|L to R- Joe Scarsella (bass), Chris Taranto (guitar/vocals), Mike Sanbeg (drums)|
Members: Chris Taranto – Singer/Guitar
Joe Scarsella – Bass
Mike Sanbeg – Drums
Based In: Staten Island, NY
Influences: Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana, Dave Grohl, Iron Maiden, Alice in Chains
Interviewee: Lead singer, Chris Taranto
Quote: “If there’s one thing that’s always mandatory to writing, that’s honesty. I try to be as honest with myself lyrically as I possibly can be.”
Tell me about your music style.
I try not to categorize ourselves too much musically, because we continue to write new music. My goal is to challenge myself and expand our sound. So in order to keep us from being pinned down by a label, I’d say we’re an alternative band, because so many different styles can fit under that label.
Tell me more about how you construct your music.
As far as writing goes, it gets done in two steps. For the most part, I write the guitar and vocal parts, demo them, and then we [Figurehead] work out the rest of the parts at practice. For instance, one of the songs on the record, “Grace”, was written by Joe. I put the lyrics to it and then there were still things we didn’t like about it, so we jammed out on it and re-wrote the chorus, adding the bridge section.
How did you decide on your band’s name?
I came up with the band name before I even had a band or music- A “figurehead” is a political term that I heard in Global Studies class my freshman year of high school. I doodled it on books and whatnot. So when I started writing music by myself and recording the song in my basement on an 8-track, I decided to call it the “Figurehead Project”. Eventually, I used those demos to find the original lineup of the band, and when we talked about naming ourselves, John DeMaio (former bassist) and Alex DiVito (former drummer) both liked the name. So it stuck. Hopefully, people don’t think we’re a political band, though… I don’t write about that stuff.
If your lyrics don’t focus on political agendas, what do they focus on?
I believe that when you write lyrics and music, you should be 100% honest with what you’re writing. So when I write lyrics, I write about how I feel. When I started writing, I tried to write about politics, but I couldn’t do it because I don’t like them. So, I started by writing like Nine Inch Nails, Alice in Chains, and Nirvana; that was my favorite type of music.
All the songs on the record, besides three, are about girls I dated. There’s a lot of anger, angst, sadness, and depression. And I don’t necessarily like that as much anymore, so the new music I’m writing is much less sad and depressing, much more angry and finger-pointing. But that’s what I write about. I write about me and I hope that people can relate when they read the lyrics and listen to the music and come away with their own meaning.
What does music mean to Figurehead, as a collective whole?
Music means the world to the three of us. We play music for fun, to forget about anything that’s going on in our lives. It’s a really creative, healthy outlet for any negative energy we have. It’s great!
When is the new LP due out, and has the band tried any new style techniques with the new music?
This is our first full-length album and it contains a handful of songs that have been on prior EP releases. We’re hoping to put it out in either June or July. As far as style goes, the whole thing is very varying. It’ll be a testament to our creativity and will be the groundwork for what we work on in the future. It’s got some short, thrashy, riff-oriented songs. It’s got some low key, mellow songs that turn into dark, heavy rockers before they get quiet again. There’s some catchy tunes for sure, and a lot of crazy guitar effects.
Does Figurehead have any plans for touring with the new LP?
As far as promoting the LP with shows goes, we really want to tour. We’re probably behind the eight ball right now, for waiting until now to book something. But, we’re looking into playing Asbury Park (with Process of Fusion) and Brooklyn, as well as other sections of Jersey.
I still feel like there are people out here that we could reach on Staten Island that we haven’t tapped into yet, and I want to reach them first.
What are the long-term goals for Figurehead (where do you want to be in five years)?
In five years, I want to be touring, possibly signed to an indie record label, and being on the rise. Maybe have a second record out sometime during that period, an EP or two, and still be having a lot of fun doing the things we love.
If you could say one thing to all of your fans, what would it be?
Well, we’re coming up on our second anniversary in a couple of months (July 9th) so I’d just like to say that I really appreciate the support we’ve gotten over these two years. Some of the people who were at the first show are still coming to shows and I love them for it. We promise to give our fans the best we possibly can, especially our Staten Island fans! You guys can expect a bunch of surprises over the summer and we just really hope to keep growing and receiving your support. We love you!