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Country boys Making Their Own Soun'

Psycho California Festival

The Stage for Charity

Dustin Kensrue New Album & Keeping Busy

Calgary Meta'fest

2015

Peter Frampton Rocks CO Annual Notes For Notes Concert


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Cant( nts Vandala Magazine July 2015 8 REVIEWS & EDITORIAL Banditos "Banclitos" (Torik/Rock n' Roll) Born Gold No Sorrow" (Pop/Alternative) San Fermin"Jackrabbit" (Indie Rock) Seoul "I Become a Shade" (Indie Pop)

14 LIVE MUSIC & PHOTOS Peter Frampton Rocks Fifth Annual Notes For Notes Concert Warrant Rocks The Stage for Charity Sufjan Stevens - Come on! Feel the Vancouver QUEENSWiCHE Photo Highlights Girlschool Don't Let Up Apocalyptica Kills the Stage Maryland Deathfest 2015 Calgary Meta!fest 2015 Highlights COVER STORY - The Lacs 54 Country Boys Making Their Own Sound Mostly country, with a little rock, and a whole lot of Rapping from The Lacs who are doing what they love and doing it well. We caught up with the talented and humble Clay "Uncle Snap" Sharpe to chat music, touring, and more. INTERVIEWS 38 Dustin Kensrue New Album & Keeping Busy Dustin Kensrue is still probably best known as the singer/guitarist of post hardcore heroes Thrice. But hers been a busy man with his own project and new solo album `Carry the Fire' and much more. 44 Catching the Tide with Paul McKenzie of The Real McKenzies Paul McKenzie, singer/songwriter/battle charge captain of Vancouver based band The Real McKenzies, he sounds at peace and literally is out in the middle of English Bay to give us an amazing interview. 62 Crashing Psycho California 2015 Festival 64 Magic and Mayhem with Earth 70 Thrashing in the Free World with Municipal Waste 76 The Nature of Metal with Pallbearer 82 Sludging It Up with Lord Dying 88 Taking Care of the Demons with Steve CoIca of Destroyer of Light 94 Finding the Fuel with Atriarch


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u Banditos "Banditos" (Tonk / Rock n' Roll) www.banditosband.com - 5/5 Dragons By Dustin Griffin The fact that Banditos hail from Nashville, Tennessee (they are originally from Atlanta) already gives them a badge of authenticity that every band who doesn't set up camp in that musical history-rich city is lacking. The fact that they play a compendium of music that sounds as if it has taken a little chunk of every era of that city's musical backbone and thrown it into a big melting pot of classic-modern, heel kicking rock n' roll, just adds to the fact. But don't take it from me. Check out the wonderfully written, wonderfully summed up description of the band's sound from their record label's (Bloodshot Records) website on the band: With the rugged power of a flashy Super Chief locomotive, the Banditos' self-titled debut album bodaciously appropriates elements of 1605 blues-fused acid rock, ZZ Top's gangly boogie, garage punk scuzz a la Burger Records, the Drive-By Truckers' yawp, the populist choogle of CCR, Slim Harpo's hip shake baby groove, gut bucket Fat Possum hill country 1710j0 and the Georgia Motherf**king Satellites. From backwoods bluegrass, to slinky nods to Muscle Shoals soul and unexpected bits of doo-wop sweetness, the Banditos recall many, but sound like no one but themselves." The key line here is the last one, because the band are truly an original, yet you can hear the ghosts of music's past in every note they play, stomp, or sing. And, most importantly, they play it like they mean it. The musicianship is sharp. It pushes and pulls at itself in organized chaos. As if it's trying to sound sloppy, but with every lick purposefully placed. Such is the intensity of the band, and such the belief in the music that they play, that even slower songs, like `No Good' or the atmospheric closer ‘Preachin' To The Choir' are laced with a red hot intensity. It will raise both gooseburnps and asses out of chairs. And if the slow songs are barnstormers in their own right, the fast songs are positively wall crackers. The rockabilly swagger of 'Cry Baby Cry'. The outlaw cowpunk of 'Still Sober (After All These Beers)'. The fuzzy blues jump of album opener 'The Breeze' which, if released by The Black Keys, would be a #1 hit, all converge on the listener's eardrums with a wild abandon and passionate glee. This is music that takes pleasure in losing the listener in its wall of sound. And if the slow songs are barnstormers in their own right, the fast songs are positively wall crackers. The rockabilly swagger of try Baby Cry'. The outlaw cowpunk of 'Still Sober (After All These Beers)'. The fuzzy blues jump of album opener 'The Breeze' which, if released by The Black Keys, would be a #1 hit, all converge on the listener's eardrums with a wild abandon and passionate glee. This 8 VandalaMagazine.Com - July 2015


is music that takes pleasure in losing the listener in its wall of sound. And putting butter on the toast is two of the best (and best matched) vocalists I've heard in many, many years. Timothy Steven Corey Parsons attacks each track with a gritty, desperate delivery, whether quiet, or soft. And Mary Beth Richardson is a perfect foil. Her unbelievable pipes are equal parts Patsy Cline and Amy Winehouse and she spits and pleads from somewhere within the very depths of her soul. The entire band, in fact, are an assemblage of top notch musicians. Some classically trained, some who made their bones in back bar punk bands or honkey tonk tributes. Bottom line: this is one of the best sounding bands Bloodshot has to offer. So while their self titled debut drops and they hit the road behind it, do yourself a favour and pick it up. Then cross your fingers that this band graces a musical venue near you. A night spent in dim lights, thick smoke and hillbilly music with these six rebels of rock, will be a night to remember. Hear you me.

Born Gold "No Sorrow" (Pop/Alternative) www.borngold.us- 4.5/5 Dragons By Darian Magee The product of Canadian songwriter Cecil Frena, No Sorrow is a brilliant venture taken by one of the true north strong and frees favorite indiepop artists. Well-paced and fascinating, it made for an extremely pleasant 20 minutes. With sprightly electronics and vocals that could charm anybody, Born Gold has something for everybody. Not to be taken at face value, his compositions are a brilliant exploration of pop music. It's new. It's exciting! And I am 100% on board. Flowers is easily my favorite track, its catchiness unmatched by any of the albums other songs. That isn't to say that the rest of the release isn't I \NANT TO GUAR memorable - it just means that Flowers is really FROM PORT, really good. The corresponding music video is equally charmingly weird and I'd feel uncomfortable describing it, so I'm just going to go ahead and let you make that investigation on your own. All in all, I'd say Frena's more than earned the right to remove the "no minimum - name your price" on his bandcamp, though my credit card is extremely grateful. While not on this album, his remix of Bodyache is worth mentioning. Touring with Purity Ring this summer, he must have taken a liking to their music and produced a stunning interpretation of one of the bands more popular songs. It's a fresh take on an already impressive arrangement and I hope the original creators were as impressed as I was. July 2015 - VandalaMagazine.Coth 9


San Fermin"Jackrabbit" (Indic Rock) www.sanferminband.com- 4/5 Dragons By Anne Laure Hailing from Brooklyn New York, San Fermin is a baroque pop group whose latest album, Jackrabbit, is a sophisticated yet organic orchestral anthem that reflects on humanity. Despite identifying with a medley of genres (self-identifying as Indie Rock), San Fermin's distinctive symphonic pop sound is never confused or lost. Guided by Ellis Ludwig Leone, a graduate of Yale Music School, their polished sound somehow never fails to find a way to feel authentic and approacha ble. Though their previous self-titled album was a two-man show, Jackrabbit was successfully created by a developed eight piece group. The egalitarian nature of this album, with each member of the band getting their own spotlight, is a concept just as triumphant as their sound. Seeing a band where the importance of each member, despite not being vocalists, is equally distributed is refreshing and definitely empowers San Fermin's sound as a whole. Inherently poetic verses bring together the strong sense of energized purpose from the band, as well as creating harsh contrasts in songs between jubilant and foreboding sentiments. The 8th track, Woman in Red, exemplifies this distinction of brighter vocals accompanied by a darker side, such as the difference between the lines "when you go to sleep don't close your eyes" and "in the minute, in a drink or two". This theme of contrasts is also occasionally paralleled in the gender of the vocals. For example, the track Two Scenes has a distinct segregation of the female (Charlene Kaye) and male (Allen Tate) vocals in the first half of the song. San Fermin's instrumental interludes take on an inspirational quality, and indirectly seem to encourage adventure. Lyrics such as "We built a fort of lover's teeth/and some of mother's sheets" (The Woods) incorporate this adventure with the innocence of childhood. The frequent references to nature throughout Jackrabbit also help to maintain a grounded perspective. Sprinkled throughout the album are powerful, high reaching, vocal stretches. Commanding and unwavering, they're anything but the hollow sound that is frequently associated with higher pitches. The result of their incorporation in Jackrabbit is hauntingly beautiful while managing to not be overwhelming. Overall, San Fermins reflection of classical music in a modern context conveys a sense of hope and promise, and will pull you under their waves of symphonies right when l ea st expected .


Seoul "I Become a Shade" (Indic Pop) www.seoulmtlatumblracom - 3/5 Dragons By Anne Laure With words melting into one another, the transfixing yet soothing synth and clear guitar of Seoul's debut album I Become a Shade wash the listener away into a trance of memory. All throughout the album a relaxed, clean sound is maintained - one that seems to encourage a theme of rejuvenation. While remaining mellow, they also manage to capture an indescribable feeling of a satisfaction. Self-identified as indie pop, this Montreal trio also carries a New-Wave vibe with their smooth cathartic sound. They find a casual way to incorporate the feeling that one is listening to a vinyl, with that musical crackle especially showing on the first track, named for the album, "I Become a Shade". Though frequently unattained by electro-pop groups, in I Become a Shade, Seoul creates an intimate relationship with the listener. The inviting and warming sounds inspire a connection, ironically, the band frequently refers to the theme of the solitary-self. This theme also overlaps with one of loneliness, which is heard throughout their work, as at times Seoul can become overbearing and enveloping, making the listener feel alone in that moment. These hypnotizing dreamlike tracks will take you off guard as well as usher you into a worry free mindset which is bound to inspire and comfort.

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Peter Frampton Rocks Fifth Annual Notes For Notes Concert at Historic Lobero Theater in Santa Barbara Article & Photos By L. Paul Mann www.Lpaulmann.com The fifth annual Notes For Notes benefit concert and auction took place Sunday, June 7th, in front of an exuberant sold out audience. Notes For Notes is a Santa Barbara based organization started by local musician Seymour Duncan, who is better known nationally as one of the premiere designers of electric guitar pick-ups. His relationship with some of the top rock guitar players in the world has led to the annual benefit concert. Notes for Notes started in Santa Barbara in 2006; now becoming a nationwide organization five years later. Notes to Notes partnered with the CMA foundation in 2014, and CMA has agreed to support the development of five new Notes for Notes Studios in San Francisco, Detroit, Brooklyn, Austin, and Atlanta by the end of 2015. CMA also introduced Notes to Notes to Chevrolet, who announced their support of the Detroit studios at the December 2014 CMA Awards. With celebrity support nationwide, Notes for Notes is now able to offer our young musicians the opportunity to explore, create, and record music free of charge. NFN's core belief, that music is the universal language of mankind with the power to transcend virtually any cultural, racial, or socioeconomic barrier, has taken root across the nation. The concert Sunday night began with a set of cover tunes and original music from some of the local Notes For Notes musicians. These included Jackson Eddy on bass, Jamey Geston and Brandi Rose Lentini on vocals, Chimaway Lopez on guitar, Casmali Lopez on drums, and a very young dreadlocked Seku Fujin째 Harmachis on guitar. Lentini lead the band in channeling the spirit of Janis Joplin in some bluest' rock tunes, before Geston took over with a more folk inspired feel to her vocals. Singer and songwriter Manton Sculte then joined the band to lead them in some original tunes that he wrote and the band was joined by 15 year old guitar wizard Stephen Dashiff. After an intermission where patrons could bid on an array of rock swag including signed electric guitars, Peter Frampton took the stage with his five piece band of veteran musicians. Frampton wasted no time launching into his classic rock hit laden set list. The musician drew heavily from his fifth solo album, Frampton Comes Alive! which remains one of the top-selling live records of all time. But he also delved into material from the successful English rock groups that he been part of as far back as when he was just 16 years old. He also did some classic covers included Soundgardens "Black Hole Sun". The 66 year guitar legend expressed his great pleasure in being able to play the Notes For Notes benefit. In a break between songs Frampton said that he had been friends with Duncan for a long time and that he had been promising his old friend that he would play the benefit concert since the beginning, just finally being able to fit it into his schedule. Frampton then expressed his deep belief in the mission of the organization reminding the audience that he had been given an enormous opportunity to play with the English band The Herd when he was just 16. He then introduced local guitarist Dashiff back to the stage and played an extended jam session, highlighted by an emotional guitar battle between Frampton and the young 15 year old guitar phenom. You could tell that Frampton was ecstatic to play with the young musician and beamed a giant smile throughout the jam. The evening ended with an encore that brought the set in the tiny theater to a near two 14 VandalaMagazine.Com - July 2015


hour conclusion. During the five year annual shows musicians have included no less than The Steve Miller Band, Slash with Seymour Duncan, Robert Randolph, and Don Felder, Los Lobos, and Joe Bonamassa and Jimmy Vivino. Frampton's name can be added to the legendary event.

Notes for Notes is a non-profit organization that designs, equips, and staffs after-school recording studios inside Boys & Girls Clubs offering youth the opportunity to explore, create, and record music for FREE. Notes for Notes Studios are packed with professional instruments - guitars, basses, drums, keyboards/synths - and equipment - DJ gear, digital music workstations - and full recording facilities. Beyond providing access to equipment and resources, we educate youth about careers both on the stage and behind the scenes. We are expanding throughout the USA. Visit the link to find out more and how you can help. www n o te sfo r n ote s 1 o rg July 2015 - VandalaMagazine.Com 15


May 3oth, 2015 Konquers 8th Annual Ride & Rock KidsCare Charity Event

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Come on! Feel the Vancouver Article by Darian Magee Dearest readers, I have seen heaven - and all it took me was a 19 hour bus ride to Vancouver. Sufjan Stevens started the night quietly. He said little between songs, did not move around much, and seldom looked into the crowd of thousands. He was confident in his strums and at times, seemed like he was somewhere else. Perhaps this is why the concert felt less like watching a band perform and more like you'd somehow paid $50 to witness the creation of earth. But what is a gig without visuals? Behind him, a series of screens took viewers into cherished memories and breathtaking sceneries with footage of nature and childhood. The lighting was playful, partnering with the already beautiful theater to create a blissful atmosphere. Until it wasn't. Halfway through his set, the tone shifted. The walls came crashing down and with the twang of a banjo and the appearance of a green hat (placed upon his head by a lucky crew member), Sufjan Stevens became a story. No longer just a man with a guitar, he was vulnerable, honest, and tender. We became the couch in every counselor's office, privy to his weakest moments and greatest triumphs. He spoke of death, life, overwhelming sadness, and his hungry audience drank it all in silence. It was moving and beautiful and I'd give anything to experience that rapture again. His gospel ended when the opening chords of Casimir Pulaski Day began, seeming to let the audience know that yes, you may breathe again. While understandably lacking the instrumentals his albums possess, he more than made up for it with an army of harmonization from the rest of his crew. It was fresh, newt and provided a previously unseen element of concord to his persistently ambrosial music. Lyrically wise, his writing is a stream of consciousness from his brilliant mind and every song feels like a conversation - both in headphones and on stage. So the next time you're looking for a musical connection, look no further than his itunes and your biggest wineglass. It's one hell of a ride. Sufjan Stevens Online www.sufjan.com www.musicasufjanicom www.twitter.comisufjanstevens www.asthmatickitty.comi 18 VandalaMagazine.Com 3uly 2015


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"Ah well, good enough for rock 'n roll, innit?" chuckles (Jackie Chambers, lead guitar), after being told by (Enid Williams, bass/vocals) that her guitar is "a bit flat." This conversation, one you might have in front of the garage door during a Tuesday night jam session happens over the PA of a popular Vancouver club in front of a thick crowd of hard rock enthusiasts. The cacophony of distortion, unruly leather jackets and raised fists is a fierce contrast to the gaggles of curve-clutching cocktail dresses and spray-on tans that normally prowl Granville Street on a Friday night. Cheeky as they are, the enduring forerunners of the NWOBHM movement probably wouldn't know how to phone in a gig if you gave handed them a receiver and a toll-free number. GIRLSCHOOL do not let up. They do not stand on ceremony. They do not muck about with fancy pre-recorded introductions of political speeches or faux-Williams orchestral scores or any other party-band nonsense. They simply rock. Their well-primed riffs and fox like grins are infectious and the set list is a Christmas list of classic cuts that strokes and pokes the memory banks in all the sweet spots. "Let's Go." ,'Emergency." "Demolition." "Hit And Run." You name it, they play it. Everything smokes. All the golden oldies performed with a viv and vigour normally reserved for lanky teenage boys trying to impress the panties off their crush at the high school dance. Newly-penned "Take It Like A Band," fuelled by Jack Daniels and nearly four decades of gig memories screams through all the speed limits, leaving hundreds of faces smiling in its steel-toed wake. The show is an early one. In order to make room for some of the more typical club affair, the gig starts before 7:00pm and wraps shortly before 10:30. Ill-timed work commitments prevent me from catching the opening and support performances by CRUCIFIED BARBARA (Sweden), OLD JAMES (Toronto) and VELVET BLACK (Quebec City) but the flock of gig-goers at the merchandise booths upon my arrival certainly suggests an all around high-octane evening by/for all concerned. Here's hoping everyone will be playing on the west coast again real soon. 22 VandalaMagazine.Com - July 2015


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Described as the American Death Metal Mecca I was of course curious to check out what Maryland Deathfest was all about - even if I only could go to the first and last days of the festival. Still - MDF provided an experience that is never to be forgotten and speaks to the enduring power that heavy metal will have - that people will travel from different countries and sleep in their cars just so that they can afford to see these bands. What more could you want from the transcendent annihilation that Maryland Deathfest provides?

Jay One A Night of Doom I ended up getting to the festival later than expected - which is fine - that's just the way life goes. I would still see the four acts who I had hoped would define the night. Arriving to the legendary Rams Head venue is a treat in and of itself. Sure - Baltimore is a shitty spot and you see a lot of rats but getting to witness so many metal heads in one place all gathered around in the name of doom, well, there's few things that get better than that. Everyone who was anyone seemed to be there - and yet surprisingly enough MDF fosters a kind of anonymous democracy. Dudes who put out all of your favorite records are able to just blend in and dig the music just as much as anyone else. Within minutes I had bumped into my old friend, Jon from Conan and we navigated the venue searching for a better spot to view the live rituals Jex Thoth are known to unleash. I had known about these guys for a while but never had a chance to see them perform. As the band lit candles and came on stage with a sense of pomp I knew I was in for something special. There was a sense of majesty and magic to what Jex Thoth bring in a live setting. It's impossible to deny that this band have crafted something truly unique. The way that ]ex herself seemed to become one with the flame she held at the end of the set showed the otherworldly power of this band. Jex Thoth are indomitable - they dig to the heart of rock and roll and find the pagan roots of the music God hates. They have invoked something death defying and endlessly fascinating - the type of music that has dark vibes that leave the listener gasping for air. Up next was Conan - this was my second time seeing them in a week and my fourth time ever. Suffice to say - I was beyond excited. When that first riff hit and Jon fell into his crushing head banging we got a sense of triumph from the band, as if they have found their way in this strange new land and now have learned how to reign supreme in the f*cked up American reality they have found themselves in. One of the most hotly anticipated acts of Maryland Deathfest they were able to quickly establish themselves and 26 VandalaMagazine.Com - July 2015


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Now, I'd listened to Ufomammut before and I knew I was in for a good time - but I had fairly forgotten how good they are. Live they manage to invoke strange images, their video backdrop providing a refreshing glimpse into the overwhelming power that this band can bring live. Crushingly heavy and wonderfully unique Ufomammut seem dedicated to bringing a unique live experience to the table when they perform. Their stage presence and their comprehension of what it means to be truly and awfully heavy is impressive. You find yourself getting lost in the sound world they have crafted and it's hard to deny the bands raw dominance. Every moment seems precisely calculated and yet somehow simultaneously strangely organic - as if you are navigating a totally distinct sound world, one that permits freedom and remains strangely violent. Ufomammut simply seek to guide you home, their music is the map to peace in a world of despair.

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with every song set a new bar for heaviness. Conan have found a very specific sound and have mastered it - making it work in both a live and recorded context. Yet it is the sheer power of the vibrations and the aural desecration that makes them so much fun to see live. They give you a sense of something greater and never seem to get old. Heavy as all get out and seemingly born to create a new meaning of the word 'heavy' Conan are, if nothing else, a rising band to watch.

Suddenly the hour I had been waiting for had arrived - the almighty Yob took the stage to unleash doom metal destruction and show the path to greatness. Mike Scheidt seems better than ever, his vocals roaring out, even as he narrates the the spoken word portions of Yob's latest masterpiece, Clearing The Path To Ascend. Their set was exciting and dynamic, when Scheidts mic and guitar both failed on him he strode to the front of the stage, raised his fists and roared at the crowd - the absolute picture of a metal god. The punters ate it up. Yob have managed to tap into something grander, something more epic that speaks to the all consuming power that doom metal can have over the listener. It's become impossible to deny the very visceral glory that Yob has. They free the listener and open their mind to all sorts of sonic triumphs that might otherwise go ignored. One of most exciting and potent bands in heavy music I think we're going to have a hard time coming up with another band who hold themselves to the same bar of excellence as Yob are known for. This first night of Maryland Deathfest had opened my eyes to the power this festival has, even if it's only really midsized by my snooty European standards. The thing is - music like this needs an outlet and these American fans seem to be among the most serious even the headliners are pretty underground. Their songs are brutal, desecrations of what it means to live in this world and we need a place where we can be real. Thursday night at the Rams Head showed me the significance of doom in our world. Sure - a lot of these bands had similar vibes to what I witnessed at Psycho CA just last weekend - but that's kind of the point, that's what gives us a glimpse into the reality we so desperately need to understand if we want to continue to find our way through this f*cked up life. July 2015 - VandalaMagazine.Com 27


Day Four - A Day of each It seemed to me that Sunday was going to be a lot closer to the all-day experience I have come to cherish at festivals. Though I only had Edison Lot tickets I was able to find a lot of my friends and figure out some hacks (Shh) for getting in free next year. Edison Lot seems to be just the right size it's big enough that there's plenty of space for food trucks and to sit and eat (Hailz to the vegan options!) but small enough that you can't help but bump into friends. I joined the ragged company just as Goatsnake wrapped up - passing a herd of smelly crust punks selling beer and telling crass jokes - a fitting addition to a demented scene. The first band I did get to see was Primordial, the Irish maniacs delivered their unique brand of folk metal with a flourish and felt a bit too European for their rather urban surroundings. That's part of what made them so charming though, that we could watch music like that from our spot on a parking lot and contemplate our place in a society that seems to have cast us aside. Their folksy hymns and epic riffs guided the crowd into head banging fury. These guys have a sense of bombast and shake the audience with a sonic assault that is impossible to deny. The epic choruses in particular seem to embrace the listener with a sense of atavistic triumph that is hard to deny. Within moments of Primordial closing their set with another explosive set of riffs I rushed over to the second stage to witness Winter. There is something distinctly fascinating about these guys. There brand of death-doom was spurned back in the day, but now here they are more than twenty years after their initial break up playing one of the biggest stages for a band of their ilk. They performed with grace though and they thundered through nearly an hour of music - bombarding the listener with each and every song, proving the eternal power that doom can have. Sure they had a fill in drummer, and sure they don't really tour that much, but that's all asides the point, because at Maryland Deathfest, Winter became masters of their own reality. Perhaps the band of the day (Asides - of course - from Neurosis) was Anaal Nathrakh. These guys have rapidly become legendary - a fact they seem very aware of. Every song title was greeted with a roar from the crowd and many of the fans seemed to know every word. These guys are distinctly evil - preaching paeans of a f*cked up reality and interspersing songs with strange moments of intellectual preponderance. The ferocity of the band though is impossible to deny. The vocal delivery is ferocious, and the bands bassist, who occasionally provides backups only serves to make the entire thing even more Pcked up. What's not to love about a band who reek of putridity like Anaal Nathrakh do? Nihilistic and gleefully demented, they represent all extreme metal has the potential to be, and yet are insane enough that it will be hard to find any imitators. I had thought that I was simply going to spend Skepticism's set going over to get food yet somehow their unique brand of symphonic death-doom managed to lure me over to the stage to observe their live ritual. The wonderfully epic power of this band sweeps the listener off of their feet and makes them beholden to greater beings than we can ever acknowledge. Skepticism's music is the sound of mountains moving, and as we try to navigate the shallow and morbid realities of our lives they are strangely comforting. Their utterly transcendent sound carries the listener, and their set follows a logical path lifting you up in arms of steel and then gently laying you back down, after waves of melodic guitar lines and crushing riffs you find yourself cleansed, ready to go on with your day and see some more death metal unfold. During Demilich's I bumped into a whole mess of friends including my PR buddy Liz who I had seen on the opposite side of the continent the prior weekend at Psycho CA, I will 28 VandalaMagazine.Com - July 2015


reinforce my previous sentiment - her hugs are legendary. Anyway - Demilich - who have been known for years for their brand of hard hitting buzzing death metal immediately captured my imagination. Their gurgling assault was gloriously violent and seemed to revel in the decay that it invoked. There are few bands these days who still have that old school flame burning in their hearts. The way that they reached out and assaulted the listener - forcing them to bend the knee to death metal gods who seem to be from a wholly different dimension... That is the kind of majesty that makes this music so endlessly fascinating to me. They understand their role in underground history and their sonic devastation will leave me considering my place in the scene for a long time to come. Suddenly the hour had come for the moment I had been waiting for all weekend. Neurosis took the stage and played perhaps the best set list I've ever seen from them. They play with a sense of grim humanity and Scott Kelly seemed to transform into William Blake. I'm probably getting too poetic here, but when Kelly unleashes his endlessly repeated cry of "In a shadow world" it seems impossible to deny the overarching glory of this band. They speak to the nature of the human condition and life on earth. It's impossible to deny the way that they seem to rise from the guitar and use their punk rock roots to rise up and create some of the great music of our day and age. Perhaps more than any other heavy act out there right now these guys are the ones who will make it and be listened to in five hundred years.

Just before Amorphis started I met a super cool punk chick who I started talking too about death metal, My Little Pony and all that it entails. It provided a fitting backdrop for seeing Amorphis, one of the bands who set me down this path but who I have not July 2015 - VandalaMagazine.Com 29


revisited in many a year. Their melodic lines were delicious and every song seemed to be almost Iron Maiden-esque. With fans going crazy like hell in the pit and the folk nerds screaming along there was a sense of transcendent might to what happened on the stage that night. It showed me that melodic death metal will never die, merely because it can hit so many demographics and is so much fun to watch that to deny it is to deny yourself as a fan of loud guitars and passionate - exciting music. These guys have touches of rock stardom, but that doesn't keep them from keeping it true and reveling in the glorious power of the underground. They have risen up and become masters of that particular reality but led me to bend the knee at the power within. I knew my chances were slim but I took the time then to run over to the Baltimore Soundstage to see if I could sneak into DRI. By some strange miracle I was let in unquestioned (The secret is to walk confidently guys!) and immediately got in the pit for the thrashing of a lifetime. Sure I had seen DRI only two days prior, but that's not the point. Or maybe it is... What I'm trying to say is that DRI are creating something timeless and fun. That almighty cry of "Fuck You" at the end of I Don't Need Society speaks to the bands enduring power. There words remain vital and important even in the twenty first century. The crowd went nuts to the point that even the security guards led the fans in chanting the band's name in hope for a well deserved encore. The weekend was nicely summarized when Kurt Brecht called out "I can't believe you guys have so much energy for the last band on a festival!" to which one tired fan screamed back "I can't believe I'm still alive!"DRI are still killing it every night and it is impossible to deny that these hardcore and thrash legends will live on forever. What followed as I left was a sequence of events that is almost too bizarre for words. My buddy Sean, his stoned friend and I were going to ride up to Philly together after MDF. We would be taking the rental car Calvin had taken and slept in. He and his friend had just spent 4 days partying at Maryland Deathfest, for me this was my second consecutive festival weekend - suffice to say we were exhausted. My phone the only smart phone was low on battery so we couldn't use GPS but we thought we had a pretty good idea of how to get back to PhiIly. We had a hard time finding the car and at first couldn't get the headlights to work (Poor Sean almost had to hold the high beams the entire ride) but eventually we worked it out and got onto the I 95 Now this is normally like an hour and a half drive from Baltimore and we were feeling young and confident - we had Judas Priest's Breaking the Law blaring with the windows rolled down. Then we noticed the PSI of one of our tires was going down alarmingly quickly. So we pulled into a rest area where we found we had a puncture. We tried to contact Alamo but they weren't being helpful - remember this is at about 2:30 in the morning. While Sean was on hold with the company I got in line to buy him some coffee. In line I met a really nice guy named Dmitri who told me about his family and how he was concerned he didn't have enough cash to pay his tolls on his way to Atlantic City. Sean had no luck with the rental company in getting help so we realized we would have to change the tire with a bare minimum of knowledge. I said "Wait! I have a friend!" and I went inside and offered Dmitri five bucks to help us out. He would stay with us for two hours as we tried to figure out the situation. You see the issue was we got the jack and the spare tire, but somehow the wrench was attached to the jack and we couldn't figure out how to get it off. So I went inside to charge my phone and try to figure out what we could do - I was considering getting a non emergency cop but our stoned friend was a liability. In walks a 30 VandalaMagazine.Com - July 2015


biker gang- I remember reading in Hunter S Thompsons Hells Angels about how biker gangs often would help motorists who were struggling. I figured I would go out - see what the situation was with my friends and then get the bikers to help. Turns out the bikers had already jacked up our car and given us advice as to how to best change the tire. We finally got back on the road - going slow after the spare started to smell funny and worrying about what the rental company would say. Of course we missed our exit. This created a 45 minute detour where we had to talk to more cops whilst our stoned friend slept in the back. I broke down and cried in a convenience store. It was bleak. We arrived at my house at around 6 in the morning where my INCREDIBLE mother who helped us navigate the whole night gave me and Sean chili while stoned friend slept in the car. Sean took a three hour power nap and hit the road again and somehow the rental car company had no problem with what had happened. Perhaps it's just the magic of festivals, but somehow we all made it out okay. That's what this year's edition of Maryland Deathfest taught me - how to get through when times are bleak and how to look at an uncaring world and realize that maybe we can transcend using the power of heavy music as our compass. Sure some things were meant to stay in the dark, but that doesn't mean we don't have to embrace death and the power it holds. For More Information on Maryland Deathfest visit: www.marylanddeathfest.com

Behind-the-Scenes &Viral Marken


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F-4 • 41 METALFEST 2015 CALGARY, ALBERTA DAY 1 HIGHLIGHTS Dana Zuk Photography www.DanaZukPhotograhy July 2015 - VandalaMagazine,Corn 33


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Dana Zuk Photograp www.DanaZukPhotogr,

34 VandalaMagazine.Ca - July 2015


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I terwiew ustin eAsnue Dustin Kensrue is still probably best known as the singer/guitarist of post hardcore heroes Thrice. But he's been a busy man in the years that his well known band had been on hiatus. In 2007, he released his first solo record entitled 'Please Come Home. The next year he released a Christmas album. Then in 2013, he released a Christian worship album called 'The Water & The Blood. This past April, he released `Carry the Fire, his second proper solo release. The record is filled with his typical versatility and the deep, emotional performances that have made him fans and gained him critical appeal since 'Please Come Home' was released. We spoke to him recently about the record, its themes and, briefly, Thrice. This was a few months ago, but you had a pretty crazy experience at SXSW this year. Dustin: Yeah it was crazy. Crazier than I expected. How many shows did you do again? Dustin: I did three shows in one day. I also got food poisoning the night before, so that made it that much more interesting. But it was good. It's a great festival. Do you find the live response pretty warm in regards to your live stuff? Dustin: Yeah, it's always been a really good vibe. There's always a lot of crossover with Thrice fans, but not any kind of confusion. Actually, I like playing solo sometimes just because I feel like the interaction in the room is a little more relaxed. I mean the music is more stripped down than with Thrice, but there just isn't a lot between you and the people watching. Is it a very different dynamic when you have a full backing band behind you, than when you're just by yourself? Dustin: I've only done three shows with a backing band, back when I released 'Please Come Home' and even then it was only a drummer and a bass player. I have no idea. I'm really excited to play the songs live the way they are on the record with a band called The Rocket Boys, who have been backing me up on some of the recent tour dates. Your first record 'Please Come Home' came out about eight years ago. Since then you've released a Christmas album and a worship album and a few EP's and whatnot. But I see 'Carry the Fire' as a true sequel to 'Please Come Home'. Do you view it that way? Dustin: Yeah. I definitely do. It's a record that sounds much different than it would've if I put it out four years ago, but it's definitely the follow up to 'Please Come Home'. Was there anything specific that you were listening to that was influencing the sound of this record? Dustin: The only thing that really comes to mind is the new War On Drugs record. I was just digging the tempo and the way the songs were laid out. Especially on 'In the Darkness' and 'Juggernaut'. There was other stuff I'm sure, but that's the only one that I can think of that was a conscious influence. How old or new are the songs on 'Carry the Fire'? July 2015 - VandalaMagazine.Com

39


DUSTIN KEN RUE CARRY THE FIRE

Dustin: The way I do things is I just record little bits of ideas here and there and the ones that start sticking, I build on. Most of the ideas have accumulated over the past few years. But I usually only finish things when I have a deadline. Really the only thing that was completed from before was `Of Crows and Crowns' which I've been playing for a couple of years. But even that I rearranged for the record. Do you have a studio at home? Dustin: Yeah I recorded it all at home. I had done a Christmas record on my own, which was recorded in the back of a bus and in hotel rooms, but it was a lot less evolved. So this was a learning experience. But I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

One thing that strikes me when I listen to 'Carry the Fire' is that it deals with some darker themes and material than your previous albums. Most of the songs have a hopeful refrain, but the emotion is pretty intense at times. Did you find that was a theme that kept surfacing as you were writing? Dustin: Yeah, I was definitely dealing with some heavier stuff on a lot of it. I don't

know if I can pinpoint exactly why those are the themes I wanted to write about. But I was definitely exploring the idea of the darkness within and darkness without, how we deal with that and process it. Do we even acknowledge it. And a lot of times I don't even notice these themes until after the record is complete. But in this case, I feel like I had a pretty good clue of that early on for whatever reason. Did the whole Mars Hill fiasco have anything to do with that? Dustin: I think, emotionally, I'm more processing that stuff now, than I was when I was writing and recording this. I'm a pretty analytical person. Not that I don't have emotions, but I think I process them differently than some people. I'm a little slower at processing stuff. So I don't think that had a big hand in this record. The record is very versatile. Is the writing process when you're writing your own stuff different than when you're writing for Thrice or other projects you've been involved in? Dustin: Yeah it's different than with Thrice. In Thrice, historically, it's very much a team thing. Different people bring different elements. So with Thrice, there's a lot of building. But with this solo stuff, it's very much foundational. Is there anything in the pipeline for Thrice at the moment? Dustin: This year we're just focusing on playing a few festivals. There's not many plans beyond that. Dustin Kensrue Online www.dustinkensrue.com and www.facebook.comidustinkensrue www.twitter.comidustinkensrue 40 VandalaMagazine.Com - July 2015


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Interview The Rea MeKerioies When I call Paul McKenzie, singer/songwriter/battle charge captain of Vancouver based band The Real McKenzies, he sounds at peace. "You know what I'm doing right now?" he asks. "What?" "I'm out in the middle of the ocean." "What? Really?" "Yeah" he says. "But my engine just gave out so I'm rowing in, and I only have about ten miles to go. I have to row now, or miss the tide. But that's ok, that's what we get for being sailors." "Would you like to reschedule?" I ask. "Oh no. I'm rowing port to starboard with one hand and talking to you with the other. I'm fine." And that's Paul McKenzie for you. Punk rocker, Scotsman, salty dog. For over twenty years The Real McKenzies have been blasting their catchy form of celtic punk music for the masses. And as one of the founders of the second wave of celtic punk, they have amassed a large and loyal following around the world. While Paul rowed in that last ten miles out in the middle of English Bay on the Pacific Ocean, I spoke with him about the history of celtic punk, the history of The Real McKenzies, including their new album Rats In The Burlap, and the state of political upheaval, both in Scotland, and here in North America. First of all, I have to say, I love the song 'Who'd A Thought?' on the new record. It's fast, hard, has some great rabble rousing lyrics. Where does the inspiration lie for that track, Paul: Well, I've always loved the MC5. As a matter of fact, those were the guys that got me into my political awareness when it came down to the bullshit of the North American government. And I'd like to say that we as Canadians have got sovereignty, but we don't. We're living in the shadow of the giant down south. But everybody knows that. But what that song's about is to awaken us enlightened individuals as to what exactly is going on, and who would've thought, etc. But it's going to be exemplifying itself in the future. With all those FEMA camps and stuff in America? It's really frightening. And you know who's going to start doing that stuff over here? Harper. Paul: The Harper government. I remember not too long ago, in our local newspaper, `ten things to look out for if there are terrorists in your neighbourhood.' And guess what? I was guilty of ten of them. It's really funny the way they're able to take your average individual and successfully instill them with paranoia. But anyway, that's what that song's about. Not all the songs on the record are political though. No and that's what's endearing about the band. On every record you've got songs about girls, life, government, funny stories and drinking and sailing. Paul: We just write about our lives. And because we do a lot of touring, it gives us an opportunity to really experience rock n' roll. So we try to exemplify it...ohl you know what's happening to me right now? What? Paul: I'm coming in on what's called a 'lee shore.' You know what that is? 4 VandalaMagazine.Com - July 2015


No I don't. Paul: It's a shore that is windward. If I were in any other kind of boat, I'd probably be worried right now (laughs). But I'm not Anyway I'm going to put the phone down for a minute when I hit the rocks. Okay. (Silence) Did you make it Paul: I made it. Now I'm beached. Right on. I don't have to worry about rowing until the end of the interview (laughs). Do you go out on the ocean much? Paul: As much as I possibly can. Whenever I'm not working. And why wouldn't I? It's expensive, but what else am I going to spend my money on. Beer? Actually, I wanted to ask you about beer. Your love of good beer and good whiskey is well documented. Paul: Don't forget good wine Yes. Good wine as well. What's your favorite Vancouver area beer? Paull Well, I'm going to have to say the Bowen Island is the one that really gets me. Because it's incredibly inexpensive. It's something like $8 a six pack? At that price you can afford twelve. But I'm married now and I don't really have time to drink whiskey anymore. have a dram every now and again of course, but gone are the days when I'd put back a bottle at a time. Unless it's a party, then it's no problem. But the other guys in the band say that I'm a better person when I'm not soused out on whiskey all the time (laughs). That's often the way it works. You know a lot of people don't realize that you guys were actually one of the first bands in the celtic punk wave of the 90's. The Mahones were doing their thing on the east coast, and The Pogues had come and gone, but you really helped spearhead this thing that's quite a large subgenre now. Was there any sense at the time that you were doing so? Paul: The Pogues, yeah. But they didn't really offer a bagpipe, did they? Of course, they did offer the Irish political thing, the IRA stuff. And rightfully so. I don't believe in their violence, but I believe in their plight. But no, all I was doing initially was trying to keep it alive. Because the kids were saying we don't like this and we don't like that. So really, it was taking the spirit of Robert Burns and saying 'hey kids, guess what? Here's something new.' People seem to have responded. Paul: Yeah, but never forget, one time we were playing the Scottish Cultural Centre. And this old guy comes up and says 'you're ruining our music.' And I grabbed him by the collar and brought him in tight and said 'come here. You see those kids over there? They're pogoing to Robert Burns music. And when you're dead and gone, they're kids will still be pogoing to Robert Burns music. So it's our music now. Get the f*ck out of here.' Needless to say, we never played the Scottish Cultural Centre again (laughs). But that's ok. One thing that really pisses me off is the old school, Presbyterian Scots, you know? How many old school, Presbyterian Scots does it take to change a lightbulb? July 2015 - VandalaMagazine.Com 47


How many? Paul: Change?...And that's the joke. I mean the changes that are going to be coming in the next ten or twenty years, if they're still alive, are going to be kicking them in the ass. So it's really important to remain resilient, and stick to your guns. And that's what we're doing. We were playing in Saskatoon with Reverend Horton Heat not long ago and this girl comes up and she says 'aren't you too old for this game?' And my back was turned, I was working on the stage, and it was like a stab in the back. So I lifted up my kilt, and turned around and started pissing. Didn't give a f*ck who it was. And she says 'waa, what are you doing?' And I said, 'sorry, must be my age' (laughs). Well, I can't say she didn't deserve it. Paul: I don't take kindly to that kind of shit. I mean, granted, I'm pushing 54. And I'm burying all my pals. I wrote a song many years ago called 'Dropping Like Flies.' And it's for them. It's for all of them. But I've got some excellent genes. My granddad and his father lived to be about 115 years old. So at 54 I guess I'm just about reaching middle age. Do you think touring helps or hurts that longevity? Paul: If you don't do it properly, it can kill you. But if you do it properly, it adds years and years onto your life. And I don't spend my time in bars anymore. When I'm not on tour I'm on the ocean or with my family. That's important. Paul: Yeah Are there any other songs on the album that exemplify your current mindset? Paul: There's a couple of songs on there actually that I feel really strongly about. As a matter of a fact, it took a little while for me to sell that mindset to the band. Because they're always afraid of litigation and stuff and I'm saying "f*ck the litigation, let em sue us." But there's a song on their called 'Yes' that I feel really strongly about. It's about the Scottish referendum. They totally duped it. Look at it on YouTube. There are yes votes put into the no votes and you can see it! It's all over the place. So they took the George Bush 'hire me again' routine when it came down to that. Total cheaters, all of this new world order bullshit. Including the Harper government. And they think that we don't stand a chance, but we do. All we have to do is take a stand. And it's kind of disheartening the way people say 'oh, don't rock the boat, don't rock the boat. Don't sing a song about this and that..' F*ck you! One of the things that my father left me with was 'there's always going to be an enemy. Know your enemy.' Still, I wouldn't consider this to be a 'political album'. I wouldn't use that as a label on it. No, neither would I. 'Catch Me' is about, well, me (laughs). I submitted a love song about my wife to the label and Fat Mike says 'no love songs on Fat Wreck Chords!' And I thought ‘godda mit! Now my wife is going to kill me.' So the Bone wrote this as a replacement. A lot of people don't know it, but when we're on tour, I put a lot into it. I do a lot of the driving and what not, so after the show, I'm ready to sleep. And if I don't have a place to sleep, I can sleep anywhere. I can sleep standing in the hall. So I've got this thing where watches don't run on me. Me and my sister are the same way in this respect. Watches don't work on us. It has something to do with an electric charge we generate. I can put a magnetic hotel key in my pocket for three hours, and 48 VandalaMagazine.Com - July 2015


it demagnetizes. So people will sometimes finding me standing, passed out upright in the hotel hallway, with a beer in my hand. So the song goes 'catch me if I fall' (laughs). So the Bone wrote that based on his own experiences with me personally over the years. I'm sure he's got lots of material to cull from. Paul] Yeah. Hey, that's rock n' roll. There's another one on there about a cat I had that passed away last year. The Robbie Burns day before last, I had a really nice party going and I opened up a nice bottle of Scotch and my friends and I were getting good and blot, and we go to eat the haggis and the cat had jumped up on the table and taken the haggis down onto the floor. And this was an eight pound haggis. And the cat wrestled it down to the floor and had half of it consumed by the time we noticed anything had happened. So we called the song 'Bootsy the Haggis-Eating Cat.' I loved Westwinds but it was a slower tempo'd record. This record is really quite fast and heavy. Was there any reason for that? Did the content dictate the musical shape? Paul: We made up for Westwind's pace on this one. There are a couple of laments though. Like ‘Dead or Alive', which is about all the friends we've had that have passed. It's crazy really. When I think about it, I've had, well, three that were famous, and seven that aren't. And they all passed on this year. So it has it's slower moments, but most of all it's just a fast rock n' roll album. And I like it. You mentioned Fat Mike, I know he helped out on the album, playing guitar and whatnot. Are there any other guests on there? Paul. Well, Little Joe (Raposo, from Lagwagon) was helping us out as well. He used to play in The Real McKenzies. It's always a pleasure to spend time with him, he's a really nice guy. The only Portuguese guy I know that can't eat fish. lie's allergic to fish. Can you imagine being Portuguese and allergic to fish? There has to be a good Joe Raposo fish story from one of your tours to be Paul: (Laugh) Yeah tell you a wee story. We were on the road in France and none of us were allowed to eat fish, because of how allergic to fish Joe is. Like even the smell will make his nose explode, it's that toxic to him. So we stop at a gas station in the middle of France and I see this tunafish. And it's on special. These little cans of tunafish for the equivalent of 25 cents each. So I bought four of them and I hid them. So McNasty and I go on to the roof of this place that we're crashed out in. And I've got my little swiss army knife with the fork on it that I like to take everywhere. So I eat my two tins of tuna and throw them in the roof gutter so nobody can see them. But Matty McNasty eats his with his hands. So he goes down and opens up the door and leaves all this fish oil on the door. The next morning Little Joe gets up and grabs the door handle and then he wipes his eye. And all of sudden his eye is inflamed and his hand is inflamed and everyone was freaking out. So I wanted to get rid of the evidence. So I go up and grab the cans and I see it says 'pour chat' on it. Which means `for cats.' So we ended up eating cat food and poisoning Little Joe. But it was really good cat food. French cat food is gourmet cat food, you know. Wow. Well, tasty is tasty I guess. Paul: You bet. For a while there you had Alan McLeod playing the war pipes in the band. Paul: Oh yeah. And everything having to do with Raven McLeod has to do with war. 50 VandalaMagazine.Com - July 2015


Canons, swords, whiskey. That's what he's all about. But he was a guy who would start something and then run away under the table and let us take care of it. He could start it but couldn't finish it. And I have the scars to prove it. So I wish him all the best, but I don't miss him. At all. There have been a lot of ex members in The Real McKenzies. aul; Well, people have to run off and start families and get real jobs and stuff. We're not a Top 40 band. We can't pay a lot of money. So you've got to try and find a job in between. The economy's not getting any better and the jobs get more scarce. Take me for example. I haven't worked in a month and a half. And it gets difficult. But we don't begrudge any of it. It's good that you're sticking it out. I just wanted to talk about the cover for a minute. I know the image is meant to represent a whiskey label, but as a drawing. Who drew that? Paul: It was drawn by a fan of ours in the Czech Republic. A really cool cat and accomplished artist. And she just one offered it and we loved it. What does 'Rats In The Burlap' refer to? Well, we were at a Celtic festival in California last year. And before we hit the stage the promoter said 'you can see AGED 23 YEA HS that there's a lot of children DISTILLED BY 1,047„,e around, so we want you to .•-•••,..f fdr • relax on the profanity.' And I t41. /7 said 'relax on the profanity? What do you think we are, a bunch of rats in the burlap?' So it was just something that slipped off the tip of my tongue. But as it turns out, it was a wonderful show and really the first time I had a prepubescent mosh pit. There was no one in the mosh pit over ten (laughs).

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And with that, Paul and I said goodbye and I left him to the turning tide. "I've only three more kilometres to row" he says, "but the tide has turned." I apologize, but he says I'm not to blame. "If anyone's to blame, it's the moon. Goddamn you moon!" he yells. And he's off. Be sure to grab their latest album 'Rats in Burlap and to catch The Real McKenzies on tour! www.realmckenzies.corn www.twitter.com/Real_McKenzies www.facebook.comitherealmckenzies July 2015 - Vandalaitiagazine.Com 51


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Interview The Laes For those who do not know the Lacs they are two country boys from Georgia who have just released their 4th album "Outlaw in Me" which is infused with southern rapping/hip hop with a country sound along with a little rock. There latest album is diverse from good or country songs to jamming club songs though many would say that you have to be cohesive on your sound. Well those people would be wrong when it comes to The Lacs. They are doing things their way and its working with debuting at #3 on Billboard's Top Country Albums, and hitting bigger stages on their tour such as the CMA Music Festival June 14 on the Bud Light Stage. While on tour I caught up with Clay "Uncle Snap" Sharpe via phone. Both of us battling the summer heat and lack of sleep. Right off hearing that southern accent just made my day. As many don't know I am a country girl born and raised and talking with American country folk is just like talking to a neighbor back home. Clay overall is just purely humble, honest and just pure country soul and as you can read passionate about The Lacs Music. Thank you so much for your time since I know you are on the road. You just started your tour and how is that going? Clay: Its going great man. We're getting ready to come up north then going out west for a couple weeks. We are excited to about the next few weeks with visiting a lot of places we don't normally get to visit during the year. Is there any place your are looking forward to playing? Clay: I think it's cool to go out west and hit some of the cities like Denver Colorado, because where we live in the swamp in Georgia we're not use to seeing the mountains or nothing like that. That must be a nice little break. Clay: Yeah it is. It's great to get out there and experience things and you know they live a certain way and we live a certain way and its cool to just get out there. I am going to get this one question out of the way right away - Lets really talk about your sound or genre if we want to label it- it's not quite one genre and has been coined as Hick Hop - how would you describe it ? Clay; {laughs), You know we've spent the last few years trying to come up with a name for it and we can't do it. I mean We country music but we couldn't sing that good so that's why we started rapping and you know. We like to think we are doing things in our own little way. I mean if we could sing we'd probably not rap as much. That's probably why on albums past you collaborated with so many artists who do sing. Such as label mates Colt Ford, Bubba Sparks even the amazing Big and Rich and more How is this album different? Clay: This album a lot different because it's not like we tried to go more mainstream but we have more mainstream sounds because I think country radio and country music has changed in the last couple years. It has became more open minded. We even have a few radio friendly singers on this album like Craig Campbell who lives close to us in Georgia and then Josh Thompson which was completely different for us going more traditional country singers. I think it worked out very well. I love this 56 VandalaMagazine.Com - July 20/5


Olay "Une!le Snap Stave album and I think it's our best one. It shows how much we have grown so much over the yea rs. In what ways do you think you have grown the most? Clay: More than anything I think just learning the business and how everything works. I'm trying to a lot our time cause we're touring more and more and then making studio time, writing. Most of all just learning more and more. You're hitting Billboard charts, playing larger stages and this album right now is just doing amazing. How has it been coming from being a small town country boy to this whole new world? Clay: At first it was little different and I'm not going to lie it was an adjustment but it's been what we have been working for the last 15 years. There has been a lot of changes but we are just going with it. Let's talk about a few of the songs on the album. As you mentioned it is so diverse. I'm going to start with "God Bless the Country Girl" music video which has already had 350k views in a very little time. Who came up with the concept of the video? Clay; We just were sitting down with a couple people from the record label and brain storming. It would have been easy to do just a clichĂŠ video with a backyard pool video with a bunch a girls. Instead we had a back woods beauty queen pageant type thing. It was just collection of 5-6 people brain storming. As we are talking about this video I have a fan question popping up via social media a lot. Why did the woman judging in the video not win cause she seemed to be the true country girl? Clay: {laughs} I probably agree with them there but you can't get a rookie judge on the panel you get veteran country girl to judge, With that song are the lyrics your perfect women? Clay: Oh defiantly, it's the best thing in the world is a country girl. I have to ask what the heck is "Great Moments of Redneck History Skit" Clay: We get drunk one night and we started brain storming and you know some things people take credit for these days it makes you think back in history and how they come up with it. You know some of these inventions had to be done by a red neck and with this album we thought of the rocking chair. You can probably read a history book and see who took the credit for that but we put that story on a red neck and how he invented the rocking chair. With this album looking at the track listing how did you come up with picking songs since they are a little bit of everything Clay: We probably recorded 25 songs for this album then we picked this list. We were careful to pick 3 or 4 songs that we thought our rap fans would enjoy and then the rest of them were for our country fans. We are always picky on picking songs for an album because we want to keep it fun, and keep it for all our fans in country and hip hop. In your music video "Make the Rooster Crow" it's looks like a hip hop video in the country and in the song "The Stomp" you went more hip hop/club music are you guys planning on crossing into the Urban & club scene? Clay: I mean we didn't plan into crossing into the country Or rap. Like I said we just July 2015 - VandalaMagazine.Com 57


started making music and we are lucky enough to be accepted into country music before any other genre. We consider them our home now but will keep making a club song or two on every album and if it happens to get picked up on urban radio or something like MTV it's something we would be honored if that would happen to. Any cool or crazy stories from the road? Clay: {laughs} People like to toss things up on stage such as beach balls, bras, cowboy boots we'll sign them and send them back. This one show we got a prosthetic leg up on stage, this was the first we ever seen or heard of that and we signed that and sent it back to the guy. I am a country girl and I know you got stories Clay: Probably nothing friendly. I got plenty but not interview friendly. {laughs} What is the one misconception people have about you? Clay: Ah, probably the biggest one is if you have never seen our live show before a lot people expect a dj and 2 guys but everything we do we do live. We have a 6 piece band that travels with us. We don't use any props on stage. Props to you! Clay: We just feel better when we play it live. It's a whole different feeling playing it live opposed to playing with a DJ. What are the future plans for The Lacs? Clay: Well hoping to take this genre and this style of music as far as it can and watch

it grow. See it on CMT ACM's or something like that. Any messages for your fans new and old? Clay: We appreciate all the love with this last album we put out. We got more music

to come.

The Lacs are humble, talented and their music is addictive so be sure to grab yourself a copy of "The Outlaw in Me" Keep up with The Lacs online. Maybe even catch their all live show as they are on tour till the October in the USA! www.thelacsmusic.com www.facebook.comiTheLacsMusic www.twittencom/TheLacsMusic WW1N.youtube.com/TheLacsMusicVEVO

58 VandalaMagazine.Com -July 2015


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Psycho California, now that's a name that suggests things could get weird fast. Perhaps America's largest doom metal festival we sent our worrisome journalist Matt Bacon out on the trail to try and

Seeing a ton of bands, meeting a lot of people and being around this many bands can create a fascinating weekend if nothing else, and as Matt found out â&#x20AC;&#x201D; there is a lot more to the demented depths of doom than might initially meet the eye as we found out with interviewing a bunch of bands playing this Psycho event. By Matt Bacon


MAGIC AND MAYHEM WITH EARTH Interview by By Matt Bacon


Psycho CA is a trippy place and I never envisaged myself sitting down with Earth to talk about shamanism, but there I was. Earth have a deeper understanding of music and delving into that is an adventure to say the least... What's up guys? Dylan Carlson: We're in Santa Ana, it's our first time here in a long time and our first time for a show. When was the last time you were in Santa Ana? Dylan Carlson: 1997 or 1998. What were you doing? Dylan Carlson: I was up to no good! (Laughter) Adrienne Davies: Nefarious activities! Don McGreevy: It was back when he was in AA, Active Addicts! To what extent do these nefarious activities continue today? Dylan Carlson: They don't. Don McGreevy: It's all the band. Dylan Carlson: I just play. What kind of gives you the strength to carry on despite all the madness? Dylan Carlson: I guess... I just can't do anything else! (Laughter) I'd be f*cked if I couldn't do the band. Adrienne Davies: We like to meet people and find out that our music helps people. Dylan Carlson: When I put music first good shit happens... Adrienne Davies: Put music second bad shit happens... One thing I've always loved about Earth is how it feel more like a vibe than a band. It's like Hawkwind. Was that a goal you had going in? Dylan Carlson: Not to sound pretentious but to me music should be timeless. I've always tried to make music that doesn't sound like it's from a specific time. All the classics transcend time. There's great stuff that sounds like its from the 80s but stuff like Hotter Than Hell by UFO could have come out in '76 or it could have come out now but it's still vibrant. With all great rock and roll there's nothing better than that. It's transcendent and transcends time. There's been no music since... Even growing up on American radio you've heard Free Bird five hundred times every time it comes on it's like "F*ck yeah!" With any great rock song it still means something right now! Don McGreevy: That is a vibe. It can exist anywhere at any point in time and still be relevant. So essentially you're saying the timelessness of rock and roll is what makes it important? Dylan Carlson: There are other forms of music that have it too like Elmore James. It doesn't matter when it was written or how many times you've heard it. Political hardcore will be pretty clear because they're talking about specific stuff, it dates itself automatically. July 2015 - VandalaMagazineCom 65


Whereas Earth just kinds sounds terrifying Dylan Carlson: (Laughter) Yeah With a legacy like that... how do you seek to live up to it? Dylan Carlson: I just try and write stuff that I think is good. I think the most important thing is the riff and is it a catchy riff and is it something ITm going to want to hear over and over. The great riffs you just want to hear again and again. That's the problem with a lot of music. They take stylistic or sound elements but they don't have the riffs that grab your attention. Adrienne Davies: When we're working on new material there's a lot of continuity in the tempo with slow stuff but as a drummer I just try to melt into the riff and spread it apart like taffy. I try to let it stretch. I try to see that perfect place where it needs to be. Don McGreevy: I'm like Ringo Starr, I'm just happy to be here! The way you talk about the riff it seems sacred... Dylan Carlson: It's the part in rock music that makes it... the song you know? Adrienne Davies: Especially when you're doing instrumental stuff, what else is there? Dylan Carlson: If you don't have a vocal line or a memorable lyric if you don't have the riff... Dylan McGreevy: It's the ostinato, it's the most important part... Can you talk to me about your use of improvisation in a live setting? Dylan Carlson' It depends on the lineup. The Angels lineup was the most improvisational. There's always space within the songs though. Don McGreevy: There's areas we allow ourselves to explore. Dylan Carlson: The new material is more concise and structured but there's still spots. Don McGreevy: TOne of the compositional points of Earth asides from a couple of terms we'll play riffs again and again and then Dylan will signal the change and then we'll switch. The length of a song is always different. Adrienne Davies: When we do improv and do step out we don't all do it at once. We have people holding it down. Its almost like Swansâ&#x20AC;˘ Don McGreevy: Swans is almost like Earth! (Laughter) Can you tell me about your knuckle tattoos Dylan? Dylan Carlson: The seven of them are the sigils for the Seven Fury Sisters which is part of a spell for treasure hunting. The others are the postal code for a Waltham Forest which is a borough of London. I had a bunch of friends from there and we were all supposed to get the tattoos and I was the only one who went through with it. William Morris is from there too and he's one of the founders of the arts and crafts movement. To what degree do ideas like the Fury Sisters impact you today? Dylan Carlson: They definitely inform my spiritual worldview. They definitely influence my solo project stuff I do since it's all based on English folk magic. What generated your interest in that? Dylan Carlson: To chase it to its source probably the fact that my grandmother came 66 VandalaMagazine.Com - July 2015


over from 1948 and used to tell me stories about seers and stuff. My grandfather had an encounter with one of the White Ladies which is a death omen. Hearing those stories as a kid... Any kid that grows up listening to metal... you read sword and sorcery books. When I was 12 at my middle school library I found a book on ritual magic and I was interested in it and it's been something that's maintained my interest for a long time. Do you still practice magic today? Dylan Carlson: I don't necessarily do ritual magic or anything like that but I think it's a force that's around us and I think it's intimately involved with music. How so? Dylan Carlson: Most European magic is from the Finnish shamanic tradition, they chanted and played drums. Music and trance and magic are all sort of intimately related... Do that's something you try to invoke? Dylan Carlson. Not consciously but I think music and magic were the first technologies that man developed. To me music is like a magical occurrence. The fact that something I do affects my life in a positive life and affects other people in a positive way... Do you feel the power of magic is starting to diminish? I've heard that from others... Dylan Carlson: I think we've traded a lot of our innate abilities for technological devices. Don McGreevy: It will resurface. Remember when you could remember all of your friends phone numbers and now when your phone dies... you're f*cked. At one time you could remember all of this shit, but that's now gone. That super naturalistic relationship to the old world and how people related to plants and trees... it will be back eventually once this crap goes away. Dylan Carlson: It's integral to the structure of the universe but we've trained ourselves to ignore it. One thing I've heard mentioned... Do you think this kind of music is an extension on the shamanic tradition? Dylan Carlson: I think music is an extension of that to a certain extent. I think what Earth or Yob does with the slower longer more instrumental stuff is probably closer to the surface. It's such an antidote to the modern world because the modern world is all about access and instantaneousness and everything is about speed and being fast whereas this is like this weird... alternative. For us the music doesn't reveal itself right away and we play instrument and interact with an audience for a moment that won't repeat itself. Whereas with pop music it's more of a spectacle versus performance. I want you to finish this sentence for me "I've never told this story before and probably shouldn't..." Adrienne Davies: But last time my cat was sick I had to create a cat diaper for him because he had long hair and his shit was uncontrollable. I just had too. Dylan Carlson: I don't know what statutes of limitations are on stuff... I can't contribute! (Laughter) EARTH Online: www.thronesanddominions.com July 2015 - Vandafamagazine.Com 67


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Another interview at Psycho CA this time with the legendary Municipal Waste possibly the fastest band on the doom fest. We get to talk about partying and thrash and what it means for society as a whole... By Mall. Bacon


So what is it like being the only thrash band in a doom festival? Land Phil It's really fun, it's kind of awesome. Dan: I like some of that stuff too I think it broke up the audience. You guys have been a thing for like 15 years, you're known for insane live energy and partying and drinking how do you maintain that? Tony: I have no idea. Land Phil: For me it's all adrenaline. I'll be tired but if the crowd's going wild it just makes us go harder. be hung over and feel terrible but the minute I get up there blood just starts rushing. Tony: When you do something for so many years it just starts to come naturally! Dam I have a high metabolism! Tony: We're going to be so sore tomorrow! Is that going to start being an issue? Land Philâ&#x20AC;˘ Everyone gets old man! Tony: I'm sure it will be an issue somewhere down the line. That's when we start doing spoken words albums or acoustic things. It's been like 3 years since the last record... have you made any progress on that? Landphil: We're taking our time man. We've rushed a lot of things, not on purpose but we tour so much and we try to do records between... We're just taking our time. You kind of slowed down this year... Tony: Bands like Lamb of God will always take a year off and shit, meanwhile Municipal Waste is always going, it's like tour, tour, tour, album, tour, tour, tour, write the next album while on tour, tour again. So we decided to hit the brakes and do other shit. Land Phil: It's way healthy! We've been doing one offs and it's just like vacation! Have you been getting jobs and stuff or just doing other bands? Land phil - We're all in other bands, that's pretty well known. I just started working for a movie production company and that's my first job that I've had in 12 years. It's something creative that I wanted to do. Tony. I sell hot sauce. Dan: I pour beer at a craft beer bar. How does being from Richmond help form you guys as a band? Land Phil There's like 4 other people from Richmond too and we're all in the same bands so...It's a small town! Tony: There's a lot of shit going on there for such a small place. Land Phil: It's a creative town and is very art and music oriented. Tony: He's very artistic. He does body art. Landphil: I do body shots mainly. One thing I found interesting is Municipal Waste kind of started out as imitating thrash legends... Tony: You could say that about any thrash band... We were just playing something nobody was really playing at the time... 72 VandalaMagazine.Com - July 2015


What I'm wondering though is now as you've become New Wave Thrash icons.... how does that work? Land Phil: People can label as whatever they want. Tony: We were just writing songs we liked. Land Phil: That's just something the press will say because they have to call it something you know? Tony? I just think we're a f*cking thrash band or a crossover band. I never thought we were new wave or any of this retro bullshit. I get a little worked up when people say that because we had no idea that this shit was going to take off. If you put the time into anything then you get the respect later. We got to meet a lot of our heroes and tour with them and stuff too, like Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies and now we see eye to eye with those guys. Dan: We got really lucky... Land Phil: We didn't realize what was going on, we were just having fun... What do you think of the people trying to imitate you guys? Tony: It's flattering. .and Phil: It's better than trying to imitate nu metal which is what was going on at the time, why don't you try to imitate something that's a little more intense? Tony: I think we introduced a lot of people to shit that wasn't thrash. We got young kids into it and they never would have known. Younger kids didn't know about those dudes and they helped open the gates. -and Phi. I was a latecomer to the band and when I did my first tour I saw young kids and older metal dudes and saw that it connected on multiple levels. Tony: We knew we were doing something right when old guys would come to our shows and be like "F*cking thank you for doing this again!" Dan: They'd pull their old vests out of the closet, it was good to see that. onv: They'd have "Sacred Reich" written in a marker and faded as f*ck written when they were like in middle school. We were before the internet, that's the cool thing about us. We were the last band before the internet. ar.; We're the last generation who did that I think. I had to look at the backs of records and the thank you list to find out about another band. Now you just click a button and it's all at the palm of your hand. -

What do you love so much about thrash? Tony: The energy and the positivity of it. I like a lot of darker thrash shit too but I just enjoy the speed and the way people react to it. Everyone reacts differently which is exciting.

Municipal Waste Online wvvw.racethewaste.com www.facebook.comiriunicipalwaste www.twitter.com /MUNICIPALWASTE www.youtube.comimunicipalwaste www.instagramacomimunicipalwastei www.nuclearblast.com July 2015 - Vandaialtlagazine.Com

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The Nature of Metal

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By Matt Bacon

I spent all weekend hanging with Pallbearer at Psycho CA and they had some really fascinating opinions about metal In this interview we dig in and try to get at what metal is all about. What do you think about the metal scene today? Devin: I think it's a growing thing. I was just talking with my girlfriend about how hard rock sucks more and more. So I feel like the itch that hard rock used to scratch for people who liked rougher stuff... they would have that. But now that the bottom has fallen out of that they're going to reach out to metal. Brent: There's not a lot of decent hard rock anymore. Devin: There's a lot of metal bands kind of going to hard rock like Mastodon. That's a good thing. Heavy rock is dying and metal is bleeding in. It's becoming more popular because of that. You've got to have some way to get that out. Do you think a band like Elder is blurring that line? Brent: Definitely. They're more of a hard rock band with a metal edge at this point. Devin: Bands like Graveyards do it too. There's also the classic bands like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, are they metal or what? Brent: Bands like Graveyards are booked with metal bands but they're really not... Kind of like Pallbearer... 76 VandalaMagazine.Com - July 2015


Brent: I consider us a metal band but we're not really into blast beats and growls and shit. Devin: We're a metal band but we're not necessarily evil always. We're just aesthetically heavy It's conceptually heavy you know? We don't go out of our way to make the most Neanderthal-heaviest riffs we can come up with. That's great but it's not for us. What does heaviness mean to you? Brent: For me 'heavy' is like more of an idea than a sound. There's some country music that's heavy as shit. Devin- Ravi Shenkar and Miles Davis are heavy as f*ck! Heaviness isn't a blast beat or a pedal or a string gauge it's just a feel. That's something we try to explore. You can just be one guy, like with Don't You Mind People Grinnin' In Your Face by Son House. That's one of the heaviest things I've ever heard and it's a man clapping and singing. That's as heavy as it gets. Bren It just explores the darker elements of human life, not how hard you hit your guitar. Can we expect to see more of those elements in Pallbearer? Brent: Our new shit is heavy in every way. We still use the same approach as we always have, we're not going to release something that isn't heavy in a metal way. But we've been working on some sound-scape stuff that uses more dynamics. Like that song Ashes? Brew: So far there isn't anything like that. We don't have any short songs like that so far. We just like to play around. We don't have a formula but we try to play with our songwriting structure. Devin: We're trying to work on things we haven't done before. Brent: A lot of tempo shit. We don't get super fast, but it can get faster but there's also a lot of much slower shit than we've ever done. Devin: Our next record is going to be a lot more dynamic and varied. Conceptually how does it compare? Brent: We haven't written any lyrics yet. The songs kind of reveal what they're about later on. So it's like a spiritual thing? Brent: The songs will say something to you. Me and Joe write the lyrics for the most part and we figure it out after the song is musically done. You just have to figure out what it is, it's strange. So what is it like being the only thrash band in a doom festival? In terms of the metal community, Devin you were talking about how metal is more about individuality than brotherhood, could you elaborate on that? Devin: In my own personal interest I didn't get into metal to be like people or join a brotherhood. I got into metal because I was a weird kid. It's like meeting someone who likes movies, I don't feel a brotherhood of Stanley Kubrick fans. ItTs there among bands though... Brent: It's a bunch of outsiders and misfits who have found some sort of common ground. July 2015 - VandaiaMagazine.Com 77


Devin: It's like a collective of individualists, not to be paradoxical. Brent: There are some group thinkers though. There are definitely trends within metal and people get really hung up on it. Like "This is black metal and this is not black metal because it doesn't sound like bands like A, B and C" Whatever. If that band is writing what they want to write who cares? There's a lot of judgment in certain communities in metal. So you're saying people in metal need to take themselves less seriously? Brent: People in general need to take themselves less seriously. If you think your opinion is the best and the most right then your opinion sucks generally, including me. What advice would you give to metalheads who take themselves too seriously Devin: Watch Spinal Tap! Pallbearer Online www.pallbearerdoom.com www.facebook.comipallbearerdoom Twitter & Instagram @pallbearerdoom

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Slostimpg It U wiiitgo (arid Dytimi How do you feel after playing a great show like tonight? Erik Great! Chris I like some of that stuff too I think it broke up the audience. It was fantastic. The crowd was really into it and it was one of the best sounding stages that we've played on this tour so far. Erik: It seemed like everybody enjoyed it too. Chris: We got a great crowd response and people feeding on it. Nickolis: Pretty Great I loved the rock and roll ethos that it seemed to have... Erik: It's all about the riffs ya know? There was a little bit of riff worship going on In terms of stage presence where does the energy come from? Nickolis! It's just playing rock music! Erik: In order to give it 110% it requires a little bit of energy drinks and a lot of water. When you're playing heavy you've got to turn it up. That's part of what gives us energy. The crowd getting into it helps too. NickoliE When the crowd gets into it things can get really crazy. I've always just rocked out whether it's 5, 10 or a thousand people. You've always got to rock out no matter how big or how small. That's what music is, giving all you got. So it's catharsis through volume? Nickolis: Pretty much. So it's essentially a spiritual trip? Nickolis: To me it is. Even playing live or drums in general I've based everything on my performance. To me drums is more of a physical sort of activity. You have to be physical with your performance all around. Everything else just gets really physical in one set. Chris I can't help but notice your Freemason tattoo, tell me about that... Chris: We were on our last tour and we all went to get tattoos and I was planning to get one and I had just watched a cult movie about Freemasons so I was like "Let's do it!" I like that kind of imagery, I like the mystery and the stuff like that. To what extent does the Illuminati affect your music? {laughter} Nickolis: People express all sorts of BS like that... people say certain riffs express secrets through the music. The whole thing is stupid but when people see a triangle with an eye in the middle they automatically say 'they're watching us' Just play rock and roll, drink water and don't give a f*ck! So Nik, you're the only member of the band who isn't from Oregon, how did you come to be in the band? Nickolis: I had a friend who played in Anti-Mortem and they were a band from Nuclear Blast. They recently broke up and their guitarist Zayne Smith is from Oklahoma. We met at the NAMM convention in January and we decided to start a project. Me and him have always been good friends and jam partners and one day he got a call from Lord Dying's manager and he said he wasn't super interested but I always told him I 84 VandalaMagazine.Com - July 2015


Ferrmiews' syalio Oa ifornia 2015 always love playing with anybody and playing new things so I gave the manager a call and he sent me out here! What's it like being in a band where you can't play one offs? .hris We'll see! This is his first tour with us. We're kind of getting to where we can't

play locally that much because we tour so much. Our drummer who was playing with us before can't tour with us because his girlfriends pregnant but if he had too I'm sure he could do a few one offs. I saw the TCBT tattoo Chris... can I ask about that or is it too soon? Chris: Athon was a friend of ours... We met did an American tour with Red Fang and

Black Tusk back in 2012. We kept in touch. We were on tour, found out what happened and all went out and got these. It was sad... really sad. Now on a totally opposite note, I want you to finish this sentence for me "I've never told this story before and probably shouldn't but..." Nickolis: I've never told anyone this story before and probably shouldn't because it was really f*cked up. We were in school and somebody was picking on a friend of mine and we had porta-potties in the basketball area and I was mad at him so I pushed the porta-potty over and then he got covered in shit so then he decided to throw shit all over me. Then I decided It would be funny to throw shit on everyone else. Erik: Pretty shitty story bro. What do you love so much about music? Erik: I don't know. I love the freedom you can have in it to write and express yourself. Chris: It just makes me feel awesome! Nickolis: Music has always been a huge outlet for me at least. I never really wanted to do anything else. I never cared about school or going to events. For me music was just the only answer. I just felt like something else needed to happen in my life and that was it. Since I started playing drums I felt like I didn't need to do anything else. Lord Dying Online www.facebook.com/Lord Dying www.lorddyingibandcamp.com www.twitter.com/lorddying

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Taking Care of the Demons with Steve Coica of Des!


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Destroyer of Light are quite the band having navigated the US multiple times in their relatively short career. Now with a new record in the works Steve Colea takes a chance to sit down with me Interview By Matt Bacon


So how the hell are you? Steve: I'm doing great man, it's been a great 5 going on 6 days, I'm having a lot of fun. How long are you going to be on the road in total? Steve: We've got about 16 more days. We're out till May 31st. After Psycho were heading out to Los Osos and then all the way up to Seattle and back through the mountains and everything. So this is a next level moment for your band? Steve: It's pretty amazing dude! It's definitely a step forward. One thing I really enjoyed was the synchronized head banging, how did that happen? Steve: Naturally! We didn't plan it! We all just loved to headbang and enjoy our music. We figure the best way to communicate it is just to express it with our bodies. Plus we're all huge fans of bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, all those old school metal guys who throw down really hard. It plays off of that. I see your Randy Rhoads shirt and Van Halen necklace... How does that kind of music manifest itself in Destroyer of Life? Steve- I'm 32 now I got into doom and sludge when I was 20. I was into it for a while but then I started going backwards. I was into Van Halen when I was younger but I only knew their hits at the time. So I went and listened to the B Sides and totally got into them. I've always been in Maiden and I've also gotten into Matt and stuff. Is stuff like that still relevant in the modern context? Steve: I think so as long as you're not a throwback band. It's cool to throw in little tendencies. How do you mean? Steve: I think showing an homage to that style of music by throwing in guitar leads and stuff is cool but not being a whole Ratt cover band. Putting in tendencies like that just so people can be like 'Oh this reminds me of that" It has to fit the music and be in the right context. Is that what you do in your band? Steve: Me and the other guitar player write all of the songs. I tend to write all of the doomy evil stuff and he writes more of the rock and groovy stuff. We combine our elements though and when we write we either each write the whole song or work together. So navigating that balance is what makes Destroyer Of Light so cool? Steve: If you think we're cool yes. That's what makes us who we are. We had people yesterday saying they heard Thin Lizzy and Judas Priest as well as Gates of Slumber and Candlemass. Those are the bands I look up to and listen too, so that's awesome. Do you feel like that establishes you as an almost... entry level band... to the more oppressive doom scene? Steve: It's possible. We've been around for three and a half years now and for the past year we've started to get up there but we're not at the level of bands like Windhand or Cough. But do you think because your sound has that Judas Priest and Thin Lizzy side do you think it will draw more people to doom? 90 VandalaMagazine.Com - July 2015


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Steve; I think it will. I think it also will get people going back and listening to deep cuts by Thin Lizzy and Judas Priest. How do you feel about how Thin Lizzy has essentially been reduced to The Boys Are Back In Town? Steve: I think it's sad but at the same time at least they are getting some credit. It's sad that some people won't go and listen to the deep cuts. There are so many better songs than that one but that's the only one people know. Its sad but if you think about most mainstream people they only want to hear the hits. If someone thought they were a Thin Lizzy fan and didn't know Black Rose or Emerald I would be like "You need to f*cking get !ll on it Do you try to create the same epic vibes as Thin Lizzy tracks have? Steve: We definitely try for that on some songs. All of our songs are tales, be it horror movies, monsters, or mythology. All our stuff revolves around that. Any specific segment of mythology? Steve - That's our other guitar player who writes that stuff but we have a song about a fire coming down and destroying Rome and stuff like that. We have another album coming out where me and the other guitar player were writing but didn't realize we were working on the same story. His side of the story has a God looking down and he's upset with people so he needs to come down and kill everybody because he's disappointed with the way they are. My song is about a leader who takes people to a deserted place and says he'll care for them but instead kills them. So his song is about how God becomes a human being and becomes a religious leader and I have him tricking his people into killing themselves What inspired that on your end? Steve: Jim Jones. I think it's crazy that one person can influence millions because they're too weak minded to think for themselves. I'm into serial killers too. Church Of Misery is another band that I love. I'm just fascinated by it and I like to write about evil shit. What provokes this fascination? Stew: I'm a big horror movie fan and I like reading about the psychology of how these people became this way. It could be a chemical imbalance or it could have to do with upbringing. To me it's fascinating that someone can snap where they have no emotions and can take someone's life. Its just a fascination, I could never do that myself. How is this record a progression musically? Steve: Recording wise it's our best sounding one. The songwriting is a lot better now too. It showcases our rock side as well as our doom side. Plus we have a really slow version of Pentagrams Forever My Queen. So I'm looking forward to people hearing that. What do you love so much about music? Steve - It invokes so many emotions. I can listen to Death, The Cure or whatever, it just depends on what my mood is. It conveys the human psyche. Writing music gets out the demons, we all have demons in our head and that's my way of releasing that energy. I know for a lot of people heavy music helps to take care of the demons. www.facebook.com/destroyeroflight wwiN.destroyeroflight.bandcamp.com July 2015 - VandalaMagazine-Cont 91


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swat' o Oa Worn ia 2015 Atriarch are quite the tortured souls, digging into what they hate about society and how they feel we should change was an inspiring experience to say the least. What's up? Max: Touring around Psycho. We booked the show and then decided to play some shows on the way down. What was it like finding out you'd be on such a stacked bill? Lenny: It's like a dream come true. Max: We actually found out about the stacked lineup and then pretty much demanded that we get on the show because we weren't one of the original people. When I saw the lineup I wrote to the people and said "We have to play" and we came down. We drove however many miles from Portland, Oregon to here just so we could play this. Lenny: He muscled us onto this. I'm assuming you're staying all three days? Lenny: No! We've got a show tomorrow in Oakland. Do you feel like your ability to 'muscle your way on' to this shows your growth as a band? Lenny: Absolutely. What's the next step? Max: We would have gotten rejected if somebody hadn't liked us. Hopefully we'll get invited to the next one, and if we don't get invited we'll have to crash it. Hopefully if we get invited we'll end up playing a little bit later in the day because we were the opening band. Lenny: We popped the cherry on this bitch and it's f*cking awesome. It was packed! Max: It was so early in the day that people weren't super drunk but they were still headbanging and getting into it. A lot of times for the first band they don't want to get into it. But for being the first band at 2:15 PM... there you go! Obviously doom has grown rapidly in the last few years. why do you think that is? Max: Someone found a marketable niche somewhere! Music goes in trends, and I'm not saying doom is a trend but it's very popular right now. That's great though because the bands that have been doing it forever are finally getting recognition and they are able to perform and get great show offers. That helps bands like Sleep. People cared about it a long time ago but they're way bigger now that there's this whole world going on for it. It's hard for us to keep up with trends though because we just do our own thing. Lenny! We're out of touch. Max: We're not young up and corners. We've been around for a while. Not as long as some obviously, but six years is a while... What draws you to this kind of music? Lenny: I think it's more than this style of music but rather playing music and being an artist. I don't listen to a lot of metal. My favorite bands are Swans, The Cure, Christian Death and Neurosis. Being able to be a part of something like this - and I f*cking like metal, I'm not saying I don't - I don't think that it's anything worth trying to do, it's just what comes out naturally. July 2015 - VandalaMagazineCom

95


So it's more of a vibe?

Lenny: Exactly. Max: It also helps that we're doing this with our best friends. If you're not playing music with your friends and get any old stranger without the chemistry... You have to have that camaraderie, that vibe that ties you together, no matter what style of music you play. As people you have to have some kind of cohesive camaraderie between you otherwise it's not going to work. Its been the three of us, me, Lenny and Brooks and we've had 4 different bass players for three records. It's like Spinal Tap! What bonds the three of you together so tightly? Lenny: We're all freaks and weirdos and have never really fit in. That gives us a deeper understanding of each other. None of us were ever the cool guy. We can relate over that and we have that in common and we can be f*cking freaks around each other and not judge each other. We can create our own thing and have strength in what we create. We're not purists in any genre, even in terms of what we listen too or do. We're not just like "Oh we only are doom people and we only wear black and only do this one super brutal thing" I listen to the classical station nonstop when I'm at home and listen to a lot of quiet ambient music. We're all special little snowflakes. One of the things that I pointed out in my review of your record is that I love how tortured you are. What fuels that? Lenny: All kinds of shit. I was born deformed. People don't like me. I feel like I see the bigger picture and not everyone has that. Everyone is so concerned with checking their notifications. They're not paying attention to what connects to us all. The ether that connects all things whether you're alive or inanimate we are all a part of this earth and on top of being able to see that... we feel like rejects. I wasn't good at sports and my chest is f*cked up. I was born like that and I get f*cked up with taking my shirt off... My teeth are crooked... all kind of things I get f*cked with about! I am tortured. It's not that bad though. I'm a happy guyâ&#x2013;ş and we live in the land of opportunity. Our lives aren't that bad. I think that's where some of that resentment comes from too. Look around you, we are blessed. Instead of appreciating it and giving love and positivity we're on our mobile devices and trying to get on to the next thing and everything is immediate and disposable. It's hard to get along in a society where that is the more important thing when all you want to do is make things better. Is that born out of an almost atavistic desire? Lenny: Absolutely. The new songs we're working on for the next record... they're very conceptually about de-evolution. Is that also reflected in the music? Lenny: No - the music has evolved. Our sound is constantly evolving. The concept is about the de-evolution of society. We are devolving by being attached to our mobile devices but we need to devolve by finding ourselves spirituallyâ&#x2013;ş and living in the moment. I talked to Nick Turner from Hawkwind about something similar to this, is that almost a Buddhist thing? Lenny: I think that all religions have positive things in them. I think Buddhism is awesome but I think Christianity has a lot of great points as well. The issue with 96 VandalaMagazine.Com - July 2015


Christianity is the Catholics and their sense of persecution and guilt. I don't think Jesus was about any of that. Jesus was a f*cking radical. He was saving the people on the fringes of society. He saved a prostitute. His disciples were not accepted. All religions have fundamental beauty to them. It's a spiritual connection. Max: There's people who take whatever they want from something and make it distorted to attack others. Lenny: They're extremists who try to use it to control other people. Max: Whatever it may happen to be, be it veganism or religion, or classism everybody f*cking does that. Lenny: Even conservationists are like "I recycle and you don't!" It breaks down infinitely. Is Atriarch supposed to be a spiritual experience? Lenny: Absolutely 100%. It's for us and the audience. I think it's almost evangelistic. It's very cathartic. We open ourselves up when we perform and were just letting it out. We're not trying to f*cking pose. There's no act at all. Max: There's no faking it. Stuff always goes awry when you play on stage in a rock venue, but it's all a degree of honesty no matter if it's good or bad. Lenny: There are people every time who get into that and let themselves go too. There will always be some people who do that but the more who do that and who are in the moment, feeling it and not thinking about whatever else it is that is f*cking plaguing them... it just makes it worth it. It makes us perform harder! Do you feel doom has the potential to be the new American religion guiding us towards a better society? Lenny: That would be beautiful. I like that idea in theory. But who can say? Max: Everything has the potential to get victimized and marketed. There could be a Toyota commercial with a doom song on it and then suddenly it's just a fashion. It could get too big. That's always the possibility with anything that gets too popular. The business side of things that have nothing to do with art or spirituality. That's what ruins things always. So you're saying doom exists on the edge of a knife, if it goes too far we're f*cked? Max: It's a slug crawling on the edge of a straight razor. What do you love so much about music? Lenny: It can bring people together. No matter what language they speak it will invoke a response. Max: It's beautiful, that people feel so strongly about it... it's just amazing. From my perspective, stuff that's both horrible and amazing can have an effect on people. Lenny: Wyld Stallyns saved the f*cking world! Any final words of wisdom? Lenny: Unplug.

Atriarch Online www.facebook.com/AtriarchOfficial wwwiatriarch.bancicamp.com www.relapse.com July 2015 - Vandalalgagazine.Com 97


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07/11 JOENSOU,TINLAND RAVINTOLA KERUBI 09/11 STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN DEBASER STRAND 10/11 OSLO, NORWAY JOHN DEE I1/11 GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN STICKY FINGERS 12/11 COPENHAGEN, DENMARK PUMPEHUSET 14/11 GLAUCHAU, GERMANY ALTE SPINNEREI 15/11 ZLIN, CZECH REPUBLIC WINTER MASTERS OF ROCK FESTIVAL 16/11 NURNBERG, GERMANY HIRSCH 17111 SOLOTHURN., SWITZERLAND KULTURFABRIK KOFMEILL 18/11 BRBCIA, ITALY CIRCOLO COLONY 19/11 LINDAU, GERMANY CLUB VAUDEVILLE 20/11 STRASBOURG, FRANCE LA LAITERIE 21/11 HUT, BELGIUM ATELIER ROCK 22/11 EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS EPIC FBI


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AIM-NATION RUN TOUR 2015 MAY 28 MAY 29 MAY 30 MAY 31 JUNE 2 JUNE 3 JUNE 5 JUNE 6 JUNE 9 JUNE 10 JUNE 12 JUNE 13 JUNE 14 JUNE 16 JUNE 18 JUNE 19 JUNE 22 JUNE 23 JUNE 25 JUNE 27 JUNE 28 JUNE 30 JULY 1 JULY 2 JULY 5 JULY 7 JULY 8 JULY 19 JULY 21 JULY 23 JULY 26 JULY 28 JULY 30 AUG 1

VANCOUVER, BC PORTLAND, OR EUGENE, OR NAPA VALLEY, CA SANTA CRUZ, CA SAN DIEGO, CA SAN ANTONIO, TX OKLAHOMA CITY, OK BIRMINGHAM, AL NEW ORLEANS, LA N. MYRTLE BEACH, SC ATLANTA, GA MANCHESTER, TN RICHMOND, VA SILVER SPRING, MD DOVER, DE TORONTO, ON MONTREAL, QUE MA BOSTON, NEW YORK, NY NY BUFFALO, OH CLEVELAND, CINCINNATI, OH DETROIT, MI WINNIPEG, MB EDMONTON, AB CALGARY, AB INDIANAPOLIS, IN MINNEAPOLIS, MN IL CHICAGO, NE OMAHA, FORT COLLINS, CO NV RENO, LOS ANGELES, CA

COMMODORE BALLROOM ROSELAND MCDONALD THEATRE BOTTLEROCK MUSIC FESTIVAL THE CATALYST HOUSE OF BLUES THE AZTEC THEATER THE DIAMOND BALLROOM IRON CITY HOUSE OF BLUES HOUSE OF BLUES THE TABERNACLE BONNAROO THE NATIONAL THE FILLMORE SILVER SPRING FIREFLY MUSIC FESTIVAL PHOENIX CONCERT THEATRE METROPOLIS HOUSE OF BLUES IRVING PLAZA TOWN BALLROOM HOUSE OF BLUES BOGART'S THE FILLMORE DETROIT THE GAR IC CENTRE UNION HALL FLAMES EGYPTIAN ROOM CABOOZE OUTDOOR PLAZA HOUSE OF BLUES SOKOL AUDITORIUM AGGIE THEATRE KNITTING FACTORY HOLLYWOOD PALLADIUM


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July 2015 Vandala Magazine  

The Lacs, Going out to Sea with Paul McKenzie, Festivals and More Summer is one of our favorite times of the year since all the bands are o...

July 2015 Vandala Magazine  

The Lacs, Going out to Sea with Paul McKenzie, Festivals and More Summer is one of our favorite times of the year since all the bands are o...

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