Sunday, April 13, 2008

Interview with Beyond the Citadel of Coup de Grace

Last month, Tucson based, Beyond the Citadel of Coup de Grace released their second EP titled "Bang! The Whiskey Mask". The band, consisting of Cree (Vocals), Luke (Bass/Vocals), Bandrew (Guitar/Vocals), Blake (Guitar), and Randrew (Drums), created this follow up to 2006's "Touche" with Nando Rivas, Matt Grabe (Goodbye Tomorrow, The Maine), and Cory Spotts (Job For a Cowboy, Bless The Fall, Greeley Estates). We wanted to catch up with the guys and chat about the CD, but you know the excitement that surrounds a new release. These guys have been super busy, but were kind enough to answer a few of our questions via email:

I am curious as to how you came about the name of the band as well as who came up with it. We did some digging and it seems very complex.

The name literally translates to a time of which we almost weren't a band. After having abruptly disbanded from a previous group, we were left in ruin with plenty of ambition to carry forth. We would not let such an endeavor hold us back from our imaginative will. In light of our survival the name thrives off of the stories that we create and or choose to journey back for recreation. What lay beyond the tale is to the fate of what we decide. - CREE

This isn’t your first cd. Did you find it easier to go thru the process this time around?

This time around, it wasn't necessarily easier, but it was a lot more thought out. We took our time writing the songs, and then when we were done, we did pre-production (which is demoing out all the songs).

Following pre-production, we tore the songs apart. Then after that we listened to a bunch of cd's we liked and picked who we wanted to work on the cd with. But to be honest, I think it was a lot more difficult because we knew exactly what we wanted to get out of it this time around. - Bandrew

What was your biggest challenge while in the studio?

Recording drums is always a stressful event in the studio. It sets the tone and energy for the entire recording. Without that strong basis to build off of the recording is already at a great loss. An artist can do whatever they wish with guitars, bass, vocals, keys, etc but if the drummer is not tight, energetic, and comfortable with the songs it will reflect greatly in the finished product. After the drum tracks were finished for BANG! we all felt a big sense of relief in that the foundation had been successfully laid.

Personally though, I felt that recording vocals was extremely stressful for this recording. On BANG! We chose to explore more melodic vocals and to pick and choose where to place our aggressive vocals for a greater impact. If it weren’t for the 6 months we spent on writing and pre-production there is no doubt in my mind that the album’s vocals would have been absolutely horrendous. Songs like Six Led One took a great deal of effort in putting the vocals together. In addition, I hadn’t begun any formal vocal training before this recording so I was attempting vocals in ways that made it much more difficult. - Luke

Who laid the least amount of tracks? Was it because he is a super badass?

Well we all have diffent jobs when it comes to laying down tracks. But If I had to say anyone it would be Me or Luke. The reason I would say "me" is because we had such a short amount of time to lay down drums, so we did the drums as fast as we could to get them to sound and feel just right. Luke I would also say laid the least amount of tracks as well is because Luck does kick ass on bass and can usally take only a few tries before it sounds amazing! - RANDREW

Any interesting or weird stories you would like to share while recording?

well there was this 16 year old at this one show...


We once locked our van keys in the van in Darango and we broke out a window and pushed me through. The window was smaller than and airplane you could imagine - RANDREW

It would be a toss up between three things without a doubt…

1. Ted the bunny…

2. Blake as a flamboyant massing member of Avenged Sevenfold…

3. Randrew’s Spiderman shrine/recording session…

I think these items should be left to the reader’s imagination. Or just ask one of us about it as some point…


What is this “zombie story” behind Bang! The Whiskey Mask?

Amidst a southwestern wasteland a Bandit turns rogue when his expectant love is brutally seized and sentenced to death. Failed by the cruelty of man, he becomes a reckless Gunslinger festering with crude emotion eventually leading to his capture. Imprisoned to the world consuming itself in rising graves, a Priest offers him freedom in exchange for his fealty to a nearly extinct humanity. Mutating by each pulse into a monstrous fiend, he obliges solely by revenge and hunts for Three Relics destroying the undead his hate spawned over many reclusive years. The journey leads him to Hell where the truth splits him into a human Gunslinger and fully mutated zombie abomination, an eerie showdown where the human Gunslinger sacrifices both entities of himself to a single Bullet of redemption. Bang! - CREE

You seem to have put a lot of thought into a story revolving around this, did Touché have a story and are the interconnected?

Touché was a concept loosely based around Beauty and the Beast, but became a near fiasco in its continuity. I tend to envelop myself in my writing so much to the point I’m overwhelmed into oblivion of thought and idea. It's incredibly difficult to tell a cohesive story in just a few songs. I attempted to cram so much information on the first album (Touché) that it may have just convoluted itself. Using fewer words with more meaning, I focused more on conveying the intent and emotion of "Bang! The Whiskey Mask". The theme was to translate love in a way you could hardly fathom; fact is more people fall in love with the idea of love as opposed to love itself. - CREE

I am addicted to your video series and I love the idea of connecting with your friends/fans this way. How much time do you spend working on this and who is doing the filming?

One day, we all just thought it would be fun to make some decent videos to put online. We wanted to make them as ridiculous as possible, and I really think we captured the ridiculousness.

We really just wanted to show all our friends/fans that we aren't a bunch of jerks, and that we joke around a lot. As far as the filming/editing, I did all of it, and we probably spent about 4-6 hours making each of the videos. - BANDREW

You seem so busy; does anyone in the band actually have time for a “day job”? Anything interesting?

I'm server at an Italian restaurant. I also deal in black-market exotic animal sales - BLAKE

I personally don't have a day job, but cree is a piercer, and tattoo apprentice, randrew is a manager at an italian restaurant, and luke works at a mexican food restaurant. Nothing too interesting. - BANDREW

I work at Red Sky Studio, which is an art gallery that offers mediums such as tattooing, piercing, animation, and design. It's a marvelous export for much creativity, which could easily be transmitted into music. After all, music and art parallel one another with compliment to their genius harmony. I'm free to explore the palette of possibility more freely here than any other mundane job. Do what you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. - CREE

I am sure there will be lots of shows to promote the new cd… what can we expect at a live show?

In addition to the ultimate shredtacity that can only be appropriately witnessed at a BTC show, you can also expect plenty of vocal squeaks and on-stage clumsiness which usually results in collision and if you're lucky, some nasty blood spillage!!! - BLAKE

What is in store for you in next 6 months?

We have a lot of great stuff in the works right now. You will know all about everything in a few months. Basically, just get excited. - BANDREW

Last Words...

Thanks you for taking your time to talk to us 2mara, and thank you to everyone who is reading this. We love you and we wouldn't be anywhere without you. And don't forget to order our new cd "Bang! The Whiskey Mask" - BANDREW

You can purchase the new EP, "Bang! The Whiskey Mask" on Itunes,, SmartPunk, Napster, or emusic. Check the band out on MySpace for upcoming information on touring, new music, and video updates!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Interview with This Century

Spring is known as being the time of birth, growth, and probably the best time of the year to release a brand spankin’ new EP. I received word that This Century was planning to release a new EP the first week in March, and I was able to catch up with Sean Silverman to see what’s going on with the band formerly known as Evident Earth. Altogether, Sean (guitar) and his brother Alex Silverman (bass), Joel Kanitz (vocals), and Ryan Gose (drums) have been playing together for about a year. With their latest addition, Van Ruskin (guitar), This Century is on the eve of releasing their second EP, “Look What We Made”

Unlike the ”2007 EP”, which was produced by Ryan Baker (RX Bandits, Sounds of Animals Fighting, Escape the Fate) in California, “Look What We Made” was produced by Matt Grabe (The Maine, Greeley Estates, Beyond the Citadel) locally. With this second EP came more time to work on creative subtleties like the addition of strings, a choir, and percussion. All of which were tricky to attain, but the band seemed to be up to the challenge.

“The moment for me personally,” says Sean,” when we were recording the choir in his [Matt Grabe] living room. I think THAT was the moment when I was like, ‘Yeah this is really cool.’ I can't believe we actually convinced people to come down, you know, ten kids to come and sit in a living room and sing choir parts for us. We taught them the parts, and Alex wrote them out. It was great! Then when we heard it on the recording, it was so cool... we shouldn't be able to have access to this.”

As far as song writing goes, it seems to be a collaborative effort, with each member of the band having equal opportunity in the song writing process. “Everybody working together, I think, makes the music more interesting and more mature sounding,” says Sean, ”Having an active interest in the band puts you at a different perspective when you’re performing it, recording it, everything... because then you feel like you've got more ownership of the music.”

Although the new track titled “It’s Not You It’s Me,” released early on the band’s Myspace, has obvious jazz influence, “You'll hear it even more so when you get to listen to the new EP” states Sean,” It's more apparent in some of the other songs. The whole movement of the band is jazz and funk. That’s the fusion of the stuff we are working on more now. I don't think it will necessarily stay there, but the jazz thing definitely will. It's a huge part of our lives and definitely a style we've been very influenced by the last couple of months.”

This second CD titled “Look What We Made” is set to release March 8th. Although This Century will be out of town for the release, Sean informed me that they wanted to pick a weekend in March where they could spend some time sending out orders. “I know everyone likes iTunes and is in love with digital media,” says Sean,”but every CD we did we made from hand. From top to bottom, from the cover to the CD itself, is every ounce of US doing it. We spray painted everything ourselves, we taped and stamped and numbered everything ourselves, so hopefully that will be motivation for people to purchase this CD.”

Although collecting CDs may be something of the past, This Century understands that some of us still hold these trinkets close to heart. “I think for us,” says Sean, “We understood people aren't going to buy tons of our CDs, but we feel that you lose something if you don't have something personal to physically give somebody. This was a way we could do something for the people who really desired it. Literally every single one has us involved in it; it's not a machine, it's what we want to give you because we think you will really enjoy it.”

While most members of the band are balancing school, work, and band practice, Sean assured me that it actually helps him better manage his time. While right now out of state shows have to go in accordance to school schedules, look out this summer. I think This Century has some plans up their collective sleeve.