ITN Magazine: Let's talk a little about the history of your band. When did you originally form and is this the original line-up?
All of us have been in and around the Kansas City music scene for a long time now, both in and out of bands, as well as supporters of the vast amount of great local music here in KC. Jeff, Brandon and myself (W2) got together back in 2015 and had a pretty immediate spark in chemistry. It wasn’t until 2017 that Jesse joined the band as our vocalist. His addition really helped solidify the sound and vision of this band. Carl has just recently re-joined, giving the core sound a new level of polish and allowing us to pull off a bigger live sound.
ITN Magazine: Do you remember how the idea of forming the band first came up?
It was our original vocalist that actually brought us all together. Jeff and I knew each other from previous bands and being in the scene, but had never played together or knew one another well. The idea was simple - let’s get together and see what happens. Each of us come from very different influences and musical backgrounds, but we all have a love of heavy music and a drive to create something new.
ITN Magazine: How long after you formed was it until you played your first live show?
We played our first show March 19th, 2016, about 6-8 months after we started writing together.
ITN Magazine: What are your memories of the performance?
Not a lot actually. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I remember the stage sound was rough, and we didn’t play as tightly as we do these days, but that comes with time. Our live performance has evolved and is definitely pact full of energy and intensity.
ITN Magazine: How would you categorize the style of the band?
I think it’s a different kind of heavy. The result and conglomeration of all of our influences have made for something exciting and new. It’s a heavy riff-driven groove that kicks you right in the chest and makes you want to move with it. Then it’s overlaid with the most intense blood-curdling, gut-wrenching vocals that pushes everything up and over the top. Our most un-heavy song quickly becomes something very intense, and our heavy songs definitely escalate even more.
ITN Magazine: What image do you want your music to convey to your fans?
First and foremost, we’re just a group of guys who love writing and playing music. Hopefully, our music conveys a passion and intensity for what we do. We feed off each other’s energy, as well as the vibe in the venue.
ITN Magazine: Who are your influences and how have they shaped your bands sound?
Like I said earlier, we have a very diverse set of influences and musical inspirations that have given us, maybe, a different perspective and approach than most metal bands. Collectively, we draw influences from the Deftones, Norma Jean, Tool, Lamb of God, Meshuggah, A Perfect Circle, Fit for an Autopsy, Pantera, Dillinger Escape Plan, and White Chapel - just to name a few. We’ve never sought to create a specific sound or type of music. We just continue to throw our individual experiences in the mix, find what works, and then build on that.
ITN Magazine: Let's talk a little about your latest album what are the listeners in store for with this release ?
We could not be more excited about this album. “Blessed with this Curse” is the title. We’ve put together 13 tracks that represent and showcase what this band is about. I think there is a something on there for every fan of heavy music. It seems like we’ve been playing some of these songs for a while now, but that’s a good thing. It’s given us the time to let them mature and, for us, to be comfortable with them and fine-tuning the performance. We work hard, trying to find the balance between the live raw energy of in the moment, both live and how to capture that in recording process. Then, being consistent with it, regardless if it’s at a show, at practice, or coming through the stereo system.
ITN Magazine: Where did record your latest release at?
We recorded it locally with Dave (Damage) Johnson at ALLCAPS Productions. The first two singles we released last spring were recorded in his old studio in Sugar Creek, MO. Between the time those two were tracked and we began tracking for the remaining eleven, the studio moved north of Kansas City. There, we finished up the vocals for those first two and then began tracking the rest of the album.
ITN Magazine: Producers are a very important factor in recording a good record. Who did you use to produce your record?
Dave (Damage) Johnson has been a part of the music scene in KC for a very long time and has produced a lot of great music. Finding someone we could not only trust, but also someone who saw the vision and could push us in the right direction was very important. Having a little bit of time between the first couple tracks and the rest of the album afforded us the time needed to properly work through a lot of pre-production issues and factors. It helped us be focused and be deliberate with our vision. We spent a lot of time dialing in the tones and sounds and are very happy with the results. Dave was really helpful in getting what was needed for each song and the album as a whole.
ITN Magazine: Does the entire band contribute to the writing process?
Absolutely. Every aspect of this band is a democracy, and everyone contributes thoughts and ideas. Ultimately, it all comes together as one. We video-record all new ideas and throw them into a private YouTube channel, so we can go back, listen, and keep track of all the random ideas. When it comes time to write, we frequently go back to the vault, pull ideas out, and figure out how to fit them together.
ITN Magazine: How do you feel the band has evolved musically and personally over the last year?
This last year, being in the studio for a chunk of the year, as well as playing many shows, we have grown tighter as a band, and the chemistry continues to build between all of us. It’s a lot of fun when we just free-jam these days because we’ve learned to anticipate each other, which just feeds the creative process that much more.
ITN Magazine: Favorite song of yours that you like to play live?
I’m sure we all have an actual “favorite”. Mine, however (and I know we all at least really like this one) is “Concave Pulse” (track 6 on the CD). The first couple verses have very bass-heavy lines that are a lot of fun to play and gives the song a great low-end growl with a foundation that really gets the adrenaline going. It’s got some great breakdowns and lots and lots of guitar.
ITN Magazine: Where do you draw the inspiration for the songs you write?
Our inspiration honestly comes from just about everything. Our daily lives, the good, the bad, the struggles, and the challenges. We draw inspiration from each other and other bands we listen to. I’m a visual artist by profession, so I draw inspiration from literally everything I see and hear.
ITN Magazine: Describe your live performance for those who have never seen you live?
It’s straight high energy right from the start. In your face and loud with thunderous bass and guitar riffs that cut through everything. It’s a nonstop workout, from start to finish! Our goal is to keep the energy high and keep everyone’s attention, anticipating more and more.
ITN Magazine: Getting radio airplay and support is important for any band, What is your view on that?
It’s very important to us. We spend a lot of time networking on social media. It’s all about getting our music out there and in front of as many people as possible.
ITN Magazine: Do you see as we do that most local radio rarely support the up and coming new bands and even more local bands just starting out?
Sadly, yes. Our local rock station does things from time to time with the locals and does have a few DJ’s that are very supportive, but, ultimately, it’s more so about the mainstream. The online stations have been huge for us and have been super-supportive in getting our music out there. Honestly, that gets us an even broader audience than a local station can do, so it’s a win!
ITN Magazine: What do you think of the music industry right now?
You know, I think it is what it is, and it is what you make it. The thing we all really love about this band is the fact we are all doing it because we love music, not because we have some ideas of grandeur. It’s about doing things our way and how we want to, so… like I said, the industry is what it is.
ITN Magazine: Tell us about your thoughts on your local music scene?
Kansas City, for a long time now, has had a rich music scene with a lot of talent. In particular, the metal scene is huge. There are lot of great bands, and, more importantly a lot of great people that build friendships and a network of fans and family. For me, the biggest thing that makes KC’s music scene great is the level of support bands have for one another. I think it helps the overall climate, and it also helps push each band to become better.
ITN Magazine: Are there any new and upcoming bands that you are into?
There are so many. We’ve become good friends with a lot of them in the process too. For our release show, we have Hollow Point Lobotomy, Fear My Name and Into Existence. We also really dig our brothers in Mechanize and Dreams in Peril - they both have recent albums that are really good.
ITN Magazine: How has Social Networking (Facebook,Twitter, etc.) impacted your band?
Social Media is huge! Everyone is connected, and the reach is far greater than hanging a flyer in the window. It doesn’t replace actually being out and about, putting in face time with other bands and the fans, but it gets you in front of the right audience at the right time and reminds everyone when and where you will be and what’s going on with the band.
ITN Magazine: Where can our readers find you on the web?
ITN Magazine: What equipment is the band using and do you have any endorsements currently?
No endorsements at this time. Probably something we would be interested in at some point. We’ll see,. If it makes sense, then why not?
Jeff: Schecter guitars, Agile guitars, Blackstar Series One, B52at 100 triple rectifier, Crate & Randall cabinets, Celestion speakers, D'Addario strings
Carl: Guitars - Schecter, Jackson, Epiphone, Amps/Cabs - Randall & Peavey, Pedals - Boss & Morley, Strings - Ernie Ball, Picks - InTune GP/Dunlop
Brandon: Mapex Saturn IV, AA Meinl, Promark, Evans, Shure, Soundbrenner, DW
W2: Ampeg SVT5 PRO, Sansamp RBI preamp, Dark Glass Alpha Omega Ultra, Ampeg SVT810, BBE Sonic Maximizer 882, Korg PB-PRO Tuner, Shure SLX14 wireless, Warwick Streamer NT Stage 1, Warwick Corvette Active, DR LoRider Strings
ITN Magazine: Thanks for answering these questions. Do you have any last comments for our readers?
Thank you again for taking the time and showing an interest in what we are doing. We are all so grateful for the support. We’re doing this purely because we love making music. We do this to share with others. So, thank you to all, and, if you like what we are doing, please give it a share and continue to pass it along.
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