This has been quite the year for the Technical Death Metal band Cognitive. From releasing their latest self-titled album to opening up for Between The Buried And Me at The Theatre of Living Arts, these guys show no signs of stopping at all. Their newest self-titled released should not be missed at all, and if you were a fan of their previous offering “The Horrid Swarm”, you will find plenty of tunes to satiate your thirst for heavy, technical music.
With that aside, the album expands upon what the band has done with their previous EP, and made it ten times bigger and more grandiose. Songs like “Blood Hungry” and “Worlds Beneath” show off how the band has progressed in the two-year gap between releases. There are also songs that break up the intensity like “Oceanic Erosion”. This is a more ambient track with acoustic guitars, and a sample of ocean waves playing. This is a good break in the album, and then goes into my personal favorite “Willingness Of The Week”. What stands out about this track are the guitar and vocal work, with vocals ranging from high-pitched screams to low screams, and the guitar having a slight echo effect.
Overall, Cognitive has delivered the goods and released quite the album. If you haven’t already checked it out and you’re a fan of technical death metal bands, DO NOT pass this up.
Check out: Willingness Of The Week, Affliction Humanity
The Artwork Of//Interview
The Artwork Of is one of those bands that has to be seen live in order to be truly understood. This band sticks out in my mind as the true hardcore band in both stage presence and musical quality and is here to stay. This band hales from the Glassboro, NJ area and consists of vocalist Kevin Marcoux, bassist Jeff Rattay, Drummer Jesse Lieurance, and guitarists Amir Berry and Franco Spadea. I was able to hang out and talk with them at their EP release show for the latest EP “The Road Ends//The Road Never Ends”. You can find it on their bandcamp at theartworkof.bandcamp.com.
Dead End: How Long Has This Line-up Been Together?
Kevin: September 27th was when we finalized the line-up as where it stands today.
Dead End: Tell Me About The Recording Process With “The Road Ends”
Kevin: So, basically the idea was that when we wrote everything, which we did relatively quickly, we wanted to get it recorded so we can get it out as quickly as we can. We recorded in Jeff’s basement, which is lovely for recording. The whole recording process was faster than what it normally is.
Amir: This album was a lot darker this time around, and we had a lot of things we had to address on this record, killing off the old The Artwork Of. Honestly, it went a lot faster than what I expected and Jesse broke a lot of things, but that was expected.
Dead End: Explain the “Derek” Storyline
Kevin: I wrote the Derek storyline, which began with our EP “Derek’s Coming”, and it’s pretty much about the music scene in New Jersey at the time, which was about two years ago. I actually wrote it before “Hipster Couch” came out and at the time, everyone who plays music in the Jersey scene knows how the scene was. The new record was an extension to the story that I intend on writing because our band quit while we were on tour [Last Summer], so we had to rewrite it and kill off the Derek storyline.
Dead End: Tell Me About The Old Line-up
Kevin: The old line-up: The band started out as a four-piece with Alec, Meals, Jake and Myself. Early last year, we decided to grab Amir and put him on guitar to fill out the sound. During our tour with Me Versus I last summer, the band quit in Jacksonville, FL, and they couldn’t put as much time into the band, because they were all going to college and pursuing other life goals, which put Amir and I in a very interesting situation, and I had to go on tour with another band and left Amir with the responsibility of putting together a new line-up.
Dead End: Any Big Plans For This Year?
Amir: Overall, the plans include releasing another 4-track EP relatively soon, and then tour, and then release a full-length and then possibly do another tour. Two new tours and EPs are our goals for this upcoming year.
Kevin: We’re working on a summer tour with Meraki/Toska and possibly Menopaws. A second tour, if that does happen will be with Aviator [Massachusetts].
Dead End: How do you feel about what Grandaire Booking has done for the South Jersey scene? Also, tell me about Bolsheviktory.
Amir: By meeting Grandaire, I realized how disjointed the scene was. Everybody was always talking about the local scene, but nobody was really doing anything about bringing it back. I’ve been in this area for a long time, and Hammonton was completely dead. Then, out of nowhere, Jose and Mike revived it and we love what they’re doing. They take care of us, and they’re all good guys and we got to meet a lot of cool people along the way.
Jesse: I come from Ocean County, New Jersey, and the scene up there is a lot of generic metalcore bands or acoustic indie singers. Coming here, Grandaire shows were the first few shows I started going to, and I got to meet a lot of cool people, and those people gave me the confidence in what I do and I made a lot of good friends. I’m in a band now because of the people I’ve met through them, so it’s a lot of good hangs.
Franco: I was used to the Skater’s Choice scene, while it had a few good things going on like the draw of people, it had a lot of negative energy between lots of people. The scene that Jose and Mike created is very supportive, where people just come out for the shows and are always keeping people together, and Alex Bradley Photography.
Kevin: North Jersey music is generic, and I moved down to South Jersey five months ago to escape that, and Jose and Mike created a family that we are a part of. Bolsheviktory is a collective that was able to grow with Grandaire’s help, and includes all of the bands in the area which range from Your Persona, Teethforteeth, Me Versus I, Meraki/Toska and others. It was a D.I.Y. free label that I had started up in Princeton about six years ago, and decided to bring it back from having it on the back burner for a while. It seemed to make sense to bring it down here with the community that was already established. It’s essentially friends helping out friends.
Be sure to like The Artwork Of on Facebook and check out their music catalog on Bandcamp. This band gives 100% in their performance and their music and is worth a listen.
Massachusetts has always had an array of excellent acts come from there over the years, with notable bands such as Defeater and the now defunct Have Heart. Enter the band Aviator, a 5-piece hardcore band from the Boston, Massachusetts area who have gained a lot of attention from various record labels and music collectives. The band consists of five members all hailing from the Boston area, and consist of vocalist TJ Copello, drummer Aviv Marotz, guitarists Mat Morin and Mike Russo, and bassist Mike Moschetto. I was able to sit down and interview them at their Hammonton, NJ show and talk to them about their endeavors as a band, and their views on different local scenes and being a touring band.
Dead End: Where are you all collectively from?
Mike Russo: [Mike Moschetto ] and I are from North Andover, Massachusetts which is north of Boston. Aviv is from Salem, Massachusetts, Matt is from Georgetown, Massachusetts and TJ is from Kingston, New Hampshire and we meet and practice in North Andover.
Dead End: How long have you all been a band for, and why should people listen to your band?
Mike Moschetto: It will be five years in September.
TJ Copello: I don’t have a reason as to why you should listen to the band, but if you like us, listen to us because we really care about what we do and we do it not only for us, but we do it for our fans as well.
Dead End: Who would you all cite as your influences when it comes to writing music?
Mike Russo: I’d say earlier on, a lot of Thrice and As Cities Burn.
Mike Moschetto: We all kind of draw from all over the place; We recently released a cover EP and we chose songs that were important to us, and they’re all early 2000s and mid-2000s melodic hardcore and indie bands, so that’s where we’re pulling from now, and our obvious hardcore roots.
TJ Copello: As a vocalist and a lyric writer for most of the time, I honestly get a lot of inspiration from the bands that we’ve covered on our 5-song cover EP, and we covered the band Piebold because I love them. I also listen to a lot of underground and old school hip-hop too. I feel like that is important to mention that, because I rhyme a lot in the songs, or at least try to.
Dead End: How different is Boston’s music scene from the other music scenes you’ve all experienced?
Mike Russo: The biggest thing I’ve noticed is that in Boston, I feel like people are harder to impress out there [in Boston]. I came here [New Jersey] and I wasn’t used to seeing people have as much fun as this crowd did, and that was really impressive to me and I kind of envy that because I wish we had that back home; and TJ has never had a hug in his life until that night. Before a handful of VFW venues got shut down in our area, a lot of the types of shows were just all the same. It would be all one block of the same genre, like metalcore or pop-punk, there was no mixture at the VFW shows. We would sometimes get thrown in there and we’d be the odd band out and it was kind of weird. There are a lot of cool basement venues in Boston and north of the city, throwing together some great shows. They pull a lot of people out, but it’s very difficult, for us, to pull at least 30 people out to a show.
Mike Moschetto: We’ve never played somewhere new and had people preemptively excited to see us, and I thought that was amazing. We have these kinds of VFW halls, but they all stopped playing shows for whatever reasons.
Dead End: Do you guys have any big plans for this year?
Mike Moschetto: We recorded a full-length in the fall, that we’re kind of sitting on and we’re going to release it this year. We don’t know when we will or how we will, but hopefully by late spring or early summer and then tour and hit all the areas that we haven’t gotten to yet. My personal goal is to play 42 of the 50 states this year. We’re actually playing this really awesome festival in April in Illinois called “Skeletal Lighting Fest” which is a label that put out a tape for us last year, and we’re playing with Circle Takes The Square, Reptilian, and Annabelle, and all of these other incredible bands.
Dead End: How do you feel about Grandaire Booking and the shows they throw?
Mike Moschetto: 5 thumbs up! If any of our shows were half this good, it will be a good tour.
Mike Russo: They made a really good first impression and I was really happy that we played and the bands we played with and the people who came out. I love it!
Be sure to check out Aviator on Facebook and download their music from the Bandcamp. They’re all good guys and are worth a listen and a download!
It’s a rare thing to see someone who is passionate about the local scene, the bands that make it up, and the fans that keep it going. It’s also even more rare to see that same person treat the music scene as fairly as it does. Enter Grandaire Booking, a DIY booking company based out of Hammonton, NJ. They are a company that prides itself on providing some of the best shows in the Southern New Jersey area. I was able to sit down with Michael Pezzuto, the owner/founder of the company recently to ask him about Grandaire’s future and the history behind the company.
Dead End: What is the premise behind Grandaire and what do you wish to accomplish with it?
Mike: Grandaire wants to have the best shows possible, with the most people, with good vibes and we just want to have a good time, without the need of a bar venue. We want to bring it back to the basements and where the music really started, from the ground up, just to show everyone who is unfamiliar with us, that the music is still alive, and it’s not what goes around music, but the music itself.
Dead End: Being the CEO of this company, how do you run Grandaire and how do you go about setting everything up?
Mike: Either the bands hit us up, or Jose (Vice President) and I go to different shows and find bands that fit into our scene, more fluently. We then go out and ask a bunch of places that would be a good environment to have the show at. We started out at The Shed, and we’re doing the DAV and the Puerto Rican Civic Union in Hammonton, and other places with stages where people can gather around, and then we work out all the numbers, set up the bands in the appropriate order and then we have ourselves a bangin’ show.
Dead End: Tell me about “The Shed”
Mike: I had an old shed, and we were going to a lot of shows and we were recording Your Persona’s EP, and a couple of bands from Pennsylvania hit us up and they were trying to throw a show in Hammonton (This was before Grandaire was official), I didn’t ask around for a venue, so I was in my backyard and we were fixing up The Shed, and my friends said that we should build a stage inside and have some touring bands who didn’t have anywhere to play. So, we started having shows in my backyard, and I wanted a basement feel to the shows, but I lacked the resources required for that. Everyone loves it and people have told me that these are the best shows we have.
Dead End: When did Grandaire officially start?
Mike: Grandaire officially started in the beginning of 2012; we had three shed shows, and we needed more space, bigger bands and more people at our events. It took us weeks to come up with the name “Grandaire”, we originally had Finder Keeper, and then the day before we had the shows, I said “It has to be Grandaire”.
Dead End: Where did you come up with the name “Grandaire”
Mike: We don’t have much money, so we have enough resources just to get through one or two shows at a time. We don’t have that kind of money to be throwing around in advance. Once we become more successful we’ll have more, but we’ll always go back to the DIY selves. We’re “Thousandaires”, we can only do so much. A lot of people don’t put that together, so we call ourselves “Grandaires”. We do it low budget, but the best that we can.
Dead End: What bands have you previously worked with?
Mike: A couple of bands that I appreciate are Pine Barrens, number one. I love when they throw shows. Moss Fighters, they were on my first show, Your Persona, teethforteeth, Mallard from PA, Parkwood, and our collective show with 1787 Collective, Little House Booking, and Jumpzone is going to have Me Versus I, Your Persona, teethforteeth, and more.
Dead End: How are you guys different from other booking companies in the South Jersey area?
Mike: I’m just working from the ground up, and I’m not taking examples from others. I’m working my way from the ground up, and it seems to be working out very well. We have a fanbase of our own, and we’re building a scene of our own. Paul Brown (of 1787 Collective) does a lot of footwork, and I see other companies rely solely on Facebook to promote. We’re out there working with different people, going out to different schools and targeting younger generations to help us out with promotions. We’ll hand out fliers to different people and they’ll promote in their area, that way we have every base covered. We’re more about making a community, rather than getting one big show out there.
Dead End: What does the future hold for Grandaire Booking?
Mike: We have a festival coming up called “Sadfest”, which is going to be a charity towards suicidal and depressed teens and adults. We’re going to talk to “To Write Love On Her Arms”, and see what they want to do with it, because it is a good idea to talk to different organizations, because we’re not sure what we’re going to do. We’re going to have both local bands and bigger bands on this show, and it’s going to be a sick event. Once we get connections with those labels, we can start throwing more shows with bigger names, and make connections with those labels.
Dead End: Anything to say to people who want to make a better scene?
Mike: I would tell them to contact me, throw my name on the show, and we can start working together. If you want to do an internship, that would be cool. If you have any information, contact me either on Facebook or email at Grandairebooking@gmail.com
Be sure to check out Grandaire Booking and their upcoming events, and get involved in the local scene with them!
After completing their tour and announcing their biggest show at Mayhem Fest 2013, it is easy to say that the South Jersey Metal quintet Burial Mound are at it again and are only going to get bigger from this point. I was able to hang with them last week and ask them a few questions regarding their plan for the summer and going into 2014.
Dead End: So, you guys just got done the “Bloodbound and Down” tour. How was this tour different from last year’s tour?
Mike: Our previous tours were only weekenders, whereas this tour, we were on the road for two weeks straight hitting different states that we’ve never been in like South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio, and Kentucky to name a few. We tried our best to spread our name out this time.
Nick: We definitely had to get a lot more personal with each other more, especially with the fact that we didn’t have the luxuries of sleeping on a couch or having a shower to go to or even a sink to use. We were sleeping in Walmart parking lots every night. The nice thing about it was that we did get a few people to let us crash at their place for the night, and we met a lot of people that we never thought we would be friends with, but by the end of the night, they turned out to be the coolest people in the world.
Joe: One thing I think that was really different about this tour than the previous one, we were doing three or four hour drives before, and now we’re going to different states. The scenes out in those areas are shockingly different from what we have here in New Jersey. In metal, we have a scene where someone puts on a show, gets bands to play and people just want to come out. In certain spots, there isn’t much of a local scene for kids to come out for the smaller bands. We got to experience how different each state’s scenes were.
Dead End: You guys played in numerous states on this tour. Which state was your favorite to play in?
Mike: Kentucky. Of course, nothing beats a hometown show, our tour kickoff in Clementon, NJ was the best and coming home we played a show in Trenton, NJ at Championship Bar. The tour started off at Harper’s in Clementon and the show was booked by Fresh 2 Deaf Productions, led by Rob Wharton (Guitarist of Cognitive). Rob helped us out with booking the show and going through with it and it turned out to be an awesome show. When we came home from touring for two weeks straight, we played at Championship bar in Trenton, NJ from Nice Guy Booking. That show was the battle for Mayhem Fest, which we actually ended up winning. It was one of the best ways to possibly end a tour and the crowd there was awesome, and the energy was right on point. Middletown, NY was also a really good show, but Kentucky was the best.
Nick: I definitely agree on Kentucky, there were kids trying to pull down lights and hanging off of chains and other things, it was just crazy.
Dan: I liked this Kentucky show, and we got thrown on last minute and it was a variety show. The first band was a crust punk band, the second was this rock and roll band, and then we go on. There was this tip jar going around, and this guy was asking for money. As soon as we got off stage, the tip jar had $45 in there, and it started at $6 at the beginning of the night. People really dug it and as soon as our third song played, the whole place was packed. Also, the people in Kentucky were just awesome. Besides that, Tennessee was cool, other than the show we were on bombed, the people were very nice and down to earth.
Dead End: Any pre-show rituals?
Joe: We try to stay very level headed before each performance and we try to save the partying for later. Also, a lot of this is about prepping your gear, making sure your guitars are in tuned, and to also make sure you stretch vigorously and be limber.
Dead End: You guys are playing Mayhem Fest this year. How stoked are you guys? Also, if there is any record label you guys would want to be signed on, what would it be and why?
Mike: When the judges announced Burial Mound as the winners, it was a dream that came true. This was the one big thing I’m able to cross off of my bucket list. This is the chance of a lifetime that nobody gets, and we are so happy that we get that chance. We just want to thank everybody from Sumerian Records who are doing this, and they sit there and watch every band. They are very professional with this and will critique you to the bone. This is a life changing moment for us as a band. As far as labels go, there are Century Media and Metal Blade, because we feel that our genre would fit in with them. Just having those labels look at the locals and show interest is really good.
Dan: I’m just really psyched to be playing a big stage in front of hundreds of people. I’ve been playing music since I was 14 and I’ve only played in front of maybe 200 people, and to be playing on the same show as Children of Bodom, Rob Zombie, Machine Head and it goes on. Just to be a part of that and have that opportunity, only good things can come out of this.
Joe: Even though we are only on the one day (Holmdel, NJ date), we have to make those 20 minutes on stage count. It’s scary and it’s completely amazing to be a part of this and this is the opportunity to be playing this show is amazing. I would really appreciate a label that would look at us and see what we’re doing so more people can check us out and help us move forward. In short, a business contract is a business contract.
Nick: It’s one of those things that you look at because we’ve been going to Ozzfest, Mayhem Fest, and Warped Tour for years, and to finally get a chance to play on something like that is very surreal and crazy, and we’re going for it. I don’t normally keep my eye on for a specific label, as long as someone is able to work with us, we would want that. We are a very self-sufficient band, Mike booked our tour, manages us and for somebody to help us out and fund tours, that is what I would want to go for.
Dead End: How are you guys going to prepare for Mayhem, and what bands are you most excited to see?
Dan: Pretty much, we’re going to prepare for this like how we do with other shows. We’re most likely going to practice one more day a week and get as tight as possible. I’m most excited for Children of Bodom and Rob Zombie. I’m really excited to see how Scorpion Child holds their ground, and I think that they’re going to bring it.
Joe: I’m super stoked to see Machine Head. I saw them play with Metallica and it was a mind blowing performance. They’re a tight band and I can’t wait to see them up close and hopefully get backstage. Of course, other bands on the bill like Mastodon, Rob Zombie, and Butchered Babies are going to be awesome to see.
Mike: Machine Fucking Head. That’s who I am stoked to see. The other main bands that are playing are all going to be awesome. This is a festival where we fit in the most, and our type of genre is perfect for that. Another thing I’m excited for is that Toothgrinder will be playing alongside with us and it’s awesome that Sumerian is giving us a chance to show who we are.
Dead End: Any new music in the making?
Mike: There is a lot of new music in the making. It’s melodic, but heavier, faster and slower all at the same time. It’s kind of like a machine and we’re just tweaking everything we got to make it better.
Dan: We have 3 or 4 new ones that we do play, but we’re trying not to play them out too much, that way, we can create some suspense to our set. Nick and Joe actually have made our first 7-String songs that we are trying to incorporate into our set. We aren’t going to play anything new live until we have it down.
Nick: With the new material, we’re trying to push our boundaries, which is our main goal. We don’t want to take the EP and mimic it in a sense. We want to challenge ourselves and we have to sit down and practice. We’re keeping the 7-string song under wraps because we want to have a couple more tracks to compliment it, but we don’t want to fall into the phase of falling into that and having people compare it to a lot of other bands. We are also getting a lot more involved with our writing as well.
Joe: I’m really stoked about the new 7-String material. It’s lower, but it’s a clean sound with clarity to it. I like that because you don’t have to be tuned down all the way in order to be heavy. In short, you can be heavy, without tuning so low.
Dead End: Is there a new EP in the works, and if so, what are you guys going to do with that release, that you couldn’t do on “With Honor”?
Mike: We don’t have any plans to return to the studio any time soon. We’re still fine tuning our songs, and completing the songs that need to be written. We’re still debating whether we want to release this as a full length or an EP. The most important aspect is whether or not we have a label backing us up on this. If we do this ourselves, we have to finance and distribute everything ourselves. With a label, we’ll be able to get things moving along much quicker. I feel as if with the last EP, we did a great job planning everything out. It wasn’t rushed, but there were still moments of “crunch time”. With the next release, I want to take a little more time in the studio. The last time we had our CD release planned, we actually picked up our CDs the day of our CD release show. I just want to have everything set and done, before we even announce anything. I don’t want to set a date until everything is sorted out.
Nick: We’ve been bouncing around the studio idea, but we’re trying to shoot for more material. We’re going for a full-length rather than another EP. My game plan is to have enough material where we can do what we want to do with this next release that we couldn’t when we released “With Honor” last year. If we have a chance to release a full-length album that will give us everything we want to do. If we’re able to do a full-length, I’d like to incorporate some interlude tracks, that way it can be used to carry you to the next track of the album. When we released “With Honor” last year, we sat down and listened to each song and said that we want this in this order that way it flows. As musicians, we do want to have a couple of interludes where we can kind of go out of the box, and make that whole album carry through.
Joe: I still think we can push our last EP much further than where it is at now. We just finished a two week tour, and just barely got that out into the Midwest. The west coast hasn’t gotten it yet and I feel as if we can push it farther than it’s ever been pushed, and I think we’re going to do that. As far as producing another physical copy of an EP, we’re more along the lines of releasing a full-length, hopefully having some kind of backing. “With Honor” still has room to grow as far as getting more people to listen to it.
If you’re going to Mayhem Fest in Holmdel, NJ this year, be sure to check out Burial Mound’s set and pick up some merch from their table!
My First Castle//Interview
It’s a once in a while experience to see a band that is not only from outside of your area play in your town, but have them feel like they are natives in your hometown. Enter My First Castle, a Math Punk band from the Washington D.C. area, who have been touring and playing shows for the past three years. Their sound is reminiscent of acts like Tera Melos, Coheed & Cambria, and Thrice, and they truly are a very interesting band in the style that they play. This group consists of vocalist Eddie Rorls, bassist Michael Feldmann, guitarists Zachary Alexander and Chris Marion, and drummer Matt Duane. I was able to catch their set at Grandaire Booking’s House Show and sit down with them to talk about the band, the recording of their album, and other endeavors.
Dead End: Where are you all from, and how long have you guys been in the band?
Michael: I’m from Gainesville, Virginia, which is thirty miles outside of Washington D.C. I’ve been in the band for two years and at one point, I left the band for a couple of months and then I came back.
Eddie: I actually joined the band last year in July, because when I officially agreed to be in the band, which was right before tour. Since then, I’ve been in and during that time we went by a different named called “Sinatra”.
Chris: I’ve been in the band for about three years. We started in August of 2010 and Zach and I were the last original members remaining.
Zach: I’ve been in the band since August 2010. Chris and I are from D.C.
Matt: I’m the newest member and I joined in October, back when were called “Sinatra”. I’m from Gainesville, Virginia, as well as Mike. He [Mike] hit me up to join this band and I’ve never heard of them before or knew any of the members personally. They pretty much asked if I wanted to play drums for them, and I said “sure!” and ever since then it’s been a match made in heaven.
Dead End: What genre do you guys consider yourselves?
Michael: Math Punk.
Eddie: Honestly, when I first heard the band, I was like “Okay, they’re technically Math Rock”. There are many experimental elements to our music, but more so, I get the very technical aspect more so over anything else, so I was like “Okay, this is a Math Rock band I’m joining”.
Chris: I’m going to go with Math Punk, but I’m also going to say we have some old school hardcore influences and a little bit of metalcore here and there. We all came out of some interesting music tastes that vary between all of us, and it’s respectable.
Zach: Math Punk is cool, I like experimental post-punk as a title, but that sounds very jerk-ish of me.
Dead End: So, you guys were originally known as “Sinatra”, why did you change the name?
Michael: On the internet, people kept mistaking us for Frank Sinatra, which I assume Spotify had linked up Frank Sinatra’s music with our Facebook page, which added too many fake fans, and we were due for a name change because the line up and style of our music changed. Actually, some guy told our guitarist [Chris] to go to hell, because apparently he called us “talentless freaks”.
Dead End: Who would you guys say are your influences when it comes to writing music?
Michael: Rush, Outkast, Tera Melos, Senses Fail, Misery Signals, Beyonce and HORSE The Band
Eddie: For me, it’s Zach Books. He had a jazz album in 1996 and at some point his band broke up, and that is when he decided to start “What a Night”, which is one of my influences. It is a huge influence in my music and it brought me back to when I was into Stevie Wonder. As far as vocals go, my biggest influence is Blindside from Sweden. Actually, when I started doing vocals all together, I paid a lot of attention to his blend of screaming and singing. As far as bands go, I’m into Tera Melos, Maps and Atlases and Deez Nuts.
Chris: I think my biggest influence is a wonderful man that goes by the name of Gavin Castleton. He’s put out several different albums spanning from Rap to Punk to whatever he wants. There are some songs that sound like they came from the 1950s and you would only hear them in the movie “Stand by Me”. As far as more contemporary bands go, the band Native, who are good friends of ours, and Octaves; a band that I wouldn’t be anywhere without them guitar wise, and Led Zeppelin. I’ve been listening to them for the past two years and they have shaped me as a guitarist entirely. Tera Melos is another influence, because without them, I wouldn’t be able to embrace the weirdness we have at times, because you have to embrace it.
Zach: Octaves, Senses Fail, Guns ‘N Roses, Led Zeppelin, Senses Fail again because they’re my favorite band ever, Pianos Become The Teeth, So Many Dynamos, probably more Senses Fail, Zach Roach [of Senses Fail] as well as Garrett Zablocki, Dave Millar, both guitarists, and Buddy Nielsen because he’s a great lyricist and has been a huge influence in my life. For this album that we just released, I’ve been influenced by Rush because of our bassist, and the album shows a lot of progressive vibes because of that, so Mike Feldmann is a huge influence.
Matt: As far as drums, Misery Signals, August Burns Red, As I Lay Dying, Austrian Death Machine, Rush, Led Zeppelin, Doobie Brothers and Kansas. As far as songwriting goes I like weird stuff like Radiohead, Modest Mouse, Maps and Atlases, Meshuggah, and Dave Matthews.
Dead End: You just released your album “Everything, All At Once” last month. What was the recording process like?
Michael: It took about six days. The first two days were drums, the next day was bass and the rest were for guitar and vocals. It went pretty smoothly.
Eddie: At some point in the guitar tracking process, I was feeling a bit down, because at that time, I went through something very detrimental to me and it bothered the hell out of me when we were recording, because my ex-girlfriend lived there, and I was pretty bummed out. Nonetheless, I was still amped about recording vocals for the songs. So, after they had finished tracking a good amount of the songs, I asked the engineer if it would be okay if I did vocals for a couple of the songs because I was just feeling it. He told me it was fine, so I started to record the vocals, and the first song I recorded for was “High Fives through Walls of Tigers”, and then at some point Zach said “Listen, it would be awesome if you could record another song because we need to cut down on time, we’re behind. Can you do one more song without anything?” I said that it was fine, and I wasn’t too keen on a few songs. I didn’t originally have words for “Matt and Phil” or “Penguin”, so I decided that I was going to do “Repellers Pelican”, so I recorded vocals for that song, the entire way through, nothing else. The engineer was sitting there, as I was tracking and said that there was nothing wrong with any of this. Turns out, he actually leaned back in his seat and just listens to me track the entire song all the way through, and then I added a couple of parts, but a lot of songs were completed within the regular process of recording.
Chris: For me, it was an interesting experience because I was pushing myself so hard to write things that I’d never really like thought that I could write personally and, a lot of stuff I just came up with on the spot, just not liking what I originally wrote and I pushed myself really hard and came up with a lot of things that blew my own mind. I don’t understand how they came out of me and that may have been kind of a pain in the ass. Throughout the recording process, I came up with a lot of riffs that I really personally enjoyed, and it was some of the best stuff I have ever written, from my own stance. I’m proud of how the album came out and the writing process was a hell of a good time and the writing process was even better and I think everybody showed that they had progressed since the last album, and the guys who weren’t there just blew our minds with what they have created.
Zach: Recording was fun, it was great. Kevin was an asshole but he pushed me to the point where I haven’t been pushed before recording and he made everything sound better than what it has before. He was a coach, and he coached me on how to not be a pussy, it was really easy and the album was written in about 46 degree weather from midnight to 3 AM, in a storage unit. It showed that a lot of effort went into this and it was a lot of fun recording.
Matt: For me, this was the first time I’ve ever been to the studio, Kevin pushed us all and I’ve been a stickler about the album, and he talked me into improvising and going with what I was feeling. I recorded all of my drums first.
Dead End: Where is your favorite state to play in, and do you guys have any crazy show stories?
Chris: First of all, my favorite state to play in has to be either New Jersey or California; those were my two best experiences. We’ve played about three shows in California last summer and they were all awesome. Every show I played in New Jersey has been amazing. But, last year, right outside of Los Angeles, we played a show and a buddy of our vocalist came out and I guess he just moved from Baltimore to Los Angeles and he had a nice little prescription marijuana card. So, he brought us a joint of legal marijuana, and I smoked it with Eddie. I immediately died afterwards, on the curb, because it turned out to be laced with a certain type of hash oil, which you cannot find in Virginia, but you can in California, in stores. I slept for a good twenty hours, it was amazing and I was way too high to function.
Zach: Our favorite place to play is definitely here in New Jersey. Every single time we’ve been here we’ve had nothing but a great time, regardless of any silly situations getting here or leaving, it’s been an incredible experience. It’s been awesome every time we’ve played here. My craziest show story is what happened a few days ago where we decided to play a festival, which was a two day long festival of a lot of craziness and a lot of wild people where I got to see people fall asleep in front of their tents, I saw people who didn’t understand what the north star was, and I got to understand that people are crazy and we live in a wonderful world, and that is by far the best show we’ve played, beside the Jersey shows.
Matt: My craziest story is definitely the last time we were in New Jersey. I’m new to the band, so I’ve only played like ten shows with these guys. The last show we played in New Jersey back in December was my favorite, you all threw down and it was a great attitude and you all know how to have fun.
Eddie: My favorite place to play, which is with consensus to the rest of the band, Hammonton, New Jersey. It is seriously how I imagined it, because when I was growing up, like getting out of high school and getting into bands like The Early November and other bands from here and also the Drive-Thru Records movement. When I got into it, I imagined that it would be like that, because the scene is so cool and everybody is so nice and supportive and all the kids just go crazy and throw down extra hard. Being on stage with some of the best musicians I’ve ever met and playing these amazing shows, this is what it kind of comes up to, like the proudest moments of my life, playing shows just so happened to be in New Jersey, and I owe it to my band. My favorite show story is when we played Santa Rosa with a band called State Faults. We ended up pretty much shredding the show down, we finished our set and as soon as we finished, the bassist of State Faults walks in and tells us the show got shut down and the cops are here. So, we pretty much were just hanging out for the rest of the night and the next morning, the band we were touring with Au Revoir, is the first out of everyone to wake up and the girl hosting the show thanked us for playing. She wanted to give us something, and drops what he thought was a ball of lint. He puts it on the ground not giving a shit, and a couple of hours later, everybody starts to wake up and he told us that the girl who hosted the show handed him a ball of lint. Chris looks at it and he takes it and tells us that it’s a huge nugget of weed, I’ve actually heard about a few minutes after it happened.
Michael: My favorite place to play is definitely southern New Jersey. The craziest show that I’ve ever played was in Kalamazoo last August; we went on tour with Au Revoir. We pull up into Kalamazoo, and it’s a college town that is in the middle of the woods and it’s a weird place. We were hanging out a few hours before the show started and it turned into party city, where everyone was partying in the streets, and we were playing a house show. This girl comes up to us and tells us to come inside and drink with her and her friends. So, she gives us tequila shots when we get inside, she’s wasted out of her mind and we asked her for her name and was “Sara” (She pronounced it Saura), she worked at Hooters. While she’s getting drunk, she looks at Zach and me, she says she wants to take body shots off of us and we rejected it. The whole tour, Chris and I made a goal that were going to find acid somewhere on tour, and we thought we weren’t going to find it, but the guy who promoted the show sold us acid, and it progressed from there.
Dead End: How do you guys feel about what Grandaire Booking has done to get all of these bands to play and to bring a local scene back?
Chris: I think Grandaire Booking has done some amazing things for us and for other bands. This is the third show we’ve played for those guys and they’ve all been good shows with excellent turnouts, great people and they were just huge, and it’s been amazing in every single way.
Eddie: Honestly, This is my second time playing here and I’m pretty sure this is my second show with Grandaire. Honestly, it feels like the scene never left, if Jose is bringing it back then he fucking brought it back. They did an amazing job, this place was popping, and if any other bands are trying to come up in a big way and are coming to New Jersey, they NEED to hit them up, because they came through literally every time, and I owe them so much for that.
Zach: I’ve played four shows here, three for Grandaire and one for Jumpzone Shows; they had decent turnouts with good people booking them. We honestly thought, when we first met Jose, we thought he was some wild and crazy guy wearing a gas station shirt, and he hooked it up. He followed through and started a great movement for what he’s done for this area. Without shows, music and no way to express yourself, you’re going to have angry kids beating each other up and being in gangs. He’s done a lot for the area and I love the kid to death.
Matt: This area has the best attitude, when I come here, people just want to have fun and support us, and come to our show. That’s all I want out of a good show.
Michael: As compared to other shows we’ve played in general, Jose put all of them to shame with how good of a promoter he can be and the first day we met him, before he started this, we played at Jumpzone in Sicklerville, NJ. He then hit us up to play a show under his new booking company, we played it and it was one of my favorite shows and every time we come through here, it gets better and better, and we owe a lot to Jose.
Be sure to check out My First Castle over at Facebook and give their album “Everything, All At Once” a listen. These guys are truly one of my personal favorites from out of state and they’re worth a listen. Be sure to check back on here for when they’ll be touring again!
Dead End: So, It’s been about four months since the last interview. How have things been since?
Anthony: Since then, we have started recording and playing two releases, we upgraded our gear and we are in the process of booking our summer tour.
Chris: We did some scratch tracks and we’re solidifying our parts.
Pat: I’m almost done tracking my guitar and then we’re going to finish Ant’s guitar, then drums and then the other stuff.
Dead End: How far along are you guys as to recording the EP? Also, do you have a name and release date for it yet?
Pat: We don’t have a name for it yet, and as far as recording goes, we’re doing it in a weird order. We always do it in weird orders, but I’m actually tracking my guitar first and we’re almost done that and we only have a little bit more to go, and then we have to track all the other instruments. Also, some of the drums have to be completed. As for a release date, we want to do it right, so we’re going to record it and see when that happens. So, when it’s ready, that is when we will release it.
Anthony: As far as real songs goes, everything is written, except that some of the lyrics have to be completed. Most likely before the year ends. We’re shooting for the fall for a release.
Dead End: If there is any band you would want to open up for, who would it be?
Pat: I really want to play with Code Orange Kids. I would also love to open up for Every Time I Die.
Anthony: William Bonney, mewithoutYou, any of the No Sleep or Topshelf records bands like Deafeater, Pianos Become the Teeth
Chris: I would love for Underoath to get back together so we can open up for them. I would love to open for The Devil Wears Prada. I know they aren’t in our scene, but they’re just nice guys and it’d be cool to open up for them.
Dead End: How have the last few shows been?
Anthony: The last two shows have been the most successful and immediately gratifying and productive. But, we haven’t practiced before them, and everyone says we’ve been getting tighter.
Pat: We’re recording now, and we haven’t practiced in two months. So, our first show back, we didn’t practice beforehand, and after that, everybody kept telling us how tight we’ve gotten.
Chris: The crowd has been yelling back our lyrics more, and that’s really cool. We don’t even have to sing “Jacket” because the crowd does it for us.
Dead End: What is one things you guys want to do with this EP, that you couldn’t with “I Felt Like Fire”?
Pat: Well, first of all, the recordings are going to be so much better, and a lot of the time with the first EP, there was a lot that we wanted to do but we couldn’t. When we opened up for The Bled two years ago, we didn’t have the first EP but, if we did, we probably wouldn’t want to show it to them because it didn’t sound professional as we wanted it to. With the next EP, we want to be confident in showing it and being excited about it. With the first EP, it felt like we didn’t have a solidified sound, and with this next EP, we want to have more of a unified sound coming from all of us.
Anthony: The one criticism we took to heart of “I Felt Like Fire”, was that it didn’t really “flow”, and it felt more like a collection of songs we compiled together that we wrote, so Pat and I would write a song, and it didn’t feel fluid and this whole next thing we’re doing, we wrote together and all of the songs come from the same place. Its fluid, it works and I’m just so excited.
Chris: People will cry. We are definitely going to try and get somewhere with this album, and we’re all getting progressively better as a band.
Be sure to keep an eye out for teethforteeth’s tour dates this summer! It’s going to be a good one, and be on the lookout for their next EP, coming later this year!
Cognitive// Horrid Swarm Review
Technicality in music is very hard to find in music today, especially among the local scene. So many bands seem to just blend in with the crowd and emulate a sound that is familiar, without adding something new to the mix. Enter Cognitive, a South Jersey metal act that brings technical death metal to a scene, and brings a new level of musicianship in the process. Their EP “The Horrid Swarm” came out last year and it caught many metal fans with excellent musicianship and a sound that can appeal to both Death Metal and Deathcore fans alike. Let’s break this monster of an EP down and see what makes this band so different from others.
The first track on this 5-track EP is “In the Form of a Drone”, and this is an excellent opening track, because it showcases right from the start, what this band is about. The band’s sound is akin to the technical death metal act, Between the Buried and Me with the use of a very technical guitar and drum work. What stands out the most in this track is the level of technicality you hear in the guitars, which are some of the best I’ve heard from a metal band. Their vocals remind me of Whitechapel’s Phil Bozeman, with the deep and guttural vocal growls, accompanied by their vocalist having vocal layers to give the band a more full and rich sound.
The second track off this EP is called “Falling Skies”, which is one of my favorites off of this one. The song begins with a rainy backdrop, with a vocal sample of a man talking about weather patterns. About twenty seconds in is where the song starts to pick up, opening with a very precise and technical guitar introduction, while the sample is still playing. The use of ambient guitar is very interesting because I rarely hear it in metal bands today, and it gives the song a more ambient tone and is a perfect change of pace from what was offered earlier. In short, don’t skip this track, it is a very solid one with a lot of variety throughout which will appeal to many different fans of the genre.
The third song off this EP is called “Numbered and Slaughtered”, where the band shows off a more Deathcore style in their music. Right off the bat, I hear a very strong Whitechapel influence, with Cognitive’s own technical sound, which makes this another excellent track that appeals to both Deathcore and Death Metal fans alike. The blend of both genres is a great feat for a metal band to accomplish, and it shows how versatile the band can really be.
The fourth song off this EP is called “Essence Oblivion” and this one really stands out as the band’s heaviest track. The track opens with an explosion of both music and vocals that really gets heavier as the track goes on. Thirty seconds in, the track slows down and grooves more than their previous songs. This track shows off how experimental the band can be with its combination of both grooving and technical guitar work, and for a song in the metal genre, it is a really impressive one as well, and shows that the band can also groove and play heavy at the same time.
The final track is “The Horrid Swarm”, which they hold nothing back in making it a damn good closing track. They combine three different aspects in their music, a technical side, a groovy side, and a Deathcore side that all blend seamlessly into the song. The thing that stands out the most is the vocals and guitar work on this track. The vocal range from being lows to highs, which add a lot of variety to the song, and is a change of pace from the guttural vocals that we’ve heard earlier on the album. The guitar work is my favorite on this album combining many different styles into one, creating a sound that is truly unique and different from other metal bands in the area.
Overall, this EP is solid, and should NOT be missed by any fan. This is what metal should sound like, and Cognitive have showed me that being technical and experimental are completely normal. These musicians take risks in their music, which make it a much more exciting EP. If you are a fan of bands such as Whitechapel and Between the Buried and Me, you should give them a listen.
Be sure to check out Cognitive on Facebook in the link below for show updates and much more!
People rarely find bands that truly stick out amongst the expected. However, there is one band that truly deserves attention, and they are known as Moss Fighters. This four-piece Electronica/Dance/Jam band is known for their super catchy songs which get everybody dancing and having a fun time in that process, so if you love dancing and having a fun time, you will LOVE this band. The members who make up this troupe are Keyboardists/Synth Players Jeremy Browne and Greg Wood, Bassist Mark Paulson, and Drummer Weston Rinker. I was able to catch their set at Hammonton’s Teen Arts event recently and asked them about the band and other endeavors.
Dead End: When did this band form? Also, your group was originally known as “Squirtle Squad”, why the change?
Jeremy: The band formed in October in 2009.
Mark: As far as the name change goes, we were afraid of Ash Ketchum suing us.
Greg: We don’t want the Pokémon people breathing down our necks if we got famous, you know?
Weston: I’m still down for it because I’m a Pokémon master.
Dead End: What genre do you guys consider yourselves?
Jeremy: I really couldn’t put like a traditional title to the genre, we like to goof around and we call it “Mosstronica”, “Fantasycore”, “Experimental, Alternative Bleeps and Bloops”. We replace the guitar with synthesizers but we’re still a rock band.
Dead End: Greg told me that you guys have an EP coming out this Summer, what is the recording process like?
Greg: So far, it’s been a real pain in the ass. Because, we’re trying to do it ourselves, we don’t want to go out and pay people and spend money, we want to try and do it ourselves as much as possible. We’ve been recording in my basement, which we like to call “The Moss Pit” and we try to set up. But right now, Jeremy can tell you about his recording equipment blew up during recording.
Jeremy: So, I got an interface to do a home studio album, and everything breaks. That’s why; you go to a studio and pay the money that you pay, because their equipment works. It’s hard doing it yourself, but I feel as in the next 2-3 years we’ll put out a full-length.
Dead End: What kind of shows do you guys play?
Weston: We play with a lot of Metal bands and Pop-Punk bands and it’s kind of fun. People like to get down, a lot of people leave, but we don’t care because it’s fun. When you see us, you experience both delicate and heavy.
Greg: We try to make our shows an experience, like you go into a regular rock show and you’re pumped up, and when you see us, it’s a good aside to dance to us before you throw down to the other bands. It’s a way to exercise your brain and your smiles.
Jeremy: I say that it’s a combination of dancing like a fruit cup and a rhino, you got both.
Dead End: What is the song writing process like for you guys?
Jeremy: We usually write a letter on the board and then if that’s a key, we’ll write it in that, and hopefully we all know how to write in that key. We actually bash our heads with these things a lot. It takes us four months to write a song.
Greg: It’s more or less just Jeremy, Mark and I sitting down, tossing things to Weston as he drums, and we all sit together and play it until it sounds right. It’s a pain in the ass though. Everything takes much longer than anticipated with us.
Dead End: What makes your band different from others and why should people go and check you guys out?
Jeremy: Because we don’t sing about whiny bullshit and we don’t yell garbage that is indistinguishable.
Greg: Moss Fighters is more about us not playing our music for you to listen to, but more for the audience to dance to. That’s the whole experience, we don’t sing, we just try to make the environment as fun as possible where people can just be themselves.
Dead End: Any big plans for 2013?
Greg: Hopefully, we can get this EP out sooner or later, that’s number one on the list, and number two is to play a bunch of shows.
Jeremy: We aim to get the EP out by the end of the year, which is our main goal. We also want to get some merchandise for the fans as well. Everyone else is turning 21 so if you want to come and get drunk with us you can.
Dead End: How do you all feel about Grandaire Booking and what they’ve done to revive the local scene?
Greg: Grandaire is the shit. We’ve been hanging out with those guys for a bit now and they always put on great shows. We want to be part of what they’re doing because they’re trying to bring a local scene back to the Atlantic County area, where bands can just bring music in the garages and the basements and bring them to the kids who want to hear it.
Jeremy: I’d say Grandaire is one of the closest things we have to family, as a musical unit. They’ve been supportive since day one, and I see a promising future in Grandaire and a little bit of saturation in South Jersey.
Weston: I fucking love it. They’re great guys, and it’s really homegrown. They’re taking it upon themselves to really set up shows and play music and bring it to people who want to hear it.
Make sure you check out Moss Fighters out on Facebook at facebook.com/mossfighters and keep a look out for their EP coming soon!