Interview with With Passion
On May 30th, 2005 i went to BBkings in New York City, NY to interview the opening band for Deicide, With Passion. I walked into the nightclub and found the whole band, except for the drummer, hanging out back stage. We found a spot in a hallway back stage and proceeded with the interview.
The band are really cool guys and there were lots of laughs. I had to take out great deal of irrelevant side commentary by both me and the bands, which is cool since it allowed us to have the interview feel more as a more casual talk than an interview.
Zack: How's the tour been?
Sam: Well we just started yesterday and so far it's going good.
Shaun: We've had our problems, but it's all right.
Zack: What kind of problems?
Shaun: Guitar problems... My guitar problems.
Zack: My friend was at the show in Philly, he said he couldn't hear any guitar.
Shaun: We're pushing for endorsement [repeats several times for emphasis and everyone laughs].
Zack: I saw you guys with Into Eternity in March, and you're here again. What is it like to constantly keep touring and playing shows?
Sam: It is a pleasure to play at venues of these sizes. It is only our first year of touring. We came out a few months ago and to be able to tour and play venues along with bands you look up to for ten years or so it's incredible.
Shaun: it's also a little nerve racking too cause we're used to playing small venues. You just see silhouettes of people and you get kinda "oh crap."
Zack: What was recording the album like?
Andy: Well it was in two different parts. The first part, when we first released it, it was pretty laid back we already had everything planned out. But when we released it on earache they wanted us to record a few extra tracks and we had to do it by a deadline. At that point it was really nerve racking. Very deadline oriented, but it was a lot of fun recording it.
Shaun: When we recorded it, it was the first time we ever had someone separate record the keyboards. That was really interesting too.
Zack: How is the scene in where you are from, Sacramento, California?
Sam: It's the hot spot right now. There's at least 4 or 5 other bands that got signed around the same time as us. It's the cannoli, especially the metal scene.
Zack: Are locals going to the shows, or is it just industry recognition?
Sam: Well I think it's a lot more than other towns we've played in. I think a lot more people come out, a lot more energy. We just played Ohio a couple of months before this tour started no kids came out.
Zack: Right before the tour the drummer left the band, how's the new guy working out for you?
Mike: Well he's in a local band from Sacramento, so we uh stole him.
Shaun: He was down to do it. His band, Jack's Smirking Revenge, was nice enough to say, "go on tour with these guys good opportunity for you." He took time off from working, girl friend, everything to fill in for us and take time to learn our songs.
Sam: He learned the songs in a week and a half, before we left for the tour.
Zack: Since your career is just starting to take off, what's it like?
Everyone: We love to be on the road.
Shaun: To play music every night, that's what it's all about.
Zack: Is it stressful?
Shaun: No not really.
Mike: Trying to find a toilet or shower is stressful. Yeah it can be nervous to play a new place you never played before. Last time we were star struck by the size of the Trocadero.
Sam: It's an honor to go to new cities every night.
Mike: we've been having a couple of kids that come out at every show that know us. That's an honor in itself, they're like "hey I know you guys." So that's cool.
Zack: Which is more stressful: recording or touring?
Shaun: Mainly cause there's a lot of tension all on you. you know "don't fuck up or you're fired!"[everyone laughs] plus time is money.
Zack: I first found out about With Passion on MySpace so I can tell that you are for downloading of music, but what are your opinions about illegally downloading your music?
Sam: I say go ahead and download it. People who really like it will still go out and buy it for the artwork, the booklet.
Andy: Plus if five people go download it and they each tell five more people that's 25 more people going to your show.
Mike: It's the best word of mouth you can get right now.
Sam: download our songs! steal em!
Andy: Great way for bands to start out too.
Zack: Would you retain these opinions if you relied on music as a primary source of income?
Sam: That's only one source of where the money's coming from.
Andy: The majority of bands make their money off merchandise.
Sam: You gotta tour man.
Zack: You mentioned that people would buy your CD for the artwork. What is the significance of the castle on the cover?
Andy: We love castles and dragons.
Everyone: battle! We love battles.
Andy: That's the idea our designer came up with and it looked amazing. We felt it went very well with the theme we give off with the music and the lyrics... battle.
Sam: Some people raise their fists; raise the claw when they use certain parts. We try to be triumphant as possible. That's why we added the keyboard player he kinda adds that really nice mix.
Shaun: We want people to jump on their steers and ride off into battle.
Zack: When talking with about your band I get varied responses as to what genre you fit into: hardcore, grind, black metal, death metal, etc. What genre do you feel best suits the band? How does your band stand out from the rest of the bands in your genre?
Everyone: There's definitely nothing 'core' about us.
Zack: That's what I tell them.
Mike: Some people would just classify just by looking at a picture; well they're metalcore just by the way they look. But then if listen to our music, you'll find it to be metal.
[Group discussion about what genre best fits the band]
Zack: You didn't really give a straight answer.
Sam: Technical Black Metal
Zack: So, I would guess from the answers to previous questions in this interview, the name 'With Passion' that means 'with passion to fight!'?
Shaun: No, more the drive of music.
Sam: the songwriting.
Mike: We play music with passion.
Zack: How do you write the songs? Does one person create everything or do you jam on ideas?
Shaun: what I usually do is sit in my room and write a bunch of different riff then I'll sit with everyone and collaborate with their pieces and certain things would change over time. Like a skeleton and everything would fall into place.
Andy: Everyone contributes their own creative goal.
Zack: In a number of songs I recognize melodies from video games, in your music, for example Final Fantasy 6's Terra's theme in A Coniferous War and Castlevania 2's Bloody Tears in Trainwreck Orchestra. I take it that was intentional?
Everyone: We love to play video games.
Andy: There are at least three or four in there.
Zack: Final Fantasy 6's Terra's theme sounded different than the original.
Shaun: Well the riff are almost altered to fit [the songs], so it's not exactly the same exact thing.
Sam: Cause we speed it up a little.
Mike: video games are perfect metal.
Zack: What's your favorite video game?
Andy: Final Fantasy series
Mike: I'm a Silent Hill/Resident Evil fan.
Brandon: Video games are gay. [Everyone laughs] I'd go with Altered Beast or Turok 2
[Shout outs from all the band of game titles including megaman, ninja gaiden, and battle toads.]
Zack: Any future covers we can expect?
Shaun: You never know.
Zack: Is there friendship between the band or is there drama and fights?
Mike: We hate each other but by contract we have to keep going [everyone laughs] We're all really good friends.
Sam: Closer on this tour than before we left. Gotta get use to everybody living in a box; we live in a van; its not that big.
Mike: We're completely different people with completely different personalities. It's difficult sometimes, but it makes great music and great times.
Zack: What kind of music are you into?
Everyone: that's a good one, its very broad.
Shaun: I'm indie, emo, metalcor... No No! the thing is, is I listen to different stuff. I listen to Necrophagist and Into Eternity, but then I also listen to Bloc Party and random stuff like that. Some commercial stuff, some underground stuff.
Andy: I think if you spend too much time listening to metal then it takes away when you go to play metal. So I like a lot of mellow stuff when I'm hanging out or by myself: Pinback, Copeland, American Football, Circa Survive.
Mike: Well I'd have to agree with both their responses. One [that I'd like to name] would be Dredg, they came out with a great new album, I haven't got it yet, but it sounds great. Moving Units, Misery Signals, The Faint, Dance music, indie stuff, emo stuff whatever crap I'm into.
Brandon: I wouldn't disagree with my fellow band-mates, but I will say that I just love metal. Spawn Possession, Agio, Prism, Emporer, black metal, death metal all around.
Sam: I listen to... [band laughs]
Shaun: here he goes. It's folk rock.
Sam: I'm a mountain rocker. My favorite band: anything related to [inaudible band], he was in five bands. I listen to little wing, the [inaudible] hark and so on and so forth. I just bought an album a couple of days ago it's called Bonnie Prince Billy. So folk.
[The drummer, Justin, walks in]
Justin: A lot of power metal like Edguy, Symphony X, and Rhapsody. I started listening to Strapping Young Lad with Devin Townshend and the Devin Townshend band. They're my new personal heroes right now.
Zack: How do you come together and write technical black metal, you listen to such different things?
Sam: I personally, if I listen to too much metal, don't wanna start ripping off another band's riffs. So I don't' listen to metal too much. I mean I love metal I listen to a lot of it, but for the most part I try to stay away from it like when we are writing.
Mike: If I hear about a new band that comes out I'll listen to it and if I love it it'll be in my CD player forever.
Zack: What's your current goal
Everyone: Tour as much as possible
Shaun: Write a new CD, make a new album... and tour and tour more.
Sam: Looking forward to going to Europe.
Shaun: Looking forward to playing with other bands on our label, like Cult of Luna.
Zack: Any advice for aspiring musicians/bands?
Sam: Don't give up.
Mike: Don't think it's too hard.
Shaun: even when you think you are by yourself and you can't move on there's always somewhere to go. You can always meet or talk with new people and start another band or build up your band again and just do your thing.
Sam: Flyer for your shows
Shaun: Just have fun playing music.
Zack: Sam, how do you growl and scream without hurting your voice?
Sam: Well, when I'm sick it definitely does; normally, no. I don't scream that loud. It sounds like I do, but I'm mainly using my stomach instead of my throat. Don't push it.
Zack: Any advise to drummers, Justin?
Justin: I used to practice for three hours a day for four years until I moved into a practice studio and that's where I am now. And get braces [he wears braces]
Sam: Play for With Passion
Justin: Play on a pillow.
Zack: Who do you aspire to?
Andy: There's some of those over the top guitarists that are amazing beyond comprehension like Michael Angelo Batio and Steve Vai. You can always listen to those guys and feel like a crappy guitar player, but its still awe inspiring.
Mike: I'm looking up to Josh from Into the Moat. Super technical guy, the bass player from Psyopus, I don't even know what that guy does. I want to know, but I don't think I can that guy's just amazing.
Justin: I aspire to be a drum machine. I don't have to think about getting tired or anything like that.
Zack: So what can be expected of you in the future?
Shaun: more tech parts, sweep picking, finger tapping. A lot more technical aspects. More keyboard driven parts too.
Sam: More bloodshed on stage.
Mike: Everything that the EP did except 100 times more.
Andy: it's gonna make you cry. [awws]
Everyone: And poop [laughs]
Zack: Any last words?
Sam: Check us out at www.withpassionmetal.com
Zack: Thank you for this interview.
Everyone: No, Thank you
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