Interviewed for the First Time and DJ of the Month = Vacation Time for MetalMattLongo!

A couple weeks ago, I was contacted by Nick Williams from the website Blood or Love. He wanted to interview me, but because phone timing didn’t work out, we conducted it via Facebook. So this was a couple of firsts for me: my first time being interviewed, and the first time I had ever done any interview via Facebook. It was fun to write about why I run this site, because sometimes I honestly forget and kinda march blindly forward. This is part of the reason I write reviews—to help me remember how I feel about my experiences. We also discuss my favorite metal writers, current listening habits, advice for budding bloggers, and the possible death of album reviews. Read this beast HERE.

I was made to be behind a mic. Bonus points if you can name the toy I’m playing with.

Oddly enough, not long after this interview was posted, WRUV named me DJ of the Month for August 2011. What does this mean? Well, an official station t-shirt for starters (yay, free shit), but more importantly, yet another interview! This one was done via email by Jenny Mudarri, and as opposed to the conversation style in the Facebook interview, I got these four questions all at once. This one is more radio-focused, and how I’ve branched out into the local community. It can be found on the WRUV website HERE.

The irony is palpable, because my current vacation means I will update the site infrequently, plus miss three of my radio shows, three Metal Mondays at Nectar’s, and the WRUV station meeting where they’ll announce this DJ love. The worst part: you can’t return ticker tape.

He’s not here? Well, fuck all, NOW WHAT?

~MetalMattLongo

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Six the Hard Way with Ian Chains of CAULDRON

Note: Jason Decay was busy so he passed on these questions to trusty axe-man, Ian Chains for answers. Enjoy!


Brad: First of all, I’d like to say that I really enjoyed Burning Fortune. In my review, I alluded to what’s known as the “New Wave of  Traditional Heavy Metal”. What are your thoughts on this?

Ian Chains: Thank you, nice to hear that our music works for you! New wave of nothing, we used to just call it heavy metal, I don’t think we’re a part of it. We were around before that tag came along and will probably be around after the “wave” bands are gone. What will they call it then?

Brad:  In my review of Burning Fortune, I said “Rapid City/Unchained Assault” reminded me of “British Steel-era Judas Priest“. Would you call this one of your influences?

Ian: Oh cool! Priest are definitely an influence; Defenders of the Faith would probably be my favourite Priest record.

Brad: Who else has helped shape the sound of Cauldron?

Ian: Our influences are anything from Judas Priest and the Scorpions, of course, to fucking Ted Rip and the Joneses. A lot of the early Metal Blade stuff has been a big influence on me, as well as a lot of old German and Swedish metal. Obsession, Lizzy Borden, Gravestone, Stormwitch, that kind of stuff would be the biggest influence I guess, but not limited to. Anywhere a good song comes from really, but we know our sound.

Brad:  Do you have plans to support Burning Fortune on the road? If so, where would you like to go as far as areas/venues?

Ian: Yes, the “Rapid Cities Tour” starts April 12 in Oklahoma City and runs for 5 weeks around the US and Canada. Then we’re heading to Europe in September/October. The venues don’t matter, the shittier the better as long as there’s good people there!Brad:  What are your thoughts on Burning Fortune as far as musicianship is concerned? Do you like it or do you prefer Chained To The Nite?

Ian: It’s honest, it’s us playing for real and it’s only about as good as we are and I’m happy and proud of that. I like the songs on both those records, but I think I prefer the production of Burning Fortune.

Brad: There seems to be a fixation on several of the elements, especially fire and water (ice) on Burning Fortune.  Have you considered incorporating wind and air into song titles for future albums?

Ian: Never thought about it. I guess that’s sort of like how people thought there was some sort of “chain” concept or theme on the last record, but none of that was intended. I guess it’s all just coincidental. Come on now, we’re not that fucken smart!

Special thanks to Ian Chains for the answers, and check out the review of Burning Fortune!

~Brad Barratt

Interview : Blag Dahlia of the DWARVES

Brad: Your new album is the first since 2004’s The Dwarves Must Die. How psyched were you to get back into the studio to lay down the tracks?

Blag Dahlia: We’re always psyched to hit the studio and prove we aren’t as retarded as our shows might suggest.

Brad: I always ask this, but do you have any plans to support Are Born Again on the road? If so, any East Coast dates?

Blag: Oh yeah, Dwarves will be on the road all year to promote the record. Expect East Coast dates in July or September. We’re giving lessons in Rock.

 

Brad: I read a mention of royalties from one of your tracks—”Motherfucker”—that was featured in a movie. Do you still get royalties every time someone buys/rents Me, Myself & Irene, etc?

Blag: We got paid pretty well for that one, once Sub/Pop quit trying to rip us off on it. Remember, tv and movies pay, record companies don’t!

Brad: Your sound has evolved over the years, from a mixture of garage and psychedelic rock, surf rock, pop, to hardcore punk with metal. How would you describe the current sound on Are Born Again?

Blag: There is a lot of genre hopping, but the basic sound is punk rock. There are elements of garage and hardcore and surf in there…even the occasional flash of metal gets in there if we’re feeling really stupid.

Brad: My exposure to your music has been limited as I’ve only really heard tracks from The Dwarves Are Young and Good and Thank Heaven For Little Girls. Do you have any recommendations of older material I should check out?

Blag: Blood Guts and Pussy is our old school hardcore classic. If you dig garage rock check stuff from our first record on the Lick It compilation. Free Cocaine is sludge rock with dirty lyrics. It’s all good!

Brad: In the past, you’ve done shows where the audience would fight with the band and among themselves. What’s the most outrageous fight that you’ve witnessed at a show?

Blag: When we get hit it’s outrageous, when we hit someone else it’s just great rock n roll.

Brad: Out of the albums that you’ve put out, what is your personal favorite? Are there any albums that really “struck a chord” with you?

Blag: Blood Guts for sheer punk terror, Young and Good Looking is the pop punk masterpiece, but my personal fave is Dwarves Must Die because it hits every genre and owns them all. Of course, Born Again is the only one I’m not bored with yet.
 Sub Pop press release on the Dwarves' death hoax
Brad: When the rumor about HeWhoCannotBeNamed’s death was going around in 1993, did you get flowers and tributes from fans who actually thought he was dead?

Blag: I got a lot of calls from credit card companies and ex girlfriends of HeWho looking for crumbs in the wreckage.

Brad: What’s your take on bands that are currently masquerading as “punk” bands? Do you have any personal favorites that you’d like to recommend? Anyone you’d like to comment on?

Blag: Punk rock used to be a way of doing things. Now it’s a way for young people to sell sports drinks and shoes to each other. I blame the Canadians for A Simple Plan.

Interview : TOMBS – Exclusive Winter 2010 Studio Report

photo via relapse.com

Mind Over Metal: With recording/mixing/wrapping up for your second LP, can you give us any insight into the title, particularly its meaning? I also hear Thomas Hooper will be doing the art once again. How do you expect it to turn out?

Tombs: The title of the new record is The Path of Totality. Literally, it is the shadow cast by the moon on the earth during a lunar eclipse. I read a short story called Total Eclipse by Mary Dillard earlier this year which described such an event, and the feeling of primordial dread and fear that instinctually grasps you. In a more esoteric sense, I feel like we exist in the shadow on an ominous force that I propelling us into the void. Thomas will once again be on board for the artwork. It’s all still in the works so we haven’t seen anything yet. Similar to the process on Winter Hours, Hooper has been working with the demo of the record and the lyrics to get some kind of emotional direction.

Mind Over Metal: The Tombs/Planks EP and Winter Hours seemed to add more of a pronounced “black metal” feel to the sound Tombs creates yet the music still holds onto the core sound that the band is becoming known for. In what ways does the new album expand on that, and/or which new directions you may be heading?

Tombs: The new record is more aggressive and has a little bit more of a pronounced metal vibe, but at the same time, there is a lot more subtlety—it’s extreme in both directions.

Mind Over Metal: It has been said that, lyrically, Winter Hours dealt largely with your past— specifically journal writings you came back to and re-worked, as well as the welcome mass destruction of humanity. For this new record, what are the lyrics dealing with?

MindOverMetal_TOMBS_242_9

Tombs: The lyrics are less personal, in that they have nothing to do with my personal experiences or any kind of internal narrative. The new record deals more with reflections on death, endings and the sort of existential cynicism that can easily creep into your consciousness living in a world where there seems be an incredible level of detachment. There are many references to the Book of Revelations. It’s not any kind of Christian take on things—just another source of imagery. The Old Testament is a real tripped out work of fiction; a fantastic read filled with apocalyptic imagery of locusts, angels of destruction, and burning cities. It dovetails nicely with the overall concept that the world is racing headlong into oblivion. I’ve also been digging into the Tibetan Book of the Dead. There’s also the steady stream of horror films (Martyrs, Enter the Void), comics (Hellblazer, Necronomicon, etc). As far as music, I’ve been into Fields of the Nephilim, Joy Division, Nihil, Triptykon, Celtic Frost, Death in June, the last two Exodus records. I’ve also been revisiting a lot of old-school metal like Tank, Motorhead, UFO, Michael Schenker Group, Scorpions and a lot of the music I grew up listening to.

Mind Over Metal: Are there any specific song titles you can share with us?

Tombs: The song titles are: “Passageways”, “Vermillion”, “Silent World”, “To Cross the Land”, “Red Shadows”, “Cold Dark Eyes”, “Black Heaven”, “Angel of Destruction”, “Constellations”, “Path of Totality”, “Bloodletters”, “Black Hole of Summer”.

MindOverMetal_TOMBS_242_11

Mind Over Metal: As far as the recording process, how was working with John Congleton on this new album? How did this working arrangement come to be? Tombs seems to be the heaviest thing he has worked on, but I personally find that more interesting. How did working with him change the division of labor in regard to recording? I know you usually have a strong hand in the process; did you take a back seat this time or did you jump right in?

Tombs: The situation with Congleton has been in the works for over year. John and I met when we played in Dallas on the Isis tour a couple of years ago. He was in the middle of doing the Baroness record and John Baizley introduced us. Baizley is actually quite instrumental in this. I really like Congleton’s work on the Explosions in the Sky records but Blue Record is what really put the hooks into me. I think that is one of the best records to come out in the last few years, the production on that is tremendous. When it comes to recording, I’m pretty much a hack. I do it because it has to be done and that’s pretty much it. Congleton is a pro—he’s worked with David Byrne! My involvement as an engineer was limited strictly to the lengthy pre-production process that ate up the last year or so. When it came to things such as mic placement, tracking and mixing, I sat back and Congleton did it all. It was a full-time job staying on top of performances. We also had some guest musicians on the record. Morgan from Kill the Client came down to lay in some backing vocals. Also, Clifford Meyer (Isis, Red Sparowes) provided synths for some of the tracks as well.

Mind Over Metal: Was there anything especially interesting or different going on with the recording technique? Any crazy amps/guitars/effects we may not see on tour but that are worth mentioning?

Tombs: We pretty much stuck to our usual arsenal of equipment. Congleton has a Fender Princeton which I utilized quite liberally on the overdubs. It’s a hell of an amp.

Mind Over Metal: It has been two years since Winter Hours came out, and the band has had a pretty stable line-up since Andrew joined on drums. How has it been to really click with a core group of band members, and how has this affected Tombs‘ music and sound—especially with regard to the new record? Specifically, what aspects do Carson and Andrew bring to the table that help make the new record different from the last (I know Carson was on WH). I also noticed you add a second guitarist—it this mostly for live shows or other aspects of Tombs?

MindOverMetal_TOMBS_242_8

Tombs: The lineup is stable. Andrew has been a crucial addition to the band. He’s dedicated and motivated, which is pretty much all you can ask for. He doesn’t have a shadowy past following him either; there aren’t random drug dealers showing up at our shows looking to collect money or anything like that, so the band is real focused at this point. We’ve been working with a second guitarist, but that is mainly a touring thing. We’ve had some friends travel with us; ultimately, it would be a welcome addition to have a full-time second guitarist, but we haven’t finalized any of that, we’re working around people’s schedules and things of that nature.

Mind Over Metal: With 2010 drawing to a close what plans do you have for Tombs in 2011 and beyond? When is this album coming out?

Tombs: The Path of Totality will be out in the spring of 2011. We’ll be hitting Europe in the summer with The Secret—that [will be] the first time I’ve ever been to Europe when it’s not miserably cold. There are some US tour plans in the works, none of which are finalized at this point.

TOMBS on Relapse
TOMBS on MySpace
TOMBS on Facebook

Interview : Roger Miret, AGNOSTIC FRONT / THE DISASTERS

1. This is your first release since My Riot in 2006. How excited are
you to be back with a brand-new album for a new year?

I’m really excited. We’ve got a new band and I feel revitalized about the whole thing.
This record is about my love for music and the scene I come from. That’s
why it was so easy to write. It’s really got everything that sums up why I love
New York, hardcore and punk rock music.

2. On Gotta Get Up Now, have you made any tweaks to your overall
sound or have you decided to stick with what works?

We’ve taken a whole new approch to how we do shit this time around. This album was written
in a completely different way to all the others. We didn’t just hit the studio for a month
and write songs. We rehearsed these songs for at least 6 months before we even thought
about recording. We didn’t even have a label, but we really just liked these songs
so we recorded them. We had our old buddy Johnny Rioux from The Street Dogs
rehearsing with us so that felt great too. We had a real chemistry on our first album and I
think we captured the same energy on this one. The songs are definitley a real good mix
of punk with a kinda HC ethic. I grew up in the HC scene so it just comes through. More
along the lines of Something’s Gotta Give with a little more street punk. I’m really happy
with the overall sound. I think we’ve really captured something on this album.

3. Do you have any plans to support “Gotta Get Up Now” on the road in
2011? Any northeast dates?

Yeah. Were gonna hit the west cost in Feburary and Europe in May. We’ll just see what happens
but were ready to hit the road again.

4. Speaking of touring the northeast, I remember that Agnostic Front
dropped by 242 Main in Burlington, VT a few years ago. I was not able
to attend that show but I wanted to ask if you have any thoughts on
it? 242 is a notoriously cramped, but popular music venue that is
celebrating 25 years in operation.

242 was a cool spot! I would like to make our way back up there again. We will. It had a cool underground vibe!

5. Speaking of Agnostic Front, I enjoyed the re-release of Victim In
Pain
. Can fans expect anything new from Agnostic Front or are you
going to focus exclusively on Roger Miret and The Disasters for the
time being?

I’ve got a new AF record coming out too so this year is gonna be crazy
for me. I’m gonna be supporting to new albums at once.

Thank you for answering my questions. I look forward to the new
Disasters album!

Thanks bro. Please check out The Disasters on Facebook and MySpace too.

Get an exclusive stream of “Stand Up and Fight”

And the following was found via www.agnosticfront.com:

Now Recording a New Release!!!
The Godfathers of New York Hardcore, AGNOSTIC FRONT, will enter Mana Recording Studio in Tampa, FL tomorrow to begin recording the highly anticipated follow up to their 2007 release, Warriors. 15 new powerful and anthemic songs will be laid down by Erik Rutan under the watchful guide of producer Freddy Cricien of MADBALL. The record is rumored to be their strongest to date and an early 2011 release is expected.

Interview : Mike Williams, EYEHATEGOD, ARSON ANTHEM

photo via thehousecorerecords.com

…on EyeHateGod

Brad Barratt: I’m looking forward to the upcoming EyeHateGod winter tour and I see that your first date is at Bottletree in Birmingham, Alabama on November 30th. How does it feel to be touring again? If things work out on this tour, would you consider touring the Northeast sometime in the near future?

Mike IX: We just toured the East Coast and Northeast in June but we will be back eventually. We’ve done some cities up there like Boston and NYC like 3 times each recently. As far as looking forward to touring, of course I am, it always feels good to get back out on the railroad tracks and start hitching rides.  We have been touring pretty steady between Europe and the USA in the past few years and I love it.

Brad Barratt: I have heard about a possible new EyeHateGod album in 2011. I wanted to ask if you had any news on this upcoming album? It’s been a few years since you have released a new album. What can fans of Eyehategod expect from this new release?

Mike IX: Its been 10 years since an LP proper. We have new songs written but as far as getting back in the studio, you tell me…HaHa! We have had set back after set back, so I’m not making any promises on when or where etc… The new material is killing though, great sounding stuff. We cant wait to record, whenever that may be.

Brad Barratt: I personally enjoy your material from the “Dopesick” album and one of my favorite tracks on that is “Anxiety Hangover” because of the way it’s structured. It has the perfect mix of sludge and doom (at least to my ears). Can you name any bands or musical styles that influenced you on this album? I don’t want to make an obligatory Black Sabbath comparison but I can definitely hear elements of them in this track.

Mike IX: Thanks man. Well, you know, Sabbath of course, Black Flag, Stooges, Skynyrd, St. Vitus, Carnivore, Germs, Confessor, C.O.C., Melvins, Laughing Hyenas etc…

…on Arson Anthem

photo via thehousecorerecords.com

Brad Barratt: As I noted on the phone, I really enjoy the new Arson Anthem album and I noticed that there’s an awesome amount of energy that goes into each track. What was it like to record this album? Was it difficult to find the time to get everyone into the studio to record?

Mike IX: Cool, glad you like it. It was pretty taxing during the recording process definitely, we holed up in the jam room at Nodferatu’s Lair for like 8 hours a day for a week and knocked it out. Everybody contributed this time as far as writing goes as well, we all wrote songs an I am proud of the fact I wrote a couple, including the title track “Insecurity Notoriety”, with some tweaking by Phil. The lyrics n this album were a collaboration also.

Brad Barratt: I have heard about a possible Arson Anthem tour in January of 2011. Do you have any more news on this? As with EyeHateGod, would you consider touring the Northeast if that works out?

Mike IX: It’s not really gonna be a full tour, more like a few dates here and there. It’s almost impossible to get us all in the same room together, so we do what we can to play live. Come see us wherever we play because it could be the only chance.

Brad Barratt: The new Arson Anthem album reminds me so much of older hardcore, especially that from the DC scene (Bad Brains, Minor Threat) and California scene (Black Flag). Do you think that the music of Arson Anthem has crossover appeal to fans of Pantera, Down and EyeHateGod?

Mike IX: That’s the scene I grew up in—I don’t mean living in D.C. or California—but I’ve always listened to the old HC groups from that era [which] obviously has been inspiration to us, you know. [Arson Anthem is] a band I’ve wanted to do for a while and I’m happy its finally here. It’s up to people with open minds to show they like their extreme music of course; some fans of our other bands will dig this record, some won’t. I hope folks will give it a chance. If you like fast, pissed and raw aggressive HC, check us out, don’t worry about who is in the band….

http://www.thehousecorerecords.com