Our brand of music is a throwback to the classic rock produced in the 70s with a modern twist. Total Information Awareness is best described as a rock album with a nod to the psychedelic bands that have influenced our sound.
Interview by Jacqueline Jax
host of A.V.A Live Radio
National Security Band
Person Interviewing: Andy Balog
Song name: Twelve Below
We are living in strange times. Our world and realities are changing at an unprecedented pace and it’s so fast that many people don’t recognize or accept what is truly going on. Twelve Below is a third person view with their opinions about the climate change debate. However, weather they believe this phenomenon is real or artificial is open to interpretation. The ultimate message is that we would like people to open their eyes and minds and form a rational opinion based on facts.
Link to play:: https://open.spotify.com/track/0xFPCKTAegMQ8Hei4pVWzJ
Our music is original. Our goal when forming National Security Band was to create original music with a unique sound. The best way to explain it is that being in a two piece band really limits the amount of colors you can use to fill the canvas. Drums, guitars, vocals, and distortion are our entire color palette.
Two person bands really need to be focused and on the same page because there is nowhere to hide mistakes. Our brand of music is a throwback to the classic rock produced in the 70s with a modern twist. Total Information Awareness is best described as a rock album with a nod to the psychedelic bands that have influenced our sound.
Twelve Below is a serious rock song that you want to listen to as you roll down the highway with your windows down and the volume knob cranked all the way to the right. Our music is meant to be listened to loud.
You’ll hear an anger and an angst while listening to Twelve Below and honestly, our entire album. We set out to put together a true throwback concept album and honestly believe that we achieved our goal. The entire album is about issues in our society, many of which are completely our of control. Invasive robots, UFOs, nuclear holocaust, political assassinations, surveillance, and conspiracies are some of the other areas we explore on this release.
Our writing process is pretty involved and songs evolve and are shaped through a series of jam sessions, text messages, emails and can be lengthy at times. Songs start with either a drum beat or guitar riff, but the matching, pairing, and timing are the time consuming and difficult parts. I’ll give you a couple examples:
End Tidal was written in one day and was what really saved and defined our band. The drumming in National Security’s first official song, End Tidal, was Greg’s expression of anti-government anger and set the stage for his drumming throughout the album. Greg’s musical influence and expression is through aggressive, melodic, dreamy and soothing rhythms and beats that display anger, confusion, disconnection and peace.
We recorded this on a cheap MP3 recorder and upon hearing the initial playback, we instantly knew we found something pretty awesome. End Tidal shaped the direction our band was going to head. Although the song as you hear it today has no lyrics, its roots are deeply political in nature. Our initial live performances of this song featured cut-up clips of politicians making outlandish and ridiculous comments and we would gradually get louder and louder before drowning them completely out.
Invasion on the other hand took over a half of a year to write. We were rehearsing for a live performance and before taking a break, Greg blasted out an impromptu drum solo that melted my face. I remember sort of setting down my guitar and trying to take it in because I felt I had nothing that would match the intensity of what he was playing.
We went back on our video of the practice and were lucky enough to have caught the moment. I then went to work writing guitar parts and lyrics, and as the weeks and months passed, the framework for Invasion was eventually formed. The ending of the song was something that we debated for at least two months and the day before heading to the studio to record our album, we literally spent an entire day working on the ending for invasion. Once it fell together, everything seemed to click and playing it feels completely natural.
As far as equipment, I primarily play an American Strat through a Vox AC 30 amp with a range of effects pedals. I’m also in love with a 1966 Fender Mustang which I just refurbished and really dig the gritty and dirty sounds that it puts forward. The effects guitar pedals I used to record our album were Caline Super Chorus, Behringer Ultra Flanger UF300, Ibanez DDL20 Delay 3, Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer, Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi, and a crybaby wah pedal. This arrangement allows me to play anything from a super clean tone, to spacy, while being able to the create heavy riffs to fill in the sonic space.
When we hit the Catalyst Recording Studios in Charlotte this past September we had everything ready to go. Our goal was to be very well rehearsed with our songs and minimize the time spent inside the studio. In our minds, the creative process was already done by the time we walked through the doors. Our job was to simply lay down the tracks in a systematic and the most time efficient manner we could. Some of the songs took multiple tracks but Invasion and perhaps one more were done in one single take.
How do you stay focused and balance creating with life..
There is too much in this world that will consume your soul and eat away your insides if you allow it. There is no magic formula for achieving balance in your life. Unfortunately, society demands that we use paper money in exchange for goods and services-that means we all have to pay bills. As long as your daily pursuits are not driven to simply compile paper but to amass life experiences, you are probably doing ok. Creating is relatively easy as long as you can open your senses to whats going on around you.
By understanding the natural surroundings along with the stark contrast of the artificial constraints pushed on us by governments, corporations, and society it’s pretty easy to channel that into a motivation to create. Let’s be honest, there is plenty going on in our world to fuel content for at least twenty more albums.
What piece of music advice forever changed your way of thinking?:
In order to play live music you need to learn to close your eyes listen with your entire being. – Andy
The most influential musician in Greg’s life is the current drummer for Little Big Town, Hubert Payne, who Greg befriended through a fundraiser in support of youth. It was Hubert’s personal encouragement that led Greg to get back on the kit after a long break, to have fun, and to not worry about missing a beat, or a sloppy transition…that passion is the most important musical influence, and It will be heard.
I live in…
Andy lives in Akron, OH. There are several amazing places to hear live music in the area and we are literally 30 minutes away from the Rock and Roll capital of the world in Cleveland. The most memorable concert experience I had growing up was to get to see Pink Floyd live at the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium when they toured behind the Division Bell album. Hearing David Gilmour’s guitar solo to Sorrow was the moment that inspired me to learn to play guitar. The local music scene has improved after the Black Keys hit it huge and were very open about being from Akron. There are deep roots for rock music in our area and we host one of the most amazing, laid back, and unique music festivals every year (Porch Rokr) that you would ever experience.
Greg is from the Cleveland, Ohio area and has lived in several States across the country, including most recently the States of Texas and North Carolina. Greg currently calls no State, home. The band officially formed while Greg was living in Dallas, Texas, through discussions of our nation’s state of affairs, the geographical differences in thinking and theory, and simply trying to make sense of political theory that has no universal answer. The musical scene changes as Greg moves across the country—From Metallica, to Kid Rock, to Nirvana, to Tool, to Widespread Panic, to Old Crow Medicine Show, to Willie Nelson and some of country music’s largest names; the scene has been diverse and have all been important.
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