Pop music has Justin Bieber. Rap has Jay-Z. And Country has Willie Nelson. Well, when it comes to shock rock & metal, there is Michael Orlando, formerly known to many as Michael Vampire, and in that scene, he is legendary.
Michael (in his ‘Vampire’ days) was the popular lead singer of Vampires Everywhere, a huge band that was showcased on the Vans Warped Tour amongst other big shows. Now with 2014 here, Michael has dropped his Vampire last name, gone back to his roots with Orlando, and formed a new band called The Killing Lights that has taken the metal scene by storm.
The Levity Ball caught up with Michael in his hometown of Los Angeles to find out more about his exciting new changes for the New Year…
What is the difference between Vampires Everywhere and your new band The Killing Lights?
“I think the main difference would have to be the vision of the project. VE was a concept band focusing on darker aspects of rock n roll. I wanted to incorporate my love for horror & the 1987 cult movie “The Lost Boys” into a working band. I was in a very dark place in my life and so VE gave me an outlet to publicly display my anger without ending up in jail. However, I knew I needed a change in my life & I definitely needed to get myself in a positive state of mind, hence TKL was born. My vision for The Killing Lights is very straight forward. I want to bring back Rock n Roll. Also, TKL also helps me close a chapter in my life that was hindering me from seeing my true potential both as an artist. I am beyond excited to get TKL on the road & bring our music to the fans.”
Why did you decide to change groups / how have you been finding the transition?
“The Transition has been amazing! Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect when I first announced TKL. I literally posted VE was over and I was moving onto another project and hid in my bathroom for hours haha! Once we posted the demo “Don’t Turn Around” & got 30k plays with nothing but positive comments my heart finally calmed down. Needless to say I am thankful for all of my understanding opened minded fans that saw my new vision.”
Most of the time as we’ve seen it’s always hard to be in a band long term due to clashing personalities / different overall personal goals, and we see you have gone through a lot of different member over the years. What have you learned the most about being in a band and advice to others wanting to go into a band of their own?
“The first thing one has to realize when working with other creative people is that everyone has their own unique way of looking at things. You have to be opened minded and also have a clear vision of what you’re trying to achieve. You shouldn’t be quick to put down other band members ideas because sometimes they actually have something that is amazing that may just need a tweek or two. I’ve learned to keep an open mind and put my ego away. There are no room for egos in this industry. Now, in the past i had to deal with members that just didn’t fit for multiple reasons which I won’t detail here. However, I can say 99% of people are not meant for rock n roll. So many people talk a big game but very few follow through with those ideas. My motto is “do what you say” actions always speak louder than words in this industry.”
What has been your greatest memory thus far while touring and performing?
“My greatest memory was in Las Vegas at 2012 Vans Warped Tour. I woke up in the bus around 6am and everybody was already up going frantic! I was like WTF & our TM said “we got moved to main stage today!” Now for most of you that don’t know what this means… this is a big deal for a new band on Warped Tour. Luckily for me i never get nervous before shows for some reason so most of energy was going to my excitement of playing in front of so many people. I’m guessing there was 10,000 people watching us that day and I got dragged into the crowd as well. There are videos online of me getting my shirt torn apart by excited fans haha funny to watch. I will never forget this experience!”
If you could collaborate with one artist dead or alive, who would it be and why?
“I would definitely collaborate with James Hetfield of Metallica! I have so much respect for James and his vision of rock n roll! He basically changed the face of rock and how it was done. Plus, I think our voices would mesh well together! Who knows maybe one day James will appear on a TKL song haha time will only tell!”
You are changing your name back to Michael Orlando from Michael Vampire, why the change?
“I felt it was time to go with my real name and show the world who I really am. I feel it’s part of maturing as a musician & growing as a person. I am a completely different person then i was 4 years ago with a completely different vision. I am excited to be using my real name. I think it also shows fans that people can change for the better & maybe they can do the same. Life is about change & i feel I made some positive changes in my career & my life. I have nothing but love for VE & everything it did for me & my career. However, it’s now time for The Killing Lights to take center stage and show the world what we got.”
What is something people don’t know about Michael Orlando that your Vampire ‘persona’ kept hidden?
“Most people don’t know I’ve been doing music for 14 years! I have played in so many different bands & got myself involved in so many different creative musical endeavors. Also most people don’t know that I’m addicted to fashion, 80’s Rock, & Nu Metal! Haha, majority of people though I listened to only Marilyn Manson and shopped in fetish stores! I think people will be surprised of how varied my musical influences go! I guess they will have to wait & see on upcoming TKL songs!”
What would you like to be remembered for?
“I want to be remembered not only for my involvement in rock n roll but for the message i brought while being involved. I am a big believer in bringing my ideals about the world center stage in all of my songs. Whether it be about relationships or gay marriage there are always hidden metaphors in my lyrics. If you don’t have a message there is no place in rock n roll for you. You might as well work at Abercrombie!”
What can your fans look forward to in 2014?
“Our fans have so much to look forward to in 2014! We will be releasing new songs, videos, merchandise, & announcing new tours in the US. We just announced our UK Tour in February & we are beyond excited to be heading overseas! It’s a brand new band with so much amazing stuff coming up. We are a band dedicated to our fans so whatever we do I know they will be behind us!”
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
“I would have to say “awareness”…. people need to open their eyes and see what’s really going on in the world. Things are not what they seem and the more we look the other way the worse it will get! I talk about this in upcoming TKL songs & I will keep bringing awareness in all aspects of my career.”