Saturday, December 30, 2023

Interview with Ernesto Paez of Modern Mimes by Dave Wolff

Interview with Ernesto Paez of Modern Mimes by Dave Wolff

When Modern Mimes formed they put together different musical shades which you christened “future Goth”. Explain how the band incorporates your influences to make them stand out from most gothic rock? What common interests did you share when you started practicing together?
Ernesto Paez (guitar, bass): We basically just kind of got in a room and started experimenting with sounds at first. Adi and I didn't really have anything in particular in mind as far as what genre we wanted to do at first. That being said, we reached into our pool of influences and let things flow naturally. Once we were happy with a certain overall vibe and sound, we just went with it. We've always been fans of dark and haunting music and that played a big part in our writing in the beginning.

How does dark and haunting music speak to you and the band? While experimenting with different styles, how long did it take you to arrive at a style that you wanted to develop for the band? Do you strive to capture a particular sound or atmosphere?
For me personally, dark music just seemed to be an escape from the type of music that was around in my home when I was growing up! When I heard bands like Nine Inch Nails and Type O Negative, it almost brought me into a new dimension that I felt like I fit into. It took us a couple of years to find our overall sound. If you listen to our first album, you can almost hear that we were still kind of experimenting. I also think that we're still finding ourselves in our creations as we get older and more mature artistically. As far as striving for a particular sound at this point, we are well aware of what our strong points are. That being said, we do aim to fulfill those elements in our songwriting.

Did you listen to music as a means of escape during your formative years or as a method of expressing your unspoken thoughts? The experience of discovering a new band is like entering a whole new world. How would you describe this feeling you had?
It didn't start out as a means to escape, but it definitely is now. Back then, we were just drawn into something that gave us a sense of intrigue. Finding a new band or new sound just felt fresh. We seem to be drawn to bands and artists that have their own unique sound and artistry.

What mental images were intended to be evoked when the name Modern Mimes was first coined by the band?
One of the more common images would be picturing a light at the end of a dark tunnel. Also, images of dark figures or entities trying to take over our physical bodies.

About evoking images with the band's name, how would you describe the duality of light in the dark tunnel and dark figures seeking to take over physical bodies? Do you have any idea what the purpose of those entities might be? Typical possessions or something else entirely?
To us, the dark figures represent negativity within us. It’s our way of portraying certain struggles individually and within the band. We also like to sort of leave it up to the listener to interpret what it means for them personally.

In what ways do you view the balance between negativity and positivity that exists within each individual? Is there a reason why it has been depicted in underground music for so long?
I believe positive and negative emotions are the fuels that power the creative output in many, if not all artists. Seeing as underground artists have most creative control over their creations, the raw emotions don't seem to get watered down by outside perspectives.

You incorporate industrial and electronic sounds into your music as well as pop sensibilities. Do you find anything reminiscent of the early eighties in your gothic rock, or something more modern and contemporary? Have these been added in ways that haven’t been tried before?
We are highly influenced by a lot of early 80's type music. I'm not sure if we're really doing anything that hasn't been done, but we approach it with our own style.

What are the bands of the eighties with whom you have retained a personal connection, to the point that you drew inspiration from them while writing for Modern Mimes?
Definitely bands like Depeche Mode, Tears for Fears, Joy Division and so on. Even 80's heavy metal bands like Van Halen, Slaughter and Pantera.

Based on your bio, the band would appeal to fans of Lacuna Coil, Sevendust, Motionless In White, Spiritbox, and Nine Inch Nails. It sounds that there is a balance between atmospheric music, guitar heavy music, and synthesized music. Are any goth bands, such as Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, and Christian Death for example, also reflected in your songwriting?
Not particularly, but some elements of goth music like the melancholic melodies, synth, and echo definitely inspire our writing. However goth metal and alt metal are the most prominent. I did listen to quite a bit of The Cure and Depeche Mode growing up.

Lacuna Coil particularly appeals to me as goth metal. Do Cristina Scabbia’s vocals resonate with the band in any way? How about other goth metal vocalists, female or male?
Lacuna Coil was one of my most influential bands growing up. I also really loved Kidney Thieves, and Type O Negative.

What is the level of experience that you and the other band members have as musicians? Which bands have you worked with before you formed Modern Mimes?
Ernesto was in various different projects before Modern Mimes. Another Black Day and Joan Red were a few bands he was in. Adi was primarily a solo singer songwriter and also sang with a band called Meridian Sky.

The vocals of the band are described as powerfully haunting, while your lyrics are described as subconscious and evocative. How do you apply this approach to your vocals and lyrics so that they contribute to the desired effect of your music?
We like to have our listeners dive into our lyrics from their own perspectives. Sometimes we feel like some of our lyrics are open to interpretation. Also, a lot of times the music itself will inspire certain feelings in which case the overall melodies and feel of the lyrics will tend to manifest as dark and haunting.

Up to this point, which bands have you performed live with, and what other public appearances have you made?
We've been fortunate enough to perform with bands such as Combichrist, Wayland, We Came as Romans, Memphis May Fire, Weezer, The Killers and so many more. We've also played many great festivals and appeared in many FM radio stations which we've performed acoustic versions of some of our songs.

Does Modern Mimes prefer to open for noteworthy bands, building a hardcore fanbase, or play larger festivals with more bands on the bill and reach a wider audience? Or does it depend primarily on the date?
It usually depends on the date, although we do honestly prefer full on tours. If a tour happens to include a festival or two, that's even better.

Describe the title and song list of your debut album, as well as how far the band had progressed by the time it was released? If you recorded any demos before finding the sound you wanted for the album, how many did you record?
Our debut “Wake Up” was a concept album that consisted of nine tracks. It was our awakening as a band. Our early demos were basically just small clips of ideas that we recorded on our phones and it was mainly guitar riffs and vocal melodies.

Did the band consider it a better idea to record with a producer or produce it independently to make a first impression?
Considering our first album was self-produced, we wanted the second to be a step up. At that point, we were lucky enough to meet Rick Lander and Chris Stanley. They were great to work with and brought a different perspective to our sound.

In order to promote your debut, you released a single entitled “Love Hate”. I read that you also released the song as a video and shopped it around quite a bit.
We had a few videos before “Love Hate”, but we definitely put a bigger budget into “Love Hate” which was self released and still very much grassroots.

How did you become involved with Carla Forte for the production of the “Love Hate” video? Have you seen previous examples of her work and/or do you believe she has the necessary experience to assist the band in achieving their vision?
We came across Carla's portfolio online and were impressed with her work. We were actually planning to do a video for a different song but we were convinced by our manager to do a more upbeat song. That’s where we got the idea to do “Love Hate”. We feel like she did a great job in executing our vision for it even though the vision was for a different song at first.

What did you find impressive about Carla's online portfolio? Would it be possible for bands to view it on the web and contact her?
Her ability to capture the message of an artist and portray it in a visual format is what impressed us. You can find her work at

Describe the video for “Love Hate” and what viewers can expect to see in terms of images and atmospheres. Is there any duality like the sort discussed earlier?
One image that comes to mind is Adi with the black balloons. Balloons usually represent some type of happiness but with the balloons being a dark color, it conjures up thoughts and feelings of duality within that.

Can you elaborate on the duality represented by the black balloons? In what song was this vision originally intended, and how close was Carla's vision to your own?
Carla was actually the one who suggested the black balloons. She understood what we were trying to say in a song like “Love Hate”. Her vision was spot on.

Describe the video release of your cover of Type O Negative's “I Don't Wanna Be Me” and how it paid homage to the original while adding your own touch. What motivated you to promote it before its official release?
It's funny how that worked out. Our manager at the time was good friends with Kenny Hickey, who is the guitar player for Type O Negative. Our manager sent Kenny our video just to get his opinion on the cover. Well that day, Kenny leaked the video on his Facebook page and it got a HUGE response and that’s what prompted us to release the song and video early.

Did you find it surprising that Kenny liked the video enough to leak it online? Was he disposed to express any thoughts on how it was made during the time he leaked it?
We were very surprised. We did not expect for him to share it on his Facebook page or even the official Type O Negative page. Needless to say, we were honored.

How did you improve your recording methods for your second album, “The Gray”?
It had a lot to do with who we worked with and where we went to record. We actually flew out to Louisiana and worked in a studio that had a lot more gear to work with. It was also the first time that we used a live drum kit, rather than electronic drums.

Why did the band choose to release your promotional video for “Portals” independently? Did you work with the same producer on all of your releases or do you work with different producers on each release?
For “Portals”, we worked with the same producers as in “The Gray”. We have tons of chemistry with them and will continue to work with them for future releases. We decided to release it independently because we were nearing the end of our contract with the label we were on at the time.

Before releasing “Portals”, what label was the band signed to? While you were with this label, did it help them reach new listeners in more than one country?
We were working with Curtain Call Records before releasing “Portals” and I think we actually were the ones that gained new listeners while working with them. They also own Rock Rage Radio, which helped us reach a wider audience.

What were the advantages of releasing independently to build your recording career from the ground up? How did it give you a push before you began to record for independent labels?
We didn't really plan on releasing anything with a label. It just happened. I guess you can say we learned a lot about releasing through labels, which in turn will help guide us when we release independently.

Which producers did you work with on “The Gray” and “Portals”? How did they assist you bringing their vision to life in the studio, and what additional pointers did they provide? Was your experience with them helpful in improving “Portals” from “The Gray”?
We worked with Rick Lander and Chris Stanley. They brought in new energy and fresh ideas. We felt that they had great chemistry and their chemistry rubbed off on us and gave us a new perspective on how to arrange and produce a lot of the demos that we had done.

Let the readers know about some of the subsequent promotional videos you have produced and the latest video you released, “Heavy Heart”. In what ways has Modern Mimes musically and lyrically improved with each video?
We actually had our photographer/videographer come out on a run with us, and he made us a little mini film which you can find on YouTube. It’s called “All For 30 Minutes”. It’s basically a rundown on tour life and a few interview questions with the band. We always push for our next video to be better than the last. Heavy Heart, we feel, definitely brought out the visuals and interpretation of the lyrics very well.

I read the band have more new developments planned for next year. Care to reveal some of these in this interview? Something about the Monster Hall Music Fest in Wisconsin for example?
Monster Hall was an event that we played when it first came to fruition. We were stoked when they invited us back. We've definitely got some more music and content coming out in 2024, starting with the release of our next single “Roses in Ruins”. We very much look forward to continuing our musical endeavors.

-Dave Wolff

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