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Mark this: a conversation
with Bibeau

A little while back Ken and I were fortunate enough to have received an email with the bio, and a link to an incredibly professional video, of a young progressive metal band from Whitehouse, Texas known as Bibeau.

Upon watching the video I was blown away by how solid and memorable the song was. I was equally impressed that such a well written song obviously inspired by classic prog rock and vintage metal roots could come out of such a young band. Thus Bibeau and their music became engrained into my consciousness – and I've had their single "Mark This", and the striking imagery from the accompanying video, looping endlessly in my head ever since.

As someone who strives to be ahead of the curve in terms of scoping out and presenting new talent to our readers, I knew I had to get the Bibeau brothers, Robin (on guitar) and Peyton (on drums), to answer a few questions on behalf of their band – even before their debut album drops. I was sold on their talent from just a couple of their recordings.

Please read what Robin and Peyton Bibeau had to say to HMS about their choice of gear, the creation of their video for "Mark This", the origins of and the exciting future for Bibeau.

HMS: How old were you guys when you first seriously considered forming a band together?

Robin Bibeau: I was about 10 and Peyton was around 7. We grew up around music, live shows and our dad taught us how to play our instruments. We would always jam a wide mix of old/newer metal and classic rock songs several days per week with him on bass until Sara, our original bassist joined the band about a year later. We got pretty tight as a band for our age and played wherever we could as a instrumental power trio, from Renaissance Faires to charity events.

HMS: It's great that you've developed an advanced style of songwriting at such a young age! What bands inspired you to write music?

RB: The early influences were bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica and Led Zeppelin but as we kept playing we got more into bands like Rush and Yes.

HMS: When did you know that Bibeau was something much more serious than just a hobby band?

RB: I think when we started playing live and started getting a pretty positive reception. It pushed us to want to get better and perform more often. It took several years to find a singer. We were regulars on Craigslist and with flyers in music stores looking for a singer. We auditioned a handful of singers, but no one had the vocal range we were looking for. We knew we wanted a pure singer with upper register power and we weren't compromising. We also decided to expand the sound and we wanted to add a second guitarist and beef up the harmonies. We found a singer and guitarist after our little power trio played two instrumental songs at a benefit in a club in Tyler, Texas. Unfortunately after a few shows, we struck out with the new singer and guitarist. Both had promise, but way too much baggage and little dedication.

Nine days before our first national show opening for John 5, we had no choice but to fire our singer and guitarist who never showed up to rehearse. We thought the band was done, but we recruited Alan Benek Hernández on guitar and Drew Theiring on vocals. We knew them from other East Texas bands and both of their bands had just broken up. They learned the songs immediately, we practiced twice, supported John 5 and the audience seemed to really like us. Our bass player Sara Smith soon had to leave the band to attend college out of town and we found Chris Ray through our first singer. Chris really anchors our rhythm section with Peyton. He can gallop with the best of them. We lucked into working with great, driven musicians and all around good people. That's when we all felt we were ready to get serious.

HMS: Tell us about your writing process. Are there particular band members that write the music? Or do the songs take shape through full band jam sessions?

RB: I'll come up with the skeleton of the songs usually and Drew writes the lyrics. Everyone else will come up with their own parts and various other additions.

HMS: The video for “Mark This” plays a lot like a short film. How did you come up with the concept? Was it a lot of work to develop and film?

RB: We basically were inspired by dystopian and post apocalyptic sci-fi, a lot of the setting was inspired by the Fallout video games. We worked with a great director, Justin Mosley who directed the movie "Devil's Deal" which was distributed by Lionsgate in 2014. Justin is brilliant and he helped us incorporate a metaphorical theme for the video; metal is scary on the surface but it unites like minded people into a community. We also wanted to use elements of our logo, artwork and a splash of our voodoo theme (we use a voodoo doll, Papa Doc, as our kind of mascot) mixed in with the concept. We we planning on having the band wear voodoo masks but the director already had the cow skull masks, saving some money to spend in other areas. We also wanted a video with a feel of the concept production videos from the metal heyday of MTV. The song is five and a half minutes long and we needed to keep viewers interested and attached until the very end.

“We lucked into working with great, driven musicians and all around good people.”

HMS: What has the response been like to the video for “Mark This” both locally and globally?

RB: Pretty good so far. People seem to either love the video or they seem confused about the overriding storyline. We've gained a lot more Youtube and Facebook views than anyone expected along with internet radio spins and press from all over the world. It has also been surprising that we have had some strong support in South America, Europe and in Asia. We would love to grow and develop those audiences further and eventually, play some of those legendary festivals. Many people have tell us that they really like the mix of old school metal combined with a modern progressive sound.

HMS: In the video for “Mark This” I noticed that all three guitars appeared to be Jacksons. Is that the bands’ collective choice of axes, or do you have other makes and models that you like to switch between?

RB: Jackson/Charvel is our favorite guitars to play. Alan and I love to play the Soloists and Chris plays the Concert Bass model. Our manager is working on an endorsement deal. We really want to be part of the Jackson Guitar family. Jackson, are you reading this?

HMS: Tell us a bit more about your gear, any amplifiers and effects racks that you swear by?

RB: I play a Jackson SL2H Soloist through a Peavey 6505+ through Marshall 1960's cabinet stack with a Marshall AVT150 head for my clean sound and just some various stompboxes by Boss and MXR. I'm in the process of building a rack system so I can midi switch my amp channels and effects with a Rocktron all access midi controller. Alan plays Jackson/Charvel guitars through a JCM 800 Marshall 50 watt head with a Marshall stack. Alan's pedals include a Boss Chorus, Boss DD3 Delay, MXR Carbon Copy Delay, MXR Boost and a Ibanez Tube Screamer. Chris uses a Peavy Mark IV head through Peavy twin bass cabs.

HMS: Peyton, great kit btw! What drummers have inspired you while you honed your skills?

Peyton Bibeau: Thank you! I really love John Bonhom's style and playing, Bonzo was the beast. I also love Stewart Copeland and of course, Neill Peart! Those incredible players helped me to develop a style to keep up with the band's songs which have tons of tempo and time changes as well as lighter parts mixed with heavier riffing. I love to push myself to improve and grow as a drummer.

HMS: When can we expect an album or EP from Bibeau? Any upcoming shows or events that you’d like to promote?

Robin Bibeau: We are planning a full record and hoping to have it out maybe middle of the year next year. We're almost done writing for the album and we'll just need to knock the rest of the tracks in the studio. We want to refine the songs live over the rest of the year, we are very busy with shows throughout the southern states until Christmas. We are hoping to be ready to record with producer Luke Garrigus in February at Blackroom Studios in Gerorgetown, Texas. I think you will be surprised with the scope and range of the songs. There's a little something for everyone in there.

HMS: Thanks for answering our questions guys!

We're stoked to hear more from Bibeau – click on the photos to visit their website and FB page. Make sure you check out their incredible video for "Mark This" and spread the news about this amazingly talented act! The future of heavy metal is in good hands.

Richard Leggatt, HMS

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