Many might see their latest photo as perhaps as Visual Kei, sure their Gothic-Glam crossover is one to admire and for the ladies to swoon over. But this quintet are no pushovers, in fact what we could see here is in fact the dawn of a new scene in Italy, as the guys in Beyond The Fallen go on to explain, hailing from the Vatican City (or Italy) is not as weird as it seems, or is it?
Hi guys, for those who do not know of Beyond The Fallen could you give us a brief history? Are you really from the Vatican?
"Hey there! We are Beyond The Fallen, an industrial metalcore band born and raised in the Vatican City, as odd as it may sound. We started the band back in 2014, releasing a full length album named "You Rise, We Fall". In 2015 we released a remix EP named "Re:Fall", while our latest piece of work is a single called "Anima"."
Italy has had a long-standing history with the industrial music sound, what makes it so popular there (if so)?
"Actually, metal bands and in general alternative music in Italy doesn't work out as well as it may seem from the outside. There's been probably one, maybe two alternative bands that actually "made it" in the alternative music scene, but truth is any metal band in Italy knows very well that the only way to make it is to gain attention from international labels and fans. "
You recently released your new video 'Anima', what makes the sound different in comparison to older songs? Is there a story behind the video?
" "Anima" was our first work with our guitarist Yuki, who entered the band after the release of our first LP. We wanted to evolve our sound from the very harsh, raw industrial of our first record to something more polished and modern, and it turned out to be very easy and natural thanks to Yuki's approach to songwriting and music in general, which was very different from what we've had with "You Rise, We Fall". The result was a more metalcore-ish song, with loud guitars and a lot of changes in the song moods. We kept some of our key elements though, like synths and drum-work, and the mix turned out to be an excellent starting point for us in our pursuit of a new sound.
About the video, we did something different this time around. In our first video, "Disconnected", we played a lot with dark and sick atmospheres, trying to achieve something that would confuse and impress the viewer. With "Anima" we did the opposite. The white background gives a sense of clarity, everything is bright and visible and while there are still some strange, confusing elements (thanks to our wonderful actors and costume designers) the action is quite clear so the viewer can focus more on the overall flow instead of wtf-ing about what's happening on screen."
How was it working with Utau Yume on the music video? Would you invite her on tour with you?
"We've had a great experience working with Utau Yume. It was our first time working with someone else, and her music is so different from ours that we actually were a bit concerned about how things could turn out. Instead, everything went extremely smooth. Songwriting sessions with her were very easy and fun, and everything came out naturally. Not to mention her incredible performance! We'd love to bring her with us on stage, it's something we already thought and talked about, and we can't deny that it could surely happen."
What has the international response to your music been like so far? Have you had any fans come from any countries that you were surprised by? What do people in your area think of your music?
"We've had a great support from both national and international fans. Most of them were surprised about how different "Anima" was from our previous work, but thankfully in a good way. With the release of the single we also printed physical copies of it and of our previous LP and EP, which were only digital at the time of release. We still don't know why but it seems our music gets a lot of love in Mexico.
We tried to reach countries like Germany, UK and of course the US, but the love and support we receive from Mexican fans is something we didn't expect at all and we're very happy and grateful about it. We also have fans from Japan, and our love for the people there and the country itself was what led us to write a song in japanese. About Italy, we played several shows around the country in the last 2 years, and we managed to reach a lot of people who supports us in a wonderful way."
With the popularisation of the 'Gothic Metalcore' movement inspired by Motionless In White, would you consider them and yourselves as pioneers of the said genre? Or what you describe yourselves as?
"MIW could totally be considered pioneers, but for us, we don't consider what we do pioneering at all. We had an idea, back then, to try and mix our love for the '90s industrial scene with modern metal music, and we're still working on it to get to the sound we have in mind. When we'll reach that point, fans and critics will say if what we do is pioneering or not, but for us it's just trying to express ourselves in the way we think best suits what and who we are."
Does each member have their own unique look in terms of clothing and make-up? Would it be safe to say that you're influenced by the Visual Kei scene?
"We are totally influenced by the V-Kei scene! We went a little overboard in the promo material for "Anima", but with it being a song in Japanese, mostly for japanese fans, we felt it was natural and we've had a lot of fun building our looks and outfits. Every one of us has a very different taste in style so we find ourselves talking (and arguing) about our looks often when we have to shoot a video or some promo pics. While writing and playing music are of course our favourites things to do, we surely think and work a lot about our image in order to deliver something that's carefully thought and realized from start to finish."
Where does Beyond The Fallen go on from here (the music video release)? Debut album? UK / EU tour?
"We have a lot of material for our second LP, that should come out sometime around 2017. We'll start working in studio in October, and thanks to "Anima" we have a clearer idea about what the album will be. We can't wait to let you guys listen to it!"
Finally do you have any hello's or thank you's you wish to send out?
"We'd like to thank you for this interview of course! And also thanks to all of our fans for their incredible support, we never thought what we do could mean so much for people and every one of our fans is a reason for us to keep working as hard as we can."
Looking towards Eastern Europe and there are a load of bands out there with very little Western attention, but occasionally a band will trip the switch and cause such a surge throughout the underground that they'll make the media stop sipping their coffee and latch on to the disturbance. The latest product from the farther side of Europe is Ukrainian Metallers Jinjer of whom bolt together elements of Groove Metal and Metalcore to make something heavier than you're last hangover.
Bassist Eugene obliged to take GMA and guide us through the world of Jinjer...
For those who do not know your band, could you please give a brief background of the band and what your band name means
"Well, talking about the music seems to be a bit ridiculous, it's like describing an image to a blind person. You have to listen to Jinjer to understand fully what we are. But if you insist I will say the following... you will definitely like Jinjer if you are open-minded and enjoy diversity in music.
As for the name. Well, it's just a name. Originally there was no real meaning behind it... you know, when parents name a child John they don't usually put anything into it, just a good name. Though later on fans found some meaning, namely associating it with a distorted guitar sound: "jin-jer-jin-jer"."
There seems to be an increase in female musicians over the years, do you feel that the stigma towards female musicians is still there or has it gone?
"It is still on, but it tuned the wrong way in my mind. Too many voiceless chicks started doing peep-shows on stage instead of music... personally I try to avoid being tagged “female-fronted”. I see no real sense in differing bands by the front person's gender... we'd rather pick bands by their talents and creativity"
How did you all become involved in music? How have your parents reacted to your choice of music?
"Well, I come from a musician's family. My father used to be a bassist. And he brought me up with old-school rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and others... at the same time my elder brother was a guitarist and he introduced me into punk and grunge. So my family took it normally when I formed my first metal band. Of course the others were not so lucky. I know that Eugene was suffering from his parents blames till the recent time. "
You just recently released your latest offering 'King Of Everything', can you tell us more about the album in terms of what it regards, how long it took to make, favourite songs etc?
"The album has a certain conception. We as humans were born free and happy. No attachments to religion, state, society... We are free to choose our way, to express ourselves, free to act as we want to (unless we harm one's existence). But once we were tricked by some "king", we were fooled and enslaved. According to the "King of Everything" they are several. Choose yours):
- time (Captain Clock)
- past and other individuals left behind (Just Another)
- censorship (Words of Wisdom)
- ideology (Sit, Stay, Roll Over & Under the Dom)
- money and power (Dip a Sail)
- personality itself (Pisces)
'I Speak Astronomy' was written as a total opposition to those "kings". It is ruled by physical laws which are natural.
In general we spent about 4-5 months writing all of the songs... we were quite limited in time. When we signed the contract we only had a few songs, we were about to release a short EP, but Napalm needed a full length album, minimum 40 minutes. So we had to compose 7-8 songs during a short time. But the band managed to accumulate all the energy, creativity and inspiration... to some extent it was positive pressure – we made a very sincere album, we didn't have time to work out the material for a year or so. We expressed what we had in us honestly.
My favourite songs are definitely 'Pisces' and 'I Speak Astronomy'... these are very private songs for me. In some ways these are my confessions.
Will you be undertaking a tour in support of the album? With the UK pulling out of the EU are you concerned it may hinder your chances at playing in the UK?
"It seems that for us it didn't make any change! We are out of the EU, anyway we have to deal with British visas, which are extremely complicated! But we will do our best to visit the UK, believe me."
Taking interest in the Ukrainian Metal scene, what is the current status of the scene? Is the scene still going strong? What challenges specific to the scene are there?
"The scene is growing and developing little by little. We've got several super-cool bands, like Megamass, Zlam, Space of Variations and Joncofy, they are able to kick ass, believe me. The biggest problem is audience... we just don't have people going to live shows. There are only 5-6 cities where it is possible to bring 400-500 to a gig, and maybe 2-3 more where we can have 150-200... and that's all for a country of 42,000,000 population. And of course there are not many good clubs and venues."
What plans have you got for the rest of the year and into early 2017? Have you got any greetings you wish to send out?
"We will tour non-stop till the end of 2017. This is out priority. We kindly send our regards to every British fan of Jinjer, stay strong, friends, one day we will hit the stage in your neighbourhood."
Being a female metal or rock musician over the course of history has always dragged up challenges and problems that otherwise might not be experienced by their male counterparts. Firstly the immoral and unforgiving stigma directed towards said musicians has always proved an issue, but it's one that has been been challenged head on through arguably a whole plethora of successful artists and bands.
From the likes of Siousxie & The Banshees to Annie Lennox, from Sabina Classen and Orianthi to Vanilla Ninja and arguably the most prolific all-female metal band, Girlschool. These are musicians who stood up to the male-dominated arena of rock and metal, stuck the middle finger up and alluded to the notion of 'who said girls can't rock or mosh?' As AC/DC once put it, 'for those about to rock, we salute you' and for the female rock / metal musicians and subsequent all-female bands, we do exactly that, we salute you. One of these bands is Conquer Divide, who are rampaging and setting the USA on fire with their own unrelenting and uncompromising style of Alternative Post-Hardcore / Metalcore.
Let's be honest, it does not matter who or what you are, as long as you are happy playing music then those who remark on it can stick their opinion where it should belong. As Tamara quite rightly put it when speaking to Blabbermouth, "We are all girls, and you cant hide that, but we want people to focus more on the quality of the music," (http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/all-female-metal-band-conquer-divide-to-release-debut-album-in-july/), so with that in mind we asked our own questions and Izzy (guitarist) duly decided to respond to them.
Will the ongoing debate about female musicians disappear or has it already seen the end? What about the youth of today, could Conquer Divide offer themselves as inspiration for female musicians (whatever style of music) to aspire to? Izzy believes they can (we do too):-
"No, I don't think it's something that will fade away easily. I mean its pretty common for our musicality to be undermined because we are girls, that's the sad reality. On the flip side being an "all girl band" in a male dominated industry has given us an edge to create something different and stand out from the crowd. We definitely want to have a positive impact on young girls and show them that there is always room for girls in metal, you just have to dedicate yourself to do it!"
It would seem logical that giving girls instruments would open doors for newer creativity and ideas, just like the Japanese Metal scene has recently experienced with the phenomenal yet completely unforeseeable rise of Babymetal; well they did go completely viral in a very short space of time, truth be told not many people knew of their existence outside of Japan. Here's hoping that more and more females worldwide grab hold of an instrument or harness some sort of musical skill and form a band, or at least join one. So what about their heritage? Well they do have members originally from the USA, the UK and Serbia and so did this work out for them? Well clearly it did!
"The concept for Conquer Divide was originally formed in Michigan, USA. However to complete the line up the band had to outsource to different areas. It's hard enough finding dedicated musicians to create bands, and when you're specifically trying to find female musicians that's even harder, so that's why naturally we are from different areas. We write music with each other via the internet! Yay technology!"
With their debut self-titled album already out, surely the chances of a tour to support it's release seemed likely, well actually this is not the case. See, Conquer Divide have done the opposite and toured prior to the album release in support of it as Izzy goes on to explain (as well as speaking about current endeavours):-
"We released our album last summer whilst we were on the 2015 All Stars tour, so I guess that was our album release tour! We just came off tour with Slaves, Capture The Crown, Myka Relocate, Outline In Color and currently we have no tours coming up. We are busy doing some writing but we would love to hit the road again soon!"
With the band essentially coming fresh off the block on the international stage, we asked Izzy if she could describe the album's sound without the ill-fated genre tagging, what track(s) are her favourites and why. Most musicians have a stand-out track and usually these take the form of a single or music video as a way to showcase the track(s) they're most proud of. Logically speaking differentiating your song styles offers you greater choice at electing a song you like the most, moreover it allows a plethora of fans from different style preferences to come to like the release in question. However Izzy offered some unique advice when it comes to their album, "We just would advise fans to listen to the album from start to finish to really get a taste of what we are about." before adding:-
"Our album is pretty varied, we have heavy songs like "Heavy Lies The Crown" and "Despicable You" which are more screaming / guitar orientated and then lighter songs like "Broken" and "What's Left Inside" which really focus on Kia's singing abilities. I honestly like all the songs on our album (I know I know, a cop out answer) but for different reasons, for example "Heavy Lies The Crown" has awesome riffs, which for me being a guitarist is fun, "Nightmares" has some sweet synth sections in it."
Creating music as a musician or band, or working in the music industry in one of many outlets such as PR or record labels, show promoters or engineers etc., can be a strenuous job sometimes and as a result it can take toll on your body to the extent you just want out, so to avoid this dilemma musicians often indulge in other interests and or hobbies to take a break from said profession(s). So what does Izzy like to do?
"We all have different hobbies which is pretty cool, I know Kristen really likes travelling because on tour we don't really get to "see" a lot. I still like jamming guitar outside of tour, I'm pretty into working out and I like snowboarding!
And obviously by travelling you are able to take your music with you and not just on tour. Naturally with the internet lending itself as a major driving force for globalization, bands are finding that their music is being picked up in the unlikeliest and remotest parts of the world unbeknownst to them. Even for GMA as a media outlet we see people from the likes of Greenland to French Polynesia take note in what we do, so we have to thank the internet for that. But what of Conquer Divide? Has Social Media aided them well, and what does Izzy think of it's darker side?
"We seem to have a lot of fans in South America which is pretty sweet, our album actually debuted in Japan as well and people seem to dig our music there too! We are actually hoping to tour Japan soon so that's super exciting. I feel social media has been nothing but positive for bands, but modern technology kind of killed CD sales which makes it harder to make a living from music... but as a musician you just have to go with the flow and constantly adapt to the changes."
And with changes in mind, could we see Conquer Divide's debut album take on the form of being released in vinyl format as it's unprecedented resurgence continues to grip tighter on music consumerism?
"We have talked about it yes, but we haven't got any solid plans for it because we are unsure how much demand we have for vinyl..... so if anyone is reading this and wants our album on vinyl let us know!!!"
So what plans alongside the potential for their self-titled debut album being released on vinyl is there and what greetings does Izzy want to send out?
"More tours (hopefully outside of the USA), writing an acoustic EP and getting stuck into writing our second album! I think I can speak for all the girls when I say we want to thank our team at Artery, our supportive family and friends and of course our awesome fans who inspire, motivate and have created a platform for us to live our dreams on."
Check out their lyric video for 'At War' by clicking the inserted video above this text.
Conquer Divide's self-titled debut album is out via Artery Recordings
"A part of what makes a piece of art beautiful is that it is one of a kind that is meant to be experienced a certain way"
Since the American Metalcore / Post-Hardcore / Screamo unit Alesana unveiled the second part of their "Comedy of Errors" music video / mini-movie, GMA decided it was about time to take the band to the grill and interrogate them via the use of pincers. The conclusion of this chapter highlights a critical turning point of "The Annabel Trilogy" (the story in which their three album concept was based on). "Comedy of Errors" (from the new full-length, "Confessions") and it's accompanying video series is complete with an intriguing storyline of love, mystery, and time travel.
Let the interrogation begin...
Overall how hard (or easy) was it to construct and release the "The Annabel Trilogy"? Will there be any more trilogies?
"The trilogy was definitely an involved venture but one that has been very rewarding. I think that over time fans, both new and old, will really begin to appreciate the level of care that went into writing these albums and stories this way. I've been finishing up the complete short story and it has reminded me just how cool and involved this idea was and how proud I am that we were able to stick with it and see it through."
As you guys call yourself 'Pop Metal', do you feel the term has had backlash over the years? Is there a stigma towards pop music that metalheads generally have?
"If there has been I have not witnessed it first hand. Genres are, and always have been, a way to categorize and pigeonhole art. On one hand, it allows for people to siphon through things and get to new things that they may appreciate more quickly. On the other hand, it causes pre-emptive opinions to be formed. For me, if somebody doesn't like my art or music solely because of a genre lent to it then that is most likely a person I wouldn't want to invite into our creative world anyhow."
You've just released your second part of the "comedy of errors" music video, would fans of your music need to listen to the trilogy to understand the mini-movies?
"It certainly wouldn't hurt. I would definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys the videos to try to submerge themselves into the whole universe that we have created."
What plans do you have for the year ahead? Any tours over in the UK / in Europe?
"This year we are scaling back and taking a break to focus on our families and some other ventures. You haven't heard the last of Alesana just yet, however."
What challenges do you feel up-and-coming bands these days face more than ever? Is social media too heavily relied upon?
"Social media is 100% too heavily relied upon. Back at the beginning of our career we were immersed fully in the MySpace revolution. It was a huge help for us but that is because we used it to compliment our grass roots approach, we didn't rely solely upon the internet. A lot of young bands these days write a record, record it, take some photos, slap everything on Facebook and Bandcamp, sit back and wait, and then wonder why their band isn't blowing up. Playing shows, meeting people, and building relationships both with new fans and other bands is so important and a point that I think too many bands are missing these days."
A Heavy Metal movie hasn't really been done before, so could you imagine a film being made with purely metal musicians acting out characters? If you could remake a film, what one would you choose and why? Who would act the parts?
"That sounds like a fun idea. I'm a huge fan of movies and good television and honestly I do not like remakes. A part of what makes a piece of art beautiful is that it is one of a kind that is meant to be experienced a certain way."
Finally have you got any hello's, greetings etc you wish to send out?
"Shout out to my entire Revival family of artists! You can check everything out at revivalrecs.com"
"We still have that spirit of exploration, but we've definitely found our groove and we can't wait to show the world"
Immoralis are a Symphonic Metalcore / 'Orchestral DETHcore' sextet arising from the dark and dampened streets of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Having already unleashed their ferociously powerful effort 'The Great Collapse' and just dropped their latest single 'Burden', it was clearly overtime in respect to giving these four lads and two lasses a proper interrogation. We recommend the track 'The Great Collapse' from their album of the same name as a starter point to get into what is poised as the newer Bleeding Through. Let the fireworks begin, we spoke to the band as a whole and also addressed two questions to them individually, surprised to see the UK was not mentioned in this interview....
Hey guys, first of all how did Immoralis come about, how did you meet and what does the name mean?
As far as our lineup we all met through Craigslist ads, YouTube, mutual friends and being in the right place at the right time. As far the name Immoralis goes it actually has no real meaning but was thought up and it just happened to stick.
You call yourselves Orchestral DETHcore Metal, what influences make up your sound?
Between each individual member we have such a varied difference on what we each listen to personally that we all bring something unique to the table and are able to come up with our sound.
Who would you say was the party pooper of the band, who is the leader or daddy / mummy of the band? (That is who makes sure everyone is happy)
Each of us have been the party pooper at one point or another, Jens and Adam would be the leaders / father figures and Matt would be the comforting mother of the band. As far as everyone else in the band Jesse is our networker, Tori is our swing vote whenever our democracy is at a tie, and Jace is our social butterfly / wild child.
You released your debut album 'The Great Collapse' last year, did you all come up with the songs or was some songs thought up individually?
Jens and Adam pretty much had the foundation of the songs written and as each of the rest of the members joined they were able to add their instruments to the songs to create "The Great Collapse".
What plans have you got for the year? Please explain the meaning behind your new single 'Burden'?
We will hopefully be working on a new EP as well as doing some touring. "Burden" was inspired by the TV show "Dexter". The song can be viewed as a stepping stone towards the direction we're going.
Finally are there any hello's, thank you's, etc you wish to send out to friends, fans, etc?
We'd like to give a collective shout out to everyone that has supported us so far. It means the MULTIVERSE to all of us and we're excited for what's to come!
The rest of the questions were directed at each member with two questions each.
So Jens, how long have you been playing guitar and what do you currently play with?
I've been playing guitar for 17 years now... wow, how time flies having fun! Currently, I have 3 guitars that I use live, my two mains are a Tobacco Sunburst Gibson Slash Signature Les Paul and a Black Dean ML Custom Run. My backup guitar is a Gibson '67 re-issue Flying V. All of the guitars are down tuned to Drop-B. I use DR DDT .12-.60 strings. My amp is a Peavy 5150 EVH signature Blockletter run through a Carvin 4x12. My pedal board consists of a Morley Bad Horsie 2 wah wah, Boss TU-2 Tuner that run in front of my amp, with a TC Electronics Flashback Delay, TC Electronics Hall of Fame Reverb, and a ISP Decimator in my FX Loop to clear up all the nasty unwanted noises that come from a cranked 5150... I also have a Sure Wireless system that I use depending on the day and venue.
What is your favorite Immoralis riff and why?
My favorite Immoralis riff? Well, that would probably have to be in 'The Value of Nothing', specifically at 1:49. It's a pretty basic riff that only happens for a few short measures, but it just brings me back to the old (Master of Puppets / And Justice for All) Metallica shred days, so you better believe I down pick that shit for full Hetfield authenticity.
Jace, as backing vocalist and bassist, who do you take influence from?
Influences for me have come from all around considering singing and playing. My parents are huge influences on me, being musicians themselves they've always been able to help, teach and inspire me with anything I do music related. Vocally I would have to reach out to Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin, Pat Benatar and Amy Lee of Evanescence. I love the feeling they all release in their singing and all their different styles. Bass wise, I really enjoy playing fast, so Geddy Lee of Rush and Ryan Martini of Mudvayne were two of my first influences that really reached out to me on that instrument for two reasons, they weren't your average 'root-note bassist' and I never got bored listening to them play. Then I got into Tal Wilkenfeld, and she is definitely a top inspiration for me along with John Myung from Dream Theater. Flawlessness meets tastefulness. I don't care what anybody says, there is nothing like a good, solid, funky fresh bass solo.
If you could sing a duet with any musician from any time in history, who would it be and why?
If I had the chance to sing a duet with any musician in history, it would definitely be a tie between Sharon from Within Temptation and Amy Lee from Evanescence. Their impressive range, feeling and over-all talent is just flawless! I have been listening to both groups from each ones beginning and I definitely believe that the passion, drive and talent we all would share could definitely be combined into one of the most breath taking musical pieces yet. It would be such an amazing honor.
Matt, how did you train to become a drummer, was it natural or did it take time?
I've never had a formal lesson before so I guess you could say I took to the instrument pretty naturally. I was inspired to learn by watching other drummers before I had even touched a pair of sticks, I just knew I wanted to play the drums instinctively in a sense. But as far as getting to where I am today it's come from years of listening to music and learning other drummers parts as a way of figuring out how certain things are done. Very trial and error then figuring out what works best for me and our songs.
If you could take Immoralis to only 3 countries (except USA), where would you take them and why?
Definitely Australia, Germany and Canada. Those music scenes as of late are pumping out some sick bands and just seeing how shows go down from seeing other bands in those locations the appreciation for our genre over there is just insane and I would love nothing more than a first hand experience of that.
Adam, did you and Jens share guitar playing tips in the early Immoralis days or was it very easy to do?
We were both semi experienced at guitar and writing music when we met. Jens has always been an exceptional guitarist with his formal training, schooling, and how he constantly pushes his skills and in the time of knowing him and playing with him I've grown tremendously by learning from him. When we first started writing together it was difficult. We were both trying to pull the music in a certain direction which is strange because we actually share many of the same influences that got us into music like Pantera, Metallica, Etc. Where the magic began was when we both let go of control and just let the music flow. We gave everyone a chance to finish an idea before criticizing or changing it. We also adopted early on that no idea or direction is off limits. We don't have to be strictly brutal or melodic. We love the duality of both. We never know where the next song will go.
What would you say makes Immoralis who they are?
I think our secret sauce is our diversity and that everyone contributes. If you put four guys who all love Death Metal together then they'll make a Death Metal band or Thrash, etc. The truth about us is that there are bands we all love but there's such a range of influences between everyone and we really encourage every members input. When we first started writing we didn't really know what kind of band we were gonna be so we were really experimental and just figuring out what we wanted to be. Our first record "The Great Collapse" is in my opinion a good example of us exploring what sound we want. Since then we've definitely honed in on what we think will make Immoralis the best band we can make it. We still have that spirit of exploration but we've definitely found our groove and we can't wait to show the world.
Tori, how long have you been playing keyboards and do you feel that more bands need to explore this instrument further? (As in does it create atmosphere so that the whole song sound changes?)
I've been playing piano for probably around 16 years, keyboards for 10. While I love the extra layer that keyboards add, I wouldn't equate that to saying more bands need to incorporate them. I wouldn't be opposed to such a movement, but there are tons of amazing bands out there already that utilize keys, and in vastly different directions! However, I will fully admit that if more bands want me to listen to them, keyboards are an easy way to do so. That's where I get my giggities.
Who would you liken yourself to playing wise? Who influences you?
My biggest influence is easily Tuomas Holopainen of Nightwish. The sincerity, talent, and imagination behind his songwriting are what first inspired me to attempt fitting my classical background in the metal scene. If it hadn't been for a good friend of mine showing me the "Once" album and coercing me to form a metal band, I certainly wouldn't be where I am now.
Jesse, what made you become a vocalist, was it a childhood passion?
I actually grew up playing the guitar and playing in a garage band with my older brother Pat. I was 14-15 years old covering Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, Korn, etc. Then I started writing my own music and lyrics so our band began writing original music. That's when I started singing. I would always sing along to songs when I was little. But growing up my main focus was the guitar. When I turned 17 I started writing music that was to technical for me to play and sing at the same time. I found a guitar player that I could teach the songs to so I could mainly concentrate on vocals. I really got into the screaming side of music after hearing the "Deftones", my favorite band ever ha. Then America Head Charge, Dry Kill Logic, Chimaira, etc. I took a break from vocals and got back into the guitar for a few years. I then took a break from music all together to pursue other interests. I stumbled upon Immoralis, heard some songs that were just instrumental and after hearing them I had so many sick vocal ideas running through my head. That's when I decided to get back into the music scene. I think my passion is music in general, whether it be vocals, guitar, bass, anything that helps get the ideas out of my head and into a written song. That is my passion.
What advice could you give to those learning this type of vocals?
As far as advice for anyone trying to learn screaming / singing vocals. I would say nothing happens overnight, it takes years and years of learning, practicing and making mistakes to learn how to scream properly. Nothing of worth comes easy. If your voice is gone and your running out of breath then your doing it all wrong. Control your breathing! Also be open minded, just because you're into metal doesn't mean that other genres can't help you become a better musician or vocalist. I practice singing to anything from Bruno Mars, City In Colour, Periphery, then screaming to Veil Of Maya, After The Burial, Elitist, Whitechapel, etc. It all helps me become a better vocalist and I'm always learning new things. Last but not least, be yourself. It's good to practice to other music and learn from it but be original. Which means let everything you scream and sing come out naturally. Don't try to sound like someone else and most of all don't over-think things.\m/
As DevilDriver sharpen up their axes and brush off their gold-coated selves after their well-received Bloodstock appearance, I caught up with Dez Fefara (Vocals) and spoke to him about the plans they have for the year, their time watching a marriage proposal take place in the Bloodstock Signing Tent, past events and how he believes work ethic is a key to success.
We have selected a number of questions from the interview for your reading pleasure, but please also find the audio version above.
Hi there Dez, so at Bloodstock you witnessed a marriage proposal take place, what was that like for you?
That was a good time man, I mean any time people will go to a gig and coming together as a couple and enjoying music when, they were tying the knot at a Metal concert and I mean that is a damn good time. You know what I mean? (laughs).
Was that the first time you saw something like this happen?
No, actually that has happened quite a few times with DevilDriver, it happened after playing in Berlin and Australia and it is a wonderful thing to see people come to a gig and tie the knot, basically it's a cool thing. [Then refers to the Bloodstock occasion and reflects on his thoughts]: I was thinking this could go one way or the other (laughs), nah like I said it could be a beautiful thing or it could be turned down, but I always wish everyone the very best and I've been married for a long time so I know what a beautiful day it could be but I've also been a part of scenario's which were not so good. But I wish the best to people.
Now you released "Winter Kills" back in 2013, have you got any plans for a new release this year?
No, I mean if I had my way we would put a record out about every year and a half, it's just impossible so we're pretty much on a two and a half year cycle right now and we can very much keep up with that, that being said later on in the Fall (Autumn) of this year we will be recording and then sometime next year I will be recording vocals. But just the way we learn to write together is what made "Winter Kills", "Winter Kills", it's what made the six records perform well on the road, we're glad we're using this new writing style and by starting now we want to get ahead of the game to make sure we have a real quality product to go in and record.
Of course you're coming over to the UK in April and are touring with Sylosis and Bleed From Within, is it the first time you've played alongside these bands?
No, playing alongside Sylosis they were on tour with us and they got into a little horrible accident in America, I'm not sure if you know about that so they were in an RV and they got wrecked pretty bad and were pretty lucky to be alive, but I mean they had to redirect their tour so it was kind of like 'hey guys lets get together and kick shit up, we're glad your alive', they've got their own and sound and brought a lot to the table.
I always like coming to the UK, there are certain places as a musician you can make it or break it, in that stage we were looking at Los Angeles and the UK. We're very loud over there, it's a great time and I have a lot of friends and I know the shows are going to be off the hook, and that is going to be important for me, when you know the shows you're going to perform at are going to be crazy, it makes it all the better and we got to make sure that we will be ready to do it.
In regards to your song 'Not All Who Wander Are Lost', there's a section where the band-members are subject to x-rays, was that your idea or another band-members?
No no, that was an idea I had and when I tried it out the director was like oh this can easily be done this way and that way and so we ended up putting that in the video. I've worked alongside some really cool people so.... [listen to the audio at the top for a more in depth answer to this]
Thinking back to when you were a child, did you foresee yourself with DevilDriver as big as you are now?
Oh no I don't think it's the matter of being big or small, it's about being a musician. So now it's kind of a different scenario in relation to listening to a record collection because now you would ask 'hey mum, dad, let me borrow your iPod for the day', which is not going to happen because they're going to need it for work, or to go to the gym or whatever. In my house, all those kinds of records I got into them early on so now I have 60's stuff like The Doors, Steppenwolf's 'Born To Be Wild and other stuff like that I got into when I was really young, so I saw myself being a musician but didn't want to think in terms of being big or small and instead just getting up on stage and being a musician and that is really worked out for me.
Regarding "Winter Kills" which debuted #32 on the Billboard, could you perhaps shed light on why Metal music does or does not tend to get high positions on the Billboard?
Well metal tends not to get in to Billboard top #40 and it is extremely hard to get into, especially when you're against someone like Justin Timberlake and just not getting into it, but this is starting to change and I'm really proud to say that we made #32 and that's with no clean singing or no clean vocals, nothing good on the radio and as a result making it onto the radio means that it shoots onto the Billboard chart, that with requests for airplay pushes you further up the chart. But the chart is mainly a lot of pop music, a lot of pop punk and to see this shift with metal now making the chart's, it's something rather special, as metal is seen as the disproportionate and I don't know why it is happening, but it's happening.
Out of all the albums you own, what album would most people be shocked at in knowing that you own a copy?
(laughs), well I listen to a wide range of music so from everything including blues to punk rock, to Black Metal, to psychobilly and I love it all man, as far as being shocked I think you would have to take a look at my record collection and see that I have some Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin to Black Sabbath, Emperor, Dio, Sepultura, Black Flag, etc. and crazy opera stuff, you know I collect music as I am a music musician, not a metal musician and I'm very far from the purest in that anyone who knows me knows that I love Bauhaus and Sisters of Mercy as much as I love Black Sabbath and Black Flag. So, I wouldn't say they would be shocked, more so I would say they would be like 'Oh that's a Sinatra CD, didn't know you like that music and I'd say yeah been listening to it a lot'.
What would you say to those unsigned bands who don't quite understand yet what being in a metal band is about, in respect to investing time and money? What of those bands who think promoters should bow down to them and give them gigs instead of working for them?
If you're getting into an underground art, and I mean anything that's an underground art like painting, sculpting, playing the Blues, Punk Rock, Heavy Metal, don't get into it for the money, and basically you will always have to put something into life in order to get something out and so that means you would have to pay for gas, food, hotel accommodation or you'll probably have to go one or two weeks without a shower and so there's always going to be different kinds of scenario's on the way up, but if you stick with it, you know you keep your day job and you keep yourself sane, you stay away from the problems that will kill your band and stay away from hard drugs and all of the things that are going to destroy your future, then you might have a future. Don't go following a scene, you should be making your own style of music and do it for your heart and yourself, and those who like your band. Believe in yourself man, that's all you got to do just believe in yourself and those kinds of people who have done that have started all kinds of bands, if you believe in yourself you will be able to do things.
People who believed in me helped me out and those that didn't, I am no longer friends with and most of them are no longer in the industry any more so it is also not only important to believe in yourself, but others too as they are the ones who you will want to spread the positivity around.
Those bands (laughs) who think that people should bow down to them are stupid, you know you're just a f**king musician. You're not a world leader or whatever, you're a musician. Here's the thing right, I come from what you would call a working-class background, ok I was on a construction site for years and I know what it's like to work my ass off. With my dad, I would go down there around 5 in the morning (a.m.) and still be working when before the sun goes down and you're so tired. I've never lost that work ethic because I believed in becoming a man, and not through buying houses, or cars or having a beautiful wife. So no, no one should ever have to bow down to you even if you're a musician.
Finally are there any hello's, thank you's, etc you wish to send out to friends, family, fans, etc?
Yeah well, for anyone who has supported me from the beginning of my career up till now, in any number of my bands thank you very much and I'll never ever let you down, not through my music nor through the live shows, so come on out to the shows, get in the pit and have a good time with DevilDriver and throw away the chairs for a night with us.
DevilDriver are on tour in the UK from the 3rd to the 10th April and are hitting these following cities (in order): CARDIFF, LONDON, WOLVERHAMPTON, GLASGOW, DUBLIN, MANCHESTER and SOUTHAMPTON.
Tickets are on general sale now and you can pick them up at www.kililive.com and www.seetickets.com (Cardiff, London, Manchester, Southampton), www.ticketmaster.ie (Dublin), www.triplegmusic.com (Glasgow) and www.wolvescivic.co.uk (Wolverhampton).
“The ‘core’ sub genres did come from Metal, so they are still Metal. It is up to people to think what they think is Metal”
Deathcore, often dubbed as the illegitimate derivative of Death Metal, has built up its own legion of followers all over the world in recent years. Despite every dispute, its popularity is rising day by day. Enter Abandoned World, a young Deathcore / Metalcore band hailing from Sweden. Founded in mid 2012 and on the way to releasing an EP, the band toured Bangladesh last month and played at the Eastern Dark Fest. GMA's Bangladesh correspondent Nabil Abaddon had a rendezvous with Bnar Aziz (vocals), Samuel Talebi (guitars) and Kim Liljendhal (bass) just before their performance, right outside the venue.
Is this the first time that Abandoned World are touring outside of Sweden? How excited are you?
Samuel: Very excited! Everything is new to us here, like it’s a new culture, so far from Sweden. Totally on the other side of the globe for where we come from.
Bnar: We feel amazing to be here! It's such an awesome opportunity and an honor to be here in Bangladesh.
Do you guys have any knowledge of the scene here in Bangladesh? Have you checked out any of the bands before leaving for Bangladesh?
Samuel: Not too much. But we knew a little because we have a friend from Bangladesh. He lives in Sweden now. He told us about the scene here. There are not many opportunities but there are a lot of die-hard fans I heard.
Kim: When we got this opportunity to play here, I checked out some of the bands in the line up and we were like “man we gotta get down there!”
So how did you guys form the band and how long have you been playing together?
Bnar: Well it is a funny story. It all started like a mini project, basically it began with my former guitarist and I. We met on the internet and we were looking for bands. So we started practising together. I knew Samuel from before, so I just asked him if he wanted to play with us and he said yes. So we three started jamming together. The band grew from there and within a short time we got our bassist and drummer. We have been playing as a band for almost a year now.
Kim: We are trying to be patient and just take up the opportunities that come in the way. When this tour came up, we were just flabbergasted. It was unbelievable for us. It is an honour for us to be here and we really want to show the crowd why we are here and give our best shots.
Does Abandoned World want to play here more often?
Samuel: Of course we do! We want to show the crowd what we are made of and we want to keep coming here. We are talking with the organizers and we are planning on touring some other countries around Asia as well, may be some time around Jan / Feb next year?
Kim: It is still in the planning stage. Lets see what happens.
So Abandoned World has got a single on YouTube? Are you guys planning / working on your EP or album, or something else?
Samuel: What we are going to do now is to shoot a music video and we are looking for a good studio to record stuff. We have our materials ready now, may be we’ll write a bit more. Then we’ll hit the studio. We will release another single, then the album. After that we will probably just tour around! I recommend you to check out another single we have out now, it's called "Madness from Within".
Kim: Yeah that song is a pre-production and we just want to show the people that we are working on some new heavy material. We are going to play this song tonight and trust me it is going to be mayhem!
Although sub-genres like Deathcore, Metalcore, etc are rising quickly all over the world, these “core” sub-genres often get bad rap from Metal fans who are purists. They often do not consider these sub-genres as Metal or ‘real Metal’. As Abandoned World is a Deathcore / Metalcore band, what is your opinion on this?
Bnar: Personally I think that if they do not see that as metal I do not have any problem with that. I mean that's their perception of what they think is metal. The “core” sub-genres did come from Metal, so they are still Metal. It is up to people to think what they think is metal. It is totallty fine to us. That's what we feel about it. We do what we feel like doing and we are doing Metal music that we know. Deathcore / Metalcore is what people labelled us as.
Samuel: Well I think they love it how it is you know. I think you are missing out! (laughs)
What are your influences as a band? Can you suggest a few albums that inspires Abandoned World?
Samuel: Well loads of bands I would say. It starts from Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera to Suicide Silence, Born Of Osiris, Lamb Of God etc etc…… Ummmm the albums would be :
Deep Blue - Parkway Drive
Sacrament - Lamb Of God
The Discovery - Born Of Osiris
Tomorrow We Die Alive - Born of Osiris
Thank you for giving us your time. Any words for the fans and readers?
Samuel: Get ready! It's just the start! We have a long way to go and a lot of times to be here! We love what we do! We are loving Bangladesh! The crowd is awesome. Thank you!
Bnar: Like Samuel said, we are just getting started, so get ready! Basically we love all our fans. It would not have been possible without all our fans. We thank all our fans and it is an honour to play here.
Global Metal Apocalypse is piloting a new form of interview which we think no other webzine, ezine, magazine (yeah um...) or video-enhanced sit as done, which is interviewing a band with themselves recording the answers as a video response as you'll see above.
Thames Burial, a Metalcore/Deathcore quintet from Colchester, Essex was confirmed to play The Perfect Storm All Day Metal Festival at the renowned Camden Underworld venue, we interviewed the band outside in one of the streets which to our dismay lead to some hilarious issues, from traffic to problems auto-cuing to shameless titty promotions.
As said, it's a pilot, any feedback will be welcome.
_Global Metal Apocalypse caught up with the lads known as A Hero A Fake during their time of recording their upcoming release 'The Future Again', we spoke to guitarist Eric Morgan.
How did you guys form and has there been any line-up changes, if so why?
Justin and I started the band in 2005 while we were in high school. We were already good friends and both shared a love for heavier music so we decided to put a band together. It was our first time doing the band thing so we definitely had a lot to learn, but we worked hard and picked up so many valuable lessons early on from just trial and error. By 2007 we had picked up Patrick, Matt, and Tim, which is when we started to really carve out our own identity within the music scene.
Lineup changes are one of those necessary evils in this business. It is so rare for bands to span their career’s without any changes (i.e. Thrice) but for us it was something necessary to move forward. This album features two new members – Evan Kirkley on drums and Chris Rosser on bass. Evan had actually been in the band previously during 2005 and recorded our second demo but couldn’t stay since he was already engaged in a couple other bands. We met Chris on tour in 2010 and he stayed in contact showing us songs he had written so when Matt left we felt comfortable bringing him into the band. To be honest Evan has always been one of my favorite drummers and when we had the opening I immediately approached him about joining.
Describe the band's genre without genre-tagging or using cliches?
It’s an energetic and passionately voiced take on the modern heavy where we have refined our traditional AHAF style quirkiness and blended it with more engaging song structures.
What makes your upcoming album 'The Future Again' different to the previous two albums?
The music on 'The Future Again' definitely marks the biggest evolution in sound for the band. Our last album was over an hour long and wasn’t quite as focused as we would of liked. So we decided to concentrate on making a shorter album that was a lot more focused and allowed us to pay more attention to detail – quality over quantity. This album is also more powerful sounding which has a lot to do with Evan’s drumming which takes the dynamic energy to the next level.
When you got the call from Victory Records to be signed, what was your response?
I got the call from Tony during the summer of 2008 while I was working in between semesters at college. Justin and I were going into our senior years at The University of North Carolina and were both pretty insistent on finishing our degrees out. Fortunately Victory was on board with the idea of letting us finish and using our first release as a developmental album while still in school.
For those music fans out there who judge bands upon appearance, what do you have to say to them?
That’s a hard question to give a general answer about. For some bands their “look” is what defines them to their audience and so they 'want' the fans to judge them based on appearance. For us, we just never had an interest in doing anything bizarre looks wise (makeup, paint, etc). Actually we didn’t even wear a lot of black on our early tours because we were just nerds who loved to play heavy music. That was actually a bit of a problem for us early on because on tour these kids would see looking more like an indie rock band and it created a mental block for some getting into us for the first time. But music transcends everything so we just made sure to go balls out and make sure we got their attention with our performance.
Which song from the upcoming release stands out most and which one should fans check out?
My favorite track of the new album is “Princess of the Sun”. It was the first song I started writing for the album and it is one of the longer more complicated structure wise. Really though, it was after we finished tracking vocals that made it stand out so much to me. Justin’s vocals are so passionate throughout the song and then we added guest vocals from Hudson Hower (Bruised But Not Broken) and Dayan Marquina that really just made the track shine.
Where are you touring this year and do you have any UK tour dates being planned or considered?
We start touring in September and will be on the road heavily from then through next year. We don’t have plans to come to the UK currently (though I would love to!) but it is always something I’m looking into.
Finally, what does the band have in store for 2012 and beyond?
Right now we are just looking forward to getting our album out (July 17th) and we also have a new music video for the single “Dead and Done” dropping in the next couple weeks. Other than that we’re gearing up for tour and making sure we get to play these new songs in as many places as possible.
_ Global Metal Apocalypse caught up with American Metalcore / Thrashers Miss May I to talk about their tour in the UK and what future plans the guys have,
So, first time headlining in the UK - what are you looking forward to at most and do you have anything to say to your British fans?
We are always looking forward to the UK fans because they are some of the best fans we have in the world! They go harder and louder than any crowd out there and not to mention they are some of the most appreciative people we have ever met. Always a pleasure playing in the UK.
Over the band's career, how would you say the band has changed musically and as a whole?
I think after all the touring and all the time spent in the studio we have truly found our sound and who we want to be as a metal band. We have read reviews and changed for the critics here and there but especially in the new album and recent tours we have done away with all those critic changes and broke down all the walls of the normal structure and just wanted to be the group of metal heads that are Miss May I.
What songs can fans expect to be blasted out in venues across the UK?
Well I don’t ever like to spoil a surprise but I can let you know that we are playing a good bit off of every album and our own little spin to the live performance for the fans.
Your recent album 'At Heart' charted on the Billboard at #32, would you say this is the band's biggest achievement?
I think that is a pretty large achievement especially for a band that isn't really changing music or defining anything. We are just playing what we grew up listening to, classic old school metal. We are just lucky enough that there is enough metalheads in the world that like our music to make this all happen!
What does Miss May I mean in terms of 'how would you define its meaning?'
We actually don’t have any cool meaning behind it. It’s sort of a blessing and a curse. It was something that stuck out as a local band but then sadly stuck around when all of our success happened.
If you could give any upcoming musician one little bit of advice, what would it be?
I would tell them to focus on every step that’s in front of them and not jump the gun. A lot of bands want to tour and be signed right off the bat but that isn't the way to go about it because if you did do those things no one would buy your records or come to your shows. You need to focus on playing locally and being the best you can until your selling out each local venue an must move on because that’s the next step which will naturally come to you if your being the best you can be.
Do you feel metal music in general is not getting enough exposure that it deserves or is it getting 'over-exposed'?
I feel like music isn't getting the exposure it should be. A lot of bands that sell out 2-3K rooms are not even recognized in press or in stores. We have been there. Before or new album was released we sold out venues on our headliners and packed out signings but in stores they would barely carry an MMI album and in magazines you would never hear about us. I just feel there is a lot of successful talent that no one has read or purchased because no one is giving them a chance and maybe they will blow it but either way they need a shot.
Finally, what can fans expect from Miss May I this year and in the foreseeable future?
We have a lot of touring worldwide coming up. We will be going to South America after Warped Tour with Asking Alexandria and then hopefully soon after doing a headliner in the states which will be followed by the UK headliner that will finish our year!
How did you guys get recognised and signed? Was it being at the right place at the right time? Knowing people already in the industry? Or constant hard work touring demos? (Asked by fan #1 - Dex Jezierski)
We actually did all of the above. We always worked hard locally and became one of the largest local bands in Ohio which lead us to having one of the members of The Devil Wears Prada at one of our local shows watching us. Then soon after that show he told us he would like to manage us and liked what we were doing. After he contacted Rise Records about us they already knew about us because we have been sending out digital demos every month to every record label we were interested in. Around 2 months later we were signing a deal and changing our lives.
What is your favourite song to play? (Asked by fan #2 - Tom Weller)
My favourite song to play live would have to be "Our Kings" because it’s the song I usually make the crowd do the craziest things to whether its 100 crowd surfs or a marathon pit the crowd gets crazy.
Have you guys ever considered playing in India? (Asked by fan #3 - Debojyoti Sanyal)
We would love to play in India and everywhere in the world! Just waiting on the right time to make our trip out there.
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