Since 2006 Soulidium has been infusing vampire culture with some of the best Florida rock you can find. By the Barricade recently reached out to Soulidium Frontman Michael McKnight to find out the secret to their increasing popularity. Find out all about it int he full interview below!
Soulidium started 2006 and released Children of Chaos the next year. What was it like to be signed to KnightVision Records so early in your career?
Michael McKnight: Knight Vision was formed to work alongside Adrenaline Music Group in Los Angeles. In 2007 we retainted Adrenaline as a service label with ADA distribution to work with us on our release. At that time, despite me having good business etiquette, I was too green to run a record label on my own and we needed some label help to navigate the unknown waters ahead.
Wes Borland from Limp Bizkit, who we did our first tour with was also signed to Adrenaline with his Black Light Burns project. In retrospect, I learned a lot of things so the experience was worth it. When Adrenaline closed its doors, Soulidium was suddenly on it’s own in the middle of our rise, with a single charting active rock radio and our SAWIV soundrack single came out. Brutal timing. The music industry experience is much like determining to successfully swim from one end of a shark infested ocean to the other. You might lose your share of blood and limbs, but if you live to set foot on the other side, your one tough bastard!
You spent a month and a half in Long View Farms Studios recording Children of Chaos. How did that compare to working with Wes Dearth on your latest release Awaken?
Michael McKnight: Wes Dearth did a great job of tracking of the instruments, at Red Room Recorders in Tampa, (with the exception of “Fly to the Sun”) on the new album. Angelina McKnight tracked all of the vocals at our own Soulidium Records studio. Wes was definitely cool to work with, was very supportive about the music, and had some original, great ideas. Shawn Grove produced “Fly to the Sun” in Atlanta, GA at Jan Smith Studios and really brought the most out of myself and Lajon from Sevendust.
This time around the band produced our own parts for Awaken. We knew what we wanted and had enough experience to be elemental in making it a reality. The album was mixed and mastered by Ryan Denman in Charlotte, NC who was amazing to work with. He went above and beyond and did a great job on his end putting up with us while we tweaked mixes. He really nailed that epic sound we were aiming for.
Doing our first album at Longview was an amazing experience. The board we used was the very same board that Queen owned, before it was sold to Longview. That same board had helped to track and mix hits like “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “We are the Champions”, and mixed bands like Creed and their their hit “Arms Wide Open”. I used to get goosebumps sitting at that board for all the history that has passed through it’s circuits. I felt unworthy like Wayne & Garth. Deep Purple had painted a mural on the second floor of this converted 1800’s farmhouse and Aerosmith has left their mark all over the studio. It was an epic place to record a first album and I wouldn’t trade the experience of it for the world. While I love where we came from, where we’re heading artistically now is a lot bolder.
Awaken was the first release on Soulidium Records. Are you going to expand the label’s roster or focus on your new label’s creative freedom?
Michael McKnight: Absolutely on both. There’s a lot of room in this world for great music and so many people are missing what used to be the glory days of music. I think there’s a hole in the world’s creativity that is yearning to be filled by some high quality H20. The reason for this new imprint is to do our part in giving fans music that will touch them and become a part of the soundtrack of their lives.
Awaken has a significantly faster tempo compared to Children of Chaos. Was that something you wanted to focus on in the studio or did it just develop throughout the recording process?
Michael McKnight: I am a big believer that the universe around us and what we’re going through in our lives at that moment, really shapes what emerges in a writing session. It starts with a single riff or lyric and explodes into an emotional roller coaster of a writing session. I love not knowing what’s going to happen or what we are going to write. All I know is that the experience of writing in Soulidium has always been epic. I have always sought out members who had a spiritual connection within themselves and their music. Those kind of musicians never disappoint creatively. What you hear in Awaken is a capture of our lives at the time we wrote the album. What you will hear on the next album will be also. I think that kind of plan keeps things real and moving at its intended, natural pace.
Can you tell me about Awaken’s cover art and what it represents?
Michael McKnight: David Bollt designed the album art. David and I met and hit it off. We became fans of each other’s work and I asked if he would get involved with the new album. He was excited to jump in, and it was an amazing experience. The album art that David designed really captures the essence of the core message behind Awaken. United in a common cause – Humans could accomplish anything. Unfortunately, the level of effort our world is putting forth to create a new age of unity is comparable to taking a savant artist like Salvador Dali and putting him to work drawing $5.00 caricatures.
The advancement of our species is being impeded by the special interests of powerful entities who would rather peddle archaic sources of fuel than innovate a new age of renewable energy sources. Entities who prefer to treat a disease than cure it, because cures are not as profitable. We are a society who puts temporary band aides over everything and ignores the cancer that is eating us away from the inside. Awaken is a call to action to all people of every nation. We should be about our united advancement as a species and not just making a buck at any expense. About creating a world that lends its mission to truth, higher learning, the freedom of invention and the right to live in actual global peace & security. Imagine a world where new advancements in science, medicine and free thinking ran free. Where education and a real opportunity was free to be taken by anyone who put their mind to it, regardless of sex, race or political affiliation. I say it’s time to open our eyes and awaken while we still can.
Michael, Blabbermouth reported that you were part of the first ever “Vampire Wedding”. Can you tell our readers a little more about the experience and what made the wedding so unique?
Michael McKnight: I always identified with vampires. It’s not for the blood drinking, but their personalities that grip me. They are determined, driven, and have a faith in themselves that is so strong, that anything they desire becomes theirs. That strong personality traits combined with an unwillingness to take “no” for an answer is exactly what makes people successful at anything. We all took on permanent fang implants more as a self-affirmation of living with a vampires passion.
The wedding was amazing and will always be treasured as one of my happiest memories. We’re just entertainers who love theatrics, so making sure the events of our lives are looked back on as a surreal experience is just what we do. Vampires have style and savor the details.. That just makes for an interesting life not lacking in muchness. While Angelina and I are no longer together as a couple, she is my best friend and my closest family. My wonderful wife Carolyn Cadaver, who is a badass tattoo artist (Best Ink, Immortal Skins, Tattoo Magazine), also took on her fang implants for the same reasons as we did. Carolyn, Angelina, and I are an incredibly strong, united, and hardworking family. We live together in a world of our design, and create amazing art & the best memories together. Who could ask for more?
Has vampire culture expanded into other parts of your life?
Michael McKnight: We have definitely attracted and helped to shape the vampire community in our careers with videos like our vampire anthem “Live Forever”. As far as it expanding into our lives, it is more so in the style and mentality of the vampire. We, and those closest to us, are a collection OCD Artists who like all elements of our life to reflect passion and art. We are a bit gothic and dark in our physical appeal, but very much children of light in our outlook life, love and the universe around us.
I did some digging and came across some romance of Soulidium’s Rock / Metal variety show “The Addiction”. What’s currently going on with that project?
Michael McKnight: That was put on hold due to time constraints. We will definitely be doing some awesome things in video production however. We have a special connection to video. It can say so much and combine all of the senses to lock into it.
Is there anything else you want to say to the readers of By the Barricade?
Michael McKnight: Thank you everyone at By the Barricade for a great interview and to all our fans. We’ve been receiving your positive feedback about the new album and it’s really touched us. Even after this long hiatus you have all received us with love and that means the world. We’re looking forward to rocking you all soon!