NEW MUSIC: Bullet To The Heart drops their new bad ass single and video for "Falling Away" - WATCH IT HERE
INTERVIEW: Stephanie Stevens talks with Birmingham, Alabama rockers 7 Stone Riot as they discuss their new single "Manipulation", what they have been doing in 2020 and their biggest role models among more! - READ IT HERE
7 STONE RIOT
Enhancing your quality of life
with new single MANIPULATION
BY STEPHANIE STEVENS
Step into the new era of Birmingham, Alabama's 7 STONE RIOT. A band who is unleashing the darker side of rock on their new single MANIPULATION. a track significantly mesmerizing and melodically haunting with tons of heavier overtones. I was honestly blown away from the growth in sound these guys have creatived vs. Their old EP SCRATCHING THE SURFACE.
The band, brothers Whit Millsap-vocals, Tyler Millsap-bass, Todd Mlsap-guitar along with Reid Aldridge-guitar and Skyler McCain - drums started in 2012 has a cover band which helped them find the path to songwriting that they they applied to 7 STONE RIOTs sound.
The newest single MANIPULATION is about how we all are manipulated by something whether we believe it or not. The steady flow heavy power and delicate melody is going to unite music fans of all genres.
Visually the guys brought even more life to the song as the video is haunting, dark and phantom like as you watch the "demons" seduce and manipulate as the evocative storyline embeds your thoughts.
The growth I see in this band already is making me believe that they are one of the bands to keep your eye on as we roll into 2021.
I had a chance to speak with vocalist Whit Millsap about creating their sound, the unique recording process for the track MANIPULATION, his biggest role model and what they worked on to get better at as we all went through the chaos of what we called the year 2020.
Q- I love seeing you family as a band. Did you all fall for the music bug around the same time and how did that surface to 7 stone riot?
A- Whit Millsap: We grew up around music all our lives. Our grandmother was a singer in New Orleans in the 60s. Our mom was a country singer in the late 90s early 2000s where she had a song on the billboard country charts. It took us a little longer to start playing instruments, I was 18 when I got my first guitar and Tyler was 16, but the first day we got them we thought maybe we should do something with this.
Q- You have two other members also in the band when searching for people to round out the band what were you looking for in musicians to come into this brotherhood?
A- Whit Millsap: I and Reid played high school baseball together so we knew each other but we didn’t know music was a big part of our lives. When I first started playing live music I was doing acoustic covers and Reid saw one of my videos posted on Facebook and sent me a message asking me if I wanted to come and jam sometime. I and Tyler went over there a couple of days later and from that day we decided we should give the band thing a shot.
Q- You guys also worked in an industry where you were around music in a live setting. Tell us how that impacted the business to the artistry of your band?
A- Whit Millsap: Working for All Events has been one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever worked. It has taught us a lot about running live sound, putting on a lights show, and how to act as a band when you get to those big festival-style shows. We work with a group of amazing sound guys who have helped us understand what each button and knob does on the soundboard so when we get to ours we can set it up just like we want it. This job it’s given us some close friendships with some great sound guys so whenever we have a show and one of them doesn’t have a gig they will go with us to our show and run our sound, which is nice.
Q- What is the hardest thing about creating a signature sound for your band when you are surrounded by so many influential role models that you grew up listening to?
A- Whit Millsap: We don’t think creating our own sound is hard with all the influences. We think all of our different influences is what gives us our sound. We all like different styles of rock music. I tend to lean towards the 90’s rock with bands like Tool, Alice In Chains, and Stone Temple pilots. I love bands with good melodies so I also tend to listen to bands such as 3 doors down and matchbox 20. Reid is a fan of the heavier side of music with bands like Sevendust, Tremonti, and Korn. Tyler is a fan of the progressive style with bands like Tesseract, Monuments, and Karnivool. Todd likes it all anywhere from the Weekend to Meshugga. Skylar is your typical drummer and loves the bands Vinnie Paul, Chris Adler, Shannon Larkin, Jeremy Spencer, and Mike Portnoy are in. I feel like when you mix all of those bands you come up with our sound.
Q- You just released a brand new song called MANIPULATION. An intense word with meaning. What projected the song for you to take this shape lyrically?
A- Whit Millsap: When you sit back and really think about it everyone is manipulated by something. That’s why everyone has different beliefs. Everyone is pressured into doing things whether you want to do it or not so you’re manipulated into feeling hate for something or love for something. If someone were to live my life and go through all of my manipulations they would have the same views just like if I lived someone else’s life I would probably have totally different views on things. So in the end we’re all the same we just have been through different manipulations that have given us the views that we have.
Q- The new song also takes a darker approach musically for you guys do you feel this is the real sound and feel of 7 stone riot?
A- Whit Millsap: We feel like this is the start of the real sound of 7 Stone Riot. We did this song differently than anything else we’ve written. Before we would split up and say each person write their part and then we would come back together and make it a song. With "Manipulation", each person gave their opinion on every part of this song. I feel like this is the approach we will be taking for every song we write now because it really helped fine-tune each part of the song. The melody and lyrics were totally different at the start of this song than it is now because once we all got together and put different ideas into the melodies and lyrics it really started taking a different life that we all loved. Once we changed the melody it opened up even more ideas for the instruments which were really cool to do.
Q- Can you talk about the DIY approach you took for recording the new song and after all was said and done turns out it's one of your favorite sounding songs. What do you think it was that made it more sacred to you?
A- Whit Millsap: With everything getting locked down at the beginning of the year we felt like this would be the perfect opportunity to release something new. None of the studios were open so what we did was turn our guitar player Reid Aldridge’s garage into a studio. We had a ton of moving blankets so we created a vocal booth made out of moving blankets plywood and pipping. After that, we then spent some money on some professional mics so we could still get that studio-quality sound out of our recordings. We were able to record every instrument inside the vocal booth we made and to our surprise sounded just like what it would have sounded like if we went to the studio. When we were done with all of the recordings we sent it to our producer Ken Lanyon who would give us different ideas to do and when that was done he mixed and mastered it. We were really surprised at how it sounded considering we recorded this all in a garage.
Q- How important to you is "performing" the song be it video or live show and do you feel you can get more of the story out in this way more than just having fans sit home and listen?
A- Whit Millsap: I feel like with a video you get a lot more emotion out of the song. With the video, we kinda left it up to the viewer to make their own assumption about what it means. Everyone in the band has different views on what the video is meaning which is what we were going after.
Q- Some bands feel that singles are the way to go since the music industry has changed a bit. What do you feel about that vs full length and where does your bandstand on this topic?
A- Whit Millsap: We all kinda feel like releasing singles is the way to go right now. Recording full-length albums with a professional sound to it takes so much money these days that it’s hard to do that without being signed to a label. With all the advantages we have these days with social media you don’t necessarily need a record label to get noticed you just need a song that catches everyone’s attention.
Q- What is the one thing you worked on in 2020 through this chaos be it musically or personal that you have enhanced or have you learned something new?
A- Whit Millsap: One of the things we did was upgrade our equipment. Our main goal is to give a professional sounding performance and to do that you have to have the right equipment. We also took a few weeks to ourselves and not thought about anything musical for those few weeks. After those few weeks, we got back together and our creative mindsets were a lot better so taking a little bit of time off is always a good thing to do.
Q- Who would you consider your biggest role model that has made you the man/musician you are today and why have they?
A- Whit Millsap: To me, I’m going to have to with Garth Brooks. When I was 3 years old back when he was taking over the world I was his biggest fan. I use to dress up like him and run around the living room pretending I was him during a concert while a videotape of his concert played on the tv. I knew all his movements on stage and what he was going to say to the crowd. Once I saw him perform and the reaction he would get out of a crowd I always wanted to do what he does.
Q- What do you hope people walk away with after being introduced to 7 stone riot?
A- Whit Millsap: We hope that people really enjoy the messages we’re are trying to say with our music. Our messages tend to be uplifting by saying we’re all going through things you just have to fight through all the bad and you’ll end up where you want to be.
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NEW MUSIC: KISSING CANDICE drops their new Single "TAPEWORM", NOW Available - LISTEN + WATCH IT HERE
LONG ISLAND, NY - Kissing Candice has been leaving their horror-imprint of heavy metal since 2012. They've set an indelible design with their music and trademark masks. Now with the release of their single/video "Tapeworm" they’ve brought it all together as the five members of Kissing Candice have teamed up with a few different special effects artists to create their new masks (see list of artists below).
INTERVIEW: Stephanie Stevens talks with Rochester, NY band OVTLIER as she talks with them about their new single "Who We Are" and much more! - READ IT HERE
Unleashes new single WHO WE ARE
BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
Rochester, NY's OVTLIER shines with brilliance as they keep unleashing music that has a blend of enticing bits of heaviness , dark aura and emotional melody to round out massive powerful pieces of art.
The band made a name for themselves with the 7 song disc WHAT DOESNT KILL YOU. With solid tracks like BURIED ME ALIVE, BROKEN BONES and BREAK.
Inspired by everything 80s/90s. Grunge to Nu Metal band members Joey Arena vocals, guitarists Kane Buckley and Nolan Hayes, bassist Paul Milne and drummer Mike Wilkinson create a alluring hybrid sound.
The bands newest single WHO WE ARE was co written with Ice Nine Kills Justin DeBlieck and is taking the modern rock world by storm as the band delves into the dark and trauma induced story of toxic relationships. With raging tone, impeccable breakdowns and duality of vocal range its a creattion of power, mood and dynamics.
OVTLIER is one band who will surprise you with raw songwriting so be on the lookout for more personal and intense work from this stellar band.
I had a chance to speak with frontman Joey Arena who gave me some incite on the band, is background in music, the songs and more.
Q: In the beginning was OVTLIER a solo project for you and what made you turn it into a full fledge band?
A: I did not create Ovtlier with the intentions of being a solo project but knew that it be easier to find like minded musicians once I had laid out the foundation.
Q: Your newest single WHO WE ARE do you feel you have honed in on the sound you wanted for the band?
A: Being that I like to incorporate different elements of Rock & Metal, I feel we will forever continue to evolve and put out music that we feel best suits us. "Who We Are" showcases how big we like to go with a chorus and the different styles of vocals I like to work into the mix.
Q: The new stuff you guys are writing is going to be on a more personal level as we saw in WHO WE ARE, what is the pro and cons when reaching into that kind of emotion?
A: The pro's are that I will be using it as therapy. I look forward to no longer carrying the weight. I can only hope that it will inspire those to love, self reflect and work on themselves as they go through life.
Q: With this recent single out does this mean a new EP or maybe full length disc is in the works and if so do you have any ETA on when it will be released? And how can fans support you going forward until you can get out and tour again?
A: For now, we will continue to put out singles. It gives each song the undivided attention it deserves. For support, we strongly push that people follow and subscribe to our streaming platforms such as Spotify, YouTube, Pandora, etc.
Q: Where do you guys currently reside and how is the atmosphere over there with 2020 impacting so much?
A: We are all spread out amongst Upstate, NY. Buffalo and Rochester. I have been to some of the headlining hot spots for protests and Rochester with some rioting.
Q: Where did you grow up and how much did that atmosphere encourage and support your decision on being a musician?
A: I grew up in Rochester, NY. I was introduced into an amazing local music scene at the age of 13 that unfortunately, many locals today will never experience that type of diversity, support and popular appeal. I'm grateful that I was able to experience it.
Q: It's been a few years since your EP WHAT DOESN'T KILL YOU came out, looking back on critic's words, fans words about the music, what is the biggest thing you walked away from and thought about walking into making new music?
A: "What Doesn't Kill You" was written in 2014 and released years later. I'm proud of that EP and all the hard work that producer, Evan McKeever and myself put into it while looking through the flaws. I walked away only looking forward and growing with in my vision of what Ovtlier can and will become.
Q: Is guitar always going to be your first passion when it comes to music?
A: Guitar will be my first love but I enjoy being a vocalist and all the types of character I can tap into with it.
Q: When did you realize you could be a vocalist and did you have any classical training?
A: I dabbled with back up vocals and harmonies in any mid-2000's projects and took my first steps as a vocalist in 2009, completely ignorant and uneducated and learning the hard way of what goes in to being a vocalist. I began taking lessons in the midsts of writing "What Doesn't Kill You" and have taken lessons throughout the past 5 years.
Q: Is there a big difference emotional creating say a riff or melody vs. writing a lyrical story for you? And if so can you sum up each feeling doing both?
A: Sometimes there will be a musical progression that can hit me in that spot just as almost a lyrical concept and when they both work together is where you can find magic. Its not always the case but definitely a goal. I believe both will speak and impact significantly to me.
Q: BURIED ME ALIVE is one song from that older EP that stood out for me. The vocals immediately stuck with me. Can you describe how the vocal diversity came to be on that track?
A: Buried is a very special track for me. Its about the love for music and how I consider her to be "the girlfriend that never loved me back". She will always be there but you are forever constantly having to work for the relationship to progress.
Q: Out of everything you could do in the world what made you want to become a musician/artist?
A: I picked up music at the age of 11 when a friend introduced me to it and its been love since then.
Q: How do you view of the state of Rock N Roll and if could change anything what would you change?
A: I believe Rock is on the rise and will compete at the level Pop and Rap are at. I look forward to more rock artists beating mainstream Pop and Rap artists out of charts.
Q: Other than music what is your other biggest passions?
A: I'm a hairstylist and own a remodeling business, constantly enjoy creating. I do enjoy going to the gym as often as possible as well as hiking.
Q: If you could describe the support you have gotten from music fans in one sentence what would you say?
A: Nothing is more self rewarding than someone who loves and supports what you love.
Q: Empower another artist and tell us who your biggest inspiration is and why?
A: I love any and all artists that go against the grain and not afraid to be themselves.
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