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Lower 13's Partrick Capretta: "You must just accept whatever life throws at you and figure out where you're going to go from there on"

Interview with Partrick Capretta from Lower 13
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 29 August 2021, 11:32 PM

A simple talk-to with one's self. At times, it is a relationship of a constant fighting rather than talking. This is the struggles against an urge, like an itch the never lets go. Nonetheless, these conversations also contribute for an open debate, a share of open thoughts across the board, without anyone else meddling. The Modern Metal export, Lower 13, having been treading between the past and present, while entrusting their hands in the newfound sound of melodic Metal, crossing beyond the basic formulas and into something that is a little more off the secured edge. “Embrace The Unknown”, their new album and first under the old school label, Pure Steel Records, discovers a world that is personal. Steinmetal had a talk with one of the founders, Patrick Capretta, about is going on through his mind on the record

 

Hello Patrick, I am very pleased to have you for this conversation for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing, in particular in these rather strange, and somewhat, dangerous times?

I am most excellent, thanks for having me. Everything has been tough since the recent times of the pandemic but we got to make the best of it.

Your band, Lower 13, hails from a rather luxurious Metal scene of Cleveland that grew some of the mightiest US Metal bands in the 80s such as Shok Paris, Breaker, Black Death, Cerberus and Jagged Edge. Have you heard about some of those names? I know that times have really changed Even though you have been in touch with the label for nearly three years, it had me thinking for some time as I was listening to your new album, since Pure Steel Records is an old school driven label, and you guys present the contemporary side of things, in your view, how did the two match in the first place?

I've heard of Shok Paris and Breaker. We still have a very supported scene here in Cleveland for local bands.

I wonder how you were discovered by Pure Steel Records, truly it had me intrigued as I have been digesting releases by this awesome label for quite some time and you being part of the roster is a sure refershner. Please do tell

Juan Ricardo from so many bands, but mostly known for Sunless Sky & Wretch became a U.S. representative for Pure Steel for a wider span of finding bands for the label. Juan and all of us are good friends, played lots of shows over the years, and he felt that we still had that old school touch with all our other sounds that grabs crowds from all ages. He pitched us to the label and so far, so good. Going strong with Pure Steel!

Entitled “Embrace The Unknown”, at least in my bill, this is a strong saying as a sort of keep an open mind for possibilities and new things or a kind of an expectation of the unexpected. In a way it is on the verge of stating that tolerance and patience are needed as new things comearound. Is this the right direction or did you really have something else in mind?

Embrace the Unknown was written before the pandemic and was put on hold until we were able to continue where we left off, so a lot of the songs may (or do) sound like they pertain to the pandemic and all the challenges it gave us, however the album is more personal. Its more or less speaking out loud about how bad things can happen, but it's better to live through things and learn how to deal with horrible situations and look past how hard it was to keep your head up, but you have to. For yourself and for others around you.

From what I could gather from the tracklist, along with the vibe of the larger sum of the song, the reality of the record appears rather grim. How do you find what is going on lyrically? If you are stating issues, whether social or personal, are there answers or solutions to those hardships from your end?

The whole album is personal. It has its grim parts but the other half of the songs, which is me talking to myself, are about how I can always improve, and things can get better if I make it better for myself. You can't control everything. It's impossible. You must just accept whatever life throws at you and figure out where you're going to go from there on.

I also have a love hate relationship with myself. You can hear that a lot on this album. The first 2 songs are me talking to myself, but it's also meant to be relatable to everyone else too. We all go through our own hardships.

I have to ask, since it has been a rather dark time in humanity, with various waves of the pandemic, coming and going, variants and all that stuff, how did it influence you spiritually as you worked on the album?

The pandemic had nothing to do with the writing of the album as we had written it beforehand. It just happens to have similarities theme wise.

From your perspective, is there an escapism from our dreary reality, especially due to the pandemic or rather you sunk in your teeth in a sort of way to not let the listener too many hints
that it is our reality that is at the center of your minds?


Well (the song) Reflection of Me states how I feel about myself, but music is my escape from reality. Being with my friends and creating songs from what we're feeling. The pandemic made me feel more trapped.

When you look at the album’s artwork, which appears quite simplistic, a kind of horizon that holds secrets no doubt, what do you see for yourself?

The album artwork was simple in concept, but also a little flashier than our first 3 albums. What I see is there are long roads ahead, but that doesn't mean you won't get to the end eventually.

Frankly, I expected an old school Heavy Metal band, but instead, you struck me with an amazing modernity, as if you took the past, kicked it up notches, made it your own by engulfing it with a flowing catchiness, brutality when needed, crushing riffs and melodies. How do you find your development musically up to this point? What was your guiding light while this record was in the
making?


We had our sound figured out after the Reach an End album. The third album Restore the Order was a lot of experimentation. The new record is a refined mix of both albums, and we just wanted to make the best album we could.

Since I am a vocalist myself, I couldn’t really turn away from the duets and mixed vocals of yourself and your partner in crime, Sean Balog. How did you find that edge for your voices to work in such amazing harmony? And I am not merely talking about a great sound engineer that mixed well.

Sean's and my vocals are influenced by System of a Down, the band that started Lower 13. We were pretty much a cover band before we started writing our own material. Playing their music got us comfortable with singing with each other. It's become more and more natural for us over the years.

I can’t really shake the thought that you guys are the next in line version of Trivium, nonetheless, you took on a much more melodic stature in comparison to the former. How do you relate theimportance of melodies in your material?

Thank you for the Trivium comparison. They are one of our top favorite bands. Melody is the basis of our sound vocally. We incorporate duo singing when we feel like the parts we are singing need extra punch to it or if it feels important. We add heavier vocals when we feel the song or part calls for it.

Lower 13 has been around with three albums, with “Embrace The Unknown”, what can you say that you learned about songwriting, the approach for arrangements, from your past experience?
How did you put what you learned to work on the new record?


Well we always bounce everything off one another and we all rearrange the song to what feels natural. We learned that we don't like writing so simplistic, so we try to not be in a certain formula when we structure songs (for example intro verse chorus verse chorus bridge chorus end). We try to keep it interesting.

What can you tell about the sound of Lower 13 on “Embrace The Unknown”? Who made it happen for you? Would you say that this record is where you found your true sound?

I would say our album “Reach An End” is where we found our true sound, but “Embrace The Unknown” is where we perfected it.

When I first listened to the opening track, “Embrace The Unknown”, it was as if I caught fire for several moments there, such energies and ferocity, as if you were just born yesterday. No doubt  you made things fresh for an old schooler, and I have my share of modern stuff as well. What do you make of this first sign of what is coming next on the record?

Thank you! Embrace the Unknown kicks in fast, and every song after is driven with lots of groove.

As the final track on the record, you decided to go soft, as a lot of finishers for records over the decades. Nonetheless, other than being a mere ballad, it also showed a side of Lower 13 that is barely there throughout the record. I wonder, was it mainly because it was a final tune, or was it something itching that made you write such a song that is impartial?

The last song Continue On was meant for the album. We just never wrote anything fully acoustic with bass and drums and we wrote that song which has a lot of positivity to it. But as it really gets to the end, we still had our epic ending as we always do on every album. We just like ending the album on a high note. But the last song is something we would do more often if the ideas came to us but we like being loud! haha. Especially for a 3 piece.

Since I know that the pandemic is currently lifting its head again in the US, do you have any
plans to still try to perform this year? What about 2022?


We plan on getting the gears grinding again after our cd release party in September. We plan on looking for more things to get into, but we also might start writing more music again. As I said earlier, we were delayed from completing the album when we wanted to have it done, so it's been a fat minute since we put our heads together and wrote something new, but we plan on coming back full force as everything gets back to normalcy.

Patrick, I thank you for your time for this interview. You had me at a surprise and I am glad that
you did with such a fine record. All the best. Cheers.


Thank you for having me!



 



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Edited 26 October 2021
 

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