KEVLAR is to me what is used to make light racing cars but if it is a cool metal band I’ll take that too. ©2016 Anders Ekdahl
Could you please introduce yourself to those of us in the dark?
Anthony: I’m Anthony and I play bass in the band Kevlar
Nick: My name is Nick Sanzo, and I am the drummer for Kevlar.
Jake: My name is Jake Flaugh and I’m the guitarist for the band “Kevlar”
Kelci: And I’m Kelci – I sing!
I often wonder how people discover that they can do what they do. How did you discover that you can sing and play instruments?
Kelci: Well, I remember being in piano lessons at the age of 5… When I turned 8, I stumbled upon this band called Paramore. They changed my life that day, and that’s when I decided to see if I had any type of musical talent. Turns out, I did!
Nick: For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been exposed to music, whether it was classical music like Beethoven and Bach, to The Beatles to rock music like Van Halen and Mötley Crüe. At around 9 or 10, I started playing clarinet in the school concert band. As I got older, more and more of my friends got into music and broadened my musical horizon. Then around the age of 12 I picked up drums and haven’t looked back since.
Anthony: I discovered that when I was about 13. I would always get stuck playing bass on Rock Band and one song I could never beat was Working Man by Rush. As I kept playing I felt a desire growing to learn that song on an actual bass.
Jake: All my life I have been around music. From my dad being in a country band and my grandma being a Gospel singer, it kind of just developed my love and passion for music. I started playing drums around age 11 then from there moved to guitar and loved it ever since.
When did it become a revelation that you can do this and maybe get paid for having fun?
Nick: I think when most kids start playing an instrument (especially rock music) they begin dreaming of becoming a successful rock star with all the fame and fortune that comes along with it. I was definitely no exception and had that dream years before I ever picked up an instrument. But as I got older, I found that playing music was more then just being some cool guy up on a stage. Music starts becoming a way of life and a passion beyond anything else you do or know. Being able to play music is an incredible gift, and being able to perform that music in front of people is just as awesome. And whether we’re playing in a room of 5 people, 50, people or 500 people, if we can make just one person happy, or rocking out, or whatever you would say, that’s a pretty big success to me.
Jake: Money to me was never the objective when first starting out with music; I just loved the fact of being able to express emotions through sound. I realized I wanted music to be my career around the age of 15 and could eventually make a living through it.
Anthony: The more we started playing out of town in different cities getting paid to come out was starting to be a reality. For me the music always has and always will come before the money. I feel at some point in a musician’s career they need to get paid, for some kind of an income.
Kelci: I always had the drive and will to make a band my career, but it wasn’t until I met the guys in Kevlar that I really thought we could make something out of this. We’ve known each other for less than 10 months and it’s already been a hell of a ride! I can’t wait to see what’s up next!
When you spend an amount of your life on a band does it ever feel like you have wasted time, that you have fought one too many windmills?
Kelci: Not to me, no. I feel that it’s such a unique thing to do. Through shows and networking, you meet so many incredible people. Some of them become lifelong friends and others you just have for a time being, but I’ll never forget those memories. Of course, you get knocked down sometimes, but that happens. I think it happens no matter what profession you’re in. I would rather have the time of my life playing music for a little while than working some desk job – that’s for sure! Nick: To me, a band is like a family. And like any normal family, there’s always times where you get under each other’s skin and get in ruts with each other. And it’s not even like your wasting time, but sometimes you can pound out half a dozen songs in a month, and other times it takes you two months to write only one song. It’s just the way it is, and everyone has accepted that and is totally fine with it.
Anthony: No, absolutely not. I of course have other hobbies and interests outside of music that I can work around the band schedule.
Jake: The magical thing about music is you never stop learning your craft. Every band and or gig is an experience in it’s self. Nothing is a waste when you learn new things and meet new people.
No matter how small or big you were as a band you will leave a legacy behind you. How do you want people to treat this legacy?
Kelci: Honestly, I just want people to wake up one day and say, “Hey. Remember that band Kevlar? They were pretty rad.” I’d be happy with that!
Anthony: No one ever really knows how something will turn out. I put the best effort into being the best musician and person that I possibly can.
Nick: I would want people to look at us and see that whether they liked the music or not, we did what we loved and wouldn’t have it any other way. And that we worked hard to get wherever we got and we put it all on the table.
Jake: Connecting with a song is a huge honor for an artist. Just knowing that people could connect with our songs and sing our lyrics is one of the best feelings in the world. If people still sing the lyrics 5-10 years from now, that would be astonishing.
Is digital taking away the mystery of waiting for a new album now that you can upload as soon as you have written a song?
Jake: Yes and no, every generation is different, it’s a different industry then it was 20 years ago. So it just depends on whom you ask but personally when I hear a new track from an artist/band it gets me pumped for the upcoming release. So I would say no, it shifted and now is common/accepted in modern day.
Nick: To others, they may be really bummed by the way digital release is changing the music industry. I see both sides of the argument, but I personally think digital is a huge step for music and musicians everywhere. It’s now easier than ever for a musician who’s down on his luck to release his or her music for the world to hear. And more established musicians can become more recognized and listened to, thus creating a bigger following and fan base.
Anthony: I think for bigger bands it does. When one of my favorite bands will release an album I like to wait until the set release date of it to add to that mystique, not listen to a stream a week before its release. But for smaller/ upcoming bands I think it’s a valuable tool that gets your music out as soon as possible.
Kelci: I think it can go both ways. On one hand, fans love new music and the faster you can get that to them, the more they’re going to keep coming back. On the other hand, bands are losing money so rapidly because of the digital industry and that sucks, but it’s just the way the world has changed. I think bands have to change with the times just like people do, whether they like it or not.
How important is image in separating you from all the million different styles of metal there is out there?
Kelci: I don’t think image is as important as music. I truly believe that if you’re talented enough, no one is going to care about what you look like. However, in this industry today, its all anyone really cares about. That means that we have to work at separating ourselves from everyone else. I don’t think that’s a bad thing necessarily. I think it’s just another cog in the music industry machine that people have to be aware of.
Anthony: Image is very important. Between the way the band dresses, their stage show, their light show, the songs etc. anything that makes that band stick out really. It’s also about their originality.
Jake: It’s important separating yourself but it’s also important to write and play what you want to play and not to force yourself to be different. A group of 4-5 people with different influences and different musical backgrounds could create something special and different without being forced.
Nick: For some bands, they rely heavily on an image or theme for lack of better words to get their message across. But the coolest stage props or face paint won’t win over a strong and consistent fan base by itself. Strong music has always been the key at the root of a long-term successful band. Whether you look at solid songwriting or writing “sell out” songs, the music has the best long-term influence on a listener. But I would never discredit a band sole on its image. A strong image with a mix of tasteful and catchy music makes for one hell of a band.
Do you deal in different topics lyrically or do you keep to one, just using different variations?
Kelci: I vary greatly in my day-to-day writing. I would say that no one song is about the same thing as another. My influences, personally, range from every day scenarios, to heartbreak, to television shows and movies, to even how much I love my dogs! HA!
Nick: The lyrics for our songs cover a few different themes and areas. A lot of them are written around day-to-day struggles, while others are more or less stories with a theatric flare. But no matter what the lyrics are, there’s always an underlying truth to them. Whether it’s a based an actual experience, or an “embellished” story, I think people can relate to the lyrics in our songs.
Anthony: I don’t write the lyrics. Most of the time I depends on the vibe our singer gets from a riff and what she can do with it.
Jake: Sometimes we write everyday scenarios and sometimes a specific topic or story. Whatever the song calls for or whatever influences us that day.
Do you consider yourself a live artist or do you like to spend most of the time secluded in a studio?
Anthony: For me personally they both really help me grow as a musician. My favorite part in a live setting is when I improvise a bass part to be different from the studio part, for me stuff like that can go a long way. In a studio setting it is the complete opposite. Its very chill, Its where I’m pushing myself to be the tightest I possibly can to have the best product for the album. If being in a touring band ever stopped one day I would become a studio/ session musician.
Jake: I would say half and half, I love performing live and traveling but I’m really into studio production and recording/writing. So maybe a little bit more studio.
Nick: I like to be both. Without a good sounding record, people who hear it will disregard the band at live performances. But without a good live performance, the people who watch won’t support that band any further. Both environments demand different ways to be efficient, and it’s equally important to be good live and in the studio.
Kelci: I would definitely say live. As much as I love the studio, there’s something about live performances to me that just capture the essence of the band. I love being able to cry or punch the ground on stage. I think it adds to our image and it definitely makes me feel on top of the world!
How much of a touring band are you guys? What memories do you take with you?
Kelci: We just recently started touring this past summer, and it was incredible! We have so many memories from the first time we ate White Castle together, to ghost hunting in a hotel in Virginia. Next year, we’re definitely going to step it up and try to become a national touring band, so keep a look out!
Anthony: In January of 2015 we got a new singer. So that meant writing all new material. We did a southeastern United States run in July, but we’ve also played tons of gigs this year. 2016 there will be a lot more tours.
Nick: We’ve gone on several tours and countless “Weekend Warrior” runs over the past 3-4 years, and we always strive to leave everything we’ve got up on the stage. And we’ve played many memorable shows and opened up for many incredible bands (Mushroom Head, All That Remains, Butcher Babies etc.). But a lot of my most fond memories are the in between moments, like traveling around the country, the many mishaps that take place, pretty much anything I can think back at that puts a smile on my face. The adventures we have and the people we meet are some of the best memories I have.
Jake: We have done a few tours. We went to Florida and did an East Coast run last summer, which I loved. My favorite memory is being able to meet new people and gain friendships with the people coming out to our shows.
What does the future hold?
Jake: We will be take this band as far as it can go and push the limit! AS far as this upcoming next year, we plan a new EP, which is about done. We also plan on doing some very rad shows and some tours that are in the works. Very excited with this upcoming year and the wild ride we will journey.
Nick: We’re currently working on a follow up to our most recent EP, “The Void”. We’ve been recording and writing off and on since this past summer and can’t wait to release new music. We have a music video for our song Never mine, Nevermind off “The Void”. We plan on doing various tours and playing some awesome shows as well. Things are looking good for the future, and we don’t plan on backing off the throttle anytime soon.
Anthony: We do plan on releasing another EP in early 2016, in the previous question I mentioned more tours, but other than that anything could happen! That’s all the fun of the journey.
Kelci: The future holds some incredible surprises! We have a new video coming out for our single Never Mine, Nevermind, as well as a few huge show announcements for the beginning of the year! We’re also going to be releasing our follow up EP to this past years “The Void”. From there, we’re going to start playing as many shows as we can and start taking over the world!