Sunday, January 28, 2018

Interview with Keith editor of Direnotes web-zine done by Patrick posted on 1-28-18

Interview  with  Keith  editor of  Direnotes  web-zine  done  by  Patrick

1.Hello Keith how are things in Canada these days? Please introduce
yourself to the readers?

Canada is cold, expectedly. There are a good deal of political things
going on as well, but I'm not one to get involved with that sort of
thing. To put it plainly, I'm the creator and founder of Direnotes, a
little metal blog I've been working on for the good part of 4 years.
It was the product of me writing for a multitude of good (probably
better, to be honest) online zine's and me wanting to do my own thing.

2.When did you first start listening to metal music?And who were the
first bands you listened to and who are some of your current favorite

My love of metal was more or less just a evolution of my love for
rock. I lived in the country and my Dad would spend days on end
driving around to peoples houses and talking to them because he
couldn't stand staying in the house too long. Some of the people were
probably not the kind that a kid should be around, once my Dad even
went to a bar with us, but after a few scoldings from my mother he
would leave me and my brother in the car while he went into places.
So, for a good few hours daily, we listened to rock stations. I
remember being a huge fan of AC/DC, Boston, and Flash and the Pan.
Eventually I'd meet a couple of like minded kids in grade school who
had a few CDs, back when CDs and CD players were not very common, and
they happened to big fans of Black Sabbath and Ozzy's solo work.From
there I picked up The Ozzman Cometh compelation and that's where I
even discovered 'metal' was a thing, I didn't even know the name of
the genre before that. When it comes to more extreme genres - I used
to go online a lot as a teenager, back when the net was still a more
social place rather then full of dramatics, and a friend of mine from
Germany saw what I liked, then started giving me links to music videos
from extreme metal bands.
When it comes to bands I listen to and will always listen to, you got
Celtic Frost (the first two albums, at least), this japanese band
called Dir En Grey (which is a highly experiemental band that went
from rock to metal to hardcore to doom to everything inbetween),
anything Devin Townsend has been part of, and definately Ihsahn's solo

3.When did you first get the idea to start a web-zine?And how did you
decide on the name Direnotes as the name of the web-zine?

I was writing for a few other magazines and I kept making some bad
decisions on my part, asking for physical copies instead of just
having digital, making plans to go to shows before I knew if I could
go, and generally taking on way more then I could handle. I remember
just spending time on my birthday and having one of the magazines
(it's not around anymore but I won't mention the name still) owners
message me and be like, whatever it's done. And I just wondered, how
much have I screwed up to make someone that pissed at me? But I did
catch on pretty soon that it was my own fault. I figured I'd start
Direnotes because at least if I screwed up there, I wouldn't damage
things for another magazine because I was being an idiot and not
I got the word 'Dire' from a model kit I saw at a comic store when I
was kid, I can't remember if it was something from D&D or what, but it
was called a 'Dire Dragon'. It was basically a undead dragon, made of
bones and that. Then I thought 'Notes' could cover both musical notes
and the fact that I was literally making notes about music on my blog.

4.If any bands or labels are reading this what styles of metal and
music do you cover and support?And where can bands and labels send you
material to be reviewed?

While my site definately shows that I support a whole lot of death and
black metal, I really am open to just about any genre on the side of
rock and metal, including punk. Though I guess if you were to send me
pop, it'd be pretty out of place. I have a e-mail that I use: - it's not the most proffesional, but I
started off using it and it's worked for me for a while.

5.What do you feel is the easiest and hardest part about doing the web-zine?

I'm not too sure there is a 'easiest' part, because I feel like if I
was to get so cocky as to think it was all easy - I'd probably end up
screwing something up somewhere, and I do that enough already. I
remember getting a e-mail for my Owl Maker review that I'd
accidentally mentioned Owl City, and I'd accidentally mistitled a
review a few times as well.
The hardest part, for me, is interviews. I like the results, but I'm
not too good at writing them. Mostly because I really hate asking
typical questions. So I end up spending hours coming up with them, or
just looking up odd ball questions in the past and doing my own thing
with them. I've tried cracking jokes, messed that up (see Necrosexual
interview),  but my most collosal mistake was asking, live in person,
Alex of Atrocity and Leaves Eyes, about his old band and mixing the
name up with Impeity. He was really humble about it though, but I tend
to be a bit hard on myself about these things. The interview was not
released however, as I was doing it with another magazine and there
were some issues that arose.

6.I believe you have some new writers for the site when did you meet
them?And what forms of music do they cover?

I've always had people helping me out, my wife, Sam, and her sister
Nikki are up there. People seem to think we're all married to each
other because we are so close and I'm always hanging around her
sister. Sam has helped me manage the site and get the old and new
domains up and going, she lives in NM so yeah, that's why the site is
'Canadian-American' and Nikki has always helped get me the things I
need to keep things going. That and she tolerates a whole lot of me
blabbing on about metal and guitars. Sam has wrote for the blog
before, but this year the pair of them are looking to do more so we
can get the site functioning more like a zine and less like a random
blog I made one day. They are more prone to covering the less extreme
stuff, they like what they like and I respect that. Plus it lends to
more variety.
My niece is coming on to help with some live coverage when I can't get
to a show and, awesomely, I've had a writer named Edward contact me
recently and that was just a really pleasant surprise in general. He's
into the atmospheric black metal stuff, which is great.

7.Keith you live in the great metal country of Canada what is your
opinion of Canada's metal scene over the years?

Well the Metal underground in Canada was always there, I just never
really knew it was until I looked for it. My ex-father-in-law was
massively into metal but he didn't want anyone to be so into it as
him, or like anything outside of his own thing. My Mom hated it.
Neither of them thought that the music could be live any other place
outside of a big concert, so I never knew there was little shows.
Finally, I started to look into it once I discovered underground music
labels existed, and I remember going to see The Agonist live back when
Alissa White-Gluz (Now the lead singer of Arch Enemy) was in the band
still. It was in a little bar no bigger then a apartment, I was pretty
much scared to death and alone. I remember the band Like Pacific
played and they called me out as 'a milhouse', not a whole lot of
people seemed to like them because they were real a-holes to the
audience. But, through that, I discovered the band My Hollow. And,
because of them I went on to find a load of other bands and that which
I've never heard of. I actually discovered a lot of stuff by going to
live shows. I didn't even hear about Cryptopsy until I saw them live,
and I found out about Crust, Grind, and everything through actual
As time went on, I discovered SCENE Fest in St. Catherines, Heavy MTL
in Quebec, Toronto Metal Fest, etc. The Canadian metal scene is
definately thriving and full of great bands, all who seem to always
have developed some sort've interconnectivity with each other over the
years. Chances are when you go to one show, you'll see a lot of the
same people in another somewhere across the province. So I'd say there
is a commited audience as well. Big issue is that a lot of these bands
try to branch out to the states, but the border rarely lets them
cross. I've seen a number of bands start to gain traction, only to try
and cross the border and have the entire band falter because they
missed a half-dozen shows due to the border patrol. It's a huge

8.Who are your all-time favorite bands coming out of Canada?And are
their any new bands you could recommend to the readers?

I'd say Olde, My Hollow, Skullfist, and, well, I've come across so
many I wouldn't know what to suggest. Some don't even have recorded
music or broke up after one or two shows. It's the 'razors edge' I
guess you could say, with underground music. If you really want to see
the spectrum of Canadian metal and what the country is capable of, I'd
suggest bands like Cryptopsy, The Agonist (old and new), Unleash the
Archers, Voivod, 3 Inches of Blood, Gorguts, and anything to do with
Devin Townsend (I'm sure anyone reading this has heard of him or one
of his projects).

9.Do you get to see a lot of concerts in your area if yes what have
been some of the most memorable shows you have seen?And who are some
of the best bands you have seen live?

A lot of shows play in the Hamilton, Kawartha Lakes, and Niagara areas
so I have been to quite a bit. Especailly since they tend to be
inexpensive and close to places where people can actually walk to.
Though I have been to a few shows in the states, all of those were
memorable in a way or two.
My first show, as I mentioned in a earlier question, was The Agonist,
My Hollow, Like Pacific, and We Were Sharks. All these bands played
good, but My Hollow left a massive impression on me. They never had that many songs, I have their EP, but they did know how to master what
they had and keep people engaged. Even I, a self-admitted
stand-with-arms-crossed kind've guy, got into it. Even when I saw them
years later during Toronto Metal Fest in 2013. The Agonist as well
left a lasting impression on me, its sad their third album wasn't so
great, and that Alissa White-Gluz left for better. Their new singer
holds up though, from what I've seen.

Cryptopsy was also a big one for me, the, no-doubt, loudest show I've
ever heard. I couldn't even comprehend the sounds these guys were
making live. Hilariously, at the time, I had no idea they were famous.
I thought they were just some local band, and I remember them telling
everyone to come have a drink with them. I asked Matt McGachy if I
bought a record if the band would sign it. So I have a copy of the
self-titled CD where the whole band signed it - including their
drummer, who is apparently one of the best in music today, from what
I'm told. The other bands playing at that time were weird at best. The
first Crust band I expereinced was there, they told everyone they
hated everyone, and there was way too many deathcore acts going on. I
actually still have the poster from this night after all these years.

10.When not working on new reviews or interviews what do you enjoy
doing in your free time?

I play guitar and I write music, while not listening to records.
Besides that I watch a whole lot of older scifi, and I'm big into Star
Trek and Godzilla movies. I'm getting up there in years so I'm
learning to take things easy and lot over-stress myself. Simple life
is the good life, I guess.

11.Besides metal music do you listen to any other genres of music? If
yes what styles do you listen to and who are some of your favorite

I am a huge fan of prog rock and classic rock. I love Pink Floyd, but
I actually really like Roger Waters and David Gilmours solo work.
Radio KAOS has got to be one of the best records I've ever experienced
and On an Island is a great piece for relaxation.

12.Thank you Keith for taking the time to fill this interview out do
you have any final comments for the readers?

Yeah, if you run a webzine or whatever. Remember to keep trying to
improve yourself, keep consistant, be patient, and keep out of  
dramatics. As someone who has made a lot of mistakes over the years, I
find that what matters is your commitment and passion. Don't expect
free stuff, but do expect to be part of a awesome community that
appreciates real effort and to communicate ideas.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Interview with Atomwinter done by Patrick posted on 1-23-18

Interview  with  Atomwinter  done  by Patrick

1.Hello  how  is  2018  starting out for you  and the  band?Please  introduce  yourself to  the readers?

Hi there and thank you for your interest in ATOMWINTER. 2018 couldn't start better for us, because on February the 9th we will release our new album ''Catacombs''.
It will be the third full length album since we formed ATOMWINTER in 2010. We are four oldschool maniacs from Germany, and with ATOMWINTER we bring the good old vibes back into Death Metal.

2.When did you first discover metal music  and who were some of the first bands you  listened to?And who  are some of your  current favorite  bands?

I discovered metal music in the late 90's and as far as I can remember I listened to Hypocrisy, Dismember and Gorefest that days. It was a glorious time for old school Death Metal!
Shortly after that I was also interested in classic metal like Maiden and doom influenced music like Black Sabbath. Death Metal bands from the 90's are still my favourites, and on this point nothing has changed to this day.

3.You all  formed Atomwinter  in 2010 what gave you  the idea to  start this  band?And how  did you  choose  Atomwinter  as the name of the band?

We all were in other metal bands before ATOMWINTER and maybe we were tired of making compromises in a musical point of view. So we wanted to create something new but yet old school because our roots lie in old school Death Metal. The name comes from our longtime and good friend Carsten Boritzki. He also created the first band logo for us and has been a big supporter from the beginning. Without Carsten ATOMWINTER would be nothing!

4.What is  the  current line up  of  the band?And for the readers who have  never heard Atomwinter's music  how  would you  best  describe  it to the  readers?
 ATOMWINTER consists of Olle Holzschneider (vocals), Martin Schulz (bass), Patrick Walter (drums) and me  Benni Grapp on guitar. Our former singer Christopher Lehmann had to leave the band in 2013 because of his professional activities, and he also moved to southern Germany.
I don't like to describe my music, but if I have to here is a statement:
If you like the filthy and uncompromising atmosphere of 90's style Death Metal, then you are right with us!
ATOMWINTER is like a 60 tons tank that will overrun you before it spits out your guts through its gun barrel.
And after you have died a glorious death we will take you into the morbid catacombs of doom!
That's all I can tell you!

5.Catacombs is  the bands third full length release how long did it take  the band to  write and record the  songs for  this  release?

For us it took quite a long time to create this album, because we wanted to test our own musical limits.
The songwriting process took a little more than a year, but for the recordings we only spent 6 days in the studio. We like to capture the fresh and brutal energy of our songs, and we don't stay in the studio longer than necessary.

6.Who usually  handles  writing the lyrics  for the music and what  are some subjects written about on the upcoming release?
 Mainly Olle is responsible for the lyrics, but I also  contributed the lyrics for 3 songs. On ''Catacombs'' you will find some creepy little stories about the demise of humanity and the abyss of human souls. The lyrics on ''Iron Flesh'' were all about war. Now the mood is more dark and mysterious.

7.Besides  the Catacombs  release  are the previous  two releases still availilble for the readers to buy?Besides  physical  releases  does the band have  any other  merchandise  available  for the readers to purchase  if yes what is  available and where can the readers  buy it?

Yes of course.
All releases and a lot of merchandise like shirts and other stuff are still available here:
The shop guarantees best prices and worldwide shipping.

8.What  have  been some of  Atomwinter's most memorable  shows over the years?And who  are  some bands you  all have  shared the stage  with?
 Every gig is a highlight for us, but the most emotional moment in 2017 was our show at the PartySan Festival in Germany, when we played in front of nearly 3000 people.
The PartySan is the biggest extreme metal festival in Germany, and it was an honour to be part of this event.
While we are on the subject, we have had the opportunity to share the stage with bands like Asphyx, God Dethroned, Desaster, Autopsy and many, many other great bands.

9.Are  there any tours or shows planned in  support of  Catacombs?If yes where  will the  band  be  playing?

Yes we are already in the preparations for 2018, and there will be a lot of shows all over the country including festival gigs in summer. Also we are planning to tour with our buddies from Collapse Instinct in autumn this year. So watch out for ATOMWINTER in 2018!

10.How do you  feel  the underground metal scene has changed  over the  years?And  what does underground metal  mean to you?

The underground scene is stronger than ever. There are so many current metal bands which are worth to discover. We got much support and the opportunities to play live are outstanding. The solidarity inside our scene is awesome, and that's not going to change soon. We are proud to be part of this scene, and we will die for it if it's necessary.

11.Besides  old-school death metal do you listen to  any other forms of metal or  underground music in general?If yes who are some of your favorite  bands and artists?

Nowadays I listen to all kinds of harder guitar music, if it' s honest. I can not name individual bands, but beside Death Metal, Doom, Black Metal and Stonerrock are my preferred styles.

12.When  not  working on  new  music or band  business  what  do you like to do in your free  time any hobbies?

Beside our Band and our daily work we like to hang around with our metal buddies and have some cold beers or whatever. We also go to metal concerts nearly every second weekend and we like to support the underground scene. Don't you think that's enough for a hobby?! 

13.Besides  working in Atomwinter  do you or any of the members  currently  play in  any other bands?If yes please tell  the readers a little  about them?

No! There is no place for other projects beside ATOMWINTER. It´s a musical full time job!

14.Thank you  for  taking the time  to  fill  this  interview  out do you  have any  parting  comments  for the  readers?

It was a pleasure to answer this interview and I would like to thank the readers for taking time to read these lines. Our new album ''CATACOMBS'' will be released on February the 9th and hopefully you can handle 10 songs of raw and filthy old school Death Metal. Hails to Canada and support the underground!!!

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