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Swarm of the Lotus - Ready to Devour the World

Discussion in 'Metal Interviews' started by Nate The Great, Feb 29, 2004.

  1. Nate The Great

    Nate The Great What would Nathan do?

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    [imgleft]http://www.ultimatemetal.com/bandpics/sotl4.jpg[/imgleft]By Nathan Pearce

    When heavy metal met hardcore, punk, noise, ambient and so on, a race to categorize the bands combining these different styles began. Swarm of the Lotus is yet another band that clearly sounds metal, but certain elements of other brutal and extreme musical styles seem to creep in just enough to make you think outside the norm for a metal band. I have to admit that the first time I heard Swarm of the Lotus I nearly lost control of my bowels. They are that good! I’m tired of comparing them to other bands, because they simply don’t compare to any one band. Swarm of the Lotus describes themselves as “A-Bomb Rock” . . . we’ll leave it at that.

    I exchanged words with Peter Maturi and Chris Csar.

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    UM: Swarm of the Lotus is picking up some pretty big gigs. Did you guys expect to be playing with bands like Lamb of God and Mastodon after being together for such a short time?

    PETE: I tell you what, we didn't know what to expect. We didn't have any idea what people were going to think. That is part of the reason it took us almost two years before we even played our first show. We formed in ‘98, didn't have a drummer until ‘99, then practiced and honed our sound down for a whole year before we played our first gig in August of 2000. We wanted to make sure we were ready to present the band the way we wanted to, instead of being rushed to play out. I feel it was worth the wait for us to do that. As for playing with bigger name bands, we have always been fortunate. We played one of our first shows with our friends MEATJACK, who offered us a show at this sort of bigger club here in Baltimore. The guy who does booking for that club was impressed with us and has always remained so cool and supportive, and he has offered us some really killer bills to be a part of.

    CHRIS: I really didn't know what to expect or where we would be. For the little time we've been together, hearing that we were opening up for bands like Mastodon, L.O.G, and Superjoint Ritual was like “Holy fuck, what's going on here?” We must be doing something right. I think it has to do a lot with all the support from Josh and the whole At A Loss team.

    UM: Do you feel like you're starting to get noticed more and more outside of Maryland?

    PETE: Well, with the release of the new album, yes. The album has allowed us to be recognized across the entire country and beyond. A lot of people are having some really nice things to say about it as well. We are so excited that people are having such a positive reaction overall, and we can't wait to start touring in support of it. Look out U.S.!!!!!!!!!!!!

    CHRIS: Definitely thanks to our distribution and all the reviews we've been getting from all over the place, even outside of the U.S. Spread the word about us!!

    UM: Your music is brutal, but occasional subtlety can be detected from time to time. You're not an emo band. You're not exactly thrash. Where does your music come from?

    PETE: I'd like to say that our music speaks from various places and different emotions. I've always said that music has a life force of it's own, living and breathing independently. Much like a human being, with a full range of emotions at its disposal. Our music is an exact reflection of who we are as people, so that's what you are hearing.

    CHRIS: Thank god we're not emo!! Haha! Although, we've been mentioned as grind a lot lately. Although I don't think of the band as being grind, I feel we carry elements from all different types of music. Our music comes straight from the soul. When playing the songs I definitely feel a strong sense of freedom and oneness with everything. This is an extension of our spirits being poured out to you.

    UM: How did you get into playing this style of music?

    PETE: I've always loved metal and heavy stuff. I've always loved any form of music that speaks, something different, memorable. Anything that after hearing it, you take something away from it and it stays with you, no matter what kind of music it is. I guess our music is a combination of all the different types of influences we have, whether musically or non-musically.

    CHRIS: Probably a weird chain of events leading up to this point in our lives. I feel that Pete and John-Jon are the main innovators of the band. Before I joined, I felt completely connected to what they were doing. I only had an acoustic and would goof around playing somewhat of what they were doing. I had played drums for 9 years in local death metal and grind bands and thought it would be awesome to play in a band with such a massive sound. Due to some unforeseen events, I got an offer to participate in the band. Within 2 weeks I sold all my drums, bought Pete's extra guitar, and eventually bought the rest of the equipment I needed. That's how bad I wanted this.

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    UM: Any bands out there right now that are really blowing you away?

    PETE: As far as metal/rock goes, and as far as NEW bands, yes there are a few that I think are awesome. Namely, Burnt By The Sun, Breather/Resist, The End, Floor(they are not really too new and are actually no longer now, but the music is sooo sick), Tomahawk, Unpersons, Keelhaul . . . there are more but I'm just not thinking of them right now.

    CHRIS: YES! So many good ones its hard to name. MESHUGGAH would be at the top of my list. They're so fucking innovative its ridiculous. BURNT BY THE SUN would have to come next. I'm always looking forward to hearing what they're coming up with next, and Mike's lyrical content goes beyond. Those guys are just the fucking best bunch of animals out there. They know how to tear it up. It’s so hard for a band to just blow me away when you've heard so many bands and so much repetition of styles through the years. I think as of now I would have to say I also really enjoy Mastodon, Cryptopsy, Radiohead, Tomahawk, Fantomas(any Mike Patton project), and just recently I started getting into some older metal I never got a chance to hear before.

    UM: Tell me about your up-coming tour.

    PETE: The tour will last about six weeks, starting April 1 and continuing through to the middle of May. We are in the process now of confirming the last two weeks. We are so eager, we're itching to destroy everything. Haha!

    CHRIS: 40 NIGHTS OF CHAOS

    UM: What's your live show like?

    PETE: Pretty intense I would say. We try as much as we can every time we play to over-give. That can only really happen if you are feeling it in that moment at that time. We don't intentionally go out there just to go nuts, that's silly. But things can get rowdy if the situation is right and if people in the crowd our connecting with our vibe. Then it's all over.

    CHRIS: Hmm . . . I guess it depends on who you ask. Some nights we're very serious, and others we're wild and blowing your fucking head off. I feel like we feed off the energy of the show. The more people that go berserk, the more we get into it.

    UM: Do you have plans to tour outside the US?

    PETE: Yes. We just recently started talking about this. Next year possibly . . . we hope. We definitely want to go over seas, and we also would love to go to Japan. Kids over there are crazy for metal!!!! We want to go anywhere where people would have us, period. On this tour we actually are, we're going to Canada for one show.

    CHRIS: We're hitting Vancouver, BC APRIL 23rd.

    UM: What's the response to your music in the rest of the world? Or has it been released anywhere else yet?

    PETE: Yes. It is overseas, and we have been getting some pretty awesome feedback. People really seem to dig it, and we even got a request to "Please come to Europe" a couple times actually. And so we will. Haha!

    CHRIS: Not sure yet. Hopefully great.

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    UM: Tell me a little about the song writing process for the band.

    PETE: The main approach that we have had is that I'll write a song by myself. I'll then come to practice and show it to the rest of the band to see if they approve and are digging it, and also to see if they want to manipulate anything, add different parts, etc. After that, I'll get together with Jon-John, our drummer, and hammer his parts so the backbone of the song is complete. At the same time I'm doing that, I'll meet with the other guys on off-practice nights to show them parts and get those done. So after that, we'll all meet up at the practice space and play the song and it will fall right into place because everybody knows what to do. At that point it just becomes a matter of tightening it up. This process works well for us. It becomes too confusing if the four of us are trying to learn the same song at the same time, so that's why we separate the process and then all meet together in the end.

    CHRIS: As of now Pete has written all of the material. He usually presents the song to us and then gets together with John for a practice to get it tight. Then on an off day Dave and I will meet with him and learn it. We'll practice it on our own time, come to the next practice, and run it. We have so much new material completed and so much incomplete. We haven't had time to really concentrate on it because of the upcoming tour. Paying bills and staying solid(musically) is the main priority.

    UM: Tell me about the recording process for 'When White Becomes Black'? I think the sound on the CD is just AWESOME!

    PETE: The album was recorded over approximately a year and a half period of time. Starting in Feb/2002 and ending in May 2003, and was released unofficially in Nov-2003 and officially in Jan-2004. We recorded at TVR Studios in Baltimore, with engineer Jon Smulyan. Jon is awesome at what he does, he's a smart dude with so many ideas, and he knows recording inside and out. He has a great ear. Each piece of the album was tracked individually, starting with the drums, which took a while to even get the right sounds, let alone each song. Next came my main guitar track, then our old guitarist and bassist, Bob and John(twin brothers), respectively, laid their tracks. After that came my lead track, to add the parts that I do separately from the rhythm, when we play live. They aren't really "leads" in the traditional sense but rather parts that add texture and depth to each of the songs. Last came the vocals, double tracked, each song. A workout to say the least, but it was so much fun. John, our old bass player, always did vocals in the band but he became ill, which is the reason why he later left the band, when it was time to lay the vocals, and sadly, his parts never made it on the record. We then mixed everything for the album and for the Reptilian 7" record all at once. We had both projects edited together by Doug Milton at Cyberella Studios, and then mastered both with Alan Douches at West West Side Music in New Jersey. The recording was more like an education. Next time around I don't think it will take us as long, but I appreciate everything I learned, it was our first time in the studio as well, for all of us.

    CHRIS: Thanks. I came in while Pete was finishing up the last of the vocals so I'll let him explain this one.

    UM: What are your expectations for 'When White Becomes Black'?

    PETE: I don't have any pre-determined expectations. Of course, I want it to do well and be the best thing anybody has ever heard. Haha! But really, we just want to push it as much and as far as we can and have it reach as many people as possible; who will then come rock out at all our shows. The more the merrier. We hope that our music strikes a chord with all different kinds of people and not one specific audience. That would be awesome.

    CHRIS: I have no expectation. I just want as many people to hear it and buy it. I think it’s such an amazing piece of work and glad people can finally get the chance to share it with us. Hopefully it opens some minds and releases some tension for those of us so frustrated with life.

    UM: Where is the band headed in the immediate and distant future?

    PETE: The entire U.S.(just about) in about a month!!!!!!!! And in the future, we will be invading foreign metal soil. Basically, we want to tour as much as possible, record as much as possible, and hopefully be around for a long time to come. Metal for life!!!!!!!!!

    CHRIS: Touring in the immediate future and hopefully relocating in the distant future to a different environment. We have so much we want to contribute to metal and want to keep releasing as much music as possible. I want Swam of the Lotus to see the world.

    UM: Any other comments?

    PETE: Check out our website: www.swarmofthelotus.com, and thank you very much for this interview. Look out America, we're coming to destroy a venue near you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    CHRIS: Yea, check us out and pick up our album!!! I do screen printing and love hooking up bands. Email me for inquiries lotus_wear@hotmail.com

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