FAULT: You describe you sound as Metal / Rock / Thrash. How do you
keep your sound so unique?
To be honest, those three genres are essentially forced labels. Everyone demands an artist has to be unique, but in the next breath, everyone wants to put a label on the artist’s music. In the world of heavy metal today, fans and artists alike are very genre obsessed. To some people we’re a metal band, but to some die-hard metal fans we’re a rock band because we have a cleaner vocal styling. So to answer your question, I feel that if we do have a unique sound, it is because the songs were the product of emotion, and not overproduction. The songs weren’t dissected by a group of producers, nor were they written to appease a specific audience. This album was simply a natural process.
FAULT: What does the word Rock mean to you?
Rock is a lifestyle. You breathe it, you embrace it, and you live it. It cannot be bought in a store, or defined by a hairstyle. Just because you have long hair, or just because you bought a fancy designer shirt with skulls on it, does not make you a rocker. You have to bring it! Not that I have anything against the crossover of aggressive rock imagery with fashion, but there are hordes of bars full of people who know nothing about the history of what they are actually wearing. Rock is all about attitude, the influence that inspired you to define yourself.
FAULT: Who did you grow up listening to?
The one artist I listened to the most through my early years was The Beatles, but I was also listening to bands like Megadeth, Guns N’ Roses, and Metallica. I have always had a pretty wide range of musical tastes.
FAULT: Do you come from a musical family?
I don’t come from a family of musicians, but there was always music playing in my house growing up. My mother was always playing records, and that’s what got me started. I’ve been hooked for as long as I can remember.
FAULT: Are you creatively involved in Sylencer’s album artwork?
I am involved with the artwork to a degree. There’s a very specific direction, philosophy, and imagery that I like to keep to with Sylencer, but I don’t want to limit the artist either. I’ll convey as many details to the artist as possible, and see where that takes us. It’s all about being happy with the final product, especially when it’s your debut album cover!
FAULT: What are you currently experimenting with?
Recently I have been experimenting more with acoustic unplugged-type material. As the Sylencer record is so fast and up-tempo, it’s nice to explore the other side of the instrument once in a while. Plus, slower guitar parts open up the ability for me to work with more detailed vocal harmonies. With Sylencer, there’s not much room to do a lot of vocal harmony parts, when there are guitar leads going over riffs over bass lines!
FAULT: Are you all self taught Musicians?
Yes, Johnny Rox (bass guitar) and I are self-taught musicians. I picked up a guitar, and just started to jam along to the songs on my stereo.
FAULT: What makes a great Guitarist?
A great guitarist is someone who knows when not to overplay. Just because you can play 1,000 notes in that measure, doesn’t mean that you should play them. Great guitarists make their guitars speak to the listener. When you can feel the emotion in a song, it’s because the artist put the emotion into the song in the first place. That is why some of the “Best Guitarist Of All Time” polls are often baffling, and impossible to agree upon. Some guitarists can convey the emotion while not being the best technical players, and vice versa.
FAULT: What is the music scene like in Chicago?
To be honest with you, we are not really viewed as a part of the ‘scene,’ as we’ve been doing nothing but focus on recording this album for the past 5 years, not playing shows. After playing shows for years before, we just decided to make the best record that we could, and that we would treat it as if it was the only record that we’d ever make. This decision has allowed us to record internationally and work with our heroes, so naturally we have no complaints. But in Chicago, if you want to get the maximum amount of exposure, you have to be a cover band. Original music is not embraced, and that is a sad state of affairs. Where would the cover bands be without the original music of other artists? Something’s got to give.
FAULT: Are you inspired by your surroundings?
Yes, I am definitely inspired by my surroundings. New surroundings bring about different feelings and emotions. Breaking away from a comfort zone can be very inspirational, regardless of how it affects you emotionally. Musically, changing your surroundings can make all the difference, in your writing, and in your performance. I’d love to record in another country, just to see how it would affect my playing.
FAULT: You have many guest appearances, is there anyone you would like
to work with?
Well I’ve definitely worked with a large number of my influences and heroes already, which has been an amazing, overwhelming, and sometimes shocking experience! I think it would be great to work with Slash, Dave Mustaine, or Marty Friedman as they are amazing guitarists. But two people who I would love to work, would be Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr…together if possible!
FAULT: What do you think of modern day Rock?
Since I’m not really sure what artists constitute modern day rock, I’ll say that just like anything else, there are the bands that are good at what they do, and the bands who try to be those bands. I think that some artists and even record labels hurt themselves, by trying to piggy back the newest “trend” bands. Just because band number one is doing well, doesn’t mean that the world needs twelve more of them. What is the point of finding an original sounding artist, just so you can bastardize them by attempting to replicate them? Well, the point beyond making money of course…
FAULT: Who is overrated?
There’s no way I can answer this and escape a shitstorm of ridicule, so fuck it, here goes nothing…I’ve never really been able to get into Avenged Sevenfold. It’s nothing against them personally obviously, as
they weren’t the ones telling me how godly their guitarists are, it was their fans. If a band comes out and says their new record is going to be the best thing you’ve ever heard, and it’s not, it’s on the band. When their fans and the media do it for them, it’s out of their hands. Sometimes a band’s fans can ruin their music for me.
FAULT: Who is underrated?
In my opinion, the most underrated guitarist today is Emil Werstler. He’s one part Slash, and one part Marty Friedman. From his work in extreme death metal, to his guitar clinics with Paul Reed Smith, I just fail to see anyone else that’s even in the same league. The guy can melt your face, and bury a melody in your head making it all look effortless. And he brings it live! So many people are all studio these days, it’s refreshing to see someone just dominate their guitar.
FAULT: What is your FAULT?
It’s definitely my FAULT if anyone who ends up reading this wasn’t slightly entertained, enlightened, or enraged, and hopefully I’ve done some combination of the three!