Interview with Actor/Musician Carlucci Weyant
Movie Room Reviews had the pleasure of talking with actor/musician Carlucci Weyant about his new band Dead By Choice, his new films and his production company Split Vision Entertainment.
Nick- Hey Carl, you’re a talented actor/musician and you’ve been in a lot of films and you’re currently working on a couple. It looks like you’ve been focusing most of your time lately on your music career, is that right?
Carl- Yeah quite a bit actually. Music has somewhat taken over my interests as of late.
Nick- You’re in a band called Dead By Choice right?
Car- That’s correct.
Nick- Do you play guitar and sing? Are you the writer too?
Carl- I play guitar, sing and I do write but the songs we are currently playing have been written by Christopher Galligan. I came into the band while it was already established so fell into a bunch of already written rocking songs. Right now we are hammering out a few songs for the new demo/album. I’ll be writing for a lot of the newer stuff coming up.
Nick- I listened to your song “Dependency” what’s your style you think? It sounds pretty intense.
Carl- Yeah it’s pretty brutal man. It’s a good collaboration of different types of music. We’ve got great acoustics but it’s hard to really pinpoint what we are exactly. For me, I’m heavily influenced by Metallica, Pantera, a bunch of80's heavy metal bands, classical, blues and worldly music. So my style is interesting that’s for sure. We’ve got our own kind of feel. We’ve got great ballads so it’s good mesh of sounds and so forth.
Nick- Is “Dependency” the single that’s coming?
Carl- Yeah that’s the single. We’re actually shooting the music video as we speak and that’s gonna be the first single for the band.
Nick- Oh that’s sweet! Where are you filming it at, in New York?
Carl- Yeah we’re shooting it in all different parts of New York.
Nick- Let me ask you, when this album comes and the single comes out how are you going to market it? A lot of bands out there kind of rely on the Internet a lot and I know that it is a big tool but it’s so over-saturated these days with so many bands on the Internet which makes it so hard to find music. How are you guys going to go about promoting yourselves?
Carl- It’s kind of just taken that out of the box mentality. I feel that with the Internet you have more access to people around the world but like you said it’s over-saturated, there are a lot of bands and a lot of people trying to get their music and their art heard/seen. What I’m looking at is that I’m using my acting, the fact that I’m kind of recognized in various parts of the world, as a tool to market the band. I’ve got a twitter account with a substantial amount of followers and I tweet some things out there or put it on facebook and start building a following. Once I put the music out there and people find it, they become fans, talk about it, share it, post it on their twitter accounts and word of mouth begins. I’m thinking about other ways that we can actually do things, having like a street team and just different ways to market the band. Finding ways that are successfully proven and other things that have never been done before. I’m very much a visionary so I like to do things that a lot of people don’t do and seeing if it works. Sometimes it works out surprisingly enough.
Nick- I’ve seen it happen with great bands where they go on the Internet and that’s there marketing tool and it just kind of peaks for the first couple weeks and then it falls back down. It’s almost back to the days where you have to go back on tour and just hand out flyers again to get peoples attention.
Carl- Totally. I always find it that whether you’re acting, producing or making music, it doesn’t matter what your doing, the most important thing you need is getting exposure. You do have to go back to the days of non-stop gigging. I’m not going to say getting exposre is the easy part because it’s very difficult as there’s no set direction to go but it’s a lot easier to get the exposure or to get “known” than it is to maintain that. That is a true art, if you keep on going year after year and maintain a high value that’s incredible because it is a very difficult task.
Nick- So are you guys still in the process of making the album or is the album done?
Carl- Right now we laid down all the guitar tracks, bass, and drum tracks. Now we’ve got the vocals, have some final tweaking and mastering. I am hoping in three to six months to have everything completed with music video releasing at the same time.
Nick- Who’s producing the album? Are you producing it?
Carl- We’ve got a guy who’s our sound engineer and producer Dave “Rave Man.” He comes from the techno club world but he’s produced a ton of metal and all kinds of music. He’s awesome and he’s in there just tweaking away, listening, coming up with ideas, making sure we’re sounding good. He’s done pretty well before so we’re really happy with what he’s done so far.
Nick- I listened to your music and it’s sounding good but I don’t know how you can be on stage with a drummer that plays so loud and so fast. I think I would just lose it. They play so many bass drum hits and go so fast I don’t even know what I would do.
Carl- It’s incredible man. I mean these guys are unreal. The drummer and the guitarist are brothers and they’ve been playing since they were kids, they’re so tight it’s crazy. They basically talk to each other without even talking. They just look at each other and they know what they’re both going to do at that moment. It’s incredible. John Galligan, the drummer his bass pedaling work is crazy. I’ve never seen anybody bass pedal like him. He is so precise with each note. I find it hard doing it on the guitar, I don’t know how he does it with his feet. Nino Valenti who plays bass is in the pocket keeping up with the drums like its no big deal.
Nick- I don’t know how he does it either. I couldn’t even have four feet and do that I don’t think.
Nick- Are you guys going to go on tour then?
Carl- Yeah we’re talking to a few bands. Some that are up and coming and some that are already pretty established. We want to put a tour together maybe even put a little festival together. Right now since I’m kind of the newbie in the band, I’m just trying to get to a certain point where I feel comfortable and we all feel comfortable to go do these bigger venues. What we’re doing is we are playing a lot of small secret shows locally in local lounges, clubs, and so forth just so we can get all the bugs worked out. We’re probably going to play a couple more smaller shows then we’ll go on tour playing some bigger gigs starting here in New York. I’ve got some access out in L.A, Louisiana, Chicago, hopefully if all works out we can be on tour by the end of this year sometime.
Nick- That’s cool. When you’re on stage with those guys does being an actor for so long help you with your stage presence a little bit?
Carl- Totally. When you’re in entertainment it’s all about entertaining the crowd and giving them a certain amount of energy that they can react on. Being an actor helps me be on stage and perform. It helps me be an entertainer. I love engaging the crowd. It’s an energy that’s so hard to describe. You’re throwing the music out there and the people are taking it in and they’re throwing it back at you and it’s a constant circle that’s happening. You just feel powerful. You feel so energized, like nothing can take you down. There’s no words for it. That’s why I had to come back into music just because it was something that was missing from my life for so long. Now that I got that feeling back there is nothing like it.
Nick- I play out and stage presence is my biggest problem. It’s really hard because the audience is feeding off of you and if you’re not doing anything they’re not doing anything.
Carl- What do you play?
Nick- I play guitar and sing too. I’ve been in a band for along time and I produce. I just produced an album for a band and playing out when I can. That’s why I was so interested in your music stuff and your production stuff because I just love all that and it’s interesting to see how everyone has there own unique way of making music which is so cool.
Carl- Yeah there’s no real set process. I like to keep things organic, feeding off each other. There’s nothing like finding the right individuals that push each other and work of each other to really create some great music. It’s pretty fascinating.
Nick- Good luck to your music career I hope it takes off for you and maybe if you’re in the Midwest I’ll get to see you.
Carl- Yeah that’d be great man.
Nick- Let’s talk about your acting a little bit. You quit music for about eight years to become an actor and you were in The Longest Yard, All In, Mysteria, and a bunch of other films. It looks like this year you’re in Locked in a Room, a thriller where you play Blake.
Carl- Yeah actually that premiered last night in Michigan. It’s a psychological thriller and it was actually on that set where I met one of my partners, Gordon Djordjevski. We collaborated on a few things and now he’s part of Split Vision Entertainment along with my partners Kevin Pugliese and Louis Peraino. That movie is coming out this year at some point.
Nick- You were in another movie called Benjamin where you play the role of Benjamin right?
Carl- Yeah Benjamin was such a great film and we are hoping to have it released by the first quarter of next year.
Nick- What’s that film all about?
Carl- Benjamin is about a struggling actor living in New York City from a Muslim background, who drives a cab in New York City to pay his way into acting. The whole story is essentially about this guy who is a free spirit and tries to live a “normal” life. He falls in love with this woman who is the daughter to the general of the military. The story takes place shortly after 9/11 where anybody who looked a certain way or had a certain last name would have a red flag put on them and were watched very closely. There are two parts to this film. The one side of the film is a love story. The second part which runs parallel with the first is a thriller in which the FBI chases Benjamin around keeping eyes on him 24/7. His apartment is bugged. His taxi is bugged. Everywhere he goes they keep eyes on him. He tries to life an everyday life but ends up being in shady situations that keep the audience guessing. The FBI wants to catch him in the act, the general of the military is concerned for his daughter so there’s just a whole roller coaster of events that happen.
Nick- It sounds like a pretty intense movie.
Carl- It is. It’s hard to pinpoint what type of movie it is because its unique. I think it definitely fits for our time right now and what’s going on in the world.
Nick- It sounds like the guys got a lot of drama going on but he’s not even aware of it.
Carl- Yeah exactly and the audience can’t tell, because the guys an actor, is he doing this stuff on purpose or is it a coincidence. He does certain things that are fishy and people start to question him. It’s definitely a story that will keep people entertained from beginning to end.
Nick- You’ve been an actor for quite awhile now and made your debut in 2008 at the Cannes festival with the thriller Karma: Crime. Passion. Reincarnation right?
Carl- Yeah that was my first one.
Nick- When that came out did you kind of realize what was going on and that your dreams of becoming an actor were coming true?
Carl- It was definitely surreal man. I just remember the timing because I was struggling before that. I moved out to LA to become a musician, artist or something. I moved out there not knowing what I wanted to do. I moved out to LA and I didn’t know what to expect and just like any artist or anybody that tries to follow their dreams, I hit rock bottom for a good number of years. I literally went through hell and back. Funny story about Karma, is that I met the producer about four years prior to us actually filming. I was all excited because he wanted to use me in the movie but didn’t get a call back, that’s Hollywood for you. Four years later around Christmas time of 2007 I get an email from the producer asking if I was still interested in doing the movie. It was a little much though because it was so quick. A day after New Years, I was flying out to India. I didn’t know what to expect. I had done small cameo roles, extra roles, and so forth but now I was a lead. Once I finished the movie and came home I was like wow I did my first real feature film. When the movie premiered it did very well in the international market. Little by little people started recognizing me and I started getting more work. I was like, something is happening here. I think I finally hit that point where I just got to keep on going and I can’t give up. There was a few times I was about to give up but my heart just kept telling me to continue on.
Nick- Best decision you ever made, huh?
Carl- Oh completely. I would be kicking myself right now if I quit. There’s just so much going on right now and my company Split Vision Entertainment is one of the top 50 companies in the world right now for production. That is quite a fete since we have only been open for two years. We got offices scattered around the states and have some amazing people working with us. We’re building a full fledged production studio in NY along with Marc Zorn. The acting has helped me out with the producing because I know people in the industry so its like I have that “in” with everybody. I’ve worked with them and whether it be the actors, directors, producers, I now can produce my own films and get those people on these movies.
Nick- I saw you have a lot of projects in the works and you’re just doing movies right now?
Carl- Yeah we are just doing feature films right now. There’s a project I’m working on right now that a lot of people are excited about. It’s called Jake Stevens: The Last Protector, we’re shooting the film in September Savannah and Atlanta Georgia. I’m producing it along with the Dunson Twins, Jennifer Champagne and Stratton Leopold. we got one of the actors from Twilight, Booboo Stewart, whose playing the lead role. It’s a high concept 3D action live and animated film. The Dunson Twins, who directed and produced the hit film Elle: A Modern Cinderella Tale will be directing this one. Financing is coming from IIK Entertainment. We got some big players on this movie like Victoria Burrows our Casting Director (King Kong, Cast Away, The Hobbit) And Garret Warrant our Stunt Coordinator (Avatar, Sin City, Transformers). Jake Stevens is a teenager from an alternate universe, a comic book world. He was sent to earth as an infant through a portal that opens once every 16 years by his parents to protect him from his world, a world that's at war. Film is Karate Kid + The Matrix + Iron Man = Jake Stevens: The Last Protector. I am working with my good friend David Zayas from the show Dexter who wrote a script titled 1013, I’m working with Producer and Actor Paul J. Alessi on a film written by Robert Miano (Donnie Brasco) titled “Chapo” 1970’s boxing, mafia film, Both these films are executive produced by our partner Andrew Youssef . Jars Productions and SVE have a co-production deal in place in which we are working on a number of big Blockbuster type films. We currently have over two dozen films. My vision for the company is to be a top company that revolutionizes the industry. I want to have our eyes open looking for talent for projects we do. I think people aren’t getting a fair enough chance to be discovered. Whether its music, art, or film, I don’t think people are giving a good look into those individuals. I want to have that ability and give that opportunity to people.
Nick- This seems like a life-long thing for you.
Carl- Absolutely. We’ve recently brought on a couple more partners into our company. We’re putting something together right now and I would love to go into it but unfortunately legally I can’t. It’s something that is going to completely change how Hollywood works. It’s an idea that I came up with a few years ago and I never expected to execute it at this point, but we’re in a time of change and people have to give back to the community. I really can’t get into it but Split Vision is the legacy I want to leave behind for my family. We also brought on a charity with my good friend Reggie Smith. He plays ball for the NFL and we are working together along with some other NFL players on a few business ventures. Check out the Reggie Smith Foundation. Split Vision was built by an artist for artists and that’s the whole point of the company. We’re going to dream, we’re going to create, and we’re going inspire together.
Nick- Well Carl that all sounds so great and you got so much going on. You’re doing all these movies, you got a new album coming out this year, and your company is taking off. So where can our readers go to keep up with you?
Carl- You can find us at www.splitvisionent.com of course on twitter @split/vision/ent and on facebook, you can follow the band at www.deadbychoice.com or follow us on twitter @dead_by_choice and finally you can follow me on twitter @carlucciweyant Hope to see you there!
Nick- Thank you so much for talking with us here at movie room reviews and I can’t wait to see some of the movies and hear the album.
Carl- Absolutely. I really appreciate all the time you gave and I look forward to future sessions.