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Name: Adam Bernard
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About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week - Game Rebellion
Monday, March 08, 2010

Some people call it nu metal, some call it rap-rock, still others call it rap-metal. Bassist Ahmed (pictured far right) has a slightly different title for the music he and the rest of Game Rebellion make, “I call it Riot Music.” Guitarist/vocalist Yohimbe (pictured far left) seconds this, adding “we are artists, and collectively, like all artists, we have some concepts, energy, love and experiences to share. It’s because of who we are that our sound comes out sounding like a rumbling avalanche of mammoth skulls.” And that rumbling avalanche of mammoth skulls happens to embody everything that’s great about the nu metal genre as Game Rebellion covers a full range of emotions and topics with their music. From politics, to ideas of self, to the occasional party jam, their upcoming EP, Sounds Like a Riot, shows Game Rebellion are intelligent headbangers with lyrics that are on point.

The rest of Game Rebellion consists of (from L to R in-between Yohimbe and Ahmed) keyboardist/vocalist Emi, vocalist Netic, and drummer Aaron. All of the members cut their teeth working as session musicians, producers, songwriters, and members of house bands from coast to coast. This week I caught up with Ahmed and Yohimbe to find out more about the group, why they’re rebelling against the game, and what their thoughts are on combating some of the negative stereotypes of nu metal. They also surprised me with a couple of crazy stories, relating the time they took over a stage from a signed artist, and an incident when a fan caused a near death experience for one of the members of the group.

Adam Bernard: Start me off with the Game Rebellion story. From what I hear it’s a wild one.
Yohimbe: In the beginning, It was me on guitar, Ahmed on MPC/vocals and Netic on vocals. We were hired to back up a group at Irving Plaza. We set up our gear and were about to play with the group when the label for the headlining act brought a group signed to them to the stage and said that they were gonna perform and that our set was cut. Me and Netic were like, "F*** that." I started playing and Netic started getting the crowd hype. The place was packed. This musician that was hired to play with the same group as us jumped on the keys and started jamming. It was a take over! That piano man was Emi. That's how we met him. They cut the sound, but my amp was plugged into the stage, so they couldn't turn off my amp. I kept playing and Netic went to the front of the stage and was just screaming at the crowd. The other band that was supposed to play was standing there with all their gear. The terrified security told the label and the band that if they want us off they’d have to do it. That really put the battery in our backs and that has been our overall theme since; do for-self, support your brother, and kick ass.

Adam Bernard: That’s awesome. So tell me, why are you rebelling against the game? What did the game do to you?
Yohimbe: The Game is the life we live while seeking to compete and participate in the US of A. If you play well, you live. If you make the wrong moves, you don't live, or don't live too well. The rules for the game differ based on what piece you are and what pieces you have. Some are born with chance cards, or get out of jail free cards. Like in any Game, people have to strategize their lives based upon their circumstances. We are Rebelling against the game because it’s winning and the house is getting all the profits. People are losing everything in a Game they don't know they're playing and don't know the rules to. It's time for us all to reevaluate the accepted truths about who we are, where we are, why we are here, how we got here, where we came from, and what we can do. Things are not OK in the local, or the global, not even "home-al" communities. Things are the way they are because of things done, or being done, by us, by others, by them. The Game has forced me to focus on survival as opposed to living. The Game has made us barter and spend our best efforts for mere access.

Adam Bernard: I know some of those ideas are your on you upcoming EP, Sounds Like a Riot, so let’s talk a little bit about the album. When someone listens to Sounds Like a Riot is it going to inspire them to, well, riot?
Yohimbe: It will inspire listeners to think, move, rejoice, be appalled, feel alienated, throw something, vomit, feel a sense of homecoming, get angry... that all sounds like a riot to me.
Ahmed:  I love to hear when someone says that our EP brings them inspiration. As an artist, I cherish inspiration, so that's a great compliment. This EP may inspire you to work out, dance, cook more, think critically, question status quos... As far as a riot... I wonder...

Adam Bernard: To go with the riot music you do have a party song, “Dance Girl,” on the album, and “Blood” could be considered a party song. Is this just evidence that you can’t be serious all the time?
Ahmed:  I think it is. There always should be an effort to achieve balance. Being serious all the time can’t be good for you. Your body will suffer. Life is not going to be one thing. Chances are you are not good at just one thing, but good at several things. Even the greatest warrior can enjoy a good party and it’s important that he or she is able to. We as humans possess infinite possibilities, so it would be a terrible crime to neglect even one aspect of yourself, or of life itself. I think this approach can come in very handy as a musician/artist. It builds great versatility and unpredictability. You definitely want those tools as an artist.

Adam Bernard: There are some negative stereotypes that have developed regarding nu metal, the two biggest being that the lead vocalists aren’t as lyrically adept as traditional emcees, and that the lyrical content isn’t that good. How does knowing that these assumptions are out there affect how you write and create your music?
Ahmed:  I am familiar with the said assumptions and there may be some truth there. I'm sure the answers of the rest of the fellas may differ, but for me it really has little to no affect to my/our creative process. In this band we put so much pressure on ourselves as musicians to create something extraordinary, natural, and not corny. It’s a huge emphasis. It's important when you are writing music that you start with a clean slate and see what the moment gives you as your emotions inspire you. You also want a song to sound natural, and not forced, or contrived, especially when you’re dealing with fusing two or more genres. We are very careful not to sacrifice the rock side of the music or the hip-hop side of the music, or any other genre we may dabble with for that matter. The bottom line is, guitars got to be rockin, bass got to be thumping, drums got to be pounding, vocalist has to be wailing, keyboards have to be thick, and songs have to be memorable. This is more or less the approach we as a band take when we write our music.

Adam Bernard: Finally, other than taking over the stage from a signed artist, what’s the wildest, or weirdest, thing to happen at a Game Rebellion show, or in the Game Rebellion tour bus/van?
Yohimbe: The craziest thing happened in London after we played at Outkast's party. One of our members and one of our crew left with these two ladies. The girl driving, I guess, was drunk, and she wrapped around a pole three blocks away. One of our brothers lost his spleen, his heart came out the heart bag and a lung was pushed to the other side. An instrument was flattened. Our band member got a concussion and stitches on his head. His head was swollen like a helmet, and he still found another woman the next night. The dad of the girl who was driving found out his daughter was a wild girl and "loves the boys in the band."

Related Links

MySpace: myspace.com/gamerebellion
Twitter:  twitter.com/game_rebellion
Facebook: facebook.com/pages/GAME-REBELLION


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:24 AM  
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