Project Renegade – The New OrderFriday, 15th November 2019
Project Renegade initially impressed DR with their first outing, Cerebra, in terms of their clear vision and presentation of their take on the modern metal template. They have now released their first full-length album, which capitalizes on their strengths and sees them further stretching their wings into something even more impressive. They have a distinctive feeling that merges alternative metal, gothic atmosphere, and a larger than life feel into something that many veteran bands just can’t capture. Of course, we took the opportunity to fire off some questions to vocalist Marianna Florou once again, who discussed Order of the Minus with us, as well as what they’ve learned from playing shows with larger bands like Evanescence, and some of the challenges along the way.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you feel that you have applied from the Cerebra EP in preparing your first album, Order of the Minus?
Marianna Florou: First of all I believe we are better songwriters and more specific on what we like and what we don’t like in a song. We have a clear vision of our artistic direction and with the experience from Cerebra it was easier for us to take some risks with Order of the Minus. We understood the importance of the production for an album and that is why we wanted to work with a renowned professional like Forrester Savell (Karnivool, Twelve Foot Ninja) who did an amazing job in mixing/mastering the album.
Also, we are better prepared on how a band can promote its own music, because we’ve done it before and now we can aim to reach an even bigger crowd. All in all, we’ve learned from the things we did right and the things that we did wrong with Cerebra, we’ve adapted, evolved and made the next big step for us in the best way possible!
Dead Rhetoric: Is there a track or two on Order of the Minus that is particularly memorable to you?
Florou: Of course our first single “Liber8”. It has a special meaning to us because of its message. You know there are many difficulties trying to build a life of your own under such difficult socio-economic circumstances and we felt a big need to express that. “Liber8” is a song about how life is stolen from the young people, how we are fed with lies, how we are taught not to think under a very controlled education system and how fed up we are with all that shit. For me it’s a song that makes you think what you can do to change your life for the better.
Another song that holds special meaning to me is the last song of the album “Black Mountain”. This song has a very different thematic and in my opinion it’s the darkest song in the album. It talks about suicide and mental health and how sometimes we fantasize or even romanticize the idea of death. Nowadays, I believe that suicide is a subject that needs to be out in the open so that people can talk about it, share their experiences and heal. “Black Mountain” cuts deep, is very honest and for me it is really hard to listen to.
Dead Rhetoric: What can you say about the cover art for Order of the Minus?
Florou: The cover is done by Gustavo Sazes (Machine Head, Arch Enemy, Amaranthe) who captured the idea of the message of the album. Seeing the person standing at the gates with our symbol above him/her is actually an invitation, a passage to immerse yourself in our music and to join our message of unity through diversity. It shows that even if your world is collapsing, you can always find a safe heaven and a family here with Project Renegade!
Dead Rhetoric: What do you feel stands out or works for Project Renegade in terms of your apocalyptic/sci-fi visuals for the band?
Florou: First of all it is really fun! But most importantly we want to visualize our message in all aspects. The visual is very important, especially on stage or in a video. For us everything has to have a meaning, because we want to express our truth through our music. And our clothes, our videos and our photos all tie it up together to make it clear what we stand for as a band. Plus, we always invest on a good show because we want to make the audience feel that they got their money’s worth when they come watch us play and the visuals are a huge factor in that.
Dead Rhetoric: How does the idea of ‘renegade’ apply to the music of the band?
Florou: Mainly that we do not conform to any specific set of rules and that there are no boundaries as to what we can create musically. We are always exploring, never compromising and always pushing our limits. We do not let labels dictate us and we are open to every idea that comes our way.
Dead Rhetoric: Do you feel that the message behind the music is as important as the music itself?
Florou: Absolutely! Like a said above, our music cannot work separately from our message. That is why “Order of the Minus” represents for us one of our biggest beliefs in this life: unity through diversity. In Project Renegade, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and all the big stereotypes that are forced on us as divisive factors in our lives have no place to grow. Our message is a message of peace, love and understanding and I believe that our music is the vessel for that message to be delivered to the world. The whole idea behind this album is based on the fact that people have things that can unite them because all people at least share one thing in the course of their lives: loss.
Everybody has lost something at some point, a person, a job or a dream for example and all these types of loss are examined progressively with each song of our album. Through those losses we share experiences, we can see that we have felt something in common. So maybe that can make us think that we have more things to share than we thought and we can focus on that instead of focusing on everything that sets us apart. If we accept that, then maybe we can start winning something in this life together.
Dead Rhetoric: Have you found your vlog to be a good way to share a bit more with your fans?
Florou: We’ve always liked the “behind the scenes” snippets we used to watch from our favorite bands. That is why we wanted to give our fans the opportunity to see what happens in our tour life. I believe it builds a connection with our fans, who get to see how we are as persons off stage. And we really enjoy making them!
Dead Rhetoric: You’ve had some opportunities to open for some larger bands, such as Evanescence. What have you taken away from these experiences?
Florou: That we need to buy a lot of gear! Hahahaha! Seriously though we feel really lucky to have shared the stage with such big bands like Evanescence or Bullet for My Valentine. It’s an otherworldly experience to play with bands that have inspired you so much! Aside from the amazing feeling to play in front of so many people and to have their support, what I take most at heart is how wonderful people all those musicians are. How down to earth, friendly and approachable they are and how they want to support new musicians to the scene!
Dead Rhetoric: What are some of the challenges that you have faced as a band in getting your name out there and developing a fanbase?
Florou: Mainly the fact that today there is a plethora of bands. So you have to really try your best to stand out. Also, when you are a DIY band, it takes a lot of money to keep the engine running and sometimes you want to do awesome stuff but you can’t and that makes you disappointed. But we like challenges and we are always trying our best!
Dead Rhetoric: What do you specifically enjoy about making heavy metal music?
Florou: I like the raw emotion that metal music expresses and the fact that I’ve always felt that I could unleash all my deepest emotions through it. Like a type of emotional exorcism if you want! It is direct, honest, it does not care to make things pretty and that is very liberating for me.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you have planned for the rest of 2019 and moving into 2020?
Florou: Right now we are doing an extensive press run for the release of Order of the Minus. We have planned a lot of video clips to support our album and of course live shows that will be announced in due time! So stay tuned because a lot of good staff is coming!