kitty Synthetica and bassist/backing vocalist/producer Federico Spera.

Hi guys, thanks for taking time out to talk with us

No worries, thanks for the interview!

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

Federico: The band consists of the following sex gods: Kitty Synthetica on vocals/guitar/kazoo, Jonyx on lead guitars, Freddy on bass/backing vocals, and Torben Schmidt Hansen on the drums. We all got together when Kitty and John wanted to form a band; they met Torben and I through mutual friends and cosmic forces.

Have you been/are involved in other bands?

Federico: The others have all been in bands before and I studied music in university, so I’ve always been part of different bands in some form…The so called “Mistress Bands”.

Kitty

Kitty

How have previous experiences impacted on what you are doing now?

Federico: It’s kind of hard to say, obviously with us all having been in bands before you’d think we’d be super pros, but the truth is that there’s no set way to work together. It depends entirely on the bands and the people in them. But being in other bands definitively taught us how to promote ourselves and our releases, what works and what doesn’t, etc.

Kitty: I’ve been playing gigs since I was 16 and it really helps giving you ‘live experience’. Shows can be tough and crowds can be unforgiving, but you need that to make you a better performer. In terms of the impact on my music, in previous projects, I was solely focussed on writing metal, which tended to limit my creativity. I listen back to demos I had scrapped for ‘not being heavy enough’ and think “Oh nice, I want to use that now!”

What inspired the band name?

Federico: The legend says that John one day just picked a word out of a dictionary and fused it with an animal. The idea of a bird on fire must have appealed to him I guess, so he stuck with it.

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

Federico: Kitty had a few songs already written when she originally formed the band, but that’s about it. I think ultimately we just wanted to rock out with our cocks out, and that was the main premise behind the band.

Kitty: I had a very different project in mind! I wanted an all-girl band, but these guys were the closest thing to women that I could find. Haha. No, I love this band and how well we all work together. One big creepy happy family!

Do the same things still drive the band from its first days or have they evolved over time?

Federico: The drive of the band is still rooted in the desire to be outrageous and we’re very much a success driven band. However, the way we focus that drive has definitely matured throughout our time together.

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

Federico: I’d say it has evolved for the better. If you listen to our old demos there were some nice ideas, but they weren’t particularly well mediated and executed. I’d like to think that as time goes on, we manage to find the right balance between being ridiculous and writing good songs as opposed to doing one or the other, which is a significant sign of evolution for our sound.

Would you say that change has been more of an organic movement of sound or have you gone out with new things you wanted to specifically try?  

Frederico

Frederico

Federico: It has always felt quite organic. I don’t think there’s a single song which we’ve had to force into existence.

Kitty: Because Novacrow is so unrestricted when it comes to genre, there’s no ‘wrong sound.’ I have a few juicy riffs in the pipeline though.  I am also a big fan of vocal harmonies, (Alice in Chains get this SO right) so I’ll be looking for opportunities to use some interesting melodies.

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?

Federico: With the exception of Black Syrup (which was inspired by the burlesque goodness of Pussy Liquor by Rob Zombie), I wouldn’t say there’s been a conscious influence on any of our songs or approach. We mainly base our inspiration for songs on vibes and energies as opposed to songs or artists. Instead of saying “We should write a Machine Head-esque riff in C phrygian”, we’ll say “We should write an angry and crushing powerhouse of a song”.

Kitty: There are some awesome female musicians that have inspired me massively. Brody Dalle of The Distillers, Tairrie B of My Ruin, Joan Jett, Grog of Die So Fluid, Otep, Alissa White-Gluz- to name a few. From the earliest days of getting into rock and metal, I would seek out bands with powerful female figures and I always wanted to emulate the same sort of commanding presence they had onstage.

Musically, I only ever learnt guitar as a means to write songs. I’ve never had an interest in replicating tracks; if I love a song, I have no urge to reproduce it identically. But, I do love deconstructing a track that I adore and putting together a new cover, something I have been doing on YouTube since 2009. It’s a fun challenge and a way of paying homage to songs I love.

Is there a particular process to the songwriting which generally seems to emerge?

Federico: Generally, one of us (usually Kitty) will have a whole song idea in their head, which they’d bring to a rehearsal room and we bounce ideas off each other. Each song is then mediated in a different way. I’d say the biggest exception to this is The Mantra, which was almost a completely different song when Kitty first showed it to me for pre-production.

Kitty: For a lot of songs, I think that the melody is the most important part- and by this I mean the vocal tune combined with the central guitar riff. That will always be the starting framework of any song I write. In my opinion, if you strip back everything else, but still retain that central vocal/guitar, it needs to be strong enough to make an impact on its own.

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

Kitty: It completely depends on the song. In a lot of cases I fixate on a phrase and use it for a title first (Black Syrup and Fat Frog for example), or the lyrics drive the rest of the track entirely (I think this is particularly the case in The Mantra).

Fight The Horde!!! was very much video game inspired. The lyrics loosely follow the storyline of The Last of Us, whilst the title is a reference to Left 4 Dead. I wanted something fast and heavy, with epic soaring choruses, perfect for kicking ass.

I wrote the lyrics to Set in Stone and Colourless whilst reading a lot of Haruki Murakami novels. I love how he creates such fantastic vast images and creates these prophetic journeys of self-fulfilment for average characters.

Novacrow EP 2016 - Blacky Syrup Cover Art_RingMasterReviewGive us some background to your new release and some insight into the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

Federico: Our latest release is the panty-dropping powerhouse of an EP called Black Syrup. It really captures the vibe of the band effectively, opening with the kazoo filled drunk anthem Fat Frog to get them booties shakin’ (which is about getting shitfaced and party-hardying). That’s followed by Fight The Horde!!!, which is a zombie-apocalypse based thumper of a song inspired by the game Last of Us. Then comes the title track Black Syrup, which is inspired by sticky black goo. Set in Stone is next, which gives the listener a peak into our more melodic side. The whole EP is brought to an end by Colourless, an easy listening instrumental piece.

Kitty: I love focussing on big over-the-top themes. Most of the time, I write the majority of a song in my head before picking up an instrument, so it’s very much a ‘visual’ experience. I deliberately wanted a set of very different songs for the EP, each with a completely different vibe and based on very different vivid scenarios.

Do you enter the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or use that scenario to bring songs to their final character?

Federico: For all of our releases so far, we’ve gone through intensive pre-production, so when it comes to recording we know exactly what we’re doing. The pre-production usually consists of recording high quality demos, so if we want to develop an element of the song we can use that as a reference point.

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

Federico: Ooh, there’s so much to talk about here, but I’ll do my best to sum it up. We don’t believe in “over-the-top”, so we pretty much do what we want on stage, which usually means somebody is gonna make an ass out of themselves. We’ve brought inflatable crows on stage, did a kazoo cover of My Heart Will Go On, chugged pints mid songs, and done all sorts of stupid shit when performing. It’s the biggest form of release for some of us, so we’re not gonna hold anything back on stage.

Kitty: Performing is everything. I love to make people laugh, I love writing songs and I love goading a crowd. Word of our onstage stupidity is definitely our biggest pull to shows and makes us appeal to promoters. Basically, we’re just a bunch of attention seekers, that aren’t talented enough to earn praise for doing great deeds, so have to resort to being a bunch of performing chimps. AND WE LOVE IT.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally or further afield. How have you found it?

Federico: Like you said, it’s not easy. We’ve definitely not even scratched the surface. It’s hard because you want to celebrate every little insignificant bit of success that you achieve, but as soon as you do then it sort of means you’re satisfied, and then your efforts diminish. This is an EXTREMELY tough industry, and unless you’re giving it you 10000% then there’s virtually no chance of getting anywhere in it. We’ve found it extremely tiring at times, especially whilst trying to balance the band with our “normal” life, but at the end of the day we can’t show any signs of stopping otherwise we won’t get anywhere.

Kitty: The music industry today is highly saturated with competing artists, in a field where very few people are willing to spend money on music. Every small victory is important to me, as I wouldn’t be making music if I didn’t enjoy it. In the grand scheme of things, I’m not under any false impressions of earning world notoriety, but I am grateful for every show, every sale and every person who takes the time to let us know how much they love the music. Hard work is everything though.

Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?Novacrow_RingMasterReview

Federico: Absolutely. You gotta play to win. It’s gonna be extremely hard, and even if you put your 20000% into it then there’s still no definitive chance to “make it”, but it’s the best chance you’ve got. As soon as you stop trying then you lose any opportunity you might have. It’s just a matter of persistence and not letting the odds get you down and eventually you’ll find yourself in a good place.

Kitty: There’s no guarantees, at all, but if you’re going to go for it, there’s no point half-assing it. You have to treat a band like Walter White treats meth; you need to believe in your ‘product,’ market it intelligently and push it like CRAZY.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date?

Federico: We’ve started the band at a point in which internet and social media became crucial to a band’s success. We’ve started using Kitty’s YouTube “fame” to fuel traffic to our various pages and so far it has worked very well, people who like Kitty’s covers tend to like Novacrow as well. So far, it has had a great impact!

Kitty: Social media is such a fantastic platform for bands, but I don’t think everybody appreciates just how hard you have to work to harness it. It is survival of the fittest. You can’t just moan about how small your post’s ‘reach’ on Facebook might be, you need to fight to get people’s attention.

The internet is incredible for musicians. I love looking at the insight statistics on YouTube and our website and seeing how people all over the world are listening to us. I had to send out all of our EP pre-orders this week, and there’s Novacrow CDs flying out all over the globe!  To an extent, social media gives you a chance to reach an audience without borders or limit. As a listener, you have an endless supply of incredible music at your fingertips.

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?

Federico: Probably the former. People don’t realise exactly how much work needs to go in just to have the tiniest chance of success, and so they don’t work for it. And then they get annoyed when they can’t draw a crowd to their gigs, or get any decent support slots, until they eventually give up. How hard do you think you need to work to get anywhere with your band? Welp, that’s wrong, you have to work EVEN harder than that.

And that’s when we whip out the kazoos and zombies. We know how to work hard yet still entertain ourselves.

Kitty: You have to MAKE people want to see you. Give people a reason to want your music and look forward to your gigs!

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

Federico: Hell yeah, thanks for the interview! Check out our EP Black Syrup, I guarantee you will be more aroused than you’ll have ever been in your life! And keep an eye out on our various pages for more music, pictures, videos, and tips on world domination!

https://www.facebook.com/novacrowofficial/    https://www.novacrowofficial.com/

https://twitter.com/novacrowband   https://www.instagram.com/novacrowband/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 21/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Symphonies in sound and imagination: exploring Sahona with Charly Sahona

Charly Sahona_RingMasterReview

2016 received one of its early treats just a few weeks back with the release of the self-titled Sahona album. It was the debut release from the new melodic rock project of vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Charly Sahona of progressive metallers Venturia. It is a release which is, in our own words “a rousing drama of sound and imagination.” Offered the chance to find out more with Charly, we grabbed a hefty chunk of his time to explore the creation of the band and its first album, and simply the creative heart of the man…

Hi Charly, many thanks for sharing time with us. How are things in the Sahona area of the world?

Hello, thanks for the invitation. Well, things are fine here. The album is out and so far, reviews have been very positive about it . We’re about to release a new music video and shoot a new one. I’m working like crazy in order to perform these songs live as soon as possible . So, I can say I have a good life .

Before we look at your excellent debut album, would you tell us about the first days of Sahona. It was originally meant as a solo project for you?

Oh thanks, I’m glad you like it !!! Sure, you’re right , at first, the album was meant to be a solo project and more precisely, the follow-up of Naked thoughts from a silent chaos released in 2010 but the songs are quite different and so are the musical arrangements and the line-up. So, the first days of Sahona as a full band are recent but the writing of the songs began in 2013. Oh It actually took a lot of time before we recorded and released it .

What sparked the creation of the project; what was it you wanted to explore different to your music in progressive metallers Venturia

I really wanted to do something different with this one. I like my musical-making to be in a constant motion. At the same time It’s necessary to stand back with the last thing you released and start something new with fresh ideas and enthusiasm. For this project, I wanted to write something without any heavy riff played on a 7-string and focus on different musical textures, guitar sounds and new grooves.

You touched on it earlier, so you had a collection of ideas and songs already in the works before you invited fellow musicians to help out?

Yes, after I finished the first 4 demo-songs, things were clear in my mind and I knew who I wanted to work with. I like to make music with talented people of course but it’s always better when you do it with your friends. So I first asked drummer Stéphane Cavanez to join me , I’ve known him for a long time, he’s a brilliant musician, very enthusiastic about things. After hearing the demo version of On this winter night , he said he would agree to play on all the songs . Same thing with my long-time friends Fabien Paraillac and Cédric Artaxet; I don’t remember exactly if I sent them the first four demos before asking them to join me but anyway, both of them agreed. I was very glad and happy they all said yes to join me for this project. I knew they would sound great together and that my songs would have been transcended thanks to them .

sahona_RingMasterReviewSo what was the catalyst to changing the idea of guest musicians to a full band?

It was something I had in mind for a while , as the songs have a different sound compared to the things I did before. As we were recording, there was an obvious musical chemistry going on and it reinforced me to think about having a band name for this project. So I talked about it with Chris from Dooweet agency and to my buddies. We all thought that the idea of the band was obvious and as the name Sahona sounds cool for a band too, the choice was done, easy to make and I didn’t have to scratch my head during days in order to find a new name . The other thing is: as the musicians are my friends, the idea of having a band together was something natural. More, I really like to immortalize music with talented friends.

Was it an easy to decision to ‘share’ your songs with I am guessing musicians with their own adventurous ideas when creating music?

Sure, it was very easy as we’re all professional musicians . There was no ego thing that could have been hard to deal with . I wanted a more organic sound and a sophisticated modern rock approach and I knew what my band mates were able to do .

For example, the drums I programmed were done in a prog-metal style and Stéphane brought a more refined  rock groove, I let him do his stuff as everything was matching .

As I’m the lead singer and as there are many guitar layers on these songs it was obvious to ask for help and some back-up . I couldn’t imagine another guy than Fabien to play the guitar with me on this album.  We have the same guitar approach but he’s more rock than me.

We recorded a lot of different guitar takes and during the mix, we chose what was best for the song no matter if it was him or me playing….

He did an amazing job on the mix too. Just like his guitar sound, all the songs sound powerful and organic.

Regarding the bass, there was a couple of things I asked Cédric to play the exact same way I did on the demos. But as my bass programming was voluntary basic most of the time, he added his own personality and groove that matched perfectly Stéphane’s drumming . He even changed some root notes that at first surprised me, and the more I listened to it, the more I liked it.

In the end, everything felt easy and natural.

Did their input mean your songs changed or evolved from their original characters once the band was a full involvement of all?

No, not really but I guess things will evolve when we’ll perform live. It’s a natural process and it’s important for us to make slightly different things when we play the same songs over and over.

When writing songs, do you come at them from different angles or have a general way of bringing them to life from idea to sound?Album cover_RingMasterReview

I usually have a precise idea of how the album or a song will sound like even though the root of all songs is based on a guitar or keyboard chords progression and a simple hummed melody . Then, I’ll program a midi file of what I just did. If the melody sounds good with a bad flute midi sound and a midi bass line, I keep the idea and will have a clearer vision of how it will sound like with all the instruments. Then I’m thinking about what kind of drum beat, bass line, guitar riff, and keyboards texture would fit with the idea of the song and at this moment, the creative process is growing fast. Or, not that fast actually because getting the right keyboard sounds or guitar effects takes me a while very often. When I’m programming , I have in mind how my band mates would play it and that’s the reason why I’m never really surprised (although I’m always amazed) when they bring the songs to life with their style and their sound. It sounds obvious to my ears and at the same time I’m so excited to hear what they bring to a song and to discover how it takes the song to a higher level.

Tell us about the lyrical themes behind the album.

Sure ! I decided to do something I never really done in the past.  I wrote about the most widely expected subject in the world: Love !!! But not the way girls like it though (no offence intended girls, I’m just kidding !!!) .

Reading and writing romantic and soppy stuff are not my thing at all as I’m a cynical and rational guy . So the majority of these lyrics are about love and its frustrations and turbulences . It’s way more interesting, true and realistic in my opinion. But when I say “love”, It doesn’t only mean the feelings you have for your girlfriend or your boyfriend,  I use it for the passion you have for your art or whatever that excites you too, it can be painting, sport, your beliefs and then we’re slightly get into the spiritual aspect and themes I like to write about as well.

Most of my lyrics are not explicit, this way people can identify with them and make their own story.

I usually prefer to describe impressions than reality.

What about the recording of your self-titled debut? How long was it in the making?

It’s funny because it took a long time to finish it (something like two years !!!) but the writing and the recording were actually very fast and easy to do. As we’re used to record in studio, we know how it works and we’re getting more and more efficient and good at it. But as we didn’t have any deadline or expectations,  we took our time to record it. The rule was to get together when we were able to do it only. It was: job, touring with cover bands, tasks and family priorities first. This way, we were in a very relaxed state of mind and every time we forgathered, it was for fun.

Ok, the album was supposed to be released in late 2015 but for commercial and administrative reasons it got more delayed .

Did you approach its recording differently to creating releases with your other projects?

Yes and no … As it’s the 5th album I’m producing , I’ve learned through the years with amazing people and  I’ve also learned from my mistakes. Today, I know the importance for everybody of being prepared and how to record the best way possible taking into consideration the people you work with as every musician has his own preferences and personality. And that’s how a recording session can be different from the ones you experienced in the past: it depends on your line-up as well. So I asked my band mates about the way they wanted to record and I just let them do it their way as it’s extremely important for artists to work the more relaxed and efficient way possible.

But the thing that changed a lot for me was to share the guitar parts with Fabien but it was so exciting to hear him play with a different strumming and sound than mine and then mixing our guitar tracks together. I really enjoyed it .

Oh, and there was another great thing : My vocal takes were recorded home with a very cool equipment a friend of mine lend me.

This way, I took my time…I was recording one full song a day and the day after, if something was not exactly the way I wanted to be, I just had to press the « rec » button again and it was done. I don’t like the feeling of recording in a studio with time passing, all the money you know you’ll have to spend, the people around you even if it’s your friends. I did it many times in the past and I can tell you how relieved I am to work and to record alone at home, it gives me so more freedom and offers you more possibilities.

sahona_RingMasterReviewHave you found there has been an instinctive urge to do things with Sahona and the album differently to your other ventures elsewhere, just out of the want to try different things?

Yes, as I told you, I wanted to have a different musical approach, a different sound, a different line-up. But on the top of that I really wanted to express myself to another level, and the best way possible as a singer and I’ve been working hard to achieve that. Maybe, being the singer of your own songs reinforces the introspection aspect of the creation. This is not to say that this album sounds more like “me” than the previous ones I did with another lead singer, it’s just different . But as you give more of yourself as a performer, it makes the thing more introspective and maybe more intense and that’s what I wanted to achieve too.

I always imagine a debut album breeds new ideas and opportunities to try and explore further in its successors. Elements not imagined and expected when composing that first encounter. Were there any which arose for you in the making of Sahona’s debut?

I’m always excited to explore new territories, new sounds, new chords progression, new ways of making music. Having a more or less precise idea will always push you to go further in order to create something new and interesting. Listening to different music, going to the theatres, reading books, talking with people, playing with musicians…All this things are inspiring and maybe it if it’s not always a conscious thing, it will incite you to evolve as a human being and inexorably in your art and in your life indeed. This is something I like to be aware of and thankful to.

What comes next for Sahona and its individuals?

We have to play live as soon as possible and we have to work hard for that. We intend to begin a tour in our country in September. Then we will focus on the next album as we’re all really happy about this debut one.

My thanks again Charly for talking with us; Anything you would like to add?

Thanks for having me !!! Congrats to the readers for reading this interview so far and thank you Pete for spreading the word about the music you like whether it’s mainstream or underground .

And finally, give us an insight into the records and artists which could be claimed to have most inspired your own life and creativity.

Oh my god, they are so many . But let’s try to do it fast. I’ve always been a fan of classical music but the one from the early 1900 with composers like Ravel, Bartok, Debussy, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff. As a guitar player I’m a huge fan of guitar heroes like Steve Vaï, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, John Petrucci. I’ve always been into progressive music with bands like Genesis, Rush, Yes, Dream Theater, Frost, Opeth and I’m really into their contemporaries with the young prog underground scene like Destiny Potato, Disperse and especially with the metal djent scenes with bands like Periphery, Tesseract, Monuments who took progressive music to a new level. I like rock and pop music too with bands like Muse, Radiohead, Keane, Dead Letter Circus.

All these bands and musicians have inspired me in many ways indeed.

Check out our review of the Sahona album @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/sahona-self-titled/

https://www.facebook.com/sahonamusic/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 21/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/