Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Empire de Mu BABY

Ruins of Lemuria

Album; Spiritual Demise


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1.Thanks for taking the time to talk to The Times! You have a new album out, Tell us about it! The album is our debut EP. It has 3 songs and they sum up the bands sound and where were taking it next to upcoming albums.


2.Where was it recorded? Is all the material new? It was recorded at Reaper Studios in Windsor CT. The material has been around for a long while now.


3.What is the biggest difference between your last release and the new one? It’s our first release but every release will have its own feel.


4.Are you signed to a label? , If so which one and how did they help or support the process? Nope. But we are hoping soon with all promotions and ppl that are on board with us.


5.What has been going on with the band between albums? Did you tour? We are playing lots of shows to get the word out.


6.Do you have any new members? David Lawrence. He joined up with us a month or so ago.


7.Who produced the new album and how did they effect the album? We all did. We added all our touches to the music which effected the album.


8.Some like to record naked or in the dark with candles , Did you have any strange studio practices? Funny! No! Lol.


9.Of course tell us where to pick up your album and how to learn more about you. You can find us on Bandcamp, Reverb nation, Instagram, Facebook.


10.What is your plans now that the new album is out? Play! Play! Play!



1.Tell us your name and the band you play for

My name is Thomas Hill and I’m David Lawrence. We play for Dem Sons Of Bitches.



2.Who made you want to pick up the guitar

Thomas: The radio in general. I love all music.

David: Ace Frehley



3.Are you self taught or did you take lessons?

Thomas: Self.

David: Self taught, took a lesson once and it sucked, too another lesson once years later and learned one thing that I use every Friday and Saturday night.


4. Can you read music, Can you read tab?

Thomas: Tab a little.

David: No to standard notation, yes to tablature



5.Do you feel like you have your own sound / tone ?

Thomas: My own style.

David: Fuck yea!



6.Tell us about your guitar ( brand ,model . year , color )

Thomas: Ibanez. I like the fret board. Color don't matter.

David: I have two, a 1999 Les Paul Smartwood Exotic, which is wood color, that's my #1, my #2 is a black 2001 Les Paul Standard which I bought because it was the heaviest first I've ever felt.


7.What about pickups? Passive or active ? Tell us about them

Thomas: Passive. I use a pedal that I adjust to cater to passive pick ups

David: I have passive right now, I like DiMarzio but have played pearly Gates a lot, and I have a EMG set in a shopping cart right now, so I will be playing actives again shortly



8.Lets get into amplification, Same drill brand , model , speakers etc

Thomas: Anything that's cost efficient and sounds good

David: 1982 Marshall JMP50, a 10 watt single ended tube amp I built myself, and I have a 1980 Bassman 135. That ten watt amp is loud as fuck


9.Do you have a pedal board? Tell us about that badboy.

Thomas: I get what I can afford

David: Just switched to a modeling thing on the floor, but usually I have a Morley switchless wah, an OCD and a fuzz or two. Sometimes a phase 90.


10..Now tell us your Dream Rig in detail…..

Thomas: I don’t have one.

David: My Les Paul plugged straight into my Marshall sitting on my 412, I'm fortunate to be where I am


11.What guitarist can you not stand?

Thomas: Love them all.

David: I may prefer some music to others, but anyone who plays the guitar is pretty cool to me


I12. Is tone more important or is technique?

Thomas: Tone

David: The tone IS the player



13. Name your top 5 guitarist

Thomas: I love them all. I cant hate guitar players or anyone in general. Hate are for haters.

David: Ace Frehley, Buck Dharma, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Johnny Marr


14.Who is the most overrated guitarist

Thomas: I could mention some ppl but I wont. Lol!

David: Kurt Cobain


15.Who would you like a one hour private sit down lessons with anyone dead or alive?

Thomas: Eddie Van Halen or Dimebag Darrell

David: Joey Santiago of the Pixies, he's too cool!





1.Introduce yourself and your band and tell us why we should listen to you.  My name is Mike Falzarano, Thomas Hill, Bill Cee, David Lawrence. We play RAW, IN YOUR FACE, BOMBASTIC, HIGH ENERY HARD ROCK!

2.What do you classify your sound as, Who do you tell people you sound like?We let the people decide. But to answer your question honestly. We’re just a Hard Rock Metal band. 

3.With digital music in today's world would you vote to keep or eliminate physical media?  I would vote to keep both. We need everything to get music out there in one form or another.

4.What is the reason you decided to be a musician and has that reason paid off?  For the love of ROCK N ROLL! It still hasn’t paid off. And were loving it!

5.How do you feel about females in metal getting special attention? Do you feel it is fair?  I love to see females up front. Sex sells. I don’t think it’s fair or unfair. They are great to see fronting a band and they rock the stage harder than some guys.

6.In the world climate with hatred being at an all time high and metal being an “ angry” music 

Do you think your music contributes to anger and hatred?  We don’t contribute hate or anger. We may write tunes about it but they come from personal experiences. If you choose to act it out, that’s your deal. We just sing about it.

7.Are you opposed to religious beliefs or politics being used in music?  Nope. Whatever sounds good in a song.

8.We have dive into some pretty deep issues here do you think your music sends a message and if so what is it?  Most of the lyrics come from Thomas’s head. He pours his personal experiences he delt with in life, good and bad, and there’s a message in anything you play or sing. If you can relate to our music great. If not enjoy the song.

9.The market has changed and many bands believe that record labels are a thing of the past, with many labels now charging bands to “sign” how do you think a band can make it in todays scene?  Three letters D I Y! Next question.

10.Why with the thousands of options including netflix , sporting events everything on demand 

Why do you think people should take the time to listen to what you have to say in your music?  People should always take time to really and deeply listen to music and the words. Movies and music and especially music has always have something to say. True or False. But if you can find the message were playing awesome.

11.How do you feel about pay to play? Do you think it is fair for a band to have to pay money to play?  I think it’s BULLSHIT! Not enough time to answer this topic. But I will say that from personal experiences never believe what you hear. Too many ppl playing favorites.

12.It is fact that you are the talent and the entertainment explain what you think is the most important key to success?  Determination, and hard work.

13.In country music and even in some cases rock music is written and performed by different people would your band perform a song written by someone else?  We do also covers but DEM SOBs way! Lol!

14.If you are pro female in music are you pro using sex to sell your music?  Next! Lol!

15.What is your view on the lawsuits against people saying lewd or unprofessional things to women or men and how does that affect an art described as sex drugs and rock n roll ?  People need to shut the F**K UP ! and move on! There are no rules in ROCK N ROLL! F**K CENSORSHIP!

16. Ok lets lighten up a bit. What is your favorite band of all time and why?  KISS! They set the bar up high for a hard working rock n roll band.

17.What would you be doing if you were not in a band?  Being a schlep!

18. Do you have a favorite sports team?  Don’t watch much sports

19.If you could get on stage with anyone dead or alive who would it be?  KISS.

20.This is your shot to let loose, Throw down your biggest complaint about the music

biz  . Money Hungry Fiends! That is all! Rob from the poor to give to the rich.



1.Why Bass?

 I was a guitar player from 1979 till 1990 then i broke my leg and when i got home from hospital all I had at my house was a after 7 months I tried my guitar when i got back to my friends house and it felt like a i just converted


2.Do you think it is unfair or just lack of knowledge bass gets so little credit? Lack of knowledge....try listening to any band without the bass.


3.What kind of bass do you use? Model , color , year , And why.

LTD'S  any color..they seem ti take th most punishment..but i have a few different customs as well



4.Tell us about your amplification

Gotta go with Mark Bass and Ampeg. Great sound control and headroom up the ASS!


5. With all of that being said do you feel tone is an important thing for bass? Absolutley! I use a BOSS ME80 to adjust tone for different songs and settings


6.Do you prefer 5 strings over 4 string? Yes! But I do use 4 strings for certain songs but I put the lower 4 strings of a set of 5 strings on it to accomplish a baritone style..HELL! maybe i invented it I dont know!


7.Who is your favorite bassist? I would have to say the late Paul Grey of Slipknot followed by Cliff Burton of Metallica



8. Who is your least favorite bassist?

Im gonna get flack for this but I’m  gonna say Geddy Lee.


9.Why do you think women seem to be attracted to playing bass?

The riddle may never be solved. Maybe something to do with vibration.


10. What bassist dead or alive would you like a private lesson with? Les Claypool


11. Bonus question

Bobby Doll , Nikki Sixx , Les Claypool , Billy Sheehan  which is more ridiculous and why? Les

Claypool by far. Just weird in a very original and talented way.


Ancient Settlers new album interview


1. Thanks for taking the time to talk to The Times! You have a new album out, Tell us about it!

Hey! How are you? All good? Good! Well, it’s an EP, it’s called “Autumnus”, which in Latin Means something like “The Fall” which intends to reflect where we, as humans, are going in the short/medium term, it’s all going not the best way for all of us, putting aside the current sanitary situation, and it’s the overview in general.

The creation/production process is actually very modern and very high-end, technologically speaking; since we’re all located in different areas of Europe (I’m in France, the rest are in Spain/Portugal/USA) the main thing was that Carlos (Rex) every time he came up with some idea in the guitar, it would be heavily analyzed and brainstormed to see what could be improved, then came the whole basic concept of the songs, then, with those ideas, then we would start recording the official tracks, with the right tones in the guitar, you know, the right way, then it drums, Herman would enter studio to track drums (which let me say, this guy did in Record Time, it took like, a weekend to track it all!)

With drums done and good, tracks would come to me, to track the synths with solid, metronome perfect tracks, as you might have heard in the record, I use a lot of Arpeggiated sounds, and a lot of click/tempo-based sounds to give this kind of “cinematic” idea and highly dynamic sounds, so I needed the click-perfect drums and strings to get inspired, and not mess up any track

Then Antony came in Vocals and well, the rest is history, results are more than good!

2. Where was it recorded? Is all the material new?

Most of the recordings took place in our own home studio, as it is compliant with the equipment necessary to have good tracking results to deliver hi quality raw tracks, so they can be later processed.

Drums were a bit trickier; they were recorded in studio, the way it has to be done.

Vocals were recorded in Ohio, where Antony lives

Now engineering; it was Mixed and Mastered by the all mighty Daniel Cardoso, from Anathema at OhMe! Studios, in Portugal, that’s why it sounds like a beast.

3. What is the biggest difference between your last release and the new one?

That’s an easy one, it’s our first release, BUT!, let me give you a hint, if you found this EP good, wait for the full-length, it’s going to be wild, trust me, production process is almost complete (as we’re having this interview) and it’s wicked!

4. Are you signed to a label? , If so which one and how did they help or support the process?

We’re knocking some doors, to see which is the good label out there for us, so, if any label AR reads this… “Hey hello, we’re good guys, we’re cool and nice and always have a chocolate for you” *laughs*

5. What has been going on with the band between albums? Did you tour?

Not yet, you know, this world we live in is kind of not permissive of going out and tour, but hey, let’s hope that really soon we’ll be on the road, we miss being on stage, we miss the adrenaline rush of the “30 minutes, guys” before going on stage… Soon, my friends, soon!

6. Do you have any new members?

Well, the most recent member is our new Bass Player, Mike, this guy’s a tempo machine! Plus his bass tone, reminds me of Billy Sheehan’s iconic tone, so we had to get this guy with us!

Love you Mike <3

7. Who produced the new album and how did they affect the album?

Well, it was mostly self-produced; minds working together, that can achieve a lot of things!

Of course, we took into consideration third party ideas, to improve if course! Thanks guys who contributed in the song-creation process, you rock!

8. Some like to record naked or in the dark with candles, did you have any strange studio practices?

I cannot track if I have no background TV, it’s something that is mandatory for me, at very low volume, but something’s got to emit some sound, the sound of nothingness kind of stresses me out *laughs*

Oh and of course, Red Bull (this is not a sponsored message), to get the focus and the blood flow going (That’s what she said)

9. Of course tell us where to pick up your album and how to learn more about you.

Well, there are all our socials which are;

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and even TikTok (who would have thought); all goes by Ancient Settlers

We’re all over there, checking out, so we don’t miss anything of the people that’s interested in our material, and if we get to meet on the road, share a few beers and a few jokes (oh yeah, I love pranking strangers)

10. What are your plans now that the new album is out?

Well, as every up and coming band, get put in the map, get in the radar, and then, when the world allows it, gigs, gigs like there’s not tomorrow, we will give out best to deliver the best show we can do, not to brag it up, but we’re actually live shows specialists, we thrive on live shows!

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Danie and Ritchie Randall talk about mental health

   A week or two ago I asked as many friends of mine that play metal as I could think of to share their opinions about something they feel strongly about. So when Ritchie Randall said he would do this with me I was more than happy. 
  Gravehuffer is a punk/sludge/extreme metal band from Joplin Missouri and Ritchie does their guitars and vocals. The reason I was so excited about this is the subject matter Gravehuffer writes about is incredibly varied. 
  There’s a song about Edward Mordrake, the man with a superfluous, some say evil, second face on the back of his head and how it tortured him, a song about the exploitation of indigenous people, and one about Buzz Aldrin ( Sights to the Sky, on which Dan Morgrain from Voivod guests) so I was sure Ritchie's opinion about mental health would be thought-provoking. 
  In the three or four years we’ve been acquainted, any time he's stopped to chat with me it’s been interesting. This was no different.

 Me: Why do you want to talk about this? What is the purpose of bringing the topic of mental health as it relates to music forward?  
Ritchie: I want to thank you for having me and appreciate you giving me your time. Firstly, I have noticed mental issues having a significant impact on not only influencing the music and lyric but also affecting the outcome of their careers as well.
 Me: Which outcomes do you mean? How do you suppose we could maybe change the outcomes? 

 Ritchie: The unfortunate outcomes can be anything from giving up on music to suicide. The arts tend to be somewhat of an individualistic field, so there’s not a lot of help offered to artists of any kind. We’re pretty much left to our own devices and that can be a very difficult path if not prepared for it. Coping skills being taught, anger management classes, how to handle addictions, money, and just basic life skills that maybe you weren’t aware of.

 Me: I think those are good points. Two particularly caught my ear. Anger is just sadness or fear with boots on. People will be afraid of you if you lash out in anger. But people might ridicule someone who deals with these feelings by crying. You also touched on life skills. There are no longer as many opportunities to learn self-care skills like balancing a checkbook or how to sew a button in public schools. Lots of people didn't learn that because there was no one to teach them. What would you want to see done about these problems? 

 Ritchie: I remember learning to balance a checkbook and to sew, cook, bake, all that stuff. I feel like as a society we’re a little too hung up on academia and not really much of anything about basic life skills. I’m pretty sure the thought process is that parents should teach their children these things and not the education system. What about the kids who are in dysfunctional households? Maybe they are being raised by grandparents, or in the foster care system. I work at a university mailroom, and I’ve only seen a handful of students properly address an envelope. They usually have to ask me how to do it. Who’s failing these kids? There needs to be a better balance of academics and social skills being taught. We also need to do our part as parents, teachers, or just caring people in general. 

 Me: The cost of living is part of this too. Lots of good parents are working as many hours as they can because they are good parents and are scrambling to have enough. And so, things like how to write a resume and things like that are less important than some other life skills. I agree with you that emotional intelligence is needed to be taught too. Do you think what we should do to promote mental illness is preventative? What else? 

 Ritchie: Exactly! Very good point. It’s difficult to be a provider and a teacher in such a short amount of time. Preventative is definitely the most obvious choice for pretty much any health-related issues that could arise. That’s not always possible, so sometimes there needs to be more outreach and education available to the public. I took an anger management course about twenty years ago, and my therapist said that he thought that it should be a required class for people general. It was definitely more about proper life and coping skills than managing anger. Mental health seems to be more of a specialist field, when it should be something that any health professional should be educated about as well as sentimental. 

  Me: We’ve been talking about the environment, how someone is nurtured. Do you think that’s the most important factor?

 Ritchie: Ultimately I really think it is. It can be changed if you are raised in an unhealthy environment, opposes definitely proven that it’s more difficult to learn something new the older you get. The opposite can happen of course, but it’s easier to revert to a previous behavior than learn a completely new one. Myself, I was raised in a pretty good environment. I think a big part of my issues is a much more recent onsets. Almost all of the anxiety and depression I’m having lately is fairly new to me, so I’m having to learn coping mechanisms that I was never taught. Part of it may be the classic ‘midlife crisis’ and I do know some of it is PTSD from being trapped in a house during a tornado with my wife and four children. Life has not been the same for us since. 

 Me: How does this relate to music? How can that environment be improved to help people stay healthy? 

 Ritchie: Music tends to be the outlet for a lot of people that don’t have the proper coping skills to handle anything, life throws at them. It can produce very powerful art, but it can also come with a price to pay, by not properly channeling that emotion. It can lead to unhealthy relationships with band members, significant others, or even other people in the music business who you rely on to help further your career. With the proper coping skills being learned before getting into music, you are better equipped to handle the challenges that you may face. 

 Me: What do you recommend to keep from keeping things healthy between band members?
 Ritchie: From personal experience, communication is definitely the most important thing. Misunderstandings can cause so many problems. It’s very important in the creative process to know where everyone stands. Otherwise, resentment can build up if you don’t communicate your thoughts to the rest of the band. Tact is very important too. Sometimes people are in completely different moods from each other, so it’s a safe bet to not come out all guns blazing or joking around at an inappropriate moment. Respect each other’s thoughts as well. Be constructive with your criticism too.

 Me: I really appreciate your time. Thanks so much for hanging out to talk about it, Dude. I hope the conversation continues with anyone who spent the time reading this. 

Check these guys out! You can find Gravehuffer here: