Metallica’s perpetually selling hit record Metallica a.k.a. The Black Album (Elektra) has just hit quite the milestone: spending 500 weeks on the Billboard 200. This is the only Metal record to do this in music history and one of only three others ever ahead of them: Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, and Journey. Two of those albums (Bob Marley and Journey) are Greatest Hits releases, adding extra merit to Metallica and Pink Floyd. While not tracked consecutively, the album is one of only four to spend 500 weeks on the chart (this week’s charts find it at #137.) A further breakdown can be seen here. Continue reading
Fire From The Gods recently released Narrative on Rise Records, and it’s an album I feel everyone needs to hear. The power of the lyrics is only enhanced by the intensity of the music, and it makes for a great listen, no matter what type of music you enjoy. AJ Channer‘s words are truly heartfelt, and he brings the listener on an uplifting journey from the beginning to the end. I’ve been a fan of his work for years now, but this is his shining moment, and a stepping stone for what can only be an even brighter future.
I recently got to chat with AJ about writing, recording, and performing the tracks on this new record, and you can read our interview below. This is a man that has something to say, and after you read his words, I urge you to grab Narrative today! Continue reading
Finding their own voice for any musical act is a challenging thing, and for Chilean alternative rockers The ReAktion vocalist Simon Rojas, it took him to venture to Vancouver to find an opportunity to have his vision heard. Their debut album Selknam was recently released (out via Mainia Recordings) and they also completed their stint on the Knotfest in Devore, CA.
He explained his thoughts on their performance at the fest. “It was a great experience. It was our first time playing as a three-piece and it’s important to us to bring the message to people and the kids and get in their minds with very good senses and a really good frequency…I mean guitars and really good tuning.”
“The band talks about waking. People need to learn how to love again. You know what I mean? That’s why it’s going to be the end of fights and competitions and wars. That’s what we’re talking with the band and the lyrics and focusing on that. That’s the things we’re talking about on our new album.”
Fusing sounds ranging from alternative rock to electronic music to acoustic sounds, The ReAktion display a wide array of influences that makes it hard to pinpoint what they sound like. Rojas talked about whether bands they were compared to, such as Linkin Park to Radiohead and Muse, and whether they were bands he was inspired by.
“I don’t know. A lot of people say different bands. Personally I really like to play what I really like to hear – what I really want to hear, like screaming with acoustic guitars or melodic vocals with Djent riffs. There’s a mix for everything with a good message like Bob Marley or what John Lennon did. We’re trying to say that message.” he said.
Prior to the fest, the band completed their first US tour supporting OTEP. Following the tour, a shakeup in the lineup happened, which resulted in recruiting drummer Felipe Alvarez and bassist Garrett Wolf to round out the newly revised lineup.
“We did a tour three months ago with OTEP and we did 60 shows around the US. We toured for almost three months. After that we went back to Chile and we had this [lineup change] thing going on. So we came back as a three piece and this is the first show as a three piece. It went really well so we’re excited to see how it goes,” said Alvarez.
“We were four. Felipe was a touring member for a year. It’s a long story but it was different people in the band. Now we’re a three piece and we’re doing very well,” added Rojas, talking about the lineup change.
Originally from Santiago, Chile, Rojas bounced around in various bands before taking The ReAktion to Vancouver to reach a wider audience. Through mutual friends, his music was passed along to Slipknot DJ Sid Wilson, who eventually became the band’s manager.
“Almost two years ago. [We met through] mutual friends in Vancouver. We used to rehearse near the Amsterdam Café,” explained Rojas.
“These guys rehearsed in the basement of that place all the time. Sid was in town one day to hang out with mutual friends. They ended up having to work so he came there to hang out. He met up with Diego [Sagredo, ex-guitarist] who was in the band at that time and they hit it off and chatted. He listened to some of the tracks and the rest, as they say is history,” added Wolf.
Selknam was produced by veteran producer Garth Richardson (Rage Against The Machine), who also heard the band during a recording session with some students at a recording school. Impressed with what he heard, he took them on to work on songs that became their debut album at Fader Mountain Sound.
“We met with Garth, maybe three years ago in Vancouver. We met with him and did our first album called Selknam, which is out now,” said Rojas. “[It took] a whole year. They did most of the recording for all of that – the instruments in Canada and he finished most of the vocals in Chile with Garth. He went to Chile and did it with them there. That was the last bit of tweaking on the production side.”
With the downsizing of the band, the new lineup insists that aside from having less people involved, the band sounds stronger than ever.
“Simon did most of the guitars on the record. He knows how to play it but he is just being a frontman on the last tour. He had to drop the guitar and do both. [Garrett] Wolf is taking care of the bass and I play drums and take care of the sequences too. That was what I was doing before all of this changed,” said Alvarez.
Being from Chile, the band steers clear of waving attention towards their origins. Not ashamed of their home country but instead they aimed to be noticed as a worldwide act instead.
“Not too much. We’re not trying [to say] ‘We’re from Chile!’ and this is Latin American music and stuff like that. We’re from there and we’re really proud of that, but we’re trying to give strength in our message with no countries and no nothing,” explained Alvarez.
“It’s worldwide. It’s everybody – everyone. That’s it. We are one. No more flags,” said Rojas.
“Not from Santiago. From Earth,” added Wolf.
Lastly, they spoke about the differences between working in Canada versus Chile, and their thoughts on the differences between the two countries’ attitudes towards rock music. Alvarez shared his thoughts on the matter.
“Back in Chile we have…how do you say…a [backwards] cultural world. It’s really slow. Maybe 15 years and the music scene is really small. I don’t know why people from Chile love things from outside from other countries. [Maybe] because it’s cooler to listen to music from the US, but it’s growing all the time.”
“In Chile, there’s a very big festival too. It’s good. It’s really hard when you don’t know anybody. We have really good music in Chile, but there’s no business yet. For example, nobody in Chile makes tours. It goes through all of the countries and playing in all of the cities. Just a few people come. They’re into another kind of music like tropical sounding music. Those kinds of people do that, but metal and rock…”
“In Vancouver it’s similar,” said Rojas.
“A little bit but it’s got a good metal scene and stuff like that,” said Wolf.
“It’s got more of an underground scene and more studios like in Los Angeles. There’s a lot,” added Rojas.
Wolf concluded, “In Vancouver people are more willing to go to the small venues to watch a band instead of U2’s playing the stadium. Like who’s cares and we’re going to watch some local band in the area kind of thing. I think it’s a good scene to get on your feet. So it worked out very well. They met the right people it seems like for these guys.”