LOUDER THAN HELL “Lucky 13” Interview

LTH: People become a musician for a wide variety of reasons. What are the factors that originally inspired you to play music? Are you playing for the same reasons today as you were when you started? Why or why not?

PATRICK: Personally, music saved my life. I don't mean that to sound cliche, but that is completely the truth. I have a hyper-addictive personality and through any pain, heartache, loss, abuse, or fixation, I found a solution or overcame it through music. Music has a power to unite any and all people as well as give a glimpse into one's soul, especially the listener.

LTH: Whether by using genres and styles or simply adjectives that let people know what your band is all about, please describe your music in your own words. In addition, can you recall a description someone has given about your music that is the most accurate?

PATRICK: We basically just write what we feel and make it as universal as possible. We believe if you can sing along with it, you can feel it more. Not only does music need to be heard, but it needs to be felt as well. We write and re-write until there is a certain level of honesty to the songs, then we try to enhance the identity of our sound that is naturally in the songs already. I don't really know any fancy ways to describe it, but my favorite fan description was "It's like if Genesis and Three Days Grace had a baby, but then that baby sounded better than both of them."

LTH: Discuss one or more things about your music that distinguishes you from other bands. Please explain what you like about this aspect of the music and why you believe these differences make your band more interesting to listeners.

PATRICK: I think that all bands who challenge and dedicate themselves to honest writing and high quality songs with the right kind of production catering to their genre, it automatically sets themselves apart because it shows they care. Music listeners will only care as much as the musicians care. The musicians also have to care about the right things like purity and soul, not fame and fortune. This then bleeds more life, energy, and emotion into the live performances. I believe we do this and I can say that confidently because every day we hold each other accountable to follow these standards. People get to choose what they listen to, and if they choose to listen to us over anyone else, they deserve that craftsmanship for giving us a chance.

LTH: Fans love getting to know more about things that inspire their favorite artists. What and who are some of your influences?  Please give them a few details about why you like creating music and what things inspire you to make it.

PATRICK: Well, my favorite guitarist is Joe Walsh because he doesn't allow his guitar work to get in the way of the song itself. He leaves room for everything else to breathe. Beyond that, I'm a little bit like John Cusack in High Fidelity where I break everything down into top five lists, which each include sub-lists! Real life inspires us to write and play. Being in a band is owning and operating your own business as well, so there is a lot of hard work involved if you want to survive. Even so, we always find more inspiration simply just working with other people. For me personally, Chris Poloni who directed our music video and Josh Clark who did our song artwork and cover designs [for the Skeleton Key Video and EP] inspired me greatly because we all collectively took our art into other platforms and outlets of artistic creativity. That is a big reason why I like creating music. All the collaborating along with the reactions to the finished or live product is nothing short of rewarding.

GEORGE: My influences are my other bandmates. They inspire me. For me, being influenced by other people kind of went by the wayside when we set out to break into the mainstream. I mean, look, if you wanna be a mainstream band, there are certain ways you have to write because there are certain things the audience expects. I had never set out to like creating music, I created music because it's what I naturally liked to do. Nothing OUTSIDE the band really inspires me to write because outside the band I like to listen to music instead of write it. At the same time, not being in a band wouldn't prevent me from being inspired to write music. When you're in a band that is set towards a genre specific goal, instead of being inspired by music, you need to study it.

LTH: Which of your band's songs do you feel best represents your sound? Why?

PATRICK: I would have to say Skeleton Key. It has all the elements of a great song to start with. We then all developed a special connection to what the song means and how it makes us feel when we play it. The song felt very natural to us from day one. On top of that, the grandiose aspects to the production,  the blending of piano and unique harmonies, and the overall anthemic sound, to me are all parts of our identity as a band. We have a new song we are working on that I feel is of the same vein called Human that I look forward to sharing with our fans.

GEORGE: I would say Better Part of Me because it's a song that appeals to all people, and that's what we're trying to do.

LTH: Who is the person or people most responsible for helping your band get to where it is today?

PATRICK: We are fortunate to have a lot of people believe in us, and not just friends and family, but people within the industry as well. Justin Gosnell, Linda Mills, Jason Hughes, and Casey Sabol just to name a few. When you have insanely talented people such as Brandon Paddock, Josh Clark, and Chris Poloni excited to work with you to the point where they become equally as emotionally invested, it's a humbling feeling.

GEORGE: I would say the sole person that would be responsible would be Patrick, but there have been a lot of people along the way that have been very supportive and helpful. Specifically regarding the EP, people like Justin Gosnell, Linda Mills, Jason Hughes, and so on. All the past members of the band as well because all of that led up to where we are now. Everything in life that you go through, you have to go through change to find out what you're really trying to do.

LTH: What has been the most difficult challenge the band has had to overcome? How did you approach this barrier and what did you specifically do to overcome it?

GEORGE: The most difficult thing the band ever had to do was not release our 2011 EP titled "The Disposition." We spent over 2 years and $20k of our own money for writing and recording it. You always want to be proud of what you have done, but at the same time you don't want to turn away people that are giving you an outside opinion and trying to help you. Even if it is criticism. You deal with it in the same way that you deal with getting kicked in the balls.

LTH: Every person is in some way, a product of his or her environment. How have the things you deal with on a day-to-day basis affected your music? Would you say the music in your home area has influenced your group?  Please explain why or why not.

GEORGE: I think if we were a product of our environment and wrote how we deal with life and how life deals with us, we'd probably be a death metal band! It's hard for life not to influence what you write. It may even be impossible because music is about feeling, even if it's told as a story there is always a connection. Regionally, I'd say we've been influenced by other bands not musically, but as band members. We see how other bandmates treat each other. We know not to take each other for granted.

LTH: Have you opened for any major acts or toured?  What is the first performance that pops into your head when thinking about your gigs?

GEORGE: Ratt, Taproot, Nonpoint, L.A. Guns, Bang Tango, Charm City Devils, and Kix to name a few. The first performance that pops in my head was when we were opening for Days of the New in Baltimore, MD. I was looking forward to watching them play because I've been a huge fan of theirs ever since I was growing up. Then they didn't show up. Of all the big bands we've played with, that was the one I for sure would've bought tickets to just to go see the show! I was disappointed. If you didn't aim towards the goal of touring or opening for major acts, it would be a difficult road within our genre. We find ourselves just now in the last year or so getting more offers to play with bigger acts.

LTH: What can your fans expect from your live performances?  What particular aspect of your concerts brings in crowds? Please give us some examples.

GEORGE: Energy! So much energy, we can feel it come back from the crowd. We try to make our shows be equally as accurate as well. If you ask around about the definition of our band name you will find more answers! MY favorite part of the show is talking to the fans afterwords. We ALWAYS talk to our fans.

LTH: Chemistry within a band is very important. When the band originally formed, what was it about playing with the other musicians that impressed you the most? What is it about the chemistry between the members that makes the band unique?

GEORGE: Nothing impressed me for a very long time because it took a long time for us to grow and come together. That's something I think every band goes through. Everyone in the band can play their instruments and perform, and we all knew that ahead of time. Let me just put it this way, we were more impressed with one another when we actually started to work together. Chemistry is more so reserved for live performances than it is for writing. You have to get along, agree to disagree, and understand each others feelings. What makes our chemistry live unique is that our drummer is willing to use a metronome and we strive for perfection. With the small markets of todays music scene and limited resources, your execution must be near perfect and your performance has to be on all the time. I would like to believe we have that.

LTH: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us about your music. What's the next step for the band? Do you have a special event like a concert, tour or release coming up that you'd like to discuss?  Please conclude by giving the fans a few parting words.

PATRICK: Writing and shows! We're really excited to test some of our new songs out directly in front of our fans...

GEORGE: The next step for us is continuing to write more music and appeal to more people. We allow our fans to dictate what we do, and they are asking us for more songs. Keep checking our show schedule, we'll be adding more! Currently you can catch us opening for Theory of a Deadman in August along with some exclusive acoustic shows coming up! Check us out on youtube and check out the music video for the title track Skeleton Key! Thanks so much for having us, we are fans of LTH!


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