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A Dirty Dozen with JOE CALDERON from LIGHTWORKER – July 2020


According to a recent press release: “San Francisco’s Lightworker — Joe Calderon, Grayson Hurd, Ryan Johnson, and Brad Green — will drop their debut full length Fury By Failure on June 12 via Solid State Records. The album follows the Resilience EP. The band has shared the new song “Cholera.” Fans can listen to the previously released tracks “The Willing Martyr” and “Empyre,” as well as order the vinyl album. Fury By Failure is raw yet refined, fusing elements of metal and post-hardcore with a perfectly struck balance of melodic and aggressive tones. The band’s goal is to offer a sense of hope in a blisteringly broken world — proving heavy music can carry a lightness all its own.” We get Joe 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?

Fury By Failure is our debut on Solid State Records and it’s also our first full length album. It was primarily written by Grayson (guitar) and me, was produced by Daniel Gailey (instruments) and Beau Burchell (vocals), mixed by Beau, and mastered by Mike Kalajian. I think that after a few listens, people will hear that the album is pretty diverse in terms of how heavy music is tackled. If you take the first 2 singles we released called “Empyre” and “The Willing Martyr”, you can hear that they’re definitely metal songs, but with 2 different approaches. There are also 5 different themes throughout the record to keep an eye and ear out for 😉

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

This happened in different stages for me. I have enjoyed singing ever since I was a young lad, and joined a choir group when I was still in Kindergarten. Growing up, I heard Third Eye Blind on the radio and that made me want to pick up the guitar. Then seeing a band called Finch live solidified it for me with their energetic live show that left me in awe.

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

The plethora of underground music scenes guided my musical tastes and still does. There are so many good small labels out there doing great stuff. I suggest checking out artists on A Thousand Arms, Facedown Records, Dark Operative, and of course our very own home Solid State Records! All the labels are rich catalogs with something for everyone. From indie rock/acoustic stuff to some of the heaviest death metal stuff out there.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Oh man haha… This is hard to narrow down as they’re always changing… but as of the last few years, I’d have to say these artists: Caspian from Beverly Massachusetts. They’re a phenomenal band that’s mainly instrumental. Easily one of the most prolific and artistic bands out there; Extol from Bekkestua, Norway. The most underrated death metal band on the planet, they have the best instrumentals, vocals, lyrics. everything. I highly recommend their self titled record; Jimmy Eat World from Mesa, Arizona. Let me just put it this way… I’ve spent nearly $100 on just a 7” record just trying to get my hands on one song. They’re my favorite band; Bleed From Within from Glasgow, Scotland. In my opinion, these gentlemen are doing some out of this world stuff with heavy music. They’re setting the bar extremely high; and Norma Jean from  Douglasville, Georgia. One word for this band: Quality. They’ve been around forever and just keep aging like a fine wine.

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

Dang, there are so many people we’d love to collaborate with! I’d say collaborating with Cory Brandan from Norma Jean would be awesome. He has such a distinct voice, writing style, and presence… and I think it’d be rad to take some notes from one of the best frontmen in the business!

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’d tell them we’re melodic modern metal with a balance of heaviness and harmony. I think people will inevitably call us “metalcore” but what’s funny is that most of us don’t even really listen to hardcore. There may be a few bands that we dig, but for the most part, we lean towards the metal/rock side of things. Ultimately, people can call us what they’d like. We’re just lookin’ to hang out and headbang!

7. 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?

This is a fun question hahaha. I’d say I get us together, Brad or Grayson cook, Ryan gets the beverages flowing, and Grayson busts out the acoustic to perform his own rendition of the legendary, underrated classic: “Wonderwall” 😉

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

Haha this is embarrassing… but I’d have to say Phil Jamieson from Caspian. I don’t get star struck often, but the guy is a literal genius on a musical, cognitive, and art level. I’d love nothing more than to pick his brain over a few drinks if he was up for it.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part of being a musician is being able to create. Having a blank canvas to fill with notes and emotion is equally sheer joy and intimidating… but it’s my happy place haha. If I wasn’t playing music, I’d probably be working towards opening some kind of business or trying to find a way to stay involved with art.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

So far, all questions have been pretty cool. We may feel differently a few albums deep into our career though 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?

That’s hard to answer because if it weren’t for things happening the way they did, we wouldn’t be where we’re at… I think we gotta take the all the losses along with all the “wins” so to speak. Though there was that one show we played with a bunch of dad rock bands in the early days… That was interesting.

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?

Bleed American by Jimmy Eat World. They were working with the legendary Mark Trombino (Finch, Blink-182, etc) and they were extremely limited on time since it was all on their own dime. I would’ve loved being a fly on the wall hearing the conversations and seeing how the songs came together. Bleed American is a staple not only for modern music, but for so many people. It meant a lot to me growing up but as I got older and became an adult, I could identify with the lyrics so much more and even though that album dropped in 2001, the songs are still as relevant as they were back then, and have multiple stories and events attached to them through my personal life. Truly a remarkable LP.




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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