Please introduce your band
We are a three-piece rock group based in Boston, Massachusetts, that have been described as "every genre of rock". A title we hold dear.
Tell us about your lineup
Michael T. Seguin, lead vocal and guitar
Dan Fried, drums and vocals
Budd Lapham, bass and vocals
Each of us picked up our instruments about the same time, age 13. By age 16 we were in bands and by 18 we were playing in clubs. Michael and Budd attended the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA after graduating high school while Dan went on to become part of the popular Boston rock group “Publius”. After graduating, Michael and Budd went on to play in numerous bands together in California, Wisconsin, Arizona, New Hampshire & Massachusetts. Aside from being a member of Heavy AmericA, Michael also operates a recording studio (Room 19 Studio) where the band does all of its production work.
How did the band meet?
We formed in 2014 during a friend's recording session in Boston. Each of us were brought in as session players to record a four song EP with a friend who is a vocalist. We were friends before the session but hadn't played together. When the sessions were over we knew we had some great chemistry together and decided to form a three piece group. That's when Michael became the lead vocalist. We rented a studio and started writing songs together and released our self titled EP in 2015. We've been together six years now, the songs keep coming and we have no intentions on quitting.
What's the story behind your band name?
We were sitting outside the studio listening to a demo we recorded earlier that day and a little boy came up and asked who we were listening to. We told him it was us and he said "that sounds like heavy America", we looked at each other with surprise and said "there's our band name!”.
Tell us about your influences!
There's so many. Our band's main genre may be rock but at one time or another all three of us have played in bands outside the rock genre or in sub genres of it. Having come from musical families, we were taught to appreciate all good music and were exposed to lots of classics early on in our lives, and we're glad we were! Our influences are so vast and cover decades giving us lots of tools to work with, it would be a shame to stifle any of them. It's the reason our sound is so diverse and we wouldn't want it any other way.
Could you describe your approach to songwriting?
Most of the time Michael will write the lyrics, the melody, and guitar parts before he brings it to rehearsal. From there we start filling in the missing pieces together as a band. We never try to force the song to be something it doesn't want to be. You can usually tell where the song wants to go, so we give it what it wants to be great, not worrying about style. The song will let you know what genre it is when it's complete.
Describe your band's first big break
After our debut EP, we released a few singles. One of the singles, "Pray For Me" released in support of our upcoming album which caught the attention of Tinderbox Music. They reached out to us and we did a national radio campaign with them along with a huge amount of PR. From there things really started to pick up for us. We watched all of our platform numbers skyrocket and we started getting offered better gigs. We still remain on their roster today and they are a key component to our team. Where we are now has a lot to do with their help.
Tell us about some of your most memorable gigs - both good and bad!
The most memorable gig has to be SXSW 2018 in Austin, Texas. We were one of the few rock bands representing Boston. We played a club on 6th street called "Darwin's" and the place was packed. We smashed that show and got some recognition for it. That show opened the door to other music festivals that summer including the Matrix Music Festival where we had the opportunity to open for some national acts.
I would say the worst gig ever was in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The whole evening felt off, we played well but there seemed to be no one in charge and the room had a really heavy vibe. When we were loading out at the end of the night, a gun fight broke out in front of the club about ten feet away. We ran back into the club and couldn't leave until the police could clean up the shell casings from underneath our van.
What advice do you have to those who want to start a band?
Remember that being a musician is a lifelong journey, not a race and takes patience. The comradery with your mates is like none other. You will grow together as musicians and experience things no one else will understand or sometimes believe. If you find yourself not enjoying your band anymore, move on before there are any hard feelings. We all have our definition of success and musicians can outgrow each other. Educate yourself as much as you can along the way about all facets of the music industry, especially the business end. There will always be someone trying to make a buck off of you but make sure you get two in return.
What are some of the challenges you face being in a band?
Right now the biggest challenge is getting secured gigs. With performance restrictions and mandates constantly changing from city to city nothing is guaranteed. Unfortunately, it’s scaring away a lot of the patrons as well. That leads to a second challenge. If you're not making money playing shows, then it needs to come from streaming and as we all know, that pay scale is abysmal. We need some real reform from ALL the major streaming services so artists can pay their bills. It’s awesome having the tools at your disposal to gather fans from all across the globe but extremely unfair that the platforms you’re sending them to in order to hear your music won’t pay a fair rate for your work in bringing them there.
What does it take to be successful as a band?
Everyone's definition of success is different in music. Some think it's fame and fortune. We're in it for the songwriting. Creating something tangible out of nothing, sharing it with the world and knowing that someone out there can totally relate and make our song a part of their life’s soundtrack. Success! Did we make a pile of money? No. Does the planet know who we are now? No. However, a song we wrote moved someone emotionally and now has become part of our legacy. That is our definition of success and it never gets old because it happens with every new release.
How important is music theory?
In the beginning not so much. Worry more about learning how to play your instrument. Although, if you plan on playing with and learning from musicians who are better than you, and you should, it's very important. At some point they will start speaking freely in a language you don't understand. You don't need to learn it all but you really need to know the basics. There are so many online tutorials and lessons available for free. If you find a program that works for you, it's actually fun! You can take what you've learned, apply it and see (or hear) the results. Knowing theory can also save a lot of time when writing and can earn you respect from your peers.
Tell us about the releases you've put out to date
We have 11 releases to date. Our first release was our self titled EP released in 2015 containing five tracks. Followed by two singles in 2016 then our full length album titled “Now” in 2017 containing nine tracks. The album did really well and got a lot of press. It also contained the track "Pray For Me" which put us on the map. After the album we started releasing singles again. One in 2018, 2019, 2020 and this year, 2021, we've released three singles. Our latest single "Crushed" has been doing great and we're hoping to get two more out before the end of the year.
What has been your band's biggest achievement?
Getting to where we are now as a band with all of its original members still intact! Six years is impressive for a struggling band to stick together but we have, even with all that the industry has thrown at us over the past couple years we continue to push forward, like a machine. This band has given us the freedom to explore and push our own limits, helping us grow and become seasoned. For myself (Michael), I've learned so much about being a songwriter as well as an engineer and producer. I'm finally at a place where I can get exactly what's in my head onto a tangible format on my own. You realize it's more of an art than a talent and a huge achievement.
How do you view the current state of the music industry?
Never before has it been so easy for an artist or band to promote themselves and get their music in front of an audience. The tools many record companies had a monopoly on are now available to any DIY artist or band who is willing to educate themselves on how to use them. Although what used to act as a filter has become an open flood gate, making it extremely difficult to be seen or heard. You need to set goals, have a budget and stick to it. There are a lot of PR companies and "playlist curators" out there looking to take your money. Do your homework before you spend a dime.
What are you working on right now?
Right now we are getting ready to shoot a music video for our next single, "Call You Tomorrow" coming out in late September 2021 or early November 2021 depending on editing time. Then it's back to the studio to mix another single we have already tracked. There's actually two more to be mixed then we'll shoot a video for each. It's going to be a busy fall!
What is your focus for the year ahead?
We plan on continuing to write, record and shoot lots of videos. The winter is a great time for that. By spring we should have another string of singles to release throughout 2022 and hopefully live performances will be back in full swing so we can hit the road for a bit. There's always a lot to do when trying to stay relevant and never a dull moment.
Thank you so much for dropping by the WeJam studio! Where can we follow your progress?
You can find Heavy AmericA's music across all major streaming services.