Friday, April 14, 2017
A Ripple Conversation With. . . Mem V. Stein , Exumer/vocals
When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.
What have been your musical epiphany moments?
There were a few moments that have my changed my life. The earliest records I've heard were the jazz albums of my uncle's; Coltrane, Sonny Rollins etc and my dad's copy of the first Led Zeppelin when I was a little child. Then later on when I was about 11 years old in 1979, I bought records from Deep Purple "Made In Japan", Sabbath's Volume 4, Zappa's Sheik Yer Bouti and U. K. Subs "Another Kind Of Blues". All records that have deeply formed my appreciation for music in general and the ability to tap into pure emotional expression.
Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?
I usually write my lyrics on the top of the riffs because the has to inspire the lyrics to certain extend but I have the topics and concepts already in the back of my head, ready to project on the vibe of the riff. The lyrics have to vibe or for with the mood of the riff, otherwise it doesn't feel "right" to me.
Who has influenced you the most?
I think it was toss up between Sabbath and punk/HC bands which sort of made playing and writing thrash easy for me.
Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?
I usually look at life events, political movements of any sort and injustices committed against anyone to draw for lyrical inspiration/concepts.
We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?
I grew up in cultural triangle of Turkish, German and American influences as well all three languages. So my perspective is sort of vast or unusual in a sense because I view the world through an enlarged lens. I draw from the the conflicts that come up within when dealing with the positives and negatives of each culture.
Where'd the band name come from?
My dad came up with the name when we were first looking for a band name. We just took the H out of it to make it more distinct and hence it became; EXUMER.
You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?
A Clockwork Orange.
You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?). You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?
Slayer / Hell Awaits. It's the song that embodies every single element that drives thrash and black thrash IMO. Incredible epic intro, immensely fast vocals and shredding riffs. The total package IMO.
Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?
I guess the most Spinal Tap moment was when we had to go into an after hours "Piano Bar" after we show we played in Rimini/Italy. All the other bars in town were closed by the time we were done with the venue and we found ourselves in an established where girls approached us by grabbing our genitals. Our Italian tour manager then explained to the owners that we just wanted to drink some beer and not to blow the evening's guarantee on hookers. It was hilarious because we had no idea that this scene was going on because the bar was located in the basement of the hotel we were staying at.
It means everything for us. Our shows are usually extremely energetic and we feed of the pits etc that go on while we play. We fortunately draw decent size crowds where people feel comfortable enough to get into circle pits and stage diving.
What makes a great song?
Pure emotional expression.
Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?
Oh man, I assume something I wrote for my very first band in 1984. The band was called Tartaros. There is actually a 3 track demo of this recording out there.
What piece of your music are particularly proud of?
I would say our riffs and song writing like on our last album "The Raging Tides" is something I'm proud of because we managed to write a contemporary thrash metal album with the energy and the vibe of the 1980s.
Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?
There is a real heavy blues, doom and old school death metal movement going for the past 6/7 years and I'm busy buying/consuming most of the indie releases because the song writing speaks to me in all those genres. They are all also different than what I play so it sort of frees my mind to write my own music/lyrics and get inspired. The King Nomad album is my favorite album this year so far.
Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?
Vinyl and cassettes only. I use MP3s on my phone and in the car. Never at home though.
Whiskey, it's faster and you need less to catch a buzz. However, beer in the summer rules.
We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?
I live on Long Island/NY in a town called Oceanside. I buy records at High Fidelity Records in Amityville.
What's next for the band?
Playing at MDF in Baltimore and working on a new album.
Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?
Thanks for 3 decades of support and stay HEAVY!