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Syrens Calling (Singer Walter Figueroa, Guitarists Steve Stone and Matt Stallions)

Date: 12/8/13
Interviewed By: Rich Catino


1. Syrens Calling is not even a year old. Tell us about how you guys started working together. Were the members part of another band which became Syrens Calling?

STONE: I was in a band called Scarlet Carson with another guitarist, Mayhem on bass, and Raab on drums. We recently spilt up, we were together for about six years, did Bamboozle, Cruefest, Uproar, couple tours, opened for Buckcherry, Papa Roach. We really just weren’t getting what we wanted out of the band so we brought in Matt (who is here with us for the interview) on rhythm guitar. We met Walter at Bar A in south Jersey and he was on stage and he did a Journey song, and me and Matt said “O that guy from the crowd couldn’t sing that type of song”, so afterwards we approached him, played him some of our stuff and decided to give working together a shot. So we’ve been working together on songs for an album since the late summer.

WALTER: Yeah, I’ve been working with you guys since late September on these songs for the album. We’ve been rehearsing for a few months now on these songs that were already written. We almost have the whole album written.

STONE: Yeah, all the songs are written, pre production, tracked the album in New York with Doug Brown. We are doing the rest of the album with Jesse Canon in Union City. Looking at a spring release.

2. How did you come up with the band name?

STONE: Scarlet Carson was a stupid name, and our bass player got an SC tattooed on his arm so we wanted to work with those letters so he didn’t have to get laser surgery, hahaha, so it worked out. But really, it comes from Greek mythology and the girls who would lure men with their singing and then kill em. And if you look at the current band shot there are two girls facing in opposite directions, and that whole theme is going to play into the album, and we would like to have a girl emerging from the water for the artwork.

3. Any connection or influence from the band Savatage and their debut “Sirens”?

WALTER: Yes, love Savatage, but not really do I hear an influence in this band. And if things move forward we would like to have this girl from the artwork be like our version of Eddie from Iron Maiden and connected to the artwork associated with the band. Have her evolve..

STONE: The first album the siren fell in love with some guy but she had to kill em because it’s just in her nature.

4. How many songs are written and what’s the title of the album?

STONE: We have ten songs, many I wrote before we all started working together, but now everyone has had their input so they have become the band’s songs. Its going to be self titled.

5. In every interview, most of the time everyone always says they have a wide variety of influences. Being a hard rock/heavy metal band, its obvious those are what will predominantly be what defines your sound. So where does Syrens Calling get their floor plan and inspiration from.

STONE: My biggest one is Guns n Roses, I like the fact they are not afraid to use different instruments, an orchestra, aside from the gritty rock like on “Appetite”. And that’s what we are going for with Syrens Calling, not straight ahead rock n roll, we have some strings, synths, that don’t take over the songs but just compliments them. I think all these bands we like will make out music diverse and it won’t sound like one song, or the same song over and over again. It doesn’t stray away from sounding like the same band, or each song sounds like it was written by a different band. We have songs that could be on Metallica’s black album, to a little Iron Maiden, Guns.

WALTER: My influences have been the more dramatic, epic bands like Iron Maiden, Queensryche, stuff that’s has a more cinematic feel. Helloween, but for this band vocally Bruce Dickinson is a big influence. Well I don’t think when you hear our music the LA bands will come to mind, I think its more the attitude. I also hear a big Avenged Sevenfold influence in our music.

MATT: Judas Priest, love the vocals and twin guitars. Maiden, love the 80s hair bands, Guns n Roses, Ratt, Motley Crue, Dokken.

6. When you look at the picture of the band, it looks like all five guys listen to five genres of hard rock. Walter is very fashion conscious and has the long hair with a piece covering his eye, black nail polish and eye liner. Guitarist (Stone) more clean cut/blue collar and could be in Papa Roach. Your drummer’s crew cut and clothes says more extreme American bands like Killswitch Engage and Unearth, as with a more punk rock mohawked bassist who could be in Green Day, to your other guitarist who is more old school even European look.

WALTER: Yeah you’re right. We never sat down and talked about the image of the band, we are just kind of ourselves, and its kind of what we wanna have for the live shows, a look. I don’t wanna go see a band who looks like they just finished their shift at work. You wanna see a band who looks like a rock band and has style.

7. So do you think the band’s varied fashion sense will be confusing to listeners? Or does your image suggest you are a mix of the past and the present. Is that also what your music sounds like?

STONE: Yeah, I think the image will influence the music, that we are all individuals and the music will all not be just one style. Like the new Avenged Sevenfold album, so many people are saying so many parts of it sounds like Metallica, and Guns n roses, and Megadeth even a little. We don’t wanna be that obvious or formulated. I think the ballads we wrote, maybe one of them could hear on NY/NJ radio station Z100, but then you will have the albums first track which is more traditional metal. And then there is even a little blues influence on a song.

WALTER/STONE: I think with our songs you will hear moments when Maiden, or Metallica (black album), or Priest will come to mind, but it is also a modern edge to our songs and how they are arranged. Some of the songs are a little alternative too. And we have a song with twin guitar harmonies, and a breakdown. You’re going to get a variety with our songs, elements of different styles of hard rock and metal, but its not going to sound like different bands wrote each song. I think we found a way to write these songs with our sound. I don’t know how to pin point the market for the music. I think you will get some teenage girl who likes Anberlin liking one song, and a biker dude digging another.

WALTER: I don’t see our audience being that metal purist crowd. Some of those people may like it, but there is more of a modern edge.

8. Do you see these songs appealing more to an American or European market?

STONE: that’s something to think about…I think the first song on the album would be received well by the European market. Its called ‘Never Walk Alone’.

WALTER: Some parts of the riff remind me of a Queenrcyhe/Maiden thing. The intro. The ballad ‘Angels’ is radio friendly, very American different audience. But I don’t think it will be the first single because we didn’t want a song like that to be representative of the band.

9. It’s like this, Iron Maiden have their style, as does Stryper, Dimmu Borgir, and Gamma Ray, Nightwish, to Slayer, and so on. When you hear one of their songs you know it’s that band, even when they write songs that are outside their comfort zone and incorporate different elements. So what is going to make Syrens Calling’s music cohesive?

STONE: The reality is if a band like Iron Maiden came out today they wouldn’t sell albums, it’s a different time. We are not thinking along the lines of being a purist to a particular sound, style, or audience. As much as I like a lot of the bands from the 70s and 80s, we are looking to shoot for a bridge to capture the audience of today’s market.

WALTER: It’s a conflict because we incorporate different styles into our music. We don’t want to be a retro act. Despite our look and musical influences being a mixed bag I think we found a way to write songs that are cohesive and sound like they come from the same band. I think my vocal style the harmonies. Not one of our songs are that fast or up tempo to be European Power Metal like Edguy or Gamma Ray. There may be a double bass flair, but nothing close to speed or thrash, or power metal. Look, its impossible to come up with something completely original, but take those influences and combine them in an interesting way sounding fresh.

MATT: We do have a couple songs that do have that Avenged Sevenfold influence too, with those kind of guitar harmonies and solos, but maybe on a higher scale.

STONE: Yeah, I think Avenged have over done it with their influences on the new album, everything is too blatant. We have those aspects in our music, but its brief and camouflaged well. One of our songs, ‘Faceless’, though is classic Iron Maiden.

10. Today, bands don’t sell albums anymore, and even the bands who have been around for 20-30 years struggle to sell. Everything is an MP3, or illegally copied taking money away from the artist. Being a brand new band, is this at all discouraging?

STONE: We look at it this way…you have to have merchandise to sell at shows, and still have a physical CD to buy. Because people do still want a CD with artwork. And we will still sell our music through Amazon, ITunes, etc.

11. Has it been discussed to go the route like Skid Row, release an EP digitally with a few songs, and then do another down the line instead of a full album?

STONE: We don’t plan on doing that. This is our first album so we want to present this band like we have a full album of good songs. We need to have an identity and establish ourselves before we can release individual songs. Skid Row has been around forever so they can try different things to sell music. Also, the other problem is everyone releases their music online, so you are a smaller fish in a bigger pond because its so easy to put your music out there online. And the problem is too that people mostly listen to what is on mainstream radio. Mr. Big can play arenas in Japan, here they have to play a small club. It’s too bad.

WALTER: Anyone can release an album nowadays because there are programs you can put on your computer to record music. I’m curious to see where music will be in five to ten years.

12. Well look at how music is sold now, FYE and other chains who sold CDS and DVDs, and even Best Buy, Target, have scaled down their music section like 50%. Unless you are an artist who has over twenty years of music and/or a top seller, or on the mainstream charts, you can’t find any other artist anymore in a store. Everything has been reduced to online sales.

WALTER: As a newer band hopefully we will still have a following because the band use to be Scarlet Carson and those fans will still want to be in touch with what those members are doing now, especially being from Jersey. The people who just listen on mainstream radio at first may not be the ones who would buy our CD, just an MP3 of a song. But the local supporters who come out to the show are more likely to support us by buying the CD, t shirt.

MATT: There are still people out there who will still buy a CD because it’s a ritual and something of tradition.

13. Will you shop this debut album to a record label, or will it be an independent release?

STONE: We will send it out to a few labels and give it a shot, but we will put it out ourselves regardless. No one is going to know who we are anyway so doesn’t matter if we do it ourselves.

14. Immediate plans?

STONE: Continue working on finishing, tracking the album in February. End of March mixing and pressing the album, looking for a spring release if all goes to plan. We are playing two shows, one December 18 at the Saint in south Jersey, and January 17 opening for comedian/That Metal Show host Don Jamieson at the Brighton Bar also in Jersey.

Official website: https://www.facebook.com/syrenscalling


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