It’s difficult not to lapse into hyperbole when discussing Long Island’s Painted In Exile. The band’s technical prowess, uncanny musicianship and passion for experimentation are simply unparalleled in the current local underground music scene, and even more unbelievably, the average band member's age is under 20 years old. One can't even accurately extrapolate what level of success the band may achieve in the coming years, as there is little precedent in their genre. Children of Bodom and Born Of Osiris are two extreme acts that accomplished quite a lot at a similarly young age, but because Painted in Exile is more diverse, experiments with more styles, and strives for technical perfection, they may actually show more promise than these successful acts did early in their careers. There are simply only a handful of bands (of any age) that share Painted in Exile's ability to combine various genres so seamlessly to create an absolutely unique final product. On their most recent self-released EP “Revitalized,” Painted in Exile experiments with technical death metal brutality, artistic prog, and soulful jazz, yet their music never sounds forced or awkward. As this immensely talented band continues to evolve and quickly outgrows its local scene, it seems that the only logical course of action for fans of extreme and aggressive music is to prepare to be surprised and impressed when it comes to anything related to Painted in Exile in the future.
The following is an exchange between the Long Island Metal Music Examiner and the band Painted in Exile:
Long Island Metal Music Examiner: What are the ages of the band members? Typically this is not a question I would ask, but the members of Painted in Exile are obviously quite young (simply judging from photos and video footage), especially considering their high level of technical prowess/musicianship.
Painted in Exile: Thank you. The ages of the band members are as follows:
Rob Richards - 22, William Murphy - 22, Marc Lambert - 19, Connor Larkin - 19, Eddie DeCesare -19, James Murphy - 17.
LIMME: What are the musical backgrounds of the members of the band (including previous bands and/or formal training)?
P.I.E: With the exception of Rob, we’ve all been playing for between 6 to 12 years; we have been educated in music throughout elementary, middle, and high school and have either already earned, or are in the process of earning our college degrees in musical education/performance. Although Rob hasn’t had any “formal musical education,” he’s been singing seriously for seven years and has greatly improved through vocal coaching DVD’s and books, as well as by practicing various techniques on his own. One tool in particular is the famous “Zen Of Screaming” DVD by Melissa Cross, which taught Rob to scream properly by using the correct technique. As far as former bands go, Rob and Eddie have played in numerous bands together in the past, but Painted In Exile is the first band that we plan on turning into our careers.
LIMME: How did the band form? Did the members know each other before P.I.E, or find each other during the process of forming the band?
P.I.E: Well it’s a pretty complicated and detailed story, but we actually found each other primarily through friends and word of mouth. Rob and Eddie have been playing in bands together since 2004, and have stuck together because they knew that they had a solid musical connection. William and James Murphy are brothers who live an hour away from Eddie and Rob. A former band member back in 2007 heard about Eddie and Rob and contacted them through the internet to see if they were interested in the band. We then had some member changes until we established the line-up we have today. Eddie met Marc through a co-worker in 2008 and Vin through networking at local shows. Vin has since been replaced by Connor Larkin, who Marc met through a friend from college.
LIMME: What are the origins of the name “Painted in Exile (P.I.E)?” Did you like the name Painted In Exile because of the P.I.E acronym (or in spite of it)?
P.I.E: The name Painted In Exile was created by Eddie in an effort to find a name that would accurately represent the music we set out to create. The band agreed that we wanted something that sounded “metal,” but was still artistic and metaphoric, leaving its meaning ambiguous and open for interpretation (much like our music ). We also wanted to make sure that our acronym was memorable and catchy as well, and we figured P.I.E. would directly represent our goals.
LIMME: What are some bands or artists that P.I.E draw influence from? What are some current bands that P.I.E would love to tour with in the future (if an ideal situation presented itself)?
P.I.E: Musically, we draw influence from so much, for us to give an artist by artist analysis we’d have to write a book. All we can really say is that there is something to gain from every single genre of music, whether or not you appreciate that style. For example, if hip-hop or pop isn’t your thing, understand [that the genre is] currently making millions of dollars (as well as fans) and that there must be something to gain or learn from that style of music - figure out what it is. If you want to become the best musician you can be, you must have a positive open mind and be willing to give literally anything a listen. Bands that we would love to tour with in the future in the metal category include: Dream Theater, The Faceless, Meshuggah, Opeth, Between the Buried and Me, Protest the Hero, Born of Osiris, The Black Dahlia Murder, Periphery and After The Burial. We personally believe these bands have left a serious mark on our paths to becoming the musicians who we are today.
LIMME: Painted in Exile’s style has been compared to various current extreme metal acts, but the band that P.I.E is likened to most consistently seems to be Between the Buried and Me. How does the band feel being compared to Between the Buried and Me? Is BTBAM a band that P.I.E enjoys?
P.I.E: It feels absolutely incredible to constantly be compared to a band that is at the top of their game in the particular genre of music that we are playing. Everyone in the band loves Between The Buried and Me and would love to share the stage with them someday, but musically we really don’t draw much influence from them. Sure we have long songs like they do, but the content of our music (guitar riffs, drum licks, etc.) sound nothing like theirs in our personal opinion.
LIMME: It seems that through Myspace, YouTube, Facebook, etc., P.I.E has developed quite a following, especially for a young, underground act. Fans from all over the United States and even other countries have been urging P.I.E to tour in their hometowns. Did the band plan to develop a strong underground following before any proper large-scale touring and/or a full-length album release, or did things just end up happening that way?
P.I.E: We are currently using the DIY approach for this entire thing, so yes, we wanted to start an underground following, but it also kind of just happened that way. We have limited resources regarding how much promotion we can self-create at the moment. Most of our exposure comes from word of mouth which is amazing, we couldn’t be more grateful for our fans.
LIMME: Are there plans to tour in support of “Revitalized,” or at least to play local shows? What are the plans regarding a studio follow-up to “Revitalized?”
P.I.E: Yes. We just recently played our CD release show, but then we had to start filming our music video immediately afterward for the title track “Revitalized.” That’s currently taking up a lot of our time along with teaching the songs to our new bassist Connor, so things had to slow down for about a month. We plan on recording our debut album in the future, but can’t give you a date at this point in time. We’re still in the beginning stages of writing at this point.
LIMME: Does Rob Richards handle all of the lyric writing for the band, or is this a collaborative effort?
P.I.E: Rob Richards wrote approximately 90% of the lyrics [on “Revitalized”], and the other 10% were written by our drummer, Eddie DeCesare.
LIMME: In reference to the rap vocal at the beginning of “Skylines,” was this used simply to be humorous/ironic, or is hip-hop yet another style that Painted In Exile truly wants to experiment with in a serious manner? Do you think it is risky to use the word “ni*ga” in your lyrics, especially when you are, to be blunt, a young suburban white band that is still carving out their image in the music world?
Rob Richards (vocalist), P.I.E: Well to be honest, I absolutely love rap, hip-hop, r&b, etc. As a matter of fact, I'm listening to Lil’ Wayne right now, about to throw on some Prayer For Cleansing, maybe a little DJ Tiesto..who knows? When I wrote the rap part, I heard [drummer] Eddie’s groove and I was like, I FEEL like there should be a rap over that. So I went home and wrote something that I thought was funny and would [also] leave the impression that myself and P.I.E were not going to narrow our creativity because of the "guidelines" of writing death metal. In my personal opinion, music is liquid; constantly changing and morphing. Musicians shouldn't be afraid to try something new or mash some different styles together. As for me saying "ni*ga" and being a "young suburban white kid," I actually grew up in Howard Beach, Queens and went to school at PS 60 in Woodhaven, then went to Junior High school [PS] 210. To be frank with you, I was one of maybe 20 white kids in my grade of 2500 [students], but it wasn't a problem, I got along with everyone, so it didn’t matter what color I am. I use the word "ni*ga" as a term of endearment between friends and to replicate the authenticity of the type of music I love and want to play. I feel that any word can be taken offensively, it all depends on the context in which you use it. Actually I feel that if you’re the type of person who can’t find the humor, fun, and love in a word when it is being used as a term of endearment, you’re being counterproductive in your "fight" against racism because it is now you who is breathing hate instead of love into the word.
LIMME: Do you find it difficult to write music, record, tour and generally collaborate when members of the band are still in school (especially those that study away from home)? How do you plan to overcome these challenges in the future? Would members of the band ever consider taking a break from school to tour/record?
P.I.E: It isn’t difficult to write music because each of us write separately and then bring what we have written to the table when we meet. We set time in the summer or on school breaks to record/tour etc. If this career becomes so successful for us that we would have to tour full time, then we would be forced to put college on hold.
P.I.E: Our friends in the New Jersey death metal band At Rest had recommended him to us. The recording process was a very in-depth and involved, and it required a lot of patience. All of the drum tracks were performed/recorded naturally by Eddie. We didn’t use any drum machines, triggers or sound replacers because we wanted to make sure that we achieved the most organic sound possible. Personally we feel that the use of “fake” drums is plaguing the metal scene and we wanted to stray away from that. Will Putney was focused on making sure the record sounded as good as it needed to. In our personal opinion, we spent much more time than we paid for to make sure the record came out the way we wanted it to. We highly recommend him and can’t thank him enough.
LIMME: What does the “3.14“ in the lyrics and on your site refer to?
P.I.E: Painted In Exile = P.I.E. = Pi = 3.14...You do the math (pun intended). We just wanted to have fun with the acronym, that's all. Get silly.
LIMME: There have been rumors that Metal Blade Records has contacted Painted in Exile regarding a recording contract. Are these rumors accurate, and if so, how far along is the band in this process?
P.I.E: It is true that we’ve been contacted by various labels, including Metal Blade Records, but we haven’t signed anything as of yet.
The Long Island Metal Music Examiner will be doing an in-depth review of Painted in Exile's "Revitalized" EP in the near future. For more information of Painted in Exile, check out their MySpace, Facebook, or order their EP from the iTunes store.
Now Playing: Scale the Summit - Sargasso Sea
Follow the Long Island Metal Music Examiner now on Twitter. For even more up-to date information regarding everything in the world of heavy metal music, including important "day-of" show/concert info: http://twitter.com/LIMetalExaminer