Friday, May 12, 2017

Robbie Rainey (Ex-Possessor) of Carriage Interview (2017)

This next interview is my pleasure to introduce. My first fresh interview from Virginia's own singer Robbie Rainey of Carriage, an evil, ear-peircing, skull-splitting heavy metal band out to show you your own soul, as they've stolen it with their riffs and high hitting notes. Want to know a thing or two about them, and Robbie? Well, here you go, a good look at what you should check out, if you haven't already!

All photos taken by Sarah Wilson and Valarie Ashberry

Shortly after the tour you did with your old band Possessor in 2015 with Viking, you guys split, what happened there if you don't mind me asking?

We were very thankful for the opportunity to tour with Viking and we had an absolute blast on that tour, we met some amazing fans and people along the way. At that time we had written and recorded the song Death Race Forever (which is one of my favorite songs I ever wrote in Possessor) and from there we wrote a few other new songs such as Cryptcrusher which we played live on that tour too. We were writing new music that didn't quite fit with Possessor and we didn't want it to be forced. That and our bass player Gage Shanahan was one of the main creative forces on those last few songs (which I wanted because musically I think he's a genius and he deserved a spotlight on his creative ideas) however these songs had a different vibe. All that coupled with personal differences and people just having different priorities that had brewed over time just culminated to us stepping away, our drummer and my longtime friend Chris Soblotne moved to Arizona and we had said we wouldn't continue without that core group so that was it. It wasn't easy to let it go but it was nice to not feel stuck anymore creatively and I think that's where we all were.

Were there any bands you were in before Possessor and Carriage?

I was in two bands before Possessor and Carriage, the first one was a hard rock group called Something Fierce I was in my senior year of high school. We played a few covers and a few originals and that was a great time. The next was Axe Bitch which was thrash metal and that lasted a few years and a lot of line up changes but that's what got me out into the scene. I used to bring an axe on stage. We had some cool songs, Zombie Wizard was played on the radio, headbanging bastard child of Satan, skeleton warriors, dead by dawn, and of course thrash with an axe, these songs bring back good memories and fun times. Both bands had Chris Soblotne on drums and he came with me to Possessor as well.

How different would you say Carriage is from Possessor for those familiar with Possessor, who would, no doubt, be interested in Carriage?

Carriage is different in that it doesn't have to be fast and aggressive. It can be, but it doesn't have to be. Carriage is more traditional heavy metal or nwobhm and Possessor was thrash. The vocals are cleaner and I get to show more off what I can do. The reaction to it has been all positive and people seem to like Carriage even better so that's a good sign. I feel Carriage will reach more people musically.
This picture not edited by me

How did you all meet, and or come to form the band?

I met Mike in Possessor via our guitarist Kevin Chappell. I remember he walked up and had these puffy Motley Crue stickers from 1984 shout at the devil tour on his guitar and unharmed just purchased the same stickers on eBay so I knew then he and I would be friends.
Mike knew Randy and River Ashberry (drummer and lead guitar) for years and when I pitched the idea of Carriage said they'd be perfect. And we both knew our bass player Steve because at one point he was almost in Possessor.

Tell us a bit about when the band started to get the ball rolling. Did the songs just flow right out?

The songs came really easily we all work perfectly together musically. Plus River is a riff making machine so everything came together quickly as I was inspired even more by the music that was being created.

When was your first gig as Carriage, and how did you guys decide on the stage decor'?

The first show was 8/8/2016 at The Riffhouse in Chesapeake Virginia. Initially the idea of this band was to in a nutshell have a horror theme and have an entertaining stage show to go along with it, so it's evolving as we go. First thing we did was Mike built "The Podium" and it's a perfect example of me having a random idea and Mike making it a reality. Fog comes out of the skulls and it lights up and has a detachable lantern that I can attach a microphone to. Love it! Then came Alucarda and Justine in their coffins. Mike built those too (and we all helped blow torch them, nothing like blowtorching coffins on a Saturday afternoon out in the yard!) We just think of what we'd like to see and we try and create that for the audience.

Carriage formed in October, 2015, so that must have been right after the disbanding of Possessor? How did that come about?

Wow, has it been that long? Time flies. We were all ready for a change so me and Mike carried on together into Carriage.

Were you a fan of Mamouth Black, This Gentle Horror, Heaven Falls Hard and, Von Doom, the other members' former bands? Besides Michael's of course, which is also Possessor.

Believe it or not I've only listened to Heaven Falls Hard out of those however I'm thankful for all the different things we've done because it brought us all here and the differences are what makes this project a bit more special.

The idea for the name Carriage; how did it come about, and had it been an idea that was floating around for a while? It reminds me a lot of King Diamond-esque album cover stuff, that being one of your (as a band, i believe) Main influences.

I had been wanting to do another project and have always had horror elements as an inspiration so me Mike and Gage were at what ended up being one of the last Possessor practices and in Chris' front yard was a big inflatable Carriage with a grim reaper on it. So Mike thought of Carriage and there it was
King Diamond was definitely an influence on this project in a few ways. I love King Diamonds stage show and I love Mercyful Fate. Lizzy Borden is a big influence, Grim Reaper, Savatage, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, just to name a few.

Would you say your vocals are more explorative in this band, rather than in Possessor? Not to say there was anything missing from the Possessor tunes, i still listen to City Built With Skulls! There just seems to be a different atmosphere in the music.

I love this new style because it's more expressive to me and I feel I can better show my talents and explore my abilities not only as a songwriter but as a vocalist. The atmosphere is cool because I can do a Messiah-esque Candlemass style vocal one minute, then Mercyful Fate style, then to Grim Reaper style, then do a softly sung part. And yet it all still works together and doesn't bore me. I love it.

Who has been the artist so far for band images, and was it an obvious choice for you guys to go to them for the style of artwork you had in mind?

So far for art what we've released were just images found online for Alucarda however Mario Lopez (who did the Possessor art) is working on some things for us including art for t shirts that will be seen at Legions of Metal Fest and on our Demo Cds there.

There are three songs as of now (April 2017) up on bandcamp: Drink The Blood, Alucarda, and Deadly Corpse. Where and how did you guys record it, and was it a long process, or did you guys bang it out in a day or two?

We recorded all three in Randys old house and we knocked em out in a day or two from what I remember recording wise. I was actually sick at the time but they turned out good enough to release for now before we record the full album.

Is there any insight on how those songs came about you'd like to share?

Drink the Blood has multiple different messages. On the surface it's about a ritual with a guy and a girl. She drinks this blood and she is now having a near death experience that opens her mind to what may or may not be beyond death. And in doing so she is frightened and is now more interested in the physical pleasures of life as she is intoxicated. The guy is showing her these things on purpose and wishes her to see "what it would be to truly be free". Take from it what you will as I encourage everyone to.

Deadly Corpse was the first song we wrote and it's about an entity that enjoys taunting people in the graveyard after it is summoned by someone. It devours the corpse inside the coffin, then can take their form, and then attacks the family during the funeral. Just an idea that me and Mike had enjoyed.
Alucarda was inspired by the movie. When I write a song I imagine it like a movie anyway so this worked well.

The collaborative minds of each person gives a distinct feel to the music, as if each end of the spectrum is getting some time in the mix, would you agree with that?

Each member really adds something special into the mix and I'm very lucky to work with such talented individuals.

At live gigs, you wear a white shirt, and drink blood from a skull. Have you always wanted to use props like that onstage? And where did you get the stuff for it?

I've always wanted to have an over the top stage show. I pull inspiration from Paul Dianno Maiden for the white shirt, big stud belt look. And I pull inspiration from Lizzy Borden, W.A.S.P, anyone with a cool stage show or presence. I got the golden bowl, Steve got the skull for me.

Are you all shooting to get on any record label any time soon? with Possessor you guys were on Slaney, any thoughts about them?

We have already been shown some interest from certain labels and representatives which is exciting considering we haven't pushed a lot marketing wise however we are waiting to record the full album before we make a move. Slaney was a great label and I'd recommend them to anyone.

Who came up with the logo, and it it based on anything?

Mike made the logo and really impressed me with it. It's got two round parts almost like wheels, I dig it.

You guys seem to already have a good amount of merch. Some records out, and patches. Are they available anywhere?

We will be creating an online store after Legions of Metal Fest I believe as we will have to restock merchandise. That may come after the album is recorded.

Legions of metal is coming up very soon, and Carriage is going to be playing there. What are some things you're looking forward to there? And What bands are you excited to see?

Legions of Metal Fest has some amazing bands on it. I'm looking forward to seeing Armored Saint, I've always liked them. Also a new band Sacred Leather, there are a lot of great newer bands on that bill. Also the venue rules and the food is good. Can't wait to just be at a fest again and feel that energy.

How did you get into singing, and are you well versed in an instrument of any sort?

I started singing in musicals as a kid, I hated them though and just wanted to act. Later I started playing guitar but everyone needed a singer so I decided to do that and gave up guitar. I'm great with musical ideas and melody but I can't play any instrument terribly well.

Who would you say are your most influential vocalists?

Wow that's tough. I'd say Jeff Scott Soto, Rob Halford, Freddie Mercury, Frankie Valli, Brian Wilson, just to name a few.

If you could be a cat, what kind of cat would you be?

Easy, a White Lion....wait..

What are some of your favorite SNES games?

I'd say Donkey Kong Country, Indiana Jones Greatest Adventures, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, Super Mario World, E.V.O., Secret of Mana, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Super Troll Islands, and on and on and on...

Are you REALLY Rongey Rungersons?

I am really Rangy, Runnie Rangy..told youuu.

If you could go back in time and catch one band on one tour, who would it be, what year, and what tour?

My mind brings up a few. Priest when they toured for Defenders of the Faith, Yngwie Malmsteen for Rising Force, Exodus for Bonded by Blood
Picked three sorry too bad I'm a time traveler

What is a favorite memory you have of your days in Possessor, or maybe even carriage?

Favorite Possessor memories are all on the road touring. I could write a book. Carriage every practice I hear some of my favorite riffs and they're brand new so that rules.

What are some of your favorite bands you've seen live?

Some of my favorite bands I've seen live. Lizzy Borden, Grim Reaper, Judas Priest, Paul Dianno, Axxion, Diemonds, Nasty Savage, Trouble (the skull), Skeletonwitch, Bobby Rydell, The Skyliners, KISS

which genre of metal do you find yourself going to time after time when you sit down to listen to something?

I find myself always going to traditional heavy metal, or nwobhm. Which is why I'm doing this project now I think.

what are some of your other favorite bands not in the metal genre?

I love Sam Cooke, Frankie Valli, The Beach Boys, I listen to a lot of doowop, also 80s pop and rnb like Taylor Dayne, I'm just a sucker for a good vocalist or a good melody.

If you could have a side project, what would it be, and who would it be with?

I'd love to do a big band/doowop/rnb/rockabilly style thing. Hard to find folks to play that but I love singing and writing that type of stuff.
I'd like to work with Gage Shanahan again. Ya never know!

Is there anything you'd like to incorporate into Carriage's overall sound in the near future, and what are your thoughts thus far on the band? And if it's alright to ask, how do the feeling compare to how you felt singing in Possessor?

I feel like Carriage's sound is coming along perfectly and I dont know anything specific I'd like to add. The vibe we have is just as I want it. Singing in Carriage is so much easier in a lot of ways because Possessor was pure chaos live and I had to go from these fast rough verses to high clean notes and back to screaming and it was taxing on me. Where as Carriage is closer to natural for me though  technically what I'm doing would seem more difficult. Funny how that works.

Would you guys ever consider doing a split with that crazy new band Blood Curse?

I am totally open to doing a split with Blood Curse.

How is the metal scene in Virginia? Are there any bands there you'd like to play a show with, and if so, who?

Virginia has a really great metal scene, I love the people. Not a lot of the types of metal bands I prefer but a lot of loyal die hard fans of metal in general. We'd like to play with local band Catalyst again and that band from Richmond called Bat. Also Hydra is one of the best local bands who we love. Hail Hydra!

What are some of your hobbies besides singing?

I collect records, games, movies, I love throwing the football, bodyboarding, spending time with my dogs and my fiance. Also playing with my four year-old nephews, the other day I introduced them to KISS and we just jumped around the room to ALIVE and that made my day.

What are your thoughts on the metal scene today, and what are some of your favorite newer bands?

There is a big movement in the scene today with the types of metal I enjoy. Of course the stand bys like Cauldron, Enforcer, then newer bands like Night Demon, Bat, Sacred Leather, Mandragora, Stallion, Ranger, Shokker, etc.

What are some future goals you and the rest of the guys in the band have in mind for Carriage in the future?

I'd like to do it all with Carriage. I want to release multiple albums, play other countries, and just play as many shows as we can in different areas and meet people that enjoy the things we do, horror movies, heavy metal, and having a good time! Thanks for the interview, love the site, and keep up the good work!

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