Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wester Interview by Paul Marino

The local music scene of Staten Island has a never ending flow of sound coming from its home shores. While there is a rather large collection of Hardcore bands saturating the isle there is at least one band that alters the formula and throws a melodic-indie twist on their own version of it. The band Wester has gone through more than one name change but every member has stayed within the band, all since their start in a much larger band, Super Happy Fun Band (now defunct). Band-mates Steven Bacas, Christopher Peters, Michael Scionti, and Jason Roschbach wanted more out of their music and came together to form the group Story, which stuck to more traditional Hardcore music.

After some time playing as Story the band changed their name to Sink You Fool, a shout out to a favorite movie of the artists (points to anyone who knows which film). Under this alias they wrote, composed, and covered a broad variation of Ska music, but late in 2010 the bands direction changed yet again and they became what we know now as Wester.

The band has stuck to it’s Melodic Hardcore mix to produce two EP’s; the first called, Freight in Limbo, released in 2011, and the second, Flux, coming out late 2012. Steve, the bands lead guitarist, described both EP’s as music driven by “relatable sadness.” Lead singer Jason compares some of his lyrics to the feeling of heartbreak, something he and many of us know all too well. Unable to comment on the EP was the bands drummer, Chris, and bass player, Mike. Though both were unable to attend the interview, Steve and Jason spoke on behalf of the absent members.

Wester compares themselves to bands like Brand New and Lifetime and hopes that with the release of Flux, playing shows through out the year, and accumulating fan support they can get signed onto a record label, which is most bands dream.

Steve had made it clear throughout the interview that he did not want to see this group “die out,” as he has seen of some of his past musical endeavors. The four piece wishes to tour within the coming months but said that nothing is currently planned. When asked why there were no definitive tour dates Wester explained that with all the band mates either attending college or working full time that it was becoming difficult to work around all their schedules. They did promise, however, that it would not affect their future in music and pledged to keep working with what they are given.

If you’re interested in Wester check out their music at (which has their first EP available for your listening pleasure) and look for updates on their facebook page at Be on the look out for Wester as their album release gets closer and their vision of making it big moves forward.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

'Still Not Heartless' by Eric D'Alessandro - Album Review

Still Not Heartless is the first mixtape released by Staten Island artist/Youtube personality, Eric D'Alessandro. 

For those subscribed to Eric's Youtube channel, ERIX FLIX, you have seen him make the slow evolution from funny shorts and skits, to hysterical hip-hop parodies, and now serious rap songs infused with pop hooks reminiscent of Drake or a Timberlake/T.I. mash-up.

With that being said, Still Not Heartless captures everything a first release should while avoiding the, "This is definitely his first album" kind of feel. 

The mixtape is solid and has a raw feel almost like listening to a garageband's first recordings, and yet still shining through the fuzz. 

The verses are clever, witty, and certainly meaningful while the choruses are catchy and sometimes filled with emotion and inspiring. 

Topics range from past girlfriends, having fun in the club, to braggadocio laden proclamations every rapper needs, and reflections of finding a place and calling in the world. 

The first track, "Closure," is an excellent lead off song and without a doubt the album's single. it features a big pop chorus over what is definitely the best beat on the album. This is the J.T. style song mentioned previously that will have the lyrics, "Baby Baby you can never hate me..." stuck in your head for a few days.

"New Hate" is a song that brings the listener to Eric's level as he confidently uses some clever writing to dismiss haters which he sings about over the chorus.

This next song goes hard so the title of "Go" was rather appropriate. Eric lets it loose this song and goes all out and comes real and raw over another great beat as he hits harder here than the rest of the album.

If Eric was recording this next song, "Everything I Need," in a full studio for an album, he would have another hit much in the same vein as "Closure." But what this song is missing in production certainly does not effect the quality of this R&B inspired tune.

(This video is the funny version he made featuring Drake. For the real version, click here)

Yet again the song features a good chorus over a solid beat. The real highlight of the track comes at the end with the overlapping vocals and harmonies with his pleas of, "I want you so bad" over and over until the finish. 

In true YMCMB style, Eric takes this Weezy banger and puts his own twist on it. "Megaman Freestyle" sees him forgo some story telling and just lets him flex his lyrical muscle. 

Over Wayne's playful laughs in the background Eric unleashes his punch line game with swag as he references pop culture and "flosses" on the track.

"Faded" transitions Eric into the confident and slightly cocky 21 year-old that inhabits all of us. The song broaches the adventures of being young and having a good time at the club while drinking too much and trying to pick up girls. If the song does happen to reach a DJ, the pairing would be perfect.

"This Isn't Me" slows the pace of the album and helps fit it into the next batch of songs. 

The song looks back at past relationships and has Eric asking, "Why?" at times as he regrets some decisions and tries to move forward. The track shows him vulnerable for the first time and continues that lingering feeling over the almost reggae but still R&B chorus.

The next track takes the popular, "She Will," collaboration of Drake and Lil Wayne and watches Eric put his own twist on it. Every mixtape has at least one remix for the happening track of the moment and here's his.

Calling it, "New York Girls," Eric delivers with a rant that describes what is wrong with a lot of girls in this city (not all girls). Speaking from experience he describes certain instances in life as he has dealt with these "bad girls."

"It'll Be Alright" is another slow heartfelt song where he takes a reflective look into his own life and contemplates the meaning of it all. Eric talks about the importance of having a purpose and sings about persevering, "It's worth the fight..."

The instrumental is a soft piano ballad that is perfect for conveying the message of the song as he sees people around him succumb to drugs and other failures. For the second verse he brings out the sing-songy flow and talks about Jesus bringing him to Earth to fight back.

The final track, "Outro," is just that. It provides a little bit of contrast in closing by being just piano and vocals. Eric shows off a bit of his singing range here and hits a number of good harmonies in this passion filled ending.

Overall Still Not Heartless is a great introduction and first effort to Eric's growing online audience. There is a mix of everything on this mixtape and he is just getting started in his musical path. 

Expect a lot of great things from Eric for the remainder of the year as he just teamed up with the Broken Records Collective, and be sure to come see him along with Process of Fusion, Freestyle Fam, Vinny Jett, and CiG on March 10th at the Lizard Lounge in Staten Island.

Listen to and download the whole album for free at bandcamp!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Four Nights Gone Review of 'Crash and Burn EP'

Local Staten Island band Four Nights Gone recently released their first EP, The Crash and Burn EP, and to no-one's surprise, they delivered just like they always do.

The band's signature sound is a combination of 2000s nu metal with hints of grunge and alternative throughout, sort of a mix between Three Days Grace and Papa Roach.

The first track, "Scared to Breath," opens the EP up strong. The changes in flow between the music and vocals, plus the mid-tempo speed give the song a "big" sound. 

The title song, "Crash and Burn," is very suiting of the ep. It has a solid and catchy chorus and the mix of the gritty guitar matching the droning hook of, "I can't fake this, I won't crash and burn," which especially stands out at the end with the background screaming.

Next on the CD is, "The Message." This track has a heavy flow with dynamic instrumentation throughout. Again, the song has a strong hook and the verses prove to be very good to sing-along to as well.

"Despair," musically has a big sound with a powerful chorus. There is also a great guitar solo over the bridge. The song is the most rough around the edges, but at the same time keeps up the consistency of the rest of the ep.

Continuing the theme of great choruses, and perhaps fittingly enough, "My Last Call," closes out the album in a perfect way. This song is musically the best on the album and very reminiscent of Breaking Benjamin. 

It has and up and down feel to it, and is definitely a single anywhere. The chants before the build a musical bridge are enjoyable and so is the layering of the double vocals at the end.

Overall The Crash and Burn EP, is a fantastic first effort for this band. They did an awesome job of crafting songs that were both easy to and fun to sing along to, and yet conveyed some meaning throughout the writing.

Four Nights Gone has a mainstream sound and is knocking on the doors of Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace as they try to prove they are the new guys in town.

Read their interview by Paul Marino here

Big Update: Free music from the Collective and more!

CIG CiG's first music video. "I Want to Go Back" off of Back Against the Wall. Filmed and directed by Jen Santori. Music Video : CIG I Wanna Go Back from Jennifer Santori on Vimeo. Download the track for free as well! Broken Records Collective Rappers Check out Freestyle Fam, CiG, Eric D'Alessandro, Vinny Jett, and Justin from POF's remix of "Stay Schemin." Download it for free here
Listen to and download a new track by FigureHead called "Accept the Change."
Process of Fusion
The band is now on iTunes, buy the album here!
Also, support them at the Break Contest!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Four Nights Gone Interview by Paul Marino

Sometimes it takes a little persistence to get what you want. After running through a few changes as a band, Four Nights Gone, the hard rock/alternative metal players from Staten Island, New York have secured their niche in sound and are looking to run full steam ahead with their music blasting.

The foundation for the group started with band mates Damian LaRocco and Steven “Lobes” Romano playing under other band titles with a different guitarist and bassist. This singer/drummer combo felt as if their future in the industry was going nowhere until finding Imran Xhelili in September of 2010 for guitar, and Alex Basovskiy the following year, also in September, for bass. Almost directly after their replacement in the strings department the newly formed Four Nights Gone recorded two singles, “Crash and Burn” and “My Last Call” in studio. The success of these songs was immediate and their new EP containing both tracks has given the band a lot of forward momentum on the music scene.

While on my way to interview the band I listened to the aforementioned EP, titled Crash and Burn, released January 20th, 2012, and noticed similarities in play style with rock groups like Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace. This did not come as a surprise to me given that much of the band draws their inspiration from them as well as other artists that you would commonly associate with the genre of hard rock such as Chevelle, Staind, and Thrice. The instruments of the EP have a heavy edge surrounding them that coincide with the lyrics proclaiming uncertainty and loss throughout life. When asked about the recurring themes in the songs, singer Damian said that he vents about his own life and the stresses of it through the music. He and Steve also explained that the EP embodies the strength to “overcome hardships” and “become a better person.”

Moving away from the EP, I asked FNG what their plans were for the future and without hesitation they responded with talks of tour planning and dreams of turning music into a career. The plan going forth is to tour this upcoming summer on a grand road trip that starts in New York, runs all the way down to Florida, and then continues with more shows on the way back home. Unsigned, the band is hoping to open at multiple different venues along the way and get noticed. Every member of Four Nights Gone says that they want to get bigger and get signed; the dedication to their music is unwavering.

All seems to be on coarse for stardom; reinforcing this is their fan base, which Mr. LaRocco says “reaches out as far as Australia.” While an Australian tour seems a bit out of reach right now, Four Nights Gone’s clear determination to “make it” will give them the opportunity to tour further than just the east coast in the coming years. The band is heading out of the local scene for a bit though, with their recent booking for February 22nd , 2012 at New York City’s Hard Rock Café. The band is ecstatic to play this venue and say that they’d like to invite anyone and everyone to come and enjoy this free show.

After meeting with the members of Four Nights Gone I can once again say that it is a relief to watch talent rise above the sea of mediocrity. With the band playing their first show together at Dock Street’s The Battle of The Bands and making it to play at the well-known Starland Ballroom, the talent I speak of is pretty obvious.

If you’re interested in the band, check them out on their Facebook, where FNG will keep you updated on their progress as a group. They also have Bandcamp and Reverbnation pages up for you to tune into, and don’t forget about their Youtube page for videos of shows, songs, and other such shenanigans. These young men are aiming high for their success and keep pushing the envelope with their rock. They’ve come a long way in the less than two years they’ve been playing together and there’s no sign of a slow down. They won’t fade, and they will not crash and burn.

The Hard Rock Café is located at 1501 broadway New York, NY 10036
Dock Street is on 691 Bay Street of Staten Island New York, Staten Island 10304  and The Starland Ballroom is situated at 570 Jernee Mill Road  Sayreville, NJ 08872  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Interview with Hip-Hop Producer and Model K. Scott

Why stick with your name as a producer name and not come up with something different?
The Reason I stuck it out with my real name is because when I’m older I wouldn’t want to be know by some obnoxious nickname that'll be with me to the grave,  also it’s more professional.  

What inspired you to make beats, and is there a moment in your life when you said, "I must do this?"
I’ve always had a real love for music,  it’s the basis to everyday life.  Most people start the day with a song that puts them in a certain mood, and for me I grew up listening to a lot of reggae music so my mood was always relaxed.  When I moved to America and got introduced to Hip-Hop music at age seven and was blown away by the contentious style of the artist that were out and it’s similarity to reggae music, I was instantly hooked.

Who are some producers you that influence you and if you could aspire to be like one who would it be?
A lot of music producers inspire me, but one of my most influential musicians would have to be Swizz Beatz. Through his years within the music industry,  he’s always been behind the scenes making hits and establishing power in the entertainment industry. Later on within my career I would love to be in the same sentence as the musical milestone Quincy Jones,  I’ve got a long way to go.

''Serenity'' (Prod-K.Scott) Sample Clip from ♚K.Scott♚ on Vimeo.

Where do you draw your unique sounds and music from?
I draw my sound from the Native American people, the chants, the instruments and belief system that they bring their culture.

If you could make beats for one artist today who could really go well with your beats, who would it be?
The one artist I think would be perfect for my sound would have to be Drake, because his music symbolizes spirituality and with my rugged creative abilities mixed with his musical strengths we’ll make greatness.

What is some of the gear you use, and how long has it taken to you to get to this point now?
I’ve been making music since I was fourteen and I started with a program called Fruity Loops and then later on I was introduced to Ableton Live, it’s one the easiest programs to make music.

What do you plan to do with your music and where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years I aspire to evolve the hip-hop culture, and take my music global to inspire generations to be whoever and whatever they want to be in life.

You are also, model. Tell us a little about that.
Music and fashion has always been in the same realm when culture and art come into play, and modeling is a way that fans can interact with me on a artistic level.

Pros and cons of both, and how can they work hand in hand?         

It's More exposure when you have a certain presence in the music and fashion industry, but when it comes down to business its always stressful when your in high demand.

''Night Air'' (Prod-K.Scott) Sample Clip from ♚K.Scott♚ on Vimeo.

''Chief'' (Prod-K.Scott) Sample Clip...Sold# from ♚K.Scott♚ on Vimeo.