Sometimes the most refreshing thing about rock ‘n roll is its simplicity. A no-frills, straight-forward rock track — I’m talking about the classics from bands like Motley Crue, KISS, or Def Leppard — serves no greater purpose than to just make you feel good.
That is a sentiment not only shared, but celebrated by two-time GRAMMY-nominated guitarist and LA native Sin Quirin.
Sin is known for his work in the industrial metal world, most notably with the six-time GRAMMY-nominated Ministry. But what his fans may not be as well-versed in is his affinity for ’60s and ’70s pop culture. His passion for this era in music history and his experience in the industrial metal circuit have collided for his latest project: Supermanic.
The “No B.S.” rock band, led by Sin and vocalist Kallaghan (Charles Massabo), unleashed their first musical offering, “She Said,” on the world September 17th, and although it may not be what fans expected from the “industrial metal guy,” the track certainly doesn’t disappoint.
We made the trek to Burbank to chat with Sin Quirin about his latest endeavor and why he should have been born twenty years earlier. Find out what he had to say below.
Tell me how Supermanic came together.
Sin: How did it come together? Originally, I had a side project called the Great AmeriCon, and out of the Great AmeriCon is kinda how Supermanic started. AmeriCon broke up, but I had this handful of songs. I originally was trying to find another singer for AmeriCon, and when I put the word out that I was looking for a vocalist, Charles (my singer) answered it.
When I heard him sing, I was like, “This guy is way too good to sing for AmeriCon.” It was like an industrial metal kind of band, and I knew that’s what it was and that’s what I was writing. But when I heard Charles’ voice, I was like, “Man, this guy can really sing,” so I said, “Hey, why don’t we start a new band?” So we set out to write some rock songs.
I didn’t want it to be an industrial metal band. I didn’t want to be pigeon-hold into that. I just wanted a rock band, so that’s basically how Supermanic started. It was just me and him writing some catchy rock songs.
Was it weird for you to be writing catchy rock songs?
In a way, yes, because I had been doing such heavy material and such heavy bands, but my roots are in ’70s rock, ya know? ’60s and ’70s rock bands, so it’s all about being commercial. But I’ve been doing this other type of material for so long that it did feel a little odd.
At the same time, I dug what we were doing. He’s a great songwriter, and he writes some great melodies and some great hooks. It was feeling cool, but it’s like I’m stepping out of my comfort zone, ya know? It feels like I’m still flinching when I show people these songs [laughs] because I don’t know how they’re going to react. I don’t know if they’re expecting a Ministry riff, and then Charles comes out with some catchy, melodic thing. Ya know, we’ll see what people think.
Is there a stigma when you go from such a heavy, industrial background to more melodic rock? I feel like there’s a bad stigma surrounding melodic, or even “active” rock…
Ya know what? Yeah, I think there is. Because of the history of some of the bands that I’ve been in, I don’t really care what people think. I’m very open about my influences from the ’70s. I love ’70s disco. I love ’70s funk. It’s probably the music I listen to the most, like on my iPod when I’m driving around or when I’m doing aerobics.
I love that you just called it aerobics..
I go old-school here. I throw on my Richard Simmons tape, and I do aerobics with a headband. Just the headband.
I mean, it’s all ’70s disco stuff, and I don’t know how many people would admit to that, especially a guy from a band called Ministry. I don’t really care about that, but I do think there’s a stigma there. It doesn’t bother me.
Have you gotten any shit yet from any of your heavy metal or industrial friends?
Not yet. And I don’t know if it’s the fact that they just know me and know that they couldn’t give me shit even if they tried: “What we can we possibly say that’s going to offend Sin?”
For the song “She Said,” it’s all been really positive. That’s probably the closest thing to a somewhat industrial track that we have, so we’re sort of getting the industrial crowd in and then the rock crowd.
Is that the strategy? To hook everyone who may be more critical of the more melodic rock stuff first?
Yes. In a way, yes. I mean, there’s a fan base there for me because of Ministry, and I definitely want to tap into that, but ultimately it comes down to, I think we wrote a really cool, catchy track that has some electronics in it. I think it worked out well.
How many songs do you have right now?
Yeah. They’re all in my head though. [laughs] So how are you guys going to put your music out? Are you releasing singles or a full album?
We’re going to do an EP, which is actually what we’re working on right now and where I should be right now. The EP will probably have four or five songs, max. We’ll let the video sit for a while, then we’re hoping to release the EP by October, November.
Yes. We’re going to be releasing it ourselves. It probably will be just a digital release. Then I believe we’re going with Ministry’s same distributor.
Is there a reason to even put out physical CDs anymore if you’re not touring?
Is there a reason? I’m probably the wrong person to ask that. I’m the guy that still has vinyls here (as he shows the vinyls sitting in his office). I’m still the guy, as you know, that goes out to the record store and argues with people and tries to find a CD. To me, it’s still a big deal to have something physically in my hand…and a CD as well. I like doing that. I like reading the liner notes and seeing the artwork — stuff like that.
But is it a smart thing to do nowadays when you’re not touring? Maybe not.
Tell me about the style of this EP — sonically and topically.
Basically, the way the writing has gone with Supermanic is, generally, I’ll come up with all the music. I’ll record the guitars, the bass, and then we’ll record our drummer, Devin. Charles does the lyrics, vocals, melody lines — stuff like that.
We’re not a political band. We don’t write just about girls or drugs. We touch everything — literally. Very literally.
Ya know, it’s just more of a rock band from the ’70s. We could write a song about girls, whatever — it could be anything. I remember the days of listening to early KISS stuff and just getting your mind off of things — just enjoying music and having a good time. Having that feeling of, “Man, I just want to listen to this song because it makes me feel good.”
We didn’t want to get heavy with this band; we didn’t want heavy topics with it. And when I say that we want to flex our ’70s influences here, it covers all of that. Songwriting-wise, we’re not tuned down to A, like the stuff that most bands do nowadays. It’s old school. We tune standard tuning, so it has that sort of sound sonically. Topically, it’s just about everyday stuff. Nothing heavy. Nothing political.
Did your styles, especially you being so heavily influenced by classic American ’70s rock, clash at all with having a European singer?
Well, he has a gift for writing great melodies. He loves the old-school stuff as well, so we share that, and we’re both on the same page. We didn’t have to fight about where to go; it just happened naturally, which was really weird. We talked a lot before we actually wrote anything together. We had hours and hours of talking about what we wanted to do with it before we actually did it because we didn’t want to get in there and just kind of take ten steps back. We wanted to be prepared before we started.
It was really easy. It’s strange, ya know? I’ve been with guys from the States who I had to fight with more than a guy from France.
Are you going to play out live with Supermanic? Are you going to tour? What’s the plan?
The plan is to release the EP and, realistically, we probably won’t do anything until 2014. But yeah, we’d like to take it on the road, play some live shows, see where it goes. We just want to write some good songs, release some good tunes. If we can put it on the road…great. We’re not really trying to be the next big thing, the next sensation here.
We just want to write good songs, put them out there, and see if people dig ‘em. And if people dig ‘em, they will come. Literally. No pun intended.
Pun absolutely intended.
Touring is like a buffet. You see everything spread out in front of you, but you don’t always eat all of it. That I am actually quoting Mr. Paul Stanley. It’s true though.
Now why the name Supermanic?
Everyone has asked us if it’s because of the Ministry song “Supermanic Soul.” And that’s honestly not it. We’re all a little manic, and when I say “all,” I mean me and Charles. Honestly, it was just a word that popped into my head. I thought it was cool and told him about it, then we both just looked at each other and said, “That’s perfect.” That really was it. There’s no big meaning behind it. It wasn’t like a dream, or you know, like I looked up in the sky and the clouds said “Supermanic.” I literally just thought of it.
No B.S. with this. Straight to the point rock band, beave, you know?
There’s not enough of those.
No. [laughs] There’s not enough “No B.S.” bands out there in rock. There’s plenty of that.
For more on Supermanic, check out their website.