*As the connection between the internet in my hometown of Hull, U.K. and AT&T in Charleston, MS, are at a complete difference in performance, it created a barrier for us to communicate in a personal manner. So, we decided to continue our meeting via email on this occasion until we can be sure of a stronger connection.
The Fudo Resistance braves the Lion’s Den to discuss their origins, inspirations, and future prospect. Also, we discuss the alternative subculture and music scene in Charleston, MS, advice for young people when entering the world of music and determination to be the first successful rock band out of their hometown. Made up of five die-hard, rock fans, The Fudo Resistance consists of Lead Vocalist, Jaden; Guitarists, Matt & Matthew; Bassist, Trevor; and Drummer, Dan.
In the beginning, Rapper, Judai, created The Resistance to combine his abilities in both Rap and Rock until realising that his heart had sole focus on his passion for the diverse genre of Rock. Cousins, Jaden (Judai) and former Guitarist and programmer, Vic, along with their friends, Jason, and Dan, met in St. Louis, MI, where they began practising their music as a four-piece, rock band.
Now, equipped with a complete new line-up and a new name, The Fudo Resistance are smashing out hit after hit, even throughout a global pandemic. The band have accepted my invitation to answer my questions to learn more about the individuals behind the band.
What was your thought process when switching genres from Rap to Rock?
We began our discussions with Lead vocalist and Rapper, Judai. I wanted to dig into his thought process when transitioning to being the frontman for a Rock band after already establishing a reputation as Rapper.
“When I originally switched from Rap to Rock, I wasn’t that difficult. Now I’m not saying every Rapper should do it, I’m just saying that it was easy for me because I play and listen to a lot of Rock and Metal. Examples are Skillet, Three Days Grace, STARSET, etc. I also produce some of my rap songs and play various instruments. It was easy for me, almost natural.”
From a frontman’s standpoint, who were your inspirations?
Being inspired into the world of Rock by Skillet’s own, John L. Cooper, Jaden was mesmerised by John’s levels of charisma on the stage. The way he hypes up the crowd and the amazement of his stage presence. Even though discovering inspiration from experienced Rappers such as Tsukamacko and Travis Scott, Jason exhibits his very own personality in stage, especially when surrounded by his fellow bandmates.
Do you ever find yourself focusing on past traumas and experiences when screaming?
In my experience of speaking to other frontmen, it appears that the majority use their past traumas and struggles to channel a more vocal scream, and that is also the case for Jason. “I do feel something when I scream, like I’m letting all my anger out. That’s what makes it powerful!”.
Do you face anxieties or find yourself overthinking when centre-stage?
Yet to be explained by Matthew, Charleston is only a small community in the state of Mississippi, there are very minimal opportunities for local bands to perform, except within establishments such as bars. So, any availability to play is a huge step from a local standpoint, but in those venues are a diverse range of people that may be there for the drinking rather than the entertainment. This can sometimes result in playing in front of an empty-minded audience. “Ever heard of dead crowds? That is what happens sometimes. Everybody’s looking at you; just watching. It feels weird, but at the same time they are getting to discover our music. It’s an odd but win-win situation.”
What do you believe are important characteristics and appropriate attitudes when starting a rock band?
“Don’t go in headfirst or with a big ego; that’s dumb and arrogant. It won’t lead to success internally or externally. What I mean is, take it slow. Try to get along with your fellow bandmates. Practice makes perfect. If your band sounds like crap, don’t worry. All bands when first starting sounds like that, especially without the proper experience and equipment. Just practice and make demos. Find the style that best suits your band.”
At the tender age of fourteen, Trevor received his first instrument. Repeatedly asking his parents for a guitar, they surprised him on Christmas day with a bass and an amplifier after they marked the latter instrument to be too loud. “[At first], I was hesitant on practicing it because I heard that you have to learn all these chords and notes, but 3 weeks later I was having a blast learning it! Now here I am.” Accruing many years of experience in bass and performing live shows has allowed Trevor to establish himself as a premier talent in his hometown.
What ideas did you first have when asked to join/create The Resistance?
“I thought that The Resistance was going to be some type of cover band. Also, I dislike cover bands. Anyways, it seemed shady at first, but I agreed to join anyways. Turns out it wasn’t even a cover band!”
What is the greatest feeling when playing a live show?
For many successful bands, the greatest feeling could be the pay check at the end of a show, this is not the case for The Fudo Resistance. Trevor, along with his bandmates, all know the true meaning of being a musician and the collection of emotions that can be felt when performing, “[The greatest feeling is…] knowing that people enjoy that songs and just being you.”.
What do you believe are the messages behind the song lyrics with them being so heavy and powerful?
Every individual has a difference of opinion in how they perceive song lyrics, and the best way to be sure on their wording is by asking the people who have lived through it. The Fudo Resistance’s lyrics are as powerful as Judai’s screaming and it definitely becomes clear when listening to their debut album, Tfr.
Their current style of rock is at an all-time high for intensity and their lyrical significance is only making more of an impact on the scene itself. Judging by their latest releases, they’re only going to keep getting better. Here’s what Trevor had to say about Berserk: “So, our single, Berserk, is about a person suffering from anger issues and mental illnesses. It’s putting the listener in that mindset. They can realize what it’s like being them, and I think that’s a very powerful message that some people don’t know about.”.
What’s next for The Fudo Resistance?
“I don’t exactly know what is next for the band. What I do know, is that it’s going to be a long journey ahead…”
Tell me, do you believe it is important for young people to learn an instrument, and why do you believe the guitar is the best to learn?
“As Matthew is one of The Fudo Resistance’s respected guitarists, he definitely is aware of the importance behind the learning of instruments, especially in young people - “I think it is important for a young person to learn an instrument, especially if they want to become a musician. That skill could be used one day and maybe they’ll become famous… Guitar is important to learn because of chords and notes. A person can learn similar chords and notes that are also on a piano or a bass guitar. If they want to play that instrument in the future, they’ll have experience with chords and notes.”
What do you believe to the most challenging thing for up-and-coming bands in Charleston, MS?
“Charleston is a relatively small place. It’s obscure. The only famous person that I could think of from around this area is Soulja Boy. It is relatively difficult to be even remotely popular. Also, not many people like Metal. They like pop and rap music. In short, yes, it is very difficult.”
Coming from Hull, a small city in the north-east of England, I understand the difficulty in making it within the industry. Our Rock and Metal scene is very youthful but incredibly prosperous, and the attractiveness of our venues do not accompany high-end talent, especially in those specific genres. I think the most popular bands that have performed in Hull have been P.O.D, Alien Ant Farm, and Tesseract, especially in recent years.
Which bands do you most want to play with?
“I really want to perform with The Veer Union. I really think our styles can co-align and make a great performance!”
How is the music scene in Charleston and are there many opportunities for you all to play regular shows?
“The music scene in Charleston is butt. I don’t think there are many famous artists from Charleston. Jaden is semi popular with his solo music, Judai. Like I said earlier, it’s butt. There are no real opportunities to play at real shows. Only bars and stuff like that.”
Unlike fellow guitarist, Matthew, Dan was introduced to the guitar at a very young age as his father was an avid acoustic guitarist. Dan showed no interest in the instrument in the beginning, but that soon flipped after watching Seth Morrison of Skillet perform and from there started a healthy addiction. Equipped with a passion to learn guitar, Dan set his goal of wanting to learn how to shred the guitar. A highly respected attribute within the genre.
“It wasn’t easy, but I got there.”
Which venues would you most like to play?
“Any, just so we can put our music out there!”
What do you believe to be the most challenging thing for up-and-coming bands in Charleston, MS?
“Everything! Charleston isn’t exactly a great place to come from. To put it simply, it’s really, really hard.”
It really can be such a difficult industry to break into, especially when you’re from such a small town. The genre is so diverse, and it has arguably always taken the backseat in popularity of pop and rap music. Combine the smaller demographic with a very limited number of venues and it creates quite the Cinderella story, if success is found. I have the upmost respect for anyone that even attempts to make it in such a treacherous industry.
Can you describe the sensation of being of stage and watching people experience and enjoy your band’s music?
“I feel really happy that people enjoy our music. Just being able to put it out there is just…. Great!”
“So, here’s a little story: We were playing at this show, and we were slated to come on stage at 7:00 PM CST. When we got on stage, well it was more like curtain calling, people started head banging and singing along to “Berserk.” It was wild.”
"The idea of me being in a band was absurd." - Matt Psiker
I decided to save the freshest for last. The Fudo Resistance’s new blood, Matt Psiker. I wanted to talk to Matt about how he feels about joining a band when you don’t have prior relationships with your new bandmates.
“I do feel a little bit nervous. It’s new people that I haven’t met before, so it becomes very awkward. I don’t know how the experience will be, so I’ll just be in the background.” – Matt Psiker on anxieties when joining a new group.
What do you believe that you have brought to The Fudo Resistance?
“I think what I bring to the band is more lyrical thinking on deeper subjects that the rest of the members cannot talk about. Either because they don’t know how to explain it, or they don’t know how people will react. I’m more of the daredevil type.”
Do you believe that drumming is an effective way to release stress?
“It definitely works for some people, including myself. Once you get really into it you start to have fun. You also get to practice.”
What are your thoughts on controlling your emotions, even with continuously thunderous drumming that is accustomed to rock/metal genres, such as yourselves?
“You really can’t control your emotions with such genres like Metal, Metalcore, Hard Rock, etc. but you can limit yourself, though. Put some fun elements into that. Do a little remix on the song that you’re playing. Make it your own drumming style.”
Can you describe the feeling of performing such a fast-paced, aggressive setlist and just exactly how exhausting it is?
“Metalcore is extremely exhausting. There is a thing called “double-kick" and Metalcore songs incorporate that sometimes to the extreme. Also, you always have to move your limbs and it is sometimes hard to keep up with a song.”
The Band’s Questions:
When and how did The Resistance originate?
Jaden: “The Resistance originated from my love of Rock and Metal. I also wanted to bring something new to the table, for my career and for my local scene.”
Where did the name ‘The Fudo Resistance’ come from?
Matt: “The name Fudo comes from our favorite Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s character, Yusei Fudo. The name The Resistance just was too boring and probably some band or artist has already taken that name. It’s definitely unique!”
What is your thought process when writing such creative and powerful lyrics?
Matt: “We want to touch people’s hearts and give a relatable experience to the listener. Our lyrics also represent what’s going on in the world.”
Collectively, as a band, what do you believe the connection is between heavy music and mental health?
Trevor: “It can mean everything. People can really connect with a song. I really connect with Metal sometimes, [especially] with the lyrics. I was in a depressed state many times. Metal helped me push through it. It’s the same with others.”
When you were all in Middle School/High School, do you believe that the alternative subculture was welcomed by everyone?
Band response: “Hell nah! Only rap was accepted.”
How did you all stay motivated to create and release new music during a worldwide pandemic?
Matthew: “It actually fuelled our music. It gave us lyrics; gave us sound.”
I want to know how difficult it is the develop a fanbase. Can you tell me your ways of reaching new fans, interacting with current fans, and getting your music out there?
Jaden: “The best way to truly connect with our fans, new or old, is through social media. That’s basically where everyone is. We are going to Texas to tour so we can meet some of them! Uh, it is mildly difficult to develop a strong fanbase. Everyone has to start from somewhere, though.”
Any advice for young people when starting a rock band?
Trevor: “Try to work together. Do what you’re best at. Make a team. Practice with each other. Make demos of songs. Just be you.”
My philosophy is that I can trust people who recommend me great music. So, with that said, I’d be very appreciative if you all recommend me some of your favourite bands, as well as some local talent from your home country?
Jaden: “I recommend The Fallen State. They have really great music. I also recommend, if you haven’t listened to them already, TrineATX.” I’ve been good friends with the Fallen State ever since I saw them support 3 Doors Down in Manchester, UK. I’ve seen them four times since then, been invited on stage for a photo and had the pleasure of welcoming their amazing Drummer, Rich Walker, into The Lion’s Den for a chat. Make sure you check it out!
Trevor: “Breaking the language barrier here, but I recommend you listen to MAN WITH A MISSION from Japan. They are amazing, man. You will definitely like them!” - Can’t wait to listen to these, they sound sweet!
Matthew: “Um, hmm, maybe ONLAP? They are from France. They’re pretty cool.” – Very outside the box. Let’s go!!
Dan: “I’m breaking the language barrier, too. BACK-ON is definitely my top pick if you are trying to get into J-Rock.” – Never even tried J-Rock, so this will be a brand-new experience. Thank you, Dan!
Matt: “Uh, I recommend Through Fire, if you haven’t listened to them before. Great way to get into Hard Rock.” – Exceptional band! Their debut album was incredible, and their latest album was just as awesome. Their cameo in Paradise City really was a huge break for them. Thanks, Matt!
I would like to thank Dan, Jaden, Matt, Matthew, and Trevor for their participation in this interview. Their music is really taking over my life and I’m eagerly awaiting their next release.
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TRANSCRIBED BY ASHER-HILL ROCKMAN RECORDS. THANK YOU TO THE FUDO RESISTANCE AND DAN FROM IN THE LIONS DEN - MEGA THANKS.
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