Category Archives: Interviews

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)

Twilightfall on Facebook

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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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The Auditory Adventures of Romuvos

romuvospic1Romuvos is a one man folk metal band originally from Lithuania, presenting an auditory adventure that should thrill music aficionados all across the world.  Romuvan Dainas is the name of the debut magnum opus, now available from the notorious No Colours Records.  Fans of Viking area Bathory and the mighty Falkenbach will surely want to journey into the auditory adventures of Romuvos.  We caught up with Romuvos mastermind Velnias to find out more about the stunning new album, stories behind the sweeping compositions, the collaboration with the label that brought the world bands such as Graveland and Nargaroth, and other subjects of intrigue…

Introduce yourself, what you do in Romuvos and how long the project has been in existence.
Hails, My name is Velnias, 33 years old, born in Lithuania to a Latvian father and Lithuanian mother, we moved to Israel when I was 6 years old, since then I live in Israel and get to visit Lithuania/Latvia once in a while.
Started to play keyboards when i was 14 years old, inspired mostly by BM as my favorite metal genre. Started Romuvos project 3 years ago as a one man band, so as you can imagine i do everything including mix and mastering.

Where are you based out of and what is your local music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
For many years now, I am not involved in the local scene that much, though i know few of them that are out there for many years now:
Israel scene:
Arallu, Salem
apart of that the scene is not that big here in Israel.

How did you wind up being signed to the legendary and sometimes notorious No Colours Records?
Well, that was unexpected, i sent a song as demo for few labels on the E-mail, one of them was No Colours Records, after few weeks, i kept on promoting the demo though i received a great response from No Colours Records, and i was happy to get my first album under their wings.

ROMUVOS-Romuvan-DainasIs there any story or concept behind the CD title Romuvan Dainas?
Romuvan Dainas means: folk songs, songs from the ancient Baltic pagan tradition, most of those songs were written on story and tales about the Baltic gods, family, myth, fable and allegory. I use that name for my first album that mostly represent the Baltic tales and traditions apart to some heroic tales of glory and might of man in battle and legends, that some of them I invent by myself though I base them on the Baltic mythology.

Select two songs from Romuvan Dainas and what inspired the lyrics.
Under The Glaciers Of The Baltijos is a song about giants that came from the northern mountains of ancient gothland and went down to the Baltic sea while its frozen. Underneath there is their great halls where they gather while you can hear the drumbeat echos in the distance, escorting their journey. That is an example of a story I made up inspired by folk tales from the Baltic region.

EGLE- THE QUEEN OF SERPENTS, well known Lithuanian folk story about a girl named Egle who encountered a snake that offered her to marry him, frightened she agreed and after few days he came back and ask her from her parents that tried to hide her, making the story short, the snakes came and took Egle to the Baltic Sea where she found out that the snake she first met is a charming prince who now takes her hand and leads her to his castle under the waters. After many years she wanted to go visit her family she had missed… and for keeping with the story you can read the song’s lyrics or getting more detail from the net :)

Who did the cover art for Romuvan Dainas and how much input did you have on it?
I did the art work including the cover, I painted it with a pencil and used a map of the Baltic region as background. I like metal album covers that are painted, whether its black and white or coloured. As a painter, it is most likely I will use my own drawings for my own albums, that way I can make a great connection between the music and the graphic design of the album.

Has Romuvos ever played live or plan to do so in the future?
Never played live and at the moment it seems unlikely to happen due to the fact that I don’t have any session musicians. In the future I think of making Romuvos as a group, especially for live performance and studio recording, so you can say that I have future plans for live shows.

Are you involved with any other bands or projects outside of Romuvos?
No. Dedicated to Romuvos alone.

If Romuvos was invited to participate on a Bathory tribute album, what song would you want to do and why?
Oh such a hard question, as a Bathory big fan, I would go for “The Lake” from the album Blood On Ice. I think that the viking era of Bathory is epic music as epic can get. As Romuvos, making cover to one of the songs from that era will be the obvious.

What is your favorite Lithuanian beer of choice and why?
Its a good question, not many poeple know that but Lithuanian breweries are producing great and unique beer for ages now, so there are very good rich and flavoured beers in Lithuania but if i have to put a name, i would choose an ordinary good old white beer as Utenos beer, just cause I like that kind of beer.

What is it you like a listener to remember the most after hearing your music for the first time?
The helmet on his head, the sword in his hand, the shield on his body and the boots on his legs while he rode on his horse in the mountains and forests, laying around the fire at nights…waking up and playing the album again just to go back to the same point and continue his quest.

What’s up next for Romuvos?
The 2nd album in progress, making it in the same style and atmosphere, hope to keep doing it even better in the future, giving the listener the music i would like to hear on my stereo as well.

Any final words of wisdom?
Stay who you are and forget what society wants you to be, fuck all the missionaries and posers!

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!
Thank you for your interest in me and my music. Hails brothers and sisters!

(Interview by Ken Morton)

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Crown The Empire: Sunset Strip Takeover

ctewhiskyjl1Crown The Empire has certainly set the imagination in flight with their exhilarating mixture of metalcore and rock – first on The Fallout and now with their spiraling magnum opus entitled The Resistance: Rise of the Runaways.  Hitting the road on a cross country headlining tour, the world famous Whisky a Go-Go on the Sunset Strip would be the second stop of Crown The Empire’s Welcome To The Resistance Extravaganza.  Prior to their set, Highwire Daze had the opportunity to chat with vocalists Andy Leo and David Escamilla to find out more about their compelling new release on Rise Records, life on the road, headlining their own shows, Billboard Chart action, and a whole lot more!. Read on…

Introduce yourself and tell me what you do in Crown the Empire. What is a favorite song off the new record and why?
Dave: I’m Dave. I scream.
Andrew: I’m Andrew and I sing.
Dave: Mine might be “Satellites.” It’s a fun song to play. It is kind of different from the stuff that we have put out before and I sing a lot more in it.
Andrew: That is pretty good. For me, I would say “Machines” or “Rise to the Runaways,” they are both in your face, they give a bold overtone for what the album is about. I’m all about that. As of right now I would say “Millennia.” It went over really well live. We played it for the first time yesterday and the crowd was phenomenal. That’s my favorite so far.

ctewhiskyjl2How is this headlining tour going so far and what have been some of the highlights?  The tour started last night actually at Chain?
Andrew: Chain reaction was awesome. I guess we’ll see how the rest of it goes. Honestly, the first day for every band is the most stressful shit ever, things break, we didn’t get to use a lot of equipment that we wanted to use the first time. People were stressed. I have learned in the three years that we have been touring that you can’t sweat the first day, you have plenty of time to tweak everything, and it will all be just fine. But I would say the actual show was the highlight, it went off fucking incredible, the crowd was amazing, everybody was happy to be there.

How stressful is it to be the headlining band on a tour?
Andrew: For the bands themselves it is so easy. You get all the space you want, you get your own green room which is good for a change. A lot of the time you just have to hang out in your van or hangout where ever you are staying at the time. We’ve always had to play in front of the other bands drum kit. The headliner has their drum kit on stage and we have probably had a foot of space for all six of us to not fall off the stage while we perform. It is nice to be the seniors and bully down on everybody else for a bit. You know, you get a lot of luxuries. I am sure it is really stressful for the crew but for us it is smooth sailing.

ctewhiskyjl3Compare this tour or a tour like this to Warped Tour, what is the difference?
Dave: Oh man, to Warped Tour it is a huge difference. I mean it is way less convenient on Warped Tour, you have to walk to everything and you have to wait in line for everything.
Andrew: You have a 9-hour day.
Dave: Yeah. You have lots of signings and other things like that on top of your set. You don’t know what time it is. You can wake up at 11 AM and be playing 15 minutes later. These tours you can just walk around and go somewhere to eat and wake up late, stay up late. It is way more laid back.
Andrew: Definitely. I mean, we still have to get into the hang of it too because we haven’t played a venue tour in four to five months it seems like. All summer and some time off so now that we are getting back into the groove of things we appreciate a little bit more.

What could we expect from your live show tonight at The Whisky?
Andrew: All new songs, the new record is out, we are excited to play a ton of new songs off of it. New stage equipment, that Dave’s dad actually built himself. He had this giant rig and it was made to look like this old rotted, rusted steel bars that have a cog and crown, our logo, lit up all around it. It was huge. Everyone was like we probably won’t be able to use it a lot of the time but we managed to fit some of it on stage today. We’ve got these big projector screens with a show that runs along side the light show that we made. Different videos that go along the whole song. We are really excited about it. Yesterday we didn’t get to use it and everyone was bummed out but today it is working fine so it will be a new experience to add to the part of the show.

ctewhiskyjl4How did your dad get involved in this?
Andrew: He just kicked ass.
Dave: Honestly, he has been a carpenter for years so he just knows how to build things and just said that he can do it if we needed him to. We did, and he did it in four days. It was insane.

How is the new album Rise of the Runaways been received so far by the fans?
Dave: So far it’s been insane. We have only had one tour so far but they seem to really know the words already and it’s incredible.
Andrew: Every word. Every word. It was absolutely insane. Last night they were singing louder than we could, the entire time. Every part too, it wasn’t just the singing, it wasn’t just the chorus of the last song. It was every part to every song. It is cool to see how well received it was because on The Fallout - it was us trying to get our foot in the door and get our name out there, trying to impress everyone, but the people that came to see us on tour are the people who actually know us and love our songs so it is a nice change of pace. The vibes were incredible. I was smiling the entire time I think.

81WDWZzGAqL._SL1500_Who are the Runways and why are they Rising?
Andrew: The Rise of the Runaways is a concept album and the Runaways are the protagonists, they are this group of misfits from all across this world that we created fighting against the suppressive evil dictator guy. It’s time to rise is us fighting back against the system of lack of change, lack of apathy that is taking over all of our friends at home. We have seen this situation from an outside perspective. If we were static at home, everybody tends to want to do the 9-to-5 and go along with the condition their whole lives. We as a band, didn’t know that we were going to have any success whatsoever, took that risk and that is what life is all about. We’re fighting this message to our fans, take a risk, go out and do something. Fight for what is right and fight for what you believe in. That is what the album is all about.

You guys have survived Warped Tour twice now. What advice would you give a band about to attempt it for the first time next year.
Andrew: Clean up after yourself. Take care of yourself. It is nice to be courteous especially on a hard tour like that. It is hot, people get heated for no reason. take care of yourself, clean up after yourself, be courteous to those around you because your boys, you are going to need them.
Dave: Take a reliable vehicle. That is a huge thing I think. Be comfortable and take a good vehicle for sure.

How genuinely surprised were you to win the AP award?
Andrew: So stoked. We found out right before we went on the stage. They called us over and we had to be on that side of the stage at this time. Okay, we went over there and Kevin Lyman the owner of Warped was sitting over there holding a clipboard, helping running the event and looked and was just like ‘Congratulations guys”. We were like what? We didn’t see any other nominees for the award around so we were just like AHH. All excited and right then we saw our name and it was really awesome, a really fun experience. Got to see a lot of homies and stuff like that from tours.

crownw5_1Another surprise, your album at number seven on Billboard.
Andrew: Yeah it made it to number seven.

KM: What did you think about that?
Andrew: The Fallout didn’t come in, we were close! Then with this record coming in at number seven out of an actual top 200 of all the music that came out. We got number one hard rock album, number one regular rock album in the country. To have a top ten record with something, with an idea that we had and all worked towards is just unreal. I think that actual tears were shed at one point. I’m not going to say who cried but it was just overwhelming. We were so excited and we’re just so excited for what it will hold for the future. It unlocks a lot of opportunities that we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. We will see what happens this year.

How would you like Crown the Empire to be remembered 20 years from now, if someone in the future is listening to your record?.
Dave: I hope that we are still playing twenty years from now.
Andrew: I know. Twenty years if I could still be up on stage singing my ass off I would be forty but (laughs). I would love to do it forever. Think about it, for me growing up, kids listened to Metallica, kids listened to Zeppelin, and they listen to them now. They are my favorite band of all time, they haven’t put anything out in so long. You favorite song from them came out so long ago. Just to be remembered like that would be awesome. Any longevity like that would be surreal for me.
Dave: I would have to agree.

What is up next for you after this tour is over? I think you are going to the UK.
Dave: We are going to Europe actually. Europe and UK.
Andrew: We have Monster Outbreak Tour coming up with Attila, that will be cool. A lot of House of Blues size venues, those are always cool. We get free chip and queso every show. That is a highlight. We have a spot date in Mexico City. We are flying out for a show there, we have never been so that will be exciting. Our manager is here today and he told us about a bunch of crazy tour dates outside of the country pretty soon here so keep an eye out.

Any message for your fans in the LA Area?
Andrew: We love you guys and hopefully you guys dig this show tonight. If you haven’t checked out the new record yet then check it out. Hopefully we will see you soon.

Crown The Empire is:
Andy Leo: Vocals
David Escamilla: Vocals
Brandon Hoover: Guitar
Benn Suede: Lead Guitar
Hayden Tree: Bass
Brent Taddie: Drums

(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)

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Fornicus: Black Metal Storming out of Kentucky

fornicusband1_600x600The U.S. Black Metal scene and alive and well, unleashing a malevolent fury that is astonishing to behold.  Fornicus is one such entity ready to  devastate the masses with their compositions of relentless intrigue.  Their latest effort Storming Heaven has been unleashed through Negative Earth Records, and its destined to leave a lingering impression on all whom encounter its wicked reveries.  Here is an interview we conducted with one of the Fornicus horde to find out more about this collective ready to violate your senses.  Read on…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Fornicus, and how long the band has been together.
I’m Scott, the vocalist and rhythm guitar player for the band. We’ve been together as a functioning band for a little over a year and half and Chris and myself had begun working on material a few months before that.

Where is the band based out of and what is the local metal scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
We rehearse just outside Glasgow, KY but we all live in different cities/towns with David our drummer living nearly 2 hrs away and Kelly our lead guitarist just under a hour. We don’t really fit in our immediate local scene so we consider anything within a couple hrs drive pretty much local. Tons of killer bands such as Abominant, Mangled Atrocity, Tombstalker, Highmass, Created to Kill, Anagnorisis, Savage Master… plenty more. KY has more quality metal than people realize.

fornicuscd1_600x600Is there any story or concept behind the album title Storming Heaven.
The concept is about the destruction of God’s kingdom. The title track deals specifically with that but the other tracks while related in subject aren’t about that topic.

Select any two songs from Storming Heaven and what inspired the lyrics.
The lyrics for Storming Heaven actually come from a project Kelly and I had going before he joined Fornicus called Storming Heaven. We decided to merge the projects since they were so similar in style and I thought it’d be fitting to title a track the band name in homage to the project. So from there the lyrics basically flowed out describing scenes one may see if the hordes of hell overtook the heavens slaughtering all in their way.

King of Egoist was inspired by certain individual’s actions and their arrogant posturing as a great and righteous christian. A very selfish and manipulative individual. His hypocrisy disgusted me so I felt compelled to transcribe this feeling into words for the song. Chris was also very much involved in the writing of these lyrics as he had very similar feelings.

Has Sepultura heard or commented on your cover of Antichrist and what made you decide to cover that song?
I seriously doubt they have heard the cover. We’re very unknown at this point so I’d really be surprised if they had caught wind of it. Myself personally have been a fan of pre-Roots Sepultura for many years and I know the rest of the guys hold their classics in high regard as well. We decided to do a cover of the song because we felt we could make it our “own” if you will and give it new life.

Who did the cover art for Storming Heaven and how much influence did you have on it?
Gragoth of Luciferium War Graphics created our logo and album artwork and we couldn’t be more pleased with his work. We just gave a general description of what we saw in our heads and gave him the song lyrics and trusted him to realize our vision, which he 100% did. We highly recommend him and his work.

What could one expect from a live Fornicus show?
Thrashing black death. No bullshit and no scenster/hipster posturing, just headbanging and true metal front to back.

Has Fornicus ever played on the West Coast or plan to do so in future days?
Our shows have pretty much been confined to about a 2 hr radius of where we rehearse so we haven’t made it much further yet. I know right now it would be extremely difficult for us to make it out that far but never say never!

What are you looking forward to the most about your upcoming show with Macabre and Ringworm?
Playing a good venue with killer local acts Abominant and the Stonecutters and hopefully making some new fans. Ringworm is actually not on the bill but Panzerfaust is in whom I look forward to seeing just as much as Macabre. Front to back this show will be killer!

Are you or any of the other members involved with any other bands outside of Fornicus?
Yes, Kelly and myself have a death/grind band called Gorgy together where I actually drum. I was a member of this band before Kelly joined up in Fornicus. We’re currently in the middle of recording the bands second full length title “Orgy of Gore,” my first recording with the band. Expect nothing but insanity, speed, and perversion! It shall be released on Negative Earth Records as well which is Kelly’s DIY label we are releasing our music through. Currently we are the only members who have other projects going.

If Fornicus could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
I would personally loved to have opened for Emperor at any point in their career. They are my all time favorite band and to be able to share the stage with them would have been an immense honor.

What’s up next for Fornicus?
We’ve already started writing for future releases and may be putting together a split as well with some other killer bands. We will continue to play shows regionally and bring blasphemy to all that will have us.

Any final words of wisdom?
We appreciate the interview and all support we have received from media and fans. Hails to you all, you are the underground!

Fornicus is:
Scott – Guitar/Vocals
Chris – Bass
Kelly – Lead Guitar
David – Drums

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The Scorching Rock and Roll Sensations of Charm City Devils

charmcity1Charm City Devils has been scorching their way across America, gearing up for the release of their third rock and roll magnum opus entitled Battles.  Being released through The End Records, Battles is a blistering collection of tunes destined to garner this Baltimore based collective a whole lot of new fans.  Prior to the album release, Charm City Devils hit the road, opening for none other than Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators.  We caught up with Charm City Devils’ charismatic front man John Allen right before their opening set at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula to find out more about the brand spankin’ new Battles album, his past band Child’s Play, being on the road with the legendary Slash,  and other fiery topics of interest.  Read on…

Introduce yourself and tell me what you do in Charm City Devils and how long the band has been together.
Hey, it’s John Allen and I’m the singer. We’ve been together with this lineup I think since 2007 – the final piece was getting Nick playing guitar in the band. Things started to happen right after then. Got our first record deal just a few months after that.

ccdjl1Where are you guys based, and what’s your local music scene like there? Baltimore?
That ís where we got the name. “Charm City” is the nickname of the town. Nikki Sixx named us. Based out of Baltimore. Great scene for musicians and bands for a long time. One of the bands to look up to when growing up was KIXX. They were a Baltimore institution. I think they have a new record out right now.

Let’s talk about Battles, is there any overall concept or story behind the album title?
Well, the name of the record is just talking about battles in a broad sense – could be anything from daily issues from being a human being to trying to do the right thing. I thought this was a cool title for that fact. If you battle addiction, or so many other things that we are up against. The first single (Shots), that is what it is about battling addiction. Outwardly that song sounds like a party anthem, but that was for a close friend who was in denial and the addiction has gotten him so strong and I worry about him and want him to get better.

ccdjl8Since we talked about “Shots,” chose any other two songs off Battles and what inspired the lyrics for you?
Crucified” is one that started out lyrically, how we set our idols up in this country and maybe worldwide. They become huge, and the media sets them up. The general public kind of grow tired them, and we like to tear them down. We like to do that and that kind of sucks. I was brought up Catholic, and I started thinking. Crucify is kind of a metaphor. A lot of the sacrifices and things we do, in Church and if someone was to start a new religion, would that seem strange? Would that seem strange to other people who don’t hold the same beliefs? I thought wow, that is kind of weird. That would be a cool idea, to use these things for metaphors for path to stardom tearing down the idols or whatever. That is how that song evolved. It’s got a nasty ass grove, and electric harp solo that I love.

Any other song you’d like to discuss?
I really like “What I Want“. It’s a song that came together really quickly. We were tracking guitars, Vic and I at my house for another tune and he was playing this riff, just came up with it and I just started skating lyrics and said “let’s record this, this is very cool.” We pulled the song together and those are always the fun ones, where you don’t really have to labor over it too long and it just came together. Lyrically I like some of the lines in that a lot. Like, the Government shutdown was happening when I wrote that song so there’s a few digs in there about that. It’s about being pissed off and trying to make it.

ccdjl12What can one expect from your live show tonight?
Just an in your face rock show, man. We go out and we burn the house down. We get in your face, it’s high energy, it’s loud. It’s obnoxious. We have a great time out there, there’s no shoe staring. Hopefully I don’t take myself too seriously and have fun with the crowd.

What has it been like opening for SLASH and how long have you known him?
It’s awesome. We just met him, he’s a wonderful guy. He went out of his way to come over and meet the band, he told us that he had a pick of a bunch of bands that he could have put on these dates and he handpicked us. Which was like, we didn’t know what to say. We’re so grateful. His band is amazing. We just sit there in awe every night. The crowds have been amazing so it’s been a really great, great pairing of the bands. We’re just so happy to be out here with him. He’s a legend. The stuff he does on these shows from the classical influenced stuff almost with some flamenco flourishes, I had no idea that he did that kind of stuff. He blows me away every night.

ccdjl7Do you still keep in touch with Nikki Sixx? He actually named your band?
He did, when we were signed to his label. I dont talk to Nikki very often these days, he’s busy and I’m busy. I’m so happy for those guys getting out on the road again, they were all – Mick was such a sweetheart to me as well as Nikki. We owe all those guys such a debt of gratitude, for taking us out our first big tour opening for Crue Fest II. There’s nothing we could ever do to repay that gift.

When you look back on your work with Child’s Play, what do you think of it today?
That’s a tough one. I feel like as a songwriter I’ve gotten better over the years. We were, and I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but we were a really great live band. A good show band. But, I took my cues from players like Tommy Lee. I was a show drummer. We had a great singer. We put on a really high energy show. But I didn’t understand that I couldn’t put the show on a CD. People couldn’t see me putting on my show when they were listening to the record. Songwriting has to be the first order of the day. You need to craft good songs, first and foremost. We were so busy playing live shows, when we came up, we really cut our teeth playing 2,3, 4 times a week in the Baltimore scene. So we played a lot, we got our live show really down. But when it comes to it, you have to have the songs. I know a lot of people really like that stuff, and I don’t mean to degrade anything that we did, but I just feel like I’ve grown since then.

ccdjl4Would you ever want to do another Child’s Play reunion show?
It would be hard since Brian (Jack) passed away in 2012, April. I dont know. They’re always fun, we did a tribute to him last fall during one of our shows. We had some of the original guys from the band come up and I sang a couple of the songs that I wrote. We had some other guest singers, Mitch from SR71 guested on a song that Brian had written. It was a great time, a nice tribute to him. His family were all there, it really touched them. That was the show, going into it I thought it was all about honoring Brian and that was the case but at the end of the day I think it really did something for his parents. I think it made them really happy. It’s the ones that are left behind most times that have to go through the pain of losing someone like that.

You’ve probably done this already, but if Charm City Devils could open up for any band either now or from the past, who and why?
There are so many man! I’m such a huge fan – AC/DC is probably one of the top, if not one or two. Aerosmith and AC/DC have to battle that out for my #1 slot to open for. We’ve already opened for Axl Rose, Guns N Roses and now Slash so that’s fantastic. Mark them off the list, Motley we’ve opened for, mark them off the list. We’ve had some great support slots. The classics, AC/DC, Aerosmith. Zeppelin. But they’d probably not take a support act. They’d play for three hours. Those are my top right there, KISS of course. Grew up with KISS.

You said you opened for Axl, what was that like?
We did it at Sturges back in 2010. It was so cool, it was Guns N Roses, Alice in Chains, Rev Theory and us. They did this, it was a new festival that year called Rock and Rev. It was interesting, man. It was on Friday the 13th. He didn’t go on during Friday the 13th, he went on after midnight so it was actually Saturday the 14th. It was a late night and fun was had by all.

battlesccd2You’re not superstitious about Friday the 13th, are you?
I’m superstitious about a million things, but that one, I don’t know about that one. We had an OK show that night. I almost fell on my ass, it had rained a little bit and the stage – I went running and I slid a little, but I didn’t eat it. Friday the 13th is OK.

What’s up next for you guys?
JA: Single goes to radio in two weeks, the impact date is August 25th and 26th. Then I guess the lyric video is already out but the official video will come out to coincide with the street date of the album and the album hits stores, September 23rd. We’ll continue playing, we’ve got more dates with Slash and more dates up and down the east coast when we work our way back there, doing a radio festival in Shreveport, LA and it hits a few stops on the way down there down south, Florida and I think Johnson City, TN. A year’s worth of touring…

Do you have any messages for your fans that may be reading this now?
Check us out on Facebook and write to us, we write back. We’re totally accessible. Twitter, Facebook, whatever. Thank you for all the support for all this time. We’ll see you out on the road this year.

Charm City Devils are:
John Allen – Vocals
Vic Karrera – Guitar
Nick Kay – Guitar
Anthony Arambula – Bass
Jason Heiser – Drums

(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)

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Septicflesh: Symphonic Death Metal Titans on the Sunset Strip

septicdaze1The Conquerors of the World Tour made its way onto the wilds of the Sunset Strip, bringing a massive amount of world class Symphonic Death Metal to sunny Southern California.  Co-headlining the tour was the mighty Septicflesh from Athens, Greece, unleashing a mesmerizing performance that will be remembered for the dark and glorious ages ahead.  Prior to their explosive presentation, we caught up with guitarist Christos Antoniou on the patio at the House Of Blues on the Sunset Strip to find out more about their thrilling new album Titan on Prosthetic Records, the present and future tours, and other topics of intrigue.  Read on…

Introduce yourself and tell me what you do in Septicflesh.
Yes, this is Christos Antoniou from Septicflesh and I play the guitar and I make the orchestration for the band.

septicflesh1How’s this “Conquerors of the World” tour going, what have been some of the highlights?
Well, it’s going really well. We have a strong package, you know, Septicflesh and Fleshgod Apocalypse are two of the most active bands in the symphonic death black metal. We had great moments in Chicago, New York, Seattle. It’s really… really going really well.

Let’s talk about the new album. Is there any overall story or concept behind the title?
It’s not the concept album, although it has many similarities, you know, some songs have common elements. As example, we have the song “Burn” and “Prometheus“, which is the bringer of fire. Then we have the song “Titan“. And then we have “Prototype” and “Order of Dracul” … that they talk about the manipulation of the masses through fear. And we have “Ground Zero” which acts as a prologue to “The First Immortal“.

How do you think Titan compares to all the other Septic Flesh releases?
Well, although it sounds cliche, you know, to say “This is our best album”, the facts are facts, you know? And now we can see that we have overpassed the previous album, which was the most successful, “The Great Mass“. We are in many big magazines, album of the month. We are in Norway, in Holland, in Belgium, in France, in Greece. This is a fact, you know? And also we have very good feedback from North America. And, it stuns for us, also, the most important, is the feedback from the fans, you know? Because this is the most importantly, that the fan base like the material and we are in a good path, and for us, “Titan” stuns as our best album, the most mature, most electrical work we have ever done. Because, it was our vision to go the band a step forward, you know? And not copy an album like “The Great Mass“, which would be a really big mistake.

septicflesh2What is the most difficult part about working with an orchestra and choir?
Well, you know, I have studied classical music and I know how to work straight. It’s not something that I find difficult. The most important is to… to give them as many details as you can to the orchestra in order to make the music they’re participation much better. And it’s always exciting for me to compose and orchestrate for an orchestra, and it will always be,  Since I was a student, our dreams were to see an amazing orchestra perform our works. And now we have done that. And as I said, it’s something that, it’s really runs smoothly in the recordings, you know? We know them, we have cooperated together many times and I try to make their life very easy.  Because we don’t have many hours to record. If we start to make mistakes and create chaos, this will cause a fortune to the band. We have to be perfect, not less than that.

If Septicflesh could open for any band either now or from the past, who would that be and why?
I’d say Death, probably. Morbid Angel, Celtic Frost, Death. Our main influences when we were youngsters. Especially Chuck, this guy had a great vision. He was a pioneer in his style, he changed music for me. Unfortunately we don’t have him alive now. If we had him, he would create always something that has a meaning. All his albums for me are a masterpiece.

Can you imagine if he lived, what he would be doing now?
For me, he’s like the composer of concert music. Like Mozart, but in his era. People that have changed the music with their talent.

septicflesh3Septicflesh has been around since the 90s. What do you think has kept you around since then? What has kept your music so vibrant?
Probably the second period. Septicflesh, for me, are two periods. The one from the 90s until the split and then we have the second period which is the most important. Since Communion and now with Titan, we are now in a very good label(s) that support our ideas and our vision. We tour many times. In the 90s, we didn’t tour. I had to go and study music. My brother had to study finance, we were not so active. But now we know we are more mature. We know which path to follow. If you managed to create good albums and to be on good strong packages, you will find your way. The second period established the band as it is now.

How close are you to the band Rotting Christ and have you ever toured with them?
I’m very good friends with Sakis. We have never toured.

titansfYoure kidding!
We played once in Greece, that’s it.

What’s up next for Septic Flesh after this tour is over?
We will tour as much as we can to promote the new album. We have a festival in Europe, Summer Breeze. Then we have plans to return to the US, but I cannot say anything more. Maybe a tour in the beginning of 2015 in Europe, we shall see. We are now in talks with the agency and management to see what will be our next steps.

Do you have any messages for your fans that may be reading this right now?
I want to thank all our fans that have supported the band for so many years. I hope they will like the new album.  I think we make an honest work that has a quality meaning.

Septicflesh is:
Seth Siro Anton – Bass & Vocals
Christos Antoniou – Guitars & Orchestral
Sotiris Anunnaki V. – Guitars & Clean Vocals
Fotis Benardo – Drums & Percussion

(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)

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