Ania Bogdanowicz of AMONGST THIEVES “I can thank Beavis and Butthead for getting me into metal”.

photo credit Michael Alvarez

AMONGST THIEVES from Oakland, CA is known for their melodically heavy, catchy and easy to listen to sound.
Boasting the current lineup of singer Ania Bogdanowicz, bassist Scott Proctor, guitarist Kris Hartzell, and drummer Josh Davidson, AMONGST THIEVES draws from their individual experiences to create a unified rock/metal sound that commands attention.

 

How did you first get into music, who or what turned you on to heavy metal?

Ania: I got into music when I was 4. My grandma was a professional pianist in Poland and she began teaching me. It turned into a lifelong passion so I’ll always be grateful to her. I can thank Beavis and Butthead for getting me into metal. I remember seeing Metallica’s “One” video as a kid and I was hooked. Over the years I got into heavier and heavier music and listen to a ton of death metal these days. But Metallica will always be my first love.

Josh: I got into music when I first saw my dad stand on stage. I had a feeling that is what I wanted to do professionally at a very young age. Joined a band very young and tried to get very good at drums. Metallica has always been my inspiration when talking about music, business, and success. They seem to have been doing it so long that I always reference them when asked! I was fortunate enough to meet them recently and the experience really molded my mindset.

Kris: I started out when I was in middle school. My good friend Joe had this Sears Silvertone guitar and combo amp that we would jam Nirvana tunes on. I don’t think the amp even had distortion on it. We had to crank it up to get a little over driven sound. My parents have always been into music my whole life. I would definitely say they were instrumental in getting me into metal.

Scott: Van Fucking Halen – 1984

Who was your first rock concert, do you have vivid recollection of it and have your parents always approved?

Ania: I went to a lot of local metal shows in high school, so I can’t remember which was my first one. But my first concert ever was No Doubt. Gwen was a huge vocal influence for me.

Josh: My first concert was Pat Benetar, then Van Halen with Alice in Chains. After that I went to see Metallica, Fight, Candlebox, and Suicidal Tendencies together in the Summer of ‘94. That concert changed my life forever. Seeing Lars play in front of 50, 000 people made me want to play drums for life. My parents have always approved of my musical choices! My pops even build a huge studio in the backyard for our bands to rehearse.

Kris: That would have to be Yes, Jethro Tull and ELO. My parents approved as they were there. Shortly after my first festival shows were Family Values and Ozzfest. Good times.

Scott: My first show was Iron Maiden with Anthrax opening. It was the “No Prayer for the Dying” and “Persistence of Time” tours. Go big or go home I guess. LOL My parents never tried to influence my musical taste. They sure as hell criticized it but always encouraged me to become passionate about music no matter what genre it was.

What was the first music bought with your own money?

Ania: Nirvana’s “Nevermind.” I was a total grunge kid.
Josh: Guns and Roses – Appetite for Destruction
Kris: Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
Scott: Same answer as question #1

How did you become singers, guitarist’s and drummers and who are your main influences?

Ania: Singing is actually the last thing I picked up. I started piano at 4, then taught myself guitar around 13. I thought it would be fun to sing over it, so I started doing that. A friend overheard me singing at school one day and suggested I join the church choir. So that’s what I did. Singing became the ultimate outlet, and writing lyrics helped me deal with depression, which I battled from an early age. I joined my first band, Silence the Fall, in college and quickly realized how much I loved the feeling of being on stage. It was so freeing. Main vocal influences: Layne Staley, Gwen Stefani, James Hetfield, Freddie Mercury, Chris Cornell.

Josh: I took up drumming after watching my dad play in bands for years. My uncle had a drum set and I would sit in with my dads bands. Formed a hard rock band at 14 and joined concert, jazz, and marching band in school. I played drums throughout high school and into college. My main influences are Lars Ulrich, Jimmy ‘the rev’ Sullivan, Mario Duplantier, Neil Peart and Brooks Wackerman.

Kris: I became a guitarist shortly after my friend Joe got me started. I ended up getting my first acoustic from a relative. The guitar had reflective mailbox stickers on it that read “Buddy Love”. I always thought that was funny. My major influences are Stephen Carpenter, Fredrik Thordenal, Wes Borland, Scott Ian, Jerry Cantrell. I can go on and on.

Scott: I started playing guitar in jr high but switched over to bass after I heard Frank Bello play the intro to “Caught In A Mosh” and when Jason Newstead played the bass solo in “Crash Course in Brain Surgery”. I later talked to Jason about that and how he influenced me. He responded with……”I’m sorry”.

Do you read reviews of music and food and if so how often do they influence what you buy or where you eat?

Ania: I check out album reviews but prefer listening to something new unbiased and with an open mind.

Josh: I read the reviews of movies the most when checking out the opinion of others and food when I’m visiting a new town. With music I tend to listen to satellite xm radio for the newest songs and stick to my favorites for tangible purchases. I’m starting a vinyl collection for my favorites and classics.

Kris: I don’t really pay attention to music reviews. I like to listen to records in their entirety and come up with my own review. I do read reviews for food. Yelp has never let me down.

Scott: No

How much has the local scene changed since you started playing in bands?

Ania: Social media has definitely made a big difference. There are so many more ways bands can reach people and promote their shows.

Josh: The local scene here is new to me since I just moved from Tampa, Florida about 3 years ago. I’m learning new things every show we do to try and improve my awareness. I’ve noticed that the internet has been the biggest change to the local scene. It is very tough to get people off their phones and into the clubs these days but we are starting to see an uptick in local band support and fan love!

Kris: It has changed a lot. I find it easier to promote shows and music these days. There are so many tools to use at our disposal. We used to litter places with handbills and flyers. I started on the east coast in the early 2000’s, music wise it was a different scene.

Scott: I agree with Kris 100%. One thing that I miss though is that distributing flyers and hitting the streets created a huge community and scene. It was imperative to be social in order to survive as a band. I feel social media has severely crippled the local music scenes.

photo credit Michael Alvarez
photo credit Michael Alvarez

What’s the best show you have played so far with Amongst Thieves and why?

Our very first show, we opened for Filter. That set the bar pretty high. However, each show we’ve played has had something unique, memorable and fun about them. We have such a good time that it makes that question impossible to answer. We feel that we haven’t played our best show yet…..maybe it’s our next one.

What kind of gear is bringing us the Amongst Thieves sound?

Josh: Tama Starclassic Drums, Meinl Cymbals, Vic Firth Drumsticks, Evans Heads

Kris: Mesa Boogie Triple Crown, ESP/LTD guitars, Boss, Jim Dunlop

Scott: Mesa Boogie D800, ESP/LTD basses……(you’re not cleared to know the rest)

What is the plan for recording new music, where, when and with who will be recording you? Will there be physical product available for purchase and if so in what formats? Will there be any cover songs?

Band: We are currently recording our sophomore record at Skyline Studios in Oakland, CA. Scott Proctor, our bass player is Engineering and Producing, Juan Urteaga from Trident Studios in Pacheco, CA is mixing, and Jens Bogren from Fascination Street Studios in Örebro, Sweden is mastering it. It will be available in physical, digital, and streaming formats as well as a ton of merch to go with the launch. And yes, there will be many cover songs to come. We are beginning to shoot videos for these songs with tutorials on how we recorded and mixed them to post exclusively on our Youtube page. We will make the covers available for free download on our website.

Where have you played outside of your hometown and what plans do you have for the rest 2019?

Band: Over the years we have played all over Northern California and up in Tahoe and Reno, NV. As for the future, we are playing at the Starry Plough in Berkeley on Aug 10th; Klamath Falls, OR on Aug 24th; Vet-Traxx festival in Galt, CA Sept 21st; and Sunnyvale, CA on Oct 12th. We are currently booking to add those dates.

Which bands are you fans of whether regional or local?

Ania: Metallica, Alice in Chains, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, and tons of super talented friends’ metal bands: Revocation, Rivers of Nihil, Flub, Exhumed, Pounder, to name a few.

Josh: Gojira, Avenged Sevenfold, Metallica.

Kris: Deftones, Blackmap, Skinlab, Deconstruct.

Scott: He is Legend, Quicksand, Soilwork, Machine Head, Queens of the Stone Age, Slayer, Anthrax, Mastodon, Thrice, Sevendust

What do each of the members do for work during the day?

Ania: I’m a UX writer for Google and was a journalist previously.

Josh: Medical Assistant at a Spinal Clinic / previous Army Combat Medic.

Kris: Fiber Optic Splicer -Telecommunications

Scott: Audio Engineer – recording studio and live / Arena Rigger – live shows / former Army Paratrooper

Who living or dead is in your dream 5 piece supergroup with you?

Ania: Oh man that’s a tough one! Hendrix on lead guitar, Hetfield on rhythm, Layne doing vocals with me, Brett from Revocation on bass, and Jared from Rivers of Nihil/Flub on drums. What a strange mashup, haha!

Josh: Synyster Gates – Lead Guitar, James Hetfield – Rhythm Guitar, Vocals, Cliff Burton – Bass Guitar, Freddie Mercury – Piano, Vocals, Me – Drums!!
Kris: The Chuck E Cheese band with me on guitar. Seriously though, Mario Duplantier (Drums), Steph Carpenter (Guitar), Jon Stockman (Bass), Howard Jones (Vox), Me (Guitar)

Scott: If I had my dream 5 piece band, they’d kick me out pretty quickly for being the weak link. LOL Honestly, it would be Marty Friedman and Brian May on guitars, Dirk Van Buren on drums, Lajon Witherspoon on vocals and me on bass….maybe toss Dave Grohl in there on tambourine.

What have you been listening to lately and reading?

Ania: Listening: My friends in Flub just released the sickest album (it’s self-titled). I can’t get enough of that lately. Reading: I got this sweet book called “And Justice For Art” that details the history of iconic metal album covers.

Josh: Listening: The new Metallica and Gojira albums are really playing a lot in my car lately. I love the production value on ‘Hardwired…to Self-Destruct’ and Mario Duplantier’s drumming on any of Gojira’s songs are soul crushing and so technical. Also Alex Bent from Trivium is really blowing my mind lately.
Reading: Buddhist Boot Camp by : Timber Hawkeye

Kris: I’ve been listening to Northlane, Slipknot, Wage War.

Scott: Saul, He Is Legend, Painted Wives, Baroness….reading Marvel Comics religiously

What album epitomizes your style of music over all others?

Band: It doesn’t exist……..yet

Top 5 albums or songs released in the last 12 months and all time?

Ania: All-time best albums: Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon, Metallica – Master of Puppets, Nirvana – Nevermind, Green Day – Dookie, Alice in Chains – Dirt. Recent best albums: Revocation – The Outer Ones, Rivers of Nihil – Where Owls Know My Name, Flub – Flub, Pounder – Uncivilized.

Josh: All-time best albums: Metallica – …and Justice for All, Korn – Follow the Leader, System of a Down – Toxicity, Pantera – Vulgar Display of Power, Avenged Sevenfold – City of Evil. Recent best albums : Dr. Dre – Chronic 2001, Gojira – Magma, Linkin Park – Meteora

Kris: Gojira – The Way of All Flesh, Slipknot debut, Deftones – Around the Fur, Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin

Scott: Iron Maiden – Powerslave, Anthrax – Among The Living, Quicksand – Slip, He Is Legend – It Hates You, Van Halen – 1984

Whats next for Amongst Thieves?

Band : We are finishing two new singles with videos in order to support our upcoming album with a tentative release date in the latter part of 2019. We are always playing live shows throughout the west coast to bring Amongst Thieves to new audiences.

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