Category Archives: Interviews

The Ready Set: A Report from The Outsiders Tour

jordanready1jlThe Ready Set and Metro Station traveled across the country, co-headlining The Outsiders Tour, bringing their fans together for an exhilarating celebration of pop music.  Performing songs from their latest release The Bad & The Better (Razor & Tie Records) as well as a terrific selection of old favorites, The Ready Set captivated the crowd at the House of Blues in San Diego.  We caught up with The Ready Set’s Jordan Witzigreuter on this, the last night of The Outsiders Tour to find out more about a few of the new songs, his thoughts on being on the road and heading for home, working with Metro Station producing one of their songs, giant Japanese inflatable cats, and other cool and casual topics.  Read on…

How has this tour been with Metro Station, what are some of the highlights?
It’s been awesome. Probably the highlight so far was the Anaheim show and New York, they’re always just the most, I don’t know, heavily anticipated because we have so many people and friends, people who work with us who come out to all the shows. Every show has been pretty great, it’s been a good time.

readyset4jlSo now the tour has been going for about a month now, it’s just about over. What goes through your mind when a tour like this is coming to an end?
It usually feels a lot shorter than it was by this point. That’s always like – well, it’s a real quick feeling thing. Kind of excited to go home and kind of bummed out just because I want to keep going. It hasn’t been that long, a month really isn’t too bad so it feels short. But it was fun.

Compared to Warped…
Definitely a lot easier than Warped.

What was it like producing Forever Young for Metro Station and is that something you want to do in the future?
Yes. I try to do as much of that stuff as I can when I have free time. It was cool that it worked out. I made a bunch of stuff and sent some ideas over to them and then they just came by, worked it out and did it in a day. It was super chill and fun so it’s been cool. We’ve been playing that song live every night and I’ve been going up and doing the bridge part that I did on it.

readyset1jl“Are We Happy Now?” – what inspired the lyrics?
It’s kind of about not stopping to smell the roses and being so caught up in the future or whatever is going on in your head that you don’t take anything in that’s going on right in front of you, you miss a lot of things. It’s about the tragedy of that being the case and trying to become more aware, and present and take things in and actually experience the good things that are happening.

“Freaking’ Me Out” What freaks you out?
I don’t know. A lot of stuff. That’s one of those songs where I made up this scenario in my head, meeting somebody randomly at something and, I don’t know, connecting with them and not really seeing them again after that and just having them disappear and – thats what that song is about.

readyset2jlDo you still enjoy playing the older songs, such as “Love Like Woe” and “Young Forever?”
Yeah, it’s fun. It’s more about the crowd. I always want to play the songs that people want to hear. Whatever gets the most reaction from people is what I like playing, it hasn’t really gotten to be annoying or anything. I definitely enjoy it.

Has B.o.B. heard or commented on your cover of “Airplanes”?
I don’t know. I doubt if he heard it, and if he did I don’t know if he commented on it.

Has Paul McCartney heard your cover of “Wonderful Christmas Time”?
JW: [laughs] I’m gonna say probably not. I always forget that I did that cover, it kind of snuck out. Nope, no comment from Paul yet.

The Celebrity EP, where did those songs come from?
They’re all just about random celebrities. I kind of picked people and wrote songs about them. I did this little jingle thing about Taylor Swift a long time ago, that ended up getting a lot of press, a lot of people heard it and it was kind of for a joke. So I thought maybe I’ll do a full little EP and just give it away. If you bought the album when it came out you’d get it for free. Kind of like, a fun little just whatever, fan piece thing.

What can one expect from a The Ready Set show?
A lot of movement. A lot of lights and big Japanese cats. We’ve got these giant inflatable lucky cats – one’s you’d see at a Sushi restaurant. We have a very Tokyo thing going on stage. It’s been a while since I’ve headlined. It’s good to be able to play a full hour and fit a ton of songs in there. We’re doing older stuff, and a bunch of songs from the new album.

readyset3jlYou didn’t bring those cats on Warped Tour…
I know! I actually didn’t get them until this tour, I don’t know what to do with them after the tour, I’m going to keep them with me and find a use for them. Maybe I’ll just put them in my house and they’ll just be giant, inflatable cats in my house.

When you look back on your album Tantrum Castle, what do you think of it now?
I think it was very definitive of my state of mind at the time. I think it was me figuring out how to write songs. Me, figuring out what I wanted to be and what I wanted to sound like. The whole sentiment of that album is getting out of my town and touring and leaving, starting to do this. I think it was a pre-emptive thing, almost. There’s a lot of things I listen to on it that I still like a lot, there’s a lot of melodies and things. I was writing songs for a very different perspective. It was just off the top of my head, whatever came to mind, that’d be it. I really didn’t think about anything. It’s harder to do that now. I’m a lot more critical of myself than I think I was. It’s cool to hear what my first natural idea would be for something. I just don’t write songs that way as much anymore. It’s nice to hear how I used to do stuff.

outsidersWhat is your favorite CD of 2014 and why?
That’s tough, actually.   (Jordan checks through his cell phone for ideas.) There’s an EP that came out this year, that I like a lot, it’s from a band called Panama Wedding and the EP is called Parallel Play. I really like that a lot. That’s probably one of my favorites. I’ll go with that one until I find something else. Everything I like came out in 2013 [laughs]. The new Copeland album came out, well I don’t know if it’s technically out yet. I think it’s out in two days, it’s really good. That’s probably my favorite.

What’s up next after this tour?
I’m going to go home and just write a ton, try and do a new album and write with a lot of other people / artists for side things. Then going to try and do more international stuff, if it works out. Then, I don’t know. One day at a time for me.

xmastour1What are you looking forward to the most about playing your acoustic show on Dec 17th at The Mint?
I’m excited because it’s going to be a lot of our friends just hanging out. All the bands that are playing are friends with us and people that I’ve been around with for years. It’ll be a cool little family reunion. The Downtown Fiction and Metro Station are both playing, it’ll be fun. Nice little swaray.

Two weeks off, then you see everyone again.
Yep. [laughs]

Do you have any messages for your fans in the LA area?
Yeah, thank you guys. Always. For listening to my music and supporting me and coming out to shows. Hopefully if you came out to a show on this tour you enjoyed it. If not, we’ll be back around soon hopefully next year.

Be sure to catch The Ready Set at The Mint on December 17th.  This all acoustic show also features Metro Station, The Downtown Fiction, Trevor Dahl, Up In The Clouds and a DJ set from Goldhouse!

(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)

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The Downtown Fiction: At the Final Night of The Outsiders Tour

thedowntowncardpic1The Outsiders Tour with co-headliners The Ready Set and Metro Station was spinning to an end, with the final show being at the House Of Blues in San Diego, California.  The Downtown Fiction supplied direct support for the entire run, and undoubtedly gained a ton of new fans in the process.  Their Fearless Records debut Losers & Kings is the pop punk album of the year, filled to the brim with wildly infectious anthems such as Somewhere Out There, No Generation, and Santa Cruz.  Just prior to their set, we sat down backstage with the entire band to discuss some of the songs from the new album, their thoughts on this last night on the tour, messages for their West Coast fans, and other rockin’ topics of intrigue.  Read on…

downtownsd1Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in The Downtown Fiction and what’s your favorite song on the new album?
Cameron: My name is Cameron Leahy and I play guitar and sing and I think currently my favorite is “Big Mistakes.” It’s a song we close with on the set. It’s just a cool song for all of the different inspirations that blend. There’s a cool piano part that I really love, that’s very danceable. Then there’s this verse that’s very sonically empty and lets the vocals come up, but there’s still this rocking chorus. I really like that song. A lot of diverse elements.

Kyle: My name is Kyle Rodgers, I play the drums. My favorite song is “Don’t Count Me Out,” which is a nice rocky song. It’s got a rad riff in it and those are the two elements I like in rock songs.

Wes: My name is Wes Dimond, I play guitar in The Downtown Fiction. I’d have to say currently, my favorite is “No Generation.” It’s a real fun song, it’s got a cool jammy verse and it goes into a fun heavy chorus. I like playing it live.

David: I’m David Pavluk and I play bass and sing backup vocals and my favorite is probably “Kiss My Friends,” it has a sweet bass line, which I really enjoy playing live. It’s crazy hard, but fun. Then, the chorus is super powerful and rocky, fast and the song is pretty much over in a flash but it’s a kick in the face of rock.

downtownsd4So how has this tour been going so far and what have been some of the highlights?
Kyle: It’s been awesome so far. I think we’ve done a good job at reaching a lot of new fans, it’s been good for us monetarily. We’ve got some good merch out there, some new merch we’ve had designed. The shows have been really well attended, and a lot of fun. A lot of good music on this tour.

David: I think one of the highlights was playing a couple of nights ago near LA, in Anaheim and a lot of people came out. We had management come out and they got to see what we’ve been doing on the road for the last few weeks. We’re getting near the end of the tour, everything is really polished. House of Blues has a great sound.

downtownsd2The tour has been going on for about a month, just about over. What goes through your mind at this stage of the tour when everything is about to end?
Cameron: It’s a really good feeling, usually by the end of the tour you’re most prepared with the set and familiar with it. You just feel so comfortable at that point, it’s almost muscle memory. So, at this point it just feels like we’re a well polished machine. It’s always bittersweet because it’s also the end.  You wish you could almost keep going, but we’ll be going more in the spring.

David: I’d say we’re definitely ready for a break but not too long of a break because this is what we like doing and we want to get back out as soon as possible. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that soon.

What does the title “Loser and Kings” mean to you guys?
Cameron: The record, a lot of it is about empathy for others through self-examination. You realize, oh, we’re all losers and kings in some ways. We’ve all been through these different strifes and troubles and all have come out on the other end of it. So, a lot of it too is about looking back at your childhood and saying, how the hell did I get here? It’s a loose theme, but I think it brings your perspective to a new level when you start to think about it in those terms, oh everybody’s going through the same thing.

What’s the story behind the song “Santa Cruz”?
Cameron: I wrote the song about my skateboard. I got a longboard on my birthday, I was born in Santa Monica. Moving back to LA was another part of what I think influenced the record a little bit. That childhood nostalgia, that reexamination of your life comes from revisiting a place you once were from. So we’re transplants, we’re not from – i can say I was born there but I’m not from LA, not really. I lived in Virginia. “Santa Cruz” is about – the skateboard is just this vessel for all of that examination. It was for me, it became a big part of my life where I was taking this Santa Cruz out all the time. Between us going surfing or something, it’d be a lot of cruising around. The area I lived in for a while had these really smooth hills and roads, I’d go out at night and it would just inspire the song. I thought it needed a song. It was very natural, though. Didn’t take much thought.

downtownsd3“No Generation” is almost a punk rock anthem. What inspired it?
Cameron: I wrote that one with Martin from Boys Like Girls. I had known him for a while. Yeah, its just a cool rock song.  I always think of The Who in the title, it is a little Who inspired. Not musically, but the sentiment. I think it was just one of those songs that, again, it was very effortless.

David: That one is really fun to play live as well. I’m always mentioning our live show because that’s a big part of the band and a big part of how when we went to record this record.  We had that in mind of how it’s going to sound live. We even have an outro, it’s pretty rockin’ for that song. We’re not playing it on this tour, unfortunately. We have in the past, you’ll hear it again soon.

If The Downtown Fiction could open for any band, either now or from the past. Who and why?
David: My answer is Weezer and Foo Fighters. They’ve done tours in the past together, but put The Downtown Fiction on that show. That’d be a sick rock show.

Wes: I think it’d be cool to open up for Queens of the Stone Age, actually. That’d be so rad, that’d be a real rocking tour. I feel like we could play and keep up. I think it’d be fun.

Kyle: I’ve said this before, but Led Zeppelin just because opening up and being able to watch them every night would be insane.

Cameron: Man, that’s a tough one because there are so many bands where you don’t feel as if your band would fit on the bill even though you’d love to open for them. But, because I’ve been obsessed with this band Deerhoof and I play them all the time, relentlessly but they’re so crazy and out there that i’ve gotten obsessed with them. But I don’t think we’d be able to fit with them very well.  Another band that sort of fits the vein of “doesn’t fit with anyone at all” is Devo. I feel like they have their own, they’ve carved out their own terrain, they’re their own thing. That’s another thing I super admire, in Devo. Theyre so punk in the fact that they play like robots. They play – they’re so solid, such a solid band. There’s nothing more punk to me than a band that just is totally on, every beat is so punchy. They’re a huge inspiration.

downtownsd5How about a cover of “Girl You Want”?
Cameron: Kyle and I have jammed that song, we have a rehearsal cover but there’s another song called – not even going to reveal it, maybe we’ll do the other one I’m thinking of. But we’ve done “Girl You Want.”

Do you have any messages for your fans out here in the Southern California area?
Cameron: Yeah! Come out to the shows and check out the new album. I think that – not that it’s not relatable to everyone, but I think there’s something even special for West Coast people to hear on the record, because we made it on the West Coast. It has this very open feeling that sort of makes me think of standing by the ocean. I don’t know what makes me think that it should be played by the ocean but – it has that feeling, that sentimentality from coming from being born there, I guess.

Kyle: I guess yeah, come to the show and thank you very much for following the band and checking out the new record and continuing to support us. We really appreciate it, we love you guys.

Wes: Thank you so much. I feel like we have an awesome following on the West Coast, it’s really fun seeing them out at shows because they’re so energetic and fun. I think there’s a totally type of energy when we come out here, I can feel it every time we play these West Coast shows. Including the show in Anaheim, I’m really excited for the show tonight here to finish off the tour, I think it’d be a good one.

David: I agree with everything everyone said, that was great. Come see the record live, we really enjoy playing it and we hope you’ll enjoy hearing it. So get ready for a rocking show and next time we tour. Thank you all again.

Be sure to catch The Downtown Fiction at The Mint on December 17th.  This all acoustic show also features The Ready Set, Metro Station, Trevor Dahl, Up In The Clouds and a DJ set from Goldhouse!

(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)

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THE HIGHWIRE DAZE BEST CD OF 2014 SURVEY

highwire_best2014Welcome to the Annual Highwire Daze Best CD of 2014 Survey. For the last month, we’ve been sending random emails to various bands and their publicists asking the crucial question of the hour, which is…

“What was your favorite CD of 2014 and why?”

A wide array of musicians answered.  An eclectic mix up – something we here at Highwire Daze have been most familiar with in the passing of time.

And so, Highwire Daze presents to you what band members had to say in regards to their Best Music of the year. Read on…

And The Bands Present Their Selections…

alterbeast1 Andrew Lamb of Alterbeast (guitar):
The Radial Covenant by Hannes Grossmann “Its organic, tech-death mastery at its finest. Everyone should give this gem a play.”

Rusty Cornell of Alterbeast (guitar):
Conquering Dystopia “I think it’s the most innovational and inspirational metal album to come out in a long time.”

Monte Barnard of Alterbeast (vocals):
Fallujah -The Flesh Prevails – because it’s one of the first technical death metal records to successfully inject true resonate emotion without sacrificing anything crucial to the genre.”

amberiandawn1Tuomas of Amberian Dawn
Best release of 2014 in my opinion is Joe Satriani’sThe Complete Studio Recordings”. I’ve been a big fan of Satriani since I started to play guitar (somewhere in the end of 80’s). Joe has amazing technique on his playing and unlike most of his colleagues; he’s also a great composer. Too bad that you didn’t ask for the second best release of 2014 too, since the second best album of this year is naturally “Magic Forest” by Amberian Dawn ;). We’re not aiming too high, we don’t need to be the best…it’s good enough to be the second-best :-)

AstralDomine3Luca Gagnoni of Astral Domine
“Our favorite 2014 CD is Epica’sThe Quantum Enigma‘. This album is absolutely amazing! It sounds great and it contains impressive chorals and orchestral part with aggressive metal riff! We love these mix! Wonderful job!”

Travis Ryan of Cattle Decapitation
Bethlehem, “Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia” – This is one of my favorite bands. The album title means “fear of 666″. They’ve gone through a few eras in their well over 20+ year existence, sometimes much to their fans’ chigrin, but every era, every change, still equals Bethlehem. I don’t know how they do it. There’s always new players practically on every album. But they maintain THEIR sound. Theres something very genuine in the way they approach their songwriting and I love that. Very underlooked and underappreciated band who yet have a rabid cult following. There’s much more to this band than a couple songs on the Gummo soundtrack, and this new album shows that.”

Flo Mounier of Cryptopsy
My favourite CD of 2014 is Obituary’sInked in Blood”. Because I have to pay tribute to these guys for influencing thousands of death metal musicians, including myself, for so long! It’s very difficult to be unique in music today and the best of the best always stand out! Unmistakably Obituary are still the Kings of groove death!

Rob Walden of Exotype
My favorite album of 2014 is Of Mice & Men’sRestoring Force“. They truly branched out from their usual sound and experimented with an active rock approach that feels nostalgic and timeless.

Chris Pervelis of Internal Bleeding
My favorite CD of 2014 is by far Mortal Decay’sBlueprint for Bloodspatter”. This band in my opinion, is one of the most underrated bands in death metal and deserves to be recognized for the masters of the genre that they are. They combine the technical wizardry, memorable hooks and eerie melodies that most bands could only dream of creating—and it’s all backed up with incredible drumming that is not only fast and precise, but tasty as well. “Blueprint..” brings all these great elements together in full force and leaves your jaw dropped in awe every time you listen to it. It’s a masterpiece.

OrionInDying1Orion Stephens of In Dying Arms
Volumes, No Sleep album. It’s great start to finish & I love their melodic aspect. I haven’t even gotten into too many record in 2014, but I always find myself going back to volumes.

Justin Symbol
My favorite album of 2014 is my own record, Justin SymbolV Ω I D H E A D‘, because I make the exact kind of music I want to hear.

Matt Young of King Parrot
Favourite album of 2014: Child Bite, “Strange Waste”. A band that have smashed down the boundaries of punk and metal and produced a brilliant album that is catchy, energetic and unique amongst a smorgasbord of awesome releases this year.
The band back this up with an incredible live show that translates extremely well from record. They just put out a great video for the song Ancestral Ooze too. You need to check this album out.

liekmonroe1Chris Deckard of Like Monroe
Our favorite cd of 2014 was definitely the ISSUES self titled album solely because it opened up a lot of doors and minds with their ability to fuse hip hop, R&B, EDM, and metal core which is in our opinion was iconic and groundbreaking for music I’m 2014 and beyond.

loernashore1Adam De Micco of Lorna Shore
FallujahThe Flesh Prevails
A great continuing progression from previous albums from one of the best technical metal bands out there.

Gary Herrera of Lorna Shore
RevocationDeathless
One of the most aggressive metal records I’ve heard in a while. The whole album gives me a non-stop adrenaline rush!

Pier Gonella of Mastercastle
Within Temptation, ‘Hydra‘, because we like so much melodies and vocal lines”

missmay1Levi Benton of Miss May I
My favorite record of 2014 was Darkest HourDarkest Hour. I have always been a big fan of the band and when John Henry learned how to sing on this record it really blew my mind and the fact they did it so well and kept their sound really made this record one for the books!

Nim Vind
Steel PantherAll You Can Eat“. I’m a big fan of Jay Ruston’s mixing and I love the Panther’s songs. Even though the lyrics are crazy they still manage to make you believe in them. There’s soul hidden in there. To me that’s the best part of making rock n’ roll – when you can transcend the literal and make people feel it you got something special. My favorite song is still “Asian Hooker” but “Glory Hole” and “F*cking My Heart In The Ass” are right there too.

Oceans Ate Alaska
Our favourite album of 2014 has to be Lost Together / / Lost Forever by Architects! The guitars are crushing, and Sam Carter’s vocals stretch to unbelievable limits. They really set the bar high with this one!

requiem1Steven Juliano, singer of REQUIEM
Babymetal- “Self Titled” Album
Before you judge, lets just say this album changed my life. It’s probably the most ridiculous, over the top, confusing album I have ever heard. But I simply love it. I have always been a huge fan of JPOP, and metal, and some genius combined the two. Can I meet this man and shake his damn hand? -

Jacklyn Paulette, guitarist/singer of REQUIEM
Motionless in White- “Reincarnate” Album
Motionless in White’sReincarnate” because it’s super heavy with some industrial overtones while maintaining catchiness.

Ryan Heggum, guitarist of REQUIEM
Beartooth – “Disgusting” Album
It is a much needed reminder of the punk rock roots that the modern metalcore movement sprouted from. No gimmicks, overproduction or cliches to be found on this album. Just a raw, heavy hitting, anthem filled rock n’ roll album to take my top pick of 2014.-

Rick Siegfried, drummer of REQUIEM
Devin Townsend - “Z2” Album
Devin Townsend again brings together incredible musicianship and hilarious storytelling in this epic double-album!

Finn Stobbe, bass player of REQUIEM
Flying Lotus – “You’re Dead” Album
This album is very deep musically and represents a very modern approach, while echoing the past. Jazz, Rock, Funk, and Electronic music all combine for a lush landscape. Herbie Hancock, Snoop Dog, Thundercat, and Kendrick Lamar all make appearances. There is a very disturbing video for the song “Ready err Not”. Start there. This is an album about dying. We can all understand the motivation, and subject matter represented in this beautiful art. We will all die someday. We all think about it, and we all deny it somewhat. Thinking about dying motivates me to live to the fullest, and to do what I want with this life.

Straight Jacket Legends
In answer to the question our favourite CD of 2014, has to be New Found GloryResurrection.
Take It Easy!
https://www.facebook.com/straightjacketlegends

Jon Howard, Threat Signal
I personally can’t get enough of the self-titled Killer Be Killed album. Members from Mastodon, Soulfly, Dillinger, and Mars Volta?! Amazing mix of musicians. Super catchy and melodic yet very heavy at the same time, I couldn’t ask for more. Sick debut.

Mike Hill of Tombs
My favorite CD of 2014 is “An Unending Pathway” by Atriarch. I’ve been a fan of theirs for several years, own all of their records, and stalk them on the internet. They are one of the most unique bands making extreme music these days, very emotional and expressive, creating this sort of dark, contemplative mood that resonates with me.

Nick Didkovsky of Vomit Fist
Labyrinth Constellation by ARTIFICIAL BRAIN, released 18 February 2014
This is music I can return to again and again, and every time I can listen deeper and deeper. The structures and forms are very dense and complex, and straddle abstract texture and melody in a perfect balance; high level composition pushing virtuosic performers to their limits, weaponized with brutally high energy.

(Articles and answers compiled by Ken Morton – Best CD Graphic by  Yannick d’Assignies – Miss May I and In Dying Arms photos by Jack Lue)

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Back On The Road with Metro Station

metrostationpix1Metro Station hit the road for the first time in five years, co-headlining The Outsiders Tour with The Ready Set. Travelling all across the country for over a month, the tour was coming to an end, with the last show taking place at the House Of Blues in San Diego.  The band would thrill the crowd with old songs such as Kelsey and Shake It as well as brand new crowd favorites such as She Likes Girls and Forever Young.  We caught up with Trace Cyrus and Mason Musso right before their final set of the tour to discuss the new self-released EP Gold, life back on tour after such a long hiatus, family ties, and what the future has in store for Metro Station.  Read on…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Metro Station.
Trace: I’m Trace Cyrus, I sing and play guitar in Metro Station.

Mason: I’m Mason Musso and I sing and play guitar in Metro Station.

metrostationjl3How’s this tour with The Ready Set been going and what have been some of the highlights?
Trace: It’s been great. There’s been a lot of cities that have stood out. Milwaukee was good. Orlando House of Blues, all of Texas was good. The whole tour is great, there’s just different reactions from different kids in the crowds each night. Anaheim was amazing too, that was a great show for us too. Tonight will be great because we get to go home. I don’t know. This tour has exceeded our expectations. We hadn’t done a Metro Station tour in five years, so the fact that kids still come out and know the words to the songs – it’s awesome.

The tour has been going for a month now, it’s just about over. What is going through your mind right now?
Trace: I’m homesick man. I love touring, but the older I get the harder it is. When we started when we were 18, we couldn’t wait to leave our parent’s authority and get out and do whatever the hell we wanted. Now I just want to spend time with my girl, my dogs, I like to record in a studio. I just have to re-energize my batteries and get ready for the next tour we’re about to do.

Mason: I don’t think it’ll take as long to recharge. We’re back together and we just want to keep this ball rolling, so beginning next year just start hitting up a new tour, full length record. We’re ready to work.

goldep1Is there any story behind the EP title “Gold”?
Trace: We made that song with our old keyboard player, Blake. The song is just about the search for happiness, especially in the crazy entertainment business we live in. Entertainers search for happiness with drugs and alcohol and women, partying. That’s what Gold is about, man. Living that life but still not being fully satisfied.

Talk about any other song on the album and what inspired the lyrics.
Trace: Just life, man. What I just talked about is what I can relate to. Me and Mason wrote that with our old keyboard player. I think it’s the most meaningful song we’ve written. That’s why we named the EP that.

Mason: That one really has a lot of what we’ve been going through in it. I think our song “She Likes Girls” has a really powerful message as well. Telling a girl you can love whoever you want to love. I think it’s a strong message, it means a lot.

metrostation4jlForever Young, what was that like working with Jordan of The Ready Set as the producer? That must have been interesting.
Trace: It was awesome, he’s talented man. We went to his apartment, it’s funny, now you don’t need a million dollar studio. He has a little room with a few speakers, a mic and we did the song in about a day. It was great. We didn’t record it thinking it was going to make the EP or anything.  We just did it for fun, maybe something to just throw on the internet. We liked it so much we put it on the EP, it worked out.

Internal strife in the band has been all over the internet in the past. How surprising is it that Metro Station is touring in 2014? Did you ever think it was going to happen?
Trace: No, a lot of time passed. I never say never about anything, me and Mason had gone our separate ways for a while. It’s not shocking to me that we’re back together, what’s more shocking is that people still care about us. A lot of bands fizzle away really fast. But I think we wrote some really good songs and kids are just waiting to see what we have coming up next. I think the new EP proved ourselves that we’re still writing good songs. I think next year when we release our second full length album it’s going to prove that a lot more.

Will you be self releasing that?
Trace: We’re not sure yet. I’d like to, that’s my goal, to stay independent as long as we can. If things get too crazy where we feel like we need a major label again, we’ll do it. But this tour, we’ve done independently and we released an EP independently. Now we’re just working on getting worldwide distribution to distribute and market the record next year.

metrostationjl2Do you have any advice for kids who are in bands, who are looking for a record deal?
Trace: Don’t look, man. They’ll come to you. As long as you make good music, you can just – as long as you have a laptop and a microphone. There’s a lot of ways to learn how to record your own music, that’s what we did. We put our music on Myspace back in the day and now there’s things like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram to get your music out there. All that stuff helps. If you’re good, record labels will contact you. You might not even need one, you might throw your songs up on iTunes and sell so much that you don’t even need anyone else. We’re living in a different era, man. The internet runs the music industry. It’s a good thing. It gives everyone an equal opportunity to have a shot at this industry. In the past, in the 90s or whatever you had to hope to God that someone from a label heard your music at a bar or club or something and gave you a deal. It’s not like that anymore.

Is your other band Ashland High still going?
Trace: No. I’m just focusing on this, man. We’re so busy with Metro Station, I wouldn’t have time for anything else. This is my main focus right now, we’re just trying to make this as big as possible.

Coming from a famous family, is that a help or hindrance?
Trace: I think it hurts me more, man. People want to immediately judge me before they listen to the music. They want to say that I’m in this industry because of my family, like I got some helping hand. It’s not the truth, man. We’ve done this all on our own and we struggle financially like any other band. I don’t use my families connections in any way to help me way. The only time Miley really helped me out was when she took us on tour, after we had already sold half a million records. I love my family, i’m proud of my family name but I definitely think that it doesn’t help, it makes it harder for me. Everyone wants to judge me before they give me a chance. It is what it is.

metrostationjl1Do you guys still enjoy playing the older songs?
Mason: Love it. It’s incredible to see that these kids, as Trace says, after all these years they know every word to the songs. It just gets us excited to see everyone’s face light up when those first chords of “Kelsey” come in and everyone knows the lyrics, it’s awesome.

Trace: Agreed. We love playing them. Listening to them is different. I don’t listen to the old record, but playing them is amazing. We’ve heard “Shake it” about a million times, but we’re thankful for it man.

I’ve heard a lot of bands do covers of your song “Kelsey.”  Have you heard any of them? What do you think about other bands doing your music?
Trace: I’ve heard a few times, I think it’s cool. Even the new song “Love and War” that we just released a couple of months ago, we’re already seeing people on YouTube covering it, which is really cool. It’s an honor, man. Some of the covers are really impressive so keep it up guys.

What can one expect from a live Metro Station show?
Trace: Just a big party, man. I always say – we’re there to entertain you, have a good time and get people to sing along with us and dance. If you want to come and see some crazy guitar solo, or the most musically talented band, don’t come see us. We’re there to entertain you and sing great songs, that’s what we do. We write great songs and we present them to you in a good way. I feel like if I get everyone in that audience jumping up and down, and dancing and united as one, then I’ve done my job. That’s what I do every night. I get upset when people come to the show and just kind of hang around and get shy. The point of the show is, I always say, is to forget about everything outside of these walls. Put your phone in your pocket and just get lost in the music.

If Metro Station could open for any band, now or from the past, who and why?
Mason: The Cure, Robert Smith. If I could do that, that would just make my life.

Trace: There’s of course bands in the past that I love but I always think of currently would work. I’d love to open for someone like Lady Gaga. I really like her music. I think we’d do well touring with a female pop artist.

What’s up next for you guys?
Trace: We’re taking some time off, we’re going to finish the first studio record since we’re back. We already have a bunch of songs so we’re going to finish, we have about 12 solid songs and then we’re hoping to hit Europe to tour in February. After that, we’ll be touring the United States again, we have some stuff lined up I just can’t talk about it really yet because it hasn’t been announced. We’re just going to keep touring and make good music.

Do you have any messages for your fans out here in the Los Angeles Area?
Trace: Stay up to date with our social media, man. Metrostationmusic.com and all the other Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We keep you guys up to date every day, so just follow us on there.

Mason: Love you, Cali!

Be sure to catch Metro Station at The Mint on December 17th.  This all acoustic show also features The Ready Set, The Downtown Fiction, Trevor Dahl, Up In The Clouds and a DJ set from Goldhouse!

(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)

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Getting Real and Rockin’ with Laugh At The Fakes

laugh-at-the-fakesBased out of Toronto, Canada, Laugh At The Fakes present music as memorable as their moniker.  Combining metal and hard rock with a grand slammin’ dose of prog, Laugh At The Fakes has unleashed a mighty magnum opus entitled Dethrone The Crown.  Destined to rock your world with exhilarating cuts such as the Not Like Me, Fighting Dirty, and Harmonica Playing Man, Laugh At The Fakes will genuinely captivate all types of music aficionados. We recently caught up with singer / guitarist Everett Mason to find out more about this dynamic band on the rise.  And now let’s get real and rockin’ and as we discover the electrifying entity known as Laugh At The Fakes

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Laugh At The Fakes, and how long the band has been together.
Everett Mason here, I sing and play guitar in Laugh At The Fakes. I started this band in late 2010.

Where is the band based out of and what is the local music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
We are based out of Toronto, Canada. We have a good scene, especially when big metal bands come to town. Here in Toronto some of the local bands I have checked out and really like are Axxion, Slyde, Fatality, and Midnight Malice.

Is there any story or concept behind the album title Dethrone The Crown.
Although it’s not a concept album, a lot of the songs on DTC are about greed, murder, corruption, and the struggle for power. We felt that the song Dethrone The Crown was not only a good representation of the album musically but lyrically as well.

Select any two songs from Dethrone The Crown and what inspired the lyrics.
Harmonica Playing Man is based on an old western movie called Once Upon A Time In The West. One of my all-time favourite movies. Killing Time is about brainwashing people to do your dirty work.

album_cover_-_laught_at_the_fakes_-_dethrone_the_crown_-_2014_smallWho did the cover art for Dethrone The Crown and how much influence did you have on it?
The cover was done by Blacktooth Entertainment, we had input on some of the rough sketches but the artist based most of her ideas on the title of the album. We let her do her thing and it turned out great.

What could one expect from a live Laugh At The Fakes show?
We live to play shows. It’s our favourite thing to do. The whole point of recording an album is to get more people out to shows. You can expect all four of us to play every show like it’s our last one. It’s the best feeling in the world.

Any strange or scary happenings while on the road or at a show?
The worst experience was dealing with these crackhead promoters who ripped us off at a show in Oshawa back in 2012. Our drummer at the time arranged a show for us at this place called the Banshee. When we arrived at the gig, the promoter didn’t show. Instead he sent his two crackhead assistants to handle collecting the door and they were also supposed to pay us out. Big surprise, they spent all the door money on drugs and weren’t able to pay us. The crowd was great but the end of the night was kind of a bummer.

Has Laugh At The Fakes ever played on the States or plan to do so in future days?
We have yet to play in the States but we really, really want to!

ev_399x600What was it like opening for Blaze Bailey and did you get to meet or hang out with him at all?
It was a fun show and the first show we had played in over a year. We had take time off to make the new record and this was our first show after we finished it. Meeting him was awesome, we chatted for a bit about how his tour was going and he took picture with us. His set was awesome too.

Are you or any of the other members involved with any other bands outside of Laugh At The Fakes?
Galen (bass player) plays in jazz bands and Chris (drummer) is in more projects than I can keep track off. Kevin and I (the guitar players) just wanna rock!

If Laugh At The Fakes could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
AC/DC because they are still my favourite live band and the exposure would be unbelievable.

What’s up next for Laugh At The Fakes?
A music video for one of the songs off DTC and lots of tour dates!

Any final words of wisdom?
If you can’t play it slow, you can’t play it fast, you just think you can.

Laugh At The Fakes is:
Everett Mason-Guitar and Vocals
Galen Weir-Bass
Kevin Daliri-Guitar
Chris Avalos-Drums

(Interview by Ken Morton)

Laugh At The Fakes on Facebook

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On The Get Real Tour with Luke Holland of The Word Alive

luckjl2The Word Alive made their way into The Glass House in Pomona, headlining on The Get Real Tour – with support from The Color Morale. Our Last Night, The Dead Rabbitts. and Myka, Relocate.  Their latest album Real. has recently been released through Fearless Records, featuring such standout cuts as Never Forget and Lighthouse.  Prior to their performance, we sat down and interviewed drummer extraordinaire Luke Holland – as well as his drum tech Matt Horn – to discuss the new album, life on the road, Luke’s participation on the recent edition of the popular Punk Goes Pop recordings. the phenomenal hit count on his YouTube channel. and many other topics of intrigue.  And now from backstage at The Glass House, we present our chat with Luke Holland and Matt Horn…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in The Word Alive and tell me who you favorite drummer of all time is.
Luke: Luke Holland, I play drums for The Word Alive and my favorite drummer of all time – that is hard. OK, Thomas Lang.

I’ll ask your drum tech the same thing…
Matt: Matt Horn, I drum tech for Luke Holland and The Word Alive and my favorite drummer is probably Thomas Pridgen.

Matt, how did you become Luke’s drum tech?
Matt: I used to play in a band with Dan, who’s supposed to be here and when they lost their last drummer Justin, I came in and recorded drums on Life Cycles, so that’s how I met all the guys and then eventually met Luke. Then, just this last summer on Warped Tour Luke lost his drum tech, Tyler Brown and he asked me to take his spot. So, here I am still going.

Why is Luke losing drum techs, is he difficult to work with?
Luke: Honestly, I make them do ridiculous practice regimen every day. I have them run six miles a day, because if you can’t set up my drums within two minutes then youre not allowed – I’m totally kidding. No, Tyler went to do his own band thing and he was being like, dude I don’t know if I can do Warped! I was like, here, let’s make it easy. Go do your thing, I’ll find someone else so I asked Matt to do it.

luckjl3You recently came back from Europe and the UK – how did that tour go and what are some of the highlights?
Luke: It was great! A lot of fun. It was my first time time touring with The Color Morale, love those guys. They’re a lot of fun. LIke Moths to Flames, toured with them before. Oceans Ate Alaska, first time we met them. They were nice guys. It was just a lot of fun, it was easy because I had Matt there to do all the dirty work and I got to have some fun in Europe for once. Instead of having to always go and set up all my stuff I got to explore a little bit, it was cool to see some of the sights.

What are you looking forward to most about this tour?
Luke: Every night I play my most viewed YouTube video, it’s Skrillex’s remix of “Cinema” and I play that every night. I improvise all the drum fills and the cool stuff. So, for me that’s a lot of fun. It’s not something you see a lot of bands do. So, I’m excited about that. It’s a really good lineup, we’re happy to have all these bands on there.

What is the title of the album Real. mean to you?
Luke: It means you can take it literally or figuratively and just crazy, get really crazy with it. But for me, all of us in the band we’re just real guys. None of us have a gimmick, we don’t go out onstage dressed all crazy, which is – if that’s what you do that’s completely fine. I have no problems with that. But none of us are like that, we just play our stuff. We do our thing. Also, a lot of bands program drums now a days. So for me, it’s cool because I actually went in and tracked the drums.

What are the two songs you like performing the most off the new album live?
Luke: Probably “Never Forget” and “Terminal,” on this set.

Any reason why?
Luke: “Never Forget” is a song that we wrote for Mitch from Suicide Silence when he passed away two years ago. That one always gets a cool vibe going in the venue. Performance wise, there’s a lot of real difficult and intricate stuff that people who aren’t drummers don’t really know how difficult it is, so it’s kind of fun. Then “Terminal” is just real technical and heavy, like “hit as hard as you can” kind of song.

luckjl5You’re going to be on the Punk Goes Pop 6 album. Tell me about that song Ain’t It Fun and how it came about.
Luke: Tyler Carter, from Issues. We’ve done some collaborations before in the past on YouTube. He contacted me one day and asked – we were talking about doing another cover on YouTube together and he told me that Punk Goes Pop contacted him – they gave him the list of songs and gave him first pick over all the songs that he was going to do. He asked me to do drums on it, so it’s days Tyler Carter featuring me. So, we did that the day Warped Tour ended. We flew to Atlanta, recorded at his place and then recorded a video for it. Then Cameron from Chango Studios did the audio and it turned out really good. There’s a music video we filmed for it up on Fearless’ YouTube channel.

Do you know if Paramore has heard and or commented on it yet?
Yeah, I’m good friends with the drummer Aaron. I sent it to him and he really liked it. Then Haley, she tweeted everyone in one tweet. She said aww shucks, with a smiley face [laughs]…

What has it been like to tour with the former singer of The Word Alive, are you guys cool?
Luke: Craig? Yeah, there’s no beef / bad blood at all. We see him every day, hugs. Craig is great. We all love Craig.

So what can one expect from the show tonight?
Well, tonight in particular our singer Telle – he had to go to the doctor yesterday. He has a viral infection in his throat. Even though yesterday he had it as well, he still performed, which is awesome. Not a lot of singers would do that. But, it’s still going to be super high energy, we have the light show, our sound guy is amazing. Everything sounds super good, looks super good. Got the Cinema thing, because why not? It’ll just be a good time.

Hopefully the crowd will sing along if his voice goes out.
Luke: Yeah, we’ll see. Luckily we have Tony, Daniel and Zack who all do vocals as well. So they fill in where he can’t.

luckjl4I know your YouTube channel has had millions of hits. How does that feel to know that this many people have seen your videos?
Luke: It’s really weird. I think it’s at 35 million views on there, which is insane. It’s really cool. I don’t know what to say, honestly. When I started doing it, I never would have guessed. I didn’t even think I’d get 50 views. I was just doing it to show up these kids who were doing Texas In July covers.

Do you still keep in touch with any of the bands you used to drum with, like The Green Children – and Texas In July too.
Luke: Texas In July every so often, me and Adam Gray – an amazing drummer. We’ll text. The Green Children I haven’t heard from in a while, I know they’re still doing their thing.

You came back from Europe, I think you had a few days then you started this tour. What are those five days at home like?
Luke: Too short. There’s no time to really be home. I get there, I put my bag down, i’m not even going to unpack this. Just do laundry and before you know it, you’re leaving again. It’s a crazy lifestyle for sure.

How do you maintain relationships at home when you’re on the road all the time?
Luke: If it wasn’t for the good ol’ iphone we’d be fucked [laughs]. We’d all be fucked I think. I can’t even imagine the old days when no one had phones and going on tour. That’s insane to me. I’d love to experience that, where you go and you’re just gone. Nobody can talk to you, text you, that’d be kind of fun. But you have to, especially if you have a girlfriend or something, which I don’t. You gotta be real careful with that. You have to maintain or else you get home and everyone is doing their own thing and you’re like – hey guys! They’re like, oh who are you again?

Matt: I feel like when you’re home time travels differently. You leave, everyone is in one spot, then you come back and it feels like it’s been forever and everybody’s – everything is changed by the time you get home. I’ve only been touring for a year so I’m just now being able to get to the point where everything is changing at home and here I am. It’s a weird adjustment. I guess you get used to it.

Luke: Yeah, sort of. Kind of. You do what you can to survive.

getrealtour1If you weren’t in The Word Alive, what do you think you’d be doing today?
Luke: I would be practicing the shit out of my drums, every day. I’d be playing 3-5 hours a day then probably continue to make YouTube videos and crank those out. That’s how I got by, my following was the YouTube thing. Maintaining that would be a huge priority. That’s how they found me, The Word Alive, through YouTube. So, if that could happen, it could probably happen somewhere else. If I wasn’t in the band I’d probably just continue to do what I was doing before, which is getting better at what I do and then hopefully someone says “hey this guys is alright.”

What bands are you into that someone would be surprised to find out that you like?
Luke: I listen to nothing but – let’s look at my phone. All my music is on here. I was listening to Paris, everybody right now is listening to Paris. Newer band, awesome. Girl singer. Amazing voice. I’ve got Imogen Heap, Ellie Goulding, I love Drake. Deathcab For Cutie is my favorite band. Danny Brown, I’ve got some rap in there. Flying Lotus. I like Justin Bieber, I like Justin Timberlake. Michael Jackson, The Reign of Kindo, Sam Smith. I listen to pop and rap and nothing metal. Very rare. The only metal bands I really listen to are Animals as Leaders, Periphery or Volumes. Love those bands.

Of course they have great drummers.
Luke: Exactly, that’s probably why. That’s why I like them the most, especially Animals as Leaders and Matt Halpern from Periphery are amazing drummers that push me to get better.

And lastly, do you have any messages for your fans out here in the Los Angeles area?
Luke: We love coming to LA because every time it’s just ridiculous. You guys go so hard and we really appreciate it every single time. For the people who I’ve given drum lessons to in the past, sorry I didn’t do it today here in Pomona. Next time I’ll definitely be doing it so stay tuned for that. Thank You for all your continued support, we really appreciate it.

(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)

The Word Alive on Facebook

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The Sonic Heights of Divine Ascension

DA2014002Based out of Melbourne in vast Australia, Divine Ascension present their own inspiring brand of progressive metal that should thrill listeners all across the planet. Liberator (from Vicisolum Productionsis their second glorious magnum opus, an exhilarating adventure in sound. Featuring the passionate vocals of Jennifer Borg and superb musicianship for all involved. Divine Ascension send the listener into stratospheric heights of pure sonic bliss.  Here is a recent interview we conducted with guitarist Karl”Inski” Szulik to find out more about the captivating artistry for Divine Ascension. Read on…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Divine Ascension, and how long the band has been together.
G’day! I’m Karl from the Australian band Divine Ascension. I am one of the guitarists in the band, the other being Robb Inglis. Divine Ascension has been a full band since early 2007, the same year we released our first 3 track demo. However, some of the members such as Robb and Luke have been jamming together for much longer.

Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
We are based in Melbourne, Australia. The local music scene is quite active with a range of musicians and bands of all genres playing at venue’s all the time. There are a lot of great local bands of all genres here! But I would definitely recommend checking out Damnation’s Day, Orpheus Omega and Vanishing Point!

DA_LIBERATOR_COVER08-275x275Is there any story or concept behind the album title Liberator?
There is a theme that runs through the album, much like As The Truth Appears. However, it is not a concept album. Liberator is based upon the idea of being liberated or breaking free of the things that may hold you back. Especially those things that hold you back from what you really want in life. Sometimes those things are simple, everyday things such as bad relationships, dwelling in the past or being afraid to take a chance.

Select two songs from Liberator and what inspired the lyrics.
The idea behind Machine is something many people face. Being overworked and underpaid, working the same job day in day out and very rarely being able to work towards the things they really want in life. You become a machine, merely following instructions and in the footsteps of those before you. However, there are many living this life who have aspirations and dare to dream. This song is a callout to those people telling them that they have the power to break the mould and live the life they want to. I guess it is something that all of us in Divine Ascension find ourselves doing by living our dream, creating music and releasing it to the world.

Red Sky was written about one of the worst bushfires in Australian history called Black Saturday. We had a prolonged drought at the time and had weeks and weeks of really hot weather. On Black Saturday, Victoria endured extreme heat and fires were sparked all across the state, which in turn claimed hundreds of lives and thousands of homes. It absolutely destroyed many country towns and even now, years after the disaster, people are still rebuilding.

How does Liberator compare to As The Truth Appears?
Liberator is definitely a much more guitar and drum driven album. We wanted to make more room for guitar riffs, rather than the large orchestral arrangements in As The Truth Appears. However, Liberator is quite dynamic and we worked with a lot of layers to make the arrangements quite large and interesting. So there is an abundance of heavy sections as well as softer sections, but always with Jen’s catchy vocal melodies soaring over the top.

What could one expect from a live Divine Ascension show?
A lot of energy, emotion and fun. We perform our music as you hear it. So if it is a heavy, hard hitting section, then we will rock out and play it hard. But if there is an emotional, softer section, we will strip back the performance to ensure that the emotion is shown. Having said that, we like to have fun on stage too because we enjoy what we do.

What was it like playing with Kamelot and were they cool to hang out with?
What a fantastic experience! It was such an honour for us as we are all very big fans of Kamelot (and Seventh Wonder). I actually remember looking across to the backstage area and Thomas Youngblood was watching (and I hope enjoying) our set. They were all very down to earth, friendly guys and made the time to chat with us after the show. I have a lot of respect for them. Hopefully we can head out on the road with them sometime soon!

What kind of touring have you done so far and have you ever played in the Los Angeles area?
Being in Australia makes it a little bit difficult to tour internationally due to expenses and travel. However, with Liberator we are aiming to get Divine Ascension to various international shores! We have never played in Los Angeles. However, we would love to get to over there to play some shows! So if any promoters are reading this and would like Divine Ascension to play in Los Angeles, get in contact with us!

Any strange or scary happenings on the road or at a Divine Ascension show?
No, not really any scary things. I do remember at one Melbourne show a few years back, 3 of the band members received parking fines within the space of 20 minutes even though there were other members consistently loading gear in and out of the venue and not one of them saw another person let alone a parking inspector!

If Divine Ascension could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
There are so many bands we would all love to open for. Way too many to list here. I guess if I were to round it to one, it would be Van Halen. What an inspiration Eddie is! I don’t know how well I would play knowing that I was opening for them though. I would be way too nervous! But it would be fantastic!

Has Jennifer Borg ever done any musical theater or has acting aspirations?
Jen has a theatre background. She has worked at theatre restaurants as well as in various other similar areas. I am not sure whether she has any acting aspirations. But I am sure she would definitely consider her options if Steven Spielberg approached her with a large amount of money asking her to be in his next movie!

What would you like a listener to remember the most after hearing Liberator for the first time?
As one of the guitarists, I would hope it would be all of my guitar solos and guitar work! Haha! In all seriousness though, I hope the listeners can feel the emotions and dynamics in each song and throughout the album. There are so many layers that each additional listen will reveal more parts. But capturing that overall emotion in each song and throughout the album is something that we worked very hard on.

What’s up next for Divine Ascension?
We are busy preparing the very first music video for Liberator which we hope will be finished soon. However, creating a music video is a whole different kettle of fish compared to creating an album. After that, we are looking to tour nationally and internationally and bring Liberator to the fans all over the world.

Any final words of wisdom?
Believe in yourself and in your ability and every now and then take a step back and enjoy the little things in life. There is so much negativity and chaos in this fast paced world that many people often forget to do both of these things, myself included. Now I try to make a point of doing it regularly.

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions! Hope to see you guys play out here in L.A. sometime soon!
Thank you very much for having us and for the support! I hope you and all the readers enjoy listening to Liberator as much as we had creating it!

Divine Ascension is:
Jennifer Borg – Vocals
Karl”Inski” Szulik – Guitars
Robb Inglis – Guitars
Luke Wenczel – Drums
David Van Pelt – Keys
Jason Meracis – Bass

(Interview by Ken Morton)

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Getting To Know For The Win

forthewinband1Based out of thriving San Diego music scene in Southern California, For The Win present their own exhilarating brand of pop punk that should gain the band a good deal of notice.  Now signed to Artery Recordings, For The Win’s debut for the label More Than You Know is an exciting collection of songs that will want the listener want to sing along with fiendish glee.  We recently interviewed vocalist Kyle Christensen to find out more about the band ready to win over new fans with their wild and rocking anthems!  Read on…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in For The Win,. and how long the band has been together.
Hi! I’m Kyle, I sing in the band. For The Win has been together for about 4 years now.

Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
We’re based out of San Diego California. The local scene here has always been (since I can remember) constantly thriving and full of insane talent. Great bands have come out of San Diego and there are still so many in the scene right now full of talent and drive. For pop punk is recommend checking out The Rebound, At The Premier, and Scarlett Avenue. For metal check out Killing The Messenger. For some epic surf punk check out The Frights!

How did you wind up signing to Artery?
Artery came pretty quickly after we teamed up with Crimson Management. I think that’s the answer ;)

Is there any story or concept behind the album title More Than You Know?
Actually, our bass player Gio came up with the name. I had been struggling for some time trying to come up with an album title, and that one just fit perfectly. There’s no real concept really, it’s just songs that I wrote that just all made sense and fit perfectly into an album.

morethanyouknow1Select two songs from More Than You Know and what inspired the lyrics.
For the first I’ll pick Leg Day. The song name was inspired by our guitarist Lee, his legs are insane. We all strive everyday to have calf muscles like Lee. He never skips Leg Day. Haha but seriously. The song is one of those more “political” songs that was based on some of my own personal opinions about our state of government and corruption within. I’ve always looked up to the singers from Set Your Goals for being able to touch on subjects like that and it was a personal goal of mine to write a song about some of my own personal opinions in that area. For the next song I’m going to pick Part II. This song is an extended version of Chance of a Lifetime. It’s basically about never ending problems with a family member. Before More Than You Know, I had a pretty bad falling out with someone, and I told myself “this is going to make a good song one day” and out came Part II.

Who did the artwork on More Than You Know and how much input did you have on it?
Chris Shelly (DVUS) did the artwork for us. He has done work for us in the past and he’s extremely talented. We were all extremely happy with the art work for More Than You Know. We had some input here and there, but I think every band does that to get the final product that everyone is happy with. Thanks Chris!

What could one expect from a live For The Win show?
High energy, extremely terrible jokes (on my part) some stage dives here and there, some breakdowns, some posi jumps, and a lot of sweat. And some acoustic songs.

Any strange or scary happenings on the road or at a For The Win show?
Haha yes! We’ve had TWO trailers totaled. One was hit by a semi, and another was hit by a lady who fell asleep at the wheel. No one was hurt! Siri led us down a really freaky dark one way road somewhere in New York and I think we were on an Indian reservation. We all thought we were going to die, no joke.

If For The Win could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
We, For The Win, would love to open up for either A Day To Remember, Saoson, or Blink. Or Drake. All those bands are huge inspirations to all of us, and we listen to them ALLLLL the time.

If your music was a donut, what kind would it be and why?
Haha old fashion glazed, for sure. We’re old fashioned guys, and we don’t need (or want) to do crazy things to satisfy or get the job done. Putting bacon on a chocolate donut is like paying for fake likes. Why?

What would you like a listener to remember the most after hearing More Than You Know for the first time?
This was our first full length record, and we put a lot of heart into it. If anyone can listen to any of the songs, even if it’s just one song, and use it to their advantage like to brighten up their day, help them through a personal conflict, or even just drink beers to, then I’m happy. Oh, I hope they can remember the words so they can sing at a show. Haha

What’s up next for For The Win?
It’s November now, and we’re currently writing a new album for next year. We’ll be heading into the studio early 2015. We also have some tours next year that will be announced in the near future. We’re just getting started!

Any final words of wisdom?
Work hard for your dreams, don’t take the easy way out. Everyone has success at different times so don’t get discouraged if you’re not where you want to be at the moment. Music has taught me patience, a lot of it, so keep grinding and make the most out of your time here, because life is extremely short. Eat your fruits and veggies too!

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions! Hope to see you guys play out here in L.A. sometime soon!
Thank you so much! We’ll be there soon:) much love!

For The Win is:
Kyle Christensen – Vocals
Steven Bustos – Guitar/Vocals
Lee Chambers – Guitar
Giovanni Suarez – Bass

(Interview by Ken Morton)

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Thirty Years and Beyond with Erasure

mrvinceclarke2Erasure are currently on tour for their newest release The Violet Flame. I caught up with Vince Clarke for am exclusive one-on-one interview on the third night of the current tour in Ventura. Here’s how the chat went.

What’s the overall message that you’d like us to achieve from this record, The Violet Flame, is there a message?
Well, I don’t know that there’s like an overall message. When Andy and I start making records or writing songs from the record then we never really have any particular concepts in mind ever. It’s just to case of what happens. But I think having recorded the record, written some and recorded the record, I think that the feeling I get from it is a very—I think it’s quite a forward-looking record, optimistic, quite positive sounding. And Andy was very keen that it would be a dance record and it’s quite difficult to write sad dance songs.

With the record being a synth record, do you expect your listeners to notice the sound difference or were you trying to obtain that your back sound that you are known for again?
Well, I think every time you write a record, I mean; I’m not trying to repeat myself ever. You’re trying to—because I’m in a studio and I’m kind of exploring new sounds all the time. Invariably, I guess I have this particular sound, although I’m not aware of it. I would say that on this record I was listening to a lot of quite of new disco Indy, dance kind of stuff. So I think that that had quite a bit of influence on the way that the record sounds. But no, I mean, I don’t want to make an old record. I want to make a new record every time for sure.

erasure2I thought that the record was very simple and straightforward, both lyric and sound-wise, I don’t know if that was intentional or not.
Yeah, it was definitely—it wasn’t the intention, but that’s the way it turned out. I had some very kind of basic ideas, some rhythms and some chord changes that I had worked on prior to Andy and I working together. And those were the templates that we worked to. Usually, we’ve tried to do this before and it’s not really worked, it’s not really panned out because I’ve always found it a bit too restrictive. But this time around, I think, because Andy and I were like fresh coming the whole thing of fresh, we hadn’t worked together for a while. The ideas flowed quite quickly and easily and obviously the best songs are the ones that are written quickly.

When it comes out from the heart, right, straightforward yes, I agree. This record coming in at number 2 in electronics here in The USA and with it coming in at #20 in the European charts, do you find and feel you’re gaining the recognition you really deserve?
I really don’t care. I’ve been doing it for 30 years. Well, why would I care about that? I’m pleased. I mean, and I don’t know, I mean, I never have expectations on how a record might do or anything that we do. I mean, I don’t even think about it. It’s all about the next thing.

I found this record good record to listen to it as a whole. Was that how you wanted it presented or did you think just some tracks you’d pick out pr someone would pick out some tracks as singles or whatever? I most enjoyed it, but I listened to it as a whole.
Yeah. That was definitely—it wasn’t my idea or Andy’s idea. That was the idea of the producer. He had this whole concept or his thing was about the idea of an old-fashioned LP, like that you have a beginning and an end in it and you have to flip it over at some point and listen to the whole thing and I think that that’s a really cool idea. We certainly weren’t going “oh, okay, well this is definitely going to be the single or this is going to be the track that people download on iTunes.” Hopefully, people will listen to the record from beginning to end because Richard X, I mean, he was as involved as I am, but Richard, myself and Andy are all from that era. It’s what you did.

violetpurpleElevation happens to be one of your singles. I was wondering you’ve have lasted for so long how do you keep everybody so elevated on such a high level?
Well, I mean, at the end of the day I think—well I know, both Andy and I love what we do and that’s it and that’s what we need to do. I mean, we’re really fortunate to be doing a great job. And we’re fortunate to have this really cool relationship. That’s still exciting. It’s still very unpredictable. There’s some answers. We don’t sit down and conceptualize about anything. We just go into a room, we start writing songs or not writing songs, depending on how we’re feeling and it just kind of happens for us and clicks. So, that’s the reason I think why it stays fresh. I mean, when we write Andy or I might come up with really very interesting idea, put it forward and then Andy or I will say, “You know what? That’s not very interesting.” But rather than pursue the idea for our corner, we just drop it and move onto the next one.

Reason is one of those songs where you have to definitely feel it and it has to move you. It’s a very rich song I thought. Are those songs harder to come about or are those the easier ones?
Well, that one came about quite quickly and quite easily I guess because I had the kind of rift going through all the time. So I had the cool progression in my head. The main musical melodic ideas, which kind of I think, carries the track through. But that song and all the songs actually. I mean, we spent about three or four weeks in Miami doing the writing for this record. And there was never a moment where we were I don’t know. I don’t know what to do next. There was all something happening all the time. I mean, and it was a very immediate kind of writing session that we had. Reason is a good example of that happening.

How long was making this record altogether?
Well, having done the previous preparation, which took me maybe six weeks or something.  Andy and I sitting together in a room, that was another six weeks.  And then, the lyrics took a little longer.

mrvinceclark1_1Are you influenced by the New York dance movement or the dance sound, by the dance clubs there, do they help you at all?
There’s definitely a vibe but I guess the kind of electronic music that I really like isn’t very—isn’t in New York. I mean, New York never really took to techno music, for instance. I mean, because was like kind of a more of a disco place. So there is a small electronic scene in Brooklyn, but it’s not—it’s still very, very tiny. I mean, you have like—you’ll get like a club that does techno music maybe once every two weeks or something. It’s not one of the big house clubs in Manhattan.

Bigger clubs are around, but you have to kind of go out of your way to go to them unfortunately.
Exactly. Exactly.

Paradise is another great song from The Violet Flame. What is your paradise, not being at home or on the road?
I like being in the studio. I mean, Andy is the one that likes to be on the road. I prefer to be in the studio. I mean, it’s okay. We’re having a good time and all going well and it’s nice to meet people and see new places for certainly, but I don’t feel 100% comfortable on stage. Where as Andy feels 120% comfortable on stage.

Since you play keyboards, we have to still rely on our computers. What do you do when you get frustrated?
Well, I’ve got like a whole list of ways of getting inspired. Whether it be listening to other people’s stuff, finding a piece of software that I’ve never used before. Even going through the libraries. I mean, there’s all starting points for writing songs and doing stuff. So I never sit in a studio twiddling my thumbs, ever. There’s always something to learn. I work with a lot of very old equipment and stuff I’ve had for a long time, but there are still stuff there that I still don’t really, fully understand or I don’t think I’ve gotten the best from it yet because I don’t understand it yet. So it’s a learning process. It’s healthy. That’s why, why would you do, once you know it all then, don’t do it, why would you do it?

Smoke and Mirrors, is a very interesting track. Neither one of you hold back on your honesty ever; which I find amazing. You never give someone Smoke and Mirrors. How hard has that really been over the years of doing this work?
Well, for Andy, he will deny it, but he does kind of wear his heart on his sleeve a little I think. And he’s been through a lot, we’ve both been through quite some stuff in the last two years. But he’s always been like that. He’s always been very honest with his lyrics. He doesn’t mind.

Have you ever wanted to do soundtracks or scoring?
Well I’ve done little bits and pieces with people, mostly for short films. The old thing comes up. And I did one time spent a couple of weeks actually in LA having meetings with people about the idea of doing that. But having met these people who are all very, very nice, I thought to myself I don’t want to be in that world. That’s too much fucking bullshit and I couldn’t stand that. I mean, you’d meet like the musical director of the film and then you’d meet another musical director who’s also probably doing the same film, then another one that’s usually doing the same film. So there’s usually only one of them is actually doing it. And I’m thinking I can’t stand that. I mean, music is music. I mean, I like if the director makes a movie he has this vision or this idea of how it should sound and he’s and he’s been living with that idea for years. But for me that would be very restrictive because then I couldn’t go and say, “But you’ve got it all wrong. The way that I should sound is this.” I mean, I’ll do it now and then, I mean, something, the opportunities come and they’re interesting and I’ll do them but that’s not just something that I want to pursue.

Sacred. is a great powerful song. It’s one of the songs that really inspires you and moves you and almost congratulates you on your achievements in a way, I was wondering if you were to pass onto another world what would you like God to say to you now since you’ve done this for 30 years? Or what would you say to someone that’s Sacred about this music business?
I don’t know. My son is kind of interested in music. He’s only nine and I would love him too People ask me, “How would you feel if your son got involved with music?” I say, “I would love it.” I mean, I’ve had a fantastic life. It’s been incredibly rewarding and satisfying. I think my advice would be to pursue it really. Pursue it, but try not to copy everybody else. Or try. No one is that original. I mean, no one can’t because you’ve taken all this shit in over your whole life you’re 10 years of music. But I guess it’s by copying something directly, I don’t think that’s going to be interesting for an audience and it certainly not going to be satisfied for yourself. So pursue it but keep it interesting.

Is there a follow-up to Snow Globe?
Snow Globe was a one-off. It was a one-off. It was a side project. They’ll re-release it every year. And they’ll package it and do it different way every year, yeah, absolutely.

And that’s good enough…
Yeah, I mean, I’ve moved on.

Go and listen to the entire album The Violet Flame as it’s supposed to be heard as a whole experience. Vince Clarke and Andy Bell won’t disappoint you and it will be worth your time well spent. Thanks to Vince Clark for doing this interview. It was a pleasure!  And thanks to Libby at MSO as well too.

(Interview and Vince Clarke Photos by Jonathan D. Wright)

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Climates: A Matter of Time and Bodyclocks

climates1Climates is a exciting new melodic hardcore entity out of the UK ready to leave a lasting impression on the world at large.  Their debut album Bodyclocks has just been released via Artery Recordings, and judging by the powerhouse collections of songs contained within, it’s only a matter of time before they explode into the big leagues!  Here is a recent interview we conducted with guitarist Sam Bowden to find out more about this band on the rise.  Read on…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Climates, and how long the band has been together.
Hey, I’m Sam and I play guitar in Climates. We have been a band for the past 2 and a half years.

Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
We are currently based in Lincoln, UK, however the members are pretty spread out. Its mainly just me and Matt (Drums) that are Lincoln based. The music scene has always been pretty poor on a whole. There really aren’t a whole lot of things going on and most bands don’t get over this way. The closest place to a music scene is probably Nottingham. I mean Fil from Neck Deep is from Lincoln, so if that counts for anything.

How did you wind up signing to Artery?
We were originally under management by The Artery Foundation and thats where the relationship with Mike (Artery Recordings) initially started.

bodyclocks1Is there any story or concept behind the album title Bodyclocks?
It has this whole idea of time and a personal body clock. Motivation to get up and do the things you want to do. Time keeps ticking on your body clock so get up and do those things while you can.

Who did the artwork on Bodyclocks and how much input did you have on it?
We had Paul Jackson do the artwork, which he did a killer job. We wanted him to do his thing as we all love his work but we did give a few images and ideas but ultimately he went wild with it and that’s what we got!

What could one expect from a live Climates show?
26 minutes of spins and jumps.  Our shows so far have all been real intimate ones which have been great! They’re pretty close with all the fans and the energy is always high.

Have you ever played here in the States or plan to do so in future days?
Not yet, we almost did, we just didn’t get our visas sorted in time. Playing the States if all of our dreams from being kids and still is, it would be a major personal milestone for all of us to get the opportunity tour that part of the world.

Any strange or scary happenings on the road or at a Climates show?
We’ve definitely had our share of strange/weird shows. I think anytime you play Eastern Europe you know something weird is going to happen. One time we drove through the night, pulled up to a car park in Czech Republic to sleep and in the middle of the night some dude tried to break into the van. No idea of his intentions as there were 8 of us and 1 of him but it was pretty scary at the time.

If Climates could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Each of us has probably got a different answer so I will try and answer for the other guys and get it right. Mine would probably be Papa Roach or Katy Perry. Papa Roach cause they’re just full of riffs and it would be sick, and Katy Perry because it would be wrong if my itunes top played artist wasn’t mentioned. I know for a fact Chris’s would be HIM or Terror, but probably HIM, he has some weird obsession. Matt’s would be Slipknot for sure. Max’s would probably be Fightstar and for Wes, I’d say Pantera.

Climates is invited to play one song for the Queen at a Royal Command Performance. What song would you do for the Queen and her guests and why?
Well the Queen would probably have a shit day whatever we do, I can’t see her and the guests stage diving or being fond of a circle pit. I think the one that would suit most would be ‘In the heart of man’ as it only has singing but fuck that, if we’re gonna play in front of the Queen then we’re gonna give her the roughest day. ‘Serpents’ – it starts with a riff so she can deal with that.

What would you like a listener to remember the most after hearing Bodyclocks for the first time?
I think the diversity in the songs and the amount of musicianship. We are all into a whole bunch of music and they really influence our lives. We don’t ever want to just release something that song to song just sound the same.

What’s up next for Climates?
Touring. We just released an album so 2015 is about getting it out there and making new fans!

Any final words of wisdom?
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Michael Scott

(Editor Note:  A few days after the interview was conducted, it was announced that their vocalist Wes Thompson was out of the band, Climates continues to persevere and are about to hit the road with Vanna on a European Tour!)

(Interview by Ken Morton)

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