Interview: Makes My Blood Dance
Evan Russell Saffer: Vocals
John Christian Polimeni: Guitar/Synth/Programming
Allan Zapar: Drums
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
EVAN: My father was a musician and I was always drawn to music as a sort of pacifier. I just look at it like stepping into a dream where I feel safe and I have super powers. I do many things alongside music as most musicians are prone to do. They all involve people though, I like to connect. There was a significant moment in 4th grade as well. My parents separated and my mom moved me to a coed public school (I was previously in a private all boys school). I was the new kid and at that age it was very awkward. I did not have many friends and of course I was enamored being around all the girls. There was a call for a vocal solo in chorus class and my hand shot up as the only volunteer. I sang it out with all my heart and got the part. It was kind of a long solo and very defining for me....another one of those putting my whole self out there for better or for worse......no pain no gain. I was in all the plays and had many solos after that and my standing in the school (and with the girls) was elevated thereafter.
JOHN: My father made classical music my entire world as a child. I asked for my first piano lessons when I was 9 and didn't stop there. I discovered old-school heavy metal in college l and started messing around on guitar. I learned pretty much every 1980s era Metallica song. I didn't much care for any other of the contemporary genres until after college, but even then I went straight for the modern thrash guys such as Avenged Sevenfold, Children of bodom, In flames etc. If it was not for music, I would have probably gotten my PHD in physics or electrical engineering and gone from there.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
EVAN:: I play ice hockey. I think it's important to stockpile psychic and physical energy in order to be the best version of yourself. Having healthy passions that contribute to your well-being is critical. The old me would say "Sex, drugs and......you know the rest."
JOHN: I like reading my Bible and I pray daily. I am a follower of Jesus Christ- I'm not trying to be self righteous, but the devotion brings all my wrongs to light & pushes me to focus on others rather than myself, and that's what I think our music should reflect. Since God is the creator of all things, we're fearless in our creativity and the risks we take as a band. I know somewhere out there that there is incredible unwritten music and sounds, and I look forward to discovering this with my band.
ALLAN: I like to listen to music, study, think; that can be very random but works as some kind of tension relief, makes my mind more “open” and lets me think about more possibilities. I think that’s how it influences my creativity.
How long has music been your career?
EVAN: I've been playing piano and singing since I was a wee lad. I suppose I should say, I have been fearlessly putting my heart and soul under the lights for interpretation, inspiration and criticism for as long as I can remember. It's a challenge/reward/punishment system that I crave. The old "creativity vs am I good enough for you to like me" syndrome. I think I have evolved quite a bit on that topic over the years but the dark side is strong.....but not so strong.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
EVAN: I am originally from New York City which has an energy and menacing sort of existence. You grow up becoming street smart very quickly and that sort of sharpens and edge over time.
JOHN: Witches Den
ALLAN: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
EVAN: That's like asking the best and worst sex that I've had, not an issue, just give me shows and lets rock. I think it's the picky bastards that want to play packed stadiums every night like the world owes you something.....that makes me sick. That said, our shows are usually very well attended, we work hard with our partners to make sure of that.
JOHN: Our best show might have been Oct 2019 at Blackthorn 51 when it still stood. The place was packed, We didn't miss a beat, and every eye and ear in the room was pretty much waiting on our next note. There was just a great sense of community that night.
My worst show might have been 9 or so years ago with my previous band - our drummer was drunk and pissing into beer cans backstage before the show.. so you know how that turned out haha! I'm so glad everyone in MMBD is sober and doesn't mess around. it's something special to hold on to.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
EVAN: We have had some great shows at smaller dive bars where it's not very glamorous, just smokey, sweat-soaked energy and joy pulsing through the crowd. Our tour circuit has been mostly the Northeast USA. Allan is in the process of getting us a Brazil tour lined up, he's from Rio and his brother is very active in the music industry down there so we have some good connections!
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
EVAN: I think we would do very well in front of large festival crowds, Makes My Blood Dance appeals to a lot of genres from metal to pop to dance so it's hard to choose a single tour mate. Love to tour with Maneskin, YungBlud, Palaye Royale, Dua Lipa, Rammstein, Eskimo Callboy, Ghost, Avenged Sevenfold, Ozzy, Metallica, GNR, Fozzy- I think fans of those bands would dig our music.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into music?
EVAN: Stop trying to figure it out and just keep playing and creating. My favorite artists are the ones that are genuine and don't give a f@ck! It's a journey not a race, be in the moment and make the most of it.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
EVAN: Read my response to the last question, oh yeah, skip all the drugs and alcohol.....you'll make better decisions, live longer and be rich.
ALLAN: Practice more and LEARN English for the sake of gods!
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
EVAN: It's always the one we just wrote, because that's the "Now". Which means my best headspace requires that I'm frequently creating. Ask John, I'm calling him daily about the next song.
JOHN: Probably We Push and They Shove. It speaks of a current struggle but the dawn that rapidly approaches. It's easy to relate to with every life struggle in any walk.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
ALLAN: Heaven Collides (Rag Na Rock upcoming album) because it’s the most symphonic and thematic song we have in my opinion.
EVAN:: Communion is a blast because it's epic, the crowd loves it and gets us all fired up. I really enjoy our cover of Wish I Knew You (*release set for 2022) because the song itself is amazing but also our disco metal interpretation of it is very different from the original by the Revivalists. This appears on our upcoming record Rag Na Rock slated for release 2022. The other part of "favorite songs" are the videos surrounding them, because now I have those experiences and images burned into the song everytime I hear it. That means a lot to me and I really look for inspired collaborators that I can fall in love with because that's the feeling and idea behind Makes My Blood Dance. We just wrapped the video for Together Apart which was so magical for me that it inspired a new song about the main dancer and choreographer Ali Stevens (see her work and moves in Together Apart video - she's an angel) - we just finished recording it for the follow up record. Amazing!
What is the creative process for you, and what inspires you to write your music?
EVAN:: John and I have written 99% of the songs, although the latest song Allan gifted us with a banger of a riff, and it usually begins with a musical mood or riff that John fleshes out into a full song structure. Then I add lyrics and melodies and we ping pong it back and forth, co-producing until we love it. Then Dave Ogilvie (Tool, NIN, Rob Zombie) gets his hands on it to mix and poof = Makes My Blood Dance
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
EVAN: Usually something that inspires me, the lyrics are personal confessions of some kind, like I said it's my vulnerable outlet. Some are universal themes like Power of the Lightside which focuses on the daily grind and being your best self through all the cuts and bruises. Being comfortable when you're uncomfortable, self empowerment, higher power and all that good stuff. The video for that song is rad, we had a great cast doing body combat and just cutting losses.
Do you ever have disagreements when collaborating and how do you get past them?
EVAN: I'm a lunatic and John is a stoic so it's a great partnership. Actually, I have never had such a healthy relationship creatively. I'll give you an example, recently Filia was M.I.A. for a video shoot. She gave us the building address to meet out front but she wasn't there. John kept calling me asking what to do. I told him to ring all the buzzers (it was 8 am on a Sunday). Then he got buzzed in and I told him to knock on all the doors. People were mucho pissed off and he still couldn't find her. Then I told him to pull the fire alarm and then all the people would come out of the building. When I called back I asked what's going on and he tells me, like a stoic Jedi Master, there are fire trucks and police everywhere and no Filia. I told him to get the hell out of there before he got arrested! Filia was in the basement sleeping through the noise and chaos after an all-nighter......and missed the shoot. We had to make some creative adjustments shooting that day, but that's for the next interview.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
EVAN Together Apart single and music video are the bomb and should not be missed, they arrive February 2022. They will be serviced to the entire world as we want to know it and see where it takes us. We are in pre-production for the follow up video for Wish I Knew You as well while we continue to record songs for the follow up album.
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