Bjorn Englen, Andrew Szucs, Aquiles Priester photographed at the NAMM show in Anaheim on 01/25/13.

Bjorn Englen, Andrew Szucs, Aquiles Priester photographed at the NAMM show in Anaheim on 01/25/13.

It seems that I know very little about any band that comes my way but that is the way I want it. BLACKWELDER’s Andrew Szucs were kind enough to shed some light on this band. ©2015 Anders Ekdahl

Could you please introduce the band to us?
-Sure, Blackwelder is:
Bjorn Englen – Bass
Ralf Scheepers – Vocals
Aquiles Priester – Drums
Andrew Szucs – Guitar

When you form how easy is it to pick up a thread as to where your sound is going??
-Once I had the songs together, things just started happening. Bjorn Englen is a fantastic bass player that I knew here in Los Angeles – his playing is always excellent, so he was my first choice for the band. Around this time, I had also presented the songs to Ralf and he was interested, as well. Shortly after this, Bjorn went on tour with Tony Macalpine and I heard that Aquiles Priester was also playing with them. I knew Aquiles’ amazing playing from Angra’s “Rebirth” and “Temple of Shadows” releases, so I definitely wanted to get him on board with Blackwelder.

How do you explain the meaning of the band name?
-One day I came across a street here in Los Angeles called “Blackwelder Ave” and I thought “what a great band name.” Bit by bit, after the songs came about, it seemed like the name on the street sign suited the music, so the band became “Blackwelder.”

How important is image to the band? What impression do you want the fans to get of the band?
-A great musician once said that people see you before they hear you. We try to keep that in mind with Blackwelder, however, the most important focus is the music itself – – the sound of the music.

I am a huge fan of LP art work. How important is it to have the right art work for your album?
-That’s great. I think it is important for the album art to communicate to the listener what kind of music is on the album. In our case, we wanted people to know that this is a metal CD, and I think our cover (by Mario Bouffier) communicates that very well.

How do you avoid being affected by the hype likes on youtube and facebook can create on social media?
-Social media provides a unique outlet for thoughts and opinions of all kinds; information can be made available to many people very quickly. In my life, I prefer to focus on the positive side of things and I apply that same thinking with my approach to social media. Also, I tend to stay very busy in my actual life, which doesn’t allow for a lot of time to focus on internet trends.

When you play in a metal band does it feel like you are a part of massive community?
-The metal community is an amazing group of people worldwide. Their acceptance of Blackwelder has been very humbling and continues to be a tremendous honor. I’m very proud for Blackwelder to be a part of such an amazing community.

How important is it to be signed to label today? What can they do?that you cannot so on your own?
-For us, it has been very important. Goldencore/ZYX continues to be a fantastic label, consistently manufacturing a good product and making it available to the fans. It’s important to have a great team of people working with you. GC/ZYX does exactly what they say they are going to do and that kind of reliability is very important.

How much of a touring band are you guys? How hard is it to get gigs outside of your borders?
-We are experienced live musicians and we are working to put together some live shows to bring to the fans of Blackwelder. Some interesting offers/ideas have come up, so we will continue in that direction until some concrete shows materialize.

What will the future bring?
-You can expect to hear more from us – new ideas and music are always in the works, so we want to get more music out in 2016, and prior to that, continue to work on bringing the music of Survival of the Fittest to the stage.
Thank you for your questions Battle Helm! I appreciate you and your reader’s interest very much.

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