Interview with Dave Woods (Irish) and Maciej Pac (Polish)
Bio Created in 2020 COVID Lockdown, Leaders and Lunatics debut record ‘No Fear of Repercussion’ is a hard rock powerbomb, inspired by some of the greats such as Rage Against the Machine for its Audioslave and Guns N’ Roses.
Tackling controversial and timely subjects such as Black Lives Matter, Trump, Epstein, Prince Andrew and the pitfalls of social media ‘No Fear of Repercussion’ will inspire the listener to stand up and pay attention to today’s political and social climate.
Breaking new ground, it utilises the spoken words of the social elite, including prominent speeches and interviews against a backdrop of hard rock. Founding members of Leaders and Lunatics David Woods and Maciej Pac, who wholly own the music, are responsible for writing and producing the record.
The first track on the record, Dominate the Streets challenges US President Donald Trump on his stance regarding the BLM protests and how he has handled the situation to date. The excellently crafted music video forces the viewer to immerse themselves in the uncomfortable reality of Donald Trump’s leadership style, using flashing, startling imagery and live footage, accompanied by interjections from the president himself and a killer soundtrack bringing it all together. With Dominate the Streets set to be released 22nd November 2020, Leaders and Lunatics will follow up with the remaining 4 tracks on the 27th of November 2020, across all social and music channels.
What first inspired you to make music? Dave- Like most musicians I think it was a variety of things, it was fundamentally down to the fact that I wanted to be able to sound like the records I was listening to as a kid. My Dad was always playing the greats such as; Bowie, Queen, George Michael, Elton John, the Beatles….
As I got older my brother than added to the zeitgeist with GNR, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Deftones, Audioslave, RATM... So safe to say I was surrounded by amazing music every day. Then at the age of about 14/15 John (my brother) bought a guitar and started to learn. I always remember being fascinated with the fact that he was playing stuff I heard on the radio- it was insane to me at the time. So, I picked it up myself, once I got my first riff down (Sweet Child o Mine) I was hooked.
Music always brought me comfort, from the inevitable shit that happens as you grow up. It’s the one thing in life that is a constant.
Maciej- There was a radio in the kitchen my mum or dad would put on while making food for my older brother and myself. Mum would dance with my dad, my brother and I were really young at the time but were always singing or clapping hands. I remember it being such happy moments in my life.
At some stage I was given a little piano, which quite quickly I learnt how to play. Since then I would play at the family meetings or whenever my friends would visit me. It always made people smile or emotional. I wanted to make people feel something- music was the vehicle to do that.
Who is your biggest influence and what is it about their music that you find interesting? Dave- So, I actually have two really big influences and I like to think they both play a role in how I approach song writing. The first (and most important) is Slash. His playing is just fucking killer. For me, he has a perfect blend of melody and raw energy in his playing style. Plus, he’s been rocking out for so long now, you just have to respect the sheer energy he has for guitar. The second is Tom Morello, I remember when I was younger…. Holy shit, in a pub drinking beers with your friends and ‘Killing in the Name of’ comes on. Those riffs could make people go to war!!
When I write, I try to take the approach of the riff power and energy from Morrello and blend it with Slash’s style of melody writing and attention to detail on the leads. Hopefully people like it…. we’ll see!
Maciej- I’m not really inspired by individual artists. I love the energy that comes with different genres. When I’m not happy about things I listen to punk/heavy rock or metal. When I enjoy a romantic dinner with my girlfriend we put on some Cuban bolero. To relax I stick on jazz or classical music. Energy inspires me, music inspires me, creativity inspires me, that’s it.
How would you describe your music and what path has brought you here? Dave- What I describe it as and what people hear it as are two different things but I can try…. I personally see it as a blend between classic rock and post rock. I want the guitar to shine on the records. Equally, I also want to have that super tight raw rock energy that comes from the bass and guitar pumping out a tight riff while the drums support it- ala Audioslave and R.A.T.M.
The path of getting to where I am now has been difficult but a rewarding one, I was in a relatively successful band in college (Crescendo Rising) but we eventually went our separate ways. For years after C.R. broke up I either session’ed for other local acts in the studio or was writing my own material.
Of course working with other musicians is an amazing opportunity to learn. I know it is a lonely road when you’re in your own rehearsal space, on your own writing. When you have put so much time into something you love but you don’t seem to have an outlet to showcase your work. This is particularly true with COVID-19, bands that were gaining momentum are now in hibernation mode. Just know that it will get better. Keep grinding, keep writing and good things will happen.
It also helps when you have someone to keep you motivated- for me it was my Wife, Jennifer. She probably had more faith in me than I did on many occasions. I would love to give people advice if anyone is looking for help on that front hit me up- I can give out my email right? (firstname.lastname@example.org)
What is your creative process? Dave- I actually think it can vary from song to song…. For example, The Great Dictator was born from the riff at the beginning of the song– I felt it was super melodic and had potential and basically shaped the song around it. Whereas- ‘Don’t Worry its Just a Hoax’ I originally had this cool riff that eventually became the outro to the song and record!
What is the most enjoyable and most frustrating part of recording for you? Dave- Dude, I love the recording process, are you kidding me? From setting up the mics, chatting about which preamps to run, what amps to use, which mics ,what style of reverbs, - which guitars for which parts… for me its the culmination of your hard work. I love the fact that you walk in with your guitar, and come out with a track that no one on the planet has ever heard yet…. I mean…. maybe, if you cant land the Solo for the 15th time it can get a little frustrating, but that never happens….. or does it??
Maciej- To me it’s all fun. I'm a qualified sound engineer by 'trade'. The engineering skills have helped me bring the ideas presented by Dave to life with energy. Each song has its own challenges of course but I love working in the studio. As long as I have a good day, clear mind and I’m excited by the riffs Dave has written I can bring it to another level.
What is the most enjoyable and frustrating part of live performance? Dave- The only thing I love more than the studio is playing live. I miss it, alot. COVID-19 has been a pain in the balls on that front. Most enjoyable part of live performance is of course getting to play for people. The only frustration I have ever had playing live was working with the odd sound engineer that wasn’t exactly the Gordon Gekko of his skillset. Getting amp feedback into ear monitors isn’t fun. Thankfully working with Maciej means I don’t encounter such issues- he's the glue that holds this thing together live!
Maciej- Crowd energy is definitely the best part of the live gig. The most frustrating thing is when technical issues occur.
What is the most memorable gig you performed? Dave- Ive played Vicar Street in Dublin- that was cool the venue can hold about 1,500 so it was a blast.
Maciej- As live sound engineer I have witnessed so many great performances I have lost the count.
How do you feel social media and the internet has affected the way you promote or distribute your music? Dave- Like anything, it has its pros and its cons. I mean on one side it has allowed bands the ability to connect with their audience in the absence of live shows. On the other hand, I think the days of listening to full albums are kind of gone unless you are a big fan of the band. All of our attention spans are shorter than ever now. The reality is unless you are in the top 1% of bands the internet and digital has been a god send. What matters is that you connect with your audience. If that means someone is commuting to work rocking out to your music on the bus instead of a festival- so be it, there aren’t enough stages to go around!
What is the most trouble you have gotten into? Dave- The most trouble I've gotten into is the same trouble we're all in right now. Look around you, our global society is up shit creek and the supposed 'leaders' aren't addressing the issues that need to be resolved. Sorry I know its heavy- but its the truth.
What is the best advice you have been given? Dave- ‘Be balanced’… when I focus on something I tend to be an ‘all or nothing type of guy’. Sometimes to my detriment. For example, with guitar if I pick it up I could be rehearsing or writing for hours at a time. Since I was young my mom has always tried to instill more of a balanced approach in how I tackle challenges both in music and in life. I definitely have a tendency to HYPERFOCUS on things. For example, when writing for the record I remember I went from 08:30 on a Saturday morning to 21:00 in the evening without eating, just in the studio writing non stop…. Its not a good thing.
Being part of the music scene, there must be acts that you have played with that have made an impact on you, who would you say was the one that stood out the most and why? Dave- I’m going to sound like an arsehole but quite honestly, I haven’t played with anyone (yet) that has impacted me to that level. Don’t get me wrong, I respect anyone I play with but yeah, no one that comes to mind.
What is next for you? Dave- Well we have been approached by two labels, both of which look really promising. So that’s cool, we also have another record in the works and of course planning live shows for 2021- once that sweet vaccine comes rocking!
Maciej- At the moment the aim of the game is to promote Leaders and Lunatics album as much as possible. Therefore we still want to catch up every so often and just jam, make music and release next albums. There are also other projects put to the side which we would love to finish soon enough.
What was the driving force behind your latest work? Dave- The main theme of the record is about the political dystopia that we are living in right now. The way people just seem to accept the utter nonsense that is pushed out from many different sources, be it people or media. Joe Biden being elected president for the states is definitely a step in the right direction but the ‘cat is out of the bag’ so to speak with the style Trump has brought to the table for international relations and I fear it will be back before long in other countries. The record has five tracks and covers a variety of topics within that sphere:
1) Dominate the Streets, this track references Donald Trumps position regarding the B.L.M. movement and racism in America
2) Shared Lies, this track is commentary on the impact of social media companies on our society and their strangle hold on the internet.
3) The Great Dictator- this track references a speech dating back to the 1940’s Hollywood movie The Great Dictator. It is a commentary on how fundamentally little has changed over past 80 years, from a societal perspective.
4) Beauty and the Beast- this track is references the interview that Prince Andrew gave to the BBC. His relationship with the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and how he addressed the interviewers questions regarding his association Epstein and others.
5) Don’t Worry Its just a Hoax- the track is a commentary on how a senior public figure and the leader of the free world can deny proven scientific evidence relating to Global Warming, which is an existential threat to humanity.
What part of the production process were you keen to incorporate? Dave- For me it was integral that we captured the power that the riffs had. Maciej was the lead engineer on the tracks as well as playing on some of the tracks also. I have to admit I think hes done an incredible job! We actually got it mastered by Jeremy Lubsey (Vlado Meller’s understudy. Vlado mastered many amazing artists including Audioslave and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers).
Were there any hurdles, how did the material develop? Dave- The only major hurdle for me was getting the studio time. With COVID-19 all of our schedules were kind of thrown out. Like anything thought perseverance gets you through it!
Maciej- Working in a team where Dave is the main force and I just back him up with technical know how developing the material is completely pain free process. We would see each other every weekend and just work on the next songs, giving it few days “off” definitely helps to see things from different perspective.
Which platforms will the material be released on? It will be available on all major music streaming sites such as Spotify, Apple Music etc and of course the music video will be available on YouTube.
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