Coming off the excitement of their West Coast tour with Lacuna Coil, US-based cinematic rock band Edge of Paradise has been thrilled to unveil the music video for “Hologram” off of their new album of the same name. The band states: “We are living through a ‘music industry’ nightmare; ironically, the album mirrors the reality of our fight. Although this is a story for another time, the adversities made us stronger than ever, as we focus on presenting you with our most monumental music to date.”
“Landing in the cyber world of the previous album, THE UNKNOWN, the heavier sound of HOLOGRAM takes you right into the face of danger and tells the story of pursuit, sacrifice, and perseverance against all cosmic odds, uncovering the key to building a new reality.”
The band and Mike Plotnikoff co-produced the album “Hologram” (Jacob Hansen also mixed it).
The bands website is linked here
Edge of Paradise are:
Margarita Monet (vocals, keyboard)
Dave Bates (lead guitar)
David Ruiz (rhythm guitar)
Jamie Moreno (drums)
Kenny Lockwood (bass)
We were lucky enough to be in conversation with Dave Bates, co-founder of the band with Margarita. With the album gaining traction and some great reviews, we can bring you a great interview here for your Halloween reading pleasure!
The new album has been played in the office here, and it really excites. It has a blend of these BIG layered sounds and progressive symphonic hard rock with these breathy, multi-range vocals of Margarita that make the sound so distinctive. But we begin this feature with the artwork of the album, taking us almost into the world of Star Wars, and a planet far away. The band is known for this type of sci-fiction, dystopian art, projected in the sartorial aspect of their dress too. They released a truly amazing book to accompany the album “The Unknown.” If you want to get it, it is available from here and to be honest, this is a slick presentation of the lyrics and the whole art concept. You can also get Margarita’s original art as a purchase, and I think we will actually invest in one for the office! This is such a visual band where the art projects the band (remember the great albums of old, Kiss “Destroyer,” “Sgt Pepper,” and so on, when the art projected the music?).
Dave- That is really our vibe. We have a futuristic image where we try to turn the music into something new. A lot of the sci-fi elements and vibes suit where we are, as we are trying to explore new sounds and new images. In the music, we are trying to tell stories, so the image helps people visualise it. But it’s hard, as you want people to be involved with the music, imagine things, and immerse themselves. But the cover does help with that process of imagination, and I had “Destroyer” too! We still, for the first two albums, have the vinyl copies as limited runs, and fans do love that. Maybe there is a resurgence right now where people are collecting vinyl again, and I do believe it’s cool to open the vinyl, look at it, see the lyrics, and smell the vinyl. You become a part of the music, and it is not a throwaway.
Of course, with the vinyl era, we heard albums in a certain way (straight through) as opposed to the cherry-picking elements that go with streaming.
Dave- I think that is right, as the way music is presented to the audience via streaming is often very piecemeal. As an artist, when you make the album, and I am not talking about the artists who look to release one-off singles all the time for the new business model, when we go into the studio, we are trying to fit the album together and make sure it all fits. We listen to it carefully to ensure that the listening order is fun, so people can listen and digest the whole album. But I liked it when I was growing up and listening to an album like Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast.” I would listen to those albums straight through and know every song and the running order. It makes it a different listening experience.
There is a trend now running counter to this view where the desire is to release a new single every month or so, keeping momentum but never releasing the body of work that constitutes an album. We think that, as Dave touched on, this is more of a business model for the current music business in 2023.
Dave- Yes, its a business model for a digital world where the numbers are changing daily. When you look at the numbers, any time you engage with the business side, they will be constantly asking about the numbers. They all go with the algorithms and accompanying bull. They become data-aggregate people with a constant focus on the ever-changing numbers and positions in obscure charts, and it takes away the process of being concentrated on the art form and just making the music to enjoy the process. But you can’t get away from the digital world now.
We have felt in the magazine here for some time that the digital numbers are often an illusion of success; the huge numbers sometimes belie the ridiculously low payment rates on sites such as Spotify. With streaming, an artist can claim they were at number one on the Southern Country Americana Pop chart (they were for a day) and so on. It becomes so difficult to see the reality of how much the business has changed the perception of what is really happening.
Dave- I think if you just enjoy what you are doing and are able to get out there and do it today, then that is good enough! You are right about those fractions of pennies for a stream, and then everybody, from labels to booking agents and so-on takes their percentage; there is so little left for the artist. Shows are great, but as an artist, you are doing the work; you are on the front-line. You must ensure that everything is set up, from the T-shirts to your gear. Everything is set up now so inwardly, with an ‘Amazon’ mindset where everyone wants theirs, so you can’t get away now without being engaged with every rung of that ladder.
Dave Bates is, of course, the lead guitarist for Edge of Paradise, and we often like to ask the guitarists we speak to how they approach the live performance solo.
Dave- When I was really young, I grew up and found Randy Rhodes and Eddie Van Halen, so I liked the guitar solo, and those guitarists grabbed my interest. I ended up going to LA and the Musicians Institute, and I wanted to be a “real” musician heading out there and doing gigs, being a session guy, and doing whatever those heavy duty guys do. As a guitar player, I don’t like doing the same thing every time live; I like to improvise. I liked how Eddie Van Halen had his set bag, but he would always twist them around existing musical structures, and that’s fun as it can get exciting when it transpires by itself. Suddenly, you get a wow moment, and you feel the energy. You also sense that the audience feels that too. But as a band, as a newer band, you are selling something that the audience may not have heard before, and so you have to do it the same each time. But look at the guitarist at the top, Steve Vai. They do things in a way that is not exactly the same every time, but unless you were really listening, you wouldn’t know he was doing it in another register or inverting a chord pattern. When we are playing live, if I do something different and it is spontaneous, then another band member may wonder what on earth is happening, as it sounds different, but I’m always looking to sprinkle newness in there to keep it exciting. We do have a core audience of fans who come to a lot of shows, and I want them to see something new, but I also want to be inspired too. I think if I am inspired, then I can inspire someone else, the watcher. It is a two-way process. I want the watcher to see that I am inspired, and I need to be fired up to present it in an exciting way for them.
On the CV of Dave Bates is that he worked with Bob Kulick, the much missed Bob Kulick who played on Kiss Alive II, side 4, and the new tracks on their “Killers” album. He also worked with Meatloaf, and was an accomplished producer. His brother Bruce (ex-Kiss) currently plays guitar with Grand Funk Railroad. What memories does Dave have of Bob?
Dave- I worked with Bob for a number of years prior to his passing away. I worked with Bob as a producer, and I worked with Michael Wagener, and these guys have such a history, they are inspiring. I am a constant student of music, and I believe I grow until I die. And that is something I saw from them too. None of these guys, despite their success or age, stop having a good time. They learn and look for new ways to explore life. I worked with Bob on a few projects prior to ending up with Edge of Paradise. Bob said that the music must be “undeniably great,” and I thought about it and wondered what “undeniable” is. I think it means the music has to be felt. I always remember him saying that, as we had spent time on this album that I was doing with another band, Billy Sherwood from Yes was engineering and co-producing. The music took forever to get done, and we seemed to be squabbling over the minutiae, do we play in 5/4 or do we add these layers or whatever? It really then came back to Bob’s words, “undeniably great,” as the deciding factor. Listen to it and be convinced; there is no point sitting there arguing over the tiny points. If there isn’t that feel, that honest factor that starts the spark, then don’t go down that road. Bob had done a lot of great music, but it was almost never the same. He was a guitar player, like me, and he would say, “why not play it like this?” Then I’d ask him what that was again, and he would hum it back to me differently! It was always in the moment, live, and exciting, and that helped with the stress. When I first worked with Bob, I was making things too elaborate, and Billy Sherwood, from being with Yes worked with progressive, complicated, sounds too. But, fortunately, I have worked with these great people. I found out they are all in there for the love of what we do; it doesn’t matter if you are Bob Kulick, or Bruce Kulick, or whatever, they love what they do, undeniably great.
On the album, a favourite track for us was “Soldiers of Danger,” a powerful symphonic track that was really exciting. It has a great video too. We wondered how this sound would take to the live stage, as it has so much going on. One of our favourite Queen albums, Queen II, has this similar multi-layered sound that the band found hard to replicate live. So do the guys have the same difficulties taking the studio sound to the stage?
Dave- Actually, that track we really like doing live. I think through all our music, there are a lot of layers. Margarita also does the keyboards, and we come up with so many ideas that we work hard to fit them in and make them work. “Soldiers of Danger” was basically a “crazy train,” with a modern metal, WWIII vibe to where the world is heading now. We wanted that big riff—the iconic riff—to go through the song. It is a song with many layers, but the structure is still simple. It has the chorus carried by the vocal melodies carrying it, and the chord structure is relatively simple in the chorus, a few odd notes…but nowadays we can’t bring ten people into the band, so we work to get the keyboards in there, and we have a good sound guy. With the heavier tracks, we look for a basic rock song, and, look at “Stone Cold Crazy” by Queen, they play that riff, and you know you are there from that killer riff. We look at that standpoint, make a good rock song, place the layers on top and then build it up like a movie.
So the band has had a great year, and the album seems to be really kicking ass everywhere. So we finished wondering about plans generally; maybe the UK is on the agenda?
Dave- We would like to get back to the UK. We did the UK last year on the back of the last album. In a few weeks, we will be on for twenty six dates in the US and Canada with Dragon Force and Amaranthe. (The Tour Dates are below and you can get tickets from here.) After that, we have a Mexico City date. But, the album is going well, and we are so excited about how we were struggling with the previous record label, maybe not the best steward of our catalogue, and we are happy to end the cycle with them. Things have picked up a lot. We have been pushing the albums pretty much independently, but we are lucky to have great management and booking agencies. It has helped us to be more active, and we are at a cross-over point in the business where there is a blurring of management and record labels. Things get tangled. Right now, our management and agent have been wonderful for us, but the record label has done less. We are excited about the change. We have a new track out, a Smashing Pumpkins cover, “Disarm,” with Howard Benson producing on his record label. Then we have another tour next year, and “Hologram” really shows you where our sound is now, and we are excited to keep building that. Now the live shows are getting bigger, and we have some songs in the bag, so maybe a new album next year!
So these guys are really amazing. We like how the image connects to the music, and the sound is driven vocally by this multi octave voice that excites the listener. It’s not about the vocal dexterity alone; check out Dave’s guitar work on “Unbeatable,” which also shows off Jamie Moreno’s superb drum tempo on that number. Also check out “Basilisk,” another standout!
As for us, we will get some links below for you to enjoy, and we are off to try and get some of that art work!
By Benny (the Ball) Benson
Mark C. Chambers
10/20/23 Mesa, AZ The Nile Theater
*10/21/23 Albuquerque, NM Revel
*10/23/23 Austin, TX Empire Control Room & Garage
*10/24/23 Dallas, TX Granada Theatre
*10/25/23 Houston, TX House of Blues Houston
*10/27/23 Lake Buena Vista, FL House of Blues Orlando
*10/28/23 Fort Lauderdale, FL Culture Room
*10/30/23 Atlanta, GA Heaven at The Masquerade
*10/31/23 Charlotte, NC The Underground
*11/01/23 Baltimore, MD Baltimore Soundstage
*11/03/23 New York City, NY Palladium Times Square
*11/04/23 Worcester, MA Palladium
*11/05/23 Montreal, QC MTELUS
*11/06/23 Toronto, ON The Danforth Music Hall
*11/08/23 Cleveland, OH Agora Theatre & Ballroom
*11/09/23 Detroit, MI The Majestic Theatre
*11/10/23 Chicago, IL House of Blues, Chicago
*11/11/23 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
*11/12/23 Lawrence, KS Granada Theatre
*11/14/23 Denver, CO Summit Music Hall
*11/15/23 Salt Lake City, UT The Depot
*11/16/23 Boise, ID Knitting Factory Concert House
*11/18/23 Berkeley, CA The UC Theatre
*11/19/23 Los Angeles, CA The Wiltern
*12/1/2023 Mexico City MX, Life After Death Horror Metal Fest
We hope you enjoyed the feature and if you have a look around we have all our own designs on the merchandise and have many other great features, poetry, quizzes and reviews for you to enjoy!