Originally posted 1/8/14
New England Music Awards Nominee Leaving Eden
Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
The New England Music Awards will take place Friday and Saturday, February 21st and 22nd, 2014, at Umass Lowell Inn & Conference Center and The Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Lowell, Mass. Our City Radio is proud to be sponsoring the event. As part of our ongoing coverage of the event, we interviewed Leaving Eden, who are nominated for best hard rock/heavy metal act.
Hailing from Boston, Mass., Leaving Eden is a hard rock/metal band that is on the rise. The band consists of lead singer Eve, drummer Andrew Ryan, bassist Daniel Cummings, and Eric Gynan, who plays guitars and keyboards as well as doing vocals. The band is one of the nominees for best hard/rock metal band for the New England Music Awards. It isn’t hard to see why this band stands out among the forerunners of New England’s. Their 2012 release, Tied and Bound, has sold thousands of copies worldwide. In 2013, the band released Between Heaven and Hell worldwide. Leaving Eden has also reached the level of playing festivals, and performed at the Woodstock 40th year anniversary, Mayhemfest, and Sturgis, to name a few.
Leaving Eden has had a long journey to get to where they are today. The band has been together for 10 years. “It’s been a long road,” vocalist Eve says, “with the current incarnation now being four years old. And it’s been the current lineup that has had the most success. It really takes the right people to make the right music and the right things to happen. When all members have the same philosophy, that’s when things start to happen!”
The band did not choose the name Leaving Eden randomly, but because they wanted a name with meaning. “Well, it’s funny,” Eve says. “Because in the beginning, believe it or not, originally Eric chose the name Dodge City, because he owned a bar in town and there were a lot of fights, people breaking beer bottles over people’s heads. And I said, “No flippin’ way.” So I said, “Eden.” And he said,”Well, it has to have a true meaning.” And we wanted two words. So, since this whole planet we look at to be “The Garden of Eden,” somebody said “The Leaves of Eden,” which morphed into Leaving Eden, because this garden of Eden we live in is tainted, corrupt, and we wanted out. Thus, Leaving Eden was born!”
Leaving Eden definitely has something to say with their music. “On our Tied & Bound record, we have Redemption, which has the provocative lyrics, “I ain’t searching for salvation, already found my way through hell, I don’t care about religion, drinking blood from the wishing well, I hold my faith without reservation but I would never put my faith in you, stay clear of all participation from anything I never want to do.” So people hearing that may think, ‘Oh well, they must be a Satanic band.’ But actually, quite on the contrary, we are very Universally Spiritual, and you’re a fool if you’re not. Religiously, it’s a joke when we have so much lying, deception, sexual abuse and corruption going on in religion, when we have people taking religion to the letter of the law and killing, where we have wars fought about religion. It seems to me it’s done more bad than good. And symbolizing drinking blood and eating flesh of the spirit, with wine and bread? So, we are barbaric? I have to say, that if religion was not construed by these radicalists in any religion and utilized the way it was meant to be, then my views would certainly be different.”
Eric goes on to speak more about Leaving Eden’s music. “Most of our songs are reality based,” Eric says. “They are about things that have happened to us, or about something connected to us. The songs, also because of the Universal connection I spoke about earlier, have to do with paths people choose, the right and wrong paths. Everyone is guided, though often folks believe only in themselves. So they don’t even consider the clear and evident signs right in front of their faces. We are in a fish bowl. We can’t get out of here, we are stuck here, for instance, somewhere between Heaven and Hell. Thus, the name of our record and the lyrics in our self-titled song, “Leaving Eden,” where it says, “I suddenly realized the garden was poisoned, the fruit was decaying as we were Leaving Eden, when fish washed upon the shore and the birds fell from the sky, I find myself somewhere between Heaven and Hell.” For Eric, the writing process is a thing that happens on many levels, both conscious and subconscious. “What happens is I get the songs from somewhere else. They come in my dreams, or while I’m awake. Before, I used to try and do it on my own, but it would be much more difficult, kind of like you’re receiving the information but the info is scattered, and I had to really scramble to put the pieces together. Now I’ve learned to tap into the universe, so to speak. And really, I feel I can’t take credit because the songs are done before we start. The songs in my head are already finished, produced and I just have to transfer that info to a recording. So the lyrics come instantly, and the music. Then I’ll do scratch tracks, with the basics ready for the rest of the band. Then, because it’s the right people, they too have the same connection and immediately do what they need to do. It’s almost like being directed by a higher power. We just listen.”
Musical Tastes and Influences
What does Leaving Eden look for in a new band? “It really takes a lot to impress me,” Eric answers. “We have played with well over 100 of the biggest national/international bands in the world and learned a lot. We learned what to do, and what not to do. We paid attention. We’ve also played with hundreds of local bands, all over USA and UK. I look at their stage presence. Are they just standing there? Is there energy? Is there a real connection to the crowd? Is their music different, unique, or is it the same as everyone else? Are they cool people or rock stars? Yes, ultimately it comes down to the music, but to me a band must employ all these different variables in order to achieve success.”
The band has a wide range of musical influences. “My earliest would be Black Sabbath, Ritchie Blackmoore, Zeppelin, and, believe it or not, bands like the Beatles for harmony.” Eric says. “Bands like this came out doing something radically different then the norm.” Eve was heavily inspired by the female icons of early hard rock. “I always loved Janis Joplin, Heart, and Fleetwood Mac,” she says. “They were the female pioneers in rock n’roll.”
New England Music Awards
As Eve explains, Leaving Eden is thrilled to be nominated for the New England Music Awards. “Well, for us it’s huge, because you really need to be big in your own backyard before the rest of the world catches on. We are a band from Boston, where it all started here in the USA. There are bands in other countries just dying to get to Boston, so we feel fortunate to be right here, right now! We don’t know how many bands try for the nomination, but can only guess that in each state in New England, there’s a lot of cities, and in each city, there’s a lot of bands. So, to be selected as one of the top 5 … just the nomination means so much to us!”
Looking back on 2013
2013 was a milestone year for the band. They signed a contract in Hollywood, and may soon be appearing on movie soundtracks, and enjoyed growing exposure. Eric reviews some of the year’s high points. “The band went to Sturgis Bike Week, where we got to play with some big names, and Daytona Florida Bike week, as well as playing Laconia’s 90th Anniversary Bike Week with the band Fuel. At Bike Week, we were filmed playing at The Broken Spoke. The Discovery Channel just happened to be there, so we will be on TV for that. We signed a deal with UK Right Recordings/Nova Via Universal Worldwide Limited/Sony, using Stuart Epps of London, who has worked with Elton John, The Beatles, and The Stones, as producer. This really opened our music up to the world!”
“In 2013,” he continues, “Our music was on the radio worldwide, with interviews all over the UK. We toured with Dope and Soil, and broke into many different music markets. We also won The Battle of the Bands. We hate the term ‘Battle,’ because we wish nothing but the best for other bands. And simply, the best band wins. We won a spot on Mayhem Fest, with Rob Zombie, Five Finger Deathpunch, and The Butcher Babies. That was great!”
What does 2014 hold for Leaving Eden?
2014 looks very promising for Leaving Eden. The band already has secured slots opening for Queensryche and Sebastian Bach, and is looking ahead at what may be their best year yet. “Currently we have contracts on the table,” Eric says. “And choosing the right one is so important for us. Which contract best suits our needs? I look at the music business differently than most. Yes, it’s changed and yes, record sales are dwindling for major labels, but I feel it has morphed into live shows and touring. We just happen to be a touring band and I view all the changes in the industry not as setbacks, but opportunities. If you make a big enough wave and are at the tip of the spearhead, so to speak, then you as an artist are actually forging the future, not just in music, but fashion and art. Where, what we as a band do, is happening NOW, but takes months or even years for the rest of the world to catch on. And being from the Boston area … that’s one of the places the world watches, along with New York, Chicago and California. Which is where we’ve laid our roots, in all of these areas.”
Eve is also optimistic about the coming year. “2013 was tough for most people,” she says, “but now it’s over! 2014 breathes the new life back into the industry and new music. We have our new record already pre-produced and ready to record. I wish I could tell you who will be recording our record, but I can’t yet until the contracts are signed. But let’s just say they are VERY well-known worldwide.” Eric also feels the band is headed in the right direction and is secure in their choices. “The world is ready for the next ‘New Millennium sound’,” he says. “And that sound just happens to be Leaving Eden, because you can’t put us in a box. As a matter of fact, were told that once, when we went to record in a famous studio, where The Rolling Stones, Boston, and Sevendust, amongst many others, have recorded. The person actually drew a picture of a box, and said “This is where you are,” pointing outside the box, “and you need to be here.” She pointed to the box. I stood up and said, “Excuse me, but are you telling me to be in that box?” She said, after hesitating, “Well, yes, I am.” And I said, “Thank you very much. Have a great day.” And I got up and walked out of the room. No one is going to dictate to us where we need to be musically. Only we can do that. Of course, a producer is very helpful in acquiring the sound we need for a great record, and even changing things up … so long as the producer is great at what they do. But we didn’t come this far to be told what to do!”
When asked what their favorite songs to play live are, the band doesn’t have a clear-cut favorite. “We have over 100 songs written and ready to record,” Eric says, “So that question is hard. The song Haunting is heavy, and about not only being haunted by ghosts, but also about foreseeing the future, and I love getting down on my knees connecting in that way playing lead guitar.” Eve loves to play the songs from their self-titled release, Leaving Eden, and from Tied and bound. “The energy in those songs is high, and they are fun to play!” Leaving Eden can be found online in several places. Check out their official website, Facebook page, Reverbnation page, Youtube Channel, and Myspace.