interview with Solus Deus

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What is the name of your band? Solus Deus

How was the band formed? We are just some friends that came together to write some brutal heaviness.

What made you call the band “Solus Deus”? (Jey) I like the way that it sounded and I liked that it meant God alone because I’ve learned in my life that God was the only one who could take my problems away. So the name is personal for me.

Who does what in the band? Well I’m Jey I do vocals, Austin plays drums, Rocky on guitar, Wayne on guitar, Tony on bass guitar.

Where are all the band members from? Tony, Wayne, Me (Jey) and Austin are all natives of Southern California. Rocky is from Little Rock, Arkansas.

Can you explain your music to someone who hasn’t heard you? (Austin) Well, I feel like I’m always searching to create a vibe and I’ve always been trying to develop a particular vibe. Metal, as a genre, is so vast that it has become a challenge to create anything innovative. Now though, I feel like Solus Deus is developing into what I have always envisioned especially by incorporating the whole rap element into our sound. Jey actually has got so many things in his musical background that touch on my ultimate vision as well as our urban territory. We are expressing how we

feel with an underlying rap mentality; as soon as I came up with the phrase “Thug Metal” I knew that that was something that needed to be embedded in the music, as a threshold matter.  It is rare

when you get a group of guys that actually get it and everyone is so willing and cool to work on something different. A really good vibe is developing.

How would you describe your music in one sentence? This is Thug Metal.

What genre do you feel you are? Metal

Who writes your songs? (Jey) It’s really a collaborative effort. And a lot of bands say that but for us it’s really true. We write together and contribute to all aspects of the songs, of course we are all responsible for our individual roles, but the writing process is truly a collective, creative experience.

What’s the first step when making a new song? (Austin) My first steps usually come from the guitar.  As unusual as it may sound, the beat doesn’t usually strike first. The beats usually orchestrate parts if the guitar work needs bolstering but generally when I hear a riff that I love and I like it to the point that I’m sure I want to use I just build the story around that. If there are 2 riffs that appeal to me well that naturally will navigate the structure of where I will go on the drums. I’m always writing and looking for those little parts I like to call ‘Taster’s Choice’ parts. Those little gems in the song that rely on timing and placement to make them memorable and more often than not become peoples’ favorite parts of the songs.

What year was the band started? Winter of 2012

What are your sources of inspiration? (Jey) Everything. Life really. Conflict.  Pain and suffering. Personal experience. I say my inspiration comes from life because it’s the human condition that makes me want to create music. A lot of it, obviously, comes from things I have learned from or experienced firsthand. Writing it all down releases that energy in a positive way. Then the negativity becomes a positive when released back into society as expression set to music. Hopefully it helps someone who can relate which is, in turn, also an inspiration then the music becomes this like moving, breathing animal. It’s exciting to take part in creation every day. 

Besides your own music, what genres and bands do you listen to? (Jey) Lately it’s been hip-hop  but I go from Johnny Cash to Blues. From all forms of metal to some straight up like gangster rap.

What songs and what years were they released? Our first EP is self-titled and was released in 2012. The Bloodtrail is the 2nd EP and is slated for release this Spring.

Name 2 of your songs that you like at the moment? (Jey) Odium, it’s one of the first songs that we worked on and it came out really brutal. And Thug Metal because it describes our sound.

What are your plans for the rest of the year? (Austin) Solus Deus will be working on new music which will be gangster as hell and personally I have a tour coming in late Summer which leads up to Hemp Fest. By the Fall I will be in Europe playing those dates with Chimaira. I am currently working on completing the tracks for another project of mine, The Elite, which has a target completion about mid-Winter. I also have 2 other projects in the works which are also inherently innovative and I will be working on those as well.  I am always writing and creating, and with such a plethora of material the goal is to get that material out to listeners so that the work will not fall upon deaf ears. I am confident in the people I have opted to work with and musically I stay busy.  I just want to get out as much material as possible because we are all here to contribute to life. This is our contribution. Honestly, I enjoy being the world’s soundtrack.

When did you decide to go all in for the music? (Austin) When I was 9 years old my Aunt gave me my first drum kit. From there I really didn’t know that I had any natural ability. My parents and family are extremely musically eclectic and they would often say that they saw natural ability in me but for me I was just jamming on drums. I experimented with Band and Drum Line in High School. High School graduation rolled around and I was a few weeks from enlisting in the Army and then I heard that a few friends of mine were looking for some band members. I gave it a whirl and loved it immediately. Even though it was a ground zero approach, in terms of the set-up I was playing, we came up with 2 pretty cool songs. We started writing more and more and then I picked up the guitar. When I discovered I could orchestrate what was happening with my beats via the guitar that did it for me. It was like lightning struck and I knew that this was what I was always supposed to do. I met Wayne (guitars) shortly thereafter and Noah (Bleed the Sky, vocals) and we formed Bleed the Sky. A shot of luck, a lot of hard work and many lessons learned and I’m still here. I know this is my purpose and I’m glad that I’m doing it.

Have you been a part of any other projects? (Austin) Yes. I played for a Death Metal outfit in Oklahoma City, OK called Enfuneration, also Bleed the Sky, Chimaira, The Elite, the two projects I mentioned earlier. I’ve also filled in for some amazing drummers, including Kevin Talley, which was an honor actually. Learning his, and other drummers’, parts make me feel like I know them in a way, because drumming, at its core, is putting your personality on your skins. It’s a good feeling to share with other musicians on that level.

What do you hold most dear? (Jey) Well ultimately it’s God. I have chosen to believe in Him. I don’t believe in religion they are not one in the same. I mean I derive peace from my own relationship with my God. Not according to dogma but according to honesty, truth, forgiveness and love. Aside from that I would say my family is most important.

How important are your fans? (Austin) Obviously, they are what keep us out there. Without a positive reaction from fans the whole metal eco-system would fall apart. The fans have saved my life. Without them there is no us. And we never forget that we are fans too.

What’s your pre-show ritual? (Austin) (*laughs*) Umm, no matter how big or small the show is I always get butterflies whether I’m ready for them or not. I always do a warm-up. It’s relaxed and really just about how I feel at the time. I might play some hip-hop and free jam on a table with practice sticks or play some rudiments or just kinda jam which is not a stretch considering it is how I typically write. From there it’s a little more about going with what gets me simultaneously comfortable and pumped. Comradery with the group is important too; if there are any vibes I get off someone I call them out and make sure we are all ready and we are going to go out there and give the people the show of their lives. I pride myself on the fact that I’m always ready though. Butterflies or whatever I’m always ready, I love to do this.

Any pearls of wisdom for all other bands out there? (Austin) As cool as it is being on a label you still have to watch what you’re doing. I’ve learned that you can and should utilize yourself a lot longer. Kids with stars in their eyes tend to be easily manipulated but my advice is to hold on to your own situation as long as you can. The phenomenon exists more in metal but it’s not like you need them, they need you. Don’t settle so quickly. When you are being approached by the industry understand that it’s because you have something fantastic, know that and remember that. Know what you are. I want to get out the right information. I am not in this for myself. I’m in it for all the right reasons: because I love music and it is my contribution to the world. I work hard to get my music out to the masses. It’s sad that some bands have been tricked but staying grounded helps you remember that the fans give us the gratification. The fans are our people.

How do you feel about downloading music instead of buying music? (Jey) I like the downloading process better because people that you normally couldn’t not reach before, due to geographical area, can easily obtain virtually any music that they want.  However, I do like being able to go in a store and actually purchase a CD. The process is fun and I think downloading music takes away that experience. The excitement you feel on the way to the record store is irreplaceable. But of course form must give way to functionality.

How do you view the music industry of today? (Jey) Both scary and exciting because it’s hard to see where the industry will go. Especially with the whole digital album conversion that is happening. Seems like heavier music is getting more play but the label industry still has a lot of control over the artists’ work. Music and bureaucracy have always co-existed but a shift in the power balance would be ideal with the artist having the most control over his own creation.

What’s the funniest/most memorable thing a fan has done for you? (Austin) I think back in Bleed the Sky days when we toured with Silent Civilian. We were all about pranks on that tour and by the end when we played our last show people were like smearing mustard and mayo all over my kit, people were taking pieces of my kit during the last song I think I ended up with 1 snare, 1 kick drum and a cymbal by the time it was over. They threw soap on us we looked horrible, it was great. 

Who has the best sense of humor in the band? (Austin) Maybe the guys will say me but I love everyone’s personality. Wayne is like a kid in a candy store and his sense of humor is funny for how intelligent he is. The group is great and this question is hard.

Have you made any albums? (If yes, what are they) (Austin) Yeah. There are 2 full lengths with Bleed the Sky “Paradigm in Entropy” and “Murder the Dance”,  a full-length with Chimaira “Crown of Phantoms”, 2 EP’s with Solus Deus “Solus Deus” and “The Bloodtrail” and the Elite EP “WW3.”

Do you have any clips on YouTube? Yeah, there are numerous clips, just do a search and you’ll find an entire YouTube anthology. Austin D’Admond, Solus Deus also has a YouTube Channel.  

Do you have any webpages? solusdeusband.com and solusdeus.bandcamp.com

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