Playing a festival with attitude and being on the main stage isn’t too bad. These guys certainly don’t think so. Lace up and let’s go.
Big things come to those that grind and get things done the right way. As an example we humbly present Beyond Threshold. The now multiple time Dirt Fest main stage players will make another drive from Rockford, Illinois but coming to the new spot in Pontiac, Michigan for the first time. Erik V (vocals), Todd Paluzzi (guitars), Rolland Bell (guitars), Darren Moon (guitars), Trevor James Brewer (bass), and John Sergel (drums) make up the band of brothers that will photograph a bandmate when one is found to be passed out in the van.
We got a few minutes of Erik and John’s time to buzz some questions past them about the show, their new music coming shortly, and about them signing with Pavement Records. They have the experience and the drive to make big times happen and we, at the National Rock Review Southern Command, will keep an eye on the guys from here on out. Come with us and do a shot or two of Patrón Tequila as we go through the interview together. Pants are optional.
Hit up the Facebook feed or Twitter and let us know if you see the guys or how you liked the piece.
NRR: Thanks for taking some time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for National Rock Review’s Dirt Fest 2016 coverage. What’s been going on with the band, Beyond Threshold, so far in 2016 because you guys have been busy since we saw you last year?
Erik V: Where do I start? Well, we just finished up post production for the new BT record with Grammy nominated producer, Jason Zarnowski at T.V.R. Recording Studios in Rockford, Illinois. Recently, we have signed with a new label and are gearing up for the worldwide release of our newest record, LIVE TO FIGHT on October 28, 2016. Besides that, BT has been out on the road with our label mates in HED PE and SOIL packing clubs. Also, we have been hitting the radio festival circuit hard before our next tour cycle.
John Sergel: Practice. Perform. Analyze. Perfect. Practice more.
NRR: You guys will be on the road with some big names this cycle, so who has been the biggest blast so far to share the stage with?
Erik V: Man, the list goes on and on. Five Finger Death Punch, Rob Zombie, Slipknot, Korn, Killswitch Engage, Hatebreed, Slayer, Megadeth, Hellyeah, Halestorm, Rise Against, Marilyn Manson, Motionless In White, Sevendust, Black Label Society, Asking Alexandria, Chevelle, All That Remains, and so many more. It’s crazy to look back at the list of bands we have shared the stage with. I love it!
I have to say opening up for KORN was a stand out for me personally. I have been a huge fan of them since I was a kid. Throwing down with them and getting mad props from them on stage was a surreal feeling.
NRR: Live To Fight is coming soon. Tell me about it if you can.
Erik V: Yes, we haven’t released any music in years. So we are beyond ecstatic to get the new stuff out to the fans! I would describe the upcoming Live To Fight record as a more “mature” collaboration from our last record. It is a huge step from the overall musicianship, song writing, and production. The album fucking slams! We cross over in so many directions on this record. I think metal has lacked a certain organic feel lately. We wanted to bring that back with our newer music! Nothing is better than real tones! Our producer Jason Z did a great job bringing that to the table on the production of Live To Fight.
NRR: Do bands need to be creative with their own product placement like presale and VIP deals more so in today’s market?
Erik V: As far a presale packages go, I have spoke with our label about maybe doing some kind packaging deal where if a fan pre-orders the record, they get a Beyond Threshold tee-shirt with autographed CD and a download of our newest single, “SOLITUDE” in advance. Links should be up on our official sites soon! Since the digital age, I feel it is extremely important to get creative with VIP and pre-sale packs. Fans don’t buy music like they did ten years ago now that we have digital streaming. I’m very firm on making sure BT has something special to give to our fans. It makes their purchase more memorable when buying records and VIP meet and greets.
NRR: How did the whole deal with Pavement go down, and how has the relationship been so far?
Erik V: We both have thrown out the idea of working together for a long time now. I’ve been friends with Tim and Mark at the Pavement camp for years. Beyond Threshold had quite a few offers on the table when shopping the new record to other labels. We later decided that the Pavement deal made the most sense for BT. They offered us a sick deal and are doing a lot to take care of the band. We probably should have signed with them sooner but, held back cause we had a personal relationship.
All-in-all, Pavement is a great label that has killer distribution from SONY Red, super easy to work with, and have a sick marketing plan for their bands. These people are family! It was bound to happen and we are very happy to be part of their current roster!
NRR: How does it feel to play a well established festival like Dirt Fest after already playing some huge shows this summer?
John Sergel: I wouldn’t lump Dirt Fest in with any other outdoor festival that we’ve played. Honestly I think a lot of music festivals can come across as kind of corny. There’s an attitude to Dirt Fest however, that sets it apart from other festivals. It reminds me of Ozzfest in that regard.
You have the colorful merch tent row, the haunted house characters walking around, there’s people playing first person shooters in one tent, next to people getting tattoos in another tent, and then the people that run these booths are always so friendly and personal. I love it. There’s a sense of authenticity and a feeling like you’re a part of something special. The Michigan music scene and the level of detail that goes into the production combine beautifully. This one has definitely been circled on our calendars since we confirmed it.
Erik V: I would agree with John on this and we have been lucky enough to play countless radio festivals across the country. Dirt Fest is a one of kind event that we are always excited to be a part of. The promoter, Matt Dalton, is the real deal and genuinely gives a shit about the metal community! Dirt Fest is the next generation of aggressive metal fests. I can see his event eventually being a festival tour like Ozzfest and Warp Tour.
NRR: Give me the skinny on the band’s history/name and how does the band see your own musical vibe?
Erik V: Originally, our lead guitar player Todd Paluzzi and I formed the band in the mid 2000s. We both were between bands and wanted to pursue a new project. Todd had amazing shredding skills on the guitar and I had to the ability to mesh multiple styles of metal, rock, thrash, flow, alternative, and hardcore vocals into one. It was a no brainer to collaborate. Todd was the baddest mother fucker on guitar in my local scene and I happened to move in the same apartment complex as him. It was our destiny to form this band and tour. That was the birth of THRESHOLD!
Later on, we found out there was a THRESHOLD overseas. Legally, we had to change the name to Beyond Threshold when we inked our first independent deal. Over the years, we have swapped out some of the members. I have to say, this current line up is hands down the best version of BT. I’ve always had a great team of players but, nothing like this. The sound is bigger than anything I ever imagined it to be. It’s a solid brick wall of power! John’s drumming was one of the final pieces I needed to assemble this machine along with Rolland’s grooves and Trevor’s rumble.
John Sergel: Our music is a mishmash of influences and ideas. We like to sort of dabble in everything. Thrash, melodic metal, hardcore, prog, some hard rock, and even “taboo” genres to heavy metal purists like numetal and metalcore. I like to think if you draw from each of these styles tastefully, you can really develop a broad range of sounds that keeps listeners interested. It also helps us strategically put together set lists based on what we think the audience is going to enjoy.
NRR: If a brewer of adult beverages were willing to throw free product and cash your way, the next tour would be sponsored by who if the band hit the jackpot?
Erik V: Outside of our love for Jägermeister, I’d have to say Patron Tequila would be an awesome sponsor. Why do you ask? Cause, it makes the pants come off! I kinda like that! Totally sets a great atmosphere at the shows! Wouldn’t you agree? (Laughing)
NRR: If you were in the crowd after your set, and heard two people talking about Beyond Threshold, how would you hope the conversation might go?
John Sergel: “The musicians played precisely, the music itself was interesting, and they were entertaining to watch.”
Erik V: “OMG! These guys fucking destroyed the place!” (Laughing)
NRR: Many bands are starting to market merch to the fairer sex. You guys are now no exception, was it a no brainer and please tell me no one will be modeling the hot pink line of clothing while playing your set?
John Sergel: It really came down to fans asking for them. We never sat down at rehearsal and said “Hey we really need to market to women” or anything like that. It was just that a lot of female fans would come up to the merch table and suggest that we stock more female specific clothing. The requests became so common that we made it a priority. It was really just us listening to fan feedback.
NRR: Are you guys music fans outside of being on stage, and if so, is there anyone on the Dirt Fest bill you’re excited to catch since everyone plays on the same day this year?
John Sergel: Of course we’re music fans! As for bands we’re looking forward to seeing, Erik and I are always excited to watch a Hatebreed set. We’ve seen a ton of them over the years but they’re still just as much fun as when we were teenagers. I’m also looking forward to seeing Born of Osiris. I really enjoyed The Discovery and am curious to see how they translate live.
Erik V: Music is the only thing I know! I’m definitely a hardcore fan. As far as the current Dirt Fest line up goes, I have been both a Hatebreed and Killswitch Engage fan since their first records. No matter how many times BT has been paired with them on the road, I’ve always made the time to catch their sets. They are two major influences of mine. Jasta always pummels the stage and Adam D is a fucking guitar genius!
The fans at Dirt Fest are going to get hell of show with this years line up! Most of the main stage acts at Dirt Fest have just released new records or about drop an album including ourselves. I’m very curious to see how all the bands set lists fall into place with their new material. I assure you this, this years Dirt Fest is guaranteed to melt your fucking faces!
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