How did you first get in to music? Who turned you onto rock/metal?
Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. It’s really all around us at all times and I just took a liking to it early on. I still have memories from my childhood of my mom playing albums from Jimi Hendrix and Tears For Fears around the house. As for who first turned me on to rock and metal… I had a cousin that used to babysit me when I was young. She used to play albums for me from White Zombie, Smashing Pumpkins, Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails. That was probably my very first introduction to rock and metal.
How did you become a drummer and are you proficient in any other instruments ?
I got my first drum set when I was 11. I don’t even remember any specific reason why I wanted to play drums… I just knew that’s what I wanted to do. However, I really hated mute pads on my kit as a kid and I lost interest pretty quickly with those on. Haha! I actually started playing and taking lessons when I was about 13.
I definitely am not proficient in any other instruments. I took a piano class for a year in high school and learned a little bit there. Over the years of being a musician and surrounding yourself with other musicians you start to learn some stuff about other instruments. So I can mimic some stuff on other instruments, but not actually play them proficiently. On the first Lunar EP I played bass on one of the tracks. I think I did a decent job, but nothing compared to what a pro like Ryan Price did on “Theogony.” I also wrote a fair amount of the guitar riffs on “Theogony,” but what I would be able to write would basically just convey the basic point of what I was trying to get across. Then Ryan Erwin would take what I showed him and make some subtle changes to it to make it more musically accurate. That’s about the closest I can get with other instruments.
What was your local scene like in the beginning, was there a particular band you aspired to be like, favorite local bands back then, favorite local bands now?
I grew up in a city called Modesto in Northern California. I remember when I was first really getting into the rock and metal scene, there was a really popular local band called Built. I went and saw them play at some little music hall in Modesto when I was about 11 I think. That was the first show I ever went to. I had such a fun time jumping in mosh pits and rocking out as a kid! Then after the show I met the vocalist and he autographed a poster for me. At the time i was blown away. This band was played often on the local rock radio station and I couldn’t believe I got to meet him and how nice he was to me. That stuck with me. I wouldn’t say there were any local bands in particular I aspired to be like. And, maybe it was just my childhood nievety, but I feel like the local scenes were much better and more active back then. As for now?… I think most of the local area bands I know are on labels, so I don’t know if you still consider that local level, but some of my favorites from the Northern California area are Alterbeast, Flub and Cyborg Octopus.
Has there been times when drugs and alcohol were beneficial to the band?
Unfortunately the answer is “definitely.” Haha! We’ve had our fair share of experiences with drugs throughout our lives. And I think a lot of those experiences made us the people we are today. They definitely affected our outlook on certain things in the world and I think a lot of that comes through, in the music writing and in the lyric writing.
How would you best describe your sound?
Progressive for sure. I think the sound is very diverse, spanning a lot of different genres and influences. I think people that dig acts like Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Tool and Haken will dig what we’ve put out.
What was the first music you bought and what have you bought more than once?
The first album I ever bought, if I remember correctly, was “Tragic Kingdom” by No Doubt. I think I got it around the time I was 7 or so. As for stuff I’ve bought more than once… every single Opeth album! haha! I have one of the biggest Opeth collections in the world. I have a ton of duplicates of promo copies and different limited edition vinyls and stuff like that.
Whats the biggest show you have played so far and do you still get nervous before a gig?
I haven’t had the opportunity to play and HUGE gigs yet, so all the bigger ones have been about the same in terms of crowd size, give or take. The biggest was probably with an old death metal band I was with and we played one date of the Summer Slaughter 2008 Tour. However, most of the people that were there weren’t watching us, cuz we were on a smaller stage at the same time a bigger band was playing. So the biggest crowd watching me, I think, was with that same band when we opened for Veil of Maya, Decrepit Birth and The Faceless. I think it was 2009. And yes, I still get nervous before gigs sometimes. Every gig is different and you never know what’s gonna happen, so it’s always a little bit nerve-racking.
Is commercial rock radio dead?
That’s a tough question. I’m inclined to say yes and if it’s not yet, it’s unfortunately moving that way. I think there are still people that will always enjoy and appreciate it, but with everyone’s personal playlists at their fingertips these days, I think it’s on it’s way out. But people often tell me CD’s are dead too and I’m never giving mine up. Haha!
Favorite songs on the new album and why?
I am honestly really pleased with how every single one of them turned out! Favorites would probably be “Euterpe” and “Urania” because I really like the arrangements and diversity to those tracks.
Out of all your songs which one touches you the most when you perform it?
Well, unfortunately, this is just a studio project, so we don’t do live performances. Hopefully that will change in the future though. However, I can say that “Euterpe” and “Melpomene” have that affect when I hear them, because they were written about very personal events in my life.
Are there any political or social issues hidden in Lunar songs?
Kind of, I suppose. There aren’t really songs or parts written about a specific crisis or incident, but there are some parts written more about blanketed social issues of the world and humanity from my perspective.
What was the process of putting the songs in order?
There wasn’t much of a process of choosing the order of the songs for the album. It was more something I just played through in my head in many different arrangements and tried to find the best way to make the entire album flow well from front to back. I wanted not just each song to be arranged well, but for the album to rise and fall at proper times for those listeners that will listen to the album from front to back.
What endorsements do you have and what endorsements do you still want?
I don’t actually have any full endorsements right now. I have what’s considered like an “Artist Pricing” deal with Tama and that’s great! They’re making me a brand new Star Bubinga kit right now and I can’t wait to get it!! I hope one day to get a full endorsement with them. I’d also love to endorse Zildjian cymbals and Pro Mark drum sticks someday.
Bands you would love to tour with and musician or artist you would like to meet and interrogate?
Tour with… Opeth, Steven Wilson, Haken, Tool. They’re probably the bands I admire most. As for meet and interrogate, Steven Wilson, without a doubt. I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting him, but I’d really like to. To me, he is probably the best, most diverse and hardest working musician on this planet. And not only that, but the times I’ve seen him live… the stuff he talks about in between songs is always just so fascinating to me. I would pay an admission price just to listen to him talk for an hour! I would absolutely love to sit down with him, discuss music, pick his brain… maybe jam with him! Somebody make sure Steven Wilson reads this interview and have him hit me up. Haha!
Song to be played at your funeral and 3 albums to take to your grave?
Song to be played at my funeral… probably “Postcard” by Steven Wilson. Anyone hears that song, there won’t be a dry eye in the house. That way my ghost can see everyone crying and pretend people actually miss me. Haha! Plus it’s always felt like a funeral song to me. I don’t know why. And then after that, as people are leaving, play “Together Forever” by Rick Astley.
3 albums I’d take to my grave… god damn, that’s hard to pick just 3… Let’s just call it 3 of my favorite albums as of now, assuming this question means if I died today. So that would probably be “Pale Communion” by Opeth, “The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)” by Steven Wilson and “The Mountain” by Haken.
Final thoughts, shout outs, dirty jokes?
Final thoughts… just simply a thank you to everyone for taking the time to read this, anyone who’s listened to the album and thanks to you guys at Capital Chaos TV for taking the time out to do this interview with me! And definitely a shout out to all my friends, family, fans, the musicians on the album and anyone that bought the album! Thank you for the support!
And let’s end with a classic Christmas dirty joke since the holidays are coming up… why does Santa have such a big sack?… Cuz he only comes once a year!