Archive for the ‘In This Corner’ Category

Blaze Publicity Photo 1For this edition of In This Corner, I welcome an artist that has blazing a trail in the world of Underground Rap/Hip Hop for over 20 years. I am talking about Majik Ninja Entertainment artist Blaze Ya Dead Homie who on January 15TH released his sixth studio album (his second with Majik Ninja Entertainment) The Casket Factory . The Casket Factory (available on iTunes and Amazon) showcases the amazing abilities and growth as an artist for Blaze Ya Dead Homie who offers 14 solid tracks with absolutely no filler which shows exactly how much both Blaze and the label have grown in the right direction in only two years under operation. Blaze Ya Dead Homie was the first artist to release an album for Majik Ninja Entertainment (Gang Rags: Reborn) and I had to talk to the man to ask him about the brand new record, what it was like to work with some new artists, the upcoming tour, and a whole lot more.
Eddie Monster: What can fans expect from the brand new album The Casket Factory?
Blaze Ya Dead Homie: Brand new Blaze like they’ve never seen before! Hands down the best production from first track to last!!! 100% Underground wicked shit… Different styles… Sick guests killing shit…
EM: How did you come up with the name and concept for the casket factory?
Blaze: I was bouncing ideas off of my homie Jamie Madrox of Twiztid… We were thinking along the lines of casket maker or something like that… Then we began building the record an the name evolved into The Casket Factory fairly quickly…
EM: What are your favorite tracks on the new album?
Blaze: 2 middle fingers, they call that gangsta, the way you look before you die, eternal, wormfood, ghost, necromancy, I will bury you, ratchet…
EM:  I noticed DJ Swamp is on four tracks on the new record. Is this the first time you worked with him and how did that come together? Can we expect more in the future?
Blaze: Yeah this is my first time working with DJ Swamp… Got the hookup thru my brothers and label mates Twiztid! I can only hope to work with him in the future, cause he killed shit on this record!
EM: Just like the last question, this is the first time the world is really getting to hear Lex The Hex on the track They Call That Gangsta, what was it like working with him on the song and what’s you take on what he brings to the table for the future of Majik Ninja Entertainment?
Blaze: Had a blast working with my homie Lex! He’s a real good ninja… He brought his own east coast style and its definitely a dope mix and addition to the family!!! Looking forward to doing more projects in the future with him
4PNL_1Tray_right_TubePkt_D1003EM: Since your move to Majik Ninja Entertainment, are you more involved in the production side? Or have you always had a hands on approach with your music?
Blaze: I’ve always been involved with the production of my records to an extent … Not really turning the knobs on the board an shit, but always adding my 2 cents in whenever and wherever I can…
EM: You have an old school hip hop sound (which is my personal favorite), what’s your opinion of the current hip hop scene?
Blaze: You’ve got some good, some bad and some ugly shit happening in hip hop… Some are solid artists with good tracks and others… I just don’t know what they were thinking when they were making it. Some of the shit is so horrible it’s downright insulting
EM: This is your eighth solo album overall and you’ve been doing this for 20 plus years, what keeps Blaze Ya Dead Homie motivated after so much time?
Blaze: First and foremost it’s the Family! From day 1 since I’ve stepped on stage in their presence, they’ve been nothing but accepting… I thank them for that and the chance to do what I love for a living… They are truly amazing!

EM: When you do a collaborations, do you get to choose who you work with? Are there any future artists you plan to work with or is there an artist that you never worked with that you would love to?

Blaze: Yeah, it’s ultimately my final say on collaborations. I have a few in mind, but haven’t reached out to anybody recently.  I would like to work with somebody completely unexpected though…

EMOn February 4TH, you are heading out on the road for quite the trek, will you be bringing any of those one size fits all caskets with you? And what can fans expect from the live show and will there be any surprises?

Blaze: And you know this!!! Energy, cause that’s what I like to expend up on that stage… An I might have some surprises for ya, but ya gotta come an rock out with us to see what’s up my sleeve!!!

EM: Last question, There is a rumor going around that you and The R.O.C. are working on the Zodiac MPrint album, is there any truth to it and when do you think we can expect it?
Blaze: Yes there is some truth to that statement… Although I’m not sure if it’s gonna be full length at this point, but we’ve been around the studio a lil bit… Should be dropping later this year!
Blaze Ya Dead Homie heads out on tour on February 4TH in Columbus, OH and it runs all the way until March 13Th with four special dates in April with Twiztid.  For more info on the album, tour, and merchandise, please visit Blaze Ya Dead Homie’s official website here.
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in this corner hatriotBack on the old site, I had interviewed some artists before I closed down the blog site and regretfully I never transferred over the interviews from that blog onto this one. That is OK because I have recovered the second of the interviews from the In This Corner segment and I have it right here for you, but there is a little disclaimer before your read the interview. This interview was conducted when Steve “Zetro” Souza was still a member of Hatriot. So, by the time this interview was done, he was not back in Exodus. He was promoting the Hatriot record Dawn Of The New Centurion which is a kick ass metal album featuring some amazing songs. Alright now that we got that out of the way, why don’t we check out the interview below:
Me: How amazing of an experience has it been to be able to record an album with your sons?
ZETRO – It’s the greatest feeling in the world.  This is actually the second record for the band, so having a band with my sons is a reality now, and not some novelty thing.  I think it is any father’s dream to share a common interest with his kids, and for me to actually have a band on a worldwide scale with my boys is really awesome.  I’m very proud of them.  They have worked hard to get to a level of musicianship where they can be taken seriously in this business, and I think it shows on both records.  Plus, my life has come full circle now.  I had to quit Exodus in 2004 to be able to provide for my kids, and now I have my music back as a priority in my life, and my kids are there with me.  So it is fucking great!
Me: I know with the first record Heroes Of Origin, you said that you had treated recording like a football team where practice was important and you were the coach emphasizing execution. Did you use the same approach with Dawn Of The New Centurion?
zet25ZETRO – Absolutely!  I treat every show and every rehearsal like it is the most important thing we will ever do.  We also watch live concert videos of other bands and study what they are doing.  Last week we were watching a live Judas Priest DVD at my house, and I was pausing the video and pointing out to the boys when something looked cool.  You boys see how both guitar players come to the front of the stage for the solo, and then go back into position when the vocals come back in?  Do that shit!  It is absolutely ran like a pro football team!
Me: What can fans expect from the new record?
ZETRO – They can expect everything that they love about my previous bands, with a lot of sore necks to go along with it from all the headbanging!  All the essential elements are there that make up a great thrash metal album.  It is the next progression from “Heroes Of Origin.”  The songs are longer and more complex and there is bit more melody in there, but it is still ferocious at the same time.  Cross “Tempo Of The Damned” with “The Legacy” and you get  a style similar to what Hatriot is doing.  It’s pure classic thrash metal with a modern twist!
Me: It has been documented that you write all of the lyrics, what are the types of things that inspire you to write?
ZETRO – Anything but love songs!  I write about the dark side of life. That’s what has always interested me.  I hate happy feel good music.  It’s a brutal world and I am supplying the soundtrack.  This album covers a lot of lyrical ground. There are songs about killers, corrupt government leaders, and Catholic priest pedophilia – plus a bunch of other heavy shit!  No topic is too taboo for me.  It just has to be dark and it has to be heavy.
Me: One of my favorite songs on the new album is Superkillafragsadisticactsaresoatrocious. What was the inspiration behind the track and how did you guys come up with the title? I know that you mention Pussy Riot in the track, did that have a part in the making of the song?
ZETRO – It’s a title I came up with as a spoof on the Mary Poppins thing, and I knew if I used it the whole world would be talking about it, and damn it I was right!  The song title is so ridiculous that people can’t stop talking about it, and that’s exactly what I had hoped for.  It’s the ultimate tongue in cheek humor that thrash metal was full of back in the 80’s.  The track is actually about corrupt world leaders like Putin and Hitler, and how they all fall in the end.  It just kind of worked out with what was going on with Pussy Riot at the time, so we included that in the song as well.
Me: The album is absolutely brutal, punishing , and relentless. My neck is still hurting right now from all the headbanging, where did find Kosta V? That kid is a monster and it’s evident in tracks like the title track, World Funeral, Honor in The Rise And Fall, etc.
BUNGEE BRENT PHOTOS (30)ZETRO – I have been very fortunate to work with great guitar players all through my career.  Alex and Eric in Legacy, Gary and Rick in Exodus, Glen and Jed in Tenet… it is just fucking crazy how skilled all these guys are.  So for me to start another band I had to have a serious guitar shredder on board.  I mean I am competing against my own history here, so the world is going to crucify any guitarist that can’t cut it in my band.  I met Kosta by accident actually.  I was at a show watching my son Nick play with his old band, and I was there just as a spectator, just to be a supportive dad.  Kosta’s old band was on the bill and I was very impressed with him.  We talked for about an hour after the show and exchanged numbers.  He finally called me a few weeks later and wanted to work on some music, and the chemistry between us was too good to not put to use.  I had to form a band with him.
Me: I know you’ve mentioned in interviews before what bands your kids were into, but is there any new metal bands that you’re digging right now?
ZETRO – I like a lot of the newer thrash coming out.  It’s really cool to hear the influences come out in the music of these bands.  I’d like to talk now about a couple bands here in the Bay Area that people should check out.  We do a lot of shows with a band here called Angerhead that we are good friends with.  I actually sang on their demo and it turned out really cool.  They are a very Motorhead style, driving hard rock kind of band.  Another band we play with a lot is Pain Clinic out of Reno, Nevada.  We are doing a bunch of shows with them and I recommend checking them out.
Me: James Hetfield mentioned a little while ago that the demand for metal is not what it used to be in the States and someone once said that Metal is underground. Do you agree with what James said and is Metal better off underground and why?
ZETRO – He’s nailed it.  He nailed it on the head.  If the media doesn’t cover something regularly, then our country just won’t pay attention.  It’s sad really.  We have one major outlet for heavy metal right now, and that’s VH1’s That Metal Show.  Those guys are great and are really flying the flag for metal, and Don Jamieson is a good friend of mine and a big supporter of Hatriot.  But right now my focus is selling Hatriot abroad, to places like Japan and South America, where the fans are more passionate about metal.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the fans here in the USA, but there just isn’t enough media support to make it massive like it once was.  James is absolutely right.  The upside to it is metal fans are so passionate about the music because it is underground.  It’s not forced down their throats.  Fans of heavy metal usually remain fans for life.  You never hear somebody say “Oh I was into Slayer for a summer…”  You don’t hear that shit.  You love Slayer for life!
Me: What can we expect from Hatriot moving forward? Can we expect a tour of the US?
ZETRO – I like to have no expectations in this business.  I hope for a US tour.  That would be fucking great, but i don’t know if it will happen yet.  There are a lot of factors.  We have to make it feasible to pull off financially, and as you know the price of fuel is ridiculous these days.  So if it can be done then we will definitely tour, hopefully as a support act for a bigger band.  I hope the fans will go buy “Dawn of The New Centurion” and help create a demand for the band so we can get out there and play live.  Other than that you can expect a third album to come together at the end of the year.  I already have songs for record three, and record two isn’t even officially out yet!

crystalBack on the old site, I had interviewed some artists before I closed down the blog site and regretfully I never transferred over the interviews from that blog onto this one. That is OK because I have recovered the interviews from the In This Corner segment and I have them here for you now. The first interview I did for In This Corner was with Marta Gabriel of Polish heavy metal band Crystal Viper. The band had just released their fifth studio album Possession and she took the time to sit down and talk to me about the new record among other things. So, let’s check out the interview below:

Me: The new album is called Possession and it’s a concept record. How did you come up with the concept of the new record?

Marta: Before I started to work on a “Possesion”, I already knew it will be a concept story. I read few books, seen a bunch of  good movies, heard few amazing stories and got inspired by this theme. As I thought it’s a good topic, I decided to write a concept album about – let’s say – possesion, as it’s not typical ghost/exorcism story, it has an unexpected twist, which can surprise the listener pretty much when everything is getting clearer and clrearer with each next song…

Me: Was there any elements outside of music that influenced the writing process for the new album?

Marta: There’s always something outside music, that inspire me while I’m writing new songs. It can be a good book, the weather, my mood or my imagination. Of course music is also very important, and this is what we’re talking about, but as an artist, I’m like a “sponge”, I absorb everything I hear and see around me, and in this huge stream there’s always something that brings new notes and sounds to my head, and this brings new songs to life. There’s always something playing in my head.

Me: If you had to pick a favorite track(s) on the record, what would they be and why?

Crystal-Viper-Possession-coverMarta: There are two: “We Are Many” and “Prophet Of The End”. I can’t tell you why these two are my favourite ones, maybe because of their melodies, maybe because of the lyrics, I don’t know… But the truth is when I listen to “Prophet Of The End” I feel that this is the best song I’ve ever composed.

Me: I think it’s every fans dream to be able to scream on a record by their favorite band, how did you decide to do that and what do you think of the results?

Marta: I’ve always wanted to do something like that, we love our fans, the truth is if there would be no fans, there would be no music at all, no Heavy Metal and no Crystal Viper. Except that, we – all members of Crystal Viper – are die hard fans of Metal, we love a lot of bands, we keep on buying albums, t-shirts, we travel to live shows and festivals as fans. We thought it would be something really cool to do something like that, something different – you know, everyone can buy a CD or a t-shirt, but how often can you find your name in the album booklet, and say to your friends “listen, it’s me on this album!”? I don’t know if any band did it before, at least I haven’t heard about something like that.

Me: You’ve covered everyone from Virgin Steele, W.A.S.P., and even Accept. How do you guys decide on what song to cover for an album if you do choose to cover a song?

Marta: It’s not that easy, believe me, haha! Everyone in Crystal Viper listen to a lot of different music, from classical genres to black and death metal, so there’s always a lot of totally different ideas for a cover song. But at the end we choose songs that would fit the album, and a song that we all really like – and this is how it was with Riot’s “Thundersteel”. We all really adore this one, and I think that this is one of the best songs in heavy metal, and what else, if you follow the lyrics on our new album, you will notice that lyrics from “Thundersteel” can be like kind of continuation of something, what happened, or better, something that got revealed  in “Prophet Of The End”. But going back to cover songs, there are so many great and beautiful songs that we would love to record in the future, you know, we all are fans of music, it’s a lot of fun when you can play with your own band songs of your favourite artists, it’s amazing!

Me: You have such a wide variety of covers, who were your major influences as a guitar player and vocalist?

Marta: From vocalists most important ones have always been for me Tony Martin, Rob Halford, Doro, Leather Leone, Eric Adams, David DeFeis… My favourite guitarists are mighty Glenn Tipton, Mike Oldfield and Eddie Van Halen!

Me: In the last ten years, a lot of metal bands that have female lead singers has been rising in numbers, what do you believe contributed to this and is this a sign that Metal is no longer just the boys club?

Marta: I wouldn’t say that metal have ever been only boys club, and what else, I think that in classic metal we have less numbers of women than for example in the 80’s. Of course there are a lot of rock, gothic and symphonic female fronted bands, but in heavy metal and classic rock, there are aren’t that many. Who remember such great bands like Rock Goddess, The Runaways, Warlock, Vixen, Acid, Blacklace, Zed Yago, or Wendy O Williams, to list only few? I still hope that there will be more and more women in the future, who are ready to rock!

Me: Lastly, I want to thank you for taking the time for this interview, after the album is released what are the future plans for Crystal Viper as far as touring is concerned? Can we expect a US run?

Marta: We would love to play in the USA, but it depends of the promoters, if they invite us, or not. If it would depends of us, we would play 365 liveshows a year, on every continent. Thank you very much for making this interview, and for your support! We are Metal Nation!