By MICHAEL HAMAD, firstname.lastname@example.org
March 6, 2014
Everyone has an opinion on how to get into — or avoid — super-heavy music, like the kind pumped out by Chicago's relatively new trio Immortal Bird. Led by drummer/vocalist Rae Amitay, and with influences from doom and black metal, Immortal Bird's debut EP "Akrasia" (mixed by Converge's Kurt Ballou) is a four-song clinic on the current state of the genre. One thing's for certain: If metal music's going to own you — if it's going to infiltrate your system and hold your brain hostage for a few days, months or years — you need to go to a show, pronto. Wallingford's Cherry Street Station hosts Amitay, guitarist Evan Berry, bassist John Picillo and Garry Naples (he handles Immortal Bird's live drumming duties) on Friday, March 7, with Sea of Bones opening. CTNow spoke to Amitay about her influences and the best path(s) to metal abandon.
CTNow: On "Akrasia," you play the drums in addition to handling the vocals(!). When did you first start playing the drums, and who did you want to sound like?
Rae Amitay: I started playing drums in high school, and I'm pretty sure I wanted to sound like Jimmy Chamberlin (ex-Smashing Pumpkins) and Danny Carey (Tool). I set the bar pretty high, I'd say! Now I'd say my biggest influences are Gavin Harrison [Porcupine Tree, King Crimson], Jamie Saint Merat [Ulcerate] and Gil Sharone [Stolen Babies, Dillinger Escape Plan].
CTNow: Is it painful to relinquish the throne when you play live?
RA: Haha, maybe if I was stuck with a drummer I didn't trust with my material, but Garry Naples is an incredible player and has an awesome attitude towards performing. I miss drumming, but having Garry behind the kit means no worries in that regard.
CTNow: What was the goal for you going into this project? Did you achieve it (yet)?
RA: My initial goal was to scream out some demons and maybe play a show or two. After getting the band together and recording the EP, I realized pretty quickly that I wanted more. Luckily, everyone else was on board, so our new goal is to tour extensively and put out a full length as the year progresses. I think that's attainable, as we've got some cool stuff in the works. We'll see!
CTNow: What's the best way to gain an appreciation for heavy music for people who are new to it?
RA: Find something to connect with. Some people are attracted to dark lyrics. Others listen for certain guitar or vocal melodies. It's all about finding what aspect of "heavy" music is pulling you in, and exploring that until you've moved out of that comfort zone and into newer realms.
CTNow: What was the first record/CD you ever bought with your own money?
RA: Oh god. Honestly? The Disney 'Tarzan' soundtrack. I saved up my allowance and my mom took me to Tower Records. No shame. Phil Collins is the man!
CTNow: Greatest metal band of all time?
RA: Maximum the Hormone.
IMMORTAL BIRD plays on Friday, March 7, at 9 p.m. at Cherry Street Station in Wallingford, with Sea of Bones. $5 cover.
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