Most people know Mikey Powell as the very Deathcore vocalist for Conducting from the Grave. Now Mikey is out with a very different side project, an innovative new label, and a message for metal fans of all stripes. Listen and learn more after the jump.
In Death Metal/Deathcore, we generally don’t talk about “singers”. Instead we refer to “vocalists” since the harsh sounds that come out of the throats of these performers are a far cry from what you sang in choir class in school.
Even while fronting Conducting from the Grave, Mikey Powell never stopped thinking of himself as a singer. Now he has combined the two skills into a new side project called Emergence just released on his very own label Hellforge.
Listen to the record while you read about Mikey’s vision for the project.
“When the music started getting pulled together and made into whole songs I started writing hooks and whatever catchy melodies I could think of,” Mikey tells Heavy Blog is Heavy. “I really wanted to try and write the songs with no screaming and then take out what I thought was weaker in terms of hooks and melody and replace that with screaming to balance it out. Emergence was the perfect opportunity to diversify what I could do as a vocalist and try out new ideas.
On the self-titled Emergence, Mikey has recruited guitarist Danny Kullman and guitarist/drummer Chris Vogagis both from the Ohio-based Wide Eyes. With Powell based out of L.A., the band is awaiting reaction to the record to decide if they will tour behind it.
In any case, this is very personal music for Mikey. “Emma Lia” is about his girlfriend while another track is about an important moment in his life.
“Emergence has alot to do with my life. “Retrace the Lines” is about my grandmother with whom I was very close who passed and it was my way of saying I’m sorry for not being there when she left and that I wish she was back to see what im doing now. “Fractals” is about my issues with anxiety and depression and stuff like that.
Mikey is also someone who thinks a lot about the business of music and where it is going these days. That’s why he’s so excited about his new label Hellforge.
“I started Hellforge Records which is more of a stepping stone for bands to get a professional EPK of sorts and to teach them how to rely on themselves to make it. The goal is to get bands to realize there is a market for EVERYTHING and if they are resourceful enough and learn how to properly brand and sell their music/band then they don’t really need a large label to back them. Larger labels are NOT a bad thing, but I generally think people feel its the only way to be successful, and too many people in the business are limiting themselves to only working with people involved in those larger businesses. If a band works with Hellforge and gets offered a bigger contract with a bigger label then we will of course help them solidify that, but at the same time give them all the info they need to know before signing over. Transparency in this industry is something that is GREATLY needed.”
Mikey learned a lot of these lessons first-hand with Conducting From the Grave which he describes as being on a “soft hiatus for the time being.”
“The industry is so saturated right now people are jumping on whats fresh and new. A lot of that has to do with bigger labels literally telling them what to listen to instead of fans making the decision for themselves. Its a bandwagon thing, and when your band is NOT on that bandwagon its hard to stay relevant and make money off it and honestly that’s our own faults and NOT the fans so I do not blame them at all. CFTG just recently broke even (financially) after being on the road and making albums for what I believe is almost 10 years now.”
Conducting is re-recording the older Trails of the Forsaken demo with guest spots for some of the older vocalists and planning a couple of California shows for later in the year.
In any case, Mikey Powell is clearly a man with a passion for making music and for helping other artists succeed. Keep an eye on this guy and Emergence in the future.