Any number of adjectives can be used to describe the band Transcend the Fallen and most of them would fit. The band evokes their unique sound from a variety of styles and influences that range from pop music to rock to metal to heavy metal and beyond. The Nashville based band it out to show the world that more than country music can come from Music City, USA.
With lyrics that evoke deep rooted emotions and music that the angels would play if they were a heavy metal band, Transcend the Fallen has indeed found a way to transcend the different genres of music. A melodic heaviness that flows smoothly across the songs shows the band is focused and almost playing as if they were but one instrument.
Transcend the Fallen has turned to an increasingly popular method for taking their art to the next level and bring their shows to the masses. IndieGoGo is a crowd-funding platform where movie producers, bands, wrestling promotions and people wanting to raise money for a cause can utilize to raise funds for their projects. Users set up a campaign and ask friends, family, fans and others who support their cause or industry to contribute financially to their goals. Transcend the Fallen is hopeful that they will be able to raise enough funds to take their live show on the road so they can bring their style of music to an even wider audience.
Transcend the Fallen (Matthew Bess, Stephen Lewis, Phillip Garner, Chris Davison, Billy McDonald) is preparing for their first show of 2013 at the Rutledge in Nashville and I was able to sit down with a couple of members of the band and find out just what they hope to accomplish and what fans can expect if they donate to the band via IndieGoGo.
1) You draw inspiration/influence from a wide spectrum of bands do you find that makes it easier or more difficult to write music?
Matthew: Both. Having such different influences sometimes makes stuff fall into place easily, and other times it causes things to clash. But even the clashing is a good thing because it pushes us harder, and we ultimately end up with things we would never have come up with otherwise.
2) Melodic rock often translates into ballads, how do you keep from falling into that definition?
Matthew: Being melodic isn't the overall goal. It's more of a mindset. We play heavy music because that's what we feel, enjoy, and relate to. We just don't believe you ever have to sacrifice prettiness for heaviness.
3) Is there a collaborative when writing or does one person write the lyrics and the rest contribute the music?
Matthew: Well, I write the lyrics, and we, essentially, all write the music. Sometimes it will be songs I've written, or songs or ideas that the rest of the band brings to the table, but it all ends up being a total collaboration. Once we have all the pieces and it feels right and everyone has put their particular flavor on it, I'll structure it and work on the composition aspect. We're very fortunate to all get to work with 4 other talented writers.
Stephen: It's funny because we may individually hear a song and think, "I want one of those!" Then we'll take the idea back to the other guys in the band and it's how we all work together that allow us to develop our own sound.
4) You are using IndieGoGo to try and raise funds to take Transcend the Fallen on the road, what can fans expect for their money if they contribute?
Stephen: We have lots of perks listed for each level of donations ranging from bumper decals to a private, storytellers style show just for them. It's a way for us to get closer to our fans and to take our show on the road.
5) Why did you decide to use IndieGoGo to take the band on tour?
Stephen: Honestly, it's because IndieGoGo seemed to allow more flexible options for us as the ones trying to raise funds than any other sites might have.
6) How far do you hope to go with the money you raise? Do you have a wish list for cities you want to play?
Stephen: Well, we're hoping to raise enough money to buy a trailer to haul our equipment and a reliable van to begin this whole touring thing. As for a wish list of cities, I can say we all probably have our choice cities that we'd each like to play but really just being able to get out there and play for whole new crowds of people everywhere is a shared desire.
7) So far you have raised $400 of $2,500, what happens if you do not meet your goal?
Stephen: If we do not meet our goal, we will go ahead and use whatever we do raise towards the same ends of getting the trailer and van. That is our goal and every little bit towards that goal will help!
A lot of bands and especially lead singers kind of transform when they are on stage, for instance Leigh Kakaty of Pop Evil is somewhat meek and almost shy offstage but when he gets behind the mic, he is a completely different person. How do you guys make that transformation or are you just as crazy off the stage as on?
Matthew: I won't deny that we're a little crazy offstage as well. But it's not the stage that causes any transformation; it's the music. We get just as into it during practice. For us, we're not so much "putting on a show" as we are just letting the music flow through us, and that's a pretty passionate and freeing experience.
9) When can we expect a new album?
Stephen: In today's music industry it seems like the focus is not on albums anymore so much as singles. Right now we are in the studio recording a new single to give the world. It's one of the songs that people repeatedly keep asking if we have it recorded. The overall goal is to get a few singles recorded and then hopefully compile them with a few other, not yet recorded songs to make the next album. The time frame for the final product is still up in the air.
10) A lot of bands are good studio bands but not good live while others are good live but not in the studio…you sound as good live as you do in studio, how have you been able to bridge that gap?
Stephen: That's a fun question because as Matthew pointed out earlier we all get into the music and kind of lose ourselves. We do the same thing in studio. Granted, we don't jump around as much but we all groove to the music and just really enjoy playing the songs. The other thing is we have to give credit to Daniel Dennis at Prime Cut Studios for being able to capture our sound and presence in studio. He's pretty good to work with in studio and we always enjoy our time there.
11) You recently changed guitar players and Billy MacDonald is now part of the crew, how is that working?
Stephen: Unfortunately, Jason Garrie is no longer with us. He has made the hard decision to leave the band in order to put his focus on his family. We all love him and support him in this decision and wish him the best. He was on board with us and helped us to find our replacement for him. Thus far, Billy has played two shows with us and they have been great!
12) Being from Nashville how difficult is it for a metal band to stand out in a city known for country music?
Stephen: This is actually a unique question because Nashville is known for country music but that's not all that thrives here. It is called Music City USA and it's not hard to find all flavors of music here if you know where to look. That being said, it's actually hard for most bands to stand out in Music City because there are so many talented musicians here that you really have to bring a whole package deal to the stage.
13) Tell me about “Between Perception and Regret” what was the inspiration for the album, what kind of meaning does it have for you?
Matthew: It's actually sort of a concept album. It tells a story of a relationship from the pivotal moment where things start to deteriorate and each song is a chapter of the process that follows. It kinda ends up with acceptance and being able to look back on it and reflect, which is not really something you can do as you're actually going through something devastating. I think all of us have individually lived the album at one point or another.
14) Where do you hope to take the band in the next few years?
Stephen: Ideally we are looking to make this our full time careers so as such we hope to physically take the band all over the North American continent but sonically we hope to be internationally played.
15) What do you want to tell fans about the band, the live show and what they can expect from Transcend the Fallen?
Stephen: The only way to truly see the passion we have for this is to come see us at a show and talk to us at the show. I can honestly say that all the guys in the band absolutely want nothing more than to play our music all over the world for everyone we can. Music is our soul, the fire that burns inside each of us and the reason that we work and struggle so hard to achieve these goals.