Powderburn

Powderburn
Powderburn, a hard rock foursome that calls Austin, Texas home, formed in November of 1999 in a tiny apartment in Austin, TX. To get the right sound, vocalist/guitarist Ken Lockman enlisted a pair of childhood friends, and former East Coasters, drummer Patrick Swift and bassist Greg Enkler. Now all they needed was a guitarist with hypersonic chops and precision execution. They found their man with lead guitarist Eric Anthony.

Powderburn released their debut full-length album, A New Sin in December of 2000. Their sophomore self-titled album came out in December of 2003 and in January of 2007, they put out an EP/DVD entitled Echoed in Red. Fall 2009 saw the release of their latest effort One Fix.

Powderburn has played over 300 clubs in 11 states spanning half of the U.S.  They’ve shared the stage with some of the biggest names in metal and hard rock including, Slayer, Slipknot, Disturbed, Machine Head, Three Days Grace, and Staind. They’ve played at Austin’s world famous South by Southwest festival for the past 5 years in a row, and they show no signs of slowing down.

Now that the latest record is ready to unleash on the world, the band has chosen to follow in the footsteps of luminaries such as Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails. The entire record is available as a free digital download on ReverbNation. All the band asks in exchange for an entire record of free songs is for the user to submit their email address to the mailing list, and One Fix is absolutely free.

Patrick explains the rationale behind the decision, "We really had to take a step back and decide how we were going to make our mark in an age with little label support, and when you have the whole internet at your disposal it really lets you take some risks and get your music into the hands of whoever wants it. I think that's even more valuable to us right now than any money we'd make selling this online with no help from a label.

Patrick threw on his bathrobe, put a little liquor in his coffee, and sat down to tell us a bit more about the band.

How do you describe your music to people, Patrick?
I used to hate this question, because I never wanted to pigeon-hole our music, but then I realized how important this is to people that don't have such artistic arrogance. I think our music is a modern take on the classic hard rock and thrash we grew up with. I remember that crazy feeling I had in the pit of my stomach when I heard Sad But True for the first time, and we're all about finding new ways to do that.

Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
I think all of us got into music in largely the same way - we all watched a lot of MTV as kids and wanted to be larger than life. I think the one common thread we have in terms of inspiration was Metallica's Black Album. My first band, just before high school, actually included my current bassist Greg. We've pretty much always either been playing together or wished we were.

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Play live. I know that seems like a knee-jerk, totally lame, cliche thing to say, but unless you've done it at a certain level, you just don't know. We played the Rockstar Mayhem Fest second stage, with Machine Head, Slipknot, Disturbed, Dragonforce, etc., and when you're facing down 8000 kids who are actually digging your music, to the point where they pick up a kid in a 200 lb. electric wheelchair and CROWDSURF him during your set, the feeling you have is indescribable. Better than sex, better than drugs, better than ANYTHING.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
The utter tanking of the record industry in general. You don't have thousands of kids stealing milk from the grocery store on bit-torrent sites. I think it's a pretty unique problem faced by the arts (music, movies, etc.), and it's taken a lot of the capital away from the businesses that would make my business easier. It's cool for NIN or Radiohead to give away a record, because everyone knows who they are. Getting into the national consciousness is probably one of the hardest job-related tasks of any industry, ever.

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
When I was very small, I thought I was going to be a Jedi Knight. When I realized that wasn't a viable job option, I wanted to be a priest. True story. Of course, Metallica and Guns 'N' Roses came along and pretty much put the smack down on that vocation, too. I chose drums, and have been doing it ever since.

In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
Originally being from New York City, I was exposed through countless friends to all kinds of music. I got into everything from industrial to Bolivian folk music to Nusret Fateh Ali Khan. I think it's informed my drumming, in particular, to not be locked into the same patterns my favorite thrash bands from the Eighties made famous.

After moving to Austin, I was struck by the sheer LOVE of music here. In NYC, there is a very cutthroat, snarky, "I'm way too cool to jump up and down and let this music visually affect me" type of vibe, and here in Austin, it's a lot more honest. People really get into your band and connect with the lyrics, music, and you as people. It's probably one of the more inspiring places to be a musician in all of America, in that regard.

What other artists out there do you love?
Wow. I could literally spend all day just typing the bands I love, but I'll try to keep it short and representative. The big ones when I was young and carry to this day are Metallica, Guns 'N' Roses, Alice In Chains, Testament,and Iron Maiden. Today, I would add Depeche Mode, Ani DiFranco, VNV Nation, The Cure, Rammstein, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, Dave Matthews Band, Bruce Springsteen, Covenant, In Flames, David Bowie, Tool/A Perfect Circle, NIN, My Chemical Romance, Queen, Nightwish, Led Zeppelin . . okay, I'm doing it. I'm sorry. I'll stop.

What does your future hold?
Success in this industry, in some way. Powderburn will be a household name. It's not a matter of being a psychic, it's a matter of accepting nothing less. Fortune favors the bold, and we in Powderburn don't see closed doors as a deterrent, we see them as something to smash down on the way to our first platinum record. That might seem arrogant to someone else, but we are just very, VERY determined.