What was once a busy touring season for musicians all over the world has become a season of quarantine, bringing back the garage band lifestyle to many eager musicians. With cancellations, postponements and closed music venues in our headlines we have resorted to live-stream concerts from our living rooms and closed studios. This could bring down the spirits of anyone in the music industry, but for some, it’s a challenge to be accepted. A challenge to tell your story, regardless of how desperate times may seem.
This story begins in Mexico City, with two brothers who had music instilled in their souls at a very young age. For as long as Art Geezar can remember, he was playing music with his brother Adrian. “We grew up in a very musical household and we were exposed to different music very early on” Art reminisces. “Our parents were very supportive. They always wanted us to play an instrument, to be creative, and be in touch with the arts in general.” Growing up in the Mexico City art and music scene was just as immersive as any of the big cities all over the world. There was a multitude of artistic expressions from styles of artwork to genres of music. You could find any genre that you desired, from the blues to heavy metal, or all of them at once at one of their large music festivals. The Geezar brothers dreamt of forming a band from the start. With Art’s diverse vocal range accompanied by his rhythm guitar skills and Adrian’s hard-hitting passion on drums, they desired to move to Los Angeles and find the right people to join them on their journey. As soon as they were able to make it happen, they moved to L.A. to make their dreams a reality. This chapter of their story began at a hostel, where they shared their living space with 30 different people from all over the world. They had no instruments with them and only two or three songs fully prepared. But they had an idea, a dream and a band name, Art Of Shock.
After only a few weeks of getting settled into their new home, they booked a gig at the Whisky a Go Go. With no practice space and lacking a full band, they spent the next two weeks trying to pull together what they could. And they pulled it off. Living at the hostel was a great asset to them during this time, because they were able to easily find another musician willing to help. Finding their last member on Craigslist, they were ready to play their first show at one of the most iconic music venues on Sunset Strip. “I’m sure it sucked,” Art laughs. “But it felt great at the moment. To just get out and do it.” Although their lineup faced many changes throughout their musical journey, their determination never faded. On the contrary, it got them recognized on a much wider scale. Before they knew it, they had found their sound and were taking over the L.A. metal scene. To them, it didn’t matter what venue they played, just as long as they were making music and playing it to a crowd of people.
In 2013 Art Of Shock landed its first proper tour on one of the largest traveling music festivals in the United States; Warped Tour. It started with a hopeful email to the founder of the festival and ended with the band becoming the “Barbeque Band” of the tour. In exchange for playing on the Ernie Ball stage, they were designated to throwing a barbeque almost every night after all of the shows had ended. “It was very hard,” Art admits. “Every morning we would arrive at a new place, set up our tent, sell merch, go play, sell merch again, talk to the fans and after that we had to go cook for everyone. And that is what we did, night after night. It was excruciating, but it was also a lot of fun.” This opportunity, although it seems daunting, exposed them to a lot of connections with fans and bands alike. They met an incredible amount of people and made a number of new fans outside of their home base.
With a solidified reputation in L.A., the brothers hoped to round out the band. Adrian met guitarist Nicholas Ertel and introduced him to his brother. When Ertel showed up to write with them “everything just clicked.” Amidst the Sunset Strip scene, the band met bassist Brice Snyder. They become friends, and eventually much more as Snyder joined the band. With a stacked line-up, Art Of Shock continued on to pave their way in West Hollywood. During a show at The Roxy, where they opened for Sacred Reich, they caught the attention of Century Media Records and landed themselves a record deal. “It was a very happy moment,” Art exclaims. “That is what every band wants – to have an outlet. To have a platform for YOUR music.” When the band was not playing shows, they were consistently writing and re-writing their own music. With an abundance of songs already prepared, the band traveled to Nashville to work on their full-length album. That level of detail was much appreciated by mixer and producer Mark Lewis, who is known for working with the likes of The Black Dahlia Murder, Chimaira, and Megadeth. With the band’s previous attentiveness to setting the mood/atmosphere and adding textures, it allowed Lewis to really focus on getting the best performances out of the musicians and the best sounds possible. Sounds that would make all of the hard work and dedication worth it and make the album Dark Angeles stand out amongst the metal community.
Each song on the album pulsates with heavy metal energy that is hard to ignore. With the hard-hitting drum introductions that send you into the melodic guitar riffs that push the sound to the next level, this album is one for the metalheads and punk rockers alike. The inspiration for many of the songs on Dark Angeles comes from personal experiences or beliefs and feelings that are often hard to express. The album was named after track four on the album, Dark Angeles, a song that shines the light on the dark side of the entertainment industry. Art explains that he has personally witnessed many people moving to L.A to chase their dreams, with limited resources and the hope to succeed. He has also watched them leave with disappointment and darkness once they find the reality that it is not as easy as they thought. His advice to those seeking their success on Sunset Strip is to always be patient and to never stop working, developing, and getting better with every rejection. He urges those who are on the verge of giving up to “think of it as a challenge,” just as he has always done.
The song Peace on Earth could not have been released at a better time in the world. Although it was written years ago and was not originally added to the album, the meaning of the song contains an irony to current events that will give you goosebumps. “It all started with a kind of pessimistic idea that we can only achieve peace if we remove ourselves as humans from the equation” Art explains. “But now, it is kind of real.” Throughout quarantine, we have seen an intriguing impact on what it is doing to our earth, such as the observations of cleaner water, and the reduction of air pollution. The natural beauty of the earth is beginning to shine again, just as the lyrics in the song have described.
The full-length album was released on March 20, 2020, right at the rise of the global pandemic. Art Of Shock had been preparing to leave for the Quadra Tour, with Sepultura, Sacred Reich, and Crowbar. Going on tour during/after an album release can be very impactful to the success of a band’s album, so when the tour was postponed the band was affected immensely. However, the band is trying to make the best of it, regardless of the uncertainty that we are all currently facing in the music industry. “It has always been about music,” Art explains. “Our goal is to make music and have fun with it. Of course, we want to go out and show people our new music, that is very important. But until then we will just keep working.” Three out of the four band members live together and are currently facing quarantine as a musical team. “We try to keep writing and creating. We even made a little quarantine video,” Art laughs. “You have to stay active, right? It is a great moment to try different things and play with different ideas that you just didn’t have the time to develop before.” The band is eager to play live sets again, whether they are through a mobile phone, or on the stage. Art expressed during his interview how thankful he was to be speaking with Screamer Magazine, and how important it is to keep the music alive through interviews and any way that it can be done. He urges fans to support their favorite artists in ANY way that they can. “There are so many people that are out of work, both in and out of the music industry,” Art describes. “If you can, help out by buying records or merchandise from the bands that you like. If you can’t, at least stream them on digital streaming sites. Anything can help during this time.”
You can support Art Of Shock by purchasing/streaming their album here
You can watch the Quarantine Video – The Final Stroke Promo