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Interview With Ekotren Band

Cape Coral, Florida's EKOTREN has had one of the most successful year's in recent memory for a metal act made up of all twenty-one year olds. They have been touring the lights out of their Florida area scene in support of their debut EP 'The Tables Have Turned' and are getting ready to enter the studio for the recording of their first full length effort. I had a lot of fun conducting this interview with their band manager, Eddie of The Edge Factory and the entire Ekotren band. They are guitarist Keith Finnell, bassist Sean Fiene, Eric Pottle on drums, DJ/keyboardist Steve Chin and vocalist John Sheldon.

Rocket: What a great year this band has had. You've been getting a solid response on your debut EP 'The Tables Have Turned' and played the Vans Warped Tour. Let's go down the line with each bandmate and I want to hear what's been the biggest highlight for you guys in 2006.

Eddie: Indeed, this year has gone well for us, and really has been a lot of fun! And I know you asked for a response from each one of us on this question, but this is one of those where we all can truly say we are in full agreement that playing the home show(Fort Myers) with Ankla, Diecast, and Nonpoint to a packed house and really getting an amazing response, did it for all of us! That was just one of those nights, all went right all was great.

Rocket: You guys have played with some real cool bands, like Nonpoint and Diecast, to name a couple. I'd like for each of you to tell me out of all the bands you've shared the stage with in 2006, which one made the biggest impression on you and why?

Keith: Silent Civilian because they are really down to earth guys and great musicians, oh yeah they also know a thing or two about partying! And to top it all, their guitarist Marcus had a bad ass tattoo of Dimebag Darrell.

Steve: Ankla first of all they are all incredibly cool guys, and they have a really unique style with the Latin influence, the drummer and percussionist, it just really impressed me…really great live band.

Sheldon: 32 leaves, great guys and when we played with them, the lead singer was damn near death with the flu and honestly the show was under promoted, they went on late as hell because of some early show ran long, well to make a long story short, he went out there rocked out, and even sick he sounded great.

Fiene: Diecast, great musicians and really cool guys. Really melodic but still heavy, and great stage presence!

Eric: Skindred, Those guys were just fun to hang with, great style, and very tight performance.

Rocket: I know Ekotren is working on some new material for your first full-length. Who have you chosen as producer and engineer?

Eddie: Well, we are currently doing some preproduction, and in December we are back in the studio to work on some new tracks, but this time we have hooked up with Paul Trust. We really like Paul's work with Diecast, Endo and others, and after hanging out with the guys from Diecast at a home show, we hooked up with him. Paul will be producing and also engineering most of this project.

Rocket: Sounds killer. What studio are you going to use for recording?

Eddie: We are lucky because we get to do all the recording in South Florida. For the drum recording we will be at The Dungeon studios in West Palm. The vocals, guitars, keys and bass will be laid down at Yates Studios in Ft. Myers.
Then the mixing will go back to The Dungeon.

Rocket: Do you have a title for the next album yet?

Eddie: As of yet we do not have a title. After the project is complete, we are sure that we will come up with one.

Rocket: That leads me to this next question on 'theme' for the new material. What can we expect there? I mean, 'The Tables Have Turned' was pretty dark... and dealt with violence among humans.. brutal sorts of scenarios. Are you going to keep going along those lines? I don't expect this band to become Hansen all of the sudden. Ha! But I am interested to hear about the direction you plan to take with that.

Eddie: We don't really know where or what direction the new material will take us. We let the music speak for itself and let the listener decide on what kind of mood the music makes them feel…but we do like dark and brutal!

Rocket: Ekotren is still on the hunt for a record deal. Let me ask you guys. A lot of bands really stress about the fact that they aren't signed yet to some label that's gonna take care of all their worries, so they think. This band really seems to embrace the D.I.Y. method, I know with a great manager behind you like Eddie at The Edge Factory that you have the best possible support in all those areas due to him... and you've done fairly well at selling your merchandise out at shows and from the internet. But are you guys at all stressing about getting a record deal in 2007?

Eddie: Like a lot of unsigned bands out there, we are looking for a record deal. But we know the reality of this game, and these days its not easy touring the country without some sort of support. But that being said we are not here stressing about a deal. When it comes, it comes. Like you said, we have the D.I.Y. mentality, and we are more than ready to do this on our own if we have to.

Rocket: If you guys were offered a record deal with the biggest label in the world... I dunno, Sony or someone like that. But they wanted you guys to be the next Avenged Sevenfold let's say.. who obviously change their marketing and look for the band every damn week to stay popular in the mainstream eye. Now we're talkin about a lot of money.. and getting to tour the world immediately.. and all those fringe benefits. But you couldn't be THIS band. What would each of you say to that kind of offer?

Eddie: Major label deals are all enticing, but what we really want is a deal that will help develop us, and to get a deal like that sometimes you have to sign to a smaller label, and build a following…bottom line is, we want and plan to be around for a while, and not just be another “it” band.

Rocket: Not to stay on such a serious path in tone here, but one of the things I dig so much about this band is that at such a young age you all really seem to have depth of character. The lyrics alone from your last album speak to that greatly. Musicians in a sense, like art obviously, mirror life through their work. What is it ultimately that this band is trying to say with it's music?

Eric: We are just trying to convey what hear around us. The events that happen around us stick with us and then we let those emotions out in our music. It's not so much just one kind of meaning or message that we are trying to make, but a lot of experiences expressed in all of our songs, and yeh sometimes we come out dark…but these are dark times.

Rocket: Okay, let's have some fun. I know with all the touring that Ekotren has done this year around Florida that there's got to be one of those horror stories of things that either went wrong at a show.. or maybe something that a fan said to you that made you feel happy or mad. I want each of you to tell me what single memory you can now look back on and say, 'Man, that was a trip!"

Keith: Driving down I-75, nodding in and out, Fiene is driving my truck and I open my eyes to see him swerving from lane to lane with traffic all around us. The other guys were sleeping so they didn't know how crazy it was. Funny thing is he was doing about 90mph too!

Sheldon: While we were playing in Bradenton, I had this stomach flu the whole week and during the set I hit a scream too hard and I shit in my pants a little, lol. It wasn't even the end of the set. I had to do the rest of it with wet ass!

Rocket: I knew this was gonna be good! Hahaha. Hell yeah!

Steve: While we were in Orlando playing the Warped Tour, we left the hotel room to go to the venue and when we went to the trailer the door was open and someone had broke into it. I don't know why, but the only thing they stole was our tent. It sucked, but it could've been a lot worse.

Rocket: Who the f#@! steals a tent? Hahaha.

Eric: We were leaving a Battle of the Bands in West Palm and on the way back it was pitch black outside and extremely dark . I was nestled up in the back of Keith's car laying down enjoying life and the ride was so quiet. I was about to start sleeping and then I heard a few noises from the seat ahead. I then turned my head to see the most horrific sight in my life. My eyes couldn't focus fast enough, but all I heard was "LIGHTS". It became very bright in the car and all I could see was a lot of ass and nuts and veins, lots of veins. I hate Steve!

Rocket: Oh man, this is classic! You dudes are killing me!

Fiene: We were playing in Tampa and Bradenton and during the trip we had three flat tires. One after the other, all the tires kept on going flat. Kept on delaying us from getting to the venues and it was really dangerous driving on trailer tires filled with Fix-a-flat.

Rocket: Now you guys all seem to really get along as if you were brothers it seems like to me. With all the rigors of touring around from spot to spot and dealing with the stress the music business can cause for many different reasons, what keeps you guys going? Do you hang out after band practice and shows or like a lot of bands, do you pretty much call it a day in that respect once the final note of a jam rings out among you?

Eric: We all try to hang out as much as possible, grab food, go to shows etc, but we have to balance it out with work also. But honestly with practice, and the all the shows we really do spend a lot of time together.

Rocket: What are some of the upcoming Ekotren shows we need to watch out for before the year is done?

Eddie: November 16th, and 17th with Ankla. The tour will be in Naples, Jacksonville and Bradenton. We also have a New Year's radio show coming up.

Rocket: Thanks for answering my questions and having some fun. I wish this band nothing but the best of luck moving forward. Go ahead and each of you give shout outs to your friends, family and supporters.

Sheldon: We would all like to thank our families and friends. The Edge Factory , Rocket, 99x, Zito and Garrett, and what would we be without our fans out there! We would also like to thank Ankla, Diecast, and all the bands that we have played with this past year.

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