Exclusive Interview: Disciples of Babylon Talks About ‘Liberty,’ Musical Influences & Quarantine!

Exclusive Interview: Disciples of Babylon Talks About ‘Liberty,’ Musical Influences & Quarantine!

Based in Hollywood, California, Disciples of Babylon is an international hard-rock/alternative band founded in 2012. The band, comprising of Eric Knight (vocals), Chris Toeller (drums), Gui Bodi (bass), and Ramon Blanco (guitar), has returned with the release of their latest single titled ‘Liberty,’ their first release in three years.

‘Liberty’ was produced by the band’s drummer, Chris Toeller; the track was mastered by Joe Bozzi, who has worked with U2, Van Halen & Imagine Dragons. The single comes with a lyric video, created by Shane Richardson and video concept by Eric Knight, and has garnered over 17,000 views on YouTube to date.

Previously, the most recent release of Disciples of Babylon, ‘Without You,’ had the highest-charting debut in history on the “LaunchPad Live Top 20 Countdown” radio show by staying No. 1 for two weeks back in March. It has also been No. 1 on the Eclectic Music Top 20 Chart at the beginning of 2018. The same publication included “Without You” as No. 25 in their “100 Best Songs of 2017” alongside Greta Van Fleet, Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters & Metallica. Disciples of Babylon was also featured recently on the “Frosty, Heidi & Frank Show” on KLOS Los Angeles “Stay or Go.”

Recently, we here at The Honey POP, sat down with the members of Disciples of Babylon. We talked about their recent release, ‘Liberty,’ the inspiration behind the track and songwriting, musical influences, quarantine vibes, and future projects, and much more. Read below to know more!

‘Liberty’ is a reflection of what’s happening in our country today. How has the state of affairs changed your approach to music and the kinds of songs you write? 
Eric Knight (vocals): Well I think we’ve become even more socially conscious which is a good thing. I mean I think we always were, but in light of the past few years of chaos that we have endured in our country with this current administration has definitely heightened our awareness much more acutely than ever before,  and our songs have become a reflection of that.
Chris Toeller (drums): Many of our songs, I believe, were written in response to what has been happening on a global scale for much of history, but now we’re beginning to see and experience much more oppression and its response much closer to the home where it’s becoming more real. I think the current state of affairs, more than ever, is encouraging us to continue doing what we’re doing because it’s more relevant than ever before.

Liberty Art Cover- Disciples of Babylon via Persistent Management
Liberty Art Cover- Disciples of Babylon via Persistent Management

What does ‘Liberty’ mean to you as a band and what message do you hope your fans take away from your recent single?
Eric Knight (vocals): That we are better united as the human race and finding some common ground than in being intentionally divided whether it be conscious or unconscious. We’re all after the same goal, ‘Liberty’ however it is that you want to label it, is that goal. It’s just a matter of how we get there. There was a time not so long ago where you could have a difference in opinion and it could be discussed and even argued and it could be done in a somewhat healthy manner. Now you become an outcast,  ridiculed and even threatened for it.  We need to start learning how to understand each other, no matter what the differences may be for better or worse. The sum is greater than its parts. 
Chris Toeller (drums): For me, personally, Liberty means equality much more than it equates to freedom. Maybe that’s not the dictionary definition for it, but that’s more what I think of when I hear the word Liberty. How can you have liberty without equality, no matter who you are? I hope people hear ‘Liberty’ and begin thinking about how they can do better for others in less fortunate positions regardless of their preferences, physical, personal, or social characteristics, etc.
Gui Bodi (Bass): It means realizing we can’t divide ourselves as people, we are all on the same side, and we need to fight for our rights to correct what’s wrong in the world. Unfortunately, the establishment has a way of throwing us against each other while it still gets its agenda moving forward, driven by greed and power, no matter the consequences to us people or the world.

Do you have a favorite lyric from ‘Liberty?’ What is it and why?
Chris Toeller (drums): The first lyrics of the song are “This war has come to our doorstep,” which I think is quite likely the most accurate statement in the song. But I think my most favorite line, because of the way I visualize it, is the lyric, “United in arms ‘til Victory, I will fight for Liberty.” These lyrics just emphasize the absolute necessity for people to come together, unite, see past differences, etc., all of which we will need to overcome the oppression and inequality we have been experiencing for far too long in our world.
Eric Knight (vocals): I guess mine would have to be, “Divide us and conquer, was that your goal, you’ve got your wish how does it feel.” It was a clear shot that I was taking in writing that line as to who was and continues to try and manipulate people and tear apart what this country is all about, unity, freedom, equality, justice and of course liberty.

Who are some of your biggest musical influences or where do you gain inspiration? How would you describe your music in your own words?
Chris Toeller (drums): As individuals, we have quite a wide range of influences. But as a band, I think we have found that we all love bands such as Muse, the Foo Fighters, U2, Led Zeppelin, etc., and many of those kinds of influences (and more) can be heard throughout our music.
Ramon Blanco (guitar): We come from a very diverse background, and I personally like all kinds of music, if it’s good, it’s good. Bands that have inspired me to write Disciples of Babylon’s music are bands like Royal Blood, Alter Bridge, Muse. Inspiration comes from everywhere, it could be something that just happened in the world or in my personal life. I’m always looking for that inspiration. 
Gui Bodi (Bass): I have so many musical influences, it goes from The Beatles to Mastodon and everything in between. My main source of new inspiration is randomly discovering new bands and music on Spotify and Youtube. Our music is an amalgamation of all our influences in Rock and Pop, including its subgenres, it’s kind of hard to label it because we have such a wide range of sounds.
Eric Knight (vocals): There are just too many to mention. I’m inspired by everything both good, bad and everything in between. The band has a wide-ranging palette in terms of our influences which contributes to our sound. In terms of how I would describe our music,  I’ve come up with a new genre for the band, it’s called “New Classic Rock.” And what I mean by that is it has all the elements of what “Classic Rock” once was which were memorable hooks and choruses, and songs that the audience will just sing right back to you but with a modern twist of today’s sound.

Disciples of Babylon via Persistent Management
Disciples of Babylon via Persistent Management

What was the songwriting process like for ‘Without You?
Chris Toeller (drums): Most of the instrumental portion of this song was written in a single rehearsal at Cascade Studios in Hollywood. It evolved quite a bit afterwards when we were preparing to enter the studio to record ‘The Rise and Fall of Babylon,’ but I believe much of the lyrical content and harmonic structure stayed pretty consistent after that first rehearsal.
Ramon Blanco (guitar): That one took us some time until we found what clicked. I showed the guitar parts to Eric and he found the chorus melody right away, but we went back and forth at the rehearsal space with the guys until we got the final arrangement.  

What is your favorite part of the songwriting process overall? What’s your favorite chorus you have ever written?
Ramon Blanco (guitar): My favorite part is getting into a room with my best friends and creating something new, it is something special about writing music with people that you admire and love. It’s hard to pick. I like them all, but right now I’ll say the one for ‘Liberty.’ It is our new song! 
Gui Bodi (drums): I love bouncing ideas off of my bandmates, it’s a synergistic process to me, they make me come out of my comfort zone and play-things I never thought of playing before by myself. I guess the only chorus I have helped write the melody for was for ‘Freedom,’ so that’s my favorite one! Hahahaha!
Eric Knight (vocals): I think it’s after we’ve had the initial germ of the idea that it starts to mutate and go in different directions. Some that you are expecting and others that you don’t. Ultimately, it is amazing to be sitting in the same room with everyone at that moment in time that is contributing and sharing in the experience in shaping the song, that to me is the ultimate, being with your band of brothers. As far as choruses go, we’re biased of course we love them all. If I’d have to say one, it would be our current single for ‘Liberty.’ It just stays in your head and doesn’t go away. 

Since live shows are a no-go, what have you all done during the pandemic to try and stay connected to fans virtually?
Ramon Blanco (guitar): Well that what we have left is we are trying to take advantage of that as much as possible, we put ‘Liberty’ out and a series of acoustic versions of our songs. And on top of that, we keep our interaction with our fans on social media pretty active during this time.
Gui Bodi (bass): Social media is definitely a lifesaver during these times, creating content and sharing it online is such an easy thing nowadays, and that helps us stay in touch with our fanbase worldwide, providing them with a positive, unifying and hopeful message despite the pandemic. We have to be patient, take care of each other and trust science will get us out of this mess.

And once you’re able to go on tour again, where’s one place you want to go that you haven’t yet?
Chris Toeller (drums): Area 51. Inside!
Gui Bodi (bass): I’d love to tour England, I’ve never been to the country, so it’d be a really cool experience for me.
Eric Knight (vocals): I would say Japan. The appreciation for our style of music is revered there. It’s an electric place with energy constantly flowing everywhere. 

What’s one goal you hope to accomplish as a band over the next year?
Chris Toeller (drums): Due to live performance/ venue restrictions, we’ve made it our focus to continue to write, record, and produce new music for our fans to enjoy in the meantime while we all, as a nation, figure out how to approach the social distancing issue from here on out.
Gui Bodi (bass): Write more music! It’s tough to stay productive and inspired locked inside my apartment, musical magic just doesn’t happen out of the blue, I have to force myself into that state, so that’s what I want to focus next year. Of course, if the circumstances allow, to play live again because that’s the reason we became a band in the first place.
Eric Knight (vocals): Release more music in the coming year, which is happening with new singles coming. And ultimately lead us to our next full release which we hope will be in the latter half of 2021.

At last, if you could only play five songs live for the rest of your career, what five would you pick?
Chris Toeller (drums): I don’t know that I could play only five songs for the rest of my career. I think I would quit lol. I also don’t feel the draw toward specific songs so much anymore, but rather certain vibes. This could be due to how we experience music nowadays, with music streaming services such as Spotify, but I definitely have become more of a vibey / playlist person over time. I might be judged for saying that. 
Gui Bodi (bass): Easy: One big medley of all our songs!
Eric Knight (vocals): WOW! I’m not sure if that could even be possible for me quite frankly. I will defer saying that we haven’t written those yet, so stay tuned…!

And yes, we will. We’re going to keep our eyes on what Disciples of Babylon will bring us next as our expectations are rising pretty high! We hope you’re enjoying their music as much as we are. Listen and stream ‘Liberty’ below!

What is your definition of liberty? What are your thoughts on the latest single? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us @TheHoneyPOP! You can also hit us up on Facebook and Instagram!

Want to read more articles about all your favorite artists? We’ve got your fix!

 LEARN MORE ABOUT DISCIPLES OF BABYLON:
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Featured Image Source: Disciples of Babylon via Persistent Management

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Khushboo Malhotra

Pop fanatic and a dreamer, I breathe music and everything that comes along! Have a story? Get in touch: khushboomalhotra24@gmail.com Twitter: @KhushMalhotra

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