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Articles Home » Music Talk » Fear Is Dead Interview with Skila (vocals) and Matt (bass)
Fear Is Dead Interview with Skila (vocals) and Matt (bass)

Fear Is Dead

 Interview with Skila (vocals) and Matt (bass)

By Nina McCarthy, Senior Music Journalist

Boston Rock Radio


(Photo by @shanicenyc courtesy of Fear Is Dead)


In today's overcrowded metal scene it's virtually impossible to rise up and stand out, still that's exactly what Fear Is Dead is doing.  Since 2011 bringing fans from the metal scene, and hardcore / punk scene together.  Their music, videos, art work, all embody what Fear Is Dead is about, evolving musically, artistically, exorcising demons and losing yourself to find yourself, even for a moment.*

* (Fear Is Dead bio)



BRR:  I have to admit, even though you initially formed in 2011, you are a new band to me.  I can't keep up!  You are a rock/metal band from NY.  New York must be oversaturated and competitive with metal bands trying to make it.  What do you think Fear Is Dead did differently to stand out?


M:  For us to stand out, we try to innovate and develop our musical writing process.  Hmmm, interesting question.


S:  We have done a lot of things to streamline the band so it works almost like a machine in some ways.  We streamline the writing so we can pump out more music but not compromise our integrity in any way, or the quality of what we are doing, as well as making sure our content is competitive with major corporations and major bands that are out there.  A lot of mistakes that younger bands make is that the content isn't competitive.  It doesn't stand out. You have these companies that are putting millions of dollars into these upcoming bands that are putting their week’s check into it and it doesn't compete.  Creatively, that's where we have to do what we can to stand out to be be able to compete and keep up.


M:  Another thing that helps us stand out is that each member has a very wide variety of influences that are all different from each other.  I like a lot of 90’s grunge type stuff.  I'm big on hip-hop and metal. I like progressive, disco and all the stuff like that.  I bring a certain element of groove and melody that most bass players don't bring to the table and I bounce a lot off the drummer.  He listens to a lot of prog also and he's very big on developing himself as a drummer with the mix he brings to the table.  David is very big on Korn and thrash metal, alternative metal in the tones that he uses.  Then you go to Skila and he was at one time a rapper, and grew up listening to hip-hop.


S:  And grunge and hard rock.


M:  So the variety of influences within the band do help us stand out because we bring a lot of different elements to the table.


BRR:  I was reading that you guys draw fans from all genres: rock, metal, punk, hip hop.  That's unique right there.  Now, in the song, “Fear Is Dead” you say, “I ain't afraid of all the fears I was taught.”  Can you explain the inspiration of the band name and a little meaning into the song?


S:  That was more my old philosophy.  I believe that a lot of stuff we are afraid of was taught, so I meant that literally.  A lot of stuff society teaches us, like we get inspired to do something and we're told, “ No, you can't do that.”  There's a lot of “can't” and a lot of “don't.”  From a very young age we're molded in a certain direction.  We're not always allowed to evolve freely.  A lot of fears are just basically taught.  That's how I feel about it.  “Fear Is Dead” was more a spur of the moment thing.  We kind of stumbled onto it.  That's a whole other story.  It just clicked for the time and what I was going through personally.


BRR:  In 2015, after a hiatus, you returned with a new lineup. How did the music and stage presence change with this new line up?


S:  Matt kind of summed it up with all these different influences and that definitely changed the music.  We all have a taste for the heavier side of things.  That also brought us together and is very strong in our stage performance.  We all have this explosion of energy.


BRR:  Which is extremely important onstage!  In August, 2017 you released your 4th EP What Remains.  You tend to have some intense subject matter.  What are some of the themes you cover in this new EP?


S:  I had been a little overwhelmed with what was going on at the time. Lyrically I was trying to get a little more personal, a little more introspective and socially and politically conscious.  It felt that was getting overwhelming for me.  There’s still that, but not as much on Eleutherophobia (2016 EP).


BRR:  In November, 2017 you officially released the first video for “Dirtnap” off What Remains.  What made you decide to direct and edit it yourself and was this your first time doing so?


S:  No, I did all 5 of the videos for Eleutherophobia.  With the first incarnation of Fear Is Dead, I had a friend, Steven Velasquez (shout out to him) who pretty much taught me everything I know.  During the first video we did, I was pretty much sitting with him during the whole task and he was like, “Dude, you can totally do this yourself.”  I was like, “Fuck, I'm going to do it than if it's going to save me time and money.”  I'm very much an urgency guy.  I always have urgency to do it NOW.  My Mama taught me, “Don't leave for tomorrow what you can do today, things stack up.”  That's been my philosophy with a lot of things.  Like with the video, rather than wait and put money in, but also making sure it was quality and that we could control our vision.  I always consult with people who know what they're doing, but I want us to be the guiding force on what people see and what they identify with Fear Is Dead and not somebody else's interpretation of what Fear Is Dead is.


BRR:  That makes sense.  “Dirtnap” is usually referring to death.  Can you give me some insight into the lyrics of this song?


S:  Long, short, don't mean to be vulgar, but it's about how we mind fuck each other or ourselves.  It's about how we are a victim of our own changes and a victim of ourselves, the things we tell ourselves and the things we grow used to.  I start off saying, “We love to pretend a dream to ascend.”  Everybody is always praying for tomorrow but half the people don't do anything for tomorrow, rarely.  It doesn't make sense, but we're quick to pray about it.  Just an example, everything breaks down like that.  “It's just a cycle that breeds, a means to an end.”  Everything around us now is pretty much a monotonous machine.  Life and death is just a money maker now, death being the biggest money maker.


BRR:  Sadly true!  Do you have any plans to tour in the near future?


S:  We do.  Right now we are finishing our next EP.  Pre-production is done on it and we are about to go in the studio.  Then, after that, we're thinking of working on an album for the summer and we're hoping to tour with that album.  We're looking at things to improve our situation right now, booking agents, management and we're open to label deals depending on what those deals are.  We are very DIY and it's only because the industry can be very shady, but it's harder to get in when you're not playing ball with them, so to some extent we have to.  But, I'm not trying to put us in a position where we lose either.  We are being more open about it because those things will help during tours.  If not, we're just going to save up, book the dates and go.  One way or another it's going to happen.


BRR:  I'm finding out some bands are getting a label maybe for their first big album, and once they're known, going back to DIY with a small team.  


S:  I first noticed a trend when Madonna and Prince dumped their labels and they just got with their tour manager and started making money on their own.  I think that makes more sense.  You don't need to put out CDs anymore.  The CDs are becoming obsolete.  Everything is over the net, streaming or selling MP3s or whatever the next format is going to be.  You don't really need a label but they control all the promotion and that's kind of why you need to get in bed with them.  Aside from that, you don't need them and they know that.  That's why they're changing the industry so you need them again.


BRR:  Exactly. I was going to ask what are your future goals as a band but you pretty much covered that.


S:  Longevity.


BRR:  What can you tell me about the new EP you're working on?


S:  Matt?  He's more on the production side of things.  He's the more knowledgeable one of us.


M:  I'm really excited for this new EP.  We've been putting a lot of time into it.  We went so far as to start getting a monthly rehearsal studio so we could have more space to rock out and get more aggression because what we've been doing is writing in Skila’s basement. Constantly being in a rehearsal studio lets us let loose, more pre-production, so tracking everything beforehand and getting an idea how it's going to sound when we record it for the EP and also develop our songs much more proficiently and being able to spend more time on it and have more fun with it.  I think the time and fun are going to show that we put into this newest  EP.  It's packed full of energy and we learned from other mistakes on previous EPs as far as the process of recording, how we can make ourselves sound better and also how to do it more efficiently.


S:  It's going to sound a lot better on this next one.  Listeners are definitely going to hear the evolution.


BRR:  Great.  I'm looking forward to hearing it!  Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?


S:  They can find us online and we'd love for them to reach out to us.  We'd like to know what they think.  Feedback is always welcome. We want to hear what they like.  We want to hear what they don't like.  We have a lot of goodies online.  They just have to Google us or come to the website which is www.fearisdead.com.  Find us on Facebook or Instagram.  We have tons of content and cool stuff to look at.  They can join our group on Facebook which is Fear Is Dead / Inner Sanctum where we release a lot of stuff that we don't release to everybody.  It's just for the group.  The music is free online.  We love the support if people want to buy it, we welcome that. But if they want to have it and some kids don't have the money, fine, download it for free.  Share it with a friend.  That's how you pay us back.  We just want people to have it and know its there, maybe relate, maybe connect.  That's what it's all about at the end of the day, right?


BRR:  That's a great attitude.  I appreciate your time and look forward to hearing your new music


S:  Thank you for having us.



Fear Is Dead - Dirtnap [Official Music Video]












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