Interview with Rob Chevelle and Joe Dagilus
from Lit Soul
‘Making a mark in 2012’
Written by Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen
Lit Soul, known for their substantial views on life and politics, and belief in a better world, have recently reformed and are already making a mark in 2012. Mark II that is. Rob Chevelle, creator and founder of Lit Soul, has joined forces with Joe Dagilus, Brian Sowers and Joey Petro to form a brand new, heavier, line-up. I caught up with Rob Chevelle, and lead guitarist Joe Dagilus to talk about what brought them all together, how their direction has changed, and what their future holds.
All Access Magazine (AAM): Hi, I’m Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen and I’m here with Rob Chevelle and Joe Dagilus from Lit Soul. Lit Soul has a lot of exciting things in the works, from a brand new line-up, to shows all over town, new songs, and more. First of all, Rob, what made you decide to change your line-up at this time?
Rob Chevelle: I was with the other guys for about three years, we accomplished a lot, and I think it was time for a change. Those guys were “hired guns,” and there was a limit on what we could do. Kudos to those guys, I love them all…but it was time to move on. I’m really happy about this new line-up. It’s gone from 1.0 to 5.0 in my opinion.
AAM: Awesome. And Joe is your new lead guitarist. I know that you and Joe have known each other for quite some time, but never played in a band together before. Was Joe your first choice as a new guitarist?
Rob: Yeah. Absolutely. I’ve known Joe for a good four years. I saw his band play one night at a Club Vodka show at the Knitting Factory. I liked his style, his playing, the tone of his equipment… He had Pro gear. He just looked cool and he caught my attention. After the show I saw him at the bar with a lady and bought him a drink, and we’ve been friends ever since. And here we are years later. It just worked out.
AAM: Joe, what made you decide to join the band at this time? Is this something you had ever thought about before?
Joe Dagilus: I caught a show down at Swing House Studios… I’d seen Lit Soul a ton of times before, but at this show Rob had really come into his own as a musician, and as a frontman. So I was like, yeah, this guy’s ready to throw down. I’m gonna give him a call and see what’s up. And then he just happened to text me and asked if I’d ever think about joining Lit Soul. I was like yeah, I was just about to ask you the same thing. So he came over that night, we hung out, and we decided to do it.
AAM: So timing was perfect?
Rob: Unbelievable timing. Absolutely perfect. I actually got a call from a ‘management-type person’ and he was talking to me about my situation, and the ‘hired guns’ and he said, why don’t you just get a new band. It’s hard because of the quality of guys that you want, and to mix, and everything that needs to happen in a band. You can’t pay for that. But this just all kind of came together. We all hang together, we write together, party together. It’s kind of like being a kid again. It’s almost like a gang. Metal Babe: Yeah. And that’s something that you’ve never had. You’ve always written the songs yourself before this?
Rob: Yeah. At least 90%. It’s so refreshing to have that drive from other people. This guy’s (Joe) is a songwriter and a half too. We’ve cut up things in even Lit Soul songs. Let’s change this, that, there… From other people it can come across sometimes, as like what? But from him it makes sense. It just seems to fit.
AAM: Now let’s talk about the other two members of your band. Your drummer, Brian Sowers, used to be in a band with you Joe called Krome?
Joe: Yep. That’s right. Brian was kind of a package deal. I’ve been playing with Brian for 10 years. Brian’s my boy. Him and I have been through a lot together. We just happened to have a rehearsal with my other band, Sara Kill when Rob text me. I was already with Brian, and I said, I’ll come as long as Brian can come along with me. I didn’t realize the reaction that I was going to get. But Rob was like…
Rob: Package deal! I was like, first I need a lead guitarist, and now I need a new drummer. Ty Dennis is great guy, who played with a lot of people that I respect. Brian is just a different style. Joe said it was a package deal. So it kinda killed two birds with one stone.
Joe: Brian’s better. Brian’s way better. He’s a lot heavier drummer. He’s more aggressive. He’s more into the double-kicks. He’s got chops of steel. He’s a hard rock metal guy from way back. We have the same influences. We grew up on the same stuff. He knows what I’m going to do before I do it. And vice Versa.
Rob: He’s also part of the creative process as well, as far as the songs go. He’s a drummer that gets involved.
AAM: That’s awesome. How did your bass player, Joey Petro, fall into place? I’ve known Joey for a long time, and I’m excited that he’s in your band now.
Rob: Oh man. I’ve known Joey for a long time too. Ten years. And to make a long story short, we’ve tried to do something musically three times prior. And it just didn’t totally work out with scheduling, gelling of band members, or whatever He’s happy. I’m happy. Everybody else is happy. He brings a lot to the table. Everyone in this band has their shit together. They are professionals. They know their instruments. They know what to do. It’s just really, really cool.
Joe: Joey is the Thunder God. He really brings it with the bass. No question.
AAM: So Rob, how do you think the sound of Lit Soul has changed with this new line-up?
Rob: It’s definitely heavier. The original line-up, Mark, I was more heavy blues rock, which is very cool, and all part of me. In my opinion Joe is up there with Ozzy, Pantera, Corrosion of Conformity, and bands like that. He’s more ‘crunchier.’ Same with Brian on drums. And, again, he brings it from 1.0 to 5.0 It’s just more of a full sound.
Joe: It’s definitely more aggressive. Heavier. For lack of a better term, it was kind of a “Clash vibe” before. I wanted to make it more aggressive, more right-handed, tighter, more intense, more balls, more in-your-face…
AAM: Tell me about your new song “Fight.” Joe brought in the music, and Rob, you wrote the lyrics?
Rob: Yeah. Joe and Brian both did the music, and I put down the lyrics and melody. It is definitely a politically based song. We played “Fight” for the first time on the Queen Mary (March 10th, 2012) and I think it went over really well. It’s an aggressive, fun song to play live.
AAM : And now, the Queen Mary show was the first show with the new line-up, How did that go?
Rob: It was crazy mayhem! For people that were there, you’d understand. What I had envisioned was like a ballroom, very majestic, chandeliers… But it was a very different scene. There were a lot of people on there, a lot of people partying, they had all these stages…It was crazy.
Joe: It was chaotic. Eight stages. 12,000 people. You gotta haul your gear through here. Over there. Go under the ship. Take two elevators to get to the right level.
AAM: But all day is a different story.
Joe: Yeah. I like a singer that can sing. You know. We definitely stood out like a sore thumb. (laughs) The band before us played “Reigning Blood” by Slayer, which was awesome. I loved it. But we’re a lot different than that. More hard rock based, as compared to screaming in key.
Metal Babe: So, Rob, ultimately, what are your goals for Lit Soul Mark II?
Rob: Right now we’re just moving forward. Looking up. The eye’s on the mountain. We wanna play all the main clubs, and good venues in Southern California, and maybe expand out from there. I’d love to do some out of town shows on the weekends. We gotta get out there. We need to show the new line-up to our fan base that we already have out there. So far it has been extremely smooth, and fun… I have no doubt it’s going to roll forward.
AAM: Awesome. And you have several shows already lined up. You’re next one is at the House of Blues in Hollywood May 14th with Mr. Crowley and Steel Panther, and you are actually playing my 1st official event, Metal Babe MAYhem on May 19th, plus a couple more dates at Malone’s.
Rob: Yeah. It’s great to be playing out more often. There’s a really good ticket deal on the House of blues show. Tickets are $5 through the band and they’re $17 at the door. You can check outwww.litsoul.com or www.facebook.com/litsoulband
AAM: Way cool. Also, anyone reading this can contact me for $5 tickets or to be on the $5 list. Is there anything else you would like to say to your fans?
Rob: Come out and rock. Check out the new Lit Soul Mark II. I hope to see you there!
Please visit www.litsoul.com and http://www.facebook.com/LITSOULBAND for more information on Lit Soul. And, if you’re in the Los Angeles area, make sure to catch them at one (or all) of the following shows:
Monday, May 14th – House of Blues Hollywood with Mr. Crowley and Steel Panther Saturday, May 19th – Metal Babe MAYhem (Details coming soon.) Friday, June 29th – Malone’s with Stonebreed Saturday, August 18th – Malone’s with L.A. Guns
Also, you can view this interview live on YouTube heret: