Lunatic's Serenade

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An interview with
Laugh at the Fakes

When I heard the new record from Laugh at the Fakes, I had to contact them to get an interview. They impressed me that much (and I'm not easily impressed). They have a brand and style of metal that isn't so technical that it gets complicated to listen to, and their sound is easy on the ears. No mud here. That said, let’s see what makes these dudes tick.

Laugh at the Fakes is Everett Mason on guitar and vocals, Galen Weir on bass, Kevin Daliri on guitar, and Chris Avalos on drums.

HMS: Where did you all get together and decide you wanted to be a band?

LATF: The current line-up of this band has only been together since the summer, after we finished recording “Dethrone the Crown.” Galen, Chris and I (Everett), used to be in a band together when we were teenagers so it's funny that we are back in the same band again. Although our first EP 'One Night Only' and our newest record 'Dethrone the Crown' were recorded as a 3 piece, we have always needed a second guitarist to play the songs live. Kevin joined as the second guitarist this summer and we look forward to touring and writing with him on future records.

HMS: How about the new record? The production is smooth and everyone can be heard. Who was behind the board?

LATF: This is the first time we did preproduction for an album and I really think that helped to improve the final outcome. As players, it made us much more confident to play our parts well in the studio. There was much less time editing and more time trying out new sounds (pedals and stuff) along with ad-libing some of the riffs on the spot too. We are really proud to say that we didn't have to put our drums on a grid or “fix” the double kick like a lot of bands these days do in the studio. It's a very real record, we slow down, speed up, just like we do live. I think it's important to get that “live” feel on our studio records. It also helped that we worked with some great people who had a huge part in the production of the album. In the studio we worked with producer/engineer Greg Dawson, who actually plays a solo on “Not Like Me” and we got the record mastered by Andy Van Dette (Rush, Dream Theater, Deep Purple, Kid Rock).

HMS: The cover is spooky looking. Who came up with the concept and what crown is to be dethroned?

LATF: The album is named after the last song on the record. We were looking for a name that would be relevant for a long time. It deals with greed and the struggle for power. Two issues that have caused pain and injustice to human beings since the beginning of time. Greed has been, and will always be a major source of human suffering. As for the artwork, we have always loved the look of Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Judas Priest records, and since they are major influences to us we wanted a cover that looks like it fits that style. Our first EP had more of an old western/carnival vibe, so this one has more of take no prisoners’ vibe.

HMS: If I could pin point a band to compare you guys to, it would be a cross between the Scorpions and Alice in Chains (although the Scorps' were not on your list as influences). Tell us about your influences and who you pattern your vocals after?

LATF: Alice in Chains is a huge influence on our music and my vocals (RIP Layne). My top 5 vocal influences would probably be Robert Pant, Bon Scott, Ozzy, Axl Rose, and Phil Anselmo. It's hard to list all of your influences and in many cases, as musicians, we just list our favourite bands, the ones who motivate and inspire us to take up a life in music. Sometimes the music comes out sounding like a band that's not on your list. The Scorpions are great, but we definitely didn't set out to do a Scorpions style song. I find it interesting when other knowledgeable music fans such as yourself tell us who you think we sound like. Actually I love it! Since this album has been out, I've had to check out more King Diamond, Death Angel, Ghost and Annihilator, cause our producer and other reviews thought they were huge influences of ours. I didn't own an album of any of those bands. Now they are some my new favourite bands. I don't care when bands come out, if it's new to me then I call them new.

HMS: I like the difference between "One Night Only" and "Dethrone". How did the writing process differ between both sessions?

LATF: Dethrone was a much more tiring but fulfilling process. I am still very proud of “ONO” but I feel “Dethrone” shows how we have grown and matured as musicians. Doing a full album is a lot more draining mentally and financially then an EP. In terms of the writing process it helped getting Galen involved and getting our friend James Agostino to play drums on the record. Galen comes up with riffs differently than I do, so we are very different people (complete opposite personalities). His riffs come out much more intellectual and proggy ("Fighting Dirty") whereas mine come out very raw, thrashy and sludgy ("Dethrone the Crown"). So the material is much more versatile than “ONO” where I wrote all the songs. Add to the mix that James can simply do things on the drums that no drummer I have ever played with in the studio with can do along with his chops, his dynamics and his ability to improvise on the spot, and you get a record with a completely different sound.

HMS: The tones you guys hit are thick. Especially in "And I" and the clean intro to "Harmonica Playing Man". What are your main guitars/bass and the rigs? Don't leave out the kit and brass.

LATF: I used a Randy Rhodes Jackson through and EVH head for the majority of the time and put some pedals in front of the odd riff. For “And I” I also used a Strat and we doubled some of the parts with a distortion pedal in front of a modified Traynor bass amp. Galen used an Ibanez bass through an SVT Ampeg head. Sorry, but I just know that James used his drums. They were black and they sounded sweet!

HMS: For me as a bassist, I love everything about "Fighting Dirty". The whole song is a different vibe than the rest of the tunes. The bass riff and double kick is bad-ass! Also, where did the lyrics come from?

LATF: “Fighting Dirty” is essentially our bass player, Galen's, song. He wrote the riffs and a majority of the lyrics. Galen writes very challenging material and we needed a good drummer to pull this song off. I originally wanted the song to be instrumental but he sold me on the vocal part (which I now love). I like how the song is all about the riffs, the vocals are secondary. We haven't busted this song out live yet but I can't wait to play it. It's really fun to play on guitar. Galen also came up with most of the vocals, and I just added ideas to the chorus and last verse to make it flow with my voice.

"Alice in Chains is a huge influence on our music and my vocals."

HMS: Another song I fell in love with is "Cut to the Chase". The last 21 seconds make the song for me. Who was the mastermind behind that arrangement?

LATF: Thanks for the kind words. This was the first new song I wrote (after "One Night Only" came out). Originally, I wasn't sure if it should be on the album because it has a slightly different (happier) vibe than the rest of the songs. Now I think it fits nicely on the album, and since the song is about being annoyed by this arrogant person, the attitude goes with the rest of the record. Galen was the one who really pushed for it to be on the album and now I am really happy he did.

HMS: If you had a choice of one CD and DVD, what would be on those discs and what beer will you be drinking?

LATF: Appetite for Destruction by Guns N' Roses, Godfather on DVD, with a cold Steamwhistle.

HMS: What is an average LATF show like and what songs seem to get the best response?

LATF: The songs the have been getting the best response at the last few shows have been "Killing Time", "Death Awaits", "Blinded" and "Again And Again".

HMS: Growing up, who put the music bug in you guys?

LATF: Although I hated piano lessons growing up, I have to give my mom credit for getting me started in music. She was on me to practice and took me to all my lessons. I started writing songs pretty much immediately and, even though I hated playing those classical songs, I knew music was going to be a big part of my life forever. Neither of my parents played a musical instrument – it was something that I did on my own. They could give me advice when it came to sports (my Dad is a very good athlete) and school (my mom is a former teacher), but I had to figure out how to write music on my own. Because of that, I think songwriting really helped me form my own identity.

HMS: If you could be on anyone's bill, who would you most like to be touring with?

LATF: Iron Maiden.

HMS: Hopefully one of these days I can catch your show if you make it to Vegas. I enjoyed the new record.

LATF: Thanks and we'd love to play in Vegas. If someone there is willing to book Laugh At The Fakes, we'll gladly make the trip.

HMS: Well, thanks again for taking time out for us here at Horror Metal Sounds. I'm sure you all would rather be base jumping without parachutes, eh?

LATF: Thanks for taking an interest in our band. It's been a pleasure talking to you. Parachutes eh? Is that what people think we do up here?

HMS: Rock on, have fun and keep pumping out great music.

LATF: Horns up brother!

Tim Duran, HMS

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