Friday, May 26, 2023

Writing Catchy Hooks and Melodies with Liz Mauritz of GOLD STEPS

In this episode of The Rock Metal Podcast, we're chatting with Liz Mauritz of the band Gold Steps about their new EP ‘That Ain't It’ out now via Revival Recordings.

During our chat we touch on a lot of great tips for musicians, such as how works on her songwriting skills, especially when it comes to writing catchy hooks and melodies.

'That Ain't It' was Produced and Recorded by Nick Thompson & Rick King.

The band Gold Steps is for fans of: Thief Club, Avril Lavigne, Chief State, Youth Fountain, Calling All Captains, Driveways.


Guest Resource

Gold Steps : Revival Recordings - Connect with Gold Steps!

Guest Music Video

3 Heavy Hitters

1. Balance work and play, making sure your relationships aren’t at risk because of the success of a venture.

2. Become a student of songwriting, always looking to improve your skills.

3. What are you trying to say when you’re writing a song? Keep asking, and then drilling down until the story sounds like a lyric.


Asher Media Relations: Doing PR for everything loud! For your band needs to be seen and heard in print, online and radio!  Let Asher know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Tue Madsen: Tue Madsen is responsible for producing, mixing, and mastering some of the best metal for over the last 20 years.  Let Tue know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Syndicol Music: A full service agency for musicians, offering record label services, marketing, branding, production and management.  Let Charlie know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Wormholedeath Records: WHD is a modern record label, publishing and film production company fit with global distribution, publishing and marketing using a roster of global partnerships. Let Carlo know The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Show Notes // Transcript

Jon Harris: All right, Liz, thank you so much for coming on. Go and say Hi to all of our beautiful listeners. 

Liz Mauritz: Hello, friends. I'm Liz from Gold Steps. 

Jon Harris: Liz, great to have you on - Gold Steps, absolutely freaking fantastic! I get serious Avril Lavigne vibes, and that was a compliment for you. So, so glad to hear that. 

Liz Mauritz: I'm glad to hear it, too. I'm glad that's an influence you heard. 

Jon Harris: Well, something that you'd mentioned actually, was Avril Lavigne was a serious influence. But first, let's dive into this record, That Ain't it, which was released via Revival Records - Revival Recordings, rather sorry, in 2022, late 2022. What was the greatest moment for you producing this record? 

Liz Mauritz: Probably finally checking a couple of boxes of things that I wanted to develop as an artist. Songwriting has been something I've done for many, many years. We had previously written our entire EPs. Like, our first two EPs were completely written by Zach and I and then our band members. I did all the lyrics and vocal melodies. And then we started working with producer Rick King and Nick Thompson, and our songs got better because we had Nick's influence. So all of That Ain't It is co written by Nick Thompson, and so you can hear a lot of his influence on those songs. We started writing parts of that record in 2018, and then as the pandemic hit, and then we were trying to finish this EP up, I was taking more time to sit with myself and come up with hooks and melodies on my own. I've always come up with lots of lyrics, melodies, and creating a catchy hook is where I struggled and where Nick helped kind of guide me spiritually in a lot of ways. And while of my favourite things about That Ain't It is that one box that was checked was I brought a song to them. And for probably the first time, they had only a few tweaks. But the majority of the verse and chorus melody is mine. Straight from the voice memo I recorded it that day. It was one of those moments where you're just in this fit of passion as you're writing, you're feeling something really strong and it just happened to come out really well. And then the second box we checked off was adding synthesizers and writing more of a sad pop song. So that was Gatsby on the record. And that was one I struggled with a lot at first because we knew what we were doing with it. That song probably took the longest to start and finish. But that song was cool because Nick, basically I sent him just like, a huge Google document like a huge Google file drive file of a million different snippets of lyrics and stuff. I had written journal entries just outpourings of whatever crap I was thinking in my head that day. And he took this weird letter thing that I had kind of written almost like an apology to my husband during a really downtime in our band history just not feeling things were going well. And he took that and crafted this beautiful melody for it. So he wrote the melody, sent it to me like the first verse and chorus. I wrote the second verse, I wrote the bridge. And then we finished it out. And in total Nick fashion, he's like, you can go higher on this. So let's just throw in a whole step key change at the end, when I was like, no, I'm already be at the top of my range. I think we're good, Nick. And he was like, now you can do it. We did it. Nick always pushes me in the best way. He takes everything to the next level because he's not afraid to push boundaries with himself. He's been doing this for a long time, so he's very big inspiration for me. 

Jon Harris: Very cool. So working with Nick Thompson, which we'll chat about a little bit later, or maybe even entirely throughout this, because I know when an artist works with a great producer, that tends to be, you know, a lot of what went into crafting the record, checking off those boxes, coming in with those voice memos and those Google docs just pouring your heart out. Gatsby took the longest to write and finish, adding synthesizers, making a sad pop song, putting in a key change, working on writing catchy hooks, being guided spiritually to write catchy hooks, so many very cool things that we have going on here. You said that writing catchy hooks was difficult for you and I know that's a bit of a lead in and it doesn't have to be this. We can always touch base back on that question. But what was the biggest challenge for you on this record? 

Liz Mauritz: Honestly, coming up with so we parted ways with Rick King during the middle of this record. So we had worked with him on a few of the songs that were singles that came out earlier in 2019. And then during the production of this record, he had to step away for personal reasons. And Rick was interesting to work with in a way because he was very much like, actually, the title of the record is a reference to stuff. He used to say that all the time. He'd be like, that ain't it. We would show him something, we'd be like, no, that ain't it. So it kind of got to be like a running joke where we would just kind of wait for that. We'd be like, oh, man, we're so stoked on this. Rick's going to fucking hate it. So that was kind of like a nod to that, turning that ain't it into something from being like, oh, man, we dread hearing it to being like, that ain't it is kind of more of like a mantra in life. Like, we're trying to put a positive spin on it. But the hardest thing was honestly bringing something that after taking a break for so long between those songs, you feel like you backslide a little bit. So we moved from Austin to Milwaukee as a random aside to throw in here. And so we rebuilt our band with different members. And so trying to find our groove again was really, really hard. And that's where I think a lot of this, like we were finding our sound together in this new foursome and then also trying to bring in the old way of writing. And you have to adapt when you bring new people into a project. And this was the first time that I think we sat and had our drummer and our basis there during the writing sessions. Before that, it had been me, Zach, Brick and Nick. So it was cool to have other people in the room. But getting to that point when we were actually finishing the songs was so difficult because you - you feel like you're hitting a wall and you're like, I have to finish this record. We've been sitting on these songs forever, but nothing I feel like is up to par. So that, I think, was the biggest struggle. It was a huge sigh of relief when the record was finally put out. And I felt like, okay, that chapter is done. And I felt like we left it on the right note that people expect that we're moving in a slightly different direction. So it was a little bit of a tease. There was some old gold step stuff that was reminiscent of our earlier days, and I felt like it left on that gap speed note of, okay, I feel like they're about to take a turn. And we are okay. 

Jon Harris: Lots of stuff going on here. That ain't it. We'll call it a Rickism. 

Liz Mauritz: A Rickism! 

Jon Harris: Yeah. That ain't it. Moving from Austin to Milwaukee, rebuilding the band, having a drummer and a bass player in the room. I've got a few follow up questions. 

Liz Mauritz: Sure. 

Jon Harris: First follow up question is, how did that change things for you, having additional people in the room to work with and I guess more specifically, what we would call the rhythm section. What was that like, having them in the room?

Liz Mauritz: Ah. For all intents and purposes, I think it was a net positive. Like, so bring one of the fears when you bring in too many cooks they like to call it, is that you're worried that because people are pulling everything in different directions, you just get nowhere with it. Luckily, we have band members who understand that the end result is to make the best song that we can with the material we have. It's not about, oh, well, the bass part isn't interesting enough, so I'm bored, so I hate this song. And that's sometimes where people get I mean, I have vocal lines where I'm, like, feel like, this is kind of too easy, and maybe that's not good. People will think I'm phoning it in when I'm not. It's just that's what's best for the song. And so once you take your ego out of a lot of that stuff, it's great. And having them there to see, like, this is the process. This is what we started with. We always start with some sort of hook idea or melody and build around that as the song transforms. Maybe we find room to do a sick little drum fill here, or maybe we find room to put in a cool solo or something. But we don't set out with that idea in mind of, like, okay, everybody's going to have to get their hell, yeah moment, because that's just not what music is about. Music is about a greater message contained within a three minute. Flop of mishmash instruments and singing, like, you're trying to get something greater across. And I completely empathize with the guys where they want to have stuff that's fun to play, too. And I think that's where a lot of bands get stuck is everybody wants to be the lead in a song and that's sometimes just not what works for the song. So having them there to listen and be like, oh, I totally see how if we were just jamming this out in the basement, I would put like, fills everywhere and then not even understand that I'm completely covering up this really intense, vulnerable lyric line. And so having them there to build the process was really great and it helped us so much more moving forward as we're writing on our own. We did have some moments where we were all sitting around the table trying to write lyrics for Petty and we were incredibly hungover. And there was like a point where we're all just sitting there throwing out words that rhyme with something else in one of the lyrics that we were literally writing word by word. These like, two lines, I think, in the second verse. And I want to say it was probably the most miserable hour of my life. Just being like, I can't think of anything right now, I just want to die. But it was great having them there because people were just pulling up dictionaries, like the sources on their phone and just throwing things out there and we kind of like, cobbled it together and then went back and refined it. But don't drink heavily before you have to write the next day. 

Jon Harris: No, no. Not unless, I guess, that's your jive. But no, definitely not. So that was very cool, what was, like, having the rhythm section of the room and you could potentially get nowhere with it, having too many cooks in the kitchen, but they were able to input things. And you mentioned something super important, that a fill is just a fill. It's not meant to be the song, it's a fill. And it's like some things I've learned over the years where you're just like, oh, right, like, a fill is to fill in a gap of space. And it's like musicians don't know that. They don't get that sometimes. 

Liz Mauritz: Yeah.

Jon Harris: So that's kind of a funny one, but nevertheless and then helping ideas for lyrics and bringing out dictionaries and just being an ultimate source of inspiration. And you mentioned lyrics, and I wanted to touch on that because the EPK that I got from Revival Recordings says this is a real life autobiographical record. And I've also got some quotes from you here. But I don't need to read your quotes, I've got you here. So what went into the themes on this record? It sounds like maybe it's been boiling for a while or talk to us about the themes on the record.

Liz Mauritz: So as I've gotten older, I've struggled with severe anxiety my whole life, which would lead to depression and stuff. And you can hear a lot of that on our older stuff. This almost like, why do I feel like this all the time? But there's also been themes of anger and stuff like that on this record. There was a lot of things like Stay The Same, for example, was written about friends of ours. We're in our late 20s talking about stuff. You kind of find yourself running into the same wall, and everybody's advice is, well, hey, don't do that again, right? So we had friends coming to us to vent about stuff, and we'd be like, wow, that sucks. I feel like you did that, like two months ago. Maybe don't do that again. Or maybe try this or that. And they'd be like, yeah, that's a great idea. You're right. You're absolutely right. Then they'd go up the next weekend and do the same thing, usually over a relationship kind of thing or drinking too much, whatever. But then I also realized a lot of the advice I was giving is also applicable to myself. Like, you run into your habits, and sometimes we're creatures of habit, we do the same things over and over again, and sometimes we're like, oh, I shouldn't have done that. And then, like, two weeks later, you're like, oh, didn't we just learn this? Hello, brain. What are we doing? And so Stay the Same is as much a reflection of how I feel about myself as it was about these other people. But the other people were initially the inspiration, and then all of a sudden you take a look retrospective and you're like, oh, man, I'm kind of an asshole sometimes too. I should work on changing that. Or maybe I'll do it again and write another song. Front Row was like, kind of a hot dis track to somebody who kind of was like the, hey, I love you and I support you, but I just can't be part of this anymore. I am out. And I'm like, oh, cool, I guess we don't need you anyway. And it was one of those, like, I'm always going to love and support you, and I'm always going to be right there front row for you. And it's like, actually, don't bother. Actually, I hope you're front row someday and you realize what you missed out on. Um, that's in there. Gatsby was about ironically putting our band before our relationship. Zach and I, our guitarists were married. We started Gold Steps together. And so we went through a point where all of a sudden we realized that our relationship and our marriage had taken a complete backseat to everything the band was doing. And I didn't realize how much I had pushed him away with my focus on my brain, just hyper focuses. And I had spent probably months straight of only going to work and doing band stuff and just completely neglected. We'd go out to eat, we'd go on dates, and it would just be all band talk all the time. It's not a good thing. We need to be able to separate things sometimes. But in another way, it's like my other half and we're so connected with this. But yeah, every song on the album is about a specific person or specific incident that sparked this idea for a song. One of my favourite songs that isn't getting a lot of plays on Spotify is a little pretty acoustic track that I wrote for my dad and. Because we are very close. I can't even listen to the song because it kind of makes me cry. But I wrote it for him because when I got married, I couldn't find a father daughter song that really spoke to me. We ended up dancing to a Frank Sinatra song and then Green Day's Good Riddance. Ironically. There you go. He took me to see Green Day when I was a kid. And then so I wrote this song and I was like, maybe this will speak to another girl my age who is close to her dad, who also introduced her to The Breakfast Club and taught her to find the right person in her life. And that it's okay to lose a relationship because what's important is what you learn from it and that sort of thing. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. So many sound bites here. And one of the things I kind of want to touch base on because we mentioned early on Avril Lavigne being an influence, I just wanted to touch base on that because the song Front Row, I hope you're there in the front row so you can see what you miss that screams Avril to me. That kind of like, screw you, f-you, look at me, watch me be successful kind of kind of attitude. And I wanted to follow up with saying writing tracks about other people like this. Did you approach that? Did you maybe talk to them and say, hey, I want to write a song about you, and they kind of got their okay. Did you just write it in kind of a vague ish kind of way? Like, how did you approach writing songs about other people? 

Liz Mauritz: I don't tell them. I don't think they need to know. If they think it's about them, maybe it'll make them reflect on themselves or if they have no clue, then that's probably good, too. I'm a huge fan of Taylor Swift, and I think that that's where I took a lot of that, like, hey, it's okay to write songs as therapy and get that frustration out. Better than having a screaming match with somebody or fighting with them. And a lot of the same things, they're applicable to multiple people. I think I've told three different people that stay the same wasn't about them. It was about somebody else, but in reality, it was kind of about all of them. Um, sorry I guess I kind of lied to you all because it's inspired by, like. You know, just a general, like, wow, I feel like this is really present in my life. People are constantly coming to me, crying on my shoulder, asking for advice. They want me to be a friend. And then somehow, two weeks later, we're standing around my kitchen counter crying into our beers again. Like, why? But I think told my dad I wrote a song about him, but I was like, it's a good song. It's not a mean, bad song. Hate you, dad. Nothing like that. But I don't think I've told anybody explicitly a song is about them. There is a song we play live that we haven't recorded yet, but we've been playing it for, like, two years, which is very specifically about an ex-boyfriend of mine. Um, and I hope he hears it someday.

Jon Harris: Very cool. Very cool. How would you define success at this stage of your career? 

Liz Mauritz: Like, what would I what what are our successes? Or what would constitute success to me? 

Jon Harris: Yeah. What would constitute success for you? I know you mentioned something spiritual earlier. I've gotten spiritual responses to this. I've gotten material responses to this. But at this stage of your career and with regard to this release, how would you define success? 

Liz Mauritz: I'd like to hit a million plays on one song. We've never been able to accomplish that. I think we're close to 200,000 on Stay the Same, which would be our most played song ever. We recently hit a million plays overall on Spotify, but I think success would be hitting a million on one song. I feel like that's attainable and could happen in the next couple of years. I would love to see our followers go up to, like, 10,000 on Instagram. I guess. I guess that's on a numerical sense, I think as far as success on a personal level and what it means intrinsically to me, I think writing more often where the producer says, that's great. Now let me build everything else around it, but they kind of leave the lyrics and vocal melodies to me because that means that I've grown enough as a songwriter that I don't need all these crazy edits that they're like, that's a banger. And we actually have a song like that that we just recorded out in Massachusetts with Alan Day from Four Years Strong. So this song I've been carrying around in my phone and showing to a very select few people, but I'm so excited about it, I'm not even going to front. I play this song all the time, all day, and I never get sick of it. And that's probably one of the I listen our own music, of course, after it's done, but I don't sit in my car and play that in it on repeat, even though every once in a while I'll be like, oh, we haven't played live in a while. I kind of miss this song. I haven't sang it in a while, and I'll listen to it. But this song is so everything I've wanted to make in a musical way for a while. And it's completely different from I mean, it's not like a country song or anything, but it's just very different in lyrical style, very different in vibe. It's very pop up, very sensual, kind of so it's a little bit different for us. And I think that's why I love it. It's a new baby. A new kind of baby for Gold Steps. 

Jon Harris: All right. A new kind of baby for Gold Steps. Something you mentioned was working with a producer where he says, that's great, let's build around that. But the core of it stays the same. Working with Nick Thompson. Kind of talk to us about that a bit more. What was that like? Or what were your favourite moments with working with him? 

Liz Mauritz: Nick is really great at pulling things out of you that you didn't know were there. Like, the first time I met him, I was a little nervous because he's the singer of one of my favourite bands of all time. I thought he was super cool. He's just a dork like the rest of us. A very cool dork, but a dork nonetheless. And we were sitting there and we had brought this song in that basically Under Attack turned into a totally different song. But he was sitting there and he was like, okay, so here's the lyrics. Here's kind of this melody you've shown me. What are you trying to say with this song? What's inside right now? What's fuelling this? And so we basically had a conversation. He was like, cool. How would you write that in a lyric? And then we would sit there and go line by line. And then as we were working together, I was getting a bigger feel for the song because of how he was kind of directing the conversation about it. So all of our songs when we've been working with Nick, when we went to a writing session, it basically was like starting from scratch and just kind of pulling these ideas and getting them out on paper. When we wrote Empty Space, it was the same thing. I was like, my grandfather passed away recently. It was really hard on my grandmother. Their relationship was inspiring to me, the kind of relationship I wanted to find in my life. And it hit me really hard because I had just gotten engaged when he passed away. So we sat there and wrote this song from the perspective of what it feels like to lose that other half of your life. And we just sat through and worked it out together. So writing with Nick, I almost prefer to write with him from scratch for that reason because he has a really great way a really great way of just making it a conversation, and then all of a sudden you realize you've written half a song together. So that's what I love about working with Nick. He's also really great at taking a melody that's kind of basic and adding these little pops of flavour to it, like, oh, let's shift this note. Jump up a little bit, or, let's kind of pull this back down. And he was really good at that. I think he's for some reason, we just connected really well. I felt like he knew me, and maybe he writes like that with everybody because he's just a really good songwriter. But that was my favourite part about working with him, is I felt like I could be completely open and vulnerable with him, and he never was, like, that's stupid. I mean, not that most producers would, but I can imagine some people out there that are like, you suck at this. Let me just take the reins on this. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, you call yourself a musician? Okay. Anyway, don't worry. We know what to do with you. Yeah, very cool. What's the number one thing you want people listening to do right now? Is that hit up your socials to increase those Instagram numbers, listen to the record. Where should they go? What should they do? What's the number one thing do you want listeners to do? 

Liz Mauritz: Number one thing, please go listen to the record and follow us on Spotify. If you're listening to a band regularly, just go ahead and follow them. It'll let you know when they've got new music coming out, when they update stuff, it looks really good. When it's not just streams, but it's actually people following because that means they care enough. They want to hear what's coming next. I guess that would be my number one thing a lot of people follow on Instagram, and I don't know if they even listen to our music. Maybe they just think we're silly. I don't know. 

Jon Harris: Well, that brings up really good point, and I'm glad that you mentioned it. There are so many tools for bands to connect with fans where you are intersecting, where they're listening to your music. So connecting with people on Spotify is super crucial. My own humble opinion, I'd rather spend time on Spotify connecting with fans who are listening to music than, I don't know, thinking we're doing silly stuff on Instagram. It's all silly to me anyway. But nevertheless, check out that record from Gold Steps. That Ain't it. Via Revival recordings. Go ahead and go to There you can go ahead and get the show notes for today music videos transcript, all the extra love and goodies. Thank you so much for coming on to The Rock Metal Podcast today, Liz. 

Liz Mauritz: Thanks for having me. 


Friday, May 19, 2023

Seeing Yourself As A Professional Musician with Ryan Brooks of SLEEP IN MOTION

In this episode of The Rock Metal Podcast, we're chatting with Ryan Brooks of the band Sleep In Motion about their new EP ‘Separate’ out now.

During our chat we touch on a lot of great tips for musicians, such as how Ryan sees himself as a professional musician, planning out the work 1-2 years in advance and constantly evolving his understanding of the music industry.

'Everlasting Ascendancy' was Produced, Recorded and Mixed by Ryan Brooks and Sleep In Motion; Mastered by Erik Miles at The Forum Recording Studios.

For fans of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alter Bridge.


Guest Resource

Sleep In Motion on Music Glue - Connect with Sleep In Motion!

Guest Music Video

3 Heavy Hitters

1. Choose what to spend the money on as a band, doing the rest of the services and creative processes in house.

2. Seeing yourself as a professional musician by working 1-2 years in advance, setting goals, knowing where you want to go to start setting the pieces in place.

3. Being vulnerable in the lyrics you write to connect with your audience, yourself, and even connecting with your band.


Asher Media Relations: Doing PR for everything loud! For your band needs to be seen and heard in print, online and radio!  Let Asher know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Tue Madsen: Tue Madsen is responsible for producing, mixing, and mastering some of the best metal for over the last 20 years.  Let Tue know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Syndicol Music: A full service agency for musicians, offering record label services, marketing, branding, production and management.  Let Charlie know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Wormholedeath Records: WHD is a modern record label, publishing and film production company fit with global distribution, publishing and marketing using a roster of global partnerships. Let Carlo know The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Show Notes // Transcript

Jon Harris: All right, Ryan, welcome and thank you so much for coming onto The Rock Metal Podcast today. Go ahead and say Hi to all of our beautiful listeners. 

Ryan Brooks: Hi, I'm Ryan Brooks, and I am the lead singer in the band Sleep In Motion from the UK. Thank you for having us - Me! 

Jon Harris: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I mean, everybody else is here in spirit, right? 

Ryan Brooks: Exactly. 

Jon Harris: Beautiful. Now, Ryan, what was the greatest moment for you producing this new record, this EP Separate? 

Ryan Brooks: Producing this EP, it was the fact that we got to do it all together. It was good for the aspect. We always record the drums in a studio, but we tend to do everything else, like kind of in house, so we'll do bass, guitars and vocals altogether and self produce it and mix ourselves, and then we just get it sent off to mastering. So it's kind of really fun that we all get to kind of do it together, and it gives us a lot more time and flexibility purely for the fact that it's just nice being able to control kind of all sides of it. And we're not on a time limit in a studio. It's all our own time. So if we want to record whenever, we can just plug in and go. So, yeah, it's kind of really nice to be able to do that all together and all sit around and do it. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, absolutely fun. You get to record and mix the record together. Not being on a time limit. There's no management, there's no A&R, there's no record company breathing down your back. But more specifically, you mentioned the studio time part of it not being on a time limit in the studio. Take us maybe a bit more through that. 

Ryan Brooks: Yeah, well, studio time, I mean. We could we could do it all within within a studio environment. But obviously, being a band that's not signed, it's a lot of money to be able to get these things and to be able to use professional studio equipment all the time. So we've kind of done it ourselves and got as much as we possibly can to record bass, drums, guitars, all at home. But drums, just like with the amount of microphones over drums, and you want to get that perfect studio sound. Yeah, you just need a good space and a good recording place for that. And luckily, we found one in Nottingham, which is our hometown. So, yeah, we managed to make it work. And the rest, like I say, is done all at home, just all recorded. That's the beauty of the 21st century nowadays, is that it can all be done kind of isolated. And we can do it away, we can take things away. It doesn't all have to be in one certain location, which is kind of great for us, that we can just kind of work on it apart and send it to each other and yeah, I just do like that. It's cool. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, work on it apart, send it to each other. The glory of the modern age. But more importantly, you mentioned doing what you can on your own as a band to save money, but then here you are recording the drums in a studio space because you said, well, they've got the acoustics, they've got the microphones, they've got the preamps. In order for us to do that, it's just not possible. So it's choosing what to spend the money on, which is super smart. Now, Ryan, what was the biggest challenge for you on this record? 

Ryan Brooks: I live further away from the other two guys. So I kind of live about 3 hours away from from them. So we're not exactly in the same location, so we can't always be together. But I also think it kind of works as a positive in the way that we're not with each other all the time, so we really make the most of the time that we're together. And it's very productive. So when I go up the country, I live in Devon, which is near Cornwall, and then they're really Midlands based, like, they're in centre of England, and that's where I'm from originally. So, yeah, when I go up there, it's really good because we kind of have like two, three solid days, and it is all just music. We have a few beers at night, but it's really focused on the music, whereas if we're with each other all day, we might not as be productive. So I think it works in our favour in a way that when I come up or they come down to me, it works really well. 

Jon Harris: Okay, very cool. Now, one of my questions I was going to ask, as you said, well, we live really far away from each other. I said, okay, there might be some bands listening in or musicians listening into the podcast right now who have a similar sort of scenario or story. And you kind of already mentioned it, but how do you overcome that challenge? Or what have you learned from that challenge going further into the work? Like, for example, you mentioned you guys are recording a full album right now. How did you learn from that in recording the EP? 

Ryan Brooks: I think it's really important to obviously stay in touch. It's great for planning. It's about being structured, and we're kind of taking it now as we're professionals of it. We try and be professional was we try and put things in place so that it's structured so we know when things are going to happen. So we're working kind of to I mean, we know now what's going to happen in January, February, next year. So we work in like a year advance. And I think that's really important for any band is to kind of get a plan in place of where you want to be and where you want to move to. That's kind of my biggest advice, really. And if you want it to work, then you've got to do everything you can do to make it work. And sometimes it is long drives and long places, but if you can't do the long drives now, then you're not going to be doing many long drives on tour. So from the tours that we've done and from the tours that we've done in previous bands, we know how kind of gruelling that life is, so we're kind of used to it as well. We've had a long time in the industry, like I say, all being in previous touring bands, so we kind of know the industry and we know what it takes to be it and you've kind of got to stick at it and keep going with it. We're lucky that our country only takes 10 hours from top to bottom, whereas you guys, that's one state sometimes, isn't it? So we can't complain, really. We can't complain at all. It's not too far. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. Well, I'm in Canada, baby, but definitely a similar story. It takes a very long time to go from one province to the next, especially in Western Canada. So if I've got any company, raise your hand. But, yeah, understanding the industry, understanding the group. If you're not going to survive a small tour trip or a small van trip on the small scale as a band, you're probably not going to be able to do it on the large scale. But also seeing yourself as a professional musician and working one to two years in advance, setting those goals, know where you want to go, setting up those pieces in advance. I mean, super heavy hitter right there. But Ryan, what are some of the themes on this record? I read in the EPK something about getting some things off of your chest? 

Ryan Brooks: Yeah, I think in the kind of situation and the current state that we're in now, I think it's kind of fair enough that most people in the UK are pretty angry at the minute, certain things that are going on. I mean, we try and stay away from politics. What I do for right. Brighton lyrics, this is more kind of personal things, I think, this EP. I feel like I had to get some of these things off my chest and yeah, I'm glad I did, because now it is like a therapy kind of thing and once it's out, it's out. And I kind of like the fact as well that I don't really talk too much about vocals. I like kind of hearing people's interpretations on what them songs mean to other people. That's really cool. And it's just really nice to hear what other people think of the music rather than kind of giving what it's about, because I think that the amount of songs that I listen to and they have a meaning to me. But then you hear the other guys say other bands saying, oh, well, I actually wrote it about this, and it's nothing to what you kind of think it is. And I really like that about music is that you interpret it to what your feelings and how you see. What you're seeing at that time in your life. And I think you always kind of remember that once you hear a song and if it sticks with you, you kind of remember the feeling you felt when you first heard it. 

Jon Harris: I definitely hear what you're saying there. Trying to save you from politics, getting personal, getting things off your chest, using it to be cathartic and therapeutic. And you mentioned it was good for you. Was that difficult? To get personal and to get vulnerable? Take us through the stage, I guess, from making the decision to do so unless you already had years ago sort of thing and what that feeling of release was like because I think that would be very important for everyone listening in right now. 

Ryan Brooks: Yeah, I think it's a really good way. I try and put it all out and kind of leave it on the paper, as the saying goes. And then I feel like it's a relief for me to get it off my chest. It's a nice feeling for me to be able to just open up and some of the lyrics are very kind of a lyric within a lyric, if you know what I kind of mean by that. But for me, I find it such a therapeutic kind of getaway and it's just nice to kind of get it out. And once it's out, it's out. And I love the fact that people can like I said, people can interpret it. But yeah, got specific meanings to me and I feel very proud. And I spend a lot of time going over the lyrics before they're exactly how I want them to be. But then sometimes I'll go over them for a long, long time, and then sometimes it's the first draft that goes through. So it's like it is such a mix and match of kind of how I work. There's not really one kind of set way that I go about this, especially, like I said, with the new record as well, that's very much the same. Some of the lyrics are very kind of like, straight away, they're, there, done. Let's record them. And some of them I'm working on now, and I'm kind of thinking, no, I don't like that. I don't like that, and just changing them constantly. So, yeah, I think for me, it's very important to say how you feel, and I find it very therapeutic and nice to get it off my chest. Yeah, it's kind of a hard question, actually. 

Jon Harris: Wow, okay, well, cool. I mean, I think you did a good job of answering said question because. I've heard it before in a couple of different ways. Then if you get vulnerable, you're able to connect with more people. But that's a difficult transition for a lot of artists to make, because I think in the beginnings, maybe we're young or just naive or whatever, it's like, well, I can hide behind this guitar, or I can hide behind these vocals. And then people are like, It's a good song, but there's something I'm not getting, and I can't put my finger on it. And it's the connection. There's a lack of connection to sit there and have your band go, Whoa, you went through that. 

Ryan Brooks: Yeah, it changes everything. I find the scariest kind of thing is when you first obviously, the other two guys are my best friends in the world, and when I first send them a song or something like that, I kind of get this initial to them. There's a huge stigma around mental health, isn't it, at the minute, and people not talking. And all of all three of us together try and be as very open and honest about everything like that as we possibly can and possibly feel, because that's so important. And I feel like we send these songs to each other and we can tell how each other feel. And I think, yeah, like I said, it's very much a therapeutic process to write the songs and to send them to them. I really appreciate the guys when they come back and say they like the meaning of the song and they understand it and they understand why I've wrote it. So, yeah, definitely, I tell the guys everything and then it kind of comes out in the songs. So they get it, they hear it, and, like you say, they kind to take a step back and be like, oh, that's how you feel. But, yeah, it's cool. It is a cool process. 

Jon Harris: It is a cool process and that is how you feel, baby. But yeah, being vulnerable in the lyrics, connecting with your audience, connecting with yourself, even connecting with your band. How would you define success at this stage of your career? It could be with regard to this release, it could be up to this point. You mentioned having some what's the word I was going to looking for here some time already in the industry. So how would you define success at this stage of your career, Ryan?

Ryan Brooks: I find success in what you make of it. I feel all for me, my success is if we write a good song and we're all happy with it and we all appreciate that. That's kind of my success. I don't seem to measure success on the gigs we play. I always find it within. So how we're feeling altogether as humans? If we're all happy with a direction that we're going in, we're all happy in the studio, we're all happy at practice, or we're all happy just altogether, then to me that's success. And we're successfully being a band that's functional and that are capable of doing things from previous experiences in bands that I've been in, we played great gigs and we played amazing things, what looked great, but behind the scenes, like, there wasn't a nice environment. It just wasn't a nice place to be. And so I think it's so important that there's harmony within the group. And I think once there's harmony and once there's friendship involved, then I think if it's a solid foundation, then you can only build on that. And I feel like once the success is there and being successful within each other and as people, then I think you can only build on top of that, if that makes sense. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, I'm reminded of the proverb something like, who needs a great meal in a house of strife? Something like that. 

Ryan Brooks: Yeah, absolutely. 

Jon Harris: Very cool. Did you work with anybody notable on this record? I mean, you mentioned kind of recording it all together. Who did the mastering? What was that like? Did anybody else do the mixing? 

Ryan Brooks: No, the mixing was done all kind of by us. We all sat together and did it. We sent it to Forum Recording Studios, and there's a guy there called Erik Miles who is the guy who mastered both of the EPs that came out. And he's a great guy. And he's worked alongside a band called Slaves, if you've heard of them over there. They've just changed their name, but I can't actually remember what they changed the name to, but yeah, that was a great place. And we played that venue, actually. We got to know him with one of the other bands that me and Alex were both playing in. And he was telling us loads of stories about people who played there in the past, and he told us that the owner once had Oasis play there, and they played to, like, ten people, and they were actually a support band for something else. And apparently they wouldn't serve Liam a drink because he was already really drunk or something. And then he said to the owner of the Forum in Tunbridge Wells in England, and he said, I'm going to come back and I'm going to buy this place. That's what he said. He's going to get famous and I'm going to buy this place. I don't think he ever bought it, but he got famous, so half of it was right there. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, he was right about something. 

Ryan Brooks: Yeah. You get cool stories when you go around these venues that have been there for a long, long time. 

Jon Harris: You yeah. Wow. What a wonderwall.

Ryan Brooks: Ha, yeah. 

Jon Harris: Beautiful. What's the number one thing you want people listening right now to the podcast to do? And this could be your chance to do a shameless plug. It could be a chance to do something, give a spiritual message. I've had both.

Ryan Brooks: I want everybody to go and follow us on Instagram and Facebook. That'd be great if you could do that. We'd love to get you on the Socials. And it is SleepInMotionOfficial. And there's links to Spotify, Apple Music. We're going to be dropping a music video soon and then we're also building up to the album release in November. So hopefully you're all going to enjoy that. Yeah, it's something heavier, it's something darker. Plenty of feelings involved, plenty of anger. And yeah, if you're into that kind of stuff, then you'll find it there at Sleep In Motion Official. 

Jon Harris: Okay, beautiful. All right, so everybody go to Instagram and Facebook. Actually, go ahead and go to I'll have all the show notes for today's episode where we can go ahead and have all of those links at the ready so that you can connect with Sleep in Motion. And we do have just enough time, if it's cool. You mentioned the Debut LP. The long play. The full album is going to be coming out in November. We've been chatting about it here a bit. Drop C bass player has got a five string, which actually goes down to B.

Ryan Brooks: Yeah. 

Jon Harris: So we can do some dissident notes here. It's a darker sound. You mentioned a little more polished, maybe a little more slick, maybe some synths in there, but something heavier, something darker, maybe take a minute to pour out. What should we expect from this record? 

Ryan Brooks: Yeah, so it's going to be a full length album. We're really excited. We're kind of writing it and recording it at the same time, which is really cool. It's a nice process to be going through because it's fresh, so we're not sitting on tracks for a long time and we're not second guessing them, we're recording them back, getting the drums done, going into recording while we're also writing the song. So I'd say we're probably 75% to 80% of it written and also 40% of it is recorded and kind of done and being passed on to mixing. But, yeah, so this time we're going to be getting it mixed out of our hands, which is kind of nice in a way, because with me, I do find it quite hard to let go of it. I just want everything. But I think it's really important. What we learn from the EP is to let other people hear it, let other people feel it, and let their interpretations of what we should sound like on an LP kind of come back to us. So it's nice. It's nice to be working with other people. So we're just looking at a few different people who are mixing at the minute and looking for people who are going to get to Master. So, yeah, it's a really interesting time for us. Really happy. We've got the tour for November and December as well in the UK to cover the album and then maybe one day in the US. That'd be nice, wouldn't it? In the US. And Canada. I'd like that. That'd be cool. 

Jon Harris: It sure would, baby. You can do the Canadian tour, which is Toronto. 

Ryan Brooks: Yeah.

Jon Harris: I imagine the same thing sort of happens maybe in England. Like, the English tour is London, and then maybe one or two other cities. 

Ryan Brooks: Yeah, that's kind of like you see bands coming over from the US. It's kind of the one or two places, like, with the Chili's gigs, when they get that kind of situation. And to that level, it's Manchester, maybe Birmingham, and then kind of one in London. And that's all you get, really. So, yeah, it's kind of shocking when you see bands actually come into, like, Nottingham and places like that. So, yeah, you kind of take the blessings on that one. Really beautiful. 

Jon Harris: All right, well, Ryan, thank you so much for coming on to The Rock Metal Podcast today. 

Ryan Brooks: Thank you very much for having us. It's really nice to speak to you guys and hopefully we'll catch up when the album comes out. For sure.  


Friday, May 12, 2023

Never Let Anyone Tell You Who You Are with Ric Galvez of MALICE DIVINE

In this episode of The Rock Metal Podcast, we're chatting with Ric Galvez of the band Malice Divine about their new album ‘Everlasting Ascendancy’ out now.

During our chat we touch on a lot of great tips for musicians, such as how Ric kept his mental fortitude while working on the project, and never letting anyone tell him who he is as a person.

'Everlasting Ascendancy' was Produced and Recorded by Ric Galvez; Mixed by Tyler Williams (Sludgehammer, Monolithic Productions); Mastered by Jaime King (Between the Buried and Me, The Contortionist, Scale The Summit).

For fans of Dissection, Immortal, Watain, Thulcandra, Skeletonwitch


Guest Resource - Connect with Malice Divine!

Guest Music Video

3 Heavy Hitters

1. Set up your work in clear step-by-step moves to always know where to go next to complete your goals

2. No matter how hard the obstacles, always continue moving forward - a quitter never wins, a winner never quits.

3. Test out multiple guitars to find which guitars fit properly in the mix, you might be surprised, and the mix engineers job will be much easier


Asher Media Relations: Doing PR for everything loud! For your band needs to be seen and heard in print, online and radio!  Let Asher know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Tue Madsen: Tue Madsen is responsible for producing, mixing, and mastering some of the best metal for over the last 20 years.  Let Tue know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Syndicol Music: A full service agency for musicians, offering record label services, marketing, branding, production and management.  Let Charlie know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Wormholedeath Records: WHD is a modern record label, publishing and film production company fit with global distribution, publishing and marketing using a roster of global partnerships. Let Carlo know The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Show Notes // Transcript

Jon Harris: Rick, thank you so much for coming on to The Rock Metal Podcast today. Go ahead and say Hi to all of our beautiful listeners. 

Ric Galvez: Hey, guys. Rick from Malice Divine here. 

Jon Harris: Beautiful. Great to have you on, my good man. So we've got this full album, second album, sophomore album coming out 'Everlasting Ascendancy' that came out in January 2023 for fans of Dissection, Immortal, Watain, Thulcandra, Skeletonwitch. 

Ric Galvez: Damn straight. 

Jon Harris: Damn straight, buddy. 

Ric Galvez: Yeah.

Jon Harris: What was the greatest moment for you producing this record? 

Ric Galvez: I think just having it done and ready to go. Just, like, having it fully mixed and mastered, because it was definitely quite a bit of a challenge to get enough funds to get all of that done. So when it was officially finished, it was definitely a huge relief and definitely a very proud moment for me. 

Jon Harris: Mm-hmm, yeah, you can go back to eating, like, name brand mac and cheese.

Ric Galvez: Haha, instead of No Name.

Jon Harris: Instead of no Name, and you're just like, oh, there can't be a difference between these two different boxed mac and cheeses until you have to go there. 

Ric Galvez: Yeah, exactly. 

Jon Harris: You mentioned a challenge was to get funds to get the whole thing done. Was that the biggest challenge for you on this record? And if so, what did you learn from that? Especially if somebody listening in is also a one man project. 

Ric Galvez: It's hard to say if that was the biggest challenge. Actually, you know, I think it was like some of the parts to record were also pretty challenging as well, because I'd say overall, this record is a bit more technically demanding than the first one, so that was pretty challenging, too. But, yeah, just saving up enough money to pay for the tracking and mixing and mastering. And then also I hired Dylan Gowan again to handle the session drums, so I had to pay him for his session drumming Evan Austin's artwork, too. So, yeah, there was definitely a lot to cover. So I'd say I think that was probably the biggest challenge. But what I definitely learned from that is no matter how big the obstacles I face, as long as I keep plowing through it, I keep going. Eventually it works out and I accomplish my goals.

Jon Harris: Well, that's a powerful thing that you said. You said never quit. What is that saying? A quitter never wins and a winner never quits. 

Ric Galvez: Yeah. Exactly. 

Jon Harris: What was it that kept you going? Was it just the fact that you named a lot of things that were step by step? Okay, we've got to get the tracking done. I know what's required there. We need to get the session drums done, which should be part of tracking. We know what to do there. I need to get the mixing done. We know what needs to happen there. Was it because it was so clear, the steps of what needed to happen? 

Ric Galvez: Oh, yeah. The steps were very clear in my mind of, like, what needs to be done. Obviously, there was co-ordinating mixing and mastering, but after that, I knew how to get the artwork done and then I had to get merch printed and then reach up to PR. So it was definitely a very clear step by step process in my mind, which definitely helped me push through. Definitely. So as long as you have a clear vision in mind of where you're going through it and what the steps are, it definitely will help pushing through all the challenges that come about. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, setting up clear steps to achieve your goal, because it's 1,000 steps or something or journey of 1,000 steps. You got to know what them steps are, baby.

Ric Galvez: Yeah, it's definitely a lot, but accomplished. 

Jon Harris: Very cool. Who did the mixing and mastering?

Ric Galvez: For the mixing, I got Tyler Williams again. He also engineered the album, too, so he was there for tracking. As for the mastering, this time around, I got Jamie King to do the mastering. 

Jon Harris: Cool. Rick, something you mentioned was this was a more technically demanding record. Did that just happen, or was that a conscious effort when you were planning the sophomore release? 

Ric Galvez: It definitely just happened as far as what I was writing for the second album. So maybe a little bit intentionally, but I think it's more so just naturally, as you gain more experience playing guitar, you actually get better, obviously. So I think that's something that really happened naturally for me. It's like just writing more difficult. Yeah. Overall, I think it was more of a natural progression, for sure. 

Jon Harris: Okay. Very cool. And you also mentioned something that trips a lot of people out the P word. If you practice, you get better. 

Ric Galvez: Yeah, practice. Can't say how important that is. Very important. I remember even when I was getting ready to track this album. I didn't really have much of a social life at all. Just stayed home, just fucking practice pretty much all the time I started working. 

Jon Harris: Well, I mean, we could bust out all the one man black metal band jokes if you want. What jokes? Just I'm kidding. I'm kidding, Ric. I'm kidding. Well, something that you mentioned or not that you mentioned, but something came up in the EPK was a music degree from York University. Because one of the things I noticed about the album speaking of one man band black metal jokes, it usually sounds like one guy in his basement. And it's hard to describe what that means, but I'm sure you understand. This, however, did not sound like one guy in his basement. It sounded very musical. It sounded like a top quality production. 

Ric Galvez: Yeah.

Jon Harris: I guess as far as you're allowed to with black metal before it becomes uncool. Did that music degree from York University assist you? I imagine you did jazz or something as opposed to black metal or are they teaching black metal now? 

Ric Galvez: I wish they taught black metal at York. Well, actually at York I did a lot of classical guitar. So I think as far as how that in my music of Malice Divine because in Malice Divine I do do some classical guitar sections on this album. Four out of the eight songs had a classical guitar and then. Then on the first album, five of a nine at Classical Guitar. So it really helped to incorporate a lot of classical guitar technique into my music. And then aside from that, I think for us, I take definitely some music theory concepts that I learned along the way that creeped into my songwriting. It I say those are the main reasons how it assisted my songwriting. 

Jon Harris: I overheard the music theory creeping into my songwriting, which sounds like it should. That seems like a natural thing. Instead of spending your time thinking about which chord should come next, you just know because, you know, the music theory or what scales would work over this chord progression. Well, you know, because, you know, music theory. Is that something maybe you're self conscious about? Because I know that there might be some musicians listening in who are on that fence. Do I really need to know music theory? Oh, no. You had music theory creep into your songwriting. Maybe just address that. 

Ric Galvez: Yeah, I think music theory is an excellent thing to learn, I think at this point, since I've become so familiar with it for so long now, pretty much a lot that I know about it does creep into my song running subconsciously at this point. So I think that's a really good way to go about it. If you can get familiar enough of it so that you don't have to think too much consciously about it. You can kind of just play around with different concepts and stuff like that and try different things, because that way you can be very creative with it and you don't have to be stuck in a box of it. Because I think a pretty common misconception that people have about music theory is that it's limiting or about it's like a bunch of rules you have to follow. I know that's not true at all. It's essentially guidelines and you can play around with it. You can mix and match different things. There's a lot of room for creativity with music theory, so I definitely got to recommend to all the songwriters out there, if you're on the fence about learning music theory, definitely get into it. 

Jon Harris: Definitely a good skill to have, for sure. Absolutely. Now, speaking of other skills, I wanted to get into the themes on the record. It says that your lyrics are inspired by psychology. Spirituality and personal experiences involve overcoming obstacles and hardships, which we've actually chatted about quite a bit. We chatted about the greatest moment for you producing this record, having it done and ready to go, getting it fully mixed and mastered in your hands so you can start working on the next steps. And then it was a challenge to get it all done, but you had to find out the step by step of what needed to happen to overcome those goals. So I'm not entirely surprised that that feeling of empowerment came up as a theme in the record. But perhaps talk about this record as a whole. Is there a general theme to this record? Is there a concept to this record? What went into these kinds of themes on 'Everlasting Ascendancy'?

Ric Galvez: Yeah. So I wouldn't say Everlasting is necessarily like a strict concept album, but I think loosely, all the h racks there is, like, underlying theme of empowerment in some sense. In some sense, across all the songs, there's definitely some sort of tie into personal strength, coming obstacles, and just essentially just never giving up. Yeah, it's definitely a very personal record for me, so it's definitely a good outlet for me to just get out some of the frustrations of stuff that I went through in my life. So I say overall, yeah, definitely is like an underlying theme of strength and empowerment that really ties all the songs together across the entire album. 

Jon Harris: I'm curious, did you feel at all self conscious about writing on that kind of a personal level? Hey, this is what I went through in my life, and this is how I overcame it. Or was it pretty natural for you? 

Ric Galvez: No, I didn't feel self conscious about writing about it because, lyrics, it's a very personal thing, especially with this being like, a solo project, first and foremost. It gives me even more leeway to write about more  personal matters as far as lyrical content is concerned. So, no, I didn't really feel self conscious writing, but stuff like that. 

Jon Harris: Okay. Very cool. Being a one man band, you get to touch a lot of different pieces of equipment. Throughout the recording of this, you mentioned some classical guitar. Obviously, there's electric guitar in there. There is bass. You even mentioned vocals. Were there any pieces of gear that you used on this record different from, say, the first record that maybe surprised you? 

Ric Galvez: Let's see. I wouldn't say there's anything different that surprised me. As far as gear that I use, there definitely was a few different pieces of gear that I use that were different this time around. Like, for example, for all the lead guitars, I used a different guitar. I have a White Jackson Dinky with stock, Seymour Duncan pickups I use for all the guitar solos and lead guitars. Then I got my charcoal gray Jackson dinky, which I used again for the rhythm guitar tracking. And then I used also different bass guitar this time around. So I used a four string Ibanez bass. But I bought shortly after I recorded the first album. So for the first album I used Tyler's bass, I borrowed his. So I had my own bass that I was able to use for this time around. Other than that, it was very similar. Like we tracked the guitars through real amps this time, whereas with the first album we tracked the guitars through amp Sims and then we ReAmped the guitars through real amps later. But that's time around it was all just straight from the source as real amps from the get go. So, yeah, there was a few things that were a little bit different, but nothing that was really talking definitely just changes up a little bit here. But nothing like stalking or anything. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, we definitely mentioned a few things. There two different guitars, one for rhythm, one for lead and obviously we could spend the rest of the interview just talking about that. But something that I thought was interesting, that caught my attention was tracking through real amps. And what you meant by that was not reamping and what ends up on the record as a real amp, it's you plugged directly into that amp, you miced it up and that's what showed up on the record. Whereas last time, recording DI and then reamping. Do you notice, because there's a debate on the Internet that it sounds different? Do you feel yourself that it sounds different taking a DI, running it through an amp versus plugging directly into it? 

Ric Galvez: It depends, because I think 10-15 years ago it definitely would have been the case that it definitely does feel better. However, I think the technology has gotten good enough now that with certain plugins it actually does feel like playing through a real app. Like, for example, Neural DSP products. Verse software for Am. Sims is excellent. I remember we tracked on the first album the guitars through Neural DSP software and it felt fantastic. I have a Neural DSP software actually on my computer and that feels really good as well. So, I think Amp Sims with how far they've come, I think they actually do feel pretty damn real at this point. I can't say no to recording with Amp Sims at some point in the future because at least that way I can also reamp it for a real amp later. As long as you have a DI set signal. So, yeah, I think Amp Sims yeah, they come far enough to the point where, yeah, they can feel the gorilla app, in my opinion. 

Jon Harris: Wow. Very cool stuff. There's always a debate between Tube and Solid State, and now everybody's going to a modeler, which technically means everybody's playing through Solid State now. Right? Because if it's digital, it ain't Tube, baby. I understand it's emulating Tube, but it's interesting how they're able to do that. Super cool. We do have enough time. I was going to ask then lead guitars. You mentioned having two different Jackson Dinkies. What is the difference for you? Is it the rhythm? I'm imagining the rhythm sounds thicker or it sounds lighter.

Ric Galvez: Well, between my two Jackson Dinkies, they have different pickups. So in my white one, it still has the stock Seymour Duncan pickups. And then with my charcoal gray one, I actually got Seymour Duncan Black Winter pickups installed. So, yeah, I had just has a different tone to it, which works really well for the type of metal that I play. So when we were going into tracking the album, I tested out both of my guitars with different amps that we had, and then it quickly became apparent that the gray one with Black Winter pickups was definitely the best one for rhythm guitars. And then the one with the stock pickups was the best one for the league guitars. They can technically work very well for both, but just have that extra notch to both jobs for them. So that's why we decided to go with that. 

Jon Harris: Wow. Very cool. So just testing it out and using your gut instinct and what sounds good is good, baby. 

Ric Galvez: Exactly. 

Jon Harris: Okay. It. Rick, how would you define success at this stage of your career? And it could be with regard to this release, it could just be your career up to this point in general. 

Ric Galvez: That's a great question. I define success essentially as just being able to realize your vision, like, take your vision that you have in your head and then bring it into reality, which something that I do talk about quite a bit in my lyrics. Just a concept of just having a vision in your head and then manifesting into reality. So that's definitely a common theme that appears in my music quite a bit. But, yeah, that's how I define success, really. It doesn't have to be financial, like making a ton of money or anything, as long as you have a vision in your mind and when you make it real, then you're successful. 

Jon Harris: There's a Drake line that comes to mind. You know it's real when you are who you think you are. 

Ric Galvez: Yeah, it's all about bringing the mental into the physical.

Jon Harris: Which I imagine you're electric on dates. Like, you just say this stuff so naturally, and the girls are just like, he's going to manifest stuff. But how do you get to where you are? Do you have a morning routine? Are there any books that you recommend? Any audios that you recommend? Are we talking like Jim Rohn? Tony Robbins? How do you get to where you are, where you're able to speak so clearly about manifesting your bringing your goals to fruition. 

Ric Galvez: Yeah, there's actually one author that I really like who writes about stuff along these lines. His name is Dr. Joe Dispenza. So I definitely recommend looking into him. He has some excellent books on that. So he's definitely probably my favourite author because his content really inspires me. His work is definitely fantastic. There are definitely some YouTubers that I was really inspired by for names escape me at the moment, but there was definitely some really good stuff on YouTube that really seeped into my subconscious mind and really influenced how I think about this kind of stuff. There was a lot of really good information out there regarding these topics. 

Jon Harris: Very cool. Yeah, I just wanted to touch base on that because it's so important, especially being an artist, putting your stuff out there to have that mental fortitude and that self confidence. Some of had mentioned earlier, and I wanted to jump back to it was Dylan going? And you had met him, I believe, when you were a contestant on Banger TV. Shredders of metal seasons one and two. 

Ric Galvez: Oh, actually, I met him before that. I've known him for a little bit before that because. Before I was before I did Shredders of Metal. Actually, I think it was a little bit afterwards. Yeah, I remember I met Dylan actually, I think, a little bit before my Shredders of Metal, I think maybe a few months before, because he was friends with the vocalists that I was in the band with at the time. So that's how we got quaint with each other. And then when I was in my previous band, Astaroth Incarnate, he actually filled in on drums for one show that we played. So I got to actually work with him briefly before I got him on board to play drums from my music with Malice Divine. So I was super impressed by how fast he learned the songs with the band I was in before Malice Divine, and how tight we played and how tight we sounded with him after only literally two rehearsals. So I was like, yeah, I definitely have to get this guy on board to practice the drums that I'm writing for my music. And that's what happened. And he did a fantastic job on both times. A fantastic job. He took the drum parts as I wrote Guitar Pro, and then he just amped it up a little bit more with his own fills to it. So I'm really glad that I got Dylan on board both times. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, you mentioned you wrote the stuff in Guitar Pro for black metal. I'm imagining that you had this custom kit with like, twelve toms and like, 40 symbols, but how did the whole thing work exactly? So you gave him sheet music. Did you just give him, like, I don't know, EZ Drummer stuff and said, yeah, I wrote this in Guitar Pro? Here it is, an EZ Drummer to give you an idea. How did it work?

Ric Galvez: Well, I had all the songs written now and tabbed out in Guitar Pro. So as anybody that knows the Guitar Pro, it's a software that you type in the notation or tablature and then it plays it back to you as Midi. So I wrote all the drum parts in interrupt notation Guitar Pro, so it has like that, plus all the guitars and the bass and stuff like that. So I sent Dylan the guitar profiles and he was able to listen to the songs in Midi form that also had the drum notation as well. So he was able to listen to it and then look at the drum notation and then learn the parts that way. And then he can improve on the fills and stuff like that, is all? No types of fills and stuff. So that's how we went about it. I had all songs notated in Guitar for all. I sent him the files and he just learned it over a period of like month and a half, two months, something like that. 

Jon Harris: Wow, very cool. Very cool stuff. Okay, what is the number one thing you want people listening to the podcast right now to do? And that could be the plug. The shameless, utterly shameless plug. That could even be something spiritual. It could be both. I've had both responses to that question. 

Ric Galvez: Yeah, actually, I am going to go with both. So, first of all, yeah, definitely follow Malice Divine on not just Instagram, but like social media in general. So Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Malice Divine is on TikTok now as well. So you can go follow Malice Divine TikTok and also go support Malice Divine on Bandcamp because we got plenty of CDs and merchandise like shirts and hoodies and patches on Bandcamp. So if you support Malice in that way, that would be fantastic. And then as far as anything more spiritual, just like just keep going. Just never give up on your dreams and goals and just never let anybody tell you who you are. You determine that for yourself. So just keep going and never give up. 

Jon Harris: Beautiful. Everybody listening in right now. Go ahead and go to There you'll have all the show notes for today's episode which will include ways to connect with Malice Divine and of course, go to Bandcamp. Support Malice Divine financially. S'il vous plaît, if you please. Por favor. Are there any other languages we should use? Keep going. Never give up on your dreams or goals. Never let anyone tell you who you are, baby. Okay, thank you so much for coming on to The Rock Metal Podcast today, Rick. 

Ric Galvez: No worries at all. It was a fantastic time. We had a great conversation today.  


Friday, May 5, 2023

20 Years as A Band with The King of MÄRVEL

In this episode of The Rock Metal Podcast, we're chatting with The King of the band Märvel about their new album ‘Double Decade’ out now via The Sign Records.

During our chat we touch on a lot of great tips for musicians, such as what it's like to be an active band on the scene for 20 years.

The two new songs on 'Double Decade' were mixed by Robert Pehrsson (Dundertåget, Death Breath, Robert Pehrsson's Humbucker) and mastered by Magnus Lindberg (The Hellacopters, Imperial State Electric, Cult Of Luna, The Datsuns, Tribulation, Lucifer).

For fans of KISS, The Night Flight Orchestra, Bon Jovi, Cheap Trick, Thin Lizzy


Guest Resource - Connect with Märvel!

Guest Music Video

3 Heavy Hitters

1. Keep everything from notes to posters to guitars, so you can always dig into the history of your creative endeavours

2. Be inspired by your favourite artists, but always have your own way of approaching and creating your art

3. You could push harder at your career, but not at the expense of friends and family


Asher Media Relations: Doing PR for everything loud! For your band needs to be seen and heard in print, online and radio!  Let Asher know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Tue Madsen: Tue Madsen is responsible for producing, mixing, and mastering some of the best metal for over the last 20 years.  Let Tue know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Syndicol Music: A full service agency for musicians, offering record label services, marketing, branding, production and management.  Let Charlie know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Wormholedeath Records: WHD is a modern record label, publishing and film production company fit with global distribution, publishing and marketing using a roster of global partnerships. Let Carlo know The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Show Notes // Transcript

Jon Harris: All right. Well, The King. Welcome to The Rock Metal Podcast. Go ahead and say Hello to all of our beautiful listeners. 

The King: Hello, beautiful listeners. How you doing? 

Jon Harris: We are doing very well, and it's great to have you on because we have this Double Decade release going over the last 20 years of Märvel with two new songs. So my first question is, what was the greatest moment for you producing this compilation set? And that might even be just doing the two new songs as well. What was the greatest moment for you producing this compilation? 

The King: I guess it was going back to a lot of memories and, I mean, looking back at our whole career. And it's a gatefold. And if you unfold it, you have big, beautiful picture of lots of marital, historical stuff. So we got lots of posters, we got masks, we got guitars, we got personal stuff, notes, everything. So it's just a big collection of stuff. And that was a lot of fun because we had to go through the archives and the. Yeah. Dig into the history and that was nice. And then, of course, we also have representation by our Märvel Army fan presidents from all over the world. So we have a big booklet where you get to read their stories like they each got one of their favorite albums to write about. And we have a long introduction by Ben Solseller from Germany who founded the the Fan Club, about his personal recollections of the band. So I guess it's a labour of love, this whole package. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. I mean, a labour of love, definitely, indeed. But fun to go over the last 20 years with a lot of memories looking back on your career. Lots of posters, masks, guitars, personal stuff, personal notes going through the archives also as well, representatives. That Märvel army a fan club. But, I mean, what surprised you the most? I guess, going through a lot of these memories. Is it because after all these years, you're still here? 

The King: Yeah. It takes stubbornness, I guess, and some kind of stupidity to keep at it for 20 years. But yeah, I can be surprised when going back to the early songs and I realized that, okay, we've gotten better at producing and playing and recording, but there's still a lot of energy in it that sometimes can be hard to do better when you're getting older. I mean, there's some kind of innocence or you have a certain outlook on life when you're younger and that's harder to copy or try to emulate. So I guess we're aging like a fine wine. Some of the old songs may sound bit more punk, but they still hold up in energy and eagerness. Yeah. 

Jon Harris: Getting better at producing, playing and recording over the years, but the earlier stuff still has a certain energy to it, which The King, you've talked about that as punk. Take us through that. 

The King: Yeah, because we didn't know what we were doing, basically. So we were just trying to sound like our favourite bands or whatever. But then we have our way of playing and our way of writing songs and that comes through, I guess. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. No, I would agree that that comes through. I mean, trying to sound like our favourite bands. I mean, who resonates with that? Raise your hand right now. Picking your favourite bands, trying to sound like them, but then having your own way of playing and writing, which is, I think, where it all comes together. Now, what was the biggest challenge putting this compilation together? 

The King: I would say choosing the songs because we've made nine full albums and like, a bunch of singles. And we have a lot of cover songs that people like. We even did a full album of cover songs, Guilty Pleasures in 2019. So I guess choosing the right songs was the hard part, but we got some help from friends who helped us pick the list and Double Decade comes with. The first album is like our most well known songs or whatever you might say, and the second album is the hard to get ones and the deep cuts and the B Sides, et cetera, that has never been released on an album. So it made it easier in that sense that we knew that album two is going to be those songs that was that. 

Jon Harris: Okay, all right, so choosing the songs was the challenge. Nine full albums, a bunch of singles, even a cover songs album from 2019, 1st album, most well known songs, so to say. Second album, hard to get stuff, the deep cuts, the B Sides, which you said was perhaps a little bit easier. Was there any kind of I don't know, because it wasn't released before. I'm sure there was a reason it wasn't released before. Any kind of nervousness about how that would hit it made it sound like it was actually easier to do than the well known songs, I guess. What's the challenge in the well known songs? People are going to argue like, no, that's not my favourite song. 

The King: Yeah, people will always have their opinion, but we didn't have a lot more songs that are B Sides or deep cuts. So we basically put what we have on there and it's not like they were worse or not good enough. It's just that sometimes an album has to have a special vibe and if the song doesn't fit that vibe, you leave it out and sometimes you don't want too many songs because it doesn't make the album better. We always love bands to have a lot of stuff to find. So if you're a big fan or a collector, you can always find a single that no one else has. That's the beauty. So we always try to please the hardcore fans, record collectors. Because we are like that ourselves. We're music nerds. That's what we try to live up to. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. Music fans and nerds. Loving those B Sides and those deep cuts and yeah, an album has to have a vibe, so there's some songs that are left out. But, I mean, how did you go through and pick the top songs? Was it like, what's hot on Spotify? 

The King: No. We also tried to make it a nice mix. It should be pleasurable to listen to. Shouldn't just be one song after the other. And some people have argued, like, why didn't you include this song? I can't believe you didn't include this song. Well, you can't think too hard about it because you will get crazy. So it was just what we felt at the moment. And also, it was a conscious decision not to include any cover songs. Even though we've been famous for doing good covers or making them our own, we felt that this is the time for our own songs to shine and we shouldn't mess around with cover songs on this one. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. Time for our own songs to shine. Very cool. Now, speaking of our own songs to shine, there are two new records, or two new, actually, two new records. Two new recordings on the album. Catch 22 and Turn The Page. 

The King: Yes. 

Jon Harris: How did you guys end up crafting those? Was the compilation set up? Because I know you mentioned you want to have a nice mix that's pleasurable to listen to and craft the whole experience, I guess. What went into the decision to make two new songs and did you work to make sure that those fit into the compilation?

The King: Like I said, we always like bands who who have some deep cuts and stuff to release outside of the normal albums. And when we recorded our latest album, Graces Came With Malice, we had two songs that we felt wasn't necessary for the album. They weren't bad or anything. We felt they were really strong. But we felt that if we put them on the album, it will just be two more songs. But if they end up on the on the Double Decade compilation that that we knew were coming, was coming, then we felt they would get more exposure and they would shine on their own. So it was a conscious decision from the start. They were recorded at the same time as the latest album. 

Jon Harris: Wow. Okay. Now I guess I'm curious because you guys have a bit of a vintagey sound. Is there any gear that you use that attributes to that sound or any gear that maybe you used on the most recent recordings that surprised you?

The King: I don't know. We're not necessarily the biggest gear heads. I mean, we love retro sound, but at the same time we want it to be modern and punchy and stand up to any recording that you hear on the radio. It's in your DNA, it's in the way you play and when you mix things, you want it to sound retro but still have a punch. And I guess retro means not too harsh or too heavy or too metal. I don't know. Like I said, it's in our DNA. We have the bands that we grew up listening to and that gives you a path or gives you a direction, I guess it's a tricky question, but there's no special gear, I would say. I mean, we have some old amplifiers for sure. And Robert Pehrsson from Death Breath. And Robert Pehrsson 'Humbucker' is mixing the album. He's a big fan of vintage sounding music as well. So I guess it it's imprinted in every part of the process, but it's nothing we think too much about and it's nothing we strive for in terms of using certain gear or whatever. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, having a couple of classic amps or whatever. But as the old saying goes, it just comes out of the fingers. And you'd mentioned Robert Pehrsson, which is fantastic. We're going to chat about him more in a little bit. How would you define success at this stage of your career? And maybe even what would you tell that young punk version of yourself 20 years ago if you had the chance? 

The King: Enjoy the ride. No, but I would say the greatest accomplishment for us is getting to know a lot of people through our music. And I'm mean, it's still being fun and us still being friends and having a lot of fun making music together. I guess it's our biggest accomplishment. We have never been in an arena band or sold a million albums or anything. We've always been underground. And I don't know, sometimes if I would tell my younger self, something would maybe be, oh, you should really jump on that tour or do more gigs, because because that will get you onto the circuit. I don't know, whatever. But we made the choices we made and if we would have been on the road for 200 dates a year, maybe we wouldn't be around or be friends anymore. So I don't know if that's worth it. We have. We still have fun and people appreciate our music. I guess that's all you can ask for. That's a politically correct answer and the true answer, I guess, at the same time. 

Jon Harris: Well, enjoy the ride. Getting to know a lot of people still having fun and being friends as a band. I mean, how many bands out there can say that they're still friends? Raise your hand. Which is cool. And something else you mentioned there was we could have pushed harder as a band, but should we have? Would we still be friends to this day? 

The King: You know what's even more cool than us meeting a lot of people is that people becoming friends because they love our music. That's even better, I guess. People traveling across country, even to other countries, to go to gigs and getting new friends because they meet through our music. That really does something to us. We've always been astounded by that. Yeah, I think you just mentioned it. You're astounded by that. But I mean, take us through that experience. What was like that like the first time you found out that people had traveled a distance to see, I'm imagining some little band. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, it's amazing. I mean, the whole process of sitting in your sofa with your guitar, writing song and then recording it and then getting it on vinyl for the first time and then going out playing and meeting people who have traveled, like, 1000 km to see you. Yeah. It never gets old. And that happened from the early days, so we've always had fans like that. And now even we even meet young kids who say, oh, my dad listened a lot to you when I was young, so I'm a fan. I've been listening to your music my whole life. And that really knocks you out of your shoes because then you realize you're not getting any younger yourself. But. It's still a big compliment. 

The King: Yeah. What do they call that? A grandfathered fan base. Like, you've hit that point now where the kids of your fans are bringing new fans into the roster. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, it's really cool. Humbles you. 

The King: Yes, of course. Let's go ahead and jump back to Robert Pehrsson that Magnus Lindbergh did some mastering on the record. So these two gentlemen, what was the choice in going with them and what was it like working with them? We've worked with them for several records, and it's total easy ride. Easy going. Very easy. I would say, if I should try to summarize it, they both add a lot to the final product, and we always feel that we're in good hands. Robert and us has the same tasty music, so it makes it very easy to work with him. Very professional and really nice guy. 

Jon Harris: Does his humbucker ever show up in your guitar? Is that why it's a different color in your guitar? Because it's his humbucker? 

The King: No, he hasn't played anything on the album, but maybe that's something to try for the future. We did like the Live All Star band gig a few years ago with Robert Pehrsson. And then we also had the Nicki boy from Backyard Babies and Ships Kiss from Soto, who produced Hellacopters, of course. And Ken from Saturday, the singer. So we have played with him, but he's not on the album. Okay, so you have played with him, but he's not on the album. 

Jon Harris: And that, of course, was a reference that I had made there to his band, Robert Pehrsson Humbucker. Is that his humbucker in your guitar? But very cool. Now, kind of a silly question, but was there any thought to maybe having a theme to the compilation, or is it just simple fact these are the best songs over the last 20 years? 

The King: Yeah, I would say. Ah. I mean, it's not like an ordinary album where you have might have some thought about the songs, but, I mean, we thought about the order of the songs, of course, and the. We chose the ones that we thought best represented our 20 years. But other than that, I consider there's a real theme to it. 

Jon Harris: Left out the ones that do not best represent the last 20 years. 

The King: Yeah, if something then it would be the covers. That has been our kind of how do you call it, brand or signature thing. We always include a couple of one or two cover songs on the albums. But maybe we should do a compilation of the cover songs. 

Jon Harris: Maybe. I mean, it feels like we should bring up the Märvel Army because they're obviously a large part of the experience. Is that something that maybe making a compilation album specifically for the Märvel Army songs that they choose? 

The King: Yeah. You mean it could be some kind of voting system and you could, I suppose, let them duke it out like mud wrestling or something? Let them just go spaghetti wrestling, maybe? Yeah, that's a good idea. Very cool. But we'll probably take it up 20 years before we put up the next compilation. 

Jon Harris: Makes sense. Can't have too many 20 year compilations. 

The King: And then we can have the Grandfather Generation choose the song. 

Jon Harris: The grandfather generation. There's the title right there. 

The King: The Offspring of the Grandfathers, whatever you called it. 

Jon Harris: Yes. Okay. Beautiful. Yeah. Success at this stage of the career is just getting to know a lot of people through the music. People traveling 1000 km to see, you having the fan base now. Grandfathered in. And what you would say to your older self is basically, enjoy the ride. 

The King: Yeah.

Jon Harris: Younger selves are often in a hurry to get somewhere. Where we're in a hurry to get to? We don't know.

The King: But you'll find out eventually.

Jon Harris: Very true. Very true. Yeah. Robert Pehrsson and Magnus Lindbergh worked with them for several records. Very easy going. They both add a lot to the final product and feels like you're in good hands. And Robert has the same taste in music, which makes it a collaborative environment. 

The King: Yeah. Good summary. 

Jon Harris: What's the number one thing that you would like people listening to the podcast to do is that listen to the record, hit up your socials, join the Märvel Army. It could even be something spiritual like, 
I don't know, eat less, give peace a chance. 

The King: Yeah. Give peace a chance. Yeah. And after you've given peace a chance, you can go to and join the Märvel Army, and then you can go buy the album. I think that's enough for one day's work. If you fix peace and then you buy the album and join the army, then we're a peace army. A peace loving army. The love of rock and roll. That's basically it. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so give peace a chance. Go to the, join the Märvel Army, buy the record, listen to said record, bring your kids so we can have more grandfathered fan base in. 

The King: And grandmothers. 

Jon Harris: And grandmothers, yes. We don't want it to be a sausage fest. 

The King: We would like more GILFs.
Jon Harris: Yeah, more GILFs. Exactly. Travel 1000 km – Speaking of which, go ahead and head over to and you can go and get the show notes for today. And that will include include music videos and ways to connect with Märvel if you are completely unaware. So The King, thank you so much for coming on to The Rock Metal Podcast today. 

The King: Thanks for having me.