Thursday, May 18, 2017

Artist Spotlight – Heavy AmericA

Formed in 2013 & fed up with the infinite repeat of bubble gum & corporate rock music that plagues the airways, Heavy AmericA has dedicated themselves to bringing forth a change so desperately needed in hard rock music today.
Their unique formula & unforgiving work ethic has resulted in powerful music as gritty as the Boston streets that inspire them. Full of energy, raw emotion & has been described as a “Sonic meets melodic roller coaster ride with plateaus of happiness & cliffs of terror.”
It’s time now to visit some links & open yourself up to the new hard rock sound you’ve been searching for, “Boston’s answer to alternative Hard Rock”…Heavy AmericA!

1.) What made you want to get into the music business in the first place? Did anyone influence you to do music? If so, who? Influences? Role Models?
I was fortunate to have parents who were very supportive of music growing up. When I was thirteen, my Dad landed a job as a photographer for a music production company in Boston, photographing outdoor rock festivals,. I had just started playing guitar and was in my first band. He would get VIP passes for a lot of the shows and take me with him. I got to meet and see so many great artists and bands. It was a world I fell in love with instantly. I knew that was the life I wanted and I knew I was one of them.
Lately I’ve really been inspired by Josh Homme and Queens of the Stone Age. That dude goes non stop. I don’t think he’s taken a break since 2012. I really admire and mimic that work ethic. The first time I saw them live was on the ‘Like Clockwork’ tour. When they walked out on stage, they owned it and they knew it. That level of professionalism is awesome and very inspiring. That moment changed my idea of success. It isn’t primarily about money, it is a level of professionalism, owning it… always. This realization has pushed me to be better, gave me a clearer image of our direction as a band, and ,in turn, inspired the recording of the new album.

2.) Unfortunately the music industry is full of talented individuals who just don’t get any recognition for their talent and/or work. What do you plan to do to make sure you stand out and get noticed?
I heard a great quote once, “All music eventually finds its audience. Unfortunately, the ones with the most money will usually find it faster.” There’s a lot of truth in that statement. It’s not enough just to be a great writer or band, you really have to educate yourself on the business side of music. The more you know about how the industry turns great songs into hits, the easier it is to decide where to spend what limited funds you have to work with.
I think if you’re honest with yourselves about where you are as a band in your growth process and know when and how to connect with the right professional, the chances of having your music fall on the right set of ears is much greater.

3.) Would you rather be on a major label or would you rather stay independent? Why or why not?
If I had a chance to sign with a major I would. There’s a lot of pride that comes with being a DIY band but the more success you achieve the more help you need. It’s a ton of work managing, writing, booking, playing and promoting. You can only take it so far on your own before you eventually burn out. The writing starts to suffer as a result of all the business that needs to be done. If you want to be able to focus on being great artists you’re going to need some help.

4.) Do you think that the traditional music industry model as we know it is dead? Why or why not?
I don’t think the industry even has a solid model anymore. It’s such an evolving landscape. With the collapse of cd sales and declining mp3 sales, the industry has now turned it’s attention to streaming services for a payout. As long as technology keeps changing the way people consume their music, the industry will be forced to change the way it does business.

5.) How do you think the internet and social media affected the music industry and how musicians are able to market themselves?
I believe it affected both sides of the industry in a positive way. The artist gets to build their following and get good local recognition on their own without having to pay back a record company for artist development. That saves the artist from starving and making costly mistakes. It also allows a industry professional to monitor a band, watch their growth and progress and know when to approach them. Both sides win.

6.) What is the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in life and has that had any effect on your path to becoming a musician?
There’s nothing more depressing than devoting all your time, money and soul to a project only to have it fall apart for reasons out of your control. And to have it happen over and over again. It can be crushing on your moral and lead to some pretty deep depression. I decided when Heavy AmericA formed that I was going to involve myself into every aspect of running the band. I’ve learned from all my past mistakes and waiting for someone else to fix a problem isn’t an option. It can be difficult sometimes to meet everyone’s needs but if you’re able to create constant forward movement you’ll also create positive attitudes. This is what keeps the band together, being a great role model is key.

7.) Artists who try to make music for the general public and make more $$$ are usually seen as “sell-outs.” Do you see it that way and if so, what do plan to do to make sure you make music that is true to your brand and make a good living at the same time without having to “sell out”?
Selling out to me is involving yourself in a genre you have no business being in. We all evolve as players and most of our influences span decades and different genres. But if you’re a metal head who’s in a pop rock band just to make a few bucks, then you’re a sell out. We all would like to make a good living at being a musician, we all have bills to pay. But you need to be true to yourself and your craft. People notice if you’re not and they will call you out on it. There are so many ways for an artist or band to monetize their music today without having to sacrifice their dignity.

8.) When you do music, what would you like your listeners to get out of your music?
I want them to be able to find their story in our music. To relate and be moved emotionally, regardless of the emotion.

The interview questions were answered by:
Michael T. Seguin- lead Vocals/guitars, Heavy AmericA

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