Galvanized Souls are an alt-rock band from Southern California made up of Zakk Silveira – 16 – Lead Singer and Rhythm Guitar, Chris Traylor – 18 – Lead Guitar and backing vocals, Matt DeMartini – 15 – Bass Guitar, Synth and backing vocals and Kevin Cogen – 19 – Drums.
This rocking quartet boast heavy riffs and harmonising arrangements, and their enthusiasm and dedication to their music is immediately obvious by the way they apply their own sound and style to their songs. Not only are they unique in sound, but these talented teen alt-rockers also build their own instruments, write their own music and post a shed load of webisodes on their YouTube channel.
In 2013 the band released their first self titled EP followed by a cover of Cher’s hit song ‘Believe’, and earlier this year they completed ‘Carry On’ and a remix of their single ‘Shut You Down’ which is available for download on their website.
We caught up with the guys from across the globe to get the low down on their hidden talents, instrument modification and their dream collaboration.
THE ALT ENTERTAINER (TAE): How did you first form?
GALVANIZED SOULS (GS): Three of us, Chris, Zakk, and Matt, started jamming together in the middle of 2011. Then we wanted to get more serious and create original music. In late 2012 we formed Galvanized Souls and found our drummer Kevin soon after.
TAE: For people who haven’t heard about you before describe yourselves in three words?
GS: We have 2 options: Infectious Vocal Melodies or our peers describe us as Nerds, Techies and Historians.
TAE: How did you come up with the name, Galvanized Souls?
GS: We wanted to blend hard and soft imagery together in our band name. Three of us, Matt, Chris and Zakk attended a construction and engineering charter school and thought the construction term ‘Galvanized’ would be cool and the ‘Souls’ part provided the soft side of the name.
TAE: How did you all get into music in the first place?
GS: (Chris) I loved playing the game ‘Guitar Hero’ and listening to my dad’s records. My parents noticed my skill and love of Guitar Hero and signed me up for guitar lessons.
GS: (Zakk) My dad has lots of guitars around the house and is a big rock music fan and he inspired me. I started taking lessons at 9.
GS: (Matt) I started loving and listening to Beethoven when I was 5 years old, then moved to Benny Goodman and then onto full blown rock music starting with Ozzy Osbourne a few years later. I started guitar lessons at 11 and moved to bass a year later.
GS: (Kevin) I have always been into music but what launched me into becoming a musician was my experience acting in a Gym Class Heroes music video shoot.
TAE: Tell us a bit about the modifications that you do to your instruments, and how you first got into all of that?
GS: (Zakk) I didn’t like that my guitar could only be a guitar – I wanted it to do more than just be a guitar. Going to a construction and engineering school and the access to Matt’s dad’s workshop gave us the confidence and opportunity to experiment and modify our instruments.
TAE: What’s the weirdest thing that a fan’s ever given you?
GS: We had a contest for our fans to create something for us for a chance to win a Galvanized Souls 2013 autographed yearbook. One of our fans made a very weird video about us, putting our heads on different bodies and other weird stuff and making an original drawing depicting the songs on our EP. She won the contest!
TAE: Where’s your favourite place to have ever played a gig?
GS: Our favorite place so far was the Roxy in Hollywood on the Sunset Strip. This is the first legit gig we had in Hollywood with great sound, great production and an awesome audience. We also performed with a lot of bands that are also our friends which was really cool.
TAE: Will you ever conquer the UK?
GS: We would absolutely love to tour in the UK. That would be a dream come true for us.
TAE: What do you all do to chill out, when you’re not playing music?
GS: Chris, Matt and Zakk love to work in the workshop modifying and creating instruments and stage props in their spare time. Kevin likes to play ‘Legend of Zelda’ and ‘League of Legends’. We also enjoy going to see other bands live music, and watch tons of music videos online.
TAE: Tell us one weird fact about each of you.
GS: (Zakk) I am addicted to ‘Magic The Gathering’.
GS: (Matt) I have a severe ice tea and lemonade beverage (aka Arnold Palmer) habit.
GS: (Chris) I almost ran into a gigantic moose on my motorcycle.
GS: (Kevin) I have beaten ‘The Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time’ 192 times and counting.
TAE: Do you have any other hidden talents that nobody knows about, aside from your music?
GS: (Zakk) – I enjoy designing on paper or on the computer and drawing. I designed the original GS logo.
GS: (Chris) – I am a vert skateboarder.
GS: (Kevin) – I am extremely flexible, like a contortionist.
GS: (Matt) – I enjoy creating special effects and I helped develop special effects for our music videos and for other musicians’ music videos.
TAE: What/who is the inspiration behind your music?
GS: We are inspired by the sounds of the 90’s like Nirvana and also the Foo Fighters.
TAE: What made you want to do a cover of a Cher song?
GS: We got a vocal effects box to use and it happened to have Auto-tune on it. Zakk, on a whim, started singing Cher’s ‘Believe’ during practice. Chris and Zakk thought it would be fun and joked around and said maybe we should cover it since we were looking for a cover song to ‘Galvanize’. Zakk knew the Cher song because his grandmother picked him up from school when he was younger and she was a big Cher fan and Cher would be playing in the car all the time.
TAE: Who would be your dream person/band to collaborate on a song with?
GS: Our dream collaboration would be to create a song with Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) and Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and have Ken Andrews (Failure) mix it.
TAE: What do you plan to do over the next 2 years?
GS: We plan to perform as many shows, write as many songs, and work with as many people as we can, and get as far as we can on this musical journey.
Words by Michelle Stannard
Photos courtesy of Gorgeous PR