Category: interview

Interview – BOBBY GUSTAFSON by Bonnie Archer

It
was an absolute pleasure to speak with the “Godfather of Thrash”, Bobby
Gustafson, mostly known for his time with Overkill. Bobby was very comfortable
speaking about the past, what he’s doing now and what he plans to do in the
future.

Let’s start at the beginning. Tell me
how you started out and how you joined Overkill.

I
had a guitar in my hands all the time when I was a kid. I would literally walk
a mile home from school to play at lunchtime and walk all the way back. My parents
saw how much I practiced, and I got this cheap guitar from Sears. I was still
in my last year of High School. Two years later I auditioned for Overkill.

My
first show was in a bar when I was 15. A DJ friend of mine snuck me into bars,
and I would carry his records in the booth. His name was Chuck, and he later
became the DJ at L’Amour in Brooklyn. Through him, I met John who played in Law
& Order. That band wanted Ratt (Skates), and he tried to steal Ratt for his
own band, but they recommended me for this band he knew that was looking for
guitarists. We tried to find DD’s house for the audition, and we got lost. By the
time we got there it was pretty late, but they wanted me to come back. We had
another guitar player for 2 weeks, he quit, we tried someone else, he quit, and
I told the band I could do it myself. The band was playing covers at the time
but I wanted to play original music. Within 8 months we had everything set to
go and put on our first show.

Our
first show was in August of ’83. Jon Zazula first saw in Jan of ’84, and it was
a blizzard. No one came out. It was a horrible show. The next time he saw us we
opened up for Anvil at L’Amour in October of ’84 and we ripped. We were razor
tight and had more songs. He gave us a contract the next day. But we had to
wait to get into the Pyramid studio until Nov of ’85. We didn’t know any
better. We were kids. That’s where he wanted us to go. We did what we were
told. So it seems like we were a bit later than the other bands, but we were
right there. We could have had that album out a lot sooner.

Then you released Feel the Fire. It was
received extremely well. What did you contribute to that? Did you write lyrics,
music, produce…?:

I
did a couple of lyrics, on the songs “Kill at Command” and “There’s No Tomorrow.”
I was really good at coming up with song titles, and Blitz would write the
lyrics on his own and then try to fit them to the title. I think I came up with
the album cover. I was the only one who wanted orange, they wanted green, so we
went with green. Then I told Biohazard why we used it, and Biohazard came out
with orange, so I credit myself for them using it. It really stood out. We
needed a color that would really stand out in a dark club. But then the green
grew on me.

You did some overseas tours, correct?

The
very first time we went overseas was the spring of ’86. Metal Hammer tour with
Anthrax and Agent Steel. Then with Slayer when we’re doing Taking Over, then
with Helloween was a big one in Europe, then with Megadeth, they were promoting
Peace Sells. We did another Slayer
tour in Europe, and a Slayer/Motorhead tour in the US, going into promoting The Years of Decay.

I remember seeing you guys at L’Amour A
LOT. Overkill and Anthrax were practically the house bands. Tell me about those
days.

We
became friends with the owners, and then they started managing us. We started
opening for bands, and then they started giving us Friday nights, and when
those would sell out, they gave us Saturday nights. Then we’d sell out on
Friday AND Saturday night. Everybody stopped there, from Queensrÿche to Maiden.

What did you do after you left Overkill?

I
started with I for an I, did some writing, the Cycle Sluts asked me to do a
solo so I helped them out, but I really wanted a change. I didn’t want to be
thrash anymore. I wanted to do something different. I didn’t want to be
compared to what I did before.

Does it bother you to be referred to as “The
Former Overkill guitarist?”

It
doesn’t bother me. I’m told that they’re still playing my songs, and that the
majority of what the audience responds to are my four albums. To know that you
have four albums from me, 30 years ago, and you have 16 albums after me, and my
songs are getting the biggest response, I’m proud of that. As far as I’m
concerned, it sustains what they’re doing right now. They have albums they
don’t play any songs from. If it wasn’t for me they would still be a cover band
from New Jersey.

In 2017 you released, Axe to the Head of My Enemies. Tell me
why you decided to do that.

Friends
on the internet kept saying, “You should play again.” I had material left over,
so we put these 5 songs on the internet. Unfortunately, we used Tune Core, and
they didn’t do anything with it. There was no distribution. Then I wrote 5 more
songs, added it to the EP, created the album and called them “bonus tracks.” We
decided to sell it ourselves. We made enough money to go into the studio again.
I sat down and wrote 12 songs for the new one.

When you released Axe, I remember you wanted to release it on CD only so people could
have something to hold in their hands. Looking back, do you regret not
releasing it digitally?

Not
really. I hear from other bands that they’re not getting paid from it. Trust
me, it’s a pain packing CDs and sending them out. But I wanted control over it.
Sometimes we lost money sending them to Japan and Europe. I just wanted to get
it out there. These songs that I wrote in my room are now in Japan and New
Zealand. That made me happy.

We have to talk about your band name.
Some people love it. Some people are, “What the hell??” How did you come up
with that?”

Like
it is right now, it’s super-hot in Florida. Somebody said, ‘Oh my God it’s hot
as hell.” And the way my mind works, I always have to one up it, so I tried to
think of the hottest thing I could come up with, and I said, “Well, it’s not as
hot as Satan’s Taint.” We giggled about it all day, and I thought, “That sounds
like a good band name”, so I wrote it down, along with other band names. I
didn’t want to take it too seriously. There are a LOT of bad band names out
there. Just scroll on Twitter. I didn’t want to be forgettable. I’d rather have
a good band with a shit name than a shit band with a good name. I thought I
needed something that’s gonna stick out, whether they love it or not. People
loved it at first, it’s only recently that it’s been an issue. With a new band
coming out every day, you gotta have something that’s gonna stick out.  Do you really think that Pink Floyd is a great
name? I think it’s silly, but they’re one of the greatest bands of all time. I
could make it kind of vanilla, so no one gets offended, I could make it a
little scary, a little funny, but I don’t have to impress anybody. My music
will do the talking for me. It sounds good when you say it, it looks good on a
shirt. The word Satan means nothing to me. It’s just a word.

I don’t think it’s the word “Satan”
that’s making people scratch their heads. I think it’s the other word. I’ve
never heard that word used in a band name.

That’s
exactly why I did it! You know what it is…Satan – ooh, scary, Taint – juvenile.
One cancels each other out.

I
never heard that word until we went on tour with Anthrax in ‘86. I think
Frankie had it scratched onto his bass. Some people think it’s supposed to mean
“tainted”…and I thought, well, that’s pretty cool too, like what would taint
Satan’s thought pattern? What would scare him? But most people don’t go to that
– they go to the meaning of the word. You either get it or you don’t.

So there’s really no relationship
between the name of the band and the music. It’s just a name.

No.
There are a lot of bands whose names don’t match what they play. Like Butthole
Surfers. Metallica’s got metal in their name. At my age I wanted to come up
with some dirty ass heavy name, and I look back at what I did 30 years ago, and
a lot of it’s funny. It’s laughable. If you can’t laugh at yourself, you got a
problem. I wanted to have something fun the second time around. I didn’t want
everything to be so serious. I wanted to make music and have fun. I wanted to
be in control and not have deadlines, not have some manager tell me I gotta get
back on the road again. I wanted to make music in my time, when I want to do it
and when I feel like it’s done.

In your music, there are some Nordic
themes, some Viking stuff, so I’m curious: Do you have that heritage?

Yes.
My last name is obviously Scandinavian. I’m Swedish on my father’s side. There
were Gustafson’s that were kings in Sweden. I don’t really know much about it
because my grandparents were dead before I was born, but my Dad was always
proud of his Swedish heritage and I love history. I always fell back on my
Swedish and Italian background.

So Mom is Italian?

Mom’s
Italian, yeah. We can trace her side back to the 1500. There were two brothers
who have a music school that’s still in existence today.

Then
the Viking television series came out, and that was pretty popular, and I
always wanted to do this music. Other bands have done it; I know it’s not the
most original thing in the world, but it’s something history-wise that I liked.

When you say, “A lot of other bands have
done it”, that’s true, but they’re mostly Scandinavian bands. I don’t know of
any American bands doing Viking music. OK, Amon Amarth have been here so often,
they speak perfect English, they’re on Metal Blade, they are practically an
American Band now (laughing).

There
was one band in the early ‘80s called Odin, but since it is my heritage I do
have some claim to it. But we also write about other things, like the raids,
the killing, the exploring, that go hand-in-hand with metal. I actually wrote a
song called “Raid Again” that marries both themes together – it could be a
Viking raid or it could be about a band on tour hitting the stage. It’s just
that explorer type of spirit that a band has, on the road, exploring new
places, new lands, countries, clubs…I thought the similarities were kind of cool.

The new CD, Destruction Ritual, I love
the first single, Desecration.

Yes,
that’s going to be a video soon. We followed the lyrics strictly, and found
video clips that fit. I try to dig a little be deeper, and do things that
people have never heard of before. I’m always reading and coming up with stuff
that’s not typical. I just don’t want the music to be your typical mind candy.
Like the name, I just don’t want it to be something vanilla that people pass
over. Whether it’s the lyric, or the song title, people can research some of
the stuff I’m talking about.

There’s definitely some rage in your
song titles: “Spit in Your Coffin”, “End your Bloodline”…

(Laughing)
The engineer said that to me one day. He said, “Whatever made you so angry?” I
said, “Living.” He cracked up. There are enough bands that put nothing out,
nothing that raises your interest or gives you something to think about. I
wanted to fill that void.

I think the music will definitely speak
for itself. And you are going to be releasing it digitally, right?

Yes,
the pre-orders have already started. You get the one song now. The actual
release date is August 2nd. That’s new for me, this gigantic
build-up.

I know on the first one you played
everything except the drums, right? What did you play on this one?

With
the first one, I did all the guitar work; I had some guest musicians do some
solos and leads. I had a couple of different drummers. With this one, instead
of having to mail stuff out to other people, waiting for them to get into a studio
to play, waiting to get it back…I could see it dragging on forever. I had the
music all in my head, I can play bass, so I thought, let’s just get it done. I
did all the solos too. Basically it was me and my drummer, Jim McCourt. I used
the same two singers, Dan Ortega and Paolo Velazquez. They got 5 songs each,
one they sung on together, “Forever is nothing.” They both sing in Spanish on
that one. There’s one instrumental. They got to pick out the ones they thought
fit them musically.

Is there any possibility that you might
get out and tour?

I’m
working on it. I’m talking to other bands, calling in favors, but I think what
will probably really help is when the album comes out. A lot of the agencies I
spoke to that said, “I’m a big fan of your old stuff” might come around. I’d
love to do a festival or a cruise.

Is there any guitarist out there right
now that you follow or admire?

There
are tons of great guitar players, tons of players better than me. I learned
early on not to judge anybody. A friend told me long ago that if you play by
yourself, you will develop your own style. I don’t worry about what anyone else
is doing. There are plenty of good players who are just not discovered. But if
you don’t have a song – that’s what connects with people. I’m not worried about
my guitar playing; I’m worried about writing a song, because that’s what people
remember. They don’t remember solos, they remember songs. I consider myself a
better songwriter than I am a guitar player. You need something memorable that
connects with people. Anyone can shred. Look at Yngwie – I think he’s probably
the world’s best guitar player. But what was his last song? Couldn’t name it.
That one from the ‘80s? People will come and watch you play and do a solo for
90 minutes, but are they walking out humming anything? If you just want to see
someone shred go see Steve Vai.

So what’s the plan to get this new CD
out?

Doing
interviews like now, the link is out on Facebook, and hopefully get a few shows
in. The video should help. We’re going to try to do videos for two more songs.
I’ve already started writing a 3rd album. I’ve got about a 106 riffs
right now. Every time I pick up the guitar I put something on tape.

Speaking of videos, every once in a while
you catch an Overkill video on a “Metal Hour” on TV, you know which one?

Elimination
(laughing). I still dig that video.

It’s a great song, it’s a great video.

Here’s
some history, that song almost didn’t make it to the album. We had all the
songs written except for that one. It was half done. When we went in to go
record, I finished it in the studio. We almost made it an 8-song album, but I
said, “No, I really like this riff.” So I finished it, and we recorded it.

Every song on that album is great, and
it sounds like you have a great album ready to come out.

It’s
funny; people tell me there are people’s kids coming to see me. But now kids
are totally getting into the 80’s, and their parents are still digging it too,
which is crazy. I would never listen to the stuff from the ‘60s my older
brother would listen to. But there’s something about metal it’s one of those
forms of music that just continues as long as the songs are good. I think it’s
great.

I
want to be remembered for putting out good music. This new album is the best
continuation of what I did with my previous band that I could possibly have
right now.

And by putting out a second CD, you’re
showing that Axe to the Head of my
Enemies
was not a one-trick pony, that it wasn’t just material you had left
over but now the well has run dry.

Not
in the least. Wait until you hear it. It’s all the best from the first album
magnified on this one.

I think that’s a good note to end on.
Thank you for speaking with me about your career, and your history, and your
new music, and what you have planned. I look forward to seeing where this goes,
and of course, to the release of the new album.

It’s
very exciting to have something released after all these years. I said when I
first started that as long as people keep buying it, I will continue to put out
music. I’m not looking to get rich off of it, just to make enough to make
another album.

Destruction
Ritual will be released on August 2nd on Megaforce Records.

Interview: ONYX AND THE RED LIPS by Matt D

What’re your highlights of the year so far?

Floriane Andersen “Onyx” (Lead singer/songwriter) – It would
definitely be opening for the amazing Michelle David & The Gospel Sessions.
It was such an honor to be able to play alongside such an incredible band. We
were allowed to watch the whole show from the side of the stage. It was such a
special moment, watching someone you admire perform and experience it from
backstage. It can be a challenge sometime to play for an audience who doesn’t
know your music, but the crowd was so incredibly welcoming. Playing at the Bus
Palladium in Paris in January was another highlight as it’s such a legendary
venue.

 What are your goals for the rest of the year?

O – We are touring for the first time for the release of our
debut album so our goal is to meet our audience and bring our music everywhere
in the world. We are lucky enough to perform all over France and now in the UK,
and we hope to be able to go further and introduce our music to more countries.

Which new bands/artists are you into right now?

O – I am very lucky to be surrounded by such talented and
creative people. Two of them released beautiful EPs this year. Billy Bogard and
has a folky universe with a very touching soft voice. A French artist, Mey, has
a more dark, electro-alternative vibe. The lyrics are unapologetic, and the
music has a heavy and floating sound. Very different styles but both authentic
and personal.

What was the band or artist that got you into
music or inspired you to be a musician?

O – Motown music produced in the ’60s and ’70s has been a huge
inspiration to me. Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and Frankie Valli spoke to me,
but Michael Jackson really impacted me throughout all his career and the evolution
of his music. He managed to navigate between so many different styles without
losing his personality. He was one of the first to have such a strong cinematic
universe, and to mix dance, music and storytelling. Seeing Thriller for the
first time was a revelation.

How best do you write; in a jam room or a studio?

O – My writing process is a very lonely one. I usually compose
music first on the piano, sometimes with just a theme in mind. Then, once the
music and atmosphere is set, the writing process can start. The music creates
emotions and words arise from it organically. Melody and vocal harmonies
usually come last quite naturally as the chords and words are matching in a
certain way. Arrangements are sometimes a more collective process as everyone
in the band add his personality through their instruments.

What was your wildest show so far, and why?

O – Definitely our first festival the Galeria Biker Bay.
Biggest crowd and biggest show. A lot of pressure, but the audience was so wild
from the first notes, we felt unstoppable. Playing alongside Henry Padovani
(one of the founders of The Police) was such an honor. It was a turning point
for the band as we felt like we were in the big game.

Where is the furthest across the globe you’ve
played so far?

O – Our wildest show happened to also be the furthest. The
festival was set in Corsica, and the stage was set right across a cliff and you
could see the sea at the back of the stage. It was such a stunning view! We
arrived to the Island by boat, quite a journey and an unforgettable adventure!

Interview: TREP by Matt D

What’re your highlights of the year so far?
TREP – We released our first single ‘Silence the Crows’ in January and although it’s early in the year and early days for the competition, we progressed to the Semi-Finals of this year’s Metal to the Masses in Bristol.

What are your goals for the rest of the year?
Sam Green (Bass & Vocals) – See how far we can get in the Metal to the Masses competition and just get our music out there on as many platforms as we can.
Rhys Evans (Guitar & Vocals) – We’re going on our first tour in March which should be a right laugh and something we’ve not done before as a band.
Max Hill (Drums) – Just letting everybody having a listen to our EP – gigging it and touring it as much as we can.

Which new bands/artists are you into right now?
SG – High Rise. Real nice guys who really know how to put on a show.
MH – Jinjer. I followed them from their 2nd EP when nobody really knew about them. Everything I hear coming from them is just getting better and better and seeing them play live at Amplified was the pinnacle.
RE – Nuns of the Tundra are a really cool band. Robot Love has a banging riff that is right up my street.

What was the band or artist that got you into music or inspired you to be a musician?
MH – I’d probably say, when I was a teen, it would have been Machine Head, Sepultura & Nirvana.
SG – Iron Maiden riff-wise. You can’t deny Steve Harris’ galloping bass lines!
RE – Muse definitely inspired me the most. Origin of Symmetry was huge for me when I listened to it for the first time.

How best do you write; in a jam room or a studio?
SG – Our jam room is a studio!

What was your wildest show so far, and why?
MH – We played Queens Hall in Nuneaton with High Rise and that was an amazing night. Great camaraderie. Great venue. Great promoter and the local constabulary helped us a lot. SG – One of the key things we remember, as the police officer stuck his head through the window, was “you’re either very, very drunk or very, very lost. Where you heading, boys?” “Cardiff”, I replied. “Shit. You are lost!” Who says being designated driver is boring?!

Where is the furthest across the globe you’ve played so far?
TREP – We’ve travelled around the UK a bit, such places as Nuneaton, Bristol & Gloucester and of course, Wales! We’re looking to venture out further in 2019 and push our music out there.  

Interview: THE OCEAN – ROBIN STAPS by Matt D

While at the wonderful gathering that is Damnation festival we caught up with Robin Staps from The Ocean (not long before their excellent headline set!) to talk about his 2018, their new album (which had launched the day prior) and even climate change itself…

So yesterday was a big day with the album launch – how has the reception for it been so far?

Really good! To be honest I haven’t followed it so much the last couple of weeks because we were preparing for the tour and we’ve been struggling with manufacturing issues for the vinyl still so everything was really busy until the day we left basically. It’s been great so far, people seem to really love the record, it connects the people that are into our earlier stuff with the people that are into Pelagial and recent records, it’s that bridge album.

What led to the idea to make this a so to speak double album?

The material was already written and when I was listening to it, it reminded me strongly of the vibe of Precambrian, the riffs were slow, sludgy riffs and just the way the songs were shaping up even with the pre-productions  of the finished album having that Precambrian vibe, at the same time I knew the songs would transform  when Loic would add vocals to it because that’s what always happens and he wasn’t in the band during Precambrian, that’s when it was clear that this would be a bridge between the old and new Ocean then we had the tenth anniversary of Precambrian so it all made sense to go back to that record and continue with a new album basically where Precambrian left off.

Now you’ve split this record into two parts – the first part came out yesterday (November 2nd) and the second part will be out in 2020. Considering the last time The Ocean did two records in Heliocentric and Anthropocentric there was not that long of a gap between them – is the gap between these two by design or…?

Yes it is by design because we didn’t want to throw out too much material at once, people’s attention spans are relatively short these days and there’s no point releasing an eighty or ninety minute album when most people will only listen to half of it basically and it allowed us more time spacing the two albums out to actually finish everything. We wanted to get something out now because we’ve been quite inactive the last two years where we took a break from playing in a band, we all came back at the end of last year and all of us came to the conclusion that we really wanna do a record now. We did record drums together, the second album is almost finished instrumentally but the vocals haven’t been recorded yet and it simply wouldn’t have been possible to do everything at the same time because now we’re touring again on the first record and we’d be struggling finding that slot to record vocals during the next couple of months so I think it was a smart move to do it that way.

Conceptually it also makes sense – the second record is distinctively different from the first and I’ve always liked to somehow divide the material that I write into albums that have this sort of coherence to them and I think throwing all that material into one record wouldn’t have been good artistically either, it’s better to have two separate releases.

What I thought was interesting is that the first single that people heard from this new record was the closer in Permian: The Great Dying. What led to that being the choice?

I think it’s the track that’s the most representative of this record as a whole, it has the really heavy parts and also clean vocals in the verses, when I first heard Loic’s vocal ideas for the track it immediately stuck with me and we all felt like this is the lead track basically, it’s I don’t want to say catchy but it’s like something that sticks to your ears when you hear it! It represents the band and where we are in 2018, it’s quite an unusual track also song writing wise – it’s divided into two different parts but they still kinda make sense together, initially we were going to split it up into two different tracks but then it felt like they belonged together although the second half makes no reference to the first half musically, it’s an odd track in a way but we’re an odd band so it boils down to what we’re doing!

Another thing I love about the record is Devonian: Nascent because you have a special guest in Jonas from Katatonia on that track – how did that collaboration come about?

We were already in touch with Jonas back in 2007 when we were recording Precambrian and they were making The Great Cold Distance, I sent him some pre-productions for Precambrian and asked him for a guest feature and he was really into it but we couldn’t make it happen at that time because we just ran out of time and then the thing was forgotten for years then last year we played a gig with them in Romania where they actually played The Great Cold Distance in its entirety which was for me a very important record – one of the first heavy records with clean vocals that I was really getting into – after that gig we revisited the idea to do something together and I had this particular song in mind where I could really imagine his voice, he wrote his own vocal lines, his own lyrics and the final version on the record is very close to the initial demo that he sent us in February, he really made the song his own within the context of our band and I think it just worked really well, it was a positive experience – that’s how you want a collaboration to be where you don’t have to keep explaining to someone ‘can you please do this?’, he hit the nail on the head right from the start.

Do you think the timing of this record works well given the recent news regarding climate change and the theme of environmentalism that is within the record?

The last track – Permian: The Great Dying obviously makes reference to the current debate about climate change although it’s referencing something that happened at the end of the Permian period when nearly ninety five percent of all marine life were wiped out due to an increase in temperature that is comparable to what we’re facing now actually and although the causes were entirely different – that was mostly increased volcanic activity over thousands of years – nowadays that’s clearly human induced, the causes may have been different but we presumed that the consequences won’t be any different, we don’t have to speculate, we can figure out exactly what happens when an increase in temperature of four or five degrees Celsius happens over the next couple of hundred years, we just have to look at the end of the Permian period and find the answers – ninety five percent of marine life but it didn’t disappear, it resurged in different forms and places but it was a very drastic extinction event, I think that puts the current discussion in the right light.

There was a recent report in how the UK is already experiencing hotter days and heavier rain (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46064266)

That’s the thing also – we’re looking at very shorter timescales now, what happened at the end of the Permian period was over tens of thousands of years, now we’re discussing a drastic change over a couple of hundred years that is something we have to take into account comparing these events.

With the second half of Phanerozoic does it carry on where The Great Dying left off?

Pretty much, the first record we’ve released now covers the Palaeozoic era and the then the second half is two eras in one: the Mesozoic and the Cenozoic  which are the next two consecutive in Earth’s history – the Cenozoic is the one we currently live in so conceptually it will carry on where The Great Dying left us. There’ll be three songs on each era, one song for each period, this album had six tracks (apart from the intro) as the Palaeozoic era had six periods so it’s all mathematical!

I can’t tell you how we’re going to approach it lyrically for the second record yet, with Pelagial it was a concept album about a journey from the surface of the sea to the abyss of the deep sea but the lyrics weren’t talking about deep sea creatures so it was a journey into the depths of the human mind based on the Stalker movie and this time we took a similar approach for the first record so there’s a lot of references to events that happened but the lyrics actually deal with human issues, if you want to create music that has any kind of emotional impact there’s no point writing about rocks!

What have been your favourite albums of the year?

Let me ask my Spotify! [both laugh] I can tell you I’ve been listening a lot to the latest Scraps of Tape (The Will To Burn), I’m listening to a lot of electronic stuff – contemporary, downtempo stuff that’s completely not related to metal at all and obviously a lot of stuff I’m releasing on my label (Pelagic) – Arabrot, an Australian band called YVLA that we released last year that I’m still listening to a lot – really heavy album with great dynamics and a band that anyone that listens to Cult of Luna for example should check out, I just recently discovered Spotlights, Crippled Black Phoenix’s new record is awesome and I really got into Love Sex Machine as well.

Interview: DYLAN from THIS PLACE HELL by Matt …

As we begin 2019 what were your highlights of 2018?  

Dylan Scully (Bass): Going to the UK to record with Justin Hill was definitely the first highlight of the year, it was some of the most fun we’ve had recording, as well as the best we’ve sounded on record. Winning the Bloodstock M2TM competition followed that shortly after, it was such a huge honour to be picked by Simon to go and play Bloodstock. Then we had our track ‘Filth’ debuted on Kerrang radio, playing Knockanstockan, Bloodstock and opening for Dead Label and Devildriver all within a few weeks, 2018’s been good to us so far!

What are your goals for 2019?

DS: We’re going to be releasing a new EP at the start of 2019, as well as touring our home country and the UK. After that we’re going to be working on what will be our debut album.

Which new bands/artists would you recommend in 2019?

DS: BAILER, Dead Label, Ten Ton Slug, zhOra, Worn Out and Rouen are some of our favourite Irish bands, and then you’ve got GroundCulture over in the UK, I think all these bands are gonna be doing big things in the next while.

What was the band or artist that got you into music or inspired you to be a musician? 

DS: A whole mixed bag really, I remember Guns N Roses being the first band that really caught my attention and made me wanna play music. I mean, who hasn’t seen the video for November Rain where Slash just starts shredding that solo out in the desert and thought “that’s what I wanna do” right? After that ya had Rage Against The Machine showing the angry side of music and that mix of rap and metal that we grew up on in the 90’s. The bands that really informed our style were Slipknot and Korn though. There’s somethin about those low tuned riffs, the grooves from Korn and the manic energy from Slipknot that just totally drew me in.

Interview: JESSE from WEST COAST FEED by Matt …

What’re your highlights of the year so far?

Jesse Butterworth (Lead Singer) “Best show we’ve played so far was a private event we did for the staff of charity:water, a non profit that brings clean water to the millions of people who don’t have easy access. We have partnered with them and are huge believers in what they’re doing, so being able to be there in their NYC offices and play for them and give them a big donation from the band was a highlight, for sure.”

 

What are your goals for the rest of the year?

JB “We just got off the road from a big promo tour in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City and Seattle and it was incredible!  It’s a pretty surreal feeling to show up to play a city for the first time and have sold out shows.  We’re taking a break for the rest of 2018 because we’re doing work with clean water projects in Central Africa Republic and orphan care projects in Ethiopia, but we’ll be back on the road in early 2019.

 

Which new bands/artists are you into right now?

JB “I’m currently really digging Alec Shaw’s new stuff.”  

 

 

What was the band or artist that got you into music or inspired you to be a musician?

“When I was a kid I really loved music, but there were a few albums that really stuck out to me.  The early Lenny Kravitz albums (Mama Said & Are You Gonna Go My Way) when he was doing full on, old school rock.  There another couple albums that I got really into by Harry Connick, Jr. Not his crooner stuff, in the 90’s he put out 2 funk records with the best funk players in New Orleans (She and Star Turtle).  Ever since then, I’ve always tried to figure out how to marry the sounds, vibe and feel of those records into one band, and I think we’ve finally landed on it with The West Coast Feed.”

 

How best do you write; in a jam room or a studio?

JB- “Both are helpful and stretch me in different ways, but my main go to is to get alone in my office or the den of my house and just stay put until I’ve got something that resembles a song.”

 

What was your wildest show so far, and why?

JB – The wildest show was probably a big festival we played recently and when we showed up they didn’t have any backline for us. So no amps and no drums.  We eventually got it sorted out right at show time, but it was a real cluster right before.

 

Where is the furthest across the globe you’ve played so far?

JB- New York City.  We’re hoping to make it over to the UK in 2019, though!

 

We’re coming to the end of 2018; top five albums and movies of the year so far?

JB – “Boarding House Reach by Jack White, By The Way I Forgive You by Brandi Carlisle, The Dark Side by Muse and Brooklyn In The Summer by Aloe Blacc

 

 

And for fun; worst albums and movies of the year so far?

JB – “My wife and I were big “Alias” and Jennifer Garner fans, so we were excited to see her back in that type of role in the movie “Peppermint”.  Turns out that that movie was one of the unintentionally funny movies of 2018.”

INTERVIEW: Bones Of Minerva by Matt D

What’re your highlights of the year so far?

Ruth (Guitar) – This last year has been unreal! We played at several festivals here in Spain, travelled to Ibiza, sold out all the first batch of our cd’s, issued a special edition of our debut, were on national radio and went to play some shows in the UK for the very first time.

What are your goals for the rest of the year?

Chloé (Bass) – Our goal for the rest of the year is to be able to start writing new stuff and hopefully book a European tour for next year.

Which new bands/artists are you into right now?

CB – Personally I’m into spanish bands I discovered recently, like Púrpura, Terrestre and Grajo.

Blue (Vocals) – Right now I’m listening to Rosalia’s new album and Jorja Smith, I just discovered her.

RG – We played with a Basque band called Viborv recently and they absolutely smashed it, awesome band. Le Mur and Firmam3nt are very cool too.

What was the band or artist that got you into music or inspired you to be a musician?

RG – I don’t think there was only one, but maybe Prince. My parents had a video of his Sign o’ The Times tour and my brother and me would watch it nonstop. He was an insane musician, and the live show just blew my mind.

Chloé (Bass) – I don’t think I could choose only one band or artist that got me into music.

BV – Yeah, same, I can’t think of just one. For me what got me into music was seeing that I could be good at it, it was the only thing I felt comfortable and confident doing when I was 9, and the fact that something could make me feel like that at that age meant a lot. Of course though with time I got different influences.

How best do you write; in a jam room or a studio?

CB – I think we work pretty well in a jam room. We’ve never really tried to write in the studio because you’re always stressing about what needs to be done and timing, so it’s not something we’ve done.

BV – Yeah, we always try to have everything tied up for the recordings, but in my case I have always changed the vocal lines at the last second in the studio hahaha, even if it’s only a little bit.

What was your wildest show so far, and why?

RG – Our shows aren’t generally that wild, but the strangest situation was probably when we played in Ibiza in June. The gig was outdoors, and just as we started playing a massive thunderstorm broke out, halfway through the set it started raining mud and there were huge lightning bolts, it was like an AC/DC video or something hahaha. Pretty metal, but we had to stop playing because it was just too dangerous. Maybe we raised a demon or something, I don’t know.

 

Where is the furthest across the globe you’ve played so far?

CB – We played two shows in Gothenburg (Sweden) last year and then two in the UK a couple of weeks ago.

We’re coming to the end of 2018; top five albums and movies of the year so far?

Our list (in no particular order) would include:

– Tesseract   ‘Sonder’ We’ve had it on repeat in the car all summer, amazing album.

– A Perfect Circle   ‘Eat The Elephant’ – We’re huge APC fans, we saw them in the summer too in Barcelona and WOW, what a show.

– Rosalía   ‘El Mal Querer’ This one is just stunning, she’s an incredibly talented Spanish artist who’s kind of fused her flamenco roots with trap.

-Films: Deadpool 2 / Black Panther / Avengers: Infinity War – We’re very big comics fans so these have got to be on the list!

And for fun; worst albums and movies of the year so far?

Top of the list has to be the film Megalodon, what a disappointment, hardly any blood at all. The Nun was also pretty bad. But worst albums? We’d rather not answer that question!

Interview- SNEW: Curtis Don Vito

Words: Matt D

What’re your highlights of the year so far?
CVD – First off we recorded our fourth album. We spent three months recording, then a couple months mixing and mastering. So that took us half way through the year. The album is called “You’ve Got Some Nerve” and it comes out September 17th. Right now we are in the process of getting ready to head to the UK for a tour that brings us to the Hard Rock Hell Festival Nov. 9 with a bunch of other dates after that. This has been a busy and exciting year for us.

What are your goals for the rest of the year?
CVD – Putting the new album out and heading to the UK for the first time ever. People have been asking us to play there for years and we’re finally making it happen.

Which new bands/artists are you into right now?
CVD – Every independent hard rock and metal band on the planet. Every artist that is playing this kind of music because they love it and the only reason is because it means everything to them and they just can’t live without it. There are lots of us out there and I support them all, we’re family.

What was the band or artist that got you into music or inspired you to be a musician?
CVD – There are so many bands and artists that have inspired and taught me what music is and how to create it. Kiss, Motörhead, Judas Priest, Sabbath, MC5, Maiden, UFO, Sweet, Dio I could go on and on and on. All the bands that make me crazy and fill me with that raw electrified unrelenting energy. The ones that no matter how many times I’ve heard them I still want more. Wanting more is what inspired me to make music and write more of those kinds of songs.

How best do you write; in a jam room or a studio?
CVD – You can’t force a good idea it just hits you all of a sudden. When it does I’ll usually write it down or sing it into a recording device then I’ll call Andy and say “Dude I got this idea let’s work on it while it’s fresh”. Then he and I will work out the basic parts then get together with the rest of the band and jam it out until it sounds right. Then we take that into the recording studio and the process begins again, refining it, finding the holes that need something or changing parts that sounded great in the jam room but somehow don’t come across in the recording. So, both the jam room and the studio are essential.

What was your wildest show so far, and why?

CVD – Then the last night of our “Thunderdog” tour in 2014 we got booked to play some concert hall in North Texas, some place we never heard of but that’s not unusual. So we drive and drive and drive and we can’t find where the hell this place is. We’re looking for the address but it’s not showing up on GPS and we can’t get anybody on the phone. We’re surrounded by trees and forest. We didn’t even know Texas had forests. We get to an area where it seems like it just has to be it but again, nothing there but trees. We’re thinking we may just have to forget it and go home.

Then we see someone walking along the roadside so we ask if they have any idea where this place is. They say “yeah, follow me”. So we are driving slowly following this guy on foot and it leads to a house. We see tons of people all everywhere but we’re looking at each other, WTF? Turns out it’s a house party that this person puts on every year where he turns his garage into a makeshift club. Half the band wanted to leave feeling like someone was playing some kind of  joke on us. But Lenny and I said “No were staying. This is the perfect way to end the tour”. We ended up having a blast. Hundreds of crazy Texans, drunk off their asses, cheering, screaming, dancing. They loved us and I gotta say we loved them. So what started off as what could have been the worst gig ever turned into one of the best nights of our lives.

Where is the furthest across the globe you’ve played so far?
CVD – We’ve played all across the United States from coast to coast. We’re from Los Angeles so the furthest point so far would have to be New York. We are finally about to head overseas for the first time. We are playing the Hard Rock Hell Festival in Wales on November 9th with a bunch of other UK dates to follow that. We cannot wait!

Interview – Sons of Alpha Centauri – Marlon Ki…

Prior to the release of Continuum, we caught up with Marlon King from SOAC:

As we begin 2018 what were your highlights of 2017?

Marlon King (Guitars) – 2017 was an eventful year for both us as a band and for myself as I had my first born arrive in March 2017 which definitely added a new challenge to the mix. SOAC managed to record and finish the last few tracks to our album Continuum and the main highlight for me was having the opportunity to work with Aaron Harris on the mixing of the album. I’m a great fan of the music from Palms and Isis (the band) as is Nick (bass), so to have Aaron mixing the album was a great experience and he didn’t disappoint on the delivery.

 

What are your goals for 2018?

MK – The release of Continuum will be one of our biggest goals. We have been working towards this release for several years now and had a few detours along the way. It will be great to finally get this album out there. Post Continuum, we already have several ideas for new material that we plan to start working on. So to break it into goal terms I’d say the main one is to speed up our release process so there is less of a gap in between Continuum and our next album.

 

Which new bands/artists would you recommend in 2018?

MK – Not necessarily a new band but if you like the likes of Arcade Fire or post rock/indie type vibes you should check out Volcano Choir. Also check out Between Waves by The Album Leaf.

 

What was the band or artist that got you into music or inspired you to be a musician?

MK – I grew up listening to a lot of classic rock, Stones, Kinks, Jimi Hendrix etc. so I had a lot of good choices there. But it wouldnt be one single band or artist that inspired me. I was influenced in different directions from several. One of my favourite albums growing up was Jailbreak by Thin Lizzy, I loved the riffs (some of the first I learned on guitar) and the guitar solos really spoke to me.

There is another side though, and that is the journey. For me, whilst listening to an individual track is cool, I much prefer getting involved in the journey of an album. Nick on the other hand is more about the singles and loves to work on the more hard hitting riff in your face type stuff which is great as between the two of us, we get a good blend of riff and journey. So I’d say the likes of Pink Floyd and Moody Blues were my main inspiration from the Journey perspective.

Interview – PENNAN BRAE

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With acclaim at multiple film festivals, The Astronot brings to fruition a vision that co-producer/actor/musician and writer Pennan Brae has had in mind for quite some time. In this chat with Matt D he reveals the reason  The Astronot came to be, working with Steve Ferrone and Garry Gary Beers and his love for The Tragically Hip, John Mellencamp and more.

As we begin 2018 what were your highlights of 2017?

Pennan Brae – My highlights of 2017 was completing the album & film which I worked the past couple years on called ‘The Astronot’. Hearing the finished versions of the lead singles of the soundtrack ‘Walk With Me’  & ‘Crashland’ featuring drummer Steve Ferrone & bassist Garry Gary Beers, was definitely a highlight.  

What are your goals for 2018?

PB – My goals for 2018 are just to keep working away & promoting the film & soundtrack/album release.  I’d like to do some live shows also.  

Which new bands/artists would you recommend in 2018?

PB – I don’t listen to much new music to tell you the truth, so I can’t be of much help there.  Bands I do recommend listening to are ‘The Tragically Hip’ which is the finest band Canada has ever produced.  It features the beautiful poetry & singing of lead singer Gord Downie, who we lost too soon last year, to brain cancer.  Another wonderful Canadian band I recommend is Blue Rodeo; a sweet combination of rock, country, blues & folk.  

What was the band or artist that got you into music or inspired you to be a musician?

PB – As a teenager, I really enjoyed listening to John Mellencamp, Bryan Adams & Steve Miller.  Being a pianist, I also really enjoyed Bruce Hornsby & Elton John.  In early adulthood it was probably the Rolling Stones & Muddy Waters who were the biggest influences.  I enjoyed playing their music on guitar so much that it was motivating to learn more.

So you’ve decided to also add screenwriter to your accomplishments with The Astronot – what led to the decision to make the movie?

PB – I had done many music videos before filming The Astronot.  I really enjoyed the writing process.  But after doing 20 music videos, the 3-minute story scape felt too short & I wanted to tell a longer story. So, I began writing the film after doing a photoshoot for an unrelated project in which I was wearing an astronaut suit.  The plan was to stand under the moon holding a wooden ladder.  Then the thought crossed my mind of an individual who wants to go to space but is inhibited in some way.  That was how the story of The Astronot began.  It was very enjoyable to pursue.  

How was it working with the likes of Steve Ferrone and Garry Gary Beers on the soundtrack?

PB – Working with Steve Ferrone & Garry Gary Beers was a whole new ballgame for me.  That was one of the biggest stages of growth which occurred over the past year.   All of a sudden I’m entering hallowed ground with these musicians who have storied careers & whom I’m a big fan of.  It was a mind-blowing opportunity really.

For those that haven’t seen The Astronot – please feel free to describe the film.

PB – The film takes place between 1941-69. It follows the life of a boy into adulthood. Ever since this kid could remember, he was fascinated by space & loved stargazing with this father in rural Oregon.  It was World War II though & the father was called to service & never returned.  In turn, the son withdraws from the world & becomes a recluse going into adulthood in the 1960s.  It was only the American & Soviet space race during that time which captured his imagination & shed some light in his life.  It was also when he meets a woman who also reignites some hope in his life. Their connection brings the fellow out of his reclusiveness.  He still harbours intense fears of loss with those close to him & he battles these insecurities as they experience the wonder of the first moon landing together.  

What were your favourite films of 2017?

PB – I didn’t watch a film in 2017 which really knocked me out.  I think the last one which did was ‘The Theory of Everything’ on the life of Stephen Hawking & that incredible performance by Eddie Redmayne.  The soundtrack & cinematography for that film is wonderful.