Tell us about yourself and your music
Playing for National Security Band is a unique music challenge because there are just two people in the band. I play guitar and sing and my cousin Greg plays drums and sings backup vocals. I’m inspired by a lot of traditional rock and classic rock music such as Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Nirvana, and Rage Against The Machine. Distortion has always appealed to me and that is something that I like to incorporate into our songs because when it is done well, it’s incredibly artistic. The tones of the pedals add an element on top of what you are expressing melodically. When writing, we make serious attempts to fill the entire sound spectrum with our instruments so that the listeners do not feel that we are missing something.
Talk to us more about your latest release
Biomimicry is a dark album when I think about the theme. As Greg and I sat down to discuss the concept for this record, I knew exactly where I needed to go inside my head. Biomimicry is an old school concept album that is best understood when you listen to it straight through. Essentially, my future self is sending reaching out to me today to let me know what is changing, what to look out for, and are there alternate paths I should be exploring. The album heavily focuses on artificial intelligence and how that is changing the evolution of humanity. We touch on war, disease, poverty, and time travel among other topics.
Writing and recording this album took over a year to put together. When we finished in the studio of December 2019, it felt like an enormous stone was lifted off my shoulders. When the pandemic swept in, it mentally put me back in the spot I have been for over a year. I wasn’t ready to go back into that space so the quarantine was very hard on me, to say the least.
What inspired you to write this release?
After our debut album, ‘Total Information Awareness’ we immediately knew we wanted to write a new album. We wanted to get some shows under our belts and learn what we could do to improve on our 2nd album. The concept for Biomimicry evolved as Greg and I was sitting at a local pub in Akron, Ohio discussing the current state of affairs. These conversations always go in lots of different directions, but on this particular night we were coming up with all sorts of ideas and concepts that made complete sense. I jotted down some notes on a bar napkin along with the album title of Biomimicry.
The Scourge is a great summary of our thoughts and does wrap up the album pretty nicely. We are shouting out our message through a megaphone to anyone that will listen in the final verses of this song.
Describe the writing and recording process
Greg and I both write the lyrics for our songs. What works best for me is to meditate and think of what the song I will be writing will be about in the broad picture. I make some scribbles, possibly sketch a few drawings out and then I pick up my guitar and experiment with various chord progressions across the circle of fifths charts until something inspires me. The tempo, tone, and vocals then sort of fall into shape gradually over time. I like to experiment with a song and have lots of options before settling on an arrangement. Once I have a few in the bag, I take them to Greg and we do the same process with the drum riffs. We’ve always recorded our practices so that we can go back and pick out the sections that we like and the parts that we gotta improve on.
The studio goes quickly for us generally. By the time we show up, everything is pretty solid about the arrangement so we will play essentially live and can bang a record out in a few days. We generally do 4-5 takes of each song until we feel strong about each track.
Any plans to release a video?
Any plans to hit the road?
We are excited to hit the road when venues open back up and it is safe to do so. In our area, booking shows is not yet an option. Keep up to date with our tour directly on our website or Bandsintown.
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
I don’t think we have any issues standing out from other rock bands simply because we are a two-piece band. We are not the first, obviously, the White Stripes and Black Keys did quite well and are both trailblazers but it is not common. Our message is also unique when you listen to the lyrics. We are not exploring traditional themes such as relationships, partying, or broken tractors but feel like we are bringing substance to the table.
Who have you been listening to lately?
Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Interpol, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and The Redwalls. Greg is inspired by the new Tool album-Fear Inculum and thinks the drumming is second to none on that album. I’m looking for something new that is going to rattle my brain musically, someone that breaks a lot of rules.
Who are your biggest influences?
I think in life and in writing music, we are made up entirely of the small moments in life at least as much as the significant moments. For instance, you have a very limited amount of amazing life-changing days (weddings, births of kids, extreme joy, etc). Music is the same for me, everything I’ve heard from baroque orchestra to Pantera has influenced me. Primarily though, I would say that Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, Tool, Black Sabbath, and Nirvana are especially influential.
Tell us about your passions
Over the years, I’ve learned I’m passionate about traveling and immersing myself in local culture. I love eating at local favorite spots, meeting new people, and exploring the surroundings. I love our national parks but also enjoying small towns around the country. To me, there is nothing more freeing than showing up at a destination with no real plans and settling in for a few days. I’m married to my best friend and an amazing woman who enjoys traveling and my strange sense of humor.
What else is happening next in your world?
I’m honestly hoping that COVID begins to fade away from our current realities sooner than later. Our band wants to play live in front of people, our album deserves to be heard. I want to continue to write and would like to travel soon. Plans for 2020 have been flushed down the toilet.
Thanks for an awesome interview, National Security Band
Connect with National Security Band
Website: https://www.nationalsecurityband.com/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NationalSecBand/Twitter: https://twitter.com/NatSecurityBandLastFM: https://www.last.fm/music/National+Security+SoundtrackYoutube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmDV1TDFvQQ8xVyihiIk1ZwSoundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/nationalsecuritybandReverbnation: https://www.reverbnation.com/nationalsecurityband?profile_view_source=header_icon_nav