Picture this: You’re a wildly-talented, successful musician in a wildly-successful, talented group, but you have more musical ideas than your band can record and release. What do you do? Well, you could just leave all that creativity dormant but who wants to do that? Any musician worth their salt will just decide to start a side project, and anyone who is really great will release a solo record (a popular trend these days). If you’re wondering how exactly you might go about releasing a solo record, here are some tips.
First, you need to make sure you have material that showcases you and your talents. After all, it is your side/solo project, right? You need to find a backing band to play the rest of the parts if you don’t want to be concerned with writing memorable parts for the other instruments. There’s a reason they’re the “other instruments” after all. If you’re feeling ambitious, however, can you tackle those parts yourself instead of hiring extra musicians.
Once you have the material, you need a name. This is probably the easiest part of the whole process. All you need to do is take your name, then add the word “project” to the end, and you’re done! Voilí ! Worked for Devin Townsend (ex-Strapping Young Lad) and Francesco Artusato (of All Shall Perish), why not you too? If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can leave off the “project” part and go the Yngwie Malmsteen way.
What’s left to do after you have material, backing musicians, and a name? Well, you might need a label to release the album. This part is optional, especially if you have no issues recording it yourself. Touring? Well, that’s another issue. Same with promotion. If you’re famous enough, that will all take care of itself, or with a little do-it-yourself effort, can come together without many hitches.
The last point you need to consider is whether or not your band is going to hate you by releasing your solo/side record and becoming more popular without them (we all know they’re holding you back). There are pros and cons to each situation, you just need to know how to leverage them. For instance, if your band still likes you, then perhaps you could work in material from both projects to a live show with either. If your band ends up hating you, then use that hatred to fuel a really brightly-burning PR fire and skyrocket to the top of all the music news blogs. Any PR is good PR, right?
Deciding to indulge on your own solo project is a pretty big undertaking, and it’s not for everyone. But, if you’re going to do it, at least do it right. Aspiring metal solo artists can take their cues from a litany of examples, such as the aforementioned Devin Townsend, Francesco Artusato, Yngwie Malmsteen, as well as people like Jeff Loomis (ex-Nevermore), Evan Brewer (The Faceless, ex-Animosity), Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Fredrik Thordendal (Meshuggah), ICS Vortex (ex-Dimmu Borgir) and perhaps the most obvious example of all, Ozzy (like I need to say, but, ex-Black Sabbath). If you think you can hang with these phenomenal acts, then by all means make a go at it. If you can’t, maybe you’re not ready for the big leagues.
If you’re a long-time reader of the OurStage blog and/or Metal Mondays, you might remember our review of Draconic‘s From The Wrong Side Of The Aperture. The Serbian metallers are now back at it, working on a batch of new metal jams to please all of our ears. Draconic has been a bit quiet since the release of Aperture, so we thought we’d see what they’ve been up to. The bassist and one of the primary songwriters, David Galic, took some time out of his schedule to sit down answer any and all questions we had for him, including the band’s new song (which you can download for free below) and the current state of the metal scene in Belgrade.
OS: So, it’s been a little over two years since Aperture dropped, and your bio mentions two turbulent years for the band. Can you elaborate a bit on what’s been happening with the band since then?
DLG: Just annoying stuff that seems to be plaguing tons of bands these days. Instability in the line-up. Since metal is hardly a profitable thing to do these days, not too many people can commit to being in a band situation where you spend more money on it than you will ever make. So it was just a case of losing band members all the time. Our singer left as soon as the album came out pretty much, so that pretty much killed any momentum we had at that point. And then we had another singer that didn’t work out personality-wise, and a drummer that couldn’t commit and we had to let go because he basically ditched us three days before we were supposed to play to shows over a weekend to play for someone else who was going to pay him. So we just took a break and had to regroup.
In the world of industrial metal there isn’t a whole lot of fresh meat”the same handful of artists have reigned supreme over the genre since the early ’90s. Now, e monstrous band from Russia called Illidiance is really hoping to change that. With the release of Damage Theory in mid 2010, Illidiance have found themselves among the legends of industrial metal like Rammstein and Fear Factory (both of which released excellent albums in the last couple years).
Like many industrial metal acts, there really aren’t any acts that can be comparde to Illidiance. Their hybrid style falls somewhere between the Gothenburg melodic death metal sound and the heavier fringes of thrash metal with add a pinch of Nine Inch Nail for good measure”and really this description only loosely resembles what Illidiance sounds like. The band’s music features a great balance of extremely fast-paced tempos, thrashy riffs, a mix of harsh and clean vocals and spacey synth sounds. Perhaps taking a page from Fear Factory’s book, they also include a fair amount of double-kick drum bursts paired in perfect time with chugging guitar riffs.
Though their studio recordings are really solid, Illidiance truly shines in their live performances. They’re known for playing extremely tight live and being true showmen on the stage. Complete with matching uniforms that look like something the warriors of a post-apocalyptic world might wear, Illidiance really know how to put on a live show, as their numerous YouTube videos demonstrate.
Somehow, Illidiance find the perfect balance between what you’d expect industrial metal to sound like and something unique and refreshing. So long as they continue to make albums on par with their two previous full-lengths, they’ll be poised to take over the industrial metal throne as the kings from the 1990s fade out. If you’re a fan of Sybreed, Digimortal or any other industrial metal bands, you’d be remiss to not give Illidiance a chance.
Check out the video they released for their song “New Millennium Crushers” from 2010’s Damage Theory:
Odds are, if you were asked who your favorite Serbian metal band was, you wouldn’t have an answer. Well, I may have found one for you. Longtime OurStage metal band Draconic happen to be Serbian, and also happen to be pretty good. At first listen, you might think that they would be from a Scandanavian country such as Sweden, as they bear a slight resemblance to the modern melodic death metal bands from that area, such as Soilwork. There’s also hints of Sybreed, Strapping Young Lad, Fear Factory and Threat Signal (among others) in their sound ” all culminating into a blend of metal that is all their own.
Released in 2009, Draconic’s album From the Wrong Side of the Aperture is their first full-length release 2004, and definitely sounds like it was 5 years in the making.Listening to the tracks, it’s clear that this was not an album written in a small span of time. the styles and emotions are stikingly different from song to song. It’s a fine line for a band to straddle, featuring so many styles in 1 album, but it never becomes tiresome or overwhelming. One of the album’s few downfalls, are the vocals (though they do give the album a sense of cohesiveness). Singer and bassist Galic’s clean vocals often sound lackluster in comparison to the harsher tones on the albumwhich takes away some of the emotion in the songs.
When thinking about Canadian metal, a few bands that might come to mind would be Quo Vadis, Strapping Young Lad, Into Eternity, Despised Icon, Cryptopsy, Voivod, or a multitude of other big names. With any luck, Derelict will be among these soon enough.
Derelict has been around on OurStage for several months, and has achieved a fair amount of success in the metal channels (as consistent as any metal band on OurStage). Even given the success that Derelict has had on OurStage, with no full-length release and no label backing, it’s nearly impossible to strike it big. Now, they have a full album completed and lots of positive media feedback, but still no label. Last month, the band kicked-off a full Canadian tour with an album release show for their newest release, Unspoken Words. This album shows a lot of potential that is reminiscent of the Strapping Young Lad sound, and fits in with the new Agonist sound, but is still very unique. The sound they have borrowed from many other progressive death metal bands from Canada is a very dense, with thick and crunchy guitar tones, and mid-range evil vocals, and a drum sound that sounds like machine guns over drums of war. To help their situation, Derelict was the opener for a show on the Agonist’s latest tour to support their new album, Lullabies for the Dormant Mind.
We had a chance to catch up with the guys and get to know a little more about them from their label prospects to their opinion of the metal scene in Canada. Read on for the inside scoop and discover even more great Canadian metal bands: