There’s no doubt that bands in Los Angeles are a dime a dozen, just like the number of actors and actresses in Hollywood. The bottom line is, some make it and some don’t. Today, we’re introducing IMMUNE, a band that is making waves in L.A. and has already performed at Ozzfest. Immune is comprised of front man/guitarist Robert Shulze, guitarist Mike Longworth, drummer Johnny Skaare and bassist Drew Worsley. We recently caught up with the band as they discussed their goals, current projects and what they do when they’re not working on music.
Get to know Immune and their music:
1. How’d you decide on the band’s name?
We were brainstorming band name ideas and Rob was explaining that one of his suggestions meant we were “immune” to something. Our drummer at the time said, “Why not just use Immune?” He obviously had a valid point. Having a marketable band name has made us more appealing to promoters, which helped us get booked to play last summer’s Ozzfest and Mayhem Festival with Korn and Rob Zombie. It also attracted the attention of Seth von Paulus, who recently signed us to a production deal.
2. How did you all meet and how did you develop your sound? I know you guys moved to Los Angeles from Rhode Island. How’s L.A. treating you so far?
Immune started as a trio in Providence, RI when Rob moved there after attending Berklee College of Music in Boston. The band went through a few lineup changes before deciding to head for Los Angeles. Mike and Johnny were already living in L.A. and they had played together with Rob in a different band on the east coast, so when we needed to replace our drummer and lead guitarist it worked out perfectly. Drew is originally from Virginia and was introduced to us by a promoter. He was the first person we called when it was time to find a new bassist.
Our sound has developed as a result of a lot of rehearsals and shows and plenty of trial and error. We each have different influences and different bands we like but we are all on the same page as far as wanting to write great songs while creating a unique sound and style. LA has been great to us so far – the weather is amazing and as a band in LA you are surrounded by some of the best and most famous venues in the world and most of the music industry has offices or headquarters here. There is a lot of competition in this city and it helps motivate and inspire us. You also never know who you might meet and be able to network with because so many musicians, producers and other industry types live here.
3. Are you guys working on any projects at the moment?
Yes! We’ve started pre-production for our new record with Seth von Paulus. Seth is an amazing producer and musician – he has made great albums with Crash Kings, Speedbuggy and many others and he works closely with Linda Perry. We plan to start recording as soon as possible and the album will be done by early summer.
We’re also filming a great music video for our next single and we’ve been shooting at several locations in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Hollywood. The video will be ready when the record is finished and we’re looking forward to releasing them simultaneously.
4. Where can fans catch you guys live? Any tours/shows coming up?
We love playing House of Blues Sunset Strip and we’ve appeared just about everywhere in Los Angeles and throughout southern California as well as in San Bernardino for Ozzfest and Mayhem Festival. At the moment we are completely focused on making a great record, but once the album is finished we’ll be announcing new shows and tour dates.
5. Are there any bands you admire and wish to work with?
Rob: John Fogerty/Creedence Clearwater Revival, Roger Waters/David Gilmour/Pink Floyd, AC/DC, U2, Linkin Park and Avenged Sevenfold.
Drew: King’s X, Sevendust, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden.
Mike: Rush. I’m obsessed with them right now. As far as a more current band, I’d love to work with Jimmy Eat World. I enjoy all of their songs.
6. What inspires your sound?
Rob: Mortality, the world around us and our place in it, the human race and its ability to both create and destroy, family, friends, love, hate and anything and everything else in between.
Johnny: The process of creating our music inspires me.
Drew: Life in general.
Mike: Anything that moves me at the time.
7. What are your musical goals and what lessons have you learned so far?
Goals – To achieve and maintain a high level of consistency with the quality of our songs and our live shows and to play at La Scala, the famous opera house in Milan, Italy. I’m not sure if a rock band has ever played there before.
Lessons – Never insult the intelligence of your fans and always treat them with respect. Following trends or cutting corners might pay off in the short term but it’s not the best way to build a career that lasts.
Goals – To sound better live than we do on our records.
Lessons – When it comes to playing drums in a rock band, sometimes less is more. Let the beats and the fills be defined by the song, not the other way around.
Goals – To keep breaking new ground and continue growing as musicians.
Lessons – You never know how circumstances might change or situations might reverse themselves.
Goals – I’m really working on being a great engineer. I love getting tones and putting mics in front of things. I learned a lot from working with my friend Lewis Richards, who recently worked on the Dirty Heads hit “Lay Me Down”. When I’m not creating or performing music I’ve always loved working in studios, so I think that’s something I’ll continue to be interested in.
Lessons – Great songs are timeless. I think every musician wants to write that one song which lives on after they are gone.
8. What’s the best piece of advice someone ever gave you? (If every band member could answer, that’d be great).
Rob: Be willing and able to listen to people who are more accomplished and successful than you are.
Johnny: Be cool and friendly to everyone all the time. In this industry you never know who you are interacting with.
Drew: If you move around too much while playing bass at a smooth jazz gig the audience will think you can’t play.
Mike: Learn to play other people’s songs. It really helps you develop as a songwriter and it gives you a lot to draw from creatively.
9. What do you guys do when you’re not making music?
Rob: I love to read, watch movies, work out and spend time with friends and family.
Johnny: I am a post production editor for reality TV and a ceramic jewelry artist.
Drew: I think about making music and I drink a lot of coffee.
Mike: I like fiddling with guitars and boutique amps so in a way I’m always making some kind of music.
10. Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for interviewing us! We really appreciate it and we’re looking forward to a great 2011. Check out Immune on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube because we’ll be posting pictures, videos and updates from the studio as the songs on our upcoming record become a finished product.
We also want to thank Shane Daniels and Dan Mast of Tempest Freerunning.
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