POZ BandsOnBands: Hostage Calm On Warning

by Zack Zarrillo - Oct 22, 2012

Mondays mean BandsOnBands, and we’re excited to be posting the PropertyOfZack feature today with Nick Balzano of Hostage Calm. The band just released their new album, Please Remain Calm, via Run For Cover Records a few weeks ago, and it’s one of 2012’s best, so pick up a copy here

In this week’s feature, Nick dives into one of his favorite bands, Warning, and describes the way their music hit him perfectly during his Doom Metal kick, how we naturally gravitate to great sad music, and what it’s like discovering a band for the first time.Check out what Nick had to say about one of his biggest influences below!

From Nick Balzano of Hostage Calm:

I remember first hearing Warning and thinking, “This is the saddest shit in the world.”

Now I don’t know if you know me, but sad sells in my book. One of my favorite bands when I was growing up and discovering music was Mogwai. All of the instrumental stuff really did it for me. Throw on a Godspeed You! Black Emperor album, lay down in your bed and stare at the ceiling. I don’t think I was ever really in a bad mood, but something about disconnecting yourself from what was going on and listening to the emotion portrayed in those songs really moved me in a profound way when I was younger.

As the years went on I got into different music, gravitated towards the heavier stuff and somehow ended up on a huge Doom Metal kick. Electric Wizard, Pentagram, Bongzilla, Acid King: it was all I listened to. And it was during this time that I stumbled upon Warning. They were Doom Metal’s answer to all of the music I had grown to love over the years, doing something musically that hadn’t really been done. They took the concepts of Doom Metal and brought them into a more realistic domain where the lyrics had meaning but still retained the “epic ness” of their metal counterparts. And the music was nothing short of amazing. Their songs were long (averaging about 10 minutes) and were delicately orchestrated pieces of music in a way that movie scores can be.

After my first listen to the album I’m pretty sure I was humming all the melodies around my house that day. If there’s anything I learned from Warning it was this: don’t be afraid to write an intricate riff that might extend longer than what you’re used to writing. Who says you can’t write a guitar part that doesn’t repeat for 30 seconds and has a lyrical sway to it. It really inspired me at the time to do some serious song writing in that style. I learned about Counterpoint and the importance of good chord choices all because of this one album. That’s not to say that I hadn’t already thought about these things, but it had put it in a different perspective that finally made me get it. Anyone that writes his or her own music knows when something like this happens.

You discover a band for the first time, immediately grab your guitar, and the first few things you play just click. It’s like you’ve been stuck in this house and finally found a new hallway with all of these doors to open and explore. If it wasn’t for Warning, I don’t know if I ever would’ve gone down that hallway. It might’ve been a different one, but at the end of the day, I’m glad it was the one with metal thirds resonating through the floorboards, God-like guitar leads shining through the windows and the lyrics “I find again I am starving in your mystery/So far away and some kind of helplessness” etched into the walls. 

Get into it. 

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