It pretty much began as my own solo project originally under a different name. Slowly but surely, I decided to add live musicians to the mix. Eventually, Drakos and I met via craigslist and started coming up with material together, and it wasn’t long before we started crafting a new sound altogether and changed our name. Then we met a guy named Ernest, and another guy named Ben.
2. To date what has been your best performance or most memorable?
That’s a tough one. When we had our record release show for ‘A Different Frequency’ that was pretty intense. Seeing our name on the Gramercy Theater marquee in New York City was quite a humbling victory; and playing to a crowd full of people—many of whom we didn’t know—was pretty awesome. It was the moment we realized we had fans. Last year though, we played at The Highline Ballroom which was also pretty cool.
3. How exciting is it to hear fans cheer for lyrics from your songs?
Pretty unreal, because to me they’re basically cheering emotions and feelings I put down in words.
4. What inspired you to pursue the huge role of being a frontman of a band?
I look like a fool when I try to play an instrument live, and guys like David Bowie and Marilyn Manson made it look like a lot of fun.
5. What artists inspire you the most?
An eclectic bunch. I’d say at the top of the list are Depeche Mode, David Bowie, The Cure, Type O Negative, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, John Lennon, Pink Floyd, U2…a lot of musical pioneers. Then again in recent years I’ve really gotten into bands like Muse and The Birthday Massacre as well as a lot of incredible local bands like Last Stand For Lucy, Candy Brain and The Stink. 6. What has been the coolest experience so far in TAM?
For me, it was opening for My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult last year. That was pretty unreal. Those guys are legends! We also got to meet the guys from Left Spine Down who are also pretty damn awesome.
7. What does music mean to you?
The world. The difference between sanity and insanity. I don’t know what I’d do without it.
8. If fans could pick up one thing from your sounds what would it be?
That we all experience darkness in life. Nobody is immune or special when it comes to pain. We’re all in it together.
9. If you were a superhero who would you be?
Batman. Except for the whole dead parents thing. I’ve also always thought Peter Petrelli from ‘Heroes’ was pretty bad-ass too.
‘American Psycho’, The entire Christopher Nolan ‘Batman’ Trilogy, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, ‘The Crow’ (I know…obvious), The ‘Evil Dead’ Trilogy, ‘Vanilla Sky’, ‘Ghostbusters’, ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’, ‘It Might Get Loud’ and ‘The Truman Show’. I also like silly stuff like ‘Billy Madison’, ‘Can’t Hardly Wait’, ‘Not Another Teen Movie’ and ‘The Wedding Singer’.
11. Your age is a Google mystery, enlighten us: how old are you?
12. Was music always your passion?
I believe it always has been, although drawing and painting has been on and off throughout my life as well.
13. What has been the dopest fan encounter?
Well, it wasn’t an “in-person” encounter, but when Jim Rose from ‘The Jim Rose Circus’ sent the band an email saying how into our music he was I was floored. I remembered reading about him in Marilyn Manson’s autobiography! I speak on the phone with him from time to time, and he’s been very supportive and helped to kind of steer us in the right direction with certain things. A very cool guy, and oh yeah he’s freakin’ Trent Reznor’s best friend!
14. What are your tattoos and what so they mean to you?
Haha, you’ve opened Pandora’s box! They’re all sort of reminders. Okay, here we go:
Tattooed on the inside of my right arm is the Heart Of Thorns from The Amatory Murder logo, which is a reminder to myself of how far this band has come and how far we’re going to go. It symbolizes so much of what this band is all about and my own personal mission.
Further up the same arm on my bicep is a ripped American Flag that says ‘American Glory’. My good King Killer Studio pals The Stink made a great album last year by that name. It’s one of the finest records I’ve heard in years, and in my top favorite albums of all time. It really resonates with my belief that The United States has become a country run by greedy corporations whose main interest is making more of the green stuff and expanding our empire, rather than what our founding fathers intended us to be. The flag is frayed on the end and surrounded by roses because I believe their great idea of American Democracy and “Life, Liberty and The Pursuit Of Happiness” are slowly dying. The tattoo is an homage to both what America is supposed to be and that Stink album.
On the top of my right arm is The Downward Spiral—a Nine Inch Nails album that got me through so many tough times. ‘Nuff said.
On the inner wrist of my left arm is a quill pen writing a music note. I got this spontaneously when I was out with my good friend Liz one night, who by the way is an *amazing* writer. Being an indy musician sucks when it comes to money, because you have to work all kinds of odd jobs or whatever to finance your albums and pay the bills. It too is a reminder for me that above all trades I first and foremost am a writer of music.
Further up on the inner of my left arm is the Chinese symbol for “Life”. When I am feeling overwhelmed or stressed, I look at it to remember that I am HERE in the NOW. I am ALIVE, which is a really great thing to be reminded of. And that’s probably about as “Zen” as I get, haha.
Finally, on the top of my left arm is another “combo” tattoo. There’s this great book of famous romantic quotes and poetry called ‘Desire”. A lot of it is over-the-top sappy, but the artwork is really something. There’s a print in there I always liked with what looks like a disintegrating angel tied at the wrists, almost like they’re a slave. Many times, I feel like we’re all slaves to this whole “system” in our society, and I feel like the Nine Inch Nails song “Happiness In Slavery” kind of sums that feeling up perfectly. So I got the angel tattooed with the title of that NIN song. As of now, it’s my favorite one.