By Stephanie Stevens
LIGHTWORKER is a metal band from San Francisco, Ca. The group is comprised of Joe Calderon, Grayson Hurd, Ryan Johnson and Brad Green. The music is a great mixture of melodic and aggressive tones, filtering nice sleek moments with raw and gritty peeks and valleys that give you a mere introduction of the sound this impressive up and coming band has in them. Emotionally moving proving that hard and heavy music can formulate a quiet sense of hope and light at the end of the tunnel.
The guys released in 2017 a EP entitled RESILIENCE that set the ball rolling to hone in and focus on a clear vision on how to mix the heavy moments they grew up loving with the melody driven moments that would put depth and appeal to what they have called FURY BY FAILURE, the bands first full length album on Solid State Records being released on June 12th 2020.
With fans and the music community getting a hint of two singles from the up coming release THE WILLING MARTYR, a heavy dose of energy and driving moments and EMPYRE a reckoning track that really embraces what you will overall get when you pick up this new disc, LIGHTWORKER is ready to impact the world with their interpretation of how they blend passionate metal and post-hardcore sound.
I had a chance to ask Vocalist Joe Calderon about the new record, the best song he has written this far and other passions/hobbies he and the rest of the band have.
When forming LIGHTWORKER what was the biggest component you all agreed on that made you gel as a band?
When we formed Lightworker, we all agreed that we just wanted to write music we genuinely enjoyed on a personal level and that made us excited about music from the get go. Then there’s the style as well. We’re all fans of heavy music and that was something that was clear from the start. We’re convinced that we’ll always dig heavy music to at least some capacity at this point. Forever a headbanger!
What is the biggest assets that band member brings into LIGHTWORKER and do you feel those assets uniquely makes the band what it is?
We are all genuinely friends first and foremost. We think this comes across in the way we run the band and the way we interact with other people. We’re all pretty laid back and have a strong sense of camaraderie. Musically, it’s the balance between the heavier elements and the melodic moments. Each person views heavy music differently in the band, and we’re all drawn to different facets of it which causes the songs to have differing types of heavier parts. For example, Joe is drawn to more European sounding riffs and Grayson is big on more groove oriented progressions. This in turn makes for different sounding elements, though still all together aggressive. Our songs “Empyre” and “The Willing Martyr” are an accurate reflection of the differing sides of abrasive music, but it’s still very much metal and contributes to what the band is. The melodic parts are tackled in a similar way, where differing influences congeal and the final product is found on “Fury By Failure”.
FURY BY FAILURE is your first full length and also first label record on Solid State. Did you guys go into working on this album differently, and what do you feel was your biggest growth since writing your EP RESILIENCE?
In some ways, it was inevitable that the album would be written differently because there was a shift among primary songwriters within the band. In other ways, it was definitely a conscious effort to write better songs that leaned toward heavier influences. That being said, the biggest aspect of growth was getting to know each other’s writing styles and inspirations. There were some tracks where we knew we wanted the track to be brutal with no restraints. Others we knew that melody would be the focus. Then there are tracks like “Beyond the Pale” which is a great example of all the writing members coming together to write something that has everyone’s flavor throughout the song and has the balance of the heavy and melodic.
As a band do you enjoy the studio/recording part? have you guys ever been in the recording process and changed a tune because of inspiration from a producer or just having new outlook once in the recording process?
The recording part is equally fun and challenging. There’s a strong sense of accomplishment when the producers we worked with pushed us to be better musicians. As for the songs themselves, some parts are adjusted here and there, and those moments may be a little weird sounding upon the first few listens. But after taking some time to digest the decisions made as a collective, you reflect and see why those decisions are made and they ultimately make sense. Another aspect that’s enjoyable is experimenting with different layers of guitars, keyboards/programming, and vocals and seeing what works and what may help push the song over from being a decent song into one that we’re all super stoked about. It really is a musician’s playground haha.
10/18 Is one of my favorite songs on the new album, love the emotional value of the song. BEYOND THE PALE is another solid one, can you give us what inspired and insight on each track?
1st off, thank you so much! “10/18” was inspired by a fond moment in time and is about the nature of a strong, positive interaction with another person. Musically, it’s the product of Joe and Grayson teaming up in one of the many “after work” writing sessions. It was also the first song they collaborated on for the record. “Beyond the Pale” is about a crumbling friendship, having enough self respect to move on, but also still loving the person enough to wish them well. Musically, it came together very quickly and a lot of trust was involved since 3 different writers were involved which were Grayson, Joe, and our friend and former guitarist Dhruva. It’s one of Joe’s favorite songs on the record.
As a songwriter in this band what do you feel is the best song you’ve ever written and why?
Good question. I think this has yet to be achieved. We’re excited for everything we’ve done up until this point, and we will continue to chase this “holy grail” so to speak. As for the best song we’ve written on “Fury By Failure”? Speaking for myself (Joe) personally, I’d have to say the final track, “Dissonance”. The reason being that it likely means the most to me lyrically and musically, Grayson and I agreed that we would forgo any kind of limits, time constraints, or “rules” and just aim for the song to be a bleak piece of art. It marries the different interpretations of heavy music we each enjoy while injecting the melancholy beauty that we both dig. No part of the song repeats except for the chorus which also helps make for an interesting listen.
Being an entertainer in your opinion what do you think music/art does to help people mentally/emotionally and even spirituality in your opinion?
It’s pure catharsis. Whether it’s something someone partakes in for fun, to express positive or negative feelings, does it for themselves, etc, it’s something that exists to spill the inner beauty humanity has to offer. So with that being said, it helps a variety of people in a myriad of ways. Personally, it’s always been a combination of joy, love, anger, pain, and escape.
Other than the instrument you play currently what is one that you always wanted to learn and why? Also if it’s something not already played in your band would you ever incorporate that into a LIGHTWORKER song?
Piano would be my choice. We have some of those elements on the record, and is likely something that will find its way in future releases.
Other than music for you what is a few passions/hobbies you have that people may not know your into?
Oh man, late last year, fish keeping piqued my interest haha. I now have a 16 gallon tank with a variety of fish and snails and plants. It’s pretty zen to be honest haha. My favorite fish is called a “pygmy cory cat”. Look those lil guys up! Grayson and I also are avid vinyl collectors. I even have my own separate vinyl instagram page (@needleinechogroove for those interested!) which are pictures from my private collection. Otherwise, Grayson is super into photography/film, Brad likes going to the dry cleaners and doing various errands, and Ryan likes to skateboard and surf.
With the release of FURY BY FAILURE on June 12th is there anything else coming up fans should know about?
For vinyl collectors, there are 2 limited variants and they feature extended liner notes that are exclusive to the vinyl format. Each song has a blurb written by Joe and Grayson describing the writing process and diving into some of the lyrical aspects of the tracks. We also will have cd’s available and of course it’ll be on every major streaming platform! We hope you enjoy the album and thank you for supporting us!