Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Interview with Vincent Vlado of SCI-FI NINJA THEATER by Dave Wolff

Interview with Vincent Vlado of SCI-FI NINJA THEATER

How long have you been involved with the public access program Sci-Fi Ninja Theater? What subject matter has this program covered since it first aired on cable television?
I and my friends were hanging out watching TV long ago; Ultraman, Kamen, Rider, Jetman and a lot of anime. I mentioned there was nothing on TV and my friend suggested I start a public access cable show. I suggested we all should and asked what we should call it. My friend mentioned we love sci-fi and my daughter mentioned I love ninjas; then we thought of naming it Sci-Fi Ninja Theater. I had to take classes to become a public access cable director. I thought all my friends would do so with me but ended up doing it by myself. It was hard for me since I am dyslexic, but I tried and tried again and eventually found a way. My first show aired around 1994 or ’95; I had had other stuff on before but this was my first real show. At first I only had specials and then it became a series. This was before the internet became popular. My first convention appearance was at Chiller Theatre. They really welcomed me and I still make appearances there today. I copyrighted the name and my daughter helps me; she was my camera person for a while.

Where did you take classes to become a public access cable director? How long did it take you altogether?
It was QPTV on Main Street in Flushing. I fell out with some of the teachers because they were going too fast and I couldn't keep up. But I eventually found my little neck of what to do on editing. Now I have to learn how to work with computers.

What horror and science fiction movies and TV shows did you grow up watching? What do you most often watch today?
When I was a kid it was basically all the Warner Brothers horror movies. Then it was the TV show Chiller that blew my mind and scared me every weekend. I couldn't wait for Saturday so I could get scared, haha. It was a really cool time to be alive and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I also liked Hammer horror movies, grindhouse movies, and old slasher movies. Anything with horror and a little T&A is great, actually a lot of T&A. Movies from the 70s and 80s. Ultraman was on channel 9 when I was a kid in the late 60s. It was a great show that I truly miss, and which is coming back today. The show Goranger was like the Power Rangers. Also sci-fi from the late 60s and 70s. As for today, there hasn't been much. I enjoyed The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead. I also liked Kolchak the Night Stalker, Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, Star Trek and In Search Of with Leonard Nimoy as the host.

What movies released by Hammer do you like the most? What did you most appreciate about their approach to horror?
Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971), Scars of Dracula (1970), The Horror of Frankenstein (1970), To the Devil a Daughter (1976), Fear in the Night (1972), Straight on Till Morning (1972), Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972), Horror of Dracula (1958), Twins of Evil (1971), The Mummy (1959), The Brides of Dracula (1960), The Creeping Flesh (1973). I have interviews with the actors of a few of these movies. Hammer Horror’s website has the titles of all their movies.

How many Grindhouse movies have you discovered over the years, and what do you most like about them?
Thriller (1973), Torso (1973), Cannibal Holocaust (1980), Zombie (1979), and Ilsa She Wolf of the SS (1975). I like blaxploitation movies like Blacula (1972) and Scream Blacula Scream (1973). I Drink Your Blood (1970), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), I Spit on Your Grave (1978), The Beyond (1981), Count Yorga: Vampire (1970), Frankenstein Created Woman (1967), Countess Dracula (1971), The Last House on the Left (1972), Demons (1985), Demons 2 (1986), Suspiria (1977), The Vampire Lovers (1970), Black Sunday (1960), City of the Living Dead (1980), Lady Frankenstein (1971), Top Sensation (1969) which is more of a T&A movie, Amuck (1972), Web of the Spider (1971), Bloody Pit of Horror (1965), Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969), Kill, Baby... Kill! (1966), Castle of Blood (1964), Black Sabbath (1963), The Vampire and the Ballerina (1960), Baron Blood (1972), Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks (1974), Bloodsucking Freaks (1976), The Sinful Dwarf (1973) and The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1982).

What episodes of In Search Of most fascinated you and why? Did you always have an interest in the subject matter on the show?
As a kid, I was into UFOs, Bigfoot and strange things that can't be explained. I saw a UFO when I was a kid. I and my mom were outside and saw a disk-shaped object hovering above an apartment house. Everybody who lived in the apartment house was looking out their windows and looking at it until it shot up into the sky and disappeared. I believe Bigfoot exists; they may come from another dimension or could have been pets brought here from another world to see if they would survive. I believe there is something in The Devil's Triangle that has been explained. People figured out it may have something to do with magnetic pulses in the Earth. Another explanation is that it may be a base for UFO activity underneath the ocean. I like the way Nimoy explained these theories.

Do you think any of today’s horror and science fiction are worthy of those of the classic era? Would you rather watch a movie with physical effects or computer effects? Do you watch any new TV programs similar to In Search Of?
In the grindhouse days people had to use their imagination. It was a different age back then. As far as new shows, I watch Curfew, Blood Race and Deadly Class which reminds me of Japanese horror and the old Kung Fu series. There are shows on the History Channel that remind me of In Search Of. Some are good but others are just rehashing old stories. There is one good show about pyramids that were found under water, another on channel 11 called iZombie and a special that was aired on Lizzie Borden. I watch Lucifer, The Flash, Supergirl and Cloak And Dagger. When it comes to movies, It was halfway decent but the remake looks much better. Bulletproof reminded me a lot of the old grindhouse movies.
In the old days you had to build sets and they usually came out looking realistic. Today’s digital effects sometimes come out badly. I personally like the older methods but it’s better if you combine both. If I had a choice I would choose the older stuff because it got into what really scared you. An oldie but goodie is Invaders from Mars. I used to hide underneath my covers when I watched it late at night as a kid watching this movie very late at night.

Did you read horror and science fiction authors around the time you discovered horror and sci-fi TV? Which of them do you still read?
Being dyslexic made it hard for me to read when I was young. I liked Monsters and the magazine Chiller Theatre. I remember seeing a picture of Vampirella on a magazine once. Later on, I was walking with my uncle and he got me a copy. I had a crush on her and she got me into Frank Frazetta. I also loved the animated Scooby-Doo series. The artwork in books intrigued me as I got older and I was able to read a little bit better. I read about Italian, French and Spanish horror. Check out Frank Frazetta’s art as he was one of the best. I liked his art featuring Viking and vampire women. His coloring was amazing and his textures were beautiful. There are a lot of magazines coming out now that I like a lot. One is called Evil Speaks Magazine; they talk about overseas movies and they’re very knowledgeable. The artwork by Colin Rogers is phenomenal and he writes for the magazine with Doc Holocausto.

In the age of social media, independent web and internet channels, and podcasting, how much weight does cable access pull? Does Sci-Fi Ninja Theater pull in an audience when airing weekly?
I've been on for over twenty years. I have 7000 hardcore fans and 444,000 viewers, but I still can't get them to join the Facebook page or YouTube channel. I have lots of fans coming up to me and saying they love the show and grew up watching it. The show mostly airs in Brooklyn and Queens. My friend Al Miranda was helping me for a while but he passed away. Another friend Daniel Milea was helping but he had to go his way. Yet another who helped was Lance King. You can watch streams of the show on Friday nights into Saturday morning, 12 a.m. to 1 a.m. It is hard to pinpoint how many people watch it each week.

How much did Al Miranda, Daniel Milea and Lance King help you with your show? Do you keep in touch with them?
Daniel Milea helped me get to my conventions and made sure I got my press badges. Supposedly he was my manager but I never got any parts in any movies. He was always busy so it's kind of hard to really do business with him. Still he was a great guy and was there most of the time. I’ve known Lance King for three years. He's been helping me with sorting out things with my show. He's a good dude but he's also busy which makes it hard for them to work with me on my stuff. Al Miranda helped me out for about seven years. He always made sure everything went well but sometimes you got a bit of an attitude so it was kind of hard to work with him.

Besides doing camera work for you, how else has your daughter been a help to you and Sci Fi Ninja Theater?
I taught my daughter Diana Vlado how to work the camera between the ages of five and six. Sometimes she helped me out with editing. My mom Antoinette Tesoro once in a while would give me moral support. I appreciate her the most. My daughter has attended conventions with me and we share a lot of things most people wouldn't share. I hope she remembers me and all the things we've done together when I am gone. It's been a great ride.

How many convention appearances have you made since the beginning? Name some of the guests you have interviewed.
I have done Chiller Theatre, Otakon, Comic-Con, Exxotica, The Big Apple Convention and others I can't remember. I've had tons of stars on my show including the original Michael Myers and PJ Soles from Halloween, Heather Langenkamp from Nightmare On Elm Street, Dawn Of The Dead director George Romero. He was a good interview which you can see on my YouTube channel along with Akira Takarada from the original Godzilla (1954). I also interviewed Damien Thomas who usually played a vampire in Hammer movies, Bill Moseley from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and House Of 1000 Corpses, Ken Kirzinger from Friday The 13th and Wrong Turn 2. I've had all the Jasons in Friday The 13th and Caroline Munro from The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. I’ve had all the Hammer girls and a few stars from Dark Shadows and the stars of Faster Pussycat Kill Kill who are all gone now; I believe one might still be alive but I'm not sure. Those were great interviews.

Of the many actors and personalities you have interviewed on the show, cite the most memorable and explain why they stand out.
I had some people not want to be interviewed but when they saw me interviewing other people they would suddenly call me over wanting to be interviewed. I think one of my favorites was the late George Romero. He was my favorite interview, a straight and honest guy and would let you know what he did and didn’t like. I had to wait online for about five or six hours for a chair to sit in but I really wanted the interview. He was a cool interviewee, really talked to me and gave me good pointers. I’ve always enjoyed interviewing Caroline Munro from The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Dracula AD. She was always nice to me and treated me like a human being when I was interviewing her. Jim Lee is one of the best comic artists around and we had a great interview together. I asked questions from when he was a kid to what he’s doing now. Afterward he thanked me for the good memories. Michael Beck of The Warriors was a good interview and so were the rest of the cast. I got to ask them how they became actors and how they were cast in The Warriors. Akira Takarada from the 1954 Godzilla was pretty cool. I talked to him through an interpreter who knew Japanese and who happened to be his son. Just to be in his presence was special. PJ Soles from Halloween and Heather Langenkamp were fun to talk to.

Who would you like to interview on the show, whom you haven’t featured already?
I would like to interview some of the directors of the Hammer movies. Any director would do. I get to interview a lot of the actors and actresses; now I would really like to know how hard it was to get some of those movies done because they had great sets and costumes.

As more fan run channels are appearing on social media these days, do you see this trend continuing?
More people will have their own channels with their own content. People will sooner or later realize they have to help each other. Hollywood would not really give anyone new a chance so you have to give yourself a chance on your own or with some of your friends. It's much better with friends who can help you and who you can help them.

Do you have any advice you would offer to people who want to host their own programs on the net or cable access?
The hard part is just going in there and take the classes, but sometimes people help you out. Go out there and do it if you could do it with some friends it’s good.

Tell the readers about the comic series you plan to publish, and how you intend to promote it when it’s out.
I've been thinking about doing a comic book for a long time now. I just I didn't have the cash or the knowhow. A friend of mine Rollo said if I had the story he would do the art. I've had the story since the 90s of my character Ninja Silk. She's a half-black, half-Japanese vampire ninja who belongs to the Mad Ninja Clan. It will hopefully come out in four or five months, or maybe next year, as a two front cover book of mini-posters. The people helping out on it are artist Rolo Ledesma, artist in training Louie Platano and artist Mike Lily who will be doing the second cover.

Would you like to see Sci Fi Ninja Theater become a legitimate program on cable television in the future?
I would love to see it on a regular cable channel, but I really would like for them not to tie me down. I would rather they let me do what I want with the show. Of course I'd have to trim it up a bit as far as the grindhouse style nudity. They would have to air it late at night.

-Dave Wolff

Monday, August 26, 2019

Interview with Paul Quinn of MASADA by Dave Wolff

Interview with Paul Quinn of MASADA

Masada’s first incarnation existed from 1986 to 1991. How active were you and what were the reasons you parted company?
We were very active regionally. We opened for a lot of touring bands and built a good following. We stopped playing together because we were unable to book most of the places locally that were available. Our following was pretty wild and they tended to leave a lot of damage behind. The local venues started to see our shows as more of a liability than they wanted. At the end of the run I had a club owner tell me our shows were more like a riot than a performance. When I look back at the old videos I agree but damn, they were fun!

Why did it take many years before Masada finally reformed in 2014?
In 2014 I began building a small home recording studio and thought it would be cool to record some of the Masada demo stuff to bring it up to modern recording standards. I started reaching out to the guys and the reception was a bit lukewarm at first. I explained to them how I had read an article about Meshuggah and how they file traded to write songs. I started sending the guys files and it clicked. Since we’re separated by 1000 miles the thinking was this would just be a studio project for us to have a little fun. It soon turned into something more when new ideas started happening and everyone seemed onboard. We started rehearsing live a couple of times a year to see what that felt like and everyone kind of knew that we were going to start playing live again. Since we all stayed active and play professionally in different projects, it’s been pretty painless to get together and just pick back up where we left off.

Who did Masada tour with in their early years? Any stories from those days memorable enough to recount here?
We were fortunate enough to play with lots of locals and a fair amount of touring bands like; Death, Nuclear Assault, Sick Of It All, Obituary and Zoetrope. The wildest show we ever played was a house party show where the neighbors called the cops and of course they showed up and tried to shut down the show. While they were questioning the owner of the house someone jumped in the cop car and drove off with it. They ditched the car a few blocks away and more police kept showing up and they were all yelling and threatening everyone. The bass player and I had grabbed a bunch of beer from the truck and were hiding under a huge Fir tree watching it all go down while smashing down beers. We hid there for over an hour while the shit was going down. Finally the cops left and we hung out with the other bands drinking and cooking on the grill. We used to joke and say “yeah, your party is cool but it isn’t steal a cop car cool!”

How widespread was the band’s reputation for causing fans to leave damaged clubs behind during your shows? You mentioned watching an old video; is it on Youtube or other social media sites? How many videos of your old performances exist?
We are from the Northside and there were not many places to play, so we would rent VFW halls and places like that to put on our shows. The word spread pretty far and we found that we couldn’t rent the halls anymore which put a major damper on our ability to trade shows. It was a real bummer. I know there are more but I don’t have them. Here are a few you can check out. 

In the first video you posted the link to your cover of Stormtroopers Of Death’s “United Forces”. If you remember that and other covers from 1986 to 1991, what led you to choose them as covers?
When we were just getting started we did a few covers as a way to fill time at shows as we were writing our own material. We were heavily influenced by the extreme metal of the day like Venom and Slayer but also by punk bands like D.R.I. and S.O.D. We covered “Countess Bathory”, and “Reign In Blood” as well as “Die By The Sword”, “Black Magic” and “Hell Awaits”. In the pre-genre era it wasn’t uncommon to see bands like ours playing with punk bands so it made sense to include songs from bands that we were actively listening to at the time. The covers were well received. We did screw around with other stuff for covers but found that we didn’t really like doing other people’s music. Our focus was definitely on original material.

Are the clubs where you performed in the late eighties and early nineties still open to this day? Or did quite a few close down?
They’re all gone now. They’ve been replaced and the scene is still very much alive. To be honest, there seem to be more venues now than there were back in the late 80”s and early 90”s.

Death metal and grindcore were gaining popularity around the time Masada’s first incarnation disbanded. At any time did you think of continuing as a band and incorporating some death and grind elements, or would you have remained a thrash band?
It’s hard to say which direction we would have ultimately gone. We were definitely experimenting with a lot of styles without really thinking about it. I don’t know that we would have picked one direction and stuck to it. I guess we were a crossover band right from the jump.

What material from Masada’s early years is still available, or re-released, or soon to be re-released?
We released the “Til Death” and “Witness This Genocide” demos during our first go around. There was a third demo we called “Midwest Terrorist” that was not released because it was a preproduction recording for our first official album which unfortunately never got recorded. Since reforming, we released “Old Warnings And New Truths” and “When The Lights Go Out” independently. We’ve also begun releasing songs as singles. To date, we’ve released “Firefight” and “Stagger” as lyric video singles which has been a much better avenue for us. It allows us to promote our music on a regular basis instead of waiting until we’ve written a whole album.

In 1989 you released a split with Num Skull, Disorder, Firing Squad and Necromancy titled At The Foot Of Brutality. How many copies were pressed and distributed? Were the songs you recorded for it supposed to be on “Midwest Terrorist” or older songs?
The record was put together by Eric Grief who produced those songs. The label never really shared with us the amount of pressings so we’re in the dark about that. I understand they folded pretty shortly after that came out. The songs on that record were taken from the Witness This Genocide demo which was intended to be a demo for Eric to shop around for a deal for us. We did get some interest but a deal was never signed.

What bands were you all working with while Masada was inactive? Does your experience with them help your new material?
Jim Harte (drums) was a founding member of Jungle Rot and also plays festivals with Hans And The Hormones and also with a band called Goo Roos. Ray Vasquez (guitars) played with and toured with the band Fleshgrind. Doug Hamel (bass) plays with Automag and actively records and tours with them. I, Paul Quinn (guitars), am the founding member of Automag and have been active with this band for 22 years. I would say that the experiences we’ve all had definitely helps us with Masada. We remained active individually and went down some different musical paths which has helped us appreciate our time together. When we walk into the room together, we get straight down to business because we want to make every moment count. That’s something we didn’t have previously because there was no urgency. Nowadays everyone is giving 100% effort the whole time we’re together. It’s an awesome thing to be a part of.

Between the increase of local clubs and the rise of social media, do you see a greater or lesser amount of people attending shows these days? Since Masada reformed, do you have an easier time booking shows these days?
I would say lesser amounts these days but the people who come out are awesome. Back before the internet the only way you knew about shows was through flyers, word of mouth and select press outlets. Because of that, local shows were a much bigger deal. I know I went to see other local bands because all of our friends would be there. It was analog social networking, you had to actually be there. As for booking these days, it isn’t as hard because of the web. You have to bang on a lot of digital doors but there’s almost always someone who will answer. I’m not really seeing any reluctance to book us these days.

Will the “Midwest Terrorist” album ever be released in a different version today? In what ways do the tracks on that album compare with your newer demos?
We’ve talked about releasing new versions of those songs but because of our long distance situation I think we all feel it’s more productive to crank out new tunes. While we will always be proud of the old material, putting it out is not the priority. As far as how it compares to the new tracks, it’s a completely new ballgame. Our focus in the past was nonstop aggression and speed. The use of blast beats and insanely fast double bass lines was the norm for us. These days I’m just way more into the whole package of heaviness. I like it when a band takes you on the rollercoaster and hits you in every direction, speed, sludge, odd time signatures, and constantly moving forward with better production and songwriting. We’ve come to the point where the storylines within the songs are as important as the music. While a lot of up and coming bands are focused on reinventing the wheel, we’re going our own way and keeping the focus on bigger concepts and better stories.

Did the band’s newer emphasis on heaviness and diversity grow from the old material that placed emphasis on aggression and blast? Do your listeners today hear old school influence in your new material?
In the beginning we were solely driven to push our playing abilities to the limit. While other local bands came from the Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath mold, we recognized that we were coming from somewhere totally different. We were poor kids who were totally pissed off and we used music as a way to let that anger out. I think that’s why the Slayer/punk influences were so strong with us. We didn’t want to be polished or pretty, we wanted to be ugly and destructive. Part of that meant turning up the lyrical aggression as well as the overall speed and intensity. We were on the forefront of grind and extreme metal without really knowing it. We just knew that it was kind of an arms race and we wanted to win it. At some point that all becomes boring and useless. We had pushed our limits to the point that it didn’t look like we could go any further so what do you do then? For us, it ended up in a parting of ways. Without venues who were willing to have us and a limited audience for that type of material, it was a struggle to continue. When we reformed I wanted to make sure the emphasis was on making interesting music and having strong lyrical content. The blast beat thing is something we think of as an effect now instead of a main driver in a song. It’s kind of like if a guitar player soloed over a whole song. It loses its effect and becomes noise instead of grabbing your attention. In a way, we’ve kind of gone back to the beginning of what attracted us to metal in the first place, aggression, musicianship and songs that stick with you. We’re finding that balancing those things is the key to making better songs which is the ultimate goal. We’ve had some of our oldest friends chime in and comment about how we’ve definitely recaptured some of the old sound.

Is the punk/thrash aggression of the old days channeled in different ways, if not all at the forefront and in listeners’ faces?
I’d compare it to using a rifle versus a shotgun. In the past, we just sprayed pellets in a general direction whereas these days we have a more defined target we’re trying to hit.

On your new material, how do you go about arranging songs with blast beats and solos, without overdoing any aspects of the songs? How often do you completely achieve the results you’re looking for?
We basically trade ideas back and forth and just look for things that fit together in interesting ways. We don’t specifically try to put blast beats or breakdowns or whatever into songs these days. We treat those kind of things more like an effect. If the song needs a change of pace it becomes an option but like any effect, it can either be overdone or tastefully done. If it fits the context of the arrangement and compliments the song, we give it the thumbs up. If it feels like it’s just thrown in there we let it go. That has been part of the beauty of our writing situation. Since we’re separated by 800 miles, we spend a lot of time really scrutinizing the parts. When we were writing in a room together all of the time there were always outside things interrupting or being dealt with during the sessions. The way we do it now makes it possible to work on material any time of day or night at your own pace. It also allows you to be objective. We found that there were times when we thought something sounded really good in the rehearsal room but when it got recorded it didn’t have the feeling or effect we intended. These days we record ideas and then get to put the instruments down and really listen to them and evaluate the parts and arrangements. It definitely brings a new perspective to the process.

How does the band define strong lyrical content? What was your content in the 80s and how has it changed with your recent material?
We’ve always had a storyline kind of approach to writing so that hasn’t changed. We’ve never subscribed to the idea that if it rhymes it flies so whatever the subject for the song may be, we want it to paint a picture or tell a story. We’ve always done that but these days I think we are much more focused on it. Currently, the songs are loosely tied together by a conceptual theme. The individual songs are painting a picture of a moment in a timeline of a larger story. The idea is to focus each song in a way that they can fit into a larger story but can also stand as an individual piece by itself. If someone takes the time to look at the last couple of songs we’ve released (Firefight and Stagger) they’ll see pretty quickly that they are connected to a timeline and a larger concept/story. We plan to continue releasing songs on a regular basis that all feed into this same central idea and our plan is to jump around on the timeline while releasing the individual songs and later tie them all together when a full length album (titled Fero-City) is released. I guess the difference between our past and current writing is the attention to detail. We used to only focus on the individual song whereas now we’re looking at the whole body of work.

Discuss the making of your EPs Old Warnings & New Truths (2014) and When the Lights Go Out (2018) and singles “Firefight” and “Stagger”.
Both EPs were recorded in my home studio and they were the learning curve for future projects. I started writing material and sending it out to the guys just to gauge interest. Everyone seemed to be digging it and started jumping in. Old Warnings And New Truths was the first EP and we did everything ourselves. We did everything in house and kind of proved to ourselves that it could be done. It was a pretty steep learning curve but we pulled it off. As soon as we finished the recording we started working on WTLGO. That EP started having more of a theme to it regarding truth, honor and loyalty. I guess it kind of shows where we were at the time. Those types of themes are more common in hardcore and power metal but we decided to roll with it instead of the typical politics, evil or pure violence topics that everyone else seems to go with. It gave us a little direction and paved the way towards what we’re doing now.

What is the storyline you devised for Fero-City, and how much input did everyone in the band have into putting it together?
Fero-City is a concept record that I’ve been working the story out for some time. I don’t want to give away the story part of it yet but if you look at the descriptions under the videos you’ll find a short lead up to where the song begins. Each song will have its own trailer that leads to the moment where the song takes place to help you get an idea of what is happening in each song. Musically, we are collaborating as we always have but lyrically I’m currently handling the largest part of it. The guys know how much I love doing it and they’re cool with the direction it’s going so they’ve basically turned me loose on it.

It was a pitch black summer night and the sweat was steadily rolling down our faces making its way through the dirt that covered us only to pool in our clothes. The packs and the gear we were carrying although light, were rubbing against the wet clothing and skin causing the sure onset of rash. We were moving slowly in single file. There was no talking. The only sounds were the unintentional movements of our packs and the occasional crunch of the hard ground beneath the soles of our boots. Moving through deserted urban areas is always terrifying no matter how many times you’ve gone through the same place. There are hiding spots everywhere. That’s exactly what we were looking for, a hiding spot. We needed a place we could defend that would also give us a vantage point to allow surveillance during the daytime hours. The need for silence and concentration felt compromised by fatigue. My heart was pounding so hard I was sure everyone could hear it. We finally stopped for a minute at the end of a city block between the brick building on our right and the remains of a burned out bus on our left. The scout signaled everyone to rest momentarily as he went ahead solo and scoured the structure he intended to use. It was within reach, maybe fifteen hundred feet across the intersection on the right-hand side of the block. We were so close. All I could think about was getting inside and shedding my pack. We’d been moving at a sprinters pace since the onset of night, trying to get to the outskirts of this town. We were finally going to get the rest we desperately needed. When the hand signal to ready ourselves was given we rose slowly to our feet trying to contain the inner groans of muscles that have been pushed too far and the delirium of sleep deprivation. Relief was in sight as we dug down into our depleted reserves for the final push. Finally, we would sleep. We crossed the intersection as quickly and quietly as we could and hugged the buildings to our right hoping the remains of the burned out vehicles still sitting in the street would provide a small amount of cover. That’s when it happened.

The concussion was an instantaneous blast of light as bright as the sun. The surrounding glass, brick and mortar were reduced to dust and serrated shards hurling in every direction as I was lifted and tossed sideways into the rubble. The first attempt to move awakened the agonizing pain of landing on the jagged edges of broken bricks and shattered blocks. The air was thickly clouded with the dirt and dust that was now strangling me. Every gasp drew the thickened air saturated with suffocating filth deeper into my lungs. Each intake instantly turned into a gagging, coughing expulsion of the congealed matter in my chest and the blood that flowed intensely from my nose. The gunfire was raging outside but sounded distant as if hands were tightly covering my ears while the muzzle flashes intermittently burnished the room like a summer cloud being illuminated by heat lightning. The second attempt to move reawakened the screaming pain that only intensified as I rolled to my stomach with my arms beneath me and both hands tucked tightly with clenched fists beneath my chin. A deep sound, somewhere between a groan and a scream, poured out as I opened my eyes. The blood flowed generously from my left ear in a steady stream joining the pool forming on the floor directly below my mouth and nose. Momentarily, I laid there staring at the growing pool as it overtook the dust like crimson lava spreading across the ground. In a moment of clarity I heard my own voice whispering, “you have to move.”

Without revealing it prematurely, what was the inspiration for the storyline of Fero-City?
As a writer, I have a tendency to make lists of things like potential song titles or phrases that I find interesting. When I start arranging a musical idea, I like going through those lists to see if there is one that seems like it fits as a working title or for inspiration as a subject. This is something I’ve always done. After the studio was put together, I was able to do the same thing with musical ideas as well. I’ve been slowly building a small library of ideas that I can go back and review at any time. The music for “Firefight” launches so abruptly that the title just seemed to match which gave me the inspiration to write a short backstory for the song. It wasn’t long before the pieces started to look like they were fitting into a bigger story. That really started the ball rolling for me. As soon as I had the idea for the story, I started laying out a timeline, which is where “Stagger” happened. I’m still working out a lot of the details for the larger story with regards to the sequence of events and writing the trailer parts for a lot of them but it’s coming along nicely.

Does the narrative of Fero-City have more science fiction elements, or horror elements, or some of both genres?
It’s going to have both but it will lean heavily toward the sci-fi side.

Are you planning to release additional singles before the album comes out? How much of it has been completed this far?
We are currently on a pace to release something every three to four months. That will allow us to continue a regular promotion campaign all year long until we get to the point where we’re ready to drop the full length. As an unsigned D.I.Y. band this seems to make more sense than going a long period of time to release a full length album that gets sent out for review and in a couple of weeks it’s over. We decided that it would make better sense to release individual pieces on a regular basis to hopefully spark more interest in the project and to always have a reason to reach out to the people who have joined our email list or follow us on social media.
The intent currently is to have a track list of twelve songs for the album and they are all in different stages of development. I’d say we’re definitely over the 50% line and the pace is really picking up. We’re in the groove and things are going smoothly.

How much interest in the new album have your singles generated to date? Are you mostly spreading word to zines, or are you including labels, distros and bands who may be interested in performing with you?
The singles have been doing a little better each time so we’re hoping that trend continues. We’ve been concentrating on reaching out through a small PR company and through ads which has been an education. We have not been focusing on labels at this time but we may do that further down the line. Right now, the focus is on writing, recording and building an audience. Our thinking is if we concentrate on those things the rest will work itself out. .

How soon are you planning to release the new album? Are any labels interested in signing the band or will you release it independently?
Our plan is to release a few more singles and the full length in 2020.We definitely plan on an independent release but that could change. We have had some interest from small labels which has been great but we’re not in a hurry to jump into that arena. Once things like schedules and budgets come into play, it takes some of the fun out of it. We’re enjoying the process of making music without the pressures of the music “business.”

-Dave Wolff

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Zine Review: "A Lesson In Longing: Words by Kaya Thompson" by Dave Wolff

A Lesson In Longing: Words by Kaya Thompson
Country of origin: USA
Released independently July 5, 2019
“A Lesson In Longing” is a poetry zine published by Kaya Thompson, a longtime poetry contributor whose work is posted here as Kaya Chaos. Kaya also has an interview here where she talks about her time singing for the local NYC punk band Deviant Behavior and her activities after they disbanded. It still seems like yesterday when I met her at a Murder Junkies show on Avenue A in 1995. The punk scene was different in those days; Giuliani’s “Quality of Life” agenda hadn’t been implemented yet and the gentrification of the Lower East Side had yet to begin. Coming back to the city after a long absence was like a raw, open wound. Not all the clubs are gone, but it feels like a void was left by those that were forced to close. Kaya’s poems read of a similar sensation, but from a personal perspective. The loss of innocence and resulting internal conflict is laid bare as she describes how her expectations in friendships and relationships were shattered by not so well-intentioned people. In the first piece she publishes in this zine, which is reflected in one way or the other in the following poems, she describes how deception and underhandedness can destroy innocence and create apathy in its stead, leading to self-destructive habits like alcohol and drug abuse, not only in the punk lifestyle but in all others. The difference is the accounts of such experienced are not whitewashed here, nor are any efforts made to soften the impact. You’re meant to feel the angst and disillusionment with other people and society, and meant to come to the realization that it exists for a reason, rather than it being adolescent rebellious fervor. A quote from the 1983 movie “Omen: The Final Conflict” came to mind while I was writing this: “Most people confuse evil with their own trivial lusts and perversions… true evil is as pure as innocence.” Keeping this in mind, this collection of poems is not so much an exercise in how deeply one can dive into despair, as it is a resolute, almost pathological, search for that lost innocence, to reject corruption, to regain desire and longing, to feel, to become fully human. This longing is evident in this zine’s most depressive sounding poems, which argues that the purest humanity can be found even in the darkest of places. -Dave Wolff

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Interview with AUBZAGL by Dave Wolff

Interview with AUBZAGL by Dave Wolff

In 2017 I reviewed the independent film “British Black Metal: The Extreme Underground Documentary” about the third wave of UK black metal. The featured bands included Winterfylleth, Fen and A Forest of Stars. Are you familiar with those bands or the film?
Arron (drums): This is definitely one for Andy and Paul!
Andy (vocals): Funnily enough, I was in that documentary! My other band Forneus was one of the bands interviewed. I've gigged with a few of the other bands on that documentary, and the gig with A Forest Of Stars was actually an all-dayer organized by Paul.
Paul (bass): I've not seen the documentary actually. I'll have to make up for that. Definitely know the bands, and good friends with the AFOS folks, from my home town of Leeds. That was a very fun all dayer!

What information about the black metal scene of the 2010s can you provide for the readers?
Paul: The UK black metal scene seems to be pretty strong at the moment. A lot of awesome bands coming though in the last few years and a good amount of gigs and festivals, good labels and review sites out there to help spread it even more.
Andy: I agree, the scene is pretty strong at the moment! Looking forward to getting back into gigging with Aubzagl again.

How many all-day events has Paul organized lately? Do his events receive a lot of zine and webzine coverage?
Paul: I only do one event a year these days, the Damnation Festival pre-show. My last all dayer was in 2014. I had been putting on gigs, all dayers, festivals and club nights since around 2000 but wanted to focus time, energy and money elsewhere.
Andy: As far as I know the bands that were in the documentary were all pretty well known beforehand, which is one of the reasons they were picked to be in it.

For what other reasons were the bands in “British Black Metal” chosen to be interviewed?
Andy: I'd say the other reason bands were interviewed was purely because we were mates with Andy Horry who was making the documentary. He was guitarist for a band called Slaughterthrone at the time (or had just left), so he knew quite a few of us personally.
Paul: It was Andy's documentary, I remember it now. I haven't seen it but will hopefully rectify one day. Never enough hours in the day or the year.

Has anyone in the band watched other documentaries about extreme metal in the past year or two? Which would you recommend?
Paul: I watched the Lords Of Chaos one recently. It was surprisingly better than I thought it was going to be!Aside from all the obvious / known black metal ones, I'd recommend Slave To The Grind and Doom Doc that some friends made. Also recently watched a Japanese Extreme Metal one that's a pretty decent overview. I watch a lot on individual musicians, album makings. Tons out there on YouTube.
Jamie (guitar): Not necessarily 'extreme metal' but I've recently watched 'The Godfathers Of Hardcore' the Agnostic Front documentary, I suppose back in 1980 when they formed they were pretty extreme. In a strange way without Agnostic Front there wouldn't be Aubzagl, as they influenced most of the bands I grew up listening to.
Arron: The only documentaries I've watched in the last couple of years have been about serial killers. Varg would need to add a few more before he gets himself a Netflix documentary.
Andy: I have Metal: A Headbanger's Journey on DVD, but the closest I've come otherwise is the usual "Making of" stuff that bands release when doing a new album. I haven't watched Lords Of Chaos yet but find it hilarious that everyone is annoyed that they finally realized their idols were edge lord teenagers!

What gigs, all-dayers and fests was Paul organizing before solely placing his efforts on Damnation Festival? Who were the bands appearing at the most recent Damnation Fest?
Paul: I've done events (some being me, some as part of collectives, helping others) under the names of Raw Nerve, Lovely Time, Devastator, Arise, 'kin Hell Fest and Yorkshire Riffer. I book the venue and bands for the pre-show.

How many years has the Damnation Festival been held? What does your pre-show work entail? Are you helping seek venues for the event or working with others?
Arron: I think 2005 was the first Damnation Fest. It was originally held in Manchester, then after one or two years in moved to Leeds. That first year in Leeds Esclavage played at the pre-show (did you put that on, Paul? Madman Is Absolute played) and Soulfracture played the next day.
Andy: I've only ever been to Damnation in recent years, definitely after Arron's old bands played.
Arron: Ihsahn from Emperor has played there in the last year or two. I wasn't there. A Forest of Stars, Dragged Into Sunlight, The Infernal Sea, Winterfylleth have played there over the last few years. There are always one or two black metal bands playing each year. Hopefully that can be us in the future.

How long has Aubzagl been active? How well known are they becoming while promoting the release of their debut EP?
Arron: As for Aubzagl, we've been active around 2.5 years, but we’ve done little up to now for various reasons. We've had a decent amount of plays and downloads so far for the EP, as well as some brilliant reviews, feedback and plays on lots of radio stations.
Paul: We have had a great response to the EP, which has been amazing really. The 'various reasons' Arron mentioned was mainly life and all its weird, interesting, frustrating curve balls and direction changes getting a little in the way. Whilst we'll never be the sort of band that can play fifty shows a year or anything, we do hope to be productive writing and recording.
Getting riffs out of the system, no matter how you do it, be it live or on record, is an amazing feeling. It's always interesting to see where they go in the sense of a band setting, when you have an initial idea and then see what happens when a handful of other people get hold of them.
It's been great working with the Aubzagl guys so far, as everyone has played in bands a lot over the years, and so to be able to pool all that knowledge and ways of playing around with sound has been a lot of fun.
I wouldn't say we are massively well known, but the EP has been spread around a lot by a lot of different people, and the downloading of the EP has been healthy and steady, so, we'll just keep our name out there and keep writing more riffs.
Andy: Aubzagl is definitely a great way to channel energy, our newer material is getting much more personal from a lyrical standpoint due to our continually evolving approach to what we do.

Does Aubzagl musically draw inspiration from the current British black metal scene, or are there older influences you draw from as well as present ones? How does the band strive for their own sound when there are countless unsigned bands the world over?
Paul: Personally I draw influence from all the music I've ever heard. Any style, good and bad. I feel that both help me equally in pushing the music I want to release to be the best it can be. If it's a song I consider bad (as in badly written, a sound I don't like, or both), then that helps me understand more how to create music to the best of my ability. I don't feel there any constraints, just because we may generally fit into the black metal sound, style or scene. All the members are into so many different styles that it's bound to show in the sound to a degree.
Andy: I agree with Paul in the inspiration front. It comes from all sorts of music, all walks of life. I know I still get influenced by the current black metal scene as I am involved in a few other bands in the scene. But rather than making it similar it allows me to adapt my lyrical approach to something a little more unique.

In what ways does British black metal of the 2010s differ from British black metal of the 1990s, besides 1990s and 2000s black metal from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany etc?
Andy: The main way it differs I'd say is probably the ideas behind it, the fact that most of the musicians have moved past the rebellious reasons behind most of it. The sound is a bit different too, due to the different influences in both music and environment.
Paul: BBM90s definitely had a certain sound, especially due to the likes of Cradle Of Filth and Hecate Enthroned, in fact I'd say it was pretty obvious what country a band was from in the 90s/early 2000s due to their sound. You could easily tell a Norwegian versus Swedish, German versus French, American versus British by the nuances, temperature of the tone, delivery in vocals and sometimes right down to the artwork.
Nowadays, the entire extreme music (not just metal) scene is a huge melting pot, and, whilst I loved all the earlier bands that I found when I first was getting into black metal in 1993/4, I have always been someone into more progressive natures of any styles. It's far more interesting and it pushes boundaries, thought and intellect much more. That's why I've always played in bands of different styles, that like to mix it up, and why I would always put on mixed bill line ups when hosting concerts, and, Aubzagl, for me is no different.
Because of the members involved in the band, and knowing them before joining, I knew there was going to be something interesting and different that would blanket the basic initial blueprint of the idea, and as time goes on, that's only going to get expanded on.

Some people suspect  there are so many bands due to social media and streaming sites that originality is waning in extreme metal. And there are too many subgenre classifications.
Andy: I personally think subgenres are a good thing for finding the kind of thing you would like, however people get too fixed on what a specific genre is supposed to sound like. That's why you get people complaining that black metal is getting too progressive or isn't evil enough or whatever outdated idea you want to cling to. So long as you remember that genres are just recommendation labels rather than concrete rules, you have a window to be creative. That's why we have hardcore and grind influences in our black metal.
Paul: I love all the bickering and silliness over sub/sub-sub-genre discussion, and join in from time to time, but it is only a guideline, to bring roughly the right group of people towards your own / the music being talked about. The music listening world is taking in far more diverse stuff than ever before, and the music playing world are encouraging it continually. If we don't progress, what's the point?

In spite of everything metal fans are still perceived as airheads, incapable of maturity and creative growth. Why does the general public hold to those blanket stereotypes?
Paul: The generalized view is that the general public think metal fans are airheads, but metal fans think the general public are idiots. I don't think it's as true as the generalization says it is, so, it depends on which side of the fence you're on, how closely you look, how true and metal and angry you want to perceive yourself to be. I think the broader view of it is changing a lot. It also depends on where you live.
There seems very little spite against metallers / alternative folk in Leeds anymore. It is a very progressive city, and as mentioned before, without progression, life seems pointless, so I am very appreciative of where I live for this reason.
I've recently just got back from a week in the Czech Republic, and whilst there are some amazing festivals, venues and bands out there, and a lot of people into the music, I felt like I was getting stared at a lot more for having tattoos and wearing black whilst on public transport and in the streets, compared to what I would in Leeds, or in other major cities in the UK thinking of it.
I define myself as a metaller, yes, but it doesn't define my character. There are some metallers that hold the worst ideals dear (racists / fascists, misogynists / homophobes, hunters etc) and I don't want anything to do with that side of it, the same way that I don't want anything to do with non-metallers of the same thinking.
There are brainless idiots, arseholes, people unworthy of oxygen in all walks of life, the same way as there are absolutely incredible, nice, empathetic, helpful people in all walks of life.
That may not sound very 'extreme' or 'trve black metal' of me to say that, but, I don't really care.
Andy: Personally, I don't see metal stereotypes that much anymore. Then again, we ARE the kind of people who are pretty loud about our appreciation of music in all forms.

Sometimes anger is fabricated; especially if it’s marketed as being “cool”. Other times there is a reason for it. Does the media makes it more difficult to tell the difference? How can genuine anger work toward constructive ends?
Paul: Look at 90% of the musicians in the extreme scene, they've put their music together, at least initially from a place of anger or frustrating, being pissed off about something, either personal or societal. The whole music scene is bred from that, even if the music isn't speaking about it specifically, what has led those musicians to be a part of the world they are in? It's to escape the 'normal' world. It's finding ways of dealing with things that anger, upset, confuse, cause health problems to (mentally especially).
Arron: I think you can generally listen to a couple of tracks by a band and tell if their anger is sincere or just a gimmick. Reading the lyrics adds to that. Rage Against The Machine and Weekend Nachos are my go to "angry" bands. They've got something to say and they're going to say it and I think they both present in a way that makes me take notice. One are angry about people they grew up with and the town they're from and the other about social and economical politics. Both very different reasons, but both important to them. The delivery of those lyrics is a major thing for me, too. You can just feel it. That anger is palpable. When they say things like; "you need to connect with a song and convey the emotions" on something like The X Factor, whilst it sounds lame as fuck it's completely true. If you feel what they're saying and it evokes something in you, it's doing the job. Add on top of that the music and you've got two bands that make me want to smash stuff. Because they want to smash stuff.
Andy: Like Paul said, most evocative music is formed from anger or similar emotions. I always found it interesting to listen to a band's youthful in-your-face anger at the start of their careers and hearing how it progresses into more mature, more refined ideas as they grow as people. This is especially true of the black metal scene, I find.

Are the “trve” and “kvlt” tags another example of clique mentality in the underground?
Paul: You can always tell which bands are the more genuine ones, I don't rely on the media for swaying my opinions about that or what bands I should or shouldn't like. It's the same with if someone calls themselves 'kvlt' or whatever, the ones that are doing it because they want to, as opposed to that's what they think is the cool thing to do, you can almost always tell the difference.
Clique mentality, I don't think is necessarily a bad thing at all times. It can be the thing that keeps friendships going, that brings like-minded people together that might not ordinarily be able to be involved in bigger groups. Some circles of people just function better when it's just them and nobody else. Some cliques are born from introversion. If that's the way that people need to be, to get by the best they can, and they're not harming anyone else, then just let them get on with it I guess.
Jamie: I don't listen to enough black metal to know what "trve" or "kvlt" mean, I'm sure to some people they mean everything to them and that's fine. The songs I wrote for the EP are simply what I felt at the time if they are trve or kvlt then it's purely unintentional.
Arron: I don't know too much about "trve" and "kvlt" either. To me, they're just black metal hipsters. I don't think too many bands that particularly bothered about trying to be either and just, like you say please what they feel. If every band were "trve" and "kvlt" then black metal as a genre would become stale and stagnant with every band looking and sounding the same.
Andy: "Trve" and "kvlt" are basically people holding on to a traditionalist idea of black metal. Nostalgia has its place but not when it stops you from progressing. It's fucking stupid when a genre exemplified by a dude who said "NO TRENDS" can't break out of a trend of how it should sound. Black metal is an attitude and a feeling rather than a specific rule set in my opinion. I've often found most people who stick to these terms are either the types who also have one-person bedroom black metal bands and say black metal shouldn't be played live, or they are using it as an excuse to say that black metal needs to be evil and sing about nazi shit or some random bullshit like that. This isn't EVERYONE in the scene obviously, but unfortunately it is a rather vocal section. The more I can do to annoy the fuck out of them the better!

How long was the process of writing the songs that appeared on the EP and choosing a title? Did you opt to record and release it independently to get around the pitfalls?
Andy: The songs we wrote earlier definitely have a bit more of a second wave black metal influence to them, as when Martyn (Hare, ex-Send More Paramedics) started the band he was aiming for a tribute to that style. Most of the lyrics on the EP were written during those initial stages, but later songs (namely “Voices of the Aether” and “The End of All Things”) have a more personal edge to them, as that works better with how our music is evolving.
Jamie: I had a lot of the riffs and songs that are on the EP written before I joined Aubzagl. I didn't and still don't listen to that much black metal at all, so if we sound like any sort of band it's purely unintentional! I'm kind of an outsider to the whole black metal scene. I grew up listening to grunge, thrash and hardcore so all those influences come out in my writing but as soon as Arron, Andy and Paul put their parts on the songs they sort of twist and shape into sounding more black metal. The songs came together quite fast actually as I had a lot of them structured and sorted before I joined. It helps that Arron, Paul and Andy are amazing musicians they picked up what I'd already sorted and just nailed every part.
Arron: My background is more death, thrash and hardcore, so like Jamie I've never been involved in anything black metal related.
Paul: My black metal influences come from bands like Immortal, Emperor, Wolves in the Throne Room, Dragged Into Sunlight, but my knowledge of the genre is quite limited.

Describe how the lyrics penned for your EP go with those differences you described.
Andy: The lyrics are a bit of a myriad topic, as quite a few of those were written back when we were intending to just pay tribute to the second wave Norwegian bands. Later on we started becoming our own thing, which is where songs like The End of All Things and especially Voices of the Aether, where I felt it more appropriate to take a personal approach instead of sticking to the old-school subjects of the other songs on the EP (namely Satanism, misanthropy, nihilism).
The new material has a bit more experimentation blending the noise pieces like Null and Ogilt and blending them into the music, along with much more personally nihilistic lyrics.
Paul: The next set of songs, I guess we'll just try and delve further into the themes and styles we did on the first release, but add something new as well. In every single song I either write or play on, I always try and put something slightly different in, that I've never done before, that might not be the obvious way of doing things, and I'll never change in that. First and foremost, there will be RIFFS!

In what formats is the debut EP Eilífa Kuldinn available at the time of this writing? Was it released exclusively in digital and streaming format or did you also have CD copies pressed? Which format most helps you get your name around?
Andy: The title of the EP was actually what took the longest! We tried a load of different things before Paul suggested the current one, which is in Icelandic.
Paul: It was actually Arron that suggested the idea of the title being non-English, and my obsession with everything Icelandic wasn't going to hold back the possibility of that happening!
Jamie: With regards to releasing it independently, we just wanted to get these songs out there so it just seemed to be the easiest way if we handled everything from recording it and releasing it ourselves. We've all been in bands that have had music released by labels and they're great for getting your name out there and doing all the behind the scenes work, I personally haven't really had any "pitfalls" working with labels.
Andy: The only time I've ever had a problem with labels was with the label that released the CD version of the "In Satan's Honour" split Forneus took part in, but even then it was only a really minor detail that bugged me and no one else noticed! Still, I've always maintained the idea a band should get full control of their material, even when it comes to format of release.
Jamie: The EP is download/streaming for now simply due to it being the easiest way to get your music out to more people. We have talked about a physical version being available, but that is for further in the future.

Which zines and radio stations have helped support the EP, and how has the feedback been?
Andy: So far the response has been quite positive, we've had good reviews from Head-Banger Reviews, Black Metal Daily and Musipedia Of Metal, as well as being "Band of the Week" on The Autopsy Report rock & metal radio show.

Musically and lyrically, how is your newer material an improvement from what the EP offers?
Andy: The new material has a bit more experimentation blending the noise pieces like Null and Ogilt and blending them into the music, along with much more personally nihilistic lyrics.

Describe the lyrics of Eilífa Kuldinn. Who penned them and what images do they evoke?
Andy: I wrote all the lyrics, though my approach evolved over time. When we first started it was very much the idea to pay tribute to the ideas in the second wave of black metal, so lyrics for The Hermit for example are about restoring old gods and living alone in the forest as the world crumbles around you, or The Adversary being very anti-religion. I did experiment with more esoteric lyrics, like Varaha which is about a Hindu creation myth but framed in a nihilistic way, or Oath of Blood which actually evolved from ideas I've had for old Forneus material but never suited that band. The End of All Things and Voices of the Aether are the most recent songs completed and the most personal, delving more into me excising my own self-destructive thoughts. Mental health is definitely an influence on our genre as a whole (otherwise why would we have DSBM?) and needs to be talked about more often. Many of us in the band have had experiences either personally or with friends and loved ones that have dealt with this stuff to varying degrees of success or failure, which is why I ended up deciding that channeling these thoughts into our music as it evolved to become an uglier, more terrifying thing would work.

If and when you release a physical version of the EP, will you release it independently or seek an indie label to distribute it? Would you contact a label in the UK or overseas?
Paul: We have no concrete plans with that. It would be nice to see it on all formats, especially now the response has been so awesome. We'll eventually do a small run ourselves if the interest continues, but it would be nice to have the help of someone in that as well. Open to ideas really. We're just really glad it's out there now after having these songs written for so long.
There's every possibility we will use other instruments outside of the standard band set up, yes. If we hear something in our heads that needs to go on the next recordings, if the overall sound requires something specific, then we'll do our best to find whatever instrument is needed to make it.

Many black metal bands incorporate native music from their respective countries, and/or classical instruments, and lately bands have added classic metal vibes to their material. Is this something Aubzagl would consider doing at some point?
Andy: Culturally I don't know if the UK HAS anything to add musically. Unless we either add a morris dancing breakdown or take the British Empire route and just start stealing shit and saying it's ours! On a more serious note, we're willing to do whatever serves the songs. If a song calls for odd instrumentation, we'll use them.
Paul: It's the same if a song needs to go in a certain direction to get the overall impact right, then we'll do it. We're not constricted by any boundaries, which hopefully the first EP did enough to already speak that clear. We'll always do the most to benefit the RIFFS!

In what ways does the EP leave Aubzagl to individually progress and grow on future releases?
Arron: The EP contains songs that were written between one and three years ago. Some when we'd just started playing together. So all we'll do is get together and write a whole bunch of new songs, but where we've been playing together a lot longer and have a better understanding of each others' playing. The main thing the next release will contain is riffs.
Andy: We've already started working on new material, and currently we are pushing it into the weird and wonderful. I personally want this music to just fuck with people in the most awesome ways possible. This EP is definitely a solid foundation for us to expand on, and it can only get uglier and darker from here!
Paul: Again, we set things up so we can do whatever we feel like doing. If we want to write a few straight up verse-chorus-verse songs we can, if we want to do a 15 minute epic DSBM style song, we can. We can throw noise or ambient bits in, or make things way more hardcore, or, whatever really. Also, you don't particularly need to know the ins and outs of a genre to be able to play it well, and, for some people, the fact they know loads about it, especially those who are only into one genre, means all they do is be overly influenced by it and not do anything different within it. It's cross-pollination of musicians' styles and influences that creates progressiveness in any genre and sub-genre, so, to me, it's FAR more interesting and better if the group of people playing together aren't influenced by the same music, bands, or want it to be very specific in the sound.
The people in the band have incredibly diverse musical and life influences, so the main thing is that we will show that off, at least in part, in the RIFFS!

-Dave Wolff