There’s serious effort involved to be noticed in the music scene today. Five Hundredth Year talks to National Rock Review about that and… bruised penises.
NRR: Okay, if you don’t already hate this question, you will. Tell me about the band. How and when did you guys get together and what’s the official story in picking the name?
FHY: The band was formed in the Winter of 2014. John (Lead Vocals) and Zach (Drums) were the first to meet, and soon after getting together they started looking for additional members to fill out the line up. The next set of members to join were Jimmers (Rhythm Guitar) and Brenda (Bass and Backing Vocals). Mike (Keyboard, Samples, and Backing Vocals) was brought on board during the Summer of 2014 and Ben (Lead Guitar) completed the last piece of the puzzle. The name Five Hundredth Year (FHY) is derived from Egyptian Mythology. Every 500 years the Phoenix is consumed by fire and then reborn from it’s ashes. We’ve all come from previous bands that for some reason or another haven’t worked out, and have come together as a band for our musical revival.
NRR: Second question you’ll learn to robo-respond to, how would you describe your vibe to a new fan?
FHY: We are a hard hitting, modem rock band with metal influences. Strong melodies are the foundation of our music. Our high energy stage performance is highly praised by everyone who has seen it.
NRR: The band recently released a new EP, A Rose from Ashes. To you as artists, what is special about the CD that you’d like to see be understood by the fans?
FHY: We are extremely proud of having six people with differing backgrounds in music come together as a whole, and being able to create something that we are all pleased with. Not only that, but the EP was conceived in a very short period of time despite all of our additional professional and family obligations. We all got to experience things that none of us have with our previous project such as shooting music videos, dealing with our post album promotion, and co-writing songs with our incredible producer B.J. Perry of The Product and I Prevail experience.
NRR: The EP vs. LP battle has heated up again with all of the digital play sites now available. Was the plan to make an EP from the beginning or was it a more financial dilemma?
FHY: Our plan from the beginning was to make an EP. The reasoning behind this is so that we can work on the follow up to this album at later point during our musical career. This will allow for additional creative growth, further understanding each individual members strengths, and the ability to create something even more impressive.
NRR: There has been a few noteworthy examples lately of bands taking a song outside of their known genre and making it in to one that does fit. How did you guys come across “Talking Body” and decide we can do it too?
Five Hundredth Year – Talking Body (Tove Lo Cover)
FHY: We didn’t really decide we can do it too, but instead we wanted step outside of our comfort zone and challenge ourselves creatively. Our goal was to take a song that doesn’t have a large amount of instrumentation in the background, so that we had somewhat of a blank canvas to work with. You also may have noticed a similarity between our music video with the original in the sense that they were both were done as a “One Shot One Take” style, this was something we really wanted to attempt as band with the help of our amazing production company Riot Film Productions.
NRR: You guys are also getting some buzz for a song you wrote, “Blame.” I know success in any form for the music industry is hard to come by today. With that being said, would you as a band rather be known for a mega hit cover or for really well received original material?
FHY: I think for any band out there getting recognition for their own material and all of the hard work that goes into writing a song from scratch is the ultimate goal. Unfortunately with the over saturation of the music scene at this time it is extremely challenging to make this happen. We have decided to take the approach of covering a top 100 pop song in hopes of getting our foot in the door by appealing to a larger demographic.
Five Hundredth Year – Blame
NRR: And that brings me to ask about your way of writing tracks. What’s the process like? Is it core people doing the lion’s share or is it a true group effort?
FHY: For the most part it is a combination of everyone, but certain people add different elements to each song. Everyone has strengths in different areas, also the majority of us are multi-instrumentalists. Usually the tracks start with drum and rhythm guitar and evolve from there. It also helps to have a great producer who can come in with a fresh set of ears and add whatever the song may be lacking.
NRR: The summer festivals are winding down but a few fall festival and festival-like shows have been announced. What would be a good show or tour for you guys to jump on and really make some noise? Pun intended…
FHY: We are thrilled to be on Dirt Fest 2015 this August with such bands as Down, Coal Chamber, Fear Factory, Pop Evil, and many more. We would absolutely love to play the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival, Slipknot‘s Summer’s Last Stand, and Copenhell just to name a few.
NRR: I’m not sure how long you guys have been together. In the time that you have been though, has there been that moment that you’ll remember for the rest of your careers and laugh about whenever it gets brought up? A Spinal Tap moment if you will?
FHY: After a show, a musician friend of the band showed our keyboardist his bruised “member” after attempting to stop an elevator from closing with it. Mike still has nightmares to this day.
NRR: What lesson(s) has/have been the hardest for the band to learn trying to make a name for yourselves?
FHY: Have you ever been in a band? What isn’t an issue? (Laughing). But in all seriousness here are some of the things that have given us the most difficulty. Navigating all of the different social media platforms that are available today, assessing priorities and communicating effectively, handling online promotions/advertising, dealing with creative differences both musically and artistically(e.g. deciding on artwork), and live sound/equipment issues during shows.
NRR: If an adult beverage company said we want to throw money and free product at you, who is on top of the wishlist for the next tour?
FHY: We would love a sponsorship from JÃ¤germeister, the only condition is they have to throw in one of the JÃ¤ger machines for the tour bus.
NRR: Is there a creepy crawly, small rodent, or other creature of the night that if any of the band saw it back stage the venue would have to burn before you’d be able to play the set?
FHY: Justin Bieber.