Wednesday, 5 September 2012


Is There any Concept to the EP?

Zach: Nope. Originally, back when we were first starting, and went by the name Aeviternity and had a different singer, we had plans to record a conceptual EP, which Vultures was supposed to be a part of. But, then Luka wrote his own lyrics, we re-wrote part of the song, and we scrapped that old idea pretty quickly.

Paul: There is no concept. There are way too many of those and Devin Townsend already created the greatest concept album with deconstruction.

Luka: Yes, it’s about a man who wakes up, and takes a giant poo that ends up dominating the world. Just kidding. There is no concept what so ever. All the songs were done independently of each other and were created through a long period of time.

How Did you form Wings Denied? What is your musical background?
Zach: I got my first guitar on my 13th birthday (a little over six years ago). I always listened to a lot of Rush, Yes, and King Crimson, and one day, a friend showed me Dream Theater and Opeth, which was pretty much my introduction to metal. I’m not a traditional metalhead, and never have been- I got into it through prog, and that’s pretty much still all I listen to. I started off with a band called Acrasia in my native North Carolina, which played BTBAM-esque prog metal (we’ve got an album on bandcamp if you’re curious), and opened for big-name acts like The Human Abstract, Animals as Leaders, Scale the Summit, Last Chance to Reason, and Intronaut. When I moved to DC, Acrasia broke up, and I wanted to start a new project right away. Turns out that Paul, my roommate, was into the same kind of music, and we started writing together, first calling our project Aeviternity, because we couldn’t think of anything else. Paul found Alec, and Alec found Luka, and the four of us went from there.

Paul: Wings Denied was formed from Aeviternity, a project Zach and I worked on for the first month as roommates. We started looking for members and I was referred to Alec by a buddy of mine, Jesse, who is another sick drummer and from there we started jamming a couple ideas and eventually Luka came aboard and completed us. As far as musical background I have been classically trained for about 15 years on violin, and not so classically trained on guitar for about 7 years.

Alec: Paul found me through my room mate. I played piano for a long time and drums for around 6 years.

Luka: I knew Alec from before (we lived across the hall from each other) and I told him I sing and he invited me to try out for his new band in the making. My musical background is jazz singing.

What made you want to play "Progressive" music such as "Djent"?
Zach: It’s what I’ve always listened to, simple as. My favorite bands are Porcupine Tree, Isis, Tesseract, Unexpect, and Between the Buried and Me, all bands that break the mold of traditional music in many ways, and I like doing the same. I actually see Wings Denied as a bit of a challenge, trying to tone down the crazy structures and passages I used to work with in Acrasia, and focus on groove-laden and melodic music, not stuff that’s just heavy or progressive for the sake of being heavy or progressive.

Paul: I play “progressive” heavy music because I enjoy the freedom it gives you as a musician. If you feel like the music calls for a major or jazzy section, you can include one, if you want a song with all clean vocals, you can have a whole album of clean vocals.

Alec: I like that progressive music is musically interesting and I like busy music.

Luka: I wasn't even aware of the existence of the djent movement (except Meshuggah and Tesseract) until I'd met the guys from the band. I was drawn in by the fact that I was able to experiment with my vocals and use primarily cleans and that’s why I personally like playing djent, although I am not a big fan of many djent bands.

Why did you decide to release the EP for free using sites such as bandcamp? Has it benefited the band by using the "Pay-as-You-Please" method?
Paul: We chose to release the EP for a free download because as music lovers, we know it is hard to get people to pay for music nowadays. When it comes down to it we play music because we love it not because of the money. We have had several donations and we greatly appreciate each one.

Zach: I’m with Paul on this. For one, we both know if we put it out for money, we’d lose a lot of potential listeners, or they’d just torrent it anyways. For two, we’re a small band from DC that nobody’s ever heard of (though we’re looking to change that!), so nobody would pay for our stuff anyways. For three, I personally think that “pay what you want” allows people to give what they can, and what they think the music deserves. We’ve had people pay $10 for our 3-song EP, and we’ve had people pay 50 cents. Out of something like 425 downloads, I think we’ve had like 20 that have paid anything at all. And we love all of you, regardless of whether you paid or not. Just so people know, the money goes to pay for things like shirts, gas when we play shows, and posters.

What do you think of the Progressive Metal/Djent scene , do you think there is more to come out of it?

Zach: I think that though it’s popular now, people have been playing music with sections or riffs similar to djent since the beginning of metal. I think that music naturally continues to progress, and incorporate new and exciting elements, and djent will do the same thing. I think it’ll still be around in 20 years, but the “purists” probably won’t call the new stuff djent anymore. And that’s totally fine.

Alec: I think djent is a phase just like all forms of music...but it doesn't matter really because we just play music that we like to play. It's about enjoying yourself.

Luka: I think the djent metal movement is fascinating due to its incredible boom but it has also peaked and is slowly losing its momentum in terms of musical creativity and freshness of the material produced. It very much reminds me of the metalcore movement that started with Killswitch's Alive or Just Breathing and then everyone tried to hop on to that train but the music kept getting more generic and now it is very hard to find good metalcore. I feel like same thing will happen with djent.

Any plans for a album? Will it be self produced again?
Zach: We’re not sure. We had two songs not on the EP that we were playing on tour as well, have another three which are nearly 100% finished, and another four which are works in progress. We’re looking into a full-length, but we’re also looking into doing a split or two, or maybe another EP. We’ll see. We only want to release our absolute best material.

Paul:  We have many crazy plans in the works with a lot of music coming your way. Let’s just say that. It will most likely be self produced again. ;)

Alec: No real plans for a full-length yet...maybe a split in the future, but we really want to ride Awake for a little while.

What equipment do you use?
Zach: A Schecter C-7 Plus for now, but I’ve ordered a Carvin DC 727, which will soon become my main guitar. I use a Pod X3 Live. We tune to Drop G# on a 7-string, except Maiden, which is in A# Standard, and a new song, which is Drop G# with the low string tuned to F#. Heavy as a particular Strapping Young Lad album.  

Paul: I use a Schecter Jeff Loomis signature guitar, and a Line 6 Pod X3 Rack, with a foot controller. Also, I can answer the production side of things. To make “Awake”, we used a tape recorder and held that up to a stereo blasting Periphery and Meshuggah and hit record. Next we converted it from tape to mp3 then back to vinyl then back to mp3 to ensure top grade audio. Then we took those samples and threw some midi into pretentious drummer 5. Then we got our singer Luka to sing into our Macbook speaker straight into Garageband. I mixed, and mastered in Audacity. Finally, after reviewing the tracks, we realized that it sounded like shit, so we went onto some underground russian djent forum and downloaded some bands first EP and re-released it as our own.

Alec: DW pedals, Ddrum kit, mix of MeinL, Zildjian, and Sabien Cymbals, Tama stands.

Luka: I use a voice. And live, I borrow a couple of Zach’s guitar pedals (Boss CH-2 Super Chorus, and DD-3 Digital Delay) for ambient shit.

What does this year hold for Wings Denied?
Zach: Hopefully some Taco Bell. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get Taco Bell near where we live in DC? It’s like a 30 minute metro ride. But seriously, at least one new release, most likely, a lot of local shows (we’ve got a few planned already), and possibly another tour next summer. Right now, we just want to get our name out there more.

Alec: This year we really want to branch out and increase our following...lots of shows and some new music!