The Untold Lies is based out of the fertile metal playground that is the Finger Lakes region. BJ Carter(guitar) and Michele Sestito(vocals) are veterans of the Upstate New York metal scene. BJ was instrumental in the late 90’s and early 00’s in bands such as 40 oz. Failure and Torment The Vain. Michele has been in several projects as well and is the daughter of Dave Sestito, the inventor of DLS Effects. Over the course of the last year, the band has grown into a unit that is ready to conquer the regional and national music scene at large. I caught up with BJ and Michele last week to talk about the evolution of the band.
Erik: I know that both of you come from a diverse musical background? Tell me about your beginnings in musical education through the bands you were in to this point?
Michele: I started off playing guitar for a band at the age of 13. It was an alternative rock band and it helped really develop a certain style of music I wanted to perform. I also have always been an acoustic writer and singer so I like to combine the heavy feel with beautiful music. Through the years, I have learned what sounds best with my vocals.
BJ: I also started playing guitar at 13. My first band was a cover band doing everything from Guns n’ Roses and Motley Crue to Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam as well as Metallica and Megadeth. Shortly after that band broke up I started writing more groove oriented metal riffs in my room. This lead to me being in bands like 40oz. and Torment the Vein. After taking a 5 year break, I wanted to start writing again and started getting back to my roots, but with a modern feel.
Erik: Michele, How is it growing up with someone who was very important in the evolutionary process of helping create the rock band? More importantly, how did that effect the goals you have set for yourself in the music industry in general?
Michele: It made it a lot easier. I grew up always wanting to be a musician like my father, starting at the age of 2 banging on my little piano. It really came natural to write and perform and having the great support and wisdom of a talented musician, helped me a lot. It really made me realistic and devoted to accomplishing something that people will hopefully understand and relate too.
Erik: BJ, like many musicians, the road to where you are going, compared to where you have been…can be a real carousel of ups and downs? How did the band come together originally, and what process did you go through in putting together what would become The Untold Lies?
BJ: It started off as Glenn Paddock and I jamming in his apt just coming up with riffs and a few vocals. We jammed with various singers and drummers but it took a year to complete the current line-up and get people that were all on the same page musically. Ultimately you have to all be happy with the music you are making. If one person feels they are compromising their beliefs then they become unhappy and it makes everyone unhappy. The lineup we have now is diverse in styles but we blend together better than any band I have ever been in.
Erik: You can hear a ton of influences in what you are doing. As far as the development of the sound you were looking to create, are there any preconceived ideas of what you were looking to achieve? Also, I read someone’s comment on your live show the other day. They called the band, “Evanescence with balls!“ What do you make of this good hearted comment!
Michele: Really, we as a band developed our style together, and we all have ideas which make our sound as a whole. I think if you listen to the album you will hear many different influences from one song to the next. And I love the fact that we are being compared to such a great band! We will continue to put forth our all in live shows to entertain and hopefully make great impressions.
BJ: I remember when I sat down to start writing I told myself I wanted to have the rawness and honesty of Guns n Roses, Appetite For Destruction. I figured if I aimed at that album and it came out even 1/4 as good, we were doing a good job. That is the album that made me pick up a guitar in the first place. It is also what me pick it up again 5 years after not playing at all. Being compared to Evanescence is definitely flattering to us especially since we are just starting out.
Erik: The songs you have recorded thus far that I have heard are quite mature. I am a big fan of “Undevoted.” What can we expect from the band as far as studio output in the near future?
Michele: We are at a creative peak and the album is almost done. I can promise some more great songs to come!
BJ: I agree. Every new song we say “This is the best one.” We are on a roll creatively and we are going to keep writing and hope to have the album out by late winter.
Erik: There are alot of bands making noise in the Upstate Metal music scene? Being veterans of this scene, what makes this area so special for the both of you? There is a camaraderie that can not be matched anywhere on the East Coast?
Michele: It’s my home. I love the people in the scene and there is such great undiscovered talent here. People just need to see! I started as a baby in this city and now I am an adult and still find so much love and support. It’s moving.
BJ: The upstate fans have always been rabid fans. They make you want to put in the extra effort live and in the studio. I got my start in high school playing places like The Rum Runner, Cooley’s and The Lost Horizon. Then after High School, making the Penny Arcade a second home it seems. I couldn’t wait to get back out and play live again. It was like part of me was dead for the last 5 years as I sat stagnant with no avenue to just let it all out.
For more information on THE UNTOLD LIES-