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A Dirty Dozen with LUNATIC HIGH – April 2023

| 16 April 2023 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Paralyzed” is the next single from Lunatic High. The explosive track, told from the perspective of a tenacious woman fighting to free herself from a degrading and abusive relationship, is about climbing out of the abyss of a dark situation. Bathed in bombastic guitar riffs and pulse-pounding percussion that rests comfortably under thunderous and relentless vocals, the intensely-atmospheric track is built on the narrator’s character arc of endurance, liberation, redemption, rediscovery, and eventually self-control.  Lunatic High is more than just the uncaged anguish the track exemplifies. Armed with a name referencing Final Fantasy Red XIII, and steadfast loyalty to Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Gardner Minshew, the sandpaper-coarse moshpit-ready foursome of Lunatic High – Oliveria, Rob Perkins, Ryan Love, and Daniel Bonnet –  is built on the cornerstones of pop-punk personality. Both impassioned champions of the generation’s expectation just to endure crisis after crisis and be ostracized for mental health issues, as well as being jovial disruptors that embody the 90s wrestling stable nWo’s attitude, Lunatic High exists as a cohesive smug spawned  to make music guaranteed to punch your ears in the face.” We get the band to discuss new music, influences, and 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 you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Ryan: Our latest single “Paralyzed” is a riff heavy headbanger. This was one of the first tracks we started working on actually. Rob brought the whole thing to life with that bass riff. I think this song really help set the stage for the sound we wanted to achieve with this band. With songs like this, I’m always drawn to the upfront energy of it all, but what I think what will really is really going to stand out the more it’s listened to is how the lyrics hit as hard as the riffs. Nat’s lyrics here are what I find sticks out to me the most. The best hidden nugget is just how many harmonies Nat pulls off. Your gonna keep finding them the more you listen.

Junior: Straight-forward, bad-ass and heavy hitting hard rock song. The song is approachable but upon further listens a listener might pick up on intricacies from every band member. Flare that each musician brings to make the song pop.

Daddy Dangles: “Paralyzed” was the first song we completed as a band. Rob came up with the ass-beating bass riff and had initially brought it to the previous band he and I were in. While forming Lunatic High, this song was instrumental (pun intended) in developing our sound. It really set the tone for what we wanted to move forward with. Easily what fans might not catch on the first run through are Nat’s harmonies. She is a master at finding them and executing them. I don’t know how many she layered in there but I’m always catching something new when I listen to it.

Nat: I believe people may notice the non English spoken parts right before the last chorus on a first listen. But only the real die hard fans will know that I am speaking lines from the chorus translated into Portuguese. Because I’m Brazilian. That’s the Easter Egg.

Amarant: “Paralyzed” is actually older than the band. I came up with the riff on accident, just kind of riffing and goofing around during a writing session that came to a grinding halt. I wound up keeping it and, since we only had keys, drums, and bass at the time, I was kind of forced to do a Muse kind of thing and just use the bass as the lead instrument. My favorite story about the song is an old bandmate telling me, “keep playing the riff, I have an idea,” but instead of jumping on his instrument, he sat down next to me and screamed out what I could only explain is a Tom Morello (I’m sorry Tom) style riff, kinda. Like, I’m not exaggerating. It was too cringy not to laugh. I wish we hid that in the recording.

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

Ryan: Pop punk was what made me pick up a guitar. Funny enough I was a bass player before this band, and this is my first time being a guitarist in something like this. My first band was terrible, but the first time I was on stage, I was hooked and couldn’t put it down. I knew that I wanted to be a musician when I realized even the weirdest looking fucks like myself were hot if they’re in a band.

Junior: After playing my first show at 11 years old, I was obsessed with the feeling I get from playing music for other people to enjoy. That feeling has never gone away.

Daddy Dangles: Growing up in a Christian circle, dc Talk and Relient K were the only bands I listened to growing up. I especially resonated with Relient K because of how prominent they incorporated piano into their music. It wasn’t until high school that my friend Josh introduced me to heavier styles of music (shout out to Tooth and Nail records) and my exploration into new music started from there. While I had received classical piano training growing up and enjoyed covering my favorite songs, I did not consider being a performing musician until 2015. I had recently become unemployed and forming a band with my friend Josh helped me see the potential I had in doing something I enjoyed.

Nat: I’m a daughter of 2 active musicians, so ever since I found out I could sing, there was never a question in my mind about pursuing music. So I just kinda went with it and it’s going great so far.

Amarant: “For Whom The Bell Tolls” by Metallica. I was 18 and in school had been the kid that was kicked off of the triangle, but I heard the S&M album and thought about how cool it would be to play live. I went digging to see which instrument I wanted to learn, and like all kids, I wanted to play the “glory” instrument and go with guitar or drums. Then I came across a clip of Metallica playing “For Whom The Bell Tolls” from Cliff ‘Em All, and was going absolutely insane on the bass before the intro. I always liked how the bass guitar sounded to begin with, but hearing that it could do both and still sound badass, I had to go with that. That song alone pushed a lot of how I try to approach bass with our music.

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

Ryan: Definitely one of my biggest influences in music and my first gateway into metal is Killswitch Engage. Their album As Daylight Dies is a masterpiece in my eyes, and was probably the biggest influence in me playing harder music.

Junior: Hearing Rush as a kid forever cemented in  my mind just how awesome being a drummer could be. When I got into heavier music Lamb of God’s 2006 album Ashes Of The Wake shaped a lot of how my b=playing still is to this day.

Daddy Dangles: I could list many bands, but I think Blink-182 will get the nod on this question. They taught me that music doesn’t need to be serious or complicated all the time. They can truly just be themselves in their art and in their performances. There’s something freeing about not caring what the haters have to say and just doing what you love.

Nat: The first album I ever bought, when I was 5 years old, was Charlie Brown Jr’s Acústico MTV. It was this incredible Brazilian band’s MTV Unplugged Album and it’s still one of my favorite works until this day. It definitely shaped my love for unbounded rock music in all its glory and all its sub genres, but also just made me appreciate good effing music.

Amarant: The previous answer kind of applies here, but for full albums, the Master of Puppets and Toxicity albums overall. People think John Hammond in Jurassic Park was talking about the park when he said they spared no expense, but he meant these albums. They’re just too good all the way through, with no weak links. They didn’t use tricks or gimmicks to stand out, they were just more in your face and unabashed about who they were, how angry and different they were, and they fed into that.

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

Ryan: Sophie Burrell – she’s the guitarist of a band called BXRRELL, and her solos blow me away. If she could lay one down on a track of ours, I’d die.

Junior: Kat Moss from Scowl. If she and Nat could duet on a song that would be awesome, and I think would fit our style perfectly.

Daddy Dangles: I would call on Toby Morrell of Emery. The guy is unreal in his ability to crank out songs, both lyrically and instrumentally. He’s got a real ear for knowing how to mix up a song’s structure so that it isn’t predictable or stale and that’s something I’d want to learn how to do.

Nat: Ah, there are so many! The prog rock sucker in me wants to say The Contortionist or The Mars Volta, but the pop girl in me would love to write a bop with Everything Everything.

Amarant: Two people, maybe even on the same song for the pure chaos, but Kelli Ali, because I love her music and Nat kind of reminds me of a hard rock version of her, so getting to play a song with the two of them going back and forth on it would be a dream. The other would be Serj Tankian, because who could resist the temptation? We’re a bunch of idiots, and our aggressive-yet-goofy style was inspired a lot by System of a Down when the band was forming.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour? What do you like to do to unwind?

Ryan: When I’m not making music, I’m doing art. I do graphic design and spend most evenings doing some kind of art. It doesn’t matter what I’m making, I just love the process of creating something.

Junior: I love playing basketball and video games. If either one of those was off the table I could spend all day swimming.

Daddy Dangles: I play video games to unwind, primarily on the Switch. If I’m not playing Pokémon, you’ll find me playing Mario Party/Kart with my wife, Katie.

Nat: I am unhealthily obsessed with cartoons. When I’m not working, recording music or at the gym, I AM WATCHING AN ANIMATED SHOW. Some of my favorites are: Avatar: The Last Airbender, Adventure Time, Craig of the Creek, Chowder, Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated, Gravity Falls, Gumball, Apple and Onion, Bob’s Burger… They’re too many to count, and I haven’t even tapped Anime.

Amarant: It’s hard to say. It’s always something different for a few months at a time. I draw, do 3D art/printing, I’ve been a gamer since I was in diapers. I’ve played through a bunch of the Final Fantasy games a million times through, and somehow I keep fucken doin it again. Also, shitposting IRL.

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?

Ryan: Music written by degenerates for degenerates. The one that has made me laugh the hardest so far is Taylor Swift. Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against our lord and savior Taylor Swift, but we ain’t that.

Junior: Music for the outcasts, the forgotten and the unconventional. As for the comparison see Ryan’s answer. We have pop elements but we aren’t poppy at all.

Daddy Dangles: Its classic metal influenced hard rock with a kickass female singer and electronic elements to make it more accessible. In the words of our bassist, Rob, “It ain’t Limp Bizkit but it’s still good.” I disagree with any clown who compares us to Paramore. We sound nothing like them and comparing female-led bands to them is such a tired comparison.

Nat: I’d describe it as “Poppy Hard Rock”. We make heavy music but we like to sound as catchy and fun as possible. Comparisons wise, I’ve heard Paramore and Evanescence, which is very reductive. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an honor to be thought of the same way as Hayley Williams and Amy Lee, but we really don’t sound much alike, except for the fact we’re all front women. So that kinda sucks.

Amarant: A great philosopher once said about us: “You can laugh, you can cry, you can express yourself, but please don’t hurt each other. Okay? Enjoy The Lunatic High.” The cringiest comparison we got was Paramore. Because Jesus buttfucking Christ people, women don’t sync up their music through their vagina power like some sort of musical menstrual cycle. (Nat approves of this message).

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

Ryan: When are a bunch of communists; we eat shitty food together, we get hammered together, we set things on fire together, and we get noise complaints together. One team, one fight.

Junior: Equal distribution of tasks, and supply gathering. No one person tackles these responsibilities more than another.

Daddy Dangles: Nat’s generally the one who cooks but only for herself. It’s probably a tie between Rob and myself on who drinks the most. I’m generally pounding beer but he’s letting the bourbon flow and has no limit. No one cracks out the acoustic guitar for a singalong. Probably because Rob is just fiddling around on the bass and being an overall nuisance.

Nat: In our last hangout, I cooked for myself, but Rob keeps saying he’ll cook for us one day. We’ll see about that. Junior did some mean Moscow Mules and I just have a feeling that Ryan is waiting for the perfect opportunity to bust out the acoustic and play the entirety of Taylor Swift’s discography.

Amarant: None of us have cooked yet, funny enough, despite a few of us loving to cook. We’re too lazy once we get rolling with the writing. And, y’know, the drinks. Because all five of us will bring something and we wind up trying everything. It’s usually a rough next morning. We don’t really do the acoustic guitar thing. We spend the whole day/night writing and practicing anyway, so if we’re gonna hang out outside of that, we’re usually gonna do something stupid.

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

Ryan: I went to When We Were Young out in Vegas last year, and Haley Williams started off their set singing a cappella, and it gave me chills. It’s one of the most impressive things I’ve seen live and I still think about how blown away I was.

Junior: I saw Angel Olsen at Baltimore Soundstage and she commanded a stage beautifully. It was really mesmerizing to watch.

Daddy Dangles: 0Probably the time my wife and I almost met Matt Thiessen of Relient K. We were walking to the venue and we saw him chilling on the curb. We paused and talked to each other about if we should approach him or just leave him alone. In that time, he noticed us noticing him so he got up and moved down the street behind his van. haha

Nat: It was at a Red Hot Chili Peppers show in September of 2022. My husband and I got free tickets and I did not expect to fangirl so hard. But as soon as I heard Flea’s bass intro from “Can’t Stop,” I lost my mind and cried a little.

Amarant: I really don’t recall ever being starstruck. My mom always jokes that my dad and I show our (legitimate) excitement with, “Oh, thanks.” I’ve been told more than once that I remind people of Nick Offerman, if that paints the picture. But probably when I met Nat because I didn’t know Brazilians actually existed.

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?

Ryan: I think for me it’s the limitless ability to create something that people can connect to. We are all drawn to music for different reasons. But no matter why you listen, you can still be moved by it. I’m driven by that. Dream job? Amusement park reviewer. How badass would that be?

Junior: For me it is having someone come up to you after a show or even message you online and give you props. The ability to have strangers connect to what you write about is unparalleled. These are people that you otherwise would have never met, and music is the ultimate road opener. If I had to do something that wasn’t a corporate job I’d be a tarot reader.

Daddy Dangles: Being able to perform our songs for people is easily the best part of being a musician. Concert environments are magical and it’s rewarding to be a part of it. Dream job would be starting a microbrewery with my sister and her husband. It’d be fun even if it wasn’t too profitable, like music.

Nat: For me, the best part about being a musician is to connect and collaborate with other artists. There are so many incredible people that I’m extremely lucky to work with, and so many more that I hope to work with one day (fingers crossed!). If I wasn’t a musician, I would probably be doing something with philosophy, sociology or women’s studies. Guess I just hate money.

Amarant: The best part is the live shows. Especially as the bassist. You get to do all the cool shit like playing fun music to packed crowds, then not getting flooded by people afterward. Even in the bands I’ve been in where bass plays a central role, most of the crowd just thinks it’s the guitarist anyway, and runs to that guy. It’s always fun when someone does wanna talk to you, but I’m a hermit, so my default is peace and quiet. Especially quiet. My dream job would be… Y’know, I don’t know. I’d love to be a video game writer/artist, if it wasn’t for the awful way the companies treat their employees. It’s kinda like music, where it’d be awesome to give fans something to interact with and pick apart.

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?

Ryan: Just once, I wish they’d ask “can you take this suitcase full of money?” And of I would humbly and graciously take it, because it’s rude to turn down gifts of course. None yet; if people want to talk to us without running away I say keep the questions coming.

Junior: Always wanted to be asked about non musical influences. I think that other forms of art bleed into music more than most people understand. I love questions, and I don’t see people trying to get to know me more ever becoming an issue.

Daddy Dangles: Q: ”Do you rock or do you suck? A: We have not started playing yet. I’m tired of being asked, “What do you sound like?” When we write our songs, we don’t really aim to sound like anything other than ourselves. We’ll let others listen to us and draw comparisons on their own.

Nat: “How are you doing, Nat? How are you really doing?” – That’s all I want. The answer to that would be my entire life story. I’m tired of the question “How did you get started in music?” I’m not that interesting bro, I just started making some noise around the house and some people liked it.

Amarant: I’ve always wanted to be asked, “Who’s the greatest Final Fantasy character of all time?” to which I would answer Quina Quen. Any answer to the contrary is wrong. Go look Quina up and tell me you don’t think otherwise. I’m tired of being asked, “What would you have done if Will Smith slapped you on stage,” and I always have to say I’d give him the Macho Man Randy Savage elbow drop off a top rope, but then I have to admit that I’d probably do nothing, Because despite being a jackass, Will Smith is jacked. And huge. Like, how the hell do I fight Will Smith? It’s embarrassing and I wish you guys would stop putting me through that.

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?

Ryan: Honestly I don’t; while I have made countless mistakes, I think I’d make them all again. I’m a slow learner.

Junior: Negative ghost rider. You either succeed or you learn. No reason to fantasize about do-overs.

Daddy Dangles: I would’ve gone to a different studio to record my previous band’s first EP. The producer didn’t have us record to a click and said we were good to go after two takes. He was bitter about us choosing a friend to mix us (instead of him) so he didn’t even send us all of our takes. Definitely learned how important it is to get with someone who knows what they’re doing and that you should always record to a click track.

Nat: Not a misstep, but I wish I had started vocal lessons much sooner in life. I’ve been at it now for 2 years and I’m struggling to arrive where I want to be, vocally. But hey, better late than never!

Amarant: I would probably have learned to cut losses much earlier. I was always too wanting to hold things together and make it work despite others doing their best to, y’know, do exactly the opposite without having the fucking balls to just say it.

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

Ryan: Relient K was the reason I started playing music. I played their album MMHMM so much that the CD stopped working. That album got me playing guitar, and was very influential to me. I would love to just be a fly on the wall for those sessions.

Junior: Being a fly on the wall for Steely Dan’s Aja would be amazing. I would get to be around one of the greatest session drummers of all time Steve Gadd and even if I played the xylophone I would be ecstatic.

Daddy Dangles: Too many great albums that I’d want to sit in on, but I’ll have to go with Bone Palace Ballet by Chiodos. As a guy trying to make piano work in heavy music I’d want to be in the room as that album is coming together. The band came up with fun arrangements and it’d be inspiring to see how that all came together. It’s an album that I’ve listened to on repeat for years and one day I’ll finish learning how to play it from front to back.

Nat: 100% “All Star” by Smash Mouth. Lightning only strikes once and anyone would be privileged to watch that masterpiece come to life.

Amarant: It’d have to be the same two albums I mentioned earlier. Master of Puppets because they were just on fire with their songwriting back then, and I’d love to sit in and see how they came up with, what, a few hundred riffs for the album? And then Toxicity, because the band was at the peak of their insanity, and I’d love to watch Serj’s writing process and ask him, “How the hell did you come up with I-E-A-I-A-I-O?” because I need that. Flemming Rasmussen and Rick Rubin found these bands, looked at what made them unique, and leaned into it, and now they’re both legends. I’ll never understand the thought process behind, “You guys are pretty good, but all these other bands do this to be successful for their eight fans, so you need to do the exact same Fing thing.”





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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