Vladimirs – “The Late Hours”

Vladimirs – “The Late Hours” (High Roller Records)

If you’re a fan of original Misfits, then you’re sure to also know Vladimirs. These Cincinnati horror metal punks had been going since the mid 90s, but after a 5 year slumber following the departure of original bass player Doug Nevels in 2007, have recently been resurrected. Playing fast, bottom heavy punk-a-rola with Marquis Thomas’s Evil Elvis-ish vocals on songs like ‘Synthetic Happiness’, there is definitely more of a metal influence compared to Misfits on songs like ‘Quiet Room’ featuring double bass drumming and also in Brian Day’s metalized guitar work. However, the overall theme defined by songs like ‘Zombie Eyed Youth’ still remains the same of short, fast, fist banging songs that you can give a big shout out to while partying on!

AKOMA

OK so goth metal from Denmark might not be the most common thing but why should there not be a band of that sort coming from Denmark. AKOMA proves us all wrong. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

There seems to be an inflation in female fronted goth metal bands these days. How do you separate yourself from all the others??
Tanya :We are focused on being ourselves. What we do that others may not, is that we do not define us on one thing and we do what we think sounds good.
Morten: What I do as a composer, is to follow my heart. I usually have a good feeling about what will work or not.

What kind of influences do you draw from? Is there anything you try to avoid doing or does everything work??
Tanya: I’m very inspired by Kate Bush and Sharon den Adel, they are some of the singers I
listen to the most, and definitely different film music, which I think is good inspiration. I try to avoidhaving only a opera voice, I try to vary much between the styles to make it more exciting.
We have also decided not to use growl vocals, because it is such a big cliche by now. But the possibilities are endless, many things work but there is some things we avoid.
Morten: I draw from many things. Can’t say in particular what, and like Tanya, I enjoy filmscore music very much. Also middevil movies and series like ”Game of Throne” etc. inspires me.

Why is it that you only release EPs? Would it be that much more expensive to do a full album??
Morten: It is expensive. ”Lost Forest” was a promo, therefore there are only 3 numbers on it, the reason why ”The Other Side” only has 5 new tracks, is found in that we felt we needed to get them onto a disc to move on. We have worked on these songs for 5 years and needed to make a milestone before we started working on a full length, which we have already been in the process of writing since 2011

When you do stuff on your own how do you best promote it? How hard is it to get noticed in today’s over-crowded metal market??
Tanya : There is a lot of work into it and it’s hard to get through. We are using facebook a lot, and we get in fact constantly new likes, which we are very grateful for. Additionally, we send out to the most webzines and others. We have also used advertising space on facebook, and, we made our music available on iTunes, Spotify, Simfy, Google Play and so on.
Morten : We are also currently working on a music video, which I believe will give really good promotion for us.

What kind of scene is there for goth metal in Denmark? Is it all Volbeat wannabes nowadays??
Tanya: There is no Goth scene in Denmark, unfortunately. We are often joined with other genres that have a different style than ours. There is not a lot playing our genre here.
Morten: From what we know we should be the only female fronted symphonic band in this country!
Tanya: So we feel a bit alone here.

What kind of town is Silkeborg as far as metal goes? Can’t remember too many bands from that place??
Morten: Silkeborg is mostly thrash and death. 1 medium name and a few small underground bands. There has also been a metal festival, but the support base is not large enough for the hard music, but we do not quite feel like a part of the hard music, we only take elements from it and make them beautiful and soft.
Tanya: We have experienced many different types of people, both young and old to our concerts, they are drawn by the beauty, surrender to the heavy guitars and drums, as it balances each other so well.
Morten: Many bands are established outside Silkeborg, so members can easily come from here,- only Tanya and I come from Silkeborg.

How do you plan on taking things out of Denmark and onto a wider world scene??
Tanya: To get a record deal is probably the best chance to get properly out across the border. We sell Cds primarily to foreign countries and we feel that our fans are beyond the bounds already. Again facebook is an excellent tool to connect us with the world outside.

I seem to ask all Danish bands the same question but when I was young Denmark was the place to go to if you wanted the latest in metal. These days you seem to have slacked off. Why is that??
Morten: We can not say why, but we agree that things are a bit boring and single-minded and the scene is not the same as 5 years ago. It is like it peaked back in 2007, but we believe now that it’s moving again, we promise HAHA

I’ve always had the idea that Denmark had a liberal view on the Arts but lately it seems that that isn’t true. Have the Danish (metal) artists become lazy and complacent??
Tanya: I do not think they are careless and lazy. I think that it has become harder to be a metal musician in Denmark. We in Akoma do not feel much difference, but the diversity among people has decreased, and most of the population listens to TOP20 music.
Morten: Danes can be very conservative. But a new initiative, the W: O: A Battle, has made a recurrence that has given insufficient attention to the metal scene in Denmark.

What would you like to see 2012 bring to the band?
Morten: We have recently acquired Per as a 2nd guitarist, we thought we needed more power on the guitar, especially at the concerts. So we are looking forward to getting him properly into the songs. Additionally, as I said earlier, we have since 2011 been engaged in writing a full length record, that we would like to see released in 2013. And we hope to get out and play a lot of concerts, also a trip abroad and finally, we hope to meet more of our fans on facebook, it’s nice to put a face on the people who enjoy our music. Finally we would like to thank Battlehelm.com for the interview, and thanks to all the readers!

BLAMESHIFT

BLAMESHIFT might be new to those of you outside of the States but should not be totally unknown for the rest of you guys as they are a hard touring band. With a work ethic like that I just had to interview them. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Blameshift seems like a hard working band. What is it that you like to get out of all the touring you do? Where do you want Blameshift to take you?
-We are an extremely hard working band. We wouldn’t be the band we are or have gotten to the level we have gotten without the touring. At this point in the music industry, independent bands have to tour. That is the best way to spread the word about the band.

Can you explain to me why something that works in the States can also work in a place like Germany or Sweden? What is it about the American culture that is so universal?
-I think that with music, America is kind of the pioneer. A lot of the trends are set here and then spread out to other countries. For this reason, American music and American bands often do really well overseas. I also think that America is more saturated and some other countries are in need of music, so they eat it up.

When you do a video like you guys have what intentions do you have with it? Is it well spent money that will pay up later on?
-The purpose of a music video is to give the fans a visual to connect with the music. When they hear that particular band they will always remember what it felt like to watch the video. Music is very visual as well, so a music video really helps with that. And, yes the investment is definitely worth it. Making a music video for Ghost was one of the best things we have ever done as a band!

How hard is it today to promote yourself with so many other bands competing for the same audience?
-It’s extremely hard. These days anybody can start a band, record, have fans and play shows. You have to have something that stands out to fans and gets their attention. But, I also am a firm believer that bands are not in competition with each other. There is no limit on how many bands a person can like.

How do you go about setting yourself apart? Is it as easy as having good songs and an image that says something? How do you go about acquiring that then?
-Well having a female singer already sets us apart from the norm. But, it is definitely more than that. I don’t think it’s just about good songs and an image. I think you have to have the drive and the motivation too. This is a very cut throat industry and you have to have thick skin. It never hurts to have something in your music that sets you apart…it can even be an original voice. I think our live show sets us apart from other bands in our genre. We run a full light show and perform in a club like we would in a huge stadium!

Is the physical album a dead art form? Has the album format outplayed its usefulness?
-I really hope it’s not a dead art form. We, as a band, personally grew up on the physical albums. It was so exciting to go buy a CD and read all the lyrics, the thank you’s, look at the artwork, etc. It was a thrill. I think that kids still enjoy that feeling, but it is so much easier just to download songs from iTunes. I don’t believe that it will die out any time soon though. People will always still love having a physical CD.

How do you go about maintaining an audience?s attention for a full set of songs when they with just a mouse click can jump to the next interesting thing?
-You just have to be genuine. Fans can sense music that is real and from the heart. You can only do as much as you can do. Not everybody is going to be a fan. But, for us, we just try to stay true to who we are and hope that fans can connect to that!

What role does the social Media play in bringing the demise of the way I grew up consuming music, an album at a time?
-I think it is just a different time and we can’t look back. I don’t think that social media will bring the demise of music, I just think it will change the way we actually consume it. Music will never die…we just have to adapt with the times and realize that things never stay the same.

Do you see any danger in shooting the horse that feeds you when it comes to playing along with the new way of consuming music?
-As I said, I think that bands must change with the times. We have to change the way we get our music out to fans. Sites like twitter and facebook can be over saturated but they are such a great way to connect with fans and at such a fast pace. Another great way to connect to fans in the new music platform is licensing. Getting songs in commercials, tv, film, video games is very important for bands since CD sales are down.

What can we expect from Blameshift in the future?
-A LOT of touring. We spend almost the whole year on the road. That is where we are at home. We will also be releasing a new CD sometime in the next few months. Make sure to check us out on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/blameshift) and help spread the word! We can’t wait to meet new fans out on the road!

BLOODSOAKED

BLOODSOAKED is death metal. Period! Don’t believe me? Check out this interview and tell me if I’m wrong. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

When do you know it’s time to start thinking about the next step in the bands career? When have you promoted the last release as much as it can be done?
-I feel a band should be thinking of the next step from the day they form, a band can never do too much, there is always promotion that can be done. As far as a particular album release I think a band can promote a album successfully for years. There are lots of bands that only put out an album ever 3-5 years and they still tour and promote that album for the whole time. I still promote my first and second albums that were released in 2007 and 2009, you can never stop if you want to succeed.

How do you make yourself heard in the death metal scene when there are thousands of bands competing for the same attention?
-It’s not easy but it can be done and again it comes down to promoting the band as well as each release. Ads in magazines, using all the social networking sites, banner ads online, interviews, give away free CDs, compilations, flyers, tours, festivals. A band has to work hard to get noticed.

Bloodsoaked is now here close to melodeath. What is it that drives you to write the music you do?
-I love very aggressive music and while I like Melodic Death Metal I am more a fan of the old school Death Metal band and the straight forward Gore and Anti-religion aspects. With that type of lyrical content is lends itself more to Pure Death Metal than Melodic.

When you play the kind of death metal you do what is the most important factor to you in making a song great?
-A good written song is what I always try for, I don’t like just having riff after riff after riff, I like to have some structure to my songs. I am also a big fan of choruses is my songs were people can sing along. I love songs with a catchy chorus and I they to incorporate that catchiness into Bloodsoaked’s songs.

When you play in Central and South America how different is that compared to a gig in N Carolina?
-The South American fans are crazy and they love Death Metal, the shows are always insane and I love playing down there. If I could only play one place for the rest of my life it would be South America, the best times ever. Bogota Colombia has been great to me and the fans are so great, the world needs more Death Metal fans like them.

What kind of stage appearance do you put on when you play live? Is there something that you need on stage for it to be a successful gig?
-Only me and my iPod to be successful. I try to put on a great stage show and make it a little more since it’s only me so I have to make it feel like a whole band is playing. I have recently added a second guitarist/vocalist and that has added a lot more to the live show.

Do you feel that there is a death metal theme that you have to follow in song/album titles, lyrics and art work?
-I don’t think so, there are many bands that do not sing about Death, Gore, Satan, God, as long as it’s heavy, fast, extreme and Death Metal it doesn’t really matter.

How hard is it to find the right kind of people to work within your region of the World?
-I thinks it’s hard to find the right people everywhere, finding others that have your vision for the band as well as the dedication is hard period no matter of location.

How much of a DIY ethic do you work by being on a small label? How well do Comatose promote the band on a worldwide basis? What can a press agency add to the promotion that you can’t do yourself?
-All bands at this level and smaller/bigger need a strong DIY work ethic, you can’t expect a label or even a press agent (PR) to do everything. Even with a label and press agent bands still need to promote the band, music, shows, tours and everything else themselves. Comatose does a solid job, they could always do more but the same could be said about most small labels. Using a press agent can get you to places where you can get yourself, they will have many contacts that you don’t have and they will spend the time needed to get you the interviews, reviews, plays and so on.

With three albums in your catalogue how far do you feel that you’ve taken Bloodsoaked? What is there to conquer now?
-I have taken Bloodsoaked past my wildest dreams. I started Bloodsoaked in my bedroom and now I am playing shows all over the world, it’s crazy! I don’t think I have anything else to prove, nothing else to conquer accept for the music I created to last a long time!!!

DEMON LUNG

Does coming from the desert affect the way you play your metal. How does Las Vegas put its mark on you as a band. Let DEMON LUNG tell you all about it. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Something that I’ve been wondering for a long time is what kind of live scene there is in Las Vegas away from the Casinos and glitter and glamour?
-There are a few venues that are metal-focused here. Doom however is minimal. The bands are really supportive because the scene is relatively small. We rehearse at one of the only rehearsal studios in town and it is kind of a hub for everyone, so we see each other constantly. Everyone helps each other.
If you talk to anyone that lives here, they’ll tell you that they never go to The Strip unless they absolutely have to. We were there last week to see GWAR play, and we will be there in another week to watch Ghost. All the venues for smaller bands are away from the glitter areas and in the seedy underbelly of Vegas….which is how we prefer it.

When you pretty much live in the desert what kind of inspiration does come from that?
-The desert is full of mystery. I have written a lot of lyrics about some old desert legends but they didn’t make it to the EP. Eventually they will. I was born here so I have been surrounded by it forever.

Looking at your logo I get a specific feeling of doom/stoner. How much of a strategy was the lay-out of the logo in describing what kind of metal we can expect from the band?
-I’m very happy that you get that from the logo. Stavros from The Atlas Moth designed it. We gave him some ideas and he came up with it fairly quickly. He is an amazing artist and I was impressed with the first draft. It definitely looks “doom-y” which is what we wanted. I think logos are important for describing what kind of sound a band has.

What is stoner to you? How do you take the stuff that Black Sabbath did in the 70s one step further?
-Our biggest influence is Candlemass. That’s what I always think of as truly “doom metal”. Sabbath is of course everyone’s influence in metal and the foundation of everything that we all do. The first four or five Sabbath records are basically perfect and we are all just paying tribute to them I think.

Just the name Demon Lung makes me think of heavy riffs and slow beats. What kind of idea was there behind the band name?
-We had a roommate that used to launch into these coughing fits that we deemed the “demon cough”. While listening to the Electric Wizard song “Demon Lung” the term quickly changed. When it came time to name the band it just seemed to fit.

The title “Pareidolia” is to me a strange one. What does it mean/represent to you?
-The title track was written about the film Prince of Darkness. In the movie it is said that Satan lives “in the smallest parts, in the atoms”. So it is about seeing the devil in the little things.

When you write long songs how do you know when to end? When is enough enough?
-I don’t write the music, but I can say they all seem to naturally end. Anytime that it has started to sound like there’s extra riffs thrown in for no reason, one of us will bring it up and we will cut it down.

Are there any particular problems with writing lyrics to songs that lasts 7+minutes? How do you know when to insert the lyrics in the music and when not to?
-We always have too many lyrics written. Phil (guitar) and I will write lyrics based on the same subject and then combine it all with the melodies that Jeremy (drums) and I write. We usually end up with pages of unused lyrics. We are a guitar and riff driven band, and the riff takes priority for me. If it needs to stand on its own I don’t want to take away from it with a vocal line. But we construct the songs with the places for vocals in mind.

When do digital releases become a hindrance for a band? Is there any negative associated with releasing stuff digitally?
-Unless it is vinyl, everything else is digital for me. I have hard drives full of stuff, and it’s my primary medium of listening to music. I don’t mind it, but it doesn’t seem as special when you can download an album in 6 seconds with artwork scans and all. If it wasn’t for the internet we would not be doing this interview right now, so I can’t say anything negative really.

How will you take Demon Lung further from having released a record?
-We have our first video being made now. It will be completed before July. We are currently planning a small tour of the west coast, and we are always writing. The plan is to have the full-length ready to release in early 2013, but it all depends on if we get a label to back us for that one. It will come out either way, but if we have to do it ourselves it might take a bit longer.

DERELICT

DERELICT fucking blew me away. After having heard their latest album I had to run out (well I sat by my computer) and buy all their records. Can’t remember when I was this impressed the last time. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Your latest album “Perpetuation” isn’t your first. Why is it that I only heard of the band now? How much of a Canadian secret are you guys?
Max: Haha well for starters we have yet to tour outside of Canada so that may explain why you have yet to hear about us. We’ve also gained a lot of experience as far as PR and general online exposure is concerned so hopefully more and more people will start to hear about us and, more importantly, get to hear our music.

When you release albums on your own today what is the biggest challenge in doing it that way?
Jordan: Getting exposure. We’re doing all the promotion ourselves, booking all the tours, approaching the press, etc. It has taken a long time to build up a good list of trustworthy contacts; if we were with a big label, those relationships are already forged and the path is laid out. When you do this independently you need to factor in the time it takes to do that.

How much blood, sweat and Canadian dollars have you invested in the band and how much have you?ve gotten back in return that you would not have gained had you not done this?
Jordan: Well, it’s safe to say we haven’t gotten a return on the money invested just yet. We’ve worked very hard on this album, suffered many setbacks including members leaving the band, financial issues, etc. But what we can say is that we’ve released three full length albums (all but one independently), toured the country three times, made tons of amazing fans and friends, had some great times on and off the road, all because we wanted to get our music out there. Even though the dollars and cents don’t add up, the experience itself is more than worth it.

I was mightily impressed by the blast the album is. Where do you draw inspiration from? What is it you want the album to say to me as a listener?
Max: Thank you very much! As far as inspiration is concerned, personally speaking I draw inspiration from bands like Death, Atheist and Decapitated as well as bands from other genres like The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Frank Zappa and Hiromi Uehara whom all have a palpable energy that really inspires me. Musically the album is obviously brutal but our musical objective is tro try to contain the chaos and technicality with solid songwriting.

When you don’t have any financial backing from a label is it harder to find people willing to work with you than had you had that backing?
Max: We have yet to encounter any real problems getting people to work with us due to the fact that we aren’t on a label. I can maybe understand that it could prevent us from attending some major festivals but I wouldn’t consider it to have been an issue thus far.

How do you go about finding the right people to work with? How do you know that they will deliver?
Max: Throughout the years it has unfortunately been trial and error. When you’re first starting out you try to get any gig you can find. After a while you get to develop a few good business relationships and are able to move forward that way. There a lot of aspects of being in a band that are very much like business ventures. Discussions take place and as a band we have a few things we look for and if we see a match we go for it. One thing some promoters may or may not realize is that bands talk amongst themselves. After a while you work with people who have a reputation for being trustworthy in the scene.

When you are without label support how hard/easy is it to get the right kind of support gigs that will take you one step further?
Jordan: The best place to start is to play a bunch of shows in your area to build up a following and get your name out there. Play out of town to gain some road and stage experience and build your credibility. If you’ve built your reputation as a popular band with an awesome live show, promoters will contact you when they have big touring bands coming through. The more of these you play, the more you’ll get. One thing to keep in mind is that once you’ve established a good buzz surrounding your band, limit the local shows you play. If a big promoter is interested in putting you on a bill but they see you’re playing every other week in town, they’ll assume your draw is saturated and pass you up.

How easy is it to overestimate the support you have online with the actual support you have in real life?
Jordan: That depends on what you mean by real life. Most fan interaction happens on the internet these days, so online numbers can be a very accurate way of gauging how much support you have. Will all of these people come to our shows? No, probably not. But we have noticed that the number of people marked as attending on Facebook invites is usually roughly the same as how many people actually show up.

Do you see a topping of the online support boom that is happening now? Will people abandon their computers and actually come out and support you in real life?
Jordan: I don’t think anyone will shut down their computers permanently for a while, but that doesn’t mean they’re not coming out to shows also. Live shows give the fan something they can’t get in front of the screen; a real live performance. Loud sound, mosh pits, adrenaline, the social element and the chance to hang out with the band after the show. I think we’ll see some more streaming performances live on the internet, but nothing can replace the raw energy of a real live performance.

What will happen now that the album is out?
Max: The first thing that we’re going to do is play a bunch of shows all around our home province of Quebec as well as a few shows in Ontario and an East Coast tour of Canada where we will finally hit the Maritimes! After that we are hoping to potentially tour Canada in the fall. Hopefully we’ll be able to play a few shows south of the border and finally get to interact with some of our American fans.

DREAMING DEAD

DREAMING DEAD made me think of bands that I had not thought of for a long time. That together with their great death metal-ish songs made it for me. I knew that I had to know more about them. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

The first thing I came to think of when I saw your band name was Unanimated’s album “In The Forest Of The Dreaming Dead” but I guess that your band name has more to do with literature? At least that is the feeling I get.
-Dreaming Dead comes directly from H.P. Lovecraft literature. I’m almost positive the idea spawned from The Call of Cthulhu, which in itself is ironic, as one of my major influences is Metallica. At the time (2006) the band was named Manslaughter and I decided it was time to rename ourselves. Without any prejudice I picked up several books and read quickly through them, searching for the first set of words that would stand out to me. After reading “In his house at R’lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming” I knew I found our new name.

When you write music what is it that drives you to the style that you end up with? What kind of influences do you draw from?
-In the past my main influence was thrash and death metal, but after writing this album I realized most of influences come the current state of mind I’m in when sitting down to compose. I tend to emphasize on adding technically challenging riffs, too, but sometimes that idea gets old. I usually don’t approach a new song with any kind of preconceived idea. I feel that takes the magic away, and when that happens I put my guitar down and try something new the next day.

To me Death was a very influential band. What kind of impact did latter day Death have on the music of Dreaming Dead? Or are your rots more in the technical wizardry of Cryptopsy and its ilk? Perhaps Opeth has played a part in shaping your sound?
Absolutely none. Lots of folks think I’m a big Death fan, and although I have the utmost respect for the band and the musicians, their music has no influence in my writing. On the other hand Opeth and Crystopsy certainly do. “None so Vile2 was the first death metal album I ever heard.

Why is it that guitar solos seem to have become an abomination in metal? To me guitar solos is pretty much what metal is all about, if you get my drift?
-I think it all depends on what the song calls for. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. I personally love adding leads or heavily melodic sections in my songs, but only when it’s appropriate.

When you are in the studio recording when does it become time to put your foot down and say that this is it? When do you feel that you’ve accomplished the best you can?
I’m really hard with myself when tracking material in the studio. I can literally spend days trying to track the perfect take and fortunately enough, to this date, I haven’t had the need to deal with any kind of deadline or studio budget (since I’ve engineered and recorded myself at my home studio, on both albums). I just take my sweet time.

I’m thinking of the new album’s title and wondering how hard it was to come up with the title “Midnightmares”? What kind of connotations does that title carries with it?
-“Midnightmares”, the album, is a celebration of just that: nightmares. Ones that we experience in our lives. Nightmares of pain, betrayal, heart break and hate. I did not come up with the name, it came to me.

How important is it as a band to have some sort of statement about what and who you are? What does Dreaming Dead represent to you?
-It’s a representation of my life, everything I want to be and cannot be, it speaks thoughts I would never dare turn into actions, it’s the continuous sorrow that haunts me night and day. Dreaming Dead is a statement to myself, in a world that only exists in my mind, where the battle between good and evil is perpetuated by the dream of reality.
It’s where I exist and dominate. A place where I choose to return time and time again.

When you invest all of your time, most of your money and any social life in band what is it that you like to get in return? Is it worth it all?
-When you envision and manifest your dreams and passions the way I have, there is no investment made in vain. Regardless of the outcome, all is done and shared out of love.

What will 2012 bring to Dreaming Dead? Any particular wishes you’d like to see fulfilled?
-2012 will bring many schemes I’ve planned for a very long time… Cheers!

NEXHYMN

I was so mightily impressed by NEXHYMN that I had to interview them. Death metal that has nothing to do with melodies or Gothenburg or even Stockholm also deserves your attention. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

When you got together as Nexhymn what kind of agenda did you set for the band?
Ivan Alcala: Nexhymn actually started from the ashes of Throcult. We were just tired of the black metal wave that was going around at the time, then we just decided to move forward with a band that sounds death metal.

How hard is it to find the right kind of people to form a band with? How hard is it to get everybody to work towards the same goal?
Holly Wedel: Well, it can be difficult to find the right quality in a musician, especially when first forming any band. Most good musicians are already playing with one or more projects. Finding members all on the same page as far as where each one wants to see the band go can be tricky occasionally too, but when you have those things in place, the rest seems to find itself.
Tylor Cantrell: I’m pretty sure it’s suppose to be impossible. You go to a show and see a band blast your face off and you get so inspired that you have to make that sensation a part of your life. But then you have to find everyday people to put in the work to accomplish very punishing maneuvers…it’s always such a major journey finding people that think each other’s maniacal riffs make sense.

Is death the ultimate death metal topic? Why is death still so stigmatized to talk about in this day and age?
Holly Wedel: I wouldn’t say it is the ultimate death metal topic, per se. This genre has quite an open field for varying topics, but I do believe that a more brutal side to existence does find its way in there frequently. Death remains stigmatized by the simple fact that it is an inevitable unknown that every individual has to face, whether they feel prepared for it or not. That makes it a taboo of fear.
Tyler Cantrell: Death Metal is that moment when the results of all our mistakes become inevitable doom. And since all hope is lost you can either fear death. Or embrace it and live your life the way you want anyway, until death visits you

Where do you find inspiration for music and lyrics? Any specific issues that draw you closer than others?
Holly Wedel: The theme we are agreed on collectively is simply death. I have chosen to expand on that by highlighting the vicious ends met by people, societies (locally or globally), or other living things based on consequences of greed, vanity, mass consumerism, etc. These are the true dark evils of this world.
Tyler Cantrell: I have powerful sensations that trigger my body and I try to channel my energy and all the tension into a consistent flow to communicate a personal rage that is deep within. I’m inspired by underground music, using my music as a weapon, using music as a way to maintain integrity and never forgetting who my enemies are. Never to be a slave or a greedy yuppie mormon-sucker.

What is it about down tuned guitars, pitch black vocals and a beat that feels like a death stomp that is so great?
Holly Wedel: The vocals represent the voices of the demons that everyone seems to fear. The tones of the guitars and the blasting cadence of the drums just represent sheer, raw power.
Tyler Cantrell: Down tuned guitars can speak to the dead. Plus, it gives your sound a grave-deep tone that encrypts your riffs and melodies with a thick boulder-sized flamethrower to blast the crowds with.

How much have modern technology enabled you as a band to do things yourself in order to get it just the way you want it?
Holly Wedel: I couldn’t imagine working without it.
Tyler Cantrell: Technology appears to be a great factor in developing a niche-culture around your band. Whereas the real world seems really disconnected, you can find people at shows that have common interests and it appears sometimes that a band’s fan-base would not exist without the communication tools that are available. Many styles that were obscure, esoteric have had a great magnifying glass placed over it. It gives the band an opportunity to find the audience that demands the kind of music we’re creating.

When you have an album recorded and are shopping for a deal what is it that hinders you from doing it yourself?
Holly Wedel: We put everything we have into producing our album at the highest possible quality to give the listener the ability to hear us on an level platform, so in consideration for finding a deal, we want the same professional quality to go into that as well.
Tyler Cantrell: In 10 years, we have been active in so many underground bands that recorded, toured and produced everything from home, DIY…and even with the ups-and-downs I am fully capable of producing everything that I need, but I also feel that I don’t need to live in a bubble either. It’s a great experience having a solid group that is interested in exposing their compositions to a larger audience.

Have the change the recording industry is going through put more pressure on you as a band to do more things on your own in order for anybody to want to invest in you?
Holly Wedel: That motivation has always been there for us. We don’t want anything we do to behalf-assed, so we would never think twice about going to the lengths we do to accomplish what we have so far. The origins of metal were always DIY anyway, so it’s really just in our blood.

When I think of Colorado I think of Aspen, ski resorts, Colorado Avalanches and Peter Forsberg. Not so much metal. What kind of metal scene is there in Colorado?
Holly Wedel: Be not fooled by the closely lurking trust fund hippie community of Boulder, dear sir…Ha,Ha, just kidding. Colorado, as a whole seems to be very immersed in extreme forms of hardcore music, whether that be metal, punk, grindcore, or whatever, but Denver is a notable mecca for metal. The scene out here is very large, and very supportive!! BRONCOOOOS!!!
Tyler Cantrell: Dismembered Fetus was one of the most vicious bands on the planet and they’re from Littleton. Jag Panzer “Chain of Command” “Mechanize Warfare” was cool band. Check out: Expurgate, Speedwolf, Catheter, Apex, Clusterfux, No Thought, 3BA, Weaponizer, Nightbringer, Stoic Dessention, just to mention some….

What would you like the future to bring with it for Nexhymn?
Holly Wedel: The ability to take our message and music to the world,
Tyler Cantrell = write/record/play shows/write/record/play shows/write/record
/shows/death.

OBSIDIAN SHELL

Every so often I visit Youtube to listen to music. By chance I came by OBSIDIAN SHELL. What I heard tickled a fancy. So to get to know more about them I had to interview them. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

I only found out about Obsidian Shell through searching Youtube. What kind of story is there behind the band?
-The story started in 2006 when Alexandra joined our high school band. The other guys were more into parties and we were more into music, long story short, we formed our new band named Obsidian Shell. Things didn’t really change anyway as I kept writing all the material, Alexandra sang and Gerg? played the bass at live shows (yeah, all two of them) and contributed in two or so songs with some ideas.

I understand that you’ve recently gone through some major changes. What can you tell us about this?
-Two left, two came. Sophie applied at facebook, Kleó, as my girlfriend, started as some emergency back-up plan but she turned out quite good, she just needed to practice and have some confidence. The work has been more divided as the ladies now write almost complete songs so I can finally take a break too… not to mention they tell me instantly if they don’t like something, not a week before the release… or after…

Where do you draw inspiration from in order to set you apart from all other metal bands out there? How do avoid sounding like a million other bands?
-It all comes from heart, or soul or whatever. Sad truth is I practically stopped listening to new music two or three years ago, I just couldn’t really find what satisfies me perfectly. It’s kind of the “if you can’t find it, make it” story. I couldn’t even find anything that sounds really close to OS. So well, I don’t really follow the major music industry standards. It’s rule #1 of originality.

How hard is it to come up with song structures, titles and lyrics to have something new to present to your audience?
-Given that I don’t idolize other bands or even really care about them (light plus side of being antisocial), it’s another thing that’s not intentional. I have an idea, try to make a song of it, but again, I mainly make music for myself. It’s just a really good coincidence that other people like it too. Sometimes I borrow some riffs or ideas when some band makes a 99% great song but there is something that bugs me and I redo that particular idea in my song to fit my taste, that’s obviously not new, hehe. But I never claimed to be a “true” metalhead, I’m just an artist, a musician whose main instrument is the guitar. I even like dubstep and trance, that’s no secret. Lyrics are another funny story: while there are absolutely “normal” and meaningful lyrics, I love writing pure nonsense. I’ve been asked several times “what’s this song about?” and I often replied “it’s about me doing night duty being bored and writing random stuff down”. It’s probably because I’ve never been too interested in lyrics, I’m absolutely a melodic type. I still have no idea what many of my favourite songs’ lyrics are.

I often wonder where the use of a more operatic female voice in metal comes from. What is your guess? Where does the idea to use more operatic vocals in metal come from?
-I joined the metal scene as a listener by the early Nightwish in 2002. For me that was THE operatic vocals in metal and as I don’t follow today’s music I don’t even know other bands using operatic vocals. Oh well, earlier Therion (from “Theli” to “Secret of the Runes” for example) is great too but female parts there are more for colouring the whole picture I think. Even Alexandra’s singing was more popular-ish than operatic.

Your music is only available as downloads. Why is that?
-Money, money, money. While we’re not actually poor and I thank whatever deity or instinct lead me to the national railway (yeah, I’m a train driver, guess I’m just a step behind Bruce Dickinson being a metalhead pilot, LOL) instead of the university as I make more than any of my friends with a degree (remember, we’re in Hungary), money is still being an issue. I know that lots of online distribution sites offer physical releases too but I don’t really see a point in someone buying an album for what, 15 EUR and the artist making 3-4 EUR of it. And again, I couldn’t care less about sales, the few bucks we get, mostly from donations, I reinvest into music so we could pretty much call ourselves a non-profit band.

Do you see a danger in digital downloads contributing to killing the music industry? What are your take on this whole digital downloading that is going on today?
-Any music you buy WILL end up being an MP3 or FLAC file eventually. You put it on your phone, your portable music player, send it to a friend over MSN messenger or whatever it’s called today. CD’s are great for bragging and putting the cases on the shelf but that’s all. Very few people have a decent HI-FI system that would profit from a physical CD. The only thing bugging me is that almost all stores offer lossy formats only (and not even top quality!), that’s unacceptable. In the age when some people has more space on their phones than I have on my hard disks, and when you can download 600 megabytes in 10 minutes with your phone? Come on people. By the way, these at most keep MUSIC alive and killing the INDUSTRY. The one that makes prefab crap you can hear on the radio. Don’t see where the problem is in that.

How do you avoid being just a “15 minute fame” band and actually make it in the “real” metal world too?
-First step is not caring about fame. I guess I make original music and that attracts people, even if in low rates. The second is not really true for us I guess. Real metal world is about gigs and we’re so far from a live that unless this holographic stuff gets really serious we’ll not going to be on stage with OS, not with this line-up anyway. I have work where my schedule is pretty much random (no free Friday nights, or Saturdays, or even Christmas eve for that matter), Sophie has a family with two little kids and Kleó’s aiming for a PhD so she’s studying her ass off. And we’d still need a drummer, bassist, keyboardist etc. I’d put the inventor if the internet in my prayers if I was a believer because really, without it, my only chance to get my music listened to would be being dead for a hundred years and having someone find my CD’s I made during my life.

How easy is it to be tricked into thinking that you have a larger following than is actually true by counting all “like” and whatever you get online?
-I don’t even follow how many likes we have. That’s just a number. Funny fact: every time I make an announcement on facebook (so I post on the news feed) our likes DECREASE by 1-2 that makes me think people pressed like but they couldn’t care less about us. There are some constant fans and followers who keep writing on our wall, in the shoutbox and even sending a few bucks as donation sometimes and those are who really count as followers. My friend “bought” about 10000 likes by advertising on facebook in the Middle East (1 cents per click or so) but he never got a buck of sales or donations. So yeah, absolutely great question.

What is the best way still today in building a following?
-Heh, you’re asking the wrong person about that. I’ve tried advertising on facebook three or four times, in countries where I thought my music will be appreciated, not just “liked” (the facebook way) and that seems to be a good way but that either costs tons of money or takes ages. Being reasonable in pricing and having a fair distribution model also helped a lot as people seem to love the fact that they can download the album for free LEGALLY but they can purchase a copy for three different prices depending how much they are willing to give for it, if they want to support us. Lots of people use our songs for their videos on youtube, and even an indie game developer group put some of our songs in their game. I guess without a manager and lots of money you can’t keep up with the classic CD selling industry, especially not in our country, especially when you’re almost on your own. But one thing is sure: I like it the way it is right now. I have no doubts that we could have been signed by a record label but then I’d have to sell my albums for a price I wouldn’t pay for music.

QUELONIO

Spain used to have a great heavy metal scene in the 80s. I simply loved Baron Rojo. QUELONIO will surely help resurrect that scene with their new album. Read all about it here. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

If I hadn’t searched the net I hadn?t heard of Quelonio. How hard is it to get your voice heard in the myriad of bands that are out there fighting for attention?
-In this style of music competition is very hard. Due to the economic limitation of the band, the Internet becomes an essential tool for the promotion of the band. But it’s to hard .

Being Spanish and playing heavy metal doesn?t seem like a sure way to success. What kind of reactions do you get from the national fans?
-Outside Spain or South America, we are quite limited by the language. Many Spanish groups decide to sing in English, but we don’t. The answer of the fans is normal. There is a big market of Spanish groups here in Spain. Unfortunately, it’s a style with a little promotion on radios or magazines and most of the groups are only known by their fans.

I can’t think of one single hardrock/metal act in the past 30 years that has made it big outside of Spain, if you don?t count Heroes del Silencio as hardrock. Why is it so hard for Spanish bands to make it in Europe/the World?
-As we said before, we think that mostly by the language. There was also a qualitative delay but that’s not a problem nowadays. The fact is that few groups have managed to cross borders. Baron Rojo was an example at the 80’s.

You have just released a new album. What kind of reactions did your previous album receive? How do you think this new one will fare with the fans?
-Reactions were very positive. It was the first album since 2002, we had a solid and permanent line up so the progress of the band was obvious. This album opened us many doors and we get more diffusion that we had before.

When I think of Spain plain heavy metal isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. I think more extreme metal. Heavy metal lays somewhere in the 80s with bands like Baron Rojo. What kind of heavy metal scene is there in Spain?
-There are great bands in other styles with more diffusion. Angelus Apatrida is a good example. But we think there are lots of groups, with bad luck and with a little investment in them, that don’t have achieved higher goals. In this part of the country there are bands with great quality waiting for their chance.

Valencia might be more know for football (soccer) than music. What kind of place is Valencia for a metal band?
-It’s a difficult place. Here is more common disco music and variants. There’s a lot of metalhead fans but not many places to enjoy the music. Some years ago there were lots of great concert venues and many international bands made a stop here. Unfortunately, the situation had changed and now we must leave the city to see international bands and even national groups.
The crisis over the world makes that people come less to the concerts, not only in Valencia, also in all the country.

When you are a heavy metal band and have just started you look for reference points. What were your reference points when Quelonio first started?
-At the begining, bands like AC/DC were our reference. Later were some changes and also changes at the line up so the style of the band changed to a classic heavy metal.
The references of the members sometimes change, depends on who you ask, but the main references of the band are groups like Iron Maiden, Helloween, Avalanch, Angra, Sutagar, Baron Rojo, Gamma Ray and more…

How important is it to you that people outside of Spain understand you? Is the music more important than the lyrics in making people connect with you?
-It’s important due to the message we send through our letters. But not every people look for inspiration or a message in the music he hears. There are groups that is pleasant to hear their music although you don’t understand, or don’t like the voice or the lyrics … It’s not essential understanding the message to enjoy the music. We believe that our letters are very sincere and the message is important but if the language is a barrier, you can enjoy our music without understanding the lyrics.

Everywhere you look there seem to be a metal festival this summer. What kind of live scene is the in Spain in the summer?
-Every year there are usually 2 or 3 big festivals, like Sonisphere, with big bands. There are also some festivals in each city with a big group and national bands. And there are a lot of them in small towns, with local bands and smaller groups. Unfortunately, not so many as we would like … as metalheads and musicians.

How exciting will 2012 be for Quelonio?
-We hope to present the album in different cities and share the stage with other bands in national festivals. Now In Spain the situation is difficult and more difficult if we talk about rock music.
Any progress will be welcome.
Thanks Anders!!!