Tag Archives: rock

PKG Studios is open for business

So if you don’t know by now PKG is my crew in Philly.  We do everything together including business.  We opened up a studio recently.  It’s dopeness.  Here’s some more details.

PKG Studios is open for business.

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Adventures in Jacksonville

This is another show I did with Alukard on the Jagermeister Tour with Pepper and Pennywise at Plush in Jacksonville, FL.  It’s amazing how you can influence crowds of people on a stage with a mic.  We told the crowd to put up the devil horns.  What do you know.  Everybody put them up.

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More Review Stuff

This was a review by the Miami New Times for the AlukarD project I was a part of.  If you don’t know of AlukarD it was this weird, rock, punk, hip hop thing I did with Level from Miami and a bunch other Sweet Water hooligans.  They’re great peoples and it was by far the most fun I had with any of my experimental projects.  To check out the AlukarD project you can go to the link below.

itunes.apple.com/us/album/one-shot/

http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2010-02-11/music/alukard-celebrates-its-debut-full-length-release-at-the-vagabond-this-thursday/

Alukard celebrates its debut full-length release at the Vagabond this Thursday

A A AComments (0)By Arielle Castillo Thursday, Feb 11 2010

After a seemingly endless heyday, rap-rock eventually became one of the most reviled musical artifacts of the end of the last millennium. But it’s been more than a decade since then. Fred Dursthas disappeared from everywhere except Twitter, and critical darlings such as Cage are starting to rhyme over guitars again. So the timing of Miami band Alukard’s debut full-length, One Shot, seems fortuitous. To lump it in with the crappy nu-metal-with-scratching of two decades ago, though, would be seriously wrong.

First, there is no DJ in Alukard, and the group’s style is more diverse than one might initially expect. The band members have dubbed it “305 rock,” and it’s a punk- and hardcore-fueled brew that still occasionally dabbles in ska, acoustic balladry, and even a touch of New Wave. Over all of this, a twin attack of MCs seems to barely control and egg on a joyous chaos.

One Shot is clearly the product of much labor and love. Released on the band’s own imprint, Labeless Records, it’s clearly conceived as a total package, an anomaly in today’s download-by-track music landscape. The disc weighs in at a for-these-times hefty 15 tracks, complete with an intro and an outro with a hidden track. The best ones are the most balls-out. Songs such as “44 Kaliber Love Letter,” “Molotov Cocktease,” and “The 5th” hinge on furious blasts of guitar stops and starts that crescendo into epic choruses and breakdowns; it’s the kind of thing you would want to listen to before an MMA bout.

The real stars here, though, are MCs Level and E. Grizzly, who have something Durst and company never had: quality rapping and flow. Level, aBrooklyn native who also plays rhythm guitar for the group, is particularly skilled, able to switch among Zack de la Rocha-style incantations, a soaring melodic croon, and a half-grizzled bark. (With that last voice, he would do well as a hardcore frontman.) Grizzly, meanwhile, hails from Philly and boasts a serious Northeastern flavor, floating in and out of the mix to keep the energy level maxed out. The band, too, is surprisingly tight; lead guitarist Stuntman Steve especially shreds, with a few searing, thrash-worthy solos.

Things occasionally slow down on One Shot, with a pseudo-love song in “On Our Way” and a strummy flight of stardom fantasy in “Just Maybe.” These are perfectly adequate but unnecessary: Alukard is best with its levels at 11. Hipster music this ain’t, but the band’s audible passion and dedication to its hometown might win you over in spite of yourself.

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Adventures in St. Pete

This was a show I did a little while back with AlukarD on the Jagermeister Tour.  We were opening for Pepper and Pennywise at Janus Landings in St. Petersburg, FL.  This was the biggest show I ever did at the time and there’s definitely a huge energy difference between performing in front of 100 people and 1,000 people.  You can feel it.  I’m not to sure what’s the scientific idea for feeling energy from a crowd of people but it definitely exists.  If you look at the first pic closely I’m the guy on stage underneath the “A” in Jagermeister.  You can see the happiness in my lil face.

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An Art Show I helped Put Together in Miami

This was an art show I did with Kazilla and Multiversal for Art Basel in Miami.  If you never heard of Art Basel it’s a big art festival in the Miami art district.  At the time me and Candace Meyer were feeling a little ballsy and decided to rent a giant warehouse in the art district just because.  We called our warehouse the Grey Area.  Kazilla was suppose to do her art show at SOHO, which is another giant warehouse, but that didn’t work out so we teamed up with her and did this impromptu art show that lasted 4 days and had thousands of people in attendance.  We prepped this warehouse for 36 hours straight with no sleep.  The only people who lasted the whole 36 hours was me, Kazilla, and Lu Diamondz so they get forever props for that.  Check out Kazilla at kazilla.biz.  She’s always doing awesome shit.

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More Adventures in Miami

So if you know your Miami scene history you might remember Black Sheep Bar on the Beach.  And if you’re really good you might know it used to be The Laundry Bar.  I’m not to sure what this venue is now but this was a collabo set I did with Alukard, Candace Meyer, and Korpus Kounty.  We were opening up for Canibus at the time.  He actually rocked the crowd too so it was definitely a classic night in Miami.

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More Adventures in Miami

Some video of me playing synthesizer with Alukard in Miami.  My fro was massive at the time.

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More Interview Stuff

Another Interview I did in Miami with Alukard and Nashville Radio.

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More about the AlukarD Experiment

This was an interview I did with AlukarD and Antisteez.  It explains alot about the AlukarD project I worked on in Miami.  For more on Alukard you can go to AlukarD.com.  For more on Antisteez you can go to antisteez.com.

Alukard: On the move. On the rise. On their way…

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I am sitting outside of Labeless Records’ Studios on a Thursday night having some beers with the boys from the band Alukard. The wind is crisp and cool and so is my Corona. I am mesmerized and listening to what I can only call an “intense” conversation full of adamant testimony from drummer, Zaigone, towards my partner, Lou. You see, the lines are being drawn. Lou, a player of W.O.W. (That’s World of Warcraft for all you non-believers.) is being called out by Zaigone, whose opinions on video gaming are somewhat like those of a religious zealot. According to Zaigone, Final Fantasy VII is the best game of all time. And that’s when he declares:

“Bro! Final Fantasy VII altered my universe!…Final Fantasy VII cured me off drugs!”

There is an air of ease and comfort here with these 305 rockers while we listen to this gaming convo. We are laughing. We are rolling our eyes. Sitting here with these guys…I get this good feeling. It’s like hanging out with your family. It’s like a fraternity. There is an invisible glue here that bonds these guys together. You can feel it just by sitting with them. You hear it when vocalist Level belts out his lyrics. You can almost touch it when guitarist Steven plays. You know it when MC E. Grizzly rhymes to you. You can feel it when Zaigone pounds it out for you on the drums. And when Pupo, the band’s bassist, slaps it out for you with every note. This is the foundation of their music. The closeness that wraps you up and makes you feel good. This is where their sound comes from.

So I ask myself, “What makes great bands great?” Sure, the music is important. But to me, what makes that music what it is, is the band. The band of brothers, if you will. These talented musicians who come together and make harmony.

Alukard has that bond.

Alukard is that band.

Alukard makes great music.

Together.

And Alukard plays Final Fantasy VII. (But we’ll talk about that later.)

First and foremost, you should listen to their music. (They have graciously given us some excerpts from their upcoming album, ONE SHOT, which will be released in December. And they gave us the MP3 of their single, Just Maybe.) You can click the links below to get familiar with the Alukard sound.

Alukard: On the move. On the rise. On their way... music  play

Just Maybe

Alukard: On the move. On the rise. On their way... music  play

The 5th

Alukard: On the move. On the rise. On their way... music  play

Forever Never

Alukard: On the move. On the rise. On their way... music  play

On Our Way

Three years ago I happened to catch an Alukard show in a small bar in Coconut Grove and, being the avid fan of music that I am, I was impressed. Wait, scratch that. I fell in love with them, right then and there, I can’t even lie. Their music is a blend of rock and punk with hardcore hip-hop undertones that cannot be denied. Their show is so intense and exciting that you have to watch because the energy draws you in. Their fans are bananas. If you stand too close, you will get a shoe to the dome as someone holds lead singer Level over their heads when he crowd surfs. They are everything that is good about live music. They are everything that is good about a band on the brink of greatness.

And they are, undoubtedly, everything that is good about rock in the 305.

I had the great privilege of sitting down with the band in the same studio where they recorded their up and coming album, One Shot, to talk musical shop with all of them. (Minus bassist Jason Pupo who couldn’t make the interview but did show up later .) When you put your girl in a studio with four musicians and Lou, who was silently taking photographs like a Kodak ninja, what ensues is hilarity and great interviewing. But don’t take my word for it. Take theirs.

(And if you would rather LISTEN to the interview, you can do so right here:)

Alukard: On the move. On the rise. On their way... music  play

Complete ALUKARD Interview

  • goobs: Are we good? Can we establish that we are recording and ready to go?
  • E. Grizzly: Mic check one, two. Can you hear me?
  • goobs: Do I have to speak louder than that?
  • Level: (Adjusting mic levels.) Yeah, just don’t clap. This whole interview is good if you don’t clap.
  • goobs: Okay. Are you guys ready? You are like a bunch of kids with A.D.D. It’s off the chain. It’s like (Hums circus music.)
  • Zaigone: Wow. The circus music. She did the circus music. (Laughing.)
  • goobs: Okay were are here with Alukard . And I just want to say thank you for helping us out with our project, AntiSteez.com.
  • Level: Anti-Steve?
  • goobs: No we are not anti-Steve, but we could be for the right amount of money. (Sorry Steve.) We are AntiSteez and we want to say thanks for scratching our backs and hopefully we can scratch yours and give you good promo.
  • Level: We just want our backs scratched.
  • Zaigone: Yeah, we want our backs scratched.
  • goobs: Okay, I will start scratching as soon as this interview is over. Okay? So, we are not with Jason Pupo, right? He isn’t here. What does he do? He is the bass guy, right?
  • Zaigone: Yeah, what does he do?
  • Level: Yeah, he is the bass player in the band.
  • goobs: And just for the record, why don’t the rest of you introduce yourselves and tell us what you do in the band.
  • E. Grizzly: (In awkward tone.) My name is E. Grizzly and I am the MC and the synthesizer man.
  • Zaigone: You want me to say it for you? (Laughter.) Zaigone. Percussionist.
  • goobs: Fancy Schmancy!
  • Level: (Laughing) How can I follow that? I can’t follow that. See, I’m already fucking up. (Laughing.) Okay. My name is Level. Uh, I do vocals and rhythm guitar.
  • Steven: Steven. Guitar. Song writer. Drummer. Just all for copyright purposes. (Laughter.)
  • goobs: So, just for people that I guess have never heard you guys before…cause I know that you guys are 305…But we are pretty big in…where? Brazil? (Asking Lou.)
  • Lou: We’re HUGE.
  • Level: OBRIGADO! (Thank you in Level’s fancy Portuguese.)
  • goobs: How did you guys come to be Alukard?
  • Zaigone: I told Level to come and be in my band. Nah, Level was living in New York and I was living here, and I’ve known Level since we were kids and we always said we were going to be in a band. And I formed a band with a bunch of other people who didn’t make the cut, obviously.
  • goobs: So you were, “Making The Band?
  • Level: Like P. Diddy. (Laughs.)
  • goobs: (Laughs.) Tell me about “Making the Band.”
  • Zaigone: You have Legos when you were a kid?
  • goobs: Yeah.
  • Zaigone: Well it was just like that. You get the right parts and you can build something pretty cool.
  • goobs: So it was just you and Level in the original…?
  • Zaigone: At the beginning, yeah, and then we picked up Steven along the way. And Pupo. Which is not here. Rest in peace. (Laughter.) And then Grizzly heard about us and couldn’t resist. (Laughter.) That’s not even funny! Then we picked up Grizzly as our MC in the band. (Laughter.) And then…I can’t give a better…what’s so funny about that?! (Laughter.) And the E. Grizzly came and he saved us! (Laughter.) I don’t understand what the fuck I am supposed to say…
  • E. Grizzly: I couldn’t resist…
  • Zaigone: You heard of us and the talent. And I met E. Grizzly at a show and I told him, “Hey! Your band sucks. You wanna be in a good band?” I told him really like that, ” Your band sucks! You wanna be in a good band?” and he said yes and now he is here. (Laughter.) I’m saying the truth!
  • goobs: Alright now, before you guys continue…how would you describe your sound?
  • Zaigone: Loud.
  • goobs: Look, the way that I see it this…When I first saw you guys, was maybe, like, three years ago. When I first saw you guys playing, you were a different sound, at least to me. It was more, like, rock. And now that I see you guys as a band, it’s like, rock, but it’s infused with other stuff. You guys call yourself 305 Rock, and the 305 is most-known to be more, like, Latin, or that crunk, dirty hip-hop and rock…? I mean…what is your sound?
  • ALUKARD: (Total silence.)
  • goobs: Yeah, I just got all interviewer on you guys. Boo-yah!
  • E. Grizzly: That was a good one. (Laughter.) I always tell people alternative rock, cause… (Dirty look from Level.) I know, I know. I know. But industry people don’t want you to say that, “We sound like us…” They get pissed off when you say that. So I always tell them alternative rock. But it’s a mix. It’s rock and punk and hip-hop…Level, what do you think?
  • Level: Wow. You just put me on the spot. (Laughter.) Yeah, 305 Rock basically portrays the 305. And yeah, it was known for gangster rap, especially when we were starting the band. So, I guess we kind of infused that, which is hip-hop. And also with a love for, like, old school punk, classic rock. And, you know, a lot of the 90s influence. And that pretty much made the sound. It was just, which was just our time of growing up and our youth. And incorporating that with also what’s going out now, which is still hip-hop, and that’s what it is, pretty much.
  • goobs: So basically what you’re saying is that your sound is relevant, right? That’s why it crosses over the way it does? Because I don’t really go to rock shows, but from the first time I saw your band I was like I gotta go to another one of these shows. So, I guess what I am trying to say is that your music is more relevant because it crosses over because it has so much of those elements. So, as a band, having seen you maybe three years ago for the first time, where would you say that your band is now? Like musically, like where you guys are going with your band, with your music…like mainstream, not mainstream?
  • Zaigone: Well I think that we just finally found our sound. I think that three years ago when you heard us, we were just trying to see where we were as musicians. How we wrote songs has changed completely and I think we found our sound. And like you said, yes, we do call ourselves 305 Rock, but 305 is known for other things, but I think it’s about time it’s known for something else.
  • goobs: And since you guys are evolving, I know that recently you guys were involved with the Jagermeister tour. And you were sponsored for the first time by a major sponsor, right?
  • Level: Yeah.
  • goobs: And Jager is one of those sponsor you want to get. An alcohol sponsor. Or like, a soda sponsor. And I know that recently you guys are working on getting a Pepsi sponsorship for a show you are doing?
  • Level: The Pepsi sponsorship is for Defiance, which is coming out November 28th and Owen was able to pull that and pull it together so we could get an all-ages show. Because Jager, as a sponsor, for a show like that, they probably wouldn’t go for 18 and up.
  • E. Grizzly: Yeah, just to get on the Jager website, you have to put your age in. So they are pretty serious about 21 and up.
  • Level: So we went along with a Pepsi sponsorship, which is awesome, so we could do an all-ages show.
  • Zaigone: Rememeber, Jagermeister is about music, NOT about underage drinking. (Laughter.)
  • Steven: And we promote underage drinking. (Laughter.) Of Pepsi, of course. (Laughter.)
  • goobs: So let’s talk about the Jagermeister tour. Had you guys ever gone on tour like that before? Steven? Your thoughts? Where you had a sponsor and you hit the road before with other acts?
  • Steven: No, it was big time. It was fun. We enjoyed it. And we took it for what it was. It was a growing experience. You know, we are just trying to find out little niche and everything and that was just another stepping stone.
  • goobs: How was the fan response?
  • Zaigone: Amazing.
  • E. Grizzly: Yeah, that was cool man. They showed us love. They didn’t know who we were. They didn’t have no idea who we were. They were just waiting for some dope music. Cause we picked up our guitars and they just started screaming. It was, like, ah man, this is cool.
  • Zaigone: That was the first time I ever signed autographs.
  • E. Grizzly: They really liked it.
  • Zaigone: The first show was in St. Petersburg. Janus Landing. That was a great show. And then we went to Jacksonville. The crowd response was great. I guess that people up there want to listen to live music more than anything else.
  • Level: Miami, excuse me. But the crowds outside of Miami are great. Phenomenal. Everywhere we have been, it’s been like a great experience. Especially with those two venues, everybody was so responsive. Over here, people are so, like, tense. They stand there cross-armed.
  • Zaigone: Like they can do it better. I don’t understand. I look at the crowd and they look at me like, “Oh, really?”
  • Level: We played at Churchill’s three times, and we are a very energetic band, and we played at Churchill’s three times, and all the times everyone has just stood there stiff-faced. I know they’ve seen them come and seen them go, there have been millions of bands that have gone through there, but I thought we did a pretty good job.
  • Zaigone: I just think if you are going to go to the club, go and have fun. Don’t just stand there pissed off.
  • Level: Yeah, but the Jagermeister crowds are great.
  • goobs: Let’s talk about your Miami crowds. Because I have been to a few of your shows at different venues. I saw you guys once at Pawn Shop, where the lovely Steven kicked a mic stand into the crowd and it hit me. I just want to put that out there for copyright purposes. Maybe legal action. (Laughter.)
  • Level: That’s like a lawsuit! (Laughter.)
  • goobs: And that was predominantly, your hipster, South Beach, mommy-and-daddy’s money kids. And then I have seen you guys at the Grove where it’s more, lik,e laid-back. And then I have seen some of your fucking fans and they are apeshit. (Laughter.) Like at the Cannibus show. They were rowdy. They get a little bit crazy. I want to know about your fans down here. You say that people come and they stand stiff at your shows, but you guys have quite the cult following.
  • Zaigone: Yeah it started with, like, two people. And then those two people kept going to shows. And then more people came to shows. And not everybody, but every time we play, we pick up fans. For some reason they really connect with the music.
  • goobs: Would you guys say that…(Level clearing his throat.) Sorry, Level, were you going to say something really insightful? (Laughter.)
  • Level: Yeah, I was just thinking about times back in the spot. We used to this spot, before we started playing local circuits, over here, it was in 2004. Our first one was in December of 2004. And that was at Wallflower Gallery. And you know, most bands that start off, their first show is usually really dull. They barely have anybody. But we packed the house. All three times we played there.
  • Zaigone: Tell them about the spot.
  • Level: Yeah, that was what I was thinking about telling them about the cow spot.
  • E. Grizzly: What is the cow spot?
  • Level: It was an old-school place that we used to have. It was just the 211 crew. A whole bunch of friends that would get together, go to a place and hang out. So we decided to throw shows there. It was me and Zaigone. And Pupo. And then we had John for a while. And that is when Steven joined the band, in 2004. Before we started playing actual venues in Miami, we would throw these giant parties…
  • Zaigone: In the middle of nowhere.
  • Level: And it got to the point that it was 39-40 cars every night we played. It was pretty amazing. Right then was when we were starting our following. I think that started really underground. Instead of throwing your basic house party, with all the college kids, we went straight to all these teenagers. Underage drinking, you know, unfortunately…
  • Zaigone: But not Jagermeister. They were not drinking Jagermeister. (Laughter.)
  • Steven: Pepsi.
  • Zaigone: They were drinking Pepsi. (Laughter.)
  • Level: I am saying, though, like Halloween or the weekend…
  • Zaigone: Any excuse we had to get together and play music, we did it.
  • Level: Straight up.
  • goobs: I want to ask you guys, because of the underage thing. I want to ask you guys about how you feel that your sound and your music got marketed. Do you think it was beneficial that you guys kind of jumped into the Myspace craze and now you are on Facebook. How important has that been at pushing your music to different people?
  • E. Grizzly: The thing is that not everybody who likes us online will come to a show. But it gets the word out there. I remember we went to Jacksonville and did a show and these people came up to us and were like, “Oh, yeah, I heard about these guys.” And we don’t even know these people. And like, our boy Tuna called us from Nashville and was like, “Hey, these people from Nashville know who you are!” And it is all through Myspace and it’s all through Facebook. Cause Unless you are in Miami, you really don’t know who we are.
  • Level: Yeah online on both sites. When we started on Myspace, we picked up a lot of people from there. Cause networking-wise, when bands get together, and both bands are promoting just this one show…you have have different crowds going to that venue, you can already hit up their crowd before they even show up at the venue. That’s how you pick up people really easy and that how we did it and it’s pretty cool.
  • goobs: I want to talk about the fact that you guys are on the brink of, I want to say, the next step in your musical career.
  • Zaigone: That’s what we wanna say, too. (Laughter.)
  • goobs: I know that you guys are working on an album, right? And you had a sampler album, the Undead album.
  • Zaigone: It was like a live album. But I like that, a sampler.
  • goobs: It was a live sampler, a rudimentary recording, but it captured the live sound of your shows and people screaming. Tell me about this album now. Is it old material, is it new material?
  • Zaigone: It’s both. There are a couple of new songs on there. But most of the songs were written a long time ago.
  • Level: Since we started.
  • Zaigone: But we’ve progressed, so the songs have progressed. Even though it was an old song, we have changed so many parts of so many songs, that they are basically, to us, it’s like new. It was fun again to play them. And like you said, the first one was rudimentary. It wasn’t even the first one. It was a sampler. It was rudimentary recording, but now, well, you heard it.
  • Level: It’s a polished sound.
  • E. Grizzly: Yeah, it’s definitely clean.
  • Level: The only song that we have there, and this is a fun fact…
  • Zaigone: It’s a fun fact?
  • Level: It’s a fun fact. (Laughter.) For people who want to know…cause you think that all these songs were recorded this year or last year and stuff like that. This one the drums were recorded in 2006. And that was, like, at another studio, and we didn’t even know that we were going to release it for the album or anything. We recorded like a whole bunch of sessions.
  • Zaigone: But not on all of them.
  • Level: Yeah, that’s the only song we have from 2006.
  • goobs: Well, which song is it?
  • Zaigone: Yeah, I was gonna say, which song is it?
  • Level: Forever Never. (Chuckles.)
  • goobs: Aw! That’s my favorite song! As a side note, I plan to tell the ladies that, that’s a great song…
  • Zaigone: You only plan to tell the ladies that that’s a great song?
  • goobs: You know what? I’ll be 100 percent honest with you, I’ve brought a lot of girls to your shows…
  • E. Grizzly: You have.
  • goobs: And like a lot of girls will be like, “Oh, I don’t like them,” and I’ll be like, “Wait for it, wait for it…” and then you guys bring that song out and it’s so fucking epic. It’s epic. It’s a fucking epic-ass song, you know. I swear to God. It’s a quita-panty song.
  • Level and Zaigone: Baja Panty! (Laughter.)
  • goobs: I have never met a girl who wasn’t like, “Oh my God! I love them!” After hearing that song. None of your other music sounds that way. I mean, am I talking complete shit here?
  • Zaigone: No, its true. None of our other songs sounds that way. Because since it touches the feminine side, it was written by Steven…(Laughter.)
  • goobs: (Laughing.) …for copyright purposes.
  • Zaigone: Steven, who wrote the song, for copyright purposes.
  • Level: So far, Steven knows everything.
  • Steven: I am just going to sit back and let you do this to yourself. (Laughter.)
  • E. Grizzly: It’s just cool with this group how all the songs they have this whole different feel to it. It’s cool. We don’t play the same song over and over again.
  • Zaigone: Yeah, but they don’t sound too different than each other. That’s what I like about it…
  • Level: You can tell it’s the same band.
  • Zaigone: Yeah you can tell it’s the same band. And the same album. But it’s true, that is the most-different song. It’s slow and it’s pretty.
  • goobs: Let me ask you this…I know you guys are a hard-working band. And I know you guy are on your hustle all the time. But what seperates you guys form all those hustling, hard-working bands? Because when you think about the 305 music situation, there is only a certain amount of venues and there are so many different bands trying to make their mark. You look at some bands, like, let’s say MAYDAY!… MAYDAY! Has been together forever and a day, their sound is very tight and it’s very live instrumentation and they are good at what they do…
  • Zaigone: They are a great band.
  • goobs: Why is MAYDAY! not blowing the fuck up? Why aren’t they major? And you guys, like I said are on this moment, of like, being on the brink…you are about to take the next step…why do you think it’s so hard in this market, to push yourselves?
  • E. Grizzly: I talk to a lot of industry people and a lot of things that they tell me, is what you hear on the radio is what they want. That’s what they want to give big money to. You can do indie stuff and do all shows and that’s cool, but the stuff that’s on the radio is the big bucks. And I hear a lot of people say that our music is a little more radio-friendly than other people’s, but at the same time, it’s different. Especially in with like us in Miami, and the way other bands are, we are one of the only ,like, rock bands in Miami. And there’s a lot of hip-hop bands that are dope and a lot of other bands that are dope, but some venues don’t really do rock at all, so we have to do a lot of legwork ourselves and we gotta work a little bit harder because Miami is not really a rock town. But we still show love and people show love, but that’s one main thing why I feel that people in Miami don’t blow up as much. Because the stuff you hear on the radio is what they want, and Miami has this Latin vibe, and they have this hip-hop band vibe, which isn’t really on the radio as much. It’s dope, but the industry people want that radio stuff, so that’s what the difference is.
  • goobs: Let’s talk about the dirtiest word word in the industry, to me, which is like, SELLOUT.
  • Zaigone: I want to sellout. I want to sellout stadiums. I want to sellout arenas. I want to sellout as many seats as I can.
  • goobs: No, but I mean…
  • Zaigone: I know what you’re saying…
  • goobs: (Laughing.) You are such a smart ass. But mainstream. Let’s say you guys blow the fuck up and go all mainstream…do you worry about that? Do you worry about the eventual selling out?
  • Zaigone: What private jets? And mansions?
  • Steven: We worry about paying the bills.
  • Level: As far as compromising a sound that you started and they might want to like change it around? Like that?
  • goobs: Yeah.
  • Zaigone: Well, since it hasn’t been brought to the table, I guess we never thought about it till now. Thank you. But um, I never worried about it, I guess.
  • Level: I’m second-guessing this whole music career. I don’t think I like it now.
  • Zaigone: I never thought about me as selling out. Like oh, now we are going to sound a certain kind of band.
  • Level: I never thought it would be wrong to…
  • Zaigone: But yeah, I didn’t get in to this to be poor…or to drive a Rav-4, like Kanye said. (Laughter.)
  • E. Grizzly: The thing is, too, we don’t really have to steer too far away. It’s still going to be rock. Rock stations are going to play rock songs and we make rock songs, you know.
  • Level: And so far we haven’t had a song that sounds the same, so what’s going to be the difference? We are going to compromise the sound, yeah, but we are going to still make songs that don’t sound the same.
  • Zaigone: As long we like the music we make, I guess. As long as I can look in the mirror and be like, “I am happy with what I am doing,” I guess, (whispers) I’ll sell out. (Laughter.)
  • Level: I’ll make a Barney record!
  • Zaigone: I’ll make a Christmas record! Hey, Johnny Cash did it! (Laughter.)
  • Level: Zaigone does the hits!
  • goobs: Lullabies with Alukard! (Laughter.) So, when is your new album set to be released?
  • Level: We are aiming for Winter 2009. Everybody can their Christmas list ready. So far…
  • Zaigone: I think it is Winter 2009….
  • goobs: No, it’s Fall. You can’t tell with the humidity, but it’s Fall.
  • Level: It’s Miami. So you can tell by January. (Laughter.) So yeah, it’s Winter 2009…we are aiming for it, the last weeks, to have it, ready, out, shipped, and you know like printed copies right here. To provide. Obviously, so far, I mean, we don’t have a distribution deal to go all over the place. So it’s gonna be like you go to a show, you get yourself a fucking copy. That’s how we are gonna be doing it right now. You know, it’s gulley, it’s gutter but fuck it. That’s what we got going.
  • goobs: That’s the hustle yo.
  • Zaigone: That’s the hustle…yo.
  • goobs: That’s the musical hustle, yo. You gotta give the people the music sometimes right in their hand and be like buy this, listen to it, right now.
  • Zaigone: If I have to sell it out of the trunk of my car, I will. I am not even kidding.A lot of people made it that way.
  • Level: Start off right there. It’s the first album. It’s a debut. People should get excited. It doesn’t sound like any rock record I’ve heard. The production is ridiculous.
  • Zaigone: Thank you, Sin.
  • Level: Yeah, thank you, Sin from Corpus County and Labeless Records. He did an amazing job. He made us sound like a trillion dollars. It’s amazing. Kids are gonna be able to take it and put it in their cars and listen to it though sub-woofers and fucking hear bass. And that’s out of hand. That’s 305 shit. 305 rock.
  • Zaigone: Something rock has been lacking.
  • goobs: Let’s talk about your group dynamic. Steven…hi. (Laughter.) What is your group dynamic? How do you guys work together? I mean you’re up here and goofing off. You’re talking and cracking on one another. But I mean, obviously this musical hustle is a tense situation sometimes because I am sure that there is a lot of stress and blood, sweat and tears.
  • Steven: Well the thing is that, you know, it’s not…we are not doing this, I mean, we love music, you know and we love playing music and everything, But before we were in a band together we were friends. We get along. Like we like each other. Our personalities are the same. Yeah we fight cause our personalities are the same, but, I mean, it’s like a brother thing. We have just always gotten a long. It has really nothing to do with the music. If we weren’t making music, we’d still be hanging. So it’s a plus.
  • goobs: I want you guys to tell me a good story about the band. I am talking about like a funny, nitty-gritty, embarrassing, pachanga story.
  • E. Grizzly: What’s the best one? The Pawn Shop?
  • Zaigone: Well, she was there…
  • goobs: Yeah, I got hit by a microphone stand that was kicked off the stage by Steven! (Laughter.)
  • Zaigone: He broke the ATM! He Broke the ATM machine. He beat up the ATM machine and then the club took the money that they were gonna pay us and said, “We gotta buy a new ATM machine with that money.” (Laughter.)
  • goobs: But just really quick can you guys explain to me what happened there? Are you under some kind of gag order that you can’t speak about it?
  • Zaigone: We were supposed to play. after this other band, I forget the name. (Laughter.) And then some guy said, “No, I’m buying out the bar and I only want my friends and I want to have a private party back here.” And the guy goes, okay, then you can’t play. And we are the wrong band to do that to.
  • goobs: After you guys got booked and everything?
  • Zaigone: Yeah and we were the wrong band to tell you can’t play.
  • goobs: And your fans were in there. There was a lot of people in there. I was there.
  • Level: Yeah, it was a packed house.
  • Steven: And they were paying something like $30 outside to get in.
  • goobs: Yeah it was really ridiculous the price to get in.
  • Steven: And they payed it. That’s the crazy part.
  • Level: They really screwed us there.
  • goobs: Because they didn’t give you guys a list, right? It was really minimal.
  • Level: Fun fact: DJ Seasunz was spinning and we shut off his set. (Laughter.)
  • Zaigone: We are the wrong band to tell that we couldn’t play. So we played over the music.
  • goobs: But you guys brought a bunch of fans to that show.
  • Zaigone: Yeah, we brought a lot of people.
  • Steven: Well that’s what saved us, well, saved me. (Laughter.) Cause I kicked over some of their Mackies. And then I kicked the mic and the mic hit you. I am sorry.
  • goobs: It’s okay.
  • Zaigone: And he did it because they told us we could play. That’s why he did it.
  • Steven: Yeah, I was really pissed…and extremely drunk. (Laughter.) And after I did that, I was like, “I don’t give a shit!” I ran off…I got off stage. And when I got off stage like four bouncers came at me. That’s why I threw the ATM. At the bouncers. So…they were gonna grab me.
  • Zaigone: So they don’t grab him. (Laughter.)
  • Steven: So I threw the ATM at the bouncers and then they got around the ATM and I was already squared off, I was like all right. And then all of a sudden I see the bouncers backing up and I’m like, “I’m the fucking baddest man alive!” (Laughter.) Cause those were four big dudes! And what happens is that I look behind me and all of our friends and all of my friends…
  • Zaigone: And the fans.
  • Steven: Yeah the fans, too, were behind me like, walking towards them like, “If you touch him, we are going to fuck you up.” So the bouncers had no choice. They were like, “What the fuck are we going to do?” Cause there were 50 of us and like four of them.
  • goobs: That’s the power of Alukard Fan-age.
  • Steven: Yeah, I got saved!
  • Zaigone: You are like the Hispanic Jim Morrison. (Laughter.) I swear to god, dude. Saved by fans. They carried you off on wings to the fucking heavens. (Laughter.)
  • Steven: I was like Moses. (Laughter.)
  • Zaigone: Parting the seas of bouncers. (Laughter.)
  • goobs: I want to ask you individually, what was the first album you ever bought? We can start on this side, with Grizz.
  • E. Grizzly: The first album I ever bought was…Muddy Waters by Redman.
  • goobs: That’s what’s up…
  • Zaigone: Th first album I ever bought was Danzig 4, still the best band out there is Danzig. Well, other than Alukard. (Laughter.) Yeah, but Danzig 4 was the first album I ever bought.
  • Level: The first one I bought, for real, was a cassette, back in the 80′s and it had like the song, “Celeeeebrationnnnn timmmme…”
  • goobs: Kool and the Gang.
  • Level: And that Rick Springer guy. Rick Springfield.
  • Zaigone: It was a compilation?
  • Level: Yeah, a compilation.
  • goobs: Oh, with Jesse’s Girl?
  • Level: Yeah! That song is awesome! (Laughter.)
  • goobs: Oh my God! That explains so much! (Laughter.)
  • Level: Yeah, that was the first one.
  • Steven: Well, I actually bought two at the same time. It was like a field trip and the only time I could get away from my parents and buy CDs and they had given me money. So I bought Metallica’s Black album and Marilyn Manson’s first one, what was it? The one with Sweet Dreams on it.
  • Zaigone: That was the second one.
  • Steven: Well, whatever. The second one. The popular the one…the one the kids told me to buy. (Laughter.)
  • Zaigone: The one all my friends were listening to. (Laughter.)
  • Steven: And we were in fifth grade so it was kind of fucked up.
  • Zaigone: You were in the fifth grade and you bought Marilyn Manson?
  • Level: Way to stick it to your parents, son! Stick it to your parents! (Laughter.)
  • Steven: I also got the Black album at the same time.
  • Level: H’s a total rebel! (Laughter.)
  • Zaigone: Thanks, Mom. (Laughter.)
  • goobs: Alright, we will start over here now. Steven…if you could work right now with somebody in the music industry, who would you want to work with?
  • Steven: Tom Waits.
  • Level: Thom Yorke.
  • Zaigone: Tom & Jerry. (Laughter.) Tom Jones. (Laughter.)
  • Level: What did you say? Tommy Lee? (Laughter.)
  • Zaigone: Honestly, honestly…I would work with Dave Grohl. Dave Grohl is the greatest.
  • goobs: Dave Grohl IS the greatest.
  • Zaigone: Dave Grohl is my idol. He is my idol. I don’t want to be him…maybe be inside him. (Laughter.) But I would not want to be him.
  • E. Grizzly: Rick Ruben.
  • goobs: Rick Ruben is tight.
  • Level: You are growing a goatee like him. (Laughter.)
  • goobs: So when is your next show?
  • Level: November 28th at Defiance. It’s Downtown. This Saturday. It’s at FINNEGAN’s by the RIVER We play @ 6 p.m. if you mention ALUKARD at the door, you get $10 off the cover charge! It’s our redemption show. We are going to come full force.
  • goobs: when do you guys think you’ll go start touring for this album?
  • Level: I was hoping for the end of the year, but I was told that a lot of band don’t tour at the end of the year. They stay home with their families. So, there are not a lot of venues. So we are looking for the beginning to be from January 2010 and on. We’ve got some things going together that are hopefully going to go through…so…
  • goobs: That’s cool. Let us know. Well, I think we are done, you guys…
  • E. Grizzly: (All up on the mic.) I just wanna say goobs, I read your blog…
  • goobs: YEAH! That’s awesome!
  • Zaigone: You want to say it closer to the mic so when she hears this all she hears is grrrrrroooo…(Laughter.)
  • goobs: (All up on the mic in husky voice.) I just want to say thank you. (Laughter.)
  • E. Grizzly: I was putting some emphasis into it.
  • Zaigone: Yeah, after you deep-throated the mic…(Laughter.)
  • goobs: But thank you guys. I just want to say you were a great interview and I enjoyed it.
  • E. Grizzly: Goobs, lets hang out. Let’s go get some beers.
  • goobs: Yeah! Let’s go! (Exit booth with the band. Interview over and off to drink with the guys…)

And with that we have come full circle. Our interview is over and we are outside drinking beers. Zaigone is letting us all know that he is aware that Lou plays W.O.W. and is schooling Lou on the marvels of Final Fantasy VII and that’s when he exclaims:

“Bro! Final Fantasy VII altered my universe! Final Fantasy VII cured me off drugs!”

And we all laugh and all is well with the world and with Alukard. And shortly afterward, bassist Jason Pupo arrives.

He walks in and right away I ask him,

Jason Pupo, what is the best video game of all time?

And without batting an eye he says,

Final Fantasy VII.

And when I ask him why he looks me right in the eye and says,

Because it’s life.

And right then and there, I get it. I understand what makes this band great. Why you can hear their sound as a mesh of their personalities, their struggles and their experiences. I get it.

And Alukard gets it, too.

Because these 305 rockers make their music, their way, together. A band of brothers. A bond of sound.

Why?

Because it’s life.

Word.

-goobs

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AlukarD video shows proof of life

AlukarD was a band I played with when I was in Miami.  We did over 100 shows together all around the country and it was great.  Since then I  moved on to a bunch of solo stuff up in Philly and New York but I still got love for Level and everybody we played with.  A few people told me AlukarD is dead or AlukarD is over but no, no it’s not.  He is still breathing and proof of this is with this awesome video.  For some reason Vimeo is giving me problems with the HTML but you can click on the link to see for yourself.  There’s also a Newtimes article about it.  I’m in the pic for some reason.  Maybe it’s my ghost.  Props to Level and his future adventures in Cali.  As long as he’s alive AlukarD will still be there in the shadows ready to destroy your mind with song.

Behind the Scenes of Alukard’s Hot New Video

By Jose Flores Wed., Feb. 29 2012 at 8:57 AM
Categories: Local Music, Video
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alukard.jpg

When Alukard‘s new video for “A Knight Out” gets seen outside of South Florida, the world is going to see the special way that we rock down here. The song is a sweaty mesh of Latin rhythms, hot guitar lixx, infectious melodies, and clever lyrics. But the visuals take Level and company’s sweet and heavy song to the next — wait for it — level.

The guys who make up the band don’t dress like rockers. Their jeans aren’t that tight, their hair isn’t coifed fancily; they look like the type of dudes your grandmother would be worried you’d get mixed up with at a bonfire on an empty lot. We’ve been fortunate enough to meet them, and despite their dangerous looks, we can vouch for them. They’d help your grandmother carry her groceries home, and she’d be inviting them over for coffee and snacks.

Alukard – ‘A Knight Out’ (OFFICIAL VIDEO) from de la Vega on Vimeo.

New Times: Where did you make this video?

Javier Ruiz, Chocolate Milk Photography, director of photography: The location was compliments of De Leon’s Bromeliads — an orchid and bromeliad nursery in Miami.

You said it took 15 hours and 15 cases of beer? What made it such a grueling/party-tastic experience?

Level, frontman: It was pretty crazy, but the long hours of footage required a lot of work and filming. The production team didn’t waste any seconds taking breaks, so we ravaged through beers that were hidden behind the music equipment. It was grueling but fun work when drunk.

Zaigone, drummer: We are all really happy with the footage, especially since the most shown band members are Big-D (née Zaigone) and Level. The two best-looking guys in the band, and the only two guys who are still in the band.

What made a grueling process? Nothing. It was an amazing experience. It was 100 percent pure adrenaline the entire shoot. We cranked the song and worked off the energy it gave us.

De La Vega, director: We had to slow down the track so that we could get the sped-up effect throughout the video. Having to record the song twice as long, a billion times [led to] an extra-long shoot.

What can you tell us about the footage that is on the cutting-room floor?

De La Vega : Cutting-room floor? Dead bodies, flying rabbits, and a new species of chupacabra. Unfortunately, we didn’t have them sign the proper paperwork, so we couldn’t use their faces on film.

The “hospital bill” lyric really stuck out — it paints a quick picture of the shitty economy — can you elaborate on what the bill is for?

Level: “Well, I lost my job and my dream got robbed, and I really can’t make no ends/Got a hospital bill weighing on me still/My boss went out and bought a Benz.” You can say it’s a take on the economic status of the country right now. Unfortunately, too many people can relate with this. We work our asses off, get laid off, while the cut makes sure the boss gets paid off.

Where’d you record the song?

Zaigone: The All-Mighty LABELESS Records studio. Sin, the founder and CEO, D the drummer, and various other shady characters put a whole lot of sweat and man-hours into building it from the ground up, Alukard started and made it as popular as it is; the sound there is incredible. A lot of love in that studio; that is why we sound how we sound.

How many vocal tracks did it take to make those sweet and rich harmonies?

Level: I always record about five vocal tracks with the each note of the chord sung out. Though, I usually use more.

Shoutout time!

Level: We want to give a shoutout to everyone who’s waited a long while to see this music progress. We are proud to have this video as our first release. Much respect to Cathartic Films and Chocolate Milk Photography for the great job!

Zaigone: I would like to add about six to seven zeros to the band and label’s bank account, but that’s up to the fans and bigger labels and, well, only time will tell.

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