Metalsteel guitarist Rok Tomšič grilled.

Metalsteel is a Slovenian heavy metal institution with its own identity which combines raw aggression with melodic and progressive structures. Their striking metal is manifested on seven albums including their latest most fierce and sophisticated release “Beyond The Stars” which is a conceptual album. The concept is about Extraterrestrial civilizations who descended on earth in order to rise the spiritual awareness of mankind and interfere in the process of humanity’s evolution.

 

How did you first get in to music? Who turned you onto rock/metal?

The first trigger for me getting into the hard & heavy music was when I was watching a VHS by Deep Purple – Live at California Jam with my father. Soon after that I was digging into his vinyls discovering the music of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Kiss, Scorpions etc. I was 7 years old at the time. Brings back so many beautiful memories…

How did you become a singer? Are you proficient in any other instruments?

I always wanted to be a lead singer but my voice lowered during puberty so I couldn`t sing the way I wanted to. I started playing guitar when I was 9. The reason was obvious I saw video footage of Mr. Ritchie Blackmore destroying the stage during his solo at the California Jam. Unfortunately I`m not proficient with any other instrument but our bass player is. He plays bass, guitar, keyboards and is also a great singer.

Were you forced to go to church as a youth, if so, did you sing in the choir or participate in some other ways?

No I was not raised in any kind of religion but I fell in love with the one called Heavy Metal.

What was the local scene like in the beginning, was there a particular band you aspired to be like, favorite local bands back then, favorite local bands now?

At the time we started plying around with Metalsteel most of the other bands played more extreme metal subgenres. We were almost the only band who played heavy metal at the time. I was a huge fan of Slovenian hard rock act Requiem. We played a lot as their support band when we released our first album in 2003.

How did the band form and how did the band name come about? How did the band meet and how long did it take to finalize this lineup? How stable is the current lineup?

The band formed in 1999 when I met Benjamin (vocals and guitars) in our hometown. At the time I was 11 years old and Beny was 13. We were both wearing metal shirts and we started talking and realise that we both want to start a band. We formed a band together with our first singer Alex. Later on Matej joined us on a bass and Daša on drums. In 2005 Alex left the band and Beny took over the vocals. Since then we are playing in the same very stable line-up. The name came about when we were kids but we decided to stick to it. It is plain and simple and maybe the best word-puzzle to describe our sound haha.

You recently put out a 7th full length “Beyond The Stars”? Have you released everything you recently recorded? What kind of obstacles did you have to overcome to get it out?

Yes we have released everything that was planned for the latest album. It is our first concept album so we are very proud of it. The instrumental parts were recorded simultaneously which provides a special energy and sound when you listen to the album. There were no obstacles for this release.

Does the recent convictions for genocide of Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic provide any closure for Slovenia?

I don`t think so.

Image may contain: 3 people, people standing and sky

What other bands are you in?

We are all playing just in Metalsteel except for our bassist who also performes in a mainstream pop-rock-funky band.

How would you best describe your sound?

We try to make it as unique as possible. It is organic but still has a modern vibe in it. It is definetly powerful, sophisticated, aggressive and loud.

Is doing ticket pre-sales the same thing as pay to play?

No.

What ACDC riffs or songs can you play?

I love AC/DC. We used to do covers of Highway to Hell and Whole lotta Rosie when we were kids. I played a lot of their music especially songs like Back in Black, The Jack, Hell`s Bells, Thunderstruck and so on. They are simple but awesome.

What was the first music you bought and what have you bought more than once?

My first record was KISS-Destroyer. I still love that album. I am a CD and vinyl collector so I bought many  more than once. The latest thing I bought was a Judas Priest collection on CDs. No it`s time to get it on vinyls of course.

Who have been some of your favorite bands you’ve hung out with and shared the stage with?

We fortunately had a lot of opportunities for sharing stages with some of our favourite artists such as SAXON, W.A.S.P., Helloween etc. It is always an amzing experience to play with these guys. We also have a project together with James Rivera who sings for Helstar – the band we also adored as teenagers.

Whats the biggest show you have played so far and do you still get nervous before a gig?

The biggest show was propably at the Metaldays Festival and also in Barcelona. Usually whe are just a little bit hyped I wouldn`t say that we`re nervous before the gig.

Does the current political climate in America scare you or make hopeful?

I try not to follow politics because it makes me nervous and angry. Political climate anywhere sure does not make me feel hopeful.

What kind of references or influences do you take from other mediums? Is there any particular book, or other artists that you are inspired by?

I am inspired by the works of Erich von Däniken and Zeccharia Sitchin the pioneers of ufology. Their works inspired me a lot for our latest release.

Could you please explain the title, Beyond The Stars?

It is a spiritual place that we can reach within our minds and it brings peace and freedom within our hearts. It can be achieved by meditation when we connect with our inner selves and the etherical energies.

Out of all your songs which one excites you the most when you perform it?

I would say Heavy Metal Is Our Religion from our second album because the crowd gets crazy whenever and wherever we play it.

Are there any political or social issues hidden in Metalsteel songs?

Yes in a lot of songs. The latest release talks about alien civilisation who are our ancestors and they descend from space again to warn us that our evolution has gone wrong. We must free ourselves from the agenda of the global elite aka Illuminati who rule the world for so long. It is time for humanity to evolve in a spiritual way and not in a materialistic or technological way.

Who does the songwriting for the band? Where is inspiration found?

Mostly me and Beny but we are all involved as arrangers. So it is definetly a collective process. The lyrics are all my work. Our inspiration is from life itself and also books and movies that we`re interested in. Mostly ufology stuff.

What is the writing process like and the putting of songs in order?

Usually me and Beny bring the basic ideas for the songs and then we arrange them together. Earlier we used to write music first but on the lates release we created music based on lyrics since it is a concept album.

Do you still buy cds or mostly use streaming sites? Which sites do you use? What do you like about them?

As I said I`m a record collector so I buy CDs and vinyls I never stream music.

Top 5 albums or songs released this year so far?

Honestly I`m more into the old stuff – 70`s prog and psychedelia and old school metal. I like the latest releases by Paradise Lost, Blues Pills, Satyricon and Cradle Of Filth which were released this year. I am very happy that Bruce Dickinons`s Soloworks got reiussed together in vinyl box set.

Top 5 books and movies released this year so far?

I`m really not a movie buff sorry haha. Other members are sure into movies. I am planning to buy a Dickinson`s biography book which was published recently. Otherwise I am more into old books from von Däniken and Sitchin.

How much time do you spend on social media a day? Which do you hate the most but can’t live without?

Quite a lot because of my job – I work as a youth worker and also beacuse of my music career. Everything is happening on social media so you must be present on it. The thing I hate the most but I can`t live without it is a computer.

What endorsements do you have and what endorsements do you still want?

We have an endorsement from Crafter acoustic guitars. It would be coll if we would get an endorsement from Elixir strings and Orange amps.

Bands you would love to tour with, on a dream tour package and musician or artist you would like to meet and interrogate?

Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Scorpions, Saxon.

Song to be played at your funeral or cremation and 3 albums to take to your grave?

Motörhead-Killed By Death. To my grave I would take Iron Maiden-The Number Of The Beast, Manowar-Triumph Of Steel and Deep Purple-Made in Japan.

What does heavy metal mean to you?

Everything. It is the most important thing in my life. It gives me energy and strength to go on.

What can we expect from Metalsteel in 2018?

We would like to play as much as possible in European countries. In the beginning of 2018 we will release the latest album also on vinyl which is really great. We also plan to play with Symphony Orchestra again hope it`s gonna happen. We have also some plans to play with James Rivera again but we`ll see.

Final thoughts, shout outs, dirty jokes?

Buy albums, go to the shows, support your local bands and the underground scene. Enjoy your life don`t waste it. Try to live your dream and achieve your inner peace. Stay positive and listen to heavy metal. Thank you a lot for this interview and your support.

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