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Interview:Mike (All Shall Perish)

Pure metal...interviews

For some people, all thatís important in a band is the quality of the music. Well, thatís fair enough, but one of the main things that gave Metal music its rebellious identity was the lyrics. The band that is going to make sure that we all remember our real heritage comes from the other side of the Atlantic and listens to the name All Shall Perish. Mike, the bandís bass player, has decided to share with Get Ready to Rock his ideas about the global political situation, his love of music, and his future plans with his Californian-based outfit.

Hi Mike. Welcome to Get Ready to Rock. I have prepared some questions regarding your bandís debut album 'Hate.Malice.Revenge', but before we do that, I would like you to introduce the band to our subscribers.

Mike: Well, I'm Mike I play bass. Our Guitarists are Ben and Caysen. Our Drummer is Matt and our singer is Craig.

Having been out in the market for only two years, I believe that you have managed to achieve quite a few things so far. It is not an easy thing to have your very first album released by a big record label, but things didnít quite start that way. Please tell us about your collaboration with the Japanese record label Amputated Vein, and what led to your 'transfer' to the big league.

Mike: After only a few months of playing together as a band, we made a 3 song demo that got noticed by Amputated Vein Records from Japan. He said he liked it very much and wanted to produce a full length album of our material for release on his label. Very few copies of the disc were printed so consequently very few people got to hear it. We did the best we could to circulate it ourselves but it proved to be quite a trying task. After playing many shows with larger bands and sending our CD to many labels, Nuclear Blast stepped up and said they wanted to work with us. We asked them if they would be willing to re-release HATE.MALICE.REVENGE so it could get the recognition it deserves and they approved! It is now set for a mid-February release in Europe!

I admit that I knew nothing of the band before I got my hands on the Nuclear Blast promo - I even confused you with All Out War, since both these names have a similar tonality (I really hope that you donít mind me saying that). My first, almost instinctive reaction, when I looked at the album cover was to think that you are a Hard Core band - something that is only partly the truth. There are many different styles that are presented in this album, so I would like you to name some of the bands, whose work has both influenced and helped you establish your own style and sound. What is it that the guys in All Shall Perish like to hear when theyíre in the mood for good music?

Mike: One thing that really sets us apart from a lot of bands is that we all listen to drastically different styles of music. Caysen likes the whole straight up death metal styles of Vader, Cannibal Corpse and Deicide while I personally listen to a lot of stuff from Throwdown, Terror and Hatebreed. Matt likes a lot of the new breed of metal such as Unearth, Bleeding Through, and bands like that while he also loves bands like Taking Back Sunday and Sonata Arctica. Our singer Craig loves the older New York Death Metal from the late 1990's in particular with bands like Suffocation and Internal Bleeding and Ben likes GWAR. Period.

Normally it is a journalistís, or even the labelís, job to categorize the music of a band, mainly for promotional reasons. In this case, Nuclear Blast chose to present you guys as a Metal/Hardcore band. Do you believe that this is the most suitable description, or are there any elements in your music which will be treated unfairly by such characterization?

Mike: I personally think all labelling of music is ridiculous... BUT very necessary nonetheless. Calling us a Metal/Hardcore band is pretty close to how most people may view us but I think that a more accurate title would be Deathcore to display that we have elements of Death Metal and Hardcore. But hey, what do I know?

There are more than a few Metalheads out there that prefer to invest in a specific branch of Metal music. Do you believe that the music that you have recorded in 'Hate.Malice.Revenge' will convince them to invest in the band, or are you targeting a more open-minded audience?

Mike: HATE.MALICE.REVENGE wasn't meant to hit anyone in any particular branch of music at all. The music on that CD was written free of any boundaries or labels. I do believe that anyone who is into metal of any kind be it Death Metal, Black Metal, Hardcore, Metalcore, or even Nu-Metal will hear what we have written and bob their head. Especially considering the fact that it is loved by 5 guys who disagree heavily on the definition of good music.

OK, letís concentrate on the album now. 'Hate.Malice.Revenge' was originally released in August 2003, and that was one and a half years ago. I understand that you were quite happy with these eight compositions while they were recorded. What about now - are you still happy with them?

Mike: Love every one of them! I haven't gotten sick of anything on that CD and if you ask anyone who knows me, I am one picky motherfucker! I still get goosebumps when I listen to it.

How many did the original release manage to sell, and which are the countries that showed the biggest interest in it? Are you satisfied by the way the band was treated by Amputated Vein?

Mike: As far as we know, 3,000 were printed and they are all gone. The way we dealt with Amputated Vein, there was really not much of a way to keep track of what place was selling the best. Going on what we as a band have sold which is roughly half of what was printed, the U.S. was clearly the most interested but again this information is no gauge of which country is the most interested.

Are there any adjustments made as far as the sound or even the structures of the songs are concerned, or are the Nuclear Blast recordings the same as the ones that Metalheads had originally purchased from Amputated Vein records?

Mike: None whatsoever. Nuclear Blast was more than thrilled with the finished product put out by Amputated Vein and was eager to put it out unchanged on their label with an extra special treat not included on the original Amputated Vein disc.

I am one of those people who claim that a good production is one of the main requirements for a Metal album, and you guys have done quite a good job in that field. Where was the album recorded, and how much were you involved in the whole process?

Mike: Production was very important to us as well. This is why we went with Castle Ultimate Studios in our hometown of Oakland, California. The owner, Zack Ohren, helped us produce the disc and he was amazing. We had total control over the finished product but we certainly could not have done it without his help.

Are there any specific techniques, tricks or even instruments and equipment that you guys used in the studio that helped you present us with this specific sound? How did you manage to switch from one music style to another without loosing your general direction and feeling?

Mike: There weren't any special techniques we used in recording at all! What you hear is what you get! As far as how we were able to switch from one sound to another, that was all just played by ear. No formula no nothing. If it sounds good it's going in the song!

I would like you to choose one of these eight compositions and analyse it from the moment the first note was conceived, till the day that you finished recording its very last part. What I want is for our subscribers to understand how you guys generally operate as a band.

Mike: Okay. Let's take the song Never Ending War. It started out as riffs we liked at first. The first riff in the song was written by Ben and the "hate malice revenge" breakdown was made by me. We would play these riffs at practice and just see where each of them would take us that particular time. Eventually, one riff became a whole section and then, once everyone in the band liked it we would start connecting these sections together and they would make an entire song structure. From there we'd go through and add small parts to help polish off the song to make it perfect even without vocals. Once the music was perfected, vocals were written to the music and the song was done!

Unfortunately I do not have any access to the lyrics of the band, but judging by the cover and the title of the album, I understand that there is a strong political and social statement behind them. I guess that with all the things thatís been happening throughout the world lately, you have plenty of unfortunate topics to choose from.

Mike: Oh yes! The world is a terrible place in many respects. We take these negative aspects and portray them in the light in which they should be seen: Dark, Evil, Relentless and Horrifying. Humans all route back Hate Malice and Revenge when a bad situation stares them in the face. There are good people in the world but most are hateful, malicious, and vengeful and we expose that in the disc.

How important is it in your opinion for a Metal band to be politically aware? Can you ever imagine All Shall Perish having a similar approach to music as bands like Dark Funeral and Deicide?

Mike: It is important that everyone, not just metalheads, know what is going on around them. Too many people everywhere walk around with their heads in their asses not knowing anything of the evil that is all around them. I hope that if nothing else that this band can convince and maybe even this interview will get at least a couple people to wake up and start paying attention at least a little bit. As for the question about Deicide, I don't know where the future will take this band honestly. Right now, I can say there is no way in hell we will only write songs on one topic as Deicide does. Not that what Deicide is doing is bad but more that we have beef with more than just god.

All Shall Perish

Have you ever found yourselves in a difficult situation because of these very 'dangerous' topics that you refer to in Hate.Malice.Revenge? Any weird or unwanted reactions from the audience?

Mike: Dangerous Situation? No. Uncomfortable? Yes. Not so much from the audience but more from the individual fans that come up to us at shows asking us about what we meant by certain lyrics. Like I Said I don't write the lyrics so I can't speak for them.

Well, the album will be re-released on the 14th of February, and from what I have understand you have already started doing your first interviews. Have you thought of a strategy that will help you achieve the best possible promotion for the album? Any videos involved?

Mike: We have several strategies in mind but have no idea if they will work or not. We are working very closely with Nuclear Blast to promote this first one since they have infinitely more experience in the world of promotions than most other labels do and far more experience than us! There is a video that will be on the Re-release of HATE.MALICE.REVENGE for the first track off the disc called "Deconstruction"

If you were given the opportunity to make a video for this album, which song would you choose? Have you ever imagined what kind of visual presentation would be the most suitable for an All Shall Perish video?

Mike: Ah I'm glad someone asked this question. The song I would love to see a video for is "Sever The Memory" because it has a lot of relevance to most people no matter where they live. As far as visual representations that would be seen in such a video. Dark Dark Dark. Very depressing, cold colors and imagery that will give you chills for days on end.

Last time that I visited your website, I saw that you have a few shows lined up this January - all on American soil. What about Europe though? Are you guys going to pay us a visit on the old continent soon?

Mike: Of course! Don't be silly, man. Europe is where it's at! The minute... no... THE SECOND we get the chance to come over there, we're doing it for sure!

I understand that in the past you have shared the same stage with many different bands. Which was the band that you liked the most, and which band are you going to be playing with on the tour for the promotion of 'Hate.Malice.Revenge'?

Mike: There are a lot of bands that we loved playing with so it is really hard to pick the one that was the best. My personal Picks are Brujeria, Dying Fetus and Bleeding Through. As far as the band we are going on tour with for the promotion of this first CD... no idea.

The Nuclear Blast press release also mentions that we should expect the new All Shall Perish album to be released in early 2006. Do you have any new songs ready? Any idea what the musical direction will be or how the songs will sound? What is it that you will try to do differently this time?

Mike: We have quite a few new songs ready to be recorded right now all with that familiar feel that HATE.MALICE REVENGE has. The musical direction is definitely the same with a few new surprises that our listeners will love and nothing that would be disappointing. As far as what we are planning on doing differently, just working on really polishing our product this time and taking the time to put out a true masterpiece that will be hailed as legendary.

Mike, thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. I hope to see you soon in London, hopefully for a gig. Is there anything that you would like to say as an Epilogue to this interview?

Mike: Armageddon is coming to London. Your days are numbered until the descent of the evil known as All Shall Perish comes upon your small island nation. We will show you what the colonies are truly made of! STAY METAL AND DON'T YOU FUCKING DARE SELL OUT YOU MOTHERFUCKERS!

Interview © 2005 John Stefanis

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