Interview: introducing New Hampshire-based metalcore bruisers TrueShot and brand new single Paradigm feat. Aidan Holmes of Dealer.
Today we are catching up with New Hampshire-based metalcore act TRUESHOT. The four-piece was formed in 2018 and debuted on the scene with six-track EP ESCAPE dating back to June 14th, 2019 which was produced with the collaboration of Ricky Armellino (Ice Nine Kills/HAWK) in the mixing and mastering. The band of Richard Janvrin, Adam Levesque, Derek Mayo and Anthony Gagnon has been making waves ever since and opening for acts such as Attila, Betraying The Martyrs, Veil Of Maya, Mothersound, Sentinels, Gideon, Oh, Sleeper, Crown the Empire and many more.
Spanning from 2000s metalcore nostalgia to a modern approach, TrueShot do what they say on the tin. Influenced by the likes of legends such as As I Lay Dying, August Burns Red and Killswitch Engage, they also bring to the table high energy and a modern twist reminiscent of Fit For A King and Wage War by creating a unique formula of their own which is chock-full of potential.
The band comes back on March 13th, 2020 with brand new single PARADIGM, featuring Aidan Holmes of Aussie aggro metalcore band Dealer. TrueShot are armed to the teeth with their bludgeoning, breakdown-heavy sound, down-tuned riffing, sweet grooves, gnarling vocals and intense delivery. The lyrics encapsulate the raw emotions of songs about the trials and tribulations of life, family drug abuse and depression. If they continue to deliver their brand of metalcore with plenty of heart, they will prove to be an unstoppable force that is just about to steal the attention away from many mainstream bands.
We are teaming up with TrueShot and vocalist RICHARD JANVRIN who took some time out of his busy schedule to sit down and talk with our editor-in-chief Alex about the band’s journey, influences and the current metalcore scene. We also discussed the creative and writing process of ESCAPE EP and the meaningful lyrical themes behind new single Paradigm. Richard opened up about the lyrical inspiration and the vision TrueShot want to get across with their music. We also talked about the collaboration with Aidan Holmes of Dealer, best on-stage moments, dreams and future plans.
- Hello TrueShot and welcome. Would you mind introducing your band? Tell us about how the band originally formed and discuss your journey so far.
Absolutely! We are a four-piece metalcore band from New Hampshire in the USA. We currently consist of the following members:
Richard Janvrin – Vocals
Adam Levesque – Clean vocals and guitar
Derek Mayo – Bass
Anthony Gagnon – Drums
We formed in April-ish 2018 after I got in contact with a long-time friend who was the former drummer for the band. From there, I posted an ad to Craigslist and found Adam, who in turn got his friend Derek to play bass!
From there we spent a lot of time writing our EP “Escape” material. We played our first show in November 2018 and followed that up in 2019 playing a bunch of shows trying to gain some notoriety in our local scene. While that happened we got some excellent opportunities to open for bands like The Browning, Oh, Sleeper, Attila, Rings of Saturn, the Summer Slaughter Festival which featured bands like Lorna Shore and Carnifex, Veil of Maya, Betraying the Martyrs, Gideon and Crown the Empire, among others.
- You are pigeonholed in the metalcore scenario with a sound that draws on 2000s metalcore nostalgia with a modern approach. Influenced by the likes of legends such as As I Lay Dying, August Burns Red and Killswitch Engage, you also bring to the table high energy reminiscent of Fit For A King and Wage War by creating a unique formula of your own which is chock-full of potential. So let’s discuss the influences, bands and genres you have explored before sticking to your current soundscape.
I think when it comes down to it, we all have influences musically. However, we are definitely of the mindset that “if it sounds good, let’s do it”. We are all fans of other music, but yeah, we love this genre. For instance, Derek is big into indie music; one of Adam’s favorite bands is Coheed and Cambria; my favorite band is Emmure (still in that realm but a heavier side to it) and got into vocals from being a fan of Phil Bozeman of Whitechapel. So, I think it’s OK to have your influences and be a fan of what you like, but to also recognize that you’re open to evolution. With that said, we do like metalcore “aroma” if you will. We like heavier music. We like melodic music. We like screams. We like clean singing. That is a formula to do whatever we want musically.
- Nowadays we’re seeing many bands drastically changing their sound, so what’s your point of view on the current metalcore scene or –core scenario in general?
I think it’s doing well, honestly. Especially when you see bands like Polaris, Dealer, Alpha Wolf, If I Were You, Kingsmen start to emerge more and more and bands like Fit For A King, As I Lay Dying and August Burns Red out new music that, at least for us, is really good stuff. Artists can do as they please. Some change in ways that may not be ideal for their original fans, but at the end of the day, artists are people and they change and want to experiment more. We need to keep innovating the sound as much as we can, and artists are doing so how they see fit. Will it stand the test of time? Well, we just have to wait and see.
- You debuted on the scene with six-track EP ESCAPE dating back to June 14th, 2019. What was the creative and writing process approached for this record?
So this EP was interesting because we came together and put it together so fast. A lot of was taking Adam’s personal works and tinkering with them and then Purgatory was really kind of the first song we wrote more-so collectively and I think you can tell by the sound of that song compared to the others. Also, these were the first lyrics I ever wrote. Prior to TrueShot, both myself and our original drummer had never been in a band ever. So, lyrically, I have matured more in that realm — I might as well use my English degree for something. Haha.
We are proud of the EP as it was our introduction into the music catalog, really, but we want to hone the sound even more. The EP has a nostalgic feel of the “core” genre from yesteryear, but the material we have now is just much more polished and “modern”. Also, we had Ricky Armellino of Ice Nine Kills and HAWK mix and master that EP.
- On March 13th, 2020 you released a brand new single titled PARADIGM, so how has the sound changed or progressed since your earlier materials and what was different for this single as compared to your previous release?
If you listen to Paradigm and listen to a song like Paris off our EP side-by-side, sure, they are both of the core genre, but it sounds like a completely different band. We went from Paris being a 6-string guitar in Drop C to Paradigm being a 7-string at Drop G. For those familiar with that terminology, you’ll know that is quite the change in sound. Paradigm is much heavier and has no clean vocals. However, we will tell you that our future releases will still be in a 7-string. Our next single is still in Drop G, but the cleans return and it’s a way more riff-driven song. Paradigm has the riffs, but it’s not typical to our past sound either. All we know is that we are stoked on this new sound. Also, Adam has a gift for finding the best tones ever, so that helps.
Watch TrueShot – Paradigm feat. Aidan Holmes of Dealer (Official Video):
- I would love to discuss with you the experience you had by featuring Aidan Holmes of Australian metalcore outfit Dealer and how this collaboration was set up in the first place.
Yeah, this was cool. I have been a fan of Dealer since Day 1. Paradigm was the type of track that he thought Aidan Holmes would sound great on. The process dates back to May 2019. The process did take a long time getting everything together, but at the end of the day, the final product, we think, is awesome. Not to mention we got Aidan Holmes in the music video, too.
- In this song you’re opening up about your personal upbringing and surviving childhood trauma of addicted parents, the loss of your mother and a meaningful theme of resilience. Let’s discuss the lyrical inspiration of the song and the general vision or message that TrueShot would like to get ultimately across with their music.
I write all my lyrics from the point of view of my own life. Some bands write about social issues and politics and what not, and that’s fine, but quite honestly, that’s just not for me. I try to keep those things separate and just write lyrics people can relate to and that’s what I have found. Paradigm is a song with an aggressive message. Yes, my childhood was riddled with people who used drugs including both of my parents. My mom passed in 2015. So, coming from that realm, I wanted to get as far away from that as possible. I concentrated on school and trying to get out with a vision in mind. With that, I have plenty of inner conviction and I don’t have the time, nor do I want to be weighed down by anyone. So, sometimes, that is looked at as arrogant. I opened the song with the line “This chip on my shoulder skewed as arrogance” because I think that is the main theme of this entire discussion and theme which conjured the lyric writing.
- Let’s briefly explain the visionary artwork of the single.
Kendall Johns of the band Dead Crown designs all of our stuff and he is one of the very best I have ever seen. Being in a metal band he understands the aesthetic and just has a natural feel for it. He is awesome. I can’t say enough about him. I trust Kendall’s process and he came back with this, a diamond. It represents the New Paradigm of Human Satisfaction, having to do with Time, Cost, and Quality and sometimes that can be represented through the people in which we surround ourselves with: Is the time spent with this person helping me grow to be a better me? Does being around this person come at a cost? If so, is it worth it? And lastly, the quality of the relationship. It can be difficult to cut ties. I have had to with my own family members, but for the betterment of oneself, sometimes that is the best course of action. As mentioned before, Kendall is a genius when it comes to design.
- You shared the stage with icons such as Attila, Betraying The Martyrs, Veil Of Maya, Mothersound, Oh, Sleeper, Crown the Empire and appeared at The Summer Slaughter Tour 2019. So let’s discuss your live experience by sharing a couple of best on-stage moments.
Any time you see people mosh to your music it is a good feeling. But if one show stuck out in general, that would be the show with Oh, Sleeper. That show was a small venue here in New Hampshire. It was packed to the brim. Our sound was filled out with polish backing tracks and I just lost my mind going into the crowd and standing on half-walls in the venue. It was a rowdy atmosphere and some of the most fun we’ve had.
- You do reaction videos on YouTube. What’s the story behind this activity?
I came up with this idea because I saw no one was doing this from a “band” perspective. For me what I notice most with bands or artists is that they are so focused on the music and hoping that propels them. However, that isn’t the case anymore this day and age. Doing the reaction videos allows for users to get to know us as people from not only our reactions and reviews, but our banter between one another and interacting with the subscribers in the comment section. One thing I’ve never understood is why bands or artists don’t interact with people who are taking the time out of their day to reach out and interact. Sometimes bands and artists try to be, like, super mysterious and try to give off that “rock star” feel. Myself and Adam are dads. We’re just regular people making music and that will appeal to people. We want to build a brand while building a band and we love interacting with people who care enough to interact with us. We do not take that for granted at all. We’re not above doing anything that connects us to people.
- If you had the opportunity to share the stage with five of your favorite metalcore bands who would they be?
As I Lay Dying, August Burns Red, Emmure, Wage War and Fit For a King. Picking five is hard!
- How do you see yourselves in 5 years’ time, any goals you wish to achieve and aspirations? Let’s dream big.
In all honesty, we just want to build a brand and make music for people who will support us. Of course we’d like to get signed and all of that, but only if the situation is right. Nowadays, you can do a lot of things on your own, it’s just more work on your end. We want to see YouTube grow, we want to continue to release good music that people will enjoy, play shows with some of the five we mentioned above and connect with as many people as possible.
- What else can we expect from TrueShot in 2020, if you can tell us? Any upcoming record, shows, anticipations.
We have shows planned for the following dates:
3/19: Alchemy in Providence, RI
4/18: The Palladium in Worcester, MA
5/15: Jewel Music Venue in Manchester, NH
5/30: Back to Jewel again for a Battle of the Bands to earn a spot in iMatter Festival.
We also plan to release 2-3 more singles and will consistently keep releasing content that grows us. We have also talked about another feature, but we’re unsure!
Thank you for your time and all the best for your music. We are thrilled for more music to be dropped by TrueShot and support you into Europe and US!
Thank you so much. These were great questions!
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