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“One of our fans put it best,” explains Eric Jacko, Bloodborne drummer. “They consider us a local band in Indianapolis even though we don’t live there,” he says. “There’s more of a metal crowd in Indy than in Fort Wayne,” he adds.
With its vaster offering of clubs and venues, the capital also allows the band to play more all-ages shows. “We strive to play all ages. We want to give back to the people who gave to us. We went to so many shows when we were younger.”
Playing in Indianapolis also represented one of the band’s first goals.
“When we started, we knew we wanted to play on the Emerson stage,” Jacko says. As far as Bloodborne members – Alex Saxer, Mike Gephart, Ren Healy and Eric Turner, in addition to Jacko – were concerned, the Emerson stage was the pinnacle of achievement for a metal band. In 1999, a year after forming, Bloodborne gigged at the Emerson. “For local music that was it. That was the top,” says Jacko. “To be able to play up there was accomplishing our goal. It was refreshing for us.”
Bloodborne have played the Emerson Theatre 10 times since. They’ve also managed to play at Piere’s four times, as well as scores of other clubs and venues in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis.
Currently the band is taking a break from shows to concentrate on their first full-length album. Bloodborne are putting the final touches on the 10-song Vehemence and plan to release it in early August.
The appropriately titled release showcases Bloodborne’s unique brand of “heavy, angry metal,” Jacko says. “This is the style that we all love playing,” he says of the band’s hard music. “Really it’s just an extension of our influences of hardcore, rap and 80s pop.”
“It’s the style of music that we all agree on playing,” adds Gephart. “It allows us to bring our own influences into it.” The album’s title illustrates “the intense subjects and feelings that are put into the music and lyrics,” says Jacko. ”
“It describes how we approach music. We make it as intense as possible.”
Vehemence, recorded at Sweetwater Sound in Fort Wayne, is not Bloodborne’s first foray into the studio. “We’ve tried some things in the studio before, but it didn’t work,” says Jacko. “It wasn’t what we wanted. It wasn’t representative of us.”
Nevertheless, the band recorded an early demo, from which they culled material for the new album. “We used songs from the old album that we passed out as a demo,” Jacko says. The new album represents a new attitude
the band members have adopted. “Now we’re ready for the real deal so to speak,” Jacko explains.
The “real deal,” he says, translates loosely to “major label interest” in Bloodborne’s music. Bloodborne members, however, don’t want to discuss what label or labels have taken notice of their music. They offer, however, that the interest alone “is very gratifying. Having someone like a label interested in your music is a cool thought.”
“We would love to do this as our life and career,” says Gephart. “What better life is there than to play music for a living?”
Making it, so-to-speak, in the music industry was not one of Bloodborne’s original goals when the band formed. “Although we’ve reached a lot of our goals, we didn’t set our sights too high to begin with,” says Jacko. “Our biggest goal was to make music that we can be proud of. We’re in it to make good music. We’d also like to have the resources to keep doing it.”
Although the band plays almost exclusively original songs at their shows, they occasionally like to toss in an unlikely cover of “The Humpty Dance.” “It’s a novelty,” says Jacko. “It’s a song that a lot of people know. It’s a lot of fun to play. We decided to play something fun and make people chuckle. It feels good to make a fool of yourself and have a good time.
It’s also an ice breaker.”
Jacko explains that the song often relaxes the crowd and makes them more receptive to Bloodborne’s sound and style. “We are a lot different from most bands,” he says. “People have a hard time getting into something they are not used to hearing. Probably it has to do with our influences. Everyone has a metal center, but we also have rap and death metal influences. The way that we do things makes it all congeal in the end. We are not trying to sound like what is popular. We are trying to do our own thing. We don’t necessarily want to reinvent the wheel.”
Gephart adds that “a lot of people refer to us as having the Bloodborne sound.’ Some bands have even taken on our ideals of blending influences. Even a few local bands have taken on some of our ideas.” Those ideas extend beyond the scope of music and into Bloodborne’s take on how a band should treat its audience. “A lot of bands try to stand above their crowd. We believe in standing with our crowd. We’re just as big a fan of music as they are. We’re there for each other.”
Taking into consideration Bloodborne’s influence on other local bands and its desire to more or less blend with its crowd, one can understand the meaning behind the band’s name. Jacko explains that the band picked up the name after a few members went to a seminar on blood borne pathogens. “We were looking for a name that would entail our beliefs and ideals that would represent being one,” he says. “Bloodborne means that it is in you. It’s in everyone.”
For now Bloodborne plan to concentrate on what they’ve been doing. So far the formula appears to be working, the members agree. They will begin again, in a few weeks, to gig at clubs in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis. The band’s album is also expected to be available at several records stores including Wooden Nickel and Karma. Check the band’s web site, www.bloodborne.net, for up to date information on their next shows.