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Today, I had the chance to talk with the guys from Next To None. Next To None are making waves in the metal genre with their fresh and creative sound. Drummer Max Portnoy is the son of Mike Portnoy, former drummer of Dream Theater, Avenged Sevenfold, Adrenaline Mob and more. The bands new album is receiving rave reviews from the critics. Read below as we discuss the state of rock, musical influences and much more…
XS Rock: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Kris: We are currently on tour with Doll Skin touring the US but will also be playing prog power in September in Atlanta, and a couple of shows with The Shattered Fortress in Mexico City and New York.
XS Rock: How long has the band been together?
Thomas: The band has been together for about 6 years excluding our new guitarist, Derrick who’s been with us for a little over a year. Derrick’s addition to the band has definitely helped us achieve a little heavy sound and he plays some awesome solos too!
XS Rock: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
Thomas: I’ve always been writing, playing and sharing the music I enjoy with people so when I had the opportunity to join the band when it first started I immediately jumped on it.
XS Rock: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Thomas: I’ve always enjoyed playing live but I personally like working in a studio a little better. I’m very into sound design and audio engineering so whenever we’re recording something I’m always super excited.
XS Rock: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.
Kris: Most of our stories are situational and really aren’t worthy of any praise, but one time I saw 3 people come out of the same one-person bathroom.
XS Rock: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
Next To None: Everyone’s parents were extremely supportive of our decision to pursue music once they saw how driven and committed we were.
XS Rock: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Next To None:“Mr. Mime” – Thomas
“Beg” – Max
“Denial” – Derrick
“Kek” – Kris
XS Rock: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Next To None: Dream Theater has been a huge influence for everyone, not just because of family ties. We all have different musical influences too, but we all agree that Katy Perry is just phenomenal and makes us feel like more than a plastic bag.
XS Rock: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Next To None: That’s a tough one, but we’d most likely go for a 5 band bill consisting of:
Katy Perry (Headliner)
System Of A Down
Next To None
XS Rock: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Next To None: I think self producing our most recent album was a pretty great feat. It was a lot of work, and it took tons of extra time to nitpick ourselves, but ultimately we made something we’re all proud of.
XS Rock: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Next To None: Max would most likely pursue a career in animated film, probably as a writer. Thomas engineered ‘Phases’ in his home studio, and would work as an Audio Engineer because music and sound design is something he really enjoys. Derrick would want a career in the fitness track, but also is very involved in music and would enjoy working in a studio. Kris would want to be either a civil engineer or architect. He’s very interested in large structures like buildings, bridges, power plants, etc.
XS Rock: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Next To None: Max uses Tama drums, Remo heads, Sabian cymbals, and Promsrk drumsticks. He typically scales his kit according to the show, so his setup always variates slightly. Thomas uses an 88 key midi controller alongside his laptop for samples and sound effects, and a Micro korg for certain leads. Derrick uses an Axe-Fx for his guitar, and runs direct to FOH. Kris does the same thing for bass, but when space allows for it, he runs into a Hartke LH1000 and Hydrive 410 cabinet.
XS Rock: What do you think of the current music scene?
Kris: As a whole, streaming content is drastically changing the ability for artists and labels to make money. However, there is something to be said about the greater exposure resulting from the internet. It really depends on who you are… the artists at the top still fare decently well, while smaller artists may have more of a struggle financially.
XS Rock: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Kris: I get really wrapped up in random things. Sometimes I’ll finish a task real quick, other times I end up investigating the smallest details. Sometimes I have a spark of interest that quickly goes away, and other times I’m stuck humming the same section of music for weeks.
XS Rock: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
Kris: We sit somewhere between nu metal, metalcore, and progressive metal. We don’t fit in perfectly with either group so we compare ourselves to bands like Slipknot, Korn, Dream Theater, and Periphery.
XS Rock: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Kris: If you haven’t, go check out our new album Phases… It’s very diverse, but also honed into one sound. The last track “The Wanderer” has nuggets of the other songs mixed together for the listener to find. Catch us at a show this summer with Doll Skin, or any shows in the future. We have 2 more shows with Mike Portnoy’s Shattered Fortress in North America in September too. And hopefully plenty more as the year goes on. We love keeping in touch with fans and hearing your feedback. Look us up on social media too, our handles are typically @NextToNoneBand