Category Archives: Firey Sides Chat

Firey Sides Chat: Thanatology

Thanatology is ready for their close up (Photo courtesy of Thanatology’s FB page)

From the top of your head, can you name one of the most metal professions out there? Being a metal band does not count in this case. Give up? Of course, you do because chances are that your answer was nowhere near the medical field! Which brings us to the guest of this edition of our Firey Sides Chat. If you google “thanatology” you’ll get the actual definition of the word. The definition, in a nutshell, is the study of death and the practices of it.

Sounds metal, right? Well, that’s what the frontman/founder of Thanatology, the band, Doctor Jonas Bautista thought as well. If you haven’t heard of Thanatology by now, here’s the very short description. Thanatology is Tijuana’s own death metal/grindcore band and unlike Super Troopers’ Arcot “Thorny” Ramathorn (played by Jay Chandrasekhar) they’re Mexican! Raza!

Even if you haven’t heard of the band, they are going to embark on some big profile tours. The Ugh Metal staff, Jennifer and Santi, had a chance to catch up with Jonas via email right before the band’s busy touring schedule. But even cooler, they’ll be making a pit stop in San Diego on Saturday, May 19 at The Merrow. Without further ado, here’s what we chatted about.

Ugh Metal Staff: Who exactly are the founding members?

Jonas Bautista: Dr. Bautista (me) with Miguel Mercado (drummer) and Guillermo Sanders (guitar). Way back in 1998, these last two musicians are no longer with the project.

UMS: Why did you choose to name the band “Thanatology”?

Bautista: It wasn’t me precisely. The irony of all things. The idea or proposal to change the name of the band (originally called Cadaver) came from the family doctor.

Thanatology
The doctors in Thanatology will now see you… (Photo courtesy of Thanatology’s FB page)

UMS: What inspired the gimmick and the costumes of Thanatology?

Bautista: Well… what inspired the “gimmick” was my day job. I’m a doctor here in Mexico. So, it was easy in a way to choose the image of the band.

UMS: Is there any band or person you would like to collaborate with?

Bautista: Yeah, for sure. Dr. [Morton] Fairbanks from The County Medical Examiners [American deathgrinders] and the guys from General Surgery. [Swedish goregrinders]

UMS: What are your main musical influences?

Bautista: Extreme music. Gore metal and grindcore.

UMS: How many parts or chapters could we expect from Un Legado de Negligencia Medica?

Bautista: I really don’t know. But in theory, speaking of lyrical content, we can do a thousand of chapters.

Dr.Bautista of Thanatology ready to tear you apart in their latest video for “El Amor Va De La Mano De Látex” (Photo courtesy of their YouTube channel)

UMS: What inspired the concept behind this latest EP?

Bautista: The reality or rather the history behind the origins of medicine, which was based on the practice and failure, unfortunately.

UMS: This year you’re going to the Las Vegas Death Fest, the Bay Area Death Fest AND the Obscene Extreme Fest in the Czech Republic! First off, congratulations on that, is there any other festival you would like to be a part of in the future? And why?

Bautista: Ah, thanks. And yeah. MARYLAND DEATH FEST. Definitely.

UMS: Do you have a pre-show ritual?

Bautista: I think if we have one it’s getting the uniforms on.

UMS: Any funny or interesting stories that have happened on a tour?

Bautista: Well… there’s too many to mention here. But, funny… definitely, dealing with each other temperaments, humor and personas. And interesting? Going to play in a different place. It’s always interesting.

Ditch them apples and head down to The Merrow on May 19 for a check up you will never forget. And revitalize yourself with their latest EP Un Legado de Negligencia Medica which is available here!

Firey Sides Chat: Praga Khan of Lords Of Acid

Lords Of Acid bringing the Sextreme Fest in 2017 at the Brick By Brick on Oct. 13.
(L to R: Party meister/founder Praga Khan and ex-bassist DieTrich Thrall)

The stupidly happy and fortunate Ugh Metal slaves, Jennifer and Santi, had the opportunity to spice up their morning and had a sexy pajama party with Lords Of Acid mastermind/ party meister Praga Khan. Praga Khan took a break from the Ascension Day celebrations in Belgium and gave the interns all the dirty details on Lords of Acid’s May 18 album Pretty In Kink.

Jennifer: We won’t ask you anything scandalous! What can we expect from Pretty In Kink?

Praga Khan: Pretty In Kink was a bit of an experiment for me. Most of the time I’m working in my studio on my own to record the demos, and then always with Erhan Kurkun, a friend of mine who is still composing. But this time we came up with the idea to get the fans involved from the beginning of the album because I’ve always had a good relationship with our fans and with fans you learn a lot about your music.

Praga Khan in Phantasia LandenBeats in 2014.
(Photo courtesy of Tardis Traveller‘s YouTube channel)

PK (Cont.): So when we started with the album we really got them involved from the beginning so that they could choose the topics of the songs, and they even gave us the title of the album, and during the making they could also listen to demos and give their opinions and also it comes down to the sound of this album. I also asked them by doing polls on Facebook I asked them what they really like, but that was a good starting point for me to work with. In a way I was around a lot of fans, a lot friends and it makes it special because we did it together.

*After one of several terrible technical difficulties we got a hold of Praga Khan*

J: What was the main inspiration for the new album?

PK: Multiple times, I get it from the crazy world around me, the crazy fans, and the crazy parties I get invited to. To give you an idea, two weeks ago we played at the Fetish festival in Holland it’s called…what’s it called? …Wasteland [Festival]! (On April 7)

J & Santi: Oh yeah we were talking about that!

New vocalist Marieke “Little Bloody Marie” Bressesleer seducing Wasteland audiences.
(Photo courtesy of Peter Dircken)

PK: We had to do a performance there and with all that I’ve seen that evening I could write a whole new album. (Everyone laughs) You know things like that are not allowed in Belgium. Here it’s forbidden to do stuff like that, you know like wild fetish parties! I was already there performing so you can look around and check it out, the underground fetish world and I can tell you (chuckles) there’s a lot of stuff I didn’t write about yet. (Everyone laughs)

S: Nothing is crazier than real life!

J: Pretty in Kink reminded me a lot of Voodoo-U and Our Little Secret, what made you want to revisit this sound?

PK: They are my favorite albums. I wanted to make a combination of these two albums, sound wise. The roughness of Voodoo-U, it was very rough and co-produced by Rick Rubin so I had to work with Rick in the Voodoo album and he wanted a raunchy, “make it sound dirty” and distort a lot of stuff and for me it was good because that’s what really I like, you know. Make all the crazy noises, this thing right here, (he turns around and points out his trusty synthesizer sitting behind him) ARP 2600, That’s my favorite instrument.

J: We saw you do your yoga moves on that last year! (Sextreme Fest at the Brick By Brick 2017)

Co founder/keyboardist Praga Kahn showing off his acrobatic skills while DJ Mea cheers him on.

PK: You can do whatever you want on that thing! (Everyone laughs) Making the sounds in every possible way, that’s what we also did on this album, make a good combination between the now a days software and the old analog gear. And also music wise, the rough element from Voodoo-U but it has the sexy atmosphere from our Our Little Secret and it’s like a nice mixture of these two albums, to me. You already had a really good listen to it because you’re the first one to discover that! (Everyone laughs)

S: What were the challenges in making Pretty In Kink?

PK: First of all, there’s this new singer (Marieke Bresseleers), that was a challenge but she turned out to be an amazing singer. I’m sure she has the widest vocal range from everybody I’ve ever worked with. She can sing really high and really deep but also make a warm sound. There was this tour that came in September, October, November in the States (Sextreme Fest 2017). Most of the time when I start making an album, I go into the studio and I try to stay in there as long as possible, we get really into the atmosphere from the album, not going out and stuff, and now I have to prepare the tour in America, and i have to decompress from the tour, and I also have to do the press for the tour.

Lords Of Acid kick off the sold out Sextreme Fest of 2017 at the Brick By Brick!
(L to R: Co-founder keyboardist Praga Khan, Back up vocalist Erica Dilanjian and vocalist DJ Mea Fisher)

PK (Cont.): It took me 3 months that I lost to the tour, but on the other half you meet a lot people and it was good for me when I did the final mixes and I got feedback from everybody. It was a challenge to get out of the studio atmosphere while you are writing music, you dive into a live tour and dive directly back into the studio. That was a real challenge.

S: I can totally understand that ‘cause you want to feel relaxed and come up with the material smoothly because when you’re too stressed out or something you’re just like “I don’t want to do this for a while.”

J: Its mental constipation. And you actually beat me to our next question! We were wondering how you met the new singer Marieke, sorry if I mispronounced it. (*spoiler alert* Jennifer mispronounced it)

PK: Marieke (Pronounced Mar-ee-kee), but you can call her Little Bloody Marie!

J &S: Oooh!

J: How did you meet her?

PK: I know a lot of musicians in Belgium and I was asking them… people, when they listen to Lords Of Acid they don’t realize that we really need a very very good singer to sing that material because when you listen to Our Little Secret and Voodoo-U they sing very high and very deep. A girl I know who is a famous piano player in classical music, she said “I know someone who is crazy enough to do it.” She (Bresseleers) is classically trained but she is also crazy in a good sense. From the first time I heard her voice I said “Wow, this is amazing!”

New vocalist Marieke “Little Bloody Marie” Bressesleer seducing Wasteland audiences.
(Photo courtesy of Peter Dircken)

PK: (Cont.): We met each other and I found out she’s really into the heavy metal. She‘s the perfect fit to Lords Of Acid because in a way Lords Of Acid has heavy guitars on there and also has dance music involved so it’s a nice mixture of different styles. I checked her out on the net when she was doing performances, she’s an animal on stage and she also has theatrical background so I think you will be very, very pleased when you see her!

J: Like we need anymore reasons to be excited!

S: Do you have a favorite song?

PK: The songs are so different from each other, do I have favorites? “Break Me,” but on the other hand “Before The Night Is Over” is also one of my favorites because it’s a very, very different style. I can not pick my favorites songs and there are some songs on there that I really like and that’s something I can’t say about every album.

J: What can we expect from Pretty In Kink performance wise?

PK: This time it’s gonna be more “Lords Of Acid” type, you know more theatrical because that’s also the atmosphere of the album. Last time we played Voodoo-U and that’s more aggressive than the new album. We’re gonna have a lot of stuff happening on stage, also projections and all that stuff! We’re looking forward to it!

J & S: We’re looking forward to it!

J: What is the craziest story or the craziest thing a fan has done at a show?

PK: There is a lot that has passed over the years but the most crazy thing is that there was a show in Japan, a guy jumped on stage completely naked and he started to jerk off on stage, and of course they removed him in no time but that was the most craziest thing.

Experience the euphoric effects of Lords Of Acid like the naked man and be sure to snag your copy of Pretty In Kink here out on May 18 out via Metropolis Records (tomorrow!) And if you want more reasons to see them live, checkout our wild night we had with them last year here!

Firey Sides Chat: Empyrean Throne’s Andrew Knudsen

Andrew Knudsen of Empyrean Throne raising his dagger in victory at the Helheim show in May this year.

What could be more rewarding than fighting old ladies for the last of batch of gingerbread men? Or sitting in the congested mall traffic? If you don’t know the answers to those questions, we’ll stop being emotionally unavailable for now and fill you in. The answer to all of those questions is simple, chatting with Empyrean Throne’s frontman Andrew Knudsen, silly!

The elusive and badass vocalist opened up to our dumb interns, Jennifer and Santi, about himself, Empyrean Throne’s debut album Chaosbourne, and their current tour. That’s right, the quintet decided to spread some X-Mas joy and will conclude their conquest here in our beautiful city, Whale’s Vagina, USA (Yeah I went there, and yes I’ve slapped myself) A.K.A. San Diego at the Brick By Brick on Dec.23. After exchanging greetings, and after Knudsen told that fierce Texas storm they were caught in to shut up, this is what they chatted about.

Ugh Metal Staff: Metal has an infinite amount of subgenres, why did you guys decide to go with Black Metal in particular?

Andrew Knudsen: I think it’s the one that resonates with us the most in an interest level, a spiritual level, and I think it’s something, in our being, [that] is drawn to. When you have an intense connection with something and you’re drawn to some form of some expression then it’s not right to deny yourself that passion.

Knudsen in Empyrean Throne’s music video for “Sed Nomini Tuo Da Gloriam”
Photo Courtesy of Empyrean Throne’s YouTube channel

UMS: The Rock genre in general is filled with so many great bands, is there a particular band or artist that influenced you guys?

A: We get a lot of Dimmu [Borgir], other contemporaries such as Watain, Septic Flesh. They bring something special to the table, something unique. Of course the symphonic element is sort of an easy thing. I’m kind of into this band called Hermh they’re from Poland, and they sort of do the symphonic, blackened death sort of thing.

UMS: That’s a great arsenal to be inspired by.

A: It’s not just black metal bands or death metal bands there are other influences outside of the genre of metal that we take or thrive our inspiration from. I’m into film scores, we all have collectively our favorite classical composers as well. Gustav Holst is one of my favorite composers.

 UMS: Oooh.

A: It doesn’t need to be, in terms of influences, pigeonholed, in the metal genre. You get inspiration from any sort of musical outlet that helps the creative process. It can come from anywhere.

UMS: That’s great man! Not a lot of people like to admit that classical music is their influence. Classical music is another underrated genre that not a lot of people want to admit that they listen to.

A: Yeah to me it’s silly. When Beethoven came out with his symphony people were actually terrified of that shit because they hadn’t heard anything that sounded that powerful before.

UMS: He was the original metalhead!

A:  Oh yeah, absolutely.

UMS: What would you say was the main inspiration behind Chaosbourne?

A: Oh man…

UMS Chuckle

A: We wanted to tell a story, take the listener on a journey and one that, interestingly enough, sort of mirrored a personal journey that we were going through when working on the album. This is a concept album where we deal with a lot of Lovecraftian, gothic kind of theme. Everyone that worked on it, they sort of put part of themselves in the record and it was really cool, and it makes it special for that first debut release.

Knudsen showing off his awesome plague doctor mask at the Helheim show this year.

UMS: It’s interesting that you mentioned Septic Flesh earlier and all these other great classical composers, there are so many beautiful instrumental pieces in this album. Did you have that in mind when you were making the album?

A:  Oh yeah of course. The first piece of the puzzle was to get on paper the story that we wanted to tell, and then various members shook up parts of the story that they felt spoke to them the most. The album is broken up in to three different acts and each act has its own personality with what’s going on in the story, and while each act can stand alone, they feed into each other that was our goal.

UMS: What can we expect to see from you guys in the future in general?

A: We’re on our first crusade that’s taking us deep in to the heart of Texas here, and the gnarliest Texas storm that we’re being forced to slave our way through…

Everyone Laughs

A: We’re definitely going to be pushing this album so our prime focus for 2018 is touring. Needless to say we didn’t have any idea for the follow up release to the debut, it’s something that’s sort of in the back of our mind. We have a general concept, a layout. I know that our guitarists [Spencer Strange, Mike Brennan and bassist Gray] have been working on riffs, Leviathan [drummer Levi Xul] has been working on some stuff on his end too. Right now it’s all about giving Chaosbourne that proper send off to its home planet.

Never a dull moment with Empyrean Throne!

UMS: (Chuckle) Is there a band or artist you would like to work with in general?

A: Well you know we’re always open to collaborating with like minded individuals. We are playing with Scour [Phil Anselmo’s project] and we would certainly love to get together with them in the future. Bands that are out there pushing the envelope, making an impact, we want to be part of that, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be a black metal band. We would like to get out there do some really good tours with some other hungry artists.

UMS: Your name popped up in the Sicarius music video, and when I was reading through it, it said you were the director. How was that like? And are you expecting to do more in the future?

A: I have my special credentials in Television and Film Production. I edit all of our music videos that we have. But I love directing music videos it was a lot of fun! The shoot with Sicarius was really cool it was sort of a last minute thing that was thrown in my lap and I had the opportunity to help the boys out. If more bands wanna do a thing then they’re more than welcome to reach out to me!

Kurt Karcass in Sicarius’s music video for “Ferox Impetum” which was directed by Knudsen… this video is a must see! Photo courtesy of M-Theory’s YouTube channel

UMS: It was gnarly! The video came out really well and complimented the video nicely. Is there a particular music video director you admire?

A: Oh man. Mmmm… you put me on the spot.

UMS laughs

A: In terms of music video director I think it would be really fun to work with the Grupa 13 guys, the stuff that they’ve done with Behemoth and Belphegor is really cool. The gal [director  Joanna Rechnio] that worked with Nergal and Me And That Man [Singer/director Olga Czyżykiewicz] that’d be cool.

UMS: I like your way of thinking, you’re open to the universe! Does Empyrean Throne have a pre-show ritual?

Even though Mother Nature retaliated and dropped the call. The interns were relieved when Knudsen informed them they were all still alive and continued.  

A: We do have our preshow rituals as well umm… I won’t discuss any of those here, that’s private talk.

UMS laughs

UMS: That’s cool everyone has their own, we have our own we fumble around a lot [before a show], that’s our little ritual.

A: To each their own I guess!

Everyone laughs

UMS: Now going back to tour life, what was the craziest experience you’ve had on tour so far?

A: Geez, well this one has been full of them.

UMS laughs

A: Day 1, we had a transmission issue so that was cool. In El Paso, some guy came up to me and was like “Fucking awesome set!” and then he just like headbutted me like right…

Everyone laughs 

UMS: Oh my god! (Laughs)

Knudsen peacefully growling into the mic at the Helheim show this year. No headbutting happened that night…yet.

A: He had this big smudge of war [paint], and ash on his dome and I’m like “Whoa what?” and then he proceeded to buy all of us a round of beer. It’s fun going in to these new markets seeing when your music really resonates with someone and how amped they get over it. Sometimes we’ll be in the middle of selling merch then some guy comes out of the wood work like “YOU GUYS!”  But it’s really nice to get that positive feedback.

Everyone laughs

UMS: Never a dull moment!

A: If that’s gonna be on our tombstone “Never a dull moment” it’d certainly be a good fit there.

For those in Modesto, be sure to catch Empyrean Throne tonight at The Other Place and pregame for Christamas tomorrow (12/23) at the Brick By Brick in San Diego where you can get your tickets here! Be the next fan that will get super amped and get your copy of Chaosbourne here and see what we thought about it here!