The Phoenix and the Raven – Interview – Thanks for Asking
Written by Staff on January 26, 2024
The Phoenix and the Raven – Interview – Thanks for Asking – by Liam Sweeny.
We tossed the gauntlet to the band, and Benjamin Kerner picked it up. Hear the words he speaks.
RRX: Every comic book hero has an origin story. What is the origin story for the band? (points if you tell it like a comic book origin.)
BK: In a world of COVID lockdowns and show cancelations, a group of four talented musicians became so stir crazy they couldn’t bare it anymore and came together to form The Phoenix & The Raven. Benjamin with his powers of yelling loudly and making poorly timed jokes, Justin with his mighty bass and ability to sing every meatloaf song on command, Gary with his fingers of might, and his ability to put his ear to the ground and hear a sick riff in the distance, and Brandon with his mighty power of drums and the ability to play over anyone talking in a 100 mile radius. Together they are one of the progressive metal bands of all time
RRX: Every band’s first song is a milestone. But so is the latest song. Describe the first song/album you recorded, and also the latest song/album you recorded; what are the differences?
BK: Our first songs we recorded were wayward and shadows. At that time we didn’t really know what we were or where we were going. Our producer at the time actually helped guide us down the path that would eventually become us. As for the last songs we recorded they were sorta a whirlwind of emotion. During the process a lot of ourselves came out in both positive and negative ways. We lost some members but found ourselves in the process. Unfortunately due to the shuffling around we had felt it was better to start fresh so we scrapped most of what we accomplished on that session. Our Sultans of Swing cover actually came from that session.
RRX: Like songs, every band has a unique feeling about their first show. What was your first show like? Was it your best show? If not, what was your best show like?
BK: Our first show was an… interesting experience to say the least. We had been invited to play a show in someone’s backyard in October. It was cold, it was dark and half the stage was made half out of mattresses. Such a wild experience. Our best show was probably our last show at Empire Underground for the Extreme Music Awards. It was sold out and the scene really was alive. It was such a great feeling!
RRX: Music genres are difficult for some bands. Some strictly adhere; others not so much. What is your perspective on the genre you play, or the genres you hover around?
BK: So we have never really tried to lock ourselves into a genre we just play what we like to hear and hopefully others like it too. We’ve been called prog metal with metalcore influences which we get it. Considering we all come from different backgrounds it’s hard for us to sit down and be like this what we want our sound to be. We don’t really go into writing and think let’s make a prog song or let’s make a metalcore song. We sorta just do what we do and see where it goes from there!
RRX: It’s a lot of fun living in the present, but we all collect memories and give birth to dreams. We’re talking dreams here. Where you see yourself next year? In the next five years?
BK: Oh man. Well we just won an award for best Prog Metal band. So keeping that quality of music and just trying to be better than we’ve ever been. We are sorta on a roll right now, we as a group have never been happier doing what we’re doing. So maybe play some bigger shows, play some shows outside of the 518 and just keep chasing the dream. We never thought we’d get this far so anything we have the opportunity to achieve is just icing on the cake. If 5 years from now we are a signed band that’s on tour that’d be crazy! But if we are playing more backyard parties then that’s cool too!
RRX: We all get a little support from those around us. And we also can be impressed by our fellow bands. Who do you admire in your community, and why?
BK: Every band we’ve ever played with honestly has impressed us. We have such a talented scene here in the capital region from all genres. We’ve gone to shows and played with bands that we had no clue of and left in awe. A lot of them we are lucky to call our friends now! Deveria, Mira, Outta My Head, The Antartican, The Clay People, Hate the Adversary, and Breathless by Dawn are some of our closest friends in the scene and we couldn’t have gotten where we are without them. Not to mention the support we get from Mike Valente and Fuzz. Those guys take care of all of us in this scene!