Speak No Evil
Questions Answered By:
Curtis Skelton (Vocals)
Greg Weiss (Bass)
Lee Rios (Guitar)
Interviewed by Pedro
PRP: You guys are about to release your sophomore effort through Abrupt / Universal, titled "Welcome To The Downside". What are your expectations with the album?
Lee: Everyone is very excited, and we expect the record to do really well. This is the first time we've all felt that everything was right and falling into place.
PRP: How satisfied are you with your new album and what do you want people to feel while listening to it?
Greg: We're totally satisfied with the way things came out. The amp tone's and overall sound is much fatter than before (thanks to our Engineer - Mike Fraiser). When people listen to our music we want them to realize that it's time to draw a line in the sand. No more bullshit. We're tired of being told what to think, and sick of watching the little people being run into the ground by the ESTABLISHMENT.
Lee: If you read the lyrics, I think you'll understand what we're trying to say. Our message is pretty clear.
PRP: How much has the band's sound changed since your s/t album?
Curtis: A lot more aggressive. We all wanted this record to be much heavier, and "in your face", so we definitely took that approach on this one. We wanted to get in touch with that inner beast inside of all of us.
PRP: Your new music seems to be a lot more close to new metal than what's shown on your debut album, which had kind of a grungy feel. Also, on your new record, you are incorporating a sort of a hip hop vibe in some of your songs, something that wasn't present on your previous effort as well. Is there any reason behind that change, or did it just came naturally?
Greg: The 1st CD definitely had a more grungy feel to it. It was recorded over a period of about 2 1/2 years, so musically we were evolving along with everything else. The new CD is a result of our experiences on the road. It gave us a lot of insight about people, and really changed the way we wanted to present ourselves.
Curtis: Touring & hanging with Bonz from Stuck Mojo had some influence on songs like "Lunatic" & "Bring Your Body".
PRP: Don't you fear that some of your old-school fans might be disappointed with the band's new direction, calling you sellouts, thinking that the hip-hop vibe you're incorporating into your music is just a way of trying to sell more records considering that now a days rapmetal is THE trend?
Lee: I think our fans are gonna love the new CD, and we'll definitely win over some new one's with this material. As far a selling out goes, we don't see it that way. We're not going to do the same shit over & over again on every record. We want to be able to have that kind of freedom to evolve as a band.
PRP: Are you guys confident that this may be the album that will take you to the big time?
Curtis: Like everyone, we're hoping for success, but we really appreciate the opportunity we have. No matter what happens, we're doing what we like to do, and are fortunate not to be working at Mcdonald's.
PRP: At this point, do you have any favorites off of "Welcome To The Downside"?
Greg: Some of our favorites are "Get It Straight", which is the ultimate FUCK YOU SONG. "Pass the Power" & "15" are really strong. "Lie" sends a SERIOUS MESSAGE to the CORRUPT ESTABLISHMENT.
PRP: Do you think the album is an accurate representation of the band's live shows?
Curtis: It is, but our live show takes it to another level. Being able to be there face to face with the people helps us feed off their energy. That makes it much more interesting live.
PRP: You're now being managed by a ESP Management, who also has managed bands such as Type O Negative, Corrosion of Conformity and Megadeth. Are you all satisfied with ESP, and how much have things changed for you since that switch occurred?
Greg: Our new manager Mike Renault IS the shit! He is very focused and up front with us. He's making things happen that never happened before. You really need someone like that to fight for you. Otherwise you are lost. But you really do need to understand the business side of things as well.
PRP: Whatever happened to the album's previous title, "All Hail The Invincible Man"? Why did you decide to change it?
Lee: Once we recorded the last batch of songs (one of them was "Downside"), we realized "Welcome To The Downside" was a more visual title, and left it more wide open for the artwork.
PRP: How was it working with Steve Dudas again, and can we blame him for the fact that the band's sound is now 10 times heavier than what's shown on your debut?
Curtis: It was a great experience working with Steve. We learned a lot from him about the production side of things, not to mention he helped us get our record deal with Abrupt. But it was the band's idea to get heavier, as a result of our road experiences and opening up for bands like Stuck Mojo, Powerman 5000 & Static-X.
PRP: Did you use any weird instruments when recording the new album, perhaps like what you did on your s/t record, where you used the "balalaika" on the song "Small Words"?
Greg: Yes, we used the balalaika on the intro to "Pass the Power", plus on the intro of "Lunatic". Shahe Sekayan did a vocal solo, played jumbush (turkish banjo) and dumbec (percussion).
PRP: You were once described as "Led Zeppelin on steroids" by someone who reviewed your first album. Do you think you're still holding onto that image with your new album?
Lee: Personally, we always hated that moniker, because bio's tend to be written from someone else's viewpoint. Hopefully we can shake that 'label'. This is very different from our hero's Led Zeppelin, but we do have some of the middle eastern stuff happening.
PRP: Considering that your s/t album didn't really sell that well, is there any pressure on the band's shoulders regarding your new album sales?
Curtis: There's no real pressure unless you create it in your mind. But you don't usually get to do another record if it doesn't sell. We got lucky and we're fortunate to be able to get this record out, considering the low #'s on the 1st CD.
PRP: How satisfied with your new material are Abrupt and Universal records?
Greg: We've never seen Abrupt & Universal so excited. They are really getting behind this one. Everything is falling in place and the machine is ready to roll. There is a feature (in the studio) on their site right now, with a video of the song "Downside" at www.universalrecords.com.
PRP: Do you guys already know which song is gonna be your first single, and is a video for it planned?
Curtis: It looks like everyone's leaning towards "15", but we're getting feedback on that right now. There are 3 songs posted on our Streetteam site at www.totalassault.com.
PRP: What bands and artists have influenced you since day one?
Speak No Evil: Bands like Tool, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Pantera, Slipknot, Machine Head, Static-X, Deftones, Soundgarden, Rage Against The Machine, Sevendust, Alice in Chains, Rush, Van Halen, Stuck Mojo, Pat Travers, Robin Trower, SRV. Plus some Jazz / Fusion / Funk influences; John McLaughlin (Mahavishnu Orchestra), Tower of Power, Weather Report, The Brecker Bros., Tribal Tech, Steve Morse (The Dregs), The Yellowjackets (early), Jean Luc Ponty, Al Dimeola (also with Passion Grace & Fire), Jaco Pastorius, Charlie Parker, & there are so many more...
PRP: What are you currently listening to?
Speak No Evil: New Tool, Diesel Machine, Meshuggah, Mudvayne, Candiria, and the ever powerful Charlie Daniel's Band song "Ballad Of The Uneasy Rider".
PRP: Will rock and roll die someday?
Greg: It will never die. They might try to make it go away, but now that the word's out there's no stopping it. There's only so much regurgitated puke that we can stand and we can't stand no more.
PRP: Any last comments, shameless self promotion, shout outs, thank you's or fuck you's?
Speak No Evil: We want to thank Pedro & Wookubus @ the PRP for all the support and encouragement. Check out our Exposure Group Site at www.ascensive.net (click on promotion), and the Official SNE Site at www.speaknoevil.com. We would also like to thank our fans, friends & family who's support keeps us strong. No particular fuck you's at this time (only to the CORRUPT ONE'S). But we WILL be watching...
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