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Interview

Misamore Talks New Music Video And Putting On A Killer Live Show

Last month we had the pleasure of premiering the innocence-shattering and symbolism-laden "Bloody Mary" video from Misamore.

After that clip came online, we wanted to find out more about this Sacremento trio and the "Monolith" album that spawned the video clip.

Below you can read our full interview with guitarist / vocalist Josh Amolsch, bassist Mike Dragony, and drummer Cameron Ellis in which they discuss the evolution of the band over time, how the new video came together, and a desire to play live as much as possible.

xFiruath: Let's start with the new lyric video we premiered here at Metalunderground.com. How did you pick the backing video clips to go with the clip, and how do they connect to the themes of the song?

Josh: We worked with a director named Trevor Bowman out of Rhode Island on this one and he brought up the idea of the vintage PSA style clips to go along with what we were trying to convey lyrically. The era in which the clips take place is fitting because there seemed to be more innocence back then and it is more natural to believe that than to depict a modern day person as innocent as we needed them to be.

I actually wish we could have found even older footage to use. But we are really happy with how well the lyrics flow with the footage. It shows the reaction and change that happens when the pure is contaminated. But it's also the way we perceive and interpret that contamination that causes our reactions to steer our lives. The underlying causes all appear to be the same though which really begs the question of why aren't our perceptions and reactions to those causes in harmony with the causes that all appear to be the same? The lyrics are directly connected to "Mary" in the in video. You know that a few of her friends escaped that bad habit, but probably went on to battle through other bad habits, most likely.

xFiruath: Will there be any other lyric or full music videos off this album?

Josh: We hope to do a couple more. We have worked on these songs for years and have a lot of great ideas for them. Just like all of the songs have their own personalities, we want to give each video a unique life with meaning. But it is important to not get too bogged down with trying to be video producers, we are best at writing, recording and performing music.

xFiruath: For those not familiar with the band, can you give me a bit of history? How long has Misamore been rocking and what has the band done so far?

Josh: Misamore started back in 2003 when I wanted to get my own project off the ground after my first band Hollowpoint was ending. I didn't plan on singing in Misamore, but I did have an idea of a sound that I wanted to achieve and how I wanted the guitars to be presented. It took many members coming and going before I finally convinced a friend and highly admired bassist, Mike Dragony to join. By August of 2007 when Mike joined, I had already met our drummer Cameron Ellis and had moved to Texas with him to try and get things going in the Dallas scene.

That idea fizzled out pretty quickly so after getting back to Sacramento and getting things going with Mike, we decided to take it slower and just work on riffs and artwork and try to find our sound. Mike is an incredible force, so it wasn't like we could just add simple bass lines to the songs as filler and call it good. He really made me rethink the guitar and the sonics I had going. We are still trying to blend our tones and riffs together to make the ever elusive, huge sound that is crushing but still melodic and tasty.

We went through a few years of bad episodes with drummers and singers and guys who thought they were producers to guys who are actually very good producers and engineers. It was right after we finished recording our latest record "Monolith" that we had to let our drummer of 5 years, Ryan Maples, go. Though we released our first album "Horizon" in 2011 with a hired drummer and then singer Mace Corona, Ryan Maples stepped in right after we finished recording and played many shows with us including recording the single "Preset Numb" and the current album, "Monolith."

It was clear to Mike and I after we finished recording "Monolith" that Ryan was not working out. It just happened to be that right as we let Ryan go, Cameron was back in California and looking for a new project. Finally the timing was right and the three of us started meshing right away. Over the past 14 years, Misamore has played all over Northern California, including Juvenile hall. We have been nominated for Best Hard Rock at the Sacramento Sammie Awards several times, opened up for numerous national acts, and have recorded 2 albums and a single.

xFiruath: What has the fan reaction been so far to “Monolith” and have there been any responses in particular you've been really surprised or blown away by?

Josh: So far, our fans and peers have been very surprised by the quality of the songwriting and recording. I mean, we spent 2 years recording this damn thing, it better be good! A particular favorite response has been that the album is "Flawless" and "Classy." One person actually said that "This is the way music should be written." It is just the simple words of approval from the hard-opinionated fans and peers that let us know that what we are doing is the right thing. We don't look to reviews for our self-worth or anything, but it is nice to hear that the work you have put so much effort into is recognized and respected. We actually haven't heard anything negative about the album, yet.

xFiruath: There's some really interesting imagery on the album artwork – who put that together and how does it connect to the music?

Josh: We worked with MadSketcher from Austin, TX for the cover. He has a cool style that really resonated with us. I think it is the powerful simplicity of his colors and the creepiness that comes out. We were looking through his work and one piece really caught our eye. But we wanted something custom of course, so we explained what the basic theme was of the songs and he came up with the perfect depiction of that vision. The artwork is a simple man that has turned to face his shadow that is a constant trail of his actions and world perception. This shadow wants to hold him hostage but the courageous man is facing off, and you can see this intensity in this moment as they stare each other down. This is the Monolith, the lie, the perception and the pride.

xFiruath: With “Monolith” out, what's on the horizon for Misamore and what can fans expect coming next?

Josh: Now that the record is out, we are hoping to play as many shows as we can. But we are limiting the amount of local shows we will do. We have been playing in Sacramento for years and need to focus on reaching people outside of our comfort zone of Northern California. It's all about seeing a band live. We can't just rely on a video or our album to make life-long fans. In the wise words of the late, great Dimebag Darrell "we need to deliver the goods." I know that I am never fully sold on a band until I experience them live. I think a lot of people are like that too. The goal is to reach as many new people as possible, so the focus will be on booking and writing songs for the next album, which we have already started.

xFiruath: What's the best live show you guys have played lately, and what's coming up in terms of local shows or tour dates in the near future?

Josh: The best live show we have had lately was a warehouse gig in Gold River back in February. It was great because it was the first one with the current lineup and the first show I have played with Cameron, even though we started playing together 12 years ago. It was a special night and it felt good to be on time finally. For future dates, we will be in Chico, Ca on June 24th for the first time at Lost on Main. We are also working on some dates in Reno and the Bay Area. We have had good reception there in the past, so we want to get back out and see everyone again as soon as possible. The biggy though is to get out to some different states and play some festivals. That's the focus right now.

xFiruath: On that note, what's happening in the Sacremento music scene these days, and what venues are really keeping hard rock and metal alive there?

Josh: Sacramento has a large, supportive music scene that we are proud to be a part of. Venues like Ace of Spades, Harlows, Starlite Lounge, Blue Lamp and Boardwalk have kept Sacramento on the map over the last 30 years or so and have consistently brought in amazing acts. I remember seeing Mudvayne at The Boardwalk in 2000 when they were blowing up and then a few years later at the same 300 capacity spot. talk about an incredible experience. It's really cool to see how good relationships between venue owners and agents can keep the spirit up in smallish town like Sacramento. Well, it was smaller back then, Sacramento is definitely growing like crazy and will be a major market in the coming years. I wouldn't be surprised if a couple more smaller venues started opening up real soon. We just need to keep the venues from requiring bands to pre-sale tickets. Ah man, what a crap bag of an idea.

xFiruath: Other than your own album, what have you been jamming to lately that you'd recommend to our readers?

Cameron: I am very influenced in prog rock grooves so I listen to a lot of Tool, Tesseract, Meshuggah, Animals as Leaders, Sevendust, Periphery, Haste the Day and Angel Vivaldi just to name some predominant ones in my playlist right now.

Josh: I still am inspired by bands like Alice in Chains, Mudvayne, old Deftones and Metallica but I have more recently got in to Gojira and Glitch Mob. There are a lot of riff ideas in dubstep stuff. I hate most of it, but Glitch Mob has a cool vibe and they are song writers, not just sample and dance-tards. I still love some Ray Charles and Sinatra at night too. Soul never dies, in fact, I think those old songs are more relevant now as we move forward into a more plugged in society. Having soul in the music is what touches people, it is what brings people together. Even with the most demonic, screamo-chunked out metal out there, people in the crowd start moving when they are moved. It begins and ends with heart, no matter how heavy and dangerous your sound is.

Mike: Amon Amarth, Gojira and Deftones. Everyone should like these bands, it's common knowledge.

xFiruath: Anything else you'd like to discuss?

Josh: Sure! It is really interesting to watch the evolution of music. Many people out there crave constant change and others are good with the the same dozen or so albums they grew up on. Why? Well I think the arc of popular music is a great metric of where we all stand on many issues including self-reflection. I'm sure there have been studies on this, though I haven't read any, but it seems like the case could be made that the circle of energy in music, especially music with lyrics, is multi-dimensional and encapsulates like-kind polarities.

Kind of like when you hit a note on a guitar and it starts to resonate the same note on the guitar across the room. That energy may look and feel different when you look out over the crowds and different festivals and shows around the world, but it is all really the same to me. Same energy source, same energy. What is important, though, is its authenticity and what people perceive to be authentic. I don't believe that people will ever lose the quality and ability of recognizing authenticity and evaluating what that means to them.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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