Archive for the interviews Category

GORDON BROWN – A Metal Odyssey Interview (Part II) – Starts A New Band, Talks Singing and Rock and Roll!

Posted in blues rock, classic rock, Hard Rock, interviews, Music, rock and roll, rock interviews, rock music, rock music news with tags , , , , , on October 25, 2012 by Metal Odyssey

GORDON BROWN 

The first interview I had with Gordon Brown was just after his amicable departure from Heavy Rock legends Iron Claw; that interview was posted here on Metal Odyssey practically a year ago to this day, on October 21st, 2011. Now, with a fresh start and always the positive outlook on the future, Gordon Brown has started a new band: Delta One Six.

A Scottish gentleman with music flowing from his soul, Gordon Brown has a bluesy voice that fits right into any decade of Rock and Roll. This past year, Gordon Brown shared many of his songs that he has recorded throughout his life, via Soundcloud. (See link at bottom of post). The “open-book” approach that Gordon Brown has taken, with the music he’s created, shows to me the honest-to-goodness personality of this man.

Since I’ve known Gordon Brown, he has always taken a nothing to hide approach with his music and has never dodged a question. This is an artist I’ve been rooting for since I first heard him sing. Recently, Gordon Brown answered another round of questions, being his typical friendly and polite self! I’m proud to present to you, this second interview with Gordon Brown:

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Stone: Can you give more (untold) details as to why the Iron Claw partnership ended?

Gordon: Very simply, the band wanted to play a heavier style of music than I did.  Once the recording of the album was finished things just didn’t work out – if it isn’t right it’s time to move on. There’s no animosity, we don’t see each other as we live in different towns, but I dare say at some point we’ll have a pint or two.  At this stage it appears unlikely that Iron Claw will perform live again, I was speaking to Alex Wilson recently and told him that I would consider writing lyrics and singing on any future recordings. As far as I’m concerned that door is not shut, only it would have to be music that appealed to me.  The music from “A Different Game” lives on in a live sense though, currently I’m doing Southern Sky with a view to possibly adding some others further down the line.

Stone: How has “life after Iron Claw” been treating you?

Gordon: Life has been good, I am working on some collaborations with songwriters in the USA and have started a new band “Delta One Six”, we’re due to go live on November 9th and have a song being included in a compilation of Scottish Blues acts due for release in November. Throughout my musical career I have been fortunate enough to play with some truly amazingly talented musicians, the boys in Delta One Six are an absolute delight to play with.

People have had the chance via You Tube to see some of the very early practice sessions, they were recorded using a mobile phone, the sound quality, despite being taken from one side is pretty good – I think people will enjoy what we’re looking to create – a tiny amount in the way of effects, just ass-kicking blues/rock played with passion.

Check out Delta One Six below, jamming during a rehearsal this past August! This is cool stuff! Metal be thy name!

Stone: You list the music you “err towards” as British Blues, Southern Boogie, Chicago Blues and “a hint of Bluegrass chucked in for good measure” on your bio. You’ve obviously excelled, on a grand scale, with (Bluesy) Hard Rock with Iron Claw.  What is the one genre you want to sing, that comes straight from your heart and soul?

Gordon: The bluesy thing will remain, it suits the way I like to sing. I always end up coming back to the Blues, having said that I’m not a huge fan of Delta Blues, I much prefer the electric sound.  It’s fair to say that I do like ballads as well, the Blues I do is a mash-up of Free, Whitesnake, The Allmans and too many others too mention.

Stone: While growing up as an aspiring musician, what records were in your collection?

Gordon: It kinda went in stages, I started off listening to my elder brothers and sisters music, The Beatles, Stones, Cream, Fleetwood Mac (with Peter Green), the first record I remember listening to was Jigsaw Puzzle Blues, it was the B side to Albatross.  When I started secondary school I was a big fan of a band called Slade for a couple of years – then came the Black Sabbath period, but I was also listening to all manner of things like, Atomic Rooster, Wishbone Ash, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Pink Floyd, The Groundhogs, Frankie Miller, Blue Oyster Cult, Humble Pie, Thin Lizzy and in particular one band which has stuck with me since that time – the mighty FREE (and Bad Company ), I’m a huge fan of Paul Rodgers.

Southern Rock came along in the shape of Lynyrd Skynyrd at about age 15 and I’ve loved that genre ever since.  Punk arrived when I was 17 – I didn’t think much of it, so pretty much ignored it. The NWOBHM didn’t really shake my boat either – I did enjoy gigs by Saxon and Iron Maiden, but found myself still listening to the things I grew up on and I still do!  My little confession is that I’ve always wanted to do a blues/rock cover of At The Car Wash by Rose Royce. Unfortunately, so far no-one shares my vision for it!

Stone: Which well-known bands and/or musicians of today would you want to work with on a “special guest” level of recording?

Gordon: Warren Haynes, Paul Rodgers or Greg Allman would be top of my list, Glenn Hughes, Buddy Guy and so many more including Iron Dave from Diablo Canyon. I think the real answer would be “anyone who asked”!

Stone: These are turbulent times in the world right now; many countries economies and wars have taken it’s toll on the human spirit it seems, yet music seems to be the universal language of peace, hope and friendship that unites fans and bands worldwide. What are your thoughts on the power of music to unite and heal?

Gordon: I agree with you 100% that music brings people together and I would say one genre more than any other to do that is Metal. Music does much already to unite people to combat famine etc. in terms of providing money to assist, alas, I think we humans are too wrapped up in making a profit and fighting over oil.

Stone: If you could change the record industry overnight, what changes would you mandate?

Gordon: Fair contracts for bands. Too many bands sign themselves away just to become a “signed band” and end up being ripped off or having their recordings buried.  The most important thing for most bands to understand is that you get back what you put in, if you don’t work hard you’ll go nowhere – the music business is 90% business and 10% music – sad but true!

Stone: Gordon, there is no denying you have an amazing voice and music is in your soul. For all aspiring vocalists out there, what are the golden rules to follow in protecting your voice? Is a true lyricist born or made?

Gordon: Don’t smoke, don’t drink alcohol, avoid air-conditioning and take lots of exercise while eating a healthy balanced diet. Well, I drink, smoke and probably don’t exercise as much as I used to. My simple Golden Rule is practice, practice, practice! I probably sing somewhere between 1 and 2 hours per day (most days!).  There are certain songs I use as “training songs” in which I simply sing along to a record and try to match the high and low notes, (for example) Ronnie James Dio singing Heaven and Hell and Catch the Rainbow, maybe a bit of David Coverdale and always some Paul Rodgers, I find it helps with the way I like to phrase songs, I don’t try to imitate them, quite often I’ll do a harmony to their vocal, if possible get some lessons and learn how to breathe properly.

On stage I am always accompanied by Vocalzones, Strepsils, Vicks (for up my nose!) a flask of hot tea and about 3 litres of water, before a gig I do lots of breathing exercises and some scales just to warm up, occasionally I’ll gargle a glass of whisky (sometimes I might even drink it!) but my firmly held view is that when I’m on stage I’m working and therefore no excessive alcohol intake.

Lyricists, I think they can be both born and made, probably more born than made though, I think you have to be in tune with the music and let it talk to and guide you as to the direction the lyrics should take.  Unless of course you have the lyric but no tune to go with it, I think that’s harder to do and those who can put a tune to lyrics are born.

Stone: You have showcased your musical evolution on Soundcloud. I find this “open-book” approach to your musical resume commendable and inspiring. What and/or who has been most influential to you, in creating your life’s soundtrack?

Gordon: In everything you do, there is something that shapes the person you become, every person you meet from your parents onwards define your path.  Personally, I think I’ve led a full and interesting life so far, it’s had its highs and lows, but I’m very much an optimist, if you get knocked down, get up, brush yourself down and keep moving forward.  The open book approach and putting up videos of band rehearsals and recordings that weren’t the greatest was a gamble, it could have put people off completely and fortunately that hasn’t been the case.

Very simply, I think that people can appreciate an honest approach, they know that live music isn’t about every note being perfect (even the best bands/artists make mistakes), live music is about finding a vibe and making the audience believe in what you’re doing.

Stone Says: I’d like to thank Gordon Brown for this interview and for being such a cool long-distance Metal Buddy!

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Go listen to/enjoy the timeline of songs from/sung by Gordon Brown, by clicking the link below!

http://soundcloud.com/bluesdacious/sets

For more info on Gordon Brown & his music, click on the link below!

facebook: Bluesdacious

To read the first interview I had with Gordon Brown, click that link below!

Gordon Brown – Former IRON CLAW Vocalist Reflects On His Tenure For “A Different Game” Album, Discusses Departing The Band

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LONG LIVE GORDON BROWN.

Stone.

BIG DAD RITCH of TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION – An Exclusive Interview With The Champion Of Red Dirt Metal

Posted in Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, interviews, metal music, Music, rock and roll, rock music, rock music interviews, rock music news, southern rock with tags , , , , , , on September 7, 2012 by Metal Odyssey

Big Dad Ritch is the lead singer and founding member of Texas Hippie Coalition, aka THC. Red Dirt Metal is what THC plays, with a reverent nod of influence to Country Music’s most famous outlaws to the late Dimebag, with Black Label Society and Lynyrd Skynyrd in between. Texas Hippie Coalition’s Southern Hard Rock ‘N Metal is as American as corn dogs washed down with (plenty of) Shiner Bock beer.

This badass band from Texas aren’t about kowtowing to the mainstream or the man sitting high-up inside some ivory tower. Hell no. This is Texas Hippie Coalition and they aren’t about being a band for the ages, they’re a band for the people, in my forthright opinion. With 2010’s Rollin’, their newly released Peacemaker (Carved Records), coupled with a notable live presence from clubs to festivals, Texas Hippie Coalition have earned a continuously growing fan base that knows real when they hear and see it.

They’re skilled musicians that are loud, proud, hard and heavy as hell with contagious American Southern pride. Texas Hippie Coalition are: bassist John Exall, guitarist Wes Wallace, drummer Timmy Braun and of course, Big Dad Ritch and his earth splitting vocals. Big Dad Ritch took the time recently to answer more than several questions that I tossed his way. As this being my second (appreciative) encounter with Big Dad Ritch, I can honestly say he is as genuine, kind, professional and badass as they come. Metal be thy name. There is and forever will be only one Big Dad Ritch. Here is what he had to say:

Stone: I know I absolutely love your new album Peacemaker. The fans and critics have spoken and this album is a winner! Can you put into words just how rewarding all of this widespread acceptance feels to you?

Big Dad Ritch: Feels like a backyard friends n family Bar-BQ, with all the fixuns n pecan pie.

Stone: What is the secret behind the muscularity that Peacemaker represents musically and lyrically?

Big Dad Ritch: Just being proud of being BADASS. If u were a rodeo stock bull would you want to be the ol’ piece of beef every sod buster rode for a short 8 seconds or the Horned Monster Bull that punished every belt buckle chasing cowboy for a long 2 second ride. Dare to be BADASS.

Stone: Your vocals are so powerful! Are there any steps you swear by in keeping your voice so healthy and strong?

Big Dad Ritch: Never drink or smoke… I’m lyin!

Stone: Yes, Big Dad Ritch, you’ve proven that you can sing a ballad! What’s the story behind the creation of “Think Of Me”?

Big Dad Ritch: I wrote that song on Valentines Day, like most Valentines Days I spent it with the love of my life – music. I think people will say a song like this is dated or that it shows a softer side. Yet, in my opinion, I believe to write a song like this in this day and age only shows that this band has balls, BIG BALLS.

Stone: What came easy and what was difficult about recording Peacemaker?

Big Dad Ritch: Music and words flow thru those that participated on this album, the task seemed so easy at times. Difficult part was deciding what 11 songs of the 14 to put on the album. My stance was like that of Sweden. I held the money while they argued.

Stone: THC will be opening for the legendary Lynyrd Skynyrd on select dates this September. Describe the thrill you are feeling about this and don’t hold back!

Big Dad Ritch: WhooHooo, yipp, yip, yippy, yeehaw!!! Hyeah! Raise Hell! Sorry, got a lil carried away there. See, couple years back I started tellin people THC would open for BLS (Black Label Society) very soon. At the time an untruth. People on fb started connecting dots comments like “I would pay to see that show”. Next thing I know, were on half a dozen BLS shows. So I started fibbin, again fibbin is almost a lie. Tellin everyone we were gonna open for Lynyrd Skynyrd, at the time not true. Yet here we are today talkin about the Skynyrd n THC show. So what I’m trying to tellya is I never lie, and soon we will be touring with Willie Nelson n Judas Priest… I’m lyin. This show with Shooter Jennings on the line up as well is proof there is a Southern Uprising!

Take a look and listen below to the Official Video for Turn It Up!

Stone: I look at the band photos, listen to the songs and watch the video footage of THC and the feeling of brotherhood hits me like a ton of beer kegs! How important is this brotherhood toward your band’s success?

Big Dad Ritch: Texas Hippie Coalition. Texas = Proud of where we come from, which everyone should be. Hippie = that’s the way my mom n dad raised me, TRIBAL. Coalition = Because we are more than just 4 men, we are many, we are chapters nationwide, we are chapters world-wide, we are fans around the globe, we are men that would be kings, we are twisted hippie chicks, we are FAMILY MEMBERS, we are all together under one flag that we wave HIGH n MIGHTY, we are COALITION.

Stone: Many bands pigeonhole themselves into one “select” genre. With THC, you guys can reach out to many Rock genres with your sound and style. Would I be wrong to call THC “the band for the people”?

Big Dad Ritch: The PEOPLE’S CHAMP, love it. Red Dirt Metal, Southern Fried Rock. It’s all good.

Stone: As THC creates their own hard-earned success, do you ever have time to take it all in?

Big Dad Ritch: Yes I do inhale. What was the question?

Stone: You tour the country and witness many things on the road. Is American pride still alive and well or is there a sense of division among us as a nation?

Big Dad Ritch: There is an immense amount of pride nation wide, but I do believe people are starting to place more faith in their neighbor than in their government. US definitely still applies in my eyes.

Stone: If Big Dad Ritch could sit by the river with a legend of Rock, either past or present, to share some booze, stories and barbecue with, who would it be and why?

Big Dad Ritch: Tuff one, I always aspire to be what I have grown to refer to as “1 man empire”. The likes of Johnny Cash, Waylon or Willie, or modern-day Rob Zombie, Zakk Wylde, or Vinnie Paul. To achieve things in and out of the world of music. Hoping in someway one day to grow up and be an OZZY. Sorry mom. So to pick from all of these would be hard. So I would say this I would pick “Dime Bag” just so I could tell him what he has meant to generations of fans and how much he has influenced me and many others. I would even drink one of those horrible black tooths.

THANK YOU, Big Dad Ritch for this interview! Thank you for creating such memorable Red Dirt Metal with your band! I am so happy for you and the band and wish only the very best for Texas Hippie Coalition both off and on stage.

Until the next time, your brother in Rock ‘N Metal –

Stone \m/\m/

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PEACEMAKER Available NOW! Get it at iTunes (with exclusive track WHISKEY): http://bit.ly/OYvn5O

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For more info on TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION, click on the links below!

http://www.thcoutlaw.com

http://www.twitter.com/thcofficial

http://www.youtube.com/thcofficial

LONG LIVE BIG DAD RITCH.

LONG LIVE RED DIRT METAL.

LONG LIVE TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION.

Stone.

THE TREWS – Colin MacDonald: An Exclusive Metal Odyssey Interview

Posted in alternative rock, Hard Rock, interviews, Music, rock albums, rock bands, rock interviews, rock music, rock music news with tags , , , , , , on January 3, 2012 by Metal Odyssey

THE TREWS

L to R: Jack Syperek, John-Angus MacDonald, Sean Dalton, Colin MacDonald

THE TREWS – Back on August 5th, 2011, I posted an album review for THE TREWS newly released studio album Hope & Ruin. The 4th full-length from this Canadian Rock band impressed me so much that I listened to it constantly since early Summer. Now that Winter has settled in, Hope & Ruin has never lost its edgy Rock luster with me. I have listened to many other Rock albums during 2011 and none seemed to enthuse me as the way this new album from THE TREWS has done.

THE TREWS seemed to have captured an old spirit of Rock that I once heard from early R.E.M. and U2, back when these two iconic bands really did care about their songs and fans. A flirtation of retro college radio meets modern Rock vibe overflows with Hope & Ruin. I simply love that. Back on August 18th, I did not fully realize, that this album would eventually stand out amongst the rest of its 2011 Rock album peers in such a special way for me.

It was also back on August 18th, when I had the golden opportunity to interview Colin MacDonald, the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for THE TREWS. As my sincere appreciation for Hope & Ruin grew stronger by the week, I eventually decided to savor the moment, an eventual moment when I would launch this exclusive interview with Colin MacDonald simultaneously with naming Hope & Ruin by THE TREWS… as Metal Odyssey’s 2011 Rock Album Of The Year.

If the late and legendary Ed Sullivan were to come back to life for just one day, I’d love to hear him say: Ladies and Gentlemen… THE TREWS! Instead, I’m announcing this band at this moment and I’m very proud to have had the opportunity to interview Colin MacDonald. From album reviews to opening for Robert Plant, here is what Colin had to say:

Stone: In the July (2011) issue of Classic Rock AOR Magazine, Hope & Ruin received a nine out of ten review. Taking a quote from this review: “Man, there isn’t a flawed track. Indeed, it’s one of those rare albums where every song could easily become a hit single. It’s rare feat for an album to be so consistently powerful.” How does this type of praise make you feel?

Colin: Awesome. It feels amazing. It’s like Sting had put it: “If you believe the good stuff, it doesn’t make you want to work as hard and if you believe the bad stuff, it only makes you work harder. It’s always great to be recognized for the work we do, especially by a big magazine like that.

Stone: On a personal level, which song on Hope & Ruin means the most to you?

Colin: I really like Hope & Ruin. This song really seems to take on a life of its own live.

Stone: In your music video for Hope & Ruin, there are many scenic backdrops. Where in the world was this footage shot?

Colin: It was shot in Toronto for the city. It was done on the coldest day on record too and I was really freezing out there while I was singing! We also went to the East Coast and Nova Scotia. We created a contrast of city, coast and countryside and it made for an amazing result with this video.

Watch and listen below to THE TREWS – Hope & Ruin, it is an incredible song!

Stone: With The Trews, which is written first, the music or the lyrics?

Colin: Always the music. We’ll come up with a riff, a melody, a little idea and work on it until it becomes a big idea. We take a melody idea and then a line comes with it. You then work your way back from there.  I never try to over think the lyrics. I try to balance things out and let the lyrics compliment the song.

Stone: With The Trews being for all intents and purposes, family, what is it like for you guys to sit down, write and record music?

Colin: It’s the only way of life we’ve known for such a long time. I really don’t have anything else to compare it to. We are a tight group of guys. Sure, we have heated arguments, although they can simmer very quick. That’s what has kept us together for so long.

Stone: How important is it for a Rock band today, compared to a decade ago, in adapting to changes in how they promote themselves?

Colin: It’s really important. A band has to always garner new fans. It’s hands on now. There’s not a lot of mystique or mystery to promotion anymore. Our main priority is to always make good music. You must never lose sight in making music that the fans like. You must keep up the musical content. There’s twitter and facebook to reach out to the fans with. Those bands that keep all of this in mind will do well with the new model.

Stone: Is the record industry today more hope or more ruin?

Colin: It depends on who you ask. There are lots of bands getting through today that probably wouldn’t have decades ago, like, Mumford & Sons. Bands are selling out big venues, so that’s hope for sure. The days of signing big money record deals and getting big contracts up front are no more. So that’s ruin.

Stone: Which country has the toughest music market for The Trews to tap into and do you want to conquer that market?

Colin: Right now, we’re doing great in Australia and the UK. We’d like to get bigger in America because it’s close and easy to tour, so obviously we want to break into that market. Any band that are making good music and stays true to themselves will do well and that’s what we try to do.

Stone: What band or which musician would The Trews be honored to share the stage with, where you haven’t shared the stage with before?

Colin: We’d love to play with Neil Young. That would be awesome! We’d love to open for AC/DC. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. We’ve opened for The Stones. We’ve also opened for Robert Plant across Canada.

Stone: Where did you open for The Rolling Stones?

Colin: We opened for them in Toronto and Phoenix back in 2005. They were secret club gigs.

Stone: Where did you play with Robert Plant?

Colin: It was all across Canada for his entire tour here.

Stone: Is Robert Plant a nice guy?

Colin: Robert Plant is a super cool guy! He’s always interested in new music and never rests on his laurels. I find inspiration in that and it sticks with us. As a lead singer, Robert Plant is always moving forward and that’s a quality about him I admire most.

Stone: As a band, do you guys want to continue experimenting and maturing musically or have you reached a level of self-contentment of where you are now?

Colin: Never man. We keep pushing forward. We have more in us. There’s so much more music in us still and so much more to come. I still feel we have not made our best record yet.

Stone: Is there anything you’d like to tell your fans?

Colin: Thank you for supporting us and for so long! When the fans come out to see us live, it really means  a lot to us.

* For more info on THE TREWS, click on the links below:

THE TREWS – Official Website

THE TREWS – myspace music

LONG LIVE THE TREWS.

Stone.

MASS – Louis St. August Interview: Reflecting On The 1985 “Do You Love Me” (Music Video) & “New Birth” Album

Posted in classic rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal videos, interviews, metal odyssey, Music, rock music, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2011 by Metal Odyssey

MASS – Louis St. August – It all started back in 1984, when MASS released their self-titled EP and garnered the widespread attention of radio stations, record companies and of course their new-found fans. In 1985, this Boston, Massachusetts originated band was signed to RCA Records and their first full-length album, New Birth, was released upon the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal world. New Birth catapulted MASS onto the Billboard charts and MTV came knocking on their door. The single released from New Birth was Do You Love Me and this song became a successful music video within the coveted MTV rotation.

Caught somewhere between the positive vibes of Stryper and their very own brand of melodic heaviness, coupled with credibility at every angle, MASS did exit the 80’s leaving behind 3 studio albums and their historic EP as a reminder of greater things to come. MASS was then, as they are now, a Heavy Metal band that glistens with accessibility without compromising their hard and heavy sound.

Louis St. August – 2011

MASS is still Rockin’ in 2011, their fifth full-length, Heavy Metal achievement and critically acclaimed Sea Of Black was released in 2010. With their best work existing in the present, reflecting on where it all began for MASS is something Louis St. August embraces and is understandably quite proud of. As the old saying goes, “times were different back then” and 1985 was no exception, as founding member and lead vocalist Louis St. August will reveal in this exclusive Metal Odyssey interview.

Stone: Do You Love Me is a memorable song from the New Birth album. What was the process of choosing this song for a music video?

Louis: It was solely RCA records idea of making and pushing the Do You love Me video first as we felt it was a poor representation of what the band was really about. We wanted to go with something a bit heavier like Too far Gone or Crying Alone. But the label insisted and thought a power ballad would open doors up for us and that radio would pick up the song a lot quicker. They told us the second video would be the heavier one which never did come to be.

Looking back at it now It’s kind of funny because the very first script the video production team wrote for the Do you love me video was actually turned down by RCA records because they felt it was too sexy and would get banned from MTV and other video stations. The script only calling for a Catholic girls school bus breaking down in some dark alley, when the girls all got out of the bus dressed up in their little catholic school dress’s knocked on our rehearsal door only to come in and start dancing seductively and falling in love with the song and band. Very mild and tamed I must say compared to the videos we see today. (Laughs). But that’s the early eighties for you.

Stone: Where was this video filmed?

Louis: The video was filmed in an abandoned warehouse in Manhattan, New York. It took two days to film it. (Film not video), that’s why it has that grainy look to it. I couldn’t believe it took 48 straight hours to film, only to have it edited down to a 3 minute and 20 second song. (Laughs). The video cost RCA records $50,000 something that would cost $5,000 to $8,000 today.

MASS – That Was Yesterday!

Stone: How difficult or easy was it to get Do You Love Me on MTV? How psyched were you guys to get that exposure?

Louis: It was not difficult at all with such a big label like RCA behind us. MTV execs were actually at the shooting of the video and approached our management at the time to see if they would agree to let MTV make the Do You Love Me video an exclusive premier for MTV. But our management said NO because they wanted to share it with the U68’s,V66’s video stations of the world. A big mistake in my eyes for we would have gained much more exposure had they agreed to this and received “heavy rotation” play instead of the “1ight rotation” we received on MTV.

We were very excited the first time it aired on MTV. Just like the first time you hear your song on the radio you never forget that feeling. After that it seemed like every time you put the TV on or the radio on you would hear your song. The phone never stopped ringing after that. And still hasn’t. (Laughs).

Stone: Were there any aggravating and/or funny moments you want to share while filming “Do You Love Me”?

Louis: We just simply had a blast making it, hanging with all the hired extras and crew. We even put our road manager (Gino) at the beginning of the video along with our stage manager (Laurie). We also included our manager & lawyer towards the end (carrying the food trays). Although it was extremely exhausting we were just running on pure adrenaline and tons of laughs and good times.

MASS – In The Present!

Stone: As you look back on the New Birth album now, what fond memories does it stir up?

Louis: There are so many but here are just a few for me. We all moved in to the studio in beautiful Bearsville New York. The whole band actually lived in a huge barn. Our equipment was set up downstairs in the living room while all our beds were upstairs in the loft. We would work with our producer Tony Platt (Led Zep /Cheap Trick, etc) during the day on preproduction stuff in the barn for two weeks before moving into the studio to start recording. When I had free time, I would ride my mountain bike through the beautiful town and hills, while enjoying the fresh air and star studied night skies.

During the evenings, the band would get together and hang with Joe Lynn Turner and his band mates and go out for dinner at various places. Joe and his band mates were there recording an album as well with producer (Roy Thomas Baker/Queen). We had a lot of fun and many a food fight at some of the top-notch restaurants in the area, where we would sometimes be asked to leave. (Laughs).

Our girlfriends, wives, would come down a few weekends during our 8 week stay and enjoy the surroundings as well as the music we were making. My wife at the time was pregnant with my first child so it was special for me when we decided to call the album New Birth.

* All Photos Courtesy/By Permission Of Louis St. August

* For more info on MASS, click on the link below:

MASS – MASS ROCKS.COM

LONG LIVE MASS.

Stone.

HUNTED – The Metal Odyssey Interview

Posted in Heavy Metal, heavy metal news, interviews, metal music, metal odyssey, progressive metal, rock music, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2011 by Metal Odyssey

HUNTED – When I first caught up with guitarist Steve Barberini of Hunted, it was at the onset of 2011. Steve and his bandmates, Chris G (vocals), Jon Letson (bass) and Matt “Animal” Thomas (drums), had already wrapped up their debut album Welcome The Dead. With their CD available for Metal consumption, this exemplary Metal band from Cardiff, Wales, were hungry for a record deal. Fast forward to July 29th, 2011 and Hunted have earned that yearned for record deal, courtesy of one kick-ass Metal label known worlwide as Massacre Records.

July 29th, 2011 marks the release date of Welcome The Dead, an album which seamlessly crisscrosses Classic Metal and Power Metal while bestowing Progressive Metal elements within it’s sound. Stone’s suggestion to astute Metal fans across the planet: buy this album!

I can recall the first time that Welcome The Dead entered my eardrums. The Metal polish was all there on Welcome The Dead, from the totality of musicianship to overall production, with just enough raw edginess to make me convinced: this is a Metal band to take serious and tell the world about. The powerful vocals of Chris G, the technical skill and memorable guitar licks of Steve Barberini and the Metal glue that holds it all together with Jon Letson’s bass and Matt “Animal” Thomas on drums, is a listen into what a stupendous Metal album can sound like, when it’s done straight from the heart and not for an overrated record executive who lives and dies by unit sales and chart status.

It didn’t surprise me at all that Hunted decided to conduct an interview with Metal Odyssey as a band, for Hunted plays with such a tight style of Metal on their debut album, coupled with an overall vibe that pulsates: the band is the star. Here is what the members of Hunted had to say:

Stone: How did Hunted come together as a “Progressive” Metal band?

Steve: In all honesty, we never really saw ourselves as a Progressive Metal band and we certainly didn’t set it as our goal either. I guess our music just evolved in such a manner that it became “progressive”. We knew we wanted to create something original yet stay true to our influences and our gut feeling as to what sounds good. It’s possible that in our attempt to achieve originality progressive elements crept into our compositions.

As we started off as a band covering classic bands such as Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth and Deep Purple, the progressiveness just was not really there. However, with time as we started writing our own material, plus the recruitment of new band members with different influences, other bands came to the forefront and I believe strongly influenced the current sound of Hunted. These bands are the likes of Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Symphony X, Nevermore, plus a huge amount more. Furthermore, everyone in the band, albeit to different degrees, listens to distinct genres, for example, Black, Death, Doom, Power and Speed Metal, and as we are a very honest band we try to incorporate each member’s influences into the music. That way, everyone is happy and actually enjoys playing the music, otherwise, what’s the point right?!

I’d also like to add that the progressive side of our music, if at all, is very subtle. If you consider the likes of Dream Theater, they usually use an impressive amount of odd time signatures crammed into a short amount of time (not all songs of course!), whereas if you study our debut album Welcome the Dead you’ll find we may have used a maximum of 3 or 4 different time sigs throughout the entire album. We do, however, enjoy putting together loads of different riffs but always aiming for melodic continuity!

Stone: Where do you draw the line or won’t approach when it comes to topics and/or themes in your lyrics?

Steve: I don’t think there really is a line I wouldn’t cross! Having said that, I certainly would not write about pop-associated cheesy lovey-dovey stuff. Then again, I don’t think I could write about dragons, warriors, and whatnot either. There’s definitely a real life element to our writing. I think most of our lyrics have a bit of a dark cynical approach, singing about real feelings and events that hopefully will touch people and stir-up some sort of emotional anger.

Jon: That’s a really interesting question, man. I’m pretty sure we’d never set out a you shall not pass! kinda thing on any topic but, as Steve said, we just seem to gravitate naturally towards the bigger subject areas, such as religion, human nature and destiny etc. and away from epic romantic power-ballad territory. For now anyways.

Stone: Your covering Nevermore’s The Heart Collector is brilliant! Are you guys friends/in contact with Nevermore?

Steve: Really glad you like it mate! We definitely enjoyed recording it and coming up with slightly different ideas for the song. We actually wrote to Warrel Dane to ask for his “blessing” and permission to cover the song, to our surprise he replied and in a very positive manner too! We were significantly hyped after that! So, we then approached Century Media for permission, etc and the rest well, you’re holding it!

Stone: Steve, you’ve probably been asked this a trillion times already, yet who is the guitar player you most look up to?

Steve: Damn it, I notice your emphasis on “the”, so I guess I can’t give you a full list of players right?! It’s so hard to answer that question man, mainly because I go through or have been through so many different stages of admiring different guitarists. Also, it doesn’t help that so many new amazing players are being discovered all the time. If I had to mention just one player that I seriously admire, in song composition, riffing and leadwork it would probably be Kristian Niemann, of Therion (ex) and Demonoid. This may be a bit surprising to some, but  in my humble opinion, Kristian captures perfectly every time the right tone, speed, technique and feel, that a solo or a full composition should be played with, without overdoing it (like a lot of players!) or underselling it. His sense of melody is outstanding!

Stone: Chris, a two part question, have you ever had vocal lessons or are you that natural born talent? Who is your favorite vocal influence?

Chris G: Nope, never had lessons or vocal coaching as they call it. I’ve had many great sessions with a good mate and great singer when we were still youngsters but that was just a cute competition between our vocal skills at that point in time. Very helpful though!

Influence-wise, many names come to mind but my first vote will go to my favourite one, Ronnie James Dio, for his tremendously passionate and inspiring voice, for his subconscious teachings and meanings that specially have been crafted and been hid between the voice and the lyric for the honoured few to find. For being the reference point for most of the true Metal singers out there, and also for his uncountable contribution to music in general. Then I’ll go for Eric Adams, his amazing range and his unique ability to break down every single word of every sentence, of every lyric and transpose it to something that you instantly believe in and can be part of it. Last but not least, Freddie Mercury, the most impossible man ever, who actually sang Metal during his entire career, without even knowing it!

Stone: Is another album currently in the works?

Steve: Well, as we have just signed to the German Metal giant Massacre Records, they will officially release our debut album on July 29th this year, and subsequently we hope to be recording a follow-up in 2012! I honestly cannot wait to get in the studio again; to hear your own music come to life is such a great feeling! And we actually already have three new cracking songs ready as potential candidates for the album, and we are currently working on a load more. Very exciting as these new tunes are sounding huge!

Jon: Come and see us live if you can, we’re throwing a few new ones in with the Welcome The Dead stuff and I think it’ll definitely give you a feel for the direction we’re heading in with the next album!

Stone: Welcome The Dead has solid production, still there is an air of “old school” I hear and feel that I really dig. Am I alone in this old school thought?

Steve: Definitely not mate! I’d love to bring back that old school feel to Metal and I think everyone in the band feels more or less the same. Some of our influences are very old school, especially those of our singer Chris G and I believe that comes across in his vocal work. There are so many fantastic elements in some of the older Metal masterpieces, such as Fates Warning’s Awaken the Guardian, Crimson Glory’s Transcendence, etc. that I’d love to recreate. Of course, the goal here is to try and capture some of those elements and stitch it up in an original modern production.

Jon: Not at all man, I think a lot of people have picked up the same vibe! I don’t think we ever set out to create an old school sound though. I listen to some of the newer stuff that’s come out in the last few years almost as much as I listen to the legends. I think it’s more the attitude and the ethos of bands like Iron Maiden that inform what we do as a band and I guess (I hope!) that’s what shines through in everything we do.

Stone: If you could choose that one legendary band to open for on a major tour, what band would it be?

Steve: It would have to be Iron Maiden. Simple!

Dan: Iron Maiden if not Britney.

Stone: (laughs) Britney?

Matt: Iron Maiden!

Jon: It’s gotta be Maiden, hasn’t it?!

Chris G: Would love to open for Ronnie James Dio but that’s out of the window now, isn’t it? Shame.

Stone: I guess Iron Maiden it is! I hope the members of Iron Maiden find this out too!

Stone: Collectively as a band, did all of you realize just how astounding Welcome The Dead was going to sound when it was completed? Were there any second thoughts regarding any particular song?

Steve: Can I just say that your kind words are extremely valuable to us, and we are so happy that fans, such as yourself, have connected with the album. The music on the album is very special to us, and we worked very hard at making it the best it could be, despite still being on a tight budget! So, it’s a great feeling knowing that our efforts are being valued and our music is being constantly listened to by real Metal fans!

Did we know we had a decent product once we had finished the album? I think at one point when listening to the final mixes and masters we looked at each other, and without saying much, we knew we had achieved what we had set out to achieve. This was great for us, because unfortunately, after recording 2 to 3 demo tracks we were never really that happy with the outcome. We knew that the album may not appeal to everyone, but it was and is still a definite representation of what we stand for………. and we love it!

We didn’t have second thoughts regarding any particular song, though different arrangements were thoroughly discussed all the time, but we did have to scrap 2 songs that were meant for the album simply due to studio-time. These songs were fully ready-to-go and pre-production seemed to suggest that they’d be cracking songs, so hopefully we can include these in an upcoming album! We know certain people are crying out for them!

Matt: Personally, no second thoughts for me. I think in my mind what an epic final product!

Jon: I think we all started to realise we were heading down a pretty interesting path somewhere near the start of the studio process but, yeah, as Steve said it’s only once you get into the final bits and pieces of post-production that you start to go, ‘wow, this really is gonna work!’

Stone: Is Metal a religion, drug, mistress or all three?

Steve: I would go for religion and a drug! I definitely get a huge kick when I listen to great Metal, in fact, great music in general. The emotional highs you can sometimes reach when you really sit down (or stand up) and absorb all the content and energy of a Metal masterpiece is overwhelming! Also, the manner in which Metal music unites Metal fans, especially at festivals, etc. is somewhat unique I believe and it’s a great thing to be part of!

Dan: All three!

Matt: Definitely keeps me wanting more, so, I’d say all three in a way.

Jon: Hmmm. Metal’s definitely not a bit on the side for me, so I’d have to say it’s more of a missus than a mistress to be honest!

Stone: Describe how getting signed to Massacre Records came about and how thrilled are you guys?

Steve: Yeah! I guess they must have dug our debut album! The band and I are extremely happy with our recent signing to Massacre Records, they are a great label who have had a huge amount of amazing bands on their roster, including the likes of King Diamond, Theatre of Tragedy, Fates Warning, Crematory, etc., so they evidently do a great job! So hell yeah, if our name is on the same list then that’s a significantly immense achievement! I used to listen to these bands all the time and still do every now and then, so it really is an honor!

Jon: It’s great! Massacre’s a fantastic and well-respected label so we all feel pretty damn good at the minute. Another cool thing about it is that it kinda gives you a sense of confirmation that everything you’ve been doing up to this point has actually made sense. Having been doing this for quite a while now, there’ve been a few times when I’ve started to wonder! It’s definitely not time to kick back and think “job well done” though, we’re gonna make sure this is just the beginning…

* To read the Metal Odyssey album review for Welcome The Dead, (posted on March 23rd, 2011), just click on the big header link below:

HUNTED “Welcome The Dead” – Colossal Progressive Metal To Prize

* For more info on HUNTED, click on the links below:

HUNTED – myspace music

HUNTED – twitter

MASSACRE RECORDS

LONG LIVE HUNTED.

Stone.

Faithsedge – Giancarlo Floridia: A Metal Odyssey Interview!

Posted in classic rock, Hard Rock, hard rock vocalists, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, interviews, melodic metal, melodic rock, metal music, metal odyssey, Music, rock music, rock music interviews, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2011 by Metal Odyssey

Giancarlo Floridia of Faithsedge – Back on April 19th, 2011, Giancarlo Floridia took one enormous plunge into the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal limelight with the release of his band’s debut and self-titled album via Scarlet Records. FAITHSEDGE is now a part of Rock history. Will Giancarlo Floridia and Faithsedge add more chapters to their own Rock history? I’m banking on it. This debut album from Faithsedge combines more delicious Melodic Hard Rock moments, within it’s quality songs, than I can actually count.

With a world-class band of musicians surrounding Giancarlo, Faithsedge are not just another supergroup. They are a band that has created what I consider to be one of the best albums of 2011, in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal combined. With the guidance and experience from the world respected producer and bass guitarist Fabrizio Grossi, the path to Heavy Rock success for Giancarlo has been paved. As a songwriter, lyricist, vocalist and guitarist for Faithsedge, Giancarlo has impressively paid his Rockin’ dues for any and all positive response thrown his way.

Giancarlo is both solidly confident and humble, two attributes necessary for a rising talent in the Rock Music world. Forget about any “newcomer” tag… Giancarlo for all Metal intents and purposes… Rocks. Throw in the obvious fact that Giancarlo is one grounded and a hell of a nice guy and the point is clear: I’m rooting for him each and every step of the Metal way. Recently, Giancarlo took the time to talk to Metal Odyssey about the debut Faithsedge album, it’s memorable songs, influences, life and Rock and Roll. Here is what Giancarlo had to say:

Stone: Giancarlo, how did Faithsedge all fall into place as a band?

Giancarlo: The way everything worked out was great. Being a fan of Fabrizio’s (Fabrizio Grossi) and then working with him was awesome. Alex (De Rosso) and Tony (Morra) the same thing, just great people and great musicians. I had a five song ep that I did with Juan Croucier (x – Ratt) and showed it to Fabrizio after leaving California for a little while and it was enough to get my foot in the door to work with him and then we took it from there. Fab (Fabrizio) got Alex and Tony involved and the rest is history! The chemistry just happened.

(Faithsedge debut/self-titled album cover – Scarlet Records)

Stone: Describe what it’s like to work with Fabrizio Grossi.

Giancarlo: Well he’s a hard worker but he still makes it fun. I mean you have to trust your producer (at least I do) and since I was already a fan of his work it was easy. Everything just kinda fell into place in terms of people involved, lyrics, song idea’s, parts etc.. We knew when something was off or if a chorus or a lyric needed to be better. Like for example, “Let It End This Way” was the last vocal to track and the lyrics I had before were good, only we both knew it didn’t fit the record. So, I went back and wrote it at home in like less than an hour with some different ideas I had. Since he wasn’t a jerk about things it was stress free getting eveything done. If something comes up I just let him know, he’s easy going and easy to work with and freakin talented as hell! I mean that sums the guy up! Just don’t piss him off! (Laughs).

Stone: (Laughs) Okay, I would never consider making Fabrizio mad at me! You’ve mentioned in the past, Joe Lynn Turner is an influence on you. Is it fair of me to have written you may very well be the next Joe Lynn Turner of Hard Rock?

Giancarlo: Wow! Ya know, it’s amazing to see people compare me to him or Geoff Tate or Tony Harnell or one of the top guys in the Hard Rock vocal scene. To be put in that league is um, an awesome thing. All I can really say is I want to be one of the new top Metal and Hard Rock singers and I work really really hard at it. I think with hard work and just doing the best I can as a writer and singer, while trying to progress and get better and better, people are getting the point of what I am going for and that makes me happy. At first I wasn’t sure if people were gonna let me into the scene, being somewhat of a newcomer, but they have and I’m thankful! So Thanks everyone and thank you Stone!

Stone: Gee Metal whiz, thank you Giancarlo! How excited are you by the positive response critics have given your debut album?

Giancarlo: It’s been great, there are a few haters but they dont talk smack on us as musicians or me as a singer, they mostly gripe about my lyrics or whatever! (Laughs). I’d rather write about stuff that is personal or real, rather than try to come up with some sort of stupid gimmick to my lyrics. I mean, if it doesn’t come from my heart whats the point? I know I’ll regret it later. Whats important is that people get something from it and I know they have from the emails and other things I’ve read. But as far as all the good reviews go, yeah, it’s been great. I am proud of everyone involved and to have great reviews is just a plus! So thanks for all the great reviews!

Stone: What guitarist or guitarists do you look upon for inspiration?

Giancarlo: Alex De Rosso cause I suck compared to him! (Laughs). Honestly, I am not much of a lead player and I am just more into riffs and the overall drive of a song or direction of a record. I like progressive stuff like old Queensryche and Dream Theater, Metal like Megadeth and Anthrax, and Arena Rock like 80’s KISSOzzy, Scorpions and Bon Jovi. I like 70’s rock too. So I guess it’s an overal mix of sounds that I like that makes Faithsedge. You can hear a mix of all of that on the cd, thats why you may have a tune thats more Metal and another more Arena Rock, so it depends on my mood or what I feel the album needs without going too far right or left of the overall sound.

Stone: As a songwriter and lyricist for your debut album, which two songs mean the most to you and why?

Giancarlo: If I had to pick two? “Somewhere In Your Heart” and “Faith-Anne”, maybe because they are both about my kids. “Somewhere In Your Heart” most likey because I was able to put almost like a “70’s kinda lyrics” into a somewhat Progressive Rock song and make it work with all the key changes. Plus, I like the postive feel to it. “Faith-Anne” because it almost didn’t make the record. I finished the chorus less than an hour of having to record it. I’ll never forget not being able to get the chorus right and sitting in the Valencia Town Center Mall parking lot and hearing it in my head the day I had to track it. I’ll never forget walking into the studio and telling Fabrizio I had finally got it! I mean, when you write a song to your daughter who you haven’t seen in a while and you know there is a chance she’s gonna hear it when she’s been held away from you, it had to be special. I feel I got that across in the song. Funny thing is, our relationship has been restored since the album has come out and the line I wanted her to hear “We had everyday, remember those days?”, well she did. I’m Proud to be a part of her life again.

Stone: Giancarlo, that is a song and story that goes straight to the heart. Awesome. How is the new material coming along for your second album?

Giancarlo: Great! I’m writing the music for the last song now. Eleven tracks I have along the same lines of Metal, Progressive and Melodic. I have the lyrics almost done for four songs. The titles are “Telling the Sky”, “Save the Promise”, Closer to the Truth” and my favorite song I’ve ever written that’s called “When I lost You”. I am gonna be touching more direct issues on the record like my history with my dad, abuse and dark subject matter with a positive outcome. It’s kinda like what I did with tunes like “Another Chance” and “World Keeps Falling Down” on the first record. I will also do some relationship stuff along with a new storyline song I am working on that I don’t have the title for yet, but I have the all the music done and it’s gona be really cool. Music wise though, I’m not going to change the style. People want good, hard, American Rock albums in the Melodic Rock and Metal community. If certain bands that can don’t wanna give it to ’em, it’s ok, I will! (Laughs). Anyways, I’m hoping I’ll have all the lyrics and hooks all done within a year, that way I don’t stress it and the lyrics come out equally as good, just as it did with the first album.

Faithsedge: From L to R: Tony Morra, Giancarlo Floridia, Fabrizio Grossi, Alex De Rosso.

Stone: In your opinion, has Melodic Hard Rock and Melodic Heavy Metal made a comeback these past few years in the U.S.?

Giancarlo: Well it’s awesome bands like KISSMaiden and Priest still doing it. I don’t see too many American new comers doing it, I mean a few are but most of them are from over sea’s or partner with musicians from other countries. Maybe it’s cause they really have a love for this kind of music and don’t care about what people think. Where as in the States you get more of “whats trendy today” is what’s hot! Llllllaaaaaaaaammmme!

Stone: I agree, very lame! On a scale of one through ten, how much of a perfectionist were you while creating the Faithsedge debut album?

Giancarlo: (Laughs) I abused myself, I was one hundred percent happy with every lyric and melody other than one song which I could have done better on the chorus, in my opinion it’s by far the most cliché chorus on the cd. However, I love the verses and the bridge before the solo. Oh well, I’ll make it up on the second album and no, I’m not saying what song it is! (Laughs). I know I’m just wrong huh?

Stone: You’re not wrong, it’s called keeping the fans in suspense! If Faithsedge could tour with two current bands of your choice tomorrow, what bands would they be?

Giancarlo: Anyband that kicks ass that would give us exposure in the market of Hard Rock and Metal. I would love to do some Europe gigs if I could too!

Stone: Great answer! How true is this statement: “music mirrors life”.

Giancarlo: Thanks, I am gonna steal that for the next cd! Just kidding. I mean, in my life music has been the thing that I’ve connected with so often, with many people, wether if thats someone I meet thats a fan or it’s a genre or a rare band that I like that not everyone knows about. It’s how I connect with people thats all I can really say! Did you come up with that saying?

Stone: Um, well, I probably did come up with that saying. I think. (Laughs). Has Giancarlo’s wish come true with your incredible debut album or is this just the beginning?

Giancarlo: It’s nice when I get magazines from Germany, Italy, France and the States and I see myself in them. I do hope it takes off more and more of course, to where it becomes huge and we can play out live a lot and I can make more of a career of it. And I do want to say this, it’s not over till you decide it’s over and listening to negative and destructive people is a big mistake! I don’t care how close they were to me or how they were supposed to be my family or whatever. For once in my life, other than my kids, I’ve found something where as I put in all my efforts that the result has shown. The proof is in the album and shows that the doubters were wrong. When you believe in yourself and work hard you can do great things. Thats not just in music thats just in any goal in life!

Stone: Well said Giancarlo, well said. I wish nothing but the very best of success for your band and career! You Rock my Metal brutha!

Giancarlo: No problem and thank you Stone!

* For more info on FAITHSEDGE, just click on the links below:

FAITHSEDGE – Official Website

FAITHSEDGE – facebook

LONG LIVE GIANCARLO FLORIDIA.

LONG LIVE FAITHSEDGE.

Stone.

HEMOPTYSIS – A Metal Odyssey Interview With Masaki Murashita

Posted in Extreme Metal, Heavy Metal, interviews, metal music, metal odyssey, Music, rock music, rock music interviews, rock music news, Thrash Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2011 by Metal Odyssey

(Photo credit: Eyeful Images Photographic Arts)

HEMOPTYSISMasaki Murashita is the founder, lead singer and guitarist for Hemoptysis, a Thrash Metal band from Phoenix, Arizona. Masaki wears a lot of hats these days, while making certain the world is being properly introduced to Hemoptysis. The blending of Extreme Metal styles is what makes Hemoptysis stand-out from the Metal pack. With some Death Metal grooves and occasional shades of Blackened vocal tones from Masaki, these attributes just seem to make the Thrash he and his band have created all the more relevant and unique in 2011. The overriding “Old School” Thrash style and sound of Hemoptysis is the driving force behind the songs heard on their debut full-length – Misanthropic Slaughter.

The “do-it-yourself” work ethic of this band, led by Masaki, released their debut album independently on March 8th, 2011. Since then, the critical response from all over the globe has been nothing short of exhilarating for a band that has justifiably earned it. Masaki is young and driven, with a professional air about him that I cannot help admire. This is a musician in Metal that has a keen sense of awareness for the business side of the recording industry. At the end of the Metal day, it is Masaki’s musical proficiency that he combines with his band’s impressive Metal skills that has left me rather awestruck, ever since my first listen to Misanthropic Slaughter.

I recall wondering and writing, how long can Hemoptysis be left unsigned to a label? This band could not be overlooked for long, however. On March 8th, 2011, the very day that Misanthropic Slaughter was released, it was announced that Rock It Up/IceWarrior Records from Germany signed a licensing deal with Hemoptysis. Metal be thy name, I felt proud for Masaki and his band. It’s a deserved leap forward into eventual Metal stardom. Hemoptysis has Metal stock that is rising fast, so my best advice is to invest your Metal time and money wisely and pick up Misanthropic Slaughter… you surely want to be a part of Thrash Metal and Metal history in the making.

Masaki Murashita is one cool Metal gentleman to speak with. I cannot resist supporting his Metal career and insanely impressive band known as Hemoptysis. Here is what Masaki had to say:

Stone: Just how did Hemoptysis evolve?

Masaki: Travis and I met through a mutual friend in April of 2007.  We started the band in June of 2007 when I found a larger practice space and another guitarist.  We got Sunao to play bass for us in early 2008.  Initially, I wasn’t the singer.  We had a different singer for a few months. After the original singer left, I took over on vocals.  We went through a few lead guitarists until we got Ryan Miller, who is also in a band called Excessive Bleeding.

Stone: How proud are you and the guys for getting signed to Rock It Up/IceWarrior Records?

Masaki: We all are very proud of it. We finally found a label that believes in us. They offered the most fair deal by far and it showed long term interest in our career. We are truly honored and we will continue working hard.

Stone: Metallica “Master Of Puppets” versus Slayer “Reign In Blood”. Which album is better and why? No, you can’t give a “tie” for an answer! (LOL)

Masaki: It’s a tough question since I grew up listening to both albums, but I’d say “Master of Puppets” because that record definitely inspired me to play Metal.

Stone: How have the live gigs been going for you? Tell us about your charity gigs too!

Masaki: It’s been really fun! The charity gig was especially awesome simply because the venue used to be a church and playing songs like “Who Needs A Shepherd?” was just priceless.

Stone: Can you update us on your family and friends well being in Japan?

Masaki: They are all doing well. Thank you! Japanese people are strong. Though it may take some time, they are working really hard to bring back their normal life.

Stone: What do you feel is lacking in today’s Heavy Metal climate when it comes to marketing and promotion?

Masaki: Team work. Everybody needs to work together to keep the scene. Bands can’t expect to get their name out and bring people to their shows without working hard. Same thing to fans. If you would like to see your favorite bands, you need to show them support by spreading the word and buying their merchandise and music. Promoters, venues, and labels also need to do their job and promote the shows to support the bands and the scene. Everybody is becoming greedy nowadays, but at the end of the day, we all need to survive and work together to sustain.

Stone: What inner and outside influence(s) did you and the band draw from, to write and record such a kick ass and Old School album of Metal?

Masaki: I have heavy influence from old school Thrash. Our drummer, Travis, and our lead guitarist, Ryan, are death metal guys. Our bassist, Sunao, listens to everything, including non-Metal stuff. We all have different backgrounds and that makes our music unique when everybody’s ideas blend together.

Stone: Tell the world… what veteran band do you feel Hemoptysis should open up for on a major tour and why?

Masaki: Megadeth, Carcass, Exodus, Testament to name a few. Those bands are just a few of the core influences of our sound and we think the people who are into those bands would like us.

Stone: Are you guys currently writing new Metal material for the next album?

Masaki: Yes. We are already working on the material for the next record.

Stone: With so much critical praise, from so many outlets, for “Misanthropic Slaughter”, are you shocked, knew it was coming or just humbled?

Masaki: We weren’t sure what was going to happen.  We knew we liked it but we weren’t 100% sure what people would think.  A lot of people liked our EP, “Who Needs A Shepherd?,” and gave it good reviews, so we were pretty sure people would like this better since the quality of the recording is so much better.  We also grew as musicians and switched to an even better lead guitarist, so we felt pretty confident about good reviews coming in.  We consider ourselves pretty humble, though.

Stone: What band that you’ve seen perform live left you awestruck?

Masaki: D.R.I. We opened for them last September and we were amazed how much their fans love them. The crowd was nuts! We’ve never seen that crazy of a pit and crowd at the venue in which we played. Much respect to them for being one of the most legendary “Do It Yourself (DIY)” bands.

Stone: Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans as we close out?

Masaki: If you like our music, please buy our music and support us. We would like to tour and play enough cities, both in the U.S. and abroad, only we cannot do this without our fans supporting us.

HEMOPTYSIS:

Masaki Murashita – vocals & guitar

Ryan Miller – lead guitar

Sunao Arai – bass

Travis Thune – drums

* For more info on HEMOPTYSIS, click on the links below:

HEMOPTYSIS – Official Website

HEMOPTYSIS – myspace music

HEMOPTYSIS – Facebook

HEMOPTYSIS – bandcamp page

Rock It Up / IceWarrior Records

* Metal Odyssey reminds those who want to help out our great friends in Japan, to click on the link below for assistance:

http://www.google.com/intl/en/crisisresponse/japanquake2011.html

LONG LIVE HEMOPTYSIS.

LONG LIVE MASAKI MURASHITA.

Stone.

Earth – A Metal Odyssey Interview With Adrienne Davies

Posted in avant-garde music, doom metal, drone metal, experimental music, experimental rock, interviews, metal odyssey, Music, rock music, rock music interviews, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2011 by Metal Odyssey

ADRIENNE DAVIES OF EARTH – When a band can stop you in your tracks by making you slow down and think about their music, that respective band is standing out amongst the crowd. Step in… Earth. This is not a Doom Metal band that is going to thunder stump their songs through live sets, nor are they about churning out songs for wide-spread commercial consumption. Instead, Earth is a band that is representative of their music and shows respect for song, putting forth awareness to the brilliance of experimental, drone and Doom Rock. With an existence that encompasses over twenty years and six albums, founding member, songwriter and guitarist Dylan Carlson has crafted Earth into a non-conforming band of widely respected musicians.

One of these skilled musicians is Adrienne Davies, the drummer and percussionist that has been a focal point of Earth for ten years and counting. With the current release of their newest studio album, Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I (Southern Lord Records) on February 22, 2011, Earth has only strengthened their respect among the Rock Music community for their unique style and sound. The repetitive beats and drone tempo, combined with the atmospheric tones of Earth can lead the listener to wherever place they can imagine or want to be. That’s what I embrace most strongly about the music of Earth… and this band takes you on a slow ride, cause sometimes I like to take it easy.

Adrienne Davies took the time recently to talk about Earth’s new album, how their songs come together, drumming, Earth’s diversity album to album, her fellow band members and even Slayer. Soft spoken, polite and as friendly as a favorite cousin, Adrienne was a true delight to interview. The love she has for music, Earth and Dylan Carlson flowed from her answers with ease… and Adrienne presented herself with a trueness that I can absolutely respect. Here is what Adrienne had to say:

Stone: Organic, atmospheric, experimental, drone and Doom Metal are styles used to describe the music of Earth. What is your interpretation of Earth’s sound?

Adrienne: It’s more intricate than it seems. Earth has been around for over twenty years, I’ve been in the band for ten years. You have to look at this band’s history, album to album. The first few were specifically Heavy Doom or had Metal bass lines to everything. “Hex” (from 2005) was a very strategic departure from heavy for heavy sakes. The trombone (played by Steve Moore) gave a western soundtrack feel of “Hex”. I’ve learned, melodies that are least contrived can be the most dark than most of them. Our new album is organic with an English Folk vibe to it. This album centers around drone and repetition, it has a soothing quality.

Stone: In your own view, who really are the “Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light”?

Adrienne: Dylan (Carlson) has credit to that title! Conceptually, this album title can represent crazy, old Medieval magic from years past. Musically, we’re simplifying and letting open spaces fill. We (Dylan and I) have no computers or cell phones, we’re stepping away from technology and going back to times when things were simpler. It’s like being the park in the middle of the city.

Stone: In the event Earth’s new album was to have been named after a country, which one would it be and why?

Adrienne: Album wise, “Hex” was very much Native American, with an Idaho, Montana and West Coast Indian vibe. I’m gonna take it literally and go with Old England, somewhere towards Wales, with grassy knolls and cottages. I like old throwback English Folk bands, the fairy tales and magic of all that.

Stone: You would certainly like living in Northern New England then. Vermont, New Hampshire, rural Massachusetts and Maine pretty much are this country’s representation of Old England.

Adrienne: You know, I never thought about that and you are right! New England can resemble Old England in ways.

Stone: Can you describe what it’s like during a brainstorm session with your band mates?

Adrienne: Generally, the last two albums, especially this one, we brainstormed. We come up with riffs and song structures. We want to leave some parts as improv. The drums and guitars are the anchor of our songs of where we want to go. We’ll pull in the cello, along with counter lead melody instruments that are essential to our lineup, the Wurlitzer, trombone and pedal steel.

Stone: How far has Earth come to creating their ultimate signature album with “Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I”?

Adrienne: Well, let’s see, it’s never what you think it is. It’s in the ear of the beholder. We try to leave it up to other people to decide. What I’m comfy about with this new album, is it’s a new direction for us in many ways. The studio has always been about obsessive perfection and moments of release. This time we were carefree, very creative and able to improvise. Creating this new album was obstruction free and the best time ever for us in the studio. Our songs get a little slower live, so most of these songs represent what Earth is about live. We seemed to capture what we do with our live shows on this new album.

Stone: It’s interesting that your songs get played slower live.

Adrienne: Our songs change dramatically live!

Stone: Is the band collectively on the same page when it comes to other musical influences and musical interests?

Adrienne: When your stuck on tour with the same band and don’t kill each other, you have commonalities! We have a kaleidoscope to draw from with influences. Lori (Goldston) can play cello with an avant-garde and experimental style, making it sound like an electrical instrument, it’s like having a second guitar in the band. Karl (Blau) has a Rhythm and Blues feel with his bass. We take all these influences, put them together and hopefully get the result we are looking for.

Stone: How would you describe contemporary music to a visitor from another world?

Adrienne: (laughs) Contemporary good or bad music?

Stone: I’m glad you said that!

Adrienne: I’m not a fan of current contemporary music. VH1 and MTV are beyond un-listenable and it’s poisoning the ears of people who listen to this music. I would compare it to alphabet soup, with too many letters that are all broken.

Stone: If you could listen to just one Metal band while being stranded on an island, what band would it be?

Adrienne: Deep Purple is okay. If it’s only one Metal band, can I have all their albums?

Stone: Well, alright.

Adrienne: It would be Slayer! Slayer for certain. They are and always have been my Metal band! I like my share of Metal, it’s always in my heart.

Stone: When were you first exposed to playing drums or any instrument for that matter?

Adrienne: I came from a music oriented family. My mom had a band and came from a German family of musicians. I grew up the only girl with four brothers, one brother and three step-brothers. I first started playing drums in my fifth grade school band. At this same time of year, I was given a sixties Ludwig set of drums, a blue oyster color that was not in the best of shape. I fought my brothers off of it! I was happy that I didn’t play the flute, just because I’m a female. I did play guitar for awhile. I’ve become more serious in terms of drums, percussion and rhythm in the last eight years.

Stone: Well, you have certainly represented yourself quite well with drumming for Earth.

Adrienne: Thank you. To this day, there are not a lot of female drummers. Only recently there has been a burst  of females playing drums. There’s no real role models for female drummers to look up to and we don’t get the respect of our male peers in the drum world.

Stone: That’s a shame, really.

Adrienne: It’s a notion that the best drummers out there play two hundred beats per minute and twenty minute solo’s. It’s really the musicianship that’s essential to being a good drummer. On the other hand, with guitar and Metal, speed is equated to technical proficiency with artistry. It’s what I don’t play and knowing what not to fill a song with, having a less is always more approach for drums and percussion that represents my style. I like to make it dramatic, rather than pummel a song to death. I want to play the technical side of drums, while always serving the music.

Stone: What does the touring schedule look like for Earth in 2011?

Adrienne: We’re looking at six weeks in Europe, then having a month off. Then it’s off to Mexico City, we’ll then hit the U.S. West Coast, down to the Southeast and head up to the Northeast U.S. in the Fall and end of year. The dates and venues are to be determined. We’ll be playing clubs. Who can fill arena’s anymore?

Stone: It’s an entirely different climate now for bands to play arena’s.

Adrienne: It sure is. Even with Ireland’s bad economy, touring Ireland didn’t affect our ticket sales. The big bands are really hurting for record and concert sales.

Stone: Will there ever be a female President of the United States in your lifetime? If so, who would you want it to be?

Adrienne: I’m at a loss on that one, yikes! Can I nominate a non-politician?

Stone: Of course!

Adrienne: Chrissie Hynde.

Stone: Cool choice.

Adrienne: (laughs) Very darn close to Hillary Clinton huh? Not that she (Chrissie Hynde) would want this to happen. She comes from a working class background. She could stand up to the big boys. Chrissie would do a real good job in The White House.

Stone: What are the events that take place or need to happen, for npr (National Public Radio) to stream “Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I” in it’s entirety for fans to hear free, like they did?

Adrienne: It’s almost a mystery to me! We’re incredibly grateful, npr goes back to “Hex”, they were really behind us with our music and pushing that album as well. It’s great, it’s awesome! I can’t comprehend how big it all really is. On “Bees” (The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull) we had a guest musician, a Jazz guitarist named Bill Frisell who had an audience bigger than we’re used to having. I think maybe through his connection npr picked us up. iTunes are going to be doing a sale two weeks before our new album is released, they’re putting it on their Rock page! We’re honored by that.

Stone: That is just fantastic and well deserved, with all of the attention your new album is receiving.

Adrienne: Thank you. There’s so many bands and so many choices out there. Many are here today and gone tomorrow. We’ve been lucky. I’ve known Dylan (Carlson) for half of my life, he’s got crazy bizarre talent! Dylan has been around and making music for over twenty years and I thank my lucky stars everyday that he’s my man.

* For more info on EARTH, just click the link below:

Thrones And Dominions.com – EARTH

LONG LIVE EARTH.

Stone.

ANA KEFR – A Metal Odyssey Interview!

Posted in Extreme Metal, Heavy Metal, interviews, metal music, metal odyssey, Music, progressive metal, rock music, rock music interviews, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2011 by Metal Odyssey

Upon my first complete listen through of Ana Kefr’s The Burial Tree (II), I realized many things. Firstly, there can’t possibly be any ego’s happening within a band such as this? Musical parts cannot “connect together” in such an uncommon way of effectiveness for there to be any indecisiveness amongst Ana Kefr. Secondly, this bands music changes like the seasons throughout The Burial Tree (II), while never lessening their firm grip on an all-embracing Metal sound, while threading in an Extreme Metal style. Thirdly, it is not advisable to pigeonhole Ana Kefr into any one exclusive Metal genre. From Progressive instrumentation with woodwinds to Black and Death Metal vocals, Ana Kefr provides the listener with a vast landscape of Metal and musical styles.

Lastly, this is a smart band. Why? Ana Kefr obviously does not hang out with status quo and their philosophical lyrics are written to not just make you ponder, their lyrics make you think. Yes, there are many up and coming Metal bands of all genres being heard around the globe, only Ana Kefr isn’t cookie cutting their way to the top. When an interview opportunity with Ana Kefr arose for Stone, the obvious choice was to accept it.

Ana Kefr is a band that avoids what I find annoying in Progressive Metal. This band does not play with bothersome excessiveness, nor is there ever a chance they will ever cater to the plastic side of the music industry. Ana Kefr is a band that plays together and a band that does interviews together. Let me introduce you to their names, then indulge in what Ana Kefr had to say:

ANA KEFR:

Rhiis D. Lopez – lead vocals, keyboards & clarinet

Kyle Coughran – rhythm guitar & vocals

Brendan Moore – lead guitar, saxophone & vocals

Alphonso Jiminez – bass

Shane Dawson – drums & percussion

* Ana Kefr originate from Riverside, California. A May 3rd, 2011 release date is scheduled for The Burial Tree (II), on Ana Kefr’s own imprint label: Muse Sick.

Stone: Which took longer to write, the lyrics or the music for “The Burial Tree (II)”?

Rhiis: The Burial Tree’s writing and rehearsals began around the beginning of November 2009, shortly after the departure of our former lead guitarist and drummer. Kyle and I basically laid to rest about 13 songs that had been written then, what we had originally thought was going to be the material for Volume 2. Instead of holding onto these songs, we basically started from scratch. “In the House of Distorted Mirrors” was the first song we wrote when the band had been stripped down to just the two of us, “Ash-Shahid,” “Paedophilanthrope” and “Monody” were written around then, but they were a bit different – the material we write tends to undergo multiple revisions. The only song that is on The Burial Tree that was an idea already written is “Thaumatrope,” but that song also underwent some changes when we secured new musicians who were able to do more with their instruments. When Brendan, Alphonso and Shane became a part of the band, we brought the material we’d written to them and they added their own touch to the songs, and then as a full writing team we cranked out the rest of the material over the span of about one year. It probably would have taken a shorter amount of time, but Kyle and I had to first catch up the new guys on how to perform our older material before we could focus on writing for a new album. Once they were caught up, we also needed to get back into a routine of playing shows, and that also takes time, energy and resources away from concentrating on writing an album of new material. The last song written was “Bathos and the Iconoclast,” which was completed probably a month or two before we entered the studio. I have a feeling the writing process will move faster next time, mostly because everyone is caught up now and we’ve gotten used to the way we all operate.

ANA KEFR – The Burial Tree (II) album cover, which was created by the Dutch artist Bianca Van Der Werf and is aptly titled: The Watcher.

Rhiis: Lyrically, it all began with a ton of notes, and it remained as pages and pages of notes and ideas until about 2 months before we entered the studio. I wanted the music to be complete before I invested time and thought into what the vocals would do, so I just kept organizing and adding to this pile of notes. I went through a lot of ideas, many of which never made it onto the album, the whole writing process took probably 6 months. I knew that I wanted this album to be ridiculously layered with ideas and meaning, so that you could keep going back and re-discovering new things if you really paid attention. I’m really happy with the album, I feel like all the hard work put into every note and word has really paid off.

Stone: When you sit down to write the skeleton of a song, which instrument is it initially played on?

Kyle: Well, there are many ways we go about writing a song. I usually start by using the instrument of the mind to create an idea or feeling in particular, then from there I transfer it to my guitar. There have been many incidents where this process accrued on The Burial Tree. I also just like sitting down with another band member to create a song, either way it never falls short of Ana Kefr.

Stone: Which is that “one song” on “The Burial Tree (II)” that you feel the strongest emotional attachment to?

Alphonso: If I had to pick one song, it would have to be “In the House of Distorted Mirrors.” It was the first challenging song I had to go through. I remember going home and being worried about my skills. I had just joined the band and I didn’t want to make them feel like they made a wrong choice. So I had to practice more than usual. After having that song on lock…I knew it was going to get a little easier. I was wrong.

Stone: What non-Metal music influences and/or inspirations do you have to share? Be it bands, musicians, albums or songs? What band or musician is your greatest Metal influence?

Shane: Well, I have many influences. but if I had to pick one it would be Mike Portnoy. His drumming style is what got me into metal. Without his style of playing, I dont know what kind of music I would be playing.

Shane: The main musical influence that is not metal would be Frank Zappa. In my opinion he is one of the greatest musicians ever. “Joe’s Garage” and “Apostrophe” are two of my favorite albums of all time, along with “Dark side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd and “Colors” by Between the Buried and Me. But if you asked me to refer one artist for you to check out, it would be Zappa. Anything from his work is a musical adventure.

Stone: Woodwinds add another element of sound to “The Burial Tree (II)”, which only enhances an already progressive style your band exhibits. Are there other non-conventional Metal Music instruments you are considering to use, on future Ana Kefr albums?

Brendan: I was thinking about adding a slide whistle, kazoo, and a triangle in the next album. Actually that’s not true, I’ll probably stick to what I know how to play since triangle and kazoo lessons are so expensive. However I’m sure there will be some other obscure instrumentation on the next album, as well as a little more saxophone and clarinet than what’s on The Burial Tree (II). But, for now, I am simply focused on promoting this album in the meantime. When it comes to writing, the guitar parts and arrangements will be in place before anything else is brought into the mix.

Stone: If you could travel through time, what band or musician would you go to see performing live and why?

Kyle: I would travel back in time and examine the work and performance of Johann Sebastian Bach because of the wonderful music he has created. He is one of my big I’s.

Stone: What does the future hold for Ana Kefr touring?

Alphonso: We can not wait to get out there and tour for months, but we must start slow and build our tour in time. We will do the weekend shows, move up to a small northern California week tour, then travel a little farther from home. We will do our best to get out as much as we can. If we do this right, we could land a spot on a bigger tour.

Stone: How do you take care of your voice? Do you have any superstitions when it comes to vocal preparation?

Rhiis: I actually don’t take care of my voice by doing anything out of the ordinary. I’ve been making weird noises since I was a little kid, so I think my throat is used to the abuse. If I do get hoarse, I’ll stop talking for a day to let my vocal chords heal, but I usually don’t have any problems. I’ve had some ginger root, coffee and tea in the vocal booth when I’m screaming my brains out, but nothing seems to make a difference. I don’t have any superstitions regarding vocal preparation, but screaming along to Bloodbath on the way to a show or the studio seems to get me warmed up.

Stone: With so much chaos happening in the world around us, what would a soundtrack for mankind sound like in 2011, as performed by Ana Kefr?

Brendan: Honestly, that’s what I believe The Burial Tree sounds like. People often ask me to describe our sound, in which case I will reply with “if a brutal metal band wrote an epic movie soundtrack to humanity as we know it.” Our album encompasses our world and humanity as a whole in terms of the absolute feeling you get. It is organized chaos that stretches from the darkest tragedy and aggression to some of the most beautiful moments you can imagine; I feel it is similar to real life. Mankind is capable of absolute evil but also absolute good and plenty of gray. It is not often that there is a sharp contrast between the two. Tragic events, as well as noble ones, often contain a series of scenarios that lead to them. But that is not always the case. Sometimes it can take an unexpected turn for the best or for the worst. The music of The Burial Tree is similar in terms of how it leads into some of these starkly different moments. Often there is a flow from our heaviest and darkest moments that build into a beautiful moment. But just when you think you have it figured out, you are hit with the unexpected. The album (much like real life) can seem very chaotic and unpredictable yet, when it is all said and done, you are left reflecting on what you just experienced. It’s hard to imagine anything else that makes as much sense.

Stone: Thank you Ana Kefr for sharing your thoughts and insights collectively, as a band.

To read my complete album review of Ana Kefr’s The Burial Tree (II), (posted on February 9, 2011), just click the large header link below:

ANA KEFR – “The Burial Tree (II)” Progressively Extreme and Resists Metal Boundaries

LONG LIVE ANA KEFR.

Stone.

IGLOO WARFARE – A Metal Odyssey Interview!

Posted in Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, heavy metal news, instrumental music, interviews, metal music, metal odyssey, Music, rock music, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

IGLOO WARFAREBrandon Ortiz, aka Eski, is a very busy guy these days. It is a minor miracle that Metal Odyssey caught up with him recently, to get a Metal lowdown on his side project Igloo Warfare. Metal instrumental ear candy is how I best sum up Igloo Warfare. With Eski being in full control of it’s creation, from playing every instrument heard, through production, to the final recorded songs, Igloo Warfare is his work of Metal art.

Songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, band manager, promotion and marketing manager, record label owner (Final Breath Records) and every other imaginable title associated with overseeing his music getting heard and noticed, is what Eski is all about. Eski isn’t taking a bow to the “do-it-yourself” crowd, he is leaping over them with his envious drive and passion for the music he loves to create.

With Belle Roka by his side, there is also Morphine Killer keeping the Metal irons burning and the creative genius side of him stirring. Throw in the recent opportunity for Eski to step in to help Faithsedge on bass duties and you have not just a multi-taking musician… you have what is an example of devotion. Here is what Eski had to say:

Stone: So, Eski, how did the name Igloo Warfare come about?

Eski: I got the nickname “Eski” when I was about 15 years old, mainly due to the fact of looking like an eskimo, and being able to withstand the cold weather. I liked the idea of eskimos being up to something inside those igloos, so I went with “Igloo Warfare”, being a random Rock Band name I made up on the spot.

Stone: What inspires your songwriting for Igloo Warfare?

Eski: I love writing music, and usually what happens is I have a lot of Morphine Killer songs on the backburner, ready for vocals. But sometimes I will write songs for a particular mood, such as being an energetic video game song, or a moody movie song.

Stone: What comes easiest for you, writing music or playing it?

Eski: Writing it, definitely! There’s a lot of nuances that come around when it comes down to recording, and it has to be perfect. I have experimented with writing on the spot to the drums I program, because sometimes you just have to go where the music takes you.

Stone: I get that “Escape From New York” vibe on “Spider Whispers Death”. Did you initially set out for a Science Fiction meets Horror element with Igloo Warfare’s sound? Are you a fan of John Carpenter’s haunting movie scores?

Eski: I didn’t really set out for that vibe, but I wanted a sort of eerie vibe with the music, mixed with metal.. maybe that is the music version of science fiction meeting horror! Without knowing it, I have been influenced by John Carpenter! I love the Halloween movies, and Big Trouble In Little China (I loved that they got the idea for Raiden from Mortal Kombat from this movie).

Stone: Do you see your instrumentals being better suited for motion pictures or video games? Perhaps both?

Eski: I’d like to hope for both, but possibly more video games. I’d really like to get into either area if I could, though! I grew up with video games that had awesome music that helped inspire the mood, and I hope to do the same one day.

Stone: Will vocals ever be added to Igloo Warfare’s music?

Eski: I would like to think so! If they do, most likely they are going to end up a Morphine Killer song, unless someone else does vocals as a guest spot, and maybe we can release it as such.

Stone: With “Dopeth”, is it safe to say you are a fan of Opeth?

Eski: Absolutely, I love Opeth. Mikael Åkerfeldt is one of my favorite vocalists.

Metal Odyssey Note: Check out below, the Metal instrumental of Dopeth for yourself, courtesy of IGLOO WARFARE!

Stone: What’s the latest news you can share about Morphine Killer?

Eski: We’ve been working on ten or so songs that still need a bit more fine tuning. We’ve been really busy with our upcoming baby release than CD release, so please excuse us!

Stone: You and Belle are very much excused! A new baby on the way is much more important!

Stone: You’re also currently busy helping out Faiths Edge, handling the bass duties. What’s that been like?

Eski: It’s been really fun to just jam with friends and not feel the pressure of taking the reins so much. It’s also a really fun learning experience to work with another song writer and be able to bounce ideas off of each other. I helped him write a new song which might or might not appear on his next CD, so we’ll just have to wait and see!

Eski with Belle Roka

Morphine Killer publicity photo by: Stephanie Grant/imsteph.com

* For more info on Igloo Warfare, just click on the links below:

IGLOO WARFARE – Reverbnation

IGLOO WARFARE – myspace music

* For more info on Morphine Killer, just click on the links below:

MORPHINE KILLER – Myspace music

MORPHINE KILLER – Official Website

* For more info on Faithsedge, click here: FAITHSEDGE – myspace music

THANK YOU, ESKI.

LONG LIVE ESKI AND HIS MUSIC.

Stone.

SERGEANT STEEL: A METAL ODYSSEY INTERVIEW

Posted in hard rock albums, hard rock bands, hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal bands, heavy metal music, heavy metal news, interviews, metal odyssey, Music, rock music, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

SERGEANT STEEL – Calling all open minded record companies around the world… there is a Hard Rock Band that has released an album of melodic driven, heavy hittin’, memorable and fun songs. They call themselves Sergeant Steel and call home Austria. Sergeant Steel’s debut album – Lover’s & Maniacs, (released March 6, 2010), is a decisive upper-cut to the mid-section of the Hard Rock world. Sergeant Steel’s debut release reminds us all once again what Hard Rock songs sound like when a band puts skills and writing first and doesn’t try to “fit in” with any trendy “sound of the month” club.

So, RoadRunner Records, Century Media Records and a score of other record companies out there, who without question, have their ears on “the pulse” of what bands are hot… Sergeant Steel has arrived with Lovers & Maniacs and they are making no excuses and not looking back. This is a band that is looking to the future with hunger in their Hard Rock souls, something that many up and coming bands out there today are in dire need of.

I reviewed this Sergeant Steel debut album – Lovers & Maniacs on July 1, 2010. You can click on the link at the bottom of this interview, to read all about it.

The following interview is with Sergeant Steel’s charismatic lead vocalist, Phil Vanderkill. Recently, Phil took the time to answer some questions for Metal Odyssey and proved to be as candid and cool as they come. Phil’s answers are just as the songs you hear on Lovers & Maniacs… genuine. Here is what Phil had to say:

STONE: Hey Phil, How are you doing? It’s wicked HOT here in Pennsylvania. We have been under a “severe heat warning” for many days now. My lawn I no longer have to mow… it’s fried! Hope the air over in Austria is more tolerable.

PHIL: It’s about 35 degrees Celsius. That’s also pretty hot but the humidity is quite low at present. Austrians get out of their shell at this time of the year. If you know “Sound Of Music” you have an imagination about our wonderful Lakeland areas and vintage cities like Salzburg and Vienna.

STONE: Creating a studio album for world wide release is for certain hard work. Still, what and how much fun was it to create and record “Lovers & Maniacs”?

PHIL: It is still hard work to promote the record, too. We have been donating a lot of our leisure on this record. But it’s still fun. Now that the album is released, we enjoy it when people sing along at our live shows!

STONE: Who or what bands are an influence to Sergeant Steel?

PHIL: Our major influence are bands from the 70’s like pomp/classic rockers Queen, Rainbow and Aerosmith. We appreciate glamsters like Slade and The Sweet, too. Of course we also love 80’s hair bands like Ratt, Cinderella, Europe and Extreme. We also adore the guitar driven yet melodic heavy metal sound of Judas Priest.

STONE: Describe the reaction your getting from your fans when playing live in Austria.

PHIL: There are only a very few hard rock acts on the map. Most people in the crowd experience arena rock live for their first time at a SERGEANT STEEL show. We always play in front of a grateful public. It doesn’t seem to be difficult to carry the Austrian audience. Rather the challenge is to convince bookers and organizers. Classic hard rock tunes are everything else than common in the public awareness over here.

STONE: Are you setting sights on touring North America one day?

PHIL: Well, Jack and me, (guitarist & producer Jack Power), are going to travel overseas in the fall 2011. We are ready and willing to expand our contacts in the USA.

STONE: If you could choose a guest musician to be on the next Sergeant Steel album, who would it be?

PHIL: We’d have some honorable gentlemen on the bill, e.g. Alice Cooper, Lemmy Kilmister, Stephen Pearcy (Ratt) and John Sykes (ex- Whitesnake). I think they are all unique performers and accomplished songwriters.

STONE:  Having “Lovers & Maniacs” mastered by Beau Hill is impressive. How was this working relationship born between Beau Hill and Sergeant Steel?

PHIL: Beau can be characterized by a maximum of politeness and reliability. We came in contact with Beau via Myspace, then sent him some demo tunes by mail and he became a real fan of our music (To quote Beau: “This record really kicks ass!”). Of course, we are extremely proud about that. It is highly probable to work with him on further material this year.

STONE:  Which famous phrase best describes Sergeant Steel: “Sex, drugs & Rock’N’ Roll” or “I wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll all night and party every day”?

PHIL: Definitely “Rock ‘N’ Roll all night, party every day”. We enjoy life, because we believe in the most important message of rock music: Fun!!! Yes, we are occasional drinkers and smokers. But we DO NOT believe in permanent self-destruction. Look at Gene Simmons and Ted Nugent. Both live straight but they are crazy motherfuckers on stage and deserved songwriters. That is what it depends on.

STONE: “Lovers & Maniacs” is a solid Hard Rockin’ album of 10 songs, an unreal great debut album. Were there any songs that just missed the cut that you wish were on the finished album?

PHIL: Thank you for showing us your appreciation! When we determined the tracklist for “Lovers & Maniacs” we had to choose out of 35 pre-produced tunes. Meanwhile we have over 90 demo songs to be at choice for a second record. You know, there will always be some songs that will be missed on a finished album by someone.

STONE: Which song or songs from “Lovers & Maniacs” gets the fans most fired up when you play live? Are there any “vintage” cover songs that you guys enjoy playing live?

PHIL: Our most renowned live smashers from “Lovers & Maniacs” are “Hammer Of Love”, “Still In Love” and “Nuts Of Steel”. People also get loco everytime we play a cover version of “Jailhouse Rock”!

STONE: How would you describe the “state of” Hard Rock and Heavy Metal in Austria?

PHIL: Well, being in a hard rock band in Austria is like being a human rights activist in fucking North Korea. As I told you before there are only a handful of bands playing that stuff. Anyway there’s no competitive thinking among these bands. We organize concerts together and exchange our experiences in the music business.

STONE: Are European Festival dates in the future for Sergeant Steel?

PHIL: We play at a local festival in 2011, which is going to be attended by about 4000 visitors. Beside that there’s nothing official yet.

STONE: From looking at the photos and “Hammer Of Love” video, along with listening to the Hard Rock glory of “Lovers & Maniacs”, I get the perception Sergeant Steel has a tight bond among themselves. How accurate is my perception?

PHIL: You are absolutely right! Being in SERGEANT STEEL is being among friends! It took a lot of patience and understanding to reach that level of fellowship, but now we are all geared up to take the world by storm.

STONE: Thanks again Phil!

PHIL: Thank you very much Stone. Best regards to the American rockers over there. We are proud about gaining fans in the home country of many of our favorite bands!!

* Here is some late-breaking Sergeant Steel news, as told by Phil Vanderkill: Ronny Roxx succeeds founding member Cosy Coxx on bass guitar. Cosy leaves the band in a friendly way due to personal reasons.

* For more info on Sergeant Steel, click on the links below:

SERGEANT STEEL – Official Website

Sergeant Steel – MySpace Music Page

To become more informed about this great new Sergeant Steel album debut – Lovers & Maniacs, just click on the link below:

SERGEANT STEEL “LOVERS & MANIACS” – GOOD TIMES & CONTAGIOUS HARD ROCK DEBUT FROM AUSTRIA!

Go Get ‘Em Sergeant Steel!

Stone.

MORPHINE KILLER – A Metal Odyssey Interview!

Posted in extreme metal music, gothic metal music, hard rock bands, hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal bands, heavy metal music, heavy metal news, interviews, metal music, metal odyssey, Music, rock music, rock music interviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

MORPHINE KILLER Belle Roka is a singer and plays keyboards. Eski, he too is a singer and also plays bass, guitar and drums. These two talents combined have created what I consider to be one dynamic Metal Band… Morphine Killer. If diversity is the key to success, Morphine Killer is on the fast track. From Extreme Metal to Rock, this Stanton, California Metal Band is making some serious Heavy Music, so good in fact they caught my Metal attention with ease. Add in the pluses of contagious enthusiasm for music, a deep respect for Classic Rock and the roots of Rock ‘N’ Roll, Belle and Eski have the discipline, skills and foresight to make Morphine Killer soar.

With their 2009 EP releases of Unapologetic and Nightmares, a brand new single Throw It All Away released in March of 2010 and a new album to be released towards the end of this year, Morphine Killer is steadily building a credible catalog of Heavy Music. I caught up to Eski and Belle recently, as they took the time out of their hectic schedule to chat to Metal Odyssey. Here is what they had to say:

Metal Odyssey: Where and how did Belle and Eski cross musical paths?

Belle: We met through mutual friends. It was right away, that we began talking about music, Eski said he could record me and I said great!

Eski: Both of our musical projects were coming to an end, so it just made sense and felt right that we should make music together.

Metal Odyssey Note: Eski’s two previous bands were Reckoning Day and Honor The Fallen. Belle’s previous music project was Xob.

Metal Odyssey: Your band name Morphine Killer just screams Metal, how did this name come about?

Eski: Originally, when there was no name for our band, I was looking at song titles, like Nightmare and In Silent Agony. Then we went with Morphine Killer. In Silent Agony was just too depressing!

Metal Odyssey: Is your new single “Throw It All Away”, which Rocks the hell out me by the way, a prelude to an upcoming album or EP?

Eski: We’re finishing up on a full length album now, with a release date towards the end of the year. There will be ten or eleven new songs on this album and Throw It All Away is included on it. We never considered putting any of the songs from our two EP’s on this upcoming album, it just would not sit right with us.

Metal Odyssey: Yeah, I’ve seen so many bands over the years do just that, put a previously released EP on a future album. It’s like paying for the songs twice if your a fan.

Eski: I agree.

Metal Odyssey: Does Eski and Bell agree to disagree?

Belle: We don’t always agree, most of the time it all gels together and in the name of music it’s totally worth it.

Eski: We have a song that is slower than anything that we have ever done, more of a ballad, that’s on our upcoming album. The slow ones, those are the songs you really have to work on.

Belle: To the benefit of the song, we work things out.

Metal Odyssey: Morphine Killer has fused together, rather seamlessly, two separate worlds of vocals. The dark and extreme can really coexist with soothing harmony, can’t it?

Belle: Yeah!

Eski: Definitely.

Belle: We have been exposed to an underground L.A. Metal scene that has beautiful sounds of screaming and harmony together.

Eski: Out in Europe, I like looking at what Epica and After Forever have done with vocals.

Belle: We really love bringing something different to music. We wouldn’t be pushing the boundaries of music if we both sounded the same.

Metal Odyssey: “Clutching Defeat” from the “Nightmares” EP seems to be the heaviest and angriest Morphine Killer song. Where did you draw the extreme inspirtation for this intensely great Metal song?

Eski: “Clutching Defeat” has an Old School, Thrash vibe, with a Metallica like riff. It’s a song I took on all myself. It’s a song about knowing you get defeated all the time and you are always being close to winning, then something takes it away.

Metal Odyssey: How supportive has Final Breath Records been to Morphine Killer?

Eski: That’s our company!

Metal Odyssey: Hey, great for you guys! That’s very cool.

Eski: We started this label to back our own stuff.

Belle: It’s being entrepreneurs and we really enjoy knowing we can do this.

Eski: To be taken seriously as musicians, we have to do this and have control of our music.

Metal Odyssey: A rising band like Morphine Killer can utilize a vast array of internet platforms to gain exposure. Does utilizing the internet for promotion take away some of the stress of needing to get your name and music out to the world?

Eski: Sometimes, only there are a lot of other people using the same platforms as us. Interviews and reviews do help of course!

Belle: There is always going to be equal stress, we still have to be going to places for promoting ourselves. The internet is a fantastic gateway of course, the best gateway right now is selling on itunes. It’s the way of the future and we use the technology to our most advantage. Eski is in charge of our marketing and promotion, he’s our publicist as well. Eski is the one behind our website and Myspace Music Page. The amount of exposure Morphine Killer has generated in just two years, is remarkable.

Metal Odyssey: No one can say the two of you are lazy, that’s for sure! I give both of you enormous credit for taking charge and making it happen.

Eski and Belle: Thanks!

Metal Odyssey: “She’s Slipping Away” just resonates with emotion in both Belle’s vocals and the lyrics. Is this song about a personal experience?

Belle: Yes it is. This is a song I wrote about my Mom. She passed away a couple of years ago from cancer. It was a terrible experience, to watch someone I love so much suffer and die this way.

Metal Odyssey: I’m very sorry to hear that Belle. I’m sorry for your loss.

Belle: I wanted to really put my emotions in song for others to hear it, so people could relate. Instead of sitting around at home and doing nothing about what I was feeling and going through, I wrote this song, both the music and lyrics. I do want people to take away whatever inspiration they want from this song, fans don’t have to relate it to my personal loss.

Metal Odyssey: Eski, you and Belle are without question, multi-talented musically, the “Nightmares” and “Unapologetic” EP’s prove this. With that said, would you ever consider adding musicians to Morphine Killer?

Eski: I would like to. It would be a different vibe, as opposed to playing instruments back to you vs. a live environment.

Metal Odyssey: Eski, what is your favorite instrument to play?

Eski: I’m trying to make the bass more fun. I’m more inclined to play the bass live.

Metal Odyssey: You have posted many of your music influences on the Morphine Killer Myspace Music Page. Which band or what musician is your most personal influence?

Eski: Metallica! I especially like “Master Of Puppets”, it’s just awesome! Avenged Sevenfold as well.

Belle: I like Classic Rock. Heart and more recently, Gwen Stefani. Vocally, it’s Ann Wilson and Gwen Stefani, I love those two women! I was raised on Classic Rock because of my parents. Classic Rock was imbedded in our minds, it was the music our parents played in the car and at home.

Eski: As a kid growing up, I knew about bands like Boston and Deep Purple before I knew of Metal!

Metal Odyssey: What band or bands are you aspiring to tour with down the Metal road?

Belle: Good question!

Eski: Metallica, someday!

Metal Odyssey: Hey, there’s nothing wrong with aiming high!

Belle: Avenged Sevenfold is what Eski always says as well. Nine Inch Nails would be great!

Eski: Deathklok, just because of the way their assembled. I really admire what Brendon Small has accomplished with Deathklok, just the way he built that band.

Metal Odyssey: Where will Morphine Killer be in ten years?

Eski: Hopefully on the radio!

Belle: Oh yeah!

Metal Odyssey: Well, something tells me you will be. Especially with the talent and attitude you both have.

Stone.

* You can check out more Morphine Killer by clicking onto their official website and Myspace Music Page links below!

MORPHINE KILLER – Official Website

MORPHINE KILLER – Myspace music

LONG LIVE MORPHINE KILLER!

Stone.

 

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