Voices From Underground

Interview: Ivan Pavlakovic of DISCONNECTED

DISCONNECTED is the brand new project imagined by Adrian Martinot. The principal influences of the band are somewhere between Alter Bridge, Gojira, and Deftones. The band released their album White Colossus earlier this year and are set to disembark on a tour with Tremonti shortly. We had an opportunity to speak with their singer, Ivan Pavlakovic, about the band, their album, upcoming tour and more.

ANTIHERO: Many of our readers probably don’t know the band yet, could you introduce Disconnected to them?

Ivan: Of course. We are a modern metal band from France. This band was created in 2012 by Adrian Martinot who is the lead guitarist and songwriter of the band. And since 2012 he started to try and put together that band and he started to write those songs. But he couldn’t really find the right people to perform with him. Because sometimes they didn’t really have the skills as musicians to follow with the quality of what he was asking or sometimes he couldn’t find the right people according with the fact that they couldn’t really involve themselves and dedicate themselves enough.

ANTIHERO: Yes, it takes a lot of dedication and determination.

Ivan: Exactly. He was also struggling a lot with the singers. And by the end of 2016, he was a bit desperate about the singers that he couldn’t find in France and decided to try maybe to go to the UK to try and find some singers over there. At that moment I was working for the guy who mixed our album and that guy, François-Maxime Boutault, told Adrian ‘Maybe I found someone good for you and you should meet with Ivan.’ I was the last piece to join the band. I started to compose the vocal melodies and it worked really well and that’s how we ended up creating the band.

ANTIHERO: So at that point how much of the album was created or written? What was your input since you were the last one to join but you are also the songwriter of the band?

Ivan: Yeah, I understand what you mean. Adrian is working a bit alone at first, he is doing all the arrangements and he is creating all the riffs and the drum parts and the bass and everything. And basically, when I came in the band everything was written music wise. He had the tracks fully arranged and he was sending me those tracks but there were no vocals on it. So I started to create some vocals and step by step I was sending him my ideas and once he was happy with it I would start to write the lyrics. So we worked on that for probably like I’ll say 3-4 months. And then, after that, the album was complete with all the lyrics and all the vocal melodies and arrangements and stuff.

ANTIHERO: Was it hard to work in this manner for you?

Ivan: I’m used to working that way, I’ve always been working with musicians who would send me or make me listen to the musical part of the song and then I can be inspired by what they’ve been creating and I start to create my own vocal melodies. And sometimes I rearrange a bit of the song saying see, this part I would have this riff twice before going back to the verse or make this shorter or things like that. Step by step we worked like that.

ANTIHERO: So it looks like you’ve been really the perfect fit for the band.

Ivan: Yeah.  At first, it was a bit of challenge for me because I come from a different background as the metal genre. I was more into things like Stone Sour, Five Finger Death Punch, you know the modern alternative metal. A bit more simple as different parts of the songs and stuff like that.

ANTIHERO: Yes, Disconnected is definitely different than those bands.

Ivan: Yeah, it’s more complicated. At first, I thought it’s pretty different, it’s very rich and as I’m a bit like a type of old school like a metal singer, am I gonna have the right ideas to please a guy who is probably fifteen years younger than me?

ANTIHERO: Yeah, that can be a struggle because you must have very different musical backgrounds based on the age difference alone.

Ivan: Yeah, you know for example he’s listening to bands such as Periphery or Monuments and all those bands and I’ve never really listened to those. I was more on the side of the Pantera, Metallica, the classic stuff. Alter Bridge, I was listening to a lot to Alter Bridge. But what worked really well for us is that we managed to have a good mix of our different experiences and the backgrounds in this music. And finally, I think we achieved something with a little originality in it. Because it’s modern metal but at the same time there are roots with the rock, hard rock and classic metal genre with good choruses and hooks in the songs. It’s not like you scream over some parts and all of a sudden it’s very clean voice like everybody does in this modern metal genre.

ANTIHERO: I must say I’ve been really impressed by the album and you had amazing responses to the album so far, did you expect such a great response?

Ivan: I have to say we hoped. You always hope when you create something that people are gonna embrace it. But I have to say that we are really surprised about how it was welcomed and we are really surprised to receive all those great feedbacks from all over the world. That’s the most impressive for us because in France it’s pretty good but it’s even better with the rest of Europe and the United States of America as well. The USA has a very good response towards our music as well. And as I’ve never experienced that level of success with a band, it’s true that it’s been a great reward for us.

ANTIHERO: You are also going on tour across Europe shortly with Tremonti as a support act. What was it like to get on tour with the likes of Mark Tremonti and the guys?

Ivan: I have to say it’s beyond the dreams for us. Because we don’t have a management, we are totally independent and we do everything by ourselves. In between Adrian and I, we are managing all the questions and the problems for the band. All the contacts, all the promotion for the band, we do it ourselves. So the chances for us to get in touch with Tremonti’s management and to manage to negotiate with them a tour was probably one in a million.

ANTIHERO: But you did it.

Ivan: Yeah, we did it. We were, as they say, in the right place at the right time. For example, we met Mark Tremonti last year at the Hellfest festival in France. We managed to have an artist backstage pass and Adrian managed to get a hold of him before he was going on stage with his band, with Tremonti. And actually he was very nice to Adrian and he accepted to have a t-shirt of our band and CD and stuff like that. He listened to our stuff and really liked it. And since that day he would answer to us on Twitter directly. So that was already the first step and then after he gave us some tips on him coming back in November-December time in Europe touring. He gave us that tip probably by the end of June or beginning of July. So we were lucky enough to have this information before a lot of other people I think. So after that, we managed to get in touch with Tim Tournier, his manager, who was really nice to us as well and gave us a shot at this. We also had a lot of help from the fanbase of Tremonti as well. They’ve heard of us on the page Army of 12 and lots of people started to ask us what can we do for you guys because your music is amazing and you look like very nice people, we really wanna help you out on this matter. And we said to those guys well if you could start to share our videos and maybe try to spam those guys a bit and say we want this band to open for you, maybe it would help us a lot. And dozens of people started to do that.  And like maybe two weeks after that, we had like one thousand more people on our facebook page and then probably a week after that, beginning of September, Tim Tournier told us that we were on the tour. So you see.

ANTIHERO: Congratulations on that. It sounds like a lot of hard work, yeah. So what can we expect from you on the tour?

Ivan: We expect let’s say to try and kill it on stage every night, that’s the most important for us is to give like hundred and fifty percent of what we’ve got every night on stage. To convince the people that their bets on our band were a good move. We wanna show to all those people that we are great on stage and to gather as many people as we can around our cause and have people getting interested in the band, buying our merch as well and start to follow the band and make this fanbase grow tremendously. That’s the goal for us.

ANTIHERO: You mentioned that you are managing the band by yourselves. Why?

Ivan: Because it’s very hard to find the right people to work with you. There are lots of people who can be interested in your band, but they are not very professionally serious about that matter and before saying anything they could do for you they ask you money. That’s the first thing they’ve got in their mouth. Yes, I ‘m gonna manage you but you have to pay me this and that and it’s not the way it works. I’m a professional musician, I’ve been living of music as a singer for more than 15 years now and proper professional doesn’t start a conversation by how much you gonna give me. I think there are pretty much a good amount of people that are waiting to see what Disconnected is gonna become and when it’s gonna be the right time, I think we’re gonna bump into the right people and I hope on this tour we are gonna meet a lot of important people throughout Great Britain and maybe Germany as well and all those countries, great people from metal music from countries like from Napalm Records or Nuclear Blast. All those people they are the ones who can make a big difference for your band. They’re one of the best professionals in the business. They know how to manage the things. It’s not an approximate type of work, they are very precise in what they do. They do it very well, they are at the top of the business. And we are really aiming for those kinds of people to get involved in our band. I know that we are very new in this business because we just released the album like eight months ago. So it’s already such a great opportunity for us just to be on this tour. But of course we are aiming higher and we really wanna make something big out of this band so we’re gonna try and do our best to convince people that we are the next promising band that they have to put a bet on.

ANTIHERO: Do you have some kind of ultimate dream or something you would want to achieve with Disconnected?

Ivan: I’ll say a dream for us would be to make a living out of it. That’s already very high as an expectation.

ANTIHERO: It’s hard nowadays.

Ivan: As you know, metal music is not the most popular music in the world. In France, it’s almost impossible. Probably there’s just Gojira that can live of their music, but not for a long time. I think they recently started to make a good living out of it and they are here for many and many years. But if we could just start to be able to only do our music, tour, and release albums, that would be of course the dream. But if we can go higher, you know, why not.

ANTIHERO: It’s always a good idea to dream big.

Ivan: If for example six months ago you would have told me you know, by the end of 2018 you’re gonna open for Tremonti on a European tour, I would have thought that you are taking some pretty powerful drugs, you know.

ANTIHERO: Yeah, especially since you’ve been also big Alter Bridge fan so it’s really a dream came true.

Ivan: Exactly. And I really dig what Mark is doing on his own. To me Alter Bridge and his stuff, it’s fifty-fifty because of course, I’ve got a very pronounced taste for more aggressive music as well. So Tremonti is the hard part of Alter Bridge. He’s putting all his thrashy and heavier riffs in this project and his way of singing is a lot more aggressive on stage as well. And I really like that kind of heavy punching in your face type of music. I really like that.

ANTIHERO: Yeah, especially the singing, especially on the last album it looks like he improved so much.

Ivan: Yes, this last album is such badass. It’s the whole package. He’s got amazing songs, there is not one song that you would put on the side from this album. And then there’s that strong theme around the machines and stuff like that. Brilliant mind.

ANTIHERO: What other plans do you have besides the tour?

Ivan: At the moment we started to tour a bit in France, so we just did two gigs that went pretty well in the South of France. I’m living in the South of France, so I was booking those gigs with other bands. So we performed in Nice and then in Toulon, which is near Marseille in the South of France. And in two weeks time, we’ve got two more gigs in Montpellier and Marseille as well. And then we will rehearse for the tour. And then we had a big offer with a big live producer in France who is, for example, producing shows for Judas Priest, Lenny Kravitz, he used to do Motörhead as well or AC/DC. He offered us to open for a huge band by the end of January in the Zenith in Paris. Which is a six thousand seats venue. But as it’s not signed yet with the management of the band, I can’t talk further about that. After the tour of Tremonti, if we do this, it’s gonna be huge for us. And we have very good contacts with Hellfest and with Alcatraz as well, a festival in Belgium.

ANTIHERO: Hellfest is amazing.

Ivan: Yeah, and Hellfest 2019 I’d say we’ve got a pretty good chance to be on the bill as well.

ANTIHERO: Thank you very much for the interview, I am really looking forward to seeing you guys on tour with Tremonti.

Ivan: We are very very pumped about this. Like I told you we’re gonna give so much. I think this tour is gonna be amazing. It’s a great honour for us to open for those guys. We’re gonna cook those audiences the right temperature for them to kill it afterward.

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Niwy Kováčová

Slovakia - Photographer/Writer

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