Weaves and carousels with Demi The Daredevil

demi-the-daredevil_RingMasterReview

It is fair to say that bands which bring a diversity of imagination and sound together stand out from the thick music crowd more than most and that is exactly what is happening with Demi The Daredevil. Since forming in 2006, the Texan outfit has explored their art rock natured sound without allowing it boundaries, persistently luring attention from fans and media alike to now knock on global awareness. We recently had the chance to do our own exploration of the band with one of its founders Jeff Azar to look at the beginnings of Demi The Daredevil, that journey through sound and imagination, their latest release and much more…

Hello, many thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

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

My name is Jeff Azar from an Art Rock/Dark Theater band called Demi the Daredevil. It all started in our hometown El Paso; El Chuco as some like to say. Jovan (RIP) and Marc started playing guitar together, and I was introduced to them by a mutual friend. I started off on the drums in this band.

Were you involved in other bands before Demi the Daredevil? If so what influence did those experiences have on what you are doing now?

Marc is in a few other bands. I jammed with some people sometimes. I guess they helped me realize what direction I did NOT want to go in.

What inspired the band name?

Demi is short for demigod, which is a half man half god. Kinda like a Hercules type.

Not sure about Daredevil. Marc and Jovan chose Demi the Daredevil over The Rootbeer KamiKazis.

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

No, at least it was more intuitive rather than a logical idea behind what we were doing. When we first started, Jovan was inspiring from random things like film scores or TV show theme songs or video game music and we punk rocked those out. We didn’t have too much of an audience in mind, we just wanted to make loud fast melodic music.

When my brother came into the mix later down the road, I thought we’d have two ideas: classical music merged with the pop world and the world of movie acting/very obvious themed songs. Currently, the main goal is to have 1) good chord progressions 2) good melodies 3) and killer grooves. Besides that, there is no one idea musically, and as far as the lyrics go, I’m speaking to those who struggle with mental health.

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

That’s a good question. At first it was the pure fun of playing and analyzing music, with no thought of an audience. Then the drive became to be a critical success. Now, the drive seems to be connecting with kindreds, with like minds. Wanting a sense of community is the drive.

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

This band has had a lot of style changes. There have been phases, which might have made it hard to pinpoint an audience. But it was a necessary exploration…. Anyway, at first it was balls out punk rock or power pop. Then during a Beatles phase it became more reserved and softer. When my brother Thomas came into the mix, it became very Broadwayesque, because he’s a classically trained pianist and likes Broadway styled melodies.  Now, there don’t seem to be rules. As long as the songs are accessible, emotional, and will stand the test of time at least for a little while, we can inspire from soft rock, power pop, classical, funk, dark cabaret, etc…

It has been more of an organic movement of sound rather than you deliberately trying new things?

It’s always been an organic movement of sound. At every point in the history of this band we’ve just dished out what we were taking in at the time. For me it’s intuitive writing in that I take in a bunch of impressions, and then somehow something is synthesized from all those impressions.

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?

Yes. You’re right about there being such a wide range of influencers. I’ve obsessed over bands during each stage…And can’t list them all. But, even though I’m ashamed to keep bringing up this contemporary band that only in the last year has been the biggest personal influence, Twenty One Pilots has had a major impact on my personal approach. I had similar subject matter to Tyler lyrically; he just said it better with zero pretence. He got me to get more sober, gave me faith in making songs that don’t have to be master crafted mega hits, just as long as they are good and accessible. They made me go the distance with grooves, and incorporate all these intricate rudiments I learned in drum line. And they created online community of a certain type of fan with a very particular identity which I’d like to reach too. The live show energy; I could go on. Please stop me.

Is there a regular process to the songwriting within the band?

For me, I need to start with a timeless and emotional chord progression…Or at least a variation of one.  That is most important to me. I try out syncopated rhythms with the core instruments. Melody then is experimented with. Previously written poetry is put more into lyric and song form. Recording programs help with happy accidents. There is a long phase of punching the song up after the main idea is there…So many bases to cover.

Where do the biggest inspirations to your lyrical side come from?

Lyric inspiration starts from what I think is a big realization or feeling.

I then take months to get a more bird’s eye view on it and to say it better than when I tried to describe it initially.

Can you give us some background to your latest release?

A lot of the lyrics for it were written in strange places, like an attic on the UT campus during my last summer of school there, a couple psych hospitals(a lot of time to reflect there), and in a tee pee (which I needed to live in to save money for marketing). The band was in flux, and our producer lived in New York. So it took a long time to coordinate with our producer long distance, which left me a lot of time to treat the songs like Frankenstein until they were the best they could be.

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

The EP is called Secret Schizoid. The schizoid, defined by a psychologist Rollo May, is someone unable to feel, or to have close connection with others. They are out of touch with themselves. So these tracks are tracking that recovering the self process and piecing it back together.

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to leave plenty of room for development as you record?

Definitely a band that goes into the studio with songs more in their finished state. Unless a group of musicians are dedicating enough time with each other to make magic happen going into the studio without set ideas seems like a nightmare. Plus we really just need to record live drums in the studio. The rest can be tracked at home.

 Tell us about the live side to the band?

We’re starting to prep for the live shows and trying to make them theatrical, in the sense that we we’re creating little inner dialogue scenes with voices on the back tracks, or I should say monologue scenes because they are like schizophrenic voices, in between songs…And making it engaging with the audience. We want people to feel like they are part of the inner turmoil.

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

Yes, there are opportunities to break through; the key is knowing what kind of person your fan is and send them personal messages. Build relationships. Also learning how to using social media to reach them. Facebook offers a really useful audience insights tool to learn more about your fans, and a power tool editor to advertise correctly.  In terms of playing live shows to regional fans when you don’t have money or resources to book nation or worldwide tours, promoting your shows to potential fans in whatever area will make it more worth your while. No industry ppl who can take you to the next level will mess with you without fans, and you can’t leverage anyone in the industry without fans.

You touched on social media there, how has it impacted 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?

At first, the social media made us feel insecure because we just got crickets. After understanding how to use it (to spread your music to people who are care about that kind of music), it’s a free marketing tool. You have to learn how to use it and adapt. If you want to get signed to a company, you need to prove you have engagement from a Fan-base because that is in our control now. If you don’t care about getting signed you still need to use social media to have a Fan-base. You can play a show to ten people, two whom really likes you, or you can reach 8,000 people by $20 to market a live performance online for example.

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

Thank you for asking good questions! Yes, admit insanity, embrace your humanity.

If you are plagued with self-doubt, are conflict ridden, and someone who asks existential questions listen to our Secret Schizoid EP 🙂

http://www.demithedaredevil.com/    https://www.facebook.com/demithedaredevil/   https://twitter.com/demidaredevil

The RingMaster Review 13/01/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Rock ‘n’ roll arousal; sharing time with The Easy Outs

the-easy-outs_RingMasterReview

Formed by vocalist Bruce Ferguson in 2009, Long Branch, NJ hailing The Easy Outs quickly grabbed attention with their debut album at home and across Europe. It was the start of an adventure for band and fans which continues to excite and draw acclaim. Ahead of a new album already suggesting bolder imaginative exploits within the band’s sound, we managed to grab some of The Easy Outs’ time and get to know the band that little more intimately.

Hi guys and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

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

Paul: I’m the newest, Wendy the band manager heard me play, I became a member a year ago in November (drummer)

Steve: Bruce started The Easy Outs, we knew each other for years and he asked me to come on board.

Mike: Bruce started the Easy Outs he asked me [too], I accepted.

John: I answered a grains list and the rest is history!

Were you involved in other bands before joining up?teo2_RingMasterReview

Steve: I have been doing music most of my life and have been in other bands, some cover, some not.

Mike: yes, in other bands, all music inspires me.

John: been doing the cover band thing, this is my first original [project].

Paul: yes, been in many bands.

Bruce: I have been in other bands making albums over several years; this band is by far the best.

What inspired the band name?

It has a 70 feel to it.

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

Play great rock and roll, we want to offer a small space in music; 30 years from now someone might pick up our album for the first time, listen to it and love it, then you know you did something great.

Always, to be the best we can be and put out great listenable tunes that stick in your head.

teo3_RingMasterReviewSince your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

We are growing; the new forthcoming album is diverse of music, you can hear our sound, yet our growth too.

Has that growth been more organic or driven by the band deliberately wanting to try new things?

Both, pretty much.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted on the band’s music?

So many impacted each one of us and still do to this day

Is there a particular process to the songwriting?

Steve, Paul, John and Mike start with a note; we have a foundation [upon which] Bruce writes the lyrics and melody; a collaboration.

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

Everywhere, Bruce hears what as a band we do instrumental then he gets a word or idea and runs with it.

Give us some background to your latest release.

It’s our sound, yet new too, we are all excited about it, going to be one great album, we are definitely proud of this; Paul brings it to a higher level

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

No theme really, just tunes we came up with; like we said it’s diverse in songs, we will surprise our fans.

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?

Both, our producer Kurt Reil likes to hear what we have, sometimes we go in with just an idea. Bruce does vocals after we do tracks.

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

We love playing live, the energy from people listening; we get on stage we are all in the same groove, if a mistake happens we all know it and make it work.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it?

We believe there is room for everyone as long as you keep your passion going for the music, no matter what genre you are in; make an impact!

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?

Social media is a blessing and curse, our manager works hard at it daily, no matter what, she is always posting, thanking people, getting the fans interested. If used properly it can help a great deal, we are in the technology age, the music industry is way different from 10 years ago.

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

We want to thank everyone who has supported us through the years, buying CDs, coming out to shows, sharing our music.

For our latest album, look for the late spring 2017.

Thank you guys, rock on!

https://www.facebook.com/The-Easy-Outs-117139978346623   http://theeasyouts.com/

Pete RingMaster 28/12/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Uncaging the snarl: exploring the roar of The Fill Ins

the-fill-ins_RingMasterReview

Officially breaking out in 2013 after three years in the building, US rockers The Fill Ins is one of those anthemic rock incitements built on an instinctive creative roar. Their journey has been as lively as their sound as they worked towards the line-up which has drawn potent acclaim through recent singles alone. With an explosive live show which has seen them open for the likes of The Reverend Horton Heat, Koffin Kats, GBH, Total Chaos, Joe Buckyourself, and Wednesday 13, The Fill Ins is a coming force and we had the pleasure of getting to the heart of things with the band, exploring its origins and journey to date, those tenacious singles, 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?

ALEX: For me personally, I always wanted to create the ultimate Rock n Roll band and I feel with each passing year, we get a little closer to that goal as we find band members that also share that same vision. The band today consists of Mikey Black on lead guitar, James “Captain” Nunn on bass, newcomer Adam Patterson on drums, and myself (Alex Stiff) on lead vocal and rhythm guitar. We’ve come a long way in the 5 or so years we’ve been going at it, but in many ways it still feels like “Day 1” with our new sound and image.

Have you been involved in other bands before and if so has that had any impact on what you are doing now?

ALEX: Alongside of The Fill Ins; I also play bass in a punk band called Biggy Stardust And His Wretched Hive. I’ve always grown up with punk and rock music around me, so that is always my main inspiration. Whenever we have to get a new band member (for whatever reason), it will change the flavor of the band a bit and I think that is a good thing. Though I wouldn’t say the things we do outside the band have much influence; we’re a very driven band and have a clear view of who we are and what we are.

ADAM:  I’ve been playing in bands since I was 14 years old but as far as relevant bands go that I’ve played in was a band called HEADSNAP that I played in from 2002-2009, I also play in a band called DEADLOCK with my brother, and I play in another local cover band called The Dead Ins.

JAMES: I had several bands in TN before I moved to Charlotte, and I was always a guitar player. This was my first band that I ever played bass in, and I took what I knew about playing with more than one guitar player and applied it to my bass playing. Since then, I have continued to build my craft as a bass player, and have been recording and performing with another band in Charlotte called No Power No Crown as their bassist when I’m not working with The Fill Ins.

What inspired the band name?

ALEX: The original line-up that started in Roanoke VA consisted of a bunch of different members from bands I had played with up ‘til that time. All of them had been let go by the bands they were a part of and decided we’d start our own band. Someone threw out the comment; “We’re all just a bunch of fill ins, aren’t we?” and it just stuck. Even though (aside from myself) none of those members are in the band today, we still hold true to the “fill in” mentality. We’re a little bit of the black sheep in our town, so we just fill in the missing gaps with our brand of rock-n-roll, and people are starting to pay attention, which is awesome!

tfi3_RingMasterReviewDid the band have a specific idea it what you wanted your sound to offer?

ALEX: The 4 of us that started it in Roanoke just wanted to play music, regardless of what it was. Once Jason (ex-vocalist / guitarist) and I started writing more, it became very clear where our heads were at; stripped down hard rock with some punk and metal flair here and there. Over the years and with the addition of Mikey Black on lead guitar really bringing the songs to the next level, the band has only gotten better the longer we do this. I would say we still hold the same mission statement: knock em’ dead.

We’re also not a political band; we’re not going to tell you who to vote for or how you should live your life, we just want you to enjoy the life you have and have great tunes to go along with it.

Are you driven by that same original spark?

ALEX: I still get all happy and excited when I see new plays on Soundcloud or see that someone we don’t know shares our music video; I don’t think that could ever go away. I still get excited when we finish a band practice and we have the workings of a great new song, get photos back from a shoot; regardless of what it is, it all still makes me happy and excited.

JAMES: The drive and the excitement have only gotten stronger for me, because I think we’re getting better and better, and we’re so comfortable with each other as performers as well.

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

ALEX: Early on, songs would eventually have more of a punk edge to it because of my songwriting style; and because the VA line-up never officially recorded any demos, I had all the time in the world (about 2 years) to re-work and tweak those songs to my exact liking before bringing them to a new line-up of the band once I relocated to Charlotte NC. All those songs became the groundwork for our 1st album Hipster Killers (released summer 2014) and they really do have a punk edge to them simply because a good 3/4ths of the album was written before that line-up recorded it. That line-up consisted of Mikey, James and long-time drummer Matt McCoy. Shortly after recording that album, we went hard to work writing the follow-up record 5th Time’s The Charm in which Mikey and James had a lot more songwriting contributions due to the fact we were working with a blank slate. Now with our new singles Saturday Night and Hit The Gas, we are a lot more of a collaborative effort and I love where we are right now.

JAMES: We’ve played together for long enough now so we know what skill set works the best for certain parts of songs. But we’re also not scared to throw some curveballs at rehearsals and find out what comes out of it, because more often than not, that’s what leads to some our best material.

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

ALEX: I think every band wants to do better than their last release; but you have to want it the correct way. If we were to come out and do a complete 180 of what we have done before, it wouldn’t seem genuine and fans can see right through that. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the longer you play in a band, the better you get at your craft at the same time, so if you use that to your advantage smartly, you’ll start doing “new things” that fit in with what you’ve done before, helping you build your craft even more.

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 ideas to creating music?

ALEX: I take things I hear from artists I admire and find ways to apply them to myself and the band; whether that is in songwriting, how to conduct yourself professionally, how to market yourself and the band, etc. I’d like to think that The Fill Ins are a Frankenstein of all things good about rock n roll and punk rock all rolled into one.

JAMES: Going to live shows for me is always inspiring because sometimes I’ll be impressed with a local show, and it’ll just further my desire to make our band the best live group that it can possibly be.

Is there a particular process to the songwriting?

ALEX: Early on, I wrote a good 90% of the finished product you hear on Hipster Killers; but after that, I had the confidence in the band to hand over songwriting credits to the other guys since we had a good clear-cut path of our sound and attack. One of Mikey’s early contributions eventually turned into our first hit, Spit In My Face which I could have not been more proud of.

Today; the songwriting process isn’t too different than it was before. James could come in with part of a riff that could eventually be used for something, Mikey could bring in a semi-complete demo for us to take and refine a bit…Or we could be riffing on something at practice and by the end of the day have the blueprints for a new song. I prefer it when it happens like that; the more organic, the better.

Where do you draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

ALEX: For me, lyrics are the hardest thing for me to write and usually it’s the last thing finalized before hitting the studio (or during recording). It’s easier to write political songs because they just flow, but I almost see that as a cop-out. I’d rather spend months or weeks writing lyrics for something that resonates on a larger platform than spend a few days writing some politically charged message that only a few may get behind. I usually write about what I know; partying, drinking, love, hate, heartbreak, the annoyances of social media, etc.

Would you give us some background to your latest release?tfi4_RingMasterReview

ALEX: Our new singles Hit The Gas and Saturday Night have been a long time coming, making it through setbacks and line-up changes in the process. We started working on new songs shortly after the release of 5th Time’s The Charm in 2015 for a 6 song EP to be released in mid-2016. Going through some old demos we had but never used, I heard this one riff Mikey was playing and I cut just that portion out and sent it to him asking him to refine the riff and see what he can come up with. During that time, James was working on another project with drummer at the time Matt McCoy and our producer for 5th Time’s The Charm (Steve Coleman) and came up with a rough demo cut of Saturday Night. Mikey finished coming up with the groundwork for what would soon be called Hit The Gas and we were off to the races. We started working on a few more new ones and booked studio time in early 2016 to record the 6 songs.

After a few pre-production sessions and some demos, we had to put the band on hold as our drummer’s personal life was eating up his time that would be used to work with the band. After a few months of inactivity and suggested by Matt; we got long-time friend Adam Patterson on drums and abandoned our plans for an EP release this year.

Our main focus with Adam was to make sure he was tight on our old material before trying to write with him so he had a good grasp on our sound and how the song structures work; though I did send him all the demos we had recorded just to make sure he had them and to show we are ready to start writing again. After the 3rd practice, he asked if we wanted to work on any of the new songs we had been writing and suggested we try out Saturday Night. After a few run throughs, we realized this guy picks up on stuff like he had been playing it all his life; so we started working on that and Hit The Gas.

After that, the stars aligned just right and we were able to get both of the songs recorded and released this year just by the skin of our teeth.

Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind the single Hit The Gas in particular.

ALEX: Hit The Gas is a rebirth for us. The band kept with a certain look and sound for the first few years in VA and NC, then once the full band was fully reformed in Charlotte NC in 2014, we redesigned our logo and image to reflect the next chapter unfolding. With the release of Hit The Gas in November of this year and the addition of a new drummer, it was clear that The Fill Ins have matured a lot within the last year and with that, it felt that a new look and logo was needed. This logo is the first one to completely break the usual mould /redesigns we’ve had for the last 4 or so years, but so does the music. Hit The Gas really displays each member’s strengths; full of groovy bass lines, heavy drumming, one of the best solos Mikey has written to date and I feel it’s probably my best vocal performance in a long time recorded. The song has a message everyone can rally behind; “Just turn it up, and get it loud! It doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad, just back it up with attitude, and hit the gas, cause it’s going down!”; everyone loves to have a good time and that’s what we’re all about!

Do you hit the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

ALEX: Up until Hit The Gas, everything was written in full before going to the studio. This time, we had about 90% of it written and just hopped right in the studio and started playing around. We had all the drums, bass and rhythm guitar written but Mikey’s leads and some of my lyrics needed working on. Our producer Jeff Long (TrapDoor Recordings) could tell where we wanted to go with the song and he offered up some great ideas and insights into how we could make the track better; helping guide Mikey in giving the best performance possible and really pushing me on my vocals. I think both have their place in writing music, it just really depends on what works best for the group as a whole (and if you can afford to write in the studio).

tfi2_RingMasterReviewTell us about the live side to the band, presumably the band’s favourite place to be?

ALEX: The stage is my home. If I’m not playing live music, I’ll go crazy. I crave the stage, regardless if 2 people are watching or 2,000. We are also a very high energy band; we don’t stand still when we play, we run around and act a fool and I think that sets us apart a little bit more than most bands we see live locally… No one can put on a live show like THE FILL INS can. During the time earlier this year when The Fill Ins could not perform or practice, James and I started a side project called The Felons which consists of the 2 of us playing old country tunes and a few Fill Ins songs re-worked. It’s a fun way to fill in the gaps when we as a full band can’t play during the week. Anything that gets me playing music is a good thing.

JAMES: This band and my other group that I mentioned, No Power No Crown, are easily the most exhausting groups I’ve ever performed with, but they are also the most rewarding at the same time. With this band, the chemistry and dynamic between all of us that we share on stage is just as fun as anything I have ever experienced.

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?

ALEX: If I’m being completely honest; we’ve had some trouble getting our footing locally, people outside our town seem to have understood us and supported us stronger early on rather than the immediate locals. Mainly because we have very strong personalities and don’t play the political games that other bands can be found guilty of. It may have hindered us a little, but integrity and passion drives this band; and unless we can support it fully, we won’t do it. That’s not to say we don’t have a strong and loyal fan-base, because we do; but I would say we’ve gotten a much slower start in comparison to our peers.

We also have trouble building a fan-base in a town that is more geared towards liking metal and crust punk bands; not many people I know support “rock” anymore… partly spanning the inspiration for the song Save The Rock (Hipster Killers).

JAMES: I am thankful for the support that we have gotten here so far, though while it may not be very huge locally, certain people have mattered the most in our development and have supported us since day one have played a big part in providing some great opportunities here as well.

How has the internet and social media impacted on and helped the band to date? Do you see it as something always 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?

ALEX: I think social media as an idea is a fantastic thing; being able to connect with people all around the world at the click of a button, you know the bands of yesteryear would have killed for this sort of technology when booking tours or promoting albums! The problem lies with the programmers and what they feel is best for the platform as a whole, sometimes forgetting that there are people still trying to use places (like Facebook) to promote their own businesses / companies and their algorithms prevent those posts from showing up in people’s timelines unless you pay for the post to be seen; dubbing it as a “Sponsored Post”. I’m not a big fan of stuff like that, but it’s pretty unavoidable at times…

It’s also no mystery that the internet has killed physical album sales tremendously; which does sadden me a bit because I still get excited when a band releases something on vinyl; so maybe groups should re-evaluate their product packaging and find ways to draw in the new generation that prefers a download to a CD. We still love being able to chat with our fans all over the world, so I would say all in all it’s a great thing…At least for right now.

JAMES: It’s definitely a double edged sword, but part of the excitement for me IS the fact that it is the Wild West for new bands like us, which allows us to get very creative with different marketing and promotional ideas.

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

ALEX: Just want to pass on a big thank you to The RingMaster Review for having us on! Our new single Hit The Gas can be found on iTunes, Amazon Music, and our online store (http://store.thefillins.com/ ). We’ll be releasing a split 7in vinyl of Hit The Gas sometime in the Spring of 2017 (through No Profit Records) as we lead into getting ready for our next release for late 2017!

https://www.facebook.com/TheFillIns   https://twitter.com/TheFillIns   https://www.instagram.com/thefillins/

Pete RingMaster 16/12/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

TaxiWars – Fever

Kris Dewitte

Kris Dewitte

We will be honest, jazz is an intriguing mystery to our usual musical investigations as too the possible inspirations to the new TaxiWars album, but there is no secret hiding an irresistible sound and provocative prowess within Fever. Offering ten mouth-watering adventures, the album, to use the term found in the release’s press release, flits between jazz and the avant-garde. It persistently provokes the senses as it flirts with the body and sparks the imagination like no other encounter heard this year.

TaxiWars is the inspirational collaboration between dEUS frontman Tom Barman and saxophone player Robin Verheyen, the pair joined by the just as absurdly creative bassist Nicolas Thys and drummer Antoine Pierre. Their self-titled debut album swiftly nurtured critical acclaim in 2015 and all we can say not having heard it, yet, is that if it matches up to the ingenious eclectic beauty of Fever, it deserved every breath of praise offered.

Fever opens with its title track, a proposition which alone makes the album worthy of attention. Instantly Verheyen’s sax is seducing ears with its intoxicating strikes, the metronomic beats of Pierre soon in close quarters as rock ‘n’ roll brews in bass and the creative tones of Barman. A flirtation for hips and feet alone, the grooving slice of dark jazz ‘n roll soon infests body and psyche alike becoming almost shamanic in its lure and tone with a relatively restrained yet salacious dance in its heart. At times and increasingly bordering on the deranged, the track is pure suggestive alchemy setting off the tone and instinctive seduction of the album in masterful style.

The following Soul Repair is similarly groove bound and imposingly suggestive; blending flirtatious energy driven by the tenacious throaty enterprise of Thys’ bass with mellower though no less gripping twists. Once more the imagination is as inspired as bodily involvement, its smoky shadow teased canvas a sure lure for creative thoughts and the lyrical and vocal imagination of Barman.

taxiwars_2_cover_RingMasterReviewBridges is next, coaxing attention like a mix of Dizraeli & The Small Gods and Charles Mingus; teasing ears with its melodic seduction and the ever sultry warmth and incitement flaming from Verheyen’s ingenuity. Rhythmically just as addictive with Barman alone an incitement to hang the imagination upon, the exceptional track is more than matched by the flirtatiously prowling Soliloque (Sans Issue). Sung in French, the song is even greater bait for language restricted thoughts to weave their own ventures; escapades further shaped by the brass coaxing of Verheyen and prompted by the noir lined stroll of the rhythms.

Romancing ears next is Trash Metal Ballad, a smouldering slice of creative beauty with Barman enticingly strolling scenery of gentle but insistent and evocative rhythmic coaxing courted by the hazy poetic flames of Verheyen. The song is glorious, an exploration at times on the verge of Shatner’s Bassoon like bedlam but always pulling back to slip back into the smouldering foxy fascination it emerged with.

As gentle as the song is, it is a livelier proposal compared to next up Airplane Song, though it too has infectiousness in its minimalistic invention which is as spirited as anything within Fever and cored by another simply enslaving bass jaunt from Thys. The song epitomises the tapestry of sound and suggestion woven by all four elements of the band perfectly, each as creative and essential as the other in an inescapable flirtation of body and emotion.

As calm and aurally reflective as the previous pair are, Controlled Demolition is a tenaciously energetic and dynamic proposal. Bedlamic and punky with an array of seemingly random twists and turns fuelled with schizophrenic urgency, the track is a powerhouse of invention and individual craft leading the listener on a hectic race against time and far too short given its ridiculously addictive fertile innovation.

Living up to its name, a compelling dose of the blues comes with the shadow rich Honey It’s The Blues, another suggestive noir lit encounter providing street corner light on a jazz room romance in thoughts, both centred on the blaze of Verheyen’s sax and Barman’s hazily coated descriptive prowess as an organ colours the surrounding depths.

That quality to inspire the creativity of thoughts is an ever present within Fever and again at eager play within En Route, its bass nurtured repetitive but persistently imaginative rhythmic engine a road trip for the senses through a landscape of brass drawn scenery and vocal intimation with a backing lure simply impossible not to get hooked on.

The swarthy atmosphere and climate of Egyptian Nights brings the album to a sublime close, TaxiWars dancing with the imagination as African rhythms and exotic textures surround the vocals while infusing their playful romance into keys and sax.  It is a memorable and lingering close to a simply wonderful release, Fever a drop-dead treat of sound and imagination capable of igniting the passions whatever the once preferred flavour of sound.

Fever is out now via Universal Jazz across all stores.

https://www.facebook.com/taxiwars/    http://www.taxiwars.be/    https://twitter.com/taxiwarsmusic

Pete RingMaster 13/12/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Cool Thing Presents: Alternative Occupations EP

ep-cover_RingMasterReview

There is no hiding that we have a lustful appetite for UK band Asylums and their feverishly inimitable sound, a hunger now being fed again by the Alternative Occupations EP. The Southend-on-Sea quartet have also shown through it that not only do they create some of the most essential propositions heard in recent times they have an eye and ear for other striking talent. Evidence comes in the trio of bands providing the other songs making up the EP released on Asylums own label Cool Thing Records; each an attention grabbing proposal just as ruthless on bodies and imagination.

asylums_RingMasterReviewAsylums set things rolling with a new previously unreleased track written and recorded as the busy wake of releasing acclaimed debut album Killer Brain Waves was settling down and the aftermath of Brexit consuming, that album still drawing plaudits and excited new fans the way of the foursome. Reflecting on “harsh education and health service cuts, post-Brexit Britain, and the running battle of grafting at creative efforts vs. grafting to keep afloat”, Alternative Occupations descends on ears with searing guitars and robust rhythms, openly sharing the creative traits which made the album and its songs such a rousingly infectious proposition. The warm and engaging vocals of guitarist Luke Branch increase the enticement, lyrical suggestion to the fore as melodies fly skilfully from his and fellow guitarist Jazz Miell’s strings. Feet are swiftly recruited in turn by the rhythmic tenacity of drummer Henry Tyler; it courting the seductive throb of Michael Webster’s bass as every element combines for another unique, memorable, and instinctively irresistible Asylums encounter.

The second track on the release comes from Petty Phase, an all-girl quartet also from Southend unleashing a fiercely infectious slice of punk rock

Petty Phase-photo kana waiwaiku

Petty Phase-photo kana waiwaiku

going by the name of You’ll Be Dead. Like a belligerent mix of L7 and The Kuts, the band pulls no punches with their attitude loaded sound in this their debut single, delivering one minute twenty of skilfully raucous invasively catchy rock ‘n’ roll for the EP. It is a snarling, hook swinging flirtation with riffs and rhythms as uncompromising and addictive as the melody lined snares gripping the imagination; though there is just one issue with it, the glorious strike is just so damn short.

The Horse Heads photo kana waiwaiku

The Horse Heads photo kana waiwaiku

The EP’s second side brings Essex punks The Horse Heads and their new single Castles to the party and as their companions the Chelmsford trio need little time to incite body and appetite with their post punk/punk rock trespass of the senses. Created by vocalist/guitarist Ronaldo Rodriguez, drummer George Young, and bassist Chad Worsley, Castles grumbles from the off, a deliciously throaty bassline the lure into a raw wash of biting beats, caustic riffs, and the similarly grouchy tones of Rodriguez. There is no escaping the old school punk air to the song and its components, an Angelic Upstarts/early Clash spicing flirting with scuzzy essences of bands like The Hives as its virulent assault equally stirs up nostalgia and fresh adventure. It too is over before enjoyment would wish, something applying to every song to be honest, meaning the replay button is well used across the EP.

Closing track I’m Still Here comes from Bait, a musician/visual artist we can tell you little more about except that he creates a tapestry of post punk contagion within his offering which is addiction in a speaker. Nagging hypnotic beats and rapacious riffs surround haunting predation lined vocals, an incessant tide of lures coaxing the listener deeper into the song’s tempestuous and imposing imagination coloured by lyrical suggestiveness. Artists like Brian Brain, Shock-Headed Peters, and Ministry are nudged across the compelling encounter but as all tracks within Alternative Occupations, it breeds its own uniqueness swiftly and dramatically while slipping unstoppably under the skin.

There has been numerous splits/multiple artist offerings in 2016 but few, if any, have induced lust like the Cool Thing Records proposal.

Cool Thing Presents: Alternative Occupations EP is available now on limited 12” white vinyl @ https://asylums.tmstor.es/

https://www.facebook.com/asylumsuk   https://www.facebook.com/pettyphase/   https://www.facebook.com/TheHorseHeads/

Pete RingMaster 14/12/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Rising from the crowd: Talking Ten Miles Wide with Will Andrews

ten-miles-wide_RingMasterReview

Hailing from a city breeding great bands like a lusty rabbit, Seattle quartet Ten Miles Wide is an alternative rock proposal creating music drenched in haunting melodies and tenacious dynamics. Since changes within their ‘previous’ band led to more of a ‘rebranding’ than a wholly new project, Ten Miles Wide has been on a attention grabbing ride. To find out more we had the pleasure to talk with drummer Will Andrews, checking out origins, debut album, and dynamics within the band along the way.

Hello and thanks for sparing time to talk with us.

Thanks for having us!

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

John Beckman sings, plays guitar, writes the lyrics and births most of the song ideas, Ryan Thornes plays bass and sings backup vocals, Jake Carden plays guitar, and I play drums. We all came up in the Seattle scene together in our 20s, and admired each other’s skills and abilities as musicians.

Have you been in other bands before?

We’ve all been in tons and tons of bands, and a few of us are in more than one band right now, actually. Three out of four of us were in a band together called The Mothership right before Ten Miles Wide started, so you can definitely say that our past bands had an effect on our current band. Prior to 2010, we all were fans of all of our individual bands which prompted us to collaborate. I was actually in a band with Ryan in 2009 before The Mothership happened, so we were already a tight rhythm section.

What inspired the band name?

Ten Miles Wide was the album title of the first full-length released by our old band The Mothership. Since 3/4 of us are in Ten Miles Wide, we wanted to keep a link to your old band and keep our fans happy. We needed to change our name because of the line-up change, and another band trademarked our old name.

tmw_RingMasterReviewDid you have a specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted your sound to offer?

Initially, there was a curiosity to see what we’d all sound like together. Our influences were so diverse, we weren’t sure if we’d sound like a mess. After we got together and jammed a few times, our goal was to make music that we would want to listen to ourselves. We’re constantly refining and honing new skills we pick up, and we’re always looking to push in new directions, so I think we’re definitely achieving our musical goals.

How has that core idea evolved over time?

The ultimate goal is to push ourselves creatively and write the best music we can. When we first started as The Mothership about six years ago we a different checklist of goals we wanted to accomplish. Mainly, we wanted to play our favorite venues in town and develop a solid fan base. After three to four years of networking, performing and releasing a few albums, we ended up selling out our favorite venue for our CD release in 2014. After we re-branded the band to Ten Miles Wide, our fans thankfully stayed on board, so our draw is about the same, if not a little better than before. We’re now looking forward to getting outside of Seattle and possibly outside of the country in 2017 and beyond.

Since your early days as a band, how would you say your sound has evolved and has it been an organic movement of sound or the band deliberately setting out to try new things?

It’s become less straightforward in approach and it has matured. We’re experimenting with arrangements and textures more than before and Jake has been able to add some really interesting complexity with his guitar work. We push ourselves more these days, and we don’t put the seal of approval on a song until we’re all satisfied.

Most of the time, we just write what we write. In the context of assembling an album, one of us might say “we need another up-tempo song” or “let’s get a little trippy on this one”, so things might be a little more deliberate in that instance. We don’t write for any purpose other than to satisfy ourselves, but we do appreciate tight song arrangement and strong melodies. Some of our songs could be a little more accessible than others due to the fact that some of us still listen to accessible music, and it comes out in the writing process.

You earlier mentioned numerous influences but are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

There are so many to mention, but I think a lot of our foundation comes from Nirvana, Soundgarden, Radiohead, and Queens Of The Stone Age. We are enthralled with a striking melody and killer chords to back it up. We also love bands that are varied in their songwriting and their approach. We believe in musical exploration and not pigeonholing oneself into a specific genre. It makes us somewhat unmarketable, but we’d rather express ourselves fully.

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

There are two methods that have been consistent with us. One method is to pull something out of John, Jake or Ryan’s song bank, or riff bank, then formulate a refined structure after we stick a few parts together. We’ll massage segues and transitions once we’re comfortable with the skeleton of the song’s form. The other method is the “jam method” where we just bang out fresh song ideas by improvising in a room together. Sometimes jam ideas get put into a structure, and sometimes they become a song on their own.

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspiration to the lyrical side of your songs?tmw-art_RingMasterReview

Lyrics are John’s department, but they usually seem to come from personal experiences, or the need to exorcise some demons.

Would you give us some background to your latest release?

The Gross is our debut full-length album. It was mostly assembled as a three-piece band, and Jake came on board and added his guitar work towards the end of the process. Some of the songs are brand new, while others are almost a decade old. Sometimes it feels good to take things out of the vault that were dormant, dust them off, and give them a fresh coat of paint. We needed a few “gimmie” songs to help us springboard through the re-branding a few years ago.

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

My two favorite lyrics on the album have to do with aliens. The lyrics are slightly in jest, but the premise is that the world is such a fucked up, disgusting place these days and the only thing that would unify us or destroy us would be an alien invasion. Some of the other songs are about people who are time wasters, drug problems, and just general venting about the state of today.

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?

All songs are written before we enter the studio, mainly to save time and money. We like to be efficient at tracking the basic instruments so we can allow for experimentation with overdubs and vocals. If we had the money to live in the studio for a month, I’m sure we’d made a cool record that way, but that would destroy us financially.

Tell us about the live side to the band; that has to be the favourite aspect of the band?

There’s nothing like the feeling of playing a great show to a sea of fans. We’ve been extremely fortunate to have played pretty much all packed shows in 2016, and we hope that trend continues. Just like any live band, some shows are better than others, and sometimes the ones you think suck are the fan favorites.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it in a city renowned for its music and a flood of successful bands?

Seattle still has a strong music scene, which allows for the opportunity to be heard. The thing is, you have to work for it, and you need to make music that connects with the people in the scene. Anybody can get gigs on a Monday at a small bar, but to get the weekend gigs at the choice venues, you have to prove yourself and bring people to the shows consistently. Networking and going out to shows will garner you fans and connect you with the bands. Eventually, if you build up a big enough core fan base, new fans seem to just jump on organically. It takes years and an army of people, but it is possible.

tmw2_RingMasterReviewHow 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?

Social media is where we thrive and connect with our fans. We try to be very good at responding to every email and Facebook message so that everyone feels like they are part of the band. We haven’t really seen any of the negatives, and the positives are apparent. YouTube has become a monster in the music world and we look forward to tapping into that medium a lot more in the near future.

Once again Will big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add?

Thanks for taking the time to learn a little more about us! Find us on the interwebs and check out our album The Gross on all of the usual streaming sites.

http://tenmileswideband.com   https://twitter.com/tenmileswide206   https://www.facebook.com/tenmileswideband   https://tenmileswide.bandcamp.com/releases

Pete Ringmaster 09/12/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Hidden Pleasures: getting Under The Skin with Angie Joseph

under-the-skin_RingMasterReview

Hailing from Paris, Under the Skin is a new alternative rock band already beginning to turn heads and lure real attention. Consisting of Angie Joseph and Yann Brandon, the band released their first EP earlier this year, quickly stirring unsuspecting and eagerly receptive appetites to their refreshing sound. We had the pleasure of discovering more about the band and the creative forces behind it thanks to Angie, exploring its origins, that debut EP and much more…

Hi Angie and many thanks for sharing your time to talk with us.

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

HI! We are Under the Skin…A French alternative rock band based in Paris. This band is a duo fuelled by Yann and me. We have additional musicians on stage but we really create the songs together. We used to work together in another project before and when it stopped, we have started to work alone… Yann was making me listen to his songs and I was doing the same… one day we decided, as we love each other’s work, to work together again.

Have you been/are involved in other bands together or singularly before?

Yes, Yann has been in few bands before. I’m in different bands since I’m 16. But I was in the same band with Yann for 7 years (2007-2014). When this band (WISHES) split up, I didn’t want to join another band, never… I had enough! So I’ve started to work alone and tried to found my own sound. I needed to prove something to me. I didn’t wanted to be involved in something where you have to convince or to hear the opinion of 4 or 5 musicians. But Yann and me are very close friends, so naturally I made him listen to my songs, and he did the same… we have decided to work together because we wanted the same things and most of all, we knew what we didn’t want anymore. We compose each at home on the computer, we record a demo and then we meet to listen and choose what we like or not.

What inspired the band name?

I wanted something with a meaning and also a name composed, because …hey, why not? Yann wanted the same, that’s why I love to work with him. Most of the time we want the same things and we don’t even have to talk about it, some people think that we are clones.

We’ve chosen this name because we are convinced that ‘Under the skin’ we are all the same, we don’t really like labels. So let’s break the fences and just make music.

Angie

Angie

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

I don’t know if we can call it a specific idea but we wanted to make music in the most peaceful way possible… so from the creation of the band, to the songwriting process, we only do things if it’s cool and if we really love it. It’s easier because we are only 2 to decide… if it’s not 100% ok we don’t keep it. We never have a third person to choose between him and me. Maybe it’s something that our fans can feel… I don’t know. But we are more relaxed that’s obvious.

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

It’s too soon to tell… the only thing we know is that we have found our sound… we know how we want the drums or the guitars sound… same thing for the mix…etc.… but for the songs themselves, we have not explored all the things we wanted, we don’t want to stay in one direction so, it’s too soon to tell.

Have any changes that have occurred in your sound been more organic than you deliberately wanting to try new things?

I feel that we always want to try new things because we have not explored all the things we wanted to as I said before… there is so much we want to try, we got so many ideas that this organic movement is more the way we work in general than something we could force… Yann and I came from different music styles so both of our influences feeds us… this give us a ton of opportunity and the band is too new to know where we could go yet. Every time I try to compose a song and I think of the way I want it to sound, I end in a totally different style, so not really. We do what we love. And we let the magic happen.

You mentioned influences, 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 do have a wide range of inspiration, really different… I know that Yann really love bands like ‘Incubus’,‘Skunk Anansie’ or ‘Faith No More’, and I’ve heard people say that they can feel this but really as an influence and not like a copy or anything. It’s difficult to explain… We do have a lot of bands or artists in common  but I do listen to more punk music or loud rock, not like metal bands or heavy bands but bands from the 90’s or 70’s, raw, simple and most of the time with a woman behind the mic… Yann listens to different stuff so when I bring an idea he‘s the one that “arranges” the song and when he brings a song I try to find something to make it sound “simpler” … so we really complete each other in the way we write music.

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

No there is not a process. We really have a total freedom in the songwriting. Sometimes Yann brings a riff or a full song (just music or melodies, not lyrics), sometimes it’s me… sometimes we’ve just got an idea for a chorus or a verse. But we record anything we’ve got. Guitars, basses and drums before we share it and our ideas are full… and then we choose, we rearrange it or we put it in the “ideas box” … that’s what I like with our process… there is no waste.

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

I write all the lyrics… I take inspiration from my life, the world, my feelings… sometimes it’s exaggerated sometimes not… Then I try to find a melody, record a first idea and make him listen… and we refine the melody together, but most of the time I speak with him about the idea of the lyrics and he’s agree …

Would you give us some background to your latest release?

Well, our latest release was also the first one. At the end of our previous band, we’ve been solicited separately by people who wanted to make music with us… for a song, a new project … some people  were waiting and wanted to see what we were going to do after this stop. But we wanted to work without pressure so we didn’t tell that we were working together on something new. When nobody is waiting for you, you got all the time you need and no one interfere, or push you. We’ve worked on few songs and have recorded them. We’ve also worked on a video clip that we had made few months before the release, always in secret. We’ve opened a Facebook page without showing our identity… and we’ve started to share it and the whole thing came out at the same time. It was a pretty good idea because a lot of people were not waiting for anything and suddenly a new band was here with a full pack. It was also very exciting and scaring but we definitely don’t regret it. We really had amazing returns from people everywhere. Radios, webzines, from our fans from our previous band, our family, friends…

Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.uts2_RingMasterReview

I would say… love, friendship, sadness, happiness, anger… feelings.

Ego‘ talks about all that people that need to have lights on them without doing nothing, most of the time they do it to feel surrounded but that kind of friendship is fake, and it never last and they ‘re alone at the end of the journey.

‘Fever’ is about a poisoned relationship where love and hate are equal… and your mind about to break…

Good enough‘ is about being present for someone as a friend…even if at the end we are the only one that decides to bounce back when it comes to a rough time that we live.

‘Witness’ is about one of my friends… it’s hard to see someone dealing with a pain and feeling helpless… only time can heal that kind of drama…

Do you enter the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or leave room to develop them as you record?

We go in studio with the songs done at 96% because of our way to work… so the only things we do in studio are some arrangements. We only record the drums and the voices… Everything else is already recorded at home… it’s faster.

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

We’ve got a pretty good team for the live side. All the musicians are really good and they are also good friends of us. We also have a wonderful light engineer that works with us for years now, Bertille Friedrich. She has a lot of ideas, she’s young and she’s definitely a band mate. I think that what you see on stage is as important as what you hear. We try to create a very personal environment and a full universe. Like a story.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it?

It’s really hard… we try to do everything ourselves… from the recording to the graphic designs and video clips… so it takes a lot of time. The good thing is that we have experience and competence… But I think there is not magical recipe except working hard, with passion and staying true. But if you’ve got the magic formula in your pocket, you have all my attention.

uts_RingMasterReviewHow has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date?

If social media and internet didn’t exist, our entire plan for the release of the band would have been screwed up. We work with it… it’s important to see social media as a platform that helps you to keep in touch with people… for a band… not when you need to find new friends 😉 but it also forces a band like us, to rethink the way we communicate… we must feed this media with anything we have because people behind their screens are starving and everything goes really fast… that’s a full time job… People that keep social media or internet aside, loose something important that could help them, I think.

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

Thank you for having us. We have recorded a new song called ‘State Of Mind‘… I think this song is a good cure to the mood of the dark days that we are all living all around the world…it makes you smiles, and makes you happy. We’re going to release also a new video for this song… So keep in touch!  It’s going to be amazing!

We are going to work with our friends from the band ‘Dry Can’ for this video… Anne and Antoine are really good friends and they were already working with us on the video clip for the song ‘Fever’.

https://www.facebook.com/undertheskinband

Pete RingMaster 07/12/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright