Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Ben Charles, Vocals
Kyle Baltus, Drums
Dave Keller, Bass
Josh Whinnery, Guitar
Karl Whinnery, Guitar
For starters, what bands were you a part of prior to your current project? How long has the band been around?
The big one is Kyle - Kyle's main squeeze is 36 Crazyfists. They've been on RoadRunner. Tour the world on the regular. No big deal. Kyle was also in a band called “Falling Closer” that did multiple tours a few years ago.
Karl's been in Proven for the last 10 years - they've been opening for Machine Head, Sepultura, Emmure, In Flames...practically anyone else that comes through town. Not to mention touring Ireland and the US.
Ben, Dave, and Kyle were in Syx together - Syx was the band to beat in Portland for years - playing Rockfests to huge crowds.
Josh was in Nova Eyes and has opened for Devil You Know/Light the Torch, Fear Factory, and more.
Ligature Marks is a new band, but we're gonna hit the ground running fast.
We formed in the studio, rather than in a jam space, which may seem odd but really helped us all get dialed in. Plus we start with music available!
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the name before?
Ben came up with the name. I always like to buck the name trends - verb the noun, until something, ashes something ashes. NO! I need something I'll be proud to walk out on stage. Soon as I heard it I fell in love.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
Karl (Guitar): We've got three musical song writers in the band. Ben is the master lyricist. Ben, Dave, and Kyle are all amazing with melody and arrangements.
Musically the first EP is pretty much written by me. We're already working on release #2 and it's split up between Josh, Karl and Kyle. I’m already super excited for it.
Ben (Vocals): I wouldn’t say masterful….I’d call it vague ramblings at best hahaha.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
Karl (Guitar): Architects, Bring Me the Horizon, Behemoth, Make them Suffer, Fire from the Gods, Emmure, and more.
Dave (Bass): Wage War, Within the Ruins, Emmure
Ben (Vocals): I’ve been really digging the new Rivers of Nihil record. I’ve also really been into Russian Circles. I just saw them play the other night in Portland and truly realized that they are masters of their craft. I wonder if this correspondence just got flagged because I typed the word “Russian”?
Josh (Guitar): Machine Head, 36 Crazyfists
Kyle (Drums): Guns N Roses, Skid Row, Ozzy, BG Knoccoout, Big Tray Deee, and Westside Connection.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
Karl: Ben and I reconnected at a Phil Anselmo show. My band Proven was opening. I was chatting with Ben's roommate Brad and mentioning that I had tons of music but needed a singer. He pointed at Ben and said, "He needs a band!".
Ben and I talked about stuff, he texted me the next day to see if I was serious or just drunk talk. Then we hit the studio together. The first session made us both realize it was gonna work. After the second session, we started inviting friends - Dave Keller came, hung out. "Hey, we need a bass player". He's in. Then Kyle came and hung out. He asked what we were doing for drums. How could you not want to play music with your good friends who are crazy talented?
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, etc …
Karl (Guitar): Stretching is so important!! Plus warm-ups on guitars and vocals. I always like to enjoy an adult beverage or two prior as well.
Dave (Bass): Do Jager bombs count?
Ben (Vocals): Always stretch….I learned that early on. I tend to do a solid half hour vocal warm up and stretch out before show time. It seems to take a bit of time to get firing on all cylinders. Plus, that routine seems to help settle in mentally and kill and nerves that might be making themselves apparent.
What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
Karl (Guitar): For this band, making the "Fire and Flood" music video. We filmed in numerous locations, filmed under water, in the snow, in the rain, and made FIRE.
Ben (Vocals): I’d say forming this project and everything it’s brought so far. The way the pieces keep falling into place around Ligature Marks has been an incredible ride. Sometimes you get out of your own way and can let things align better than you thought possible.
Dave (Bass): Playing with Slayer/Slipknot at the big outdoor festival. Hearing our song on the radio when I turned it on randomly
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Dave (Bass): Every Time I die always seems to have so much fun. A day to remember for the same reason.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The video for “Fire and Flood” will be out shortly. We’re extremely proud of both the video and the song. We’ve got the next two videos mapped out as well and they’ll be different but epic. And hopefully original.