Wednesday, May 24, 2017


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Darkness Inside is:

Ben Harl - vocals
Matt Huckstep - bass
John Esparza - drums
Corey Dickson - guitar
Adam Thompson - guitar 

BOOTLEG METAL: So let’s get things started with the name. Who came up with the name and what’s behind it?
DARKNESS INSIDE: I don’t remember which one of us came up with the name. We threw around several ideas, and Darkness Inside was the one that we felt represented our message the best.

BOOTLEG METAL:  Where is the band from?
DARKNESS INSIDE: We are from Central IL.

BOOTLEG METAL: Is this the original line up and how did you guys find yourselves in the same band ?
DARKNESS INSIDE: We actually started out as a 4 piece, with our vocalist (Ben Harl) also playing guitar. But after a year or so we decided to find another guitar player (Adam Thompson) to lighten the load for him. It also helped us gain more energy on stage.
Our original drummer (Chris Morrison) left after about two years with us, but on really good terms. We’re still really good friends with him. And that’s when John Esparza joined in.

BOOTLEG METAL: How long has (the band) been around and how long after your first rehearsal was it before the first show?
DARKNESS INSIDE: We’ve been playing together for a little over three years. It took about 3 months of rehearsal and writing before we played our first show.

BOOTLEG METAL: Does everyone contribute to the writing process or does someone generally write the lyrics and/or music?
DARKNESS INSIDE: The writing process is pretty open. Everyone in the band will bring ideas and riffs in and we write together. We feel that this “Democratic” writing process helps us come up with some really interesting songs and it also helps all of us to feel like we have a hand in the creation of the music.
Most of the lyrics are written by Ben, but Matt Huckstep (Bassist) has assisted in the lyric writing on a couple of songs.

BOOTLEG METAL: What are your songs about? Fact?  Fiction? Personal experiences?
DARKNESS INSIDE: A lot of the music we write has a darker tone to it. We write from the heart and from a lot of life experiences, and we really ty to concentrate on sharing this with anyone and everyone who may be interested. Just because life may get you down from time to time doesn’t mean that you can’t find a way to turn the negative into a positive. We hope that our message will help others who struggle with the same issues we do.

BOOTLEG METAL: What genre do you feel (the band) fit’s in the best and what influenced your writing to get you there?

DARKNESS INSIDE: That’s a really difficult question to answer! We’re kind of all over the map with our writing style. If I had to put us into a single category, I’d probably select straight up Hard Rock. But we do have some pretty heavy songs, as well as almost exclusively acoustic, so we do dip into other genres quite often.
We have 3 albums, all with varying genres, which allows us to kind of tailor make our live sets to match almost any other band we play with. If we’re playing with lighter bands we can play mostly our lighter songs. If we’re playing with metal bands we can play a heavier set. It makes it kind of nice to have those options available.

BOOTLEG METAL: I checked out your videos and "Darkness Inside You" stood out for me. Great tune. Any story behind the song?
DARKNESS INSIDE: This song was inspired by a book our vocalist Ben read, called “You” by Caroline Kepnes. It’s about a serial killer that falls in love with a woman who frequents his bookstore, and he eventually dates her, traps her, and kills her. It’s all about obsession, and what kinds of dark roads that obsession will lead you down.
Since the song was inspired by that, we thought may as well shoot a music video in the same vein!
We shot the video ourselves, and had our friends at Heroic Age Studios edit it for us.
We had a blast making this video! It’s all shot in first person, similar to a first person shooter style video game. BOOTLEG METAL:  No happy ending to that one huh? Very cool, yeah man, nice job.

BOOTLEG METAL: What was your latest gig? 
DARKNESS INSIDE: We just played a biker rally in Decatur, IL. A lot of fun, that one!!

BOOTLEG METAL: Where have you played live this year?
DARKNESS INSIDE: We haven’t played much this year. We wrote 3 albums in three years, and have played too many shows to count in the last few years. So, we decided to take the first 4 months of 2017 off to catch up on our personal lives.
However, we’ve recently started to rehearse again, and we’ll be back out hitting it hard in the last half of 2017!

BOOTLEG METAL: Is there a favorite cover that always finds it’s way on your set list and is there a story behind it?
DARKNESS INSIDE: We haven’t played any covers to date. We’ve talked about it on several occasions, but we can’t ever decide what to do!
And we write extremely fast, so we usually just end up working on our own stuff and any potential covers get pushed to the back burner.

BOOTLEG METAL: Is there a past show that stands out from the rest?
DARKNESS INSIDE: That’s hard to say. We’ve had some really good opportunities to open for some great national acts. But we’ve also played some intimate local shows for our friends and family.
I think every show we’ve played had some really good memories associated with it, so it’s hard to put one above another.

BOOTLEG METAL: So what’s in the works for (the band)?
DARKNESS INSIDE: We’ll be working on our next music video during the summer months, and we plan to release it around late July. Besides that it’ll just me shows and more shows! We really love playing live! BOOTLEG METAL: Nice, "Live The Lie"? Keep me posted.

BOOTLEG METAL: What are your thoughts on your local music scene?
DARKNESS INSIDE: Our local scene was pretty dead for the last several years. It’s tough out there for original rockers.
But, recently that has changed. There have been some really good bands like Ashland and Mammoth Cannon that have gotten some notice in our area, and the original music scene is really starting to revive itself. It’s great to see!
DARKNESS INSIDE: Our most recent album dropped in December of 2016. It’s called indoctriNATION, and you can pick it up on Amazon, i-Tunes, CD Baby, and pretty much everywhere else. Or come out to a show and we’ll get you a hard copy!!

BOOTLEG METAL: Do you have merchandise for sale?
DARKNESS INSIDE: Absolutely! T-shirts, stickers, etc….

BOOTLEG METAL: Where can you be found online?
DARKNESS INSIDE: You can find us at
That is our official site. And you’ll find links there to our official FB page, our music videos, and our music!

BOOTLEG METAL: As far as videos, sites, merch, ect. Are you guys more of a DIY band or do you hire out?
DARKNESS INSIDE: We pretty much have our hands in every aspect of our band. Our ex drummer does all of our merch for us at his print shop, and we have a local film studio we worked with on our first two music videos.
Our vocalist Ben owns his own music studio (Dark Soul Studios) and he and the guitarist Adam also run Dark Soul Entertainment, which is a film and music entertainment company.
We try to be as self sufficient as we can….

BOOTLEG METAL: Do you have or are you looking for a label/manager?
DARKNESS INSIDE: Right now most of what we do is through Dark Soul Entertainment, but we’d love to work with any labels or management that could help us achieve our dreams!

BOOTLEG METAL: One question I like to ask. What song (if any) by another artist do you wish you wrote?
DARKNESS INSIDE: I don’t know if I have a good answer for that one. I can tell you a few musicians I wish I had a chance to work with:
Corey Taylor, Dimebag Darrell, Mike Portnoy. Of course there are many others, but these are a few that stand out presently

BOOTLEG METAL: Is there another artist or band that is totally not your genre that you listen to?
Adele. That chick can sing…

BOOTLEG METAL: If you could pick, past or present, would there be a dream collaborator (artist/producer) you would like to work with?
DARKNESS INSIDE: Another tough one.
I’d probably have to say Ross Robinson and/or Rick Rubin. What these guys did with Slipknot……damn…..
I’d also love to work with Avenged Sevenfold. These guys are constantly pushing the envelope on creativity.

BOOTLEG METAL: How do you think downloading music whether legal or illegal affected the music community?
DARKNESS INSIDE: Times change. It’s definitely hurt the artists. But music isn’t going anywhere. We’ll always find a way….

BOOTLEG METAL: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us and answering the questions. Is there anything you’d like to add?
DARKNESS INSIDE: Don’t forget to give us a like on FB!  click here