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Monday, November 21, 2011

Still The Sky; The Ground Between Your Feet

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Still The Sky, the Hardcore band out of Rockford, IL was first introduced on the blog in May. Since then, the band has been busier than ever, working on new material and playing several shows. We recently caught up with band vocalist, Tarek.

What has the band been up to since I last spoke to you guys back in May?
: Shows, shows, and more shows. Ya know, just trying to get a more public fanbase rather than relying on online followers. We love playing, and we love our music. So we try to do it as much as we can to let people know what we're about! Besides that we've been spending a lot of time writing new material and going over pre-production for our new EP "The Ground Between Your Feet".

The band recently parted ways with their drummer. What was his reason for departing? Has the band found a replacement?
: Tyler, decided to leave the band because as we all knew he was a heavier type of drummer. So, he continued on to make a new band called "Exorcist" with a few of our buds from Ex-In The Year Of The Plague! We wish those awesome dads a great amount of luck! We've been talking to a couple people, but we're always down to try someone out if you think what you've got what it takes! But for now, we'll be playin' with the good ol' laptop.

How was the online reception of your last album, Something Devious Is Upon Us? How will the new EP differ from this album?
:Well we're actually glad you asked this! We decided not to release "Something Devious Is Upon Us EP" because our style changed for the better. But what we will be doing is re-recording all of our older material for a bonus "Old School EP".

Talk a bit about this new EP. It comes out December 15th, what can be expected from the release?
: Energy & Emotion. We really liked our older stuff, but just listening to it we've came to the conclusion that it just wasn't jumpy enough! We like to bang our heads and jam out and we're sure you do to. So it just had to change ya know?

Tell me about E-void and Remember What Fell. These are singles from the EP? What was the influence behind these songs? Any big influences behind the EP?
: Indeed they are! And they are only a SMALL taste of what's to come from the EP. E-Void was generally about feeling emotionally void, and figuring out that the reason you were like that is because you're still in love with that one person. Remember What Fell is for anyone that has been screwed over, and yet somehow was still to blame. Basically this EP has a lot of influences from common situations and is meant for anyone to connect to it on a personal level.

As always, the band is playing a ton of shows. What are a few upcoming shows for the band?
: We've actually decided to go on a show Hiatus for a small amount time until the EP drops. Because, we are putting a lot of time into the album. Also when we find a new drummer we'll be making sure that we come back solid, so you can hear our songs played like they sound on the EP.

Whats the next few months looking like for the band?
: Just hard work. Promoting, and getting ourselves out there more than we already are. But that's where the fans come in too! We need YOUR help! So anything the fans can do, sharing us on people's walls, etc. IT HELPS. So thank you! We love all of you very much!

Be sure to check out the band's Facebook, where you can get the latest news from the band and check out their songs.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Quicksand Swimclub; New Single

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We caught up with Dan of Quicksand Swimclub, who was featured on the blog earlier this summer. The band is releasing their new single,"Better Days" this Monday, November 14th.

How's the band been since we last had you on the blog?
: The band has gone through tremendous changes since we last spoke early summer with member changes and direction of sound.  After touring the Midwest we decided to part ways with our former bassist to downsize to a three piece.  That worked for a few months until Nik (original bassist/guitarist) left the band for personal reasons.  Performing and meeting new people is the best part about being in a band so we are continuing as a two piece.  No, we don't sound like the white stripes but we are aiming our new sound towards the post-hardcore/pop punk genre while putting our "touch" to it.

Any cool shows or accomplishments since the last we spoke? Tell me a bit about this upcoming Fusion show.: Fusion Shows is a showcase company that is somewhat "prestigious" for local bands to play shows for.  They buy the best tour packages and give have locals opening slots.  This Saturdays show is a local show they are putting together to see what new upcoming acts are like that they haven't worked with yet.  Hopefully its a huge success, I'm excited to play with American Opera.

What's this 89x voting thing?: When I received the master file for "Better Days" I immediately sent it to 89x radio.com (new alternative rock station) thinking it was a shot in the dark and they would never give it the time of day.  It's a huge deal to be on the radio to any musician let alone the biggest one of your genre. Turns out I was wrong and we made it to the finals of their Sunday night show which is an awesome opportunity for us.  Even if we don't come out on top in the voting poll it's alright, at least they listened to us.

I see talk about a music video. Is that just talk? Or is that something the band is already working on getting done?: We are using shots from current performances (including this weekend) and shooting close ups November 25th.  We are about 80% done with plotting ideas and what not.

So tell me about this new song!: We worked with Bryan Beeler (Chiodos, Cinematic Sunrise, The Swellers, We Are The Union, Squid The Whale) in our home town Northville, MI. I've known Bryan since my very first show in 7th grade seven years ago. This song is inspired from a friend who died in a car crash leaving a girlfriend of three years.  The lyrics based from her point her point of view.  There is a facebook page where his friends post thoughts about him and it's very touching: http://www.facebook.com/groups/100122036740121/

What's it about and what kind of things does the song explore?: The lyrics explore what it is like to deal with death of a close one.  "Better Days" is a sampler genre wise of QSSC.  Melodic post-hardcore that halfway makes you wish there was screaming to a pop-punk verse and chorus drifting back into the melodic post-hardcore with a touch of rock and roll.  The guitar, bass, and drum work are dramatically better in this recording.  It's a step in the right direction.

What else can we expect from the band in the coming months?: We have exciting shows in Michigan scheduled throughout Fall and Winter.  In March we plan to take time off of shows to spend pre production for the new EP.  We are recording a three song EP at 37 Studios (I See Stars, Chiodos, These Hearts) due to release late spring/early summer.  Hopefully we will have exciting shows following the release.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nifty Breed

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    After forming an alternative rock band in 2008, Matty was desperately trying to rid the band of the name they all seemed to hate. "I was trying to think of something that seemed both interesting and kind of silly." Nifty Breed, looking good on paper, was the band's new name.
    Long Island has many small scenes all around, mostly dominated by pop-punk and hardcore bands. "Beyond that, there are some less popular but functioning alternative/indie scenes that would be more our style, but lately it seems everyones making the big move to the city, a move we aren't able to make yet. We kind of drift between every scene and don't really have roots in any particular one and I'm okay with that." Says Matty, the band vocalist and guitar player.
    This Long Island alternative rock band is made up of two pairs of lifelong friends. Matty and the band's drummer, Jordan, have been friends since they were toddlers. Alex, the band guitarist, and Brian, the bassist, have been friends since birth. "Originally Jordan and Brian were not in the band. Alex and I were playing a show together with a brand new drummer and no bassist (due to unfortunate circumstances) and Brian had come to see us play. Since we had just lost our bass player and I recently learned he played bass, I announced at that show that he was to be our new bass player. After another drummer or two, Jordan found his way into the band and it's been this line up since 2009." recalls Matty.
    The band's influence is drawn from bands like Nirvana, At the Drive-In, 311, Incubus, The Beatles, Silverchair and a lot of other bands from several genres. "We are a very diverse bunch. Our sound is really all over the place. We try not to stick to a distinct style when we write. Musically, some songs are heavy and some songs are more lighthearted, but overall it's all about melody. A lot of the songs lyrically are kind of dark and some may tie into others by chance but each song is able to stand on it's own. All the lyrics are personal and relate to me in one way or another. Sometimes I don't realize this until long after a song is written. Hopefully people can take what they want from our songs because they aren't written with any specific people or messages or themes in mind." Says Matty.
    Talk Before You Speak, the band's debut album, will hopefully be made available in early 2012. "We spent a solid month just tracking everything, and now it is just a matter of making everything sound good and balanced. We are having fun experimenting with different ideas that we couldn't really do on the demos due to time constraints. Crazy ideas like strings, bongos, cowbell and insane noises, stuff we normally wouldn't have taken the time to try out. The public can expect an album that is basically us. Our heart and soul was put into this record and it will be very pure and very raw but still sound good, which is what I think every band strives for in an album."
    The band expects to continue playing shows and reach a wider audience. All the band truly wants out of their experiences is to be heard. Be sure to check out the band's Facebook for updates on the band and upcoming debut album, Talk Before You Speak.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Black Orchid Ritual

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    Raven Elias has been playing music for a long time. In late 1999, he formed a cover band in Houston with his longtime friend, Robert Stilwell. The band had hoped to become an original band before long, but according to the band, it's a lot easier to make ends meet when you play songs everyone knows and loves. In 2004, the "band" recorded their debut album, but in 2008, they rerecorded the songs. It wasn't until a year later that the band was able to release it.
    Now, the band had been a band for about a decade, but it wasn't until the addition of Ukrainian bassist, Serge Romashyn, that Black Orchid Ritual was born. the debut, all-original show was booked before Serge had even joined the band. He had assured Raven that he had learned 4 of the band's songs and after only one night of practice, the band played in front of 200 people.
    Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin are among the band's influences, along with a lot of modern rock, macabre works, metal, and even classic horror movies and ghost stories. "(Our sound) is a bit retro, mixed beautifully and wisely with modern music. A bit of hard rock and heavy metal." The band also feels like modern rock music owes a lot to Black Sabbath. "Everyone sounds like Sabbath today, we owe everything to them. Nickelback, Green Day, all those bands, not just bands like Metallica or Marilyn Manson."
    At their shows, you might find props and art, fans dressed in costume, sometimes giant crosses with black drapes. "We love subtleness," jokes the band. "The sound and energy is furious and thrilling as well as chilling. a show filled with fog floating upon the stage floor, massive strobe lights flashing, beautiful cobalt blue lights sparkling, just look at one of those Led Zeppelin concert photos of the 70's,But with a lot of fans dressed like witches."
    The band wanted to talk a little bit about their debut album, and so we let them.
    "As Sabbath's debut album was, ours was recorded on a small budget and was done very fast. It was a recording of 9 songs, with 2 of the songs being instrumentals.
    The album starts off with a woman screaming and then the first song hits hard into a number entitled MUSICAL BEDS; a song about the consequences of unprotected sex. A hard rock song guaranteed to make you think before you leave your condom at home.
    The second track is called NEVER SATISFIED; the song starts off again with an audio fx; a detuned unearthly voice speaks "DAMNED TO ETERNAL HUNGER", then a sludge-like guitar riff opens this metal rant about never being satisfied with anything in this life, even "when you have gotten everything" as the lyrics states. There are too many cool and interesting stuff to mention so I guess you'll have to play the CD."
    Currently, the band's second album is in the works and the band had this to say about it, "Its gonna be the one that makes us. it will definitley have more than 10 tracks. The title itself sounds controversial, which we can not disclose at this time. Lets just say it in this way; Its gonna turn the Vatican pink and reveal alot of religious truth. It will be very Metal but not one sided. We like to feel that we can incorporate orchestrations and different instruments other than just shredding electric guitar. We're versatile, influenced by the greatest bands that ever was."
    They hope to release the album in late January. The band is also hoping to release an unplugged acoustic album this December which will include songs from the first album, as well as songs from the second. The band will continue playing shows in the coming months as well as building their fanbase online. Be sure to like the band on Facebook for updates on their upcoming shows and album updates!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Trabajabas

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    The Spanish word "trabajaba" loosely translates to "used to work." One alternative ska band thought it would be clever to name their band, The Used-to Workers, thus calling themselves, The Trabajabas. The Pittsburgh band really stands out from the small predominantly pop-punk music scene in the area. Their large band and band instruments aren't hard to spot, and their wide variety of ska and indie songs are easy to notice among the other bands. "We're that unique band that kind of throws people off a bit when they see us. In a good way, of course." Says the band.
    The first ska band attempt was a no-go, the band was attempted and quickly failed. The following year in November 2009, the band tried again. This time taking it much more serious and it worked. "It all just started off as a group of somewhat strangers that got together through some mutual friendships. We basically just wanted to start a ska band." The band didn't truly evolve into their current sound until the addition of Aaron Rodden in the fall of 2010, bringing the member count to 9. "Having a band with so many talented people is definitely a plus. But it's quite difficult to match up our schedules and get a full band practice together. And since the age range is so vast, two of us being in college and the rest still in high school, it's necessary to get stand-ins so that things can continue to run. The major benefit of having such a big band is that there are endless possibilities when it comes to making songs. We are all versatile musicians and it's always exciting to put together something new."
    Their are several music influences for many of the individual members, but as a band, they are influenced by bands like Streetlight Manifesto, Arctic Monkeys, Rx Bandits, and The Shins. "It's also interesting to see how each of us has our taste in music and how we apply it to the band as a whole." says the band. Using these influences, the band sculpts and interesting blend of ska, indie, and even some funk. "Our sound is almost indescribable. Some songs are quite funky (like "Strawberry Jam") and others are a mixture of indie and ska (like "Deep Sea Diving"). The beauty of our band is that we just play the music we feel like playing. We don't chain ourselves down to a single genre. But if i had to specify, I would say we are indie rock alternative and ska. Some recurring themes in our songs are references to sea life and horses...just because." Says the band.
    Winning the Mr. Smalls Next Big Thing Tour competition in Pittsburgh is among some of the band's many accomplishments. "25-35 bands were selected to be on the tour and each band was given about 15-20 of set time. The show ran from 11am to 11pm. We played at 7pm, and by that time there were about a good 1000+ people there. At the end of the performances a group of judges selected by the Mr. Smalls staff got together and announced the top three places, in which we won first, and $750." The band also played The Altar Bar Battle of the Bands, winning their first round. Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts, the band was unable to play their second round, but they received a high quality recording of their live performance.
    The band was very proud to share the stage with Fishbone, one of the first innovators of new wave ska music. The band opened for the ska legends at the Altar Bar, where the show was sold out, but things have a tendency not to go as planned. "Unfortunately, it was the same day of a huge snow storm (about 2 or 3 feet of snow accumulated). It was a huge let down because it would have been packed otherwise. Either way, we enjoyed opening for such an innovative band and later watching them play." Says the band. "They are phenomenal performers."
    Tonight (Monday, November 7th, 2011) the band will be opening for The Supervillains @ The Smiling Moose in Pittsburgh. The band has some big shows planned for the holidays, where the band plans to play lots of new material live. "This coming summer is also going to be a big one. We will probably spend less time in the studio and more time playing shows. And with college coming around the corner for more members of the band, we don't know how much longer we will be around." So get your dose of The Trabajabas before it's too late! Check out the band on Facebook for updates on the band's activity!   

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dreams From Gin

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    With a unique and fitting name, Rochester alternative rock band, Dreams From Gin, has racked up quite the interesting resume. The band opened for Local H, which happened to be guitarist/vocalist Tyson Prince's childhood rock n'roll band, in Syracuse and opened for Grammy-nominated artist, Chris Trapper in fall 2010. The band was also featured in the PS3 and PC video game, Beat Hazard Ultra.
    The band's home base is Rochester, New York where they are very proud with their local music scene. "Rochester has a popular local music scene lurking beneath the surface. We have two popular radio stations, 90.5 WBER and 89.7 WITR that constantly plays local indie music. We have several clubs, including the BugJar, that constantly books national and local bands of all flavors." Although the band has a hard time fitting into the prominent genres in the area.
    "Instead of being left out, we use it as a strength. Dreams from Gin is flexible and it has allowed us to covertly play what would be considered "scene shows." We are angry enough to play with "hardcore" bands, fun enough to play with the punk bands and our pedal boards are large enough to play with the indie bands. It has allowed us to form a lot of relationships with a lot of different types of bands." Tyson Prince, guitarist/vocalist, and Travis Hafner, drummer, formed the band in October 2008 during college, but before they could start a band, they needed to find a practice space. The band found a legendary practice space, one that could go down in history as the coolest makeshift space.
    "We ended up renting a large abandoned gas station as a practice space. It was a pretty interesting time, we would have these incredible parties with dozens of musicians and spectators, passing around gear. It was a really creative place, we had art drawings on the wall and used the special of the wipe board to write lyrics. Soon enough, our bassist extrodonaire Christian came by and Dreams from Gin was born." Unfortunately, the band's space wouldn't last forever and after both landlords died, the gas station was taken by the bank and the band had to move on. Since forming, the band has replaced Travis with Nick Manka on the drums.
    The band has many influences and they feel that it reflects in their music. The band's tastes are extensive and range from grunge, Mclusky, Nirvana, Modest Mouse, to Folk, Fleet Foxes and Two Gallants, to Instrumental, Explosions in the Sky and Russian Circles, to Pop, Hooverphonic and Red Hot Chili Peppers." The band describes their music as "cynical, sometimes angry depressed, sometimes maybe even happy but mostly tongue in cheek."
    "I think we represent the duality and hypocritical nature of the human experience.  For better or worse we don't stick to a specific formula or genre.  As far as a message, some songs have a specific meaning and others just convey an emotion or feeling, most of the time it's both.  Occasionally, a chorus to a song is completely unrelated to the verse. I think it's like a little snippet of life, it doesn't always come at you in a neat little package with a easy translated message.  Sometimes your witnessing or contemplating something and then another issue or event comes up in the blink of an eye. Sometimes you get a Non-sequitur." Says Tyson.
    Recently, the band released a "hits" compilation album titled Rabbits Run in Prides. "It is free on our website and is a great starter to anyone interested in Dreams from Gin. I think it represents our best material and the diversity of our material. Songs range from the energetic and clever "Typewriter", the thoughtful and lyrical "Stoic" to the slightly strange anthem that is "Stereo Fire!"  It also includes our take on a pop hit "Mad about you."  The album's a strange beast, a duck billed platypus, weird to experience at first. Soon though, your addicted to the strange delicacy, and you just can't get it out of your head."
    The band is currently on a short hiatus, taking time off to work on an album's worth of new material. "We have about half a dozen songs written now.  The song writing process has been a lot of fun and the chemistry is right.  We all tend to be jokesters, laid back and little cynical, so the songs come together very easily.  I intend this album to have a slightly bigger budget than in the past, which means we can finally fit in everything we want.  We will most likely start performing again in December. Also, we really want to push Dreams from Gin to be involved in more media projects, video games, online movies, etc.  I think our music is perfect for it; we have a diverse catalog of songs and generally let anyone use our music for free.  The internet has given us a chance to reach fans all over the country (and world).  I really enjoy all of the fan mail or tributes we receive.  If we managed to scrounge enough funds we'd love to do a cross-country tour.  You never know what's in the card, we've come a long way from our humble beginnings in an abandoned gas station."

Thursday, November 3, 2011

We Are Tokyo

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    Inspired by the imagery of the late night cityscapes of Tokyo and the way the city just seems to be pushing it's boundaries, electro-pop duo We Are Tokyo incorporated the city into their name. "(The name) was memorable, flowed well when spoken and looked good written so it was a keeper." Says the Alex Fox, band vocalist, who also plays numerous instruments for the band, including synthesizer, bass, and guitar.
    Tom Wheeler, who plays drums and sings back-up vocals, praises the duo's local music scene in Bristol. "Bristol has always had a great music scene and we are glad to be associate with the city as it is the home of many big name artists. We always love playing in Bristol and get a good vibe every time! So we like to keep involved in the Bristol scene and culture."
(Photo: Simon P Cross)
    In the beginning, We Are Tokyo was just Alex in his bedroom creating music. He was able to get one of his songs played on BBC Radio Bristol Introducing where Tom heard the song. "I instantly felt a connection to the sound and what Alex was trying to achieve, so i got in touch with him via Myspace and went for an audition which was very successful and a few weeks later was in the studio being part of the making of our first EP 'Bright Lights'." Recalls  Tom.
    Since the band's 2009 EP, Bright Lights, the band has released several singles. The band's brand of electronicore fuses organic elements such as guitar and live drums with synths and samples to create their synth-focused electro-pop sound. The band takes influence from many electronic artists as well as artists like The Killers, Bloc Party, Depeche Mode, and David Bowie.
(Photo: Simon P Cross)
    It's easy to see that the band has garnered attention with their unique electronic rock fusion, as the band has been feature on several different media outlets. They have been featured as one of Radio 1's Best bands in Bristol, music blog site It's All Indie's Best New Act of 2010, and were semi-finalists in a contest held by Two Jacks In A Hole, an American poker podcast which got the band some exposure overseas.
    The band's latest single 'Magnetic', a synth and vocal driven song about the struggle of long distance relationships, was released along with a music video (here). So what's next for the band? "We plan to release more singles onto some independent labels and work our way to making a signed album, we have a lot of material in the pipeline which we are excited to get out to the public!" Says the band. Be sure to follow the band's updates on Twitter and Facebook!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Eversea

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    If you sift through the hardcore and pop-punk bands that make up the music in Boston, MA, you'll find indie rock band, The Eversea. The band came together in October 2010, just over a year ago, and have since released several singles, have been on the radio and are currently working on a 5-song EP which they hope to release in spring.
    The scene in Boston, again, is filled with all kinds of hardcore and pop-punk bands, making it difficult for bands of a different genre to get a foothold in the scene. "We try to play any show we can get and keep ourselves out in the scene with new material every time." Says the band.
    The 3-piece came together fairly easily, but after some trouble they decided to part ways with their original vocalist. Clay Taranto (lead guitar) and Aron Blye (drums) brought Joe Cook on board after seeing him perform at an open mic night at Bridgewater College, completing the band line-up.
    Each member of the band has different music taste, but collectively, the band is influenced by bands like Pearl Jam, The Goo Goo Dolls, and Foo Fighters. Using these influences, the band creates their indie alternative rock. "We try to take a little bit from every band we listen to and mix them into the songs we make. We try to have a distinct sound. Something you don’t hear too much from bands now a days."
    When the band plays a show, they try to keep it high energy. "We try to get the crowd involved, we really feed off the crowd and if they're having a good time, it really effects us positively on stage." The band has released several singles that they perform at their shows, but the band is currently working on their 5-song EP.
    You can keep your eyes peeled for the band's EP this spring. "We’ve been playing on a few radio stations and have been writing a lot, just trying to get the name out there and working on our EP!"

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Piece Of The Action

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    In the overwhelming music scene found in the Los Angeles/Hollywood area, you'll find a band at every corner. A Piece Of The Action is one of those bands. The metal band officailly formed in late 2009 after about a year's worth of jam sessions with different hopefuls.
    The oversaturated music scene in Los Angeles is where the band spends a lot of their time playing shows and practicing. When the band isn't fine-tuning their own skills, they're out supporting their favorite local bands. "We also do our best to help the scene grow into the monster it deserves to be by sharing events, cross promoting, and helping with member searches."
(Photo: Johnny Hirth)
    Since the band's first line-up in December 2009, the band has made several member changes due to members quitting for different reasons. It wasn't until Alfred Jasso (drums) joined the band in September 2011 that the latest line-up was complete. The current line-up consists of founding members, Adam Morales (vocals), Steve Castellanos (guitar), and the addition of Andy Olson (guitar) in September 2010, Dale Rosales (bass) in June 2011, and Alfred.
    In order to create the band's sound, which has been described as party metal/heavy metal, takes influence from bands like Lamb Of God, Deftones, Killswitch Engage, Between the Buried and Me, and Everytime I Die. Apart from the musical influences, the band takes from life experiences. "If there was a way to describe our sound it would be kinda like describing a feeling. When you hear our music its like energy rushing through your body. One song might make you want to kick someone in the throat, while another will help you get through a rough time in your life. If you could name a theme for our music it would be OUR LIFE translated into notes and rhythms."
(Photo: Johnny Hirth)
    The Skinny Magazine's Top 100 festival is a three day event that consists of several bands playing 9 stages located in one massive venue. "The first day was at The Queen Mary in Long Beach CA. Three floors of pure musical mayhem. We played the main stage and it was awesome. The crowd went crazy for us." The band was able to play the main stage on 2 of the 3 days, missing the 3rd day due to their tour schedule.
    The band's self-titled EP was officially released March 2010 and was made available worldwide in September. "It was a great experience to write it and an even greater experience to play for people. The sound of it could be described as symphonic metal." Now, the band is working on their follow-up EP, the currently untitled EP is pushing for an early January 2012 release date. "Our upcoming EP can be described as powerful, moving, angry, and life changing. Picture what the soundtack would be to the greatest battle in history and you'll have our new ep. What separates it from the last ep is its ability to show our growth as a band as well as our overall sound. Even though its heavier and more melodic then the last cd, you can still tell that its APOTA."
    Of course, the band will be working on new music and their upcoming EP, but what else does this over-the-top metal band have in store for us? "There are some shows that we will be playing before Christmas. We have a bunch of things in the works such as the upcoming cd, music video, new photos, and some new endorsements. We are also working on some tour dates for 2012 where we will be hitting states we havent been to yet. And if everything works out financially, we will be heading to Finland to do a 20 date tour with our good friends Neglected Fear.  While all these things are in the works/going on, we are hoping to reach a new level in the music world that no other band has."