Category Archives: Interviews

Eluveitie: Bringing The Magic to the Sunset Strip

eluvietieivo1Eluveitie converged upon the Los Angeles area. bringing their own imaginative brand of folk metal to House Of Blues on the world famous Sunset Strip.  Performing songs from their various albums, including their latest masterwork Origins, the Swiss collective had the audience absolutely captivated throughout the entire performance. Just prior to their magical set, we caught up with guitarist Ivo Henzi to find out more about the amazing new album, touring the States, their thoughts on Hollywood. and other topics of intrigue.  Read on…

Introduce yourself and tell me what you do in the band and how long have you’ve been with Eluveitie.
Hi, I am Ivo from Eluveitie, I’m a guitar player. I’ve been in the band for now 10 years.

How’s the tour going? What are some of the highlights?
This tour has been amazing so far. We have been on tour for about eight or nine days, even more. I lost track, we had about eight shows that were amazing so far. I think the highlight was for me so far, Dallas. Dallas was really great. Good crowd, good venue, good backstage, good food. Everything was just perfect.

eluveitie4How many times has your band played out here in Hollywood?
I think here in Hollywood, its about five times, here in House of Blues, three four times about.

What are you impressions of Hollywood now that you’ve been here a few times?
Its great, it’s great. I think we all kind of love this place which we imagined as children as a big place where all the stars come from. So yeah, we really love it. We love the clubs, we love the food here, we love most people, not all. [laughs] And yeah, I’ve been sightseeing a bit and it was really great. I went to the Warner Brothers studios, there was a tour guide there and you could watch behind the scenes, watch all the film sets and it was really interesting.

71rXizdfJjL._SL1417_Is there any story or concept behind Origins, the new album?
Yes, Chrigel is the one who was making lyrics and making the concept of the album. I mean there’s like a red line through the album. Its a bit less on the Helvetios . Helvetios was much more like a whole story if you could say so.  But, this one is a bit more mixed, a bit more open than we used to do it. I don’t want to go much deeper because Chrigel is the one who likes making lyrics with all the factual background, the historical background. This is like, as always, really important for us to have a good background, and we already tried to make lyrics or topics which have substance, historically substance, substantial stuff.

How do you think Origins compares to the previous albums?
I think Origins is a natural evolvement or progression from Helvetios. It has similarities, I guess but we also try to make new things we never did before. Like just some musical parts which are not typical for us. But we try to include them in a natural way so that it still sounds like Eluveitie. You know it’s, maybe some people don’t really hear it, maybe it’s so well included, I don’t know. I mean I hear them immediately and I’m surprised the feedback has been amazing so far. I’m surprised that no one really got pissed off because of some parts with it. But, this is a good sign. People like it.

eluveitie3What song do you enjoy playing the most live?
King.” I think that one includes a lot of different parts, aspects of our music. Like, the fast parts, the really folky parts – the metal parts. It’s like a package of all the good things.

What can one expect from your live show tonight?
You can expect a furious show of folk instruments combined with amazing speed metal – no, just kidding. I think, I mean, it’s hard to tell. We just try to be natural about these things. We just do. Just naturally evolves what we do on stage. Some parts we, of course have some directions of what’s going to happen. But, I think you’ll hear a lot of different things like slow songs, some calm moments through the set, some furious moments through the set. I think you’ve got lots of different emotions. That’s what we are. That’s the main concept of our live shows, to have a lot of different aspects.

Are you involved with any other bands outside of this one?
Not actively, no. I have some side projects that I’m doing but Eluveitie is my main focus. It’s the main musical thing I’m doing, so at the moment – no. But, our other members have. Anna has her project.

I saw her solo album on sale downstairs. Did any of you play on that?
I did play some stuff on that, yeah. But she’s the songwriter. She basically did all the songs, I was just a slave. [laughs]

eluveitie5Do you think you’ll be doing any acoustic albums or performances?
We are planning an acoustic album, another one. Yes. But, actually we don’t know when or there’s no date set for that but it will happen eventually. Acoustic shows? We’re still talking and looking into that so, we did some acoustic shows in the past with Evocation.  When Evocation came out, we did some shows, some festivals, just acoustic. We have to see about – what’s the interest of the people is and if they’re interested in acoustic performances. We don’t know, let’s see. Maybe with the new Evocation album. That’d make sense.

What’s up next for you guys after this tour is over?
We go home for about a week and then we go on another tour in Europe for about 6 weeks until mid December. So we’re really busy. All over Europe, which is a long tour.

Do you have any messages for your bands fans out here in the Los Angeles area?
You fans in the Los Angeles area are one of the greatest. Please come to our shows. Next time as well, bring your friends and families so we can fill up the venues, thank you very much. You are the best.

Eluveitie is:
Merlin Sutter – Drums
Chrigel Glanzmann – Vocals, Mandola & Mandolin, Tin & Low Whistles, Bagpipes, Bodhràn
Anna Murphy – Hurdygurdy, Vocals, Flute
Nicole Ansperger – Fiddle
Ivo Henzi – Guitars
Rafael Salzmann – Guitars
Patrick Kistler – Tin & Low Whistles, Bagpipe
Kay Brem – Bass

(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)

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The Dark Progressions of Tantal

tantal2014_2Based out of the vast confines of Russia, the mighty Tantal present progressive death metal in its darkest hour. Expectancy is their seconds masterwork, a thrilling collection of songs that should thoroughly intrigue metal fans throughout this dismal planet.  We had the chance to interview two of the Tantal members to find out more about their devastating new album, the metal scene in Russia, their stunning lyrical content, and other subjects of deep contemplation.  Read on as we explore the somber progressions of Tantal

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Tantal, and how long the band has been together.
Dmitry: My name is Dmitry – rhythm and solo guitars, lyrics. I’m in the band since its foundation – 2004. The original members who have participated since 2004 – Vyacheslav (drums) and Michael (bass).
Milana: Hi, I’m Milana, the vocalist since 2013.

Where is the band based out of and what is your local metal scene like there?
Dmitry: One half of the band lives in Moscow and the second in Moscow region. But for the world we usually tell that we are from Moscow, Russia. As for the local metal scene: Moscow is the capital of Russia, so there are loads of metal bands playing in different genres: classical heavy metal, thrash, death metal, death core and so on…I think that there is a lack of progressive metal bands who don’t follow the modern “core” trend, but we try to improve the situation with our music, we try to make it original and interesting as much as we can.

expectancy1Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Expectancy?
Dmitry: Yes, “Expectancy” has a concept. One day everyone starts asking themselves: “Who am I?”, “Why was I born and what should I do in this life?”. “What do I need to change in my life to be happy?”, “Why am I so miserable?” and so on. Every song of the album describes each period of the “inner search”. It tells about a person’s attempts to find meaning of their life, to find themselves, and to understand themselves. As result, it leads them to despair and destroys all their hopes. In the end they understand that all their life was pointless.

Select two songs from Expectancy and what inspired the lyrics.
Dmitry:All the lyrics are based on my own feelings, thoughts and experience, everything is very personal.The very first song “Through the years” – is about state when you’ve grown up and got a little bit wiser, in other words when you become adult. You start to look back and analyze all your actions and results you’ve achieved. Of course, most of the people prefer not to show that they regret about something but deep inside we all would like to change some aspects in our lives. During this period, we start to think about our appropriation in life, start asking “global questions”. This song describes all that I felt at this period of “getting wiser than I was before”.

The last track called “Under the weight of my sorrow I crawl” is about my feelings again, how hard it is to live without a purpose, without the beloved whom you have betrayed or lost. Every day is the same; you are emptied and have to live with your recollections and regrets. You can do nothing to change the past. It’s like the cross you must bear for the rest of your wasted life.

Who did the artwork for Expectancy and how much input did you have on it?
Dmitry: The artwork was created by the famous artist Gustavo Sazes who works with “Arch Enemy”, “Gus G”, “Amaranthe”, “Morbid Angel” and many other metal bands. He also did the artwork for our previous album “The Beginning Of The End” and it was fantastic, that is why we decided to get back to him with “Expectancy”.

I wanted everyone who takes a look at the cover and through the booklet to feel depression, desperation, loneliness, devastation and hopelessness. So I wanted a dark and sad picture, but not necessarily in dark colors. Looking at it I see the reflection of the inner world of a desperate and lonely man. Butterflies fly through the whole booklet symbolize all our hopes that are destined to die.

How did you wind up signing to Bakerteam?
Dmitry: In March 2014 we finished the album and got the final mix. After that we signed a contract with Russian label “Mazzar Records” who released “Expectancy” in Russia. But we also wanted to spread our new music all other the world, so I started to send our digital promo pack to the different labels outside Russia via email. One of them was “Scarlet Records” whose management offered us to make a deal with their sub label “Bakerteam Records”. It was the best offer among the others which we got, so we said “yes, let’s do it” and now the album will be released in Europe and USA in the end of October 2014. For this release we prepared the bonus sections which is a little bit different from Russian edition and includes an alternative acoustic version of the song from the previous album called “In The End pt.2 (Epitaph)”. I hope everyone will enjoy “Expectancy” music and its artwork this autumn.

What could one expect from a live Tantal show?
Dmitry: First of all we try to do it as much dynamic as possible: different guitar tricks, work with audience, some jokes or funny things. In other words we try to show not only our musical skills but also give audience a chance to participate a little bit at the concert. But the very important for me is the bands’ dynamic – I try to release and to give all my energy to the people who visit our gig even if there are only few guys in front of the stage.

As for the set-list: now we play all songs from “Expectancy” album, at our Moscow presentation we also did a little acoustic show there we played one of the song from our previous album. I hope to continue this tradition; maybe we will do acoustic version of some our new songs. Sometimes we play cover-song, it’s Black SabbathDie Young” in the name of DIO \m/

Has Tantal ever played here in the States or plan to do so in future days?
Dmitry: No, we didn’t play in the States…you know it’s a question of the distance because we are too far and the tickets are very expensive. But deep inside I still believe that maybe someday we can do that. It would be cool to do it, for our little band it would be the great opportunity and honor. Definitely, if we get an offer to play there we will take this chance.

If you could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Milana: I would be eager to open up for The Agonist! I admire their new vocalist, Vicky, she, as well as their previous, is one of the brightest and professional female vocalists in metal. And I also think it would be cool for two bands, both fronted by girls singing in clean and extreme styles, to share the stage.

How did Milana Solovitskaya wind up being in the band and what is her background in music?
Dmitry: I found Milana at one of musical forums in the beginning of 2013…one year after our original vocalist Sofia decided to leave the band. At rehearsals and at the studio Milana behaved very professionally, she was ready and all these facts distinguished her from the other candidates. She recorded for us two songs from “Expectancy” and her clean voice fitted very well to our new music, after that we decided to do her a part of the band.

Milana: At the moment I’m studying for an academic singer in the university. I’ve taken classes of different vocal styles and techniques for about 5 past years, mostly of academic style, though. As for participating in other bands, there was one under the arm band, it’s not worth mentioning…

What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most after hearing Expectancy for the very first time?
Milana: The atmosphere, the spirit of the music. For me it’s the most important about music – to catch the core of it. And I suppose Tantal’s got some deep core to feel through.

Dmitry: Melodies, a lot of beautiful guitar and vocal melodies. We tried hard to do our songs easy listening in spite of the fact that some of them are “proggy”, complicated and very heavy…it’ some kind of the balance we try to keep in our music.

What’s up next for Tantal?
Dmitry: Till the end of this year we have booked some shows in different cities of Russia, so we are going to play there to promote the album. For the 2015 I hope we can visit Europe and continue to tour among Russian cities, but at the moment I can’t tell anything specific.Also, we are preparing new songs for the third album. At the moment we have 6 composed instrumentals with some lyrics and vocal melodies. As a tradition the new album will be different from the previous ones, but it will have all TANTAL’s distinctive marks such as complicated compositions with catchy melodies, dark and melancholic mood.

Any final words of wisdom?
Milana: Thanks for the interview and stay metal!

Dmitry: Thanks everyone for your support, we are really grateful for any comments, likes or emails from all our listeners, it gives us strength and inspiration to move forward. I wish everyone to find its meaning of life and purpose.

Visit us at our web pages and don’t hesitate to drop us the line here:
www.tantalweb.ru
www.facebook.com/tantalofficial

Tantal is:
Milana Solovitskaya- vocals
Vyacheslav Gyrovoy – drums
Alexander Strelnikov – guitars
Michael Krivuletz – bass
Dmitry Ignatiev – guitars

(Interview by Ken Morton)

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Martha Davis and The Motels: No Rest For The Wicked

marthadavisj2Best known for the massive hits Only The Lonely, Suddenly Last Summer, and Take The LThe Motels in 2014 still display the passion and enthusiasm of a brand new band ready to take on the world at large.  Founding member Martha Davis is in top form, whether singing the familiar songs with a fierce conviction or introducing cuts from an upcoming album due to be released in the New Year. We caught up with Ms. Davis backstage at The Mint in West Los Angeles to discuss the past, present, and glorious future of The Motels.   After all, there is no rest for the Martha Davis, The Motels, or their wickedly wonderful songs.  Read on…

What was the 50th anniversary Whisky show? When is the DVD coming out?
First of all, it was absolutely fantastic. It’s always fun playing The Whisky, always has been fun but the 50th anniversary made it really special. Plus, it was my birthday that night. All in all it was just a hell of a fun night. It’s a great club to celebrate, it’s an iconic club. We did do this big, I think four camera shoot. Wonderful cinematographer and a great director, and we’re working on the post-production, mixing the sound and getting the final steps done. I’m not sure, I can’t tell you exactly when it’ll be out – but soon.

In the press notes it says you’re working on a new Motels album.
Yes.

marthadavisjl1How is that going to compare to the classic Motels albums?
It’s going to be different. But kind of well, I mean – it’s going to have songs which is what we believe in the most. It’s a cool sounding album, you’re going to hear some of the songs tonight. There will be a little sneaky preview, I don’t think that a lot has changed in the sense that in some ways I’m just an old fashioned songwriter. This album, I sort have been looking at it conceptually, like it’s one cohesive piece of work. But there’s a lot of stuff that we all write together. So it’s a very much a Motels record as well. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s modern. It’s a lot more dancier in some ways. There’s a lot more – uptempo, cool stuff. Eric, how do you describe our new album?

Eric: Awesome.
All: [laughs]

You have a lot of passion. Probably more than you did when you first started The Motels. Where does it come from?
MD: It’s such a wonderful thing that I get to do and every time you do it, it’s not like – well, I’m done now. You want to do more. It’s self-feeding. It’s feeds into itself. Songwriting, performing, this band – everything has been getting better. So, why would you want to stop? It just keeps growing into a beautiful thing.

motelsjl3You covered “Nowhere Man” by The Beatles. What made you cover that?
Well, I was asked if I would like to get in on this little shindig, I said sure. The Beatles are good. We all like The Beatles. They sent over a list of songs and which ones we’re taken by who, “Nowhere Man” was in there and it’s a beautiful song, so I’ll do my best. I’m not a Beatle, though. Those guys were so unique. Then it’s like, until you really try to sing one you don’t realize how awesome those songs are and how intricate – it’s a good workout.

thismotelsI want to talk about the previous albums – and not the obvious choices. First, how do you feel about This now?
I love This. I think it’s a great album. It’s sad in the sense that we didn’t have – well right now we have new management, Greg, who’ve you met and he’s awesome. He’s working like crazy. We didn’t have that back then, so when that album got released, it didn’t really get released. It got dropped into the internet and then sort of disappeared with the other 10 million records that people make by themselves. So – I don’t think it ever really got its due. I think it’s a great album, there are some great songs on it.

policymarthaAgreed. With your writing so many songs, why in the world did you do Tell It To The Moon on Policy?
The record company wanted me to, that was not by choice. In the history of me and Capitol Records – it started out with this team there whom were amazing. Carter who signed us, Don Zimmerman who’s the president. Bruce Garfield, Bruce Raven – they were great and all record people. By the time I made that last record, Capitol had changed so drastically and it was like – their whole concept for me was, you need to co-write with so and so. That record has so many to guest star on it from Clarence Clemons to Kenny G. Then singing a Diane Warren song and co-write with these people. It was all fun, every time I’m doing music I”m happy – but, it didn’t really have a lot to do with who I am and because who I am as a writer, more than anything else. An interesting exercise, though. I made some new friends.

The_Motels_ShockShock – what do you think of that?
Shock is strange, [laughs]. My favorite Motels album is the first album. By the time we got to Shock, it was very – I don’t know. Not the music, I mean, I like David Bowie and strange things and, it got very – I love Richie Zito, the guy that produced it, but I think all of us, it was maybe starting to fall apart a little bit. It wasn’t as heartfelt – you could dance to some of it.

motelsjl4Complete this sentence – if I have to play “Only the Lonely” again live, I’ll…
It’ll probably be tonight [laughs]. I love playing that song, it’s always been fun. I’ve said it before and I”ll say it again. You never play the same song twice, ever. It’s always a different room, different audience, night, barometric pressure. Being that there’s a new audience and perhaps an audience that’s never seen you do it before or even never heard the song before. Who knows. You’re giving it a different entity. Just like every minute of every day is a different entity and it can never be again – let’s get deep. Let’s get physics, let’s get fractal. Let’s get [laughs] – life is not something that repeats itself, it’s always new circumstances and energy. That song continues to be able to still move people. With that, every time I play it, it’s a joy.

So what’s up next for The Motels now, any more shows?
Well, we went to Australia once this year and I think we’re maybe going back next year. Greg’s working on trying to get the European thing together and different things in the states. We want to try to hit parts of the United States that we haven’t hit, we go, OK this is west coast and then we’ll jump on the east coast. But, Texas is going hey! So we’re going to try and do a lot of that. But concentrate on getting the record done, the DVD done. There’s always a million projects. I just got a new idea for a Christmas song this morning.

Maybe a new Christmas song this year!
Maybe. It’s a really weird one, I have to work on it. It just knocked on my head today and went, hello! Ok. So, but writing is always wonderful. I’ve got my farm, I’m always working when I get home. No rest for the wicked, I’m right back to work but a different type of work. Life is good. If I can keep working, life is good.

(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)

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Divided Heaven: Forever Youngblood

dividedheaven1After spending time on the Vans Warped Tour, there was no stopping Jeff Berman, the mastermind behind the punk / indie rock Divided Heaven. Further touring in the States would commence, including a stop at the Hotel Cafe located deep in the heart of Hollywood, CA.  Prior to the full band performance which featured songs from his latest recording Youngblood, Jeff sat down with Highwire Daze to discuss a few of the songs, life on Warped Tour, being on DIY artist on the road in Japan, and other topics of intrigue.  Read on…

How has this current tour been going and what are some of the highlights?
Yeah, well the tour of been a collection of series of tours. This tour has been the first time this summer that I’ve been doing full band stuff, and it’s been awesome. It’s been something that we’ve been wanted to do since the record came out, but I was so busy doing all this other solo stuff in Europe and Japan, Canada and stuff, and Warped Tour. Yeah, and so it was good to come back. I had two days off and then we left and it was great. I think the San Francisco show was the highlight, it was great. Our show in Vegas last night was fucking phenomenal. So, those two shows have been the best and it’s just been so much fun. It’s been good to have the band camaraderie with Nick and Ben,

dividedheaven2How does a tour like this compare to doing Warped Tour?
Well, Warped Tour, it’s like all days. and then when you’re doing this it’s pretty much all nights. And I kind of prefer the former, you know, but Warped Tour is like a 12-hour day everyday, pretty much. If not, 14 hours. Whereas, this is kind of like, you have to kind of be a vampire, almost, to get through it. I’m good at both. I would say sometimes I’m not very good at switching off between the two, if that makes sense. And then, Warped Tour, you know, you’re on a bus and when I’m on tour otherwise I’m either in a car, or in a van on this tour.

Warped Tour was just you and a guitar?
Yeah but I had a bunk spot with a band called Air Dubai, hip hop band from Denver. They were really cool. So I didn’t take up much real estate but I need that bed because those drives are just brutal, man. Overnight drives are just brutal. So you drive all night in this moving tube and then you get to a new parking lot, you wake up disoriented, you orientate yourself, you find where catering is to get that first cup of coffee then I’m pretty much good to go.

dividedheaven3What advice would you give a band about to attempt Warped Tour for the first time?
Sunblock. Delegate responsibilities. One person hangs posters, one person changes strings, one person does this, one person does that, so that no one is feeling overwhelmed.  I love Warped Tour, I really dislike it when I run into bands that were just like, party 24/7 because I know that because they were partying 24/7 they has people that they hired that were working 24/7. I get that that’s the relationship between a lot of tech people and a lot of bands, but I would say, just work hard. Just be nice, be fucking nice to people and work hard. Share the responsibility because that’s what makes it great. You know, I won’t mention any names but there are certain bands that, like, they just, they’re on the bus all day until they get up and play and when they play they fucking kill it and it’s great but they should, you know, I think it’s cooler when like, you know, you’re at the catering and you’re setting up chairs for the lunch cuz you’re just trying to help out, you know, you look to your left and like, the dude from Of Mice and Men is helping you. Like, that’s cool. You know it just kind of levels everybody out. You’re playing at different sized crowds, that’s for damn sure but when it comes to actually helping the tour succeed, and helping the tour get to the next stop, it’s the best when it’s a collective thing. Just don’t go on there with a rockstar mentality that you’re, you know, there to be famous. Work hard to make it.

youngblood2Let’s talk about Youngblood and some of the songs on the new album. First, what inspired the lyrics?
The title track was inspired by, I had just gone over to Europe and I had a layover, actually, I finished at the UK leg of the tour and I was flying to Amsterdam from airport named Stansted.  Stansted, which is equivalent to Burbank to LAX. It’s like not their main airport, it’s a regional airport. And I fell asleep on the floor, woke up felt like shit, and it was kind of as the relationship I was in was crumbling at the time because I was gone so much and I ended up having that first line of the song just kind of trickle down to the rest of the lyrics. And it really embodies my desire to be a 32-year-old….man singing about what’s going on in my life. Not a 32-year-old man trying to capture what was going on in my life when I was a teenager. So, it was a conscious effort to lyrically provide my listeners with something that was more adult oriented, more mature, vulnerable when it needed to be, powerful when it needed to be, kind of quirky and fun when it needed to me but an accurate representation of myself at this point, in my life. And in doing that, that will keep me young. As opposed to just trying to be reinventing the 17-year-old wheel over and over and over and over again. If I’m able to do this at 32, it’s going to be better prepare me to be able to do it at 62 and at 92 and hopefully..fingers crossed, at 102.

Let’s talk about (the song) The Worst. What is The Worst?
The Worst is a fanzine that was started by my friend Kathleen McIntyre. She summoned up the courage to do after her father passed away. She started it as a collection of essays, poems, short stories, but all true, all non-fiction, all first hand accounts of people in the punk scene dealing with grief, because she saw the punk scene as this great place for all of these ideas to come together.  But when people talked about grieving or people weren’t talking about grieving and they weren’t talking about the mourning process and that was something that she was going through, and it was important for her to get that in a cathartic sense so she thought that if she was doing this herself that it might help others to do it. So that is where I did that thing and I sort of did it as a tribute to my friend Kathleen, and the lyric in the chorus to say ‘we are not alone is a lie let’s make it right‘ – when that shit happens you feel like you are the only person in the world and you are surrounded by empathy and sympathy, and sometimes in the hardest times you realize that a lot of that is fake, and it is bullshit, and it is posturing. People say things like ‘sorry you lost your father, he is in a better place now’. That doesn’t help her because she doesn’t believe that, so lets have a constructive conversation about death and the construct of death, the culture of death, the economy of death. that was how she was able to feel good about what she was going through, well not feel good.but feel more comfortable with what she was going through.

Melissa Militia, who is that?
I have never said. I never said.

And may never say.
Melissa Militia is a song I wrote about a friend of mine that’s named Heather Cowolick, who is somebody that at the time that was just never right. We moved on but we are still friends, its cool. Yeah, I wrote a song about her and it was probably the easiest song I have ever written. I tried to fill it with as much irony in the lyrics that I could. I also dated a girl named Melissa for a while, years ago and I thought that if I named the song after Melissa that is would be a proper decoy so that people wouldn’t know that is was about Heather.

Does Heather know now?
Well, if she listens to this. I don’t really give a shit. At this point we are still friends and it is all good. The feeling I had when I wrote the song is not there now but I still love the song. I think that it is a fun song to play, a really cool song to share with people but I have moved on from it, safe to say. I am not ashamed to say that it is about her. Not that she would give a shit but that’s how it goes.  Plus, I’m in love. I have moved on, I have a new girlfriend. I don’t want people to think that this is his way of reaching out. No it is not like that. We are friends, it’s all good. I never told anyone that before. No one has ever asked me that.

Well, everyone will know as soon as this interview goes up online. So how does an independent artist like yourself, end up touring Japan?
I went there in ’03 with a band that I was playing with called The Boils, a street punk band, we were based out of Philadelphia. The Boils, great punk band, as dirty as it sounds. The promoter that brought me over there brought another band called Protagonist that I was in in ’08. They brought me back this year. It just seemed right, the timing was right. I had a new record out. We had talked about it last year but I wanted to have the new record out. It was a good thing to wait for. It was awesome. It was the same promoter each time and I just kept the relationship. Maybe I will go back next year, hopefully.

What could one expect from your show here at Cafe Hotel tonight?
A lot of fun. A lot of dry humor, which is a fancy way to say bad jokes.

Oh, good.
No, but we love each other up there. We have good camaraderie. We are a fun band and when we need to break it down and be sensitive, we can do that too.

If you could open up for any band or performer either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
JB: My favorite band that I think that I would like to play with is The Bouncing Souls because they have been my favorite live band forever and their shows are just so energetic and they just have a good, familiar-familial feel to them. Who else? Man, I would love to open for The National, or fucking Motley Crue. Get weird with it, open for Motley Crue. I don’t even care.

What is up next for you after this tour is all over? Which is tonight.
I am doing a tour in the winter time. We are doing a full band tour in Florida for a week around The Fest in Gainesville next month. The immediate thing is that I need a break. I don’t know if you can hear it in my voice or see it in the bags under my eyes. It has been four months plus straight, even before that it was just really since the turn of the new year. I have just pushed myself really hard and I have had a great time .It has been the best year of my life I think. I am looking forward to just taking a break and just relaxing for about a month then I will be hitting the road again in October.

(Interview and Photos by Ken Morton)

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Discovering the Mysteries and Intrigue of Kattah

kattah2014_2Fans of the rock and metal adventures of Iron Maiden and Metallica will surely wish to discover what the mighty Kattah has to offer the world at large.  Based out of Brazil, Kattah’s fiery magnum opus Lapis Lazuli is being unleashed through Bakerteam Records, and it’s sure to intrigue the imagination of many a music aficionado.   Here is a recent interview we conducted with guitarist Victor Brochard to find out more about the grand and glorious mysteries of Kattah, their dynamic new album, opening for the legendary Angra and more!  Read on…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Kattah, and how long the band has been together.
Hi Ken! My name is Victor Brochard, I’m the guitarist, and we’re together since 2006, therefore eight years. The only one that was not with us since the start is the bassist Cicero Chagas, but he’s with us since 2011 and he already belongs to the family!

Where is the band based out of and what is your local metal scene like there?
We’re based out in Curitiba, Brazil. Our metal scene is not bad, but here the people prefer cover bands most of the time, so it’s hard to form a good metal scene based out here if the own public is almost closed for the new. But we’re getting more and more fans each day and the things are starting to change, we’re starting to form a good metal scene with our fans. Another thing is that as Brazil is a big country, we have some small local scenes in almost all states that naturally make the Brazilian metal scene grow more and more.

kattahcd2Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Lapis Lazuli?
Yes it has a concept, based in the unknown mysteries of humanity and its desire to discover the real truth. In each song we talk about a different thing related with these mysteries and we answer these questions by the meanings of each song. The album’s name is based in a stone of an intense blue that was considered the stone of the gods in the past and like the universe, is very mysterious.

Select two songs from Lapis Lazuli and what inspired the lyrics.
The Hidden Voice have the lyrics inspired in the fact that we always had a voice inside us that encourage us to do what appears to be right for us. The problem is that the choices can always change our future in this dimension.

Apocalypse is about the human life and how we always were caged in a living nightmare and we have just a limited number of opportunities to escape, following a light that we’ll never know where it will lead us.

Who did the artwork for Lapis Lazuli and how much input did you have on it?
Our designer Rohdrich Silva. We told him the concept of all and he understood very well and made exactly what we wanted!

How did you wind up signing to Bakerteam?
We sent our new material for some labels; they were one who liked the album and offered good conditions for the release, so we preferred their deal and signed with them. They are a very good label.

What was it like opening for Angra and were they cool hang out with?
It was a great experience in every way. We learn a lot, became more mature and the European public was amazing, we sold all CDs that we brought. And about Angra, they are great guys, we already knew some of them before the tour but after almost one month together we became friends and keep contact since then.

What could one expect from a live Kattah show in 2014?
Maybe the only way to really know us. We have a great energy and feel very comfortable when playing live. We also prepared a very great live show for this new album and I think the people will like it. We’re a live band!

Has Kattah ever played here in the States or plan to do so in future days?
Unfortunately not yet, but we’re planning a world tour in the next year and with certainty the States will be included!

If you could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Iron Maiden, Metallica or Pink Floyd. They have an amazing live performance, playing for a lot of people! It would be great to play in the same stage of them.

What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most after hearing Lapis Lazuli for the very first time?
It’s hard to be a musician and a listener of your own material, but I feel some kind of a travel in the musical world and a complex type of music with very existential lyrics. Something very crazy but good to hear. I really like it.

What’s up next for Kattah?
After the album release we’re planning a world tour, mainly in Brazil, USA and Europe. After that, we will start to work in a new material.

Any final words of wisdom?
I would like to thank you Ken for this great interview and invite everybody to hear “Lapis Lazuli” and travel in the magical world of music with us! It will be out October 27th!

Kattah is:
Roni Sauaf – Vocals,
Victor Brochard – Guitars,
Cicero Chagas – Bass,
Cristian Alex – Drums

(Interview by Ken Morton)

Kattah on Facebook

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Faithsedge: Pure Hard Rockin’ Insanity

faithsedgeband1Faithsedge is a heavy Heavy Metal / Hard Rock / Progressive project started by singer / songwriter Giancarlo Floridia in Huntington Beach, California, in early 2009. Their second explosive magnum opus entitled The Answer Of Insanity has been unleashed worldwide through Scarlet Records. A stunning collaborative effort featuring the participation of noted musicians such as Fabrizio Grossi (Steve Lukather/Alice Cooper), Alex De Rosso (Dokken), Tony Morra (Rebecca St James/Van Zant) and Eric Ragno (Eric Martin/Graham Bonnet) – The Answer Of Insanity is a thrilling masterwork that should really connect with all types of music aficionados. Here is an interview we conducted with founder Giancarlo Floridia to find out more about the modern day Faithsedge and their pure hard rockin’ insanity. Read on…

faithedge2014_1_400x600Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Faithsedge, and how long the band has been together.
Hi I’m Giancarlo Floridia and I and the lead singer / songwriter for Faithsedge and of course I play guitar on the records too. The first record came out in 2011 and I’ve kept it going since.

Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
I was born and raised in California but I think I would consider us a more international / Europe based outfit. The scene in the states in pretty bad among melodic rock / metal / prog rock for new artist so I focus on overseas but I am trying to represent the music I grew up on as a kid the best that I can here in America. My lead guitar player Alex De Rosso and my new producer Alessandro Del Vecchio is also located in Italy so I try to juggle being an American / Italiano style the best I can! Ha!

Is there any story or concept behind the CD title The Answer Of Insanity?
I came up with the title right away when I started writing it.The meaning stands for a response of someone who no longer thinks strait in their mind or thinks dark because of the things they have seen and they start to embrace that darkness. It’s a group of different stories of things that have happened to me since I was kid and up until now and I figured it was a demon that needed to be removed from my life so I could move on with my life and now with the next record. I am glad I did I think the lyrics came out great!

Select two songs from The Answer Of Insanity and what inspired the lyrics.
Revolve My World” is cool it’s about someone who is raised in an abusive house hold and they become addicted to it later in life and always stay in that type of scenario in their relationships. They can’t live without that insanity and will even die for it.

“Pray For This ” probably my fav concept I’ve ever done so far it’s about asking the universe or God to give you something and you get back something dark and destructive that you have to deal with and it makes you look in the mirror and ask what happened to your life. It’s about a selfish prayer I said when I was 16 and ended up getting what I asked for and it almost completely destroyed my life.

How does The Answer Of Insanity compare to previous album?
Better lyrics , better and more aggressive lead vocals, the band sounds tighter and I just worked much harder on it. I also like how it’s really it’s own thing and not following a certain style you have a mix of so many things going on whereas the first album was much more arena rock/ 80′s and I think this one is just more honest.

answerinsanity1Who did the artwork for The Answer Of Insanity and how much input did you have on it?
I worked on it with someone and I had came up with the idea of the cover with the title . The title was originally scrapped for some reason and then I told the label about it and they loved it. It just shows you to follow your gut the first time. We shot the photos for it here in Fullerton, CA.. I am glad people like it. I get asked a lot about it.

How did Alex De Rosso of Dokken become involved with Faithsedge and what has it been like working with him?
Fabrizio Grossi got him involved when I started the first Faithsedge album. He told me Alex would be perfect for the project and he was right. Alex is amazing and his solo’s and style fit perfectly with this band . Matter of fact, he is so amazing that when I write these albums I base it upon that he will be playing leads and I always keep that in my mind when I work on a song because to hear him do a solo is always something amazing! What can I say – I’m always learning from his playing style!! Simply awesome!

Who are some the other members of the current lineup for Faithsedge?
Well of course Fabrzio Grossi played bass and produced it, Tony Morra tore it up on the drums, and of course I was fortunate enough to have two of melodic rocks best Alessandro Del Vecchio and Eric Ragno both to play keys on it.

What could one expect from a live Faithsedge show in 2014 and beyond?
Everyone ask me that. I am hoping the next record will take us to the next level to where we can do so. Lets see what happens.

If you could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Well thats easy Rolling Stones cause they play stadiums!! haha!! But fit wise maybe Judas Priest or Maiden would be cool.

Are you involved with any other bands or projects outside of Faithsedge?
Yes I play in a cover band for fun in Cali and that’s going well, but yea, Faithsedge is my concern for my writing and getting my stuff out . It’s my life long dream to do what I’m doing .

What’s up next for Faithsedge?
Well I can now let everyone know that we will have a couple of changes on the next album. I am done with all the music and will finish and refine all the lyrics up until I go to Italy next year to record at Alessandro’s studio as he will be taking over the project. We all also have two new band members on bass and drums and I will release that info maybe around Jan / Feb next year. It’s gonna be really cool with these guys coming on board and I know everyone is going to get really excited when they find out who they both are, gonna be awesome! But yes, we will let everyone know about that early next year and hopefully the third album will be out around Christmas 2015.

Any final words of wisdom?
No matter how bad life can be try to find a way to believe in yourself and fight back!

(Interview by Ken Morton)

Faithsedge of Facebook

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Countdown to Knotfest: Meet A Few of the Bands Here!

knotfest2Slipknot’s KNOTFEST – – the most cutting edge heavy festival in America– is taking place October 24-26 at the San Manuel Amphitheater & Campgrounds in San Bernardino, CA. From the Slipknot-curated Slipknot Museum to an onsite tattoo parlor, flaming carnival games, and even the unforgettable Scent of KNOTFEST, the festival promises an epic experience for Maggots and metalheads even apart from the five stages of earsplitting music. Here are a few of the bands ready to leave an indelible impression on the attendees of the almighty KNOTFEST. Read on…

DevilDriver

Photo Credit: Jack Lue

Photo Credit: Jack Lue

Introduce yourself, what you do in the band, and where you are based out of?
Dez Fafara Front man of DevilDriver & Coal Chamber / Born & Raised in California.

What are you looking forward to the most about Knotfest?
Well it’s very close to my house , I’m looking forward to having my family , wife , kids , brothers , sisters out to watch the show as well watch some of the other great bands !

Have you ever seen Slipknot live and if so, what was the experience like?
Yes , My band Coal Chamber took SLIPKNOT on their 1st USA TOUR so I’m very familiar with the band . They are fun to watch live .

What could one expect from your live show at Knotfest?
Expect 100% pure Energy , DEVILDRIVER has a very punk aspect to what we do . No frills just music the crowd and Us .

What is the name of your latest or upcoming CD or EP and what inspired the title?
WinterKills is DevilDriver’s latest CD , the title was inspired by the change in seasons as it relates to the change in our lives .

Select two songs you may be playing in your set and what inspired the lyrics.
Clouds over CALIFORNIA – inspired by the California wildfires which displaced my family not once but twice .
End of The Line – inspired by the drive to do what others say can’t be done .

Any strange or unusual happenings in the past while out on the road or at a show?
NOPE just a lot of travel and road work , making music etc . For now I’m off the road with Family and enjoying home time .

If you could open up for any band, either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Be killer to play with AC/DC , we’ve done festivals with them but a tour would be killer !

Any final words of wisdom for Knotfest attendees this year?
Have a good time , enjoy all the killer bands !!!

DevilDriver on Facebook

Exmortus

Photo by: Jack Lue

Photo by: Jack Lue

Introduce yourself, what you do in the band, and where you are based out of?
I am Conan, lead vocalist and guitarist of Exmortus. We hail from Whittier, CA.

What are you looking forward to the most about Knotfest?
Strangely enough, I really look forward to the stench of Knotfest. It will be a most interesting memory in the future. *laughs*

Have you ever seen Slipknot live and if so, what was the experience like?
I saw Slipknot at Ozzfest 2005. They put on a great show with tons of energy which we aspire to match (if possible!).

What could one expect from your live show at KNOTFEST?
Expect Exmortus to crush your skull and melt your mind to mush… while inhaling camel shit vapor!

What is the name of your latest or upcoming CD or EP and what inspired the title?
Our most recent release is our Slave to the Sword album which debuted February of this year. You could call our undying dedication to heavy metal music and touring (the sword) a kind of “slavery.”

Select two songs you may be playing in your set and what inspired the lyrics.
We’ll be playing Metal is King, our very own ode to metal, praising the culture and substance. We’ll also be performing the third movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” and, well, it has no lyrics! But the music screams fury and angst, our primal emotions best expressed through heavy metal.

Any strange or unusual happenings in the past while out on the road or at a show?
On the last night of the recent tour we did with Arsis and Allegaeon, Noah Martin of Arsis came on stage with his electric shaver and gave me some Lemmy chops as Allegaeon silly stringed us and threw inflatable crabs at us! We were completely taken by surprise and to make things more interesting, they chose to do this as we played Moonlight. Not an easy task at all! But it was fun indeed! Love those guys!

If you could open up for any band, either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
We’d love to open up for Judas Priest without a doubt. I speak on behalf of the rest of Exmortus since we share the same love and adoration for their awesome music and accomplishments. We deem ourselves true “Defenders of the Faith.”

Any final words of wisdom for Knotfest attendees this year?
Forget all you’ve heard; there’s no power in the word. For when the reaper makes his deal, trust in your steel! \m/

Exmortus on Facebook

Miss May I

Photo by: Jack Lue

Photo by: Jack Lue

Introduce yourself, what you do in the band, and where you are based out of?
This is Ryan Neff, bassist and singer of Miss May I, and I live in Columbus, OH. The band overall hails from Ohio, but we are scattered all over the state, plus 1 member in Missouri.

What are you looking forward to the most about Knotfest?
We’ve had a really successful year of playing all these giant festivals all over the world, and Knotfest has been on the list as a sort of, out of reach goal. When the offer came in we couldnt believe it. Our chance to play on the same bill as Slipknot!?

Have you ever seen Slipknot live and if so, what was the experience like?
This is my first time seeing Slipknot. With the busy touring schedule I don’t get the chance to see as many bands as I would like outside of being on the road, so I’m pretty pumped to have landed the opportunity to see them while also being on the bill.

What could one expect from your live show at Knotfest?
I’m expecting a massive crowd full of insane metal heads. We played this same venue back in July on the Mayhem Fest and it was a huge gig for us, expecting nothing less, maybe even something a bit crazier.

What is the name of your latest or upcoming CD or EP and what inspired the title?
Rise Of The Lion is our newest release, titled after seeing the bands symbol and fan base become one, and lead us into this new portion of our career, playing giant festivals and alongside legends like Slipknot for the first time.

Select two songs you may be playing in your set and what inspired the lyrics.
Hey Mister is a song about a father who was never there, and Hero With No Name is a dedication to unsung heroes of the military.

Any strange or unusual happenings in the past while out on the road or at a show?
Always, you can’t be in a band without coming across the debauchery from time to time, I’ll leave names out, but I saw a group of girls take a piss outside the bus on the ground in Canada a few years back, not knowing each bus was full of band members with 1 way glass haha.

If you could open up for any band, either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
I would love to play with Astro Creep era White Zombie and Pantera, when they were touring together as coheadliners.

Any final words of wisdom for Knotfest attendees this year?
Prepare for the most insane heavy metal concert you’ve ever been to!

Miss May I on Facebook

Prong

Photo by: Jack Lue

Photo by: Jack Lue

Introduce yourself, what you do in the band, and where you are based out of?
Thomas Victor, guitar player and vocalist for Prong from NYC.

What are you looking forward to the most about Knotfest?
I’m looking forward to just playing the gig. Every show for Prong is fun.

Have you ever seen Slipknot live and if so, what was the experience like?
Prong did a show in Davenport Iowa years ago when they were a local support. They sounded great.
Next I saw them headlining at The Reading festival in England . Still amazing but with a hell if a lot more production!

What could one expect from your live show at Knotfest?
A high energy power trio show playing some of the old Prong favorites like “Beg To Differ“and “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck” plus the new singles from our recent LPs, Ruining Lives and Carved Into Stone, like “Turnover” and “Revenge, Best Served Cold“.

What is the name of your latest or upcoming CD or EP and what inspired the title?
The latest album is “Ruining Lives“. There is a title track and that song is about mass media, mega corporations keeping people addicted to all kinds of garbage.

Select two songs you may be playing in your set and what inspired the lyrics.
Turnover” is about meeting crisis with a renewed attitude. “Snap Your Fingers , Snap Your Neck” is about treating the humdrum boredom of everyday life by living for the moment.

Any strange or unusual happenings in the past while out on the road or at a show?
Just the usual toilets overflowing, infected eyeballs, general incompetence , video game rivalries; typical road stuff.

If you could open up for any band, either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Killing Joke! The greatest band of all time. My personal biggest influence. Love all their songs, would be great to hear them every night!

Any final words of wisdom for Knotfest attendees this year?
Be safe and catch as many bands as you can!

Prong on Facebook

Rattlehead

rattlehead1Introduce yourself, what you do in the band, and where you are based out of?
My name is Nick Baranov, lead vocals and guitars for Rattlehead, based out of Hollywood, CA

What are you looking forward to the most about Knotfest?
We’re absolutely stoked to be sharing the bill with so many of our idols, as well as friends we’ve made over these years. The fire carnival rides and junkyard car drum circles should definitely add a nice touch too!

Have you ever seen Slipknot live and if so, what was the experience like?
We saw Slipknot live sometime in 2011, actually at the same venue that we are performing with them this time around – San Manuel Amphitheater.  I could easily say that they are some of the most entertaining musicians around nowadays. The audience had their eyes glued on the stage for the entire set.

What could one expect from your live show at Knotfest?
Considering the magnitude of the bands that we are sharing the festival bill with, you can definitely expect to hear new and old tunes alike, but with 200% more intensity and aggression than ever before.

What is the name of your latest or upcoming CD or EP and what inspired the title?
The latest EP we released was “Blackout Brigade” released in November of 2013. The title was inspired by the many friends and fans we’ve had the pleasure of sharing drinks with, which is almost somewhat of an underground circle of brothers now.

Select two songs you may be playing in your set and what inspired the lyrics.
Get In The Van – one of the hits off our previous album will definitely make it onto the setlist at Knotfest. The song was inspired by our constant hunger for the open road, touring the country relentlessly, and leaving all the petty concerns of “normal life” behind.

One other song in the setlist will be I am The Demon, which is a very personal song, written about betrayal, and the need for revenge in order to find closure of spirits. An eye for an eye sure does filter out the scum in the world.

Any strange or unusual happenings in the past while out on the road or at a show?
After touring the country for the past 6 years, we’ve seen it all – from , from bar fights with shady promoters, blackout debauchery, a hundred flat tires, to support band members losing their minds and getting checked into mental institutions (check out our tune “Walk with the Dead” haha!)

If you could open up for any band, either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
I think we would all mutually agree that having the honor of opening up for Metallica would be the ultimate accomplishment, considering their direct influence on not only the style of music we play, but the entire genre itself. There are obviously tons of bands we would love to open for, but if we’re talking about the ULTIMATE, then that would have to be it.

Any final words of wisdom for Knotfest attendees this year?
Come early, check out all five stages, and most importantly, have a damn good time! Stop by our merch booth and say hi, as we cannot wait to meet each and every one of you!

Rattlehead on Facebook

Suicide Silence

Photo by: Jack Lue

Photo by: Jack Lue

Introduce yourself, what you do in the band, and where you are based out of?
I am Mark Heylmun from Temecula, California and I play guitar in Suicide Silence. The band is from all over California so we’re just a California based band these days.

What are you looking forward to the most about Knotfest?
Playing the set, I think? But I haven’t seen Slipknot since Download 2009, I think? Whenever they shot that DVD… I was front row raging hard as fuck so I’m excited to see them almost 5 years later on the return. Very stoked for the whole experience.

Have you ever seen Slipknot live and if so, what was the experience like?
I’ve seen Slipknot a ton. I watched them for the first time with my dad and sister in 2001 at Ozzfest. We did Mayhem 2008 with them and ceremonially watched them almost every night. Also prior to recording our 2nd record in New Jersey we went to see them at Madison Square Garden as a kick off to an artistic month in the studio. Needless to say we are maggots.

What could one expect from your live show at Knotfest?
Energy.

What is the name of your latest or upcoming CD or EP and what inspired the title?
You Can’t Stop Me. It was inspired by the last lyrics our singer wrote before he passed away. We were in a hard spot after losing him and his lyrics were a huge confirmation that we need to be resilient and bounce back from this tragic situation.

Select two songs you may be playing in your set and what inspired the lyrics.
Cease To Exist” is a fun track we collaborated on all together lyrically and musically. It was inspired by having an extra day before we started in the studio and getting one final jam in, the song came together quick and badass. Lyrics came together quick between me, our singer (Eddie) and our drummer (Alex). There was a particular story in the news about a certain person that genuinely pissed us off and infected our world of metal and community. It bummed us out to have this sickening story all over the metal news sites and we wrote the tune.

Disengage” is another track that was written with the same time in mind before we flew to New Jersey. We put this one together and Mitch wrote the lyrics about checking out of this world and entering the next one. The machine will finally end and cease to be. The lyrics for me continue to gain meaning in his absence. It always has been my favorite song to play live and it keeps getting better for me in every way.

Any strange or unusual happenings in the past while out on the road or at a show?
Define strange? You mean like when there’s a vagrant woman on the streets of Hong Kong and one of our dudes feels inclined to start rubbin up on her and dancing and then another one of our dudes comes up and pulls his pants down… Oh and then all of a sudden all of us and locals are circle pitting around the freaky transient dance lords of Hong Kong? I guess strange shit happens.

If you could open up for any band, either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Well I’ll just say I’d wanna open for Pantera. They did it for me in every way, influenced, inspired, and set the bar. I still aspire to be as much of an effect on our fans as Dime was to his. Words become inert when trying to describe how much Pantera affected my musical up bringing.

Any final words of wisdom for Knotfest attendees this year?
Being from the area where Knotfest is being held, you guys are about to attend something that is bigger than anything that has ever happened there or in America…possibly the world. I hope you guys hold it dear to your hearts because this is once In a lifetime.

Suicide Silence on Facebook

See you all in the pit at KNOTFEST!!!

(Interview by Ken Morton – Selected Photos by Jack Lue)

Knotfest Official Home Page

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The Energy of Twilightfall – Melodic Death Metal from the Ukraine

twilightfall2

If you envision adventure and intrigue within the soundscapes of your melodic death metal compositions, you are sure to be enraptured by what the mighty Twilightfall has to offer the world at large.  The mastermind behind Twlightfall is Wortherax, best known for his time spent in the notorious Black Metal collective Nokturnal Mortum.  Based out of the Ukraine where war has been rampant as of late, the music of Twilightfall is triumphant and inspiring, and should appeal to metal fans all across the globe.  Here is a recent interview we conducted with Wortherax to find out more about the exhilarating auditory visions of Twlightfall.  Read on..

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Twilightfall, and how long the band has been in existence.
I am Wortherax, session guitarist, arranger, author of the project Twilightfall, former guitarist  for Nokturnal Mortum, a patriot of my native land-Ukraine. TwilightfallThe Energy Of Soul was first conceived and recorded by me in my home Studio. When my friends heard of the project, they offered to create a group. Here’s how it all started. From the first rehearsal it became clear to me that Twilightfall has a future thanks to my friend musicians. We’ve been together for 2 years.

Where are you based out of and what is your local music scene like there? How has the current unrest in the Ukraine affected your music and art, if at all?
Now we are war – a war for freedom. We take part in charitable concerts in support of those who defend Ukraine. All known Ukrainian metal band give their fees to patriots fighting for our future. Rock is a good opportunity to convey to the listener his own spiritual experiences. Now he is preparing for publication a team site Twilightfall. Svarga Music is releasing our debut album.

TheEnergy400xIs there any story or concept behind the CD title The Energy Of Soul?
All songs and the lyrics have a great meaning. First of all this is the meaning of life. Everyone defines it for yourself. Our life is governed energy. It gives the opportunity to strive for the best, overcome fear, to be creative. This energy is in our souls.

Select two songs from The Energy Of Soul and what inspired the lyrics.
Storm reflects a great emotional experience, a war not only with the elements, but also with yourself. Each of us in the heart raging ocean of passions, but not everyone is able to overcome it. Your Chance urges not to stop half way to the goal.

Who created the cover art for The Energy Of Soul and how much input did you have on it?
One of our friends listened to The Energy Of Soul and offered a cover image. We immediately agreed, because that’s what this picture is , in our opinion, reflects the idea of the album.

What could one expect from a live Twilightfall show?
We participate in various concerts in Ukraine and preparing to release a new album. This album will be not less interesting for the audience than the previous one.

What was your experience like working with the controversial Nokturnal Mortum and do you still keep in touch with them?
As I said, in NM began my work. We tried not to be similar to known band experimented with different styles of music. I still keep good relations with all participants NM and wish the group to continue its work.

If Twilightfall could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
I think Twilightfall does not resemble any known group. We aspire to something new in metal music. However, like to listen Dark Tranquillity, Redemption, In Flames, Dissection, Arch Enemy, and Children Of Bodom.

Are you involved with any other bands or projects outside of Twilightfall?
As a session guitarist, I took part in recording the albums for Nokturnal Mortum, Munruthel, Khors, Finist, DubBuk, engaged in the arrangement, mixing and mastering various musical projects.

What would you like a listener to remember the most after hearing The Energy of Soul for the first time?
I, as a listener, it is difficult to distinguish from the album, as it is for me as a single whole. My friends also think that we should listen to the whole material because music emphasizes the sense of texts.

What is favourite Ukrainian beer of choice and why?
I love beer, as any rock musician. From Ukrainian producers support Lviv beer.

Any final words of wisdom?
I want to wish everyone peace on Earth, clear sky, great energy in the soul, and musicians-a successful creative work.

(Interview by Ken Morton)

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Paying It Forward with The Persevering Promise

thepersevering1The Persevering Promise has spent three summers following the Vans Warped Tour, making a good amount of friends and fans along the way.  Supporting their album An Illusion in Shambles, the hard working Washington based collective continue to make an impact long past the summer, whether it be on the road or via the Internet. With the many memories one has of Warped Tour 2014, there is a good chance you met The Persevering Promise while in line or after the show.  One listen to An Illusion In Shambles, and you are sure to discover a new favorite post-hardcore collective.  We caught up with two of the members at the Ventura date of the Vans Warped Tour to find out more about this band ready to pay it forward and make an impact.  Read on…

Introduce yourself, what’s the most embarrassing song you have on your IPod?
Matt: I’m Matt Hoos, I do all the clean vocals for the band. The most embarrassing song, I don’t know – I have a lot of embarrassing songs on my iPod. My goodness. I’m going to have to say I’m a sucker for Katy Perry in general. But “Milkshake” is probably the most embarrassing song on my iPod. I listen to everything from the poppiest of the poppy to the heaviest of the heavy. A lot of people would be embarrassed by a lot of the music that I have, so – [laughs].

Jesse: My name is Jesse Barton and I do all the screams for The Persevering Promise. I also play guitar. I think the most embarrassing song on my iPod is probably “Slob on my Knob” by Three Six Mafia.

Matt: I’m embarrassed for you.

Jesse: Or it could be that one Spice Girls song that was famous for a while.

You should cover a Spice Girls song soon.
Matt: Our drummer has been trying to get us to do that for years.

Jesse: I think it’d be fun. We have a good time covering random songs, like that Taylor Swift cover we did. Everyone’s like, I saw Taylor Swift ripped off a song of yours…

Has Taylor Swift heard your cover?
Jesse: I feel like if she had…

Matt: She probably wouldn’t tell us.

Jesse: My good friend Shauna O’Donnell, who interviewed us before, she has been trying to get me to adamantly get that song to their management for a little while now. I need to do that, I just haven’t yet. I’ll get on it.

perselogoYou guys are following the Warped Tour across the country. This is the second year you’re doing this?
Both: The third.

What made you decide to follow Warped Tour?
Jesse: What made us decide was as opposed to last year when we were giving a label a percentage of our money but they weren’t really out here doing the leg work. It’s not like that this year, we redistributed An Illusion in Shambles by ourselves and we get to come out here and hang out with fans every day, meet new people and spread the word about our music and we don’t have to give someone else a percentage now, so – it’s been incredibly prosperous.

Matt: I think the biggest thing for us is that – when we were kids out here coming to concerts, we’d pay $10-$40 for a chance to even talk to somebody in a band that we enjoyed, that was the single thing that we went home and took home and it changed our lives. Each and every one of these 20,000 kids that shows up to each Warped Tour date, they paid a bunch a money to do the same. For us, I want to actually get out there and meet these people. If, they’re paying my bills, then why would I not want to hang out with them? I think it’s awesome. You really get to see how people appreciate what you do, it’s not just that – you jump on Facebook or Twitter, Instagram. You can see a physical tangible number there but at the same time you dont get to see the expression on kids faces or feel their emotions you get standing out here face to face with them. It really is amazing, because we set out to do this, to change one life, that was our goal. To change one single life – kids tell us every day what we mean to them. For us, that’s amazing.

Jesse: We figured if we started this and when all was said and done, one kids life was slightly different, the same way someone did that for us, than it would be worth it. That was four years ago and now we literally do that every day. We meet people every day who know who we are out here and what we do and tell us what we mean to them, it’s crazy. I’m from a town of 500 people in the middle of the woods in Idaho, so it’s crazy to think that I can go from California all the way to New York City and have the same response from kids, it’s crazy.

The music on this album was recorded a while ago, a few years ago?
Jesse: We did it about a year and two months ago. We did it in April of 2013, we recorded this, we dropped it on September 17th of last year.

How close are you to recording new material?
Jesse: Actually we are on top of that, we’ve started writing some new songs and have a new record in the works. No name for it yet, I dont have a release date either but it’s going to be exciting, man.

Matt: We are making a promise to ourselves and our fans that we’re not going to release our album until it’s perfect for us and for them.

Jesse: When we were on Pavement, we were rushed to get it out the door and rushed to get it on the stands, rushed to do the album art – all kinds of stuff. We felt like as happy as we were with the release, it could have been three notches better if we had had the time do it the way we wanted to do it. So, now that we have parted ways with our label, we get to do things the way we want to.

anillusionLet’s talk about the title of the album. An Illusion in Shambles…
Jesse: The song “An Illusion in Shambles” was originally called “Vox Populi,” which meant the people’s voice.

Matt: An old Latin phrase that was used in the coliseum and Caeser would say “yay” or “nay” to whether or not a gladiator would live, but if he would say “nay” and the people would riot, then it was the voice of the people that saved that gladiator’s life. It was all about the idea of listening to the people around you, because everyone has something to say.

Jesse: The actual phrase and name of “An Illusion in Shambles” is something that popped in my head and it’s about – if you listen to our whole record, it’s a record about hope and finding light when you’re in a dark place.  Someone can live their life in total bliss and in some sort of an illusion and not really realize that things are happening around them, until someone wakes them up to that and snaps them out of it. Then they realize that false sense of reality that they were living in is really just in pieces and they find light from that.

Any strange or scary happenings while following Warped Tour?
Jesse: Every day.

Matt: Well, I wake up next to Jesse’s feet and that’s terrifying.

Jesse: I’m surrounded by gingers. There’s three gingers in my crew right now. Matt and our new bassist Cameron, and my younger brother Josh who’s also a rap artist named In Depth is on this tour with us as well. I have three gingers in my crew.

And that’s terrifying?
Matt: We are the soul stealers for certain.

Jesse: I wake up and have to check my chest to make sure I still have my soul. On the real, it’s pretty tough out there. We have to drive a lot. Our lovely friend Mandy over here has been incredible at making sure we get to the next place on time. Some of these drives have been insane, just to meet up with Warped Tour we had to drive 2600 miles from Washington State, all the way down to Texas just to do day one of the tour. We did that drive in 48 hours or something, maybe it was 72 – anyway, it was a lot of driving in one day. You get out here, you get tired and you have to keep going. The scariest parts for me are the drives, but the best parts is getting out there to meet our fans and meet new people, make new fans, we spread our music every day. It’s awesome.

Do you have any messages for anyone reading this right now who should go check out your music? Why should they?
Matt: We have plenty and the most common is, there’s always going to be times in your life when it’s hard. Anyone that’s going to tell you life is easy – they’re lying to you. Life is not easy, but if you work hard and keep your chin up and surround yourself with good people that support you – parents, friends and family – then you’ll make it. You’ll do great things. The only way we ever came to do what we wanted to was by working and bleeding and sweating and crying and then when we were in those dark spots, we turned to each other when they were the hardest.

Jesse: We put that into our music. We want it to be clear and we know that is clear that when you listen to our album, that every song is something that every single person can relate to, because they’ve gong through loss, struggle, and not having a sense of belonging. Everyone of us has found that through music, and that’s all were trying to do for someone else.

Matt: Our friends are fans.

Jesse: And our fans are friends.

Matt: They’re all our family. We tell that to everybody and hopefully that everyone that listens to our music knows that at any moment in time, they can hit us up and the second we have a free second to respond, we always take that time to do that. That’s one thing that we can do for our fans. They do so much more for us.

Jesse: We’re music loving kids like everyone else. We’re here for anyone, whether it be on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, our personal phone numbers – in person, whatever. Someone did this for us once, we’re paying it forward.

(Interview and Photo by Ken Morton)

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The Fiery Manifesto of Evil Oath

eviloath2Based out of the Nederlands, Evil Oath is a foreboding Black Metal collective ready to leave a lingering impression upon the world at large. Their combustible debut Anno.1666 has been independently released, unleashing an unholy blast of sonic devastation for all whom encounter its malevolent reveries.  Here is an interview we conducted with the mighty Evil Oath to find out more about their fiery manifesto.  Read on…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Evil Oath, and how long the band has been together.
We’ve started in early 2012, however the idea to begin Evil Oath was already there in 2010.  Abagor (guitar / vocals) and Rydall (guitar) were at that time playing in another band, where they liked the idea of beginning a black metal band. Mexicution (drums) and Melkor (our first bass player) joined in 2012 and we got started! The current line-up exists for little over a year, with Deamonicon on the bass guitar. We’re very glad with that, we went through 5 bass players before Deamonicon came around… haha! Ehm, so it’s safe to conclude we’ve been together for about one and a half year now.

Who are some of your influences and who are some of the bands in your local metal scene?
Our influences are a bit wide actually, pretty much all the band members listen to various black metal artists. Let’s say from Cradle of Filth to Naglfar, and from Burzum to Dark Funeral… many different styles. We describe our music as influenced by Immortal, Marduk, Dark Funeral, Tsjuder and Satyricon.  Those guys rock the world of Black Metal! Our local (black) scene consist of a few other bands, RanDystopia and Yoatzin are from around here. Check ‘em out!

Anno1666Is there any overall story or concept behind the Anno. 1666?
The overall story is written on the backside of our Anno.1666 CD! To get a full story one could order it or check out our website: www.eviloath.com. In short 1666 refers to London which was in that year set ablaze as shown on the cover. Hell on Earth (1666) is about that exactly. In the bigger abstract Evil Oath is about presenting the words that should have been spoken to banish religion and faith from this world. Clearly this message is not being heard everywhere. Speaking of which, some people don’t seem to get that faith by definition is something that cannot rationally be argued. People saying (or believing) that there is a god are simply not realizing this. One of the biggest issues of religion (apart from the very much
criminal activity).

Select two songs from Anno. 1666 and what inspired the lyrics.
At first of course the track where the title from the CD is coming from: Hell on Earth (1666) as it is talked through in the question before. An other song from Anno. 1666 is: Collaboration to Cleanse the Spirit and Mind From Faith. It is very much about people not questioning their religion, while they should and what they gain when they do question it.

Who did the artwork for Anno. 1666 and how much input did you have on it?
The artwork is done by our self so we had all the input into it.

eviloath1What could one expect from a live Evil Oath show?
We love to do shows and we are always trying to put a lot of energy
into it. On the shows we put our corpsepaint on and we bring some
elements like smoke and fire. We are always trying to get the audience into it white a set of really aggressive fast songs and some slower darkly songs. A guy once did a review on a show we did: http://www.metalfests.com/concerts-2014/2014-05-10-evil-oath.   But it is better to come watch us and just for yourself.

If Evil Oath could open up for any band, either now or from the past,
who would it be and why?
As talked before we love to do live shows so any band will be fine to
play with. Of course it would be very nice if we could open up for a large major black metal band like Immortal, Marduk or Dimmu Borgir, but any band will be fine.

Any strange or scary happenings on the road or at a show?
One of the most strange things happened was that we all broke a string/stick or 2 on 1 show. Abagor broke a string 2 times, Rydall broke 2 strings, Mexicution a drumstick and even Deamonicon broke a string on the bass guitar. It was really strange but the show did go on!!  One time we saw a ghost projected on the side of a truck, which was strange. And we did a show in a place called Backstage. The backstage area was underneath the place and the stair to get there was made of concrete and it was very wet… Luckily no one broke bones that evening!

What does the term Satanism mean to you, if anything?
One explanation is just going in to the way you want to go and not
follow like blind sheep. The other explanation is that of Lavey, but that’s just expressing desires in a more dark way.

What is your favorite beer of choice from the Netherlands and why?
You will have to try Hertog Jan it is a very good beer. It just taste
great and you can drink it all day/night long.

What’s up next for Evil Oath?
Our first thing is the Italian tour. We are really looking forward to
it.

Any final words of wisdom?
Listen to Evil Oath, and question religion (and authority in general)! We hope to see you sometime at a show!!

(Interview by Ken Morton)

Evil Oath
www.eviloath.com
www.facebook.com/EvilOathOfficial
www.reverbnation.com/EvilOath

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