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.
As I scour the world wide web and beyond for new (to me) bands, it is amazing all of the talent that is out there. From young to old, pop to metal, North America to Europe, vast is the number of musicians practicing for hours perfecting their craft, sleeping in a van, playing shows for no money, and loving every minute of it.
One such band hails from Pittsfield, MA and is comprised of vocalist Nina and brothers Justin and Jared on guitar and drums/synth respectively. We got to sit down with these 3 and talk about life, music, and what is in store for the future.
Andy: Can you give us a little background about the band?
Justin: Jared and I are brothers and we have been playing together since he was 8 and I was 16. We started Kardia seven or so years ago. We had different members and put out a couple records with them but then they left and Nina joined about three years ago…we are a three piece but live we usually have other people with us which is cool.
Their most recent album “Metamorphosis” definitely has some bangers on it so we had to ask about it.
Ronnie: So Nina do you write all the lyrics for your songs or how do you guys come up with new stuff and songwriter?
Nina: The thing that works best for us for the most part is where they write the music and I write the lyrics. We bang them out really fast and that’s the most efficient way.
Andy: You guys have a new video out for the song “Pendulum Mind”. What is the meaning behind it?
Nina: Its basically about being in a relationship with someone where you can feel that they are indecisive and don’t know if they want to be with you. Hence the term pendulum, they don’t know which way they want to go.
Ronnie: So do all the song kind of wrap together or is there a common theme with the album?
Justin: Ya, Nina had a loose concept for the album. Nina: If you listen to them in a certain order they kind of tell a story. It’s about this character going through different periods in their life. “Dreamcatcher” is about being in an abusive relationship, “Antidote” is about dealing with substance abuse, and it wraps up with “Metamorphosis” which is about finding God in the end.
Ronnie: So Nina you said “Dreamcatcher” is your favorite song and its about an abusive relationship so what does it mean to you? Where were you at when you wrote it? Was it just something you dreamed up or did it specifically relate to your life? Nina: Ive been very lucky to not have to suffer with some of these things we write about but I can’t say the same for lots of people I know. I was trying to put myself in their shoes and write from a point of empathy. Also the melody is so cool and there is a point as a songwriter where you make everything come together to express a certain emotion and Dreamcatcher pulled that off.
Andy: So you have played Soulfest a number of times and other big shows so who is your favorite band you have shared the stage with and why?
Nina: Well we didn’t play with them but when I met Lacy Sturm at Soulfest it was awesome! Just meeting her and saying hi and then she prayed for me it was a whole thing so it was cool. Jared: We opened for Aaron Gillespie and he is my favorite drummer so that was pretty cool for me. Justin: For me we have played with Disciple a number of times and that’s always really fun.
Andy: So who are your musical influences?
Jared: As a drummer Aaron Gillespie is a giant influence for me. Justin: Anberlin is probably the biggest influence for us. When we first started, Paramore was a big influence also.
If you have never heard of or listened to Kardia then now is your chance. Hear the song “Dreamcatcher” below and then head over to their facebook page and website. Drop a comment to let us know what you think of Kardia and if you like reading interviews with bands let us know what artist we should talk to next!
Convictions tagline is “Aggressive Worship” and I could think of no better fitting description of their music. I hadn’t listened to this group much when my band got on a show with them and it was that point that led me to what I feel is one of the best bands out there today. I felt it was fitting to put Convictions in the spotlight as the 3 year anniversary of my favorite album “I Will Become” just passed.
In place of just giving details which you can find on their facebook page I wanted to tell a story as to why I think as many people as possible should support these guys by listening to their music, buying merch, and going to their shows. Why I believe that these guys are the real deal and aren’t just another band who says one thing but does another. In February of 2018 Convictions was on tour with War of Ages and Earth Groans (two other awesome bands). The energy they were putting off was unlike any other show I had been to. While it was a small venue the guys of Convictions played like they were in a full stadium.
Part way into their set, between songs, Mike started to talk about how none of us are alone and everyone is loved. He said none of us are cooler than anyone else in the room and we should all be there for others. Now I am just paraphrasing and I know I’m not capturing it all but what happened next I will never forget. A couple of the guys who were attending the show broke down in tears. They had recently lost a friend and what Mike was saying touched them. As they wept the rest of us in the pit gathered around and even the guys in Convictions came off stage to embrace these two and show support. I have never seen another band care about those fans who attend their show as much as the guys in this group and I don’t believe that this was a one off event for them.
These guys are out on the road loving on people and showing what its like to not just proclaim to be a christian but what its like to actually be a christian. Not judging, loving everyone, and being there for others. At the end of June they set off on another tour with the dudes in Earth Groans and it is sure to be a banger. Check their social media pages for dates and cities. Head over to their merch page and support them because they are out there making a difference!