The silent roar of darkness; talking Evocation with Skin Drone

SD_RingMasterReview

Within the metal underground, it is fair to say that anticipation for the debut album from US band Skin Drone has been increasingly eager in many quarters. The web based project is the creative union of vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Erik Martin of Critical Dismemberment and multi-instrumentalist/producer Otto Kinzel from Chemical Distance and the founder of Bluntface Records. Next month sees the release of debut album Evocation; a proposition offering emotionally and lyrically dark tales as raw and caustic as they are seductive and elegantly evocative. The album pulls the listener into ravenous experimental landscapes of imposing shadows and emotional turmoil shaped by a fusion of extreme, industrial, and avant-garde metal with provocative ambiences, to simplify it all. It is powerful and invigorating, and the source of a hunger to dig deeper into its heart. So with big thanks to Erik and Otto, that is what we have done as we explore the world of Skin Drone…

Hi Guys and thank you for sharing your time with us.

Can you first tell us how you both met?

Erik: We met through Operation: Underground [a compilation album on Blutface Records]. Critical Dismemberment was on that release and Otto mixed/mastered the song for us. From there, we became good friends throughout the months and when Otto approached me about Skin Drone, there was no way to say no.

Otto: After Operation: Underground, which my label Bluntface Records released, I started working with Critical Dismemberment much more and they eventually joined the label. So by that point I had already been talking with both Erik and Chase Fincher (who did all the mixing & mastering on Evocation) for some time. I was always impressed by both of them and we all became really good friends. Erik and I have a lot in common so I think we naturally connected on a musical and personal level. When I asked Erik if he’d be able to help me out with vocals on some songs he jumped at the chance. That first song was what ended up becoming Witching Hour, and Erik hit a home run with it! I was so blown away by what he wrote and performed that I knew we had to pursue this more. Long story short, here we are. And it’s funny because even though Chase isn’t a “member” per say of Skin Drone, he played a huge role in the final product because he’s the one that brought the tracks to life when he mixed the album.

As you have already touched on, you are both heavily involved in other projects, solo and with others, and Otto you with running Bluntface Records too; so when did the seeds to the actual project of Skin Drone first arise?

Otto

Otto

Otto: I had been trying to get a variation of Skin Drone off the ground for probably a year or so prior to hooking up with Erik. And I had basically no luck whatsoever. So when I started working with Critical Dismemberment, and subsequently got to know Erik and Chase better I knew that there was special talent there. As I mentioned, Witching Hour was the first song we collaborated on together. I had a rough demo with just guitar and drums recorded when I sent it to Erik to try his hand at it. I never had a serious vocalist attached to this project and the whole thing was basically dormant in my efforts to get it off the ground. Erik came back with a very impressive performance and lyrics, and I was blown away. I specifically remember thinking “damn, if we can make this work, even with 1,000 miles between us, we might be onto something really special”. And the momentum kept building with each song afterwards as both of us got more comfortable working & writing with each other. The chemistry was very natural; I don’t remember ever really having to “force” anything in the creative process.

What was the initial spark and indeed the moment where you knew it was going to work?

Erik: For me it was hearing the final mix of Witching Hour when we first started. It just felt right and when we really started to venture out into the experimental with Shepherd Of The Damned, we ran with it and embraced the sound we were crafting, that for me cemented that we were a force to be reckoned with.

Otto: Shepherd of the Damned was the first song we did where there were multiple changes in the timing, and in the overall feeling of the song. The levels of dynamics in that were tricky to start but once we had the final version, I think we both knew we had stepped our game up a notch.

Did you set out with a particular intent and direction for Skin Drone or let things organically arise?

Otto: Everything that happened was organic. Sure, we tried to push in a particular direction. At first I think we just wanted to pursue the technical death metal type of sound. But funny enough, the more we “tried” to push for one specific style, the more things spun out of control and took on a life of their own. It was fairly early on that we realized that we needed to just “run with it” so to speak, and however the songs came out is how they came out. It’s hard to explain because so much of it was done by “feel”; but everything was organic.

As you mentioned you live hundreds of miles apart and more. So I am assuming a physical coming together for the project is near to impossible, so how does the writing and creating process work between you online?

Erik: Usually it starts off with a demo that we toss back and forth a few times until we have something that we feel out did what we accomplished with the last song. Some take longer than others but for the most part it is no different than writing in the same room; the only difference being that when we are communicating our ideas to each other, we have to be very clear as to what we are trying to achieve sonically. There is always the potential if we are having an off day that it could derail the entire song, but we always catch ourselves before that happens.

Is this a time consuming process in the creation of songs and do you work on them one at a time or work away on numerous tracks at the same time?

Otto: I’d say no more or less of a time consuming process that what a “regular” band goes through. Some songs naturally take longer than others to complete but as a whole we work at a very efficient pace. That’s because both Erik and I each do a lot of work on our own time to develop our parts and work thing out, before presenting them to the other person. And yes we’ll typically have a few songs continuously in the works. For me it helps because if I’m stuck on a certain song or just not having any luck then I can go work on something else, and still make progress without holding the whole project up.

Erik_RingMasterReview

Erik

You have just released your striking and enjoyably often disturbing debut album, Evocation. How long has it been in the making?

Erik: If memory serves me correctly, we wrote the first song in autumn of 2014 and finished the last one in the beginning of summer in 2015. It was then gone back over and mixed/mastered in the winter of 2015. We have the luxury of being able to take our time and not have to a label or pay for studio time, I feel like that lack of pressure really shows in the music.

Is it a project which has had to grow around other commitments or were you able to create it in a period of no other musical distractions?

Erik: For me, I had just finished my parts on the Critical D debut, so for 99% of this, I was musically not distracted.

Otto: I had no distractions musically. I always try to make sure I can give 100% focus and energy to the material when I’m in writing /recording mode.

Can you give some idea to its themes?

Erik: The themes are mostly centred in occultism, rituals, witchcraft, paganism and even some calling out thieves in organized religion. There are also certain personal elements hidden in plain sight, but we leave those to the listener to decide what is fiction and what is real life. It adds a level of mysticism that we build upon musically.

I was going to ask about that; as much as it trespasses the senses and psyche, there are just as evocative moments of melancholic beauty and intimate psychosis to songs. So to push for more insight, how much of their inspiration and exploration comes from the emotionally personal side and experiences of you two, lyrically and musically?

Erik: Lyrically during the writing process I was in a very dark place. Dealing with vices and very confused on what life even meant; that included the people in it. You could liken it to just doing what I had to do in order to keep breathing. All that translated to some of the darkest and angriest lyrics I had ever written. The best example of this is Salvation. That song is about a spirit that drives his killer insane and ultimately kills him and makes it all look like a ritualistic suicide. If you really pay attention to the lyrics, you start to see a very personal story of being consumed by something and the only way out is death it seems.  There are examples of this spread out through the entire album; it is all just up to everyone’s individual interpretation of the lyrics.

For us Evocation is the darkest most invasive nightmare, yet equally at times, a shadowed but understanding emotional affair between listener and song. How much was this deliberately sculpted and again how much an organic evolution?

Otto: From my perspective, watching how Erik was so methodical; in his approach to writing the lyrics and developing the themes, I would say it was deliberate. He did a wonderful job orchestrating how it all went together, like an architect. For the music and the basic song structures, all of that was organic and natural. But when it came time to add the lyrics and really focus in on shifting the songs into their “final” state, Erik was the guy commanding the ship. I know how personal and painful a lot of these lyrics are to him and I’m so impressed with his commitment to the art.

There is also a real cinematically ambient feel to some parts. This is a style in your composing which you might explore more, or already may have?

Erik: The cinematic effects (I hope) remain a staple of our sound. Already in writing some rough ideas for record two, those ambient parts will go along with the heavy parts and we will throw in some curveballs when it comes to the time changes and the melancholic parts of the music. I think we are hungrier to really explore the depths of what we can do sonically and evolve as a band.

Skin Drone - Evocation _RingMasterReviewAs we mentioned earlier, you both have other projects which between them I can say have given some of our favourite releases in recent times. When you get an idea for one, is there now an element of stepping back and looking to see if it might fit better with say Skin Drone or vice versa?

Erik: 100% of what I write in my solo project is open for us to try and make a Skin Drone song. You just never know when you put something together that you think will not work actually turns into something that makes the record. Sometimes stepping back from the craziness for a day or two can yield some badass results.

Otto: I had some random riffs and drum patterns kicking around here and there, that for one reason or another just never got used. It was fun to go back and rediscover some of that stuff. I record tons of music, almost every day. So I have a huge catalogue of material that runs the gamut from metal and industrial to dark ambient and more instrumental/score type of compositions. Most of this I just do to capture an idea so almost everything is unfinished and in a “demo” type of state. But I like being able to capture an idea and then have it saved, so someday later on if I find a place for it I can go back and see if it works.

There is no escaping the raw and bold kaleidoscope of styles within Evocation either. What are the artists or flavours which have most inspired your own inventions would you say?

Erik: For me it was a lot of Deconstruction era Devin Townsend Project. Another I was reminded just recently was the Declaration album from Bleeding Through; most notably the song Sister Charlatan. The heaviness along with orchestral parts was really my first taste of the two blended together and since then has always been something I’ve wanted to incorporate into music. Lastly, Landon Tewers who uses a lot of ambience and really dark imagery with his lyrics was a huge influence. He was my introduction onto whispering vocals and I absolutely loved it.

Otto: Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Mike Patton and almost all of his various bands, Ministry, KMFDM, Obscura, Gorguts, Nirvana, Kyuss…those are a just a few. If you give me long enough I can come up with a ton of stuff haha.

What comes next for Skin Drone and yourselves individually?

Erik: For Skin Drone, it’s riding the album cycle until there is no more gas in the tank and then some. After that we probably take a short break and get back into writing the next record with our foot mashed on the gas. With Critical D on hiatus, Skin Drone is my one and only focus.

Otto: Like Erik said, we’re going to promote the hell out of Evocation until there is literally nothing left to promote. We’re prepared to work as hard as we’ve ever had to work in our lives to get the music out there and make sure people hear it.

After that? I think we’ll take a short rest so we can recharge our creative batteries and then jump right back into writing the next album. We already have some rough ideas kicking around for themes.

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

Otto: Evocation drops June 14. Please pre-order your copy at http://skindrone.bandcamp.com/releases!

Check out our review of Evocation @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/skin-drone-evocation/

https://www.facebook.com/skindrone   https://twitter.com/SkinDrone   http://www.bluntfacerecords.com/

Pete Ringmaster

The RingMaster Review 19/05/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Exploring the rousing roar of Maxdmyz

Maxdmyz_RingMasterReview

Maxdmyz is a London based metal quintet who has earned a potent reputation over the year as a live proposition and through their striking sound and releases. We were took the chance to find out more about the band with thanks to its members, exploring its origins, heart, and creative pulse…

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

Twister: So I’m Twister – I sing, write the lyrics, melodies and make the odd contribution to the tunes themselves. You’ve got Roger on guitar, A’Zedd on bass, and Vortex on keys and programming with Jay on drums and programming.

The band has taken different forms over the years – I’m the only founding member, although Jay and I have been working in the band for quite a while now. A’Zedd and Vortex joined a couple of years ago, and have each brought their own flavours to the band – A’Zedd in jazz and blues, and Vortex in goth, industrial and electronica. Roger was the brains behind German death-metallers, Apophis, and Jay has an incredible number of influences from Cardiacs to Nile and Squarepusher.

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

Jay: Yeah, we’ve all been band whores ever since any of us can remember. I don’t think we consciously decided on one musical direction or another – what does mark us out though is an openness just to see where things take us. It’s a unique combination of influences and personalities and it’s that chemistry that gives us our sound, and everyone is welcome, in fact encouraged, to contribute as fully as possible to the best of their ability.

What inspired the band name?

Vortex:  Twis likes to tell a story where it was a dyslexic founding member who came up with it – I’m still not sure whether I believe him but the name at least is distinctive and, if not memorable, you remember that you can’t remember it – er, if you see what I mean!

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

A’Zedd: Wow, I’d like to say there is and that we have a sense of a specific sound and vibe that we want to create. But it would be a massive lie. It’s much less conscious than that and all the better for it. Emotional connection – that’s the beginning and the end of it, and our music is the vehicle to do it.

maxdmyz1_RingMasterReviewDo the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

Roger: What do you mean – “was” fresh-faced – I think the band has developed over time, but whether progression or regression, who knows. As for evolution, well, every time we play or rehearse, we get closer and stronger – the material improves, as do our live performances. We are all incredibly driven, and always will be – it’s just a compulsion to connect.

So since your early days, how would you say your sound has actually evolved?

Twister: We’ve become heavier and more melodic – we started out really almost as loopy drum ‘n’ bass laced with samples, goth vocals, and heavy guitars. And it’s definitely an organic thing, although this openness to see where things take us naturally has definitely led to innovation and experiment?

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations, you touched on it with Jay but 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?

A’Zedd: It’s weird, you know, but almost everything you encounter and process, musically or otherwise, has an impact – either as repellent or attractant. There are certain kinds of music and artists I don’t want to emulate – and that’s as much if not more of an influence on our music, vibe and outlook as anything else. But my native discretion forbids me from naming names.

Is there a regular process to the band’s songwriting?

Jay: Each of us is a songwriter in their own right – so what generally happens is that one of us presents an idea, even at a relatively early stage of development, and we jam and refine it. We all have our areas of expertise, but we are all very open to contributions and suggestions from band mates. The songs refine and develop through practice and live performance.

Roger: If one of us doesn’t feel comfortable with something, we generally dump it as we’ve all got to be happy with the final product if we’re going to deliver it with conviction; having said that, we are all happy to compromise. This is one of the most productive and democratic bands I have ever worked in – it’s just mutual respect and everyone working towards the same goal. Publishing is always divided five ways, regardless.

Vortex: Yeah, part of the pleasure of being in this band is that everyone works to get the best possible level of creativity out of everyone else – we all see ourselves as enablers of the others’ creativity and are glad to be so. It feels so good to be working in a collaborative environment where everyone is respected and feels represented.

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

Twister: I guess this is my shout – since I write the damn things. It’s from the extremes of emotional experience, more often than not – or sometimes from some ironic or sardonic take on an issue that grabs me – from anorexia to suicide bombers. They’re noises made to music in the end and they either work or don’t work.

Can you give us some background to your latest release?

Jay: It feels a little weird talking about it, as it feels a long time ago now and we will be releasing a new album later this year or early the next – The Hate Plane was released in August 2014, maxdmyz artmaxdmyz_RingMasterReviewalthough it still seems to be exciting interest and radio play etc. as if it had been released just a month or two ago; that may be a characteristic of the internet age, people come across this stuff online every day and for them it’s new and fresh. Grieve, the single off the album, is still getting a lot of radio play, especially in the States, as are All and Side with Satan.

Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind the album.

Vortex: Apocalypse, the counter culture under pressure, individual desperation in the face of personal powerlessness and alienation, anger, boredom, sex, mental illness, political injustice – you know; the usual stuff. The premise is, I guess, is that existentially you have to make a statement even if the only one listening is yourself.

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

A’Zedd: The answer is yes. I think you have to be as prepared and ‘finalised’ as possible and that’s because things will always change and that’s good. We can’t afford financially or creatively to mess around composing on recording time. That’s why, when I estimate how long it’s going to take to record anything, I estimate, double the figure, then double it again.

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

Roger: As a relatively new member, I can say that that’s what drew me to the band. I’d seen them in one guise or other playing live for a few years on the London circuit. It was one show in particular which I thought was electric – at the Dome in North London. Twister is a fantastic singer, and A’Zedd is such a fluent, effortless bassist. Vortex has this extraordinary presence. And Jay is one of the most phenomenal drummers I have ever seen, let alone played with. Playing with these guys is an incredible adrenaline rush and communicates that excitement to the audience, and that, in the end, is what it’s all about.

maxdmyz2_RingMasterReviewIt is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

Jay: London is the last place in the universe you’d want to start or be in a band. There are probably thousands of different acts all trying to climb out of the sewer that is the London music scene. Some of the great metal bands have come from the UK, but culturally there seems to be less appetite for it than you’d think. There are opportunities to make a mark for new bands of course, but there is always that element of luck – being in the right place at the right time, knowing the right people and so on. Rick Wakeman once said that any band looking for a deal doesn’t deserve one – easy for him to say, but he’s only half right. With the internet now though, it’s sometimes easier to make a mark somewhere else in the world rather than closer to home.

So how has the internet and social media impacted on you guys to date?

Vortex: It’s had a massive positive impact on getting our music out there. There is a fantastic democratizing influence that the internet has had – it kind of flattens out celebrity – everyone has a website – you can visit Slayer’s or Maxdmyz’s and the experience is much the same – you listen and you either like it or you don’t. True, it’s less easy to get rich off music if you’re an artist – well, it was never that easy, but so what! In what moral universe does Phil Collins earn millions of dollars off a song it took him three minutes to write, where the average ambulance driver or nurse earns naff all by comparison. And you don’t need any specialist skills apart from the ability to click on links and send emails, seriously.

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

A’Zedd: Well, thank you for your interest. Yep, we’ve just heard we’ll be playing Club Antichrist on 11th November. See you there!

Check out Maxdmyz further @ https://www.facebook.com/maxdmyz and their music @ http://maxdmyz.bandcamp.com/

https://maxdmyz.uk/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 17/05/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

The Passion and the Roar: Talking Rising Dark

Rising Dark_RingMasterReview

Formed in 2005, Italian metallers Rising Dark have just began their second decade as one of the underground’s striking and rousing thrash metal propositions. Earlier this year they released second album A World In Ruin via White Tower Records; a thumping and resourceful encounter from the quartet of vocalist/guitarist Michael Crimson, lead guitarist Stanley Bleese, vocalist/bassist Dan Ross, and drummer Balzael, as surprising as it was inescapably anthemic. With thanks to Balzael we now have the chance to explore the heart and depths of Rising Dark…

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

Hi from Balzael and Rising Dark, thank you for the opportunity.

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

It all started in 2005 from an idea of me (Balzael) and Michael Crimson; we just wanted to have some fun dreaming about being rock stars and stuff like that. We started with some covers and things like that. The funny thing is that I was not able to play any instrument and I chose drum just because I was inspired by some famous drummer of that time. In a couple of years we tried to produce our own music and here we are with more than 10 years of career and two albums around the world.

So Rising Dark is your first musical venture?

When we started, Rising Dark was the first band for every one of us but during this year we had a lot of side projects. I have always some active side projects to play with, now I’m touring with Angerdome. From a musical point of view I would not say that our side projects affect our genre but it definitely affects the way we play and grow in music ambient. For example with Angerdome, due to the nature of the genre, I’m forced to play a “static drumming” that follows everything the guitarist plays; for sure in rising dark we do not have that strict need but this is for sure something to learn from.

What inspired the band name?

We were 15 at the time, we just picked up a “dark” name; today we still love our name so we were not so foolish at the time ahah.

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

We did not plan anything in our career but for sure we wanted to propose something rude but also catchy; for sure Metallica inspired us a lot in creating our own music too but we definitely never took by choice anything defined or played from other bands.

Does the same initial spark still drive the band from when it was fresh-faced or has that first wind of creativity evolved over time?

Well, we are still rude and catchy and we still compose thrash metal with no bounds and limits, we take elements from Death, Thrash and Prog music. I would even say that we take something from rock because we often compose ballads that are quite strange for a thrash metal band.

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

Our sound is still rude and catchy but I would say that our approach at composition has changed since we learned to be at the service of music and not the opposite. During the composition of our first release, Apocalyptic, we composed with no bounds and regardless of the “final listener’s effect”. That worked but to create tracks with an average duration of 7 minutes is not always a pro. Today we are learning the best way to communicate to people with our music which means you cannot simply walk into the jam room and start to play everything you want when you want and how you want; you have always to keep in mind that you are a performer and an artist and that your final goal is to reach people hearts and let people have fun. You are not producing music only for yourself.

Has it been an organic movement in your sound or do you deliberately try new things?

Everything came naturally and not planned in any way, we just communicate with our music and our fans; our natural enhancement process is to go where our music takes us. When you see that your fans appreciate what you do and understand it, well, you are on the right way.

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 own personal approach and ideas?

Well, regarding other bands, we definitely are inspired by Metallica, Slayer, Testament, and the great “fathers of metal music” like Ozzy or Judas Priest but we don’t want to emulate anyone. In fact, what we propose is really a personal interpretation of our genre (that is my opinion). For sure we are also inspired by society, religion, books and films regarding our themes.

Is there a particular process to the songwriting in the band?

Yeah, Michael Crimson usually starts with an idea more or less complete; we jam on it and try to define the shape of the new track while trying some lyric approach. Once done, we focus on lyrics and solos. I finally take care of the arrangements and all the production process.

You have already touched on it but where, more often than not, do inspirations to the lyrical side come from?

For sure society, books, films, videogames are source of inspiration. We usually compose tracks inspired by Lovecraft’s tales; that is definitely a great source of inspiration for us.

Give us some background to your latest release.

It has been a difficult and long process because while we were composing the tracks we also were searching for a new bass player. Fortunately we found Dan Ross only a month before the recording started who gave his final touch to our tracks. For this album I wanted to obtain a more “live sound”; I’m so sick of listening to perfect albums that are completely different from what a band can propose in a live situation. I don’t want to go back to recordings of ’60 or ’70 but I think that an album is more personal if you do not use too much triggers or fantastic presets. If the music is great you do not need a massive production. Nowadays even a band that started jamming yesterday can have an album that sounds like Meshuggah (obviously I am exasperating the concept) but it’s not so easy to find a personal album. That is our direction.

Please give us some insight to the themes and premise behind your release?Rising Dark art_RingMasterReview

Well you can find post-apocalypse worlds, fantastic tales of creatures from Lovecraft’s mind as you can find our personal view of criminality, or war in its emotional aspect or in it’ violent habits.

You enter the studio with songs pretty much in their final state?

When we enter the studio our tracks are totally completed; just in order to give you an example, drum’s recording took 5 hours which means that you play “one-shot” at the tracks.

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

We definitely believe in SHOW. For us it means not only that you must play in a professional way but that you have to bring a real metal show made of blood, masks and stuff like that. We want to communicate with people in any possible way just in order to see them have fun. We don’t give a fuck about being famous or stuff like that, we want to see people have fun with our music; if that causes us to sell our products well it’s obviously good for us but our goal is to give people a moment to remember, and this vision applies also to the band member. We don’t want to grow old and have nothing to tell to our sons…… yeah… we usually exaggerate a little bit in our shows haha.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it where you come from? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if a band wants it?

Yeah, SACRIFICE and PROFESSIONALITY, these are the keywords. You must always work hard. I also see a lot of bands totally concentrated in what they are playing, watching strings during live [performances] or looking at the stage floor; if you want to reach people you have to communicate with them. If you are doing this for the money well you’d better pack your shit and go gardening, if you are doing it because you want to hear “Oh thank you so much Rising Dark for that show and for your music” well achieve that by playing with people and not only with your instruments.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive or only a good thing if worked properly?

Well social networks nowadays are a great way to promote you music, but if you are only a social network hero and at the first gig you are a piece of wood, I grant you that you will remain a social network hero. Social network can increase you success but it will work only if there is some “substance”. Social networks also increased the concurrence between the bands because everyone can reach anyone in any moment so if you want them to have you next, you have to offer something real and personal so people can remember you.

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

Yeah Dan Ross put mayonnaise on the fucking pizza. No, seriously, thank everyone for reading this. You can find our single Plague on YouTube, take a look at it and give a chance to our album if you like thrash metal; support underground artists and STAY FUCKING METAL.

Find out more about Rising Dark and their music @ https://www.facebook.com/Rising-Dark-169181442638

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 08/05/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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

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/