After listening to “Ion Vein 1.0” ThisIsNotAScene got the chance to talk with Chris Letesto from Ion Vein. We talk band history, chicago metal and more.
Thanks for taking the time to talk with Alternative Matter for starters can you tells us a little about yourselves and your history?
Hi Myron, you’re welcome, thanks for having us here, we appreciate it! Well, let’s see, where should I start…in a nutshell, we are based in Chicago but our singer, Scott Featherstone, lives in upstate New York, we released two albums, “Beyond Tomorrow” and “Reigning Memories” with our original singer, Russ Klimczak, and also appeared on Dwell Records tribute albums to Iron Maiden, Dio, King Diamond, Ozzy, and Queensyrche with Russ. Chuck White joined the band on drums in 2003 and the new material definitely started focusing more on the in-your-face/heavy part of our sound which really felt like a natural progression for all of us. Over time, we felt the songs needed different approach vocally and parted ways with Russ which ultimately led to Scott joining the band in 2010. His style fits so perfectly with Ion Vein that we’re beyond excited to finally see our new music being released and the reaction has been very positive! Lastly, Rob Such joined us on bass earlier this year and we’re all really looking forward to getting out to play live together.
Where do you as a band draw your inspiration?
Every day life inspires us! It’s pretty amazing how certain events can trigger inspiration, whether it’s a very happy or a very sad moment, sometimes things just hit the creative nerve just right and really inspire us to write. Early on, we were influenced by bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Judas Priest, Rush, Fates Warning, Dream Theater and so on but these days it’s more about life experiences that trigger the creative process. We still draw inspiration from hearing or seeing great bands live and that’s always a very exciting thing as well!
Talk about your creative process, is there one member in particular who handles the large majority of writing or is it a group effort?
It really depends, there is no cut and dry formula with Ion Vein, whatever is working at the moment, we’ll roll with it until we hit a wall. Sometimes I’ll come in with a riff or song idea but many times I’ll just start jamming something off-the-cuff at rehearsal and if it’s cool, we’ll roll with it as a band. Once we’ve got an idea sorted out, I may take it home to work on some finishing touches or arrangement ideas but we’ll decide on the final arrangements as a group. It works quite well for us and keeps everyone involved in the creative process which I think helps tremendously in keeping the songs fresh and interesting.
In particular the drumming and bass work are creative and flourished with skill, how do you bring this level of playing into the general creative process?
Chuck‘s drumming is awesome, period, and Brian Gordon, who was in the band and played on the tracks in the studio, is great as well. Those two really locked in well together and provided a great foundation to play against so it certainly helped during the creative process, especially some of the beats and time swings that Chuck would come up with. He is very capable of doing a lot of things but he is so solid and plays what is right for the songs that it really helped inspire me to write and focus on the more powerful side of our sound. Fast forward to now and Rob has been locking in great with Chuck. We’ve been writing some really cool new material that we’re looking forward to recording as well.
Being a devotee of the Chicago Metal scene can you give us your thoughts of the scene and where its going?
Right on, glad to hear that! Well, Chicago has always had such a great underground metal scene but it’s always been up and down with the support that the locals give to it. The hardest part of being part of the Chicago scene is that it’s such a big city and there are always so many choices to do things, where to go, who to support, etc. and without any real dedication from venues to focus on metal, it makes it harder to bring the scene together. It’s always been a case of going out and being successful in other markets before “the masses” will start paying attention to you at home. With that being said, the Chicago scene has always been pretty supportive of Ion Vein, and for that, we are certainly very appreciative!
Myself, I am watching a couple of young bands out of the area Diamond Plate and Thyateira, are there any young bands that you have your eyes on in the windy city?
Yeah, Diamond Plate is a great band indeed, one of our favorite young bands as well! Veil of Maya is a cool young band from Chicago as well and they’ve been doing pretty good these days. Russian Circles, Withering Soul, and Degradation are pretty cool as well. I haven’t heard of Thyateira so I’ll definitely have to check them out. A few other cool projects developing with members of some veteran Chicago bands are Scar Inc, Archillusion, and Divinity Compromised, I’m really digging those bands as well!
Give us your top 5 metal bands out of Chi-Town.
Let’s see, in no particular order: Trouble, Novembers Doom, Twelfth Gate, Mindwarp Chamber, Macabre
Time for the last question – any thoughts on the addition of Garry as the new drummer for Novembers Doom? I ask this only becuase of your creative drumming on the EP and Garry is very talented and has made his way around the scene in some notable bands.
First of all, we were all really happy to hear the ND landed a new drummer, very awesome news indeed! However, unfortunately, I can’t say that I know Garry or have seen him play, although I may have at some point without knowing, so I’m looking forward to hearing what he does with ND!
Thanks again for taking some time to chat with Alternative Matter
You’re quite welcome, thanks again for having us, and for everyone reading this, have a great holiday season and best wishes in 2012…METAL!