Tuesday, August 4, 2015

August 4th, 2015 - The [Not So] Silent Assassin: An Interview With Mike LePond!

Photo by Jatzi Nieto Photography

Bassist Mike LePond has had a busy last couple of years.  He released his first solo project, Mike LePond's Silent Assassins last fall and his other band, prog-metal giants Symphony X just released their 9th studio album, “Underworld” on July 24th, 2015.  And he is now gearing up for the Symphony X Underworld Tour that starts next month!!  (Check out my pairing/review of “Underworld” here: http://brewsandtunes.blogspot.com/2015/07/july-30th-2015-underworld.html)

I recently chatted with Mike about his work with Symphony X, his influences, his Silent Assassins project, and music in general.  Here’s that interview… enjoy!!
  1. How did you originally get started in music?

My dad took me to see KISS at Madison Square Garden in New York when I was 13 years old. The show was a life changing experience. From that day on I knew I wanted to be a musician.

  1. How did Symphony X form?  When and how did you all meet?

Founding member [guitarist] Michael Romeo was offered a record contract from demos he was sending around. So at that point he needed a full band. He found all the band members from the local metal scene here in New Jersey, USA.

  1. What can you tell us about your fellow band mates in Symphony X?

These guys are top shelf when it comes to musicianship and songwriting. After all the years of recording, touring etc. we are like one big happy family.

  1. What can you tell us about your Silent Assassins project and how did it come into fruition? 

My first love was classic heavy metal and I always wanted to release an album in that style. When Symphony X was touring on their last record, I would write songs all day long on the tour bus. By the end of our touring cycle, I had all the songs ready.

  1. What was the songwriting process for the amazing new Symphony X album "Underworld"?  How about for your Silent Assassins album?

For Underworld, Michael Romeo would write the basic ideas for the tunes and then later on, the rest of the band would add their personalities into it. For Silent Assassins, I had to write all the music and lyrics. It was very difficult but I loved it.

  1. What gear do you currently use?

I currently use Caparison basses and Peavey amplification.

  1. Both your bass work and songwriting prowess is wonderfully and profoundly powerful!  What musicians have influenced you the most… both in terms bass work and as a songwriter?

My main influences are Joey Demaio, Steve Harris, Geezer Butler, Geddy Lee, and Gene Simmons. 

  1. Do you follow other progressive metal bands?  What musicians/bands are currently on your radar?  Who do you listen to in your down time?  Who do you think we should be listening to more?

I'm really not a fan of other progressive bands other than Rush.  Lately I've been listening to the Viking/folk metal that's been coming out of Europe.  I think you should listen to anything and everything that moves you. 

  1. What is your favorite song from "Underworld" and why?  How about from Silent Assassins?

From Underworld, I love "In my Darkest Hour". It's just a perfectly written song from beginning to end. From Silent Assassins, my favorite is "The Outsider". It's got a grooving riff that is really original.

  1. Any touring plans for your band Silent Assassins in the future?

I am currently assembling a live solo band to take out on the road. As soon as I know Symphony X's touring schedule for next year, I will start planning some high profile shows.

  1. Apart from your brilliant Silent Assassins project, are there any other side projects you are working on currently or in the near future?

At the moment I am writing a second Silent Assassins record.

  1. Anything else you would like to convey about your music/career?

I want to thank everyone who has supported Symphony X all these years. Please check out our new CD, Underworld, and please listen to my solo album, Mike LePond's Silent Assassins. See you on tour!
Learn more about Mike LePond's Silent Assassins at https://www.facebook.com/mikelepondssilentassassins?fref=ts!!  And check out http://www.symphonyx.com/site/ for all your Symphony X tour dates, gear, and news!!




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