Interview – Joey “Blue” Gonzalez/Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals

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IT’S “20 QUESTIONS WITH CROSS” DAY!

Looks like Santa came right on time to drop off a Christmas present for me this early morning. And obviously I thought to share it with you all, right away.

This is going to be my last interview blog for this year and I will resume the interviews next year.

I would like to thank every artist who’s been part of this year’s “20 Questions With CROSS” blog interviews. I can’t thank you guys enough for adding magic to my every day working routine. Thank you all!

Also, a big thank you goes to all those people who felt like spending a couple minutes or more of their life to give each of the interviews a read. Thank y’all, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

What makes this interview very special for me is that the drummer we’re going to interview today is part of many bands I’m a DieHard fan of, and of course it’s a pleasure to have the chance to talk to such an unbelievable talent.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Jose Gonzalez, known as Blue, plays drums for several bands on Housecore Records; Warbeast, Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, Superjoint.

Hello Blue!

Cross – First of all why do they call you Blue? In interviews and whatnot, you seem a very joyful person. 

Blue – When I was younger I got nicknamed little drummer boy Blue so I guess it was a combination of a little drummer boy and a little boy blue it just kind of stuck.

Cross – When did you realize playing drums was what you wanted to do in your life? 

Blue – When I was 12 years old I got behind a drum set at a church youth group night and after a few months of just going specifically to play drums I was pretty much hooked and then I got my first kit when I was 13 so yeah 12-13 years old.

Cross – Pure talent right there, didn’t take you long to be noticed. You’ve been playing with Demonseed before Warbeast but the latter is where I got to know you as a drummer. I know you guys started Warbeast in 2006 as Texas Metal Alliance to change it to Warbeast in 2008. You were 16, right? Bruce Corbitt, Scott Shelby and you were the founding members… Who did you meet first, Corbitt or Shelby? 

BlueI met them at the exact same time they both approached me at a Demonseed show and Bruce kind of started talking about giving me this demo and if I was interested maybe playing drums. Then not long after that, like almost immediately after that, Scott came up to me and he pretty much said you’re my drummer and I learned the songs.

Cross – That’s awesome! How is it to work with Bruce Corbitt, the Wizard of Gore, and Scott Shelby, The Beast of Gammacide? 

BlueIt was absolutely awesome, they’re my brothers and they taught me a lot and Bruce he told me when I was 17 years old I’m gonna get you signed and within a year he did that. He got the band signed.

Cross – From the debute Destroy to Krush the Enemy and Enter the Arena, you guys kept being as heavy as it gets. But the Enter The Arena gave birth to one of the funniest, awesome music videos, ever. With the dark narration of Philip Anselmo to Scott Shelby reading Brock Lesnar’s Death Clutch book and featuring the Hitchhiker from the original, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Edwin Neal.
Blue, you started it all by stealing that bong from the corpse, didn’t you? (laughs) 
Who’s idea was it and how does it feel to be on the same video with Edwin, how is it to work with him, him being a professional actor and all? 

Blue – Oh it was pretty cool it was the first time we really did a music video, a music video of that kind of magnitude. It was a lot of fun, it was a big adventure. We went from a cemetery in Arlington and drove around some back roads and as grueling as you can imagine it being like running out of gas on tour, we kind of were running out of gas while we were filming so it’s pretty awesome, there’s real emotions there.

Cross Warbeast been on Housecore Records since day one. You recorded everything at the Nodferatu’s lair. Is there any memory you cherish from all that, that you might like to share with us? 

Blue – Well we’ve had lots and lots of awesome times at the Lair, but I think one of my favorite memories is one of the very first videos I ever took on my computer before you know like video messaging was cool, before these TikTock‘s and all this other stuff. I took this dumb little video in the studio and it’s just me, Bobby Tillotson, Scott Shelby and Andre Karst and we’re about to do Destroy and it’s just a 30 second video of us just saying the dumbest shit and then I put slow motion to it and it doesn’t even mean anything. It’s not promo or anything like that it’s just us in the studio being completely excited to be there to record and it’s like every time I see it I just he just takes me back to being, you know there, and how excited we were and just how much fun it was to be in the studio.

Cross – That’s not the only video you’ve been part of which has a horror icon starring in it. The Greasy Strangler, Michael St. Michaels calls y’all for Medication Time in Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, Choosing Mental Illness, official music video. A masterpiece, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” themed, work of Mike Holderbeast and Kate Richardson Anselmo. 
How was it to be Chief Bromden for a couple hours? How fun is it to hang out with Big Ronnie? 

Blue – Oh big Ronnie is a total blast Michael Saint Michaels, he was just an absolute gentleman and he had some amazing stories you know from his time in Hollywood and been an actor. It was just really cool to have somebody that you know they wanted to be there and do something different and it is it was awesome. It was a blast, and then to be tall for a few minutes it’s kind of funny too.

Cross (laughs) From Warbeast to Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, how different was it for you as a drummer? 

BlueWarbeast is a Texas thrash band so it is a lot more straightforward upbeat tempo and as far as The Illegals it’s drastically different. There’s some thrash influences there, but there’s just a whole spectrum of influence is going into that you know really diving deep into the extreme metal side. So I think if anything Warbeast kind of prepared me for what I was going to be in for with the Illegals.

Cross – There’s a video of you playing on drums, Walk Through Exits Only, which shows your sick drumming skills from up close. Do you use the same gear as back then? When the video came out it said, somewhere down where the links were listed, you were going to switch to ProMark Sticks and Czarcie Kopyto pedals. 

BlueIn the recent years I was fortunate enough to get Tama drums which you know is my hardware as well. I did end up getting Czarcie Kopyto pedals which are absolutely fucking amazing and I had peridore sticks and went back to Promark just for a little bit, more consistency. I’m glad I  did they are absolutely awesome do not regret it, the D’Addario family treats me very well and Paiste cymbals absolutely come in 100% and they’ve just been super supportive. I couldn’t be anymore happy and feel like I’m taken care of by my companies. I can honestly say that I have what I want and pretty much all the equipment I’ve ever been dreaming of, I have it and it definitely makes me excited to play drums and makes me excited to use my gear because everything is top-notch and top-of-the-line.

Cross – I know I asked Stephen Taylor in my last interview but it been a while so, when can we expect another album from The Illegals?

Blue – Hopefully next year, hopefully 2022 is a better year and and we can get out of this Covid funk and get back to doing some stuff with everyone. In the meantime we’re going to be writing, we have a lot of riffs compiled so we’re just gonna start going through it and start pre-production here soon and hopefully crank out a fucking ripper.

Cross – Can’t wait! By being the drummer for The Illegals you and the band had the chance to help Philip perform for the first time a PanterA tribute. If I remember right I think it was a Friday night, November 16, at the Viper Room, Los Angeles. 
You guys been doing that for a while now since then, including A Vulgar Display of PanterA, Livestream April 9, which was a blast. What can you tell us about all that experience? 

Blue – It’s extremely humbling and surreal to be a part of something like that. I mean as far as taking the PanterA tribute to the masses and as a full set and a full show, we are death metal band so it was a lot of work to do to get all that material solid, but I mean it’s awesome we’re all big fans of Philip and PanterA so it’s absolutely a blast for us to do. I’m just honored to be a part of it and if the people want it you know The Illegals are happy to do it, but I think we’re interested in writing our own material now and adding some new music that hopefully people will enjoy and just to keep the ball rolling.

Cross – You’ve played in a couple of Hank Williams lll shows. Are Superjoint done? Also have you been to Europe first with Hank lll or Warbeast?

Blue – As far as Superjoint being done I wouldn’t say Superjoint is ever done, you can’t kill bad grass! Also, I believe Hank 3 was actually the first one to take me to Europe. He took me to Europe when I was 22. That was a really really fucking awesome time and then the second time I went I was with Warbeast, when we we did that tour with DOWN.

Cross – Love what you said about Superjoint there.
How did it feel to fill in for Jimmy Bower in the En Minor Livestream at the Orpheum Theatre? (I think that’s one of the most beautifully made shows, ever!) 

Blue – It started off as me filling in for Jimmy, I think now I’m pretty well established as a live drummer for En Minor. We’ve done the livestream and a couple shows and every live performance has been, been myself behind the drums. So I think I am the actual drummer now.

Cross – Hell yeah! We love Jimmy but now we’re kinda used to see you behind the kit in En Minor shows. Are you working on any other project we don’t know of? 

Blue – I do session work for friends and for people. I am a drummer for hire. I like to be creative and you know, to help people you know, see a vision come to life. It’s pretty awesome for me so I don’t mind working with all kinds of genres, but yeah I do have a project that I sing and play drums in, it’s called III Witches. I’ve put it out there a little bit but I don’t really push it too much. I kind of like the mystique behind it and I’m mostly super self-conscious of me singing because I’m a drummer not a singer so it’s me just pretending.

Cross – That’s awesome. I should do more homework, I missed that one, somehow.
Can you name five albums or songs that inspired you to become the drumming machine you’re now?

Blue – Yes super aspirational album – Sabotage Drumming album – Reign In Blood, Reinventing the Steel, Far Beyond Driven.
A specific song – Painkiller by Judas Priest.
And tons and tons of shit Gene Hoglan’s been on.

Cross – I know you’re a horror film fan… Can you name your top 5 horror films of all time? 

Blue – Absolutely not, but I can tell you that The Thing and Dawn of the Dead are my all-time favorites, but The Thing is my all-time favorite.

Cross – You can’t go wrong with those two. Not sure how much of a gamer you are but knowing that you’re part of that generation… Do you have any favorite ones? 

Blue – Oh I’m on Call of Duty fanatic. I like online games and I like yelling at my friends and random people.

Cross – (laughs) What has Blue been listening to lately? 

Blue – Whatever my lady Rose has on her playlist. I don’t really choose and if not her playlist I just listen to the PanterA set list of the songs that we play to go over and practice. I just listen to those religiously. That and lately the Dover Brothers album Floyd’s Fables, incredible incredible record by some really awesome humble and talented dudes.

Cross – I’m glad you mentioned them and their Floyd’s Fables, really great album.
You recently moved to New Orleans… I know you visited in many occasions, touring with the band and all, how do you like it living there? NOLA is one of my favorite places on the face of the world, I’d love to move there someday… 

Blue – Oh it’s, it’s pretty killer. We have a nice place and we get to hang out with some of our best friends and if we complained who would listen.

Cross – Anything else you might like to add for your fans Blue? 

Blue – For anything and everything related to Philip H. Anselmo and The Illegals go to housecorerecords.com Thank you guys for all the support, we love you. We can’t wait to get back out there and play some shows, in the meantime check out the website and keep yourself informed, updated and love you!

CrossThank you for your time Blue, I really appreciate it! It’s been a great pleasure!

Facebook Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals:
https://www.facebook.com/Philipillegals/

Facebook Blue
https://www.facebook.com/joey.gonzales.376

YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/user/housecorerecords

Web
https://housecorerecords.com/

Interview – Larry Pike / Battle Axe Massacre

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IT’S “20 QUESTIONS WITH CROSS” DAY!

This is my first time interviewing a drummer and thought was best to start this interview by revealing that fact. My first and last time behind a drumkit was probably in 2011 maybe 2012? When I’ve been left alone, at the bar I used to work at, adding the last touches on the visual part of the stage. Just a couple minutes before the band they had playing live that night, started their show. Needless to say, I almost ruined that drummer’s kit. (laughs) 

The artist I got in for this interview has been behind the drumkit for a long time. Amazing skills! Brutal deliverance. He is the drummer for the evil thrash metal band Battle Axe Massacre, Larry Pike.

Hi Larry, thank you for being willing to do this interview!

Cross – As I mentioned, you’re the drummer for Battle Axe Massacre. Will get to the band soon. First, how did Larry end up being a drummer? When did the love of sitting behind the kit and killing it, start?

LarryI started out as a jazz drummer in school in 1990. I kinda sucked at it for a couple years, but I just kept sticking to it, lol and after a few years I began to show a lot of improvement. It has been my passion ever since.

CrossThe first release of Battle Axe Massacre came out in 2013, called Kill Yourself… Or Die Trying. A really Evil, Heavy album. While I love the idea of the album cover being just the band’s name logo, I’m curious about the title. What’s the story behind it, was it a two song pick combination?

LarryKill yourself or die trying, is indeed two separate songs that go together. It came from a saying my friends were saying, “Be there, or die trying!”

CrossKill Yourself is probably my favorite track on this album and if I’m not mistaken you did the vocals for it and for the previous track, Seabrook. Uncommon for a drummer to sing. (Yeah I know y’all can name a few.) Have you been doing that before?

LarryI’m a song writer and a vocalist as well, and I play guitar. I wrote and sang the vocals for Seabrook, and Kill yourself on the first album, as well as 3 others on the second record. I’ve been working on music with Adam Huge since we met in middle school!

CrossI’ve only seen you behind the drums, I didn’t think you play guitar too. Awesome!
In three years from Kill Yourself… Or Die Trying, Battle Axe Massacre published the second album, The Phantom. I Liar, has this Portal kind of riffs. So dark and evil, fills my soul with happiness. Which of the songs has the most difficult drum part to play live? War and Rust sounds really busy. Sick song.

LarryI, Liar is a fun song. I’d say one of our better songs. I’m so glad you enjoy it and love that it feels your soul with happiness.  We just made a video for it, actually.  It’s got a lot of parts and I put a lot of energy into it. That being said, it’s a tie between that and Seabrook as far as being difficult to perform live. It’s like turning a chore into pure enjoyment!

CrossWas going to ask you later on about the video, Larry!! (laughs)
Talking about live shows… You guys did live shows before the album came out. Do you remember when and where was your first live show with Battle Axe Massacre and something you would remember from that night?

LarryFirst show of Battle Axe Massacre was at a place called, “Plan B” in Portland. We opened for another band I was playing in at the time, called, “Hotter Than A Crotch!” We played a few originals, and a few covers.

CrossBattle Axe Massacre got an official music video for Eating Eachother off Kill Yourself… Or Die Trying, in 2015 and another one for the album title track The Phantom. Something you’d like to share from those experiences?

LarryEating Eachother” turned out great! WE were a two piece at the time. Still one of our favorite songs today. The Phantom was way rad to film! I love the opening is a scene from, “Holy Mountain!” Our favorite bar was next door to our rehearsal space called, the Twighlight Cafe & Bar. That’s where we shot it. The bassist from my other band, “Roanoke”, filling in on bass for us.

CrossIs there a possibility of a new album any time soon?

LarryThere are new songs ready to record. They are even dirtier, heavier, and harder than our previous efforts.  We’re still working on who we will have produce it for us. The Phantom was engine-eared by Billy Anderson, so probably gonna have him do the new stuff. He knows our sound?

Cross – That’s good news!
You guys working on a new music video in what I heard. Can you spoil something about it, will it be a new track too? (you spoiled some earlier)

LarryThe new video is just about to drop, and perhaps it already has by the time you read this. It’s part a horror story and we filmed it at my place in the woods! The song, “I, Liar.”

CrossWhen you mentioned it was going to be that song I felt like I just made a wish and it happened. (laughs) Any live shows? (I know many bands are struggling on that part because of the virus.)

LarryNo live shows for us for right now. It’s still crazy covid time, but when the time is right, you bet your pineapple curried ass, we’ll be back at it, haha.

Cross(laughs) I knew you’re a huge fan of The Doors and Jim Morrison but I didn’t know until recently that you’re actually Jim Morrison for the The Doors tribute band, The DOORS of Perception. We’d like to know more about this project of yours. There’s not much to be found about it. Can you put some light on it?

LarryI’ve been listening to the Doors since I was little. Started doing the Doors tribute a few years ago. Nice to change it up a bit, ya know!? We had the songs pretty tight, then covid came and screwed us out of shows. But it’s a temporary hiatus.

CrossHopefully we get to see you as Morrison soon.
What gears does Larry use and likes best, from the sticks, pedals, cymbals?

LarryI have a few kits, but my favorite is my Tiger stripe WFL pre Ludwig kit. It’s a 26″ kick drum, 14″ Tom, and 18″ floor tom. I use a Tama snare drum. Zildjian A custom, and K custom cymbals. Tama double kick speed cobra pedals, and vic firth sticks.

CrossAny advice for young drummers or musicians out there?

LarryMy son plays drums a bit, I always encourage him to practice a lot, and listen to what he enjoys and figure out patterns, repeat.

CrossPractice makes perfect for sure. Can you name three or five albums that shaped your music taste?

LarryABSOLUTELY, MetallicA – And Justice For All, PanterA – Vulgar Display of Power, Skid Row – Slave to the grind, Sepultura – Chaos A.D., and ZZ Top, all day long.

CrossWhat have you been listening to recently, Larry?

LarryI Listen to a bit of everything. Usual Suspects, Superjoint Ritual, Dr. John, Goatsnake, Cardigans, English Minor, Trouble, Van Halen, The Doors, Hendrix, Beatles, Slayer, Alice in Chains…

CrossBig fan of almost all you mentioned. In a short conversation we had, you said you like reading, what does Larry like to read?

LarryAlways reading something. Philosophy, autobiographies, anything Hunter S. Thompson. I’m reading a book called, “Secrets of the Talking Jaguar.”  And reading Jim Morrison’s complete writings.

CrossIs Larry a horror fan, can you name a couple horror films you like?

LarryI love Horror! Creature from the Black Lagoon, any Vincent Price, Creepshow, Friday the 13th and so many more.

Cross Those are cool. Price is pure magic.
Your first time attending a live show, what band was it? Last? One that really had an impact on you.

LarryMy first concert was Cinderella, The Long Cold Winter tour in 1989. Most recent concert was KISS with my son, last Friday! Most memorable, is definitely Skid Row with PanterA in Feb. 1992!

CrossYou had a really good spot there in the last one.
You have a great relationship with your son, inside jokes like Thing 1 & Thing 2… (laughs) How do you make it all work that good?

LarryI love my son. We’re pretty tight. We have many fun adventures behind us and ahead of us. I’ve taken him to lots of shows too. His favorite band right now is Primus!

CrossHe’s is in a good path. What does Thing 1 & Thing 2 like to do when you get some free time?

LarryThing 1 and Thing 2! We travel, ride bikes, flip eachother’s shit, and he loves James Bond just like me. We watch those films over and over, haha. He wants to be an actor and pharmaceutical grower, haha he’s also damn near 18!

CrossHe sure can do both. Anything else you would like to add, Larry?

LarryCheck out my other band Roanoke! @Roanoke doom, I believe! We have some things in the works as well!

CrossI’ll drop some links down below. Thank you for doing this interview Larry, It was really fun.

LarryThank you!

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/BattleAxeMassacre

Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/battle_axe_massacre/

YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/user/BattleAxeMassacre1

Instagram Roanoke:
https://www.instagram.com/roanoke_doom/

Interview – Stephen Taylor/The Illegals

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IT’S “20 QUESTIONS WITH CROSS” DAY!

Once again, I have the honor to interview one of the most talented musicians and one of my recent heroes – Stephen Taylor! He’s a guitarist and a bassist who has played in Alt-Country, Hardcore and Heavy Metal bands. To mention a few: Spunk, 16 Horsepower, Woven Hand. 

Stephen Taylor took over Bass duties in Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, when Bennett Bartley left.

Also, Stephen plays along many other super talented musicians like Jimmy Bower, Kevin Bond, Steve Bernal, Calvin Dover in Anselmo’s latest, southern Gothic/Dark Americana project, En Minor. 

Thank you Schteve (laughs, I hope I’m allowed to call you Schteve) for taking the time to make this interview happen. So exciting!!!

Cross – I’ll start it with one or two questions about you showing interest towards music and your first steps as a musician. When did you get your first guitar? Was it an acoustic, an electric or a bass? 

StephenI have a photo of me with my first acoustic, at around the age of 5 or 6. Only memory of it is through that photo. I’ll have to dig that up, cause now I’m wondering if it was an old Kay, or Silvertone. Not really sure who bought it for me, or why. I can’t recall any musical interest at that age. Now fast forward 2-3 years, at 8 or 9, I will share this, which forever will stay ingrained in my mind, and only realizing a deeper connection a few short years back. On a visit to a distant relatives farm, in Valparaiso, Nebraska, I wander into living room alone. There is a turntable, a record with a dude wielding a sword on the cover, and a set of headphones. Curious me, puts on headphones, drops the needle, and volume cranked from last listener. War Pigs off the Black Sabbath Paranoid album is what was now being blasted to my impressionable mind. I suspect this was the beginnings for me. Only found out a few years ago I share a birthday with Tony Iommi. February 19th, and to make it even weirder, my wife Jeanine, shares her birthday with Randy Rhodes December 6th. These are signs and wonderment. Keep the Sabbath!

Cross – I didn’t know about your wife sharing a birthday with Randy but I knew you do share a birthday with Tony. Me too. How awesome is that?! Can you mention a couple of your childhood/youth favorite bands or albums?

StephenI can totally remember the first records I saved up for and bought on my own. Ha! I even remember where, It was at Woolworth’s in Gentilly La. (suburb of NOLA for those outsiders) (Gentilly People!, for the insiders). And the records were , Kiss “The Originals”, “Alive“ and The Eagles “Hotel California”. At this time, Kiss was an obsession. And I really wanted to play drums at this age, I remember taking the pots, and Tupperware out, and beating on them with wooden spoons. I still can’t play the drums, but that’s a whole other story…

Cross – As I mentioned at the beginning, you took over Bass for Philip Anselmo & The Illegals, on The Illegals debut album Walk Through Exits Only, after Bennet left. Then, you switched to axes for the second album “the voodoo metal” – Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue. (Laughs, I love that you called it “the voodoo metal”  in an interview.)

StephenI believe I was referring to the “Metraton Nganga” path we went down, before the recording of choosing.

Cross – Which does Stephen enjoy more, playing Bass or Guitar?

StephenIt wasn’t til The Illegals that I’ve ever played bass in a band, or at all really, I mean, besides just plucking around on one. I had to figure it out, I don’t think I really grasped the concept of bass til the second tour of Superjoint. In The Illegals, we were a 4 pc at the time, and I was up front, grinding away like a guitar player, which was called for to an extent. Jumping on with Superjoint, now a 5 pc, I learned that I had to get back in the pocket, play the backfield so to speak, make eye contact with Blu, turn off the distortion, and slam the strings. I realized I had to give Jimmy space, and get in my own lane.

Cross – Oh, I always thought you’ve been playing bass as long as guitar just been switching on whichever was needed for the project you were playing for.

We have been waiting for ages now for new material from The Illegals. There’s been a couple posts from different members of the band letting us know that you’re all working on that. How much longer do we have to wait? We’re hungry for new music.

StephenYeah, I don’t like those updates, for that very reason. I mean, I’m always creating, so are all the other guys. We have a lot of songs, half songs, partial songs, riffs, ideas. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll make it to a record. 

Cross – It was inspiring when it happened. Knowing that we all were going nuts not being able to leave home. Can you give us some tips on what path are The Illegals going in the next album? The first two ones are similar, in the sense that you know that’s “The Illegals sound”, and also totally different from each other.

StephenThe Illegals is really Philip’s baby. It goes where he allows it to flow. He is the common thread that identifies “the sound”. Actually on our last get together, we were chatting about how to approach it. We like to experiment, so to me, anything’s possible.

Cross – With The Illegals, you had the possibility to play for the first time Pantera Tribute shows, with Slayer too. The latest being the Vulgar Display of Pantera LiveStream in New Orleans, which was a blast for the fans. 

StephenWhat a great honor that was to be part of Slayers final campaign!

Cross – How much did you guys feel the difference of the crowd from those first shows with the Livestream which didn’t have that many people attending in the same building but so many were watching it from their home?

StephenThe Livestream was one of the most intense things I’ve ever had to prepare for, and to pull off. Live is live. But a 15 song live to broadcast, playing PANTERA is on a whole other spectrum, you’re literally being filmed, and being multi-tracked, so you have to be as close to studio quality as possible. And “you’re playing” is only one part of that equation, once you get the green light, it is what it is, so make it good! Kate Richardson put together a great team that brought that to fruition. It was an awesome set-up!

Cross – It was a blast, seriously! You guys getting back on doing couple Vulgar Display of Pantera shows soon?

StephenYes, we are scheduled for a few fests in the states here soon.

Cross – How did Stephen ended up with Superjoint? Was it planned for an album after the Housecore Horror Festival shows?

StephenBlue and I were at “The Lair” doing illegal stuff. I believe he was already penned for the drum seat once the band decided to do reunion for the “Horror Fest”. I offered to sit in with band and rehearse with them til Hank3 was available. That’s how that happened.

Cross – What happened with Metraton Nganga? There were some rumors about this new project you guys were working on: you, Blue/Joey Gonzalez and Philip Anselmo, a couple years ago.

StephenIt’s still there, festering. This was a writing session that went, awry, a path that had to be explored, it sits, in darkness.

Cross – Hopefully soon we’ll have a chance to listen to some Metraton Nganga.
En Minor. In my opinion is the most beautiful thing heavy metal icons like Philip and yourself could ever come up with. I want to thank you personally, and the whole crew who worked their asses off for the En Minor Livestream at the Orpheum Theatre. Y’all did an epic work. (We’ll get back to that in a bit.)

StephenThank you. A couple ideas were thrown out, I think Kate soaked it in, and put together a great experience, and production. Kudos goes out to her for organizing all that!

Cross – I’m glad you mentioned Kate twice already. I hope she knows we fans appreciate her hard work.
En Minor started with you and Philip and with time other artists became part of this project. You mentioned in a couple interviews on the Livestream also how it all started. Can you tell us a memory from the time when En Minor was just you and Philip?

StephenIt was after tracking illegal demos, real late at night as we were about to call it. I grabbed my arch-top that I had with me and started playing what you now know as Mausoleums. But a more busier version, hence the “just keep it simple”. Not sure if I should take the magic outta this one, but here goes, that’s what Philip was whispering in my headphones whenever I was trying to complicate the riff, while tracking it. I followed that with what’s now called “Hats Off”. Up to this point, I had no idea he was interested in doing any acoustic, or vibe out kinda stuff. But I think that night, by me just expressing another side of me, opened a floodgate of ideas he had already, and a bunch we came up with together. And since that moment, they flow just as easy today. We have no problem writing songs in this style, they flow naturally, and being surrounded with players that know their way around things, opens up the spectrum of the works.

Cross – I’m glad you guys decided to work on all that and release the first album. En Minor is a special band and sound. Unique.
En Minor’s first live show was at One Eyed Jacks in New Orleans, Louisiana, almost two years ago. How did it feel to get on stage to play songs people never listened to before? (When The Cold Truth Has Worn Its Miserable Welcome Out came out almost one year after this show.)

StephenIt was kinda awkward, still is, we only have like 4 shows under our belt as a band. If we had a solid month on the road together, I think we’d be an insanely intense band live.

Cross – Getting back to the En Minor Livestream…

StephenYes.

Cross – In how great it was all put together, it makes one think that it had been planed for a while and Covid-19 just interfered. Was the Livestream meant to be a normal live show and cause of the circumstances it turned into a Livestream show?

StephenNot at all, the “Down” livestream was successful, so that’s when the idea circulated. I think it was only planned out a month or so in advance.

Cross – We know there are three hours En Minor material ready. We would like to know when is the new album coming out and will those new songs from the En Minor Livestream be included in it? How about There’s a Long Way to Go?

StephenWe have enough material for 4 records easy. It’s weeding through it all, and deciding on what to do with it all. We’ve kinda outgrown our own 2nd album, that’s not even recorded yet, but is half the setlist on Livestream. Every time we get together as a unit, we grow, mature, the songs/riffs are more seasoned.

Cross – That’s great news. There were unbelievably great new songs in the Livestream. I swear I never listened to an album as many times as I’ve listened to When The Cold Truth Has Worn Its Miserable Welcome Out.

StephenReally! That’s pretty cool to hear as an artist, from an artist at that!

Cross – Any plans for En Minor to get back doing live shows? Now that live music is having a come back little by little. Have you guys ever thought to get En Minor touring the world not only America?

StephenAt this moment, I have no news here. But ready and willing.

Cross – An interesting thing about you as a guitar player is that you don’t stick to one guitar brand. There was a video of you and Mike DeLeon showing them axes. He plays a V all the time but that’s not the same with you. Is that how you explore sound, Stephen?

StephenWell yes and no. I mix it up all sorta ways. I am not loyal to any sound or type of guitar, or brand. It’s whatever I grab to achieve what we are going for. I really mix my styles up with tunings. If I’m at a writing block in standard, everything I’m doing seems generic. That’s when I’ll go to an open tuning. I’ve learned this with my Sixteen Horsepower days. I will go from major/minor open tuning, to more weirder ones. I’ve recently discovered what’s called “New Standard” or the Robert Fripp tuning, it’s scrambling up the positions, and the order of the notes. Then you try to bring order to the new chaos you just created for yourself. Gets weird, clears the room sometimes!

Cross – How difficult is it to switch from playing bass to playing guitar?

StephenTakes a min, it’s more so when going from bass back to guitar.

Cross – Favorite guitarist/bassist?

StephenI can’t ever answer these type of questions honestly. Too many great players that have left their mark in my sub conscious.

Cross – What has Stephen been listening to lately?

StephenMy daughter recently confiscated my turntable, so, it’s been fun watching her explore the old ways. She’s on Double Fantasy John/Yoko at the moment. So I was just listening to “Watching The Wheels”. And also was just listening to Victims Family.

Cross – I had some guitar pick problems lately. I just couldn’t remember the thickness I’ve been using to play for years. (I don’t really play, just time to time, for fun, when there’s some free time.) What pick thickness does Stephen uses?

StephenFor illegals I use the Jazz iii XL’s they are pretty firm, I use heavy stiff picks for the metal grindy stuff. For En Minor I’ve been using the dunlop orange tortex, quite a bit thinner. I use my fingers if needed, I’ve even used a make-up brush before.

Cross – Is there any other side project you’re working on that we don’t know of?

StephenYes.

Cross – You have a terrific family. What does the Taylor family like to do when the man of the family isn’t on tour or investing time, talent and soul in writing new stuff?

StephenThank you! Yes things can get a bit hectic with this dynamic, and top that with the way things have been lately, everyone hangin’ strong.
Taking advantage of the time by not doing much.
Pretty much just all chilling at the homestead, low key, cook outs, cruising the hood on the ole golfing cart. Might take a drive down to the beach soon!

Cross – Thank you Schteve for taking the time to go through all this, it’s been a blast! Appreciate you!

StephenThank you for the interest! 

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/phabassist

https://www.facebook.com/enminorofficial/

https://www.facebook.com/Philipillegals

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/stephentaylor507/?hl=en

https://www.instagram.com/officialenminor/

https://www.instagram.com/philiphanselmoandtheillegals/

Interview – John Jarvis/Scour

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IT’S “20 QUESTIONS WITH CROSS” DAY!

Known more as a bassist, the artist I’m going to interview today is one of the more active extreme artists out there. He’s a member of many bands I’m a fan of, one of my heroes, and I’m sure many of y’all know him more through his side project – the extreme metal supergroup with a monstrous sound, which is so heavy that it makes other bands seem frail in comparison, Scour. I’m talking about John Jarvis! He plays bass in Scour and backs up Philip Anselmo vocally. (This is very exciting) 

Hello John! First and foremost, thank you for taking the time to make this happen. I really appreciate it!

Cross – I’m going to start this interview with Fulgora. It’s been a while we haven’t heard about it and I remember how I found out about Fulgora. You guys toured with them Handsome Devils, (laughs), how Phil Anselmo used to call ’em back then, Superjoint, in It Takes Guts tour.

Fulgora had two releases of two songs per each release in 2013 before the full album, Stratagem, 2015. A perfect savagery. Are we going to hear something new from Fulgora anytime soon? You and Adam Jarvis mentioned in the Scour Livestream that there was material ready.

John – Yes thanks for having me! Fulgora does have a single recorded now, but we are waiting on the right time to release it. It’s hard with the live band so spread out, with Sparky (ex- Dying Fetus) and Adam in Baltimore and Brandon and I in St Louis. Brandon does have some demos that were being worked on for another record, and we had a few songs from that era that were never recorded that we could always work on, I hope we get working on that at some point!!!

Cross – I hope you guys get a chance soon. Great music is always welcomed.

You joined Pig Destroyer in 2013. And Head Cage is the first Pig Destroyer album with The Jarvi. (Laughs) Head Cage marks the band’s first album with a bassist. In Pig Destroyer, Scott Hull writes everything and you had to execute. I’m sure you had your freedom there to add your touches but how different is for you to play stuff you didn’t write? Also, how did The Jarvi start? 

John – There were a couple parts where Scott just said “play what you want here” during the writing/recording but most of it was specifically wrote with bass in mind, and rehearsed in advance for months before recording. It was very easy as he’d record video of each part for me to learn on my own time, so I’d just show up ready to go.

The Jarvi, we started jamming together very young, playing Jimi Hendrix, Metallica, and Led Zeppelin covers in grade school. Adam’s dad had a rehearsal room so it was great!

Cross – Cool. You played with Agoraphobic Nosebleed in Housecore Horror Film Festival lll, 2015. Can you tell us a little bit about that experience? (You did the previous year with Fulgora too.) 

John – That year was very interesting as I got food poisoning eating some breakfast taco right when we got into town. It was bad news, but besides that it was a killer show, and a great time!!! King Diamond was great as was COC & Crowbar as usual. I’ve played every Horror Fest with different bands now that I think about it haha.

Cross – Talking about horror, are you a horror film fan, John? 

John – Sure, Sleepaway Camp and 80’s slashers are my favorite. 

Cross – Awesome! China Girl is another project of yours with Dennis Sanders of Spirit In The Room – a really talented guy. China Girl is an interesting, very different band you did vocals for which had one release. Any plans for new releases? Does the band name has anything to do with Bowie’s China Girl? 

John – Nothing to do with David Bowie, and no plans right now as we are both so busy, but never say never!  I’m open to it for sure, it was fun to do something different. 

Cross – Nest is your latest project and pretty much you wrote the entire record right before the Coronavirus started. How did you get with the other members? 

John – The bassist is my girlfriend and the drummer was Fulgora’s old drummer, so it’s been really easy!  We released a couple albums in 2020, and are finishing up a third now.  We hope to release it around our appearance at Full Terror Assault in September. That’s another Fest I’ve played multiple years with multiple different bands haha. Always a great time there.   

Cross – That’s great news. As I said at the beginning of this interview, you’re one of the most active musicians I know. You guys had a couple live shows on March 2021, in New Orleans too, which were like in the open. Followed by the one on May 1st at Red Flag. Were these your first live shows after the lock down?

John – We also did a Houston Texas show in late 2020 which you can hear on Spotify, but yes all of those have been just a blast after not being able to play for so long. The New Orleans show was a little crazy, about 200 people and the fire department shut it down because they set a car on fire, luckily after the music was over though haha.

Cross – New Orleans knows how to make the experience memorable. (laughs)

Scour. First of all I wanna thank each one of you guys for the Scour Livestream. Great job, hands down. A total blast of energy from Nodferatu’s lair, keeping us inspired. It was fucking Epic to have that type of energy right in our homes. You guys explained a bit in the Livestream how Scour happened, Derek Engemann being the founder… but, you and him worked to make a full EP trilogy before anyone knew.

How did you and Derek meet? Anything special you remember about that part of the Scour experience, before you guys decided who else was going to be in the band?

John – Derek and I met when our bands Cast The Stone and All Will Fall played shows together back in the 90’s in St Louis. We’d be the local opening bands for a lot of the death metal shows coming through town.  

When we started Scour, we were both unhappy with the bands we were in at the time, and we agreed a band should be ran a certain way before we really had talks of members. It was a great time because we were on tour, and we made sure to do something fun in every city, whether it was a water park or amusement park or just local bars. We would wonder, “why not have a band where we do fun stuff like this all of the time!?!?” So Scour always has fun activities like renting boats and kayaking and surfing when we get together. 

Cross – How did it feel to play without fans under the same roof? 

John – Very strange but it’s what had to happen at the time. I’m glad we did it, but it would have been way cooler with a crowd!!!

Cross – I bet. How hard is it to play and work with them Scourboyz, being an elite collective of members? 

John – Easy as can be. Anytime there is a problem there is usually 1 of us that can handle the situation with the quickness. We are all well traveled and well rehearsed, so it’s very stress free even when disaster strikes. 

Cross – When was the first time you met Phil? You kinda touched on it in the Scour Livestream but not really. 

John – We talked on the phone first, and then we were both at Maryland Deathfest when Down played, and he was walking through the crowd and I noticed it was him (hard to miss haha). He was interested in signing Fulgora to Housecore at the time so we had planned on meeting up there.

Cross – Is there any special memory you have in Nodferatu’s lair other than the first time you and Adam got there with Fulgora and took that sweet pic with Phil, the one showed in the Scour Livestream?

John – Anytime Phil tells an old story is my favorite. I could listen all day to his Pantera stories. Once we were rehearsing “Slaughtered” and I played the intro to “25 Years” after jokingly, like on the album, and he told a quick story and next thing we were playing the bridge/outro riff and singing it together. And he’s looking at me like “sing it”. “We’re fucking you back” Just insane!!!

Cross – (laughs) I’m sure he has plenty of stories to tell. PanterA was a crazy band.

Now that The Beast is complete what can we fans expect from Scour? More EPs, EP trilogies, full album? I did love the idea of three EPs, each having six songs to complete The Beast, 666. You explained that in an interview. (People can find that interview in the Scour Official YouTube channel.)

John – We are working on our first Full Length next!!! I predict more blast beats!!!

Cross – Can’t wait! Is there any chance of Scour starting to play live shows or, any plans for another Livestream? I wouldn’t mind to watch you guys live from my laptop screen once again. 

John – We are always open to the right offer, I certainly hope for more Scour shows soon!!!

Cross – When did you show interest about heavy music? Who got you into heavy metal?

John – Watching MTV very young, Def Leppard & Ozzy Osbourne videos and then Motley Crue and Metallica.

Cross – What was your first band ever, John?

John – Primitive Sorcery with Adam when we were very young. Mostly just played “For Whom The Bell Tolls” over and over.

Cross – Primitive Sorcery, I like that. Can you describe your music-taste growth through the years with album titles? 

John –  Abbey Road
Thriller
1984
…And Justice For All
Strap It On
Slip

Cross – I’m sure all can figure the artist/band. How many guitars does John Jarvis own and which is your favorite one to play?

John 7, favorites being the ESP Horizons, both bass and guitar.

Cross – What does John Jarvis enjoy to do other than playing and working in so many different bands?

John – Watching baseball and enjoying being active with my girlfriend playing Baseball, Football, Tennis, Roller Skating, and walking and playing with my awesome dog Tasha.

Cross – Anything else you would like to add, John?

John – Thanks for having me and thanks everyone for reading!

Cross – Thank you for your time John, it’s been a great pleasure. Appreciate you!

YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/c/SCOUROFFICIAL

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/nestofficialstl

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/jarvis_booking_and_management/

Bandcamp – https://nestofficial.bandcamp.com/

Scour Merch – https://www.nightshiftmerch.com/collections/scour

Interview – Kamikaze Zombie

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IT’S “20 QUESTIONS WITH CROSS” DAY!

The band I got on for today has two core members, Clint Spain and Steve Cater. They brought in Trevor Edwards on drums recently as their third core member. Working together they created their own genre Horror Crossover, mixing Hardcore Punk with Thrash, Black Metal, Death Metal, Grindcore and Sludge Metal. All that combined with horror movie samples. After their third local show they did open for Decapitated. The band was formed in Birmingham Alabama, 2014, by Clint Spain and it’s called Kamikaze Zombie. 

Hi Clint! 

Cross – Kamikaze Zombie. How did you come up with the band’s name? 

Clint – The band name came about when I was at work. My friend Regan and I were passing names back and forth and she said, what about ”Kamikaze Zombie?” I loved it. Little known fact – the band’s name was Monster Zero for about a week, but it just did not feel right.

Cross – How did you and Steve meet? 

Clint – I met Steve through mutual friends while in high school, then later around 2005, we started our first band together called Throne of Blood. The sound was much like other bands of that time, but we were young, and it eventually fell apart. So, when I was trying to start Kamikaze Zombie up, I knew Steve had to be the guitarist. He and I just gel and he is a fantastic guitarist with a crazy ear. He hears things I would never hear or think of in a million years.

Cross – How much did opening for Decapitated helped the band, Clint? 

Clint – Opening for Decapitated was huge for us. It gave us a leg up and put us in a lot of faces early on. We had only played three shows as a band at that point, and it was definitely – a springboard and allowed us to build the relationship we have now with local promoters, which is worth its weight in gold when trying to get your name out there. In hindsight, I think we were luckily to have the foresight to see the opportunity at hand. We busted our ass on that show. So that the promoter would want to work with us again and it worked.

Cross – Kamikaze Zombie’s first album “Night of The Nuberus” came out in 2017. Great artwork from Shawn Knight (Child Bite).  What caught my eye was the name of the songs in this album. “Eraser Head”/Lynch, listed second song in the album, “In the Mouth of Madness”/Carpenter’s, fourth in the album, just to name a couple. Do you guys name your songs after your favorite horror movies or, what fits with the lyrics? 

Clint – Actually – It’s a little bit of both. I write lyrics with a theme in mind. Almost all my lyrics are written metaphorically, but then there is the rare occasion that I write exactly what the title suggest – like ManHunter and the Story of Jane Doe. Both are Hannibal Lecter inspired.

Cross – “In the Mouth of Madness” has this Scaccia feel from his work on Rigor Mortis – Slaves To The Grave. There’s a Negative Approach feel in “The Story of Jane Doe” and the album ends with my favorite line ever “Listen to them, children of the night, the music they make”, courtesy of Bela Lugosi in the last song of “Night of The Nuberus”. I think I’ve been a Crude Mutant for years I just didn’t know it. (laughs) 

How did that nickname for your fans happened? 

Clint – Wow! I love hearing what different people hear in our music. The Crude Mutant idea came about as a possible name for the band. As I mentioned above, we were Monster Zero for about a week, then we changed it again to The Crude Mutants, until we came up with Kamikaze Zombie, but I liked it so much I didn’t want the name to go to waste. So, I was thinking about it at work one day and I though how Pantera are the Cowboys from Hell, we could be Kamikaze Zombie The Crude Mutants, and from there I just ran with it to include our fans to make it feel more inclusive, like now they are a part of something.

Cross – I like that. How was/is to work with Mathew Washburn? (best known for recording Mastodon.) 

Clint – He is a gem! Matt is a world class guy. We have done two full lengths and an EP with him so far and it just gets better every time. He knows his stuff and he makes you feel comfortable like you’re at home, but he will also call you on your bullshit, which we love.

Cross – You guys released your first music video for the song “The Story of Jane Doe”. Would you like to share with us your experience on that? 

Clint – That was an interesting time. We had no clue what we were doing. It was the first time we had ever done something like that, so luckily my dear friends, Ben and Nadia Robertson, did know what they were doing. They both went to school for film and have their own production company, 1931 productions, where they have made some pretty awesome gothic horror films.

Cross – “The Destroyer of All Things”, Kamikaze Zombie’s second release. The whole album kicks ass but if y’all need a start… “Prometheus”, “Devil’s Night”, “Into The Nothing”, great solo at the end.  What gears do you guys use? (mic, guitars, and all that stuff.) 

Clint – Yeah, Into the Nothing, Steve wrote the whole song and killed it on the solo. He called me up and was like dude, come check this song out. We recorded it on my ipad and that night I wrote lyrics to it while watching Return of the Living Dead.

Gear – Steve has a few different Guitars. Right now, he is playing a Jackson, but he also plays Ibanez SG’s which he has recorded all our albums with. He plays a Randall 300 head with a B52 480-watt cab. Trevor plays a Tama 5-piece drum kit with iron cobra double pedals and Sabin cymbals. I don’t really use anything special as far as vocals go, but I do use a jam-man loop pedal for samples for our live show.

Cross – That’s a great movie you used for inspiration there. As I mentioned at the beginning of this interview, you guys got Trevor recently in your band. Does that mean that from that moment on it won’t be just you and Steve making the songs? 

Clint – Yeah pretty much – it’s no secret that we have had a revolving door of members. Through all of it, Steve and I have been the only two constant members and have kept music writing and major decision making to the two of us, but now Trevor is equally involved. He has been a breath of fresh air for both Steve and I, and he helps keep things fun.

Cross – Awesome! You guys have opened for many bands. I’m a Die Hard fan of, to name a few… Philip H. Anselmo and The Illegals, Superjoint, Eyehategod, Crowbar, Goatwhore, Cannibal Corpse. How does it feel to play with bands you’re a fan of, Clint? 

Clint – It’s pretty amazing. I never thought in a million years that we would have gotten to open for so many bands that we look up to. It’s mind blowing, but at the same time it keeps us humble and grateful to have people supporting us and hungry because we have seen the other side of the fence and want to be there. It has been a real eye opener to see how much work is actually involved to be at that level. There are so many fan boy stories I could tell you, but I think the best one might be this one. After we opened for The Illegals, we were at our van (the old child bite van btw) and Phil walked up to us and asked how we were doing and then he said “you guys kicked ass,” gave us all dapps and walked inside where he and The Illegals absolutely destroyed the crowed. We were on tour and made the drive from Chicago to Birmingham just to play that show and left that night for Kentucky. The rest of that tour, we were running on pure adrenaline. Honestly having Phil give us prop was all I needed. I can die a happy man. 

Cross – You couldn’t have picked a better story for this interview. In 2020 you guys gave to your Crude Mutants a Halloween present to inspire them through those difficult times we dealt with and still are… “Fiends of The Night” an EP of songs from bands that have influenced Kamikaze Zombie. Were these songs what you guys were listening to mostly in 2020? 

Clint – Yes and no. Some songs like the Cro-mags and Agnostic Front were fan request. Others, like “Last breath,” were ones that we felt strongly about putting on the album because Steve and I both lost family members to Covid and wanted to let our fans know they are not alone. The Crowbar song was going to be “All I had I Gave”, but we decided to do something for the hardcore Crowbar fans and go with something more underground.

Cross – I’m sorry to hear about that.

February 2020 was your guys last show with Child Bite, due to Covid-19. You guys are back playing live right? You already had two shows this month. How is it going and how does it feel to play live after so long? 

Clint – Well, our first show didn’t happen because the van broken down on the way, but we got it fixed and back on the road. The second show, we just played this past Saturday, and it was fantastic. It’s a little weird playing out since people all have their opinions on Covid. Some like to levitate above everyone with their big red cape, judging people for things they have deemed unacceptable – while doing things – others self-appointed heroes have also deemed unacceptable. Then you have the people that have thrown the baby out with the bath water, not wearing a mask at all or anything. I feel it’s somewhere in the middle and at the end of the day where is the line? People are going to judge you no matter what you do, so do what you feel in your heart is right. We have all been vaccinated and wear our mask while in public and follow the guidelines that have been put in place by the state that we are playing in. We would not do anything that we felt uncomfortable doing either for our own safety or our fans. That being said, our next show is on May 22nd at Furnace 41 in Atlanta Ga.

Cross – I wish I could attend. Kamikaze Zombie have been part of Full Terror Assault festival. How different is to play in front of that many people compare to small crowds? 

Clint – The biggest difference for me is how impersonal the crowd feels. Like It’s just a bunch of faces and you’re up on this stage that’s a few feet above everyone. You learn real quick that the things you do in a smaller more personal setting don’t work, so you have to learn on the fly, new ways to get the audience into you. I’m grateful for any opportunity we get, and Full Terror is one of the best festivals ever! But I love the hardcore in your face smaller shows the best.

Cross – Are you guys working on a new album, EP? When can we all expect to listen to some new tracks? 

Clint – Well actually, we are going into the studio this weekend, 4/25, to record the first single of the upcoming new album. We are also putting out a new music video for the Dark eyes of London. We have a few other things coming down the pipe, but I can’t announce them just yet.

Cross – That’s fantastic. Clint, you founded the band in 2014 but I’m sure your interest about heavy music didn’t start then. Can you describe your journey with album titles? 

Clint – Oh Wow! Well not counting music my mom played as a kid, my first album I got into on my own was Pump – Aerosmith and Appetite for Destruction – Guns N Roses. Shortly after that I bought Ride the Lighting – Metallica, and it just got heavier from there. I was round 11 or 12 at that point. When I turned 14 I got La Sexorcisto – White Zombie and then Vulgar Display of Power- Pantera and Obedience Thru Suffering – Crowbar. I was also getting into Slayer – Reign in Blood, and they turned me on to punk, and my whole world change. Black Flag – damaged and Minor Threat – discography were anthems of my teen years. I also have to mention Antichrist Super Star – Marilyn Manson. That album was big for me, growing up an atheist my whole life, it was hard being a kid in the south.

Cross – We kinda went through same bands/albums. They say music saved your life. Would you like to tell us a bit more about it? 

Clint – Well music replaced my dad. He was in and out of prison my whole life and died in prison when I was in my twenties. Music helped me get through all of the growing pains. It also gave me a place to focus my anger. It kept me from going down a similar road as my dad, which given where I grew up, I could have easily done so.

Cross – I’m glad you let music guide you to better things. Can you name five of your favorite horror films?

Clint – Ok this is a hard one. I’ll try to pick from a few different genres.

Slashers – Halloween

Gothic Horror – Frankenstein

Zombie – Dawn of The Dead (Fuck the 2001 bullshit)

Supernatural – Suspiria 1977

Psychological – this might be my favorite genre, so I have a tie. The Shinning and Manhunter.

Cross – Omg! I had couple Horror Film interviews last year and you’re the first one who knows and loves Argento’s Suspiria, one of my favorites ever. I know I mention it any chance I get, I just want people to check it out. A masterpiece that and all the other ones you named there. You practice Kung Fu, right? 

Clint – Yes! Wow, you have done your homework. I have Study 8 Step Praying Mantis kung fu and TaiJiquan for 20 years. Next to music, martial arts has had the greatest impact on my life.

Cross – As the one who writes the lyrics for Kamikaze Zombie, how much do you like to read, Clint? 

Clint – Well before I took a job as a college instructor, I used to love to read. I spent a large part of my 20’s in bookstores, just reading everything, but after I had to read paper after paper and all of that, when I got home it was the last thing I wanted to do. I loved comics as teen/young adult too. I have a large collection of books and comics, but I haven’t read any of them in some time.

Cross – Is there anything else you would like to add for your fans out there?

Clint – Thanks for the constant support and buying our merch through 2020. It really helped. We have a lot of cool stuff planned for this year. If you want to help support us or any band and are wondering what the best ways are to do it, here are few things that can help a lot. These are all things anyone can do; we know not everyone has money to blow on merch and we would never want you to put yourself out for us.

Follow us on Spotify, also make playlist with us on it, and share with as many people as you can.

Follow us on youtube and share our videos.

Share our bandcamp and follow all our social media accounts.

These things can help us a ton and does not cost anything.

Cross – Thank you for your time, appreciate you brother!

Clint – Thank you for reaching out and helping spread the word. Thanks to all the Crude Mutants and we hope everyone stays healthy and safe.

 

YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmiT9PJtcns95Ph1bJuWUJw

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kamikazezombieband/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/kamikazezombieband/

Bandcamp – https://kamikazezombie.bandcamp.com/

Web – KamikazeZombie.com

Interview – Jeremy Kilgore

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IT’S “20 QUESTIONS WITH CROSS” DAY!

I started 20 Questions With Cross last year and it was really satisfying to see the number of interviews I was able to post in such a short period of time (from probably mid May until the end of the year).

What really made the interviews very special to me was the amount of fun I had working on each one of them (I know some of them could have been better, but that’s how we all learn and grow) and that amazing feeling of being the first one to know exclusive information, that maybe many of us were wondering, about a band or an artist being interviewed.

I got to meet many great artists, people I’m in love with their talent, others I’ve been a fan of for many years. They all have been so down to earth and so kind with me. And I can’t thank enough each one of them. I got to check out new music I probably wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for these interviews. In few words, it was great and I’m willing to put as much time, probably more, into working and looking forward to get to interview many other artists and bands or get back to some of the ones who have been part of all that fun in 2020.

I thought to start this year with an incredibly talented guy. I would call him a musician, dark folk inspired singer, songwriter but all that wouldn’t be enough to include every type of art he is capable of delivering. His name is Jeremy Kilgore. He’s one of those artists I call complete. I would compare him to Dax Riggs and you’ll see why.

Hey JKill! I hope it’s ok to call you that. I stole it from one of your videos on YouTube. (laughs)

Cross – How did you get that nickname?

JKill – Lol.. “JKill”. I actually got the nickname because there were several people named Jeremy that all my friends ran around with, and they were getting us all mixed up in their phones, so they abbreviated our names. I was JKill and there was a JDill and a few others. Also everyone thought JKill was kinda fitting for me.

Cross – Thought so. Now, we’re going to talk a bit about music at first, go through a couple of way-to-often-asked type questions, but it’s the answers what makes them interesting. First and foremost I want to know what was the first thing that got you into music. Singing or playing an instrument (guitar maybe)?

JKill – The thing that got me into music wasn’t music actually, it was the idea of being on stage. When I was a kid, my cousin and I were very acrobatic and we would climb things and do backflips off cars and all that. One day we were at a theme park, and we climbed on an empty stage just to play around because we were bored. We were running across the stage, doing flips off  things. When we were through, we had a crowd standing at the stage, and they threw money to us. And from that moment on, I did everything I could to get back on stage. I used music as a way to get on stage later on. I believe it was bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam that really made me have an opinion of my own about music and what I like. Then once I heard a Pink Floyd solo, I knew I wanted to be a guitar player.

Cross – That’s interesting. I love stages without a crowd to work on and make stuff ready for the band. It makes you feel like you’re above things. Once the crowd shows up, is my time to vanish. (laughs)

Did you study music and when did you feel like you knew enough and you could use or break the rules to start coming up with your own?

JKill – I was in orchestra in jr High, when I was about 11, 12 years old.. which was also around the time I started listening to bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Sound Garden. But I had no interest in playing a violin. My father told me if I learned how to play one he would buy me an electric guitar. So I did and he followed through and bought me my first electric. It was funny though, being in orchestra with no desire to be there. I got in trouble quite a bit for playing my violin like a guitar. As far as breaking the rules about what I was taught to write my own music, I have a very different approach to writing. It’s almost as if I don’t have to write, but rather listen to what’s in my head. It’s like the songs are already written and I just have to figure them out. All I have to do is listen.

Cross – You can play violin too, great! I didn’t know that. Watched a… I’m not sure what it was exactly, if an interview or a sort of tour in Steve Vai’s house… he said the exact same thing. Said that every song it’s in his head and he just needs to find time to sit down and get it all on paper.

You been playing live a lot. At least since I started following you. Do you have a band? (Tode?) Or do the musicians you play live with change over the years, or change from show to show? ( never had the pleasure to see you play live, we live too far away from each other but I did enjoy a lot those Facebook live videos you used to do from the live show you were at, at the time.)

JKill – I have been playing live since around 1995, and started playing 5 nights a week for 10 years straight just until recently. Now I only play a few tunes a month, just for fun. I’ve been in several bands over the years. My first band was a death metal band called “Nuclear Winter” but then I went on to more bluesy stuff because I had a natural ability to play the blues at a young age. I started playing with blues bands around Houston by the time I was 16. This continued on for many years until I started singing in a metal band and formed the grunge band “Tode” with my son Ashton on drums. But often times I hire friends to fill in when I’m recording or have to put on a full band rock show.

Cross – That’s why you’re that comfortable on stage. Playing with your own son that must feel great. What inspires you Jeremy? Who are those artists or bands that took you under their black wing and helped you be the artist you are?

JKill – I’m inspired by anything that catches me, or makes me feel something. Many many talented musicians and bands sound amazing, but if I can’t relate or they don’t make me feel something, I might listen to them but it won’t inspire me. I’m really inspired by pain and death. Because you can’t fake it. Death is creepy and scary, but it’s real, so there’s this thing about it everyone wants to avoid. But if you can create something beautiful with it, like an image or a song, then you’ve made art. And when it comes to the sorrow involved, that can’t be faked. So it inspires me because I know it’s something we can all relate to.

Cross – In your live shows you do cover songs from different bands. I’ve heard you cover Dax Riggs – Didn’t Know Yet What I’d Know When I Was Bleeding (One of my favorites of his) Hands down to you man!  Alice In Chains – Nutshell, Hendrix – Voodoo Child, Floyd, Pearl Jam, to mention some. How can an artist achieve that, to be able to sing and play whatever song they feel like it? (That’s why I compared you to Dax at the beginning of this interview cause in my opinion he is one of the few artists who can do that.)

JKill – I think that if someone is going to sing other peoples music, it’s important for that person to connect to that particular song. I think you really have to love it, or it’s going to show in the performance. It’s one thing to sound bad, but if you hate what you’re doing up there, the audience is going to hate it too. But when it comes to actually performing the song, I’d say have fun with it, and make it your own. Find the key you want to do it in, sing it the way you feel comfortable singing it.

Cross – That’s what I’m saying. Many try to do covers but they try so hard to make it sound exactly how the original band played it or sang it. You add part of yourself that’s why your covers are enjoyable.

I don’t know why I always thought you were/ lived in New Orleans Louisiana. You’re Texas based right?

JKill – I live between Houston and Galveston. It’s funny you mention Louisiana though, because I get that quite a bit when I meet new people. People say I sound like I’m from southwest Louisiana. But that’s only a few hours away from here.

Cross – You ain’t just a very talented musician. Recently you became a Doctor/Nurse? How did that happen?

JKill – I’m a cardiac technician, I work with cardiology. It was kinda by accident actually. I was going to school because I was bored and I signed up for some health classes while working in a chemical plant. However, there was an explosion at the plant one day before school. I came into class that night a little shook up, and told my teacher what happened and he offered me a job at his hospital.

Cross – Ladies and Gents, you heard him, he can fix hearts too. (laughs)

You’re also a great cook. (Maybe that did confuse me about your location. I love Cajun cuisine.) Is that like a hobby of yours?

JKill – I do love to cook! Probably a little too much. Lol.  It is a hobby but it’s also something I plan to turn into a business one day. I kinda look at cooking the same way I look at music. Because I try to never play a song the same way twice and when I cook, it rarely turns out the same. But if it tastes bad, I have no one to blame but myself.

Cross – I’d love to taste some dish you came up with. I love food, it fixes my mood. You do paint too. And you’re really good at it. Was it like you had to choose from two loves and you chose music (to invest more time and energies on)?

JKill – Painting has always just been an interest but I never spent a lot of time with it. The first things I ever painted were these finger paintings I did with oil paints on canvas. They were pretty dark and morbid. Black background with red paint. The images were of a decapitated head and a woman on a meat hook. They were part of a horror series I was wanting to work on along with a music project along the same lines. The music did well and I had a small cult following with it. Some of it ended up talked about on forums in other countries. The paintings ended up in an art show and I donated them to a friend. Years later I became a spray paint artist just for the fun of it. I got good at it and then became burned out. It’s not a simple hobby unfortunately. It takes a lot of space, time and money to get good at it. Unfortunately I don’t have the space right now to practice. But I plan to pick it back up one day.

Cross – I’ve seen a couple ones you shared on Facebook, which were pretty good but, I don’t think were any of those. I’d like to check those out though. And you’re right, to explore more mediums in visual art it needs space and the right materials. That’s why I stick to a paper and pen usually. (laughs)

How’s the book going? Jeremy has been working on a book for a while and I had the pleasure to read some of it.

JKill – The book is an ongoing project I have been working on for about 2 years now. I write and then I put it away and come back to it a few weeks later. At this point in the book, I’m just working on a back story, filling in gaps, adding detail and doing some character development.

Cross – Can’t wait for you to finish it so I can read it, complete. Do you like books in general? To be able to write a book one has to be a reader, right? How does that work for you?

JKill – I actually don’t read anything. Lol. I have probably only read a few books in my life aside from school books. I think the reason I don’t read is because if I have any spare time I like to be the one creating something. But I do like to take the time to appreciate other people’s creative sides. I love visual art, movies, poems, and there have been a few books I have read that I got into, but it’s not as much my thing as it probably should be for someone who likes to write. However, much like my music I feel as if I don’t have to write anything at all, I just have to listen to what someone else is saying and write it down.

Cross – Now that’s a bummer. (laughs) Thought I’d get out one or two titles from you to add to my reading list. But yeah, school books is considered reading. How about horror movies? If so, can you name couple of your favorites and if you feel like it to kinda explain why you like those?

JKill –  Horror movies are my favorite!! I’d have to say The Exorcist and the Evil Dead are the two I like best. The acting and make up along with the story in The Exorcist is probably the best I’ve seen in my opinion, especially when you take into consideration the fact that Linda Blair was just a kid at the time and how long ago the film was made. The Evil Dead had different perspective of demonic possession, while it was definitely evil, there was humor in the movie as well. I ended up naming my son Ashton so we could call him Ash. Lol.

Cross – There you go. (laughs) Great choice there. The Exorcist, Blatty’s horror masterpiece novel. I wasn’t even born when Raimi came up with The Evil Dead.

You had a photo shoot recently. Are you trying to get into that business? What’s up with that?

JKill – The photo shoot in my apartment actually didn’t have anything to do with me. I let a photographer do a photo shoot in my apartment because I have a lot of room, and a modern style home with French doors and a lot of natural lighting. I personally don’t have much interest in photography. I respect it when I see that someone has taken a good shot or someone has really nice photos taken, and I myself would like some good promo pics taken, but I myself don’t know much about photography.

Cross – What have you been listening to these days (or last year)?

JKill – The music I listen to really depends on my energy levels. Lol. If I’m feeling energetic and wide awake, I’ll listen to some Acidbath or Pantera, maybe some Machine Head. Most of the time I’m feeling laid back, so I’ll listen to some acoustic mellow stuff. I’m big on singers who can pull off an entire show with just a microphone and a guitar. Dax Riggs, Elliott Smith, Ray LaMontagne, are some of my favorites. And sometimes I just listen to instrumental music, with piano and strings, because words sometimes distract me. My all time favorites are Pinkfloyd and Acidbath though. Everything else is just a filler, but I really enjoy a lot mellow acoustic stuff.

Cross – What gears does Jeremy prefer for live shows or recording? From mic to guitars, amps, strings too if possible. (One of my strings broke recently and I had no clue which ones I had on my guitar. I was lucky I got Ernie Ball strings as a present. And it turned out, kinda everybody I know uses them.)

JKill – As far as gear goes, I’m pretty picky about my equipment although I use a variety of different stuff. I only play fender electric guitars and Martin acoustics. I use Bose PA systems, but I’m a fan of JBL and Yamaha stuff as well. I play Ernie Ball strings on my electric and elixir strings on my acoustic. I sing through a sure SM58 and my guitar amp of choice is a blackstar tube amp. Tube amps sound best in my opinion.

Cross – In one of our conversations you sent me a song, “Open Baby Torso – Dead Girls and Graveyards”. I loved it. Was driving the first time I listened to it. It was awesome. Soothing vocals. Obscure and chilling at the same time. You added that you were working on a project. Is that song part of this project? How is it going?

JKill – Open Baby Torso, is that obscure project I was talking about earlier that made its way to some forums. I have an entire album like that, and I do plan to re-record the entire thing sometime this year. I have several projects I’m working on at the same time. Open Baby Torso along with the Tode album and my solo album. All while trying to finish this book. I’m also planning to write a short horror series based around the Open Baby Torso songs as well.

Cross – If the other songs are similar to Dead Girls and Graveyards that’s going to be awesome. Can’t wait for all that. Songbird is the only thing I found on your Bandcamp. Crazy solo. Is there any place where people can check more of your originals and support you?

JKill – Songbird is an original that’s on my first EP which is on iTunes and most other digital platforms. Over the years I have put so much music in places and friends band family members have uploaded my music to so many places, that I can’t even keep up where most of it is. But if it’s out there it’s on YouTube as well. I do plan and hope to get all of my music organized into certain places as get my website back up and running after I finish these albums.

Cross – Where do you record and master your songs?

JKill – When it comes to recording my songs, I usually track them at home using garage band, so that I can work out exactly what I’m going to do before going into the actual studio. Then once I have everything together I go to a studio in Austin where me and a few fiends record together, recently my son has been coming along to record the drum tracks for me.

Cross– They sound professional that’s why I was asking. Anything else you might like to add Jeremy?

JKill – All I’d really like to add is that 2020 was a crazy year, but it forced me to be productive and so I’m hoping that in 2021 I’ll have something to show for all the work I did this past year. I have plans to release 3 different albums, a novel and and a small horror series of short stories.

Cross – I’ll be waiting patiently for all that. Thank you for your time Jeremy, it’s been a pleasure! Check out Jeremy’s work below.

YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnmJeKSket3npqHn_w2GeOw

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/jeremykilgoreofficial

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/jeremykilgoreofficial/

Bandcamp – https://jeremykilgore.bandcamp.com/releases

Interview – Dread Risks

CROSS Artworks

IT’S “20 QUESTIONS WITH CROSS” DAY!

Most of the time I don’t accept suggestions when it comes to music. People usually don’t understand what I’m looking for in that matter. But for this band, the one we’re going to sit down with and talk about, I’m glad I did (accept the suggestion). Dread Risks is the name of the band. They’re Austin, Texas-based. The band expands  upon industrial music sound, exploring aggrotech. For those who don’t know what that is, google it! (Laughs)

Hi Dread Risks! Usually we do some sort of routine questions in my interviews so we’re gonna go with those first and get down to serious stuff after.

Cross – Dread Risks is a two member band, right? Who and who (names, nicknames, instruments)?

DR – That is correct, and we appreciate the interview, Cross. Kris (KO) and Eric, and we share music composition (software & hardware) duties/songwriting, and Kris handles vocals and lyrics with Eric on visual live elements. We are fortunate to have overlapping skill-sets to keep creative energy flowing.

Cross – Who came up with the band’s name and why that one?

DR – We liked the concept of the term based on its discomfort. When you break down the meaning, it’s a fear of “what if’s” residing in an unhealthy mindspace of dreading “small probability” events. It’s a drapery of dead space where progress is stalled for intangible consequences.

And why the name? It’s torture to live this way at any capacity, for any duration, and has synergy with the vibe of our music.

Cross – Interesting. How did you guys meet and when did you two decide to come up with a band and invest time in it?

Eric – We met through an ad in the Austin Chronicle when KO was auditioning for the metal band I was in back in 1999. That band ended, and we reconnected a couple of times later and then things finally fell into place. So this is our 2nd time playing in a band together. There’s really not a choice not to produce music as cheesy as that sounds, but as many can attest to, it’s an outlet – productive outlets deserve time and priority.

Cross – Nice! You guys got out your first release, as Dread Risks, a self titled album on December 2018. I know this is gonna sound ridiculous but the first time I’ve listen to “re/coil” which is the first track of the album, I thought of Devil May Cry, the game. (Laughs) Heavy song. Was that the first song you guys came up with or did it just fit to be the first song on that album?

DR – Haha, nothing is ridiculous. It was one of the first, maybe the 3rd, we wrote, and it gravitated to become one of the choices for a lead single/video. Being an unknown band at the time (we released the record, then got on social media to promote), we thought it unwise to lead with a track 1 “intro” or “more ambient” style piece because of listener attention-span and first impressions.

Cross – “Voidhost” is the third track in Dread Risks album and my ear liked this line a lot, “asplit-second of doubt to cannibalize your fragile will”. It seems like you guys take the lyrics very seriously. How does the writing process of the lyrics go?

KO – I never go into it looking to write a hook or catch-phrase. Usually the concept of the song births dozens of sentences to capture the vibe, and then I parse down to what carries the story, or says enough to impact the moment, or sometimes just fits the goddamn cadence. It’s a process but it always feels personal, so it contributes to my insomnia, making it important.

Cross – “Days. Passing. Dark”, 7th track. What’s it about?

KO – This was a doom song, written a while back, and later adapted for Dread Risks. It’s about the endless moments of sorrow that haunt us, after a loss, in the quiet of solitude when nothing distracts from existing without the joy of what was before.

Cross – The album ends with “Terminal Rate” which sounds like the soundtrack of a haunted-house horror film. Are you guys horror film fans? If so, can you guys name one or two films you guys like?

Eric – I do enjoy a lot of horror so let’s just go with Eden Lake and The Descent.

Cross – I like Eden Lake.

KO – I’m not a big horror fan like Eric here, more into psychological thrillers and sci-fi, but my top two horror films might be The Ring and Evil Dead 2.

Cross – The Ring never got me but Evil Dead, hell yeah! “Errorcode”. A very addictable start. First time I’ve listened to it, it made me think of “Ghost in the Shell”, Wamdue Project – King of my Castle. Nothing like it but that’s what’s the fun part of music, one song gets you to another one. The reason why I mentioned your song is cause there’s a remix of it. Not sure if is a remix you guys came out with or, somebody added their touch to it? It’s a bit confusing the way it’s explained on your Bandcamp.

DR – Oh, the remix was done by our friend Erik Gustafson from Adoration Destroyed who are on Cleopatra Records. He completely reimagined the track and made it its own, and the reception has been very positive. Erik wrote the remix, and Ritch Napierkowski, also from Adoration Destroyed, handled final engineering/mastering duties. Great guys and band.

Cross – Great! Do you guys like anime or animated movies? I brought that one up so now I’m curious. (Laughs)

Eric – Can’t go wrong with Miyazaki movies, and I really like bizarre series like Sgt Frog and Prince of Tennis.

KO – I have a vhs of Battle Angel that I watched the shit out of when new, lol. And watched the Last Unicorn a thousand times with my sister growing up. But recently, nope.

Cross – Good I asked. (Laughs) In what I observed from the first release, you guys stick with the same artist for your cover art. Who and how did you guys meet?

Eric – @dyspyx is my brother and has always been supportive of all musical undertakings and generous with his ideas. It makes the art that much more special.

Cross – Talented family. Same artist who did the band logo?

DR – We sought the recommended help of graphic artist Keeley Laures @keeleylaures / keeleylaures.com (who does some amazing flyer art for bands btw) to sharpen our logo concept.

Cross – Dread Risks does play live too. Many people say you guys sound awesome live. How difficult is it to play these songs live?

Eric – We always appreciate hearing feedback like that. It definitely took some planning in order to execute these songs live, and each show we learn something that can be improved upon or expanded on in a live capacity. The songs are complex, and we are fans of textures so those sonic elements are especially highlighted live with potential expansion into more hardware-generated elements. Kris can speak more to the vocal duties of course.

KO – Honestly, it’s so in the moment during live shows, that my delivery gets really aggressive and loses some of the subtlety from the album, but I think it makes us heavier and audiences seem to dig that.

Cross – Hopefully someday I can have the chance and pleasure to check you guys live. Are you guys going to get back to it somehow? Livestream or something?

DR – Luckily, we are in a writing cycle with a bunch of killer shows just under our 2019 – early 2020 belt. Live-streaming hasn’t been a priority for this reason as well, but it will make sense at some point. We look forward to sharing some new music in very early 2021, and we do not have a shortage of new material for the remainder of the year.

Cross – You guys got out there some official videos too. How fun was that to work on?

DR – We teamed with a great agency called Zookeeper to develop some unique footage around our sound. They handled the first two videos, and we got to test out and refine our video chops utilizing their content and more to support the duration of the album campaign and for live use. It’s been a lot of fun, and Dave Waite and his team are amazing.

Eric – Lots of late nights from our camp as well to craft the video-to-music cohesion.

Cross – I said this before that Eyehategod and Mike Williams IX has been a huge influence in my music taste, art and much more. Matter of fact first material of yours I listened to was your last release, a mix/cover of their song, one of my favorites of theirs , SFPT1, off their “Take as Needed for Pain”. Why that song and why something from Eyehategod and not Corrections House. In a way you guys sound more like the (Corrections House).

KO – Oh man, I listened to so much Eyehategod and Acid Bath and similar sludge/metal acts, and this song was one of my favorites. The main riff is just killer and it was hard to even consider another song.

Cross – Now that you mentioned Acid Bath, great band! It has been a while since the full album release. Are there any plans to get a new one out there and when?

DR – Look for the full follow-up release in likely spring 2021, but there are some surprises before that. To say we are excited about each of these projects is the biggest understatement ever.

Cross – Looking forward to all that. We share one love Dread Risks and I, Ministry. Can you guys name your favorite album of theirs, Ministry, or a song?

KO“Land of Rape and Honey” gets my vote for favorite album, but the songs I blast in my car on steady rotation are “Hero” and “Unsung”.

Eric – “Psalm 69” and TV II is probably my favorite track from that album.

Cross – What the Dread Risks do other than making music? Any hobbies?

Eric – Finding obscure music, lambada, horse biology, vibrating with crippling intensity.

KO – Just enjoying a good beer, historic fiction, and fighting insomnia. And listening to lots of other great artists.

Cross – Hook us up with five albums you guys have been listening to in the lockdown times.

KO – I have so many tracks on shuffle, and a lot of them come from these albums: Katatonia – Dead End Kings, Kevorkian Death Cycle – I am God, 16 Volt – Beating Dead Horses, Velvet Acid Christ – Twisted Thought Generator, Ghost Brigade – Isolation Songs.

Eric – Faderhead – Asteria, All You Know Is Hell – Gape, Fact Pattern – Fallen Language, ESA – Burial 10, BARA HARI – Pandora’s Box.

Cross – Anything else you guys might like to add?

DR – We just appreciate your interest in interviewing us and putting time into the thoughtful questions. Everyone stay safe and kind and check on each other. Also, if you are an artist and have the chance to do a compilation that feels slightly out of genre, do it without hesitation. We have met so many incredible and talented artists across the noise and harsh electronic scene as a result, and it’s been a lot of fun, and we’ve made some great friends.

Cross – You guys are very welcome and thank you so much! Support and follow Dread Risks:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/dreadrisksatx

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/dread_risks/

Youtube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_KaDDkmKypwHbSDvkI176w

Bandcamp – Dread Risks

Interview – Spirit In The Room

CROSS Artworks

IT’S “20 QUESTIONS WITH CROSS” DAY!

For today’s interview I got a special band! They aren’t new but I’m sure many of y’all got to hear about them and had the chance to check them out for the first time in the En Minor Livestream at the historic Orpheum Theater in New Orleans, which happened on November 25th.

What an Epic artwork that was! But, we will get back to that soon… The band I’m talking about is Spirit In The Room, a pretty special and weird band, based in Los Angeles, California. Here with us today I have Dennis, the man behind it.

Hi Dennis! Thank you for accepting to be part of this interview! As I mentioned,  I kinda know nothing about you and your band. I did my homework, and I hope I did it right, but… that’s why we have you here to educate us a bit more about your band.

Cross – Why Spirit In The Room?

Dennis – Why Not?

Cross – Your first single as Spirit In The Room came out in 2013 called Uxia. Great track. You wrote, recorded and performed it yourself. When did you start showing interest about all that?

Dennis – I sang for a lot of bands growing up but never really enjoyed the music. It was never anything I would’ve listened to on my own. So that became the goal. Create music that I would listen to. So I figured out how to do it myself and that’s where I’m at now. The first Spirit in the Room single came out in 2010 and it was a cover of the classic Suicide track “Ghostrider” followed by a song called “Doing Them In”.

Cross – You kept getting singles out there, to name a few: “Sister”, “Click Bait (No Content)”, “Locked (like that one a lot)” with a couple years in-between and after, it became constant. In “Locked” you explained what you used in the process of the making of that song. From guitars to pedals, microphone and all that stuff.  Do you have favorite gears that you specifically like to use more often in your songs?

Dennis – As far as gear, Not really. I pretty much just use whatever I have laying around.

Cross – “A Tropical Hell Hole” has a nice bass. What instrument do you like to play more than others?

Dennis – Singing is my favorite thing to do. I also really enjoy playing bass and my 12 string acoustic.

Cross – You have a great voice! “Destroyed By The Future”, a release of three tracks… I’m not sure about the first song of this release but “Godless Woman” and “Gold Teeth Master Massage”, OMG!! What inspires you Dennis?

Dennis – I’m inspired by a lot of things. Human behavior. Animals. Movies. Books. Music etc. Life in general inspires me.

Cross – “The Holy Phobia, PT.1” came before “Destroyed By The Future”, right? They are a bit mixed up on your Bandcamp… That album is dope! Was this all you?  It’s a great album. I wish I could place it somewhere but your music is, it’s difficult to place in a frame genre.

Dennis – Thanks! All Spirit in the Room music is me. I write, record, engineer, mix and master everything on my own and then send it to my live band to interpret. The upcoming EP with Housecore will be the first time recording with my live band. Destroyed by the Future was recorded in 2010. The Holy Phobia was recorded and released in 2014.

Cross – Alright! Demon. A very horror-atmosphere work. Everything in that album is called that, followed by a number to name the tracks. Why?

Dennis – Why Not?

Cross – Who does take care of the visual art part of the band?

Dennis – I do.

Cross – How much reading does Dennis do to come up with those lyrics?

Dennis – A good bit. Usually when I’m not writing, recording or working.

Cross – Last year came out VOL.1, the third song of which “The Future Is Immediate”, was with what you guys ended your performance in the En Minor Livestream. (Don’t touch that just yet we’re gonna get to the Livestream soon.)  When did you guys start to play live?

Dennis – The first live Spirit in the Room show was in 2011 with a completely different lineup. There have been a few lineup changes through the years. But I strongly feel this current lineup with Phillip Bailey (drums), Kevin Bombay (lead guitar) and Brian Skipwave (guitar, keys) is the strongest and the most dedicated. I am extremely happy with these guys as players and individuals.

Cross – Now we know the full band. “Fucking Hell (Beware You Are)”, was that your first music video? You like clowns, don’t you? (Laughs.)

Dennis – I do. It wasn’t my first Video though. The first official video that I was actually in was for the song “But It Do”. The 2nd was “Sunset Nightmare”. “Fucking Hell” was the 3rd.

Cross – “Medication Blues” is your latest release. Now, how did you get to be in the Housecore Records label? And how did you guys get the deal to be the opening band, for the most depression core band ever En Minor, in the En Minor Livestream?

Dennis – We opened for Scour at the The Whiskey in Los Angeles at the end of 2018. Before that, Stephen Taylor (Philip’s right hand man) sported one of our shirts in the PHA & The Illegals video for “Finger Me”. I did a project with a couple of the Scour boys a few years ago as well. All of this I guess caught Kate and Philip’s attention and yeah. Now we’re here. Extremely grateful to the entire Housecore family.

Cross – Awesome! You guys started right after the EraserHead soundtrack “In Heaven Everything is Fine”. One of my favorite horror films, the soundtrack as well. I thought it was part of the song you guys opened with but I’ve listened to everything you have on Bandcamp and that wasn’t there. Who decided that to be the connection from the atmosphere of that amazing tree and graveyards to Spirit In The Room?

Dennis – That’s the intro for all of our live shows. We love David Lynch. Eraserhead is a great film and that song has stuck with me ever since I was a kid.

Cross – I didn’t know that but hey! Great choice. Btw how much of a horror film fan are you Dennis?

Dennis – I’m a huge Horror fan. Definitely an inspiration in my life.

Cross – Were you guys in the same building during the livestream? The stage didn’t look the same. But again, it changed for En Minor too for “The Older We Get “.

Dennis – No, we recorded our set in Los Angeles.

Cross – Great job though. Are you working on new releases much more now that you are with Housecore Records?

Dennis – I’m always writing and recording. We are currently recording a batch of new songs for our first official Housecore release with producer Manny Nieto (The Breeders, Health, Trash Talk, Los Lobos, Retox, The Chavez Ravine.) at Suplexaudio in Downtown Los Angeles. We love Manny.

Cross – Can’t wait to check that out. Any plans to be part of another Livestream or live show?

Dennis – Yep, we’d love to. I think we should open more Livestreams. Why not? We had a good time. It was weird, but weird is good.

Cross – We enjoyed it. Can you name five albums or songs you’ve been listening to these days?

Dennis – Deadsy – Future Years, Van Halen – Dirty Movies, Sun Ra – We Travel the Spaceways, Portal – The Swayy, Mark Lanegan – Feast to Famine

Cross – Portal yas! Is there anything else you like to do other than write music, Dennis?

Dennis – I love animals. I like collecting and playing with knives. I enjoy hiking and hanging out in my garden. Cooking, eating, drinking. Reading, listening to music, reading. Watching knife videos on YouTube. Avoiding human beings etc etc.

Cross – I agree with you in the last one. Anything else you might like to add?

Dennis – Thank you very much for the support. I’m sincerely grateful. I really appreciate your time.

Cross – Thank you again Dennis! Appreciate it! Follow and support Spirit in the Room:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/spiritintheroomsounds

Instagram: http://instagram.com/spiritintheroom

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SpiritintheRoom

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/spiritintheroom1

Bandcamp: https://spiritintheroom.bandcamp.com/

Interview – Devil VVorshipper

CROSS Artworks

IT’S “20 QUESTIONS WITH CROSS” DAY!

Today is another one of those days where I break my own rules and on today’s interview we’re going to sit down with another one-man band. Keep in mind that the most important part of these interviews is to get to know the art of music and those talented people who make it. Today’s one-man band is a black/extreme metal band, focused on occultism, war history and esotericism, the Texas based: Devil VVorshipper (DVV).

Cross – Hi DVV!

Being a huge horror film fan, it can’t escape my eye the way you have spelled the W in the second part of your band name VVorshipper. Was it inspired from the “The VVitch” film by any chance?

DVV – Yes, I was directly inspired by that film to use that spelling. It’s one of my favorite films. I wanted a way to stand out a bit and this seem like a cool way to differentiate myself from any other bands that might share the same name.

Cross – I knew it! (Laughs) Why Devil VVorshipper?

DVV – Why not? It’s a theme that holds true to my life and seemed like an obvious name for a band.

Cross – First release of your band was on April 5 this year, a single, Black Goat God.  How long have you been working on music as DVV?

DVV – Officially under the Devil VVorshipper name, probably since that date. I’ve been involved in music my entire life and had other black metal bands as early as 1998 or so.

Cross – Do you play all the instruments you use in your music or just one or two and the rest digital?

DVV– Everything that you hear is a real instrument, played by me, even the drums. I started playing music at 10 years of age, so 33 years now.

Cross – Another single came right after the first one called, Vultures of Valor and VVolvenacht. Tracks that stick in the head. Why didn’t you get them out there on the same day? Any particular reason?

DVV – Probably more of an issue with me just hesitating or procrastinating. VVolvenacht was actually the first track I recorded with the express intent of releasing music as “Devil VVorshipper.” Black Goat God, Vultures of Valor, What I Found in the Lions Den and Divine Right of Kings were all songs that I had already recorded and I needed content to put on the bandcamp, so I chose those to add so that there would be more choices to listen to for people stumbling upon the site, hence the unique production quality of each of those releases. Also I had moved my studio into a different area of my house that offered different acoustics, so the production quality changed. It wasn’t until recently that I decided to stick to a more consistent sound.

Cross – VVolvenach has a sort of Death (the band) sound. What bands do you listen to and what inspires you as DVV?

DVV – That’s what is great about music: unique interpretations! I don’t hear any Death in that song but I certainly do appreciate the comparison. I have been influenced by a myriad of different bands and styles, from brutal American death metal, to Norwegian black metal and everything in between. Most people know I am obsessed with Marduk and Funeral Mist, I’d definitely say that those are my all time favorite bands but my influences certainly aren’t limited to them.

Cross – Most of the time you wearing a Marduk shirt so… Love ‘em too. Divine Right of Kings came out on the same day. Are they supposed to be songs from different albums? They all have a different cover art if you will.

DVV – Writing and recording music as a one man band takes time, especially when taking into consideration work and life. So when I am working on music I like to do one song at a time. Once it’s “finished” I move on to another. I like to make cover art for each release because I want to create a visual that ties in with the theme of that particular song. With the way that uploads are handled in Bandcamp, I can either upload a single, or an album, and since I work on songs one at a time, it just sort of happened this way.

I would rather release material one song at a time rather than wait until I have 7 or 8 songs done and release an album. However, once I have enough material, I more than likely will consolidate all of the tracks to one officially released “album.”

Cross – Most of my friends are in, a one-man band so, I kinda have an idea how difficult that is. Do you work on the band’s art too?

DVV – Yes, I do all of the artwork so far.

Cross – I dig em. Does DVV have pets? (If you say you don’t own a baby goat I gonna be pissed about it. Laughs.) I’m asking you cause that’s one of the main objects in your art covers. (For obvious reasons, that’s understandable.)

DVV Yes, I have two dogs. A Cane Corso and a Boxer. No goats yet although one day I might.

Cross – (laughs) I… I love goats. Dogs too. I’m a cat person though. What I Found in The Lions Den… is your next release. A bit different from the rest, till this point. What changed?

DVV – Well, getting back to being influenced by different things, this is a prime example. It was a bit experimental for me. I like to play around with different tones, different guitars, different amps. I also get bored really easily with trying to write songs that follow traditional structures or patterns. Lions Den was an example of me writing a song that was less traditional in structure. I took a melody that I had been playing and decided to build upon it, more like a soundtrack to an epic moment in a film rather than a radio hit, if you follow me.

Cross – In what I noticed you’re filled with tattoos. Any favorite one? (Something that means a lot to you.) Also which is your favorite tattoo artist?

DVV – All of my work is custom drawn by a guy named Jedi who owns Element Tattoos in San Antonio, TX. He’s a brilliant artist with great vision. My baphomet sleeve is my favorite.

Cross – I’m gonna check him out. Would be nice to have a look at that sleeve. You took a month break and came out with I Will Guide Thy Hand, another single for this year. First time we hear a bit of vocals there. Sample from “The VVitch” it says. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

DVV – Yes I moved my studio before that and took a long time to get around to working on something new. The sample is Black Phillip from The VVitch. I wrote that song specifically around that sample. I also was growing tired of writing instrumentals, but wasn’t sure if I was quite ready to start doing my own vocals again.

Cross – The Curse of Salvation, another May release. This one sounds War Themed. Even in the description of your band on your Bandcamp account it’s mentioned that the band focuses on war history. Do you like those type of books?

DVV – Yes of course. I love history and there is much to be learned about the human capacity to love, hate, create and destroy itself.

Cross – Definitely. Sword of Hatred, Crown of Sorrow. Killer drumming. A much faster pace than the rest of your other singles. This one came out as an instrumental at first and a couple months later you released it again, but this time with lyrics. You weren’t sure if you wanted it to have vocals the first time or did it evolve with time?

DVV – Thank you! at this point I was wanting to speed up the overall pace of my songs and showcase the drumming a bit more. The song was always intended to have vocals and lyrics but I hesitated and released an instrumental version first. Then I went ahead and just recorded vocals to see how it would do.

Back in 2015 I was nearly killed in a motor vehicle accident and sustained “catastrophic” injuries to my abdomen and torso. Ever since then, vocals were never really an option for me I felt. But I finally got tired of believing that I wouldn’t be able to do them and decided to try and regain my ability. I’m still working on it.

Cross – Damn! That must have been terrible. I’m really sorry to hear about that.

That being your first song to feature vocals, (I’m glad you decided to do that. It adds so much power to it) how does your writing process work?

Here’s a line from it… “A thousand years won’t last a day, gaining a past but losing tomorrow…” Killer!!

DVV – Thank you. The writing process is pretty typical I suppose. Just write what you know, as they say. Sword of Hatred…is heavily steeped in war and its overall damage to those involved.

Cross – So far that is my favorite song of yours. I really do like it. That great song was followed by another, same style and vocals too. The Spellbound Heart. When did you start to sing like that?

DVV – That’s been my vocal stype for a while I guess. When I was younger I did a lot more low growling than I do these days. I added a lot of high/low combinations as a bit of a tribute to the early days of satanic metal, as perfected by the first few Deicide albums. Glen Benton was an anti-hero of mine in high school.

Cross – I’m glad you mentioned them. Great, great band. It’s been a while since that last release. Are you working on something else?

DVV – Again, songwriting and recording takes time when you’re the only person involved in it. At least for me it does. I have to write the song, then record it, which means I’m the producer, engineer and player all in one. Every song is built in layers, and each of those layers can involve take after take after take to get it right. Then when I think I’m done, almost inevitably I will dislike something and decide to change it. So that then involves more time. As of November 2, I have released another track, The Darkest Path Shines Brightly. Check it out!

Cross – You can bet your goat I gonna. (Laughs) Does DVV like horror films? Any favorites?

DVV – Other than the obvious old classics, I am a big fan of The VVitch, Hereditary, Midsommer, etc. In truth I don’t spend too much time these days watching films, so it might take me awhile to get around to seeing films that have been out already.

Cross – I still have to watch The VVitch… What have you been listening to lately?

DVV – Marduk and Funeral Mist of course. But in between I listen to a lot of Coldworld, Domjord, Taake, Impaled Nazarene, Nagelfar (GER), Graveland, Bolzer, etc

Cross – Anything else you might like to add DVV?

DVV – Thank you so much for the interest in DVV! You’ve really done your homework with this interview and I definitely appreciate it!

Cross – I tried… Thanks man! Thank you for your time and your answers. It has been lots of fun!

DVV – Thank you as well! Hails.

Interview – Frozen Soul – Samantha

CROSS Artworks

IT’S “20 QUESTIONS WITH CROSS” DAY!

Today is another one of those days where I break my own rules and interview another amazing artist. I have previously mentioned on my blogs that these interviews I am going to post on my web page are like a small window for fans and other people to explore bands and to get to know these talented artists a bit better.

I didn’t know this band was out there or the girl, I’m gonna have the pleasure to interview this time, even existed ’till a couple days ago. It’s a sort of, shame on me, and you’ll understand why as we go on with the interview. She’s the bass player for the death metal band from Ft. Worth TX, Frozen Soul.

Cross – Hey Samantha!

I’m going to ask you a bit about the band you’re in and little by little we’re gonna get to some questions that might be a bit more personal. Now, as I just mentioned you play the bass. When did you start playing guitar?

Sam – I started playing bass in the summer of 2018!

Cross – How did you get to become the bass player for Frozen Soul?

Sam – Well I’ve known Chad and Michael for a long time. They needed a bass player and I stepped in. My other band was about to split up, so it was perfect timing. I started jamming with Frozen Soul and it just worked… and the rest is history.

Cross – I’m sure many know about Frozen Soul but on the other hand there are people like me, who don’t.  Frozen Soul has 5 members, right? Can you introduce us, who and how they invest in the band’s creations?

Sam – Yes , Frozen Soul is comprised of five members. Chad on vocals, myself on bass, Michael on guitar as well as Chris, and Matt is the drummer. We all help write and bounce ideas off each other… it’s always a group effort.

Cross – Frozen Soul’s first demo “Encased in Ice” came out in 2019. This demo has a cover you guys did of one of the songs of deathgrind band, Mortician – Witches’ Coven (which has as intro, one of the most Haunting soundtracks of a horror film, Goblin’s Suspiria soundtrack, one of my favorite horror films of all the time. Argento’s masterpiece)! Why did you guys decide to cover that song and include it in the demo?

Sam – We all love Mortician, and we thought it would be a badass song to cover!

Cross – Frozen Souls’ second release was out at about this time of the year, last year. It was a split you guys had with Molder and Coffin Rot, called “Live in Chicago”. Is it from a one-night live show?

Sam – Yes… it was recorded last year in Chicago at Reggies while we were on tour. It’s available on VHS through maniac video.

Cross – Awesome! What do you think about splits, Samantha, how much do they help a band?

Sam – Splits are cool, I think it helps bands out quite a bit… especially if they’re in a similar genre.

Cross – You guys have everything ready for your first full length album “Crypt of Ice” which is coming out on January 2021. How much work was put into this upcoming album?

Sam – A lot. We have worked relentlessly on this album. I’m ready for it to be out already!

Cross – You guys recently released an official video for “Crypt of Ice” – the album title track. Was this your first time participating and being part of a metal video, Samantha?

Sam – Yes! We filmed two videos back to back in the same day. So Crypt ended up being the second one that we filmed. I was pretty exhausted haha.

Cross – As we mentioned earlier in this interview you guys do live shows. Now, this question has been bugging me. (Laughs) I read in a comment under a live show of Frozen Soul, it said this person has seen you guys play with Obituary. As a fan of theirs and I’m sure you’re one too… I mean, who ain’t? How true is that? When was it, what show and where?

Sam – We played with Obituary back on the 24th of February at Ridglea, in Fort Worth Texas. That was actually the last live show that we got to play before everything got shut down. We also filmed our set, and clips from that show will be used in the Encased in Ice video! It was an awesome show and definitely one for the books!

Cross – Wish l been there. Talking about Obituary can you be that kind Samantha and tell us your favorite Obituary album?

Sam – Cause of death.

Cross – You guys got a shirt design from Mark Riddick, (riddickart) in 2019. Was that difficult to get? (I’m a huge fan of his art. My first  three serious artworks were my modest versions of some of his artworks).

Sam – Not particularly… he actually reached out to us for the collaboration! I’ve always loved his art so it was an honor for sure!

Cross – Cool! And here we get to the part that we’re going to talk a bit more about you. Talking about Riddick and all, you’re a visual artist as well. A tattoo artist. When did you first start to show interest on the magic a person’s fantasy combined with a pen and pencil can do?

Sam – I’ve been drawing since I was a kid… I really was in awe of Graeme Bases illustrative books I had as a kid. Tex Avery cartoons really influenced me too as a child. I still love that style a lot!

Cross – Gorgeous illustrations, Graeme’s. I get told way to often to switch to a tattoo artist. So, I’m curious to know how different is for you to work on skin compared to drawing on paper?

Sam – Tattooing is incredibly difficult compared to paper, because there is a lot of variables. It’s quite stressful… and it’s permanent.

When you are tattooing a human being, you have to consider their pain tolerance, your hand speed, volts, needle groupings, the overall design/placement and how it will hold up over time, their complexion, and any movement whatsoever they make… will all affect the tattoo. Skin is alive, it bleeds. It’s permanent. There’s a ton of pressure and trust that goes into the whole process. It’s definitely not a career for the faint of heart. Paper is easy compared to tattooing for sure!

Cross – Do you have your own tattoo shop?

Sam – I do not. I’ve only been tattooing a little over a year now. I’d eventually like to have my own shop once I get some more experience in the industry.

Cross – As a tattoo artist do you have any favorites (tattoo artists that is)?

Sam – Joe Chatt, Wrest, and Panchos Placas.

Cross – Are you a horror film fan, Samantha? If so, do you have any favorites?

Sam – Yes I’m a huge horror fan! My personal favorites are Silence of the Lambs, House that Jack Built, and Mandy.

Cross – Nice picks. As a bass player which one is your favorite bass guitar and how many bass guitars do you own?

Sam – I currently own 4, and my BC rich widow is probably my favorite right now.

Cross – As a bassist I’m gonna have to ask you who is your favorite bassist?

Sam – Jo Bench!

Cross – Bolt Thrower, ha! What else do you like to do in your free time?

Sam – I like to play video games, paint and draw, and spend time with my animals.

Cross – Anything else you might like to add?

Sam – Wear a mask and get tattooed and listen to Frozen Soul!

Cross – Thank you for your time Samantha! It was fun. Much appreciated!

INTERVIEW – Mike IX

CROSS Artworks

IT’S “20 QUESTIONS WITH CROSS” DAY!

I know I have previously mentioned on my blogs that these interviews I am going to post on my web page are like a small window for fans and other people to explore bands and artists I’ve collaborated with and to get to know these talented artists a bit better. Keep in mind though that the most important part of these interviews is the art and those talented people who make it.

That said, today I’m going to break my own rules and interview one of my Heroes; a notorious performer and song writer. His vocals have been described as “tortured laryngitis screams”. The one true mouth of the disinfranchised underground scene, Mike D. Williams also known as Mike lX – EyeHateGod + Arson Anthem/Corrections House/Outlaw Order aka 00%/The Guilt of… aka TgØ/Dead End America/Mike IX and the Southern Nihilism Front etc… (this is very exciting)!

Hey Mike, sir! How are you doing Big Brother? First and foremost, thank you for taking the time to make this interview happen. Much appreciated!

I know, you probably heard some of these questions being asked thousands of times, but let’s dig in!

Cross – At what age did you realize that all you wanted to do was sing and write songs?

Mike IXWell, that’s not all I do, but as far as wanting to be in a band, probably when I first heard Alice Cooper, early Aerosmith, Black Sabbath and The Who back when I was 8 or 9 years old. I started writing lyrics/songs when I got a bit older, being an avid reader and a fan of the written word. It was a natural progression.

Cross – Tell us a bit about your career prior to Eyehategod and how did Eyehategod happen?

Mike IX – I wouldn’t call it a career, but I was in many bands before EHG, mostly punk and hardcore but a few thrash type groups as well. Teenage Waste was the first one to make it out of the bedroom playing twice a week at a decrepit dive bar called the Rose Tattoo and other NOLA houses/venues with locals Shell Shock, the Sluts, Red Rockers, the Goners. After we disbanded, I started Suffocation by Filth, a punk metal crossover, heavy on the punk aspect plus we did some covers by Bad Brains, Sodom and Discharge. Crawlspace was next with friends who went on to Superjoint Ritual, Stressball, Hank III etc., we were more thrash influenced by Voivod, Death amongst others, but of course, with my vocals it sounded like neither of those two bands.

On tour with Shell Shock in ’86 as roadie/merch guy, which Jimmy Bower was now drumming for, we both talked about forming something slow and powerful, but raw and confrontational and mainly the music we were hearing in our heads.

Cross – Any other musical instrument(s) that you can play other than synth and hand drum (we’ve all seen you ROCK the hand drum on Housecore Radio, Acoustic Show with Philip H. Anselmo… Haha)?

Mike IX – I also play guitar.

Cross – I’ve never seen you play guitar. I sure would love to.

Mike IX – A few years ago, I got to play through Greg Ginn’s old customized Peavey amp that was used on the early Black Flag recordings.., that was special to me. I write songs on guitar and wrote some of the stuff on the second Arson Anthem album Insecurity Notoriety.

Cross – How much does Mike lX read and what kind of books do you enjoy reading?

Mike IX – I read constantly whether its online or books. Anything really. Everything. Books about music history are high on the list.

Cross – Is there a particular book or author that inspired you to discover your inner writer and the way you write? Any new book coming out anytime soon?

Mike IX – Charles Bukowski and I bet no one is surprised I said that. Bukowski showed me that writing doesn’t have to be flowery or nice, you can write the way you feel, the reality of life. There’s lots of other authors that I like and writers in bands as well. Darby Crash, Jeff Vandermeer, Clive Barker, Nick Cave, William Vollmann, Iceberg Slim, Kurt Vonnegut, William Burroughs + tons more…

Cross – I’m sure to those who know you a bit that Bukowski wouldn’t sound such a surprise. What does Mike lX do when he isn’t writing, reading, or touring?

Mike IX – Stare at the wall.

Cross – (laughs) I’m sure we all get to do that sometimes. Can you tell us a bit about your song writing process?

Mike IX – I don’t think it’s different from anybody else’s, I just write what I’m thinking. I just write what I want to hear, and it can come from anywhere; the streets, hallucinations, dream states, boredom, experiences with other humans. Pretty common process I believe.

Cross – Arson Anthem – Tell us a funny memory you cherish from all that experience with the members of AA (Philip H. Anselmo, Hank lll and Collin Yeo) that you have not shared yet with the public. Any chance for Arson Anthem to be back on stage?

Mike IX – Arson Anthem was a fun project coming straight outta hurricane Katrina and having been locked up and just having no rules but to do a band that returns to 80’s hardcore punk in a style that we wanted. I wish it had been taken more seriously and the records had been promoted more and not overshadowed by our other bands. The tour we did would have been way better if we had played major cities like NYC, Chicago, L.A. and others… The records are fucking great to me, and the songs hold up, however everyone is busy with their own stuff right now so who knows what can happen with that band.

Cross – Arson Anthem is one of my favorite bands ever. I do agree with you there Mike lX, the records are great. Born in North Carolina, lived in New York, and obviously in New Orleans, Louisiana. In which of these places do you feel like home and why?

Mike IX – I love all three and can feel at home anywhere. New Orleans obviously is where I’ve spent the majority of my time and hold it dear to my heart. New York and Brooklyn are magical to me, or they were in the early 90’s. North Carolina is my birthplace and can be a beautiful place in the mountains or The Outer Banks beaches.

Cross – Corrections House? Is there going to be a new release after “Last City Zero” in 2013 and what followed “Know How to Carry a Whip” in 2015? Or any live performances like in “Writing History in Advance”?

Mike IX – There was also a 7″ for ‘Hoax the System’ on War Crimes records. We are in talks about it. There is a possibility of doing more music in the future.

Cross – That would be great. Who is in charge of the visual performance of the band and who came up with the band logo?

Mike IX – We all decided that we wanted a ragged military look to the band, so we all agreed to that. Heath Rave; tattooist, artist, drummer (Wolvhammer etc..) designed the Corrections House logo.

Cross – He did a great job. Was there a reason behind picking the Last City Zero song to be the title track? Are any of those lyrics included in any of your books (we’ve seen you read from one book on stage)?

Mike IX – Yes, I read from my book Cancer as a Social Activity on stage and also the Corrections House war bible, which is a personal book of writings I carried with me during all the tours (of which there were many) and a lot of the words to CH songs are in those two documents. Also, no reason for picking Last City Zero as the title track other than the fact that we like that song, and it creates the vibe that defines the feelings we want to conjure.

Cross – There’s a rare video of you out there doing a spoken word poetry – reading poetry from your collection of poems “Cancer as a Social Activity”. What’s that like? Do you enjoy reading or reciting your own poetry in front of an audience? Is there any place online where your fans can listen to you read your poems (audio book)?

Mike IX – Is it rare? I don’t know what’s on there honestly besides the latest reading I did called ‘We All Die on the Very Last Page’ on CVLT Nation’s YouTube page. I have an affinity towards CVLT Nation and have the utmost respect for Sean and his wife who run the site.

I’ve done many spoken word readings all over the world. I mean every night on tour with Corrections House I did readings, but I’ve done so many solo ones also I can’t remember them all, I wish more were recorded and videoed. I’m going to be doing more when I re-release my book ‘Cancer as a Social Activity’ very soon. I once did a reading at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and John Sinclair, promoter/manager of the MC5 and notorious activist and poet/writer came out to hang out and I got to give him a copy of my book and my “Glass Torn and War Shortage” broken glass covered cassette. I’ve also read at various record and bookstores in the USA and Europe, I enjoy it immensely. An audiobook of “Cancer…” is something I’ll be working on in the future.

Cross – I really love that one, “We All Die on the Very Last Page”. Those who know me a bit, know about that one cause I bring it up as soon as I say Hi. (Laughs) It would be amazing to have “Cancer…” and your voice reading it in one place. I really hope it’s a really near future.

What kind of music was Mike IX into when he was 15 years old (they say you left home at that age)?

Mike IX – Wait, who’s “they”..? I was in a boy’s home at 13 years old for 4 years and I ran away numerous times to California and Texas and I lived alone in an $125 dollar apartment in Uptown New Orleans when my brother left me alone there, so it was all over the place. It’ll all be in my next book someday.

Black Flag mainly. But also; Germs, Dead Boys, Witchfinder General, Discharge, Pagans, electric eels, Die Kreuzen, Elvis Costello, Trouble, Venom, Negative Approach, B-52’s, Circle Jerks, DOA, Generation X, Talking Heads, Devo, UK Subs, State of Alert, the Fix, Meatmen, Teen Idles, Sex Pistols, AC/DC, Clash, Dils, Bl’ast!, Disorder, Fear, Deadline, Ramones, DRI, The Damned, the Sluts, Legionnaire’s Disease, Deadbeats, Robert Johnson, Peter Tosh, The Normals, Augustus Pablo, MDC, Shell Shock, Void, St. Vitus, Saccharine Trust, Judas Priest, Black Market Baby, Ozzy, Motörhead, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, Minor Threat, Iron Maiden… the list goes on and on and on.

Cross – I’m glad you took the time to mention that many. All great bands. I’m sure many know most of them. Outlaw Order. Was that a one-time thing?

Mike IX – No, 00% exists in time and space and can re-emerge at any time. Outlaw Order has a lot of unfinished business and unsettled court cases pertaining to breaking and entering and theft. Our first bass player is in appeals and could possibly be released by the middle of next year (fingers crossed). I’m done with all parole and probation and ready for the next scheme.

Cross – Glad to hear that. Are there any artists that influenced your singing style? Have you ever experimented with, singing differently?

Mike IX – Darby Crash from the Germs, Ron Reyes, Dez Cadena from Black Flag. I’m certainly open to other styles and have experimented many times. It’s all about passion and feeling so wherever that takes me.

Cross – Most bands start with a self-titled album, instead Eyehategod waited until 2014 to come out with a self-titled album. Why is that?

Mike IX – Why not? We don’t care what people think and I didn’t know there were rules to what and when to name an album a certain thing… Lots of bands have done the same exact thing; Trouble, Discharge, Alice in Chains, Blue Cheer, the Cult, Crowbar (I think?) etc..

We decided to do it because our best friend and drummer Joey LaCaze died and he played on that album. We went through lists of titles for the record but out of respect and in the affair of being genuine we self-titled it. We didn’t want idiot journalists asking silly questions about what the title had to do with someone we love dying. I’m sure every band that’s done it has their own reasons.

Cross – You know, after hearing that, the album just got more special to me. You mentioned in another interview that you guys are working on a new album and that all was left were to add the vocals. Is the album done and if yes when is it launching?

Mike IX – The new album is done and has been sent off to the label, which is Century Media. It’ll be released next year but there will be some singles and video released sporadically before then.

Cross – That’s great! Can’t wait!
Do you have a favorite stage to play live? And speaking of live any touring plans in Canada or Europe once gatherings are made possible again? What can your fans expect?

Mike IX – We always tour every corner of the planet we can possibly reach so of course we will continue with that when possible. We were on tour from April 2017 until the pandemic lockdown so that’s what we do. We’ve played everywhere from Lima, Peru to Vietnam and Thailand to Wellington and Tasmania to Tel Aviv, so I think it’s safe to say we will be back to Europe and Canada (if Canada will let me in again!)

Thanks for the interview! Go to EYEHATEGOD.ee for tons of merch and our new split 7″ with Sheer Terror plus new album out next year!

Mike IX Williams/EyeHateGod Instagram: @southernnihilismfront and @eyehategodnola

Facebook: Mike IX Williams and @officialeyehategod

Cross – Thank you Mike for being so kind with me, giving your time to an unknown artist, for taking all this seriously, and for the great answers! It’s been a blast. I really appreciate you man. Thank you!!

Interview – J/Void

CROSS Artworks

IT’S “20 QUESTIONS WITH CROSS” DAY!

The artist I’m going to interview today shouldn’t be new to you. I had him on an interview about horror films, about one or two months ago.

Back then I introduced him as one of my favorite YouTubers. Whilst everybody tries to find an already existing video to sit down and comment on it, this dude uploads his own content. He considers himself as relatively boring but, in this interview we’re gonna talk about how many inspirational things he got out there, lately, as a master of spoken word and much more.

I’m talking about J.

Hey J!

Cross – In the first interview, the first question I asked you was to tell us something about you and God! You kept it all a secret. (Laughs)

Other than doing other bands’ album reviews and film reviews you have this talent of coming up with great lines.

Back then, you had like… two or three spoken word poetry videos uploaded on your YouTube channel.

When did you seriously think of working on spoken word poetry?

J/Void – I am a bit of an aggressively private person at times. Information, details and ideas are there. Just run through a filter.

I used to write a long time ago. I had a number of notebooks that were a collection of disjointed thoughts. Periodically I would write over time. Some of it was lost in moves. Others just ruined. So I stopped for a while. I resumed it last year but the writing just sat there. One night when I wanted to make a video I had nothing in mind so I read off a little of it. Since then I’ve been expanding it. It has since become very cathartic.

Cross – Your first spoken word poetry release (on Bandcamp) came out October 1st this year. Called “Empty Words: Chapter One”. Why that title? And what happened that made you realize and decide to get them out there as an “album”?

J/Void – They were going to sit there on my YouTube but I decided that I wanted to release it as a series of albums. The idea behind the naming of it “Empty Words” comes from the idea that what I was writing was coming from different perspectives not just my own. And anyone that was to read or listen to it may interpret it however they want. If at all. Something only has value if you ascribe to it.

Cross – There you go, you ended that one with a great line.

As I have mentioned it to you in one of our conversations… I can find great lines in each one of them but the number 12, “They Don’t Write Obituaries for Man at the Bottom of the Bottle” is one of my favorites. How did you come up with it?

J/Void – The whole work is a collective idea around those people that don’t stand out. The large portion of the population that is trapped within a life of monotony. Like many, there are those that turn to substance abuse. There aren’t a lot of people out there willing to understand what causes people to go down that route. When a person dies, one that lived an uneventful life and more than likely died from complications related to alcoholism then people dismiss them. The same people that look down on those under those circumstances are the same that will celebrate the lives of a celebrity when they die.

Cross – You weren’t content with just one spoken word release for this month. You got another one right, after the first one: “Empty Words: Chapter Two”, which came out seven days after the first one and ain’t as log as the first release. Weren’t they finished at the time you decided to get out there the first release or, you couldn’t include more than 15 in Chapter One?

J/Void – I have more that I will continue to release. That’s why they are simply listed as chapters. I’m not sure how many there will be in this series. The second one was released shortly after the first because when I was going through the rest of what I had and saw that I had enough for another release. When I feel like I have enough recorded I will put out another chapter.

Cross – Cool!

The last one of Chapter Two “Your Hard Work is Vital to My Success, My Value is Greater than Your Understanding” sounds like you were just getting some frustration out of you and you never worked on them lines before. Is that what happened? Just trying to get to know a bit more on your writing process.

J/Void – That is one that has a large number of meanings behind it. It applies to aspects of my life as well as possibly a lot of others. Anything from working for a large corporation, oppressive patriotism or simply being exploited by family or friends. It was a bit of me getting out my frustration but attempting to do so from the manipulators point of view. And in some cases I feel like those attempting to control others with a grand vision in mind don’t have the capacity to figure out all the details that go into it. Nations fail, ideas fail, religions fail and people fail. Ego driven manipulation.

Cross – Have you ever thought of publishing them in one singular book or a couple books?

J/Void – I would like to. Everything that I have recorded is written down. If I were to put out a book it may vary from the original writings just as they vary from the videos. It’s art and is open to alterations.

Cross – If that ever happens I’ll get me a copy.

Now, no matter how many times we talked about art and whatever projects we were working on,  I would have never thought you did invest time in writing music. That came as such a great surprise to me when you released your first post-industrial noise album “Sign of Life is Repetition” with your one man band Void, which came out September 21st, this year, obviously. Tell us something about that. When did this other passion of yours start?

J/Void – I have always been very passionate about music. I unfortunately never had the talent to play an instrument. But it never stopped me from screwing around with things here and there. When I was a kid it was common for games to have a sound test menu. Select the individual sounds and try to create a rhythm out of it. Learned a lot about sampling and multi tracking as I got older. Then I started to use an app to record and alter what I wanted. After creating stuff for a while I said f*ck it and decided to start putting it out.

Cross – I’m glad you did. The music you make ain’t the kind I listen to but, it’s always a good thing to widen the frame in which we feel comfortable in. Be open to new stuff.

Why did you decide to call the band Void?

J/Void – I didn’t really have a name. But I figured that a lot of what I’m making is meant for interpersonal interpretation. Just as well as the idea of a void. It can be whatever you’d like it to be or nothing at all.

Cross – Your second album with Void, “Void of Time and Space” sounds more melodious than the first one, in comparison.  Did your gear change or did the inspiration change?

J/Void – I think the change there was simply just me getting more comfortable whith what I’m doing and how I’m going to work on expanding it.

Cross – Your next release “Innovator of Internal Violence” has such sound that it could give one a real bad anxiety. The last track, it gives one the feeling like if somebody is drilling a hole into their skull. I noticed Obsession, as a word, is used in at least, three songs in this album. Any particular reason?

J/Void – That was written over the course of a week or so. Though two of them I had the idea of for a long time. I was dealing with a lot of stress and I was also in a lot of pain. I wanted to convey that as much as I could. Obsession is used three times intentionally. It’s both to represent my own obsessive nature and my obsession of three different numbers. One of them being the number 3. Just as well it fits a lot of the ideas that I have that are circular and run in repetitious cycles.

Cross – Interesting.

We’re both Eyehategod fans and Mike IX has had a huge impact on both of us. You got to make an alternation of their first song on their “Dopesick” album, (one of my favorite of theirs) “My Name is God (I Hate You)”. Why did you pick that song?

J/Void – I wanted to use that song because it is abrasive and uneven. From the opening of broken glass and Mike screaming. It’s different and violent, one of the first songs of theirs I had heard. Stood out  I wasn’t thrilled with the outcome though. I may attempt to revisit it later on but I’m not sure.

Cross – I liked it. But I guess an artist is kinda never fully content  with the result of their work. In a way is how we keep growing, artistically.

Your last full album “Long Term Side Effects are not Currently Known”… How do you come up with these titles?

J/Void – Some of the album titles are responses to my reflection of the period. The overall theme that’s there.

Cross – Does the cover art have any particular meaning?

J/Void – Closest visual representation I could think of at the time.

Cross – The sound in this album, at least to me, is “Eraser Head” all over the place. What did J want to reach with that sound?

J/Void – I didn’t really think that was intentional but I can see where you could easily make the connection.

Cross – The album ends with “You’ll Never Find Out”. Is that about you or does it have a larger meaning?

J/Void – Both the opening tack “You’ll never know” and the closing track “You’ll never find out” are connected. There is a deeper meaning to them but that’s just for me. I wanted to leave that open because there are things out there that we all keep to ourselves and will never unveil.

Cross – That’s fine by me.

After your last album, you got two singular releases. As a matter of fact you started your Bandcamp with a singular release: “I’m Your Number One Fan”. Why wasn’t that included in any of Void’s albums?

J/Void – I wanted it to be on its own. Just a stand alone single for the time being. I may take that along with a handful of other tracks and compile them. But that is 20 minutes long. It would fit better as part of a split or a side of a 7”

Cross – You’ve been really productive these past months. Are you working on more spoken word poetry? What about new music?

J/Void – I have a number of things written just not recorded. And some ideas I need to concentrate on as well. In addition to that I just finished an album that I’ll also be releasing a separate single with alternate versions of the track because I’ve been messing with it quite a bit. Part of a different album being worked on but that will take time. And a few other various ideas that are bouncing around.

Cross – You recently made a film review about “A Serbian Film”, (loved your take on that one) and “Suburbia”. Are you working on any other one, film reviews that is?

J/Void – Those end up being harder. I rarely have time to sit down and watch a movie. I have a stack that I would like to do but time is a factor.

Cross – I know you liked to draw before and I think you mentioned in some of our conversations that you would like to get back to it. How is that going? Would we have the privilege to get to see a sketch or something in the near future?

J/Void – Unfortunately not well. All the testing I’ve been undergoing have fucked my arm up even more so I haven’t had an opportunity to get back to that. All in due time though.

Cross – Anything else you would like to add J?

J/Void – I have a special mix that will be released on Halloween as well as a single for my next album. I had to cut a track down for time and then started mixing different versions of it.

Also, I wanted to say support independent artists and labels. The work that they do often goes unnoticed. There are an incredible number of artists out there that are working full time as well as trying to create and release various forms of art to express themselves.

Cross – Thanks for the time J, a pleasure!

INTERVIEW – BP WOWU Album

CROSS Artworks

IT’S “20 QUESTIONS WITH CROSS” DAY!

There have been so many things to do lately and I’m so late with this interview.

I planned to get Beastial Piglord (BP) aka Hudson to sit down with me and talk about his latest album release before it  came out but you know what they say, never plan things.  The album “Wiped Out.. Way Up” came out on September 12 this year and here we are almost a month later, finally, sitting down to talk about this masterpiece.

Cross – How you doing, Hudson? Been a while…

First of all why did you want the cover to have so much orange in it? Ain’t like WOWU was going to come on Halloween. Or was that your plan but you finished it earlier and you couldn’t wait to show it to the world?

Hudson – I’m just funny about things, I want every album cover to be a certain color, a different color from the last, same as the music.

Cross – When did you realize that the acronym of “Wiped Out.. Way Up” says, WOWU? (Laughs)

Hudson – When you pointed it out to me. Haha

Cross – (Laughs) This album sounds very different from all the albums you already got out there. What changed? It’s like you’re trying to get out of the frames of old-school experimental black metal. Are you trying to invent a new genre?

Hudson – My new goal is for each upcoming album to be even weirder and more genre bending than the last.

Cross – “Wiped Out.. Way Up” starts with “Taken Advantage Of” intro, “Reset Character” comes right after it  and, to me, the way it starts has a sort of “PanterA – Domination” feel to it. That riff is heavy and the song takes a turn to weirdness as soon as it gets to the middle. What gears did you use for this song, your Dean From Hell? And how did that riff popped in your head?

Hudson – I got the riff idea just f*cking around with a metronome I was using for a completely different song haha. Also that entire album was recorded with my 8 string schecter.

Cross – Interesting! Third track, “A Rift Apart” sounds sludgey. Was this a sort of leftover from Viorensilt (your April release for this year)?

Hudson – Nope! That song was meant for this album, however, 2 songs were leftovers from “Muzz” and I figured why not throw them on this album? (Piezoelectric and Clutz)

Cross – I actually named one of my kittens after your album, “Muzz”. A not so much known fact. (Laughs)

“Lurch” the fourth track of WOWU is a total freak show. It really is magnificent. (Laughs) How much horror did you watch to get that one song done?

Hudson – Haha It was just a drum beat I recorded and trimmed it to the sections I liked and then just followed the drum beat with the bass and went from there.

Cross – Next one is “Sullen”, totally different from the rest of the album, co-written and performed by Levi Clark. How did that happen? (My opinion, that is a great collaboration. Your guitar work in this one with your vocals add so much “pain” to it).

Hudson – I wrote that song and then last minute asked him to just ramble over the song and he did. And it worked nicely, he even recorded his part on a cell phone and the sh*tty quality makes it sound cool.

Cross – It does. I think “King of the Worms”, track number six, is the most eerie song of the album. What did you use for that “piano part”?

Hudson – I think you’re talking about the music-box that starts the song and goes all the way through. That’s my mom’s music-box from when she was a kid. I just wound it up and recorded and built the song around that. And the thing slows down the longer it plays so the slow change in tempo throughout the song is badass to me.

Cross – I loved it the first time I listened to it. (This album is a bit older to the two of us). And now that you mentioned it, I think you told me about it back then. “Hop The Twig” – can it be considered a love song? (Laughs)

Hudson – All my songs are love songs. Haha

Cross – Right! (Laughs) “Piezoelectric” was it named after the effect?

Hudson – Most of them have some meaning but that one was just something random I saw in a book and figured why not.

Cross – We got to track number nine, “Clutz”, without even noticing. (Laughs) I’m sure everybody can recognize that laugh the song starts with. Was that were you got the inspiration from, for this song?

Hudson– The song is about me because I’m clumsy as hell, and I also love “Tales from the Crypt”.

Cross – Who doesn’t? Let’s move to the next one. “Conformite Europeenne” that’s a deep title. The song to me sounds like some sort of spaceship confrontation. Is there a chance for us to see any of the lyrics?

Hudson – As always BP lyrics are for the listener to decipher. I delete all my lyrics aftereach song because I don’t think lyrics in this style of music even matter. It’s more about the music, the sounds your hearing.. Music has no language.

Cross – I kinda agree with that but still, as a book lover, I love me some lyrics. “Belulah Los Gatos” raw vocals. “This Was Your Life” is kinda same style with “Sullen” but this time you sang it all by yourself. Was that how you liked it or you couldn’t get Clark to sing one more? (Laughs)

Hudson – Haha I only want usually one feature on an album if I do have one.

Cross – Fair enough. The13th title, “Coiled”, what did you use for the ending of this song?

Hudson – Haha That’s just some random stuff I recorded and ran it through a bit crusher and an auto filter, some people will know what that is. Haha

Cross – “Uncultured Swine” what do you say at the beginning of the song?

Hudson – Just a bunch of absolute nonsense, inspired by King Buzzo from the Melvins lyrics.

Cross – That was my last attempt of getting a lyric out of you. (Laughs) I think I have one though. I don’t even remember to which song it belongs too, unless it has the title. I should check. (Laughs) “N. T. T” what does it stand for?

Hudson – Not This Time. Haha

Cross – Cool! The 16th and the last song of the album. Why did you decide to end the album with “Eye Biter”?

Hudson – I just think it fit really well as the ending song.

Cross – I read some comments on YouTube under your full album upload. They call WOWU a stew of King Diamond, Phantasm (the band), O.L.D, GWAR beauty. How do you feel about that?

Hudson – I like all those bands so that’s a huge compliment.

Cross – Not so sure about Phantasm or O.L.D (not that familiar with them) but, King Diamond and GWAR, love em!! What are you doing these days, are you working on another album? How different is it going to be this time?

Hudson – Yep!  I’m working on 2 albums actually. Haha I am always working on 2 albums at a time, usually recording full songs for one, and then recording the drums for the next.

Cross – That’s awesome! Y’all heard him, new album coming up. Let’s hope on Halloween. That be cool! Anything else you would like to add, Hudson?

Hudson – As always stay tuned, its only getting weirder.

Cross – Thank you for your time Hudson, always a pleasure!!!

Interview – J – Horror Films

CROSS Artworks

IT’S “20 QUESTIONS WITH CROSS” DAY!

As you all are well aware, my two first Horror Film Interviews were with band members, which is great to know that bands you like dig horror films too. For this one interview though, I thought to change the tradition a bit and sit down to talk to a different type of artist. He’s a YouTuber and a master of spoken words. He has the talent to place the right word right where it belongs. In his YouTube content, for as long as I’ve known him, he never uses notes. Everything comes out of his mind and heart. One of the main reasons I decided to get him on board for my next Horror Film Interview is cause we share one common love, Nosferatu. Let’s let him tell us a bit more about himself before we get through the 20 questions.

Cross – Hi, J! How are you? I thought it would be interesting if you would tell us a couple things about yourself so we get to know you a bit better. Like for example, that huge, epic, Nosferatu tattoo you have on your arm. How did you get the idea and who tattooed it on you? We will talk about Nosferatu movies later on.

J – Hey Cross. I’m aright. Tired as always. I consider myself relatively boring. I’m a crane operator in a steel mill. Spend most of my time pouring metal. When I do have some free time I try to catch up on wrestling, movies and occasionally review music.

About the tattoo… There’s actually a long story behind that. It went through a lot of idea changes. It was going to be the shot of him in the hallway, standing. That was going to be on my forearm. My artist said it would just blur together after a while, he would lose too much detail. Then it was a lot of back and forth with ideas, for about three months.

Cross – Good you listened to him. The reason I’m starting this interview with this film is because the title leads me to some other great horror films I like. Robert Eggers’ “The VVitch”. To be honest I have never seen this film until the end, even when I re-watched it. My brother loves this film, but every time he was up to watch it, I fell asleep. Both times. (Laughs)

I’m sure many know why it’s called ” The VVitch ” and not with a W but, I want you to explain that to us and tell us something about the film. Make me want to go for it one more time and this time watch it till the end. Make me curious! (Laughs)

J – I watched the VVitch right when it was released in Blu-ray. I had seen a few articles about it that were pretty ambiguous because a lot of reviewers had trouble covering it. The film is slow, lumbering, drab and as it goes on I just got sucked in to the bleak despair that that family is struggling with. It’s a very human story and one that is tightly contained. To the level of suffocating at point. I prefer horror films to have that isolating feel. Then they rush ending, is amplified so much because of the pacing of the previous 80 minutes or so. I also love that they pull the trigger on this all being real. The Devil walks among them and he is there to guide Thomasin.

Cross – Gonna let you know when I’ll give it another try. It will be soon, ’cause I’m watching everything that gets mentioned in these interviews and I haven’t watched before or it has been a long time since the last time I’ve watched it.

Viy (1967). Not sure if you like old horror but this is one of my favorite witch films. Often spoken of as the first Soviet era horror film. Ever heard of it, J?

J – I haven’t heard of it but you have my attention with it being a Soviet Era film. I watched a lot of exploitation films from the 60’s and 70’s. A few local channels would run them Saturday nights. They were all chopped up and the dubbing was horrible but that added to the appeal.

Cross – They call him the “Master of Italian Horror” and the “Master of the Macabre”, Mario Bava. One of his greatest horror films, in my opinion always, is “Kill Baby Kill”.  Ever heard of Bava and this particular movie?

J – There is a chance I have seen “Kill Baby Kill” because it sounds familiar but I can’t say for sure.

Cross – Jumping to a totally different movie: Pascal Laugier’s “Martyrs”. Brutal, nasty, gruesome and not for everyone. It has such a low rate from what I expected it to have. What are your thoughts about it and the movie?

J – Shortly after “Martyrs” came out it was on the top of nearly every shocking and banned film list so I had to see what the buzz was about it. The film lives up to what people say. The mid 2000’s surge of French Horror was what the whole industry needed. It’s as gruesome as it’s contemporary counter parts “Inside” and “Irreversible” as well as “A Serbian Film” or even some of the over the top splatter films from Japan. But “Martyrs” is different. You’ll see a common theme with a lot of my favorite films in general, especially horror. They are usually minimalistic. And bleak. The most incredible part of that film to me is the years of trauma, all the plotted revenge, and then all the suffering was for nothing. There is no answer. Not one that the audience gets to find out. That’s the best way I have ever seen a film end without answering anything and yet still feeling fulfilled.

Cross – Here’s another not so old film: Ari Aster’s “Hereditary”. It got nominated for many awards, MTV movie award for the most frightening performance, for best actress and many others. Any thoughts about it? It didn’t do much for me though…

J – Ari Aster is a genius when it comes to story telling and misdirection. The film was written without any horror or supernatural elements to it originally. Once that was completed he added the rest. The core of it is a family struggling to process grief and how everyone handles it differently. Adding in King Paimon makes it so much better. Instead of some generic demon or being, Ari took the time to research everything. Using the proper sigil as well as the right attributes. But even without that aspect, seeing a family that already had its problems simply try to function, makes it more human.

Cross – You mentioned this one in one of our conversations… “Videodrome”. I haven’t had a chance to give it a try yet, but I sure do know David Cronenberg from “The Fly”, his most triumphant and accessible film to date. About “Videodrome” I’ve heard it is extremely brutal and violent. What can you tell us about it?

J – I think “The Fly” is his most notorious film. I stumbled across “Videodrome” on TV one day. I didn’t know it was a Cronenberg film until the end. I saw it in the late 90’s for the first time. The internet wasn’t as prominent as it is now. And so a lot of the elements in the film were still relevant. Parts of the BDSM subculture that get touched upon were unknown to the average person. Lots of shock films like “Faces of Death” were still few and far between. Max Renn’s drive to find more and experience everything through the screen hit close to home. As well as Brian O’Blivion being this cult leader that exists only on vhs. Now, nearly 40 years later the film is more relevant. The formats have changed from vhs and tube screens to our phones. We are living the reality that’s depicted. Hard to separate real life from the digital world.

Cross – That’s true. Let’s jump to a Sci-fi/Crime film, which for many might not be considered as a horror film but to me a horror film doesn’t need creepy scenes or blood to be a horror film. “A Clockwork Orange”, one of Kubrick’s finest movies. A misunderstood classic. What does this movie tell you?

J – I always saw the film as a good example of how people will adapt to society but don’t change who they are. The book has a bit more ambiguous ending, at least that I remember. But Kubrick’s take on it was clear. Simply go through the motions and show people what they want to see but you can’t change who you are inside. You can simply become better at hiding it. Along with that, the film has one of the most amazing scores out there.

Cross – I’m sure many know Kubrick from “The Shining”. Stephen King’s horror novel, which established him as a preeminent author in the horror genre. Getting back to Kubrick and his ” The Shining”, he can make your own room seem creepy and unfamiliar. Are you a “The Shining” fan J? Or a fan of Jack Nickolson’s performance in this movie?

J – I love “The Shining”. King’s work has had some rough adaptations. I know Kubrick took the skeleton of the books idea and created his own nightmare out of it and I think it’s much better that way. The insane amount to detail that he puts into every film that he made is otherworldly. There are no mistakes. The torture he put Shelley Duvall through was probably a bit too much. Jack Nicholson was a fantastic actor until playing the Joker broke him mentally. “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Chinatown” showed how deep he could go even early on.

Cross – I’m glad you mentioned “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest“ (great Book too) and “Chinatown”. You have a large amount of piercings, does that have anything to do with Pinhead? (Laughs) Clive Barker most known for his books, he’s one of the directors in “Hellraiser”. I’m sure if one is a fan of Barker they know he is a painter too. How many “Hellraiser” films are out there,10? And which one is your favorite?

J – It’s a pretty common question actually. If “Hellraiser” inspired my interest in body modification. It might have played a part in it but the next question will explain it more. I watched the first two “Hellraiser” films a lot growing up. When I was younger I was a larger fan of the second one. The exploration of psychology and the vision of hell in the end was amazing. But Clive’s universe is a bit different as I would discover later through a number of his books. Hell is simply another realm of existence. The massive landscape that you see is simply a temple there. As I grew older and understood the films more, the first one resonated more with me. Even though the Cenobites are only on screen for roughly 5 minutes they had the most impact. The story gets overshadowed. A woman who is tired of the life that she is living. Longing for something she had for a brief moment. A husband oblivious to her misery. And Frank. A man driven by an unquenchable desire for experience. Nothing in the world means anything to him. He is never satisfied.

For the series there are 8 that star Doug Bradley. Those are the ones that are more or less considered cannon. The additional 2 were made simply to hold the rights to the name. I think I’ve made it 15 minutes into “Revelations” and that was it. The final 4 films during Doug’s time were simply scrips that were adjusted to kinda fit into the “Hellraiser” universe. They are low budget but kinda watchable if you don’t want to really pay attention. I did read the original scrip to “Deader” and it was a much better film than it ended up becoming. Clive wrapped up his vision for “Hellraiser” with “The Scarlet” Gospels having it take place after the second film and ignoring the rest as well as both of the comic book series. I think he did an amazing job wrapping it up. I know he is a very active painter, his mind and his creativity never stop. He will do up to 3 paintings a day and that’s on top of writing on and off. Unfortunately he doesn’t do anything with them. Just stock piles his work.

Cross – He does painting exhibits with them I’m sure people pay to get inside. When this movie came out I was one year old. (Laughs) I’m talking about Dan O’Bannon’s “The Return of the Living Dead”. Classic! Hilarious! Educational too. One of the funniest zombie movies I’ve ever seen. Do you consider it as an intro to modern zombie movies?

J – I am a fan of most of the series. The second film is kinda meh. But Return was great. It was my introduction to the punk subculture as a kid. And it blends the right amount of horror and comedy. The third film takes the approach of being a tragic love story. That helped expand what you could do with a zombie film. They are simply the backdrop. Julia going through her transformation is where I saw for the first time that you could pierce anything if you really wanted to. Even though some of what she does to her body is exaggerated, a lot of it is still realistic. I started to look into it more and more as I got older. Also gave me the mentality of “fuck it, I’ll just do it myself”. 4 & 5 are bad but entertaining bad. Low budget fun.

Cross – Talking about zombies, Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” and the most famous line of a zombie film “They coming to get you, J!” (Laughs) How much do you like this one?

J – “Night of the living Dead” is probably the first zombie film I saw. As with most people. It set a new standard. Moved away from films like White Zombie. Romero found a way to critique humanity and culture while also scaring the hell out of people.

Cross – Love that last line. “Dawn of the Dead” another one of Romero’s movies, his second, the true classic. A blast. Considered as the best zombie horror film ever made. Do you agree?

J – I think it’s up there. The original might be tops. But I love the scathing criticism of consumer culture.

Cross – To stay in the world of the “living dead”, let me drop you a title that goes beyond the boundaries of the Supernatural to the half-world of the living dead, Mario Bava’s “Black Sabbath/ I Tre Volti Della Paura”. Another of my favorites. Ever heard about it?

J – I watched it as a kid because I thought it had something to do with the band Black Sabbath but that was it. I keep telling myself I should watch it again but it’s been about 30 years and I still haven’t. Maybe one day I will finally pull it off the shelf along with the dozens of other films I’ve bought and haven’t had time to watch.

Cross – I always thought they took it from there. (Laughs) Now it’s time to talk about Vampires. So we end this conversation right. “Nosferatu” (1922) Max Schrek, “Nosferatu the Vampyre” (1979) Klaus Kinski, “Dracula” (1931) Bela Lugosi, or Christopher Lee in “Dracula Has Risen from the Grave”?

J – Nosferatu and Dracula were staples in my house growing up. They are fantastic for different reasons. Max made a vampire terrifying. Bela showed how to make a monster wonderfully charming. I’m not a fan of the Kinski remake. It just didn’t really do anything for me. Though they are working on a new adaptation of Nosferatu being Directed by Robbert Eggers that I’m really excited about. His ability to tell a story with minimal dialogue and muted or black and white is perfect. His visual style is the ideal blend needed. I liked Christopher Lee’s approach to the roll. Added more terror. But that’s something he was always good at. Creating a fear inducing atmosphere. Not just his character.

Cross – The one with Kinski has a lot of atmosphere and that’s one of the reasons why I love it. Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”, Cappola’s adaptation. I know this movie is like super loved but it never got me. Do you like it?

J – I have mixed feelings on it. Visually it’s fantastic. Gary Oldman is one of the best actors of all time. But a lot of it falls flat.

Cross – “Shadow of the Vampire” with William Dafoe?

J – Wonderful. I love the twist. I am a fan of meta work and I like that they took the idea of Max actually being a vampire and running with it. Defoe is another legend. His performance just adds so much to it. As well as the film being symbolic of the lengths that a director will go through to make a film.

Cross – “Interview With The Vampire”? I think it’s fun but not my cup of tea. Don’t like her book series at all. She goes too much around the bush in my opinion. Boring books. What are your thoughts?

J – I’m not a fan of the books. Good ideas but they just don’t do anything for me. I love the movie though. I think it comes down to casting. Brad Pitt and Tom Cruse were perfect. They did tone down the homosexual relationship in the film but I understand that wasn’t going to fly in the early 90’s but the idea still is there.

Cross – “Blade”? ” From Dusk Till Dawn”?

J – “Blade” is priceless. Solid action and entertaining. Has a pretty good soundtrack as well. Second one was all the mastermind of Guillermo del Toro. I don’t think a sequel would have worked with the same direction. Would have just been a repeat. He kept the action but amped up the horror. “From Dusk Till Dawn” is entertaining. But I don’t think it aged well. I liked it as a teenager but that’s about it.

Cross – “Let the Right One In”, the Swedish one. Do you like it?

J – I’m actually a fan of both the original and the remake. Though the American version doesn’t translate well in certain parts. But I really like when horror films take an established idea and run in a completely different direction with it.

Cross – I could mention so many other movies but I think we better let some for some other time (laughs. Second interview if you will). If there’s any other movies you would like to mention or suggest or if you would like to add something more…

J – There are tons I could go on about but I will end with two short ones. “Event Horizon”. Incredible cast. A very unique story. The bait and switch approach. It seems like it is simply going to be a dark sci-fi. Instead it dives deep into the idea of fear. What might happen when we play with technology that we don’t fully understand. And going to hell and back. That’s clearly a common theme for my interests.

And “Cube”. It’s kind of unknown. The first film simply offers no explanation. Just shows how people handle stress and shows how humans will break down rather than come together. And the film has no solid ending. I don’t count either of the sequels.

Cross – Would have to watch “Event Horizon”. You make it sound interesting. I agree with you about “Cube”. I’ve seen them all but the first one is what does it.

Thank you J for taking the time to answer all my questions. It’s been great talking to you as always. Appreciate it, thank you very much!!

Interview – Beastial Piglord – Horror Films

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IT’S “20 QUESTIONS WITH CROSS” DAY!

Realizing how much I enjoyed my first interview about one of my passions: horror movies, I decided to keep on doing them. It helps me discover horror movies I haven’t heard of before and it’s real fun. Talking about horror movies makes me as happy as a child gets when they eat ice cream (laughs. Love ice cream by the way).

For this interview I talked to the one-man band, the artist behind one of the most productive, awesome bands out there: Beastial Piglord.

On our first interview we had about his music and stuff he likes, he surely admitted to be a horror film fan.

Cross – Hey Hudson! How you doing?

Hudson – I’m good.

Cross – First of all tell us what horror genre you dig more? No titles.

Hudson – Pretty much any genre as long as it’s from the 60s-early 2000s.

Cross – In our first interview when asked to name a horror film who scared you to death when you were little you said, Jonathan Liebesman’s “Darkness Falls”, was it? How old were you when you first watched it and why would you suggest it to horror fans now?

Hudson – Yep, “Darkness Falls” scared the s**t out of me when I was a kid. I was maybe 12 when I saw it for the first time and it made me terrified to turn the lights off for months, its not scary now, but as a kid it definitely freaked me out.

Cross – I know you’re a huge H.P. Lovecraft’s fan. I mean you have a portrait of his, tattooed on your leg. (I hope that ain’t something you didn’t want me to put out there). Stuart Gordon’s “Re-Animator”. Let’s talk about that. What can you tell us?

Hudson – “Re-Animator” is definitely on my list of favorites. It’s just the perfect combination of horror/comedy/suspense. Watch it and see.

Cross – I don’t think there are many horror fans who haven’t watched “Re- Animator“ once. Another Lovecraft based horror film directed by Stuart Gordon is “From Beyond”. Satire and artistry mixed with the slime. What do you think about this film?

Hudson – I absolutely love it, and Jeffery Combs who played Herbert west in “Re-Animator” also stars in this movie, its just another perfect example of a classic 80s horror film with no CGI. All puppets and hand crafted effects.

Cross – Talking about Lovecraft, it has been said that Carpenter’s “The Thing” was inspired by Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madnesses”. Nothing official though. What do you think? Are you Hudson a “The Thing” fan?

Hudson – I have a lot of “favorites” haha and “The thing” 1982 is definitely one of them. Pure brilliance.

Cross – Here’s another Lovecraftian movie. “The Whisperer in Darkness”. Every time I mention it, I also say this to people “If you are an H. P. Lovecraft’s fan and haven’t seen this yet, please slap yourself, then see it as soon as possible.” (Laughs)

Do you know about this film Hudson?

Hudson – Nope. I tend to stay away from modern movies in general. Haha

Cross – This one is something you would like. I mean what are you still doing here? Go watch it!!  (Laughs)

I think it’s fair to name some of your favorite Lovecraft tales, after all his work has been a gargantuan inspiration to many horror artists. If you could not include the ones which inspired these movies we just talked about, which ones would be your favourites?

Hudson – THE LURKING FEAR!! Paranoia at its finest.

Cross – Just one?! You’re killing me. (Laughs) But I totally agree with that one. In my first horror interview with Mike, from The Tell Offs band, we talked about Tobe Hooper’s “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, but with you I would like to talk about “The Funhouse”. You suggested it to me some days ago and I loved it. What would you say about ” The Funhouse”? In some reviews I checked, it didn’t look like people fully got this film.

Hudson – You either get it or you don’t, I don’t see what’s not to get, its funny, creepy, suspenseful and action packed. A great thriller and I’d recommend it to any horror film fans.

Cross – Here’s another Tobe Hooper’s horror, mystery and suspense “Eaten Alive”, known as “Death Trap”, “Starlight Slaughter”, “Legend of the Bayou” and “Horror Hotel” with the one and only Marilyn Burns and Robert Englund. Does it ring any bell?

Hudson – I’ve seen over 2,000 horror movies so some of them I have forgotten about.

Cross – It happens. I usually go for a weekend horror film marathon and at the end of the day I mix em all together. (Laughs)

In my very first horror film interview we talked about “Scream” movies too. You own a Ghostface mask. That means just one thing: that you love “Scream” and Wes Craven. Many dislike the “Scream” movies, (*whispers* I’m one of them) why do you like em?

Hudson – He reinvented horror with those movies, the same man who reinvented horror with “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, who thought he could do it again? Well he did, and countless movies have taken inspiration from the “Scream” films. Because that’s what the scream movies are. Just a big spoof of all the big horror films.

Cross – Here’s a Wes Craven movie I enjoyed, “The People Under The Stairs”. You watched this recently, right? How was it?

Hudson – I loved it, I love a horror movie with a good moral to the story.

Cross – “Bigotten”, E. Elias Merhige. How did you find out about “Bigotten” and why do you love it? I know you love it! (Laughs) Maybe not as much as I do, but I know you do.

Hudson – It’s a visual representation of a nightmare for real.

Cross – Right on point. “The Blob “. Chuck Russell directed it and Kevin Dillon with his mullet plays Brian, a teen anti-hero, who rocks up on his motorcycle to rescue the whole town. Tremendously revolting and wonderfully funny. The effects are superb in this film and the Blob itself genuinely scary. Another one of your suggestions. What does this movie do for you?

Hudson – This movie feels even more spectacular now, because it actually reminds me of the real world we live in now.

Cross – That’s what I thought when I watched it. Lerry Cohen, “The Stuff “. Almost similar to “The Blob “. One of the lines of this movie is , “Are you eating it or is it eating you?” You seem to like gelatinous monsters (laughs). “The Stuff” ‘s effects are surprisingly good. What do you think about that?

Hudson – It is very similar to “The Blob”, but it’s more of satire on American consumers than anything else, its funny and super entertaining.

Cross – An incredibly perfect movie for 1922, Benjamin Christensen’s human sacrifice “Häxan” (The Witches) . His second film after his debut in 1914 with “Det hemmelighedsfulde X” (The Mysterious X). Ever heard of any of these two?

Hudson – I have never heard of that one.

Cross – It’s one of my favorites, “Haxan” that is. You should give it a try. I’m curious to know if you ever heard of one of those films that people either adore or despise, “Basket Case”? There are three of them, but I do like the first better. Such a great film. What do you think?

Hudson – I’ve seen the first one and I fucking loved it.

Cross – There’s a horror comedy I like (another one of your suggestions) Dan Aykroyd’s, “Nothing But Trouble ” where he plays the Judge. Tell us how much you like this movie? Another fun character of Aykroyd’s is  Beldar Conehead , Donald R. DeCicco. (Laughs) Coneheads (1993 ) is hilarious. Do you agree?

Hudson – Yeah “Nothing But Trouble” is another horror/comedy that I adore. Great story and great actors. Coneheads is also a fantastic comedy.

Cross – “The Devil’s Rain” (1967). You mentioned it the other night. How was it?

Hudson – Never got around to watching it!! I am soon.

Cross – There’s a horror/crime film I remember you watched sometime ago. Not sure if that was your first time checking it out, but I’m talking about Henry (Michael Rooker): “Portrait of a Serial Killer”. What did you think about it?

Hudson – Yep, this is one of those more realistic horror/thrillers and it’s definitely a good movie for non-horror fans.

Cross – Are you Hudson a fan of “The Exorcist”? Story by William Peter Blatty, one of my favorite books. One of Linda Blair’s greatest performances. They say that some audience members in the ’70s fainted after seeing Dick Smith’s grisly makeup effects on Blair.

Hudson – This one also creeped me the f**k out as a kid, love it.

Cross – We talked mostly about old horror films. Is there any recent horror film that you might like to suggest? Or anything else you might like to add?

Hudson – Every once in a while a good one comes around, I mean “The Human Centipede” was actually very entertaining and had a good story throughout, but people only seem to talk about that one nasty scene, which is the least important part of the film, and as non horror goes “Joker” 2019 was brilliant, a perfect movie. If you take out the name Joker it’s pretty much a psychological thriller, its incredible.

Cross – Thank you for taking the time, once again to answer to my questions! It’s been awesome! Thanks again!

Hudson – Thanks for having me, Cross!

Interview – Mike – Horror Films

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IT’S “20 QUESTIONS WITH CROSS” DAY!

When I first started this blog/interview series, I mentioned that the most important part of these interviews is art and the people who make it. Art is a wide genre and horror films are a huge part of this genre, at least to me. I enjoy watching horror movies as much as I do enjoy drawing or exploring/listening to music (heavy music usually) and obviously my humble “trying to be” a guitar shredder (laughs).

To talk about horror films and those who make them, one needs a horror fan obviously. If you all remember, most of the band members I interviewed recently, showed their love about horror films, but the only one who did show more excitement about getting to sit down and talk about this passion, was Mike of “The Tell Offs” band.

Cross – Hey Mike! How is it going?

Mike – Hi Cross! Down live-stream on the 29th, let’s go! Haha

Cross – Hell Yeah!!! (Laughs) You ready for this? Hah!

Mike – I am sooo ready!

Cross – First of all, tell us what genre of horror films do you like? Do not mention titles!

Mike – Ok so, I’m open to whatever. A good movie is a good movie but I seem to gravitate towards gore and slasher type films. The gorier the better! I’m actually not crazy about paranormal stuff or exorcism type stuff. I want murder and blood in my horror for some reason, I dunno haha!

Cross – On our first interview we had, you said your favorite horror film is, Tobe Hooper’s “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” (one of my favorite movies of all time. The Beautiful, Marilyn Burns and the Giant, Gunnar Hansen).

When was the first time you’ve watched it, where were you? What did the movie spark in you? Why do you love it as much as you say you do?

Mike – Ok so! The original “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre”. I was probably about 8 years old? I was watching a movie from the 1980s, this comedy called “Summer School” with Kirstie Alley and Mark Harmon. In the movie, two of the students were obsessed with “ The Texas Chain Saw Massacre”. I somehow managed to convince my dad into letting me rent it during a blockbuster trip. Starting to show my age here haha. I had this little TV in my room with a VHS player attached to it. I watched it there in my room, by myself. It scared the living s**t out of me, but I friggin’ loved it.

Cross – I hear great words from people I know who had the chance to meet Gunnar Hansen, a real great person. Have you ever had the chance to meet him (I would have loved to)?

Mike – I never have, sadly!

Cross – Paul A. Partain (Franklin Hardesty). Many people say he has been a pain during the shooting of the movie and not many like his performance. I do love him in the movie though. What are your thoughts about it?

Mike – Well if he was a pain in the a**, it sure didn’t stop the movie from being a classic! Franklin surely isn’t my favorite character in the movie but he’s essential and he became essential in “The Texas Chain Saw 2”. Again, all the little things about this movie. I kinda found myself having sympathy for Franklin. Here’s a guy in a wheelchair that kinda got dragged on this trip and then you have that one scene where they are all upstairs having a great time and he’s all alone and he starts spitting up at them in disgust? I dunno, I kinda felt for him. I mean, I’m not in a wheelchair and I’m blessed by way of that so I’m not complaining but I’ve been a 3rd wheel a few times in my life haha it’s not the greatest feeling in the world.

Cross – I agree with you there.

Are you a Dario Argento’s fan Mike? His “Suspiria” (in Latin means “sighs”) is a treat for my eyes and not only that. The greatest part of the movie is “Suspiria”’s Soundtrack, by Goblin.

Mike – I have never seen or heard of this movie but this is another reason why I’m glad we’re doing this! I don’t claim to be a know it all but I sure as s**t wanna be! This is added to the list!

Cross – It’s not slasher as you like them but it gonna stay with you, trust me.

Mike – After I watch it, I’ll let you know. Hey by the way….you got me goin’ with the death metal band Portal. Brilliant music. Haha

Cross – One of the scariest, greatest, darkest bands out there, Portal that is.

They made a remake of “Suspiria”, Luca Guadagnino’s “Suspiria” (Thom Yorke, Radiohead’s singer did the soundtrack, which  reminds me of Philip Glass somehow… the composer and pianist who made the soundtrack for “Candyman”. True genius…). In my opinion they should have called it something else but it wasn’t bad at all. Sorry I keep talking about it. (Laughs)

Mike – Well, I will get back to you on this one too, but I did love Candyman!

Cross – Rob Zombie. I’m sure we both know him from his music but he does horror movies too. I’m not that much of a fan of his horror movies (don’t get me wrong, they’re beautifully shot) but… you’ve got to love Sid Haig and Bill Moseley (here we go, back to Tobe Hooper’s “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 2”, Chop – Top… laughs) in ” The House of 1000 Corpses”.  What can you say about all that (too much happening on that train of thought)?

Mike – I love Rob Zombie’s films. Besides his recurring cast, I tend to lean more towards gore with my horror movies. I like feeling a bit uncomfortable. If I can think about a movie long after I’ve watched it, and think about specific scenes later, I feel like it’s a good movie or at least resonated with me, again going back to “ The Texas Chain Saw Massacre”. So many little scenes I just think about from time to time and it’s just eerie. But with gore, there’s also a visual that I find pleasing which you just touched on saying they’re beautifully shot.

I feel that with “House of 1000 Corpses” (this one in particular), “The Devils Rejects” and “3 From Hell” which by the way got a bit of heat but I still enjoyed it, I feel that visually, Rob Zombie takes a page out of the book of “ The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” with these movies. That uncomfortable, unsettling feeling. And again, the cast of characters is just so damn strong. So many one liners, and the music is so damn good, in all 3 movies. I’m ashamed to say I just discovered Suzi Quatro last year thanks to “3 From Hell”. And I also think that the final scene in “The Devil’s Rejects” with “Free Bird“ is just breathtaking.

These three movies sure do take me on a wild ride. I also love the look on people’s faces who say they’ve seen this movie and I have to remind them that Dwight Schrute is in “House of 1000 Corpses” haha, I also really enjoyed “31”, which to me was like Rob Zombie’s version of “Saw” if “Saw” didn’t suck (sorry folks, I’m not a fan) and “The Lords of Salem” was really good. I may be biased though because I love the town of Salem, Massachusetts. I’ve been there quite a lot and it’s a damn good time. I also have issues with remakes sometimes but I thought Rob Zombie’s take on “Halloween” was very enjoyable. I thought he put his Rob Zombie spin on it while doing the original plot justice but also added more depth to the origins of Michael Myers. Who he was and why? All that stuff. Wasn’t too crazy about the sequel though. Seemed a bit unnecessary but that’s just me.

Cross – Ain’t a “Saw “ fan either. About “Halloween” we’ll get to that in the next question. Enjoyed “House of 1000 Corpses“, I’ve been a fan of Sid Haig since Ralph Merrye in “Spider Baby”. Which one was your first movie of his?

Mike – My first Sid Haig movie was actually the 1971 James Bond film “Diamonds are Forever!” Sid Haig was just fantastic. May he rest in power.

Cross – Michael Myers, Jon Carpenter’s masterpiece “Halloween”, my favorite!!! (told you we’ll get to it) with the iconic Scream Queen, Jamie Lee Curtis.

Mike – We touched on this earlier. Yes! I love “Halloween”! Between “ The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” and “Halloween”, these movies were definitely a gateway in horror movies as a young boy.

Cross – How many Halloween movies are there?

Mike – Haha oh boy, there’s been lots right?

Cross – Way too many. (Laughs)

Mike – I mean you had the first 6. The third one not involving Michael Myers. You had H2O which I thought was pretty stellar. Then you had “Halloween Resurrection” which, my god what a piece of s**t haha… and then the most recent one which I thought was good. I wouldn’t have named it “Halloween” but that’s me nitpicking haha. So not including Rob Zombie’s, we have had 9? With a tenth on the way this fall? Did I nail it?

Cross – Haven’t watched them all, told you my love stays with the first one but, I think you nailed it. (Laughs) Which one do you prefer?

Mike – Besides the original, I really enjoyed “Halloween 4”. Michael Myers mask kinda sucked haha but I thought the story was strong and we really need to give a shout out to Donald Pleasance because I don’t care how many remakes you do… he is and always will be Dr Loomis haha. May he rest in power.

Cross – I’m a huge fan of F. W. Murnau’s “Nosferaru”. I’m sure it shows in my drawings (laughs). My favorite silent movie ever, and I do love immensely “Nosferatu the Vampyre” with Kinski and Adjani. Which one do you like better?

Mike – “Nosferatu” rules! Again, eerie. One of the best things about the older horror movies is that they’re so old it makes them even scarier. Sometimes I feel like horror movies aren’t meant for a massive budget. Nobody wants to watch Die Hard here. Haha

Cross – That’s a Venom song. (Laughs)

Mike – With that said, I like the original better BUT! I enjoyed “Nosferatu the Vampyre” a lot. I thought Kinski’s take on the count was really good. He had this sympathetic approach to his character in a way. If that makes any sense. Haha

Cross – How about Bela Lugosi as Dracula (music was composed by Philip Glass later on, I mentioned him earlier. Laughs)?

Mike – Lemme tell you something, put Bela Lugosi on a screen staring directly into it for 1 hour straight with them bug eyes he does and I’ll call it a horror classic. Bela Lugosi for me is to horror what The Beatles are to rock n’ roll. Nobody will ever touch him and he planted the seeds whether he realized it or not. Also, shout out to “White Zombie” another one I love.

Cross – I’m sure he knew how good he was. And all you said there made me happy. I couldn’t agree more.

When we talk about horror films we have to mention Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead”. The first movie is my favorite. Which one does it for you and have you watched the TV show “Ash vs Evil Dead”?

Mike – The first movie is absolutely my favorite and I haven’t watched the show yet! It’s on my list of stuff I need to watch along with “Suspiria” now!

Cross – Are you Mike an Alfred Hitchcock fan? “Psycho”, the perfect nightmare. A classic!

Mike – Oh “Psycho” has to be a top 10 all time, am I right? That would be a good one for Halloween! I could be Norman when he dresses up like his mom!

Cross – (Laughs)

Mike – All I’d need is a dress, a wig and a knife (a styrofoam one of course haha). Maybe next year. This year I’m gonna be Walter from the Big Lebowski. Haha sidenote, Hitchcock… loved “Dial M for Murder”.

Cross – You already planned it huh? And that’s a good one too. Everytime I talk about Hitchcock, Roman Polanski pops in my mind. To name some of his horror masterpieces, “The Tenant”, “Repulsion”, “Rosemary’s Baby”. He has many other great movies, but since we’re talking about horror I’ll stop there. Ever heard of him or any of these films I just mentioned?

Mike – Rosemary’s Baby was great, only recently found out Mia Farrow was married to Frank Sinatra and I’m deeply ashamed by that. Haha another thing Roman Polanski did that was great was marry Sharon Tate, she was beautiful!

Cross – They didn’t stay that long together though, Sinatra and Farrow. And Tate, she was stunningly beautiful.

Rod Serling, unmistakable voice. I’m a Mad fan of his work. From “The Twilight Zone” to “Night Gallery” and his books too. He died two years after his participation in the ” Encounter with the Unknown”, a horror/mystery film. Do you know about him or the TV shows? Any thoughts?

Mike – Well surely I know “The Twilight Zone”. Funny quick story, last year I went to a Phish concert in upstate New York with my guitar player and a couple of friends. By the way, not a big jam band guy, but they’re great musicians and my guitar player lets me take him to see bands like Anthrax, Slayer and Eyehategod so I feel like I wanna go to a Phish show sometimes because he loves them haha. Anyway, we got a hotel to spend the night and I brought my DVD player. Having gotten a bit drunk… ok really drunk and maybe there was some hippie lettuce present… not too sure haha… when we got back to the hotel I was the first one to pass out. That was maybe around 1am. About 4am I woke up and my guitar player had put “The Twilight Zone” on because it’s on Netflix. So by that point they were all asleep so I sat up for a couple of hours eating Doritos and watching “The Twilight Zone”. End of story. Hahahaha

Cross – Bullshit Artist. Does that ring a bell? (Laughs)

Mike – If anyone hasn’t seen “The Greasy Strangler” yet, see it! I ain’t playin’. Hahahaha what a movie. Nothing like it.

Cross – You tell them Mike!!!

Chucky, Jason, Freddy Krueger, Ghostface… which one does Mike like the most?

Mike – Ughhhhhhhhhhhhh… this is tough……. I’m a “Friday the 13th” guy overall but I’m gonna say Freddy, I just think he’s got the most depth. I have a sister whose 4 1/2 years older than me so around this time, the movie “Scream”, was really big… right or wrong it was big haha. I remember being in 4th grade and in a catholic school no less. Haha everyone dressed as the Ghostface that year. Except me of course, I don’t remember who I was. But there’s a scene in that movie where they’re all watching “Halloween” with Jamie Lee Curtis. So I feel like interest in “Halloween” came about with my generation based on that so I had seen that movie around this time too and while I loved “Halloween” and still do believe me it’s one of my favorites, “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” resonated in a totally different way. I’ve seen it a zillion times now and I still have that same eerie vibe at 32 that I got watching it at 8 years old. There’s nothing like it.

Cross – I Love Matthew Lillard but I ain’t a Scream fan. “Eden Lake” (2008), “Hatchet” (2006), “The Midnight Meat Train” (2008), “Tucker & Dale vs Evil” (one of my favorite horror comedies), are you a fan of any of these Mike?

Mike – “Tucker & Dale vs Evil” was awesome! Plus the fat guy got the girl. Speaking as a horizontally challenged man myself, that’s always good. We need more of that! Haha

Cross – He sure did. (Laughs)

Not sure how much of a Black Flag, Henry Rollins (love him!) fan you are, but he did appear in some horror films: “Wrong Turn 2 – Dead End” and “He Never Died”, to mention one or two. Have you seen these two and what do you think about them?

Mike – I love Henry! I feel like when you’re a big Phil Anselmo fan, you have to like Henry by default I mean c’mon! Haha I’ve never seen these films but I’m intrigued. Did you ever see “The Chase” with Charlie Sheen and Kristy Swanson? Henry is in it. Reeked of 1990s. Great cameos by Anthony Keidis and Flea from the Chili Peppers too haha… dammit I miss the 90s!

Cross – Yeah I’ve seen it. How Henry says, if I like an artist I want to even know wtf they had for breakfast. (Laughs) Talking about Phil Anselmo…

American Guinea Pig movies. The second one “Bloodshock” premiered on Housecore Horror Film Fest part lll in 2015, I believe. I haven’t watched the last two ones though but are on my list. Ever heard of them Mike, do you like any?

Mike – Never heard of any of these but I’m tellin ya right now, if there’s ever another Housecore Horror Film Fest I don’t care where it is, I’m going.

Cross – If that ever happens, and I really hope it will soon, we have to sit down and talk about that experience.

We talked mostly about sort of “old horror” movies. Any other ones you’d like to suggest or talk about, old or new, Mike? What are your feelings about the horror genre nowadays?

Mike – Let’s see, well if you wanna ever gross out non horror movie fans show them the movie “Terrifier.” Art, the Clown will not appeal to them. Hahahaha

Cross – I go with “ Blookshock” and “ Nekromantik “ for that. (Laughs)

Mike – Let’s see what else… so, I’m a big pro wrestling nerd. There’s a wrestler whose retired now but his name is CM Punk. He’s ventured out into acting recently and he starred in a horror film called “Girl On The Third Floor.” Came out last year. Kind of a haunted house type flick. I thoroughly enjoyed it so check that out and listen… I may get hung for this but seeing as how I have the platform I’m gonna do something that not a lot of people have done and that’s openly admit my love for the Kevin Smith horror movie “Tusk.” I friggin’ loved it. Yes, the plot was beyond ridiculous, the idea of it is stupid but the acting. First of all you’ve got Michael Parks. A genius. Then, I’m gonna tip my hat to Justin Long because… spoiler alert here… there’s a scene where he’s drugged by Michael Parks character and when he comes to, he’s all out of it and realizes that his leg has been cut off. Justin Longs reaction was superb. Because seriously imagine that happening.

Cross – No spoilers Mike!!! (Laughs)

“Tusk” has been on my list for a while now. Every time I mention “The Greasy Strangler” people suggest me “Tusk”.

Mike – Lastly, Johnny Depp’s cameo was literally out of this world. Another deep cut Johnny Depp transformation. The movie was so universally panned when I’ve told people to watch it, they didn’t even realize it was Johnny Depp I had to tell them later. Haha! Anyways, I do like my horror movies older usually but there’s been some gems here and there. I just hope they stop remaking the classics. How many “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” remakes can they do? And did we really need to reboot “Friday the 13th” and “Nightmare on Elm Street”? No thanks. I understand remakes have been happening forever but some performances are just so timeless I don’t see how it can be done. Not horror but I’ve heard of a “Scarface” remake coming? How can you possibly top that movie in general let alone Al Pacino’s performance in it? Haha end rant.

Cross – I know, right? Make your own f*****g movie!! (Laughs)

Thank you for taking the time to answer to all my questions, Mike. Can’t thank you enough brother, it has been a blast!!!

Mike – Thanks for the time Cross this was fun let’s do it again, sometime!

Interview – The Tell Offs

CROSS Artworks

IT’S “20 QUESTIONS WITH CROSS” DAY!

I know, I have previously mentioned on my blogs that these interviews I am going to post on my web page are like a small window for fans and other people to explore bands and artists I’ve collaborated with, and to get to know these talented artists a bit better. Keep in mind though that the most important part of these interviews is the art and those talented people who make it.

That said, today I’m going to break my rules of interviewing artists I’ve collaborated with, and for this third blog of the series, I am very excited to interview Mike of The Tell Offs band, from New York!

 

Cross – Hi Mike, how ya doing brother?

Mike – Hi Cross!

Cross – I did some research prior to the interview preparation and there’s no information about your band at all out there. Not even on the band’s Instagram. All it says is where you guys are from, and how many members the band has. Let’s start from there.

The Tell Offs band is a five member band from Rockland County, New York. Can you name the guys and what instruments they play, including yourself too?

Mike – I’d love to! The usual suspects in The Tell Offs we have Mike K on lead guitar and backup vocals, Joe H on the four string thing and backup vocals, John O on rhythm guitar/keyboard/saxophone/backup vocals and Brandon P on drums and I’m lead vocals and occasionally I play some rhythm guitar. Poorly. Haha!

Cross – Does The Tell Offs (the band name) has a much deeper meaning than what it already says?

Mike – Absolutely……… not. Hahaha we were originally Dirty Mike and the Boys for several years but it was sort of a nonsense name that was meant to be temporary. On top of that, there’s other groups out there named Dirty Mike and the Boys. So after many years and many band name lists, we finally landed on the Tell Offs. We thought it worked! Granted, our general longtime fanbase tend to still refer to us as Dirty Mike but that’s ok. The Tell Offs will stick in due time haha.

Cross – How did you guys start the band, how did y’all get together?

Mike – Oof. Long story but I’ll make it short. Brandon, the drummer, and I went to the same high school and we were in a band together in high school. Joe, the bass player, went to our high school as well and we all had a lot of mutual friends even though I was a grade below them. Anyways, that band Brandon and I were in, reunited for a one off show back in 2012. After a drunken text convo on Thanksgiving 2012 between Brandon and I, we decided to get something going and in early 2013, this band was born!

Cross – Did the band have five members since from the start?

Mike – Actually no, the first three years we were a four piece. John joined in 2016, but he was a friend of the band and had made music with some of the other guys in bands before. We thought it would be a great added dynamic to include him. We couldn’t have been more right, it’s been great!

Cross – In my research, I found out The Tell Offs band have a couple songs/originals out there. Did you ever think to get them all together in an EP? Any similar plans in the near future?

Mike – The first few years we were strictly a bar band doing cover songs. In late 2017, we started doing originals. We have a lot of plans to get our original music out there! We’re still kind of in early stages of things and unfortunately this whole pandemic screwed up some of that progression but the wheels are spinning, we’ve got more ideas in place. It’s comin!

Cross – You guys do live-shows, right? How do you like playing live?

Mike – I love playing live! It’s such an incredible release. We pride ourselves on our live show. I think it’s our best quality. We engage with our crowd. We try to make them feel part of the show. My microphone is your microphone! I’m much more comfortable playing live than I am recording, I’m very stiff when I record. Perhaps that’s in my head I dunno but yea. Especially now that we’re getting older, all of us now in our 30s, every time we play live it’s a blessing.

Cross – Favorite place to play live?

Mike – Hmm, well I’ve been playing live shows since I was 14 years old, I’m gonna be 32 today haha. The two places I’ve played that sorta are my personal claims to fame is I’ve played CBGB’s twice and I played the Chance theater in Poughkeepsie New York. Both great places. These days? Our hometown bar that doesn’t exist anymore, it shut down a couple of years ago now, Blue Ribbon Tavern in Chestnut Ridge, NY was historic for us. So many great memories and not even just for us. That place was around for a really long time whether under different names or whatever the case. One of my best friends in the world, his parents had their first date there back in the early 1980s! We were sad to hear that place shut down. Casa Del Sol in Nyack, New York has become a staple, they’ve been really good to us. Shout out to Tommy and the crew there!

Cross – What gears do you guys use for your music, mic and all?

Mike – Shure mics and all kinds of other madness hahaha, I’m not the tech guy in the band clearly.

Cross – I know some of your music tastes cause we talked a bit a couple times, but what does inspire you as a band?

Mike – Oh yes we have! Make no mistake I’m the big metalhead in the band! Haha but what inspires us as a band is our love for rock n roll and the camaraderie that goes along with being in a band. A brotherhood for sure. A gang if you will. An extremely non violent gang. Haha.

Cross – If you could have a chance to open for a band you admire (which blew you away when you attended their live show), which one would that be?

Mike – Well given the kind of music I play, I’ll say that if I could ever open for the legendary Texas Fort Worth Rock n Roll band The Toadies, I’ll be waiting with bells on. Haha

Cross – Something about you Mike, when did you start to play guitar and what do you like more, acoustic or electric ?

Mike – I’m the world’s worst guitar player, make no mistake about it, but I write songs. So I have fiddled with a guitar in some way for probably about 12-13 years. I prefer electric because I can jack up my electro harmonix big muff and riff away, and it masks my lack of ability. Haha

Cross – You do write the lyrics for the band, right? How does that process works? Many song writers read a lot, do you?

Mike – I do write lyrics for the band! Not all of them mind you but a fair amount. We’re all responsible for our original music but as far as lyrics it’s generally music first, lyrics second. I tend to take the Metallica approach where we jam out on something we’ve got kicking around and I’ll just mumble some sh** over it until something sounds good. And a lot of it becomes muscle memory. I become obsessed with our riffs and eventually I come up with some kind of vocal melody. I’m a Zamboni driver by day. A lot of harmonies and melodies have come while operating the Zamboni. There’s some deep cut information for you. Hahaha

Cross – How and when did you discover that you could write your songs and sing?

Mike – Well I started singing in bands when I was 13 years old. And in some way shape or form, I’ve contributed to the songwriting process for any band since. Whether I do any of this stuff well is up for debate haha.

Cross – Any favorite singer?

Mike – Besides our beloved Philip H. Anselmo? Haha well I am the metalhead in my band. Don’t get me wrong the other fellas can get their Metallica on and stuff like that, but I’m definitely the metal fanatic… but having said that just like say, a Phil Anselmo, music is music. I always say I was corrupted by Metal but I was raised on Elvis, the Beatles and all kinds of oldies. Mike K, the lead guitarist, likes to joke with me that on those random nights, the drunker I get, the older my music gets haha. But a short list of singers I adore? Phil Anselmo, James Hetfield, John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, Vaden Todd Lewis, Chris Cornell, Frank Black, Mia Zapata, Joey Ramone. That was short right? Haha

Cross – I love food. What about you, what’s your favorite dish (can be sweets too)?

Mike – Haha oh boy food. You delicious bastard. Well, being raised in an Italian American household, I like my carbs. Bread and pasta are vicious to my gut. Lol make no mistake the guys in The Tell Offs love their food. We are men of great taste. Haha actually sure I enjoy sweets but sweets aren’t really where my girth comes from. It’s bread for me. Ya know people throw super bowl parties and they break out the massive Italian combo. Then suddenly they put it away and break out cake and cookies. By the end of the night I could care less about the cake and cookies let’s do another run of Italian combo! Haha

Cross – Are you Mike, or any of The Tell Offs’ band members, a horror fan? If yes, your favourite horror movie?

Mike – We are all big movie fans, but I’ll go out on a limb and say I’m probably the biggest horror movie aficionado in the band in the sense that I’ll go pretty deep, but my all time favorite has to be the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Feel free to interview me again separately so we can go deeper on this one haha!

Cross – In what I’ve observed you’re a sport’s fan. Your favourite sport: Baseball, Basketball, Football?

Mike – Ah yes. I do enjoy my sports. New York Yankees, New York Jets, New York Rangers, Brooklyn Nets fan here. The New York Yankees probably get talked about the most amongst the band. The thing that really moves me about sports is the camaraderie. It brings people together and for me it’s a little slice of home. When I go on vacations or something I usually always bring a yankee shirt with me. Mike K the lead guitarist and I are regulars at Yankee stadium and Joe the bass player is a lifelong Yankees fan and a filthy good baseball player. Joe if you read this I’m gonna make it a point to get to more of your games I promise! Haha

Cross – Do you like traveling, Mike? Any place you’d recommend traveling to?

Mike – I don’t travel enough. But as messed up as this may sound, I grew up going to Atlantic City, New Jersey a lot. My parents liked their poker but it’s cool, fortunately they were fairly responsible about it, but I grew up getting used to complimentary hotel rooms haha. I’m not a gambler at all but there’s a nostalgia I get when I go because I guess it was the family vacation growing up. A simpler time. I kinda dig that. Queue the corny music! Haha

Cross – Are you guys working on any new material?

Mike – Always. Lots in the vault. It’s all about time for us. Some members are married. Some members have children. We all have jobs and things that occupy our lives. Time is limited but we’re back and playing now so we’re gonna make some moves you’ll see.

Cross – Is there anything else you might like to add or any message you might want to give to your fans?

Mike – Thank you CROSS for taking the time. Yes, everyone reading, please follow my band The Tell Offs on Instagram @thetelloffsband you can listen to some of our original demos on our soundcloud, the link is in the bio and we just launched our new website thetelloffs.band ….new pictures, new music, new merchandise, new content in general is coming! Oh yea and CROSS, GETCHA PULL!

Cross – This interview has for sure made me chuckle. Thanks for taking the time to answer all my questions and Happy Birthday Mike!

INTERVIEW – ORBYSSMAL

CROSS Artworks

IT’S “20 QUESTIONS WITH CROSS” DAY!

I’ve had the opportunity (in many occasions) to collaborate with different artists and bands on logos, album art, shirts, etc. and they are these awesome, hard working and talented people. I thought it would be a great idea to get them to share their awesomeness with their fans through a 20 question interview series on my blog.

For this blog of the series, I am very excited to interview the one man band from Australia, Orbyssmal!

 

Hi, how you doing? Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Appreciate it!

Cross – I have never been to Australia (hopefully will visit it sometime in the future) – what can you tell us about the heavy music involvement there? What do people like these days (before the Covid-19 lockdown)?

Orbyssmal – The Australian metal audience is great. It’s like one big family. There’s generally alot of supporting one another. Some of the most die-hard fans reside here.

Cross – Orbyssmal – How did you come up with the band name and what does it mean?

Orbyssmal – Basically a play on words. Orb = earth, abysmal, abyss – Orbyssmal. In the grand scheme of things we are nothing on this earth.

Cross – In what I remember from some of the conversations we have had in the past, you’ve been in a band previous to Orbyssmal and you have experienced how it feels to play live. How do you like being on stage?

Orbyssmal – Playing live on a stage in front of people is like nothing else I’ve experienced. Especially when they are getting into what you are creating. I’ve been lucky to stand on stages that some of my favourite bands in the world have themselves played on.

Cross – You’ve played Bass, right? In that band. How do you like playing a bass guitar?

Orbyssmal – I am primarily a bassist. It is indeed my preferred weapon of choice.

Cross – Which bass guitar is your favourite?

Orbyssmal – I just can’t go past the Ibanez range. For sound, playability and price nothing else even competes. SR305EB-WK is the current model I am playing.

Cross – In Orbyssmal albums, are all the sounds and music from actual instruments or is it just the guitars and the rest is digital?

Orbyssmal – Everything is created by me. All the foundations of the music are created by instruments, the drums are an electronic kit. Any other sounds used are also created by me. Sometimes digitally and manipulated ’til I get the desired result. The base foundations however are always guitar, bass, drums and vocals. Everything else is garnish.

Cross – Being a one man band, which parts do you record first and what is your favourite part of the recording process?

Orbyssmal – I tend to record guitars first. Which is pretty unusual, I suppose. Generally most will track drums first. I also do not play to a metronome ever. My favorite part of the process is the end result and hearing a track exactly the way you had envisioned it.

Cross – If you could be in a famous band (Australian one if need be) which one would it be?

Orbyssmal – My favourite Australian bands wouldn’t be my favourite if I was in them. Haha.

Cross – The best influential guitarists/bassists in your opinion?

Orbyssmal – Guitarists that have left a huge imprint in my mind are (in no particular order): Jimi Hendrix, Dimebag Darrell, Horror Illogium, Wes Montgomery, Jeff Hanneman, Dino Cazares, Dave Mustaine. I’ve probably missed a tonne. As for bassists: Les Claypool, Jaco Pastorius, Cliff Burton, Geddy Lee. These guys broke the mold of what the bass could indeed be. Again I’ve probably missed heaps.

Cross – How old were you when you started to play the guitar?

Orbyssmal – I got my first guitar at 12.

Cross – Do you have any other hobbies rather than music?

Orbyssmal – Music is life.

Cross – Can you tell us a bit about a live concert you went (of whatever band) that made your jaw drop and why?

Orbyssmal – Black Sabbath will always be the one that stands out. I mean c’mon. Seeing war pigs being played live was just mind blowing. Oh, and Phil Anselmo and the Illegals.

Cross – Are you a horror fan? If so, which one is your favourite movie?

Orbyssmal – I am a huge horror fan. Halloween is my all time favourite.

Cross –  First album you ever bought. How old were you and with whom?

Orbyssmal – First album Pantera – Cowboys From Hell. At 10 years old.

Cross – Are you a football fan or a soccer fan?

Orbyssmal – Watching people kick leather around does nothing for me honestly.

Cross – Your first tattoo? Honest!

Orbyssmal – First tattoo was the Alice In Chains sun, the day I turned 18.

Cross – How has your music evolved since when you started playing music until now?

Orbyssmal – My music is always evolving in one way or another. I don’t force anything and this is by far the easiest output of music I’ve ever been involved in. Very natural.

Cross – What has been your biggest challenge as a one man band?

Orbyssmal – Honestly, nothing. I create alone by choice not necessity. Everything is on my own terms. The end result is that more satisfying when you create solely alone.

Cross – What are you working on these days? Is there going to be a new Orbyssmal album anytime soon?

Orbyssmal – I currently have all songs recorded for the next full length release. Excited about this one.

Cross – Is there something you would like to say to your fans?

Orbyssmal – Thanks to anyone that has purchased my music and even taken the time to have a listen. It is greatly appreciated.

Cross – That was fun, thank you again!

Orbyssmal – No problem.

INTERVIEW – BEASTIAL PIGLORD

CROSS Artworks

IT’S “20 QUESTIONS WITH CROSS” DAY!

I’ve had the opportunity (in many occasions) to collaborate with different artists and bands on logos, album art, shirts, etc. and they are these awesome, hard working and talented people. I thought it would be a great idea to get them to share their awesomeness with their fans through a 20 question interview series on my blog.

For this first blog of the series, I am very excited to interview, the one man band, Beastial Piglord (aka Hudson)!

 

Cross – When was the first time you showed interest about heavy music?

Hudson – When I was a kid in Walmart, in the CD section and saw Rob Zombie’s “Hellbilly Deluxe”, scanned the barcode and put on the headphones. That was the beginning.

Cross –  I’m sure most people might find your band name a bit uncomfortable, Beastial Piglord. How did you come up with it (you told me something about it when we first met)?

Hudson – I got it from Dave Brockie of GWAR.

Cross – How would you describe the music that you typically create?

Hudson – It’s always changing and different. Every album is a whole new style.

Cross – What inspires you to come up with so much dark music in such a short time?

Hudson – All I do is think about music all day long. And any dark emotions I have, I reconstruct it into music.

Cross – What does your creative process look like?

Hudson – Progress. I wanna keep making albums of genres I’ve never done before, also the production has gotten better lately and that’s something I’m going for in future albums – more polished production.

Cross –  I know you have a big collection with a lot of instruments. Off the top of your head, how many instruments do you have already? Can you name a couple weird ones in this collection of yours ( I remember when you got the WaterPhone… haha)?

Hudson – Probably the erhu and the waterphone are my two oddest ones, love those things. And I have too many instruments to count.

Cross – Do you mind telling us what gear do you use when creating your music or would you like to keep that a secret?

Hudson – Well, with every album I used different gear. The first two or three were done with a direct guitar signal through a digitech rp355, and the drums were electronic. The 4th and 5th album were done the same, but I used a digitech rp1000 for the guitar/bass. And the 6th and 7th album were done the same, but I used a boss gt100 for the guitar/bass. The acoustic album; I think the 8th album was the one I used an acoustic drum kit miked. The last few albums have been more traditional, as in the gear I’ve used. Mic, a drum kit, and I use a peavey 6505+ amp with an orange cab for guitar. That’s alot of s**t. Haha

Cross – As a one man band who plays many different instruments from guitars to drums, and whatever else you feel like including in a song/album (not to mention singing) – which one is the part you consider the most fun part when it comes to the recording process of your music?

Hudson – Definitely the guitar parts. I’m a guitarist first, everything else is just something I can do also.

Cross – Can you tell us a bit about your biggest influences in music that inspired and motivated you to do what you do?

Hudson – So damn many, I love so many bands, to name a few: Pantera, Superjoint Ritual, Down, Korn, GWAR, White Zombie, Portal and many many more… oh and George Michael.

Cross – ( laughs ) I am aware that your songs might be very challenging to play live since you are a one man band, but how do you feel about doing live shows?

Hudson – If I ever had the opportunity to have a full band, I would 101% love to play live.

Cross –  Is there any musician or band that you would love to collaborate with?

Hudson –  Pretty much any band I listen to, I’d love to collab with.

Cross – If you could go open a show for any artist, who would it be?

Hudson – PORTAL

Cross – What is your favourite song to perform (your own music or other artists)?

Hudson – I don’t do covers.

Cross –  I’ve known you for a while and I know you love horror movies. Name one horror movie that scared you to death when you were little?

Hudson – ” Darkness Falls ” scared the s**t out of me when I saw it, when it came out.

Cross – Do you sing in the shower and what songs?

Hudson –  Usually wham!, Culture Club and Danzig, or I just scream in other languages.

Cross – Every time you play something on the guitar and post it around, I notice a tattoo of yours I haven’t seen before. Do you have a favourite?

Hudson – Yeah, probably my Superjoint Ritual tattoo or the one on my stomach that says BEER.

Cross – If it wasn’t for your music career, what would you be doing right now?

Hudson – Same s**t, just not making music. Haha.

Cross – What is the best advice you’ve been given?

Hudson –  Nothing, I haven’t really had any advice given to me.

Cross –  You’re currently working on Muzz, your upcoming new album. One song is out there already, “Queen Muzz”. How is the album going, when will it be out and how different is this album from your other ones that are already out there?

Hudson – As we speak, today I just finished the music for the 4th song, and will record the vocals tomorrow. It’s a sludgy nasty album.

Cross – What is one message you would give to your fans?

Hudson – Share my music everywhere. I don’t care if you steal it, just listen to it.

Cross – ( laughs )  That was awesome! Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!

Hudson – Thank you!

RINPOCHE – PRELUDE

CROSS Artworks

We are proud to share in our blog this amazing collaboration: Rinpoche – The Cemetery Chronicles, Prelude. Art and Story by: Sonilda Bardhoshi Mills and CROSS.

Rinpoche – Prelude was a project from which we learned a lot of valuable tips and lessons about comic books – creating, publishing and printing them.

This is the story of Chu and Cross that live a happy life in their lovely house, deep in the woods. Their mysterious friend, Trye, fills their life with joy and cuddles. They are constantly being disturbed by very detailed and graphic nightmares that none of them seem to understand.
Could these nightmares be more than just bad dreams?

Get your copy of our comic book today to learn more about these nightmares and help us fund the making of Volume 1, where the story will continue to unfold!

Rinpoche – The Cemetery Chronicles, Prelude

Free shipping within Canada or USA. Shipping takes 3-5 weeks and shipping options are limited to Canada or USA for now.

$8.50