Interview With Jmo of Splintered Throne on New Singer Lisa Mann, and plans for 2020.

Tell me about how you found your new singer, who are they? What are they bringing to Splintered Throne that varies compared to your last vocalist?
 Lisa Mann is our new singer.  Lisa is an award-winning Contemporary Blues artist, but she never lost her love of hard rock and heavy metal music.  She learned how to play bass and sing along with her Iron Maiden and Rush albums, and first performed live in the original incarnation of crossover band Dead Conspiracy.  Though she has mostly made her mark in the blues scene, she forayed into symphonic metal as the voice and bass player of Cry for Eden.  She is also the producer of the mostly one-woman traditional metal recording project White Crone.  We now have a female-fronted band as opposed to a male one. Her vocal delivery is similar to the last singer in that she sings melodically, but at the same time, her melodies are different.  She is more of a tenor than a baritone.

Here’s a funny story…so our last show with our last singer was supporting Flotsam & Jetsam in the Spring of 2019.  We announced it as his last show and mentioned it a few times while we were playing.  During the show, I saw this gal standing down in the front row and she knew just about all the words to the songs.  She was wearing a denim jacket with patches, I was like “who is this chick! This is rad.”  So we get done and I go to the bar to have my after-gig beer and I see her talking to Brian.  She looked familiar but I couldn’t place it.  So she leaves and I asked Brian, “who was that? She looked familiar.”  He tells me it was Lisa Mann.  Now if you are not from Portland OR you probably don’t know who that is.  But if you ARE from P-Town, you would know that Lisa is about one of the best blues singers in town packed into a 5’00, 100-pound person.  She is also a PHENOMENAL bass player and in 2019 was voted best blues bass player by the Portland Blues Association.  So we end up calling her out to audition.  We asked all the prospects to learn two of our original tunes (out of a list of about 8 to 10) and one of three covers.  They were Green Manalishi, Burn (Deep Purple), and House of the Rising Sun.  She came out and nailed not only the two original tunes but all of the covers.  When she came out a week later to seal the deal and see how writing would go, we ran through an original list of about 10 songs that we really could have done on stage and played to a full house.  She just nailed it.

So in short, our singer found us and she kicks ass.

How do you think being on the road with this new and intensive concert schedule will affect you?  We are still pretty locked into the Pacific NW with the occasional short tour due to some day job priorities and Lisa’s already established solo career.  Rigorous for us is a few times a month around the Pacific NW (Seattle/Portland/Outlying areas).  Being in the worst music market area in the US as far as distance goes,  we make the best of it.

Funny story #2…so the band has two vegans, a gluten-free guy, a no-red-meat guy (he’s a fallen vegan that farts too much to exclusively eat any more bean/soy products), and a Keto diet guy.  Finding a place for us to agree to eat is harder than what kind of music we are going to listen to on the way to the club.

What could you tell me about your new singles?
 They were recorded one cold, rainy Pacific NW weekend at Primal Studios in Portland, OR in Jan 2020.  They were mixed and mastered by Kevin Hahn, who has worked with the Scorpions and Paul Gilbert.  They were recorded mostly live.  We have release Immortal recently, with another single slated for release late February or early March.  A video for Immortal is also planned for release in March.

Do you have any new influences compared to when you first started?  
With music ever-changing, so do our influences.  Everyone in this band is all over the places with what we like outside of hard rock and metal.  For Lisa, it’s the blues.  Jmo loves this band out of Maryland called Ballyhoo that’s motto is reggaeskasexpunk.  Brian is an Aquabat and Japanese girl metal fan.  Kris is our resident prog guy and Fred brings us the Jazz.  But then we all love Maiden, Rush, and Megadeth.  Road trips are awesome….

How do you feel now that you are in 2020, how would you explain your growth from where you first started out?  
We are much better songwriters now than when we started out.  Even when someone brings a mostly written song, the learning process to the other band members almost always morphs it into what makes a Splintered Throne song.  We believe that while we are not reinventing the metal genre, we have a unique sound that is the US, and when you hear it you know.  Good vocals and a strong hook, two guitars that work with each other whether it’s intertwined or dual harmony solos, and a rhythm section that defines their own sound.  We had it before and even more so now that we are female-fronted, there are really no bands here in the Pacific NW doing what we do and how we do it with the sound we have.  No one.

As a live performing act, we pride ourselves on making other bands work for it.  There are no shoegazers here. We believe a show is more than just standing on stage and delivering tunes.  We try and make it an experience like we are inviting you into our living room to hang out and be a part of what we create.  The songs tell the story and we are the storytellers.

For records that you can look back on, state how many followers you had on different platforms and how many streams you got in 2019 on your music platform of choice. 

 It’s hard to say.  We put most of our stuff out on Spotify, which is our favored platform, and rocketed to 1K plus pretty quick. From there it’s just been that same 1000+for some time. This is very likely to change with Lisa on board, as we already are seeing a tick in plays on Spotify and some of the other platforms we’ve now spread to like Bandcamp and Soundcloud.  We have consistently been in the Portland OR metal charts on Reverbnation in the top 10 for about 3 years now, and at the time of this email response is #1 locally and regionally, and #5 nationally and globally.

How do you think your schedule will be in 2020 compared to 2019? Major changes or will it stay basically the same?
  We had to recoup with a new singer.  We hardly played at all last year.  2020 we change that.  Playing live is what we live for.  We are also writing and rehearsing once a week or more.  The writing process is flowing like mad.  We are shooting for a new CD in late 2020 and at the rate, we are writing, it is a very realistic goal.

If you could set a goal that you would achieve by the end of the year, what would it be and why would it be that? And what will you be doing to work towards that goal?

  We have been working towards a bigger fan base.  With Lisa on board, we are reaching a broader base of fans with both the breadth of our new music and her already established solo career.  Doors are opening for us in this short time she has been with us that we’ve never had before…venues that would normally not book a hard rock band are talking to us about booking….local music media is reaching out to us that have not done so before.  We will be delivering what we deliver best with an even sharper precision with these new opportunities.  If you think we’re kidding, come #catchthethrone

Do you have anything to say to your fans?  
We are back.  We are going back to the roots…fast and tight, with the vocal melodies we are known for.  Lots of dual guitar stuff.  That short little hiatus we took in 2019 is going to be worth it.  We are bringing it like we have never brought it before. There is new life in the Splintered Throne tank and we call it Version 3.0.  Up the irons and bang that head that doesn’t bang!