Thrash metalheads Hatchet will be releasing their latest and newest album to date "Fear Beyond Lunacy", with plans on touring, playing as much as possible! Frontman vocalist/guitarist Julz Ramos discusses the release, touring, and history with the band.
1. Let's talk a little about the history of the band. When did you originally form and is this the original line-up?
Julz: The band formed in early 2007. Myself and the original drummer broke off from another project that was not going anywhere and decided to form a thrash band. Unfortunately no this is far from the original lineup. I've changed members more times than I care to remember just due to the fact that trying to be an underground touring thrash metal band is a very rough lifestyle to live.
2. How long after you formed was it until you played your first live show?
Julz: I'd probably say it was about 3-4 months after we had the lineup mostly together. We played our first show in our bands collective hometown of Petaluma, CA at a place called The Phoenix Theater. We opened for some other local metal bands and played the lobby of the venue. We didn't even have a bass player at the time. Haha.
3. What are your memories of the performance?
Julz: It was the typical all your friends you can drag out and some family came to cheer us on. I was really nervous because I had never played as a full band out anywhere before. The other bands we played with already had a local following so it was kind of intimidating. We got through it though and it was a good experience.
4. How would you categorize the style of the band?
Julz: Bay Area thrash metal for sure.
5. What is your latest album and why should people buy it?
Julz: Our new album "Fear Beyond Lunacy" will be out October 30th. For fans of outside the box type thrash metal I'd say it's right up their alley. We had a good response to our last album "Dawn of the End". Anyone who liked that will definitely dig this one as it's the natural next progression of the band musically.
6. Whose idea was it to release your third album to date "Fear Beyond Lunacy" on all Hallow's Eve A.K.A. Halloween Eve?
Julz: That would be the record labels idea actually. It's a little later than I originally wanted it out since it has been complete for a little while. After chewing on that a little though it's kind of cool to come out on that date. I'm slowly warming up to it. Haha.
7. Where did record your latest album at and what was the experience like this time around?
Julz: We recorded the album with the same studio we did our last album at which is NB Studios in Santa Rosa, CA. We have worked with that engineer a few times before and having a small budget to do It with, it was the natural choice. The process was a little more drawn out time wise and as band members than I would have liked. We had just a new lineup together and some people were still learning their parts right up until the moment they recorded. In the end, it all came out great but some of it was a little grueling.
8. Who did you use to produce your record? What was it like working alongside them and would you work with them again?
Julz: The engineers name is Nick Botelho. He is great not only at recording but also steps in from time to time as a producer and gives much needed input. Yes would definitely work again with him.
9. Does the entire band contribute to the writing process?
Julz: I pretty much compose most of the music at this point. It's just always gone down like that and especially with a rotating pool of musicians over the years, that's just how it's been. My new drummer Ben Smith did help with some arranging of the patterns and drum parts on this record though. Clayton and Kody both out their flare in the parts they recorded and gave it more attitude. But for the most part I lay out the foundation and framing for what is written
10. When it comes down to musical influences, do you tend to stick to the usual suspects or change it up every now and then?
Julz: I'd say switch it up but within the greater pool of usual suspects if that makes sense. Haha. So in their words, not just Metallica and Slayer as a thrash band. I take influence from more obscure bands like Xentrix, Wrathchild America, stuff like that. For modern stuff, things like Arch Enemy, old In Flames, At The Gates. Everyone in the bands now has diverse tendencies though. Will be great to see how that effects the sound in the future.
11. How important do you rate the lyrical side of your albums?
Julz: It's important but definitely the afterthought compared to the music. I am a fan of very post apocalyptic, world ending type of lyrics. They make for good metal lyrics. On this album though I brought in a more well thought out and almost political perspective in some ways. At least my thoughts that is. And some serial killer type stuff which i find totally fascinating.
12. What are your current tour plans, if any?
Julz: Well we just wrapped up a small Western US tour with Kobra and the Lotus. Next up we just announced a 6 week fall tour with Doyle from the Misfits.
13. Describe your live performance for those who have never seen you live?
Julz: Energetic and in your face. When we play a show we "perform a show". Not just get up on stage and play our music staring at our feet. People are there to be entertained. And that's what we give them.
14. Do you have a favorite song you like to play live?
Julz: Not totally. I'd say maybe right now Vanishing Point from the Dawn album. Fast and direct.
15. What does the next year hold for you and your band?
Julz: I wish I knew! Haha. Well to be as active and push the record as much as possible. Try and stay on the road and get to Europe if possible.
16. Do you have any final words to say to the fans, friends, and family out there?
Julz: Thanks for the support. Keep it up and bring your A game to our shows!