DEAD GIRLS ACADEMY Michael Vampire gets personal with DOVES IN GLASS HOUSES By Stephanie Stevens
Can I get a AMEN for rock n roll!! In the world right now, a calming sense of reality is music! Rock n roll artists are busting at the seams with emotions, creativity and a thirst to interact again with fans and people. Michael Vampire, a man and artist who has in the last few years came into his own as a musician and individual is ready to bring you into the next chapter of his band, DEAD GIRLS ACADEMY.
On Devils Night (October 30th, 2020) the band is set to release the sophomore album DOVES IN GLASS HOUSES, on Mission Two Entertainment.
To some who may not be familiar with the band, let’s go back for a second. In 2018 the debut album ALCHEMY came out and harnessed chart topping singles in I’LL FIND A WAY and NO WAY OUT. Tons of tours, which lead to exposure like no other put DEAD GIRLS ACADEMY on the map and put a bug in people’s hearts and ears that the future of rock n roll is authentic, real, raw and not dying anytime soon.
I was an instant fan back then and now with DOVES IN GLASS HOUSES they haven’t swayed me at all it just made me appreciate them more. They honed and focused in on the real sound and vibe of the band. From start to finish this album is rich with dark melodic attributes, full of adrenaline and is in your face with hard n heavy affects.
Michaels voice has developed and matured since ALCHEMY in the best way possible. The album storylines and lyrics dig deep into the emotions, traumas and hopes and dreams. Diving into the intimate and real emotions enhances each and every track and just makes for an incredible piece of work from start to finish!
The band’s first single THIS IS WAR was hard n heavy bleeding words of hope and perseverance to fight and win in any war you are fighting! The bands newest single, ADDICTED TO YOURHEART, has a high energy and dark essence, a track that cries out about emotional trauma. It’s a dark haunting love disaster! BLACKOUT, the opening track to the album gives you a small dose of the rest of the disc as it intertwines aggressive power and melodic calmness. BLEEDING FAITH will hype you up with the adrenaline with a good mix of hard and soft musical moments. With the album having so many avenues to go down and engulf your senses into the one that will make you stop and really inhale it all to me was the last track, INSIDE OUT. I don’t know if impeccable is even the word to fully promote this track but it’s the word that kept coming into my thoughts with every listen. If the band doesn’t make this a single and do a video it would be a shame. This song is everything from the clear vocal parts where you can see the elegance and the growth in talent of Michaels voice it just makes the song stand out beyond anything. The strings, the piano the ambiance leading you into a chorus that is one-part alluring one-part beauty, this track to me is a pure masterpiece.
A real rock band is here and is gearing to put out an album they should be so proud of.
I had a chance to speak with singer/front man/songwriter Michael Vampire about the new album, his insight on some songs off the disc, how he views the journey with DEAD GIRLS ACADEMY and what he feels is his biggest growth with his artistry.
Q: What was the mindset going into the musical vision of the sound and textures for this new disc, DOVES IN GLASS HOUSES?
A: In 2019 we were traveling and doing some radio fests. We got to share the stage with some childhood favorites & really got inspired from that. I knew from that point on I wanted to tackle a fresh sound. I came from a harder background! I started off playing bass & eventually added background screaming. When I started Vampires Everywhere in 2010 is when I started adding in melodic vocals to my arsenal. Since then I have been perfecting my singing & becoming very comfortable with my sound. When Ronnie Radke & I recorded "Alchemy" in 2017 I was pushed far behind my vocals limits! I sang a full octave higher than I have ever sung in my life. It was a challenge!! So this time around recording DIGH I wanted to stay in my natural vocal range to give the best performance possible. This turned out to be the key element the band was missing. It was also refreshing sitting down & writing lyrics again! It's one of my favorite things to do! I can confidently say this is my best work yet!
Q: Lyrically you got really raw and vulnerable it seems throughout the album and also just the name of the album tells a tale of someone wanting to be heard. What made you want to sit down and work through personal issues from within you?
A: My biggest pet peeve in life is being fake! I cannot stand fabricating tales about a life I do not live! A lot of people meet me & expect me to be a certain way. Then they find out I'm well above the insanity level they previously thought! I write from personal experiences. It is literally my therapy. I tend to be a cold person. I did not get the warm fuzzy love a lot of people get growing up. My parents loved me but kisses were not on the menu haha. So I started hiding my feelings. So this "life process" gave me the creative juice to just "word vomit" into my notes on my phone! It just pours out of me! I can literally write a full song including melodies in 30 minutes. That being said I would really beat myself up if I wrote about subject matter that didn't have personal meaning to me.
Q: With DOVES IN GLASS HOUSES you also worked with 3 diverse producers, what was the goal in that game plan and did you have certain tracks for each producer?
A: So this is a very complicated question. To not start unwanted controversy between producers, I will just say we needed different ears on different tracks! I think all 3 producers did an outstanding job on their perspective tracks. I will say, never trust anyone & always follow your gut. This way you can make an informed decision based upon your needs. There are a lot of people in your ear telling you what's best. However, if you follow your initial gut feeling you'll never go wrong! I know that's hard in an industry like music.
Q: Back in the day when you were working on the debut album ALCHEMY I had read you said you did a 2-piece recording for that record because you had a EP ready to release and Victory signed you so you finished for a whole album. Was there pressure back in the day with knowing you had a solid EP but now you had to make a full length?
A: Yes! There was a shit ton of pressure going back into the studio to record more songs. This wasn't a pleasant process for me. It was more like a first rate education in pushing my limits! Singing someone else's songs & lyrics is like doing Karaoke in front of 10,000 people & not knowing the words or melodies. It was very hard. I am very proud of the outcome because Ronnie did a fantastic job reimagining my sound / voice. However, I am glad that experience is over & I'm back to writing my own material.
Q: I think ALCHEMY was a massively impressive album honestly, looking back on the success and what you guys were able to do tour wise and just door opening for the band how do you view the debut album and your proudest moment in that chapter?
A: I am extremely proud of the first chapter of DGA! It was a grind & super stressful! However, I live for moments like that & my drive to succeed is insane! We fought for every single inch! I lost tons & tons of money pushing the band. I wouldn't let one opportunity go by... good or bad! I went through countless lineups because touring is not easy & people expect instant success. Music is a passion & a lot of people think they have that passion only to find out they never did. It's a rough road!!
We did accomplish great things tho!! Hitting top 30 on rock radio was definitely one of them!! That was a childhood dream. Also, sharing the mainstage with Rob Zombie was insane for me! These small pieces helped motivate me to push harder & harder! I can say I'm more motivated now then I ever was in my life!!
Q: Getting back to the new album I want to throw up some tracks that impressed me and if you can give me a small detail of emotions you had writing them and what you hope fans get out of each of these particular songs?
1. GHOST OF ME
A: I went through a fucked relationship back in 2014! In fact, I never fully recovered from the abuse & pain of that situation. My father also died during that time & she showed me zero comfort. I even saw her laughing about it. This song is about my inner turmoil dealing with that situation. When shit is toxic it's hard to leave. You think you need that person & get addicted to the feeling. So this song was about my push & pull with that relationship ending.
2. INSIDE OUT
A: This is about my current GF Maxine. I am a very codependent person! I need her around all the time or I tend to get lonely & depressed. We have had a crazy relationship thus far, haha. She lived in Scotland & I only saw her 4-5 times a year. It was insane! Then she ended up moving to LA with me. Now as most of you know... living with a person is quite different from seeing a person from time to time. So it was a whole new learning experience getting to know each other's real personalities. It was a rollercoaster ride of insanity because she is just as crazy as me!! But as time went on she became the most important person in my life, besides my mother of course. So I decided to write a song about it all. Inside Out just poured out of me. It's one of my favorite tracks!!
A: This song is about finding your self-worth in a shitty relationship! Whether it be a friendship or a romantic one! I think finding your own self-worth is one of the most important qualities you can discover about yourself. Once you find your self-worth you can then start judging the other person you are with. You get to separate the lies from the truth. Then make an informed decision based on that.
4. And newest single ADDICTED TO YOUR HEART
A: This song is about being whole heartily addicted to a toxic relationship! It's kind of funny because you know the situation is a terrible one, yet you don't want it to end. You become a terrible masochist & crave more toxicity. I fell out of love with this person well before the relationship ended. However, I was so addicted to her problems that I wanted to stay & try to fix them. The only good thing that came out of this was the pain I harbor to write lyrics, haha!
Q: What inspired you to become a vocalist?
A: I was tired of dealing with the bullshit from other vocalists I was in bands with. It seemed they always had a problem & never dedicated themselves enough to the craft! So I took matters into my own hands & became the singer. This also gave me leverage to be more creative with the entire brand of the band. It was the best decision I ever made!
Q: Being an artist especially being a front man gives you the opportunity to have a platform where people will listen to you if you could tell your fans one thing about 2020 what would you want to let them know and help them if anyone is struggling with life at this moment?
A: This too shall pass! Don't feel like a victim!! Fight with everything you have inside of you. You are stronger than you think & your body is more resilient than you think! Listen to your gut & make informed decisions. 2020 is a scary time! So much uncertainty hovering around us! But these situations make us stronger & push us to succeed.
Q: Where do you see your biggest growth as a musician since the beginning of your music career to the point you are at now?
A: I have to say my singing!! When I started Vampires Everywhere in 2010 I was primarily a screamer! I had this gift to scream & for some reason I was able to scream on key! I was really looking forward to a fun career doing just that! However, on our debut EP the clean singer of the band lied about his talent & was unable to record in the studio. So the clean vocalist job fell on me! Haha. So, yeah that was fun! From 2010 till now I've been killing myself to become the best vocalist I can be! It has been a tough, tough road! However, I am super proud of myself for figuring it out! If you love something enough you will make great things happen!
Q: If you could bring back someone in the music world that has passed away and have them cover one of your songs, who would you bring back and what song would you hope they covered?
A: I would love to hear Chris Cornell Cover "INSIDE OUT"!! I fell in love with his voice when I was a kid! The first time I heard "Black hole Sun" I was hooked!!
Q: Empower someone and tell us your biggest inspiration and why they inspire you?
A: My biggest inspiration is my mother! She literally gave up everything to give me everything! She is my biggest fan & my biggest critic haha! Without her I wouldn't be where I am today! She kept me motivated & pushed me to achieve my dreams! She knows more about what's going on in the music scene than me! So that being said ...Thank you, mom for everything & I hope I can make you proud.
CASON DAY CHATS ABOUT HIS NEW SOLO PROJECT THE HOLY VEINS BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
Let’s get real everyone has had that moment you hear a new song and the lyrics just relate to your life or your thoughts. I was introduced to the newest single by THE HOLY VEINS called DROWN and the song just captured my everyday thoughts and parts of my life that was once a memory. It made me feel and reflect and when music can do that you know that an artist has a special thing, a talent and a dynamic perception to create authenticity. Cason Day is so raw, real, vulnerable and captivating in this track. DROWN has a synthetic bold and dance-esque tone; It’s like a poppy haunting atmospheric journey in a mere 4-minute song. THE HOLYVEINS is Cason Day’s solo project; DROWN is the first intimate insight into the EP, LOST MYMIN. And everything was written, produced, recorded and mixed in his studio in Brooklyn, NY, along with additional production by Cameron Bishop and mastering by Tanner Lackey. One-part musician one-part actor, Cason allows both to motivate, inspire and showcase his vision. When you have different outlets to bring out all creativeness in yourself, magic always happens; as you can see with this new project called THE HOLY VEINS. I had a chance to speak with Cason about just that, what he hopes to bring to the music community and the biggest downfall in the music world in the last few years.
Q: Who is THE HOLY VEINS and what do you hope to bring into the music community with this new band? A: THE HOLY VEINS is a musical movement. I want to bring back the energy, style, technique, originality, and showmanship that I feel a lot of music today is missing. I want to show the world what rock and roll should really be about.
Q: DROWN the band’s first single is showing a new wavish, synthy, pop rock artsy vibe. Who was your biggest inspiration when creating the new music? A: DROWN was immensely inspired by a lot of the 80s music I listen to – everything from Depeche Mode, to David Bowie, to Peter Gabriel. It also was inspired by some of my favorite modern bands – most notably Daft Punk and Muse.
Q: How does the rest of the record blend with what we are hearing on the single DROWN? A: DROWN is definitely the poppiest song by far! I do think it fits with the rest of the EP lyrically, and even the musical vibe is pretty similar between songs – regardless of genre. It’s all pretty alternative and dark, but energetic and catchy at the same time.
Q: You’re not only a musician and composer but you also act. Do you still act or is music and being a musician your main focus? A: I still act! I’m actually in talks at the moment to move forward with a few different film projects, but nothing I can announce yet. It’s definitely still an enormous part of my life.
Q: How has being an actor/acting element helped you being a performer and musician and vice versa? A: I think it all comes from the same place for me. Acting has definitely helped me to be more honest and vulnerable with an audience, and with myself. That translates pretty well to writing music – I definitely am able to embrace the music I’m feeling when I write. Acting also helps to perform in front of an audience in general/alleviate stage fright. Most of my professional acting has been in theatre, so I’m super thankful for the skillset that has given me. Improvisation is another thing I get to implement with both music and acting, and I think it’s a great skill to maintain.
Q: Your originally from Houston, TX did you start playing music there how did that atmosphere shape your views on music vs. Being in NYC? A: I started playing music in Houston! My first band was a metal core band called Strength In Shadows – the guitarist and I formed that band when I was about 16 years old. I played a lot of my first gigs in Houston. Both cities have their unique pros and cons. Houston might have fewer bands and musicians – less competition so-to-speak – but at the same time it has fewer resources and opportunities available. Both cities in my experience have a great sense of community, and each has their own super cool energy – I’m thankful to feel like I’m truly part of both.
Q: In the past 5 years or so where do you feel the biggest downfall in the music community been if any and how do you hope THE HOLY VEINS will help open eyes to change and a movement to make the music world a better place? A: This isn’t entirely specific to the past 5 years, but I think the biggest downfall by far is the way artists are compensated for their music. It’s criminal how poorly artists are paid by platforms like Spotify, and even iTunes or Apple Music. Especially now, during a pandemic, where touring is virtually impossible – it leaves so many incredible artists stranded and struggling to make ends meet, while the CEOs of these companies are making billions of dollars off of music they had no part in creating.
Q: What is the most important thing about music/art that can help people in your opinion? A: I think the sense of community music offers is unmatched. I’ve met some of my best friends in the world playing music and going to shows. It also creates a sense of community between artists and their fans when a song really speaks to the listener. It helps people feel part of something bigger, and something common, and I think that’s such a beautiful thing. Music is so cathartic for all involved.
Q: If you could give people struggling with finding a passion they love to do; what advice would you tell them? A: I would tell them to keep searching. Don’t give up, because when you find it, the joy and fulfillment it brings you will be like nothing you’ve ever experienced. And when you do find it, don’t ever stop chasing it. Don’t ever stop chasing the reason it became your passion in the first place. Q: Empower another artist by telling us someone u admire and why you admire them? A: Tillett St. James is one of the most talented singers and songwriters I have ever met. I’ve been lucky enough to play in a couple bands with him at this point, but even his solo stuff absolutely blows me away. His sense of storytelling, melody, harmony, and his singing voice itself are absolutely incredible. He’s one of the best in the world, and certainly one of my favorites. I’m incredibly honored to call him a collaborator and one of my best friends.
MAKING A BUZZ IN THE MUSIC COMMUNITY BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
Do what you love and do it with conviction and with every ounce of passion you have in you. With that dedication and work ethic and consistently believing in your brand and art you best believe you will achieve your dreams and get to soar into uncharted territories in a good way!
Illinois based Alternative Metal band ALBORN did just that with the unique, hard and melodic music that was released on the band’s debut EP IMPAIRATIVE. Solidifying a loyal fan base and the support and leadership of some heavy hitters in the business the guys are on track of making a pretty impressive and lasting impression in the rock n roll community in 2020.
ALBORN is: Justin Taylor: Lead Vocals & Guitar, Nate Guske: Guitar & Vocals, Alex Raser: Drums & Screams, Zame Lewis: Bass, the guys seduce your senses with vocal harmonies that ooze with melody. Incorporate some heavy guitars and some wrap that up with some solid and penetrating groove from bass and drums you pretty much get an idea of the bands newest single FULL CIRCLE that is hitting airwaves and making fans of critics and fans of heavy music worldwide. attitude and the grinding and heavy backdrop of music.
I had a chance to speak with drummer Alex Raser about being a cover band starting out, having Morgan Rose of Sevendust a fan of the band and a mentor to the band, covering an Alice In Chains tune and how he views the future of the music Industry!
Q: ALBORN was formed from a cover band, what was it that made you guys realize that your writing style could make some really good original music?
A: We always had the ambition to be an original band from the start, but due to our non-existent notoriety at the beginning, playing cover shows at bars and smaller venues was our foot in the door to establishing a fan base, as well as learn ourselves and what kind of genre we really wanted to pursue. Once we started to gain traction, it was a quick transition from full 4-hour cover shows, to mixing in some originals into our sets, to now playing exclusively all original shows.
Q: Being from Northern IL how has the scene encouraged you guys as musicians and what is something about the scene there that people would be surprised to know about?
A: The scene in a normal non-pandemic ridden time is actually very much alive around here. Shows every weekend in the Quad Cities, Rockford, and surrounding areas ensure that bands always have somewhere to play and venues have bands to fill slots and bring customers. Everyone cares about the success of each other and all want to see good things happening for the scene. That's one thing we all take great pride in!
Q: A band always has a team behind it motivating and encouraging them. Tell us how Morgan Rose of Sevendust has helped you guys grow and become a better band?
A: When we first started working with him, he was brought in to assist in co-writing and co-producing music with us. Once he established an interest in the music itself and saw what we were trying to do, he was quick to start spreading our name and product, as well as help guide us in the direction we want to go, which is UP. That comes in the form of offering advice, educating us on the ever-evolving industry, introducing us to important people, and played a major part in helping us sign a distribution deal with a record label that he is very much involved in, Imagen Records.
Q: He was quoted as saying you guys refused to conform to a formula and a trend, how do you as musicians lock out current genres and trends to be real with yourself?
A: It's not that we literally steer clear of any and all formulas used by other bands out there. Everybody uses them sometimes. We are just trying to create something fresh and organic. We all listen to many different types of music for influence, so that plays a big part. We tend to try to mix different vibes of different genres and letting it flow out on its own, rather than saying "We're this type of music so we have to make these types of songs."
Q: At the end of August you released a EP IMPAIRATIVE that captures a solid heavy vibe with moving melodic tones. My favorite was LET ME BLEED. What do you hope people walk away with after that track is done?
A: That track is actually relevant to the previous question. Lyrically, it revolves around doing what you love to do in your own way. And whether you fail or succeed, you learned from your own actions, rather than blindly following in others' footsteps not knowing when you might make the same mistake as the previous. Musically, we just wanted the track to hit hard and sound big. So, hopefully people might take away some inspiration to be and do your own, as well as have a sore neck after jamming it haha
Q: You covered a cover of Alice in Chains tune WE DIE YOUNG, what did the band and that song mean to you and was there any challenges covering the track?
A: Alice in Chains is one of our biggest influences, so when we decided we wanted to cover a song, we thought it necessary to take a crack at and AiC tune and try to put a modern spin on it without drifting too far from that core of that song. It really wasn't too much of a challenge, being a fairly straightforward tune. We were just very focused on captivating the power that song has and incorporating our sound into it.
Q: Just recently you guys turned out another single FULL CIRCLE, this song lyric wise wrote itself in a way, what was it about the music that guided you to the storyline and lyrics that was the end result?
A: It was actually the main intro riff itself that established what the song was going to be about. That riff is MUCH older than the rest of the song, and we were struggling to write anything around it for the better part of a year, but we knew we loved it so it always seemed to get brought up in practice or writing sessions until we finally were able to bring to the studio and get some assistance in finishing it from Morgan and our producer, Jose Urquiza.
Q: 2020 for everyone has been a trying year and with music and as artists you guys have a platform in getting your emotions out. What would you tell people who are having a hard time dealing with stuff and no outlet to let things out?
A: Everyone's situation is different, but personal hobbies are a lifesaver. Always make time to do what you love, and surround yourself with positive reinforcement and people who want to see you succeed. Taking your mind off of these trying times for even a few minutes every day can make a world of difference.
Q: How do you feel the music industry is going to change moving forward and have you guys had any worries about your future as a band?
A: Honestly, there's no telling what it's going to do, especially after this year of basically being shut down. We are just hoping things return to normal very soon so we can get back out and play to our people. Our future is always on our minds, but we are a very hardworking band from all angles and we are always doing everything we can to keep growing, so worrying about what may or may not happen is wasted effort.
Q: Growing up who inspired you to become a musician and how has that person impacted your life to this day?
A: Morgan has been a huge influence of mine since I started playing drums. Power and dynamic is his forte, and never ceases to compliment his band's songs in the best way. That's what I am always looking to achieve in our music is to write the best parts to compliment the songs. It's an honor to be able to work with him and his team as closely as we do, and has helped us grow in ways we once thought unimaginable.
Q: If you could sit one artist down and ask them any question what would it be and why that person?
A: Alex - Danny Carey from Tool: Why the hell would you write music and lyrics following sophisticated mathematic formulas? I've always been fascinated by what drove them to make that decision; whether it be that they thought the general public would actually comprehend it, or just sheer curiosity in seeing if it could be done.
Q: What does it feel like hearing your music on the radio and where and what were you doing the first time that happen?
A: It's honestly hard to describe the feeling. It is truly surreal. The first time we ever heard ourselves played by a radio DJ was about 5 years ago by an internet-based station from the Quad Cities called Nacho Radio. Justin and I were working on a broken down lawnmower in our buddies shed in the freezing cold, warming ourselves with Red Yummies (Budweiser in a can).
Q: What is the weirdest thing about doing an interview and talking about yourself and the band?
A: One of our main goals is to stay humble. We never brag ourselves up or anything, so we just try our best to be strictly informative in answering questions, which can be difficult at times because we take great pride in our product and can sometimes get overly excited, especially if the interviewer is a big fan haha
Q: If you could live a dual life and have one part be a rock star what other life would you love to have?
A: I've been avid in video games since I can remember, so I always say if I had the knowledge and skill I would be a pro gamer. Might sound funny to some, but I absolutely love seeing how well that industry has taken off and how so many people have been able to make a career out of something they were once scolded for doing too much of.
Q: Have you been able to get out and do any type of live shows and if so how was it and if not have you thought about jumping on the livestream wagon to get a sense of live performance?
A: We have only done one show since the outbreak in March, and it was amazing. You could tell that everyone in attendance missed the live music scene just as much as we did. We actually did do a "Corona Sessions" dealio back in April, but it was not live-streamed due to being in a remote location with terrible internet signal.
Q: For the rest of 2020 do you guys have anything planned or lined up?
A: Nothing solidified as far as touring or gigging goes. We are just trying to create as much music and content as we can in this down time so we can come out of the gate guns blazing as soon as we're given the green light.
Q: And lastly, how can people listen, support and promote ALBORN?
A: We are active on all major social media platforms (FB, Twitter, Instagram) and streaming services (Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, etc). We also have our own website, (www.albornmusic.com) where one can see upcoming shows, shop for merch, read up on the band and all that fun stuff.
STAY IN TOUCH WITH THE BAND: WWW.ALBORNMUSIC.COM FACEBOOK: @ALBORNOFFICIAL YOUTUBE: @ALBORNOFFICIAL INSTAGRAM: @ALBORNOFFICIAL TWITTER: @ALBORNOFFICIAL
THE REVELATION IS BACK REV THEORY Guitarist JULIEN JØRGENSEN chats about the Resurrection of the band, Single and Future! By: Stephanie Stevens
I love a story of finding your voice again when you think you’re in the darkest place. I love a story of finding your reason for life and passion; then taking that energy and going full force into reemerging and releasing your true self. That is survival people and the gentleman, Julien Jorgensen and Matty McCloskey have not only done that but come alive with the new single REMEMBER ME? REV THEORY is alive and well with a new vision a new attitude and fire inside them that has bled out into this newest single. On a truly serious note, why hasn’t Matty been singing from the beginning!! This guy has a sound that is so raw powerful, gritty and appealing to rock radio. REMEMBER ME? On a musical level shines with no hold barred attitude, stinging elements of hard rock spirit and melody driven signatures the band has always possessed.
I had a chance to speak with guitarist, Julien Jorgensen about the start of the new Revelation, The Rev Fans and how he feels the band has evolved.
Q: First off Welcome back!!! Can you let people know what was the moment you knew REV THEORY still had life and what inspired it?
A: Why thank you!! I think we knew over a year ago, I had been stricken with a pretty bad neck and back injury and I had been dealing with depression to a level I had never before, Darkest hours, turned to the Revelation Theory community, posted up BROKEN BONES and asked if anyone could feel me right now. The response was palpable, I realized that we had something that most outfits struggled with, we had a heartbeat, something that people were still moved by, and that in turn moved me in the right direction. Dean O from DNS agency had kept in contact with me, and asked if it was something I was still interested in doing, I reached out to Matty and the rest is becoming history. ☠ Q: What was it about Matty and his vocal abilities you guys knew he had to take the helm?
A: I always knew that Matty was a special singer and artist, we had been making our own recordings, writing and producing our own songs and Matty had been singing on them, as early as ‘OVER THE LINE’ from TIC, he sang on the demos for much of “THE REVELATION’ He just had a hunger and dynamism, an inherent rage that I felt if we cultivated could make him a heavy weight. ☠ Q: Have you enlisted other musicians to round out the band?
A: Not yet we have identified a number of incredible creative collaborators, such as V from Violent Idols, and Mogli on the visual end, we are going to keep it focused and tight, and if and when we hit the Live button we will figure out what we need and bring on board the death squad. ☠ Q: You guys kept the band name also, was there any thought on a change and what has the past Rev Theory band name mean to you?
A: We have always been REVELATION THEORY, we just shortened it when we signed with Interscope, it will always stand for REVELATION THEORY. And the Revelation OG’s feel me out there. I think more than ever there is an underlying connection to all those knowing or unknowing addicts of the apocalypse. We live in a constant state of hoping for the Revelation, however religiously misguided it fuels progress with an internal compass. That being said a name is a name is a name, so we don’t think it matters, what matters is the music. ☠ Q: REMEMBER ME?, first track back and you guys have taken control from producing the song to the video. Had you always been hands on, and if not how does it feel to have a full control on everything?
A: It feels GRRRRREAT! Lol! Really though we have always dreamed to have this opportunity where we could play creative quarterback on all things art and on the business side, so to have the partners in DNS and FUEL that just let us be creative on ideation on both the music and visual is truly a quantum leap forward for us. Matty and I have always had a very healthy creative relationship and we’ve both learned so much over the years, mostly by failing over and over again, but that being said, at this point in our careers, we feel we are ready for this responsibility. ☠ Q: How do you feel as musicians you guys have evolved since the release of THE REVELATION? A: Well to be honest I am still a hack on the guitar, a complete monkey lol, I can’t speak for Matty but I feel I have evolved my approach, beginning with experimenting with tones and structure, orchestration and applying more color when creating. I have been thinking deeply about the philosophy of sound and art in general. Why we make things, our deepest intentions. This, in the end, is what I feel we will all be remembered for. ☠ Q: You guys had said something about a band being a business. Had you always had that ideology about it and also do you feel a lot of bands fall off because that don’t have that mentality, they think it’s just making songs and rocking!
A: Well we learned the hard way, by failing, we failed on an animated series, and on a podcast, and then in our business, time and time again. Because of all that miss stepping, it has allowed us the perspective to make the necessary adjustments, like any business, you have to pivot to survive and thankfully now we are retooled and refocused, taking all those failures and applying the knowledge of what not to do, that is the gold. ☠ Q: Are you focusing on finishing a full length or do you feel in this time and age of the music world singles are the way to go to keep fans motivated?
A: I think album, but dripped out in singles, as we toy with the idea of alternate universes, we can also experiment with alternate timelines, we are light years ahead in our thinking about how to connect with people all over the world but the industry is still mainly stuck in an older slower archaic model, make record, single go to radio, tour, promote, repeat. I’d like, with this new generation of REVELATION THEORY apply, a single by single release every 4-6 weeks, culminating into an album release at the end with a new refocused approach globally on what’s working and where. During this timeline, we can still go to radio having the traditional radio. That way everyone can win and in places where things are resonating we can add FUEL to fire creating a bigger splash and ultimately reaching more people for years to come. ☠ Q: What does it mean to you that fans are still here for you and supporting you and has that been a big factor of going forward?
A: The fans are everything, it’s our only advantage, we have absolutely no support from anyone else, just our internal team and the RT faithful. You can’t build anything from smoke and mirrors and in today’s day and age we all have the same access to distribution which was before controlled by a select hierarchy, so if today we have access to the fans, why would need the industry insiders, or any or the old model parrots. What we do need right now is marketing dollars but only to reach ACTUAL FANS. Sadly, FB creates paywalls to advertise and promote to your own community, and Apple, Spotify, and the rest of the DSP’s keep it secret as to peoples specific profiles, once we break down those barriers, the skies the limit! ☠ Q: Have you guys started a record label also? Or did i just dream that?
Yes! Five Mønkey! ☠ Q: If you could give people struggling with going full-fledged into a passion they love but afraid of failing what advice would you tell them?
A: I would say, it’s not failing, its learning, and if you learn enough by failing, and if you have the whit’s to be self-effacing and to make course corrections in your approach then you will turn that failure in wisdom and knowledge, which ultimately will be the power you will need to succeed. ☠ Q: Empower another artist by telling us someone u admire and why you admire them?
A: Henry Rollins. I am just enamored by his life and am so inspired by commitment to the arts, as an artist, as a thinker, I think he is driven by that compass that moves us without a knowing of why.
Boston Guitarist Eric Pellegrini talks about new album Vol. II - Power Games By: Stephanie Stevens
Something wicked will be coming from local guitarist/artists @ericpmetal I had the chance to find out about his newest instrumental album and get to know this New England musician a little bit more
Q: Who are you (what band are you in if you have one?) What do you play?
A:My name is Eric Pellegrini & I am currently a solo artist from the Boston area. I mostly play guitar, I’ve been playing for 26 years now but sometimes I like to do vocals as well.
Q: What INSPIRED you to be the artist you are today?
A: A lot of what’s inspired me now as an artist has been my travels & experiences. I’ve been fortunate to do a lot of it & I like experiencing the different ways & cultures. Especially the music from the current popular metal styles to any kind of native or folk guitar styles. I’ve seen some amazing stuff outside of metal & it’s really inspired me to branch out & learn other styles.
Q: What recently have you been working on or have finished that you are promoting that you want to tell the music community?
A: I have just completed my 2nd full length record entitled, “Vol. II - Power Games”. It will be out on December 4th, 2020. It will be available on Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, Google, Youtube, Spotify, & more. It’s 8 tracks, 1 cover, all instrumental. I’d say musically it’s a mix between symphonic, industrial, & a little bit of world music all in a death metal context.
Q: Where do you see your biggest growth as a musician from your starting point to now?
A: I think my biggest growth as a musician was knowing that I can do it on my own. The tools & tutorials are out there to get everything done. In these times everything is downloadable to your computer. You have to put the work in by learning & then doing. It can take some time but it is possible.
Q: If you could collab on a cover with any artists alive or dead who would it be and what song would you want cover with them?
A: Chuck Schuldiner. He’s a big inspiration as a guitarist. I learned a lot of his stuff growing up. I would definitely like to jam out on some of his tunes. I think I’d also like to just sit down & learn from him more than anything. With all of experience playing & writing, there’s probably a lot to take in.
Q: What is the most important thing about music/art that can help people in your opinion?
A: In my opinion, art, no matter what kind it is (music, writing, painting, sculpting, all kinds) is great for the mind. In my personal life there have been countless times where I picked up the guitar when I was mad instead of doing something crazy & I had a new song or close to it by the end of the night & a completely changed mindset. Art can be a great way to turn something negative into something positive & productive.
Q: What do you hope people will remember most about ur art/music?
A: That I’m passionate about what I do. I’m not trying to be the fastest player or write the most complex stuff possible. I’ve enjoyed playing & writing music since I’ve started & I really want that passion to shine through more than anything else.
Q: If you could give people struggling with finding a passion they love to do, what advice would you tell them?
A: If you’re struggling to find a passion then I would say try everything & see what you don’t like. Eventually you’ll start narrowing down your list & you’ll start finding things you really enjoy. It’ll happen & by trying a lot of things, you will learn about yourself as well.
Q: Empower another artist by telling us someone u admire and why you admire them?
A: John 5, @john5official another great guitarist & songwriter that I’d like to sit down with & learn from. His solo work is great & he taps into a lot of different styles. He can be really heavy on one song & then switch it up to Spanish guitars on the next. I like his imagery too. It’s gothic & fun. I’ve seen him live a few times & his solo shows are always great to watch. There’s always a lot going on.
Bassist Jymmy Tolland talks about; New music, making covers and tells us who inspires him By: Stephanie Stevens
The vocal harmony infused rock band THE LONELY ONES made the band’s debut blast back onto the scene in March 2020 and has been releasing straight fire since then. The debut song THE LONELY ONE had rock fans pumping their fists and singing along to this melodic, catchy and vocal rich little ditty. ETERNAL SADNESS had the quirky and uplifting energy dosage of melody driven rock spirits but burns with a very important and lyrically potent message about depression. The guys weren’t done yet and went into full blown inspiration as they conquered and covered a classic Queen song, FLASH/THE HERO which got the attention of members of the band themselves and put the band in the zone! With the guys on a creative journey they have just recently released some REAL BIG TROUBLE with the bands newest release. Marty McCoy—guitar/vocals, Jake Earley-guitar/vocals, Tommy Johnson-drums and Jymmy Tolland—bass/vocals are always pushing the boundaries in songwriting, one of the hardest working bands out there in today’s genre and probably the biggest road warriors out in the scene. I had a chance to catch up with bassist Jymmy Tolland and ask him about the future for them on touring, the new songs and band and who inspires him.
Q: THE LONELY ONES, you guys made your debut right when the craziness of 2020 happened. How have you dealt with the changes in the music world and has it in anyway affected your plans for the band?
A: Covid completely changed our plans for 2020. We released our 1st single the same week that most states shut down their entire economies. We are experienced and are most comfortable on stage, so we've had to focus and pivot on putting our energy into releasing more music and more videos. This is new for us but is definitely been a fun experience.
Q:You guys had a band name change why did you decide on a new identity and how is your mindset and focus on music evolved with the new band?
A: This is not just a name change. This is a completely new band with new ideals, a new sound, and a new brand entirely. We started THE LONELY ONES with the intent of creating with no prior expectation about what we would end up with.
Q: ETERNAL SADNESS was your first release and a huge signature, but for me seems to be a more layered and intricate song compared to older tunes. How would you describe the musical vision you had when going into write this one?
A: I think ETERNAL SADNESS is a pretty good mission statement for what we created early on in our career as musicians. We have vintage rock and roll influences but all want to put a much more modern and heavier twist on them. Vocal harmonies are also extremely important to us and I don't think we will create anything without them.
Q: Lyrically you touch on a very important reality driven concern about suicide. Why was this something to release now and do you have advice for people going through troubled times?
A: We picked ETERNAL SADNESS for the reasons I already said. It just so happened that we released it the same week as a major cultural shift that really put mental health in the forefront of a lot of people's minds. Hopefully it gave some people some insight but I would be lying if I said the timing was intentional.
Q: The video for the single is totally your style for visual impact to your songs. Who came up with the idea and how was the shooting process?
A: Thank you. Marty, and myself along with Keith Williams of Island Road Media all shared directing duty for the musical performance aspect of the ETERNAL SADNESS video. All of the story line was completely from Marty's head, though. He did a great job putting what was in his mind to film, alongside Keith.
Q: Your Queen cover got some great words from the guys of the band. How do you even take a hold of words from the creators like that?
A: I'm going to get Brian May and Sam Jones's quotes about our Queen cover printed, framed and hung on my wall. I think that says it all
Q: In your career you have done other covers how do you even approach taking another artists music for yourself and is there anyone that you wouldn’t touch?
A: No. In fact, untouchable covers are specifically the ones I think are most interesting to take on. In my career I've helped cover Pink Floyd and Queen. A No. In fact, untouchable covers are specifically the ones I think are most interesting to take on. In my career I've helped cover Pink Floyd and Queen and I think that that is about as untouchable as you can get.
Q: REAL BIG TROUBLE is the newest rocker you just released. Can you go into how this song even came to life and what inspired it?
A: Marty had the first part of the chorus written and showed it to both Jake and I. The 3 of us sat in Jake's living room and traded ideas back-and-forth until we had a finished version of the song. It was surprisingly organic and, for us, an unusual way to come up with the heaviest song that we have recorded so far.
Q: Once everything is cleared and u guys can road warrior tour again, will that be the most important thing for your band? Do u feel touring is the best way to make money and get networking these days in this business?
A: Yes. 100%. I can't wait to get back out on the road and do my favorite thing in the world. It is the best thing for my soul and for the band's bank account.
Q: What do u want your legacy to be when this is all said and done?
A: The best.
Q: How can people support and help you guys for the time being as the new album and music gets out there?
A: We currently have a small merchandise store available that you can find on all of our social media. Between buying a T-shirt and streaming and more importantly buying our songs on Apple music or Spotify you can really help support us in a time like this.
Q: Empower another artist by telling us someone u admire and why you admire them?
A: It's cliché but I really admired Dave Grohl for his ability turn any possible scenario into the best possible outcome.
Connect with the band: Instagram: @thelonelyonesband Facebook: @thelonelyones
THEM interview with guitarist Markus Johansson BY STEPHANIE STEVENS
THEM a German/American theatrical heavy metal band comprised of Klaus Konig—vocals, Markus Ullrich-guitar, Markus Johansson-guitar, Mike Lepond—bass, Angel Cotte-drums and Richard Seibel-keys are making waves with the bands metal roots and horror/fantasy epic conceptual tale that began with the band’s debut disc, SWEET HOLLOW and follow up MANOR OF THE SE7EN GABLES. A lyrical story of a man caught between unfortunate circumstances and unspeakable evil. On Oct. 30th, 2020 the story continues with the third installment entitled RETURN TO HEMMERSMOOR on SPV/Steamhammer. The band hits you hard with layers of pure power metal, guitar aggressive ambiance, thrash elements and progressive metal attributes. With BATTLE BLOOD, the first single/video out for your listening ears you can hear the maturity and growth the band has produced with writing this new album. I think it’s just the ice breaker of some intense, impeccable and diverse playing from this globally enriched band. I had a chance to speak with guitar player Phenom, Markus Johansson about where the band started from, touring with Helloween, and his favorite tracks off the new album.
Q: For music fans who might be new to the band THEM can you tell me what inspired you guys to start a project like this and personally what did this band help enhance in your guitar playing?
A: The band was originally a King Diamond tribute act, THEM being the name of one of King's all time legendary albums. Our singer Troy (KK) wanted to take things to the next level with originals, and he then started to build what would become the current formation of the band. As far as guitar skill enhancement, ULLE and I are both cut from the same mold, so we love the same things, and want to play the same things more or less, haha. That said, you cannot be in this band if you don't stay on top of your shit.
Q: your debut album SWEET HOLLOW was a concept album, who came up with the story idea and how is writing an album conceptually different than just writing a record with songs on it?
A: Our singer Troy (KK) writes all of the lyrics which have now become one gigantic story spanning all three of our albums. The new record RETURN TO HEMMERSMOOR, is the third installment of the story that begins with SWEET HOLLOW. Not having written it personally, but having written lyrics for a multitude of songs I've released over the years, writing a concept album, let alone one continuous trilogy is no easy task.
Q: BATTLE BLOOD gives you a small taste of the new disc, what made you guys choose this one as the first “single”?
A: The band and the record label felt that "FREE" was a song that could stand on its own and help to showcase the identity that the band has carved out for itself. Also, we are fairly versatile in our songwriting across the albums, so there are always going to be ballad type songs and then straight rippers. "BATTLE BLOOD" being a straight ripper, it was a great juxtaposition to leading with "FREE."
Q: Would you define this song the meat and potatoes of the album or is it just one layer of what the rest of the album has in store?
A: The singles are really the tip of the iceberg, they are not paving the way for replicates. There are plenty of differing songs on the album, and I can't wait for people to hear the ENTIRE thing.
Q: Do you have a favorite off track off the album and if so what makes it a stand out for you?
A: "BATTLE BLOOD" is absolutely one of my favorites, as it's loaded with riff and riffs that is a blast to play, and there are some fun leads as well. That said, I think "WAKEN" might be my favorite-favorite, but I won't give away why. No spoilers!
Q: As a band how can you say you guys have grown in songwriting since the bands inception?
A: The first album was deliberately what some may call King Diamond worship, so the material was really one gigantic tribute. Very similar to how Gruesome pays homage to Death. Each album has morphed and grown as we have played together over the years, and we are pretty far from King Diamond these days, but the visuals and overall aesthetic seem to distort that a little.
Q: You also are band members that are globally located how does that make for interaction for promotions like videos etc. and also when it comes to writing it must be done all via internet. Do you find a heavy difference from doing it this way vs. having jam sessions to hash out ideas?
A: We are gigantic fans of how we write and file share the songs as we build each album. The process is super refined, and we have no issues with recording individually and remote, as needed. Everyone knows the very deliberate needs of the albums, so we lay everything out first, and then attack it. Everyone does their homework, so we have zero issues. It's such a solid crew.
Q: The band had the pleasure to tour with Helloween. On that tour did you guys learn anything from them or given any advice? If so, do you still use that to this day?
A: The tour with Helloween was a phenomenal way to start the band off and running. If I learned anything from Helloween on that tour, it is to FLY from show to show when the dates jump from Chicago, to Seattle, to Los Angeles! Haha, it was a lot of driving. But no, they were great, and it was great to watch them every night.
Q: If you could take yourself away from being a musician and just look at music as a fan what personally makes a well thought out and solid album to you? And what is your number one record that you’re a fan of that comes to mind when answering this?
A: As a fan, the best kind of album is one you can repeatedly revisit and continually hear new things that you missed before. Layered, epic, thought out. Sometimes less is more, but when the entire album has a continuous vibe, regardless of conceptual things, it is more enjoyable for me. It is way too difficult to narrow down a definitely number one favorite, but one that fits this mold perfectly is Opeth's Blackwater Park. Phenomenal songs, phenomenal production. Holds up every listen.
Q: It always intrigues me when a guitar player like yourself can play so fast and intricate. Do you have certain warmup techniques you do before shows/writing? And best advice to give any new musician starting out on guitar?
A: Before shows it can obviously be beneficial to warm up and run some scales, stretch out, etc. Sometimes though, with the way the scheduling goes, you don't always have the time right beforehand. Playing every day on the road helps, whenever you can find the time.
Q: Growing up did you listen to a lot of European music?
A: Without really having a specific desire to seek out European music, but it certainly found me, and one band lead to five lead to fifty. There are so many great bands from multiple genres, from multiple countries, but people seem to say I maintain a strong European influence when I write songs, or leads, or solos.
Q: How do you view the European music scene vs. American music scene and vice versa from what you have seen touring there?
A: Europe is a whole different world when it comes to the music industry, but they both have their merits. With THEM we have played in Europe almost entirely, only having our short run in the states with Helloween. One thing I will say is that Europe seems to juggle multiple genres in the mainstream, whereas the US charts are majorly pop, etc.
Q: Any other new stuff going on with THEM other than the release on Oct. 30th of RETURN TO HEMMERSMOOR? Also drop how fans get pre order this album and buy all over merchandise and music by you guys?
A: We are always hard at work cultivating the live show, set lists, new songs, etc. We can't wait for people to hear the new record, and then the next most exciting thing is seeing where we end up taking the next one. Fans can pre-order across all platforms, Amazon, directly from Steamhammer, iTunes, etc. At the end of the day, we update our social media with links that will take you where you need to go. That or our website will get you set up!
CONNECT WITH THE BAND: FACEBOOK: @THEM WWW.THEM666.COM www.johanssonshreds.com
THE VEER UNION A CHAT WITH RHYTHM GUITARIST RYAN RAMSDELL By: Stephanie Stevens
Let me start off by saying this THE VEER UNION is the most underrated band out there!! The showmanship, the songwriting abilities, the musicianship and the integrity this band has is breathtaking to say the least. Just take a minute and sit with the songs they create and the bands discography; dive into the lyrics and listen to the brotherhood you feel in the music, it’s pretty mind blowing and refreshing. THE VEER UNION came onto the scene in 2004 from Vancouver. They released their first independent album “TIME TO BREAK THE SPELL” in 2006 under the name Veer. That was the start of getting people’s attention. In 2008 they became THE VEER UNION and landed a deal with Universal Records. The band’s first single “SEASONS” was a smash hit on radio from Canada and the US. Since 2008 the band have collectively sold over 100,00 albums and have reached 30 million streams worldwide. 7 tops 40 singles on the Billboard Rock Radio charts, and they continue to grow in numbers and in talent. You might ask yourself that sounds impressive and why did you say they are underrated? To me this band should be bigger and more well-known especially in the States I feel like they deserve more than they have been given even though what they have accomplished is pretty stellar. The band is gearing up to unleash a Quarantine inspired Ep in 2021 with a multitude of Collaborations and gave the fans and music fans worldwide a sneak peek with a track that is the most socially conscious song/video to date for the band “SLAVES TO THE SYSTEM” featuring West Virginia rockers, Defending Cain. A rocker of a song, anthem empowered, aggressive and heavy power, the uniting of these two bands just accelerate the song to even a higher level. I had a chance to speak with guitarist Ryan Ramsdell about the new song, “SLAVES TO THESYSTEM”, where he sees Rock Shop Records (rockshoprecords.net) in 5 years and what he hopes people remember about THE VEER UNION.
Q: Seeing how 2020 has panned out as of now it was a no brainer a song like SLAVES OF THE SYSTEM was written. What was the breaking point for you guys to finally say it’s time to use our voices?
A: STTS was actually an idea that started in late 2019, with the initial context being that of online privacy with big tech, it was essentially expanding on the topic we touched on in our previous song “Living Not Alive”. As the song began to develop further in very early 2020, the chorus lyrics were written with that topic still being the emphasis, then the pandemic broke out. About two months into the pandemic the song was completed but with the state of uncertainty in the world, the shutdown of the entire economy, we put the release on pause to see how everything was going to play out. Then the riots happened... We felt it only strengthened our message. Eventually we were like "ok we've got to get back to releasing new music"... TVU has never been a political band but with the state of the world in regards to the economy, the non-stop emphasis of division engulfing everything, we just thought if there was ever a right time for us to release the song it was now.
Q:Was there a conversation with the guys in Defending Cain about the song topic and did you guys collaboration on the identity of the vibe n tone of the track and why did you choose them?
A: Actually yes there was. The pandemic had just hit. We had a brief discussion about how we didn’t want the song to be about Right or Left politics, we wanted it to be about unity, about all of us every day working people. Brandon threw down his tracks and sent them to us and we were like “WOW, he knocked it out of the park!” So, we went with it.
Q: What has been the hardest part to swallow looking over what is going on in the world these days? A: Outside of the economic shut down the hardest part is the constant dwelling and fixation on the division.
Q: Being a biracial band, did you guys ever have situations where people just didn't accept you because of it?
A: Absolutely not! We have always felt welcomed by the other bands and race has never been an issue. There have certainly been times where we have encountered racism on our journeys while traveling but it certainly hasn’t been inherent or often. We have had overwhelmingly great experiences.
Q: You guys are releasing an EP in 2021 which will have the platform song “SLAVES TO THE SYSTEM” on it. The interesting thing is the multi collaborations with other artists. How did you decide on what artists to work with?
A: Yes we are. Well, you just try to imagine who’s voices would sound the best with the style and feel of the song and then it's a matter of reaching out and who’s willing and available.
Q: Online communication-songwriting, is this normal for you guys and if not what obstacles did arise with it?
A: No it's not the usual way and that's the main obstacle. We’ve never worked online but so far so good!
Q: During quarantine, you guys have released some killer covers. Will we see a cover disc Part 2?
A: Thanks so much! Yes, at some point it will be but that will most likely be when we go back out on tour.
Q: What do you love most about interpreting another artists creation and is there always a back story of certain songs you pick?
A: In regards to interpreting another artist's creation, like everyone else, we are fans of music. The best part of the interpretation is that you get to decide how it applies to you. In regards to the songs going out for the collaboration, we already have a theme and an idea as a reference point so that the song has a coherent message.
Q: If you could pick any artist to cover one of your songs what artist would it be?
A: Oh man that's tough. Tool/A Perfect Circle or Deftones.
Q: RockShop Records, is in a way the child for THE VEER UNION, Was this a bucket list dream you had and where do you see the company in the next 5 years?
A: Crispin and I are Co-Owners of RSR. Crispin is CEO, Marketing Director and the in house Producer. Crispin had the idea many years ago and it's come to fruition over the past few years.
We want to work with and develop new artists and vastly grow their reach while maintaining great relationships with them. We want our label to be a good experience for our artists, a place where they feel heard and also develop them in ways that their core essence/vision of their project remains intact. It's very important to us that they are happy and feel like part of the family. Hopefully in 5 years our label will have grown enough and we will have attained enough success that more established acts will look at RSR and want to be a part of what we’re doing. We’ve been very fortunate to have achieved what we have with TVU and we want to continue to be a part of the music world after our touring days in TVU are done or diminished
Q: What do you hope people will remember most about your art/music?
A: TVU has always been about hope. We are so incredibly fortunate to have connected with the amount of people we have over the years and throughout the years we have received incredible messages about how our songs have helped people get through difficult times in their lives. We’ve always created music because it's what we love and need to do for ourselves, but hearing people's personal stories about how they’ve connected with our songs is one of the most rewarding things you can imagine. We hope that our music will be remembered as a positive message that helps people believe in themselves and want to help others around them. As long as people have hope, they will always want to keep growing, keep striving and keep living. The world is a better place when people have hope, if we can be remembered for adding to that in hope in some small way, that would be amazing.
Q: If you could give people struggling with finding a passion they love to do, what advice would you tell them?
A: Look at the things that make you happy, that make you smile, that want to make you get up in the morning. Don’t worry too much about what other people say or think about you, your life is yours and you never know when your life or health will be taken. The balance between happiness and commerce is often very difficult for the vast majority of people. You always need money but money comes and goes and when you make the jump to the afterlife, your soul is the only thing coming with you. Respect your soul, feed it with things that bring you joy, believe in yourself. Have faith, follow your heart and keep in mind that some of the most miserable people out there are people with money and some of the happiest are those that have almost none.
Q: Empower another artist by telling us someone u admire and why you admire them?
A: We admire all you young kids coming up playing rock/hard rock and metal and pushing the boundaries by blending new sounds, new textures and breathing new life into the Hardrock/Metal genre. Keep going, keep pushing, keep dreaming and for god's sake, keep working as hard as you possibly can without giving up because without you, the craft will die.
The rock community got a gift when the band NONPOINT emerged 20 years ago with the debut album STATEMENT. On this anniversary year the band is gifting the music world with a very special live stream performance of the album on Oct 10th, 2020. To be a part of this go to www.nonpoint.com to grab your tickets and relive the impact of what this album did to the rock world.
Robb Rivera, drummer of the band and founding member has also impacted the world with his driving, powerful and passionate drumming technique and solid and energy driven live show vibe. While the impact that 2020 has put on musicians worldwide, this guy has not only been in full writing mode with the band he has enhanced his podcast, revamped his clothing line standstrongclothingcompany and has started a youtube channel of drumming covers. I had the ability to talk to this talented human about it all. Read on to find out more about this drummer, entrepreneur and the band he has put his heart n soul into.
Q: What intrigued you about the drums that made you want to make this a career for you?
A: Honestly, just loved music. After seeing that first band (Cardinal Sun) at a friends party, I knew right then and there what I wanted.
Q: What was the first song you learned to play on drums?
A:I Love Rock n Roll by Joan Jett
Q: If you could learn another instrument what would it be and why?
A: Well my first instrument was guitar. I also play bass, percussion and some keyboard:
Q: Who is a drummer you currently look up to and what is it about them you like?
A: Neil Peart (RIP) from Rush will always be that guy. Just loved what he did with the songs.
Q: If you have met that person you look up to what is one thing you took away from that conversation with them?
A: When I met Vinnie Paul, he told me to have fun with the drums. Not over play and play for the song.
Q: You currently started doing drum covers on your youtube channel. Going into different genres of music how is this enhancing your drum technique?
A: Don’t think it has enhanced anything technical wise: I am just having fun playing them. I get to be creative on other people’s work. Link to youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/RobbRivera
Q: How can you define the journey your band NONPOINT has had all these years? And is there one highlight that still humbles you knowing your artistry has moved a music community?
A: Endurance. We have been to hell and back many times. Playing the ozzfest in 2001 is still my biggest highlight: a summer I will never forget:
Q: Is NONPOINT working on new material for a future release and how has the music grown?
A: We are always writing no matter what: we have grown as players that is for sure but we are looking at back to the roots style for future stuff.
Q: Along with music your Podcast ( Robbcast podcast) is taking off also. What made you get into that and what can people look forward to in your episodes if they tune in?
A: If they listen one thing they will learn is my love for music. Especially 80s metal and thrash. They will also hear experiences that I have had on the road and also offer lots of advice.
Q: If you could give people struggling with finding a passion they love to do, what advice would you tell them?
A: To see it through: I never gave up on music. Once I knew that is what I wanted I never stopped pursuing it. No matter what you love, go out and make it happen.
Q: Empower another artist by telling us someone u admire and why you admire them?
A: I don’t admire any person in particular but I admire people with amazing work ethic. Hard work is my biggest pet peeve. I love being pushed and I love to push people.
ADEMA from Bakersfield, Ca turned heads in 2001 when their debut album entitled ADEMA hit the music world. With hit singles THE WAY YOU LIKE IT and GIVING IN; hit the radio airwaves and videos were all over MTV the guys dreams were all coming true. Through great times of the band and some not so splendid times founding member and guitarist Tim Fluckey stuck to his belief in the band and got them through some rough spots. After years of success the band took a small hiatus until a rebirth was founded in 2019 and the guys got offered a tour with Powerman 5000. That is when the momentum and inspiration came back when Ryan Shuck of Orgy fame and Julien-k took the lead vocalist position. That tour in 2019 brought the guys back to life. Dave Deroo-bass, Mile Ransom-guitar, Kris Kohls-drums along with Fluckey and Ryan havent let 2020 break them, they are writing new music and just did a livestream concert for their fans! I was able to chat with Tim recently about his time as a frontman for the band, what band he would love to collab with and his songwriting. Check it out
Q: Your known as one of the guitar players of ADEMA, but you also took the helm of vocalist for a bit. How did the atmosphere change when you did that as a entertainer for you? A: I was definitely thrust into that position. Our singer quit the day a tour was supposed to start but we still felt obligated to do the tour. I have done backup vocals for years but I never was a frontman. The guys asked me if I could do it and I said I’d try. I sat in the van on the way to the first gig playing guitar and seeing if I could sing the songs at the same time. We didn’t have a chance to rehearse so it was a trial by fire on the road. It seemed to work out and our fans were great and supportive. It was a different world from just playing guitar, I was used to moving around the stage and not being anchored to a mic. I also had to talk to the crowd as a frontman and it’s harder than people think but I did get better and better at it. It made me a better vocalist but I definitely like being just a guitar player who sings backups because I can put on a better show. I also think it’s better for the fans to see a true frontman like Ryan up there with a full band and not just the guitar player shifting over to sing.
Q: For any vocalist/frontman out there what do you give them the biggest kudos for after standing in there shoes for a bit? A: Like I was saying before being able to genuinely engage the crowd and keep them into it. It’s definitely a skill and takes time and experience to be good at. So many singers have that awkward silence or say things that sound fake or don’t make sense. I had my cringe worthy moments for sure. Anyone who puts themselves in that vulnerable of a spot, especially now when every show is put on social media, deserves kudos for that.
Q: As a guitarist what was your "moment" when you wanted to make this a career? A: I wanted to do this even before I learned how to play guitar. I can remember being in the 3rd grade watching MTV and holding my mom’s tennis racket like a guitar and acting like I was in Ratt thinking this is what I want to do with my life.
Q: What brings you the biggest satisfaction singing, guitar playing or songwriting? And does each inspire you differently as a artist and if so in what ways? A: I think of myself as a guitar player who writes songs it’s how I express myself. And when you get it right and are able to move someone emotionally or have a shared experience through music there’s nothing better to me. Singing has always been something outside of my comfort zone but I feel a sense of accomplishment by taking on that challenge and getting better over the years.
Q: ADEMA formed in 2000 and you were a part of this from the beginning. Looking back on this journey with the band do you have a "humbling moment" that you realized I made my dream a reality and do you still step back and are taken back by it? A: We had so many moments like that in the beginning but one that stands out was early on we were in New York to play a show for K-ROCK. On that day we heard our song on the radio for the first time and played a show with Disturbed, Papa Roach, Linkin Park, Stone Temple Pilots and Jane’s Addiction. Howard Stern was on the side stage watching and it was like “is this really happening?”. It was an amazing moment and after all those years of doing it, it WAS happening.
Q: For someone struggling with fear of failure or not being good enough as a musician or any creative talent, what would you advice them with to help them take a leap of faith? A: Fear of failure is the most important thing to overcome. You won’t learn anything unless you fail multiple times. But you have to learn from those failures and realize what you’ve done wrong. I made a list of all my failures and what I should fix and I had a record deal 10 weeks later. And always be honest with yourself and your music, you know in your heart if you’re going down the right path, trust yourself.
Q: What is in store for ADEMA going deeper into 2020 and 2021? A: We have been writing new music throughout the pandemic and can’t wait to finish that soon and get it out there. Ryan has us all inspired and excited. He came in as a fan of the band and it reminded us that we need to be true to them and write songs that live up to what our fans deserve. We hope to tour as soon as this pandemic is over and we can do it safely for our fans. We had a lot of momentum going into this year and we hope to pick that up again.
Q: How has Ryan changed the dynamics of the band and what are you learning from him? A: As I mentioned before he’s come in and made us more focused on what we need to do as a band. We finally have a great frontman again which has been exciting for us. We’ve learned a lot from him when it comes to how to move a band into the future and give our fans a better experience overall. Our fans have always been loyal so it feels great to be able to deliver to them what they deserve.
Q: If you could collab with anyone in another genre of music who would it be and why? A: I always thought it would be cool to do something with Depeche Mode. I think their use of electronic music and dark chord progressions and melody would be cool with a heavy band behind it.
Q: One song that blows me away and is rarely played or talked about in your discography is the song PLANETS. As a writer for that song how do you define the atmosphere when writing that track and what does the song mean to you? A: Planets was a song that when I wrote it I was reevaluating my life and where the band was going. So many things changed in a short period of time and I was letting that all effect me too much and not moving forward. It’s about coming to terms with those things and realizing you only have control of what you’re going to do not the past. And ultimately get over yourself from holding yourself back with self pity and excuses. That is one of those songs where I think I got it right.
Q: What is the most important thing about music/art that can help people in your opinion? A: Music is something you can turn to that’s always there for you and doesn’t judge you. It’s helped me through so many tough times and made the good times even better. It’s why I wanted to do this, I wanted to be part of something that means so much to me. To be there for people like my favorite artists where there for me.
Q: What do you hope people will remember most about ur art/music? A: Just that it was honest music coming from five regular guys that chased their dreams. Hopefully it helps them and reminds them of some of the best times of their life.
Q: If for some reason this never became you career path what do you think you would be doing these days? A: That’s hard because this is all I’ve ever wanted. Being 6’9” I do have a background in basketball and I played college basketball so I would probably be a coach. I’ve done it for my son and it’s rewarding help kids improve and meet their goals.
Q:Empower another artist by telling us someone u admire and why you admire them? A: Speaking of my son I named him Abbott after “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott. He taught me you can be yourself and carve your own path and achieve your dreams. You don’t have to compromise who you are or be something you’re not to be successful at anything. You are good enough by just being yourself. Merch store https://ademastore.com/ Facebook: @adema Instagram: @ademamusic