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Interview - Mike LePond (Silent Assassins / Symphony X)

Interview with Mike LePond from Silent Assassins / Symphony X
by YngwieViking at 10 October 2014, 12:13 PM

What happens when an illustrious bass player, a member of one of most high profile band in the world, namely Mike LePond from SYMPHONY X, gets together with one of the greatest singer in the world, the legendary, the one and only Alan Tecchio (HADES / AUTUMN HOUR / WATCHTOWER / ex NON-FICTION / ex SEVEN WITCHES / ex POWER) and gets an all-star line-up for his first solo adventure…? What happens is called SILENT ASSASSINS… And it’s a pure delight and one of the biggest surprises of the second part of the fantastic flow of releases in 2014!

Hi Mike, First: warm congratulations for your first solo release and thanks for taking time to answer to my questions!!!

I think that the album “SILENT ASSASSINS” is one of the highlights of the second part of 2014, as a fan of your career and US Power Metal in general. It was a real blast and uplifting experience…what will be your words to describe it?

Thank you so much! I am so excited to release my first solo album. It is a classic heavy metal CD. I took all my favorite bands, put them in a blender, and this was the result!

Can you first tell us about you, your background as a musician…your past or actual involvement in other bands! I want to know everything…go!

After I saw my first KISS concert at 13 years old, I wanted to play bass! I was a struggling musician for many years until my luck changed in 1999 when I joined SYMPHONY X.

In my mind, your superb debut solo release titled “SILENT ASSASSINS” is the perfect sum of everything I love in Metal. I notice that the album contains some first class Power Metal with strong US Metal influences and a few New Wave of British Heavy Metal elements, with a stylistic orthodoxy and also subtle unusual colors… I also think that beside the specific American Metal sound, your influences are numerous, ranging from Neo-Classic to Hard Rock, but the mood is definitively tagged in the timeless Metal music, setting toward dark atmospheres, dramatic & a real epic spirit… What are your feelings about this quote?

I think that is accurate. I have always loved the 1970's metal bands, the new wave of British heavy metal, thrash and power metal. I grew up playing blues and hard rock as well. As I got older, I really got influenced by BLACKMORE’S NIGHT. All those influences come through on this CD.

You had funded your new album with a Kickstarter Campaign, why did you decide to do that? Were you satisfied with the results?

I saw Kickstarter as a chance to get away from record companies and work together directly with the fans. I loved the idea!! I think it turned out great and I wouldn't mind doing it again.

I think that MIKE LEPOND’S SILENT ASSASSINS first release is a giant step forward, exultant and fascinating but also demanding for the listener, do you have a method to write those great pieces?

Thank you. I do not have a formula for writing the songs. I just get influenced as I travel around the world, or listen to different styles of music. I also get influenced by history and mythology.

Do you think that the high technical level, the complexity of some song structures or the Progressive parts in your music can be a block for some listeners, do you keep this aspect in mind while composing, or did you just get the inspiration flowing!

Yes, I always try to keep the technical level in mind. I never want the listener to think too much. On the other had, I want the listener to read the lyrics and then research the stories I write about.

Can you introduce to us the line-up of musicians? Tell us especially about your recruit as lead Singer the famous Alan Tecchio (HADES/NON FICTION/WATCHTOWER). I assume that it’s a part of the SEVEN WITCHES connection?

I met Alan Tecchio when we both played in SEVEN WITCHES in 2010. I thought his style of power and melody would be perfect for what I was writing. He blew me away with his work on my CD. Metal Mike (HALFORD, TESTAMENT) played lead guitar as well as my band mate, Michael Romeo.

Tell us about your relationship with your fellows SYMPHONY X members? And others Metal musician from New Jersey?

All the members of SYMPHONY X are like brothers. We have been together for almost 20 years and we love each other. Many metal musicians come from New Jersey. We all know hang out with each other at the local shows.

Hey Mike, where are you coming from, as far as Bass guitar influences are concerned? Tell us about your training and your day-by-day practicing routine?

I began learning bass at age 14. I took lessons for 1 year and then just taught myself. My influences are Joey DeMaio, Geezer Butler, Steve Harris. Geddy Lee and Gene Simmons.

You seems to take the meaning of the lyrics quite seriously, can you tell us more about the different thematic displayed in the letters?

I love history and mythology. I think this goes perfectly with heavy metal music. With my lyrics, I like to tell stories, and I use the mood of the music help explain the emotion of the words.

As a musician from USA, what do you think about the Metal scene in your country? Do you feel that your music reveal your citizenship?

In the 1980's, there was a great metal scene over here. Then Grunge destroyed it. But in Europe and South America, metal stayed strong. I am heavily influenced by 80's metal and I combined that with the styles of the great European metal bands of the 90's and today.

You have played in many studio projects as a session player, which ones are your favorites?

I do many projects when SYMPHONY X is off the road. Too many too mention, but I love helping younger bands get noticed by having my name on their music.

Did you plan on touring with SILENT ASSASSINS?

Yes, I would like to do some festivals or cruises.

What do you think of the state of the market in 2014! What is your opinion concerning digital downloading legal and illegal?

I think digital downloading is not good for metal, whether it's legal or illegal. A metal fan should want to listen to full album instead of a song here and there. A metal CD is a work of art and should be enjoyed from start of finish, while the listener holds the CD in their hands.

Tell us what we have to expect form your side in the future to come? And on a more personal note can you tell us about your health problems?

Next year will be an exciting year. There will be a new SYMPHONY X release and tours. Also I would like to do some SILENT ASSASSINS shows. I will also work on a second solo album. My health is great right now so I'm very happy!

Mike, I wish you the best of luck with the new solo album/SYMPHONY X and on the musical path ahead. Anything else you want to share with the Metal-Temple’s readers out there?

I want to say thank you to everyone for your years of support. I love and appreciate every one of you. Please say hello to me on the road.


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Edited 07 June 2023

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