Mark “Marky” Chavez – lead vocals
Mike Ransom – guitars
Tim Fluckey – guitars
Dave DeRoo – bass
Kris Kohls – drums
Nothing makes Adema happier than stepping out of the shadows.
With the release of their INSOMNIAC’S DREAM EP, their latest set of shadows has been cast by success. To accomplish their goal of making a name for themselves, the Bakersfield, CA five-piece embarked on a year-and-a-half of solid touring, performing in front of crowds as varied as Disturbed’s Music As A Weapon Tour, Linkin Park’s Projekt Revolution, Sno-Core and OZZfest. And while they succeeded in front of every audience, earning gold sales for their self-titled debut, success is a double-edged sword. With success comes expectations, and while no one has greater expectations than the band themselves, they now feel the obligation of being true to themselves while maintaining the sound and vision that made them one of 2001’s breakthrough new acts.
“The whole point of focusing your sound is to get people’s attention, but now that we’ve got their attention, we can stretch out a bit. You’re not going to hear a completely different band, you’re going to hear different sides of the same band,” explains guitarist Mike Ransom.
With the release of Adema’s INSOMNIAC’S DREAM EP, their message is clear: Start stretching, as the new release contains seven tightly wound tracks intended to blend where the band came from, with where the band hope to be heading. “We definitely want to head in the direction of ‘Immortal,'” says frontman Mark Chavez II of the EP’s opening track, recorded for the Mortal Kombat®: Deadly AllianceTM video game in stores November 22, 2002. The ‘Immortal’ song and music video will also be included in the game’s DVD content. “Sonically, the song has a big rock sound and the guitars are really heavy, it has our soft textures and the synthy guitars that we use, and I think the vocals are very large and full. To me, the song is metaphorical for not letting the fork in the road take you–You should just take it, don’t let people make you conform to the things that you hate. And the things that are tough in your life? Just deal with them and don’t be scared of them. If you put your head down and move straight forward, you can get through anything, hence the line, ‘You can’t kill me, I’m immortal.’ That’s like me pumping up my own alter-ego inside my mind, the one that I use to keep me from doing dumb shit, giving up…Or just being a puss,” he adds with a laugh.
As optimistic as the message is, Chavez was just as inspired by the recording of the track, which took place during a break from touring. “It took such little effort from me to do that in the studio, and I think that’s because my voice has gotten so much better from the consistency of performing for a year-and-a-half. I’ve really honed my skills. We’ve learned how to play better together, and we’ve learned how to live with each other better. We don’t have the bad habits that we had on the first record, and we’ve developed a friendship. Just like you see in Aerosmith’s Behind The Music, there’s always problems, the key is keeping things harmonious so that you can stay together and keep making records.”
In addition to “Immortal,” the previously unreleased “Shattered,” live track “Do What You Want To Do,” and the radio version of the single “Giving In,” INSOMNIAC’S DREAM also boasts a Chris Vrenna [Nine Inch Nails] remix of “Freaking Out” and a Sam Seaver [Beastie Boys] remix of “The Way You Like It.” “He made the track a little more hip-hoppish, gave it a street vibe that was outside our flavor,” says Chavez of Seaver’s mix. “The song was originally written with more of a hip-hop feel, but we made it more rock. In this case, we’re bringing it back to the way it originally was.” Vrenna’s work falls at the opposite end of the spectrum, as “Freaking Out” pulsates with a darker, machine-driven tempo.
But the EP’s true standout is a mesmerizing cover of Alice In Chains’ “Nutshell,” recorded as a tribute to recently deceased Chains frontman Layne Staley, Drowning Pool frontman Dave Williams, and the mother of Adema bassist Dave DeRoo, who passed away while the band was on the road. “We recorded it as a tribute to people we respect and love,” explains Chavez. “If you listen to the lyrics, it’s really about strife on the road, and the things you have to sacrifice to live your dreams, as well as the hardships that fall on people.”
“More than anything, this EP is just a testament to the fans, and everything we’ve done over the past two years,” Chavez continues. “It’s a thank you to the Adema fans.” Drummer Kris Kohls agrees: “We did a bunch of headlining shows after Music As A Weapon, and when people came out to those, we knew they were there to see Adema, and that was really cool—That was when we really came into our own. We’ve come a long way as a band, especially as a live act, and that’s where we’ve gotten our hardcore fans. We were on the road for fifteen months straight, but there was no such thing as a half-ass Adema show—When we got offstage every night, our bones would feel like they’re breaking, my hands would be bloodied up, and our necks would be cracked, but that was a huge outlet for us to release anything that we were feeling that day.”
“I think the highlight of it all is to be able to go into any town in America and be able to draw our own fans,” Chavez concludes. “It’s a great feeling to know that you’ve worked hard and established a fan base, and that’s the most rewarding part about all of this. Also, to come home and have people who love you be proud of you, to have some rest, and to be able to make a new record, a new piece of art. Not too many people get to be artistic and do it for a living, and I thank God and our fans for giving us this opportunity.”