'Watch Out Below!'
Displaying stellar vocals, amazing guitar tones and backed by powerhouse songs, the rock band Heaven Below brings an exciting and fresh sound to the world of music.
Fronted by Patrick Kennison - formerly of The Union Underground - and supported by members Jesse Billson on guitar, John Younger on bass, and Chad Clark on drums, Heaven Below has forged a tour de force of sonic power and songwriting - that is poised to lead the way for new rock music.
On their self-titled release, Heaven Below shows that despite being such a young band, they can easily keep pace with the top dogs of the current rock scene - especially on such standout tracks as "When Daylight Dies," which was produced by Grammy-award winning/multi-platinum artist Ben Moody of Evanescence.
EXCLUSIVE MAGAZINE recently had the opportunity to sit down with Patrick Kennison, front man for HEAVEN BELOW, and first we discussed why they had chosen to self-title their debut album? "We almost called the album 'Demonocracy,' which is a new song we held back from the release because it was a bit too aggressive next to the songs that made it. We decided to finish all the less radio friendly material after completing the EP tracks. Our next release will be our "Slave To The Grind" so to speak. We self titled this release as an introductory to the band."
Being such a young band, how do you expect to keep up with the big dogs of your musical genre? "We grew up on bands like Pantera who proved that the connection to fans & friends is the key to gaining an audience. We will always maintain that relationship. I think many bigger bands are unaware that times have greatly changed. Hangin' out before and after the show with fans has replaced the Best Buy In-Store. We're constantly finding inventive ways to release our music. On the front page of our site www.heavenbelow.com is a great example."
On this debut album, you had a little help from Ben Moody, formerly of Evanescence. How did that come about and what did he contribute? "I met Ben through a mutual friend (Marty O' Brien). Turns out Ben was a big Union Undergound fan. We hit it off immediately. Once he heard my demo for the song "When Daylight Dies" he insisted he produce it. He brought that whole cinematic ethereal sound to it as well as a 32 piece orchestra. The guys truly a mad genius."
You recently completed your inaugural set of live dates ... where did you play, which was your personal favorite in reflection, and what did you learn about the road? "We played the southern region of the US as well as up the coast to NY & Canada. My favorite was my home state of Texas. New music fans are all over that place. They still love to drink and enjoy life there. The main thing I learned was to not get too drunk or party too much. Singing an hour of loud adrenaline filled music every night requires that your body stays healthy. The first thing to go after a night of mayhem is my voice so I watch myself out there."
On those live dates, did anything go wrong ... anything that left you standing, left you in the dark, or simply let you down? "In front of 1000 of our closest friends & family in our hometown of San Antonio TX our kabuki curtain that drops as we start the first song, dropped and got stuck on the side. It was more funny more than anything else and only lasted for a couple seconds. Then our drummers kick drum head broke on the second song, so I launched into a solo rendition of "When Daylight Dies" while the techs fixed it. I actually like when these problems present themselves. It keeps us on our toes and makes us all the wiser."
You've been getting some accolades from the press, some even going as far as saying, "Every track explodes with expression" re: the debut album. Now this album is done and out, are you working on its follow-up ... and worrying that with all this great press, it has to be even better?! "We are thrilled at the response we've gotten. One media outlet refered to us as "The next Guns 'N Roses". We're already working on the follow up and we believe that we have our "Shout at The Devil", "Dirt", "Vulgar Display of Power", "Ride the Lightning" ect. up our sleeve."
Indeed, with regard this debut album, how easy or hard is it to create a new, vibrant, wanted-by-the-public sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical wonderments and accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? "It's not really that hard. We just make music that we wanna hear. Of course it's inspired by all the great bands I mentioned above. But it seems like the second we have fun with our music, others seem to respond and like it as well. The real difficulty for any new artist is figuring out the best way to release new music for the public to hear about & enjoy it."
Do you have a favorite track from the album? One that means more to you than the others, for some reason? "Lately, I really enjoy playing "Hollywood". I feel like the song sums up the general attitude and feeling of living and making music here. It's so challenging yet rewarding to do what we do in this strange place. Hollywood is truly "my empty whore" as the song says. The love/hate factor lives and breathes here."
If asked to record one for charity, what '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today...and why? "I love Skid Row's '18 & Life.' I would love to record that song with an orchestra or at least a string section. That video and song impressed me as a kid and still does as an adult."
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine loves Penguins...do you? "Hmmm...hell yeah!!!We call our drummer Chad, the penguin. He's able to sleep in an upright position with his hat down and collar up!"
Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk
So, if you would like to win a copy of their new CD, and you think you know all there is to know about the band, just answer this easy question: The band was formed in late 2007 by Patrick Kennison (Union Underground), Marty O'Brien (Disturbed, We Are the Fallen) and session drummer Chad Clark to film a video for Kennison's song. But, what was the name of that song?!
Send us your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these wonderful new CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before December 15th with your answer and the subject title CONTEST: HEAVEN BELOW CDs to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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