Saturday, March 31, 2018

Full Length Review: ATRA VETOSUS Apricity (Immortal Frost Productions) by Dave Wolff

Place of origin: Launceston, Tasmania, Australia
Genre: Melodic black metal
Jewel Case CD with 8 page booklet limited to 1000 copies.
Digipack CD with 8 page booklet limited to 500 copies.
12" Gatefold Double Vinyl with exclusive A2 poster limited to 300 copies.
Release date: February 26, 2018
Even though I’m a year older, when I listen to this I’m still in my mid-twenties. Apricity is Atra Vetosus’ second full length and the follow up to their 2013 album Voices From The Eternal Night and 2016 live album Live At The Royal Oak (for which a video was released in 2018). The Australia band exhibits black metal’s aesthetic advancements from 1997 to ‘99, supplementing it with atmosphere, strings, keyboards, different vocal styles and - surprise, surprise - a brighter edge than you would expect. For a sophomore release it shows purposeful resoluteness to fulfill the black metal genre’s dramatic potential, its potential to diversify without losing touch with its purpose to redefine musical boundaries, as many bands do. That bright edge doesn’t negate this band’s exploration of nature’s bleaker aspects. Listening to it is appropriate for the weather in Long Island. It’s still cold outside and I see winter’s last vestiges through my window. I got the same feeling from the first track of Necrophagia’s Season Of The Dead. Only Atra Vetosus personifies the winter following the autumn Necrophagia called to mind. I can’t get over the instrumentation and the arrangements here. The components are well known in black, folk and Viking metal, but their presentation transcends the familiarity with seemingly countless divergent turns. Atra Verosus take a few theatrical liberties, as in the lead in to Ever Falling Snow. You only hear trudging in a frozen landscape, but you are free to envision who is on this journey and how long it has lasted. The songwriting and vocals capture the essence of the world the nameless traveler is journeying in. The contrast between his isolation and vast surroundings is profound when you experience the epic scope of this song. The acoustic section of Oceans Of Light, Rainfall Of Stars is given an equally profound sense of darkness by a foreboding keyboard effect, and the explosion of sound when the other instruments kick in is like the world beginning. In every song there are so many different themes written in to narrate each tale the songs represent. This as much as the length of the songs is where the band’s epic qualities come from. This abundance in moods is always done tastefully and they don’t reek of overindulgence. Check out Where The Lost Spirits Roam, Of Ancient Prophecies and Pravitatem Cordis Hominis. The instrumentals Violet and Amber consist of acoustic guitars and are as captivating as the rest of this album despite their shorter duration. These pieces have a mournful disposition placing the other songs into a perspective of their tales having taken place eons ago. All this makes for a stunning release that is visceral and cerebral in equal quantities, and one you should make time to listen to. -Dave Wolff

Band lineup:
Josh "Thorodan" Gee: Vocals
Josh "Slikver" Young: Guitars, backing vocals
Damon Parker: Guitars
Matthew Lopez: Bass
Josef Bound: Drums

Track list:
1. Oceans Of Light, Rainfall Of Stars
2. Ever Falling Snow
3. Violet
4. Where The Lost Spirits Roam
5. Fading Life, Winter Winds
6. Amber
7. Of Ancient Prophecies
8. Pravitatem Cordis Hominis

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Interview with Chris Bollinger of MACHINE MAN RECORDS by Dave Wolff

Interview with Chris Bollinger of MACHINE MAN RECORDS

When was Machine Man Records founded, and how widespread has it become? What genres does it specialize in?
Machine Man Records was created and founded on October 17 of 2017 with the specific intent to support various types of electronic and metal genres that are considered "underground" or "outside of the mainstream." Similar to what Wax Trax! Records was doing in the 1980s with their scene. We are attempting to the same with Machine Man Records.
The label's reach has been more than we could've expected since our launch. Within that time, the electro / deathstep / industrial rock group Dizzolve released their EP titled "The Hookwirm EP" and the industrial metal / cyber metal group AutomatoN released their fourth full length titled "Sub Coma". Both albums were released on December 12 on all digital media platforms.
With all of that being said, Machine Man Records is an independent record label, so our reach is very limited but as we all know the internet allows us to reach further. Websites like DistroKid, MondoTunes, Tunecore, etc. allows each artist on our label (or on their own as well) to have their releases featured on all digital media platforms similar to an artist on a major label. Platforms such as iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify, YouTube, etc. Simultaneously, to utilize all media platform outlets Machine Man Records has registered as a label on Bandcamp. All of these avenues are there to assist every band or group that signs to the Machine Man family.
Regarding mail orders, unfortunately Machine Man Records does not have an outlet for that platform at the moment. We are actively searching all avenues to find the best deal that suits the needs of our artists.
Machine Man Records supports various types of electronic and metal genres. Currently the label has a mixture of artists in various musical genres such as, industrial; industrial metal / rock, electro, synthwave, aggrotech, and metal / rock.
In 2018 the label will be adding an industrial metal / industrial rock band called Decent News, from the New England area, and a heavy synth - electronic rock band called Chmcl Str8Jckt, from the Northern New Jersey area whose style is in that of the old school Wax Trax! industrial bands.

How active was Wax Trax! Records and what artists of note did the label support until it folded?
Wax Trax! Records was very active in the 1980s. As stated on the Wikipedia page, they were founded in 1980 in Chicago. And for almost fifteen years, Wax Trax! Records was a powerhouse of an independent label that was primarily known for their new wave, punk rock, electronic and industrial releases. Unfortunately the label filed for bankruptcy in the early 1990s, and were subsequently bought by TVT Records. Further bad news resulted in TVT Records filing for bankruptcy. This of course effected all releases related to each artist on Wax Trax! Records, and ultimately ended everything for anyone associated with Wax Trax! Records or TVT when TVT closed their doors in the late 2000s.

Why, to your knowledge, did TVT and Wax Trax go bankrupt?
The only assumption I can make is that like most things, the spending costs began to outweigh the profits made back. Which in turn caused them to be unable to provide support and/or funding which then caused them to fold in on themselves. Again, that’s my best guess per what we now know about how the label was ran and how it all ended.

What are the advantages of digital media? Does it help you promote your bands on a wider scale in less time than the label industry?
There are not many advantages to releasing content only through digital media outlets. The main advantage is to keep all up front and overhead costs to a minimal for the bands and the label. Independent bands and labels have a limited amount of funding, therefore we have to be smart regarding utilization of those funds. Case in point, distributing funds to a company that will release your music on a wide array of digital medal platforms, or distributing funds to purchase 300 professionally made CDs that you may never recoup your finances on while selling them one at a time via live shows. Additionally, having your band’s music distributing on a multitude of digital media platforms will aid in spreading your music to a wider audience.

How much has social media created an alternative to the major label industry? At first internet downloading was a detriment, but now it is a help to bands and artists.
Machine Man Records is an independent record label, and our reach is very limited but as we all know the internet allows us to reach further. Websites like DistroKid, MondoTunes, Tunecore, etc. have changed the industry, and are allowing independent artists or labels to have their releases featured on all digital media platforms similar to an artist on a major label.
Platforms such as iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify, YouTube, Bandcamp etc are there to assist every band or group all over the globe distribute your product all over the globe. This is a big change in my opinion. Because it gives the small bedroom musician the same power as the major label musician. However, the promotional tools are not the same, and the end user has to go and search for the product. Or the independent musician will need to spend their limited finances on a PR campaign to assist with sales.
Each artist will have to be smart how they spend their funds and make sure they utilize all avenues available to them. Concurrently, if you feel your funds are being wasted in a specific area, don’t be afraid to cut ties. Sever the connection, reformulate your plan of attack, finalize a new plan and then implement

How much is social media’s transfer of drawing power to smaller bands changing the industry? As more underground and independent labels utilize it, do you believe the changes will continue?
That’s really tough to answer. Personally the old and current industry model is dead or dying. And this is because they refused to change when the opportunity presented itself. On top of that, when they did actual change their business model, it was too late. There’s a few companies that have changed with the times and of course they are still relevant or more relevant now than they were ten-plus years ago. But not many.
Social media has had a huge impact on the drawing power for smaller bands. 25-30 years ago, you had to play a show in a specific town. Said venue and/or band had to promote this specific show to potential fans. These potential fans had to attend this specific show to purchase that band’s album(s). At times, you would maybe attend a convention at a later date and see a bootleg recording of the show you attended for purchase. Now, everything’s on YouTube. Which is a double-edged sword. Your fan reach is a lot wider thanks to the power of the internet and social media. You can have fans all over the world without actually touring the world. But the down side of that is, your local fans can choose to not attend your show because they know it will be available on YouTube within hours or days. So you’re losing a physical audience and gaining a digital one, for lack of a better word.
It is a double edged sword. Personally for smaller bands, I see it as an opportunity rather than a hindrance. There are several local bands in the tristate area that will probably never tour the USA, let alone the world for whatever reason. Whether it be financial or family obligations. But thanks to sites like YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, these bands can still play their local shows and someone in say, Amsterdam, can view these records and purchase their album on whichever digital media outlet they choose. All of this without ever leaving their home. To me, that is still a win. It may not be the dream these bands would choose to live, but a win is still a win in my book.

How often have you had to modify your approach to promoting bands, based on the financial and internet issues you have encountered?
So far neither the label nor the bands have had to modify our approach to promoting. Mostly because every band / artist that comes on board knows upfront my approach and what I will be able to do with regards to promoting their releases as well as band related interviews. Additionally, while the label’s approach is overall similar for each band or artist, there are a few instances where a specific artist has an idea that is only relative to them or their release. In those cases, then yes of course the approach will need to be altered to suit the needs of that specific artist. Regarding the internet, no issues have presented itself. The internet is a great tool for the indie artist or label. Which as I mentioned before, has helped not only the label but each artist under the label reach a wider audience than they would have without the internet.

How well have the Dizzolve and AutomatoN releases been received? Who else is signed to the label and what new bands have been signed recently?
Both albums from Dizzolve and AutomatoN have been received well since their release dates. AutomatoN has released three albums separately prior to joining Machine Man Records. Because of this, AutomatoN has a higher fan base than most of the other label artists and requires slightly less attention to push their album sales. Additionally, Machine Man Records has several other artists signed to the label as well as two more artists that will be also joining the Machine Man family in the next month or two. Below is a breakdown of all current artists on the label or an artist / group that will be joining Machine Man Records in the next month.
Current artist roster: AutomatoN, an industrial metal / cyber metal artist from Worcester, Massachusetts; Chmcl Str8Jckt, an electronic / industrial rock band from Hawthorne, New Jersey; Decent News, an industrial metal band from the New London County, Connecticut area; Dizzolve, an elektro / deathstep / industrial rock duo from Schwenksville / Lansdale, Pennsylvania area; Lapses, a horrorwave / synthwave artist from Bristol, Pennsylvania; Man Made Horror, an industrial / aggrotech band from Bridgeton, New Jersey; Quo, a progressive rock / metal artist from Worcester, Massachusetts.
Joining Machine Man Records in 2018: Demise and Domination, an industrial death metal / industrial metal artist from Worcester, Massachusetts; Epitome of Hostility, a metal / industrial metal group from Gainesville, Georgia; Kill Point Protocol, an industrial / electronic / doom metal duo from the Philadelphia \ New Jersey area; Varicella, an industrial metal duo from the Philadelphia / New Jersey area.
The label is taking on several new artists and groups, and we are behind each 100%. I just hope the listeners enjoy each release Machine Man Records has to offer, as the fans are the reason we are all here. Thank you to everyone that has supported Machine Man Records. We appreciate it more than words can articulate.

What releases from Demise and Domination, Epitome of Hostility, Kill Point Protocol and Varicella will be released this year?
Demise and Domination will release their fourth album with Machine Man Records in the second half of 2018. Additionally, all three of their previous albums have been added to the official Machine Man Records Bandcamp page and will be released on all digital retailers on 04.13.2018.
Epitome of Hostility will release their debut album once recording has completed. The album was originally scheduled to be released in the second quarter of 2018, but a recent set back has pushed their recording schedule back by a few months. And we do not have a scheduled release date at this time.
Kill Point Protocol will be entering the recording stage soon and hope to release their debut album by the end of 2018. No release date is scheduled at this time.
Varicella are currently finishing the master process of their debut album, “Dead is Better”. They will be releasing their first single, “Mindfucked”, in mid/late April exclusively through the Machine Man Records Bandcamp page for free. “Dead is Better” is scheduled for release in May.

Do you advertise seeking new bands on social media? How can bands who are interested in having their releases promoted through Machine Man Records contact you?
Machine Man Records doesn’t directly advertise that we are actively seeking new bands. However, if an artist would like to submit their music for review, they can do so by submitting a message through the contact section on our website.

Does the label have a YouTube profile where people can view promotional videos of your bands?
Fans can find the link on our home page of the Machine Man website. Or in the about section on the label’s Facebook page.

Who is on the staff of Machine Man Records, and what are their respective responsibilities?
Our staff roster is growing just like our artist roster. Currently, I handle most if not all aspects related to day to day operations of the label. Since each artist handles their own live show schedule, the label does not assist much in that area. If need be, Kevin Snell and I are available to provide support and guidance for each artist related to live entertainment and show bookings. And lastly, Machine Man Records has now partnered with Will Zimmerman at TAG Publicity. Will handles album reviews as well as all press releases related to each Machine Man Records artist. You can view Will’s website The Noise Beneath The Snow, here -

Name the local clubs where you are booking shows. Which of those collaborations have been most beneficial to all involved?
In the past few years, several bands from the label have played at the following clubs / venues – The Rusty Nail in Ardmore, PA. The Final Score in Bensalem, PA. The Underground in Lansdale, PA. The Stanhope House in Stanhope, NJ. Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ. The Saw Town Tavern in Philadelphia, PA. The Pickering Creek Inn in Phoenixville, PA and a few other smaller bars that are local to the area. Honestly, they’ve all been beneficial in different areas which makes it hard to select a specific location. But really, the clubs or venues listed above are the ones we frequent the most as they have the best sound and/or receive the most people in attendance.

How did you hook up with Will Zimmerman for your recently formed partnership?
The old fashioned way, networking. I found The Noise Beneath The Snow via a Google search. After reviewing two releases from the label, Will and I discussed partnering up. Simple as that.

What bands do TAG Publicity help promote that you know of? What does your partnership with them entail?
Unsure of the particular bands that TAG promotes as they cover a wide variety of rock and metal bands. It is a very straight forward partnership. Will Zimmerman handles each Press Release related to all album releases under the label. Will assembles a professional doctorate, and then distributes to the various websites, online magazines, album reviewers, print magazines, etc. that are in TAG’s database. So far the label has only used TAG for two releases within 2018 and each album has exceeded all expectations. We are all very pleased by the results.

Are you still seeking people to help out with the label? How can interested parties contact you?
Anyone can reach out to the label by submitting a message through the contact section on our website, and I or another representative from Machine Man Records will reply as soon as time permits.

If you managed to acquire sufficient funds and could advertise on a wide basis, would you consider hosting a fest for your label and its bands in New Jersey?
Definitely. Machine Man Records has already hosted a few smaller shows between three or four bands on the label. With more to come. On top of that, Kevin Snell from Chmcl Str8Jckt is actively planning a few shows for 2018. Fans can be kept up to date on either the label’s Facebook page or the Facebook page for Chmcl Str8Jckt.

How much advertising went into the performances you hosted, and how much did it help the turnouts?
Lots of advertising and promoting. The label promoted in several groups on Facebook as well as local show websites. On top of that each bad sponsored posts on Facebook that were directed towards their specific genre of music. Additionally, a few of the bands advertised certain shows on multiple radio podcasts. And yes, all of this did help the attendance turnouts. But keep in mind, when I say that I do not mean that an extra 50 people showed up to the shows. Uncertain of the totals but it was a noticeable help.

Where do you see the label in a few years’ time? Do you hope to become a prominent underground label like Relapse or Metal Blade?
First and foremost, let me just say that I would love for Machine Man Records to reach the level of Relapse Records or even what Wax Trax! Records used to be. That would be amazing. I am just hoping for the label to grow each year with our current artist roaster and progress as much as we can. Add a few new artists each year, and remain stable as best as possible. That is where I would like the label to go and I am positive we can make it there. Lastly, I would like to thank everyone out there who is reading this and all the people who have supported Machine Man Records. Thank you all.

-Dave Wolff

Monday, March 26, 2018

EP Review: STROGENA Stronger Than Death (Independent) by Victor Varas

Stronger Than Death
Country of origin: Peru
Genre: Traditional heavy metal
Release date: August 5, 2017
I really like female fronted heavy metal. Women have a passion for singing which is an authentic demonstration of the genre’s essence. This is a very strong perspective, musically speaking. Coming from Lima, Perú, these women forged a traditional band influenced by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Everything is electrifying and straight to the point. Stronger Than Death is four songs composed with fast guitars, powerful vocals and great arrangements. Some songs are sung in Spanish. You can name a large list of references. Bassist/vocalist Maria Castro captures the spirit of heavy metal, and every line is solid and metallic. I liked “The Power Of Pain” as it has brilliant moments with solid guitar riffs (triplets ala Iron Maiden), sticky choruses composed to have fans raise their fists during live shows, and excellent dual guitars at the end. This band worked hard to compose their debut EP. Time shall tell; meanwhile support the underground and buy it directly from the band. Highly recommended!! -Victor Varas

Band lineup:
Maria Castro: Bass, vocals
Veronica Apolinario: Guitars, Vocals
Ana Rodriguez: Guitars
Morgana Rojas: Drums

Track list:
1. Hangover Queen
2. Resistir
3. The Power of Pain
4. Strogena

Split Full Length Review: NACHTTERROR/ALTARS OF GRIEF Of Ash and Dying Light (Hypnotic Dirge Records) by Victor Varas

Of Ash and Dying Light
Country of origin: (Nachtterror) Canada, Altars Of Grief (Canada)
Genre: (Nachtterror) Blackened doom metal, (Altars of Grief) Blackened doom/death metal
Release date: July 10, 2015
I’ve been listening to this digital promo since last week and I can’t say if I like it or I hate it. Two black/doom bands from Canada joined forces for this 10” vinyl split. Both have great compositions, but it seems like I’m getting too old to appreciate young perspectives. On one side we have Nachtterror, a black/doom metal band a bit drowned in melody, with obvious references to mainstream bands from north Europe, with keyboards and modern structures here and there. On this split the band included two pieces of dark art, very solid and complex. But I have to say it’s nothing I haven’t heard before. The second track “Upon Ashen Shores” is my favorite. It has moments of ambient music, savage blast, ominous distortion and guttural vocals. The digital version on Bandcamp contains two bonus songs. Not bad, but is not the kind of black/doom metal music I’m used to.
On the other hand there is another black/doom metal horde more into Funeral Doom Metal, with roots in progressive and ambient music. These young musicians have great compositions with slow lines, atmospheric keyboards, soft distortion under soft guitars, and clean vocals. Maybe this has forged a personality to the band, and maybe it’s a peculiar perspective of extreme metal music, but definitely I’m not a fan of this. I admit all compositions are great, and it seems like the band has roots in dark music. They include a cover of “Room Of Angel” by Akira Yamaoka (the Japanese composer behind Silent Hill’s soundtrack). They’re an interesting band, and I admit they moved my radar from time to time. But I’m not into this kind of black/doom metal metal, so I can’t recommend it. Sorry! -Victor Varas

Band lineups:
Lord Vatiel: Vocals
Maelkleth: Guitar, vocals
Saint Wikk: Guitar, vocals
Wraith: Bass
Tron: Drums

(Altars Of Grief)
Damian Smith: Vocals
Evan Paulson: Guitars, programming
Erik Labossiere: Guitars, vocals
Dylan Pinay: Bass
Zack Bellina: Drums

Track list:
1. Nachtterror: The Breath of the World, Ablaze
2. Nachtterror: Upon Ashen Shores
3. Nachtterror: Fall of the Sabbath
4. Nachtterror: Belial
5. Altars Of Grief: In Dying Light
6. Altars Of Grief: Your Heaven
7. Altars Of Grief: Room of Angel (Akira Yamaoka Cover)

Sunday, March 25, 2018

EP Review: BAUME Les Années Décapitées (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Les Années Décapitées
Country of origin: France
Genre: Experimental rock/black metal
Recorded and mixed by Baume
Artwork by Baume
Illustration by Laurene Hamery
Release date: March 2, 2016
Baume is a new project fronted by the French musician Gaetan Juif, also of Cepheide, Rance and the solo project Scaphandre. I don’t know how he finds time to keep up such a level of activity, but somehow he manages while consistently spawning quality extreme music. If you’ve been listening to those bands and projects, you’ll likely hear shades of them on Baume’s debut CD Les Années Décapitées, but there are also differences to note. As he does for Scaphandre, Juif is primarily doing Baume as a solo undertaking, making for a clear and undiluted representation of the deepest, darkest regions of his mind. He describes Les Années Décapitées as being experimental rock and black metal. Personally I think he could have been referring to the experimental progressive rock of the 70s as you can hear some of it if you listen closely enough. Still, many listeners would consider this a black metal album that’s not for everybody. It’s the sort of album you’ll appreciate if you’re into minimalist black metal teeming abundantly with ambience. Or if you’re into Filosofem-era Burzum and The Forest Is My Throne-era Satyricon. The compositions place a great deal of emphasis on atmosphere, and the results are mind-blowingly horrifying. Rather than endless snowfalls or demonic entities charging out of the forest, the destructive, murderous onslaught of this recording is likened to torrential rains, hurricanes, typhoons and a massive tornado swallowing the earth whole. I gradually formed this analogy but the more I listen the more it fits. To form your own analogy you need to give Les Années Décapitées your undivided attention all the way through. It’s roughly 33 minutes in length, so if you prefer shorter releases it doesn’t present an overabundance of material. Juif’s lyrics are sung with horrid, agonized shrieks impressing upon you the essence of civilization perishing under the apocalyptic storms I described. The spoken passages of guest vocalist Laurene Hamery are extremely chilling alongside Juif’s vocals. This dual approach with the backing musicianship has to be heard to be believed, and is most profound if you listen during a rainstorm. A host of other sounds and vocal styles are experimented with. Placed in their proper context they all have a part in contributing to the overall theme. I liked the addition of piano to complement the clean guitars in ‘IV.Une Ballade d'Amour et de Mort.’ The only grievance I had with this album is the final mix should have had more bass guitar for additional depth. But the material generally stands on its own and as Brian of Metal Revolution said you don’t need a comprehension of French to appreciate the images put across to you. -Dave Wolff

Gaetan Juif: All instruments

Guest musicians:
Laurene Hamery: vocals
Hugo Beauzée-Luyssen: bass

Track list:
1. I.Le Grand Saut
2. II.A l'Ombre de l'Eden
3. III.Sous le Voile de nos Lumières Mortes
4. IV.Une Ballade d'Amour et de Mort

Interview with Nick Graystone of DEMONSCAR by Dave Wolff

Interview with Nick Graystone of DEMONSCAR

Describe the beginning of DemonScar and explain the origins of the band’s name.
DemonScar started in the spring/summer of 2017 although the roots of DemonScar date back to 1998. Meds and I together were in a metal band named Tangent. We played in this outfit for a few years and then went on different musical paths. Fast forward nearly twenty years and we were en route to an Iron Maiden show. I had written some lyrics a few days prior and showed them to Meds. Next thing I know he calls me up a day or two later with a riff. That riff ended up being “Pray On The Prey”. We started writing and came up with four songs that make up the DemonScar EP. We ended up recruiting Brian and we are currently writing and recording a follow up to the EP. We started thinking of a name like right away. Originally DevilScar stuck around for a while. Most of the names we came up were already taken in some way. Meds suggested Demon instead of Devil. So DemonScar was born.

What do you remember of the metal scene in New York when Tangent was active? Did the band release material on CD and drop copies off at local stores?
We were kids when we started Tangent and there really wasn’t a huge metal scene on Long Island. At that point we were put on bills with bands like Taking Back Sunday, Saves The Day and The Movielife. We stood out because being the only metal band on an emo bill, we didn’t blend. We only recorded a demo and we really didn’t get past that recording. We did some radio appearances and played at the now defunct Ground Zero in Bellmore a lot.

How well do you remember Tangent being received by emo fans in those days?
The Tangent shows were always fun. We definitely were not ignored by being put those bills. We were just different. Usually the shows were set up by friends so it was cool because we all supported each other and stuck around for each other’s set. I remember one show that didn’t go off good was we tried to play a show to coincide with an episode of Monday Night Raw. Needless to say, we were distracted and paid attention to the wrestling instead of the music. That was long ago and it definitely taught me a lot about gigs.

On what radio stations were Tangent interviewed? Are copies of their demo still available or sold out by now? Do you recall the songs on the demo and the potential they had?
A few of the bands I’ve been a part of have been played on local stations 90.3 NCC radio and 102.3 WBAB. Fingers from WBAB was a fan of my band Hollow and he played us in rotation on his Homegrown show. I believe I have the only known copy of Tangent’s demo on CD-R and I believe Meds might have an mp3 of it. One song Tangent used to play is actually on the DemonScar EP. That song is called Unhealed. Meds wrote it back in 1997 before Tangent even started. The song is really about teenage angst and confusion. It’s funny because it’s still relevant after all these years. I always dig the tune and suggested we bring it back.

I remember hearing a lot about Fingers in the late 80s. Is he still an active DJ?
Yeah, Fingers is still doing it! Actually just yesterday I saw a post of him celebrating 25 years or something in that ballpark on the air. Great guy and I always appreciated his support of Hollow. Fingers still does the 2-5 pm shift on WBAB. I believe he still does the Metal Shop and once in a while hosts a local show. He also does a yearly motorcycle run for charity. Usually the Fingers Motorcycle run is an all-day event that concludes with a show at the end of it. It’s well promoted on WBAB.

What directions did you and Meds take after Tangent disbanded? Were you in any bands together between their breakup to the formation of DemonScar?
When Tangent stopped playing I started playing bass. In Tangent I was on vocals. I started playing in a band called Always The Crash which was more alternative rock. It was different and more of a learning experience. I then moved onto Hollow. Hollow was more of a hard rock band. At that point I still wasn’t all that good on bass so I decided to take lessons. That helped a lot. Meds on the other hand started playing in a cover band named Byron’s Way. So it’s safe to say Meds and I kind of took a step away from metal. Not that we weren’t into it anymore, just discovering other music. Meds and I did not collaborate on any other music outfits from Tangent to DemonScar though we did have a one show reunion years later. That was lots of fun.

Who did Meds and Byron’s Way most often cover songs by? What is your personal opinion of cover bands?
Byron’s Way did mostly punk and rock covers. If I remember correctly they did a pretty awesome cover of Green Day’s Jesus of Suburbia. I thought that was cool because that’s not your typical tune to cover. Lots of parts and it is 9 minutes long. I personally never played out with a cover band. I did once jam for a while with a Social Distortion cover band. Nothing against cover bands, it’s just not my thing. I like to do a cover here and there but I just wouldn’t want to do a full set of covers. Lots of the big clubs on Long Island did the shift to bring in cover on the weekends. People like to hear what is familiar to them, so I get why clubs book cover bands.

Who influenced Always The Crash? How long were they active despite alternative and grunge having been made a trend by radio and MTV?
I was in Always The Crash around 1999 to 2000, well after the rise of grunge and alternative. I know bands like Radiohead and Nirvana were major influences to Always The Crash. Nu-Metal was the big thing back then. My influences really never changed in any band I was a part of. I was raised on rock, punk and metal so my influences were always bands like Mötley Crüe, Ramones, Mötorhead and Kiss. I’ve noticed my writing style as far as writing a chorus or bridge is in the punk style. Like one line repeated three to four times.

Which punk bands have most influenced you? What is your personal definition of punk?
Punk has always been a major influence, not only musically but on a personal level. The thing about me is I was just never solely a punk or metal head or just into rap. I love different elements of each genre for different reasons. To me punk has nothing to do with the color of your hair or your shirt. It’s in your attitude and just being different from what’s considered the norm. Basically, ‘fuck the rules I’m gonna do it the way I want’. The first punk that I go into is still my favorite: Ramones. I love everything about them. I got to see them only once on their last tour. The songs were catchy and way out there. They stuck to their formula and made a career out of it. Unfortunately they became more famous after they were done. Some other punk influences of mine are Social Distortion, New York Dolls (mainly because of Johnny Thunders), Misfits, Sex Pistols, NOFX, No Use For Name and LagWagon. I respect the hell out of Green Day. “Real” punks don’t consider them punk and label them as sell outs. I think the opposite, I think breaking the boundaries and turning a three chord pop punk band into a multi-platinum and award winning international phenomenon is the most punk thing they ever did. Good for them. All of them bring something to the table in that band and they are all extremely talented and good at what they do. Playing in MFU (Martians From Uranus), I was able to express my punk influence more through our music. Scott McIntosh was the founder of the band and they had released previous material before I joined. Rick Rivets from The Brats and Walter Lure from The Heartbreakers also collaborated with Scott. Scott and I worked well together because of our tastes in old school punk. When MFU went into hiatus, I formed the band Death Proof with John Castiglia and Howard Corr. I worked with both of these guys in the past and it was a nice solid mix of rock and punk. John had metal and thrash roots which made him also a versatile player.

I’ve had discussions about selling out in a few interviews, and can understand why some bands would be considered sell outs. If they forget where they came from and change to cater to a wider public that could be selling out. Many bands who played capacity arenas are washed up today; Ramones and Sex Pistols have cult followings despite never having had mainstream success. The industry has changed and bands on social media can reach listeners worldwide without major deals. Is it most important not to lose sight of who you are as a musician?
Sometimes to change with the times can kill a band and sometimes it could help. When the 80s were over and the bands of that era tried to change up their sound and image to fit in it mostly backfired. I remember when Faster Pussycat changed their look and re-recorded some tunes to sound industrial. That was rough. I was a fan of their first two albums because the songs were good the way they were. I say it’s best to keep your integrity and stick to your roots and what put you on the map in the first place. Most times you only get that one chance. My advice would be don’t fuck it up. Unless of course you’re Dave Grohl. That dude was in one of hugest bands ever. Then he built another huge band. He has undeniable talent and deserves everything.

As a band is never bigger than the people who support them, how important is it for a band to respect their audience?
You gotta respect your fans and audience or you get a bad rep. That goes beyond music. Even though it’s all about the performance, music is a business and you gotta run your business right. You won’t last if ya don’t!

Have your fans more info hard rock been receptive to your punk influences?
To me I feel regardless of genres that I’ve played in you can always since the rock, metal and punk that influences me. I think picking the right shows to be is key.

What would you say are the right shows for you and those you have worked with?
At this point I’d like to pick the shows wisely and make sure they are at venues are better run. I really don’t want to be put on a bill with 5 other local bands and get rushed on and off stage with little or zero soundcheck. When I played out with MFU we had our own sound man. He was the fifth member. It was crucial. He knew us and cared about us sounding good. I think once we get the ball rolling with shows, hiring a sound man is one key to a successful show.

Tell the readers about Hollow. Is anything they released available for purchase or streaming?
Hollow was founded in 2002. After I left Always The Crash I was looking to just jam. I contacted a friend of mine Daniel Weber that I knew since middle school. We started jamming and instantly clicked. We then recruited Howard Corr on drums. We were pretty active up until 2010 as Daniel moved to LA. We recorded two EPs and also released a single called Something To Believe with Brett Scallions of Fuel on lead vocals. We recorded an EP with Grammy winning producer Ken Wallace of Ian London studios. Ken really kicked our asses in the studio and made us better musicians. He pushes you to your limit only to get the best out of you. Something To Believe is available on iTunes but we never released the EPs digitally. The Hollow days were always a blast. We played a bunch of great shows opening for Bret Michaels, Sebastian Bach, & L.A. Guns. I feel I became comfortable with bass during these years and discovered my ear. During Hollow’s hiatus, I played in two other bands named MFU and Death Proof for a couple of years. Those bands were mostly punk rock. I was always a fan of punk so it was cool to play that style of music.

Who else has Ken Wallace worked with in the studio?
I can’t say enough good things about Ken Wallace. He really whipped Hollow into serious shape. Especially me. I remember vividly the first day of recording. We didn’t do much recording. He has set up and just jam. After an hour or so, he goes ok so you guys ever hear of a metronome? Even if you think your in time, most of the time you are not. He has a list a mile long of who he has worked with. He did win a Grammy with the Temptations in 2000. A key phrase that he is infamous for is “It is what it is.” More on the lines of if you want to settle for less great but remember it is what it is.

How was the reunion show you and Meds played as Tangent? Was this show partly the reason you formed DemonScar?
The reunion show was fun. We played only three tunes. We did Metallica’s Seek And Destroy, Social Distortion’s Ball And Chain and Unhealed. We just ran through the tunes. Fast and furious. It was cool because it was the first time I played bass on the tunes. It showed we still had that metal in us. The reunion was seven years ago so it really didn’t set up DemonScar. Meds and I always kept in contact and DemonScar really came out of nowhere.

What input did you, Meds and Brian have into the EP? How did Brian come to join and how well does he work with you?
While we recorded the EP, Meds took on drumming. We decided to do a cover of the old Christmas hymn God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. At that point, Meds suggested we bring in Brian for drumming. Brian caught Med’s eye years ago as he played in a band named Toxin. Meds and I were totally blown away with his ability. He smoked right through the tunes and basically did it in one take. At that point we still hadn’t played a live show so we asked Brian to jam with us. Now this was a first for me. Any band I was ever in, when you audition someone and send them the material, rarely do they come prepared. So not the case this time. Brian actually took the time, learned the tunes and actually made some of them even better. Brian is a quick learner and a versatile player. So it’s safe to say Brian is the perfect fit behind the kit. Brian does have other music projects going on as his primary band is called Pine Street. The kid just loves to play and it shows! We are just looking forward to getting out there and showing all our stuff. The time is now.

Why did DemonScar decide to remain a three piece instead of hiring a second guitarist and/or a frontman?
DemonScar feels right as a three piece because it sounds full. We have talked about a possible rhythm guitarist but for now we are good. Personally, I love and hate the idea of a frontman. I’d love to have the talent of a singer but I hate the whole idea of a persona of a frontman. One band I can think of that we look up to as a three piece is Motorhead. They sounded full and that’s one band we feel did it right.

As you have been a musician for twenty years, how many changes have you seen in Long Island and New York as far as how clubs treat bands and how audiences respond to them?
Most of the “high profile” shows on Long Island seem to be the pay to play game. That’s a double edged sword. You can find your band opening for a national headliner but you are responsible to sell the tickets you are given. Sometimes bands have to go in their own pocket to cover the guarantee the club is requesting. It seems now it’s more pay to play than pay your dues.

For a long time pay to play has had repercussions on bands who have potential but can’t afford to constantly pay clubs. Do you see any means of improving the situation, like more fan run fests, independent labels or social media podcasts?
I’m not trying to shit on the pay the play situation. If you do have the funds and able to do it, great. In my experience it’s tough selling the tickets show after show. You have your core peeps that will buy from you but it’s like hitting up that same friend show after show to come support. I’ve had family members be like chill.

Perhaps trying to open for a national headliner too soon can damage a band’s career before it’s underway, if the changes in the industry are any indication. Would newer bands have a better chance of surviving if they pursued a DIY direction?
Opening for a national headliner could be a huge opportunity and it could do nothing. Some fans won’t support the opening band and come to see who they want. Some of my favorite bands to this day I discovered when they were in the opening slot. I remember I saw Alice In Chains open for Van Halen. They blew me away. Sometimes it pays to go early. Though I can’t blame people for that because clubs put on three to four bands before the national band. It’s a long night. Sure the festivals are fun but it is a long day. So it’s kind of a double edged sword. I used to love going to Warped Tour and Ozzfest, catching ten to eleven bands and discovering new bands Nowadays I get anxiety just thinking of that long festival day. I’ve always believed DIY goes a long way. You could shell out big bucks to record but if the song is not good then you got a polished turd. Technology has come a long way. Even the cheapest set ups can give you a great product. I say DIY until the demand is out there where you are no longer able to DIY and you need to step up your product.

Many bands produce studio quality material with their own equipment. What equipment does DemonScar have at their disposal and how was your debut EP recorded? Why did you release singles from the EP before its release?
We use Gibson Les Pauls and Explorers, Epiphones; Marshall, Peavey and Acoustic amps; basic home recording setup on Mac computer and we get it mastered in LA. It’s weird because the guy who masters it wants to remain anonymous. I call him Mysterio. We released singles this way to be different. Figured it was a way to close the summer of 2017 and release a single a week.

Does recording with analog or digital equipment produce better results for the band? Or do both methods work for you?
I’ve always been a fan of analog. I love the vintage sound of recording. I mean it’s cool when they remaster the classics digitally. They just came out with Master Of Puppets remastered and Orion sounds unbelievable. It’s like a whole new version. Sometimes the older version sounds better. For instance, I love how the Ramones sound not remastered.

Can you think of other bands who sound better not remastered? And bands whose work was improved by remastering?
I can’t think of any bands it hurt to get remastered. I’d love to see The Misfits get their stuff remastered. I do love their sound but I’m curious to see how it would sound a little polished. Speaking of them, Danzig’s new album is one where I feel the production could’ve been so much better. The songs are good but the recording sounds like it was recorded on a tape player. I hate to come across to bash him because I am a fan. His voice in his prime is untouchable. Michale Graves still has an untouchable voice. I love both eras of Misfits.

Who in the band wrote the lyrics for the debut EP?
Meds wrote the lyrics to Unhealed back in 1997. He mentions the song is about teenage angst and confusion. Blackened Rose was also written by Meds. That song was inspired by a near fatal car accident that I was in. Meds was one of the first people I called when I was in the hospital and he wrote the lyrics shortly after that. Prey On The Pray was written by me. I really never was vocal about my opioid dependency I battled for years. This song talks about that. It was definitely personally stuff I never addressed. I’m happy to say May 15, 2018 will be my third anniversary sober. The Fire Still Rages was also written by me. That song is about how I kind of lost interest in music for a while and how I wouldn’t let that go. Music has always been a release for me. I can have like a shit day but if I go and jam, it usually makes me feel better as I get out all the negative and positive stuff I want to express.

How is Unhealed still a relevant song that listeners can still relate to? Are you comfortable singing about your personal experiences on record and before an audience?
I feel as to what’s going on in the world right now, Unhealed is relevant. Growing up, elders said our generation was lost and confused. Really had no direction. Nowadays I feel the youth is more disconnected socially; I mean communication wise. Everyone is on their phones, texting and not having traditional conversation. To me, and again it’s my opinion, this brings alienation. Unhealed deals with that in a way. It’s tough growing up. I’m comfortable singing about my personal experiences. It’s how I dealt with problems and how I express them. Am I proud of some of the things I’ve done? Not really. I am proud on how I’ve overcome some of my demons.

How well does the band relate to your lyrics? How does their music reflect on them?
I feel the issues I write about most can relate to. Maybe some can’t on a personal level. I believe the drug epidemic really affects most because it seems everyone knows someone or knows a story of someone who has dealt with it. Lyrically, Brian has not contributed to the band yet but I look forward to that input. Musically he has added really awesome breaks and beats on the tunes. Meds and I have this thing like if one of us has a line or an idea, we feed off each other. That’s huge and means it works. We have two new songs ready to record and a bunch of other ideas. I’m really looking forward to recording the follow up to the EP.

Did you ever have fans approach you or write you stating your lyrics spoke to them?
I remember years ago I was approached by a random girl that caught a show I played. She asked about a song called Open Window and asked me if it was about an ex-girlfriend. She said she felt the emotion of the tune. I’ve also had old acquaintances ask if the song was about them and they were way off. Haha.

Would you say the band’s name represents your youth struggles and how you overcame them?
I never looked at the name DemonScar as a reflection of growing up or past experiences. I feel sometimes the scars from your past are not always visible. Those are the ones that cut deep and leave their mark. It makes me remember seeing Mötley Crüe for the last time and something Nikki Sixx said to the crowd, on the lines of even though the Crüe will not be here, hopefully we have left a scar on your lives. Not trying to get too deep, we just think the name sounded cool. I think I’ll go with the latter. Haha

How has the feedback from zines and webzines been to the songs on your debut EP?
So far we’ve heard nothing but positive feedback on the EP. People are really digging that we are influenced by that old rock and metal sound. We did have one person on the internet that said, and I quote, “I’d rather hear cats fuk (spelled like that) than to listen to this shit.” Hilarious.

How do the new songs compare to your older songs?
I’ve always written from a personal point of view but I feel the DemonScar lyrics I’ve written have been the most personal ever. It’s hard to say what I prefer. I do have songs that I have written that I rather not play again. Different time, different place I am in.

How soon do you plan to release and promote the follow up to your debut EP?
We have three songs ready to roll for the follow up to the EP. How we’ll put it out is still undecided. Not sure if we will do a full length with both EPs or just do another EP. Promotion-wise, we are in talks right now to do an East/West Coast showcase with another band out west. They play here and we play there. We have another artist friend coming up with a graphic design for us. When I explained it to him, I was looking for the old school tour poster graphic feel. Just some more merchandise to have available.

Can you say anything about the band you’re discussing performances with or the artist you hired to design for you? Has the band played out west before or is this your first time?
My buddy Christopher Ott who owns London 1888 is the artist I commissioned. He does a lot of different band unique prints and feel he’s the one to come up with something. The Sim City Rejects is the band I have been in talks with. My friend Jason Green plays in and manages them. It’s gonna be a great fit as their new album is coming out. Jason and I share likes in movies and music. It’s gonna be our first time playing there and their first time here. Can’t wait!

Would you want DemonScar to appear at major metal fests across the US? Which of them would you play given the opportunity?
I’d love to get DemonScar on a festivals like Riot Fest, Ozzfest and Knotfest. To just limit us to metal only bills could work but I just don’t want to be known as a metal band. I want us to be considered A Rock n Roll band. That’ll open more doors and opportunities. I’d also love to see us get on a festival like Rock n Shock, a horror movie convention that has concerts. I think we would do really well in that setting and the very least I personally would have a blast. Haha

What would you most like DemonScar to be remembered for?
Just a kick ass rock band from New York with substance. A mixture of punk, metal, thrash and attitude.

-Dave Wolff

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Interview with author KUTEESA FRANK by Dave Wolff

Interview with KUTEESA FRANK, author of The Asc3ndants

How long have you been writing fiction? What genres do you write and what is the extent of your knowledge and experience?
I began creative writing at the age of fourteen, in my primary levels of education (sixth grade or a class below if I must be specific). I have been writing for nine years. My works are original and due to great opportunity, support and publication in my country, I keep much of them in summaries, waiting patiently while continuously creating and hoping the world would embrace my works. I feel this interview is a step up the ladder. My summaries lie in adventure, science fiction, Afro fantasy, historical and futuristic works. They are more descriptive and deep rooted, or chronological if you love the sound of that. My fiction mainly aims for young adults. My experience in writing meant lots of private moments trying to create crazy ideas in my class books, imaginary drawings for my daily popping up characters. At times this experience would feel like an addiction. Being that I fancy traveling and discovering, adventure became my addiction.
My knowledge has been powered by the opportunity I got in 2004 to travel to the US for two and a half years. I developed interest in Disney children’s stories, many of which stretched every child's mind to greater discovery, higher levels and dimensions of creativity. I developed greater expectations and desired to discover what came next after the end of those stories. But I never got answers. Instead I had to imagine a continuation of whichever story I read. I wanted to know where the beast's mother and father came from or where they ended up in Beauty And The Beast. I felt there was another story worth telling. Many of the stories by me shall comprise chorological plots.
There are lots of stories which have not been told. Fanfiction is an acceptable way to go for a talented fan of certain fiction. It’s partly a way of expressing one’s love for it. Creating a root story for another's story did not sound creative to me. I instead desired to give birth to worlds and imaginary dimensions of my own. I desired to start with an original story. This became the stories I kept in summaries. This love for originality was inspired by achievements great authors obtained from so few original works. These include J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the Silmarilions books (my favorite author ever if I must admit) followed by J.K. Rowlings, the creator of Harry Potter. These are my role models followed by a few others. The reason many works are still summarized is a deep African issue related to the limited spread of computer technology. When I returned from the U.S. I had to continue with school. In those days my school had only twenty or so computers and they were limited to children's Encarta and the usual Microsoft studies. The timetable was fixed and limited the ideas I had burning within me from abroad. This required me to fill my notebooks.
Lack of a personal PC or home/family desktop is a problem so aspiring young African writers are still experiencing to this day. This left me with one option which was to fill my 190 to 200 page notebooks with detailed pieces, many titles of which I have come to change of late. I would spend much of my upkeep to ensure I had these notebooks replaced for school work. I got my first personal PC nine years later when I traveled to Australia with a young African cultural dance and folk song performance team for a three month cultural exchange tour. Prior to the end of this tour, one of the host families noticed my talent and provided me with my first personal PC. I have used it to expand and complete one of my works titled The Asc3ndants, Awakening.

What spoke to you about the writings of Tolkien and Rowlings, and how did they inspire you to create your own worlds?
Tolkien writes fantasy adventure with deep chronological ascendance. He, like Rowlings, wrote about imaginary worlds, beasts unknown to man, magic. Most interestingly, these were colored with material familiar to the world around us. Their imaginary creatures were exaggerated versions of every experience we go through. When they are presented in an imaginary world and given an imaginary villain and an extraordinarily special hero, fantasy and creativity are manifested. Dwarves, elves, hobbits, and orcs in Tolkien’s works were an artistic interlace. And I believe he saw the world in many different perspectives. The elves’ perspective and the humans’ perspective which he was naturally bound to. He created orcs and tried to see his human nature through an orc's point of view.
This grasped my interest and I desired to dress into an elf skin and think I was wiser than any other. If I was wise like those characters, what would I be capable of in a world falling apart from the rise of an evil power? What if the elves lived under water? What if the humans did not live in Tolkien’s world but in the real world? Why did the dwarves dig so far into the earth's crust and yet man had all he desired out here? Man did not require the gems of the underworld to be happy, but the dwarves seemed obsessed with discovering riches. What if they had a different reason for digging into the earth's crust? What if what they discovered altered the course of nature in the real world? What if dwarves were real though no one had seen them? I try not to have magic in my works. But what if all the magic in Tolkien’s works had a scientific formula in the real world? What if the gods were African from the foundation of the real world?
Tolkien challenged my level of creation. Being that the elves, dwarves and dragons in his works already existed in so many myth stories, I fell for how creative he was giving these common world creatures and characters a greater identity. It was a big task giving them a new origin, to get them to perform in the completion of his plot. He played so well with everyday life. Man and his greed for power. What then could a hobbit do? He sat and thought. And gave it purpose in his work. I’m doing this with The Asc3ndants.
I hope to use Tolkien’s ability as an inspiration to the creation of my own. I proceeded to the origins of man and society asking what if man could live forever like the elves? Why did the elves had the power of immortality? What if the dwarves were African? Science has it that Africa was the first dry land to be inhabited by man. And he was a black man. What if the dwarves became black men? What if middle earth was the original African continent? What if man is outcast from an underwater realm where he was entitled to immortality like all Elves? What if this gift was stripped of man and man was sentenced to live upon the dry lands for the millions of years he has been here? What if the dwarves were assigned with a task to create the pillars and halls of the underworld by the most-high? What if they weren’t allowed to experience the beauty of daytime? What if they diverted from their purpose and chose to dig into the earth's crust, trying to extract some black element more powerful than the gods governing the different realms of nature? What if this element's removal became the root cause for the abnormal calamities earth experiences? And what if this element is the source to immortality? What is man's next response, especially when the gods disappeared at the loss of the black element?
I credit Rowlings for how creative she was with Hogwart. She gave her world an artistic dimension unique from what we are accustomed to. She tried to imagine color and describe it in a way she wanted Harry Potter readers to feel. She introduced new creatures. Readers are fascinated with experiencing exaggerated versions of what they know. We all know a horse. We all know an eagle. But we don’t ever see the two as one with a new name. Rowlings introduced a creature her fans relate to. If you know her Harry Potter books, you probably have a similar image of that creature. What resulted was a vast selling semi-series of Harry Potter novels. Her ability to recreate what magic already existed in so many stories, and being able to redesign it inspired me to create. I pursued a similar originality those authors showed, no matter what limited inspiration they drew from the real world around them.

Describe some of the first fiction pieces you wrote, and how your writing has improved since those pieces were completed.
I feel they are worth protecting by keeping them personal. The Asc3ndants began with one idea. It popped up in my mind while I was seated in my classroom. I was broke that day and had no money for my upkeep. When the bell rang at around 10:30 for everyone to head for break time, the class suddenly became quieter. I sat staring out the window with my head over my notebook. I looked out the window and the unusual silence seemed to pierce into my mind. I started to hear my stomach grumbling from hunger. A lizard crawled up and sat on the window sill. It startled me and I froze. It stared as if trying to judge whether I was stone or not. We had just finished a physics lesson; the topic had been about lenses and the refraction of light. The lizard was an unintended live experiment; its thin scales shimmered before my eyes with different colors! My mind traveled to Tolkien's world. Of course the shape of this lizard resembled the winged dragon ridden by Sauron’s ghost riders. I took up my pen, startling the lizard and causing it to flee.
The first thing I wrote was. 'Once upon a time, a strange egg was washed up to the shores of a lake. Within this egg, there was an African baby boy with gills. The boy was African, his flesh streamlined with shimmering scales.” From this boy, where the egg had come from, became the start of volume two of the three volumes I expect to write for The Asc3ndants. From the boy's appearance, I titled the one page story Scales. Because sharks were the fiercest marine life I had heard of, I referred to the hatched baby as Shark Boy. This character reference wasn’t original. It was a suggestion by my best friend Ochoko Wilfred, though more jokingly. When I narrated to him the ideas in my physics notebook, he suggested I include dragons and magic and a lot of other ideas he loved. I desired a more diverse, original creation. I did a lot more of this story's generation than I did revising my books, especially in Maths. In a week I had more than four pages in my notebooks. When I had all the ideas, I folded them up. In the evening I would take them back to the dorm and stick them in a new notebook at the bottom of my metallic suitcase (everyone had a metallic suitcase because anything not metallic was broken into). Over three days I thought about the characters I generated for Scales. Then a new story sparked up. Again I tore papers from my notebook until the summary was complete. I added it to the other story in my suitcase. I decided to start moving with a notebook of about 200 pages. Whichever idea came to my mind I wrote down until half the book was filled with summaries. A new title every five pages. I improved these summaries giving each a better title. Some included the four below and they may come after The Asc3ndants. They include “The Unforgotables”, “Beast Code”, “Hill Of Spears” and “African Heist”.

Describe the storyline of The Asc3ndants and how it incorporates all the ideas you have discussed.
In my fiction works, I create, twist and interlace mythologies to form a pattern as a fantasy story plot, then give it life in the world we are familiar to. I force reality to relate with imaginary knowledge in relation to science. I make societies, unheard of deities (making me feel I’m the god of my imaginary worlds), I rearranged history in a keen and creative manner to meet my readers’ interests.
In my works you will find humanity, male or female, black and white, contribute to a similar positive goal at the end. Most of the time, my works cover societies working together to defend what they have always known, desired and believed in. If power and dominance is anyone’s goal as an individual, sect, organization or party, the dominant power will be portrayed as one. The dominant or dominated may be the enemy; brutal, merciless, unruly or in need of assistance
In The Asc3ndants I have elves and dwarves which don’t appear early in the semi-series. They are all black because in the evolution of humankind blacks came first. You shall see the beauty of this idea as the story comes to its conclusion in the third volume. From Tolkien’s work, only the two mentioned beings are those I saw fit for a story that would occur in a real world. Everyone’s enemy are native half-immortal black sorts you shall find in volume two. I call them Apenoids.
Before they became Apenoids in the first volume, they were warriors in a world of thirteen clans. Each clan had a role in the existence of the first humankind and were guardians of mortal man. When the gods went into conflict over the disappearance of a certain metal substance believed to contain the power of immortality, they were found guilty. How they came to possess this black substance which was referred to as the Black Seed no one had time to find out because they started war against the clans.
They dominated because they gained power from the Black Seed. In time, the remaining clans started to disperse thousands of miles from the rebel ruling clan. Being that they had obtained the ability/gift to shapeshift between human and ape made them the most brutal war mongers history ever knew. As the clans dispersed, peace and unity became far from possible. Hundreds of generations passed. Much of the stories told to the younger generations of those clans dispersed and circulated in myth and legend. But the depths of Mother Africa lay in waste and unceasing war. Then a few of the long lost clans started to return.
The Arab clan learned to believe what their forefathers had told were myths. But on returning and finding the rest of the clans still at war, they designed a new system which would enable them to correct this mess. Even though they returned as the second of the ancient thirteen clans, they carved a portion of the former mighty native Empire just along the East African coast, making it a sultanate under several powerful sultans and military geniuses like Sultan Khailem, a character feared by the warrior descendants of the Apenoids but exalted by the Arab clan for his ability to keep the war-mongers at bay.
Their only mistake was they desired to discover the former empire’s wealth reserves lost during the ancient war. Under the military might of the empire, they dug into the interior causing terror and fear among the clans who had fought to protect their land from the Apenoids. Fearing that there would be war soon, agreements were made with the conquered clans to attack and capture all able warriors from the other clans. They intended to weaken the other clans by taking most of their warrior clans away and selling them across the great seas to Europe industrialization was booming like never before. The growing lack of able warriors would enable the Arab clan to rise above the clans as dominant. Little did they know this selling of the warrior class natives from the rest of the weaker clans would cause their downfall.
The Asc3ndants: Awakening, (volume 2) starts with the collapse of the East African Arab Empire and the death of its High Sultan. There was the rise of the English Protectorate. Chapter one opens nineteen years later, in the aftermath of the war which led to the collapse of the slave trade of the Arab Empire. Prior to the birth of the ancient clan wars there was the first conflict among the league of the gods of the five realms of nature: the water realm, the dry earth realm, the underworld realm, the sky realm and last but not least the realm ---. When the Black Seed went missing from the shadow lands, Sabir, god of the dry land was found guilty. He had betrayed the league of the gods for several reasons including dissatisfaction. The god of the water realm was his younger brother, but at the foundation of the world’s creation his humanoid subjects had been granted half immortality and, worse still, the largest portion of the earth. Being the older brother, he saw this unfair and desired to use the Black Seed to rise above the gods. This wasn’t possible because when war started he tried to grant man upon the dry land a chance to live forever like the Underwater Elves.
Ten thousand years earlier man was half immortal like the Elf people. Man lost his immortality because he violated major laws governing the Elf realm. And through the Shadow-lands, judgment was made and the consequence was to be cast out and stripped of half immortality. When the Elves became mortal and stepped onto the dry land, they found Sabir, master watcher of the dry land and its mortal beings. They humbly requested for his guidance and knowledge on how to survive. He took them as his children and assisted them. In the end they were able to create the first and greatest mortal man empire upon the dry land made of thirteen clans. But Sabir wasn’t pleased by the decision. They shouldn’t have been unfair with the gift all the elves had even though the laws of nature demanded a mortal state. The Black Seed was gone and mortal man’s warrior/guardian clan gained half immortality. The removal of the Black Seed denied the gods ability to communicate or associate with their subjects. The bond between the gods and the natural beings was severed. And only the god of the dry land had supreme power over the realms. Power over the five realms would cause him outrageous madness, which he had not contemplated. He couldn’t handle the authority alone as it was granted and neutralized by the Black Seed. It drove him insane after having granted one of the thirteen mortal clans a chance back to half immortality. This did not work because man had already been cursed to die and by trying to tamper with this, corruption was triggered beyond what man had ever known. The clan commanders followed him to war against the Elf guardians. They had been employed by the Elf council to do whatever it took to reclaim the Black Seed and return it to its place among the stone thrones of the league of the gods.
During the war, at the peak of Sabir’s insanity, the Black Seed broke and Sabir lost control of it. The Elf forces were able to reclaim one piece and return it to its rightful place. Whoever returned it was hard to sacrifice their life for the task. But the other half wasn’t found. And Sabir was missing. Not even the sound of the White Horn could invoke him back. The Apenoid clan had lost guidance. The seer of the empire could no longer hear the voice of the one referred to as the god of war. Not so long after, the commander of the Apenoids stepped forth before the emperor of the dry land with the second half of the Black Seed. He had it in his possession two days and it had done harm to him because his soul was beyond lost by the time he admitted he had found it. In its half shape, the Black Seed gave no positive power but infected his soul with corruption, greed, pride, cruelty and an unusual understanding of power, authority and the worth of life itself. At the peak of this confusion, the commander led the guardian clan against the imperial family, defeating it and crowning himself as emperor, causing unending clan wars for dominance as we have known to date! He used the dark power given him by the half Black Seed (he had got the goldsmith and iron clan to create a ruling scepter and within the tip of the scepter, he had placed the Black Seed element)
And after hundreds of years of clan wars, the Black Scepter was robbed by one divergent member of the Apenoid clan who did not admire the imposter emperor’s ways. The thief was a relative to the imposter emperor. Wherever his sense of pity had come from, no one could explain up to date. But it was impossible and unheard of for an Apenoid to turn against the clan. The thief did not wish to hand the Black Scepter into the hands of the Elf guardians who guarded the boarders of the shadow lands in the aftermath of the disappearance of the league of the gods. He feared they may misuse it to dominate the weaker/pure human clans. He was able to divide the Apenoids into two, leading those on his side back to war but in defense of the rest of the clans as the clan’s major role was from the birth of the First Empire. And being that he had the Black Scepter, he gained the trust of the rest of the stray clans’ men. Many of the other resistant clans started to trust the new Apenoid rebellion.
And being that the Black Seed was sealed in the golden and black metal scepter, the new holder keenly avoided contact with it and prevented its darker effects. He had it hidden as long as it did not land into the wrong hands. When the Arabs came, looking for the ancient empire’s lost wealth; he captured and tortured then to locate the Black Scepter. When the descendants to the first rebel emperor discovered the second age rebel sect was growing stronger, they turned to the shadow lands to try and steal the first half of the Black Seed. Even though they were able to reach there, they never lost their lives. This meant not even the first half of the Black Seed had been returned. Rumor had it the second age rebels did not have the second half. Had the Arab invaders taken it from them?
The only place it could be found were places with hints of great power. And there was nowhere besides the Arab empire hints of strange power. When the slave trade began, Apenoids still loyal to the first rebel order offered them to be captured as slaves by the Arabs so they could find a passage across the great seas. While on the other side, they would try to locate the Black Scepter wherever it could be among the white clan, which had secretly grown powerful beyond any other power. When they invaded England starting in industrial Winchester, the king of England shifted to Winchester with three armies to construct a great wall dissecting Winchester and what would become the crown land. This would take time.
Meanwhile Apenoids carried out surprise midnight invasions on several wealth nobles in Winchester and around Europe, especially the major slave dealing provinces. This chaos increased triggering the Elf guardians’ attention. Because they had been tasked with a mission to recover the second half of the Black Seed, they shifted their watch over Winchester like invisible vultures, never ready to expose themselves or their purpose. In the end, they had to expose themselves to the Crown of England to curb the Apenoids untamable chaos a without threatening the rest of English society.
The slave trade was the major reason for the influx of the Apenoids in England. This idea came from Wales. England refused to accept this years earlier because the slaves were running the industrial mechanisms in Winchester. When the Crown agreed to do away with the slave trade, its industrial levels declined, as Wales, its biggest competitor in Europe, wished to see. It’s as if the Council of the Lord of Wales Provinces had fore-sighted another means of raising their industrial system above England. It brought trouble for Wales.
The High Sultan was warned to cut down on the slave trade but failed. Force was applied as we know in history. Wales’ new naval commander was given a fleet of 300 Royal ships, 100 from England and 140 from Wales. How Portugal came into the deal, it wasn’t clear. But the Lords of Wales might have had a greater plan. England did not investigate this. Lord Cobham, Wale’s youngest naval commander in history, was granted command over the fleet of 300. Three days later, the Arabs surrendered to the fleet. They were partially assisted by the Elves. Being that Wales had championed this attack with less support from England and the crown, Wales had the rights to choose a protectorate governor over the free former slave coast of East Africa. And unlike what England expected, Wales forwarded a Portuguese minister of trade as lord and governor over the fallen Arab empire. Lord Cobham did not look into what decision the Lords of Wales made because his role was done. He only desired adventure after having found friendship with the Elves. Immediately after the war, he requested for departure with these beings so he could learn from them.
Meanwhile, Wales started secretly improving their industrial mechanism with the capture and imprisonment of new intelligent apes whose origins they didn’t know or tried to find out. All they cared about was they would sooner than ever become the answer to the peak of Europe’s industrialization. The desired rise to the peak of industrialization did occur, but there were conflicts in the empire when the king suddenly died. The High Lord over Wales became regent to the throne and attempted to change the apes’ importation system because he foresaw a great threat to their accumulation.
He was overwhelmed by the Lords’ reasoning and decided to war against the disobedient ones, opening a serious state of resistance and brokenness in Wales. At the peak of the war, the apes were released by someone who possessed the Black Scepter. He led the apes towards the borders of England and Wales. England heard about the outbreak of war against unknown intelligent apes. They staged a military block at the borders to prevent the apes from penetrating England though the border town Orghum. Unfortunately, the apes wounded the King of England who had taken command of his armies one last time. He would become bedridden and die. But his son would be radical, not like his father. After seeing the destruction of this potential ape-power for industrial growth or military might, he desired to stop the murder of the apes. Before the king died, the Prince suggested the apes be captured instead of destroyed, because they could serve England if well studied. This was sensible but he only viewed this on the surface. The king couldn’t refuse him because he would be dead by then anyway. So he decided to gazette the young man from being able to do as he willed when he was gone. He suggested to Lord Cobham that an intelligence organization be run by him to ensure the safe running of the Prince’s program, but given the will to demolish it in case the Prince tried to misuse it against the people because the apes weren’t human. When the King died, the Prince had no direct control over the program, referred to secretly as the Black Project. The Apes were defeated when they were captured, but the Black Scepter disappeared again. To reclaim it, Lord Cobham made agreements with Abdul, older son to the former High Sultan of the fallen Arab empire whose younger twin brother was a notorious pirate in the Indian Ocean. This man and his brother were not friends because of s prominent family issues over who would ascend to the throne.
Their father had had more hope in the younger twin because he was more militaristic compared to Abdul who was more interested in Trades with the outside world, especially Europe. Their father planned to transfer the throne to the Alsahim, who was a pirate against the Protectorate prior to the invasion of Wales. Unfortunately Abdul had been behind the success of the invasion fleet; he had planned to grant them his father’s empire if they granted him Zanzibar to rule as the last High Sultan, in trade relations with the world until his old age. He did not get this; he planned revenge but could not face his young brother after murdering their father with his own hand. He was sentenced to the gallows, but given a last chance to life if he handed in the element he used to command the apes. Lord Cobham was clever not to let the Prince know about the Black Scepter. When he handed in the Black Scepter, he was free.
Meanwhile, the Portuguese governance had not given up the slave trade system. It practiced the illegal trade underground against the free natives. Complaints were presented to Lord Cobham, and this time, due to the young King Henry’s ambition to wield more power, influence and resources from the African coast, he arranged an ultimate war against the Portuguese garrisons along the East African coast. Wales did not participate this time because it had been weakened by the recent civil war among the Lords of Wales against the escape of the apes from the industrial region year earlier. King Henry’s forces demolished the Portuguese rule and set up a totally new but more English based protectorate. The Black Project did not cease checking on the Prince’s plans. But when the Pirates captured Lord Cobham on his way back to Europe from Mombasa, the Black Project grows aware of the growing piracy along the Indian Ocean. They were led by an extremist heir to the former Arab Empire, Pirate Alsahim. He had vowed to his life to carry out sea invasion on any English vessel, trade or naval, to weaken the protectorate’s military and connection to the Kingdom. Maybe in the end he would retain the glory of his father and people which his older brother had betrayed a few years ago.
The Black Project with its strange militaristic technological advancements was prepared like never before to guard the Indian ocean against the threat of the growing piracy spearheaded by an heir to the former Arab Empire. But something wasn’t right. The pirates weren’t as stupid as expected and for over seventeen years there was no chance capturing the head pirate and bringing him to justice.
The continental fog pass had become a greater advantage to him and his strangely sailing Pirate ship which was completely made out of an unknown creatures’ bones and inflammable grey scales. At the defeat of the Portuguese slave trade system, the Prince of England had employed his best friend (whom he called brother) also master/head former criminal in the rise of the apes against Wales (this man was meant to be heir to the throne of Wales but had been rejected by the Lords of Wales years earlier. Thrown away in his infant stage at the borders of Wales and England where he was picked by the former King while on a usual hunt. Not knowing where the innocent outcast baby had come from, he took it in and raised it beside his own child. The two children had become inseparable over the years. But this child grew up under the shadows never exposing himself to the outside world for fear of his ugliness).
When the King of Wales died and the regent opened war against the apes, they hated the regent’s dictatorial rule on their industrial goals. They planned to search for the lost Prince, known as Beryony by that time. When he got to know about his birthright, he escaped from England to join the war which would enable him to ascend onto his father’s throne as King of Wales. Unfortunately the war had another enemy in the intelligent apes, illegally released against both Wales and England. When the English heard that Beryony ‘the ugly and deformed’ was master of the war and as heir to the throne of Wales it was believed he may have unleashed the apes’ invasion on England leading to the death of the King. He was hated and he regretted this because he did not intend to hurt England especially not the King who had called him ‘son’ when his family rejected him years ago. Later The Prince understood. He knew his friend’s desire for power, and how hollow and sorrowful his heart was for all that he was and had come through. He decided to give him governance over the coast of East Africa where he would out live his dream.
The Black Project did not trust this step. Prince Henry was cunning and clever. It was clear he planned to use Beryony for greater power in the Coast of Africa. Whatever was in plan, the Black Project was ready to check on this through Mombasa. The only none protectorate town in the coast. It was under the protection of the Black Project because its sultan had not participated in the slave trade immediately after it was outlawed. Mombasa was deemed safe, morally stable and less of a threat though the Prince wished to have total control of it. Piracy would weaken Black Project in several ways. They continued to send out mercenary naval ships to ensure the pirate’s capture. Many of them were never seen again. This happened not once or twice or thrice. But then the youngest ever and best Black Project’s trainee sailed out and captured Smarya, the only daughter to the notorious Indian Ocean ghost-like Pirate. This is where the second volume of The Asc3ndants kicks off from. All I narrated above are flashbacks in the story. All the flashbacks are interlaced together for your better understanding of the story.

Discuss the research you have done into ancient African history, and how much of it was added to The Asc3ndants.
The history has different timings. For example, there is a three kilometer wide longitudinal fog which stretches for miles around all the continents. It’s an ancient boundary between the water territory and the dry land. It was created and maintained by the league of the ancient gods. The fog pass is a lesser teleportation passage around the globe, in a shorter range of time from that we know of in history. In our history its written merchant, trade and slave ships would take around a week’s time or two getting merchandise or slaves across the Indian Ocean to Europe or the Far East. But through this (which I come to refer to as an ancient highway), the time it would normally take traveling to and from any port across the great seas seemed shortened by five times down. It was a dangerous traveling pass because initially, only the water realm’s Elf guardians used it to navigate the borders of their realm for millions of years. They knew it better than mortal man did. The only few who knew how to use it did at their own risk because hundreds of vessels were recorded lost after attempting to use it.
This was the pirate’s best advantage on the Black Project. The slave trade along the East African coast began after the arrival of the Arabs. Though they ruled the coast for a long time according to history, in my story I write less about the rest of their ruling period and focus on what keeps my story moving without breaking the action. To be specific, I never dug deeper into actual historical records surrounding the events of my story. I had the records alive in my head but in story form. The years weren’t so much necessary because my work would partly sound like fantasy occurring in a real world.
What I learned as a child about East African coastal tribes before the coming of the Arabs lingered in my mind. I interplay these historical events to fit the time range and plot of the storyline. The Portuguese came to the East African coast in 1498 but I bring their time of invasion closer to that of England’s invasion on the Arab empire. Children have a greater interest and sensitivity to stories, and their minds would sock up more occurrences in a story told to them compared to the time period when the events actually took place.
I admit history was my second best subject after fine art because it all sounded like a story to me. If you look into this you will understand much of what I wrote just flowed. I didn’t bother checking out many of the events, because I desired to make the action continuous for the reader.
I refer my storyline to certain locations familiar in the historical positioning of the coast of East Africa. I did the same in Winchester. There was no great wall dissecting Winchester in the 1740’s and 1750s, but I created it to fit the story. The rest of the locations are my own creation. The pirate has no reference in the history I’m familiar with. But almost all seas had pirates in those days. They may not have been notorious but I chose to create one. I had to put the fog in somewhere between events. The strange island has never appeared anywhere in historical mappings of the world. Other historical events I referred to were about ancient Greek gods like Zeus, the Viking gods like Odin, the Egyptian god Horus and many others. I came to believe I was going to fit fiction into a real world setting, then I needed gods. They weren’t going to be Zeus, Odin or Horus, I was going to be original and created an ancient league of gods in charge of the five realms of nature. The major gods were Omlen, god of the deep/water realm and guardian of the half immortal Elves. The other major god was Sabir who watched over mortal beasts of the dry land Elf outcasts who became the humans we are today. From these, the birth of events would have a power behind them as many real world mythologies have always assumedly had. The Apenoids were my own complete creation of my own. Tolkien had Orcs and Hobbits in his story. I need several creations in addition to those I adapted from Tolkien. The others will come in the first book.

Name some of the websites where The Asc3ndants can be read online?
The Asc3ndants: Awakening vol. II in its entire compilation has been made available for free on the young writers’ online self-publishing site Wattpad. It has been rated #1 in Fiction and Historical Adventure with 14.1k reads and 12.3k votes. A copyright has been attached to volume 2, part one which comprises the first 33 chapters from the complete volume’s 90 chapters. Part one also managed to obtain a Lulu online publishing just a month ago. It has been emailed to Austin Macaulay Publishers Ltd. They will have it published via their e-book platform but a price tag shall be attached sooner, unlike on Wattpad. The book will be available on other e-book sites, including Amazon Kindle and Smashword. In several months, I’ll have an ‘author’ website to allow my readers easier access, beginning with The Asc3ndants. You can assess the story typing ‘The Asc3ndants, Wattpad’ at Google. The links on Wattpad are available on The Asc3ndants Facebook page. It provides direct links to the complete volume.

How widespread is your readership outside your country? How much feedback have you gotten for your work?
It hasn't been wide enough because I’ve been limited to the self-publishing site I mentioned previously. I found out about it from a friend who was into online e-books. And being that Wattpad was safe and free, she advised me to get it there two years ago. She believed my expectations could be met, so my first reads came from the US. I searched for bigger, more efficient publishing sites. I came across Createspace and Smashwords both of which were among the best options. They had awesome service to offer an author, as many as I wished to publish with them (though connected to Amazon. Unfortunately, I had failed using Amazon earlier than I ever got to know about Smashwords or Lulu. Amazon was more accessible to authors owning Western or European accounts. I was limited to link up my account here in Uganda, I had to have an account outside Africa. It pained me trying to link with those I knew, especially in the US, each day. Somehow I came to believe that as long as I’m in Africa, there would be no chance for The Asc3ndants to get onto Createspace, Smashword as per my expectations. The spread of my book has been limited to Wattpad. I tried several times but still don't get it unless I missed something about the procedure or other means of getting the Asc3ndants out there. I did not want to rush into any online publishing sites because I had a feeling my story was worth protecting. I stayed humble knowing someone out there would discover what I have. And so Facebook friends started requesting me for links to my book. I sent them links to each new chapter. I tried to find authors on Facebook. I met one poet known as Rich Orth who took time to go through my story. He referred me to you and I'm glad to be doing this interview. Each day I live I rise a step higher.

How did you meet Rich Orth on Facebook and how supportive has he been of your work?
Like any young writer struggling with their first story, I thought there was something missing. I read a lot by J.K Rowlings, C.S. Lewis, Percy Jackson, Stephan King and Stephenie Meyers to mention but a few. I was mostly inspired by how Christopher Paolin struggled to get his Eragon story noticed by a good publisher. And how J.K Rowlings had difficulty finding a publisher. I knew writing wasn't going to be an easy task. But I had a dream and was going to achieve it. One thing I learned in life is no one ever does anything alone and gets what they want. If you dream to fly, you don't go around trying to find a boat. You must try to make paper planes, or a pilot to talk to. My dream has always been for film. But there were several miles i had to walk and challenges I had to face. I came prepared to be kicked out or let in. I wanted to fly with what I already worked on. I needed wings but how could I get them? I had my story ready and that one thing was to get it out there! I knew I wasn't the only one going through this struggle but I needed advice on how I could make it. This would mean trying to find it from a few creative writers on the internet. I searched Facebook, Twitter and several other sites and sent friend requests wherever I could. Some requests weren't accepted. But out of ten, three accepted. Rich Orth was one among them. He wasn't doing fiction but he felt how desperate I was after about six years. I was straight that I needed assistance and he was open enough to give me a few tips. He does poetry which I love. He became a better online friend than many others. When he accepted my friend request, I went through his timeline and was able to see how his poetry was faring. I knew that with him I could get somewhere. I had a lot of questions for him, starting with the biggest: I wanted to know the simplest means I could use to get my fiction out to film producers. He advised me that i had to create a wider reader base first. Film is the reason I started writing, but I needed a wider base. I asked him how he made for his poetry popular. He told me I needed to find great bloggers. I did not know how or where to start from. But still I dared to bother him with helping me find anyone he knew. This is how I reached you as an interviewee.

Now that you are active on Facebook and other social media sites, do you intend to contact more bloggers from the US once this interview is completed and posted?
It will only depend on how helpful this may turn out to be. Meanwhile I shall rest for a short while and focus on widening The Asc3ndants Chronicles. I do believe that if Rich Orth calls this zine his first and best one, I’m surely satisfied and hopeful that this will certainly promote The Asc3ndants, Awakening, Volume II and those that will come after. Unless it’s advisable not to relax as yet and get on with contacting other bloggers. But so far, so good. By the end of this interview I shall be more than satisfied for having gotten this far.

Are you currently developing storylines for new novels at the time of this writing? If so, discuss some of them?
A true fiction writer would not stop. I have at least twenty-three plots and ideas scribbled down and locked away in my locker. I’m patiently waiting to get done with The Asc3ndants Chronicles to expand on them into full novels. I don't know how long it would take till I complete the last of them but by the time I have the last of the plots out, I will have gotten newer ideas. At the moment I can't allow any gap to formulate newer ideas until the volumes are done. I will have a completely different story released between each of these volumes. It shall be titled The Untouchables. Prior to the release of volume 3, I'll have a story out titled Beast Code. After that I'll start on expanding the rest of the remaining 21 plots. Volume I is now available on Lulu.

-Dave Wolff