"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).
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.
BAND: CATTLE DECAPITATION
MUSICIAN: TRAVIS RYAN (VOCALS)
How long has the band been going and who came up with the band name?
The band was formed in late 1996 by a few guys, one of which was in the Locust and the other one was to be in the Locust a year or two later and is still in that band today. The other guy I replaced right before they got their copies of the 7" record they put out right after starting the band called "Ten Torments of the Damned". With the Locust being busy and all, they kinda just placed Cattle Decapitation in my lap and the rest is history. I connected with the guys because of a love of Carcass and I thought it was cool they were carrying the veggie torch that Carcass dropped years earlier.
Describe your music genre without using clichés or genre-tagging.
Its very frantic, energetic, blurry, bipolar... Brutal, intense, bizarre at times as far as note choice and structure. We constantly go against the grain, even if its to our disadvantage.
How big are the California and the San Diego Metal scene?
California as a whole is fucking awesome. There's a TON of communities... you could easily do a two week tour if you're worth a shit here. Just in California alone. Lots of kids going through phases though, that's the only downfall. SD has maintained a strong scene for years now. You have Mexico right there and there's alot of metalheads down there that like to come up for shows.
You have just released your seventh album ‘monolith of inhumanity’, what do the lyrics primarily focus on and who is the sole lyricist?
That would be me and they really are all over the place. The overall theme of the record is a warning and I feel the cover explains it well enough. I do this thing where the record will have a concept but not all the songs cater or fall in line to that concept. A song like "Forced Gender Reassignment" obviously has very little value in terms of any kind of environmental cause or anything that has to do with human interaction with life on Earth. So our records' lyrics tend to be all over the place honestly.
If you had to change one thing about Heavy Metal in general, what would you change?
Leather. Plain and simple. We don't need it. Keep the varying degrees of bad attitude, elitism, etc - that's fine. Just get rid of the bright shining brand new leather. Most of it looks, well... gay. I have no problems with people wearing recycled leather or reusing leather items from a second hand source.
When you signed to Metal Blade records, what was your immediate reaction?
"Seriously?" That was also my reaction when I was told not to sign an agreement with this other label that was courting us and to give them a chance. Boy, am I glad we did. We would have been doomed with that other contract, a real career-staller. It was an honor and a huge excitement I remember at the time. We smoked cigars like total idiots while we signed the contract. So stupid.
You’re going to tour with Fear Factory, Voivod and many other bands, where are you touring and what are you hoping to achieve on the tour?
We're doing the US and Canada with em. I just honestly hope I get into Canada. I've been told in the past that I could go to jail if I didn't get a pardon of if the 10 year anniversary of my "DUI" hadn't passed by the time I come up, which it has by now. I got charged with drunk driving in 2001 and it got reduced to a minor reckless driving conviction because I wasn't even drunk. It was stupid. But to Canada, I have a DUI. I don't understand that logic but then again they have less crime than we do here so they're doing something right. Can't fault em for that, just wish I didn't have this kind of trouble for something that I didn't really even do.
What plans are there for the band in 2012 and beyond?
Tons of touring but we're going to work on more international touring as well. We've hit the US so many times, we need to start going other places in the globe. Dying to hit Australia, South America, Southeast Asia, Japan, South Africa, etc. Gonna do another video with the same director as Kingdom of Tyrants. We're working on something very fucked up, revolting and something people probably just won't want to watch because its too much. At least, that's what the idea is like to us right now!
Finally what advice have you got for bands who want to get known?
Just don't suck. There's so many shitty bands out there right now and every idiot out there thinks they can be in a band. Maybe at least just keep your schooling going, don't drop out for music. NEVER do that. You gotta be damn good and on top of that be extremely lucky to do anything that will be anything from profitable to simply making you happy. Just have a plan B. Always have a plan B. That's this world's problem... there's no plan b.