Hot off the Press

Dominic St. Charles of URN

by Anabel DFlux
– Senior Photojournalist —

Senior journalist Anabel DFlux chatted with Dominic St. Charles, of the band URN, about their brand new album Epiphany (their first studio album in nearly six years!), their tour adventures, and what fans can expect next!

URN 2015

Hardrock Haven: Hi there! Thank you so much for talking with me today. I hear you have a new album that has been newly released. Can you tell me about it? Why did you name the album “Epiphany”?

Dominic St. Charles: Thank you so much as well! Epiphany is our fifth release overall, and our first studio album in almost six years.

URN® has always been a catharsis for a lot of the negative emotions that most of us in the band were dealing with, and the main reason we called this album “Epiphany” it sums up a great deal of what we learned on an individual level about ourselves, the people in our lives, and the world around us.

Hardrock Haven: How were the lyrics written?

Dominic St. Charles: The music is direct manifestation of us processing our lives and how it affects us in many ways. So in a natural progression, the lyrics are predominantly a first-person narrative in a response to the life stimuli and how we act or re-act to these changes in life.

Hardrock Haven: What type of recording process did you use for this new album? What was recording like?

Dominic St. Charles: This album we took a completely different approach all together as opposed to our previous albums. Since the majority of the band immigrated to Florida from Chicago, we flew our producer, Dan Precision down and we had secured an Orlando studio that on the first day ended up having some unforeseen complications.

As a result, we had to seek another venue and improvised quite a bit, but Dan did a phenomenal job getting the best out of us and making a fantastic album despite some challenges that were not typical, but it added to the overall experience making the album.

Hardrock Haven: How do you hope fans interpret the music?

Dominic St. Charles: Our hope would be that our fans could listen to our music and take away from it some type of emotional response that will help them heal in a negative life situation or maybe enjoy a more happier life experience. As we said, it’s an emotional release for us; we hope our fans gain the same experiencing our music.

Hardrock Haven: Who conceptualized the “Cast in Amber” video, and how did you enjoy the filming process? I love the visuals!

Dominic St. Charles: Thank you so kindly! I came up with the overall concept for the video and worked well with Noel of Global Rapture Productions to make the story come to life in a visual setting if you will.

The filming process was quite a memorable one as we got up at five in the morning to catch the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean setting.

We were using an abandoned dock at a boathouse down in Florida and during the main day of filming, not one, but three dolphins swam over, as they must have heard the music through the PA system while we were filming the band sequences.

This of course, drew unwanted attention to us, so the local police came over after someone called in and we were asked to leave the area, as the paperwork wasn’t completely valid to film there. We were left off with a warning and weren’t prosecuted for trespassing thank goodness.

Hardrock Haven: What image do you think your music conveys?

Dominic St. Charles: We’ve always been a band that somehow has defied categorization. Not that we intentionally try to do that, but we do what comes naturally and that has lead to us not fitting in with any particular genre.

In the beginning, we felt that maybe we could get away with saying, “we could be this _____ genre”, then the majority of the bands and fans in said respective genres would be like “Mmm. Not so much.”

So over fifteen years we’ve grown accustomed and comfortable not belonging to any specific genre.

Our music depending on what type of song we’re doing will convey different images.

We received a great deal of positive feedback from our fans on the our more Celtic/folk side of the band, so with this album we explored that by integrating heavy use of non-traditional rock instruments such as violin and thirty-six string harp to really help enhance the sound rather than the use of keyboards. We still like to believe that we have a symphonic approach to our music, but this migration stylistically we felt was a natural progression for us.

Hardrock Haven: Describe your show, visually and musically. What do fans expect coming to an Urn concert?

Dominic St. Charles: We’ve been an extremely blessed band over our fifteen-year career and at this point we’ve played over 1,200 shows since 2000. The characteristics of a live URN show that we pride ourselves on is the high energy that we give with the passion in our performance and the interaction with the fans in attendance as we want to truly feel that they experienced us live.

We place a great deal of attention in our stage costuming, and stage scenery to give the fans that strong experience of a concert and know that they came to see a live band and our deep gratitude that they chose to spend their valuable time supporting us for that evening.

We also do variations of our songs live so that the fan can know that they are getting their value as opposed to hearing the same arrangement on the album, which they can listen to at home.

Hardrock Haven: What has been your favorite tour thus far?

Dominic St. Charles: It’s very hard to pick as each tour we’ve been on has it’s own cherished memories, but in 2007 we went on an extensive North American tour with To/Die/For from Finland and Virgin Black from Australia. Despite that tour had far too many ridiculous complications, it was an amazing life experience for all of us involved and it helped us reach that next level in our careers.

Hardrock Haven: What are some of your pet peeves in music?

Dominic St. Charles: Unprofessionalism. Whether it is other bands only showing up for their slot, to promoters who don’t honor their deals, and so on. It’s the music industry and you’re going to have your more than fair share of that, but it is sad trend that a vast majority of people these days no longer do what they say.

Hardrock Haven: Any unique fan experiences or tour stories?

Dominic St. Charles: One of our all-time favorites was in 2009 we were held up in Immigration trying to cross into Canada for a two-week tour and although we got our paperwork issue resolved, there was a family that wanted to get a “commemorative spoon” for the wife/mother’s collection. They didn’t have any valid ID’s except for the husband/father’s gun permits and had no clue as to why the weren’t being allowed into Canada and furthermore why they will have issues getting back into the United States.

They facial expression on these poor border patrol folks was priceless not to mention the whole place was on the floor laughing while this man made a federal case over the whole ordeal wondering why he needed his ID’s in the first place.

Hardrock Haven: Any final words for your fans?

Dominic St. Charles: Yes, thank you so much for the amazing support and patience with us over these years it took us to get Epiphany out. We hope that you will enjoy this album as much as we had making for you.

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