ROSS THE BOSS – A Talk With MARC LOPES (Vocals/Keyboards)

Posted on May 23 th. 2018

Questionnaire by Phoenix Van Der Weyden on behalf of METAL TO INFINITY WEBZINE BELGIUM


L to R: LANCE BARNEWOLD (Percussion) – MARC LOPES (Vocals/Keyboards) – ROSS THE BOSS (All Guitars, Keyboards) – MIKE LEPOND (4 & 8 String Basses)

There are two types of metal musicians, the ones who love the music style and the ones who not only love but live for it. That´s the case of the lead singer Marc Lopes (Let Us Prey/Ross The Boss), a veteran singer who left his “mark” (no pun indeed) in both classic and modern scene. With powerful and versatile vocals, he´s a musician who was born for the cause and is not afraid to push it to the limit for the ultimate metal result. With a history of victory that will remind us of the movie “Rockstar”, Marc Lopes shares his vocal training secrets , influences and achieving big festival dreams and getting the gig with Ross The Boss.

Phoenix: Hi Marc, it´s a pleasure to have you here at MTI Belgium Webzine. Being the lead singer of a band is a demanding task, let alone having 2 bands at the same time. How do you manage to take care of your vocals?

Marc: It’s a lifestyle that includes a healthy diet, tons of rest, vocal exercises daily, physical exercise/training – for me a ton of bag work and mixed fighting. And a healthy mind….I also do not drink, smoke or do any kind of drugs of any sort. Im pretty boring except I do love pizza LOL but only eat on occasion for obvious reasons lol…..

 

Phoenix: How do you prepare your voice before going on stage?

Marc: On show days its pretty much the only thing on my mind from the moment I awake lol, so Im mentally preparing from that moment at least. Very much like preparing for battle. But its a series of warm ups, warm downs (after show), naps, exercise and diet. Again It’s a lifestyle if you want to stay on top of your game.

 

Phoenix: You have that classic rockstar twist on your voice, something that is truly missed on the scene. Who were the influences who helped to build your vocal style,

Marc: Well thanks for that compliment and appreciate you like what I do. My influences come from so many sources in enetrtainment really, but to keep it simple here, Id say my biggest influences are Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford, DIO, Eric Adams, and alot of Heavier Singers like Chuck Billy, Tom Araya, Danny Filth. Also bands like Soilwork, Amorphis, In Flames have been huge on style for me as well. There really is just so many depending on what mood Im in that day LOL…….

 

Phoenix: Your band Let Us Prey released a powerful ep. Can you tell us a bit of the writing process of “The Saint of Killers”?

Marc: Thanks…. Well LUP is Guitarist Jon Morency and I who write everything. So I get a bunch of riffs from him and I just build from there. I write all the drums myself and vibe off that to construct our dark sonic soundscapes. I always have a visual in my head of what I want, its very multimedia oriented actually. Very art based. At least in my head LOL.

 

Phoenix: You´re now fulfilling every metalhead´s dream by touring with Mr. Manowar aka Ross The Boss. Can you tell us a little bit about that experience?

Marc: It’s such an honor to work with someone who is responsible in part for creating such a inspirational record to me like Kings of Metal. He gave me an incredible opportunity and let’s me be myself and do what I do, so for that I am eternally grateful. Ross believed in my ability from day one and has stood behind me the whole way even when all were against me at the beginning and still . It’s an interesting chemistry we have cause he is definitly Old School and Im very in tune with all aspects of metal old and modern so we create what I think is a hybrid of these styles I believe.

 

Phoenix: Last summer while touring with Ross the Boss you sang in one of the biggest Metal festivals in the world. How was the feeling of singing in front of 100 thousand people in Wacken ?

Marc: There are truly no words that can desrcibe how I felt……Overwhelmed, scared shitless, honored, excited and accomplished would be some ,LOL. That day will go down as the greatest day of my short human life, its so mindblowing to me that the year before I was watching the live stream of Wacken with Iron Maiden and daydreaming about what it must be like to be there and play and the such, and boom here I was sidestage about to do the same thing for real LOL…..It was SURREAL, that would be the best desciption LOL…..

 

Phoenix: You won over the Manowar fan base in Wacken and although you and Eric Adams have different vocal styles you managed to catch that secret Manowar “ingredient”. Did you study or have studied his vocal style before?

Marc: That whole concept in itself is so surreal to me. I have been a Manowar fan since I was a kid but I didnt get on board until Fighting the World and it was Kings that really hooked me, then I went back to the older stuff as time went on. Kinda backwards LOL….I was always a Eric Adams fan and it is his insane beserker screams and banshee going into battle vibe that always appealed to me so much. I mean his voice has it all in my opinion, its heavy as fuck yet can be so pleasent and melodic. A great story teller through music and with such amazing dynamics and ability. It was always something to aspire to when I was younger for sure but I personally never felt good doing so because my own personal perception of my own voice was never really high so I worked with what I had til I gained more confidence through training and coaching.

The honest truth is I never sang any Manowar tunes until I was offered the RTB gig, and it was a crash course to say the least LOL….. At first it was a huge struggle of trying to imitate it cause I didn’t have the leasure to study the material as I was hired and we were off to play shows within weeks then head out on tour. That was huge intial mistake cause no one can do what Eric does and I mean no one, he is a true one of a kind. I mean there were tunes in the set I hardly remembered ever hearing LOL. But as time went on and Ross allowed me to interpret the material to my style and ability I was able to really cultivate the feel and meaning of the source work and make it work with what Im capable of doing. I go and play this stuff with 10000% heart and soul every night with a millon percent respect.

I guess that is what you could call the “Secret Ingredient” so to say, its all about being REAL when its performed. I don’t just play the tunes, I FEEL the tunes and what they are saying to the audience, to me that is most important and what I hope they get out of the live show experience. Knowing now that the old school fans for the most part are digging my take on it is great relief but for me, its always a work in progress as I keep picking up cool little nuauces here and there from the source material and refernece alot of old live youtube videos.

 

Phoenix: You just release a brand new record with Ross The Boss called “By Blood Sworn” . How was the creative process behind this album? Did Ross gave you influential freedoms for this release?

Marc: The process for doing the new RTB record for me personally was huge challenge. Im so use to writing everything myself and producing, it was a whole new concept writing for someone else. The material for this had to be catchy, anthem oriented and simple. My usual style is quite a bit more complex and way heavier. I knew that I had to really stay within a certain set of bounderies with the RTB material, but I was allowed to work in some my own style for sure as you can hear. I absolutely tipped my hat to the old Manowar styles all over the place cause thats what the roots are, that is kind of expected to a certain point.

There is definitly delebrate influences to the old guard on tunes like By Blood Sworn and all done intentionally. I mean the first four or so vocal notes from the first verse are phrased and noted from Blood of my enemies and Call to arms LOL…and YES I did that on purpose as a tribute, and have no shame saying so LOL…..but yes I was able to do what I wanted as long as it worked for the tunes. At the end of the day its all about the SONGS. I have to thank Ross and producer Dean Rispler for being so open to the direction I set upon. Im very, very happy with results.

 

Phoenix: Do you guys plan to tour the States for this new release?

Marc: We already did some US dates in March and will most likely do more in the future we hope. Touring the US is a challenge these days for sure on so many levels.

 

Phoenix: Marc, I want to thank you for taking your time and doing this interview for Metal To Infinity. Your story is very inspiring, through your hard work you got the gig with a metal heavyweight and is now touring the world. Can you give an advice for the upcoming metal singer?

Marc: Thank you and thanks for having me here. All I can say is this, always believe in yourself, never ever give up no matter how down you are, if you want something bad enough you WILL figure out how to get it done, prepare to sacrifice much in the process, work hard and then work even harder, be grateful, never take anything for grated cause it can be all gone just like that, be humble, don’t let anyone push ya around, don’t be an asshole, be respectful, always stay the course, have vision, listen and observe all around you and the last most important thing is ALWAYS be ready for when Opportunity arises, its around us everyday………and of course STAY METALLLLLLLLLasFUKKKKKKK …..

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