Cult of Luna
Voivod: Part 2
Voivod: Part 1
Dillinger Escape Plan
The Year In Metal
Dead to Fall
Tapping The Vein
High On Fire
Metal Meltdown IV
Metal/Hardcore Fest 2002
Century Media Records
My Dying Bride
The Year In Metal
Metal Blade Records
Maudlin of the Well
Thrash of the Titans
Dust To Dust
Six Feet Under
Metal/Hardcore Fest 2001
Metal Meltdown III
Pain of Salvation
Children Of Bodom
Cradle Of Filth
Lamb Of God
Garden of Shadows
March Metal Meltdown
Metal/Hardcore Fest 2000
Flotsam and Jetsam
There is a science to setting up an interview that I am just beginning to understand. First, and probably most importantly, is picking the time and place to interview a band. Well the place was chosen for me: MCA records at 57th Street and Broadway. That's easy. The hard part is the time. The PR person coordinating the interview told me they were going to be available between 10am and 4pm. Ok what do I do? Well, I know that no band is going to wake up at 10am. And if they do get up, then they won't want to talk. You can't set up an interview for noon because the band will start to get hungry and lose focus. After lunch they will all be sleepy and tired. Anytime after 2 pm the band will be tired from answering the same questions all day long and want to get some rest and have some fun before their gig. So I choose 11am thinking they'll have banged out one interview to get the rust off and will be somewhat coherent before the pre lunch hunger pangs set in. Of course, when I get to MCA records I end up taking the elevator up to the 8th floor with a very tired looking bunch of up and coming rock stars who obviously had no intention of having a 10 am interview and do not look at all happy about an 11am interview. So much for my good planning. Thankfully, the band was provided with a basket filled with fruits and breads, pastries and muffins to ease what is apparently their first exposure to daylight in three weeks of touring.
The second part of interviewing a band is figuring out how to transcribe four people talking at once. It's just chaos so deal with it. I've just tried to collect as much of their responses and put them down. There are moments when there are contradictory answers and I just tried to transcribe it all. I hope it makes sense.
So this is what rock and roll looks like by the light of day. Frightening. I admit I was up late checking out their website and listening to their CD to get some last minute insights into Nonpoint before our meeting. Perhaps we could all just snack on some muffins and quietly put our heads down for some quiet time. I doubt that would make for an exciting read. So I must muster up some excitement and get these guys excited about metal for half an hour. I must get them to tell the sordid tales of a new metal band signed to a major label that's touring the country in support of their first album, 'Statement'. Here goes:
Metal Update: How are you guys today?
MU: Did you guys play last night?
Yes, we drove up from State College last night.
MU: Oh really. That's cool.
No, not cool.
MU: Why, did your van break down again?
No, we got in around 4 am. Damn. Everyone knows about the van.
MU: I was just reading up on your website that the van broke down.
Yeah, it's all fixed.
MU: You guys have played a bunch of places recently. How did you like Boston?
Awesome. It was really cool. The local radio station WAAF had a big promotion; lots of fans showed up.
MU: Is this your first time touring in the northeast?
No, it's the second time around. We came through with Disturbed and Glass Jaw on our last tour.
MU: Do you have another show tomorrow or do you get to stay and party in New York for a day?
We have another show, so we can't hang out tomorrow. After the show we get into the van and drive to the next gig.
MU: Wow, they're really working you guys.
Oh yeah. Actually, this has been a pretty grueling tour. But it's better than not touring. We were home for the holidays for two and a half weeks and by the end of it we were all pretty much stir crazy. I was getting bored. not bored, antsy. Right now the plan is to stay out on the road. The whole time I was home, I just kept thinking, "Man, what city could I have been in today? What dirty hotel could I be sleeping in?"
MU: You mean the label didn't give you any Play Station 2s to play with while you were chilling to help you pass the time?
No. I just got Play Station for Tekken and Streetfighter. I'm pretty much a virtual tennis fan.
MU: Do you consider yourselves a metal band?
Yes. For all intents and purposes. That's where the majority of our roots stem from.
MU: What are your roots?
Black right now. He needs another dye job. (laughs) There is so much diversity within the band. Speaking in terms of our music background. It's everything from metal to hardcore to techno to R&B. It's just all different influences which I think is the culmination of the music why it all comes together so well is because everyone has such a diverse background. All of the group grew up listening to different things. All of us, I mean between the four of us, we like every type of genre except country. Fuck country!!! (laughs) Can I say "fuck?"
MU: Yeah, sure.
Between all of us, we like every possible variety. We're all different.
MU: Tell me about some of the metal bands you like.
You're going to get like 400 different answers from us four guys.
MU: Well, what are you listening to in the tour bus lately?
MU: Sorry. Tour van.
I've been bumping the new Chimera, the band we're on tour with right now. A hardcore metal band out of Cleveland. I've been listening to the Glassjaw CD. The new Roadsaw CD is awesome. I got a bunch of older CDs like an old Allman Brothers CD I got the other day. I listen to a lot of Taproot. El Nino. The Jerky Boys. The last Meshuggah album.
MU: Meshuggah. That's what I'm talking about! How long have you been kicking around?
Four years. Since 1997.
MU: And you guys came out of Florida?
Yeah, Fort Lauderdale.
MU: How is the scene down there?
There is none right now! When we were there, there was a good amount. A lot of the heavy hitters in the local scene got signed. Endo, Darwin's Waiting Room, The Groovniks and us were pretty much the four bands that were doing everything down there. The big four. And all of us got signed and everybody's touring right now. New Found Glory too. They were out way before us. When we go back home there is a scene. The fans still come out like crazy. We're all playing the big venues, but there aren't local shows every weekend. There's laws passed. There's no all ages shows if they're selling alcohol and no clubs want to open their doors unless they can sell alcohol. It's kind of hard to put on a show, but when we do, they definitely come out. A lot of national bands come through, but the local scene is pretty much suffering right now.
MU: So how did you get on a major label from kicking around down in Florida?
Fate. We were playing a local radio festival and Jason Bieler who was in Saigon Kick and in a group called Transatlantic at the time was playing on the same stage with us and caught the show and loved it. We exchanged numbers and started working together ever since. He took us right into pre-production. It was the summer of '99.
MU: Were you hoping to get on a major label? Are you guys into the more underground scene at all?
We like the underground scene, but to do what we wanted to do - to make this our livelihood, to put some kind of stake in the career, and be realistically supported - we had to look at a major label. It's cool MCA is doing this very organically and we're building this up just like it's supposed to be built up. It's very underground right now. We're extremely happy with them. They're very understanding and open-minded about where we come from. They let us basically do what we want. They still make us feel cush cush, but they wake us up at fucking four in the morning. The bastards! (laughs)
MU: So you guys are liking the big label experience?
So far so good. Seeing how other bands went through it. And everyone had like a horror story. I mean obviously it seems like the way we've been working it seems like we're working with an indie label. The whole process, the touring, the single, all that stuff. . . so far it's been a good experience.
MU: And your management helped out?
Yeah, they were a key and our fans too.
MU: And now you're picking up fans all over the place?
We're converting lots of fans. This is our second time around. We had the opportunity to play a couple of good tours. We were out with Kittie. We were out with Mudvayne. We did Earth Crisis, Hed(pe) and Machine Head, so we're getting lucky and getting to play to a good number of crowds.
MU: And are you guys doing the Ozzfest this summer?
Rumor. It's still a rumor. They don't know those lineups until four or five weeks beforehand. We'll just sit back and wait and see. We don't know what we'll be doing around that time. We don't even know what we'll be doing after this tour. I'm sure we'll do one summer tour, we just don't know which one.
MU: Are there bands back in Florida or kicking around that you've met on tour that you like that are still relatively undiscovered? Any friends of yours?
No. Yes. Our friends in Lost. They have a really good promising future, but they've had a bunch of lineup changes. They are a really good band. I recently heard some music they did and if they keep doing things right, I think they'll do something really good.
MU: Let's talk about your music a little. Is there a message behind your music?
Positivity. We're just trying to be as honest as possible.
MU: It seems like there is a positive vibe going through your album.
It's mostly personal experience. We want the kids to be proud of just being fans of the music. They get something out of it, then it's cool. Keeping it real!
MU: Are you guys kind of straight edge? Or do you party?
Why what have you got? We don't drink beer. No beer. No cigarettes. I smoke meat! I smoke weed. I roll a blunt around a hot dog. No, we're pretty much straight edge except. . . (laughing, they all start miming their favorite drugs).
MU: Tell me some tour stories. Crazy fans?
MU: Not allowed to talk about it?
No. We're not getting the road experience that is the rock lifestyle. We're still young, so we're in the position where we really need to focus on what we're doing out there. We'll get our chance to party, but we'll do that later. We slack off every now and then, but we really got to keep our heads down and try and stay as grounded as possible. It's hard to party because we usually have to take off right after the shows. We still do crazy stuff. Like at the last show with hed(pe). . . We're making a lot of really close friends out there. A lot of the bands that we're touring with a lot of the headlining bands we get along with really well. We were playing with hed(pe) and they were throwing marshmellows at us during our last show. They duct taped Andy's legs together while we were playing. They fed us shots. It was cool. They snow painted our van. They put "vagina" over the whole front and "homos in here!" Hilarious, man. That actually makes you feel like you're respected very much by them. They treated us like friends. It was cool. They were great hosts. They gave us a lot of freedom as far as stage space and stuff.
MU: Any bands that you look up to in that regard?
There's a few new bands like Deftones and Incubus.
MU: Any oldschool bands?
Floyd. There are so many that we look up to. All of us being as heavily into music as we were growing up, we're just tired of seeing bands being carbon copied and degrading the industry. We want to do something that keeps a little sincerity. We want to keep our credibility as well as this genre of music's credibility and we want to kind of bring some life into it and show that we're not just here to make a buck. This is what we came through and these are our life stories. We're putting it out there and we're baring ourselves to these people. Nothing against the industry. I mean everybody's got to make a living. It's just that there's got to be something better out there. Not the same thing over and over and over again. There's a lot of bands out there that aren't sincere. We're out there busting our asses trying to get on every tour we can. I would definitely say there's a lot of crap out there.
MU: Want to name names?
NO! Never! Our opinions are ours. We want to survive. We don't want to be one of the bands that will be forgotten. We're trying to work as hard as we can. As grueling as it is. We are definitely into leaving an impact on this time frame of music and music history. We're definitely out to prove something. We've been out with respected bands right now that actually dig what we're doing. So now we know we're on the right track.
MU: Andy's been awfully quiet.
Tired. I'm on three hours sleep. I have nothing intelligent to say.
MU: Can I ask you about your guitar playing? There are some solos on the album. There's some good playing on there.
I was cautious during those sessions.
MU: There haven't been a lot of mainstream albums with guitar solos lately. Do you like soloing?
I don't really like soloing. I can a little bit. I like listening to the blues and blues solos. That's the stuff I get into. Heavy metal and shredding like Steve Vai, I'm totally not into. First of all, I can't do it. Second of all, I'm not impressed by it. Like every now and then I like to throw in a solo because I think it's fun. I did the one in "Back Up". The breakdown in that was kind of long and we just kind of chill out and play this groovy little breakdown. I'm not into bringing solos back into music or anything. It adds a different dimension. It breaks away from the constant chords and riffing. It's like you said I haven't heard hardly any bands that have a guitar solo.
MU: I miss it. How do you feel about the hard music scene in general?
There are a couple of good bands coming up right now. It's definitely going to start to flourish. There was that rap /rock /core/metal and now it 's starting to branch off into so many different things. It's slowly taking more and more precedence on the airwaves.
MU: You guys are getting some good radio play right now, right?
Thankfully. Praise be to Allah! No, I'm just kidding. I'm not one of those guys.
MU: What's your first single right now?
"What a Day".
MU: What's that about? Is there a story behind that?
Sheep flogging. The extremities of a bad day. A story song. And Grape Nuts. High fiber.
MU: Are you targeting any specific audience?
No, we're trying to be as broad as possible. Our demographic is obviously young teenagers and older guys who want to get in the pit. We've played some mixed bills too so we've got some crossover into the Kittie crowd too.
MU: So you're not trying to go for a hard rock or metal audience?
We've never been about segregating our fans to any degree. Our music is what we do. It's who we are. We don't want to put any kind of specific label on it. We got a lot of adults who don't listen to this kind of music listen to our record and really enjoyed it.
MU: That's because you have good songs on there.
MU: I guess that will help you sell albums. Do you know how that's going? What kind of sales you have?
We are at 18,000 right now. That's without radio play. That's from the strength of our touring, strictly. The radio play is just now starting to come into affect.
MU: What do you think of the pimp rock type bands out there now?
What's pimp rock?
MU: Rap/rock sort or Kid Rock meets Limp Bizkit stuff
MU: Mall metal.
That's what we're trying to stay away from. No, but I've seen a lot of people that don't like Limp Bizkit, but they're doing their thing. That's how I look at it. They're selling millions of records which is more than us. Honestly, I can say that I'm happy for them and what they're doing. They're like five million records ahead of us. They're helping us. I'll play in front of their fans. Limp Bizkit, Korn and all these bands have definitely opened up radio to us. Definitely have to thank them. They definitely opened doors.
MU: Do you think labels are signing too many of these types of bands?
Yes. I think they're saturating the market. I just think there aren't enough authorities on it in the industry. It's almost turning into a boy band syndrome. People are just getting behind things just to get behind them. They hear something that sounds somewhat close to it and similar and they don't really look to what the fans are really into and responding to. Going back to Korn and Limp Bizkit, they're doing what these other bands in the eighties were doing. Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth were like the big four back then. Korn, Limp Bizkit, Rage and Deftones are the big four today. They open all these doors. Actually the Deftones didn't get any radio play until 'White Pony' came out. All the other bands were out there before them. We're looking to be the first of the big new bands for this decade. One of the next big four.
MU: Hopefully MCA is behind that and wants to take you to that next level.
Oh 100%. We've got nothing but love and generosity from the label. They've been very supportive. They got us out on the road. I think they've got a good game plan. They're doing the right thing.
MU: Do the guys here seem to understand what you're doing?
Yeah, to a certain degree. They're really into it. It's funny. You go from a band like Blink 182 to a band like us. They don't have a big rock division. Hans our A&R guy is definitely an authority on rock and metal. Big time. He's been our spokesperson at the table when it comes to talking about the band. He's the one who got this label pumped - him and our managers. The label has been 110% behind us. They are all for it. It's not like those horror stories we've encountered from bands we've been on the road with. Especially earlier on when we didn't really know how the label worked. You can't believe some of the stuff that happens to other bands. I 'm just like "you mean your manager didn't do nothin'?" Now these bands that were telling these stories are pumping the labels for more after seeing the bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit and Rage bringing all this to the table. So now they feel more confident.
MU: Your lawyer is looking out for you too?
Everybody so far. We have an amazing team. Our lawyer has a very large gun with even bigger bullets! We have a great team. They've got our backs. They're really smart too. That's why we pay them so much fucking money. Can we say that our tour manager is gay?
MU: Sure, you can say that. Do you have any evidence to back that up? Has he been hanging out in the men's rooms too much?
No, he's just gay. He stops at a lot of truck stops. (laughs)
MU: Do you have a final thought
Get some sleep before you do this. Stay in school.
Interview: Keith Wittenstein [
Editor: Brant Wintersteen [
Webmaster: WAR [
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