Rockapalooza is making its annual habitat in Jackson, MI tomorrow, and to get everyone a little more acquainted with some of the lesser known, Michigan-based acts on the bill a list of general questions was sent to a handful of bands performing at tomorrow's festival. This interview is with the band Know Lyfe. All questions answered by Alfonso Civile, vocalist.
For those who are unfamiliar with your band, could you give a brief history lesson on how your band formed and how you've gotten to this point in your perspective career?
The quick run down in 30 seconds or less? EASY! Started Sept. 2000 in Lansing, MI. I saw an ad posted at a local music store in town that a band was looking for a bass player. I made the call. I was origionally the bass player before moving to vocals. We jammed and everything just fit and that was that.
How would you describe your sound for someone who has never heard you before?
Take The Deftones, 36 Crazyfists, Poison The Well, Every Time I Die, and 80's pop and put it in a bowl, shake it up and we would be that bastard child that came out of it.
How would you say your sound has changed/progressed since the band first started?
We were all 18 when this band started, just a bunch of teenagers in college wanting to play metal our own way. We are now much older and not only do we want to keep playing metal we also want to write good songs. This would be the one major progression in the band. We have learned to care about structure and song writing. We don't make music any more just to be heavy. We make Heavy music that serves a purpose in the structure of a whole song.
Tell us about your latest release, or if you're currently working on something in the studio, your work on that. How did the recording setting influence the record?
Our latest release is named "Empire of Wolves" it was released Oct. of 2011 and has been our most successful independent release to date. All our other records before this were us trying to find our writing style. We knew we already had our own personal style, we weren't ever and will never try to mimic what is popular or what is marketable so we were not worried about keeping our identity we knew we had already set that standard for ourselves. This time around we wanted to make songs that not only made us want to move but that people really could understand and also had that crushing sound we love.
Michigan, although not on the tip of everyone's tongue, has certainly produced artistically strong and commercially successful acts. What are some of the artists you particularly admire from the state and what are your thoughts on the scene you feel most attached to?
So many amazing Michigan bands years and years of great music has come from this state and more years to come. Artists we really love from this state and respect are Black Dahlia Murder, I See Stars, Eminem, Wilson, I Am Abomination, Crackjaw, Bob Seeger, Still Remains, Brothers... there are so many. The scene we most love is obviously the heavy music scene because it is the least represented and also the local scene because everyone starts as a local band. You work your way up, you have to have to fight so much to get the smallest rewards. To us, the local scene is were the heart of it all is. ESPECIALLY IN MICHIGAN. The amount of local support for touring national bands offered in this state is amazing and it is so great to see it thriving!
What is your familiarity with the Rockapalooza festival?
We actually played the first Rockapalooza ever and we were on some janky truckbed stage. It was super fun. Tim gave us a chance and we took it. We then played the second Rockapalooza with Sevendust as the headliners on the main stage and that was amazing! The response for us was unreal!!!
What are some of the bands you've seen or are looking forward to sharing the stage with this year?
I See Stars, Afroman, Coolio, and Woe is Me to name a few.
What drives you to continue to push as musicians, whether it be personal reasons or music that inspires you?
We have been a band for 12 years. In that time, we have toured the US countless of times, toured with some of our favorite national bands, been on Warped Tour several times, on Mayhem Festival twice, shot countless of pro videos, been on the radio, met amazing people, won the Ernie Ball battle of the bands in 2007, picked up sponsorships by Jagermeister, Curt Mangan strings, put out four records, been distributed internationally, been on shelves of local Best Buys, Hot Topics... so much stuff we have been able to do. Things we dreamed about and we have done it all alone - no labels, no management. Just us four guys pushing and pushing and pushing to be heard and seen. We have no intention of stopping anytime soon, in our minds and hearts we are just getting started 12 years in. We practice what we preach and that is follow your dreams and your heart and we are doing just that. To see this band start in a cold dark basement and arrive at all those things mentioned... that is just fuel for our fire you know?
For those unable to attend the festival, what kind of touring plans do you have in the near future?
We will be out on our own headlining tour in July from July 6th-July 23rd with a stop on this years Mayhem Festival sposonserd By Jagermeister and Rockstar Energy Drink on July 22nd. We will then be going back out as support for the Bitterness The Star Tour with our friends 36 Crazyfists and Straight Line Stitch. In between all that, we have tons of shows lined up. We are a band that loves playing out so we easily play about 200 shows a year.
If there was an overall message or something you hope people take away from your music, what would you hope that is?
Persevere, follow your dreams, never let someone tell you can not do something positive, if you have heart, will, patience, and good work ethic you can accomplish so many things!
Where can we check out your releases online, whether it be streaming, for download or physical purchase?