Archive for May, 2014

Put your fucking horns up it’s time to rock! Welcome to the very first edition of Metal Empire Radio. If you’re interested in being feature on the next episode of Metal Empire Radio then get in touch at send you track and a short band bio, and we’ll give your track a listen and if we like it, we’ll include it in the next episode.

This episode includes the following tracks:

Track 1: I am Abomination – Since 1776
Track 2: Threat Signal – Counterbalance
Track 3: System Of A Down – Prison Song
Track 4: Soul Sanctuary – Heart Attack
Track 5: Black Label Society – Faith Is Blind
Track 6: Killswitch Engage – Holy Diver
Track 7: Bring Me The Horizon – House Of Wolves
Track 8: Ready, Set, Fall! – Skyscrapers
Track 9: Deftones – Be Quiet And Drive
Track 10: All That Remains – This Calling
Track 11: Sonic Syndicate – Aftermath
Track 12: Bullet For My Valentine – Breaking Out Breaking Down
Track 13: Cypress Hill – Trouble
Track 14: Breaking Benjamin – Diary Of Jane
Track 15: Sons Of – Hold On
Track 16: Crossfade – Colors
Track 17: Disturbed – Voices
Track 18: Godsmack – Straight Out Of Line
Track 19: A Day To Remember – All I want
Track 20: Anal Cunt – I Don;t Wanna Dance
Track 20: Raging Speedhorn – Thumper
Track 22: Misery Signal – Dream Atlantic
Track 23: Lamb Of God – Walk With Me In Hell
Track 24: In Flames – Come Clarity
Track 25: Drowning Pool – All Over Me
Track 26: Saliva – After Me
Track 27: August Burns Red – The Truth Of A Liar
Track 28: Mudvayne – Dig
Track 29: Pantera – 5 Minutes Alone
Track 30: Skan – Beyond Thrones

The post Metal Empire Radio – May 2014 appeared first on Metal Empire.

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Xander Demos has played guitar with metal legend, James Rivera (Helstar, Malice), Sabbath Judas Sabbath, and he recently fronted his own solo band at festivals like Wolf Fest, Rock Harvest II and Skull Fest. He has performed at NAMM Metal Jam in Hollywood, with 40 of the best in heavy metal musicians. He is also scheduled to appear in the upcoming movie, Hair I Go Again, which is currently filming.

Xander’s youtube videos have received 100s of thousands of views, and his album, Guitarcadia, was mixed by CJ Snare of the band, Firehouse. His newest single release (attached) was mixed by JK Northrup of King Kobra/XYZ Fame, and it will be on an upcoming Guitar Wizards compilation. He is endorsed with Suhr, Conklin and McNaught Guitars, who recently manufactured the first Xander Demos signature guitar model, XD727.

Xander Demos – Interview

Metal Empire: Would you care to introduce yourself for our audience? What is your name and what do you play?

Xander Demos: Sure! My name is Xander Demos, pronounced like DEE-muss, and not like a pre-production recording. Haha. I play guitar (pretty well, they tell me) in my band, XDB, as well as in some side projects. I’ve recorded with Ged Rylands, on his critically acclaimed “Rage Of Angels” CD, and I’ve performed with Sabbath Judas Sabbath and in James Rivera’s solo band, among others.

Metal Empire: What is the band up to at the moment? Is there something you’re working on currently?

Xander Demos: Yes! We’re working on the follow-up album to my first, Guitarcadia. That album was mixed by CJ Snare of Firehouse, and he’ll be doing some work on this one, as well. The new album is called, Dancing Through Daggers, and the title single is already out. It was mixed by JK Northrup of King Kobra/XYZ. We’re hoping to have it ready by mid-June, but it might be a bit later than that.

Metal Empire: You have an upcoming performance at Skull Fest and Rock N Skull how did those shows come about? Are you looking forward to them?

Xander Demos: Well, my manager, Michael Stover of MTS Management hooked me up with Justin Murr of Liberty N’ Justice, and we did some recording on one of LNJ’s albums. Justin has been really cool, and when he and Arttie Parker started putting together Skull Fest last year, Michael approached Justin about having XDB on the line up. We were incredibly lucky to get on the bill. It was a 3 day extravaganza of some of the best hard rock and metal acts, who were really big in the 90s, and are still putting out amazing music today. So, when this year’s lineups were being put together, we were stoked to be among the first acts asked to come back. Both events are going to be epic, but I’m really looking forward to backing John Elefante of Kansas at Skull Fest. That’s going to be amazing.

Metal Empire: Can you tell us a little bit more about your upcoming album “Dancing Through Daggers”? Does the album have any themes to it? Is there an message or idea behind the albums creation?

Xander Demos: Well, initially, it was going to be a concept album. I had just gone through some personal issues, that I’d rather not talk about, haha. We’ll leave that in the past…but anyways, it gave me the inspiration to get these ideas out and down on tape, if you will. This album will be different from the first one, in that it’s definitely got more of a band vibe to it. The first one was pretty much me, with friends and studio cats, playing the parts. Now, I’ve got a band in XDB, and we’ve been playing together for the past couple of years. So, it’s tighter, and has more vocals, whereas the last one was mostly instrumental guitar. I think fans of the first one will really dig it, but we’re moving in more of a mainstream direction, too…as far as the vocals. Priest, Maiden and Queensryche fans will definitely be into it, I think.

Metal Empire: Apart from the shows we’ve mentioned already, is there any other performances you are looking forward to over the next 12 months?

Xander Demos: We’ve got a couple coming up, in the next month, that are going to be incredible. We’re opening for Primal Fear on May 23rd and Stryper on June 12th. Both shows should be sold out. We’ve got a few other festivals in the works, and I’ll be doing some solo guest spots, and playing in some of my other projects, too. It’s going to be a busy summer and fall, for sure.

Xander Demos XDB

Xander Demos XDB

Metal Empire: Can you talk about your production process? How do you go about writing new material?

Xander Demos: Writing usually spawns from me jamming on the guitar. I try to practice several hours per day, to keep my chops up, and usually that leads to a riff coming. I’ll get that riff and then, come up with some chord progressions, followed by a melody. If it’s a vocal tune, Mario, our singer, will come up with a melody and some lyrical ideas. We’ve been collaborating a lot more on this album, as I said. We do all of the production in the Shark Nest, my home studio. Then, we bring in CJ or JK to mix at their studio. The beauty of the internet…haha.

Metal Empire: What and who are some of your major influences? Is there anyone that stands out among your musical heroes?

Xander Demos: Shawn Lane..amazing player. One of the best, for sure. Also, Guthrie Govan, purely awesomesauce. Then, there are the more mainstream guys like Vai, Malmsteen and Satriani, Vandenberg, Brad Gillis, of course, Neal Schon of Journey. I like the guys who could play melodically, but also had the technical skill to shred. That’s how I like to brand myself, you know?

Metal Empire: Who is your favourite artist that you have shared the stage with in your career as a musician?

Xander Demos: That’s a tough one! We just opened for Kevin Chalfant’s Journey Experience, so it was kind of cool to play with the guy who sang in Journey for a bit. The Buckethead show was incredible. Opening for him was amazing, because we were doing a lot of instrumental stuff then. So, our crowds were very similar. We had terrific reaction. All the bands at Skull Fest last year…my buds in Ghost of War, a band out of central PA that is tearing it up right now. We jammed with them at Rock Harvest last year. Amazing. Metal Church was a fantastic show, as well. Man, there are just so many! All of those artists are incredible. We’ve been very lucky to play with some unbelievable acts.

Metal Empire: Is there any band or artist you would give anything to play a show with? If so, who are they and why?

Xander Demos: For me, Journey. I am just such a huge fan, and I think it would be amazing to play IN Journey. Haha. Although, I hear Whitesnake is looking for another guitarist now that Aldrich has left. Dave…give me a call! I think Journey is timeless, melodic, and technical. That’s the kind of music I want to put out. Just a little heavier.

Metal Empire: What are you hopes for the future? Where do you see yourself as an artist this time next year or the year after?

Xander Demos: I see us continuing to grow with our music releases. Of course, more touring and hopefully, getting to the point where we can tour and make money, do some headlining tours. I’d love to play some of the large outdoor festivals. They are always fun. I did one called the Metal Warriors Open Air Fest with James Rivera, as the headliner, and it was about the best time, ever! I also see myself, personally, putting out some more instrumental “solo” stuff. I’ve got a lot of that music inside, as well. I think the fans can embrace that, as well as the more mainstream vocal stuff. I just want to keep the train moving on the tracks.

Metal Empire: If I was to turn up at a show, what should I expect from you in terms of music and showmanship? Is there any crazy stuff you do to pull the crowd?

Xander Demos: Crazy? Not really. We’re all about the technical aspects of the music. The guys in XDB are all virtuosos in their own right. I want our audience to watch and listen and be blown away by the sheer power of the music. Of course, we put on a great show and get the crowd involved. I know how to headbang with the best of them, haha. But, when it comes to crazy, I want the music to be the craziness people witness.

Metal Empire: What’s your favourite thing about being a musician? What got you started on the path of playing the guitar?

Xander Demos: The chicks. Haha. When I started out, I was a drummer. I did the Eddie Van Halen thing, and switched to guitar, because I saw all the “Guitar Gods” on MTV, and said, I gotta be THAT.

Metal Empire: When did you realise you had a passion for rock and metal, over other genres of music?

Xander Demos: Well, the style just lends itself to my playing, first of all. It’s all about attitude and the other genres don’t have that. I couldn’t see myself shredding over a pop song. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like all styles of music, to listen to, and I’ve even metallized some Gaga songs in the past, to get the girls dancing. I also like to listen to classical and some other stuff, too. But, for me, when it comes to playing, it’s all about metal. There’s nothing better than being on stage and seeing a room full of horns up and headbanging going on.

Metal Empire: Do you receive much fan mail, and if so what’s the craziest, creepiest or coolest thing you’ve ever gotten from a fan?

Xander Demos: We don’t really get “fan mail.” It’s more social media stuff, now. Although, I’m a huge shark fan, and I’ve gotten shark teeth thrown at me on stage. I think they meant it in a cool way…at least I hope. They must have, to know that I am a fan of sharks, right? Hmmm…

Metal Empire: What’s your favourite TV Show?

Xander Demos: Friends.

Metal Empire: You’re trapped on a desert Island, what do you take with you?

Xander Demos: A laptop, Journey’s Greatest Hits and a phone (to call for help)

Metal Empire: Thank you for taking the time to speak to Metal Empire about what you do. Do you have any final words, or anything you would like to add?

Xander Demos: Hey, thanks for having me. It’s been a great interview. I really enjoyed the diversity of the questions. Hope you can stop out and see us sometime, live. Thanks to the fans for always supporting us. Get ready for a crazy summer and fall 2014!

Xander Demos – Links

Merch: http://www.xanderdemos.bigcartel

Xander Demos (XDB) – “Dancing Through Daggers”

The post Xander Demos: Guthrie Govan Is “Purely Awesomesauce” XDB (Interview) appeared first on Metal Empire.

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Figures Of Light is an American proto-punk band formed in 1970 by Wheeler Winston Dixon and Michael Downey. They record on Norton Records and their own label, F O L Records. Figures Of Light‘s first concert on July 23, 1970 was recorded in stereo, complete with the television smashing finale. The complete “TV Smashing Concert” was finally released on March 1, 2013 in a limited edition multicolored vinyl 12″ LP on Norton Records. As Miriam Linna of Norton Records put it, “the live LP makes ‘Metal Machine Music‘ sound like Mantovani… that ‘lost’ album is one of my fave records of all time.” Their first single, “It’s Lame,” recorded in 1972, led to their rediscovery by Norton Records in 2006. Since then, they have put out at least ten CDs, including “Smash Hits,” “Drop Dead,” “Lost and Found” and their most recent CD, “Buy Before You Die.

Figures Of Light – Interview

Metal Empire: Would you care to introduce yourselves for the Metal Empire audience?

Figures Of Light (WWD): I’m Wheeler Winston Dixon, co-founder of Figures Of Light, along with Michael Downey. We started out on our long strange trip in the summer of 1970. I sing lead vocals, co-write the songs with Michael, and very occasionally play guitar. I also run our label, FOL Records, and maintain our website at and our Vimeo channel

Figures Of Light (MD): I’m Michael Downey. I play guitar and co-author songs for the band.

Metal Empire: Does the band name Figures of Light have a meaning? How did it come about?

Figures Of Light (WWD): Most people think it comes from Carl Jung – who said that “one does not become enlightened by imagining Figures of Light, but by making the darkness conscious” – but actually the concept is first found in the writings of John Milton and William Blake. What it means to us is that in a world of lies, we’re Figures of Light – we tell the rather sardonic truth about things, at least as we see it, and we don’t pull any punches, as songs like “It’s Lame” or “Buy Before You Die” would suggest. Or, as one of our fans put it recently, “one becomes conscious by imagining Figures Of Light – and listening to them.” That’s our view.

Figures Of Light (MD): Wheeler came up with the name. I think it’s from Blake.

Figures Of Light - Buy Before You Die

Figures Of Light – Buy Before You Die

Metal Empire: What is the band up to at the moment? Is there something you’re working on currently?

Figures Of Light (WWD): We just released our latest CD, “Buy Before You Die,” which contains the title cut and six other tracks; it’s been in heavy rotation on WFMU since it came out, and was recorded in a single day – January 25, 2014. We also recorded another album the same day, “Feedback Music,” which is a recreation of a 1971 concert we gave, using nothing but tuned guitars. It’s two chord rock all the way.

Figures Of Light (MD): I’m always working on new stuff. Wheeler and I live far apart so collaboration can be tricky.

Metal Empire: You guys started in 1970, how do you feel the music scene has changed in all that time?

Figures Of Light (WWD): We grew up in the The Velvet Underground/Stooges era, and then came The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, The Cramps, The Troggs and many other great bands, all of which we got a chance to see live, many times. Now, it seems that pop music is totally prepackaged, and we really can’t get too excited about pre-digested pop. Miley Cyrus? No thanks. She should do whatever she wants, but it’s not for me. I like some EDM, but for me, mostly, it’s two chord rock that works.

Figures Of Light (MD): The music scene of today is totally different. The internet and digital recording has resulted in a huge increase in available music, while at the same time it has made getting recognized problematic, and it has made making money from recording exceedingly difficult for all but a handful of artists.

Figures Of Light - Smash Hits

Figures Of Light – Smash Hits

Metal Empire: Your first single was called “It’s Lame.” How was the reaction of the media and the public at the time of its release, compared to the reaction when it was re-released in 2006?

Figures Of Light (WWD): Our first single was invisible — we cut 100 copies and that was it. We took it physically, since we lived right outside of New York City, to the A&R people at every label in the city, and got turned down flat every time. Don Imus, a famous American shock jock, actually broke a copy in two which Michael skimmed at him during a remote broadcast at the Port Authority Bus Terminal – he simply wouldn’t play it. Even William Terry Ork, who was a personal friend and managed the great band Television told us it was “no good.” So when Norton called me up in 2006 out of the blue, having found a copy of the single at a record swap, and wanted to re-release it pronto, I was amazed. Variety’s pop music critic actually called it “the single of the year.” So we were off and running.

Figures Of Light (MD): “It’s Lame” received no reaction from either the public, who never got to hear it, or the media in 1972. When Norton re-released it in 2006, we received quite a lot of favorable attention from several media outlets and radio stations.

Metal Empire: Figures Of Light’s very first concert was recorded when the members had only been playing for a month before you hit the stage – which is totally insane. What brought about the concert and the bands formation?

Figures Of Light (WWD): None of us could play instruments, which we thought was a great place to start. We were seeing The Velvet Underground every weekend at Max’s Kansas City in NYC — their last stand, as it turned out – and so they definitely inspired us by their example. So we rented a bunch of huge Marshall amps, some guitars, a trash drum set, all for nothing, and practiced in the apartment Michael and I shared in New Brunswick, NJ. The other members of the band were Phil Cohen, on lead guitar, and Dennis Druzbik, on bass. I played slide guitar open tuned to “E”, handled vocals, and Michael played rhythm guitar. We wrote a bunch of original material, including “It’s Lame,” and then jumped up stage before 400 people or so and played a lot of feedback rock and roll for a totally frenzied audience. Non stop screaming! Listen to the record. They were out of their minds!

Figures Of Light (MD): We were young punks who wanted to be rock and rollers. What we lacked in brains and musicianship, we made up for with nerve. Did I mention that we didn’t even own instruments, we just rented them?

Metal Empire: The whole concert was recorded in stereo, in a time when such a thing was probably not very common for new an upcoming acts, who was behind the recording?

Figures Of Light (WWD): Jeanne Ford, who recorded the first 1970 concert, was a tech whiz, and she just set up the microphones and went for it. The vocal PA system punked out minutes before we went on, so I just shouted out the lyrics over the band. So the vocals on the first concert LP are buried. Other than that, it’s really clean. She did a great job.

Figures Of Light (MD): The concert was supposed to also be filmed. There was a problem of some sort with the camera and nothing wound up being filmed, but we did get the audio on a reel to reel.

Figures Of Light (WWD): That’s right. There was a guy filming the whole thing in 16mm color with a portable Arriflex camera, which would have been great, but the film jammed in the gate and nothing came out but a blur. Bummer.

Figures Of Light - TV Smashing Concert

Figures Of Light – TV Smashing Concert

Metal Empire: You also smashed an impressive 15 TV sets on stage that night. Smashing things has always been a very Rock n Roll thing to do, but was it just for showmanship, or was there a particular message or feeling you were trying to convey to the audience?

Figures Of Light (WWD): Yes, we smashed 15 TV sets to smithereens, inspired by the British band The Move’s single Night of Fear. It was a protest against the mediocrity of the media, as is the song “It’s Lame.” Little did we realize how terrible TV would later become; at the time, looking back, there were a lot of old movies on all the time, and how, it’s just talk shows and sports.

Figures Of Light (MD): For me anyway, the set smashing was a gimmick to draw people in so we budding rock stars would have an audience to play for. We drew about 400 people. The set smashing was actually dangerous and dumb which was obvious after the fact. The 400 people vanished very quickly when we were done, leaving us to clean up the mess and haul it to the dump the next day in a rented truck.

Metal Empire: Who was the one who drove the motorbike down the main aisle of the concert hall?

Figures Of Light (WWD): That was Dennis, our bassist.

Figures Of Light (MD): Yes, Dennis D.

Metal Empire: Who were the poor guys who had to clear it all up afterwards?

Figures Of Light (WWD): Whom do you think? We did, in a huge truck, and then we took everything to the dump the next morning. Looking back, of course, the whole thing was madness. But madness in the best possible spirit of things, I think.

Figures Of Light (MD): The band had to clean up the mess.

Metal Empire: You’ve had the concert cut to 12″ Vinyl, in an age where record stores aren’t exactly on every street corner anymore. Where can fans go to pick it up?

Figures Of Light (WWD): Fans should go to Norton Records Website, where they can buy this invaluable, multi-colored (each LP is different) LP for a mere $15. There’s also copies floating around on Amazon, so you could try that, too.

Figures Of Light (MD): As Wheeler says, go to the Norton Website. There may be a stray independent record store or two that carries it.

Figures Of Light - Lost And Found

Figures Of Light – Lost And Found

Metal Empire: Figures Of Light went on long term hiatus in 1972 and only came back in 2006; what prompted the reunion after such a long time away from the stage?

Figures Of Light (WWD): Well, we weren’t getting any record deals, and this ticked us off; also, The Velvet Underground had broken up, and they weren’t anything as popular as they are today, which depressed us — and we couldn’t get into the studio. So in 1972 Jeff Travers engineered our single “It’s Lame” and when that didn’t go, we kinda gave up. We had been gigging around for two years, from 1970 to 1972, played a stack of concerts, but no one was giving us the time of day, so we decided to get on with our lives. What prompted our reunion was simple; Billy Miller of Norton Records, against all odds — and if you put this in a fictional short story, no one would believe it — found one copy of the 100 we pressed of “It’s Lame” at a record swap in a box marked “Soul Music,” played it, loved it, called me up, and wanted to put it out right away. And this time, some 34 years later — can you believe it? – it was a hit.

Figures Of Light (MD): Norton Records got hold of an original copy of “It’s Lame” and hunted Wheeler down on the internet. They wanted permission to re-release it. Wheeler contacted me, we agreed to let Norton put it out, and that was that.

Metal Empire: In December 2012 you started your band’s YouTube channel and have already accumulated over 6.7 million views and almost 16 thousand subscribers. Have you been at all surprised by the popularity your channel has had?

Figures Of Light (WWD): Totally surprised. It blows my mind. Actually, the channel was formally inaugurated as of May 2, 2013; I loaded up the first video in December of 2012, but didn’t really create the channel until May of 2013. As of May 11, 2014, we have had 7,184,120 views, for a total viewing time of 24,387,927 minutes — over 24 million minutes! – or a total viewing time of 46 years and 134 days. That’s insane! I really can’t explain it, except to say that people like our stuff, and it’s viewed around the world, and we get fan videos all the time, and I post them. That’s the equivalent of fan mail today; fan videos.

UPDATE: Figures Of Light Have closed their YouTube channel and Moved to Vimeo

Figures of Light Moves to Vimeo! from Figures of Light

Figures Of Light (MD): I’ve been totally astounded!

Metal Empire: Back in January 2014 you released two new CD’s “Feedback Music” and “Buy Before You Die” the first being more electronically oriented and the other more rock & roll based. What made you decide to create two such distinct pieces at the same time? What’s the story behind their creation?

Figures Of Light (WWD): “Feedback Music” was a recreation of a 1971 concert that was all feedback, using seven tuned guitars feeding back into the amps — just feedback, no songs —Figures Of Lightchine Music.” We recorded that it real time – about an hour – and that’s more my project than Michael’s. It’s a really intense CD. The best review we got of that was by a guy named Sir Jorge, who wrote that “modern bands like Sonic Youth, Refused, and even Drawn Close have played with this notion, but they are not the first to attempt it. Figures Of Light pulled out the electronic music vibe back on January 24, 1971 when the original members of the band Wheeler Winston Dixon, Michael Downey, and Phil Cohen presented a concert of feedback music at Brecht West Theater in New Brunswick, NJ, pushing the limits of what was thought to be music, and perhaps embarking on one of the first pieces of controlled chaos in live music history.” So the CD captures that. “Buy Before You Die” is more traditional rock and roll – two chord stuff, especially the title cut, about mindless consumerism. Michael’s favorite cut is “Killers From Space.” You can watch the videos for both albums on our Vimeo website, along with nearly everything else we’ve recorded, at

Figures Of Light (MD): The feedback piece was something Wheeler had long wanted to do. We booked a studio for a day, knocked off the feedback piece first, and used the rest of the time to record the rock and roll tunes. The studio was freezing but the music came out pretty hot.

Figures Of Light - It's Lame

Figures Of Light – It’s Lame

Metal Empire: Can you talk about your production process? How do you go about writing new material?

Figures Of Light (WWD): Sometimes I’ll come up with a riff, or Michael will come up with a riff, and then we’ll put some words to it, but mist of our songs just come out with music and lyrics attached; they just appear. Some our best songs like “World of Pain,” “Black Plague Blues,” “Buy Before You Die,” “Killers from Space” and the like are literally written in minutes flat. Michael cranks out killer riffs on a daily basis; he’s an excellent guitarist, and creates new stuff every day. But we’ve had to slow down lately, simply because we’ve been putting out so much. It’s time to let people digest the ton of material out there, stuff like “The Power” and “It’s A Scream,” both of which are EDM/heavy metal cuts co-created with DJ Chrisz, or “Ides of March,” a killer instrumental created by Michael, with a lead part by Stuart Pendergast, a brilliant British heavy metal guitarist who usually works with his own group, Hospital of Death. On that one, I functioned more as a producer than anything else. Between 1972 and now, we’ve put out something like ten CDs, with about eighty new cuts or so in all, so it’s time to let some of that sink in.

Figures Of Light (MD): When I write, I start just fooling around on my trusty Telecaster. If I stumble on something pleasing, I record it and then rework it. Sometimes I send an instrumental demo to Wheeler and sometimes he writes some words. We also write entire tunes separately.

Metal Empire: You guys have also started your own record label, can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Figures Of Light (WWD): We love working with Norton Records, and without them we wouldn’t even be here, but we’re been creating stuff that really isn’t up their alley some of the time, like the trance/metal stuff, and a stack of instrumentals. Also, they’ve got their own band, The A-Bones, and every time we recorded with Norton, we essentially “borrowed” the A-Bones rhythm section, and we couldn’t keep doing that. The best thing we did with Norton, and one of the best things we ever did, is the CD “Drop Dead,” which was cut in five hours, and produced by Mick Collins of The Dirtbombs and The Gories, and is one of the rawest things we ever did. Mick also played the leads on the album; just knocked them off, and they’re brilliant. There was so much material from that session that we had some cuts left over, including “I Give Up” and “Too Many Bills, Not Enough Thrills” that simply didn’t fit on the CD. So we asked Norton if we could put these additional cuts out ourselves, and they said OK, and FOL Records was born. Since then, we’ve put out a ton of CDs.

Figures Of Light (MD): We had a backlog of material which we wanted out fairly fast. The do-it-yourself approach seemed the way to go.

Figures of Light – Buy Before You Die

Figures of Light – Buy Before You Die – Lyrics Video from Figures of Light

Metal Empire: Your music is self-proclaimed proto-punk, how do you feel the punk movement has changed over the last 4 decades? Has the evolution of punk had any bearing on your own sound, or do you believe you exist far enough outside of the punk spectrum to have not really been effected by its influence?

Figures Of Light (WWD): We didn’t know we were proto-punk when we started, of course, because it was four years later before we first saw The Ramones. We thought we were simple garage rock, in the tradition of Count Five’s “Psychotic Reaction,” The Troggs, and other really simple, primitive bands. I hear a lot of music that I like today, from all different genres, but I always go back to two chord rock as my default – it never fails. As Lou Reed put it, “one chord is fine. Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you’re into jazz.” Keep it simple, and make it rock.

Figures Of Light (MD): Punk means so many different things to different people. The 1970s stuff was a reaction to some of the pretentious stuff that was dominating radio play. We were both around New York City and we would go to CBGBs and Max’s Kansas City to see The Ramones, Television, and several other local bands.

Metal Empire: What other genres have had a major influence on your sound?

Figures Of Light (WWD): Electronic dance music from Amsterdam in the late 1990s, more specifically 1999, the trance “summer of love” was a very positive force when it first appeared, but at this point EDM has become a kind of death music, and is exhausted. So again, I go back to basic rock and roll every time for inspiration.

Figures Of Light (MD): Here are some of my favorites to listen to: The Velvet Underground, the Pretty Things’ first 2 albums, the Rolling Stones from the Brian Jones era, plus Stax R&B and lots more.

Figures of Light – Tablet Promo

Figures of Light – Tablet Promo from Figures of Light

Metal Empire: Who are your favorite punk and proto-punk bands of the last 40 years?

Figures Of Light (WWD): The Ramones, The Stooges, The Cramps, The A-Bones, The Fugs, The Dirtbombs, The Nerves, The Troggs, Television, The Buzzcocks, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Joy Division, Section 25, Hole, Nirvana, Link Wray, T-Rex, The Pink Fairies, Little Richard (whom I saw once live; he was fantastic) — anything that really has power. I’m sure there are a lot of bands I’m forgetting here.

Figures Of Light (MD): I loved The Ramones and the Velvets. The New York Dolls and The Clash also rate high. And I’d be negligent if I didn’t mention the Cramps.

Figures Of Light (WWD): Yes, The New York Dolls. “Chatterbox” with Johnny Thunders – another great talent.

Metal Empire: You released a single “Leave Her Alone/Dreams of the Past” late last year; how has the reception to the single been?

Figures Of Light (WWD): “Leave Her Alone,” the A-side, has gotten a ton of plays on the Vimeo channel, and is really a more dreamy instrumental than we usually do, but people seem to have embraced it a lot. You see, we do so many different genres of music – punk, garage rock, chill, trance, instrumentals with a surf flavor – so we’re hard to pin down. That’s OK with me. Bands that have to constantly tour playing their “signature hits” all the time have my deepest sympathy. They can’t play anything new! That’s why we rarely perform live – we like to keep it for special occasions. Basically, at this point, we’re a studio band, which is the way we can have the most control over our music.

Figures Of Light (MD): A lot of folks have listened to it on Vimeo.

Metal Empire: Is there a message behind that single? What are you hoping to achieve with all the new music you’ve been releasing lately?

Figures Of Light (WWD): Pushing people in new directions; that’s the real aim. People always gravitate to the biggest hits, but it’s the music that comes from the margins that’s the most interesting and lasting. People forget that The Velvet Underground couldn’t get arrested when they first started out, or even ten years later; it was only after the band folded and Lou Reed went solo that their real influence began to be left. In short, the old story; the band packs it in, and suddenly they’re more popular than they ever were when they were actively performing. Look at The Ramones – a killer band, who didn’t really become iconic until three our of four members of the band were dead. Again, when they were at their peak, they played to really small clubs – except in England, where they were really big.

Figures Of Light (MD): I don’t write songs with messages.

Metal Empire: What do you think of the current digital musical landscape? Are you a friend or foe of the digital music format?

Figures Of Light (WWD): No point in debating it; this is the digital era, the era of streaming. Mp3s rule, whether you like it or not. You can get all of our music, from Norton Records and from our own label, FOL Records, at both Amazon and iTunes and let’s face it; that’s the format most people use today, just as movies are now shot almost entirely digitally, and physical film has become an obsolete medium. CDs are dead, DVDs are dead, physical books are dead – everyone has a Kindle – and film is dead; it’s all digital, all streaming. It doesn’t matter what you think about it; it’s simply a fact. Actually, I really like the digital world in that respect – it’s much easier to create work that way.

Figures Of Light (MD): Friend.

Metal Empire: As a band that has come from the era of analog recording studios. Do you prefer still working with analog and its warmth of sound, or do you like the freedom and ease of use that digital recording now allows artists to have?

Figures Of Light (WWD): See above; with digital, we can record a lead guitar part in London with Stuart Pendergast, for example, and add it to the mix in New York, and master the whole thing in Nebraska, where I live now. Without the web, it would be impossible for Michael and I to collaborate at a distance. I’m just not an analog purist anymore; I used to be, but now I really do see the convenience and ease of working digitally, and I love it.

Figures Of Light (MD): I like them both equally.

Metal Empire: What are your best/worst memories of New York in the 1970’s, along with clubs like CBGB and Studio 54? Is there any great stories you can tell us about these places?

Figures Of Light (WWD): I never, ever went to Studio 54. I hate disco – period. When punk first started, disco was so dominant that there was nothing else, and CBGB‘s was a dump in the Bowery that cost $2 to get in for three bands; the first time we saw The Ramones there, they shared the bill with Blondie and Talking Heads. And people were scared of punk, and warned people in the music industry to stay away from it – too loud, too raw, just like early rock an roll. But disco’s totally dead now, and punk rules – it’s stood the test of time. The best venue was CBGB‘s, and there was also a club named Mother’s on 23rd street where Television played all the time. And Danceteria, and The Palladium. You really, really didn’t want to use the bathroom at CBGB‘s — scary! But the music was great, and the bands played superb sets, and New York City in the 70s was ridiculously cheap. I lived in an 8th floor walkup at 203 East 14th Street with two bedrooms in 1971 that cost $62.50 a month. Later, I lived at 20 Christopher Street in a studio in the mid 70s for just $180 a month. Today, a two bedroom apartment on Avenue B in Manhattan costs $4,000 a month, which is insane. How can anyone live, or create, in such an environment? It’s all about money now, and Manhattan has become a museum of itself. Artists need cheap space to create work of any kind – music, film, whatever. Without that, you don’t get anything new – just commercial junk. That’s the real problem; the artists have been pushed out of the city.

Figures Of Light (MD): I never went near Studio 54. At CBGBs, I was just there to enjoy the music.

Figures Of Light - Too Many Bills

Figures Of Light – Too Many Bills, Not Enough Thrills

Metal Empire: Is there any band or artist you would give anything to play a show with? If so, who are they and why?

Figures Of Light (WWD): I would have loved to share a bill with The Cramps; I love their work. We shared a bill in 2011 at The Bell House in Brooklyn with The Sonics, and they were great; really kind, let us use their back line for our soundcheck. We did a set with this great LA band Luis and The Wildfires when we first signed up with Norton at Southpaw, which is now closed; they were also really solid. Dream bills? How about The Stones in 1964; The Stooges in 1969; The Velvets in 1966; I saw them all, but I would have loved to share a stage with them.

Metal Empire: Figures Of Light has been around for 44 years. What’s it been like being in a band for over 4 decades?

Figures Of Light (WWD): It’s weird. It’s followed a classic pattern; at first we couldn’t get arrested, or recorded; then we essentially shut down between 1972 and 2006; now we’re all over the place. I guess success whenever it comes is great, and I have no idea what would have happened if we’d gotten a label deal with Clive Davis at Columbia, for example, when we first started out – that was one of the people we met with. Frankly, at this point, we’re pretty much a studio band, and though we rock out in the studio, the rigors of touring and one night stands are just too much. Look at Bo Diddley, another great artist; he essentially died on the road, touring endless one night gigs. It’s great if you’re The Stones or Metallica, and have people to do all the grunt work for you, but we’re really at this point just two guys, who get together when we can.

Figures Of Light (MD): It doesn’t feel like 44 years because we were inactive for many of those years.

Metal Empire: Proto-punk is a pretty undefined genre with a great expanse of territory to explore. What does the genre mean to you in terms of the sound you create?

Figures Of Light (WWD): Keep it simple, two chords max, simple lyrics, but with content. We’re purveyors of cheerful nihilism. Make an impact, keep it short, say what you want, and get out. Two minutes is about right, and do it fast — one tae is all it takes. Most of “Drop Dead” was one take — most of “Buy Before You Die” was one take, especially the title cut, which is one of my favorite cuts we’ve ever done. Honestly, I put that one on repeat and wonder how the hell we did it.

Figures Of Light (MD): We often work within certain confines: Three chords at most, frequently two or even one. The songs are fast moving, guitar based, and rarely over two minutes. We seldom use middle-eight to separate verses. We also make exceptions when we feel like it.

Metal Empire: Your own band’s sound has switched between several different styles; what made you choose this musical direction?

Figures Of Light (WWD): When we started out in 1970, none us could play a note – literally! We rented the guitars and amps and then learned how to play them in 30 days, so we had to keep it simple. It was all we could do. After we got back together in 2006, Miriam Linna, who drummed on our first CD “Smash Hits” and also “Drop Dead,” remarked “you guys haven’t improved in 35 years” – which was a compliment, quite sincerely. Lots of bands want to make things more complex and go in for symphonic rock or something like that – strings sections and such – just because they can, even The Pretty Things, another killer band especially on their first album. Now we’ve expanded into trance /metal, but we always come back to what we do best; two chord rock.

Figures Of Light (MD): I would say it’s the same reason we first formed. We saw and heard other bands playing and we decided we wanted to try it.

Metal Empire: Do you receive much fan mail, and if so what’s the craziest, creepiest or coolest thing you’ve ever gotten from a fan?

Figures Of Light (WWD): When we first started out, we had, shall we say, really crazy fans. Smashing fifteen TV sets on stage with sledgehammers while playing totally primitive rock and roll, while using a biker gang for security, and a free concert at that, brings out some interesting people. But once with the TV sets was enough; when we started playing straight sets, as you can hear on our CD “Lost & Found,” which compiles some of our live gigs from 1972 along with other stuff, things got more mellow. Now, it’s all Vimeo comments. It’s not the same!

Figures Of Light (MD): I don’t receive any fan mail.

Figures Of Light (WWD): It’s fan videos now, as I said.

Metal Empire: From a position of experience, what is your view on the world outside of music and how it has changed from your youth? Do you have a positive world view? What is your outlook on society in general?

Figures Of Light (WWD): I’m afraid when it comes to that I’m rather fatalistic. Money has become such an all-important part of the fabric of society in the 21st century that it dominates everything else, and controls everything else. If you didn’t live in the 60s and 70s in a major metropolis like London or New York, you have no idea how insanely cheap it was, how egalitarian, how open the whole scene was on every level. For example, practically anyone – anyone – could get one gig at least at CBGB’s, and filmmakers in New York could get a show simply by asking at the Filmmakers Cinematheque. But nothing cost very much, so there was really very little risk. Today, everything costs the earth.

Figures Of Light (MD): I can’t begin to address this in a short answer.

Metal Empire: As always, we like to have a fun question in our interviews. So, if you had one wish, that no matter what is was, it would come true. What would you wish for and why?

Figures Of Light (WWD): In 2014, I wish that the distribution of wealth in both the US and UK would become more equal. The 99% versus the 1% stuff has got to stop – there has to be some kind of reassessment of what we’re doing in our society. We need to value the humanities, and the arts — music, film, painting, sculpture, whatever — much more than we do. The scramble for cash is leaving a lot of beautiful work behind; I wrote an essay on that, with the title “On The Value of Worthless Endeavor” – you can read it at Work that people create today which runs counter to the dominant culture is probably the most valuable work one can do; as I said earlier, all the best stuff comes from the so-called “outlaws” of the art world, in music as in everything else. Maybe no one will like it at first, but in the end, it is often the most important work being done in any medium. Without experimentation, you get nothing new at all.

Figures Of Light (MD): I would love to have one genuine hit single.

Metal Empire: Thank you for taking the time to speak to Metal Empire about what you do. Do you have any final words, or anything you would like to add?

Figures Of Light (WWD): Thanks for asking us to do this. We really appreciate it, and we hope more people will check out our Vimeo channel, which in the best tradition of everything I’ve been talking about here, is absolutely free. And then you can download our stuff at Amazon and iTunes. But mostly, we’re just amazed that 7,000,000 people and counting have checked us out, and like our work. We’re just amazed by that, and very thankful.

Figures Of Light Links

Official Site

Figures of Light with Stuart Pendergast – Leave Her Alone

Figures of Light with Stuart Pendergast – Leave Her Alone from Figures of Light

[IN MUTE] hail from the warm lands of Spain have been bringing their unique brand of metal that also stays true to their “Scandinavian” metal music roots.

First album recorded in 2006 “Aeternum” and after some changes, the band stabilized with the current line-up: PJ and Christobal – guitars, Pedro – bass, Adrian – drums and Steffi – voice.
Initiating a search of their own sound that takes form in the five new tracks on “One in a Million” Produced and recorded by Raul Abellán (Animal Music Productions), mastered at Finnvox (Finland) by Mika Jussila.

Winners of the WOA Metal Battle Spain 2014 will represent the country @ Wacken Open Air 2014.

With their “One In a Million Tour” already underway and scheduled dates throughout the Peninsula, They continue fighting to take their new found energy to every possible corner of the globe.

[IN MUTE] Interview

Metal Empire: Hi, how are you? Would you like to introduce yourself for the Metal Empire audience?

[IN MUTE]: Hi there! We’re [IN MUTE], a melodic death metal band from Valencia (Spain), active since 2003, with many km sang gigs behind us.

Metal Empire: What is the band up to at the moment? Is there something you’re working on currently?

[IN MUTE]: We’re finishing the One in a Million Tour, introducing our last EP around Spain. Recently, we’ve been chosen to represent our country in the W:O:A Metal Battle, playing in the 2014 edition. And we’re writing new stuff for the next record, wanted to happen at the end of summer. And we’re also working in the possibility of going on tour out of our borders.

Metal Empire: It’s awesome to see more and more bands embracing women to front metal bands. How do people react to a female fronted metal band in Spain? Is it more or less usual to see there?

[IN MUTE]: It’s totally unusual, but there are a few bands like us in our country. Many times, the most of them really, people reacts with a lot of surprise, ‘cause Steffi’s voice is also very brutal. People thinks that there’s an effect, some kind of distortion, but it’s only her.

[IN MUTE] Live

[IN MUTE] Live, Steffi does the Willow Smith “I Whip My Hair Back And Forth”

Metal Empire: As your band has been up and coming in Spain for quite some time, do you have any plans to make your mark on the metal scene on an international level in the near future?

[IN MUTE]: As I told before, we have a few offers that we’re working in. Instead of Wacken, we want to go to Portugal, Italy, France and UK of course. But it’s quite difficult to get a workable budget. We’ll keep on trying, until we succeed.

Metal Empire: Spain is a country not many would associate with a big metal scene. As a metal band from Spain do you face any difficulties trying to promote your music there? Is the metal music scene there growing?

[IN MUTE]: We have lots of brutal bands in Spain, and quite many places to play. But we’ve so much problems and difficulties. Almost all of the promoters can’t afford the payment of a great gig, and local governments put more complications, ‘cause metal is hardly supported by public initiatives or private interests. So, we have lots and lots of amazing bands fighting together to rise between all that problems. But yes, we think that a metal music scene growing here, with the advance of bands like Angelus Apatrida.

Metal Empire: You recently release a video for the track Waiting, can you tell us a little bit about the video shoot? Do you have any more videos on the way?

[IN MUTE]: That was a really intense weekend. It’s self-produced, and we’ve worked with Reaktiu, a local professional. Was the last think we needed to do to close the One in a Million work, besides the live tour. All the scenery was done by ourselves, and the outdoor scenes were being recorded in a field in Albacete, that seems the very desert. Now, we’re waiting (je je) for the new record to do a new videoclip.



Metal Empire: You released the EP One In A Million in April last year, is there any plans to turn it into a full album, or is there plans for a full album in the near future?

[IN MUTE]: Yes, as told, in the late summer we’re planning to join recording studio again, but that’s no clear how many tracks we’ll record. The only thing we’ve clear is that it will be a full album, but maybe it will be as the 80’s albums with at last 8 or 9 tracks only.

Metal Empire: What is your favourite song to play live from the new EP? Which one does the crowd go the most crazy for?

[IN MUTE]: We love to play Waiting live, that’s the most complete song we think. But in Out Of Control we use to ask for a “wall of death”, and the crowd always answer with a big YES!

Metal Empire: You recently did the One In A Million tour to support the new EP. Do you have any plans for tours in the near future, if so where will you be playing, or where would you like to play if you get the chance?

[IN MUTE]: We haven’t really end this tour, we’ve dates until July in Spain, with a few festivals. Then, after record new stuff, we’ll get into really crashing our borders, and make real every chance we have. There are no favorites, we want to play everywhere we can.

Metal Empire: With over eight thousand fans on your Facebook page, how do you feel social media is helping your band gain exposure? Do you think social media is a good platform for reaching fans or is it something you embrace out of necessity?

[IN MUTE]: We’re very glad of every fan in Facebook, we think that it’s the best way to reach the farthest corner in the world. We’ve received congrats from South America, North America, even Japan, China, South Africa. If one little headbanger in Tokio listens to our music, it worth all the work in social media. In brief, yes, it helps us much more than we expect.



Metal Empire: Can you talk about your production process? How does the band write new material?

[IN MUTE]: It’s more a mix of ideas. Someone comes with a riff, or the skeleton of a song, and then the rest does his/her parts. We’re very open mind people, and the process is very healthy. And everyone helps in the others work, writing lyrics, changing riff or drum patterns, so the final result fits all of us. We have to love our result, so we can defend it live with all of our energy.

Metal Empire: Who’s the most interesting person or band you’ve ever toured with?

[IN MUTE]: It’s a difficult choice, but it will be Angelus Apatrida, very good people and better band.

Metal Empire: Is there any band/s that you would really like a chance to play with over the next year, is there any bands you are going on tour with you are excited about?

[IN MUTE]: We have some possibilities, but it’s not confirmed, so we don’t think much about it. But “the wish list” is endless. We love bands like Meshuggah, Gojira, At The Gates, In Flames, Arch Enemy, Darkane, Decapitated, Textures, Threat Signal… Anyone of them will be ok ja, ja.

[IN MUTE] in Jail

[IN MUTE] Where they belong, behind bars! 🙂

Metal Empire: What are you hopes for the future of the band? Where do you guys see yourself going moving forward?

[IN MUTE]: Keep on playing, as far as we can. Record the most brutal album we can, and that people like it, there’s no more hopes. We don’t know where we’ll be in the future, we only know that we have to go forward with all of our strength and power, always forward.

Metal Empire: A just for fun question, if you were trapped on a desert island, what one thing could you not live without?

[IN MUTE]: Our instruments, and some good beer ja, ja. There’s two, but they’re very related!

Metal Empire: Thank you for taking the time to speak to Metal Empire. Do you have any final words, or anything you would like to add?

[IN MUTE]: We only want to thank you for this interview and encourage everyone to listen to us, watch our videos and like us in Facebook. Keep on BRUTAL!

Social Media & Links



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