Eve to Adam
Eve To Adam Ė Locked and Loaded

by Dave Schwartz

Eve to Adam has been shaking up the music scene since the release of their first album, ďAuburn SlipĒ in 2001.  Thirteen years of recording and touring has helped Eve to Adam to develop a strong fan base and a deep understanding of what it takes to remain active in the music business.  Taki Sassaris along with his brother Alex (drums), Gaurav Bali (lead guitar), Luis Espaillat (bass) and Adam Latiff (rhythm guitar) have recently released ďLocked and Loaded.Ē  Itís an album filled with twists and turns, along with a couple of surprises.  I called Taki at his home to discuss the new record. 

DB:  Hi, Iím looking for Taki Sassaris.

TS:  Youíve got him.

DB:  Hi, this is Dave Schwartz from DaBelly.com and weíre scheduled for an interview.

TS:  How are you Dave?

DB:  Doing well, and you?

TS: Iím going great, Iím glad itís Friday! 

DB:  Yes, I think the whole world is.

TS:  Where are you calling from?

DB:  Iím in Phoenix, Arizona.

TS:  Youíre in Phoenix?  Oh, nice.

DB:  Yes, itís one of those times of the year when itís incredible to live here.  Itís middle 70s and hoping to get into the 80s.  The sun is shining and itís beautiful. 

TS:  Itís another cold day here in New York but thatís par for the course.  What are you going to do? 

DB:  Well, yeah, that is the price you pay.

TS:  This is true.

DB:  Well, first of all I want to say congratulations on the new record, ďLocked and Loaded.Ē  I know the album has been out for a little bit and that you have toured.  Nonetheless Iím still interested in hearing all about making the record and who you worked with. 

TS:  After coming off the road in 2012 with Creed our label was excited about working with our band.  They wanted us to do another album.  We didnít want to take any chances knowing that this may be our last opportunity.  So I was interested in working with as many quality people as would work with us.  I wanted to bring in some new perspectives and challenges really to elaborate on the sound and build a new dimension.  So we were very lucky that when the label put their feelers out there were people that were very interested.  The first guy was Eric Bass (bassist, Shinedown).  He was interested in writing with us.  He had just come off the road with Shinedown.  They were on the Uproar Festival.  We all had a little time so we flew down to Charleston, Sout Carolina and the end result was ďStraightjacket Super Model.Ē  It was a great experience working with him.  Heís a really nice guy.  Super talented with great energy and very positive, heís just over all a pleasure to be around. 

ďStraightjacket Super ModelĒ was really what motivated and excited our label enough to sign us for one more record.  They were all in after that.  They really loved the direction that we were going and so that really opened the floodgates.  Next we were able to get in touch with Michael ďElvisĒ Baskette (Ratt, Trivium, Chevelle) thanks to Mr. Mark Tremonti (Creed, Alter Bridge).  After listening to the Tremonti record I was blown away by the production.  We were shopping for a producer at the time and I hadnít really made up my mind.  After hearing that album, I really wanted Elvis to produce our record too.  So Mark was really instrumental in making that happen.  Elvis is a really busy guy and super talented.  Heís in demand and at the time he was doing the Falling in Reverse record and once he immerses himself into production he is hard to get in touch with.  Thank God for Mark because he really made it all happen.  Working with Elvis was unbelievable.  Heís just a production Jedi!  Behind the board or hearing a harmony and laying things down live, you name it and Elvis does it.  Heís a lot of fun to work with and a great guitar player.  He has a really passion for hard rock and metal. 

And as if things couldnít get any better, the end of 2012 we went out on a tour with Hailstorm and In This Moment.  At the end of that tour we were able to go and write with Dave Bassett (Saliva, Halestorm, Sevendust).  We literally got off the tour and went right to the airport and flew to LA.  We were able to write three songs in five days.  The last of which was ďImmortal.Ē Dave is another super talent.  As far as writing goes heís just brilliant.  He brings the best out of you and allows you to still have your identity, but challenges your style.  It was a great educational experience, but also just a great exchange between artists.  Heís also another really great guitar player and is just passionate about rock.  For us, that was an easy collaboration because we were all on the same page. 

The best part about working with all of these people is that we had such a great time doing it.  Not only did we make some colleagues and business partners, we made some really great friends.  These are people with really high character, a lot of talent and soul and anytime you have a chance to work with people like that you just canít be thankful enough. 

DB:  It sure seems like the stars aligned for you.  Thatís impressive. 

TS:  After everything that weíve been through itís really nice to have a small streak of luck!  We had pretty much the most rotten luck ever, especially for this business and business being what it is, a rotten business to begin with, itís tough.  This is all about hanging in there.  The music business is a war of attrition.  You just have to find a way to survive and thatís what weíve been able to do.  From the inception of this project to just recently, the last few years with 3 for 5 Entertainment coming in and signing us in 2010, weíve been through a multitude of deals and management and agents.  We never found the people who could do what they said they were going to do.  So itís par for the course.  You have to learn to endure.  You canít allow yourself to become jaded or allow them to take away your dream and break you.  Thatís the biggest challenge is to not lose sight of why youíre doing this and what your original vision was. 

DB:  I appreciate what youíre saying.  Building momentum and finding people who can help shepherd you through the tough times is vitally important in the music industry.  It seems you know this better than most of us.  But the good news is that the record is out, itís doing well and youíve created and impressive album. 

TS:  Thank you very much for that.  We worked really hard on the record and something special happens when youíve got your back against the wall.  When itís about survival you rise up and you discover that youíre able to do things that you otherwise may not have.  So I think it was a unique culmination of circumstances that help contour ďLocked and LoadedĒ and give it the attitude and cohesiveness that it has.  Iím proud of the record and really proud to hear that people are happy and enjoying the music.  Itís a wonderful feeling to have strong reviews on it and for people to recognize it for what it is.  Iíve liked things that weíve done in the past and I listen to some of our older stuff, but as a cumulative piece of work Iíve never been able to sit down and enjoy a complete album until now because of my obsessive, perfectionist disorder.  Iím always saying that I wish we had done this or I didnít really like that.  Something unique has happened with this album because Iím able to take this record to the gym and listen to it from beginning to end.  Iím not all about just listening to myself, but I am able to just detach and listen to the record for what it is.  So itís a great thrill for me.  Itís also a great workout album.  I have a lot of friends that are gym rats and theyíve been really enjoying it.  I couldnít be happier at this point. 

DB:  The first single off the album was ďStraightjacket Super ModelĒ and with that came a video.  Did you anticipate the response you received from the video that you envisioned and put together?

TS:  Well which response would that be?

DB:  You had Mistress Juliya and a full on Dexter vibe happening with the plastic sheets.  For some the video was very shocking.  Perhaps it made them nervous but for others the response wasnít just, ďYeah!Ē but it was, ďHell Yeah!Ē

TS:  I didnít know that for some the video was going to be that divisive.  I thought this genre of music was a little bit more risquť that what it is.  Or perhaps people formed an idea of the band that wasnít quite accurate.  Iím not really sure.  Or maybe itís a combination of both?  I didnít think the video was that crazy, you know?  I mean compared to some of the other things Iíve seen and content thatís out there now.  For the people who absolutely loved it, I think it was a head turner toward the band.  Maybe they thought that the band was absolutely boring, but learned that weíre not and now they will check us out.  And then there were the few people that wanted us to stay a little more conservative.  One of the things that we really enjoy about being a band and artists is breaching our horizons and creating new worlds.  Itís challenging and thatís find because it keeps it interesting for us.  And thatís the key because if it has become boring for us then ultimately it will become boring for the audience as well.  You canít please everybody.  I will say that we had a lot of fun making it.  The greatest thing about the song and the video is that it opened us up to a new group of people that werenít into us before.  It also gave us a little bit of artistic license and allowed people to know that we are entitled to do what we want to do and if youíre not good with that, itís OK.  Just give us our fair shot.  Like I said, content wise itís not as shocking as a lot of stuff out there, but you never know what kind of response youíre going to get from people. 

DB:  Youíre current single is ďImmortalĒ and itís been getting great airplay.  You also did a video for this song as well. 

TS:  We did the video in Jersey City, New Jersey.  It came out last October.  We filmed in this really old theater called the Landmark Theater.  Itís one of five dream theaters built here in the Ď20s.  Itís very ďBoardwalk EmpireĒ if you will.  It really has a very commanding presence and classic architecture thatís very traditional, almost stoic.  Itís really was a perfect location for the song.  The video has been very well received.  Itís straight up live performance Ė  the band doing what the band does.  This theater has been through hell to just survive so when the property manager asked what song we were going to do we told him it was a song called, ďImmortal.Ē  His eyes lit up and he was like, ďOh yeah, this is perfect!Ē because this place has been through it all.  This was going to be a perfect pairing of music to location.  So Iím really proud.  I think that between ďStraightjacketĒ and ĒImmortalĒ you get a really good understanding of the realm of this band and our imagination.  Iím really happy with this video.  Itís straight ahead but the guy who did it, Davo Paul (SevenDust, Butcher Babies), is a really great editor.  So when we shot it he really knew what he was going for.  He really knew what he needed.  All the magic is in the editing and I think he did a hell of a job. 

DB:  Itís impressive that we still have a few old theaters here in the United States that you can see.  You know the Ď30s and Ď40s vibe and all that incredible architecture.  It must be fascinating as a band to walk into a venue for the first time and discover this old building that has house so many great voices over the years.  Just to be a part of that must be amazing. 

TS:  Oh man, Iíll tell you that weíve played quite a few of them.  On the Creed tour in 2012 we played a lot of these theaters.  The tour kicked off at the Chicago Theater which is a phenomenal place.  And up here in New York we played The Beacon.  And speaking of all the people who have played The Beacon, we took the old school elevator up to the various floors where the artists' rooms are and the dressing rooms are.  Well, there are signatures on the elevator.  The elevator operator actually encourages people to sign after they have performed there.  I was able to put my name right between Eddie Vedder and Willie Nelson.  It was crazy!  I was just enamored and overwhelmed and honored to play in these historic places that have hosted these legendary people that have made an indelible mark on our culture.  It was a great feeling playing that stage.  We did two nights there.  It was a humbling experience and also very gratifying at the same time. 

DB:  Speaking of legends, I would like to talk a little ancient history with you.  Throughout the history of a band, irrespective of it being five years or 50, there are mile markers in which a band may reflect back upon and acknowledge that that was a significant moment for them.  Years ago you had the opportunity to work with Desmond Child.  Was that just a moment in time for you or was it one of those mile markers that changed the way you saw music and the business? 

TS:  It was definitely a landmark moment for us.  As a young talent, getting the nod from one of the biggest songwriters in the world is epic.  For him to recognize a young talent and say that he wants to give us advice and spend time helping to push you along the way is a hell of an accommodation.  I learned a lot from watching him work, from the caliber of talent that would walk through the doors of that studio.  There was a lot of top tier talent from the industry that would come to him searching for the golden egg.  And to watch him turn in out, day in and day out, sometimes in just an hoursí worth of time was amazing.  He is an extraordinary talent.  But at the same time, working with him I realized what I didnít want to do.  So because of that it was very important to us at a very early age to understand the level of greatness that needs to be attained and the different ways to get to it.  

There are longer roads that can be taken, roads less formulaic.  We were really young and didnít know who we were.  We knew what we wanted to accomplish, but didn't know how to go about it.  What I did know was that my idea of a band was a little different than his.  He approached things from somewhat of a different point of view and as a 19-20 year old kid it was difficult to see that.  Now that we have gotten older and having built this band, you understand inner band dynamics and politics and how things can be difficult with personalities.  All of these things make being in a band difficult at times.  What doesnít change for me is the brotherhood.  Being in a band is just that, itís like being in a gang, being in a family.  You canít just always have lines of division just for power.  You have to be willing to be humble and concede your point sometimes for the greater good of the song, for the greater good of the band.  There has to be compromise.

  And what I learned from watching the world that he was in, dealing with the Jon Bon Joviís and other artists that were running their bands a certain way, that wasnít really for me.  You can do it that way and have a lot of success but the music will suffer somewhere along the way.  All of a sudden this all becomes about brand, about having your name on a piece of merchandise, or churning out a new version of a prior hit just to put some asses in the seats.  I wanted to always be artistically viable and I think for that to happen you have to be able to share the vision. 

 Itís a long road and you wonít always have the answers.  Some people believe that they always have the answers but I know enough about myself, being a man, that life is complicated there are times when you need help.  The two guys that I have who have been with me forever, my brother Alex and Gaurav Bali, we have a brotherhood thatís built on a series of experiences.  We have been there for one another in ways that some people could never understand.  This band is something that I have invested in emotionally and life sacrifice-wise and itís was important to me.  I really believe that commitment comes out in the music, especially in this new album.  And to me, thatís very important to hold.  People do things differently.  This is the way we did it. 

DB:  It sounds like youíve been mining some gold of your own. 

TS:  Well thank you.  Iíve learned that you have to stay on it.  I donít ever want to be behind the eight-ball ever again.  Iíve already started writing for the next record. 

DB:  So to bring all the way back around the tree I have one last question.  Tell me about your upcoming tour.

TS:  This is a great opportunity for us.  This is one they called us about.  Weíre going out with Escape the Fate.  They are a band thatís been through a lot as well.  As the smoke is clearing they are one of the last bands standing of their genre.  I like their attitude and energy.  Theyíve got a younger crowd and I think itís going to be a very unique intersection between our fans and theirs.  Iím really excited to play with those guys.  Itís going to be an awesome show.  The convergence of their energy and ours is going to make an incredible show for the audience. 

DB:  Thanks for your time today.  Is there anything I missed?  Is there anything else you want to talk about? 

TS: I just want to be sure that our fans know that we are grateful for them.  I want to thank the loyal fans of hard rock and metal that, through everything, are always there for us.  If it werenít for them we wouldnít be having this conversation.  Thank you for believing in us when we didnít.  I just want to be sure that gets said. 

I want to thank Taki Sassaris for sharing his time with DaBelly.  ďLocked and LoadedĒ is out now and I anticipate that Eve To Adam with be touring on it for a while.  Make sure you check this band out live when theyíre in your town.  Also check out the links below! 

http://www.3for5ent.com/     http://www.evetoadam.com/    https://www.facebook.com/evetoadam     

https://twitter.com/EVETOADAMMUSIC

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