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Feature: Bang Camaro Interview
Posted 03 March 2009 - 02:48 AM
The juggernaut group that is Bang Camaro are EA’s newest to the Artwerk label, I get some time with them to see what’s happening for them in the world of rock, and what they have in store for 2009.
Answers by- Alex & Bryn, lead guitars and Morgan Brown, lead vocals.
Mechanical R: What was the inspiration behind the name of your band, and what led to you having almost 20 people in your band?
BRYN: We were inspired by bands from our childhood that seemed larger than life. The sound of Skid Row and Def Leppard had that huge gang vocal sound that I’ve never heard a band make live. We wanted to sound like 300 crazed Spartans with cool guitars.
ALEX: Let me answer your question with a question: Have you ever wanted to grow a shaggy mustache, travel the world in a van, and record rock songs? Well, we did. The words BANG CAMARO conjure exactly that type of human adventure where grown men drive from to town to town leaving crying boyfriends and hot bartenders behind in their wake. Why 20 people? Why not?
Mech: Does having that many people make it easier for song writing and PR events?
ALEX: No. It makes it harder. Moving people from one place to another costs money. So, the financial obligations to make things happen are more demanding for us than most bands. That and most of the songwriting and PR events we attend serve alcohol. When you put 20 guys in a room with a case of beer and a bottle of vodka… well, let’s just say the wheels are going to fly off and that never makes anything easier for anyone.
BRYN: In some ways it makes PR a little easier for us though. It’s difficult not to notice 20+ rock guys wander into a Best Buy for an appearance.
Rock party. Alex far right, Bryn far left...
Mech: Any problems with having that many? I.E. Touring?
BRYN: We own a 15 person van, so we do most of our national touring with 15 people. That includes 4 instrumentalists, a sound guy, and a bunch of singers. Think about how tough family trips were when you and your little sister were crammed in the back of your dad’s station wagon. Now multiply that times 100.
Mech: Your latest album, Bang Camaro II came out this year, the third to be exact, are there any major influences behind this album or any directions you’re trying to take?
ALEX: Actually, it is our second album. We called the collection BANG CAMARO II to remind us just in case we lost track. Our first record was recorded in a few bursts over a period of a year. We made our second record in a much shorter period of time. The things I wanted to emphasize were sound quality and better songwriting. Our songs are a little shorter and feature the choir in a more engaging way than our first record. Our vocalists had a hand in that. That’s probably why there are more lyrics this time around.
Mech: What's in store for 2009 for Bang Camaro?
ALEX: A lot of touring. The best way to experience BANG CAMARO is to see us live. You put 12 guys on a stage and turn everything up to unsafe listening volume, you’re going to have a good time.
BRYN: In addition, we have a track called “Revolution” that’s going to be in the upcoming Sims 3 game. We are working with Artwerk and EA on placing some more songs in games. Obviously, video games are a big reason that people know about us and we love it!
Mech: Any other bands to watch out for this year?
BRYN: Jupiter One are pretty sweet. They also have had a few songs placed in video games too. Check them out on youtube. They have some great videos that they have made themselves. We just played a show with That Handsome Devil, who kick ass.
ALEX: I like Leslie. They’re a 3 piece rock band from Charleston, SC. They do a southern rock thing that reminds me of Tom Petty and Led Zeppelin. They’re ok. I’m watching out for them mostly because I probably owe them money.
Mech: What does being under Artwerk label mean for the band?
ALEX: Working with Artwerk, which is a publishing arm for EA Games, has helped us promote the band on the internet and video games. For instance, our track “Revolution” was just remixed by Chris Lord-Alge and will be featured in the upcoming The Sims 3 game.
BRYN: Video games are turning out to be a viable new option for bands getting their music out to people. We are proud that we are on the cutting edge of this new change in the music/gaming industry.
Mech: Has frequenting on some of the most popular music video games had a large effect in the direction of your Bang Camaro?
ALEX: Absolutely. Having the exposure from being included in games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero 2 has helped us get on the road and play in front of audiences all around the country. Until recently, we were a band that didn’t have a record available in major record stores but we were still able to tour. We owe that, in part, to being featured in video games.
BRYN: You have to understand that we are not on a major label. Alex, Dave, and I run the record label out of our living room. The fact that you can go to a Best Buy in Minnesota, and find our CDs is mindblowing. I’m very proud that we have made it to this point doing everything ourselves, exactly how we wanted.
Mech: Its one thing to have your song appear in games whilst your playing but what’s it like to actually be able to play your own songs on games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero?
BRYN: It’s fun until some fan at a ROCKBAND event totally destroys you at your own song. Some people out there are amazing at the game.
ALEX: It usually ends in heartbreak for me. I barely have the coordination to play our songs on a real guitar. The Rock Band controller baffles me. I’m more of a “SIMON” kind of guy.
Mech: Any plans to appear in any new games or ones you’d like to see your tracks in?
ALEX: Sure. We’ll be featured in The Sims 3 this year. There are some others but I’m probably not allowed to talk about them. I’m actually kidding. I just made that up.
BRYN: I’ve always been a fan of the FIFA line of games. HEY EA, YOU READING?!
Mech: Do you guys play a lot of video games or is it just a select few of you?
ALEX: Yeah, some of us play a lot of video games. Bryn likes Puzzle Quest. Bryn?
BRYN: We get some really heated Mario Kart games going on in the van. Other people will be trying to sleep, and then everyone will start screaming at each other. I also won the Superbowl as the Buffalo Bills in Madden 2008 on the last tour.
Bang Camaros gaming king, Morgan, bottom left...
Mech: There are a lot of you, which one of you claims the gaming crown?
BRYN: Morgan is our resident video game maniac. That guys lives, sleeps, and breathes gaming. Justin Buckley, our sometimes-singer from Charleston is probably our best ROCKBAND player. Then again, he did fail out of a song while we were on the Lynyrd Skynyrd cruise, causing a lot of embarrassment. I always think Glen would be better than he is, because he doesn’t do much else… but he still gets destroyed in our Mario Kart battles.
MORGAN: Hey, guys! Yeah, I would count games among my many vices. If only I could make a game about my vices...
Mech: Are there any games out there currently than you can stop playing?
BRYN: I am really excited by the success of Braid and indie gaming in general. I’ve been following Braid for years now, and I’m so excited for Jonathan Blow that it worked out well for him. I think it will give many closet game developers a lot more confidence.
MORGAN: I have to agree here. Competition for any industry is healthy, but the game industry really needs it right now. Fresh blood and underdogs will keep the money moving around; inject new ideas and possibilities, and light fires under the butts of the big-time developers who are skating on brand recognition and/or massive budgets. The indie developers and homebrew support will keep the gaming industry from cannibalizing itself. Plus, I fancy myself a designer, I work on my own projects, and I want to get back into developing games. Wait, what was the question? Oh, yes. I'm a pretty avid DotA (Warcraft 3 mod) player and I can never turn down a game of Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii) or Carcassonne (X-Box/Live).
Mech: Any games you’re looking forward coming out soon?
BRYN: I would have to say that I’m excited about Harmonix’s Beatles game, because I work on it when I’m not touring. (I’m so self important!) Also, Dante’s Inferno! A while ago I worked on a game called “The Lost” at Irrational Games. It never came out, but it was loosely based on Dante’s Inferno, so I’m interested in seeing what they do with it. In addition, I can’t wait to see what new Xbox Live games come out. It’s a great platform that I’m very excited about.
MORGAN: GHOSTBUSTERS! I just saw the WonderCon footage of Resident Evil 5 and it looks pretty rad. I'm also looking forward to the next EA NHL game so I can lead the Red Wings to beat the snot out of the Avalanche all day, and--with any luck, land blow after blow to their domes with a Bang Camaro song blaring in the background. I used to like wrestling when I was little, so seeing a video of in-game Ted "The Million Dollar Man" DiBiase got me fired-up about WWE: Legends of Wrestling. And, of course, Punch-Out!!
Hear Bang Camaro in EA games including Guitar Hero II, Rock Band 1+2 and the upcoming Sims 3.
Bang Camaro II is available through Black Sword Records now.
Want to get your hands on some Bang Camaro goods? Take part in our comp here!
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