One band that has knocked “The Count of Rock” flat on his ass with their God-given musical talent is Sonic X. Upon their emergence back in 2004, Sonic X (Joseph Cumbo – bass, Lawrence Falcomer – guitar, & Joey Greco – drums/vocals) have amassed for themselves a surge of interest from legions of fans who love their rock on the grave -yet melodic side.
Recently Sonic X has unleashed its brand new E.P. “Fly Around The World” in conjunction with a video for its title track, which combines an onslaught of killer hooks and sincere songwriting with breathtaking visuals. In this exclusive for Ball-Buster, Joseph Cumbo was more than generous with his time in discussing the latest chapter of Sonic X’s quest for music’s Holy Grail with yours indeed.
MARK ST. JOHN: Is there anything that separates your new E.P. “Fly Around The World” from any
previous release by Sonic X?
JOSEPH CUMBO: “Fly Around The World” is a significant change in direction for Sonic X not only in musical terms but also in personnel. The main difference is that Joey Greco has taken over the lead vocals on this E.P. Our original vocalist, Adam Troy, is on hiatus, and we don’t know when or if he will be returning. Think Phil Collins was taking over from Peter Gabriel. The band decided that since we had built up all this great music over the last few years, we felt compelled to release it. Joey has also taken a more significant role than he has in the past in the writing of this record. Lawrence continues to be a driving force in writing, but having Joey expand his role in the writing has changed our sound, and I believe made Sonic X more accessible. My role hasn’t really changed much, just contribute as much as possible to the writing process, same as always. You will hear a difference compared to the previous Sonic X releases sonically and musically.
MSJ: Early days still, but thus far I’ ve noticed the response from your Fans on social media towards the EP’s title track -along with its accompanying video, has been incredible. Would you agree?
J.C.: Yes, the response has been awesome so far! We’ve received so much great feedback, and it’s really encouraging. With Joey Greco taking over lead vocals, we weren’t really sure how the change would go over with our fans, but so far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve had a few messages from people saying that “Fly Around the World” is their new favorite song …that means a lot to us and motivates us to be even better. The response is coming from all over the world, which is also fantastic. We seem to be reaching a wider audience with “Fly Around the World…”We’re lucky to live in an era where it’s easier to reach fans worldwide. It’s always interesting to hear from people in different parts of the world and to think that your song somehow touched someone in New Zealand or Russia, it’s very humbling for sure. This drives us to continue to work hard to put our best music forward for the fans.
MSJ: Sonic X has received much support along with with airplay on Sirius XM’s “Breaking Bone” program. Would you say that traditional radio is a dying form in light of so many Musicians soliciting their product to internet/satellite stations these days?
J.C.: I don’t think traditional radio will ever really die and will always have a place in local markets; however, their audience is changing and diminishing. I have friends that don’t listen to traditional radio anymore, they just stream from Spotify or other similar platforms. It depends on the person, I really like listening to SiriusXM as they give bands like Sonic X a platform to get played to a massive worldwide audience, where it is nearly impossible to get played on a local radio station. Aside from Breaking Bone on Sirius XM our singles “Pray” and “Save Yourself” From our “Fall From Grace,” E.P. received regular rotation on Sirius XM’s Octane channel, which is the premier station for emerging rock music. I understand that the local or traditional stations must pander to their advertisers, so they must play the most popular songs from the big bands. Some stations are cool and have a segment for local or unsigned bands to get discovered. I’d like to see more of that, I think it would help the groups, and the stations would Increase their audience. Internet radio is a new medium that gives unsigned and unknown bands a platform to get airplay. I find a lot of the Internet station welcome new unsigned bands and are happy to add you to their playlist, assuming your material is good quality. It gives bands a place to start to grow their audience, and as I always tell the other guys in Sonic X, you never know who’s listening.
MSJ: Has the Band received any Record Label interest lately?
J.C.: We receive offers from Independent labels frequently, especially after “fly Around the World” was released. However, we haven’t really seen the benefit so far. If we get an offer that makes good business sense from a good label with a good reputation, we’d seriously consider it. We like working at our own pace and also writing and releasing the material that we love, so we are always wary that a label may step in with demands and tell us what to do. We’re not about that; we’re doing this to make ourselves happy and hopefully make our fans happy in the process. When it stops being fun, only then we’ll stop playing and recording. As far as major labels go, I don’t think they are signing too many bands like Sonic X these days, but again, we would be open to any offers that make sense. We would love to grow Sonic X with the right business partners involved.
MSJ: When it comes to songwriting, where does Sonic X receive their ideas and inspirations?
J.C.: We get inspiration from everyday events; we try to write about real-life situations and emotions. The lyrics on this E.P. are a little deeper than past Sonic X songs, and our fans have noticed (with no disrespect to those songs, of course, we love all our songs equally, LOL). I find the lyrics on this E.P. more relatable for a lot of people. From a musical standpoint, the E.P. sounds more mature and polished. We really worked hard on tightening up the arrangements and making sure that every part of the song stood up to a higher standard. I personally believe this is the strongest material Sonic X has released to date, and the material we’ve been writing recently is more along the lines of “Fly Around The World.” We’re very excited about it and future releases!
MSJ: Please tell us about what went into the EP’s creation.
J.C.: Well, the process has changed with the way we write and record songs. With past Sonic X material, we all used to get together and play. We would settle on a melody or a riff and basically write a song. Then we would demo the songs and go to a recording studio like Metalworks, for example, and record, mix and master the album there. The way we write these days is different. With current technology, we trade ideas through email, we send each other full or parts of songs, and a lot of songs are finished virtually. We now have the luxury of recording at our own studio that Joey owns so we can record anytime and for how long we want. We have more control over the process and cost. There are also times when Joey and Lawrence will finish a complete song, and we all vote on if it’s Sonic X worthy and if it’s something that will end up on a Sonic X album. We try to have high standards, so we only release the best songs we’ve written. Sometimes we disagree, but for the most part, we all like the same thing, so generally, we are on the same page. We all have to agree on a song for the song to make it on an album, that is our form of quality control.
MSJ: Are there any plans for a tour in the works – or at the very least, can your hometown Fans in the Greater Toronto
Area expect a future live show?
J.C.: This is a question we get asked quite a bit from our fans, friends and of course family, we don’t have a simple answer, unfortunately. We currently don’t have any dates booked, and we are not sure to what extent we will play live. We will make that decision soon, but at this point, I can’t share any info on live dates. We will look at all opportunities and what makes the best sense for Sonic X. All I can say is for people to visit our new website at www.sonicxband.com for the latest news and info, including any live shows. Please feel free to ask any questions as we do welcome feedback and love interacting with our fans!
MSJ: You guys have been performing together for a very long time in several musical incarnations going back to the late 1980’s. What is the secret to your longevity, but most of all -the chemistry among the members of Sonic X?
J.C.: I’ve been playing in bands with Lawrence Falconer for over 30 years now, starting way back when we were in an Ozzy Osborne tribute band. We played the circuit and Ozzy came and watched one of our shows at the Gasworks actually. Fun times! Eventually, that band became L.A., which was an award-winning club band that toured the country and was together for many years. There are a compatibility and comfort there between Lawrence and me. I don’t know if I can pinpoint any secret, but there is a mutual respect between us. We take each others’ opinions serious, and nobody ever forces their ideas on the other person. Joey Greco has been involved with us since 2007 when he helped with some post-production on our album “Thirteen.” It feels like Joey’s been with us a lot longer as he fits right into the band, and our ideas aligned perfectly. Lawrence, Joey, and I make decisions as a band, and there is no band leader, so to speak. We are all equal partners and that’s evidence in the songs. All songs are written by Joey Greco, Lawrence Falcomer, and Joseph Cumbo. I believe that bands that work this way last a lot longer. I Personally feel honored, and grateful to get to play with these two amazing musicians and hope to continue for a long time. I must also mention our 4th member, Adam Troy, who is on hiatus at this moment. We’re not sure when or if Adam will return, but he is welcome back whenever he feels the time is right. Until then, it’s the three us of for the foreseeable future.