Category Archives: Interviews

Raging with J Mann of Mushroomhead at Mayhem Fest

Mushroomhead070514The mighty assault force known as Mushroomhead spent the summer terrorizing the country on this year’s edition of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival.  In addition to a powerful new album entitled The Righteous & The Butterfly, founding member J Mann has returned to the band on a full time bases.  We caught up with J Mann at the very first date of Mayhem Fest in San Bernardino to discuss the new album, being back in Mushroomhead after nearly a decade, the ongoing rumors of their supposed feud with Slipknot, and other raging topics.  Read on…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Mushroomhead.
I’m J Mann and I’m one of the three vocalists in Mushroomhead.

mushroomheadj;1What are you looking forward to the most about touring on Mayhem this year?
Man! I’m looking forward to a lot of things. Most of all the sunshine, being outdoors. We’re usually a night time band, so it’s good to be outside. Obviously the bands are fantastic, we’re good friends with the A7X guys. Can’t wait to see Ice T and Body Count. Can’t wait to see Cannibal Corpse. We’re looking forward to mingling and hanging out with our peers.

What can one expect from your live performance at Mayhem?
Hopefully a lot of energy and good music. We try to give everything we have.

Let’s talk about the current album, is there any story or concept behind the title The Righteous & the Butterfly?
Well, there’s a story and concept behind the title – our original guitar player, his name was JJ Righteous. He being the Righteous. He unfortunately passed away and the Butterfly being like our band’s little sister and our drummer’s ex-wife, she passed away as well. She was our band photographer, she was with us from day one, with us all the time. So it was a tribute to them and it was also about getting back to our roots. Acknowledging the people that have influenced us in our lives, getting back to our sound and passion that created the band 20 years ago. It’s really about completing the circle.

mushroomheadj;2Select any two songs from Righteous & the Butterfly and what inspired the lyrics?
A lot of what I just said inspired the lyrics for sure. Also, I’d have to say that there’s a lot of – we’re not a preachy band, or a political band but we also – we’re more about a commentary about the state of the nation. I think that there’s definitely some nods to the Government and the problems that are going on there. False patriotism out of fear, things like that. There’s even nods to not religion, but faith. Getting back to losing people that you care about. It’s all written vague. It’s done that way intentionally, we try to write in riddles so that songs aren’t that well defined. This way, anyone can adapt a certain song to their life and however it reflects on them. It’s not just one thing only. It can mean six different things or it can mean one thing the first time you hear it and five years later you hear it again and it means something different because your life has changed. We try and write things that will adapt to people’s adaptation to their lives.

Your life has changed a lot since you’ve come back into the band. What made you decide to come back after such a long hiatus?
We always stayed working together. I’d do a lot of shows, especially Halloween shows, old school shows. We always knew we’d work together again, I never thought I was going to come back full time – but with the new guys in the band and the material they’ve played for me. I originally was going to come in and sing two songs and I think I ended up singing 12 or 13. I asked one day, “how many songs am I on?” They were like, it’s the whole record. I guess I was back. A lot of that had to do with timing.  We had all grown a lot, getting back to the roots, the people the album is dedicated to. But also the new material being so inspired to where it was like, you wanted to work on it voluntarily. It wasn’t a job. It was something you chose to do, not something you needed to.

mushroomheadj;3Did you play the Ozzfest dates?
We did Ozzfest in the states and we also did Ozzfest, we did Europe. We did Holland, Ireland and England.

What was it like playing Ozzfest, did you get to meet Ozzy?
JM: No but I spent a lot of time with his kids. [laughs] That tour was great, man. Definitely got to see a lot of great bands and met a lot of great friends. We became really good friends with the guys from Meshuggah on that tour and out of that we’ve worked together, Jens sang on a record following that tour. I put out a Meshuggah release on my independent label. A long standing friendship came out of that. That’s what I enjoyed the most about it.

What do you think that’s kept you guys such a strong unit since 1993?
We’re stubborn. People have told us to change, or follow a trend and we never did that. We just stuck to our guns. When you rebel on that level, you get laughed at in the beginning but after some time has passed you earn a little bit of respect. We have been doing this for over 20 years and now we’re more valid than ever, you know? Just stick to your guns.

mushroomheadj;4What advice would you give a young band looking for a record deal?
Man! Well, record deals are iffy. So much of it can be done on your own anymore with things like Bandcamp or these start up campaigns. I’d say just – don’t let anyone change your initial vision and don’t give too much away. Don’t give away your publishing and your merch. That’s all we have anymore. Record sales aren’t doing it. You want your publishing in case you get played on the X-Games or something and you want your mech because that’s what you survive on out on the road. Don’t give those away.

You probably have opened for every band you’ve ever wanted to. But if you could open for any band from now or the past, who would it be and why?
Faith No More. Now they’re touring again, and I guess they just played some new songs at Hyde Park over in England. I heard some of the new stuff, it’s great. They were a big influence on me. When I was getting into music, I thought back in the day you had to have long hair and spandex pants, wear makeup and stuff. Then I saw Mike Patton come out when the first Faith No More record came out. I’m like, this guy is busting people’s balls, he has a sense of humor and dresses however the fuck he wants and he sings all different styles of music. That made me go, maybe I could do this! Without having to wear hairspray and spandex and shit, this was the late 80s. Getting back to being around for 20 years.

mushroomheadjl5Would Mushroomhead and Slipknot ever want to do a tour together?
Corey has mentioned it and I’m very flattered by that. I’d love to. Skinny and I, our drummer, have a side project and we worked with Sid from Slipknot on it. I was fortunate enough to get to spend some time with Paul before he passed away. He was a sweetheart. All that drama was definitely media created. I think they pitted us against each other when none of it was really true. Once we sat down and talked to a lot of the guys, it was all like, we’re all in this for the same reason and that’s music. Corey has mentioned it and we’d definitely love to be on it. I’ve got nothing for respect for that band, I think they’re fantastic.

What bands are you involved with outside of Mushroomhead?
I’m in a band called Pitch Black Forecast with a drummer named Gene Hoglan, know him? He’s in Dethklok, Testament, Dark Angel, he’s with everybody. He and I have a band together and we’re going to be releasing a record at the end of summer. It’s called, “As The World Burns” by Pitch Black Forecast. That’s got guests from M Shadows from A7X, Randy Blythe from Lamb Of God is on it. Devin Townsend so there’s a little Strapping Young Lad reunion on it.

What label is it on?
It’s coming out on Ferocious Records. It’s a newer label coming out of Ohio.

Do you have any messages for Mushroomhead fans that may be reading this now?
I’d just say, this is my first record back with the band. It’s the first time working with Waylon, we’ve got a great relationship. Jeffrey and I have a great relationship, it’s stronger than ever. We’re really figuring out how to work the three singer thing. This new record, which I think is one of our best is just the start. I really think it’s going to grow from here. Stick with us and enjoy the ride!

(Interview and Candid Photo by Ken Morton – Live Photos by Jack Lue)

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In Lucid Dreams with Annisokay

annisokay2Based of out Germany, Annisokay is an explosive post hardcore collective ready to take on the world at large.  Their debut album entitled The Lucid Dream(er) has just been unleashed through SPV / Steamhammer Records, packed to the brim with a thrilling sonic intensity that should enrapture fans of acts such as We Came As Romans and Blessthefall.   Annisokay has yet to play here in the States, but they’ve shared European stages with the likes of The Ghost Inside, Upon This Dawning, and Lionheart.  Here is a recent interview we conducted with Annisokay to find out more about this band on the rise, ready to invade your lucid dreams.  Read on…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Annisokay, and how long the band has been together?
Annisokay is Dave Grunewald on shouts, Christoph Wieczorek on clean vocals and guitar, Norbert Rose on bass, Daniel Herrmann on drums, and Philipp Kretzschmar on guitar. Christoph and Norbert started this band already in 2007. But it took a while to create a foundation of talented and passionate musicians. So this final lineup is been together for about 2 years. Ever since we can remember we’re in love with music. With this band we try to make music professionally and we want to play shows all over the world. It was a long and hard way to create this band but now we feel that this band is an ideal mix of young dynamic and talented people who go hand in hand and are ready to take all hurdles.

Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there? 
The Band is based in Halle, Saxony-Anhalt (Germany). Halle is in the middle east of Germany, 2 hours far from Berlin. Our local scene isn’t that big but really really pleasant. In general if you play metal or hardcore shows in any small town in Germany, the promoter will always take good care of your band.

How did you wind up being signed to SPV Records, a label not normally known to sign post hardcore?
The deal with SPV was curated by our management Monster Artists. We are really proud to be one of the first post hardcore bands signed by SPV, a well known independent record label existing over for 30 years. We try to make good music in the first place and we believe SPV will take over the business very well so we can make even better music.

luciddreamer2Is there any story or concept behind the album title The Lucid Dream(er)?
Yes as the album title says the concept behind the record is about nightmares and the concept of lucid dreaming. We apply these metaphors to everyday life that reflects a state of lucid dreaming and experiencing a nightmare. “The Lucid Dreamer” is a metaphor for everyone out there. Everybody is dreaming. Not only when being asleep. Mesmerizing about this is the point when the dream itself assumes the control and it becomes a nightmare. That’s why the word dreamer in our album title is written with these box brackets. These thrilling thoughts led to the theme of our record for example like the chorus of our song „Firewalk“ which states: „I tried to tell myself what to dream, what to forget. And now I try to wake up cause all hell is let loose“. We also live our dreams every day. Some go through nice dreams, some experience nightmares. That’s what the record is all about in the end: Life!

Select two songs from The Lucid Dream(er) and what inspired the lyrics.
A very special track of this record for us is the song „Sky“ which is our first music video for this record as well. The Song is about saying a very last time goodbye to a very beloved person who has left forever. We have achieved a lot of response from people who told us how much they can identify with the lyrics and that the song has helped them in difficult times. That really means a lot to us!

Another special track is „Day To Day Tragedy“ which is our current music video. This song is one of our latest. We recorded this song as a bonus track for the re-release of our debut record „The Lucid Dream(er)“. The lyrics are about a repetitive human tragedy which can be apply to one person or a hole society.

3wayqWhat could one expect from a live Annisokay show?
A lot of energy! We try to create an intense and sweaty rock show with a lot of jumping, singalong and crowd surfing. And of course we try to play our songs as perfect as we can. The uniqueness lies in the vocals. Dave’s got this very brutal voice which is able to demolish houses and Christoph thick velvety yet gentle vocal timbre is singing such epic melodies.

Has Annisokay ever played here in the States or plan to do so in future days?
No not yet but we really really want to tour the States! The best thing ever we could imagine would be playing Vans Warped Tour. We’ve recently been in the States to record with Joey Sturgis and hopefully next time we’re gonna do shows.

Any strange or scary happenings on the road or at a show?
At one time we had to drive a 4 hour trip home in the middle of a very cold winter night. And then it happened … the car heater broke. The car windows inside the car were frozen. Halfway between Christoph was opening a soda can which had been shaken for a long time. So the can blew up and he was wet and very very cold. He had to take off all his clothes. Luckily we had a sleeping bag. So he was sitting on the wet front seat half-naked in his sleeping bag and cold to his bones while scraping the ice of the frozen window inside the car.

What was the experience like opening for The Ghost Inside and did you get to hang out with them at all?
Such great bands have always an amazing fan base and that is the most important thing of a good show, one hell of a crazy crowd! Unfortunately we didn’t had the chance to hang out with The Ghost Inside. Hopefully we get another chance!

If Annisokay could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
In the near future one dream will become true. We’re gonna open up for Silverstein and Blessthefall for four shows in Germany. These two bands are a big inspiration for us and we got a lot of memories with their music. This tour is gonna be very special for us.

Who is Ann and just why is she just okay?
Unfortunately we don’t know Ann very well. Our buddy Michael Jackson was asking in his song „Smooth Criminal“: Annie are you okay? Yes she is and she doesn’t need to be great because understatement means elegance.

Germany in famous for their BEER! What is your favorite beer of choice and why?
Of course Germany has a lot more to offer than just beer but we have to admit german beer is really good. But we can’t name one specific brand there are too many different kinds of beer. It’s always a matter of taste and in our case Dave isn’t drinking any alcohol at all.

What would you like a listener to remember the most after hearing your music for the first time?
Hopefully some catchy tunes and words from a singalong chorus so if they see us live maybe they will sing with us. Because that’s the best when you’re playing far away from home and people are singing the words of your songs.

Any final words of wisdom?
Most of us live our whole lives without having an adventure to call our own. What is any life without the pursuit of a dream?
- taken from the Movie „Vanilla Sky

Annisokay is:
Dave Grunewald – Shouts
Christoph Wieczorek – clean Vocals/Guitar
Norbert Rose – Bass
Daniel Herrmann – Drums
Philipp Kretzschmar – Guitar

(Interview by Ken Morton)

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Origin the Omnipresent at Summer Slaughter

jasonkeyser1Origin spent the relentless several weeks melting faces on this year’s edition of the Summer Slaughter Tour, travelling the country in support of their new album Omnipresent – now available on Nuclear Blast Records.  Formed in Kansas back in 1997, Origin has presented their own brand on cosmic rage that has enraptured extreme metal fans since their diabolic inception.  Here is a recent interview we conducted with vocalist Jason Keyser at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip to find out more about the almighty Origin and their otherworldly sonic intensity.  Read on..

origin1jlIntroduce yourself, tell me what you do in Origin and how long you’ve been in the band.
Jason Keyser, vocalist of Origin and I’ve been in the band since 2011 and I’m on the new CD Omnipresent that just came out.

How has the Summer Slaughter Tour been doing? What are some of the highlights?
It’s early so it’s tough for the highlights, but San Francisco was off the hook. Santa Ana was great. We’ve been doing great. 25 minutes, it’s short and sweet. Tiny brutal set, just getting everyone moving before the shit gets picking up. We’ve been doing great, we have a perfect slot, we’re just happy to be here. It’s fantastic.

How will this compare to your headlining tour, how long will you play then?
We’d probably do at least 50 minutes or an hour. Here, it’s just – heavy hitters. All the songs we know people will dig and go off the hook, dive off the stage and hurt themselves to.

origin2jlAny story or concept behind the title Omnipresent?
Officially we have a few different ways we explain it, if you ask Paul the guitar player he’ll egomaniac about him and be like, you hear my influence in so many bands these days, shit like that. As far as press releases, it thematically goes along with the cosmic misanthropy that Origin’s always had. The space shit. Reading the lyrics to the album, it all ties in together. At the end of the day, we were goofing about it once where since none of us – we live the furthest possible distance we could be with each other. The guitar player lives in California, my bass player lives in Kansas and me and the drummer live in New York. On stage, people usually say “we are this band from Baltimore!” We go, “we are Origin from fucking everywhere!” So, we are omnipresent in the fact that we are everywhere.

Did you write any of the lyrics?
I wrote all of the lyrics except for the first song was me. It was cool that they just threw me the keys to the car off the bat. The good thing about Origin since I joined in 2011, they never treated me like a fill in, or a new guy or anything. Off the bat we were one solid unit. We all have our roles. I did the lyrics to this album and I think it came out pretty good, proud of it.

origin3jlSelect any two songs and what inspired the lyrics for you.
Another thing I know I should never talk about in interviews, but I always do, is that – for example. I like to give deeper more philosophical answers but it usually ends up being whatever sci-fi movie or comic book I’m reading at the time is inspiring me. Say, “Thrall:Fulcrum:Apex” the second song on the CD. It’s based on the Infinity Gauntlet, which is a 90′s comic book series from Marvel. “Source of Icon O” is generally a Blood Meridian at the time, Mike McCarthy book. It’s the most brutal novel ever written, it’s 200 pages of scalping people, basically. That was the feeling behind that.

What happened with Skinless?
It was a good run. I was in Skinless for 7-8 years. We were doing well, it just fell off. I went back to school, everyone started getting married and having kids. Now they’re doing it in a way now where they can do it at their own pace. They don’t have to tour all the time. They just do festivals. They’re happy and without Skinless I wouldn’t be doing this so, I’m grateful for the experience.

origin4jlDo you like playing and singing on the old Origin songs?
Yeah, it’s a blast. When I was in Skinless, there was one part in one song every night. Whatever the “Life Sucks and Then You Die” song, I can’t remember. But there was one line in there that was rapid fire, wicked quick. Every night I’d dread it and be out of breath. When I joined Origin I realized very quickly every line in every song is like that part. I had to step up my game real quick, exercise my lungs a bit. It’s brutal, it’s a workout every night. If you cant do it, you’re in the wrong business.

If Origin could open up for any band either now or in the past, who and why?
Generally, we’ve played with every band I’ve ever wanted to see. I guess the only thing, if you ask me personally, every band member will tell you a completely opposite spectrum. I would love to play with Bolt Thrower but it’s the opposite speed, so I don’t know if that would work. That’d be my personal choice, Bolt Thrower. Never played with them, only seen them a few times.

What do you think has kept Origin so prosperous since the 90s?
Just the fact that they have never let up. They’ve been consistent. I haven’t been with them since the 90s, but them as a band, they’ve always been there. Constant flow, putting out releases periodically, their style – never drastically gone to clean singing or anything like that. They’ve always been reliable. Reliable live shows, you know what it’s going to be off the hook live, every time. Melting faces and what not. I think just their consistency has been their defining trait.

What’s up next after Summer Slaughter?
We’re busy touring for Omnipresent for the rest of the year. We’re doing this and then a headliner immediately after. I think we’re going out in the states again in October, it’s not announced yet so I can’t talk about it. Opening for a bigger band, then we’re going to Europe, South America. We’re keeping busy.

Do you have any messages for people reading this?
Hi, how ya doing? Pick up the new CD. Come out to a show. Say hi. We’re always around. Hail space.

Origin is:
Jason Keyser – Vocals
Paul Ryan – Guitars/Vocals
Mike Flores – Bass/Vocals
John Longstreth – drums

(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)

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Fleshgod Apocalypse: Conquerors of the World United

fleshgodaze1The mighty Symphonic Metal entity from Italy known as Fleshgod Apocalypse made a triumphant return to the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip – this time as a co-headliner on the Conquerors Of The World 2014 Tour.  On the road with the supreme metal masters of Septic Flesh, Fleshgod Apocalypse unleashed an exhilarating show that reverberated well beyond the hallowed walls of the venerable West Hollywood establishment.  Prior to their show, we caught up with Tommaso Riccardi, the charismatic frontman of Fleshgod Apocalypse, to find out more about the current tour, their upcoming appearance at Wacken, past, present and future albums, and other topics of intrigue.  Read on…

fleshgodjl1Introduce yourself and tell me what you do in Fleshgod Apocalypse and what’s the most embarrassing song you have on your iPod.
I’m the singer and guitarist for Fleshgod Apocalypse and the most embarrassing song I have on my iPod could be probably some song by Pink. I do listen to some pop music.

So how is Conquerors Of The World Tour 2014 going so far and what have been some of the highlights?
It’s been great, especially because, this is our first co-headlining tour. I know we have a good fan base and things are growing here in the US and Canada. But the first time is always the first time, so you’re always worried about how it’s going to be. I have to say, it’s been better than expected and that’s always good. Highlights: I’d say I really enjoyed the NYC show – a lot of people showed up, and Montreal too that was very good and I obviously look forward to tonight’s show.  House of Blues is always a temple for music. I always love playing House of Blues. I like everything, the sound and the place and everything. I know that LA is one of the capitals, I know it’s going to be a good show.

fleshgodjl2What can one expect from your live performance?
We try to put everything in every show. That’s the hardest challenge. Obviously, there are some places that for the place itself – it’s not the same. LA is one of the capitals of music in the world, it’s like NYC. You feel that there’s something different. It’s more exciting at times, you know that place – it has to be super cool. Especially when you play in a club like this and the stage is big where you have space to move around. I know it’s one of those places where I feel more comfortable on stage. On every tour you’ve got smaller clubs with narrow stages. So I know when it’s like this, we give it 100% because our show needs space to move around. I know it’s going to be one of the best shows of the tour anyway.

With Labyrinth coming out last year, how close are you to writing new material?
There are still many things we need to do with this album but I think beginning of next year is the moment in which we’re going to start sitting down and thinking seriously about writing and arranging new material.

fleshgodjl3When you look back on Oracles and Agony what do you think of them now?
I love them. It’s cool to see that there is an evident developing of the music throughout the years. I think Labyrinth, for many things is much more mature than Agony and Oracles, of course. On the other hand, it’s cool to see that in every different era of the band, there were different things going on and every album expressed that period of our lives both as people and musicians. Even if I know there’s an evolution and I feel that what we’re doing now is more mature but on the other hand, I still enjoy listening to Oracles or Agony. Sometimes I sit and listen back to the albums and I feel pretty proud of them.

What’s up next for you guys after this tour is over?
We’ve got a pretty busy summer. We have 7-8 festivals in Europe here and there between the second part of July and August. Finally, we’re playing Wacken Open Air this year.

fleshgodjl4Oh, nice. First time?
First time. Obviously it feels good. It’s the biggest metal festival in the world. It’s amazing. I’ve been there as a fan, 10 years ago maybe. It’s an experience that everyone should do. Besides going to check out the bands, but the situation itself is completely crazy. It’s the most metal crazy thing in the world. We’re pretty excited about that. It’s also very important for the curriculum of the band itself. We’ve got a few more, we have Brutal Assault too, another good one. So, we’re doing summer festivals and then we’re stopping. We have 20-25 days off in September, we need that, we haven’t stopped since the beginning of the year. After that, we’re going to do this European tour with Insomnium. We’re still working on – something else could happen between November and December but we’re still working on that so we don’t know. In January, the idea is to start working on new material and of course we’ll see what happens. We’ll probably have more tours in the next year or so, let’s see what happens.  South Africa is one of those because we’re working on that already. We’re trying to go with Septic Flesh because we did a lot of tours together now and we find ourselves very comfortable with each other. We’re good friends, brothers at this point.

fleshgodjl5You’re both Flesh bands, so it works.
And it works.

Do you have any messages for your fans reading this interview right now?
I always say this because I really believe it so much. The only thing I want to say is, be yourself. It’s the only way you can accomplish your dreams. Not betraying your true nature.

Fleshgod Apocalypse is:
Tommaso Riccardi: Vocals & Guitars
Paolo Rossi: Vocals & Bass
Cristiano Trionfera: Vocals & Guitars
Francesco Paoli: Drums, Guitars & Vocals
Francesco Ferrini: Piano, Orchestra
Veronica Bordacchini: Operatic Vocals Live

(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)

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The Adventures of Dylan Gardner

dylangardner1_1200x900At 18 years old with a massive amount of talent, singer / songwriter Dylan Gardner is ready to take on the world.  His self-released album Adventures In Real Time in pure pop perfection, featuring superbly infectious tunes that will dazzle the senses.  At press time, Dylan just signed the dotted line with Warner Brothers Records – and now an adventure in the music industry is about to commence.  A few weeks prior, we caught up with Dylan just right before a show at the Levitt Pavilion in Pasadena.  Read on as we get to know this exciting new artist on the rise…

What was the name of the first song you wrote, how old were you and what was that song about?
It was called “Rock and Roll Highway” and I was 6-7 years old. It sounded very close to AC/DC’sTNT” and that was the first song and I held onto it for a while. I never did anything with it. I actually demo’d it on the four track I had at home, but I heard my voice for the first time and I was bummed out. I didn’t really try writing songs again for a long time, until around 2010 when I was 14.

dylanlive1Is there any overall story or concept behind the title Adventures in Real Time?
I figured once the album was done, I listened to all the tracks that we had and I thought it sounded adventurous. My first thought was well, somehow the name “adventure” should be involved in here. I had a brainstorming session with my brother, and after an hour of coming up with all these names, we got “Adventures in Real Time” listening to the album is like an “Adventures in Real Time” – you’ve taken in ten different places with the ten different songs. So I love the title, I think it sums it up real well. It also rolls off the tongue, which always helps.

Select any two songs off “Adventures in Real Time” and what inspired the lyrics.
The most interesting story is probably “The Actor.” It’s inspired by Joaquin Phoenix when he stopped acting and grew the beard, the sunglasses and did his own thing. That was how I saw it. He was my favorite actor in the entire universe and he did that thing, I was like wow that’s an interesting story. Another song, “Sing For The Stars” is an interesting one. Those lyrics are inspired by me sitting on my bed at night, looking up at the sky and wondering where do you go from here? Where do your dreams take you? What are you going to do when you grow up? It’s a pretty big song that touches on a lot of my dreams. A lot of the songs on “Adventures in Real Time” are about dreams, the next bigger phase and wanting to get there.

dylanlive2What can one expect from your live show tonight?
An energetic experience. They can expect sing-alongs, some surprises, A lot of chemistry between my brother and I. Anyone who comes is not going to forget who I am and everyone is going to have left having a great time. It’s an audience participation show.

Any strange or scary stories from the road that you can share?
Nothing scary yet, but I’ve played a lot of strange shows. I’ve played the closing sale of a Circuit City way back when. I cut my teeth playing gigs at banks in Illinois. I used to play Oxford Bank. Luckily I haven’t had any scary stories yet, there’s a time and place for everything though.

If you could open for any band either now or from the past, who and why?
If I had to give one answer, it’d probably be the band Fun. They got their start, I feel, in Arizona. They were playing a lot of shows around my house for free. I’d go see them before Some Nights came out. I was obsessed with their first album. I saw and met those guys twice and the last time I met them, the second time, was the day Some Nights came out. They were having a release party at Zia Records in Phoenix. I told them, I’m having talks with labels now and you guys are such a huge inspiration on me, I can’t wait to open for you guys one day. I’ll see you guys at the Grammy’s. They were like, yeah right we’ll never get to the Grammy’s. Next thing you know, they’re the best new artist. That’d be the most sweet thing for me, to open for those guys. Especially since I’ve been very inspired by them. To be with those guys is really a dream.

a0536645580_10Sir Paul McCartney asks you to appear on a Beatles tribute album. You can cover any one of their songs, what song?
I love performing “I Saw Her Standing There,” which I’m performing it tonight. I’d do one that Paul sang out of respect for him asking me to do it. Oh gosh. My answer changes every minute. I like “The Night Before,” let’s go with that. Maybe “Eleanor Rigby.” Let’s go with “The Night Before” – that’s a fun song…

You’ve written over 100 songs, what is the count now?
I have no idea what the count is. By the time – back when I had Rock and Roll Highway, I already had 30 songs then. I still remember how all of them went, I had a voice recorder back then so it’s all there. They were all done, then a long time passed. Then in 2010 I started writing songs again and then from there I wrote about 100 songs. Then I wrote another 30 and out of that 30, became Adventures in Real Time and with “The Actor” plucked out of that batch of 100 and I haven’t stopped since then. I couldnt give you an honest count.

How close are you to recording a new album?
I could start tonight. The second album is done being written, and it’s better than the first album in my opinion. I’m working on the third album right now. The second album is not going to come out any time soon, since the first album just came out but it exists and for anyone that cares, it’s better and I love it. I’m very proud of it. I do this all in my room, it’s fully demo’d just like my album before it. I’m able to have hindsight and listen to it – I’ve been living with it for a while and I love it.

What’s up next for you in the immediate future?
I really want to tour, that’s probably the next big thing. I want to do it all. Tour, put the album out there, meet people but as far as the one most immediate, it’s touring. I haven’t done full fledged out on the road touring and that’s what I want to do.

Do you have any messages for people reading this right now who should check your music out?
Go listen to Adventures in Real Time and let me know what you think, your opinion matters. For anyone who doesn’t listen, I’ll always try to keep giving them fun, energetic music that they’ll all love. We all want to celebrate music here, that’s the greatest thing about music. It’s the greatest thing ever invented.

(Interview and Photos by Ken Morton)

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Fallujah: Extreme Artistry on Summer Slaughter

fallujahalex1Fallujah fearlessly mesh elements of progressive metal, blackened death, and a fiery dose of imagination, unveiling an extreme artistry that is wondrous to behold.  The San Francisco-based collective recently completed a trek across the country on the Summer Slaughter Tour, impressing audiences with their epic opening performances.  Toward the beginning of the Summer Slaughter madness, we caught up with vocalist Alex Hofmann at the House Of Blues on the world famous Sunset Strip – just right after they leveled the venue with a thoroughly mesmerizing set.  Read on as we discuss their new album The Flesh Prevails – now available on Unique Leaders Records – life on the road here in the States and abroad, the San Francisco music scene, and other exhilarating topics of intrigue…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Fallujah and how long the band has been together.
I’m Alex, I sing and the band has been around since 2007.

fallujahjl8What’s the metal scene like in San Francisco?
Not a good scene in my opinion. It’s one of those towns where the local shows do OK and the big bands do OK. But it’s really difficult for smaller touring bands to come through, it’s not really self sustaining. Hence why we’re motivated to go out and tour quite early. We started touring when we were 18. San Francisco is our home but as far as these days, it used to be when I was a kid, we had an awesome hardcore scene. Metal took a little bit of a back burner, but things kind of blended after a while. so the metal and hardcore scenes were together, it used to be fucking amazing. Now all the big bands got off on their feet, small bands broke up. The scene is a lot different than is used to be.

How’s the Summer Slaughter tour been going so far, what are some of the highlights?
Merch sales! That’s been great, food hasn’t been that great since we haven’t gotten any. Good shows, talking to people. We’re only three days in so we haven’t hit a lot of the hot weather or long drives yet. We’re milking that as long we can because it’s about to be fucking brutal by the end of this.

fallujahjl4Let’s talk about the new album. Is there any story or concept behind the CD title, The Flesh Prevails?
Yeah, well, it’s not really a concept album at all, but there’s a recurring theme you could say, that being self-empowerment. Whether it’s emotional empowerment, sexual empowerment, psychological empowerment. A lot of different themes of finding yourself in incredibly volatile and dark places instead of trying to escape them and deal with them head on.

Select two songs that you’ll be doing tonight and what inspired the lyrics.
The song “Sapphire” I wrote around the time I was moving out to San Francisco. That mixed with some looming childhood ideas I’ve had ever since I’ve left Canada, I’m Canadian. This lack of knowing where you’re from and knowing where you should be and being unsatisfied where you find yourself and kind of reminiscing on places you really enjoy and you can never go back to. It was about this insecurity of not really feeling you’re in place and nowhere is really home. Then “Carved from Stone,” I’ll let the listeners read the lyrics and make up their own minds about that song.

fallujahjl5Who did the cover art and how much input did you have on it?
Tomasz Alen Kopera, who’s a Polish artist. I’ve followed him forever. I handle all of our artwork, all of our previous stuff was usually done by me and so we wanted to bring someone in to do the new album cover. We were shopping around for a really long time looking for something that made sense and we kind of had no luck and we came across that and we were like – the artwork kind of represents all of the themes of the album tied up into one. It was my job to do all the photo treatment, texture and color to get that and the whole layout to look cohesive. To look like one general package, which was a lot of fun, actually. I always really enjoy using other people’s artwork in making it my own than actually doing stuff from scratch like I’ve had to do before.  I licensed this artwork, I need to make a layout out of it, I think the whole thing came out exactly how we wanted. We think we have the best cover of any band out right here, we’re really stoked on the artwork.  It’s really elegant and tasteful.

If Fallujah could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why.
The Deftones. They’re my favorite band of all time. We all love The Deftones. We’d love to open for Devin Townsend, he actually tweeted at us last night saying that he loved our new album. We all fan-girled for a second. I’d love to go on tour with a band like Godspeed You Black Emperor. From back in the day, it’s nice to say oh yea going on tour with Pink Floyd would be awesome, but whether or not that’s realistic. I’d love to go on tour with Thrice. They’re my second favorite band of all time. I’d love to eventually evolve to a point where tours with those bands are actually feasible, where the set can be diverse enough to where we could tour with them.  Animals As Leaders got to tour with Thrice, that’d be a dream come true for me. If Thrice hadn’t happened, none of this from Fallujah would have happened, at least for me. I would have never started the band. They started the whole chain of things for me. That’d be a great opportunity.

fallujahjl6How did the European tour with Suffocation go?
It was a learning experience. There are a lot of logistics in going to Europe that you have to tackle head on because the fans are different, there’s a lot of things we’ll do differently next time in terms of merch and traveling. Like, it’s just really expensive in the beginning. You can be doing really great in the states, go over there and no one knows who you are so you’re kind of starting over at a certain point. But it was cool seeing these fans who didn’t even speak a word of English, crazy superfans who are wearing your shirts they ordered for $30 shipping and they live in the Ukraine or Poland or some shit, oh you paid so much money to get that t shirt, wow. We became really good friends with the guys in Cephalic Carnage, really good friends with the guys in Havok. Traveling is why I do this. Playing music and traveling are the two motivations for touring. You have such a long periods of time because the busses show up so early, and you have these late bus calls. You can spend your days traveling, be back by three for soundcheck then after the show is over, you can go find a place to party until 4am when your bus leaves. You dont have to worry about driving. It’s a lot of convenience which of course is very expensive. You pay like €15 for a bag of nectarines and shit in Finland. You have to budget your money appropriately.

What’s up next for you guys after Summer Slaughter is all over?
We have a little west coast headliner coming up, doing all “B” markets with a few bands. Those details will come out later. Then we’re going to Europe with Dying Fetus and Goatwhore, who are both on this tour. We’re doing Europe for five weeks then after that, the album cycle begins really soon, we’re at the beginning of it. The album comes out next Tuesday, so right now once the first week sales come out and these tours wrap up, there’s already talk for early next year.

fallujahjl7What would you like a listener to remember the most after hearing your album for the first time?
How it made you feel and what emotions it made you elicit. We as a band don’t really look for achieving things like brutality and technicality, those come standard in my opinion. It’s what you really do with music is, while we’re writing progressions and melodies and trying to create an aura with a song, we ask: what does this song tell you? What does putting these three notes in this order change the way you feel when you put them in a different order? It can elicit nostalgia, sadness, lust, depression, all kinds of memories about whatever and that’s what I’d like them to really try and harness when they put the album in for the first time. Like, wow, that section of the song, how did it make you feel for the first time and did it make you think of something from your past that’s completely different than what I felt when I was writing it?

Any messages for people reading this that should check your band out?
There’s tons of merch online, you can order anywhere. Local stores, at shows, if you’re going to come to Summer Slaughter, buy at the table. Come say what’s up. Help us get that good first week sales.

Fallujah is:
Alex Hofmann – Vocals
Scott Carstairs – Guitars
Brian James- Guitars
Robert Morey – Bass
Andrew Baird – Drums

(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)

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Exmortus: Face Melting Thrash Attack at The Whisky

exmortuswhisky1It was night one of the Flotsam and Jetsam West Coast Tour, and opening all of the dates would be none other than Exmortus from Whittier, CA!  Presenting their own face melting brand of thrash metal, Exmortus was ready to shred it all into the stratosphere at the world famous Whisky on the Sunset Strip!  Their magnum opus entitled Slave To The Sword is now available from Prosthetic Records, a slab of sonic devastation that is well worth seeking out!  We caught up with Exmortus in the parking lot behind the Whisky for a high flying interview to find out more the recent album, their take on the Los Angeles music scene, the band’s cover of the Judas Priest classic Painkiller, and other brutal topics of interest…

Introduce yourself and tell me what yo do in Exmortus and what is the most embarrassing song you have on your iPod.
Mario: My name is Mario, I play drums in Exmortus and the most embarrassing song I had on my iPod is Karma Chameleon.
David: My name is David. I play guitar.  I’ve got a lot of embarrassing shit, man. I listen to a lot of fucking disco and a lot of old 70s shit, I dont know…
Conan: I’m Conan, I play guitar and I sing. The most embarrassing song I’ve had on my iPod would be Lady Gaga’sBad Romance.” Guilty pleasure.
Aldo: Hermaldo, I play bass. The most embarrassing song I got is probably for sure, this song by Chromeo called “Bonafide Lovin” but it’s a good song.

exmotus1jlWhat do you think of this local music scene here in Los Angeles and how does Exmortus fit in?
Mario: Do we fit in? I don’t know. That’s a good question, I don’t know. I dont think we fit in too much. I think we can all agree in the band that we’ve never really fit in. We try to have a presence but as far as the scene goes, there are so many bands here. So many different scenes. In reality, what scene are you talking about?

Exactly.
Mario: There are so many. We try to make a name, it’s good to have that variety and cross over if you have that ability which I think we do. It’s pretty good.

What are you guys looking forward to the most about this Flotsam and Jetsam tour that you’re about to embark on?
David: Getting all thrashed out.
Conan: This heat. I’m gonna get naked. Party.
Aldo: The beers I’ll be tasting.
Mario: The weather. The last tour we did was in the winter, so there was a lot of snow and some rain. Blizzards and stuff, too much. Looking forward to the good weather and being on our coast and also just the package is cool.

exmortus2jlWhat can we expect from your live show tonight?
David: Guitar acrobatics, behind the butt guitar playing, shred galore. A lot of stick spinning. Some head banging, and some chicks getting naked.

Well, we hope to see all of that. And Slave to the Sword, is there any concept behind that title?
Conan: Naturally we were coming up with names for songs and Mario mentioned the name, the phrase and I was like that sounds good. We tried to work a project around that name. We just realized, it’s so us. The sword represents, symbolically, our craft. What we do. Our touring life, the music, creating it. We’re slaves to it. We’re not exactly chained up, we’re triumphant like the artwork. The guys just running out with his fucking sword, he’s a slave to it but he’s – with pride, power and honor. That’s us. It’s about us.

exmortus3jlWho did the artwork?
Conan: Phil Lewvere. He did Kreator’s Pleasure to Kill album.  He did some covers for Celtic Frost too.

Select two Exmortus songs and what inspired the lyrics…
Conan: One song I like to sing and play a lot is “Immortality Made Flesh.” It’s an underdog song. You’re oppressed, we’re tired of that shit and we want to overthrow the tyrant kind of thing. There’s that theme in there and I like that rooting for the underdog, fighting tyranny theme. Another one would be, what are we playing? I dont remember.
Mario: “Kneel before the Steel.” Its just so cheesy and awesome. We didn’t play it on the last tour, looking forward to getting to play it again on this run.
David: I’m adding an extra song, “Moonlight Sonata.” I love playing that song. I think it embodies the whole attitude of this band. Shred, classical, the guitars will be singing for that one [laughs]. Put the microphone to the guitar.

How did you did you wind up signing to Prosthetic Records?
Mario: We were planning on recording an album and got in touch with a few labels and Prosthetic was interested in the band. So we went on and recorded, stayed in touch, and once there was movement with the album and us getting ready to be able to hit the road, we worked a deal out with them. I think it was over the course of almost a year of talking. Within that year we were getting ready to write and record, so it all happened within one year. Negotiating, and we ended up signing a deal with them.

exmortus4jlHas Judas Priest ever heard your cover of “Painkiller”?
Conan: Shit I don’t know. That’d be so cool if they did. They’d probably be like, what the fuck? This sounds like shit. [laughs] That’d be great if they did, even if they don’t like it.

If Emortus could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Aldo: I think it’d be cool to open for Manowar, they’re my favorite band. I think they’d appreciate the song “Metal Kings,” because it’s about metal and kings and it’s all they talk about. If that ever happens.
Conan: Judas Priest. We’d be so down to open for those guys. Their attitude and overall presence and songwriting throughout the decades are just great. Even though we weren’t around for all of them. Opening for them would be a dream come true.

Then you could play them your cover.
Conan: They’ll probably be pissed off about that.
David: I think it’d be amazing to do a world tour with Yngwie Malmsteen playing every castle that there is in the world. I think Yngwie and Exmortus would fit well together. Everyone’s faces would be melted by the shred.
Mario: Conan already said Priest, so because I’m wearing a Carcass shirt, Carcass would be be my pick. Their last album Surgical Steel is badass. I’m a fan of a lot of their albums. That’d be a really wicked tour, especially since they made a comeback. It’s a little bit of both, a band I wish I could of, and a band thats kind of a possibility.

What’s up next after this tour?
Mario: We’re hoping to go do another North American tour in the fall. That’s all we have planned. Hopefully as much touring as we can get.  We’re trying to work out some dates for Mexico. That’d be pretty crazy. Go back to the Motherland. Go back to Canada, cover North america again.

Any messages for people who are reading this who should check your band out?
Aldo: Metal is king. That’s all I got.
Conan: Unto the naysayers, death we shall bring.
David: If you like shred, metal, to get down and dirty then you should listen to Slave to the Sword.
Mario: Aldo took mine. Metal is King, times two. [laughs] Check us out, keep an eye out, Kneel before the steel.

Exmortus is:
Jadran “Conan” Gonzalez – Guitar/Vocals
David Rivera -Guitar
Aldo Bibiano – Bass
Mario Moreno- Drums

(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)

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Youth In Revolt: A Sonic Uprising

youth-in-revolt-1Youth In Revolt is an exhilarating new band signed to Outerloop Records ready to rock your world with their post hardcore anthems. Their debut EP for the label is entitled Love Is A Liar’s Game, and it’s sure to garner the band a good deal of attention.  Currently on tour with Slaves and Myka, Relocate, including a stop at Chain Reaction in Anaheim on August 22nd, Youth In Revolt is spreading their sonic revolution all across America!  Here is a recent interview we conducted with guitarist George Shrouder to find out more about this band on the rise.  Read on…

Introduce yourself, what you do in Youth In Revolt and how long the band has been in existence.
My name is George Shrouder. I play guitar in Youth In Revolt. The band was slowly forming for the last few years but it wasn’t until early 2014 that the current lineup came together, got signed, announced and launched.

Where are you based out of and what is your local music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
The band is based out of Howell, New Jersey. Ironically I live in California, but I know there are a handful of good Howell bands who recently played our CD release show with us. The scene in New Jersey isn’t as strong nor populated as the Orange County scene, but still thriving in its own way. Personally, I know quite a few awesome bands from where I live in Southern California. The first that comes to mind is a band called Redeem/Revive, very hard working dudes with 2 awesome vocalists.

How did you wind up being signed to Outerloop Records?
We started sending demos to Brian Judge, and after we sent him our first version of “There For You” they decided to manage us. They set up recording time for us with Taylor Larson to get a full production version of the single, and as soon as that was recorded they offered us a 1 EP record deal and gave us a month or so to write it. We went back down to record with Taylor Larson again, right around New Years and Love Is A Liar’s Game was the result. The label was impressed with how it came out and presented us with the official offer for a 5 album deal with Outerloop/Fearless Records. Of course we were thrilled and now here we are.

youthinevolt-loveis1Is there any story or concept behind the EP title Love Is A Liar’s Game?
We decided to title the EP after the song Love Is A Liar’s Game first and foremost because it was the single we felt embodied the spirit of both the album and Youth In Revolt in general. But beneath that, the song title/lyrics came from the subject matter that True was covering in that song.

Select two songs from Love Is A Liar’s Game and what inspired the lyrics.
True writes all the lyrics from his personal experiences and views. Most are about things he’s learned in the relationship world or his family life. He writes from the heart and the fans connect.

Never Stay was written about getting into a relationship with someone who you really like, but know that things won’t work out. You are the one really driving the relationship because of your feelings for this other person. But the feelings aren’t mutual and before things even begin, you know that person will never stay.

There For You, was written about family life and living up to your parent’s standards. One of the toughest parts about growing up is finding out who you are while simultaneously living up to who your parental figures want you to be. It’s basically saying, I’ll be the best I can be, if you are willing to forgive me for my mistakes along the way.

Who did the cover art for Love Is A Liar’s Game and how much input did you have on it?
The cover was done by an Artist named Hunter Fitch. He was great to work with because he really took our ideas and materialized them exactly how we envisioned. True emailed him over the concept for a tattooed arm holding a heart and he produced the idea perfectly.

Has Youth In Revolt ever played here in the Los Angeles/OC area or plan to do so in the future?
We will be playing Southern California for the first time on August 22nd at Chain Reaction. It’s one of the final shows on our tour with Slaves, Myka Relocate, Alive Like Me, and Nightmares. California being my home, I’m particular excited!

What are you looking forward to the most about your upcoming tour with Slaves?
I’m really looking forward to touring with the EP out. We did a tour in May, but our music was still unreleased at that point so nobody knew much about us. This time around, I’m expecting a great crowd response and for people to really connect with us because they’ll know who we are and what we sound like before we get there. I’m also very excited for the tour because the other bands are full of good friends and awesome music. So it should be a really good time.

What could one expect from a live Youth In Revolt show?
High energy, lots of spins and a polished sound. We practice particularly hard and really emphasize a sound as close to the album as possible. Plus we love to just have fun on stage and really connect with a crowd.

If Youth In Revolt could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Right now I would say our dream tour would be 5 Seconds Of Summer and A Day To Remember. Those 2 bands are iconic in the sound and fan base we relate to, in addition to making fun music we all enjoy.

What is it you like a listener to remember the most after hearing your music for the first time?
We want our listeners to feel like they have us and our music to rely on when they are feeling down. Life, love and everything in between is tough to get through, and having our music to keep you going means everything to us.

Any final words of wisdom?
I would say the words I’ve lived by, that have gotten me where are am are as follows; If you want to make it in the world nowadays, you have to make sure every moment of time is a moment well spent. Don’t waste away with video games, partying your brains out and convincing yourself that you’re on track to success. The only path to success is the path that you believe is too hard to be accomplished. Wake up everyday with a plan of attack and don’t go to sleep until you’ve completed your daily goals. And those daily goals should be stepping stones in the overall scheme of things. Know what you want and don’t let anyone stand in your way. Friends are friends but business is business. Keep your interests in line, balanced with being a good person, and the puzzle pieces will fall in place.

Youth In Revolt is:
True Arahill: Vocals
Kenny Torres: Vocals/Bass
George Shrouder: Guitar
Alex Ramos: Guitar
Devon Bosque: Drums

(Interview by Ken Morton)

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Erimha: Unleashing Black Metal at Mayhem Fest

Erimha070514Erimha spent the summer on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, unleashing their own diabolical brand of Black Metal to the headbanging masses all across the country.  Their current release Reign Through Immortality is available through Victory Records – and while one wouldn’t normally associated Victory with Black Metal – the collaboration appears to be working for both band and label tenfold.  We caught up with guitarist Kthien right after their explosive set at Mayhem in San Bernardino to find out more about the mystical entity named Erimha.  Read on…

erimhajl6Introduce yourself and tell me what you do in the band. What are you looking forward to the most about Mayhem this year?
I’m Kthien from Erimha and what we’re looking for the most is the whole experience. The whole crew has been very amazing to all the bands. It doesn’t matter if it’s a guy at a gate, somebody taking care of catering, a security guard – everybody has just been amazing. I don’t know how many thousand people are there and everybody is just screaming for bands. You don’t get that anywhere else, you know?Everybody is having a great time.

Where are you based out of and what’s your metal scene like there?
We’re from Montreal, Quebec, Canada and the metal scene over there is great. It’s working really good. We have Heavy Montreal, which is a huge festival now, that happens every year. There’s so many promoters, so many shows.  When you’re an underground band and you’re trying to make it you could be playing on a night that there’s like five shows going on. Kids are like which show do I go to? So I guess it’s like a good and a bad thing. So that the scene is very healthy but at the same time you gotta to work to try to,stand out.

erimhajl3Is there any story or concept behind your current album, Reign Through Immortality?
The whole album is actually a concept. It’s built around a Sumerian king which was really into – cause we bring a lot of spirituality and magic into the music. And this king was more into that.  If you go back into time – people were not aware of the science that we know now. That there’s so many spiritual ways – how you can be guided by the stars. He was more into that and it scared his people and he just closed himself off and just became a spiritual monster. From there he just came back and made everybody know this was a great power that he could go get, and he just demolished everyone. So, yeah, that’s mostly a short version of the last album.

Victory Records seems like an unusual choice for you, what made you sign there?
That’s like the question that comes back the most, you know?  We actually got to showcase for them. And they offered us a deal and we decided to take it. This band is only four years old. There’s a lot of bands out there, a lot of bands worked their ass off and we’re one of those bands. So, once we got to meet everyone at the label and the team that they had – I was like, you know, we’ve never been people to put a label on anything. So, I was like, listen, they want a band like us? They’re a fucking hard working team, so, I’m like, why not go? I mean, we’re super happy with our decision. They’re awesome people, they work their asses off, it’s just a win-win situation for both parties.

erimhajl5Your album has been out for almost a year now. How close are you to recording new stuff?
We’re not giving any dates on anything because, since things are picking up for us on the road, there’s a lot of touring opportunities that are coming up. At the same time, we’re going to need to write a new album, which we are. But I would tell you it’s into the thirty/forty percent range, you know? We’re taking out time to have something solid come out. We would like to go before winter but it really all depends how much we’re going to be on the road.

If your band could open up for anyone, either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Wow, that’s crazy! That’s a good question. Maybe hard to tell. Because the guys aren’t going to like me if I say this, but I would love to have opened for Led Zeppelin. We got to be on a bill with Deicide. And that was pretty amazing. Jack Owen now proudly wears our shirt on stage - that was one of the big ones because our singer was a huge Deicide fan. So I think we’ve already done it. You know from here on in, if it keeps going and we get to open for bands that we’ve looked up to when we were younger,I mean… I’m playing with Korn tonight and that was one of the first bands when I was, like, ten years old that I was into.There are so many different bands that we would open up for.

erimhajl4What was it like working with Allisa from Arch Enemy on your first album? Have you kept in touch?
Yeah, we kept in touch with her a bit after but we’re both in touring bands, it was hard to keep up. Now with her being in Arch Enemy, that’s awesome. That’s a great opportunity for her. She’s one of by far, one of the hardest vocalist. She works her ass off like there’s no tomorrow. We’re happy she’s there. She was nice enough to have her amazing fucking voice on the album.

Has she ever performed live with you?
No. We came close once, they were playing that festival with Deicide but on the other day. We had thought about it. I think it’s one of those songs that’s going to be kept that way and we’re most likely never going to be playing it live. It was just that we thought she was such an amazing vocalist that we actually wanted her voice for that part on the album.

erimhajl1Do you have any messages for anyone reading this right now that should check out your band?
Anybody that’s into metal, but at the same time I think anyone who is searching for something in life should maybe try to look into this band. I’ll leave it at that. People who are questioning themselves or what they’re doing in life and what they would like to do with their life. I think more and more these types of people should get it into Erimha.

Erimha is:
Gore // Vocals
Kthien // Guitar
Leather King// Bass, Backing Vocals
Ksaos // Drums

(Interview and candid photo by Ken Morton – Live Photos by Jack Lue)

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In The Moment with Watsky at Vans Warped Tour

Watsky062014_1200x900Meet George Watsky – rapper, writer and performer from San Francisco, who has just spent an entire summer touring across the country on this year’s edition of the Van’s Warped Tour. Performing on the Beatport Stage to thoroughly enraptured crowds, Watsky and his band presented an exhilarating, wildly unpredictable set.  A new album entitled All You Can Do is about to be released through Steel Wool Records, and it’s sure to cement Watsky’s reputation as one of the most gifted rappers out on the scene today.  Here is an interview we conducted with George Watsky at the Pomona date of the Van’s Warped Tour

How’s Warped Tour going? What have been some of the highlights for you?
Warped Tour has been going great. We’ve been drawing good crowds everywhere we’ve been. It was really hot in Texas. This is actually, even if its in the 90s, is cool compared to where we were. I just love meeting all the bands, even six days in I’ve already made a lot of friends. I can only imagine we’re going to meet more people. I feel like we’re going to leave with a whole network of friends from all over the country, different musical artists. I’ve been really enjoying socializing and meeting the other musicians.

watskyjl2What’s it’s been like being the odd person / band out on Warped Tour?
We have a cool fraternity on the Beatport Stage, which is all the stuff that doesn’t fit on the other stage’s stage. I’ve made a lot of friends with those acts. Within our stage, I don’t feel like the odd one out. Wax, K Flay, MC Chris – we’re all Hip Hop and DJ sets so it’s been good. I think people have really open minds here. I’ve never at one moment felt like this audience isn’t interested in hearing what I have to say or these are hardcore kids and they’re not listening. They just don’t want to hear Hip Hop. I also happen to play with a live band so I think there’s already a reference point to what we’re doing. I’m not playing a DJ set, there’s a lot of musicality to what we do and a lot of styles. So, it hasn’t felt like I don’t belong here at any point.

What’s the title of the new album?
It’s called All You Can Do, it’s coming August 12th.

Is there a story behind the title?
It’s the first track of the album.  I’ve had a great year, but I’ve also had a challenging year. I feel like I’ve dealt with the toughest things that I have in my whole life. I’ve also had some of the most satisfying successes I’ve had in 2014. The chorus of that song, it goes “all you can do is all you can do is all you can do.”  It just repeats, so that’s one of the visual motifs of the album is a circle with “all you can do” just repeating around the edge of the album. It’s kind of a mantra I’ve adopted about living in the present moment and not worrying about anything that’s outside of your control. You take a deep breath and you move on.

watskyjl3Select any two songs from the new album, what inspired the lyrics?
We have a song with Stephen Stills from Crosby Stills and Nash called “Cannonball,” which was originally inspired by a bus driver of mine called Paul Hamer who is a large man who went crowd surfing at our Madison, WI show and the chorus is about seeing a field of daisies hold a cannonball above them. It was about this really large guy being held up by all these young kids, then it became ironic in the past year, we decided to include it on the album because we thought it had a nice self-awareness to it. “Canonball” is the last track on the album. Another song – “Let’s Get High and Watch Planet Earth,” which the chord progression and melody sounds like a Beatles song but it’s specifically inspired by the fact that I love the nature documentary Planet Earth. I like getting high and watching it. It’s a love song. That show really makes me reflect on my own mortality because you’ll see a Gazelle get chased down by a mountain lion, then you start rooting for the mountain lion because it’s been going hungry for two weeks. Then you start rooting for the gazelle because you don’t want to see it get hurt or injured. But it’s a song that, even know it’s a silly concept, it’s about reflecting on the circle of life and our own mortality. I’m proud of that song because I think it reflects my own quirkiness but also it is at its core, a serious message.

If you could open up for any band, either now or in the past, who would it be and why?
I’d like to just list off my favorite artists but because of the quirkiness nature of our music, I don’t think we belong opening up for Paul McCartney or some of the acts I love. I think we’d be a monstrosity at the beginning of their show so I’ll pick a hip hop act. I’d love to open for Eminem or some of my favorite rap acts, Outkast. That’d be a dream.

jackluewatsky4What was the name of the very first song you wrote? How old were you and what was it about?
I wrote a terrible song when I was 15 called “Nosey Clowns.” It was awful, I think I was a freshman in highschool. It’s got these fruity loops which was a beat making program from that era, these terrible stock beat sounds. Little synthetic sitars and stuff. It wasn’t about anything. When I was writing songs at that age, I couldn’t have told you the concept or premise for any of that material. I was just writing nonsensical bars that switch between self-deprecating personal stories or political diatribes from one bar to the next. It wasn’t about anything terrible, though. It’s on my soundcloud if you want to listen to it.

What did you do in Arrested Development?
I had a little bit role, they brought the series back to Netflix and they had different story lines of each of the characters of Gob, Will Arnett’s character. He had a storyline where he became an entourage member of a teenage Bieber type pop singer and I was – it was an actual parody of the show Entourage and I was one of those entourage members.

Is acting in your future?
I did study acting in school but while we’ve got momentum with music, i’m really trying to focus on music. It’s hard, if you’re touring as much as we do, you can’t really be back in LA for auditions all the time, so my focus in on music right now. I’d love to do some acting down the line.

What’s up next after Warped Tour?
We’re going right on the road doing a club tour. All You Can Do comes out August 12th, I’m playing Outside Lands in San Francisco on August 10th. The album comes out two days later then about three weeks after that we hit the road for about three months starting in Europe then to the US in October and November and we’ll be touring through 2015. Then I’ll figure out what’s next…

(Interview and Candid Photo by Ken Morton – Live Photos by Jack Lue)

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