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A Dirty Dozen with NICK VAN PAGE and ALEX REPETTI from TENSION RISING – August 2020

| 17 August 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “New York-based melodic metal band, TENSION RISING has unleashed their brand-new single & lyric video for the song, “Doomsayer.” “Doomsayer” appears on the forthcoming release, Penumbra, due out in early September. Formed in 2008, TENSION RISING is a four-piece hard rock band, based in New York City. Frontman and rhythm guitarist Chris Garrigan connected wilth lead guitarist Nicky Van Page through a mutual friend, who was the bassist for the band up until 2015. Nicky commissioned a drummer that he had known from high school, and so the first iteration of the group was born. With the arrival of current bassist Alex Repetti in 2015, the band felt ready to enter the next phase in its musical endeavor.” We get Alex & Nick 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?

Alex: Penumbra is meant to be the exploration of the band’s new musical direction, a darker, heavier one. While the album isn’t a concept album, it does explore some themes as you listen from start to finish – a lot of the inspiration for the lyrics came from seeing the craziness that it going on in the world right now, and how it might affect some people.

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

Nick: I would have to say it was the day one of my long-time friends called me to come hang at his backyard, because he just bought an electric guitar. He let me try it out, and when I hit my first disgusting, out-of-tune chord, I was hooked. It just felt like such a rush. My birthday was coming around the corner, so I knew what to ask my parents for. I wouldn’t call myself a musician, though. I just still love to play, twenty years later.

Alex: It all started with hearing “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin one day while exploring internet radio stations on AOL in my mid teens. I heard the guitar riffs in that song, and just knew that I needed to learn how to do that. I had no musical inclinations before this, but from that day forward, I knew I was going to become a musician, and I haven’t looked back since.

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

Nick: I know it sounds cliché at this point, because his name has come up so often, but it would be Jimmy Page. Listening to Stairway, and watching The Song Remains The Same, just pushed me down that path. Of course, I’ve branched out with my musical tastes, since then, but that was my start.

Alex: After hearing “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin, I knew I wanted to become a musician. However, upon hearing Dream Theater for the first time, I knew what kind of music I wanted to play. Despite starting off as a classic rock guy, I definitely shifting into the world of progressive metal/rock, and love the technical playing and music theory side of things.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Nick: Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Nuno Bettencourt, and Steve Lukather.

Alex: Dream Theater, Neal Morse, Haken, Symphony X, and Rush.

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

Nick: If I had to pick just one, Sir Paul McCartney. He’s a Beatle, for crying out loud. Just let me steal a sliver of that songwriting magic.

Alex: I’d have to say it’s a tie between John Petrucci, Neal Morse, and Mike Portnoy. Each of them have played such a huge role in my musical development and tastes, and it would be life-changing to be able to collaborate with any of them.

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?

Nick: I would classify it as hard rock/alt-metal. I say “alt-metal”, just because I don’t feel like we check off all the boxes of your typical metal outfit, in the modern sense. I don’t think I’ve ever cringed, or felt embarrassed, by anyone’s comparison they have made between us and another act. I actually embrace the wide array of interpretation. If you saw my music library, there’s a number of artists that would probably come off as a surprise, so I can’t throw stones and play the “cringe” act.

Alex: I would call Tension Rising’s music a mix of classic and modern metal. I haven’t cringed at any comparisons as of yet!

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

Nick: You can express yourself in ways that words may not be able to capture. But, there’s something special about looking back and saying “I made that”. Whether you wrote it, recorded it, performed it live, or all of the above. There’s a level of personal satisfaction you experience, and no one can take that from you. I think that’s why millions of people all around the world continue to do it, even if you told them they would barely see any money come out of it. Life is short. Do stuff that makes you feel good. Music makes me feel good.

Alex: Like most creative outlets, being a musician allows one to channel their ideas and talents into some kind of medium that can move people and change their emotions just by experiencing it. I find that to be extremely motivating when I’m writing or performing music.

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?

Nick: Alex would be the cook. Chris has the booze covered. I guess that leaves me to be “that guy” that pulls out the acoustic guitar and plays “Wonderwall.”

Alex: I’m not much of a cook lol… although I’m getting better at it from cooking with my better half Gail on a regular basis.

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

Nick: I saw Toto in concert, about three years ago. Seeing Steve Lukather perform live was truly special. Of course, the whole band was amazing that night, but as a guitar player, I have to let my slight bias be known!

Alex: I went to Progressive Nation at Sea a few years ago, and got to meet and spend time with a lot of my musical heroes. I definitely was a bit star struck when meeting Neal Morse, because I didn’t even realize it was about to happen – he happened to be standing right behind me, watching Mike Portnoy performing on stage. Neal leaned in and said something along the lines of, “Isn’t he (Mike) amazing? He can play anything and he remembers it all in his head all the time.” I turned around to agree, and realized it was Neal Morse saying this to me, and froze up for a moment. It was a nice experience and such a cool way to meet one of my musical heroes!

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

Nick: A-list Hollywood actor, so I can pay a good personal trainer to whip my chubby behind into shape.

Alex: Anything music or audio related is perfect for me.

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?

Nick: Nearly ten years ago, we fronted a good amount of cash to a guy that said he would help us mix and master our music. You’re probably guessing where this is going, and you’re right. We might as well have flushed the money down the toilet. Guy vanished. Never knew what happened to him. It happens. You can’t be too trusting, especially in a world where people are becoming increasingly desperate.

Alex: Not really. Any mistakes that were made landed me where I am.

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?

Nick: Definitely The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. For what little technology existed at the time, some of the sounds you hear on that record are mind-blowing. I think it was a work that made people rethink the whole thought process behind a rock record. I’m sure it inspired other big name acts to not feel hindered by their brand and just utilize anything they could get their hands on. Whatever it took to make their vision come to life.





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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