A year from yesterday, the music world lost an incredible sound innovator and influence in metalcore. On August 20, 2016, Tom Searle lost his life after a three-year long battle with cancer, leaving behind a remarkable legacy as co-founder and guitarist of Architects (U.K). Tom’s brilliance was fully personified through his music, having written guitar riffs that make absolute chaos sound like a masterpiece. The list goes on. From his early work on songs like Follow The Water (2009), through fan favorite Alpha Omega (2013), up until A Match Made In Heaven (2016), it seemed as if it was impossible for Tom to produce work anything less than riveting. Tom’s impact has been voiced by many working in the genre, recently being honored by Australian metalcore group, Northlane, in the last song of their record Mesmer that released last March. Northlane’s rhythm guitarist Josh Smith took to Twitter to explain the tribute, writing, “About a week after Tom Searle passed @jondeiley called me a told me we had to write a tribute song for him. I wanted to as well #mesmer” (next tweet) “It was an extremely hard thing to do because we wanted it to live up to his stellar talent for songwriting #mesmer“. For the naturally skeptical listener, such as myself, a main characteristic that wins over the personal love and respect for an artist’s work is originality. How is this individual pushing the boundaries of his genre? Does he strike that ‘Wow, I wish I would have thought of that’ factor? Is he doing more with less? These are the questions that can define an artist’s life of work. Tom composed choruses that flowed perfectly with the vocal style of his frontman, rendered a variety of tapping fashions that were unique to Architect’s signature sound, and created a style that could easily be recognized as his own. The impact he had on his community was clear. In the photos on the right, Kerrang! Magazine quotes other musicians in which they touch on the impact Tom had on their lives. Tribute videos from fans flood Tom’s name search on YouTube, and numerous bands around the world have dedicated time out of their shows to recognize the impact he had on their lives. The 2017 Brit Awards commemorated the significant loss, featuring his name next to legends like David Bowie and Prince in their remembrance video. This is perhaps one of the greatest testaments to Tom’s contribution to music as a whole, as it is rare for late musicians in metalcore to be recognized on this scale. Though his absence has left a massive void within the group, Architects lives on to this day. Having just wrapped up the remainder of the U.S – based All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us Tour in March, Architects continues to tour vigorously and are set to rock gigs at the Leeds and Reading Festivals (U.K) later this week. Tom’s passing has been a colossal loss to music and the metal community, however his works of musical genius and flair will forever stick with his admirers. Below are some of Tom’s finest stamps of individuality and prowess that can be heard through guitar composition.
Hailing from Connecticut and growing as a coeval metalcore influence, Currents released their newest and highly anticipated album on June 16th. In The Place I Feel Safest, Currents unravels a chilling story line while throwing listeners into an orchestrated whirlwind of their signature sound diction. Bands who have risen from similar genre backgrounds and subcategories tend to produce common identifiable themes; fictional tales, a cry for change, even political affairs. Since the addition of new vocalist Brian Wille, the east coast natives have adopted a new motif in their craft. As with their 2015 release, Life // Lost, the new record plunges into the intricacy of individual experiences one goes through in the confines of his own mind. Such experiences are triggered in the record-opener, “Apnea”, which throws its following tracks into a spiral of confusion, hatred, and paranoia. After seemingly watching the rape of a woman, or otherwise falling as a victim of some sort, Currents portrays the animosity experienced by he who witnesses “another life left in ruin”. Wielding a string-slapping style similar to that of Architects(U.K), “Apnea” kicks off with a heavily surreal anthem of hatred for those who ruin the lives of others. YOU’LL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN, the first lines of the bit, are initially used to characterize the state of the victimized woman. The opener concludes with the antagonist’s sure damnation to hell where he, then, will never sleep again. The illustrated tragedy leads its following songs to construe its aftermath; a collection of emotional scar tissue, utter desperation to escape unwanted memories, a cultivation of paranoia comparable to insanity, and finally the struggle to resist raising the white flag of submission. “Night Terrors”, “Tremor”, “Delusion”, “Withered”. What could be better narratives for living in wake of a devastating episode? Currents digs deep into the depths of such psychological journeys in these pieces. BURN IT DOWN AND FORGET, wouldn’t that be nice? This is a desire that many find easier said than done within their own minds, and is the struggle that is delineated in “Night Terrors”. Few bands are able to match a symphony of sound wholly with the emotions its lyrics are set to portray. Dripping with enmity at a pace that gives listeners a harsh whiplash, Currents is able to achieve just that through this track. Frustrations with particular memories and even a wrongdoer’s own self-resentment are exemplified not only through lyrics, but in a configuration of breakdowns and pedal punts that sound like a well-coordinated apocalypse.
A struggle to take back one’s own life is impending, as the album’s combatant is being eaten alive by a fashion of PTSD. As with any individual experiencing something so calamitous, a breaking point is imminent. There comes a point at a cross-roads, where one has a choice. Do I quit? Or do I attack the chance of making things better even though I think I will fail? Currents vivifies this concept in “Withered” in many different ways. Guitars have been a main presence throughout this record, but haven’t spoken so effectively than through this track. Composing a tone relatable to old school Suicide Silence with an interesting twist, Brown and Wiseman curate licks that would give justification for a notice reading “WARNING: Album May Lead To Breaking Your Own Sh*t” slapped right on the cover. THE ANSWERS RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME BUT OLD ME WON’T LET GO OF ME; bold lyrics matched with boundary-pushing guitar composition in “Withered” is a self-defining achievement for Currents, speaking to their unique identity in metalcore as well as their comprehensive talent.
Telling a story, painting a picture, and sending a specific message are all traits that tend to be neglected and seldom appreciated in many categories of music. Currents has found a means to define themselves through such facets and evolve their own sound, using previous albums as relevant stepping stones. I’M STEPPING BACK FROM WHAT I KNOW IS THE TRUTH; the group dives into the peak of being thoroughly swallowed by fear, doubt, and the desire to run away from it all in “Dreamer”. The remainder of the record speaks to issues that plague the lives of those who grow up in unfavorable conditions, as well as the current condition of our planet. In this sense, the tail end of The Place I Feel Safest strays from delving further into emotional impacts deriving from “Apnea”, and is much more of a proclamation of views and values held by Currents. This is a shift that not only changes the tonality of the record and the band’s primary approach to song structure, but reveals Wille’s capability to execute melodic choruses while giving guitars wiggle room to bang out some of the record’s heaviest material yet.
YOU MAY BE YOU BUT I’M NOT ME; Currents concludes their innovative contribution to the metal community all too appropriately with “Shattered”, in which Wille attests this message. These lines epitomize the collection of work that is The Place I Feel Safest, assembling the album’s catastrophe of feelings into eight simple words that convey its overall message clearly.
The legacy of a band can be gauged by many things, however the ability to effectively match a message to sound speaks to volumes to its identity and mark on its genre. The Place I Feel Safest is Currents’ mark on their own territory, solidifying the body as a paradox to cookie-cutter groups. They’ve taken a story, construed it into a range of emotions, and translated such emotions into the chaotic clash of instrumental composition that is Currents. Through it, the group has forged a window in which listeners can witness and experience the intricate cataclysm of the mentally disturbed mind.
CZ TOP 3:
1 – Withered
2 – Delusion
3 – Forget Me
Listen to The Place I Feel Safest and watch the “Withered” music video below!
Gari Safari went off at a secret location in downtown LA last Friday. The event featured a range of artists including TÂCHES, Mont Blvck, Anabel Englund, Matt Ossentjuk, Human Life and more. Bumping bass until 5:30 in the morning, Gari Safari offered a more intimate experience for attendees by holding performances from the floor rather than a stage. One performance that proved to stand out from the others was that of Mont Blvck, utilizing the sounds of voice, guitars, CDJ’s, and keyboard synths. After their set, I was able to catch up with Jackson Englund of Mont Blvck and ask him about his background, the underground music scene, and his future endeavors.
Where are you from?
I’m from Los Angeles. Born in New York City, raised in LA.
How did you and Diego Cuevas (Mont Blvcks second member) meet and what made you want to work together?
We met in high school through mutual friends, we both knew we did music but we just kind of met at parties a couple of times. At one party me and him caught up for a little bit and we said we should jam some time, so I went over to his studio and the rest is history really. I played drums and he played bass that day and we just rocked out for like four hours.
What genre do you think best describes Mont Blvck?
I’d say like, a bit of milk chocolate with peanut butter…like if a Nestle chocolate kiss was dropped in peanut butter and dripped out and plopped in your mouth…that would be the genre.
What do you like the most about this particular music scene?
Well right now we are in a very interesting scene which is very underground. We did Miami Music Week and we consider ourselves a band, but we’re hanging with a lot of DJ’s and making it work somehow. I mean, we’re DJing while doing a live act which has been crazy because we’ve really had to morph two different things into one. That’s why something like Gari Safari is so cool because we’re in LA and we can really bring our whole shibang out. But on the road we’ve just been bringing everything we think is right, then using the CDJ’s to add to our set. We’re really just trying to keep people moving, keep people dancing, and you know its been a great ride everyone is really supportive and I’m really excited to see where it takes us.
Who are some established artists that you are inspired by or look up to?
Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Bowie, the Stones. I’ve been really into weird and crazy music like Mac Demarco and modern stuff like Tame Impala or MGMT. I grew up listening to that, its more my era. I’ve been influenced by all genres really.
Has your sister and songwriter Anabel Englund influenced your taste in techno?
My sister Anabel brought me into this world. We started going out when we were both really young and were always exposed to this scene from a young age. Its crazy because when you first hear this kind of music it’s cool to dance to and everything, but after a while you really start to grow a maturing respect for it. I love house music and the way it really brings all groups of people together, everyone can just drop their ego for a while and forget about everything else.
You’ve performed in several cities across the country, ending 2016 in Tokyo. What is performing in LA like compared to these places?
Performing in LA is always magical for me because LA in my home. Im playing and I’m seeing my best friends in the crowd dancing right there with me. It’s great going other cities all over the world too because you meet all these foreigners who aren’t too different from your best friends.
What was it like playing in Tokyo?
Really interesting, the first place we played was called Collision and my girlfriend actually threw the event. The goal was to collide New York, LA, and Tokyo together. From there we played this event on new years right after midnight somewhere more in the financial district. It was a totally different crowd, the vibe was great but it just wasn’t as personal. Those kind of shows are great too though because you can see all of the people who you aren’t as familiar with vibing to your music.
As EDM and techno are usually performed solely through a DJ and his turntables, why do you feel it is important to keep the live aspect of your shows with instruments?
I just think you’re a little more connected with everybody in the room when you start going live with it. Obviously there are a lot of DJ’s who can be super connected with everybody on that same ride but when you’re singing or paying an instrument that makes it a little bit more special for me. Sometimes people forget the extra effort that goes into making that one little quirky noise or other weird sound that goes into songs that get taken for granted. Doing live shows reminds people that this isn’t just some robot making these sounds, like this is really us.
Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
I just see myself touring and helping people, just doing big things. Hopefully winning Grammy’s and just setting a high overall standard for music. Music is just something that I’ve always been passionate about so I look forward to growing as a writer and collaborating more with other artists.
Who would you like to work with in the near future?
I’d love to work with Hans Zimmer because of his work of syncing music into films, that’s something I’d like to get into. Also would love to work with some of the legends like Keith Richards, Paul McCartney, and Elton John. Elton actually played a song that me and Diego helped write and produce with Anabel on his radio show, it’s called London Headache. Other than that I’d want to work with people that like to make abstract music. I just want to work with people who just know how to have fun with making music without having to force anything.
What can we expect from Mont Blvck in 2017?
Listeners can expect a very interesting EP that is very inspired by our Tokyo trip, it’s a little bit funk, a little bit disco, a little bit soulful, and its got a lot of heart. We get a little bit more serious than usual on some songs but the whole EP is kind of a love story. I think it will be interesting to see it transcend and I’m excited to release it. We want to make people dance, but this EP has a lot of thought behind it.
Follow Gari Safari on Twitter: https://twitter.com/gari_safari?lang=en
Check out Mont Blvck’s single, Gimme below.
Playboi Carti, otherwise known as Cash Carti, has been chalking up major W’s after the release of his self-titled debut album in April and continued affiliation with the likes of A$AP Rocky and the VLONE crew. Carti’s album garnered 28,051 units in sales during the first week (a notable performance for a debut album with little promotion), and was dubbed by Vogue Magazine as the fashion world’s “latest rapper heartthrob” in the same week. To say the least, April was a time for Carti to reap the benefits of his work and flex for a little while. But how does a rapper from Atlanta with a Soundcloud-based audience blow up on such a large scale? There’s so many others in the same city under similar circumstances who continue to struggle to promote themselves, so what has Carti’s edge come from? For starters, the young rapper was able to win the respect of hip-hop hero A$AP Rocky and eventually inked a deal with him. You can catch him performing with Rocky on The Fader about a month before the album drop. The duo are clearly inspired by each other’s work, it was only a matter of time before Carti was able to benefit from Rocky’s already well-established image and knowledge of the industry. His recent come up and recognition in the realm of fashion was no doubt influenced, in part, by his affiliation with the likes of Ian Connor and the rest of VLONE. If you haven’t heard of him, Ian Connor has made a name for himself working as Wiz Khalifa’s fashion designer, modeling for Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 1, and other endeavors that have won him a hefty social media following. Carti has made multiple appearances Connor’s Instagram, some of which date all the way back to early 2015. In surrounding himself with individuals who catch some of the most media exposure in rap and fashion, Carti was able to further establish himself as a legitimate icon and build upon his fanbase.
Though there are many other factors that contributed to the Playboi Carti’s success, this claim to fame is promising for the future of talented Soundcloud rappers who refuse to stray from their unique sound. Now that groups like A$AP Mob have such a heavy influence on the culture, those who label specific rappers as too “underground” to be recognized on a large scale may begin to be silenced. Carti’s self-titled album holds features from both Rocky and Lil Uzi Vert, and is definitely worth a listen (on loud). It’s safe to say this is only the beginning for the 21 year-old Atlanta native, currently signed with AWGE and Interscope Records. It will be entertaining to see what the young rapper chooses to do with this new burst of recognition.
Top 3 Spotify Streams:
1 – wokeuplikethis*
2 – Magnolia
3 – Lookin
CZ Top 3:
1 – Lookin
2 – NO. 9
3 – Let It Go