Embraces from the heart: talking with Charly&Faust

Picture by Rémy Tortosa

Tagged as indie folk rock, the Charly&Faust sound is a much richer tapestry of flavours than that hints at and a captivating seduction for ears and thought as proven by a recently released EP. We had a chance to look into the creative heart of the California based band, finding out about its origins, that new EP, creating songs and much more…

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

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

Charly: We are Charly&Faust, an Indie Folk-Rock band composed of six members. I am Charly (Marie Weill), one of the lead singers of the band and rhythm guitarist.

CH: My name is Coralie Hervé and I’m the drummer the band, I joined Charly&Faust in October 2016.

ER: Hi, I’m Eric Reymond. I play bass and do the backing vocals. I’m from Switzerland and I moved to Los Angeles to study at Musicians Institute. I met Coralie on the first day of school and she introduced me to the rest of the band because they were searching for a bass player.

NL: I’m Nathan Lorber, I play keys, and I met the rest of the band following a Facebook notice.

JF: I’m Jeff (Jefferson Fichou) the lead guitar player. I met the band at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood.

Faust: I am Faust; the other lead singer of the band. Charly and I, first met in Paris few years ago, and we started to make music together when we moved in LA. The connection between us was great, but not powerful enough yet. That is why we decided to build a band. Now, We are like a little family!

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

CH: I was in a band with some of my friends for 6 years. It was only for fun but it taught me how to play and work with other people.

Faust: It’s the first time I’m part of a band so there is for sure no impact for me.

JF: I’ve been playing in a lot of different projects here in LA and back in France. It’s important to have such experiences in the music world but everything is evolving faster and smoother with Charly&Faust.

Charly: I got bands before, but it never really worked. We were not going to the same musical direction. I have the chance to now play in two bands with people that I love working with. Charly&Faust is my main band, the one I lead with Faust, but I also play bass and sing backing vocals in another band called The Sutra. I am also working on my next solo EP now. All these experiences are complementary for me and help me to go further in my artistic process in each of them.

ER: Yes, I had two bands back home and I was playing with two other bands here when Charly&Faust asked me to join them. I don’t think it has any impact on my way of playing; I’m always trying to play everything.

NL: I have my own project called Polymorph, as well as a couple of other bands on the side.

Picture by Rémy Tortosa

What inspired the band name?

ER: It comes from the nicknames of the two singers and leaders.

Faust: We just wanted to use something that goes well together!

Charly: Like our music collaboration!

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

Charly: I think for Faust and I music is a way to express ourselves. That was the main idea behind this band. Be free to express our feelings and vision of the world. For the sound part, we are listening old and new music so we wanted to illustrate that in our sound.

Faust: When you play in a band, you feel stronger than ever. All together, we deliver a message and it has a better impact this way. We talk about several feelings from heart breaking to society topics to humanity questions.

NL: I think one of the key points of our sound is to mix a broad range of styles, both old and new.

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

Faust: Yes that’s pretty much the same. I mean the process is the same but with time the other members bring their own touch, their own way which is something I love!

JF: We’re still a pretty young band; we just started about a year ago.

Charly: The only thing that changed is that before forming the full band, Faust and I were composing our songs with an acoustic set up which sometimes was bringing guitar melodies a bit different than what we got now that we are composing with an electric set up.

How would you say your sound has evolved since its beginnings?

JF: We sound more like a band now. I mean everybody has brought some elements to the music and that’s great.

Faust: I just think that the more I practice with the band, my feelings and my way to approach music evolved. Experiencing music with them makes my personal sound evolves and this way makes the sound of Charly&Faust evolves.

CH: At the beginning, there was only Charly and Faust so it was more acoustic, folk. When the rest of us arrived, it turned more indie, rock and now we have some electronic sound added to our music.

Charly: I would say that we are starting to know each other better which allow us to play better together and go further in our creative process. We also improved a lot the vocals harmonies in my opinion.

ER: It’s way more professional now. The electronic elements are certainly a plus to make our sound more professional.

Is the creative movement within the band a more organic thing or do you go out to deliberately try and push new things?

Faust: You know we all have ideas and try to make them work all together which sometimes works really good and sometimes not but what matters is the fact we communicate a lot about it to make sure that we all go in the same direction.

ER: In general, I would say it has been always organic, but, of course, sometimes it’s nice to set boundaries to not get stuck in our comfort zone.

CH: I will say both. The first songs were already written so we kept them like they were but we experimented a lot with the new songs that we arranged all together.

Charly: I would say that it is a mix between both and that it depends of the song we are creating and its topic too.

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?

ER: Yes, Vulfpeck, Radiohead and Jack White help me to construct my bass lines stronger.

NL: A big influence for me is Pink Floyd, which also happen to be my favorite band. And the important role Rick Wright had in that band taught me how critical the role of a keyboardist is. You don’t just play melodies or chords, but are a central part of creating textures and setting up the whole atmosphere of a song.

Charly: Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zero, Imagine Dragons, Tracy Chapman, Assaf Avidan, etc.

Faust: I have so many artists who inspired me like Michael Jackson, Joan Jett, the Beatles, The Doors, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Coldplay… I have so much more but I’m gonna stop here *laughs*

CH : I am more of a hard rock/rock drummer, so it’s really interesting to play with Charly&Faust, to add some electronic sounds and find some groove which works with all the other instruments.

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

NL: It usually starts with Charly and Faust bringing lyrics and some vague structure and chords progression to the table. And from that, the whole band participates to enrich the musical and rhythmical aspects, and kind of put flesh on the skeleton.

Charly: Since Faust is the one who writes lyrics, she is usually the one coming to me with a new idea. Then, as Nathan said, we work just the two of us on the lyrics and the melody before working on it with the entire band. We started to work this way and it always worked pretty well, so even if we love having the other members ideas during the creative process, we like to have this moment just the two of us to be sure it is going where we want things to go.

Faust: I usually write the lyrics of the songs, sometimes even come up with a small melody. Charly co-write them with me, and most of our melodies are from her creativity with her guitar.

ER: Generally Charly and Faust bring the idea and we all together construct around to create the best song possible.

JF : My favorite moment is when we’re all jamming together to make a new song sounds as good as we can.

Where do lyrical inspirations more often than not reside?

Faust: Usually my inspirations come from the moments when I am by myself and feel alone.

Charly: It can come from a melody I composed, from a word or sentence one of us heard, etc.

ER: For my song It’s Weird Outside (that you can find in our EP Wild World), I based it on my personal life. But I try to write more about the story of people I know and feelings that affect us all at some point in our life.

Would you give us some background to your latest release?

Faust: Our latest release is our EP ! It is an Indie-Folk-Rock EP talking about love, heart breaking, life, society and humanity. We are very proud of this new baby!

NL: It’s been the result of the contribution of several different formations of the band, up to the current one. So this EP presents variety through its diverse contributions, yet still a strong sense of unity and consistency, since all of the songs are the brainchildren of Charly and Faust!

Charly: Anything wouldn’t have been possible without the help of wonderful people like Pease S. Nistades who did the artistic production on it and Gerhard Westphalen who mixed and mastered it. We also released our first music video No Rush directed by Mariano Schoendorff Ared and produced by Zoé Pelloux. You should definitely go check it on YouTube! We shot it on film and we are so happy of this amazing result!

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

Faust: Well it talks about how monstrous humans can get, how much you can give love to someone and how much it can hurt. You will have to listen to our EP to know more about all that!

Charly: The themes of our songs are most of the time about experiences we lived or we saw happening to people around us. It is very personal for Faust and I.

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?

Charly: We are an Indie band, so we don’t really have the choice of losing hours and hours in studio trying to figure out how a song should go. We have limited time of studio so we have to come prepared, which actually allows us to go further in our creative process. It’s not a bad thing!

Faust: We usually go in studio prepared and we record. As Charly said, no time to lose! Everything must be ready, from the lead vocals to the backing vocals.

JF: We’re adding a few elements on the spot during the recording sessions but the songs are already in their final states.

CH : For the drum part, there are already written before going to the studio so the other members have a solid base to work with. I can’t screw it up!

ER: The recording process of our EP was pretty much a mix of the two options. The main structure of the songs was established. With Coralie, we record the rhythmic section with this structure and after we add the other instruments. Afterwards there are always ideas coming up that we keep on the final version.

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

CH : I really like it, we really have a connection together and hope that people can feel it too. It’s so fun to play with people who experiment the music same as you.

Faust: Live shows are so much fun! The connection with our audience and the band members! It always feels too short!

Charly: Live is one of the best parts for sure. It allows you to share with the band and the audience what the songs really mean to you. And it can be always different depending of what happened during your day.

ER: There’s none. *laughs* No I would say when the rehearsal ends. *laughs* Seriously, my favorite aspect is the cohesion we have on stage and during rehearsals. It’s not common to find this in a band. We don’t just play with other musicians, we play with friends.

NL: It’s always a great feeling to present the result of our hard work to the public, especially considering the amazing feedback they usually give us.

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?

Faust: I think the secret is playing, playing and playing music, create small buzz as much as you can, respect people and having good connections with your band members, which we are actually doing. Let’s see how it goes now.

Charly: Patience is the key word! And hard working too. You just need to be smart and work your ass off and it will eventually pay one day! You just need to get ideas that nobody thought of before you.

JF: If you have the drive, the patience and the stamina, everything is possible.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date, good or bad?

JF: Internet is a fantastic tool for new bands, we’re trying to use it as much as possible to grow our fan base and network.

Faust: I think social medias are great to build your fan base, but I don’t think that is the real bones of your success! Even if for our generation it definitely helps.

Charly: Social medias are a free way to have people talking about you and follow your actualities. It is of course just a part of what should be done for a band to promote what they are doing, but it is a really good beginning! That is your chance to share you music without waiting for music professionals to tell you if you are good enough to be heard by an audience. For example, we are now posting a new video on our YouTube channel every Thursday to make sure people can see us play live shows, do rehearsals, etc.

NL: As for a lot of young bands, the internet and social media is a central part of our communication with fans and the distribution of our music. As a matter of fact, if it wasn’t for social media, I wouldn’t perhaps be part of the band, since that’s how I got news that they were looking for a keyboard player.

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

Faust: Hey! Come join our world!

CH : Enjoy your life and do what you love.

ER: Don’t tell anyone but we have a secret project coming up 😉

JF: We’re playing often in the Los Angeles area, come say hello at our next show! You can find all the info about it on our website https://www.charlyandfaust.com/ !!

Charly: Thanks for your time! We are playing at The Mint LA on November 30th at 9:30PM, if you want to come get a beer with us!

https://www.facebook.com/charlyandfaust/    https://www.instagram.com/charlyandfaust/

Pete RingMaster 09/12/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Exploring the lures of The Lunar Effect

Hailing from London in the UK, The Lunar Effect is a band making a potent impression on the Capital’s live scene and through their debut EP, Strange Lands released last year. We caught up with the band to find out more exploring origins, inspirations, the muse of “demon seductress soul stealing women” 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 how it all started and what brought you all together?

We are Jon, Dan, Josh and Brett and we are The Lunar Effect. It all started with Jon messing around with some solo songs which then developed into a gigging band. Jon’s brother Dan joined, then after a few gigs with other musicians Brett came in on bass. Josh joined soon after that when he answered an advert we put out for a singer. Job done!

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

Yeah, we have all been in different bands and played as solo artists. You learn from the mistakes you have made in previous bands and try to avoid doing the same thing. It is important finding band members you get along with on a personal level; being a good musician just isn’t enough if you’re also a prize bell-end. If you’re not getting along it can seep into the music you make, then you’ll find it influences the style and direction you take going forwards. That’s why when we put an advert out for a singer we specifically said no dickheads.

What inspired the band name?

A lot of people often think it is because Jon has a daughter named Luna, but the band came first and it’s spelt differently anyway so we can nip that one in the bud. It is actually inspired by the moon and all of the elements in life that its cycles and phases had been said to affect through time, whether true or not.

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

We all just wanted to be musicians and write music, so forming a band is obviously what you do. It has taken a while to find the right people, but now we hope we can offer something a bit different. Basically some really good songs as an alternative to a lot of the rubbish that’s out in the mainstream right now.

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

The goal remains the same. It’s always been about making good music with good people and having a laugh along the way. If we can make money from doing this then that’s a bonus. As time goes on you learn to be more selective with things like which gigs to take and which to pass on. You also learn where the pitfalls and charlatans are and how to avoid dealing with them.

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

When the band first started it was mainly songs that Jon had already written himself that we just tweaked. We had a more lo-fi, grungy sound. As we have settled and grown into the new line up we have pushed ourselves more and found a sound drawing on all our influences.

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

Originally it was more organic, with each of us bringing in new ideas and influences. It just started to flow over time until we felt we were happy with it. Now we try to build on our sound by trying new ideas and pushing the boundaries, experimenting with new styles and noise while still keeping that vintage sound that is our essence.

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?

We like all sorts, from 70’s bands like Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd to bands like Soundgarden and Silverchair. There are a load of great bands around at the moment that people may not necessarily have heard of, like The Heavy Eyes, Mars Red Sky, Kaleidobolt, etc. The list goes on.

Is there a process within the band which generally guides the writing of songs?

It varies from song to song, but our latest songs usually come out of refining a jam or a riff. Sometimes it takes us weeks to finish an idea, other times they’re finished quicker than it takes to play it through which is cool. We’re good at criticising each other too, bad ideas don’t last long.

 Where, more often than not, are inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs found?

As far as inspiration’s go we cover the classics; women, drugs, women on drugs, demon seductress soul stealing women, trivial existences, crippling pain and yeah, the classics.

Give us some background to your latest release.

Our last release was an EP called Strange Lands. It’s very much sci-fi themed, from the cover to the lyrics and everything in between. Our first full album should be out by the end of the year. It’s shaping up to be a bit of a belter. You can see us performing a song from it for Hunter Studios Live sessions here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFrGNrBJXrU

 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?

Generally we like to have the bones of the songs all rehearsed and gig tested. Then we can experiment with different techniques and add more layers to the track if we find something that fits and improves the song as a whole. We make sure we record more than we need, that way we can try out new ideas, see what works and what doesn’t and then cherry pick the best stuff.

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

Well I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily our favourite part but obviously we do enjoy it. We also enjoy writing and recording in the studio.  We always have fun at live shows though, as hopefully do the people who come out to watch us.

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?

No, it’s hard locally as most local venues keep closing and everyone just goes to Wetherspoons. In London it’s the complete opposite. There is an oversaturation of venues which makes it harder to promote, especially with all the high entry fees, though you do learn with experience as we said earlier on. Gigging in Europe is a good idea. The promotion and pay can be a lot better and it’s all generally better organised. They really look after you.

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?

The internet is good for self-promotion and getting stuff out there, though getting people to actually click and listen is still difficult. It would be interesting to know how many of the people that read this interview will then go on to actually check our stuff out. Again, it is a good thing if you have the money behind you to pay professionals to handle the social media side for you, but that goes against what it is meant to be in the first place.

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

Just thanks for taking the time to read this and we hope that you do check us out on Facebook and all the other sites. You never know, we could be your next favourite band.

Check The Lunar Effect out further @ https://www.facebook.com/TheLunarEffect/  and https://thelunareffect.bandcamp.com

Pete RingMaster 06/12/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Introducing The Duffaloes

Allow us to introduce you to The Duffaloes, a band we suspect you will be hearing a lot more of once their debut EP is released this coming August. Only formed a handful of weeks ago, the British outfit is the creation and union of vocalist/guitarist Lee Duffy and guitarist/bassist Lee Williams, two musicians no strangers to the Liverpool music scene through playing in other bands and in other guises over the years. Recently the pair sent over to us a couple of songs from that forthcoming EP and we have to say you are going to like what they have to offer.

The band’s sound going by these tracks is a feisty mix of alternative and melodic rock with numerous other flavours involved and bred in the inspiration to the pair of bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, U2, Metallica, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam. Inviting musicians friends to “jump in” and help out live and in the studio, The Duffaloes have a persistent freshness to their music which colludes with their obvious experience and creative maturity and quickly makes a strong impression across the songs Scars and Outside.

Scars is a fiery encounter with a raw grunge tone to its melodic and emotive heart. Straight away it coaxes and teases attention with an opening riff and inviting bassline speared by lively beats. Duffy’s vocals are just as swiftly alluring ears and attention, his great tones a dusky mix of earnest growl and plaintive expression against the web of melodic enterprise cast by the guitars. Like a mix of Jacksons Warehouse and Stone Temple Pilots, the track tenaciously dances in ears, enticing and challenging with its roar and emotive intensity. At times ridiculously catchy and constantly commanding attention, Scars has lead single written all over it, especially once its emerging Pete Wylie like hooks captivate.

There is similar instinctive angst and imagination of sound within Outside but also an individuality which adds even more intrigue and depth to the band’s sound and songwriting. With more of a pop rock air than the rawer texture of its companion, the track still has an edge of attitude and texture which quickly gets its claws into the imagination, the body as swiftly hooked on its lively gait and infectious Echo and The Bunnymen scented chorus.

There is a familiarity to both tracks but nothing especially definable or diluting the strength and pleasure gained with each. Of course two songs is early days to truly assess a band but it is hard not to breed real anticipation for their future and expectations that a great many of you like us will develop a real appetite for their imagination woven rock ‘n’ roll.

Check out The Duffaloes further @ https://www.facebook.com/TheDuffaloes/  and watch out for their debut EP released August 1st.

Pete RingMaster 14/06/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Shades and glories; talking Different Light with Trevor Tabone

The history of progressive rock band Different Light comes in two parts, each seeing the band finding greater attention and plaudits to match their relentless growth in sound. Following their acclaim clad last album, the band is preparing to record its most inventive and imaginative collection of songs for a new album so we took the opportunity to explore the band to date with thanks to Trevor Tabone, a founder of Different Light.

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

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

The band consists of: Trevor Tabone (vocals, keyboards) that’s meJ, Jirka Matousek (bass), Petr Matousek (drums), Petr Lux (guitars, backing vocals) and Petr Kania (live guitar). The band was originally formed in Malta in 1995 with 3 other members besides myself; then I reformed it with the current line-up after I moved to Prague in 2000.

Have you been involved in other bands before?

I was obviously involved in a few other bands before Different Light. The style has always been prog/classic rock, changing slightly according to the time it’s in.

What inspired the band name?

Mark (original guitarist) came up with the name when we were drinking in a bar, usually the place for the best ideas!

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

Personally speaking, I see myself more of a songwriter than a musician, so I’ve always sought the best musicians I could find to help me create and record the material I’d written. Regarding the sound, it’s got to be melodic and powerful with lyrics the listener can relate to.

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

I suppose the driving force is still one of wanting to move people with the music we make; I think I can speak for the rest of the band with this.

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

We’ve obviously become technically better, plus the new members to the constantly changing (evolving?) line-up always add a new dimension to the sound.

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

More organic I would say, it’s all about evolution and not intelligent design 🙂

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?

What particularly inspires my writing is personal experience and real life situations, people I know or even people I just observe. I’m not into fantasy and sci fi! Of course there are the many bands that we love and have inspired us, Genesis, Supertramp, Pink Floyd, Rush, Dream Theater and quite a few others.

Is there a certain process to your songwriting?

I sometimes come up with a lyric and put a melody to it and go from there. Or I’m fooling around on my piano or guitar and come up with a chord progression and a basic melody which I develop. I sometimes just completely rip off something (joking of course :)).

Could you give us some background to your latest release?

Our last release, The Burden of Paradise, came out just over a year ago and has been received fantastically by both critics and fans. We were high in many of the prog polls for 2016 and sales were excellent too. Its success has been a great inspiration for me personally and I’ve already managed to write the next album which we hope to start recording later this year.

Can you offer some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

A lot of the themes are personal but which I hope the listener can also relate to. They deal with love, death, freedom, religion, history, delusion and a host of other subjects.

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?

They pretty much are in their final state when we go in to record, as we always develop and arrange them in our rehearsal sessions before. Obviously some changes are made during recording, but not too many I’d say.

Tell us about the live side to the band?

To be perfectly honest, we’re more a studio band than a live one. Having said that, we’re rehearsing to play a few gigs later this year and we promise to give a memorable show!

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?

The Czech Republic isn’t exactly a hotbed for progressive rock, so we’ve found that our market is mostly around the rest of Europe, plus various other parts of the world too of course.

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?

It’s a bit of a double edged sword, in that it has helped, or even enabled us to make our mark in the music world without having to rely on a record company. It also makes the recording of an album so much easier. On the other hand though, streaming and illegal downloads have obviously cut our sales dramatically. Still, I think it’s mostly positive for bands like us.

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

Our next album is going to be even better than the last 🙂

 

https://www.differentlight.cz   https://www.facebook.com/differentlightsound/?fref=ts   https://www.youtube.com/c/differentlight

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 12/04/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Magnetic reflections: looking into Black Mirrors

We were aware of the buzz building up around Belgian band Black Mirrors so eagerly anticipated checking out their new EP release with Napalm Records. Fair to say that Funky Queen more than lived up to the praise gathering around its release, revelling in the myriad of flavours behind its bluesy rock ‘n’ roll. Offered the chance to find out more about band and release we fired questions at vocalist Marcella Di Troia and guitarist Pierre Lateur.

Hi guys and thanks for talking with us.

Firstly can you give us the background to Black Mirrors; its beginnings and how you all met?

, c Nanna Dis 2016

Marcella: During summer 2013, I wanted to create a female band. I found a drummer and a bass player but found it difficult to find a female guitar player. I was looking for someone who could play like Pierre the actual guitar player. I was fond of his sound. I couldn’t find a girl who could do that. So, I asked Pierre to join the band. After some jamming, we wanted to work harder and to start to write our own songs but the girls didn’t have time to invest in the project. So we forgot the idea to have an (almost) female band and invite two old friends, Gino and Edouard to join the band as bass player and drummer. We used to play with them in other bands before Black Mirrors.

We recorded our first EP and did our first gigs with this line up late 2013.

What inspired the band name?

Marcella: The name Black Mirrors came up with the TV show Black Mirror, a really cool English series which shows how technology is progressively changing our world. People are more distant to one another by being connected to the virtual world. We do not want to judge anybody, it’s just that we are witnesses of that change in our society and it touches us.

You sound is seemingly bred in garage rock but, as your new EP Funky Queen shows, flames with much broader rock ‘n’ roll diversity. What are the kinds of inspirations which have lit your musical imaginations most prominently?

Marcella: All the bands we are listening to were influenced prominently by blues masters such as Bessie Smith, Leadbelly, Robert Johnson, BB King, Muddy Waters, Blind Willie Johnson… So I would say the blues.

Pierre: Apart from the blues, we have a lot of different influences like the stoner scene, the late 60’s and early 70’s rock music like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zep, Janis Joplin and even the early Pink Floyd, the revival scene like The White stripes, Rival Sons and The Black Keys, some elements of soul/funk music and a bit of desert-blues like Tinariwen.

The Funky Queen EP has just been released through Napalm Records; how did that link-up come about?

Marcella: During summer 2015, we were invited to play in Germany at «Out and Loud» festival. Napalm was there as they opened the festival with a Napalm label night. Some of Napalm’s bands played there and they found us a slot to play. That was our first contact. We stayed in touch with them for a year and last summer we sent them our new songs. They liked it and Napalm offered us a deal.

It is being described as the band’s debut EP but am I right in thinking it has a self-titled predecessor released in 2014 which new fans to the band will want to know about?

Marcella: Yes, you’re completely right! Three years ago, we released our very first EP. We recorded it a couple of months after having started the band because we wanted to play live shows as soon as possible. This first EP is now sold out.

How would you say the Black Mirrors’ sound has evolved over its first handful of years?

Pierre: The basic sound didn’t change that much. Since the beginning, we wanted to create a music which will be a mix of all our influences. In 2013, our songs were already a mix of blues/rock, stoner and a bit of psychedelic music with a vintage approach.

But if we speak of the sound more specifically, the guitar sound became wilder with the years and our first drummer left the band. He was replaced by another one who came with his sensibility, approach and specific sound. So these two elements influenced a bit the final result.

With all artists, there is a specific intent fuelling their first steps. What was the driving force for Black Mirrors?

Pierre: Nothing more than being happy and thankful to play together. We are friends for such a long time and we’ve started the band to enjoy creating music together. We never had a big statement like « We want to play this kind of music, like very pure blues or a specific kind of stoner. » It was always about playing anything we had in mind without thinking too much. Maybe it’s the reason why there’re a lot of different influences in our music.

Listening to the EP there feels like there is a strong collaboration between the band in its songs birth and character. How does the band’s songwriting generally work?

c, c Nanna Dis 2016

Pierre: Most of the time I create basic ideas like a riff or two and show it to Marcella. We work together on a first version of the song, she composes her vocal part and we work on a basic structure. We show this draft to the band. With them we give the tune his final form. We often create new parts, remove others; jamming around the sound. Because of all this process, the song’s final version is sometimes totally different than the first idea.

Can you give the readers some insight to the background and themes to Funky Queen?

Funky Queen, which opens our EP, is about addiction. Funky Queen is the queen that confronts everyone with one’s own demons.

The second song is Kick Out The Jams, a MC5 cover. We wanted to put it on our first EP as it’s represent very well the general energy of our music.

The Mess is a song about messy feelings you get after you broke up a very bad love relationship. Sometimes, you’d rather not see things than to be destroyed for your entire life.

And finally, Canard Vengeur Masqué to end up…It is a song who talks about the missing of one of your parents after a divorce, the way you can feel forsaken in this situation as a child.

Funky Queen has a great cover to match its sounds. Who is behind the artwork and indeed the band’s excellent logo?

Pierre: It’s Sebastian Jerke, a German artist who worked with My Sleeping Karma and Colour Haze to name a few. We really like his job. We got in touch with him and he appeared to have several great ideas for the artwork.

Apart from the likes of Front 242, dEUS, Soulwax, Enthroned, Triggerfinger, Steak Number Eight, and the excellent King Hiss, I cannot say we know too much about the Belgian rock scene. It is a healthy place right now, especially in its underground?

Well, it depends if it is in the French speaking part of Belgium or the Flemish part. We think Flanders gives more chance to underground music. Just by seeing bands you named, most of them are from Flanders. We are coming from Wallonia where the rock scene is a bit shy. Unfortunately, you barely see a rock band as highlight on a festival poster in Wallonia.

What is next in the immediate future of Black Mirrors?

Going on tour with Horizont and ’77 and record our full length album.

Once again our big thanks for sharing your time with us.

Check out our review of Funky Queen @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2017/03/03/black-mirrors-funky-queen/

http://www.blackmirrorsmusic.com/   https://www.facebook.com/blackmirrorsmusic   https://twitter.com/BlackMirrorsmus

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The silent roar of darkness; talking Evocation with Skin Drone

SD_RingMasterReview

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

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

Can you first tell us how you both met?

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

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

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

Otto

Otto

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Erik_RingMasterReview

Erik

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

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

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

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

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

Can you give some idea to its themes?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What comes next for Skin Drone and yourselves individually?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pete Ringmaster

The RingMaster Review 19/05/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Antigone Project – From Its Room

Antigone Project _RingMasterReview

Hailing from the creative belly of Paris, Antigone Project made a potent first impression with their self-titled EP late 2014; a debut which has only strengthened its persuasion over time and listens. It was stirring and eventful tempting, a fusion of provocative flavours which has been lifted to a whole new plateau with its successor, the From Its Room EP.

Embracing the emotive qualities of post and progressive rock in electronic and guitar conjured soundscapes whilst equally drawing on the eighties inspired post punk /synth rock essences which marked its predecessor, the EP is a bolder and more immersive adventure exploring persistently evolving and evocative rock landscapes within tempestuous sonic climates. The leap in creative maturity and indeed experimentation between releases and their individual characters is as open as the wealth of textures woven into the EP’s six striking tracks, and as thoroughly enjoyable as that first offering was, From Its Room simply leaves it in its shadow.

Antigone Project is the brainchild of vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist /songwriter Frédéric Benmussa and a project initially intended as a solo venture. Formed in 2002, the band expanded over time with bassist Manu Ventre and drummer Fred Monaco alongside Benmussa upon the latest encounter. Inspirations to the band includes the likes of Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, Radiohead, Joy Division, Tool, and numerous more, spices which were an open spicing within that first release but far less prominent in the unique proposal of From Its Room.

art_RingMasterReviewThe EP opens with First Rush, an immediately provocative mist of keys and sonic suggestiveness surrounding the senses as the song simultaneously brews up a dramatic and tempestuous climate. Benmussa’s soaring tones soon launch across the brooding canvas, his alluringly harmonies entwining with the floating wash of keys. Both powerfully draw ears as riffs and rhythms brew up within them, the imagination firing intro leading the listener to the following creative theatre of The Black Widow. Tangy hooks and sultry surf rock bred grooves engage ears and appetite straight away as the song’s sinister but seriously alluring character blossoms. As Benmussa’s voice brings another beguiling texture into play, the track’s exotic mystique and post punk charm enjoyably increases, addictive rhythms courting the surrounding adventure cast by guitar and keys. The track is stunning, an early favourite and highlight of the EP which alone shows the new diversity of sound and creative boldness soaking the release.

A live version of Trismus comes next, the band opening with grungy guitars as gothic hued keys rise up around them and the darker lure of the bass. Earlier Radiohead was mentioned as an inspiration to the band and here there is no escaping their scent as again a sweltering sonic colouring with surf/psych rock shading escapes guitars and harmonies as cinematic drama and haunting essences collude. It is a beguiling, imagination igniting immersion of the senses and thoughts, soon matched in creative endeavour by the following Sphere.

In three parts but meant as one musical movement, it begins with MoonSphere where gothic toned keys enclose ears as poetic melodies slip from the acoustic prowess of Benmussa, both expanding their temptation with an array of warm and imposing textures as vocals and rhythms bring their contrasting elements. There is a touch of The Cure and The The to the song, that previously mentioned eighties feel showing itself in a song seemingly as much Nine Inch Nails spiced. The track’s infectious union of shadows and melodic persuasion, a dark and light side, leads into the rousing revelry of VenuSphere. Straight away the track erupts, bounding along with tenacious rhythms aligned to a just as frenetic sonic and melodic resourcefulness. Inescapably though, it is still bred from the same emotional heart as its predecessor even when involving ears in its salacious temptress like festivity. Again a skilful collusion of contrasting shades and textures, this time honed into a virulent spirit arousing canter of electro rock/pop, the track sets flows straight in the final movement in the piece, PerfectSphere.

A darkly shadowed and almost portentous coaxing of ears and imagination, its riveting theatre and emotive tapestry of sound beguiles as it inflames and though as the other two, the song does work as a single proposal, Sphere has to be played as one whole flight of sound to ensure the fall through its cinematic and fascinating depths are felt to the full.

From Its Room is a thrilling new experience with Antigone Project; as suggested a major step on from their certainly impressing debut but one still seemingly like it is only part of the way towards something bigger and bolder, of which anticipation is already brewing.

The From Its Room EP is out now digitally through iTunes and on Ltd Edition vinyl via Season Of Mist @ http://shop.season-of-mist.com/vinyl/antigone-project-from-its-room-lp

https://www.facebook.com/antigoneproject    https://twitter.com/projectantigone

Pete RingMaster 05/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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