Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing vocalist Mike Leone of Columbus based metal act Arise The Titan. For those who haven't read my review of their album I have pasted the link at the bottom of this post. If crushing hardcore metal is something that brings a smile to your face then be sure to check out their new album.
Andy-Tell me how did Arise The Titan come about?
Mike-About 3 years ago our guitarist, Kyle, just started it up with a group of friends who wanted to play metal and bring something fresh to the Columbus scene. Over the years the lineup slowly formed into what it is today, with me being the most recent addition. When I joined the band in August I had a full CD of instrumentals to write to, got them done and recorded the album with the guys.
Andy-Somehow the name seems to really fit. Is there a story behind it?
Mike-Yes, actually there is! I was not personally around for the name selection, but when they were determining the name they wanted it to embody the thought of something huge coming from nothing (which is exactly what we’re trying to do by reaching as many people as possible with our music). The exact phrasing, however, was taken from a Robot Chicken episode. Once Kyle heard the quote ‘Arise, chicken, arise!’ he and his band mates at the time put that together with their original idea and Arise the Titan was born.
Andy-The usual question asked of all bands is what are your influences. Why break with tradition then. What makes the band tick?
Mike-With 5 members in the band all contributing to our music, this is a pretty broad question. All in all, we love metal in all of its various forms and just want to produce something fresh. In our music you can definitely hear bits and pieces of all sorts of metal sub genres, but as far as specific bands go, I’ll say that Bleeding Through/Unearth are very big influences. We like to mix our thrash with breakdowns, and those are some of the very best bands from the earlier days of metalcore that we’ve been able to look up to as we produce our own music. As a vocalist I can say that I’ve been influenced in many ways by many different bands, and I like to bring a bunch of different vocal styles to the table when I perform/record. Of these bands, I’d say that All Shall Perish has had a very big impact on me: their lyrics are passionate and emotional and the delivery is brought with a metric fuckton of power, which is along the same lines of what I like to do.
Andy-This is a similar question then. I caught the hardcore in ATT's sound. Is there a background in hardcore or is that just an interest?
Mike-There definitely is a background in hardcore/metalcore in ATT. Adam, one of our guitarists, and myself have both performed in smaller hardcore bands in the past, so we tend to be the driving force behind the hardcore sound in our band. Like I said earlier, I like to write my lyrics from the heart and deliver them with passion, which is a characteristic that I see in a lot of the good hardcore that’s out there. Hardcore is very much embedded in our background and is something that will continue to come in and out of our songs
Andy-Fill us in on the scene in your part of Ohio.
Mike-The central Ohio metal scene is, in my humble opinion, one of the fastest developing local metal scenes in the country. There are so many great but these are some of my favorites. Shores of Elysium are definitely the first band I’ll list: just go fucking listen to these guys, they are heavy as fuck and bring a great live show with them wherever they go. My other favorites from the area would definitely be Flawless Among the Fallen and Shall Be the Conqueror, each a very different take on progressive metal.
Andy-What bands have you shared the stage with?
Mike-Some notable bands that we’ve shared the stage with are Sylosis, Psychostick, Gwen Stacy, Mushroomhead, Bury Your Dead, God Forbid, For Today, Macawber and Reaping Asmodeia. In about a month we’ll be able to add the mighty Children of Bodom, Revocation and Threat Signal to that list: I couldn't’t be more pumped.
Andy-What bands would you like to play with?
Mike-In addition to Children of Bodom, who I’m incredibly excited to play for, I would absolutely love to play with Whitechapel, After the Burial, The Black Dahlia Murder, Born of Osiris, All Shall Perish, Arsonists Get All The Girls, Attila, Within the Ruins, Veil of Maya, The Ghost Inside, Stick to Your Guns, etc. I could list bands that I love all day, but I think that’s a good list for you.
Andy-Fill in the blank time. One thing people would be surprised to know about ATT is?
Mike- Our age spectrum! Our youngest member, Shane (drummer) is only 19 years old while the ‘[grand]father-figure’ of the band, Adam, is 29 years old. Adam graduated high school when Shane was only in second grade: who would have thought that they’d end up melting faces together later in life? The rest of us are pretty evenly spread out across that 10 year difference.
Andy-Favorite film you can never get enough of.
Mike-This is a very tough question, haha. I know you asked for one, but too bad, I’m giving you a small list! The LOTR trilogy (I’m a fan of the books first, don’t get me wrong, but the films are brilliant as well!), anything that Quentin Tarantino has touched (especially Four Rooms, Jackie Brown and Pulp Fiction), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind, and, er… Mrs. Doubtfire!
Andy-Last album you listened to?
Mike-This may come as a surprise, but the last album I listened to was The Spill Canvas’ Sunsets and Car Crashes. I have a softer side too! The last metal album I listened to was After the Burial’s Rareform.
Andy-Any favorite pit stories?
Mike- Haha, I have so many good pit stories it’d make your head spin! Mind you, moshing is a large part of how I got into heavy music in the first place, and is definitely my favorite pastime. One story worth mentioning is from all the way back in Warped Tour in ’08. It was a good day for moshing in general: I was going hard all day to the likes of All that Remains, Evergreen Terrace, Hit the Lights, A Skylit Drive, etc and in the afternoon I finally made my way into the Bring me the Horizon pit. The pit was absolutely fantastic: I started a wall of death at one point, there were circle pits aplenty and life was just good. At some point, though, someone’s skull collided with my knee. Now, this particular hit hurt a bit more than most, but I shrugged it off and kept going for the rest of the evening. When it came time to walk back to my car, I had a pretty significant limp as the adrenaline wore off, but I didn't think much of it. When we arrived, I had to physically lift my leg into my car, but still I thought I would just sleep it off and have a lot of bruises to deal with for a while. Wrong. We stopped at IHOP on the way home and once I got into the booth I could not move my leg at all. I had to have my friend carry me back into the car and then I (yes, my friends really made me fucking drive… they said they were ‘too tired’) drove 3 hours back home while the pain developed. I went to the ER to find that I had torn my knee all to hell and I spent the next couple months in a leg brace and going to physical therapy sessions.
Andy-What was the worst gig you ever played?
in the band at the time, but at some point they all played a show in Middletown, OH where they had to carry all of the gear up 4 flights of stairs during the summer only to play a show with basically nobody there (the local bands that showed didn't bring anybody out, and a few of them dropped off altogether). After playing the set for those who were there and dragging all of the gear back down, the club owner simply vanished as he went to go get the gas money that they were promised. So they drove down to Middletown, carried extremely heavy gear up and down 4 flights during extreme heat, only to play in front of just a few people and get stiffed for promised gas money.
Andy- That is really messed up. Tell me, if the world were really going to end in 2012 and you could play one last gig where would it be?
Mike-If we could only play one more gig this year, it would HAVE to be at download festival in the UK. I want to travel overseas so badly, and that is one of the biggest festivals offered in Europe during the summer. It would be amazing!
Andy-A major studio approaches you and says there is a soundtrack being put together and they want ATT to do some covers of punk songs. What songs would you choose?
Mike-I’m sure that the answer to this would vary greatly depending on who you asked within the band, but I would love to do a metal cover of some Blink 182 or New Found Glory songs, specifically "First Date" and "Head on Collision", respectively.
Andy-Other than these interview questions what is the weirdest thing anyone has ever asked the band?
Mike-We were asked recently on a radio interview who we would have play each of us if there were a movie made about Arise The Titan. I was home sick during the interview, unfortunately, and my band members decided that I would be best portrayed in cinema by Sandra Bullock. (I mean, we both have great hair, right? Or something… haha)
Andy-Where would you like to see the band this time next year?
Mike-I would like to see us sign with a great metal label, such as Sumerian, Prosthetic, etc, or at least a booking agency that works with some talented metal acts, like Pantheon. Even if neither of these things happens, though, you can certainly expect us to be on the road full time by this time next year. We’re getting our first taste of tour when we go out for 10 days in March, and I’m sure over the course of a year we’ll be going out more often and for longer periods of time.
Andy-How can people get a copy of the new album if they can't make it out to see you live?
Mike-Our Collective Destroyer will be available on iTunes and Amazon as of Friday, January 13th. If fans want a physical copy, they can send us a message on Facebook and we’ll ship it out to them.
Andy-Final thoughts? The Captain's log is all yours...
Mike-Wherever you may be, I hope that everybody does what they can to support local music and live music in general. Go to live shows, mosh your faces off, and show support to whatever music you like the best. Artists are allowed to succeed and do what they love to do (and what you love for them to do) because of the community that supports them. The metal community is an amazing group of people worldwide that, chances are if you’re reading this interview, YOU belong to. Take part in what makes us as a community amazing by going to see live shows in your area to support both the local bands you love as well as the touring bands that are trying to get heard Also, as a metalhead, I find that it always pays off to keep your eyes and ears open for new music: chances are that you’ll find something great that you did not even know was there.http://metalmark.blogspot.com/search?q=arise+the+titan-our+collective+destroyer