Longtime FLYLEAF members Sameer Bhattacharya (guitar) and Pat Seals (bass) have joined forces with P.O.D. drummer Noah "Wuv" Bernardo and producer Dave Hidek in a new project called BELLE AND THE DRAGON.
Described by Sameer as "an existential crisis put to music," BELLE AND THE DRAGON's debut album, "Birthrights", examines the beliefs and traditions that every child inherits upon birth, encompassing layers of faith, loss and realization.
This passion project has been a labor of love for Sameer since 2016 when the Texas native, on touring hiatus from his band FLYLEAF, relocated from Los Angeles to San Diego. Transitioning into the next chapter of his life, he was inspired to dig deep into himself exploring his childhood and formative years, evaluating where he had come from, what he had been taught, what he had lost and ultimately empowering him to be more open minded about the journey ahead of him.
As one of the primary songwriters for the alternative rock band FLYLEAF, Sameer composed the lyrics and riffs for "Birthrights" and recruited his bandmate and good friend Seals and fellow touring musician Wuv to collaborate, with Hidek as the producer.
BELLE AND THE DRAGON is Sameer's first solo project, which affords him the opportunity to write without a filter. Prior to BELLE AND THE DRAGON, the guitarist was one of the the primary songwriters, and background vocalists for FLYLEAF since 2002. Sameer also toured with P.O.D. from 2016 to 2018, playing keys and singing background vocals.
Recorded at the Professor Bombay Sound studio in North County San Diego, the album was produced and mixed by Hidek of The Church Recording Studio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Prior to BELLE AND THE DRAGON, Dave had co-written and headed up pre-production on FLYLEAF's albums "New Horizons" and "Between The Stars". Hidek has also worked with P.O.D. on remixes for a San Diego Chargers theme song reboot.
BELLE AND THE DRAGON's music video for the song "Wrestle (With The Devil)" can be seen below. The clip was flilmed in December on the North Ponto Beach in Carlsbad, California.
BELLE AND THE DRAGON will make its live debut on next month's ShipRocked cruise.
BELLE AND THE DRAGON is:
Sameer Bhattacharya - vocals / guitar / songwriting
Pat Seals - bass guitar
Noah "Wuv" Bernardo – drums
Dave Hidek - production / programming