Refuelling the snarl: chewing the Sonick Plague flesh with Ken Cuccaro

Ken_RingMaster Review

Already this year, many old treats and classics which were lost to the radar of the many originally, have been unleashed again on the metal scene from decades past. Many of the bands are seeing a new lease of life and one certainly looking like re-igniting a previous blaze and more is West Virginian thrashers Sonick Plague. Linking up with Pavement Music, the band has re-recorded and re-energized their 1988 debut album What’s the Purpose, breathing new ravenous breath into it as it comes now as a self-titled proposal. We as so many missed the band and record first time around and were caught by surprise by the new release because of it. Now all we want is to hear and know more, so with thanks drummer Ken Cuccaro who kindly sat down to indulge our nosiness, we explored band, album, and plenty more…

Hello Ken and many thanks for sparing time to talk with us.

The band has just re-released 1988 debut What’s the Purpose via Pavement Music; but not just set the same version free again or simply re-mastered it as so many old encounters being uncaged again are, but re-recorded it. Was there a particular reason for going down that route?

We really needed to. The first one sounded pretty bad, we lost the masters and really just wanted to start fresh again. It’s very much like giving the old stuff a shower.

SP_RingMaster ReviewDid you look at the songs any differently for the fresh recordings from first time around and they take on a new relevance for you when approaching them?

I wouldn’t say we looked at them differently, but as far as new relevance absolutely! Damn a lot’s happened in 30 years! I’m laughing my ass off right now because of how we approached them. Very carefully, like sneaking up on a gator. We had to make sure we could still play that stuff. Although we all kept playing over the years we’re older and beat up. Hell poor Sean had 2 broke feet when we first got back together.

Obviously technology has changed over the decades. Did you make particular use of modern possibilities in recording the songs or went for a more raw and organic approach to again and successfully ignite the same vital character of their first appearance?

We went for the more organic thing. We played live in the studio and really wanted to try to capture the energy again. There were definitely some modern amenities [the studio did have a great blender] we used but not too much. We didn’t want it to sound robotic and triggered, and all that shit. Not knocking anybody’s stuff, I just personally feel the metal and thrash stuff now is so electronic, click tracked, and feels the same. Some of these guys are awesome but everything sounds the same and is just so cut up. Again not knocking their musicianship there are so many great bands out. Right now there’s a guy reading this saying “these guys are so fu@#$kin old they don’t even know how to use the shit and they suck!” That’s ok; we probably could still kick your ass. I think the people that listen to this stuff want to feel that energy and little variations in the music, it makes it human. We recorded at the Carriage House Studio the place was incredible.

Apart from the obvious change in sound quality etc. did anything else brew up in songs when recording the new versions which maybe was unexpected or added something different to additionally enjoy?

I only know one way to play ‘em. Chuck and Matt put their own stink on it. I personally was shocked how well Sean’s voice held up over the years he can still belt it out. But all in all we kept it very close.

Obviously the original recording of the album was with guitarist Tony Teodoro in the band. Sadly he died a few years ago. Did you find there was some emotional intensity around the new recordings because of his passing and presence first time around?

Absolutely! Me personally whenever I get an ache or pain I think of what he went through, it kept me going. I don’t think anybody in the band didn’t think of him every day we were recording this.

It was his death, which the press release said, brought the three of you together again and talking music, the band eventually to full strength with the addition of Matt Dupre. Was that indeed the spark or were there already thoughts of maybe reuniting in maybe one or two of you?

No that was it. That got us talking about it again. It’s strange how a tragedy can change things.

The new album is simultaneously a reminder, revisit, and introduction to Sonick Plague for fans old and new. Is it also any sort of teaser to the new songs and sounds you guys are working on?album-cover-_RingMaster Review

Well sort of, we still got some tricks up our sleeves. That was kinda what we had in mind, turn some new people on to our old stuff and some of the old timers on to our new stuff. A lot depends on the listeners, if we’re lucky enough for them to like it we’ll do some more…Maybe in less than 30 years.

Can you give us any clues as to what you next release and songs will offer? Any spoilers?

I’m not going to tell you shit. It’s a surprise!! It’s definitely heavy metal rock and roll. You can get sweaty to it with your girl.

Between the two periods of the band, how musically were all your times taken up?

We all played in different bands, definitely kept playing and raising our kids. Myself I did a lot of hunting and a retreat in New Zealand where I was taught the ways of a true warrior killer. I had to do it for work. They wouldn’t use me as an extra on the Lord of the Rings set. I was sad about that.

Are these experiences you would say have impacted or certainly are spicing up the heart and nature of your new tracks?

The warrior thing yes. The guys are in constant fear of my wrath. I could snap any of their necks in a second for no reason what so ever. We all still have a lot to be pissed about and we’re broke. That’s what keeps us young and energized.

There is no denying something very familiar to the album yet that comes from the bands and releases filling ears and lighting appetites since the songs were first impacting on the thrash scene. Has it frustrated that some others have found greater recognition with a sound you all helped originate way back and which has obviously inspired them?

I’m asked that a lot. I wouldn’t say frustrated …yea let’s stick with frustrated. We worked our asses off, but it is what it is. I wouldn’t have minded making a living playing drums but things happen for a reason. I’m not pissed that other people “made it” I think it’s cool whenever anybody gets success in what they’re doing. I just find it extremely sad that nobody picked up any of the great bands in Connecticut back in the day. You had Liege Lord, Skeletal Ambitions, Disaster, Forced Reality, our old touring buddies Lost Generation, that’s not even scratching the surface. It seemed if you weren’t from the bay area they didn’t want to know you. It’s too bad there were some great music people missed out on. Maybe we should have switched to rap.

How did the link up with Pavement come about?

Chuck busted his ass hookin’ this stuff up. He’s the motor, our little energizer bunny. He never stops working at this. Pavement has been incredible, great bunch of guys.

SP2_RingMaster ReviewThe live side of Sonick Plague is as alive as the recording side?

Better! I always thought we we’re a workin’ man’s band. I love that energy you can only get from a crowd.

What have you got planned for the rest of the year?

We’ll see. It’s our middle aged crisis experiment. It really depends how the music sells. Hopefully people will dig hearing our old brand of thrash. I know we’re having fun playing again.

Once again thanks so much for chatting with us, anything you would like to add before we let you go?

YUP! Thank you so much to all the people who are still showing an interest in this band this has been really cool! I never thought in a million years people would even remember us. We wouldn’t be shit if it weren’t for all the great people in the metal community. Its guys like you who keep this stuff pumping. THANKS

https://www.facebook.com/sonickplague    http://www.sonickplague.com/

Read the review of the Sonick Plague album @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/07/28/sonick-plague-self-titled/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 30/07/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

Rolling out inescapable welcomes: introducing Recruits

Recruits_RingMaster Review

Recruits is a proposition you are destined to hear more about in future months, already the UK band has been stirring up attention and support through their excellent slice of feisty and contagious alternative rock posing as the We Are Recruits EP. There is the sense things are beginning to really stir for the band, so rather than wait we thought it was time we introduced you to this rising quintet and with thanks to the guys, explore the heart of their sound and presence.

Hi all and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

It’s a pleasure!

For those unacquainted with Recruits so far, can you introduce the band and tell us about its beginnings?

Steve Smith – Vocals, Ben Yarrow – Lead Guitar, Eddie Vessey – Rhythm Guitar, Steve Heather – Bass Guitar and Jonno Smith – Drums.

In early 2014 the band started off with different members pulled from different places, however we were all from Scunthorpe and knew each other one way or another; whether it was being old friends, or being in previous bands together. We learnt covers for months while trying to find a vocalist. When we finally found vocalist Steve, we worked on original material and released our debut single Right Words in May 2014. Shortly after we replaced our old drummer with our current drummer, Jonno; and then worked on writing more material. Since then we have had a change in bass player and in November 2014, the band welcomed Steve Heather.

Was there any specific intent when forming the band and if so is it still the prime drive?

A few of us started this as a hobby, we loved music and we just wanted to play music as a band. When Steve joined he had the intention of getting the band very far in the future and wanted to end up doing it as a career one day. When Jonno joined the band and we wrote an EP, I think we all got this same mind-set that we wanted to push the band to the extreme. We started taking things more seriously and have really pushed ourselves this past year to get as far as we have; the main drive is that this band is still our passion, and one day we all want this to be our Job.

Recruits 2_RingMaster ReviewHow would you describe your sound to newcomers to the band?

We label ourselves as ‘alternative rock’ but our sound has developed differently since we went in the studio last year. You could say we are more ‘pop-rock’. The music is fairly simple and revolves around catchy lyrics and hooks.

It is also a heavily flavoursome proposition, so what are the prime inspirations for your sound and personally as musicians?

There are too many influences for us to say, we’re all inspired as musicians by huge bands such as The Beatles and Foo Fighters. Lyrics and the feel of songs are normally inspired by things going on in our personal lives at the time. Sound – wise we just sit in a room and write the music we want to hear, and want to play, it comes naturally to us.

As you said earlier, you all come from the Scunthorpe/Grimsby area of the UK, a lively music scene?

Obviously the UK in general isn’t much of a lively scene for music as it has been in the past. Our areas aren’t bad though, we’re lucky to have certain people in both areas that work their socks off to put on a large amount of quality music events as often as they can which improves the scene as a whole and gathers together fellow bands and musicians. There’s a mixture of different scenes within the towns as well so it’s nice to have different tastes and genres bouncing around, although it tends to float more towards indie rock music.

You have as you mentioned just released debut EP We Are Recruits. How was the experience of recording and releasing your first offering to the broadest attention?

The experience was exciting, it’s the first time any of us went to a professional studio to record music we had written and seeing our music transform into radio-worthy songs in front of us was great. It was a stressful time though, it was a very long process and we had a huge gap without releasing anything so we felt pressured to get it out as soon as we could. We felt confident in our efforts and thought the EP would go down well; we had the occasional doubts but thankfully a lot of people seem to really like it!

Are the emotions and excitement releasing your first record the same as playing live or it is a different kind of thrill and maybe anxiety?

Of course it is different. The first record represents a certain time-lapse of a band, it’s the first impression. When all the effort has been put into it and it is out, then it is out for good, out for anyone to say anything about it. If you mess things up it could come back to haunt you in the future. However it is an exciting and a new experience – anything could happen! Playing live brings you more adrenaline and a sudden feeling of anxiety that quickly wears off. You know you could make a mistake, but it’ll be forgotten about by the end of the night, you just focus on enjoying the moment.

How does the songwriting process within the band work generally?recruits cover_RingMaster Review

It differs from song to song. It can start off as an acoustic chord progression, a riff, lyrics…however it starts though, we all chip in our own bits and help each other to fine tune our parts!

Do you have any specific hopes for it or is it more a wait and see what happens adventure?

Obviously we hope the band goes somewhere, and we can do this for a living one day, but hoping for something in particular might lead to disappointment. You never know what will happen, we all have our own goals within the band, and while we push to achieve them we’re happy just doing what we do, having fun and seeing where it takes us next!

What is next for Recruits now the EP is stirring up attention?

Well we’ve played our share our shows and done a little tour for the EP. After signing to DMF Digital recently, we’re going to draw the curtain a little while we focus on rebranding and then releasing more new music! We have recently joined From The Depths PR in America, so while this is going on they will be helping us to continue to push the current EP.

Once again thanks for talking with us, anything you would like to end with?

Thanks for having us! Please drop us a like on our Facebook page. You can Stream our EP for free in Spotify, YouTube and Soundcloud!

https://www.facebook.com/RecruitsUK

The We Are Recruits EP is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/we-are-recruits-ep/id974586012

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 17/07/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

Rousing carousels: an interview with Woody Woodgate

 

woody_RingMaster Review

This past week saw the highly anticipated debut solo album from Woody Woodgate released, a pop adventure lighting ears and imagination at every captivating turn. In Your Mind is an encounter which put a smile on our faces whilst often providing evocative hues to reflect and linger over. We had to delve a little deeper into the album and with the kindness of the man himself we explored one of this summer’s treats…

Hi Woody and many thanks for sparing time to chat with us.

Let us get straight to the main reason for taking a slice of your time, debut solo album In Your Mind. With your long creative career in music it feels a little surprising it has taken so long for a solo project to emerge from you. Has this been bubbling in thoughts for quite a while or something which suddenly erupted inside because of a break in other endeavours?

After releasing the Magic Brothers album The Magic Line with my brother Nick, I wanted to take our songs to another level. Quite simply I wanted to work with other musicians. My brother Nick and I have been writing songs together for years. Songs that are appropriate for Madness, go to Madness, songs that I love, but aren’t appropriate for Madness I’ll work on. It’s no good if they don’t see the light of day. Nothing’s been bubbling; it’s all been coming out for years in different guises.

The diverse tracks and sounds within the album is something distinctly different to Madness and indeed Magic Brothers for me. I think I read they were originally planned for the second Magic Brothers album, is that so and how much did you develop further once they were destined for In Your Mind?

They were destined for the Magic Brothers, but it wasn’t really a Magic Brothers project once I got Dan Shears (vocals) and Tim Maple (guitars, and Keyboards) on board. I also took over all the arranging and producing, so it became increasingly my project.

woodywoodgate_inyourmind-_RingMaster ReviewWere there any particular musical inspirations which might have sparked flavours woven into In Your Mind?

I’m a kid from the seventies so it’s packed with influences from the Beatles, ELO, Supertramp, 10cc, through to Pink Floyd, and Jimi Hendrix. Not forgetting my 37 years of Madness, which is my default setting when writing 3 minute pop songs?

Obviously writing and developing songs within a broad line-up like Madness must be very different to composing and creating in Magic Brothers and your solo release. Have you found there is a kind of freedom coming with writing your own music and songs without having to I guess compromise more?

It’s very rewarding being able to put in rock guitar riffs, solos, multi-layered vocals, and do soppy love songs, but it’s also quite hard in the sense that you don’t have anyone to tell you whether or not you’re going up your own jacksy. Self-indulgence can be a dangerous thing, if not checked.

As much as the songs and sounds captivated us here so did the wave of nostalgia it sparked, memories of being a small excited and innocent kid going on that big adventure on a holiday etc. I am assuming it was those kinds of experience and memory for you inspiring songs and album?

If I can put across my experience, I guarantee there’s someone out there who can relate. I also think that lyrics can mean different things to different people, and that’s the beauty of music. The simple fact that you were captivated, and conjured up visions of “a small exited and innocent kid on that big adventure on a holiday etc.” says it all. You (as a listener) were transported into another world though the music, drawing on your own imagination. Hence, “In Your Mind.”

How personal and intimate are the songs to your childhood and experiences?

It’s a mixture of one’s own experience, and imagination.

Was it easy to expose a real part of you as a person and your experiences in life into the album?

I didn’t know I had? So I suppose the answer is “Yes.”

Music was a big part of your upbringing and your brother Nick’s too?

Very much so…It was pivotal.

One of the reasons behind the album was the time allowed because the second Magic Brothers album had to be postponed because of Nick’s “on-going battle with mental health issues” to quote the press release for the album. May I ask what kind of impact his problems have brought to Magic Brothers and In Your Mind in regards to its tones, reflective depths, and lyrical themes?

To be honest, the only thing that was affected by Nick’s illness was his ability to perform live, and take the new album on the road. Nick thought it was only fair that we try out other singers, as the pressure was getting to him, and pressure can set off psychotic episodes. When I found Dan Shears, the pressure on Nick was lifted, and he was able to go back to what he’s best at, and that’s writing great songs. When it comes to writing songs Nick’s illness isn’t a problem, it doesn’t impair his ability to write, and his lyrics very rarely touch on his psychosis, they’re more about his relationships. In all respects he’s just a songwriter, like anyone else. It’s just he’s a very good one, who happens to have schizophrenia.

So though not to the fore Nick’s creative hand is more involved in the album than we might initially imagine?

The album would be nothing without Nick. He is the catalyst to all the songs. I simply reconstruct the dinosaur from the scraps of bones I’m given. Granted there is a lot of interpretation involved, but all in all we complete each other.

Tell us about the link up with Dan, how did you meet and what inspired you to get him involved?woody_RingMaster Review

I worked in a school ten years ago teaching Music Technology and Media Studies, and Dan was a student doing his A-levels. He stood out from the crowd, and was clearly a special talent, with a great voice, and musical sensibility. A part from that we really got on well, and he made me laugh. When I was trying out new singers for the album the one thing that became apparent was their lack of range. I hadn’t seen Dan for ten years, but he kept cropping up in my thoughts, as he was the one singer I knew could do the job, but I had no idea where he was, or what he was doing with his life. Ironically he contacted me on social media to say that he was releasing a solo album, and would I be interested in giving it a listen? I put it to him that I too was doing an album, and would he sing on it? The rest is history.

His voice reminded us of a mix between Ian Broudie and Ste McCabe, and really stoked and matched the feel of the music and their intimate revelry well.

Interesting? Queer Core Lightening Seeds. Not something I envisaged, but I can see where you’re coming from.

How involved was he, other than vocally of course?

Involved in as much as he was encouraged to be himself, and to put his own inflections into the vocal performance

Is there any particular moment within In Your Mind which gives you a certain tingle of satisfaction or pleasure etc.?

Only that it sounds great on radio…Which gives me a buzz from a technical point of view.

Now it is out luring acclaim and attention, is there a thought inside that you should have done this sooner?

I couldn’t have done it sooner, I wasn’t ready. I had too much to learn. Now is the perfect time. I’m ready.

Time allowing, will exploring further solo adventures possibly be on the cards?

Absolutely!

woody and dan from In Your Mind video_RingMaster ReviewI love the video for the song In Your Mind, a song relating to Nick’s issues I believe? Who is behind and created its captivating and evocative look?

Tom Johnson, another of my brilliant students back in the day created the video, but you’re wrong about the subject matter. It’s not about Nick, and in a way you have fallen into the trap of stigmatising him. Just because the video is surreal, and the title is ‘In Your Mind” you are presuming it’s about mental illness. It is in fact about getting lost in your imagination, the way children do when they play, and how we get carried away in a book, or story. We can be transported to another world in our minds. It’s as simple as that.

(In our defence it was the press release stating the song “was an ode to a younger brother battling his demons” which led our thoughts to that conclusion and only in regard to that one track)

Is there a chance any of the songs within In Your Mind might get a live airing at some point, somewhere?

I’m going to try and put in a gig or two, in between Madness commitments. We’ll see.

Once again big thanks for taking time out for us. Is there anything you would like to leave us with?

My advice to anyone listening to the album is to take out of the equation the fact that my brother is a schizophrenic, and judge it on its merits alone. You may hear the album in a new light, and it won’t cloud or prejudice your thinking.

Lastly, I know you are working with the charity Rethink Mental Illness. Would you like to give details/links people can go to learn more and offer their support?

Twitter: @rethink or www.rethink.org

http://www.woodywoodgate.co.uk/

Read the In Your Mind review@ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/woody-woodgate-in-your-mind/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 16/07/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

New roars and creative chapters: talking Armored Saint with Joey Vera

 armored-saint_photo04_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

  There is no doubting that the new album from Armored Saint was one of the most highly anticipated albums of 2015, and in turn no surprise certainly to fans, that it showed the band like all the best malts, just keener and more flavoursome over the years, simply better with age. Win Hands Down is a proposition distinctly Armored Saint but ripe with stirring invention and adventurous attitude aligned to maybe their most explosive craft yet. It is beast of a release which meant we did not have to be asked twice when given the opportunity to talk with the band about their new triumph. So with thanks to bassist Joey Vera, we looked in on the making of Win Hands Down, the new freedom seemingly flowing through songwriting and invention, the band in the modern metal scene and…

Hi Joey and many thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Let’s get straight to the chase and talk about new album Win Hands Down which is deservedly earning strong acclaim since its recent release. Do you find you have the same emotions and excitement with each record you unleash or does it vary with each release and situation?

Yeah the feelings are generally the same. We’re very proud each time we finish a record. But must say this time the fallout is somewhat more electric I have to admit.

In regard to creating the album, Jon (Bush) was quoted on the albums press release as saying, “When we started work on this record, I said, ‘Let’s pretend we are a really big band and can do armored-saint_photo03_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Reviewwhatever we want’.” Now I find it hard to believe Armoured Saint as a band and as individual musicians would allow restrictions to deflect ideas and intentions or have thoughts of being anything less than a ‘big band’ creatively. So could you elaborate on what he meant and how you used it as a spark in the creation of Win Hands Down?

We’ve pretty much done our own thing this whole time. But we always have this reminder over our shoulder that there’s some kind of expectation from us. But I think we started to feel freer from that starting with La Raza. We feel more than ever that we can do whatever we really want. But let’s be frank, there are SOME confines that we live in, but it’s a matter of how much you are willing to elaborate from those confines. It takes balls to go outside a comfort zone and we felt like we had to go past that this time.

Did you approach the writing and recording of Win Hands Down with any major differences to how for example you made last album La Raza?

Not really. The bottom line with us in the past 10 years is, just write great songs. When we were younger we were more likely to be concerned with making some kind of impression. But that’s all out the window now. We have nothing to prove to anyone.

There is a freedom in the songwriting of the new album, a more adventurous bucking of expected structures in metal and heavy rock songs. This in turn gave it a bolder energy and unpredictability which was maybe less pronounced in its predecessor; something you would agree with?

Absolutely, again, we’re at a point where we need to push ourselves and see what we’re capable of. We get very tired and restless if we feel like we are not moving in a forward direction, for better or worse.

What primarily sparked this different intent and exploration in the writing of songs?

Maybe our age? We truly enjoy making music. But we have to create something that is interesting and fun for us first. Seems obvious when I say it, but it’s fun and exciting to take chances, and horribly boring playing it safe.

Cover_Reputation Radio/RingMaster ReviewThis freedom in exploration will be continuing in future releases we can assume such the potency it gave Win Hands Down?

Well I sure hope we continue to explore what we are capable of. Otherwise, time to hang it up.

How so does the songwriting process generally emerge within the band?

They last two records have pretty much been done by John and myself. There’s just some kind of snow ball effect that happens when the two of us start writing. It’s genuine and honest and the results are great, at least to us. We take contributions from the other guys of course but the shapes have to fit inside the puzzle. It can be difficult sometimes but the guys all know what’s right.

Were there any specific inspirations fuelling the lyrical side of the album and its tracks?

Well as John writes, some of it comes from a personal place and some it reads like fiction. But in either case John has written this one wearing his heart further down his sleeve than in the past. A lot of it hits home.

Going back to that freedom point, and I guess you have already answered this but I get the feeling that the band and again you all as individuals are now in a place where you primarily do, write, and create things for you rather than when expectations of others whether it be fans, labels etc.?

Ha, you’d think I’d read ahead on these questions but I didn’t. Yes, we have to please ourselves first. We are very fortunate that we have a loyal fan base and loyal support from our label that allows us to do this.

This also allows other projects and opportunities to fit in with the band’s ‘exploits’ without difficulties I assume?armored-saint_photo02_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

Managing our lives is tricky these days, no matter what.

Armored Saint has been a greedily devoured and potent proposition within metal since the early eighties and over three different ‘chapters’. I wonder though that even with all the thrilling and impressive releases you have given us, hi-energy quality shows you have played, that the band is the most relaxed with itself right now and subsequently blossoming even more creatively taking Win Hands Down as evidence?

Perhaps, we are in our golden years. We’re very tired of stressing the small stuff.

Where would you say the band has most dramatically changed since its early days?

Well I guess the fact that we are more at ease now, more than ever.

And where do you see Armored Saint in the landscape of metal today?

Just recently I began to think that we’ve always been on our own island and in the past, that bothered us a little. But now we love it and embrace it.

As mentioned you have been and are involved in numerous other projects and bands, would you say this has also played a big part in the evolution of the band’s sound and in your albums consistently having a fresh and modern feel whilst retaining that distinct Armored Saint sound?

Sure. I’ve become a better player and musician all around, largely due to all of the amazing musicians I’ve have the pleasure of being with. I learn so much from each guy I jam with, I listen and learn.

What is next for Armored Saints?

We will be playing some great shows the rest of this year and into 2016. We will be shooting a new video in late summer and more tour dates. A live DVD is also in discussion.

Big thanks again for chatting with us, any last words for the readers?

We must give thanks to our fans that have followed us since day one, and since they’ve come on board. We cannot do any of this without them. Thank you for coming with us.

Read our review of Win Hands Down @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/06/05/armored-saint-win-hands-down/

https://www.facebook.com/thearmoredsaint    http://www.armoredsaint.com/

Thanks to Andy at Metal Blade for arranging the interview.

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 19/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

Rousing spirits: the Patriot Rebel Interview

Patriot Rebel Online Promo https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/rousing-spirits-the-patriot-rebel-interview/Shot

Having impressed and staked their place as one of the best emerging rock bands on the British music scene with debut EP Two Worlds last year, Nottingham quintet Patriot Rebel release brand new single Propaganda August 3rd. Between releases the band has reinforced and increased their stature with numerous tours and festival appearances, playing with the likes of Tesseract, Jettblack, Skarlett Riot, Cornerstone, Earthtone9, Spirytus, and Violet along the way. Having been one of many bowled over by their debut, the news of a new single meant we had to know more, so we cornered the band to talk beginnings, Propaganda, Matt Ellis and much more…

Hi guys and welcome to The RingMaster Review. Many thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

There may be still some yet to discover Patriot Rebel so can you give an introduction to yourselves?

Yeah we are a five piece hard rock band from Nottingham. Our sound is heavy and riff based with melodic vocals which is rare these days as most frontmen just get up there and make a noise as if they are clearing their throats in some cheaply made Lockets advert

Your sound is drenched in flavour and variety at its core, what are the predominant inspirations for band, its sound, and you as a musician?

I think our sound benefits from the fact that we all like very different things musically. We can regularly be overheard telling each other how shit each other’s music is as we pull up to our practise studio. But it’s all in good fun and actually when it comes together really helps the song writing process. If everyone came up with the same stuff week in week out I can imagine it would get boring pretty quickly.

I believe the band started around 2007 but is it fair to say that things truly clicked and began sparking attention when the current line-up came together a few years later?

Yeah it was 2007 that the idea came about after a couple of us had been doing a few open mic nights around Nottingham performing cover songs. As we started writing our own songs we wanted to expand and round up a drummer and bassist to get the sound we wanted and Patriot Rebel was born. We fluttered around many different band members for a good few years and it wasn’t until just before the Two Worlds EP that we finally settled with five members that really clicked together.

How did you all meet, was it solely because of the band or is there history before and away from it?

Two of us were good friends from school and that was why we started doing the open mic nights. We were out in Nottingham most nights getting drunk and stumbling onto various karaoke bars before we decided to find a guitar and do it properly. We advertised on various websites and even scattered some posters around the local rock bars for band members. We were actually surprised at how quickly we managed to throw a band together but it rarely stuck until the final members were found. It can be very difficult to find five lads that can all get along and have the same sense of humour but we did and it’s been great ever since.

With those early days of the band; what was the spark predominantly bringing Patriot Rebel to life?

Mainly alcohol…..and of course it was all new to us. Playing at just a local pub felt as if you were playing something much bigger and just a group of 15 people felt like a crowd. It was very exciting to play your own music to people that wanted to listen and that’s why we do it still now today.

Patriot Rebel_Reputation Radio/RingMaster ReviewWe discovered you through your excellent debut EP Two Worlds in 2013, a show stopper it is fair to say without blowing smoke up your egos ha-ha. August 3rd sees the release of new single Propaganda, how have you filled the time between releases?

We have been gigging the Two Worlds EP all over the UK. Edinburgh was a particular favourite of ours not just because of the show but the experience. We’ve modified an old transit van into a makeshift tour bus and it has made touring much more enjoyable than packing into numerous cars. Although sleeping in it wasn’t the best experience. It was very snug and it’s difficult to look each other in the eye after you’ve been ‘spooning’ the night before.

The new song is a beast of an anthem for ears and emotions, and a potent evolution to that first release. Where are the biggest differences between both encounters?

Well actually we have cheated a bit because Propaganda was recorded as part of Two Worlds. We are basically releasing it as a thank you to everyone who has supported Two Worlds and made a video to go with it.

Have you changed any specific elements in songwriting since the first release or is it just an organic progression fuelling your new endeavours?

Our song writing is always done on a feeling. If we feel like we are struggling to come up with something we tend to leave it be. Our best stuff tends to flow immediately and just clicks straight away. Sometimes we revisit old stuff and that works too.

Can you give some background to the lyrical side of the single?

It was written about an old work colleague of mine who would always try to belittle the younger lads and shit stir just to cause trouble. So Propaganda was my way of looking at it. People generally presume its war related but it’s not in the slightest…Although it’s good that some people take out of songs what works for them.

And musically any particular sparks brewing up elements?

Not so much musically. We tend to come up with various parts and then write the lyrics over the top. It’s not often the lyrics/song come first. But the music certainly matches the mood lyrically.

You recorded Two Worlds with Matt Ellis (Black Spiders, Terrorvision, Skarlett Riot), and the same again with Propaganda?

Yes definitely. Matt is brilliant at what he does. He doesn’t just record what we play; he actually makes suggestions and has ideas of how certain things could be done differently. I think that it is important to have this whilst recording. Sometimes a non-biased ear can help the way things sound without actually changing much at all.

He seems to have the touch in luring out every essence of your sound and its nuances?

He literally does it exactly how we imagine it should sound. We’ve used a couple of other producers over the years and none have come close to the sound quality that Matt gives us.PatriotRebel live_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

People might imagine one song would be a quick in and out of the studio to record and perfect. Give us the real insight to the single’s creation and journey.

To be fair Propaganda was quite quick in relation to some of the other songs. It has quite a raw sound and sometimes too much production can kill a song. It went really well but yeah recording can sometimes be quite tedious especially for the vocalists who have to wait until the end.

Is Propaganda the teaser for bigger things ahead too; another EP or album maybe?

That’s exactly what it is. We are booked in with Matt again at Axis studios for late July where we will be recording our next EP. We have a couple of potential titles for it but I’m afraid that’s classified information at this time. We will be working on more videos, merchandise and tour dates to coincide with its release which we hope will be early 2016

You said the song was recorded around the EP but does it still offer a real hint of your new songs or are there plenty of new surprises to anticipate?

A bit of both really. We will always have the unmistakeable Patriot Rebel sound but we have worked on new things which we think are sounding great. We are really excited about some of the new stuff and we think you should be too.

You mentioned it earlier so tell us about the video accompanying Propaganda.

It’s basically a mixture of band performance and storyline. We worked with our friend Chris Clough on this one and we are glad we did because his work is excellent…Really professional record quality. We also got the help of model Katie Wainwright to accompany the storyline sections of the video where she takes newspaper clippings and sticks them on the wall to create a twist at the end. We used Katy because what’s the point of making a video without a girl in a corset and short skirt right?

patriot rebelHow was that experience in the making compared to the recording of songs?

It was really enjoyable for us; we had a great time making the video. We have done videos before but not to this quality. The last one we did was just taken from various live performances so it was an experience for us to do it properly. We shot the video on two separate occasions and the second part was done in the basement of a pub which is always good. The first part which was the band performance was actually shot at my workplace. Which is weird for me but it came out really well.

You touched on the next release but anything else ahead for Patriot Rebel and its fans you can share with us?

We’ve got plenty in the pipeline, some of which we can’t reveal yet. But we will be back gigging very soon. In fact we have a show in Nottingham as main support to Jett Black on the 29th August. It’s part of Degeneration fest and will also include The Treatment so it’s a great line up.

Once again big thanks for chatting with us. Any words or thoughts you would like to leave us with?

Always a pleasure…We would just like to thank your readers and anyone else that has supported us over the years. Cheers

https://www.facebook.com/patriotrebel   https://twitter.com/patriotrebeluk

Thanks to Garry at SaN for arranging the interview.

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 19/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

Bold silences and whispering landscapes: talking Native Construct with vocalist Robert Edens

bySamHarchik_02

You can expect to be impressed by a flood of releases across a reviewing year but to be actually startled is a less regular occurrence but something that Quiet World, the debut album from US progressive metal trio Native Construct achieved. Consisting of vocalist Robert Edens, guitarist Myles Yang, and bassist Max Harchik, the band has crafted a creative emprise of sound and invention which is as fascinating as the background to the album. Quiet World was an album from out of the blue, a mouth-watering, technically gripping landscape of imagination spinning diversity and creative adventure which ignited ears and thoughts. Soon offered the chance to explore the birth, heart, and depths of band and release, we took little time in throwing a torrent of questions at the band’s vocalist.

Hi, and thanks for sparing time to talk with us.

Can we start by looking at the beginnings of Native Construct? The three of you were fellow students at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts; you were studying the same courses?

Rob here–thanks for reaching out to us!

Max and I are both Electronic Production and Design majors, and Myles a Composition and Contemporary Writing and Production dual major. While we studied many of the same core courses, our major courses of study were quite different. The band originally formed in the Berklee dorms, with Max joining on bass later.

When did friendship start to become idea collaboration and subsequently the creation of Native Construct?Photo 3_Cinematic

Myles and I had been playing and recording music together since middle school, and we’d planned to form a prog metal band once we got to Berklee since getting our acceptance letters. Shortly after arriving at Berklee, Myles and I joined with our friend Gabe Salomon to start writing what would become the Chromatic Aberration demo. So, the band formed pretty early on in our Berklee careers, after spending some time jamming with numerous other students.

Do you all come from a background of musical tastes with a common bond? I ask because of the diverse flavours and variety to your music.

We all share a common background in progressive music of many forms, but certainly prog metal most notably. Myles and I having had grown up together, our musical developments have been very similar. Our respective studies at Berklee have definitely brought a lot of the variety to our music, however, since you’re exposed to quite a lot as a student there.

Once beginning to write together etc., how quickly did the premise and direction of your music emerge?

We decided we wanted to write a concept album pretty much from the get-go. After Chromatic Aberration was written, we started writing the rest of the album around this first song, which would eventually become the end of our story.

From reading the accompanying press release to your debut album Quiet World, I understand the writing of songs, the album, and indeed its recording was between your on-going studies? How did you find the time and you could use the college’s facilities?

Finding the time, let alone the creative energy, to completely compose and co-produce this album along with our school studies was quite difficult, but it was something we were passionate about. We really believed in this project, and wanted to take the time and effort to make it the best we could. We were able to make use of Berklee’s facilities on occasion, but the vast majority of the work was done at our home studios.

You have now finished your studies?

Myles and myself graduated this past December, but Max is a couple years younger and has a few semesters left.

Tell us about the recording of Quiet World. It happened over an extended period?

Yes. Like the rest of the album production, the recording process took a long time due to school. We were very meticulous with every aspect, as well. We wanted to make sure everything sounded perfect, so we’d even go back and re-record sections several weeks later just to improve one small aspect of the take.

CoverIn its production etc. was there any others involved or it was a solo effort by the three of you until the signing with Metal Blade?

The album was largely self-produced. All tracking and programming was done at our home studios in Boston, MA, with the exception of vocals, which were recorded with Jamie King at The Basement Studios in Winston-Salem, NC. The album was mixed by Rich Mouser at The Mouse House Studio in Los Angeles, CA, and mastered by Jamie King.

How did that link up with Metal Blade come about, what brought you to the attention of Brian Slagel of the label?

We got in contact with Tommy Rogers (vocalist of Between the Buried and Me) once the record was finished, who liked it and wanted to help us shop it to labels. Metal Blade, BTBAM’s own label, got back to us with an offer upon hearing the album from Tommy. We’re eternally grateful for him having given us this opportunity!

The vocals to Quiet World were as you mentioned subsequently recorded with Jamie King. How was the experience?

Working with Jamie was a blast. He’s an extremely patient and helpful guy, and really great to work with. It was also really exciting for me to get to record Quiet World inside the same vocal booth I’d seen in the BTBAM studio videos!

Were there other tweaks, evolutions to the album around this point too?

With the exception of Chromatic Aberration between its demo version and now, not much on the album has ever changed. Our vision from the onset remained fairly constant, with changes affecting primarily the sounds in the album rather than the writing.

I think it is fair to say that Quiet World has been enthusiastically received. Did you have any particular hopes for it, especially once Metal Blade was steering its release?

We’ve been nothing short of floored at the overwhelmingly positive response to the album. We knew Metal Blade would be able to get our music out there, but we never could’ve known how well-received this album was going to be–it’s been quite surreal. We’re so excited that people have been enjoying it and can’t wait to bring it to them live!

Tell us about the premise between the lyrical concepts of Quiet World? bySamHarchik_03

The lyrical concepts were intentionally connected in many different ways, not necessarily all relating the same over-arching story to the album. We don’t like to talk about our own interpretation of the story too much since we want listeners to be able to find their own meaning in the music, but I can give some background on the concept. The main source of conflict in the story stems from an unrequited love. Mute, an outcast, escapes into a world of his own creation where he maintains complete control, until a struggle for freedom begins to mount against him. The musical and lyrical content work together to tell many different stories following this concept throughout the album.

What inspired the narrative?

The music and story of Quiet World are largely interdependent, each influencing the other constantly throughout their creation. When we set out to come up with a story to write the album around, we knew we wanted something emotional and eclectic enough for the musical ideas we already had. We also took influences from everything we’d taken in and appreciated throughout our lives: from videogames to fantasy novels to classic prog rock concept albums, Quiet World truly came from all over.

As we mentioned the album has a strikingly diverse and adventurous landscape to its music, are there any bands or artists you would say have inspired the ideation within Quiet World most notably, and in your own personal craft?

The album clearly has several major influences (musical theatre, Queen, Between the Buried and Me), but the main inspiration behind the sound of Quiet World has been to create something strange and interesting through the conglomeration of all these different styles. Through jazz harmony studied at Berklee, vocal writing inspired by Queen, and the emotional storytelling of musical theatre, we were able to put together this album that really felt like its own unique sound.

Is there a live presence to Native Construct?

Absolutely! We’re rehearsing with an additional guitarist and drummer to bring our live line-up to a five-piece, and will be playing shows soon.

What is next for the band? Is the Metal Blade union on-going?

Our agreement with Metal Blade lasts for at least three major record releases, so we’ll likely be buckling down on our next album after the summer.

Big thanks again for talking with us, any last thoughts you would like to share?

I know I’m not Trolzaan. I’ll never be Trolzaan.

https://www.facebook.com/NativeConstruct   http://www.metalblade.com/nativeconstruct/

Read the Quiet World review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/native-construct-quiet-world/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 16/05/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

Wild hooks and inescapable persuasions, introducing Threatpoint

Threatpoint Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

There has been very good things coming out of America about a “raw, no gimmick pure groove metal band!” They are called Threatpoint and after checking out their sound it is hard to offer a better description though it does not quite hint at the full variety of sound and texture within their magnetic assaults. This is a band we instantly thought we need to know more about so grabbed the opportunity to corner the band with a few questions.

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

Can you first introduce Threatpoint and to your furiously diverse assault of groove/metal what would you describe as your biggest inspirations?

Chris James (vocals), Alex Olivetti (guitar), Mike White (guitar), Eric Ross (bass), and CJ Krukowski (drums). We draw from so many different ideas and genres… But a few that we all like are Devildriver, Testament, Soilwork and Killswitch Engage.

What predominantly inspires the roar to the lyrical side of the band?

Lyrically Chris writes about life. Sometimes struggles we endure or stories of situations people have gone through. There’s always a positive note in them. You’ve got to read into them. There’s a spiritual sense to him.

How does the songwriting process work within Threatpoint?

Songs generally start with a vocal melody or a guitar inspired cut. With the two new guys now everyone writes in the band. Chris and Eric also play guitar. So there are a lot of ideas floating around constantly!

You just touched on it, you have had a line-up change recently, how has this impacted on things like indeed songwriting and where has it invigorated the band most?

Mike and Eric are very good friends that played in a band together prior. So that helps with the ease of transition. Both of them bring massive energy to the band as well as writing skills of different types. We finally feel a sense of completeness with the addition of them.

Careful What You wish For Cover-Reputation Radio/RingMaster ReviewTell us about your album Careful What You Wish For…about its theme, recording etc.

That album took us a year and four months to finish. Among working full-time jobs, doing shows and writing the material we were stretched and burnt out. Originally it was supposedly to be 10 songs, which turned into 20 then was cut to 14. We record at JL Studios in Olyphant Pennsylvania. Joe is a mastermind. His skills are amazing. We say can you get this sound and he does.

CWYWF is a collection of ideas …no one theme…Different real stories or views on our take of life.

How would you describe the evolution in your sound and differences between the new album and its predecessor Dead To Rise?

Definitely more advanced on this album. You strive to get better as you go. Find out what works and what doesn’t go over so well. Some songs are great to listen to on disc but live they don’t go over as well. So it’s always a learning curve.

The band, as readers look at this interview, is undertaking an intensive tour along the Southeast of the US. What can people expect from a Threatpoint show and will you be airing Careful What You Wish For in its full might?

We are currently playing quite a few tracks off it live. Expect high raw energy from the stage. No gimmicks!

Yea, we go to southeast and then out to west coast in the fall. Lots of shows coming up. Hope to see and meet lots of new peeps!

You can stream our full album on our website www.threatpointofficial.com

Once more big thanks for chatting with us, any last words?

Thank you to our fans and anyone helping us to grow. Please stop by our Facebook page and give a LIKE…

https://www.facebook.com/threatpoint     http://www.threatpointofficial.com/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 16/05/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net