BEYOND FORGIVENESS

BEYOND FORGIVENESS is a US symphonic metal band that I wanted to know more about. Anders Ekdahl ©2018

Do you feel that is has gone the way you intended when you formed back in the days?
Greg: It’s actually gone a lot better than we expected.
Rich: I would say that we originally formed the band to play live with our original lineup, but when we re-formed, we were just planning to be a studio project, because we loved the music and wanted it to be heard.
Greg: We really wanted to do this style, but we didn’t know if we could find the right people in this area to be able to create a full band in this style.
Rich: But then we started getting good reviews, and found the right lineup with the right chemistry, and this band has gone farther than we ever imagined already, and we’re looking forward to wherever this new album leads us.

How do you feel about your latest recording? Did it come out the way you expected it to?
Rich: We were very happy with it.
Greg: Since we already worked with Jarek Musil on the previous EP, we knew what we should expect the sound to be like, and he really delivered.
Sean: We knew Jarek’s work and that’s why we went back to him.
Talia: I was really happy with the way the album turned out. The writing process and everything was a lot more involved than we had planned, and so it was definitely a labor of love. We learned a lot, and expect to set the bar even higher for our upcoming album we’re writing now.

Do you feel that you by now has found a sound that is the band and that you can build on it ?
Sean: We have a basis for our sound that we’re working with, but each thing we write is a little different. The recent album is different than the EP and our new material is a little different as well.
Greg: We like to pull from other genres sometimes.
Jim: there’s a basis we have, but also a lot of influences from different musical styles.
Rich: We’re never going to be stuck in one style of music, we want to continue bringing influences from all of our different personal tastes.

Is having a message in the lyrics important to you? What kind of topics do you deal with?
Talia: We don’t have any particular agenda we’re pushing in our lyrics, but just write about a lot of things that we think about or our experience personally. We just hope that the songs are meaningful and that our listeners can resonate with the lyrics and find meaning and enjoy them.
Rich: we kind of try to deal with feelings along the lines of the band name.
Sean: most of it is about different aspects of life.
Talia: We have songs about fighting cancer, songs about dealing with death, and also some songs about different aspects of love or relationships. We just draw from our experiences, or whatever sparks our creative energy.

How important is the cover art work for you? Can a really cool cover still sell an album in this day and age of digital download?
Greg: The artwork is just as much a part of what we do as the music.
Jim: When I looked at the artwork, before I joined the band, the artwork was like an extended vision of the music.
Greg: I just always had a passion for graphic design and it’s just another outlet for it.
Jim: the artwork is a visual enhancement, like the album covers for the Ferryman’s Shore, or the Great Wall. There’s kind of a mysteriousness about the two album designs to where the artwork makes more sense after you listen to the music. After listening to the Ferryman’s shore, I could almost visualize the Ferryman rowing along the foggy water.
Greg: To me, an album cover that really catches my attention will make me want to check out the music.
Rich: I’ve actually bought a few albums just off the cover.
Sean: the only difference now is that it’s mostly digital and not a physical copy, but it still makes a difference.

Why is it so hard for bands that come from places not the US or UK/Sweden/Scandinavia to break big? What is success to you and is it something you’d like to achieve?
Talia: I think it’s hard everywhere for bands to break big. The number of really big famous bands is nothing compared to the amount of amazing musicians all over the world that are doing their music for smaller audiences. The internet makes it a lot easier to find great music from all over the place, but also has changed the whole way the industry works.
Jim: the digital age has shortened the attention span of listeners. Back in the day when there was artist development, certain bands were put all over the radio. Now it’s not done that way as much, people actively pick and choose what they want to listen to a lot more now.
Sean: it’s also a lot more open with youtube and sites like that.
Greg: As far as success, goes, for us it isn’t particularly monetary.
Jim: If our music touches people’s life, that’s success.
Rich: success to me is about reaching the goals we set, and isn’t really about selling a certain number of albums. Just the fact that we’re getting our music out there, and people are listening to our music and watching our videos, it feels very successful.
Talia: I agree, reaching the goals we set is a measure of success for me, such as getting the album done. But also we are super encouraged by the response from our fans and the industry. It’s a whole different level of success than we ever expected.
Jim: We’re excited about the partnership with Sliptrick Records. That’s an important milestone of success for us also. We look forward to continuing our growth and achieving higher goals we set for ourselves.

Today the competition is harder. You got plenty of digital platforms for new talent to display their music. How do you do to really stand out in a
world where everything but the music is blind to the listener?
Rich: honestly, I think the artwork is one of the things that helps us stand out.
Talia: Greg does such an amazing job with the visuals, and Sean on our website, and it really helps our promotions.
Sean: we try to be as professional as we can in everything.
Rich: also, melding the different musical styles helps us stand out, and also helps us find a market in different niches.
Talia: Our first music video really helped us begin to get a digital audience also. Our videographer, Michael Cunningham, did a great job on the video, and the extreme weather conditions that we ran into unexpectedly really made for a unique video. We still get a lot of people commenting about it.

What is your local scene like? How important is a national scene for a band to be able to break out and make it international?
Talia: The scene in Colorado Springs and Denver area is actually really great for certain genres of music. Symphonic metal is not particularly one of the popular genres here, however, which has made it actually more difficult to break into the local scene than international for us.
Sean: that’s part of our motivation for marketing to other countries, because there’s more of an interest in the style.
Talia: although, we’re beginning to see a good following in our hometown now that we’ve been around for a little while.
Rich: We have a local radio station, KCOS, that plays only local bands all the time, and that really helps promote the scene.
Talia: we also have a regular radio station, Kilo 94.3 that devotes time to locals as well, and has played us a few times, and they really help the scene around here also.
Sean: In the digital age, you market to whoever you think wants to hear you, and the geographic boundaries don’t matter as much.
Rich: In my opinion, I think a lot of bands know what areas styles are more popular and reach out more to those areas than they do locally.
Sean: in our case, national success isn’t as key to getting into the international market as maybe other bands in other genres. It’s more marketable for us to reach out internationally because of our style.

Rock and metal has come a long way since the early 70s but still some people’s attitudes towards it seem to be left in the stone age. How accepted is metal in your area? Is it like in Finland where it seems to come with the mother’s milk?
Sean: It’s polarized here. The people who love metal really love it, the people that don’t like it seem to really hate it. The metal community here is a close knit community, though.

What does the future hold for you?
Talia: We are really looking forward to what’s coming up for us. We’re writing our next album right now, and will be working again with Jarek Musil. This will be released on Sliptrick Records in April, 2019. We have some performances coming up soon locally, including a show with local legends Jag Panzer. We are also planning to return to Europe for touring in the summer of 2019. Some new music videos are in the works as well. The guys have recently received some endorsements, and so we are looking forward to our partnerships with Saluda Cymbals, WB Gear, SIT strings, Intune guitar picks, and Big Ben’s guitar cleaning supplies. We really are mostly looking forward to creating new music to share with our fans. Thanks so much for interviewing us and sharing our music and our band with your readers!

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