Friday, April 28, 2023

Sorrow On Midgard with Michael Priest of IDOLATROUS

In this episode of The Rock Metal Podcast, we're chatting with Michael Priest of the band Idolatrous about their new album ‘Sorrow On Midgard’ out now.

During our chat we touch on a lot of great tips for musicians, such as not being afraid to make changes to songs, even months after they have been initially written.

'Sorrow On Midgard' was Produced, Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered by Grady Pursel.

For fans of Amon Amarth, Dethklok, Insomnium, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Kataklysm.


Guest Resource - Connect with Idolatrous!

Guest Music Video

3 Heavy Hitters

1. Find the sound in your head and produce it into reality

2. Work on songs so long as they excite you, for they will excite others as well

3. Don’t be afraid to write completely different parts for songs, even months after they have been initially written


Asher Media Relations: Doing PR for everything loud! For your band needs to be seen and heard in print, online and radio!  Let Asher know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Tue Madsen: Tue Madsen is responsible for producing, mixing, and mastering some of the best metal for over the last 20 years.  Let Tue know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Syndicol Music: A full service agency for musicians, offering record label services, marketing, branding, production and management.  Let Charlie know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Wormholedeath Records: WHD is a modern record label, publishing and film production company fit with global distribution, publishing and marketing using a roster of global partnerships. Let Carlo know The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Show Notes // Transcript

Jon Harris: Okay, Michael, thank you so much for coming on today. Go ahead and say hello to all of our beautiful listeners. 

Michael Priest: Hello, all of you beautiful listeners. 

Jon Harris: Great to have you on. So let's go ahead and chat about this record, Sorrow on Midgard Wormholedeath Records, out February 24. Groovy stuff, maybe I should say brutal stuff, but what was the greatest moment for you producing this record?

Michael Priest: Oh, that's that's a good question. Damn, I don't know. I think all of it, really, because I would sit there and write the songs out in my room and just get super stoked about every single one of them, even the ones that didn't make it on the album. But the ones that really stood out, I think, were like Prophecy, Sorrow On Midgard and Predecessor. When I finished those songs and got the final production on them and I heard everything back, I was like, oh my God, this is the Idolatrous sound. All of it, really. But those three, I don't know. Beautiful madness. 

Jon Harris: Beautiful madness. Getting super stoked about all the songs, even the ones that didn't make the record. But you mentioned Prophecy, Sorrow on Midgard, Predecessor. When you got the record back from being finally mixed and mastered and ready for human consumption, you said, this is the Idolatrous sound, beautiful madness. You did mention some songs that didn't make the record. I mean, what happened? Did they no longer excite you? Did you just put them down for a little bit? What happened?

Michael Priest: If I lose the flow of the music so typically when I write it's all in one sitting, so I'll write an entire song in one sitting and then listen to it for weeks on end and then go back and make micro changes to it. So when it gets to that point, or if I'm not able to finish the song or if I feel rushed to finish it, I'll start throwing in riffs that they're good riffs, they don't make sense with the song, and then that's where I start losing the interest on it. 

Jon Harris: Okay, writing a song in one sitting, listening to it for weeks on end, making micro changes to it, but then sabotaging it with random riffs and losing interest on it. But something you had mentioned, though, was you knew when you had the Idolatrous sound, creating the Idolatrous sound. How did you know you were there?

Michael Priest: So I got introduced to melodic death metal and death metal at a very young age and it was always like more stuff from Sweden. A Dark Tranquility. I had Dark Tranquility's first album back when Anders was still singing with him when I was like twelve or something.  So I started it very young and then from that I ended up getting the that at that time I hadn't heard I've heard similarities of it, but I hadn't heard that sound like that specific sound. So I started playing guitar and figured out how to come up with that sound and it just got more aggressive along the way.  Even from this record Sorrow On Midgard compared to what we're working on now, the sound is still there, but I can see how much it's evolved. But yeah, pinpointing that sound. Basically I had a sound stuck in my head that I hadn't heard, so I made it. 

Jon Harris: Had a sound stuck in your head that you hadn't heard, so you just knew you had to make it. Excellento, my friend okay, what was the biggest challenge for you on this record? 

Michael Priest: COVID was the biggest challenge. 

Jon Harris: Why's that!?

Michael Priest: So we got everything done for the record, all the music videos, all the imagery, everything out of production. Final, complete, done, finished, got set up with a management company and we were with them, I think like three months. And we started shopping the album to labels and then COVID hit so tour shut down, labels shut down. Our management was still trying to shop for us, but I mean, with labels down, nothing happened. So it was like, what, two years or something longer than that. Labels just started looking at new music maybe since June or July last year. So we finished that album at not a great time. That was the biggest struggle, and having to just sit on that album for that amount of time. It's been three years. That album has been done, ready to go for three years now. And honestly, it's a good album. I love it. I still love every song on it. I'm happy it's out.  There's. It's a little bittersweet, I think. Yeah. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. Okay. Now, sitting on a record for three years, what did you do with that time? Do you now have, like, an arsenal? The Ninja Turtles had a pizza shooter gun. Do you have, like, an album shooter gun? You can just shoot albums. 

Michael Priest: Yes, actually. So I was still working my normal job during the entire pandemic, and then I got laid off eventually. But, yeah, it was nothing but music for a long time. I wrote enough material for, like, three or four albums. So for that amount of time, I never stopped writing. I never, ever stopped writing. The only time I stopped writing is when I'm on tour, which I'm actually going to fix. But we're in the production stages for the follow up album, so my parts are done, the guys have it, they're finishing up their recordings on it, and then album two is done. 

Jon Harris: Okay. Very cool stuff. Now, something you mentioned was Swedish melodic death metal, working on getting the sound for Idolatrous, and I'm curious, are there any pieces of gear that you ended up using on the record and did any of it end up maybe surprising you? 

Michael Priest: Yeah, actually. So I use a Line 6 Pod HD 500 Pro live usually, and we actually ended up using that to record the album, and I was amazed by it because I know it sounds good live, and anytime I plugged it into my computer, it doesn't have quite the same sound when I record. But our bassist, Grady, he's an actual genius, so he knows what he's doing. He did all the production, all the recording, all the engineering mix master and everything for the album. So he's like. We're very lucky to have him because he turns our ideas into the actual reality of what we want. 

Jon Harris: Do you know what changed? Like, was it a setting or something? How was it adding in maybe some reverb, because when it comes out live, you're hearing natural ambience that might not be right. What changed? Do you know what maybe Grady did different that turned the light on for using the Pod in 
the studio? 

Michael Priest: He made a completely new tone on it and he's, like, used this. I'm like, oh, my god, that's wonderful. And it was so much simpler than what I had preset before. So, yeah, he just made a completely new tone. And that's the tone that was on the Sorrow album. And that's the tone that's going to be on the next album as well.

Jon Harris: Wow. Significantly less complicated, which I'm not too terribly surprised. Guitar players are really good at overcomplicating the crap out of stuff, right?

Michael Priest: The story my entire life, man. 

Jon Harris: You mean I didn't need those six other patches? 

Michael Priest: Yeah, I don't need three noise gates? Are you sure? 

Jon Harris: Are you positive? 

Michael Priest: Right? 

Jon Harris: Bro, are you serious? 

Michael Priest: So if there's a way to complicate things, I'm going to find it.

Jon Harris: Yeah. So taking live equipment live equipment doesn't really translate to the studio often, and that's what you were finding. But working with Grady really helped. And we'll touch base on that a little bit later. But when I wanted to get into some of the themes on this record, the EPK that I received from Wormholedeath says a lot of things about the themes on the record. A quote that stuck out, there is no other moment but now. This is what we live for. This is what we die for is this album a call to action? Or maybe just take us through the themes that went into creating this record.

Michael Priest: This is what we live for this is what we die for is actually in the intro for the song Eternal. And, yeah, that song is kind of a call to arms. Like this, is it. This is what we do. This is the only thing we know how to do right. You took four people that don't know how to function in a normal society and aren't built for the day to day job thing. This is it for us. It's the only thing we know how to do right. So we're doing it. That's where that quote actually comes from. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. This is what we do. It's the only thing we know how to do. The only thing we know how to do right. We don't fit into that nine to five mold, you're listening in right now, you agree with that? Raise your hand, baby. How would you define success at this stage of your career, Michael? 

Michael Priest: I think it's already a success that the album is finally out.  Like I said, I'm very happy about that. If we were able to do a tour to support the album, that would be fantastic. Yeah, that's really pretty much our entire goal is just music to her music tour. That's all we want out of it, money wise. Yeah, it'd be cool to make money. That's not our priority with this album. Like I said, it's a success to have it out and released and to have people finally be able to hear it. 

Jon Harris: Absolutely. Finally people can hear it. It's a success that the album is out looking to tour to bring the message to the masses. Now let's get back to working with Grady, who is producing the album and sound engineering the album and doing all the things that make the Idolatrous sound. What was it you said again? The beautiful madness. Anyway, working with Grady, what was that like? 

Michael Priest: Aside from the engineering and all the production work, he actually did all the backing tracks on the album as well. Um, he always surprises me because, like, there's parts that he'll he'll change or like, send back to me and be like, hey, what do you think of this? And I'll be like, oh my god, what did you do? I don't even know what you did, but it's awesome. Do it again. And that happens pretty frequently. The biggest part you can see on that for Sorrow On Midgard is on the song The Wolf's Ghost. So like that middle kind of bridge section, that was all Grady's work. He'll just take – I think I had some part in there that was kind of like a circle pit riff. It was much faster and he slowed it way down. I'm like, oh, that's different. And I like it, so...

Jon Harris: Okay. Very cool. Did you slow it down? Like I'm just going to say Pro Tools. Did he slow it down in Pro Tools or was that more of a production decision outside of something that they had already 
been recorded? 

Michael Priest: It was a completely different riff. Like completely different riff, completely different structure. 

Jon Harris: Okay, so he produced the record as well. Very cool. So then you mentioned earlier on in the interview that, Michael, you'll come up with everything, kind of almost sounds like by yourself in your room. What was the process from there? You kicked it off to Grady and Grady sort of started taking a look at it and figuring out how he can make or manifest that vision or was it more between the two of you? How did it 

Michael Priest: Typically? Yeah. I'll write the songs just sitting in my room. I'll email them to him and then he'll do his thing on them. Some songs he touches, some songs he doesn't. Sometimes a song will be done for months and then he'll just get this random idea and be like, hey, I did this on this song. I thought we were done with that, but okay, cool. I like it. Sounds good. Yeah, that's pretty much the how we do the writing. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. Would you say that that maybe is a bit of a blessing in that the record took so long to come out? Because months down the road, if there was an idea to, I don't know, change one lyric line or change a guitar part or something, it could be done. 

Michael Priest: Yeah. Once once we decided the album was, like, done, done. That didn't happen anymore, though. Once we had everything released to the management company and getting shopped to labels, like, we didn't go back and change anything.

Jon Harris: Keeping it flexible right up until the point where you got to make that decision. The time is now. It is done. Okay, now, what is the number one thing you would like people who are listening to the podcast right now to do? 

Michael Priest: I would say listen to the record. Not just listen to it. I would say listen to it from start to finish. It's not blatantly apparent, but there is a story there. Yeah, I think that'd be it. 

Jon Harris: Listen to the record. And Michael, you just gave a spoiler alert. You said that there's actually a story to it. How strong of a story? Without giving away too much, tell us about this story. 

Michael Priest: That's a difficult one to answer. You ask good questions. I appreciate you. 

Jon Harris: Oh, thank you. I appreciate you, too. 

Michael Priest: Some of the other interviews I've done, it's like, what do you think of our website? I'm like it's cool. 

Jon Harris: Why do I give a fuck about your website? Yeah...

Michael Priest: It's cool, man. But yeah, I'm kind of stumped on that question, actually. I think the simple answer for the story, for the album is it is the story. Think of it as like. An old Viking warrior from a very young age until death. Somebody's lifespan from their perspective would be the simple answer. 

Jon Harris: Okay, so the story to the album is an old Viking warrior from a very young age until death. So somebody's I almost want to make it diminutive somebody's little life. 

Michael Priest: Yes. 

Jon Harris: It's like scripture, right? I mean, not to get religious. It's just scripture. It's like one person's tiny little life in the span of humanity, in the span of earth. Out of everybody on the planet, we're going to focus in on this guy and we're going to follow this guy for all the rights and all the wrongs. 

Michael Priest: That's the very loose answer, yeah. Everything in that album is written from the perspective of the person in the song. 

Jon Harris: Beautiful. Okay, so you say you're working on material for the next album. What could we expect?  Without giving away too much information?

Michael Priest: This next album is very different. It's still very heavy, very melodic, but we kind of went about it in a different approach, I think. It's like more there's more feeling in it. We put more emotion into this one, I think. Yeah. 

Jon Harris: The feels!

Michael Priest: This one will get you on the feeling, the feels. There's some songs on there, like as I was writing the lyrics, I'm like, oh, my God, am I depressed? What the hell is wrong with me? But so far, it's turned out incredibly beautiful and dark.  It still has the same aggression, but in a different kind of a way.  I don't know how much more I could say on it. 

Jon Harris: And you don't have to worry about a single thing, my friend. So for everyone listening in right now, that is a new album in the works from Idolatrous. It's got more of the feels. But today we are chatting about Sorrow on Midgard, the debut album from Idolatrous released through WormholeDeath Records. Go ahead and go to There you can get today's show notes, the transcripts for today, music videos, ways to connect with Idolatrous so you can make sure to pick up that album, check it out and follow that amazing story of the young man to the old man, the old Viking warrior. Speaking of which, Michael, thank you so much for coming on to The Rock Metal Podcast today. 

Michael Priest: Thank you for having me. 


Friday, April 21, 2023

Blind Leading The Blind with Justin Brett and Simon 'Gid' Gardner of FOUND MISSING

In this episode of The Rock Metal Podcast, we're chatting with Justin Brett and Simon 'Gid' Gardner of the band Found Missing about their new album ‘Blind Leading The Blind’ out now.

During our chat we touch on a lot of great tips for musicians, such as working with a producer who has experience getting into the charts, helping to make radio edits of your songs.

'Blind Leading The Blind' was produced, mixed, and mastered by Tom Donovan.

For fans of LinkinPark, Incubus, Foo Fighters.


Guest Resource - Connect with Found Missing!

Guest Music Video

3 Heavy Hitters

1. Work with producers that bring you out of your comfort zone to help bring new life into the music.

2. The live show can be set up entirely on your laptop, though think about what you want and evolve your live set up.

3. Making a radio edit of your key songs to facilitate servicing to radio, playlists, and charts.


Asher Media Relations: Doing PR for everything loud! For your band needs to be seen and heard in print, online and radio!  Let Asher know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Tue Madsen: Tue Madsen is responsible for producing, mixing, and mastering some of the best metal for over the last 20 years.  Let Tue know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Syndicol Music: A full service agency for musicians, offering record label services, marketing, branding, production and management.  Let Charlie know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Wormholedeath Records: WHD is a modern record label, publishing and film production company fit with global distribution, publishing and marketing using a roster of global partnerships. Let Carlo know The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Show Notes // Transcript

Jon Harris: All right, Justin & Gid, thank you so much for coming on to The Rock Metal Podcast today. Go ahead and say Hi to all of our beautiful listeners. 

Justin Brett: Hi, everybody. 

Simon 'Gid' Gardner: Hi, everyone. 

Jon Harris: All right. You've got a new record coming out here soon. Blind Leading The Blind via Wormholedeath Records. What was the greatest moment for you guys producing this record? 

Justin Brett: Oh, I think they what we come up with in the end. It took us a long while to do that album. We got a post pre production and everything and then just tried loads of new ideas when it comes to the album. And we were pleased with what we come out with in the end. Done well, I think. 

Simon 'Gid' Gardner: Yeah, I think some of the defining moment, I think, was probably doing I mean, we released it as a first single, which is currently out now. 'Nobody' but I think the production we did on that and the ideas we got from our producer and the guy that recorded us, Tom Donovan, into that music was a little bit very, very different from what we're normally used to, because we were predominantly quite a live band. So to be able to use lots of different things and ideas as a producer, giving us ideas to do things was really nice and was very happy with that sort of finished product because it was a very polished kind of compared to some of the others as a piece of music with the production on, it was different for us and really enjoyed the process of doing that. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, predominantly a live band, but Tom the producer giving you ideas to do things in a more polished way, pleased with how it came out but very different from what you used to do in the studio or what you normally do in the studio. So take us through that. What does that mean? Unpackage that statement for us? What does that mean to be predominantly a live band? You've been given some new ideas, it's different than what you're used to take us through that.

Simon 'Gid' Gardner: I think a lot of changes were I think we were pushed a lot to try and do more vocal parts, whereas I think when we was live, sometimes we'd have, like, little bits and pieces and as we progressed on and started to do started to write an album. We started to think more about vocal parts and being able to replicate them live as well. So we're starting to put more and more in, more and more into like a recorded track and then really –

Justin Brett: Pushes me as a vocalist.

Simon 'Gid' Gardner: – and started to think about how we can incorporate. I mean, I think we even got I think got me singing on some and G singing on some, and I think we even coached Dean into doing a couple of parts as well. And we're going to try and coax him to do them live as well, which he's not so happy about. But I think we'll get there because I think if you can replicate as much live possibly that you record, it sounds so much better and so much more professional and gives the whole feel of what you've captured. 

Jon Harris: Okay, perfect. So we're being pushed to do more vocal parts which then sounds more professional, which is totally true, and incorporating backing vocals but then also as well. So it sounds not like just one person being a one man choir, it's getting the rest of the band to participate in the backing vocals which now starts to sound like a band now because you mentioned getting the rest of the band to start doing backing vocal parts live. Did working this way in the studio start to change how you were playing live shows and how you were gigging? 

Justin Brett: Well, we were gigging then when it comes to recording the album we sort of just stopped everything and just concentrated on the album and to be honest, we haven't gigged for a while yet. We've been just after the album we decided to rehearse again and get everything sounding exactly as it should sound on the album now we sort of changed it in the studio or as close to that was good and now we're going to start back on the road again real soon. But we haven't done anything for a while, to be honest with you. Live wise and obviously, COVID when that come in, that knocks everything where everyone?  For a while. 

Jon Harris: Okay. All right. Haven't gigged in a while, but definitely looking into recreating and revitalizing that live performance with those backing vocals. Now, speaking of those vocals, you got to be singing something. Take us through the themes on this record. 

Justin Brett: Well, I write all the lyrics and to be honest with you, all of them. The songs is basically like a snapshot of what I'm going through at the time of my life, really. Most of them are about relationships or something like that. Things going wrong, to be honest.  So it's usually about what's going on to me at the time. 

Jon Harris: Oh, man.  So many failed relationships, apparently. 

Justin Brett: Exactly. Yeah. 

Simon 'Gid' Gardner: But I think a lot of singers or lyricists take a lot from personal experience. I think the artistic comes from that anger or that grief or that angst goes into it. If you make quite a rocky song, maybe it's a bit of anger going into it, make a bit of a softer song. There's a bit more feeling going into it. 

Justin Brett: Basically, I should have been a drummer.

Jon Harris: Yeah, that's right.  Is that something that maybe bonds the band a bit more with camaraderie? Because people are able to look at your lyrics in the band and say, whoa, dude, you went through that?

Justin Brett: Yeah. I think with the band, as a band, we're really close. We're real best, like family, really. We are brothers, so we all go through stuff together and everyone's there for each other. So all the band know when there's something happening to me, there's going to be a song written about it, waiting for it.

Jon Harris: You're going to be the next Taylor Swift. People are going to see you on a date with a girl and be like, he's writing the next song. 

Justin Brett: Exactly. 

Jon Harris: Okay, so the lead single, 'Nobody', take us through that. What is that about? Who is nobody?

Justin Brett: It's kind of it's about me feeling that there's no one there for me, sort of thing. That I'm sort of on my own in myself, not the band. That's what it's about, really. Just like I'm a nobody. So they think, if you know what I mean, with most of my lyrics, they are about something specific to me. But I always try and write them so that anyone can interpret it as they want to interpret it. Which is really what I think a good song should be. Because if you're going through something in your life and you listen to it, that might relate to you perfectly. But that's how I like my songs to be sort of known sometimes. 

Simon 'Gid' Gardner: Feels like solace in that lyrics to something going on with themselves, don't they? 

Jon Harris: Yeah, writing lyrics in a way that anybody can identify with it. And then the track 'Nobody' about feeling like a nobody. I mean, does that resonate with you listening in right now? I mean, raise your hand if that resonates with you feeling like a nobody. Now let's move on to the next question, which is gear, which for a vocalist, sometimes it's not really that important. Maybe this question is more for Gid as far as bass is concerned. You guys mentioned doing some really unique and cool things with Tom and we're going to chat with Tom more about production later on. But any cool gear did you guys end up using on the record? 

Simon 'Gid' Gardner: Not overly. I mean, bass-wise, I was fairly natural. Just a few minor effects. Nothing too major, I think, when it comes to Dean, the guitarist, Tom had like all these impressive plugins and new suites and stuff to make his amps and things sound completely different. So we're not really recording what he normally plays through. He's going straight into the computer and then put through these programs. And I think it's impressed him so much that he's going to get he's looking into getting those sort of setups to play through live because I think the way guitarists well, I think the way everyone plays now, not to go live, you don't have to carry all this equipment around anymore. You literally almost plug into a computer based thing and it models all your amps and effects and everything for you. And it's just easier to set up, it's easier to adjust. 

Justin Brett: So we sort of look, we're a bit older, so we're used to the old. We still are trying to keep it a bit more as well. I think that's lacking when you see bands out of that sometimes. 

Simon 'Gid' Gardner: But what I'm saying is it's about the ease of being able to keep the set up as the continuity in the sound as much as possible now because the technology is moving on to be able to deal with that. So you're not going to get the power outs or the effects pedals breaking down because it's all set into one program, but I think a lot Justin touched on there. We did play with a band that all their backing vocals were done through a backing track. So they're singing to a click and singing and we listened to them was like. But we could hear the singer singing and he was flat compared to the backing track. The backing tracks were about six layers of backing vocals on it. And while it sounded massive and great, I mean, I didn't even have a bass player that's in the backing track as well. I was thinking, like, yeah, you can do that, but we're not fans of that. We like to be able to everyone to see us, that we're all singing live. All singing the backing vocals live. 

Justin Brett: And the sound seems to be a bit of a fading off. Many people seem to do it now as much as they used to. You used to go and see a band, like you just said, a good Kiss, Iron Maiden are the same as well. It's like Bruce Dickinson does. He's always on backing vocals in the studio, and then when you see him live, you'll have Steve Harris and stuff. Can I play with madness? But they still do it live, though, which is what we try to do. But we don't sound we do sound as close to the album as we think we sound.

Jon Harris: Yeah, on YouTube. There is a live video of you guys. I don't know if you knew that or not. 

Justin Brett: Yeah, we did. We didn't put that. 

Jon Harris: Let me see if I can find it again while I'm generating my next question here. But you're mentioning something that we're at a very unique point in time in music, because like you said, you can just show up with a laptop and there's your whole show from everything you can control, everything from the lights to the backing tracks to the effects to the plugins, all from MIDI or whatever on your laptop. And it's super convenient. But at the same time, something that came to mind was where's the wind from the band? Where's the wind coming from? The fact that the band is actually producing energy into the room and is that missing? So as a follow up question then, does that mean that your live performance will continue to evolve over time? And I guess how do you see the perfect live setup for you? 

Simon 'Gid' Gardner: I see it as a hybrid of both. I think you take the new technology and integrate it into a classic live show. I don't think I would ever play through MIDI. I can see the advantages of the guitarist for the effects, being able to use a mixture of that. 

Justin Brett: That's where we do things with guitarist and effects and stuff like that. Vocals and most of it. Everything really will be kept as it should be. Some live. We won't do things like that with backing. 

Simon 'Gid' Gardner: Otherwise it's not really a live performance, is it? No, we want to be live proper. 

Jon Harris: All right. It's at the New Cross Inn there's a YouTube channel called The Improvised Man and Friends and they put up you guys live at New Cross. It seems like sound check though. 

Justin Brett: Yeah, I think it was. That was a terrible night. That was over that night. But we won't even talk about that. 

Jon Harris: There's no more talking about it. I was going to like, ooh, orange jams. That's fantastic. Very cool. Very cool. Okay. It. How would you define success at this stage of your career? 

Justin Brett: We'd like the single to do as well as they can, obviously, and get the radio play and get playlists and stuff like that, and get as much notice as we can. And then when the album is out, which is in April, and then obviously we're hoping that we get good reviews and, well, we'd like it to get in the charts, some description of some sort of charts. Obviously, that would be where we'd like to be at, and then follow it up from there on live wise and see what we can get on and stuff from there, really. But as we say, which seems to be starting all well, with a lot of things happening, but still early days. It's only three weeks ago on Thursday that we released the first single. So still early days at the moment. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, absolutely. Still early on to tell, but definitely wanting that record to be enjoyed, get great reviews, let the singles let the songs do the work that they should be doing based on how it is that you guys have done all of the work up to this point. Which takes me to the next logical question, which is Tom Donovan, the guy that produced the record, hip hop artist on the charts. I know you guys had mentioned wanting to get onto the radio, onto those playlists, have that musical kind of success in the broader terms. Is that why you guys chose to work with Tom? Or maybe just take us through what you want to tell us about working with Mr. Donovan?

Justin Brett: We've worked with Tom for a long time, for years, really, and he's always brought in a different element because we'll record something and then he'll have an idea of maybe a drops or gaps or something put under, which we've never thought of. And he originally was in metal bands when he was younger as well, so he understands our music as well. And then, because we've always kept working with him, now we've become so easy with him, we sort of give him a bit of free rein. 

Simon 'Gid' Gardner: Free rein. Yeah.

Justin Brett: And then he'll start saying what he thinks is not all the time, it's not loads of things that he changes. Just every now and then he'll put a little idea and then that can completely transform what we've done and make it more interesting. And I think his ideas it's been good to have him there, because we don't go in there, some bands will go in and record and just think that they know best, they won't listen to anyone else. And we've not liked that at all. We all went in there and listened to what he was saying. Not everything he was saying, to be honest with it. Sometimes it's like don't. But most of the things he said was, we agreed on what he was just the best thing born or something. 

Simon 'Gid' Gardner: And he has experienced it because that band has quite good success in this country, like in the charts and with Radio One here and stuff like that, because they're in that genre that the UK likes at the moment. It's kind of like that grime, sort of hip hop sort of music thing. There's a lot of it with the youngsters 

Justin Brett: And they were hip hop with a live band as well. 

Simon 'Gid' Gardner: So he's got experience about what radios want, what people like, so he's tried to translate that into our music without changing it, just augmenting it to hopefully appeal to a wider variety of people. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, I mean, you've definitely said a lot of things about working with Tom, and one of the things you mentioned was, as a band, being open to collaborating with the producer, which is super important. I mean, why hire somebody if you're just going to shut them down and not listen to them? But you mentioned getting on the charts, getting on the playlists, getting on the radio, and that Tom has that experience. His hip hop group is, in fact, charting in the UK. You mentioned that you've worked with him for quite some time, but, I mean, more specifically, did you guys maybe work with him more on this release because of the radio? I mean, talk to us about that. 

Justin Brett: On 'Nobody', we did a radio edit as well, which we have never done before with anything, and he told us to do a radio edit.

Simon 'Gid' Gardner: Because he said that radio station is what radio it is. Yeah, apparently so. 

Justin Brett: We did a radio edit to see if that's going to help as well. So we're trying everything we can to get it played as much as we can do, basically.

Jon Harris: That's important. There's a reason that music – have you ever heard a band you're like that sounds like a local band and then sometimes you hear it's, even a local band you're like that sounds like it should be on the radio? Because there is, in fact, a format that is commercially designed to be on the radio for whatever reason, and radio edits are certainly a part of that. Interesting. So one of the key things in hip hop is obviously the hook. Did you guys do a lot of hook-ology on the songs?

Simon 'Gid' Gardner: I think the reason we picked 'Nobody' as the first single, because I think that has got a very hooky kind of feel to it. I think, especially in the music. I think it's possibly possibly in my bass, and Dean's guitar line is very much of a hook, repetitive thing that gives a good feel. And yeah, I think if I look back across the album, I think it is definitely.  I think naturally, we have got the hooks there, and I think Tom probably helped us expand on them as well in the studio to make them more prominent as well, without us even knowing, possibly, to be fair.

Jon Harris: Like Mr. Miyagi. Next thing you know, oh, man, why am I now I sound like Timbaland. What's going on here? 

Simon 'Gid' Gardner: I think that is what a producer is meant to do, isn't it? Make you do these things and then you win.

Jon Harris: What's the number one thing you want people who are listening to the podcast right now to do? 

Justin Brett: Check out our album. If the album is out by then.

Jon Harris: It will be, yes. 

Justin Brett: All right. Go and have a look at our album and see what you think. 

Simon 'Gid' Gardner: Make comments, leave reviews, tell us if you like it, if you hate it, if there's something that could be improved on it, all criticism is welcome.  We like to know how our music is portrayed by another ear and how people relate to it, how they listen to it, what they enjoy about it. I'd measure success by people saying, I really like it. This song helped me through this, or this song just makes me feel like that before I go out. Things like that are always lovely to hear and feel like you connected with someone, with your music and they get it. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, abso-freaking-lutely. Connecting with someone, making sure they get it, or seeing if they get anyway. So you're listening in right now. You're wondering what to do. Pick up that album from Found Missing, Blind Leading The Blind. Check it out. So go ahead and go ahead and head over to There you'll get all the show notes for today, the transcripts, music videos and links to connect with Found Missing so that you can make sure to pick up that record. So, speaking of which, Justin and Simon, thank you so much for coming on to The Rock Metal Podcast today. 

Justin Brett: Thanks for having us. 

Simon 'Gid' Gardner: Yeah, thanks for having us. It's been a pleasure. 


Friday, April 14, 2023

Remember... You Must Die with Mark Haylmun of SUICIDE SILENCE

In this episode of The Rock Metal Podcast, we're chatting with Mark Haylmun of the band Suicide Silence about their new album ‘Remember... You Must Die’ out now.

During our chat we touch on a lot of great tips for musicians, such as how to make songs as heavy as possible by having an incredible relationship with your producer.

'Remember... You Must Die' was produced by Taylor Young in conjunction with Morgoth Beatz.

For fans of Whitechapel, Chelsea Grin, Born Of Osiris, and All Shall Perish.


Guest Resource - Connect with Suicide Silence!

Guest Music Video

3 Heavy Hitters

1. Work with a producer who shares your sense of humour, and is on board with your goals for the record

2. Unplug to take a break from life, look after your mental health

3. Are you a live band or a studio band? Approaching the recording of the record as such will yield the best results


Asher Media Relations: Doing PR for everything loud! For your band needs to be seen and heard in print, online and radio!  Let Asher know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Tue Madsen: Tue Madsen is responsible for producing, mixing, and mastering some of the best metal for over the last 20 years.  Let Tue know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Syndicol Music: A full service agency for musicians, offering record label services, marketing, branding, production and management.  Let Charlie know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Wormholedeath Records: WHD is a modern record label, publishing and film production company fit with global distribution, publishing and marketing using a roster of global partnerships. Let Carlo know The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Show Notes // Transcript

Jon Harris: All right, Mark, thank you so much for coming on and say hello to all of our beautiful listeners. 

Mark Haylmun: Hey, what's up, listeners? What's going on? 

Jon Harris: Well, it's a beautiful day now that you are here, my good man. Now, great record. What was the greatest moment for you producing this record, Mark? 

Mark Haylmun: Greatest record for me producing this record, I think I would say that just getting to know Taylor Young, the producer of the album. He is a fucking awesome dude. Awesome producer. And we had a great time putting together with him.  And he took us to Studio 606, the Foo Fighters studio. And that was really cool to be able to go there and record drums.  I think working with producers is one of the coolest things to do on an album. And it can really change from producer to producer. And Taylor was just so fun to work with. We've never worked with someone that is literally I say it all the time, doing all these interviews. He's our age. We've never done that before. So we're just working with somebody that we could crack jokes and guarantee he's going to get it. 

Jon Harris: Uh-huh, Yeah. 

Mark Haylmun: Sorry to all the other producers. If you're listening to this, we're not saying you're old and you don't get us or anything, but you're old and you don't get us. I know. 

Jon Harris: Remember that time we had the chance to work with Mutt Lang, but he didn't get any of our jokes, so we were just like.

Mark Haylmun: *laughs*

Jon Harris: Cool, so getting to know Taylor Young, who's the producer of the album, and we'll definitely turn around and chat about that. Again, going to Studio 606, a Foo Fighter studio, to record drums. And then you mentioned that working with Taylor, he's your own age. Probably actually both of our age. I don't know how old you are, but I imagine we're about the same age. So that's cool. 

Mark Haylmun: 35 years old. 

Jon Harris: Sweet. I'm about to be 38. So, yeah, we're hanging in there, baby. 

Mark Haylmun: Mm-hmm.

Jon Harris: And it can change from producer to producer. I guess. My follow up question to that, if I could pick, like, one thing, is recording drums at the Foo Fighter studio. Were you there for that? Can you talk about that? 

Mark Haylmun: Oh, 100%. So we thrive on being a live band. We write music together, we play the songs together. We imagine these songs as live performances. So when it comes to recording the drums, we always try to approach it as live as we possibly can. So 606 was the perfect studio for it because it's got a huge tracking room, couldn't tell you the dimensions, but it's got a really big and then there's individual ISO rooms. So we got to set up all of our cabinets and ISO rooms and put on headphones and have the drums all mic'ed up in front of us and stand around. Ernie, who was recording drums, playing the song to us, playing the song, not playing the scratch tracks, not playing to pre recorded anything. Everything was recorded live off click. There's two parts that are recorded at click because one is super fast and we wanted to make sure it was perfectly fast and one is super slow and we wanted to make sure it was perfectly slow, but everything else is off click and live. So, yeah, we got to go into this place, which Studio 606 is not open to the public. You have to know someone to go there. And we were able to get that in and get in and utilize that studio, which is technically more of a rehearsal space for the Foo Fighters almost, than a studio, even though it is fully stocked studio.  Yeah, it's cool. It's like the Foo Fighters headquarters. And it's also like the Foo Fighters almost Nirvana Museum too. And you're not allowed to take pictures in there. You can see it, but you're not allowed to. Or you could take pictures. You can't post it. So I have a picture of me in the bathroom holding that Learn to Fly Moon Man from the VMAs, which, dude, that music video was a major game changer in my life. Like, look at all the Suicide Silence's music music videos. We were inspired by those funny, quirky, not so serious music videos. So, yeah, it was just all this amazing, just childhood. You never even knew you wanted to go to a place like that because it didn't exist when you were a kid. And it's like, holy shit. This is, like, built for me. 

Jon Harris: You built this for me, right? 

Mark Haylmun: You knew I was coming. 

Jon Harris: That is fantastic. Thank you. 

Mark Haylmun: *laughs*

Jon Harris: But on a serious note, Studio 606, the Foo Fighters Layer, getting to record drums there, holding the 'Learn to Fly' VMA, Video Music Award from the MTV Days, and being inspired by that music video and creating your own music videos for Suicide Silence. Question are you familiar at all with the URM Academy and Nail the Mix? 

Mark Haylmun: I just did their podcast yesterday. 

Jon Harris: Sweet. 

Mark Haylmun: With Taylor.

Jon Harris: Sweet. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. My son was doing the most recent one with Machine, and I know that he had some questions about that. And some time ago, a year ago, two years ago, they did one with Tue Madsen, and I remember going over a track, and it was like, holy crap, this band is good. They did this live off the floor without a click. Like, wow.  And so it was really cool to hear that formula. I guess that rhythm of how you guys work still coming through live off the floor. Only a couple of things with click you mentioned, which is super romantic. You want it to be perfectly fast and perfectly slow. And I just imagined you on a date sitting across them and saying, sometimes I like to go perfectly fast, and other times I like to go perfectly 

Mark Haylmun: It's got to be just right.

Jon Harris: It's got to be just right. Don't worry. We'll have individual ISO rooms. 

Mark Haylmun: Yeah, I mean, to what you said, I think that there's kind of different methods of approaching how you're going to capture the sound that the band makes. And some bands, they're approaching creation of sound to recreate on stage. Let's make this noise and then figure out how to make the noise on stage. And then there's other ways of going, we make this sound together. Let's figure out how we're going to capture it, and we're just kind of more on that other side of it. 

Jon Harris: Makes sense. What was the biggest challenge for you on this record? 

Mark Haylmun: I would say we kind of messed up in not having Eddie down as often.  Our singer lives in San Francisco, and we are all in southern California. And the biggest challenge, I think, was having enough time working on the lyrics and vocals. It all became this kind of everything was happening all at once, once Eddie was down and in the studio with us, and we needed to actually have revisions. So it was kind of this thing. Eddie was going and working on vocals with Morgoth, if you know who Morgoth is, he's a producer, works in hip hop a lot, and he was working on Eddie, working on Eddie, working on vocals with Eddie, as opposed to Eddie coming straight to us or us going to Morgoth. Like, we were working on music, and Eddie was working on lyrics to demos that we had, and there was this little disconnection. And then once we all came together, we realized we need to have revisions, and we need revisions quick because we're in the studio right now. So it became this kind of we were all confident in the music, and then it created a all right, you did everything you did with Morgoth. Now we're in here with Taylor, and I work on lyrics, and other people in the band have their input. We're. We're a five headed beast. So once we were actually working on that, it became how do we also being good collaborators, man, we don't want to knock anybody down and be like, your idea sucks. This is the worst shit ever. It's more just like, you know what? I already have an idea and I want to present this idea without making you feel like what you have done is worthless or something like that. So so, yeah. And then it and then again, that's kind of harkens. Back to your first question. What was so badass about it was working with Taylor, we had this awesome producer and he's really good with lyrics. And it made me and Eddie and Taylor realize real quickly, like, this is a great trifecta right here. Once once we got past the hard part about it, we realized, this is actually great. This is really fun. We're having a good time revising all of these lyrics and coming up with other ideas. So even though that was probably the most challenging, it still presented this new trifecta of Taylor, Eddie and myself, that we were just killing it and having a great time doing all of that. 

Jon Harris: Well, that makes sense. I mean, turning the challenge into a bonus and a plus, but basically messing up not having Eddie down as often because he lives in San Francisco and the rest of the band is in SoCal. So having enough time to work on those lyrics and those vocals and how Eddie was working on vocals with Morgoth. And then eventually it just became this trifecta of Eddie, Taylor and Mark and that once you got past the hard part of it, you had a lot of fun. But, I mean, maybe chat a little bit about Morgoth. 

Mark Haylmun: Morgoth, dude, Morgoth kills it, man. Morgoth is killing it. It was great to have him involved in this. And another little side step about that is that he bought a cabinet from me in 2009 or something, a guitar cab. And I got to know him and then I started giving him guitar lessons for like, maybe a year or two. And that's how I first met him, back when he was Michael Montoya out from I think he moved here from Arizona and was going to MI. So I've known him for a long time. 

Jon Harris: Wow. Very cool. You're available for guitar lessons. Good to know.

Mark Haylmun: Sometimes. 

Jon Harris: Sometimes. Okay, very cool.  One thing that I read about the EPK was HAP. I don't know if that's how you guys are saying it, but HAP or H-A-P or happy. How happy can we make this song? 

Mark Haylmun: How happening? 

Jon Harris: How happening, baby? Heavy is possible. And constantly asking, is this song heavy as possible? And I'll start with a broad stroke question, which is basically, just tell us about that experience. 

Mark Haylmun: You know, I think that it's kind of always been our ethos, so to say is make things heavy as possible. But I would say that from album to album, maybe what everybody thinks is heavy has changed or evolves. And on this in particular, I think that once that phrase was said, Garza said it. Day one, we had the conversation, what are we going to do on this album before we even started writing it? What are we going to do? And he was like, let's just go heavy as possible. Everybody loved it. H-A-P. He started joking around. Totally. If you know Garza, he'll be like it's. HAP. He just started going on a rant and we all got on it. We all loved it. And on this, I think we all had the same intention of what heavy meant to us at this point. We were all on the same page, so it's like this kind of not so new way of approaching it. But I think we were reading the same book and we knew what we wanted. We all knew what we wanted. And same with Taylor. Back to Taylor. He is a heavy producer, so this heaviest possible thing, there was no miscommunication, no lost in translation, heavy as possible. And when that happens, that does it creates a fun writing environment. And if you're listening to something that somebody's throwing at you, it's immediate, you know, right away, you're like, okay, yeah, that has potential, but it's not quite there yet, or that's it it's just right there. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, well, something you mentioned was being on the same page. How do you make a song heavy? How do you know when you're there? And you mentioned, like, we knew when we were there. We were on the same page. Taylor was on the same page. We knew when we were communicating it, but can you describe how you knew when you were there? How did you know that the song wasn't heavy enough and it could get heavier? 

Mark Haylmun: It's really down to chemistry and the fact that we have wrote a lot of songs together. And even Ernie, who this is kind of his first real album with us, has written songs with us on our previous album, so it wasn't his first time. And how it works with us is if something isn't to someone's liking, speak up. But don't speak up unless you have something you're going to present with that disagreement of that part. Bring something. Don't just say you don't like it or else we're going to get mad at you. This won't result in a good we're always trying not to get mad in the jam space because we've stormed out of rooms and left and done all kind we've gotten all these big fights and stuff while writing. But it's like, why are we getting mad? So it's like we've tried to, over the years, get past that. And it's like if you don't like something, usually you vehemently don't like it. Like, oh God, that's going to ruin this fucking song. So if it's going to ruin the song for you, have the idea and make it better and stoke us out, make us laugh instead of getting us mad. And that's usually how it works. It's like someone will be so against it that they'll be like, oh, this is way better. And then everyone agrees. So it makes a more cohesive and enjoyable session. If that's the way that it's worked. 

Jon Harris: Well, that makes sense. Going back to the whole chemistry thing, making sure you're on the same page, et cetera, et cetera. Now, something else that I happened to read was trying to recapture the sound of 'The Cleansing'. How did that factor into creating this record? 

Mark Haylmun: I wouldn't even say that that was something that we spoke about. I mean, I think that this is the thing that happened with the cleansing is that we. It's. I would say it happened on accident on this. Like us being on the same page and reading the same book. That is what we were doing during the cleansing and didn't realize it. And over the years, maybe we were on the same page, but we didn't communicate it well, so we just didn't have as much chemistry yet. We were still young. And now this is, whatever, our 7th album, and we've written over 100 songs and done tons of experimenting and tons of different things. And the reason why I think this maybe can come off like it sounds like the cleansing, because to me, I don't really think it does. I just think that the energy that was put into it is so similar to that time. And we haven't been on that same page like this in a really long time. So I think the energy that you get when you listen to the music is like this kind of sounds old school, but the riffs are so much different, the songs are so much different. And the cleansing is always going to live on an island because we were so young and our abilities had only developed so far, we're never going to be able to fully recreate that. But at least being I don't want to say, like, lightning in a bottle. It's such a cliche thing. But this is kind of a lightning in a bottle type record, how it came about like this and it turned out the way it did. It's. Like I still listen to it and go, Damn, it sounds like us firing on all cylinders again. I haven't heard that in a long time. 

Jon Harris: And I love the way you put that. It's us firing on all cylinders again. And then on the cleansing, you guys were on the same page, maybe by accident or whatever the case may be. 

Mark Haylmun: There is elements that sound totally cleansing-ish. But that's also because that's our sound. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, like you said earlier, it's the collection of you guys in a room playing it.  How would you define success at this stage of your career? 

Mark Haylmun: You'll never really know if you're being successful. That's how I would define it. I think it's a mystery. I think that it's a fleeting thing. I think there's moments of times where you're like, okay, that was a success, but then there's the feeling afterwards, but it could have been more successful there's. I think for me, I don't really gauge things in terms of, like, if it's a failure, you know, that's another one. But if it's a failure, it's an opportunity to learn. So success definitely is in the eye of the beholder. Some people want to be selling out stadiums, but they're only selling out arenas. We're still selling out 1000 cap venues. And I mean, a sellout is a success. That's a difficult one to fully answer. And I always make the kind of joke is that I feel like I damned myself when I was really young because I've always known I wanted to be a musician. And I said that I'll be happy if I can pay my bills and pay for groceries and and have a place to live. You know, and if that's my gauge for success, then I'm very successful. You know, I can, I can pay my, I can pay my bills, and I can buy myself food. You know, sometimes there's no more than that. But I mean, I'm not starving.

Jon Harris: Damned yourself because you knew you wanted to be a musician. Sound familiar to anyone? And you'll be happy if you can pay your bills, buy groceries and have a place to live. So by that you are successful and you're and is selling out. So there you go. Perfect. Now, somebody you've mentioned quite a few times is Taylor Young. And I know that my son had some questions about Machine, so I'll just go to a production question and just say whatever it is that you want to say.  Taylor Young Machine. Let me have it.

Mark Haylmun: Machine is still a super good friend of mine, and we talk often, and he's a very talented producer. And Taylor Young has become a good friend of mine, and he's a super talented producer. They are almost polar opposite producers, but I'm speaking on the way the Machine worked with us. Machine was this kind of I'm going to program the human into you guys. I'm going to use all of my technical abilities to make you sound the way you sound, or maybe even better. And Taylor is the kind of producer of you guys are visceral, you sound awesome. I want to find a way to capture the best version of you, and neither one of those is the correct way. I don't think there is a correct way. And I think that they're both savants in their own way and extreme taste. They both have great taste and exclusive taste. And I think that's important too, is knowing what you really, really like and then also being able to identify other people's taste, knowing when like, oh, people can like that. But that's not something that I like observing art and dissecting art. Both of them, they're totally different people. But yeah, just amazing producers. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, well, it sounds like it was absolutely a wonderful experience to be able to work with both. And like you said, they're both completely different producers. Machines more like programming the human into you. Taylor is more like come as you are, accepting you as you are kind of thing. But in both cases, just becoming masters of the craft, identifying your own taste, developing your own taste, identifying somebody else's taste, getting to know art for art's sake. Something else that I wanted to get on was you had mentioned, shall I call them campy music videos. Funny quirky. 

Mark Haylmun: Yeah, I think that it kind of goes back to what I was saying about how we're. We try to have fun with what we're doing and we try to have some sort of fun aspect to the band. And all the way back to even before I was in Suicide Silence, which I joined in 2005, and the band's been around since 2002. I knew them as this death metal band that had Family Guy samples. And I'm like, oh, that's that band that they use, the Family Guy samples. And it was kind of funny, but it had this kind of stark difference in the live show, you'd be like, this funny sample that if you know Family Guy, you'd be like, oh, I know that sample. And then all of a sudden, it's just like, whoa, fuck, this is crushing me. And I think that that is once we had our feet in our shoes at a later date and we were able to decide what we wanted to do music video wise, I feel like that is kind of where it all came from. It's like having this little balance of we don't want people to look at us and think that we're going to murder them. We want people to look at us and feel a little bit more human towards us. And if we can make fun videos and we can entertain them, I almost want to make a music video where you're so captured by the music video and so entertained by the music video. You have to watch it a couple of times to hear the song. I want the song to be the second, like, the secondary to it and to make it so it has rewatch ability and yeah, it's just fun, man. I mean, how could it not be cool to sit around with your friends and be like, how can we take what this song means and turn it into us getting shot on the other side of a shooting range by priests and chicks and all different, even though the video talking about, what that video? It's enough. Your music, okay?

Jon Harris: Beautiful. What's the number one thing that you want people listening right now to do? 

Mark Haylmun: I mean, usually everybody's trying to look for a break.  Life is hard, life beats you down. And if you're looking for a nice podcast to listen to, to get away from it all yeah, unplug and try to take a break mentally, you know, if you're here for information and want to learn something, then I would say look another direction because I ain't no teacher. I was just going to say that I play music because I did. I wanted an escape. I wanted something to free me from whatever life stresses and angst I might have. And if that's why you listen to music, then come to a show, listen to our records and know that's where our band really comes from. It's like we want to set people free for a little bit and just be able to have a good time. We're still rooted and fun and even though our music is violent and gnarly sounding, we're like the total opposite kind of people. We just want to have a good time, enjoy ourselves and make some cool music. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. Could not agree more. Set people free a bit. Rooted in having fun musically and then most importantly, like you mentioned, maintaining mental health, unplug a bit, relax, maybe enjoy a podcast. And if you're enjoying this podcast, this would be a good time to tell a friend about it. Hit that, Like, hit that Subscribe button. Make sure that you're getting all the notifications for future episodes. And also as well, go ahead and head over to  There you'll get all the show notes for today, transcripts, music videos, links to connect with Suicide Silence and speaking of which, Mark, thank you so much for coming on to The Rock Metal Podcast today. 

Mark Haylmun: Abso-goddamn-lootly. Thanks for having me on. 


Friday, April 7, 2023

Authenticity is the Key to Success with Chase Wilson of OV SULFUR

In this episode of The Rock Metal Podcast, we're chatting with Chase Wilson of the band Ov Sulfur about their new album ‘The Burden Ov Faith’ out now via Century Media Records.

During our chat we touch on a lot of great tips for musicians, such as living a life of passion through your artistic endeavours; be it music, story writing, or artwork.

'The Burden Ov Faith' was produced by Morgoth Beatz and Logan Mader, mixed and mastered by Josh Shroeder.

For fans of Lorna Shore, Carnifex, Whitechapel, Shadow of Intent, Signs of the Swarm, and As I Lay Dying, Worm Shepherd


Guest Resource - Connect with Ov Sulfur!

Guest Music Video

3 Heavy Hitters

1. Partnering with the right people can make your music heard in more places than just the local circuit

2. Work with people who are willing to take the leap of faith with you and your music

3. Go deeper into why you feel the way you do, helping to write authentic lyrics with a greater chance of connection


Asher Media Relations: Doing PR for everything loud! For your band needs to be seen and heard in print, online and radio!  Let Asher know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Tue Madsen: Tue Madsen is responsible for producing, mixing, and mastering some of the best metal for over the last 20 years.  Let Tue know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Syndicol Music: A full service agency for musicians, offering record label services, marketing, branding, production and management.  Let Charlie know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Wormholedeath Records: WHD is a modern record label, publishing and film production company fit with global distribution, publishing and marketing using a roster of global partnerships. Let Carlo know The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Show Notes // Transcript

Jon Harris: Well, Chase, go ahead and say hi to all of our beautiful listeners. 

Chase Wilson: What's up, everybody? How you doing? Hahaha.

Jon Harris: Absolutely beautiful, and great to have you here to discuss The Burden ov Faith, my friend. What was the greatest moment for you producing this record? 

Chase Wilson: Oh, man, there's so many. 

Jon Harris: Take us through them all!

Chase Wilson: I'll give you, like, a top three. Obviously, Tracking 'Earthen' was an experience just because because of how emotional the song was. And seeing Ricky put all of his emotion into that song vocally and kind of channeling what I was trying to put forward into that song was kind of crazy to see. So that's definitely number one. Number two is the ending title track, the breakdown on The Burden ov Faith. And having all of us in the studio and drop tuning that guitar down and seeing everybody's stank face of approval, that was definitely one of my hell yeah moments. I was very stoked as a writer for that one. And just kind of three is hearing everything mixed, mastered, polished, and ready to go for public consumption. It's kind of a great feeling when you finally finish something that's been in the works for so long. So those are my top moments for sure. 

Jon Harris: Okay, beautiful. Tracking Earthen, the breakdown of Burden ov Faith, doing the drop tuning, the stank face of approval and then hearing everything mixed, mastered and polished for human consumption. Or if you're Dethklok, then it's for fish consumption, I guess, right? 

Chase Wilson: Yeah.

Jon Harris: Revisiting some of those. I was like, I love this show.  

Chase Wilson: Oh, man. That's one of my favourites, for sure. 

Jon Harris: Beautiful. Now, some of what that does is takes us into some of the themes on the record, which we'll get to in a moment, but I wanted to touch base on were there any challenges for the record, and I noticed that you mentioned that the songs have been waiting to give birth for quite some time. Was that part of the challenge or was there anything else that maybe you learned from on producing this record? 

Chase Wilson: I mean, it's kind of our first go at doing a band like this, and a lot of us have only been in local bands or maybe like regional touring bands that never really got as far as Ov Sulfur has within the past two years.  So I would say the biggest challenge is I started writing as soon as we did one of our first tours with Signs of the Swarm and Worm Shepherd. Right after we came back from that, I wrote 'Earthen'. And between then and the time we recorded, it was like a year. But that year did not feel like that. It felt like a month or two months. So we were like trying to do the balancing act of touring and writing and marketing and all sorts of things. And it's all very new for everybody. So there were a few challenges, but I mean, I feel like diamonds are made under pressure. You can either crack or you can make diamonds. And that's what I feel like. I hope. I think that we did, it's subjective. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. Was it charcoal, if under pressure, it becomes a diamond or it just stays charcoal and you get some hot dogs or something. Yeah. You have barbecue or you have a diamond? I'd rather have barbecue, personally. 

Chase Wilson: Yeah. I mean, who doesn't like hot dogs?

Jon Harris: Come on, right?  Now, one of the things you mentioned there was a first go at a band like this, only been in local bands or regional touring bands, and then the balancing act that has become the new treadmill, I guess you could say that you're on. I've got a tour and I've got to write and I've got a market. Like, what what what's going on here? What was that like? It's kind of a silly question, but how did you know you had, like, you walked through the teleportation or whatever it is. How did you know? You hit that point where okay, we've hit new territory. We're not just a local band anymore.

Chase Wilson: I mean, that kind of happened when we started releasing the first few songs, really, and we got our manager, Brad Hadley, and he was like, okay, we're doing this, and we're doing that, and we're doing everything. That was the point where I was like, whoa okay, this is no longer just like an Internet project. This is like real life now. This is the thing. It was probably at that point where I started to realize, we've got to kind of get our stuff in order.

Jon Harris: Okay, super serious stuff. Getting a manager, especially one named Brad or Bradley, getting the sensation that this isn't just an Internet project anymore. You got to get your stuff together. But I mean, I'm super curious. What did you do that was different this time around? 

Chase Wilson: We had the Ricky Hoover Cheat code.

Jon Harris: Which is back back A back back B. 

Chase Wilson: Yeah, like a Mortal Kombat fatality. No, I mean, that definitely had something to do with it. And Ricky coming back to music was a big deal.  I feel like it's weird because even this, I feel like, is kind of gaining a lot more traction than Suffocate did back in the day, as well. We're pretty much on equal footing now, I feel like, with where that was. And it's probably due, in fact, that we all have kind of, like, different influences in our music and the way we write music. We're taking this a lot more seriously than we would for local bands and stuff like that. And the biggest thing with that is you got to work with people who are willing to kind of take the leap with you, and there's going to be some struggles and stuff like that, but you got to anticipate, but it's worth it in the long run. So I feel like that's what's kind of, like, different is we definitely see the fruits of our labour, more so in this band, more so than any other project we've done. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, I mean, I read all of that in the EPK.  I put something up on the Internet, and it exploded. And it's funny, I almost hate that story. It's like you're leaving out so many important details. What do you mean? Yeah. You just put something on the Internet and that's it. Right.  

Chase Wilson: Hahaha

Jon Harris: But sometimes there's a magic thing that sort of happens, and something I've heard before chatting with other bands, especially once you've been at it for a long time, 25, 30 years is, you know, I don't even know if we started today. I don't even know if it would take. It was just that time and that place for what we were doing.  And I think now is your time and place, Chase.
Chase Wilson: Oh, thanks. Appreciate that. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, but that's cool seeing the fruits of the labour. Different influences in the music, which I know, at least from what I'm reading anyway, has surprised quite a few people with the different influences and the way that they're getting hit and pulled and tugged all in very good ways. It's a good kind of tug. Not a bad kind of tug. 

Chase Wilson: You never want a bad tug. 

Jon Harris: Never want a bad tug.  And then I read that a mutual friend actually connected you two together, yeah?

Chase Wilson: Yeah, most definitely.  That was our friend Alexis. She's known Ricky for years, and, I mean, she lives in Vegas, so with that, she pretty much saw that he posted "I want to start a technical death metal band." She goes, hey, I threw your name in the ring. And I was like, I can't play that. And she's like, well, I think he just wants people to jam with, so whatever. And I was like, yeah, okay, sure. Ricky Hoover will just DM me later tonight, and he DM'd me later that night. So I spoke it into existence. 

Jon Harris: Right, okay. So the Tony Robbins thing of speaking things into existence, it works. 

Chase Wilson: I guess so.   

Jon Harris: Perfect.

Chase Wilson: Never know unless you try, I guess. 

Jon Harris: That's exactly right. Okay, now, going back to some of the themes that are on the record, because I remember you had mentioned when I said, hey, what's the greatest moment for you producing this record, you said tracking 'Earthen' because of how much emotion that there is in it and in the EPK I definitely read about that, and I read about several of the other elements that have gone into the project lyrically, emotionally, musically. But I'm just going to let you roll with that with just not a blank question, but like a broad stroke question. But just, Chase, take us through the themes on this record. 

Chase Wilson: Oh, man. I mean, with this one, we kind of broadened our horizons a little bit. I mean, obviously, Oblivion was very much so religion hate, anti-God type feel, which is still in this record. There is a lot of that. And we kind of wanted to broaden our horizons with maybe like, why do we feel this way? Especially, like, with something like 'Earthen' and that not only atheists or whatever can relate to, but even God fearing people can be? What kind of God would test a child is in the chorus of that song.  And that was how Ricky was feeling during that moment when he lost his nephew and he decided to be vulnerable and kind of share that with everybody. So you've got that. And 'Befouler' is kind of more so about the music industry and how many snakes there are and people that will be cool to you, to your face and then kind of like, talk shit behind your back.  We broadened our horizons a lot and kind of, like, wear our emotions a little bit more on our sleeve on this record. And we wanted to talk about things with a little bit more substance. And you can talk about religion and how bad it is all day long, but if you kind of don't explain why, it's kind of, like, overdone.  So that's what we try to do with this record and hopefully people catch on to that a lot more. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, that's really good, mentioning the religion thing. It's like, okay, well, country songs are about my dog running away. What are metal songs about? I hate religion and war is cool or it's not not cool or something, right? 

Chase Wilson: Right.

Jon Harris: Every genre has its trope topics, but what you guys did was fantastic. You said, okay, I feel this way, but let me dig deeper, let me unpackage why do I feel that way? And then allowing yourself to be vulnerable on paper for people, which I've heard in the past, that that's usually a hallmark of success, do you feel that going vulnerable on this record has also enabled the band to pick up more speed than it may not have had? 

Chase Wilson: Yes, absolutely.  Our whole thing is about the band just kind of has, like, an unspoken agreement that we're just going to be genuine dudes.  We're not the metal band that pretends to be angry and beat your ass on stage. We smile, we goof around, we stick our tongues out.  It's fun for us. And when we're writing music, we want to write things that we feel strongly about. We want people to connect with us. We want people to really understand. Where and what we're feeling or why and what we're feeling, I guess I should say.  But yeah, I feel like authenticity is kind of like a key to success, for sure.  Like I said, hopefully that happens with this record. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. Now, 'Earthen' – going back to that track because you had mentioned that with your guitar parts, you wanted to try and capture that same level of emotion. And I don't know how possible it is as a guitar player to answer this question, but how did you do that? 

Chase Wilson: It's one of those things where it's like, I will sit down. I'm the type of person that has to be inspired before they write. If I'm feeling a certain type of way and I sit down to write, I want to put that feeling into my guitar. If I'm sad, I want my guitar to weep. If I'm angry, I want it to fucking just crush. And in order to do that, I feel like you really have to hone in on. What what you're trying to do and like, what you're trying to put into your DAW or your put on paper, quote unquote.  But it's one of those things. I can't really explain it. It's so hard. But you can definitely put some emotion into that, like 'Earthen' being an example, I guess. You have that sombre, melancholy intro and then the lead in that is extremely sad sounding as well. And it's hard to explain why it sounds like that, but if you send it to five people, I'm sure they'd say the same thing. Even our managers like, oh, man, that lead is like crazy. And you can tell how sad this song is.  'Befouler' is another example. It's just a complete ass beater of a fucking song. We were very angry when we wrote that one. It's just drivey, drivey, drivey, drivey, drivey, and then the end is just crushing. So it's hard to say how we do it, but it kind of just comes naturally, I guess, is the point I'm trying to make. 

Jon Harris: I just imagined you on a date for some reason, just telling the girl, well, it's an ass beater of a song. I mean, I was angry and it just comes naturally.

Chase Wilson: That's actually my one-liner when I go on dates. So I'm glad you picked that up. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, abso-freaking-lutely, baby. Now, I heard the word DAW in there, so for everybody listening in, that is the digital audio workstation. And you'd also mentioned at one point here in the beginning, you'd mentioned that the drop tuning, it did it on the breakdown for 'Burden ov Faith'. So was there any gear that you used on this record that surprised you or was it all pretty par for the course for you? 

Chase Wilson: What kind of I mean, we've been using the Digitech Whammy with the Detune function on for a while and we brought it into the studio just in case we were going to use it. We didn't anticipate on it or anything like that, but we used it and it was kind of just magic.  Actually, during the mixing and mastering. You hear it on 'Befouler' as well. And that wasn't planned. I think Josh Schroeder had something to do with that and just made 'Befouler' crush like at the very end as well. So I feel like that was definitely a piece of equipment that we utilize pretty frequently, but, and then the rest is pretty par for the course, tone wise. I told everybody I wanted to go for, like, Peavey 6505 or 5150 head through a Mesa Cab. Which is your standard heavy metal death core guitar. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. Digitech Whammy with a Detuner, which you brought into the studio just in case you're going to use it. And it sounds like, I don't know, Joshua's something on 'Befouler' and going for that Peavey 6505 or 5150 guitar tone with the Mesa Boogie cabinet. And as you said, standard heavy metal death core guitar. Now, did you shoot any DI's? Or for those listening in who don't know what a DI is, it's where you take the guitar signal raw and send it to a producer so that they can then do what they will with it. They can put it into any amp they want. Did you give them DI's? Do you know what happened there? 

Chase Wilson: Yeah, we did give him DI's. We tracked guitar with Logan Mader from Machine Head in Vegas, and we used his Kemper, and we tracked DI, and we tracked with the Kemper tone as well. So it captured all of that. And we sent all that over to Josh Schroeder, and he was like, what are we going for here? And I told him, and he was like, Perfect. Got it. 

Jon Harris: Perfect. I've got that right here. Click. 

Chase Wilson: Yeah. 

Jon Harris: Beautiful. 

Chase Wilson: That's Great. 

Jon Harris: How would you define success at this stage of your career? 

Chase Wilson: Success to me, and not everybody else might agree with this in my band. Maybe they do, maybe they don't. I can't speak for them, but when you're proud of the music that you're putting out and people are just vibing with it and you start to see, kind of like I said earlier, the fruits of your labour, that is what success is to me. It's not about money, it's not about – I mean, getting rad tours is awesome, but it's not about that stuff. It's about being happy with where you're at. That's what success is to me. If I'm just being completely honest. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, you're putting something out into the universe and the universe is agreeing back with you and you're getting a positive feedback loop. And obviously there's going to be some negative stuff in there too, as it would go. But do you feel part of earlier you mentioned we're not a local band anymore, now we're doing something real. Is that feedback loop a part of that equation? 

Chase Wilson: I'd like to hope so, yeah. People were stoked with the stuff we had put out with the Oblivion EP, and it was great, it was cool, and I was very happy then. I'm even happier now because I feel like we've kind of evolved several steps ahead from where that was, and I just feel like being happy and grateful for everything that you have really does make things less shitty. There are things in the business aspect that are maybe not so fun and things that you got to do, but as long as you know you're grateful and you're happy to do them and this is what you want to do and you're doing the thing, then that's all that really matters. It really is. People can define success by loads of more things like money and fame and popularity and this and that and the other thing. It's all materialistic type stuff, and I'm just not that type of person. 

Jon Harris: And I just had Madonna come into my head. I think it was the way you said material. 

Chase Wilson: Yeah, probably.

Jon Harris: Ma-ma-material, oh no.

Chase Wilson: It's going to be stuck in my head all night. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. Oh, it's a worm. Somebody was talking to me about that song the other day and so I pulled it up. I listened to it for about 30 seconds. Oh, yeah. She's not singing in the right key. And the producer I read this tidbit the producer tried to get her to change the key. She didn't want to, so I listened to it and yeah, she's straining. And then for an entire week straight, I'm like, oh, and now it's back again. So thank you. 

Chase Wilson: You're welcome. 

Jon Harris: Beautiful. Something that you had mentioned earlier on Chase was working with I always thought it was Schroeder. Maybe I was saying it wrong. Schrader. But Josh Schroeder. Schrader, who has worked with quite a few notable bands. Tallah, for sure. Lorna Shore, for sure. Yes. What was it like working with him? Take us through that. I mean, you mentioned that. I've got it in my notes up here. As soon as I find it digitech, whammy, pedal, 'Befouler'. He turned the whole thing into this crushing dream of beautiful 5150 glory. 

Chase Wilson: Yeah, pretty much. Yeah, man. I mean, it's awesome working with that dude. And we worked with a crazy team on this record. Like, it was Morgoth. Morgoth Beatz producing and doing the synths and producing vocals. We had Logan Mader who's tracked the guitar, and Josh Schrader who mixed, mastered and kind of did his Schrader Schroeder magic. I'm pretty sure it's Schrader. That's what I've been saying. Hopefully I'm not butchering that. 

Jon Harris: You've been offending him the whole time and you had no idea? 

Chase Wilson: I had no idea. I'm sorry, Josh, but yeah, no, it was amazing working with that guy, dude, like you said he's a legend in kind of like the death core genre. And not just the death core genre. He's done Varials. He's done King 810. He's done crazy stuff. And I think he definitely added his touch on this record as well. And it was definitely a pleasure working with that guy as well as the rest of the team. Honestly, I feel like if we didn't have the entire team team, we wouldn't have the sound of this record. So that's definitely something I'm super hyped on, is we had such an amazing team to work with. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. I mean, I would be hyped, too, working with such an amazing team. We had Morgoth Beatz to help with vocals, Logan Mader to help with guitars, Josh Schroeder, Schrader. Schroeder to help bring it all together. What's the number one thing that you would like people listening to do right now? 

Chase Wilson: What I would like them to do? I don't know. Tell a friend, share it. And word of mouth is just as good a marketing tool as anything else.  Hopefully connect with it. I hope that something we say maybe helps somebody or somebody can relate if they're having a hard time. But those are the things I would probably say if they're listening right now, is like, that we care, and thank you if you're supporting us. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. Tell a friend, share it. I always think of the Wayne's World and then their friends tell their friends, and then their friends tell their friends. Goes on and on and on. Yeah. Word of mouth is still the most powerful thing in the entire world. As long as humans do such a thing. Connect with the record. Someone can relate to it if they're having a hard time. So that's cool that you guys wrote the kind of music that you chose to write or felt compelled to write but still wanted to connect with people. And I think that's 

Chase Wilson: Yeah, absolutely. 

Jon Harris: Very cool. Track guitars with Logan Mader because you mentioned there was quite the production team. We got Morgoth Beatz doing synth and vocals. Logan Mader helping out with the guitars specifically, I guess because you're the guitar player. We'll chat about that. What was it like working with someone to help you track guitars and then maybe even branch into Logan specifically? 

Chase Wilson: I mean, dude, Logan's a legend. Having the dude –

Jon Harris: – also Canadian, so...

Chase Wilson: Yeah, exactly. A lot of great Canadians. My manager is Canadian, too. Love them. 

Jon Harris: Sweet. That keeps happening. I keep hearing that. 

Chase Wilson: I know. Yeah, it's great. But yeah, Logan's an awesome dude, and we got his insight in playing guitar. And I went in there thinking like, oh, man, this guy's like, this guy's going to put me through boot camp. He's such a good player and this and that. And he is the chillest dude ever. We had such a good time tracking with him. He is such a nice dude, and his insight was unparalleled to anybody else I've ever tracked guitar with. So being that we got his kind of stamp of approval as well, was kind of like the stank 

Jon Harris: You got some stank face from him. 

Chase Wilson: When we got this stank face from Logan, we didn't even know we had plugged the bass in and down tuned the bass even for that. And he goes, did it work? And then he played it back, and he goes, it worked. I was like, yeah, man. Sick. The bass is tuned was awesome. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, the bass is tuned so low, you need bell bottoms to feel the breeze. 

Chase Wilson: Pretty much, yeah.

Jon Harris: All right, well, everyone listening in. Go ahead and head over to There you'll get all the show notes for today, transcripts, music videos, links to connect with Ov Sulfur. And speaking of which, Chase, thank you so much for coming on to The Rock Metal Podcast today. 

Chase Wilson: Hell, yeah.