Here we have an interview with Los Angeles’s own Insentient. Leslie Medina answers a few questions which introduces the new line up and updates us on how the band traversed through 2012. We talk about tour cancellations and rescheduled dates, their view of the local scene and what is to come from Insentient.
Bulldozer: The last time I saw Insentient it was with a drum machine, you and one other band mate. At that point you were in search of band members. You recently completed the Insentient line up after a long time of searching. Explain why it took so long and introduce the current lineup.
Leslie Medina: There are various reasons as to why the lineup up took so look to complete. Some of the reasons have ranged from members not having the same goals/priorities, issues with joining a band while trying to juggle work schedules & school to the realization that the pursuit of a music career is not stable enough to want to devote a great deal of time to no matter how much they want it. In some cases it’s was the simple fact that it involved a great deal of work and some people are not cut out for that. At the moment I have a great group of talented musicians, all of whom are very hard working and committed to their craft. At this time we have James Coppolino on drums. He is also is the drummer for Syrebris, a great technical/progressive death metal band from Los Angeles definitely worth checking out. On bass we have William Palacios-Toledo, former bassist for Manslaughter/Dreaming Dead and current bassist for Goreshack. Kimberley Orellana, guitarist for Harlequin. Having said that, the wait was well worth it. After quite a few lineup changes and breaks from playing I think this is the strongest lineup I have ever had and I am looking forward to collaborating with them and seeing how our sound will evolve.
Bulldozer: Los Angeles has a good number of female fronted death/metal bands, I would say that Insentient is a worthy highlight amongst these bands and you hold your own very well. That being said what would you say are the advantages and disadvantages for a female fronted death metal band?
Leslie Medina: Thank you. Being female fronted, well that alone is an advantage as it can help draw attention to the band that we may not normally get in a genre that is primarily dominated by men. However, with that comes the disadvantage of being judged or expected to meet a standard of playing that cannot be reached in the eyes of some. No matter how high the level of musicianship, it will not be enough for those looking to discredit you in any way possible. Other than that I don’t see any other issues. I try to focus on creating music and enjoying performing live amongst fellow musicians, friends and fans in the metal community.
Bulldozer: Does the music you write influence you as an individual and how does it bare on your day to day life?
Leslie Medina: I wouldn’t say there is an influence on me as an individual, rather the person I am is what has an influence on the material that is created. Anything I write comes from issues that I have dealt with, simple observations, to rants. Having said that my day to day life has a huge impact on my writing because every day events assist in the writing process.
Bulldozer: Is there a band or musician that you would like to model your musical career after?
Leslie Medina: There is no specific band or musician I would like to model my career after. We all will have different paths and choices to be made along the way. Though I admire many musicians who have paved the way for this genre of music to thrive as it does now, my only desire is to be successful while staying true to my beliefs, and appreciate the friends and fans who are by our side along the way. All moments that will be experienced will be unique and whatever route I am headed toward is one I look forward to. The career that lies ahead is one not to be predetermined or mimicked by what was done by others before me.
Bulldozer: Insentient has been very active as of late. I think the band has earned much local support and also gives support to other bands and the scene in general. How important is it to you to not only be involved but also support the local scene?
Leslie Medina: Yes we have been playing out quite often and we are thankful for the support we receive at our shows. I think it is imperative that all musicians in the local scene support one another. That is a top priority for me. I know how much works goes into playing and it means a great deal when others are there to support something you have dedicated much of your time to. There is much talk of how the scene is dead, but much of that can be attributed to many locals not attending any local shows. Sometime all it takes is a few people to initiate change.
Bulldozer: A song from Insentient that stands out is “Winter’s End”. Tell us how the theme for the song came about and process involved in creating the music for it?
Leslie Medina: Winter’s End was written at a time when I was becoming more informed about the issues we face with global warming and our carbon footprint. The process for creating this piece is the same for all material that is written. I usually start off with the guitar parts/riffs and will add lyrics depending on what comes to mind first. The writing is very free flowing and is based on what feels/sounds right with what I am playing at that moment. I don’t usually have a theme or something set in mind when writing a new tune. Trying to do it any other way feels forced.
Bulldozer: I believe I’m not alone in wanting to know what gear a band uses to achieve their sound. Can you give us a run down on your guitars and the gear you use to craft the Insentient resonance?
Gear in use by the band is as follows:
Leslie Medina – Guitar: Jackson KE USA, Amp: Peavey JSX Guitar head w/matching 4×12 cab, Effects: Boss GT8 pedal, Accessories: Monster cables, Dunlop picks.
Kimberley Orrellano – Guitar: Ibanez RG2EX1, Aria Pro 2 ZZ Standard, Accessories: Monster cables, AMP: Line 6 Spider 3 Guitar Amp
James Coppolino – Drum Kit: Mapex drums, Accessories/Hardware: Sabian cymbals, Evans drum heads, Vater sticks, PDP hardware, Yamaha DTX2, Roland TDK
William Palacios-Toledo – Basses: Ibanez SRX2EX2, Ibanez BTB555QMTK
Preamp: Tech 21 NYC RBI, Amp: Gallien-Krueger 1001RB Mk-II, Cabs: Gallien-Krueger 410RBH+ & Kustom GrooveBass 410H, Effects: ElectroHarmonix Big Muff Bass Pi
Bulldozer: Besides completing the Insentient lineup tell us of another highlight in 2012 for you and the band?
Leslie Medina: One of the highlights of this year was being asked to play the Colorado Gut Fest & West Texas Death Fest. Knowing the band name is getting out there and having a chance to play outside of California to expand our fan base has been a great experience. We had a great time at both fest and enjoyed sharing the stage among friends of Scalafrea, Abolishment of Flesh, Despise the Sun, Impaled Offering, Skinned, and more. Developing friendships with people who share the same love for music as we do is always great. In addition to that was the completion of artwork for the CD release and new merchandise designs by artist Tom Bates and Farron Loathing.
Bulldozer: Recently a US tour slated for October 2012 was postponed until 2013 but some dates are being salvaged, tell us about the the rescheduled dates. When and where?
Leslie Medina: Yes, we had a tour set for October of this year but due to unforeseen circumstances we were not able to follow through with the majority of those dates. Though not many dates remain from the initial tour we are really excited for the trip set for Vallejo, CA 10/6/12, Portland, OR 10/07/12, Seattle, WA 10/8/12, Denver, CO 10/12/12, where we will be sharing the stage with Thou Shall Kill, Embodied Torment, Reficul, Accidently Murdered, Incisus, Try Redemption, Cazic, Volr, Chronological Injustice, Raven Eye, Kong at the Gates, . I would like to thank Cindy of Embodied Torment, Wes Bearwood of Nekro Morphosis, and Obsidian Fog Promotions for assisting us in booking these shows. We really appreciate all the help.
Bulldozer: At the end of the year Insentient is taking time off to work on new material, What direction is the band heading to?…. Tell us what to expect for Insentient in the not too distant future.
Leslie Medina: To be honest I don’t know what direction the band is headed in. This will be the first time that the writing will not be one-sided and I will actually collaborate with a complete band. We have our unique styles so it will be interesting to see how that plays out. As for what lies ahead, well we hope to finally get a US tour booked late summer of 2013. We also plan on recording our EP which has never been released in all this time the band has been around due to constant lineup changes.
Interview by: Jon Mastra