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By Matt White
Out of all the local bands I've heard in recent times, the one that stands out the most is definitely Deadlocked. Out of Provo, UT, Deadlocked is 5 talented musicians who know how to rock. Lead singer Mike Lowe cites Rage Against the Machine as one of their greatest inspirations for their unique style. Combining unbelievably good vocals with a somewhat punk-rock style (two things that don't normally go together), Deadlocked is a band that you don't want to miss.
Deadlocked has just recorded their first CD, "The Start of Something," named after one of their most well-known songs. Whereas with other local bands (and sometimes more popular bands), you definitely don't feel like you've just listened to 11 variations on the same song when you hear it. The CD includes crowd favorites such as "End of the Line," "One by One," "Without a Fight," and "The Start of Something," and includes a guest appearance on several tracks by band friend Scream Phoenix (www.screamphoenix.net) whose rhyming skills challenge popular artists like The Beastie Boys. But to truly appreciate Deadlocked, you'll have to see one of their live shows. Hardly can you find a show with more energy and songs that you can get into the first time you hear them than a Deadlocked show. But as long as you like to rock, you'll definitely want to get yourself a copy of this one.
Don't miss their CD release party at Club Omni in Provo, UT on Saturday, March 26. Deadlocked will be performing all the tracks from their new CD and playing with The Black River Brethren, The Otters, and The Abilene Paradox. Check out some samples, pictures, news, and upcoming shows at www.deadlockedmusic.com
RAD: How did Deadlocked get together?
Mike: Jared and I met at an apartment complex here in Provo. I was in another band and he was more in to sound and he recorded me in my other band. I knew he played guitar too so we just stayed in touch doing live sound recordings. I was in a band called Chili Davis and for artistic differences I left for something different. I wanted to rock it - I wanted to have more fun. I was sick of playing shows where we just had girls coming to see the shows... it just had to stop. I wanted to do something different - the other guys in the band still wanted to do their thing so I quit.
Andre: Like Luke.
Mike: Oh, that's right, you were in that band. Luke was in the band at the time as well. Sorry. We still play shows with them sometimes. I just wanted to rock harder and so did Luke so the two of us quit together. James is friends with the other lead singer and that's how we got to know each other.
James: We ran into each other at Movies 8. You pitched the idea to me in front of the men's room.
Mike: Really? Beauty. So we all kind of had connections to each other through Chili Davis.
RAD: What about Andre?
Andre: No, I kind of jumped on the bandwagon a little bit later.
Mike: Yeah, we were trying to get another guitarist - I play guitar too but I just wanted to sing to get more energy into the shows. We had one kid come who was just stoned out of his mind. We had a bunch of guitarists come. Andre is a friend of a friend - I asked this friend if he knew any guitarists and he said he knew a kid named Andre and I told him that's the coolest name I'd ever heard so he has to be the guy. So that's how we ended up together - about a year ago.
RAD: Where does the name come from - Deadlocked?
James: I'd like to hear the answer to this one myself.
Mike: We originally were called "All Else Fails" - that turned out to be the name of another band. The next one we came up with was Tagline - I told some girl about it and she was like, "Fagline." So that was the end of that name. So we were looking around for names. I was laying around in bed on a Saturday morning. Brandon, the guy that used to be in Chili Davis and is still my roommate - he had been watching CNN and knew we were trying to find a name so he kicked the door open and said, "Hey Mike - Deadlocked!" And I think I said something like, "That's perfect, I love it."
James: I think that was everyone's reaction. You said, "We should be Deadlocked" and we all just said, "All right."
Mike: So Deadlocked stuck. And it's been kinda cool - it fits the style. It's tough.
Luke: And it rhymes with rock.
RAD: Who writes the songs?
Mike: I come up with most of the original ideas, Andre has come up with a few original ideas, Jared's had one... it just kind of happens together from there. We bring our ideas to practice, get the parts together, get ideas from each other and it just kind of works from there.
Jared: We workshop for a long time with different parts. We say this one works or this one doesn't.
Mike: So one of us will originally write it at home - one of the three of us that plays guitar in the band. Then we just hammer it out together. There's even been a song that we just put together in practice and people liked it.
Jared: We wrote it in like 15 minutes.
Mike: I write the lyrics, James plays the drum stuff. These guys come up with their own beats - the guitar stuff. So it's kind of a group effort.
Andre: Some of the songs are never really done though. Some of the songs we wrote a long time ago are still being modified and it kind of makes it more interesting to play them since we change it around so much.
RAD: Where do the ideas come from?
Jared: A lot of times it's a riff. Sometimes it's just an idea or a lyric. It just kind of goes from there.
Andre: A lot of the time it's just Mike - he has this amazing ability to hear an entire song in his head that has never been played - bass, drums, guitar, lyrics, everything.
Jared: The fun part about those ones is when he tries to describe the drum parts to James. It's like a-boom-tiki-ta-ka-ka.
Mike: And then he nails it is the thing. I think the best songs come from the ones you just hear in your head. You can sit down and try to hammer something out but it will never be as creative or cool as something you just imagined. We try to sing about stuff that's not sappy but is cool.
Jared: And not all our songs are about girls. "End of the Line" is I guess.
Mike: Yeah but that's about dumping a girl, which is cool. So that's where our ideas come from. Sometimes I just walk across campus and an idea just pops in my head.
RAD: Which artists have inspired your style?
Andre: It's all over the spectrum.
James: Mike listens to the radio - he's our pop connection. No, but I think that's one of the coolest things about the band is we all listen to different kinds of music - different influence. And we just bring that all together and it forms something completely unique.
Luke: And we've all played in multiple bands before coming here so we all have experience with different types of music.
Mike: I think Rage Against the Machine is one of the coolest bands ever and that's where if you're going to say our rap stuff comes from anywhere it's more them than anything else. Andre's a little more into metal.
Andre: The last song I wrote was more like Tool. It had the whole metal thing going. One day I listen to metal and the next day I listen to Bob Dylan type stuff - I have a wide range of music I like.
Mike: James and I both come from California and everyone in California listens to punk.
Andre: Ranchero music too?
James: Yeah, we're way into Ranchero music.
Andre: We have to throw an accordian into one of our songs somewhere.
RAD: What do you guys think of the local band scene here in Provo?
James: I personally think it's incredible. There's so much talent here in Provo. So many people think there aren't any good bands here, but just off the top of my head I can name like Black River Brethren, The Abilene Paradox, The Brobecks, Return to Sender, Cassi Gollie band, I mean, there's just so much talent here. It's incredible. I listen to mostly local music right now and draw a lot of influence from guys around here that are mostly local.
RAD: What do you think keeps these bands from going big?
Jared: The scene.
James: Yeah. There's no great venues here in Provo. There's just no place that really caters to big shows and scouts. It's tough to get a big crowd out here.
Mike: I don't know what it is but people aren't as interested in going to see a band they don't know here as they are in other parts of the world.
James: It's true. Even a lot of our fans will come just for us and skip the other bands. Like for us, going to a show is going to a show. When we go to see a band we go to see the opening bands too.
Mike: I think another thing is that it's just a college town and most of the bands are in school and don't have the time to just drop out and go promote themselves, sell CD's all over the place, move to LA, and work like it takes to get signed.
Andre: I think also in the music industry it's all about luck. You can be amazing but not in the right place at the right time with the right people it's just not going to happen.
Mike: I've noticed lately that some of these bands are getting more attention. Like the Matt Lewis band has a guy taking care of them - they're pulling 2500 people per concert even though it was in Alaska.
James: I think that's actually everyone in Alaska.
Mike: It's true - the whole state. No, but they also are getting gigs in Nevada, California, and Arizona, and they're starting to get picked up. Rated Hero had a guy from a record label come to see them here the other night. I know that The Used from Orem and Return to Sender - you'll see them getting bigger.
Andre: You just have to have good contacts pretty much. I think like James said it's luck. If you know the right people I think you can get up to the top pretty easily but it's pretty hard to find those right people around here. That's what's lacking here - there just isn't enough attention to local music from these people.
RAD: Tell us a little about your Battle of the Bands experience.
Andre: It rocked.
James: I think it was kind of a surprise to all of us. I mean like, half an hour before we had to be there we were still piecing songs together and rewriting parts and spraypainting "Deadlocked" onto a shower curtain. We were kinda scatterbrained that day and just running around. We got there and there were a lot of really good bands playing that day and a lot of them sounded really good and did a great job and we went up there and did our best. I personally was shocked when we heard the results.
Luke: I think we can attribute a lot of our success to the large performance and the energy we put in the show and the fact that our songs can be sung along to or be learned quickly so that when people hear them the first time they can sing along with them. And that's what won over the crowd and got us the votes.
Jared: I think that's the most fun I've ever had on stage.
James: There was a lot of energy at that show.
Jared: I just remember getting up at Battle of the Bands and we hadn't played "The Start of Something" for weeks and we got up and started playing and people were were singing it back to us, and not just the chorus parts. It was really cool.
James: Just like Jared was saying, I think there was a lot of energy at that show. I can tell the difference in the way we play when there is a lot of energy in the crowd. We just feed off of it. When we can hear people singing along and yelling, we play better and better. We get more energy on stage. There was just a lot of energy coming toward us that night. We were just reflecting that energy back.
Mike: It was wild. They had the security guards there with the sticks trying to break stuff up. The people on the floor in the very back said they could feel the entire floor shaking. The people in the middle of it all said they have never been in anything like that at BYU ever, let alone a lot of other places.
James: Which is kind of cool, because that was one of our goals when we started. We wanted to give BYU and people in Provo something that they haven't seen before - something that hasn't been done before.
Jared: I think a big part of that came with our departure from acoustics. So many bands and artists around here - and I love acoustic - but it's so saturated around here. If we wanted to do something different we really had to go in the electric direction.
Mike: I've never heard of so many open-mic nights all over the place all the time.
Jared: Any given Friday you can find at least 3.
RAD: This question is for Mike - I understand that you're a vocal performance major at BYU - which is not an easy program to get into at BYU.
RAD: But you don't sing like you're one. I mean, you're good, but you don't sing opera or anything like that on stage.
Andre: But he can if he wants to.
RAD: I know, I've heard it.
(Mike breaks out into a short opera-like motif)
Mike: I USED to be a vocal performance major. I've always sung since I was a kid. I used to be in musicals. I lived in Hong Kong for a couple of years and when I moved back to California a friend got me into choir at our school which was the cool thing to do at our school believe it or not. (under his breath) Otherwise I wouldn't have done it. So I got into singing more there, I had a really great choir teacher. I auditioned for BYU and got accepted on scholarship for vocal performance. I came and I was singing opera but it just wasn't fun. I think what wasn't fun about it is that you don't get to be creative. You don't get to do what you imagine up and think of. You just have to sing other people's songs and learning the technique that they teach you. I still enjoy singing, but I switched to media music, which is kind of the more creative music major. It has to do with the music industry and song writing. It's really really cool stuff. It took me a long time to learn how to sing rock since I was so stuck on these things from classical singing and I still struggle with it sometimes. It's a pain sometimes. I still sing classically now and then for fun.
RAD: I understand you do some shows for charities every now and again. Tell us for whom and why you do it.
Mike: We did one for the Family SUpport Center. I don't even know how it happened. I think they heard us at Battle of the Bands and asked us to do it so we did. It was killer. We got recruiting people to come and got a good crowd there. We've been trying to put something together for the tsunami victims as well. Music is something that is a lot of fun but has a lot of power to do a lot of good because people believe in it, people listen to it, people get into it. Any time you can draw people to make money it's good but there are better things that money can go for and people can come and enjoy a great show and know it's for a good cause.
RAD: Tell us about your first CD that's coming out soon. Details.
Jared: We started tracking for it... back in September, maybe October. It was a long time ago, whenever it was. It has been really hard because we're all busy people. We have like one available hour every week that we can actually practice. We're getting to the point now like today where we're just going for a marathon where we can finish as much as possible. We're going to work in the studio at the end of February. And then we're scheduled for release on March 10.
James: And we owe everything on this album to Jared and Jason. They've been running the sound, recording, taking hours out of their Saturdays to do tracking sessions. They are both great sound engineers. There's no way we could have done it without them. It saved us money too.
Mike: It's going to have 12 songs, it's very professional, Protools is going to mix it in a nice analog studio in Oregon. I think what's most important about it is what it's going to mean for getting fans because all we've been able to do until now is play shows. We've had 3 crappy songs that we recorded way back when.
Jared: We've probably given away like 500 copies of that.
James: And we apologize every time we give one away because it's such low quality.
Mike: Everything we've done we've done without a CD. We've had to earn every fan we have live at the show. No one can go home and listen to us or share us with their friends or listen to us in the car and memorize the words. I'm excited to see what it's going to do. Hopefully it will be good enough and people will like it enough that it will make some noise around the area. Hopefully people will get to know us and it will make concerts more fun, we'll have people singing along with us.
RAD: Does it have a title?
James: Oh geez. You can just refer back to the question about our band name you asked earlier. We're probably just going to end up settling on something.
Mike: We've come up with, what, "The Start of Something," "An Unhappy Hamburger," "Happy Dirty," - what was the other one - "Romantico?"
Luke: "Rock Sauce for Your Earhole."
Mike: "Songs for Cecil," that was my favorite. Those are some of the ideas. We're cheese. We'll come up with something, it'll be good. Either that or we'll just settle on something.
RAD: What do you see in the future of the band? What's your direction?
Mike: (hums the wedding march - everyone laughs loudly)
Andre: I got engaged recently so I'm getting a lot of crap. But before I proposed I made sure that she completely agreed with the life of rock and roll.
James: It's kind of up in the air right now. We've got some doors that might be opening here and we're excited about it. I personally have a lot of support from my parents. My dad told me the other day, "I hope you'd be willing to drop out of school and just make records with the band for a couple of years."
Mike: My parents have been very supportive too. My mom actually wants me to be a country star. She knows that I love music and I'm good at it and I think they'd be all for it if we gave it a shot for a couple of years. You only have a few chances in your life to do what you really want and love and if you can make it work, why wouldn't you give it a try? We've got educations so we could get jobs afterward so with that security, you may as well say, for the next couple of years I want to do what I want to do. So I think we're gonna give it a shot as much as we can at least and hopefully make it happen. We have to practice more. I wouldn't mind trying to go on a tour to see what people outside of Provo think.
Luke: So I think this summer we're going to try and do some smaller tours.
Mike: 'Tis the season for rock.
RAD: Have any bigger bands invited you to play?
Mike: Ummm, Rated Hero? No, not really.
Luke: We turned down Neil Diamond the other day, didn't we?
Mike: No, no we didn't Luke. There's a guy that promoted the show with Jimmy Eat World and he's interested in hearing our CD after we've recorded it, so if that happens I think we can get set up with some touring and some national acts. Other than that, we haven't been heard. And going back to the CD, once we finally have it out, people who need to hear us will hear us. That's why having a CD is so crucial.
RAD: Any last words for the fans out there?
Mike: March 26th.
RAD: Is there going to be some sort of party for your release?
Luke: Yeah, it's going to be the place to be that night.
Jared: We love the fans.
Mike: Yeah, both of you - I love you mom, I love you dad. No, but if you haven't heard us yet and if you've lost faith in local music, come give us a listen because we're different from anything you've heard. It's a killer show you can get into right away without having heard us before and you'll have fun and that's f'sho. And go to our website, www.deadlockedmusic.com. I think that's about it.
UPDATED: 26 MAR 2005 2:43 MDT © 2005 Rational Alternative Digital