BIRMINGHAM – The lyrics are strong and without diving into the meaning, some may require coaxing back into the record. That’s the beauty of “Beelzebub,” the eighth track off “Power Under Control.”
“I know the church is a whore. But she’s my mother and I love her,” Islander front man Mikey Carvajal sings to open the track.
Most think the original quote came from either St. Augustine or Dorothy Day, but Carvajal heard it through a friend.
“I liked it because so many times people say, ‘Christians, they’re just so hypocritical…’” he said prior to Sunday’s show at Zydeco.
Sure, the church is full of hypocrites. If not, Christians might just be perfect with no need for the church. God gave us the church for the sinner. That’s everyone. Christians go to church in full admittance of failure.
“At the end of the day, my family’s my family,” Carvajal said. “I might not agree with what they’re doing, but I’m going to love them through it, through their hardships, their dirt so to speak. Because I really need people to love me through mine.”
BIRMINGHAM – Islander front man Mikey Carvajal hung around following an intense set Sunday at Zydeco, signing autographs and taking pictures. He does at every show.
But there is more to the rock fame and the music. Carvajal uses the stage to impact people musically. He uses his platform to impact people’s lives.
The night before at a show in Nashville, Carvajal didn’t get a chance to talk to a waiting fan. It weighed on him all the way to Birmingham.
“People usually come up and they want to talk about something going on in their life or something like that. It took me longer to get to this one dude than I wanted. I wanted to pray for him. It just took forever. He finally peaced out. That was on my heart all night,” Carvajal said.
The kid came up and said he wanted to talk about some stuff and Carvajal couldn’t fight through the crowd in time.
“That’s really been bugging me. I really wish he didn’t leave. I even dreamed about it. I just really want him to know wherever he’s at, I did pray for him last night. I’m sorry it took so long to get to him,” Carvajal said. “It just kind of broke my heart. I want to stick around at shows as long as I can and sometimes it takes a second to get to everybody.”
BIRMINGHAM – It has been eight months since Islander released “Power Under Control.” The concept record isn’t eight months old. It’s realness should stand the test of time.
Written through the perspective of a person dealing the reality of right and wrong, the disc opens with “Darkness” as the character explains all of the evil they are into.
The lyrics are aggressively real
“I’m into blood, fire
I have devilish desires
Violence and destruction’s my favorite game
I’m into lust, flesh, and the cheapest kind of sex
I don’t even need to know your name”
“I’m into all this stuff and there’s no getting through to me,” Islander front man Mikey Carvajal explained the character’s stance in the opening track, minutes before a show Sunday at Zydeco in Birmingham. “You’re not going to change me.”
The good guy steps in on the second track, “Bad Guy,” trying to turn his friend’s life around. The good guy is labeled a bad guy, Carvajal said, because of the perception of telling people there is right and wrong in the world.
“People think that’s bad now telling people there’s right and wrong, but there is right and wrong in the world,” he said, “so play the bad guy. In the Bible it says there will be a time when they call good evil and evil good and we live in that time.”
The prophet Isaiah said in Isaiah 5:20: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
Carvajal, like many Christians (including this one) believes those prophesied last days are here.
“I think that even if it’s a million years from now, I think we’re living in a crazy day,” he said. “I believe that it’s got to get a lot more terrible than it is.”
As the record goes, life goes and there is a way out of darkness. Carvajal isn’t shy about his faith, that rescues him from his own faults.
“To me, the beauty (of Christianity) is what Jesus has done for us, not what I’ve done to be forgiven but just the fact that He’s forgives. I’m so thankful I have a forgiver to forgive me,” he said.
“Devil Red” is one of the more intense songs on the album. The character wakes up at a party to realize the wolf in sheep’s clothing, seeing evil for what it is for the first time. The screaming parts of the song are the character face-to-face with evil. It’s a scene with demons laughing in the background because they find it funny the character took so long to see evil for evil.
The path to destruction is open to everyone, on the road, at home, in a rock band or in an office setting. Carvajal said the decision of what choices to make are made before going about your day.
“You’ve got to make the decision of what you’re going to do and who you’re going to be before you leave the house to go on the road because I can get into those same things at home,” he said. “You hear about people doing drugs and cheating on their spouse and being in all kinds of things at home. They’ve never been in some kind of rock ‘n’ roll atmosphere. I don’t think this is what makes people do this. I think people’s convictions and integrity, stuff like that is what it comes down to.”
*On a personal note, if you like rock music and don’t have one of Islander’s album’s you’re missing out. Both should be musts for your collection. Here is link to fetch them. “Violence & Destruction” … “Power Under Control”. I’ll have more from my chat with Islander vocalist Mikey Carvajal in the next couple days. Here is part of our great conversation Sunday evening in Birmingham.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Stretched out on the front bench of a white passenger van, Mikey Carvajal is home. The Islander front man is also home on the stage, where his vocals are driving one of rock ‘n’ roll’s best bands.
Its rise has taken place over the course of two albums since 2014.
“It’s been nuts,” Carvajal said. “We got to tour with some of the biggest bands in the world and make tons of fans and live on the road, live in this van right here.”
Call it nu metal or what have you, Islander is straight up rock music. Currently on The Overdose Tour with The Word Alive, the band is supporting its second album, “Power Under Control.”
The concept record is a fluid mix of heavy – heavy rock, hip hop, punk and even some reggae undertones.
It has kept the band busy and Carvajal, guitarist J.R. Bareis, bassist Ezekiel Vasquez and drummer Arin Illjey would have it no other way. It is a new lineup two years after 2014’s “Violence & Destruction.”
“It’s been amazing, more than I could have ever dreamed of,” Carvajal said. “You’re sitting in my house basically. I live in here. This bench that I’m on, this is my bed, my couch, everything. It’s not too glamorous but I love this lifestyle.”
Carvajal, who celebrated his birthday on the road a day earlier, and the four-piece also love meeting fans, something they make time to do after each set. The tour is moving West for shows in Houston, Dallas and Mesa. They’ll travel the roads on the white van that was parked in the back of Zydeco Sunday night in Birmingham.
It’s the raw, rugged road lifestyle Carvajal saw before it happened. The band has done the bus tour and Carvajal admits that’s more ideal. But he’s a rocker ready for the road in a passenger van, through the hot, the cold and the transmission problem alike.
“For me, it was always about going out, almost hippie-lifestyling it, living in a van,” he said. “I would much rather be in a bus, no doubt, but this right here, I’m not complaining. I’m so thankful.”
Happy Sunday, y’all. After worshiping this morning, hope you’ll join me in Birmingham for The Overdose Tour. The Word Alive is headlining, but Islander is on the bill. Saw the guys a couple of years ago at Mayhem Fest and can’t wait to hear the new stuff live.
Show starts at 7 and is only $18. It heads to Houston, Dallas and Mesa to close so this is your last chance in the Southeast.
“This is going to be one fun tour,” Islander vocalist Mikey Carvajal told Loudwire. “Rad bands, rocking cities and hoodie weather. Need I say more?”
We’ll have to wait until March to get the new Demon Hunter record, “Outlive,” but the band has delivered an early Christmas present with the release of new single, “Cold Winter Sun.” It has been met with praise hours after release. Here is the lyric video.