CINDERS

Cinders band photo

CINDERS (from l-r): Jordan Zabriskie (vocals/guitar), Montana Smith (vocals/guitar), Bradley Bennett (drums), Austin Harris, Adrian De La Cruz (bass), Chelsey Powell

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Cinders are an indie-pop/alternative rock five-piece from the American state of Utah.

Having formed two years ago, the Salt Lake City outfit have gone from strength to strength, making waves, first locally, then further afield, with high energy live performances and a melodic sound that reflects their eclectic musical tastes, appeals to followers of all genres and has been described by the quintet’s growing fan base as “Rowdy acoustic pop“.

Off the back of their well-received self-titled debut and a successful tour of the west coast of the US, the following is what the band had to say when I spoke to them recently.

How did the band form originally?

We all came together with the same goal in mind that music is something we love and want to do the rest of our life. Things just kinda fell into place. Some of us went to high school together, others met while travelling, and one even married into the band!

How did the name Cinders come about?

Honestly, it comes from a horrible song written by a couple of the guys in high school. It was such a cool name for such a horrible song, so we felt it deserved a second chance. Hopefully, seven years from now, we won’t be saying the same thing about our band “horrible but deserves a second chance.”

What are the band’s main musical influences?
We all love bands like Head and the Heart, Motion City Soundtrack, The Front Bottoms, and Grouplove, but we don’t necessarily sound exactly like any of them.
Our experience also ranges from jazz, hardcore, acoustic, and marching band styles.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
It is definitely a group effort. We compare it to making a really good burrito. It takes meat, beans, cheese, tomatoes, hot sauce, and a whole lot of other stuff to make it the messy goodness that it is. Without each of us, the songs would be just a bunch of warm moist tortillas…
Where does the inspiration come from for the band’s lyrics?
Lyrics come from everywhere. Personal experience can be a huge inspiration even if the song isn’t based on anything real that has happened to us. We like to create stories or feelings and then map out lyrics to best express those throughout the song.
Also, we are bad at talking to girls, so we tend to write a lot about that as well…
How is it for you all playing live?
Performing live is always fun and rewarding. It’s so cool to see people enjoying the
music you’ve worked so hard on, and even cooler to see the lyrics that were written in some random person’s basement being sung back to you by a giant crowd.
What has the band got lined up in the near future?
We are currently writing a new record, and we have been putting most of our energy into that. We are doing some touring here and there, but mostly writing and recording.
What is your long-term aim?
I don’t think there’s any specific place we’re aiming for. Just getting the music out as far as we can and be able to do this for a living for as long as possible. Anywhere between “making enough money to do this for a living” and “biggest band in the entire world” will work for us.
THE SELF-TITLED DEBUT ALBUM FROM CINDERS IS NOW AVAILABLE TO LISTEN ON SPOTIFY, iTunes, GOOGLE PLAY & AMAZON.
FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND AT THESE SITES:
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.cindersmusic.com
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PALE PEOPLE

Pale People band photo

PALE PEOPLE (from l-r): Austin Graef (drums), Mack Gilcrest (vocals/piano), Kurt Skrivseth (guitar/bass)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

There must be something in the water in the Montanan city of Missoula, as the settlement seems to have become a hotbed of the avant-garde, with comedian Dana Carvey, director David Lynch and now piano rock three-piece Pale People all calling it home.

The immensely talented outfit pride themselves on producing witty, diversely-influenced songs with a dark twist and deal with those living on the fringes of society, something which the trio are familiar with.

Having been hard at work recently putting together their second album of 2017, the band spoke to me in more detail about their unique sound.

 

How did the band start out?

Mack and Kurt met in their university’s top jazz band, where they bonded over a fondness for Rush and a distaste for academic jazz. Both were music composition majors, rapidly becoming disillusioned with their field of study; so years later, when Mack began experimenting with dark-cabaret and rock composition, Kurt – the fellow misfit – was a natural choice for collaborator.

Austin Graef – Mack’s old friend from high school – joined the band as percussionist after our first drummer quit for personal reasons. That catches us up.

How did you come up with Pale People as the band’s name?

It’s a reference to the subject matter of most of our songs. Mack enjoys writing lyrics about damaged, lonesome, peculiar characters, fading out along the boundaries of human society.

To someone discovering your music for the first time, how would you describe it to them?

God, we’re bad at answering this question. It sounds kind of like the Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd, as interpreted by the Velvet Underground. We call it “Broadway punk.”

What are the band’s main musical influences?

Well, Sondheim and the Velvet Underground, for starters, plus Death Cab, Blur, Primus, Talking Heads, Pixies, et cetera, ad nauseam.

Actually, the only reason the band exists at all is that Mack heard the Dresden Dolls song ‘Girl Anachronism’ in a friend’s car one day.  It felt like a mental earthquake, man.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
Well, so the initial melodic or chordal idea can come from anyone. Usually, it’s just a short phrase, and then Mack absconds with it for a few days or years, hammering out the lyrics and the form.  He takes the full draft back to the band, and we all collectively revise it.
You talked a little about this earlier, but where else does the inspiration come from for the band’s lyrics?
We also like taking ideas that seem frivolous and treating them with dark gravity.  There’s a song on our second album called ‘Jason’, for instance, about the world’s greatest Tetris player – it ended up being a study on drawing meaning and worth from a really stupid pursuit. There’s also this very new song, ‘Underworld’, about a guy who starts playing Dungeons & Dragons in prison.
The band are releasing a new album, just four months after the second one. How has the recording process been?
We dropped ‘Portraits’ this March, and that left us with a few months to write, develop and test out the new material live, which is easily the strongest stuff we’ve written. We recorded it ourselves live in Austin’s basement and then did the overdubs in Kurt’s bedroom (where the album was mixed/produced).
The new album is called ‘The World is Yours’, and has songs with topics ranging from what it’s like to be a superhero, to a couple who are too busy engaged in domestic violence to notice their house is being haunted, to a song about the advertising industry inspired by David Foster Wallace, to a Victorian-era villain who’s a living reminder of why you should do your chores.
As part of our chores, we’re intent on releasing our third album four months after our last one. Just so we don’t get taken by The Wicked Man.
How is the experience of playing live?
For us, it feels like Cthulhu rising from R’lyeh. Like taking something from a very deep abyss, that wasn’t necessarily supposed to be witnessed, and making sure it’s witnessed. Granted, we like to think we’re funnier than Lovecraft.
Aside from your forthcoming third album, what have you got lined up in the near future?
If all goes well, we’ll be following up the album with a month-long tour.
What is the band’s long-term aim?
To get better at what we do.  And to release one hundred more albums.  We love making albums.  We highly recommend it.
‘THE WORLD IS YOURS’, THE THIRD ALBUM FROM PALE PEOPLE, WILL BE RELEASED IN AUGUST.
FOR FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND, CHECK OUT THESE SITES:
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: palepeoplemusic.com
BANDCAMP: palepeoplemusic.bandcamp.com
 

DROPS OF HEART

Drops Of Heart band photo

DROPS OF HEART (from l-r): Vadim Nizamov (guitar), Igor Barschevskiy (guitar), Denis Fahrislamov (vocals), Artem Gabbasov (drums)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Russia is not often a country many would associate with having a strong metal scene, but Drops of Heart are one of the outfits determined to prove those doubters wrong.

Hailing from the city of Ufa, sandwiched between the Volga River and Ural Mountains, the four-piece have been impressing many in their homeland these last couple of years with a modern, deeply atmospheric sound containing harsh vocals, catchy melodies and Russian character.

The band spoke to me recently, following the release of their maxi-single ‘Starlight’.

How did the band get together initially?

Some members of the band had played together before. For example, our drummer Artem and guitarist Vadim have been playing together since they were school friends. And in 2013, three years after the disintegration of the first Drops of Heart line-up, vocalist Den decided to restart band activity. In that time, he was the singer in the band while Vadim was the bass player. So that’s how it started.

How did Drops of Heart come about as your name?

It’s a very ordinary story. One of Den’s favourite songs has a very similar title. Also, our name perfectly shows the essence of our music – through our songs, we give you a part of us, no matter how trite it may sound.

Which bands/artists have served as major influences on your music?

We love very different music and this fact certainly affects our songs. It’s definitely Scandinavian and Finnish melodic metal (In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Insomium, Omnium Gatherum), post-rock and post-metal (Maybeshewill, This Will Destroy You, Mono, Alcest, Deafheaven), some black and death metal (Behemoth, Black Dahlia Murder, Anaal Nathrakh, Fallujah), modern metal and metalcore (Parkway Drive, Architects), a bunch of neoclassical music, ambient and soundtracks.

What is the band’s approach to songwriting?

We have two composers in the band – our guitarists Vadim and Igor. They write music at home, show drafts to the band, and each of the members improve their parts. We don’t have a lot of songs composed by the whole band.

Where would you say the inspiration comes from for your lyrics?

From everywhere and especially from actions and thoughts of other people and ourselves. Anger and depression without any reason, wasting of time, strength of will. We don’t want to show only a dark or optimistic side of human life – it’s a very versatile thing and we are trying to say as much about this as possible.

How is the experience of playing live?

Live performances are one of the most important things in a band’s life. Unfortunately, we don’t have many possibilities to spend a lot of time on the road, but we try to compensate for it with studio recordings and releases. And if we are on the stage, we lay ourselves out to the audience.

What have you got lined up in the near future?

We’ve just released a maxi-single and after that, we’ll be starting work on an album. Huge work awaits us, so all our forces will be directed exactly there.

What is the band’s long-term aim?

After the release of the album, we want to spread it over the world. We really hope that people in many countries will be able to appreciate it despite the Russian lyrics. And, of course, tours.

Drops Of Heart Cover

‘STARLIGHT’, THE NEW MAXI-SINGLE FROM DROPS OF HEART IS AVAILABLE NOW FROM iTunes, GOOGLE PLAY, BANDCAMP, SPOTIFY & AMAZON.

FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND AT THESE SITES:

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/dropsofheartmetal

BANDCAMP: dropsofheart.bandcamp.com

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/dropsofheart

 

 

THE EMERGENCY PLEASE

The Emergency Please band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

The Emergency Please are an alternative rock three-piece from Southampton.

Led by vocalist/guitarist Karan Master, the band burst onto the scene last year with their debut single ‘Still Good’, which showcased an eclectically-influenced sound incorporating elements of jazz, funk and pop-punk.

With the single generating much positive feedback, the talented trio will be confident of getting more of the same when their inaugural EP is released shortly.

Karan went into more detail about this and other things when I spoke to him recently.

How did The Emergency Please start out?

I started The Emergency Please as a songwriting vehicle for music I’d be writing.  We’re about to release our debut EP titled ‘Remember You’, which features Adam Porter (bass) and Sam West (drums). I am currently working with Jono Powell (bass) and Sam Garnett (drums). I met Jono at a jam night in Southampton. Sam and I have been playing together on and off for years. It’s really great to have them both in the band.

How did you come up with the band name?

One of my first bands growing up was called Emergency Please. I dug the name, so when I was thinking of what to call this band, I was like “Oh yeah, no one’s using that.”

What are the band’s main musical influences?

It ranges from bands like Funeral For A Friend, Paramore, CHON to stuff like John Mayer, Lany, Prince…the list goes on (laughs).

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

I usually come in with the guitar and vocals. We jam it out and tweak until it feels right. Some songs we do in an hour, some we work on for weeks.

Where does the inspiration come from for the band’s lyrics?

It ranges, but we tend to write about life experiences. Our upcoming EP ‘Remember You’ has four tracks.  The opening title track is about running into an ex after a long time and you can’t seem to remember why you broke up in the moment. The second track ‘I Can’t Stop’ is about a relationship that deep down you know isn’t going to last, but you can’t walk away from. The third, ‘Lost’, is a slower more melancholy song that talks about caring for someone that is going through a tough time and how inner demons affect the people around you. The final track ‘Clark Kent Syndrome’ is more technical alt rock/emo tune. When I sat down and thought about what I had learnt from all the experiences I’d got from the other tracks which is what inspired the lyrics for the final one.

How is the experience of playing live?

We play live almost every week, doing support slots, festivals, bars, pubs, jam nights. Playing live is our favourite part of being in a band. We had a gig a few days ago where we played a song we’d written and learnt something like 23 hours before. It was such a great experience. We love trying out new ideas and mixing things up live. Improvisation is a big part of our shows. We have set structures to everything, but we tend to throw in new ideas depending on the vibe.

Aside from your forthcoming EP, what do you have planned for the near future?

We’ve got a quite a few gigs lined up before the release of the EP, including Wickham Fest (which we are really excited for). We’ve also got a whole bunch of new material we’ve been recently gigging and are planning on getting it recorded soon.

What is the band’s long-term aim?

For me growing up, listening to music always invoked such an emotional response. We’d like to do the same for as many people as we can.

‘REMEMBER YOU’, THE DEBUT EP FROM THE EMERGENCY PLEASE, WILL BE RELEASED SOON.

FOR FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND, CHECK OUT THESE SITES:

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/theemergencyplease

SOUNDCLOUD: soundcloud.com/the-emergency-please

YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com