Highland's Gevork Matevosyan Discusses Self-Titled Release and Future Plans

Black metal act Highland got their start way back when but since then, they have played showcases written and recorded material and have got a whole lot more going on for them than ever before. Frontman vocalist and guitarist Gevork Matevosyan talks about their latest works and upcoming plans from here on out.

1. Can I get a backstory on the band/ band biography?

Gevork: Read about us HERE and HERE otherwise.....

In 2004, Narek Avetisian and Gevork Matevosyan met for the first time in Glendale, CA and it was apparent that both individuals had an undying passion for metal. During the next two years, the duo set the foundation for a thrash metal band called "Raze." On the hunt for a capable drummer, one of their mutual friend suggested to them to check out a band called "Manic Sadist" at the Key Club in Los Angeles, CA in 2006. This particular band featured a young Michael Semerdjian. After one set, and a spectacular performance, it was apparent to Narek and Gevork that Michael had to be the drummer for Raze. After a bit of musical courting in the following weeks, Michael agreed to join Raze.

Raze entered the recording studio in the spring of 2007 to begin recording a 4 song EP that was never completed. The reason being...the band's music needed to be more aggressive, and darker. It was Narek's Raze song "Fatherland" that was the first step into the new direction the band wanted to take. With that inspiration, the band abandoned the Raze moniker and Highland was born. These days are affectionately referred by the band as the "Raze days."

In 2008, Highland officially became a band. Narek had introduced the riffs that would eventually become "A Seed Once Spread." With momentum on their side, Highland members knew they had something special and continued to plow through obstacles through the next five years leading to their first EP.

Highland entered the studio in the second half of 2012. After months of recording, mixing, and mastering, the Highland EP was released on February 1st, 2013. Highland is a brotherhood that consists of longtime friends who are like-minded musicians. This is definitely not your run-of-the-mill metal band from Los Angeles. This is only the beginning. The best years are yet to come.

2. How did you guys come up with your band name?

Narek came up with it. It was actually the one and only name that was suggested. I liked it right off the bat and the decision was made to keep it.

3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

Gevork: We're based out of Los Angeles, CA. Our rehearsal space is in Van Nuys, CA. There are countless bands in Los Angeles. The metal scene is experiencing a revival and we are out to make a meaningful contribution to it. We have been well received so far by Angelenos. Obviously, we hope that continues.

While they're not from Los Angeles, we got to play with these guys when we were in Georgia and Armenia earlier this year, so they were temporarily local to us; Outstanding musicianship and great guys, too. A band that we really enjoy is Symphonic Black metallers "Signs" from Tbilisi, Georgia. Suicidal black metal kings "Psychonaut 4" (Georgia) are remarkable as well.

4. What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?

Gevork: Hate, darkness, pride, blasphemy. The message we want to send through our music is for people think critically and objectively bout the world around themselves.

5. What bands have influenced your band and its sound?

Gevork: Various black, death, and thrash metal bands. Big names like Slayer, Death, Emperor, and Immortal, of course. We love Inquisition’s music. We like metal. We write metal. We like to write fast, machine gun riffs as well as slow and grimy riffs that crush with their heaviness.

6. Who produced HIGHLAND and what was it like working with them?

Gevork: We worked with Caleb Bingham (Ascension, Zonaria) for the 5 song EP. He was at the helm of he recording effort and mixed the songs. We are very happy with the way the disc came out. Caleb is really knowledgeable, a great individual, and an amazing musician. Nothing but great things to say about our friend and we wish him the best in his endeavors.

7. Who did the cover art for HIGHLAND and how much input did you have on it?

Gevork: We had friends of ours with knowledge in this area prepare the cover based on ideas that we had. We wanted to keep it simple for the EP. We have our logo on the front cover. It does look like a metal record, certainly, but not much else. We want first time listeners to associate the music with our logo. I guess it is our effort to have it "gimmick-free" and let the music stand on its own. There will be opportunities for grand artwork in the future, but our main concern is writing quality compositions.

8. Select two songs from HIGHLAND and what inspired the lyrics.

Gevork: I Am Victory - This song is about strength of an individual. What type of person it takes to be victorious and the effects on various entities due to the relentless pursuit of victory.  

Rituals in the Twilight’s Darkness - As nightfall makes its inevitable onset and the anticipation of the arrival of dark forces is at its highest, a human medium is prepared in a sacrilegious ceremony for one of the princes of hell to enter the realm of earth.

9. Do you guys have any new music in the works as far as a follow-up release?

Gevork: New Highland music can already be heard if you're in the audience at one of our shows. Expect a full-length Highland album some time in 2014.

10. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the  first time?

Gevork: Most listeners (especially first timers) are amazed and sometimes perplexed at Mike's talent and skill behind the kit. Mike is a very modest person and his biggest critic. He is always improving and that's why he gets noticed. He is very crucial to the group.

11. What are your upcoming touring plans?

Gevork: We just capped off 3 shows in Yerevan, Armenia and Tbilisi, Georgia. That was a wonderful experience for all of us. We finally returned to our homeland to play for them and our neighbors to the North. More Los Angeles area shows will happen.We are always looking for an audience with a thirst for metal.

12. What can the fans expect to see from you in the future?

Gevork: A full length album and more shows. That's what a band is supposed to do, right?

13. Any final words of wisdom?

Gevork: Fight tyranny.

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