Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?
Absolon: I would describe Absolon as being one part traditional heavy metal, one part symphonic metal and one part European metal. All put together, Absolon strives to give the listener something fresh and new, but with just enough familiarity that the music draws metal heads in with something they like.
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.
Absolon: I was born in North Carolina, but moved with my family to Los Angeles in sunny California when I was around three years old. I began my musical journey when I was seven, banging out notes on my grandmother’s old upright piano. When I was in my early teens, I was given an old beat up classical guitar and started teaching myself to play. And buddy, that was a rough guitar to play so, my fingers got real strong real fast. I started writing songs almost from the beginning and, as I got better on the guitar, the songs got a little better. Nothing out of this world, but it was a start. Eventually, my parents bought me an electric guitar and an amp. For me that’s when things started getting serious musically. Like a lot of young musicians in the 70’s, l played in garage bands and started honing my chops. Because no one wanted to take the front man duties, I was kind of forced into the role of singer, and boy was I bad in those early years. It wasn’t until I discovered Styx and Dennis DeYoung that I really started to work on my voice. It was at this time that I developed vibrato and started extending my range. I was getting better in the songwriting department too. Eventually, I joined my first professional band called Vital Signs. They were kind of like Journey. I also discovered, what would become my favorite and most influential band…Queensryche. When I first heard their four song EP, I was in awe of Geoff Tate, his tone and range, and began training my voice to sound like his. I found my voice. I’ve sounded similar to Tate ever since. I love the more operatic metal vocal style. In the early 80’s, after Vital Signs disbanded, I joined the metal band Malachia. There was quite a bit of success with that band and I began making a name for myself as a vocalist. In 1995, I moved to Florida and created the Turnpike Band, an alternative rock band. I experienced great success with Turnpike, releasing several well received albums, radio airplay and performing at venues like Hard Rock and a House of Blues. After six years of non stop gigging and recording, Turnpike hung it up. I took a much needed break from music for a while and, going back to my metal roots, I created the metal band Absolon in 2013. Absolon released its debut concept album in late 2013 to great acclaim and was often compared to Operation Mindcrime by Queensryche. We played a lot of shows and grew a pretty good sized fan base. I also performed in a band created by me and my wife called Firesphere which also did quite well.
PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?
Absolon: Clearly, Queensryche is my main and most major influence, both in vocals and songwriting. There’s also some Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and other European metal influences thrown in. I’d even say there’s some classic rock influences mingled in there too. I write about a lot of things, love, relationships, social issues, story based stuff. I enjoy writing tunes with lyrics that make the listener think. I don’t write songs about sex or glorifying drugs or unnecessary violence. I never have. And let I don’t cuss in my songs as well. I’ve never seen the need to cuss at my fans, either from a recording or the stage. LOL
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
Absolon: I think like most artists, I’d like to achieve some sort of real success. I mean, I can honestly say I’ve experienced success over the years. I’ve gotten to do a lot of things thousands of artists only dream of doing so, I’ve been very fortunate. Let’s see, growing a solid fan base, making enough money with it to pay bills and get a pizza once in awhile, being in a position to record and put out more albums and maybe playing live again in the future. I don’t care all that much about being a rock star or mega famous. I mean yeah, that’d be really cool and all, but it’s not my ultimate goal.
PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?
Absolon: There’s a number of them so, it’s hard to pin down the one, but I’d say playing to a crowd of cheering people at my first Hard Rock gig was definitely a stand out moment. That was a surreal blast.
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?
Absolon: Well, we’ve brought in Zach (Moonshine) Mounla of Devastation Metal PR to handle our promotions and so far, its proven to be a good move. In a very short time we’re seeing a lot of great things come from it. Of course, we have a website, Bandcamp and SoundCloud page, Facebook, etc. So, we’re getting Absolon out there.
PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?
Absolon: We’re not playing live right now. Maybe in the future.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?
Absolon: It’s just the way the industry is nowadays, right? Gone are the days where a band worked hard, honed their craft, got discovered by an A&R dude at some small club on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, got signed to a big label and put out a record hoping it took off. I actually miss those days. It was fun putting together promo packs and sending them out to every label we could find, getting those rejection notices, rehearsing nonstop, playing all those well known dive clubs hoping to get noticed. But I don’t have a problem with how things are done today. If anything, a band can do their own thing now without the middleman or record company getting in the way and still reach huge audiences. You don’t even have to play live anymore to make it. So, it has an advantage in a lot of ways that you just wouldn’t find in the old days.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
Absolon: There are three. Hotel California by the Eagles, Don’t Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult and Telephone Line by ELO. They are all just great well written songs that will be remembered forever. That’s the proof of a great song, will it be remembered decades from now.
PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?
Absolon: The record companies don’t put the time and work into an up and coming band. Most the music today is cookie cutter in quality anymore and the label is only looking for a hit. That’s as far as they go in developing a band. Can’t provide an immediate hit then, you’re history. You look at bands like Styx or Queen or Foreigner or Cheap Trick or Kiss or any number of the classic rock bands, the labels would take the time to develop the band. It could take three albums before they hit the one that rocketed them to stardom. But the label worked with them hoping for that eventual payoff. That doesn’t happen today.
PD: So, what are you working on at the moment?
Absolon: We just released the new Absolon album, A Portrait of Madness. It’s another intricate concept album. So, we’re working on promoting it.
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?
Absolon: At our official website riotduk.wixsite.com/absolonrocks
We will also be making physical copies (CD’s) available in the near future
Band/Artist location – Beardstown, Illinois
Website – Facebook – You Tube – Soundcloud – Bandcamp –
Twitter – Apple – Spotify – Deezer –
Check our page for Absolon