But there will be no Reggae tonight; these guys have pure metal coursing through their veins. As the crowd looks on in awe, those brothers from the hood dish out as much hard core, loud, growling metal as humanly possible. This audience has just experienced Ghettometal, and their perception of metalcore has been forever changed.
Ghettometal is: Scoonie Gee (Lead vocals, Guitar, Keyboards), Ernie “EJ” Martin (Drums, Vocals), Kacy Jones (Guitar, Vocals), and John Paul “JP” Daoust (Bass, Vocals). Formed in Los Angeles in Summer 2013, the four decided to come together after being members of other predominately Caucasian bands. Not that race was ever an issue for them personally, the guys just felt it was the perfect time for an all black/brown band to enter the metal scene. And though the band already had connections in the industry, building a fanbase was sometimes easier said than done. “We've had to earn the respect of every diehard metal fan,” explains frontman Scoonie Gee. They knew they had to break the mold of the typical stereotypes of African American musicians. Needless to say, they had their work cut out for them.
Scoonie, who was given that name by Snoop Dogg, did not want to just throw a band of black musicians together. He wanted musicians who were so unique they had no choice but stand out. After finding the best three, the band released a single “Bang Yo Head” for which they enlisted director Derrick Cleveland to shoot a video shortly after. The video captured much attention online as it featured people from all races and walks of life banding together. Some of the “stars” of the video include active gang bangers, a popular Playboy porn star, a current Miss Beverly Hills, and a Russian supermodel. Although the video was quite popular, the guys didn't feel they were at their full potential so it was back to the studio to regroup. They knew they wanted their sound to be more hardcore, and were not going to settle for anything less.
Working from their own studio, their first EP came together. Working with Tore Fagerheim, a guitarist in the Norwegian band Shadowmind, the five song EP has that harder edge they were striving for. Nikki Lane Taylor, from the band Hammer of the Broads, filled in on drums for the song “Turn It Up” with EJ being out on tour. Plans are in place to release videos for each song, as they have a video director on their team. Ghettometal fans, who have grown tremendously in number worldwide since their first video release, are now demanding a tour. EJ is currently on a world tour with Robin Thicke; however, when the tour ends, there will be more concrete tour dates. As it stands now there are tentative dates for a European tour but nothing is set in stone. Scoonie toured in Hungary and Germany as a solo artist and would love to return. Touring aside they currently play local venues. Scoonie, a Music Therapist at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills states, “We actually prefer to play parties or events, especially charity events that have some kind of cause attached to it. [Cedars Sinai] sponsors events and music is always needed.”
While Sunset Strip is a favorite place to play, the guys would rather play larger venues such as stadiums and festivals because their big sound is more suited for such venues. “We want someone to sponsor a “Blackapolooza” tour. The line up would be: Sevendust, Kings X, Living Colour, Body Count, 24-7 Spyz, Year Of The Dragon, Animals As Leaders and Ghettometal. All these bands are active now and individually touring so that would be a dream tour for us! Whoever sees this and has the money, backing, and balls to do it…do it and make history!” Such a tour would make history indeed, and the timing couldn't be better. Fans could potentially help make it happen by getting involved and lobbying the right people. There is an abundance of sponsors out there as well as organizations such as the Black Rock Coalition who could make this dream a reality.
We end now with some great advice for budding musicians from Scoonie Gee, “Play as many hours as you can with other musicians. It’s called 'jamming'! An art form almost lost in this day and age. Jamming with other like-minded musicians frequently will do more for you and your music than spending all you time holed up in your room learning cover songs alone. Learning cover songs is cool, and staying home to 'woodshed' and write is cool too but what has been lost is the getting out and spending just as much time, if not more, JAMMING! Surround yourself with awesome people and musicians. Be the worst player in the room. It will cause you to rise to the level of musicianship of the better players! If you are the best player in the room, you are in the wrong room!”
To learn more about Ghettometal please click on any of the links below:
The first song, “See The Light”, is also the first single released on the EP. I really like this song, and think it is an excellent choice for the first single. It starts out with 9 seconds of just a guitar then everyone else joins in. Vocals successfully mesh growls with screams, combined with background vocals on the chorus which balance everything out. “#IDGAF” (song 2) is hard hitting from beginning to end musically and lyrically. For those who don't know, IDGAF is short for I Don't Give a Fuck, so the title is self explanatory. I really like how the lyrics are done at about 3:47 into the song. Super creative and they really drive the song home.
We'll talk about my favorite song now, track 5, “Turn It Up”. I had a very difficult time choosing a favorite, as the entire EP rocks its ass off. What it boiled down to was the bass throughout the song. We all know by now I love a strong bass line and this song has my bass fix for sure. I also love the lyrics: “Forget about tomorrow, live for today. 'Cause you never really know, it could all fall away”. One thing that is surprising that I chose this one as my favorite is the fact that its the shortest one on the album. That should let everyone know this one packs quite the punch!
“Good Times Roll” (song 3) is a feel good rock song. This one almost made my favorite, but lost out on a technicality. However 2:39 seconds into this one there is echoed laughing, which is always cool in a song, and I especially love the guitars at this point as well. All in all an awesome track. “Wasted Away” (song 4) was also almost my favorite. What stood out was the very beginning vocals and the vocals on the chorus. I can see this track receiving lots of radio airplay. I would like to point out these are all seasoned musicians and it shows! The guitars are on point and some of the best drumming I've ever heard is right here on this album. Not a shocker it is “Anna's iPod Approved”. The full release is scheduled for Halloween, so be ready to get your copy of 5 song EP at any of the links below: