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Interviews   

Jim Root: “We’re Slipknot and we’ll do whatever the fuck we want, because we’re Slipknot.”


Eagerly awaited, and hotly debated before it was even released, Slipknot’s new album will finally be available on October 20th. This is the first record in six years for the band, and the very first without two of their historic members, bassist Paul Gray (who passed away tragically on May 24th, 2010) and drummer Joey Jordison (who less tragically “did not leave Slipknot” but was still shown the door last December). The nine musicians – or is it seven? Or is it nine again? Anyway, the musicians from Des Moines have overcome their ordeals, even if the road ahead is still long, as guitarist Jim Root seems to suggest several times in the following interview.

Jim Root is one of the key people behind this opus, entitled .5: The Gray Chapter, in memory of the late bassist, whose presence remains palpable. Root remained true to the band and was deeply involved in the composition of the new songs, which seems to have cost him his place in Stone Sour. Some light still needs to be shed on that subject, but he does talk about it at length towards the end of the interview. Before that, though, the guitarist talks about Slipknot’s fifth album (or the sixth, if you consider Made. Feed. Kill. Repeat as a proper record), of which everyone in the band is very proud. And never mind the malcontent, whom he just brushes aside after answering the criticism regarding the melodiousness of Corey Taylor’s singing. It was also a good opportunity to ask a few questions after the band’s two newbies, although #4 seems to have fun trying to hide their identities.

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Interviews   

Paul Gilbert gives his guitar a voice


Playing music is – or at least should be – all about questioning yourself. And being famous the world over as one of the very best with one given instrument doesn’t mean there’s nothing left to learn or discover. Despite all his years of experience and his status as a guitar hero, Mr. Big’s guitarist Paul Gilbert (who also gives guitar lessons online) is still awed by his instrument and is not done exploring it from every angle. His new solo album, Stone Pushing Uphill Man, mainly made up of covers, proves just that and is the result of an experiment: the guitarist was indeed trying to replicate the expressiveness of a singer’s voice with his instrument, which helped him rediscover it.

This is the main subject (but not the only one, since we also talked about Mr. Big) of the following interview, where we tried to understand the motivation behind this album and everything the project entails. Through his answers, Paul Gilbert could open the eyes – or rather the ears – of many a guitarist, or more generally, many a musician

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Interviews   

There’s hope left for Evergrey


“We’re in a happy mood!”, vocalist/guitarist/leader Tom S. Englund and bassist Johan Niemann of Evergrey tell us before the following interview. We shudder to think what it must be like when they’re feeling gloomy! Who the hell uses words like “illness”, “stress” and “internal struggle”, or says they’ve lost “all hope or will and all inspiration to do anything, except sitting in a sofa” and that their “mental health [is] really on the verge of breaking”, when they’re feeling good? There’s not much happiness to be found in their description of Everygrey’s body of work in general, and in the latest album, Hymns For The Broken, in particular.

But it would be unfair to these two likeable musicians to remember only the gloomy aspects of this interview. After all, they also talked about their reunion with drummer Jonas Ekdahl and guitarist Henrik Danhage, the hope said reunion aroused, the band’s new-found strength, and the experience of shooting a video from the top of a structure several hundred meters high when you’re afraid of heights – not to mention the review of a Sting concert that will probably spark off some debate.

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Interviews   

Grilling Mattias “IA” Eklundh (Freak Kitchen)


After a track-by-track of Freak Kitchen’s latest album, Cooking With Pagans, concocted by Mattias “IA” Eklundh himself, here’s our full interview with the band’s leader, singer, and guitarist. This time we take a more general look at the album (five years in the making), but also at the band itself, and at their promising collaboration with cartoonist Juanjo Guarnido, a Freak Kitchen fan who has worked for Disney and is most famous for his Black Sad comic books.

If you don’t know the man yet (and even if you do), this interview will paint a rather comprehensive picture, and allow you to discover an atypical, quick-witted musician. With humor and intelligence to spare, the man talked about pretty much everything: Freak Kitchen and Art Metal (with bassist Jonas Hellborg), his crazy soli as Freak Guitar, his love of India, his highly unusual use of guitars, his contempt for effect pedals, his musical tastes, his philosophy, his humility (he considers himself neither a singer nor a guitar player), cows, and Gustave Flaubert.

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Interviews   

John Garcia: “I’m on a mission”


When we called him on the phone, John Garcia was getting ready to go on a camping trip in the mountains with his family and enjoy a “well-deserved break”, as he put it. Admittedly, the man whose voice has graced the music of several brilliant stoner rock bands (namely Kyuss, Unida, Hermano and Slo Burn) has been rather busy lately. After a hard battle to reform Kyuss – which led to legal action from his former colleagues Josh Homme and Scott Reeder – and an album released under the name Vista Chino, John Garcia is back with that solo album we’d been expecting for so many years. The small tour he did with Unida, and which stopped by Hellfest, was just the icing on the cake. The hectic Kyuss Lives! episode obviously made him want to focus on himself, and on the simple yet important things, like his family or the songs he loved but had put into a box. “I’m on a mission”, he says again and again in the second half of this rich interview. And the goal of this mission is simple: to find happiness.

It’s a truly generous interview this self-described musical explorer gave us. Always honest and passionate, sometimes moving, John Garcia first talks about his newly-released solo album, then gradually lets us into his life and personality. We talked about “his desert”, as he likes to call it, about Josh Homme and Scott Reeder, about his future as a solo artist, and about his various bands. Although the interview is quite long, you should enjoy it from start to finish if you like the man and his music.

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Interviews   

Septicflesh or the art of outdoing yourself


How do you outdo a gigantic undertaking? The answer to that is Septicflesh’s latest album, Titan. Communion and The Great Mass both fell under the “grandiose” category in terms of work and resources. In August 2012, when we interviewed bassist/vocalist Seth Siro Anton on the subject of his visual art, he confessed he was worried regarding Septicflesh’s musical future. Two years later, the Greeks are back with an even darker album (if that’s even possible), whose orchestral aspect, for which the band is now renowned, has reached a whole new level.

Christos Antoniou, the band’s guitarist and orchestrations overlord, turned out to be extremely confident and proud when we called him to talk about this titanic new work. And although some of his answers might sound a bit presumptuous (like the title of the album, which has its significance), there’s nothing wrong with feeling proud when you’ve given yourself 100% and when the result is that impressive. Let’s talk about all that with him.

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Interviews   

Kypck: a name to carve on the wall of your memory


We obviously didn’t wait for the troubles in Ukraine to take an interest in Kypck (pronounce “koursk”), a band whose name derives from a famous Russian nuclear submarine and who boasts three rather excellent doom/melancholic metal albums in their discography. But we have to admit the context was interesting to try and shed some light on this unusual band and understand what’s behind it. Kypck was founded in 2007 by Sentenced’s former guitarist and composer, Sami Lopakka, with one main idea: to sing in Russian and to develop a strong imagery based on Soviet symbols. The concept was later refined and improved, most notably after the hiring of singer Erkki Seppänen, who speaks fluent Russian, is fascinated by Russian history, and even worked at the embassy in Moscow for a time. Erkki is the one we called on his way to the concert venue in Tampere, Finland, where the band was playing that evening, to talk about Kypck, where he stands on the Ukrainian crisis, and the new balance of power between Russia and the West.

But we especially wanted to talk about the band’s third album, Imena Na Stene (Имена на стене with the proper Cyrillic spelling, meaning “The Names on the Wall”), released earlier this year and reviewed on this very website a few months ago. A striking record which received very little exposition, at least in France, but which deserves all your attention.

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Interviews   

Tesla: The simplicity of an interview with Jeff Keith


At some point in a band’s career, time seems to stretch out and its members no longer want to rush things. That’s what seems to be happening to Tesla, thirty years after they first introduced their high-class bluesy hard rock to the world. Tesla want to take their time, manage things themselves and as they please, go on tour when the sun is shining and not for too long. Tesla also want to do things simply, genuinely, in a world that relies more and more on the complexity of technology. That’s precisely the basis of this new album, Simplicity, released six years after Forever More. Gone are the modern impulses of the later and of the much acclaimed Into The Now; the music is now back to “the bare minimum”, as vocalist Jeff Keith puts it.

In the following interview, Keith talks about the spirit that was driving the band during the making of this new album, and about his solo career in country music, which he only started up last year. We also got some intel about the band’s past and an explanation regarding the tomato story…

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Interviews   

Slash: creative fire


After many bands, projects, and collaborations, it looks like guitar legend Slash, aka Saul Hudson, has found a place to lay down his hat again. But don’t get him wrong: although he gave it his name (or his pseudonym, rather), his latest project is a band in its own right, with “a definite chemistry”. In the following interview, the guitarist evokes something he hasn’t “really felt this since the early Guns N’ Roses days” – a strong statement. “Free”, “comfort”, “understanding” – the words the man in the hat uses explain why everything seems to be working so well with singer Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators (with Todd Kerns on bass and Brent Fitz on drums). For Slash, this is a “blessing”, a collaboration that came naturally, without being planned. The best things in life are even better when you don’t expect them.

From this union came a first album, Apocalyptic Love, then a second, World On Fire, released last September, full to bursting with rock n’ roll. Slash in all his glory. Slash in all his generosity. We were lucky enough to question him on all these subjects and many more (he confessed, in particular, to being a Gojira fan). He answered in his surprisingly soft, calm voice, so at odds with the nervousness of his music, and yet perfectly in accord with the man’s genuine class.

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Interviews   

How The Haunted have been healing their wounds


The Haunted was badly hurt when vocalist Peter Dolving, drummer Per Möller Jensen, and guitarist Anders Björler left in the space of just a few months. But the wound had appeared even sooner than that, with the commercial failure of their album Unseen (2011). In the following interview, guitarist and founding member Patrik Jensen confesses: “We really tried to do our own thing and it didn’t work”, probably because of a “the metal scene that is very narrow sighted”. The band was commercially stuck in a small box, which, according to Jensen, must have created frustration and eventually led to the split.

But The Haunted have come back from the ashes, and adapted so its members no longer have to rely on only one band to make a living. They’re now back with a new, aptly-titled album, Exit Wounds, and a new line-up. Or maybe not that new, since the band welcomes back their first drummer and their second singer.

We talked with Jensen about all this, from the departures, their circumstances, and the replacements, to the music itself. This highly instructive interview clearly highlights the difficulties a band can have along the way, no matter how established it is. But although the guitarist remains pessimistic regarding the music industry, he underlines how strong a motivator the love of music can be.

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  • Tuesday, 4 November 2014 à 2:14
    Bring Me The Horizon step onto a new road
    Sunday, 5 October 2014 à 2:13
    Slash: creative fire
    Monday, 29 September 2014 à 15:31
    There’s hope left for Evergrey
    Friday, 26 September 2014 à 10:14
    Paul Gilbert gives his guitar a voice
    Thursday, 25 September 2014 à 9:49
    AN INDECENT INTERVIEW WITH BLAZE BAYLEY
    Tuesday, 23 September 2014 à 12:23
    Grilling Mattias “IA” Eklundh (Freak Kitchen)
    Wednesday, 3 September 2014 à 19:29
    Opeth in harmony with themselves
    1/3
    base
    kprod