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Interview With Ekotren's Sean Fiene

In the Fall of 2000, five young and hungry musicians out of Cape Coral, Florida formed as Ekotren, in an all-out pursuit to bring passion back to the game of metal. They have hung in tough and really started to make a name for themselves on their local club scene and now are scheduled in a short time to unleash their self-released debut album, entitled The Tables Have Turned. I have thoroughly enjoyed all the work I have done with this band up to this time, for it's rare to find such a talented bunch that are as well mannered and respectful as I have found Ekotren to be. I had some questions answered recently by their bassist, Sean Fiene.

Rocket: How long have you been playing the bass guitar, bro? And did you take lessons?

Sean: First off, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to interview me. It's badass how much you do for metal. I've been playing the bass for about nine years so far and didn't give it too much interest for the first three years, but then I got more involved and now I can't put it down. As for lessons, no. I taught myself how to play bass by listening to different bands and trying to do what they do. Then I'd get really frustrated, put the bass down and then start all over again ten minutes later.

Rocket: I know how that goes, brother. I been there at that exact same place... putting it down in utter detest and then picking it back up the next minute with pure love. Thanks very much for appreciating the work I do for underground metal. I know I am pretty controversial and speak my mind, but it's all done to save the future of metal from the hands of corporate greed mongers, you know? So what kind of bass guitars do you play?

Sean: I used to play Ibanez Soundgears but the whole time I really wanted to play Warwicks. Then I saved up and purchased a Warwick bass. Best bass I've ever played. The tone of Warwick basses in the studio and on the stage are amazing.

Rocket: That is a heckuva piece of equipment. I have rocked them out myself. If and when Ekotren does sell a shitload of albums one day and you could go out and buy any bass guitar your heart desired, which would it be?

Sean: I don't know if we'll ever sell a shitload of albums but hopefully enough people will buy CD's to keep us on the road playing shows. It's funny that you ask about the bass guitar my heart desires because, I just got it a month ago. We contacted Warwick and I got a Corvette Pro Line Six-String with black satin stain finish on AAAA flamed maple with black hardware and probably my most favorite part, an ebony fingerboard. It's amazing. The tone is so bright and the bass is so damn light. So honestly I'd just have to get something like what I have now, but with a different color body.

Rocket: Are you using a pick or going to town with the fingers?

Sean: Tell you the truth, I can't stand playing with a pick. Nothing against bassists who use them, but I just can't do it. I've tried but after nine years of using my fingers I just can't do the same things I wanna do or get the same tone using a pick. So I do go to town with the fingers on a bass. The string spacing on a Warwick Corvette Proline is smaller than most of the other basses I've played too, making it harder for me to use a pick.

Rocket: Tell me about your amp rig. What brand are you playing and please give us the specs.

Sean: Ampeg, Ampeg, Ampeg. I got an 8-10" Ampeg cabinet powered by an Ampeg SVT4-Pro. Playing a six-string bass tuned down to 'G' I need to have the low notes ring out with force. I have the EQ set for bright highs, even amount of mids, and a nice amount of lows. I know most bass players say that you can't get the lower frequencys out of an SVT4-Pro but I have some custom cables to run from the amp to the cab that are made to get the most power from the amp to the cab cleanly. The best part of my rig is the DI. I did some research and found the Radial MKII. That DI gives the cleanest sound from any clubs PA we've ever played in. We were so impressed with it that Steve our DJ went out an bought the two-channel version of it. I don't like to have effects on my bass so no pedals and no effects in my rig.

Rocket: Very nice. Who is your single most important bass playing influence. And why?

Sean: I know you hate them but I have to say Ryan Martinie from Mudvayne. L.D. 50 blew my freakin' mind. His tone and style made me rethink how to play bass. The sound he got drew my attention to playing Warwick and after I tried one down at our local music store I had to get one. I'm not trying to copy him in anyway, but he opened my eyes in how to write a different bass line. Also having a badass drummer in your bad doesn't hurt you in becoming a better player.

Rocket: First off, haha... I don't hate Mudvayne. I think they are selling their musical ability and overall legacy in metal short by trying to make albums that the suits - who do hate Rocket for speaking out against them - are telling them to make. They are very talented musicians. Each one of those guys. See, that's what I dig about being the Howard Stern of metal, bro... people are always completely taking something I say and blowing it up. But that's cool, it tells me that at least people are listening to the man. I just wish everyone would get the facts straight. Tell me what your favorite metal album of 2006 has been so far?

Sean: Honestly, I haven't come across my favorite album of 2006 yet. What I do know is that "Alaska" by Between the Buried and Me is the greatest damn album I've ever heard. Dan Briggs's bass lines in it are genius. Everyone in that band is at the top of their game and they compose music that make you wanna write better music. I can't wait to see them on Ozzfest.

Rocket: Have you been out this year to any concerts or clubs to see other metal bands? Were there any that come to mind that really blew you away?

Sean: Yeah, I saw A Dozen Furies with Killswitch at the House of Blues and I have to say that they threw down harder than any other band I've seen in a long time. It just sucks that they broke up.

Rocket: Yeah, I heard about that. Lord knows just from checking out the front page here at metalunderground.com how many bands are callin it quits daily. I even just heard Crisis threw in the towel. It's a rough game for sure. Only the strong survive, right? Tell me, what's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you on stage?

Sean: Damn, I knew you were gonna ask me this...

Rocket: Hey, why mess with the winning formula when you're the baddest dude on the block?

Sean: I'm gonna say that the band was playing at this club downtown in Ft. Myers Florida and we just started playing the second song when I raised my bass in the air and then my strap popped off the top of the bass. So then I knelt down and continued to play behind Steve, our DJ's rig. The guitar player from another band ran over with duct tape and as I was holding out my bass to the side I was still playing along getting the strap taped down to the bass. Thankfully this was before the Warwick.

Rocket: Now that's what the Marines call 'adapting to the situation'...hahaha. Let's talk about the new Ekotren EP entitled The Tables Have Turned, bro. When is it going to be available? And exactly how can the fans pickup a copy for themselves?

Sean: Ah yes, we just got our first shipment in and sold about half of them at our first show. We have seven tracks and hopefully it will be well recieved by our fans. We are trying to expand the options to purchase the EP so shortly we will be able to sell it over our website and of course, fans can pickup a copy at any of our shows.

Rocket: What are some of the upcoming Ekotren shows in June we need to be aware of?

Sean: We've got some shows lined up for June but we want to write some more material and tune up on some aspects of our show. June will be somewhat of a quiet month as for as shows, but very busy for us to make what we do better for our fans.

Rocket: Give a shout out to all your supporters, Sean. And thanks very much for taking the time out with me.

Sean: First off I'd like to thank everyone that supports EkoTren and all Metal bands out there. None of us could survive if it wasn't for you. I also gotta thank The Edge Factory, Metal Undergroud, Eddie and T, My family, Yates Studio, Bishop and Slim. Though I gotta shout out to all the people playing music out there to keep on doing it. Except for EMO, that shit sucks. Quit now and make everyone else happier.

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