Sunday, March 21, 2010

Visions Magazine METAL Interview

For the record, Visions is a great magazine. They've always been very supportive of us. If you can read German check them out.

Did this interview a while back for the German music magazine Visions and it just missed the deadline, so it looks like it'll never see print... Here it is. An interview with Jon solely dedicated to METAL.

>>> What is your background metal-wise? What metal bands have inspired you most and why? When did you get into metal, what attracted you about it?

I got into metal really young, and then I only listened to punk, and then I got back into metal once I realized how bad ass Slayer is. I think my favorite classic metal bands would be Slayer, Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Riot, and all the Cliff Burton Metallica records. Contemporary metal bands I really like are At the Gates, The Haunted, Amon Amarth, Saviours and my all time favorite is Pig Destroyer. I also like silly fantasy metal like Blind Guardian, Hammerfall, Rhapsody, Lucca Turrilli, and all that elves in the forest nonsense. What attracts me about metal is that you can play Dungeons and Dragons to it. The thing that probably initially attracted me to metal is the album covers. Any band that puts dragons, blood, swords, zombies, or dead bodies on their cover is a band that speaks to my interests.

>>> Have you played in non-metal bands before? If so, why did you choose doing metal after that?

Yes I have, and you're right. I always come back to metal. I think the reason for that is metal is uncompromisingly brutal music and I am an uncompromisingly brutal dude. Hail Satan.

>>> What is your general view on metal and the metal scene these days? Is there “a scene” at all? What’s most impressive about it? What is it missing yet?

I wouldn't know if there's a metal "scene", I don't go to tons of shows and I don't listen to every new album right when it comes out. What I love about metal is the built in community of brutal dudes that love brutal music. What I love about metal shows is the group mentality that we are all here to see some people shred riffs and get brutal. If a band fails in that they have failed everyone, and when a band succeeds in that they have triumphed and they will be supported. Metal is about consistency in brutality. Nobody wants to hear your art album, unless it kicks ass. Or has a demon witch on the cover. Then we'll check it out.

>>> Regarding you’re a relatively young band, it’s likely you haven’t grown up on classic late 70s, early 80s metal but grunge, stoner rock or alternative rock? Has that also left traces in your music?

Shit, I don't feel like a young band, but I get what you're saying. Even though I wasn't around when the "classic bands" were playing, I think their contributions have resonated the most with me. All my favorite bands are people who look to these bands or somehow replicate it. Like take a drummer in a band like Nile, that drumming is undeniably phenomenal in it's own way, but drumming that really resonates with me is when a dude like Per Moller Jensen can get thrashy in The Haunted and then also throw in those John Bonham style fills that make you yell out loud and tip your beer. Personally, that's the shit I really get behind and that's what I try to replicate in my bass playing. I'd rather mix in a little Geezer Butler flair than just go for down tuned overdriven fuzz to just support frantic guitars.... But that shit's cool too.

>>> What other genres do you feel connected to?

Early punk rock is still a huge influence to us, and we all love 90's post-punk stuff like Shellac, Jesus Lizard, Drive Like Jehu, all that stuff. I love grunge, for lack of a better term. Soundgarden is one of my all time favorite bands.

>>> What metal clich├ęs do you stick to, which ones do you avoid?

I love that in metal you have succeeded if you create something dark and evil, whereas most other popular music styles it's all about good feelings and being romantic or being positive. Boring! I don't want to hear about how much you love some dreamy eyed hooker who blew you while you were high on cocaine. I want to hear about orcs destroying villages, evil wizards, zombie soldiers, the end of the world. Angel of death! I mean, what's cooler: Eddie from Iron Maiden, or that stupid fucking Grateful Dead bear? Eddie! Eddie is cooler! He would stab that bear in the face and shit on the wound.

Also swords. We stick to the swords cliche. We all own knives and swords. Swords are fucking awesome and if you don't agree I don't like you.

The only part of the metal community I cannot identify with is the tough guy alpha mail posturing. You know these dudes I'm talking about, the weight lifter types with shitty tattoos and low baseball caps that just go to shows to be aggressive. These are usually the singers of bands who start yelling all this ridiculous garbage between songs about "honor" and "staying true" and "don't fuck with me or I will maul your face" and all that shit. Am I describing Hatebreed? Haha, yeah I probably am. I don't need any of that bullshit with my metal. You want to know who the real tough guys are? Manowar. Look at those fucking guys. THOSE are brutal dudes you don't want to fuck with.

>>> Do you (still) feel connected to what’s going on with metal dinosaurs like Maiden, Priest or Metallica? Do you buy a new Megadeth album, do you go to Heaven And Hell shows e.g.?

Hell yes. Maiden still puts on a great show. Slayer is still a fantastic live band. Halford is still a great singer. Those are bands that have proven their worth for decades now and people would be stupid to discredit that. There are a few exceptions out there though. Metallica will probably never make up for load and reload, no matter how hard they try. They fucked it up. They failed in front of the whole community and have been banished. Did they die with Cliff? No, Justice was a sweet album and always will be. They died when they started writing pop songs and thinking Bob Seger covers were a good idea. Fuck off. Do not want.

>>> How important is having your own vision of metal in 2010? What does metal need these days? What has improved about metal in the last few years?

What metal needs these days is another "triumph over disco". I'm pretty fed up with contemporary popular music. I would love to see another revolt and have brutal music be supported en masse again like it was in the 80's.

I'm not one to analyze how metal is changing or transitioning or improving from year to year. What I love about metal is it's consistency. There's no new sound or hot new trend. All metal bands recognize that they need to be brutal to succeed. It's consistent. There are many flavors, but the meal always satisfies in the same way.

>>> So you feel like metal is definitely in transition?

That's not what I said at all. It's as if you wrote that question without actually reading my answers first. Haha.

If metal is transitioning I'm not interested. Did you hear that Ryan Adams is doing a metal record? I don't want that. He is not invited to this party.

>>> How important are the elements beyond the music itself for you – the lyrics, the artwork, your image (for a lack of a better word)?

Personal image is not important to me. There's definitely a "look" for metal fans, but it's not polarizing in any way. The metal community is very accepting. You can be ugly, fat, have bad skin, a horrific face... people wont care. They'll rock out with you. Look at some of the dudes in metal bands. There are some ugly ass motherfuckers on stage these days, shit that would never fly in Fallout Boy or The Strokes. We don't care. If that ugly person on stage can shred out some serious artillery then it's all good.

>>> Why do you think are a lot of the innovative new metal bands from North America and relatively few from Europe (whereas Europe has a bigger metal tradition)?

Because America loves violence and censors sex, and Europeans love tits and censor violence. Violence is more brutal, so we win. WINNERS!

>>> How did you get signed to your label? How close are you working with the label?

We played with Neurosis in Seattle and they recognized our appreciation of brutality and helped us get it out there. We've been out of touch with them for a while but things are all good. Neurot is good people.

>>> Any closing remarks?

Fly on your wings like an eagle. Fly as high as the sun. On your wings. Like an eagle.

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