Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
ARS: We like to present ourselves as an independent alternative metal trio from Luxembourg blending a broad range of influences such as jazz, blues and numerous forms of rock into an unpredictable mix fueled by the sound and attitude of modern metal.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
ARS: Ensuing me (TAP) playing the guitar for various groups, the urge to head into my own venture satisfying my personal visions and influences solidified 7 years ago. I founded the project alongside Mike Riedel (guitars) who was unfortunately left with no choice but to quit the undertaking. It took an entire 5 years to find the right allies investing the same amount of passion and work into the project for it to take off. Having auditioned various members and tried out different band constellations, I found the rawness and dynamics of a ‘power trio’ to just work for my compositions. At our first trio-rehearsal, something clicked, it just felt right. Then members Thierry Hames (bass), Pascal Benci (drums) and I agreed upon the only choice that felt right and took Atomic Rocket Seeders to the stage as a trio. The Luxembourgish scene took notice of our stage debut rather quick, only months later we championed two national competitions of which one crowned us Luxembourg’s most promising act and sent us to the infamous grounds of the Wacken Open Air festival in Germany to represent our country at the W:O:A Metal Battle. Shortly thereafter we had the immense pleasure to open the night for one of my personal favorites, Limp Bizkit, in front of an unbelievable audience. Ever since we focused on getting our debut release ready which will finally drop on October 30th! Notable mention: after us hitting the studio and finishing all recordings for our self-titled album, Bryan ‘Fox’ Houe has taken over on drums from Pascal Benci.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
ARS: From a musical standpoint, I (TAP) am influenced by a great many genres. I grew up listening to hard/prog rock from the late 60’s and 70’s, fusion jazz, rhythm and blues on top of many other things my dad used to spin. At the age of 13 I really started to appreciate heavier metal bands/genres. To name a few all across the board: Kansas, early Genesis and Deep Purple, Jamiroquai, Walter Trout Band, Queens of the Stone Age, Dream Theater, Incubus, Slipknot, Senri Kawaguchi, Attila, Soundgarden, Periphery, etc. All said influences affect me until this day and impact how I write music.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
ARS: Personally as in the context of the band I have a clear vision where I want things to go. After a whole lot of sacrifices and what would seem like utterly irrational career and existential choices to most people, I managed to build a platform with ARS to release my creative output at a level I always ached to achieve. In the process I gained so much insight about the music industry, which I finally intend to use to my advantage. I want to continue releasing entire albums even if the industry will push artists to release singles only and I want to kick some serious ass on the world’s stages, no matter how small. What we like doing most and consider as our strength, are live shows. We intend to share our drive with people from all over the globe and wont rest until we toured the furthest corners of the world.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
ARS: On this first album, both instrumentals and lyrics were of my (TAP) doing. Other members however do have their say in the writing process. I always cherish their opinions as they are wellversed musicians themselves and I am open to incorporate their ideas. Now that the writing phase for our sophomore album has begun, Thierry (bass) contributed the instrumentals to an entire song, which is going to appear on the next release so I am definitely happy for them to help proliferate the ARS catalogue. All of us have different backgrounds and divergent approaches to writing music. After all diversity is the backbone of ARS. As for lyrics, I put a lot of emphasis on their substance. I have strong opinions on today’s societal norms and tend to be skeptical of the moral values present in the global economy and our exploitation of the ecosystem. So whenever a basic day-to-day event or news headline triggers me so much I can’t help but to think this world has gone to shit, I write down a fictional story around that event. My favorite stories end up in our songs. That being said, I consider myself actually a pretty lucky guy. I am able to pursue my passions, have caring friends and enjoy many of the good things life whether some suits declare them legal or not. I am not burning away all of my energy wishing some greedy CEOs get to feel my wrath, so some of our songs are not quite as reflective and talk about a man’s simpler desires such as being given sloppy blowjobs and tripping out on drugs.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
ARS: So far we were very lucky to reap the benefits of the surprise effect we had as a straightaway professional sounding newcomer act and our strong ties within the local scene. Luxembourg has the particularity that our scene is so small, there is virtually no potential for you to grow beyond local dive bar gigs. This makes playing in front of an audience easily accessible at first but you will hit a plateau very quickly. (We have a saying over here, giving you an idea what size of gigs we talk about, if there are more people on stage than in front of it, it’s a gig.) If you are looking to play a lot of gigs, you have to go international early on in order not to overplay the severely limited local market and put yourself out of the race by appearing on too many bills, shying promoters away who argue you play too frequently and lose your appeal to attract crowds. This is where our geographical situation, being so close to the German, Belgian and French market becomes our biggest asset. The gateway into these markets if you have no connections nor reputation is an old, tested and true one. ‘Musical exchanges’. Contact bands from neighboring countries and offer them slots at a show in your country by recommending them to local promoters or if you don’t have the connections, organize a gig yourself. Put everything in your means into serious promo and try to get the attendance as high as possible, other than that just watch that the band feels comfortable during their stay and make sure the basics such as a hot meal, accommodation and musicians fee are cared for. Not only can you play at that gig yourself but also you can be sure you will get gigs in return in your invitee’s area or opening slots if they ever tour in your proximity. The best thing about small scene crowds is that the public is mostly made up of music connoisseurs, fellow musicians and people working actively in the music industry. So the chances you collect more useful contacts are very real. A new trend in Luxembourg are collective non-profits created by musicians themselves aiming to combine said contacts and facilitate the organization of ‘exchange gigs’ for the greater good of the scene. This is what we are currently working on to get out there and promote our gigs. Having a booker representing you is obviously way more effective but in order to get one to work for you, you need a certain sales value guaranteeing the booker a beneficial partnership. Your potential is being evaluated by your social media followers, youtube views and number of online streams in total and per region the booker works in. Since we do not have the numbers we have to work our way up to get them. It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock’n’roll some aussie band once said. To gain people’s attention online, we put a lot of effort in creating targeted ad campaigns on social media platforms as on youtube. Taking the time to carefully define our audience in our target regions rewarded us with tons of attention, which at times even surprised ourselves. The increase of new followers and interactions on posts felt very genuine and at no point like we bought some fake bot likes from obscure corners of the world. Other than the campaigns, we approached as many blogs and magazines to review our upcoming album to get a chance to be noticed by their many followers who would otherwise never hear of us.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
ARS: It’s 2020. The mp3 format has been around since 27 years, the creation of Napster dates 21 years back, various industry heavy weights have unsuccessfully tried to fight illegal downloading and today you can legally listen to virtually all the music in the world for a 10er a month. It became part of today’s culture and artists drastically limit their reach if they chose not to give away their intellectual property for free and since we’re in a phase of growth, we play along.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
ARS: I (Thierry – bass) wish I had written a song called Drive Home of Steven Wilson’s The Raven That Refused To Sing album. Steven Wilson is an artist consistently releasing music that is both highly enjoyable and technical at the same time, two qualities which do not always go hand in hand. I would just be immensely proud if that song was of my doing and if I were able to write such material.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
ARS: I hate bad grammar, traffic jams and losing at competitions, I’m what you would call a bad loser. Haha.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
ARS: Without a doubt hat has to be our gig at the Wacken Open Air Festival. It was not only the biggest audience I ever played for but the feeling of playing a festival of this size and reputation was an experience I will cherish the rest of my life. Their backstage and the many great people hanging around there were an undeniable bonus to the experience. Hopefully there will be many more to come for us.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
ARS: Currently we are working on an animated music video for a song of our debut album, a video taped live studio-session as a substitute for the lack of a release show and tour due to Covid restrictions and we began the writing process for album number two, starting over the entire process. I hope you’re looking forward to it as much as we are!
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
ARS: You can find three singles, a music video for Eternal Ashes, and a selection of live footage on youtube. The album is digitally avilable to stream and purchase on: Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, Deezer and Bandcamp. Physical copies and merch are available from our webstore: https://atomicrocketseeders.com/
Atomic Rocket Seeders links:
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