Kudzu – Defeated

With a sound as eclectic and unpredictable as it is ravenously catchy, US synth pop duo Kudzu have just released their new album, Defeated. It is an infestation of infectious hooks, flirtatious synths, and rousing escapades but to tag it merely as synth pop is an injustice to its diversity, the album a stirring web of post punk, electro punk, industrial and more across its seriously magnetic body.

Springfield based Kudzu consists of Seth Goodwin (vocals, synth, and drum programming) and Mark Gillenwaters (vocals and guitar). Inspirations to the project include the likes of Tears For Fears, The Cure, Spectrum, Guided by Voices, Sympathy Nervous, and This Heat but as suggested, their sound has a much broader tapestry which is as bred in the seventies/eighties synth landscape as the creative now. It makes for a proposition which is as familiar as it is boldly fresh and one massive treat of a listen.

It opens with the punk assault of Some Cops, a track bursting from its electronic shimmer with zeal and urgency soaked in creative dissonance. At the same time it is a virulently catchy incitement, its fuzzy fumes leaving the senses as woozy as the bone shuddering beats. Like Calling All Astronauts meets Artery at its core, the song equally embraces psych rock winds in its contagious turbulence to provide Defeated with one ear grabbing start.

Straight away the variety of the album is at play as the following and quite superb No Backbone breaks the dividing peace with electro pulses straight out of the early Mute Records catalogue. Instantly thoughts of bands like The Normal arise but are soon pushed to the background as guitar spun melodies and harmonic vocals tease and caress respectively.  The hook Gillenwaters casts with his strings is simply delicious, a psyche enslaving lure soon backed by the darker pulsation of keys and the snapping resonance of rhythms; kind of like a fusion of B-Movie, The Cure, and Modern English yet unique from start to finish.

The album’s title track brings a scuzzier breath to ears; its post punk irritability echoed in the John Lydon textured vocals but again there is a repetitious coaxing teasing and tempting at the centre of the fuzz ball which necessitates only submission to its infectious demands. As its predecessor, it brings another hue to Defeated as does next up Burn Yourself, though its electro punk surge is akin to the opener. With the increasingly magnetic vocals almost gliding over the tides of noise springing from synths and guitar, it was so easy to be swept up in the raw yet skilfully nurtured arms of the track as thoughts colluded with its lyrical insight. Defeated is described as “a reaction to mounting disappointments and frustrations with increasingly frustrating and disappointing realities” and with intimacy and a worldly observation its often dissonant words hit the spot whilst almost arguing with the rousing catchiness of their vehicles.

The mesmeric Balking the Grave is next, the song a riveting post/gothic punk shadow bound serenade which almost seeps under the skin with its slow drawl and bordering concussive clang while Sleep in Disguise is a boisterous slice of synth pop/new wave with the scent of bands like Mr.Kitty, OMD, and early Human League to its bright if slightly caustic breeze.  Both tracks border the irresistible yet still get slightly outshine by One Purpose with its flirtatious Blancmange like melodies and climate.

One definite peak in the lofty heights of Defeated is followed by the ear grabbing proposal of When You Were Mine. The song is almost like a weave of the best traits of its predecessors, a tenacious pop song with attitude and seduction in its raw charms which manages to grumble and serenade in the same breath before leaving to allow B.I.Y.E. to bring things to a transfixing close. With its cold scenery and instinctive bounce, the song merges the alluring traits of a Joy Division and Modern Eon in its industrially edged and melodically draped canter. It is a fine end to an album which we are finding hard to shake off as new propositions to look at build up. That is never a bad aspect to have and as Defeated is so enjoyable we are certainly not complaining.

Defeated is out now via Push & Pull Records; available @ https://kudzukudzukudzu.bandcamp.com/

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Pete RingMaster 09/03/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Black Space Riders – Amoretum Vol. 1

It has been well over two years since German heavy rockers Black Space Riders gripped the imagination with the acclaimed Refugeeum, just short of a couple from the release of its even more experimental and equally striking extension, the Beyond Refugeeum EP. Now the Münster hailing outfit has unveiled a new quest in their atmospheric space rock adventure through Amoretum Vol. 1, a release as mesmeric and seductive as it is invasively provocative and emotionally raw.

Since the release of their self-titled debut album in 2010, Black Space Riders has persistently pushed and evolved their sound hitting an attention grabbing plateau with third album D​:​REI four years after the first. With Refugeeum the following year, Black Space Riders exposed new boldness and imagination in their enterprise, a more atmospherically evocative and fascinating tapestry of sound and craft which took their creativity towards a whole new landscape of exploration and suggestion. Amoretum Vol. 1, with Vol. 2 marked for release later this year, entangles all the attributes of the band’s already individual sound with a fresh breath of imagination. It is often startling, insistently captivating, and occasionally physically ravenous but throughout perpetually compelling.

Consisting of JE (lead vocals, guitars, keys, piano, electronics), SEB (lead vocals, keys, percussion, electronics), C.RIP (drums, percussion), SLI (guitars), and bassists SAQ (until Sept 2017)and MEI (since June 2017), Black Space Riders walks a world where “War, terror, displacement, destruction, rejection and nationalism dominate the headlines” with Amoretum Vol. 1, taking the listener into their darkest corners whilst enveloping them with the thickest trespass of shadows. The melancholy that lines each song is so thick you can almost peal it like skin but everything in word and sound comes wrapped in degrees of hope and solution, their suggested resolutions of compassion and peace as rich and inescapable as the dark they counter; the album’s made up title symbolizing “a protective garden and a germ seed of love.”

It opens up with Lovely lovelie, raw riffs and imposing rhythms in league from the first second surrounding the subsequent vocal agitation. Acidic melodies emerge to line the intensive trespass, a rhythmically driven groove invading body and appetite in no time too as the song stands over ears with almost bearish provocation while undulating spirals of cosmic light simmer and burn. There is a primal edge and urgency to the encounter too, a waking up of the senses and thoughts which by its final repetitive shimmer has attention firmly hooked.

The song slips into the waiting embrace of Another sort of homecoming, a calmer but no less dramatic climate of enterprise and adventure with its own undercurrent of volatility. As melodies soar and the song’s instinctive rock ‘n’ roll rumbles with ear gripping hooks embroiled in the theatre, vocals match their stirring unpredictability and adventure. Again ears and attention was baited and trapped, a hold soon intensified by the outstanding Soul shelter (Inside of me).With its post punk nurtured heart, like a mix of Joy Division and The Sound encased in the dark throes of the rhythms, the song is sheer captivation. Its air and touch is low-key but with that ever present tempestuousness which subsequently boils up into a blaze of emotion, intensity, and creative drama.

Its rich triumph is soon matched by the hypnotic lure and magnetism of Movements. With ripples of crystaline beauty in a well of melancholy, the song glistens in its dark; vocals again managing to echo the musical web. Menacingly meditative with a dark brooding to its rumination, the atmospheric tone of the encounter builds and builds until escaping in a composed avalanche of intensity and virulently catchy urgency. The track is superb and with its predecessor the pinnacle of Amoretum.

Not that the dramatic and volatile squall of Come and follow lingers in their shadow, the track a cyclone of rock ‘n’ roll which ebbs and flows through dissident calms and corrosive quakes within a brew of caustic punk, voracious rock, and searing psych rabidity. It all colludes in another lofty peak before Friends are falling creates its own tempest of dirty riffs, corruptive rhythms, and psyche infesting grooves. It maybe misses the spark of the previous trio for personal tastes yet nagged and insisted on greedy attention willingly given to its almost convulsive saunter.

Fire! Fire! (death of a giant) surrounds ears with psychedelic temptation within a funk kissed stroll next, an infestation of hips and feet as inevitable as that of ears and imagination as it builds up into fiery crescendos and combative expulsions of defiance. As throughout the release, the guitars cast a web of threat and seductive temptation while rhythms prowl and launch with inventively infectious antipathy; traits similarly involved in the great vocal union and balance of JE and SEB.

The album closes with Fellow peacemakers, a song which we will admit slowly burned in the psyche and passions compared to its companions but seeded real temptation from its first journey from a shadow bound reflective croon to a ferocious deluge of energy and attitude. Melancholy bred keys and vocals initially lure ears and thoughts, lively rhythms courting their company until a whisper of peace seeds an impending tempestuous stomp of incendiary rock ‘n’ roll as addictive as it is acerbic. As mentioned it took time to get under the skin but that it did with real voracity to match every other moment of potency in the exceptional encounter.

Amoretum Vol. 1 leaves a real hunger for more and an impatient anticipation for its successor whilst Black Space Riders once again leaves ears and imagination basking in adventure which just gets bolder, bigger, and better.

Amoretum Vol. 1 is out now @ http://www.blackspaceriders.com/shop or https://blackspaceriders.bandcamp.com/album/amoretum-vol-1

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Pete RingMaster 08/03/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Indigo Sixteen – Bring on the Rain

Not having previously come across their previous trio of singles, their new track Bring on the Rain is our long overdue introduction to Indigo Sixteen. It is a compelling jangle of indie/punk devilry from a band looking ready to step into the long line of unique and compelling Scottish propositions of decades past.

Creating a sound which by design or chance embraces the essences of classic bands like Scars and Josef K as well as British outfits like The Libertines and Skellums, Edinburgh hailing Indigo Sixteen emerged in 2013. Leaning on inspirations ranging from Kasabian, The Smiths, and Joy Division to The Jam, Daft Punk, Kraftwerk, and Nirvana, Indigo Sixteen previously released the singles Decide (2014), And What? (2014/15), and Come and Go (2016). Now it is Bring on the Rain ready to stir greater attention the way of the quartet and as it plays in the ears it is hard to imagine it not rousing up a host of new fans.

The vocals of guitarist Stephen Mallin pull the song into view, the equally alluring creative clamour of fellow guitarist Matt McPherson adding its melodic jangle to his and the rhythmic shuffle of drummer Callum Davidson and bassist Andrew Stears. Carrying an energetic and virulent swing to its gait and spirited tenacity to its character and enterprise, the song reveals its punk and indie sides with zeal, merging them into a proposition maybe not yet truly distinct but as gripping and exciting as you could wish for.

Those earlier suggested flavours swiftly come to mind in the song to add to its appeal and a quickly bred anticipation for the next band’s next steps.

Bring on the Rain is out now.

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Pete RingMaster 21/11/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Lumes – Envy

The creative world of Dutch outfit The Lumes has just got corrosive, become dark and raw, and boy is it one exciting place to be caught in. The trio has emerged from their previous captivating shoegaze inspired atmospheric explorations bare skinned in sound, stark and skeletal in emotion and through new mini album Envy unleashed a whole new compelling realm.

Somewhat like a fusion of Joy Division, The Gaa Gaas, and The Horrors on day one, The Lumes create a pulsating drone of post punk and noise rock immersed in the already established magnetic attributes of the band’s imagination and sound. It is a nagging affair still unafraid to embrace more melodically sonic suggestion and exploration; a proposition sucking on the psyche as it closes claustrophobically in on the senses and quite irresistible.

The release opens up with Anguish and instantly presses in on the senses with its imposing cloud of invigorating discord. A nagging hook emerges from the midst, guitarist Maxime Prins casting inescapable bait as his vocals vent. The bass of Lennard van der Voort groans with similar striking temptation, its riff a transfixing drone across which the swings of drummer Mitchell Quitz dance and bite. It is an outstanding track, the kind of invitation which ensures unbridled attention and in turn lust is established before moving on to the next equally hypnotic proposal coming in to nag and play.

Slow has an even more invasive air; a less defined climate maybe but with a perfectly woven suffocating breath which lingers even as the initial wash of sound parts for vocal and melodic disharmony before crowding back in on ears and emotions.  The rhythmic union of van der Voort and Quitz has a less venomous feel this time but shows no mercy in getting as much under the skin as Prins’ vocal dissension and the sonic description of his strings.

The following Discharge throbs with a dulled yet kinetic clang as Gang of Four-esque rhythms pounce. Sonically, an Artery meets The Gaa Gaas clamour seduces and enslaves as the bass and drums probe and transfix with almost carnal persistence, all finally consumed by a swamp of searing noise before Feign brings its own chilled manna to ears. The guitar is a resonating cauldron of tone and causticity, the rhythms a web of deceitful temptation and all webbed in off-kilter melodic friction which equally infests Prins’ as ever riveting vocals. With a chorus which haunts the senses as much as vocal chords, the track is the most gorgeous noise bred ugly discordancy.

The invasive muggy swamp of Compulsion is next, an avalanche of tonal discord which relaxes its controlled but unrestrained sonic howl a touch around vocals to then re-ignite its winds in between the ‘calm’.  The track is almost shamanic in its repetitious lures and senses twisting canter, constantly impressing on and drawing subservience to its noise tunnel.

The Lumes complete Envy with a cover of the Space Siren track Who makes me try? A punk infused tempest ebbing and flowing with ferocity as corroded melodies collude round another simply hypnotic bassline, it is a fine end, if not quite matching what comes before, to an outstanding release.

Across the landscape of Envy, with all the inhospitable yet seductive discord, you never feel like The Lumes are out to spoil and wither but rather laying down an impossible to resist invitation into their emotional anarchy and new so much more irresistible realm.

Envy is out now through Crazysane Records digitally, on CD, and 12” vinyl, limited to 200 hand-numbered black and 100 mint-green vinyl copies on @ https://crazysanerecords.bandcamp.com/album/envy

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

Pete RingMaster 11/10/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Stellarscope – Standing In The Shadow Of Your Ghost

Evocatively invasive and seductive from its first to last breath, Standing In The Shadow Of Your Ghost is the new album from US outfit Stellarscope. Shaped by rousing yet darkly suggestive rhythms and driven by emotion strapped melodies within cinematically hued atmospherics, the release consumes as it ignites ears and imagination from pretty much its opening and seemingly intimate contemplation of “the pain of loss and the fear of an uncertain future.”

The creative union of vocalist/bassist/guitarist Tom Lugo and drummer Bob Forman, the band expanding with bassist/keyboardist Rob DeFlaviis and guitarist Edward Neenan live, Philadelphia hailing Stellarscope weave walls of sound from a relentlessly infectious blend of post punk, indie rock, shoegaze and more. Their music and songs devour the senses but simultaneously reveal a lively and eventful character which has the body bouncing and thoughts weaving, reactions fully inspired by Standing In The Shadow Of Your Ghost.

The album opens up with Don’t Belong and instantly has ears enthralled through a deep bass groove amidst boisterous beats as the guitar shares its fuzzy enterprise. The addition of Lugo’s voice, a delivery as warm as it is melancholic, enriches the swift coaxing and equally seems to spur a thicker scuzzy hue in the sounds around him. There is a sense of emotional desperation at times in his vocal presence too as his words reflect and explore in the fall-out of lost love. Richly captivating, like a fusion of My Bloody Valentine and Artery, the haunting trespass gets things off to a powerful and impressive start.

The following Capsized only builds on that compelling invitation, instantly gripping intrigue and a full welcome with its own distinct lure of beats and bass before opening up into a controlled stroll with moments of fever led by Lugo’s again easy to consume vocal presence. With essences of bands such as A Place To Bury Strangers and Slowdive in its instinctively catchy canter, the song is a smooth collision of emotional drama and sonic infection sparking body and appetite before Falling with its mellower gait and sultry climate offers a cosmic caress come intimately involving suffocation, one as funky and seductive as it is emotionally shadowy. As in the first, Forman’s rhythmic rock ‘n’ roll prowess is anthemic and manipulative of body and spirit whilst Lugo’s guitar and bass enterprise conjures similar involvement of emotions and thoughts with its contrasting yet mutually tempting tides of suggestiveness.

The thumping beats of Forman has speakers and body romping within a whisper of a breath as Only Strangers Now steps up next; his controlled but driving exploits alone irresistible bait. The tenacious rhythmic incitement is skilfully wrapped with a Joy Division seeded tone though that too has real liveliness to its solemn wash with vocals just as energetically flirtatious. Taking best track honours on the first listen, the band’s recent single sets up the more emotionally intense All For You perfectly, the following song’s laid back reflection fuelled atmosphere part House Of Love, part My Bloody Valentine but with the underlying sonic causticity found in Jesus And Mary Chain. Hypnotic and ghostly with a great concussive essence in its rhythmic touch, the track is another full immersion of ears and imagination within Standing In The Shadow Of Your Ghost.

So Long brings another accelerated charge and climate with its infectious adventure straight after; its cinematic and heavy atmosphere seeded in second and third album era of The Cure though melodically Ride come to mind while You Feel It Too has more of a synth pop meets noise rock meets fuzzy shoegaze serenade for the listener to explore though as with all songs, what emerges has only the Stellarscope persona all over it. Both songs leave rich pleasure a lingering memory with the first especially prone to lingering in thoughts with its tenacious escapade.

Both Nothing To Me and No Reason Why capture the imagination with ease, the first a fuzzy smog of sound and emotional openness fuelled by Forman’s ever voraciously infectious rhythms  while its successor is a slower and darker enveloping of the senses with its own alluring radiance and plaintive shadows. Though neither quite match up to those before for personal tastes they each only enrich and strengthen the depths and enjoyment of the album with the second arguably offering the release’s most intense and intriguing moment.

Completed by the raw and almost disarming This Is How It Ends with its seductively cloaked and richly enticing stark climate and emotion, Standing In The Shadow Of Your Ghost is one compelling adventure from start to finish which only grows with every listen. There are numerous essences and textures which go onto the band’s adventurous sound but as suggested, all woven into something if not fully unique as close as you would wish.

Standing In The Shadow Of Your Ghost is out now through Patetico Recordings @ https://pateticorecordings.bandcamp.com/album/standing-in-the-shadow-of-your-ghost

https://www.facebook.com/Stellarscope-42638364841/

Pete RingMaster 13/06/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Loom – Self Titled

Photo by Kurt Fairbairn

With quite simply raw rock ‘n’ roll nurturing its heart, the debut album from UK band Loom takes ears through every shade of punk rock you can imagine within its ten track confines. It is an adventure which has the imagination fired up, ears burning with ardour, and aggressive tendencies bubbling to the surface in a striking and rousing incitement of a self-titled proposal. Each song as suggested reveals a new aspect in its furious landscape yet brews a united character distinct to a band and release which just commands attention.

Leamington Spa hailing, the trio of Tarik Badwan, Matt Marsh, and Joshua Fitzgerald took little time in attracting ears and praise with their early releases including a pair of well-received EPs within their first year. The second of 2013 featured six covers of songs from the strongest inspirations for the band in its early days, The Jesus Lizard, Bad Brains, Pixies, GG Allin, Misfits, and Warsaw. Alongside the other encounters, it sparked support from the likes of Zane Lowe and Daniel P Carter at BBC Radio 1as well as laying the first steps in a springboard for Loom live to support The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park and tour the UK and Germany with artists such as Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Queen Kwong, and Turbowolf.

The band’s first album is not slow in suggesting those influences in its multi-flavoured roar, as mentioned each song distinct from the next but there is a vein of unique Loom-ness running through all which we would suggest goes beyond the cohesion of aggression suggested by its press release. It opens up with Lice, a sonic itch you just cannot scratch enough to escape from. Its initial glaze to an instantly robust sound has a gothic/indie rock spicing, coming over like a blend of Leitmotiv and The Victorian English Gentlemens Club before its grouchy rock ‘n’ roll instincts burst free. It is a glorious nagging of the senses and imagination taking magnetic twists along its contagious enmity of sound and attitude.

The great start continues as firstly Hate imposingly shimmers with electronic radiance upon grunge bred antipathy to be followed by the rousing exploits of Get A Taste. There is a whiff of Pere Ubu for these ears to the first song but a thicker Nirvana like causticity to its nature and again niggling potency. Embracing garage punk confrontation too, the track stirs ears and appetite with ease, a triumph matched by its successor with its old school punk meets seventies garage rock growl as demandingly catchy as it is openly crotchety.

Grunge colludes with post punk for the feistily prowling Leopard, guitars winding spicy tendrils lined with delicious discord around ears as rhythms reveal a rapacious nature to their drive before Salt entangles the imagination in a fusion of Joy Division post punk and the irritable punk rock of The Stooges with just a tang of psych rock bewitchment. It is an enthralling mix opening new aspects with each passing flick of a chord and sonic detour yet throughout a fluid tart snarl never deviating from its quarrel.

Seasick bawls as its stalks ears with predacious intent straight after; indie rock merging with raw hardcore ill-temper in a track which steals the passions within seconds. Vocals are as unpredictable and instinctively volatile as the sonic flames cast by the guitar and indeed the rhythmic jabbing around them. With the bass a brooding threat within the tempestuous joy crowding and seducing ears, the track makes a big play for best track glory but is quickly challenged by the muggy grunge venting of Bleed On Me and eclipsed by the glorious dark deeds of the band’s latest single, Nailbender. The latter is a compelling caliginous seduction of gothic and punk metal; like Type O Negative fused with Descendents and 1919 yet still emerging as something unique and gripping to Loom.

The punk grouse of Barbed Wire grabs something from all decades of punk since the sixties whilst in finishing up the album Slowly Freezing Heart crawls across the senses in a kaleidoscope of sonic toxicity and shadow loaded rhythms united with vocal psychosis. Both tracks are treats greed gets the better of composure over while bringing one superb album to a memorable and rousing end. Listening to Loom you get the feeling that the band creates on instinct, not searching for a sound but letting it find them and infusing their music with its own unique character. The album reminds of numerous artists across its riveting body but never comes over as anything other than the offspring of Loom, the first of many more belligerently sculpted and physically visceral gems we hope and suspect.

The Loom album is released May 19th via Silent Cult across most stores.

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Pete RingMaster 17/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

A kaleidoscope of suggestion: talking Shadowplay with guitarist Dan Holden

You may not have heard of rock/alternative outfit Shadowplay but they are a band really beginning to lure strong attention outside of their already conquered home state of New Jersey and further afield. Not to be confused with the Australian rock band of the same name, the Mt. Laurel hailing quintet, since emerging in 2009, has honed a sound persistently and hungrily growing and evolving over the years and releases. Live Shadowplay has equally grown into a rousing and exciting proposition, sharing stages with the likes of Tracii Guns, Doug Wimbish (Living Colour), and Hoobastank as well as undertaking two national tours along the way. Time to learn more so we had the pleasure of exploring the heart of the band with co-founder and guitarist Dan Holden talking origins, songwriting, latest album and more…

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

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to the beginnings of the band?

I’m Dan Holden and I mainly play guitar for the band Shadowplay. There are four other members in the band: Andrew Corkery (lead vocals), John Sellers (guitar/piano/bass), Ed Flynn (guitar/bass), and Jamile Wiggins (drums). Shadowplay originated in middle school around 2006. In eighth grade I met Andrew at an after school club where kids got together to jam on classic rock music. This was around the time I just started getting into playing the guitar, so Andrew and I decided to start a band. Over time the project evolved into what we are today. John and Ed were both friends of ours from the same school who joined us later on in 2008 and 2011 respectively.

Have you been or are involved in other bands? If so how has that influenced what you are doing in Shadowplay?

I’ve been in Shadowplay for the majority of my life. I’ve played a gig here or there for other bands and with other musicians at other functions, and I often play solo at local shows in my area; however, I’m mostly committed to Shadowplay. We’ve all come from different musical backgrounds, and we all listen to such a wide variety of stuff that I would say each member of our band has definitely influenced another in some way. I originally was the only songwriter for the band, but when John and Ed joined they brought with them their own creativity that really has flushed out our own sound over time. We definitely have gotten each other into different genres and artists that some of us may originally have not been in to (or rather unaware of), and we go see a lot of concerts together and with our friends.

Photo Cred_Reji Berrouet

What inspired the band name?

Shadowplay comes from the Joy Division song. Just thought it sounded cool back when we were 16 years old.

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and in what you wanted it and your sound to offer and does that first intent still drive the band or has it equally evolved?

I think originally we just thought rock music was so cool and awesome, and we thought what a lot of bands were doing in the 70’s and 90’s was so fun. We also realized at a very young age that we’d love to be able to play music forever. Originally we were very influenced by those two decades of rock music, but as time went on and we were exposed to all the diversity all music has to offer we sort of have been building towards a different idea than what we probably thought we were going to sound like in our early years. Currently, we really want to be doing things that still have the high energy and high emotion that great rock music are capable of, but we also want to offer people a spiritual connection to us a people. I think we’re moving closer and closer to realizing that every day. We are constantly evolving. Our first album was recorded in 2011, and released in 2012. Our second album was recorded and released in 2016, and a lot has changed in our lives in those 5 years.

Since your early days, can you pin down how your sound has evolved?

When we started we had more of a mix of classic rock with prog, grunge, and arena rock style to our sound. Over time we all began to listen to more electronic music genres, and post-rock, so nowadays we sound maybe a little less commercial? It’s hard to say really because we are constantly changing and trying new things.

Those changes are more organic movements of sound or the band deliberately wanting to try new things?

A mix of both for sure…I find it’s always more satisfying when organic change causes us to try something different or vice versa, it is working with whatever we’re trying to do with a specific song.

You hinted on it earlier that there is a wide range of inspirations and loves across band members; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the Shadowplay sound but also your personal approach to creating and playing music?

It’s hard for me to speak on the behalf of the others because we’re each inspired by our own individual experiences, and those effects vary specifically to us as individuals. I personally would say that I’ve been very inspired by movie scores, cinema, and video game composers in additions to all the bands that I love. I’m a very big fan of taking a melody or motif that sets the mood of the song and engrains itself in the brain of the listener, and then taking that melody and changing it over the course of the song in clever ways or building it up to some kind of emotional climax. Think of it sort of like how you have rising tension in your typical film (or rising action) and then a climax before simmering off into the credits of the movie.

You mentioned originally you were the prime songwriter but that has shifted over time; is there a particular process to the songwriting within the band though?

We each write songs differently, and personally I don’t think I approach any two songs in the same compositional order, but generally speaking as a band one of us will present sort of a complete idea for the music of song to the others. Then we see if anyone else has anything to add onto it, or ideas on how to build the song up even more. Once the music is finished we then write the lyrics. Usually whoever the song is the brainchild of will write the lyrics, or Andrew will write the lyrics. It’s not always the same way though. Sometimes we have lyrics first and song later. Andrew writes a lot of poetry based on his experiences as he travels the world fairly often for his career in journalism and media production.

Where would you say inspirations to the lyrical side to your songs most come from?

From my life experiences and the other artistic mediums that inspire me. My lyrics personally are often inspired by film, video games, and literature that I’ve read and how I fit my own personal life into those ideas.

Can you give us some background to your latest release?

Our latest album is called Almost Lifelike and we recorded it and released it in the summer of 2016. We recorded it with our engineer/producer Ted Richardson at Burn Down Studios in Philadelphia. We had gotten connected with Ted in 2013 thanks to the help of our original band manager, and we recorded a single with him called Sandy Eyes out of respect to people in our home state that were affected by hurricane Sandy. We were very pleased with how that song turned out, and had a great experience working with Ted the first time around so we knew when we were going to do another album he had to be the guy we worked with. Our latest album is our second full length CD.

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

As I said before we are influenced by our own individual experiences as songwriters. The albums lyrics song to song deal with this, but in a manner that’s got kind of a twist of surrealism to the whole thing. We talk a lot about dealing with loss in different stages of grief, anger, and acceptance. Because of the surreal nature to the lyrics and metaphors we use on the record we said that it’s got an almost life-like quality to it, but not quite exactly like real life. This idea is further explored in the album art in which a man has walked into a record store and picked up an album that looks suspiciously like him buying a record.

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

We try to make sure the song is ready to go once we are in the studio just because it saves time and money, but how we record them and what texture we decide to give it can happen spontaneously as we record them.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably as for most, when Shadowplay truly come alive.

We definitely feed off of crowd energy. Playing for a lot of people who are really there to enjoy a show helps us enjoy it more and it’s always more cathartic for both us and the audience that way. I’d actually say that being in the studio is my favorite aspect of being in the band, however.

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?

Playing live shows as often as possible and wherever possible, and figuring out what shows were successful and repetitive booking at those venues is really the best way I can describe our success and how a band can make a name for themselves. Philadelphia and southern NJ is a great area for bands to play because there are a lot of quality venues and local artists that can help you network and just keep growing. But as a band you also have to be able to play shows out of your local spot, and we’ve been fortunate to have played in many other states as well.

Photo Cred_Reji Berrouet

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something fully positive or is there an opposite side you have found too?

Social media is a blessing for musicians in an era where there are so many more musicians and artists than ever before. You’re able to work with it to meet new people and keep connections that you otherwise would not have been able to before, and it’s much easier to tell people about yourselves and show them what you’re doing. The only negative I can honestly say is that there might be a bit of oversaturation that could lead to artists getting lost in the fold if they aren’t committed, but if you keep pushing at it good things will happen.

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

The pleasure is all mine, I assure you! Shadowplay is already hard at work making new music and learning a lot of other music so be ready for our next album sooner rather than later!

Explore the world of Shadowplay further @ http://www.shadowplay.band/  https://www.facebook.com/pg/shadowplayrocknrolland
and the album Almost Lifelike @ https://shadowplayband.bandcamp.com/releases

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 07/04/2017

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