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Interview With Five Hundredth Year

A band really hitting their stride in recent months is Five Hundredth Year, from Michigan. The band fuses together metal, hard rock and pop to create songs that have the ability to teach and be stuck in your head for days. The six-member band recently just finished and released their first EP titled A Rose From Ashes and they took the time to answer a few questions for us about the album:

Me: How did the band come together and were you surprised by the success you all accumulated in such a short time?
Five Hundredth Year: The band started early in the Summer of 2013 when lead vocalist John Pampreen got together with drummer Zach Hanus. Their goal was to create a blend of radio friendly hard rock and metal. Soon they began seeking additional members and rhythm guitarist “Jimmers” (Jonathan Immers) was brought on board in the fall. With the addition of bassist Brenda Bennett in the Winter, the quartet started recording the some of the early songs for the album. The current lineup was completed with the addition of lead guitarist Ben Moss and Keyboardist Mike Heil in the Summer of 2014. We are both very surprised and grateful for all of the success we have achieved in our first 2 years of being together. We have accomplished so much and it’s largely in part to the support of our amazing fans.

Me: You have been a part of some great festival line ups and opened for the likes of GWAR, and Mushroom Head. What has been the most important lesson you learned from the road or from those experiences?

FHY: Opening up for Gwar and Mushroom Head definitely gives you some perspective when it comes to a stage show. Both bands are incredibly innovative and creative in that respect. We try in our own way to put on a show for our fans because they come to see us perform, not just to see us play music. Unfortunately, at this point in time we can’t put on the major productions that these bands are able to pull off, but it does inspire us to be more creative and work on improving our show.

Me: The new EP A Rose From The Ashes features seven tracks and my personal favorite is “Blame.” Can you tell me about the inspiration for that track and the making of the video?

FHY: “Blame” was the final original song we recorded for this album and unlike some of our other songs it was written with input from all of the current members of the band. We wrote this song with the help of our producer B.J. Perry of I Prevail and The Product. We went in originally to lay down the scratch instrumentation and finish writing the music. Over the next month, we worked hard to get all of the lyrics and vocal melodies finished before we went back into the studio to finish tracking. The theme of the song is about being addicted to something that is negatively impacting your life whether it’s drugs, alcohol, a relationship, etc. We personally believe that the song conveys a strong message that almost anyone can relate to and we are very proud of that. The concept for the video had to a lot to do with displaying the many different ways that addiction can manifest itself in people’s lives and the pain it can cause.

l2gALe7rEsj7uNzEFLAskAplubUZUhsCVaz9YziXj0QMe: Before making an album or an EP, are you constantly in writing mode? Or do you show up to the studio and hash out all of the songs while you’re there?

FHY: Honestly it’s a bit hard to say being that this was our first EP. It was a culmination of about 1 year of writing and work, but we also had a lot of shows and events going on at the same time. That being said we try to hash out as many details as we can before going into the studio, but it’s natural for some things to change during the recording process. We worked with an excellent producer and he definitely helped to shape some of our tracks for the better.

Me: “Talking Body” is an excellent cover track. What made you guys choose that song to cover?

FHY: We really wanted to put our spin on a top charting pop track. We really liked the minimalistic instrumentation in the original track because that gave us a lot of creative freedom. The theme of the song itself is pretty interesting for mainstream pop too. Tove Lo is a very unique emerging artist and she definitely doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to writing her songs. We have a lot of respect for her because of that.

Me: Were there any B-sides or tracks that didn’t make the album that could see the light of day any time soon?

FHY: We do have a few more tracks that we have ready to record that we’ll occasionally play at a live show, but you’ll most likely have to wait for the new album to hear them.

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