Interview with Psychothermia

psychothermia

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Psychothermia were able to release their debut album, Fall To The Rising Sun last month, as well as partner up with Land Shark Promotions. Psychothermia are ready to claim 2013 as their own by playing as many shows as possible, making sure their music is heard, and hopefully getting the attention of some booking agents along the way. I had a chat with the guys about what it was like using Kickstarter, their upcoming tour, the debut album and their hopes for the future.

You’re debut record Fall To The Rising Sun launched earlier this month. Are you happy with the reaction and response you’ve received from the fans?

Yeah, absolutely… we finally wrote the album that we wanted to write, one that all the guys were on board with. You can really hear the result in the tracks, and to hear so many of our fans say they’re digging the new sounds, it tells us that we’re doing the right thing. – Johan Maldonado

The response overall has been extremely positive… people have said we’ve done some unexpected twists, and caught them off-guard… in a good way. They really like it. – Jon Russo

Yes… some fans were sceptical about the album, but once they heard it and saw us jamming it live they were impressed, and very happy with how it came out.– Chenzo Vidalez

How did the partnership with Land Shark Promotions come about?

Some buddies of ours that jammed in the band Kicking K8 had worked with them previously and said it was one of the best investments they ever made for their band. That’s what initially got our attention… we first reached out to Land Shark a couple years ago, when we were still ‘Canobliss’, but they turned us down. Then after we put together our 2012 EP ‘Slash & Burn’ we sent it their way and it must have caught their ear. Before long we had our full-length album in the works with a radio/publicity campaign slotted for the beginning of 2013! – Mike Russo

What can people expect – touring wise – from Psychothermia, now that you have this deal with Land Shark Promotions?

Right off the bat we’ve put together a tour across the southwest USA (TX, AZ, NM, NV, & OK) from March 8 – 23. We’ve learned from experience that promotion isn’t worth nearly as much without touring to follow it up… so we hope to take full advantage of the exposure we are getting from the campaign, and this southwest trip is just the beginning. We don’t yet know how far out there we will get, but we’re pushing hard and the sky’s the limit!  –Mike

Well, they’re not a booking agency… but we hope it will help us get a buzz going in places we weren’t able to reach before on our own. This could snowball into some much bigger touring opportunities. – Chenzo

Were you ever worried that you wouldn’t meet your goal for the Kickstarter campaign?

Yes! We’re still a small independent band, and nothing is for sure in this business… so the fact that our fans stepped up for us, and didn’t want to see us fade into the abyss, it means a lot. There’s no way we could have gotten the album done without those contributions.  – Johan

This was our first time doing a Kickstarter campaign, so we were a little cautious with it. We didn’t want to set our goal too high. But we kept our goal realistic and the fans supported us all the way! – Chenzo

We knew our friends and fans would have our backs, and that they wanted to hear this album as much as we wanted to make it. I knew they would come through! – Jon

Do you think crowdfunding for albums could become the norm? It helps bands get albums out, but also sees more fans paying for special rewards, as well as the music, rather than just pirating the album once it’s out. It’s pretty sad, but it seems fans are more willing to spend money if something is in it for them, than for simply supporting the music they love.

Yeah, I think so. The old model is that labels would front the money and bands would eventually have to pay them back. This is a great way around that… fans get memorabilia from the bands they love, and the knowledge that they contributed to making the band’s creation possible. And the band gets funded without owing money to a label! – Jon

You have to worry about people getting burnt out on it… you don’t want to overuse it and start doing it for everything, but for something big like a new album it’s great. – Chenzo

The debut album, Fall To The Rising Sun, was only released 6 months after the EP Slash & Burn. Had you already started writing the album while doing the EP?

Yes and no. Most of the songs were written during that six month period, but some of the tunes had roots going back longer than that. Others came together very quickly… the title track ‘Fall To The Rising Sun’ for example, that literally flew together in about a week. – Johan

4 songs were taken off the EP and put onto FTTRS, so technically yeah we had already started writing the album! – Jon

Our goal from the beginning was a full-length album. We released the EP in 2012 because, with the band name change and all that, it had been a while since we had put new music out and we wanted to make sure the fans didn’t forget about us! At least in my mind they’re not two separate projects, the EP was a stepping stone leading up to ‘Fall To The Rising Sun’. -Mike

The album still has that Canobliss sound to it, but there is a new Psychothermia vibe coming through. Did you consciously try and change the sound to steer away from the past?

We’re always trying to push ourselves to be better songwriters, and to write smarter music… not necessarily harder music or following any template. – Johan

We weren’t intentionally trying to sound like Canobliss, but we definitely didn’t try to make ourselves sound different either. We’re the same four members… so it really shouldn’t be surprising that there’s some continuation of sound. I agree there is a new vibe going on though… I don’t know if it’s that we’re maturing or what, but that’s just how it came out. – Chenzo

Working with Fred Archambault also helped a lot with developing that new vibe… he provided some great guidance and direction in pre-production and formatting on several of the songs. He brought some things out of us we couldn’t have done on our own. – Mike

We hope to differentiate ourselves from Canobliss and show we are a unique band, but we never focused on that consciously during songwriting. – Jon

Were you listening to any records at the time of writing that influenced your sound at all?

I wasn’t necessarily listening to any albums in particular. I’ll always have my top five albums that I’ve spoken about in the past. So those are the ones I usually turn to for inspiration. But any time I listen to a “smash hit”, in any genre, I try to pay attention to the characteristics of the song, and what makes it so special. I try to take what I learn from that and put it into my own writing. – Johan

No, not really! I only listened to the bullshit on the radio, and it inspired me to not write like that! As long as it doesn’t sound like that same song on rotation… – Chenzo

Dub-step inspired The Fight, believe it or not… – Jon

This month you have your SW tour where it looks like you’re playing almost every night. Is this the most intense touring you’ve done to date? Is 2013 purely about touring and playing as many shows as possible for you guys?

It’s not the most intense we’ve ever done (see past tours across the country, or during a record heat wave, etc.), but it is shaping up to be a pretty grueling schedule. As far as we’re concerned playing almost every night is a good thing though. When you have a night off you just get antsy and bored, feeling like you’re missing an opportunity. – Mike

With the new album in our hands, yes we’d like to get out there this year and play as many (good) shows as possible… now is the time to get the tunes heard! – Chenzo

We’re not exactly sitting on a pile of cash right now but we’d love to get out across Europe (and Australia!). We’re hustling and looking for opportunities… kicking things off with a tour across the southwest USA which includes a stop in Austin during SXSW. We’ll be bugging many booking agencies there! – Jon

What song, or songs, would you tell new fans to listen to, to get the best representation of the band?

The entire album! But if you want to know who Psychothermia is right now, listen to the title track ‘Fall To The Rising Sun’. That’s the new direction we are going for… we’re still a rock band, we still like to kick some serious ass. – Johan

The whole album… it’s really such a collection of different songs with different styles. But if I had to pick just a couple I would say Warbly and The Wrath. – Jon

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Currently we have our radio/publicity campaign going with Land Shark, and we’re the second-highest ranked independent band on the CMJ radio charts… so we’re doing something right! Keep your ears peeled… we’re hoping this is just the beginning of something bigger and better. – Johan

Grab a free song download at www.psychothermia.com, check out our upcoming tour dates, pick up an album, and if you like what you hear tell a friend! – Mike

Fall To The Rising Sun is out now, and you can read my review of the album over at Loud Mag.

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