10 Quick Ones with ARTIFICIAL AGENT – September 2017

Detroit rockers Artificial Agent seem to be everywhere in the Motor City these days.  If you find a killer hard rock or glam metal show, you will most likely find the band either opening – as they will do for Warrant on October 21 – or at least roaming around in the crowd, as they dig listening to the music as much as they enjoy making it!  We got all four members – Derek Jendza (vocals), Brad Jendza (bass), Mike Elgert (guitar), and Karl Crafton (drums) – to answer our 10 Quick Ones about new music, their influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Derek: We have lots of vocal harmonies that are cool. We have tons of cool guitar fills that are layered throughout the record.

Brad: For some reason, “blood” and “bleeding” are themes throughout. And one of the songs is sort of inspired by modern politics and news coverage.

Mike: I think it’s the best songs we’ve written together.

Karl: There’s a lot of groove, and cool guitar going on that come to your ear as you listen more. It’s cool to pick up little things you didn’t notice the first time. One of the things I’m very happy about is that the instruments sound real.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Derek: Listening to Kiss as child.

Brad: Listening to records, yes records, with my brother in our grandparent’s house. We had the first Beatles album along with Abbey Road. Talk about a spectrum to listen to. And then we got a copy of KISS Alive II, and I thought Paul Stanley’s voice sounded like he was a Motown soul singer.

Mike: Seeing the Ace Frehley solo album cover.

Karl: I started playing drums in 6th grade concert band. I also had private snare drum, and drum kit lessons. I had been playing a while, and I saw Cheap Trick with Kiss, and I said “I want to do THAT!” So I did!

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Derek: Kiss, Queens of the Stone Age, Motley Crue, Duran Duran and Queen.

Brad: Kiss, The Beatles, Queen, Motley Crue, Queens Of The Stone Age.

Mike: The Beatles, Jellyfish, Cheap Trick, Metallica, Nuno Bettencourt.

Karl: Bun E. Carlos, Pete Thomas, Steve Jordan, Hunt Sales, Carmine Appice.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?

Derek: Paul Stanley from Kiss.

Brad: Freddie Mercury. He used to write in strange keeps and his melodies were instant hooks.

Mike: Derek Jendza… Or Roger Joseph Manning Jr. I would like to see him work on a chord arrangement and melody.

Karl: I would have loved to work with Tin Machine.

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?

Derek: Glam Metal with a Modern Rock Sound.

Brad: Heavy Metal with melodic riffs.

Mike: If you threw Motley Crue, Kiss and Queens of The Stone Age in a blender.

Karl: Hard​ ​driving,​ ​grooving​ ​rock,​ ​that’s​ ​fun​ ​to​ ​listen​ ​to.​ ​Good​ ​tunes​ ​to​ ​rock​ ​out with and forget your troubles. It’s fun, not preachy, and doesn’t bring you down.

6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Derek: It really is exciting when you are creating in the studio. Turning these ideas into reality.

Brad: You never feel like you’re finished writing songs or performing. I’ll be doing this until I collapse or am physically unable to play music.

Mike: Being creative. Playing a guitar loudly through a Marshall is pretty fulfilling.

Karl: Playing music that you enjoy, with people you enjoy being around. The physical act of playing the drums is amazing to me. Just locking in, and driving it home is great!

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Derek: I make sure food and drinks are taken care of. Mike pulls out the acoustic guitar.

Brad: Derek is definitely the cheerleader of the band.

Mike: Derek drinks…

Karl: I would get there early, then we would all make fun of each other and go to a restaurant.

8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Derek: A Movie Director

Brad: Actor or fine artist. I always wanted to do an art show at a big gallery.

Mike: A drummer.

Karl: I also do graphic design, and don’t feel like it’s a “job”. Other than that, making custom drumsticks would be real cool. I have custom sticks made, and the things that go into it I enjoy, so I think it would be cool to actually turn the wood and make the sticks too.

9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”?

Derek: No. Missteps make you who are. They build character. It molds you.

Brad: I think you should never judge yourself. “To thine self be true”. I’d never regret something unless I did it to satisfy someone else, and I haven’t. At the end of the day, everything I create is to please me creatively.

Mike: No. Except for not selling millions of albums and making a ton of money.

Karl: Happily, I don’t have anything like that. Things have happened the way they should I guess.

10. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Derek: Abby Road by The Beatles It is just one of the first LP’s I got into as a young lad. That album is classic. I love every song on it.

Brad: I would love to be in the room when Queen did A Day At The Races. It’s an incredibly complex album with different techniques, all done on tape. No ProTools. It’s quite an achievement.

Mike: Spilt Milk – Jellyfish. I wouldn’t want to do anything because it would ruin the album, but I would have loved to watch them make it.

Karl: KISS ALIVE! That whole record is amazing and fun. I can still listen to it and not get sick of it. A close second would be Cheap Trick’s At Budokan!

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10 Quick Ones with ARTIFICIAL AGENT - September 2017

Filed Under: Interviews

About the Author: ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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