The Defiants

The Defiants is a brand new project, which features 3 great musicians on its ranks: vocalist Paul Laine, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter & producer Bruno Ravel and guitarist Rob Marcello. The self-titled debut album is one of the top melodic hard rock albums of 2016 and that’s why we named it “Album of the Month” on Grande Rock. I had a very honest & thorough chat with Paul about The Defiants among other things, so read all about it below…
The Defiants band pic
Hi Paul, I’m overwhelmed to be talking to you about your new band The Defiants. By the way, do you consider The Defiants to be an “actual” band or a “music project”?
P: In my heart I view The Defiants as an actual band… It’s hard not to, when you’ve already played in a band with the two other members. As soon as we got into rehearsals in Milan, Italy, it just felt like the good old days. Bruno and Rob may have a different opinion, band verses project wise, but I don’t…
Do tell us… how did the idea to form The Defiants occur?
P: Very simple. Serafino at Frontiers Records approached us and asked if we were interested. Bruno and I had a couple of heart to heart conversations, and that was it.
I do not know if you have kept in contact with any of the D2 guys all these years but how do you like the fact to be working with Bruno Ravel again? I’m sure you do know that this is kinda “intriguing” for the D2 fans, right?
P: Bruno and I remained close friends after I split from D2. Never really harbored any ill feelings leaving the band back in the day… creatively it was just time for me to move on.
So, how did you come up with the name The Defiants?
P: That was all Bruno! He had a couple of band names kicking around… we wrote under a completely different name in the beginning. I am terrible at coming up with band names!
Did you talk about the music direction of the album or it was obvious which way you would go? How were the song-writing sessions?
P: The deal made was this… I can only write what I write, meaning it’s very hard for me to contrive anything. I don’t work that way. I knew what the parameters were when I started composing with Bruno. Typically, Bruno would send me a guitar riff with a drum beat, most of the time with no melody at all, sometimes with the melody… actually I can tell you what songs he sang me a moody idea, because they are some of my favourite on the record!!! “Underneath the Stars”, “We All Fall”, “Last Kiss” and the stellar “Runaway”… just brilliant. I got a little stressed on those tracks because I wanted to make him happy and complete his vision. It’s always that way when you’re trying to honour the idea. He was good about my lyric writing choices and didn’t fight me too much. The other songs, Bruno was gracious enough to let me follow through on the hooks, melody and lyrics. Part of a great writing partnership is the ability to get out of each others way. Bruno and I have this. The song is always king. Not our egos.
I’m sure there are tracks that were left out of the final tracklist. Will those tracks be featured on a future album? Have you talked about the possibility of releasing a second album at some point?
P: We had 33 ideas put down… if there isn’t another Defiants record, it will be sad for me. People need to hear what’s next.
How did the whole “cowboy” idea of the cover artwork come about? Was it due to the intro (“For a Few Dollars More”) or what?
P: Bruno was so busy mixing when the artwork issue came up. He said “you deal with it”… I’m a giant fan of Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns from the 60’s and early 70’s. I approached the label with the idea, and they liked it. Plus, “The Defiants” sounds like something you would see on an old wanted poster from the gunslinging days. So we just went with that. For better or for worse. I liked the idea, but some people don’t… it’s all good.
Please give us a hint about each track…
P: “Intro (For a Few Dollars More – Carillon’s Theme)”: Paying respect to the man who composed the film soundtracks for Sergio Leone westerns, composer Ennio Morricone… genius. Also a good way to open a show!
“Love and Bullets”: First track completed for The Defiants… set the tone for the rest of the album…
“When the Lights Go Down”: What you get if you mix seventies Zeppelin era vibe with a modern rock approach… a nod to what was great back in the day, with some new school attitude.
“Waiting on a Heartbreak”: I wish Steve Perry would call me up to tell me he wants it for his next record!
“Runaway”: Bruno Ravel/Melodic genius…
“Lil’ Miss Rock‘n’roll”: You know I love Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy, right? Think of this song as tribute.
“Last Kiss”: Bruno’s angry melody, my angry lyrics. hahaha!
“Save Me Tonight”: I’m so proud of this song, I don’t care what anybody thinks…
“Take Me Back”: I heard Jon Bon Jovi was looking for hits again… Plus, I may be the one person who loves Springsteen more than he does… Jon next time you wanna put out a record, call me… I have something you need…
“We All Fall”: Bruno’s and my love for Cheap Trick probably shows up on this song… I’m always OK with some Zander/Nielsen love…

“That’s When I’ll Stop Loving You”: If you don’t like this song, fuck you… I wrote the melody and the words for my good friend John Sullivan, who was about to get married… I had to put down our conversations about the love of his life into a song. The way he talked about his (then) future wife, inspired me greatly. True love man… it exists! So yeah… I stand by my first statement. :)
“Underneath the Stars”: My favourite full out rock track on the album period. Also, It makes me drive a little faster... should come with a warning sticker…
Ravel produced, mixed & mastered the album and you co-produced it as well. Are you entirely satisfied with the final result?
P: Very proud of it. Honestly wouldn’t change a thing.
Paul, you sang with lots of passion on this album and some say (including me) that this is one of the best performances that you have given to date. What do you believe?
P: Look, I put in a 100 percent into every record I work on, and hopefully as time goes by, I get better at my craft… it means a lot to me that people feel this way about my singing. I really try to record the most honest performance I can, and go with the emotion, rather than something that is “technically” good. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that we would get the compliments that we have, so thank you… (i.n.: I should thank you for the music dude…)
If I’m right, you’re going to the UK in October. Do you have any other live dates you can announce so far?
P: We have a bunch of offers… but we never say anything until they are concrete. I will say that they are coming from all over the planet, so that’s inspiring.
It’s weird but there’s no official “concept” or lyric video out yet. How about that? Are you working on that?
P: No… we probably should!!!!
What are your expectations from your debut album and what are you longing to achieve with The Defiants in the near future?
P: I never have any expectations on any record, except to do the best I can while making it. After that it’s always up to the public. If you wish, hope, or dream for anything more, it can lead to career heartbreak… I avoid that.
Apart from The Defiants, what are the personal music plans of yours?
P: Keep writing man… just to keep writing and performing. Life is simple when you do what you love. I don’t really make any money doing this, so all I care about is my art.
The Defiants band pic
I think it’s time for our “weird questions”!!! If you found a genie in a bottle and you only had 3 wishes what would they be?
P: Everyone learns what the word “love” means… that’s it. After that, what else could I wish for? All problems would be solved.
Top 3 Western movies of any era?
P: Pale Rider, Unforgiven, Django Unchained…
Which are the top 3 Hard Rock/Metal albums of all time according to you?
P: Iron Maiden – “Number of the Beast”, Van Halen – “Van Halen”, AC/DC – “Highway to Hell”…
Fill in the phrase… “Hard Rock music wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
P: Quiet Riot’s first music video…
Do you believe that the gloriouz LA Sunset Strip dayz could return at some point and under which circumstances?
P: Everything that was old, eventually becomes new again. It will happen in the same way that The Black Crows and London Quireboys revived the 70’s, but we live in a world now where everything is just another scene, for those who want to be in it for a short period of time. Thank you internet!
Who is the sexiest female Rock Star of all time?
P: Freddy Mercury. Obviously…
What do you think could have happened if “grunge” hadn’t taken the biz by storm in the early 90s? What went wrong and the whole “hard rock movement” crushed & burned “overnight”?
P: It still woulda fizzled out and something else would’ve taken over. Look… new generations want new music… music should evolve and stay fresh.
If you could “erase” one thing from modern music, what would it be?
P: Internet piracy…
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?
P: The Beatles – “Abbey Road”…
Which character from the “Game of Thrones” would you have been – if you lived in the Seven Kingdoms? The other guys from the band?
P: Khal Drogo… hands down. The other guys would probably want to be Tryion Lannister. I mean, who doesn’t want to be both tiny, and fierce?
Imagine that your girlfriend/wife is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react?
P: Tears. She obviously doesn’t love me.
I’m so thankful to have had you on Grande Rock, Paul. You’re still one of my favorite hard rock singers and I hope you keep on releasing such great albums such as “The Defiants” cuz todays’ music scene really needs that. Close this interview in your own way. Thx for the music dude… take care!
P: Thanks Thanos!! I had fun answering these questions. I look forward to meeting everyone out on the road, and having complete nerd-fest conversations about Game of Thrones… I’m not even kidding… (i.n.: Thx for this great interview Paul!)