ON TOP

ON TOP might not be the band on everybody’s lips but if you like metal with a strong 80s feel then this should suit you like hand in glove. Interview answered by Jaron. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

I like the cover to the album “Top Heavy”. There is that 80s sexist but innocent look to it. How much lies in an album cover to sell an album?
-The way I see it, the average person will look at a CD and judge it by its cover, no matter what unless they already know what it sounds like. The audience for our style of music is mostly male-based and any guy with an interest in women will see our album cover and be drawn towards it. The girl on the cover is hot, there is no doubt about it. Once the cover grabs that persons attention enough to cause them to physically pick it up and check it out, the battle is more than halfway over.

You guys don’t play the usual bullshit stuff that we get drowned by day in and day out. Where in lies the charm of this more retro approach?
-The three of us come from a very heavy background of playing in thrash and death metal bands. The heaviness of the music definitely originates there, but the flare and charm comes from our love for rock n roll. Many say rock n roll is all about the youth… well, we are the youth (I’m 23, Danny is 21, and Alex just turned 18) and I think playing music that we can relate to is key. 80‘s hard rock was all about having a good time, dealing with chicks, and the excess of everything else surrounding life. Most people can relate to those things at one time or another. We are all big fans of bands from that era which definitely shows in the music, especially in the guitar work. Throw in a little attitude and some of Alex’s little jazz techniques on the guitar and I think you’ll find ON TOP.

There seem to have been a never-ending carousel of band members coming and going. How frustrating is it that you have to spend time on looking for new members instead of using that time to promote and move the band forward?
-In terms of wasting time, it is insanely frustrating! However I am very happy with where we have ended up. We are very fortunate that we come from an area where there are a lot of eager musicians. Finding people has never really been too big of an issue. Danny (drums) and I have been the only constant members since the first live incarnation of the band. It was nice to work with different guitarists because it helped us figure out the exact sound we were looking for. All of the guitarist from the past were a blast to work with and all helped get us to where we are now. Thanks guys, you won’t be forgotten!

What kind of live circuit are we speaking of in the Tri-State area? Is it bars in backwards holes in the country side?
-No not at all… we try and stay centered around more populated city areas. We will play wherever, but we have been mainly playing bars, clubs, and small venues around NYC and Philadelphia. New Jersey is always good to us as well and Delaware deserves a shout out. Glitter City Productions have gone out of their way to help us out in the Delaware/Philly rock scene and it is starting to pay off, we owe them!

When you play live what kind of audience do you attract?
-Our audiences are usually pretty evenly represented by young adults and middle aged men and women. Definitely more men than women though, haha!

Is playing live still the best way to promote a band? Or does that come down to what kind of hardrock/metal you play?
-Well In our case, I think live is the best way. When we play live we like to cut loose and really push the songs a bit harder than what you would hear on the album. Alex’s guitar playing is really something people need to see in person, he is the improv-king, quite a spectacle.

On my side of the pond I always get to hear how great the college radio scene is. But from what I can understand that one is too pretty much run by commercial forces regulating what is and isn’t played. How do you go about getting promoted on the airways?
-A LOT of emailing, and sending out discs! We have been pretty fortunate so far. Most of the college radio contacts that we have acquired have been very enthusiastic about getting some of our tunes on the air. I think stations like WSOU out of New Jersey really give hope to metal bands. They have been supporting the scene forever. As far as I know WSOU has never played our stuff but they are a huge contender in metal radio in the area and are a great model for other stations who HAVE played our stuff.

Is Internet radio and pod casts a viable option in getting promoted? I mean people all over the world can get to hear your music by a click on their computer.,
-Yes, absolutely. They say any press is good press. If internet radio and pod casts are playing ON TOP songs and people are listening, then it’s a win-win situation for us. Granted you never know how many people are listening, but hey, it can’t hurt!

When you plan for a new album do you have the previous in mind or do you start afresh and just let the good times roll?
-We are currently working on a new album as we speak. We have about half of it written and it definitely sounds like ON TOP. The last album definitely is in the back of our minds, but this is the first album we will be writing with Alex. He had some stuff on Top Heavy but most of that album was written before he was in the band. The new stuff is definitely a forward progress for us in every way in terms of musicianship. There is a lot of feel and rhythm in the new tunes as well. Just as heavy as the first but we are definitely rocking a lot harder on this one! So to answer your question, it is a little bit of both, leaning more towards letting the good times roll.

So when do you think we could expect a new album from you guys?
-If all goes accordingly, we hope to record towards the end of summer and have it out in the fall or beginning of winter! Keep your eyes peeled!

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