Thoughts Of Metal navbar Toughts Of Metal Logo News Metalgenres Reviews Links Varia About Contact

.:Interviews:.

23/06/2007 – Interview with BEYOND FALLEN

America still has lots of bands that hang on to the great subgenre that is Heavy Metal, but with a touch of Power Metal. The Dutch label Melissa Records has based their roster just on that: American Heavy Metal bands. BEYOND FALLEN is one of those bands, together with SEVENTH CALLING and many others. The band's debut - so to speak - came out recently and is titled "Mindfire" of which you can read the review at this location. I sent vocalist Joe Karavis some questions to know more about this rather unknown band, their new album and a couple of other things. Thinking it would take a couple of weeks to get the answers back, I was pleasantly suprised when I checked my mailbox... three (!) days later. Now that's the spirit! ;-) Joe Karavis and the other guys in BEYOND FALLEN still have their heart at the right place, and keep the flame of Metal burning, as cheesy as this may sound. Check 'em out, because "Mindfire" is only a start, but a very decent one.

Beyond Fallen logo

Steve is - so to speak - the creator of the band, but how did you and the others get involved? In addition, what's the story behind the band's name?

Steve was trying to start a band for a long time but never really had the ability to put anything serious together. He did find some good metal players before I joined to complete the current lineup. Steve found Chuck - who was in a local cover band but wanted to play metal, and Mike answered an ad. We had another drummer, but we parted ways with him after the first 4-song demo. That's when we found Tom, another local guy, and the lineup has been the same for the last few years and both "Lost In The Shadows" and "Mindfire". They were all fairly inexperienced with a band like this for the most part, so I offered my suggestions on how we should do things as a band and the direction we'd take. As for the name, we had a bunch, and all narrowed it down and picked one. We needed something we could all live with and was available - so it stuck.

Before joining BEYOND FALLEN, you were active in UNLEASHED POWER and ANGER REIGN, two very unknown bands to me and probably other people, too. What kind of Metal did they play and are they still active?

ANGER REIGN was my band, and we did metal - power, thrash type stuff. The band is not active anymore. You can check out some songs from our demo, recorded in 1990 or so at http://www.myspace.com/angerreign.

UNLEASHED POWER, a New York City based metal band - is led by Danish guitarist Ken Jacobsen. I had two stints in this band doing a few demos. Ken and I are still friends. The band used to be called AVALON - and had an unreleased album just before I got in the band produced by Flemming Rassmussen of METALLICA fame, and featured Lars Ulrich's drum tech Flemming Larsen on drums. I think the band is still considered active. The stuff is intense, aggressive, progressive metal. Check out http://www.unleashedpower.com.

Mindfire coverYour second album, "Mindfire", will soon come out via Melissa Records. A couple of questions regarding this: a) What are the songs (or is the album) about and what's the link with the title/cover art?

The songs touch on a variety of topics from government corruption, history, Sci-fi, etc. The best way for a listener to explore the songs is to get the new album and read the lyrics. There's a lot left to personal interpretation too. The concept of "Mindfire" is based around how our society and culture, especially in the USA, has decreased the value of individuality. Government, religion, the media, and corporations attempt to 'burn away' the human will and free thoughts so they can push an agenda on weak minds to manipulate them - creating drones that follow without resistance.

b) Melissa Records is a small, new Dutch label. I take it you sent the first album to labels you thought would fit the band's music and has the means to promote you as good as possible. The 'problem' is also that there are hundreds of labels, so why did you choose Melissa Records? And which other labels also showed interest?

Melissa Records turned out to be a great fit for what we do. We are very pleased. We don't like to talk about anything in regards to someone such as a a label showing interest. There have been several bands that made an announcement that they had label interest, then nothing happened and they look like idiots. Lots of people show interest in the band, but actually doing something is another story. Melissa Records stepped up and took action.

c) For how many albums did you sign?

For just this album at this point, but we'll talk more about that once this album is out there, and we see how it does. Right now all our focus is on "Mindfire".

d) Was the album already done before you signed a contract or was it contract first, then make and record the album?

We recorded and finished the album after the band was signed. I think we had some ideas before then we were working on. It kind of happened all at the same time.

How did the recording process go and how long did you spend time at the studio?

Well it was hard work, over several days in the studio, I don't recall exactly how long. Nothing out of the ordinary that it takes to make an album. We were very prepared before we got in, so it was just a matter of getting it recorded. I suppose it went quickly. It was pretty hectic, but that can be expected when you take on a project like this. We were relieved when it was done.

Speaking of the studio: "Mindfire"'s sound is good, but there's is room for improvement. Which studio did you use and do you plan to go elsewhere in the US for the next album? Or perhaps come to Europe? In addition, has Melissa Records already suggested certain producers and studios?

Well there's always room for improvement. We are a new band that is getting better at what we do as we go along. We used SI Studios in Scranton, PA. I'd like to work with a producer if anybody comes along - see how that goes. Europe is obviously a big step and very expensive for us to come there and record, so I'm not sure that is possible right now. If the label suggests anything we'd always listen.

Beyond Fallen bandHas the music changed over the years, comparing the EP, "Lost In The Shadows" and "Mindfire"? Also, are there plans to re-release or re-record the 'older' songs?

Comparing I think we are still metal, and have developed the BEYOND FALLEN sound and style over the 3 CDs. I'd would be nice to have "Lost..." re-released by a label. There's always the possibility of re-recording older songs, but no plans yet.

Who is responsable for the music when writing new songs? Mostly Steve or can anyone come up with ideas and rough sketches/recordings? Also, how often do you come together to exchange ideas, jam, ...?

The guys on guitars comeup with riffs, we put them together as a band, and we are all responsible. I then take rough recordings home and begin the lyrics, and it develops from there. We get together often, every week if we can.

Music or lyrics first? Most bands first compose the music, and afterwards the lyrics are added. Is this also the easiest way to make a song or doesn't it matter that much?

Music first that's the way that seems to work best for us.

Can you write lyrics at any time of day or do you have be alone, out for a walk or in your room (or a different location) to be able to focus on this process?

I do this at my computer in my office, where I can be alone and focus.

In the recent past you played gigs with OVERKILL, W.A.S.P., ... what do they think of BEYOND FALLEN? And what was it like, playing those shows?

I don't know what these bands think of us or even know us. The bigger bands don't usually hang around to check you out. They were great shows, getting to play in front a good crowd. New fans really seem to get into us once they see the band live. It's always great for a young band like us to play shows with bigger acts.

You'll play lots of shows soon, mainly in Europe and particularly in Germany. It seems you're not touring with one or more bands, just playing seperate shows. Will a 'real' tour be done later or is it now more important to work on the next album and then see what's possible?

It depends on how things go. We don't have any plans for a big extensive tour, but we'll see what the future holds. We are excited about coming to Europe and that may open some doors for us, as well as the new CD coming out.

If you could pick a couple of bands to tour with, which would they be? And would you remain within one genre or try to diversify by adding bands from different genres?

Well anyone metal, obviously the bigger bands. We do shows in our hometown area with bands of different genres simply because nobody here plays this style but us.

How do you keep your voice in shape? Did you take lessons to use the full potential?

I try not to hang around too long in smoke filled bars. No I don't take lessons, but if someone was helpful I'd certainly like to.

Next to singing, do you also play an instrument? If not, which would you like to (have) play(ed)?

I've played around with guitar, bass and keyboards in the past, but it's best I leave the playing up to the guys who do it well. I focus on vocals and writing lyrics, arranging songs, and my live performance as a frontman.

Beyond Fallen bandDo you all depend on daytime jobs or is anyone in the band active in the music business?

It's impossible to make a good living off metal music in the USA, so yes we have other ways of making a living. Being in a band we are all quite active in the music business.

Like many bands you also have a MySpace page. How important is this community website for the band? And does it prevail over your own website?

Very. It seems people go to MySpace more than many band's official sites. It's a great tool, and one that you must use if you have a band from a marketing perspective. MySpace is huge, one of the most visited web sites in the world - so you have to pay attention to that.

Do you have certain goals set out regarding the band's career? And what would you like to accomplish in the future for yourself?

As long as we can continue make music and travel like we are that is great. We'll see where things go. Obviously, I want to play live in Europe, so we're doing that. It's been a goal of mine for many years.

You won the Battle Of The Bands in 2004 at Keystone College. What exactly is this competition about and who's involved in this? Are/Were there label representatives in the jury or the audience?

It was a regional band battle. It happened a long while back. I don't recall who judged it. It was a good thing for us to win, we're proud of it. at the time we were just starting out so we saw it as another step. Now, we would not do a battle of the bands type of thing, I don't see the point in it now. We've clearly moved to the next level as far as a band from our area goes. No other bands are accomplishing what we are from our hometown.

Reviews help in promoting the band, but how important are they, in your opinion? Do they influence the songwriting in a way or do you go your own way, do what you think is right?

Personally, I like to see good reviews, and interviews. But it's not going to change the way I write lyrics or sing. It's good for the metal fans to see honest reviews so they can help find new bands. The fact is any kind of review on the internet helps no matter what product you have - research shows that. So I think they are very helpful.

How about hobbies? Or anything else that carries your interest when you're not out to work or investing time in the band?

I like e-commerce, the internet, graphic design - these are things I do professionally also. My hobbies - I don't have a lot of time for, but I enjoy watching NFL football, interior design, art, music. Tons of stuff.

Well, I'm done, for now. ;-) Many thanks for replying and all the best with BEYOND FALLEN and anything revolving around it. If you have some words to add, be my guest.

Ok, well thanks so much for the help! I hope metal fans check out our music, and come see the band live!



<<Go back