Archive | Interviews
Mr. Anselmo likes to keep busy, eh? We had a Down EP back in 2012, his first solo album this past year, and now we’re getting another helping of Down in 2014. In a recent interview with CobraMetal.net, Anselmo reveals that he has completed recording his vocals for the next Down EP. You can check out the interview in the video above. The details about the next Down EP start at around the 10 minute mark. Actually, there really aren’t really any details, in that Phil throws out that he’s recorded vocals for the band, but given that awesome revelation, the interviewer doesn’t really bother following it up with any questions. Way to drop the ball, homeboy. But hey, at least we know Phil’s recorded vocals for the album. Also, he reveals that he’s very close to signing a new “big” band to Housecore, and the guys in the band are “very, very, very, very cute.”
Jim Breuer has been blending metal and comedy for years now. His spot on imitations of Judas Priest’s Rob Halford, Ozzy Osbourne and AC/DC’s Brian Johnson, among others, have been staples of his stand up, even as his brand of comedy has evolved in a more family-friendly direction. His most recent stand-up special, in a nod to Metallica, was titled And Laughter For All. But for his new single, “Santa Claus Ain’t Coming To Town,” he delivers on the potential of being a metal comic, singing in his own voice over an original song. Both somewhat of an anti-Christmas carol and a warning for kids to be better, it’s a potential holiday anthem in the making. Having signed on with a management company that counts Slipknot among it’s clients, “Santa” is the first song from his forthcoming metal album that’ll be out next year. It’s available on iTunes now. We caught up with Breuer about the new song, his transition from comedy to music, and how he’s been endorsed by the artists he imitates.
Let me start by asking about your new single and how it came about. You’ve been a metal head and talked about it quite a bit in your act, but this is an actual song. How’d that come about?
This is something I’ve been toying with for, gosh, fifteen years at least. I tried to intro it a little bit on Saturday Night Live when I was there. When SNL was done, I did a music tour with a band, and then it kind of went away. A couple of years ago, I would get people going, “When you doing that thing with the band again? You know, I saw you with that band and that thing was cool, that was really different,” and I remember even Jerry Seinfeld saying, “I really enjoyed that thing you did with the band.” That made me think, ‘alright, I want to start doing this again. That was a fricking awesome thing I was on to, but I want to do it right this time.’ And what that meant by doing it right was: get good management behind me, which I did, and then get a producer that really knows what they’re doing, and that’s exactly what I did.
The rest of the record will be recorded in January. And when management asked if we could do a Christmas song, I was like, ‘you know what, I know exactly what I want to do and yes I can. And it’s not going to be a fuzzy Christmas song.’ I know exactly what I keep waiting for year after year. Every year I hear this rock band or this metal band with a Christmas song, and I don’t want to hear Christmas songs redone. I want to hear really good, updated, rock/metal Christmas songs. And I keep waiting, so this year I went, “No, this year, I’m gonna do it.” And with confidence with singing, with guys like Halford, and Brian Johnson, and being around Metallica, I was always afraid to step into that world because there is a weird medium there. Where it’s like, “Are you a comedian or a rocker? Are you trying to be a rocker?” There’s a weird cheese element that scares me to death, and I’m not scared of it anymore. I know I can bring it, and I’m going to bring it hard, and I think this is going to be the best project ever put out in my whole life. And “Santa Ain’t Coming To Town” is a great example of what’s coming.
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With the band’s 21st studio album, Aftershock, out last month, Motörhead should be on top of the world. But with Lemmy Kilmister’s recent health scare, and the band taking off live shows until next year as a result, an interview in today’s New York Times finds the singer/bassist in a pensive mood. Kicked off by with the question “how are you feeling?” he answers “I just feel really down. I’ll never get a job again. I’m paying for the good times, I suppose. It’s a mixture of all the things I ever did — and I did plenty.” And while the caricature of Lemmy as a chain smoking, Jack Daniels’ chugging madman is seared into the public’s consciousness, that’s no longer the case, as he says he’s no longer smoking and only drinks wine now. It’s a bit sad to hear that one of rock’s most iconic frontman is bummed out, both unable to (for the time being) play live where he thrives, and continue to live the life of excess that’s made him the stuff of legend.
That said, in the Q&A, Lemmy is still his funny, witty self. When asked if to confirm if he’s slept with 1,200 women, he denies it, saying “I wasn’t counting. And when quoted back the infamous “Lemmy is God” quote from Airheads, he replies “No, Got is taller and he dresses better. He lives in a Cap Cod cottage on the end of Rhode Island.” And he’s not particularly impressed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, either, especially since they lost his Ace of Spades tour jacket and a pair of boots. Here’s hoping that he’s recovering nicely and that Motörhead are able to kick off their touring early next year like they’re hoping to.
2013 has been one hell of a year for Battlecross. In support of their new album, War Of Will, the Detroit group embarked on endless touring that found them playing on numerous club tours, touring festivals, and even Metallica’s own music fest held in their home city. And along the way, they even helped prove that crowdfunding can be done well via their own Kickstarter campaign. And yet even with less than two months left of the year, they’re not even done as they’ve still got select holiday shows with GWAR to perform (not to mention their own Christmas show!).
However, it was during the band’s stop in New York City with Death Angel last month we caught up with guitarist Hiran Deraniyagal. While in the lobby of Webster Hall’s Marlin Room, Hiran talked with us about the past year of playing to enormous festival crowds (including James Hetfield), how crowdfunding is beyond a timely fad, and about Battlecross’ search for a new drummer.
This year’s been pretty massive for Battlecross, not only releasing a new album War Of Will but also appearing on Mayhem Fest and Metallica’s Orion Fest. How would you describe the feeling you get from playing such a massive festival and how does it differ from playing in intimate club settings?
The big stage is really awesome because you’re exposed to so many people—there’s so many people there. It kinda puts more pressure on you, but at the same time, when it’s a good show it’s this good feeling of, “Holy crap, we just played in front of all those people! We just had this big crowd in the palm of our hand!” Mayhem and Orion were pretty much like that. A lot of the cities, we were pretty well receptive, so it’s cool playing in front of new people. When you see people roaring and cheering for you, it’s a good feeling. It’s awesome.
But I got to say that, though, that the clubs are kind of my favorite because the clubs are so intimate and up-close. I kind of feel more comfortable. I can hear everything better. When people come to club shows, it’s kind of like to me it feels more of like a diehard fan kind of thing. With festivals it’s like, you’re going to have some diehard fans come out—and we did—but the majority of people are just either checking out the band for the first time or whatever. But with club shows, everyone’s there to see a certain band. It’s just an intimate, up-close feeling. Some of the best shows I’ve been in have been in clubs. Especially when we do headliners and things like that, you have more people that are there to see you that are into it. It’s more of a party, and you kind of let loose because you’re like, “Well, I don’t have to worry about this large sea of people staring at me.” It’s like, I know the stage is comfortable and I’m here to have fun.
Well the reception, though, from Orion alone was fantastic.
Oh, it was amazing! Orion was one of the best shows we’ve ever done. On top of being in our home town, having Metallica introduce us, it’s unbelievable. James Hetfield was cool as fuck, he came and bullshitted with us before we went and played. That whole weekend was such an awesome vibe—hometown, our friends and family there supporting us, and people that hadn’t heard of us—it was just cool, it was just so much fun. And the first time to have [the festival] in Detroit and we got to be a part of that, it’s awesome. Read more »
Opening for a band like Slayer can either be a blessing or a curse. On the one hand, it gives you the chance to perform for a massive new audience of passionate metal heads. However, those dedicated fans aren’t exactly known for being kind towards anyone that isn’t Slayer onstage. Despite knowing this, 4ARM took the challenge to open for Slayer (along with Gojira) on their North American fall tour. And as it turns out, it’s been paying off pretty well for the Australian band.
Drummer/co-founder Michael Vafiotis took the time to talk with Metal Insider while in the midst of the tour. During out chat, the drummer discussed life on the road with Slayer, the advice Overkill gave them prior to the tour, plans for their follow up to the album Submission of Liberty, and the differences touring in the U.S. and their home country.
So I have to ask a question that you’ve probably gotten a million times already… How has it been touring with Slayer?
Yeah, it seems to be the question we’ve been getting asked a lot, which I guess is what most people want to know. We are halfway through the tour and it’s been great so far. We are at the stage now where we’ve truly all passed our initial fan boy thing when meeting them first day and flushed out all the nerves of actually noticing Tom, Kerry, Paul and Gary sit through your performances and watch you play. When you tour with a band like Slayer, you actually see how a band that’s been performing for over 30 years goes about their business. It’s a well-oiled machine with a crew that works tirelessly to get a show of that magnitude running each night. It’s all big scale and to see it behind the scenes is an awesome experience. We definitely feel welcomed on the tour and the Slayer guys have been more than happy to chat, have a drink after the show and give advice to us.
Slayer’s fans have been known to be a tad unruly towards opening acts. How has the crowd reaction been for the band? How did 4ARM prep itself for the tour?
Talking with the guys from Overkill prior to the tour and hearing the stories of how tough it was for even them back in the day to have Slayer fans to accept them when opening up. Their advice for us was basically keep moving on stage to avoid getting shit thrown at us [laughs]. It was a little daunting going into the first show not knowing what kind of reaction we’d get. Hearing 4ARM chants just before the lights went down kind of put my mind at ease though. So thankfully the reaction has been well received and the crowds are actually really getting into the 30 minutes of music we deliver each night. I think also what helps us is our style of music goes down well with Slayer fans. We have that similar sound and vibe that compliments Slayer’s. Our material for the tour is basically our thrashiest, most aggressive songs, just to ensure less negative opinions from the hardcore Slayer audience. Read more »
At the beginning of last year, Metal Insider spotlighted a band called Ancients for our “Unsigned & Streamed” column. We like the band’s brand of heavy, aggressive music. We weren’t the only ones. Later that year, the band signed with Season of Mist, changed their name by adding an extra “i,” and released their debut album, Heart of Oak. Having never played the United States before, they suddenly found themselves on the road with the Death to All tour and opening for the likes of Lamb of God. While their tour with Sepultura wound up being canceled at the eleventh hour, that gave vocalist Kenny Cook and guitarist Chris Dyck an opportunity to chat with us about what’s happened in the past two years.
What made you decide to ultimately go with Season Of Mist?
Chris Dyck: It’s one of my favorite labels. A very artistic label, a very wide spectrum of artists from black metal and death metal. They keep it real creative and they keep it kind of dark, and I really like that. I remember buying CDs from Season Of Mist when they first started out, and [I was] like, ‘Season Of Mist, that sounds cool to me.’ And they really liked the record and they gave us an offer in a timely fashion. There were another couple of labels that were interested, and they did not do that, and on the recommendation of a lot of people we had talked to, they said it was a good label for us. And we also didn’t want to be the baby band on a massive label. We just felt it was a good fit for us and it seemed really fair and like I said, timely. Getting a deal that quick meant a lot, like they were actually interested.
So you gave them the record, and it was already done and ready to be released, right?
CD: Yeah we had it recorded. We recorded it, actually, in February of 2012 and we were holding on to it for a while, so everything except for the mastering was finished. I think we dealt with the artwork and stuff once we signed the deal with them, but we pretty much gave them a finished product.
So that made it probably a little easier for anyone that was going to sign you?
CD: Yeah it wasn’t like they’d listen to our *[back catalog]* and were like, “Oh, well maybe they’d make a good record.” They were like, “Oh, this band has no *[back catalog]*, this record’s good. Let’s put it out.” I guess they saw some potential in us obviously, or something. I sent it to [Season of Mist owner, Berberian] Michael via Facebook, and he was like “hey, this is really good, it’s maybe not quite what we’re looking for,” but then our manager sent it to another guy, Gordon, at the Season Of Mist office in Philly, here, and it was right up his alley. So those two talked, and between our lawyer and our manager, they both agreed that it was the move for us to make, and we’re sure glad we did it too, because they treat us really good.
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If there’s anyone who can give advice on making it into the music business, it’s Eyal Levi. Known by many as the creative mastermind of Daath, Levi has also made a name for himself as part of the Audiohammer Studios family. He’s been behind the mixing board for the past decade’s best albums in extreme music. Hell, the past year alone he helped produce and/or mix new music from The Black Dahlia Murder, Reflections, DevilDriver and Battlecross (just to name a few). So it’s not too surprising that Full Sail University in Sanford, FL asked him to speak to students about the realities of the industry last month.
Recently, Levi took a moment to talk with us. During our chat, Levi spoke about working with musicians in a recording atmosphere, embracing social media, the downfall of the industry, his future musical plans with Keith Merrow (as well as a top-secret writing gig) and Daath’s lack of future plans.
Last month, you held a seminar at Full Sail University. What was that experience like?
It was a lot like playing a gig. It was basically you’re on and have to keep these people interested. I enjoyed it. There was nothing weird about it whatsoever. It felt actually completely natural and it seemed like a good thing to be doing because from the looks on these peoples’ faces, it seemed like the info I was giving them was a) surprising, and b) appreciated. So it’s something I would do again. I don’t think that these schools really go too far into reality, as far as what people can expect after school. There’s basically a safety net, which is: you can redo assignments and what’s the worst that could happen? You drop out, then what? I mean, nothing that can happen to you in school is really all that bad at the end of the day, whereas in real life, you don’t get too many chances. If you fuck it up, you may never get the chance to repair whatever it is. So I think it was kind of helpful for these people to get a little bit of that reality shoved down their throats.
Well speaking of the reality of the business, what would you say is the biggest misunderstanding you think musicians have about the recording studio or about recording in general?
Professional or unprofessional musicians? Because it’s two totally different worlds. Read more »
Suicide Silence waited almost a year after singer Mitch Lucker was killed in a fatal motorcycle accident to name his successor. Now they’ve enlisted the help of their friend Eddie Hermida, formerly of All Shall Perish, as his permanent replacement. In an exclusive interview with Metal Injection, Hermida is now speaking about the transition. He said he was approached by Suicide Silence’s manager about the role, and then after singing a version of the band’s “You Only Live Once,” the band wanted to take things further. A longtime fan himself of Lucker’s and of Suicide Silence, his assurance to their fans is, “Trust me, I got this.”
He spoke candidly of his feelings of being asked to take on the lead singer position.
My initial reaction was to help in any way possible. Mitch and Suicide Silence were always like a surrogate family to me so when they asked me to help with the track I was honored. When they officially asked me if I’d be interested in joining the band, it definitely put me in a tough spot as I had many things to consider.
While he says he will always support All Shall Perish, the way he parted ways with the band appears to be open for interpretation.
Just know that I did everything in my power to stay in All Shall Perish and work both projects. The ASP boys will say that I quit when I decided to take the reigns in SS. I will say that I was asked to step away by my bandmates because they didn’t want my schedule with SS to interfere with their future.
Read more of the interview at metalinjection.net.
Overcoming industry typecast is not an easy task, even if one member of the band is a metal icon in his own right! Brian “Head” Welch’s solo project turned mainstream metal band Love & Death has all the makings to overcome such a typecast. Signed by Tooth & Nail Records, this quartet has been hitting the road with Korn to give fans a 20 minute set that no one will soon forget.
Before hitting the stage at The Filmore Detroit last week (October 1), we sat down and spoke with drummer Dan Johnson. During our chat, we covered overcoming the odds of a side project band, how he came to audition for the band via YouTube, the “Christian” typecast that sees almost no mainstream radio willing to play them, and even the return of their lead singer’s return to his former band.
I’m going to go right to the beginning. Open auditions! YouTube!
Ya, something like that.
So what made you jump into that audition? What made you say “I want to do this?”
I knew the guy who produced his first record, Ralph Patlan. He was one of my best friends at the time, so he approached me about it while I was on tour with another band. And I remember being in Houston, Texas, and he called me up and was like, “I need you to come home right now and make a video.” So I had to get home in 48 hours to make a video in time to get it in before the deadline. I made a video playing one of his tunes, and then a week later I got a call, “They like what you’re doing, so come and jam with us.” So I went down and played in a rehearsal room with them. It was me, Head, and that guy from Marilyn Manson, Andy Gerold… he’s a touring bassist so at the time it was just us. Read more »
Metal Insider’s CMJ Showcase, which will take place on October 16 at Club Europa, will feature Nachtmystium, Byzantine, Black Anvil, Ramming Speed and Vattnet Viskar. This showcase will be Byzantine’s first New York City show since 2007, and it will be a much-deserved welcome back for one of the most underrated American metal bands of the past 10 years. In anticipation for the show, we spoke to singer/guitarist Chris Ojeda about Byzantine self-releasing their self-titled album this year and how their home state of West Virginia influences their music (as well as recalling the time he took Lamb Of God’s Randy Blythe to Tudor’s Biscuit World in Charleston).
This February you released Byzantine, your first record in 5 years. Was it hard to get back in the studio together after all that time?
It took some moving and shaking. First, Tony [Rohrbough, lead guitarist] had to move back from Charlotte, NC to West Virginia. That set up him and I writing the whole album together. Once we had the whole album written, we started jamming in his dad’s old ass garage in the middle of winter. It was brutal, which is exactly how it should be. It took about 4 months of rehearsals to knock the dust off and get the new album down. I am very pleased that we got the seminal lineup back together for this album.
Through Kickstarter, you raised nearly $8,000 to help fund the self-release of Byzantine. What made you guys want to make your new album independent of a label?
We had a brief 3 year period on a record label where we released 3 albums and a DVD. We never felt right being on the label and once we decided to reform, the first thing we all had to agree on was doing this album DIY. I’ve owned my own business now for about 5 years and knew we had the know-how to get the album recorded and released on a semi-pro level. Having The Syndicate work with us was a huge help in getting this album to make waves on a national landscape. Read more »