WORDS OF EDITOR
12 YEARS C O N N ECT I N G P EO P L E A N D B A N D S
T . PEI FON @PEIFON JOURNALIST, PHOTOGRAPHER AND ROCK MEEETING'S GENERAL DIRECTOR
he time has come to praise the present. However, looking back it is noticeable that the journey was and continues to be arduous. Have we reached the desired level? The answer is quite simple, no! Trying to remember everything that happened in the last 12 years, the first interview comes to mind. Comes the first issue, the first cover, first of all. It’s been twelve years of
hard work, many interviews, ‘lost’ hours, energy, patience, perseverance. Today is so different. From the first page to the last. From logo to source. Everything changed, we changed, people changed too, and Rock Meeting continues. Even back then, we started a vanguard of virtual journals, when this discussion was still in its infancy. We follow the changes in reading consumption and today
we still question how it should be. There is no truth, nor the right path, what is known is that in these twelve years RM has done its best with each edition, within its limits and reaching increasingly distant places. Today, a year after our editorial line change, I see that, even reluctantly at first, the progress of this choice is being reaped every month. We heard the most varied opinions about the new path we are treading, people left,
and others arrived and so it will continue to be so to tread our new reality with us. Twelve years ago, it was just a college job that I hardly knew would continue. Between ups and downs, we are steady. Thank you very much to everyone who passed through here and to those who collaborate with us today. Without you this magazine would not be what it is. Rock Meeting keeps walking and soon, new flights. Hold on!
. PEI FON @PEIFON JOURNALIST, PHOTOGRAPHER AND ROCK MEEETING'S GENERAL DIRECTOR
39 06. G I A N T W A L K E R TOP 10 BANDS
13. L E V E L S "IT'S A BIG FAMILY" 27. S E N T I N E L S "NEVER STICK TO JUST ONE SOUND" 39. M I S S T I Q TO CONECT TO PEOPLE 67. I N V E N T A N I M A T E "THE SUN SLEEPS, AS IF IT NEVER WAS"
77. S U N F A L L EXPECT TO UNEXPECTED 91. R A C H E L L E R E A C T S MUSIC HAS BEEN PART OF LIFE
GENER A L DIR ECTO R Pei Fon EXECUT IV E DIR ECTO R Felipe da Matta COV ER - PHOTO Alexander Bemis
S TA F F Barbara Lopes Fernando Pires Gustavo Tozzi Kayomi Suzuki Marta Ayora Mauricio Melo Murilo da Rosa Rafael Andrade Uillian Vargas
53 SPIRITBOX TRENDING OF MODERN METAL
C O N TA C T email@example.com
W W W. R O C K M E E T I N G. N E T
ARTICLE. GIANT WALKER
10 BANDS THAT IN FLUENCED
GIANT WALKER BY PEI FON PHOTOGRAPHY PROMOTION
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ARTICLE. GIANT WALKER
very heavy music fan wonder which bands are the inspiration for shaping a sound. It’s always good to know these influences and it can explain a lot about a band’s sound path. And it would be no different for the English from Giant Walker. Made up of Steff, Jamie, Jordan, and Alex, they released their debut album in 2020 with themes about dystopian reality and self-isolation. The quartet shares a common passion with classic Rock/ Metal international bands. Considering the musical and personal diversity, the group listed the 10 bands that inspire the Giant Walker. Plurality is the watchword for this quartet.
SOUNDGARDEN Soundgarden are masters of depth and nuance when it comes to emotion and songwriting. They have some of most natural feeling odd time signatures and their exploration of alternate tunings has been really influential to us. Vocally, Chris Cornell manages to intertwine some of the most staggering vocal performances with dark, ominous lyrics and haunting melodies. In all aspects, Soundgarden provide an endless pool of inspiration to draw from. KARNIVOOL Karnivool have had a massive impact on us musically - to the point where
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all of us can recall the exact moment where they began to shape our sound. They are yet another example of a band that uses harmonic and rhythmic sophistication in such subtle ways to create an emotional landscape that is dark and deep. One of the most interesting things about Karnivool, is the abstract nature of their song structures - they are masters of creating highs and lows, which take you on a journey that you didn’t think you were ready for. QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE It’s always inspiring to listen to Queens of the Stone Age because there’s not really any other bands that sound
ARTICLE. GIANT WALKER
like they do. They’ve effortlessly blended so many different vibes over the years, maintaining a sleazy, yet powerful and gritty sound. Josh Homme has a way with melodies that’s unconventional but still captivating - they’re definitely one of the biggest influences on our melody writing. RADIOHEAD When it comes to creating songs that perfectly represent the most obscure emotions, there’s really no-one better than Radiohead. Their songs transcend basic harmony and become almost cinematic - there are very few bands that paint such vivid pictures in your head based off
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of what you’re hearing. Radiohead’s melancholic, genre-bending soundscapes and deep lyrical concepts are always a wealth of inspiration. RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE The sheer intensity of Rage Against the Machine is something that we strive to replicate, especially when riff writing. Their ability to manipulate the subtleties within a groove and the tightness of their rhythm section cannot be understated. We’re firm believers that it’s these subtleties that create the heaviest and grooviest riffs, and this is something we pull a lot of inspiration from.
DEFTONES Deftones have such a unique sound, combining some of the heaviest riffs with calming atmospheric soundscapes. Unlike their Nu-Metal predecessors, they’ve managed to remain fresh and exciting, with every album offering something different from the last. From Abe Cunningham’s iconic drum sounds to Chino Moreno’s silvery falsetto, they’ve created something truly unique in the metal world, that is hard to not draw inspiration from. METALLICA Whilst we don’t sound a lot like Metallica,
it’s hard to dismiss the influence they had on our early development as musicians. They heavily informed our early development as musicians on a technical level, and so it’s safe to say that we wouldn’t sound the same without them. THE CONTORTIONIST The Contortionist have been a huge inspiration when composing rhythmic ideas, specifically drum parts. Joey Baca has an amazing ability to play exactly what’s needed, but still retain a high level of technicality in his drum parts, without overshadowing the music in any way. The albums “Language” & “Clairvoyant” demonstrate
ARTICLE. GIANT WALKER
this perfectly and have both been a regular listen throughout the writing process. BIG WRECK It’s rare to find a band that incorporates all of the classic sounds that we know and love, and yet still sounds fresh and exciting. Big Wreck’s songs are very accessible but when you dig a bit deeper there’s plenty of rhythmic and harmonic nuance that you might not have noticed on first listen. We also love that they’re not afraid of a good hook; something that is sometimes eschewed in heavier genres.
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It would feel wrong to consider our influences without tipping our hat to one of the pioneers of progressive rock. Tool aren’t afraid to break from the confines of traditional song structures to create a story with their music, often shrouded in ambiguity. From Maynard James Keenan’s depth of vocal colors and textures to Danny Carey’s manipulation of a riff or phase using polyrhythms, Tool solidify themselves as a driving force in our creative process.
B Y G U S TAVO TO Z Z I PHOTOGRAPHY K E L LY N K E N N E R L
n this month edition RM gives sequence to the search of Modern Metal prominence bands and had the privilege to talk with Levels guys. Formed still in 2015, at Conway, Arkansas (USA), by Dalton Kennerly (drums), Rob Mathews (guitar), Jager Felice (guitar), Jack Sanders (vocalist) and Jacob Hubbard (bass), Levels, even defined as a Djent/Metalcore band, the intense sound, aggressive and harmonic of their compositions abled the band, in its original formation, to get into tour yet in 2016. In 2020, after Jack Sander’s departure, the doors were open to Kolby Carignan join the band, after a troubled period because the Covid-19 pandemics. With “Chauvinist” release as debut single to Kolby, Levels reached more than 370k streaming. At this year, formed as a “big family”, Levels released the single “Eon”, music that reveals the contrast between politics/elite and society. Enjoy the talking filled with details with Rob, Dalton and Kolby.
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WE BELIEVE IT’S ALSO INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT TO US TO CREATE QUALITY CONTENT THROUGH OUR MUSIC
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Levels begins at the end of 2015, had your debut tour in June 2016, releasing the Eps “Exist” and “Slip” still at the very end of the same year. How was the band’s formation process? Rob - In late 2014 Dalton and I wanted to start a djent /metalcore influenced project. We started writing and built a studio in one of the rooms in my house immediately. After writing a few bare bones tracks, we knew we needed to build on. The best way to do that was to add a few more members to solidify a new sound through ours and their influences. Conveniently the members we were needing were all attending the same University as we were at the time. (Jager Felice and Jake Sanders) whom we were somewhat associated with from our local music scene prior. From there Jager introduced us to bassist (Jacob Hubbard). Even defined as a Progressive Metalcore/Djent on the official web site, it’s perceptible a variety of styles that gives Levels an own sonority, uniting the heavy and melody. Which are/was the biggest influence to Levels and its members?
Rob - Periphery, The Contortionist and Erra. Kolby - There are too many for me to observe but some of the more recent main metal bands off the top of my head are Rogue, After the Burial, Shrine of Malice, Resolve, Weeping Hour, Invent Animate, Spiritbox. Dalton - For me it’s Northlane, Like Moths To Flames, Erra. How the band handled with the feedback after the debut album release “Exist” and “Levels”? Did it reach positively your expectations? Rob - Surprisingly yes, although it was our first full length, and we were still trying to find our sound “Mind” featuring Myke Terry of Volumes landed us a 18 // ROCK MEETING // OCTOBER. 2021
spot on Spotify’s (Got Djent) playlist which attributed to a large number of our streams and tremendous feedback from listeners who came across it. With Jack Sanders departure (2020), the canceling of the first international tour because the Covid-19, Levels used the social restriction period to search for a new vocalist. Could you tell us about how the band faced so many simultaneal “issues”? Rob – Much like we face most things as a band we approach an issue with a mindset of an optimistic outcome. It was looking pretty scary there for a bit. We tried out a numerous amount of extremely talented vocalist, but there was still something missing. We were
looking for someone that was not only talented but someone that we purely enjoy being around and that we could welcome into our brotherhood. Levels is a big family, and after we met Kolby he filled that bill and exceeded our expectations 100%. Covid-19 was a huge setback for so many. Not being able to pack our bags and head out on our first international tour was a bummer. However, we are grateful that we were able to take the time and stabilize our situation under the circumstances. With Kolby entrance at the vocals (2020), the band already gives sequence on the works and at the same year provides to your fans one of the most prominence Level’s music, the single “Chauvin-
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ist”, with almost 370k plays. It was a new restart to you guys? Rob - Absolutely. We wanted to come back with a bang. It was fairly well established to our fans that our search for a vocalist had been an ongoing process. The best way to do so was to get in the studio immediately, turn out a video to assure them the search was over, and we are about to release some heat. “Eon”, last available single by Levels at the end of august, represents well your music, mixing aggressivity and a sonic setting with full harmony with its thematic. How was both the work and the process of this new composition? Rob - Thank you so much, working on ‘EON’ was a challenging process. Mainly because it was supposed to be.
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Jager and I set out aspirations to reshape the way we play guitar from a technical aspect and offer our fans something we have been wanting to do for quite some time. We have always enjoyed the music we have put out in the past through Levels. As Guitar players or musicians in general, it’s a very natural thing to just want MORE. For us ‘EON’ was such a huge growing platform that we plan to mirror in the future. Kolby – Thank you for the kind words about eon! We like to think we worked extremely hard for the outcome of it! The working dynamic for eon was a bit smoother to me than Chauvinist. Simply because Chauvinist felt a little more rushed and the pressure behind it had me high strung more times than not.
Coming into the band as my debut song, it definitely was a challenge. However, eon was a much more laid back/calm vibe when we were in studio. I was also able to take a lot more time to write and prepare for this one. It just worked more efficiently this time around! Linked with the last question: analyzing Eon’s video, with the lyrics, is demonstrate the opposition to the context that involves politic and the social contrast. What is your position about the issue? Kolby - While we have all dedicated ourselves to the listener interpreting the songs in their lives to how they feel necessary, we believe it’s also incredibly important to us to create quality con-
tent through our music. That said, myself personally, I wished to really focus in on a glimpse of my interpretation of the modern political discord. There are so many lies from politicians/elites that we are fed forcefully to digest as the masses. Sometimes we are powerless to these tyrants, and we acknowledge that, but we are compelled to write about it in the process. We hope to someday live in harmony with the rest of the world. “Eon” already makes part of the plans for the new band’s album? Rob - Can’t tell you that, but you can expect an EP at minimum in the near future. Kolby – “Eon” will definitely be an included track on an upcoming ep release. Currently Levels has Jeff Dunne as producer, a relevant name in the 22 // ROCK MEETING // OCTOBER. 2021
case of heavy music. It’s possible to measure how much he added to band’s both sonority and raise? Rob – Jeff has been revolutionary to our sound as of the most recent releases. We know the sound we are looking for and it helps to have a trusting third party to help bring it all into fruition. He is not shy to give us feedback which is one of the main reasons why we love working with him. Jeff is also extremely witty; he will send us three different samples of guitar and asks us to pick which one we favor and guess what he is using as reference. Long story short we get to have a nerd out moment and were almost always blown away. I would recommend him to anyone! Kolby - Jeff should confidently take credit for a big portion of why Levels music sounds the way it does in my opinion! With his positive criticisms and patience,
he is always willing to hear our pitch on a new track and give us the feedback we need/want. His “no bs” approach aligns in perfect harmony with our expectations, and he never disappoints! Looking most forward to future work with him for sure! And this return to the stages, the band is thinking about back to the shows? How it’s the band’s agenda? Rob – Our Agenda is to kick ass and to take names. Lol but no, seriously. We are dying over here to get back on stage. We are extremely grateful for the time we have had to find an amazing vocalist and hone in on our sound. There is nothing like that feeling of getting back on stage though and the energy a live audience generates. That adrenaline is a drug in itself. Our main plan is to purely embrace every minute of it be-
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cause this has been a long time coming. Kolby – The band is super eager to return to the stage. Following my entry to the band, a few weeks later we learned that we wouldn’t be going on our international headlining tour due to Covid which was a more than 18-month bummer. We’ve fantasized stage/tour life for almost 2 years together now, so we’re excited to finally do that soon within the next few months! You already shared the stage with Beartooth, Attila and The Devil Wears Prada, among others. Would you have any special band that you’ll like to share the stage in this return to stages? Rob – Oh God, yes. I know a lot of the guys are huge Northlane fans, I would love to share the stage with them among Currents, Veil of Maya, All that Remains, Bleed From Within, The Contortionist… honestly, I got a damn bible of a list and
hope to be able to cross most of them off on the check sheet. Kolby - There are way too many bands to include but I’d say all the above bands I’ve listed earlier as influences plus Northlane, Make them Suffer, Thornhill, Crystal Lake, Silent Planet, Veil of Maya, and many, many more! Finally: on the band’s official web site states that you guys are focused on your sound and hope to send positive messages through your music. What message would like to send to RM’s readers? Thanks for having made available your time and we hope for you guys! Rob - Thank you for your time and in-
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terest on this read but more importantly we hope to make it out to you soon! As a small djent metalcore band from the states, we are truly humbled by your support and amazing feedback. We live to go to incredible places and meet amazing people like yourselves. Thank you Kolby – I’d love to express my gratitude & thankfulness for the opportunity to put my thoughts on paper like this again. It’s been a while since I’ve been interviewed! If you’re reading this, we love you and cannot wait to hopefully get to play for you in the near future! The positive/loving feedback from everyone on our most recent releases is truly humbling and abundant. We’re insanely lucky to be where we’re at because of you!
BY MURILO DA ROSA PHOTOGRAPHY JAMES PERRY
ramatic artistic concepts that synchronize with the visceral beauty of Progressive Metalcore. Intense and heavy phrases that find space in the midst of a technical spectacle of instrumental performance. Sentinels is a band capable of conquering any fan (or not) of this style in the very first song. The New Jersey quintet maintains a balance in quality throughout their entire discography, and now, with their newest release on the way, fans are already more than eager. And with good reason. With the 4 songs that have come out of “Collapse by Design” so far, we can have a better sense of what awaits us. Accompanying this momentum of newness coming, Rock Meeting took the opportunity to have a chat with the Sentinels guys and learn more about what they have to tell us about these new singles, their curiosities, peculiarities and what are their expectations for their first album.
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WE ALL LOVE SUPER HEAVY AND DARK MUSIC, BUT WE ENJOY MELODIC AND ATMOSPHERIC STUFF JUST AS MUCH
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It's getting closer and closer for us fans to take a look at and know Sentinels' first album, “Collapse by Design”. How has the band's trajectory been until this release? It was quite hectic honestly. It seemed like, for the most part, the world was against us. Already being a small band, parting ways with our previous vocalist in the middle of recording the album, and having to scramble to find a new vocalist, all while dealing with a worldwide pandemic losing planned tours. It’s
been a rough 18 months, but the future's looking bright. The cover art features a humanoid figure in the midst of a post-apocalyptic setting, in which the devastation left everything in ruins. How does this illustration represent the songs of this new album? All the lyrics & themes on the album are from my perspective, so it made sense to show one main figure in the artwork. Every song, I am speaking about different
situations, and relationships I’ve been in that left me feeling as if I had nothing positive in my life. So I wanted the artwork to be a direct representation of how I felt in those times. The band uses symbols and styles of digital paintings that refer to Baroque art. How does this visual concept dialogue with the arguments implicit in the group's songs? This style of art had so much
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potential to perfectly capture the moods and themes within the music and lyrics. The bleak and monochromatic color scheme, in a way, represents the lack of fulfillment in the main character’s life. What we have so far are four singles that represent the new album to come, “Albatross”, “To Wither Away”, “Tyrant” and finally “Inertia”. What is the narrative idea established between
these songs?“ Inertia takes you into the mind of someone struggling with suicidal thoughts, and all the internal battles that come with it. You think it will put a rest to the pain, but then wonder “will everyone think less of me?” Tyrant is pretty self-explanatory. You’re tired of dealing with being under the control of someone with power, who only uses it to oppress. To Wither Away discusses toxic relationships and how much they can change you as a person. Albatross
discusses guilt, and how it can consume you in a tremendous way. It also touches on parting ways with the dark side of yourself to progress spiritually. Among the serious drops and melodic guitar parts present in these last singles, we also noticed some darker parts that generate a certain tension in the listener. What is the idea behind these modulations? We never wanna stick to just one sound. We all love super heavy and dark music, but we enjoy melodic and atmospheric stuff just as much. Fusing influences in our music, in a way that works, has always been something we’ve strived for. "Severed from my former self" is one of the most impactful passages of "Albatross", the latest single to be released for the new album. In addition to this constant internal human conflict, what other themes are included in this song?
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To add on to what I mentioned previously about it, “Albatross” heavily details a time in my life where I was dealing with guilt and grief. The passage “With my contorted vision, I’m surrounded by my fears” is when the grief got so bad to the point where I thought I was somewhat hallucinating. It was a very dark time in my life. In the video for “Inertia” we notice the permanent presence of a shadowy figure, who manipulates the group members in a demonstration of total control. What other elements can be mentioned in this clip that dialogue directly with the lyrics of this song? The figure and hands you see in the video all represent suicidal thoughts. They slowly creep in and then fully consume you, to where it’s all you think about. The straight jacket Josh is wearing in the video symbolizes being held captive by those thoughts. In the end, he breaks free even though it still tries to take hold.
And just like in “Inertia”, the video for “To Wither Away” is also marked by a picturesque presence, stylized as an ancient entity that haunts the other characters. How did you come up with the idea of illustrating the arguments of these new songs through these intriguing figures? This character is a representation of Talona, the goddess of poison/ decay. When she is around Josh, she attempts to rob him of his sight and drain his life. In "To Wither Away" you talk about someone finding comfort in another individual, but that's why he ends up falling into perdition without even realizing it. What references were addressed in the composition of this song? It all comes from real life experience. It came from dealing with a toxic relationship myself, and feeling like I wasn’t my old happy self anymore. I thought literally everything good about myself had faded away.
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We are following the advances in prevention against COVID-19, so touring is finally returning to the daily life of bands like Sentinels. How does it feel for you to finally get back on stage? It’s surreal honestly. We’re all unbelievably excited to have the opportunity to tour again, but we are still taking all the proper precautions to be safe and prevent further spread of the virus. The song “Tyrant” can be considered as one of the most intense and aggressive among these latest singles. What is your intention through the weight of this song in particular? Just like all of our songs, they start with a particular riff or idea and evolve from there. There was no set intention. But when it was time for lyrics, I was drawn to that aggressive nature, which felt right with music itself being very intense and aggressive. In addition to this long-awaited project, what other news
do you have for the public? Thank you so much for your attention and all the success in this new journey! We’ll be on the road with Lorna Shore, Enterprise Earth, and Crown Magnetar from September 15th to October 3rd. We also have some sick album pre-order bundles available on Sharptone’s website as well as Impericon for all international orders. So be sure to pick up the record and get immersed in it with us. Thank you for the well wishes and for showing interest in us!
Photo: Rickelle Tavares
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BY PEI FON PHOTOGRAPHY PROMOTION
isstiq. With a vast knowledge in music, the Australian is much more than a pretty face, she creates versions and remixes of songs known in metal bringing a surprising version. She draws attention for her creativity and musical knowledge and for her humor, those who accompany her know how fun it is to see her creative process. Piano, synthesizers, orchestra... It's guaranteed! As a woman, she suffers from constant harassment and sometimes even exposes these personas to demand more respect and to encourage other girls to demand the same. Without wanting to elaborate, we talked with Misstiq about music, business, women, the future and dreams. Piano. Synths. Metal. R&B. How did music enter your life? Tell us a little about it. My parents signed me up to piano at the age of 6 and I continued to be involved in music growing up - I sang in the school choir, took drum
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lessons, played drums and piano in concert band, played keyboard my school’s production, did hip hop dancing, played drums in a punk band, was a piano accompanist at my high school's liturgical choir - there are probably more but I’ll end the list there! I wasn’t throwing myself at absolutely every music related opportunity as I was quite shy, I just partook in whatever I felt drawn to naturally. All of these experiences helped shape my knowledge of music and the arts and how I understand them. The first time I got to know your work was through Instagram and your musical knowledge in taking a familiar song and giving it your special touch caught a lot of attention. How did this idea come about? I’ve always been a very musically curious person. Going back to my 15-year-old self, when I heard a melodic guitar solo, I asked myself “I wonder what that would sound like
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on piano”. From my piano experience, I was able to easily learn guitar solos by ear from bands like Bullet For My Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold and Parkway Drive. My next question was “I wonder what it would sound like if my left hand (the non-solo hand) played in a style like Chopin (who I’d be studying for my piano exams). My curiosity eventually led me to doing full length metal song renditions (aka ‘covers’) on YouTube, which was the very early days for Misstiq.
I WANT TO ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO GET OUT THERE AND SHOW THEM THAT YES, THERE WILL ALWAYS BE HATERS, YOU JUST GOTTA KEEP DOING WHAT YOU LOVE
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To this day, every day, I have dozens of “wonders”. The tricky thing is being able to translate the message in a video that is engaging for others to watch. Your 'spicy' version of the Impending Doom song garnered many views and caught the attention of the press. Did you imagine it could have this repercussion? I knew this video would do well online as my previous videos of this kind gained a lot of positive engagement. However, I did not expect it to rack up so many millions of views in such a short amount of time. I love and hate getting millions of views on my videos. ‘Love’ because, you know, it’s a great accomplishment, especially as 99% of the feedback I get is so lovely. ‘Hate’ because I don’t want people to only expect this type of video from me and be disappointed when I upload another type of video. The way you show your creative process is very playful and fun, you inform in a way that make it looks easy. Do you intend to teach music or something? One of the most effective ways of learning is through a fun and engaging medium and I’m so glad to be able
to connect to people the way that I do. I have a big teaching history already, which not too many people know about, and I certainly plan on bringing that onboard as Misstiq through online lessons, tutorials, and courses in 2022. I taught piano for 9 years and decided to quit in March 2021 to do Misstiq full-time. Building strong, genuine connections with my piano students and being able to guide them through, not only their music life, but general childhood/teenagerhood was very inspiring and wholesome for myself and them. Since I was teaching at the local music school 5 days a week, creating content, and fulfilling client jobs as Misstiq and not to mention going on my fifth year of substitute teaching at various schools as a fully registered teacher, I knew I had to give something up. When one chapter ends, another one opens. In 2022, I hope to take on new students as Misstiq through a new website which I currently have in the making. Not only will I be teaching piano/keyboard, but also beat-making, finger-drumming, music theory (I’m a huge nerd in that area), social media strategies, self-discipline, and motivation. What are the criteria for choosing the song? Did any songs give
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you too much trouble to come up with a ‘Misstiq’ version? When choosing metal songs to create content from, I keep my ear out for appropriate sonic space (aka. the frequency ranges that are used by each instrument). I prefer using breakdowns in my content as there are always little moments of ‘opportunity’ for my additions to shine through. Ambient sections in metal songs are great to write to as well but breakdowns always seem to do really well with my audience. On the contrary, I work with a few artists (clients) per week in a wide range of styles - i.e., metal, acoustic and hiphop. When it comes to my personal content as mentioned above, I have more freedom of choosing a song to
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incorporate my additions into as there are just so many cool songs out there with the right amount of space. However, when it comes to client work, it can be a bit trickier. Sometimes, I get asked to add orchestral parts to some metal songs which not only are ‘messy’ sounding, but poorly mixed. As it is my job to satisfy the client, I do what I can to make my orchestral instruments be heard in the mix. I carefully EQ my strings, choirs, keys, and other instruments and apply appropriate amounts of reverb so that what I write can actually be heard. When a track that I’m featured in is released, there’s nothing more disappointing than listening back on it and you can’t hear my additions! Through your versions, some bands have partnered with you to give that special touch to their songs. Was this the path you wanted to take as a musician and producer or was it all just happening? This is all definitely a pleasant surprise that I did not see coming. It certainly didn’t happen out of pure luck; it took a lot of strategizing and self-discipline. Growing up with music being my main interest, I gravitated towards that as
my career. The path that I wanted to take was one involving me sitting at a computer, creating music and being a part of some projects with other people. I first started with creating content, then I’d have bands messaging me with “hey, can you do that to our upcoming song too?”. Being in the spotlight was never my thing but I still wanted to be appreciated, acknowledged through my strong involvement, and say in whatever it was that I was doing. Now, being able to work from home on cool projects with other artists and companies, create fun content and not HAVE to be anywhere is a dream come true. In 2020 you released the album “Nostalgia” which features themes from world-famous video games. What is your relationship with these games? Would it be a kind of tribute? For many of us, video games were a huge part of our childhoods. Listening to the soundtracks from these childhood games such as The Legend of Zelda (my favorite) and Super Mario takes me back to a lot of happy memories. I recreated some well-known video game songs in the form of an album,
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called ‘Nostalgia’, to celebrate and remember the days when life was simple. As we are now in different paths of life, I feel that reminiscing this music brings us together and helps sooth us, even more so now with the current world situation Many bands are unaware of the power that synthesizers have and how they can be used correctly. What is the reason for this resistance of traditional bands to adopt means that can bring even more life to the music? When it comes to synthesizers and those types of sounds, it can be a bit daunting as there are so many sounds to choose from. That’s why I love creating content that can inspire other musicians to go outside of their comfort zone. A lot of artists may be hesitant to incorporate synths and keys into their music as they’re afraid it can alter their brand and image (which can also be a good thing of course). However, if incorporated correctly, these synths can bring out more emotion in the song and allow the artist to stand out from the crowd. Speaking from woman to woman. You posted a meaningful
message about engaging a job and the body. What is the importance of dialoguing that the exposure of the body and knowledge do not need to walk the same path? A lot of women feel the pressure to dress provocatively in order for their videos to be successful. I’ve read interviews, watched IG posts and TikToks where women admit to not having half as much engagement when they cover their body. These women want to know what can be done to ‘recalibrate’ their audience or attract a new one that appreciates any outfit she wears. Would I have a lot more engagement, views, and followers if I filmed in a black lace singlet? Of course, I would. I won't though as that’s not what I’m comfortable with wearing online. When I watch back on my viral videos, I think to myself “hey, I felt like myself there.” I’d rather be someone who inspires others with my musical skills and knowledge than act as eye candy to satisfy someone for a short moment. When you see a woman showing some skin in her content, it’s very important to remember that she may genuinely feel comfortable in that outfit or that is her brand/image - don’t just assume she is doing it “for the views”.
Social networks today are an important tool for disseminating material. However, it is a vast terrain for reckless and even criminal attitudes. How important is it to denounce this behavior in the quest for collective respect for women? There are some really disgusting personalities on the internet for sure. A lot of my fans tell me to ignore hate comments, however, I get back to them as I get back to anyone. By replying to hate comments (and screenshotting some for my IG story, which can be a good laugh), I can shed light on the negative attitudes people have. I want to encourage others to get out there and show them that yes, there will always be haters, you just gotta keep doing what you love. Also, it’s a way of showing people that I’m not a punching bag that they can let their anger out on. I don’t take these comments personally - I have never gone to bed thinking about something negative someone has said to me. If anything, I replay the positive comments in my head. A couple of times, I have created content out of
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hate comments which actually did really well engagement wise, and I actually got a lot of messages, especially from women, thanking me for shedding light on this behavior. In your videos you have your own dress code, and this identity went to your online store. What does this garment represent for the image of the feminine? Do you think about expanding your brand? I’ve always liked wearing comfortable, sometimes oversized clothes and it’s very fitting for my brand. A lot of my female fans say they have a similar style and can imagine how comfortable I must feel while producing. I’m actually in the process of planning it out now. I won’t mention too much but this will be a style of image and original music that I will roll out in 2022, something I have been thinking for a while now and finally thought to put action towards it. As for my online merch store, I already have new designs on the way which will expand it even more than it ever has been. I hope to be announcing this in a few weeks. Thinking about the music scene, especially Metal, have you been following bands that have women? Which ones would you highlight?
In my teenage years, I remember having dozens of posters up all over my walls, with some of them being female-fronted bands like Arch Enemy, Nightwish as well as Avril Lavigne. This made me feel validated for enjoying heavy music. I really dig the sound, overall aesthetic, and juxtaposition of ‘BABYMETAL’. These days, I’m mainly keeping up with female producers (such as Lil Cece) and reading about how they got to where they get to, their struggles, tips, and tricks in the industry, etc.
vance for your time. Success! I would love to collaborate with Corey Taylor (Slipknot), M. Shadows (Avenged Sevenfold) and Matt Tuck (Bullet For My Valentine), and there’s a lot more too. These frontmen were very prominent for me especially during my teenage years and it would be so wholesome to revisit their band’s known songs as a Misstiq rendition with their vocals. Or create a totally new song with them, I wouldn’t complain! Another two artists that I’d like to write with are Drake and Ghostemane.
To end our conversation, which artists would you like to partner with? And why? Thank you in ad-
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Exciting journey ahead! Thank you so much for these wholesome questions, Pei! I appreciate it so much.
Photo: Alexander Bemis
B Y PEI FON PHOTOGRAPHY TATJ A N A B R A U N & T R AV I A S H I N N
year ago, we were talking to Spiritbox, and we introduced this Canadian trio to our readers. We said at the time that the band would make a lot of noise and would be our bet for modern metal. We got it right! During this period, we followed every step the band took, and we all witnessed this exponential growth. The direction they made to establish themselves as the newest band in the music scene was not for nothing, the results are there, just don't see who doesn't want to. It is immeasurable how much space Spiritbox has conquered. Strategy. Marketing. Positioning in press and social media. It's planning to get results. The trio has just released their debut album. It took more than two years of construction, planning and hard work. “Eternal Blue” is at the highest top of major radio stations, playlists, streaming services in general. Spiritbox is one of the few metal bands to be in a very high position, disputing even with pop groups and singers. We had the opportunity to chat with singer Courtney LaPlante again and reaffirm our words spoken a year
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ago. About this trajectory, “Eternal Blue”, past, present, and future, you can now follow this interview full of truths. It's been a year since our last conversation and a lot has happened. How do you evaluate everything that has happened to Spiritbox? Courtney - I have no words really…it feels like I am watching a movie about myself, like it’s not really happening. When we last spoke, “Holy Roller” and “Constance” had already been released, and they continued in the singles release campaign and compilation on EP. At what point did you guys see it was time to release your debut? We never set out for specific time, the second we were able to get together to record we did, completed it, and figured out what was the earliest time we could release it and have them vinyl get made in time, while still releasing it in 2021.
Foto: Travis Shinn
(C O N S TA N C E ) THE SONG HELPED ME FIND SOME SORT O F C LO S U R E S I N C E T H E PA N D E M I C K E P T ME FROM BEING W I T H M Y FA M I LY O R G O I N G TO M Y G R A N D M A’S F U N E R A L
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We were essentially on standby for a year, always cancelling and rescheduling due to the pandemic. “Constance” received a beautiful international highlight for showing that metal can be heavy yet very emotional. Since it's a more personal song, what was it like to tell and sing about a disease you saw so closely? I actually didn’t write the song about dementia. The song is about me dealing with the loss of my grandma. The director of the video, Dylan, who’s grandmother is named Constance, created a story honoring his family’s experience with Constance’s dementia. The song helped me find some sort of closure since the pandemic kept me from being with my family or going to my grandma’s funeral. You performed an acoustic version of “Constance” in Grammy Collection: Live Series and had a very positive response. Did you imagine that they would have such a repercussion? I was really curious to see what people would think of it, since we’ve
never put out an acoustic song. It was my first time ever performing the song live! We never even had time to practice it! In April of this year, you released “Circle With Me” and announced, “Eternal Blue”. A new cycle was being started and that made a new mark in the music scene. How is this path for Spiritbox? It’s just been really exciting and surreal, and a bit of a double-edged sword, as some of this music has been sat on for over two years. I knew a lot of it wouldn’t be accepted by the genres that originally opened their arms to us, and I’m ok with that, I just never intended to have such a huge build up! The buildup is the reaction to having to wait to record it since we all live in different countries and there was a travel ban. The opening part of “Sun Killer” reminded me of one of Courtney's vocal influences, Amy Lee. It is a very interesting song to start the album and that surprises us in
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the final part with the aggressiveness characteristic of the band. This breakdown already prepares the listener for what is to come, doesn't it? This song really pays tribute to Amy, vocally! I’m so happy you feel that way, as this one is really truly meant to be an intro song, to set the tone for what one can expect on the album.
In "Sun Killer" you say you were "born to break" and in "Hurt You" you are happy when it hurts. These personas are two sides of the same coin, but how do you really feel? When I wrote the line “born to break” I envisioned it more like, a wave breaking in a stormy ocean, disrupting the “shallow paradise” like surface level comforts, or vanity. My song lyrics always have a small bit of my own experience in them, but they are almost a fantasy land for me to write about my feelings, like a dream world. “Yellowjacket” features Sam Carter (Architects) and is one of the
IINTERVIEW. N T E R V I E W . SMISSTIQ PIRITBOX
songs that would be interesting to see live. When you wrote this song did you already have his name in mind? No, the song was already demoed out, and then Sam offered to sing on our album as he had been listening to some of our songs, so we spur of the moment had him do Yellowjacket, as we felt he could really shine on it and it felt like a song that could be a conversation between two personalities, even within one’s own head. Still on “Yellowjacket”, undoubtedly you weighed your hand and surprised us with a set of very heavy riffs and vocals that dialogue with the melody. Don't you get tired of surprising listeners? (laughs) I am so happy you feel that way! I hope we always bring that but of surprise to our listeners without relying on novelty. “Silk in the Strings” is by far the
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heaviest song you've ever done, it's one of the songs that should be part of the setlist. How eager are you to introduce these new songs to the public? I cannot wait to go home and start practicing all these songs. Soon we will all be allowed to be in the same country and can rehearse together! We were able to squeeze in a practice in between the festivals we are doing now, and Zev and Michael were casually playing some riffs off the album, and it made me so happy to hear it! It has been more than a year since “Holy Roller” was released, and people are waiting for the moment to have this experience in a live show. How is playing this song with the return of the performances? We have been opening the set with “Holy Roller” and it is so fun! It feels like a good ice breaker! I think I would like to open with “Sun Killer” soon though! “We Live in a Strange World” is the one that stands out the most with electronic ambiences mixed
with heavy riffs. With the low pitch, the guitar becomes aggressive and is accompanied by a softer voice. I believe it's a formula that has made the general public listen to metal, how do you feel about being that bridge? I don’t ever really think of that, I just think it’s nice to have peaks and valleys on a body of work…the quiet parts make the noisy parts stand out even more to me. The song just takes Michael wherever it wants, it’s almost like he is a long for the ride, and he doesn’t try to steer the ship back into familiar territory. It helps us to feel that nothing is off limits! “Halcyon” has great grooves and Courtney's voice is getting cleaner, smoother and I feel like it brings comfort to the heart. But the black hole at the end is the highlight of the song. Congratulations! Is it already on the setlist? (laughs) Thank you! That’s another one that we cannot wait to play live, we just
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Foto: Travis Shinn
have to have some more time together to work on it! “Circle With Me” impacted me so positively that I even wrote an editorial in issue #137 about the song. You guys have shown musical versatility with each release. How is it to create different music and keep the essence that makes Spiritbox unique? I think it’s a lot easier to make music that surpasses everyone’s expectations when there is pretty much zero expectation set for us! I hope that we continue to not worry about people’s expectations of us so that we can keep coming up with stuff that feels authentic to us. It’s my biggest goal. 64 // ROCK MEETING // OCTOBER. 2021
After listening to “Eternal Blue” throughout, I have the impression that you left the best to be heard after the release. It's a wonderful debut album and one that surpassed expectations: a sum of breakdown, with versatile vocals and emotion. How does it feel to release your first album as a band? We are just so relieved to finally have this out, as it’s really time for us to move on, creatively. We’ve been holding on to most of this record for over two and a half years! In 2021 Courtney's voices were present in the songs of other bands. Did you imagined she would be doing Photo: Travis Shinn
these appearances? Most of the stuff isn’t super though out, it’s just bands spur of the moment collaborating and having fun!
really been able to play for them on stage and see their reaction in real life, so all these awesome videos help replace that feeling for now, they are very special to us.
It's amazing the amount of covers of your songs, from children to music teachers, from playthrough to reacts. How do these videos serve to measure the reach of your songs? Do you usually watch these videos? We do watch a lot of them, as it’s really some of the only connection we get to experience with our listeners. We have not
To end our conversation, where does Spiritbox want to go? Thank you so much for being with us again and we will continue to follow you. Success! We just want to keep growing and getting to a level where we can fully realize our creative vision and build a fulfilling life off of writing music and touring the world!
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INTERVIEW. INVENT ANIMATE
BY PEI FON PHOTOGRAPHY SARAH HOLICK
nvent Animate is one of the bands that every heavy music fan has heard of, and now has reason to listen to every day. The American quartet presented fans with the EP “The Sun Sleeps, As If it Never Was”, featuring three songs that carry the identity that made them stand out in the music scene. It is currently formed by Marcus Vik (vocals), Caleb Sherradan (bass), Keaton Goldwire (guitar) and Trey Celaya (drums) and has already released three full albums. In an exclusive interview for Brazil, Rock Meeting had the opportunity to talk with vocalist Marcus Vik and learn from him about the repercussions of the new songs, a little about the past present and about the legion of fans that accompany them. After a year without new songs, you presented the fans with “The Sun Sleeps”. How has the response from the
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INTERVIEW. INVENT ANIMATE
listeners been? Marcus - The response has been unbelievably good and I really feel like the listeners have taken this EP as their own in a sense. There’s this particular repetitive guitar section in the chorus of “The Sun Sleeps” that really seems to resonate with them, and it just puts a smile on my face every time someone mentions it. “How do you sleep at night,
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with a war inside you”. I believe there is not a person in the world who has not faced this war with himself. How to win this war sung in “The Sun Sleeps”? For me personally, I always try to step outside of myself to see the situation clearer. The times where we usually take the first step in the right direction is when we find the path that can’t be seen from within. Everyone can’t do this and
I COULDN’T ASK FOR A MORE HUMBLE FAN BASE. WITHOUT THEM WE PROBABLY WOULDN’T EXIST TODAY
INTERVIEW. INVENT ANIMATE
it doesn’t even work for all but speaking for myself, this is the one thing that usually projects me out of a dark place when I feel stuck. This new single is full of interesting phrases, and I highlight “The simple forms the complicated”. Bringing itself to our current reality of the pandemic has never been so well applied. Why is it so hard to do what is simple? I usually overcomplicate problems that I’m faced with, because problems tend to spark emotions. These emotions add to the weight of the obstacle and make it seem more heavier (read complicated) than it really is. Some people are more emotionally charged than others, both sides have their pros & cons, but both needs to see the problem for what it is and not what it seems. “The Sun Sleeps” is that song where you highlight several phrases that impact the
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INTERVIEW. INVENT ANIMATE
listener's life. It's not easy to compose a song that has so much identification with the outside world. How to dialogue with two distinct worlds using a linear language? To identify a situation, there’s always gonna be emotional compromise. If we take two individuals with a different approach trying to communicate and solve what needs to be solved, the one trick I think would work best is to first listen to one another carefully, acknowledge what drives the other person’s emotion in the matter and then pinpoint the details. From there it’s all in motion, now is the time to pick them off one by one and start moving forward productively. This year completed one year of “Greyview”, and to celebrate this date the instrumental version was released. Even though it is already a common action for the band, what is
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your perception about this consumption of music? The listeners of this genre that usually speak out about our music are a majority of musicians themselves and a big portion of this band's identity is purely details of the instruments themselves. Vocals tend to hide the details in the back when there’s so much going on in the song, so giving the listeners a version of the song without me yelling all over the place lets them listen to the songs from a totally new perspective. I’ve seen people talking about how they’ve fallen in love with the songs again after hearing the detailed instrumentals and that makes it worth it for us to give them. Invent Animate has a very passionate fan base, the reflection of which came with the early sale of all the band's new merch. Is it possible to measure this passion of your
INTERVIEW. INVENT ANIMATE
listeners? How do you feel? We have some characters that have been following us from long before I entered the band and I often see people on social media that mentions they’ve just discovered us and identify themselves as fans of us, seeing the passionate pack of people following us through our lives gives me pure joy and I couldn’t ask for a more humble fan base. Without them we probably wouldn’t exist today.
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I N T E R V I E W. S U N FA L L
B Y G U S TA V O T O Z Z I PHOTOGRAPHY PROMOTION
t this musical expedition that RM is doing in searching for new modern metal talents, we have the honor to talk with Sunfall’s guys. Formed by Oliver Welzen-James (guitar), Sam Worlsfold (vocals), James Titcomb (bass) and Ryan Woods (drums) at 2018, Surrey (England/UK), Sunfall presents a particular sonority, blending brutality with insane time breakings, showing their influences that inspire the band, since the Nu-Metal through Deathcore. At this very year the band released 2 new singles (‘Harakiri’ and ‘Quiet Kid’), presenting even more versatility by introducing elements that goes on hip-hop/rap through Groove Metal, always with an aggressivity brand. Delight yourselves in what Sunfall crew shared with RM in an exclusive interview. Sunfall was born in 2018, release the single extremis, could you tell our readers how the band formed? Oli - Sunfall originally started off as a solo project of mine that I was get78 // ROCK MEETING // OCTOBER. 2021
Photo: Black Box Photo
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ting together to release online and not actually have a band behind it. One day I found myself being approached by our original drummer, Jacob, who had been told by someone that I had demos that he’d really like the sound of. We met up at a local pub and we listened through the demo’s and concluded that we both wanted to take this to a live setting as a band. Eventually, through posting ad posts on various Facebook pages, I had attracted both Sam (vocalist) and James (Bassist) into the band. By this point most of our debut EP had been written but Extremis was a very spontaneous track that I wrote out of the blue that we agreed that would be a great track for us to introduce ourselves with. Listening to Sunfall’s songs, there is a versatility when it comes to styles, form Nu-Metal to Deathcore, with its own brand of brutality. What were/ are the biggest influences from the band members. Oli - I find it really encouraging to see that people are hearing the versatility in our music. It’s one of the
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biggest aims we have for our music. When it comes to influences, musically, as you’ve noticed we are inspired by Nu-metal, Deathcore and beyond with Metalcore, Hardcore, Thrash and much more. Our original EP was very inspired by bands such as Architects, Bound in Fear and Fit for An Autopsy. Then we have inspirations that come from our roots in music such as Slipknot, Korn, Metallica, Deftones and so on. That aside, we could list many pages full of bands and artist we are inspired by that span many genres. The “Serenity” EP (2019) brings together the first 3 singles from 2018 and has in “Deathbreaker” the standout song (with more than 40k plays). Did you expect this result in such a short time? James - In short, we didn't really expect anything like this at all. The support and messages we've received from friends and fans with regards to this EP has been overwhelming, and we can't thank everyone enough for the plays, shares and comments. The last two singles released this year, “Quiet Kid” and
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“Harakiri”, have already reached over 100,000 plays. Have you had this expectation since “Extremis” (2018)? How does it feel after reaching such a mark? James - Personally, I’m blown away, I had started to feel as if we were starting to fall out of the loop with our own scene, so we decided to just put something out to stay in people’s minds, we had always aspired to get 100,000 streams on some material, but now that we’re here, I think there’s a unanimous feeling amongst us that we just want to go further and push for the next milestone. We’re pulling attention from some platforms, labels and people within the industry that we just didn’t think we would have ever really gotten the chance to showcase the music to. It’s strange because Harakiri and Quiet Kid’s releases felt very different, Harakiri felt like it took a really long time to get out whereas Quiet Kid feels like it was written and released within a short time period, and the streams have kind of reflected that, Harakiri was
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much slower burn whereas Quiet Kid seems have done insanely well within just the first month of release. Starting with the last single, released in July, “Quiet Kid” is a song that explores a very particular theme. You sought to emphasize the dark side that goes on in the mind of a boy who is bullies, while criticizing the education system itself. How did the idea come about? Sam – The idea came from personal experience growing up as the “quiet kid” in primary school and early high school. I used the emotions and negativity that I had experienced from those time periods and unloaded them into the track. From there, some storytelling elements were added that helped tie up the track and tell the story of the quiet kid that just had enough. “Quiet Kid” is a song with an intensity already characteristic of Sunfall, with a final verse that simply explodes in/the ears with a fusion of rap/hip-hop and Deathcore/
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Post-Metalcore. Is this something that Sunfall intends to incorporate more and more into their compositions? Sam – Hip hop and rap influences will definitely be a massive part for the future of Sunfall sound. We all grew up on Nu-Metal and I’ve always been a genuine rap fan, writing fast lyrics and flows is just as much fun for me as laying down gutturals and heavy vocals. So, it made sense for me to incorporate both styles when I see fit during our songs. Always expect the unexpected. About “Harakiri”, a single released earlier this year. The singles title points to the suicidal samurai ritual that was practiced as a kind of honour to avoid the dishonour of a public execution, for example. How was the process of creating this song? Ryan – Haha! This is the first time someone has picked up on that samurai reference in an interview. The creation of this song lyrically was from a reflection of society. I see people living in ways that
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cause harm to themselves and others, however people are happy living this way. For example, people work themselves to death with a smile on their face and sadness in their hearts. We know something is wrong but can’t bring ourselves to change anything for the better. We pillage this planet, and we know it’s wrong, yet there’s a smile on our faces with the products this pillaging brings. To me it’s insane, but there is something ritualistic about this way we bring about our deaths both physically and spiritually which is where the Harakiri title and reference came from. The opening lyrics “Seventeen zero two” is in reference to the “Ako incident” where there was Harakiri committed en-masse by 47 Ronin as a reference to that our ritualistic “Suicide” is committed by most humans. The actual song writing aspect came together very easily to be honest, it was my first song I wrote for the band, so I took a lot of inspiration from the core sounds of Sunfall and the Serenity EP, and then mashed in my own personal flavours. The production process was the first time we had to record/ produce a track remotely and was
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the first time I also had done so. Ryan - We had some help from some friends in Australia to get Sam’s vocals done (big up Marco from Crypt Crawler) and I tracked guitars for that one as it was a song I’d contributed more to, and for the sake of it being an easier workflow. There was teething issues with the process, but it definitely paved a way for us working across the country/ the world that has been a necessity with our other songs. Also, we got it mastered by Will Putney which was kind of a personal dream come true. “Harakiri” has a music video that conveys an important message, even more if analysed along with the lyrics of the song, in the phrase. “All I bled was f****** Heroin”. What does the band think about this complex issue? Oli – In reference to the lyrical explanation in the previous question, that line especially is about how we live in a constant state of satisfaction in our demise. It’s like we’re bleeding out but there’s a euphoria to it. To visualise it, I
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remember the scene from Lord of the rings where Smegal finally has the ring and he’s so happy… whilst also burning alive in lava, it’s that kind of juxtaposition I’m getting at. And it is a big issue for the spirit of humans. Many of us live unfulfilled lives, and Sam even referenced this in “Deathbreaker” where he talks about people living for the weekend which is a theme I came back around to. The music video also started to forge another narrative, not sure how many picked up on this, but we brought the artwork for the “Serenity” EP to life in “Harakiri”. And there is a story behind “Serenity” that has a deep meaning for the band, and especially Sam. It’s far too much for me to explain now, but we hope to continue this narrative with music videos in the future at some point and give some sense to it. The single “Industrial” is expected to be available at the beginning of next month. What can the fans expect from Sunfall? Oli – Another turn in Sunfall’s music for sure. I really tried this time
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to make a different attempt at genre blending. I leant far into my hardcore and beatdown influences along with my Nu-Metal, Groove metal and even Deathcore for this one. Then with his drumming Ryan even brought in some Drum and Bass / Breakbeat influences. There’s more in there too touching on my electronic influences. With this release, paired with Quiet Kid, you’ll really get a feel for musical space we are currently in as a band. Along with this, you’re getting a weird as hell and unique/ powerful music video, courtesy of the animation king “Beeple”. Taking advantage of the previous question, does Sunfall already have in mind when the debut album will come? Oli – Not really to be honest. It will be when the time is right. At this stage we have enough material and ideas to last a couple of albums, but we just want to focus on just sharing our sound with the world and bringing attention to that. The best way for a band our size to do that currently is to just release singles,
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so that’s what we’ve got in mind for the next block of Sunfall’s existence. I think too by doing this, by the time we do get to releasing an album we will have such a greater understanding of ourselves, music and sound in a way we can really put the best album together. On the official website there is information about Sunfall hitting the stage again in 2022. You must be as excited as the fans. Could you anticipate any details about this long-waited return? Oli – There aren’t any official details as we are far away from the show happening however what we are wanting to do is a headline show in Guildford as that’s where we played our first ever show as a band. We will probably get the bands of our mates involved too. This will also be our chance to play a longer set where we can play a huge amount of what will be our catalogue of music by the time show’s come back around. I image we will be playing some material of Serenity that we won’t be visiting again for a while as we head into shows playing our newer music. Sunfall has already had the opportunity to participate in shows
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with bands already highlighted in the modern metal scene, such as Monuments and Hacktivist. What band do you dream of playing together with? Oli – It would be absolutely mind blowing to play with a band Like Korn or Architects or any big band that inspired us to pursue music, that’s a dream status show for us.
lease that will expand the sound of the
Finally: What are Sunfall’s shortand Long-term goals? Rock Meeting thank you for your time and wish you all the best! Oli - In the short term our plan is to release a lot more music. We’ve got a lineup of songs that we have lined up to re-
lengths we can push things.
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band quite a lot and just really get people comfortable and familiar with how broad of a band we want to be musically. In terms of long-term plans, it’s to ultimately hit the stage again and really get some great shows and performances in. An ongoing goal for us, is to just get more and more people exposed to our music and really see what
We want to thank you so much
for taking the time to interview us! The quality of the questions has been amazing, and we couldn’t be more honoured that you’ve taken the time and effort to really get to know us.
INTERVIEW. RACHELLE REACTS
B Y PEI FON PHOTOGRAPHY PROMOTION
ho has never seen a react? Only those who are oblivious to what is happening in the world. This world is relatively new and gained more proportion during the pandemic. Without shows, these 'reactions' are the new way of knowing how music is reaching listeners. From musicians to music enthusiasts, you can find it all. Men, women, young and old, there is no gender or age to do it. And one of those profiles that Rock Meeting is happy to talk about is Rachelle Reacts. Rachelle is American and speaks specifically about Modern Metal. With simple and easy-to-understand language, her analyzes bring heavy music closer to her viewers and make them understand every detail of the songs. Get to know how she started her work with reacts, favorite bands, vinyl collections, concerts, and lots of music - meet Rachelle right now. People know ‘Rachelle Reacts’ and your music reviews. But how did Rachelle enter this 92 // ROCK MEETING // OCTOBER. 2021
musical universe? Hi Pei, it’s so wonderful to be a part of this! Thank you so much for including me, I couldn’t be more excited! Music has always been a huge part of my life in some way, shape or form. It’s always been the best means of connection and relating for me, ever since I was young. I can remember walking around with a Walkman when I was in elementary school and just getting lost in the few CDs that I was able to get my hands on at that time. Linkin Park was one of those CDs, I’ll never forget it. Regarding how I got involved in the community, when everything first started shutting down in 2020 because of COVID, some of my friends were telling me (likely because I go on waaaay too much about music to them) that I should start a YouTube channel and put my passion there. I wasn’t sure at first, to be honest. I was nervous about the internet and how people can be mean but honestly, it’s been amazing. I have made so many new friends through this and we all share that passion for music which is so beautiful to me. You are a vinyl collector and concert goer. Since music is the point that unites the world of collection and sensory experiences, what would be the most memorable live performance and vinyl for you? Talk a little about each one. The most memorable live experience I’ve ever been to is a tough one, I’ve seen
INTERVIEW. RACHELLE REACTS
so many amazing shows luckily. It’s hard to really put them up against each other but given everything, I’d have to say that Silent Planet’s Trilogy Tour in 2020 was one of the best I’ve been to. It was also (unknown to me at the time) my last show prior to everything getting shut down for COVID. The lineup was Greyhaven opening, they’re an amazing band and put on an energetic live show that I loved, then Invent Animate who is my favorite band ever, then Currents who is high up there for me as well, with Silent Planet headlining. Silent Planet knocked it out of the park as always, they bring so much passion and emotion to their music. Also, with Invent Animate, it was the first tour that they did with their new vocalist Markus, so I was very glad to get to experience that. For vinyl, I would say that my most memorable press is probably the first press of Greyview by Invent Animate. It was probably the first record I was really excited about receiving after starting up my collection for real. I had a few records for many years but never got deep into collecting until the beginning
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of 2020. Being able to get a copy of a limited press from my favorite band was very exciting! It was the grey with pink splatter variant, limited to 200 copies. It came out gorgeous! I’ve got all three of the variants for that album but that one is my favorite. Today the written review shares space with the video reactions. How can react videos help bands to realize the extent of the impact music can have on the listener? EI think that reaction videos are cool because you can see the expressions on the person’s face while they’re listening to the music, that was a big part of why my friends were telling me I should start my channel. I guess I’ve always had a sort of animated face, I have a hard time hiding my emotions because my face is a tell-all. I tried my hand at writing reviews this year, I will say that is difficult. I think for me, I like reacting because I can listen to music the way that I normally do and just let it hit me. When writing, I felt a little bit more pressure to dissect it
as I was listening rather than experience and then analyze it, probably just a me thing. I think having the visual aspect of that makes it so that the content creator can experience the music and let the emotions of the music hit them and you also have the space to speak further into what you liked or did not like about it. Your react proposal goes far beyond the impression that music can make on you. You do a technical and systematic analysis, and it helps your followers to understand more about this world. Where did your inspiration for this more dynamic and easy-to-understand language came from? When I started up my channel, I just felt like I really didn’t want to pause during the music. I have received a minimal amount of pushback on that but for the most part people are accepting. I really like to feel music when
INTERVIEW. RACHELLE REACTS
I listen, I don’t think the songs were made to be listened to with pauses that kind of interrupt the flow. So, I had to be like “okay, well I’m not really going to say much during the videos, what will I do?” and the logical option seemed to be to speak a bit after I had the chance to really get into the song for the first time. Admittedly, when I first started doing the videos, I had to pause a lot when filming these parts because I was so nervous to speak in front of the camera. It’s really helped having the channel because now I don’t have to do that, I can generally get through an outro without having to cut unless my dogs are barking at the mailman or something like that. I really liked the idea of having the outros where I speak about the music because after listening to a song, these are usually the things I look at. “Wow, that was awesome! Why?” Sort of being able to dive into what I like and don’t like about the song I’ve just listened to, now that I’m not listening to the songs alone or with friends who don’t share the same music taste as me, I’m able to share that with other people who also just heard the song. Top 5: What would be the five
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bands you listen to the most? Briefly talk about each of them. My number one favorite band is Invent Animate. Since the first time I heard the song “Naturehold” I just fell in love with them, it has been years. They have this beautiful, clean tone in their riffs, they bring a lot of ambiance to their music, and I’ve connected with a lot of their lyrics on a personal level. I think each album is flawless. Also, such a nice group of people. They’ve been super kind to me. Two, Sleep Token has been heavy on rotation. They’re such a unique band, they bring a certain amount of groove and soul to the music but also will sneak up on you with the heavy as well. I’d say they scratch an itch that’s hard to find out there otherwise. I’m very excited because at the time of the interview, the new album will be out in just a few days. “This Place Will Become Your Tomb” is one of, if not my most, anticipated album for this year. Three, Left To Suffer is a band that I found this year and has gone directly to the top of my listening charts. Often with music that heavy, I don’t
find it on my daily rotation. It will go to the every-other-day playlist or the work out playlist but with this band, I am always in the mood for them. The EP they put out this year called “On Death” is really something special. Taylor’s vocals really stand out to me, and the instrumentals will smack you up as well. Four, this would have to be The Contortionist. I’ve had Clairvoyant on repeat all year. I was a little late to the party on finding this band, but I have run that record into the ground and I’m still never tired of it. Michael Lessard has the voice of the angel and instrumentally, Contortionist are top tier prog. They open their instrumentals to fit Michael’s voice so beautifully on Clairvoyant, but they’ve got a range of sound in the back catalog. Also, the Our Bones EP is out of this world. Five, I’m going to have to say Cherry on this one. It’s hard to narrow it down to just five because I listen to so much music, but I think this band brings something a bit different and special to the table. This is an-
INTERVIEW. RACHELLE REACTS
other band that will have music out on September 24th, their debut EP “Safe In Your Stare”. I really love the softness that Cherry brings, there’s something so grabbing in the vocals and the instrumentals are just lovely. It’s certainly a new side of Jacob’s (Thornhill) voice that I’m really enjoying. I don’t think all the people who watch my content will enjoy this, but I think it would reach a very good amount of them because it’s just very solid musical performances all around. Every day there's new music coming out. How are songs selected for react? On average, how many do you make per week? Well, this has changed quite a bit since I first started the channel. I used to do channel videos based on what the subscribers wanted, including music that wasn’t new, but we’re living in a time where each week is absolutely packed with new music so that’s not as easy anymore. What you’re seeing right now on the channel is mostly bands that have been on the radar who are releasing new music or bands that have reached out themselves or through their labels/PR. The livestreams have taken on the “show me new music” role
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and the channel videos are more bands that I’m excited to check out new music from or that I think really deserve more hype. I’ll go out of my way to get those smaller bands on the channel over a band that I know will have millions of views anyway. At least that’s how we do our best to run it! Among the new ways of promoting music, your channel participated in a song premiere, which was also a react/review. How was this experience and how much time did you have to prepare for this moment? This experience was amazing for me. I can’t speak highly enough of Dreambound and Blueshift. It was ridiculously cool to have them reach out about this because with both, I love what they’re doing. Dreambound does a mind-blowing job of promoting upcoming talent in the scene. It’s gotten to the point where when I’m doing livestreams and I see the request was uploaded through Dreambound, it feels like some sort of pre-requisite has been met. “Ah, Dreambound likes it so likely it
will be a banger!”. Blueshift is one of those bands like I was mentioning before, who I would go out of my way to promote because I think they deserve more attention than they’ve received…yet. I had found their music before I started up my channel, so I hadn’t gotten to do a true reaction for their music yet. I featured them on an “On Repeat” video because I was so drawn to their sound and wanted to find a way to put them on the channel when I had already heard all their music. They reached out about a month before the premiere to gauge my interest, and I had a good week to prepare the video which was lovely! Truly, one of the highlight moments of the channel for me. In one of your reacts, you talk about Invent Animate's new song, Markus' vocal grip, the riffs and all the vibe that this song brings. As a fan of the band, was that what you expected from them? Ah, I am so glad you brought this up. Something I could talk about… probably too much. The riffs and
INTERVIEW. RACHELLE REACTS
the ambient vibe to the song are absolutely what I am expecting from Invent Animate as a fan. The ambient tag on their “ambient-metalcore” genre stamp is key in their sound. I think they’re doing a wonderful job of keeping that as part of their sound while still evolving. The riffs on Greyview and the new track have really tapped into that clean sound I’m talking about with the riffs. Think Cloud Cascade. I will say that the vocals weren’t exactly what I expected because I think Markus worked on improving some things from Greyview’s release to what we hear on The Sun Sleeps. He shows more range, taps a bit more into his lows. It’s great to see. This EP is something I’m very much looking forward to. Sentinels. Another interesting band that you commented on recently. Emphasizing the vocal performance and the insane instrumental, what did you think of the four singles they've released so far? These singles have really gotten my attention. The first song I heard from them was “Inertia” and it was
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requested on a livestream, that song is a perfect example of everything that I love about the band. It’s still my favorite track from them to date but all the singles have got me excited. There’s something in the vocal patterns, the bounciness in the strings with the airy, ambiance in the background. Then they’ll take you straight down to the breakdowns repeatedly. There’s a lot to love with this track, I think it will be hard to beat on the album. I think as the singles have continued dropping, they’ve continued grabbing my attention. Take “Albatross” for example, I think they really touched on some of the concerns that I had, given the previous singles. One being that we weren’t seeing much range vocally, though the vocals sound fantastic on the existing tracks I was thinking that an entire album with no variety on the vocals might be an issue. Then they released Albatross and I felt like we saw a little bit of that range, though I’d still like to see more. We still have the rest of the album and I have a feeling it’s going to be one worth looking out for. Spiritbox. It is one of the most prominent bands nowadays. All
the hype on “Eternal Blue” has exceeded expectations. What did you think of this debut? Oh man, I was SO happy that this album still managed to exceed the insanely high expectations. I was extremely happy with this debut. I do album reaction livestreams for albums that I’m really hyped about, this was one that I had planned from the get-go. It ended up being one of my favorite streams we’ve ever done because I was just so excited and as I was listening to each song, I was realizing the album truly was going to deliver on the hype. The fact that the singles were as good as they were yet my three favorite songs off the album ended up being non-singles speaks volumes. My favorites ended up being Sun Killer (one of the best intro tracks I’ve heard in quite some time), the title track Eternal Blue and Halcyon. Still talking about Spiritbox, I had the feeling that they kept the best to be heard when the album was released. What did you think of the songs “Yellowjacket”, “Silk in The Strings” and “Halcyon”? I would fully agree with them saving the best to be heard on the actual
INTERVIEW. RACHELLE REACTS
record and I’m so happy that was the case. All three of these songs, I love. Yellowjacket is wonderful, such a great use of a feature and…such a great feature. I thought it really felt like Courtney kind of stepped back and let Sam drive this track vocally which is neat, though I love her voice. I think she still proved herself all over this album and had the room to do that more robotic sounding voice along with a few drops. I love the chorus, I know in my stream some people were split on it but personally, it’s probably top 5 off the album for me chorus-wise. Sam brings the lows that a lot of people were trying to get out of him on the most recent Architects record, but I felt like the chorus was still able to nod a bit at his obvious change in sound without being as light as some stuff on For Those Who Wish To Exist. Silk In The Strings is definitely the track that can compete with Holy Roller for heaviness, but I felt like it was even executed a bit better. No shade to Holy Roller because that is a beast of a track but when taken in context with the rest of the album, I think most of the other songs are on another level and Silk definitely fits with that. It comes straight in with that energy and the slidey sounding riff, aggressive vocals, but I feel like the track also brings in some other elements that tie this 102 // ROCK MEETING // OCTOBER. 2021
track to the rest of the album better. Like pre-chorus, the slow open notes you’re hearing from the guitar. Then you still get some of those gnarly lows from Courtney like “diiiisgustinggg” and that entire verse really. It’s an extremely well done, energetic track. As I mentioned, Halcyon ended up being one of my favorites, so I’ve got nothing but great things to say about this track. The opening vocals and instrumentals are just perfect and beautiful, the transition into the chorus is perfect because it opens slowly, and the chorus has that sort of slow groove to it as well. It’s an outstanding chorus. The non-lead guitar throughout the track sounds shimmery, if that makes sense. It’s a very nice touch. The breakdown was unexpected for me on first listen, I thought the pre-breakdown was what they were doing instead of really dropping it, but I was wrong. I really love that about this album, there were moments where I went “oh, really? I love it”. They really outdid themselves with this release, I hope that it gives them everything that they deserve. Finally, if a person today wants to do reacts, what advice do you give to the beginner? Thank you very much and keep bringing us good content. Success! My first piece of advice would be: Do it! My second piece of advice would be: Be yourself! I sat on the idea for a long
INTERVIEW. RACHELLE REACTS
time and truthfully, without being swayed and without lockdown happening last year I likely never would have started this channel. That would’ve changed things a lot for me, I’m very glad that I had a bit of pressure from my friends and that I decided to go through with it because I think it’s helped me in ways I never even realized it would. For someone like myself who is typically quite anxious, I’ve found myself able to gain some sense of serenity in this community and in the confidence that people have shown in my music taste. As silly as that may sound, we’re living in rough times and the community built from starting the channel has carried me and they’ve helped me grow over the last year and a half. So, if you’re wanting to start a channel and you’re going back and forth, my advice would be
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to just do it. You never know what you’ll gain or who you can help do the same. I think the “be yourself” portion of advice is equally as important. You’re not going to gain anything from pretending to be someone or something that you’re not, and I think that there’s a certain level of pressure when you’re on the internet to be something you’re not sometimes. There’s always going to be people who don’t like what you’re doing or who have something mean to say but if you know that you’re being your true self and you’re doing something that you love, who cares about that. The positive people will outweigh the negative people by far if you’re just genuine and letting yourself be you. It sounds cliché but I find it very sad when I see people acting a certain way because they think that’s what will get them acceptance. You don’t need all that, the right people will accept you and your content as you are, and you’ll blossom from there with it. Thank you so much for reaching out! It was so much fun to speak about something I’m so passionate about. Keep up the great work, you’re reaching a ton of really awesome bands!