Saturday, January 18, 2020

Miko/Burdizzo Vokills interview

Hey all! This is Miko, and I’m the vocalist for Burdizzo! 

2.What / Who made you want to sing? 

Growing up, between the 70’s & 90’s, there were all the obvious icons that inspired me to sing along when I would hear them on the radio or spin their records. But, as far motivating me to actually want to get a band together and grab the mic, is when I saw two Canadian legends: Sudden Impact & Voivod, play together at the El Mocambo here in Toronto. Damn. As I write this, it hits me. It was 1988. It was an All Ages gig and I was 15! The night blew my mind! To think a couple Canadian bands, at that level and genre could pack a club was unimaginable to me. Of course at that point I had only been to a couple large arena type concerts before that. Being under age, in a club and having some understanding that this is how it starts with a lot of bands, that was it. I was hooked.  

3.Who was the first singer you saw live that gave you chills? 

Well. Here we are at another Voivod concert, this time with Soundgarden and Faith No More opening. Yes, Voivod was the headliner on this leg of the tour. Lol. Anyway, we all heard that FNM got a new singer and being more of a Voivod fan at that point, I didn’t expect much. I hadn’t bought The Real Thing yet, and not even sure I heard anything from it at that point. FNM hit the stage and they killed it. Mike Patton was this inhuman being executing almost every vocal style imaginable with precision and it was stunning. The only other vocalist that gave me that same feeling was The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Greg Puciato. It was the Miss Machine tour and the first time I had seen them live. In both cases, I just stopped dead in my tracks and slowly back up and watched in utter amazement.  

4.Many people say heavy music is just screaming, How would you combat that statement? 

Perception and personal taste is a complex thing. To a lot of people this statement is correct. There’s screaming, then there’s screaming in key. A lot of my friends and family members, despite their never ending support, don’t understand why I love this. Why I do it. And they’ll   

never understand the skills involved to keep doing it well. Personally, I can’t even begin to explain the theoretical components of our style of singing versus that of more palatable styles. I can hit a bite or two and carry a tune but this is just style is just so much fun and rewarding. So for those who don’t get it, I don’t lose sleep over it. There are so many more important debates to engage in than arguing to justify our vocal style as a bonafide skill and art.  

5.If you growl or do harsh vocals how do you keep your voice after such violent performances? 

Luck! Back to the previous question, with regards to screaming in key or properly, I’m sure a lot of us have developed our style over time. I paid close attention to what worked, sounded and felt good. Sounds and techniques that didn’t work were abandoned very quickly. I definitely struggled in the beginning but my vocal journey became heavier over the years. From starting my first punk/thrash band to joining a more thrash/grove/hardcore band and eventually being part of the formation of Burdizzo and delving deep into Grindcore. It was always a genre I loved, and integrated a bit of it to my performances, but going full tilt takes me to a another level of being. It’s cathartic, therapeutic and deeply satisfying to be able to physically do it and still have a voice after every performance. In my 20 plus years of doing this, I’ve done sets in perfect health and ailing from some flu or cold and am fortunate enough to say that I’ve never lost my voice due to aggressive singing. Physically, it’s taxing and the day after of a set is very challenging to normalize, so pacing myself between sets and rehearsals is important as well.  

6. Do you have a warm up routine? Tell u bout it ? 

I tend to keep to myself and shut up before a set. Breathing exercises are very important. So a lot of deep breaths, long holds and slow releases to get my lung capacity ready for every rehearsal or set helps. I’ve gone cold a few times due to time constraints and have never been particularly happy with the over all performance of those sets because I know I’m holding back so I don’t do any damage. Stretching helps as well. Especially for the next day.  

7. Do you think power or performance is more important? 

Both. At least for us. Fans of Grindcore will know if ones faking or dialing it in. Even fans of any genre can tell when a vocalist isn’t 100% and that’s part of being human so I don’t judge too harshly when I watch a bad performance. If it’s fatigue from touring too heavily or just them having a bad day, I appreciate the effort they give to fans. Vocalists who don’t care and just roll in and out of every city like it’s a chore or a job bore me. That’s when it’s time to hang it up. It’s important to connect sonically, visually and emotionally at shows and personally, I don’t care if there’s 10 or 100 peopling the room, I’m  going to give it my all.  

8. Who do you think gets unfair vocal praise, someone the world thinks is great but is not? / And who is great but does not get the credit? 

James Hetfield. Hands down. I am one of those fans that loved Metallica up until the Black album. I just didn’t get it. I thought it was too soon in their career to shift to that style of metal. So 
when everyone in mainstream music we’re praising him as a great vocalist at that point, I though it was a joke. Especially since around the same time, to answer who never got full recognition for amazing pipes, was a vocalist from a little know band from a galaxy far, far away that we’re destroying cities all over the world! Gwar’s David Brockie is a phenomenally skilled vocalist. His range almost rivals Mike Patton, and every time I’ve seen Gwar, he never disappointed.. I remember one year, Air Canada lost some of their luggage including Dave and Danielle’s, (Slymenstra Hymen), costumes. They came out on stage and explained what happened and asked the crowd if they wanted them to go in with the show, as we responded with a huge resounding roar of approval and they basically performed in their birthday suits. That night, Dave was free. He wasn’t weighed down or restricted by his costume Andre was in fire! He probably played the best set I had ever seen and he sounded amazing. I miss that guy.  

9.Name your top 5 vocalist 

Heavy Music World/inspirationally specific, and not easy to do, I’d say: 

1-Mike Patton  2-David Brockie 3-Kevin Sharp 4-Greg Puciato  5-LG Petrov 

10.Micheal Buble or Jim Gallette? Just testing your skills here 

I have no idea who Jim Galette is. Buble is Canadian, so he gets props for that but I wouldn’t say he’s as talented as people think. So, I’ll go with Jim Gallette! 

11.Who do you love to listen to that would surprise people?. 

I love Beth Gibbons of Portishead and I am a huge fan of Jeff Buckley. There will never be another like him.  

12.If you could remove the autotune from any singer who would it be? 

All of them.

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