Saturday, November 2, 2013

Lionel Pryor Interview - June, 2013

A band that I've been following the past few months, and shot some footage of back in June, Lionel Pryor combine elements of all sorts of genres into a mash up of material performed by skilled individuals. While Pryor probably won't appeal to the ultra-raw lo-fi black metal or brutal skull-carving death metal types, those interested in music beyond beyond the underground metal scene would probably enjoy their take on instrumental metal. There is enough Metal, Doom and Sabbath influence here to warrant showing on Contaminated Tones but with other influences such as King Crimson, Rush and all sorts of Jazz and Rock influences, who knows where this band really falls. I caught up with them after their June 6th show at Saint Vitus Bar and just recently finished the transcription. It's tough figuring out three people talking...

CT: How many shows have you guys played, I guess, as a band. This is kind of like a...

Zakk: We've been a band for almost two years.

Mike: Yeah we've been playing a lot of shows. We try to play, I mean, a couple times a month if not at least once a week.

Zakk: We've definitely played over fifty shows all around...

Mike: Fifty? I would say like three... two hundred prolly...

Zakk: No. I don't think two hundred. We definitely played over fifty shows, 'cuz we play in New Jersey, New York, Brooklyn, Pennsylvania.

CT: On average, how many people do you think come out to your shows. Is there a certain area that gives you more...

Zakk: Yeah, Pennsylvania.

CT: Everyone comes out in Pennsylvania?

Mike: We've gone out to Pennsylvania twice, they've been very good to us. They definitely appreciate the music more. They come out to support us. Awesome crowd up there. We want to expand more too. You know? Like we feel like this area (Brooklyn - CT) there's a lot of techno driven stuff and if you're open to like give us a shot. Yeah.. Definitely worth the listen I think. I don't know. You got to hear us play tonight so I think we're a live band overall.

Zakk: Yeah. Definitely.

CT: Definitely interesting watching you play live because I've only been able to listen to you online or MP3 or whatever.

Mike: Yeah, definitely make sure you grab a CD before you go.

CT: Yeah I will definitely grab a CD before I leave.

Mike: We have that new one we just released. It's called Azhadhak. I'm like really pumped about that CD. I think it's like... it's just that one that really puts us on the map.

CT: Tell me about the CD. You guys are an instrumental band but from what I've seen there is lyrical contents involved with it.

Mike: We've tried out singers before I mean...

Zakk: Yeah. We've tried out a bunch of singers.

Mike: ...but we're looking for to fit the mold. Everyone's usually just backing off with like "I don't know what to put over this."

Zakk: We're super picky.

Mike: We're just waiting for Mike Patton to be like, "Alright, I'm ready to sing for you dudes."

Zakk: That's who we want to sing for us: Mike Patton.

Mike: That's what it's coming down to. But I mean, we're still open for anything. We love jamming, we're definitely a jam band.

Zakk: The only reason we jamming man.. is because we smoke weed.. and then just start jamming and then we film it, and then we listen to it and we're like...

Mike: That part's cool.

Zakk: ...that part's cool yeah... and then we make our songs from there.

CT: What kind of a vocalist would you be looking for if you could have... what's your ideal vocalist? If you had to pick a vocalist from another band...

Zakk: Mike Patton.

Mike: Someone who can groove man. Like I said, we started off just jamming, and we never found that extra element that could fill our sound even more so I mean, I think that we definitely feel that we have a good sound going now and if it's not going to add something to it then we wouldn't mind chilling instrumental until we find that crowd that's like dude... this is the music I want to listen to. This is a different thing that's not coming out anywhere.

CT: So tell me, who writes the thematical content for your records considering... cause from what I've seen it's kind of out there as far as...

Zakk: Ok so, the new CD, Me and Andy brainstormed like some ideas and Mike like... all of... everything we do is collective. Like everything we do is collective but Andy had a friend, this kid Nardy who wrote a bunch of monologues and those are the ones on the new CD and we just told him the theme we wanted and he kind of just wrote toward that.

CT: Very interesting. So as a band.. So tell me, I guess, how the band formed, who met who and how have you guys known each other beforehand or?

Zakk: I've known Mike... we've known each other since we were like in kindergarten...

Mike: We've just been jamming since we were like young kids.

Zakk: Yeah we've been jamming since we were like eleven or twelve years old...

Mike: And then we met Andy and we were like dude, let's throw him in the mix.

Zakk: We were all in tons of bands like before this. Me and him were in tons of bands. I was in a band with Andy before that. Like I went to college and I was in a band like, we all do a lot of music. Mike was in cover bands and stuff making money.

Mike: We all knew each other through the music scene.

Zakk: And then we kind of started jamming when we were like it's cool.

Mike: Let's roll with this man!

Zakk: We've just been playing shows ever since.

Mike: Let's do it! It's all about fun man. Music is fun. It should be fun. When we play music, like, I'm having a great time and if the audience is having fun I feel like I'm doing my job. You know what I mean?

CT: Definitely. So you guys recorded the new album where and how did the new album come... did you guys write all the songs in studio or before hand.

Mike: There was definitely... go ahead...

Zakk: We had everything written before the studio. We recorded at Backroom Studios with Kevin Antreassian and he's the man... he was just on tour with The Deftones. He was doing guitar teching for them and like, Dillinger recorded there - Dillinger Escape Plan - and he used to be their guitar tech... so he's amazing. He's a great recording engineer. Everyone should go to him.

Mike: One hundred percent he's the man.

Zakk: Yeah, he's the man. We would go into him with the songs and he would like add little layers and stuff and there's a few things that he played on there like he'll take something I'm playing and just do like a certain harmony and like, so he's a producer as well as an engineer. Definitely wears both hats.

CT: What bands I guess... What bands have influenced you guys as musicians individually and without going for like... a thousand minutes.

Mike: I think our music has definitely has shaped... we've been jamming out for the last three years and when we started to where we are now I think we've evolved so much as a band and a lot of influences have definitely been there since the beginning. You've got Black Sabbath and...

Zakk: That's like the number one influence of everyone...

Mike: Dude... you hear that in our music.. that's like the number one... they set the tone you know? That's a good thing...

Zakk: Mike loves Kiss. That's his favorite band.

Mike: Dude. Kiss! I'll take them any day of the week. And Opeth is definitely a huge influence...

Zakk: Opeth, Porcupine Tree... I love progressive stuff, 70's prog. All that stuff.

Mike: Dude, that's it like... King Crimson dude. They just blow your mind. We really want to recreate those things you don't really hear too much anymore.

Zakk: Electric Miles Davis from the 70's...

Mike: Ahh dude... Miles! Come on! You can't get better than Miles.

Zakk: Andy, come here we're getting interviewed. Get in here. Yeah We got Andy.

Mike: This is Andy, the bass player.

CT: This is Andy, the bass player.

Andy: What's going on?

CT: How's it going?

Andy: Pretty good. Tired.

CT: Tired?

Andy: Got to go to work at six-o'clock in the morning.

CT: Me too! It's a terrible thing!

Andy: It's awful. Haha.

CT: So, I was just asking them about individual influences and stuff and as a bass player, what bassists have influenced you?

Andy: Ummm..

CT: You have four seconds... go!

Andy: I guess the first band is Mercury Program. That was the first instrumental that really influenced my bass playing. I think even still to this day I always go back to them for my bass playing. Another bass player I guess is Tool. Cause it's on the other side of the spectrum - it's a little heavier and little more intricate, a little more groovier... so I kind of have the combination of both and all three of us have been metalheads from the start even though we're all a little bit different in the sense of genre but in the end we always go back to that metal sound and I think like my bass lines his drumming his guitar playing just came together... just like that... it wasn't even like...

Zakk: Mike the we... I mean, Mike's the funny one, Andy's the weird one.. I'm the serious one.

Andy: Yeah. Yeah.. Exactly. You know...

Zakk: Categorize..

Andy: It's almost the equivalent like you can call that our musical style...

Zakk: That's what I'm saying like in terms of influences... Andy's got a lot of weird influences not just... like you world music and tons of stuff. Mike's like.. I wouldn't say you're... but you're more conventional. You like a lot of...

Andy: Kiss! That's a perfect example.

Zakk: Yeah there you go. Mike loves the hits dude. And Mike can play everything on guitar in his jukebox.

Mike: I know I know.

Zakk: And I like music all over the place like I tend to like darker shit too like black metal and all that stuff.

CT: What's in your CD players right now? What have you been listening to the last week?

Mike: Lionel Pryor. Haha.

Zakk: There's a band playing here (St. Vitus - CT) tomorrow that I might come see... Windhand.

CT: That's on the Clamfight, King's Destroy show?

Zakk: Yeah yeah. They're cool man. They're good. They sound like Electric Wizard but like... a little tighter. Electric Wizard are awesome but they're a little loose. I mean I've been listening to a lot of like, sludgy stuff lately and then, I'm always listening to King Crimson.

CT: You guys post... I mean on your facebook... you've posted King Crimson videos and shit...

Zakk: Yeah Dude. 80's Crimson is fucking awesome.

Mike: I've been listening to a lot of M.I.A Paper Planes Pandora station. It's Paper Planes' Pandora Station.

Zakk: He was rocking out to Sex and Candy on the way down. Haha.

Andy: Dude! Great tune!

CT: What other bands have you interviewed from NJ that you would recommend to people?

Andy: There's two that come to mind. The first is Torrential Downpour and Toothgrinder. Are definitely the two that are like... out of all the bands that are like we've recently played with those are the two that... and Gyre... yeah Gyre. Those guys definitely like stuck out the most.... Obviously we're a little bit different from other bands in NJ. We're instrumental and we don't really have a genre you can say and it's nice to meet bands that are out of the box, yo uknow and sound a little different and are musically inclined about it too. For instance Toothgrinder, Torrential Downpour, Gyre, Impossible Voyage... they definitely think outside the box with their music. And we've only known them for about six months, maybe.

Zakk: We've known Gyre for a long time. I've known Toothgrinder for a while because I've gone to school with one of them.

Andy: Yeah we've known Gyre for a long time but playing shows wise, you know we just recently started doing it and its been fun, you know. And you know, we want to keep on doing it. We just released a new album, came out two months ago, we released it April Fools day.

CT: Is it a joke album?

Andy: No, it's all.. we released it

Mike: It's not a bigger joke than Collateral Jamage.

CT: That has to be one of the best names I've heard in a long time. What are you doing to end out this year? Do you have any more releases or shows coming up?

Andy: We're playing two festivals at the end of June one is called The Tiny Giant Summer Bummer festival. We're part of this musical group on Facebook and, it's cool it's a collective of like three dozen bands and we all help each other pass on shows. Some people are promoters, some people are reviewers of CDs and so on and so forth and so, we had this show in the background for a couple months now and it's finally happening at the end of June. June 22nd in Asbury Lanes. And a bunch of bands from that group are playing and the following week we are playing Kitten Fest. I think it's the eigth or ninth Kitten Fest and it's basically a bunch of hippie kids rent out a giant backyard and it's facepainting and beachballs flowing around and shirtless dudes and shirtless girls...

Zakk: Last year we met some guy and he gave us acid.

Andy: So that's Kitten Fest and after that we're going take a little break and we're probably going.. you know we're writing monsters so literally, we'd write an album and they'd we'd be like 'let's write some NEW songs. So I think we're in that groove right now. We just released this new album and some of the songs we've been playing for a couple months so it's like, I think we want to do some kind of like, demo or ep... like four songs. Ideally I'd like to make it a concept but... we're just going to take some time off, write some stuff and start kicking it again maybe like early September, Octoberish area. And it's like. We're going to play it out.

It's NJ you know, so it's tough, especially since the venue Maxwell's in Hoboken closed down, and that is like the venue in Jersey to play and it's like... it's almost going to destroy the scene because in the sense of a local band, there's nothing you can build up to. You know Dingbats, I mean Maxwell's was a place where you could build up to to potentially play with a bigger band. Now since that's gone what's left? Like Starland... Stone Pony? Those places... no one gives a shit about those places anymore. I feel like people are into the smaller type of stuff. Local...

Zakk: Saint Vitus...

Andy: Yeah, Saint Vitus... and it's... basically it's like... I don't know what's going on in the future. I think we want to play some shows... shop around our album. That's another thing we want to do near the end of the summer. We're really going to sit down... look at blogs... push the album... try to the more of the internet side of things. We've got the live element, we've got the music... and again, I don't want to sound like a broken record but we're instrumental metal in New Jersey which is filled with garbage music. And it's really hard to climb to the top like that.

Mike: Andy, want a beer?

Andy: No... I really got to go home. Hahaha.

CT: Before you leave, how can people get in contact with you guys if they want to get a copy of your album or...

Mike: Can we do shout outs? Shout out to us on Facebook. You can definitely find a way to get in contact with us through the internet. Coming out to shows.

Zakk: Facebook, coming out to shows. That's the main way to get in touch with us. Definitely Facebook, we do everything on Facebook and music-wise we do everything through Bandcamp. We sell our music on Bandcamp. That's like the way to hear our music - on Bandcamp. Contact is through Facebook.

Mike: Dude we are all about people checking it out, coming out to see us not being afraid to check out something different. I hope you got something out of it because it makes my night if you did.

CT: It was a cool show. I got to watch this dude play bass. As a bassist, to watch someone play slap mixed with tapping.. that's where it's at.

Andy: Haha. Thank you.

CT: Thanks guys.

Mike: Thank you!
Andy: Thanks
Zakk: Solid dude.

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