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Check out Stephanie's in-depth interview with lead singer Joe Cotela and one of the hottest new bands in rock! DED!
By: Stephanie Stevens
I remember back in the day being introduced to the guys in MOTOGRATER at the Worcester Palladium. One thing that stood out were the guys were very kind and were cool enough to show me how the MOTOGRATER instrument was used and how to play it. Probably one of the cooler happenings in my life.
It’s been many years since that day but anytime the band name is mentioned that is my first memory of them and how down to earth they were at our interview. For some of you living under a rock MOTOGRATER started out with Ivan Moody and the debut self-titled album was released back in 2003 with the hit SUFFOCATE and DOWN.
This new release DESOLATION is the band’s first full-length album since the 2003 Elektra/No Name self-titled release. Now fronting the band is James Anthony Legion (Deadform/The Breathing Process). With the bands hiatus and some front man changes they are finally a secured and powerful line up with Legion leading and the rest of the band – Matthew “Nuke” Nunes – Guitar, Jesse Stamper – Guitar, Mylon Guy – Bass, Noah “Shark” Robertson – Drums, Dustin “Skunk” Anderson – Motograter, Joey Vice – Smurs/Samples/Vocals giving him the dark metal/rock backdrop he needs for the even mixture of gritty and clean vocals.
DESOLATION is a record that bleeds the blood sweat and tears of the band. Fans who have stuck by them will be appeased by the record. The MOTOGRATER sound is still there; dark, heavy, melodic and the sound uniqueness filters through from start to finish.
The band gave you a taste with a single/video of PARASITE (produced by Brian Cox of Flarelight Films (Gemini Syndrome/Hollywood Undead). PARASITE also features guest keys/samples from Justin Fowler (of American Head Charge) long before the album came out and even toured a bit to get you guys ready for DESOLATION. Now that the album has been released, everyone’s ears can hear it – and from the rock/metal charts the fans worldwide are loving what the band created. One track I was a huge fan of was BLEEDING THROUGH, which shows off more of a singing quality and just a simple melody driven track – but yet has a “big sounding” display of dark rock.
The band’s second single DORIAN is climbing the charts and a new video will debut this week. For now, the guys keep plugging away on the road and they won’t be letting up anytime soon.
I had a chance to chat with drummer Noah “shark” Robertson about the hiatus, the video for DORIAN and what songs he is most proud of off the album.
You guys have been on quite a hiatus. After finding your new singer, why did it take so long for the album to be written and to come out?
Number of reasons for that… It took a while to gather the finances. Also, our producer is in a touring band himself. We have been touring a lot and we wanted to make sure this album was the best it could be.
The band as a whole has gone through a few different singers. Was it a lack of the commitment that made the band change? Or do you specifically look for something in a singer to front this band?
It definitely takes a special person to front this band… we are constantly changing and evolving. This is the most solid line-up this band has had in a long time.
With new singer James Legion how has the lyrical content changed? How has James enhanced the sound of the band? The lyrics seem deeper and darker on the new album “Desolation”.
Legion is a great lyricist. We all made every effort to keep the classic Moto vibe with a modern twist. The lyrical content isn’t too far from the first album, just an evolution and continuation…
Since this band first created the MOTOGRATER (the instrument) how has it evolved over time?
The MOTOGRATER is sacred to this band. We don’t give away too much info on it… But the sound has grown and evolved along with the band.
Does the MOTOGRATER factor into the writing of music and overall songwriting in general? Could you start a song idea from a sound from it like a guitar riff?
The MOTOGRATER doesn’t factor too much into the song writing these days… But behind the scenes, some really cool Moto jams have occurred.
Which song from “Desolation” are you most proud of? What makes that song so special?
For me it’s “DAGGERS” and “LOCUST”. Very cool songs, drum wise. Fun to play – and extremely catchy.
The tribal paint is a big part of your stage presence. Why does it have enduring meaning for the band and has it changed, or will it change, with each new album you produce?
The paint is a tradition, like many things in this band. We take it very seriously. We experiment and add things here and there… recently we have been bringing the color red back more prominently.
You guys did a tour (which I saw you on) before the album came out. How was it being back on the road and what new dynamic has James brought to the stage that is new and refreshing that long time MOTOGRATER fans will appreciate?
He is creepy! Very scary on stage. Legion has a very intense stage presence, you never know what he’s going to do… I’ve seen him flipping and flying through the air and crowd surfing… Being on the road is a very rewarding experience. It’s insanely tough, but our fans make it worth it.
Your new single “Dorian” has already hit the Billboard Indicator Rock charts after a short period of time. How does it feel knowing that all your hard work is being appreciated by fans and music critics out there, especially with such a long period between albums?
It’s the best feeling in the world. We put everything into this. The response so far has been overwhelming, and we are really grateful.
When will we be seeing the video for “DORIAN”? Why did you pick the old prison setting for the video shoot?
The prison was gnarly! So scary and dark, we had to shoot there! We played “Ink In The Clink” recently and we just knew we had to make a video shoot happen while in Mansfield (Ohio). Being in there, you could just feel the history. The video should be out any day now – It will blow your mind! Chris from Human Twelve is a great director!
You’re heading out on tour in September – any cities in particular that you are looking forward to playing?
Kansas City always; Dallas is rad. The Midwest is good to us, so we love playing there.
Any Last comments – something you haven’t shared in other interviews?
Moto lives – Thanks for all the continued love and support! Pick up a copy of ‘DESOLATION’!
Let’s end with a game of “This or That”: pick one from each question below, and explain why you picked it.
Pepsi or Coke? Diet Coke
Summer or Winter tours? Summer.
Small Clubs or Big Festivals? Love those intimate shows at small clubs.
Pizza or Sushi? Pizza.
Puppies or Kitties? Sharks.
Friday the 13th or Halloween? Mike Myers – Halloween!
BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
PROJECTED is an American super-group consisting of members from highly successful bands in the rock scene; John Connolly (voice/guitar) and Vinnie Hornsby (bass player) of the well know Sevendust. Scott Phillips drummer of Creed/Alter Bridge and Eric Friedman of Submersed and now in Tremonti playing guitar.
Back in 2012 these guys decided to work together and write a record; Connolly said “we're just going to go in here and have fun with this”, having that laid-back attitude created the debut album HUMAN, which was highly accepted in the rock world.
With commitments of the members full time bands a few years passed, but a lot of work went into what would now be the sophomore album of this hard rock band.
IGNITE MY INSANITY came out July 21, 2017 and has produced the first single RELOAD that is pure power and hard rock; and more recently IGNITE the 2nd single that is darker, powerful and hands on full of chaos and pure beauty. This double record is pretty stellar with hills and valleys of rock soundscapes all while blessing us with the amazing talents of these guys. It has a massive amount of rock power, melodic overtones and some hard rock aggression to wet the palette of rock fans young and old. Vocally Connolly is a natural and his range and sound is just purely heaven in my opinion.
I had a chance to speak with John Connolly about the new disc, how it feels to be up front singing and if a tour will happen with this line up.
WAS THE ONLY REASON YOU GUYS WAITED SO LONG FOR ANOTHER ALBUM DUE TO THE FACT YOUR OTHER BANDS WERE BUSY OR DID YOU THINK YOUR FIRST ALBUM WAS GOING TO BE JUST A ONE TIME THING?
You never know if something is going to be a one-time thing. Predicting the future is not something I'm good at lol, but in all honesty, there are 7 reasons why it took so long. 2 Alter Bridge records, 2 Tremonti records and 3 Sevendust records. Life just kind of happens and PROJECTED is not replacing anything. It’s something we do in addition to everything else. Writing, recording and releasing a 21-song album took every bit of spare time between the other 7 records that were released in those 5 years.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE GOING INTO A SIDE PROJECT LIKE THIS THEN DOING A STUDIO ALBUM WITH YOUR BAND?
So many differences really, but the recording process is probably the biggest. This is mostly recorded at home and done on a super tight budget. It's for fun and we never put ourselves in a hole to make it.
IGNITE MY INSANITY HAS A LOT OF MATERIAL ON IT; FIRST OFF HOW FAST DID ALL THESE SONGS COME TOGETHER FOR YOU GUYS?
Once the process started, it came together very quickly. After the first few songs, they came together fast. I never sit down and say, this is what the record is going to be about. They come to you and you either accept it or not. Kind of like going fishing. You are never really sure what you're going to catch, but once you start you have a pretty good idea what is going to come.
STORY LINE CONCEPT FOR THIS ALBUM COULD YOU BRIEFLY TELL US WHAT IT IS ABOUT AND WHERE DID YOU PULL FOR INSPIRATION FOR THE LYRICAL CONTENT?
It's about realizing you're going insane and sorting through the process of dealing with it. The voices in your head are getting louder and more convincing and you realize they won't ever stop, so you have to find a way to cope and deal with life that has them apart of it. Mostly internal, but sometimes external things that can ignite the insanity.
ONE SONG THAT IS ON REPEAT FOR ME IS FAITH I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THAT SONG CAN YOU TELL ME HOW THAT CAME ABOUT AND DOES IT HAVE A SPECIAL MEANING TO YOU?
That's very personal to me because it’s my wife's song. It's the single moment that I put myself personally into the insanity and wanted to write something for her specifically. I almost didn't include it because it sort of didn't fit the concept, but after going back and forth with it, I realized it fit because it was honest and was part of the process whether you are going insane or not.
DID MORGAN CO-WRITE SOME SONGS WITH YOU AND WHEN THAT HAPPENS ALONG WITH YOU HAVING VINNIE IN THE BAND DO YOU GUYS TRY TO WRITE DIFFERENTLY FROM WHEN YOU'RE WRITING FOR A SEVENDUST SONG?
Morgan co-wrote “CONCEDE." I don't "try to write" ever to be honest with you. I don't sit down and say, I'm going to write a ballad today or I'm going to write a heavy song today. I pick up the guitar and start playing. Never sure of where I'm going until I get there. I do the same with Sevendust, but Sevendust always has 5 cooks in the kitchen at all times. PROJECTED has 1 to start and once the basic idea is in place, the other 4 are brought in. Same process, but different results based on the involvement of the rest of the band.
WHAT WAS THE REASONING YOU WERE SPEAKING TO THESE CERTAIN GUYS SINCE YOU KNOW SO MANY MUSICIANS; WHAT SPECIAL CHARACTERISTICS WAS IT THAT MADE YOU WANT TO WRITE WITH THEM?
I asked people that were cool to be a part of the project. All dear friends that I have personal relationships with. I never considered characteristics. I purely went off my friendships for this. No more no less!
HOW DOES IT FEEL BEING THE FRONT MAN AND USING YOUR VOICE IN FULL POTENTIAL?
It feels different because it's outside of my comfort zone, but that's part of why I did it. Growth usually comes when you are uncomfortable and doing things you aren't sure about, or at least for me it is. Some people learn new licks, or learn new styles of music. For me, I enjoy learning all the processes within the style of music I create.
IGNITE IS A PRETTY KILLER TRACK AND YOU MADE IT A VIDEO IS THIS YOUR FIRST SINGLE AND VIDEO WHAT MADE YOU FEEL THAT WOULD REPRESENT THE ALBUM BEST? AND HOW WAS THE VIDEO MAKING?
Thanks so much, but IGNITE wasn't the lead single. RELOAD was as was the video we shot for it. RELOAD is part one and IGNITE is part two of the videos. Video shoot was great but crazy. We shot from 5 pm till around 4 am and we shot them back to back in the same shoot.
I’M SURE YOU GET ASKED ALL THE TIME BUT WILL WE EVER SEE A PROJECTED TOUR IF YOU GUYS ALL HAD DOWN TIME AT THE SAME TIME? OR WOULD YOU TRY TO GET A PACKAGE TOUR WITH YOUR REGULAR BANDS AND HAVE PROJECTED OPEN THE SHOW?
We are going to try for sure. We enjoyed this enough to make another record, so touring is something we'd love to do. Biggest issue we face is the push pull of Alter Bridge-Tremonti since we have a member in both bands and finding time in the schedules is a challenge. But, I think we can find a way to make it work at some point.
LAST COMMENTS TO YOUR FANS?
Thanks for all the love and support and hope to see ya'll on tour sometime in the not too distant future.
A little game this or that.
Horror movies or comedy movies? Horror
Winter touring or summer touring? Summer
Crossfit workouts or bodybuilding workouts? Bodybuilding
Melodic singing or aggressive screaming? Melodic
Ice cream or brownies? Ice cream
Bud light or coors light? Coors Light
By: Stephanie Stevens
I remember seeing GEMINI SYNDROME open up for Nonpoint back in the day when they were touring for LUX the band’s debut album that was released back in 2013. The bands single STARDUST was climbing the charts and everyone was talking about them. Once I saw them perform live I was a fan, the band brings this memorizing charisma to the stage and to watch drummer Brian Steele Medina is a show in its self; he has such enjoy and body moves that will make you not want to look away. On a whole GEMINI SYNDROME that night kicked my ass in a live sense and since then I have been jamming to these guys on my playlist ever since.
The work on the band’s new album, MEMENTO MORI that the band is currently still road dogging on is even more advance and depth in character from the music to the lyrical content and blew me away with tracks like ZEALOT, ALIVE INSIDE, SORRY NOT SORRY and ANONYMOUS. The band puts together these harder rock beats with melody driven choruses and atmospheric soundscapes that intertwine everything into this masterpiece of 15 songs. Every time a new album comes from these creative geniuses it gets better and better so I can’t wait to see what the installment of chapter 3 in the bands arsenal will entail. For now, I had a chance to speak with singer Aaron Nordstrom while he was out on the road about new songs, road life and a pet mascot.
HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING ON NEW MATERIAL FOR A NEW ALBUM?
IF YOU HAVE HOW HAS THE MUSIC GROWN SINCE MEMENTO MORI WAS WRITTEN?
We are always working on new music. Putting ideas down that eventually will turn into full songs for the next album. As far as how it's grown we will just have to see when the final product is done.
ANY TIME FRAME WHEN A NEW ALBUM MIGHT DROP?
No time frame yet. We're still in the cycle of Memento Mori
WHEN MEMENTO MORI WAS WRITTEN DID CHARLES AND DAN HAVE A BIG PART IN THE WRITING AND IF THEY DID OR DID NOT HOW HAS THEIR CREATIVENESS HELPED IN THE FUTURE OF SONGWRITING IDEAS FOR YOU GUYS?
Charles and Dan weren't involved in the band when we wrote it. The album was primarily written by myself AP and Brian. Since this last tour we have parted ways with them. They're great guys and great players and we wish them the best in whatever they do next.
ZEALOT IS ONE OF MY FAV OFF THE DISC HOW DID THAT SONG COME ABOUT AND LYRICALLY WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION?
We co-wrote some of ZEALOT with David Draiman. He's a great guy and we were honored to have him involved. The lyrics came from an interview on the daily show actually. The author wrote a book called zealot and the interview inspired the rest of the poem.
YOU AS A BAND SEEM TO BE SO MUCH MORE THEN MUSIC GUYS YOU FIND GUIDANCE AND INSPIRATION FROM OTHER OUTLETS JUST SEEING HOW YOUR ARTWORK ON ALBUM COVERS AND THE WAY YOU GUYS ARE ONSTAGE. WHAT BRINGS YOU THE MOST JOY OTHER THEN MAKING MUSIC?
I study traditional Chinese Kung Fu and in general we study a lot of different ideologies. Including religion, psychology, philosophy, esoteric mysteries, art. The list goes on and on.
ITS BEEN ALMOST A YEAR SINCE THE LAST DISC CAME OUT AND ON THE FIRST DISC YOU HAD RELEASED MANY SINGLES TO SUPPORT THE DISC DO YOU HAVE MORE SINGLES COMING OUT TO PROMOTE MEMENTO MORI OR HAS ITS TIME BEEN TICKED AWAY?
I think we're planning on one more single from this album.
HOW HAS YOUR LIVE SET GROWN WITH THE NEW SONGS BEING PLAYED AND DO YOU HAVE ONE OF THE NEWER SONGS YOU LOVE PLAYING LIVE AND IF YOU DO WHY?
I love playing all the new material. We toured on LUX for a long time so it's a breath of fresh air to play new songs.
IF YOU HAD A PET MASCOT ON YOUR BUS WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHAT WOULD YOU CALL IT?
If I could I would bring my Pitbull Stella. She's a little too big for a tour bus though.
IF YOU COULD SIT DOWN WITH ONE LITERATURE GENUIS TO GET A CONCEPT FOR A NEW SONG WHO WOULD YOU PICK AND WHY?
I would pick Robert Anton Wilson. One of my favorite authors of all time. Sadly, he passed away a few years ago.
YOU GUYS LOVE TO DO WHEN YOU HAVE A DAY OFF ON THE ROAD?
Watch movies and sleep. I try and train Kung Fu when I can as well.
WHATS THE REST OF YOUR SUMMER LOOKING LIKE INTO THE FALL?
We have a short run in August and we are working out the details for the rest of the year. Details will be announced asap.
Thanks for doing this with me. Take care and hopefully we see you soon.