The Sounds of State-KC Stanfield

Two weeks ago, only a couple of hours after I interviewed Camelle Sison for my post last week, I sat down with KC Stanfield for this week’s version. I could tell that he really loved music thanks to the massive headphones around his neck, and he was about to prove it to me in our interview. Let’s get right to it:

Cameron Satterlee: Hi KC, thanks for joining me here.

KC Stanfield: Oh no problem, thanks for having me.

CS: Yeah alright, well let’s get to it. What’s your radio slot?

KC: My radio slot is the lovely time of Saturday at ten pm to eleven pm.

CS: Wow.

KC: I know, it’s late.

CS: I’ve had a few Saturday morning people because that’s the alumni shows, but I don’t think I’ve ever interviewed someone who has a weekend night.

KC: It’s pretty horrible, I mean cause usually you put your weekend on pause. Especially at the night cause everyone goes out and does stuff.

CS: Oh yeah.

KC: My friends will be like “Hey KC wanna go to a bar?” And I’m like “after my radio show I will.”

CS: Oh man. I think I might know the answer to this but how long have you been with KCR?

KC: Well actually I blogged for them last semester, about the music that I actually play now. I don’t have any time to blog anymore. It’s quicker to have a one hour radio show, prepare for that, and then do everything else I need to do. So I still want to be with KCR and talk and or play music that I like, it’s just different.

CS: But so this semester is your first semester on air?

KC: Yeah it is.

CS: Yeah I think the newbies get the weekend nights for the most part.

KC: Oh yeah they do.

CS: But you blogged before so that’s cool. What was your blog by the way?

KC: I just covered some concerts that I went to, predominately, sometimes I covered underground hardcore bands or metal bands that not many people know. On top of it being metal and no one knows it to begin with. So that’s what I did. I covered some hardcore concerts and wrote about some albums. Basically I was a metal blogger.

CS: Alright well you sort of answered my question but what kind of music do you play?

KC: Metal.

CS: Metal.

KC: Yep.

CS: Saturday night metal alright.

KC: I know right? It’ll keep you awake.

CS: Get the blood flowing.

KC: Ruin a party too, if you play KCR as your background music.

CS: Yeah. Yeah I thought the scheduling blocks were supposed to put the EDM DJ’s like on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

KC: They’re after me.

CS: Alright, but you got your metal show. Clashes a bit, probably. But maybe next semester you’ll get a slot more in tune with metal.

KC: Maybe. Well actually probably not since I’m graduating.

CS: Oh, alright well never mind. I’m glad I got this interview to document this.

KS: Right?

CS: So, why metal? Why is that your scene?

KC: I dunno, I kinda got into it at an early age. I was, it’s probably not the best comparison, metal is really like drugs. You start off with some of the easier stuff, I started off with some Avenged Sevenfold, some Metallica, Disturbed. Some light hearted metal.

CS: (Laughing) my mom wouldn’t call Metallica lighthearted.

KC: And then in high school I slowly got more into metalcore stuff, post-hardcore stuff like A Day to Remember, the Devil Wears Prada, Parkway Drive. And then now, I still listen to all of that old stuff, but what I can withstand or enjoy, is a lot heavier than what I did four years ago.

CS: Oh that’s such a metal thing to say, the music you listen to is the stuff you can withstand. That’s so amusing.

KC: I know right? That’s how everyone else is, I’ll play some Whitechapel and people will just stare and me and say “you listen to this?” Because I don’t have long hair or are covered in tattoos, I don’t look really like the general metalhead so it kinda throws people off at the beginning. And a lot of them are like “oh my god this stuff uhhh ahhh” but it does grow on you. Especially my roommate, he’s gotten used to it.

CS: Alright, yeah. I know you probably wouldn’t play anything else on your show cause that wouldn’t flow together, but do you listen to any other genres of music, or mostly metal? Or different kinds of metal I guess.

KC: Yes to both. I listen to stuff you’d expect like rock, because it’s an offshoot of metal. I also listen to more indie and alternative stuff like Interpol or Modest Mouse. I listen to rap too, like Nas. I like the political stuff more, Hopsin’s pretty cool. So I listen to a little bit of everything, I listen to techno. Not so much country, can’t stand that stuff, don’t know why.

CS: You and every other DJ I’ve ever interviewed. I don’t think I’ve ever heard any metal fan have the gall to say that rock is an offshoot of metal.

KC: Well technically metal is an offshoot of rock.

CS: Yeah they’re related, but rock came first.

KC: But if you compare—I’m trying to think of a rock band—Nirvana.

CS: Yeah they were influenced by metal.

KC: If you compare them to—any metal band, I’m trying to think—Parkway Drive, it sounds nothing alike. Anything that screams, it just doesn’t sound like rock anymore, it just sounds like metal.

CS: Oh yeah they’re totally related but not close.

KC: They’re oceans apart now. It’s like the continental drift of music. That is the nerdiest thing I could have said, too.

CS: Hey whatever, that’s fine. So I guess you sorta explained it, but I kinda wanted to go a bit deeper. You grew up listening to metal, but I know people who did that and sorta phased out of it, but it seems like you went deeper into it. So I assume the music is pretty important to you, why it that?

KC: Well I do like quicker tempo music to begin with, and that’s metal right there. It’s always fast. And the thing I love about metal is that there’s usually just a ton of passion into it. I mean these people are screaming their voices out, they’re breaking their vocals essentially because they love the genre. They’re not getting paid much, it’s metal, they’re not making—well some of them are—but most of them aren’t making millions and millions of dollars. They’re doing it because they love the music. What more can you ask when it comes to music because they’re artists who are passionate about the music and just about the music.

CS: Yeah, that’s a great response. So is there any new metal band out there that you’ve been listening to lately? Or an old one that you just discovered?

KC: Yeah, I mentioned this on my last week’s show but the band is called Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza. Deathcore. I know that is the most ridiculous name for a metal band in the world and I love it so much just because it’s so ridiculous and out there.

CS: I think I’ve actually heard about them once or twice in high school. Just cause of the name probably.

KC: And I’m waiting for new stuff from a band, probably not many people know them, they’re called My Heart to Fear. They’re really metalcore if you want to define them exactly but they sorta have their own unique sound. They scream to be heard rather than to be loud. So you can understand them a bit better and the lyrics are really well written.

CS: Alright, so I always like to end on this one, what would be your ideal show? The perfect show for you.

KC: I don’t know that would have to be an all day festival of just bands that I love just back to back to back. Because there’s so many bands that I’d love to see live.

CS: Oh no I mean your radio show, your one hour block, like if you could do it really well how would that go? My bad I didn’t word it well.

KC: I do it when my iPod didn’t have technical difficulties. I have a lot of music on this, I have over 8,000 songs on the now discontinued 160 gig iPod. So it froze on me one show!

CS: Oh no!

KC: Oh my god. So I was just trying to ramble and restart it and come up with a story because I totally didn’t expect this since I’m new and didn’t have a set story like “oh technical difficulties, here’s a little bit about me.” Because no one wants to listen to that, when I listen to the radio I always hate when the DJ talks too much. So they’ll explain a little bit about the band or an upcoming concert or a new album and then go straight into the music. I hate when they just talk and talk and talk.

CS: Yeah.

KC: I don’t listen to radio for AM like programming.

Cs: Yeah when your iPod fails you that’s something you don’t plan on.

KC: Oh it was fun, it was a fun day.

CS: So I usually end on the last question, but I want to know, Black Sabbath, are they metal?

KC: They’re like the founders of metal.

CS: Alright but they’re not fast though and you said that was a core component of metal.

KC: True, but I am of the mind that if it was metal it still is, for the most part unless it’s a new album then it’s more rock. But they basically founded it, because Led Zeppelin was kinda like the transitioning period. I think Black Sabbath was the definitive “these guys: metal, yes” band. And I still think that is because think of some of the 80’s music, a lot of it was metal but now it’s classic rock. So our standards of genres have changed and that somehow changed what they were but I still consider them, what they were originally meant to be. That’s just me.

CS: Well thank for sitting down with me, it was a great interview.

KC: No problem.

After the interview, we chatted for a few more minutes, but unfortunately my small metal knowledge was rapidly running dry. I had to get to work so we parted ways soon after. Be sure to check out KC’s show every Saturday from 10-11 pm, only on KCR College Radio, the Sound of State.

Up-and-coming Hardcore Band: Sylar

Ever wonder what would happen if you combined Emmure and Beartooth? Chances are you’d get Sylar (no, I’m talking about the villain from the cancelled TV series Heroes), a metalcore band from Queens, N.Y.

They’ve released one full length album, To Whom It May Concern, but I’ve known them for about a year when Last.fm (it’s the Myspace of Internet radio) introduced Deadbeat to me. They’re incredibly underrated and have the potential to become a huge name amongst fans.

Sylar does enough to stand out in the genre, but still sound familiar. Their music is heavy and aggressive with a hint of hip hop. Perhaps Golden Retreat is the best song to demonstrate this. They coordinate the styles enough to be noticeable, but not too overbearing. And, of course, there are those high-pitched squeaks to which is reminiscent of Emmure. The only difference is they’re electronic. The electronic parts aren’t as prominent as a band like I See Stars, but it’s definitely present.

Another draw to Sylar is Jayden Panesso, their vocalist. His mids are well-done. They convey emotion and almost sound pained, which is fitting for their subject material (Warning: there’s a lot of profanity). But it’s also hard to ignore the cleans, which really shines in Never Let It Go. They never sounds unnaturally high or overproduced and complement the screams.

Sylar will be playing at Soma on Dec. 6 with Emmure, The Acacia Strain and Fit For A King. And with a lineup like that, many more people will know their name soon. I’m sure they’ll pass that 100,000 likes on Facebook benchmark shortly.

Up-and-Coming Hardcore Band: Affiance

Affiance-Blackout

Every once in a while, there’s a band that sounds like a modern version of a classic. In this case, Cleveland metalcore band Affiance reminds me of Iron Maiden. I say this in the most respectful way possible. They’re not copying Iron Maiden, but sound like what they would have if they started their band 30 years in the future.

This allows Affiance to stands out in the overcrowded homogeneous metalcore genre. Instead of working with the tried and true switching of screaming and singing, Dennis Tvrdik sings in most songs. There are a few background screams, but for the most part, singing is predominate. And Tvrdik has some incredible range. Fire! is a perfect example. Tvrdik can hit high notes in way that doesn’t sound whiny  and has a powerful voice all the way through.

Of course, Tvrdik isn’t the only one who makes Affiance grand. The rest of the band has a strong presence in every song too. There are still breakdowns, which is why I’m defining them as metalcore, but Affiance isn’t afraid to bust out a guitar solo. Their riffs never get boring either. Drums tend also impress in songs like Monuments Fail.

To top off impressive instruments and vocals are Affiance’s lyrics. They’re well-written and political (which is always a plus for a political science minor like myself). Every song never ceases to motivate me in a genre full of complaining and sub-par lyrics. Their second album is even called The Campaign of all things.

I found out about Affiance when I heard Call To The Warrior and The Hive on No Secrets Revealed. They’re an awesome band who’s proven to have a consistently great track record since 2010. Most fans of metal music as a whole will be able to enjoy them. It’s only a matter of time before we start hearing them on the radio.

The Ghost Inside and Every Time I Die concert review

Jonathan Vigil

I’m very picky when it comes to seeing concerts. It usually takes more than two bands I want to see for me to crawl out of my house, but I’m glad I made an exception. I hadn’t seen The Ghost Inside or Every Time I Die before their show at Soma on Nov. 13. Now, I can die happier knowing I’ve finally crossed them off my list.

I missed half of Backtrack‘s setlist from what can only be described as spontaneous traffic in the San Diego area, but from what I heard, they did solid job at opening. The New York hardcore band brought their A game, with all the high pitched screams and breakdowns you associate with the genre. Although, they may have been too trusting with the crowd taking the mic every other minute.

  Hundredth went up next. They sounded like a more composed version of Backtrack, in a good way. Slowing down and changing pace makes the heavy parts seem that much heavier. They had clean vocals, but those were drowned out by the rest of the band. However, Hundredth had a very short setlist because of their lead vocalist’s migraine.

Architects brought the life out of Soma once they took the stage. If bass is your thing, then Architects would’ve made you happy. Bass and drums were the dominant instruments. You could still hear the vocals, but the guitars were barely audible. It was a little disappointing because there were some interesting guitar riffs. Other than that, they played a pretty good show with amazing breakdowns and vocals.

Every Time I Die drum sound check

Apologies for the bad quality. You’d think since we can put a man on the moon, we’d be able to make a camera that takes good pictures indoors.

As you can probably guess, Every Time I Die came up next and stole the show. Listening to them live is like riding on a train without brakes being conducted by a clown. From start to finish, they had a sense of humor and never slowed down (until the encore). I absolutely lost my mind when they played The New Black, We’rewolf and Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space. Having so many good songs released made for a setlist that wasn’t boring in the slightest. Everything sounded tight and no instrument was quiet. All-in-all It was chaotic and a blast.

Finally, The Ghost Inside took the stage and also did a great job. The started off with Avalanche which sounds infinitely better live than recorded. Instruments and screams were heavy and made for some brutal breakdowns. However, the singing was a little off pitch and quiet. It didn’t make too much of a difference considering how the entire crowd was singing along. Most of their setlist came from Get What You Give with a few from their now released Dear Youth and older work. It was a great balance considering so many songs, such as Engine 45, Dark Horse and White Light, are on one album.

The headliners are what made this concert. Their two performances back-to-back made for an concert that still has my body aching and ears ringing in the best way possible.