Today Last Day Deaf travels South, to the boot state of America to speak with and pick the brains of an exciting, up and coming metal act, The Crowned. Signed by Pavement Entertainment, members Marc Coronado, Eric Salinas, Shane Ellis, and Johnny Damien form a solid, groundbreaking spartan metal act, who are as dedicated as they are ferocious. With songs to knock your eardrums and a stage presence you just don’t forget, The Crowned is a powerful new force to be reckoned with. Today we had the pleasure to chat with the band’s bass player, Johnny Damien. The band are currently working on ‘Apparition’, due out later in the year. Singles are available to download and stream on various platforms, and videos are available to view with official band merchandise. Stop by the band’s web page, www.thecrownedone.com.
Thanks so much for taking the time with Last Day Deaf. It’s truly humbling to have this opportunity. I’d like to go back the to the inception of The Crowned, if you don’t mind. May I ask what brought about The Crowned? A passion to make music? A specific vision? Perhaps that and then some?
Hey! So Τhe Crowned started…originally Marc, Eric, and Shane had been toying with several projects, and they never seemed to find the right vocalist. At the time Marc was just doing drums, and they could never find a bass player either. Around 2013, Marc decided to take over the project and he was going to do vocals, and they found a drummer and they had a different bass player, who left at some point late 2013 or 2014. I had known Marc since about 2011, I used to play guitar for a band here in San Antonio, TX and he was the drummer on the side for that band, and we clicked instantly and became good friends. So, The Crowned originally was Marc’s vision. As time has passed, the band has really evolved into everyone’s vision. A lot of the things that inspire me visually, I try to apply to The Crowned. Same for Eric and Shane musically, we all have a say in the direction of the band, and it’s awesome.
I’ve seen in firsthand your dedication to this band. Does The Crowned have a specific mission, or driving force that keeps you focused?
I am personally an extremely competitive human being. Obviously, our goal is to achieve our dreams, go on tours year round and play all over the world. I think we’ve done really good so far; definitely have a lot more to accomplish. I’m always looking at the big picture as the main goal; never settling for less, never taking up any opportunities just because it’s been given to us; always making sure we take the right opportunity that makes sense for everyone. The competitiveness; seeing other bands playing, seeing other bands selling out venues drives me to want to perform harder, and play every show like it’s my last.
Awesome. You guys are currently working on an album, entitled ‘Apparition‘, due out later in the year. How do all of you contribute to writing material? Is there a member that is a primary songwriter, or do you feel you all collectively bring different elements to material?
You know, Eric and Shane are just phenomenal guitar players. They do 95 percent of the writing. We usually don’t dispute that, because they are just so great. You know, they’ll present a song, Marc will present an idea for lyrics, and we all just sit around, and usually it’s not very difficult for us to write music because we all get along pretty well and have the same vision for it. Yeah, just Eric and Shane usually they come up with the ideas. If I have an idea, I’ll throw it in, maybe a suggestion, they are open to it. It’s a pretty easy process for us, fortunately.
Will ‘Apparition‘ contain new material?
Well, you’ve seen us perform live, so you’ve heard a bulk of the material that will be on ‘Apparition‘. We have about two or three tracks on ‘Apparition’ that have not been heard publicly, they are going to be the new ones. We have our singles that are going to be on the album, ‘Your promise’, ‘Kill’, ‘Murder’, ‘Forthcoming’, and ‘The Dead’. Other than that, we have about three or four other songs that will be on the album that have not been released publicly. We did release ‘Warfare’ some weeks ago, for one of our radio interviews as a promotional thing, but I’m not sure it’s been released to the broader audience yet.
Recently, you guys did some shows as support for the Hellyeah Texas Tour. The one song that seems to really hit the crowd is ‘Nobody’. I have to ask without ruining it for those who have yet to see you, where the idea for the crowd surfers came from?
‘Nobody’ seems to be the biggest crowd song. It’s the best one for the crowd to sing along to. The idea was mine. It was my idea to have that stage presence during the song. Just came to me. We were on tour in Atlanta, at Wendy’s eating, and I just thought of it and pitched the idea. Everyone thought it would be awesome- fortunately, it was a success. It made our show a lot more memorable at that point. Well, you know, good bands have their things… Rammstein has their fire…you guys… well, you know…Hopefully we can add fire at some point….
How do you guys feel about playing live and inspiring a new fan when you do? Does it fuel the fire more so to speak?
We love playing live. It’s just… our opportunity to sell ourselves, really. you know, being an opening act during the Hellyeah tour, I think a lot of fans weren’t expecting what we were. It was great for them to come up to us and give us praise, saying usually the opening bands aren’t that great, but we blew their minds. That’s what you want; that’s our job. To make sure we reach new audiences, and meet new fans, and interact with them, hear their stories. It’s just awesome. It’s why we do this.
Does the band have tried and true methods with your live show? Will there be any new elements or things brought to the table for future live shows?
You know, it’s crazy to watch live videos of us from a year ago, and then watching live videos of us today. It’s completely different, and we just keep evolving as musicians and entertainers. As the budget gets bigger, we do plan on adding more stuff as the stages get bigger. There’s more things we’d love to do- as of right now we have to play within our means. Definitely. You know, I’ve never viewed being a musician as just going on stage and just playing songs- you kind of have to entertain people, and I love the theatrics of it. It’s kind of like going to see a circus; you just want to be amazed. Not just by the sounds, but by the visuals also.
The Crowned has a few music videos up for viewing, including ‘The Dead’, ‘Kill’ and ‘Murder’. Do you have most of the say in what goes in the videos, or do you collaborate with an outside person/group? What inspires the final product when it comes to videos? Do you have specific goals in mind, or do you try a few things and go with a sort of process of elimination approach?
Our videos were recorded by an awesome director, named Mark Aaron. He’s phenomenal. We will pitch him the song, and give him an idea of what we’re looking to do in the video. Then he will give us his idea, his angles, his shots. He’s an incredibly easy guy to work with. We try to go for something different, we try to go with what can we shock you with type of deal, without pushing it too far. We try not to be a gimmick as well-so were trying to find a happy balance of trying to push the envelope, while not trying to become a controversial band for the sake of attention. We all sit down and discuss ideas and go from there. Hopefully, we’ll have more “shocking” things to come.
What’s in the future for The Crowned?
The future for The crowned… I’m not sure I’m allowed to say the things…we’ve got some pretty good tour offers, they are all after summer. So hopefully, we can jump on some of those. We want to finish our album before we go on tour, and we want to re-up on March, you saw how crazy it was on the Hellyeah tour, and we sold out all our merch and we had two dates remaining. We want to make sure we have enough merch to last an entire tour. Obviously we want an album out for people to buy. That would be the next step.
Congratulations, on everything. So humbling man. From what I saw on the stage, we’ll see more of you in the future. Thanks again for your time. Do you have any closing thoughts for fans or something you’d like to add?
Thanks for the interview! For the fans, thanks for tuning in, thanks for reading this interview. Thank you for the support. You guys know I’m the most vocal member- I’m always active on Facebook, I’m always open to talk to everyone. Hopefully, you guys enjoy what we have in store for the future. It’s been an awesome ride, let’s just keep going!
Photo credits: Pokey Bones Productions