lunedì 5 marzo 2012

JOE THRASHER (english version)

Author: Mourning
Translation: Dope Fiend

Jim Shurben - Drums
Matt Ingram - Guitars, Vocals
Scott Wark - Vocals, Bass

Joe Thrasher is, in my opinion, one of the most capable Thrash revival bands, and the two albums they've released so far, "Metal Forces" and "Cries Of War", are indeed two little jewels. It is with great pleasure, then, that i'm about to get to know them a little better.

Welcome to Aristocrazia Webzine! How do you feel after having received so much feedback and support from so many thrash fans? I can easily say that "Cries Of War" is undoubtedly one of the best thrash releases of 2011.

Firstly, thanks for the kind words and support. We're really grateful for all the great support we get from metal fans around the world. It's a great thing to see that we excite so many people.. and with facebook, and all the other social media sites, it's amazing to see it spread throughout the world. The feedback and support is touching and definitely helps fuels our cause and gives us an added push.

How was the band given birth, and why did you choose this name?

Former guitarist, Jose and I had both recently quit a local Death Metal band, Deamon and were itching for something to do musically. Both of us were more into Thrash than death metal so we started talking about starting a Thrash cover band.. around the same time, the metal gods, made me cross paths with an old neighbourhood aquintenance, Jim.. who I know was a drummer and found out didn't have anything musically going on. Jose and I met up with him and we played him some stuff we were into playing.. like Slayer, Anthrax, Mortal Sin, etc.. Jim hadn't had much exposure to those bands and was right into from the minute I hit play. So we started jamming and having a blast.. fast forward a few years, Scott join on lead vocals and Jose moved away, our brother Gumby was on bass... Then Gumby eventually quit and Scott picked up the bass to give us this 3-piece metal trio we've got now. I couldn't imagine playing with a better suited group. The name... another moment when the Metal Gods spoke to us.. "Joe Thrasher" popped into our heads and we all thought it was awesome and kinda of unique and went with it! More than nine years later, we still love it.

The thing i've always appreciated the most about your albums is the straightforwardness of your songs, that closely recalls the style of the eighties; which bands have inspired you the most during all these years?

We seem to naturally create songs that are fairly simple, hard rocking and fun. Me personally.. my biggest influences would probably be Gun n Roses, Slayer, Anvil, Motorhead, Beatles, AC/DC... tons of others. Jim would probably site some of those as well, but also bring a heavy punk influence to his drumming, that suits us amazingly. Scott would have some of the same influences as well, but brings a lot of NWOBHM influence and speed metal like Exciter, etc. When Scott joined the band, our song writing really changed (Scott became the majority song writer) with his influences really shaping the band in a new (awesome) direction. His song writing abilities was what we really needed to solidify what we were doing.

How did you come to love thrash metal? How did you get close to this genre and what made you think that was your way to follow?

A natural progression of heaviness I guess... First was AC/DC when I was about seven, then Gn'R when I was about 12... then Ozzy, then Metallica, then Pantera, then Slayer.. from their I got into Death Metal, but after a couple years got bored with that, and realized Thrash Metal was what I really loved. With Scott joining the band, I definitely discovered a love for speed metal and more traditional metal too. As we progress with our song writing I'm noticing that Joe Thrasher is a lot more diverse than just a Thrash band, and I'm digging that diversity.

I have no love at all for controversies, but sometimes they are unavoidable. Did you choose to auto-produce your albums due to a lack of reasonable offers by music labels? If the answer is yes, which elements should a label take into consideration when choosing to support Joe Thrasher?

Releasing "Cries Of War" with our own money just made the most sense. We had some labels with different offers, but at the end of the day, we decided our best bet was just do it ourselves, and then work with as many distro points as possible. The labels that we were talking with... it' would've been great to get the help, but we would've barely broken even on the initial pressing (maybe even lost money).. doing it ourselves, we stand to make some money on the initial pressing of the same number of units. We're all for getting label support.. and are actively looking for someone to press "Cries Of War" to vinyl and maybe re-release "Metal Forces"... and at this point, our overhead (recording/artwork costs, etc) are almost taken care of, so the finances of it are less of an issue now. Bottom line is, a label would need to have a passion for what we're doing and give us a fair share, that will help us move forward.

You have been active as a band for almost a decade already; how did you evolve in this period of time? Which are, in your opinion, the most difficult obstacles you have had to overcome? And have you felt a sense of release when publishing your two albums?

I've already touched on how we've evolved, but when we started writing songs (prior to Scott joining) our songs were pretty pure Thrash. Fast, more technical, not as straight ahead. With Scott's influence, our songs, while still having a heavy thrash component... our songs flow better now and make more sense.. like you pointed out, straigh ahead. For me, something that makes a great song, is keeping it's structure fairly simple. It needs to be cohesive through the whole song. When you start working with odd time signatures and complex riffs, care needs to be taking how that fits in with the rest of the song, if you want to have a great song at the end that people can easily identify with. Also having some vocals that make you sing along... a catchy chorus, or cool little hooks that grab you. We've definitley got a lot more of that going on now. With Thrasher it seems like all our obstacles are fairly easily overcome.. like they are all just a natural progression to get to something better, like members leaving - none of that has ever been an obstacle for us, just a gateway to get us to something better, and picking up where they left off was never hard, easy transitions. It's an amazing release to have an album finished and in your hands. It's all fun recording... Scott and I do all our recording at home, ourselves.. so sometimes we lose motivation to get it done... and then we drag our heels and the whole project starts to drag on, and then it starts to become a bit of a stress to get the shit finished. Its an amazing feeling to see all the hard work at the end come to fruition with a physical CD in your hand.. a great release for sure. It also kind of closes one door and opens a new exciting one, so that's great too!

If you had the chance to present "Metal Forces" and "Cries Of War" to someone who still haven't listened to them, which songs would you pick as the most representative of your music, and which words would you use to describe both your works?

Listen to them all.. they are short albums... like 20 songs and collectively about an hour of music. Fast and hard.. nothing wasted there.. some highlights for me: "SST", "Speed Kills", "Homicide", "We Are The Ones", "Cries Of War".. it's great stuff though "Metal Forces" is more raw, less polished.. Great songs. We did all of that ourselves with the help of our friend Scott Cameron with the mixing. We recorded the drums ourselves, which ended up giving us a lot of challenges later in the mixing stage! hah. "Cries of War"; the song writing is better, our playing is better, the production is better, the artwork is better.. we brought everything up a few notches with "Cries Of War".

If I think about the Canadian Thrash scene there are some names that immediately come to my mind, such as Voivod, Sacrifice, Slaughter, Razor or Annihilator. What have been (and still is) their contribution to this style? What is your opinion about each one of them?

I think are biggest influences from the Canadian scene are more from Annihilator, Anvil, EXciter. Anvil has a great rock vibe and groove. Exciter has a fierce energy. Annihilator has killer guitar work and super tight. The other bands you've mentioned didn't have a huge impact on me, but all have made a huge contribution to the Canadian Metal scene and did great things to lay that foundation. Others worth noting... Piledriver, and more recently Goat Horn, Aggressor, Fatality, Metalian, they stand out in my field of vision.

How would you describe the current Canadian Thrash scene? Is there any band that you would suggest to listen to and, eventually, to support by buying their albums?

Again.. Aggressor, Fatality, Metalian. Further more.. Signs of Chaos, Sanktuary, Skull Fist, Diemonds, Goat Horn, Cauldron... so many killer metal bands in Canada right now the list goes on and on.. I'm missing some great ones I just can't think of at the moment.

Every now and then someone comes out with the good old story about the need to support underground realities, while, strangely, websites are swamped with reviews and articles about mainstream bands, such as Megadeth and Metallica (and oh so many more), which lately have given us nothing but growingly boring products (the "Lulu"/"Beyond Magnetic" combo is really dishearthening). Don't you think that it is terribly counter-productive to give credit to such bands only by virtue of their long gone past, without considering that in the last 20 years they haven't produced any decent music at all?

Well I'm not going to bash on any of those bands... Bands like Metallica, they are great. They have the legacy, and maybe their music isn't as hard as it was in 1983, but they are doing what they love making a living doing it and still making thousands, if not millions of people happy doing it. My hats off to them. The "Lulu", it's great to see a band like Metallica being experimental like that. Even with the "Load" albums, while maybe not up the Heavy "Puppets" Standards.. they had some great songs on those. Underground bands need to work hard to get their exposure, where ever you can find it. Getting that exposure is definitely an uphill battle, but you just need to striving to get a bit more exposure, and try to be creative with how to get new exposure. The people out their supporting underground bands - thats great and my thanks goes to all of them.

Did you have the chance to play the songs from "Cries Of War" on stage?

Yeah!! We play all those songs live.. and have been long before "Cries of War" actually came out. They are all great songs that are really fun to play and go over well live!

How would you describe your first live gig? and the last one? Is there any anecdote of funny fact related to any of your venues that you would like to share with us?

Our first gig was in a Pita shop. Small crowd.. I remember I was sick as fuck with a sore throat, and almost cancelled.. it was a last minute gig and we were dying to get out and play!.. our first "real" gig was about a week later with Goat Horn and Rammer.. and it was amazing. The place was packed to the nines.. First time the bar did a metal show, and they weren't prepared hah. I remember half way through the night the bar sold out of booze!! hah. Our last gig was awesome, at this newer venue in Ottawa - The Brass Monkey.. awesome place for metal shows.. it's really a pool hall, with a stage setup. Decent stage, decent sound, cheap beer.. the gigs there are so much fun, really relaxing good ole party time! We've played a lot of gigs over the past eight years and a lot of them have been amazing, magic nights. Here's a good story.. which inspired "Metal til you Puke" off Cries of War. Right before the Anvil movie got big, we played a bunch of shows with them. On night in Ottawa, Robbo was playing like a madman on the drums as always... doode is one of my favourite drummers and one of the worlds greatest. I'm grateful I've had the oppurtunity to watch him play from a few feet away... anyway after Anvil finished he started puking like crazy.. METAL TIL YOU PUKE! After he told me he wasn't feeling right about half way through the set, but still pounded it out like a champ. METAL TIL YOU PUKE!! We joked about "metal til you puke" after and shortly after that I started writing the tune, which was a bit of a tribute to Anvil.

Is there a festival to which you would like to take part? Or a band with which you would like to play together on stage?

Oh hell yes!!! Any festival.. bring 'em all on!! Wacken would definitely be near the top of that list, but any of them.. In Canada, Heavy TO/Heavy MTL, D-Tox Rockfest, Bluesfest. In the States, Rock on the Range, Ozzfest?? elsewhere.... The Sonisphere stuff, Download, Headbangers Open Air, etc, etc, any festival no matter how big or small I'd love to play. Bands I'd want to play with.. just about anyone and everyone. All the touring metal bands would be awesome to play with.

Five albums that changed your life and five albums that you regret having listened to?

The first life changing musical moment for me was Marty McFly playing Johnny B Goode in "Back to the Future". That made me want to play music and rock out!
Life Changers:
G'n'R - "Use Your Illusion 1&2"
Ozzy - "No More Tears"
AC/DC - "Back In Black"
Pantera - "Cowboys From Hell"
Metallica - "Black Album"
Regretful listens... I don't really have any. If I think it's a crap album, I will try to absorb that as something I don't want to do musically and avoid it in the future.

What do you see in your future as a band? Do you have any programs? Maybe your already working on another album, or...

Onward and upward. We have a lot more music in us and we have big dreams. We've kept this going for nearly 10 years already, this is the band the three of us are meant to be in. This is just the start.

I'm done! This is the conclusion of our interview, I offer you the chance to end it with any words you find fitting...

Thanks for the oppurtunity doode, was really great working on this with. Thanks for all your support. For all the metal fans out there... check us out!!! tons of cool stuff to listen to/watch/read, etc, etc!!! Big Thanks to everyone thats supporting us and helping make our dreams come true! METAL!!!!

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