Power Theory – Fire with ForceThursday, 6th February 2020
Dead Rhetoric: What do you see as some of the great challenges Power Theory faces at your current level – and what do you think it will take to rise above and gain even more of a stronger following stateside and worldwide?
Alvarez: I guess the biggest challenge is just getting the name out there and the music out there. All of us, we are all 100% confident that the music on this album speaks for itself. If you are a fan of any aspect of this particular kind of music, we accomplished something on this album that you are really going to like. The challenge for us is to get that out there too and give the people a chance to decide whether or not they like it. Hopefully with some of the things that we are experimenting in terms of the way we are promoting things – of course there are traditional ways too, like reviews and things like that. Having some metal-oriented YouTube channels with a huge amount of followers, we are letting them uploading our album and so far that’s been pretty cool. Just off of two channels that I’ve been keeping track of, there have been at least 25,000 people that have heard the album. We are floating at about a 99% approval rating across both those channels, so that’s pretty cool. I can’t say how much that relates to the sales that we have on our own Bandcamp page to help recoup some of the costs that we put into this album, but every day when I go to check our order list we have new orders. I think that might be helping thing. The label is selling it through their various channels too.
I’m hoping within the next few months we start to get more and more interest from different areas, enabling us to play shows in different areas we normally wouldn’t be able to. More importantly, to play shows with actual crowds of people that want to hear this kind of music. That’s the goal and the challenge.
Dead Rhetoric: How would you describe Power Theory when it comes to your live performances – what do you hope the audience is able to take away when seeing and hearing the band, and what have been some of the more memorable shows to date?
Alvarez: If anybody sees us, they are going to get a show. We don’t rely on gimmicks or anything like that. It’s not like anybody is wearing masks or facepaint. This is traditional heavy power metal. You will get the meat and potatoes of a live performance. Our bass player Alan is a force of nature – Steve Harris is his idol so he emulates that as much as he can without ripping off all his moves. Jim the singer is a dynamic front man – the more shows we’ve done with he’s coming into his own. He understands his role in the band, and now even moreso when you are a great singer, they want to hear what he does on the album. They’ll see five dudes who genuinely enjoy each other’s company – and enjoy playing music together up on stage. Making sure that the audience is getting what they are paying for.
My favorite one has been when we opened up for Mike Lepond’s Silent Assassins for their debut live performance. Right around this date last year in Northern New Jersey at a place called Dingbats. We opened up for them, Attacker was on the bill too. The crowd was awesome – just awesome. One of the best crowds I’ve ever played too. At least several hundred people – the crowd had fists in the air, people were clapping along. It was much more European instead of the typical America audiences, where you get people sitting there with their arms crossed waiting for you to make a mistake. They were engaged, interested, and thrilled to be there.
Dead Rhetoric: What three albums do you think through the history of metal have shaped your outlook and viewpoint the most on the genre – and what is one record that is very underrated that you think people need to investigate and listen to more?
Alvarez: Wow. Three albums that shaped me – Helloween – Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part 2. No doubt, it’s one of the most important albums in my life. Another really important album for different reasons would be, and not so much it shaped my way of playing but had a very significant impact on me was City from Strapping Young Lad. I got go with Master of Puppets– Metallica. There’s a reason why it’s a masterpiece, it’s got everything that you wanted as a kid, that you hope to do on guitar or write. From the songs to the performances. There’s a maturity to it that you don’t really recognize at first, but when you spend more time with it you understand all the layering, the composition choices.
What’s an underrated one. There are so many… but I guess if I was to pick one for me personally it would be the second album from Solitude Aeturnus, Beyond the Crimson Horizon. I know they are not an underrated band, that album to me epitomized the whole classic, traditional doom metal style. It should have catapulted them to a much higher level than they ever really achieved.
Dead Rhetoric: Tell us about your work with Dirty Viking Audio Production – and how important mixing/ production/ mastering can be for bands in terms of a professional final product?
Alvarez: Dirty Viking is my studio. I’ve been lucky over the last handful of years especially to have the opportunity to work with some really talented bands – it’s been a genuine kick to see they are getting bigger and more well recognized. I’m not a world class mix engineer- I can definitely fix things. Before I even started fixing things I spent a solid five-six years of just doing editing and learn how to properly edit and fix things. As far as how important a good mix is for bands, I think it’s important but I don’t think it’s the be all and end all. As long as a band has a series of songs that are strong, then a good mix will enable a listener to hear what the artist intended without having to get beat over the head by it. I think a bad mix is detrimental. It’s going to get buried and confusing sounding.
There was a dude from a pretty big European label that said to me once, ‘any label is going to be able to hear the quality of the song, even if it isn’t mixed as good as a top band’. A lot of times when I work with a lot of bands, I’m trying to help them with that as well. Some of them want me to run the whole thing and shape it- others just want me to get that clarity they are looking for. I’ll offer some suggestions along the way, you have to agree where that line is going to be before you jump into it. I tend to get a little bossy (laughs), I can’t think of a better word right now. It’s not like I’m saying this because it’s how I want something to be, because I’m doing it from a listener’s perspective. I’ve gotten to work with some cool bands like Dire Peril, Helion Prime, Judicator, and they all seem to be moving upward.
Dead Rhetoric: Given your years of experience in the metal scene, where do you see musicians and bands make the biggest mistakes in terms of sustaining a following and making an imprint with their work?
Alvarez: It’s hard to say, man. I think a lot of times it comes to down to appreciating what you’ve got. If you have a fan base, it doesn’t matter if you are small or large, you have to let the fans know you appreciate them. Every musician is a little selfish and you are writing what you want – but if you develop a fanbase, those people have agreed that what you are writing is cool. Now they are supporting you, buying your shirts, buying your albums. You have to show appreciation for that – and you can’t be the person when you are done the show, you are in a bad mood, and five people want to have lengthy conversations with you, you gotta have that lengthy conversation with those people. Those people are there for you, and maybe you put them in a better mood by playing. I’ve seen that, where it becomes fashionable for some bands to flip off their fans a little bit, insult them a bit. I don’t really see the point to that.
Just be genuine, don’t try to be cool, because you are not. I’m the least cool person in the world. I’m not going to try to be something I’m not. I’m just going to talk with you, and maybe say something funny. I think more bands in the area should be genuine with their fans and not act like they are something above or better because I know that would turn me off.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s on the agenda for the band over the course of the next twelve months as far as shows, tours, festivals, and promotional opportunities?
Alvarez: As far as promotion and shows. We are going to be talking with a couple of people that run a thing that do a lot of promotion for very good size bands (laughs). Nothing is set, the idea is to set up a bit of a promotional and marketing campaign as long as it’s financially feasible to do so. That’s why we harp on the sales of the album – it’s just getting recycled where we can be a little more self-sustaining. As far as shows going – we’ve got a pretty good looking set of shows. At the end of January we will do two shows with Ross the Boss – one in Queens and in Poughkeepsie. And then the month after that, we are playing a third show in Brooklyn. We have some dates after that – and in May we will do a show with Sinister Realm.
There’s the big one, Mad with Power festival in Wisconsin in the middle of August. A whole festival catering to this type of music – Dire Peril is playing. There is also an invite to play the Hard Summer festival over in Germany, that would be in September. What we are trying to do is see if we can get one-two more shows over there too. And our way to Mad with Power we will have one-two gigs worked out. And finally, the only other thing on the books is doing the Pure Steel Metalfest again in Ohio, that’s usually the end of October, beginning of November.
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