Fiction Syxx

Fiction Syxx is a newcomer that consists of well-known talented musicians and was formed less than 2 years ago. “Tall Dark Secrets”, the band’s debut is a wonderful melodic hard rock album that will excite the fans of the genre. Grande Rock got in touch with the band’s mastermind, songwriter, vocalist & guitarist, Mark Allen Lanoue so as to find out more about the new band, the debut release and the album’s guests… among other things.
fiction syxx band pic

Hi Mark… I’m very glad to have you on Grande Rock. Do tell me which was the spark that urged you to form Fiction Syxx initially?
 
M: Hello Thanos! How are you? I had been thinking about Fiction Syxx for years now. However, what it is today began about 1 year & 6 months ago. I wanted to put together a group of core players with amazing talent and bring in other talented feature artists. The whole thing began with my writing “Welcome to my Nightmare”. I used that tune as the first measure of where what would become “Tall Dark Secrets” was all about. So, here we are over a year and a half later, talking about a release that I and the other members and guests can be proud of.
 
 
And how did you come up with the name Fiction Syxx? Is there any specific symbolization with number “syx”?
 
M: I came up with the name Fiction Syxx when I and the members of my last band (Rob Gronkoski [Biloxi], Lee Cooley, James Gillies, and Dave Melton [Biloxi]) were starting to come up with a name that everyone in the group could live with. The name that was settled on was Chasing Karma. I held onto that name, in that it has some meaning to it. It is related to my birthday 6666 and the myths and truths behind the sequential number sets associated with the number 6. There is also a close connection with my interest in symbolism, history, and the unknown (the paranormal, if you will). I simply changed the spelling of “Six” to “Syxx” for several reasons. 1) It looked cooler in the logos, 2) It has a connection to a couple of my favorite artists (Dennis Deyoung & Tommy Shaw) who happen to be attached to “Styxx”, and 3) I did not want to get the name intertwined to much with the name “Sixx”. I dig the Motley Crue and Sixx AM stuff, but I did not want this getting to closely linked to this in Google searches where it became buried in the pages.
 
 
How easy or not was for you to find the right persons for each position – to have the ideal line-up in a way? And how & when did it all become a reality?
 
M: It was quite easy. I knew that I wanted JK Northrup, Eric Ragno, and Rory Faciane in the line-up. I have been working with JK for years and he is a diverse and amazingly talented guy all around. I had been listening to Eric’s playing for a while and many people told me that he was not only talented; it was stated that he is a super nice guy from my original home New Jersey. Rory and I were in a band together in 1991. He is a rock-solid drummer and it shows on this release. And Tony “The Fretless Monster” Franklin just turned out to be just as cool as he is talented. I did not know Tony personally, although I found out later that Eric has known him for many years. As I was looking for the core bass player, of course several bass players came to mind. But Tony is one of those players that rises to the top. I have always loved the sound of the Fret Less bass, and who better than The Fretless Monster. I contacted Tony, and found that he was a cool bass man from Derbyshire England and at the end of the first conversation with him; the bass foundation was in place for Fiction Syxx “Tall Dark Secrets”. This all become a reality shortly after finishing the first track that was recorded for the release “Welcome to My Nightmare”.
 
 
Did you have any tracks ready, or the major songwriting process began once you were all together?
 
M: I had several tracks in several stages. “Welcome to my Nightmare”, “Children of the Night”, “Spirits Collide” and “Given Sight” were pretty much already written. The other songs were written along the way, as “Tall Dark Secrets” morphed into what it is today.
 
 
Which are the “Tall Dark Secrets” and what does the album title declare?
 
M: “Tall Dark Secrets” is laced with symbolism, mysticism, spirituality, and those things that hide in the dark and in buried in the depths of our being.
 
 
Some well-known musicians appear on your debut, such as: Jimi Bell (House Of Lords, The Geezer Butler Band), Bill Leverty (Firehouse), Steve Brown (Trixter), Christian Wentz (Circle II Circle, Futures End), David Cagle (International session vocalist), Karl Cochran (Rated C, Farcry), Carl Sentence (Nazareth, Don Airey), Thorsten Koehne (Edens Curse), Lee Small (Shy) – excuse me if I left anyone out. Do you believe that all the great above-mentioned musicians have offered something special to the album ultimately?
 
M: Yes, indeed! I am a firm believer that the song starts off as an idea, a story, a foundation, and becomes a worthy creation based on its contributing parts. I explained to every one of the artists that I wanted them to add what they felt needed to be there and they delivered big time! This release would not sound as amazing, if it did not have the creative talents of the people involved with taking a song and propelling it into something special. I cannot say enough good things about these people!
 
 
Do tell us a couple of things about each track…
 
M: “Given Sight”: This track is about spiritual sensitives, the paranormal, about the world(s) beyond us.
 
“Play on Words”: This is a track about being lied to and burned by the word play of another. Love, Hate, etc.
 
“Tow the Line”: This track was written after my phone conversation with Bill Leverty about him playing lead on a track for this release. I told him that I was working on a track that was nearly finished for him to play on, when I then decided that I was going to write a song specifically for Bill to play on. I told Bill that I was going to write a track and get back to him. I wrote the track in 45 mins and call him 15 minutes later. This song is about towing the line for another. Not all of us age and take on life in the same manner. As others in our lives decline in health, happiness, etc.; it is up to us to tow the line.
 
“Welcome to My Nightmare”: This track speaks for itself. I seem to have the same recurring nightmares as Alice Cooper (lol). I wrote this track starting off with the acoustic movement and cool chordal riff in the beginning. The rest just fell into place. This Gemini has quite a battle with the alternate chaotic ID in my head. That nightmare alone deserves a mad man’s welcome.
 
“Demon in My Window”: This track is somewhat attached to the overall premise of several tracks on this release. It is about the spiritual and personal battles with the evil in one’s life. As we live this life, there is always that Demon in the Window trying to stir us away from the other intricacies in life.
 
“Larger than Life”: This track is about becoming older and wiser. As we better understand the things around us and the purpose becomes clearer; it can make one feel “Larger than Life”.
 
“Where We Belong”: This track was written about me and my wife; Lisa’s journey through life, love, difficulties, and curve balls. At the end of the sometimes-vicious circle, there lies exactly where we belong.
 
“Your Promised Land”: This song was written about what my Father’s last thoughts and his thoughts as he passed on might have been. My Father was gunned down, when I was 10; in Clifton New Jersey in 1977. His association with a well-known NY crime family was ultimately his demise. He had found Jesus in his early 30’s; therefore, the reference to “Your Promised Land” is a question to God as to whether there would be entrance into his promised land.
 
“Spirits Collide”: I wrote “Spirits Collide” after a horrible motorcycle accident that killed a loved one. It is about loss, love, spirit, the conflict within one’s self and those around about what it all means to them, and what is one day the hope of reuniting.
 
“Time to Heal”: This track was written during all the turmoil of hate and unrest around the world. There is also quite a division going on in the United States. This is really a call for healing, understanding, and the hope of wisdom taking affect; instead of hate and regurgitation of untruths and poor fact checking. The end of the track has a beautiful piano piece written by Eric Ragno for a friend’s family that lost their teenage son. It is a piece about that devastating loss.
 
“Children of the Night”: This track is about the many homeless children. How others perceive them, ignore them, and how others help and lift them up. The youth typically has high expectations and hope. However, the streets can strip one of many things including innocence and hope.
 
 
How did the cooperation with Andrew and Melodic Rock Records come about?
 
M: I have worked on numerous tracks with Liberty N Justice, and played on several Melodic Rock tracks. I also had a bit of connection with Andrew, at the time I released Biloxi III “In the Wake of the Storm” in 2008. Andrew heard “Tall Dark Secrets” and wanted to give the unknown name, Fiction Syxx, a try on his label.
 
 
The album was mixed, produced and mastered by JK Northrup at Alien Productions Music Studio, Carmichael CA, USA. How were the recordings sessions in general and are you totally satisfied with the final outcome?
 
M: I first must say that JK did an absolutely slammin’ job on this release! JK put his all into this and played some marvelous guitar on this release as well. The recordings went very smooth. All the artists on this release are pros. So, all the tracks were well recorded and amazing. The process usually started with me laying down a click track and rough guitar along with a lead vocal rough guide track. Some of the guide tracks actually made it onto the release. The tracks were recorded in the artist’s studio and then sent to me and JK thru Dropbox, and other file transfer systems. JK would then do some quality control to make sure that the tracks were worthy of a slamming mix and the release was then placed in the session for JK to do his magic.
 
 
A video for “Given Sight” was released a few days ago. Do you have in mind to release any other lyric or concept video at some point? I’d love to see a video for my beloved “Where We Belong” for instance…
 
M: Funny you should ask that. The video for “Given Sight” is obviously much different than your usual video. There is no big glossy footage with hair blowing in the stormy wind courtesy of big glorious camera and lots of support dollars (lol). The video was created by me. I wanted it to be odd, different, stand out, and represent the song’s premise. There is some symbolism in there as well. Like with music, not everyone is going to like the video style or the fact that it was not made by big dollar video companies. However, it is about the song and the meaning of the song. And I would add that JK has some cool slide footage and Jimi Bell shreds the middle of that video with lightning fast riffing. Next in the pipe is a hybrid lyric video for “Tow the Line”. Then up after that is “Where we Belong”. JK just finished shooting his extra footage for “Where We Belong” the day before yesterday.
 
 
Are there any plans to give any live shows in Europe or in the US at some point?
 
M: There are talks now of a couple of shows next year. One being talked about is the Melodic Rock Fest 5 in May of next year. We have not talked about Europe yet, as we are still hashing out the USA plan. It will be an honor to grace the stage with these marvelously talented human beings.
 
 
How would you describe your band’s music style to someone that has never heard of your before?
 
M: I tried to make this an alchemy of sorts. Dashes of Melodic, Heavy, Progressive all packed up into a neat and fiery package.
 
 
Which are your expectations from “Tall Dark Secrets” and what does the future hold for the band?
 
M: Expectations in this modern industry usually fall on hope. There is the hope that many more like it than dislike it and hope that many will buy it instead of freely downloading it somewhere. The future holds the next release, which will be named “The Alternate Me”.

fiction syxx band pic

OK, time for our “weird questions”!!! If you could “erase” one thing from modern music, what would it be?
 
M: Free Downloading and the low paying streaming markets.
 
 
Which is the most overrated musician/band of all time?
 
M: Since my fellow musicians and bands live in a world of hope based on acceptance, it is hard for me to judge that. There are bands that I do not care for that the person next to me may love. So, I tend to not jump into that place of judgement.
 
 
Put together the best rock line-up of all time. Who plays what?
 
M: Steve Perry on vox, Tony Franklin on bass, Eric Ragno on keys, Marty Friedman on guitar and Rod Morgenstein on drums.
 
 
What are those things that you do not like in the music industry nowadays?
 
M: Free Downloading and the smearing of other artists by fellow artists on social media.
 
 
Top 3 Comedy movies of any era?
 
M: 1) “Bruce Almighty”, 2) “Too Cool” & 3) “Mr Deeds”…
 
 
Which are the top 3 Hard Rock albums of all time according to you?
 
M: Oh wow! There are so many. I would just be pulling a few off the top of my head. I try not to get locked into the favorite and top songs/albums. There is just way to many great albums and bands. 1) Journey “Departure”, 2) Queensryche – “Operation Mindcrime” & 3. DIO – “Holy Diver”.
 
 
Fill in the phrase… “Hard Rock music wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
 
M: The early pioneers that ventured from the foundations of Blues, Classical, Jazz, etc. and created a new evolution in the chain of music. Bill Haley, Richie Valens, Elvis Presley, etc. And if you then escalate that to Hard Rock, then The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, Aerosmith, etc., change the core of Rock as we know it today.
 
 
Who is the sexiest female Rock Star of all time?
 
M: Pat Benatar…
 
 
Which do you consider to be the best female & male vocalist in rock history?
 
M: Steve Perry, RJ Dio, Rob Halford, Dennis Deyoung, Tony Harnell, Chris Cornell, Geoff Tate, and John Arc to name a few. There are so many that inspired me. Pat Benatar, Anne Wilson to name a couple. Again there are so many.
 
 
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
 
M: The past. To destroy the code for Napster (lol)!
 
 
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
 
M: “A Night at the Opera” by Queen!
 
 
What’s the worst thing one can say right after sex?
 
M: Is that it? (lol)
 
 
Which character from the “Game of Thrones” would you have been – if you lived in the Seven Kingdoms? The other guys from the band?
 
M: Oh Wow! If only Tony Franklin or JK Northrup were here to answer that question. I do know that Tony seems to secretly live an alternative life as a Viking Warrior Soul and JK is really an Alien being from the planet 11!
 
 
Imagine that your girlfriend/wife is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react?
 
M: Thank the Lord, I have it all on digital…
 
 
That’s all for now Mark. Wish you the best for the future to come. Say anything you feel like saying before we close. Take care, dude!
 
M: I truly appreciate the fans, my fellow musicians, and all that support we musicians along the way. We all want to please the fans. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But in the end, I will say this… You All Rock, Indeed!!!

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