A band that “struggles” in mixing funk with progressive metal? Sounds interesting, don’t you think? Boston experimentalists Sound Struggle are about to launch their sophomore album Rise in September which sees the band improvising even further over prog metal, funk, jazz fusion, djent. The album is a strong contender for the best release of 2015.
Moshville Times talked with keyboardist Joey Izzo.
Sound Struggle will release their second full-length album titled Rise in September. You already premiered two singles off the record, “Perpetual Motion” and “The Disease.” Tell me what can we expect from the rest of the material?
We hope that the rest of the record will continue to surprise you! This record has such a wide spread of stylistic influences. You can expect a continued level of high energy and a large number of musical curveballs.
Are there any particular reasons for choosing an instrumental piece (“Perpetual Motion” – listen to it below) as a single off the album?
Actually one of the biggest requests we received in response to our debut album was that listeners wanted to hear our style in the context of instrumental music. Not only that but we also felt that Perpetual was a good bridge between our straight up Funk/Metal sound and some of the new directions we are taking on Rise.
“Perpetual Motion” is a great mixture of prog rock, funk and jazz. How do you manage to make these three distinctive genres come together? Is this the struggle in your sound?
Haha indeed, that was definitely the idea behind the band name. We’ve found that this concoction of genres only works well when we really work together as a band on a song. We all have areas of jazz, funk, rock and metal that we are particularly proficient in to different degrees, so the multi genre sound is simply the sound of our production and writing process at work.
How is the working chemistry like in a six-piece band? I guess that there is always something going on.
For sure! We all have different amounts of involvement in the production and that allows it to go pretty smoothly. On Rise each band member brought between 1-3 songs forward with a demo and a chart. From there we polished the pieces of each song until we were happy with the final result as a band. We are all such good friends that any disagreements are dealt with smoothly and democratically.
You call yourself a jamband. How does it reflect on your songwriting?
Our jamband aspect mainly applies to how we approach our solo sections. Our basic song structures will usually stay the same but we do not compose solos and this allows those sections to be fresh and dynamic every time we play them live, as is the case with many bands we admire who take this approach. All solos on the album were improvised with the exception of one solo where we purposely wrote out a harmonized solo between keys and EWI (electric sax).
What are the topics you explore in your lyrics?
Our lyrics on Rise tend to speak a lot about the idea of artistic integrity within the world of music. This was accidental but I guess that’s where our minds were at the time. We also have a few outliers such as a song about how awesome and precious nature is, lyrics based on dreams that we had, and a tongue in cheek song about how too many snow days can be a bad thing, based on personal experience of course haha.
What is the connection between the band’s name and the working relationship between you guys?
I’d say the band name mostly points towards the struggle of getting all of these genres to work together. Being that we all have slightly different influences I guess you could say that getting the Rush guy to jive with the Alan Holdsworth guy could be a struggle, but in the production process of Rise our communication and strong friendships pretty much took care of those issues.
Which bands and artists influence your music? How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?
Our influences range from Periphery, Meshuggah and Animals as Leaders to Rush, Dave Matthews Band, and Dream Theater to Alan Holdsworth and The Brecker Brothers, with a countless amount of others. Our sound could best be described as Progressive Fusion with strong traces of metal and funk, and a strong focus on musicianship and cutting edge production.
Where do you think the US progressive scene stands compared to the European?
From what I have seen both scenes are thriving, because at the base of it all, what a real progressive music fan needs to be happy is the music, and as it stands today that’s not going to change. I would love to see the US have some progressive music festivals with the same size and vigor that the European scene displays but with the energy and inspiration of new American bands such as Periphery and Animals as Leaders. I think the American progressive scene has a very bright future.
Are there any plans to tour Europe and present your music to audiences here?
A European tour would be a dream come true for all of us. The European audiences are very welcoming and we would love to be a part of that. Should it become a logistical and financial possibility we would be over there in a heartbeat!