or years, we have become acquainted with many a rock band that was young and eager and willing to do what it took to beat that ever-elusive rock n roll dream into submission. Doing so often means living on the road for months at a time going from one gig to another with barely enough money in the bank and putting all of your effort into recording music that gets shared as opposed to purchased. And the merchandising. We can't forget the merchandising. Despite all that you have to do these days to sell your band's brand these days, you've got bands that have mde it work. But in the case of the Chi-town based metal band FAITH IN THE FALLEN, brand recognition and the quest for fame don't figure into the band's modus operandi. FAITH IN THE FALLEN are just folks - working class guys with families and mortgages to pay off and day jobs, but the demands of work and family life in now way prevent these guys from writing songs and rocking out. In fact, their working class status informs much of the material on their latest EP GRAVITY. The band's high-octane metal sound has made them a hit in their native Chicago and we'll be hearing more from the band by the end of January 2018 with the release of two brand new singles.
ROCKWIRED had a chance to speak with vocalist GUY SCHINGOETHE and guitarist DAN DOBBERTIN of FAITH IN THE FALLEN regarding their latest EP and the upcoming singles. Here is how the interview went.
I've had a chance to listen to your EP GRAVITY. It's been around a year since you guys released it and after all of this time, how do you guys feel about that release?
DAN: I'm like super excited about that EP. We've always done a bunch of recordings ourselves and this was our chance to get into professional studio with a great producer. This was a chance for us to lay out everything that we've been working on. It was a great experience for us.
GUY: I think he hit the nail on the head. We worked with CHUCK MACAK. He runs ELECTROWERKS STUDIOS based here in Chicago. He really does take on a producer role and gives you honest feedback. It was a low pressure kind of session. In the past it had always been about getting in there laying things down and understanding that there was a time crunch. But the way MACAK lays it out for the artist is that he lets you finish at your own pace as long as we're not taking it too far. We could come in when we needed to and we didn't need to get it done in a specific time frame. He says that he makes his money on the mixing. He brought that critical ear to the project as well. As far as the songs go, we're excited about how they came to life. We released the EP going on a year ago and we've been playing locally on it. And now we've got some new stuff coming too.
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I understand that you guys have some songs that you are going ot be releasing at the end of January. What can you tell us about them?
GUY: We've got two songs that we're working on. One is called NO TOMORROW and it's getting final mix notices right now. Then we will have it mastered and we'll have it done by the end of the month. The other songs is DARKEST DAYS and on that one we've got to record one more line. So that one might come out a little later in February. That's what's piping right now.
And what kind of reactions has the music from your EP GRAVITY recieved. Have you had any reactions that have surprised you?
GUY: I would say that all of the comments have been really positive. There is a radio station here in Chicago that has a 4/20 hit of the day so they play it and listeners will call in and say that they like it or they will pass on it. We gave that station the title track to the EP GRAVITY and they played it and they puffed it through so that was positive. But it received some varied feedback. I can only think of the funny responses. One guy said the lead singer sounded like WEIRD AL YANKOVIC which I found really funny. Then we saw this user review where a person said "It sounds like they combined country with nu metal and nobody asked for that." Generally, the reactions to our songs has always been kind of positive. We're really down to earth guys and we want to do this locally. We don't have the same aspirations as a young touring band. We just want to be in the mix and supporting bands when they come through town. What's most surprising when people hear the music or when bands come through is "Holy cow! These guys are really professionals and solid musicians!'
DAN: I think one thing that you said about being professional. That was something we always heard when we would play live. People would always come up to us after a show and they would tell us how tight of a band we were and that we were a nice solid rock band. There are so many different types of bands in the area all over the place and to hear a tight rock band is great. I was always proud when people would tell us things like that. It was always frustrating when we didn't have music in hand to give these people to take home with them. When we finally got GRAVITY we were able to share that with people. When that happened, I think that was when people really started to take notice. We've been noticing at our shows that the same faces keep coming back. People the we didn't grow up with and non-family members. It feels good because it means that people are getting it.
Describe the music scene that you guys are surrounded by in Chicago. Is it indifferent? Is it supportive? You tell me?
GUY: I think in general there is a huge wealth of talent in Chicago from the city itself and the surrounding burbs and we represent the south suburban area. There is a fair amount of late eighties hair metal and then there is the nu metal hardcore stuff with screams mixed with melodic vocals. I think we end up somewhere in between. In general, the bands are supportive of original music and supportive of each other. There are a lot of venues that will give opportunities to bands and artists with original music but it's really scattered and there is so much out there. There is so much to do in Chicago on any given day. It's really hard to get people jazzed up about these small club shows when they can see a bigger club show featuring a band that they have heard of.
DAN: We've all been doing this for a while and you always hear people talking about a scene being bad. Over the last couple of years what really surprised me is how much talent there actually is that you just don't know about. There is so much going on and you can lose focus if you are playing all of the same kind of places and same areas. When we started branching out and playing places we had never played before we found ourselves sitting with these bands and going "Wow! I'm a fan of these guys!" That is what made playing out fun. There are a couple of bands that we've played with that were exciting to watch so that was pretty cool. It was cool to see ourselves getting excited again because we were hitting a point there a couple of years ago where it felt like the scene wasn't going anywhere and people weren't really going ot shows. But now it feels like people are putting the time in and it's paying off a little more now.
GUY: And I think that bands helping other bands is becoming a bigger mantra and you've seen the bands that aren't as willing to t do that kind of fall off. We're also seeing a lot of pay-to-play venues kind of fall off. and I think that helps a little bit too.
Bring me back to the beginning of this band. How did it all get started?
DAN: Oh man! I'm not even sure what year that was now but this band has been through a few iterations. We originally started out as a band called FALL IN LINE. It was a play on words. One of the original guitar players was in the military. He always felt like he was always being yelled at by the man and that was where that name came from. SCOTT DUZIK and myself got the band going. SCOTT called me up one day and I really wasn't playing too much. He was just jamming around in his garage and he gave me call one day and said that his guitar player couldn't make it and asked if I wanted to jam with them. I showed up with a little practice amp and everybody else had full gear and full drums. I wasn't expecting a full on band practice. That was how it started. We jammed that band for a couple of years and then the drummer CHARLES had to take off because he was having babies and going back to school. We kind of kept it going in SCOTT's garage for a couple of years and after a few variations of the band and people coming and going, we found our lead singer GUY. He came in brought a whole different aspect to the band. For us, this band was always about the opportunity to hang out with each other and friendship. When you get older, you don't want to to do the band thing where everyone is yelling and fighting with each other and causing problems. It kind of gets old. GUY came in and we started writing some more and doing more shows. We had a different drummer at that time and that was kind of floundering. In fact, we were supposed to play with TAPROOT for a show and there were some issues with the drummer and I gave CHARLES a call and miraculously, CHARLES was able to fill in for this drummer who was flaking on us. He said yeah in a heart beat and he hadn't played with us in a while. That show ended up getting cancelled anyway because TAPROOT's singer got sick. CHARLES came in to practice with us for a few days and next thing you know, two months had passed and we were still practicing with him. We looked to CHARLES and asked him "You just wanted to be back in the band didn't you?" and said "yeah."
GUY: Then there was the matter of a lead guitar player.
DAN: Yeah that lead guitar player was always something that was very difficult to find because everyone always thinks that they are a lead guitar player but they're really not. I don't know how many guys came in for auditions or sent us mp3s of stuff that they wrote. JAMES came in completely opposite of what were seeking. He walked in and SCOTT and I are pretty heavily tattooed guys. We didn't know if this was going to work but all it took was 12 seconds of JAMES playing for us to realize that he is phenomenal.
GUY: Yeah he's a real shredder. He hasn't played in many bands before. He's a firefighter by trade and he just fits right in. It's like having another singer the way his leads pop in. We've been playing with this current unit for five or six years.
And explain the songwriting process within this band. How does it happen?
GUY: If you're looking at he GRAVITY EP I think out of all of those songs FALLEN is a hold over from the early days of the band. When I came into the band that had a nice set of tunes and I came in and wrote lyrics to them. In this band, I'm primarily the lyric writer but there have been some deviations to that. I just came in and all of a sudden we eight or nine songs that were tight and ready to go. Since we've become a solid unit the songwriting process has been really fun and amazing and exploratory. What usually happens is that one of us will come in with an idea. Like the song MAKE WAY was an idea that DAN came in with and then I would would write the lyrics and then we would arrange it as a group. GRAVITY was song that I brought in where I play piano and the guys have been really supportive of me bringing piano into the mix. I brought that song in we kind of worked that together. TOO LATE was hold over from the bands early days as well. Everyone really came in and jammed on that one and brought their own individual thing to it. The two songs that we're working on now reflect something interesting because this is the first song that JAMES has ever brought in. He brought in the riff and as a band we came up with the arrangement. The song DARKEST DAYS is an interesting deviation from the normal process in that DAN wrote the lyrics and I wrote the music on piano.
And what songs off of the EP resonate for each of you the most and why?
DAN: I would say probably MAKE WAY. I came up with this very interesting, simple riff but it had just stuck with me for a while. TOO LATE is a song that stands out for me because it's one of thos songs where you play it live people listen and they start going "Holy cow!" We get into that one and we just start jamming it and it's one of those songs where you forget where you are at for a moment and you just play it. It was a hold over from previous iterations of this band and it sat onthe shelf for a while. I personally did not feel that song until GUY added lyrics to it as well as some new melodies. With those changes, I can't imagine this song not being in our set.
GUY: For me I would have to say GRAVITY because it's a song that I wrote and usually my lyrics are reflective of my mindset or of something that I'm going through. With that song in particular it speaks to the pressures that I face in taking care of my family and putting in hours for the day job and keeping a roof over our heads and dealing with the unexpected stresses of life and having to keep a brave face. I think that songs has the strongest connection to me personally.
When you guys release these two songs what will be next for the band?
DAN: These two new songs that are coming out, I think what I'm excited about is how well-written they are. These are the songs where everyone in the band has had full on input. We are all being represented in these songs.
GUY: I'd like to work on four or five new songs this year and see if in the Fall we can cut ome more new material. I really like our relationship with CHUCK and the finished project. I want to put as much stuff on record as possible so when I die, my kids will have plenty of stuff to listen to.
DAN: If you take a look at some of the stuff on our website we always talk about being a blue collar band. We're a working class band. We decided early on in this version of that band that we're not looking to tour the world. We all wish we could quit our jobs and we could pay off our houses and tour the world and do all of that kind of stuff but we also have some very realistic views on things. We're all dads. We're all married and we all have full time gigs. Some of us work two jobs and we have a lot going on. I live out of state now in Indiana. Making band practice and doing shows can take a lot out of you. It can take me two hours to make it to a show to play for thirty minutes. It gets pretty difficult but it keeps us leveled headed and we're like "you know what? We want do this for fun because we enjoy hanging out together and we enjoy making music." It takes all of that stress out of it. We want to put out good music and we want to play some fun shows and we want to make people happy and have a good time. We just wanna keep doing it.
BRiAN LUSH (FOUNDER, EDiTOR-iN-CHiEF)
CONTACT BRiAN LUSH AT: email@example.com