Catching Up With Mike D’Antonio Of Killswitch Engage- An Interview

January 7, 2012

Musician, Song Writer & Graphic Designer Mike D’Antonio has been a driving part of the Metal/Hardcore scene since the inception of his first band Overcast in the early 90’s. Since then he went on to form the immensely popular Killswitch Engage and the rest is history. In the folowing interview Mike discusses his involvement and experiences with both bands, his graphic design company DarkicoN and more. Enjoy!
The following interview was conducted 3/21/12 via email so please excuse any lack of flow in continuity.

The Mike D’Antonio Interview

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Their Teeth Did Brightly Shine- An Interview With Dylan Carlson & Andrienne Davies Of Earth

January 3, 2012

Earth recently reissued an album of early recordings, A Bureaucratic Desire for Extra-Capsular Extraction. Groundbreaking and baffling at the time of its original release, it marked the band as pioneers of a distinctive sound that continues to bloom; with each new studio album, they evolve. Openness to and experimentation with sound and instrumentation ensure Earth’s ability to remain consistently interesting and undoubtedly unique. 
The most recent sonic shifts are driven, in part, by changes in line-up and instrumentation: joining guitarist Dylan Carlson and drummer Adrienne Davies on the recording are cellist Lori Goldston (Nirvana, David Byrne, Black Cat Orchestra, etc.) and bassist Karl Blau (K Records, Laura Veirs, Microphones, etc.). The touring band will feature Carlson, Davies and Goldston,with Angelina Baldoz on bass.

For its new album, Angels Of Darkness, Demons of Light: I, Earth returned to Avast studios to work again with producer Stuart Hallerman, producer of many iconic Northwest recordings, including the seminal Earth 2.

Heavy, lush and melodic, it draws inspiration from folk-rock bands like the Pentangle and Fairport Convention, and the North African Tuareg band Tinariwen. It is deeply textured, interlaced with fluid, nuanced improvisation. Angels acknowledges Earth’s jazz-infused Americana of 2008’s The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull as well as their singular, epic, glacial heaviness.

The long, droney arc of Angels’ tracks maintain a mysterious surface tension above its mysterious churning waters. The instruments weave in urgent dialog; the guitar snarls, whispers and roars, the drums loom like a mountain range, the cello howls and the bass answers back. They reveal both epic fullness and highly crafted counterpoint. In Carlson’s words: “To me we’re less Wagnerian and more Debussy-like now.”

The following interview was conducted via phone on 1/30/12.

The Dylan Carlson & Adrienne Davies Interview

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The Automaton In Us All- An Interview With Dino Cazares Of Fear Factory

January 1, 2012

“They said that the world was coming to an end. Well… it ended and it was caused by our own hand. The world just kept on turning.” – anonymous

With those words begins The Industrialist, a new chapter in Fear Factory’s career of ideas and extremes. The follow-up to 2010’s critically acclaimed Mechanize, The Industrialist is a vital chapter in the history of one of the most over-achieving bands in heavy music. It’s the Fear Factory machine at its most confident and passionate, bringing every sonic weapon in its arsenal to the fore.

The shadow of the Los Angeles born band has loomed large, writing the book of industrial metal that has gone on to influence the likes of Rammstein and inform such stalwart noisemongers as Ministry. Fear Factory also merged the idea of melodic vocals erupting from death metal screaming long before it became modern metal’s de-riguer. Over the course of a many storied career that’s seen the success of five critically acclaimed albums plus a remix EP and album, Fear Factory has had a career of creative and commercial success, selling over three million records worldwide: they’ve also been plagued by bitter infighting and have emerged from it all in 2012 with a new alloy of aggression.

The Dino Cazares Interview (more…)

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My Interview With Dessa Of Doomtree

December 19, 2011

Dessa’s first full-length record, A Badly Broken Code, introduced her to a national audience as a rapper, a singer, and a potent, imaginative lyricist. It earned a binder of superlative reviews from sources like NPR, The Seattle Times, and AM New York. To tour the album, she assembled a small cast of talented instrumentalists to re-interpret the disc for a dynamic live concert. Part rap show and part cabaret, the elegant presentation charmed both audiences and critics—not a negligible feat in hip hop, a genre with its share of purists.
Castor, The Twin captures these new arrangements for ten of Dessa’s strongest previously released songs. It also includes “The Beekeeper,” the haunting advance single from Dessa’s new album due in 2012. Vibraphone, piano, viola, mandolin, and stand-up bass give the record a classical, sometimes orchestral sound for a beautiful and somber effect. The album is immediately identifiable as an intimate recording of live players, with fingers sliding on frets and raw, expressive vocals. The organic instrumentation pushes Dessa’s lyrics forward, showcasing the imagery and narratives that define her as a songwriter and an emcee.

*The following interview was conducted via email on 12/18/11. – C. Grosso

The Dessa Interview

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Grieves & Budo Interview/Show Review 12/6/11

December 8, 2011

It was a chilly and damp December evening as my friend Breeze and I made the trip up to Arch St Tavern in Hartford, CT where Grieves & Budo were scheduled to make one of the Northeast stops on their “On The Rocks Tour 2011”. On the way to the show, I checked in with their tour manager Colin to confirm our scheduled interview. He notified me they may be running a few minutes late as the venue was a different style they were accustomed to and they were trying to work out the logistics of the nights forthcoming show. Having never been to Arch St Tavern I wasn’t sure what to expect and after speaking with Colin I became a bit worried.

 We arrived at Arch St around 6:30 to find more of a restaurant than music venue. As we walked in I noticed the bar area was filled with middle aged white men and women in suits and other formal attire eating dinner along with cocktails. I surveyed the rest of the room and noticed a very out of place Grieves & Budo sitting in a booth eating dinner. Upon my second call to Colin, he said everything worked itself out and we were back on schedule for the interview. As he escorted us to the bus where we’d be conducting the interview, I casually said something to him along the lines of, “so this is an interesting venue for you guys” to which he could only reply, “um, yes”.

Colin brought us on board and made the very pleasant introductions to Ben (Grieves) & Josh (Budo). Immediately upon beginning the interview, I was impressed with Grieves and Budo’s honesty, openness and humility. They shared candidly with me about the stress of being on the road more days out of the year than not, being the young bucks on the Rhymesayers label, gangsta rap and much more.

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