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Breakthrough Even [Interview]

Who inspired you to make music?

Zach: Linkin Park definitely and really that whole initial wave of early 2000’s hard rock and nu-metal. While people have their opinions on the music of that time, it definitely was a game changer for me personally and as a developing creative. What a time!

Josh: Like Zach said, Linkin Park and that whole wave of nu-metal are what made us actually want to pick up instruments and learn how to play and create. We’d watch “making of” documentaries of our favorite albums and always think, “[…] we want to do that!” Later on, Dream Theater was another band that inspired me to take songwriting seriously and also helped me understand what was possible when it came to lyrics, song structure, arrangement, etc.

What is your creative process like? Do you start with lyrics? Instruments? Concept?

Josh: We start out recording rough instrumental ideas and demos. We usually work out the foundation of a song that has a beginning, middle, and end, and then Zach and I will spend a while fleshing it out and working out all the details until we’re happy with it. From there, we decide on a concept for the lyrics that we think will fit the vibe of the music we’ve written, and then move on to vocals.

There are times we’ll have a lyric or set of lyrics that inspire a riff or a specific arrangement, but it’s rare that we start the entire process with just lyrics.

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What do you feel is the best song you have released/written and why?

Zach: Really hard question as I love so many aspects of all of the work we’ve done. So much to pull from. I think ultimately our track ‘Charlatan Dreams’ really hits all the marks for me. The song features Mike Semesky on vocals and he really took the song to a whole other level. The guy wrote, recorded, and mixed the entire vocal portion of the song in 2 weeks! Still blows me away.

Josh: Yeah this is a tough one. I’m proud of all of our work, but we do try to improve with every release so I’d say ‘Requiem’ is definitely up there. I’m really proud of how that entire song came together.

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

Zach: I’ve always been a pretty reserved/mild mannered person, never been one with a quick temper either. I was told once to always go with “the path of least resistance” and that really was just a great reminder to stay open minded, calm, and to do my best to always approach and handle situations in a manner that results in as little conflict as possible. Just really stuck with me.

Josh: Always be honest. Deceiving people never does much good in the long run!

If you could be any kind of cookie, what would it be and why? (Most important question)

Zach: It’s funny you ask this. I’m gonna be super specific here. We have a couple of friends that own a cookie company here in Atlanta, GA called JackedCookie Company. If I had to be a cookie it would be their peanut butter flavored cookie. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s possibly one of the best things I’ve ever consumed. Shoutout to Jesse and Savannah, for real!

Josh: Definitely just a chocolate chip cookie. Nice and simple.

How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?

Zach: Visibility definitely. It’s so easy to discover new artists and stay connected with your current favorites. While there’s certainly drawbacks to how artistry and business works today I think just the visibility alone really gives independent parties a true chance to make something for themselves that’s sustainable. That’s huge!

Josh: Yeah, I think a negative is how much the Internet has changed the scope of the music industry. It’s more difficult than ever to stand out among this massive sea of artists that are all trying for the same exact thing, but I think this is outweighed by the fact that we have way more tools at our disposal now and it’s so much easier to actually get heard. The Internet has allowed us to have more control over all aspects of our music, from production all the way to marketing and promotion, and I think it’s important for bands (especially smaller bands) to realize this.

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If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?

Zach: Elitism and the various forms of gatekeeping that you see. Just not necessary and the online debates and arguments you see is astounding. As an artist your work serves as your own specific and individual lens into how you view the world. It’s what gives it its value. That’s always number 1, it can’t be minimized or taken away. People don’t have to resonate with every form of art there is but I think there should be respect for what it is.

What is the most useless talent you have?

Zach: I can juggle things like tennis balls pretty well. It would be actually useful if I could juggle drumsticks, but I can’t. Whenever I try I just end up almost gouging my eyes out. It saddens me.

Josh: I’m not sure I would call it a talent, but I taught myself how to do a pen spinning trick a while ago. I used to be able to just do it with my left hand but now I can do it on the right as well!

When you’re done with music, what do you want people to think when they talk about you and your work?

Truthfully, just that we were consistent, stayed true to ourselves, and we hope that listeners took away a positive experience from us sharing our vision with them. As a creative you really can’t ask for much more than that.

What is your most recent project/upcoming project?

On March 26th we have a new single called ‘Phoenix Down’ that features the vocal talents of Andy Cizek! It’s one of our favorite songs to date! Super excited for everyone to hear it!

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By Sarah Carswell

After spending 5 years studying language and writing, Sarah spends most of her time thinking critically about popular works of fiction, and after a lifetime love of music they have made themselves a place where they can analyze music and interview musicians. To learn about their struggle with learning to read and write please check out the About page. You can send a message to Sarah by going to the contact page and sending an email with your feedback and suggestions for new content.

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