The back ground of you all is quite varied and you have all been part of some great acts, can you tell us a little history about yourselves?
We’ve been an extremely blessed band over our fifteen-year career and at this point we’ve played over 1,200 shows since 2000. In that time frame we’ve been able to share the stage and tour experiences with some of our heroes and icons ranging from The Dayglo Abortions to Type O Negative.
Are there any parts of you that tend to manifest itself in URN?
URN has always been a catharsis for a lot of the negative emotions that most of us in the band were dealing with, and the main reason we called this album “Epiphany” it sums up a great deal of what we learned on an individual level about ourselves, the people in our lives, and the world around us.
The music is direct manifestation of us processing our lives and how it affects us in many ways. So in a natural progression, the lyrics are predominantly a first-person narrative in a response to the life stimuli and how we act or re-act to these changes in life.
Your music attracts fans of different genres, how do you manage to encapsulate this attraction in your music?
I think it has a lot to do with that we all come from different backgrounds, but still somewhat similar. Honestly, it is simply we write music that we feel is indigenous to who we are as individuals and that natural authenticity comes out in the music.
Our hope would be that our fans could listen to our music and take away from it some type of emotional response that will help them heal in a negative life situation or maybe enjoy a happier life experience. As we said, it’s an emotional release for us; we hope our fans gain the same experiencing our music.
How did you come to collaborate with Michelle Belanger?
Dominic and Michelle went to college together and became very good friends over their course of time there. In the later part of their college career, they formed a gothic-rock band called Sacrosanct in which Michelle was the singer.
This incarnation of URN is a hybrid between that band and when URN was more of a straight death metal band in the Cleveland area at that time.
And what was the outcome of your collaboration with Michelle?
We had many wonderful experiences with Michelle. In 2003, when we released our first major release “Desecrated Ashes”, Dominic invited Michelle to do guest vocals on song they did with Sacrosanct entitled “Angels Are Weeping”.
Michelle had just released her “Psychic Vampyre Codex” book at the time and we both engaged in joint-venture tour that lasted almost two months where we did book signings in the afternoon, and then performed shows later that same evening.
We would have her back form more guest vocals on our “Dancing with the Demigods” album a couple years later and she would join us live for a couple of major festivals. Both of us expressed a hope to collaborate again in the future but schedules have been hectic and there is no definitive time frame for now.
What was it like working with the legendary Scott Clendenin and how did his passing affect you all emotionally and musically?
Scott and URN guitarist Christopher Migdalski had been close friends for almost twenty years both being veterans of the Florida metal scene. We were extremely honored when he offered to fill in for us on bass for several regional shows that Julian Umberger (URN bassist) wasn’t able to do due to family obligations.
Scott brought a mentorship to us, very much the older brother, and we benefitted from his input a great deal. What most people didn’t realize he was also an accomplished guitarist and drummer as well so he had a differing perspective on our music and it was refreshing.
His health was already in bad state when he came to us, and it did limit him as to what he could do as we all agreed that his priority was to do the things he needed to do to stay healthy. So, when we learned that he passed away due to these complications, we were taken back a bit as he was really fighting the fight and had a great attitude about it all. So, we all felt very sad as we lost a friend and your heart broke as he had an inspiring attitude not to let things get the better of him.
What do you feel is Scott’s legacy?
Scott’s body of work speaks all on its own. We do not feel it’s really for us to say what his legacy will be as his many fans across his career will make that testament to what he brought to the music world. All that we will say is, it was true honor to work with one of our iconic heroes and it made us feel proud of what we’ve accomplished as a band that he was willing to join us.
Does Epiphany contain any elements of Scott?
Regrettably due to Scott’s declining health issues he was never able to have a real opportunity to make a viable contribution to “Epiphany”, so although there are no real elements of Scott in the recording we do feel that his spirit is watching over us as we move forward.
You did an acoustic performance at Tir Na Nog on 17th September, how do you plan an acoustic set as compares a normal gig. And what are your likes and dislikes about playing acoustically?
We really love exploring our acoustic shows and we approach them with the same determination and vigor as we do our electric shows. It gives us the ability to play with different instrumentalists, such as Ena Engerbretsen, a very versatile woodwind player and we can give a new incarnation to some of our more popular songs that makes it take on a whole new life as well as playing songs that you wouldn’t hear us do in an electric URN show.
Have you ever learned anything along your musical journey, a lesson or experience which was connected to music but taught you something not connected with an instrument or music creation?
There have been many life experiences and lessons that we’ve learned on this long journey. We literally could spend all day discussing it as again, we’ve been a band for a decade and a half now.
Dominic has a life motto that best summarizes it all “Above all else, just be a good friend.” We’ve certainly learned a great deal about ourselves and playing music allows us grow in a healthy fashion.
There are times in life when we fight for something we believe in, have you ever fought for something you believe in and if so what did you fight for?
We do it all the time. Everyday. A couple of us have to overcome health issues just to function on a day-to-day basis, and we do it as we have major unconditional love and support from our families that allow us to continue this blessed dream of music.
We believe in ourselves, in our talent and in our music. Like many artists, there has been the great deal of naysayers over the years. Not to say that we’ve been stubborn, as we’ve listened to counsel of others who are legitimate in wanting to try and help us improve. However, we have known when to just ignore the “haters” and “trolls” on the internet as their opinions mean absolutely nothing. Vast majority of these people have no real credentials or anything to validate their comments, it is just that, an opinion. They’re more than free to voice it all they want, but we hope for their sake they realize that no one is listening to them.
What made you relocate to Orlando?
In Dominic’s case it was mostly for family reasons. He felt Chicago didn’t have anything left to offer him in a personal and professional sense. URN although was a band that was based in Chicago for a good number of years, it was never really a local band to Chicago, as previously mentioned, the band actually started in Cleveland. Since we toured outside of Chicago so much, it didn’t seem as if Chicago considered us local either, so there were no emotional attachments or loyalties.
Through Christopher Migdalski being native to Florida we made many new friends in Florida once we arrived and have felt far more at home here.
Dominic, I notice you enjoy ren fairies. What are ren fairies and why do you enjoy them so much?
Most the members of URN enjoy Renaissance Faires as they are a fun of spending time together with family and friends and escaping to a fantasy world rooted in a historical time to escape the troubles of day-to-day life for a while.
It is a great enjoyment to perform musically at them as well as it gives us an opportunity to enjoy music in a different fashion.
XBOX or Playstation?
Thank you so much for giving Vampire Freaks this interview, is there anything you would like to add?
Yes, thank you so much for the amazing support and patience with us over these years it took us to get “Epiphany” out. We hope that you will enjoy this album as much as we had making for you.
Check URN out on