Beyond Fallen – The Power of Continuity

Saturday, 22nd October 2016

Dead Rhetoric: Yourself, Steve, and bassist Chuck Donahue have been together since the start – do you think this has helped Beyond Fallen achieve some sort of longevity, continuity, and ultimate dedication through 13 plus years?

Karavis: Yes, I definitely think so. John (Jesuele) our drummer has been with us for a while- and Chuck and John had played together before. They are locked in as a rhythm section really well before they joined this band. We haven’t really had that many changes- we have had a couple of guitar players and drummers. The great thing about it has been everybody has their different styles but going from one member to another can be really tough- sometimes it completely changes your sound but I don’t think we’ve completely changed our sound because Steve is the main riff guy, I’ve been the vocalist and lyrics guy, and you have Chuck on bass- so the main guys have been there. Obviously every drummer and lead guitarist you get is going to be a little different, but the nucleus of the band has been there and we feel like we have some kind of stability.

Everybody had their own style in the band – I love where we are at now with (lead guitarist) Randy (Bobzien) coming in, he’s probably the most experienced person we’ve ever had in the band. He’s toured, he’s recorded with Fear of God, he’s a great guy and we really love what he’s doing.

Dead Rhetoric: You and Steve also put together an annual Metal Meltdown festival in the Northeast Pennyslvania area where you are from. How did this start and what have you learned most from putting on these festivals versus playing them (as you’ve been a part of Warriors of Metal and Ragnarokkr lineups in the past)?

Karavis: We put the thing together because we wanted to do our own little metal festival- especially from the ones that we’ve played in Germany, Chicago, Ohio, we’ve taken a bit from each one of them. It’s by no means a big festival at this point, we are going into our fourth year- we are trying to grow it and we are trying to get bands from outside the area, and even bigger bands. The money isn’t really there right now- and some bands that can’t really draw anybody are asking for a king’s ransom to play. You are a cool band, but can you bring people that will justify us paying you that kind of money? If you are worth it, somebody like Metal Church if I had the money I would pay those guys definitely to play our festival. I know a band like that would be able to draw. We have to keep things in perspective… I’d even like to get a friend of mine Carl (Canedy) from The Rods to play- but even though I’m friends with him, I’m not going to ask his band to do this for free. Because they are a band with a name. They deserve to be paid, a band like that.

Dead Rhetoric: What goals do you set out to achieve at this point for Beyond Fallen? Are you content to be weekend warriors when it comes to shows due to your day jobs and families – and do you have the support from families and friends in your metal endeavors?

Karavis: We have support. It would make things really hard if we didn’t have the support from the family and friends around us. It would make things difficult to do. All of our wives and girlfriends are very cool about everything- they understand the business. We would love to do things full-time but it’s just the practicality of travel and expense and things like that. If it came to the point where we were able to do that, then fine. However much we can play- I want to play out as much as we can and put out as much music as we can because this isn’t going to last forever. I just like creating music, playing shows, and having fun- it may not be about the quantity of shows you play, but the quality of shows. We are trying to get some quality shows- we went out to Germany, to Chicago, played a bunch of festivals- Ohio for Warriors of Metal. We are trying to pick stuff that is worth doing- we could all get in the van and play a bunch of shows, but if there is nobody there, I’d rather play one show that’s really fantastic then ten shows where you are playing to the bartender.

Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel about the heavy metal scene overall currently? Do you believe people in general consider the music valuable in comparison to the 70’s and 80’s – or has the live show now become that much more important to gain new fans and impress people?

Karavis: I think you have to be able to go out there and put on a good live show. We are always trying to figure out new ways of doing that- the size of the places that we play don’t allow us to bring as much. If it was up to us we would have all kinds of crazy things and props on stage. You still have to put on a really great show- people are on Facebook and doing this and that. A lot of the people that are our age, have a lot of responsibilities so they don’t go out as much all the time. You have to find ways to reach people that are still into the music, they just don’t drive a couple of hours to see bands play.

We still make albums and merchandise, but it’s a lot different now. It’s hard to get people to see a band on our level- it’s strength in numbers, if you can get enough good bands together to make it a worthwhile night, we usually make it worth our while. It’s not the 1980’s anymore, people are playing video games, sitting on their computers, sitting on their phones- it’s hard to convince them to come out and see a show. You have to have some kind of value- what’s the point of somebody going out to see somebody just banging around, you want to do something memorable so maybe they’ll come out again. It’s difficult to get people’s attention- there’s still that core of metal fans that are still into this, they buy the merchandise and still come out to the shows. By no means is the whole metal thing dead- it’s evolved and you have to adapt to new ways to reach people in unconventional ways.

Dead Rhetoric: What would your top three albums of all time be- and what are some of your favorite metal concert memories through the years?

Karavis: My favorite album of all time is Black Sabbath – Mob Rules. I don’t know why but that just stuck with me all these years. It’s got the heaviness, it’s got the darkness, it just sounds very evil and there’s a lot of texture to it. The artwork is crazy. Pink Floyd – The Wall is an incredible work, and then I would have say something from Judas Priest. It’s a tough one but maybe Screaming for Vengeance, they have so many great ones. I could say that one, but then maybe Painkiller was better. I am a huge Maiden, Priest, and Sabbath fan- you can pick from that metal trinity and then fill in the gaps. I think those three bands have a lot of masterpieces to me. Especially Black Sabbath- no matter who is singing to me, they have done things on a high level. I know I’ll get some arguments about that.

Dead Rhetoric: A lot of people don’t take into consideration the great work of Tony Martin during his Black Sabbath years…

Karavis: And the concerts, the first concert I ever saw was Black Sabbath on the Mob Rules tour. That’s always stuck with me, they were on fire and had such a tremendous presence on that tour. Not only the first concert, but one of the best stage shows and set lists. And then Iron Maiden on the Powerslave tour, that was huge. I know people these days do more stuff with the video screens, but back then Maiden had the good old school show with the props, changing curtains, the big giant light show, and that was amazing. I’m going back to all old stuff – I remember seeing Metallica, Slayer, Overkill, a ton of bands over the years – Priest many times. New stuff… a great band that’s done it really big and brought the big show back is Rammstein, an immense show and sound. Ghost is really cool, I like their theatrics and old school sounds. I saw Priest and Sabbath on their most recent tours, and they were amazing.

Dead Rhetoric: What’s on the horizon for Beyond Fallen over the rest of 2016 and early 2017 as far as promotion, shows, etc. – will there be another video for one of the other songs off the new album?

Karavis: We are shopping this album now to see what we can get for a deal before the end of the year. Then we will figure out a way to get this out. There is a lot of interest in this. We will do more shows going into the fall, nothing too crazy. Usually in the winter we take a break, we spend more time writing due to being snowed in, we can still be productive in that way. Video I don’t know- we are hoping we can do one for the album. We did put one together for “The Great Distance”- more of a raw video with a whole bunch of studio footage that John our drummer did. (It) showed us recording that song- we know that “Hatecrown” went over really well, so we’d really like to film another one. Maybe that’s something the record label people can figure out.

Beyond Fallen official website

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