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Cranely Gardens is a five piece metal band based out of South Jersey. With the members having such an eclectic range of influences the band keeps an original sound while remaining plenty heavy. Today, I had the chance to catch up with Joe (Guitar) And Chaz (Vocals) and talk about the band and recent happenings.
XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Joe & Chaz: Currently, we are in a big push right now to promote our brand new EP release, House of Decay, which debuted on August 11th, 2017. We’ve been taking our time getting this ready and are excited to share it with everyone via the road and the internet. After a few months of shows, we’re getting back into the studio to write our yet to be titled full length. We’ve already got a few songs written and we’re hoping to have it out before 2019.
XS ROCK: How long has the band been together?
Joe & Chaz: Technically the band has existed for a long time, since 2008. We generally count the first few years as a bunch of kids having fun and just jamming around though. After we got a little older, and over the course of several line-up changes, we really considered the band to be alive and worth acknowledging when we grew into the line-up that finally got things moving which was comprised of two of the original members, Chaz Macklin (vocals) and Randy Mac (guitar), and the newer additions that made the group whole: Alex Niszczak on bass, Joe Fedele on guitar, and Ryan Shane on drums. We released our debut EP, Locust Valley, in 2015 and have played countless shows around the northeast in that time. We’ve since parted ways with Ryan Shane and added our new drummer, Victor Figueroa.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Joe & Chaz: Everyone in the group is coming from different backgrounds. Chaz and Alex went to the same high school and played in nu metal bands together. Joe came from a rock background that developed into a more metal sound over the years. Ryan is very influenced by Metallica and Randy comes from a thrash background that turned into a love for black metal. Everyone played in bands from high school into our early twenties. None of them were any good, but we were in them, alright.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Joe & Chaz: We’d like to think that our music conveys a sound that’s hard to pinpoint into one particular genre. We’ve strived to make our music sound as raw, honest and emotional as possible, while maintaining heaviness. We want to be aggressive enough to get people charged up, but not sacrifice any clarity in our sound to get there. If I had to put an image to it, I’d like to think of it like a fight scene from Green Street Hooligans: passionate, violent, and relentless.
XS ROCK: What are your immediate music career goals? (Next 1 to 3 years.)
Joe & Chaz: We are really hoping to progress past our current level. We haven’t really discussed anything label related at the current time. We’ve gotten pretty good at the DIY approach of things, but we are currently looking into management to get the most out of our new release and hopefully get to play some great shows in other areas outside the radius of which we’ve already trekked along.
XS ROCK: What are your long-term career goals?
Joe & Chaz: All of us currently have decent jobs and careers, but we would like to get to a point of doing music full-time.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Joe & Chaz: Recording and songwriting is always fun (sometimes frustrating and chaotic), but we do this because we love playing live for people who genuinely love our music as much as we do. All the things that come with being in a band are great, but nothing compares to the feeling you get when you’re playing for a group of people who are throwing down for your songs because the music is moving them so much. It’s a unique energy when it is happening and you really lose yourself in it. When you come out the other side you just can’t wait to do it again. It’s like a drug.
XS ROCK: What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Joe & Chaz: Our songs cover many subjects, but in general, they are sort of our comments on the world/life and where it is heading. We are all human and we all have struggles. We listen to music that addresses those same struggles because it makes us feel like we aren’t alone in our misery or anger (or whatever it may be). That is what we want to be for people; an outlet to bring them comfort or release and a chance to connect. We struggle with faith, death, and the ever growing complexities of the human condition.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
Joe & Chaz: We don’t have anything too crazy from the road thus far other than a few fights, near disastrous on the road bath accidents and dealing with the overly excited and heavily intoxicated fan.
XS ROCK: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
Joe & Chaz: Our parents often don’t quite understand this type of music. I suppose most people not involved in this type of scene just hear fast drums and screaming, but even with that being said, we have received nothing but support and positive vibes from our families and friends and that is awesome to us.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Joe & Chaz: Personally for me, I’d say the artists that really made me want to get in a band and get on stage were Korn and Slipknot. I came into both of those bands at the right time in my youth and they changed my life. When I saw Korn’s DVDs Who Then Now and Deuce, I knew I wanted some portion of what they had, regardless of how big or small. It had nothing to do with the fact that they were rich or famous; it was the interactions between the band members, the interaction between the band and the crowd, and the interaction between the band and the music. All of it had so much love and heart and effort, it was undeniable. I wanted all those relationships.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Joe & Chaz: If I could craft a dream tour, I’d have to pick a big package because it’s a dream right!? I’d have Metallica headline, then I’m not sure how we’d stack the order for these next few, but I’d have Rammstein, Korn, Slayer, and Slipknot on the mainstage and I’d have 36 Crazyfists, Night Verses, Fit For an Autopsy, Five Pointe 0 (RIP), and us on a second stage. That would be epic. I could walk off stage right into my casket.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Joe & Chaz: Our greatest accomplishment thus far would be the completion of this EP. No one knows the struggles we went through with this. Not because it was hard to write songs or record, but because we have a string of awful things happen in our personal lives in the last year and a half that really challenged our dedication. So many times it would have been so easy to just say this is too much work and to stop wasting our time, but we all fought and fought until we did it. I don’t think I have ever been this proud of my bandmates.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Joe & Chaz: If I wasn’t in a band, I’d probably be a teacher. I’ve always wanted to help and inspire people. It’s one of the best parts of being in a band is someone telling you that your music assisted someone in some way. I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing and so I think if I could be an English teacher to juniors or seniors in high school that would be awesome.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Joe & Chaz: We have a few gear heads in our group, so we use a lot of top of the line gear. Orange cabs, Freyette amps & cabs, EVH amps, Ibanez guitars and basses, Mapex drums, the list goes on forever. We recently added a small lighting rig to our live show that we use whenever we can and it has proven to be pretty effective.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Joe & Chaz: I think the scene is doing well. Sure, there are a lot of generic bands out there and maybe some bands aren’t as genuine as others, but I can tell you this: It’s very difficult to make a living in music these days. Harder than it ever has been in the past, but there’s still an endless supply of musicians willing to stake everything on the line to eat peanut butter and jelly and ramen for weeks on end. I think if there’s that many people willing to be so desperate just to play for 30 minutes a night, knowing there’s a good chance they may never see any financial gain or even be remembered because of how quick today’s attention span is, that means there’s still a lot of love in the hearts of these musicians and I have to respect that.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Joe & Chaz: They would probably be surprised to know how not metal we are behind closed doors. We all have the lamest of guilty pleasures when it comes to TV and music.
XS ROCK: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
Joe & Chaz: I would say it’s a blend of all the metal subgenres rolled into a cohesive state and coated with a little bit of fun, a good helping of aggression and a lot of heart.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Joe & Chaz: We’d just like to say thank you to anyone who has supported us in the past. You’re the best. We love you for all your efforts to help us grow. To anyone who hasn’t heard of us, please check out our music.