Niko and Clément of Ways Interviewed!

Ways. are a Rock / Metal / Alternative band from Paris, France. In January 2016, the band released their debut EP Watching From Afar which was recorded and mixed by Tony Di Santo and Ways. and mastered by Magnus Lindberg (Cult Of Luna). Mixing several influences and musical styles, Ways offers a powerful, dynamic and melodic music close to alternative rock, metal and post-hardcore. Lead vocalist Clément and bassist Niko were kind enough to answer some of our questions.

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

Niko: I was 13 or 14 years old, something like that and i was playing guitar since few years. At this time i was (and i still) a huge fan of Nirvana and i grew up with this kind of music… and i discovered Deftones. This band is the reason why i play metal.

 

What got you started playing music and how old were you?

I started playing music with an acoustic guitar when i was 13 years old. I practiced all days and i learned with some riffs of Nirvana, Metallica, SOAD, Linkin park, Deftones and more. With my first job, at 16 years old, i bought my first electric guitar.

How did the band form and how did the band name come about?

Niko: Tony, Bruno and me (Niko) played in Rise of Echoes. So we know Tony since 10 years, maybe more. Bruno is my brother, so it’s different :). After Rise of Echoes, we created Ways. About Clément and Nico, we met these guys for Ways. This name is about direction, the way to go to find some solutions and move on again and again. Nothing is blocked, there is always a way, an alternative to move on. We found this name at the beginning of this project. The idea was to find a short name that speaks about direction and alternative solution to find a way and move on. Ways. was the perfect choice.

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

Clément: I always wanted to sing in a band and it happened, by chance, during the show of one of my friends. I screamed, i singed even when there was no music between two songs. At the end, some guy asked me if i had a band. I sayed no and he told me “Ok man, i want you in my band”. I became singer of my first band called Mike Revolta like this. I don’t play others instruments. During 4 years, i worked my voice by myself but now i try to perform this with regular lessons.

What makes a good Ways song?

Niko: A mix between a lot of energy, melody, melancholy and brutality.

What artists with a message have made you change in any particular way and what was that change?

Clément: Marilyn Manson had the most influence to me. I grew up with this guy, this character, and this band. I headed to, without fall, to metal music. I have begun to listen metal music late, around 2002. I was in a musical and human construction and i translated all the lyrics which there were amazing with a double meaning. He gave a lot of messages and told good stories. Even if his career is stormy, this one is an example for me. He created a movement and a style peculiar to itself. After that, some other singers like Jared Leto or Sam Carter, with some involved lyrics, gave me the desire to write my own stories and defend a lot of subject which i care about.

Who are some of your influences? Who can we hear in your music?

Niko: It’s really difficult to give you an answer for this one. We love a lot of artists and kind of music. But, if we have to choose bands that are curently an inspiration for us, we could say Underoath, A Day To Remember and 36 Crazyfists.

What can we expect from a live Ways show?

Niko: A lot of energy, always. It’s on stage that Ways. takes more sense. On stage, we are here to share and make a great party.

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?

Clément: To myself, the cinema. In my opinion, picture and sound are inseparable. With music i can put my own pictures and i think cinema allows to combine both. I think mostly about artists like James Newton Howard, John Williams, Ennio Morricone, Hanz Zimmer who sublimate pictures.

What part of French history are you most proud of and most ashamed of?

Clément: With a lot of pessimism and a little of utopia, i think that the moment of history which makes me proud hasn’t happened yet. In my opinion, this day will come when human being stop to live like a speciesist person and that he will respect all forms of life on earth. The worst is, i think, our time. We claim to be the most intelligent species but we self destroy ourselves all the time and we make again the same mistakes as in the past and we create news mistakes. And all of this at an animals level, human and environnemental.

How would you like to be remembered?

Niko: Like a cool band with who you can take good time during a show.

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

Niko: So much time… I take care about communication around Ways. on social media and i’m always looking for differents kind of partners for us like booker, bands, associations, labels, press, gigs and more. It’s a full time job when you have to do everything by your own way. I’m not a big fan of Facebook, everything has become so complicated on Facebook when you have an artist profile. Unfortunately, Facebook is necessary when you have a project. I don’t have a favorite social media but if i have to choose, i’m gonna say Instagram. I love and i take a lot of photography and Instagram is a cool app.

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

Niko: The Prestige (FR), Checkmate (FR), Napoleon (UK) for now. But we are very lucky because we always shared the stage with so many talented bands.

Do you still buy cds and records or mostly use streaming sites? Which sites do you use?

Niko: I still buy cds when i go to a show. It’s also a way to support emergent bands. For streaming, i use Spotify, Bandcamp and Youtube for most.

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

Niko: Papa Roach (Crooked Teeth), Enter Shikari (The Spark), soon Underoath (Erase Me), While She Sleeps (You are we) and even if it was in 2016 the last album of Thrice (to be everywhere is to be nowhere).

You’re on a desert island and only have three albums to listen to for the rest of your life, what are they and why?

Niko: White pony of Deftones because the album gave me the motivation and the pleasure to play metal music. Thrice, live at the house of blues, because is one of live that i listen often and to finish any Johnny’s Cash album because his voice and his songs are magic to me.

What does metal mean to you?

Niko: Metal music was always for us an inspiring thing, at the same time strong, melodic and sad, a music that take you away. But Metal is always more, this is a way to think, a big community of people with a lot of joy and love.

New Interview with Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein & Alex “Wolfman Story

In the video below, Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein & Alex “Wolfman Story talk social anxiety, playing with Misfits and more with Aldo Guzman of Capital Chaos TV @ Holy Diver in Sacramento, California…March 12th, 2018.

Doyle is currently on the As We Die World Abomination Tour 2018. The tour began February 21st in Clifton, NJ, the tour winds through North America before crossing to the UK March 26th in Birmingham, England, and will later move through Russia before finishing up April 9th in St. Petersburg, Russia; KILLUS and DeadXll will be joining on the UK and Russia run. Upon his stateside return, Doyle will also be performing at the 20th annual New England Metal & Hardcore Fest on April 21st at The Palladium in Worcester, MA.

New Video Interview with Jon Schaffer of Iced Earth

In the video below, special guest interviewer Jason Ashcraft of AFM Records recording artists Helion Prime chats with Jon Schaffer of Iced Earth @ Ace Of Spades in Sacramento, California…March 7th, 2018

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Metal giants Iced Earth are currently on the road in North America bringing their “pure and absolutely incorruptible heavy metal” (Rock Hard Italy) to fans across North America on their “Incorruptible” World Tour.

Consisting of founding guitarist Jon Schaffer, drummer Brent Smedley, vocalist Stu Block, bassist Luke Appleton, and new guitarist Jake Dreyer, Iced Earth’s trek resumes tomorrow in Edmonton, AB and will be on the road through March 29th in Chicago, IL with featured support from Sanctuary and Kill Ritual. Dates are as follows:

ICED EARTH Live remaining dates
3/8 Los Angeles, CA – Belasco Theater #
3/9 San Diego, CA – House of Blues #
3/10 Anaheim, CA – Parish @ House of Blues #
3/11 Phoenix, AZ – The Pressroom #
3/13 San Antonio, TX – Aztec Theatre #
3/14 Dallas, TX – House of Blues #
3/15 Houston, TX – House of Blues #
3/16 New Orleans, LA – Parish @ House of Blues #
3/17 Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade #
3/18 Charlotte, NC – Underground #
3/19 Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage #
3/21 Wilmington, DE – The Queen #
3/22 New York, NY – Gramercy Theatre #
3/23 Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall #
3/24 Quebec City, QC – Imperial Bell #
3/25 Montreal, QC – Corona Theater #
3/26 Toronto, ON – Phoenix Theater #
3/27 Cleveland, OH – Cambridge Room @ House of Blues #
3/28 Detroit, MI – St. Andrew’s Hall #
3/29 Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge #
# with Sanctuary & Kill Ritual

Southern, Thrash & Rock’n Rollers Hellcowboys Interviewed

HELLCOWBOYS were born in Rome (Italy) in 2014, from previous experience of Carton (2007-2014). The sound is influenced by rock music, 80/90’s metal, southern and thrash atmospheres. Pure fuckin’ hard grooves and really strong rhythmics plus lead and screaming vocals.

How did you first get in to music? Who turned you onto rock/metal?
We started when we were very young, teenagers …listening to the music that we liked (the dear old rock’n’ roll and metal too) and, after, starting to strum the first songs. Then over several years (many) we have increasing this passion.Some members of our families have made us discover good music, the same that we have always carried in our hearts.

Were you forced to go to church as a youth, if so, did you sing in the choir or participate in some other ways?
Well, it is not easy to answer … let’s say that we were not great visitors in our youth of this places…maybe for us the oratories was a way to socialize … maybeCris (vocalist) had an experience of this kind (not too long, fortunately)

What was the Rome 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?
Our city, Rome, would have a lot of potential … the serious problem is that there are no suitable means (local or whatever) to increase what the music scene can offers …There are lot of valid bands (with which we have a good relationship and with some we are good friends) that are known in Europe and some even in the US, but there is still a lot to do to improve the local music scene. ..With no doubt, however, all the bands in our city have a lot to say… and this is very nice

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?
Hellcowboys were born in 2014, from the ashes of a band already active since 2007 (Carton) in Rome and part of Italy; After the end of the activity of the previous band, Cris ‘Comaante’ Iacovazzo (voice) and Daniele (drums) start looking for the ‘right’ people to form a ‘right’ band, that proposing a mature sound and with equally mature messages behind …so arrived Stfn ‘Steele’ Ferramola, on bass, and Andrea ‘Andrixxx’ Valentinoon guitar. Later, Alessandro ‘Daf’ Di Filippo joined the band as new drummer, defining the current line-up, active, now, since two years.
Our name, unlike what you may think, has nothing to do with the band Pantera (even if it is one of our favorite bands): we are of the opinion that in these times that have changed too much – in social relationships, in work , in family relationships, in life expectancy – we are all a bit cowboys … who roam in the difficult, almost infernal world … and from this … our name … Hellcowboys

How would you best describe your sound?
Well…generally we use Southern, Groove, Thrash &Rock’n’Roll. The sound is influenced by rock music, 80/90’s metal, southern and thrash atmospheres. Pure fuckin’ hard grooves and really strong rhitmics plus lead and screaming vocals.

What was the first music you bought and what have you bought more than once?
We listen to a lot of music and we always look for something that has quality, for our pleasure to listen to good products … and also to learn something more, that never hurts

Is doing ticket pre-sales the same thing as pay to play?
But absolutely not …ticket pre-sales means offering the public the ability to purchase tickets in advance … pay to play (which we hate) means paying to play, to live your passion … and this NO…

Whats the biggest show you have played so far and do you still get nervous before a gig?
We are never nervous before we play … we can not wait! …we played in two festivals recently (the RoMetal fest 2017 in Rome and the Sinistro Fest 2016 near Florence): we had a lot of fun, the audience responded to the great and above all they were two wonderful experiences … that left us a lot

Favorite songs on the soon to be released new album and why?
Well, we already have the material for the next album (which will be out for the late 2018) …But the songs that satisfy us more Psychosis, Head Up! and Sick ‘n’ Broken, because in our opinion these have a beautiful groove and beautiful arrangements … and above all because theserock!

Are there any political or social issues hidden in Hell Cowboys songs?
Yes, there are many social messages in our songs (we do not care, at the moment, the political aspect of music) …but above all we look around, see what happens, what changes (in good and in bad) and we also inform ourselves about so many things that we do not talk about (or we should not talk about) … and we try to put all this in our music

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?
There are so many bands that we admire, much of the past but also many of the present … in the same way we admire many authors / writers who made their words / verses a way of communicating or transmitting emotions to the world … so many that this space would be reductiveto mention them

What endorsements do you have and what endorsements do you still want? What gear is currently making the Hells Cowboys sound?
We do not have endorsements by now…it would be really great to have. Cris (voice) use Shure Wireless system microphones and Digitech effect Andrixxx (guitar) use Randall head and cabinet, Gibson and Jackson guitars and a lot of effect pedals (Boss/Digitech/Mokko…). Stfn (bass) use Markbass head and cabinet, Fender basses and effects pedals (Mxr/Digitech and more)

How much time do you spend on social media a day? Which do you hate the most but can’t live without?
We think that social networks are influencing too much the everyday life … and maybe we are not too much estimators of this … but we realize that in these times they can be useful, if used successfully … especially in our case to promote our work all over the world … we try to take part all, more or less, to our social activities … and luckily with good results

Do you still buy cds or mostly use streaming sites? Which sites do you use? What do you like about them?
When we can we always try to buy albums that we like or we are interested in, for having it in our hand, putting it in our hifi system and listen to it …however, we listen to music in other ways too… for example with Spotify or Youtube

Bands you would love to tour with and musician or artist you would like to meet and interrogate?
Testament, Megadeth, BLS, Amon Amarth, Gojira, Slayer, Coroner…just to name a few…But the list…is too long!

Top 5 albums or songs released within the last 12 months?
Well…it’s not so simple…Recently? We are waiting for Firepower of Judas Priest…We liked Testament’s Brotherhood of the Snake and Megadeth’s Dystopia…But as we said, there would be a lot of music we could speak about…

What does rock n roll mean to you?
All…IN ROCK’N’ROLL WE TRUST!

Chris Webster of The Weekend Classic Interviewed

Hailing from Madison, IN comes The Weekend Classic, an alternative rock trio consisting of Chris Webster (vocals/guitar), Ryan Wells (guitar/vocals), and Christian Richards (drums). Formed in 2012, The Weekend Classic used their quintessential high school years to develop, practice, and fine-tune their sound.


After a successful 2017, The Weekend Classic signed with independent record label, Rude Records. Now a little older and wiser, the band collaborated with Seth Henderson once again to produce and mix their new six-track EP, Better Health, out April 6th, 2018.

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

There are many musicians in my family so music has always been apart of my life.
Christian Richards (drums) was the one who first turned me onto alternative music.

What got you started playing music and how old were you?

My father was in an active cover/original band throughout my childhood one day I asked him to show me how to play Seven Nation Army on his Indiana Acoustic guitar (age 11) and I haven’t stopped playing since.

How did you become a guitarist and vocalist? Are you proficient in any other instruments?

I used to play lead guitar for a cover band a year after learning my first song. Then I started a band with Christian and my goal was to find someone to sing for us but that didn’t work out so I just started singing. I can also play drums, bass, banjo, piano, trumpet and I’m learning how to play sax.

How did the band form and how did the band name come about?

I moved into a house down the street from Christian and started hanging out and jamming with just the two of us. We went through many different projects until finally we settled on The Weekend Classic. Christian came up with the name one day while we were sitting in the band room after jamming. We decided to call it The Weekend Classic because every weekend we would just try to have a good time with our best friends at my old place.

New EP “Better Health” drops in April, what went in to the writing process? Lyrically and musically? One or two guys do the writing or was it a group effort?

The writing process for this record started in the band room. We all had some riffs that we were trying to choose from and finally settled on 6 songs to take into the studio.
Lyrically the songs were unfinished and some even untouched but between the four of us we quickly started to fill in all the gaps.

How did the deal come about with Rude Records?

They had emailed us and we thought it was the best deal at the time for us and we took it. Rude has helped out many bands and I am happy to be apart of the family.

What is the writing process like for you? How do you pick what you want to keep and release and what gets tossed aside?

Usually when I sit down and try to write i never get anywhere, but sometimes I will feel inspired and it just flows and I can finished an entire song in an hour or less. I can usually tell if it’s going to be a good song or a bad song.

How do you picture your fans enjoying your album once it is released? What’s the ideal listening environment?

I don’t think our fans are going to expect how different the record is compared to our past releases. Hopefully it’s a pleasant surprise. We always jam new music while we’re driving, so I’d say bump it on a long drive or something.

What is the music scene like in your Madison?

There is a lot of local talent in Madison mostly classic rock and blues music.

Best and worst part of touring?

The best part of touring is getting to travel, see my friends and play shows every night.

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

I don’t spend a lot of time on social media. I only have an Instagram and a Facebook and I’m usually posting once or twice a week.

You’re on a desert island and only have three albums to listen to for the rest of your life, what are they and why?

Led Zeppelin II, Master of Reality(Black Sabbath), and Rage Against the Machine because rock n roll 🤘🏻

Kyle Pfeiffer of Blacklite District Interviewed In Sacramento, California

In the video below Kyle Pfeiffer of Blacklite District talks origins of the band name, touring with Flaw and playing The Whiskey in Los Angeles, Minecraft animated video collaboration, what they would like to be remembered for and more with Iron Serbian of Capital Chaos TV.

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Blacklite District follows no rules. With sounds of everything from electronic, EDM and hip hop, to hard rock and alternative, the band truly stands out from the pack of what has becomes today’s generic sounding “Active Rock”. Formed in 2012 by Kyle Pfeiffer and Roman James, ages 12 and 11 respectively, the band grew organically in their local music scene through the years to come. In 2011, BLD was discovered by Grammy Award-winning producer, Stephen Short (Paul McCartneyQueen), which resulted in a 10 day recording session at the world’s largest residential recording studio, Sonic Ranch, just outside of Mexico in Tonillo, TX. The group re-located to Los Angeles and played some of the most famous venues in the world for the remainder of 2011.

On February 24, famed radio DJ Lou Brutus posted the bands video for “Cold As Ice”, which was released the same day. The song scored a whopping 350,000 streams in its first week alone, and as of May 2017, has over 3.5 million combined views on YouTube. “Cold As Ice” serves as the second single from Instant Gratification. In the summer of 2017, “Cold As Ice” was added to Spotify’s “Rock Hard” playlist, and was put into rotation on SiriusXM’s alternative channel Faction. In October, “Cold As Ice” was added to rotation on SiriusXM Octane, and it’s Minecraft music video has over 10 million views on YouTube. There are about 4 videos about a Herobrine invasion with zombies and “nether watchers” and how the main character, a player in a blue suit, survives. There are 4 songs in total in the order of The Struggle, Cold as Ice, We are the Danger (possibly not from Blacklite District), and Just so you Know.

Blacklite District released their third album Instant Gratification on September 22, going Top 10 on Amazon’s Top Electronic Albums chart.

Mark Rizzo of Soulfly Interviewed in Lake Tahoe, Nevada

In the video below Mark Rizzo of Soulfly talks about his soon to be released solo album on Combat Records, boxing, learning other bands riffs and more with Iron Serbian @ Hard Rock Casino & Hotel in Lake Tahoe, Nevada 02/25/18.

Marc Rizzo Rotation COver Preview

SOULFLY/CAVALERA CONSPIRACY guitarist Marc Rizzo has set the release date for his new LP ROTATION, in stores March 30th via Combat Records/EMP LABEL GROUP/AMPED in North America, and COMBAT/SPVin Europe. ROTATION is the 4th solo release for Rizzo, following 2004’s COLOSSAL MYOPIA, 2006’s THE ULTIMATE DEVOTION (both released by legendary shred label SHRAPNEL), and the independently released 2010 LP LEGIONNAIRE.

Produced by Chris “Zeuss” Harris (Hatebreed, Soulfly, Rob Zombie, Chimaira), and featuring cover art by Melody Myers (Escape The Fate), ROTATION is a blistering showcase of Rizzo’s pummeling eclectic diversity, showcased on album tracks including “Spectral Intensities”, “Thrash Boogie”, and title track “Rotation”, combining Rizzo’s penchant for pummeling, low-end riffs, with thrash-intensive leads and heavy latin flavor.