Interview with Ryuko

Interview with Ryuko
By: Alun Jones

“Grandpa, what’s a gig?”

“Well son, a gig was what we used to call a band playing live music, in front of an audience.”

“What, people watching musicians play their instruments? Crazy!”

“I know it seems like a strange idea to you youngsters, but it used to be a fantastic experience. Actually being able to gather with friends and strangers to enjoy hearing music. It was another world.”

That’s what the situation seems like right now: no gigs, no gatherings for entertainment – the old days sometimes feel like a lifetime ago. At least it seemed a whole different world back in February 2020, before the pandemic, when I caught up with Chester based band Ryuko at Pentre Fest.

The three piece – comprising The Bobfather (guitars/vocals), Captain Andy (bass) and MattMan (drums) were something of an anomaly at the metal-centric Pentre Fest.  Not that Ryuko don’t rock out, but their brand of punky, alternative rock was a little different from the other bands on show. I found their style of honest, yet far from pretentious rock’n’roll refreshing and it added a vital tone to the proceedings.

Post gig, I caught up with the band to pose some questions and contemplate the meaning of life.

Alun: First off, the cliched yet crucial discussion on influences:

Bob: It’s weird, ‘cos we’ve got influences from all over. If you listen to one of our sets, it has stages: it starts off punky, then it goes alternative rock. Then it goes a little metal/grungy, then back to punk at the end.

Matt: Drop D then back to punk! I’m a huge fan of Motorhead and Metallica, the list goes on, so me being the drummer, I was always doing these thrash beats. To go from that to stepping into this, this was more fun to me. I really enjoy myself when I’m behind the kit with these guys.

Bob: When I write the songs, I listen to quite a broad variety of music, so I think that becomes apparent in my songs. I don’t like to write the same song twice. As far as when I started out, I would say when I was a teenager, I first started listening to Nirvana, Carter USM. I also drew influences from a lot of electro – The Prodigy and stuff like that – so sometimes I’d try and work out how to play dance songs on a guitar. And then that would give me the influence to write more interesting songs. I like to try and fuse a bunch of different genres together, make it more interesting.

Andy: I listen to a lot of Neil Young; I think he’s a very diverse artist. He’s done folk, he’s also done electric stuff.

Alun: How do you promote yourselves?

Matt: I’m more into social media than these guys are. We’re promoting ourselves on Facebook, we’re gonna make a new YouTube account. That’s kind of going up and down at the moment…

Bob: We don’t know how to work it!

Alun: Where does the name Ryuko come from?

Bob: I’m really into anime and all things Japanese, Japanese music…At the time I was watching an anime called Kill la Kill. The main character is called Ryuko Matoi and I just thought it was a really cool name. Some really fun facts: Ryuko is one of the least popular names in Japan. It basically means “rebirth”, start over. So, I thought, we’re starting again, it’s a really cool name.

Andy: Well, it’s not a cool name in Japan, is it?

Bob: It’s cool to me! I think it’s cool!

Andy: I do wish we’d chosen a name that’s easier to spell and pronounce.

Bob: People can never say it.

Alun: Your cover of the Madness classic ‘Baggy Trousers’ tonight was a surprising choice, but great!

Matt: We decided to spruce that up to make it ours. The original is completely different to how I play it, I add extra little bits just to make it more funky.

Alun: Do you feel you’ve got the right band dynamic between the three of you?

Bob: We’re pretty good as we are. More people add more complications cos you’ve got to think – are they free; do they drive, are they going to be available…

Matt: I’ve got a son, he’s 9, we discuss upcoming gigs before we agree to it. If I’ve got my son and he comes along with us, if he’s allowed in the venue we play – he’s got his little ear defenders, he just sits in the corner and watches us or plays his game.

Bob: I’ve got three jobs…

Alun: Sounds like a positive environment to work in.

All: It’s got to be positive, if it’s not it just doesn’t work. If no-one’s happy, nothing gets done.

Alun: So, what’s next? What are your plans?

Bob: World domination!  One step at a time…

Andy: We’ve been working on re-doing our EP, we’ve been recording on and off. Recording, playing as many gigs as we can.

And there you have it: an enjoyable chat with the gentlemen of Ryuko. Make sure you check them out live, as and when we can return to the experience of live music. If grungy, punky alt rock with some metallic crunch is your thing, then Ryuko will be just the antidote you need in these dreary times.

With apologies to Ryuko, who have waited months for this interview to see the light of day.

Check the band out here:

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Alun Jones 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 BELLHEAD

INTERVIEW WITH BELLHEAD
THE RISING DARK POST PUNK DUO
By Stephanie Stevens

The Chicago based band BELLHEAD Consist of High Bass/Lead Vocalist Ivan Russia, formerly of the infamous Ahab Rex, Mr. Russia, and Sheriff Scabs; partnering with Low Bass/Vocalist Karen Righeimer – who has been a member of bands such as Fashion Bomb, Team Cybergeist, W.O.R.M, Bethany Thomas, and Pigface and are creating a unique, dark and punk quirky ambiance with the music they are making.

With the fire of male and female vocals intertwining with industrial esque music it becomes a unity of beauty and the beast.

‘UNICORN BONES’, the song on the duos newest EP entitled the same, ultimately drew me into the band. It just had a hard and haunting vibe to it that sucked me into the art that is BELLHEAD.

The band just recently did a cover of Bauhaus song SANITY ASSASSIN with a fascinating visual for it also.

Ivan and Karen are no strangers to the Chicago music scene but are making magic together as BELLHEAD.

I recently had a chance to ask them about the newest cover song, remixes and how Chicago has moulded them as performers/artists.

Q: When and how did BELLHEAD come into existence?

Karen: Ivan and I tossed around the idea of doing a project together for quite a few years – but it never stuck because we were both in pretty successful projects and didn’t have time for something new. In 2018 I left my music projects, and Ivan’s band mate moved to the east coast, so it was time to join forces.

Ivan: We had both played in the same band at separate times and got to know each other at shows and the like. I got the bright idea to propose a brand-new project to Karen outside of the bands we were in at the time. Progress was delayed by Karen being in a hit and run.

Q: Being a duo and having worked in other bands, how is it just having two people to throw ideas around versus a full band of different mindsets?

Karen: For me, it’s actually better than being in a multi-person band. When you’re working with up to six different members it can be frustrating coordinating everything from writing a song, scheduling rehearsals, or booking shows. With Ivan, we have similar work ethics and drive so it’s much easier to get things done.

Ivan: it’s a lot like throwing a medicine ball back and forth.

Q: How do you feel Chicago has moulded and sculpted your career as an artist and musician?

Ivan: Chicago has been a historically fickle mistress. Every show you go to there’s a handful of people standing arms crossed with a facial expression that reads “You think you’re hot shit? PROVE IT.” The meritocracy of the music scene has made me strive for nothing short of excellence. We have boundless enthusiasm for the music we are making and we engage with our audience and reward their participation. It feels more like a dialogue between us and the audience then a monologue of just standing on stage.

Q: What was the biggest thing that engaged you into the genre of music you create and perform?

Karen: When we started the band, we never really had an intention to be in a specific genre, or blend genres – we just wanted to make music that was enjoyable for us, and that we hoped people would also like. Ivan and I both have so many influences and music experiences that it just makes sense. You’ll hear aspects of anything from Nine Inch Nails, to Magazine, to Death from Above, to Johnny Cash. It’s actually pretty freeing not to have to be pigeon holed in one specific genre.

Ivan: If ‘Zooropa’ was a genre we would fit right in. Unfortunately, you’d never find us at the end of the search engine, so we pursue whatever excites us on any given song. It all makes sense from the crow’s nest.

Q: I see BELLHEAD keep a good recording and mastering team behind you and you don’t stray to work with others. What is it about them that makes you always go back? Do you feel they are as much a part of the band as you guys?

Karen: We are really grateful to have people behind the glass that are just as passionate about BELLHEAD as we are. Both our recording/mix engineer Neil Strauch (Iron and Wine/Counting Crows/Owls/Joan of Arc/Walking Bicycles/Slow Mass) and mastering engineer Carl Saff (Acid Mothers Temple/Smoking Popes/Red Fang/Guided by Voices) have impeccable talent, and what’s best is that they understand what our vision is, so it is not only easy but enjoyable to work with them. I don’t foresee us straying from our recording team anytime soon.

Q: BELLHEAD just released a killer cover of Bauhaus’s song ‘Sanity Assassin’. What lured you to this particular song by them and what has this band meant to you?

Karen: It was actually fan-requested. Last year Bauhaus announced their tour and as a homage, we decided it would be fun to cover a Bauhaus song. We let the masses suggest what they thought we should do via social media and had an overwhelming response for ‘Sanity Assassin’. Our intention was to really only play the song live once or twice, but due to fan enthusiasm coupled with no shows most of the year, we decided to release it as a single for people to enjoy. We are grateful to our audience. Their likes, comments, shares, messages, enthusiasm at shows, purchases, all the comradery, we are grateful for their feedback.

Q: Was BELLHEAD supposed to tour with Bauhaus also? If so, do you think it will eventually be rescheduled?

A: We were not scheduled to play with Bauhaus (BUT if they are reading this, we’re down for 2021). We’ve had a lot of shows cancelled in 2020 including playing with Birthday Massacre and Sister Kill Cycle. We hope that next year we’ll be able to hit the road and play in front of people again.

Q: You added a huge element to your team with Scott Fedor (Marvel’s Avengers VFX) directing the ‘Sanity Assassin’ video. How did this come about, and did you let him have free reign of the video theme for the song?

Scott Fedor: Please tell them you met me at a Hollywood soiree and after you finally pulled me from the middle of an orgy pile you asked if I’d be interested in helming the project.

Q: Tell me about creating a song and then putting a remix flair to it? Does it take about the same time to do both versions or do you feel one is easier than the other?

Ivan: Remixing our own song like we did with ‘Knife’ for the ‘Knife (Beware The Light)’ remix was about giving the song a different feel more of a club track/dance banger. When we remix other artists it’s mostly keeping the original artist’s vocals and building a new BELLHEAD song around it. In a sense we ask the question “What music would we write for this vocal performance?” Karen will add some bass, keyboards and vocals after I’ve gotten the beat together and various sounds I’ve found interesting for the song. We like to keep the remixes single length. Short and catchy.

Q: What do you hope the music world takes away from your band and music?

Ivan: I hope people enjoy the music as much as we do and have a good time feeling something. We like to see our shirts and stickers in the wild. It lets us know we are touching people’s lives in a positive light. I’m not here to save the whales or tell you who to vote for. I’m here for the music.

Q: Empower another artist and tell us why they inspire you?

Ivan: I play bass in a band called [ m e l t e r ] and they are a creative lot. It’s great to be “just the bass player”. I really enjoy playing the [ m e l t e r ] songs and contributing as requested. I will generally work on BELLHEAD songs during breaks in rehearsal so there’s probably some direct influence in there somewhere. Also, the [ m e l t e r ] remix of the BELLHEAD track ‘Runway’ makes me grin.

Karen: There’s this super talented multi-instrumentalist in Chicago (John Syzmanski). The first time I saw him play was at the Davenport where he went from playing the drums, to the bass, to the fucking SAW- like bending a wood saw on his knee and using a bow to make sounds. He’s in a ton of projects but has settled in really well with John Langford these days. Don’t tell him that I said he’s one of my major inspirations.

The End

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘Unicorn Bones’ (Official Video)

‘Sanity Assassin’ – Bauhaus Cover (Official Video)

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Stephanie Stevens and East Coast Romper, and has been released to Ever Metal on this basis. 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 Cadaveria

Interview with Cadaveria
By Chris Galea

Throughout the 1990’s Cadaveria (real name Raffaella Rivarolo) fronted the Italian Dark Metal band Opera IX but then decided to forge ahead with a band directly suited to her musical ideas. Thus, under the Cadaveria moniker, she released a number of albums that tended, in varying degrees, to fuse dark gothic moods with aggressive Metal sonorities. The band’s music style is quite peculiar and has certainly pioneered the use of harsh vocals from female Metal singers.

About 3 years ago, Cadaveria was diagnosed with breast cancer and the operation that she had to submit to might have left some fans concerned about the future of the band. But wonder no more because now she’s back.

In this candid interview, Cadaveria shares her experiences of combating cancer and talks about the musical path she intends to take from this juncture onwards.

A few days before she replied to my questions, the band had released a brand new single and related video: ‘Matryoshcada’. So I start off by enquiring about this…

Congratulations for the new video. Could you please describe the thematic aspect of the song ‘Matryoshcada’?

The treatments I received to recover from cancer threw me into a surreal and even mystical dimension. My body was falling apart: hair, eyelashes, eyebrows. The skin was thinning and part of me was taken away by the surgery. Emotionally it was like being on a roller coaster for a year and more and never getting off. In this delirium I found a new me, which was probably hidden inside the “previous me”. I really felt like a Matryoshka doll that can be opened many times until she reaches the indivisible core, my soul.

When I no longer recognized myself in the mirror, I looked straight into my eyes, the only thing that hadn’t changed about me, and there I found myself again, and the pulsing energy of life. The song is about all this and the video visually tells these concepts. I wore my old and new clothes to show this transformation and had two Matryoshka dolls created, representing the past and the present. The song title plays with the fact that in the metal scene friends call me Cada (diminutive of Cadaveria), so it’s entitled MatryoshCADA instead of Matryoshka.

Shortly before ‘Matryoshcada’, you released two other videos, ‘Return’ and ‘100.000 Faces’. What were the challenges of writing and recording those two songs?

‘100.000 Faces’ comes from the album “In Your Blood” (2007) and the video for this song we released in May 2020 was a quarantine version [quarantine due to the Coronavirus pandemic], to show we were back to music. A way to break the silence.

On October the 2nd 2020 we officially came back to the scene with the digital release of the 1st new single ‘Return’, followed by the music video. In 2015 we had played at a dark metal festival in Germany and knew this song by Deine Lakaien for the first time. We’ve been wanting to cover it for a while. When I recovered and we decided to go back to making music, given the title, it seemed like the right song to record.

CADAVERIA ‘Return’ (Official Video):

Where was the video of ‘Return’ filmed? Was this location chosen for a particular reason?

It was filmed in Luguria, a maritime region of northern Italy. We have chosen it as a location ’cause we like it and for logistical tasks. We wanted the video to contain the water element like the first video we ever made, that is ‘Spell’ which dates back to 2002. There are a number of self-references in Return that refer to Spell, for example the dress worn by the actress entering the sea is the same one I wore in Spell when I’m in the pond.

On ‘Return’ Pier Gonella [Labyrinth, Mastercastle, Necrodeath] played some guitar parts…how did that come about? What is the likelihood of him recording again with the band?

Pier is helping us as a producer for this series of singles we are gonna to release, and since he is an excellent guitarist, he sometimes also records parts, mostly solos or harmonizations. It works and will probably happen again in the future.

What were your feelings when you first started singing after the operation and therapy?

Do you want the truth? I thought I was no longer able to sing in growl. Actually, it was just a psychological block that I had at home and when I went to the studio everything was fine. It’s like riding a bicycle: you can’t forget it…it’s part of me. Our body has unexpected resources. The feeling I have now is of great freedom and joy. In the clean parts I am reaching higher levels than in the past.

In 2019 you had shared your recovery’s progress through posts on your Facebook page. How did you feel about the reaction of fans and friends to those posts?

I am a sincere person and I have never hidden myself. I don’t think there is anything to be ashamed of in the disease, although cancer is still a taboo for many. Sincerity has repaid me for so much affection. I got a lot of love from my fans. This has given even more sense to all the commitment I have put in music all these years. ‘Matryoshcada’ is dedicated to all the metalheads who have shown me love during the illness. At the end of the video there is an explicit thanks to all of them.

Following your recent health issues how has your relationship with music changed (if at all)?

I can tell you that during my illness I have listened to nothing but silence. I devoted myself to meditation, walking and yoga. It was an introspective journey, because I am convinced that if I got sick there is a cause that I had to correct, so I worked hard to improve myself. Now my approach to music and life has changed. I live in the here and now. And I live more lightly, marvelling every day at how beautiful life is. I am grateful for all that I have.

When ‘Return’ was released, your website stated that: “All CADAVERIA’s new songs will be released, on a quite regular basis, in the form of singles, as they are recorded and mixed.” Does this mean fans will have to wait a long time for a new album?

Yes, exactly. I’m not sure we’ll make an album. We have some songs ready and they will all come out as digital singles and then the music videos will follow. The rest will be seen gradually.

What are your plans for the immediate future? Especially considering the ongoing pandemic it’s probably too early to speak about touring but do you look forward to hitting the stage again at some point?

Actually, at the moment I’m not particularly eager to get back on stage because I have a lot of fun making these singles, recording, editing the covers, helping with the video production and doing the promotion. It is already a huge job that we do independently and in complete autonomy. I don’t want to get too tired. We’ll play live when we get an offer we can’t refuse. With all due respect I have no desire to set up the whole live stuff to go and play in the same small clubs where I have already been many times. It must be worth it.

Drawing from your own experience, is there anything you’d like to say to musicians and fans whose careers are affected by illness?

I would like to say that statistics exist, it is true, but it is also true that we are variance. There is no case of illness […that is…] the same as another so even if you are given up for dead, don’t believe it, just believe in yourself and in the strength of your fragility.

CADAVERIA ‘‘Matryoshcada’ (Official Video):

LINE-UP:
Cadaveria – Vocals
Peter Dayton – Bass
Marçelo Santos – Drums

ALBUM DISCOGRAPHY:
Silence (2014)
Horror Metal (2012)
In Your Blood (2007)
Far Away from Conformity (2004)
The Shadows’ Madame (2002)

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Chris Galea 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 SILENCE EQUALS DEATH

INTERVIEW WITH SILENCE EQUALS DEATH
Brings You New Life With REVOLUTION RISING
By Stephanie Stevens

Always seeking to evolve
Always seeking to empower
Always seeking to unite.

The amazing force that SILENCE EQUALS DEATH has within the hardcore scene is purely amazing. From powerful lyrics to crushing music, the feelings of raw nature saturate hardcore and makes it one of the best genres of music. SED hail from NJ and bring to you a unique fashion of aggressiveness with melodic undertones and to me have become a notable force to be reckoned with.

With the release of the band’s newest EP “REVOLUTION RISING” you can see the undeniable growth, maturity and excitement they had for writing these songs. Lyrically it bleeds with real talk, the driving hard riffs and that energy induced vibe they capture so well is on a new level. Take an earful of ‘SWITCH’ or ‘PLAGUE’, two of my favourites, and tell me if you get the same warm feeling!

I recently had a chance to chat with some of the guys and got more details into the new songs, working with producers, how they liked a livestream and much more.

Q: You guys have always had albums n songs that capture reality driven storylines be it personal or life around you. 2020 has had a lot to write about. Did any of the impact of 2020 go into this new EP “REVOLUTION RISING”?

Scott: The song ‘Revolution Rising’ was actually written prior to the riots and protests. However, it was clear the country was on the brink so that’s what fuelled the idea. ‘Traitor’ is about Trump plain and simple. ‘Switch’ and ‘No More Ashes’ deal with life’s frustrations, which we can all relate to. ‘Pass The Torch’ is a nod to the young people coming up in the scene. We feel it’s up to them to keep it going and some old dogs tend to look down on the youth. We say, take em by the hand and show them the way so this thing we call Hardcore can live on for generations to come.

Wade: Most of our music has been written pre-2020. although, I could say most of the material definitely relates to most of what’s going on this year. Especially with the injustices of our government and the abuse of authority, our EP seems like it was written just a month prior to release. The only impact 2020 really had was it gave us the chance to really focus on what we put into the EP. We had more time to discuss how we wanted it to sound. So, it was more of a blessing in an ironic way more so.

Q: It’s been a few years since you released any new stuff. Do you think taking time, you guys came back with a renewed motivation musically and do you see growth in yourselves as musicians?

Scott: We’ve done a few singles for comps here and there, but it really felt good for the 5 of us to sit down and hash out some new material.

Ryan: We’ve been working on material since our last proper release “End Times”. We went through a number of line-up changes. “Revolution Rising” is the result of contributions from both past and present members.

Wade: To say the least, it was a long time coming. The reason we don’t push out content as much as we would like is because we get very picky on how we write our music. Scott and I usually go back and forth on what we want as far as composition, but we always manage to get the best results when we do. So, for us it takes time. Not necessarily because of the writing as much as how we want the whole picture to be viewed.

Q: SILENCE EQUALS DEATH is in a genre of music that pretty much is family and brotherhood. Do you feel the scene is even tighter these days or do you see a change in the scene?

Scott: Personally, I feel like there is a lot of unity within the scene. The majority of people involved in HC really look out for one another which is evident by the way we rally around those in need That’s not to say it’s perfect, but what family dynamic is? As a band we try to treat everyone we encounter with the same respect we expect in return. Fans of the band are not just fans but also friends. Band members are not above anyone in the crowd in my opinion. I feel like anyone who loses that connection, loses what makes this scene so special, thus losing a bit of that unified feeling.

Wade: I have only been in the scene since I’ve started working with SED. I have played in multiple genres all my life. I can say, I’ve never felt more at home than with the HC scene. I’ve never been accepted so quick. No one cares about how you dress, what you listen to. This scene has always accepted me for me. I don’t need to pretend. So that right there should explain just how amazing and family oriented our scene is.

Q: Let’s talk about the song ‘PLAGUE’. Probably my favourite track on the disc from the guitar solo, the breakdowns and the signature upbeat high impact sound you guys have. Can you tell the world how the song came to see the light of day?

Scott: The song was originally written for the Patient Zero Records split 7″, “Spreading The Infection”. We’re always looking to expand our creativity and for ‘Plague’ we wanted to explore the more thrashy side. The song evolved over the past couple years, so we decided to update it and include it on the new EP. Lyrically it deals with organized religion. Although we are not a bunch of religious guys, we do respect others freedom of belief. With that said, my personal view of organized religion is basically different sects twisting the words of books to control its followers. The true Plague on our society is the mind control and manipulation most organized religions impose.

Q: 2020 also put the music world on hold. But you guys just recently did a livestream. How did that go and how did it feel having a show but not having the energy of the crowd?

Scott: For me it was the excitement of seeing the hundreds of people signing up to watch it beforehand. Knowing they were out there all around the globe was awesome.

Ryan: It was fun getting in the room with the guys again and performing. We wanted to make it special, so we purposely scheduled it the same day as our EP release. I immediately thought of backroom studios given their rich history and how they’ve done a number of successful livestreams already. The experience was organic, and we had a great time doing it.

Wade: it was the first time I didn’t have to picture the crowd naked in order to get comfortable playing. I usually go through these anxious episodes before playing. So being excluded from a crowd was easier on the anxiety but harder on the heart.

Q: How did you guys go about recording this EP were you able to get together, studio wise, or was this a home created EP?

Wade: We tracked all instruments in my studio and Scott tracked vocals at his. I then went in and did the editing and we sent it off to my friend Doug Gallo at AGL sounds and he took over from there. I can’t thank him enough for pouring his heart and soul into making sure we got exactly how we wanted it to sound.

Ryan: Yeah, Wade really stepped up and did a fantastic job tracking and editing. Once Doug put his magic touch on it, it really brought the songs to life.

Q: When it comes to producers do you stick close to home with people you’ve worked with before or do you like to branch out and test new waters?

Ryan: We like to branch out and try something new with every release. When we chose Doug to mix/master we recognized that he hadn’t worked with a lot of hardcore bands in the past, but we didn’t care. The quality and care Doug puts forth with all his projects was enough for us to trust him with our songs. Doug did not disappoint. He brought a fresh ear to the table and we couldn’t be more proud of the end result.

Wade: I have to agree with Ryan on this one.

Q: Music in every genre is life for so many people. What do you think it is about music that can be so powerful to people?

Scott: For me it’s the pouring out of emotions. Topical songs are cool, but when you can really relate to what someone is saying and understand what, is often their frustration/pain, that’s priceless.

Wade: I have to agree, it’s all about emotion, plain and simple. You want to connect with something. For some, they have family, friends, etc. For most, they only have relations from sound. I have had bands save me through some dark times. You can’t get a feeling of emotion stronger than from music.

Q: Empower another artist and tell us someone you look up to and why?

Wade: One person I’ve always looked up to is Yoni Wolf from “Why?”. Although, he is the complete opposite end of the spectrum. He has shown me there is more to music than just guitar, bass, and drums. He has written music so abstract but befitting to the average listener’s ear. Opened a whole new way of thinking. Especially when it comes to producing. Another person would be Alexis S.F. Marshall. Him and his band also have shown me there is more you can do with empty space than just hitting power chords. He also takes risks. He doesn’t care what people want. He creates what he wants. I’m all about that. Last but not least, Drew Stone. That man seriously amazes me with how much he dedicates to the scene. He has shown a whole world of hardcore to younger crowds. If hardcore is dying, Drew Stone can single-handedly save it from failing.

The End

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

Silence Equals Death – Livestream at Backroom Studios (13th November.2020)

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Stephanie Stevens and East Coast Romper, and has been released to Ever Metal on this basis. 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 Hecate Enthroned

Interview with Hecate Enthroned
By Tammy Lomax

I recently had the wonderful privilege to get some questions over to long term bass player Dylan Hughes, from the band Hecate Enthroned. These absolute legends have been going strong for over 25 years!

Q: Firstly known as ‘Amethyst’ then ‘Daemonum’ in 1993, Hecate Enthroned were alleged to be one of the most intense bands that erupted from the death metal scene back in 1995. You embraced a symphonic black metal style in the early days, progressing and advancing with time and adding more elements of melodic death metal! What inspires and motivates you guys to keep going?

Dylan: We originated in Wrexham, North Wales. Back then the scene was young and very exciting, seeing bands come over for the first time, bands that are now regarded as instigators and albums that have become classics, gigs were sold out and the energy around the whole scene was electric. Being a part of that; recording albums, playing gigs was very intoxicating and fired what we were doing and of course we were young 😊 Now we’re older, wiser but still have the same passion for writing and playing music, we love creating as a band and doing shows, the energy and drive is still there and we have been incredibly lucky to have an amazing fan base that have supported us for over 25 years so producing for them and getting the reactions and feedback we do really keeps us going.

Q: In 1995, the first demo released, “An Ode For A Haunted Wood” was the start of something beautiful. MTV featured this release and Hecate Enthroned were one of the first extreme black metal bands to gain from this experience. Hecate Enthroned caught the attention of Blackend Records and you all collaborated to remaster the tape and turn it into a E.P “Upon Promeathean Shores (Unscriptured Waters)” From this moment you guys had a true black metal sound. How did the band conclude to this decision and why?

Dylan: Blackend had heard the ‘Ode…’ demo and our constant gigging had gained us a following over here enough for them to contact us and show considerable interest. We played a mini-UK tour in I think ‘94 or ‘95 with Primordial and Sigh. This did really well and after seeing us on the London date Blackend offered us the contract. They were a decent label and as a subsidiary of PHD they had excellent distro and promo. As the ‘Ode…’ demo was so popular we rehashed and re-recorded those songs as the first EP for Blackend “Upon Promeathean Shores…” and the track ‘Ode For A Haunted Wood’ got a video and playtime on MTV Headbangers Ball. There were very few black metal bands with videos at that time, so it did get us a lot of publicity and literally went across the world, with PHD distro our releases were one of the few bands and labels that got to countries outside of EU and US, and fans from those early times are still with us now.

Q: In 1997 Hecate Enthroned released its first full-length album “The Slaughter Of Innocence”. Produced by Andy Sneap, it directed the band to a faster, more brutal chapter. It was very well-received; however, the band did experience some negativity by being criticised as a “Cradle of Filth rip-off”. How did you guys approach this and what was the outcome?

Dylan: we’ve never given any credence to the COF press, we were both UK bands playing symphonic black metal, we shared members and COF were the bigger band so its natural this will happen. Most press and journalists don’t have the knowledge or imagination to write anything other than comparing bands to other bands, in a way we all do it. We just got on with what we do, we always have, we write the music we feel in the way that’s natural to us. As you say that album was fast and brutal, we have always been on the brutal side of symphonic and with a very Black Metal feel even with the Death Metal edge we have, our natural playing style is aggressive and that’s what comes out along with the orchestral and more gothic elements.

Q: At the end of 1997, a couple of band members were replaced by yourself and guitar player Andy Milnes. The following year Hecate Enthroned released their second full-length album “Dark Requiems…And Unsilent Massacre”. Using keyboards as the main instrument and adding layers of horrifying atmosphere, brutally consistent with the previous albums, What is your favourite track to play on this particular album and why?

Dylan: Yes, as a band develops, members will change or people will come in and out, it’s about finding the musicians that work with the band and that contribute to the creative process while bringing elements of themselves that either enhance or compliment, not always easy but we have been very lucky with the people we have had in over the years, some great musicians and friends. That album was again very fast & very nasty but with a darker overall feel, due in no small part to the production given by Pete ‘pee wee’ Coleman. We still play a few tracks from that album live and I’d say a favourite to play is the title track ‘Dark Requiems…’ it’s a powerful fast paced song with a really atmospheric end that builds into something horrific.

Q: The last album released by Blackend Records was “Redimus” in 2004, it showed a more aggressive edge and was produced by Phil Green via Blue Room Studios. In February 2013, guitarist Nigel Dennan and you were interviewed for the Hungarian documentary ‘Attention! Black Metal’, then later that year signed a new deal with Crank Music Group and delivered the album “Virulent Rapture”. Why did you sign a new deal and is there any advice you can give to bands regarding networking and getting their name out there?

Dylan: There had been around 10 years since the last album “Redimus” was issued, we had still been playing live but no studio work and no label. We had received a lot of offers but none we could work with or liked, and our personal lives had developed to where a lot of things were on hold. The offer from Crank was good and we went for it, unfortunately they didn’t exist for that long and reissues became difficult, but they did a great job with the album and it remains a favourite amongst fans if not a bit of a cult classic. Fortunately, our current label M-Theory Audio have rereleased “Virulent Rapture” this year and fans now have the chance to add it to their collection, also a beautiful vinyl release. The best advice for bands looking at contracts is to get a lawyer, a good one. Networking and promo are now online, social media, if you’re good with that stuff you’ll do well. It’s very easy for bands to self-promote as everyone is online.

Q: In 2006 Hecate Enthroned embarked on a UK headline tour playing in London, Southampton, Nottingham, Bradford and Wolverhampton. In 2007 you performed in Norway at Inferno Festival alongside Immortal, as well as several shows in Spain, Bulgaria, Romania and Germany. In 2013 Hecate Enthroned headlined a mini-UK tour, then headlined at the Hell Fast Attack Festival. With so many festivals and tours under your belt, What has been the most memorable and rewarding?

Dylan: Most memorable tour was probably EU with Satyricon and Behemoth in 2000, some great cities and venues on that and with 2 great bands who were both starting to really get huge 😊. Festival wise it would probably be Inferno as the bill was incredible and Brutal Assault in CZ, again great bill and what a great location for a fest, an old army camp. Such a cool vibe there. MetalDays as well, again it’s an incredible extreme metal fest with such good organisation in gorgeous surroundings.

Q: Hecate Enthroned were scheduled to do a gig in Bogotá in December 2012, which would have been your first show in South America, sadly it was cancelled twice. In the same month, the band announced they had fired both vocalist Dean Seddon and drummer Rob Kendrick. Rob was then replaced by Gareth Hardy, and in April 2013 Elliot Beaver was announced as Seddon’s replacement. How do you keep focused regardless of setbacks and disagreements in the band?

Dylan: Yes, that was very unfortunate and disappointing. South America holds great support for us, one of our biggest fan bases so not getting there and having several cancellations is very upsetting. But like anything in life if you love doing something and it means everything to you then you just get on with it, work around it, learn from it and progress.

Q: Since 2014, Hecate Enthroned have been preparing and gearing up, ready to deliver a new album “Embrace Of The Godless Aeon” which was eventually released in 2019. How do you prepare, and what are the processes involved when writing a new album?

Dylan: We constantly write and have ideas, rehearsals regularly turn into jam sessions as well as individuals having ideas and riffs, it all comes together in rehearsals and we thrash ideas out into songs. There are always parts and riffs hanging about, some never get used and others can wait a long time before they do but it’s a band process and everyone contributes. The completed songs then get hammered out until they work and are ready to be recorded. By the time we’re in the studio the songs are there.

Q: This year has had a devastating impact on the music industry, how have you occupied yourselves and what can we expect from Hecate Enthroned in 2021?

Dylan: It has been difficult for us to do anything, obviously no gigs but due to restrictions even rehearsing has been patchy. We recruited a new drummer in Matt Holmes this year and literally only had a couple of rehearsals with Matt before the first lockdown so obviously priority, when we got the chance, was hammer the set and old songs with Matt. But there hasn’t been much of that in recent months due to personal circumstances around shielding and health. It’s been the same for everyone and it’s been so sad seeing venues and bands disappear, but we will get through this and, when we can, we will get back to the stage and resume blasting. We have some rescheduled fests and tours for 2021 we just hope these can become reality.

Q: Lastly, If you could all have one icon over for fine dining and beers, who would it be and why?

Dylan: I know Lemmy is dead but…got to be the man. And for obvious reasons, who else could you enjoy some fine dining with 😉

Many thanks for the interview Tammy and we wish all of you and everyone out there the very best. We are strong together and we will get through all this shit, see you all on the road very soon!!!!

Thank you so much Dylan and Hecate Enthroned, it’s been an absolute pleasure working with you over the last few weeks.

‘Plagued By Black Death’ (Brand new Lyric Video from the reissue of the “Virulent Rapture” album)

LINE-UP
Andy Milnes – Guitar
Nigel Dennan – Guitar
Dylan Hughes – Bass
Joe Stamps –-Vocals
Pete White – Keyboards
Matt Holmes – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Tammy Lomax 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 AWAKEN

INTERVIEW WITH AWAKEN
Waking up the rock world with MONSTERS & MACHINES
By Stephanie Stevens

The Tennessee band AWAKEN brings you a solid plethora of rock n roll ambiance with the music they have created since the band’s formation. An Alternative/Hard Rock destiny for music fans where powerful melodies intercept with hard hitting moments and emotionally enlighten you with provoking lyrical material.

The band: Chad Griffin – vocals, Dustin Simpson – guitar, Chase “Sludge” Reagan – bass and Jimi Wilkins – drums are gearing to make 2021 their year with the release of the newest album “MONSTERS & MACHINES”. Joining up with INgrooves and TLG Entertainment the band is focusing on music diversity and have made an album that is fresh and manoeuvres you down different paths of Rock n Roll throughout the disc. The singles that have been a platform for this album show the ability the band has to shine with difference but always embracing the signature sound that is AWAKEN.

From my favourites ‘BEHEMOTH’ and ‘STAINED GLASS’ to ‘THE VEIL’ the guys engage you with melody driven power and hard-hitting jolts of guitar driven atmospheres but also slide in modern hits of synthy dark ambiance and beautifully electrifying vocal moments.

AWAKEN is ready to set the rock world on fire with “MONSTERS & MACHINES”.

I had a chance to ask vocalist Chad Griffin a few questions about the new music, self-producing, working with Trevor McNevan from Thousand Foot Krutch and three fun facts about the band.

Q: AWAKEN has been around for some time now and has really become a staple in the rock community, as I’ll get into in this interview, but when and how did you guys all come together and what is the biggest asset each member brings to the band?

Chad Griffin: Thank you, yes it has been quite a while. Longer for some of us than others. Dustin and I have been writing together for years with different people before running into Jimmy then Chase. Both playing in different bands themselves. We hooked up with Jimmy in 2012 before the recording of our first record and went straight into the studio for “Broken Circle”. The writing for that record was basically a compilation of songs we had written for a previous band. We became Awaken, put out that album, then hit the road. We ended up touring with The Protest many times which Chase was a part of. That’s how we met him. Through a domino effect of things that took place, he ended up parting ways with them to take care of his new baby. We later ended up calling him when we lost our bass player. The connection was instant.

Q: Your new album MONSTERS & MACHINES is coming. Did you push the release to 2021 because of the chaos of 2020 or was this just a set thing and how was it preparing and finishing a product during a year like this?

Chad Griffin: Yes, the record was pushed back due to our new connection with The Label Group and INgrooves. It was a mutual decision with everyone involved to start fresh in the new year after some chaos clears. It also gave us some time to add in a few tweaks and actually add a new track that wouldn’t have made the record in time. It will be a 12-track record. The whole process was quick and fun. Covid closed down a lot of things so it helped us get in the studio and focus on what we wanted to do.

Q: You released ‘STAINED GLASS’ and with this song you found clarity in the band’s sound. What was the turning point that you had, Was it a missing piece in creation?

Chad Griffin: We feel that song is a good reflection of our sound. That is more along the lines of songs that we like to write, that we feel is kind of the foundation of our sound…with the calmer verses and heavy driving choruses and hooks. That was actually a remake of a song we had back with our original group, so it has a sort of sentimental feel to it that brings us back to our roots.

Q: A newer track you dropped was ‘THE VEIL’ can you tell us your lyrical approach to this song and what inspires you as a lyric writer?

Chad Griffin: Honestly, that one is kind of a take on a lot of what is going on today. It’s hard to tell what is real anymore. You can hardly trust anything you hear, and people have trouble being real. It seems sometimes like people walk around living a front or a facade instead of being themselves. I actually have had those lyrics for over a decade, ha. I just took it and modernized it, and changed it up a bit. It was one of the newest songs added to the record, music-wise.

Q: One song off the new album that really brought focus to the band was ‘BEHEMOTH’. I really loved how it was a diverse sound more so than other tracks you guys released. How much do you strive to have complete diversity when going into writing a full-length?

Chad Griffin: That was always the track I wanted to be the first impression of this record. It was one of the first 4 tracks we had in the demo sessions and we knew it was a standout. We do put a lot of focus on the tracks being different than each other. We don’t ever want to put out an album that sounds like one long track. We like to have a little bit of everything. This is actually the most diverse record I think we have done. That’s one reason we are so happy with it. There is a lot of both worlds on this album when it comes to heavy and melodic.

Q: Back in the day, with your debut album, you had the ability to work with Trevor McNevan from Thousand Foot Krutch on the song ‘FATHOM’. How did you get that collab worked out and what was the biggest thing you walked away with after working with him?

Chad Griffin: We were playing a venue near where he lived, and he came in to check out the bands and just enjoy his time off. We spotted him in the crowd and he came out back when we were loading. We just let him listen to some of our songs and he loved it. Said he’d love to help us out and collaborate. He was honestly an inspiration. Always full of talent and positive energy. He was honestly one of the coolest people still that we have ever run into since doing this.

Q: You guys seem very at home writing music do you ever get roadblocks and what would be your best advice for when that happens?

Chad Griffin: We are so used to each other from writing together for so long. It honestly just comes naturally. I have to say we are pretty blessed with that end of it and can’t complain. I’m sure the blocks have come a few times, just like with anyone, but they really don’t stick around long. We are always able to work through it and make it happen.

Q: Taking songs you have written and bringing them to an acoustic setting. Is it an easy process or is it like re-writing a song? And how much emotional value changes for you to perform it?

Chad Griffin: I’m a huge fan of the chilled out acoustic stuff. It really lets us play around with different arrangements of the songs. I love getting to go in wondering how it will turn out and hearing some of our heavier music have different versions like that. It does naturally feel more passionate at times. I do love rocking out and singing over the louder music, but it is honestly cool to get to sit down and make it something different.

Q: Being from Tennessee I am sure you are always finding people who inspire and help you learn more in the music community. How do you view your community and what do you believe your band has given to others in the community?

Chad Griffin: We are a split band as far as where we are all from. I love my community and we have a really cool regional radio show and awesome DJ that really helps get exposure for bands around the area. We have festivals and a few good venues. It is cool being so close to Nashville as well. I hope to be an inspiration to younger bands in the area and show them if they can stick it out and just keep writing together some cool things can happen. There are many different styles and forms of rock music played around our town, regardless of it being stereotyped as such a country stronghold.

Q: What is the biggest difference between self-producing your work vs finding someone to do it and what do you honestly prefer?

Chad Griffin: We loved our time going to Travis Wyrick for our first record and the experience we had there. We learned a lot and loved how it turned out. We would love to eventually get to work with another producer in the future but honestly, we prefer doing our own thing. We love getting together during our own time and have the freedom we’ve been able to have. We learn new things each record on how to perfect certain elements and have fun with it. We don’t really know what we will do or where we will go for the next, but we’ve enjoyed doing these last 3 ourselves.

Q: If you can get out and tour in 2021 is there one band you would be honoured to go out with?

Chad Griffin: We would love to reconnect with The Protest. It would be like hanging out with our brothers again and let Chase get to hang with old bandmates. There are several bands we wouldn’t mind playing with, but as far as staying around on the road…they stay at the top of the list for us.

Q: What venue do you miss playing at most and why?

Chad Griffin: To keep it short and sweet…any ha. We aren’t picky at this point. We just miss playing. We miss them all.

Q: 3 facts about your band that have nothing to do with music?

Chad Griffin: -We love God, we are far from perfect, but strive to be better for him and closer to him each day, we love discussing current events, politics, and sending memes back and forth on a daily in group message and we love Mexican food!

The End

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘The Veil’ (Official Lyric Video)

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Stephanie Stevens and East Coast Romper, and has been released to Ever Metal on this basis. 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 The Word66

Interview with The Word66
By Chris Palmer

The Word66 is a Christian Rock band from the USA. The three-piece delivers its music through a mixture of wonderful, catchy melodies and thought-provoking lyrics, all with the purpose of spreading the good news of God and Jesus Christ via a Rock ‘N’ Roll sound.

The band recently released two singles, “On The Way To The Promise Land” and a cover of Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit In The Sky”, both of which can be viewed/listened at the links below and via the band’s website and YouTube pages. I conducted an email interview with guitarist and founding member, Steve Scott, to find out more about The Word66…

Hi Steve, Chris here from Ever Metal and The Metal Onslaught…

Firstly, how are you and everyone in The Word66 doing? Are you keeping safe and well during the current pandemic situation?

Hi Chris, on behalf of the guys, Steve Scott thanks you for asking. We are doing great and we hope the same for you. We are doing our best to follow the CDC guidelines. We wear masks, have chapped hands from sanitizing, and do our best to social distance even while jamming. Not enough people taking this thing seriously.

Being a Christian myself, the name The Word66 really struck a chord with me, and I was eager to hear your music and the message you wish to share. But, for the benefit of our readers, can you please explain how you decided on the band name and, why the additional “66”?

It’s really pretty simple. There are 66 books in the bible and the bible is the word. I actually had someone ask me that because technically, there is no space between the Word and the 66, if the “d” was a secret message for 666. LOL. That’s why you don’t do drugs!… The messages in our music are always positive. Some have some bible passages, other written from the various books, like “On the way to the promise land,” and songs about things that we all feel and go through, and how God is the answer to our struggles if you know where to look.

September saw the release of your first single, “On The Way To The Promise Land”. Personally, I loved the song and the message within. I thought that you really touched on the book of Exodus and how Moses, guided by God, led the people away from slavery and towards His promised land. Yet, you delved much deeper into the human mind of inner battles and questions, as we have an ingrained tendency to question/disbelieve/distrust something that we cannot see. How did you arrive at the idea, was it a collective decision, and why the book of Exodus?

Thanks man, glad you liked it. That’s a great question, Chris, and thanks for noticing. Not too many people have referred to the lyrics in that song of which I am really proud of them. I think the messages at church can sometimes plant seeds in my head. I sometimes need to jot things down on my phone for later reference when I am in the song writing mode. I write all of the music and lyrics and let the holy spirit guide me. Exodus just seemed to be a great book to praise. Promise land takes you through the book in pretty much a chronological order kind of summed up with a rocking perspective. I got to talk about the journey and what Moses had to deal with, got to throw in one of  the only times where God describes himself, and end with what I kind of comically referred to the Tabernacle “the MOST holy place”.

What has been the reaction so far – from both fans and the media?

It’s been pretty amazing. With great support from places like Ever Metal and The Metal Onslaught, various press, and the many radio stations all over the world that are playing us, we are very grateful. We are getting airplay not only on Christian radio but AOR, hair band, and even on some hardcore shows. We just charted on a very cool station called Spiderweb radio at #10 (the single moved up to #8 after this interview) with the new tracks from Shinedown, Queen, Alice Cooper and AC/DC. And our new fans have been saying some wonderful things that make us smile and help verify that we are on the right path.

You decided to release your own take on Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit In The Sky” as your second single. I remember hearing another cover by Doctor & The Medics back in the 80’s, which I really liked. However, your version has a much more rocking feel to it, and the guitars sound amazing. Of course, now I understand the message in the song more than I did when I was younger, and I think you’ve done a fabulous job by delivering a song that really hits home. Why did you choose this particular song to cover and was it easy?

Thanks man, really appreciate the love. We wanted to do just one cover tune that was considered classic rock that everyone knows. Spirit came to mind as it has been in a lot of feature films and a great old tune. The choices of classic rock tracks that have some religious overtones are kind of few and far between. I think we kind of modernized it a bit and rocked it out.

What was the recording and writing process for the band? Were there any logistical problems due to the current COVID-19 pandemic?

As mentioned, I write all of the music, so it was just a matter of choosing which ones to record. We had to narrow it down, which took a bit of thought and strategy, yet to be determined. We recorded as the schedule permitted with the band mates and the studio. And yes, the recording should have been completed at a much earlier date. We put it on hold due to the pandemic, waiting for things to calm down and when that seemed like a moot point, we just got it done knowing that God will guide us through and keep us safe.

Are there any plans to record a full album?

Absolutely. We have all the tracks ready to go. We are hoping that we will get a nice deal and get it done the right way. Hello labels if you are reading this. LOL

What are your plans to promote and tour your music?

You know with the virus, who knows. If, and when, things get back to semi normal, we would love to take the show on the road. I think we are a fun band live and are looking forward to getting the crowd all roiled up and hopefully singing along. Hoping to do some shows in your neck of the woods. That would be awesome!

Do you handle such plans yourselves, or leave them in the capable hands of a record label?

We are hoping we will not have to do this ourselves. Hoping to hook up with some top-notch management and reportable label. Christian preferably.

While on the subject of touring, we all understand and appreciate that it can be a difficult experience travelling continuously. What kind of things do you all get up to when travelling between concerts? Do you get time to appreciate the places you travel to and taste local cuisines?

Lots of sleep and room service. We’re not as young as we used to be. Just kidding. Sort of. LOL. The shows actually take a lot out of you because you put out a 1,000% into the show. It’s tiring and energizing at the same time. Sometimes it’s like taking a sleeping pill then drinking a Red Bull. Kind of hard to explain. And yes, when we get overseas, we are very much looking forward to finding the time to take in the sights, the cuisine and hopefully attending some Sunday services in some of those amazing churches.

Who’s in charge of the music when travelling, and what bands do you mostly listen to?

We all like some similar music but try to break it up a bit with some different genres. Helps to keep the creative juices flowing. We love the Christian rock of course and some of the Christian contemporary music is pretty awesome. Throw in a little acid jazz, smooth jazz, classic rock, hard rock and EDM and you’re all set.

And, finally, is there any message that you’d like to say to your fans and Ever Metal (and The Metal Onslaught) readers?

We are a Christian rock band first and foremost. What we believe and live by is reflected in our music. As we release more tracks, we hope that you will dig our sound. If you are into the messages that we are sending out, fantastic! If you are not into the Christian thing and just dig the music that’s great too. We are here to rock and come prepared to tell a story to those who are ready to listen.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. It’s an absolute privilege to chat and get to know The Word66 a little better. Everyone at Ever Metal and The Metal Onslaught wish you well, and we hope to see you on tour soon.

Thank you so much, Chris, the privilege has been all ours. We also thank everyone for reading this and hope that we had the chance to introduce ourselves and hoping to rock you all live sooner than later. Please be so kind as to follow, like, subscribe, and write some nice comments. Our social numbers at the moment need some help! LOL. God Bless.

LINE-UP:
Steve Scott [Guitars]
Brian Torres [Vocals & Bass]
Dave Murray [Drums]

LINKS:

‘On The Way To The Promise Land’ (Lyric Video)

‘Spirit In The Sky’ Cover (Lyric Video)

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Chris Palmer 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 CRO-MAGS

INTERVIEW WITH CRO-MAGS
The Story Of 2020 EP Style
By Stephanie Stevens

The CRO-MAGS, a legendary name in the Hardcore/Punk/Thrash scene. A band who has had a cult following since early in their career. They gave birth to the tough as nails attitude of the scene in the late 80’s and brought, to this world, music that held no punches and surrounded you with an essence of ‘fight and stand strong’.

It’s been 20 years since the band dropped a full-length album to their fans but, earlier this year “IN THE BEGINNING” was born! The album brings you back to the New York hardcore roots and pummels you with that high-octane energy!

Throughout this year the guys had to cancel a tour because of the pandemic but rose up and presented one of the very first live Quarantine livestreams and then continued writing, so we will not just see a full-length released this year but the men of CRO-MAGS are also releasing another slew of songs with the EP entitled “2020”, coming out Dec 11, 2020. To me this EP outweighs the full length. It’s got so much power and angst, a masterpiece in its own right. From living in quarantine, to seeing violence, brutality, burning buildings and the empty streets of NYC, 2020 is a year we will never forget. This EP captures the emotion and raw reality in 20 minutes and 20 seconds. The band fully engulf what we have endured as you listen to the music, words and lay your eyes on the artwork. You want real? Its right here, packaged up in a six-song disc!

I had a chance to ask the legend himself, Harley Flanagan, about the making of the EP, the future of America and who empowers and inspires!

Q: Through 2020 you guys have done a lot of writing. Back in June of 2020 you released “IN THE BEGINNING”. How was it going back to work with producer Arthur Rizk and did you re-visit him because of a certain thing it brought out in you guys?

We get along really well musically and as people, he is not afraid of taking chances and he encourages me to do the same.

Q: Before the end of the year you’re also releasing the EP “2020”, a tell-tale story of the life we have seen roll out before our eyes. With so much emotion about the year we have had, how easy was it getting it out onto a soundtrack like this?

There was no better way to deal with it and to vent. I am blessed to have friends like Steve Zing, Arthur and my guys.

Q: You guys are from NY, so you have seen so much through the year that our country has gone through. Being we are in probably the most chaotic year we have ever seen how do you envision the new year will pan out if you could voice your opinion?

To be honest I have no idea. I hope we start doing shows again soon, but I think things are gonna stay weird for a while.

Q: ‘CHAOS IN THE STREETS’ was a song that stuck with me off the 2020 EP. What do you hope people walk away with after hearing this track?

I’m just reporting it as I see it and giving a little warning.

Q: CROFUSION is an epic ending to the record. Tell us about the jam session and how did you break it down to a, little over, 4 min song?

We just put on a click track and started jamming. It was almost 20 mins long, then me and Arthur just took what we thought were the best parts of it and lined them up so the full record would be 20:20 long. Initially, when we did, we weren’t planning on that, but since it came to 20 min and 16 seconds when we were done, we just added 4 more seconds of sound and made it an even 20:20 like the title.

Q: The EP also has an array of pictures from the album cover and the most eerie look into a deserted NYC. How did you go about choosing pictures and did you go out yourself to take these images?

Me and my wife took some of them and my uncle took the back cover. I went out when I had to, but I stayed away from people and crowds to the best of my ability. There were a few Covid cases in my building, one death and my mother in law was sick but she recovered.

Q: As a band how was the writing process for you guys due to quarantine and how long was it before you could get into an actual studio to lay stuff down and how different was the process?

I always do most of the writing and I have a backlog of riffs and songs, they add their input after. I have so much material and I’m always writing; once I give them the riffs and arrangements, I encourage them to just go nuts, and we take it from there.

It was a difficult time due to the quarantine, and everything was closed but when my longtime friend Steve Zing from Danzig moved into his new house he set up his studio and when things eased up a little we went out there and jammed through the riffs and tracked them there and then we built on it. Rocky was in L.A so he did his tracks there.

Q: This year the touring all stopped, and you guys were one of the first to do a livestream. How did you perceive it after the fact and were there more positive outcomes of it, vs an actual tour?

Obviously, I would rather have toured, but sometimes life throws curveballs at you and you have to handle it. I took what was a shitty situation and turned it into the best thing I possibly could. Then I got to work on writing this EP and the next album. I wasted no time, I didn’t get sucked into bitching online with conspiracy theories and bullshit, I just kept busy. I was out of work, so I wrote music and lyrics and worked out.

Q: As a legendary group and having a platform where people look up to you, what is one thing you can say to this country, that is so divided, that could maybe open a few people’s eyes to what America is and how we can save this country?

I’m not gonna be that guy to try to give anyone a solution or the “Answer” on how to save anything, but I’m hoping that with everything that has happened people start to wake up. Change can be a painful thing, but I am hoping for progress. But just remember things can always be worse and or get worse and It doesn’t take much for that to happen. Be grateful for the good things in your life. I honestly don’t have much hope for the human race as a whole.

Q: Are you guys doing any pre-launch promotions for the EP “2020” and how can fans support you guys with this soon to be released EP and “IN THE BEGINNING”?

Not that I know of. Just buy it, download it and enjoy it!!! Maybe make a video of you and your friends singing the songs and post it and share it with us!!!

Q: Empower another artist and tell us what inspires you about them?

That’s a hard one. There are so many- there are so many artists that I love and respect, but I have to say Gman ( I know he’s in my band does that count?) Because I get pumped when he plays – I love watching him play – it makes me want to play and if I didn’t have an instrument in my hands I’d probably just start flipping out – and I guess that’s what HC is supposed to make you feel; like involuntary stomping, swinging, headbanging, running back and forth jumping off shit and smashing shit. Good thing I have an instrument when he plays cause shit would get dangerous.

The End

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘From The Grave’ (Official Video) – Taken From The Album “In The Beginning”

‘2020’ (Visualiser) – Taken From The EP “2020”

Cro-Mags – Full Live Quarantine Concert (15th March 2020)

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Stephanie Stevens and East Coast Romper, and has been released to Ever Metal on this basis. 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 PROGRAMMABLE ANIMAL

INTERVIEW WITH PROGRAMMABLE ANIMAL
‘One Step To Hell’
By Stephanie Stevens

Press play to the album “ONE STEP TO HELL” from Chicago’s…

PROGRAMMABLE ANIMAL and you get submersed into the emotional and raw personal stories that have been seen by the eyes and felt by the heart of founder and frontman Drepsea. The loss of a loved one, a tale of drug addiction and the overwhelming effects of Narcissistic souls that creep into our lives sometimes. This band has the sound that captivates me due to the industrial and metal soundscapes, but it was how the lyrical content, and the way it was delivered, pierced my soul and made emotions awake in my heart. That really drove me to fall in love with this album from start to finish.

The band has a way of intertwining chaos and beauty on tracks like ‘ONE STEP TO HELL’ but then can delicately mesmerize you with a track like the beautiful n dark ‘AS ABOVE, SO BELOW’ and then firing you up with the sultry yet heavy ‘QUEEN OF FIENDS’. Beauty, anger and compassion is what this band is made of and it is truly an epic listening journey.

The past  is also something of notability for this band! After getting a taste of this album I went backwards into the discography. One thing to be said is the band has stayed true to the “sound”, but you can instantly appreciate the growth, the developing and the honesty which has stayed intact. Older albums like “END OF THE TAIL” and “DREPSEA” are just as influential as the new one. The way they bend genres to manipulate it into a sound all their own is tantalizing as they have made it into a unique, expressive and relentless journey of madness and beauty.

The storm of truth not only bleeds out of Drepsea on this newest disc “ONE STEP TO HELL” but made its way into this interview which I had the honour of having with him. I am elated that now I am ‘in the know’ of PROGRAMMABLE ANIMAL and I hope you all enjoy this truly impeccable album and chat with this amazing artist.

Q:PROGRAMMABLE ANIMAL has been around for a few years now. Can you give us a quick synopsis of how this band formed?

Drepsea: The band was started years ago as a solo project. Music gave me a sense of identity, soul, and purpose. Programmable Animal was a creative outlet for me to express my views.

Q: You go by the name DREPSEA which was an album of yours back in 2014. What made you take on that persona and do you feel you are creating another form of yourself when you create for the band?

Drepsea: The album “Drepsea” was the cultivation of this character. I would say this persona expresses my truth. Within the music and lyrics, I’m telling exactly how I feel. On an everyday basis we portray a version of ourselves that is socially acceptable, and that can be a multitude of different versions given the situation. The idea of Drepsea isn’t that…it’s my truth.

Q: Your music definitely has the mix of industrial, dark aura and at times could sound chaotic and insane (in a good way) especially listening to your last disc “END OF THE TAIL”. How does the band set the tone when you start writing for new albums etc?

Drepsea: It primarily revolves around the situations I’m dealing with at the time. “End of the Tail” was an end of a particular “tale” in my life that was dark, yet a turning point. Due to the circumstances at that time, I started making poor decisions, I was engulfed by bitterness, and delved into chaotic situations. I realized the path I was going down was purely destructive. “One Step to Hell”, fundamentally acted as a means to pull myself out of my own hell. I wanted to take a more empowering approach that no matter what kind of hell we face, we can break the spell. It can start with incremental steps, whether that be associating with the right people, overcoming our vices, or pursuing our passions, etc.

Q: Making art from pain and heartache usually makes for brilliant work. Your new disc “ONE STEP TO HELL”, defines that. For you what were the pros and cons of getting your emotion out as lyrics?

Drepsea: I 100% view it as cathartic and therapeutic. Anytime we express our truth, it’s always a pro. Bottling up our feelings inside can make someone go mad.

Q: Growing up who were the artists that formed your appreciation for music and what you believe as a performer, who adapted to your way of making music?

Drepsea: There are so many, but two come to mind. KoRn because of Jonathan Davis’ lyrics. It was clear that he was hurt, the music was just raw and powerful.

Also, Nine Inch Nails. The first time I heard “Closer” I was in awe because it had such a unique sound. I was maybe like 5, I didn’t know what the hell the lyrics meant haha, but the sounds were nothing like anything I’ve ever heard before.

Q: Have you ever done theatre or acting and is it something you might venture into if you haven’t already?

Drepsea: I honestly haven’t besides for our music videos. I appreciate the art behind it, though who knows what the future holds.

Q: On the new disc you talk about almost losing someone to drug addiction and dealing with the passing of a loved one. These topics resonated with me. 5 years ago, I lost my mom then 6 months later lost my boyfriend to drugs n alcohol. My question is two parts

1. How do you deal with loss and what would you tell fans who are having hard times with that aspect?

2. Do you feel that people dealing with the disease of drugs n alcohol can eventually become stronger than the demons that are courting them to these deadly substances or its always going to temp them?

Drepsea: I’m sorry to hear.

Art and music were a means for me to reflect. Personally, with my recent loss, having spiritual beliefs helped mitigate certain feelings. Dealing with loss will be different for each person though. It does take time to heal. For fans, try to look at the brighter side of the life that the person lived and remember the good they brought into the world. Loss can be a reminder to us to make sure we treat others the best we can. Most importantly, try to enjoy the moments we have with them.

Absolutely, we can overcome our demons. I’ve been around many people with drug issues. One situation I found myself in was having to perform CPR on someone close to me in order to save them due to a heroin overdose. That person is doing a lot better now, no recent episodes. We are all capable of ridding ourselves of addictions / similar issues. Again, it’s forward thinking, start making small changes, eventually it starts to make “hell” less severe. Yes, the voice lingers but only if we allow it. Try to surround yourself in a better environment and reassure yourself you are capable of overcoming it. When in doubt, reach out to someone.

Q: You worked with two producers who have worked with some giants in the industry. How much did you learn from both of them about magnifying your songs and also anything they said to you vocally to expand or focus more on, since the album is a more personal storyline for you?

Drepsea: Both definitely guided me into the right direction. There were things that I didn’t think of that they pointed out and through that, it made the songs better. We did some of the recording with Chuck Macak at his studio. After, I took the individual parts and recorded a bit more at mine. Eventually bringing them to Sean Beavan. It was simpatico, he would send me a mix and it was right each time. I wanted to take the listener elsewhere, to create the personification of flesh in battle with the soul. Hence, the industrial sounds contesting against ambience. Sean nailed this approach; he is a sound genius and understood the project fully. Very glad we crossed paths. In terms of lyrics, there was no suggestion on anything. I wanted to stay true to me, that’s important for me as an artist.

Q: Another step for the band is having Negative Gain behind this record. How did that partnership happen and what is the most important thing for you when beginning a relationship like this?

Drepsea: Negative Gain noticed Programmable Animal back in 2018 with our release, “End of the Tail.” At that time, I was playing guitar as well for a couple of well-known acts in the industrial scene: Hate Dept. & Project 44. I met Micah Skaritka from NGP at Cyberfest in Chicago, my intuition was telling me I will probably be speaking with them again lol. Over time we all chatted, and I also worked with Christian Bankes who runs Fade In PR. He’s another person who I respect and really believed in this project. He helped pitch the record to Roger Jarvis and Micah at the label. The rest is history. The most important aspect is trust, I trust them. This goes with everything in life, find people who are good and who you trust.

Q: What advice would you give a new band looking to do something off course of the norm for music but hesitant about not being accepted?

Drepsea: Persistence is key. Doing something different is a good thing, that’s how some of the most prominent musicians came to be. They pioneered a new sound. Of course, you want to relate in some regard to the audience, music is communal. If you love and are passionate about what you’re doing though, odds are someone else in the world will be too, you just have to find them.

Q: Where can people support your band and music, and do you see any plans in 2021 for a tour?

Drepsea: Our album “One Step to Hell” is on Spotify, Bandcamp, etc. You can also find us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc.

www.linktr.ee/programmableanimal – Links to everything Programmable Animal.

We are optimistic about 2021 and touring / playing, though we will see what happens with the pandemic. Most important, we want our fans to feel safe.

Q: Empower another artists and tell us why they inspire you?

Drepsea: The artist that inspired me the most would be Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Apart from the unique sound, what intrigued me the most was one person composing each part in a song. It was the same approach Prince had; I fell in love with this idea. It led me into learning multiple instruments, eventually making my own songs.

The End

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

‘One Step to Hell’ (Official Video)

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Stephanie Stevens and East Coast Romper, and has been released to Ever Metal on this basis. 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.

Q&A with ILLUSIONS OF GRANDEUR

Q&A with ILLUSIONS OF GRANDEUR

Hello Everyone – Maggy recently got the chance to do a Q&A with ‘The Siren’, vocalist of Lancaster, PA Theatrical Hard Rock/Fantasy Metal band, Illusions Of Grandeur. Big thanks to all of them!

What is your name, what do you do, and can you tell us a little bit about how you ended up doing it?

This is Maggie, The Siren. I am the vocalist, lyric and melody writer for Illusions of Grandeur. I’ve been in music my entire life. My dad is a musician and when I was a kid, he would take my brother and I to band practice. I started singing, on stage, when I was 4. I was always in chorus, theatre, and musicals. At 15, I was in my first band and I haven’t stopped since.

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

Our band is from Pennsylvania, United States. Metal is alive and well here. Many of our friends are in metal bands. As far as the type of metal we play, I think we do best overseas. They seem to embrace the fantasy metal, costumes, and war paint. Not that they don’t here in the US, the crowds are just way more receptive.

What is your favourite latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Korn – “The Nothing”

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

Korn, In This Moment, Judas Priest, Pantera, Queen, Janis Joplin.

What first got you into music?

Music is like water to me. I need it and couldn’t live without it. My dad is the reason I’m in music. I have so many memories of my dad and music, from going to band practice with him, to trips in the car with the windows down singing at the top of our lungs, to those warm summer days with the windows opened and the music just carrying through the whole house. And, of course, the occasional concert. I’ll never forget sitting next to DJ Kool with my dad, mom, and brothers at a George Clinton and the P-Funk band concert. Music is a part of me. I love it as if it were a person.

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

Korn and In This Moment.

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

Wacken. It’s the biggest metal festival in the world…at least to my knowledge. Closely followed by Rock n’ Rio. I have friends in Rio who have asked us to play there. Not to mention what a beautiful and amazing festival.

What’s the weirdest music related thing you own?

Weirdest…hmmm…that’s a tough one. We have some old mics that we use to record drums sometimes. Forgive me, I’m not sure what kind they are. We also have a twelve-string bass that has made many appearances live with IOG.

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

Take nothing for granted! Life’s too short to not be doing what you love. Be kind to your fellow human, and live your life to the fullest. You never know when it will all be over. Live long and rock 🤘🏻

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

Oh goodness, this is always a very difficult question, and now especially since EVH is gone as well.

Dime, Freddie Mercury, Janis Joplin…I can never pick just one.

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

No More Paying to Play. Anywhere. As if musicians don’t have a difficult enough time thriving, then they have to pay-to-play??? Are you kidding me??? I don’t think people realize everything that musicians are up against and all the money that goes into having a professional band…then you get offered a show and all you have to do is pay $1000 for a headliner spot…wait a minute. Shouldn’t that be based on talent and the bands ability to bring a crowd? I could go on forever about this, but that’s enough. You get my point lol.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Pantera – Vulgar Display Of Power

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

I like them all for different reasons. I still think nothing sounds as good as vinyl, but of course that’s just my opinion. Cassettes are nostalgic for me. When I was a kid cassettes were the big thing, so there is some sentimental value there. CD’s are great merch and a great way for bands to physically put their music in someone’s hands. And downloads are just super convenient for the listener. Unfortunately, the band often gets pushed over on downloads. Either they are free or super inexpensive and the band makes very, very little off of their music.

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

We played a festival in Smila, Ukraine and so far, it was the best. They were the most hospitable and welcoming people. From the moment we arrived, they were nothing short of amazing. We were unaware, but they had built the entire festival around us. They also took us to the centre of their town where they had us plant an “IOG tree”. I’ve gotten word that our tree is healthy and growing well. I think we took pictures after the show for almost two hours. While we were playing, I had women trying to hand me their kids, people screaming for us, and the best part…singing the lyrics even though they couldn’t understand all of them!!! I’ll never forget our time in Smila.

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

I’m an exercise junkie. I work out 6 days a week, for about 3 hours a day.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Jonathan Davis, Maria Brink, Dimebag Darrell, Tatiana Shmayluk, and Lauren Tate

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Good question. Never had one.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Look for our second single, ‘Down’, coming to you December 16th, 2020! Music video to follow. Thanks so much for reading! Rock on! Find us here:

www.iogmusic.com/
www.instagram.com/iogmusic/
www.twitter.com/iogband
www.facebook.com/IllusionsOG/
www.music.apple.com/us/artist/illusions-of-grandeur/347575177
www.open.spotify.com/artist/5iIKuYKBnObOoKBIV78p0H
www.youtube.com/c/IllusionsofGrandeurTV

‘Crossing Over’ (Official Video)

LINE-UP:
The Siren – Vocals
CM – Bass
Taranis – Guitars
Thano – Guitars
Ares – Drums

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Maggy S Nell 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.