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Pandemic Interview: SLAVES: Colin Vieira 07/01/2020

SLAVES
Current Release: Beautiful Death © 2018 SBG (Distributed by The Orchard)
Current Single: Like I Do
Upcoming and final release under the name “SLAVES”: To Better Days (August 7th, 2020)
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Winston Churchill said it best, “If you’re going through Hell, keep going.” I can only think of a few other bands who’ve survived such drastic changes, and continued to push through a lot of drama and bullshit over the past few years.
SLAVES have used the 2019 sudden departure of their original vocalist as a catalyst for growth and change.
While most of us are adjusting to the “new normal” that has been brought on by the Covid19 Pandemic, SLAVES continue to release new music and adjust to the 100% social media environment of a world without touring and live concerts.
The Black Lives Matter movement also brought into question the meaning of the band’s name and sparked a discussion on how to continue under a new as-yet-unconfirmed name. With the upcoming release of their first full length album with new vocalist, Matt McAndrews, and the removal of their debut and sophomore albums from Spotify, SLAVES are prepped to reinvent themselves from the ground up.
Founder and only remaining original member, Colin Vieira, was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions about the future of the band, how life is for him during the Pandemic, and how the band is adjusting to the current state of the music industry.
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(Revenant Media)
On a personal level, how are you adjusting to our “new normal” during the Pandemic. We all have a lot of downtime now. How are you using that downtime? Reading more? Binge watching any shows or movies?

 

(Colin Vieira)
I think we are all using this time to be as productive as possible. Ive personally used this time to do a lot of the things I’ve been saying I’ve wanted to do for years but haven’t had the time due to touring. Its also been nice to completely focus on rolling this      album out.

(Revenant Media)
How has the band adjusted to not being able to tour or play live shows with regards to promoting the release of “To Better Days”?

 

(Colin Vieira)
On one hand, its a bummer not being able to play these newer songs live yet, but on the other its kinda building it up in our heads and its going to make finally playing these songs live that much more exciting to us. I cant wait to see how these songs translate live, its always fun playing a new album live for the first time and seeing which ones get the biggest reaction.
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(Revenant Media)
The band announced recently that they would no longer be using the name “Slaves”. I would like you applaud your courage by standing with the Black Lives Matter movement and against racism, and for using your collective voices to call for equality. We’ve seen in the past how polarizing it can be when musicians take a firm stand on any of numerous subjects, especially on the likes of racism, and equality or politics (Remember what happened to The Dixie Chicks back in 2003). That being said, was anyone in the band concerned that changing the band’s name would result in negative feedback from the fans?

 

(Colin Vieira)
Thank you! Changing a band name is definitely risky and I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a bit of nerves involved in doing so. But with that being said, this is something we feel really good about and are excited for the next chapter that this will bring us to.
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(Revenant Media)
Have you decided yet what the TBD band name will be yet? Can you give us a hint?

 

(Colin Vieira)
We do have a name in mind that we all like, but nothing is set in stone yet. We feel its important that the name represents the band as it is today. Maybe we will get the fans involved in the process of naming of the band. :)

(Revenant Media)
On a financial level, how have shows being cancelled effected the band. Musicians are essentially unemployed right now or at the very least have had their paychecks slashed. Were you able to find a non-music related job to help pay the bills? For that matter, touring pays for a lot of the cost of recording and releasing music. Are the label, producers, engineers, etc working with the band on paying those bills?

 

(Colin Vieira)
Yea its definitely tough times for everybody right now. I think we all individually find ways to make the ends meet in these times. We work with a really small team, and fortunately everybody on the team really cares about us on a personal level and are always stearing us in the right direction. But the support we get from our fans is really what keeps us afloat, not just financially but mentally. Just seeing how people are reacting to our new singles and how they are helping people through these toughs times makes it all worth it.

(Revenant Media)
What are your thoughts on the “drive in theatre” tours that are currently being scheduled? Would you consider playing a drive in theatre?

 

(Colin Vieira)
It’s definitely different, but I’m a firm believer in adapting to the situation in which we are dealt and finding solutions to problems. I wouldn’t be opposed to playing a drive in show if that is going to be a safe solution to this mess for the time being.

(Revenant Media)
Will the old school meet and greets become a thing of the past for the band? How will your in-person fan interactions evolve after touring resumes?

 

(Colin Vieira)
For us I don’t think in person meet and greets will ever NOT be a thing. Once again though, while things like that are still unsafe we will have to adapt and find other temporary solutions. I think live streams could be a temporary alternative while Covid-19 is still a big threat to safety.

(Revenant Media)
Several musicians have expressed recently that they’ve been hit hard mentally by their tours being cancelled, and not getting to perform live or interact with their fans in person. What toll have the tour and show cancellations taken on the mental health of the band as a whole?

 

(Colin Vieira)
Not being able to tour for so long definetly leaves a void in our hearts. Giving the fans the release that comes with a live show is a huge part of why we do what we do. Its very easy to feel like we aren’t fulfilling our purpose when being inactive with touring, I think really important for artist to be as creative as possibly in these times. I know a lot of touring artist that fall into depression when off the road for a large amount of time. My advice is to keep yourself busy, create, do something you haven’t had the time to do, try and pick up a hobby you’ve been interested in and dive into it to keep yourself distracted while still being productive and bettering yourself.
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(Revenant Media)
I think McAndrew is a fantastic fit and has brought an explosive level of energy and excitement to the band. Was anyone else in the running for the position, and what was about McAndrew that steered you to picking him?

 

(Colin Vieira)
No actually there really wasn’t any time for anyone else to be in the running lol. As I’m sure most people know, we were in quite the time crunch when looking for a replacement. The way Matt got thrown into this, and how he handled the pressure was a huge sign that he wasn’t going to have a problem being the frontman of the band. The very first show it was very evident he had the talent and worth ethic we were looking for, and it wasn’t long after that we knew how well we fit in socially with the rest of the band.

(Revenant Media)
We’ve seen bands falter before when losing their vocalist; Flyleaf, Drowning Pool (RIP Dave Williams), Adema, etc, but we’ve also seen bands thrive from replacing a vocalist; Northlane, Killswitch Engage, AC/DC, Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave, etc.  Was there ever any doubt that the band would continue when Craig was removed? And what steps were put into place to ensure the band continued?

 

(Colin Vieira)
This band has been through hell and back multiple times, but it would be a lie to say that we weren’t worried. As I mentioned earlier there wasn’t too much time for worrying when this all went down. We knew we had shows booked and fans who bought tickets to see us play. To say the least, the flight over to Europe was probably the most stressful moment of our life, but with that being said, after the first couple shows, and after writing our first song together, those stresses went away pretty rapidly.
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(Revenant Media)
Given the subject matter of the band’s current singles; Isolation, depression, self-harm, etc, were the lyrics written from first hand experience, or from the stories that fans, family, and friends have told you all throughout the years?

 

(Colin Vieira)
The whole album is personal experience. These are issues we know aren’t the easiest to talk about or write about, but we know there are so many people in the world who share the same feelings and deal with the same thing. I know Matt dug deep while writing these songs and to see fans connect the way they have makes that all worth it.

(Revenant Media)
Its been speculated that 90% of the venues in our country won’t survive to reopen in 2021 when touring resumes. Do you expect any major hurdles with scheduling or rescheduling upcoming tours?

 

(Colin Vieira)
Yea I think there is a lot to be figured out,  a lot of which are probably “ play it by ear” situations. I’m expecting a lot of hurdles, a lot of congestion in the booking world. Its going to be sad seeing so many businesses shutting down from this. I think the community as a whole need to work together and help lift one another up.

(Revenant Media)
Are you using this downtime to write or record new music? Do you think the pandemic will change or alter the focus on your lyrics’ themes?

 

(Colin Vieira)
We are definitely using this time to write. Kind of going back to what I mentioned earlier, we are not just writing slaves songs, we are writing to try and fill the void of everything we are missing right now. I cant say for sure if a song will pop up directly related to this pandemic, but I know we write about what we go through, and we are sure as hell all going through this together right now.

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