Boundless lifescapes; exploring the realm of Lucid AfterLife Interview

lucid-afterlife-pic_RingMasterReview

With a sound as eclectic as the themes within its imagination driven walls, Vancouver hailing Lucid AfterLife has earned loyal attention and support at home and across a global landscape. Renowned as one of Canada’s more impressive and memorable live propositions, the progressive groove rockers are luring bigger spotlights their way with their new EP, the successor to their well-received debut album I Am, expected to spring a new wave of invention hungry fans the way of the quartet. We recently had the pleasure to find out more about the band, that upcoming EP, and the creative heart of Lucid AfterLife with guitarist Thom Turner

Hello and thanks for sharing your time to talk with us.

Hello, Thom from Lucid AfterLife here.  Thank you so much for having us!

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

In the beginning our vocalist Nat Jack was floating through the aether contemplating the purpose and form of existence.  He then came upon our drummer Matt.  The two of them forged a great alliance. From this union a great universe was born. It was one of never ending inspiration and possibilities. To round out this vision myself, Thom, and our bassist Miles were sought. Together we are take these rough shapes and turn them into the most honest and kick ass songs that we can.

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

I am a current member of the band Freya as well as being a professional musician for the last 15 years.  I have played in numerous groups.  The work ethic and attention to artistry that I got from that band is immense.  Sonically they are very different.  Miles is a member of Riftwalker and Hallux. Matt has played with many groups as well.  As for Nat Jack…He simply is.  All of us take our experience and add it to everything we do. That is one of the best things about LAL. Genre does not factor in. Whatever mood serves the lyric or vibe is what it needs to be.

What inspired the band name?

As a group we feel that reality is in an illusion…More than that it is malleable. Life, death they are merely shades on a continuum.  So through our music we transcend.  To be able to visualize and experience multiple levels of existence is.  We can experience multiple worlds through our songs and live shows.  That is what Lucid Afterlife means to me.

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

There are always stories that come to us…things that may be inspired by every day.  Some come from deeper more existential places.  All of them are important to us.  As we have toured we have been lucky to see that these topics hit home with so many people.  So we continue to write them.  As for the sound it is meant to be inclusive.  To be the heaviest thing ever when the emotion is deep and powerful then, turn around and be very clean and melodic to represent another story or character is as honest as we can be.

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

Constant evolution…we are all about that.  That said though most of the same principles are the corner stones of what LAL is.  Relatable honest music that is served with all the energy we have live.

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

Since I was brought on I would say that the sound has evo-loved.  We still love Sabbath and Monster Magnet.  On top of that we explore our mutual love of progressive music.  Things like Kansas and Yes and Porcupine Tree and Kings X.  It adds a broader pallet to the stories we can tell. Really though it all comes down to the live show for us.  Nat Jack is a wild man on stage and we push out the sound track for the listener’s experience.

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

Extremely organic I believe.  We work to service the songs that come out.  Our sound is extremely diverse.  Yet, when you hear it you know it is LAL.  It all comes from that point of honesty in the lyric and music.

You mentioned some already but presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any others in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach to creating and playing music? As I said before Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Monster Magnet, Yes, Kansas, Porcupine Tree.  Also Ministry, Cream, Dream Theater, Kings X, Hendrix, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu Tang Clan, Body Count, MF Doom.  Soooo much music goes into what we do.  From rock to jazz to metal to Hip-Hop, it all moves us.

Does the band have a particular method to its songwriting?

We work in very brotherly way.  I will write some things, pass them to Nat and a lyrical idea will usually pop out.  From there Matt and I go to work on fleshing out an arrangement and Miles lays down the bass.  So far it has been all hands on deck movement.

Where do lyrical inspirations more often than not come from?

Everyday life through the lens of existential global truths…A lot of our songs have to do with relationships.  Not really with people per se, more archetypes.  If we do a song that is very obviously about sex then you can bet it isn’t at all about sex.  We like to lead people, through the parlance of our time to deeper truths.

lucid-afterlife_RingMasterReviewCan you give us some background to your latest release?

Our new EP Occult Mafia Mistress is an opening salvo into what is coming next for LAL.  With this line-up we have 4 great singers so we wanted to put that to use.  Most songs really take advantage of all of us.

How about an insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs?

This record focuses on themes of transcendence.   Be it through love, sex, meditation or sheer elation.  They are explained in somewhat adversarial roles.  Some characters and ideas want to hold you down from your potential.  Others are the inner explorers rupturing out into being against that oppressive force.  We are able to do this through the use of many styles and genres, from hip hop on a song like Time Killaz (feat. Merkulese) to the pure rock and roll of Retarded Owl, the voice of the song blends seamlessly with the lyric.

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

The frame of a song is all done by the time we get in there.  Because we play the crap out of the songs live and see what goodness comes out. So when we get into the studio what happens is we add all the touches; layering and vocals.  A record should be a piece of art unto itself.  Music is ephemeral.  It changes depending on your mood; where you listen to it, even through the course of the song.  Then it is over.  That time has passed.  So when we are in there recording and mixing everything is fluid.  What comes out is even more magical then what went in.

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

Live we are a completely different band depending on Nat Jack.  His mood and character shape our live performance…never the same thing twice.  We reach out to the audience and invite them in…literally.  They play with us.  We feel that the live stage is a conversation so we go all out.  We breakdown our bodies and minds while we are up there and show the people they can too.  We do a lot of improv along with our normal songs as well.  We ask the audience for suggestions on style and lyrical content.  And we go at it…all within the confines of a normal set.

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

With the internet EVERYTHING IS REGIONAL; we have many devoted fans and neighbors in BC.  They are amazing and we love them.  But, we also have some amazing fans all over the world just looking for the same stuff we are.  The impact is right there.  The days of $500,000 an album contracts are gone.  We are out there just to make these connections…One person at a time.  Art drives life; even if only one person listens to us and passes it onto one friend.  That is growth and the conversation continues.  As long as you are creating you are growing.

Do you see the internet and social media impact you mentioned destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or when or if it happens it is more that those bands have struggled to use it in the right way?

The internet is reality for many people.  So ignorance on how to use it to your advantage doesn’t seem to make very much sense.  Every tool is right there for you.  It can be no different from handing a demo to a person on the street.  As long as that person passes it on you are good.  I really think it is a matter of perspective size.  Many musicians hold themselves in light of Metallica and Sabbath and Kanye and Adele or whoever Enormous star.  These standards can be so daunting that you quit creating.  This is an atrocity.  Look, did you know that Platinum albums are now 500,000 albums instead of 1,000,000?  That proves that the old system is dying.  That level of “success” is meaningless without a real connection with people.  That is what the internet affords you…The ability to connect with THE WORLD.  We all want to be able to make a living off what we love to do.  But, that can’t be the end goal.  We all have a world of art inside us and we owe it to ourselves and humanity to get it out there.  So go into it with the goal of making great honest art, whatever that is and, people will take notice.

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

Myself (Thom) and all of LAL want to tell you and your readers that we are so thankful for you to be participating in all this with us.  We are looking forward to meeting all of you.  Remember to keep your head up and your mind open.

Occult Mafia Mistress is released digitally and on CD December 9th @ http://lucidafterlife1.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/lucidafterlife/   http://lucidafterlife.ca/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 15/11/2106

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Bonz – Broken Silence

bonz_promo

With Stuck Mojo deeply entrenched in the passions maybe it is no surprise that Broken Silence, the debut album from BONZ, immediately felt like an old friend returning to stir up trouble and the passions. Led by the original frontman of the former, and welcomingly dosed with all the recognisable tones, raps, and roars vocalist Bonz offered in the major protagonists sculpting and ferociously driving rap metal forward, band and album swiftly set a lively spark in the passions. Around him though the sounds offer plenty more than an echo of former glories; twisting rap, nu, and southern bred groove metal into one riveting and ridiculously contagious proposition. Think Stuck Mojo, Body Count, and (Hed) PE in a passionate collusion with The Union Underground and you get a colour of the creative blaze of BONZ. It is familiar in many ways but still dramatically fresh and best of all, ridiculously anthemic and instinctively compelling.

The band came about after Bonz played with ex-Primer 55 guitarist/bassist Curt Taylor in Killer in the Workplace in 2009. With the band coming to an end in 2011, the pair wanted to continue working together and BONZ was the outcome. Early demos suggested something tasty was brewing, a realisation now openly unleashed on the world through Broken Silence. Last year saw the band sign with Germany’s Eternal Sound Records and the creating of the band’s imposing full-length debut, showing in the words of their bio that “the “Mouth of Mojo” is indeed back in fine form.”

If any album in recent times has started with as potent and irresistible a stomp as Broken Silence we missed it. Opener Sinister Grin is pure virulence, from the wonderful earthy lone bassline which sets it in motion, the song is the seeds to addiction. It is almost rockabilly in tone at the start but just the simple lure into the furnace of rap metal tenacity which explodes upon the listener soon after. Grooves are as immediate in appearance and captivation as the distinctive provocations of Bonz, their united bait framed by the punchy rhythmic trap laid by drums and bass. Body and thoughts are increasingly seduced as the track romps with anthemic fury and enterprise, every lyrical spit and tangy hook the inescapable kindling to a fiery ardour for the punk infested 4PAN1Ttempest.

Such a powerful gripping entrance was bound to be followed by a slight dip, not that Comes Over Me gives it much room to breed with its mustier breath and heavier rock infused protestation. Slim but strong diversity from the vocals adds to its inviting drama whilst the guitars scrub up a great dusty atmosphere to the riled encounter. It keeps the potency of the album high as does the excellent Godshine which follows. A thick vine of southern rock flaming veins the track, infusing the stormy attitude and intensity of the encounter with a sonic colour which flames nicely against the infectious vocal conflict.

The album’s title track like the opener is baiting and binding ears and imagination within seconds, this time with another delicious toxic groove which is belligerently unrelenting in its persistence. It cores the track from start to finish, shifting its shade of colour only as Bonz almost duels vocally with the listener. The rhythmic stomp of the track is just as gripping and incendiary, beats punching ears with a middleweight’s consistency and accuracy as bass and guitar prowl and flirt respectively. There is no denying you cannot escape the Stuck Mojo comparisons but it is hard to remember that band finding the same depth of swagger and epidemic like temptation in as many songs on a single release as already shown upon Broken Silence.

30 Seconds To Swat is a punk metal brawl, the bass providing a dirty groove whilst riffs blister and inflame the air with a budding fury. Not as unique as other tracks but a thoroughly absorbing incitement to neck muscles, the song makes way for the exceptional stalking that is Take It Personal. Bass and riffs prowl around the listener, leery and combat ready. They do step back for the rap of Bonz though, the bass accompanying his vocal contention as beats equally slow their assault. It is going to erupt at some point of course and does in the ridiculously addictive chorus which has voice engaged in its call within one round of its rivalry. The track sets another pinnacle in the heady heights of the album, easily sparking thoughts that if live audiences bellow for one song it would be this mighty antagonist.

There is enough diversity to the album to make Broken Silence more than a rap metal revival, the great melodic charm and chant of Sour Diesel teasing with a bluesy groove and Insane Clown Posse like vocal sway whilst Bad News stamps and seduces with a feisty fusion of hard and melodic rock. Jared Gomes and Co come to mind during the song but equally a loud whisper of P.O.D. shows itself, both mere spices to the rock ‘n’ roll roar. Their pleasing successes are surpassed by the great punk causticity and dirty rock ‘n’ roll bellow of Bad Love, where essences of hardcore and melodically infested rapcore collide within the furious climate of the song.

Completed by a great live version of Take It Personal, it is easy to suggest Broken Silence will be sheer joy for fans of rap and nu metal, and for sure those of Stuck Mojo even as BONZ unravel their own identity with their debut. If you are looking for flaws, maybe not enough striking diversity to the delivery of Bonz could be offered, though why change something which works, and surprisingly the release never gets as nasty and spiteful in its anger as expected. When it is this much fun and thrilling though, it simply does not matter.

Broken Silence is available now via Pavement Entertainment/ Eternal Sound Records @ http://eternalsoundrecordsshop.bigcartel.com/product/ltd-cd-digi-pack-pre-order-bonz-broken-silence-ltd-cd-didi-pack-2015-release-date-13-02-2015

http://bonzband.com/

RingMaster 11/02/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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