Stephanie talked with the San Diego metal band QUOR about their new album The Way We Are, other hobbies, upcoming tour dates and MORE! Read it HERE
What can I say about the San Diego band QUOR that might intrigue you?? Well ultimately this band is changing and charging up the Rock and metal scene with music that bleeds true diversity from styling to dynamics. I was introduced to the band late in life with THE WAY WE ARE the bands 2017 release. I loved how the band blends a groovy, hook driven melodic tone with hints of thrash, soul, and metal! The confidence and charisma of the band is driving and motivating also; but what really sold me on the band was seeing the progression from the start of the bands career to now!
Going back to the early days (2013) WE ARE GOING TO BE AWESOME; the guys break out more with a solid hard rock and metal anthem sound. As they progressed into (2015) with HUMAN PARADIGM; I loved the more groove laden elements and the diverse vocal patterns. On this album you can really see the growth musically and songwriting wise especially on songs like WHEN THE GODS SPEAK, HUMAN PARADIGM and FRAGILE BREAK (my three favorite songs from the disc).
As we come back to the present day and my first initial introduction to QUOR; the 2018 release THE WAY WE ARE. The song UNICORN made me a full-blown fan. Loved the fast pace adrenaline attitude intertwined with melody driven elements. FLY LITTLE BIRD hits you with intensity as soon as the song starts but then takes you on a musical adventure through hills and valleys captivating the diverse dynamics these guys have grown into. RAISING THE DEAD is the bands newest lyric video and showcases all that is QUOR. Huge sound, brilliant songwriting, great guitar work and the intense adrenaline flow that surrounds the more melody driven aspects. Everything about QUOR is growing and I am loving seeing the progress and growth in this upcoming band.
QUOR is made up of just three guys Brian Corn—guitarist and vocalist, Doug Smith—bass and vocals and John Michael Cordes—drummer but the music that jumps out of the speakers is so epic and huge sounding that in a way you feel like there should be more of the band! The catalog of music these guys have made so far is just uplifting and fierce sounding. A band that always keeps the listener on their toes is not a bad thing and is going to have a prosperous and good long-standing career in my opinion. I am excited to grow and progress alongside this band and once you give them a listen you are going to be just as pleased and a fan in QUOR like I am.
I had a chance to chat with bassist/vocalist Doug Smith about recreating RAISING THE DEAD, new songs they have been writing, extra hobbies the guys have and what touring looks like for these talented musicians.
YOU JUST RELEASED A LYRIC VIDEO FOR THE SONG RAISING THE DEAD. WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN THE FINISHED PRODUCT OF THIS SONG AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE ON A LYRIC VIDEO INSTEAD A CONCEPT VIDEO FOR THE SONG?
RAISING THE DEAD was an older track that never got the attention it deserved. So, we sped it up, dropped in a few more hooks, and added the kids choir on the end. We love how this song turned out. It definitely will stand the test of time. As far as the lyric video goes we wanted to finish the story that we told in our other new lyric video that we released in February called “FLY LITTLE BIRD”. The end of one is the beginning of another just as in life, nothing ever is totally finished. We also started working with Svitlana Reinish a Ukrainian VJ and Performance Digital Artist. She does fantastic work and took second place in the large-scale 3D mapping contest at the Kyiv Lights Festival in 2017.
THIS SONG HAS A COOL STORY ABOUT WHAT THE CONCEPT OF THE LYRICS ARE ABOUT. DID YOU GUYS TOUR I IRELAND WHEN YOU CAME UPON THE BURIAL GROUND?
Brian went through Ireland years ago. Has some amazing stories about having long conversations with Bono’s security guard in front the entrance gates to Bono’s home. We will tour Ireland.
WHAT IS THE CONCEPT FOR THE VIDEO? HOW TECH SAVVY ARE YOU OR THE REST OF THE BAND?
The video is an artistic vision of the song's basic concept. What would the dead teach us now if they had the chance to freely communicate from the grave? The dancing bones symbolize the goal to live well. There is an underlying concept of the ancestors teaching us as children, the future of our kind, to make more meaningful choices in our short time. The hope that we might learn much faster what's really important. The band is fairly tech savvy all fairly well versed and fluent in Pro Tools, Logic, Final Cut, Photoshop, and Adobe. QUOR is an independent band and has had to master quite a few pieces of software to be able to operate under our own influence. Knowledge is power.
I READ THAT THE WRITING AND STUDIO TIME FOR THIS EP WAS A REAL SHOT OF “NEW THINGS” COMING FROM THE PRODUCER, STUDIO AND TIME FRAME. HOW DID THAT HELP WITH YOU GUYS PUSHING YOUR LIMITS AND WOULD YOU DO THIS AGAIN WITH EACH NEW RELEASE?
With every new release and recording comes an opportunity to test yourself on how you’ve grown as a player. The studio is a giant microscope. It is a maker and breaker of men. Every time we hit the studio, we hit it head on, with excitement, and a passion that it deserves. Every member of this band loves to record and always come out better than when we went in. That’s our goal besides rock n the fuck out.
YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN SITTING ON THE RECORD; THE WAY WE ARE SINCE JANUARY. HAVE YOU GUYS WRITTEN NEW MUSIC AND IF SO HOW DOES IT DIFFER FROM THE TRACKS ON THIS RELEASE?
Heck yeah! We don’t do the whole tour, writing, cycle. This is 2018 and the demand for good music is higher than ever. Audiences are growing, the ways music is being delivered and consumed has changed and grown immensely. We always have new songs in the works. Right now, probably sitting on 3-5 songs and another 5 more in the works. We don’t take breaks to write. We write and tour at the same time. We take breaks for family, holidays, occasional vacations, and to record more music. For the longest time, people have been unable to pinpoint who we sound like. We offer many difference and styles in the rock, punk, and metal genres. I believe with this new record coming early 19’ the listener will hear a more definitive and unique style than what they are used to hearing.
FOR PEOPLE JUST GETTING INTO QUOR. TELL US HOW YOU GUYS STARTED?
Started in San Diego, CA about 6 years under the name “We Are Going To Be Awesome”. Then one-night Brian was on a quest along the PCH in San Diego when it was foggy. As he was driving through this thick fog, he looked up and saw some giant yellow letters that appeared from the fog that read QUOR. We went with it.
WHAT FUELS YOUR PASSION FOR THE GENRE OF MUSIC YOU PRODUCE?
Life, snacks, unicorns, you, and Willie Nelson.
I FEEL LIKE WHEN LISTENING TO YOUR MUSIC THAT BEING A FLY ON THE WALL WOULD BE A FUN TIME BECAUSE IM SURE A SONGWRITING SESSION MIGHT BE QUITE DIVERSE. WHEN YOU GUYS SIT DOWN TO WRITE DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU NEED TO REEL IN THE DYNAMICS THAT COME OUT IN SONGWRITING OR DO YOU JUST JAM AND THEN CUT WHERE NEEDED?
We do a little bit of both. We all spend time on our own playing and riffing, recording rough draft ideas etc. and when we aren’t doing tour work up rehearsals or when we are done for the night we usually pick a song or songs and beat them down a little bit. The best part about future writing plans is Pro Tools offers a cloud-based service where Brian, myself, producer Chris and John can all work in one session and just upload ideas as they record them at home. The goal is to be able to demo the songs via the cloud and our home studios, and then lock them in during the pre-production phase to be able to rip in the studio.
IF YOU COULD AGREE AS A BAND ON ONE MUSICIAN OR BAND THAT HAS GIVEN OUR BAND THE MOST INFLUENCE WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY? ALSO, WHAT WOULD BE ONE SONG FROM THAT ARTIST YOU LIKE TO REMAKE OR PLAY WITH SAID ARTIST?
Mastodon would probably be the artist that we share the most similar sound with. We have some more punk and country aspects to what we do though, but still groovy, thrashy, and a bit progressive. We all equally love Mastodon. Everything about that band is how you are supposed to do it. They are true professionals. I know John likes the older Mastodon stuff, but Brian and I both like the song “Steambreather” off of the Emperor of Sands record.
YOU’RE NOT TOURING RIGHT NOW HOW IS IT BEING HOME AND DO YOU GUYS HAVE OTHER HOBBIES OTHER THEN MUSIC AND THE INDUSTRY. IF SO WHAT AND HOW DOES THAT HELP BALANCE YOUR LIFE?
I’ve dedicated my entire life starting a few years ago to music in one-way shape or form. Besides the band, I work with Dirtbag Clothing and Scorpion Percussion. When I’m not hanging out with my family, I’m doing something that benefits one of those three things. Brian likes to go for hikes, go to shows, and check out other people’s art. John is a huge movie buff, and also goes out to shows. We all play our instruments quite a bit and rehearse which probably consumes 12-15 hrs / week per person.
DO YOU GUYS HAVE ANY PLANS ON HITTING THE ROAD FOR THE REST OF 2018 AND IF YOU ARE DO YOU AVE ANY DATES YOU CAN SHARE WITH US?
07-07-18 - Kravefest - Curtain Club - Dallas, TX - (Hosted by Kraverock Radio)
07-17-18 - Bada Brew - Cresthill, IL
07-18-18 - The Low End - Peoria, IL
07-19-18 - Penny Road Pub - Barrington, IL
07-20-18 - Hijynx - Fort Atkinson, WI
07-21-18 - Top Fuel Saloon - Braidwood, IL (Freak is the man!)
10-11-18 - Art House - Kobe, Japang
10-12-18 - Hokage - Osaka, Japan
10-13-18 - Neverland - Nara, Japan
10-17-18 - Zion - Nagoya, Japan
10-18-18 - Cyclone - Shibuya, Japan
10-19-18 - Live Freak - Shinjuku, Japan
10-20-18 - 7th Avenue - Yokohama, Japan
10-21-18 - Babel Rock Tower - Tachikawa, Japan
10-22-18 - Basement Bar - Shimokitazawa, Japan
WHAT DOES THE BAND NAME QUOR MEAN?
It means “I shall be responsible and radical at the same time.”
FAVORITE STAGE ATTIRE TO WEAR?
Wolf underwear or no attire
3 FACTS ABOUT TOUR LIFE?
ANY LAST COMMENTS?
Thanks Steph! You are an epic human and we look forward to working together more in the future as well as getting out to the east coast to slap you a high five.
Stephanie talked to the band The Protest recently as she discussed their new album Legacy due out July 13 as well as their favorite sports teams and MORE! - Read it HERE
THE PROTEST hail from the heartland of Indiana; not a spot you would think a huge sounding rock and metal act would come from but damn these guys are making some waves from the sounds of this new album they are on the verge of releasing. LEGACY due out July 13th on Rockfest Records/Sony have songwriting abilities through the roof, with melody driven elements and heavy hard rock soundscapes. The album shows a vast diversity. I felt like every song was a new adventure but they intertwine the “sound” of THE PROTEST in each track but keep surprising you with sprinkles of new clever musical elements in each song.
WHAT ELSE YOU GOT is the bands first look into the upcoming album and what I like about it is the positive monologue they are promoting along with the big anthem rock attitude. The single though doesn’t really show off the diversity in the album. Tracks like VALOR and KNOCKOUT and LEGACY shows you the meat and potatoes (aka; heavier side) of what the band can do when let loose to create. Especially LEGACY; sorry but I fucking love this track so different yet so needed on the record!! Then I was whole heartedly sold on the radio rock “pretty” styles of TAKE MY HEART. With those two songs hitting my ears I was sold that I needed to get to know this band on a better level. STRAIGHT FROM THE BARREL another notable rock anthem has more of a sassy quality, good groove and just a fun song.
To sum up LEGACY and how I see the band is they are out there making great radio hits but also are able to spice it up with a heavier rock sound to really get a live crowd going. I think growing up with Cornfields and a great football team (hint hint GO COLTS!!) has molded Josh Bramlett - Lead Vocals, Adam Sadler - Lead Guitar, TJ Colwell – Rhythm Guitar and Jarob Bramlett – Drums into solid musicians, creative souls and a bunch of hard working dedicated men; who bring positive words and quality songs to the forefront of the rock n roll era of today!
I had a chance to speak with vocalist Josh Bramlett about being in the industry for some time now, co-writers, rising up the charts quick and touring life.
BEFORE WE GET INTO THE BAND AND MUSIC, YOU GUYS ARE FROM INDIANA - SO ARE YOU FOOTBALL FANS AND ARE YOU ALL COLTS FANS??? (HUGE FAN OF THE COLTS HERE IN MASSACHUSETTS!)
We are big Colts fans and Indiana Pacers fans! That is amazing and shocking that you are, considering that you live in evil Patriots country! The Colts have had a couple rough years, but we will pull out of it.
YOU RELEASED YOUR FIRST ALBUM IN 2012, SO YOU’VE BEEN IN THE INDUSTRY FOR A LITTLE BIT OF TIME NOW. HOW HAS THE PROTEST GROWN WITH THE CHANGES IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AND WHAT IS THE BIGGEST PRO AND BIGGEST CON BEING A BAND IN 2018?
We have been at it for some time now and you hit nail on the head when you mentioned how much the industry has changed and is changing. We have gone from being a local band; to a regional band; to a national band, and then to an international band in this time. We are humbled by the moderate success we have had in past 6 or 7 years but realize we are still a small player in a big industry so we are always working hard. As the industry has changed we have had to as well. Social media has become so prominent in the last few years, and we have had to learn how to reach people on the various social media platforms. When we were first started out Twitter and Instagram didn’t exist and Facebook was very new. Social media makes it easier to connect with fans, but we don’t want to settle for just Facebook fans and friends. Our band has made a point since our inception to sow good seeds and be a light to everyone we meet. We want to get to know our fans in person. We want to hear their stories and build relationships with them. I think no matter what happens in the industry people still crave that personal, one on one connection. It isn’t easy to make a living playing music these days because of a flooded marketplace, but that being said its easier for fans to find out where you are playing and what you're up to.
YOU’RE RELEASING YOUR NEXT DISC LEGACY IN JULY. IN YOUR OPIONION HOW DO YOU FEEL THE BAND HAS CHANGED SINCE THE LAST RECORD, AND HOW DO YOU BELIEVE THIS ALBUM WILL IMPACT NEW FANS AND OLD?
Our band has grown many ways since our last record in late 2014. We have become better musicians, songwriters, and have had a lot more life experience to draw from. This record is extremely diverse. It has some of our most anthemic and radio ready tunes, but on the other side we have some of our heaviest works to date. We hope that this record reaches so many new people, but we also think our current fans will love it. We really pushed ourselves to write the best songs that we could and I think that reflects in Legacy. The album is still classic Protest in many ways but also a small rebirth musically if you will.
YOUR NEW SINGLE AND VIDEO FOR “WHAT ELSE YOU GOT” IS A VERY POSITIVE INSPIRING SONG. AS A BAND, IS THAT HOW YOU’VE ALWAYS WRITTEN: TO SHOW FANS AND THE WORLD THERE IS ALWAYS GOOD EVEN WHEN THE WORLD IS SO MESSED UP?
From the beginning our band set out to be different. Just because we play hard rock n' roll music doesn’t mean it can’t uplift you. There is so much doom, gloom, and anger that comes with rock and metal music. We want to carve out a little space for light in that darkness. We want people to leave our shows or hear our music and be uplifted, encouraged, and even changed. That is our mission and frankly more important to us than any personal gain being in band can offer. We LOVE people!
WHY DID YOU BRING IN CO-WRITERS FOR THIS SONG? WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE PEOPLE YOU DID TO WRITE WITH, AND IS THIS A COMMON THING YOU AS A BAND DO?
With this record we really swung for the fences. Sometimes the best way to do this is take advantage of the opportunity to work with friends who want to help you create something special. We were admittedly pretty new to the whole process, but we enjoyed it so much. It gave us a chance to collaborate and bounce ideas off of someone that has a lot of experience in writing great songs. We choose co-writers that understand our vision and have the same goal as we do a lot of times. "What Else You Got" was the culmination of creative sessions with Jeremiah Jones, Josiah Prince (Disciple), and ourselves. We did a few other co-writes for Legacy as well and look forward to doing more in the future.
THIS SONG ALSO HAS BEEN RISING PRETTY QUICKLY ON THE ROCK CHARTS. WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS DIFFERENT WITH THIS SONG VS OLDER STUFF YOU HAVE DONE?
I think the hook is so undeniable on this song. It’s the most anthemic song we’ve ever put out! It’s catchy, relatable, and still has the ability to rock hard. Our producer really taught us how to expand our horizons and we so grateful that we did. We love the song and are blessed by its performance so far.
THE REST OF THE ALBUM I LOVE BECAUSE IT’S VERY VERSATILE. THERE IS HEAVIER STUFF AND MORE MELODIC STUFF SO ITS ALWAYS A LITTLE DIFFERENT WITH EACH TRACK. ONE SONG THAT STOOD OUT THAT I KEEP PLAYING IS THE OPENING TRACK “VALOR”; THERE IS A MIXTURE OF STYLES. HOW DID THAT SONG COME ABOUT AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE IT AS AN OPENER FOR THE NEW ALBUM?
We wrote "Valor" very early on in the writing process. We are very proud of our past releases but we wanted to write a song that was super uplifting and that even sounded uplifting. Our guitar T.J. wrote all the music and sent it over to me one night and I loved how intense the song, but what I loved most was the parts that let up and kind of changed the songs attitude. I would listen to his music for the song constantly when I was driving or working out and just tried to come up with good melody ideas. One day, out of seemingly nowhere, I was hit with the idea for the chorus. After I had the chorus, melody and lyrics the rest just came naturally. We love the vocal layers on the song and it keeps with our theme of standing strong in the face of adversity.
I READ YOUR MUSICAL INSPIRATIONS ARE A LOT OF BANDS FROM THE 80’S LIKE KISS AND DEF LEPPARD. WHAT WAS IT ABOUT THAT ERA OF MUSIC THAT MADE YOU GET INTO MUSIC?
Our band has extremely diverse music tastes, but it was classic rock and metal from the 70’s and 80’s that got us into music. It was all just so big sounding, especially in the 80’s. So flashy and over top! A lot of the artists of those areas created songs that everyone can sing and will stand the test of time and that’s what we want to do as well. Though we are a modern hard rock band in every sense of the word, I think our music and our energy on stage packs a lot of fun in a rock world that takes itself pretty seriously a lot of times.
HOW IS IT WORKING WITH BROTHERS IN A BAND AND IS THIS THE ORGINAL LINE UP FROM THE START?
Our drummer, Jarob, is my only blood brother in the band. That being said our guitar players T.J. and Adam might as well be - we couldn’t be closer. We are family for each other and I couldn’t imagine doing this with anyone else. Of course, we have disagreements at times but things always get resolved pretty easily because we all share the same drive and purpose. At the end of the day we are all in this together. T.J., Jarob, and Myself have been playing music together since 2003. Adam (guitar) joined in 2009. Bass players have come and gone but the 4 of us have been steadfast for a long time.
YOU HAVE BEEN DESCRIBED AS ROAD WARRIORS WHERE YOU PLAY AT LEAST 150 DATES A YEAR AND HAVE BEEN OVERSEAS, ETC. HOW IS IT BEING OUT ON THE ROAD THAT MUCH AND WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR BANDS JUST STARTING OUT? WHAT SHOIULD NEW BANDS KNOW BEFORE THEY DIVE INTO THE INDUSTRY?
We love touring and playing live - that is what we live for. It’s a chance for us to play the music we love, meet and connect with amazing people, and be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Road life isn’t always easy. We have spent many nights sleeping in Walmart parking lots. We've driven over 12 hours just to get to the next date in time for load in and sound check but we wouldn’t trade it for the world. Some of my fondest memories have been made on the road. My advice to anyone wanting to play music or be involved in the industry is sow good seeds and work hard. It’s easy to get caught in the fever chase of trying to “make it” but never forget why you started from the beginning and stay humble, driven, and passionate. You may not end up being a “rock star” or having tons of money but if you love what you do than that sounds pretty successful to me. Trust me, I have to pray and repeat positive things to myself every day. It’s not easy - but stay strong and keep your head up!
SPEAKING OF TOURING – WITH THE ALBUM ABOUT TO RELEASE DO YOU HAVE TOUR DATES LINED UP AND CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THEM?
We look to do a lot of touring in the coming year in support of the album. While we don’t have any official tours lined up just yet, we do have a lot of festival dates throughout the summer and fall. We are also heading back to Europe in the fall for a run of shows.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE A LIVE SHOW FOR PEOPLE JUST GETTING INTO THE BAND? WHY SHOULD COME THEY COME OUT AND SEE THE PROTEST?
We don’t have a lot of smoke and mirrors. We don’t have giant stage props or impressive lighting, but we what we offer is an authentic, in your face rock show. We go as hard as we can no matter where we are or how many people are present. We strive to connect with the audience and “win them over” so to speak. We leave it all out there. There is lots of hair, sweat, and energy!
WHAT ARE YOUR GO-TO STAGE CLOTHES?
There is a lot of black involved. Usually black skinny jeans, a black tank, cut off, or t-shirt, and boots or chucks that are also black. ☺ I love wearing friend’s band tees on stage to show support. There are nights we jokingly call ourselves “The PROVEST” because we show up for pre-show prayer unknowingly all wearing vests. It’s then time to decide who gets to keep the vest that night and who has lose it, HA!
HOW DO YOU STAY HEALTHY ON THE ROAD?
Planet Fitness has been a Godsend! Not only is your membership good all over the country but you can also get a shower which is huge on the road. We try to work out as much as we can on off days or at the venue before or after sound check. Eating right is the hardest part. It’s cheap and easy to eat a couple dollar cheeseburgers on the bus but we have been really trying lately to consume healthier snacks. Many of the catered meals have a lot of healthy choices so it’s just about being smart. That being said many nights after a show nothing hits the spot quite like Taco Bell!
OTHER THEN BEING MUSICIANS AND HAVING A BAND, WHAT ARE THINGS THAT YOU LOVE TO DO THAT ISNT MUSIC RELATED?
Our band is band of nerds! We are huge movie buffs, gamers, and avid readers. We love playing basketball and hanging out with friends and family as often as possible.
FAVORITE SONG OFF “LEGACY” YOU ARE CRAVING TO PLAY LIVE AND WHY?
The title track "LEGACY" is one I cannot wait to play live! I think it’s going to hit so hard. I’m worried that we all might turn green and start tearing stuff up on that one. ☺
WHAT ARE 3 FACTS ABOUT THE BAND MEMBERS THAT PEOPLE MAY BE SURPRISED TO KNOW ABOUT YOU GUYS?
We love the song “Incomplete” by the Backstreet Boys. Many nights on tour we belt that song out as loud as we can. Our band has to have one Chinese buffet each tour. We absolutely have to. Usually it’s on an off day. If we don’t get one in, we feel a little cheated. Our pre-show ritual has been the same for almost 10 years; we huddle up, pray, and then “Let the dogs out.” Letting the dogs out consists of taking a deep breath and then kicking our feet while in the huddle while saying, “Who let the dog’s out? Who, who, who, who, who, who, who!?!??”
ANY LAST COMMENTS YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?
You can keep up with us by following us on Social media – come to a show and say Hi, you'll be glad you did!
Connect with The Protest:
Official Website: https://www.theprotestrocks.com
Bands In Town: https://www.bandsintown.com/a/107415-the-protest
Stephanie talked with American Grim about their new album Freakshow and what the band hopes their fans feel when seeing the band live - Read it HERE!
AMERICAN GRIM INTERVIEW FOR THE EAST COAST ROMPER
BY STEPHANIE STEVENS
Before setting out to start bands and music what was it about being a musician/artist that intrigued you to dedicate your life to it?
I started going to hardcore shows at a young age in NJ. The Energy in the crowd is what really sucked me in. I think having an identity as a hardcore kid gave me a place where I felt like I fit in.
AMERICAN GRIM is pretty much a new up n coming band with a lot to say. What do you hope music fans will walk away with after seeing you guys live, or listening to your album Freakshow?
When it comes to the live show I just want people to feel the passion. I want people to know that we love this shit. There’s really nothing that feels better than playing heavy music.
Being a three-piece band and playing with the same people for many years how does the music and songwriting process come about and is it a pretty easy tasks since you guys know each other so well? Do you all have a say in songwriting and who is usually the first one to come up with ideas?
American Grim has no real way we write songs. We feel like three song writers in one band. We all write, we all have different styles. Mike Morello our guitarist has a studio in our home town where we track and write. The best songs are what we use. We don't rehearse as much as we work in the studio, we are in the studio every day, the main thing we don't want to do is sound like everyone else.
Your album FREAKSHOW shows a vast array of music genres in each and every song; does that come from the many influences you all have through the years growing up?
Our roots are metal so we really try hard not to be just a metal band, but everything reverts back to metal.
Although music is a huge influence for you guys who else inspires you to write lyrically and musically?
We are influenced by many things outside of music. I would say the main thing personally is fighting. Before we got signed to Entertainment One, we were making music for Mixed Martial Arts. Some of our old songs were placed on NBC sports that led to getting a record deal. I train with cage fighters all the time. I’m a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I’m all about never giving up, believing in yourself and knowing what you want.
When it comes to marketing and doing stuff for the band you guys are very hands on and I think I heard you do your own videos. How important is it to put a visual to your music in this day and age?
We try to keep deep punk rock vibes among the band rather than a Rockstar mentality. We write all the music ourselves and I direct all the videos. We invested in Black Magic camera, learned the software and control all visuals. We would rather create then explain
STAY IN TOUCH WITH AMERICAN GRIM:
Stephanie talked with London based but now residents of LA band, Charming Liars. Check out her interview with the band as well as their new single for "Like A Drug"
I don’t even know where to begin to describe the way that CHARMING LIARS have re-energized my love for music. This alluring, ambience driven, captivating band that hails from London but now resides in the good ol’ music world of Los Angeles has made pure raw and honest music that really spoke to me on so many levels and moved me through all levels of emotion. A band that is doing their job by making you feel various emotions with the music they create.
I was first introduced to the band by way of the current single LIKE A DRUG. Its sexy, it’s haunting, it’s thought provoking and can we talk about the sensual sway of vocalist Kiliyan Maguire. This guy can lure you in by just saying hello! The music created a little 30 Seconds to Mars and Muse vibe for me. Tons of melody, and a chorus that will have you singing for days.
But not only is the new single a total demand in your play list, but so is the whole collection of songs these guys have put together. I was so sold on one track called NAKED, which came off the bands 2015 DELETE. REPEAT. It has the right amount of sass, allure and mystical prettiness! Then in 2016 an EP called 12:31 AM came out and brought you the beautiful quality in SOUL. Showcasing that perfect vocal sound, uplifting, positive and the catchiest melody. I could go on for days about all the other tracks that jump out at you but I am sure you want to learn about the band instead of hearing my opinion. As you can see I am hooked on this three-piece band.
With an icon like Sir Elton John as a fan, you have to believe that the band’s future looks very bright. I feel like with the right steps and a bit of luck CHARMING LIARS are going to be making huge strides going into 2019. But for right now the guys are finishing up the new full-length record, getting ready to hit the road and just doing what they do best: making perfect music for a scene I feel could use refreshing.
I had the privilege to ask guitarist Karnig Manoukian a few questions about how the band started, the new single LIKE A DRUG, how it is to have Elton John as a fan, producer/songwriter John Feldmann and tour life.
Charming Liars is:
Kiliyan Maguire - Vocals
Karnig Manoukian - Guitar, Production
Mike Kruger - Bass
FIRST OFF - I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!
Can you let us know how Charming Liars formed and what was your vision for the band when you started? Has that vision changed in anyway?
We formed back in England many years ago actually. Myself and Mike have been playing guitar and bass together for a long time ☺. Our vision back then and our vision to this day is to still make music that transcends every culture and to ultimately make music listeners feel something. We also always stated that arenas are where we have to be – we’re still set on achieving that!
You guys are originally from London but made the move to Los Angeles in 2013. What did you think London was missing that LA could give to you and has that been fulfilled for you?
Initially it was literally interest. We had several music industry folks that were interested in us and that was more than we could say for the UK. We came out for a couple of weeks and realized it was the place to push from. In many ways we’ve made huge strides and we also have so much more to accomplish.
John Feldmann has been a name in the past year that has come up with some of my new favorite bands and I see he encouraged you early on. What was it that started the interest with him and have you been able to sit and write with him? If so, how has that meeting changed you guys as a band?
We messaged him on Social Media and he actually responded back to us – to our surprise! From there he got us out to California and secured a demo deal with Warner Brothers for us to record 3 songs. We co-wrote and he produced those 3 tracks. In the end nothing came of it, but it was a great experience.
Another Icon - Sir Elton John - has had an impact on your band. How does it feel top have someone of that standing be a fan of your work and how was it covering one of his songs knowing he would be listening?
Elton John is an icon and he is also a huge fan of new music. For him to play our music on his Beats 1 radio show means a huge amount. It’s so exciting each and every time he does it!! When it came to doing a cover, so many people had to told us to cover his music - it only made sense to take one of his catchiest tunes and strip it down our way. The end product is something we’re all very proud of and we get a lot of Elton’s fans reaching out to us because of it.
For me listening to your music, I hear different bands other then what is listed as your influences. I find more of a Muse, 30 Seconds of Mars and Depeche Mode vibe. When you guys are writing how do you go about it and how much do your influences affect the outcome of a song?
Our process is really one without boundaries. We all subconsciously have certain limits, so we know what to attempt and what not to attempt but we really try and excite ourselves. Those bands you listed are the best in the world and we hope to soon play alongside them. When it comes to writing, the song usually starts from a lyric, guitar riff, melody or idea and we take it from there. We also experiment with different atmospheric noises and pads and that can really inspire us to do something progressive.
I just recently discovered Charming Liars, and your music has really made an impact on my life from the words to music; because I feel like you write from a real raw, honest, and emotional state of mind. How do you feel when someone says that to you and how important do you feel being honest in your lyrics and music is to a potential fan?
It’s a huge honor for you to say that and we really appreciate it. Kiliyan definitely takes that standpoint when it comes to lyrics. He tries to either tell an autobiographical story or he tells the story or emotion of someone very close to him. The mission statement (if I can say that) of the band is to make a difference. Whether it makes someone move or cry or sing along, it needs to make a difference. I think if that’s the case - then the lyrics (and the music) have to be organic and from an honest place.
A couple of your songs that stood out for me I wanted to get some insight on:
What inspired that song?
I think the art of being…. Naked, haha! It’s pretty simple with that one and that’s definitely one of the raunchier ones ☺
What is your favorite thing about the song?
I’d have to say the epic nature of that chorus vocal. It reminds a bit of 30 Seconds to Mars and also hints at Angels and Airwaves
Would you change anything about it now?
One or two things… but I can’t tell you what!
What is that main theme of that song?
I think it’s another one of those self-explanatory ones. We loved playing it live because of that big riff and people seem to always move when that first chorus drops.
Musically - what came first – the lyrics or the music – when you were writing the song?
I’m trying to think back. I think it was definitely the music. I had that riff laying around and I decided to record it and then I wanted to add some really dark soundscapes. Putting the two together was the next step and then it was a no- brainer.
LIKE A DRUG
How have you grown with this song as a band from your beginnings to now having this as your new single?
It’s definitely our most progressive single in terms of pushing the boundaries of sound, feel and lyric. I think when people look back, they’ll see a big difference in the band from “DELETE.REPEAT” and everything afterwards. We definitely grew on “12.31” but ultimately, we are exactly where we want to be with this new full-length record. LIKE A DRUG and INSOMNIA both have that dark element to them but they also make you want to sing along and move. There are instruments on LIKE A DRUG that we’ve never used before (such as the horns in the chorus) and that’s definitely a sign of our growth and maturity. It’s also a sign that we’re trying to modernize our foundation as an Alternative rock band. We love having guitar riffs and big guitars but we’re at a point now where we find it even more interesting and exciting to take those guitars and turn them into….. pianos …. Or horns…. Or bass synths. We’re not getting rid of the guitars – we’re just having other instruments come in their place and in doing so we’ve actually spent more time on making sure that the guitar parts that we DO have are impactful and necessary.
What is one thing lyrically and musically you want to tell your fans about the writing of “Like A Drug”?
The message of the song is clear – We’re describing a personal relationship and comparing and relating the toxic love they have for each other to the addiction that a drug might hold over someone.
Will you have a full-length album out in 2018? If yes do you have a release date and a title yet for the album?
We definitely will have the full-length album out this year! It’s happening and we can’t wait for people to hear it. We have several titles floating about but we won’t lock one in until the very last moment. Regarding release date, somewhere in the autumn / fall.
You will be out on the road with Welshly Arms and Grandson in the fall. Any other touring plans you can tell us about?
We’re hoping to get out on the road in July. Nothing we can confirm as of now, but fingers crossed. After that, we’re very excited to hit the road with Welshly Arms and Grandson in September and October. Following that, we will be doing some festivals and shows in Mexico and then we should end the year out with some more shows in the states.
What’s your Favorite thing about touring?
Firstly, playing to new faces and making new fans. That interaction is like no other ☺ Secondly, my personal favorite thing is eating in a different city every day.
How do you stay healthy on the road?
We don’t…… it’s a problem
Your go to stage clothes?
Depends on who you’re asking but I personally have a black outerwear jacket option, a long black or dark grey t-shirt option and then either black skinny jeans or my own personal soft pants that are kind of in between leggings and jeans. Perfect for the stage because it gets really hot up there and movement is key!!
Please tell us two things about each of your band members that people may be surprised to know?
Kiliyan is an avid reader and he comes in with a new book every week. Blows my mind. He also is one of the best vocal coaches in LA. Mike (bass) only eats McDonalds, Mac and Cheese and Ketchup. He’s also a very in demand photographer
Any last comments?
I think we covered it all, Thank You Stephanie!!!! Check out all of our tour dates, music, videos, merch and general news online at our socials. Hope to see everyone out on the road!
Charming Liars – Upcoming Tour Dates
Date Venue City Notes
Tue 9/25/2018 Record Bar Kansas City, MO w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Wed 9/26/2018 7th Street Entry Minneapolis, MN w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Fri 9/28/2018 The Hi FI Indianapolis, IN w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Sun 9/30/2018 Magic Stick Detroit, MI w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Tue 10/2/2018 Velvet Underground Toronto, ON w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Wed 10/3/2018 Brighton Music Hall Boston, MA w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Thu 10/4/2018 Music Hall Brooklyn, NY w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Sat 10/6/2018 The Foundry Philadelphia, PA w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Sun 10/7/2018 Union Stage Washington, DC w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Tue 10/9/2018 Visulite Theatre Charlotte, NC w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Wed 10/10/2018 Exit/In Nashville, TN w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Fri 10/12/2018 Vinyl ATL Atlanta, GA w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Sat 10/13/2018 The Parish New Orleans, LA w/ Welshly Arms, The Glorious Sons
Stephanie talked with the Huntington Beach, CA based band Them Evils recently as they talked about the evolution of the band, the new Rollin' Stoned And Livin' Free EP & MORE!
The Huntington Beach, California based band THEM EVILS has been making a lot of noise with their back to basic gritty, naughty rock n roll! ROLLIN' STONED AND LIVIN' FREE - the newest EP from the band has Jordan Griffin (guitar n' vocals) Jake Massanari (bass) and David Delaney ll (drums) making big noise for only being a three piece; making “use” of their instruments and actually making real guitar-driven, straight-up Rock N' Roll a focal point in this day and age is a refreshing and motivating thing. THEM EVILS bring the raw, Rock n' Roll energy back to the scene and it shows; Inspired by parts AC/DC, Led Zepplin, Queens of The Stone Age and a big heaping pile of originality these guys have the flair, sex appeal and modern day rhythm and sass to make heads turn, ears perk up and booty’s shaking all night long.
The boys have released the newest single GOT ME ROCKIN' where they swoon you with guitar, melody driven ambience and lots of attitude - this single definitely made me take notice and got me “Rockin” for sure. ROLLIN' STONED AND LIVIN' FREE is a very smooth sailing, no-track-skipping disc that shines light on old school rock, guitar rock and gritty soul driven soundscapes. The world is starting to love and adore these guys. I was able to chat with Jordan while he was out on the band's headlining tour for spring and he was able to let me know a little more about THEM EVILS, working in the studio and what makes them survive on the road
You guys have that old school rock n’ roll, gritty vibe that has been missing in the music scene for a bit. When you all came together was that a major goal - to bring back that sound to the scene or did it naturally happen when you started writing?
- We definitely had that goal in mind. Bringing sleaze and grease back into Rock N’ Roll. Not many people are doing it nowadays; I feel our music is refreshing to our fans and music listeners.
Individually who are you guys influenced by and what did you grow up listening to?
- I, Jordan, grew up listening to metal bands like Sabbath, Metallica, and Pantera. Those bands gave me an understanding of music but the two most influential bands for myself are AC/DC and Alice In Chains. As far as David goes, he's heavily influenced by Queens of The Stone Age, and Jake, the Arctic Monkeys.
For people new to THEM EVILS you guys (well two of you) started in Vegas but eventually moved to California. How did that change help in getting the band’s name out? And how did you find your drummer as the last piece to fit the puzzle?
- The main goal was to be as close to LA as possible because it’s the mecca of the entertainment business. I vividly remember our first LA show, which was at the Viper Room. We were hungry and eager to get ourselves out there. It was actually my first show as a front man and I was shaking in my boots, pacing throughout the venue. Granted, there was only 15 people in the bar but it was a big step in the evolution of our band. David was introduced to me through a coworker. I told her the cliché’ Rock N’ Roll "we moved here to make it" story, so she made the introduction. David and I met up at a rehearsal spot and jammed Metallica and Alice In Chains tunes. It was the perfect fit!
It says in your bio you guys kind of made your own scene. Was that prior to moving to California, or did it develop once you arrived? How do you feel in your own opinion your band and music has helped make the music scene fresh again?
- We made our "own scene" in the sense of traveling outside of Orange County and Las Vegas. Why be in a band if you're going to just play local shows? We branched out and tried to connect with other local scenes throughout California as well. A lot of our friends in local bands saw that and followed the example. I don't think we helped make it fresh again. The scene was always there in Orange County - we just came in and shoved it down people’s throats.
Zakk Wylde has been a pretty big name and support system for you guys. How did he hear about the band and do you see songwriting in the future with him?
- Blasko, bassist for Ozzy and Zakk Sabbath, watched our set side-stage at Louder Than Life in 2016. We stayed in contact and maintained a friendship. Then @ Rock on The Range in 2017 we met up and he mentioned the Zakk Sabbath tour needed an opening act. Two weeks later we got the offer.
Your ROLLIN’ STONED AND LIVIN’ FREE EP was just released - Were these songs brand new to the band or did you take some tracks from older studio days or demos?
- Three of the tracks are newly written songs (Got Me Rocking', Practice What You Preach, and Gets Me High). We put some older songs on this because we went into this process thinking this was our "break-through" EP. So those well written songs needed to be heard – we just updated them a bit.
How is the atmosphere and vibe in the studio when you guys are recording? Are you all very hands on in this kind of atmosphere and what do you feel off this new EP was the easiest and hardest song to track?
- It’s a blast! The studio is all about good vibes and creativeness. It's also a collective process so we need to be very hands-on. This music is going to be around long after we're gone so we're very involved. Easiest was definitely 'She Got Nothin" because it was the oldest song I wrote on the album. The hardest was definitely 'Practice What You Preach'. The vocals on the chorus and the verse harmonies were a dynamic we've never touched on. It was a completely new concept for our band.
How was working with Kato and what was it that made you guys pick him to produce and record with? Do you have a Favorite artist he has worked with other than yourselves?
- It was a blessing to work with someone of his status. He's a legend and extremely knowledgeable when it comes to writing and recording. He actually picked us. Our manager, Shannon, and Kato showed up to one of our Viper Room shows and pretty much said "let’s get this Rollin". I would say The Pretty Reckless is my favorite band he's produced.
GOT ME ROCKIN’ is making some waves for you guys. How important do you feel videos and radio play are for your band in this day and age?
-The more content you have as a band and the more platforms that share the content is everything. Radio play and videos are great ways for listeners to engage with our band – the more, the better.
Loudwire exclusively premiered the video for GOT ME ROCKIN’. What was the highlight of doing the video and do you guys like doing themed videos or just straight up live performance ones?
-The whole process was exciting. It was the first time our band made a scripted or themed video. Acting was something we've never done and it was a bit nerve racking. We got through it. I enjoyed making that video the most.
You have toured with some pretty stellar bands like Pretty Reckless and Alter Bridge but now you are doing a headlining tour for the spring. How different is it going from opening to a headline run? And have you guys thrown in some oldies or covers in your set since you have more time?
It’s the same. Work hard and get your job done. Shake hands and sell merchandise. Make every connection you can and talk to all your fans. This tour we've thrown in 'Dirty Deeds' by AC/DC for a crowd pleaser!
In three words describe yourselves onstage:
-Rock And Roll.
Do you guys have any rituals you perform before you go on stage to prepare yourselves?
-Have a beer or two, play some guitar scales, vocal warmups, and a small pow-wow before the set.
Three things in your RV or bus that is essential to everyday life?
-Wet Wipes, beer, and water.
Staying healthy on the road…..three things you guys try to do every day to either stay in shape or not get sick?
- Gym membership, for me it’s drinking juices and making smoothies, and vitamin C packets.
Favorite go to stage clothes?
- Black Jeans and a denim jacket.
If you could describe your fans in a few words how would you and any amazing road stories about any fans that stood out?
- Amazing and supportive. We got a fan, Mike, who travels every time to see us. He pledged on our campaign page and stays in contact with us. He's a great dude!
What does the rest of 2018 look like for THEM EVILS and do you have any idea on a second single yet?
-We're going to keep touring and captivating audiences. Definitely work on some new material. As far as new music being released, no. We're going to tour this EP for some time yet before we record new material. This single is still new, 2nd single is still a ways off.
Them Evils Tour Dates:
May 22 - Pittsburgh, Pa. @ The Smiling Moose
May 23 - Detroit, Mich. @ PJ’s Lager House
May 24 - Chicago, Ill. @ Beat Kitchen
May 25 - St. Paul, Minn. @ Turf Club
May 26 - Omaha, Neb. @ Lookout Lounge
May 27 - Fort Collins, Colo. @ Hodi’s Half Note
May 29 - Salt Lake City, Utah @ Metro Bar
June 1 - Las Vegas, NV @ Beauty Bar
June 9 - Costa Mesa, Ca @ The Wayfarer
Connect with Them Evils:
Official Band website: https://themevils.com
Pledge Music: https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/themevils
Bands In Town: https://www.bandsintown.com/themevils
Stephanie covered the VYCES show this past week at Fete Music Hall in Providence, RI as the band was on Direct Support for Mushroomhead - Read her Review HERE
VYCES live show review
Fete Music Hall, Providence, RI
May 4, 2018
By: Stephanie Stevens
It finally happened; VYCES was placed in front of me so I could have the pleasure of seeing the songs I Have been listening to since 2016 in a live setting. The California based band jumped on direct support for the Mushroomhead tour and landed in Providence, RI at Fete Music Hall.
The stage presence was on point from the start of the set to the end. Energy was high and the crowd for the most part seemed into the music and the guys on a whole. These guys are no newbies to the music scene and the years of practice in other bands have helped them grow and bring to life the pure attitude, compassion and strength you can hear, see and feel through a VYCES set. The thing that makes me love this band is the ease they have throwing out some heavy powerful n aggressive shit and seamlessly flow into a melodic, moody, sensual layer of rock n roll. The bands newest single THIN LUCK was a standout in the set tonight. This song just vibes in a live atmosphere because of the way the track was written; a pure soundscape journey from dark parts, upbeat sing along moments and a strong sense of gritty heavy layers. NOCTURNAL has been a favorite of mine and tonight the guys were able to do it and bring up to help them perform it the promoter of the Fete Music Hall and friend of theirs Justin Marcotte (which you can see in the collage snippet attached) this song is just pure perfection, got the crowd moving for sure. The highlight for me tonight was I WILL FIND YOU. If I could have replayed that part of the set for the rest of the night I would have been a very happy girl for probably the rest of the month of May. They ended the night on a heavy night with TO THE TORTURED, and purely tore the stage up and I am pretty sure left lasting impressions to a lot of virgin ears of VYCES tonight.
Overall if you are new to the band VYCES you must get a listen and jump on this fanbase because they have potential to take over the rock scene moving forward.
Vyces on Tour With Mushroomhead
May 8 - Texarkana, Ark. @ Whiskey River Country
May 9 - Little Rock, Ark. @ Revolution Music Room
May 10 - Houston, Texas @ Scout Bar
May 11 - Dallas, Texas @ Trees
May 12 - San Antonio, Texas @ Rock Box
May 15 - Mesa, Ariz. @ Club Red
May 16 - San Diego, Calif. @ Brick By Brick
May 19 - Seattle, Wash. @ Studio Seven
May 20 - Jerome, Idaho @ Diamondz Event Center
May 22 - Fort Collins, Colo. @ Hodi's Half Note
May 23 - Denver, Colo. @ Oriental Theater
May 24 - Colorado Springs, Colo. @ Black Sheep
May 25 - Lincoln, Neb. @ Royal Grove
May 26 - Waterloo, Iowa @ Spicoli's Rockade
May 27 - Minneapolis, Minn. @ The Cabooze
May 29 - Joliet, Ill. @ The Forge
May 30 - Madison, Wis. @ The Annex at The Red Zone
May 31 - Sturtevant, Wis. @ Route 20
June 1 - Cleveland, Ohio @ The Odeon
also check out the bands official new video for THIN LUCK. Director Ron Thunderwood visually captures the mood, character, and intensity of the song while walking you through a post-apocalyptic nightmare," says Vyces' Dave Naruszewicz.
STAY IN TOUCH WITH VYCES
Stephanie was at the Breaking Solace show at Jimmy's Saloon in Newport, RI recently. Check out her show review and a snippet from the show - Read it HERE
JIMMY’S SALOON, NEWPORT, RI
BY STEPHANIE STEVENS
STAY IN TOUCH WITH THE GUYS:
BREAKING SOLACE a name that shouldn’t be taken lightly because this New York based band is back with a vengeance and it shows in their overall attitude and stage package they bring to each and every town they play in. I was first introduced to Vocalist Dan Burk and the band back when their 6 song EP; came out. Soon after I fell in love with the band a hiatus was taken and, in that time, Burk reconstructed a new family of brothers who undeniably have gelled and meshed so well that it shines through on the stage and beyond.
I was able to get to see the guys in a live setting when they did a small mini tour in support of the new revival of BREAKING SOLACE and to promote the future of what is to come with the band and let me tell you New York has something very special in these guys. For one the band who has limited funds as any struggling independent band has brings a sensational live show with them. The energy, the showmanship; and the stage props just enhances the overall talent and creative nature that can be heard in the songs. The songs come to life in a live setting; FEAR NO MORE, MY ETERNITY, DESCEND, THROWN AWAY were given a new depth of life when you get to have these songs played in your face at a loud level! 110% credit to each and every band member for the power and emotion set free from start to finish; blood sweat and tears are left on each and every stage they play. The set is so active and interactive that you are pretty spellbound to the stage at all times. I have to say going into the show I was going in with no expectations, thinking I was going in to see my friends band rock out and although I adored the songs on the CD I never expected what I saw that night.
Highly impressed, with the professionalism, the talent and the pure love and dedication these guys have for their craft, the fans and the music they create.
I put together a small snippet of the bands site so you can get a glimpse and hopefully on the bands next tour check them out because its worth every single penny. Watch BELOW
Stephanie talks with MESSER about their upcoming album Make This Life due out 4/20 as well as what makes a good rock band and their go to stage wear among other topics - Read it HERE!
MESSER is letting everyone know that Dallas, Texas is thriving with musicians who can put together a kick ass rock song as you can see on the bands self-titled debut album (on Maddpants Records). The album is gritty, melody driven, layered and smoldering with radio active hits from start to finish. Some of my favorites are EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL, STILL BETTER OFF, WHISKEY and THROW IT AWAY
The band consists of Dereak Messer, Lead Vocals, Donnie Deville, Guitar/Vocals, Javier Contreras, Guitar/Vocals, Kenn Youngar, Drums/Vocals and Maddox Messer, Bass/ Vocals, all seasoned musicians and together are able to bring the cutting edge modern rock music that the scene is missing. The band’s first single MAKE THIS LIFE is already climbing the active rock radio charts and pushing through the sea of video outlets worldwide. April 20th can’t come soon enough for the band so they can let the fans and the new comers hear the full length album they put a lot of time, blood sweat and tears into; but a band with ambition and dedication doesn’t sit around waiting the guys in MESSER have jumped on the Unstoppable Screams Tour with Red, Lacey Sturm and Righteous Vendetta for now and then soon after a tour with the band Shallowside.
For now, I was able to chat with bass player Maddox Messer about how the band formed, writing the record, singles and how they stay healthy on the road.
Seems like all the band members of MESSER had a good resume in the music scene before you guys got together. Who was the founding member(s) and how did you choose the other guys in the band?
Dereak and Javier had started jamming with Kenny and then I (Maddox) had a chance meeting with Dereak. We later added Donnie to round out the rhythm section. We had all come from other Dallas area bands that had a modicum of success, but when we all first got together it was instant connection and we knew we had something special as a group.
How long did it take for you guys to write and record your debut album MESSER?
We co-wrote the album with our producer and great friend Chad Gendason over a period of about roughly 5 years. We knew we wanted to create a masterpiece in hopes of making an impact on not just music fans, but on the music business as a whole. We feel the time and effort paid off and that we have created a debut album that will stand the test of time and we can rest knowing we did the very best job we could with no regrets.
You are doing a pledge campaign for the album. For people just getting to know you guys or for fans that haven’t heard about this yet, what are you bringing to the table for the pledge campaign?
We have some really cool packages and items. You will find exclusive shirts, bandannas, stickers, signed drum heads and more! But what we are most excited about is the Vinyl Record. We have done vinyl before, and we're psyched to release this album on both 140gm and even a limited number of 180gm vinyl for those true audiophiles. If you have never heard Modern Rock on vinyl you’re in for a real treat! I should also mention that in the “Diamond” package not only do you get the 180gm record, but it's going to come in a custom-made box that will play a ringtone we created when you open it up. We wanted to make the unboxing a true MESSER experience! https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/messerband
Your first single and video release MAKE THIS LIFE is getting some good attention from radio and video outlets. What was the reason for taking that particular song to showcase the band and the debut disc?
We do everything by committee - so a ton of thought and process went into deciding which song to lead with. We had originally picked a different track and had already began making the videos for that song when we decided to switch to "MAKE THIS LIFE". We felt it was the right song to introduce MESSER to the world at a time when we are “Sick Of It All”. It seemed to fit the sentiment of the times we are living in. Our hope was to empower the listeners with a positive message and encourage them to Make Their Own Lives Worth Fighting for!
In these days what do you feel makes a good rock band?
I think a good rock band or any band in general is one where all the members are selflessly serving the song. You can always tell when someone is playing for their own ego versus an honest performance. For us, there is so much intention behind every note played. It's an incredible feeling to take what we feel inside and transfer that energy thru our individual instruments, then have it all come together thru speakers with the precision of a surgical scalpel… Ultimately cutting to the core of the listener in a visceral way.
Songwriting wise what do you guys bring to the table vs. other bands that are in the same genre as you? From this debut album what song are you most proud of lyrically and why?
I think our approach was to write songs for the listener. Our Producer and co-writer Chad also has a fabulous ear for melody. I think our soulful r&b-esque melodies with well thought lyrics are what make these songs so addictive. We are just everyday guys and we wrote songs that everyone can easily relate to because they were written from our lives. As songs go I personally think “STILL BETTER OFF” is my favorite because the chorus is so catchy and fun to sing and perform.
For me after hearing the disc, I have to say that EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL is my favorite track off the album. Any fun stories or studio antics that came from recording this song?
Actually, that was going to be our first single originally - LOL. We plan to release it as a radio single next. As for studio antics we have plenty… ;o) It's a great song and the one we open our set with every night. My favorite part is the whale call solo in the bridge. We didn’t use a lot of traditional guitar solos on this album intentionally. We wanted to convey the seriousness and give an intimate look into our lives and the bridge in that song is a vulnerable moment that tells the story that everyone can relate to.
Your making your mark already with some good tours with RED, and then Shallowside. How has the current tour been going and what are you looking forward to for the next leg of touring with the Shallowside boys?
The Unstoppable Screams Tour is going Great!! Almost all the shows are SOLD OUT. The crowds have been overwhelmingly receptive and we have been pre-selling CDS faster than we hoped. We have been receiving a truly humbling number of messages and posts on social media. All of this is extremely gratifying and exactly what we had dreamed of! We are super stoked to get out there with the Men of Shallowside and showcase our full headline set complete with our amazing light show. You won't want to miss this show if we come thru your town – come check us out and say HI!
Red / Lacey Sturm / Righteous Vendetta/MESSER Tour Dates
March 20 - Sacramento, Calif. @ Ace of Spades
March 22 - San Francisco, Calif. @ The Fillmore
March 25 - Los Angeles, Calif. @ The Regent
March 30 - Tempe, Ariz. @ Marquee Theatre
March 31 - Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theatre
April 3 - Lubbock, Texas @ Jake's Backroom
April 4 - San Antonio, Texas @ The Rock Box
April 6 - Houston, Texas @ The Scout Bar
April 7 - Dallas, Texas @ Canton Hall
April 10 - Oklahoma City, Okla. @ Tower Theatre
April 12 - Sauget, Ill. @ Pop's
April 13 - Memphis, Tenn. @ New Daisy Theatre
April 14 - Nashville, Tenn. @ Top Golf
April 15 - Atlanta, GA. @ The Masquerade
Dates with Shallow Side
Wednesday - 4/18/2018 - Jacks Bar and Grill San Antonio
Thursday - 4/19/2018 - Sidewinder Austin TX
Friday - 4/20/2018 - Trees Dallas TX
Saturday - 4/21/2018 - Satellite Bar – Austin, TX
Sunday - 4/22/2018 - Olde Towne Tavern – Slidell, TX
Wednesday - 4/25/2018 - Ashley Street Station - Valdosta GA
Thursday - 4/26/2018 - The Warrior – Tallahassee, FL
Friday - 4/27/2018 - Working - Tampa, FL
Saturday - 4/28/2018 - Southside - Naples, FL
Sunday - 4/29/2018 – On Hold - Orlando FL
Wednesday - 5/2/2018 - Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
Thursday - 5/3/2018 - Sidetracks Music Hall – Huntsville, AL
Friday - 5/4/2018 - The Warehouse – Clarksville, TN
Saturday - 5/5/2018 – Steel Horse Rally – Fort Smith, AK
Wednesday - 5/9/2018 - The Bourbon Hall - Louisville KY
Thursday - 5/10/2018 - Amici's – Concord, NC
Friday - 5/11/2018 - The Vault – Hickory, NC
Saturday - 5/12/2018 – GroundZero - Spartanburg SC
Saturday - 5/19/2018 - Pit Stop Bar and Grill - North Richland Hills,
What does a MESSER show bring out in your fans or new comers that never heard of you before?
We seem to get a lot of new fans telling us how great our sound was in contrast to other live shows. We have taken a great deal of time and put a lot of detail into our live performance to insure the sound is incredibly clear and pleasant to listen to. After all, what good is our message if its lost in translation. If you have never experienced our live show know that when you do you can expect to enjoy the sound, feel and look of everything we do. Plan to be comforted and held in a blanket of sound waves that will leave you addicted and hopefully wanting more!
Have you guys put in any thoughts about which song will be the second single and any time frame for when it will be out?
“EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL” will likely be our second single, but for now "MAKE THIS LIFE" is showing no signs of slowing down - so we are gonna ride this out till it's time to unleash the next. But expect to be hearing MESSER on your radio for a long time to come!
Your back in your hometown of Dallas for your record release on Friday, April 20th. What does it mean to you to have that night to give back to the locals that supported you from day one? Any surprises you can hint to us that will be happening that night?
Yeeeessss!! We worked hard to coordinate that show date. It was important to us to be at home that day because there is no way we could be here without the support of our hometown, families and friends who have tirelessly stuck by us thru this arduous process. As for the 4/20 well…. new music comes out on Fridays now and that happened to be 4/20 this year. Also Record Store Day Is 4/21 and since we are simultaneously releasing the CD and the Vinyl record what better day is there??? There is also the Legendary Trees club owned by the amazing Clint and Whitney Barlow who have been huge supporters of not just to us, but to the entire Deep Ellum music community.
Fashion tip: What’s your go to stage wear; and any advice on what not to wear to newcomers starting out?
My go to stage where is typically whatever I have on, HA! I used to get all dressed up in my “Stage Clothes” (Air Quotes) but I always felt like I was getting dressed up to pretend… At some point I realized I was that guy on stage and I worked to be me all the time. I am always ready to rock the stage anytime, anywhere! My advice to anyone starting out: Wear your confidence and positive attitude. It goes with everything! Trust me I am a hairdresser, LOL!
Fitness tip, how do you guys stay healthy and fit on the road?
We all have our own routines for fitness and diet because its super important to stay healthy. For me I have a jump rope and every time we stop for fuel, I jump 200 times. I do push-ups every day, and lots of yoga too!
Any last comments?
Thanks so much for the great questions - I enjoyed answering them for you. We hope to see you at one of our live shows. We love to meet and hear from new MESSER fans so please message us and tell us what you think! Dream big and Never Give Up! – Maddox
Connect with Messer:
Pledge Music Campaign: https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/messerband
Official website: https://www.messerband.com
iTunes Pre-order: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/messer/1348892084
Google Play Pre-order: https://play.google.com/store/music/album/Messer_Messer?id=Bwgg2vbrw53gkx3q3prnxdhhqua&hl=en
Stephanie talked with Seattle, WA rockers Avoid as she discussed the bands name change, how the scene is in Seattle and much more! - Read it HERE
I don't want to say I found the band of the year for me in 2018 already because it is very early in the year but the Seattle band Avoid have put a permanent smile on my face after hearing some of tracks off the bands debut album ALONE on Revival Recordings. The band blend and create a new and exciting sound to fans of rock, metal and anything in between.
Once know as Avoid The Void, the guys graduated and matured from those days and now grace us with some prominent powerful and diverse songs. Then when you look deeper into songs you find reality driven lyrics like in the third single entitled HATE (ME).
Music that will twist your head around and then calmly soothe your soul until the next trip down the heavy and dark road of excellence; as you can hear in END OF AN ERA.
BY MYSELF has a lot of fun guitar tones and sounds throughout the track but still is driving and heavy with a melody driven chorus. What stood out for me is the different layers of vocal approaches which drives the song ino the next dimension.
Then the last song I was able to get my hands on was a little track called 28 DAYS; this song sold me on this band is the reason why I am saying I could have found my 2018 breakout band of the year.
Mixing metal attributes, clear as day melodic tones, vocals that will haunt you and instill love in your sould, guitar work that will leave you breathless; and just purely driving forces of chaos mixed with beauty sums up this song favorite.
Before the guy's head out on the road in April with Dead Crown I was able to ask what, each member brings to the table to create the music for Avoid, along with the debut disc ALONE will be out. Song meanings and what tour life entails for them.
Stay in contact with AVOID:
YOU GUYS WERE NAMED AVOID THE VOID PRIOR TO THIS NEW CHAPTER OF JUST AVOID. WHY THE NAME CHANGES AND HOW HAVE YOU GUYS GROWN AS A BAND SINCE THE NAME CHANGE?
There were many little reasons that came into play when changing the name, but at the end of the day it comes down to we weren't Avoid The Void anymore. Under the 5 years we were ATV, our sound had evolved a lot, we had gone through a couple members, and we just weren't where we wanted to be. AVOID was our way of being a brand new entity in the music scene, with staying true to our roots.
WHO IS IN THE BAND AND WHAT DOES EACH MEMBER BRING INTO THE BAND ON A PROFESSIONAL LEVEL?
The band consists of me (Benny Scholl) the singer, our guitarists Nick Olson and Brandon Parker, our bass player Jason Daggett and our drummer David Dusseault. Everyone brings so much to the table in their own way. Nick is our primary song writer, and great with anything technology. He is one of the hardest working people i've ever met. His playing/ writing abilities are always evolving due to how much time he spends at it and it's incredible getting to work with him. Brandon is an outstanding guitar player, and very well rounded on his knowledge. He is great to bounce ideas off of and build plans with. David is such a solid drummer and overall musician. He actually used to teach high school drum line, and currently teaches drums on the side. He's great with writing and his experience really helps us grow. Jason is like the glue that holds everything together. I've never met someone so easy to work with. He's great with looking at all situations without a bias so everyone's opinions and thoughts are heard. He also has an audio degree from the Art Institute and is one of the main reasons why we're able to self produce/ record everything we do. Personally, I handle most of the business side of things and a lot of the merch/ social media/ things on the front end. I work as our tour manager on the road and try to constantly push the limits of what we can do next on all ends. It's a very cool dynamic so have so many driving members and we're very proud of what we're creating.
YOU JUST RELEASED A THIRD SINGLE IN HATE (ME) BEFORE WE LOOK INTO THAT SONG, LET'S TALK ABOUT THE ALBUM IT'S COMING FROM: WHEN DOES IT LOOK LIKE YOU WILL BE RELEASING THAT AND WHAT DO YOU FEEL IS THE BIGGEST GROWTH IN THE BAND THAT FANS WILL HEAR FROM THIS ALBUM?
We're hard at work to finish the last few songs on our upcoming album ALONE. I can't speak much about an exact release date, but I can say you will see an album from AVOID in 2018.
HATE (ME) WAS QUOTED AS BEING YOUR MOST EMOTIONAL LYRICS TO DATE. WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO UNLEASH THE EMOTION AND WHAT DO YOU HOPE PEOPLE GET OUT OF THIS SONG?
We really wanted to show all sides of us on this record. Every song that we're going to put out is going to be a little different in its own way. The big thing with "HATE (ME)", I wanted to show in the lyrics was honesty and vulnerability. The overal theme of this song is all of the "bad thoughts" you tell yourself while dealing with mental illness. We really just hope this song makes you feel something, and hopefully you can relate to it in one way or another.
YOU JUST SIGNED WITH REVIVAL RECORDINGS. HOW DID THAT ALL COME ABOUT AND WHAT DID THEY BRING TO THE TABLE THAT MADE YOU WANT TO TAKE A CHANCE WITH THEM?
We're so excited for our future with Revival. I actually met Shawn (President/ owner of Revival) and Aaryn (A&R at Revival) on tour with Alesana last February. Soon after that run, Aaryn started managing us and a couple months later we were in talks with Shawn about signing a deal. We love that Revival really cares about their artists. They have outstanding connections in the industry and we truly felt like they would have our best interests in mind, and to this day we feel the same way. We've seen so much growth in our little time on the label, I can't say a bad word about them.
I HEARD THE SONG "BY MYSELF" AND THAT WAS THE SONG THAT REALLY DREW ME TO YOUR BAND. CAN YOU GIVE US A LITTLE INSIGHT ON THAT TRACK AND YOUR FEELINGS OF THE FINISHED PRODUCT?
I'm so glad you enjoyed that one! That is definitely a band favorite, and personally I think my favorite song off the upcoming album. That track is supposed to be a song you turn up with your friends and have a good sing along. I'm really proud of the finished product and have high hopes that it will be a fan favorite.
BEING FROM SEATTLE AND THE MUSIC SCENE THERE HOW DID THAT INFLUENCE YOU GUYS AND WHAT AVOID BRINGS TO THE TABLE?
There is so much talent in the Seattle music scene it's insane. The big thing it did and still does is make us want to get better. With so many good bands doing their own thing, it made us not want to be like anyone else, so we're constantly perfecting the songs and stepping up our live show so we can keep up with everyone else from here thats killing it.
WHO ARE YOU MOST INFLUENCED BY MUSICALLY AS A BAND OR A PERFORMER AND IF YOU COULD MEET THOSE PEOPLE OR PERSON WHAT WOULD BE THE ONE QUESTION YOU WOULD WANT MOST ANSWERED TO HELP YOU IN YOUR FUTURE ENDEAVORS?
Oh boy... that's a loaded question, haha. I only say that because we're inspired by so much it's really hard to pin point where it all stems from. If I had to break down our top 5 inspirations I'd say Slipknot, Foo Fighters, Papa Roach, Periphery, and Underoath. I think we'd ask them about their writing process, and how they've managed to stay relevant in their long careers.
YOU'RE HEADING OUT ON THE ROAD WITH DEAD CROWN IN APRIL. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO ON THIS TOUR AND HAVE YOU GUYS TALKED ABOUT YOUR SET LIST AND WHAT CAN FANS LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING OR SEEING?
We can't wait for this run. We've actually toured with Dead Crown before back when we were ATV and had an absolute blast with them. They're some of our best friends in the world so we're just really looking forward to the quality hangs. We'll definitely be playing all of the singles at these shows, and maybe a couple new ones, so you'll have to come and see for yourself ;)
HOW IMPORTANT TO YOU IS A SOLID LIVE SHOW AND WHAT IS YOUR GO TO STAGE WEAR ON TOURS?
The live show is everything to this band. We are 100% a live band. We want people to leave our shows entertained, even if you don't like heavy music. We try and bring a very high energy and inviting performance so there's a little something for everyone. Go to stage wear for me would be black jeans, white shoes, and some random pop star shirt like Usher or Prince or NASCAR related shirts, something ridiculous, haha.
I ALWAYS ASK THIS QUESTION DUE TO THE FACT I'M A FITNESS BUFF BUT I JUST WANTED TO KNOW HOW YOU GUYS STAY FIT AND HEALTHY ON THE ROAD?
We try and live fairly healthy on the road. We haven't gotten into the routine of working out when we're on tour, but we definitely use Planet Fitness for the showers haha. We just try and not eat too much fast food, and instead of just sitting around waiting to load in and what not we like to bring footballs and soccer balls so we can play catch and little scrimmage matches.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO ADD SO FANS OR NEW COMERS CAN GET TO KNOW YOU A LITTLE BETTER?
We're the most approachable people in the world, and we love meeting new people! Shoot us a message if you want to get to know us. And if you like the music or anything, you can pick up all of our merch at Avoid.MerchNew.com and be on the lookout for lots of touring!
Stephanie attended and covered the Kissing Candice show at Fete Ballroom in Providence, RI, Check out what she had to say about the show HERE
The last time that KISSING CANDICE made an appearance in Rhode Island was around this time last year with A Killers Confession. This time around they come with friends I Set My Friends On Fire and played a sold out room this night. I was eager to see the NY band again because last time I was just learning and indulging in the visual and musical adventures these guys have to offer. So, this time around I was already familiar with the band and have had BLIND UNTIL WE BURN and the newest EP, SAFE WORD on nonstop rotation, so I was ready to get a dose of live show debauchery.
So, the stage got set and the progression of the bands masks were unleashed and the band got up onstage and just had the energy, the drive and the heaviness that we have all come to admire. Everything about this band has evolved, visually, musical wise they brought a tightness and more gelled appeal to this set this time around. The movement on stage hyped up the crowd and Joey sounded deliciously on point. The new songs (DE) GENERATION, HIT THE ROOF and TILT were probably my favorite of the night because of the driving heaviness and just felt like the songs were written for the stage..
I was curious to see how the crowd of this tour package would take the band and people were so into it and reckless with love that it showed that the members of KISSING CANDICE can win over anything put in front of them. Although some people might not get the band and the visual aspects they give you but look beyond that point and really get to know what the guys are speaking about in lyrics, we can all relate to them and to anyone thinking they are a gimmick band you are so far in left field. This band has talent, they have musical integrity and put on one hell of a fun show. If you can check out a show on the rest of the tour go for it; I’m telling you, you won’t be disappointed. Pick up some merch too because they have some killers stuff out on the road with them. Here is a little snippet of my point of view of a night with the mighty KISSING CANDICE. Thank you guys for the music!!!!