Interview With Ekotren's Steve Chin
There really aren't any underground metal bands on the scene today made up mostly of twenty-one year olds that are making any kind of serious impression today. Cape Coral, Florida's EKOTREN is an exception. Scratch that, a major exception. With a recent successful performance on Van's Warped Tour 2006 and an increasing following picking up steam in the local clubs of Florida, Ekotren seems to really be holding their own against the crowds of band competition. They have also recently self-released their debut EP 'The Tables Have Turned', which this rock journalist gave an overwhelming 'thumbs up' in review. It's really turned into quite a year for this bunch. With as crazy as things have been going for them, I am pleased to have gotten some questions in with their talented man on the keys, Steve Chin.
Rocket: Are you originally from Cape Coral, Florida?
Steve: Unfortunately, yes. My whole family is from New York, but they all moved here before I was born. Everyone else in the band is from far off places, California, Germany, but not me. I'm just a Florida cracker.
Rocket: Hey, you said it, not me! Haha. When did you start playing the keys?
Steve: It must have been about three years ago. I started out with the turntables and sampler, but Sheldon brought over an old keyboard one day as a joke. We eventually got enough good ideas out of it for me to buy a respectable keyboard. I've been all about it since.
Rocket: I can hear that. You're very good at what you do. Did you take lessons?
Steve: I would have but I spent all my money on the Keyboard! Seriously, I just picked up on it myself, learning different chords and adding to the songs we were making.
Rocket: Who are some of your biggest musical influences? Past or present.
Steve: I've always enjoyed bands that can add electronics in to their music, but don't let it take over the whole band. The balance between metal and keys/samples is a very fine line. I've always been a big fan of older Fear Factory and Static-X. I've recently been into Strapping Young Lad, God Forbid, Killswitch Engage, Chimaira, and Dragonforce. I also have to mention all the good ol' Staples like Pantera, Lynard Skynard, Alice in Chains, and Older Korn (I can't stress older enough!).
Rocket: Haha. Yeah, they have gone truly South with their once respected form of heavy music, haven't they? Truck loads of money will do that to you... that and make you want to resemble a human poodle, like Fieldy. Haha. What kind of keyboards are you playing live and in the studio?
Steve: I have pretty much stuck with my Korg Triton in the studio and live. I also played around with the Korg Kaoss pad in the studio and in recent writing sessions.
Rocket: How did you join up with Ekotren?
Steve: I had the only house that we could practice in! They had no choice! I met Keith in High school and we became really good friends. I helped out with the band at first, helping the guys move their gear at shows. After a while i got a little set-up and started jamming with them. It sounded good so I was in.
Rocket: Haha. Classic way into a metal band, no doubts. That is awesome to hear. I love those kinds of stories, bro. Now I know you guys have the new EP out 'The Tables Have Turned'. How has the response been going for that so far?
Steve: The response has been more than I expected. Before we released it, people would always ask if we had a CD, but we had to just tell them that it's coming soon. Thanks to our manager Eddie, we have a great looking product to promote, and it has been awesome.
Rocket: What's the funniest thing that's happened to you on stage?
Steve: Oh, I got a good one...
Rocket: Bring it.
Steve: In our youth, like 5 years ago...
Rocket: Yeah, cause you're all now old timers at twenty-one, right? Haha.
Steve: I was a very much heavier version of my present self. When I was trying to get behind my rig on stage, which was right next to the drums, I miscalculated how much room my big fat ass could fit through and ended up knocking over half the drums off the riser with my obese backside. Needless to say we all had a great laugh, more like they laughed at me while I wondered where the nearest bridge I could jump off was.
Rocket: Hahaha. Oh man, that was a good one. Yeah, well... I got thrown out of groups for lesser crimes than that. I was singing for this one garage band in my teens and they threw me out after the first official practice cause I did a David Lee Roth off the guitar players amp. Can you believe that? What kind of rockers throw a guy out for... well, 'rockin'? Haha. Now I saw some of the video of you guys tearing it up live at this year's Warped Tour. What was that experience like for you?
Steve: It was a nice sneak peak of what playing an outside tour might be like. It was a lot of work getting there and dealing with the insane heat the whole day, but as soon as we hit the stage it was all worth it. I would definitley not have any problem doing that for months on end.
Rocket: What's your favorite metal album for 2006 so far?
Steve: So far I have really liked Dragonforce's Inhuman Rampage. But Lamb of God's new one hasn't come out yet.
Rocket: Yeah, with Dragonforce it's like Dope... people either really love them or wish all the members would meet early dirt naps! Haha. Oh, I'm on a roll, aren't I? I imagine like the other guys in the band you get fan mail on MySpace. Do you actually take time out to answer them or do you not even care about it?
Steve: Well It's not that I don't care, it's that i'm a poor chinese boy with a dial up modem! Let's put it this way, I'm at Keith's house right now just so I can do this interview without my computer blowing up in my face. I check it form time to time, mostly on the road with Pottle's laptop.
Rocket: Hahaha. That is... really sad, actually. Haha. I can't imagine you trying to even attempt loading up The Metal Den MySpace page on a dial-up... it would probably blow the computer up! Haha. So, listen... is Ekotren working on new material?
Steve: We are constanly writing new material. I think that is one of our strong points as a band. We are never satisfied with where we are as musicians, we are always pushing ourselves to write better.
Rocket:What are some of the upcoming Ekotren shows we need to watchout for?
Steve: We got the Ridgeport coming up on September 9th. We have a whole string of dates in the workings right now so keep checking our MySpace for more details in the future.
Rocket: Right on. Well, I see nothing but the big time ahead for Ekotren. Keep kickin butt in the underground, eh? Give a shoutout to your biggest supporters.
Steve: There are so many... first and foremost our manager Eddie. Without him we would have even less street cred than we have now. Of course you, Rocket.
Rocket: You're goddamn skippy! Show yer love! Haha.
Steve: All the clubs and promoters. Everyone else that has believed in us after all this time, and of course, the fans.
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