Battlecross's Tony Asta the Blue Collar Metalhead

Battlecross, out of Michigan, describes their music as "Blue Collar Thrash Metal" it's a style that delivers their version of hardcore thrash, laced with screaming guitars and intense vocals with a determination and energy that most bands would envy. They have been playing showcases with a reputation as hardworking musicians, Battlecross has been blowing audiences away and raking in new fans at every venue they play. Recently, Tony Asta , guitarist was kind enough to answer some questions regarding the band and their new material.

1. How was it to be a part of the Metal Blade 30th Anniversary Showcase? How does it feel to be a part of the Metal Blade Records family?

Tony: What an honor it is to be part of all this. I never thought I would be responding to these types of questions. We signed to the label in May 2011 and it’s truly amazing all the good things that have come with it. Over the past year we've come to get to know the guys and gals at the "The Blade" and we couldn't dream to work with a better team. The 30th Ann Showcase was awesome, we had a blast and of course it was a privilege to share the stage with Six Feet Under, Cattle Decapitation, Gypsyhawk, and Pilgrim. All super dudes and great bands!

2. You guys are from Detroit, Michigan what's the music scene like there any band recommendations?

Tony: The music scene is alive but I personally haven't been to a local Detroit show in a while since we were on tour all summer for the Trespass America Festival. Some sweet metal bands from the area people should check out are Hellmouth, Scorned Deity, Flesh Eating Flesh, Shitlife, Writhing, Imminent Sonic Destruction, Burn the Hearse, Nothing For Now, and Nurse Ratched. The list goes on but there's a few to get you started.

3. How did you come together?

Tony: Hiran and I grew up across the street from each other, picked up our first guitars in 1996, and it wasn't till we met Kreger in 2007 that we really started producing legitimate material as a band. We stole Don from another band in 2008 and recruited Gumby in 2010 in hopes of world domination ;) The hardest thing is finding the right fit of like-minded musicians and I'm so grateful we stuck to our guns and somehow found each other.

4. What’s the origin of the band’s name?

Tony: In 2004 I put two words together that sounded cool, so texted it to Hiran and he liked it. We found out no one had it yet and it just seemed appropriate at the time. Over time we developed a sound and the name just stuck. Some people tell us they hear the name and think we'll be Viking metal, power metal, or 80's sounding. Overall we hope our music makes the name. It is open for interpretation too as according to Google "battle cross" can be associated with the fallen soldier memorial, chicken fighting, or an arcade game. ;)

5. You guys have a unique sound, which bands Would you say influence you the most?

Tony: Thanks I would say the foundation for sure would be Pantera, Metallica, Testament, Gwar, Slayer, Sepultura, Judas Priest, The Black Dahlia Murder, Killswitch Engage, Arsis, Parkway Drive, Decapitated, Dying Fetus, Lamb of God, Death, and so on and so on.

6. What is your favorite song to perform live?

Tony: Kaleb!

7. What’s the best and worst shows you've ever played?

Tony: Oh man… haha that's a tough question. I'm going to have to sum this up somehow because there have been so many great shows. I’d say every show this year has been fantastic, we've grown with confidence and that's really the key to having a good time. When you're comfortable on stage, not taking yourself too seriously, hanging out with friends and fans, and playing with good bands it makes all the difference. I can't think of a bad show, lol.

8. What was the inspiration for the album name Pursuit of Honor?

Tony: Originally I wrote and named the instrumental intro "Pursuit of Honor". As the album came together after we recorded Gumby's vocals it all seemed to make sense. A powerful title that goes with the album subject matter and theme also open to interpretation to the listener.

9. Your genre choice is labeled "Blue Collar Thrash" tell me about it?

Tony: A friend came up with that I think because we started with nothing and continue to work hard. No one ever handed us a damn thing. I think the blue collar label suits us and reflects in the music. I think we have that chip on our shoulder that reminds ourselves we can't get anywhere without sacrifice. In the end you can call us whatever you want.

10. How would you describe the overall sound of the new album?

Tony: It's not done yet but I would love to tell you all about it when it is.

11. Did the band have any definitive goals they were shooting for before the recording process began for this album?

Tony: Yeah for sure, we want to capture the live energy our fans feed from at our live performances and blast it out of the speakers of their stereo. We are always trying to push ourselves. A lot of the songs on Pursuit of Honor were written without Don and Gumby and their influence combined with the growth of the band will result in the new record capturing the evolution of the band.

12. Are you using any new instrumentation you've never used in the recording process before?

Tony: No, well, not that I know of. The new record has not been recorded yet.

13. When did you start writing for this album?

Tony: The skeleton ideas began in 2010.

14. Can you go into one or two tracks on the new album? If so, can you give us the track title and brief description of how the track sounds and how it came about?

Tony: Unfortunately I can't, sorry! Haha we haven't recorded yet.

15. Who writes the songs, what are they about?

Tony: We all contribute to the songs but they always start with guitar as we are very guitar driven. I believe Gumby will be writing all lyrics.

16. What advice would you give to fellow bands?

Tony: For new bands: practice constantly, push yourself always especially when writing new material, create a good "product" (your music) before you do anything else. The music you write and perform is the most important thing about your band and everything else comes second. For bands that have been doing this a while and just can't seem to get noticed: always make connections in the music industry everywhere you go and take advantage of the social media resources at your fingertips to keep your fans interested and furthermore grow your fan base aside from playing live performances. Getting people to know your name (branding) is key.

17. What inspires you to do what you do?

Tony: For the love of music, metal, and the metal community. I want to look back on my life knowing I did the best I could and didn't settle. And most importantly this makes me happy.

18. Anything else you want to add for your fans?

Tony: THANK YOU! It means the world to us you gave us a chance. Coming out to a show, picking up our CD, telling a friend about us - all these things are more than we could ever dream of. Thank you guys for validating our existence, I promise we will always do our best.

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