We recently interviewed New Jersey metal band City Of Tyrants as we discussed their new album Revelations and MORE!
By Raquel LeTeph
City of Tyrants has taken on a unique challenge as they have created an album, 'Revelations' to tell an epic tale. 'Revelations' is a concept album that tells the story of a god-like figure chosen to fulfill a prophecy. He is faced with several challenges that will eventually break him down causing him to become the evil which he sought to destroy. The first single off the album "Astral Projection" opens COT's new album to take your musical ear on a journey.
RL: What is the music scene like in the New Jersey area? Does the local sound influence you as a band?
Kevin Michael: The music scene in New Jersey is interesting. It's very eclectic but there's always been a strong metal scene. We didn't look to the local sound so much for influence. For us, it was about taking what we did on our last EP and figuring out how to take that to a whole new level on 'Revelations'.
RL: What got each of you interested in playing an instrument? Do you still play the same one that you began with?
Kevin Michael: We all have different backgrounds as far as this question goes. I started on drums and have remained on drums, Charlie likes to play guitar but his focus has always been vocals, Ching and Ed both tried out different instruments in HighSchool but stuck primarily with guitar and I believe Josh was primarily a guitarist before becoming the full-time bassist in the band. We all had that one band when we were young who we heard and instantly knew that we were meant to pick up an instrument.
RL: You took on a different approach to this album, where did the idea come from for this album?
Kevin Michael: Charlie and I developed the concept early on in the writing process. We wanted to do something challenging that we hadn't tried before. While writing it we thought of it more like writing a script for a movie. We had to pay very close attention to every little detail to ensure the whole story was cohesive. Instrumentally, we also threw in a few recurring themes to tie the album together. It was a great experience that helped us evolve as a band and individually.
RL: How did the writing process work?
Kevin Michael: Our writing process is interesting. The songs sometimes started out as simple as a melody played on guitar, piano or an interesting synth. Other times, Ching and Ed would write a great guitar riff that we were able to build off of. For example the electronic intro to the song 'NARAKA' was written a couple months before the guys ever laid down a guitar track for it. When we find a strong theme or "global melody" if you will, we like to run with it and just do what feels natural. Once the instruments were all tracked we wrote and tracked the vocals which were probably the most exciting part of the whole process.
RL: Was everyone on board to create an album that became a whole story?
Kevin Michael: Once Charlie had the concept worked out lyrically, he presented it to everyone and we were all on board. Since it was new, it seemed like it would be a lot more fun than writing a random collection of songs.
RL: Discuss the structure of the album and how musically it flows... did you find doing an album this way to be easy or difficult?
Kevin Michael: I wouldn't say it was easy, but we had a very well thought out plan. Structurally, the album is very cohesive. Every song is a progression of the main character who's questioning his own ideology and fighting his urges to become the opposite of what he set out to be at the beginning of the story. For the sake of keeping this short I'll say that thematically, its actually pretty dark and every song builds towards the character's demise.
RL: Would you create an album this way again or is it one and done?
Kevin Michael: I think we would do a concept album again in the future but we don't have any plans for it. We'd like to try something a little different on every record.
RL: Since you are a relatively new band, what’s the best advice you have ever gotten from another musician or band?
Kevin Michael: We worked with Lukas Magyar of Veil Of Maya on this album who co-wrote some of the vocals. He gave a lot of great advice along the way but something that resonated with me was when he told us "no matter what, keep doing what you're doing". As simple as that sounds, it's important to build self-confidence, keep moving forward and to be proud of the music you create.
RL: What advice would you pass along to another band starting out?
City of Tyrants: Never limit yourself! Always try to keep an open mind and let your sound evolve.
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