Interview with Democratus

Interview with Democratus
By Sheri Bicheno

Hi Everyone, Sheri here

Democratus, hailing from South Wales, have smashed their way through the music scene since 2014, playing Bloodstock, supporting Light The Torch, and sharing the stage with some amazing bands such as Agrona, Kilonova and Suffocation. I have been following them for the last two years or so and recently got the chance to catch up with these hilarious and lovely chaps!

Read on for more including strategizing as a band around the Pandemic, serial killers, their thoughts on supporting the music scene, turning a chaotic show into a memorable one…and a hint of a new album!!!

Sheri: For our readers, You formed around late 2014 after Steve’s band Counterhold ended?

Steve Jenkins (Vocals): Yep, Counterhold!

Sheri: After our chat last year, I know Rich had not long joined the band…can you give us a bit of a history lesson on Democratus and your roots…

Steve: Shall I take this one?

*Zak joins the conversation*

Rich Rees (Guitar): Omg! Zak has appeared!

Steve: A wild Zak has appeared!

Rich: Yeah, it’s like the last peanut at the bottom of the bag haha!

Joey Watkins (Guitar): He looks purple! What is going on with him? Haha.

Steve: It’s looking ominous, mate.

Joey: Willy Wonka told you not to eat the gum in the factory mate, or else this would happen.

Zak Skane (Drums): Hahaha I’m not in the mental space for this interview, I don’t think I am!

*all laugh*

Steve: Right, I’ll take this one then. History of the band; we started the nucleus of Democratus around late 2014 just after Bloodstock, the plans were set up with a vastly different line up to what it is now. We started gigging around 2015 and that was my push to kinda get too the magic 5 song mark and then we just chucked ourselves out there to kind of own our craft on the live circuit. Members came, members went until we got Joe and Kerrin in on guitar around the same time. I basically ended up losing both guitarists on the same day. Around the 2016 mark, then got Joey and Kerrin in cuz myself and Spoon, we were virtually on the verge of saying “alright shall we go our separate ways?” And we thought no, we will crack on. Between myself and Spoon, we had written the majority of the music we had at the time so we thought we would get another line up sorted and crack on. Then in 2017 Zak Came In.

Zak: *waves* Hi!

Steve: And things started to come together in terms of our live performance. We ended up getting through to the finals of the Metal 2 The Masses in South Wales and whilst we lost out on that, rather than mope about it, we thought “right…” the stuff we were playing at that point was written under old line-ups. So we decided that we would hit the restart button and start working on new music, create a sound that was five of us at the time and basically kind of work on our stage show, cover both bases because we were on the verge of getting our first EP out, “Starting Again”.So, we did that and then started immediately working on new stuff. “Starting Again”was the line in the sand. This was the old stuff and then we moved forward from it. 2018 then happened and we were fortunate enough to win the South Wales Metal 2 The Masses that time round and it all kicked off from there…

Sheri: So, you basically started from scratch?

Steve: Yeah basically. Kerrin then decided, and we kinda saw it coming, that the band stuff kind of wasn’t for him. It was getting a bit too busy with the life he had and what he was doing at home and stuff, so he decided to step back. We’d already had a couple of occasions then were Richard filled in for us on a couple of gigs prior, so there was only one option once Kerrin said he was gonna step down. We ONLY approached Rich and THANK GOD he said yes haha.

Rich: I got in by default! Haha.

*all laugh*

Sheri: You weren’t dragged in kicking and screaming then? Haha!

A lot of your songs are very humanity based and politically driven. They highlight a lot of the problems that humanity is facing – homelessness, poverty, recession, the greed of the government, sin and faith. You have a message to put out there as opposed to making music that just sounds great. I can pick this up in the songs like‘Damnation’, ‘Creator of Poverty’ and ‘Is This Fear’? Tell us more about this and what it means to you.

Steve: I suppose I’ll have to take this one again won’t I? Haha!

Yeah, I miss being oblivious to the political situation as we have it. As a carer to my wife, I’ve had my hand forced into keeping an eye on current situations and it’s not in a good place. So, for me lyrically, it just makes sense that Democratus has become my catharsis, my chance to vent at what’s wrong in the world in a more constructive way than trying to get banned on Facebook. Hahaha!

Sheri: You? Never! Hahaha.

Steve: Hahaha. But yeah, I’ve never been one of those that can write much in the way of fantasy lyrics. I can kind of write personal stuff you know; with any issues I have going on in my own head. But it’s all quite realistic, quite relatable stuff rather than things about Dungeons and Dragons and fantasy stuff… which, you know, has its place! I love that kind of stuff but for me, I’m not that kind of lyricist so thankfully the boys then come up with music that is as suitably angry as I am, and it fits. The boys kind of know my stances on things like that and are happy for me to rant about it, which I’m grateful for.

Joey: Sometimes we don’t always agree though Steve.

Steve: We don’t always.

Rich: That’s the thing, from a political point, we’re actually quite a diverse group. But when it comes to writing the music and stuff like that, I think the new stuff that we are working on now, is gonna be completely different, not in terms of the message or anything like that because we’ve got so many more lyrics and different music and then there’s my influence on it where I’ve not really written anything for Democratus before, so I’m hoping the new record is gonna be amazing to be fair.

Steve: Yeah, see it kind of ties in with the name itself anyways. How Democratus came to be in terms of its name was, we were chatting in the early incarnation, we were chatting about what we should call ourselves and I turned around and said “We’re a Democracy, not a Dictatorship” we all have to decide on something that we think sounds good. Our guitarist at the time then came up with Democratus and we all went “ooooh!” so you know, it’s all been a joint collaborative effort. I kind of handle the management side of things, but musically, we all chip in, we’ve all chucked in riffs here and there and you know, even if it’s just me humming something, but we all collaborate.

Joey: I think all of us having such a diverse range of opinions and actually, you know, seeing the world from different angles is really helpful towards the lyric writing as well, so it doesn’t kind of alienate an entire group of people. We need to kind of keep it focused as well going down that route. I think our aim is to say “Look, there’s problems with everything and it needs sorting.”

Steve: That’s it. I try not to be as linear as someone like Rage Against the Machine for example, I do try and leave a fair chunk of the lyrics open to interpretation so if people can take a personal feeling out of the lyrics I’ve written then great!

Sheri: Absolutely, yeah. So, in terms of your songwriting, as you say, everyone chips in, it’s not so that you have say a guitarist that only writes the riffs, how do you put it together?

Rich: Zak just turns up at my house and goes “I’ve written a song now learn it.” Hahaha!

*all laugh*

Rich: And then I tell him why the song is bad and then we fix it haha.

Zak: Song. Bad. Fix. Haha.

Joey: I tell everyone that I’m currently working on something and that it will blow them away but it’s yet to appear haha!

Rich: Due to release in 2025 haha.

Joey: Yeah haha! I’ve come up with a couple of riffs and sent them off to Zak and he’s kind of built a song around that so like ‘The Unworthy’was something that me and Zak worked on and again the lyrics of that kind of came like…we were all at practice, we were all really pissed off cuz someone had trolled the band page saying that we didn’t deserve any of the bigger shows we’ve had or you know, how we didn’t deserve Bloodstock or anything like that and they said “Yeah, you’re not worthy” and we’re like

“Yeah, you’re right, we’re not. But we still did it.”

Sheri: Wow…just wow!

Joey: So yeah, like some of the lyrics kinda come from there. And the ironic thing is that their band is now broken up…

Sheri: WELL WELL!!

Joey: So yeah, it’s kinda like… haha.

Sheri: That goes to show then eh! Steve, your vocals are remarkably diverse, and you can do all sorts of ranges. From heavy to something a bit more melodic and cleaner…Listening to tracks like ‘Dead Without Dying’ and ‘BTK’, then to a slight contrast in ‘Starting Again’ and ‘The Furious Horde’. How do you find vocally what fits with the direction of the songwriting and harmonies of Democratus?

Steve: Ahh there’s no set way of thinking with it. Whilst I kind of chuck us in the Melodic Death Metal group, that’s more for like chucking ourselves to promotors who like to label things and stuff. It’s basically a case of, if we all think it’s good, it’s in. So vocally, it continues to be a work in progress. If you’d have asked me to do these kinds of vocals 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to do them. It’s been a gradual process from being a very rough, motley clean singer to working in the occasional screams and growls that I used to do with Counterhold through to then thinking “OK, maybe I can try and see if I can do the more aggressive stuff”. Cuz all my favourite bands are Melodic Death Metal anyway and as soon as Counterhold called it quits, that was the route that I kind of wanted to aim for. So vocally, it was kind of, “Alright, I’ll test it out. If doesn’t work, I’ll go back to mostly staying on clean vocals.” But thankfully, I’m told it seems to be working!

I do what I do, and I love what I do, but obviously, I’m my own worst critic as well so if I don’t think something works, I will take it back. The boys can come to me and say, “This doesn’t quite fit, we think you can do something a bit better with it.” I try not to be a Diva so you know, they can come to me and I’m not gonna throw a hissy fit over it, I’ll take it on board. Might not always listen to them, but… haha.

Joey: It’s like when Mike, the guy who produced and helped do the mixing and mastering and recording of the “Damnation”E.P helped. We had 3, maybe even 4 versions ofBTK’ and the recorded version is different to the live version. Mike was basically like “Look, the song just needs cutting here and there because it’s too long for a record. Whereas where you’re playing it live, that’s fine as people can’t see you over a CD” so we then went through various cuts of it where vocal phrasing was and everything like that and it took us a couple of weeks really to suss that out. So, I think that’s also been really important for us when we’re looking at recording, so you’ll notice a big difference in production value between “Starting Again”and “Damnation”, hopefully between whatever the album is gonna be as well. I think we’re really gonna be taking our time with it and doing something really good and so what you might see in the live version probably may not be on the recorded version, but the reason for that is to try and get a bigger sound and to try and encapsulate that energy and that feel of being in the room with it not just being onto a CD.

Sheri: Understood. Amazing. Now, you’re mentioning a writing of a new album!!! (Getting excited)

Steve: Yes!

Sheri: I’m picking this vibe up guys!

Steve: Hahaha! Certainly, dropping hints.

Rich: I’m sorry…was there a plug? Hahaha.

*All laugh*

Sheri: What are your plans for that? Are you looking to release that in the New Year…What can you tell us?

Rich: Personally, I’m enjoying not working to a schedule at the moment, obviously have to try and get everything together eventually, but right now it’s nice just to go “Hey, I’ve got some riffs, let’s work on these,” So we’ll go to practice and we’ll work out a few things or we’ll send each other recordings of what we’ve done. I mean, even Steve has been writing some riffs that we want to potentially work on, but as a newcomer, we’ll figure it out haha.

Joey: There’s some bones of a good song there.

Steve: I’m about 3 weeks away from being a better guitarist than Joey hahaha.

Joey: Yeaaaah…haha

Sheri: Oh noooooooo! Hahaha.

Joey: That’s true hahaha

Rich: Joey tries, don’t say that hahaha!

Joey: The thing is we’re not really working to any schedule, we’re currently in the process of writing as many song as we can really and what we’re gonna do is once we’ve written a load of songs, we’re gonna record rough demos of them and then we’re gonna take a hat trick to them and curtail anything we think won’t work, maybe come back to them later but we’re gonna have an album’s worth of really good songs, not three or four good ones and seven songs of filler kind of thing.

Steve: That’s it Sheri, we take pride in the tracks we already play live anyway. We may drop one or two of them in the run up to getting the album sorted but yeah…5 of them are already in the set list as it is.

Sheri: Oooooh, all the excitement!

Joey: Unfortunately, all that sort of stuff has kinda halted cuz, currently, me and Zak are the only ones not in a Lockdown area in Wales.

Zak: Yeah pretty much!

Steve: You’re aware there’s a Lockdown by literally half a mile, aren’t you, Joe?

Joey: Yeah, I’ve gotta drive like 30 miles to go to the Supermarket now.

Sheri: Loooord!

Joey: Yeah basically I live on the Monmouthshire side so I’m in the same county as Zak so I’ll plan on meeting up with Zak one evening or couple of evening’s in the week now and we’ll just try and get stuff recorded so we’re not at a complete loss. But we can’t practise and learn the songs together at the moment unfortunately, which sucks. There we are.

Sheri: That’s a bit sucky but gotta make the best of what we have.

Joey: Exactly.

Sheri: The composing is absolutely marvellous, with the strings and drums, you have a lot of twists and unexpected turns in your style of melodic death metal and your methods. I detect some other elements, even some Thrash! An example of this I think, is in the track ‘Deity’on your EP “Starting Again”. Last year, I remember Joey telling me he started out as a not very good guitarist amongst his injuries haha – surely you gotta feel differently as time has passed?

Joey: Yeah haha. I don’t think I’m on that first EP. We were that pushed for time and trying to record. I’m on the new EP and I’ll be on the album but that first EP, I saw the red light and my playing just went totally out of time, I couldn’t play a triplet.

Rich: Seems to be a curse for Democratus guitarists because I’m not on the new EP much either haha! But I’ll be on the album…

Joey: Haha yeah so Kerrin had to record my parts of that because we tried one four or five hour session and I just couldn’t get anything down and it got to the point where I was just like “Look, Kerrin, I don’t mind not being on it, we need to get this done.” Because…Like, it had been written in a time where I had been in the band but those songs had been written prior to my joining, I don’t really have any connection to them, I enjoy them as songs but they’re nothing I had anything to do with the writing process of, so I was like “You know what, Kerrin, you take it.”

Zak: The thing is with the EP; we were just replicating what the previous line up did. Just putting our own twists on it to make it original.

Joey: Yeah, so there were solos and everything that we had re-written and a couple of things that we added but the for the most part it’s old Democratus and that’s one of the reasons it’s even called “Starting Again”cuz you know…that’s was just like the end of that.

Steve: For me, “Starting Again”was tied in simply with my re-start after Counterhold. It’s as simple as that. It’s not a subtle nod, but yeah… like I said, “Starting Again”by the time we got round to recording it with the boys that we had in the band, it was simply a case of “Right, let’s just get this out there so we’ve got something to plug.”

Joey: Yeah, in all honesty, it was a very difficult recording process, it took a lot longer than we thought it would in terms of before Zak joined, our drummer – nothing against him, again just a similar problem to me in terms of recording, he just really struggled to be tight and to be able to play on the record so that really slowed things down. But then we got Zak in and things kind of all came together. I mean, Spoon, he’s not on the interview on the moment, but he’s probably the tightest player out of all of us when it comes to recording, you know.

Sheri: In light of that, you’ve had some pretty huge highlights with Democratus – playing Bloodstock, supporting…YOU SUPPORTED LIGHT THE TORCH!

Zak: I KNOW haha

Joey: Yeah!!

Rich: …did I!?


*all laughs*

Zak: You saw the poster, Rich? haha.

Joey: Yeah Rich, just photoshop yourself in there really badly hahaha

Rich: Yeah, the only picture I’ve got of Democratus at all, doesn’t have me in it haha but it’s the tour poster that I’m on haha!

Joey: Yeah, that really was like a highlight for all of us because me, Zak and Steve…Howard Jones has been a huge influence on us and then to share the line-up was just a Holy Shit moment basically.

Steve: The weirdest thing about that was just how straight forward it was from making my initial pester to the promoter – I had a heads up after going to see them open for In Flames like a couple of days before it was announced, so I basically messaged the promoter and then noticed the promoter had their phone number on their page… so I thought “bugger it!” and called them up and I just went “look… if I’m pestering too much, please let me know but I’m chasing up the message that I’ve sent regarding the Light The Torch show, if there’s any chance of a local slot, please can you let us know.” Because my worship of Howard Jones is rather well known.

Zak: I’m pretty sure Howard knows that as well haha.

Steve: Damn right he does haha!

Zak: When we were at Bloodstock, they had the meet and greet because he did the Jasta show and Jamie was the first person there and then there was Kirk and then it went to Howard to shake hands and Howard just went “I know you!”

Steve: … “I’ve seen you before!” hahaha.

Zak: Nervously sweating as well hahaha

Joey: So, it was great that we got on that show and didn’t get a restraining order hahaha.

Steve: The promoter told me “I’ll see what I can do, I’ll get back to you.” So, a week and a half later, I chased up with one more message basically saying “Can you let me know what’s going on because I need to know if I’m selling my ticket or not.” Then the following morning I woke up to the email saying, “You’re in, send us your logo.” How I didn’t wake up my Amy FIST PUMPING THE F*KING AIR, I will never know!

Sheri: Hahaha that’s brilliant!!

Joey: And just a couple of words on that promotor – a couple of months later they put Insomnium on and we asked them for the slot and unfortunately we didn’t get it but they were really good enough to put us on the Guest List for that. So massive Kudos to them, that was really good of them.

Steve: Yeah, they were a great bunch.

Sheri: Wicked! That’s so cool. You see, I love stuff like that. So, like I say, you’ve had some huge highlights and obviously you have your two EP’s out at the moment and you’re working on an album… How do you feel you have evolved over time?

Rich: I mean I’ll put it this way, I’ve played guitar since I was 15, so that’s 15 years now and I feel I’ve progressed more in my time with Democratus than I have in the other 12 odd years haha. I remember the first time you asked me to do lead guitar and I was like “excuse me!?”. There was that practice where there was the first solo going up and I remember just doing the bend and then Joey just turning around and laughing at Steve, so I either did something very wrong or very right just now haha. So, I just nervously carried on haha.

Sheri: You obviously did do right haha!

Rich: Yeah, apparently! Haha.

Joey: I think that our song writing is always evolving, as you said earlier, our lyrics are very politically charged, and the landscape is always changing with that. You know, a hell of a lot has changed in the last 4 years since I joined the band and the lyric writing has reflected that. In terms of guitar work, new members make things…everyone has their own spin on things. Zak is just churning out riffs like a madman, which is great!

Sheri: Like a boss!

Zak: Yeah, I haven’t got a life so…haha

Joey: Yeah…Oh no! I didn’t mean…yeah, you haven’t got a life hahaha. Also, I think our understanding of recording has come on leaps and bounds since the first EP. So, you know, we’re paying more attention to things like dynamics, things like guitar tone and everything like that just to try and make the songs sound bigger and better. We’re always looking to try and improve. Yeah, just make things interesting.

Steve: Which is why we work. This is why we work. We’re always looking to improve, we’re never just settling for, you know, the words “That will do”. They are banned in the studio when we are recording. You’re always looking to improve in whatever way, be it a better vocal line, a better guitar solo, a better riff being played, better drum fill. You know, we don’t box ourselves into how we should sound because we’re always looking to progress. If we decided that this is how we are gonna start sounding for the next 4 or 5 albums, we would all get bored to buggery anyway!

Joey: There’s only been a couple of times where I’ve had to ask Steve about lyrics and whether he thinks that’s a good line. I was terrified because you’ve got the song ‘Preach To The Hate;and its original title was Hints of Hate and I said “It’s a bit too in your face to be called Hints of Hate” and it was a nervous moment for me because Steve was like “You’ve never questioned my lyrics before.” And I was like “Oh no! What have I done?” haha.

Steve: Hahaha! And you will never do so again!! Haha

Joey: The whole album has been more like a group contribution whereas the previous 2 have always been like “here’s a riff” and one person has written the whole song, whereas now it’s like everything is just stemming to contribute to it. Even recently, the lyrics have been quite group contributed as well, haven’t they Steve?

Steve: Yeah, even if it’s just you guys giving me a subject to go off, yeah – I mean, I’ve always been open to lyrical contribution. One of the latest thing’s that we’ve written has had Zak’s full input on the lyrics! I looked ‘em over the other day and they look fantastic. I am more than happy to put my vocals over what he’s given me. So yeah, it’s a case of – there’s no ego’s in the band. Our overall outlook on it is just to see where it goes.

Joey: Yeah, pretty much.

Steve: We’re not expecting anything, we’re not demanding anything – we’re just kind of putting ourselves out there, asking if the possibilities are there and if they are, brilliant! If not, we crack on doing what we’re doing anyway.

Sheri: Educate me! My favourite song of yours is ‘BTK’, but… what does that stand for?

Zak: Steve, that’s all you mate!

Steve: That’s me, OK! This one stands for ‘Bind, Torture, Kill’.

Joey: I thought that was a sandwich! Hahaha

Rich: Bacon, Tomato, Kale hahaha.

Steve: Hahaha! It’s basically a set of lyrics I was sat on around the Counterhold days that just weren’t doing anything, but it’s based around the Bind, Torture, Kill killer. So, I was reading an article in one of those daytime magazines about him. What was in there was some of the letters that he would write to the Police before he was caught. It was all very simplistic stuff, so the lyrical approach is very simplistic for that reason. It’s based around the letters that he would send, the way that he would speak about how he tortured his victims, how much pleasure he found in building up to the kill and stuff like that. So yeah, it’s all based around Dennis Rader.

Rich: I’ll tell you something interesting if you want to know, especially about the video. I got to do the lyric video essentially, I was the only one with video editing experience but unfortunately, I was on horribly outdated software and the fact that it came to light in the first place was interesting. But what I realised half-way through and it’s still there to this day – is there is now a folder on my computer called Murder Photos full of pictures of Dennis Rader and actual pictures of his crimes! Hahaha so…

Steve: There’ll be new pictures incoming with one of my censored lyrics, mate, you know that!

Rich: Yeah but eventually, GCHQ are gonna find out, mate! Hahaha.

Sheri: So, there’s a lot of extensive research that goes into that sort of thing as well. In light of the album you’re working on, what are your plans for 2021, all being well?

Rich: To gig again one day!

Joey: Yeah, hopefully!

Steve: Oh God, I miss it. It’s been 84 years…

*all laugh*

Steve: Basically, under current circumstances, all we can do is song write. So, all we can do is send over song ideas to each other and so that when the lockdown is lifted, we can get the pre-production on the go and get the Demo’s on the go. After that, once everything is up, we’re gonna try and get gigging as quickly as we possibly can. We’ve got a few dates, no more for this year…that’s bust.

Zak: We’ve got a few in the pipeline though haven’t we, that we secured.

Steve: Yeah, we’ve got a mini tour that we’ve scheduled for March that we’re hoping to keep hold of. I think that is probably the realistic target now, is March dates that we’ve got booked in. We’ve not gone public with it yet so we can’t say who we will be touring with but there’s some very good, very established bands.

Sheri: Amazing! We will keep our ear out for that as well then!

Joey: We just wanna get back to Oxford again. I love that place!

Steve: Ahh yeah Oxford!

Rich: Oxford was the best gig I’ve played by far apart from maybe Newcastle and that was more just a miracle that happened in the night sort of thing haha.

Joey: Everything that could have gone wrong… went wrong haha. Spoon broke Bass string, Rich kept knocking guitar cables out hahaha

Steve: I must have gone through a pack of Vocalzone in the run up to that day…

Joey: The batteries died on my wireless kit halfway through a song whilst I was playing haha

Rich: 4am in Newcastle in the snow…

Joey: Yep we went from Oxford to Workington, played a gig and then from that gig, drove to Newcastle…it was long.

Rich: All in one day…

Zak: It was snowing as well!

Rich: That was Zak’s favourite bit haha

Sheri: That sounds absolutely brutal! Sounds like you had a bit of a nightmare gig there, no?

Joey: It should have been, but it really wasn’t, it was amazing! The atmosphere was there, it didn’t really matter, the crowd were amazing, Zak did a drum solo which I’ve never seen him do before, it was beautiful!

Rich: Yeah, it was actually really good!

Zak: You put me on the spot for that, ya f**kers! Hahahaha.

Joey: It wasn’t us! It was Kilonova hahaha

Rich: Yeah, Kilonova put you on the spot for that hahaha

Joey: I highly recommend checking out Kilonova, their live shows, they bring a ridiculous amount of energy, like…first time we were on that tour, we just went “Ah sh*t, we gotta follow that…Um…” hahaha

Steve: Yeah Ellen and the boys are sweethearts, they’re brilliant.

Joey: Yeah, they’re good people.

Sheri: I know of Kilonova, they’re fantastic! Please tell our readers in your own words why it is so important to support the scene at the moment…

Steve: Given the current circumstances, we’ve all been saying for years that you have to use it or lose it. Right now, that is amplified a thousand times over. Given the current situations within venues and performing arts, are getting zero in the way of support. I’m not gonna go down a political rant on that, I’m just saying as it is, we have no support. So, we basically cannot do any of this if people aren’t gonna come out and support the scene. It doesn’t have to be for us. It has to be for the venues, it has to be for the workers.

Joey: Yeah, for the people who actually have it as a career you know, like, being a performer – because there’s just no funding for them. Even the big companies are struggling at the moment in terms of what is happening with events. There’s a lot of investment gone into trying to put these events on and it’s all up in the air as to everything that’s gonna be happening across Europe. So, it’s not just the grassroots that are suffering, it’s everyone in the industry right from the bottom to the very top. So, imagine lockdown if you couldn’t listen to music because at the end of the day if bands don’t have a platform, artists don’t have a platform, if they can play in venues and won’t have a way to get people through the door and it’s gonna be gone and it won’t come back… and it will be a real shame to see that go. For a lot of people, it’s the only outlet they really have. There’s a lot of talented musicians who absolutely love doing what they’re doing, it helps them to deal with the sh*t they’ve had at work or you know, it helps people unwind and get their feelings out…and if that isn’t there, it’s gonna really mess up a lot of people.

Steve: I mentioned it on my Facebook the other day that it’s not even just the financial implications that places and people are gonna struggle with, it’s the mental health side of it as well. You know, not having that security is gonna play Holy Hell with people’s mental well-being. So, it’s a case of, we have to look after each other. You don’t have to like the genres of music; you just have to support it because it all needs help.

Sheri: Absolutely you’re right, at the moment I feel like that even though things are the way they are, people do, especially in the underground scene, have to help each other out mentally.

Joey: It will all come back, I just think there’s gonna be a lot people who won’t come back from it in terms of their businesses, which is gonna be a real shame. Like you see on Facebook almost every week that the iconic venues are closing because the landlords are like “Well, we need the money” and a part of me is really really pissed off with the owners of these venues but at the same time, that’s their revenue stream as well, they still need their money and yeah…

Sheri: It’s a vicious circle.

Joey: Yeah, and it’s gonna be tough times for a lot of people and I think that when times are really shit, people are gonna need good music to listen to.

Sheri: Absolutely… and that’s why you’re getting an album out haha!

Rich: Full circle back to the flood, YAY! Hahaha.

Joey: And if it doesn’t work, we will just sell it to America to Guantanamo Bay as a form of torture, there’s lots of avenues open to us! Hahaha.

*all laugh*

Steve: I mean one thing I would add about the scene supporting and stuff like that is in South Wales in particular, I’ve noticed, seems to have a core nucleus of bands. From the likes of Agrona, Sodomized Cadaver, In Which It Burns, Blind Divide etc. The list continues, there’s a core nucleus of a good 20 to 30 bands that genuinely look out for each other, you know, we’re all offering each other shows. Bands like Agrona and Sepulchre are putting on their own band nights alongside Gavin from Sodomized running his promotions company that’s going from strength to strength. We’re all looking out for each other, we’re all plugging each other, we’re all kind of chucking in our support where we can get it. Agrona for example have just been confirmed for the SOPHIE slot at Bloodstock next year. There’s no jealousy, there’s no pissing and moaning about it, we couldn’t be any prouder of them. It’s the same when Sodomized played the SOPHIE stage when we were doing Bloodstock, you know, there’s no animosity, there’s no one upmanship, the scene is just genuinely supportive.

Joey: The bands that do have a bad attitude, we’re just like “well, we’re not playing with you and no one’s gonna want to play with you.” Or they fall by the wayside pretty quickly because that attitude doesn’t get you far at all.

Sheri: That’s what it’s about at the end of the day. I’ve always been a believer in…If you’re gonna do this then do it together.

Steve: Otherwise you can crack on and form a tribute band hahaha

Joey: And that’s where the real money is hahaha.

Sheri: Finally, tell us a joke! And don’t say our music hahaha.

Rich: I’m not allowed to tell the jokes anymore. Hahaha.

Sheri: Has Rich been banned?

Rich: I’ve been banned from a few comedy venues when I did stand up so…hahaha

Sheri: That sounds like that’s got a story behind it haha

Rich: I’m not about to give you a rendition here haha.

Sheri: Fair enough. Hahaha. Anyone?

Joey: What’s brown and sticky…? A stick.

Rich: Here’s a fun fact about flavoured water…it’s actually healthier than crack hahaha

Joey: Yeah but crack is pretty moorish…

*all laugh*

Sheri: Thank you so much for your time guys! It’s been really insightful. I really appreciate it.

Joey: Happy birthday for the other day! Best people are born in September, fact. Just putting that out there…

Sheri: Thank you! I sat by the beach and got drunk hahaha.

Democratus: Best way to spend it. Hahaha. Thanks for having us!

Rick Here. I’d like to send huge thanks to Sheri and Democratus for this great interview.

For more info on the band then check out the links below:

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Interview with Jess Stanley and Kyle Martyn Stanley of Ashen Reach

Interview with Jess Stanley and Kyle Martyn Stanley of Ashen Reach
By Sheri Bicheno

Hi Everyone, Sheri here

I’d like to send huge thanks to Rachael Harrison and Enso Music Management for approaching me for this lovely chat I had recently with Kyle and Jess from Merseyside based Hard Rock band, Ashen Reach. Reforming/Renaming the band in 2018, Ashen Reach have a LOT to offer their audience. I was blown away by how humble and down to earth they are and that they have smashed their way from the first stepping-stone of the music industry, to now crossing its fast-flowing river, in such a short space of time! Be sure to check out this phenomenal band!

Sheri: What I wanted to do first is just brush up on the history of Ashen Reach…I know Ashen Reach reformed from Equinox, is that right?

Jess: Yeah that’s correct! We’re going way back sometime…I originally joined them when I was like…16 and I’m currently the only standing member from the very original line up haha!

Kyle: Oh wow!

Jess: Oh yeah, I got rid of them lot, no I’m joking haha!

Kyle: Hahaha absolute Axel Rose treatment right there!

Sheri: Hahahaha Lordy!

Jess: Hahaha. It was only I would say from about last year, hang on what year are we in now?

Kyle: 2020

Jess: We’ve only been this line up as Ashen Reach with obviously Kyle and Joe for about just over a year now. I think we had our little one-year anniversary at like the 1st August.

Kyle: That’s the 8th or 9th, something like that…

Jess: Something like that yeah, where we just finally got them secured and announced Kyle to the world. Before that, oh going back, we were Ashen Reach still before that for about a year in total as well and then we obviously did the gigs, the two shows with Bullet For My Valentine in April last year. That year was probably the first year we started taking things properly seriously and then obviously the big change up happened…but, was it 2018 or something? It all seems to happen around Christmastime where like, names change, or members change haha. So…hopefully it doesn’t happen again this year because I think we’re quite comfortable with it now haha!

Kyle: Best line-up ever!

Jess: It is, it really really is. But, for the current line up as I say, last year we just finished the Bullet for My Valentine shows and we did one or two gigs and then we parted ways with our singer and Rhythm guitarist…then, after that, Me, Paddy and Mike (drummer, lead guitarist and bassist) were like “What do we do? We just played two of the biggest shows of our life ever!” And it was so good and exciting feeling like that cuz it was like 5000 people one night and 8000 the other to play to…it was just unreal!

Sheri: Wow!

Jess: And it was just us two as well, it wasn’t like it was a festival of 20 bands, it was really something special. So, it was kinda a moment where it was like “Oh no! We definitely have to carry on.” So, we just put some Ads on Facebook and we got Joe, who’s our guitarist with the dreadlocks, first. We did some auditions and then from there on he helped pick Kyle…and I think it was actually Katherine Murph, who’s a promoter on the local scene, she messaged me out of the blue and was like “You know what, I know a singer who’s looking for a Hard Rock band and I know a Hard Rock band who’s looking for a singer! Why don’t I put two of you together?” And then from then it has kinda just been perfect! He came in and did an audition and we were like “yeah!”

Sheri: That’s awesome!!

Kyle: Yeah, I think I had to send the little video in, didn’t I? But I had a chest infection at the time haha…

Sheri: Oh Noooo!!

Kyle: And I didn’t want to be like “oh can I wait?” Cuz I didn’t want it, to you know, sound like an excuse haha so I was like “I’m gonna have to power through this!” haha.

Jess: Oh yeah! He sang one of our old tracks and we were like “yeah let’s get this guy in, see what he’s about”

Sheri: Well, safe to say you smashed it! Haha.

Jess: Oh yeah! We’re so glad you did as well, it’s so much better and it’s like a proper, proper family now…aren’t we?

Kyle: Oh yeah!

Jess: Cuz we wanted to make sure that not only can everyone play their instruments or sing, like we are gonna do it properly, we’re gonna be together for a long time, if you’re gonna be on the road or recording, so it’s like we gotta like these people haha!

Kyle: We is one big family now and dat.

Sheri: That’s how it should be! As we were sorta saying 2018 onwards was like, we saw some pretty exciting things happening for you guys. As you just mentioned you supported Bullet For My Valentine on their Russian tour, wasn’t it?

Jess: Yeah it was 2 gigs there, in St Petersburg and then Moscow.

Sheri: Amazing! Then obviously you also played the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock and then of course there was a line-up change in 2019. So, there are some huge positives as a young band…What has been your favourite part of the journey so far?

Jess: Oh God, do you wanna go for this one Kyle as I just blabbermouthed the whole way through that haha

Kyle: I’d say so far it was probably doing the album. Obviously doing the tours as well, like touring with Fahran and then we toured with Nocturn Wolf, Ritual Spirit and Kilonova. Like erm, just before the world ended. And it was – that was amazing, doing multiple dates in a row, travelling everywhere, meeting loads of new people and stuff like that. It was awesome and then obviously writing and recording the album, getting everything that we’ve put our entire heart and soul into. It sounds so rewarding like, we’ve just seen our new video today and it’s just like – Ahh, it’s so good! It’s just amazing watching it and you know when it’s like – all our hard work is paying off, there it is, it’s right in front of us and it’s just BOSS. Haha.

Jess: I think my favourite part is he growth in general, obviously being there from the very beginning of everything when we were – not even this line-up.

Sheri: Still a baby haha

Jess: Yeah It was! I was 16 when I joined the band and I’m 21 now – still a baby but haha – to see the evolution of the music, the people and just how strong we seem to be right now. Like in one year, we’ve released two singles, about to release the third, gonna release an album, we’ve done two tours and that is in the space of one year of actually getting the band members and then writing it all, so it’s all completely fresh material as well. We’ve got one song that we’ve kept over, and we’ve changed the lyrics and how it’s sung but everything else is completely brand new. It exciting seeing how well it’s all gelled together, and I feel dead proud. Proud of it. Haha!

Sheri: And that’s the thing isn’t it that when you’re an artist, it’s like your band is your baby, you watch it grow and it comes out and it’s all beautiful.

Jess: Yeah haha!

Sheri: So, we were just saying about your new single, ‘Epiphany’, will be released on the 25th September. Do you have a video to go with it?

Kyle: YAAAS.

Sheri: Amazing! Cannot wait to see that! And then your debut album, “Homecoming”, is scheduled to be released in November. After what’s been happening with the end of the world haha, this is actually really great. There are a lot of Artists that are feeling bummed out as a lot rely on touring, selling merch and so on to make their way. So, it’s amazing to see new music during the pandemic.

Jess: Yeah, I think it’s been a make or break situation for a lot of bands.

Sheri: It’s been brutal for everyone. I listened to the album today, multiple times.

Kyle: Ooooh!

Jess: Ooooh, did you haha! Have you got a favourite song?

Sheri: I do! It’s actually the title track that is my favourite. I detect some really strong Alter Bridge vibes and a little bit of a…almost like Trivium – ish, vibe.

Both: That’s a new one!

Jess: Our lead guitarist Paddy loves Alter Bridge so that’s probably how that’s kind of rubbed off in there somewhere.

Sheri: It’s also vocally too, in the lyrics! It’s very Alter Bridge type too.

Kyle: I could hear it in ‘Tear It Down’

Sheri: That’s a really good example actually! There’s a good balance of heavy, classic, groove and even a little bit of proggy metal and hard rock in your sound. So how did you reach your style of songwriting? And what works for you as a band?

Jess: Collaboration. 100%. We’ll all do everything and we’ll all chip in with the lyrics or if something is sung different, we can say “change it like this” or “try a drum beat like that”. Everyone has a say in everything and we feel like that has given the best results and it has worked in everything we have done so far so that is our way forward, isn’t it Kyle?

Kyle: Yeah, it takes a lot of pressure off as well. It’s not like where in some bands you’re like… “well, you’re the guitarist or you’re the vocalist, drummer, you have to write that part” so all of us combined together, it just helps make the song better. The way everything is, the only ego that should be in the room is the song itself.

Sheri: Absolutely.

Kyle: As long as it makes the song better, we should all chip in and as Jess was saying we could say “oh why don’t we try this” There’s a couple of songs that lyrically is 100% one person, maybe only 3.

Jess: But it’s still like “Ok guys what do you think?” No one calls the shots, do they?

Kyle: Yeah.

Jess: And because we all have different influences musically anyway and what we listen to – I think that’s why there’s so many different vibes. Obviously Alter Bridge has stood out a couple of times but other than that, we’ve had a different name from each person. Basically, which is nice because we don’t want to be a carbon copy of anyone.

Kyle: We get Bowie quite a bit too, which is odd because Bowie isn’t an influence haha!

Sheri: So, it’s a collaboration and a bit like a puzzle where everyone makes it a bigger picture. I really loved the title track ‘Homecoming’ I think it’s beautiful. I was sitting here with it on repeat through my work and I was like WOW. There’s a lot of power, emotion and diverse energy to the lyrics and the way your songwriting and music is put together. How do you feel some of your songs on this album reflect the rawness in your sound?

Kyle: I’m glad that people are feeling it because every song has some meaning to it. There’s a couple of songs that have really personal meanings like ‘Alive Again’ but there’s other song’s, like ‘Epiphany’, kinda one we all put together because we all had the vibe of it and we were all like “Okay, we can all understand what’s coming with that” so we all kind of feel within the song if that makes sense? Because we all are right in it, we all get into that mode of feeling and that.

Jess: The album is not a concept album so there’s no running story, so some of the songs might be about something else like, you know ‘Epiphany’ is about abusive relationships basically and then ones like Kyle said are more personal, might be about something that’s happened to someone in the band but overall, we just wanted to show everyone each side of what we can do. This debut album was basically like “This is what Ashen Reach can do” we can do long epic songs, we can do fast jumpy, upbeat songs and do a whole duet basically. We just wanted to show everything we can do but have passion all the way through. None of them are just album fillers. We just wanted to show all our sides, that it was 100% us and that you can hear the passion and effort that’s gone into every track.

Kyle: Even with ‘Ether’ the 1 minute 40 interlude, we didn’t just throw that in and just beef up the track, we put that in because we wanted it to make the album blend better. We just didn’t want to just change the vibe quickly.

Jess: Is it from “Prey”? It would be “Prey” straight into “Here I go” and “Prey” quite like a dark psychological thriller song – but we thought all that out and the order of the album, we just wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just going all in super-fast, super hard, there was a proper build up and I think I feel after you’ve listened to it, you feel “What’s just happened”…like I’m glad I feel like that.

Kyle: Yeah the ending blows you into a false sense of security as well because you think it’s dead relaxing and dead chill, melancholy and then you forget your album is on repeat and it goes DADADADADA and you’re like ARGH!

ALL LAUGH

Kyle: It’s happened when driving and having to swerve out of the way because I’ve almost sh*t myself haha. It just slams back in and you’re like “Oh there it is…Okay!”

Sheri: How do you feel that “Homecoming” is different to your previous work, for example you released a single in 2018 called ‘Gone Tomorrow’?

Jess: That’s one of the ones we took down because we thought it’s a fresh start but we really really loved ‘Homecoming’ so much and everyone would ask us to play it when we perform so we thought we have to keep it but we will just rework it to make it better and more suited to what we are now and it just had something else, it’s difficult to describe. You can tell when you’re playing a song and it’s not even my favourite song now but back then it was just like… this is just epic, we’ve written a nine minute song, people always cheer for and it was known as That Epic Song At The End – we’d finish on that song all the time because it was just a rollercoaster of a song.

Kyle: It doesn’t feel like a nine-minute song.

Jess: Oh no, we’ve heard people say, “oh you’re finishing” and you say, “it’s a nine-minute song” and they’re like “no way!”

Kyle: There was a guy in Scotland, and he was like “Oh really enjoyed your set but I have one criticism.” And we were like “Okay, what is it?” and he said, “Homecoming is too short” and we’re like “Its 9 minutes!!” He was like “IS IT!? Does not feel like nine minutes!”

Jess: So yeah, people get lost in it and I think that’s what made us think “No, we have to keep it and rework it somehow, this has gotta stay and be a staple part!” haha.

Kyle: Its nice seeing people singing along to it at the end of the show, people will start singing the chorus and that’s the first time we’ve heard that as well. You’ll see people just singing along and it’s just like “wow, this is their first time seeing this and they’re already singing along to it”. It’s an absolutely surreal feeling and it’s like… it’s actually happening.

Sheri: That’s when you know isn’t it – when people are catching onto your songs and its humbling.

Jess: We couldn’t be more grateful of people who just listen, share or you know, it is as you say humbling – when you see a couple bands and it doesn’t really matter what level, I know a lot of bigger bands don’t look at their own social medias but when you know when it’ a bit lower level, you see people that don’t reply to comments or they don’t react and these are the people saying “I love it” – I really hate that so much because people have taken time to listen to your music and if you’ve really put that much effort in, you care what people think and you know – we all care so much so we make a conscious effort to make sure we tell everyone who says anything you know “Thank you so much” because it really does mean the world to us when we say it.

Kyle: Yeah, we always try and message people back or reply to them or after a show we will always try and hang around and have a conversation with people and we try to get to know them, the people who listen to our music. Because it makes it personal. It turns a fan base more into a family, because you’ll see them come back and you end up becoming friends. You get a new level with people and its really nice.

Sheri: I love that. I mean, that’s how I essentially got doing what I’m doing now. Years and years ago, I met a band called Breed 77.

Kyle: I’ve heard of them!

Sheri: Really nice guys, I was introduced by a family friend at the studios and went to a couple of their shows and they were mingling and mixing and then making friends with some of them. Doing that, I met lots of different people, friends and circles and now I’ve ended up doing what I’m doing now and that is what I love because bands like you that actually take the time to make friends and mingle with people, you don’t know what your impact is on that person’s life you know…it can make a massive, massive difference. So… that’s amazing, I love it!

Kyle: Yeah if we can make people forget about their problems, even if it’s for like 10 minutes, then we are doing something right and makes everything worthwhile.

Sheri: Do you have plans to tour or promote “Homecoming” after the pandemic dies down a bit?

Jess: We do, nothing is booked or set in stone but Rachael, our manager is working extremely hard to try and get something. I think she said she was aiming for March next year, but we have no idea, nothing is booked yet. But that is the idea.

Kyle: We do have a gig in December as far as we know. It’s not been cancelled yet. So, we are playing December at Planet Rockstock in Trecco Bay, Porthcawl.

Jess: We were like yay we have all these gigs set up, things are going great and then… the world closed down haha.

Kyle: Yeah, we had some really good gigs as well. We had some like… supporting Ryan McCombs from SOiL and stuff like that. And I was so excited, like I was in work when we got the gig confirmed and I’m running ‘round the shop like YESSSS! Because I LOVE SOiL!

Jess: Kyle’s 31 by the way haha

Kyle: Yeah, I was absolutely chuffed! Headbutting the cookies haha going mental and some people were like “Whos’ SOiL?” And I’m like, “You don’t even…how dare you!! Haha I don’t care if you’re 67 Barbara…” hahaha.

Sheri: Educate yourself, like haha!

Both: Yeah exactly! Hahaha.

Sheri: What did you do before creating your way with Ashen Reach/before Equinox? What drew you into making music?

Jess: Paddy our guitarist, he was in a band before and I used to always go see them. I was doing my GCSE’s before I was in Equinox. I just knew I loved playing the drums as well, I was playing my lessons since I was about 12. So, I was a Grade 5 and my teacher was like “Go Forth my child, I can’t teach you anymore, go play in a band.” So I basically set off to join a band and I joined Equinox on JoinMyBand, I just found an Ad and I went to Vulcan Studios in Liverpool and did my practice there and they didn’t have a singer or anything at that point. That’s sort of where I went on and over time was new members and we evolved. We didn’t actually, with the very first line up of Equinox, we didn’t gig at all, we just spent loads of time in the practice room. But it’s because we knew we weren’t ready and then we went from there. But that’s personally how I got into it, seeing Paddy doing gigs on stage and I wasn’t in a band the whole time yet. And I was like I know I definitely want to do it now. Seeing your favourite bands on stage as well isn’t it? It’s like “Oh my God”. Haha.

Kyle: Oh, mine is a long time ago! I was proper into music as a little kid, I used to sing a lot when I was little but then as I got older, I was obsessed with Slipknot and Joey Jordison so I wanted to be in a band. I was actually a drummer for years. I was in a brick punk band kinda like the Artic Monkeys but with a double pedal haha. I was in a few bands, so I ended up forming kind of a Tenacious D double act with my friend Adam at Butlins. It was dead funny because we were told we had to do normal covers and we were like “No, we’re doing Tenacious D!” hahaha. We’re covering ‘Wonderboy’ hahaha. Just before I joined Ashen Reach, I was in a Take That tribute haha.

Sheri: Really??

Kyle: Yeah haha.

Jess: You were like the biggest in the UK, weren’t you?

Kyle: Yeah we were in at number 1 so I toured with them for three years but my itch was like, I wanna do rock and stuff like that so, I was in a proper djent-y metal band but I didn’t want to scream as much anymore. So, I spoke to Murph and I said “I wanna be in Hard Rock band, I don’t wanna scream anymore, it’s killing my voice” and Murph was like “Oh! I know a band!” and that was it!

Jess: Oh, I remember that as well as actually! I only got to drum as Rock Band haha like playing Rock Band with the family and now I can’t play Rock Band because I’m playing the real instrument haha

Kyle: It’s so annoying because as soon as you can play an instrument, you can’t play Rock Band or Guitar Hero haha.

Jess: I’m a boss on the guitar on it though. Expert! Hahaha.

Kyle: Rock Band makes me rage. I was trying to play Everlong by Foo Fighters and it’s like “You’re doing it wrong” and I’m like “No I’m not!” hahaha.

Sheri: Hahaha don’t dictate to me, computer! So, you’re from the Liverpool area?

Jess: Kinda yeah! Some of us are from Merseyside, Cheshire, Wirral. Kyle is from Runcorn.

Kyle: Runcorn is the posh area hahaha. It’s not posh at all…

Sheri: Are there any local Artists you would recommend checking out?

Jess: Oooh, there are good bands but the scene in Liverpool isn’t heavy on the Rock at the moment. We’ve got really good friends in Raised by Wolves; Liv in Raised by Wolves is a really awesome girl, so she definitely needs a shout out! But I think recently, because we’ve not actually gigged that much in Liverpool with Liverpool bands since being in this line up. But we can recommend like…Fahran and when we toured with Kilonova and so on, those guys are awesome.

Sheri: Aye, we had Fahran play at Rabidfest last year and they were amazing. Your first two singles off the album ‘Prey’ and ‘Tear It Down’ have been a hugely promising taste of what’s to come in November! What’s the reception of the singles been like for you? I know Kieran Scott of Ashen Crown did a reaction video to ‘Tear It Down’ recently!

Jess: “Tear It Down” has definitely been taken a whole lot better than ‘Prey’ but not because ‘Prey’ is worse, I think the seven-minute number scares people off. I think we may have just promoted ‘Tear It Down’ more but all the feedback we’ve had ourselves has been great. I think we had one guy though, which makes me laugh, who commented on the Ad on Facebook and was like “I hate this. This is too produced” or said it was too good and that he just didn’t like it. He thought it looked too clean and good, so I don’t know what it was…it didn’t make sense. And we are a local band with no money – so technically, you thinking that we are that clean and super great is like… a compliment haha. We’re not a Sludge, Death, Growl band so…

Sheri: It’s a complementive insult haha!

Jess: Yeah! Sorry hahaha.

Kyle: It like sorry we’re not one of those really (GROWLS) bands haha.

Jess: If you are one of those bands, that is fine! Haha. ‘Tear It Down’ has been played on Planet Rock and a load of stations. We were actually surprised because ‘Prey’ has had some radio time as well. We thought that was never gonna happen because seven minutes is a big chunk. But the Hard Rock Hell competition we were supposed to be taking part in got cancelled, when we did that, we sent them both tracks and they obviously have the segment on their radio show to show off each band who could be getting through and they played ‘Prey’ and we were like Wow!! It’s just really surprising. It’s been really great. I think we definitely kept it solid all the way through and we have done what we aimed to do.

Kyle: You can hear, there’s so many vibes that we were going through as the album has progressed, we wanted to experiment with stuff like in ‘Epiphany’ there’s Mongolian Chant and stuff. All five of us, even Jess is doing some haha. If you hear it, the higher vocal, that’s Jess!

Jess: I don’t sing anything else haha, my claim to fame with the vocals is the voice on “Prey” haha.

Kyle: Every single voice, every one of us have their vocals in the album as well. It’s not just where we wanted to just do me doing every vocal, because we’re not gonna do that live. So, there’s a lot of three-part harmonies. There’s a lot of me, Paddy and Mike all together. Joe has some proper guttural screams. It just adds depth to it so yeah, we wanted to do stuff that we could do live as well.

Jess: That definitely came off well because obviously the voice, the full breakdown as in Kyle’s breakdown in the song. Not like even in the music, that was very experimental for us especially as a second single haha.

Kyle: Yeah, we were like…is this too brave? But we thought let’s just go for it.

Sheri: It works! What advice do you feel is relevant to Artists at the moment?

Jess: I’d say that you have to be proactive. We’ve had lots of help, like my family, we’ve been really lucky to have my Dad who is a photographer and driver so – just make yourself look as professional as possible. You don’t need to look like it’s a business or job, people want to see you having fun. You have to choose what you post; you don’t want to be seen posting really silly things on the page, you have to keep people up to date. Because of the algorithms on Facebook at the moment, if you don’t post for like a day, you don’t get seen. Be as active as possible and make sure you’re professional while you’re showing your personalities I guess because you have to be careful. You have to treat life like you’re on stage all the time. Even if you are a small band. Don’t have the ego but act where you wanna be basically.

Kyle: Don’t be scared of writing what you wanna write as well. Don’t try and fall in with the grain that’s what I would say as well. So, if you’re like “Ah yeah let’s do a 20-minute space ballad, why not?” As long as your full passion is in the song, it can be anything but as long as it sounds like you’re putting your passion and love into it. It’s gonna sound great, regardless. Like you can tell when people write soulless music.

Jess: Always release the highest quality things as well. I was listening to this nine-hour audio book because I was researching “How do we be better?” haha. But rather than releasing a load of demos, if you’re gonna release an album, because it’s gonna take away the impact straight away and it’s not gonna be like “Let’s show them a little teaser before we do the full thing.” Practice videos are different, but it will definitely take away from everything if you release little demo tracks when you’re going to release the full song. Give away some things but don’t give away so much that you ruin it for yourself.

Sheri: Yeah because then people will know what to expect won’t they?

Jess: Yeah, you wanna have an impact and not just like Ah, this sounds almost the same… you want a full impact straight away.

Sheri: Finally, tell us a joke…

Kyle: I’ve got so many what would you like? Haha. I’ll do a family friendly one. My friend said to me “Eh Kyle, for that fancy dress party, I’m gonna dress up as a small island just outside the coast of Italy.” And I said, “Don’t be Sicily” (so silly)

ALL LAUGH

Sheri: Hahaha that is the Dad joke of all Dad jokes.

Kyle: I love it, I know so many Dad jokes haha!

Sheri: Thank you so much for your time guys! It’s been really really lovely talking to you. I’ll look out for Jess’s vocals in ‘Epiphany’ haha.

Jess: Thanks so much Sheri, we really appreciate you having us.

Rick Here!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jess and Kyle for the wonderful interview and to Sheri for putting it all together. I too have been listening to “Homecoming”, the album, and it is a fine debut. You are all in for a treat!

Follow Ashen Reach at the following links:

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Interview with Atorc

Interview with Atorc
by Sheri Bicheno

After witnessing Atorc for the first time at Warhorns Festival in 2018, I’ve noticed these guy stand out more and more. I have previously reviewed their latest album “Under The Raven Banner”, seen them play across the UK at many Folk and Viking Metal themed events and befriended some of the band through mutual people, so I was more than happy to sit down with the Suffolk based tribe and have a chat!

Atorc are one of the UK’s most well-known underground Folk Metal bands and I was intrigued to know a bit more about their story…

Sheri: Hello guys!

Atorc: Hello Sheri!!!

Sheri: I did a review of “Under The Raven Banner” last year for Ever Metal and loved it, For our readers, tell us a bit about the roots of Atorc and how you decided on the concept of the band?

Battlebeast: Well the roots of Atorc really stem from when I got into folk metal and I thought there’s not really a lot of folk metal bands in the UK. I had contact with Tom Scales and we basically formed Atorc together with our old drummer and violinist and basically from there evolved into what we are today!

Boudikath: We had the line-up changes so everyone brought their own influences.

Battlebeast: Yeah, everyone brought in their own influences with what they’ve listened to over the years. With Andy, there are elements of Power Metal in the band, which is very interesting and with Jack, he added a sense of a much darker, black metal vibe with the rhythms. So, it’s been quite interesting with the mixture of music tastes all around.

Boudikath: And also, some classical backgrounds.

Sheri: That brings me onto the next question actually – your sound is quite entangled in metal, folk – most notably in the Viking and Battle elements, with some pretty big Power vocals. You certainly have your own identity – do you have any influences both musically and historically?

*HELBARD THEN ENTERS THE DOMAIN.*

Helbard: Hellooooooooo! There are different people, different backgrounds, different influences. I’m really like a classic metal kinda guy. I’m more sort of Maiden, Priest, Queensrÿche, Dio – that kind of thing. I have done a lot of different music projects before this as well, covering quite a lot of different backgrounds musically. I mean I was mainly a guitarist before I joined this band on vocals. Before that I was a gigging bass player for quite a while in a band playing like Cheap Trick power pop stuff. That was the first album I ever recorded as a bass player. So, I’ve been all over the map really and I’ve written for everything I’ve been involved with as well. So, it’s really trying to kinda be a well-rounded musician and much like Jack is, Jack has done a lot of different stuff as well. Just trying to bring some sensibility from that, you know…you can always learn skills playing any kind of music that you can take with you and transfer to anything else you do.

Sheri: What about you, Kath, you play the keys and you do backing vocals, have you done anything previous?

Boudikath: To be honest this is the first proper band I’ve been in but I did study Popular Music at University along University bands and that kind of thing but I came in completely new to metal, I mean when I first joined the band, the guys made me watch The Headbangers Guide to Metal, which is a documentary – they were like “she needs to know more!” hahaha. To be honest, I was more into Coldplay, David Gray, 80’s Pop so I was thrown in the deep end as it were haha. But I can say now I quite enjoy listening to things like Iron Maiden, Priest and those kinds of bands.

Sheri: What song or performance do you feel best represents Atorc?

Boudikath: To be honest, we’ve got the one that…

Battlebeast: EVERYONE…

*Blistyg laughs*

Boudikath: Yeah everyone likes it.

Battlebeast: And its repetitive all the fucking time haha.

Helbard: Is that not actually Shieldwall though?

Blistyg: Is this the one that begins with “T”? Hahaha.

Helbard: What THE Shieldwall? Hahaha.

Blistyg: We play it at every gig…it’s our Smoke on The Water I think haha. I do still enjoy playing it, sometimes haha.

Boudikath: I do enjoy playing it, it’s just very much, that every time we HAVE to play it.

Blistyg: Watching the crowd while we play it…

Helbard: I think by the time we play that song in a set, we’ve already been going for 30 or 40 minutes and everyone’s on board at that point.

Battlebeast: To be honest, I just wrote a basic folk metal song about drinking and I thought “this isn’t gonna catch on” like it’s just gonna be a throw away song…but everyone loves it.

Blistyg: This is like our Rum song.

Sheri: It’s probably the Mead Hall for me hahaha

Helbard: That’s another drinking song! Haha.

Battlebeast: Fun fact – I’m writing another drinking song for the next album.

Sheri: Oh, you are!? Well I was going to ask you about that anyway! From your first release, which was – EP “Pure Folking Metal”, how do you feel you have developed since then? You’ve had a line-up change since then and have found your fit – take us through the development.

Battlebeast: I think we have. With the first line up we had, it was OK, I wasn’t really happy with how things were going. But when the former singer and violinist drop out, Andy and Kath came in, which I thought was the perfect fit with everything that we had been doing so far – with Andy’s vocals and Kath’s keyboards.

Blistyg: And quite good friends we have become too!

Battlebeast: Yes, we have. Then we had Helen brought in and her Violin skills were amazing for us as well and then when our former drummer left, we brought in Jack and his blend of dark, black metal, y’know, influences of drums – they just perfectly fit.

Blistyg: We’re like the perfect BLT hahaha.

*everyone laughs*

Helbard: I’ll tell you something too, those line-up changes from me and Kath coming into the band to having the line-up we have now, I think that took about maybe two years. We hadn’t changed drummers and taken Helen on board until about the end of 2016.

Boudikath: We joined around the beginning of 2015 then Helen came on board for the Seven Tales when we did the recording and then Jack came in about a year later.

Blistyg: Do you guys remember our first gig with Andy and Kath?

Battlebeast: The Evil Scarecrow gig…

Boudikath: It was Evil Scarecrow, it was amazing. We had only been in the band about a month and a bit!

Battlebeast: Yeah it was! Haha.

Boudikath: Literally, we had been in the band a month and we supported Evil Scarecrow at The Waterfront.

Sheri: So, you were pretty much thrown into the deep end that’s amazing haha!

Boudikath: Yeah haha. We showed up and it was like “Oh by the way guys, your gig next month is at the Waterfront in Norwich.” We were like WHAT?!

Helbard: It wasn’t…Well, It wasn’t really confirmed until about a week before. The promoter was…we had problems trying to get money from him.

Boudikath: I remember the venue being big. In terms of development, we definitely have darker tones to “Under The Raven Banner”. The Seven Tales was fun, but we’ve come a little bit darker since then. I think we might be going down a bit more of a darker route with things to come – keeping some of the fun in there – but in general a bit darker.

Helbard: Another thing is that Seven Tales was pretty much – well the songs were written before Kath and I joined the band.

Boudikath: Yea there were two songs in there I think, that were written after and then we added to some of them.

Helbard: “Under The Raven Banner” is a bit more progressive, it was written sort of mainly by Jack and I did the lyrics and there are a few songs on there that I wrote almost entirely and that is probably a reason why some of them sounds almost completely different to Seven Tales album.

Sheri: It was last April you released Under the Raven Banner and as we’ve just discussed, this album is a lot more raw than “Seven Tales Of Swords And Ale” and you highlight some of the difference in songwriting and the sound. Are there any challenges you faced whilst doing that?

Boudikath: I think it was more Andy’s writing style more than anything. Andy got involved with writing on “Under The Raven Banner” and basically, we come along with a riff, an example is Hammer to Anvil – Andy developed on that. In producing the guitar/violin mix that wasn’t so much written in that first one…

Blistyg: When I’m writing riffs and stuff, I don’t really think much about making a structure so to speak. It’s mainly just riffed and then I rely on everyone else to help fit it all together sort of thing.

Thor: Also, the album is more produced than the EP because we spent more time on it. So, there’s more production involved than on the EP where we kind of didn’t play to a click so there’s more tightness and more cleanness with some spick and spam production with the second one more so than the first.

Helbard: Yeah, the first started on a weekend.

Boudikath: 8 songs in 2 days!!

Sheri: Wow…!

Boudikath: hahaha. So, I dont think we can complain about how it came out haha.

Helbard: If we had done another two days on it, it might have been great! Hahaha. It might have been a classic you know! Haha.

Sheri: Are you working on anything at the moment? Tilly you mentioned that you’re writing for a new album so are you working on anything else whilst we are waiting on 2020 to do one?

Battlebeast: Yeah, I’ve been writing some lyrics so what I’ve done so far, I’ve sent to Andy. So, he will have a look over and see what he can do with them. I mentioned I’m doing another drinking song – cuz why the hell not. I’ve been also researching a lot of other Viking events, you know, the Norse mythology and everything. Basically, everything I can whilst we’ve been in The Great Plague of 2020. Just plodding along trying to get some new material out or make new material and do the best we can.

Boudikath: It very much works lyrically doesn’t it that you do all the research, Tilly… and that goes to Andy so Andy can create lyrics around it.

Battlebeast: Scales (Tom) and I have been working on some riffs as well and we’re basically going with that. Just trying to make new music during these times.

Boudikath: Scales has also got a new toy that he got over lockdown as well! Someone’s got a pretty seven string, haven’t they??

Blistyg: Kath! Shhhhh! Hahaha.

Helbard: We do have a very few rough demo’s knocking about and we’re kind of maybe considering different ways of doing an album this time. Obviously, it’s easier than ever to make music off your own back so to speak. We might see what we can do to do something as no one knows what is going to happen as we get through this. We might see what we can get done off our own back. So I mean, the facility to record at home, me and Scales also have a recording interface so there’s always stuff you can do. It will be a little bit of a learning curve.

Boudikath: It’s not just a drummer and couple of guitarists, its everything and it makes it difficult.

Sheri: You have quite a big UK following where Viking Folk metal genres are concerned, I’ve seen you play multiple times, the first time I remember was at Warhorns 2018 and I could see loads of faces in the crowd donning your trademark blue warpaint. When you have fans and supporters that turn up to live events taking part in your theatrics, what is that like for you?

All: It’s the best thing ever!

Boudikath: Honestly when you get people coming up to you and they’re like “OMG I’ve seen you so many times, please sign this!”

Battlebeast: Yeah when they want your autograph, it’s just like WTF!

Boudikath: HRH Vikings was the best.

Battlebeast: That was one of our top gigs, best thing ever.

Blistyg: We had a good last year. Even though it was really really good, Vikings just topped it off really.

Boudikath: The last gig we did actually was really good as well. The last gig we did was this year in February, where we did a headline show in York. That was a sold-out show in York.

Helbard: OAKENSHIELD.

Boudikath: We want these gigs back. We were meant to do, the gigs we were meant to do Sheri, were the Isle of Wight in July, Power Metal Quest Fest in September…

Battlebeast: And we had other gigs lined up, its just all gone! Just like that. It’s just the waiting now you know – waiting for all this crap to go away.

Boudikath: I mean it will be at least kind of middle of next year, I think…

Sheri: It’s the same here with us at Rabidfest. We are at the end of the year and we are at the stage where we have to hold tight and wait until we know if it’s in the best interests of running the event.

Boudikath: I think the people who held off the longest was Jim Beerman (Beermageddon) and now Badgerfest have also had to sadly postpone.

Sheri: I think we will just have to completely write off 2020, in the case of events.

Blistyg: I think it’s a time where you can learn new skills.

Sheri: Absolutely. We were talking about your writing and your challenges! What are your best memories as a band? I mean you’ve played some pretty cool places and festivals…

Blistyg: Manchester and York are always fun. York is the one that stands out.

Battlebeast: North is always the best to play for me, Manchester and so on… I know Birmingham isn’t technically north but we like playing in Birmingham, Nottingham or Manchester and Sheffield. It just feels better. We just have a larger audience. Whereas if you’re playing local here, you get like… two guys and a dog. Haha!

Boudikath: Down here it’s all Thrash really isn’t it?

Battlebeast: Yeah that’s the thing, it’s either Thrash or Hardcore.

Blistyg: Even though our hometown gig in Bury there were loads of people, there were the most metal heads I’ve ever seen in that place.

Sheri: Each place does seem to have their own majority of audience – y’know. I know that Brighton changes from Extreme Death Metal and now there are a lot more Prog and Hardcore bands around. It’s sometimes harder to get other genres introduced to new places.

Helbard: I just want to say about Manchester – I always feel like we are a little bit cursed when it comes to Manchester because the first time we played there, we overran. I remember having a really hard gig because I didn’t have anything to eat before the gig and had an issue with running out of steam half way through. The second time we played in Manchester, we got heckled because I kept addressing Manchester as Sheffield haha!

Battlebeast: Oh yeah, yeah!!

Helbard: And I’ll tell you why… we were playing Sheffield the next day and that Sheffield gig had been a total nightmare as a plan and everything. So the whole weekend I thought “This Sheffield gig, man, I’m dreading it, it’s gonna be crap.” Like… Sheffield, Sheffield, Sheffield… and I was so pre-occupied with the Sheffield gig that I was dreading that I got on stage in Manchester and I was like “Hello Sheffield!!”

Sheri: OH LORD!

Boudikath: To be fair though, Manchester was a nice crowd in general, I just think everyone was a bit pissed and a bit pissed off that you called it Sheffield haha!

Battlebeast: Third time the charm, Andy.

Helbard: Fun times!

Sheri: Happy days! Hahaha. Viking and Folk metal genres are getting more of a light shone on them these days – in your opinion, do you feel this has been overlooked and why?

Helbard: I think everything comes around doesn’t it?

Boudikath: I think the reach is bigger now.

Battlebeast: The internet has more of a gateway for people to listen to other bands – there’s loads of forums and platforms now.

Blistyg: It’s also to do with how it’s – that theme has now become quite popular you know, with Game of Thrones, Skyrim and so on…

Boudikath: Yeah there’s a lot of branching on gateway kind of stuff that brings people back to this kind of music so…

Sheri: It’s always good to have something new but I wish this all came out earlier or was more accessible to reach as Viking and Folk metal is based on essentially history and mythology, which History teaches us.

Atorc: Absolutely, yeah.

Boudikath: I would like to say as well that I think there aren’t many bands like us in that we have the power metal vocal in the folk element. It’s a lot more than kind of I’d say black metal vocal that goes along with it normally, whereas I don’t know of any other Folk Metal band that has the Power Metal vocals.

Thor: There’s a lot that in the new Ensiferum album though, isn’t there, Tilly?

Battlebeast: Yeah there is but I don’t think – I think they’re trying to catch on to the trend. Because I can see that there’s a lot more other Folk Metal bands doing the Power Metal side of things – not saying we are the cause of that at all!

Boudikath: I’d say though that the Power Metal bands that I’ve seen; it’s always been the female vocal that stood high. Which is what we don’t have. I do the lower vocal and Andy does the higher vocals.

Thor: Which is different to other things.

Sheri: What goes through your minds whilst playing live?

Battlebeast: Nothing…hahaha. When you’re on stage, you’re basically just going for it. You’re just having fun; nothing comes to you.

Sheri: You just live it.

Battlebeast: Absolutely. You just rock out with your…

Boudikath: No Tilly, we don’t do that hahaha.

Sheri: Choose a drinking game to represent Atorc and we will have to play it a festival next year.

Helbard: It’s what I call Drinking The Beer hahaha

Blistyg: We could play Forky Forky.**

Battlebeast: Ahhh Forky Forky!

Blistyg: I wanted to play that at Bloodstock last year, but no one seemed to be playing it.

Helbard: It kind of died off.

Blistyg: Maybe we can do that as a band haha.

(** Forky Forky for those not in the know is a game where the rules are that a metal fork (with four prongs) and a courgette are involved. You must score 1,000 points. The courgette is placed in the middle of a circle of people and the fork is lobbed at the courgette so that it has to stick into the courgette erect to win 1,000 points. Otherwise you can achieve getting 1,000 points if the fork lands in the ground at a more than 45-degree angle. The player that gets the fork erect in the courgette then wins the game and has to take a bite of the courgette.)

Boudikath: Let’s paint the courgette blue!

THUS, ATORCY FORKY WAS BORN!!!

Sheri: That’s a thing now.

Atorc: We will play this at Bloodstock next year haha.

Sheri: Finally, What advise have you got for other people who want to do what you do and be where you are?

Battlebeast: Just don’t give up, if you get knocked down, keep on trying.

Boudikath: Be different.

Helbard: Have an image. I think everyone’s burned out on seeing guys in just black tees and cargo shorts, wearing converse. You know, we are in a good time for bands to be a bit theatrical and try and do something different you know. Put on a show. People want to put on a show.

Dont either be afraid of being ridiculous. If you think it might be a bit ridiculous – most things that people love are things that are a bit ridiculous but done really well.

Sheri: Thank you so much for your time guys, I really appreciate you talking to me.

Atorc: Thank you Sheri, this has been awesome!

Rick Here; With the interview complete Atorc trundled off into the socially distant horizon to search for battles anew! I would like to thank the band and Sheri for a great interview!

To read Sheri’s full review of Atorc’s album “Under The Raven Banner” then hit the following link:

To keep up with everything Atorc related then click the following links:

www.atorcofficial.bandcamp.com/
www.facebook.com/AtorcOfficial/
www.instagram.com/atorcfolkmetal/
www.twitter.com/AtorcFolkMetal
www.open.spotify.com/artist/7JzeHfVuEk5UDEvSLrQRLG
www.youtube.com/channel/UCIxfkWy2qmZ1mpfj2cDHpdg/videos

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Interview with Sami Hinkka of Ensiferum

Interview with Sami Hinkka of Ensiferum
By Beth Jones

Hi Everyone,

Beth recently got the chance to have a chat with Sami Hinkka, bassist of awesome Folk Metal band Ensiferum. I’d like to thank Sami very much for his time. Enjoy!

Beth: Thanks for taking the time to do an interview with us, it’s really appreciated.

Sami: My pleasure! 😊

Beth: Firstly, for any of our readers that don’t know you, could you give us a brief history of the band?

Sami: Back in early 1990 Markus Toivonen was getting into heavier music and at some point, instead of playing cover songs he wanted to have his own band. It was Amorphis’ “Tales From The Thousand Lakes” that showed him the way: melodic metal with heroic/mythical lyrics. After few line-up changes, many albums and tons of gigs on every continent, here we are now!

Beth: You’ve just released your 8th studio album, “Thalassic” and it’s an absolute killer! It’s themed around the sea and water. Where did you get the inspiration for that theme from?

Sami: The idea popped in my head when we were promoting our previous album “Two Paths” and many journalists kept asking, ‘was it a theme album’. My default answer was that we can’t really make a theme album, because of the way we compose. This started to piss me off! Why would I as a lyric writer, and we as composers, set this kind of barrier to ourselves? So, I suggested to other members that we make a theme album next. Everyone was into it. I listed lots of rough demos we had of the new songs, while I did long walks around Helsinki. It’s a coastal city so very often I walked on a seashore, and many of the melodies took my imagination to sea battles, etc. So, there was the theme. Everyone agreed that it was a good theme, and broad enough, so I started to read about sea-related myths, legends and historical events around the world. In the end I had way too many cool topics for lyrics, but it was quite easy to find the perfect match for each song.

Beth: Personally, I think the themed nature of “Thalassic” was brilliant. Are you going to explore a theme in the future? And if so, what potential themes would you like to look at?

Sami: I really don’t know. We haven’t talked about it yet. We have bunch of raw songs for the next Ensiferum album under work. Let’s see what the future brings.

Beth: There are a lot of nods in this album to the sounds of early Ensiferum. Is this intentional, or is it just the way your sound is evolving, almost coming full circle?

Sami: We never compose stuff intentionally; I mean we don’t think “that seems to be popular song so let’s keep making more songs like it…”. We compose and arrange together as a band, and the point is to write stuff that we love, and that we love to play. We are very lucky that there seems to be many metal heads around the world that like the same thing as we do, heh!

Let’s see how the next album sounds, because we always want to go forward and push our music boundaries.

Beth: When you’re creating a work like this, how do you approach songwriting, especially with all the orchestration?

Sami: It all starts from a good melody, that’s the corner stone of every Ensiferum song. Harmonies, layering, orchestrations, folk instruments, etc. are easy to arrange once you have a good image of the song.

We have democracy in the band, so everyone can bring ideas, every idea is tried, every idea can be twisted and turned to something totally different than the original idea was, and the key thing for us is that we arrange the songs together. This way, everyone can stand behind every note of every song. It’s a slow method but that that’s the way we love to write music, as a band.

Beth: With all the recent weirdness in the world, what have you been doing to keep yourselves busy?

Sami: We have been having few sessions where we checked out new ideas, we played a stream gig and one real festival show, woohoo! I really miss touring…

In the spring, when COVID-chaos started, I recorded my very first solo release and made a crowdfunding campaign to pay for the mixing and professional artwork. I was lucky to find a day job to pay my bills, but the problem is that it slowed down all my music projects a lot. But now my solo EP is mixed, and I just found a professional person to make a world class lyric video for the first single so the EP should be out in early autumn.

Beth: I’ve just watched the ‘Festival Simulator’ video for ‘Rum, Women, Victory’ (awesome song by the way!). Was it fun getting all the crazy clips in from fans, and what do you think of the final cut?

Sami: This was an insane project! I think it’s our best video ever! It felt so awesome to see how many people sent clips and how they enjoyed the new song! I have always said it: We have the best fans in the world!

Beth: And you did a live stream on 10th July. How did it go and how did it feel playing live in a way that is still so alien to many of us? Was it more nerve wracking than usual?

Sami: It was very weird. I have always seen Ensiferum more as a live band, and the best part of playing live is the interaction with the crowd and seeing people having good time, moshing, singing along etc. So, when that element was missing, it just felt weird. It was nice to play the new songs and chat with fans during the breaks we had on the gig, but I dare to say it was once in a lifetime thing for us to do a stream gig.

Beth: The scene is flooded with emerging bands at the moment, and the current climate has allowed a lot of people to discover music, both through playing and listening, which is amazing. What would be your best piece of advice for people just starting out in a band?

Sami: Simply, have fun. Find similar-minded people and create music that you love. Don’t worry if your influences can be heard “too much” in the beginning, you will find your own style. And generally, for every musician; try to listen to, and play all kind of music, because that will broaden your musical horizon and give you tools to become a better composer.

Beth: Now we all have a different way of working, how do you think the music scene will change and adapt, and do you seen this evolution as an opportunity to grow your audience with things like virtual gigs and fan videos?

Sami: I really don’t know. I’m an old geezer who believes in hard touring to convince people with your music. Of course, modern ways give chances of “short cuts” to reach lots of people, and one can become “one hit wonder”, or whatever, and that’s totally fine for me. I think whatever you do, just do it honestly and don’t pretend to be something that you are not, because that’s gonna back fire in the long run.

Beth: This has certainly been a memorable year, for all the wrong reasons! Do you know yet if you’re going to be able to play live to any audiences this year, and if not, what’s in store for you in 2021?

Sami: We have few gigs still lined up for 2020, I really hope they will happen. For 2021 we have lots of plans and we have a new album to promote! So, I’m crossing my fingers for scientists to find the vaccine fast, so that we can get back on the road as soon as possible.

Beth: And finally, what message would you like to give to your fans right now?

Sami: In case you haven’t listened to “Thalassic” yet, please do. Stay safe and hope to see you all soon on the road!

Beth: Thanks again for your time. We absolutely love the new album here at Ever Metal HQ, and really hope that we get to see you perform it live sometime very soon!

Sami: Thank you very much for your kind words! 😊

All the best to you and hopefully we’ll see you soon somewhere! Stay safe!

Hello, it’s Rick again!

If you haven’t read Beth’s full review of Ensiferum’s latest album “Thalassic”, which was released on 10th July 2020 via Metal Blade Records, then hit the link below.

To keep up to date with everything Ensiferum related then visit the following links:

www.ensiferum.com
www.facebook.com/Ensiferum
www.instagram.com/ensiferummetal/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCJSZkYiD1tDoyw2icpflQRQ
www.open.spotify.com/artist/0krXCIkthz13P8o0v2tksH

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Interview with Johan Längquist of Candlemass

Interview with Johan Längquist of Candlemass
By Sheri Bicheno

Good Afternoon Readers!

When this interview landed on the list, I jumped at the chance to nail it! Candlemass are undoubtedly one of the most influential Doom bands out there, helping shape the Doom genre into what it is from when they started out over 30 years ago!

Candlemass released their first full length album since 2012, “The Door To Doom”, in February 2019 which features Toni Iommi on track ‘Astorolous – The Octopus’. This album is the first to feature Johan since “Epicus Doomicus Metalllicus” in 1986!

For all you fellow Doom lovers, I’d be interested in what your opinions are on the newest EP, “The Pendulum” that has been released in this chaotic time of life. Give it a go and let us know what you think!

I recently got the chance to have a Skype chat with vocalist Johan Längquist and I have to say, it was an absolute pleasure. Humble, often with a chuckle in his voice and an all-around nice guy!

I sat down, with a cheery bounce and proceeded to call Johan’s Skype ID and await…

“Hi! Johan here!” says a very cheerful voice on the other end. I’m beaming already.

We exchange greetings and introductions and immediately, I sense the smile in his voice.

Sheri: Candlemass are known for being the epitome of the Doom genre – What I find interesting is that there are fewer bands from the 80’s era that explore that genre of metal. What prompted Candlemass to find your technique and essentially be part of creating the way for Doom Metal?

Johan: I think that we were so very influenced by music that was made in the 80’s and as you probably know, Leif is a big fan of Black Sabbath…and I think that is the main reason it all started. Of course, I’m too a great fan of Black Sabbath but I like a lot of other bands from that era too. So, I think that’s the main reason the way how it turned out the way it did, and the way Leif is writing the music because you know, he writes all the songs. And I know he is a BIG fan of Black Sabbath haha.

Sheri: So, they’re kind of an influence for you?

Johan: Yeah, yeah! We haven’t talked that much about it but that must be the reason haha! I think that Black Sabbath were one of the bands that almost sounded like that in the 80’s I think, there were not that many bands, there were a couple of bands, but not that many.

Sheri: Not as few, Black Sabbath kicked off the Doom side so it’s interesting to see how the genre has evolved. Did you have to experiment with your sound technique or – as you just said, you were influenced, did you have a particular vibe that you wanted to go with or did you need to experiment with technique?

Johan: When I got into the band and we did the album in 1986, I had a tape a couple of weeks before we went into the studio. So, you know, I did vocals and I just had to find my way into that music haha! Yeah, it’s pretty much as simple as that. Sometimes, you know, when you’re about to do a song and do the vocals, you can’t find your way in, but I guess that’s the job that all the singers have to do, find their way into the music to give the music the right vocals, the right spirit, to suit the music, I think. That’s what I did. And I remember in my opinion at that time, I had my own band at that time and I thought it was a bit how you say monotone… the same chord, a very long tune, so I remember that I was thinking about doing the vocals as melodic as possible. You know?

Sheri: Sure. So, it’s a change for that sort of era.

Johan: Absolutely yes.

Sheri: How do you feel being a great influencing Artist for other bands within Doom? As we discussed, Doom has been expanded on within the last sort of 20 to 30 years with different sub genres.

Johan: There’s so many genre’s around right now, I don’t know them all haha! To me, it’s Heavy Metal. Slow Heavy Metal or not. Dark Heavy Metal haha.

Sheri: Haha! It does change quite a bit.

Johan: You know, when we are out playing and sometimes people are coming into where we playing and tell us “The reason we started was because of you guys” Then of course you feel honoured that you’ve been a big inspiration for many musicians in that genre, so yeah, what can you say? It’s an honour. It’s humbling.

Sheri: I’ve asked a couple of our readers if they have any questions for you…

Johan: Great! Haha.

Sheri: One of the questions raised by Jimmy, is that A lot of younger bands cite you as a massive influence upon them, as we just discussed, is that a help or sometimes a comfort for you to know that after all this time, Candlemass has stayed relevant without losing focus of what essentially makes Candlemass what it is?

Johan: Yes of course, something tells you that you’ve done the right thing in life. At least some good things in life if your music lives on and other people get the inspiration listening to the older album – it’s fantastic. Life is a tough one and that’s for sure a good thing to do haha. I’m not that kind of guy. But you know, it takes work and sometimes you succeed and sometimes you don’t and it’s a lot of work going on all the time.

Sheri: Happiness does take work sometimes! Casting back to when you were working on “Epicus Doomicus Metallicus”, did you face any surprises or challenges? As it was different from anything made before.

Johan: When I got the tape from the guys, I had actually never heard anything like that before. I thought “wow, how can I find my way into this?” That was the feeling I had when I started listening to the songs and trying to learn them. But it was a lot of fun doing them because there were no limits when we went to the studio and uh… well… we had a lot of fun I can tell you! Haha.

Sheri: Haha! Tell no secrets! That leads me onto the next question… what were the best memories of creating that album and then going forward after you re-joined Candlemass?

Johan: Haha! What I remember is a guy that came to the studio and he was asking “Where is the singer?” And then he saw me and said “Oh…it’s you?” He was expecting a big guy, very tall and big, because he thought… my sound was like… he was looking around, walking by me going “Where is he? Where is he? The new singer!” Hahaha. And I was “It’s me” and he was “Oh!” I don’t know if he was disappointed or just surprised, I don’t know hahaha!

Sheri: Let’s hope it’s the latter! Hahaha! And what about after you re-joined?

Johan: When we went into the studio for “Door to Doom”, Marcus Jidell was producing the album and it was the first time I heard the songs. I was pretty amazed, and you know, we had a discussion before I listened to the songs and they asked if I would be interested in joining the band again. I said of course… but I need to listen to the songs and see if they thrill me haha. And they did! It was a good experience for me because you know, I had to sing so very hard and high, I’m not what you would call a high pitch singer so I had to push myself a lot to sing the songs on the album, not every single one as you can hear, I’m pretty distorted… haha… when I’m crying out loud to do the songs… But it was a lot of fun you know. When you’re into the music in the 80’s, I really do like Rob Halford and Dio and all the great singers at that time, you know to push yourself and do the maximum you know. I like that.

Sheri: I think that’s how a lot of successful people have carved their way. By pushing boundaries and adjusting, as you have done. You do have an incredibly big voice, so it works.

Johan: Yeah and I think I have found some parts in my vocals that I haven’t found before at that point actually, because of all the pushing haha. It was a great experience as a singer, now I know pretty much that there are no limits, you just do your very best. Of course, there are limits but maybe you can do it better than you believe yourself, just give it a really good shot.

Sheri: And that’s how people learn isn’t it! It’s good to have your vocals back with Candlemass as shown in your latest full-length album, “Door to Doom” This is your first album back with Candlemass after a long time. What did it mean to you as a musician to get behind the wheel of Candlemass? It was very positive, but did you have any visions of the future when you joined? Have you got plans?

Johan: Thank you! Haha. Even though I hadn’t been in Candlemass for those years, I have always been involved in music in one way or another all my life. So, it felt pretty natural for me to do all this. But of course, you never know what happens you know, if people are going to like the album or not? But fortunately, it all turned out very well and I’m so happy for that haha. I was very nervous the very first gig we did back together you know, because I hadn’t been on stage at that time for a very long time but it all turned out very well, I felt that, yeah, it works!

Sheri: I did see some footage of that first gig and it was absolutely rammed! I think you had no worries there haha.

Johan: Haha thank you!

Sheri: Another of our readers, Sam, has asked… The Door to Doom is very much old school Doom. In the vein of the first or early Candlemass records, how do you feel they hold in comparison to the more recent or modern bands and other albums of this generation, for example when playing a festival bill full of newer bands, to a new generation of fans who might not have been around in the Epicus Doomicus Metallicus days or hadn’t heard of Candlemass?

Johan: Ah what can I say? To me, it’s just like, you know it’s the same with Leif and the other guys, I’m so stuck in the 80’s and all the great songs that were done at that time and I listen to a lot of new musicians too and they’re so fantastic – but I think you need to have a relationship with the 80’s to find the 80’s spirit. I’d been playing for a couple of years with a young man, only 30 years old haha, before Candlemass happened, he was very interested in learning the spirit of the 80’s and was a very good guitar player – but it’s the way you play guitar and the way you do the songs. I can’t exactly say what it is, but I think there is something with the 80’s that one should learn from I think haha.

Sheri: I think so too. I think the 70’s and 80’s, I mean all decades have had their good run of music… it’s different.

Johan: Of course we have a special relationship with the 80’s because we were young at that time but even these days when you listen to the songs… yeah… My heart feels good when I hear good music hahaha!

And of course, there are so many brilliant bands out there right now too. But the problem is that there are so many bands, you can’t find them all. I’m an old fashioned guy, I don’t hardly use my computer – of course I do, but sometimes I used to sit watching YouTube looking for new bands but there are so many and I don’t’ know exactly how to steer into the very best bands.

Sheri: It’s very social media based at the moment isn’t it?

Johan: Yeah and I know that you can always listen – but the problem is they never play the good bands on radio, of course a couple do but they never play their best songs in my opinion haha.

Sheri: I agree with you. I think it tends to be what’s in the NOW you know…

Johan: Yeah, a good example is ‘I Was Made For Lovin’ You’ with KISS and that’s pretty much the only song that they play with KISS and they did great songs before that haha.

It’s the same with Van Halen – what’s do you hear from Van Halen for example?

Both: ‘Jump’!

Johan: Hahaha, exactly! In my opinion, that’s not the best song they did haha. Of course, it’s good but I don’t know if they’re giving Van Halen the right… how do you say?

Sheri: Like a light shone on them really for people of the younger generation. I understand.

Johan: (Chuckles) Exactly!

Sheri: Candlemass have just released an EP in March of this year, “The Pendulum”. Which, in the middle of a Pandemic, is greatly welcomed!

For Artists to keep doing what they’re doing and making and releasing music if they can, is needed. There are a lot of Artists at the moment that probably, like yourself, that have to be on pause to an extent and its quite frustrating… but we have to keep rolling with the punches!

Some of the songs on the EP are noted as Unreleased Demos. Can you take us through the history of some of the demos? Are some of them quite new?

Johan: Hahaha! Ah when I did the Door to Doom, I didn’t know about these songs!

Sheri: Ah!

Johan: No! Hahaha. I had no idea that there were more songs. They told me a couple of weeks after we released The Door To Doom – they thought that they were not done in the right way and wanted to make a few changes and do another lot vocals on it… and I was surprised when I heard the songs and I said, “Wow, why?” They were great songs! And we re-recorded them again, I don’t know exactly what they changed about them, but I know some guitars and the vocals… that was for sure a tough one for me to do too. But a lot of fun doing those songs I can tell you haha.

Sheri: How do you think Candlemass has evolved after around 35 years of music? As I say, you are still quite true to your sound, during those almost 36 years, how do you think you have made evolutionary changes within the band?

Johan: I think that the only things you can do is… if you have the chance, if you’re allowed to do the songs and write songs the way you want to, that’s the main reason that you can develop in different directions. But we love the music in that time and that’s what gives us the most if you compare us to other kinds of music. I think that’s the main reason and we don’t have a record company telling us what to do and things like that. We are the only ones responsible for what’s coming out to the audience.

Sheri: So, it’s quite raw and all your own with no restrictions?

Johan: It suits us that way haha. It’s good to have tips of course but…

Sheri: I think if you’re changing so much over time it becomes something you don’t want it to be…

Johan: Exactly. I think that’s the main reason why they called me up again because they said they lost the spirit of what was there and they wanna try and give it another chance by pretty much create the old band again and yeah… that was one of the main reasons, they wanted to the old Candlemass sound to have another chance. Get back to the roots!

Sheri: If Candlemass were a drink – what would you be? Haha.

Johan: Hahaha! What would I be… hmmm…? I don’t drink that many drinks but a drink that I like is actually the old Gin and Tonic, that’s fine with me… it’s not that dark haha. But I’ll say Gin and Tonic just because I like that haha. It works through old times.

Sheri: There’s different flavours and everything at the moment!

Johan: Yeah but you know, I’m old and I don’t like it too sweet and there are so many out there hahaha!

Sheri: Interesting choice haha! Have you got a song that is your favourite to perform?

Johan: The old Epicus songs, I really do like to do all those songs from that album still. And I really do like doing the Nightfall songs too. And in the future, there will be more songs because there is a big library to pick great songs from. We were talking and they want me to feel comfortable doing the songs too. So of course, we will do the new songs. I really do like all the songs that we’re doing, so I can’t say I’m not doing any songs I don’t like. All the songs I do really like, they’re great songs.

Sheri: You just get out there and love it haha.

Johan: Yeah hahaha! And that’s pretty important when you’re the singer too… if you’re trying to keep your smile up and you hate the songs, that shouldn’t be good hahaha! I really enjoy the moments on the stage, playing around, just having a good time, so it’s brilliant right now.

Sheri: Very humbling! Another of our readers, Jack, has asked how you decided on the name of Candlemass?

Johan: Oooooh, actually I don’t know the history behind the name! That’s a question better to ask Leif hahaha. I can’t tell you, I’m sorry hahaha. It’s a long time ago and we don’t talk about that… sorry Jack! Hahaha.

Sheri: We will let him know! Hahaha. Finally, What advice can you offer to other Artists, new or experienced?

Johan: Never give up. If you believe in what you’re doing, continue. Don’t give up. Never give up. Even though there will be hard times and you know, if you have your goal, in time you will be there. I’ve been there myself; I’ve been working a lot with music and writing; you learn from that hard work. If someone tells you that this is shit and you shouldn’t bother, just continue with what you’re doing if you believe in it.

Sheri: Absolutely. If you are committed to something and you believe in it then carry on.

Johan: Yeah, you do it for yourself too and if you’re fortunate that other people like the songs you do too, so that’s very important, don’t give up. I’m pretty much, what you say, being a “rock star” now and I’m close to 60 haha so… you never give up hahaha.

Sheri: I think you learn a lot through that. Through mistakes, positivity, hitting rock bottom or anything in life, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel as long as you stick true to who you are.

Johan: Oh yeah of course, I can be all on my own just playing guitar at night on my own and having a great time… if no one wants to listen… Then I can have a great time myself hahaha. Keep on playing.

Sheri: Keep on keeping. Hahaha. Well thank you for your insight and I hope other viewers might find this useful.

Johan: Thank you very much for calling me up.

Sheri: Much appreciated. Take care, be safe, be happy Johan!

Johan: Thank you very much and have a really nice day!

Rick Here; I would like to take this opportunity to thank both Johan and Sheri for the great interview. To keep up to date with everything Candlemass related then click on the following links!
www.candlemass.se/doom/
www.facebook.com/candlemass/
www.instagram.com/candlemassdoom/
www.twitter.com/candlemass
www.open.spotify.com/artist/7zDtfSB0AOZWhpuAHZIOw5
www.youtube.com/channel/UCIXDUCw6Ek8FV5_PZRTHqWg

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Interview with Adam ‘Bowzer’ Bouskill from Massive Wagons

Interview with Adam ‘Bowzer’ Bouskill from Massive Wagons
By Tsarina Wilson

Tsarina recently got the chance to have a really quick chat with, the very busy, Bowzer from Lancaster based Rock band Massive Wagons. Huge thanks to him and Tsarina.

What is your name?

Bowzer!

What do you do?

I am the bassist in Massive Wagons!

Can you tell us a little bit about how you ended up doing it?

Nothing exciting in how I ended up here. The lads required a bass player, I had played guitar in a band with Baz (vocalist) previously and offered to play… how hard could it be eh? Only 4 strings!!

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

I’m from Lancaster, a small city in the North West of England, The rock scene has always had a decent presence here. There are a few pubs that put live music on non-stop. The Yorkie, The Pub, The Bobbin, they all put on new and young bands.

Who have been your greatest influences in music or in life?

Empyre’s most recent release is absolutely amazing. Everything they do is gold.

What first got you into music?

Musically talking specifically bass it has to be Roger Glover!

My whole family is into music. Only a couple have been in bands, but everyone loves a huge variety of music. In my house it was always The Stranglers, Madness, Ian Dury, Bob Dylan, Tom Jones on the stereo. My uncles were in a punk band called Interference and they supported The Clash at Lancaster Uni.

Which current bands would you like to see collaborate on a record?

That’s a hard question, I would like to see Danny Bowes of Thunder replace Adam Lambert fronting Queen, Danny hands down has the greatest rock and roll voice.

If you could go to any festival in the world, which would you chose and why?

Graspop, The line-up is always incredible, and I fancy going to Belgium!

What’s the weirdest music related thing you own?

Erm I don’t think I own any weird musical items!

If you had one message for your Ever Metal reader, what would it be?

Look after yourself! Smile! And defend people around you that can’t defend themselves.

If you could bring back one rock star from the dead, who would it be?

Keith Moon!

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

I’d swop the popularity of god-awful pop/chart music that is written by 25 people working with algorithms with the dwindling popularity of the rock, metal and alternative scene.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“Blackout” by the Scorpions.

What’s best Vinyl, cassette, CD or downloads?

I have no preference; vinyl looks cool though.

What’s the best gig you have been to and why?

Metallica at the Etihad last year it was awesome.

What do you get up to when you’re not writing/ taking photos?

Work, gotta pay the bills.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Keith Moon, Ozzy, Da Vinci, Phil Mogg, Dio!

Thank you so much!

Massive Wagons brand new album “House Of Noise” will be released on 17th July via Earache Records. Order your copy here:
www.webstore.earache.com/A-Z/m/massive-wagons

House of Noise (Official Video)

Band Links:
www.massivewagons.com/
www.facebook.com/MassiveWagons/
www.twitter.com/MassiveWagons
www.instagram.com/massivewagons/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/7xytG2E40s4GeukvZCGqGP
www.youtube.com/user/MassiveWagons

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Interview with Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder

Interview with Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder
By Dark Juan

Good afternoon, you beautiful bunch of misfits and miscreants! I trust you have been following the gospel of Dark Juan and have given your livers a workout worthy of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime? Have you been defiling with wanton and base lusts the bodies of those closest to you as you have been exiled for the good of the realm? If not, I WANT DETAILED REPORTS OF WHY NOT ON MY DESK THIS AFTERNOON! If there was ever a time for peace and love to flourish it’s now, boys, girls and persons of other genders. I request and require that you show love to everybody. Love is the law.

In other news, I spoke to one of my musical heroes and it was surprisingly NOT the fucking car crash I expected it to be, considering I am an enthusiastic and somewhat demented amateur music journo. Couple this with an accent thicker than the mud at the bottom of a drain and a sense of humour that could charitably described as baroque and you might consider that Mr. TREVOR FUCKING STRNAD OF THE BLACK FUCKING DAHLIA FUCKING MURDER actually deigning to speak to me and being a consummate gentleman throughout was something of a minor miracle. He happily appeared to be able to put up with all kinds of amateur nonsense, such as a Northern monkey rapidly riffling through notes and simultaneously soiling himself and Lord Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover alternately yowling, barking, meowing and for one glorious moment mooing. He did this with grace, class and bonhomie. Trevor did, not Igor. Igor’s a twat. I present to you all, my Church of the Poisoned Mind, the verbatim conversation we had, INCLUDING my deeply embarrassing fangirling.

I wonder whether animals can have species dysphoria? It would explain much about Igor. Anyway, the “interview”…

Dark Juan: Good evening, Mr. Trevor Strnad. I’m Dark Juan and I am the ridiculously overexcited idiot responsible for the 10/10 review your album “Verminous” got from Ever-Metal.com.

Trevor fucking Strnad!!!: Ah, thanks a lot man, that’s awesome. I’m very flattered by that.

DJ: (frothing in a frankly disgraceful fashion): Mate, what a record! In fact it’s not a record; it’s a weapon, man!

TS: (Laughs ): Fuck yeah, dude. Glad you like it man.

DJ: (heart rate still not normal and running off pure adrenalin and copious amounts of cider): It’s awesome. Forgive me for being a prat because this is my first time interviewing a major metal star and I’m shitting bricks about it!

TS: (one wonders how often this man comes up against pretenders of music journalism): You’re doing good man, no worries.

DJ: (desperately trying to appear professional and failing catastrophically): “Verminous”, first of all, a total contender for record of the year as far as I am concerned.

TS: Big words there, I like hearing that, man. Thank you so much.

DJ: First time I listened to it, it was almost simplistic, but on repeated listens it opens up in front of you and you have got these polyrhythms and super complicated riffs and your vocals range from the depths of hell to taking God’s head off with a buzzsaw. It’s got everything.

TS: (struggling gamefully on and proving his professionalism considering the fact that there hasn’t been an actual QUESTION yet): It definitely has more layers to it (than previous releases) and I don’t think it reveals itself fully the first time you listen to it, you know. There’s definitely some information to unpack over time.

DJ: (Deciding that now is NOT the time to preach his own somewhat confused faith): Yeah, I get that totally. Do I detect a SLIGHT HINT of antireligiousness in there, by any chance? A tiny bit of not liking the church?

TS: (Perhaps composing a stern email to the PR company to make sure this doesn’t happen again in his head): What else is new, man?

DJ: (finally managing to marshal his confused thoughts into a form that might actually have a question in them): So, your vocal style. I’ve noticed that you have said that Carcass was/ is a major influence on you. Was that Jeff or Bill’s vocals?

TS: (the man is a legend. He hasn’t yet screamingly clawed for the end call button): Well, it’s both actually. I wanted to be able to do both vocals with one person. I know I’m not the deepest, most guttural on the low end of all the guys out there, but I’m influenced from that Bill Steer mid rangey grittiness you know. It was listening to the “Tools Of The Trade” EP, that was the first glimpse of Carcass that I had and it’s still my favourite of their output you know? I have the “Tools Of The Trade” tattoo on my arm and yeah, dude, I’ve just been aping those guys ever since (laughs) and on the song “How Very Dead” (on “ Verminous”) I was trying to sound like I have an English accent and really going for Carcass.

DJ: (on safe ground at last!): Yeah, I thought I detected a real classic Carcass vibe on “The Leather Apron’s Scorn” – my favourite song on the record.

TS: Yeah, that song’s cool man. It’s different for us. It’s kind of progressive and very groovy. There’s a lot of groovy stuff on this record which is kind of new territory for us. Yeah man, that’s a definite high point of the record for us. A very creative song.

DJ: I have been a fan of The Black Dahlia Murder since 2003 (Trevor interrupts in surprise, “NO WAY!”) Yeah, man, you’re one of my favourite singers…

TS: You’re making me blush over here!

DJ: (inappropriate sense of humour immediately making an escape out of the box it had been beaten and forced into): Never thought I’d hear a bearded man tell me that but (TS is busy laughing) this record really does transcend all your other releases to date as far as I am concerned.

TS: Thanks, man. Yeah, “Nightbringers” was such a success, and having Brandon (Ellis – lead guitar) in the fold now we have a lot of creative juice and everything was just going right so it just gave us the confidence to push things a little further than we have done in the past. We are very happy with how it came out and it feels like a very proud moment for us.

DJ: (finally behaving like a fucking journalist!): Talking of Brandon, what did he bring to the party that wasn’t there before do you think?

TS: Um, Ryan (Knight, ex-guitar) was another awesome songwriter too, so I don’t wanna slight him but Brandon has this youth and this excitement to be here amongst the band. He’s just the most creative person we have had and he’s the most musically inclined, honestly. He’s the most educated, I mean he taught himself to play guitar from different sources on the internet and has never taken a lesson in his life which might surprise a lot of people. He’s just kind of a virtuoso and he looks at music in a different way and we have all been learning a lot from the guy even though he’s the youngest member of the band – He’s wise beyond his years and he has definitely taught us a lot about songwriting and different detail you can weave into a song and to consider the very minutiae of a song and I think that’s what makes these songs special , a little more elbow grease and he’s got a unique way at looking at songcraft and I think it’s kind of affected us all and we’re just trying to keep up with the kid. He’s lifted us all up and inspired us all and he’s definitely the guy you want in your band! Just feels like a really great time in TBDM history and feels like a real high point right now.

DJ: (having nearly shat himself with relief at getting a reasonably interesting question in before his already shaky confidence falls apart): That’s something that really shines through on the record I think. That kind of indefinable something where you can just tell that people are really enjoying playing that song, that’s what shines through on “Verminous”. That’s what makes it special I think.

TS: (doubtlessly relieved to be talking about the album instead of responding to Dark Juan metaphorically prostrating himself in front of him): Right on man, I’m glad that came across. It was fun to build from the ground up. Giving Brandon more control this time, with him recording most of the record, I think was a good move and gave us more control and able to take it really slow and look at things with a microscope. I think this is going to be our recording process from here on out because it was so successful. He stepped into the band and wanted to have a big piece of the pie and be creative and in control of things and we trusted him. We trusted him a lot on “Nightbringers” during the mix and he took a lot of control then and he just showed us what he could do, so this time we trusted him with more responsibility and the record is that much better for it. He’s just that kind of take charge kind of dude, man.

DJ: “Nightbringers” was such a massive success, you were touring that for two or three years, right? I mean, touring “Verminous” is kind of on hold because of coronavirus which means you could end up touring an album that’s a year old. What does that make you feel like? Do you feel the songs will stand the test of time or do you chalk “Verminous” up to experience and record a new album for the touring cycle?

TS: Um, I still think people are going to be excited to hear the songs and they have a lot of time to listen to it and fester on it. Honestly, from our point of view being in the band, there’s nothing better that could have happened during this than drop an album. That’s the ultimate content you could have and entertain all these bored people right now. The pace of life at the moment is so freaking slow. There’s time to enjoy art and absorb it, so in a weird way I think this has turned out to be advantageous, you know? Um, it’s just that it was nothing that we could foresee but we could have got caught at the end of a record cycle with no new content or anything else to offer up so honestly it’s turned out to be the best kind of thing that could have happened, I think. Honestly, it has hurt the sales a little bit, not being able to go to the record store, also we were booked to go on tour with Testament which would have been our biggest tour ever. But I’m hoping we can just jump back into this thing and pick up our momentum where we left off and hopefully people will be excited to hear these songs.

DJ: This record, I’ve found when I listen to it, third or fourth time through, you have so many different influences on it… Instead of the straight up melodeath on previous releases, there are so many disparate influences you have managed to weld into a cohesive whole and it could all so easily have sounded like a load of metal pans falling down the stairs. Has the songwriting taken longer than usual, or is it luck or judgement?

TS: It’s a lot of years of experience of writing Black Dahlia Murder songs. In the last few years, I think the goal has been to make the most dynamic music we can make. Music that really takes you on a ride and has different emotional flavours to it and I got to agree that we did add a lot of approaches that we didn’t have before. We got songs that are pretty rock injected where we close the high hat and just rock out and we have never done that before. You have “The Wereworm’s Feast” for example which is very King Diamond influenced, very classic heavy metal feel to it. Yeah, I think this record has a lot more style and we are becoming more comfortable and spreading our wings and focusing on that aspect of it. It is definitely a cocktail of that classic Black Dahlia Murder sound but also mining from different corners of heavy metal.

DJ: (having managed to obtain the dizzy heights of competence for all of seven minutes before plunging back down into the black murk of idiocy): I finished the review off by claiming that “Verminous” is the first metal album that doesn’t need more cowbell.

TS: (Laughs): We definitely did put some rock in there! It’s Brandon’s influence. He’s not like your normal 26 year old. He’s definitely a child of the 80’s and he’s very progressive in what he writes and he has pushed us all in that direction to be more creative with what we do and lifted us up and we are all just trying to keep up with him and he’s inspired Brian (Eschbach – guitar and vocals). Brian has turned out some of the best songs he’s ever written and it’s just a great line up right now. It’s the culmination of a lot of positivity, a lot of great times together – we toured together for three years off of “Nightbringers” together and had a great time and a lot of success. We just took all of that praise for that record and the positive vibe and just pushed it into this record and it made us very creative and something that felt new for us.

DJ: (in sensible question SHOCK!): Do you know what kind of response you had with online and pre-sales? Are you selling well?

TS: (Clearly wondering what sort of madman has been allowed to talk to him this time): Yeah man, we have hit the charts pretty hard which was surprising. I have to credit a lot of it to our fan club, the Blast Fiends, they have a Facebook group that really focused on collecting Black Dahlia stuff, vinyl variants and they are just total hounds for the record! So some of those guys showed up and bought a lot of copies and they are like our unofficial street team and they have really pulled for us so we could hit the charts hard, and we made some waves in the press because of it. Even during this pandemic we are able to make waves so that’s pretty cool.

DJ: Got any words for the Blast Fiends while you’re here?

TS: Thanks a lot guys, we really appreciate it. We do this for you guys and you are a huge part of it and we have yet another victory for the Black Dahlia campaign!

DJ: (still panicking like a schoolgirl but much less obviously now): “Verminous” – The title gave me the impression you were trying to evoke the seedy underbelly of life in general. Do you want to expand on this? Are we (the metal kids and the alternative people) the kind that are creeping out of the sewers to terrify the norms?

TS: Yes, that’s how I see it, man. The world on the album cover is sort of a metaphor for our place underground, literally underground. I look at metal, and especially death metal as this kind of hidden world, a secret that most people can’t see. They can’t see the value of it, they can’t see the culture of it and they can’t see the positivity of our scene, and how it’s like our lives and it’s so important to us and it’s a secret, a hidden world and it’s a plague we’re spreading, like a plague of knowledge and an awareness, an awakening to this world of freedom from religion, creativity, free thought and unfiltered art. I mean, death metal is not made for everybody – it’s made for a select few and it’s a labour of love. If we had any delusions of trying to become rich or hugely famous we would have been a totally different kind of band. It’s an act of love and something we pride ourselves on making this music and staying extreme. This is the culmination of years of hard work, trial and error when writing in the past and I feel like we are an older, wiser band right now but also that we are still young with regard to how creative we can be. I feel like this is the opening of a new chapter where we can be more creative as a band. We’ve been together for twenty years now of history with the band, but I still feel we have another 20 years. I can’t see us doing anything else. It’s been my entire life, this band, we’ve gone so hard in one direction and Brian especially, being the other original member, and we have to just see this through. We have to keep going and I feel honoured that people have stuck around and we have had so much success and that’s a big inspiration to make our music as good as we can and to keep our fans happy. It’s a never ending thing, man, and it keeps snowballing out of control, the success of this thing and we have to honour the initial opportunity Metal Blade (record label) gave us and just push it to the hilt.

DJ: (gotta hit those clichés!): Do you view “Verminous” as your “Reign In Blood moment”, or is it more your “Show No Mercy” moment and you are going to grow bigger and more expansive?

TS: (to his eternal credit, NOT rolling his eyes at the demented Englishman): I kinda see “Nightbringers” as more like “Reign In Blood”. It was more of an attack, attack all the time record with a lot of information crammed into it. More of a barrage, if you know what I mean. “Verminous” is more a “South Of Heaven”, where it has a lot more variety and is more dynamic. It still has its fast parts, but it’s much more like us opening our doors, spreading our wings and using this dynamic energy. We wanted the album to feel less samey and have real variety in the songs and let the songs stand out as their own entity. We tried to make the compositions more epic, this time around, definitely less intensity at times, perhaps some buildup, to have some tension, release and to have the chance to really emote this time round. We have a lot of melancholic songs that are gripping on that level and trying to be a more emotive package as a whole and really trying to elicit a response from the listener.

DJ: (now having calmed down somewhat and actually doing what he’s supposed to): Songwriting techniques – how do you go about it? Do ideas spring from a single riff, or a lyrical idea, or a title idea? How does The Black Dahlia Murder work as a musical entity?

TS: The lyrics come second. I’ll have a list of some ideas that I kick around but for the most part I’m reacting to what I hear in a song. Either guitar player will demo the song in ProTools and by the time I hear it, it has both guitars, it has bass and it has programmed drums that sound pretty good. Then our drummer rewrites the drums hit for hit what will end up on the album and then I’ll start writing with it. I’ll sit with it, I’ll listen to it a gazillion times in my fucking underwear and really it’s a challenge to me and something I look forward to. Listening to the song a million times and then plotting how the plotline is going to go up and down with the music. I try to make the story fit every moment of the music and it is a challenge to write in those confines but it’s also very cool when it all comes together. I try to make the lyrical climax come with the musical climax so it makes this bigger picture. I really care about the lyrics and it’s not just something I scribble down but I try to bring somebody in. I try to make the listener go to a different place or imagine a different character. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s a hell of a challenge though. The rest of the guys pretty much write in solitude, either guitar player and it’s been this way for a long time now since we had members living out of state and we are pretty used to being spread out – there’s a lot of WhatsApp group texts that we talk to each other through, emails with ProTools files and we are used to this way of working now. Before we all used to write together in one room at band practice, but now we don’t have a traditional band practice anymore. We will get together before a tour all in the same spot and freshen up on things for a couple of days but now we rely on everyone looking after their own upkeep at home and keep their chops up on their own time and that’s a big responsibility but it’s just how this thing works now. The creative process is something I look forward to – every time I come back to it I’m excited to see where the band is musically and with every record there’s a big jump with creativity and I think the guys absorb a lot of information during three years of touring. We play a lot of music to each other, we play a lot of shows, see a lot of bands, so even though we are cranking out these records at a fairly alarming rate, there is a lot of growth between records and this is the most growth we have had between albums and a lot of it has come from “Nightbringers’ ” success. I’m looking forward to the future man. I see us pushing the boundaries further in the future.

DJ: I’m looking forward to seeing you tour in the UK as soon as this virus is done with. You’re going to be hungry. I expect you’ll be tearing my face off…

TS: There’s talk about maybe January for Europe and the UK. I think it might be our first tour back, but I’m not sure just yet.

DJ (who actually really does need to visit the lavatory at this point such is the relief of ending this extremely stressful experience): How different is Trevor Strnad, mad bastard throat with The Black Dahlia Murder, to Trevor Strnad sitting peacefully at home?

TS: I dunno man. I don’t really feel that I have two faces. I feel like I’m the same person here too (at home). A fun, easygoing metalhead. A lot of my life revolves around music, you know, collecting music and being a hound for the underground and checking out new bands and checking the scene… getting metal in the mail every day… I don’t look at what I do with The Black Dahlia Murder as a job, that’s an insult to it I think, it’s so fun. It is hard too, there’s a lot of sacrifice and a lot of hardships. Tours are largely very boring – there’s a lot of waiting around and shitty travel situations and you can liken it to camping at times. It’s not really glamorous and a lot of people don’t really think about or see the amount of work that it entails. I basically gave up my entire life to do this and I love it, I love staying in touch with the underground and it fuels my passion for The Black Dahlia Murder. I’m pretty much the same guy behind the scenes, you know, a big metal nerd!

DJ: Maybe a slightly quieter one than on stage…

TS: A little more reserved. There is a dark part and it’s a release for me to be on that stage and embodying the demonic characters that I have conjured up. Getting into that villain role – I feel that death metal is villain music and we’re the villains to societal norms and religion and it’s all about celebrating freedom, celebrating the underground and the friendship and the culture that’s there and there’s so much positivity there for “negative” music. I think people give us a bad rap, man.

DJ: Thank you, Sir Trevor of Strnad, for putting up with me barking drunken questions at you and basically flailing desperately to appear like I know what I’m doing… You fucking legend.

TS: Thanks a lot, man, it was fun. Take care.

And that’s fucking that. If you need me, I’ll be in a darkened room with an IV of absinthe and 24 nubile young virgins. Knock before you enter, otherwise it’s at your own risk.

Buy “Verminous”. It’s awesome. And so is Trevor Strnad.

“Verminous” by The Black Dahlia Murder was released by Metal Blade Records on 17.04.2020.

LINKS:
www.tbdmofficial.com/
www.facebook.com/theblackdahliamurderofficial/
www.twitter.com/bdmmetal
www.instagram.com/theblackdahliamurder_official/
www.youtube.com/user/blackdahliamurdertv

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Interview with Raphael Olmos and Isabela Moraes of Kamala

Interview with Raphael Olmos and Isabela Moraes of Kamala
By Victor Augusto

Hi everyone, it’s Rick,

Our man in Brazil, Victor, recently got the chance to interview Brazilian Thrash Metallers Kamala! It’s about time that some of these hardworking and very professional bands got a chance to shine outside of their homeland, and in Kamala’s case, Mainland Europe is starting to take notice. I shall now hand you over to Victor and would like to thank, not only him, but Raphael and Isabela for this interview

Keeping a Heavy Metal band alive demands a lot of work and struggle, especially in countries where this genre is not a popular one, and this work in very honorable. Against all the odds, Brazilian Thrash Metal band Kamala, after 17 years on road, has been growing fast in the last few years, especially in Europe. Their singer/guitarist Raphael Olmos, along with drummer Isabela Moraes, explain how they conquered it and the next step for their upcoming album.

Victor: Please. Introduce yourself and tell us when you started to play your instruments and what made you want to create Kamala.

Isabela: Hi, I am Isabela Moraes, drummer for almost 14 years. I have loved this instrument since childhood, because I have a cousin that plays drums too, but I started to learn properly at 15 years old, when my older sister gave me my first drumsticks.

Raphael: Hey, I am Raphael Olmos, guitarist, vocalist and founding member of Kamala.

I started to play when I was 13 years old, after watch the VHS “…a year and a half” by Metallica, I knew that I wanted to be a professional musician when I was 15/16 years old.

And I created Kamala when I was 18 years old…to make the music and the band that I wanted to listen to as a metalhead.

Victor: Since the early days, Kamala showed a different concept, when playing Thrash Metal. The Oriental visuals and sounds have been present in your music since that time. Why did you create this concept for the band?

Raphael: Kamala was born in 2003, and when I created, I wanted to make a band that mixed the heaviness and the energy of metal, with beautiful oriental visuals and melodies…and positive lyrics.

The world is already too negative, and as an artist, when we release a song or an album, we have the responsibility for each person that is connected with the band… I am not talking about religion but, for me, the oriental culture influence is more about the energy stuff, and it is really something that I admire.

Victor: In 2012, Kamala released the third, and the bands last album, with two guitar players in the line-up, “The Seven Deadly Chakras”, and since “Mantra” album (2015); you are in a trio formation. What has been the biggest change in Kamala’s sonority?

Raphael: The biggest change for me, is the way we turned more thrash metal, and more organic. The string tuning turned from drop B to drop D, and the riffs was more ‘IN YOUR FACE! As a trio, we wanted to create something that we can play live, so we need to be better musicians and explore within ourselves the most intricate (that is possible to us) playing, whilst maintaining a strong presence on stage.

Victor: It is rare to find underground bands really fighting to be professional or that want to have a life on road. It demands that the members give up their regular jobs, and live far from family and friends, and you have been on this path since 2014, when the line-up changed to a power trio. How hard was it to find people like Allan Malavasi and Isabela Moraes that had the same desire to make Kamala a famous band?

Raphael: We still have side jobs, but the main point is the band, because the band is getting bigger and bigger, and we need to make more international tours, for example, to spend more time on the road…and a band like us, needs to have all the members with the same objective, to make that happen. Many people wish to live by playing music, but they don’t live for the music, you know. Playing well, is the minimum thing to have as a professional band, but there are many others points to look out for when you share your time and energy with other musicians.

Victor: Kamala has been touring a lot in Europe since the “Mantra” album. Nowadays, you often have more concerts scheduled in Europe than in Brazil. How did the band conquer this space in Europe?

Isabela: I think this happens because we have frequent release of new material, so this creates some expectations to watch the band in action and this opens some doors to showcase our work. We always try to be the most professional that we can in all stages of our jobs within the band. For example, on every tour, we make a specific set-list presentation for every single gig, all the things that we need to speak and songs that we will play in a 40 min, 60 min or 90 min set. We try to be always prepared for any situation on stage…

Victor: From all the countries you play in Europe, France is the one that has showed a true passion for the band. I remember in 2018, when you released your last studio album “Eyes of Creation”, some journalists, who were working at Hellfest, said that they lost the count of how many people they saw wearing Kamala t-shirts in the crowd. Do you know why Kamala became so huge in France?

Raphael: Yeahhh, this is fucking amazing! No, we never expected to be so big in France, and on our first European tour, in 2013, the crowd was a little “cold”…but we returned in 2015 and, since then, we fell in love with France and the French people with our art! Every European tour, we play in France, and in 2016 we made a full French tour…playing every type of gig that you can imagine, and the energy is always AWESOME!

Victor: Recently, some endorsements have appeared and you, Raphael, have become part of the Solar guitars (Sweden) and Evertune (USA) family. How did it happen, and do you think the fact that the band has been playing a lot outside of Brazil helped with the endorsement deals?

Raphael: For sure, being in a Brazilian band, that is constantly touring outside Brazil, helped to open the “eyes and ears” of both brands.

So, besides really good visual stuff, a band with a lot of shows per year and good social media numbers is important and all those points I think were important to brands that I dreamed of and loved. It turns out that these are the brands that trust and believe in my art and work. It is something that I’m really proud of it!

Victor: Kamala has recently released its first live album called “Live in France”. You recorded this during the last Kamala’s show of the sixth European tour, in October of last year and released it in December, just 2 months after the show. How did you decide on that and how was the process to record it?

Isabela: Actually, we didn’t know that we would be recorded, we just knew that the owner of the venue planned to make a live broadcast of our concert on Facebook.

And we were really tight because it was our last gig on this tour. We played and when we were done, he told us that he had recorded our performance in multitrack…It was a big surprise for all of us when we listened. The sound was amazing and in that same moment, we decided to use this material!

Victor: The band has already started the process of recording the new album. What could we expect from the music on this album and when will you release it?

Isabela: The new album is done and ready. Now, with this pandemic situation, we are waiting for a better moment to release, but the album is really beautiful, and the songs are powerful, with intense lyrics, heavy riffs and too much groove. We loved the result and we are extremely excited to show it to all of you.

Victor: I have to say, it is so impressive how Kamala have become so huge in Brazil and in Europe without any label support. Everything you do is independent. Pure work! Do you feel that now is the right time to have one big label help you reach the next level, for example playing European festivals?

Raphael: Yes…a loooooooot of work! And for sure, we feel that we are ready for this next level, to sign with a good international label, play in summer European festivals and make full tours supporting bigger bands. We have lived all the tests through these years, and we know that with a label, the KAMALA name will become bigger and bigger, because a label searches for a band that can be on the road many days/months per year, to promote the releases, and we work a lot for this too!

Victor: Thanks a lot, and please use this space to leave a message.

Isabela: Thanks, one more time, for all the support and opportunity. It is always a pleasure to be part of this. Thanks to all the fans around the world, who have followed us all these years. Stay at home, be safe and healthy. Soon we will be together to bang our heads!!

LINE-UP:
Raphael Olmos – Vocals and Guitar
Allan Malavasi – Vocals and bass
Isabela Moraes – Drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/kamalaofficial
www.youtube.com/user/kamalaofficial
www.instagram.com/kamalaofficial/
open.spotify.com/artist/5mbUdP134DvKlRFr4AhsHO

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Victor Augusto and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Interview with Olan Parkinson and Steve Maher of Abaddon Incarnate

Interview with Olan Parkinson and Steve Maher of Abaddon Incarnate
By Tammy Lomax

Hi Everyone, Rick Here,

In the underground extreme music scene Irish Deathgrind outfit Abaddon Incarnate could be considered a seminal band within the genre. They’ve been around for over 25 years now but there have been some interesting developments of late. Our very own Tammy recently got the chance to have a chat with Drummer Olan and Guitarist Steve about not only these, but also the bands history!

Tammy: Firstly, congratulations on the recent news with being signed to Transcending Obscurity Records for a multiple album deal. How are you feeling about this? And what will this entail for 2020 and the future?

Olan: Thank you, Tammy; yeah it is great news and great timing. We were planning to record in 2020 anyway but now to have an official platform through which we can release it is amazing. I have known of TO records for a long time and always admired Kunal’s drive and his dedication to real underground bands and really heavy stuff too, almost like the Indian Relapse Records. So, in June we are heading to Foel Studios to record with Chris Fielding which is awesome. I have worked with Chris several times now. He is just great, a thorough professional and just gets heavy dirty music. He has good history with Irish bands too having recorded with both Primordial and Mourning Beloveth. With regard to the future, who knows, Abaddon have always been an unknown quantity, but history has shown that we ‘do not go gentle into the good night’ so I would expect something ferocious for full length no 6.

Tammy: Kunal Chokski (owner of TO records) mentions that he has been a huge fan of Abaddon Incarnate since the release of “Nadir” in 2001. What is your favourite track on this album and why? And can you guide us through the process of how you wrote the album?

Olan: Ha heavy question; I of course have several! I’m going to pick two if I may? Opener ‘I Will Nail You In’ has got to be up there. It’s just relentless from start to finish and the lyrics match, just full on without being overly graphic, but full of genuine vitriol. Ironically the title came about from a joke which I will tell you in person one day. It’s still a staple in the live set, our ‘Angel Of Death’ if you will. I also love ‘Unclean’ I think as a contrast it is a bit more mid paced but with a real groovy middle 8 but it literally is unclean, it feels it, it’s a filthy song, again the subject matter is quite dark! I wrote the lyrics for this one, and I love exploring the blackness within humans and the depravity that we are capable of.

The writing of “Nadir”, once it got underway happened quite quickly. We actually had about 10 tracks written for an album and thought we were almost there with the process. It felt strained and not very natural though, we hadn’t quite crossed the line into Grindcore at this stage but we were all getting into more extreme stuff, I was really loving Brutal Truth’s, Extreme Conditions and Need To Control, and we were all getting into Nasum circa Inhale Exhale and Human 2.0. So, one rehearsal Bill came in with the main riff for ‘I Will Nail You In’ and that was it, game changer. We scrapped the whole album and started re-writing and it was Deathgrind from then on. And due to the Nasum influence we asked Mieszko (RIP) would he be interested in working with us and the rest is history. “Nadir” was recorded over 2 weeks or so in his studio in Sweden.

Tammy: Abaddon Incarnate have been going for 25 years. As you might expect, during this time, some members have come, gone and returned. What inspires you to keep motivated regardless of setbacks?

Steve: I’m pretty stubborn, so setbacks motivate me. It’s sad to lose old members but people move on, the exciting part is when you get a new line-up; you get new ideas and energy!

Tammy: Abaddon Incarnate were the first extreme Irish band to play in Ecuador, Colombia and Peru. What advice and tips can you give to up and coming bands regarding networking and getting their name out there?

Steve: We were approached by South American promoters “Guts n Blood”. He did a magazine feature and the tour arose from that. Similar to our first Australian tour! If you want to get your name out there you need good distribution and good PR. Labels will do PR work but sometimes it’s worth investing in a bit more PR. We have a few individuals who do good work for us.

Tammy: You guys have had some huge achievements, like supporting massive bands Obituary, Napalm Death, Bolt Thrower etc…What has been the most memorable and rewarding so far?

Steve: Playing with all these bands is great. But the most memorable gigs are the DIY tours we headline ourselves like the Australian, South American or Russian tours we did.

Tammy: What is the most Bizarre thing that has happened on stage on a tour?

Olan: I can only speak for myself here of course but there have been a few. One gig, years ago, a guy jumped up on stage, smashed a beer glass and started cutting himself while we were playing. I also remember a gig in the Czech Republic at this small bar in the middle of nowhere. When we arrived there was no one about. No cars, chickens running around…all very weird. But come gig time people came from all over and filled the place. We had this support band and they had this dude playing guitar who had lost his arms and legs when he got run over by a train. He had this little rig fashioned where he had his plectrum attached to his stump, and he played with that…amazing! That place had some of the weirdest coloured drinks I’ve ever seen. But probably the most memorable bizarre thing for me was on that same tour. Not on stage however, but we were out with Desecration and this was towards the end of this tour. We had decided to stay in a hotel after this gig; it might even have been the last show. But we finished late, like midnight or 1am and we went back to this Hotel. It was all locked up but there was a cellar bar open there so down we went. The barman was sitting on this couch with this topless girl and watching porn, drinking a bottle of champagne. He was a very friendly chap though and brought us over a bottle of Absinthe, genuine Absinthe. I don’t think any of us had had the real shit before, but we got stuck into it. After whatever amount of time, the door burst open and these two rather large policemen barged in, guns and all, and next thing we were all up against the wall getting searched as they were roaring at the barman. But I’ll never forget just looking at the guys and everyone was pissing themselves laughing, it was so surreal, none of us had I.D. on us…nothing, it could have been a really serious situation but at the time it was the funniest thing ever. Thankfully they just kicked us out and we went to our room. I haven’t had any Absinthe since that night!!

Tammy: With some help and guidance from Zero Tolerance Magazine, in 2013, you made your stamp in Australia and have set up tours like ‘The Drunks and Convicts Tour 2017’ and a vast amount of others. Can you explain the pros and cons regarding the Australian underground scene and if there are any similarities to any of the other countries you’ve played?

Steve: I love Australia. The bands over there are quality and the scene is pretty awesome especially in places like Melbourne! We play a lot of small shows over there too but in Melbourne we always manage to do at least two gigs and get a sizeable crowd. The last tour we did there for example we did 3 Melbourne gigs in 2 weeks. Melbourne is an arty creative place. Australia is really unlike anywhere else. There is a unique vibe to the place.

Tammy: London Deathfest, Dublin Deathfest and headlining Carnage Festival in Switzerland are amongst some of the festivals you have previously played. What festivals would you like to play in the future?

Olan: I guess any of the big ones have to be on the list. Hellfest or Wacken would be awesome. Personally, I would love to get to Maryland Deathfest. But also, festivals like Fuck The Commerce and Obscene Extreme are just brilliant for showcasing the filthiest bands on the planet. But it’s important to support smaller festivals as they will be the festivals of the future. Metaldays in Slovenia for example! That is definitely one of the better new festivals. Great country too!

Tammy: Abaddon Incarnate was reformed from thrash legends Bereaved. What were the reasons for you changing the name and who made the decision?

Olan: I think it was mainly due to the change of direction, musically. We felt that the name Bereaved, while a cool name, didn’t suit the heavier, more aggressive direction the band was headed in. So, I think the decision was a collective one. We had several variations but eventually settled on Abaddon Incarnate. It suited our themes and mind-set at the time. Lyrically things have moved on, but the basic ideologies and motivations are the same. I still quite like the original logo which I designed (I use that word loosely) I can still remember the 30 or so attempts over a couple of days to get it to what it is now, Brutal Truth’s logo was the inspiration. I can still remember bringing it to rehearsals for approval, and Steve saying, “it looks like a coffee stain”, but they must have liked it because we still use it today.

Tammy: If you could all select one Icon to invite over for a good few beers and fine dining who would it be and why?

Olan: Well unfortunately, I can only speak for myself here. I would love to sit drink and talk with Reinhold Messner. Many people will know that he was the first mountaineer to summit all fourteen 8000 metre peaks and the first to summit Everest without supplemental oxygen as well as the first solo summit of Everest, the list goes on. It is an incredible feat today but absolutely unthinkable back in the days that he did it. He has written over 80 books and runs a mountaineering museum in the South Tyrol. I just think he would be fascinating to talk to. However, I could be wrong. Maybe he is sick of talking about mountains and would just want to get pissed. But that in itself would be a cool story!

Rick here again;

I’d like to thank Tammy, Olan and Steve for the interview and I, for one, cannot wait to hear the new album when it is ready. If you want to find out more about Abaddon Incarnate then click on the links below

LINKS:

Band:

https://www.facebook.com/abaddonincarnate/
https://www.instagram.com/abaddon.incarnate.official/
https://abaddonincarnate.bandcamp.com/
https://open.spotify.com/artist/7JiGOjZmUWZWyhhQsyBZs4
https://www.youtube.com/user/stevemaher666

Label:

https://tometal.com/
https://www.facebook.com/transcendingobscurityrecords/
https://transcendingobscurity.bandcamp.com/

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Tammy Lomax and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Interview with Roadrash

artursfeists_photography_roadrash_s-18

Interview With Roadrash by Arturs Feists

Local speed metal band Roadrash (RR) from Vancouver, BC, Canada just have announced Limited-Edition Self-Titled 7” Vinyl LP.  Ever Metal had the privilege to ask few questions to the band.

Ever Metal: First, congrats on new LP record. Wondering, will this record make all posers scream and yell?

RR: Thank you! Our brand new 7” inch record can be played on your turntable but can also be used to decapitate posers before they even get a breath. Poser don’t know THE DEAL & they never will!

Ever Metal: To embarrass posers even more, can we anticipate a full length and full strength speed metal album soon?

RR: We’ve been buckled down at Speed Metal HQ working on new material. The Hammer our primary songwriter is brewing a batch poser poison that will be sure to leave them red, raw & bleeding.

Ever Metal: Roadrash history – what happened for a speed metal band come to life in Vancouver, BC, Canada? Was it an accident or intentional action?

RR: Roadrash was an evolution of several projects & members. The core has been established now & will stop at nothing to bring legitimacy back to a dying scene. This is no accident, it’s malicious intent.

Ever Metal: Roadrash, as ambassadors of the Canadian speed metal, will travel to Sweden later this year -for Muskelrock 2020 on May 28. Besides that, any shows coming up outside the Canada/North America?

RR: We’re working on some dates around the festival but everything is up in the air right now. Once the plan is in place heavy maniacs far & wide will know!

Ever Metal: Your collaboration with the Metal Assault Records – how did it start?

RR: Metal Assault records is a Californian based label. They’re just getting their stick on the ice & we’re very excited to work with a fresh company. When we recorded these songs last year I knew they needed to be given to the proper channels. Metal Assault is an established brand already worldwide (created by metal maniac Andrew Bansal) & along with his partner Sebastian Vazquez they’ve committed to bring heavy sounds to the masses – they were an obvious choice.

Ever Metal: Anything else Ever Metal Magazine readers should know about Roadrash?

RR: We are coming for you all! You will know the DEAL!

Order your RR record here:

ROADRASH Limited-Edition Self-Titled 7″ Vinyl EP (Pre-Order)

 

https://www.facebook.com/RoadRashSpeedMetal/

 

 

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Arturs Feists and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.