Moscow 2013 was when Pokerface was created with such an ironic yet iconic namesake, there was no telling where such a band would go. Having gone through some changes of its line-up that did not stop the hard work put into the writing and recording of a handful of releases, that built up their unique style. Their music being speed heavy riffs, brutal beats with clean cut vocals all at the same time that it became their own style of the band as time went on. The band got together to discuss themselves and their latest release "Game On".
1. What role do you play in the band?
LadyOwl (Vox): I'm not so cool as my band mates, I'm just a vocalist.
Ritter (Guitar): What band? Where am I?
Doctor (Drums): Psychologist, Memorial, session drummer.
mrGeneSimmons (Bass): Manager, driver, booker, stage Technic and bass player a little bit.
2. POKERFACE is your namesake, but why? Did you go with the name due to Lady Gaga's track of the same name or for another reasoning altogether?
Doctor: Hehe, It's a popular version but it's not. "Pokerface" is a spin-off term of "Ace of Spades", Motorhead's killing hit. When we started project in 2013 we were influenced by old-school metal like Slayer, Venom, Motorhead. So we've decided to use Pokerface as an ironic name for our band.
3. What has influenced your sound and style?
Doctor: We used to play old stuff metal from 80th - Slayer, Sodom, Kreator and wanted to be close to that style of music. I really like old sound and old style.
Ritter: I took part only in making the last album, and I tried to use my fav thrash-metal sound: latest Kreator- and Sodom-style. Not only riffs and solos, but mastering as well. Plus, to do something new and different, I used some death-metal features.
Lady Owl: I'm always trying to add something new to a song, I'm inspired by Amaranthe, Arch Enemy, Epica, Infected Rain, etc.
4.What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
LadyOwl: "Game on" is not an ordinary album consisted of separated songs, but has its own deep sense and concept. All songs have kind of certain line and different games of chance, casino theme, inner monsters and fears of people who seek for simple ways to solve difficult self-problems inspired their conception.
5. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)
mrGeneSimmons: Of course we write our own songs! 'Cause who else if not us? On this album we used the following process. Guitarists compose riffs or something like melody or chords sequence and give me to listen. Then I build construction of the song, add drums and bass, and we are trying to play it on rehearsal. Make some changes again and again before the music become cool for us. After that we make the lyrics and our Lady Owl make vocal line. That's it - the song is ready!
6. How do you describe your music to people?
Doctor: Speed Groove Melodic Thrash Metal. I don't know, we are changing sound every release.
Ritter: All kinds of thrash metal with extreme female vocals. Whatever you like.
7. What image do you think your music conveys?
LadyOwl: The new album is full of different images, all of them are dark but closed to every person in the world. I think it conveys the darkest place of human souls.
Doctor: Image? I think "Sexual satanic Valkyrja with blooded axe".
8. "Game On", so why is it GAME ON?
mrGeneSimmons: 'Cause our life is a game and from that album the real life has started for Pokerface.
9. What is the concept behind "Game On" and how did the idea come about?
mrGeneSimmons: The idea comes to me from the video games and card games at all. While the "The Fatal Scythe" and "The Bone Reaper" are the bosses from VRMMO "Sword Art Online", the other songs are about the poker and its aftermath.
10. What is your favorite track off "Game On" and why?
LadyOwl: "Bow! Run! Scream!"
Ritter: "The Fatal Scythe", because this song contains MY only good solo on the album.
Doctor: "Demonic 21" is my favorite, I like speedy groove metal. I don't care about commercial perspective. I just love it and "Demonic" enough fast for me.
mrGeneSimmons: "The Fatal Schythe" and "Play or Die", both are cool for me.
11. What was the writing and recording process like for the album?
mrGeneSimmons: In general the recording process looks like: okay, we will record all instruments and vocals in 5 days! On the fifth day it sounds like "Wtf!! We've just recorded drums, bass and guitars a little! Okay, let's take one more session for rest of the guitars and vocals..." So, it was harder than recording of previous album "Divide and Rule", but we did it and did it very well!
Ritter: We were recording every single riff or even note take by take untill it sounded perfect. It was sometimes hard, when you get out from the studio after 6 hours like you've just unloaded a couple of freight cars or something. It'd happened mostly because we hadn't enough time to learn new songs very well. It took only 4 months to write new songs, make rehearsals and record them in the studio. But, after all, the result is really good, I think.
12. Why do you think people should check out "Game On"?
mrGeneSimmons: Game On is the solid thrash masterpiece with right addition of melodic and groove. Also, the vocal is very diverse and each song sounds in its own way. Furthermore, it's very energetic music.
Ritter: If you like latest German thrash metal releases, you will like "Game On" also. It sounds different due to growling vocals and some experimental additions, but, as experience shows, everyone likes these features also. Mostly because "Game On" retains all the best from old and modern thrash metal - aggressive, sharp riffs, machine-gun drums and bright solos.
13. How would you say you differ from other bands and artists on the scene?
Doctor: I'm not sure, we are just trying to find harmony between music, performance and lyrics. I think we can deliver great performance on scene.
14. What does next year hold for Pokerface?
mrGeneSimmons: I hope, new album and new tours! We are not going to give up!