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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"ThePRP.com"

6gig's music is an unexpected treat in the bleak and harsh climate of today's heavy music scene. Taking a page from the post hardcore book, this group melds the stylings of acts like Handsome and Quicksand and gives them a modern edge that is reminiscent of acts like Far or Sunny Day Real Estate. For lack of a better term the groups music lies somewhere in the emocore vein, but they're more progressive and edgier than most bands that float in that genre and as such this CD is a welcome entrant into CD players worldwide.
The vocals included on this album distinctly bring Handsome to mind with their timid nature and mildly hoarse tones that carve out huge hooks with immense melody. Their structure is top notch and the notes are held with skill and enthusiasm, allowing them to convey emotion on a sincere level. Guitars are littered with effect coated excursions, yet they also drive home grating riffs that seem highly volatile and yet surprisingly easy to take in. The tone they achieve during the various breakdowns are oddly alien sounding, but their allure also lies in this fact, and the group is also solidified by it. Bass is humble and doesn't really stand out in the tracks overall, but its presence is indeed felt as it accompanies the guitar riffs, adding the ever necessary low end depth that gives the riffs a solid punch. Drums are rigid and focus on snare driven beats that pay close attention to the association between the highhat and the kick drum and although they may not be the most vivid percussive experience, they manage to tie the tracks together and fill in the gaps with their eager charm. Perhaps its the nostalgia this band brings with their familiar sounding vocals that make this album so enjoyable. But if this is the case, you can be assured that the bands of the past never treaded in the water that this group plunges into and that's what seems to be the defining quality. It's a mixture of the old with the new that is done with an earnest respect and yet it's also a completely new sounding sonic environment that they tread so gracefully upon. Fans who are admire the NY post hardcore sound of old should definitely check this album out and there's even a good chance that those who enjoy groups like Failure and Sense Field will also connect with this release, as its well rounded energy is at no point pretentious or syrupy, rather its more focused on epic song structures and cutting edge melody. 6gig's experiment is a lot more modern than the album title suggests, but in essence they have used such outdated technology to bridge a gap between the old and the new to create an album that deserves a look from any open minded heavy music fan out there who enjoys engulfing harmony and catchy songs filled with hooks.
- wookubus


"Alternative Press (June 2003)"

6gig are one of the few bands keeping late-90's aggro rock relevant today. Their secret: Lose the cheese; keep the meaty riffs - The LowDown


"R&R"

When someone says, 'Maine,' the first thing that might come to mind is lobster. But forget that, a foursome from Portland (Maine) are on the verge of making themselves a household name, at least in the rock arena. - Breakthrough Artist


"The Portland Phoenix"

TEEN ANGST: 6gig prove that it can be done well -- with contemporary tragedies.
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Start with the band’s name: it should say something about the group, define them without putting them in an unfortunately small box. The Beatles had a great name when they were four mop-topped lads from Liverpool, but was The White Album really recorded by The Beatles? Rage Against the Machine? I’ve always thought that name put them in a very tight space, indeed. Could that band ever write a decent ballad and not have it sound silly?

With 6gig, we have a moniker that says precision, calculation, speed, and intelligence and rings with frontman Walt Craven’s self-depreciating story about how he’s a computer geek and just sort of came up with it. (It also gave us an idea in the office: what if you named a band 6gig, then played only six gigs and quit?)

But 6gig’s meaning provides a more-than-apt description for their music: tight, written out to the smallest beep and whir, with quick riffs and rhythms put together in ways that you haven’t heard before, but reserved and humble enough to keep them from sounding like Dream Theater or math rock. Plus, they’re a band whose professionalism in the studio is the stuff of local legend, a band whose first take is often their last.

But what about Craven’s impassioned vocals, alternately sung and screamed? Okay, so computers and melody may not make for a ready free association, but there is a lyrical quality to 6gig’s two syllables, sibilant and guttural, the "x" and "g" working together like light and heavy elements to form a willing compound.

6gig are what a fully realized band looks like. That sounds a bit like a hypothesis, and it fits them — a scientific method for their scientific musical creation. And, finally, the proof is readily available now that you can say the same about their sophomore full-length release, Mind over Mind (how’s that for emphasizing the cerebral?). There’s heart there, too, of course — beating through the layers of steel and cable that have been erected to protect it.

And this aesthetic pervades everything the band does. The packaging for the new album is brilliant, reds and blues mirroring grays and metallics, meshing Craven's technical (CAD training?) designs with Bob Smyth’s organic forms, the schematics just abstract enough to suggest living organisms. Every lyric is there, and there are notations above and beyond the standard to let the reader (cover band?) know just which verse repeats when, and which codas are extended or reprised. Plus, look at the thank yous: they’re all-encompassing, equally full of family, friends, and industry types who have helped them along the way — but they’re in alphabetical order!

All of this is to say that they couldn’t have done better than Matt Wallace (Faith No More, most famously) as producer, the last cog in any band’s musical machine. He has taken this grand vision of a technical musical masterpiece and crafted it expertly. The opening track, "Space Suit," more prelude than introduction, is a whir of pneumatic pumps and gadgets, Craven's voice a distant jumble of barely comprehensible phrases. This is an album, one where nothing is tossed off, and everything is wedded to the purpose. Again, this "Space Suit" theme surprisingly reappears for 14 seconds between tracks six and seven, the CD player counting solemnly down in the negative like a rocket bracing for liftoff.

But what is all this technical wizardry masking? Real passion — as evidenced on the band’s first single and the first song here, "Whose Side Are You On?" Wallace here, as on much of the album, gives Craven personality by keeping his vocals high in the mix, immediate and captivating. The bass line from Weave is dark and methodical. Climbing guitar lines go up and down stairs while multi-tracked background vocals arc in and out of the mix. The anger is palpable: "I heard what you did, it crept under my skin/The things that you do disgust me."

It’s a recurring theme, this anger.

Rock and roll (and it’s increasingly heavier musical children) has always been the uplifter/reflection of disaffected youth, of course, and those that eschew pop eventually come back around to it by embracing that inner societal revulsion that most intelligent music fans can’t help but harbor toward a world where the Backstreet Boys are rich and famous and classical musicians are forced to pay orchestras to perform their compositions.

Want to rebel against your folks/school/government by finding an empathetic voice? Well, why don’t you take Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, the Sex Pistols, Iron Maiden, Green Day, or Marilyn Manson for a spin? That usually works pretty good. It's so loud! So shocking! And just look at them!

Lately, however, bands like Korn and Slipknot have turned this back upon itself, and made the condition of today’s youth their rallying cry and pennant, taking experiences of broken homes and battered mothers and turning them into platinum records. This isn’t just teen angst, this is a reflection of the truly tattered edges of a society that often seems to treat its most valuable resource as disposable income.

Truth be told, however, I’ve never bought the sentiment of these bands for a second. Maybe these emotions were heartfelt once, but the labels so marketed and embraced the ethic that it soon became nothing more than a way to sell records. How many videos do I have to watch where a kid in a soiled T-shirt and a bad haircut watches as his drunken father knocks around his poor, wailing mother? Isn’t that video’s appearance on MTV the height of cynicism?

6gig, however, show here that teen angst can still be done well, while embracing the contemporary tragedies that no other era of rock and roll has ever really imagined. The grunge kids were troubled, sure, and Nevermind and Ten contained brutal images, but it all felt so suburban and narrative, the overall question being asked something along the lines of "Why me?"

With Mind over Mind, however, the question is more like, "What the fuck is wrong with you people?"

"Proud," for example, asks the question through irony. Both the rocking, singalong cadence and the content of the chorus are jarring.

Thank you/For lying to my face/For wasting all my time/For being drunk again.

Thank you/For making my mom cry/For screaming in my face/For everything you did to us.

I’m so proud of you.

There is a seriousness here borne out by the irony, a resiliency born of distress and adversity overcome. The bridge is a quiet rehearsal of prose poetry over background drums (superb throughout from the late Dave Rankin, though Jason Stewart is now wholly ensconced with the band) and a strummed guitar. The bass entry is cool and melodic, up, up, down, like hopes and dreams.

"Deadbeat" is another ode to "ocean-size letdown," but personal enough to avoid the cliché. Is it clear that a generation of fathers have abandoned their duty like never before? Yes, by now, quite. But what makes this ring true are the "after-shave smells," "a telephone call," "no more baked-bean fat," "laying out on the grass."

"Can you bear the thought of losing the love of your family?" 6gig are clearly incredulous that some people all too easily can.

But there’s that resiliency again, undeniable. "Start Again" makes it clear that "I thought about giving in," but "you cannot make my mind up . . . I’ll start again." Ending with a blinding guitar solo from Steve Marquis (a rare spot of individual-instrument emphasis), the departure from 6gig’s signature guitar sound of a low chunk tied with a screaming, high punctuation is notice that the band isn’t afraid to surprise you.

They are, in the end, "Free," and "I’ll never go back again/And it’s the only way that I wanna be." Along with the chorus to "Words," which might be the best Craven has ever sounded on record, this is a statement that should not be regarded lightly. 6gig know exactly what they want to do, how to do it, and their vision has been realized.

Hook up, plug in, and take notice. - Sam Pfeifle


Discography

Tincan Experiment (LP) 2000
---Singles: Hit The Ground, 5, Yesterday

broadcast.trans:MISSION.red (EP) 2002
---Singles: Free

Mind Over Mind (LP) 2003
---Singles: Whose Side Are You On?

'National Lampoon's Van Wilder' Movie Soundtrack
---Hit the Ground is featured on the official movie soundtrack that also includes songs from Sum 41, NERD, Sugarcult, Abandonded Pools, Jimmy Eat World, American Hi-Fi

'Attraction' Movie Soundtrack
---Method

NHL HITZ 2002 Video Game (X-Box, PS2)
---'Hit The Ground' is included in gameplay
along with Korn, Staind, Limp Bizkit, Good Charlotte, Fuel, and Errortype-11.

OZZFEST 2001 SUMMER SAMPLER
---Hit the Ground. Also includes songs from Static-X, Alien Ant Farm, Adema, Nonpoint, Drowning Pool.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

As the musical universe continues to break off into ever-smaller subsets, the desire to classify becomes ever greater. Some bands, though, defy labeling and refuse to be pinned down, disdaining stylistic parameters. Portland, Maine’s 6gig is one of those bands. True, 6gig has an intense sound that is frequently described by reviewers as aggro or nu-metal, along with a thoughtful lyric/thematic approach often tagged as emo, and these characterizations are valid, as far as they go. But according to singer/guitarist Walt Craven, they’re beside the point.

“We don't even try to be one way or the other,” Craven says of the aggro/emo duality. “We just write the sort of music that we'd want to listen to ourselves. Being labeled doesn't really help the band, and it also shortchanges the listener. It has nothing to do with music.”

6gig’s fiercely unselfconscious, play-it-as-it-lays approach, already evident on their largely self-made 2000 debut album, Tincan Experiment, which contained the Active Rock breakout “Hit the Ground,” is a blast of fresh air in this prefab, soundalike era.

The band’s inventive, spirited sound caught the ear of a kindred spirit, big-time producer Matt Wallace, when Ultimatum GM John Loken played some tracks for him. Captivated by 6gig’s adventurous musicality, Wallace leapt at the chance to produce the follow-up. For the members of 6gig, working with the studio virtuoso, whose extensive and varied body of work includes the Replacements, Faith No More, H2O, the Deftones, and Sugarcult, was a revelation.

“When you write,” says Craven, “you get so attached to certain things that it’s hard to separate yourself from the work. Having a set of ears that are objective is key—bringing new ideas to the table that the band hadn't thought of. Matt brought a ton of record-making experience to the table—lots of ideas and advice. We loved it.”

Tincan Experiment was recorded all over the map in an elongated, patchwork process, while Mind Over Mind took little more than two months from tracking to mixing. Craven feels that the new album “has more of a flow and concept to it. Doing Tincan Experiement piece by piece made it feel like it was incomplete in some sort of way. Plus, Mind over Mind was written all at once, over a period of a month and a half, where Tincan Experiment was written over the course of about two years.”

According to Craven, the title of the new album refers to “staying out of your own way. Using your intuition to make decisions. Not feeling guilty about your decisions. Which all leads to being a happier person. Take what life gives you, make no excuses, and live the way you want to—no guilt.”

Few bands as heavy as 6gig can boast a singer as contemplative as Craven; it’s this hotwiring of polarities that makes the band so fascinating, and its sound so emotionally, as well as musically, powerful.

When, for example, Craven expresses a son’s bitter torment after the death of his abusive father in “Proud,” the band possesses the musical muscle to express that bitterness in lacerating fashion.

Considering 6gig’s primally hard-soft, yin-yang nature, Mind Over Mind boasts startling musical and emotional diversity, from the confrontational thunder of opening track “Whose Side Are You On?,” whose corrosive, in-your-face buzz line is “The things that you do disgust me,” to the starkly bittersweet acoustic lament, “Say Goodbye,” which zooms in on the fragile cusp of a breakup. Apart from the latter, the tracks grind threateningly, but there’s always acrobatic aerial combat going on above the din.

Bassist Craig Weaver and drummer Dave Rankin provide the album’s thunder, while Steve Marquis and Craven’s inventive, effects-heavy guitar work generates the lightning, as with the zig-zag stitching over massive slabs of power chords on the pulverizing “Free” and the arcing filigrees that enhance the thrills on the anthemic “Deadbeat.” More often than not, the music shapes itself into surprisingly tuneful hooks that overtly poppy bands would kill to come up with.

In the middle of it all are Craven’s raspy, fallen-choirboy’s tenor, resonating with accusation, vulnerability and roiling ambivalence, and his oblique, impressionistic lyrics, which crystallize into resolving lines of forceful clarity. “Sometimes I elaborate or exaggerate, but it's all taken from something I've experienced or witnessed,” Craven confirms. “You have to feel some sort of emotion yourself before you can expect to express it in song and have others feel that emotion.”

In fact, the lyrics are the final piece of the puzzle in 6gig’s creative process. Typically, a bandmember brings an idea to the table—it could be a riff or a groove—then the band proceeds to bang on it until that germ of an idea expands into the spine of a song. After the band records these collective concoctions, Craven writes the lyrics and melodies, which the band then tweaks until the song is complete. “It's about the evolution