Be Well Spezial, Tag #6: Im Gespräch mit Casandra und JC

Foto: Casandra Marie (photographed in front of the DC staple, Tattoo Paradise in Adams Morgan. 6.28.20)

Moment, eh wir rüber zu den Interviews gehen, muss ich erstmal kurz folgendes erwähnen: HAPPY RELEASE DAY, BE WELL!!! Also, ohne Witz: ich habe mich wirklich selten so sehr über eine Platte gefreut wie über The Weight and The Cost und ich glaube, dass ihr das in letzter Zeit auch deutlich gemerkt habt, stimmt’s? Sorry dafür, der Be Well- Spam wird nun etwas nachlassen- zumindest bis zum nächsten Album, haha. Ich werde es aber tatsächlich sehr vermissen, wenn ich dieses kleine Projekt rund um diese Band und Mental Health abschließen werde, denn es hat mir in den letzten Wochen, in denen ich mich damit beschäftigte, unheimlich viel gegeben: Ich konnte meine Depression etwas mehr in Zaum halten, weil ich mich fast immer zu 100% auf all die Vor- und Nachbereitungen konzentrieren und der Kreativität ihren Lauf lassen konnte- das ist eine wahre Wohltat für den Kopf.

The Weight and The Cost: Anhören I Bestellen

Bei welchen Sachen mir immer das Herz aufging: 1.) Der Band geht es nicht am Arsch vorbei, was die Leute über sie zu sagen haben: ob Fans oder MusikjournalistInnen. Fast alles wird kommentiert und mit Herzen flankiert. Interviews, Reviews oder was auch immer- alles, was ihren Weg nur Ansatzweise kreuzt, wird in jeglicher Art und Weise geteilt und wertgeschätzt- und das, liebe Freunde, ist heute so unfassbar selten geworden! Ob vom kleinen Musikblog oder einem großen bekannten Musikmagazin- Be Well macht da keine Unterschiede und behandelt alle gleich- nämlich voller Respekt. Da können sich viele MusikerInnen und Bands eine riesige Scheibe abschneiden. Isso!

2.) Die Liebe an sich, die ständig mitschwingt, wenn man ihre Beiträge in den sozialen Medien verfolgt und es zeigte mir nochmal sehr deutlich: in dieser begrenzten Zeit, die man in diesem Leben zur Verfügung hat, sollte man sich mit Menschen umgeben, mit denen ein gegenseitiges Nehmen und Geben eine reine Selbstverständlichkeit ist. Menschen, die der Seele guttun und mit denen man auch an den schlechten Tagen Seite an Seite steht und sich einfach zu 100% darauf verlassen kann, dass da jemand ist, auf den man jederzeit bauen kann. Sich von den Menschen trennen, die einen nur ausnutzen, manipulieren, sich nicht für einen interessieren, außer man ist für etwas zu gebrauchen. Die können alle weg! Stattdessen wirklich den Fokus auf die Personen legen, wo gegenseitiger Support an allererster Stelle steht. Wer also noch einen richtigen Schubs in die richtige Richtung braucht, der sollte sich definitiv mit dieser Band, den Menschen und Community dahinter beschäftigen und ich denke, dass auch ihr diese gewisse Magie verspüren werdet! Be Well- eine Band, die auf so vielen Ebenen eine wahre Inspiration ist, menschlich wie musikalisch.

Warum heute direkt zwei Leute im Interview sind? Nun, ganz einfach: ich hatte es nicht so geplant, aber nachdem ich gestern noch die Antworten von JC Carey (JC Photomedia) zugeschickt bekam, fügte ich ihn kurzer Hand zu Casandra Marie hinzu, für mich eine mehr als perfekte Mischung! Beides unfassbar talentierte Fotografen, die alles, was sich vor ihrer Linse abspielt, wunderbar in Szene setzen und mit ihren Arbeiten definitiv im Kopf hängen bleiben!

Auf Casandra wurde ich durch Be Well aufmerksam, da die Band ein Foto von ihr teilten, welches sie bei dem Videodreh zu Confessional aufnahm und für mich stand dann relativ schnell fest, dass ich bei ihr anfrage, ob sie auf eine kleine Fragerunde Bock hätte und zu meinem Glück sagte sie auch sehr schnell zu! Notiz am Rande: Kurz nachdem ich meine Anfrage verschickte, riskierte ich einen tieferen Blick auf ihre Homepage und es verschlug mir daraufhin doch sehr die Sprache, als ich mir durchlas, was sie in ihrem Leben bereits alles machte und vorzuweisen hatte. Eine beeindruckende Frau, die ihre Leidenschaft für das einsetzt, was sie aus tiefstem Herzen liebt und das merkt man ihren Arbeiten mehr als an. Vielen Dank an Casandra für’s Mitmachen und die zur Verfügung gestellten Fotos!

Homepage I Instagram

Der zweite Kandidat in dieser Runde ist JC, den ich zugegebenermaßen so gar nicht auf dem Schirm hatte. Ich habe zwar seine Bilder vernommen, aber bei meiner Planung ist er am Ende tatsächlich irgendwie durchgerutscht. An dieser Stelle nochmal ein großes Dankeschön an Brian McTernan, der mir den Tipp gab, für dieses kleine Projekt doch mal bei JC anzufragen! Und das meinte ich vorhin: dieses supporten von Freunden, weiterempfehlen und eine Vernetzung schaffen- liebe ich! Auch er ist ein guter Freund der Band, war bei den allerersten Shows dabei, half bei den Videodrehs und unterstützt Be Well auf ihrem Weg. Vielen Dank an JC für’s Beantworten und die Fotos!

JC Carey

Homepage I Facebook I Instagram

Introduce yourself with a few words!

JC: I’m a 48 year old hardcore kid and photographer. My life revolves around my daughter Zoe, photography, and music. I’m a lifelong straightedge kid that never put an X on his wrist.

Casandra: Hi! I own a gym in Washington DC and happen to also be a professional music photographer!

What does music mean to you?

Casandra: Music has always been a sense of connectedness for me. I have always found shared meaning through music with others and it has brought some pretty amazing people into my life. I feel most alive with music.

How did you get into photography and what do you love about it?

JC: I’ve shot my whole life and I wish I’d been shooting shows since I started going in 1988 rather than being in the pit…. the shows I saw before I started shooting live in my memory but it’s not the same – being able to see something in 500th of a second slices that will live forever and hopefully conveys to the viewer the feeling of being there. Photography is the way that I express myself most clearly.

If you had to describe Mike Schleibaum with just one sentence- what would you say?

Casandra: Whatever it is, that dude has “IT”.

How and when did you stumble upon Be Well and what was your first impression?

Casandra: I knew a couple of the guys from DC and heard there was a new project in the works. I had reached out to Peter Tsouras to photograph them. My first impression of their dynamic together-was “this is hardcore?”

My experience with hardcore music had always been with more heavier sounding metal riffing styles that you can hear in bands like Sheer Terror, Agnostic Front, Youth of Today, Judge, etc… With saying that, I came to learn that Brian was doing what he felt at this time in his life. And it’s true-that hardcore isn’t really a “sound” when you unpack it-its a community.

JC: I’ve been friends with Dalbec for a while now having shot a ton of Bane shows over the years… he told me he was working on something new and of course I wanted to hear it. When they played their first show he invited me down and I made the almost 4 hour drive and it was worth it. The biggest fear when a friend starts a new band is that you will hate it but have to be pleasant, that wasn’t the case here. From the opening chords I loved it. I had been in rooms with the rest of the guys over the years but never connected…sadly.

What makes your friendship with Peter Tsouras so special?

Casandra: I feel completely comfortable with Peter. Like we just click. Peter is another one who has given me big opportunities, he’s always been pretty generous and I know I could ask him for anything.

Concerts

How was it for you to hear these songs live for the first time?

JC: The band blew me away – the backgrounds of the members did not prepare me for the music that came from them.

What touched you the most on those evenings?

JC: It’s funny how memory works right? At the time what touched me the most was seeing Dalbec so happy – I knew he was depressed after the end of Bane and that he NEEDED to get to playing so because I knew him and loved him and wanted him to be happy I went down just hoping to get some cool pics… instead the whole band was kind to me (not always the case with bands meeting new people especially before their first shows). That was my first conversation with Brian and I’m truly disappointed we’d never spoken before.

How did you perceive the atmosphere in the room? How did the audience react to these stirring songs?

JC: They were opening for H20 and to be honest like many opening bands they didn’t get a monster reception – but… here is the but… The small group that decided to focus on the stage were mesmerized. Each time I stopped to look at something outside my camera I was smiling inside that a new band that didn’t sound like anything that any of the guys had done before was being paid attention to.

How would you describe the stage presence of Be Well & what did you like about their performance?

JC: The band honestly is a blast to shoot and that is all I can ask. Mike is a whirling dervish of hair and rock star moves counter to Peter’s quiet intensity. Peter is in the zone when he’s playing… you have Dalbec who has always been an olympic level jumper with his guitar filling the middle of the stage in front of Shane who is… lets face it… the best looking drummer in heavy music.

Then Brian – you have to love Brian on stage – every word is true. He believes every thing he says and the sincerity comes out loud in clear in his expressions and his in between song banter… love the guy.

How would you describe Brian McTernan to a person who doesn’t know him?

Casandra. Foto: Billy Bennett

Casandra: Brian is a sweetheart. Huge supporter of my work and our creative style are compatible. We get along really well. He is also SUPER passionate about what he cares about. I respect that.

Be Well / The Weight and The Cost / Mental Health

JC: ‚To say that Be Well is my favorite new band right now is an understatement.‘: What makes Be Well so special for you?

JC: I’m an old hardcore kid. I grew up with and quite honestly was hooked in by the music of 1989. But it was NEVER the music that really moved me -it was always the lyrics. Whether it was the unbridled positivity of youth crew or the anger and desperation of Killing Time. The words to the bands were always more to me. Brian’s lyrics are what makes the band so special to me – but without the music it’s just poetry and in his words mixed metaphors. The band has formed something that is fresh and that is uncommon for a bunch of 40 years olds.

Casandra: I think the collective musical resumé of the members. Also, they weren’t married to the idea of what they needed to be, or sound like. That takes a big leap in your mid 40’s.

What three words immediately come to your mind when you think of Shane?

Casandra: Super sweet, dreamy, somewhat shy…sorry that’s 5-i can’t follow directions.

Why do you think Brian, Peter, Shane, Aaron and Mike fit together perfectly?

JC: If you listen to the record you know they do and knowing the history of the band and how it came together over time I can’t wait to see what they do next.

How did you experience the video shoot for Confessional?

Casandra: That was such a good day. A lot of buzzing energy-all positive. A long day but we were all there to create something that represented what BE Well stands for. I think all of us were thriving off of the purpose and we were just excited to be there.

I love the moody lighting that was created in the warehouse. Dan and JC did such a great job here. The metro escalators in the intro and outro are significant because they represent DC. And I’m a sucker for the shots with Brian and his daughter-she’s the cutest.

Some people grumble that Be Well should definitely not be called hardcore. What do you think about that? & what does hardcore mean to you?

JC: That’s kinda funny since when Brian and I were first talking about it I wondered if the HC world would take them on and accept them – I think if the record had come out in 2001 the band would have exploded along the likes of Taking Back Sunday and all the “emo” bands that had roots in our scene but were writing lyrics and creating vocal melodies that were much less common in our world. Brian and the band have created a record that talks about grown up feelings and problems while delivering it over loud aggressive music with a breakdown sprinkled in. It is hardcore in the definition of what hardcore was before so much of it crossed over to metal. Hardcore is much more than the way that chords are delivered, more than the way the lyrics are sung. Putting your deepest emotions on tape is really hardcore and whatever people want to call this record doesn’t matter to me that much – I love it.

Aaron Delbac: How would you describe his stage presence?

Casandra: I have never seen him perform live but I do know he always wears shorts.

What goes through your mind when you listen to The Weight and The Cost?

JC: That Brian really gets what it’s like to hurt and that I truly believe without hyperbole that this record will save someones life.

Which song is your favorite and why this one?

JC: It’s a tough call – the record is full of bangers. Because I’m a middle-aged guy that has dealt with some issues and has a ten year old daughter I’d lean toward Confessional. “it’s hard to think I’m responsible for even myself much less this girl” hit’s me hard every time.

Casandra: Right now its Morning Light. This one is a faster tempo and the lyrics remind me of people I love dearly.

Which song lines touch you the most?

Casandra: Probably Morning Light, since it does remind me of my loved ones-past and present. I have never struggled with mental illness personally, however some of those closet to me have and I hurt for them. Its such a huge issue that is not taken serious enough.

In what way do you think this album will help people who also suffer from depression and anxiety?

Foto: JCPhotomedia

JC: I think the beauty of this record is that in the modern world almost everyone has even if they choose to ignore it… if hearing someone sing about it helps someone internalize that it’s not something to be so ashamed of and leads to even one person asking for help then this record is a major success.

Why should we all buy The Weight and The Cost?

Casandra: These guys poured everything into this album and its a vulnerable leap for someone to be transparent about mental health. I think a lot of people could relate to Brian’s words and know they aren’t alone. It could open up discussion and possibly lead to people getting the care they need. I think the worst thing about mental health is that people feel detached and isolated and that may cause them to just accept that instead of choosing to reach out.

Anything else you wanna add?

JC: I really hope that people are sitting home reading the lyrics and learning and that when we start having shows again I get the chance to shoot images of the way a hardcore show is supposed to look like… pile ons and singing and stage dives coming over the top with people just losing their shit screaming along.

Casandra: I’m so proud of Be Well! They’re killing it!

Tag #0: Interview mit Brian McTernan
Tag #1: Review The Weight and The Cost
Tag #2: Interview mit Diana von Freunde fürs Leben e.V.
Tag #3: Interview mit Oise Ronsberger
Tag #4: Interview mit James
Tag #5: Interview mit Depridisco

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