Michael Levine, American Sin
American Sin; the ruthless, in-your-face metal meets active rock, and drives the feeling into your ears with metal anthems like “Stand Your Ground”, to songs that fit the “active rock” genre, “Roulette”.
We recently chatted with the drummer, Michael Levine, talking about what it takes to be ahead of the curve as a musician.
VIMH: Let’s dive into American Sin, and what’s in store.
ML: I think the trajectory of the band, honestly the goal is for, probably early next year is to be playing festivals. I think that’s everyone’s mindset. Once we get on some of these fests, I think it’s pretty much a game changer.
We have some spins on the radio, which I think is even more important than doing shows, to be honest. Roulette is my favorite by far, but the one that is getting the most airplay is Stand My Ground. And you know, if you don’t have the radio backing, you won’t pull the crowd. For some reason, that’s our heaviest song, and it’s getting the most traction right now. Which is cool,but I think that I think it's more important to focus on the active rock part, because that’s the direction we want to go. I mean, we don’t want to leave metal behind because that one of our influences, but we’d rather get that music to the masses.
VIMH: It shows that you're a touring drummer touring musician. Let's start back when you first started to play on the pro level.
ML: All that started with All that Remains. Bubble took me under his wing, and Patrick, the bass player, and I started to drum tech for them. That’s really where I got to get my toes wet. That’s where I experienced the importance of festivals. I have the knowledge now how these things operate, so that when it comes time for the band to get on these festivals, it’s all going to be smooth sailing for the most part. I’ve seen bands jump on these festivals for the first time, and they have no fricken clue what they are doing. There’s so many mistakes that happen, and they dropped the ball. Because I could do that with All that Remains, it helped me progress on a professional level. It all boils down to, there's always going to be problems, but it's about you knowing how to create a solution to a problem. This industry is all about, what is going to go wrong next, you know?
From then, we did a tour with Falling in Reverse, along with All that Remains. I was drum teching for for ATR. And at the time, the drummer for Falling in Reverse had a gig to relocate to Nashville, to join Dashboard Confessional. I was tuning his snare drum, started talking and we kinda hit it off.
Shortly after that tour, he called me and asked if I wanted to play for Falling in Reverse. Fuck yeah! At the time, I was only drum teching at the time really, I wasn’t playing out at all. So, I worked with them for about a year, and it's funny because in the midst of that, at the same time, I was in conversation with Sam (American Sin), and he was saying that American Sin was going to pop off. I want you in it. So, I was in Falling, but I was already committed to this band with American Sin, long before it all. It’s kinda like the drummer from Ashes to New, he had so many offers to go with another band, including Falling in Reverse. But he was committed to the band. That’s how I feel about American Sin.When you work in that pro level, you can kinda see things differently. You start to feel the energy and the vibe. It’s like bomb that’s going to explode.
That’s what keeps the drive alive.
VIMH: Let us know what new bands that are unsigned or just hitting the scene that you want to mention.
ML: You know what's crazy, is that I listen to a lot of mainstream. I really don’t listen to unsigned bands. On the road I may hear a kick ass local band and stuff like that. In the past two or three years I haven’t really had my ear to the ground. As of right now, I almost have tunnel vision, and listen to whatever is the freshest thing out right now. I feel like, you know, I’m 30 years old, you gotta make money. So it's more like, my focus right now, it is is on what mainstream is coming out with right now. Because that's what the trends are that we have to stick to, and hopefully in the future, once once everything gets solidified, we can take newer bands out on the road and try to show him the ropes. But honestly, I like heavy stuff when I'm at the gym. I'm also a sucker for good production. To me, good production is just as important as a good song. And a band that puts in money to get it mastered correctly, get the mix produce correctly, and when that happens, you can take a shit song and make it sound good. So you know, lately I've been really listening to everything with a good production.
So, Ronnie from Falling in Reverse put some new material out, and I got to hear the pre-production. Now, compared to what it is now, is like two completely different songs. It was cool to hear the transformation of that.
We also just started to listen to this band called Bilmuri. The production on it is out of this world. I think it is the singer from Attack Attack. It’s his side project. Like I said, I’m a sucker for production. When it’s on point, it’s killer. To me, it’s the bells and whistles.
VIMH: Do you have any final thoughts or things you want to say to bands just coming out?
ML: First off, you do you. So many drummers keep copying other drummers, and do what other ones are doing. I myself, yes I have influences of course. But I don’t use those influences to the extent of copycatting. I take what I like from those influences, and make them my own. That’s what makes me who I am. And to me, I’m still developing my sound. I’ll be developing it until I’m in a grave. It’ll never be a finished product. I’ll never be the best drummer in the world, and I’ll never be the best drummer of Michael Levine. It will never happen. As long as I keep that drive and focus alive, I will just keep progressing and progressing and progressing. There is no end point.
My biggest thing is, figure out how to be yourself. And then work everything else around that. I was very fortunate to be in drum core and I was classically trained. And the flipside to this is, don’t be the musician that everyone has to deal with.
Dylan J Holland - Vocals
Samuel Morelock - Guitars
Jake Wire - Bass
Marcus Barber - Guitars
Michael Levine - Drums
New album out now!