Q. and A. with Southern California’s Project1

Project1 is a rising force on the Southern California Metal scene. I recently had a chance to chat with them about how they came to be, their insane stage shows and their upcoming album.

Background:

Q: How did you guys end up together? How did you meet? Were you already friends? How long have you been a band together? Is the original lineup still in tact? What is the basic origin of the band?

A: John: Joe and I are brothers so we were kind of stuck with each other. We found Marc through the world famous Recycler, the same one which Lars Ulrich (Metallica) met James Hetfield through.

Marc: Yeah, Joe called me and we ended up meeting at a Good Guys parking lot so I could hear their demo. Everything sounded cool, I had an audition, and the rest is history.

Joe: I met Jimmy (drummer) at one of his shows when he was playing in a band called Cheva. I was watching him the whole show and he blew my mind. I decided that we needed somebody of that caliber so I approached him and asked him if he knew any drummers just like him. I was wearing my Project1 shirt so he mentioned that he had seen us open up for Skinlab and offered to fill in for us. So, needless to say, we took him up on it.

Q: Where did the band name “Project1” come from?

A: Joe: We were looking for a name that wouldn’t pigeonhole us and wasn’t your typical Metal band name like Dark Destiny or Savage Animal. Project1 is a reflection of the music coming first and foremost, before genre, image, or any sort of trendy gimmick.

Q: What is your current status label- wise?

A: John: We’re unsigned but we’ll be shopping labels when the album is finished.

Q: Your listed influences range from Metallica, Gypsy Kings, Pantera, Primus, Tool and many more. How would you say these bands helped shape your sound? Are there particular aspects of certain bands that you tried to emulate or incorporate into your style?

A: Joe: I think you can hear elements of our influences in our music, but we try not to emulate any particular band or sound. Our ideas for songs actually emerge pretty organically. A lot of it comes from jamming in our studio together and feeding off one another.

Q: Aside from playing your instruments, talk about what else each member brings to the table in this band.

A: Joe: Marc brings managerial prowess to keep us on task since the rest of us like to go off on major tangents.

Marc: Musically, we all contribute to the writing process. Joe writes most of the lyrics and vocal parts with a little help from John.

John: Jimmy brings great stories about past escapades and the finest in Metal commentary.

Q: On your website you feature covers by Slayer (raining blood) and Rush (The working man). Were these songs you particularly love? How did playing these covers come about?

A: Marc: When we play live, we try incorporate one cover each set. We rotate amongst band members to pick the cover for each show. I think John picked Raining Blood and Joe picked The Working Man. We’ve also done songs like “Blackened” and “Damage Inc.” by Metallica and “Fucking Hostile” and “Use Your Third Arm” by Pantera.

John: We even did “New Years Day” by U2.

Joe: They’re definitely songs that we love. But we also try to pick covers that the audience will likely know and sing along to.

Jimmy: Except for the occasional obscure cover like Nevermore’s The Tiananmen Man.

John: Who?

The stage show:

Q: Your website describes your shows as, “a hybrid of a concert and an athletic event.” Talk about what this means to you, how this came to be, etc.

A: Joe: Music is very kinetic to us. Some music calls for dancing. Our music usually calls for thrashing, stomping, jumping, head-banging, etc. I don’t know how you can’t move to music.

Marc: I look at it as a give-and-take relationship with the audience. The more energy we give them, the more we get back, and it feeds off of itself.

Q: What kind of venues have you played? Places you’ve toured?

A: John: To this point, we’ve played mostly clubs around Southern California.

Jimmy: We plan on touring in support of the album when it’s finished.

Q: How hard is it to carry the kind of energy you guys bring on a nightly basis? What do you do to help keep the energy up?

A: Jimmy: The music and the crowd reaction is all you need. You can be dead tired but as soon as you get ons tage, play that first note, and get that reaction from the crowd, it revitalizes you.

Joe: None of us party too hard. We watch we put in our bodies and try to take care of ourselves. We treat it like a job.

The Album

Q: You have been working on your first full-length album for some time now. Talk about that process a bit. What has that been like? Where in the process are you currently. Where have you been recording?, what kind of set-up do you have?, what has the mastering process been like? What are some things you like and dislike about the whole experience?

A: Marc: We could write an essay to answer this one, but we’ll try keep it brief…

Jimmy: You may have to come over and have a couple drinks with us for the answer to this one.

Joe: We’re about 68.26% of the way done. No, we’re actually about three quarters done. We’re tracking at “The Cave”, our own recording studio in Orange County, which is both awesome and horrible. Awesome because we can take our time and do it right. But horrible because we can take our time and do it right.

John: Once we’ve completely tracked a batch of songs, we take them to get mixed and mastered by Paul Miner, who’s worked with AFI, New Found Glory, and Atreyu. You can actually see him and his studio on an upcoming episode of LA Ink.

Q: You made the decision to film various parts of the recording process. What are your thoughts on how that has been? Do you find that a camera in the room effects the way you play or record? Do you like it? Do you expect to do the same or even more of this kind of thing in the future?

A: Joe: The filming hasn’t been very extensive thus far so it hasn’t been invasive at all.

Marc: That damn camera must add about 50 pounds because I’m only 150 in real life…ha ha ha.

John: We definitely hit go when Jimmy starts rolling about various topics. That’s always the best footage.

Seriously, though, we mostly do it for the fans. We enjoy getting to see an inside perspective of the recording process of our favorite bands. So we figured, rather than wait around for a year and a half with very little contact from us, our fans would enjoy getting a taste of our process and seeing what the hell is taking us so long.

Q: Since you’ve been recording, you haven’t done shows in a while. How long has it been since you’ve played live? How has that effected each of you? When do you expect to hit the stage again and where might you be playing (tour?, etc)?

A: Marc: We haven’t played since before we started writing and recording, which was last summer. We’re definitely itching to play.

Joe: We’ll be playing non-stop when the album’s done. We’ll play anywhere we can plug in. We can’t wait to start playing this new material for people.

Jimmy: I can’t wait for people to hear my tambourine solo.

Q: It is now nearing the end of July. Do you have an update on when the album may be coming out? Have a name picked yet?

A: Marc: The album is due out in late Fall and is tentatively titled “Inalienable”.

The single

Q: The first single looks to be, “Embrace the imperfection.” One of the first things that jumped out to me when I heard it was the driving drum track. It really seems to keep pounding and sets the tone. What can ya tell me about that? Is that an aspect that is indicative of your style of music?

A: Jimmy: The album goes through many peaks and valleys and doesn’t stick to just one theme. It’s metal, but definitely not one-dimensional.

Joe: It spans as wide of a range as you can within heavy music. It always sounds like us, but I think that we’re putting out something that will stand on its own.

But back to your question about the drums, Jimmy is an extremely creative drummer. Regardless of the feel of the song, he always brings interesting and exciting drum ideas to the table. As a drummer myself, I’m always impressed with the ear candy and intricate rhythms he creates.

Marc: This is a very drum-oriented album. I think drummers and fans of percussion in general are going to have a lot of fun with it.

John: Plus, we’re bringing back the drum solo in a big way.

Q: How did the song come about lyrically? What’s it all about conceptually?

A: Joe: Conceptually, the song is about challenging a cultural and individual disposition towards perfection. The message is about coming to grips with the fact that life isn’t perfect.

Q: Do you expect this to be your first single? Do you have any other favorites on this album so far?

A: John: This isn’t necessarily our first single. From the first batch of fours songs that we mixed with Paul, we thought this would represent us well and get people pumped.

Jimmy: Are there actually singles in Metal?

Marc: “Coexisting” is one of my favorites from the album because it takes the listener all over the musical map, from odd-time riffs to mellow grooves to metal thrashing madness.

Jimmy: I don’t think there will be a skipper on the whole album. Musically and vocally, there’s a lot to listen to. People will probably hear things on the 10th listen that they didn’t get on the first nine.

The Future

Q: Presumably the album will be out later this year. Where do you expect to go from there? (touring, more recording, etc?)

A: Joe: We’ll do whatever it takes to get this album out to the masses so we’ll probably be doing a ton of shows.

Marc: We’re very proud of the way things are turning out with this record. It’s been a lot of work, but I think that will pay off when people hear the final product.

Q: What does the future look like for this band?

A: Jimmy: If the reaction we get from our shows and this new song “Embrace…” are any indication of how we’ll be received, then I think the future looks promising.

Marc: It just a matter of taking our product to the masses and getting the exposure we need.

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One Response to “Q. and A. with Southern California’s Project1”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Cool band. Cool guys. Killer music!

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