Embracing the sickness: exploring Caustic Method with Matt Caustic

CMPic_RingMaster Review

   It has been a far time coming with US metallers Caustic Method first emerging in 2003, but debut album The Virus is an infectious scourge of sound and invention which more than lives up to its title. For many it has been the first taster of the band and its virulent of tapestry raw and contagious animosity bred from a fusion of flavours and diversity, an introduction breeding, certainly for us here, a hungry appetite for the Syracuse roar. With big thanks to vocalist and band founder Matt Caustic we dig into the heart of Caustic Method, The Virus, and the passion fuelling all…

Hi Matt and many thanks for sparing time to talk with us.

Can we start with looking at the beginnings of the band; what was the spark to its creation and how did you all come together to be Caustic Method?

Thank you for this opportunity. I think the real spark to the band’s inception was mostly an opportunity to put our message out there and to lyrically speak my mind, and work out some demons and issues I might not have normally addressed otherwise. Eventually I found myself writing about several life issues that a lot of our fans seemed to really relate to. As we grew they grew with us and the walls really began to fall where I found myself less worried about opening myself up lyrically and it became my means of therapy. We were all in very established bands in New York State and at one point I was revamping the line-up and an opportunity presented itself to be able to play with some amazingly talented people who I always had a great amount of respect and admiration for. From that point on the planets aligned and we really began to get a head of steam rolling to propel the EP to get us to where we are today. Everything happens for a reason they say and I am very honored to be amongst the best people I now call family

Was there any specific intent for the band and sound as it escaped your imaginations and does that prime idea still drive the band twelve or so years on or has it evolved?

Our real intent was to just stay true to ourselves and make the art that just naturally creates itself. Through time we have kept that mentality of just letting things happen and even more so now, as on the new record half the songs were written from intuitively responding to the music and improvising my vocal lines and lyrics on the spot to the point I actually kept 90 percent of what was written in the session. That gave me the best possible snapshot of what inspired me at that moment in time.

Is there a specific story behind the band name?

Originally called Caustic from a past co-worker with a very “caustic” sarcastic and biting attitude, with an alternate definition of something that can eat through flesh, it seemed perfect for the music we were creating. As we branched out and began travelling we found other Caustics out there and made a decision to separate and define ourselves with no confusion or mistaken identity. The Caustic Method is the means of applying stress on something to effectively find its breaking point, so to speak. Combined with the previous definition it was a very fitting change. Keeping the familiarity with fans and separating ourselves at the same time. The change also helped us shed our skin a bit for the next level we were trying to reach.

virus_RingMaster ReviewYou have just released your album The Virus, a thrilling incitement whose qualities and addictive potency certainly lives up to its title. For fans it has felt a long timing coming so how is it for you guys on the inside. A relief to finally have your first album out or is it more that this is the exact right time to unleash its?

I think timing and chemistry are behind all great achievements and for us and the style of music we create, the timing couldn’t be any better. There is a void in modern metal today we are trying to fill by keeping the attitude and message as the defining attribute of what we create. We have also for years lovingly referred to our fan-base as The Virus because word of mouth has been this band’s best friend over the years. After hearing about us and then finally seeing a live show we hope that’s the point where we win people over and they continue the whole process for us by spreading the word about the band. We pride ourselves on our live performances whether for one hundred or ten thousand fans and we always strive to go above and beyond anything on the album. In an effort to thank our fans for putting us where we are today, the album was given the title The Virus. We love and value the fact that we are fortunate enough to have such a broad fan-base. Fans of Caustic Method are exceptionally supportive and really are the fifth member of the band when it comes to promoting and spreading the Virus. They are one of our greatest sources of pride and confidence knowing they are always behind us.

How long was the album in the making?

The sessions for this record were incredible and unique to any other sessions I’ve been involved with. We were literally chomping at the bit to get these songs down. We just went in and hammered every song with confidence and attitude from beginning to end, we are super proud of what we have created on The Virus. It retains the energy and live vibe of our shows with the precision we were looking to capture. We recorded the sessions at an incredible studio in Syracuse called Subcat. It’s world class all the way and just being really prepared made the process a memory I will cherish my whole career.

Alongside its adventurous exploits and gripping imagination there is a live energy and feel to the album which you touched on there. We described it as stirring “up the blood and putting a fire in the belly.” Give us some more insight into its recording.

We took each song as its own entity and tried to really focus on the subject matter at hand to enhance the message and passion of each performance. I feel we really accomplished this well and for the first time I am really proud of all of us. I wrote a lot of the lyrics for this album during one of the darkest periods of my life. I didn’t think twice about what I was writing or how i was saying it. I just let it out knowing that it was necessary to go through the dark to get to the light. Coming out the other side I can’t say I have any regrets or would have done anything differently. It was all part of the process; a healing process and a growing process, some of which is hard to listen to, but I can and will stand behind it forever because it is honest and real.

Did you approach its creation with any particular intent and set idea or was it more an exploration of its emerging depths and boundaries in the studio environment?

I think we came at it from a very open minded perspective. We were prepared on the playing side but knew we wanted to convey all the attitude you’d find at one of our shows. Combined with some healthy exploration I’d have to say it was the combo that made it extra special for us.

Can you give us an idea of how the songwriting process works within the band?

It differs a lot, which I love. Some days I will just have a vocal hook like The Virus. I presented it as just a dry acapella vocal line and the band just painted with me instead of after me and boom it’s done before it began. Other songs are conceived from just instrumental experimentation with an improvised vocal line written in real time as they play. My gut reaction to what I hear is usually my best guide in writing vocal lines and melodies. It’s like opening up a channel and letting the energy flow. Decoding my lyrics can be frightening at times but it’s a new way of writing I have really embraced as well as the band. These guys are exceptional players and it is like the possibilities for this band are endless. They know how to use the gas pedal and the brake very well. Knowing when to play and when not to play can be just as important for the message to be heard effectively. Being the heaviest or fastest band on earth doesn’t ensure the listener can relate to your message. We really tried and found the balance we were most comfortable with.

Were there any major surprises or unexpected moments which merged whilst recording the album which either enhanced or provided an unexpected obstacle in its emergence? CM_RingMaster Review

Actually the song Bottle of Scotch only existed as a voice recording on my phone from one of my acapella vocal lines we worked on briefly one night at rehearsal. As we were finishing up our session, our friend Ron Keck and owner of Subcat was like before we break down the drums is there anything else we can get on tape. Angel remembered the shell of the song on my phone and we ran through it twice in ten minutes and then hit record. The band nailed it immediately and I literally improvised the verses as he hit record and the tune has become one of our favorites. To me THAT is the Caustic Method!

The Virus has been released through Pavement Entertainment how did that link-up come about?

A friend of ours Michael Trumble was helping us with some PR work and sending the video of The Virus around to some mutual industry friends when Mark Nawara from Pavement saw the video and thought we would be a good candidate for the label. I was a huge fan of a lot of the bands on Pavements roster and I knew in my heart instantly that this would be a great fit and a good home for us. After talking with Tim King our A&R rep and bassist of Soil for a couple weeks we worked out the scope of what we were trying to accomplish and we signed our deal right around New Years. I knew then that 2015 was going to be an epic year in the growth of this band. With distribution through Sony RED it’s available all over the world. The main objective was never to be famous or a rock star but to get our music out to a larger audience because if it works in the Northeast we were confident it would work elsewhere. With Pavement’s amazing network and support we have definitely reached a much larger audience and the response has been overwhelming.

With their stable and history of potent releases, the environment they offer for your music must give you an extra spring in the step to match those sparked by the album itself and the acclaim it is earning?

Without a doubt! After years in the trenches we are no strangers to hard work and not much has changed. We knew coming into this we would have to work harder than ever but knowing we are in good hands gives us the confidence to meet all challenges as they come. And of course we are also looking forward to hopefully touring with some of our label mates soon! We are all still huge music fans first and foremost and there is so much talent on the Pavement roster it is just amazing…Such huge fans of all of them.

Looking at your history as a live presence, it is fair to say since forming you have ignited stages with a Who’s Who of modern metal including Hatebreed, American Head Charge, Ten Years, Candlelight Red, Otep , Korn, Mushroomhead, (Hed) P.E., Cypress Hill, Threat Signal, Skindred, Toxic Holocaust, Nashville Pussy… well the list goes on. Noticeable is the diversity of bands and sounds you guys fit in with. Fair to say your fan base is impressively eclectic?

We have been really blessed in our region to have played with many of our heroes and literally dozens of amazing bands we were able to learn from and grow with. Growing our fan-base through the diversity of these bands has given us a uniquely eclectic fan-base for sure. I do feel we crossover well from hardcore to metal to old school punk and commercial hard rock audiences and that has only reinforced our main objective of just doing what WE do and never emulating anyone.

It is easy to assume that Caustic Method are in their element on stage, tearing up audiences and venues?

The stage is where it really all comes together for us. We can roar like a lion or purr like a kitten. Mostly though we roar like a tornado and sweep you up and drop you on your head,

Fair to say your music on the album take no prisoners, the band has to be the same on stage?

Confidence and attitude are what we emit most onstage. We not only take no prisoners we take no shit! It’s what we all live for and everything else in life is on hold for the next hour because our show is what it’s all about. I relive every inspiration good or bad every time I deliver my lyrics. I flashback in my head to the very minute the words came to me and like a tidal wave all those emotions and attitude that created that song just pour out of me like the wound is still brand new; like ripping open your stitches just to see your beating heart. Not a great idea but you will see a noticeable and real reaction. We transform right in front of you. Forget the people you may have spoken to before the show. We leave them on the stairs to the stage.

Any hope we will see you across Europe and the UK in the near future?

We would love nothing more than to tour Europe immediately. I am fascinated by how different the music fans are there. They seem to have way more diverse tastes and a lot more tolerance of stuff that is different from each other. In America we compartmentalize our music and god forbid you cross compartments. Not true of everyone but we have these boxes and categories of metal everyone lives within where it seems over there people are just fans of any metal that is credible and simply put just GOOD. We all can really respect that and hope to be able to have the honor to tour there in the very near future. Definitely on the high priority list!

So what is next for Caustic Method?

The response to the album has been amazing and for us the real next step is to get out and tour to support this record, see the world and spread the Virus as far and wide as possible!

Once again thanks for chatting with us, any last words for the readers?

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to tell our story and If you truly like what you hear….YOU ARE THE VIRUS! Spread the word about Caustic Method! You are our fifth member and we thank you all! SEE YOU AT A SHOW NEAR YOU!

http://causticmethod.com/

www.facebook.com/causticmethod

Read our review of The Virus @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/06/05/caustic-method-the-virus/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 12/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Shifting fights and battle cries: an interview with Jackson Benge of (Hed)p.e.

hedpecolor1rev

We hold no qualms about showing our passion for the sound and releases of (Hed)p.e. so it was a thrill and pleasure to be able to grab some of the time of guitarist Jackson Benge to talk about the recently released album Evolution. The ninth studio provocation from the band, it is their most diverse and imposing release yet, driving their distinctive band sound into new avenues with an array of spicily flavoursome and gripping twists. With every aspect of the songwriting and sound seemingly finding a new incitement to their enterprise, Evolution is an encounter ready to grab a broader audience without alienating its core fans. Settling down to look at the album, Jackson allowed us a close insight into its creation, intent, and the band’s evolving sound…

Hi Jackson and welcome to the site. Thanks for sparing time to talk with us.

You have just released your ninth album, Evolution; is the excitement, anticipation, and ‘fears’ around each release pretty much as it was with the earlier propositions for the band?

The release of a new album is always exciting for us. There is no shortage of unknowns when it comes to putting out new material, but I try not to get too caught up in the fear of what may or may not happen as far as reception is concerned. I can only be grateful to be part of something like this and to have the opportunity to express myself through the music.

As we have come to expect, there is another twist and growth to the sound of the new album; its title purposefully reflects that as much as the theme to its narrative?

I believe so. Whether you analyze the vocals, lyrics, riffs, or drumming, it’s evident that the direction we took on this release showcases a certain growth and willingness to try new things. It’s not that we haven’t been willing to do this in the past. But, this album branches out into different styles we’ve yet to do on previous releases.

bwThere also seems to be a rediscovery or look back at the band’s early sound in the release, the self-titled debut sparking to mind at times, to go with its fresh ingenuity and creative adventures. That feel of your musical roots to the album is something you sense too and if so was this an intentional exploration for Evolution?

The intention for me was to come up with riffs and ideas that were reminiscent of classic metal bands that I really enjoy. I didn’t want to imitate, but I wanted to pay homage. So, the formula was one that has worked for decades, but coming up with the riffs for this record was just as experimental for me as any other record.

It equally has that heavier breath and feel to the metal side of its presence as you just suggested, which enhances what is the recognisable (Hed)p.e. presence. What sparked this aspect in the album and its songs?

We discussed moving in a direction that showcases more of a classic metal and rock feel. But, the heaviness was equally important. Once we began playing some of the riffs together, it was obvious to us that we should continue with this concept because we all thought it sounded so good.

Evolution is the band’s most eclectic release sound wise too, has that been deliberate or an organic emergence as songs came together?

I think it was a bit of both. Moving in that direction was deliberate, but the writing of the actual material was organic.

How did you approach Evolution, from songwriting through to its recording in the studio?

After discussing the sound we wanted to go for, I had already written a song that I had frequently jammed with Trauma during soundcheck. One day, we all showed up to soundcheck and played some of the riffs from that song. That was the point we knew to move forward with this style. I went home and wrote about 12 tracks that exhibited that same overall mood and submitted them to Jared and the rest of the guys. Eight of the tracks made it to the record and the other tracks were written by Jared. When it came time to record, we each tracked our parts over the demos that Jared and I wrote. The demos served as a template for tempo and arrangement.

Was there a marked difference in its creation to say the last couple of releases, New World Orphans and Truth Rising?

Usually, we all do the recording together in the studio at the same time, with drums being the priority. This time, we recorded our respective parts in different places at different times. Drums were recorded in Ohio, guitars were recorded in Michigan, vocals were recorded in Idaho, and bass was recorded while on the road. The process was a lot different than in the past.

In the screwed up world that we live in, there must be an inexhaustible supply of kindling to fire up the passion and the lyrical incitement of songs; have there been specific inspirations and seeds to the tracks on Evolution?HedPE_Evolution_Cover

Since, I do not write the lyrics, I cannot comment on that too much. What I can say is Jared has an endless supply of kindling and his passion and inspiration are just as evident now as they always have been.

I sensed a stronger intimacy to the lyrical side of songs also on Evolution, is there a more personal element to the tracks than maybe on some of the previous records?

Again, I cannot comment on what specifically spawned the lyrics. But, I get the same feeling that you describe and would guess there are more personal subjects evident on this record.

It is your first release with Pavement Entertainment; how did the link up come about and has that brought a different experience for the band compared to other releases?

We linked up with Pavement through Tim King, who is not only the bass player for Soil, but works the A&R department at Pavement. Everyone at Pavement has been so great and we couldn’t ask for a better team than the one we have now. There is definitely a good vibe here and I feel now more than ever a sense of inclusiveness.

Has making Evolution been harder in any way than previous releases considering the state of, and less opportunities within music now for bands, new and established?

Every album process presents its own unique set of challenges. Evolution is no exception, but we rose to the occasion as we always do. The only real challenge was finding the right team to help us put out the best record possible. That explains why this was the longest we’ve ever gone without putting out a record.

Do you feel there is some responsibility from bands with experience and decent success in music to help emerging bands in a music industry which seemingly has no interest in these artists itself, even if it is just giving them exposure by inviting them to play as a support band on their shows?

Absolutely. That’s really how the whole thing works. Local bands are usually put on the bill by local promoters, so we really don’t have much to do with that. But, if it helps them, we are glad to at least be a part of it in some way. If a band can benefit by getting in front of our fans, that’s an amazing thing.

What ignites the passions positively and negatively about the music scene right now for you?

I am always open to new music. I try my best to see the good in anything, because it’s fuel for creativity. But, even if I can’t find the good, it still takes on some form of inspiration. The music scene now is no exception. There are a lot of great bands out there and I’m so fascinated with how the cycle continues on, generation after generation.

hepe2slightcolorrevOctober sees the band hitting up Europe with a healthy number of shows in the UK. Can you give us some details of who you have alongside you and what the fans can expect from (Hed)p.e.

Soil will be headlining that run with American Head Charge as main support. We have a few shows on our own after that. We’ve toured with both bands in the past and we are really looking forward to seeing our road brothers again.

Once again thank so much for sharing your timer. Any last words you would like to leave us with?

Thanks to the fans for everything. We are nothing without you. And thank you for inviting me here.

And finally, if the world/things start imposing destructively on emotions and life etc. personally slapping on a track like Renegade steels the spirit and ignites the fight within. Is there a song which does the same for you, either of the band or from elsewhere?

Motley Crue, “Live Wire,” comes to mind. That song is a battle cry to me and really gets the adrenaline going. I love it.

http://www.hedperocks.com

Read our review of Evolution @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/hedp-e-evolution/

Pete Ringmaster

The RingMaster Review 18/09/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Athel: Open Your Eyes To Society

Really striking pop punk bands seem to be on the wane these days, there are some great bands but with uniformity to their sound which is great at the time of listening but soon lost from the memory until the next visit. Chicago band Athel with their debut album Open Your Eyes To Society seems like a band that might buck that trend. The songs on the release are vibrant and contagious and offer a fresh breath which lingers far longer than the sounds from the majority of their contempories. It openly brings familiar spices and flavours well known to the genre but places them within an invention and contagion that most others struggle to define their creations with.

Consisting of trio vocalist and guitarist Justin King, bassist Comron Fouladi, and drummer Christian Navarro, Athel bring strong traits of classic rock and metal to their punk hearted music too which adds to the distinct variety and strength the album grips the ear firmly with. Comparisons of Foo Fighters, Rise Against, and of course Green Day have been placed upon their songs and these are not hard to miss though the band probably sits nearer to the rock fuelled likes of Sum 41 with melodic insertions of a Good Charlotte or All American Rejects veining the constantly engaging sounds.

Signed to Mortal Music after the band came to the attention of co-owner and SOiL bassist Tim King, the band seems destined to rile up more than passing attention with their first full length release. The follow up to their previous couple of EPs, Open Your Eyes To Society swaggers and saunters through the ear with a sure confidence and stylish ability to excite the ear. From the opening Radio the release has no intentions other than to offer a good and flavoursome party. Mildly aggressive, vaguely intrusive, and wholly infectious the album leaves one fulfilled and with a satisfied grin. The opener sums the album up immediately, the song an easy going and pleasing invitation for the limbs and any anthemic tendencies within. It cruises through the ear with robust and eager riffs, fine harmonious vocals, and inserted rock guitar spikes to further excite, all brought with a full energy and imaginative hand.

The following vibrant These Are The Times continues the release in similar fashion, easily appealing and undemanding but it is with the next trio of songs that the album shows its true depths and strengths. All That I Am starts it off and is a gem. With a hypnotic melodic hook the Buzzcocks or Undertones would be proud of, and a Jimmy Eat World like chorus infection it is irresistible and alone offers the promise mentioned at the start.

Kara’s Carousel and Paranormal Abstract Of Everyday Life complete the triple slice of consecutive magic. The first of the two a rock textured blend of stirring metallic riffs and strikingly melodic vocals. The song suggests it might venture into pop punk or hard rock throughout but remains firmly steered between the two and is deeply impressive for it despite the fade out suggesting a lack of an ending. The other song is a muscular contagion with great acidic classic rock guitars adding a slight progressive feel. More hard rock than punk music wise, the song exhilarates and leaves one with increased adrenaline and raised eagerness to hit replay before moving on. Along with These Are The Times the pair are the biggest highlights on the album and the undeniable evidence of a band on a sharp rise.

Though the album continues with peaks and slight lulls which are still more inventive and impressive than most other similar veined releases, the album never gives less than pleasure and reward. The likes of the energetic Their Shoes alongside the melodic excellence of Me, Myself, & I and the crystalline grace of Oceans leave smooth and invigorating caresses upon the senses whilst brewing up emotions with their insistent anthemic energy.

Ending on bonus track Keep Me Awake, a song so addictive it should come with medical assistance, Open Your Eyes To Society is an excellent release that achieves what it set out to do, to leave one thrilled, energised, and eager for more. Athel still feel like they have a way to go to make that step into totally unique territory within the genre but they are well on the way and bringing great pleasure as they go.

RingMaster 18/05/2012

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