• A distinguished rock vibe, indeed. The musical journey started back in the late ‘90s, am I right?

Yeah, some of these songs were actually written nearly a quarter of a century ago! It’s crazy how I haven’t played those songs in 13 or 14 years and then made some adjustments when going to the studio. The best thing about the journey is that, decades later, all I had to do was ask some of the original players to come back and record their parts…and almost everybody was into the idea. Great to see old friends and bandmates again.

 

• In your opinion, what are the challenges that you faced in the industry when you reformed in 2020 after all these years?
Oddly enough, the real challenges were 20 years ago! In 1998, when we released the album “Postcards from Places You’d Rather Not Be,” the internet was still new. Social media and streaming sites and the download of digital media hadn’t even happened yet! Getting press and airplay, even on a local level was very difficult. So, coming back to a world where we can get some major results in a short amount of time is the best part of the reformation. When we released the *Nocturnal Sun* album last year, we got airplay all over Europe, in addition to some in the States. We got asked by Red Manor Records earlier this year to have a song placed on their U.K. compilation “Guitars of the Underground.” The new album has already received a bunch of great reviews and airplay in Europe. That kind of thing just didn’t happen 20 years ago. It’s almost annoying! 

• ‘Everyone’s Dead’ is your second album just one year after your debut. How did you manage such rapid songwriting and recording process?
There’s really only 3 new songs on there and those just came along rather naturally and quickly. 3 songs were used (with permission) from old bandmates who were cool with me paying tribute to their works…a few older tunes from the late 90’s and then one song is a cover (“Other Side of the River” by Life of Agony). Everything I do is fast and calculated. If I don’t do it that way, I get bored & frustrated. So, back in April, we scheduled studio time for May, took about 2 months to go in and then finished mixing by the beginning of August. Luckily, the people I work with, especially our sound engineer, Randy, know that I am a nut-case about sticking to schedules when I have an end-date stuck in my mind. I knew I wanted a 2nd album out within a year…and we’re talking about (possibly) starting the 3rd album in the Winter or next Spring.

 

• I really loved the lyric diversity of the album; which topics were mainly discussed on ‘Everyone’s Dead’?
For the new, self-titled single, I was more into the crafting a tune that was really catchy and showing in the lyrics that, especially after a year of turmoil and death, we can still be upbeat…we can all still go on living our lives to best of our ability: having some fun and appreciating the friends and family around us. I didn’t write the song about (the TV show) “The Walking Dead,” but there are some parallels that we all already DO have a virus that is a clock to our final days on Earth, and that we can all still look at the positives and try to be happy instead of wallowing in self-pity.
The bridge of the song is aimed at today’s younger generation: “To the victim goes the spoils…and all you victims still get spoiled…the winners are victims…the winners are foiled…the winners are losers…the winners are all still running away.” In essence, it was my way of showing how today’s generation is all just a bunch of whiners on social media (and elsewhere) thinking that they are victims of the system…or that their parents are their enemies, while they sponge off of them and live at home until they’re 35 or 40…when they should be taking every opportunity to better themselves and have fun while preparing for the future.

 

• You’re very keen to release the album in vinyl and CD formats; weren’t you afraid that may affect album sales especially that we’re living in a digital world these days?

I think that the world is mainly a digital world these days…but being an older, ‘old school’ guy there’s no way that I can NOT release in the hard copy formats. I have a bunch of friends that are big into vinyl collecting (as am I), so it wasn’t even a choice for us, there! For the CD, you’d be surprised at how many media reviewers that ask for a physical copy when you submit the album to get airplay or request a review. There’s something very personal about that actual product: Receiving it in the mail, looking at the artwork and liner notes, and really absorbing yourself into that artist…as opposed to just having it stream on Spotify or wherever. We have people buying our CD in European markets and every time I see those sales, I find I to be really cool knowing that an actual person in Sweden or wherever, is going to get my music in their mailbox and then put in the car’s CD player and listen as they drive to work. What we’ve done with the new album is offer a free digital download with the purchase of the physical product. So, while the new album is just hitting Amazon & iTunes, real fans got both the physical and digital copies before it was made available world-wide! 

• I struggled to find any music video promoting for ‘Everyone’s Dead,’ are you planning to film one soon?
It’s something I should really be more concerned with and will get working on that as soon as possible!

 

• I’m curious to know more about music production and the songwriting process. How do you manage guys to get such impressive and original hard rock output?
For last year’s album, it was a conscious decision to do a hard rock/metal album and record it with sound of a punk album. For this new album, we wanted to do a complete 180 of that and present more of a hard rock POP album, using catchier songs, more modern techniques, and paying a lot more attention to details in the mixing process. Randy at Newcastle Sound really put a lot of extra time into these mixes on this album, whereas, on the last album, we didn’t really know each other and I don’t think he really saw until the end of the album that I was a “mad scientist” who had every track in my head before we started. Going back in, especially so quickly, made it very easy for us to pick up where we left off and he had a better understanding of who we are and how we operate.

 

• Finally, thank you for the chat and tell your fans more about the album promotional plans.
Appreciate the time here with you today and hope that the fans dig the new album, available on all streaming/download platforms, effective September 17th! We hope that everyone will visit us on www.nullrays.com to pick up the albums and T-shirts, and keep track of every new thing that we do via our social media pages on Facebook and Instagram.

Follow Null Rays on Facebook, InstagramApple MusicSpotify, and Amazon.

 

Mena Ezzat

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