The New Jersey Sounds of Thrash Metal Band Drifter
Monto: Thank you for having us! Yeah we’re from all over New Jersey but right now we’re all based out of New Brunswick.
RAPMM: There have been tons of bands come out of NJ. Springsteen, Frank Iero a mix of rock, punk and so on… what sound were you all into when you were young and in high school?
Joe: We all listened pretty different bands growing up it ranges anywhere from Mr. Bungle to Misfits and then all the way back to My Chemical Romance. However one thing we all had in common is that we all listened to a lot of metalcore growing up. As for New Jersey bands we listen to all the greats like Dillinger Escape Plan, MCR, and Senses Fail.
RAPMM: How did you all come to your own sound? As it seems to mesh a couple together.
Mark: I would definitely attribute it to our varied inspirations. For example my favorite drummer is Luke Holland meanwhile Jon’s biggest inspiration is Rolling Stones. Joe and Fil listen to bands like CHON or Plini, while Monto takes a lot of inspiration from Sam Carter. When you put that whole mix together you get Drifter.
RAPMM: Your album cover art for ‘The Howling’ is interesting. What does it signify?
Fil: Our good friend Jeremy Zaleski did it for us, whose actually also featured on our song 00savage as a back-up vocalist! As for what it means, Monto’s lyrics throughout the album tell a story of becoming a more withered person. A loss of innocence. We felt the dagger going through a white rose was a good representation of this change.
RAPMM: It is always fascinating to hear about artist and bands process they go through to create an EP or album even. Can you describe the process of how this album came together, and what it has meant to all of you. (Please each person responding start by placing your name before your answer)
Monto: We spent a lot in pre production perfecting the songs and working on maturing the sound of the band and we wanted to make sure that we were really happy about every part and making each take was perfect but still trying to keep it raw.
Joe: There were a lot of long nights slaving away in the basement to the point where we took shifts recording while the other person was sleeping. So it really means a lot for it to finally be done and I’m really happy with it.
Jon: The recording process was really huge for us. It took nearly two years because we didn’t have all the funds and equipment right away and we obviously wanted it to be as perfect as possible. Because of all that I honestly feel like we grew with this EP.
Fil: I actually came in towards the end so it was really cool to see the whole product coming together from the perspective of someone who wasn’t there since the start. I got amped to be a part of something great.
Mark: For me the process was really fun but it was also a huge challenge. I was constantly writing parts that would be difficult for me to nail but it pushed me to progress further in my skills. In the end, this EP made me a better drummer for sure.
RAPMM: Looking back over a project, how satisfied are you all with the final product? Any notes of things you might change or try differently next time?
Monto: It’s pretty much as close to perfect as we could have gotten it in our eyes. We spent a lot of time writing the songs over and over and re-tracking everything until we all thought it was perfect. We also had a lot of help from James Perry because we got him to mix all the songs and put a few finishing touches. As for things we would change, we definitely want to make our sound a bit more organic next time around and add more variety to the elements within our songs.
RAPMM: Spotify and YouTube seem to be the two most important places for musicians to be seen and heard nowadays. What elements did you put together as you were story-boarding for your first music video off the album “Black Mamba?”
Monto: The storyboard is based off the theme of the lyrics sprinkled with a “witchy” vibe. The video has a trippy, hexed feeling which I was able to achieve after learning Adobe After Affects and Premier the previous year. As I was directing and producing the video, I knew how it was going to put it together in post. Videographers Jay Dekony and Jon Reino were also a major help with capturing the footage with their cameras. 80-90 hours of editing was put into this to make it perfect. The goal was to make sure that our video stood out against the over saturated market.
RAPMM: Certainly most bands are already planning a year or more ahead. What are some things you as a band would like to develop? Songwriting-wise? Instrumentally wise?
Mark: We don’t want to give too much away but we definitely want to try to evolve and mature our sound with every release that we put together. We want to constantly be innovative with the metalcore genre, standing out amongst the rest.
RAPMM: Out of this process of emerging what so far have you all found to be the most valuable lesson that you have learned?
Monto: I would say being innovative, hard-working, and paying attention to marketing. You have to be ahead of the curve, strive to be perfect, and let everyone know it.