ome bands get started when one runs an ad in some city paper or Craigslist, asking for players to help realize their musical ambitions. And in the case of a band like MESSER, all that was needed was good old fashioned serendipity. All of the players were right where they needed to be according to front man and band namesake DEREAK MESSER. Some members were spotted where the front man got his hair or his tattoos done, and before he knew it, the band MESSER was on their way to active rock glory. With the help of producer CHAD GENDASON, MESSER has an album that anyone worth their salt in the current hard rock set can be proud of. This self titled debut came off the assembly line and onto a #3 placing on the SOUNDSCAN NEW ARTIST CHART while it's lead single MAKE THIS LIFE peaked at #25 on the ACTIVE ROCK RADIO. As songwriters, MESSER prove their hearts are in the the right place with gritty material that speaks to the toxicity in relationships (their latest single SAVE MYSELF) and the inner turmoils that go unnoticed due to sunny surroundings with the song EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL - a semi-tribute to the CHRIS CORNELL and CHESTER BENNINGTON. ROCKWIRED had a cahnce to speak with DEREAK MESSER regarding the band's music. Here is how the interview went.
You guys have had some tremendous success with the release of your self-titled debut album. Now that it's been out for a few months, how do you feel about the finished product?
Oh, it's amazing! Just to have it out there is just a dream come true! We worked so hard on this thing. We poured our lives into it and we remember the day that we started our first white board in the studio when we were just starting the album, so when we were finally able to check off all parts of the album, it was just such a relief and now we're just beginning to reap the benefits of this whole thing so to speak by getting out there and playing these songs every night for people and seeing the reactions. So, it's been great.
CHECK OUT THE MUSiC ViDEO FOR SAVE MYSELF!!!
You guys are now releasing the second single from the album - SAVE MYSELF. Why was that song earmarked as the second single?
The message of this song really jumped out for us. It was really current with what's going on out there in the world. We were seeing a lot of people talking about relationship stuff. Everyone has been in one kind of toxic relationship or another and this song is all about that. It's about being on the precipice of change and getting away from that toxicity and being able to save themselves by removing themselves from that situation. I think everyone can relate to that and it seemed fitting for the times that we're living in and the response to that single has been overwhelming. It just kind of worked out well.
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Who all did you guys work with in putting this album together?
CHAD GENDASON out of SILVERLAKE STUDIOS helped us put this thing together. He is out of California and he is basically our sixth member. He co-wrote the album with us and produced it. He did all of the producing with us and BEN GROSS and PAUL PAVIO mixed the album which was just huge deal having those guys behind the album. At first, we were'nt sure if they would've been interested and MATT our bass player just reached out to them through Facebook. At first, they were hesitant, and then we sent them some songs and then they responded quickly, saying that they would love to work on this album with us. They jumped on board and having them two on the album was just amazing for us as well. And then we had the legenday TOM BAKER to master the album. He is just a legend in the business. So that was our team and everyone did their part above and beyond anythng that we could imagine.
Were there any reactions to this album that had surprised you or that you didn't see coming?
I hate to sound this way, but we believed in this thing from day one. We knew that the songs were good, but its a blessing that this thing has gotten the response that it has. We were hoping that would be the case, but you never really know. This is exactly what we had hoped for. These days, in the world of singles, it's nice to be able to put together an album and have it be appreciated inthe way that it has been.
Bring me back to the beginning of this band. How did this whole enterprise get off the ground?
We all kind of met in very serendipitous ways in the Dallas Forth Worth Metroplex. A friend of mine had introduced me to JAVIER and through JAVIER I met KENNY. JAVIER and I just started writing some songs. We spent a week together and started pounding out some songs and we realized that this could turn into something special, so we had decided to pursue it. He and KENNY - the drummer - had been playing around on some riffs and then I was getting my hair cut at a TONI AND GUY hair salon and that was where MADDOX our bass player was doing hair. He's actually a stylist. We started talking about music and he had tattoos as well. So we started talking about all of that kind of stuff. As the rest of us got to know him, we started playing him some songs and that was what inspired him to enter the fold. When we started writing this new album with our producer we realized that there were going to be a lot of guitar parts on it and we didn't want those to be tracked on stage so we decided to add a second guitar player. Luckily, we had known DONNIE DEVILLE. He is an award winning tattoo artist . He had done tattoo work on all of us and he was alsoa guitat player. He was already and fan of the band so it felt natural for him to come in and fill that space. Now the band is where it's at and the rest is history.
What was your musical experience before forming MESSER?
I myself was in a another band years ago that had been signed by the guy who signed ALICE IN CHAINS to COLUMBIA RECORDS. That was the grunge era and I had done that for a while and recorded album with them and then I got aout of the music business for a while. I just kind of stepped away from things for a while until I had met JAVIER. This has been my second cahnce in the music business and so far it's been great.
So you and MADDOX are not brothers?
No. We're brothers in the music business. He changed the last name because he wanted to be found easily through social media.
Describe the songwriting process within this band.
It usually starts out with a guitar riff or maybe a melody. I had flown out to California to work with our producer CHAD who is a genius singer songwriter. We threw around some riff ideas that the guys had come up with and we went through them and came up with melodies and drum parts. The lyrics come at the very end of the process because you want to keep them as current as possible. When you've got a melody, you pretty much know the direction you want to go in and then you finalize everything with a strong hook. That's the way it all comes together in the end.
What was the roll out for this album like. Was the release accompanied by any live shows?
Yeah we had a big show. We've been real lucky to be getting all of this attention for the album. We've pretty much hit the ground running as soon as we got this thing finished. Especially after we released our first single. We hit the road and just played and played and played. I can't think of how many shows that we did this year, but it was a very busy year and we're hoping to double that next year. 2019 is going ot be our year!
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What songs have live audiences responded to the most?
It's kind of crazy! Every crowd has their favorite song after every show. We actually have a couple of ballads on this album that get amazing response. Even the heaviest crowds come up to us afterward with tears in their eyes going "Thank you so much!" We had a big show in Kansas a month or so ago, we played the song ONE MORE TIME which is song that goes out any one who has ever lost anyone. It's about wishing that you had one more chance to see that person and tell them what they meant to you. This lady came up to me as soon as I got off the stage and she thanked me with tears in her eyes and telling me that she had just burried her sister that day and her and her family just happened to be at that show that night. We get that kind of response every night. Every song has a person that really get atached to it. That's all we want.
What songs off of the album have you the most excited to get people to hear and why?
The single that I wanted to go with at first is the song EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL. I'm really excited about that one becasue it touches on something that I think is important. No matter what you do with your life, you may have what people perceive as the perfect life but they have no idea what is going on in your own head. That song deals with that. That song makes me think of the people we've lost like CHRIS CORNELL and CHESTER BENNINGTON - guys who appeared to have the perfect life but obviously they were really troubled in their lives. No mattter what it looks like on the otuside , you never know what they're fighting on the inside.
What is the big idea behind this album? What would you like for people to come away with after they hear it?
We want this to be a positive uplifting album. We want this album to be a collection of songs that you can grow with and will hopefully stand the test of time. This album is a life's journey. It's our journey but we want it to be your journey as well. These are songs that can get you through each day.
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