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Fireworks Rock & Metal Magazine

Hailing from New York, we find female fronted alternative hard rockers KILL THE STANDARDS, and this kick ass quartet have a killer new six track album out now called 'Lurking in the Dark' which runs in at just over twenty minutes long and is the band’s debut release.
Kill the Standards are: Heather Michelle - lead vocals, Jonny KT - lead guitar, Louis Iacobelli 
– drums, and bassist Ivan Hardy.

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It is around 4.30am in New York, and singer Heather Michelle is slurping her coffee. It has been a hot and dreadfully sweaty day. "Being in New York City with the trains and everything it is an absolute nightmare. I do live right next to a park though so that’s always a wonderful thing! Honestly, my only saving grace on days like these," she says. For lunch earlier today she has a very filling salad from one of her favourite eateries. "Then for dinner I’m a vegetarian and so I had vegetarian chicken with some really good broccoli. Veggie chicken is extremely good, and I recommend it to everyone if you haven’t ever tried it. So healthy too."

Music has always been Heather's most important thing. When she was a kid, she and her grandma sang every single day. She sang to her and taught her to sing and she absolutely loved it. "She is very important to me and gave me the confidence that I needed, telling me that I was a good singer and everything," he points out. Heather gets her taste in music from her dad and ever so thankfully she was brought up listening to Elvis, The Beatles, Queen, and all classic rock, hard rock, heavy metal, and punk rock that he listened to and loved. "I loved every single second of it andwouldn’t have it any otherway! I am forever grateful for having the two of them install the importance of music in me. How it can make you feel things whether it happy, sad, angry, really made me listen to the lyrics and understand why they were so important. I really believe that they made me a lyricist and songwriter without even meaning to," she expresses. Heather always knew that she wanted to sing and play music because of the confidence and love of music that was instilled in her from day one."’m just so glad to be livingthat dream now."

Lead guitarist Jonny KT kicked off with his fascination of the guitar when he was fifteen years old, after he heard these lyrics in a song that said, 'got my six string onmy back, don’t need anythingbut that.' At that time the young musicians was feeling really lost about who he was, and somehow through those lyrics he realized that he needed that feeling. "The stars must've been in my favour because two days later, on my birthday I met my uncle Joey for the first time. Funny enough, he turned out to be a Pro Guitarist, and he gave me my first acoustic guitar and he was a brilliant musician," he says with affection. Jonnny started becoming obsessed with the music of Linkin Park, Evanessence, Guns N Roses, and for the first time he visually saw these videos of concerts and epic performances with really sick guitar solos. "I knew that I wanted to be a Rock star more than anything in the world. I spent sixteen-hour days my first year of getting my guitar. Every day waking up at around six am, playing guitar until like eleven pm and then gaming for a few hours until I passed out," he explains to me. Ever since that kick-off music has been his whole life. "I've sacrificed more in the name of, proudly and have had so many successes in my career. I've worked harder than I've ever worked on anything else, and still to this day, it has always paid off. Now with Heather Michelle and Kill the Standards coming out in a movie, with a soundtrack and all this press and amazing traction among my own personal music releasing, things are bigger than ever! I pretty much picked up a guitar at 15 and ain't been right since...I'm still as hungry as I've ever been and even more so. We've put in a great deal of time, love, sweat, hardship, money, and appreciation and it's done nothing but repay us in multiples ways. I'm looking forward to touring and making a serious dent in the Rock n Roll world today, I feel good because this band, this band is an Unstoppable Force." 'Lurking in the Dark' is really near and dear to Heather 's heart and you can hear this in her expressive vocal delivery, she really feels the songs and music. It is also the soundtrack to a film- ‘Flesh is Heir to’ that I also stars in.That character, Charlie, has been by far one of her favourite characters to ever play. "On top of that being able to get to write the music for her as a character and with her in mind was absolutely an amazing experience. These songs are extremely close to me and since I share a lot of the things about myself with the character, as well, I got to write about things that really mattered to me and invoked feeling and love and hurt. It was a truly magical experience. It was very visceral and intense at times writing songs with a purpose and for certain scenes in the film. It was very real, and I absolutely loved it. It all came so naturally to me and to us as a band. It was beyond my wildest dreams," she enthuses.

The album was a culmination of the first real couple of years of the guys

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getting to know each other as a band. There are six songs on the soundtrack which also pertains as the soundtrack to a movie. The movie is called, 'Flesh is Heir to' helped give their album birth. "The title track 'Right There" was the first bit of music I ever written to present to Heather and KTS as a whole. I had a dream one night of me playing in a big rock band at Madison Square Garden and I was so excited I kept hearing this melody. At 3am Ikept growing on it, didn’t stopuntil the song was done," explains Jonny. "I knew I was gonna meet my potential Rock band the next day and things really fell into place. seconds. "Dark Place" was actually one of my early favourites because it had such a dancing alone vibe to it that I couldn't shake. This song actually has very deep emotions tied to it from Heather and her grandmother. It's an extremely personal piece of music and I love this song, it always hits home. 'Coming for you' has got to be my favourite song to play live 1000% percent. I was a catchy rock melody that came to me one day that just never has gone away. I love the vibe, the oohs , the nuances and everything about this song makes me wanna bang it out hard! It is definitely a crowd pumper and people even Mosh to it. "These songs hold some real meaning and hard work behind them, and have life changing experiences associated with each of them. That's why this album is so special, and it means so much to us," he says with satisfaction.

The band members have all played different kinds of music on their journey to this point with Kill The Standards. "I think that this is the most genuinely 'us' that we could have been. These songs were the first songs that we wrote. We got the movie soundtrack deal off of these songs. These songs brought us together and so, at least to me, they will always hold an extremely special place in my heart. These songs made us Kill The Standards and for that I love them eternally," expresses Michelle. The band worked on these songs for two years, so they definitely mean a lot to herpersonally. "I’m also reallyexcited for what the future holds. Expanding on what we are and building off of that.Growing together. It’s a really great thought."

The late and great Freddie Mercury is Heather's absolute biggest inspiration vocals and songwriting wise. "His stage presence was absolutely magical and even watching videos of him today you feel that magic rushing through the crowd and impacting you on the other side of your screen. Queen is by far my favourite band of all time," she marvels. "As I said before I was raised on Elvis and The Beatles and so they play a huge part in the music that I hear inside my head and what inspires me. As faras “newer” bands go I amabsolutely, enormously, inspired by Shinedown. They have this overall message of love and that no matter what happens we are all humans and we should come together and love because of that. We all make mistakes. We all need help sometimes. They really inspire me. The inspiration for this album centers mostly around the film. We were writing these songs for the movie and so we added nuances and things that were important to the scenes that they ended up in. For me, also, a lot of the inspiration was," she explains to me. "How close I felt to my character and how real I wanted to make her story. This album really pushed me as a songwriter. Having an end that is needed while starting a song makes you write in a different way than I ever have, and it was a wonderful experience."

Earlier on when this movie deal was brought to the band, and around the time that he and Heather met in person the guys realised it was an amazing opportunity. "To write the soundtrack to a movie that Heather was the lead actress in. I thought, of course what an amazing opportunity and personal challenge," he tells me. The band had a theme which was the movie script itself and they were incredibly hungry to make new music, so it all worked out in their favour as well. "It was a thriller flick with a kinda creepy ominous vibe with a stalker. I loved being able to have purpose driven creativity," he says.

Jonny and Heather both have this amazing chemistry where when they write the music together, she's able to phenomenally write a story to it extremely well in extremely good time. "Within a couple of hours of showing Heather the music, the theme song was finished. She presented a demo to the film people and it was received better than we ever dreamed. Between the script, the hunger, faith and

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backing, we had we banged out six - ten songs within just a month. We had good chemistry and gave birth to this album. We were fortunate because we got funding for our album and we got this work we created for multiple purposes to promote ourselves and the movie," he explains to me. "Most of all it showed that people believed in us and we knew we had to step it up. We had a lot of Halestorm, the Deafening, Joan Jett and Queen floating around the most when we were first writing this music. Most of all the biggest inspiration we use is life and our experiences together. We really are some fortunate ones and we work extremely hard to keep building on all these wonderful opportunities."

When she is not writing or performing Heather Michelle is an actress. "That always comes first and foremost tome. It’s my 'day job' if you willand then I get to become a rock star at night! It has been absolutely amazing that I’ve gotten to mix my two passions, Acting and singing, together for as long as I can remember," she says with satisfaction. "I have done a lot of musical theatre and also been lucky enough to play music filled roles in films and pilot episodes as well.They’ve always gone hand in hand to me in my heart and so for them to go hand in hand in my career too is amazing. I also absolutely love everything Disney. I am a humongous Disney fan and really do find Walt Disney World to be the 'Happiest Place On Earth.' To me it is the best place to just get away and be free from all of your troubles. Goofy makes me forget all of my hardships!"

Heather absolutely adores working with Kill The Standards. "Our guitarist, Jonny, and I have a tremendous relationship with music. If Jonny sends me an idea for a song, I write the lyrics within fifteen minutes. It is truly tremendous working with him," she tells me. "We work together like a dream and when we tell other people about the way that we work they hardly even believeit. It’s like the universepushed us together to makemusic and it’s such a safeenvironment between us to make stuff that matters to us. We are different from other artists because we never tryto 'fit in,' or try to 'stand out”.'We just try to be different, making songs that matter to us and hoping that they matter to others too. We definitely start with the emotion and go from there, writing something that conveys the emotion we were feeling at that moment.There’s no big fake soundeffects or loud machines, we just play flat out rock," she says with spirit. Another thing that makes Kill the Standards' really different is the fact that they can write to a theme as heard in this album as it is also the soundtrack. "Not many bands are actually able to do that and write with a place that you have to get to. I absolutely loved writing to a theme just as much as writing just to write," she says. Heather's favourite song on the album is 'Dark Place', which means an enormous amount to her because it is about her grandma. "My grandma is my whole world and I love her more than words could say. She is fighting Alzheimer’s right now and it is just truly the most horrible thing. 'Dark Place' talks about that feeling of being alone without her and wishing that someone could take me away from the pain. It was so freeing to be able to get all of those feelings out through song. To be able to talk about how I still see the 'old her' everywhere around me and feel that extreme longing for what used to be.I’ve had a lot of people come up to me since the release and saying how that song really resonated with them. About their loved ones, their pets, anything and everything and I’m just so glad that maybe it’s therapeutic for someone else too," she explains to me with heartfelt passion.

As a band, Kill the Standards are so excited to get back on stage! "We were playing shows at least twice a month for about a year and it was amazing. We got to play at some legendary venues around New York City and it was so great. We had an unforeseen circumstances cause us to have a bit of a hiatus, but we are back and getting ready to hit the road! We also have been preparing to do some Kill The Standards: Unpluggedshows. I’m really excited about that because it’s gonnagive our fans a whole different way to hear us," she enthuses. "I actually think that some of our songs almost sound better doneacoustically and so I’m reallylooking forward to that process and getting to show a different side to our music, showing some versatility. As far as our full band shows, they have always been an absolute blast!

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I am so incredibly excited to get back on stage and promote this album that just came out. I’m really hoping for us to gain even more awesome fans and really just branch out to people who don’t know about us yet. I’ve heard from a lot of fans how excited they are to see us live again and I’m just so excited to connect with the fans again and feel that wonderful energy that the crowd gives." The entire process of making 'Lurking in the Dark' was a whirlwind at the start. "As I mentioned, we wrote the songs for the album/ soundtrack within a month, but then we tweaked and finessed the songs to make them just right for the soundtrack. After that we had to wait until the film was edited a little further to recordsince the film’s writer,director, producer, Dale Johnson, was in charge of having us record the album," she explains. That ended up taking about two years to all come together and get recorded. The band had the album recorded with Mike Usifer at Beacon Soundworks in Beacon, NY. "It was an absolute dream to record with him and he made all of our ideas and dreams come true on the tracks. The actual process of recording took only about a week. We had a pretty tight schedule to keep and Mike really helped us out with that and made the most of our time. The guys were in the studio on the weekend, I recorded vocals all week, and the mixing and mastering was the next weekend. It was a total blast," she smiles.

The future is as bright as ever for the band, and next up they are focused on promoting this album as much as they can. " “It’s been really amazing branching out and playing both acoustically and with the full band all around NYC. Our full band shows completely kick ass and then our next show is Unplugged and so gives people such a different way to hear our songs, it’s beenamazing. Adding Kill The Standards: Unplugged material to our repertoire has brought us some truly great opportunities and people are really digging our Unplugged sets. We are currently in the process of setting up a Northeastern tour with the full band. From there we will be heading out to Los Angeles since I spend a lot of time there and we have a lot of fans there; all begging us to come play. One of our biggest goals is to do a North American tour and so we are constantly working towards that. Also, we plan to play all across Europe and especially England as we have quite a bit of contacts and fans over there and I cannot wait toconnect with them. I’m alsoreally looking forward to releasing our second album. We have already written a lot of music that we are justwaiting to release and I’m soexcited for it to all be doneand released. I’m just reallystoked to branch out more and more to give people a chance to hear us and our message and for us to keep doing what we love together," concludes Heather, bringing an end to our conversation. 'Lurking in the Dark' is out now on every platform worldwide. Apple Music, iTunes , Spotify, Amazon, YouTube, Bandcamp, CD Baby, Shazam.

Check Kill the Standards out at 

KillTheStandards.com

www.instagram.com/KillTheStandardsRockNYC 

www.facebook.com/KillTheSt andardsRockNYC 

www.twitter.com/KillStandards

www.youtube.com/channel/U C-XlORSK_WVaJYe3mdQonYw

NYSongwriters.com

April 2019 Artist Of The Month:

Kill The Standards is a female fronted band that came to life in 2014, drawing from the members’ shared love for pure rock music. The songwriters of the group, Jonny and Heather, went on to write a song together within about an hour of actually meeting one another. That song got them a recording deal for a soundtrack and became the theme song for a movie that their lead singer, Heather, is the star of. The immediate necessity to write plenty of music fast made Jonny and Heather an unstoppable team, writing over ten songs in under a month. Once the music for the soundtrack was finished that didn’t stop them and they constantly have a ton of material ready to release. They also began performing as Kill The Standards: Unplugged giving fans and friends a totally different way to hear their music. Showing that an acoustic and softer sound can still rock.
Their Debut Album ‘Lurking in the Dark’ is the culmination of the creepy, haunting, theme of the film that it is the soundtrack for and the focus of the members to push the envelope. Never willing to except that rock is in any shape or form “dead.” They are always ready to attempt something new and find a new way to make something different, catchy, and melodic. From the slow melodic, dramatic, drum of ‘Dark Place’ to the power and push of ‘Coming For You,’ Kill The Standards pushes the envelope to make something that you’ve never heard before and that you just might never hear again.
Heard on the album is Heather Michelle as lead vocalist, Jonny KT as lead guitarist, Jake Dylan as drummer, and Franklin Fantauzzi as bassist. This album was recorded by the esteemed and ever amazing, professional, Mike Usifer at Beacon Soundworks in Beacon, NY. Current full band lineup is Heather Michelle on vocals, Jonny KT on guitar, Jack Macco on bass, and Evan Johnson on drums.
www.killthestandards.com
www.killthestandards.bandcamp.com
www.instagram.com/KillTheStandardsRockNYC
www.facebook.com/KillTheStandardsRockNYC
www.twitter.com/KillStandards
www.youtube.com/channel/UC-XlORSK_WVaJYe3mdQonYw

We Rock Webzine

IssueWire

Kill The Standards is thrilled to announce the release of their debut LP, Lurking In The Dark, available on all platforms, worldwide, on August 17, 2018.
 
Lurking In The Dark is a mix between Modern Rock and Classic Rock infused with meaningful, storytelling, lyrics. It is fit to the theme of the film "Flesh is Heir to," of which this album is the Soundtrack and their singer is the star of. Music fans will enjoy the invoking guitar, intense rhythm, and emotional lyrics conveyed.

Kill The Standards is a Female Fronted band and came to life in 2014, drawing from the members’ shared love for pure Rock music. They’ve played all around New York City at venues such as Arlene’s Grocery, The Bowery Electric, Connolly’s Klub 45, The Rock Shop, Branded Saloon, and more. Their Debut LP, Lurking In The Dark, is the culmination of the creepy, haunting theme of the film that it is the soundtrack for and the focus of the members to push the envelope. Heard on the album is Heather Michelle as Lead Vocalist, Jonny KT as Lead Guitarist, Jake Dylan as Drummer, and Franklin Fantauzzi as Bassist. This album was recorded with the ever amazing and professional Mike Usifer at Beacon Soundworks in Beacon, NY.

Follow Kill The Standards on all social media platforms to get an invite to their upcoming Album Release parties, Unplugged Shows, Touring, New Merchandise, and more. The album can be purchased at the links below:

KillTheStandards.Bandcamp.com

Itunes: Itunes.com/KillTheStandards

Instagram: @KillTheStandardsRockNYC

Facebook: facebook.com/KillTheStandardsRockNYC

Twitter: @KillStandards

YouTube: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UC-XlORSK_WVaJYe3mdQonYw