Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Unsigned & Uprising: Interview Series Part 1: nuERA's Guitarist Jay Mueller

Who the hell is nuERA? Six humble, funny, hard-working musicians that make up one unsigned, unbelievable band. They've been opening up for bands such as these: Nonpoint, Sevendust, Bobaflex, Eye Empire, Straight Line Stitch, Taproot & more...You get the idea...

One of the six band members that make up nuERA is Jay Mueller...friendly, outgoing, unrepentant music enthusiast and guitarist. Here's his interview!

ANGELA:  When did you first pick up a guitar? How long have you been playing? Lessons or self-taught or perhaps a bit of both?
JAY:  I got my first guitar when I was 10 from a family who lived upstairs from me. They were moving and gave it to me. I was self taught till I was about 14 then started taking lessons for about 2 years. I quit when I realized i was better in some ways than my teacher.

ANGELA:  What made you realize you'd advanced beyond your instructor? Something in particular?
JAY:  He was a very "traditional style" type of guitar player and I wanted to learn more advanced strum patterns and pick patterns that generally are attributed the metal genres.

Which bands were and are influential for you?
JAY:  Early influences were defintely Cream, Led Zeppelin, Sabbath - anything that had odd time signatures or big guitar sounds. Then I moved to Metallica, AIC, Pearl Jam, Tool. My current influences would have to be Mnemic, Dry Kill Logic, & Killswitch Engage.

ANGELA:  Speaking of odd time signatures, do you like Progressive rock such as Andromeda, Opeth, Dream Theater, Symphony X?
JAY:  Dream Theater and Tool are actually what made me want to form a band my first band was called "Trial" and we were a Prog Rock band. I love playing that kind of stuff.

  Did you dabble w/other instruments? Read Music magazines? Watch MTV?
JAY:   I love playing bass actually and our bass player will tell you that sometimes he has to pry the bass out of my hand so we can start the set at rehearsal . What is MTV? (Laughing) MTV was awesome back when they debuted "Enter Sandman" and "Unforgiven."But I cant remember the last time I saw music on music television. I don't read magazines ever but I do love watching music videos on YouTube.

ANGELA:  Tell me about your first band.
JAY:  I started Trial back in 2001 with my best friend who sang and a drummer we met through the local classifieds. We practiced and wrote music for a year, recorded a 3 song demo and learned a lot about writing and composing music. We didnt play many shows and later broke up due to not being able to find a stable bass player - I still listen to those tracks sometimes. After Trial, I started my career as a finance manager in the auto industry and ran several large car dealerships in Orlando.

ANGELA:  Alright, that's more than a little funny - you went from that to this. AWESOME
JAY:  No shit, right? I was a big dog in corporate America and said fuck it! - I quit and moved New York City to pursue music again.

ANGELA:  What happened when you got to NYC?
JAY:  I joined a band called S.I.G.H., and we placed in MTV's "Best College Band on Campus" contest.

  See, now your "what is MTV?" is hilarious...
JAY:  EXACTLY!  if you go to the popular artist section that band is still in the top 15 rated bands in the country so its definitely something I was proud to be a part of.

ANGELA:  The last tour details there w/S.I.G.H. show some 2007 dates...give me a timeline of how you went from there  in '07 to here in 2011 - how you came to be back in Orlando, how you met the guys in nuERA....etc.
JAY:  Well, after touring the northeast all of 2006 and 2007 with SIGH, I decided to move back to Orlando, and do the career thing again. I got a job at a dealership (again) as a sales manager and then reconnected with my ex girlfriend. About a year later, we got married and had a kid so I honestly thought music was never gonna happen again. We had problems and I ended up getting custody of our 10 month old son. I was just was bored here and there so I picked up my guitar and dusted off my amp and started writing riffs again. Now that I was single again, I had a lot of free time to write music lol and my son was loving dad's music. One day I got a call from Tommy Warner (nuERA'S original drummer) saying he was getting some guys together to do a "nuMETAL" project. At the time, I was honestly wanting to do either another prog rock or a hard-core/metal-core thing, but i said "What the hell, my phone isnt ringing off the hook with offers." So in 2009, I went to "tryout" for this unknown band (nuERA) with guys I didnt know from the scene I once was a part of and listened to their set and yeah, I was impressed with maybe 1 or 2 songs I heard.

ANGELA: How did it go? I mean, obviously it turned out well, but tell me a little about the tryout with nuERA.
JAY:  I walked into this "shed " and listened to their songs a few times. Then I played along - adding (what I could hear myself doing) with what they already had going on. After about two hours they asked me if i wanted to join. Shortly after that, my buddy Don Cadman (who is a drummer) called me and asked if I wanted to come tryout for his band (Unsaid) who just lost their singer (Jeremy Hyson) and a guitarist. I didnt realize the singer they just lost was about to tryout for the band I just joined (nuERA). So, get this: this singer named Jeremy Hyson had left Unsaid and was now joining a band called nuERA (laughs) - I was asked to join Unsaid, but declined. Later, Unsdaid disbands and 9 months later Unsaids drummer, my friend Don Cadman, joins nuERA eventually, as well. (Laughing) I guess Jeremy and I made the right decisions.

ANGELA:  Hard not to lay down a "better left unsaid" joke right about now...so what happened next?
JAY:  Jeremy and I joined nuERA and the real writing began.We pretty much scrapped all but 2 songs and started anew. Unsaid broke up after not being able to find anyone to replace Jeremy and the other guitarist. Don had stopped doing music for a while til a year later, when he joined us, but we’ll get to that later. We started piecing songs together and after having a ton of ideas that just werent working, I went back to some old riffs that i never used in my former band, S.I.G.H.,  because they were too "heavy." We wrote "End Transmisson" and our sound was born. We wrote seven songs and decided it was time to start looking into recording an EP.

ANGELA:  You knew, right off the bat, that was your sound? Describe it to me…
KSE meets Linkin Park. We have "metal" songs, ballads, hard rock, nu-metal, we have an acoustic set, movie samples, turntable scratches, rapping, breakdowns, melodic choruses, screaming, singing.

ANGELA: Turntables & movie samples sounds neat, doesn't seem like it has a place in metal, but you guys make it work and very well! How is it done?
JAY:  He actually uses an mpc (music production center) sample machine. It's very complicated and probably harder to use than learning to play a guitar.

ANGELA:  Who did the recording/production for the first EP? Tell me about your first live shows.
JAY:  We went to recording artist/producer Adam Barber ( Sevendust, Creed, Alter Bridge, Limp Bizkit) and signed a production contract after he came to a rehearsal. We started recording in December of '09 and finished in March of 2010. We did the drums at Plush Studios in Longwood FL and the rest at IBK studios in Orlando.Once we got the mastered copies back from Alan Douches (Hatebreed) in NYC, we started playing a ton of shows. Our first show as nuERA was in Feb 2010 opening for Flaw.

  So the master CD is done. Time for artwork, pressing cds, etc...Did you do it yourself?
JAY:  Printed 1000 CD's with inserts and had them in slim cases. Split the cost 6 ways and also with help from a dear friend, Ron Stahl. Artwork was done by Jade Designs. We started playing about a month or two before we had the CDs in hand, but they were available on our various social networking sites. The CDs were on Itunes and Amazon.com as well. There are 6 songs on the EP with an intro that features sound clips of all of our previous bands. (click here to find the EP nuLIFE nuBLOOD on Itunes.

ANGELA:  Let's go back - to the drummer that you mentioned, whom also happens to be your friend, Don Cadman. You’ve had a teensy lineup change in the past year one drummer leaving and a new one arriving.
JAY:  After months of internal struggles we decided for a member change on drums and I could only think of one guy to call - Don. He and I actually began writing a song together before he joined. At the time we wrote it, I thought I wanted to do a metal side project. So we were in contact and he said if we ever needed him to fill in he would be happy to. Initially he was temporary, but became permanent after playing a few shows and really diggin what we were doing. That song we started writing became "90ten." That song is my personal favorite to date and was also his second song that he recorded with us, with the first being our cover of DMX's "Ruff Ryders Anthem."

ANGELA:  Tell me why you chose nuERA for the bands name - what does it mean for you guys and how did name come about?
JAY:  Jeremy came up with it after a few weeks of brain storming. It basically describes what we are all about in todays genre - ridding ourselves of "-core this and -core that" we wanted to be faceless in the labeling of the music. It's like saying " Go ahead try and label what we do."

ANGELA:  Where are you now that you've released a 6 song ep and accumulated a massive following in the south?
JAY:  We are 3 maybe 4 tracks away from finishing the full length, currently writing. all the old tracks plus 4-5 more. (Note: the band is providing updates on their recording progress on THIS  page!)

ANGELA:  Tell me about the artwork for DIALYSIS (see HERE and also on the right)…it’s very unusual. RANDOM.
JAY:  We have 2 diff. concepts: 1) I love pig lady, because I like abstract shit.  Just TRY labeling that cover! You look at and say "Wtf is it?" Then you listen and say "Wtf is it?"

  There is another CD cover art out there...what is this? (see photo left, below)
JAY:  That’s the other art concept we have, going along the more common sense "medical" route w/the 2 needles. Jade Designs did the needles concept.

ANGELA:  I prefer the pig lady as the CD cover; use the other as the back cover or insert. Piglady is winning.
JAY:  Piglady wins all day.

Now I know what you're thinking...Where can you listen to nuERA's music?  That's ez....follow the links below!

nuERA is - Jeremy Hyson - Vocals, John ROBOT - MC/Samples, Jay Mueller - Guitars, Sean Stahl - Guitars, Ryan Shelton - Bass, Don Cadman - Drums