Sunday, October 6, 2013

"ME"TAL 101 presents Energy's Jason Tankerley

Energy's front man Jason Tankerley is our newest guest in the "ME"TAL 101 interview series. Energy is a great punk band hailing from Boston. Their latest release NEW WORLDS OF FEAR is one of my favorite releases of the year. 

At Heavy Metal Textbooks we're always proud to shine a spotlight on the talented musicians we have in New England. I hit up Jason recently on Facebook and he was kind enough to discuss Energy's latest release, his goals and give us some great horror movie recommendations. 
So without further's the discussion!

HMT: You're newest release is excellent. With so many bands these days trying to produce albums that sound lo fi, it's nice to hear a clean production that feels current. Tell me a bit about the album's production and how long it took for you to write the music.
Tank: Thanks man, I'm glad you dig it! It technically took me like 4 years to write this E.P., but that's really just because I wasn't very motivated regarding music in general during that time. Once I got the game plan in my head going to make this release happen late last year, it all fell into place pretty quickly.This is the first time we've worked with producer Chris Curran (A Loss For Words, Handguns, Vanna) since 2008's "Invasions Of The Mind", and stylistically it feels like we're back on the right track. While I certainly do love lo-fi recordings, we headed into recording "New Worlds Of Fear" with a modern production style in mind for sure. I've always loved huge sounding records like "Nevermind" or even "Famous Monsters", and from what I've gathered, it's a style of production that people find much easier to "ignore" if you will. It helps the listener focus more on the song instead of the poor and/or weird quality of the recording. I've always wished that a lot of my favorite albums by other artists sounded a little better, and since I already have that regret with some of Energy's past recordings, I wanted to make sure that this would be an album that people can just turn up loud in their cars and sing along to.
HMT: We share a mutual respect for bands that could be categorized as Horror Punk (misfits, afi, danzig...etc). Energy has an original sound but can fit into the aforementioned genre easily. What are your goals for Energy and do you feel like you're cutting out your own niche, not just locally but on the national level now?
Tank: My goal for Energy is to become the most popular band we are capable of becoming. We formed when I was 21 years old, and all I wanted out of life up until that point was to start a band and go on tour. Ever since I reached that goal, I've just been kind of winging it with a series of short term goals. My current short term goal is to finally go on tour again to promote this E.P. and hope that at least some people still remember us.
Jason putting in the work
HMT: Based on what I see on the web you have a lot of experience in the promotion end of the band. With labels having less influence now that there are so many more opportunities for a band to promote their own music on the web, where do you see the music industry heading?
Tank: I'm just thrilled that we're working completely independently right now. We're in charge of the recordings, we press our own CDs, t-shirts, buttons, etc. through my record label "Monster Party Records". I am not opposed to signing with another label again someday, but for the level we're at - this is perfect. While MPR can't give Energy the same financial push that some of our former labels could, I'm much happier with the products we're selling. We make all of our own decisions right now and it's great.
I see a lot of bands doing this as well, and it only makes sense. I think it's pretty safe to say that the digital download is the most popular musical format in the world now, but I also think that there is still going to be a strong demand for physical music for many years to come.
HMT: I'm a big fan of the artwork on your cd/album covers. How much input do you have in the design and the overall look of each release?
Tank: We've worked with two artists in the past: Bill Hauser (PTC/IOTM) & George Berce. George is who we work with currently, and I usually just send him the songs with lyrics and tell him to interpret them his own way. I think I may have been slightly more specific with "New Worlds Of Fear" though. Album art is and always has been a very important part of releasing new music to me, and I'm forever grateful that we've gotten to work with such talented people who understand the aesthetic I'm going for.

HMT: What musician or band has inspired you personally the most in your career?
Tank: Glenn Danzig. Every time I'm asked this, I say the same thing. His entire catalogue of Misfits, Samhain, and Danzig songs are and probably always will be my favorite music to listen to. It's the music that shaped the way I write on so many different levels.
HMT: Of all your sets, acoustic or electric what has been your most memorable live performance?
Tank: I'd say one of the times we have gone through Charleston, South Carolina. I remember the shows being really hot, but as soon as the first song starts, I didn't even have to sing anymore. One of the most overwhelming/awesome feelings in the world is being somewhere else in the country and seeing an entire room appreciate what you do. After those shows I remember really feeling like we were on to something special, and that if we just kept pushing forward, good things just might happen.
HMT: Will Energy be playing out to support the EP this fall? Why do you feel more bands are putting out as many EP's as full lengths these days?
Tank: I have every intention of touring to support our new music, we're just in the planning stages of all that right now. Hopefully later this year, or early next year. I have never been one to say this, but I really miss the road and I can't wait to do it again. I used to hate touring more than anything, but a few things in my life have changed quite drastically since then, so I don't think I'm going to be so miserable this time around.
Bands are putting out so many E.P.'s because we're living in the age of digital downloads and faster musical consumption. It's just the fastest way to get new music out to the listeners. That's the reason Energy does E.P.'s at least haha

Jason and fellow "ME"TAL 101 guest
Michale Graves

HMT: As the songwriter and vocalist, how difficult is it to reconnect with the emotions you might've been experiencing in the writing process, when you're singing these songs months and years later?
Tank: With most of our songs, the emotions conveyed through the lyrics are still present within me somewhere, so it's not very hard to conjure them up while performing. When I'm onstage I just try my hardest to get into the mindset that I was in while writing the songs. I'm a pretty nostalgic person that likes to look back in life, so it's never really been something I've struggled with.
HMT: Halloween is around the corner, can you recommend to our readers some great horror flicks?
Tank: My favorite horror movies are probably Children Of The Corn, Halloween and Prince Of Darkness. I also really like the Jeepers Creepers movies and can't wait for the third installment "Cathedral". I don't think it's coming out until next year though. I highly suggest reading into Victor Salva's career as a filmmaker. Very disturbing.

HMT: Thanks Jason!

Left to right: Jeremy, Tank, Kevin, Conor, Chris
Photo by Steve Mailing
Be sure to pick up the latest release "NEW WORLDS OF FEAR" and check out their websites at the links below! This is a band that deserves attention.

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