The Grit of NEW DILEMMA
"The verses in the songs tell about my darkest feelings but then, I have to wake up because my story wasn’t over. I want fans to do the same, to understand that even though they may be going through a rough time, their story is not over and there’s going to be that light again." -Joey Factor
Dark Alternative Sounds fly out of New Dilemma with a fervor, yet the lyrics also urge the listener to have hope and move forward. From Central Florida, band members are Joey Factor on lead vocals, Bobby Keller on guitar, Clyde Clarke on bass, and Ben Johnson on drums. Joey talks about their newest album, featuring single, "Bury the Demons," and how they came about to Rock their town. They've been connected to bands like Smile Empty Soul and Fall Out Boy. Joey's lyrics ring true and he brings hope to his own family and to his fans. I got to talk with this inspiring lead singer:
By Kreig Marks, February 2021
TRR: Hi Joey. Welcome to Tru Rock Revival Magazine.
JF: Thank you. I’m glad to be here speaking with you today, Kreig.
TRR: We’re glad to have you here, too. First off, I want to congratulate you on the new album.
JF: Thank you, it's been a long time in the making. A real long time (laughing).
TRR: Yes, I’ve heard. It’s a pretty interesting story. But, the new album, we’ve listened to a lot of it and it’s pretty solid. We’re enjoying it as I’m sure your fans are, too.
JF: Yeah. It was a lot of hard work but we really enjoyed putting it all together and we’re hearing some good things about it out there.
TRR: I’m sure you are. Tell me a bit about the band. Are you guys in Orlando or in Cocoa Beach?
JF: We’re out of Orlando but our home studio is actually in Cocoa Beach.
TRR: You’ve been together since 2017. Was there some history between you and the other members before coming together?
JF: You know, yeah. We’ve got the current lineup of New Dilemma and things progressed for us. When Bobby Keller [guitar] and Ben Johnson [drums] joined us, it just became a great friendship, and we really felt like a band. Ben is also the producer of our album. But when these guys joined, it really moved us in the direction we saw ourselves moving in. I knew Bobby before he joined. He used to be in a band called ‘Mechanism,’ that I was a big fan of, and they were huge in Florida. I’m sure you’ve heard of them or about them. So, I got to know Bobby, and right before the COVID pandemic locked us down, we were supposed to be going on tour with ‘Smile Empty Soul.’ But, as you know, COVID won the first round, and probably the 2nd round, too. So, the tour was put on hold and that’s when I spoke with Bobby and he joined us, and Ben joined us, and things have been going really well since we made those changes.
TRR: It seems like it’s worked out for the best.
JF: Yeah, it really has. Nothing against the former members.
TRR: Bands are tough, like a marriage can be at times. Lots of blood, sweat and tears, well, hopefully not blood.
JF: LOL. I know what you’re saying. It’s a lot of work to maintain a marriage and a band is like a marriage. It takes a lot of work and dedication to keep things moving in the direction we all want to see it moving. Fortunately, all the guys in the band now seem to have the same long-term goals. We’re just growing in different aspects of our careers in music, and we're on the same page.
TRR: You guys are in Central Florida. We’re home-based in Palm Beach County. Most of the bands in our area and South of us are primarily cover bands. That’s what the people here want, to go out to a club and hear a band do songs they’re familiar with. In Central Florida and on the West Coast, there seem to be more bands doing original music, and the crowds are more open to that. What’s your thought on that and how’s your fan-base in your area?
JF: That’s the thing, in Orlando, it’s strong, and in Jacksonville and Gainesville. The past few years, Central Florida seems to be leading the way for original’s bands. There are a lot of bands moving forward. Breathing Theory, they’re based out of Cocoa. I know they're doing some big things and working with a big-time producer. I’m just real proud of our area, and all the great bands making their music and a name for themselves. I just couldn’t be more proud of all of this.
TRR: How about for you, pre pandemic, did you like going out and listening to new bands?
JF: Absolutely. I miss going out and doing that and going to concerts. Sometimes I’d go to a bar or club to hang out, have a few beers, and listen to a cover band doing some songs I’ve heard a thousand times. But, I really like hearing new bands and new songs. Sometimes it’s about making that new connection with a band you’ve never heard before. You know, there’s something about that new connection. Personally, I love going to concerts and hearing new music. And, I hope there are others out there who feel the same way about new music, and are waiting to come see New Dilemma once we get back out there again.
TRR: You guys have a new album out now. How long was the recording process?
JF: Um, we spent about 4 ½ months working on that record.
TRR: Did you guys have everything written and ready before heading into the studio to record? I know a lot of bands have some material ready as soon as they hit the studio. but also have a lot more to finish writing as they’re recording. How was it for you guys?
JF: Similar, I guess. We went in with no preconceived idea of what it would sound like. We just wanted to hear what we wanted to hear. It was like, we spent a lot of time, and as a singer, with lyrics, everyone of these words is something I’ve been through as my own story, and with my kid, and our lives. What took me away from music and what brought me back into music. The words in these songs are a very big part of me.
TRR: Since we’re on that topic, let’s talk about that. Listening to your songs, you can hear the emotion and it seems you’re sharing a lot of yourself in the lyrics, and in the videos, too. Let me ask you about the video for "Bury My Demons." Whose nightmare was that about?
JF: LOL. That’s just one of those creative things. LOL.
TRR: Yeah, it’s pretty creative. You’ve got what looks like monks meeting together on Friday the 13th.
JF: Ha Ha! Yeah. So what we did with this one, given the time of year it was, "Bury My Demons," I guess there’s some hidden message the way the video was made. "Bury My Demons" is a song for me every day, right now. That’s the song I’m living.
TRR: Do you care to elaborate or tell me about that?
JF: For now, I'm working on it. Let's just leave it at that.
TRR: Who produced "Bury My Demons?" Did you and the band have or give a lot of input?
JF: Thomas Crane of Kill Devil Films produced the video. He’s produced all of ours. He just does some great stuff. As for input, I told him just to run with it. Basically, "Here’s the song, go!" So, what you see is what he came up with. The scenery and the set and the white room were going to be freezers to make a very cold environment. But, with the COVID, which was in full pandemic mode at the time, as it still is now, we just couldn't find the right location like we wanted to.
TRR: Yeah, I was going to ask about that. Because of the pandemic, how were you able to do this?
JF: LOL. Believe it or not, everything you see in the video was all filmed at my house. LOL.
JF: LOL. Yeah, you have to get creative when you’re put in a corner. So, that’s what we did. It’s what we do. LOL.
TRR: LOL. That’s pretty cool. I guess that cut down on production costs, too.
JF: LOL. Yeah, it did.
TRR: Tell me about your relationship with Pavement Records. They’re a great organization. How has that been going?
JF: It’s been going very well. There was a lot planned for us on their part. But.... There’s that but again. You know, this keeps on coming up, the word COVID but it seems to have ramrodded the whole plan they had for us.
TRR: I can imagine there was a lot they had planned for you that had to be rescheduled or cancelled.
JF: Before COVID we had 4 tours lined up. Obviously, they had to be cancelled, like the one with Smile Empty Soul. That one I can talk about. We’ve been talking to Sean from Smile Empty Soul about getting that going again once the world opens up again, hopefully by the end of the year. But, there’s others that I can’t mention yet, in case they come back. Pre-pandemic we had so much scheduled and merchandise ready to go. The bus was ready and as you can imagine, boom! Everything stopped. We were able to do a digital release of the record so that worked out well, but we got held back from radio play and going to different towns, to perform and promote the album properly. The pandemic definitely held things up but we’re still very proud of the album.
TRR: I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that you guys are able to get things moving ahead later in the year. But, with the COVID, I personally know a lot of people who have had it, some very bad, others with minimal or no symptoms at all. I know you have a daughter who is high risk. What have you been doing to keep her safe?
JF: Yeah, my daughter is definitely a high risk. She’s special needs so, for the most part we’ve been in lock down since this whole thing started. In about 3 weeks it will be a year since she left the house. We’re just holding it down, family first and hoping for that “safety,” or whatever that means now, so we can get back out and move forward. But, her health and safety is all I care about right now. It’s not normal in any capacity.
TRR: Absolutely. I hear people say all the time in the media that this is the “new normal.” Bullshit. This isn’t the new normal. That’s complete crap. This is something we all have to deal with at the moment but "the new normal," that’s total bullshit. We all have to be responsible and diligent, but moving forward with this as the new way of life, the way of living, that’s just bullshit.
JF: I agree 100% with that, Kreig. I refuse to agree with them that this is the new normal. We as people, as the human species, we all have to be better than that.
TRR: Your background is pretty eclectic. As a kid, were you involved in musical theatre?
JF: Yeah, man. I was the guy who did it all. I was the guy on the football field and after practice, I was in a musical on the weekend. LOL.
TRR: What did your teammates think?
JF: I’d get the snickers from some, but you know, I didn’t care. I have just always loved performing. Since I was 5 years old, I had a microphone in my hand. I’ve been told a lot, “Oh, you’re just a vocalist.” I say I’m not just a vocalist, I’m a dude who loves my words and I love to put them out there. I think it’s a great service to be on stage and take people out of reality for a while. I know I like it when it happens to me, when I’m in the audience.
TRR: It's an inspiring thing to perform Music. Are you close to your fans?
JF: Oh yeah, I think it’s important. When we’ve done some stuff with depression, I try to reach out to as many people as possible because I’ve been there, I’ve personally lived that, it’s in my music. I want to be there for my fans in ways that most people aren’t. I personally interact with every single person who contacts us through our social media or fan pages. I think it’s important.
TRR: That's great. What is a favorite musical you've performed in?
JF: I’m not going to lie. I got to play the lead part in ‘Grease’ back in high school. That was a blast. I’d get the same crap from some of my sports buddies. They’d say, “Hey man, why are you doing that?” I’d say, while you guys are doing other stuff, I’m in that class and I get to dance with girls for an hour.
TRR: What led you to the Punk Rock scene?
JF: Green Day hit me. That, then the Ramones. I loved the rawness of it. It’s the entertainment factor of it. That’s what set me off. I was also listening to Matchbox 20 and Third Eye Blind because of the vocals and singing ability.
TRR: Do you listen to Metal?
JF: Sometimes. It’s hard for me to listen if I don’t understand the words. But, if you’ve got the balls to record or be on stage, you’ve got my respect 100%. If you can get on stage and do what you love to do, I respect the hell out of that.
TRR: In a past interview, you mentioned that your music conveys positivity through darkness. Can you expand on that?
JF: Yeah. So, I think when I write, it’s easy to get people all caught up in the dark side of the story but forget to tell them how you got out of it or came out of it. Just like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. The verses in the songs tell about my darkest feelings but then, I have to wake up because my story wasn’t over. I want fans to do the same, to understand that even though they may be going through a rough time, their story is not over and there’s going to be that light again. One of my favorite artists is Papa Roach. He has those words where there’s a lot of darkness in the story but with a positive outcome. Do the songs always work out that way? No. But, I really strive to do that because I want people to feel they can live in that song because it’s dark and mysterious but to understand that time does move on and there’s a healing that can occur if you let it.
TRR: Staying on that topic, have you had any fans personally tell you that your songs have helped them get over some difficult times?
JF: Yeah, we have a few times. When that happens, I don’t care about anything else that happens from the song. If my words can help reach someone and help someone, that’s what’s important. The rest is just gravy. Our bass player, Clyde Clark, his mom is a therapist at a facility for people who suffer from deep depression and have suicidal thoughts. She’s an amazing woman. One of her patients once brought a copy of a New Dilemma song to a session. That for me is like coming full circle.
TRR: You’ve mentioned that your daughter, who has special needs, inspired you to get off your ass and start performing again. What did she say to you?
JF: To start performing again. LOL. Sierra was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. I was in a band called Hybrid that was doing very well. We had done a tour with Creed and dreams were coming true. Right before I was supposed to go out on tour again, we found out about her diagnosis and I called it quits. I was going to be there for my daughter. I had to be a dad, there was no time to be a rock star. So, fast forward, her mother ended up in prison for drugs and I’m now a single father. And, that’s what it was. There was no thought of “could have or should have.” Those thoughts never crossed my mind. I wasn’t a former rock star, I was Sierra’s dad. So, time went on, years going by and things are seemingly going well and I began dating someone awesome who is now my wife. Me and Sierra one night are talking and she says, “Why don’t you go show the world what you’ve got?” And, I looked at her and said, “Are you kidding, no one cares about seeing your dad on stage anymore, that’s long gone.” And, I kind of walked out the door and literally at that moment I’m asking myself why I’m always in this complete dilemma where I don’t know what to do with my life. So, literally in that moment, that’s where the name came from and I picked up the phone and called a few guys and everyone was very supportive. Here we are now living the dream.
TRR: How long had you been away from performing at that point?
JF: 18 years.
TRR: Wow! 18 years?
JF: LOL. Yep, I hadn’t picked up a microphone in 18 years.
TRR: That’s a lifetime.
JF: LOL. Yeah, I guess it could be.
TRR: Your daughter sounds pretty bright.
JF: She’s awesome. She just turned 20 in January.
TRR: You sound like an amazing dad and she's an amazing daughter.
JF: Thanks, Kreig. Yeah, she is amazing.
TRR: Does she ever go to your shows?
JF: Yeah, she goes sometimes. But, it’s really tough because she’s on a ventilator at night. She’s a theatre junky. We love going to shows. We go to Broadway when we are able to. That’s like one of her most favorite things in the world. But, as far as my shows, it’s tough because if it’s in an environment where it’s real hot or a lot of smoke, she can’t be in that environment.
TRR: What’s going on with her mom these days? Does she have any relationship with her?
JF: She’s no longer in prison but seemingly still doing the wrong things, so Sierra has no relationship with her. There’s a bigger and darker story that goes along with all of this, but Sierra has made her own decisions and I support her 100% and she’s made a great connection with my current wife that she’s never had in a mother. She’s finally happy having that type of relationship with a woman who acts like a mother. So, it’s all worked out and I’ve been able to find that light through my darkness.
TRR: What was it like the first time you got back on stage after some time away?
JF: It was a little nauseating, LOL, exciting, all those things. I remember getting off stage and thinking that it was a lot harder doing it this time than it was 18 years ago. I was exhausted! LOL. Just getting out of bed 18 years ago was easier. But, life is a lot easier when you’re doing what you want to do.
TRR: Is New Dilemma now your full-time job?
JF: Yes it is. And, it is a full-time job! LOL.
TRR: What is your proudest accomplishment in the music industry?
JF: Having one of our songs hit the charts. It was kind of mind blowing, seeing our song and name there with the likes of Breaking Benjamin and Metallica. While the outcome, financially, isn’t the same as it was or could have been back in my day, you know, 18, 20 years ago, the record labels would be throwing bags of money at you if you made the charts. That’s not exactly how it works in the modern day. I never set out to do this for money or fame like a lot of people do. I’ve said that I could get 50 million dollars tomorrow from a label but it still won’t fix my daughter or what’s important in my life. I’m doing what I love, it’s something I could never imagine. Just being part of the industry and performing and doing what I love is a gift. If it all ended tomorrow, I’m proud of what I’ve done and what I’ve been able to accomplish.
TRR: What is your proudest accomplishment as a man?
JF: Just being a father. My biological father was gone before I was even born and my goal was to be there for my child one day, no matter what.
TRR: If all goes as planned for the band in 2021, what can we expect?
JF: I would say, honestly, when things open up again. But, for my family, we all need the vaccine before I’m heading out there. If Sierra gets sick, it’s not going to be easy. It’s not political. I’m hoping by the Fall we are able to get out there again. I’ll be heading up North to record some new music soon.
TRR: Anyone you want to thank or give a shout out to?
JF: Sarah Raye at World of Music AM. She’s been amazing. Ben Johnson, our producer and drummer, Clyde Clark, Bobby Keller, they’re my team. I’m so proud of all of them. There’s some amazing bands we’ve been around like, Fall Out Boy. Thanks to my wife, my daughter, all of our fans who have been so supportive. Pavement Records. Hey, and you guys at Tru Rock Revival Magazine.
TRR: Joey, thanks for the time today. This has been so cool.
JF: Thank you. I really appreciate this and we’ll talk again.
For further information about New Dilemma and Joey Factor, visit Facebook or
the New Dilemma website.
Kreig Marks, Founder/ Publisher TRR
Kreig Marks is the Founder/Publisher of Tru Rock Revival Magazine.
Rock music has always been his passion, and to promote musicians. In his spare time he is a top neuro-fitness trainer, kinesiologist.