Revolution Interview

August 12, 2013

Interviewer: Olivier
Photographers: Olivier, Dave Dickson, Isaak

If you think back to what you were doing when you were just 15 to 17 years old, there aren’t too many of us that can say we were playing original songs live while opening for established bands such as Anvil, Quiet Riot and Stryper. Yet that is impressively and exactly what the band members in Revolution are doing. This is no surprise because the music generated by Revolution is heavy, fresh and beyond the band members’ relatively young ages. It is time to discover and find out more about one of the best up and coming metal bands emerging from the greater Toronto region.

Sleaze Roxx: Please describe Revolution’s sound for the Sleaze Roxx readers who are not familiar with your band.

Revolution Sleaze Roxx InterviewJamie Bekyarovich: I’ll describe our sound as very traditional, like ’80s metal. We all have different influences though so it sounds very different because everyone is contributing differently. There’s a lot of metal attributes in there with solos, drum fills, and stuff like that.

Luc Michael Mascioli: I would say our sound is a lot like ’80s metal and ’70s metal as well. We have influences from Black Sabbath to Led Zeppelin, and sort of like Rush. We love writing solos and stuff like that and highlighting each individual instrument so each has its own part.

Sleaze Roxx: Revolution had a number of vocalists before you finalized this line-up. Tell us a little bit about the prior singers and what happened to them.

Greg Ciligot: Jamie and I originally started the band, we’ve been playing together since like grade 6 or grade 7 — for a long time. We originally found a singer in our school and we played in front of our school with the singer.

Jamie Bekyarovich: He was unreliable.

Greg Ciligot: Yeah, he was unreliable — very unreliable. He wouldn’t show up at practices and stuff but he did show up for the show that we played in front of our school and it turned out to be pretty well. But then he left — well, we sort of kicked him out. He was really unreliable. So then we had a bass player at our school and he started playing with us. We liked him for a little bit, we actually played a couple of shows with him, and we did Supernova with him. He didn’t work out so then he sort of left the band and then Jamie found Luc and then he found Tyler (laughs) and that’s the line-up right now.

Sleaze Roxx: So how long has your current line-up been together?

Jamie Bekyarovich: We started playing shows almost two years ago — yeah, in September 2011. So we’ve been a band for two and a half years with this line-up and started playing shows almost two years ago.

Sleaze Roxx: All of you are relatively young — I think you’re between 15 and 17, right? So how long have each of you been playing your various instruments, and Tyler, how long have you been singing?

Tyler Watkins: I’ve been singing ever since I was little — I remember singing my first song in grade three, one of those little pop songs in those talent shows and from there I just expanded into genres. My dad pretty much made me listen to rock and from day one I just loved it and it was amazing to me what those people could do.

Greg Ciligot: Well, I’ve been listening to music since I was four but my uncle got me into rock and metal music and all that stuff. I started playing drums when I was right around eight, it was when I started taking lessons and I haven’t looked back since — just expanded my skills and looked at other drummers and basically just got better and better.

Jamie Bekyarovich: About four and a half years ago now. I discovered the guitar when I heard a Led Zeppelin song on the radio and from there I just went on and bought one and never looked back.

Luc Michael Mascioli: I started off playing guitar about four years ago and then Jamie introduced me to the bass about two years ago.

Sleaze Roxx: If you look on the internet there’s actually an ad, which I think Jamie posted at one point, looking for a singer for a competition. At that point you guys were in the semi finals but you didn’t have a singer so you put an ad out. Did you ever find a singer for that contest and what happened to that competition?

Revolution Sleaze Roxx InterviewJamie Bekyarovich: That was a Supernova competition. We don’t play those anymore — we’ve not very fond of the company itself. But we did put up an advertisement — we actually didn’t have a singer, so we made the quarter finals surprisingly without a singer but we needed one for the semi finals. We didn’t end up finding one and we didn’t win. There’s a lot of politics involved in that sort of competition. So, it was fun — it was a good experience. It was at the Sound Academy I believe too, so it was nice.

Sleaze Roxx: Given that you are all so young, have you had any difficulties finding gigs?

Greg Ciligot: Yeah, we have had lots of difficulties finding gigs ’cause, you know, we’re really young and tried to get into bars and stuff. We found the Rockpile — but otherwise I don’t think we’d be playing as much as we did if it wasn’t for the Rockpile.

Jamie Bekyarovich: (Laughs) The biggest difficulty is getting places outside of where we live. But for the Toronto scene, we got it pretty much locked up. We know a great guy at the Rockpile, Steve, who’s getting us all these shows and he’s been really, really cool about it. He’s getting us big headline profiles. There are slots that we can open up for and huge, huge crowds.

Sleaze Roxx: What are the musical influences for each of you?

Tyler Watkins: My biggest probably would have to revolve around Ozzy Osbourne and Rush for back in the day. But also today I listen to completely different types of genres such as City In Colour and John Mayer. It all revolves around learning more vocal techniques and being able to incorporate them in metal.

Greg Ciligot: My influence when I first started was a huge one — Rush’s Neil Peart is still the best drummer in the world, he’s like my idol. I will never be as good as him, but anyway. Rush, Led Zeppelin, The Who — those are just some of the bands that I look up to and hopefully can become as big as. My modern day influences are John Petrucci, City In Colour — bands like that.

Jamie Bekyarovich: I have a lot of influences. In terms of bands I like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and things from the ’80s like Racer X. My guitar influences range from Randy Rhoads, Jason Becker, and Paul Gilbert — guys like that.

Luc Michael Mascioli: The kind of music I listen to is mostly stuff like Black Sabbath and a lot of the heavier kind of, I guess you can call it, doom metal. I listen to a lot of that stuff and my idols for bass would probably have to be Geezer Butler from Black Sabbath and John Myung from Dream Theater. As you can tell, we kind of take each and every individual aspect of the kind of genres that we listen to and we form them together and that’s what makes Revolution.

Sleaze Roxx: On your website you have a CD called ‘Day Of Protest’, but from what I understand it’s actually a series of demos. What was the idea behind that and is there another CD in the works?

Jamie Bekyarovich: The demo was recorded entirely at my house — mixed and mastered. It’s not the greatest quality at all but we just needed to get something out there — we needed to hand things to people to try and get shows. So at first what we tried doing was just put them altogether and give them away for a while. We started selling them after to make some money for future studio time. Once we made the money for studio time, we recorded in an actual studio but got screwed over by a mixing engineer who took our money — I want to include that (laughs). Now we’re currently trying to get our money back (laughs) and get it mixed by someone Greg knows.

Greg Ciligot: To add on to what Jamie said, basically, we had all these songs. We wanted to get something out there so people can listen to us and come to our shows, so we just recorded them at Jamie’s house and mixed and mastered it. We threw it on a CD and gave it away — tried to sell it and hopefully we got more exposure like that.

Jamie Bekyarovich: The CD was recorded two years ago, back when we first started so that everything is not exactly like it is now — styles have changed. We’ve all progressed as musicians rapidly and a lot better than what the CD has to offer so — I just wanted to make that clear (laughs).

Sleaze Roxx: You’ve opened for some great bands in the last two years including Anvil, Quiet Riot and Stryper. Which one has been your favorite so far for each of you?

Revolution Sleaze Roxx InterviewLuc Michael Mascioli: I think together as a band, some of our best shows were probably Anvil and our last show opening up for Stryper. Those are probably our biggest shows mainly because the crowds were just so amazing. You get a really big crowd like that, a couple hundred people filling up that kind of place, and the energy is just — it was unbelievable you know. Those two shows in particular really just stood out for us as a band and it really kind of showed what we had to offer and what we were bringing to the table.

Jamie Bekyarovich: My favorites have been Stryper, Michael Schenker and Uli John Roth. Uli John Roth and Schenker — it was awesome to open up for such big names and guitar heroes of mine. Stryper as a crowd was just unbelievable and it seemed like everything was just going the way we wanted it to and it was really fun out there so we had a lot more confidence in that show than the prior shows. We kind of get better each and every show I think — in my opinion.

Greg Ciligot: Well, my favorite show that we played for was Stryper. The crowd, like Jamie and Luc said was huge — unbelievable. The energy, you feed off of it and you want to put on the best show possible and it gives you excitement and energy and everything to put on a show for these guys.

Tyler Watkins: For me personally, it was Stryper and Quiet Riot for many reasons. With Stryper, the crowd as everyone has said was just electric, everyone was so amazing — just to be around that and everyone enjoying and having a great time was awesome. Also, with Quiet Riot, just the bands that we played with they played a lot similar but then they played covers that were a lot different to the sound of music that we played. The band that went on after us was a complete cover band (Crooked Zebras) but they gave us full recognition for what we did even on their stage and they took time in their performance to thank us for playing and I thought that was just amazing.

Sleaze Roxx: You’re all still in high school. Are there any concerns that the band might implode once some of you graduate and perhaps move on?

Greg Ciligot: Yeah, there’s always that worry that after high school we might disperse or whatever — we might go off on our separate ways. But we’ll try to keep it together as long as we can, try to go as far as we can, and try to make it as big as we can.

Jamie Bekyarovich: I’m in it for the long run baby — I’m here to stay. As far as the concern that someone will bail after high school, they’ll kind of give up on this thing of progressing as we’d like it to. But it’s not the concern for me. It’s fun, you know what I mean? I like playing to the crowds and regardless of making it or not, I just kind of want to go up there and play and write. It relaxes me a lot, so regardless, after high school and when I’m 50 or 100, I’m going to still be playing that kind of stuff.

Tyler Watkins: We all have a concern, we all have our future things that we want to do if this doesn’t work out like going to university and doing something like going to college. But I think that we all personally feel that we want to be in this as long as we possibly can because we all know that we have a great thing here and we want to see what we can do with it.

Luc Michael Mascioli: I would say for me personally, I’m not too worried. I mean I trust my bandmates and everything like that — that we’re going to stay together as long as we possibly can. With school and everything, I personally don’t worry too much. I guess that can be taken as a bad thing but I like to do what I enjoy and what I enjoy is music. So I’m going to keep, even after high school and all that stuff, no matter what, I’m going to keep doing music.

Sleaze Roxx: What are your future plans as a band?

Revolution Sleaze Roxx InterviewLuc Michael Mascioli: Really it’s just to expand and reach our full potential. No band actually reaches their full potential, but just to try and be the best that we can possibly be, you know? And we all practice really hard — we’re all really dedicated with our instruments and stuff like that so it’s something that we really enjoy. Of course in life, you just try and do as much as you can of what you really enjoy.

Jamie Bekyarovich: The future plans of the band is to continue what we’re doing and try and excel a little bit — get outside of the Toronto area, hit a few different places up and make a name for ourselves. This interview is going to help a lot, just get a little bit more exposure to have people know who we are and recognize the name a little bit better.

Greg Ciligot: Yeah, the ultimate goal is always to try to make it as big as we can, but as of right now our future plan is to expand and get people to know who we are — get our name out there and play as many shows as we can.

Tyler Watkins: I think our future plans are to get older and gain experience. You know, the older we get we can drive ourselves around and stop asking our parents to get us out there. And eventually find our own practice space because right now we’re kind of doing it in someone’s house whether it is Jamie’s or Greg’s — we’re practicing at someone’s house. So eventually we can start working on money for our practice space.

Sleaze Roxx: Since you’re mixing your new upcoming CD, do you have a timetable when you think it will be released?

Jamie Bekyarovich: God knows. Greg has got someone who is extremely reliable so I’m hoping very soon — a couple months maybe.

Greg Ciligot: Yeah, I gave him a copy of one track and he already gave me a rough copy within a week so he’s really reliable and it sounds really good. So hopefully we can get it out in a few months. That’s the plan, hopefully it doesn’t delay any longer because it’s already been a while.

Sleaze Roxx: For each of you, which one if your favorite Revolution song and why?

Jamie Bekyarovich: My favorite song is definitely a new one we just wrote — there’s currently really no name for it but we’ve played it twice. It’s very much philosophical — it has a lot to do with trying to know what exactly is around, like what exactly exists, right? And I like it a lot because I think the lyrics are very philosophical and I put a lot into the guitar work. I’ve tried to fuse my influences from Black Sabbath and Jason Becker all into one with heavy, heavy guitar riffs and sweet picks and solos — just everything. And Luc’s even chiming on the track with amazing bass playing. I really like the way the track was put together.

Greg Ciligot: I guess my favorite Revolution song would probably be “Self Destruction”. It sort of has a little bit of a swing to it — like the beats that I play in the song. They’re not too complicated but there’s the solid beat that keeps the rhythm going. They’re very powerful and it sort of has that swing to it and the guitar riffs and the bass all just come together to make that song.

Tyler Watkins: My favorite song was “Go Tell The Gods” — it’s one of our originals and one of our old songs and ever since day one we’ve advanced it. We started off with the vocal melody following the guitar and the bass on it and then we all had the idea to expand it so the vocal melody now stands out and then the chorus. It goes slow at the start and then as soon as the second verse picks up, you hear the drum beat come in more and everything just starts picking up and it gets to a climax and it gets so powerful. It is one of our most well known songs as well — I think it’s a lot of people’s favorite.

Luc Michael Mascioli: Actually, I can’t decide. For me, it’s a tie between two different songs — one of them is called “Freedom From Our Minds” — that’s not on the ‘Day Of Protest’ album but it’s going to be on the new and upcoming album. I really like that one because it’s really super heavy and it’s a lower tuning and it just brings out the heaviness you know. There’s really kind of a Black Sabbath/Dream Theater influence in that song (laughs) and yeah, it’s just really fun to play live too. Another one of my favorite songs is probably the newest song that we wrote that we still don’t have a name for — that won’t be on the new album. I like it because we all wrote different parts for that song — it highlights the bass and the guitar and is very distinguishable between the two. It’s just a really fun song to play but I think it’s also a really fun song to listen to because it goes through so many different changes throughout the whole piece.

Sleaze Roxx: Last question, and the toughest of all, what are your top three favorite albums of all time and why? (Interviewer’s note: A break lasting at least five minutes took place while each band member thought of their respective answers)

Greg Ciligot: Very hard to say. My top three albums of all time would probably have to be Rush’s ‘Moving Pictures’, second would probably be Metallica’s ‘The Black Album’, and then my last one probably Pearl Jam’s ‘Ten’ — cover to cover, all amazing albums.

Luc Michael Mascioli: The top three albums that really have stood out for me would be Black Sabbath’s first album and ‘Master Of Reality’. Both of those just complement each other so well and really have an emotional impact on myself. And the other one would be a ‘Dramatic Turn Of Events’ by Dream Theater just because of how technical it is and how just amazingly it highlights every single instrument perfectly — it’s a masterpiece!

Jamie Bekyarovich: Very tough question but definitely my top three albums are ‘Speed Metal Symphony’ by Cacophony with its amazing guitar work by Jason Becker and Marty Friedman — definitely one of my biggest influences there from Jason Becker as a guitar player. Another one would be a tie between Black Sabbath’s ‘Black Sabbath’ and ‘Master of Reality’. Black Sabbath is my favorite band of all time and the riffs are so insane! Geezer Butler is an amazing bass player and Bill Ward is my favorite drummer. Ozzy Osbourne worked so well on those early Sabbath albums. Tony Iommi is just the riff master — he knows how to write ’em. My last album would definitely be ‘Diary Of A Madman’ by Ozzy Osbourne featuring one of my favorite guitar players ever, Randy Rhoads — he’s just amazing! He’s the reason I started really going through on neoclassical guitar — he’s a phenomenal guitar player!

Tyler Watkins: Some of my favorite albums would probably technically have to be ‘Moving Pictures’ by Rush, ‘Angles’ by The Strokes and then ‘Little Hell’ by City In Colour. I just think that all of these albums have a lot of melodic intervals. I know it’s strange for someone who does metal to bring up something like The Strokes and City In Colour but as a vocalist if you only pay attention to one type of genre then you’re going to limit yourself. Whereas if you listen to different melodic intervals, if they have such, as in the Strokes and City In Colour, they easily do stuff with their head voice and falsetto and then go down to the lower voice — extremely powerful!