This year’s Best New Artist includes The Envied, who emerged with a successful music video debut “Gondola Ride”. Known for their artistry and performance, their highly anticipated debut of “Gondola Ride” was released on January 15, 2022. The Envied is one of the hottest bands in rock right now. They bring modern rock back to the mainstream. 2022 will be a year of more publicity for them.
The Envied is an American alternative rock act with electronic music undertones that tend to be on the progressive side of sound. The act includes lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Mark Sanchez and drummer Michael Lopez. “The Envied” name stems from the idea that humans are the envied beings of angels, due to the love that God has for what was made in his image. It all began nameless and with material written and composed, inspired by true events or philosophical thought processes. When the title “Crash Test Mannequins” was released it kicked off the new beginning. The second release to come from The Envied titled “Gondola Ride” is accompanied with the first music video, to showcase an intimate theme with a catch.
The duo Mark and Michael met years prior and shared similar music interests. Mark at the time was producing electronic based music under the artist name “Black Swan White” after previously performing with a different rock band. During that time Michael was in a rock band by the name of “SONS”. After some time Mark had developed rock based music alongside the electronic music he was composing. Mark reached out to Michael for drum work in the newer music and then the duo merged to form The Envied.
Exclusive Interview with Michael Lopez and Mark Sanchez of the Envied
NY Glam: What does music/art represent in your life?
Michael Lopez: Everything. It represents life. Freedom, expression, healing. I mean it takes you from one state of being to a better one. You know you could go anywhere. With music it’s just medicine that’s applicable for any situation. You know, choose your poison. You can feel that with music and even art.
Mark Sanchez: I agree, it’s definitely a way to communicate something to eyes and ears across generations too.
NY Glam: Where did you grow up? Was music a big part of your family life? Did the local music scene influence you or inspire you to play music?
Michael Lopez: The barrios of Puerto Rico! My mom and I lived at my grandma’s house. She was a single mom and worked hard for us, she always got us what we needed. I really appreciate single mothers, because I know how hard things can be. I used to wake up my mom by drumming on some little kit she got me when I was a little kid. It’s been a part of me since birth. Yeah for sure, i used to go to a lot of shows when I was younger. When I was living in Germany I got to see a lot of cool bands and places. Sometimes in train stations and warehouses. It’s been a huge inspiration and definitely kinda pushed me to keep going.
Mark Sanchez: I grew up in a lot of different places, but I had my start in Bavaria, Germany. Mostly the eastern side of the states after that. Music wasn’t a big part of my family’s life. No one else played music in my family but they supported my interest in it from an early age. I did have a fixation on a, maybe 15 key toy piano at the age of 3 and kind of played with sounds ever since. It got really serious when I turned 5 and got a 32 key entry level piano, with a bunch of jungle sounds and preset beats haha. No but as time went on my fixation on instruments evolved and had family support along the way. When it came to a local music scene, it was more inspirational than influential for me. It’s always inspiring to see other musicians at floor level with you making a cohesive sound and projecting energy.
NY Glam: What was the first song you ever composed?
Michael Lopez: When I was 18 I wrote a song at a retreat. I was really trying to find God at the time. I had it all wrong. It was actually used for one of the church productions as well. So I’m pretty proud of that.
Mark Sanchez: The very first song ever? sheesh, I can’t remember what I called it. I had a lot of first songs though! For The Envied, it’s a song called “Lifeless”.
NY Glam: Can you elaborate on the formation of The Envied?
Mark Sanchez: I didn’t know it at the time but The Envied started forming right at the end of 2018. I had been making electronic dance music before, but felt I needed a more timeless type of music to get some thoughts out. What I didn’t realize is that the collection of songs would be cohesive and have a purpose.
NY Glam: How did you decide to use the name “The Envied”?
Mark Sanchez: I think envy is one of a few things that motivates people. I started thinking about who’s really worthy of being envied. So many people envy each other but don’t think that they might be envied themselves. What clicked was the idea that angels envy humans due to them being created in the image of God. We are the envied.
NY Glam: When did you begin playing music? What was your first instrument? Who were your major influences?
Michael Lopez: I’ve been playing music since I was a little guppy, since that little drum my mother got me. The rhythm has always been inside me. I guess it’s just the Puerto Rican in me. There’s always been a higher purpose, but it’s definitely in my blood. My father used to be the singer in a salsa band and they would tour around Puerto Rico. That’s before I was born though, I carry a different legacy. I’d say Rock and roll though. Rock and roll would be my main influence. Freedom of expression. Music is the only thing that gives me an outlet to be my full self.
Mark Sanchez: I started out on a toy piano at around age 3. As I got older, the more professional instruments came into my life. I had a lot of major influences from different genres. There are two bands that I will always respect for composition, sound, musical concepts and just overall musicianship. For me that’s Nine Inch Nails, and Tool.
NY Glam: When and where was the first gig as a band? Do you remember the first song the band played? How was the band accepted by the audience?
Mark Sanchez: The first gig was in Huntsville, Alabama. It was a song called “NPC” that we co-wrote with our friend Stephen “PR” Kane. I get the feeling the audience loved it considering they were singing along to the lyrics. I don’t even know how so many of them knew the song so well because it wasn’t released before we even performed it.
NY Glam: What influenced the band’s sound? And how would you characterize the sound of The Envied today?
Mark Sanchez: There’s a lot of influence from both me and Michael in the way our music takes shape. I would say the love for a high energy but meaningful sound is really what influences every song. When these songs get written, I really like to make sure I feel as if I’m going on a journey. There are subtle nuances that are different from start to finish. We don’t always stick to a typical formula when it comes to an arrangement. As far as the character… I’d say it’s something you could listen to in your car with the windows rolled down, or at a party with friends. I’d even say it’s something you could listen to if you just feel like thinking.
NY Glam: What’s the story behind the debut music video, “Gondola Ride”?
Mark Sanchez: I would say it’s a visual representation of the lyrical content in a PG-13 format. A lot of what you see and hear is based on two individuals engaging in what they know they shouldn’t be doing. It’s like when you know what you’re doing is wrong, and lose self control and the battle to do what’s right. This story involves two people giving up to selfish desire.
NY Glam: Where did you record it? Who did you work with on this project? Who was the producer?
Mark Sanchez: All of our songs are self produced. We were able to work with Corey Lawson from Claw Sound Studios in Nashville to get the amazing drum recordings for the album. Everything else apart from the drums is recorded at my home studio.
NY Glam: Can you tell us about “Crash Test Mannequins”? How did the making of this song come about?
Mark Sanchez: Crash Test Mannequins is a high energy timeless piece. I felt compelled to write on a topic that pointed out the “matrix” of a system we seem to live in. What’s really wild is I wrote the song before the pandemic and the song seems more fitting today.
NY Glam: You also worked with Stephen “PR” Kane on the “NPC” single. What can you tell us about this collaboration and the song?
Mark Sanchez: This song was really fun! PR from Fantom Airwaves was working on an album and invited us to be featured on one of his songs. It’s an EDM song with a really cool bass driven rhythm. He sent over the song he created without any guitar or vocals and said “here it is, do whatever The Envied would do on it” So that’s what we did! I started with a guitar melody that fit really well with it, and then the lyrics came. NPC stands for Non Player Character. It’s in a way speaking on knowing you’re an NPC and enjoying it. Sometimes I speak sarcasm in lyrical content.
NY Glam: Looking back, are there any favorite memories or achievements you would like to highlight? What was the highlight of your time in the band?
Michael Lopez: One of my favorite things were when we finished our recording session in Nashville with Claw Sound Studios. We were really excited about how it turned out and how smooth it was. We hadn’t recorded in a studio in a while so it was a really refreshing experience. We’re thankful to have recorded in such a great space with an engineer with a good ear for sound.
Mark Sanchez: One of my favorite memories so far is when we me and Michael got together for the first time and set up some backing tracks to play guitar and drums live in a rehearsal space. We actually recorded some footage on a phone of us playing Gondola Ride while it was still in development.
NY Glam: What are you currently working on?
Mark Sanchez: At the moment we are working spreading the word for the new release of Gondola Ride, and the music video. We have new material that is being written as well that I think will be an evolution of our first EP.
NY Glam: Any plans for any new releases, upcoming albums or tours in the near future?
Mark Sanchez: Definitely. We are looking to release an EP early spring. We’re in talks about a performance set to bring this album live to people. It’s tricky because there’s multiple parts written, and only two of us, but that won’t hold us back.
NY Glam: Thank you for taking your time. Any last words to your fans and the NY Glamour followers?
Michael Lopez: Get excited! you’re gonna be hearing a lot from us in the near future. Stoked to meet you all and see your faces on the road!
*Cover Photo: Mark Sanchez and Michael Lopez of the Envied, and Corey Lawson of Claw Sound Studios.