Now You Know: Sonic PulseFriday, 13th March 2015
Location: Boston, MA
Style: Extreme progressive power party thrash. Lots of ripping leads and riffs that are set to stun. Children of Bodom, Dragonforce, Gamma Ray, and Megadeth would be proud.
Personnel: Mick Mayer (vocals, guitar); Nick Petrino (guitar); Sam Peterson (bass); Kyle Larkins (drums)
Latest release: Adventure Metal EP, 2014 (Self Released)
While some bands take the genre of heavy metal seriously, others feel the need to also inject a little bit of fun into the mix. Sure, we all know that the natural concoction of adrenaline and aggression that fuels this music we all love lends itself to mean poses and dark topics – but there are also times where people need to remember that the social aspects of the music can lead to a lot of raucous laughter and drinking excursions to blow off steam. Enter Boston, Massachusetts four-piece Sonic Pulse.
In the three short years since their beginning, they’ve managed to crawl out of the woodwork with a brand of progressive thrash that tackles aliens, comics, and video game culture in their own light-hearted way – and delight guitar mavens everywhere with their crash course history lesson in all aspects of harmonic and shred-oriented propensities. Live the band attack and delight, churning out their material with the same love and care as the veterans who they look up to.
Here is more about the band from guitarist/ ocalist Mick Mayer. Welcome to the adventure, ladies and gentlemen.
Dead Rhetoric: Can you elaborate on the lineup shifts for Sonic Pulse between recordings, as it seems like a brand new outfit at this point? Were there times when you thought the band may have to break up because of the changes?
Mick: Lineup wise we’re now a totally different band than when I had first joined just handling co-lead guitar work with David Carlino. Since then we’ve lost our original singer/studio drummer, founding guitarist, several bassists, and one live drummer before ending up at last with this solid lineup. Kyle Larkins, our drummer, was the first to join ranks and stick around with some real honest intent. Mine and his friendship was one of the biggest reasons why despite all the chaos I always knew I’d still end up playing music I felt strongly about. So I never really ended up feeling worried about what would happen, I knew it would turn out for the best. When Dave had first quit on us for…”personal” reasons, we went into panic mode just a bit because of how demanding the guitar work is in the band. After the first couple of guys I could think of with the chops to do it flaked out, we basically ended up hoping to audition someone by asking around for guest guitar solos for the album we were working on.
Enter Nick Petrino, this dude is one of the hardest working guitarists you’ll ever find and maybe the only other person who drinks as much coffee as I do. Shortly after Nick passed his initiation we lost Dan Hammer on vocals. At the time it happened really quick and was a pretty infuriating process to recover from but this led to the idea of me doing vocals. We didn’t really want to bring somebody else into the fold and wanted to maintain our fun atmospheric vibe. By then, I had taken up the responsibility of recording and producing the band’s music as well so we felt like having me fulfill the role of front man was the best way to continue onward and forge the sound we wanted. Little bit after that and our bassist at the time was having all sorts of issues. We had been friends with Sam Peterson for some time and eventually things got to the point where he was supplying a bass guitar, tuning it, plugging it into the amp, and even learning songs for the bassist we had so we could still play newer material live. So the choice of what to do about that became clear as day pretty fast. So we moved our base of operations and together, as the current 4 piece, have been working at forging our sound ever since.
Dead Rhetoric: Adventure Metal is your latest 3 song EP – and you have gone about the recording in a very DIY manner, especially when it comes to time investment for the recording aspects. What obstacles or challenges came up, and how do you feel about the overall outcome of the product?
Mick: In the start of this process, I had no actual idea what in the heck I was doing at all. All I knew was that I wasn’t completely happy with how our first release came out sounding and I wanted us to be able to have ultimate control over the final production this time around and in the future. Realizing that we weren’t going to have the ideal resources available to us, we made the EP with little more than a computer assembled from parts we found around the house, a hand-me-down interface and an AV receiver with half decent speakers so that was quite a challenge! Nonetheless, we all feel quite proud of how the EP came out, it communicates our hunger, our drive, and the potential of the band. However, like any work of art, it’s always going to feel like it could be improved upon by the artist. We’re eager to move onto the final production stages of making our full length now that we have the process of making Adventure Metal under our belts.
Dead Rhetoric: Describe Sonic Pulse when it comes to the live performance – what do you think matters most that you hope to get across to any audience you play for?
Mick: We bring a lot of high speed, coffee-fueled energy to our shows and we do something not a lot of bands do especially when they play heavy music, we smile. We have an amazing time performing and we want that feeling to hit our fans right in all the feel good spots. We’re up there for the same reasons you came to the show, we all want to forget about stress and lose ourselves in the music for as long as we can.
Dead Rhetoric: What are your thoughts on the New England metal scene – are we privileged because of the number of venues and promoters of various sizes that cater to this style, and who are some of your favorite bands/ places to play that you think more readers need to investigate and savor?
Mick: We have it very lucky here in the states and particularly New England. There’s really no hole you can crawl into and not still find a show to go to and experience great bands. Recently we’ve played at Sammy’s Patio in Revere, MA and The Wreck Room in Peterborough, NH. Both these places seems to be off the hook with excellent music nearly every night of the week and have treated us very well. We’ve been working with Killer Robot Promotions, Travel Amygdala Presents, and the Metal New England folks quite often as well. The shows are always packed with incredible music and people to spare so I’d highly recommend looking into their concerts. It would take me forever to list all the great bands I’d recommend checking out locally but let me try to list a few of our best buddies ha ha. At one point we had Seven Spires’ vocalist filling in for us, we also have their guitarist guest staring a solo on our upcoming full-length. Epicenter is another excellent source for thrash, we’ve got one of their axe-men shredding some noodles for our album too. Can’t forget the good guys over at camp Lich King either, yet another band who let us borrow a guitarist for a few licks. To name a few others I can’t forget! Gas Attack, Travel Amygdala, POTSY, My Missing Half, Nocuous, Ravage, Seax, The Derek McLeod Experience, Killbeast, Powerslut, and Snowhaus.
Dead Rhetoric: A sense of humor is obvious when it comes to the lyrics of Sonic Pulse – what fuels the topics you cover, and what’s the funniest story that’s happened on the road with the band?
Mick: Our lyrics are a mash up of how we live our everyday lives: reading too much into ancient alien theories, comics, video games, and the kinds of fantastic adventures you’d imagine going on with your friends. Traveling around with the band is pretty much like living in a never ending Wayne’s World skit, so there’s always something absurd and ridiculous happening at any given moment. On the band’s last tour with our Swedish buddies Six in Line, we had a night somewhere in the Carolina’s where some fans were gracious enough to let us spend the night. After a long night and early morning of partying, some of the guys from each band had to venture out to do a radio interview about the tour at a local college. I think it was Adrian, one of their guitarist’s, who had apparently had a little too much something in his system and ended up suddenly projectile vomiting a ton of orange juice all over the studio they went to before passing out. So their drummer and our ex guitarist ended up at the interview, both pretty partied out as well. Their drummer couldn’t seem to find his way back to our galaxy and our guitarist was incapable of ceasing to talk so the interview came out all kinds of hilarious with none of the vital information we wanted getting mentioned talked about. That was an incredibly fun tour, we got to show these guys from Sweden around America and be their first terrible influence ha ha.
Dead Rhetoric: Where do you stand on the age old debate between guitar shredding and feel in the heavy metal genre? Is it always a tough balancing act for Sonic Pulse?
Mick: I think it just all comes down to perspective. Some people see speed as if it’s nervously spitting out too many thoughts at once, others just can’t enjoy it, some think it adds intensity, etc. I don’t really think about it as a balancing act because we’re never intentionally trying to play fast for the sake of speed or anything like that. I think if you believe speed playing has no feel, then maybe you just can’t feel fast enough. Every single note we play, regardless of speed, is there by a conscious effort because it means something to us. For us speed is an exciting, intense, and uplifting part of our music.
Dead Rhetoric: What are the plans for Sonic Pulse for the rest of 2015 – will there hopefully be a full-length follow up, and are you content to remain independent or will you seek out a new record deal?
Mick: Now that we’ve had a chance to reflect on how the EP came out and have a full 9 or so songs written with input from everyone in the band, we’re ready to make this full length album at long last. We plan to sneak out for a tour shortly after that, then get right back to putting together another full length album. For right now, being an independent band is something that seems to be going quite well for us despite having been offered several contracts from various labels over the past eight or so months. We get to have the reigns as far as when and how we release our music, and there’s nobody to sap a percentage of any profits we make. Everything goes right back to making more improved music and getting out to perform for our fans. In the long run, I feel that getting a good handle for operating the band independently is the best way to develop an interest from larger labels who have the power to make a big impact for us.