When life hands you lemons, you make…hip hop? For Michael LaCoste, aka Da Mac, his history has become fuel for connecting with people through the medium of rap music. Hailing from St. Louis, Missouri and recently teaming up with Rottweiler Records, Da Mac has been working on diverse projects the likes of Cornerstone, adding live drummer Foday Mashburn and teaming up with rock group Jagged Row.
While many go to college to experience of the free life, you went off to Mizzou and found Jesus, what were the biggest changes in your life at that point? DM: It’s interesting how that worked out! I was in my sophomore year when I started following Jesus. The biggest changes in my at that point was my daily activities and my circle of friends. I went from going to classes and parties on the weekend to going to weekly Bible studies. I got plugged into a campus ministry, Christian fraternity, and a local church. I even went on my first mission trip during spring break. It really felt like I was a new person because everything around me was new.
You grew up with secular rap and are trying to make your mark in gospel rap, how do you combat the stigma that Christian rap just isn’t up to par with mainstream? DM: That is an excellent question! I was once on the other side of the spectrum. I grew up listening to Tupac, Ice Cube, Tech N9ne, DMX, and Eminem. A high school teacher once gave me a DC TALK album. Looking back I realize that he was trying to witness to me. I never played the CD because when I was it told that it was Christian rap, I assumed that it was going to be lame. I too was once “that guy”. The best way to combat the stigma is to make high quality music. It’s important, however, never to sacrifice the message. As a Christian rapper, it has to be my mission to not only grow in the Lord everyday, but to also grow in my craft everyday. Once the Christian rap genre takes that approach as a whole, I strongly believe that it will end the stigma. I think Lecrae and his crew are raising the bar and setting that tone.
What have been some of the highlights of your run at the rap game thus far? DM: It’s been an awesome journey so far! I’ve had some really cool experiences. To name a few – I met rapper Tech N9ne (I’m a childhood fan), I won the New Band Showcase at Cornerstone Music Festival 2011, I performed at Six Flags Great America, I opened for David Crowder, Family Force 5, Tenth Avenue North, Trip Lee, and Jimmy Needham. I will never forget the day that I opened for Christian rap artist Thi’sl. He too is from St. Louis, MO and I look up to him a lot. I opened for him at a church down in Lockport, LA. He watched my entire show and afterwards he came up to me and told me that “I killed it!”. It meant a lot to me.
How would you describe your music? DM: My music is honest. The thing that I love most about rap is you can literally take your life experiences and lay it on a track. And there is always someone out there who can relate to it. So, when I make music, I always write from the heart and I always deliver it with passion. I try to structure my songs so that the listener can feel like they’re right there with me. I also like to experiment with my music. So, one song might be bass heavy, the next song might sample Johnny Cash. You never know what to expect when you pop in my CD. I think my supporters enjoy that.
As you develop your craft, how do you go about putting the right flow with the best beat? DM: I hear that everyone’s creative process is different. I don’t know if there is a right or wrong way, but I have been doing it this way for years. I like to map out what I’m going to talk about on songs before I write them. Then, I go to producers and listen through their catalogs. I try to find beats that have the right feeling or sound for specific song ideas. Once I find all of my beats, I start writing songs. I recently finished writing my first Mixtape and I used this process.
You are spear heading a large local production under the title of The Unite In Light Youth Rally, how did this idea come together? DM: Unite In Light Youth Rally is something that has been on my heart for a long time! I do a lot of concerts and kids usually want to stay connected after the shows. So, they send me friend requests on Facebook. Well, every time I log into Facebook and look at my news feed, I always see several posts from kids talking about how they feel alone, confused, abandoned, and lost. That’s when I realized that something had to be done. I wanted to bring the youth together and encourage them and remind them that God is always with them. That’s when I came up with the idea of Unite In Light Youth Rally. The mission of Unite In Light is to unify the churches of south central Missouri to encourage and enlighten the youth. The key bible verses for Unite In Light is Colossians 3:14 and Deuteronomy 31:8. We’re going to have three professionals bands, a guest speaker, and a worship band. This is the first one ever so we’re excited to see what God has planned for it.
When and where will UILYR be? DM: The first ever Unite In Light Youth Rally will be April 12 at Genesis Church in West Plains, MO. Unite In Light will feature DA MAC, Jagged Row, Point5, & special guest speaker Brock Caldwell. Doors open at 6pm and the event starts at 7pm. Unite In Light is free and open to the public. We are on Twitter: @uniteinlight13 and we have a promo video on Youtube:
Da Mac aka Da Music About Christ (St. Louis, MS) is Hip Hop currently as part of the Rottweiler Records lineup. See more at wearedamac.com
Our first hurdcore.com interview for 2013 brings a genre blast from the past, as we talk the re-emergence of ska with local artists known as Must Build Jacuzzi. Hailing from Peoria, Illinois, these young men are energized to play a medium forgotten by many as they inspire a whole new generation of skankers to circle up for this punk-swing fusion.
What is the story / meaning behind the name of your band? Caleb Rose (Vocals/Guitar): Well, Bill, Josh, and I were watching “Muppets From Space” when we got to a scene where Gonzo was asleep and his friends were speaking through a fan to make their voices weird sound to hypnotize him. They told him to go build them a jacuzzi. When he got up (still asleep and hypnotized) he said “Must…..Build…..Jacuzzi and we thought that would be a great name for a band, and it stuck. Bill Allison (Vocals/Guitar): Yeah, basically we thought it’d be an original name for a band, since every idea we thought of was already taken.
Ska had its hay-day in the late 90’s, but hasn’t been a prime category since, at what point did you all decide that you were going to formalize and take a run at the ska game? Bill: I decided I wanted to be in a ska band when I was like 14 or 15 years old. Long story short, we formed a crappy teen ska band, which led me to meet Josh and much later we had leveled up enough that we evolved and became MBJ! Josh Rose (Trumpet): Well at first I didn’t want to. Bill knew my brother, Caleb, and knew that I played trumpet. He asked if I wanted to join his ska band. I was like in 7th grade and didn’t know anything about music, so I was like whats ska? Is that like skat or something? I didn’t know what it would be like playing in a rock band since I had only played in school bands. At first, I didn’t think I would like it, but after a few practices, I was starting to have a lot of fun. I played my first show and I thought I was the coolest kid ever. The End Keaton Judy (Bass/Sax): I knew I wanted to be in a ska band when I saw a Facebook post about MBJ needing a bass player, haha. Ben Misslehorn (Trombone): As soon as my first band disbanded I realized I how much I missed playing in a ska band because I can be myself on stage on bring joy to many others! So I joined MBJ! HOORAH! Chris Walls (Drums): I realized I wanted to be in a ska band when Caleb told me he was in a band and needed a drummer and I realized “I am a drummer, I can join!” Next thing I knew, BAM. In a ska band.
What differences have you observed between fans of ska and fans of other mediums? Ben: Ska fans like to move around and feel the music! YEAH! Caleb: I think we get a wide variety of people with different musical interests who come to the shows. Fans of pop/punk, and hardcore seem to be a big audience of ours. Since we usually play shows with many bands from the Peoria hardcore scene, we seem to fit right in with any type of fan. Keaton: Ska fans are more interactive and they dance. Bill: People that like ska know how to skank, so we don’t feel lame when we play! Chris: Ska fans will love to talk to you. You can talk to anyone after the show and they will be willing to talk and next thing you know, you are having a conversation about ANYTHING. We can be talking about how you are playing Borderlands 2 and the weapon system compared to the first Borderlands, and you know, you are just talking to a lot of good people who are also your fans. Do I have to continue this interview?… Borderlands 2 sounds fun right now. Josh: Ska fans are cool. Fans of other genres are not as cool.
Currently all of your music is available for free download, what are your plans for recording in 2013? Caleb: Sometime this year (probably the summer), we are planning on heading up to meet up with one of our friends to do some recording for a possible full length. We may re-record a few of our past songs that could use some re-working with our new member line up. Bill: Yeah, we’ll probably be working on a full length within the next year, since we have like 15 songs just sitting around in our brains. Like, with our next recording, we really want to make it shine and do it as professional as possible, so it’ll probably be pretty legit.
What are some of your favorite jams right now? Ben: My favorite song right now is “P.S Shock the World” by Less Than Jake! Caleb: Recently, I’ve been listening to Real Friends who are a pop-punk band from the Chicago area Also, there is this super sweet dance/ska/pop/hardcore band called Paranoia Dance Party that have reeeally been rising up in the play counts. Keaton: “Anthropology” by Charlie Parker Bill: I have this huge Mustard Plug addiction right now, and am really digging this Chicago ska band Run and Punch who are awesome! I just got Children 18:3 and Flatfoot’s newest albums too, and those are great. Josh: “Home For The Fall” by Real Friends Chris: My favorite song is that one song that goes like, “Aeg eh elf, gyaaaa uh ah ah. whey whoo. wawawawawawawawa wub wub wub. ooraahhh. BWUY YOH WUBWUBWUB”
When they make the blockbuster docudrama about your life, what actors will play you all in the film? Ben: Jim Carrey as Ben Misselhorn! Caleb: I think I’d probably be played by Owen Wilson Chris: The Scout from Team Fortess 2. The documentary would be loved by all and the Hollywood funds would be so great, we could CGI him in for me. Bill: My last history professor said I looked like Patrick Swazey, so him! Keaton: Tom Hanks Josh: Andrew Wilson
What are your best and worst memories from recent shows? Caleb: I think one of the most fun shows we’ve ever played was in the basement of an old video game store in La Salle. There were a bunch of kids with high energy just having a good time. We also bought a bunch of bananas to throw out during the show and some rad Incredible Hulk party hats Bill and I found at a thrift store. As for worst, oh jeez, we played this show in Bloomington, IL. We just played a really cruddy set. Josh: Best memory- when we played the radest show ever. Tons of kids from my school came and even they were skankin’ and circle pitting. I even got my friends to dance and get all sweaty. Worst memory- We played a show in Bloomington/Normal and our drummer at the time kinda sucked at playing our music so we just sounded like crap. And the worst part was the singer for The Skatastrophies’ new band was there and probably saw us suck the brown out of poop. And to top it off, Ben, our trombone player wasn’t there. Bill: Worst was definitely that cruddy set in Bloomington/Normal. Like, we had to change line ups after that show. Like Josh said, the frontman of this old ska band, The Skatastrophes from Ohio (look them up, they’re awesome!), was there with his new band Signals Midwest (check them out, they’re awesome too!), so we looked like goons in front of him. IF YOU READ THIS MAX STERN, WE’RE NOT GOONS, WE JUST HAD PROBLEMS! Best was definitely the big ska show Josh mentioned, which we just played in Peoria with our buds in The Easy Mark, The Suites, and The Skalalitabs! Like 100 people in a super small coffee shop skanking like crazy. Huge blessing. Keaton: Best- the big ska show Bill and Josh talked about. Worst- Trying to learn a bunch of new music in a week when I first joined the band. Ben: Best Memory = Crowd surfing at Cornerstone! Worst = Not having my lucky sweat rag during a gig! Chris: The worst is the one we played with this one band… we will just call them Generic Band. There was like no one there and very sad. The best however, would have to be a basement show we played. There was a circle pit in a moldy basement. The things music make people do, haha!
Must Build Jacuzzi is: Keaton Judy – Bass/Sax, Josh Rose – Trumpet, Ben Misselhorn – Trombone, Chris Walls – Drums, Bill Allison -Vocals/Guitar, and Caleb Rose – Vocals/Guitar. Check them out on Facebook and Bandcamp .
Described as Progressive Melodic Death Metal, Jean Grey utilizes chunky riffs darkly blended with speed, blazing drums and rolling bass lines as the vocals fire from serpentine to gutteral. Locally grown from their roots in Eugene, Oregon, Jean Grey is gaining recognition for their meticulous approach to their craft. The band is expanding their reach and blazing trails with their new partner, San Bruno, California based Contorted Records. Our thanks to Rob McCrea at Contorted for helping to set this up and vocalist Dan Dooley for taking the time to complete this interview with hurdcore.com
How has your recent signing with Contorted Records expanded your ability and/or strategy in promoting your music? Dan Dooley (vocals): Signing with Contorted has opened up a whole new door for us. To go from pretty much nothing to having a group of talented individuals who know the buisness and believe in the music is incredible. We are able to use many avenues now that we were not able to before being a DIY band. We are now able to get our music to people around the world, play in areas we have not before, and have reviews and radio air play. To go from nothing to something is invaluable.
Abysmal is your latest release, is there a central meaning or theme for this album? DD: Most of the songs on Abysmal were written at different times so there is no main concept behind the record. But I would definitely say that there is a feeling of struggle. Many of the songs deal with some form of a struggle and the helplessness of the situation in the song.
When did you go from music fan to performer? DD: I myself started playing in bands when I was 20. I had originally started out playing guitar in my late teens and that is what I wanted to play. But I got to a certain level and just never really pushed myself to get better. By this point though I had started trying out vocals and discoverd I was decent enough to get away with it. I have also enjoyed writing since I was a kid so that translated over to writing lyrics well.
Was Jean Grey the first attempt or was this project birthed from the remains of other ventures? DD: Jean Grey was started back in 2006 when all of the members were either still in, or right out of high school. So it was pretty much a first attempt for all of the members in the band at the time.
What about the method behind your madness do you believe makes Jean Grey unique from other progressive/metal bands? DD: I think the fact that we are not afraid to try different things and experiment with our music is what makes us different from other bands. Some bands can get stuck to a certain subgenre and for whatever reason they only play that style and never try anything new. To me, that gets boring very fast. We don’t want to be pigeon hold to a certain genre of metal. We want to be able to do whatever pops into our head and not be afraid to do it. Some bands are afraid of that but we are not.
For 2012, what is on the calendar for the band? DD: We have a lot of exciting things coming up this year. We will be hitting the road this summer for a string of tours in, OR, WA, ID, CA, NV. We will also be releasing a new record later this year that we are very excited about. We will be keeping people up to date on our Facebook page with tour dates and studio updates from the recording of this next record. The future looks very bright for Jean Grey so keep your eyes peeled!!
Jean Grey (Melodic Death Metal – Eugene, OR) is Dan Dooley – Vocals; Bannon Hunt – Guitar; Charles Wilson – Drums; Benjamin Orozco – Guitar; Matt Edwards – Bass. Their latest release Abysmal on Contorted Records. Keep up to date with them on Jean Gray FB.
Through creativity and drive, Lafa Taylor has put his energetic stamp on a variety of ventures from solo hip-hop artist, DJ FreakFunk, Vibration Clothing and experimentation in a variety of musical styles. Hurdcore.com first became aware of the name Lafa Taylor after being introduced to the video for “Rollin’ Dough”, where Lafa challenges himself to take words that sound the same and use them with different meanings to create a very intriguing rhyme with seamless flow. Lafa is preparing to return to his home turf in Eugene, bringing the party once again to the WOW Hall as he continues to focus his efforts this summer in his solo music. We stole a few minutes with Lafa for this hurdcore.com interview.
How would you describe what you are about and what you are trying to accomplish with your music? Lafa Taylor: I am about life experience… the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly.. and about communicating that through usually danceable music..
I usually focus on the beautiful and sometimes comical but its all there…
music unites.. music saves.. music educates, music excites
Lafa has evolved into many projects, which ones are you focusing the bulk of your current energies in? LT: Right now I am in full focus on the return of Lafa Taylor.. the singer the emcee, the producer
As a young hip-hop head in Eugene, how/when did you go from spectator to creator? LT: I played my first real show towards the end of my high school years… First show was as “DNLT” with my homie Dan Millar.
How has moving to California expanded and/or changed your approach to music? LT: Well, the bass music scene in the bay area has definitely influenced my music, as well as the sunshine, and active artist community in the bay.. and beyond..
Mixed Emotions is the latest EP, available for FREE download, is quite a bit more low key than previous Lafa offerings, what is the essence of this album? LT: I wanted to explore some new sides of my musical self as well as some new sounds.. I wanted to experiment w more bass music as well as some more minimal rnb style production.. the content is about life and love..
We are excited to see you back in Eugene at the WOW Hall on 4/28/11, what else is on the agenda for Lafa in 2012? LT: Excited to be playing lots of festivals this summer (10 or so).. and continue to release more new music…!! I will be releasing my summer schedule in a few days in my Facebook music page Here: http://www.facebook.com/LafaTaylorMusic
also I will be releasing a new original song when I reach 2,222 likes, to like if you like!
Lafa Taylor is a solo experimental hip-hop artist based out of Eugene, OR and now working out of San Bruno, CA. Keep up to date with via the Lafa Website or the Lafa FB.
Bring out the casket, this is the official announcement for the death of When Bears Attack! As the members amicably depart, Defender will arise to fill the void in the Southern Illinois hardcore scene. After a moment of silence for the passing of WBA, catch this hurdcore.com exclusive interview with vocalist Travis Lambert. Defender will continue to work with the team at We Are Triumphant Records, taking the lessons of the last few years to re-brand and rebuild as they keep grinding through the Midwest.
Who/how did Defender come about? Travis Lambert (Vocals): In talking with our management we decided it would be for the best to re-brand and start fresh with a new style we all loved.
Is this a side project? TL: No sir/mam, this is the beginning of something different for WBA! [When Bears Attack] After the 27th of April WBA will be no more!
Was there a separation/split from When Bears Attack? TL: After some thought we figured it best for our sample/synth player Aaron to step away from the band musically and just be our best bud all the time. Which was a great thing for him but it created a lot of downtime for us and as well we had time to think it over and go with what we feel is in the best interest of the band.
What is the vision for this evolution of the band? TL: The vision is to spread more than anything positivity through our songs and through talking to people because in the current state of the genre hate is a widespread disease and love needs to find a way back in it.
How about the name, what is the story behind the selection of Defender? TL: The name was chosen after we had about 3 including that one to choose from. It sounded the coolest!
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned this far into your music career and how do you plan to apply those to Defender? TL: Never stop! Continuously book, play, promote, interact at all times! That’s what we’re going to put in to practice this time around. And it doesn’t hurt to have an awesome label backing you like We Are Triumphant! Check out the Defender page Facebook.com/dfndrofficial and get a free download of our new song “Hypocrite”!
Defender (Hardcore / Illinois) is: Travis Lambert – Vocals; Luke Johnson – Guitar/Vocals; Tyler Lambert – Drums. Part of the We Are Triumphant family, keep up to date at the Defender FB.
We love good food. We love good music. With a clean perspective and a desire to build upon the lessons learned the hard way, Rock The Dish founder Rhett Davison is pairing the hulking personality of Chef Jonathan Keith with upcoming local Northwest musicians to create tasty audio/visual morsels. Keep you eyes, ears and noses alert as Rock The Dish continues to add entrees to their musical interview buffet, expanding our palate for local rock and rolls.
For Rhett this is the second incarnation of this concept, what were the biggest lessons you learned from Heavy Metal Chef? Rhett Davison (Founder): Clarity and production are essential when it comes to doing something innovative in the music scene today. I was doing a lot of drugs and basically burned out. The HMC was all about sex, drugs and rockn’ roll, not about being healthy, organized and monogamous. If there was a lesson to take from the HMC, it would be to work with new bands on the rise and not on the fall. People want to hear something that is fresh and crazy, kinda like, and excuse me Jack Black while I steal a line from The P.O.D., “Electric Dynamite!”
How did the two of you meet? RD: I am assuming you are talking about Chef Jonathan Keith, whom I met whilst slaving away at Bon Apetit’ at the Amazon campus in Seattle. If you’ve ever met Chef Jonathan, you would first notice his monolithic size – as he wears a size 16 shoe, tips the scales around 350, and stands a mere 6’4″. I will reference a Bible story once…I’m David and he is Goliath.
When/how did it become clear to the both of you that this was something you wanted to take a run at? RD: Coming from California, I got used to nice weather. That being said, I was going crazy just working everyday and sitting on the couch watching my life pass me by. I had noticed Jonathan’s outgoing personality with patrons at work and that he had just graduated from Cordon Bleu’s Culinary Academy and the light just went off to try the idea one more time with a cleaner head and approached him with the idea.
For those that haven’t seen your work yet, what is the concept? RD: Let me say it in a poetic way – bands are like freshly baked Focacia, we are here to butter them up and serve whilst they are still warm.
Where can fans see both your finished work and find out how to catch you live? RD: Rock The Dish is on YouTube right now and fine tuning our edits, but if you go to YouTube and type in “Rock The Dish” you’ll find some episodes there. We will be filming LIVE Super Geek League April 20th at the Showbox in Seattle and working with the guys from BIGTOP and MACE to do some fire blowing HOW TO episodes which will be all shot outside (obviously) at the KANE FESTIVAL.
Who have you worked with so far? RD: Big Eyes, SmokeJumper, Prophets of Addiction, Jeffertitti’s Nile, Piston Ready, KoozBane, Chadwick Stokes and the Pintos, Shoot the Hostage, Me Talk Pretty, Witchburn, The Hoot Hoots, Fox and the Law.
What have been some of the highlights for you so far? RD: It would have to be the interview we did with the two guys from Jefferetitti’s Nile, Jeff Ramuno and Ignacio Gonzalez, with Lisa Dank in the back of their tour Van. Oh and I took Koozbane crabbing off the pier in Edmonds. We caught two HUGE sunfish (No we didn’t eat them).
You recently worked out a deal with a beverage company, how did this come about? RD: I was thirsty. Um, Patrick with Cooper and Sons was flirting with my girlfriend and gave her his card at Trader Joes and she gave me his card so I called him. Chef Jonathan and I met him at Uptown Espresso. The rest is history. Goto our Youtube and checkout the Absynthe Commercial we did, super nifty.
What are the next steps for the Rock The Dish crew? RD: Chef Jonathan Keith is growing his fro out to become the Bob Ross of cooking. We are always looking for the next big “THANG” so if you are in a band and you think you got what it takes, we want to cook with you.
Rock The Dish is Rhett Davison (Founder/Production) and Chef Jonathan Keith. Catching them cooking and jamming with local bands in throughout the Seattle area, as well as at the RTD Website, RTD Facebook and RTD YouTube.
When we heard that Savage Fest was returning, we knew it was time to catch up with local artist and producer Riley Rose to get the skinny on what fans of heavy music can expect from the re-emergence of this spectra of local talent. With a wealth of experience attacking the music scene from several vantage points, our thanks to Riley for taking the time to share once again with hurdcore.com on the eave of Savage Fest 2.
Who have you been working with in producing and recording at Siren Studios? Riley Rose: As of right now, I am working on a 5 song EP for a band called Show Your Strength out of Camas, WA. They are a kind of metal/hardcore crossbreed band and their music is fun to work on because it’s not my typical genre. I am also working on recording a full length for my band …And The Sirens Sang which has a metalcore feel to the music but is very driven by symphonic elements such as orchestra and piano parts.
You have worked in recording as a musician and as a producer, what have you learned as some of the keys to capturing passion in a recording? RR: Well to be honest, basically every project that I record nowadays doesn’t really call for passion or different feels instrumentally speaking. 99% of the music is just like metalcore or hardcore and bands want everything to sound perfectly tight and choppy, so there really isn’t much room to work with specific feels or moods. Vocals though are a different story. I like screaming to sound big and passionate and so that sometimes takes vocalists a little while to really tap into the emotional aspect to bring that out. I try to push them to really feel what they are screaming and not just kind of blandly record the vocals. Singing is the same story. I just try to make everyone lay everything out on the line and not hold back at all. At the end of the day, it makes for much more powerful sounding songs.
For bands looking to record, what will you get when you work with Siren Studios? RR: At Siren Studios, you will get the best recordings that I can possibly give you at a cost lower than 99% of local studios, as well as an audio engineer who puts in easily twice the amount of work than most to ensure that you leave satisfied. You’ll get someone who isn’t going to work any less hard than they would work on their own music. I can name several audio engineers around this area who won’t try as hard for bands that they don’t like or whatever and that’s not my thing. I want every band that comes in to record with me to leave happy and I can’t achieve that by bullsh–ting my way through a project. I ensure that the proper amount of time is taken in every stage of the project. Pre-production, where we sit down and write out the songs and make sure that all of the transitions work well together is the most critical in my opinion, and most people who you record with don’t want to take the time to do it, but I make sure it happens. This way, at the end of the project you don’t hear something and wish you would have transitioned it better or dropped tempo on it or whatever and end up not completely satisfied.
So, you are bringing Savage Fest back after a hiatus last year. For those who missed this conglomeration of local heavy music artists, what can you tell us about this years line up? RR: I definitely am! I had a ton of fun with it two years ago, and after seeing nothing but lame local shows (minus a few exceptions obviously), I decided that it was time to bring something like this back – a showcase of some of the best that this area can offer in the metal/hardcore genre. This year’s lineup features one of the very best metalcore bands in the area, “We Rise The Tides” as headliners. Beside them will be my band “Asleep At Last”, as well as 11 other amazing bands from the area. The bill includes metalcore bands, hardcore bands, pop punk bands, old school metal bands, and death metal bands so the lineup is much more diverse. I also wanted this year’s Savage Fest to give the bands an opportunity to determine their own time slots, so I gave each band tickets and the lineup will be determined by who sells the most tickets. It is also at a much bigger venue, so I believe that this show will be better in every aspect than the previous Savage Fest 2010. Oh, and of course, this show is all about the Macho Man Randy Savage being the best wrestler ever!
When is Savage Fest II – where and how do people get tickets? RR: Savage Fest II is on March 31, 2012 in Camas, WA at the Fern Prairie Grange. Tickets can be purchased from any band that is playing the show for $8, and you can get a full list of the lineup on Savage Fest II Facebook by searching the event. Tickets will also be available at the door for $10.
What is the status of And The Sirens Sang? RR: Currently, …And The Sirens Sang is just my solo project instead of a full live band. I am just working on recording my first full length “II: In Death And Dreams” and I have begun writing an EP titled “I: Amore”, a second full length titled “III: Of Sin And Salvation”, a second EP, and a third full length (to be released in that order with “II: In Death And Dreams” being the first release). Every album will have a different sound than the last, and I am really excited about how everything is coming together!
There are so many bands that get through EP and even cutting their first LP, do some touring and then seem to fade away or break up, what have you learned in the last few years about the keys to staying power as a band? RR: Well, it depends on how you’re going about the band. If you just want to play the music that you love without caring about following popular trends or anything to get big (as I feel with …And The Sirens Sang), then that part of it doesn’t really matter. If you are looking to be the next big band on Rise Records for a week, then go buy five releases from their label that are getting a lot of plays currently, spend two weeks writing a full length that rips off all of those bands’ music, autotune the s–t out of your vocals, and then make a t-shirt that says f–k on it and you should get there in no time. I think that the most important part though in creating a band that will last is doing something that isn’t the same as everything else in the genre and something with heart. You also have to build a band that is strong both as musicians, as well as individuals. You have to be able to be on the road with the people in your band without b–ching constantly or fighting every day. If that’s going on, you won’t make it because you won’t be able to play music together after a short time. You also need to have something visually appealing for an audience as far as your performance goes so that they remember you. Lastly, it is extremely important in my opinion to continually change up your sound and look. That’s how you stay big I think; by reinventing yourselves as artists.
2011 had its share of personal and professional challenges for you, what were some of the biggest lessons in life and/or music? RR: I learned that I have to do what’s good for me. I have tried a lot to appease other people at the cost of my own feelings or whatever, and by the end of last year I just decided to not do that anymore. I’ve changed a lot in the past couple of years, and I’ve learned to just be happy with myself. I am also more determined than ever to get where I want to be in life as a musician, and I just decided that this was go time and I am going to go full speed ahead and run over anything that gets in my way. Also, I learned not to expect things of people. After doing a certain band a huge favor by filling in for them on an almost full United States tour and getting treated like s–t by them after killing myself every night and spending a lot of money out of pocket on food and s–t (which I was told I wouldn’t have to), I just said f–k that.
Top 5 songs in your personal iPod right now? RR: AFI – “Synesthesia”, Anorexia Nervosa – “Sister September”, Mayday Parade – “Stay”, Pierce The Veil – “Besitos”, Those Who Lie Beneath – “Antichrist”, We Rise The Tides – “Rests At Sea”
Riley Rose is the owner and operator of Siren Studios and the creator of Savage Fest, currently working with several bands including his solo project …And The Sirens Sang.
Similar to sports, music requires a complete team to get your product to gain and build upon momentum. AAP Booking & Management has been fighting in the trenches with local bands for years and is on the cusp of pushing into additional layers within the national scene through aggressive grassroots efforts mixed with the kind business acumen that comes only through experience. Prepare to see their ads in respected zines such as AP as the AAP team and their cadre of talent continue to tear down the boundaries of what it means to be a local enterprise. Thanks to CEO and AAP mastermind, William Quintana, for taking the time to share with hurdcore.com
There are some new faces on the AAP Management Team since we last talked, how did this current group come together? William Quintana (CEO): Just through time in the business. I’ve known Johnny for a few years and he’s currently booking his own band on our roster. Same thing with Matt, he’s booking for his band Nothing Til Blood. Brandon is our main designer at this point and he’s doing an incredible job! I met him through a band I’ve worked with in the past and he’s been one of the best things AAP has had happen to us.
Tell us a little about your current roster of bands. WQ: Our current roster of bands is amazing. We have a great amount of diversity and won’t focus on just one genre/scale of music. We have signed and unsigned artist, full time/part time touring artists and everything in between. Some bands that you should DEFINITELY watch out for in 2012 are Havenside, Altars, Projections and Capture The Flag. Although, our whole roster is incredible.
As you have contiuned to grow with the business of managing artists, what have you established as some of the key things you look for when interviewing a prospective band? WQ: The first thing I look at is a solid sound. I want good recordings and well written songs. From there I like to talk to the band and feel them out. See what they’re going to bring to our roster and vice versa. We offer a ton of different ideas and programs to our bands and I try to tailor a game plan for each band specifically.
Now that you have several years of shows and tours under your belt, what do you look for in creating a successful event? WQ: Good bands. hahaha. That’s ultimately the core of everything we do!
They say in business that when you start out you are grasping for any sort of revenue/traction, but as you build momentum you start to develop a stronger base of quality relationships. What have been the biggest hurdles and lessons that have come out of 2011? WQ: Expect the unexpected and learn to keep your cool. People sometimes aren’t on the same page as you and you need to do everything you can to stay calm and get your point across in the best manner possible.
What are the tactical plans for AAP growth in 2012? WQ: More tours and more advertising. We’re purchasing advertising in issues of Alternative Press Magazine every month as of late and plan on doing so for a while.
For music fans that may be cruising iTunes for jams, what are some of the tops songs from your artists that you would recommend they take a look at? WQ: I’d definitely recommend checking out Havenside’s new record (coming out April 3rd)! Just check out all of our bands on Facebook and keep up with what they’re doing. All of our bands are releasing new music regularly!
Best advice you can give to bands that have put the time in on the “garage sessions” and are ready to start doing work? WQ: Be prepared to lose a lot of money, make a lot of new friends and experience a ton of stress/hardships. Everyone isn’t made for touring. If you are, you’ll know after your first few tours. If it doesn’t feel right, get out before you’re too deep.
What do you see as the most significant change(s) in music since you started AAP in 2008? WQ: The lack of brotherhood in a lot of scenes and venues are closing down more and more regularly. We need to stick together and make sure that this community is around 20 years from now and even further.
AAP (Artist Agency & Promotions) is a full service artist development company with services ranging from booking to artist management to graphic design and much, much more. Check out AAP Web or AAP FB.
Powered by Tolli Sour Brite Crawlers and a passion to create music that challenges the ears as well as the soul, When Bears Attack continues to carve their niche in the Midwest heavy music scene. Hot off the release of their first full length album, Elisha, and their new partnership with We Are Triumphant, WBA is prepared to continue their marathon run into 2012 and beyond. Our thanks to vocalist Travis Lambert for taking the time to share in this interview with hurdcore.com
Elisha has finally been birthed and released into the world, with the long labor period that went into writing, demolishing and reworking this album what do you see as the key lesson that you learned from the process? Travis Lambert (Vocals): A huge lesson is to never wait for anyone, get it done the way you know best and put it out! When it comes to albums you should never take a chance, especially when your release date was already planned.
The WBA sound is ever evolving, do you have an set process for how you hammer out a song or does each song take on a personality of its own? TL: Usually includes Luke and Myself (Travis) hammering out the song with just guitar and lyrics, then we have a full band practice and start meshing everyone’s ideas together and start forming the song to our liking.
Are you conscious of pressures on your efforts to be a certain something – whether from OG fans who want you to be what WBA was, from the industry to fit into this-or-that style or even from yourselves to reach a certain sound that you are after? TL: We are very conscious of those pressures, but not to the point that it effects our writing or our views of what we want to sound like as a band.
For 2012, who is WBA working with and what events do you plan to attack? TL: In early 2011 we teamed up with management/label We Are Triumphant. They have been really great in pushing us forward and keeping us from staying idle for too long! We plan on doing 2 or 3 tours this summer and plan on playing Ichthus and Cornerstone festival this summer.
Now that you have been at WBA several years, what have you learned about the business side to music that are keys to “success”? TL: Staying active, getting involved with the few great people that are in this so called “industry” and getting your name out by any means possible!
When Bears Attack! is: Aaron Nosbisch (Synth/Keys); Lucas Johnson (Lead Guitar); Tyler Lambert (Drums); Travis Lambert (Lead Vocals); Dylan Stanek (Bass/Vocals). Melodic hardcore from Collinsville, IL. Connect – WBA FB or @WhenBearsAttack. Check out their latest EP Elisha
What do you do when you aren’t invited to play The Mayhem Festival? You could complain or give up like the rest or you can take your music to the people in the fashion of The Athiarchists by renting a generator and playing the nearby parking lot. Having stepped their game up from generators in parking lots to literally playing music on the road, there may be no band with more raw initiative than this thrash duo from Eugene, Oregon. The Athiarchists’ drive has brought them further into the limelight as they have appeared on shows such as Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory, through which their Mobile Adventure Stage received a first class pimping, as well as playing the 2011 Mayhem Festival at the ramp of The Metal Mulisha Jump Show. Fresh of the self release of their second album, A Verbal Lashing, we are thankful to vocalist Aaron Tunnell for taking the time to share with hurdcore.com
You started your journey by playing Mayhem Festival parking lots, wWhat were the best experiences that came out of your now trademark DIY approach to getting your music heard? Aaron Tunnell – Vocals/Guitar: That’s basically how it all started, we just took some generators out into the parking lot and started raging it. The first generator show we did was outside The Grove in Anaheim, CA for a Hatebreed / Type O Negative / 3IOB show and we had 2 – 2000 watt Honda generators. The police showed up in a helicopter, then sent in cars, they let us finish playing our last song, asked us if we were done, and left, it was pretty cool not getting a ticket.
After that show we had seen that The Mayhem Festival was starting up for its first year (2008) on the west coast, so we hooked into a trailer, set the drums up inside, and headed to the first Mayhem show. We ended up doing 4 of the shows that year (Seattle, San
Francisco(shut down by police), Fresno, and San Diego and they were all pretty epic, people were stoked, the tour never shut us down (the police did in San Francisco), and a few of the bands came out and talked to us. Throughout the next year (2009) we took our generators to a few random locations and played random shows in the middle of town, we always had our generators and a PA with us, and were constantly on tour.
We only went to the Seattle Mayhem show in 2009, one of the Livenation people got really pissed off at us and told us we had to leave or they would impound all of our s—. It was then that we realized we needed to mobilize our operation, so we could drive up and rage, close a door, and drive off. It’s hard to leave in a hurry when you have to pack up equipment for 15 minutes.
Around April of 2010 I went down to the local lawn mower repair shop/U-haul dealership in Eugene and bought a 24 foot U-Haul for $2700 with 224,000 miles on it. Took it to Overhead Door and they installed a 16 foot roll up door on the side, cut a hole in the floor and mounted a 12,500 watt Onan generator to the frame. We literally built
everything else in 2 weeks, the 2 weeks before mayhem that year. Our plan was to go out and follow the tour for as long as we could and see what happens.
The generator was not working when we left, and it was summer time so every Onan dealership was booked out for 2 weeks. We didn’t make it to the first two shows, after driving to 4 Onan dealerships on the way to San Bernadino, forced to turn around, driving 20 hours for no reason at all. With a lot of help from the internet, I ended up
becoming a professional Onan generator mechanic in a little under 48 hours. The problem was an $800 control card, and to replace it, you had to remove almost every part from the generator. So outside The Roseland Theatre in Portland at a Hatebreed show, in about 5 hours I put the card in, hit the start button, and it finally started.
That first show was probably one of the most epic shows we have ever done with it, we were playing 10 feet away from a concrete wall, right as 2,000 people got out of a Hatebreed show, it was f—ing nuts. The story just goes on and on from here, if you go to http://mobilestage.wordpress.com I wrote a blog entry almost every day of the crazy f—ing music adventure.
I would say some of the best experiences we have had on this approach was this last summer on Mayhem Tour. We were playing 3-4 times a day under The Metal Mulisha jump show, then on the last 10 shows we were getting to play on the Revolver or Jagermeister stage because In flames unfortunately had to leave the tour. Also the whole Fantasy Factory thing was really amazing. Really the most amazing thing is just accomplishing all of this ourselves and not relying on a record label or manager, just doing it because we love to play music, it shows through, and is why we have been able to do any of this.
Obviously the idea grew as you took your show on the road with The Music Adventure stage, which received a serious pimping after your rocked out in front of Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory, do you plan any Bleeding Frogs reunion shows or tour? AT: One can always hope for a Bleeding Frogs reunion show, but everyone in that band is so busy, it was awesome and we would of course be down to do a tour, but for now the closest you get is us covering it as a two piece
Where did the idea come from to hit the road playing music 365 days a year anywhere and everywhere? AT: Just the pure love and passion for music, its like an addiction. I
really don’t care if I make any money playing music, just being able to do it is worth more to me than anything. Nothing is better than the feeling of breaking even while you are on the road, and that is all I have ever hoped for.
For bands that may think they want to attempt The Athiarchist Traveling-Band-Plan, what were the hurdles and/or lumps that came with this degree of touring? AT: It definitely takes the right people, it is a lot harder to keep 5
people together in a band than it is to keep 2 or 3 people together in a band. You never know how someone is on the road though until you are out with them on the road. A lot of bands wonder why they can only tour once a year, they say it is so expensive, but they are also eating 3-4 times a day, and buying drinks at bars. The less money you spend on pointless s—, the more time you can be out on the road.
It is also a lot harder to fit a 5 piece band into a 24 foot mobile stage. If you want to build a mobile stage, I would recommend not buying a gas powered one that gets 3 miles per gallon. I would also recommend getting a good generator first and doing parking lot shows for awhile, wherever, and whenever. There is a lot of knowledge that went into the design of the mobile stage, that you can only learn from experience and how your band operates.
Don’t ever feel like you deserve to get paid. So many f—ing bands wonder why they can’t play as many shows as we have, and they are the same band that was talking s— about the sound guy last night, or demanding extra drinks from the bartender for free, or demanding they get paid $200 because they are from out of town even though they brought no one. I’m not saying bands don’t deserve to get paid, but when you are in a bar, 300 miles away from your home town, and there are 3 people in it, and you know they didn’t even make enough money to pay the staff, let alone the sound guy, let alone the band…Just let it go, bite the bullet, take it as a loss, with a smile on your face. Don’t talk s— about the promoter, don’t burn any bridges. I guarantee you the next time you come through, they will remember how nice you were, and do their best to get you on a “good” show, where you will get paid, and sell merch.
As a two piece band, what are the biggest challenges to making your music work? AT: None whatsoever, in fact it makes everything easier. We can write an entire new album on stage live at a show and no one would ever know the difference. Less brains having to interact with each other. At the beginning, before I started playing through a bass amp and a guitar amp, the bass was definitely missing, but now with the bass/guitar and us both doing vocals, the sound is really full.
What does Athiarchist mean? How does that hash out in the way you approach life and music? AT: Athiarchist came to me about 7 years ago while I was driving down the freeway, trying to run a construction business, getting f—ed over by flag waving christians. I wasn’t into music when I came up with it either, it just sort of described my way of thinking, f— the government, and f— religion. I thought maybe I would make shirts of the logo and give them to people that felt the same way. Then I did
acid and started playing the guitar, decided f— trying to make it in the real world, play music, it is the only thing no one can take away from you. They can take your instruments, but they can’t take away your musical ability, it is more reliable than any retirement plan.
You have made your whole career up to this point fighting against the machine, are there any pieces to your unfolding plan that involve the standard metrics for band (ie getting signed, recording, distribution, etc)? AT: I would never say never, but as far as the current record label and distribution model goes, its just too f—ed up. If anything it would be nice to have a booking person, I hate having to call places, and definitely wouldn’t mind paying someone to do that. It is just so nice not having to deal with a record label, and it is why we have been able to do everything we have done, DIY is a good way to be, you
don’t need someone scraping money off your intellectual property.
Your latest album is entitled A Verbal Lashing, do you record on the road as well or where/who did you work with to get this album tracked? AT: The plan for the mobile stage this year was to have live recordings of every show. we got a Presonus Firestudio mixer, it was bad ass, but it only lasted for 2 shows before blowing up. So that is the eventual goal, but not the current plan. All of our recordings have been done by our good friend Mike Lavin, he also was a huge part in building the mobile stage, designed all the electrical and audio. A Verbal Lashing was recorded live at The Black Forest in Eugene, OR with 3 Presonus Firepods. We have found the best way to capture the aggression of our music, is to do it live.
For those who may not be familiar with The Athiarchists, which track would give someone the best picture of who you are as a band? AT: I would say “Please Pardon Your Belief In God” would give someone the best picture of who we are, it covers most of the styles we do, musically and lyrically. As far as the definition for the word Athiarchist, the song “Athiarchist” would be the best one for that. Then the latest song we have recorded was “Say It Again B—-” and it was done at The Metal Mulisha Sound Playground, it ended up on the
Hatewear compilation CD this summer on Mayhem.
Top 5 songs currently in your personal iPod? AT: Pink Floyd – Echoes; Meatloaf – Bat Out Of Hell (entire CD); Oingo Boingo – Dead Man’s Party; The Haunted – The Dead Eye (entire CD); The Mentors – Donkey Dick.
The Athiarchists are a two piece Thrash band from Eugene, Oregon – Aaron Tunnell (Guitar/Vocals) and Dano (Drummer). Check them out at AA FB or follow their Music Adventure Tour.
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