The southern Wisconsin music scene breeds a lot of unique music, but when it comes to hard rock and metal, we have a vivid array of diverse musicians. LOCKJAW, out of Milwaukee, brings an industrial approach, which is often lost on the smaller scene, to bluesy metal.
With influences ranging from Fleetwood Mac and Elton John to NIN and Type O Negative and several years on the local scene, Medavon DeRaj’e (vocals and guitar) brands their music as “Hell Rock,” which explains their attraction to darker tones and intense dynamics. He explains, “[I have always] loved how early industrial bands combined synths and electronics in their music. I’m a huge fan of old school metal, thrash, and 80’s stuff. I find it very hard to digest most of the newer metal bands these days. If I can’t understand the lyrics, then I usually can’t relate. I love heavy but it also needs a groove.”
As the only constant member of LOCKJAW, Medavon’s writing process has changed over the band’s 11 years on the scene. “I will start by programming beats and adding synths and bass lines over them. Usually as I’m doing this, the lyrical ideas and vocal melodies start coming into my head and slowly the song comes into formation.” Through this process, music and lyrics are completed at the same time, which are later adapted to a live performance.
Medavon claims that the band is, essentially, two entities: a studio version and a live version. “The studio version is way more dynamic, but sometimes lacks the pure intensity we come across with, live. Some of our songs have up to four different guitar tracks going on. Live that is impossible to recreate, but with the presentation we give of in-your-face bludgeoning, it makes up for it and then some.” He explains that both have their advantages and disadvantages, but, “for me performing live is what it is all about. It is my release, my religion. The one place I feel like I am completely me.”
The landscape of the local scene in Madison and Milwaukee has changed over the years. “The music scene is nothing like it was 7 years ago. The bands aren’t as diverse. Not as many breaking out of the conformity of the genre they are in. It’s harder to get decent paying shows for all the work that is put in, as well. It is truly a struggle to be a musician in the Midwest and not let the despondency of the scene bring you down,” Medavon explains. Like any band in the realm of heavy music, LOCKJAW has been resilient. “Lockjaw has always had its own scene that we have built over the years.”
LOCKJAW’s music strives to represent the loss of inhibitions and living in the moment, according to Medavon. “You never know when it will be your last.” Pushing for a unique sound, the quintet strives to keep their sights on the next level. “The thing that inspires me most is being inspired. I try to stick to what I know and what I feel when writing. It used to be more of a way to expel the negativity in me, but lately it has been more about underlying positivity.”
LOCKJAW will be presenting that underlying positivity on December 7 in Milwaukee at Club Anything, as they continue to make their presence known in the Midwest region.(3143) Page Views Lockjaw Online: