Interview w/ Joe by Wes Royer
The progressive/power–metal band Enertia have been at the top of this critic's listening list since the band's first release, "Law Of Three," several years ago.
Sheer intensity in what they produce on album and on stage should be the only reason one needs to rant and rave about this act. Now,
finally, OpenUpAndSay.com brings you an exclusive Q&A on the heal of their third release, "Flashpoint," with Enertia bassist and spokesperson/salesperson Joe
Wes: What was the official release date for your new and third album, "Flashpoint"?
Joe: It was supposed to be out on Tuesday, October 19, and we were going to have limited copies to sell at our CD release party in our hometown, but the company that does our mass production was late in getting complete CDs to us. So we just had discs without
booklets for the show. Because of the delay, the new official release date was October 26. We started shipping CD's on October 25, and at the time of writing this, over 400 have been sent out, making it our fastest selling disc to date!
Wes: Now, your first release, "Law Of Three," was heavy progressive-metal. The second album, "Momentum," was much heavier, straight–forward metal. This time around, I'm hearing a lot more experimentation. Was this a natural next step for the band, or were you all looking to expand on what you have already accomplished previously?
Joe: I definitely think the songs on "Flashpoint" were a total natural progression for us, as we never write songs that have a pre–designed direction. Our songs are sort of a blueprint of our emotions at the point in time when we create them, so I don't think you'll ever hear
any two songs that have the same mood. I don't think Enertia will ever be a country, gospel, or hip–hop band (not to say we are afraid to be influenced by any of them though,
LOL), but you will always hear us expanding on what we started in 1996.
Wes: What can you tell us about this album? Were things approached differently in the studio this time in comparison with the other two releases?
Joe: The main difference with this CD is that we actually made exact plans to record it, where with "Law Of Three," we had only been playing as a five–piece band for six weeks. On "Momentum," I booked studio time for while I was recovering from surgery, as I wanted to make sure we could get playing as soon as I was healthy enough to start jumping around and going sick on stage. For the most part, the band have new gear "guitars, amps, and drums" we recorded with, except for me, as I still totally love my left handed Ibanez Soundgear 800 bass. And if anyone reading this knows where I can get another one in good condition, please contact me!
Wes: Is any one band member the principle song writer, or is the entire band involved in the writing process?
Joe: With Enertia, all five of us write and contribute equally to the songs. We aren't the type of band where one person comes in with a finished tune and just wants the others to play along. Myself, Dave, and Roman all have different influences and when we contribute
ideas to songs there are a number of different style riffs. Jeff is always very creative with the beats he thinks of and always comes up with cool parts that work well with our riffs. Scott doesn't label and think of riffs as verse, pre–chorus, and chorus. He just lets the
listener decide which part of the song is which.
Wes: What songs are you most happy with on "Flashpoint." Can you give us a breakdown of each song? And what does "D.O.M." stand for?
Joe: "Victim Of Thought" ... This was the first song we wrote after "Momentum" and moved into our new rehearsal complex, a six–room suite complete with a lounge, weight room, and headquarters
for Animated Insanity Productions. So, it marks a transition period for the band. This song is progressive in spots, but still has the basic
element that is very important to us: you can bang your head to it!
"Leave Me In Peace" ... Although it wasn't the least bit intentional, in my opinion, it is our most "radio friendly" song to date. This song is heavy groove–oriented, and gets people jumping at our gigs. The lyrics are loosely based on a short story by Ann Rice.
"Glitch" ... This song is about our guitar player Dave's occasional sleeping disorder where he sort of lives out his nightmares. This always makes for very interesting adventures when we are on the road. One night in particular, after a show in New Jersey, we stayed at a friends house. When we finally got to sleep, all was peaceful at first, then all of the sudden, we were awaken by a table getting knocked over and hearing Dave growling and charging at Jeff who
was sleeping on a nearby sofa! There was immediate chaos in the house as no one knew exactly what was happening, and my friend that
owns the house thought someone had broken in and was ransacking the place! We still joke about the insanity of that evening to this
day, and that is just one of many tales.
"Crawling" ... A slow and heavy groove–oriented song that I love to play loud and drive very fast to.
"Real" ... This song has a bit of a modern feel to it; but fear not, as you will hear the original Enertia sound is still present. Scott writes lyrics so they are open for the listener to interpret. And although I have never asked him what this one is about, I interpret them as saying to me, "Stick to what you believe in and don't ever sell
yourself short. Let your real feelings guide you through this twisted journey we call life."
"D.O.M." ... On this one, Wes, we are not telling anyone what D.O.M. stands for until they correctly guess! I'll give you a hint, though. The lyrics sort of deal with a parent having patience with their kids and understanding that they sometimes have to learn by living through their mistakes.
"Voices" ... An angry song about the bitter ending of a relationship. This is another song that really gets the crowd moving and always goes over well in the live situation.
"Without End" ... Enertia's take on what the world is inevitably headed for, but at the same time, things could be different if people would just wake up. My favorite song on the CD. And for the record, no keyboards were used on this track.
"What Hurts Me" ... Our heaviest song to date. This is a mean one, and I love the aggressive feel of this one. If I wasn't playing it on stage, this one would get me in the pit.
"Right To Die" ... A song that has a progressive feel, without losing sight of heaviness or groove. The lyrics deal with a person's choice of not wanting to be kept alive by artificial means.
Wes: All three of Enertia's releases maintain an excellent sonic quality, meaning the engineering and overall sound quality of the album. A lot of independent metal bands have a hard time doing that, what's your secret?
Joe: We make sure that we are very well rehearsed before hitting the studio, as we always demo our new material at home on an 8–track recorder. That way we can spend more time on the production and the sounds we are looking for. Paul Benedetti owns a great studio with all state of the art gear and he really knows how to help a band achieve
a great sound for the money. And by us recording there since the beginning, he has come to know what we are looking to accomplish with our music. He makes working at Max Trax Studios a pleasurable experience, and there is a fantastic deli across the street from there
that makes some of the best pizza we have ever had. Their web site is http://www.maxtraxstudios.com
Wes: Does the band have any songs that were left off the album, or were written after the recording was completed?
Joe: Our original intention was to have some extra songs, but with time constraints due to playing out as much as we did, we decided to just go with what we have and not just put some filler bullshit on the disc. There are a few songs we have recently finished that will be on the next album and will appear in our live set very soon. We are going to try to get a new release out in a quicker time period than it was between "Momentum" and "Flashpoint," or demo our songs for management and labels.
Wes: Is this album available at any major online music stores, like
CDNow.com, UBL.com, and Amazon.com?
Joe: As we are an independent band, for now, we have decided to stick with the companies that have supported us since the beginning. Our CD is available through us, and also available through great stores like
Disc, Hole In The Wall
Music, Restless & Wild
Sun, Nuclear Blast in
Europe, and Breakthru Metal Music in
Australia. Websites for all of these fine retailers are available at our website. I have been hearing good things about a company called
The Orchard, another called CDBaby.com, so I will be looking into them too.
Wes: Are you all happy without label backing, or are you all still shopping around?
Joe: Although I think getting signed or licensing the CD to the right label might get our music in the hands of more people, we're still capable of doing as much as some smaller labels that don't have major distribution, which is an important thing to us, as so far, we
have sold about 4,500 copies of our CDs on our own. It's nice being able to make our own decisions, but at the same time, having a bigger indie label like Nuclear Blast or Metal Blade help put us on the road and advertising, promoting our CDs would be great. We'll just have to wait to see if the right offer comes along.
Wes: Enertia recently appeared on the Dio tribute album, "Awaken The Demon." How did this come about?
Joe: Our friends in Division had appeared on a Dwell Records tribute album and as we were looking to prepare to record our album, we thought it would be fun to do a couple of tunes that we liked. We then contacted Dwell to see what projects they had in the works. We had several to choose from and as we are fans of Dio and
Pantera, we chose to do "Cowboys From Hell" and "Invisible."
Wes: Does Dwell Records have a website?
Joe: The address is: http://www.dwellrecords.com/
Wes: Last year, you toured the East Coast with Division and Without Warning. I know Enertia hit it off with Division. What kind of touring plans does the band have now that the new release is out?
Joe: We'll go to any and every club that will have us from here in New York to the Midwest. We will be playing with Division and several other killer, up–and–coming bands when the New Terror Tour returns to the road early next year, and we are in the planning stages of setting up shows in Chicago, Springfield Virginia, Western Pennsylvannia., and Boston. Stay tuned for where and when.
Wes: Does Enertia plan to do the "Powermad" festival in Maryland
again next year?
Joe: We would definitely like to play it once again as we had a great
time at the first one in 1997. Hopefully next year it will fall on a weekend we are able to make it there, as we were in the talking stages of playing last year, but had a couple scheduling issues arise that made us unavailable for that weekend in August. We are friends with a lot of bands that played and heard it was once again a great weekend.
Wes: Enertia releases it's music under the Animated Insanity
Productions namesake. Any plans to take Animated Insanity beyond just Enertia, maybe bring in some other upstate New York bands and start a label?
Joe: Yes, at some point in time, Animated Insanity will do something in the capacity of working with and promoting another quality band that I truly believe in, but at the moment, Enertia keeps me too busy to take on another project. There is some great up-and-coming talent in our area now, including a new metal band called Lucid Reality. They are hitting the studio soon and have been tearing it up with us on the live scene lately. Their website is
Wes: What are your and your bandmate's thoughts on the entire MP3 phenomenon? Excellent form of Internet promotion, or a nightmare for album sales?
Joe: We feel that as long as the entire CD isn't openly available to download, it can be used to help market the band very effectively. Mp3.com/enertia has exposed our music to a lot of people,
100–plus, that have downloaded the songs we have at MP3.com, and then
written to us to buy the CDs.
Wes: Anything else you'd like to add before going? Maybe, what's next in the
Joe: We plan on doing a lot of gigs in the coming year and writing more new tunes. We will be playing everywhere and anywhere, and the only limits we have are being home just enough so everyone can keep their regular jobs. As soon as we feel we are ready, we will
once again enter the studio to record album number four. Thanks Wes for supporting us since day one and we look forward to seeing you when we come back to Virginia next year. Thanks to all of our friends that just keep coming out to our shows and buying the CDs.
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