DEVICE goes Underground at Sokol and Ugly Scene Interviews Virus

middlebannerdeviceUgly Scene: First of all thank you for doing the interview with me today. Virus: No problem. Ugly Scene:  I would like to talk about your childhood. I was reading that you learned to play violin first and you’ve even been in Broadway shows. Virus: Obviously I’m here because I’m a music lover. When I was really young, it was either third or fourth grade maybe, they would give you this tone test. Where they would play you a tone then they would play you a tone after and you would have to say if it was high or lower or if it was really far away interval wise or really close. It’s how they test your ear for its musicality because music is really intervals in its relationship between notes and stuff like that. I tested high and I was assigned to play violin which is a difficult instrument. You have to have a natural ear to be precise to play in tune. That was really beneficial for me being that young and knowing that I had the confidence to play a really difficult instrument. I was happy that happened and I learned to really trust my ear and I started into teaching myself guitar and a little piano. I have always been a singer and that lead me to where I am now. Also having a good work ethic is really important. Even if you don’t have a great ear, if you have a good work ethic that will take you to some amazing places. It lead me to Device and other bands I’ve played with. Playing in Rock of Ages on Broadway which is a really fun gig and I get to sub for Tommy Kessler who plays for Blondie but is the guitar 2 chair, I get to play for him. There are things that happen when you are really young that shape what you end up doing as an adult and that’s why I’m here. Ugly Scene:  How did you get involved with Device and meet David? Virus: I met David years ago from Disturbed and Dope days. He was touring a lot with Dope. I met him in 99 and I think we were both on our first record. I was living in New York City, it was after the show and I saw him in the East village and that’s how I met David. We were hanging out at a bar named Niagara. In fact I asked David recently, do you remember us hanging out in 99, or I think it was 2001. He was like, yeah it was at Niagara. Then we did some touring and so I knew David but not well but when the whole Device thing started up Will was already kind of in the picture and we have always been trying to play together for years and we never could line it up. It’s hard when you’re playing in 30 bands and he’s playing in 30 bands and it’s hard to make it line up. So Will suggested me to David and we flew to David’s house and hung out for a couple of days. We talked, vibed out and now here we are. Ugly Scene:  You are a song writer and David is a song writer. How does that creative process happen between all of the members of the band? Virus: Will is a writer too. I didn’t write any songs on the album because it was already done when Will and I got into the band. Talking with David we have the same writing approach. Which is you have a bed of music, a cool guitar riff that you’re really vibing on and it’s got to inspire you.  If it doesn’t then write another riff, do something different. It’s got to make you go, oh dude, I feel something in here, how about this? After you get it crafted together, the melody weaving into the cords and the progression then you got to do the painstaking chore of making it into words. The words have to be good and not cheesy. It has to have the right flow and syllables got to line up and then the rhyme scheme is a whole other element to that. That is kind of the process that I have done through my career. I’m assuming that we are going to be tossing around some riffs with me and Will and then David will get a hold of it and do his thing. Then we’ll go from there.  Then you’ve got the fun part after that which is “Hey you said that twice” or “We have got to put a harmony over that and that would be bad ass” or like “Lets have a second guitar line like a weird whammy wah”.  It’s a fun process but it’s difficult. It’s not easy. But obviously it can become quite rewarding. Ugly Scene: For the album, since it was already done, do you have a favorite song from it? 943117_530969333624311_2004165214_nVirus: I love Penance. It’s a good song that I really liked when I first heard the album. I dug Vilify, You Think You Know, and then after you hear the music you come up with your listening favorites. Then you have your favorites that you like to play live. Or you have your favorite guitar song. I like to play Opinion, I like to play it, I like to perform it. I think that’s a cool song for that from my aspect of a guitar player. Different favorites for different reasons. Ugly Scene: So which one do you think is your favorite live? Virus: I love Penance. I love the song and like to sing it.  Sing a lot of the harmonies with David so I like perform it. I like to play Opinion. Out of Line is a cool song to play guitar wise with a lot of vocals for me to sing. Then you get deep into the set when you play the single that everybody knows well and the place is on fire. That’s a reason to have a favorite in its own. The electricity of playing that and having people that love that song as much as you and they share that moment and feeling of power. It’s amazing. Ugly Scene: One of the purposes for Ugly Scene is looking at the other side of glam. That comes from the idea that music is inspiring and music can, in my opinion, save someone’s life. Also that if a person hears someone that they look up to musically talk about certain issues like mental illness, addiction or other problems they can get the help they need. Would you like to talk about anything regarding this? Virus: I’m glad you brought that up. I think it’s really important for the awareness aspect of it. I have my own issues. What it comes down to and what I have learned is if you’re doing something to yourself like self medicating, that’s a big flag that you are in some kind of pain. Like emotional pain or trying to put stuff out of your mind and numbing yourself. If you’re self medicating, this is kind of what you can do yourself not dealing with anybody else and you have to really think about what you are doing. Am I self medicating? Am I doing drugs every night of the week?  You really have to be honest with yourself and it’s not easy because if you are self medicating every day look at how it never turns out good. You hear about your hero’s whether it’s sports guys, rock n roll guys or Hollywood celebs or whatever, you hear about addiction and it never ends well. No one wants to be fucked up all of the time to numb themselves. It’s such a personal thing that everyone has to really get to a level with themselves and be like “Why am I doing this?” On some levels you know it’s not good and it can’t end good. That’s the thing. The more self aware you are, look in the mirror, pick up a book, why do I act like this, my parents sucked, am I going to suck like them, or am I going to rise above it and do what I can not to do that to my kids. 575452_531158956938682_954431767_nI’m going to try and word this correctly because I don’t want to sound uppity at all. I think at a certain point it becomes your responsibility after you become a man or a woman. I think that if you are a child, in your teens or twenties, you’re a young person. I think you become a victim of your childhood upbringing and genetics. But then I think you get to a point where you become an adult and you can’t use that excuse anymore. You have to really analyze yourself and be self aware. I think self awareness is really important. I don’t claim to be one hundred percent healthy. I deal with myself every day and it’s not easy. My girl has to deal with me and luckily she’s a great partner and she helps me through stuff and I do the same for her. Self awareness is something that can set you on a path to be responsible to yourself and to the people that love you. Ugly Scene: Thank you so very much for the Interview! Virus: Your Welcome! - A Michelle Saltzman, interview For more information go to: Facebook

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