Friday, October 30, 2015

Live Review: NEPAL DEATHFEST

NEPAL DEATHFEST
Nepal Deathfest founded in Jan 2014 has now established itself as the most coveted and prestigious extreme music fest in the sub-continent thanks to our dedicate fans/ supporters and medias from both in and out of the country. We have successfully completed two installments.
The inaugural show was a huge success and featured 6 bands from Nepal, India and Bangladesh and was witnessed by 500+ crowd.
In second edition we went a step ahead and the event was hosted for two days straight with 12 bands playing. The headliner was the legendary Japanese band ‘Defiled’ and we also had ‘SxA’ from Thailand and Malapateka from Malaysia along with nine Nepali bands.
The 3rd edition of NEPAL DEATHFEST is scheduled to happen in Kathmandu, Nepal at an above mentioned date and is dedicated to bring some of the most accomplished and intense Extreme Metal acts from around the world together at a place. The event was planned with a vision of need to have an extreme event in this part of the world where similar extreme heads can come together, discuss and venerate this glorious genre we all adore and live for.
We are very pleased that we have two great personalities as our good will ambassador for this event, Miss. Pragati Amatya and Natty (USA). Pragati is going to represent Nepal at Queen of Asia 2015 and was miss personality at Miss Global International 2014. She is also a freelance model and writer and also a personality development trainer. Natty (USA) is a full time very popular metal model and has been modeling for countless bands, zines and various modeling agencies. Both of them are hugely popular and will add to the good will of the event through out the world.
“The fest is divided into two days; Day 1 is purely dedicated to Grindcore and other extreme form of Metal while Day 2 is especially dedicated to Old School Metal, though a little mix up should not surprise anyone. NDF is very emotional to respectfully dedicate its stage to two of the most respected drummers that the metal world recently lost. Day 1 stage will be called ‘Martin Kearns Stage’ (Bolt Thrower) and Day 2 stage will be called ‘Jim Konya Stage’ (Nun Slaughter)”.

https://www.facebook.com/NEPAL.DEATHFEST
https://www.facebook.com/events/1700791070136858/

-Vishal Vof


CD Review: GRAVE DIGGER Exhumation-The Early Years

GRAVE DIGGER
Exhumation-The Early Years
Napalm Records
This album release is pretty much a blast from the past. Grave Digger released this new album featuring re-recorded classics from over the past 35 years. It features a lot of tracks from their first three albums and even stemming back to their demos. It also includes two new bonus tracks toward the end that is to be featured in a future 2016 album release. These re-recorded tracks from the heavy metal legends are a great way of showing a blast from the past in a modern way and it proves they still have the same skills as back then. These classics have a powerful and dynamic sound to them still even though it is 2015. It is the ideal thought of what we expected from Grave Digger and that is good old classic heavy metal. Though I can be a little picky on re-recorded versions of songs I will note that these versions sound quite close to the originals. Overall the production and sound of this album throughout is solid. With over 35 years of being together and releasing 16 different full length albums this is a fun way to put it together. On a side note the artwork to this album fits in with the power and heavy metal themes throughout. Be sure to pick it up via Napalm Records and catch Grave Digger on their U.S tour with Blind Guardian. Rating: 9/10 -Michelle Liberati

Track listing:
01. Headbanging Man
02. Fire in Your Eyes 03. Witch Hunter
03. Witch Hunter
04. Shoot Her Down
05. Stand Up and Rock
06. Heavy Metal Breakdown
07. Enola Gay - Drop the Bomb
08. Get Away
09. We Wanna Rock You
10. Playing Fools
11. Here I Stand
12. Tyrant
13. Paradise
14. My Private Morning Hell (bonus track)
15. Young And Dangerous (bonus track)


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

DJ Interview: ZACHARY MOONSHINE


Interview with Zachary Moonshine of METAL DEVASTATION RADIO

Start with the origins of The Zach Moonshine show and describe how you joined Metal Devastation Radio to broadcast it. How often do you air the show each week and how many listeners usually tune in?
The origins of the Zach Moonshine show are actually the origins of Metal Devastation Radio itself as I am the owner of the website and started it back in 2013. The way that I got into doing radio was actually from promoting my one man band project “Brutal Death Fuck” which I started back in 2009. I posted some songs on a Myspace profile and next thing I knew these internet radio stations were approaching me about my songs and wanted to play them on the radio. This was actually my first introduction to internet radio; I had no idea it even existed. I have always been a fan of underground metal radio stations so this excited me very much and I felt honored that anyone wanted to play my stuff so I started hanging out in chat rooms with these stations, namely Metal Head Radio, Metal Messiah Radio and Brutal Existence Radio. I quickly learned the more you hung out with the DJ's in chat rooms the more they would play your songs and I met a lot of cool characters and other bands it was like this almost had its own scene in the underground and everyone seemed very supportive especially the bands. So all this was very interesting to me and I was all about it. After about a year or so, Metal Head Radio asked me if I would be interested in DJ’ing on the station. At first I was a bit hesitant as I knew it would somewhat alienate my music from other radio sites as they seem to all be feuding with each other and have crazy rules about stuff like that. So I thought about it for a while and decided to say fuck it and do it anyway. Since listening to and promoting music is what I really care about most I decided it would be ok to put my own thing to the side and do something for the scene. That station played mostly mainstream music and some independent bands so I felt it was a good opportunity to infiltrate their listeners with some extreme music styles and underground stuff they never heard before. I worked there for a couple years started my show as “The Sunday Stoners” and then it turned into “The Metal Devastation Radio Show”. It was around that time that a lot of drama and bullshit behind the scenes with the staff, mostly the owners of Metal Head Radio, was coming to a head and they had pretty much fired everyone except me so it started getting somewhat depressing, even working there for these people that were racist paranoid control freaks. They had that site under such lockdown at one point I don’t even think anyone could get in. It would be me and a couple other people in chat and maybe five or six listeners. I started questioning what I was doing wasting my time and efforts for these people that were scaring everyone off and my woman suggested I just quit and start my own. So that’s what we did and she helped me create Metal Devastation Radio. Once we got it off the ground we contacted all the DJ's that had been fired from MHR and got them all to come help us rebuild what we all wanted MHR to be in the first place, a place for everyone and anyone no matter what they did in the scene to feel comfortable and promote there bands, websites etc. We even opened it up to other radio stations to come hang out and promote their sites. It was to be 100% all-inclusive and still is to this day. That is what we are all about. MDR goes way beyond the radio. I would even go so far as to say the radio is just an accessory to what we do really. Now that I have gotten way off track, my show on MDR is called The Zach Moonshine Show. I named it that since my name sort of became popular among the underground circuit and it just made sense. Keep it simple, keep it stupid and people can find it better. My show airs every Friday night from 9 pm EST till 1 am and is recorded live for a podcast which I post in my blogs. As far as listeners, that is something that changes constantly depending on who I am interviewing or what I am playing etc. Right now for the year we are almost at 300,000 listeners. MDR plays music 24 hours a day all over the world on many different networks including Windows Media Guide, Tune in, ITunes etc. We have DJ's from all over the world and we play just about anything including unsigned bands and we take requests in the chat room on the site. My podcast didn’t seem to get many listens at first but I started blogging it on the site and now it is getting hundreds of listens. We want people to hear the bands first and foremost so we do everything possible to make that happen. The website itself gets about 50,000 hits a month as it has its own social network built in for bands to upload music and sell it just like they do on Reverbnation and other sites. Any user that joins can have a blog to promote anything they do as well so there is always a lot going on besides the radio end of it. Which is good because I don’t think everyone cares about radio and chat some people just want to promote their stuff or find new stuff you know?

So internet radio seems to have expanded your horizons quite a bit. Since it began in the 2000s, how much would you say it has helped underground metal as a whole, as far as connecting unsigned bands and lesser known zine editors etc.?
It is like its own little world and has granted me opportunities like getting to interview some bands and artists I grew up looking at on my walls like Doro, Chris Barnes, Eric Wagner etc. It has also put me in touch with so many independent artists; I can’t even begin to really think how many. Man it’s just insane. I have sat in the chat room during my shows and literally watched different bands hook up with each other to do shows and tours and I have seen them hook up to do spilt 7-inch vinyl’s and all kinds of shit man. I would say it has helped out a lot and I think what we do and what you guys do with the zines is a very integral part of the underground scene now. You know we don’t have FM metal radio, we don’t have Headbangers’ Ball on TV, we have ourselves here on the internet with all our websites and everything. For that I think we all deserve a good pat on the back or a beer or something.

There is no more Headbangers’ Ball on MTV? I remember it was active in the 2000s, and we had programs on VH1 and FUSE TV. It was gratifying, but at the same time I thought extreme metal had lost something, namely its underground vibe.
Ya I mean we still have some outlets but it’s just not the same. And as fast as the world moves now, I mean so many bands on a constant basis, I think TV shows like that are no longer viable. If they are they should be found on Youtube along with everything else. I mean who needs any of that with all the websites and media streaming we have at our fingertips now? I think many good things have come from this but at the same time you have to dig deeper to get the good shit. I use Decibel Magazine as well as a good resource to find stuff. It is usually stuff that is already in my email from the labels but it’s cool to read the reviews they give. That’s where I get a lot of ideas for my playlists from. I don’t think extreme metal is losing anything; it just changes on a constant basis. And like I said with the internet anybody can be heard whether that’s good or bad. It sort of changes the game as far as what is underground with so many things being lumped into one.

I see what you mean about internet programming being preferable to TV. When underground metal became more accessible to the mainstream it turned toward being a trend, as when thrash became accessible in the 80s and it killed the genre.

Well I think it just killed off the bands that were willing to sell out for that but the underground remained and one of my favorite things about Pantera was how they went completely against the grain of that whole concept of toning down they just got heavier and heavier and they helped promote more extreme styles as well, it was around that time that I really started getting into death metal bands like Obituary, Deicide, Sepultura, Morbid Angel etc.

Are social media websites where bands can stream their own material another step in the direction pioneered by internet radio? How important do you see social media sites like YouTube, Soundcloud and Bandcamp becoming?
To be honest I don’t think I have seen any others that give the bands this much freedom to upload and stream independently of the radio but I could be wrong. I am sure more will be doing it in the future and I think it is a good thing, depending on what type of site you are working with. With MDR it got to the point with all the band submissions and emails coming from labels etc. It got to the point that it was just literally overwhelming and we couldn’t possibly fit them all on the air. There are literally so many on a constant basis and it just takes a lot of time to go through everything and since this is not a full time job I just didn’t have the time. I work in a factory twelve hours a day, come home and play with my kids and have a family, so the time I can spend doing what I do on MDR is precious. I just kept thinking of some way to put the control in the bands’ hands so that the site could be open to them to use how they want and when they want. So that is why we set this up this way the bands can sign up and use a profile to post the songs, videos, blogs, reviews, sell merch etc. It will all be linked and part of the Metal Devastation network which makes it easier for the DJs to find them as well and takes the load of sifting through billions of emails off my shoulders. I also think any media site is very important and all bands should use them all. I have BDF on everything I find; man the more the better. That is how the web works: the more prominent your content is the faster it is found in search engines etc. For that reason alone I think it is important and all these sites have their own communities as well so the more sites you use the more you will reach if that is what you are trying to achieve.

How many bands have been signing up to advertise their material and merchandise since the feature opened?
We added this feature three months ago and we have had over 1000 bands sign up and use it in that time. Every day around 15 bands sign up. So it is moving fast. Hopefully we have given the bands some new fans and helped them sell some merch and downloads.

How much material was recorded by your project Brutal Death Fuck from its inception in 2009 to the present day?

First I recorded a four song demo which was posted on the Myspace page in 2009. Then I rerecorded the songs in 2011 for a full album “Cunts Of Disease” which is available for free on Bandcamp http://brutaldeathfuck.bandcamp.com/album/cunts-of-disease and features nine tracks. I also directed a few videos which can all be found on Youtube for that album. Then In 2013 I released a two track single called “The Devils Whiskey” which is also available on Bandcamp. And I have tons of material written for a future release.

When you re-recorded your demo tracks for your Cunts Of Disease full length, what improvements did you see in the production and song structure? What made you decide to rework those songs and how do they fit with the newer ones?
Well the first four songs on the demo didn’t have bass guitar on them; it was just two guitar tracks layered, drums and vocals. The production was a bit raw like some classic black metal recordings or something, and it just kind of felt thin to me. It still sounds really great, but it was around that time I started getting into learning more about production and mixing techniques. The more I learned the more I wanted to try things again to make it thicker. I wanted the guitars to sound like a mountain. So I got a bass guitar and some new effects pedals and better recording software etc. and just re-recorded the songs. The difference is very noticeable; in fact the only song on that album that is from those early recordings is the instrumental “Bulldozing Piles Of Dead Bodies”. I didn’t bother reworking that track; I just threw it on. I tried to recreate the solo but could never get it the same. It was one of those spontaneous moments that just will never happen again and it’s perfect the way it is so I just left it alone. If you listen to that track on the album you can tell it sounds different from the rest, production-wise. But still when you listen to the album front to back it all fits together. I have been planning on putting that first demo tape up on Bandcamp soon. This conversation makes me want to do that now. I think the originals are still very important and show the progression of what became later of them.

Is your debut demo still available for trade or purchase? Is Cunts Of Disease only available for streaming on Bandcamp or can it also be purchased on CD format?
It was never printed as a physical copy but it is still available on Bandcamp, I would love to do a vinyl edition of the album for sure simply because the art work on it is fucking amazing and I think it deserves to be printed huge like that someday. BDF has never performed live, but the album has had a few reviews from zines.

Are you surprised that people are still buying vinyl albums in this day and age? It doesn’t seem to have gone away despite the advent of iPods and other advancements. Why do you think that is?
I still buy vinyl all the time; it is my favorite format. I love art and packaging, the sound is unbeatable and it reminds me of when I was in the early 80s staring at Iron Maiden album covers for hours. It is the best and will never be matched. Digital formats are great for convenience; I mean you can’t drive around jamming vinyls so I totally love having mp3 versions of everything. But vinyl is the show piece, the prized possession. You know what you show your friends when they come over and what you open up and read the lyrics and gaze at the art when you sit on the couch and listen. So I don’t think they are leaving anytime soon despite what that dude said recently in that blog at Metal Sucks, haha.

Do you expect to continue buying vinyls even as streaming becomes more popular? Do you still have analog equipment?
I will always buy music on vinyl, CD or tape I don’t give a fuck what it is really I just love collecting metal and music in general. And yes I have an old analog stereo with two big giant beat up old 15 inch speakers which is what I blast everything including my radio show on.

Which songs on Cunts Of Disease did you direct promotional videos for? Who worked on these videos with you and how would you describe them to people who haven’t seen them yet?
I did videos for “Children of the Necronomicon”, “Alcohol” and “Drinking the Blood of Gods”. I directed them and produced them using several digital cameras and some software. Children of the Necronomicon features bits from The Evil Dead and has a scene I came up with that is like a blood ritual, that features my ex-wife. Alcohol was done partly in the desert for the intro and then the rest is used footage from parties and drinking sessions with all my friends. It also features a bunch of pictures that were sent in from my fans at the time I did a promotional thing and let them all send in photos of debauchery to be used in the video. Drinking The Blood Of Gods was the first one I did and is very basic black-and-white black metal style no frills video, but intense. In everything I do there is a bit of comedy or tongue-in-cheek nature as well that is an Evil Dead or an early Type O Negative vibe, I think is the best way to describe it.

What can you tell us about the bands you were involved with before Cunts Of Disease, Skullgrinder and Perversions Of Truth? Did you release any material or play out with those bands? If so, are songs or live clips available for streaming?

Those were some of the first bands I started Perversions was very experimental and involved various other people. Skullgrinder was a two man job and was more focused on metal which is pretty much the precursor to BDF so that is why I covered several songs or remade them I should say actually under the moniker of BDF. Those early recordings are extremely primitive and harsh to listen to really but they are some good demos and pieces of a time in my life some of that stuff can be found on Myspace and Youtube, someday I might make more of it available but for now I am focused on BDF and MDR.

Why did you choose to cover Elizabeth by Skullgrinder for Cunts Of Disease? Is this the first song covered by the band or were there others before it?

Its just one of my favorite songs from the Skullgrinder era, I also redid Baptized In Cum aka (she never loved me) and Alcohol and there a bunch more that will probably get the BDF treatment in the future I am sure some of those songs are just classics in my mind and whenever I pick up my guitar they just seem to sneak their way out so it is meant to be.

Where can your promotional videos be viewed at present? Has anyone commented on your approach to making videos?

All of my videos are on YouTube like the video for Alcohol (http://youtu.be/EjQcwpSuow8) and various sites including MDR. You can just Google search Brutal Death Fuck and you will find all kinds of stuff. Lots of people have offered me jobs to produce their videos for their bands after seeing mine which is kind of funny to me. I think they are a bit silly but it’s flattering nonetheless.

What bands have contacted you about producing their videos? Would you ever consider doing so at some point?
Some local bands in Arizona. I can’t remember now who they were to be honest; that was quite some time ago. If I had the time and thought I could make a living at it sure why not.

What inspired your song The Devil’s Whiskey and what is the other song appearing on the single with it? Besides the band’s promotional videos do you produce the songs independently?
The Devil’s Whiskey was a tribute to my friends and family in Tennessee. After I left Arizona and moved back down south to Tennessee we were doing a lot of celebrating and so I just started writing a song about our activities and that’s how that one came about. My good friend Joe Fox helped me write a few lines in that one and he played on of the solos on that song. The second song is called “RedHed” and that was written for my woman, partner in crime and co-owner of MDR who happens to have red hair. “The Devils Whiskey” has an almost 80s rock flair to it and “RedHed” has a southern rockabilly vibe to it. And yes I record all the songs at home and produce them.

Who is the co-owner of MDR and what is the nature of your working relationship with her? How do you and she divide the responsibilities of running the station?
The co-owner is my wife Marietta Moonshine, she handles all the legal bullshit and technical stuff and she did most of the site design on the first websites we had.

Where does Marietta’s experience at web design come from, and how has her work been a benefit for the show? What are some of the legal matters she handles?

She has an associate’s degree in graphic arts and a bachelor’s degree in psychology and both have been very useful to help with the website and dealing with all these maniacs. As far as legal matters I am not at liberty to say really… deals with the devil.

Do you have a home studio of sorts where you can produce your material? What equipment are you currently employing? What material are you using for programming and broadcasting on MDR?
My home studio is also where I broadcast my shows from. With BDF I used mostly a Dean flying V with custom pickups running into an old Marshall solid state amp with a BBE sonic stomp pedal in the effects loop. I use a Morley Bad Horsie Wah pedal on leads and a Digitech RP 500 for other effects. As far as recording I use a Shure sm58 mic for vocals and the cabs. And I track using software called Reaper it is like the underground version of Protools and is customizable. I mix and master using Adobe Audition with plugins from Izatope and Waves. I also use a small cheap four channel mixer made by Behringer. Sam Broadcaster and all the shit I use for recording music, same mic etc.

Who are some of the bands you are currently playing on MDR, both signed and unsigned?
We have so many DJs I am not sure what every one of them plays to be honest but I know on my shows I play bands that I know like Pelvic Meatloaf, Hellpie, Rock N Roll Villain Society, Skin Kage, Necrotion, Sycamore3, Critical Dismemberment, Skin Drone, Markradonn, Inverticrux. And as far as signed bands some of my favorites currently getting lots of spins are Conan, Pentagram, With The Dead, Belphegor, Slomatics, Ghost, Slayer and many more. I mostly feature new music every week so it changes constantly, but those are some of the repeat offenders lately. They usually are hanging out with us in the chat room during my shows. I recommend them to people almost every time I do a show and play the songs by them, that is pretty much the basis of what we do at MDR.

Who are the DJs that have been involved with MDR for the longest time and have contributed the most to the station?
Spencer Streeter aka DJ Rem has been with the station since the day it started and has done a billion interviews, and he also helps out with setting up new DJ, DJ Buz has also been with MDR for a very long time as well as Amunet and Rage. But I can’t really single anyone out I think as a group we achieve the most when we work together and everything we have done to this point has been a direct result of how we work together. Every DJ brings a completely different thing to the table all the shows are entirely different, different musical tastes and different attitudes/personalities and whatnot. DJ Rem has done literally thousands of independent bands you can check them all out on his page, http://metaldevastationradio.com/djremsta/video.
 
Do you broadcast Brutal Death Fuck on your program, and of so what feedback has the band gotten? Is Brutal Death Fuck working on any new material now?

I do but only by request, I feel corny playing my own stuff so I only do it if its requested which happens almost every week so I assume they like it or they are just pulling my dick. Hahaha I don’t know. I am not working on anything but I have piles of stuff written just waiting for the time to be right.

How much material have you gathered to compose new songs from? Do you have an idea when you’ll start working on that?

I have hundreds of songs. I have been writing songs since I was a little kid. I literally have piles and boxes of lyrics and riffs even tabs for guitar on paper, I also have tons of demo tapes with riffs and stuff on them it’s just a matter of me sitting down and going through it. But that’s not at the immediate present; it will be in the future but I have no date set. When the time comes I may just write new stuff so who knows really. I just hang on to stuff and I really have no idea what will come of it.

I was talking to Chase Fincher about how his work has been featured on your show; he has also told me about a few of your episodes. Once you did a show discussing Kim Davis. What were some of the topics you covered regarding her?
Yeah I keep up with the news and the times, so whatever is going on at the moment if I feel it is important to discuss I talk about it in rants form on air in between songs. I talk a lot on my shows either pissed about something and preaching or just making jokes. You can hear the Kim Davis episode on my podcast channel at Mixcloud.

What made you want to include your views about Kim Davis on your program? I notice now that she was another flash in the pan as the spin media has pursued other stories.
I thought she was a cunt but mostly it’s just proper seo practices. Sometimes to drive traffic you use keywords that are sensitive on the net at the moment and it can get Google to boost your traffic. Sort of like how Facebook moves threads to the top of timelines the more comments that are generated, Google works in a similar fashion, just on a bigger scale so sometimes I randomly throw some shit out there for it. But I try to stay within things I feel passionate about to maintain some integrity,

Do you often cover social issues on your program? Chase also told me your shows are laced with profanity and other content that would be considered offensive by the average listener. Are there any topics you would not cover?
There is nothing I would not cover. I talk about everything and anything, this is total freedom of speech broadcasting. On my show you never really know what is going to happen; sometimes I just get drunk and talk shit. But it’s all fun. You just have to listen for yourself to see what it’s all about: http://www.mixcloud.com/thezachmoonshineshow.

http://www.facebook.com/metaldevastationradio

-Dave Wolff

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

CD Review: LOVE BOMB 69 self-titled

LOVE BOMB 69
Self-titled
Independent
http://www.facebook.com/Lovebomb69
Garage punk from another section of NYC that hasn’t been gentrified. You heard about Quality Of Life; this is what a friend once described as “the quality of low life.” The three tracks Lovebomb 69 recorded for this MCD are a fusion of Sonic Youth and Teenage Jesus & The Jerks. The tracks are somewhat repetitive occasionally, but with street level dissonant rawness they definitely exhibit a shade or two of the early days of CBGB and Max’s Kansas City. That time period is relegated to history and punk has branched out significantly since then, but something about the production is gritty and honest. It still presents a more accurate picture than the film made about CBs in 2013 (a paint by numbers outing that leaves out important points of its history including the hardcore matinees and the first time bands like AC/DC, Misfits, Bad Brains and Motorhead played there). Back to the MCD, there are moments where I was also reminded of Ramones and Blondie. Two of the tracks (Boy and Sex Generation, loosely based on The Who’s anthem My Generation) can be streamed on LB69’s Facebook profile. A few videos can be viewed there and on the Youtube profile of producer Damian Panitz who mailed me my copy a while back (there are also a few bootlegged clips I came across while surfing Youtube for them). The band’s last announced live shows were in 2013 so you’d have to ask Damian if they’re still active today. -Dave Wolff

CD Review: DELUGE Æther

DELUGE
Æther
Les Acteurs de L'Ombre Productions
I listened to all the tracks and I can say this album is good musically except for the vocals. Others would probably adore it. The whole symbol is related to the dangers of nature (The song Avalanche for example. Appât: appât something living you use to attract fish). It's another invitation to a long and dangerous journey upon the never ending oceans. It sounds a lot like black metal; at first it reminded me a little of Nehëmah but totally different. Technically it's good. This has not inspired me much more than I'm writing. -Abyss Forgottentomb

CD Review: INVERTED SERENITY Integral

INVERTED SERENITY
Integral
Independent
The first track runs like a cavalry, wow! It just blew my head out! Just like a deflagration so to speak. This sounds like rock'n'roll/heavy/death. The second track: I can't ignore their professionalism; they know what they are doing. The Canadian metal scene has more to offer than I thought. "Cœur" (heart in English) reminds of a mechanical run. That's crazy how they make you imagine their music. "Under One Sky" reminds me of my first electric guitar courses at music school. This band is certainly one of those who made me want to play music. This title is really beautiful, The calm vocals are just like those of the Scandinavian and Germanic metal scenes (Enslaved, Imperium Dekadenz and many others). This really sounds underground, alive, dark and enlightened. When all the elements stick together, we love it. If you get the chance to hear this album, listen to it fully. -Abyss Forgottentomb

CD Review: NECROMANCING THE STONE Before The Devil Knows You're Dead

NECROMANCING THE STONE
Before The Devil Knows You're Dead
Metal Blade
I can't say more than "wow". The first track sounds quite like my idol Lizzy Borden. Old school with clear vocals. Metal with this kind of vocals make this album perfect. A beautiful voice I can say makes the lyrics like poetry. How great to listen to it, also because it sounds hard'n'heavy, twisting and rolling like the old metal bands. It's like I was back in the 80's/90's. The members really work good together; this is a rare band that still cares about what they are doing. They do music because they love it, not because they wanna sell first. Some bands I listened to some moments ago don't need my words because they forgot the quintessence of "what-doing-music-really-means". Three tracks, more than four minutes each. Why only three? We need more! Better than an orgasmic feeling. Seriously, we need more bands with this kind of emotion in their vocals. It's really dark and beautiful, exactly the way I like it. And seriously, the vocalist really impressed me with the high vocal tones. The drummer sounds never tired, no hesitation, the guitars following, and the band reminds me of Enslaved. My two favorites in one entity, Enslaved and Lizzy Borden. I wish to thank you; your music is amazing. -Abyss Forgottentomb

CD Review: OWL Aeon Cult

OWL
Aeon Cult
Zeitgeister Music
Amazing that this band reminds me of Cathedral (another favorite). It sounds disturbing; great doom metal band with great vocals; a musical jewel. I'm not disappointed at all. The lyrics are like poems. At some moments the clear vocals reminded me of Ozzy Ozbourne at his beginning. That would be crazy to hear him in that band for real. Too bad this is too short: three tracks ending too like death coming too fast (if I may say). I'm dying cos it's already over. I love those tracks and I would like to hear more. That's another band offering more than I thought but so short. I'm still starving. Fortunatelly they have a Facebook page where I can see more about them. I read that they’re a death metal band but it sounds really like doom, and I love doom metal. I'm sure you will adore it if you take courage early in the morning. Put it in your ears and let the owl invade your space in darkness. -Abyss Forgottentomb

Monday, October 26, 2015

Band Interview: SHE WANTS THE D-PAD

Interview with Chase Fincher of SHE WANTS THE D-PAD

I interviewed Erik Martin of the Internet Death Metal band Critical Dismemberment, of which you are also a member. While I received a great deal of insight from him about the band, I also wanted to hear about your involvement.
Erik and I actually met on Instagram several years ago. I used to have a solo project called Elizabeth’s Honor, and Erik used to follow my page. One day, we decided to collaborate on a song, and we stayed in contact after that. Eventually I asked him if he was interested in starting a new band with me. He was more than down to do that, so we started Critical Dismemberment. Erik came up with the name. As of right now, I have written all the music for CD, but we're trying to get Erik more involved in the music writing. Typically, I'll send him something that I have written, then he'll come up with a song title, the lyrics, and record vocals. Then he sends me his vocal tracks for mixing. So far, it's worked out great. We haven't made a new song in quite a while now because we've both been busy. Since starting this band, we've both had kids. Both of us had kids already too, so it's safe to say that we've got our hands full most of the time. It seems like we both have something going on all of the time and our schedules conflict with each other a lot, so we both have solo projects as well to keep us busy in between working on CD songs. His solo project is Erik Dismembered, which is a unique project blending ambient electronic sounds with metal influences. My solo project is called She Wants The D-Pad and I just recently released my first finished track. While I'm talking about SWTDP, I would like to point out that I have nothing but the utmost respect for women. Recently, it was brought to my attention that people think I'm an asshole because of that name. SWTDP is definitely a reference to that massively over used sexual innuendo, but more than anything, it's a gentle nod towards internet humor. That whole project is supposed to be humorous. I'm not saying that "she wants the d" is a funny joke, but it's very common around the Internet. When I came up with that name, I quite literally meant "she wants the d-pad" as in she wants you to give her the controller because you've been sitting on your ass playing Super Smash Bros. for three hours now and it is her turn to play. My wife and I love playing video games together. That's what inspired the name.

Being that you and Erik handle all songwriting via the internet and it seems to work, do you think CD will open doors for other “internet bands” to become active?
I wish I could say that we were the first, haha. We've been doing this for about two years now, but I know guys that have been doing this for nearly a decade. Some Internet bands are actually doing very well. Infant Annihilator for example. They're also a two piece Internet band. I can definitely see this becoming more common around the Internet. Especially with some of these powerful virtual instruments out there now. To be honest, I see it as a problem. It is now possible to make genres like metal entirely on a computer. I was talking to a guy one day about guitar tones. I heard one of his songs, and the guitars were so clean compared to some of my own recordings at the time. When I asked him about his recording process, he told me that he doesn't even play guitar. It's all sample based virtual instruments and they sound shockingly real. Now, we're starting to see a lot of solo metal projects made by kids on laptops with no real instruments at all. This may seem like news to some people, but I know a lot of guys that do this. Some of them will have a new release every week. That's how the cybergrind scene got started in the early 2000's. I won't be surprised at all if we start seeing people carrying laptops to venues, hooking into the PA, and playing "shows." And yes, I am a part of the problem. Believe me, if I could find four more bandmates for us, we would be trying to play shows. Unfortunately, I live in Branson, Missouri, where finding bandmates that play metal (or even a new friend that listens to metal) is as common as finding a cave full of unicorns. So instead of giving up, I started programming drums and synth, then recording guitar and bass. On the other hand, it's really cool that these guys have a chance to make music even if they can't play an instrument. Some people are fantastic composers, but they may lack the skills or funds to record their ideas. It also opens up new ways to work with other musicians. My friends and I put together comp albums every now and then, where we all write a song based on whatever theme we choose. Rather than having a few musicians working together to make a song in a couple of days, we have several musicians working together to make a whole album in a couple of weeks. Very few of us have ever met in person. We just know each other online.

I remember back in the 90s the big deal was using a drum machine if you couldn’t find a drummer to work with. There were some bands who were able to pull this off live, as well as projects like Controlled Bleeding that exclusively involved programming equipment. I guess today there is a fine line between bands working with this kind of equipment for the convenience or having insufficient funds and bands losing their organic edge by using it.

Yea I really have a love/hate relationship with programming. If I had the money, and the space to do it, I would love to buy a drum kit and learn to play, then do away with programming altogether. I've been playing guitar for around ten years now and I've been in bands with drummers. My first band ever was in high school. We called ourselves "By Special Request." We practiced every day after school and played a few shows, but man, being in a band is a lot like having a nagging girlfriend times (insert number of bandmates). Being in a solo project is drama free. Still, it was worth it. The excitement that I felt back then has never left me. After high school everybody moved away and I was never able to find bandmates again. So after about five years, I just decided to do it myself. I know guys that make metal with nothing but midi tracks. Even the guitars are fake. Some of them do it that way because they like it, and some of them do it because they don't have a better option. I program because I don't have a better option for the time being. Using fake drums makes me feel bad but I try to make it obvious that they're not real. I feel like I don't deserve the same attention that some of these other guys get. Bands like Markradonn with over ten members, all playing instruments. It just doesn't seem fair that I would have the same chance as them, when their music takes so much more effort to produce. I don't feel bad about programming synths at all though, especially 8bit. That stuff has always been programmed anyway. I've literally had people talk about my music and refer to my project as "you guys" or whatever as if it were an actual band. One girl was complimenting the drums one day, even though I purposely made them blistering fast with the same velocity on each hit, to make them sound computerized. I didn't like the fact that she thought it was a human performance. It's scary, how people can use nothing but a laptop to produce music that sounds like a professionally recorded song in a studio by a full band. It's a blessing and a curse really. Most of my friends that do this, consider themselves composers. I can imagine someone standing at a podium in a mosh pit, conducting the band on stage. Though this wouldn't make sense at all, it's still how I imagine it. I think it's wonderful that these guys can put out their ideas even though they can't play instruments or find bandmates. At the same time, I'm afraid that people will stop caring about whether or not someone can actually play an instrument. It doesn't seem fair to the people who have dedicated half of their lives to mastering their instruments. This is a controversial topic.

Musicians are lucky to retain the excitement of playing in a band from the beginning. To have it is as important as the ability to play an instrument. What helped you keep that attitude through your recording career?
I think that has a lot to do with who I am. I like to push myself and see myself progress. Trying my best to make sure that every song I finish is better than the one before it, keeps everything feeling fresh. Finishing a song that you're really proud of is a great feeling. It's just a lot of fun to me. I'd be lying if I said that I've never grown bored making music. It's not uncommon for me to go a month or two without touching an instrument. Then when I decide to get busy again, everything feels fresh and exciting again. Taking breaks is as important to me as practicing.

What sort of a solo project was Elizabeth’s Honor? What interested Erik in that project and made him want to work with you when you asked him?

EH was very similar to Critical Dismemberment. As a matter of fact, four of the songs from our EP were songs that I wrote while I was working on EH. I just deleted my old vocal tracks and sent the music to Erik. When I started EH, I had been playing guitar for about eight years or so. I never really had a plan in mind, I just wanted to play guitar in a band. For several years, I searched for dedicated bandmates without any luck. One day I had this "grand" idea to be the first guy ever to program drums on the computer, then record rhythm guitar, lead guitar, bass guitar, and vocals in a "one man band project." I seriously thought I was the first person to have that idea. Now, I know at least twenty other artists that do the same thing. Some of them are actually good friends of mine, and killer musicians. Shotgun Guy, Unicorn Hole, Morbidly A Beast, Chasing Chain Chomps, Pillars Of Sarnarth, Oaks Parcel, poopmaster, Are You Afraid Of The Dog... I could go on forever talking about those guys. We all have similar ideas. So anyway, I started EH after having my "grand vision" of being this one man metal band. An old friend of mine actually came up with the name after I asked him for suggestions. The whole idea was to make the coolest guitar riffs that I could possibly come up with, and record them. Nothing else mattered to me. Occasionally, I would add some background synth, and I always recorded vocals, but only because I thought that nobody would want to hear instrumentals. I hate doing vocals, but good, strong vocals are one of my favorite things about metal. That's where Erik comes in. I'm not really sure if Erik actually liked my first project, but we both had similar goals and interests in music, so we kind of hit it off right away. I showed him a song that I had written and he immediately started writing lyrics. That song became "7th Trumpet" eventually. I guess Erik had already been introduced to Otto and Haniel, so he got our first song on the Operation Underground comp that Otto put together. That's how we ended up working with Bluntface. After that, I started sending more old songs to Erik, and eventually we had an EP.

How supportive has Otto and Bluntface Records been supportive of Critical Dismemberment since you started corresponding with him? Has your exposure on the Operation: Underground compilation gotten you new listeners?
I don't even know the right words to say, to express how grateful I am of being on Bluntface. Otto showed me things that I never knew existed. Everyone knows that there is an ocean full of underground bands out there but I had no idea that there were also underground labels, zines, and radio stations. If that comp had never happened, this interview would have never happened. Erik knew Otto and Haniel before we even started Critical Dismemberment. Erik told me about Operation: Underground before we even finished our first song. He got it hooked up so that we were on there. There were 27 bands on that comp I believe. I can't remember for sure but there were a lot. Otto had the comp reviewed by several different people, and it was streamed on tons of Internet radio shows. I remember hearing an interview that Otto did. He named a few bands in his interview, and out of every band on that comp, we were one of the bands that he named in his interview. When he mentioned us, he told them that we were a two piece death metal band from Arkansas with programmed drums. He said he loved the way we put blast beats in our songs that were so fast, there was no way a human could play them. I loved that. He perfectly summed up our band in that interview in a way that made us sound interesting. All of this happened just a couple of weeks after we finished our first song, so we immediately gained a few fans. We really didn't have any listeners at all until that comp released. It was an amazing experience really. After that, we just kept in contact and eventually ended up on BFR.

What labels, zines and radio stations did you discover through Bluntface?

Metal Devastation Radio, Whatever68radio, Xtreme 365 Radio, Metal Nation Radio, 365 Radio, Ringmaster Reviews, Blackened Horde Zine/Radio, and of course AEA. I know there are more but it's hard for me to keep up with all of them. Metal Devastation Radio has been the most supportive of my music. Zach always plays my newest music when it comes out and he always acts like he's impressed. He's such a fun guy to work with. His shows on Friday nights are hilarious. There's always something interesting going on at MDR. Erik usually handles all of the promotion for the CD. I'm just not good at that. I would be the worst band manager on earth if it were my job. I'm so thankful to have guys like Erik, Otto, Haniel, and Zack to help me promote. If it weren't for them, nobody would ever hear my music. Whatever68radio has been a good one too. Lisa from Whatever68radio gave me a live interview once. She streamed a compilation album for me once also. Something that I and ten other guys put together. She did a live interview for that show as well, but it was one of the other artists on the comp. A guy named Travis Valois. Travis runs a blog for Nintendocore artists. Check that out sometime at nintendocorelives.blogspot.com. He put together a compilation album with a Mega Man theme awhile back and that's the one that got streamed on Whatever68radio. Critical Dismemberment had a song on that comp, but since then I've decided to separate CD from my metal video game 8bit music. That's what started SWTDP. We're currently working on the second comp album for Nintendocorelives with a misunderstood villains theme. It's been a lot of fun.

What goes on at Zach’s Friday night broadcasts? How did that live interview with Lisa go on her program?
There are different shows playing all week long at MDR but Zach's shows are great. That dude really knows what metal is. Zach IS metal. Sometimes I'll pick up a six pack on my way home from work on Friday nights and hop on MDR to see what he has to say. Zach is the kind of guy that will say exactly what he wants to regardless of what others think and I love that about him. If you're the type of person that gets offended by profanity then it's not the show for you. I was on there one night listening to him rant about Kim Davis, and some band that pissed him off. It was hilarious. I'm not that kind of guy that takes anything too seriously and I love comedy. Even in music, I find myself listening to a lot of songs that were only made to be funny. Anyway, Zach is hilarious to me and he plays some good music. Not to sound all depressing or anything, but I don't have friends in real life. Logging onto MDR makes me feel like I'm hanging out with other metal heads. I'll buy some beer, hop on MDR to hear Zach's show, and talk to everyone in the chat room while we listen to some killer music. To me, it feels like I'm sharing a drink with friends. I don't get on there as much as I'd like to, but only because of family life. My wife and I only get about an hour a night to ourselves after the kids are in bed. My wife listened to Zach's show with me once and she loved it. In my opinion, Zach has something very special going on at MDR. He's a huge supporter of underground bands. The man doesn't even get paid but he still works hard to expand MDR. I'm sure I could say the same thing about you too. I look up to Zach for sure... About that interview with Lisa, that went well. I've had an interview with Zach too but it was pre-recorded. The interview I did with Lisa was actually live on air. Back then, we had just released our material and she streamed it for us. Otto got that set up for me. The interview was similar to this one. She just asked me about how Critical D operates and what our plans for the future were. Definitely check her shows out sometime. The Punk Rocker Princess on Whatever68radio. She streamed the Mega Man comp for us when it released and Travis had a live interview with her. That comp release ended up being much bigger than any of us thought it would. I guess that's what happens when eleven different people work on one album and all help to promote it. I don't know all of the numbers, but I think it was downloaded a few hundred times. The next comp is almost finished and should be released within the next few weeks. I'm already working to promote that. Zach is supposed to be playing it on his Friday night show when it releases if everything goes according to plan. I'm trying to get some reviews set up for it as well.

While one-man projects may not be anything new, anyone who handles all the instruments and composing in addition to songwriting deserves credit for being able to do so. Have you received props for this?
Some people seemed to be impressed, but if they knew what my writing process was like, I don't think they would be impressed at all. My drum programming is so simple. It's basically just a bunch of loops copied and pasted everywhere. My synths usually play the same notes that I'm playing on guitar, so it's really not overly complicated. All that's left is recording guitar and bass. I try to make it obvious that my drums are sampled. The last thing I want is for someone to think "whoever this is, can play drums well" when there's nobody playing drums at all.

How do Erik’s lyrics and vocals fit the music you compose for CD? What mixing equipment do you use to bring out the potential of your songs?

Erik has a wicked style. I was aiming for something heavier than my old material when we started Critical D. Even though most of our songs on the EP were actually old songs of mine. Honesty, we kind of rushed that EP. Shortly after forming the band, I went through some major life changing events and suddenly, I didn't have time to work on music. Though we have released a few singles since then that are more on par with what we're aiming for. Erik really knows how to create some dark and heavy vibes. The first song we ever made together as Critical D, was based on a recurring nightmare that he used to have. It has a crazy "the world is ending and there are no survivors" kind of vibe which is perfect in my opinion. That pretty much sums up the kind of band I always wanted to have... For my gear, I do all of the mixing in Ableton Live 9. That's usually the last choice for metal artists, but I know how to use it better than any other DAW I've tried. Mixing is still kind of new to me honestly. Our first EP wasn't mixed at all. I didn't even know what mixing really was. Most of our songs were all in mono (except for the drums which were automatically panned in EZ drummer), there was no EQ whatsoever. Then I heard the first song Skin Drone ever released with Erik and I was pretty blown away with the quality. I immediately became obsessed with mixing. I mean, it totally consumed me. Shortly after that, I started contacting engineers, buying books, reading articles, watching tutorials online, anything I could possibly think of to educate myself. Eventually I was introduced to several engineers who now mentor me so to speak. I'm currently trying to invest in as many plug-ins as I can to get better results. As of now, I only use the native effects that come with Live 9 standard. I'd love to get into analog someday but that's a very expensive thing to get into. Our song "Paperboy" was the first song we made that I actually mixed. You can listen to our EP, then listen to that single, and it doesn't even sound like the same band. I guess Otto liked what I was doing, so he asked me to mix the Skin Drone album. It's been a great experience. Audio is a never ending journey. I learn something new every single day, and I'm always hungry for more. We've progressed a lot musically, and especially with production but I still don't know 5% of what I'd like to know. If we were serious about trying to make it big, and sell albums, then I'd be hiring a professional to mix and master everything we do, but until then, I'll just keep studying, practicing, and mixing our songs. I've sent some of our songs to his guys who mix professionally, and they'll absolutely tear it apart. Telling me everything that's wrong with it, even though I thought it was a good mix. So I'm no pro by any means. I would never claim to be a pro, but it's very obvious that things have changed. The music shows it.

How much did you search for equipment before settling on Ableton Live 9 and EZ Drummer? Why did you finally settle on those programs to work with?

I've been experimenting with other DAWs and virtual instruments for a long time. I started on Fruity Loops with Steven Slate drum sample libraries. Then I switched from windows to Mac, and Fruity Loops doesn't work on Mac. I had briefly tried Pro Tools before and wasn't happy with it. Ableton, Fruity Loops, and Pro Tools were the only DAWs I had ever heard of, so I bought Ableton. I took a risk at buying the full version of Ableton before trying it. I'm glad that I did though. It's a very powerful DAW with multiple uses. Originally it was designed for DJ's that play live shows, but it can do so much more than that. With EZ drummer, I just decided to buy it because my friends recommended it. Its name serves it well. It's as easy as it gets. EZD is sample based too, so the drums sound really good. I'm constantly upgrading gear. Always looking for new tools. I like to have options.

With all the programs you use, in what ways does Elizabeth’s Honor differ from your other bands?
The main thing is that Elizabeth’s Honor is painfully embarrassing to me now, and I'm not so ashamed of my other projects. I started EH the same week that I got my copy of Ableton and I really rushed through everything. My guitar writing style hasn't changed all that much, but I've learned a lot about arranging tracks and how to not sound so repetitive. My first songs were way too repetitive. I would loop everything way longer than it needed to be. Songs that should have been two minutes long ended up being five minutes. There was no bass at all in those songs either. Back then my guitar playing was a little happier sounding. My riffs were always either major or natural minor scales. Somewhere along the way, I started getting interested in tech death and learning to write like that. Now I use a lot of diminished and harmonic minor scales. I've learned that patience is key. For me, it's better to spend several weeks working on a song and being satisfied with it, than to rush through a song in a few days and settling for an "OK" product.

Do you take steps to make all or most of the instruments appearing on your recordings sound like traditional instruments? What sort of sounds can you get out of EZ Drummer?

Well the guitars and bass are real but the rest is fake, so I think it mostly sounds traditional. EZ Drummer is a virtual instrument that uses real samples of drums that were recorded in a studio, so they sound legit. It even has a "humanize" feature that randomly changes the velocity and time of each hit to make it sound real but I always turn that off. I've got around 30 different kicks and about 20 snare samples in EZ drummer so I have a few options. Honestly, I really like all of the options. I almost always use different kicks and snares in every song. Most real bands wouldn't have that many tonal options for drums. With synth, it's hard to make them sound any other way. They're digital instruments anyway. The only difference really is that some people use huge analog synths to make the sounds but they still play the notes on piano keys. Programming them in a DAW means that the notes are triggered at exact times so there isn't any human error. It's been proven that we prefer human performance over programmed performances (I hope that never changes), but I think synth work sounds best when programmed. Some analog synths use sequencers instead of keys, so those don't have human error either. They still sound natural even when they're programmed. So basically, my guitars and bass are real, but the rest is fake. While synth usually sounds fine being programmed, drums sometimes don't, and that's why I try to make them sound as fake as I can, while still having a good tone. I don't plan on using anymore synth in Critical Dismemberment. That wasn't a part of the original idea anyway. She Wants The D-Pad on the other hand, relies more on synth than anything else. I like to think of SWTDP as a video game murder music project. Video games have always been and always will be a big part of my life and I love to write songs about my favorite game characters. I'll probably never have any electronic dance music sounding synths in my songs, but I use tons of 8bit synth. I really can't think of a better electronic sound than 8bit, for metal music. The sound waves are harsh, and can be played very fast without getting sloppy. It's perfect for fast drums and tremolo picking guitars. One of the heaviest songs I've ever written in my opinion, doesn't even have a lot of guitar in it. It's almost completely 8bit.

Which lyrics penned by Erik have resonated with you the most since you and he began collaborating together? What speaks to you about any particular line or verse?
That's a hard question to answer really. There are several lines that stick with me. The first that comes to mind is in the remake of "Feel My Wrath And Tremble." For the remake, he added a line saying "black out the sun, feel my wrath and tremble." That just sounds so badass to me. When I started that song, I was picturing a big battle similar to the one at the end of Braveheart. Just a bunch of dudes running towards each other with weapons. That line "black out the sun" makes me think of an eclipse happening in the middle of this huge battle. I doubt anyone else will think it's that cool. You'd just have to see what I see when I think about that... I actually wrote that song out of pure frustration. There was this one song we were working on that never got finished. For whatever reason, I just couldn't finish it, and we really needed another song for our EP. So one night I sat down to work on it, but again, I couldn't get past the wall. So I scrapped it right then and there, and opened a blank project. I ended up staying awake until about 4am, after about six hours of nonstop writing and recording, and the song was finished. Later that morning I sent it to Erik and he went to work on it right away. Of course I spent a few days afterwards trying to polish it a little. The song is very repetitive musically so it's not much of an accomplishment to have written it in one long sitting, but it's one of my favorite memories about this band. I've spent several nights staying awake until the sun comes up, knowing I have to be at work by 8:00 AM, just because I was having so much fun writing. Too excited to sleep. And the songs were just "ok" at best. It's not like I was writing the next Master Of Puppets or anything, but I was having so much fun, I couldn't go to bed... Another line that resonates with me is "I left a surprise in your mailbox." That line is from our song The Paperboy, which is by far our most popular song. It's the fastest, most difficult song I've ever written, and it's based on the video game Paperboy from the 80's. Basically, we wrote that song about the paperboy kind of losing it one day and going on a killing spree. That was Erik's idea. We both wanted it to be humorous. When I was playing it back for the first time with vocals in it, and I heard that line, I couldn't hold back the laughter. I thought I was going to pop a lung. It was perfect. He did a great job on that song. It's heavy and funny, just like we wanted. That's another song that I finished writing as I watched the sun come up. Only, for that song, I watched the sun come up several times. That song took about two weeks to finish and I worked on it every night.

In the interim from composing new material, how much of a response has your releases gotten since they were made available on CD and social media?
At first we didn't get the best response. Our EP had mixed reviews where people either liked it, or hated it. It wasn't that great. Nobody ever talks about it. Usually, if we get a little fan message, it's because of The Paperboy. For whatever reason, that song has blown up recently. I've seen several posts about that song on various promotional pages, but none of them were in English so I couldn't read the comments or caption. Recently, I learned that people have been distributing it on Mediafire and several other file sharing sites. So we have no idea how many times it has been played or downloaded. At first, I was upset about that because it's available for free on Bandcamp, so I wanted people to download it from us directly. That way we could keep stats. Now, we don't have a clue how many times it has been downloaded, but it's cool. I'm just glad people dig it. We've released other songs since then but nothing else has ever come close to getting as much attention as The Paperboy... Though, my first song for my solo project, She Wants The D-Pad, is getting close to Paperboy. I've got to give a shout out to Zach Moonshine at MDR for hooking that up for me. My page blew up as soon as he streamed that song for me.

How do you juggle raising kids with being in band situations, composing and playing music? Is your family supportive of what you are doing? How far do you see having a career in music as a source of income?
My wife has always been supportive of me making music. She promotes my music whenever she can. She's a cosmetologist so she meets a lot of people. Anytime she sees someone wearing a metal band shirt or when she meets someone that talks about metal, she always brings up my music. She and the kids come first. Music is just what I do when there is free time. Music is fun for me. I have no intentions on ever making a career out of it. Every song I've ever written is available to download for free. I would gladly take a donation on Bandcamp if anyone ever wanted to give me anything, but I'll never ask someone to pay for my music. Unless I have some physical copies printed. Then I would have to charge but I'd still give it away for free digitally. I would love to have a career in audio engineering, but I'll never try to pursue a career as a full time musician. I'm afraid that it would take the fun out of it. Don't get me wrong, I would have loved to have been a guitarist in a band, traveling around, and playing shows every night, but I'm happy with what I have going on. I get to stay at home with my family, and make music whenever I can. My wife has recently become interested in doing vocals. She wants to try making a few songs with me. I'm excited to try that. I wish my kids could participate too, but I don't know what a six year old and an eight month old could do in a band, haha. Maybe they'll want to learn to play instruments when they grow older. I sure hope so. Making music with my family is the real dream.

You’re fortunate to have a wife who has the same interests as you and who supports your pursuit of making music. Too often people into playing in bands and creating music because they have something to say are expected to “grow up” and give up their prospective careers when getting married. More often than not it is selfishness on the wife’s part, but I digress. A collaboration of sorts between you and your wife would be interesting.

I'm the luckiest man alive. Music was a part of my life before I met her and she was supportive of that since day one. Though at first, she hated metal. She's a country girl. Now she likes it but only certain bands. I think all metalheads are that way though. We've gone to metal shows together on a few occasions and she loves it. It took a while but she's grown quite fond of the metal scene. I know two other guys that make music with their girlfriends and it's really cool. Alecia and I have talked about it for a while now, but we didn't think much of it until we found out that some of our friends are making music with their partners. Brett Summers is an old bandmate of mine, and he started a solo project called Chasing Chain Chomps. He eventually added his girlfriend to the band and they just released an EP. Another friend of mine has a solo cybergrind project called Morbidly A Beast, then he started a side project with his girlfriend called Muffin and Cupcake. That gave us encouragement to actually try writing together. If Alecia and I start writing together, I'm really not sure what it would sound like. I'd like to set her up on a keyboard and just hit the record button, then go from there.

How long were you composing material for She Wants The D-Pad before you finally released something to the public? Did you choose the name to satirize the issue of supposed sexism in metal?
SWTDP has been three years in the making. I have 50+ songs that I've started over the years. Some get finished, and some don't, but all of it has led up to this. My first song took about six months to complete, but I wasn't working on it every day. Since the day that I started recording music, I've had this idea about writing the heaviest music that I could possibly write, and combining it with 8bit sounds from retro video games. This is nothing new, however. In 2006, a few guys started making heavy music, but with 8bit sounds and they called it Nintendocore. Most of it had a lot of 8bit instead of guitars, but there is usually some guitar in there too. That's what inspired the idea for SWTDP as well as my first project, Elizabeth’s Honor. Video games and metal have always been a big part of my life. Bringing them together is fun. She Wants The D-Pad is a death metal project with a lot of 8bit sounds, audio samples from classic video games, and strong lyrical references to video games. The name is just a reference to a common joke. Some may find it offensive but I don't care really. People are too sensitive these days. Nearly every Cannibal Corpse song is about murder, but that doesn't mean that they're murderers. It's all for show. In my opinion, there are some lines that you shouldn't cross such as rape or child abuse. There is no humor in that at all. D-Pad is short for directional pad. I'm sure a lot of people have already picked up on that. All of the classic video game consoles have d pads on the controllers. The project is supposed to be comical. Synths in metal music have always been cool to me, but it seems meaningless most of the time. Using 8bit synthesizers in a metal project that focuses on video game themes, gives the synth a purpose rather than being completely random. I even modified an original Gameboy to make music on and record with, so that I could more accurately capture that classic sound. Which is also nothing new. A lot of people modify Gameboys, Nintendos, Segas, etc. and use them to make music on. They call it Chiptune. From what I know, there aren't many people using Gameboys to make music in metal bands, but I would love to see it catch on. There are lots of people who use Gameboys to make music though. Fighter X and Sabrepulse are my favorite chip artists. Fighter X plays shows on his Gameboy all the time. It's really cool. I wish I could figure out how to play metal shows by myself with a Gameboy as one of the instruments. I'll probably never do it, but I hope that someone does.

How many songs have you been able to complete for SWTDP altogether? As for your incomplete songs, do you keep those close by in case inspiration comes to complete those also?

So far I only have one finalized song, but there are around ten that aren't finished. I keep all of my unfinished projects. Some of them are so old that I can't even remember starting them. Every now and then I'll browse through them, not knowing what to expect. Sometimes I'll find an old project that I either get disgusted by, or I'll get psyched up on it and want to finish it. My biggest problem is that I'll get a riff idea that I like, but it might not fit with the song that I'm currently writing, so I'll start a new project and record those new riffs. If I'm lucky, that second song will get finished. It's an endless cycle. Sometimes I just can't figure out what needs to come next. I'll think to myself "this sounds OK but it needs something else." When I can't figure out what that "something" is, I move on to the next project, and hopefully I'll get back to the first song eventually. I've gone months before, without even touching an instrument because I simply didn't have the inspiration. Sometimes it's the opposite of that. Right now I have three different songs that I'm trying to finish, and I have plenty of ideas for them. The problem is that I just don't have the time that I need to finish them, so they end up sitting on my hard drive for a long time. One day I decided to see how fast I could play on recording and still sound clean enough to hear what was going on. The intro sounded good to me but that was all that I could come up with. I tried for weeks to finish it, then gave up. This was way before Critical Dismemberment ever formed. More than a year went by before I tried to go back to that song. When I finally decided to try and finish it, I couldn't stop working on it. Every night after work, when my kids would go to sleep, I would start recording for that song. I was up until 3-4am every night working on it for about a week. Erik heard my progress every step of the way. I would send it to him every night before deciding to go to bed. He would always check it out in the morning while I was still asleep. At first we were thinking it should be about a war between Aliens and ancient Egyptians, because it had a lot of SciFi sounding diminished tapping, as well as some Egyptian scale riffs. We ended up ditching the Egyptian riffs and added some glitchy arcade sounds and called it Paperboy. That was Erik's idea. The song is based on the old arcade game. We tried to make it funny. It's basically about the paperboy going on a killing spree. I combined samples of police sirens, gun shots, and people screaming to make it sound legit. I'm trying to force myself to finish old songs before starting anymore but it's not always easy to do that. I once heard someone say that being able to finish all of your songs is an art form of its own. I couldn't agree more. This seems to be a common problem among musicians, especially solo acts.

Are science fiction themes a major inspiration for you, or is it more of an occasional inspiration?

You could say that it's a major inspiration. Most of the songs that I write are alternate visions of my favorite stories told in first person. Usually a story from a video game that I like, but I want to do some songs like that about TV shows and movies. My favorite show is DragonBall Z. I have plans to write a whole album about it, but I won't hold my breath for that. I've still never made a full length album. I'm sure you could classify that as science fiction. I'm currently working on a song based on the black mages from Final Fantasy 9. I would love to make an album about the Fallout game series too. Fallout, for those that don't know, is a game set far in the future, after the world has been wiped out with nuclear warfare. That's my favorite game. I've actually got lyrics started already for some Fallout songs. So I guess it really depends on what someone's definition of science fiction is. I've never actually made a song about aliens, but I do love using scales that have that "outer space science fiction movie" sound. I can't even give a good example off the top of my head, but everyone has heard it. That sound you usually hear in an old movie when someone is standing near a spaceship, or in a room full of computers. I like those weird bleeping sounds like that. I try to sound like that with my guitar sometimes.

I think I remember discussing the track Paperboy with Erik when I interviewed him. How do you remember the making of that song?

That was the most excitement that I've ever felt when writing a song. Up until then, I had never been really proud of my work like I was with that song. I always felt excitement, but with that song, I actually felt like I was working on something that other people would enjoy. It was so far beyond anything else I had made at that point. That was right after I had quit my second job I think, so I would come home after work and stay on it until three to four in the morning. I worked on it for nine hours straight one night. When I was working two jobs, I couldn't have spent that much time writing music. For a while I didn't think I would ever finish it, until I scrapped half of it and tried something else. Every night I would export what I had done, then I would send it to Erik. I don't remember how many days it took, but it was the first thing that I started doing every day after work. This was before my son was born, my daughter wouldn't be home from school until 6pm, and my wife would usually get home late, so I had much more free time back then. I think the most important thing, what really made that song our best up to that point, was that we didn't get in a rush. We were both excited and worked on it constantly, but we both agreed to keep working on it until we were 100% satisfied with it. We never showed anybody else until it was done. When we finally uploaded it, the response was a bit overwhelming. We gained a few fans after that.

What listener feedback have you received about your use of 8bit equipment for SWTDP?
The feedback has been very positive so far. I haven't had any negative comments yet, that I've seen anyway, and that's shocking to me. I've gotten used to negative feedback over the years. Zach played my song on Metal Devastation Radio while I was in the chat room and everyone seemed to like it. I was a nervous wreck before they started playing it. Everyone loved the 8bit, and that surprised me, since there are a lot of people that hate electronics in metal music. There is actually a big scene for music like this. You would be surprised. Using the word "Nintendocore" in a conversation with metalheads usually doesn't end well. That's why I call it death metal with video game influences when I'm asked to describe my sound. I could talk about Nintendocore all day though. I love it, but I hate it. It's a small scene, and there are some artists who are very popular among the crowd. Some of them treat it as a competition, and I hate that. I try to support all of my friends who make music, and even people that I don't know as long as they're cool. Being a good person goes a long way with me. As dumb as this sounds, I'd rather listen to a decent song by a nice person, than a great song that was made by a prick. There are some artists that I want nothing to do with. Specifically the ones that bash other artists while speaking of their own music as if they've written a platinum record. Only a small percentage of people have ever heard of Nintendocore, but if you ever meet a fan of the genre, and you ask them who Iamerror is, you'll get the same kind of response that you would get if you were to ask a death metal fan who Death is. That guy practically has a cult following. The whole scene is full of people who are either extremely kind and supportive of other artists, or they're complete assholes that only care about spreading their own names like viruses. Most people are cool though. There are just a few guys that give everyone else a hard time. That's what I've observed anyway. It's the most unique genre that I've ever come across. One thing that makes it unique is that nearly every fan of the genre, is also an artist. I've gotten a lot of positive feedback on my music, but it all came from other artists in the scene. I'm trying so hard though, to reach out to other people who have never heard of Nintendocore. Some people have said that what I do is unique and fresh, but it's not at all. Those people just haven't ever heard of Nintendocore. I wasn't the first one to do this. Hell, I would bet money that there have been thousands before me. You could spend a solid week browsing through it on Google. I think the reason that there's so much of it and why some of it is so bad is because the only thing you need to make it with is a laptop and Fruity Loops studio. Fruity Loops is probably the most pirated software in history, so anyone can get it. A twelve year old could easily get it and write a whole album in a week, then throw it online somewhere. But, again, there are some amazing Nintendocore artists/bands out there. It's very diverse. You could basically take any sub-genre of metal, throw some 8bit in it, and it's Nintendocore. I try to write tech death with 8bit, some guys will make punk rock with 8bit, and some of them use nothing but 8bit and metal drum samples. Some of it is truly incredible, and some of it is so bad that you'd rather dig your ear drums out with a hot soldering iron than listen to it for more than ten minutes. It's one of those things that you just have to try for yourself.

Who were the first bands you started checking out to use computer programming?

It was a band called Preschool Tea Party Massacre that caught my interest. They're insane. The lyrics and song titles are hilarious, and the music is so ridiculous that you can't help but laugh when you hear it. They're not Nintendocore, but close to it. They call it cybergrind. It's usually all programmed instruments and weird synthesizers. Basically the same thing as Nintendocore but with other kinds of synths instead of 8bit. I was on LastFM one day listening to their station, and it started playing Nintendocore songs. The music immediately caught my attention, but I was also intrigued by some of the art work and artist photos that were being displayed on my screen. The first song that played was "100deadrabbits - Flesh." One of the photos that I saw, was a picture of them playing a show somewhere, dressed up as Mario and Luigi on stage. I was pretty much hooked immediately. Then Ishottheduckhuntdog came on (I'll never understand why some bands don't use spaces in their name). I listened to that station for several hours, then I started downloading everything I could find. The first albums that I heard were 100deadrabbits - Teeth EP, Ishottheduckhuntdog - For Derek, and Iamerror - Trout Yogurt. I still listen to those first two but I'm not really a fan of Iamerror anymore. I loved it at first but it didn't hold up well with me over time. It gets tiresome eventually. There was this other act called Oaks Parcel that quickly became my favorite but I could only find a few singles on YouTube. Those few singles are some of my favorite Ncore songs though. Another project that I could only find on YouTube was WeEatPixelsForBreakfast. I loved his music too.

This interview is my first time hearing of Fruity Loops. Why has that software been pirated so much?
Fruity Loops is just another DAW, mostly centered around midi tracks. It's got a nice sequencer for drums and samples and it's a bit more affordable than other DAW. There are multiple versions. I think you can get the basic version for under $100 but I paid $300 for the Producer Edition a long time ago. Then my laptop got stolen and I replaced it with a Mac. Fruity Loops doesn't work with Mac yet, so I decided to try Ableton Live. Ableton is typically the "go to" DAW for EDM producers, but it's fantastic for recording. I hope Image Line makes a Mac version of Fruity Loops someday because I still own the license, and some of the virtual instruments in Fruity Loops are great. Though I would still import my tracks over into Ableton for mixing and recording. When I first started using Fruity Loops, I made rap beats with it. I don't even like rap but it was fun to do and it was a good learning experience. I honestly thought that was the only thing that Fruity Loops studio was good for until I discovered Cybergrind and Nintendocore. These guys will program the drums, guitars, bass guitar, synths, everything right there in Fruity Loops. Ableton doesn't come with guitar sounds or metal drum kits like Fruity Loops does, so that might be another reason Fruity Loops is the first choice for a lot of these guys. I think the main reason that Fruity Loops is pirated so much is because a lot of young people want to make music and Fruity Loops is easy to get. I don't approve of pirating. I pay for everything I own, but some of these kids are still in school and don't have jobs. They can't afford it so they download illegally. This means that anyone with a computer can easily obtain Fruity Loops and start making music immediately. It's just too easy for someone to download it and whip up a song in a few hours, then upload it to Soundcloud or wherever else they want to put it. You can't listen to these songs as fast as they're coming out. I've done the same thing though. When I first started, I would come up with a song in one sitting, then upload it. Sometimes it's hard to hold back because it's so exciting to be making music. I made a ten track demo in one week, and it's terrible. I learned my lesson. Now, I'd rather take my time and make something that I can be proud of.

How would you describe in more detail the compilation put together by Travis Valois that you mentioned earlier?
It was really a group effort. There's another guy named Riely that helps a lot with these things. I believe he and Travis started talking about making a comp, and several of us were interested in participating. Originally we had eight people that were going to work on it so Riely thought it would be cool to base it on Mega Man. We all spent a few months working on our songs. Some of the songs were based on real Mega Man characters, and some of them were characters we made up. There ended up being eleven tracks altogether. It was released in May 2015 and he named it Robot Masters. You can download it at nintendocorelives.bandcamp.com. The next comp will also be there. Travis started a blog in 2014 and he uses that to promote other Nintendocore artists. He writes reviews, posts links to other artists’ music, and now he's putting these comps together. When you hear about Nintendocore, you'll commonly hear people refer to "The Myspace Days." Nintendocore was born on Myspace back in 2006 I think and it exploded. There were other blogs like Piranha Party and MusicNES back in those days. It seems like the whole scene has died since then, but recently things have turned around. Two big acts from back then have just recently come back out of nowhere and everyone is all psyched up about it. Oaks Parcel and Insert Disc. We're still not sure about Insert Disc bit he uploaded a new track a few days ago. I'm not sure why everything is turning around, but I have no doubt that it's guys like Travis that are responsible for bringing it back. I didn't care for Nintendocore back when it first got started. I had totally forgotten about it actually until four years ago.

What would be your description of Nintendocore to people who have never heard of it?
This question has been asked many times and the responses vary drastically depending on who you ask. Nintendocore is wildly experimental. No two projects sound the same. To sum it up quickly, imagine the music from your favorite video game of the 80's and early 90's mixed with metal drums and harsh vocals. Some of it is really heavy, and some if it isn't. My music is usually just metal with 8bit synths in the background. Some guys don't use guitars as often. A few Nintendocore projects use tons of synth layers, with a few guitar chugs every now and then. A band called "HORSE The Band" usually gets credit for starting Nintendocore. They're a post hardcore band with 8bit synth. They actually have a guy in the band that plays synth so I don't think any of it is programmed. A lot of their music is funny, and I'm pretty sure that they jokingly used the word Nintendocore once to describe their sound. Don't quote me on that, but I think I remember reading that somewhere. Some other guys sort of took it and made it their own. My first impression of Nintendocore was that it sounded like some older Napalm Death but with 8bit instead of guitars. That's not an accurate description however. There are too many different styles to sum it up that easily. If anyone reading this is thinking about checking out Nintendocore, I would tell them to Google it and browse through some of it. If you can't find any that appeals to you, don't give up on it just yet. There are tons of different artists with their own styles. You've just got to find the ones that you like.

Are there planned musical projects you would want to mention for the readers of this interview?
I've been working on a split album with Shotgun Guy for a while now. Hopefully that won't take much longer. I have no idea how long it will take me to complete a full album so I can't talk about that. Critical Dismemberment has a few songs that are nearly finished now so hopefully we'll have something new soon. The new compilation album from Nintendocore Lives should be released sometime next month, so keep an eye out for that. For now, those are the only plans I have for near future releases.

Who is Shotgun Guy and how long have you been working on a split release with him? Can you tell the readers anything about the new songs being composed by Critical Dismemberment?

Shotgun Guy is a close friend of mine. His real name is Micah Jordan. I think we started talking about doing this split about 4-5 months ago. He's already finished with his half, but I've been so busy with other projects that I've only finished one song for my half. Micah and I have gotten to be close friends over this past year. As close as you can get without ever meeting in person anyway. He consistently puts out good material in my opinion, and he seems to like the few songs that I've finished, so we decided to make a split. There are some heavy Nintendocore projects out there, but they're usually deathcore style with 8bit. I love all metal, but I prefer death metal, black metal, or technical death metal. And that's exactly what I'm trying to sound like. Whether or not I can actually do that, I really don't know, but what I'm trying to go for is somewhere along the lines of Dimmu Borgir and Necrophagist with 8bit. That's the kind of metal that I like to try and write, except those guys are insanely talented and I'm not, haha. Especially Muhammed Suicmez. He's one of my favorite guitarists ever. I just hope that I'm half as good as him someday. The 8bit is just fun for me. I love those sounds and they can be really heavy too if you do it right. Plus, I love video games, so this is my way of bringing the two together... Anyway, that's what we're trying to do with this split. At least I am. Micah has made some super heavy songs before but I don't know if all of his songs for the split are that style or not. I have no clue if anyone will like it or not, but honestly, I'm not even concerned about that. This is just something that I really want to do. It's too much fun to not do it. I feel like I'm doing something fun with a good friend.

What material written by Muhammed Suicmez would you recommend to the readers and why?
Diminished To Be Diminished, Stabwound, Fermented Offal Discharge, Only Ash Remains.... I'll save the trouble and recommend buying both albums, mix them both into one playlist, and hit shuffle. Everything the man does is gold. In my opinion anyway. I love Necrophagist. I hope I can play guitar like that someday. He gets ridiculously technical sometimes with weird time signatures and crazy riffs. It's the definition of perfection. Get on Youtube right now and find "Necrophagist - Symbiotic In Theory." I could listen to Necrophagist all day long. His solos are super clean, but his crazy riffs are what I really like. If I could play that well, my life would be complete.

She Wants The D-Pad

-Dave Wolff