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Interview with Hester Prynne!

Band: Hester Prynne
Genre: Deathcore
Q: When did you decide to start making the kind of music that you do? Any particular person who influenced your decision?
 
I think we all started playing in metal bands around the same time, somewhere around freshman year of high school. As far as influences, we all certainly had our own individual inspirations, but speaking for myself, I think my first influence in making our kind of music, and what truly motivated me to be a metal frontman all-together would have to be Slipknot and their self-titled LP. There was just so much raw emotion and vehemence on that album and it really sparked something in me from the first time I heard it.

The music seemed to become more livid with each verse, regardless of how heavy or tonally influenced the music was. I saw that you could do so much more to a song with vocals, that you could actually change the music entirely without a single difference in the actual instrumental composition. I realized vocals as something more than just an element of the sound, but as the forefront of it. To me, that band was Corey Taylor, and from that moment on I always wanted to have that kind of impact in a band myself.


Q: Where did you get the name “Hester Prynne” and why did you stay with the name?

The name actually started with the original members/founders of the band, none of which are involved any longer. I believe they were all in high school at the time and one of them had to read “The Scarlet Letter” for one of their classes. Obviously, they liked the name of the main character for their band, and so goes the rest of the story. We decided to stick with the name for a couple reasons. Mainly because we think it truly fits our music and our “image” as a whole.

The kind of outcast, black sheep of the town thing really suits us, as did it the original Hester Prynne. The second reason was because at the time we made all the member changes and were getting ready to sign with Torque, we had already established ourselves as Hester Prynne and all agreed that we should just keep it that way…so we did.


Q: You were signed with a label for your album The Goswell Divorce (2009), what label was that and why did you part ways with that label?

We released our first LP on Torque Records, which was more or less just a independently operated label with all it’s distribution, marketing, and label duties run through Victory Records. We chose to leave Torque after fulfilling our two-year contract because the label did not live up to it’s contractual obligations, and more or less just sent us into the studio and left us to fend for ourselves afterwards. Might I add that we paid for our first album entirely, and did not receive any help what-so-ever with the funding for anything we ever did while on that label. Not to mention, all the while not paying us a single dime for any of the records sold, nor holding up to any of the other promoting/marketing/management help for our band as their contract had promised.

So, to put it simply, we said “fuck you”, turned our backs, and never looked back.
After parting with the label, what happened with Hester Prynne exactly? It was known that the band split up, but no specifics were made.
After finishing our contract and opting not to re-sign, the band continued to try and thrive as independent artists, but soon found ourselves unable to afford and manage continuing as we had for the past several years with touring, recording, etc. We also had a lot of personal circumstances arise among a couple of our members that also contributed to keeping us from moving forward in 2011. I won’t go into specifics as to exactly what those circumstances are, but let’s just saw the long end of the law caught up with some select members of our band.


Q: Why did you decide to start a fundraiser for your upcoming new album Black Heart Market (2013)? Instead of the band funding it themselves?

We decided to start the Kickstarter project solely because both we and our fans wanted Hester Prynne to release a new album, and we just simply could not afford to do it on our own. Between our legal woes, debts, children, and minimum wage jobs (it’s hard to get a good job when you dedicated your life to being a traveling musician), there just wasn’t any room to fund another worthy studio album. So instead of putting together a press kit and trying to get back on a label, we decided to try something that seemed to be working out for other bands in our situation, and now here we are with a successfully funded project and a date to return back to the studio next year.


Q: What was your reaction and thoughts upon knowing that you achieved the amount of funds you needed to fund to Black Heart Market (2013), merchandise, and potentially funding a tour?

It was absolutely incredible to see the project come together like it did. We have always been amazed at the support from our fans from day one, and this accomplishment just furthered that astonishment to a whole other level. I think “fucking incredible” appropriately sums up our collective thought about our project’s success.


Q: Will there be any major differences between The Goswell Divorce (2009) and Black Heart Market (2013), sound wise?

I’m not going to say that the new record will completely re-define Hester Prynne as a band all-together, but I also can’t say that we haven’t grown as people, progressed as song writers/musicians, and taken on a whole new outlook and approach to our music, either. I will say that there will still be the core elements that drew everyone to the band in the first place, but at the same time – our fans should definitely expect (and look forward to) a new take on the music we love making for this next release.


Q: When can we expect a new single from Hester Prynne? If so, anytime soon?

Yes! We are currently in the process of setting up a little visit to a local studio to record a teaser track for the new album. However, at this point we don’t have any solid time frame as to when we will be able to drop it. We’re shooting for sometime in late December, but as I said, it’s still all up in the air at this point.


Q: Between now and the release of Black Heart Market (2013), what can we expect from Hester Prynne? Singles? More thought provoking essays from the vocalist?

“Thought provoking essays from the vocalist”. Hahaha, I love that. YES, you can expect a lot more of that for sure! But in all seriousness, we are aiming to get the ball rolling again for 2013 with the band as a whole, and have been talking about even possibly doing a home area show sometime at the beginning of the year as well and playing some new songs off the album. Other than that, we’re just going to keep writing new material, putting out new merch, and looking forward to the new year and the release of our long-awaited sophomore album.


Q: Have any shout outs to give?

Absolutely. We would like to send out a very special thanks to everyone who helped make our Kickstarter project a success. You are the sole reason we are able to record a new album, and also responsible for re-asserting to us just how supportive our fan base is. With that being said, we would also like to thank every single person who has ever came to a show, picked up a CD, or spread the word about our band to their friends. To every fan we have, to everyone who has ever supported us in any way – thank you. We owe every bit of our accomplishments and amazing times to you guys, and there isn’t a single thing in the world that can ever take that away.

This experience is something irreplaceable in our lives, and all of our fans are the reason we were able to achieve it. And last but certainly not least, we would like to give a shout out to our dear friend and the man responsible for recording and helping produce both our first release, as well as being signed on to do our upcoming one, Josh Schroeder of Random Awesome Studio. Josh is truly one of the greatest human beings we’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, no less working with, and he was also the one who pushed us towards doing the Kickstarter for the new album in the first place. He’s been an integral part of our band from the beginning, and we have so much to thank him for throughout that journey. So to our good friend Josh, thanks so much buddy….now get ready to help us make the greatest fucking metal album you’ve ever worked on



 

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Interview with Xehanort!

Band: Xehanort
Genre: Technical Deathcore / Death Metal
Q: Where did your band name “Xehanort” originate from?

From my favorite video game series, Kingdom Hearts! Xehanort is the name of the main villain in the series so far.

Q: Why did you start Xehanort, when you already produce music for Oscillator?

Well, my good friend Brett Ruch is the one who writes music for Oscillator. I just write lyrics, do vocals, and mix/master stuff. So I started Xehanort to write my own music!

Q: What was the majority feedback of your first EP Birth (2012)? Positive or negative?

Well, there generally wasn’t a large response. But what I did see was almost all positive.

Q: One particular band that inspired you to start producing music, instead of pursuing the normal type of career?

Well, I am pursuing a normal career as well. I’ll be studying Psychology soon in college! But no, no particular bands. The closest thing to an inspiration to start producing music would, I guess, be all my favorite bands. Between the Buried and Me, Periphery, The Contortionist, etc.

Q: Why is the video game series Kingdom Hearts an influence for you? Why not other similar video games, like Final Fantasy?

Well, I haven’t done too much yet with Xehanort. I plan to include lots of other influences as well. Shinigami, for example, was kind of a reference to an anime called Death Note. And my upcoming LP, Awaken in a Different Dimension, features a story that was majorly inspired by the video game Shadow of the Colossus! I’m definitely going to be covering some Final Fantasy ground before too long, as well! Kingdom Hearts is the predominant theme, though, because it’s my favorite game! It definitely had a big part of my adolescence and its themes are really apparent in how I express myself creatively, I think.

Q: Will there be any major differences between your 2012 release Birth and your upcoming album Secret Reports?

Well, I wouldn’t really call Secret Reports an LP. I guess that’s what I posted it as though, haha! Secret Reports will be an ongoing album containing miscellaneous songs that I write separately from LPs and EPs. As such, I’d like to think that songs will be “unlocked” as time progresses–it sort of reminds me of the way a video game works, haha. So far, I have two tracks written for Secret Reports. I definitely want to do more songs with Kingdom Hearts orchestrations infused, so some of the songs from Secret Reports will be like Birth, and others will not!

Q: Do you ever plan on doing a split album (or EP) for both of your bands, Xehanort and Oscillator?

No plans, but that’s a cool idea!

Q: Any plans on doing a live show, or a music video?

God, I hope so. As of right now, playing live or filming a music video are both a bit impractical [since I’m alone in the “band”] but it would be really fun to do so!

Q: For your upcoming album Secret Reports, do you plan on having any guest vocals? If you have any in mind, who would that be?

I may have guest vocalists on those songs, but since all the songs will be written and released as time progresses, it’s hard to make plans. As for Awaken in a Different Dimension, I did have a few in mind. I wanted to get Dan Thompkins for at least one track, because that guy has an incredible voice and seems very open to collaboration! Other than that, maybe the Volumes and/or Vildhjarta vocalists or Jonathan from The Contortionist. I doubt any of that’ll happen though, but I will definitely be contacting these people about it when the time comes, haha.

Q: Any shout outs you would like to give?

Yeah, I’d like to thank Josh Oxendine and Brett Ruch. They’re my guitarist friends who record my music for me! I really wouldn’t be doing any of this without them, since I don’t play guitar, haha! Also, to my new best friend Bayleaf, “hai d00d!”

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Interview with Shores of Acheron!

 Band: Shores of Acheron
Genre: Deathcore

 Q: Where does the band name “Shores of Acheron” come from?

The name Shores Of Acheron was thought of by our vocalist. He is really into Dante’s Inferno and so he figured since Shores Of Acheron was in the game and that it sounded cool, we would go with it. Reluctantly our current line up all agreed that that was the best name among many others.

Q: What lead you to play the style of music that you do?

The style of music stems from our personal backgrounds, as well as our beliefs.

Q: Any bands that influenced your decision to be in a band?

There are hundreds of bands that influenced me to be in a band, ranging from all genres of music. One band in particular I take a huge influence from would be In The Midst Of Lions.

Q: You’re new into the scene, why did you guys just start being a band and making music in 2012? Why not earlier?

We have all been in bands prior to 2012. We just have never been able to get such a serious lineup ever before probably due to our ages and the fact that it was difficult for us to get a steady job.

Q: What does it feel like to play live for the first time? Scary or exciting?

I remember playing live for the first time, I wasn’t scared but it was as if I my fingers wouldn’t cooperate correctly. It may have been a mixture of both.

Q: Does your family or friends support the music you make?

My family strongly supports the music I make, and I couldn’t be more thankful for it. In all honesty, it would be a lot more difficult without them.

Q: What do you do besides making music? College? Work?

I personally, work and are a full time student on top of managing our band. It is quite stressful at times, however, I feel like every minute of stress is highly worth it.

Q: What is your all time favorite band or musician?

I think that is the hardest question to answer and really do not have one set answer. As I said earlier I listen to all kinds of music and truly believe that each genre of music has its pros and cons that I try to incorporate in our music.

Q: If you could play with any band, broken up or not, what band would that be?

If I could play with any band right now it would probably be The Red Shore. They are broken up, but I really enjoyed the musicality of the band from all aspects. I am not to partial to their lyrics. It seems as if too many bands today write about the same negative message.

Q: Do you have any shout outs to give?

I would first like to give a big thank you too Pig Squeals And Breakdowns for giving us the opportunity to be interviewed. We really appreciate it. We would also like to shout out to all of the big supporters of Shores Of Acheron as well as our endorsement, Ascendant Apparel.

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Interview with Enemy AC-130 Above!

Band: Enemy AC-130 Above
Genre: Instrumental Deathcore / Metalcore
Q: What influenced your decision to start producing music by yourself, instead of forming the normal kind of band?

Well I had been in a lot of bands before and I was actually in one when I started recording my own music. I guess I just got sick of my bands never following through and always breaking up. Being a musician is what I’ve always wanted to do and I want it more than anything. Sometimes you just have to do it all yourself if you want it bad enough.

Q: Why have you not used vocals of your own in your songs? Do you prefer instrumental songs more?

To be honest I’m not comfortable doing vocals. There was a time where I practiced a while and was ok at them, but it’s just not me. Not only that but I found that a lot of people love the instrumentals. I would like to find a good vocalist that I think fits my music though. I can always upload both instrumental and vocal versions of my songs.
 

Q: If you could have your music used for one band, any band at all, what band would that be?

Oh man that’s a tough one. Well probably by one of my two favorite bands at the moment, either Northlane or Like Moths To Flames.
 

Q: What was your favorite person to work with thus far?

I enjoy working with everyone. I do a lot of work with my fans and I like to get them involved if possible. As for known musicians I’ve been working with Shawn O’Brien from Above This for a while and I’ve done some stuff with Zach Norman from Beyond Our Eyes. Both are great guys and have a lot of talent.

Q: Will there be any major differences your fans will notice between your first EP Enemy AC-130 Above (2011), and your upcoming new album Illusionist (2012)?

Oh yes, for sure. My old stuff was… well not very good haha. The structure of the songs was all over the place and the quality was kinda awful. My new stuff is more technical and sounds a million times better. The music style has changed a bit too. Some people have said that my music sounds like deathcore mixed with metalcore elements, and a bit of djent influence here and there. I guess I agree haha.  I’m trying to create the best music I can for my fans.

Q: Are you more excited to release your new album now, than what you were for  your first EP?

Definitely. This feels more like an official release and I also have a way bigger fan base now. I’m usually not the one to brag but I think everyone will be blown away. Like I said I’m not rushing this. I’m taking my time and making it sound as good as possible, while trying to add some unique stuff as well. I hope everyone is excited for it!

Q: Why have you chosen, up until now, to release your music for free?

I feel like you have to sacrifice some things if you want to make it far as a musician. For me money really isn’t  important. I started making music by myself just for fun and the quality was pretty bad so obviously I wasn’t going to make people buy it. Since then I have progressed to a point where people say my recordings sound pretty professional. 

 
There has to be point where I start making a little money off of it if I want to continue making music. I’m not expecting to make a lot of money, just enough to help me keep recording and such. But at the same time I just like making music and giving it away and hopefully making every ones day a little better. My dream is to make music, not to make millions doing it.

Q: Can we expect new and free downloadable singles in 2013?

Yes for sure! I already have some cool new things in the works for next year! I can’t wait to show everyone!

Q: What are your plans, musically wise, after Illusionist is released? Work on a new EP for 2013?

Well, I’ll probably take a short break then go back to my usual style of releasing a new single every once in a while. Then possibly at the end of 2013 start a new EP depending on where my life is at the point.

Q: Any persons, companies, or bands you would like to give a shout out to?

I’d like to say thank you to my mom for supporting what I do. Also thank you to anyone that has shared my music and helped me get to where I am now. I am truly thankful to have such awesome fans and people supporting what I do. I love you all.

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Interview with Thy Art Is Murder!

Band: Thy Art Is Murder
Genre: Deathcore
Q: Where does your band originate from?

Western Sydney

Q: Why did you decide to play the style of music that you do?

I guess because I enjoy the energy it brings and the heavy low tuned fast riffing really does it for me.

Q: What bands did you listen to growing up, and did some of those bands influence your music now?

Got into a fairly wide range of metal and rock acts such as AC/DC, Metallica, ect, but bands like Children of Bodom and Hatebreed really drew me down the road of heavier music. I still listen to them these days and they still see to inspire me to write.

Q: What bands, that may be surprising to your fans, that you enjoy?

Dredg, might seem a bit weird to some. Amazing band.

Q: What do you think the major difference is between your first released album The Hole Isn’t Deep Enough (2005), and your newly released album Hate (2012)?

The band matured a lot since then with our structuring songs and as players individually.

Q: If you had a chance to bring back one band, which band would that be?

Despised Icon

Q: Are there any instruments that would you like to learn to play, that are not already played in your band?

Saxaphone

Q: Favorite album of all time?

Perseverance by Hatebreed

Q: How do you feel about fans illegally downloading your album?

I don’t care… but a band on CD sounds so much better!

Q: Any particular persons, companies, or bands that you would like to give a shout out to?

Halfcut records crew, everyone at the machine shop and everyone who has bought our music.

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