“ALPHA OMEGA AND EMP WORLD METAL DOMINATION” PART ONE!
By Jay Rollins
Metal has become a musical tradition of global synergy. First sprouting roots over 50 years ago, primarily in Europe, although Coven was leading the way down the dark path in America. The NWOBHM infected North American bands, who then in turn mutated the music into a style with unprecedented aggression. From these metal hubs, the music spread globally until nations everywhere were integrating metal into their own symbolic cultural and personal reflection. This international community is largely the reason that I am proud to be a member of the scene today. The recent partnership between EMP Label Group and Alpha Omega Management embodies this spirit of community. America and Europe, this time Italy specifically, once again unite to bring exceptional music to crowds around the world.
EMP Label Group is the cumulative effort of Megadeth’s David Ellefson in conjunction with music journalist and entrepreneur Thom Hazaert. They have brought together decades of experience pertaining to press kits, tours, recording, media, merchandise distribution, and everything in-between to form the foundation of an invaluable resource for musicians. What separates this organization from the rest is their empathy toward artists’ struggles. With encouragement from his father, David took the reins as the overseer of business affairs early in his career and as a member of Megadeth since 1983 his skills were polished as mass success followed. Visibly David has an extensive stock of skills useful for a label but perhaps none as advantageous as his candid ability to mentor. As for Thom, he began to etch his name into the metal mythos at the age of 15 by interviewing Pantera, Sepultura, Type O Negative, and many other established heavyweights. Since his enviable beginnings Thom has infiltrated every aspect of the music industry; writing for Metal Hammer, Circus, Revolver, moving to marketing and management working projects for the major labels Warner Bros., JIVE, and MCA, before eventually starting Total Assault. He then left Total Assault to once again turn his focus toward management and band development. It is inspiring to see professionals who have already attained success still trying to draft truly mutually beneficial agreements. Overarching appreciation for artists permeates EMP Label Group, which is why EMP Underground and Thom’s THC label are also imprints of the larger association. By having multiple imprints bands that may not fit the scheme of one division may have an opportunity within a different context while still having access to a wealth of resources. Ready to help acts without forcing them to sign themselves away for a decade, EMP Label Group is the business model hardworking artists deserve. We are all ready for a fresh way to conduct business in music and this might be the new industry standard to fulfilling your dreams.
Over in Italy, Alex Azzali and Roberto Risso were guided by a similar philosophy as they filled Alpha Omega Management’s ranks with the leaders Keith Rowley, who has successfully executed international tours with platinum selling artists, and producer Bill Metoyer (Slayer, D.R.I, Helstar, etc.). Alex himself has assumed numerous roles in the music business, behind the soundboard, tour manager, and as an executive organizer, thereby placing him as an ideal commander. Seasoned by working with Vader, Behemoth, Cro Mags, Rotting Christ, and a ton more, Alex knew exactly what he was doing before executing this venture. Keen to the needs of the company Alex enlisted Roberto as second-in-command to help complete the mission. Employing their expertise the regime grew swiftly as they signed agreements with metal acts like Coven, D.R.I, Ancient, Extrema, and currently over 50 bands profit from aligning themselves with Alpha Omega Management.
In July EMP Label Group and Alpha Omega Management announced that they were joining forces in a two-way partnership and ready for global domination. Now they have a near unparalleled network for artists to gain exposure as they grow. In honour of the new force in metal, Metalheads Forever are speaking with the people in charge and 20 of the amazing bands they support!
Here’s a look at some bands from each roster and a brief conversation we had with each of them, also our interview(s) with management from each team. I would like to thank all who participated and hope you enjoy this article and issue of Metalheads Forever Magazine. Let’s Start with an introduction to EMP Productions and our interview with Thom Hazaert and David Ellefson.
David Ellefson & Thom Hazaert
David Ellefson’s extensive career as a recording artist with Megadeth, stepping up as producer for bands like Helstar and Doll Skin, his already expressed desire to mentor artists with his book Making Music Your Business: A Guide for Young Musicians, combined with Thom Hazaert’s lengthy list of accomplishments including radio personality (Los Anarchy Radio, AM/PM with Thom Hazaert), Head of Artist Relations at Sinister Guitar Picks, and music journalist for some of the industry’s top magazines, makes the pair a dynamic passionate choice for any band. When and how did the partnership between you both begin?
DAVID: Thom approached me last year about doing an artist interview for the “shocker” movie soundtrack re-release. that lead to us engaging on work with doll skin, which led to the formation of emp label group, the coffee company and our joint ventures with alpha/omega, and more!
EMP: Underground Vol. 1 Sampler was just released featuring 30 savage tracks. 10 bands from EMP’s roster who are ready to dominate in addition to 20 bands as voted by fans from around the world to keep an eye on. What was the logic behind bringing in some bands who are not signed to participate and putting out a double album instead of just sticking with your own label and releasing a single disc?
THOM: EMPUG V1 was a concept I came up with originally, as sort of a multi-tiered initiative to not only help build EMP in the underground community, but to shed the spotlight on some strong independent bands, and I feel like we really have. Me and David discussed the strong historical contributions of compilations like this, Metal Massacre etc, a lot of people historically FOUND bands for the first time THROUGH compilations, and we thought it would be really great to revisit that tradition.
I sort of simultaneously came up with the concept for EMP UNDERGROUND itself as an imprint, which has become a really strong brand in and of itself, releasing SKUMLOVE, HELSTAR… We just signed MACHINAGE, YOUR CHANCE TO DIE. EMP UNDERGROUND really has taken on a huge life of its own, which has been amazing to watch.
Thom, since you are the primary ears for EMP Label Group, what does a band need to have before you will consider sitting down with David to discuss signing them? You seem to have a variety of heavy music on the roster from punk, alternative, and rock, to many styles of metal. Is there a particular sound you are aiming toward or do you evaluate each artist based on their merit within their own genre?
THOM: This is such a loaded question. First and foremost, GREAT music. Currently, as a label, our model is sort of licensing fully finished releases, so a band kinda has to have a full product that is together and finished. Beyond that a great image and presentation, a strong social media presence, touring. I really look for the whole package. And honestly, almost every artist i’ve signed has had some sort of different “X” factor that really made them exceptional.
Sometimes I find an artist who is just undeniably STRONG musically and we help build and develop the rest, but generally I look for established artists that already have stuff going for them, that we can just help them get to the next level, and I think we have done exceptionally well at doing just that.
All of our bands come in with am extremely reasonable expectation of what we offer and bring to the table, and I think in most cases we have done a good job of far exceeding that. Genre-wise, yes while it is mostly HARD ROCK and METAL, we are all over the map. And as I said before, we have established EMP UNDERGROUND, as an outlet for the more EXTREME and subversive styles of Rock and Metal, and my label THC, which we brought over as an imprint as well. On top of that, we do have a few other imprints brewing that I think will open us up to a few other genres that we’re not really doing yet.
That was David’s initial vision for EMP LABEL GROUP that he sort of laid out for me on day one, was to have several imprints that encompassed ALL styles of music, and I have just worked to make that a reality. And we have.
David do your experiences working with Megadeth and various labels serve as a guide for what to do and not to do with your own label? Would you consider your life as a touring artist to be one of EMP Label Group’s competitive advantages?
DAVID: Yes, for sure. i was always a musician who was encouraged by my father to learn about business. i was also the band guy who as a teenager, was the one who oversaw the business for my bands; bookings, promo kits, finances, etc. as i moved to la in 1983 and began my work with megadeth, that furthered my intrigue with learning about the bigger scope of the entire entertainment industry. all of those experiences help us, and our artists, with EMP.
Thom you have become a rock business guru of sorts. On top of the projects I previously mentioned you also provide consulting services for numerous record companies and have interviewed some of the industry’s top names. Where did your journey in the music business begin and how did you acquire such a versatile list of skills?
THOM: How much time do you have? Haha. Well I started out originally as a journalist, in the mid 90s… Writing for my hometown paper, The Green Bay Press Gazette. Literally I was 15 years old, interviewing TYPE O NEGATIVE, SEPULTURA, PANTERA, OBITUARY, FEAR FACTORY.. All the Metal heavyweights of the day. Pretty much I was that kid from Almost Famous.. Hahaha. Somehow I met Bob Chiappardi who basically became my mentor, and would end up being extremely present in my whole career, and still is today, and he gave me my first REAL job writing for his industry trade FOUNDATIONS. I was. 18. (Around then I also met Monte Conner from ROADRUNNER, who was also a huge inspiration and became a great friend and mentor.) Eventually I went on to write for Circus, Metal Hammer, and a bunch of other amazing publications, and I still write stuff for outlets from time to time, as well as all of our internal stuff for EMP.
After that, I started doing marketing and management, through that I ended up doing A&R for JIVE, and working projects for every major label, Geffen, Interscope, Warner Bros, MCA, JIVE, Hollywood…. I discovered some bands that ended up getting big and I was lucky to get involved with some others very early on. Obviously I worked with Limp Bizkit, Chimaira, Korn, Snot, Coal Chamber, Videodrone, Crazy Town, Papa Roach (who I tried signing to JIVE.. they passed.), Switched, Adema, Depswa..
And then me Eric (Nielsen) and Danny (Ostrow) started Total Assault, which was largely based on what i’d done, and what me and Eric had built with LOUDSIDE, which basically became the industry standard for Lifestyle marketing, and we did projects for Guns N’ Roses, Nine Inch Nails, Bloodhound Gang.. Chris Cornell… etc.. Eventually I left TA to focus on management and developing artists and had some great success there.. Later I ended up working with Todd Singerman, and co-managing Motorhead for a time, which obviously was a huge boost and amazing learning experience as well.
Eventually me and Eric broke off and started CORPORATE PUNISHMENT, my first label, which put out like 80 releases (ironically also through eOne), and that was the place I first figured out how to really make this all work in the context of an independent label, ‘cuz with that label, outside of the accounting and money stuff, I literally did almost everything, a lot of which has absolutely translated into the operations and ethos of EMP.
What are the differences between EMP Label Group and EMP Underground? Should bands send their material to firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered for both divisions?
Thom: As I mentioned above, EMP UNDERGROUND is basically just geared to be a little more extreme or heavy-minded stuff. EMP proper, while we signed a few heavier acts in the beginning, has shifted more towards major artists, and a little more mainstream friendly Hard Rock. EMP UNDERGROUND has given us a platform to sign some things that are a little more heavy and/or extreme, Black Metal, Death Metal, more traditional thrash, like ANCIENT, HELSTAR and YOUR CHANCE TO DIE,etc, and some stuff that just didn’t necessarily fit into the mold of what EMP proper was doing. So, it’s just different sides of the same coin, essentially. It’s the same distribution, the same resources. I guess similar to how CENTURY MEDIA has ANOTHER CENTURY, etc. We are just leaving ourselves room to be able to sign whatever the Hell we want.
Of course I understand that you can’t go into details of particular contracts but is a typical contract the bands are signing a version of an all-inclusive 360 contract or are there other, more selective, options tailored to specific needs of a band available?
DAVID: We have several methods to help artists get their records released and distributed. because i come from the artist side of the industry, its important to me to always look out for the roadblocks so many artists face in the record business. often times i can help mentor our artists as well…often times for newer artists there is a lot of expectation that needs to be put into the scope of reality. successes is always disguised as hard work, even for rock stars!
Thom: Our agreements are exceptionally simple and artist friendly. There is no 360 component, it’s honestly a simple licensing and distribution deal. Generally just for the one release, sometimes with an option. We do generally do some non-exclusive merchandise rights in the deal, but that is obviously more geared towards being able to do pre-orders, etc.
Beyond that, essentially, the band licenses us the record, we put it out, do whatever additional marketing, PR, etc and we really work in partnership with the artist. I tell them all when we sign them, how hard we work is going to be 100% contingent on how hard YOU work. If a band is out touring, really being proactive, we will support them as hard as we can.
There is also an upstream component in our deals, that if we can upstream them to a major or major independent label, we can extend the deal in tandem with that. We’re not looking to own bands, or tie them to us for decades. If anything we are looking to be a catalyst or a springboard to bigger and better things. Eventually we may shift, at least some, of our deals to the more traditional, in the sense that we fund the recordings and own the masters, etc, but the way we’ve been doing it is extremely turnkey and artist friendly, so it has served us well.
Another inspiring project you have recently helped bring to light, David, is the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, from Paraguay where residents who were living off the scraps from the landfill began to make instruments from materials that had been disposed of. Old cans, broken furniture and tools became flutes, cellos, and clarinets for what was to become a full touring band. Megadeth was a guest at the premiere of their documentary, Landfill Harmonic, and has shared the stage with the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura. Where did you first hear about the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura and why do you think they resonate with you so strongly?
DAVID: A friend in scottsdale introduced me to the producer of the film and that began our friendship with the orchestra. i went down to paraguay to meet them and spend a few days with them. from there, it seemed it would be a magical moment if we could have them perform onstage with megadeth. we spoke about it as a band and it became reality. it’s a touching film with wonderful story of hope and courage. it’s a great film for musicians to see as well, because it brings such light to the magic that happens through music.
Thank you both for taking the time to catch us up on what is happening in your world of metal and music. It is crucial for everybody to give back to their own music scene in some way but when predominantly figures like yourselves come together to help the metal community the positive effects are felt internationally. Hopefully you will be able to return in the near future for a follow up on the excitement.
DAVID: Thank you for the support. more than anything, this is all a team effort, and together we all win!
BANDS INTERVIEWED FROM THE EMP ROSTER
“DEAD BY WEDNESDAY”
Dead by Wednesday are currently back to work in Dexter’s Lab Recording with Nick Bellmore of Toxic Holocaust taking the reins. How did you come in contact with Nick and how is the recent batch of recording going?
Well, Nick actually engineered & helped produce our last two albums. The last EP “Death of the Rockstar” & also our current EMP release “The Darkest of Angels’. Nick is a CT. cat & works with a bunch of our friends & comrades like Hatebreed, also from CT. amongst a bunch of others. We use to use Enoch Jensen who we also love but he moved to CA. Nick is local & he is amazing at what he does. Honestly at this point, he knows our band so well that I most likely will never go to anyone else again unless it’s being paid for by someone else & they are a huge producer with a name & even then, part of our stipulation would probably be that we have to take Nick with us to at least be a part of the process in some way. That’s how important he is to us & our sound! He’s like a hidden gem, he’s knows his stuff, quick with his edits, & is priced fair. I probably shouldn’t even promote him as much as I do because then everyone will eventually want to use him & he’ll be too busy for me, lol… like my other friend & producer Zeus. The new batch of songs is coming out amazing so far. We are only in the beginning stages of writing, pre-production, & the recording process but we wanted to get some songs done to possible release as a teaser for our next album with our newest members… Marc Rizzo on guitar & establish our singer Rob Roy on a heavier track as well.
Earlier this year you released The Darkest of Angels with the idea of focusing on addiction as an ode to ex-frontman Joe Morbidelli and brought in a guest vocalist for each song. Was it difficult choosing which vocalists to work with and how did you go about recording them?
Actually, they basically chose us… I mean of course we put the feelers out to all our friends, family, ex-members & some of them we hit up knowing that it might not happen but the ones who showed excitement & bit are the ones we went with. Obviously, we were also on a timeline with it so also the people who got there track done quickest also secured their slot on it. Everyone we chose was for a reason. Either we toured with them or had some sort of past relationship with them as well. We did go after some hopes & dreams that didn’t pan out but that’s ok. We feel the end outcome was a pleasant surprise and came out more cohesive & way better than expected. It was a huge under taking, I’m not gonna lie… way more went into organizing each person & song then you can imagine. We are all very proud of the new album & can’t be happier. It took a couple years to get it done but in the end, we prevailed. I am very surprised that it all came together as well as it did without many snafu’s but it’s called a having a goal & perseverance. Everyone, for the most part, followed the theme about addiction or recovery from addiction & the ones who did not put their own little positive twist on what they were talking about to give it sort of a double meaning leaning in that direction.
The Darkest of Angels contains elements of traditional metal, metal-core, and crossover sometimes all in one song as in “Phoenix Rising”. What can we expect from your next release? Will it be more in the vein of “The Surgeon” since you took on Rob Roy full time?
We have always been a band that keeps our options & minds open. Too many bands keep themselves in a box with their sound or style. We want to simply be considered a heavy metal band but that’s about it. No sub genres or trends. We never stifle creativity & respect bands that think outside the box like Candiria, Between the Buried & Me, Gojira, Meshuggah, etc. We all come from different backgrounds & all love different styles & bands so why not use all your influences to at least try to be original in a day and age where it is almost impossible to do so especially in a already semi close minded genre & smaller market being metal & hard core. Some of us like old school metal & some like the newer more current stuff. We try to bring the best of both worlds so there;’s something for everyone without it being too far off the metal mark. Our next album with Rob Roy will def have more melody but it will be bi-polar because there will also be some extreme heavy shit as well. The options are endless now because we can have screams & also have some singing as well as keep some of our traditional DBW rhythmic type of stuff as well.
You’ve been out in support of Shadow’s Fall across the U.S.A. playing nothing but sold out shows and also had their vocalist Brian Fair do the single “Live Again”. Did your friendship begin on tour and what was it like filming the “Live Again” video?
Our real friendship with Brian fair definitely blossomed on the road for sure especially when he had to cover for us for one sold out show that our former singer Joe missed which also showed Brian 1st hand what cards were dealt. When we had this idea, we had him very much in mind pst and foremost. But Brian & myself (Opus), go way back as far as being friends in the local New England music scene here when I was in my former band Gargantua Soul & he was in other bands like the notable hardcore band Overcast. The video was filmed last year when Brian flew out to my bday party to perform live with us as a special guest once again and while he was here, we decided to shoot some footage to make it happen! Brian is the fuckin’ man!!! Shadows Fall is sadly missed.
The album is loaded with talent, Burton C Bell (Fear Factory), Dino Cazares (Fear Factory), Tommy Victor (Prong), and Tony Campos (Fear Factory) just to name a few. Did they have full creative freedom or did you try to direct the sound you wanted to achieve?
The songs were already written for the most part. i wanted each person to put their spin on the song. i knew i wanted burton’s melodic vocals on “the infected” and he did what he does best. dino riffed it up for son of a gun and even put a solo on it. the best part was i had a song that was a skeleton of sorts and tommy sat down and helped me rewrite it and structure it and that became disease. and it only seemed fitting to have tony campos on it as well. funny thing is dino was my first guitarist for skumlove and tony also sat in on a few shows..
It seems as though you have worked in all aspects of the industry, from writing articles to booking shows and of course running your own band. Are you still active in the other aspects of the music business or are you sticking to focusing on SkumLove right now?
I am all over the place. i do artist relations for a guitar company, i book a weekly jam at a club called skinny’s in north hollywood and i dj clubs and private parties all the time.
The punk side of Skum Love penetrates through on Sinister Minister, just watching the video for “New Perversion” resonates hints of GG Allin inspired dirty rock. Are there limits for Skum Love’s live show or are you just warming up with this return?
Well we been going strong for 15 years now and have all kinds of crazy stage antics. half naked dancing girls, crucified nuns on stage, giving unholy communion with real communion chips on stage. you never know what can happen 1/2 of it isn’t even planned.
You’ve said the songs are just stories and nothing to idolize, which is the basic premise for “Anti-American Idol”. However, songs like “Leave Scars” are actually empowering. Do you incorporate the serious into your live show or is it straight up exciting sexual filth?
The first time i did “leave scars” i actually cried on stage. the song is about the emotional state teens are in and when they start to cut themselves. after recording the song a friend of mine heard it and it touched him as he has cancer and the words spoke to him. most of my music does have a fun, dance,fuck, fight, kill element to it. but once in awhile you have to make a statement.
I read in Azaria Magazine that you said “EMP Label [Group’s] outside of the box approach to new music” was the perfect fit for Heaven Below. What do you feel David Ellefson and Thom Hazaert are doing different than most other labels?
When David and Thom approached me about the band, they had already done their “homework” and were aware of what Heaven Below had already accomplished as well as what we still needed to accomplish. They did not try to “reinvent” or “develop” the band into a stock industry mold. Instead, they’ve helped us concentrate on a forward thinking vision. This includes the best of old school marketing like vinyl in retail stores, CD-Samplers, college radio etc. as well as newer approaches like internet media awareness campaigns.
On October 14th your 3rd full length album Good Morning Apocalypse will be released. This ambitious tale of a post-apocalyptic world is backed featuring some veterans of metal, Lita Ford, Jason McMaster (Dangerous Toys, Broken Teeth, Watch Tower), Udo Dirkschneider (U.D.O., Accept), and Kobra Paige (Kobra and the Lotus). Now that the four year wait is almost over is the album what you expected it to be?
I can proudly say that Good Morning Apocalypse has exceeded my expectations. Having our heroes get involved simply took the songs and presentation over the top. In some ways I feel like the album is already a success. The band and I are elated that people will finally get to experience something that gives us goosebumps listening back to the tracks.
“Nightfall Comes to Life” is a sequel to your nationally recognized song “When Daylight Dies”, which you have connected musically as well as lyrically, and in turn inspired the rest of the album Good Morning Apocalypse. What drove you to write a sequel song in the first place?
We have constantly been praised by fans and friends for the song When Daylight Dies and it’s lyrics. The lyrics were even licensed and used in the forward of a nationally published book. It simply occurred to me one day while I was writing and brainstorming riffs, that the characters and story in that song hold a dark, haunting secret that could set the stage for a catastrophic story. Once I realized the characters motivation, the sequel song “Nightfall Comes To Life”, wrote itself. That song set the tone for the record.
You have announced that Heaven Below will be hitting the road with Ghost Ship Octavius and Edge of Paradise. Can you tell us any more about the tour and what your fans can expect?
We’re still putting the details together for that tour, but it’s looking like a West Coast blitz in the fall/winter. As far as our live show, we’re putting together a presentation that will capture the vibe of the new album while introducing us to new fans alike. We want to put on a memorable hard rock/metal show without getting to caught up in theatrics and imagery.
We believe that establishing a band on its material and live energy is the most important thing before presenting the audience with video screens and eye candy.
“ARISE IN CHAOS”
Since Arise in Chaos has become the go-to band in Denver to provide support for bands passing through on tour you’ve shared the stage with All That Remains, 3 Inches of Blood, Soulfly, Motionless in White, Cavalvera Conspiracy, and Death Angel. Which shows stand out as the most memorable for you guys?
Dustin- every time we get the opportunity to perform with one of our favorite acts it’s anyways memorable. I remember when we first got the opportunity to play with Within the Ruins. It was at the Marque in Denver and it was a packed house. This was everyone in the band first performance with an act we really admired. For that reason I think that will always stand out to me as an especially memorable show.
Terminal Cognition has a groove element at times but even then there is an explicit intensity to the overall album. What is the driving force behind the intensity and the overall album concept?
Dustin- The concept behind Terminal Cognition comes from the idea of being so overwhelmed and consumed by the chaos that is life. That in some cases it can drive you to lose yourself or even to insanity. Everything from the heaviest to the darkest, softest pieces of this album is an expression of going mad. As well as the path that leads you to insanity. The rage, anger, sadness, and confusion.
The closing song “Arise in Chaos” is especially heavy. Is this meant to represent the pinnacle of what the band represents or did the title just suit the song?
Dustin- The song is the first song I ever wrote specifically for Arise in Chaos. Just developing my idea of what direction I wanted to go in with this project. About the same time Jer Matheson joined me on drums starting up Arise in Chaos. So it seemed very fitting to self title it.
Arise in Chaos have been on the road all year and will keep going strong as they tread new territory by heading over to Europe in support of the French metal band Aggressor. Do you have any expectations of the European crowd and how they will respond to your live show?
Keeb- Well actually we are going out on tour with Ektomorf, out of Hungary, for their latest album release “Aggressor”. As far as expectations from the fans I can only assume they rock hard from what I’ve seen on video or word of mouth. Our music was built for the crowd experience where the artist and fans feed off each other, fueling the metal experience. I’m sure they won’t disappoint nor be disappointed!
Doll Skin managed to catch the ear of David Ellefson at a battle of the bands before EMP Label Group officially came into existence. When did you first hear about the label and did you realize what opportunities it would open up for you?
In a way…the label was actually created around Doll Skin! Dave knew it would be a smart career move creating this label for us and the other great bands that would eventually get added onto the roster. It’s blooming beautifully right now and we couldn’t be more thankful! Dave’s been smart in guiding us in the right direction when opportunities present themselves.
I hope the male bias against women in the metal industry has been largely eliminated. Have you found being young females in the metal industry a disadvantage in any way?
We appreciate that! We don’t necessarily consider us metal, but we have played many a show in the metal community. It’s had its advantage and disadvantages. Every now and then we’ll have mishaps where someone in the crowd will yell out something vulgar to us. We used to attack them with our words with full force, but sometimes you just gotta say “F*** you”, bite the bullet, and show them that you’re not there appeal to them because we’re girls. We’re there to appeal to the crowd because we’re musicians. It hasn’t been an overwhelming disadvantage though! We feel we’ve been treated equally in a lot of aspects as the guys have in all of our endeavors.
Although you are a young band Doll Skin are no strangers to the road, already claiming the stage with Otep, Green Jello, D.R.I., and Slunt. Out of all the shows and tours does one event in particular stand out in the madness?
Our best and most favorite show was the sold out show we played at the Whiskey A Go Go in California. It was around the time that Lemmy Kilmister past away, So Metal Allegiance was playing a show in his honor there. We had the privilege of opening for them. It was a packed out…and COMPLETELY star studded. We met Dave Grohl, Corey Taylor, and Dave Lombardo all in one night. I cried happy tears a lot to say the least.
The style of glitter punk you’ve become known for brings the fun back into aggression. Is there a particular message you hope fans will take away from your music?
Well thank you!!! We hope that fans can take away any meaning they want from our songs. We love writing songs that can leave images in your brain, or lyrics that can be up to interpretation. Whatever connection they have to our music, that’s important to us. We want people to feel like they’re having a good time listening to our music. That is so meaningful to me.
You seem to have had a healthy working relationship with David Ellefson for many years, first being labelmates on Combat records, then having him produce 1995’s Multiples of Black, and now you have signed to EMP Underground. What brought you guys together this time? Did you bring your new album to him right.
“Well you’re right, Dave and I have been friends since the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour, I guess, or so it seems, but yeah, we started out as labelmates. Back in 1986 we toured together for the first time, they were touring on Peace Sells, we were touring on Remanence of War. We did a few select shows with them and we stayed very close friends throughout that whole ordeal. As time [went] by, we ran into each other all the time when he came through town, he’d either contact me or I’d contact him and then I would get backstage to hang out with the guys. Then he mentioned to me he was going to start producing bands and asked if we were still together. I surprisingly told him about what was going on, we were actually going under another moniker at the time because so many original members of Helstar had left and he was the one who convinced us to go back to the name. [Dave] just said, look the name is well known, he ended up producing half of Multiples of Black. So that happened and years went by, still remained friends, and then he was out of Megadeth … I’m trying to fast forward this all … but we ended up in a project together called Killing Machine, along with Jimmy Degrasso, Juan from Agent Steel, Peter Scheithauer, the guy that is the founder of the band, and we did that 2004 I believe, or . Then he got back with Megadeth which was probably the best move for him ever, obviously it is. A mutual friend of ours had mentioned that he had started a label and we originally were offered to re-sign with the label we were previously with for eight years but they were offering us less and we were kinda feeling like we’re getting older. We’re not a bunch of young kids and usually when you devote yourself to a label like that you go up the ladder not down the ladder. It felt like a slap on the other cheek, it was one of those things where we had just gotten so frustrated we were like ‘we’re going to do our own thing’. After talking to Dave and all, well first of all, me looking into what it all takes to do your own thing and it’s not as easy as people think. It’s like, ‘Oh, I’ll do my own label, this way we make all the money.’ Well you got to spend a lot of money to make that wheel turn.”
“[Dave’s] deal was similar, you couldn’t get as close to having your own deal, but without all the headache. So it was the closest thing we could come to and feel like we got what we were looking for and now look at the results. This is the most press we’ve gotten, off this album. In Europe it’s just blowing up like a rocket, every day the reviews just don’t stop. We are getting tour offers from countries who never gave us the time of day. Even the French love us! So we are ecstatic about it and I think we made the right move. I was asked a question the other day in another interview ‘did you feel like this was risky?’ I said ‘you know what, everything is a risk these days in the music business so why not take this chance this one time. It’s not like he is asking us to sign our lives away to him, it’s one deal at a time and let’s see what happens.’”
Vampiro is out now and the reviews coming in are staggeringly positive. The concept behind Vampiro was to revisit the same themes found on Nosferatu in a conscious effort to connect the recent work as a follow up to the 1989 record. Even though you have mentioned that you do not view Nosferatu as a success at the time of its release, was there ever any fear of tarnishing what has become Nosferatu’s legacy by trying to build from similar material?
“Yeah, it was my idea to reconnect with the whole Dracula/vampire theme. I actually even ran the idea past Dave and Thom Hazaert at the label that this is what I wanted to do and I explained my reason, they felt very confident and backed me on why I felt so strongly about this idea. I have always been into vampires and things like that and I guess after Nosferatu I really became overboard with my attire, my image, and as a matter of fact Dave Ellefson nicknamed me ‘the man in black’ all the time. I even wanted a pet African fruit bat at one point. I was fascinated with it and to relive that, I didn’t have any fears of going back to Nosferatu, I just knew we could do it even better now. We were much younger then, now of course if we had did what I wanted to do when that album came out who knows what could have happened. But see it might have been too much ahead of time, just like when the album came out it was ahead of time. Although, like you said, you’re right, we didn’t feel like it was a success, or we felt it was the killer of our career but that’s because at the time it was neoclassical polished kind of metal and then in 1989 death metal was about to be born, the grunge scene was coming out, so something like that just wasn’t appealing to the masses anymore. But having a fear of going back and tarnishing something like that? No, that’s why we knew we had to do it better than what we did then. Although, there’s never going to be better but knew we had to do it so much stronger than what we were thinking back then and [still] fit with what’s going on today. I’m happy that we finally did because look at the results.”
“There’s always going to be that part of me that wonders though, what if we had done that? Ya never know. What if, what if? I wanted to be brought out in a coffin and have the fangs, the red contacts, and the whole stage thing you know. Some of the members of the band thought it was a little overboard and ridiculous, they were happy in the black skinny jeans, high top white tennis shoes, and the cut off concert shirts, and of course the label was like ‘no no no no’, they were afraid of how much money [it was] going to cost production wise. So, it got shot down. Then all of a sudden, maybe less than nine years later, here comes a band called Cradle of Filth living out the whole vampire thing. Dani Filth now owns all the Hammer Film movies, made millions. So it was that that made me angry, sort of in a sense, and then the Twilight movies, I mean, just on and on and on, vampires are as famous as McDonald’s these days. So I’m like, okay, that’s just not cool. We’re the ones that started it, we did it before anybody else and I’ll be damned if we’re not able to take a shot at it again, and it’s working. Thank god to Dracula.”
The production on the album is damn near ideal. How crucial was it to have Bill Metoyer behind the boards to achieve your vision for Vampiro?
“Well, having Bill do it? We had to, I mean it just made sense. You’re talking about going back to Nosferatu, the most acclaimed Helstar record, now. Why wasn’t it well accepted back in 1989? Again we already talked about that in the last question, but having Bill come in was just the missing piece to the puzzle. When he found out, not only that we were doing a new album, he loves the band, always has, and we’ve been good friends since the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour. It was me, him, and Dave that were playing’ cards there when we heard the planes come in and we heard that and said ‘ah, I think we better get out of here’, so we survived it, ha ha. Anyways, you know he wasn’t begging but sort of like, you guys got to consider me, and I think he would have been heartbroken if we would have just went with somebody else. The minute we were starting the recording, and the minute him and Larry met at NAM, they talked about it. I said ‘you know I love Bill like a brother we’ve been through so much, ups and downs together, independently, he works his ass off and he’s an underrated producer and it’s unfair.’ It’s just the way the cards were dealt for some people in this world but the passion I have for the guy, I was like ‘ya know what man, I really want him to do it.’ I said, ‘with what it is and everything, we gotta get Bill’. So, we did it that way and look at the results again. Every move we’ve made with this record we did all the right way on the chessboard so far.”
In anticipation of your upcoming shows, how did the crowd react to the new tracks live on this summer’s Vampyric tour and what can fans expect when you head out to the Illi-Noise Metalfest coming up later this month?
“Well so far everywhere we’ve gone people have been just blown away! I was expecting at least one dickhead, ha ha or smartass person, to be like ‘okay, what are you doing with the cape and the fangs? Come on.’ No, most people are like ‘can I get a picture with you? Yeah, could you put the fangs and the cape back on?’ Ha ha, and I’m like ‘okay, ya know what, are you kidding me?’ I have people that are asking me when I go to do a special guest thing at a show, ‘hey, would you get up and sing that Judas Priest song with us next week? We are going to be playing here.’ ‘Oh yeah of course guys.’ ‘Hey can you wear the fangs and the cape?’ I’m like ‘okay, wait a minute now, this isn’t what I look like every day.’ But no, people were really ecstatic and the new songs just blew everybody away. I mean we are playing as much of the new album as we can. If it was up to me I’d like to do the whole album from beginning to end, which I think would be awesome, but hey, we save that for another twenty years down the road and we do [Vampiro] all the way through. It’ll be a selling tool, so we are going to put that idea in the treasure chest and lock that up and we’ll do that twenty years from now so we can make some money.”
“What everybody can expect: it is a play, an opera, it’s everything that I wanted to do with Nosferatu. So now we are doing it with Vampiro. The whole first three quarters of the show is a play all about Dracula and vampires. We do all the little intros inserted in-between and we are offering everybody a show now. No, I may not be brought out in a coffin just yet, that’s in the works for when we start getting some bigger tours and we have a bigger crew and that kinda thing, but we have a nice little stage show for everybody. Even during “Black Cathedral” I get a wine glass, a crystal clear looking wine glass, and I put apple cider, or if I am out of apple cider sometimes it’s just water, and I put red food colouring in it. [I say], ‘drink and you will see’ and let everybody in front, that’s in front of me, have a little drink of it. They have no idea what they are getting it’s just like ‘ah that’s boring, it’s water.’ Yeah, with my luck though, I wouldn’t want to be giving alcohol to somebody, it could be some minor, you never know. So we are going way out with the whole thing and I think people are going to enjoy it. If you are into vampires you definitely will enjoy. And who isn’t? I mean it’s all a good stage show. Look at how long King Diamond has been doing’ all kinds of cool stuff. My whole thing is when I was a kid I really wanted to be an actor before I wanted to be a singer. It was Alice Cooper that kind of gave me the best of both worlds when I was really young. Not only was he a singer but he also did some theatrics on stage. So I guess, you know, I’m kind of stuck in that situation but I never got to live it out until now though. That’s what you guys can expect. Vampiro is alive and well, and coming for you! Thanks a lot!”
Congrats on your feature in Roadie Crew magazine as the enthusiasm around the global release of Lunar Manifesto on EMP Label Group grows. Would you agree that 2016 is shaping up to be a landmark year for Semblant?
Sergio Mazul: We have no doubts about it. 2016 is the year we finally showed up “Lunar Manifesto” to the world. We’re reaching almost 7 million organic views in our video for “What Lies Ahead” on YouTube; the video for the song “Dark of the Day” received 1 million and a half, a nice mark too. People all over the globe are sending pictures holding copies or our album, in CD and vinyl edition. This is really historical for a brazilian band. We have a lot of great bands in our country, but only bands like Sepultura, Krisiun, Angra, Nervosa and Hibria reached similar results before. It is a short quantity of artists for a big country like Brazil and we’re feeling proud of our first steps with our recent partnership with EMP Label Group.
With two seven string guitars, keyboard, bass, drums, in addition to two dynamic vocalists you have more options than the average band when it comes to musical dynamic. Do you find having so many choices cumbersome at times? How is a typical Semblant song written?
Sergio Mazul: This unusual line-up has another difference from the normal bands: we have 6 members and 6 songwriters. We’re good friends and partners, so we all speak a common language among ourselves. Juliano, for example, compose his songs with pre-versions for drums, bass, guitars and vocals, with a lyric idea inside. Sol Perez brings a complete instrumental, including keyboard ideas. I like to add my vocal melodies and lyric ideas in jams during our rehearsals or fixing it on previous ideas presented by the other guys. The same with Mizuho and the others, with keyboards and drums. In resume: there’s not just one formula. We understand each other very well during a composition process.
Mizuho: I agree with Sergio and I must say that although we have different music background in influences, we have the same taste in music. So it is really easy for us to write a song.
Vampiric metal might not be the sound people would expect to come from Brazil. What drew you to creating this style of music?
Sergio Mazul: Well, we can’t really describe our music with a label like this. “Vampiric” was a description that some journalist gave us in the past, based on some lyrics of our old songs, that were inspired by horror movies or novels. But today, our lyrics express much more our point of views and draws a lot of inspiration from other sources.Reflections about civilization, the human mind and behavior, creeds, theories and of course, other horror/gothic movies, icons, novels. Not only vampires. “Scarlet Heritage (Legacy of Blood part III)” and “The Hand that Bleeds” are the only songs in “Lunar Manifesto” which have this vampire atmosphere through the lyrics. We prefer to describe our music without any labels, but it is always dark, heavy, sometimes extreme, sometimes melodic, with a lot of different influences in Metal.
Mizuho: And it is interesting that each one of us (Sergio, Juliano and I) write about something different. Sergio, for exemple, is super inspired by horror movies, novels and theories, even about religions and creeds. For me, it is easier to write about situations in life, a way to express myself. So yes, we like vampire stuffs, but we’re not only that.
What Lies Ahead in late 2016 and early 2017 for Semblant?
Sergio Mazul: Wow, nice question! haha! We’re working hard to plan our first North American tour. We’re receiving a great feedback from the US and we want to start our tour outside Latin America over there, Europe and Asia afterwards. About a new record, we can say that we already have some new songs, ideas for the album title and a beautiful cover artwork. We will record our new album in 2017 so all of you can expect some amazing news soon.
ARTICLE/INTERVIEWS BY : JAY ROLLINS / Metalheads Forever Magazine
“ALPHA OMEGA AND EMP WORLD METAL DOMINATION” PART TWO!
Now part two of this article and the interview with bands from the Alpha Omega roster, first let’s start with our conversation with management Alex Azzali and Roberto Risso.
ALEX AZZALI & ROBERTO RISSO
Alex and Roberto, if we were to start at the beginning of either of your careers it would take more time than you guys have to waste on myself. Alex you have been well-known in the music industry for years as a producer, tour manager, sound engineer, and collaborate with several agencies to organize international tours. Through these experiences you’ve worked with Ancient, Behemoth, Dismember, Grave, Septicflesh, Rotting Christ, Cro Mags, Marduk, Hate, Vader etc. Roberto in addition to spending years as a drummer in rock and metal bands, you have also honed your skills as an A&R manager and talent scout booking on behalf of international agencies. How did you first come in contact with each other and when did you start to form the backbone of Alpha Omega?
Alex: In my life practically I never did anything else other than music related things, I was a musician for years with very nice results, then I started to produce bands using the experience I had collected and then I got asked to become manager as well and so I created Alpha omega since years ago. Me and Roberto met few years ago, I was his manager actually, he worked in several international agencies and after few years he came back to me saying that he didn’t like the attitude of those people anymore, so he joined my company since our approach is definitely artist oriented, deciding to get this thing bigger since there would have been more people working into it, using also better all the collaborations me and Roberto collected through the many years of militance.
Roberto: I know Alex since 2012 when my band was approached by her collaborator for management. After signed, he has provided us a support slot tour in Eastern Europe with Tarja Turunen following us as tour manager and sound engineer. It was an unforgettable experience. After my departure from the band and previous experiences with some agencies, we met again in 2015 and soon after we joined our forces and our contacts and get to life Alpha Omega creating, with the precious help of our Tarja Virmakari, an official page on Facebook and here we are. As we speak, our official website is in the works and will be launched soon.
Alex you are the General, so to speak, and Roberto is your top Lieutenant. You both have your finger on the pulse of Alpha Omega Management and are acutely aware of its shifts as it grows. Spearheading an organization of this caliber takes tremendous effort. Can you explain how the work is generally divided between you both? Do one of you focus on the recording side while the other deals with touring? Besides yourselves, how are Keith Rowley’s (known for working events with Metallica, Scorpions, Guns n’ Roses, and Def Leppard, just name a few) and legendary producer Bill Metoyer’s skills utilized on the team?
Alex: We like to talk about all the necessary moves and we like to work in team so we evaluate things together, of course in the end we split the tasks, between us and with all our super precious members of this sexy team, Alpha Omega Management. I have a more overall view, but as I said we work as a team and that’s how we like it.
Roberto: Well I take care basically of A&R things (seeking talents, signing them and providing support slots, assisting them in any step) plus I help to recruit new team members to open offices around the world as I did for North America, booking agents, etc. And when Alex is busy recording in our studio or touring etc, I’m the first referent, so to say a “right hand”.
Alpha Omega Management has signed a notable number of bands in under two years. Do you expect you will keep signing bands at this rate or will you slow down now that the roster is filling up? How do you decide which bands to take on? Do any of the bands currently signed have a common trait that attracted you to them?
Alex: we are very far from that risk at the moment, not only we do have much more things to offer than bands working with us ..but also we are proportionally growing as team members, we are opening new offices in other continents and working constantly on creating a bigger and bigger network. As said, besides the European office in Italy we have one in USA and one in South America, we are now opening in ex USSR and soon also in Japan.
Roberto: To answer to your question, I can tell you, and as Alex already mentioned, that actually we have much more tour offers than bands and usually we cannot fill all the spots. Usually we decide as a team, if a band have talent, right attitude and it’s ready for next step which it means an hard work, we can work with them…quality is the key! Any bands we have signed have their particular and unique trait that attracted us, no one excluded.
Your recent partnership with David Ellefson’s EMP Label Group opens opportunities for both parties. Do you feel that you are now able to assist with aspects of the industry you may not have been previously able to help with? How closely will the two groups be working together to plan tours and evaluate bands?
Alex: It’s amazing to have the chance to collaborate with those two gentlemen, it’s not easy at all to meet persons with that experience and pure passion nowadays, they put great enthusiasm and efforts into this and it’s simply beautiful.
It’s kind of natural in my view for a label to expand into the management field and for a management to be able to offer to artists the services that a label could offer and we are happy that we could do it in partnership with David and Thom. Stay tuned because great news will be revealed soon. Furthermore, very soon will announce our new label in partnership with EMP and finally we could offer a complete package services to the bands.
Roberto: I think this partnership is a big step onwards and upwards for both parties for global domination as David has mentioned in our partnership’s video filmed in Sofia.
Indeed EMP and Alpha Omega have the same visions for the future in the music business. We will take care even more better of the bands and at the highest level possible, that’s for sure!
[David Ellefson’s video statement with Alex Azzali and Roberto Risso]
Obviously we all take pride in our homeland and being from a great nation like Italy I can see why Alpha Omega Management supports so many Italian bands. Do you consider a band’s geographic location when deciding if you are going to work with them? If a band from North America sent in an application to you would you redirect it to EMP Label Group or would you sign them directly?
Alex: No, besides the fact that we aren’t nationalists or something we simply love the idea to collaborate with people around the whole world and to push talents from all over the world. That’s why we like to create this network and that’s why we are opening more and more offices around.
Roberto: Obviously not. We have for example bands from Malta, Japan, etc. We have a representative in North America Timothy Shearn and our A&R Bill Metoyer who are usually taking care of it. About label things of course we will discuss everything with David and Thom.
Alpha Omega Management is less than two years old and has already allied itself with some of the industry’s most respected acts. Nonetheless, you have also taken on some much newer bands who have yet to make a major dent in the industry. Which bands were the first to avail of Alpha Omega Management’s services? Do you feel it is vital to a management team to have bands at different stages of their career?
Alex: Alpha Omega exists for many years. before I was alone and now we are a team since one year actually. Bands needs management in any case. Already established bands needs different things than the newcomers of course. Something very different between our management and many others is for sure the strategies to push the new talents in a way that they could get experience and credibility much faster.
Roberto: Indeed, and we have already pretty cool responses about our upcoming bands who have gone on the next level, having supported both in tours, single shows and festivals big famous acts like: Steven Tyler, Megadeth, Korn, Sevendust, Soulfly, Papa Roach, Skindred, Three Days Grace, DevilDriver, Sepultura, Five Finger Death Punch, Misfits, Cradle of Filth, Tarja, W.A.S.P., U.D.O., Haggard, Coroner, Guano Apes, Overkill, Asking Alexandria, Yellowcard, Leave’s Eyes, Scorpions, Queensryche, Fear Factory, Eluveitie, Within Temptation, Sabaton, Hatebreed, Broken Hope, In Flames, Children of Bodom, Dark Tranquillity, Anathema, Skillet, Bonfire, Rotting Christ, Status Quo, Kreator, Lacuna Coil, Seether, Moonspell, Amon Amarth, Black Label Society, Napalm Death, Hatesphere, Hypocrisy, Amorphis, Faith No More, Exodus, Disturbed, Madball, Doro, Richie Ramone, Blood Red Throne, Ill Nino, Behemoth, Septicflesh, Orphaned Land, P.O.D., Pain of Salvation, Dope, Thousand Foot Krutch, Kataklysm, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Testament, Delain, The Birthday Massacre, Cattle Decapitation, and the list can go on…
Roberto since you’ve made the shift from being in bands to managing internationally touring acts have you ever considered going back to the musician side of things? Perhaps you and Alex might put something together?
Alex: I can’t exclude that someday i will start playing again. It’s never too late.
Roberto: Well I played drums for about 18 years, so of course I miss it. Anyway I have played in front of thousands of people, met a lot of fans, so I think I can be satisfied of what I have done during these years. Now my goal is to help bands to follow their dreams as I did it for myself. Well it’s not a bad idea… who knows…maybe in the future haha..
Alex in the slew of new albums you have been working on which ones have been the most memorable to record? Are there many albums you’ve worked on that you still listen to today?
Alex: yes sure I still listen to many of them , I can’t say this was more memorable than the other , so many anecdotes and fun too , not only hard work of course.too many to mention..
BANDS INTERVIEWED FROM ALPHA OMEGA ROSTER
D.R.I It seems as though for D.R.I. life on the road is just life. In the last two years alone you’ve played countless events across the world and show no sign of slowing down, if anything you are picking up momentum. On average how many dates do you play a year? What is the secret to sustaining yourself physically and mentally with a gruelling schedule like yours?
Spike: We have played somewhere between 80 – 100 shows a year lately. We spread them out throughout the year. And do shows just about every month besides January, and either June or July. So we have a month off in winter and a month off in summer. We do not tour like we used to, and do two long tours of 59 shows in 60 days. Nowadays we do a week or two of shows and take about 3 or 4 weeks off in between them. It is way more expensive this way. But, it is also way more feasible for us to do with family and kids and trying to be around for them both. I think the short tours we do also helps with the monotony of touring. Right around the time you start needing a break you get one. And after being off for a few weeks you’re ready to go back out and in a few days another tour starts.
I read an admirable review of the opening night of your current tour where you played the High Noon Saloon. The reviewer noted how memorable the crowd atmosphere was in addition to how you always keep your set list interesting by changing up the song choices. Do you feel that switching up the set has contributed to sustaining so many shows? Does it also allow you to enjoy the sets more and avoid growing tired of the same songs?
Spike: We have an awesome fan base. The majority of our fans have been with us forever. They know what to expect and what not to expect. The know the in and outs of a DRI show. How to act when in the pit. To look out for one another and help each other out if they are knocked down. Where to stand if you don’t want to be smashed into. So they seem to get along just fine.
We have 40 songs that we pick and choose from, and play about 33 or 34 a night, in 90 minutes or so. We also change the order of those songs on a regular basis, so we are playing a different set every time we come through town.
It has it’s pros and cons. There is a well rehearsed confidence you get when you have played the same set over and over. You know what song is next without looking at a set list. You can be more of a showman and have fun. When the set is new to you, you’re a bit more cautious about your surroundings, what song is next and how do they run together. Where is my Setlist and am I able to read it before we start the next song? Both of these must be noticeable to the dedicated DRI fan who has seen a bunch of shows.
Bill Metoyer is having another productive year behind the boards, besides in his many other roles in the industry, adding to his résumé Helstar’s Vampiro, EMP: Underground Vol. 1, and of course D.R.I’s newest EP But Wait… There’s More! Why have you chosen to work with Bill so many times and why do you think he has appealed to artists for decades?
Spike: Our first project with Bill was our third record, 1987’s Crossover release. Bill was the in house guy at metal blade records. Our new record label. We got a long right from the start. He helped us achieve a production we wanted, but have not been able to obtain yet. He also did the next two consecutive release 4 of a kind, and Thrashzone both on metal blade. I really liked working with Bill in the past. He was good at what he did and made the studio experience fun.
To work with Bill on the new EP – But Wait… There’s More, was a no brainer. The songs were short and fast like the first couple releases we did. We had two days off in the middle of a Southern California tour. Bill has a studio in Southern California. We wanted to give this EP and old school look and feel, like it was done around ’86 or ’87 And Bill was on the same page as us.
D.R.I. have been known largely on account of your contribution to the crossover scene, however But Wait… There’s More! persists with a straightforward hardcore edge. Before the EP came out you said it was just to gauge interest and see if fans wanted more. Personally, my only complaint is that there isn’t more of it. I’ve listened to the record back to back four times in a row on numerous occasions. How have fans been receiving the new music and can we expect a new full album? If so, will it be akin to this hardcore sound or more of a metal tone?
Spike: This is the same response we got from the majority of people. Everyone wants more. We have never thought about a full length release since 98. In fact I wrote the music to the 3 new songs on the new ep back around 1998. Those and a couple other short fast hardcore songs were supposed to be for a new full length back in ’98. I was planning on writing some more hardcore songs and some slower more metal songs too and mixing them together like most of our records. But that never came about. We wound up having a fall out and dropping our label Rotten Records. So a new release never was in consideration again until last year.
With the success of But Wait… there’s More, we are seriously discussing a possible full length. If not, we will at least do more EP’s in the years to come. Whatever we do it won’t be very soon. You can at least expect there to be a year or two before we release the next one. And I imagine it would be be a mix of old and new. In traditional DRI style, a Hardcore Punk and Thrash Metal crossover.
Keep up with D.R.I. through these links here: Thanks to Metalheads Forever Magazine.
D.R.I. OFFICIAL WEBSITE: http://www.dirtyrottenimbeciles.com/
D.R.I. FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/pages/DRI/137263955229?ref=hl
D.R.I. BANDS IN TOWN: http://www.bandsintown.com/D.R.I.
Often cited in books as an originator of heavy metal, aligning themselves with satanic iconography long before it was commonplace. Jinx was sighted using the Sign of the Horns on stage since 1968 and the band can be seen on the cover of their ‘69 release, Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls, holding up the now well-known metal salute. Where did the idea of utilizing aspects of the occult first come from and why did you first adopt the Sign of the Horns?
I was born into a very long lineage of Occult Adepts and Practitioners of the Ancient Arts starting in France then to Ireland, England, then onto to America. Some of them were members of the U.A.O.D. (United Ancient Order of Druids). Others were members of the Rosicrucian group Ordo Aureæ et Rosæ Crucis (Order of the Golden and Rosy Cross). Members of my family were also active in Freemasonry. My father was a 33rd degree Scottish Rite Mason, and my grandfather, a former Lt. Governor of Indiana, was High Priest of the Royal Arch Masons.So I became steeped in esoteric illuminati. So it was natural for me to want to mix my heritage with my music. As a child, I saw certain people coming to the door of the family mansion that displayed the Sign of the Horns. Then my family members would give it back. It was a secret greeting so that those certain guests were allowed entry. I was brought into this world under the Sign of the Goat on a Friday the 13th by a Dr.Jinks. Many decades ago, I became the first rock music performer to come forward openly as a Left Hand Path High Priestess and Ceremonial Mage. And I was the first to reveal secrets long concealed in esoteric circles (as in the horned hand gesture known as “The Sign of the Horns”).I bear the Sign of the Left Hand Path, an inverted pentacle, in the natural folds of my left palm. So I thought it most natural to greet my rock audiences,starting in 1968, with this hand sign, though no one back then had a clue as to what I was doing.
Despite the fact there was a considerable pause in Coven’s career you still must be credited with being one of metal’s most stable lineups. What is the
secret to the longevity of being able to work with the same people?
Tis of course, our deep connections, not only in music but in beliefs. The men in Coven are my Brothers in Arms. We are indeed a brotherhood. And most of the members have remained very close. We never disagree for the most part. We work as a well oiled machine, knowing immediately what each is going to play. I am a ‘sensitive’ and believe most of them are too. I feel that music is a Magick ritual that is shared between the players, then shared in turn with its listeners.
Coming together in the late ‘60s and carving the path for hard rock with bands like Alice Cooper, The Yardbirds (Jimmy Page era), Vanilla Fudge and more. No other band was able to bring such dark satanic imagery to popular music culture at that early of a time, reaching the top end of Billboard charts more than once as you toured. Were you made to feel like an outsider in the scene because you took the performance to the extreme? Did you ever feel as though your life was genuinely in danger on account of your connection to Satanism?
We were indeed shocking for 1968 and people seemed afraid of us. That included most of the bands we played with, even though we would become friends with most of them. They were very curious and interested in what we were doing, though many asked at that time if we thought we were too extreme and would not be able to draw enough material from the subject matter nor become mainstream hard rock. Most were worried for us and our longevity. And for good reason. One who cuts a new path, even though eventually that path is followed by many, usually gets lost to the many. But at that time, they had no idea what a well travelled path it would become. As for danger, there were shallow threats. I did not ever feel that they would come to anything physical, though our record companies and management always felt uneasy, that we were pushing the envelope way too far. Mostly, these haters had our records banned and kept us from touring in many spots. So the real danger was in us getting muzzled, being denied our freedom of speech, and not being able to get out our musick.
Classically trained in opera, High Priestess of the Occult, Jinx Dawson, is a prime example of a strong woman who went for her dream even though it may have been viewed as unconventional and Coven provided a dark iconographic that band still model themselves after today. Do you ever feel underrated and as though there are some bands that could at least give a nod in your direction, considering you were heavily into Satanist imagery from your very conception? What bands properly acknowledge your rightful place in metal?
I would say I was more of a ‘woman who went for her nightmare’, because coming out during the peace and love generation, I knew full well that doing a black witchcraft band would be a rough road and a tough sell. I could have gone many ways back then in music, become rich and famous and been quietly amused doing my LHP rituals in private. But I grew up in money, so that was never a concern. Fame, that never was a concern either. I felt that I had an important message that needed to be illuminated whatever the price.
Coven came before there was ever a genre so named ‘metal’. At the time we began, the few genres that existed did not really fit Coven. We were called everything from ‘HUM’ (heavy underground music) to ‘acid soul’. We simply presented eerie, authentic and scholarly LHP witchcraft sounds and stories in a rock band format, which had not been thoroughly addressed before. The ‘metal’ bands that came after us in the 70’s do indeed try to overlook us somewhat, even though we personally knew and hung out with most of them on the road and at the Hollywood watering holes. I just think it stems from the times and the music business back then. It was like a race. Everyone wanted to be first. Everyone was taking cues from everyone else and since there was no internet, it was easier to lift directly and swiftly and say it was their own. Enough so, that the public thought the more well known bands had come up with everything. But today in the internet world of information, people seem to be interested in genuine music history not PR music history. The younger generation of bands now seem to acknowledge Coven more, as a band to seek inspiration from, which indeed pleases me greatly…We send out Many Hails to all our Cherished Friends…So Must it Be…\m/
Italy is a breeding ground for metal, I have spoken with 3 drastically different bands from Milan alone. Iím sure most are familiar with Lacuna Coilís roots stemming from Italy but, as die hard thrash fans know, you have been on the scene since 1985 creating some of the worldís best thrash. Throughout the years as the popularity of metal ebbs and flows can you always rely on your home country to show support?
One of our old agent, an American guy based in Germany, told me once that Italy is for sure the country with the higher number of Metal Bands, most of them unsigned and not known on the international market. Extrema has been around for more than 30 years, Started in 1985 as thousands of other bands, I also remember the young Lacuna Coil playing along side us before the worldwide success coming in for them, we’ve survived some really bad period, also thanks to our home country fans that are always there for us and our determination to never give up. Also to have been probably the biggest Metal Act in Italy in the mid 90’s helped too.
The aptly named Old School EP, which came out in May, is a collection of songs that were written in the late 80ís and very nearly forgotten forever. With all due respect to your other albums, I sincerely hope that every thrash band from the 80ís has secretly held on to five songs from the era that could arguably be their best work. What made you revisit these songs and realize people should have access to these tracks?
The story behind “The Old School EP” it is funny, all this songs were never been second choice, all of them were part of our set list in the late 80’s early 90’s shows, also, all of them were recorded as demo tapes. when we entered the studio to record our ’93 full length debut “Tension at the Seams” we’d to choose which songs we had to record and which not to and we decided to record other songs more recently. Than the years passed and those songs somehow ended in a drawer until the end of December 2013. We had just ended our 2013 European tour and Paolo Crimi, our drummer since 2005 told us that he don’t wanted to tour anymore, he wanted to stay more home with his family so Francesco La Rosa has been chosen as new permanent member of the band. In the meantime I was home thinking from where starting writing new songs and, listening to some really old tapes searching for some inspiration, I come up again on those songs so I propose to the Band to try to record those songs today and seeing how they sound. The result is “The Old School EP” it’s awesome to see how those old songs sounds fresh and vital like they were written today. The reviews and the overall hype around the EP is a confirmation of this. Please Note that the songs are exactly the same, except for some really minor arrangements, to the original versions.
Extrema is also business savvy in the way that you produce and own all of your material through your company Extrema Team and then shop the product around to different labels to license the album. How long has this been the way Extrema has operated and would you suggest this business model to bands on the rise?
We’re Self producing our music from 2005 when I started my own company Extremateam, the first album we released with that formula has been “Set the World on Fire”. In the meantime I’ve bought all the rights of our previous records and started to license directly our entire catalogue. we’ve been first licensed to V2/Universal then we signed a seven year license deal with Scarlet Records. Actually the contract has expired and so we’ll try to find a label who might be interested to release the new album and possibly the entire back catalogue. Today I think this is the only business affordable for Bands. The music business has changed a lot today, it is very hard to find a label who wants to sign directly a Band and produce their music. There’s too much music offer that most of the time is bush league.
Since the Old School EP was written years ago, can fans expect any new material from you guys anytime soon? With Alpha Omega Management backing you what are the chances of a full tour in the near future?
We are already writing new songs for a new Album, actually we have five songs ready at a demo level. We are planning to release a new album end of 2017. With the guys of Alpha Omega Management we’re looking for the right chance to book a new extensive tour, and this time we’d like to go and play in countries where we haven’t been before. We’ll see what tomorrow’s bring.
After twelve years black metal fiends will be able to once again rejoice at the altar of Ancient with their new stroke of genius Back to the Land of the Dead. What was the driving force behind this album and how much of an influence did working with Nick Barker (Brujeria, ex-Cradle of Filth, ex-Dimmu Borgir) have on your choice to enter the studio?
Yeah, from 2006 to 2009 the band was practically split up, though we never made any official statement about it. It was just by a coincidence we got introduced to Nick Barker, by a mutual friend in London, in 2009. We met up and decided to start playing together, and we did 2 mini tours in Spain and Portugal. The feeling with this line up was very good and response from the fans was great as well, so after the tours we slowly started thinking about a new album, it was nothing we had planned, it just came as a natural idea after the tours, and yeah it was a lot thanks to Nick that we got inspired to start up the band again. A great drummer is absolutely necessary in this kind of music and he really was the spark we needed to get the whole thing going again.
Your previous works have dealt with dark themes and the occult, nevertheless Back to the Land of the Dead in particular probes into the devil’s works and influence over humanity. You’ve said that lyrically this is largely due to research you have done personally in the last few years. John Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost is my go-to figure of the devil. Are there any literary works that specifically interest you?
Yes, I find this subject very interesting and also a great theme for the lyrics. I have had the chance to come in contact to a number of people who could be considered “experts” ( if you can use that word ) in the subject if, though it’s always open to personal views and what is considered as “knowledge” or “theories” etc, but after what I have experienced and learnt over the last years, I feel confident enough to say that yes, there is definitely a devil among us and it’s not some kind of creature with horns or so on, this was just an image that was started to become popular mainly after the works of Dante Alighier’s “Inferno” from around 1320 ( interestingly enough a track on The Cainian Chronicle, “At The Infernal Portal” was inspired by this book ), before this we didn’t have much of an idea of how the devil would “look like”.
The devil that I am speaking about though, is not some kind of horned fantasy creature, but the devil that is real, and this one does not have any kind of image because he or “it” , is a spiritual force that is omnipresent among us, and is invisible, just like the wind or whatever is the better example. It’s a rather intricate subject indeed, but it did not take me long to start seeing the reality of it, and how this view helped me making sense of a lot of things in society, that most people would just say “ well, that’s just how the world is”.
Trying to make a long story short, the human is by far the most advanced creature on the earth, and with a brain which continues to amaze people working with it, I mean doctors and psychologists etc, in particular. Still, we spend our life in ways that often seem absurd and without logical explanations. We’re putting poison on the food we eat, pumping out tons of pollution everywhere, we’re getting divorced for often absurd reasons, we’re working our asses off on jobs we don’t like and afterwards throw the money away on silly things, of course here I only mention some extremes, but I think you get the picture. I see there is a kind of very negative “energy” around us, influencing our life and how we behave etc, and if you ask me, this is a lot cause we have this devil around us, whose aim to do nothing but destroy, deceive and make our life worse, and it is a growing energy, which is the scary part. I know a lot of people will say that this all is just some kind of theories of a mentally disturbed person, someone who is not really well in his head, and that’s ok, I expect that, I have been on that side myself. But looking back now, having been anti- christian for about 23 years, I realize that I learned a lot from these years and now can see things in a perspective that most people never will, so it was all just a necessary part of the big puzzle, you could say. Things happen for a reason. The very most of us say “there is no such thing as a devil, it’s just fantasy talk” etc, but this is because we often tend to “believe” what makes us feel content and satisfied, in this subject, very often, when people say “ I don’t believe that” what they’re really saying inside themselves is “ I don’t want to believe that “, and very rarely care to dig into the subject to find more info and get a better picture of it, cause we simply do not want to risk discovering something that might disturb the pleasant opinion, or idea, that we have, if you understand what I mean. In the society today, there is so much stress, anxiety and negative feelings everywhere, so most of us just look for ways to relax and have a good time so we can cope with the jobs and lifestyle we’re struggling with everyday, not digging into things that could possibly disturb the small pleasures and fun we enjoy having.
I actually have never read Paradise Lost, I don’t read much in general, but I will check it sometime, just out of curiosity. Even though it isn’t a full concept album Back to the Land of the Dead’s title, artwork, and lyrics are closely intertwined to bring forth ideas about the current state of society. Who designed the album and could you explain the lyrics to whichever song you feel is the most powerful on the album?
The artwork of the album was done by Diego Maniscalco in Italy, he is an old friend of Dhilorz and we knew he is very good with what he does, we are very satisfied with the artwork, although he didn’t follow my idea 100% about how the people on the front cover should look. With the album title as well, most people get the idea that the concept is about zombies or so, and that was not my intention from the beginning. Perhaps just with doing some small modifications on the images of the people on the cover it could have been better, but ok, it’s also that the album title sounds a lot similar to the typical zombie movies.
You should say that the concept is about some kind of “spiritual zombies”, meaning a lot of the people in society today, in a way you could say that we’re all “spiritual zombies” more or less, in my opinion. I think that over the last years, let’s say last 5 years especially, most of us has started to change. I believe it is a lot because of the internet, social media etc, I have also spoken about this to some teachers, psychologists, and they agree that over the last years, a lot of people have started changing. There is so much information that is being pushed our way from the internet, and a lot of us just digs our head into facebook on the phone several hours a day, a teacher I spoke to mentioned that the kids nowadays are starting to have many problems with staying focused and concentrated when trying to read long texts etc. There are so many things, in general we’re starting to become very obtuse, imperceptive, ignorant etc.. People were not like this 20 – 30 years ago. I feel it is a kind of combination with the internet, the lifestyle we lead today, and the “greed” for various kinds of material we find on the internet, which is often rather unhealthy. A lot of “news” and information you find on facebook, youtube etc is often just theories that one person here and there comes up with, and a lot of people consider it to be “the truth” and swallow a lot of info very easily. We have a lot less patience in general these days, we want to get everything done quickly, easily and without having to put too much pressure on our brains. Just last week, a friend of mine started posting on her facebook, asking her friends to suggest name for her son ( soon to be born ) because she “could not manage to find something herself”, I think this is sad.. A lot of people I speak with in the US are having huge problems to spell correctly. I keep hearing things like “their going on vacation”, “you’re making a mistake”, “ redaculas” ( for “ridiculous” ) etc etc, you can say these are small details that doesn’t cause any serious problem, but what is happening to our minds ? The problem with being obtuse, ignorant etc etc is that we are starting to become very vulnerable in general. We become more easy to exploit and to be fooled, by politicians, shops trying to sell us unhealthy or worthless things etc etc, so it is a problem, not just a nuisance. So, speaking about this, and the album cover, I think “The Sempiternal Haze” is the song that comes to mind lyrically, because it speaks exactly about this, how people are today, our minds are very “foggy” and “confused” and somewhat blind.
The lyrics in this track speaks about the devil, which I believe has a significant role in this situation. How the devil can influence the society in ways that we may never understand or see. I am not claiming that I am “seeing” myself what the devil does, I just notice and perceive things in different ways than most people I guess. The title “The Sempiternal Haze” is a kind of description of the spiritual powers of the devil. “Sempiternal” is a term that is used to describe something incredibly vast and endless in time, cause that’s how this “haze” can feel. This is very difficult to explain well, but I have been speaking about it with a number of people that I trust on this subject, and it is a real thing, I believe, as much as a lot of people will call this “speech of a delusional person” etc etc.
I am by no means claiming to be some kind of super intelligent person who can understand this and that, better than others, it’s simply that I perceive things I believe we should consider and give some thought. Don’t believe things in general, easily. It’s so much misinformation going around in the society now, you have to think well and decide for yourself what you believe is the truth, it’s not easy, but it’s necessary.
This summer remained quiet with only one appearance by Ancient. How did the show go over and what can we expect now that your new album has been released?
Yes, we only played at the Under The Black Sun festival in july, and headlined the festival. The show went quite well and we had a great response from the fans afterwards, though we had some problems to play the intros to some songs etc. We have the entire concert on video, and will probably put up a few clips on youtube soon.
We are considering several options for tours, and I think we will begin early next year, but we still haven’t confirmed anything. Possibly we will also play the US, South America and even Asia.
Thanx for the support !! Cheers !! Zel
The year kicked off with An Epiphany of Hate and in the last few months you’ve been on tour headlining dates across the U.S.A and overseas. Do you notice a difference between the American and European crowds?
A huge difference would be the answer, the European audiences seem to support underground metal more than in the USA. At the moment the USA is more concerned with who will be next to destroy the country Donald duck or Killery Clinton. Music is the last thing on the American’s minds. Let’s just Subdue the politicians!
You are a band loyal to your craft and what you do. Master have recorded 13 albums at Studio Shark in Bzenec, always staying true to your sound and confident that a quality label will back your next project. Do you ever have doubts about Master’s method of operating or is it always stick to your guns, full speed ahead?
Obviously at my age, I haven’t time to worry about such fickle things. Labels will always release Master as it is and always will be a profitable venture for the parties involved. And why would I change something that always works. I still write killer, catchy, aggressive tracks so why change now if it works well.
Lyrics on An Epiphany of Hate at times are a call to action to be conscious of the bigger world around us and more importantly to physically participate in the changing of the world. Do you agree that this album promotes activism in some form?
Sure, stand and up and be counted, this is the theme of every Master record, the youth of today are sleeping and it’s time to make a stand against all these corrupt politicians that rule the world before it’s too late. Hell, robots are taking over the human jobs across the globe, are you ready for complete automation? We are like remote controls. What do you think it will take for true global reform? The will have to get organized and take action obviously. I am too old to lead them so I will just write songs about what could be done and hope someone takes the steps for change!
Reactions to the latest release appears to be positive all around. As you travel, do you feel people are properly recognizing Master as a pioneer of Death metal that you are?
I don’t really think about these things. I write music for myself and try to inspire change, this is what it is about for me
You’ve recently joined the ranks of Alpha Omega Management and now share management with veterans like Coven, Venom Inc., and D.R.I., not to mention the other titans that David Ellefson’s EMP Label Group brings to the table with their recent partnership with Alpha Omega Management. When you were shopping around for a label did you let who else the management company represented affect your decision or did you just focus on the best deal for Cold Raven?
Cold Raven: We are honored to be part of Alpha Omega Management. We released our first album last year, we have played some shows in Italy supporting other great bands and we’ve done a mini-tour of Eastern Europe on our own. At a certain point we realized we needed to be guided by professionals in order to get more possibilities to bring our music to a wider audience. We’ve chosen Alpha Omega after some long meetings with Alex Azzali.
To answer you question, we always tend to do what we feel and what we think is best for the band, if in doubt we ask to someone who might know better.
Since forming in 2013 Cold Raven has played all around Europe opening for some of black and death metal’s most formidable names, Dark Funeral, God Dethroned, Nargaroth, and Belphegor. What has been the largest crowd to date and if you could pick any band to tour with who would be your first choice?
CR: I think we’ve played in front of 150 people when supporting Necromass and Impaled Nazarene in Brescia last March. Of course we were opening the show so many people arrived later. We really respect Watain for their music and their integrity, so we’d like to tour with them.
A picture video for your cover of Obituary’s “Gates to Hell” was released earlier this summer as a nod to what motivates you musically. Do you all primarily listen to metal and are there any other genres that stimulate you to make music?
CR: Yes we all listen to metal mainly. Depending on the mood, we’d listen to death, black, thrash, hard rock, etc… Sometimes even blues, progressive or old stuff. Pretty much everything, but primarily metal.
Cold Raven have broken ground in a fairly short time. What does the rest of the year hold in store for Cold Raven, is there a new album in the works and will you visit North America anytime soon?
CR: Playing North America is definitely something we want to do in the future. Now we are writing new songs which will be included in the new album and in the meanwhile we’ll continue to play live.
We have just confirmed 9 shows with Belphegor, Possessed and Absu, more news to come soon…Thanks for your time.
“THEATRES DES VAMPIRES”
There is no better place for a gothic vampiric metal band to originate than Rome, Italy. Evident from the bands Alpha Omega Management chooses to work with there is no shortage of brilliant metal in Italy. Has your scene always been this strong? What bands do you remember touring Italy when you were first getting into music?
I think gothic metal scene has never been much popular in Italy,especially in the past years. Now We have many bands that Are growing up, lot of talented musicians and it is a really Good thing, better than before! … But unfortunately Italy is not the best Place to have a really big audience for that Kind of music. . a Lot of people, organizators, labels , management work hard everyday to not let metal die here, believing in their important work which is absolutely precious to continue to have Metal bands touring to our country . Our biggest audience, the most of our fans Are outside Italy even if We Also have our very special ones here that love us and it is amazing. Talent shows Are killing music Day by day, . And it sucks… i’ m really old style in that way, I wAnt to see metal and rock bands on stage and not that horrible music in a commercial TV show. Anyway We Are many ..many italian people that loves and play metal and We will always support italian metal scene doing some bloody gigs here .
About my first gigs I saw in my life … malmsteen was my first one at all, I was really young! .. Than Iron Maiden, Anthrax, Nirvana ( their last show ) , Metallica, The Cure, Prodigy, and so on! It has been five years since Moonlight Waltz and two years since fans have heard anything substantial from the band at all. Was there any reason behind the most recent break and what spurred you to come together again?
We have spent the last 5 years in a very busy way. We preferred to work quietly facing important changes inside the band such as the replacing of our ex guitar player Stephan ( Now he is following his very Good black metal project ) with the new one Giorgio Ferrante. Giorgio is a really talented musician and a Good friend of us. We focused on the long composition of the new album without unnecessary clamor, looking for a strong sound and a new balance between us. Fabian already left the band some years ago , he was not anymore with us since our last latinoamerica tour , but we are still very good friends , we simply decided to take a break .. We certainly spent five intense years , always believing in us and in our music, than we found our new equilibrium and a new strength to go on writing new songs with our producer Christian Ice that worked hard with us night and days..so, after a long journey.. we Are finally close to the release of Candyland and we are really satisfied about it , ready to go on in the best way, better than before with a new great line up and a powerful sound.
Candyland will be released to masses of eagerly waiting devotees on October 14th and you asked Moonspell’s Fernando Ribeiro to be a guest vocalist for the track “Seventh Room”. Will this albumbe as lyrically dark as previous releases and is there an overarching theme?
All Candyland lyrics Are really dark. The name of the new album is inspired by a room, different from all others, with colored walls and bars on the windows. A room described as hell on earth by the inpatients of the infamous Pennhurst asylum in Pennsylvania, where for decades adults and children with severe mental problems were hidden away from the public eye. A sad but alas true story, and the patients themselves renamed that room – with its brightly colored walls from which nobody could leave – Candyland. Candyland is a journey through the corridors of the asylum, through the dread of those who – locked away inside the bulwarks of Pennhurst – were left to live in the lone company of their deepest and most harrowing fears, told through their words, accompanied by their cry of desperation.Never to be understood. Never to be free. Never to be truly alive.
It’s is a journey inside human fears… we all have something that fears us, that we cannot fight because, at the end, it is part of us….it’s our dark half that screams , something we cannot control ..and we have to walk outside..through the dark side of the world, outside this society and the Normal rules. every song has it’s own story.“ candyland “track tells of a young girl who was locked up in that room for years , left there by her mother, alone … the walls around her are painted with bright colours but there are no toys inside that room… only pain and a sad lullaby ..the chants of children who died before her, not all songs Are about madness. “Seventh room “ is inspired by “ the masque of the red death “ of E.A.Poe and it is a pleasure and an honour for us having a special guests such as Fernando Ribeiro singing on it. He has a great voice and I love Moonspell at all. He did really an amazing Work with us.
This Halloween you are heading back to Russia for shows on October 30th and 31st. Getting to see you perform any night would be a treat but I’m sure the energy of your Halloween show would leave hairs standing on end. Have many of your new songs made it into your set list and will you be heading to North America anytime soon?
We Are looking forward to Go back to Russia again! We love that country. We Are going to have two great shows, one in Ufa , (our first time there!) and the second in Moscow. The Moscow show will be really particular good because there will be a really big Halloween party so.. I don’t know if We will come back safe to Italy this time.. We want to party hard with all our fans all night long!
Our set list has 7 new songs from Candyland album and the best songs from TDV past albums. We wAnt to give to our Russia fans a new great show .. and the sound will be really violent and powerful..We hope in the next future to have a tour in North America as well, We never played there before and it should be so great. It is one of my dream.
So.. wait for us ! Vampires Are back!
Hailing from Toledo, Ohio, Mobile Deathcamp brings an invigorating live show with straightforward messages of positivity backed by spirited riffs influenced by 80’s speed metal and punk. Who were you listening to for inspiration while you were writing Summon the Destroyer?
A variety of bands frequent my CD player… Slayer, Ratt, OFF!, DeVo, B-52s, Exodus, Ozzy, Voivod… and some jazz I borrowed from my Nephew.
All summer you’ve had a crammed schedule on the Summon the Destroyer tour, playing over 40 shows to crowds of all sorts I’m sure. How has the tour been going and what has been the highlight of the year so far?
Actually, we’ve done almost 90 shows supporting this new CD so far… and if it hadn’t been for a glitch with “booking agent” earlier in year (and an injury not too long ago) we’d have done at least 50 more! Touring itself, is a highlight to me. I love being out, seeing people I know, and meeting new friends all over the map. If i had pick ONE thing tho, I’d say connecting with Alpha/Omega… they have the knowledge, power, and means to help us get up to the next level, and also over to Europe, South America, hopefully Japan too!
This year’s GWAR-B-Q where GWAR celebrated 30th years of humanoid conquest alongside yourselves, Lamb of God, Against Me!, Eyehategod, and Dillinger Escape Plan just to name a few. Can you tell me what the gig was like for Mobile Deathcamp specifically, because the whole event just seems like a grimy metal wet dream?
Hahaha, a grimy wet meat dream, eh? Well, having been IN Gwar for 6 years, and played a couple of these previous, I knew what we were going in to. Every year the GwarBQ is fucking bananas! Insano Gwar fans flood in from literally all over the globe, to worship at their Scumdog leader’s bloody altar! We played main stage at 11 a.m. on Saturday… there were at least 800 people already on site throwin down! Always a great time! **
Early this year you were looking around for management that could keep up with the pace at which you want to move, which is no easy feat. How did you finally land on Alpha Omega Management who operates out of Italy instead of a company closer to home?
One of our label heads is friends with Bill Metoyer (legendary metal producer), Bill is involved with Alpha Omega here in the States. I talked to Bill for a while, he told me what was going on, suggested us to Alpha, and put me in contact with Tim, the director of US operations for Alpha. We had some good conversations, and he was very impressed on how much we tour, and want to get out even more. We’re hoping for BIG things!!
I appreciate your taking the time to throw some questions my way, and help us get our name out to people. Cheers!!
“RON MARKS” (CELTIC FROST)
After Celtic Frost you exercised your desire to write music through Subsonic. With six releases, including the acoustic album Honeycomb and the box set Trifecta, Subsonic already has an extensive catalogue of material for new fans to check out. Is there any new music in the pipeline? Maybe some tunes that are a little heavier than the last few?
(RM) There’s a new Subsonic released finished but, as you’ve said, there already exists plenty of material for fans to check out.
Sour Pup was put out early this year under your own name and is an overall upbeat album which is comedic from beginning to end. Lyrically the work is supposed to be satirical and assist in highlighting some of society’s hypocrisy. George Orwell is my top satirist, if not my favorite novelist in general, and I noticed Mark Twain was listed as an influence for your work. Are there any other authors you enjoy specifically for their satirical value?
(RM) I’m a dedicated Mark Twain fan but Frank Zappa was the single most influential artist regarding my approach to writing satirical material. Frank always got it right, both socially and musically so.
I came across a video where you mentioned a show concept along the lines of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations but instead of the culinary world the program would primarily focus on music culture across the globe. Has anybody contacted you yet about developing this idea?
(RM)This concept has been on my mind for some months now but I haven’t pitched it to anyone yet. I believe that my new relationship with Alpha Omega will provide a path toward making a formal presentation to various production companies.
How involved with the project do you see yourself?
(RM) I would like to host this series and be Executive Producer as well.
Among the songs you’ve written for Celtic Frost, Subsonic, and on the Sour Pup album you can find a wide range of musical styles and tones, from metal to polka. How do you normally come to write music? Do you utilize different writing techniques depending on what you are trying to create?
(RM) If I was normal then I wouldn’t write music. I believe there are two kinds of music, good and bad. I don’t sit down with the intention of writing toward any specific style. Sometimes an idea hits when you’re least expect it to. In your car, listening to the rhythm of a running engine or the cadence and melody of a bird in the woods. Sometimes I wake up singing a melody that inspires a new track. There are no rules and nothing is sacred. Music is everywhere and being open to that is crucial, whether I’m in studio or walking down a street.
ARTICLE/INTERVIEWS BY: JAY ROLLINS / Metalheads Forever Magazine
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Very special thanks to Tarja Virmakari with whom without this article would not have come to fruition.
First of all she is a happy mother since 2005 and media director of Alpha Omega Management. CEO/Founder/President at Metal Shock Finland metalmag, active since 2010. Webmaster since 2000. Born in Helsinki, Finland and Moved to Italy in 2000.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the awesome individuals who made this amazing article and issue possible, Tarja Virmakari, Thom Hazaert, David Ellefson, Alex Azzali, Roberto Risso and Jay Rollins( Writer and interviewer).
We can’t thanks you enough for your time and participation and prompt replies. To Alpha Omega Management and EMP Management it was our pleasure to work with you and we are looking forward to working together with WORLD METAL DOMINATION. We look forward to following up on this article at a future date and talk a little further into your respective business and bands and other projects respectively, thanks again MHF.
CEO Metalheads Forever : David Maloney