Shockwave Magazine had the chance to sit down with John Connolly and speak with him about Projected’s upcoming release, Ignite My Insanity.
Now is the perfect time to learn who Projected is if you haven’t heard of them before. Forming in 2012, this supergroup of underrated artists has geared up to release a plethora of new material. Consisting of John Connolly (Sevendust), Eric Friedman (Tremonti, ex Creed, ex Submersed), Vince Hornsby (Sevendust), and Scott Phillips (Alter Bridge, ex Creed). Now if this talent pool doesn’t peak your interests, then you have no business listening to Rock and Roll. Since 2012, these four men have been extremely busy with their respective bands, tours, albums, music cruises, you name it. However, all being such great friends and influences on each other’s music, they came together and created something epic.
The rumbles that Projected made back with their debut release of Human in 2012 grabbed the attention of a ton of music lovers globally. Fast forward a few years and they’re hard at work to put together a double album feature. Ignite My Insanity, scheduled to be released on July 21, 2017 by Rat Pack Records, consists of 21 adrenaline filled, soon to be staples along the airwaves. Listening to a live Facebook feed with John, he said the reasoning behind releasing so much material at once was because their fans deserved it, and they waited so long after the first record.
Let’s dive into disk one. Starting off the record is the teaser track “Reload” that was posted on their website, and boy does it get the blood flowing. Immediately following is “Six Feet Below”, beginning with the signature deep dish chords of Vince Hornsby on bass. Really showing off that patented sound that he has created with Sevendust over the years. Given the opportunity to be the voice of this band, John Connolly really shows his true strengths and octave range in this track. In Sevendust, John mostly delivers the backup vocals alongside Morgan Rose and Lajon Witherspoon, but given the spotlight on this album, you’ll quickly pick up on his talent with the microphone.
There are no stones left unturned when it comes to making this album and band into something special and unique from their everyday bands. Every track has the energy and passion from every member. Songs like “10 Years Gone”, and “Ignite” just bring out the life in the music. Even wearing headphones, you’ll find yourself lost in the beats and insane riffs.
I spoke with John about the new record, recording processes, freedom in creativity, and more, read below what we talked about.
Scott Langevin for Shockwave Magazine here, just wanted to say Thank You for taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak with me today, Its got to be hectic with everything all happening at once, video dropping this morning, album in a week. I’ve had my hands on the album now for about a week and i’m extremely excited for everyone to hear this!
John Connolly: Doing great, its been crazy, but I love it. I woke up this morning and phone was going crazy with all the notifications. Everyone tagging me on the video posts, its been a fun ride. It was crazy recording that video, I had to be in Los Angeles for the shoot, and the night before Scott & I both took our kids to see Twenty One Pilots in Tampa. Thats like an hour and a half drive, but it was for the girls, so we had to go! Drove there, saw the show, drove back home, had to be in Orlando at the crack of dawn for my flight, I get to L.A., go straight to the studio, which mind you that Sevendust hasn’t recorded a music video since 2012. That was something we just kinda stopped doing, so here I am not knowing what i’m doing because its been so long. We recorded from 7pm until about 5am. The whole concept of the video was the main character was supposed to be “insane”, and the director originally wanted to get an actor for the part, but its also supposed to be me, so that whole 24 hours before really molded my character in the video.
Thats incredible, speaking of being exhausted, you guys recorded 21 tracks for this feature, how did you manage the time, Vinny did some recording on the road, You and E-Rock at your house, It must be so awesome to have the capability to be in your own home and on your own timeline.
Yeah, This whole album went a lot more smoothly than Human back in 2012. This time, when Scott went to record his drum parts, I had already written lyrics so he had a concept of what he was playing to, so it made it a bit easier for everyone. For me, being at home was incredible. Being able to wake up, go downstairs and sing a song or two, play guitar, and then if i’m not feeling it, I can literally just turn off the amp and walk away. In the studio, its not that simple. Yeah, recording in certain studios is amazing, but i’ve done it for years, so its a nice change. Some people can’t focus if they’re home, I on the other hand love it. I’ve got my family around. I can still go to my kid’s school functions, see my wife, be with friends, but yeah being home and having the ability to be there is great. I prefer it actually, thats where I want to be.
Now, Projected has certainly brought a new John Connolly to light, how far out of your comfort zone has this taken you?
Very far. With Projected, its something that has given me a ton of opportunity, where as in Sevendust, we all know our parts. If i’m having a bad day in Sevendust, I need to remember that i’m only 20% of the puzzle and when the other guys are on, they can pick me up. The freedom and creativity is endless with Projected, and it has certainly brought me to somewhere where i’m not used to, but its so much fun and these guys are so easy to work with.
With Sevendust, you have a backseat role when it comes to vocals, here you’re the man, have you had any formal training in changing roles now as a Lead Vocalist?
Honestly, no, my training is basically the 20 years with Sevendust, and everything I do is the wrong way, other vocalists probably cringe when they hear the way I do it. I do hope that one day I can take some time and have someone give me direction and training though. Its funny, I can wake up and sing a half a song one day, not feel it, then the next day a song, then some days i’m on I just keep going and blow my voice out. My friends will ask, “John are you alright?”, and I’m fine but i’m just pushing it to the limit, then i’ll have to stop for a few days and then everything is alright again.
Working with your friends, E-Rock, Flip, and The Boss. These are all guys that you’ve toured with numerous times in their respective bands, can you give us any hints for some live shows for Projected in the works while Sevendust is off the grid?
Well, We definitely want to hit the road. Sevendust is hitting the studio to work on a record starting in October, and then we’ll be gearing up for a spring tour, same with Tremonti. Right now, Alter Bridge has plans for a Winter tour with the symphony as well, so that’ll be cool to see, but right now the scheduling is where we are at. Maybe we can get E-Rock to just stay on stage all night if we can get a Tremonti thing going. (Laughs)
You’re close friends with Mark Tremonti, he was helpful in writing some tracks on Ignite My Insanity.
Yeah, everything I ever do with Mark is awesome. He was a part of a few songs. Not only is he an incredible guitar player, he’s a multi-tooled person. I can ask him for some advice on something and in a half hour he will have something for me. He’ll drop everything to make it work. So its always nice to have his input.
Last but not least, your favorite track from Ignite My Insanity?
It’s tough, that changes every day. I love all of them. They’re so unique, but right now i’d say “Ignite”.
I can’t wait for everyone to hear Ignite My Insanity, the fans are hungry and we thank you. There are soon to be fans that didn’t know they were fans yet come next friday. It was great to speak to you, Thank You.
Thank You so much, great speaking to you as well. I can’t wait, it’s exciting.
Pre-Order Ignite My Insanity now. https://www.ratpakrecordsamerica.com/projected