XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows, or announcements?
Dan: We have spent the last 2 years working on a 13 song space odyssey called Electric Thunder. It’s a record inspired by film scores, science fiction, philosophy, visions, and dreams. We’ve always written about what we see, but with Electric Thunder we wrote about what we were seeing in our mind’s eye, as it relates to reality and the future. We recorded it at our beloved Electric Thunder Studios in Berry Hill. We collaborated with our wizard producer Geoff Piller again for this record as well as the incomparable Brian Lucey with mastering. The record is set for release later this year or early next year.
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?
Dan Fenton: The band has been together for about 4 years now. We went through a few growing pains in the early stages of the band but after Chase Arocha and Tyler Boone joined we found our sonic fingerprint.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
Dan Fenton: Like all bands, we were just looking to have fun and blow off some steam. Jarrad and I have always had shared parallels in our upbringing and in a good part of our musical taste. We wanted the freedom to make whatever music we wanted to make, no rules, and no egos.
CHASE AROCHA: I was bullied a lot growing up and I moved several times, so friends were a pretty hard thing to keep. But then I found music and I found a way to find others like me. I always wished to be in a fantasy world away from this one hoping for that magical thing that would show up and tell me I was meant for something. I realized as I got older that music was that thing, and all I hope is to inspire others who are alone to take a chance on what they love, then you will never be alone.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Dan Fenton: I grew up in church choirs, the son of an Evangelical NY preacher. Sang in school, but rock n roll hit me hard in middle school and I started my first band with my friend Loren Littlejohn called WELD. That was that, I have been seeking this lineup with these guys my whole life and now I am here.
CHASE AROCHA: I played cello first as a kid, then as a teen started playing bass in bands around Orlando FL, went to Seminole State College for music, and starting working as a hired musician for school theater programs in the pit band. Then I moved to Los Angeles and attended the Musicians Institute for Guitar Performance. Since then I’ve worked as a musician for hire most of my adult life. In the last few years, I grew tired of not having more freedom creatively as an artist and wanted to pursue that. I got lucky in meeting these guys and my whole life changed.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Dan Fenton: I hope that our music conveys conviction, authenticity and heartfelt observation and vision. We believe we are just receivers for a cosmic transmission. We observe the news, the neighborhood, social and economic issues, issues of addiction, love, lust, science, political unrest. We also focus on the individual conscious connection to the universe and the importance of human life.
CHASE AROCHA: Personal and artistic Freedom, at least being ones that fight for it.
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
Dan Fenton: I am just ready to get back on the road. We made this huge record that has huge visuals and is a sonic monster and we want to share this experience with people. We will see what the future holds for live music as this pandemic rages on. The main goal is to release Electric Thunder upon the world. Then we follow the feathers and see what’s next.
My goal my whole life it’s to spend 3 months working on an album, then 9 months touring that album, then rinse and repeat till I’m dead!
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Dan Fenton: I love to write and record. I could spend the rest of my life in a studio just growing out my beard and creating worlds in music. That said, I love the communion with our fans/ community of musicians. I love them both.
CHASE AROCHA: I’m not one to play favorites haha, I think they both need each other in a weird symbiotic circle of art. I like to play new songs for people live to see how the audience reacts and that helps when recording and writing time comes to really flesh out a song. Finding the right ways to present your message or vision, it takes trial and error, what better way than hearing from people in real-time.
XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Dan Fenton: The first autonomous Ep was a lot about my journey finding and knowing myself. Tales of abuse, drugs, redemption, and disillusionment about a fantasy future only my inner child still contemplates. I don’t have a lot of room for wasting words, I honestly can’t stand contrived, regurgitated lyrical content. For me, I write what I feel, what I see, and perhaps what has been seen in other lives before this incarnation of self. The new record covers the world at large, the villains, heroes, and lessons we have learned and what we think is needed to curve the sheep mentality of the overall universal consciousness.
CHASE AROCHA: That’s a better question for Dan to answer but to me, they mean a lot of different things. They speak of the anger we feel to those in power, controlling our thoughts, and trivializing our pains all for a system that cares nothing about the common person. But also preaching a message of love to each other and an appreciation for life on this earth because some of us lost it in a number of ways.
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
Dan Fenton: KNOW THYSELF.
CHASE AROCHA: Inspiring Hope for those who feel they don’t have a way out. To see some 13-year-old kid hear our music and realize he isn’t alone and he can be anything he wishes. Life isn’t fair and will fight you trying for your dreams, but no ever said we couldn’t fight back.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.
Dan Fenton: Many years back I attempted to jump off a stage and dislocated my knee. I finished the set and the promoter drove me to the ER. Knees have never been the same.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Dan Fenton: I had a fan ask me to spit in their mouth after I accidentally spit into the audience well singing. I did.
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
Dan Fenton: Yes, now. Growing up you always have the people who tell you what you’re doing is foolish, too hard, you’ll never make it, etc. But I stopped trying to prove myself to anyone a long time ago and usually no matter the difference you may have, the family will get behind you when they see the power in what you do.
CHASE AROCHA: I’m very lucky to have an amazing family that supports me. I have a beautiful partner in life and an amazingly funny and smart 9-year-old who are my biggest fans.
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?]
Dan Fenton: It’s all hard work. Just work hard every day, grow. Don’t go get fucked up and waste days thinking you’re some kind of original scumbag. You’re not. Stop it and just make music, love yourself, and speak the truth.
CHASE AROCHA: Work as hard as you can at every aspect of the business, and don’t expect anything from anyone. Don’t expect money for a long time and don’t expect people to get what you are trying to do. All you have to do is play what you feel and believe in it. We don’t do this to be cool or rich. It’s an inherent need to play music and express ourselves as honestly as possible.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Dan Fenton: Off the first record I love playing Capitol Hill live because the chorus is easy, catchy, and truly how most business with music and money makes me feel. “TAKE MY HEART, TAKE MY MONEY.” From the upcoming record, we love to play NEON. A song about a streetwalker who transcends space and time as she cures the mental ills of lonely men. Till the time she has had enough and says “PAY ME MY MONEY AND GO!” So doomy, so fun.
CHASE AROCHA: Neon of the new album, Almighty Dollar from the self-titled album is also the jam! I love Capitol Hill and Wait a lot too live.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Dan Fenton: It started out with blues really, Bobby Bland, John Lee Hooker, Lead Belly. That led me to Hendrix and The Who, then Zep, Sabbath, and so on. Eventually, some old lady stored her grandsons Pantera and Slayer records in my garages so that came into view. The first band I saw live that I can think of off the top of my head is Earth Wind And Fire at a NY state fair. It definitely made me interested in the bass. Tom Waits is a huge inspiration, Zappa, Bungle. Long Lists.
CHASE AROCHA: Mr. Bungle, Motley Crue, John 5, Zakk Wylde, Thelonious Monk, and Charles Mingus. They were all people that took chances musically and from that innovative technique and made an impact on music history.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Dan Fenton: Currently my shit looks like a mad man’s festival. We would have IDLES from the UK, Eagles of Death Metal, Gojira, Mastodon, Run The Jewels, Wu-Tang, Talib, Knocked Loose, Bummer, and closing the night Hanz Zimmer and Orchestra performs the best of.
CHASE AROCHA: So many bands pop in my head so I couldn’t change my answer any minute, but I would love it to be Voltagehawk, Mastodon, Maximum the Hormone! Just a bunch of great songs, heavy riffs, and insane music!
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Dan Fenton: Still being alive. The ability to grow and change. All the man-made gauges for accomplishment are fake and unrelated to the journey I am on. I have toured, I have been written about, I have songs in TV and film. I think my biggest accomplishment is never stopping and always pushing myself as far as I can go. Nothing is ever finished.
CHASE AROCHA: I think it’s just having two albums now with being apart of the whole process, not just being hired for a recording session. Being the main writer and all the hard work really coming to fruition.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Dan Fenton: I would be what my ancestors were. Coca running Gypsy pirates.
CHASE AROCHA: Probably a teacher of some kind, it’s what I went to college for at first but then switched to music.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Dan Fenton: Gibson and Fender guitars, Egnater Tweaker amp, Carvin Nomad speakers, and a fuck ton pf pedals. I usually have a board for each record. Lots of Boss, EHX, walrus audio, and so forth. I am a Gibson 57 classic fan all the way.
CHASE AROCHA: A Gibson Les Paul Standard 2016, a Fender Telecaster 52’ reissue with Seymour Duncan hot rails for pickups. I use a Strymon Iridium for an amp so I can plug directly into the PA at shows but if I need a cab I use an Egnater 2×12 cab with a Seymour Duncan Power stage 170 to power it. All my distortion is from my pedals a JHS Andy Timmons overdrive and a Walrus Audio Iron Horse V2, then a Neunaber simmers for reverb and Greer Amps black tiger delay.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Dan Fenton: I think we are on the cusp of a movement. A wave that has been building for some time. Just watch, change is coming.
CHASE AROCHA: There is a lot of bullshit out there, rehashing old styles or just all copies of one another. That being said there are still amazing artists who create inspiring art, I think the mainstream is just in a scramble right now for what will work, that’s making the pendulum swing in the favor of people taking chances on being original in music.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Dan Fenton: I’ve been dead and brought back a few times. It’s neither cool nor fun. But it will change you forever.
CHASE AROCHA: I can wiggle my ears and I am left-handed.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Dan Fenton: Please check us out on Instagram, Spotify, and all other socials. You can find our current single Modern Gasoline online as well as our entire first EP. Stand by for news on Electric Thunder’s release.
CHASE AROCHA: Anyone who takes time to listen to our music in this super stimulated world we live in, I am so appreciative. We just love music deeply and it means the world when someone else is able to connect to it. Even if someone doesn’t like it, they can just find something that they do like and go listen to that and we all win.
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS ROCK!