Armor Attack is a synthwave group composed of Texas based singer-songwriter and executive producer W. Shane Cormier, Ukrainian based producer, songwriter and guitarist Artem Iefimov and Turkish producer and musician Akif Oz. Inspired in part by 1980’s era movie score and Los Angeles glam metal of the same decade, the pair wrote two singles “Out of Time” and “La Cienega Blvd” as part of their debut EP titled “Prepare for Attack”. Officially classified as “Pop Rock”, Armor Attack has been considered many genres including synthwave, electrowave and retrowave and a genre the duo calls glamwave.
“We’ve been inspired by many different factors of the 80’s, from Blade Runner movie score to Lita Ford, Poison and Van Halen, Warrant and so many more of those iconic Sunset Strip bands, so it’s only fitting to classify Armor Attack as Glamwave”. – W. Shane Cormier
Rick Jamm: Armor Attack has several different 80’s elements, how would you describe Armor Attack’s style and sound?
Shane Cormier: Armor Attack is synthwave first and foremost. Like any synthwave or retrowave artists, we are heavily influenced by 80’s soundtracks and film scores.
Rick Jamm: About influences, who mainly inspired Armor Attack?
Shane Cormier: We could be here all day. We’re fond of anything and everything 80’s, from Blade Runner movie score to Steve Stevens of Billy Idol, Poison, Van Halen and Sunset Strip glam rock of the mid 80’s.
Artem Iefimov: Definitely Blade Runner movie. In the past I was a big fan of The A-Team TV series, and there were some great soundtracks as well.
Rick Jamm: Artem, your guitar work on the debut EP ‘Prepare for Attack’ is masterful, give us an idea on how you conceptualize your guitar solos for each song?
Artem Iefimov: Glad to hear that, Rick! I’m recording my guitar tracks for each of the song in the same way. At first, I’m listening to the song for few times, normally after that I can hear some guitar lines in my head. After that I’m listening to it with a guitar for two more times and trying to find some good notes. Then I’m recording few jam tracks and start building my guitar melodies. That may be funny, but for me one of the most difficult things is to find a proper guitar for a song, because they all different.
Rick Jamm: Are you a self-taught guitarist or classically trained?
Artem Iefimov: I started to play a guitar 14 years ago, and for the first time I had some lessons just 4 years ago. I learned a lot by myself, at first, I was trying to play my favorite songs, but one day I found that you need to learn some theory to understand what you are doing. That was a bit boring, but it definitely helped me to grow as a musician. And four years ago, I decided to take some lessons from my friend, who is a great guitar player. I had some questions and he helped answer them.
Rick Jamm: Speaking of Steve Stevens, you are certainly in the same league as him as far as your skill and ability. He was the first guitarist I thought of when hearing the track “The Interceptor”; Was he one of your influences?
Artem Iefimov: That’s a difficult question because I still don’t know if I have a favorite guitar player. It’s easier for me to mention some bands, but not certain folks. Anyway, if I wish to be a good musician, I need to think more broadly and to have my own style without heavy influences of someone certain.
Rick Jamm: How was Armor Attack born?
Shane Cormier: I’ve had this concept for some time to create a Synthwave group. Gunship, The Midnight and Lazerhawk have found success and they motivated me to go for it as well… I had been completely out of the music scene for years and it took a second to gain the confidence to try again. I’ve been called a perfectionist, whether I am or not is up for debate but when I get involved with a project, I hang on tight and I expect everything possible.
Originally, I imagined releasing a few songs solo to see how it would be received. Artem and I have known each other for some time and I knew that his sound and professionalism would carry the music to another level.
Artem and I worked on a few songs together for a metal project, so I had a working relationship with him prior to Armor Attack. When he returned from his European tour with his band in the Ukraine, I introduced Armor Attack to him, he laid down his tracks and so we have ‘Prepare for Attack’.
Rick Jamm: How did you two meet?
Shane Cormier: Well, we live in a connected world. The internet has made us closer than ever before. I needed a guitar for a metal project and I found Artem on Fiverr. I didn’t know what to expect from Fiverr to be truthful but like I said, I was out of the music industry for a long time and the friends and bandmates I knew in the Los Angeles scene were grown up and moved away from California. I even moved from Hollywood to Houston, Texas so I sort of felt lost for a second.
Artem is a powerhouse. A virtuoso of a musician. I knew it when I first heard him play. I imagined him as my Slash. SynthWave and RetroWave is popular in Russia and the Ukraine so I believed Armor Attack would be a good match for Artem.
Artem Iefimov: That’s an interesting story for me. As Shane told before, I was on European tour for 6 weeks this summer. During that time, I was thinking about our metal project with Shane and even recorded some ideas. We always listened to different music in our van with other guys and one day a drummer showed me a song, which sounded as 80s one, but I could hear that it was recorded nowadays. I asked him if it’s a modern band, and he told “yes”. I didn’t hear something similar because that, I mean among modern songs, and that was great. He showed me few other songs and I liked them so much as well! When I came back to Ukraine, Shane told me: “We have a new project, just check it out!”. And that was the same music I was listening for!
Rick Jamm: So Artem, you’re a professional studio musician as well? What other artists have your worked with?
Artem Iefimov: I’m a full-time mixing engineer, so mixing and producing music is what I’m normally doing. Being a session musician is a great opportunity for me to grow as a musician, because I’m doing both guitars and bass and for I love to find some new genres of music. First of all, I’m a metal guy, for example I love classic thrash metal bands, but I don’t wish to be limited. For example, last year I discovered Rockabilly for myself when one sir asked me to help with guitar and bass tracks. The other interesting example is a guy from Indonesia. We have really good relationships with him and I’m making metal guitar covers of Indonesian folk songs for him. That’s an awesome experience!
Rick Jamm: Armor Attack is growing rapidly on Spotify, what is the future of Armor Attack and how do you see the group transcending into a live group? Do you see a tour possibly?
Shane Cormier: We’re not sure about performing live. Currently we’re writing and recording material. We’ll be releasing a few new singles soon and possibly a full-length album early 2019. Some new songs will feature various singers and possibly a hip-hop artist as well so if we have the material and the fanbase for a tour, we’ll visit that idea when the time is right. I would like to tour with an artist like Lazerhawk or a band like Gunship no doubt.
Artem Iefimov: That’s may be great for sure! I love to be on a stage and to travel, and I hope we will have an opportunity to play together one day!
Rick Jamm: That was going to be my next question, what are the future plans for Armor Attack?
Shane Cormier: Growing! Writing and recording new music and broadening our sound. Currently we’re straight instrumental but we have a few songs that will have a singer and a hip-hop artist… These artists are future pop stars and I won’t mention their names yet, it’s too soon but let’s just say that Armor Attack will find its way on the US Pop Charts with these featured artists.