From the Mt State, Waking Tera Brings
Hard Rock Passion
My mom was big into music. I grew up listening to all sorts of music. Broadway musicals, Classical, Motown, Blues, everything. I was always fascinated with saxophone and guitar sounds. I kept asking for a guitar after catching a glimpse of a Jimi Hendrix performance. I got one for Christmas when I was eleven, and I ventured down the road of guitar-heavy music.
by Kreig Marks, 4/2021
KM: Hi Kalvin. Welcome to Tru Rock Revival Magazine. At Tru Rock, we're big fans of Waking Tera. The band has been around since 2010. How would you say your sound has evolved over the past 10 years?
KP: Well, when we started Waking Tera all the members were coming from other bands, so there were definitely remnants from our previous groups initially. A couple of us were coming from New American metal bands, so we were a lot heavier, and I was screaming a lot more than I do now. It took us a while to really figure out what our “sound” wanted to be. Honestly, now we are writing the music we would all listen to as fans, so it is much more of an organic writing process.
KM: The members of the band; you, Zach, Chris, Saucey, Dustin and Ben. Who’s the most intense when it comes to getting in the studio and recording?
KP: Our guitarists and bassist are very, very particular about their sounds and they have an intense focus in the studio (it’s almost surgical). Chris has the most energetic performances (if you see us live, you will understand). Recording vocals in the studio is a strange process, man. Like you have to tap into the emotional energy fields to make sure to convey the right point. So clearly, I am the most dramatic in the studio haha.
KM: Who’s the one who’s the most laid back, just goes with the flow?
KP: That is hard to say, we all have our days….but definitely not Chris.
KM: As a kid, what type of music were you listening to? Have you always been a hard rocker or do you have a pretty eclectic mix on your song list?
KP: My mom was big into music. I grew up listening to all sorts of music. Broadway musicals, Classical, Motown, Blues, everything. I was always fascinated with saxophone and guitar sounds. I kept asking for a guitar after catching a glimpse of a Jimi Hendrix performance. I got one for Christmas when I was eleven, and I ventured down the road of guitar-heavy music. It started off with straight rock and roll stuff, and I just kept going heavier as the years went on. This answer could get pretty lengthy! My playlist varies from Lamb of God to Dave Matthews band but tend toI lean towards the nu metal/ alternative metal bands.
KM: In the Waking Tera songs, I can definitely hear some Sevendust influences. I’m sure you’ve heard that before. Not just in the vocals but in the full instrumentation.
KP: We hear it all the time. Maybe it’s because we both have that East Coast, hard hitting, Southern vibe to us. I mean, their guitarist, Clint, is from the same town as our drummer, and my wife is from the same tribe (Lumbee). There are a lot of similarities. I personally fought against it for quite some time. That is probably why I screamed so much in the early years, to stay away from the comparison. But honestly, they are a great, great band, and to be compared to them is an absolute honor.
KM: You guys have a new single and video out, “Nothing.” Pretty intense, not just the video but the lyrics. The song really sums up what’s been going on in the media, society and politics for the past several years.
KP: The sociological landscape has been like this for some time now. It is hard not to say something about it. We are told how to feel so often, that we all end up feeling “Nothing”. That, along with the decrease in physical human interaction creates a detrimental perspective. We end up numb to all of it.
KM: I can't disagree with that. In the video for the song, who’s the 6th guy?
KP: Oh, that’s just Baby. Ben, who was our guitarist after Josh left from 2015-2016. When he joined, we asked him his full name at rehearsal, and one of the guys thought he said Ben Baby Schrider. So, we started calling him baby as a joke. I’m pretty sure he hates that nickname, haha. Ben had to leave for personal reasons as we were gearing up to tour in 2016, and that’s when Dustin joined the band. Ben recently came back into the fold this year as our keyboardist/ 3rd guitarist.
KM: Who’s the primary lyricist for the band and who’s putting the music behind those lyrics?
KP: I write most of the lyrics and most of the core ideas for the songs start with Zach. But where we are now, we all throw in our ideas for everything we create, so it truly is Waking Tera’s music.
KM: A group effort. Cool. Are you still studying Psychology at Arizona State?
KP: I am. I found that in all the jobs I’ve had over the years, even in bands, I always ended up being the person to go to for help with problems and when someone needed guidance. It just makes sense to get paid to do that, LOL. I am passionate about helping people, especially with procuring a better mental state.
KM: It's so needed out there. Kalvin Pender, PhD, Rock n' Roll Therapist. Kinda has a nice ring to it. What do ya think? With the whole pandemic, I'm sure you could have a full book of musician clients.
KP: That sounds great actually. I’m sure I could be booked for a while with everything that we have gone through over the past year. I can only imagine how hard it has been for touring musicians that have been unable to tour.
KM: What do you miss more, working at US Cellular or at Highway 55 Burgers and Shakes?
KP: Oh man, I loved working for Highway 55 (then Andy’s Cheesesteaks and Cheeseburgers). I did that from age 16 until I was 28. I worked my way up to eventually own 2 stores. I planned to stay there for my career, but the job was extremely demanding and I could not continue to do that while pursuing music. I tried, but it made for some tough days at work, when I would get home from a gig at 5 am and then have to work from 9 am until midnight running a store! Back then, we were doing at least 3 shows a week and I had to work 60-70 hours at the store, all while maintaining a family life. It was not a good setup for success.
KM: That is a lot. You sold the 2 stores?
KP: I did. It just wasn’t feasible to continue that and not be able to put 100% into business and music. I think both locations have since moved and are under new management.
KM: What’s more satisfying to you, looking out and watching a fan of Waking Tera singing along to all the words while you’re on stage, or making that perfect shake at 55?
KP: I mean, I do make a tasty milkshake, haha. The stage gives me a rush I cannot explain, and we have some amazing fans. Seeing them escape into one of our songs live, there is nothing in the world like it. 55 can keep the milkshake, I’ll take the sing-a-long with the Teratribe any day of the week.
KM: I will have to take you up on making me one of those shakes one day. You’re originally from Brooklyn. What brought you to North Carolina?
KP: My mom says she sent me down here because of my health (asthma when I was younger), but I think she wanted to get me away from the “street life” honestly.
KM: How old were you when you moved from New York?
KP: I was 10 when I moved here full time, without visiting family for extended time periods.
KM: Did you keep in touch with some of your friends from there?
KP: I did not have a lot of friends, just a lot of family. My little brother and Dad still live there. Waking Tera actually stayed in New York for about 2 months recording our album “The Jonah Complex” at Conclave Studios in the Chelsea area. So I was able to see some familiar sites while there and visit with my family. It was an awesome experience, and I definitely felt at home there. Maybe I’ll move back when my kids grow up!
KM: That's good. You graduate high school, go to college. How did you break it to your parents that you wanted to be in the music profession? Were they supportive?
KP: My mom knew from a very young age what I wanted to do. I wouldn’t say she wasn’t supportive, but she always told me to have a back up plan. And I was always like, “no mom, I wanna rock” (in my Dee Snider voice, haha.) When I first went to college, I double majored in music performance, vocal and classical guitar. I wanted to be a studio musician, a hired gun if you will, but that road didn’t work out like I expected.
KM: I think you'll surpass that. You’re driving in the car, one of your songs comes on the radio. What’s your reaction?
KP: Initially, I scream at the top of my lungs. After the shock wears off, I say it’s about time they played some good music (because I have to play it cool).
KM: Kalvin, going all fan-girl over his own music. I can dig that. Nosing around your Facebook page, I see a photo of you which I’m going to assume is you, your wife and three kids (beautiful family by the way). Which one of your kids is the rocker in the house?
KP: Thank you. The older two listen to trap music, don’t ask me how that happened because I have no idea. My youngest, Kai, is the rocker and will probably be the only one to play an instrument. He’s not big on the heavy stuff but he jams to Nonpoint, Three Days Grace and Nothing More, so I’ll take it.
KM: Yeah Kai! Keep rock'n it! How did you and your wife meet?
KP: So, in High School, the varsity football players would go watch the JV team play on Thursday nights. I was at a game and she walked by on the arm of one of the star players from a rival team. I was like “Who….is...that?” I eventually found my way to her and here we are, almost 18 years later.
KM: Congratulations on that. The pandemic, hopefully, is close to being behind us. What did you learn about yourself during the year of isolation?
KP: Because my day job is considered essential, I’ve worked the entire time. (I am a supervisor with the economic services at Social Services). Our services have been in high demand throughout the duration of the pandemic. But the one thing I did learn is that I can be a pretty cranky dude during long spouts of not being on stage entertaining. LOL. Seriously, my wife would walk by and say “Jesus, go sing in the yard or something. Get it out of your system. I can’t take this moodiness!”
KM: What was the most difficult adjustment you had to make, personally, during the pandemic?
KP: Dude, online school for children IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST! I’m texting the guys like, "can’t we do a tour or a few dates, GET ME AWAY FROM THESE WILD KIDS, PLEASE!" Dealing with all of that, while not being able to have my normal musical outlet was….difficult.
KM: I feel your pain. Moving ahead here, the pandemic ends tomorrow. Waking Tera gets to choose where they want to perform first. Where’s that going to be?
KP: I’ve always wanted to play The Masquerade in Atlanta. So, a road trip to Georgia is my vote! But not before we play our favorite venue in Jacksonville, NC at Hooligan’s Pub and Music Hall. That is home for us!
KM: The band has 6 new songs out from an EP, Transition. Are there more songs in the works?
KP: Always. We’ve already started the writing process for the next release. The creation part of being a musician is something we all love. After the great response we’ve had with Transition, we’re eager to see what will come out of the next writing phase.
KM: Anyone you’d like to thank or give a shout out to?
KP: We have some really loyal fans and without them we would just be some dudes drinking in a garage. We always want to thank them for everything they do to spread the Teratribe family. My wife for supporting and encouraging me through this journey. All the wives of the band members, for everything they do to push us forward and show their love. Al Jacob, our engineer, who recorded and mixed “Transition." Tamara and Jaiden Frost, for our visual representations. All the radio stations and DJ’s playing “Nothing” on air. This could be a really long list. Everyone that had their hand in putting Waking Tera on the map. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
KM: Kalvin, it's been great speaking with you. Good luck with the rest of the year, hoping to hear more from you and the band and looking forward to some more new music soon.
For further information about Waking Tera, follow them on Facebook.
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 is spare time he is an internationally recognized neuro-fitness trainer/ kinesiologist.