ROCKTHOUGHT.COM vs. THE METAL ADVISOR
By now, hopefully you know there’s one thing we just about absolutely adore doing around here – and that’s talking about music. And we enjoy talking about music with other kindred writers and bloggers who equally adore talking about music. When it comes to heavy metal, one of our favorite blogs to visit with is run by The Metal Advisor. And recently, I was able to snag a short Q&A with TMA to chat-up about metal, digital media trends, and more random rockomania. Actually…what was intended to be a short interview turned into a longer than expected interview. Because…well, you know…music freaks have a tendency to get carried away from time to time. My dag-on recorder went dead mid-stream for crissakes.
RT: I really dig your blog, mate. You’ve exposed me to a lot of new (and relatively obscure) metal bands. What inspired you to start TMA?
TMA: I was near the end of my sophomore year at college, and I just wanted some kind of an efficient way to share music with my dad and maybe a couple of my friends who were into metal. But while doing it, I decided that I really enjoyed what I was doing, and thought that I might want to make a career out of it – maybe as a music critic or something.
RT: What were some of the first posts that you wrote about when you first got going?
TMA: When I first got started, I just kind’ve started posting songs, giving a little blurb or background about the band and what I thought about them. But after a while, it got to where I started doing full-blown reviews of albums, and such. As things progressed, I kind’ve started to feel my writing getting stronger. I started getting more into it, more passionate about writing and blogging about music.
RT: So, you’re headed to France. Will you be seeking out some metal entertainment?
TMA: Absolutely. When I’m not with my class, I’ve already decided I’ll be searching for some local record stores, maybe trying to check out some local bands. I’d really like to hit up a jazz club or two, and see what that’s like over there. I’m actually doing a big research paper on the history of jazz in France. So, it’ll be great to really get a good feel for what that’s all about.
RT: As a metal fan, what were some of the first albums that influenced you the most?
TMA: Metal-related? Pretty much anything!
RT: Come on. Maiden? Metallica? Motorhead? What was it?
TMA: Well, my parents still tell me these stories today where…even all the way back to 2 years-old…that I would beg and beg and beg them to put on Powerslave by IRON MAIDEN.
My mom said she used to look back into the car-seat and find me headbanging the entire time – to the entire Powerslave album. To this day, that’s been my favorite metal album. And I’ve never really found anything that’s been able to surpass that.
TMA: Yeah, she was kind’ve disturbed by some of the album artwork and Eddie and the whole thing. So she ended up throwing out all of my tapes, once. But as I got older, she got used to it. Powerslave, and IRON MAIDEN in general, is still sort of the defining album/band behind my love of metal.
RT: That’s pretty rad, man. So…from MAIDEN you’ve progressed along to some pretty wild and heavy bands. What are some of your other favs?
TMA: Well, SKELETONWITCH for sure. Every semester we actually get some band or an artist to come play on campus. I requested them. I know that’s not gonna happen, but it was fun. DEMOLITION HAMMER is another one.
RT: Yeah, what’s up with them?
TMA: Well, it’s like thrash metal. But it’s like thrash metal taken to the extreme. It’s wicked fast. Extreme amounts of double-bass. Completely vicious vocals. The whole damn thing is just vicious as hell. If you’re into SKELETONWITCH, you’ll probably totally dig them.
RT: What else?
TMA: KLABAUTAMANN is another wicked black metal band that fuses a kind of lounge music with their sound. There’s like this whole black metal assault, and then there’s these cool jazzy/loungey transitions that are just awesome. GOD DETHRONED is another one. They just recently split-up. But they’re a crazy wicked fast and heavy death metal band. CHTHONIC, too. They’re a black metal band from Taiwan, and they actually did a tour with SKELETONWITCH. They started out as pure black metal, but on their last album, they kind’ve went a little more melodic death metal. But they use all of these traditional Taiwanese instruments. There’s some cool chanting in there, and some really cool cultural influences in their music.
RT: What’s the ONE album that you just can’t get enough of right now?
TMA: Actually, one of them isn’t even a metal album at all. It’s a record by LIL called Lips In Lush. It’s like house and acid-house music. It’s been really addicting. And its got a nice groove to it. Sometimes I just need an electronic diversion. There’s been a ton of metal records, but the latest CHTHONIC album is insane. I really like the cultural vibe going on there. They made an English version, as well as a Taiwanese version.
RT: What was the last live show you went to?
TMA: URIAH HEEP in June, actually. I got to meet the band, and hang out with them for a bit. It was awesome.
RT: What’s your perspective on the social web and its effect on the music industry?
TMA: Well, I always have differing opinions on it. I love how the web enables smaller bands to get out there easier, faster, etc. I love how easily you can discover just an endless amount of music, and just be entertained forever.
But, sometimes, it also makes the listening experience a very solitary one. People are listening to these great bands, alone, or on the go. People don’t really get together anymore, in person, and share music via listening parties, or backyard barbecues, etc.
The sound quality thing, too, just drives me nuts. People don’t understand that when you rip CDs, you lose sound quality. ITunes gets away with selling lower quality song files all the time, and it drives me nuts. I’m an audiophile nerd, so that kind of thing is important to me.
RT: It’s interesting you say that. Many folks I know have no real concept of sound quality, or an appreciation for all of the instruments and intricacies that go into making a good song.
TMA: Yeah, I mean…the way people listen to music now has completely changed. Most people listen to music on the go, on an iPod, or some other device with a bunch of crappy illegally downloaded digital song files. Very few people actually sit down and enjoy the experience anymore.
RT: That’s a great point, too. I see a lot of people listening intently with headphones. But I often wonder – do people actually listen to what they’re hearing? Or, is it just for the sake of “tuning out” or having background noise?
TMA: Yeah, I think most people just listen to stuff for the background noise. They’re not really listening to the music.
RT: So, what are some of your favorite sites to discover new music?
TMA: One of my favorites is Metal Archives. I also enjoy exploring around with Last.fm. There is a great community of heavy music fans on there who really enjoy talking about music. It’s not littered-up with knuckleheads and meaningless commentary yet. In other words, you can actually share meaningful dialogue with some cool folks who actually get it.
RT: Do you have any favorite brick-and-mortar record stores/shops you like to visit?
TMA: Well, I often order a lot of records from Amazon. But when I’m in Denver, CO – I almost always go to Twist & Shout Records. They just have an unbelievable selection of metal records, vinyl, and rare and obscure CDs and DVDs that you can’t find just anywhere. Rasputin Music and Amoeba Music, in San Francisco, are also a couple of other killer record shops. Locally, I often go to Vibes Music when I can. They’re pretty rockin’ over there, too.
RT: So, which albums do you plan on putting on your 2011 ‘Best Of’ list this year?
TMA: Well, that’s such a tough question to answer. But I’d definitely put the new SKELETONWITCH record on there, for sure. I’ll probably end up putting this new CHTHONIC record on there. And the new IMMOLATION EP, too. After that, I’d have to think about it a bit more because I’m honestly drawing a blank at the moment!
RT: Do you have any new ideas or plans for the TMA blog in 2012?
TMA: I really want to work on promoting it a bit more, for sure. I want to work harder at spreading the word about all of this great music that’s out there. I really want to be able to write more and generally just do whatever I can to expand its readership. As you know, the challenge is always finding the time amidst school, jobs, and all of our other goings-on. It gets tough trying to stay in a consistent writing routine, and to really focus on writing quality pieces. There’s an awful lot going on out there to get easily distracted by.
RT: Yeah, tell me about it. Well, I know we could sit here and chew the fat all night, mate. But we gotta wind’er down. Any last words you want to share with us?
TMA: Well, first of all – I really want to thank you for this opportunity. And I thank you for following The Metal Advisor. I also want to thank all of your readers and followers for tuning-in, as well. I always enjoy talking about music and I really appreciate the chance to share my thoughts and passions with like-minded music fans. I also want to recommend to everyone reading to follow Gogmagogical, too. He runs a great blog over there. He’s a great writer, and he’s always talking about a lot of heavy bands that I like, too. And because after all…music truly is – tremendous.