Today, on the last day of Mental Health Awareness Month, the rock band Slant released a video for their cover of the U2 hit “With or Without You”. This LA based band recorded the song with Dave Moreno (Puddle of Mudd) and Sameer Battachrya (Flyleaf), the full-length video received acceptance from the group Rock To Recovery (owned by Wesley Geer, Hed P.E./Korn) to close the video with a PSA to raise awareness to recovery through music.
Drummer Jimmy Lee stated “I wanted the video to depict how straining and complicated things can get when pursuing a life in creative arts, in terms of mental health. We all know someone that has dealt with substance abuse or behavioral addictions. On a personal and national level, we have seen those in the arts or creative fields fall into the cycle of substance abuse or other addictions while pursuing their productive paths. Our hope is to bring mental health to the forefront of conversations so that those affected know there are great outlets for help.”
View the video below and be sure to check out the groups social media pages and website. If you or someone you know is dealing with a mental illness please reach out and talk to someone. Stigmas need to be torn down and people need to understand that it is ok to not be ok.
I truly believe before buying new gear you need to do proper research. To many times have I just impulse bought something because I wanted it at the time but later regretted the purchase because it wasn’t the greatest. Reviews are important, and while you shouldn’t rely solely on them I thought it would be great to feature products on this site to help those who may be in the market for new gear. We at FGR Music Group put together a team of experts to review gear so the next time you are searching for that right piece of equipment you have a place to go for honest feedback from guys who use it daily and aren’t getting paid to sell this stuff.
Today’s author is Paul Mitro who is a producer, sound engineer, and entrepreneur. He currently owns Paul Mitro Productions, and co-own Old Bear Studio in Batavia NY, and Frontier Production Company in Buffalo NY. He has been doing live sound and producing music for over a decade and has worked with many top bands over the years. Paul is currently using the Fractal Audio AX8 Amp Modler/Multi-FX Processor and I know personally how much he loves it.
The Fractal AX8 and why I chose it as my go to pedal.
In my current band, Tetelestai, we all use amp simulators and in ear monitors (via our split snake and mixer) which go direct into the PA when we play. Previously I had been using the Line6 X3 for live performances and while that unit was working perfectly (even at over 10 years old) I felt it was time to replace it and upgrade to something from this decade. The two necessities were the need to receive MIDI commands and that it be built like a tank for traveling use.
At this point the industry has gotten to a point where a lot of the amp simulators are extremely similar where they can load multiple IRs (impulse responses), be controlled via midi, and have incredible amp modeling abilities. Pretty much as long as it can load an IR, you should be able to make a usable modern tone.
I chose the Fractal AX8 based off some research that I did and a lot of trusted friends who had them and raved about them. What stood out to me right away about the AX8 was its form factor and build quality. It is small enough to fit into a standard 19’ rack and built so you could stomp on it and not have to worry about crushing the buttons.
I’m not a huge fan of the user interface, although it is totally usable if you take the time to learn it. The majority of the time I use the computer interface to program the pedal and I absolutely love it. It’s very simple and took a whole 10 minutes to to figure out.
The current live show Tetelestai runs is all set to a click track which allows me to program MIDI commands to send out of out track computer and change patches on the AX8. What this means is I can focus more on playing and less on the technical end of the show. This setup requires more time programming on the front end, but allows for a very fast setup and implementation of a very professional and consistent production on stage. In short the only time I need to touch my AX8 during our show is to tune.
While the unit would fit into a equipment rack, I op’ed to travel with the unit in a knockoff pelican case from harbor freight. This allows my to bring the board home for writing and recording. It fits like a dream and the case is very road worthy.
I made up a 35’ “snake” that contains the IEC cable for power, MIDI cable, audio in (from the wireless receiver that lives in our IEM rack), and audio out to the split snake (also in our IEM rack). In this configuration I only need to run one cable to the board which speeds up setup and lowers the need for troubleshooting should something not work. The snake fits in the fake pelican case with the AX8 so I only need my guitar case and the pelican case when I go to a gig.
On the off chance the band plays at a location that doesn’t have a PA that can support more than vocals I have the pedal programmed so that the ¼ output is coming directly out of the amp simulator and bypassing the IR loader that acts as the cabinet. This signal can go directly to a power amp and into the guitar amp. Going the route of the Fractal AX8 can be a solid solution for those who need portability without sacrificing on build and audio quality.
Sound off in the comments with your thoughts! Do you use the Fractal AX8? If so what do you think of it? Head over to the Fractal Audio website to find out more information on this pedal and all the other products they have!
I have been following SLY for a while and last October I finally got a chance to play a show with them and I was definitely impressed. For this reason they are in April’s artist spotlight! Hailing from Rochester NY, So Last Year is a pop rock band that has been tearing up the scene since 2013. In the past 6 years they have released two full length albums and most recently the single “Stay With Me (9°)”. If you are into bands such as Panic! at the Disco, Relient K, or Fall Out Boy, then this group of guys is for you.
SLY was founded by frontman Logan Van Epps who not only has an amazing voice but also a pretty nice head of hair. The rest of the band consists of Jay on Bass, Mitch on Drums, Jason on rhythm guitar, and Tom on lead guitar. When performing live, they put on a high energy and very entertaining show. It seems that as technology advances, many bands do not sound the same playing live as they do in their recordings but this is not true for So Last Year.
So aside from touring what does the band have planned for this year? According to a source close to the band (or in the band), in the near future SLY will be releasing a worship cover as well as another single. Make sure to follow them to keep up to date with their releases as well as upcoming shows.
Go check these guys out on social media and be sure to give So Last Year out a listen on Spotify or any other streaming platform!
I recently heard of Postcards from the Moon and my life has now been changed. First off the name is legit and I hope they have postcards with a picture of the moon at their merch table (If not you’re welcome for the idea. Send me one.). I met their bassist Gilbert at a show in Buffalo and if the rest of the guys in this group are just like he is, a whole lot of cool is coming out of San Antonio, TX. The guys just dropped a new single of their upcoming EP “Me Without You” which is set for release on April 5th. The single which is titled “Just Make Sure You’re Happy” takes me back to 2007 when I listened to Mayday Parade and Yellowcard. Between the vocals and violin I could listen to this song over and over, and to be honest I have. Since the release, it has been picked up by many outlets and was even featured by Alternative Press.
When asked about the band and their upcoming album Gilbert said “The band has been through some rough times, but this past year since March of 2018 has been nothing but hard work and dedication . I’m proud of this final product and I can’t wait for everyone to hear our stories.”
I can’t speak for everyone else but I know that I am anxiously awaiting the release of the sophomore EP from this group. Check out the video below and drop a comment on this post to let me know what you think of it! Also make sure to head over to their facebook page and give it a like to stay up to date with what they have going on!
A Martyr’s Oath just dropped a three song EP called “Ignorance is Woe” and all I can say is I’m intrigued. This is the first time hearing these genres mixed. I am a fan of spoken word tracks but this sermon jam over hardcore really mixes things up. Released through Raven Faith Records, these tracks mix Pat’s original music with sermon excerpts from Dr. Kent Hovind.
This is Pat’s first release in seven years and I think this release will definitely get people talking about him again. I look forward to see what he has in store for the future. These songs can be downloaded for free on Bandcamp or can be listened to on Youtube. Go check out his website for more information about what Pat and his band are all about!
If you are into metal and haven’t listened to Death Therapy yet you aren’t experiencing the genre to it’s fullest. Founded by Jason Wisdom, formerly of Becoming the Archtype, Death Therapy has been rocking the scene since 2015. With the first single “My Defiance” off their upcoming album being released, I had to find out more. I caught up with Jason and asked him some questions about the release. Hope you enjoy and as always leave your comments below to let us know what you think!
What is the release date of the new album? The new album, “Voices” is set for release via SolidState Records on April 12, 2019
Tell me a little bit about the new album. What are some themes? what are you trying to convey to people through it? “Voices” is definitely a concept album, not in the storytelling sort of way that a lot of metal bands do, but in the sense that if you don’t understand the concept, it likely won’t make any sense. Throughout the album, there are many different voices that speak, and often with conflicting messages. To put it in a very cliche’ sort of way, you could say that they are different voices in my head, but I wouldn’t want to say that. It’s not merely a psychological thing as much as examining a plethora of different voices battling for my heart and mind–whether they be voices from my upbringing, from my own insecurities, from the world around me now, from spiritual influences and everything else in between. And I don’t spend any time in the lyrics clarifying what each voice has to say, or what it is coming from, so, at times, it may even seem like there are arguments happening within the songs. And there are. That’s kinda what I wanted to accomplish. It’s sorta like if you could plug in to my skull and listen directly into my mind, this is what you may hear. I think it will be a unique experience and challenge people in a way that they might not be used to. But some folks will likely struggle with it.
What or who influenced you when writing this album? With Death Therapy, I have tried to keep the process as organic and improvisational as possible. That is to say, that I more or less just sit down in a quiet place and see what ideas come out without really putting a ton of thought into it–you might call it stream of consciousness. So there are plenty of influences lurking in the shadows, because of all the music that I love and has shaped me through the years, but I cannot really pinpoint anything in particular that I was drawing upon as I worked on this album. The music and concept just sort of happened (just like on the first album)–I discovered them along the journey. And that’s part of what has made this band so much fun for me.
What was the hardest part of putting the album together / writing the songs? What was the easiest thing? For me, the easiest thing is coming up with ideas. I have ideas for days, no shortage. If I was able to make music my full time gig, I could write several albums a year in a variety of different styles. The hardest thing about it, for me, is letting it simply be what it is. As I said above, I have deliberately set out with this band to restrain myself from over-analyzing every little detail. But that isn’t easy for me. Music is a tricky art. Because, on the one hand, you just want to create what you want to create. But on the other hand, you want people to like it. It’s the tension between those two that is the most difficult for me, especially as an artist who is generally unknown and in a very niche sort of category. I want people to like what I am doing–for many reasons, not the least of which is that I would like to be able to support my family financially (a wild pipe-dream, to be sure)–but I also don’t want to be phony.
What is your favorite song off the album? That’s tough to say. The last two songs are pretty unique on the album. Together they form a 13 minute long epic. People will either love or hate it. I imagine a lot of folks will never make it all the way through. But it was something that I spent a lot of time with (compared to the rest of the album). It easily could have been 20 minutes long. In fact, I think one of the demo versions was nearly 21 minutes. But I trimmed it down to something a bit more manageable. So I guess if I had to pick a favorite, I would say that this one (in two tracks) is a contender for my favorite.
If you had to describe your music using one word what would you say? Different
How would you describe / rate the music scene where you are? The music scene seems to be very polarized. Not just where I am, but everywhere in America. There doesn’t seem to be a “middle class” anymore like there was in the 90s and 2000s. What I mean is that there used to be a scene where folks would go out and discover new bands that they maybe hadn’t ever even heard of. You could be a small band touring the country and play in basements and tiny clubs for good little crowds every night, because people loved that experience, of supporting the local scene and discovering new bands. But now it seems you either draw a few hundred people or nobody will come. It’s very polarized.
If you could tour with one band who would it be? Demon Hunter. I got to tour with them in my previous band back in 2007. It was the only legitimate tour that I ever got to be a part of, and I would give just about anything to have that opportunity again.
If you could pick one band to reunite and put out a new album who would it be? Oingo Boingo. Danny Elfman never disappoints.
What was the first album you ever bought? I am not sure, really. But the first album I remember buying is MC Hammer’s “Please Hammer Don’t Hurt Em” sometime in the 90s. Got it on cassette and must have listened to it a thousand times.
Bonusquestion If you watch the show, What character from The Office do you most identify with and why? Okay, so, I did watch the Office, but not nearly as fanatically as some folks. There are probably entire seasons that I haven’t seen. I probably relate most to Toby–the absolutely sad sack of a human who everyone hates, but he’s just doing the best he can.
Check out the teaser video below and then head over to their facebook page for more information! You can also pre-order some pretty sweet packages on their Solid State Merch Site so go pick something out and show them your support!
In 2017 I was playing at Creation Festival in Mount Union, Pennsylvania. We arrived a day early and wanted to check out the Fringe stage where we would be playing. As one band finished and we prepared for the next. They loaded on and did a line check. I was definitely not expecting what I was about to be introduced too. This band took the stage with force and the energy did not stop until the set was over.
Since then I have had the opportunity to not only see them play but also share the stage with and hang out with the guys in Earth Groans. The talent these guys have is off the charts both on and off the stage. I loved their debut EP “Renovate” and once their sophomore album “Rahab” dropped, that album has been on repeat on my playlist.
Earth Groans signed with Solid State Records in 2017 and have been on some killer tours with bands such as Convictions, War of Ages, Phinehas, and My Children My Bride. I foresee big things happening for these guys as they continue to entertain not only across the country but around the world. If they come through your area you need to get to their show and get in the pit because it will be a show you do not want to miss.
Be sure to check out their social media pages and websites for news, upcoming shows, and other projects the dudes are working on.