Below, you can read our interview with INSiGHT and listen to their single They Can’t Breathe. Check out our full music review of They Can’t Breathe, HERE.
Q: Great to be speaking with you, Dave! INSiGHT has existed as both a six-piece and as your solo project. Do you plan to continue work on your own or are you considering expanding the lineup in the future?
A: Thanks, it’s great to be here. Yeah, eventually I do want to bring in other musicians to be a part of this. But, it’s kinda tricky, as even when INSiGHT was a six-piece (guitar/bass/drums/3 vocalists) I was the main songwriter, and wrote a majority of the lyrics. So INSiGHT has always been my “baby”. We had some members move away, so the band dissolved, but I kept writing, so I just started doing it all myself. But, to be honest, I never wanted to be a singer, lol. At this point, it’s very much become a passion project. So finding like-minded musicians who understand my vision is definitely something I hope for eventually…. or I’ll just hire some!
Q: How has the Southern California music scene been for your chosen genre of hard rock/metal?
A: Great, pre-pandemic of course. We’ve always had great metal festivals that originated here; Ozzfest, Knotfest, Mayhem, etc so it’s a great community. I’ve been a metalhead since I was a kid, and I freelance as a concert photographer as well, so I’ve done a lot of behind-the-scenes work at these fests and there’s such a great camaraderie and show of support. It’s a beautiful thing. INSiGHT is actually #1 on the local music metal charts at this moment.
Q: Your songs are undeniably powerful and unapologetically political, giving a voice to the silenced and using a position of influence to incite change. It’s a noble mission very few musicians desire to take on. What made you decide to use your music to bring attention to the world’s injustices?
A: Thank you, I really appreciate the compliments. Unfortunately, I know that writing songs like this immediately alienates ½ my audience but, at this point, I believe it’s important. I feel I have the unique experience to be able to relate to different societal situations: I grew up middle class, but I’ve been homeless, I am a recovering drug addict (24yrs clean on 4/28), I’ve been broke, on food stamps, cleaning toilets for minimum wage, but on the flip side, I’ve also owned businesses, I manage a pawn shop so I deal in gold, cash, and jewelry on a daily basis, and I’m the vice-president on the board of directors of a non-profit. So I have seen first hand the different prejudices and classism that exists in our society at a level that most don’t get to experience. So I feel that helps me express it in a way not normally seen. My first album “GEMINI: The Light & The Dark” was very autobiographical, but definitely not of a political nature, except “THiSisAMERiCA” which is about gun violence in America.
Q: On that note, what kind of changes in society are you hoping to inspire with the music of INSiGHT? The message of racial inequality is clear in “They Can’t Breathe”, but are there other issues you’re hoping to bring attention to in a similar way?
A: I guess my overall goal with the messaging is to just draw attention. Almost every song on my new album “TrusT” is about some sort of inequality or issue with society. From the look at mainstream media at the start of the album entitled “TrusT (intro)” and the first single “12:34”, to songs that focus on racial inequality “They Can’t Breathe”, civil unrest “RISE”, poverty “Homeless”, political bias “Life Ain’t Fair”, climate change “EXTiNCT”, and even classism “Struggle of the Everyman”, this album is a deep look at what’s wrong in the world today.
Q: How long did “They Can’t Breathe” take to record, and what was that process like?
A: I wrote “They Can’t Breathe” in June of 2020, right in the middle of the protests and riots after George Floyd was murdered. I wanted to approach it from the standpoint of being someone who is not a minority, but wants to do something. I can’t begin to understand what it means to be racially discriminated against, let alone fearing for my life from those who are supposed to protect. But shining light onto the injustices, and telling our fellow humans “We see you and we hear you, what can we do?” is a great first step. The recording process was musically easy for me, it came out quickly, but recording the vocals was a bit of a challenge. I re-recorded the choruses multiple times, I just wanted to get it right.
Q: Writing songs of a political nature can be very challenging. What is your songwriting process like? Are you a music-first or lyrics-first kind of writer?
A: I need to be “triggered” for lack of a better word, lol. I am constantly writing riffs, my phone has hundreds of 10-second ideas in it, but some seem to stick until they fit, and it’s kinda the same lyrically. A good example is the song “Alarm”. Those beeps you hear at the beginning is the actual alarm at my work. I’ve been hearing that beeping every morning, 5 days a week for the last 8 years. So I wrote a riff around it. Lyrically, a few months later I was having an abscessed wisdom tooth pulled and was sick of everything…. they just kinda fit together. But, for that reason I have a guitar next to me in every room I’m in. My living room, office, at work… never out of reach.
Q: What was your first guitar? Do you still have/play it?
A: My actual first guitar was an acoustic that my dad got on his 21st birthday from the Sears/Roebuck catalog. I do still have it, but it’s in rough shape. My first electric guitar was a Traveling Wilburys guitar…. I tell the story in my biography on my website. After that I got an Ibanez, and have been pretty loyal since. I own quite a few guitars, but my mainstays are Ibanez, Schecters, and Deans.
Q: Perhaps in some unspecified amount of time, your musical career explodes in the best of ways. What does that look like for you?
A: That’s a tough question. I mean, in our youth we all dream of the rockstar life, but at this point I would love to just be heard. To make a decent living playing and recording music is an ideal place for me. But I would need to play live as well. Who doesn’t want screaming fans??
Q: You get to collaborate with anyone of your choosing. Who is it?
A: Oh.. Corey Taylor from Slipknot is on top. Ice T is another I would love to do something with. Body Count is killing it right now. Glen Danzig is a fav as well. Musically, I’d love to jam with Kirk Hammett from Metallica, Munky and Head from Korn. Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine… God, don’t let me put together a jam session…. There wouldn’t be enough room on stage!!
Q: Your favorite album of all time? (Yup, you gotta choose one.)
A: IOWA by Slipknot. That album changed my life, saved my life, and helped me understand myself like no other album has. In 2016, when they played the album in its entirety at Knotfest, it was literally like a religious experience for me. I was crying hysterically afterwards. It brought back emotions and feelings that I hadn’t dealt with from earlier in life. It was unbelievably cathartic. But, in my teaching, (Science of Mind) they say things come up so they can go away.
Q: Your favorite song of all time? (Again, only one!)
A: Oh you are killing me!!! There are so many metrics that influence a decision like that!! I guess I could comfortably go with Master of Puppets by Metallica, as it’s kinda got everything; melody, metal, great lyrics, blazing solos, it’s a full course meal….. But oh there’s so many more I want to name!!! It really depends on my mood, The Heretic Anthem by Slipknot is another that is right there for me.
Q: What would you like fans to know about you that they’re most likely unaware of?
A: After the serious nature of “TrusT” my next album is going to be a covers album. I know not everyone may agree with me politically, and that’s ok. But music is art and art is subjective, just because you don’t like one piece from an artist, doesn’t mean you won’t like anything from them. So stay tuned, it’s going to be fun, oh and I suck at promoting so any help is greatly appreciated!
Q: Any shout-outs you wanna make?
A: Definitely a huge amount of respect and gratitude goes out to my wife Cara, without her I would be nowhere near the man I am today. She supports me when I need it the most. Also, my dad has been and continues to be an inspiration to me. He always says he’s my number 1 fan, but I’m his as well. I can’t forget the guy who founded INSiGHT with me, Steve Van Meter, or Rev is what I call him. That guy changed my life, not just musically, but spiritually as well. He’s one of the best people I’ve met in my entire life (and he was a student of Randy Rhoads, so that makes him extra cool). Oh, and I seriously cannot forget my therapist Pete. That dude really helps keep the demons at bay.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: First, thanks for the interview, and thanks to anyone who took the time to check it out. I’m just a guy who really likes making music and I figure why not try and make a change in this world if I can. All I ask is to give me a listen. My latest album “TrusT” and my first album “GEMINI: The Light & The Dark” are available on my website or any streaming services. Go sign up for my newsletter to keep up with all my goings on and win some free stuff! And always remember… INSiGHT the RiOTZ in your MIND!!!
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