Formed in July of 1999, Proudest Angel quickly established themselves in the Chicago music scene with their own brand of heavy metal. The band went their separate ways in 2003 only to final reform in 2015 with a new purpose and a renewed sense of life. The current lineup features original members William Paimon (Sutured Psyche), John Raftree, David Bates (Sinister Fate) along with long time friend Ryan Reilly (Sutured Psyche)
The 2nd coming is here….
In this interview spotlight, I chat with Doktor William Paimon (vocals) and Ryan R. Reilly (bass) of Proudest Angel about motivations, challenges, the newest project and more.
Full Q&A along with links and music below.
Where are you from and what style of music do you create? (In your own words, not necessarily in marketing terms or by popular genre classifications.)
Doktor Paimon: We’re four guys from Chicago who play the kind of music we’d like to listen to. In this case, at this time that seems to be loud, angry music about shitty decisions peppered with the occasional inappropriate cover
Ryan Reilly: We’re out of the north side of Chicago. Originally, the band was unapologetically a metal band — heavy, fast, and brutal, with the occasional ballad to balance it out. When Proudest Angel reunited in 2015 — older and more experienced — the band’s skills and songwriting improved and matured. Add me into the mix – a writer that leans toward pop sensibilities — and the sound has a very present punk influence and Proudest Angel had really become more of a rock band. The edge and the weight are still there, but the new material is often more accessible than the old.
What led you down this path of music and what motivates you to keep going?
DP: Well, we were young dumb kids who started a metal band then got angry at each other and stopped talking. Now we’ve grown up and just want to entertain ourselves. If other people like us, that’s a major bonus.
RR: Personally, I’ve wanted to be a rockstar since I was a little kid! My friend and I would watch concert videos of Metallica, KISS, and Def Leppard — these huge bands playing in front of giant crowds, with lights & smoke & explosions — and we’d dream of being on those stages one day.
As for what brought me here, it’s the typical story of being in and out of bands since high school. From 2009 – 2012, I was a guitarist in Sutured Psyche with Bill, but I was also a huge fan of Proudest Angel back in the day. You know that movie, Rockstar, with Mark Wahlberg? I’m basically living that story without all the leather. I was a fan of these guys, and now I’m one of ’em!
How is this new release different than previous ones? Were you trying to accomplish anything specific?
RR: Shoulda Known Better was the second song we wrote together, and it was proof that the first one (Starlight) wasn’t a fluke. We had a spark and real chemistry. When it came time to make the lyric video, I personally wanted it to stand apart from other lyric videos; people actually just call it a music video, and that’s even better! I dabble in simple animation from time to time, and Shoulda Known Better seemed the perfect subject for a little cartoon action.
DP: The songs are more mature, the new lineup has really gelled, and we’re stretching out more. Our last release (The Soundtrack To Your Next Bad Decision) was put together after we’d been back playing for six months. It’s great, but it’s still new. Now the new car smell is gone, there’s a weird assortment of shit in the trunk, and the ass groove lets you know that this isn’t just some car you’re driving, it’s your baby.
Name one or two challenges you face as an indie musician in this oversaturated, digital music age? How has technology helped you (since we know it does help)?
DP: The competition keeps getting younger but we stay the same age. Good thing we have our not-so-secret weapon of being obstinate. Technology sure makes getting the word out about shows easier, and its nice to be able to record without having to pay thousands of dollars to sit in a vocal booth that smells like the toilet next door.
RR: There are so many bands and artists on the internet, it’s difficult to stand out in the crowd. We utilize Facebook and YouTube, but until recently, we hardly engaged on Twitter. In truth, most of us barely even use our personal Twitter and Instagram accounts. Using that corner of social media has become quite fulfilling, because it’s so much more personal.
Chicago, too, is over-saturated, which is a challenge in that we have to get creative with our marketing. For example, a local coffee house, Perkolator, graciously agreed to use custom coffee sleeves that we had printed up to advertise a show. It was quite successful, and we got new fans through the door!
Where is the best place to connect with you online and discover more music?
DP: Facebook is always a good option, or you can tweet at us. We’re working on the whole messenger pigeon thing but Raftree keeps eating them.
RR: Our website, ProudestAngel.com, has links to all our social media pages. We can be found on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, BandCamp, SoundCloud, and also Patreon, where our patrons get exclusive content and early access to all our releases.
Anything else before we sign off?
DP: Listen to more music. Seriously, you’ve got room on your phone for more music than a serious collector used to have in their house and you have the internet for literally everything, don’t just listen to the same two dozen albums until you die bitching about how nobody makes them like that anymore.