Jay Briscoe of IATT “When something is a way of life for you sacrifices are an easy choice”
Philadelphia, PA’s progressive blackened death metal unit, IATT (I Am The Trireme) have signed with Swedish extreme metal label Black Lion Records! IATT will be releasing their forthcoming label debut in Spring of 2019. The band’s most recent release, an EP entitled ‘St. Vitus Dance,’ was self financed and self released by the band in April 2018. Produced and mixed by IATT’s own Joe Cantamessa and featuring artwork from the band’s resident graphic designer Alec Pezzano, the EP was made available in digital format via their official bandcamp page with a limited run of physical copies available mostly at the band’s live performances throughout the East Coast.
How did you first get into music?
To be honest I always had a deep rooted interest in music. I remember at a young age rumbling through my fathers cassette tapes and discovering Prince’s Purple Rain tape. The cover and the music pulled me in.
Who or what turned you onto metal?
I had some friends/roommates in my freshman year of college that really embraced me and showed me what metal was. The aggressive nature of metal really spoke to me and I haven’t turned back since.
What got you started playing music and how old were you?
I started playing music in Fifth grade (10) I played trumpet in my school band. From there I played throughout my school age years. At 16 I joined the Baltimore Ravens (NFL team) marching band and played in the Super Bowl.
How did you become a vocalist/bass player?
I was originally the vocalist in IATT and Joe Cantamessa (lead guitarist for IATT) taught me guitar theory on Guitar. About three years ago the band decided that we wanted to move on from our former bassist and I decided that I would like to take on bass and lead vocal duties. I tried out for the position and they welcomed me with open arms.
Are you proficient in any other instruments?
I am proficient in Trumpet and Trombone but my days are now consumed with my IATT duties.
Have you always been creative?
Yes for as long as I can remember my creativity has always been a part of me. I would compose full songs in my head with or without an instrument. Playing in a Jazz/Ragtime improvisational band really helped me translate my creativity to an actual instrument.
What was the local scene like where you’re from, was there a particular band you aspired to be like, favorite local bands back then, favorite local bands now?
When I first started going to local shows Metalcore was at the height of its existence. I was never really big into Metalcore I was more into the European bands. The local scene in our area was centered around cliques. I would have to say back then A Life Once Lost/Left to Vanish were coming along. My favorite band was The Blessed there sound was straight out of Gothenburg. My favorite local band is Windfaerer.
How did I Am The Trireme come about?
I am the Trireme formed in 2008 when Alec Pezzano and I decided to part ways with the two guitarist that we were jamming with at the time. We took an Oath and pledged to each other that we would give our all and remain dedicated to the well oiled machine known as IATT.
Where did you develop the name? Where is it derived from? What other band names were considered?
Alec Pezzano holds the credit for coming up with the name. It derived from a college course that studied ancient war ships. A Trireme is an ancient Greek warship with multiple long oars that would ram and dismantle other ships with a battering ram. I came up with the name Samsara but we chose I am the Trireme.
How would you best describe your sound?
Our sound has changed over the years but the one thing that has remained the same was the aggressive fast pace and tempo. A few constants that hold true epic riffs and dark haunting undertones. With the help of Joe Cantamessa (Lead Guitarist) IATT has implemented a Progressive approach adopting odd time signatures and a slightly different approach to achieving our sonic goals.
Who living or dead is in your dream 4 piece super group?
I would have to say that my dream 4 piece super group is an odd match but it would consist of Mike Smith (Suffocation) on drums, Paul Gilbert (Mr Big), Stanley Clark (Return to Forever) on bass and Russell Allen (Symphony X) on Vocals.
What kind of gear is bringing us the I Am The Trireme sound?
The driving percussive force and freight train behind IATT would be a 5 piece PDP concept series drum kit and Trick Dominator Pedals. The mid range haunting melodies are tone driven by Fox Bat and Red stone pickups courtesy of The Guitarmory where Joe and Alec are endorsed artist. Each guitarist sport multiple amps but for the convenience of show ready rigs Alec and Joe use the Line 6 Pod HD Pro X and the Orange CR120. Each guitarist has a collection of axes but Joe has chosen his Strandberg Boden 6 string as his recent weapon of choice and Alec uses his trusty Chapman ML3 Pro. Holding down the low rumblings of the band I use a Ibanez SR 1006 Prestige equipped with custom Bartolini pickups and punishing the crowd with my Peavey VB2 all tube bass head.
Name the one album that epitomizes your style of death metal over all others?
I would have to say that The Somberlain by Dissection epitomizes my style of Death Metal. It has every ingredient that I enjoy from progressions to aggressive melodies and it is a time less masterpiece.
Top 5 albums or songs released in the last 12 months and/or all time?
Top 5 2018
- Obscura – Diluvium
Beyond Creation – Algorythm
Uada – Cult of a Dying Sun
Gorod – Aethra
The Breathing Process – Samsara
Honorable mention: Windfaerer – Alma
You’re on a desert island and only have three albums to listen to for the rest of your life, what are they and why?
If I was stuck on a desert island the three albums that I would listen to are Relayer by Yes, The Somberlain by Dissection and Scenes from a memory by Dream Theatre. I selected these three albums because they are some of my all time favorite albums.
What does metal mean to you?
To use the cliche term Metal is a way of life is an understatement. IATT is a very demanding and a time consuming entity but I wouldn’t have it any other way. We are a very self sufficient band so a lot of the video footage, audio production, booking and artwork design comes from the band itself. This can be very taxing so it is important to know our limits because we also have to focus on writing and executing our music.
Outside of IATT going to shows and supporting others is a must to stay relevant in the local scene. Making connections is a key to success and opening up and becoming more social has become vital for IATT to take the next step. When something is a way of life for you sacrifices are an easy choice.