Friday, February 6, 2015

Band Interview: MARKRADONN

Interview with Haniel Adhar of Markradonn

What has been going on with the band since your first interview appeared in issue #21 of Autoeroticasphyxium?
A lot has been happening with Markradonn the past two years. Most importantly, we released our first EP “Final Dying Breath” in October of 2013. We made a few top ten of ’13 lists, and that was a really rewarding thing. We also played our first show in May of 2014, which was a challenge, because of the instrumentation.
We have had some lineup changes. Matt Farrington and Chris King are no longer working with us, and we went through a trumpet player and a trombone player. Beka did some great work helping us out with some Euphonium on some recordings.
We filled out the brass section, and now we have a much more solid group of brass players: Rich Blankenship on Lead Trombone, Drew Prichard on Cimbasso and Tuba, Robin Sisk on Tuba, and Nick Weaver on French Horn (The “Demon Horn”), Trumpet and fretless bass. We have a second trombone player on call for the next gig and some recording, Corey, and that would give us a sold five piece brass section with a nice bottom end. Jesse also has more of a focus on vocals, doing more vocals live and he’ll be on a few songs on the recordings. I think Dennis has some guitar solos on some instrumental pieces on the next few releases. I actually like his solos better than mine, because he plays with a lot of emotion, while I try to play like Paul Gilbert, only not as good! Haha! Allen is still on rhythm guitar, Tim is still on drums, and Jon is on Timpani.
We are in the middle of pre-production for the next EP, which will be entitled “The Serpentine Deception”, which will be out in the spring, and we are concurrently working on the first full album, which will be titled “CEREMONIAL ABNEGATION PART 1:  EXCORIATION OF THE FLESH, and will be out in the fall. We are planning two releases a year for the next couple of years, one ep early and one full length later on. Both the EP and the first album will showcase the new talent as well as some previously unreleased parts with the former members. So, we have a lot on tap, and a lot of different instruments that we are working into the music.
We have our second show coming up with our new brass section on January 23, 2015, in support of URN for their record release party. I think we are headlining.

How many top ten of 2013 lists did you appear on? I know you have been reviewed in many independent fanzines of late, so there are people who appreciate the band’s vision since you began releasing your work.
Bob Williams from Kingdom Promotions gave us a favorable review, and added us to his Top Ten List of 2014, at #4 I think. Shrivstan from Metal Gallows called us the “top discovery” of 2014, and added us to one of his lists. He gave us a favorable review, and really had a good grasp of what we are trying to do. I suppose it is accurate to say that there are people who appreciate what we are doing. There are some who don’t, and I try not to focus on them. We only have five songs out there, three of which have vocals, so it is hard for people right now to get an idea of what we are doing until we show a few more songs. When you hear the new stuff, you’ll see that we are really not playing to a particular genre style so much as we are playing music to convey a certain mood. As we get more stuff out there, we will continue to improve on how we do that.

How well known are Kingdom Promotions and Metal Gallows, and where are they located? Are these webzines or print zines or both? How accurate was Shrivstan’s feedback concerning the band at the time?
Not well known enough, as far as I am concerned. But both seem to have a really strong following, and growing. Kingdom is really a South Florida outfit, but don’t quote me on that, and Metal Gallows is more global but based in India. I seem to get along well with Indian metal heads through my communication on the internet with that scene. Both are online operations. Shrivstan’s assessment of the EP I feel was pretty accurate. He took a subjective and objective approach, and made some key points about the music without really making comparisons to other bands. I noticed that about him; he seems to review based on the content of the thing he is reviewing, and not based on some arbitrary comparison or reference to another band, scene, genre, etc. He is also a really educated and intelligent guy, and you can see that he has great potential to really be at the top of music and metal journalism. I think he has a degree in physics or some shit, but a really sharp guy. Bob is just a retard. I’m kidding. He has grown into one of my good friends that I met through the band. He’s a lot of fun. Has a great sense of humor but he has a very empirical way of evaluating music, and I found his methods to be rather brilliant. He rated us as his #4 top release of 2013 simply based on how many times he listened to it. I think that is utter genius, because few music writers take that approach. I have seen some hack reviews, a lot actually, where I think they don’t even know what they are listening to. Bob and Shriv are good, but for different reasons.

In other words, Bob rated your EP high because it was one he wanted to keep checking out so much? In what ways does that method stand out from those of other zine editors? Did he review it on the same basis?
He listened to three bands more than our CD, so he ranked us #4 on his list. Bob is big into deathcore, and he has a big open mind about music. When he told me he came to that conclusion, I was like “wow, what a great idea”. He also said the CD I sent him sounded much better than compressed MP3s, which I totally agree with. CDs sound great to me, and MP3s and digital files sound flat and lacking of dynamics. I am pretty sure we will be going in an almost exclusive hard copy format from now on, and maybe do digital releases in addition, but that is in the air. We are looking into tape and vinyl as well. Bob’s method seems to be different than other editors and writers because it is based on a purely empirical, experiential method: if he likes something, he will listen to it more. If he listens to one thing more than the other, then it ranks higher on his list. That makes perfect sense. “Thresholds” by Nocturnus is my favorite album of all time, and I listened to it more than any other CD. So, I am totally on board with Bob’s reviews. For the record, he is Bob Williams from Kingdom Promotions.

What are you referring to as hack reviews? On the same subject, do you think that fluff reviews (this band is awesome, their songs are great, they’re gonna get signed etc) sell bands short by not going into the reasons their releases are appreciated?
There are some people who really have no clue what they are talking about or are just phonies. I just got some info about this one on-line blog that refused to publish an interview with this band unless the band sent her free stuff, like CDs, shirts, etc. I had to deal with people who reviewed our stuff, but couldn’t tell the difference between a timpani and bucket snare. This one guy had no clue what instruments we were using, and he was apparently too stupid to read the linear notes he received in the promo package. From what I understand, he was a Doctorate of something. So, it was pure laziness on his part. Another guy took a promo from us, and agreed to not share anything without our permission, so he gave us a negative review and then took one of the promo songs and made a video of it, without our permission, and linked it directly to his page with no mention of ours, while basically saying “this stuff sucks, here listen for yourself and read the rest of the review HERE…” We have the same effen song on our Youtube page and there was no reason why he couldn’t use that. He said that he didn’t think we would mind him “disseminating our music to other people”; I told him flat out he had NO intention of sharing our stuff for the purpose of supporting us, only to drive traffic to his page, or else he would have used our official video. He got busted for copyright infringement, and I called him out on his bullshit. He also got blacklisted from a number of promotional companies and got taken off several promo lists. Bands need to stand up for themselves. When hacks like this break protocol and break a promo agreement by using a band to drive up traffic to their site, they need to be called out and blacklisted. NO exceptions. We break our fuckin’ asses to make music, and when someone doesn’t have the slightest bit of respect for that, they shouldn’t be getting promos. I do not tolerate that crap one bit. Fluff reviews are borderline useless, but still more useful than the whole “everything that doesn’t sound like Cattle Decapitation is gay” thing. There are some review zines or blogs that are just joke bullshit and it annoys me. Just tell me what the hell it is you heard and what it was about, and if you liked it or not. Stop going on about your perception of their sexuality. That’s not journalism; that’s garbage.


Between fluff reviews and reviews such as you mentioned, they all seem lazy since the writers would rather overuse words like “cool” or “gay” than take time to explain why they like or dislike an album. What would you personally rather read?
Interviews.  I think interviews are much more indicative of what a band is about, and what the music is about, provided that you have a person who knows how to conduct an interview. I’m really fed up with music reviews, actually. I just don’t get it. 90% of the time I am reading a review and I think to myself, “Did we both listen to the same thing?” I was reading a review a few weeks back of a friend’s band, and it was just some guy who decided to start writing reviews. The review was poorly written. It had no substance, and he made a comment that “nothing stood out” of the recording, which I clearly disagreed with. It looked like he was writing the review as he was listening to it the first time. My friend took it pretty hard. 
A lot of “reviewers” think that their reviews mean something, simply because it is a review. Look, if you have 300 likes on your Facebook page and have fourteen of your friends reading your review of a band that has a global following, your review doesn’t mean anything, especially if it is the type of “fluff” or wonton negativity that you see coming from a lot of these people. Reviews are not what they were twenty years ago, where people that actually had some skill were doing them. Now, anyone with a Facebook page or a Wordpress blog thinks they can do reviews, and usually they are reviewing bands that are clearly out of their preferred genre just to add content to their pages. SOME freaking pages do bad reviews just to stir up a band’s fan base to get them come to these pages and comment to defend the bands, while driving up traffic to the pages. It is beyond reproach. 
I think bands need to take more control of their destinies. They need to put more effort into self-promotion and reaching out to fans. Youtube and social media provide bands with the same resources as a lot of these so-called “metal” music pages/blogs/online zines, and bands need to be less dependent on these people. A lot of them, based on my experience, are really up to no good. I think a lot of this started in the mid 90’s,where genre-ism really started to take hold, and anything that didn’t sound like “Brutal ripping fucking death metal” was regarded as crap by the death metal magazines and anything that didn’t sound like flies in a tin can was considered commercial bullshit by the black metal zines. It all just spiraled downhill from there.
I’d rather read well written pieces about bands that objectively and empirically describe what the band is about, what the music or new music is about, etc… not this sycophantic bullshit directed at “established” metal bands that no matter what they do, good or bad, you will have a line of brown nosing wannabes kneeling down ready to kiss their asses. I mean, there have been SO many lousy, lazy, poorly done and over produced releases by said “established” bands in the past ten years, and yet you don’t have a single journalist in this scene that has the balls to say so. Yet, these same people are the ones who are first in line to rip apart an underfunded, underproduced, underexposed unsigned band that broke their asses and their bank account to put out the best quality stuff possible. In fact, many of those bands have stronger, more unique and groundbreaking material, yet they get zero credit because they are not a trend or a house hold name. This is waaaaaay different than it was in the early 90’s, when I grew up in metal, where we all searched for the most unknown bands that were doing shit that no one else was. Now… sheesh… now if you are not a carbon copy of the flavor of the month, you are shit. Blame the blogs, the on-line zines, the noobish Facebook pages for perpetuating this “genre-ism” crap, and for being the world’s best ass kissers while snubbing a lot of underground bands. A band that had $1500 to record their EP should not be held to the same production standards as a band that had $50,000 to record an album. These guys just don’t get it, and if it was up to me, I would record everything on reel-to-reel, no digital editing, no pro-tools tricks, and no digital mastering just to piss them all off. I mean, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer didn’t have Protools or Cubase or Logic; they just played the shit out of their instruments. Nowadays… you have metal bands and “-core” bands looping, cut and pasting, and speeding up their parts in the studio, and unsigned bands who are not doing that are being held to the same standard in reviews by these blogs/zines, and it is killing the scene. It is time that blogs and zine writers learned a little more about music, about production, and did some homework about which bands use “tricks” and which are “the real thing”. This is the crux of why I insist on using real brass instruments instead of programming, no matter how difficult it is: because a lot of bands aren’t even playing their own instruments any more. So, I think things need to change, in a big way.

I remember thrash was tremendously cutting edge, and bands rarely sounded alike. Voivod didn’t sound like Venom, Hirax didn’t sound like Voivod, Destruction didn’t sound like Hirax, Carnivore didn’t sound like Destruction, etc. In the late 80s bands seemed to be either copying Metallica or Slayer and older bands became mainstream friendly to “make more money.”
There is no easy answer to this question. I have been thinking about it a lot. I don’t think, as a whole, the “genre went wrong” so to speak.  With regards to thrash metal, it was only a matter of time before bands like Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer, et al amassed some sort of success. With that success come the copycat bands, and then eventually the originators wind up losing their edge and becoming shadows of themselves. Now, this is not to say that it is not possible to be successful while still maintaining your creative edge (Rush is a perfect example that bands can still be great no matter how much money you toss at them). However, Metallica really abandoned their thrash metal fanbase in favor of mainstream, pop fame and fortune, and that is pretty reprehensible. I mean, they couldn’t make money while still making GOOD thrash metal music, a lot of money? Of course not. Instead, they had to not only destroy whatever they contributed to metal music in the 80’s by diving head first into corporate rock while prosecuting fourteen year olds for sharing their music, as if they never benefitted from the tape trading network in the 80’s (not that I justify mp3 ripping, but they took it way too far in going after kids). So, bands like that are really what messed up metal music and lead to the creation of corporate metal, with bands being more concerned about how they look in pictures than actually making legitimate good music to listen to. I mean, at this stage of the game, no one really knows what the fuck metal is any more. People call “Korn” metal. That’s a crock of shit. They are not metal. Just because there are heavy guitars and screaming vocals does not make it metal. All of that crap changed when Metallica put out “Load” when they essentially milked dry every heavy metal cliché, and then some, to make as much money from the casual music fan. Maybe they saw that the music industry was taking a nose dive, and they wanted to get paid when the iron was hot for them. But if that was the case, why the hell did they get into metal in the first place? None of us get into this to make money, even though there is clearly money to be made. In my opinion, one should never compromise their integrity to make money, and a lot of thrash metal and recent death/black metal bands have literally sold their souls to make money while watering down their sound or playing to the casual fanbase and hamming it up for the camera instead focusing on what got them where they are in the first place: playing good metal.
Now, the entire metal genre looks like it has regressed beyond repair, with the overwhelming popularity of such acts as “Baby Metal”, which totally makes a sick mockery of the music that some of us have devoted our lives to. It takes every cliché in metal, combines it with a healthy dose of pedophilia and overt racism to produce the ultimate corporately derived heavy metal pile of epic bullshit. Some douchebag probably thought “hey, let’s make a billion dollars putting fifteen year old Asian girls in short skirts while having them dance around and lip synching to re-cycled, rehashed cheesy metal songs and take advantage of the underage Asian porn and anime market while feeding this crap to metal heads, because we think they are stupid and can’t tell the difference because it all sounds the same any way and no one cares about this shit music to begin with as long as they see chicks in tight clothes cause these losers never get laid”. That’s the sort of message that bullshit music sends to the rest of us, and some freaking metal heads prove them right by spending money on this shit and getting INDIGNANT when you have the gall to actually call Baby Metal what the hell it is: a bullshit gimmick designed to make money. Metal heads should be boycotting this shit across the globe.
And then there are bands that have been caught red handed miming their own live sets to pre-recorded CDs. Lordi and Nightwish were both found to be doing this. Lordi, another gimmick band that should be paying royalties to Gwar for literally ripping them off, were caught a few years ago at a metal fest in Germany (I think? Somewhere in Europe) when their CD that they were playing to started skipping. It was pathetic. Nightwish did some sort of awards show where they clearly were not playing and just miming their parts. I head the “label made us do it” excuse from them but I am not buying it, knowing their track record. I remember when Iron Maiden was told that they had to lip synch their parts when they went on a live TV show in the 80s, and they made a total mockery of it by trading instruments and acting like total clowns. That’s metal. This bullshit that we are seeing now, where bands are more concerned with their rock stardom and checkbooks instead of the music and what it stands for is not fucking metal. Lip synching and miming is not metal. Milli Vanilli got their Grammy stripped from them and they were music industry pariahs after that. But, twenty years later, Nightwish, Lordi, and Baby Metal are still selling CDs/downloads and are still selling out concerts. It is disgraceful. What is worse is that a bunch of so-called metal heads have the cash to spend on that crap but can’t seem to pony up $10 to see a local or unsigned act or $5 to buy a self-produced demo or CD from a DIY underground metal band. That’s where the entire genre has gone wrong. Right there is the problem.

In other words, so-called “baby metal” is akin to Britney Spears posing as a metalhead. When Milli Vanilli were lip synching onstage I never would have expected metal bands to do so. It’s disappointing to hear otherwise. I still think bands should retain their integrity. Just because you are not doing it for money, and only for money, does not mean you prefer poverty, but you know what I mean.
It is not necessary to compromise your integrity to make money. It is not necessary to whore yourself out just to make money. Money can be made, lots of money, by creating a good product that appeals to a niche market of consumers, because they will keep coming back out of loyalty, provided you continue to deliver a good product. I hate this idea that in order to make money doing something artistic or musical you need to appeal to the “casual fan” and in doing so, you have to water down your art or creation to get them to buy it. 

Can reviewers still be inspired to put thought into covering bands, despite metal being made mainstream friendly?
I don’t really know. So many people now are into this stuff for the wrong reasons, and they have no clue of the history of the music nor do they care. A lot of them think that Metal started in 2007, and spend more time covering Slipknot and their drama or bullshit like Tim Lambesis and his antics. He has become a celebrity for the worst reasons possible, and the metal media just eats it up like pudding.  Then you have these younger reviewers who have no idea how to review, and while possessing NO legitimate linguistic skill, they think they are the authority on metal and throw their weight around like they can affect a band’s success. They think because they have been listening to metal for three years that it qualifies them as an expert. Is it detrimental that metal has gotten more mainstream? I don’t think that has anything to do with it. I think we are living in a culture that rewards mediocrity, and assumes that just because someone has an opinion, that it is a valid one. There are probably more “metal writers” and online blogs now than there are metal bands, and everyone has something to say! They are all trying to re-invent the wheel, instead of just objectively covering metal bands, and telling people what is going on. I am floored when I see a nineteen year old who spent fifteen minutes with pro tools and all of the sudden he is doing critiques on bands’ “productions”, or some id that downloaded a bunch of mp3s from a file share site, and then decides to review metal from the early 90’s, with an overall negative tone. No one earns their stripes any more. No one has any respect for the people who actually made this thing called “metal” possible. Many of these “journalists” are in this for their own ego gratification, and I am sick of it. It used to be the exception, now, it is the norm. I hate sitting here and bitching about how great the “good ole days” were, but to be honest, much of what I see now on line disgusts me. You really can’t take random reviews from these sites seriously, and to be honest, these sites benefit way, way more by bands sending them content for review than the bands do. There are some sites that are very, very big that I simply cannot stand and that their reviewers clearly play favorites, and they hold underground bands in very low regard, simply because they do not have the same sound “quality” due to budgetary reasons. 
There was one guy that reviewed us from a site that gets like 40,000 hits a day. I think I mentioned this before, and I know I talk about this a lot as an example of bad metal journalism. But he immediately compared us to a band that “uses” symphonic instruments before even hearing us, and couldn’t seem to wrap his head around the idea of reading the notes that came with the promo so he totally got the instrumentation wrong. Then he goes on to say we are “too unpredictable”, and has the balls to say that we shouldn’t be doing this “style” without a budget of say, Dimmu Borgir. Then I go and read a review he did of this really great Power Metal band from Tampa, Seven Kingdoms, and goes off on them for “not being original enough”. Every single underground or non-trendy band this guy reviewed he trashed. It is disgusting. But this guy gets all the free music he wants, and he goes out of his way to trash everything, except Dark Tranquility. Give me a break.
I don’t see it getting any better. The only way it will improve is if bands stop feeling like their futures depend so much on these people, and use social media and the internet to connect with fans on a more personal level. Post your videos and mp3s and let the fans decide.  Everyone on Youtube gives you a mini-review anyway when they hear your stuff, and their qualifications are not any better than the blog owners and so-called “reviewers”. Get your stuff to internet radio and let the listeners decide. It amazes me that when I read a review of a band now, and then hear their stuff on the net, I have to ask myself “what the fuck was this idiot listening to? This doesn’t sound anything like what was in the review”. So, no, I don’t see reviewers overall putting more time and thought into covering bands. I only see it getting worse. 

What happened with Matt and Chris departing from the band? Were they invited to leave or did they decide to of their own accord? Was it a case of creative differences and not being able to connect?
They are brass players. Who knows what they have going on in their heads half the time? Rich made me laugh hysterically a few weeks ago calling them “brassholes”. I was dying from that. Matt and Chris will still have a few parts on the album, because they were recorded before they left. There really wasn’t any reason. Their tenure was just over and we moved on. Some relationships just end.  Matt was my friend and now he isn’t. He was very dismissive on the whole “metal thing” and while he helped me shape the foundation of the sound, he bailed on me and left me hanging mid-production, at one of the worst times of my life. I have no reason to keep in touch with him.

Who were the trumpet player and trombone player you went through around your period of lineup changes? How long did it take for you to find new members to complete the brass section of the band?
It was Chris and Matt, and then we played with a trombone dude named Leonard (no clue what his last name was). He gigged with us in May but then he disappeared. I was kinda upset because he just split and never gave us a reason; he just stopped returning calls. I really hate that. At least tell me to my face and say “hey, I am out”. But, he just bailed with no explanation. He also had all of the notes and sheet music for the brass parts, and he never gave them to me, so we had a shitty time trying to get the new brass players to learn his parts. It was pretty annoying. It took us a while to find new players. Rich joined us in October, five months after the last time I saw Leonard. We just added Drew and Robin three weeks ago. Drew is doing great, and he and Rich are really helping us flesh out the brass section parts for the new material, which is great because Nick’s work schedule has been busy, so it is nice to be able to still make progress so we can move forward with the material.

By what process did you have to show your new brass players Leonard’s parts after he left with the notes?
This is one of the hardest questions I have had to answer that anyone has asked me in an interview. It was complicated, and hard to explain. I had to dig up videos of practices, rehearsal recordings, old notes I had; it was a nightmare. He behaved unprofessionally about this, and we treated him with respect and like he was part of the family. Rich and Drew, as well as Nick, have been great in helping me figure out what he was doing, and also re-write his parts so that we had a better approach to the brass sound on the new songs.

How many videos and recordings did you have to dig up when the new members were learning the songs?
I have no idea. Dozens. It was time consuming and tedious. If it was just guitar or bass or something, piece of cake. But because we had trombone and trumpet parts that I didn’t have the sheets for, which I had to transpose to a different range on trombone to suit Rich and to arrange for Cimbasso, tuba, and whatnot… it has been complicated. I learned some new things, but I really would have loved to hand Richard the sheets or at least the pitches Leonard was playing and we could have been working on the new songs. But, as it stands, because of that setback, we are only playing two new songs instead of four at the next show. I’m pretty pissed about that. 

How have the new band members been working with the mainstays during practices?
These guys are pros. Dennis has been a working musician for a long time, and he lives for performance on stage. Rich has been a godsend. He is the main brass player for us now; expect to hear Trombone solos along with guitar solos now. Drew has jumped in seamlessly, and he is a tuba player for the Brass Band of Central Florida, so he is helping to write out the tuba parts for Robin. Robin, by the way, is probably the best tuba player in Florida, so we are all pretty stoked to have her on board. She also plays with the BBCF. Having good low-end brass players gives us a much broader dynamic range to work with. At the time of this interview, we are still working on the new material, but in my opinion it is a step up from EP #1, for sure.
How has the recording of your new material gone for the band?

It has been slow, but that is understandable due to the new members and the schedules of the Timpanist Jon and the rest of the brass section. Dennis has a lot of parts, especially on the instrumentals, so it is hard to get the schedules lined up. He plays literally a dozen different instruments, and I am trying to take advantage of his ability. So, he is playing Didgeridoo, six string bass, various hand percussion, and guitar. Most of his parts are on the instrumentals, but he is the main bassist on the songs with vocals. I think we are trying to add an early 70’s sort of progressive rock vibe with the instrumentals, without actually sounding like 70’s prog, if that makes sense. There is a bigger influence of world music, jazz, big brass, and of course ELP on the new instrumentals, while the songs with vocals are more diverse musically than the first EP, and I only play two actual solos on those songs, and they are both in one song. I do, however, have some solos on the two instrumentals and one of which is an improv. So, we are experimenting even more now, and trying new things. The brass is bigger sounding and the drum playing is more dynamic in a lot of ways. It just takes so much time because I have a dozen people working in this project now, so much of my time is about scheduling everyone and getting people in the same place at the same time. This is not easy by a long shot, but worth it. I think some people are going to really like the new EP, and of course, some people will hate it. 

Can you describe your first performance with the new brass section? Where did you perform and how many people attended? Were new songs previewed at this show?
How do I describe this? Well, we played with just Leonard and Nick on brass instruments, which was not a tremendous sound by any stretch. And on one song Nick switches to fretless bass, while Dennis uses didgeridoo, so we had a void of brass for that show. That won’t happen this time around. The show was okay, but it was a little bit of a tense situation. I think the sound guy had no clue whatsoever what he was doing with us. The levels were a mess, and on stage all I heard were the brass players who were behind me.  The promoters also put every other band’s amps on stage, you know, to save them forty-seven seconds of set up time per band, which crammed our eight piece band on stage. See, we had the three piece timpani set (which was a highlight of the night) along with the drums, so it was a big stage that they made much smaller by stacking their amps in some mock-backline. It was really tough, and it didn’t have to be.  People in this scene around here have no idea what to do with us, because everyone is so used to doing the same ole stuff over and over, like they are programmed to do the same thing with the same bands, because everyone has a four or five piece… one or two guitars, bass, drums, a vocalist… maybe some keyboards… but we showed up with a three piece set of timpani, a French horn through an effects processor, a trumpet, a trombone, didgeridoo… they had no idea what to do. They just gave us fifteen minutes to set up/sound check because the sound guy got there ninety minutes late… when it was agreed that we’d have much more time. We played the EP stuff well but we botched a brand new song because I think we were a little tense. First show jitters I guess. With the new brass section we will be much tighter, and have a much more powerful sound. Plus, Dominic from URN has assured me that we will get the proper set up and sound checking time for this new gig. I do not know how many people were in attendance. We played at the Haven Lounge in Orlando. All the guys in the band were really happy and had fun, and our fans enjoyed the set. We sold a few shirts and CDs.  Everyone was happy, but I wasn’t. I was really annoyed at this situation, and it bothered me until we booked the next show, which will be at the same place.

How well did the audience appreciate you despite the difficulties? Which songs were most strongly responded to?
The audience that didn’t hear us and had no idea who we were really didn’t respond. They just sort of stood there and nodded their heads to each other. But Mark from Recycle To The Soil traded a shirt with us, and Chris from Killing Addiction insisted on buying a shirt instead of letting me give him one. I gotta say that bands really support bands in Central Florida. I mean, every band really does. The fan base needs to get out there and see the bands more, though. The difficulties were negligible in the grand scheme of things. It was our first show. But everyone played really well, and probably the biggest screw-ups were me slopping up my solos or forgetting my lyrics.  Bear in mind that I wrote these lyrics years ago and only sang them many times, so of course I was going to screw them up in the show, haha, but people really got into Final Dying Breath and Internal Hate Unbounded. When we played Frenzied Winter Sorrow, Dennis broke out the didge and Tim did the drum intro with Jon banging on the timpani, and the crowd did really dug that. 

I remember Deviants Underground Radio was a consistent supporter of Markradonn. That show had loads of potential to change internet radio for the better when it aired. How do you feel that the program folded?
I had no idea they folded. I know you and I sorta connected through them. I distanced myself from DUR a while ago. One of their bands that they really supported, whom I went out of my way to support and talk about them in printed and live radio interviews, gave me some shit over me posting something on Facebook honoring those who died on 9/11 on the anniversary. You and I grew up in New York, and we both were there when the towers went down. We experienced that hell. So, when I posted this stuff showing my respect to the dead, the bassist or some guy from that band went off on me on some anti-American bullshit, and showing a mad amount of disrespect to me, my dead friends, and my country. I didn’t like that. This kid was from Sweden, so he was really detached from the set of circumstances here, and apparently, radical Islam never had done anything bad in Sweden. According to this kid, America sucks, we got what we deserved, and no one should mourn innocent, dead Americans because America is the "Great Satan" and that everyone in this country is guilty and should die. I think he watched Al Jazeera a lot or something. I spoke to the head of the station, and she was aware of the situation, but didn’t exactly handle it the way I expected, which was the beginning of the end of my relationship with them. I slowly backed off from them, and this is the first I am hearing about them folding. I have distanced myself from a lot of people who seem to be spinning their wheels and focusing on drama instead of music. But one of the best sources of support for underground and indie metal, all metal actually, is Metal Devastation Radio. Zach and Massimo, again, dudes I met through the social media black hole known as Facebook, have been absolutely amazing in how they support our band and other bands. Zach really has something special there, and it is an attitude and mind set about music that is unlike anything else out there. Whatever potential DUR had, Metal Devastation picks up where they left off, and takes it much further.


I figured people would somehow pick up on what Deviants started and carry it to the next level. Despite everything I am grateful to the program and its owner Pryjmaty because I learned a great deal about the metal scene in Tennessee and met many bands from there through the show and Facebook. In what ways is Metal Devastation taking things further?
I don’t really know what to say about Deviants. That downfall is what happens when drama takes precedence over the bands. I met a few cool people though them; Brian Rogers from BestinCase was one. But other than that, it was a rather short-lived relationship that had some somewhat strange and uncomfortable “TMI” moments I am not at liberty to discuss here. Zach and my friend from Canada, Massimo, have done a great job supporting my band, and other bands. They are good guys. What Zach has done was create a nasty large and tight-knit network of metal heads and music fans with Metal Devastation Radio. He has a social media aspect, and you can sign up for membership for free. MDR has a place for blogs and you can create your own blog. The guy is really onto something. Metal Devastation Radio is the sort of thing that could revolutionize music promotions, because it allows for a more direct contact between bands and fans. They have an active chat for each show, and a clear station signal for all streams. I wouldn’t be endorsing them if I didn’t think they had something special, but the truth is, MDR is at the top of the food chain right now, and Internet Radio is really the biggest and best thing that ever happened to underground music. I tip my cap to Zach and his format and methodology. Here is the website: metaldevastationradio.com. Instead of pirating stuff, folks, just listen to internet radio. It is a much more enriching experience, and you can find a lot of bands on these shows on the chat board while the show is in progress. You can be a part of something bigger than just possessing a few mp3s.
 


That situation with the guy you were in conflict with was fucked up, but I am not surprised by that attitude. It’s always easy to deny others you perceive as evil incarnate their human rights, and religion is too often used to justify inhuman acts. I am atheistic not in the sense that I disbelieve in god, but in organized religion. I just don’t get how some preach forgiveness and turning the other cheek, yet persecute others who “offend” them for whatever reason. What is your position?
This is hard to answer. Organized religion has had its ties to subversive and oppressive government for centuries. I am an Ordained Deacon and Sanctified Healer, so I have a bit of an insider’s understanding of religious politics. People misunderstand that the church represents Jesus Christ; it doesn’t. The Catholic and subsequently reformist churches were created by men and were tied directly to government with an effort to control people and to amass power and wealth. Jesus Christ was a humble son of a carpenter who never addressed himself as king or “god”. These were titles given to him by others, including Pontius Pilate. The first 300 years of Christianity were filled with a variety of sects that were anything from Suicide Cults to Christian Gnostics who believed that Christ was the quintessential being who achieved gnosis through his own efforts, and not through his divinity. In fact, Christ’s divinity was really “determined” by Constantine’s Council of Nicea in 325 AD, when he and his religious leaders created the Biblical Canon, cherry picking ideas, concepts, and writings while omitting anything they felt that was not supportive to the ideological premise they were creating.  Omissions included testimony by disciples such as Peter, Thomas, and even the infamous Judas. It was in my opinion a more politically-driven event that forever changed the course of Western Civilization, because it took a spiritual figure, a teacher, a healer, and elevated him to divine status while attributing to him a sort of authority that he never wanted when he was alive. Jesus was a healer and a teacher; he had a purpose to teach what was known as the “golden commandment”, John 13:34, which states: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” He is essentially saying to follow his example of love, and to treat others in the same way. He also taught humility, compassion, and perseverance with his Sermon on the Mount. AT NO POINT did Jesus Christ ever say, according to what we know already in the Bible as canonized by the Council of Nicea, “go and kill a bunch of people if they are not a believer in me.” He advocated nonviolence, and he made it very clear that people had to choose to accept the “word of his father in heaven” of their own free will. Draw your own conclusions from that, but at no point did he ever say “force my teachings on others”. He wanted his disciples to share his work, but not by force, coercion, or subversion. This is where Constantine failed, because he made Christianity the national religion of his Empire, and that in and of itself is a far cry from what Christ really wanted. A national religion denotes a forced conversion, and that just doesn’t fly with me. When it comes to Christ and Christianity, I guess you can call me some sort of Gnostic, who sees Christ as the great example of Gnosis. His divinity, meaning, whether or not he is the incarnation of God, I am still not decided on how he achieved Gnosis; either through divinity or through actualization I am still uncertain. There is a lot to learn from his tremendous medical feats, and from his ethical teachings that unfortunately have been bastardized by corruption and the greed of men, and eventually lead to the likes of John Calvin and his draconian ideology. I respect Christ and think that when you get past the organized religious aspect that was created by corrupt men, there is much to learn and emulate. I also do not accept the epistles of Paul, as I have doubts about the authenticity of his experiences. I personally omit and discount the vast majority of Paul’s epistles and his writing, and hold the four canonized Gospels in much higher regard than his writing.
Christians believe that Christ is their personal savior, and I have no issue with that; but I do not accept Christ as my personal savior. Gnostics generally accept that the self is purely responsible for actualizing the essence of god or god-like consciousness or such, and through self-actualization one saves oneself or becomes one’s personal savior. So, if Christ is supposedly the epitome of Gnosis, then the achievement of Gnosis would be to achieve that which is equivalent to what Christ actualized:  the achievement of divinity. Yes, I am a heretic. So sue me. Don’t get me started on his supposed parentage either… Christians, Satanists, Atheists… they all think I am nuts. Now, when discussing something like Islam, we need to consider that Islam is not really a religion, but a complete life system that is under the guidance of Shariah. Shariah determines what is moral and what is not; what is acceptable behavior, and what is not; and it has not changed one iota since the seventh century, while other religions and spiritual systems have modernized to abandon some rather unreasonable fundamentalist beliefs. Islam has not changed much ideologically since then. Islam means “submission”, and the entire purpose of Islam is to worship Allah. There is no free will, only submission to Allah, and all actions and activity is done for that one purpose. It is very different than Christianity, which calls for people to choose freely to follow in the path of Christ, while Islam as per the Koran calls for all to convert to Islam, and if not by choice then by force. This is evident in how Islam interacts with other cultures and religions in other countries. The Prophet of Allah was a military patriarch who conquered people, slaughtered them, and used subversion to achieve his political goals. This is a very different person than Jesus Christ, for sure. The Prophet was a person who advocated that his followers convert people who do not follow him, and if they do not convert to mutilate, maim, or kill them. 
The Islamic methodology of achieving “peace on earth” is by all peoples being converted to Islam, willfully or forcefully, so therefore if all are united under one Islamic Caliphate banner, then there will be no more conflict between religions and cultures, i.e. “peace”. They even have a concept called “taqiyya” and “kitman”, which allows believers to lie and deceive so-called “infidels” to achieve a subversive goal. In my opinion, that is fucked up beyond all recognition, and there are people that have an issue with a Christian priest refusing to marry two men to each other, yet while in Iran, they slaughter anyone who is gay or simply not Muslim; HUGE difference between conscientious spiritual civil disobedience and wholesale murder of anyone that does not attest to the Muslim Ideology. I am floored at the lack of outrage regarding the utter persecution of non-Muslim peoples in Iran and other primarily Muslim countries, yet we have people in this country that get all bent out of shape when a retailer doesn’t want to pay for the morning after pill for their employees. Give me a freaking break. There are unbelievable tragedies in this world being committed by hard-core religious fundamentalists that pray six times a day while facing Mecca, and we have people in the USA losing their freaking minds over crap like Hobby Lobby or a chicken sandwich place. Their implicit silence is like a de facto endorsement, while their loud and voracious protest of relatively trivial matters is severely misguided. For some reason, you hear almost NO outrage about the thousands of Christians who are getting slaughtered in the Sudan, or the Buddhists that are getting murdered and their holy sites being desecrated by Muslims in eastern Asia. You never hear how Muslims slaughtered and continue to slaughter Sikhs by the hundreds or thousands. You never hear at how in Sweden of all places there is a “rape” initiative of Swedish women to populate the country with Native Muslim brood. These things are totally ignored by the same people who get all bent out of shape over a baker who won’t bake a lesbian wedding cake. 
This leads me back to my argument with that kid from Sweden from that band. When nineteen Islamic terrorists that were funded and trained by a known Islamic fundamentalist terrorist organization hijack four passenger airplanes and fly a pair of them into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the same exact day I was supposed to be in the city on Canal Street and the same evening I was supposed to be working a party promotion at Windows On The World, of course I am going to have a big issue with fundamentalist Islam. If someone gives me some shit for that and for how I honored the dead, and how I just barely dodged a bullet that day, I will fucking rip into them. If this kid was in front of me, it would have been hard for me to hold myself from decking him. He essentially said that because those people were American, and because the Americans supported Israel, they deserved to die; pretty much saying that I deserved to die that day. I could very well have been 2997, and I wasn’t happy with this asshole’s comments.
I am pretty sure I just pissed off everyone with this last answer.

I read an interview in the goth magazine Propaganda (as it was a while ago I don’t remember who the interviewee was) in which Christ was said to have rebelled against the religious order of his time. Many Christians today tend to overlook this.
He butted heads with both the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Sadducees were like the fundamentalist, “conservative” Jews of Jesus’ time. They adhered strictly to the written Law of Moses, and denounced the oral traditions and doctrines. However, the Pharisees were like the “common” man, and they supported the “old traditions”, and had a broader view of Judaism. Modern Judaism comes from the Pharisee tradition.
The Pharisees disagreed with Christ’s interpretation of the Law of Moses, and this is where the main conflict between both the Pharisee leadership and Jesus arose. They claimed what he was teaching was not authentic Jewish law.
The Sadducees were hard critics of Jesus’ “radical” teachings, which seemed to conflict with Mosaic Law in many respects (to say one has a “commandment above all commandments” was considered heresy by the fundamentalists of that time, and an insult to Mosaic Law) which included a harsh debate over the stoning of adulterers, the “eye for an eye” concept, and many other mosaic ideals. They had made a very auspicious claim that Jesus’ teachings and the Pharisee interpretation of the Law that included Resurrection, Life-after-death, the existence of “angels and spirits” were really just Zoroastrian corruptions of Judaism and needed to be renounced. I find this part so interesting, considering that Gnosticism is rooted in Judaic Mysticism, Christian Occultism, and the core of Zoroastrianism. So, what the Sadducees were saying was that Jesus was essentially a corrupt occultist who was preaching heresy that was rooted in a then 1500 year-plus old pagan religion (which ironically was in fact the first real monotheistic religion, and it predates even Judaism). It is amazing when one finds out these facts regarding the confrontation between Jesus and the Jewish religious hierarchy in Israel at that time. They called him a heretic, blasphemer, liar, occultist and pagan. Based on this information, I marvel at how so many people in metal have a misconception of who that man was, and pay more attention to the exact corruption that Jesus stood up against that wound up plaguing the church for nearly 2000 years. So, like I said, there is a lot to learn from that man’s story and what he taught.
“Jesus was teaching the corruption of the pagan religion of Zoroastrianism”. That idea just blows my mind. 
But Christians do not overlook the fact that JC butted heads with the religious leaders in Israel. In fact, they are rather proud of the rebellious nature of Christ. Conservative, evangelical Christians in the USA love the fact that Jesus stood up to the Romans and both the Pharisees and Sadducees. It is like a rallying cry for some of these people. I think many people who are decidedly anti-Christian tend to create this mainstream stereotype of what a Christian believes and how they act, when the truth is, the real Christian scholars that I spoke with and had significant dealings with are very deeply educated in the history of Christianity, including the “heretic” off shoots like Gnosticism, the roots of Judeo-Christian mysticism, the Kabbalah, and also the origins of Monastic Medicine. Joe Schmo casual churchgoer doesn’t have any idea of these things. One has to dig deeper and converse with those who study all aspects of the Western Tradition. I mean, let’s be real about something: Isaac Newton was a card carrying Christian and one of the great minds of western civilization. And he was also one of the great occultists of all time, and practiced alchemy in secret. St. John The Baptist was the first Naturopathic Physician in recorded western history; he used forty different medicinal plants to heal his “disciples” as well as hydrotherapy (“baptism”) and solar therapy, and he also taught Jesus the healing arts. John The Baptist was essentially an herbalist who practiced occult medicine. The Jesuit Order by its very nature is “occult” because of the large amount of “hidden” teachings that they disseminate. And let’s not forget the Templar Knights, and all of the mystery and drama surrounding them (and even they were eventually reviled by the hierarchy of the political, quasi-government of the church, claiming that the Templars were practicing “devil worship and occultism”). So, this idea that Christianity and the Occult as two different things is just historically inaccurate. Christianity and Judaism have been seeped in the occult since before the days of King Solomon, and the connections to the old Indo-European religion of Zoroastrianism is proof of this, as well as Judaic mystical texts such as The Zohar and the Sepher Yetzirah. 

I heard something once about how Islamic fundamentalists deem it acceptable to lie to nonbelievers in order to achieve their aims. Are there specific examples you have read concerning this in internet articles?
There really isn’t anything specific I can show here, without making this whole interview about Islam. But, if you look at some Muslim organizations in the USA that on the surface look benign and peaceful, under that veneer you will see connections to terrorist groups such as Hamas and ISIS. In fact, some of these groups get tax breaks as 501(c) and then they turn around and fund terrorist groups.  This is probably a pretty good example of Taqiyya. 

Two independent films that give us a glimpse into Islamic countries are Osama (2003) about a girl who masquerades as a boy in order to work and The Stoning Of Soraya M. (2008) about a woman unjustly executed for adultery.
I have not seen either. I watch a lot of random documentaries on the internet, and have seen many videos of Islamic torture and dismemberment. I have seen several videos showing the amputation punishments, I have seen beheadings; the beheadings are fucking horrific. They use like a freaking dull knife and cut the head starting at the throat, and hack saw through until the spinal cord is finally cut. During this time, the victim is self-aware, alive, and can feel every moment of the beheading. They are actually experiencing the whole thing, not like what they’d experience if it was a traditional execution. These methods are designed to make the victim suffer through the entire ordeal. I even saw some where they would take the head of the victim and show it his body, sort of like a last slap in the face before they lost consciousness for good. These are sick fuckin’ people. Plus, Mexican and South American drug cartels use the same methods, so it makes you wonder if there is in fact some kind of connection between Islamic Terrorist groups and Latin Drug Cartels.

Hearing and reading about these fundamentalist Islamics unnerves me, to say the least. Especially reading about what are clearly hate crimes being committed by extremists, while anyone who objects to them is labeled a “racist”.
The only thing we would probably disagree on is the “extremists” remark. Islam is mostly extreme, so to call them “extremists” is redundant. However, “moderate” Muslim or “westernized” Muslim is more apt for the division of Islam that is not extreme, and those are few and far between, and are clearly the most oppressed segment of Islamic culture by traditional/fundamental Islam. Remember, Islam sided with the Germans and the Nazis in both World Wars; Turkey in WW1, which wanted a return to the Ottoman Empire, and Iran in WW2, where Hitler “admired” Islam, and helped rename Persia to “Iran”, meaning “Aryan”, which is more proof that Iran and Islam are direct descendants of the old Indo-European conquerors from thousands of years ago. So, this “war” between the East and the West didn’t start with Islam. It started with the Indo-European invaders into Mesopotamia, who later became the Persians, who got their asses handed to them whenever they tried to advance any further West. They just found a way in Islam to beat us, and so far, they are winning, through cultural and political subversion, in addition to inducing terror by flying planes into buildings and posting Youtube videos of beheadings. The only way to stop them is to do what the Spaniards did six hundred years ago, and kick them all the hell out.
What’s the nature of your acquaintanceship with Brian Rogers of BestinCase?

Brian is a friend. He was one of the first people to buy our CD, and he really supports us a lot. We work together on other things professionally, but he has offered us a working relationship with BestinCase Road Cases. He does amazing work, and in January of 2015, I am getting my first case from him. I just haven’t decided what I am going to get, a rack or a road case. But, I play some pretty cheap, modded guitars, so the case he builds for me may be worth more than the actual guitar I use it for! This is his website:  http://bestinroadcases.com/. He builds some pretty amazing road cases, racks… the whole nine. I highly recommend his work to anyone who is serious about protecting their gear.
How much potential does MDR have to continue taking internet radio to new plateaus?

I think they have a ton of potential. The site has a social media vibe to it, and the chat function is great. The best part is the quality of the streams. They are able to play music from all sorts of bands from all over the world with some great fidelity. Internet radio is the way to go right now, and Metal Devastation Radio is the most impressive of them all. I am sincerely grateful for meeting Zach and I think he has something that could be the biggest thing for underground music in a long time.
What bands are currently being featured on MDR, in addition to Markradonn?

Too many to name. They have a bunch of stuff I never even heard of. The best thing to do is to just check out Massimo’s show on Tuesday nights called “Infecting The Fetus”. He plays a lot of obscure shit, some classic stuff, and some stuff from all over the world. He even plays this one band that is a bunch of chicks from a Muslim country that can’t be disclosed publicly because of fear of being executed for playing anti-Islam death metal. MDR is the best around, seriously.

Describe your working relationship with Otto Kinzel of Bluntface Records.
I met Otto through a mutual friend a few years back, and he and I hit it off. He was very interested in taking a different approach to releasing music, and was very against the corporate mumbo-jumbo of the record industry. He also mastered the first EP, Final Dying Breath. He has been a good friend and has helped me with a lot of networking. We did a successful Halloween ground promotion at the Spooky Empire conference in Florida last year. I also introduced him to my friends from the excellent band Critical Dismemberment, in which Erik the vocalist started working with Otto’s project, Skin Drone. We got more plans for this year, for sure.
How much effort has Otto Kinzel put into supporting Markradonn through his label?

Otto and I work well together. We did a very successful Halloween promotion where we handed out CDs and flyers for a special BFR compilation that featured bands like Varicella, Krebs, Critical Dismemberment, and others from the label. Otto does a lot of social media promotions and he works hard at creating networks in which we can tap into for better resources. 

Fill the readers in on the band Critical Dismemberment. Have you been friends with those guys for some time?
I’ve known Chase and Erik for quite a while now. Erik really did a great thing one day when he made a donation to our page, and it really lifted our spirits. Chase also just bought some merch recently. I really respect those guys a lot, and they have been nothing but good friends to me. Erik met Otto though me, and they went on to re-build Skin Drone. For whatever reason, people that hear both Critical Dismemberment and Markradonn want to pit us against each other or make some sort of comment that one is better than the other. I don’t understand people any more. One band is a two man project that uses a lot of electronics and the other has like a dozen people and shuns anything remotely close to electronic music. Both bands use different styles of riffing and the vocals are on opposite sides of the planet. I really appreciate and respect Critical Dismemberment and I really don’t see how anyone can compare either band to one another. But this goes back to what I was saying earlier, about how people really don’t know what they are talking about any more. That may be harsh, but I am seeing it way, way too much. Genre-ism is killing underground music, and there is NO reason why Critical Dismemberment and Markradonn can be spoken of in the same breath without using one to slam the other. Both bands have their requisite strong points and can be appreciated for what they are, and not slammed for what they are not.

Pitting bands against one another sounds like just another way of sensationalizing metal, and it cheapens both bands in the long haul.
It really got under my skin to the point of me boycotting the “journalist” who did it. I publicly called the guy out but he never actually responded. A lot of these guys think I am unhinged because I am not the sort of guy who can keep his mouth shut… ever. They think they are untouchable and that they are immune to criticism, but I do not feel that way. The media in all aspects of our global culture need to be held to a higher standard than they are now. It was grossly inappropriate considering that the entire theme of the compilation that this guy was reviewing was to unite the underground scene and to end this bullshit territorial pissing contest that seems to be the norm now. So, he goes right ahead and decides to do exactly the opposite of the purpose of the compilation. It is totally unnecessary to say that we “paled in comparison to Critical Dismemberment”. My band isn’t competing against CD, and never was, and it is totally disingenuous to make it look like we are in some kind of Megadeth/Metallica feud. I also get really offended when someone talks down about that band too. One guy reviewed them and said their EP had “nothing that stood out”, which I totally disagreed with. The guitar playing and Erik’s vocals clearly stand out pretty clearly. 
Plus, to add to this story, yet ANOTHER metal promo page decided to hold a “band of the week” thing where they put EVERY single Bluntface artist on the same ballot, again creating an artificial feud between us and Critical Dismemberment, as well as the other exceptional artists on the label, many of which I have grown attached to since I did that CD giveaway promotion last October. I felt that it was a slap in the face and it was like a total insult to the hard work I put into promoting every band on that label, by lugging around 5,000 flyers and 125 free CDs that I helped pay for. Shit, it cost me $40 in gas and $40 admission for one day (and I broke my camera from taking so many pictures of people holding up the CD and flyers; the motor on the lens broke. I even got Tom Savini to hold up our CD for a picture!). So, I could have gone down to this massive Halloween Conference in Orlando and only promoted my band, but instead I did what I felt was the right thing and I promoted everyone. I can’t tell you how annoyed and how insulted I am that after all of that, this page would go ahead and try to bury bands like us in a “like bidding contest” by splitting up the label network like that. It was classless and totally against what I was trying to do by supporting all of the label acts.
Needless to say, I am very much against this “band of the month” or “band of the week” bullshit, because it creates unneeded competition in the underground and 99% of the time the winner is the band that has the most friends; high school bands always win that crap. Bands like us are hurt by these things because we are not a “high volume” fan-base kind of band. Our fans are ravenous. They all support us by buying merch and making donations. They share the hell out of our videos and photos. We have some fans that model our merch to help us reach more people. But it is a small, intimate, niche where we personally know nearly everyone who ever bought a CD, shirt, or has played our stuff on the internet. We have amazing fans because they are not casual fans. They are really into us and I love them for it. But as a consequence to that, we don’t have a lot of fans, so these “who has more fans” contests are just not right for bands like us. 
That between-band competition does sound pointless and a waste of time. It’s like when people were arguing over black metal vs death metal in the 90s. I remember when an issue of Hit Parader printed “Kiss vs Metallica” on the front cover, for example.

It is utterly pointless and its only purpose is to draw attention to whatever media outlet is doing it. Battle-of-the-bands type stuff is so High School Drama it isn’t even funny. Just play music, enjoy it, and stop making it like it is some sort of sport or athletic competition. 

Do you remember a fanzine called Under The Volcano that was published in Long Island until it folded in the 2000s? That was a worthwhile magazine and the editors and writers seemed to care about the bands rather than the petty competition.
I remember it actually. I liked it a lt. I think I have an issue left, in a box somewhere. It was on B&W paper, with a color cover? Another zine I enjoyed a lot, because of the long and indepth interviews, was this zine Enslain; I think that was the name. Was still in print a few years back. Met the girl who ran it; she seemed really cool. I remember a guy I was friends with back in the day named Ron. He ran a zine which was one of the first underground zines I knew of that praised bands for progressing their sound and for trying different things, like how he really praised Death for what they did on Symbolic, while many underground printed zines were slamming them for “wimping out”. I loved zines back in the “day”, when zines were more about the music, the metal, and the scene, not this bullshit that you see today coming from pretenders. One chick I really respect right now is Destiny Decapitation. She has gone the route of doing a page-by-page zine, but decided to go to a site like MagCloud to have it printed, so people can choose a digital copy or a printed copy. I think that’s how it works. But, either way, that is what these new, young zine editors should be doing: retaining the spirit of the ‘zine scene while using modern technology to bring it to more people. Publishing a blog critiquing the productions of various underground or DIY metal bands is not a zine. It is bullshit.

I was talking to the editor of UTV about writing reviews for them shortly before the zine folded. I was also thinking of Slipped Disc Records and Uncle Phil’s which were well known mom-and-pop outlets for underground metal in Long Island before closing down. Did you go to either of those places? How about stores like Utopia and None Of The Above?
Yeah, I used to go to Slipped Disc all the time. That’s where I met Allen in 1998. I have still every receipt of every CD purchase I ever made there. I used to go to Utopia, mostly to try to meet girls but I was never cool enough cuz I didn’t wear black lipstick or listen to The Cure, hahaha. I even ran a gothic/metal club with my future brother in law, Equinox, in 1999. I used to go down to Detour and all those goth clubs from 1996-2000.

Is it your hope that independent zines will go back to the way they were in the 80s and 90s, as far as content?
I hope so. I hope zines get back to doing real content, like actually going back to printing zines instead of doing just blogs. The blog-scene has really hurt the spirit of zines. More cost effective, but blogs lack the same type of intimacy as zines. Having a paper zine was like owning a CD. I still have tons and tons of zines in boxes from years ago, including rare interviews and photos. I even keep the AEA zines and Cerebral Agony zines at the practice space to read when I am bored and waiting for dudes to show up. It is just a better experience to have a zine in my hand than to log onto a blog. I also hope zines get back into real reviews. I was never a fan of reviews, except Katherine Ludwig was probably my favorite reviewer back in the early 90’s. RIP. She just passed from cancer. So sad. Always well written and done properly. I think MagCloud could be a good resource for zines, because it does bring back that personal touch that zines had 20 years ago.
What new undertakings has Markradonn been involved in since the start of 2015?

Well, the first thing we needed to do was to get the brass section settled. We had literally two weeks to get four new people to work together as a whole, and we had to do it while everyone was sick from the flu-from-hell in 2015. We have been preparing for our second show, but our first with this new brass squad. We’ve also been focusing on the new EP, which will be out at some point this spring, and the first album which is due at the end of the year. It is a long process. We are talking to other bands about doing gigs with them, possibly in Ocala and Tampa by the summertime. This scene around here is amazing, and very interesting: Central Florida has so many bands playing so many different permutations of metal. I was actually shocked at how many local bands support what we are doing and want to play gigs with us. This is really the right place to be if you are into metal or want to be in a metal band.

Florida was known for spawning legendary death metal bands such as Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse and Deicide. Besides Markradonn, who are some of the most active bands in the Florida scene these days? Do you think Florida will play a part in extreme music in the States in the second half of the 10s?
Some really active bands I know personally are Abdomen Canvas, Killing Addiction, Recycle To The Soil, Sons Of Ragnar and Thrashaholica. I think metal in Florida will always be here. There are a lot of bands, and the way the environment is set up, there are a lot of places to practice. Our storage facility that we practice in has eleven bands there, and they love their band tenants. Florida metal and Death Metal is always going to be here; however, more people need to come out to shows and buy CDs, shirts, etc. The fanbase has gotten a little complacent and bored, and it is time to get excited again about local metal. LOTS of great bands, and we bring a whole army on stage with us. So, now is the time in 2015 for fans to show what metal really is about in Central Florida, and let the rest of the world know that this place, this area, this scene, is the grandfather of all of Death Metal. It is time that we reclaimed our rightful place in metal.
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-Dave Wolff