You can read this post in: Portuguese (Brazil)
We, here in Groundcast, sometimes receive some awesome interviews purposes. And we know you are missing our good interview, so we have the honor to interview Mike LePond, Symphony X’s bass player, promoting his first solo album, Silent Assassins
We would like to thank you for this interview, Mr.LePond. We appreciate your good work with Symphony X and your awesome solo album, Silent Assassins. Starting this interview, could you tell us a little about your career, when you decided to play a bass etc.?
Thank you for the interview. When I was 13 years old my dad took me to see KISS in New York City. I was blown away by this amazing show. Gene Simmons was spitting blood, breathing fire and flying like a superhero. From that day forward I wanted to be a rock star bass player just like him.
Here in Brazil is not so common the people start playing bass and I notice you started with this instrument. Why? Do you have some “special care” with it?
Although the bass is not exactly the most popular instrument in a band, I have always loved it because it fits my personality. I am a quiet and shy guy and bass playing captures my emotions. I also think the bass can be used in so many creative ways in a band or solo situation.
Normally I did not like solo albums from bass or guitar musicians because they have a wrong emphasis on one instrument, for me it is annoying a lot. But your album is different, because sounds me like a new band with an interesting purpose. The “Red Death”, for example, starts with an Indian intro, not so common in Power metal releases and some guitar passages seems more “thrashy”. Could you comment about the production and the inspirations to this debut?
There is over forty years of inspiration in this album. Of course my 1980s classic metal influences like Priest, Maiden and Sabbath are there, but I am also influenced by symphonic and classical metal bands like Rhapsody and Blind Guardian. Blackmore’s Night is also a huge influence on the CD.
Saying frankly with you, I was a big fan of power metal releases when I was teen. Today I did not listen to because all the new and old groups sound me like a repetition from any German or American band from 80s-90s. But your album recovered my faith in the genre, because it sounds more than a power metal release. How do you describe the genre or musicality in “Silent Assassins”?
I think the Silent Assassins is a power metal record but it is made in a modern way. The riffs are traditional but they are done with all the modern orchestration that the bands use today. In the 1980s everyone was afraid to use keyboards. I think that is what makes this album feel new and fresh.
This release was launched after a successful Kickstarter campaign. Here in Brazil the crowdfunding is starting, with some good releases recorded by the fans’ support. How important is this format to the artist? Is crowdfunding an alternative for the music market?
With record companies going out of business all the time, I think crowdfunding is a great way for bands to get their music to the public. It promotes great interaction between the artist and the fans. In reality, the fans become the artist’s record company.
In a short period of time we lost two of the biggest names of the music, Lemmy Kilmister and David Bowie. What do you feel about their deaths?
Both of these men can never be replaced. Bowie’s music is true artistry in every sense of the word. He is easily one of the greatest songwriters of all time. Motorhead’s music influenced more metal bands than possibly anyone else. I owe my musical career to Lemmy.
What do you think about mp3 illegal sharing? Here in Brazil is not easy to acquire metal releases, because we don’t have many CD Stores and Net Stores selling these records and, in recent times, many stores are closing their doors because the people aren’t buying anything.
Illegal downloading/sharing is killing music of all genres. Nowadays it is nearly impossible to make any money on record sales. Bands must go on tour to make any money now. It is very sad because I don’t think some people even realize that what they are doing is wrong.
And about streaming services as Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music etc.? Are they a good alternative to illegal sharing? I listened to your solo album using the Spotify, because it is cheaper than I buy a physical copy and I believe many people knew your work using one of these services.
These streaming services are a better alternative to illegal downloading/sharing but they still pay the bands basically nothing. I am ok with streaming because I am willing to sacrifice getting paid for the amount of exposure these services can provide an artist.
Are there any plans for a solo tour? I hope to see you here to get a signed copy for me. (hahaha)
I would love to do a solo tour, and Latin America would be my first choice to play. I just need to coordinate it in between all of the Symphony X touring that will happen in 2016. I will be happy to give you a signed copy and have a great dinner together.
What have you listened recently? What recordings do you recommend?
Recently I have been listening to the band “Ghost”. I really like this band. Also, I have been listening to a lot of viking and folk metal bands. I really love all the different instruments they use along with the guitars, bass and drums.
I like to ask for the artists about the life on tour, because touring with a band as Symphony X gives good stories. What was the funnier, stranger or “bizarre” situation occurred with you during the gigs?
With Symphony X, there has really not been too many funny, strange or bizzare stories. Just having great times together with our fans, seeing all the beautiful countries, and living our dreams.
Thank you so much for this interview, enduring my long questions. Please, give to our readers a final message. Let’s go.
To all your readers, thank you so much for all of your loyalty and support. I love all of you and I look forward to meeting each and everyone of you on tour. God bless you all.