Crawling and romancing the shadows with Gnostic Gorilla

Hailing from Toronto, Canada, Gnostic Gorilla is a dark electronic project which wears unpredictability as easily as imagination in its ear gripping sound. Recently we had the chance and pleasure to talk about the solo project with creator Dean Mason, exploring its origins and music amongst many things as well as picking at Dean’s thoughts about music in general.

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

Thank you. My pleasure!

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

Sure. As a teenager, I began exploring the idea of recording music. I was of course a major day tripper…I mean…day dreamer. Hahahahaha! So I ventured out to record two songs, Dark Hallway and Golgotha for a single. I had some excellent musicians join me in the studio (Dave Davidson, Tony Bourdeau, Shaun Saunders and Chris Byrnes) and with the help of my parents I released the 45 rpm under the so called label name “Lonely Ghost Productions”. That was my first experiment with recording music. I left it at that and went to school to find some sort of career. In 2012, I returned to recording, as a hobby and recorded exclusively electronic music with a dark bent. (Gothic/Dark Wave/Industrial) I released a few singles on iTunes etc. and then in 2015 I released the first album (St. Basil’s Asylum) using the project name “Gnostic Gorilla”. Before that I was using the project name “The Lonely Ghost Project” but that changed once I learnt there was an American band called “The Lonely Ghost Parade”. I wanted to avoid confusion. So that’s a brief history of “Gnostic Gorilla”.

What inspired the name “Gnostic Gorilla”?

As I mentioned earlier, initially my project was called “The Lonely Ghost Project” but I changed it to “Gnostic Gorilla”. I had a song called Gnostic Gorilla (now renamed Eye for a Lie) and I decided to use that name for the project. The idea behind the name is a sort of convergence of two world views: the religious ‘creation’ story and Darwin’s theory of evolution. “Gnostic” means “knowledge” or “to know”. That is a reference to the “tree of knowledge”. Obviously, “Gorilla” is in reference to the idea that we evolved from some sort of ‘ape’ species (not specifically the Gorilla of course) and here we are. “Gnostic Gorilla” is not about Gnosticism as some may think.

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

In many ways a lot of it was allowing the creative process to dictate where I wanted the project to go and how I wanted to sound. I started off doing simply instrumental/soundtrack type recordings. Then I decided to try and do a complete song with lyrics/vocals. The first song I did as part of this new electronic music pursuit was a song called Requiem for the Prophet of Doom which was a tribute to Peter Steele of Type O Negative who passed away in 2010. There were two versions of that track. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEnSgqaI3JA & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0N7Uxzg7ac

That was released under the name “Dean Mason of The Lonely Ghost Project”, as singles. Soon after this, I began to really become more interested in a sound that was more industrial and Gothic or Dark Wave and eventually after a few more singles I recorded St. Basil’s Asylum which is now rereleased by Cleopatra Records. Most of my music has been industrial or Gothic since then.

Do the same sparks still drive the project or have they evolved over time and equally since your early days, how would you say your sound has specifically evolved?

Sort of continuing on from the previous question…yeah…there was definitely an ‘evolution’ of sorts. I look back on what I did in 2012 and some of it doesn’t send me far, with the exception of Nietzsche’s Cyborg. I will always be proud of that song. It was a game changer. It’s on St. Basil’s Asylum even though it was recorded in the fall of 2012 and St. Basil’s Asylum was released in 2015 and then rereleased by Cleopatra Records in 2018. But back on track here, I guess for me, I became more interested in an abrasive and weird industrial sound. (Psalm for the Lost was actually more of a retro Goth/New Wave type deal though) My latest album, Freak’s Mind is in my opinion one of my strongest in many ways. The next album to be released by Cleopatra Records (Shaman Rave) will blow your socks off! Promise!

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

A bit of both… I don’t want to be boxed into a specific genre to be honest. So, I go through phases where I really like menacing and weird industrial and then other times I prefer a more velvety Goth or Doom Psychedelic type mood in my music. I have been inspired not only by other artists but also by some soundtracks like, the soundtrack for Sinister which is absolutely mind numbing! So sometimes I watch a movie like that or like Queen of the Damned and it gives me inspiration. So, yeah, there is an evolution of sorts but I never deviate too far from being a dark electronic act.

Presumably there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on your music but your approach to and ideas about creating and playing music?

Well, one of my first inspirations would be Gary Numan. I mean, I was a huge KISS fan when I was still in diapers hahaha …but Numan was the one that inspired me to consider doing my own thing in music. That said, I don’t write and record in the style of Numan. I owe more to Ministry, Skinny Puppy and Rammstein as far as recording style goes. I also am very much inspired by Peter Steele of Type O Negative and Jim Morrison of The Doors, especially for their unique lyrical style. Did you know that the first time the term ‘Goth or Gothic’ was used in reference to a rock band was when someone did a review of The Doors, the day after (or close anyway) that Morrison had met Andy Warhol? Anyway…I owe a lot of gratitude to Nash The Slash for being an inspiration as an indie artist as well.

Is there a certain process to your songwriting?

I usually begin a track with a general idea of the kind of mood/style I want to pursue. Then, usually, the song ends up being something totally different than want I first imagined. I usually start with either synth riffs/loops and/or beats/drum patterns and build from there. Kind of difficult to explain how a song evolves and usually I look back and think, “how did I even come up with this”?

… And where do you draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

Many of my songs address the human struggle. I never write ‘love’ songs or ‘sex in the corvette’ songs…there are ample of those so …why compete right? I usually write in sort of ‘mystical’ story form. I use a lot of imagery and I allow the listener/reader (of lyrics) to decide for themselves what it means to them, even though I may have a specific idea in mind. I often use religious imagery and also imagery of ‘battles’ or ‘war’ but not in the sense that they are LITERALLY about armed combat. The imagery of ‘battle’ is more of an emotional/psychological journey of that inner struggle. I use a lot of religious imagery, but I don’t push ANY sort of religious point of view…for or against. Again, I let people decide for themselves what any song could mean. I address the issue of mental illness and depression and even the tendency for despair. I don’t encourage ‘despair’ but that experience of wondering where there is hope is quite universal. As well, I often, in veiled language, address the ‘tribalism’ that we humans seem to cling to. I have a real personal distaste for hatred of any kind and the world is full of that. Religious people bashing and rejecting others for being ‘different’ or of the ‘wrong tribe’ and all the bigotry and racism and all the phobias that still exist in a so called ‘evolved’ modern world. That ‘tribalism’ isn’t just from those of a religious persuasion but it also exists among ,many ‘atheists’ and ‘secularists’ who can be just as hateful towards those of the ‘other tribe’. We just don’t know how to leave each other be do we?! Hatred of any kind is for the birds. Wait…not even the birds want it!

Give us some background to your latest release.

The latest release is Freak’s Mind. It’s very abrasive and weird and even at times ‘gothadelic’ (a term coined by Peter Steele by the way). That album is the album that wasn’t supposed to be. I never really wanted to record anything new but one song at a time, and I ended up recording an album’s worth of dark wave/industrial/Gothic madness and I’m really proud of this album. It touches on all those subjects I mentioned earlier. Womb To The Tomb is one of my favourites on that album. It’s a strange combo of wild 60’s psychedelic with raging industrial sounds. Veil is a powerful song, which was recorded in 2013 actually. It’s a good album and I’m not the type that easily says things like that about my own music.

Could you give us some insight to the themes behind it and its songs?

Womb to The Tomb is about the cycle of life more or less, but also looks at the life of a corrupt village and all its citizens, including the powerful who take advantage and the victims who are taken advantage of. It’s kind of inspired by modern day events, without being specific. Chaos Frankenstein is sort of a ‘mystical’ telling of conflict and chaos and suffering and deception. Finally, (I won’t dissect every song) Freak’s Mind, the title track, is more or less about someone struggling with some sort of psychological or emotional turmoil.

Tell us about the live side to the band?

At present, Gnostic Gorilla is not planning on any live shows. I’d need to lasso a bunch of musicians to do that and I don’t see it happening. I don’t think so anyway…Maybe a one off someday.

It is not easy for any new act/artist 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/artists?

You’re so right. It’s not easy. I mean, as far as having an impact is concerned. It’s a different world… a different industry and there are many factors that make it very difficult to make a dent anywhere, even locally…especially if you’re in a bigger city. Technology and the age of communication (social media) make it so that anyone can set themselves up and do music and even videos and put it out there. It makes for a VERY clogged reality in cyberspace. There is SO much out there. Everyone wants to be considered the next big thing…Fair game. But here’s the thing, it’s all been done. After KISS and Sabbath, and Manson and Depeche Mode and Numan and NIN, Slipknot, Cradle of Filth, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Ice T, Eminem, Shaggy, Run DMC etc. …how does one come up with a unique style? I don’t want to be a pessimist but let’s be realistic. It’s VERY difficult to make a dent because it’s almost impossible to snap people out of an oversaturated “yawn…I’ve seen it all before” mindset. You can’t impress people easily. You can barely shock people unless you are involved in some sort of controversy or are pretty like a Barbie/Ken doll. Legends/pioneers are no longer being made and I know that would piss a lot of people off to hear that, but it’s true. As for my own situation, I must confess that as I proud Canadian, I am very unimpressed with the way I’ve been treated by the reps/labels in Canada. I have a label deal with Cleopatra Records (LA) for two albums, a deal with KL-Dark Records in Germany and Nowhere Now Records in Australia and have never even received a reply from the Canadian labels I sent music to. Kind of disappointing but I guess they’re all waiting for the second coming or RUSH or Justin Bieber or Gordon Lightfoot.

How has the internet and social media impacted on your project to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the project grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands/artists struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

As I said before, the world has changed dramatically in more ways than one. The internet and social media have forever changed MANY things, not just music. Look at what it’s done to the world of politics! (not always for the better) Even the Pope has a presence on social media. Hahahaha. But more specifically related to the music industry…it’s a mixed bag I suppose. It’s great to promote one’s music/art but also you’re not the only one doing it. Millions are doing it. With regards to the reality of ‘streaming’ though, as an example…that too is a combination of blessing and curse. What’s happening is people don’t feel like buying music is even a concept. It’s not their fault. It’s the way things evolved. (There’s that word again…hahahaha) Younger people grew up knowing nothing else and so, even the concept of music as art is kind of challenged. It’s rarely seen as ‘art’ and just part of the regular noise and scenery of cyberspace all mixed in with the latest ‘app’. It’s like music is there for the taking the way fruit on trees is there for the taking…it’s just a part of the way life goes. It’s all there to snatch and rarely pay much more than a standard monthly fee or something and have unlimited music. Hey, I do it myself, so I’m not criticizing. Also, it needs to be said, with reference to struggling artists: there are also different organizations that promise ‘hi-fi mega stardom’ for a fee! Some of these take advantage of artists, even some of the big labels have jumped on that bandwagon. Don’t get me wrong, there are some decent, honest organizations that genuinely want to assist struggling artists, but there are also a lot of vultures out there cashing in on Wendy and Charlie’s dreams of “making it”. I guess in the end, like anything else, it’s what you do with it right? Maybe it’s just another challenge for artists to be creative, even with regards to promoting and marketing.

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

It is I who thank you! All I can say is that if you are a struggling artist…be true to the art, to being creative. I know that sounds like hippie bullshit, but it’s true. As soon as your goal is to become a ‘celebrity’ you’re setting yourself up for deception. Don’t dream about being a ‘star’. Instead, be creative and express yourself and be true to yourself…regardless of who does and who doesn’t approve. The rest will follow because in the end, authenticity speaks louder than the need to be ‘worshipped’. That’s what I believe.

Explore Gnostic Gorilla further @ https://www.facebook.com/gnosticgorilla/

Also grab your copy of the Various Artists Compilation album, Nowhere Now Volume 2 on Nowhere Now Records @ https://nowherenowrecords.bandcamp.com/album/nowhere-now-volume-2    featuring Last Call (Heed The Drones) by Gnostic Gorilla

Pete RingMaster 12/04/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters – Show Me Your Teeth

Show Me Your Teeth is a romping stomping slab of hard rock; a tenacious roar of defiance, attitude, and hungrily rousing rock ‘n’ roll. It is also the new album from UK rockers Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters proudly hollering out all the reasons why the band is riding a tide of success and plaudits.

Fan and critical acclaim are no strangers to the Cardiff bred quartet with previous debut album, Bad Habit, luring high praise and attention. Around and following its success, Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters have shared stages with a host of major artists such as Electric Boys, Dan Reed and Danny Vaughn among a great many and appeared on the KISS Kruise last November with the likes of KISS, Ace Frehley, Bruce Kulick, The Dead Daisies, Vintage Trouble, The New Roses as well as played Monstersfest with Dan Reed Network, The Dead Daisies and Tygers Of Pantang. The last year also saw the band concentrate on writing and creating Show Me Your Teeth, an offering which as potent and enjoyable as its predecessor was, leaves it waving from its wake whilst suggesting 2019 will be even busier for the foursome.

Show Me Your Teeth builds upon all the striking elements of that first album with relish whilst bringing its own individual enterprise and adventure to the fore. Swiftly it reveals the growth in the writing and imagination of the band and their prowess in casting boisterous riffs, inescapable hooks, and anthemic old school classic rock nurtured temptation; this fronted by the electrifying and hearty tones of Beth Blade.  It is a bolder affair with a breath suggesting the band has completely lost the shackles of trying to please and impress people and just go with their own hard rock passions and instincts. Certainly inspirations such as Halestorm, KISS, and Black Stone Cherry can be heard but Show Me Your Teeth embraces all familiar hues to its very own vociferous heart and roar.

The album opens with the outstanding Secrets and fair to say as its opening lung full sees Blade fronting up ears we were hooked. From there with the fuzz of guitar for company, she continues to coax the song to its feet, an air of menace surrounding its emergence before erupting in a contagious, attitude driven infestation of punk and hard rock. That raw edge continues to fuel its confrontation and rapacious catchiness whilst vocal harmonies seduce around the stirring tones of Blade. The track soon proved irresistible, increasing its enslavement as a delicious predacious bass growl and devious hues of unpredictable imagination became more vocal.

Such the first’s rousing and impressive tempting, the album’s following title track had a hard time to match its presence but with a teasing blues lilt, melodic wiring which just wrapped around eager ears, and the already predictable vocal dexterity and talent of Blade here was little to relinquish full attention to before Give It All You’ve Got shared its old school spiced rock ‘n’ roll. As the previous track, there was a strong familiarity to the encounter but equally an energetically passionate heart within just as open craft which manipulated and scooped up an already seriously contented appetite.

There is something of an early Pretenders-esque scent to next up On And On at times which combines well with its blend of nostalgic and hungrily fresh enterprise while You And I is a web of guileful hooks and melodic adventure around vociferously candid vocals which easily set another lofty peak in the album’s landscape.

From that incitement of controlled yet raucous persuasion, melodic calm accompanies emotive intimation hugs ears within successor Crazy. It is a simmering heart though as flames erupts around reflection and melancholic beauty. The track never erupts into a full blaze but boils over with stirring cunning as it too sets a major highlight within Show Me Your Teeth before I Ain’t Got Nothin’ (If I Ain’t Got Rock N Roll) provides everything you would expect from its title as it swiftly pulled our rocker instincts and animation into play.

Across the likes of Lost In You and Into The Light, the album only continued to tighten its hold even if neither track quite flattened the inhibitions of song and listener as those before them. Even so both are a tantalising and thickly satisfying fusion of melodic wine and barely restrained rowdiness which just hit the spot though the following 1974 soon eclipsed both with its virulent stroll and creative temptation. Its sound unsurprisingly echoes the rock ‘n’ roll era of its title’s decade but adds mouth-watering hues of punk and power pop which take it to another level of greatness.

Who Do You Love Now? with its own multi-flavoured mix of styles and decades is just as expert in persuasion and adept at casting a spell of enterprise and sound; another seriously captivating moment set down and one more than matched by the muscular, predatory almost grumpy stomp of album closer Jack And Coke. Inescapably enticing riffs and grooves collude to enslave ears, each seemingly knowing personal wants in rock ‘n’ roll whilst the song growls with infectious savvy and anthemic irritability.

As it started, Show Me Your Teeth ends with one of its most inspiring and thrilling moments and with so many more in between it is an album which we can only forcibly recommend. It is classic and hard rock, it is punk and pop rock all bound into one roar; quite simply rock ‘n’ roll at its and most electrifying best.

Show Me Your Teeth is out January 25th.

https://bethbladeandthebeautifuldisasters.com/   https://www.facebook.com/BBATBDofficial/  https://twitter.com/BBATBDofficial

Pete RingMaster 26/01/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters Interview

Our friend Elliot Leaver returns with another interview with one of rock’s most exciting bands, Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters

For those who may not know who you are, introduce yourselves quickly.

I’m Beth Blade from Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters and we are based out of Cardiff. We play Hard rock and roll.

Describe your sound in as few words as possible.

Monster riffs, huge choruses and a dose of old school rock and roll attitude. Just good old Hard Rock.

Who are your three biggest influences as a band?

KISS, Halestorm, Gun n Roses

What’s the meaning behind your band name?

Beth Blade is obviously my name. The Beautiful Disasters part comes from ‘World On Fire’ by Slash. The name itself is a tribute to Joan Jett And The Black Hearts.

Tell us about your latest release; did you try anything differently this time around than with previous efforts?

So on our new album ‘Show Me Your Teeth’ it was no holds barred. On our debut album I was very concerned with what I thought people wanted to hear from us. I learned that I needed to not be scared to be vulnerable with the music so everything went on this album; it is completely transparent and personal, a lot more mature but still really fun and rocking.

What was it like to work with producer Nick Brine?

Nick Brine is honestly one of the best people I know; He knows how to get the best performance out of you and also thinks outside the box in terms of what you can add to a song. He also has the cutest studio assistant, Kenny Dogleash (Yes he’s a dog) who is famous in the record making world. He also spend a lot of time getting the right sounds and that really shows in how sonically good the album sounds.

Do you have any personal favourite songs on the release?

Honestly I love every single song but my personal favourite are ‘On and On’, ‘Lost In You’, ‘You and I’ for the string section and ‘Jack and Coke’.

Explain the meaning behind the album title.

‘Show Me Your Teeth’ is a multifaceted title. It’s fighting talk and baring your teeth at the world and saying ‘Here I am, take it or leave it, I am who I am’ whilst delivering the goods. But it’s also showing your vulnerable side and the bones of you, all the things that are underneath the surface.

Do you have any dates lined up at present?

We’ve just announced SOS festival in Manchester in July and we open the main stage at Hard Rock Hell next November which is exciting, we have tour dates and some festivals in the works but we want to get to every part of the UK and hopefully over to Europe too!

What are your favourite songs to perform live?

At the moment I really love playing ‘Down and Dirty’ but also the new songs from the new album as it’s great to see peoples reaction to them.

What are the best and worst shows you’ve played to date?

Best show would have to be our last gig on the KISS kruise; the room was packed and the atmosphere was absolutely electric! Everyone was into it and having a great time, singing along and really getting involved. I’ve never had so many people want a picture after a show and I could truly feel the love in the room. And no show has ever been the worst. As long as one person has a good time we are happy!

If you could open for anyone, who would it be?

We just played with KISS which has been my goal since I was five so I guess Halestorm would be the next on the bucket list.

Any comical stories from your time as a band you can share with us?

Recently on the KISS kruise we were celebrating with some friends who had free champagne. And me, being drunk and a barmaid, thought I’ll open another bottle. American corks are plastic and automatic, I didn’t know this so as soon as I broke the seal the cork shot off, missed my guitar players face by an inch, nearly hit the singer of The New Roses and hit the ceiling with a crack which made everyone jump and stop and stare at me. There was a moment of silence and then everyone cracked the hell up and the icing on the cake was that the cork hit the ceiling so hard that it left a huge dent! There is photographic evidence to prove it. I will forever be known as Corky.

What’s the plan for the rest of 2018?

We have one last show and then we are focusing on getting our album out which is happening on January 25th!

Any closing comments?

Please check out our pledge music campaign for album number two at www.pledgemusic.com/projects/bethbladealbum2  and thank you for having us!

Questions by Elliot Leaver

18/12/2018

Snew – You’ve Got Some Nerve

Not having a strong taste for eighties inspired hard rock Snew is not a band which has particularly been on our radar since they emerged back in 2005. Having finally taken the plunge with their new album, You’ve Got Some Nerve, though it seems we may have missed out as the release is one thoroughly enjoyable and deviously magnetic proposition.

Founded by vocalist Curtis Don Vito, lead guitarist Andy Lux, and drummer Mark Ohrenberger, its line-up subsequently joined by rhythm guitarist Lenny Spickle, Snew has unleashed a trio of albums which have caught the imagination of hard and glam rock fans. Embracing inspirations from artists such as Motorhead, Alice Cooper, Ramones, Kiss, AC/DC, and MC5, the LA band has bred a sound which is as salaciously fun as it is openly seventies/eighties rock influenced. It also has also nurtured its own inimitable character as evidenced by their fourth full-length, You’ve Got Some Nerve; a proposition which makes you smile as you rock out whilst leaving inhibitions at the door.

You’ve Got Some Nerve opens up with UR Freaking Me Out, a track which soon had ears and attention heading the way of the release when released as a single a number of weeks back. The track is a romping stomping slab of mischief immediately flaring up with brass flames as it bursts out before settling down into one contagious stroll. From Vito’s distinctive swagger loaded growl of a delivery to the sonic revelry of the guitars and a rhythmic punch which leads hips and neck muscles like a puppeteer, the track is pure crowd rousing incitement; the kind of anthem that commands rather than invites eager involvement.

Arguably the album never quite had us as lustily involved again though it comes close but in saying that, next up Holy Hell with its blues liquor and fiery antics left no room for calm contemplation either. It too is a punchy, lustily exuberant slice of hard rock getting under the skin with a devilish intent in its veins while Acetylene Queen straight after, brings sonic lewdness to proceedings with its licentious grooves and melodic libido.

The boisterous rock ‘n roll of Put Upon eclipsed both as it had the body bouncing with fresh keenness before Sharpie had an already compliant appetite licking lips with its R&B spiced antics. Brass again just inflame swift pleasure, adding that extra spice the band’s sound seems to truly relish while helping the track seriously rival the first for best album moment.

Across the calmer almost raptorial saunter of the chant breeding You Tell Me, through the infectious enterprise of Something New Everybody Wants, and the tenser drama of Revolution is a Closed Loop, bait for close attention never dwindled even if none of the trio could reach the heights of their earlier companions. The harmonica fired heat of the last of the three though was definitely one compelling lure especially when aligned to the melodic lacing of keys.

The album’s title track completes the sonic debauchery, its hard rock carousing not particularly unique but a thick barrel of bad habit inducing fun. That applies to the album as a whole where Snew is not trying to re-invent the scene but give it something to lustfully party with; You’ve Got Some Nerve is proof of success.

You’ve Got Some Nerve is out now across most online stores.

http://www.snewyou.com   https://www.facebook.com/SNEW.official/   https://twitter.com/snew

Pete RingMaster 17/10/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Sick N’ Beautiful – Element of Sex

pic by Stefano Mastronicola

There are some bands which instinctively allure attention and it is fair to say that Sick N’ Beautiful is one such persuasion as their recent headlining UK tour proved. Their new album Element of Sex swiftly and increasingly shows why they made a potent impact through those shows alone, a release which whilst lacking the visual theatrical drama of their live presence uncages ten virulent slices of devilish rock ‘n’ roll.

“A gang of rockin’ freakshow pirates from outer space”, Sick N’ Beautiful is a quintet creating an industrial hard rock web of intrigue and sonic animation awash with creative drama. Brewed with sci-fi and cyberpunk visuals whilst embracing inspirations from a kaleidoscope of artists including Rob Zombie, Nine Inch Nails, Alice Cooper, Kiss, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and No Doubt, the “intergalactic refugee’s” music is a cascade of flavours and enterprise within its hard rock nurtured imagination. In boldness and drama there is something of The Tubes to the band’s presence too which only adds to its magnetism live and now within Element of Sex.

Familiarity and inventive uniqueness collude from the first breath of the album with opener Fire True, an orchestral coaxing the first lure quickly infested with wiry tendrils of guitar which in turn entice the instantly rich ear grabbing vocals of Herma. Within seconds the track is an imposing wall of thick infectious sound speared by the scything swings of drummer Evey. Pop catchy and metal aggressive the track imposes and seduces in equal measure with the organic drama of the band’s imagination in every syllable, note, and twist.

It is an infectious tempest of an encounter instantly backed and eclipsed by next up Megalomaniacal. Straight away it has more urgency and greater flexibility in its attack; snarling, biting, and dancing with the senses like a carnal celebration behind the fiercely magnetic prowess of Hermes. Big Daddy Ray’s bass has a great rockabilly swing to its growl at times whilst guitarists Rev C2 and Lobo spring a trap of enterprise so easy to relish especially when the song takes a breath from its boisterous invasion.

The calmer All Wanna Go To Heaven through its initial less energetic entrance, compared to its predecessors, only leads into a snare of boldly catchy and melodically enticing temptation. The voice of Hermes once more stands tall and captivating within the song, a given proven track by track as the sounds around her cast their creative theatres. Pop, rock, and metal strands all go into its ear wrapping weave before the contagion of Hellawake continues the diversity bred within the Sick N’ Beautiful’s sound with its electro pop meets industrial punk shuffle.

Through the tempestuous roar and character of Slam! and the salacious sonic exploits of Hexxx (The Element Of Sex), the album just gets more hectic and fun, both songs a spark for ears and body with their extremely danceable antics, the outstanding second of the two especially manipulative as it grabs limbs like a puppeteer.

Cryptid similarly just opens up the throttle from its first gasp; rhythms and imposing incitement within the scuzzy tides of guitars wired with melodic and hook laced tempting. It is another where certain moments unite with ears like an old friend whilst bringing wholly new propositions alongside for a compelling mix exploited just as ably by New Witch 666 (The Rising). Its EBM-esque opening is a deceit for the dark shadows and intent lurking closely behind and a continuing enticement as those textures take rein of the devilish affair. Though its rabidity is under control for the main it is there festering in the track’s meaty body and demonic intent.

The skilfully woven Heart December (Gates II) with its dark drama and gothic rock grandeur was a slow burner for our ears, a track which never quite ignited as those before it but continues to be a compelling intrigue on ears and imagination even against the album closing blaze of C*Mmunion. Aggressive and at times musically grouchy but as greedily catchy as you could wish, it brings the album and the torrent of fun to a rousing conclusion.

And that pretty much sums up Element of Sex as a whole; insatiably infectious, relentlessly rousing, and unapologetically fun. Maybe Sick N’ Beautiful is a proposition which is at its very best live when all of its elements come together musically, visually and indeed dramatically but their new offering shows their songs make for very potent propositions all on their own.

Element of Sex is out now on the band’s own Rosary Lane Records; available @ https://www.sicknbeautiful.com/store and other stores.

https://www.sicknbeautiful.com/   https://www.facebook.com/sicknbeautifulband/   https://twitter.com/sicknb

Pete RingMaster 10/07/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Whirling hearts and joyous uprisings: exploring the world of Swirl

Photo by Neil Zlozower

There is an increasingly mighty roar coming out of California and it goes by the name of Swirl. This is a band really beginning to make a vocal name for themselves with their multi-flavoured, hard rock fuelled fusion of rock and metal. Welcomingly given the opportunity to get to the heart of the band with Swirl creator and guitarist Duane “DT” Jones, we talked beginnings, songwriting, successes and plenty more….

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

Hello to you too. This is ‘DT” guitarist and founder of the band Swirl out of Southern California. Thank you for your interest in Swirl! We are always grateful to anyone taking an interest in what we do.

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

I started the band in the Pacific Northwest in a town called Mukilteo, Washington. I had 3 other members than the current line-up; we rehearsed, wrote songs and made plans to record our debut in Santa Monica, CA. About a week before we were to leave I got a call from the drummer saying he wasn`t going to make the trip. I called my brother, Brian “Bam Bam” Jones who was playing in a band in Arizona at the time and asked him to come out to California, learn the songs and track drums to which he was all too happy to help out. That version of Swirl toured the US and Japan on a full length release titled Out Of Nowhere that was produced by former Quiet Riot and now RATT guitarist, Carlos Cavazo with former Rough Cutt bassist Matt Thorr engineering or producing tracks as well.

After those tour dates finished the band parted ways with the original singer and touring bassist. By then Brian had moved to California so I joined him there. I was introduced to current Swirl singer Alfred Ramirez and bassist Shane Carlson by former Dio keyboard player Claude Schnell who was looking to produce a demo for a band they had, however they had parted ways with their guitar player and Claude asked me to write with them so he and I could get into a studio together. After a few writing sessions we decided to go play the songs live and it was there that a friend pointed out to me that Alfred would sound really good singing Swirl songs so I asked him to go into a studio with Cinderella drummer Fred Coury and I. The end result of those sessions were the two songs Mad Disease and Time To Fly with the latter being particularly well received so tour offers followed. The natural choice was then Shane Carlson and we have been together ever since. 2018 will mark the 10 year anniversary of this line-up for Swirl.

Have you been or are involved in other bands?

My only involvement with other bands was the above mentioned writing project that introduced me to Alfred and Shane as well as one other band in California that hired me as one of their touring guitarist for a self-produced disc. That was actually my first ever “bus tour”. Actually it was a converted mobile home, but still I got the rock star treatment on that tour. It was fun, but the band broke up. As that band had already recorded their disc when I joined and there were no writing opportunities I can`t say it had any influence on my writing direction, but it was a great series of lessons on things to not do when running a band.

What inspired the band name?

Usually one look at a picture of the band is all it takes to answer that question, but it goes deeper in that we all have different nationalities and personalities that come to together to create the Swirl music.

Photo by Neil Zlozower

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

No particular theme to starting the band. I just wanted to play in a rock band that wrote songs good enough to share stages with my idols. Some of those goals have been accomplished!

And that same intent drives the band?

Absolutely! At the end of the day we enjoy what we are doing and are hell bent on capitalizing on the success Swirl has had to date. We are not where we want to be, but clearly we are on our way. The crowds are getting bigger, the stages are getting bigger and the bands we have opportunities to work with are larger, more well know bands as well.

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

While I am an 80s metal head guitarist at heart I have adapted my playing to a more modern approach when it comes to writing and guitar tones. I guess the best way to think of it is “what if you took a band like Shinedown, Seether, or FFDP and put a guitarist like Jake E Lee, Warren DeMartini or George Lynch in it.

As for the reason for the evolving sound?…The credit for that goes to Brian who wanted to push the music in a more modern direction, but knew I was still going to be me on guitar and have those moments. Our first attempts at this proved very successful with a self- produced EP titled SWIRL that wound up with 3 songs being featured in a full length, 2 time award winning film called Ditch Day. Those songs are Rise Up, Spell, and We Are Alive. That movie is now out in 6 countries with more to follow. Another indicator that Swirl made a smart move in terms of musical direction is the incredible social media success we have enjoyed while being an independent band. We have a very strong online presence.

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

The change was very deliberate and I had to do my homework in listening to bands that normally I would not have given the time of day to, just to get a feel for what was going on with the guitar playing and production. I fought it at first, but in the end decided it couldn`t hurt to try. I am so glad I was open to the idea.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

Well I already touched on my 3 biggest influences on guitar and yes all four of us have very different influences that we bring to Swirl. Shane is the most “metal” of us all with his influences being bands like Korn and Metallica while Alfred cites David Bowie or Billy Idol as biggest influences for him. For Brian and I we started off as KISS fans, but he went in the direction of Rush and various jazz drummers.

For myself when producing Swirl music I lean a lot on Shinedown or Seether for production and “ear candy” ideas, but since I am not the only one working to produce/ mix the songs I am sure the other guys have their influences well represented in the final product that you hear from Swirl.

Is there a particular process to your songwriting?

Normally we start with a guitar idea that is almost a complete song then I get together with Brian to work on the arrangement before presenting it to Shane and Alfred who then add their influences to the arrangement and of course the vocals. Alfred creates them almost exclusively.

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

I would like to start by saying that when I write lyrics it’s usually tied to a personal experience of mine or one that I have witnessed in the world we live in. I also feel what’s most import is not so much what my lyrics mean to me, but more importantly what my lyrics mean to the listener. I want the listener find their own story within the lyrics. To me that means the listener can interpret and apply them in any way they choose.”- Alfred Ramirez

Give us some background to your latest release.

The Lift is a departure in some ways from the typical writing pattern for Swirl songs and given the new heights of success we are having with it this may become the way we do things going forward. Again I had the basic structure and worked on the arrangement with Brian, before bringing it to Alfred and Shane. However Alfred and I had a separate writing session to make changes to the verse and bounce other ideas off each other. Then we got back together as a band and went from there.

During the final mix sessions Shane Carlson made some more brilliant suggestions to improve the song to let it become what you hear from us now.

Here is the lyric video for The Lifthttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaBMGg0ACYo

As Alfred is the songwriter he sets the tone for the theme of the songs. If there is one constant I have noticed when I look at the reviews we get it is that the bands “message” is a positive one. A lot of life affirming, motivational and inspirational themes go into his work and I am very happy about that. I am pretty positive person most days!

Here are some samples of reviews we have received whether they are for The Lift single…

“…everything possesses a joyous, downright celebratory spirit…the track positively teems with life”- Skope Magazine

or the SWIRL EP

“An uplifting vibe…” The Happy Headbanger

“After listening to Swirl in its entirety it has lifted me up mood wise!!”- Metal Temple

“…if you are looking for a really sweet hard rockin’ melodic band that will have you humming along and singing with the CD in just a few listens than make this new SWIRL release yours. 9/10 Stars”- The Examiner

Here is a link to our reviews- https://www.reverbnation.com/socalswirl/press/

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

What The Lift means to me is that we all need help sometimes, be it an emotional lift or a physical lift. We shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help when we need it. We also shouldn’t be afraid to offer to help when were able to. We are all on this planet together and we are all connected, so let’s help one another.

My personal Lift was given to me by “The Minor Goddess” who lifted me out of a depressed and stressed out anxious time in my life. Thank you MG! “Your words will always stay with me “. – Alfred Ramirez

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 like to have the song pretty much done by the time we go into the studio so we can be more efficient with the recording process, but of course we leave room for those “happy accidents” that happen when tracking that are unique to a session.

One of the unique things about the sessions for The Lift is the process we used to get into the studio. We were introduced to producer Emad Alaeddin at Granted Records by Ditch Day producer Megan Waters. He suggested the band use “crowd funding” to cover the cost of the sessions. This was a first for the band and it was very successful. As an unsigned band who happens to be self- managed as well as our own booking agents we wear many hats to make Swirl the known name that is it becoming. Our fans are our record label and they decide how often we make new music and release videos or tour. We weren`t sure what to expect, but with this first attempt and the success of the campaign (we had enough money donated to book our first session in just 48 hours of activating the page at https://www.gofundme.com/launch-new-music-by-swirl-the-band ). The page will remain active. To be clear we are not opposed to record labels, management or booking agencies….we just refuse to wait on one to discover the band when we can get our music and band out to the people who support us!

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

We are a band that thrives on stage! We love being out there. Swirl is a high energy show with emphasis on the word “show”. There is always “someone doing something”. It`s actually the only way the band “fights”….we fight for the attention of the audience and are quick to let the others know who won the night after our set. It`s all in good fun and ultimately the audience is the winner.. We have been able to tour with established bands like RATT, Cinderella, Extreme, Red Dragon Cartel, LA Guns, Lynch Mob, and Slaughter just to name a few. We also headline shows in Southern California. In fact the first stop on “The Lift” tour will be in Hollywood, CA at the Whisky A Go Go on Saturday February 3, 2018.

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?

We firmly believe that you create your own luck so yes you can make your mark. The real question is how bad do you want it? We are, have been and remain hungry to succeed! We were recently listed by Gerry Gittleson, a writer for Metal Sludge in Los Angeles as one of three local bands that actually draw a crowd when we play.

Another way Swirl has separated itself to a degree is getting involved in licensing our music into movies and television. For example Swirl has 3 songs in the 2 time award winning Ditch Day movie that stars Emmy award winner Bill Oberst Jr. The songs are Spell, We Are Alive and Rise Up (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_RhbgL5Cv0&t=11s ).  So far that film is available in 6 counties. We are working on more licensing deals for our music from the SWIRL EP as well as The Lift.

 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 as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

I have no complaints about social media! Swirl is doing very well with it. We also spend quite a bit of time and effort marketing our band globally. Again it`s a how bad do you want it situation. We didn`t wake up knowing what we know and have made mistakes along the way, but we learn, we grow and we apply lessons to the next venture for the band whether its online, in the studio or on stage.

We have been able to reach people that would otherwise have had very little chance of discovering our music so we are very grateful for social media. It is a big part of the music business now and I don`t see that changing any time soon.

See for yourself here-

SWIRL website- http://www.swirltheband.com/

SWIRL Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/swirltheband/

SWIRL Twitter- https://twitter.com/Swirltheband

SWIRL Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/swirltheband

SWIRL Soundcloud- https://soundcloud.com/swirl-dt

SWIRL YouTube- https://www.youtube.com/swirlgtr

SWIRL Reverbnation- http://www.reverbnation.com/socalswirl

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

Thank you for your time and interest in Swirl. Look for the band to be on tour in and out of the United States in every country where the music making an impact on radio or through movies released that feature Swirl music.

Pete RingMaster 17/02/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

John Thayer – Face To Face EP

JT_RingMasterReview

Recently singer songwriter John Thayer released new EP Face To Face, a handful of songs which instinctively captivate as warm and suggestive melodies unite with emotion fuelled lyrics and vocals. There is also an intimate drama to each song which often blossoms to broader heights even as Thayer keeps it personal with his introspective exploration and reflections. The result is a release which captures ears with swift success and only lights the imagination further with subsequent listens.

The brother of Tommy Thayer, the lead guitarist in Kiss, John creates a sound inspired by the likes of Yes, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Steely Dan, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and The Who and based, as suggested by his latest offering, around ear seducing melodies. 2013 saw his indie/pop rock sound quickly grab ears and support through debut album Laurel Street, released as the new EP on EON Records.

Already stirring up eager attention, latest record Face to Face was co-produced by John and singer/songwriter producer Rob Daiker (Meredith Brooks, The Fame Riot) at Commune Studios in Portland Oregon and mixed by Greg Collins (U2, Matchbox Twenty, No Doubt). Straight away it seizes ears and imagination with its title track, the opener caressing both with gentle keys and ethereal harmonies initially. That earlier mentioned drama is just as swift in working its charm, coating the emerging orchestral bred keys and vocal expression of Thayer. Equally there is an instinctive catchiness which arises through the song, riffs and hooks mellow but potent as they add inescapable infectiousness to an affair which takes little time to seduce and involve the listener while providing an impressive start to the EP.

art_RingMasterReviewNot Afraid follows and quickly eclipses its predecessor as a thick wall of dramatic rhythmic and sonic energy hits ears. The song soon relaxes as Thayer’s vocals begin sharing melodic sighs and expression though the bass continues to bring dark shadows while prowling the calmer waters, lurking and waiting to join the frequent expulsions of that initial energy with erupt. It is gripping stuff reminding of British artist Johnny Wore Black, and with great unpredictability to its twists and dark hues to its emotion easily takes best song honours upon the EP.

In many ways the song sets a plateau the release never reaches again but enjoyment and creative imagination is still a potent proposal as firstly the melancholic stroll of Really Doesn’t Matter warms the senses to be followed by the evocative serenade of Angel. As the heart bred and felt tones of Thayer slip enjoyable through ears both songs are a flame of melodic enterprise within that ever dramatic air to richly satisfy.

The EP closes with Lonely Eyes and a tapestry of string bred shadows and guitar shaped intensity entangled with suggestive vocals and poetic melodies. There is something cinematic about the song too even as again Thayer ventures into the deepest emotions of the song’s heart. With a flame of a solo and the perpetual majesty of orchestral temptation, the track provides a striking end to an increasingly captivating release.

The Face To Face EP is our first moment shared with the songwriting and sound of John Thayer and like so many others we are sure, it will not be our last.

The Face To Face EP is out now via EON Records through most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/johnthayermusic

http://www.johnthayermusic.com

Pete RingMaster 02/09/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright