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A Dirty Dozen with JUSTIN SANFORD from NEVERWAKE – February 2020

| 18 February 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Hard Rock band NeverWake have premiered their video for single “Call Out My Name.” NeverWake is based in Pittsburgh PA with an international social media fan base of over 100,000 followers. “Call Out My Name” has hit the airwaves and has been picked up and is in rotation internationally on many FM and digital radio stations. NeverWake’s sound is a dark take on active hard rock. It’s a sinew of rock and metal elements complete with captivating melodies, dark guitar harmonies, and head-banging grooves. Their melodic vocals pull the listener into a haunting trance which is then awakened with explosive guitar work over a strong foundational bass and powerful drum performances.” We get guitarist Justin to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Our latest EP that will be released soon is called Misguided. This is our 2nd EP w/ our brother John Moyer (Disturbed) handling production duties. NeverWake had just started experimenting w/ 7 string guitars before the recording of our last EP Incinerate which includes two tracks (“Suffocate,” “Thriller”) recorded as such. This new EP is entirely written and recorded on 7 string guitars, which is a first for us. As far as hidden nuggets go, they won’t be hidden if we talk about them right? Haha

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

My dad was a huge part of me getting into music. Up until I entered my teens, my dad was a DJ, so music was a huge part of our lives and I definitely have him to thank for some of my early interests/influences in music. Hard to really pinpoint WHEN I gained a serious interest in becoming a musician, as I was always around music growing up. I played drums briefly first, but it was when I had an uncle give me my first guitar (broken down Washburn Lyon strat) when I was 14 and I started playing it that I realized that being a guitarist is what I would end up wanting to do for the rest of my life! Haha.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

My dad is a massive Ozzy fan so growing up, I naturally became one myself. I’d really connected to the live performances on the Ozzy Osbourne Live & Loud (‘93, I was 7) concert vhs tape and WAY before picking up a guitar had just clung to Zakk Wylde as my fav guitarist. Later on, Zakk’s 1st album (No Rest For The Wicked) w/ Ozzy would become one of my all time favs and a HUGE influence on me as a player!

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Zakk Wylde, SRV, Killswitch Engage, Dimebag/Pantera, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Man that’s a super tough one,  but I’d probably have to go with my guitar idol Mr Zakk Wylde!

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I usually find myself describing NW’s sound as kind of a fine-line between rock and metal. We have elements of both sides. Heavy music w/ lots of melody that generally has a dark/eerie feel/sound. I honestly can’t really recall any “bad” comparisons off the top of my head! I do remember someone making a comment on our last video on YouTube that said simply: “NeverWake For My Valentine” which I just laughed at. I mean… We’re all fans of Bullet, but there has NEVER been any conscious effort to make anything sound like them. There are definitely worse bands to be compared to! Haha

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

There’s absolutely NO feeling in life like being on stage w/ my brothers playing the songs that we’ve made together, pouring our souls out and having a crowd of people giving that energy back to us! That’s 1 of my 2 fav things, the other, is having a fan approach us or even a comment on social media telling us that we’ve made an impact on their life or even that we’ve “saved” them. Hearing that our music has been a part of helping someone off the ledge is an emotion or feeling that to me, I just can’t compare to anything either!

8. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

I think George is really the only one who isn’t “into” cooking. The other 3 of us are, but Marcus and I are definitely the 2 that the most “perfect presentation of food pic for social media #foodporn” post type! Lol. A lot of our gatherings are at Johnny’s parents in which case they both make us amazing food and Johnny is the one fetching beers! Lol. Honestly don’t think we’ve ever drunkenly pulled out an acoustic for random sing alongs, we will now though! Haha.

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

Probably when I finally met Zakk Wylde during a BLS meet n greet some years back. All I could muster up after he autographed my poster/laminate while shaking my hand was “thanks”. In the moment I felt so dumb, but in the end it was all I really needed to say I guess! Lol.

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Hard to narrow it down to one cause I’ve always put so much into music, but… my top 3 would be being a CSI, custom car builder, chef. Very wide range in jobs there I know! Haha.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Nope! Have I had rough/bad moments involving music? ABSOLUTELY, but every path/step I’ve taken has led me to where I’m at currently and that I wouldn’t change at all!

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I guess it would have to be one I mentioned earlier in the interview, Ozzy’s No Rest For The Wicked! That record is my all time fav guitar record. When I listen to it and think about Zakk Wylde being 18-19yrs old writing/recording that record it blows my mind and to be able to go back even just to be a fly on the wall for those sessions would be… Wylde! Haha. Speaking in a matter of guitar inspiration, that record means everything to me!





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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