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Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Man Behind So What?! Music Festival

With 12+ years under his belt of promoting concerts and festivals with his biggest accomplishment being his flagship So What?! Music Festival, Mike Ziemer has booked and worked with some of the largest bands in the music industry.
In addition to such huge accomplishments Mike also runs an artist management company called Evolve Management and a record label called Third String Records.
We had the pleasure to catch up with Mike and give you a little bit more of an in depth look at the man behind the music, an entrepreneur who brings you THE must see festival that you need to experience at least once but will keep you coming back for more each year. 

-Tell us 3 things about you people wouldn't expect
I was adopted from birth. I grew up in Huntington Beach, CA before moving to Texas, and I hate pickles. 

-What made you want to be an entrepreneur in the music industry?
Honestly, nothing. It just all happened naturally and I learned as I went and a hobby turned into a job. I never knew this was gonna happen. Never planned it. I was going to be an architect.

-How did you get to where you are now and what was your greatest struggle getting here?
I have no idea. I just worked hard and kept going. Every time we lost money, every time a band I worked with moved on, every time I was told I couldn’t do something, I just kept moving forward and did whatever i needed to do to keep going. It’s been a wild ride. I started this in 2004.

-What was the greatest goal you have achieved thus far in your career?
Putting on a successful multi-day music festival inside of a baseball stadium was never my goal, but I would consider it my greatest achievement.

- Who has been your favorite artist that you have met so far through your line of work?
Dave Grohl was the nicest dude ever.

-What was the weirdest thing you ever encountered at one of your music festival?
I walked into a private bathroom no one was supposed to be in when I was doing shows at the Plano Centre and two people were having sex. I walked in and they ran out. 

-What was it like the first time you kicked off your first music festival? 
My second show ever was 2 stages and a mini-festival, I don’t think I even realized what I was doing. I was just having fun and booking bands I loved. It grew into something I still don’t understand but I love it.

-What are your goals moving forward?
I would like to continue growing my management company, merge my label with a bigger label, continue doing the IMI Conference, grow the festival in new markets, and also help other small business owners expand their brand and work with them to do cool things.

-What kind of advice do you have for people who want to get into what you do.
You have to be willing to fail, a lot. No one has it easy. You will get stressed, you will lose sleep, you will lose money, you will feel under appreciated, but that's all temporary and its always worth it.

Follow Mike Here:

Thursday, August 18, 2016

It Lies Within - Interview With Vocalist Zachary Scott

It Lies Within Interview - Dirt Fest 2016
Zachary Scott - Vocalist

This past weekend we got to get down and dirty at this years Dirt Fest 2016 in Detroit, MI.
Among the many bands who absolutely killed it on stage in the scorching heat was non other than It Lies Within, a band who will be popping up on every metal fans radar if they haven't already!
We had the pleasure to sit down with It Lies Within's lead vocalist, Zach, and he gave us the scoop on what they have been up to and what you have to look forward to! 

-Why don't you start out by telling us a little bit about how you guys got started and finding your niche as musicians?
It Lies Within started in 2008 with a metalcore mission in mind! Influenced by bands like As I Lay Dying, All That Remains, and The Devil Wears Prada at the time, we just focused on finding our place in that genre. After a handful of shows, tours, and member changes; It Lies Within is now tighter than ever. We are excited for the future of this band.

-You played at Dirt Fest last year. What was one of the highlights from last years show and what were you looking forward to this year?
We are so honored to have played Dirt Fest 6 years in a row now. Not to mention sharing the main stage each one of those years with so many greats! This year will be interesting with the new location and line up. I'm personally excited about it. Shout out to Matt Dalton and his team.

-You just recently released your latest album "Paramount." How did you guys get the idea for this album and what was the process like creating it?
This album was a long time in the making. Again with the member changes we really wanted to make sure our new “dream team” had redone all parts and made it unique to their style. We can’t express how happy we are with the way it all turned out. Jonny McBee and Nick Morris really helped mold us into the band we are today. Paramount is really just the beginning of who we are now!

-You guys just released a new music video covering Panic! At The Disco's "Victorious." What made you guys want to cover this song and how did the whole video come together?
Covers are always so much fun to do! We’ve actually done a few in the past but this one takes the cake. Sometimes you just hear a song and think, “this would be an awesome metal / hardcore remake.” Victorious was just set up perfect for this band, especially with our love for electronics and that bounce!

-So far, what has been one of the band's greatest achievements and highlights?
We are thankful for all opportunities this band has earned. Festivals are so much, so thank you to all the festivals we’ve had the chance to play. Probably the biggest highlight in our career was touring Japan in October 2015. Words cannot express the feeling of having fans that far across the world. It was intense!

-What do fans have to look forward to in the near future?
New music is currently in the works! We definitely will be releasing music much faster than Paramount. We are really in the groove right now as a team and there will tons of epic surprises coming your way!

-Any last words for your fans and Cupcakes & Crossbones viewers?
Thank you Cupcakes & Crossbones for having us! Please make sure to check out our social media pages for all updates on It Lies Within. We are currently on tour with Tear Out The Heart right now so please go check out all tour dates on our web pages. IT LIES WITHIN US ALL !!!

Watch It Lies Within Victorious video right here!

 Follow It Lies Within:

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Interview With Bryan Fontez of Last Bullet

Last Bullet is more than just a band, it's an experience..an experience you don't want to miss!
We had the pleasure to sit down with Bryan Fontez of  Last Bullet and get the latest scoop on the band and what they have in store for us for the future!

1. Tell us a little bit about how Last Bullet got started.

Long story short, our lead guitarist Brenden and our original drummer Leo went to high school together, they met our rhythm guitarist Mike through friends and started jamming for fun in 2008 with no specific aspirations of starting a band.
After writing and jamming a few songs they decided to put an ad on craigslist for a bass player, the first and only guy who answered is our current bass player Will, then they posted up flyers all over Toronto looking for a singer. 9 months and a handful of horrendous auditions later I called, they answered, we were together for about 5 years, our drummer Leo decided this career choice wasn’t for him, Chris took his place in Summer 2014 and we’ve been together ever since.

2. You just released a music video for your new single "Sin". We heard that "Sin" was filmed in the 24th floor attic of Toronto's historical landmark the Fairmont Royal York Hotel (the 1929 built setting for Saw 5). What was this like and what made you want to film in this location? 

Thanks! I really wanted the video to convey the grit and heaviness of the song, so I began looking for some really decrepit, abandoned, broken down places to shoot. I stumbled upon a particular spot online that looked old, beat up, and full of character. We soon found out that it was actually the attic of the 87 year old historical landmark in Toronto known as the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. The song has a lot of darker socio-political themes so I wanted that intensity reflected visually.
Shoot day was EXTREMELY exhausting. It was one of the most tiring things we’ve ever done as a band and had we not had the help of even one of our friends we could not have done it. The attic was on the 24th floor, the elevators only went to 19, so we had to do 8-9 elevator trips to the 19th floor and then about 50+ trips up and down 12 flights of stairs hand-bombing individual pieces of equipment. We started at 7/8am and didn’t begin filming until 1pm, we finished at 6pm and then tore down and repeated the entire process again but in reverse.

3. Tell us about "sin" and the idea behind it.

“Sin” was a song that came out of our love for the kind of filthy hard rock that doesn’t seem to exist in mainstream music anymore. Among many others Velvet Revolver has been such a huge influence on us as a band. They have the perfect mix of sleaze, aggression, blues and soul, which has always been a huge inspiration to us. So it’s no coincidence that one day on the way to work I happened to be going back and forth between “Slither” and “She Builds Quick Machines” trying to figure out what it is exactly that makes those songs so great.
I tend to get so inspired by certain songs that I make it my mission to create my own version of them. I quickly realized that both songs had a pretty fast tempo, a very iconic but simple guitar riff, and a super catchy chorus, so I started there and came up with a very simple 3 note guitar riff that repeats itself as a triplet in 4/4 time. I’m not a guitarist by any means so our lead guitarist Brenden brilliantly came up with pretty much all the other guitars parts in the song and filled in the gaps.
The song began to take on a somewhat darker tone, which reminded us of more aggressive songs by bands like Alice In Chains and Stone Temple Pilots. We never try to force a song to be something that it’s not, so I made it my goal to channel that edgier vibe when it came to the lyrics and vocals. The lyrics are about society and how we've become more ignorant, naive and lacking in common sense than ever before. The lyrics depict a world that is choosing to ignore the consequences of their actions and would rather continue shooting themselves in the foot than be a part of the solution.

4. What has been your greatest accomplishment and challenge as a band thus far?

Our greatest accomplishment? Staying together for 7 years. Our greatest challenge? Staying together for 7 years lol. No I'd say that we've had a lot of accomplishments that we consider small because we know the potential of this band and our goals are very big. I would say that opening for Buckcherry is one of them, playing Dundas Square in Toronto in front of thousands would be another and having one of our songs used as the intro for the Canadian Gold Medal Hockey game which was broadcast across Canada to 40 million people or so, that was amazing.

Our biggest challenge has been learning from our mistakes, figuring out how to make this band more successful, profitable, efficient, etc. We're always trying to improve in all areas which can be a daunting task because we do everything ourselves.

5.  What can fans expect for the future?

Fans can expect a lot of new music, a ton of great shows, a few tours and who knows what else. We've got a lot of awesome stuff planned this year and I'm sure more will just pop up as things move along.

6. Any last words for your fans and cupcakes and crossbones viewers?

Thank you for featuring us! We really appreciate it. Thanks to everyone for reading, if you're interested in getting to know us better, you can visit LastBulletMusic.com for more info, music, show dates, videos and our new online store that we just launched yesterday. Keep in touch and keep rockin \m/

Follow Last Bullet Here:

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Interview With Lola Black

If you haven't heard of Lola Black yet, that's all about to change!
With a kick ass strong female vocalist and a group killin' it on bass, guitar, and drums, this band is popping up and rocking out everywhere. 
We had the opportunity to catch up with Lola herself and find out everything from how they started, to where you can spot them next!

1. Tell us a little bit about how
Lola Black got started?
Chris and I decided it was time for “us” to make music together after a couple past bands had seen their day. After some trial & error we found our key players and found our sound.

2. You released your
first album in 2012 "Dia de los Borrachos" and
recently "Till death do us part" how do you feel
you have evolved since your first release?
It is like night and day! We actually started off with more of a punk sound. Our thirst for growth moved us in another direction and we wanted a more rounded heavy sound. Don’t get me wrong I have a strong love for punk and you can never take the punk out of this girl. To this day you can still hear it in my voice. I feel that little bit right there makes my style unique and close to my heart. Constant growth is what keeps us going. We always look to be the bigger badder versions of ourselves.  

3. Who has been your
favorite band to open for to date?
My personal favorite is Rob Zombie. Shit…every band we had the opportunity to open for are pretty badass! Last year we got to play on “The world’s loudest month” festival series with the love of our sponsor J├Ągermeister. Every single band that I have ever wanted to play with in my life was on one or more of those shows. We got to play with them all in a span of 3 months and it was a dream come true. Rob Zombie, Slayer, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot and Korn. That is just a brief list so you get the idea of our excitement last year.

4. When was the first
moment that you realized you were heading for big things as
a band?
I have always had a gut feeling that we are destined for great things. The very first time I think it really hit us all was when we hit the stage at the First Bank Center opening up for Five Finger Death Punch, HellYeah & Texas Hippie Coalition. We all looked around at each other like “Holy Shit! This is really happening”. It is such a magical feeling playing an arena show and sharing the stage with guys you really look up too.

5. What has been your
greatest accomplishment and challenge as a band thus
Every show we have had the opportunity to play the last few years is a great accomplishment to us. It is kind of unheard of for a band to get to that place in a musical career without the help of a label. Getting there without label support is also our greatest challenge. I think that goes for any band really, it’s a double edge sword. However we have an amazing behind the scene dream team working with us and we do get amazing support from J├Ągermeister. We can not even begin to thank them all enough.

6.  What can fans
expect for the future?
A new album is in the works and we will continue kick ass and take names. I look forward to meeting new fans and sharing our music across the country.

7. Any last words for
your fans and cupcakes and crossbones viewers? 
So much love to our fans aka- The LBC. We could not do this without your love and support. New to our music? Keep your eyes and ears open and if we come to a town near you, please don’t be shy. Come by and say hi! We look forward to meeting you. Last but certainly not least, thank you Cupcakes & Crossbones. We love you!  XOXO 
Follow Lola Black:

Friday, January 29, 2016

Reality Suite Interview

Photo Credit: Kim Berzak
Recently I had the pleasure to sit down and talk with the awesome people who make up the band Reality Suite in their home town in NJ.
An evening filled with lots of laughs as well as updates on what the band has going on and what they have in store for us for the future was just the start to what ended up being an interview that will go down in the books!
Check out our interview as well  as a special acoustic performance from Reality Suite. 

Follow the Band here:

Production Credit: Reality Suite Productions

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Gears Interview

Miami based hard/heavy rock act GEARS isn’t your everyday garage band. 
Despite being faced with a multitude of challenges right from the start, the band has persevered and is growing stronger than ever.
Founded in February 2014, Trip 6 (Urban Rebel), Eli Parker (Endo), Tommy Herres (SCARLET CARSON), and Jimmy Wooten (SKINMASK) were all looking for new projects resulting in the birth of GEARS.

Questions answered by Jimmy Wooten of GEARS

1. How did you guys end up getting together and forming Gears?

Trip and I put the band together in 2014 with two other guys who actually have come and gone.  We were all in different bands that had kind of run their course so we were looking to do something new.  We all got together in February of 2014 in Miami and started writing. What came out was the Set in Motion EP (May 2014).  After a busy year of touring, we were ready to start work on the new EP.  We had some member changes at that time so Trip and I did the record with our Producer, Corey Lowery (Saint Asonia, Eye Empire, Dark New Day) and friend Troy McLawhorn (Evanescence, Seether, Dark New Day).  “Pride Comes Before the Fall” was the result.

2. You released your new EP "pride comes before the fall" in November, Can you tell us a little bit about it for those who haven't heard it yet and what it was like creating it?

It’s definitely an evolution of the band from the first EP.  “Pride” still has that heavy edge, but I feel like it’s more musical.  The writing definitely has taken steps forward for us.  The actual process making the record was really relaxed and organic.  We wrote the record with Corey who had produced the first EP, but this time, it was just us three for the writing process.  I feel like it was a lot more focused.  We have known each other for a long time and I have all the trust in the world in Corey’s experience and ear.  He’s a pleasure to work with.  Super laid back and focused. 

3. What bands, do you believe have influenced your sound the most?
I know that we all have a lot of different influences.  That’s always a hard question to answer.  We draw inspiration from a bunch of different places.  Zeppelin, Bowie, Deftones, Alice in Chains, etc.  There really are too many for me to really narrow it down.  

4. What has been your greatest accomplishment and challenge as a band thus far? 
I think our greatest accomplishment has been just to be out there doing it ourselves without a huge budget.  We work really hard and try to do as much as we can as far as putting out a quality product and supporting it on as many tour dates as possible.  It’s tough in today’s industry to be DIY and trying to build a band from the ground up.  Each one of us is very focused though.  We all want to achieve the same goals and I think that’s the most important thing.  

5. How have you overcome that challenge?
Everyday in the life of a DIY band is a challenge.  We have put together a great team over the past year that helps us fight for exposure and to achieve success.  So, I think that in itself is an achievement.  

 Check out GEARS
lyric video for their track "Face Down" from their new EP "Pride Comes Before The Fall" which is available now on iTunes.
Also don't forget to follow them here on:

Monday, January 11, 2016

Not By Sight Releases First Single, "Stand", Featuring Members Of Evanescence, Saint Asonia, & Sevendust

Hard Rock band Not By Sight has released a lyric video for their track "Stand", originally premiered with BraveWords. 
The track features Jane Train (Liz Phair), Corey Lowery (Stuck Mojo, Stereomud, Eye Empire, Dark New Day, Saint Asonia), Troy McLawhorn (Evanescence, Seether, Dark New Day, doubleDrive), and Morgan Rose (Sevendust)
The track was produced, and mixed by Corey Lowery.
Check it out now here and tell us what you think!

STAND is about overcoming adversity in life and using that adversity to strengthen and elevate you. - Jane Train (Not By Sight)

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