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Interview with Rockin Engine
Answers by guitarist Ste Vy Leff
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
It started back when I was a young teenager and buying my first Metallica album “Master of Puppets. I was hooked right away, memorizing the lyrics by listening to the album 4 times per day. My interest in guitar playing struck to the roof. Bought my first guitar at 14 years old, a nice black squire, not long after this I had to upgrade to an Ibanez RG, and the rest is history. Music is a passion for me, I don’t do it for money or fame I simply play because I have a need to play. Professionally, all band members have careers outside of music. We are simply grateful for being part of this monster band we started a few years back.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Listening to music in the car is the best way for me to gain creativity, basically, it’s the only “me” time I can use to discover new bands and get new ideas for riffs. But of course, I cannot put aside going to shows not being the biggest influence for me. It’s all about searching for the little attention that musicians bring on stage that’ll give you the chills.
How long has your band been around?
Rockin’ Engine has been around since 2015, so 8 years we have been playing together. JP Buzzard our Bassist has been with us since 2018.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We are based in the Ottawa region, and I like listening to local bands in my day-to-day commuting. It is fascinating to see where these bands get their influences and how we can connect on different types of music. We all have different styles, but we support each other by making little actions that count and at the end of the day we influence ourselves to get our game up for the next project.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Pretty simple; we love to ROCK and love anything with engines. So, we decided to call ourselves Rockin’ Engine.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
One of my most memorable shows would have been when we opened for Yngwie Malmsteen. The place was packed with his fans. Perhaps I had a bit more butterflies than usual knowing the crowd is there to focus on guitar playing ha ha ha. But no, we were determined to give them FURY and, FURY was what they received.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Here in Ottawa, my personal favorite place to play was The Algonquin Common Theatre. We played this scene because we’ve participated in a contest called “Real Rock Search” from the radio Station 101.7 Rebel. The three finalists were invited to play at this venue for the final show. For the future, I would very much like to be invited to Hell fest or perhaps Wacken or some other big metal festival in Europe.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Lamb of God, Gojira, Children of Bodom, Pantera, Slayer
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Get some guitar lessons right now, and never stop practicing, metronome is your best friend.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Practice, practice & practice!
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
From our latest EP, I would choose Carnival of Evil. The song was written in a more industrial style and reflected work from Rob Zombie with Capt Spaulding. The energy of the song is an invitation to participate in singing back and mostly heavy head banging. The result is simply outstanding, I invite anyone to listen to the song and of course the totality latest EP “Altred by Evil”.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I mostly enjoy playing “The Wretched and the damned” and “Carnival of Evil” because I just love the energy of those songs. And the harmonies between the two guitars are just too fun to play. The songs that get the most requested right now would be “Let it burn”, “Hiding in Darkness” but I do hear many fans ask if we will be playing “Broken Angel” on show nights. But again, the new material is out, and we are excited to see which new song will get requested the most.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
It’s all about the groove. I ask myself; does this riff give me chills? If not, maybe it needs more work.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
For anything that is lyrics, our lead singer Stevo is the main source of his inspiration. Our last EP evolved around a post-apocalyptic theme, chaos, and destruction. For this album, his inspiration came from his love for horror and the mysterious history of serial killers. We don’t really try to pass on any messages, we just have lyrics about specific themes that we have a common interest in.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
No disagreement within the band. We discuss every subject, and we take the best course of action to achieve any goals we set for ourselves.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up? A new album one day for sure. We love writing new songs, but we want to play shows with the current new material that has been released.
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