Time To ‘Prey’ with Marc Lopes
Marc Lopes rose through the ranks of the Massachusetts metal scene and eventually solidified his position as singer for Ross The Boss. His new, concurrent band is Let Us Prey pushes the limits of what Lopes calls ‘ADD Metal.’
Let Us Prey is the brainchild of singer/producer Marc Lopes and riff master John Morency, who emerged from the underground scene of Boston, Massachusetts. As a band, the quintet premiered in 2015 with a self-released EP and has since shared the stage with heavy hitters like Metal Church, Soulfly and Doro.
Anyone craving a mix of dark melodies, power metal, thrash, prog and death (but are fine with dwelling on each for just one minute on any of the aforementioned genres) would benefit from checking out their debut, Virtues of the Vicious. The album dropped in July via M-Theory Audio and it features 10 tracks that explore a variety of topics — from human behavior, artificial intelligence, and depression to war and iconic comic book characters — that are designed to pummel and challenge the listener. Check out the title track for a prime example of how the band effortlessly and quickly shifts from one subgenre to another while maintaining vocal and instrumental melody.
Adding further to its sonic dimensions and credibility, Virtues features special guest guitar solos by Jonathan Donais (Anthrax), Metal Mike Chlasciak (Halford, Testament), Jimi Bell (House of Lords), Matt Fawcett (Sinate) and on the track “The Saint of Killers,” the late All That Remains six-stringer Oli Herbert along with guest drummer Yanni Sofianos from legendary metal band, Obsession.
Lopes may look familiar to many metal fans, as he is also the singer for Ross The Boss. And Lopes would be the first to say that it’s an endurance test to use RTB’s style of power metal as a jumping-off point for Let Us Prey. His voice travels from one end of the spectrum to the other in every song and he also writes all the intensely speedy drum parts.
Blessed Altar Zine contributor Justin Smulison caught up with Lopes recently to discuss “Virtues of the Vicious” and what it takes for an underground band to catch a glimpse of success these days. Lopes’ seems to have speed and tempo changes in his DNA – you’ll see it even when you read his words – so down your coffee to keep up.
An Interview with Marc Lopes
Let Us Prey debuted about five years ago. What transpired in the time between your debut to the release of the album?
We did a promo EP to get out and did a bunch of shows opening for the likes of Soilwork, Scar Symmetry, Soulfly, Nervosa among other nationals, then I got the Ross The Boss gig and I was on the road for two-and-a-half years straight and had to put LUP in standby mode until I could focus properly on it.
Dark, Melodic Power-Thrash is one way to describe Let Us Prey and the music on Virtues of the Vicious. How much would you agree with that description or how would you expand on it?[Laughing] Well that was originally me being funny just throwing all kinds of styles into one name. I would best describe it as Attention Deficit Disorder metal or ADD metal. I have ADD so LUP is like a musical journey into how my mind works on a daily basis. It’s chaos.
There’s so much happening in every song. Which one had the least amount of revisions from demo to final product?
Most of them, to be honest. I refine my demos pretty intensely.
How supportive was Ross The Boss (the band and Ross, himself) when you decided to really activate Let Us Prey? Did being the RTB singer open any extra or unexpected doors for LUP?
Ross is totally 10,000% behind what I do with LUP. It’s apples and oranges in style, so there’s no conflict at all. And yes, I would say being in RTB definitely opened opportunities that would have been a bit more difficult to come about.
How critical is vocal and instrumental melody to the music of Let Us Prey?
Melody is key for sure, be it vocal or guitar and keys. Whether it’s aggressive or moody, you gotta be able to hum along or bang your head, at least to me.
I know the next LUP album is written. When will it be released and what could we expect from it?
Yes, it’s written for the most part, we are just deciding which tunes will end up on the record and that usually goes until the eleventh hour, as we just keep writing. I would expect a new record by Summer 2021 with a tour to follow. [Laughing] But let’s get this debut out there to the masses, first.
You play a lot of instruments and can carry a tune. When did you get comfortable enough with your voice to step out in front of an audience?
I’m always a wreck before every show, but I would say it’s only over the last couple years that I have been my most comfortable, just because of the frequency of playing these days – even if it’s at home or in the studio at the moment.
I get the feeling Mike Patton may have been a big influence on you. He also was able to scream and sing in a similar way. How’s my aim there?
Actually, no. He’s a great artist and definitely one who throws rules out the window which I definitely admire.
Who are some other influences on you as a singer?
But my influences are varied – Dickinson, Halford, Dio, Adams, Alder, Arch, Bush, Billy, Blitz, Filth, Burton…..the list goes on all the way to Barry Manilow, Boston and ABBA. I don’t care, it’s whatever I’m feeling. There are so many great artists, past and present, and I learn and am influenced by all.
What sort of musical training do you have? What was your experience coming up in your local rock/metal scene? How did it help you connect with other musicians and eventually get to RTB?
I played drums for years, hence why I write all the drums for LUP. There has been vocal training in past and present, music theory classes in college, but mostly just listening and feeling the music, to me, has been the best teacher and having the fortune of being around so many renown artists over the years and observing. I was fortunate enough to grow up in the era when Boston and Providence had a HUGE music scene and just absorbed all that to this day. That vibe was like no other and will never be replicated, sadly, in these days. My path to RTB is a longer story for another time.
COVID notwithstanding, the sentiment that the underground is getting tougher and more limited is a sentiment shared by many of your peers. What do you feel local or underground metal musicians must do today to achieve a measure of success?
Maybe light themselves on fire while playing suspended from the golden gate bridge? [Writer’s note – Marc was kidding and no performer should attempt that stunt.] We live in bizarre times. I have no other answer but to be true to yourself and keep at it until you break into a million pieces and then get up, pull it all back together and do it again. Sounds harsh, but true.
The song “Saint Of Killers” is an ode to the terrifying gunslinging character from “Preacher” — the comic book and the show. What would your reaction be if you learned that creators Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, Graham McTavish who played him on the show, were into it, or even made it part of their workout playlists?
I’d say: AWWoWOooOWoWOoOWoOWOoWoooFuknMETALLLLLLLLLLLLLL!
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