LINKS TO INTERVIEWS (CLICK ON NAME):


BANDS
AUGUST INFINITY (aka SHE SAID FIRE)
BLACK SHAPE OF NEXUS
KALLING
MILITANTS
THERAPHOSA

SINGER-GUITARISTS
RAYMOND BALLY ..... (The Renegades)
REV. DR. BILL GRAM ..... (Killing For Christ)
PHIL JONES ..... (Phil Jones Band)
THEO CEDAR JONES ..... (Swaybone)
SCOTT KELLY ..... (Neurosis)
SETH MAJKA Interview 1 of 2
SETH MAJKA Interview 2 of 2
SAM PARSONS
UNCLE BOB NYC ..... (3tles, Volunteers Grateful Dead tribute band)

GUITARISTS
J.D. BRADSHAW ..... (Debbie Caldwell Band)
MATT CHABE ..... (Bangtown Timebomb, Chapter Two Marketing)
PAUL CROOK ..... (Anthrax, Meat Loaf, Sebastian Bach)
MATTHEW MEADOWS ..... (Rango The Dog)
JAMES NICKERSON & SARAH NICKERSON ..... (Bangtown Timebomb)
DAX PAGE ..... (Kirra)
MARTY PARIS ..... (Paris Keeling, Permanent Reverse, Barbarian Way)
RUINED MACHINES & MICHAL BRODKA ..... (Celestial Bodies: A 12 Month Galactic Collaboration) Interview 1 of 2
RUINED MACHINES (aka KENYON IV) ..... (World Of Rock Records, Celestial Bodies: A 12 Month Galactic Collaboration) Interview 2 of 2
CHRIS SANDERS ..... (Knight Fury, Lizzy Borden, Nadir D'Priest)
TOM SPITTLE & TROY MONTGOMERY & DAMOND JINIYA ..... (Rebel Pride Band, Under The Gun Project)
ERIC STROTHERS ..... (Enjoy Church's Tribute To Trans-Siberian Orchestra) Interview 1 of 2
ERIC STROTHERS & ZACH LORTON ..... (Enjoy Church's Tribute To Trans-Siberian Orchestra) Interview 2 of 2
CHRIS MICHAEL TAYLOR ..... (Carmine & Vinny Appice's Drum Wars, Sunset Strip, Hair Nation)

VOCALISTS
A.L.X. ..... (Love Crushed Velvet)
GRAHAM BONNET ..... (Rainbow, Alcatrazz, Graham Bonnet Band)
BRANDYN BURNETTE
JOE DENIZON ..... (Stratospheerius, Mark Work Rock Orchestra Camp, Sweet Plantain)
LESLIE DINICOLA
TOMMY FARESE ..... (Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Kings Of Christmas)
ANGIE GOODNIGHT ..... (Fill The Void)
CORNELIUS GOODWIN ..... (12/24 Trans-Siberian Orchestra Tribute)
DAMOND JINIYA & TOM SPITTLE & TROY MONTGOMERY ..... (Savatage, Diet Of Worms, Retribution, Rebel Pride Band, Under The Gun Project)
STEFAN KLEIN ..... (Dethcentrik, Dod Beverte, Dod Incarnate Records)
GUY LEMONNIER ..... (Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Kings Of Christmas)
ZACH LORTON & ERIC STROTHERS ..... (Enjoy Church's Tribute To Trans-Siberian Orchestra) Interview 2 of 2
SARAH NICKERSON & JAMES NICKERSON ..... (Bangtown Timebomb)
PARK SIPES ..... (Sunset Strip, Barbarian Way, Standout, Tune In To Mind Radio Kelly Keeling Tribute album)
ZAK STEVENS ..... (Savatage, Circle II Circle) Interview 1 of 2
ZAK STEVENS ..... (Savatage, Circle II Circle) Interview 2 of 2

KEYBOARDISTS
SHAYFER JAMES
SCOTT KELLY ..... (Wizards Of Winter)
ERIK NORLANDER ..... (Asia Featuring John Payne, Rocket Scientists, Lana Lane)
DOUG RAUSCH
MICHAEL T. ROSS ..... (Lita Ford, Missing Persons, Raiding The Rock Vault)

BASSISTS
CHRIS NUNES ..... (Ornament Trans-Siberian Orchestra Tribute Orchestra)
JOHN WETTON ..... (Asia, King Crimson, Roxy Music)

DRUMMER
RAFA MARTINEZ ..... (Black Cobra)

SONGWRITER
TROY MONTGOMERY & DAMOND JINIYA & TOM SPITTLE ..... (Under The Gun Project)

MUSIC AUTHOR
ALISON TAYLOR & RODNEY MILES ..... (365 Surprising & Inspirational Rock Star Quotes Book)

MUSIC MARKETING
MATT CHABE ..... (Bangtown Timebomb, Chapter Two Marketing)
JAMES MOORE ..... (Independent Music Promotion, Your Band Is A Virus Book)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

"The One I Want People To Remember Me By" An Interview With SETH MAJKA (Interview 1 of 2)

Click here to visit official website.

August 2014 (skype)

Seth Majka is a songwriter, singer & multi-instrumentalist based in Bangor, Maine who has released 4 albums on bandcamp that span hard rock to acoustic pop & is part of the under-30 generation of musicians that give 100% of their passion to creating music & challenging the status quo that says the industry is dying & so is its musical creativity. Seth previously had a solo outing under the name The Casting.

For a year in 2013 I'd done the weekly Maine Music Journal Podcast over itunes featuring Maine musicians as a way to contribute to my home state. Discovering a slew of musicians out there, along with a vibrant community of musicians that support each other, I decided to give some focus to these local bands here on my blog as I found very few outlets for local musicians doing the type of interviews I like to see. I stumbled upon Seth accidentally online & liked the diversity of his music & as we talked for an hour one afternoon I enjoyed hearing about his musical growth. Sadly, the excitement in his voice for the new music he's making & where his music has gone doesn't translate the best. He wasn't the first Maine artist I interviewed to start this new section of my blog, but it's with pleasure he becomes the first I share.

* * * *

AJ: I want to start with the basics. You have 4 albums released on bandcamp since 2010: I Am The Dirt, the self-titled one, The Ladder & Wake Till Mourning. I want to know, Seth, how do you define your music?

SETH: How do I define my music? That is a very good question.

AJ: It's the most mundane question in the book also.

SETH: No problem. Usually my philosophy is I like to branch off & do different things. But, if I had to say like 2 genres that I'm most familiar with that kinda correlates to all 4 records & other recordings I've done, it would probably be like alternative rock/pop. That kinda thing. There's elements of those 2 genres that are weaved into all 4 records. But, usually I always have this other genre that basically sets the particular album style. Like I Am The Dirt is very experimental, because it's my first record. The self-titled is basically fixing up what I did kinda weak on the first album, like the wrong songs for the better part. So, I did a rock album. Then The Ladder was basically all ballads. Then Wake Till Mourning, my latest release, its basically a hybrid of all 4 of those ideas into one, but mostly its a heavy record. So, basically, the only 2 genres that really go together, I think, would be alternative rock & pop.

AJ: This may be too big of a question ... tell me about Seth the musician. Who are you?

SETH: I have been a songwriter & musician since 2005. But, I haven't started putting out records professionally since 2010. So, 2005 to 2009, between that time I'd been just practicing, working on my craft & working on mixing, recording & writing. Then 2010 came around & I finally started putting out stuff. Music is my thing. I just love doing it. Been doing it for awhile. It's been a huge passion for me since 2005. I'm glad that its basically my future.

AJ: I gotta ask the more obvious question. How old are you now?

SETH: At this point I am 23.

AJ: 23. I knew you were around there. In 2010 your first album came out. What was the trigger that moved you from just practicing & doing your own thing to saying you wanted to release your own music? What happened to get that courage, you could say, or that motivation?

SETH: Before I Am The Dirt was released in 2010 I didn't feel like between 2005 & 2009 I had my best material. So, I just worked on it & kept what I thought was good over the years. Finally, it was my senior year of high school 2009/2010, that area, we had this thing called a senior project. You basically work on something that you think you're going to be partaking in in your future & since I'd just graduated from New England School of Communication, Husson College for audio engineering, my project was I Am The Dirt. Which was self-produced, mixed & recorded by me throughout 2009 & then I decided to release it in 2010 with all the packaging, a music video, with songs put out. So, that's where it really started, I guess.

AJ: So, it kinda came off of this senior project then?

SETH: Yes. That's when I really wanted people to hear my music in one cohesive piece, like one album. When I finally put it out I was like, hey, I really like putting out new music. So, that's why, I think, every year I like to keep busy & record some stuff.

AJ: Every year except for 2013. I didn't see anything out there for 2013.

SETH: That's correct.

AJ: You missed one. But, that's okay. We don't have to talk about the black year!

SETH: The dark year!

AJ: Is the I Am The Dirt that I'm hearing when I go on bandcamp the same album that you presented to your teachers? Or, did you create it for your senior project & then redo the whole thing as you got it into your head you were really getting into this idea of releasing music?

SETH: During the senior project time when we were working on it ... basically what you heard on I Am The Dirt, the entire album, that is what I presented as the senior project. It got a lot of acclaim from the judges. They gave it like a 97. I'd been working on it prior to the senior project. I'd been working on that for like 2 years because I was starting to get interested .... because, I listen to music all the time & watch like band DVD's when they're recording in the studio. I really wanted to start doing it. Then I decided for my senior project if I'm going to be partaking this for my future I'd like to get a head start & make something really exquisite & good.

AJ: I see. So, it wasn't like you created it from scratch for the project. It was the bringing together of the pieces that you already had.

SETH: Right.

AJ: Let me just sidestep for a moment & ask, because you just said you like watching band videos, who inspires you? Who do you like?

SETH: I'll tell you the one band who has inspired me in recording. Have you ever heard of the band PROJECT 86? They are like rapcore.

AJ: No, I'm more of a metal guy.

SETH: They're actually pretty heavy. If you haven't heard anything I definitely think you should. They had an album called Rival Factions, which is their sixth release. During their pre-order they had a DVD bundle & the bundle was actually the making of the album. I remember I watched that over & over, because, you know, I was just starting to really take music seriously. It was fascinating how they were putting this album together. They had a producer. They were laying down the tracks. It just opened my eyes. It was like, 'Wow, I want to do this.' So, that's one band that has inspired me. But, I'll tell you other bands & artists that have inspired me, too, where I've created my sound from. Basically, PROJECT 86, that's one influence, based on their metal & their interpretive lyrics, because Andrew Schwabb the lead singer he's a great lyricist, very very good. Musically, for singing, for like the way I sing & all that, I love the band MAY. Dave Elkins, he's a great singer, great lyricist as well. Their album The Everglow is my favorite album of all time. That really inspired me to open my eyes to other genres of music before I started being very curious about other genres & opening my horizons. Basically, I listen to almost everything. You know, as a songwriter ... kinda like authors. They want to read so many books. For musicians you want to listen to so much music to inspire yourself from. I like a lot of electronic music, like M-83, NINE INCH NAILS & all that good stuff. Besides that, those are my biggest influences. PINK FLOYD, Dark Side Of The Moon, that's a given. Those are my influences that really shaped up my music.

AJ: I know right what you just said about like an author reads books. I've actually been writing for some time now a biography of Alice Cooper & his 1989 comeback tour. I'm always reading biographies of musicians & I'll read one & really like the way one of them was written. I want to do something like I've just read. So, I totally know what you mean. The other thing is, that kinda ties in, is I read a biography about someone & I discover their music which then leads me to someone else I didn't know about. I discovered the blues because I kept reading people talk about Robert Johnson. Who the hell is Robert Johnson? And, I've discovered many bands through interviews ... thus here we are to pay it forward. I Am The Dirt ... your writing on bandcamp calls it your "first baby." I'm just going to quote you right now: "It was a learning experience crafting the project since its inception in early 2008." Can you tell me a little bit about that learning experience? Or, maybe the better question is, between the 2008 & 2010 releasing it & going through the school, how did you grow on a personal or a musical level?

SETH: Going back to when I started recording & writing in 2005, I was very shy back then so I never sang at all. I hated my voice like all the time. It was the bane of my existence, until like 2008 when people started hearing my music & they were like 'You know, you should really sing. These songs are awesome, but when you sing they would be completely kick ass & all that. It would be perfect.' So, then I decided to just try it out a bit & sing. I was trying to find my voice. I started to sing real quietly. I was trying to find my vocal range. Then it was 2009 when I started finally putting I Am The Dirt together that I found that voice, that high singing part. I mean, my singing was pretty weak, especially on I Am The Dirt, but it has grown exponentially. But, it wasn't until 2008 & 2009 that I clearly got out of my shell to start singing, you know, without feeling so afraid, like 'Oh man, what are they going to think of my voice?' Also, around 2008 my music was starting to grow & my tastes were starting to become like more influenced by bands like PINK FLOYD & PROJECT 86 & band called SHOWBREAD ... which I forgot to mention. They're another influence of mine. A lot of electronic music. I was just listening to everything & trying different things. Then in 2009 I finally had the 12 songs, all the songs I needed for that album. That's where it all led up to. That's where it came full circle. That is how, I think, I Am The Dirt is my real first baby where that's who I am, that's the inception of all the ideas together. That's who I am & I'm going to grow from that point on.

AJ: A decade ago I was working with guitarist Allen Peterson of Seattle who was having trouble finding his natural singing voice. He'd written a bunch of songs that used one voice for the chorus & another for the verse. I suggested he use the chorus voice more because it was stronger & he was of course hesitant. A year later he played all these new tracks for me & they all had that voice I'd suggested & people were more responsive to the music. I mean, it's really hard finding your voice. How did you find your voice, Seth?

SETH: It was really easy for me. When I was presenting these songs with my voice to people they were going like, 'Dude, this is really good. I really love this.' It kinda made me feel good about myself. Also, my family they're very supportive & they want me to sing more. All of a sudden I just started picking up my guitar & singing all the time. Before I became a solo artist, around 2007, I was in a local band who were at our local church & then I started singing more often. Being in front of an audience was a bit intimidating at first, but it really paid off in the end. It really helped me step out of my shell for singing. Just the support of family, friends & the audience who were listening to my music, that's how I started singing more often.

AJ: That's interesting. I remember when I used to play in this NYC band & we'd rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. I really wanted to gig. For me it was like you do something in your room or studio, but it goes to a new level when you get onstage & you really need to go to that level. You discover something about your sound or songs that you just don't get playing to yourself.

SETH: & when you're in a band & you're with people, it kinda helps you grow as an artist.

AJ: Are you performing any now?

SETH: At this point I am still working in the studio. But, I would love to start doing acoustic gigs around Bangor in little pubs. I've been thinking about it. It's just I don't really have a lot of material I would play. On all the 4 albums it's all full band stuff & I just have a little bit of stuff that I could play easily on acoustic. But, in the future I definitely would love to do acoustic gigs, play around, because I miss that kind of stuff, interacting with the audience & all that.

AJ: Let's move forward to your second album, your self-titled album. I want to go back to something you said earlier. The first album came out in 2010, the second is 2011 & you said earlier that it "fixed what was weak."

SETH: Yes, I did say that.

AJ: I like that. It fixed what was weak. After working for 3 years on a project & going "Oh yeah, some of it needs fixing" ... tell me about that cathartic moment of what needed to be fixed.

SETH: When I was going into the second album ... when I was putting the final touches on I Am The Dirt I started writing the second one, so I was still working on stuff. But, I started officially writing in July 2010. I had ideas in my head. They weren't jotted down yet. They weren't demo'd out yet. But, that's when it started. Basically, when people heard I Am The Dirt, the few people because it didn't really sell that well, they really liked the quieter songs, the ballads, the power ballads. The stuff that had no screaming. Because, I have to admit the screaming vocals were very whiny & very ... appalling, I guess. Anyways, I wanted to make an album that was strictly accessible rock. People that really loved the rock songs on the first album that was what they were going to get. That was the skeletal structure of what the album should sound like. It paid off in the end, because people really loved that second one. I sold so many more copies. So, it really made me feel good about myself. People loved the rock side. That's why I kept that style for the entire second album.

AJ: Did that change of focusing on one style affect you on a songwriting level?

SETH: Definitely. The second album is basically a concept album, which is basically my autobiography up to when I turned 20. Like the first song "Breathe The Air" it's about my birth. The song "Sisters" is about my family. Then I have a song "Gotta Let It Go" which is basically where I struggled for some time in high school & then basically letting it go just kinda helped out. Every song on that second album followed a theme where it's my life for 20 years. The writing was actually a lot more liberating, because I just wrote what I felt was right for my life. On the first album I was just very like cryptic, because I was listening to a lot of those prog bands. But, for the second album I wrote stuff that sounds much more accessible.

AJ: We go from 'Wish you were here' to 'Wishing you Joe were here at the store.'

SETH: Yeah, basically. The second album I think is my favorite album I've done out of the 4, because of the way it flows & the songs that were put into it. A lot came out of it, which is great.

AJ: Did you intend it to be your autobiography & a concept album or did the writing just sort of go in that direction?

SETH: The first song I'd written for the second album, it's called "Cars" & is basically about a car accident, but it had nothing to do with my life, I guess. Then the more I'd written the more I was starting to basically reflect upon my life from when I was younger to who I am now. I figured a lot of these songs are kinda about me. Let's make that an autobiography. Let's make that a central theme of the record. I'll also talk about the album title, because that went through 3 or 4 album titles as I really didn't know what I wanted to call it. I thought about doing a title called Violette Broadway, which is basically 2 streets that are combined together. Violet is the first street I've ever lived on growing up & then Broadway is Broadway in Bangor, Maine. Then I decided to make it self-titled. It makes more sense.

AJ: If it's self-titled & autobiographical ... you are the title.

SETH: Yeah, that's essentially what it is.

AJ: I was actually going to ask tell me about the lack of a title, but you beat me to the question. When you were writing these songs about your life did it bring you to any new level of any sort of understanding about different parts of your life? I don't want to use the word enlightenment, but what did you get out of it personally?

SETH: I feel like writing all these songs that dated back to when I was younger & growing up, it was basically like reflecting on whom I am now, what I've learned, what I've gone through. When I just talk about the main points of my life & when I'm writing the song for my sisters, because they're very important to me, it kinda reassures me that they're like one of the best moments of my whole life. Then the song "Goodbye Childhood" that's basically like where I finally say "Hey, I'm growing up now. My childhood was great, but now I need to move on to being a man, who I am now." It makes it more important for me to finally look back to something ... like I had a really good life & these are the songs that ... it's basically a movie for me, a life story.

AJ: It sounds like the first album had some heavier stuff, that you pulled away from & brought out the ballads more on the second album. You got more personal on the second album, too, or at least less mysterious. Then we come to your 2012 release, it has the wonderfully simple title The Ladder.

SETH: Yes.

AJ: Part of it is for me there's a song by YES called "The Ladder". I used to be a big fan, so maybe that's the reason I like your choice in title. You promote it by calling it "A sacred journey for anyone who experienced peace & love." The album focuses more on the acoustic guitar & a continuing emphasis on ballads & the softer elements. It sounds me like that is an album that links together this journey of making your first 2 albums. You started heavy, went autobiographical & now you're at this soft reflective moment. Am I perceiving this correctly?

SETH: Yeah, you're not too far off. That's really good. I think The Ladder is basically a journey where you try to find who you are, if its like the love of your life or a passion or something like that.

AJ: So, it's almost like you talked about your life on one album & now you're turning the mirror away from you to your audience?

SETH: Right.

AJ: Letting them reflect on themselves.

SETH: Yeah.

AJ: There's another aspect to The Ladder. The key signatures ascend as we climb higher on this ladder. Tell me more about that.

SETH: The first song on the bottom of the ladder is in the key of A. Then as every song is played, the next one over, it goes from the key of A to A Sharp or B Flat & then to B & the next song's C, then C Sharp & D & then the final song at the top of the ladder is back to A. It's literally climbing up on the guitar fretboard, I guess.

AJ: Sort of. I really like albums that have something musical like this, even if your ears don't necessarily pick it up. I like the idea you're experimenting with something. You're experimenting with a texture & it's a texture you feel if you don't necessarily hear it. How did you come to the idea of making this an actual ladder of music?

SETH: I was thinking about what I could do for the next record. I was starting to listen to a lot of COLDPLAY & stuff like that & wanted to do more acoustic stuff & organic music. I was wondering what I was going to do. It just sort of fell to place. It was actually intentional the key change thing. Everything was intentional, unlike the second album where it was unintentional where it was an autobiography by accident. This is a real concept record from the beginning. It was basically created: "These are the only 13 songs I'm going to write, that I'm putting my focus in. They are going to follow a ladder, ascending upwards, & the moods of the songs will ascend as well, like the more emotional peaks go higher in certain places."

AJ: That sounds like quite a challenge.

SETH: It definitely was. I think I actually did more than I can chew. But, actually, the funny thing was The Ladder was actually the fastest album I've ever created. The inception of the album as a whole started January 2012 & then it was released in July. I basically wrote the album in the first 4 months, then I demo'd & recorded all in the span of 7 months, when it usually takes me a year or so for another record.

AJ: Do you think that's because you had it all mapped out? You knew exactly where you were going with this on some level?

SETH: Definitely. From a music standpoint I knew exactly where the guitars were going to pitch in, when the drums were going to do a fill, when the keyboards were going to be a part of the song. I knew what the words were going to be. Some of them were hard to write, but some of them seemed to just flow naturally. It was like it was meant to be. The Ladder is just an album I really loved working on.

AJ: We're nearing the end of your discography, but before we do that tell me about some of the folks you have playing behind you.

SETH: Do you want specifically like on an album?

AJ: Well, some of the folks ... if there's someone you've worked with numerous times? Maybe the bigger picture? Because, it's not just you. You have a little group of folks you've recruited to flesh out your sound.

SETH: Right. So, all 4 of my records were done by the same guy, who I completely adore. His name is Alan Morse. We've been friends since high school. We've always played like guitar & drums together. We've had battle of the bands. It was just like if people were to say 'Whose the drummer? Whose the guitarist?' It was Al & it was me. That band I was telling you about at our local church, he did drums as well. I really couldn't find another drummer to really find the style. He did really well, because in a way he really made the sound because he had his style & it kinda carried on through the 4 records. I've had some people on The Ladder that partake in additional vocals like gang vocals. I had a friend named Matthew Potvin, he did the classical guitar solo on the song called "Wake Me Up" from The Ladder. I had my friend Adam Nadeau who performed all the bass on the song "Rebeler" which was also on The Ladder. I had some friends back at home who did gang vocals. Basically, on all the records except for the fourth I only had one person do gang vocals with me. Well, we'll get to Wake To Mourning ...

AJ: In a second. I like to give credit where it's due. That's why I ask a question like that. In 2013 comes The Ladder, then for some reason you skip 2013 & we get an album in 2014. Your first 3 albums came out so fast, your productivity is really high. Is this lack of an album in 2013 due to just life or was it you were working on the album, which would be your fourth album Wake To Mourning?

SETH: That would be the latter of what you just said. I was working on Wake To Mourning all of 2013. The title I had back in 2012. I was like, "That sounds like a really cool title. I'm going to hold on to that. If no one has used it yet I'm going to use it." I started writing for Wake To Mourning February & March 2013. I started demoing it ... I did a different process where I was sending out demos to people. I wrote like 20 songs for Wake To Mourning & I just wanted people to listen to it before anyone else did & say "What are your songs that you think are the strongest? What do you think are the best?" I took some of their opinions into consideration. I re-demoed the album. Then I recorded drums with Al Morse in August 2013 with a total of 13 full songs. I then moved my studio equipment to my apartment. I just wanted to work on the album a lot more than just working on it back at home, because my equipment was back at home where I really couldn't do it. It gave me more freedom & time to craft the material & try new things. So, I guess that's why it kinda took longer for that one to come out. Finally it was released Spring of 2014.

AJ: This is a very different album. You write online: "That it's basically my anthem. All my life I've been hiding secrets & it was only a matter of time before I was fed up & couldn't take it anymore. So, this album was me just screaming at the top of my lungs & then these songs came out of me. It felt so liberating to express how I felt inside & what brought me down living in this life." I get a vision from an alien from the Aliens movies just bursting out of your chest.

SETH: That's good.

AJ: This is a heavier album & you earlier called it a hybrid of what came before, but it sounds very different. It's so much heavier. In some ways its darker. Maybe there wasn't a radical change in your life, but it feels like you were tapping into something very different. Either that or you were just deliberately going in a different musical direction. Tell me ... you know what I'm trying to describe & I'm sure I'm not the only one whose pointed this out ... tell me about the mood of this album. Tell me about what type of alien this is.

SETH: Basically, during my life I had some ups & downs & I just really wanted some emphasis on that. I didn't write Wake To Mourning to intentionally be the dark album, the one that everyone is going to have a hard time listening to. Wake To Mourning had its purpose. It was written & recorded for the sole purpose to just inspire people & tell people about some things in life that just kinda brought me down ... like our country, basically. Bullying. Back in school I was bullied quite a bit. Failure & then the idea of being afraid of death & the idea of fading away all at once. A lot of these things have just been building up for the last 23 years of my life & I just couldn't take any more. They had to be in song form. Actually, it goes back to my heavier roots & what I did the first album, because if I did these in ballad form it wouldn't be the same feeling. I wanted it to have a heavier sound that really expressed the anger & torment that I had, if that makes sense. I feel like the heaviness wasn't just there. It was meant to be there. The songs wouldn't be the same if it was just ballads.

AJ: Yes, it does feel like it goes back to your roots, to the rawness of that first album. There's a little bit of coming full circle, but yet you're not as this is a very different person behind this album & different energy.

SETH: Going back to what I said about the hybrid thing, I took all the elements that made those last 3 albums the strongest - like the heaviness from the first album, the rock anthems from the second & the somewhat ballads of The Ladder. I incorporated all 3 of those into this one, yet still creating a heavy album in the end. Like the song "Only Have One Chance" that's like kinda reminiscing on The Ladder ballads. The song called "Pegasus Wings" & "Stranger To Me" are kinda reminiscing on the power ballads & rock songs from the second album & the heavier songs are basically from the first one. But, the all go together as a cohesive piece.

AJ: So, here we are 2014 ... going back to 2008 & the writing for a school project ... how far we've come. How has Seth changed as a writer?

SETH: How have I changed as writer? Well ... basically, for the record, I'm not the greatest lyricist. No one is, for that matter. I mean, we all learn through experience, trial & error & all that. The first album was just experimental. I did know I wanted to be cryptic. I wanted to be weird. A lot of people didn't really like that, so I worked on that. People loved me writing personal stuff, you know right from the heart. That's what people see in my music, so I kept going with that. I kinda stood away from writing cryptic stuff, so I wouldn't lose like my accessible audience & people who have been following me for years. Sometimes I do write a song that's way over-the-top or out there. We all experiment with these things, but I kinda grew as an artist & a songwriter over those few years & I feel like the best has yet to come. I see something great coming out of these 4 records.

AJ: If you went back right now ... let me rephrase this ... you know, of course, TWISTED SISTER. & their big album was Stay Hungry. Decades later the band went back into the studio & remade it as Still Hungry, the way they said they wanted the album to originally be, less commercial & slick & more raw. Nobody remakes an album, but they did. Where you are now, based on what you just said, if you went back to your first album & had the opportunity to change it, what would you change about it?

SETH: What would I change about it? I wouldn't want to change it, because it's my first album & my first attempt at putting out a full length record for everyone to hear. It was my learning experience. My 3 other records learned from that & built upon it. But, there were some really good songs on I Am The Dirt that unfortunately not a lot of people heard that I really want to bring back again, like "Her Secret (I Need Love)", "B-17 Bomber" & "Aliens". I feel like those 3 songs are like the pinnacle of what made that album really good for me. I probably wouldn't remake a lot of the heavier songs, because it just seems weird. I do a lot of things like movie references & all that. I would like to reproduce at least 3 songs from I Am The Dirt, but for the most part I'd like to leave it as a stepping stone, the first step as a musician.

AJ: Before I asked that question you brought up a point I want to return to here. You are a very productive person ... now what are you working on? Because, I know you're working on something. Right?

SETH: You just had to get to that question.

AJ: You knew I was getting there. I know, you're just being a bum now, enjoying retirement!

SETH: Yeah, right! You know what they say, songwriters are never on vacation. Always working on something. I am definitely working on something as of right now. I am in my studio right now actually. I'm working on this other project. This is actually going to be kinda special for you, because you are the first person besides a few people that know about this next album.

AJ: Okay. Share whatever you want me to share or not.

SETH: Alright. I definitely want you to share, so people know I'm still working on stuff. So, I am working on an acoustic EP.

AJ: Okay.

SETH: Throughout the last 2 or 3 years I have songs I've written or that I've had ideas for but were never fleshed out into full songs. I would like to bring them out as a collection. I feel like those are some of my best songs that nobody's heard yet, because I've been kinda like keeping them for later. "I'll put you in an album sometime." I played them on an acoustic guitar about a month ago & I really liked how they sounded & made the stunning realization that this is going to be an acoustic EP. So, it's going to be very simplified. Going back to, you know, the ballads & the full personal aspect that made The Ladder really good. So, I'm taking a step back from evolving, but I feel like the acoustic variations are where I'm strongest at. If I wanted to have one piece of recording for people to remember me by, it's going to be this EP that's coming out, because some of my best material hasn't been heard yet.

AJ: Why? If it's so good, why didn't you share it?

SETH: I just feel like its time wasn't ready yet. Like their appearance on an album wasn't there yet. In terms of like fitting with the album's theme they wouldn't have fit in there. It would have been like a sore thumb. So, they needed to have their own space or something else later. But, they were going to come eventually.

AJ: Is there any overall theme to these new songs, even though they were written at different points in time?

SETH: This time there's not going to be some sort of concept involved with this one. It's just going to be a collection of acoustic songs that I've had tucked away for the last couple years. So, there's really no cohesive togetherness. It's just stuff that I wanted to put out, because I felt people should hear it at this point right now.

AJ: Are the songs completely written or are these things you're finishing up & polishing up?

SETH: 2 of them have been finished. Other ones I just had choruses written. I hadn't any verses written. But, those are in the works at this point right now. I had these ideas for choruses that I really wanted to explore & to do, but the thing is either the time restraints or they just didn't fit the album at that point. I kinda pushed those aside. Now they're coming back into creation.

AJ: I'm a writer most of my life. I'll go back & look at a short story I wrote in school & think I should polish that up & do something with it. But, then I begin reading it & realize where I am now, I'm 37 years old, versus when I wrote this at 14, I can't go back because it's so far from the person I am today. It would just turn out completely different. Going back to these choruses that you have how do you feel about that, touching something you wrote in a different part of your life & expanding on that with new lyrics?

SETH: Basically, when I was writing these choruses I really thought they were really really strong & there was potential for a really good song to come out of these choruses. So, maybe I tried writing verses & it didn't really work out so well. I guess that's another reason why I kept them aside. I really wanted them to be absolutely terrific & usually it takes awhile for a songwriter to write something that great for a chorus that good, if that makes sense.

AJ: Totally. Quite often I hear from writers where they have one part of it, but they don't have the rest of it.

SETH: Right. I've always had that, definitely.

AJ: I was reading something about Alice Cooper the other day. He actually took one song, the chorus became a new song & then rewrote a new chorus for the old verses. So, he now had 2 songs. Mix & match. Cut & paste.

SETH: I've done that several times. Like I would take 2 ideas of songs, either lyrics or music & then just combine both of them together to create this new kind of energy.

AJ: So, we're looking at an album here, if I can summarize, that's picking up some of the pieces of the past. Some of it was developed, but some of it really wasn't developed. But, yet it's not like you're going back to where you were. Musically its bringing in some of the ballad stuff where you feel strongest in your playing. So, yet, we are moving forward. This is an album of moving forward. You are growing on this album, even though you're using old songs.

SETH: It's definitely a stepping stone. I feel like these songs are my most personal. I feel like this is the pinnacle of where I'm at now. I know its a lot to say right now, too early, I feel like all these songs I'm writing right now this is the one I want people to remember me by. I want to start doing these acoustic gigs, because I want to start playing actual acoustic songs. That's how I'm going to get out there, you know?

AJ: Seth, I've taken a lot of time talking with you. I don't have any more questions. Thank you for taking an hour out of your day to talk to me.

SETH: No, thank you. My first actual interview with some guy talking about my music. I appreciate it.

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