|Well Mario, thanks for giving us a small bit of your time. So, tell us what is going on now with Gothic Knights? I know the band is in full writing mode this year for their new record, the follow-up to "Up From The Ashes", released last year by Limb music. How is the songwriting going thus far, and what musical direction will the lyrics lead to?|
Well right now we are in a very creative mode. Everyone has riffs they want to bring in, and we are creating new songs from all of them. Some songs are complete, and some are on the way to being complete. Ive never seen the band have some many different ideas floating around. Personally... I've never felt so creative in all my life. I can tell you the stuff that is coming out is heavy!!!! Still very melodic, but heavier!!! I hear a lot of influences from such bands like Testament, Slayer, Sabbath, and Overkill in these new songs. The lyrics for the completed songs so far are in a dark fantasy vein.
How will the new record compare to the previous records?
So... so far the songs on the next cd will be more angrier, and heavier. I think most of the songs will be in line with Vampyre, Sleepy Hollow, Nightmare of the Witch. We are trying to focus on that type of aura for this next cd.
Will Limb Music release the new album, and will any cover tunes be planned for the release?
At this point I have no idea if we'll throw a cover on this one. Probably not since we had a cover on our last two releases.
Is there a working album title yet?
There is no title yet for the next cd. Its so early to say at this point. Look for something dark and evil sounding.
Late last year the band added guitarist Dan Castro to the fold to play live shows. Will he be involved with Gothic Knights as a permanent member, and will he be in the studio to help out with the new record?
Dan has been a great fit for us. He has been a die hard fan of the band since the very beginning. He was learning the songs on his own, just for his own enjoyment. I always felt we needed a rhythm guitar live, especially after recording Up From The Ashes, John did alot of 2 guitar part harmonies on it. So a rhythm guitar was almost a necessity for us now. Dan was taking guitar lessons from John, so Dan would play our songs, so we new he knew the material already, so it was only natural he was a good fit. As for the recording of the new material, I think John will be handling all the guitar tracks.
With the down time right now, are there any shows planned for this year?
We have played only a few shows since the cd has been released. I wish there was an organized tour that we could've gotten on to support the sales of the new cd, but that has'nt happened. However.... we did do two great shows with Helloween here in NY/NJ. The crowd's response to us was great. It was so much fun to play in front of all the Helloween fans, they seemed to really have enjoyed us. I wish we can do shows like that every night. We have an upcoming show at Don Hills in NYC, June 6th. It will be a cd release party/show. Yes I know you are thinkin, why are we doing a cd release party 7 months later???????? Well we did have this scheduled in the Winter time, but the show was cancelled due to a snow storm. It was gonna be at Lamour in Brooklyn, but now the club has closed down, so we are gonna do it at Don Hills.
Gothic Knights have been around for 14 years. Looking back over the band's career, what is the one thing you would change?
The bad things that have happened to this band were not created out of bad decisions by any of us. It was the stuff beyond our control that has helped keep us down. Such as...lineup changes...Thats something beyond anyone's control. It's a part of being in a band. You're lucky if you never have anyone leave, or anyone you want to get rid of. The other major factor was...the whole music scene changed when we first hooked up. Grunge took over. Metal was dead here in the states. How could we have avoided that???? So if I had all the powers to change all that, I would have to say those 2 reasons is what I would have changed.
Is there any talk right now of releasing the self-titled album from 1996? I know it only saw 1,500 copies and those are of course long out of print. How much demand do you receive from the fans for that to be put out again?
|"We have not stopped doing our traditional style of metal, and sure as hell won't now. Real metal heads know the fakes and what bands are the real deal."|
I'm sure somewhere down the road the first 2 cds will be re-released. Maybe re-mastered, or re mixed with some bonus tracks. I can see that happening.
With so many bands releasing DVDs and concerts, are there any plans right now for a Gothic Knights DVD?
We would love to put out a dvd, but its kind of pointless at this moment. Maybe if we played some festivals, or some really big shows, then I can see recording that and putting it on a dvd.
How do you feel about the current metal scene in the US, with so many bands trying to go back to metal after avoiding it for the last ten years.
Lots of bands were avoiding the term "metal" like the plague, a few years ago. Now, it somehow a cool thing to be labeled "metal". All I can say is that this band started out in '91 when metal was basically dying (at least in the minds of the mainstream). We have not stopped doing our traditional style of metal, and sure as hell won't now. Real metal heads know the fakes and what bands are the real deal. I dont think anyone can say we are riding any sort of trends. Gothic Knights = Metal, straight up!!!!
How hard is it to be a power metal band in the US right now, with places like MTV, Headbanger's Ball, and radio basically ignoring all things "true metal", instead focusing on black, death, and nu-metal for most of their rotation.
It's very hard. It seems like every trend seems to avoid our style of music. The only successful bands that are doing power metal are the big boys, like Iron Maiden and now Judas Priest. I do see some of the lesser known power metal bands breaking through though. Iced Earth is who I'm talking about. For a long time they were pretty much an underground favorite, but I see more and more people mentioning them as one of their favorites. I hope somehow we can get that Iced Earth crowd to like us. People have metioned that we sound similar to them, so I hope that works in our favor. It seems people like extreme stuff more and more now. Its like they either like extremely heavy shit, or extremely mainstream shit. I think we are right in the middle of that. Our style of metal isn't stuff that makes your ears bleed, nor is it top 40 music, its nothing new to us though. We just do what we do, you either like us or hate us.
Is it too little, too late for a successful Judas Priest reunion in 2004?
I was waiting for the day Halford would come back to Priest. Its the most exciting thing for me right now. Priest is such a great band that somehow stayed true to metal, yet they also appealed to the mainstream as well. They are my biggest influence. They are everything I want to have in Gothic Knights. I was a fan of both Halford and "Ripper" era Priest. I cant wait to see them on Ozzfest!!! Its gonna be a great thing for metal and all its fans. I must give praise this year to the Ozzfest organizers. For years they were putting shit bands that were so called metal on the bill. Finally this year its pretty much all real metal. Slayer? Priest? Dimmu? BLS? Sabbath?? Fuck yes I'm in heaven. I wish Damageplan was on it this year though. They would've fit perfectly. Theres no way its too little to late for Priest. They are the kings!!!!! Always have... always will. I hope they catch on to the younger generation. They are the epitome of what a metal bands career should be like.
Well Mario, thanks again for your time. We look forward to a new Gothic Knigths record in 2004!
Well its been great talking to you. Take care!!!