Determined For The Metal: Keith Finnell Of Ekotren
Founded in the Fall of 2000, Cape Coral, Florida's Ekotren are passionate young musicians that strive to put out a positive life message through their freshly offered melody-friendly songs. And while they certainly shoot more into the realm of Linkin Park's all out pop metal approach at times, this is a heavy music band that has loads of talent and so many years ahead to fully define itself , and it's really only the members themselves who know what is in store for the rest of us. I recently was able to shoot some questions at their guitarist, Keith Finnell.
Rocket: Thanks for taking some time with me, Keith. Answer this first please, what does Ekotren mean?
Keith: First off, thank you for asking me to do the interview. I am happy to take some time out to talk with you. Ah, the meaning of Ekotren. The name comes froma pill bottle that we took the ingredient and mis-spelled it. Finding a name that is unique and stands out is difficult. The name had no meaning when we got it. So to me, it pretty much means intensity and determination through self expression.But overall, it has no general meaning and basically, it's for the fans to put a name to what they are seeing.Rocket: Very cool. Man, I love what you're doing on the guitar in Death Blanket, brother. Your sound is real heavy and yet you keep it very melodic, which is hard to achieve and still tie up the song correctly. How does the Ekotren writing process go? Does it start with your riff?
Keith: Usually the writing process is a very collaborative process. It's actually rare for me to bring a riff in, though it does happen... haha - we write together at our rehearsal space. It usually starts from a keyboard diddie - which definitely helps the melody, and shapes the guitar - for a guitar and drum jam, then it is worked from there with the five of us, which really rips it apart and brings the song to life.Rocket: It's well known what a great splash that this band is making in the heavy metal underground scene at this time. You guys really have something fresh and appealing going on. Do you think you guys are ready for fame and fortune? I ask that in the utmost of seriousness. Not that Sex, Drugs & Rock N Roll are a bad thing entirely now. Haha. I really speak more about the crappy stuff that can happen, like letting the money go to your head... and it ruining the music. It happens all the time. Look at Axl Rose. That guy was a genius. Now it's like you've got Cousin It in the living room.
Keith: I dont know if fame and fortune is where we are going. If it comes, it comes. Both of those are not things that drive us. We are shooting for sucess, and if those come, then they come. But I dont see them affecting us or our music. We live music and there is truly nothing I see getting in the way of us doing what we do. Besides, it's a hard business to be in, and its not the industry it was in the 80's. Making money making music is not an easy task, especially being a band that is not sounding like radio rock or emo.Rocket: Great point, dude. Who are your three all-time favorite metal bands?
Keith: Pantera, Metallica and probably Killswitch Engage. They can really tie melody and metal together. its hard though to name three, since I listen to a good amount of metal, and I hate to leave out Superjoint Ritual.Rocket: Superjoint! Superjoint! Haha... that's my favorite band, bro. I so hope they put out the highly anticipated third album. So what kind of guitars are you playing?
Keith: I am playing Schecter V7 seven string guitars with a Seymour Duncan sh4 in the bridge, which I havep ut in after market. They don't make them anymore, so they are tough to come by, but I love the double locking tremolo for tuning.Rocket: What kind of strings are you playing?
Keith: I am using GHS guitar strings. They squeel like a sum'bitch. To me they feel right, and if Zakk Wylde uses them, that's reason enough to try a pack.Rocket: What about your amp? If you aren't playing Marshall, you should be. Haha.
Keith: I don't use Marshall amps, but I do use their cabs. I use a Mesa triple rectifier and a Roland jc 120 for my clean tone. The Mesa really hits the tones I need.Rocket: Right on. You have a nice fat tone going for yourself. So let's talk more about The Tables Have Turned album Ekotren has newly produced and will be releasing here very shortly. What has that experience been like for you?
Keith: It's been a good experience. We have worked very hard to make this the best experience for the listener. We all pushed each other hard, and I couldnt be happier. I definitely learned some good recording tips.Rocket: How has the reaction been out at some of your most recent shows?
Keith: The reaction has been great at all of our recent shows. Everywhere we have been hitting has really responded well, and the word is definitely spreading. After last night, I can say that we are winning people over too. This guy, looking like Larry the cable guy, was buying us beer. He was alot older and said he never listened to this type of music, but liked it.Rocket: What did Dimebag mean to you from a personal standpoint and as a guitar God?
Keith: Dimebag is and will always be the man. His live performances, playing and personallity was the best,hands down! To hear everyone who met him say such awesome things and to look up to someone like that, is inspirational in of itself. I will never forget the moment when I was told he was dead.Rocket: Okay, let's liven this party up for some laughs like Dimey would always want from the true metal family. What's the funniest thing that's happened to you on stage?
Keith: I can say probably jumping and hitting my head, practically knocking me out or getting trucked over in the pit would be up there, though its not uncommon to be head banging trying not to puke, since I usually get hair in my mouth when performing...haha. I think I wash my hair too much or something. Good thing no one notices me gagging.Rocket: Haha... gagging sucks. What kind if touring does Ekotren have planned for touring after the new album drops?
Keith: We are trying to get some tour dates set up around the south United States. Florida dates are very common, being our home state, which we plan to hit hard to help get us out of the unsigned category. We want to take this to a very national level.Rocket: Oh hell yeah. You guys need to make it out to Los Angeles.
Keith: It would be great to make it out to L.A., since the metal scene is big out there, and alot of the industry is there. Plus I got family out there, and you could see our show.Rocket: I'd be there, you know this. And it will happen for you guys, man. I feel like this is thte start of something real special. Okay, before I ge all mushy... haha... go ahead and give a shoutout to all your biggest supporters.
Keith: Shout out to you, Eddie and Tonya Karam, Karen Elliott, the staff at 99x wjbx, my family, and everyone reading this, keep on spreadin the word!
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