28 OTTOBRE 2017
DOMANDE A CURA DI VALERIA CAMPAGNALE
Hi guys and welcome on Insane Voices Labirynth’ pages. First of all, would you present yourself to our readers?
Hello Insane Voices Labirynth crazies, this is Mick Bryan, guitarist and backing vocalist with Four Skulls in the USA. Glad to be here and am honored.
You guys, are from cover bands, I can say you’ve definitely done an excellent step out with "World Of Hurt". It’s really a brilliant debut album, so touching. How the album is born? Exactly, why you choose the war theme and the psyche of a soldier?
I finally did what I wanted back in 2012 and got permission to build a studio in my basement. I mean separate track room, control room, vocal booth, all new cutting edge recording gear, wall treatments, etc. The guys I was in the cover band with all helped out and it took about a year to build. When we got done, I was sort of worried I wouldn’t be able to write anything! My drummer and I would just sit and watch Rush videos in the studio to hopefully gain some inspiration. Lo and behold it worked! The album was born from a couple of paragraphs I had written about World War II’s Battle of the Bulge actually. I am a WWII buff and watch a lot of documentaries about it and such. Rush had just came out with Clockwork Angels which is a complete concept album. So we decided to go for it and do one as well! Haha. I know, pretty bold on our end but you might as well think big! I’m a huge fan of the mini-series “Band of Brothers” and there was one episode called “Bastogne” where they were all sitting in their foxholes getting the hell bombed out of them, freezing, scared to death, just waiting to die. That’s where the first song we wrote for the album, “Not Dead Yet”, was loosely based on. From there I made a chapter list on what I thought the songs should be about, kind of like a book. That one wound up being song (chapter) four in our story. From there, the rest of the album seemed to fall into place. From our subject getting drafted, going through boot camp, being thrust into war, and then dealing with the aftermath of paranoia and PTSD.
In your opinion, why some people says your music sounds similar to Alice In Chains or even Iron Maiden? Listening to your album, I’ve found a very personal sound, that such a rare quality nowadays, too many band copy other’s bands style. It’s seems people has always to compare a band to another.
We get a lot of people that compare us to Alice In Chains but I think it is mainly because of all the layering of the backing vocals on the album that kind of give us a hint of sounding similar to them. Our song “Why” would be the one that mostly sounds influenced by them. The only Iron Maiden I hear may be in the song “Fight Die Bleed” during the breaks where the bass line kind of gallops along a la Steve Harris but that’s about it.
All bands are a sum of their influences. The more influences you draw from, the better chance of it mixing into something new. I hear parts where I know I may have channeled a certain player or band, but I don’t believe any of it sounds “just like” any of them. So thanks for the complement! That is always the goal, to be original.
“Holding On” is a beautiful song, I really love its lyric. Would you like to describe it?
"My entire platoon is dead. How I survived is perplexing to say the least. It seems like I've lain here for days hoping the end will come for me as well. But I must keep moving. My destiny still lies ahead." The little snippet in the liner notes of the CD tell it all, they are also available on our website www.fourskulls.net/lyrics. Each song will have a little intro to help set the moods for the songs.
Who write the lyrics in your band? How usually born your songs?
Our original drummer and I wrote the first 9 songs together. I wrote the music and he wrote the majority of the lyrics. I would give him an idea for the direction I wanted the song to go and he would write two pages of stuff! So he and I would have to sift through them and shorten everything and then make the words fit the cadence of the vocal melody I had come up with. We would have to change words here and there to get the same syllable count, etc. I would usually have the hook words for the choruses already and we would build around that. Our singer Aaron and I wrote the last song “1000 Souls”.
I do not believe any song followed any formula; sometimes it would be a vocal melody or a guitar riff that would start the writing of a song. Sometimes it may have been just a couple of lyrics, or a drum beat. One I just played two notes on a bass and it morphed into the song “Why”.
How can you describe Four Skulls as band, and why a listener should choose to listen to your music or to go to you shows?
We are very tight and seasoned musicians in my opinion. Our singer Aaron Miller is a very flamboyant front man and has a great vocal range. The rhythm section is locked down and carries a thunderous beat to drive our music and our backing vocals really make us stand out as well. I’ve always said that live backing vocals can make a good band sound great.
In three words, how can you describe the mood of Four Skulls?
Dark, Energetic, and Determined!
In your opinion, with the internet era, what did music lost and what it earn in listening to music?
In metal and hard rock, nobody is gonna sign a big record deal and make millions and retire nowadays. The only people that have that were around before all the Spotify, Rhapsody, and YouTube stuff were not in the picture. Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters says you should just give your songs away. That’s easy to say for a guy that had already made his millions from Nirvana. The internet has killed the revenue stream for musicians. On the flip side, if it weren’t for the internet, I wouldn’t be doing this interview right now. Now there is a platform for more indie musicians to get their music out to the people and all corners of the globe. It’s was hard to reach outside just your local area just by passing around cassette tapes like they used to. So yeah, there’s good and bad.
Can you anticipate some news regarding the band? Any project for a tour?
We always have ideas. We’ve talked the last couple of years about coming over to Europe for a few weeks and make a go of it. All it takes is planning and money! We’ve been invited to a few festivals over there so we will just have to see if we can make it happen. We’ve also talked of doing a small tour on the west coast in the US. Hit Hollywood and Los Angeles. For now we will continue to tour regionally. Also, we are always thinking about the next album and hope to get started very soon on that.
Thanks again for this interview, you have the space to finish it as you wish and I really hope to see you on stage in Italy!
We would like to thank everyone for the support they have given us over the years. That goes to the fans, the dj’s of the stations that play our music, the journalists that review our material, the bands we share shows with, and our close friends and family. Not just for us but for all original bands out there, please come out and watch a show. Buy the band’s music, t-shirts, etc. Support your local talent and please connect with us at www.fourskulls.net. Thanks again from Aaron Miller, Mick Bryan, Duane Crisp, & Ryan Morrison!