When looking towards a new Metal movement and what it might take to offer up something that the fans will find new and exciting, Pandemic definitely has something to offer. The band draws on familiar influences and develops them into their own powerhouse of intensity with melody. Formerly known as Town Cryer XXI a few years ago the band ran with an even more hungry approach, a name change and some minor personnel changes. i talked with Erik Deitz, guitarist and core member of the newly revamped Pandemic and got his take on a little bit of everything. Here as big as life is the transcript!
Dave: Hi Erik! I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me. Let's get started by looking at the band. The first time I met you it was with Towne Cryer XXI. How long has Pandemic been together now??
Erik: A little over a year. It's basically most of the guys from Towne Cryer with a new drummer. We were like Spinal Tap in the last few years. We couldn't keep a drummer in the band.
Dave: Now with Towne Cryer you did have 2 guitarists at one time, but I believe when I saw you at Ultrasound 2000 it was just you then??
Erik: I think when we played Ultrasound we had just lost are other guitar player.
Dave: How did you meet up with Sammy?? Was he playing in the local scene or something like that??
Erik: Sammy is old school. He was in a band called Wasted Angel that became Mother Lode that was signed with EMI probably 5-7 years ago. He opened up a rock club here that we had been playing a few times after he had stopped playing. We would play and were having problems with drummers and got talking after the shows when we were settling up. I would tell him that we wished we had a drummer and wished he could drum. He started to get the itch again. He told me that he was gonna try and get his chops together and audition. After about 5 or 6 months, he was right back to speed. We brought him on and he's on the album. We're really happy that we have a good drummer that we can count on.
Dave: Let's look at the album now. When I saw you as Towne Cryer I remember a pretty strong Progressive sound. I think around that time you were going to release your second album.
Erik: That album actually is the Pandemic album now. It has taken a really long time. It is a major label release without the major label. All of our gig money and work money for the last couple of years has gone into this release.
Dave: I am not too familiar with the first release other than what I heard at the show, but would it be fair to classify it as Progressive??
Erik: Yeah, but not to the point that people won't get it. We like to throw the Progressive element in there, but not to the point that it's too far out there.
Dave: When I was asked what I thought the Pandemic album reminded me of I said Godsmack with a ton of melody. Much more that the Godsmack types of recent have displayed. Not saying that this album is just another Godsmack album though. There really is a lot of different feeling here. Something for everyone I feel. Do you guys think that this is moving on to a new thing or really carrying your original sound further with the Progressive feel added in??
Erik: We are using the Progressive element, but I think we are getting better at it and what defines our sound as influences. I get asked a lot what my favorite track is and I really like every track for different reasons, different vibes and different sound. I get a lot of different favorites depending on who I ask. My 80's metalhead people will like these 2 or 3 and the Alice in Chains types may like these 2 or 3. There is just a varied type thing going on with the album. I think we are getting better at doing that.
Dave: I think the album works very well because of this. There really is something for everyone out there. I feel the album is a complete album. If you was to ask me what my favorites are I would agree with you. The album is very solid beginning to end. It's definitely one of the better albums I have heard recently. Talk a bit about the producer. I understand that you brought in a high profile producer for this release.
Erik: Yeah, N.S. 'Buck' Brundage is out of couchcreativeservices.com . His list is at that address. He has worked with Fates Warning, Al Di Meola, he's got a resume' that is amazing. I knew as far as guitar sound, I knew that he was the right guy. He had a good ear for everything else as well. He was totally in line with what we were doing which was a plus. We didn't really have to fight with anybody too much.
Dave: So how did you find him then??
Erik: There's a local band here called The Don Lewis band that used Buck as a producer. He was kindo of looking at the acts that Buck was producing and mentioned that he had done a great job for them and thought he would just kill for us. It was a good combination, a Metal band mixed with his skills. He was excited to work on the project.
Dave: I really have to compliment you on the quality that you got on this release. It was just an amazing job. The sound is clear yet really packs a punch.
Erik: Well, like I had said, we really brought out the big guns on this one. We did everything right on this one. That is what hurt us on the Towne Cryer release. It was only suppose to be a demo. The sound was not as good due to the production. Everybody said the songs were great, but the production was lacking. This time around we use Buck to produce it. Phil Magnotti to mix it who I believe was just nominated for a Grammy and already has a Grammy. Top notch talent. We totally stand behin this record. I think it is just great! Nothing but great response on the release.
Dave: Let's look at the distribution for the album. I have played the album in stores and the response is great. People walk up and ask who it is. I think if enough people were to hear it then it would probably take off.
Erik: That's what we're hoping. Our crazy rabid fans really help out every which way. We do shows for the Marine Corps up here at Stewart Air Force Base and a lot of these guys travel. Anywhere they go they are playing the cd and saying that this is available at cdbaby.com and at Amazon.com. They tell everyone to check out the samples and that's how it starts. It's spreading a little bit into Georgia and Florida and on the West coast. It is slow because we are doing it ourselves. It isn't happening quick enough for me. (laughs)
Dave: Are you looking at anything overseas at this point??
Erik: I believe Dave Tedder from Dreamscape Music Group looks into this kind of thing. That really is his thing.
Dave: I think you guys might do pretty well overseas.
Erik: Yeah, I think we would do really well overseas. There is an 80's Metal element, a Progressive element, and a Contemporary fresh Godsmack type thing going on as well. I think we hit a home run with this album.
Dave: What kind of gigging have you been doing or will be doing??
Erik: We're doing our hour showcase opening up for any national that comes through here. We're doing the 4 hour bar gigs that include covers and originals. We have to pay the bills. We were gonna do the cover thing under Towne Cryer, but it became to confusing. We do a lot of different types of covers when we do them. Everything from Billy Joel to The Beatles to Alice in Chains, Mudvayne, Godsmack, Pantera, and even do medleys of all of the classic songs that we like. We are doing it just to have fun with it.
Dave: How did the whole Dreamscape thing come together for you with the album??
Erik: We did a show here opening for Dee Snider and Chris Dugan from Metal Dreams magazine was there and was blown away. He asked 'What is up with you guys?? What do you have going on??'. We didn't have much going on, just the Towne Cryer album. He gave me Dave's number and said 'You have got to get this to this guy'. We finished the album and sent it out to Dave and he said 'Let's really work this'. The only problem we had back then was the production. We said that no matter how much it costs, we are gonna have a great product next time. If anyone want's to pick it up or have interest in it, it's ready to go.
Dave: That is about all I had for this chat, but do always like to give the artist the opportunity to give some parting thoughts. Do you have any??
Erik: Yeah, thank you for taking the time to listen to our stuff. I did want to thank a few people if you can get them in there. I want to thank Rivera Amps and Cabinets, Hamer Guitars, ESP guitars, DR Strings, and Visual Sound Electronics. They really help me out and totally hook me up and give 125%. Thanks again!
Dave: Hey, Thank you and stay in touch!