(Photo by Rachel Perrotta)

Trenton-based aggressive metal group Beyond Dishonor are working like a powerhouse, staying incredibly busy this year. With a new record on the brink, Beyond Dishonor have big tour plans beginning this spring. Their soon-to-be released album, Generations, takes on a darker life than records past with the more progressive tendencies that come along with seven string guitars in the mix. This seasoned Jersey metal act has toured with known national acts and possess the chops to be able to share the stage with such performers. They have remained levelheaded throughout the years with a certain professionalism and pride in how much they’ve accomplished without the safety net of a record label behind them.

This July is when the anticipated follow-up is due for release. I caught up with drummer Mike Lock last month to discuss their Jersey roots, Generations, and future plans. This is what he had to say:

How have you found your journey thus far as a local band trying to make it out of New Jersey? Has that been a struggle or…

Yes, struggling was the word that I was going to use. It’s hard, I’m mixed. It’s been a struggle; it’s been fulfilling because we’ve been relatively intact as a band. We’ve certainly had turnover of some of the members, but the core group has always stayed the same. From that, it is just fulfilling to grow friendships with people that you can spend mass quantities of time with and not hate.

It’s been disappointing—super disappointing—to learn how the industry has changed, the direction it seems to be going, and what place metal has in music and how it’s being treated by those who are in power. It’s been really disappointing in that regard. At the same time, all three of those things—the struggle, the fulfilling, disappointing—it’s been rewarding for us because now that we’re starting to really surpass our own expectations, it’s very cool to feel the love from people at our shows, have people like yourself and others be interested in what we’re doing. A bunch of emotions all mixed up into one.

What can listeners expect from Generations, and when can they expect it?

Well, the when part is the harder part. I would say by June they will absolutely hear it. It could be a little earlier. We’re just putting a few more pieces to the puzzle in place. Certainly by June it will be out. As to what can they expect, it’s going to be simpler. We went to seven strings for this album, which is a departure from what we’ve done before. We got yelled at a lot by some of the people that care about us, saying, “If you’re going to go to seven string and actually use the guitars, don’t just go to them so you can constantly chug.”

We’re going to depart a bit from what we’ve done before, which is a more riffy metalcore. I think people can expect it to be much dark, more serious, less tongue-in-cheek humor than our last album [Travesty]. This album has a specific target: We’re pissed at the industry and it’s going to come through in the underlying current of the music. It’s just a more mature album all around. I think that people that know us are going to be like, “Wow, this is different and I like it.” People that don’t know us are just going to like it. We’ve been testing the songs out live and they’ve gone over extremely well.

What are the band’s plans for the rest of the year? Touring?

Yeah, we’ve got a tour coming up in April—I Am The Danger tour—that will sort of lead into the launch of the CD. We’ll be releasing the music video which is for the first song and sort of the highlight song, which is called “Heisenberg.” That video will come out after this tour and then we’re going to do a CD release tour in the June/July time frame. This first tour is going to be more in the Northeast area from say Virginia to Boston.

Have you heard a record or a song lately that has inspired you to work at your playing?

Man, that’s a great question. That’s a really fucking great question. I can’t say that there is a song I heard recently. Every given day there is a song I hear or watch on YouTube that makes me say, “Boy, I suck.” “Boy, I am really not good.” I’m at the point in my life now [where] there’s nobody that’s going to inspire me to play harder, because I spent all those years learning to play self-taught, just watching DVDs of drummers that I liked. I’m at a point now where I know I’m not going to get much better than I am, so all I try to do is maintain consistency.

It’s amazing to see some of the drummers that we play with in national acts that are just mind-blowingly good. It’s sad to say that it doesn’t want to make me go home and try harder. What it does make me want to do is make sure that I am perfecting what I can do well, because at a certain point, it’s hard to get better. I spent tens of thousands of hours practicing. I don’t think that I’m going to be able to do the majority of the stuff that some of these drummers do and I’ve come to grips with it. They don’t inspire me to do what they’re doing, but they inspire me to be able to get out there and do on every night with consistency, breathing, energy, being able to put on a show even though you’re playing the drums. A guy like [Periphery drummer] Matt Halpern, who I get compared to a lot, not because of playing ability because he is fairly better than me, but because when people watch our band play, they always say your drummer looks so happy. He is ecstatic to be playing. Doing it and not messing up while you’re doing it, that is what inspires and drives me.

People are enjoying watching me and [I am] comfortable enough in my own skin to say what you can expect is rock-solid consistent, sounds the same on the album as it does live. You don’t hear me and be like, “Oh, he’s slowing down” or “Oh, he’s speeding up.” I try to maintain that consistency and perhaps some amazing drummer gets inspired by me. That would be even better than me getting inspired by somebody else.

What is the best career advice that you have been given thus far?

The best advice that I got is not even for being in a band, but just for in life. Be professional, treat others as you would like to be treated. Don’t expect to be treated like you treat others. That has worked for me well and that has worked for our band extremely well. As much fun as we have—boy, do we like to drink—in the six-plus years we’ve been a band, there’s never been any incidents.

We’ve had fun, we’ve had some nights that ended badly, but they didn’t end badly in a way that reflected upon us. They were nights that ended badly because we had too much fun somewhere safe. There has never been an instance where we have been anything less than promoters, bookers, with other bands, with anybody. We know from experience that you can’t expect them to treat you the same, so if you know you’re not going to be treated the same, you don’t go into it with a chip on your shoulder and come out mad. You just come out of it like, “Well, I expected that.”

We’ve been as professional as we can with people and it’s made all the difference in the world. Promoters in this area and beyond have been willing to do stuff for us that they would probably not normally do for an unsigned band simply because we treated them very professionally. We were never given this advice, we just sort of adopted it.

You have to treat the band like a business. Most bands, as soon as they hear that, immediately the eyes start rolling. You start hearing, “Dude, it’s all about the music, man. If you want to make money, you shouldn’t be playing music, man.” My response is universally, “You’re absolutely right, however, if you would like to continue to make music, you need to make money. Otherwise, you’re going to be playing your guitar to nobody. If that’s what you want to do, that’s fine, but if you want to go around the country, you need to make money.”

 

Beyond Dishonor will play at Devlin’s Bar in Atco, NJ, on April 12, Full Cup in Staten Island on April 13, Championship Bar in Trenton on April 20, and Asbury Lanes on May 6. For more information, go to beyonddishonor.com.

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