Very Metal And Taking It To The Next Level

Cleveland-based Level-C covers a vast range of emotions in its power metal surge. The band has toured the country promoting its studio efforts and ranked in the Top 10 of 800 bands who competed for the Battle for Ozzfest. Though it was not included in the full season of the show, it did appear on its first episode, which received heavy rotation by MTV.

The band has also performed with a number of mainstream metal head-friendly artists such as Kittie, Otep, Tantic and the Misfits. The all-girl group's members have different tastes in music and the band's music spans a wide range of metal styles.

Lead singer Christine Maynard tells Level-C's story with screaming melodies, which are punctuated by the high voltage instrumentation of band mates Christina Cargo (guitar), Janean Buch (bass) and Misty Everson (drums). The band manages to play a style of music that others do redundantly in a diverse way.

When creating its music, the band draws from its own experiences. The moments are brought to life with a conviction and sincerity that is true to life.

Chorus and Verse asked Cargo to elaborate on the band's influences, Battle for Ozzfest experiences and the Level-C methods for creating its metal.

What are some of the newer bands that have influenced your modern style of metal? Who are some of your older influences?

All four of us have very different tastes in music and I think that's why it works so well for us. We jell all that together to get Level-C. Some of our modern influences, well, maybe not influences, but people we look up to and respect are, of course, Pantera, Black Sabbath, Otep, Rammstein, Coal Chamber, Soulfly, there are so many. But, you name the style and at least one of us is into it. Our drummer, Misty, majored in college and is very influenced in jazz. You'd be surprised with what we really listen to!

Your music seems to involve the input of every band member, rather just rely on guitar riffs as metal sometimes tends to do. How do you make sure to balance each member's input into your songs?

Good question, it just flows out like that. We have worked together for quite a while now and know each other's thoughts and where each other are going in songs when we are writing. We'll start out with a riff and go from there. We actually use our audience as test dummies for every one of our songs. If we are writing and playing shows, we will play the new song and pay close attention to what people did and didn't get into. We then go back and fix the problem. So you could come to a show, hear the same song but different every time until it's perfect.

Though your style of music and lyrics are dark, it seems like you are a band with a positive attitude. How are you able to get into the dark mode before creating your music? How important is it cover every portion of the emotional spectrum in your music?

The lyrics are not supposed to be taken as dark. They express past emotion, from experiences we have dealt with. For instance, some you might hear reflect struggle from being in an all-female band, as well as just life's experiences. Every word and lyric is derived from something for one of us. We have songs for every mood, be it happy, sad, pissed off, or just one to listen to, to have fun to. We try to reflect that in each and every one of our songs.

I believe music is like an outlet, to let people get away for a moments. That is why I think I have chosen to be in this profession; to help others forget about everything and just live in the moment. Be it either coming to a live show and leaving everything at the front doors, or just listening to a song in the car and forgetting about all their troubles, stress; anything that may be weighing on their mind for the moment. Music is such a powerful and healing entity.

Can you describe the Ohio metal scene? Are there many opportunities for a band of your genre in that area?

Cleveland is very metal. So it does work for us. We have a great following here and in the regional area. They get brutal in the pits and I can say that! Clevelanders are very into their music, and they are great supporters.

How did ranking in the Top 10 of bands competing for Ozzfest help move your career forward? How did it increase your fan base? How did appearing on the first episode of the season help you gain more fans?

The Battle for Ozzfest in NYC was one of the most memorable times for us. We have so many stories to tell from those days! We were the 37th band to get in the door and followed around with video cameras the whole time. Level-C got a great deal of recognition for it from the industry and new-found fans. It was excellent exposure for us. We still to this day get recognized from people for being on the first episode. It's amazing; gives us a great feeling that we left a mark in someone's mind.

[ Website: www.level-c.net ]

Josh Davidson

Josh Davidson has written music feature articles for Jersey Style and served as the Jersey Shore rock columnist for Steppin' Out Magazine. Other music writing credits include Aquarian Weekly, Jersey Beat, Backstreets and njcoast.com. He has written free-lance for the Asbury Park Press' Community Sports section and has written featured articles for its news section, as well as covering campus news and sports weekly for the Signal, the College of New Jersey's (formerly Trenton State College) student newspaper. He has worked as a staff writer for The Independent, and his work for Greater Media Newspapers has also been published in the News Transcript. He is a former beat reporter for the Ocean County Observer who presently is a news writer for Symbolic Systems Inc. supporting the US Army's Knowledge Center. His music writing covers a vast range of topics, from the current cover band craze, highs and lows of the original scene, to the early days of the Jersey Shore rock scene in Asbury Park. He is also a musician, having written hundreds of songs as a singer/songwriter, and playing them out as a solo/acoustic artist. He has also played with cover bands, including It Doesn't Matter, and several original bands, including as the guitarist for the solo project of singer/songwriter Dave Eric. He continues to work on solo material and is presently the guitar player for Jersey Breeze.