New York has a long and storied history of hardcore and groove inflected metal. So long in fact that we could go on for days and not even touch half of it. Fear Is Dead is not a new band but they’ve come a long way since their more melodic rendition of NY’s backbone. The band has lightly penciled in a new album slated for summer of this year but will be releasing a teaser single, “Assimilation,” later this month that showcases their path towards a more aggressive and straight to the point approach. Ahead of this single release we asked the band our set of Profile questions to get the backstory so head below to see how it went down. While you’re reading, enjoy the embed of 2018’s Omnicidal and keep an eye on their Bandcamp page for “Assimilation.”
How did you first get into playing music, and have you achieved the level of success that you hoped for?
Ish – I’ve been playing music all my life, my Aunt got me an acoustic guitar when I was a small child and I used to perform in school plays and musicals up until 7th grade. I even had violin lessons and keyboard lessons at one point. When I was 6 years old my Mom took me to the drum section at the guitar center on 14th St. and the rest was history. I had my first band in 7th grade and haven’t stopped playing drums since. I’m not at the level of success that I hoped for yet, but I’m on the right path and things are looking bright.
Skila – I started out in Hiphop, lyricist / producer, it got to the point that my approach and subject matter didn’t make sense with the musical climate at the time. I was about to quit doing music when my metal head friend who was my co producer at the time suggested we start a band. I was already a fan of punk, grunge, some hardcore, classic rock and some metal, so it wasn’t alien to me. I’m definitely much happier artistically now than before starting the band. As far as success, we have a long way to go, but we love what we do, so that’s a great start.
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, and praised? (If you don’t have a story, please tell us any funny/embarrassing story.)
Skila – I don’t think we’ve ever debased ourselves, we let the music / performance speak for itself. Embarrassing, there’s a couple. My birthday show a few years back, we planned a burlesque, but unbeknownst to me the ladies and my drummer were conspiring to tie me up on stage and make me part of the act. I’m a bit reserved so I tried to avoid it but they got me and as enjoyable as it is to get smacked in the face with 2 pairs of titties while tied to a chair in a venue full of people, it was awkward. Good times.
What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?
Skila – I think it’s great that the new generation of artists are combining different styles of music, I think it opens it up to be more creative. What I don’t like is that in certain areas it’s very cliquey, not so much about the music but it seems more about a circle of people that like things a certain way. Nothing wrong with that, but don’t say you’re building up the community when it’s really a club.
Ish – I really like how metal bands are starting to experiment more with other genres and start playing around with different instruments and sound play. One of the worst things right now for me personally is that there’s not enough women in the metal community.
It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music?
Skila – Fear Is Dead as the band name resonated with me because I always liked to talk about things that people avoid, hard topics, the ugly side. I’ve written about police brutality and government abuse of power, childhood trauma, suicide, abusive relationships, it’s a bit of an exorcism. To be honest, I don’t think I could write about anything I don’t feel in some way passionate about.
Ish – Personally for me I don’t have any big beliefs or anything like that. I think everyone deserves happiness and that you shouldn’t be a dick to one another, that being said in today’s society there are a lot of hot topics that you can’t say or talk about which is difficult for an artist especially in metal where there’s always someone ready to point a finger.
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?
Ish – I was born into it, my Mom is a metalhead, best Mom in the universe!!
Skila – My family never made a big deal about my taste in music, as a kid I was more into Hiphop, though I remember liking Metallica.
What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?
Skila – Keep in mind that a raw (no fancy lights or effects) performance separates the men from the boys. Just because it has a major label stamp on it doesn’t always mean that it should. Participation trophies are anti evolution. Don’t pick favorites, pick talent and creativity.
What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.
Skila – World domination is a long term must, if I’ve learned anything from being an American is that I must invade if I plan to save. The cult will start itself. Seriously though, I have a graphics / signage installation company, and I draw and paint.
Ish – Definitely world domination, actually universal domination why stop at just the planet! I used to skateboard pretty heavy, but now just whenever I can. I have a day job in hunting for the truth about aliens.
When you’re not obsessing over your own material, what are some of your favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)
Ish – Aw man this year has totally blessed us with great material: Chon’s self titled album is great, Opeth’s In Cauda Venenum is my album of the year, Asagraum’s Dawn of Infinite Fire is really awesome too and Contrarian’s Their Worm Never Dies is awesome.
Skila – I haven’t listened to much new music lately, I did catch the new Opeth and new Slipknot albums, good shit. Two of my favorite albums are Soundgarden / Badmotorfinger and Nas / It Was Written.
What is the 12-month outlook for you or your band? Any specific events on the horizon that the masses should be aware of?
Skila – At the moment we’re working on an album which should be ready for release summer 2020, followed by a tour. Until then we’ll be releasing singles which will be included on the album as bonus tracks. We usually put out EPs because it’s such a fast food market, but this is going to be something extra special.
Summarize your band in exactly one word. (Disclosure: If you include additional words, we will select our favorite for the publication)
Many thanks to Fear Is Dead for their time!