The Great Wall
Gig Seeker Pro

The Great Wall

Band Rock Metal




This band has no press


"The Great Wall" - Released Indepentently on March 28, 2012



Los Angeles rock band The Great Wall began in 2011 as a reformation of Bernard's Millions, a progressive hardcore/metal group that featured members Chris Waldrep and Jesse Kirberger (best friends and musical collaborators since high school) on guitar, along with a rotation of various singers, drummers, and bassists.

After the departure of third lead vocalist Jason Butler (following the international success of his post-hardcore band letlive.), Chris and Jesse decided to take on vocal duties themselves. They spent the first half of 2011 constructing an album's worth of completely new material which reflected this change, recruiting renowned session musicians Dave Elitch, (former touring drummer for M83 and The Mars Volta), and Stephen Bruner, aka Thundercat, (bassist for Suicidal Tendencies, Erykah Badu, and Flying Lotus) to help them lay down the finished product in-studio during the summer and fall of that year.

The end result is The Great Wall, a full length, self-titled debut album released independently in March of 2012 that means to expand upon what is traditionally labelled as "heavy" to include a wide variety of musical interests, influences, and goals; soaring vocals, roller coaster dynamics, cinematic compositions, and unapologetically proficient musicianship define the album's aesthetic.

"To me, art is art," says Waldrep. "Whether you're writing a song, preparing a meal, or designing a building, art is defined by the care that goes into creating something that's meaningful; first to yourself, and then hopefully to others, simply as a result of being true to your instinct and experience. When people hear this music, I want what they're hearing to evoke something honest and significant. These songs demand a certain level of attention, and that's exactly what I expect the music I enjoy to ask of me. None of it was written to be in the background of a car commercial."

But a band must be encountered firsthand to be truly understood. With the addition of Will Jenkins (a protégé of Elitch's) on drums, and Pete Griffin (former bassist for Zappa Plays Zappa) on bass, The Great Wall sought to present a live show that would reproduce the full wall of sound from the album, while incorporating new sonic and visual elements.

"We knew when we started thinking about performing live that we had to do something more than just standing there and playing," Waldrep recalls. "We would never attempt to outdo a band like letlive. or Dillinger Escape Plan in terms of outright physical intensity, so we decided to come up with something else that would make our set interesting to watch, as well as hear. Artists like Squarepusher and Amon Tobin have done such incredible things with live visuals, we just felt like that was something we really wanted to try to tackle in a new way."

The visuals are directly inspired by a TED Talks presentation given by Evan Grant, a British creative technologist who expanded on work pioneered by Hans Jenny in the field of cymatics - that is, the manipulation of physical media (sand, water, etc.) via sound and vibration. By attaching a small dish to the cone of a speaker, filling it with water, and playing their music through it, the band created naturally abstract visualizations of their songs, which were filmed, edited, and attached to a master file. When they perform, a laptop connected on-stage to the PA and a projector plays back the file, which provides synchronized visuals along with samples and segues.

"Given the near-total collapse of the recorded music industry, we feel it's more important now than at any time before to write songs that are authentic, and to convey those songs in a way that stands out," says Waldrep. "We're a relatively new band, and there's a lot of ground to cover, but this is something that we do. Music moves our lives, literally and figuratively."