This week’s column highlights a pair of Southwestern Oklahoma originals who are making their musical mark as artists on the rise.
The first tale takes us to Music City, USA
The road is never easy for a musician. Since taking the freeways and back roads to Nashville, Tenn., Last year, Brett Landry knows it too well.
It takes heart, soul, and dedication for the one thing that’s there when everything else is in the ether: Rock and Roll. Landry has a rock’n’roll heart. He said it was the pace that moved him forward in his mission to be successful.
Known for too long as the “Wrong Turn”, Landry has earned a reputation for living up to the nickname “Shred”. But, man, has it been difficult, he said.
Living in his car for the most part, Landry said he repelled attempts to steal him and his equipment from random Cracker Barrel parking lots more times than he wanted to count. A musician, you sometimes surround yourself with other people who will drain you of your energy and your money.
Now in a tent – “I’m sick of my car” – Landry said the nomadic life of a musician on a mission takes a toll. It makes you a little cooler, he said, and rough around the edges than you want. Calluses come from hardening.
“But I’m still alive and crushed,” he said, “not only for myself, but also for my home country.”
Landry has said he has met “shady promoters” who refuse to put his band together, Night shifts, in the performance rotation on Music City’s competitive stage. He claimed that was what happened after he caught him in the act. This almost led to being blacklisted.
“I caught them paying only one or two bands at a show, then telling other bands that they were only playing for tips after some bands had traveled to get to the show,” a- he declared.
But the love of the guitar and the desire to succeed is what starts the fire, Landry said. He doesn’t deny being a bit “rude” but says that when you have a purpose in life, you follow it to the end.
There is a potential reward for persistence. said Landry.
“We’re headlining a 6 to 9:30 p.m. show on August 6 at Bowie’s Nashville,” he said.
The Night Shifts are headlining with Kay Azna and Evolved opening.
“It’s going to be a killer show,” Landry said. “A little bird in the tree told me that all the A&R reps in town would be there for this one.”
Landry said it was old fashioned to support his music community and networking that helped land the coveted spot on this bill. It can mean anything.
“By going to real shows, showing support and making real friends with Michelle Terrazas, owner and reservation agent at Bowie’s,” he said. “This could very well be my best chance at becoming the legendary guitarist that I try so hard to become.”
Landry said that with this show he hopes to represent the best of Oklahoma rock and roll. To do this, he called on his fellow Okies, Eric Muskrat of Index Paradox to play bass and Robert “Tippy” Allen on drums. It’s pretty important that they leave Oklahoma for the show.
“I am still here to support my home country every day,” he said. “I owe it to everyone around the house cheering me on, so I asked some of Oklahoma’s two best musicians to come and do this show with me.”
Landry said he wears the badge of an Oklahoma musician as a high title and honor. As he pursues this dream, he wants everyone who stays home to see him as their rock and roll champion.
“I want Oklahoma to know that I am standing up for them,” he said.
You can follow Landry’s journey through Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms.
If you can’t catch the Nashville show, here’s a live take of the February song “Move On”: https://youtu.be/pqLFDpji45k.
In our second tale, a musician emerging from the nest found his flock among the heaviest of the heavy.
For Mychal Soto, when he left Lawton a few years ago to make a fresh start in Oklahoma City, he entered a realm as one of the premier talents of Oklahoma’s slam metal scene.
What is “slam” you ask? It’s a brutal death metal subgenre that, instead of focusing on speed, is built on the bestial back of slow / medium breakdowns, wild vocals, and intense fan devotion.
First training Aberrant construction, Soto has firmly established himself on the slam scene. In the process, he developed his own Studio Slamnasium as the home of choice for a vibrant and pulsating breeding ground for new music.
Soto also created another outfit called Strangled which has seriously swelled with a national audience over the past couple of years. Set to cross larger seas, the group recently called for his retirement. The pandemic slowed a growing reputation live until their recent final show a few weeks ago in Chicago, Illinois. Video from the event shows a packed house devoted to every muted chord and demon voice.
Check out this first and only live performance of Strangled performing “Violence is the Key” during this latest show. This is an exemplary example of slam at its best: https://youtu.be/zeikflU9Wjw.
Soto said there is a time to know the moment has passed.
“Strangled had decided it was time to end the group as we saw each other going down different paths,” he said. “Collectively, we decided that our show that we had already booked in Chicago would be our last show. As much as we loved Strangled, it was just the weather.
However, one end is the start of another. With it, Soto said drummer Joe Pelletier and bassist Austin Hirom have teamed up with OMEN OKC guitarist Jason Frosty Parrish and Giveaway’s Damonteal Harris on vocals to create something new.
“It was like putting all the right ingredients in a pot,” he said. “What came out was Peel the flesh. This band literally represents all of our ideas of what a heavy slam band would look like in 2021 to us. “
The videos of new songs in the making offer tasty proof that Soto and his company are up to something special. He said it was both fulfilling and already rewarding that they were going into this without already releasing a first EP. Saving it was enough, it seems.
“We asked Kirill from TRAUMATOMY to do a guest spot on a song,” he said. “His guitarist and label owner, Constantine Chevardin, asked me if we would be interested in signing because he heard the demo that we had his singer do. He loved it, we loved the idea and that’s how it turned out. We are now signed to Vile Tapes Records and are delighted to work with him.
The group will debut Sunday night in Tulsa at the Mass Movement Community Arts. PeelingFlesh will join Caustic, 200 Stabwounds and SANGUISUGABOGG to offer a slamtastic introduction.
Oh, by the way, this PeelingFlesh EP is due out in August.
Let’s not forget that Aberrant Construct is still alive and well. Soto said the band are set to release a split EP with The Green Leaves soon.
“We got together and wrote two songs the way we love: heavy as hell,” he said. “We’re about to start meeting to start writing our entirety in a month’s time.”
Soto also offered the final mastering of Lawton’s new album Allusion, “III”. Produced and mixed by Brandon Cramer at 1121 Recordings in Lawton, the album is a sonic masterpiece of independent music. Soto also provides its services to the entire state slam community.
But that is taking a step back for a while, Soto said. It’s about getting back to the format he likes the most: the live scene. However, he promised that he is still working on “some amazing projects” right now that will see the light of day.
On top of all that, Soto and his lifelong sweetheart Emily made the trip to Hawaii earlier this year to get married. He said 2021, from music to wedding, breathed new life into his lungs.
“This year is already definitely offsetting the quarantine,” he said.
Soundemonium Musaic Lawton Music Archives Home Page: Scott Rains – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPw__GedGPOUD-wROFcuZ8w.