Interview with Haniel (guitar/synth guitar/vocals) of Markradonn
Conducted live on Facebook by Lady Kat Chaos with Dave Wolff, Alan Lisanti, Andrew J. Prussack and Frank Sommers January 11, 2015.
Lady Kat Chaos: Lately, you've been working on new material. How is the progress going?
Haniel: The progress is going well, actually. It is a long and very labor intensive process, but I am very happy with how this is turning out. We've been working on new material for our next EP, which will be called "The Serpentine Deception", and will feature a brand new brass section, and 5 new songs + a bonus track.
Dave Wolff: What was the inspiration for the title of the EP?
Haniel: The title came from the lyrics to one of the newest songs called "NIN.GISH.ZI.DA: GOD OF THE TREE OF LIFE". There is a line in there that deals with the "serpentine deception" and it is an allusion to the whole mythological and mystical past of serpent gods, the plumed serpent...long story but the song on the EP will brush the surface a little of something we are working on for the future
Lady Kat Chaos: When did you start working on new material for "The Serpentine Deception"?
Haniel: Kat, pretty much all of the material for this band I have been working on for years. One of the songs on this EP I started writing in 2006, and *finally* I was able to get it finished and we are doing a version of it at our next show in 2 weeks. One new song was written last year, and the other, the year before, and we have a pair of interesting instrumentals that we are working on in Feb of this year.
Dave Wolff: Where else besides the Bible have you read about the serpent as a key character so to speak?
Haniel: Well, this is yet another high mileage question, and I love thee sorts of questions. The serpent is everywhere. In fact, the image of the serpent is one of the key figures in human history. The "serpent" god, EN.KI was said to have been responsible with his half-sister/lover NIN.HUR.SAG for creating mankind from the seed and essence of the gods and the "clay" or raw material of Earth. The "Plumed Serpent", Quetzalcoatl, was said to have been the founder of the Olmecs, which lead to the development of high civilization in Meso-America. It is so extensive...but it all comes back to EN.KI, who's moniker always has something to do with "The Serpent", and his youngest son NIN.GISH.ZI.DA was taught by his father all of the secrets of science and "magic". So, NIN.GISH.ZI.DA also bears the "serpent" moniker, and it is said that he is in fact Quetzalcoatl, who migrated to Central America after his oldest brother usurped Egypt from him. NIN.GISH.ZI.DA, which means "Lord of the Tree of Life" was called "Thoth" in Egypt....
Dave Wolff: Does the serpent always have negative connotations or do some texts show it in a different light?
Haniel: The serpent imagery is misunderstood. The "serpent" imagery seems to have some relationship with "life"; all of the gods associated with the serpentine moniker seem to be gods that have some connection with life or the "tree" of life. This is interesting, because if you look at the double helix DNA, you will see that it looks like two serpents entwined. Hence, the "god" of life, and his son, both had the "entwined serpent" sigil associated with them...also known as the "caduceus", which is the symbol for the medical profession. So, the serpent imagery has a lot of relevance to me, personally and musically. http://journalofophiolatry.files.wordpress.com/.../caduce...JOURNALOFOPHIOLATRY.FILES.WORDPRESS.COM http://thequeenofheaven.files.wordpress.com/.../ningizzid...THEQUEENOFHEAVEN.FILES.WORDPRESS.COM "Joseph Campbell believed that the serpent in the Eden story was lifted directly from either the Sumerian God Enki, God of Water and Wisdom, or his son Ningizzida. Both of them were identified as Serpent Gods, among other things. Enki was possessed of the food and water of life as well as the tablets of wisdom. Ningizzida was Lord of the Tree of Truth." I am utterly fascinated with @NIN.GISH.ZI.DA...totally blows my mind how he shows up in almost every culture post 2250 BC...
Lady Kat Chaos: NIN.GISH.ZI.DA is a Mesopotamian deity of the underworld. What would you consider the identity of Markradonn? Haniel: That is still to be determined. Sometimes I feel this has a mind of its own...
Andrew J. Prussack: I totally agree with not keeping your writing locked in a total genre box. I approach writing the same way. But so many people are elitist about what they will only listen to these days. Have you found that having that uniqueness has made you stand out more to people or has it made it more difficult to break through to a larger fan base? Haniel: Well, it is too soon to tell. We are really just solidifying the line up now for the first time since I started doing this, so, the jury is still out. But when I went down to a show Friday and handed out some fliers for the next show, a LOT of people were really interested in what we were doing. It also shocks me how many metal heads *played brass in high school*. It is only a matter of time, I believe, before brass becomes a normal part of metal, as keyboards have become.
Andrew J. Prussack: I really respect that sort of "non-genre-specific" writing style.
Haniel: With this band, we are kinda taking it one step further, by crossing over into "big brass". Just using Cimbasso is strange because there are only I think 2 of them in the entire state...So, there is no ceiling with us because it hasn't really been done before. Master's Hammer used Timpani but that was 23 years ago. The realm of Brass-Death metal is wide open and we hope to explore all of it.
Lady Kat Chaos: Within your material you will hear French horns, trumpets, timpanis, trombones and tubas besides bass, guitar and drums. What made you step out of the realm and create new challenges for yourself, as a band and in the metal scene?
Haniel: To be honest, I am still trying to figure this one out. To me, it just made sense to use big booming brass and percussion to death metal. It just seemed like a good fit.
Lady Kat Chaos: What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced as a musician and since the birth of Markradonn?
Haniel: Death. Just going back the past few years, there has been a lot of death around here. My neighbor was murdered. My father passed in 2010. Someone in the band's dad passed in 2013; we had a suicide of someone who was close to a band member...someone's grandfather died....and all of this was within a very short time period. My own life was in danger several times. The musical and personal challenges notwithstanding, I can say that we all have been touched in some way by death. But that which does not kill you makes you stronger...and we are all stronger as a result.
Lady Kat Chaos: Indeed and you have overcame many obstacles in your past. Lately, I have seen many guitarist having issues with strength in their fingers, wrist and forearms and at times can be difficult playing and some have gone into a depression because they are unable to perform. What can these guitarists do?
Haniel: Very quickly, bullet points: Break bad habits. Many guitar players rely on "muscling through" playing certain parts and develop bad habits and bad mechanics as a result. The best thing to do is to break down your playing and focus on having good, solid, correct mechanics. Watch Al Di Meola play and watch how he approaches the instrument. No wasted movement at all. Quit toxic substances. Drinking booze, smoking tobacco and pot, doing drugs, all deplete the body of Vitamin C, which is needed to make collagen, the basis for your joints. So, if you are depleting Vitamin C from toxic substances like that stuff, then the body steals it from joints, causing problems that start in the hands. It is reversible to a point, and supplementation can help tremendously. Don’t wanna quit? Then ask yourself this: which do you love more, music, or your habits? I had to quit drinking any booze 8 years ago, and my entire body is better as a result...and I have seen people's joints and cognitive ability improve from quitting drugs and tobacco. I'd give up just about anything to do music. So, the decision to keep myself away from intoxicants was easy. When I started taking care of myself, I saw a ton of improvement...
Lady Kat Chaos: Since, I am not a guitarist what would be some wasted movements?
Haniel: That is hard to say. I would have to show you in person. But a few things would be lifting your fingers too far off the fret board, using your thumb and index finger to "reach" with the pick because your elbow is anchored on the body of the guitar...um...using too much of the pick...that sort of stuff...
Lady Kat Chaos: I have read some reviews in the past about Markradonn and it seems some of them have misunderstood your material. How do you overlook some of those reviews and continue to move forth?
Haniel: A LOT of ranting, screaming, eating cookies, and playing faster and heavier on the guitar. I can admit I am very frustrated with reviews and reviewers. Everyone who writes reviews nowadays thinks they are experts on music, and know better than the bands. They tend to penalize bands for having a low production budget while rewarding mainstream-ish bands for having a lot of money backing them. That is bullshit if you ask me, and people need to pull their heads out of their asses. If you want nice, pretty, polished metal, then go lick a chrome bumper on a Harley. If you want dirty and in tour face metal, then go listen to some really raw death metal, done how it should be done.
Lady Kat Chaos: Do you ever find the media or fans criticizing your material because you are doing something different compared to other bands?
Haniel: Honestly, lately, I have been so busy making music and helping people get well that I haven't had much time to pay attention. But since 2013 we have gotten some shit, yeah. Some guys can't seem to wrap their head around the fact that we use live instruments instead of digital samples, and some people have made comments about my song writing since it is not genre-specific. I don't say "hey, that is an 80's thrash riff, I can't use that in a death metal song" or "that is a black metal riff, so I can only use it in bees in a tin can type song". That mind set makes some scenies' heads explode.
Lady Kat Chaos: I will honestly admit I used to be closed minded about the underground coming onto the internet (as you know in the past). There are still many who are selective and don't feel you can't like or combine death, black or thrash metal together and if you do at times they tend to call you a poser or fake. Hence, more have become more open minded. Do you ever get fed up with closed minded individuals?
Haniel: Yes, but it is not my problem. It is theirs. I get worked up over, um, everything, because that's me. But if someone doesn't care for me, my band, or what I do for a living, I tend to just move on to others who do.
Dave Wolff: On the opposite hand, you don't have to be "closed minded" to be unique. Many extreme metal bands have pushed the envelope of creativity and branched out in their own way. This is more open minded than rehashing the same formula again and again thinking it will get you more money or recognition.
Haniel: Dave, I think bands should always challenge themselves and never get too comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn used to gamble away all of his checks from his book publishers so that he would never get too comfortable and stifle his creativity... but I think that was just a great excuse to justify his gambling problem, haha.
Dave Wolff: There is nothing wrong with making a living from playing metal. But if you're not doing it solely for money, that doesn't mean you prefer being broke. At the end of the day, is the actual work as important as making a living from it?
Haniel: I get a great sense of accomplishment from being a part of Markradonn and from working with so many wonderful musicians. I think some day we can be a financial success. But a lot of work needs to be done to get there.
Dave Wolff: Many bands have made it on their own terms (Metallica, Marilyn Manson etc) and established new standards in music, proving you don't have to compromise your ideas to be successful. How much has Markradonn pushed the envelope this far?
Haniel: Not far enough just yet. Expect us to push it even farther...
Alan Lisanti: I see you have a 6 string bassist, as well as a fretless bassist/"Demon Horn" and trumpet player too.. Do these guys play both on your songs, or do they switch roles depending on the material maybe? Also, do you feel stretching the boundaries of what are considered typical instruments in Metal gives you an advantage over say replicating that element digitally?
Haniel: Well, Dennis tends to jump onto another instrument when Nick is on Bass. Nick actually switched from Horn to Trumpet in the song "Internal hate unbounded", and plays a trumpet solo in that tune. He is a very talented musician, and what he does is very tricky to pull off. We are looking into using fretless and 6 string in the same song, because Dennis's style leave room for some smooth fretless. But we have such a big bottom end already with the timpani and 4 bass brass instruments...it will be very challenging and we look forward to it. I wouldn't say it is an advantage, because everyone uses the tools they need to make their own music. I don't see it as an advantage. I will say, however, if I used digital samples I'd have three albums done already. Using live brass is much more labor intensive, but the rewards are off the charts. Maybe it will come through on the new ep even more so than the last, but live brass gives me so much more of a dynamic range to work with, and the expressiveness from brass and the THUNDER of timpani gives me so many more ways to take this. I have to say, once you go brass, you never go back.
Lemme introduce the guys while I have a chance:
Me: Gits and Vox
Tim: Drums and percussion
Jonathan Gabriel Katz: Timpani and Percussion
Richard Blankenship: Principle Trombone
Dennis Bottaro: 6 string bass, Didgeridoo, Hand Percussion
Nicholas Weaver: Fretless bass, "Demon Horn", and Trumpet
Drew Prichard: Cimbasso and Tuba
Allen: Rhythm Guitar
Jesse Hudson: Vox
Robin Sisk: Tuba
Jeez, did I miss anyone? I am always afraid I forget someone!!
label: Otto Kinzel IV from Bluntface Records
PR and promotions: Mike McCoy II + Joshua R Alexander
Webmaster, photography, and all sorts of support: Altara Blakthorne
And introducing Anthony Harvey who just jumped on board on post production, mixing, and production consulting. He is a great asset and a good friend to me and the band, and we are all excited to have him on board.
Frank Sommers: Well hey I'm Uncle Frank owner of Metal Noize TV, a good friend of Kat's and also former manager and now consultant for Dying Eyes of Sloth, who I see two of them are here. I kinda do just about everything in this biz and have for over 30 plus years. I figured I’d pop in say hello, thanks for the invite Kat! Well, 1st thing after listening and watching the live video on your page do you just do cookie monster vocals or do u also do clean?
Haniel: Hello Frank Sommers. Hope your evening is treating you well. No clean singing at all. We are in talks with a session musician to come in and do some operatic vocals here and there, but this is a death metal band. It will always be a death metal band and it will always retain the core qualities of a classic Florida-style old school death metal band.
Frank Sommers: Hey Haniel and yes going great hope yours is also.
Haniel: We are starting to work with the dynamic of my processed and high pitched vocals with Jesse Hudson's low end dry guttural growling.
Frank Sommers: So how is the scene doing down there and it’s funny how FL became death metal hotbed after being the breeding ground for so many great southern rock bands back in the 60' n 70's? If you would like some exposure check out the Metal Noize TV page like it n post on it then ill share it on my 3 pages and well I have an audience of about 30,000 worldwide.
Haniel: People are still going to shows and getting hammered haha! Will do Frank. Feel free to send an invite
Frank Sommers: I meant club wise n stuff are there a lot of clubs or just a few is it pay to play as in selling tickets for a good slot n to get paid that kind of thing.
Haniel: Another plug: Crown of Viserys has a new issue coming out. Well, it is all of those things really. There are places to play in Orlando and Tampa, but Ocala tends to be more close-knit. I don't know about pay-to-play around here because I would stay away from that unless I had very solid chance of making my money back at that event. Camden Cruz does a lot of shows and stuff around here. He is actually very hard working and I respect his efforts a lot. We need more guys who work as hard as he does. Check out his band Seventh Kingdom.
Frank Sommers: Have you played outside of Florida yet and any plans to do so?
Haniel: I played in New York years ago when I lived there. Markradonn would love to play out of state, but the logistics are complicated and the finances need to be taken care of in order for me to get a 12 piece band to travel.
Frank Sommers: As for playing outside of Florida, one thing I try and get bands I manage or work with is to pay 5 bucks a week which is nothing and put into a band bank account. It adds up fast especially with you having 12 members that can help with small tours outside of Florida for ya. Any band I highly suggest this to them. Most don't listen and then they bitch cause they never have the money for playing out or if equipment breaks down you can use it for repairs and whatever comes out of the band kitty belongs to the band not one member. If a member decides to leave he leaves without that money cause it was for the band as a whole weather it gets used or not while they are there that’s 5 bucks each member every week.
Haniel: I want to take a second to plug some bands I like: Epoch, Thrashaholica, Killing Addiction, Sons Of Ragnar, Aberration Nexus, ABDOMEN CANVAS, Critical Dismemberment, and Nocturnus AD. Also, guys, check out Blackened Horde-Radio. and zine Blackened Horde Zine.
Frank Sommers: Here is my info for my company page METAL NOIZE TV https://www.facebook.com/pages/METAL-NOIZE-TV/164067874374
Haniel: Thanks for the mention frank and we'll look into it. It is like second nature for me to mention other bands in an interview. It is hard for me to talk about my stuff without talking about my friend’s bands and their projects and other bands.
Frank Sommers: It’s cool to mention other bands but only as long as they are doing the same in return. It works both ways and many bands jump on your bandwagon when you get a lot of press and such but when they get the chance they don’t return the favor so I would keep it at a min and mainly promote what your band is doing.
Haniel: Frank, I don't share bands or promote other bands because I expect something in return. I am a metal and music fan, and so if none of the bands I share reciprocate, hem, I don't care. I was a fan for a long time before having a band, so my attitude and actions have not changed. I'll still support the underground as much as humanly possible.
Lady Kat Chaos: What is like working with Chris Meyer (Aberration Nexus https://www.facebook.com/AberrationNexus)?
Haniel: Well, Chris and I worked together for a song 2 years ago, and it was a lot of fun. He let me do anything crazy that I wanted to do with my solo.
Lady Kat Chaos: How many years have you been playing guitar? What is the most valuable lesson you have learned as a guitarist?
Haniel: Since 1997. Perfect practice makes perfect, and everything is "just practice"...feel the music but know what you are playing...if you hit a wrong note once, it is a mistake, if you do it twice, it is genius.
Lady Kat Chaos: Being a guitarist isn’t always a glamorous as it’s made out to be; could you tell us about a hard or testing time that you've had to endure? Do you feel sometimes guitarist have a lot of pressure on them since they basically write all the music and conduct most of the interviews?
Haniel: I have been battling arthritis for 17 years. But unless it gets very, very cold, I have 99% cured myself of it. Also, Carvin Guitars really caused me a lot of grief lately with some really bad gear they sold me and my band. You would not believe how much stress getting bad gear can cause. I don't feel a lot of pressure with the song writing. I can do that forever. The only pressure I have on me is all the damned driving I do haha. Lots and lots of driving.
Lady Kat Chaos: Speaking of gear what is your full set up (including picks and strings).
GSP 1101 c63 update
Peavey TB Raxx
Carvin TS100 (falling apart!!)
6 space rack being changed to a BestinCase Road Cases rack case.
J-station + RP 360[...borrowing one now but getting my own soon]
Mesa Boogie Simul Class 2:90
Carvin DC 400 and DC 127
Modded Ibanez RG 120 w/ Dimarzio pickups
Modded Charvel M3 w/ Dimarzio pickups and low-pro bridge
Dunlop big stubby w/ gripe tap
Zoom R24 + ART mic preamps, BBE devices, SM57s, Clear Sonic Baffles, and Fabreeze.
Lady Kat Chaos: I am sure the company will fix any issues that you've been having. I clearly can understand your frustrations when you need your equipment to create new songs and practice. What are some issues that you have been having (pickups)?
Haniel: I ranted about this a lot on FB. It was really that they rushed an $1800 guitar out of production and it had all kinds of problems, including bad pickups. We had two TS100's die on us, one was a warranty replacement. Just a nightmare. And their new 4x12 gt12 cabs are really a joke. They are nothing compared to their older ones. I spent $10k with this company going back 15 years, and it breaks my heart to say these things.
Frank Sommers: switch to Marshalls. That's what I used. I also have a crate practice amp set up in my living room hardly ever hook up my rack system. Mostly just play straight through guitar to amp no effects whatsoever.
Haniel: Frank, I own one JCM900 300w A cab. But that is where my Marshall interest ends. If I can find a straight cab version for under 3 bills, I'd buy it but I am pretty much settled. Marshall doesn't make power amps, and anything they made in the past 20 years doesn't interest me.
Lady Kat Chaos: Because of these issues have you thought about using another company?
Haniel: Absolutely. I have a few in mind.
Lady Kat Chaos: How close should pickups be to the strings?
Haniel: Kat, great question! My friend John Rainey who built my rhythm guitarists guitar can tell you more about that. But, for me, I like to have the pickups a little closer to the strings to get a more articulate picking attack, but it is all relative. Some pickups like the DiMarzio X2N has such a powerful magnet that you can drop it back a little and still get a ton of gain.
Lady Kat Chaos: Does it matter what type of pick-ups is used for Death Metal? Is there a certain type that must be used?
Haniel: I have seen guys use any sort of pickup and make it work. For me, I tend to use DiMarzios and it looks like I am going to replace the pickups in my Carvins with DiMarzios soon.
Frank Sommers: Nope, any pickups and stuff can be used for any type of rock n roll n metal, it’s just a matter of what you set your tone at for the right sound all guitars and amps have a different sound even if they are the exact same they will sound different.
Lady Kat Chaos: I see many guitarists say that EMG Pickups are the best. Would it be best to try different types of pickups that you feel gives you the sound you are looking for?
Haniel: I don't like EMGs that much. I absolutely recommend trying new pickups and trying new sounds!
Lady Kat Chaos: Is it hard to replace your pickups? Do you have to replace your guitar when doing so?"
Haniel: I'd usually have someone else do it that has experience with that. It isn't hard, but I can't perform surgery on myself haha so it is best to have someone like a good luthier take care of it for you if you are not 100% sure you know what to do.
Lady Kat Chaos: When making changes to your guitar can it mess up the body work? What about the Value of your guitars worth?
Haniel: This is a great question! We had to do some routing on the Charvel to make the new bridge fit. So, if you don't know what you are doing you can absolutely mess up your guitar. I support taking your stuff to a good luthier, or learning from a good luthier how to do it yourself! Probably worth about what a bag of cool ranch Doritos would be worth. My DC127 is nice, but Carvin doesn't make guitars with a high resell value. So, I figure it is worth about 1k...maybe all of my gits together would be about $2k.
Andrew J. Prussack: I agree with Haniel. Although I do mostly all the work on my own equipment, if someone doesn't know how or are unsure of their ability to do so then you are best to bring it to someone professional for upgrades or repairs. Frank Sommers: That’s funny Haniel I just had my two main guitars revamped by Ace Frehley of Kiss' ex guitar tech who also has a book out about Ace, and Mr. Bill Baker, he is doing my nephews guitars now.
Lady Kat Chaos: Do you like using wide or thin fret-boards? How do you avoided it from warping?
Haniel: It depends...the DC 400 and DC 127 have thicker fret boards, while my Ibanez and Charvel have slightly thinner boards. It all comes down to string tension and radius...for me, if it is set up correctly I am fine with it. I keep it in the case and don't leave it in the car.
Frank Sommers: Keep it out of dry hot areas for warpin. Also if not using it loosen strings. Feel free on my post above has my address to send CDs for reviews and also my cell if you have any biz questions.
Andrew J. Prussack: Equipment is all relative. Everyone likes different things. Just a matter of finding what suits you best. Us guitar players are never happy though. LOL
Haniel: Andrew, DIY is great, but one must "know before doing."
Lady Kat Chaos: When it comes to guitar accessories what should be included?
Haniel: Picks, straps, cables, tuner, sometimes a foot stool, fast fret, CHOPS Pre-play by Graph Tech Guitar Labs. Frank Sommers: Always searching for the right tone, haha.
Lady Kat Chaos: How long do you practice playing on your own?
Haniel: Typically, 5 days per week, between 2-6 hours. I usually take off the day after a long session.
Lady Kat Chaos: Earlier you mentioned some of your songs were written years ago. What made you decide to rework them?
Haniel: Well, it wasn't a re-working so much as it has been a constant writing process. As far as I am concerned, a song isn't done until I sit with Jon and Tim and finalize the drum and rhythm map. So, every song I have ever written is still in the "writing process". Even the songs we already released are not "finished". That's the way this project is; there are constant different interpretations of the songs because of the different instruments we have available.
Alan Lisanti: You mentioned earlier the "backstory" if you will of the symbolism of the serpent and such, do you prefer to write about things like that, and sort of tell a story, or base material around that, or is it more of a personal sort of perspective for you, or both?
Haniel: Alan, this is a fantastic question, give me a second to answer it: Markradonn is really a band that is based on a concept I created 20 years ago called "Ceremonial Abnegation", which is a deeply spiritual, personal story arc about a man who become so consumed with his own hatred that he renounces his entire life, memories, emotions, thoughts, and identity in an ancient occult suicide ritual. The songs all revolve around this story, and the back story, and the philosophical and spiritual foundation for it. EP #1 "Final Dying Breath" was like a "sampler intro" to the first full album, and EP #2 "The Serpentine Deception" is like a "sampler intro" to the album that will follow the first one. So, it is all of the above. This thing is still coming to life even as I write this, and it is a lot of fun for me. Having the right musicians involved really makes this easier for me. But also realizing that whatever I write will fit seamlessly into the story arc because since I started playing guitar and writing lyrics and singing...this is all I know. I started taking guitar lessons to do *this* concept when I was 20. I kept practicing until I was good enough. I waited until I was in my mid-30s to do this, when I moved to FL. So, all of the song writing is really just a constant continuum that is based on experience, thoughts, ideas, and all put together in a rather loose but coordinated story arc to tie it all together. This is a life's work that I am blessed to be able to work with a bunch of great musicians and share with those who find it interesting or relate-able.
Lady Kat Chaos: Because you have many musicians do you ever clash with one another?
Haniel: The only musicians I ever clash with are other guitarists haha. But we all get along with each other great. Our practice room is like a frat house.
Lady Kat Chaos: The battles of guitarist. Have you ever threw out a song because you felt it sounded too much like one of your own influences?
Haniel: Not really. Pretty much everything is always in transition, so if something has potential I keep it. Now, mostly, when I write, I pretty much hit record, play what comes out, hit stop, and boom, a new song. But pretty much all of the material for this band is written. I have literally 4 albums done.
Lady Kat Chaos: What are you doing differently compared to your first EP?
Haniel: Well, I loaded the software and all the stuff I need into a modded ASUS lap top with an SSD in it. Next, I started working with different mic'ing techniques. We got better gear. I found an engineer to do the post-production (Anthony Harvey), which is probably the smartest thing I could have done. He rules. I also am not using the Trombone mute for anything but the French horn for certain effects...I am doing different things with the vox. The production is more organized. Pretty much everything is different.
Lady Kat Chaos: Do you speak with each other to all understand deeply the meanings of your lyrics, or do each of you find your own representation and understanding of Markradonn's lyrics?
Haniel: We don't really talk too much about the lyrics. Only me and Jesse Hudson talk about them. he and I have a lot in common but also have some differences, and it is a fun dynamic and I bug him all the time, haha. We have fun. The guys think I talk too much anyway, so with the non-singers we talk more about the mood and tone of the music, and how the music represents and relates to the mood of the lyrics.
Lady Kat Chaos: Which song are you most proud of?
Haniel: As of right now: "Veils of Negative Existence Part 1" Which has not been released yet, and will be on the upcoming EP.
Lady Kat Chaos: Is "Final Dying Breath" still available?
Haniel: Yes, at http://www.gofundme.com/Markradonn. Click here to support Symphonic Death Metal w/ Horns &Timpani by Haniel.
Lady Kat Chaos: How difficult was it for Markradonn to get enough support in order to present their music to bigger Metal audiences? How important do you feel it’s to promote your band?
Haniel: People like you, Altara Blakthorne, Joshua R Alexander, Mike McCoy II, Otto Kinzel IV, Zachary Moonshine, Massimo Ricciardi, Dave Wolff (AEA zine), Soulgrinder Zine, and so on make it much, much easier to get out there.
Frank Sommers: How do you go about promoting the band? Does every member also promote?
Haniel: I create flyers, do social media networking, go out and meet new people (when I leave my house), work with online promoters, make friends, etc...The other guys do what they can do. They are all more popular than me and they have more friends than me, so they are great at networking just for that haha! But we leverage our promoting well because everyone does a little and it adds up. Tim Carter is great because he seems to have some great opportunities lined up. He has been great all-around with everything since we started. The guys all do a great job and I am impressed with the buzz they are creating around this. You have to protect your investment. If you don't think it is important enough to promote your own band, then no one else will think it is important. We are not rock stars. Gotta go to work and pound the pavement.
Frank Sommers: Here is an example of a flyer I would make and print. I didn't print this one, instead I used the one above.
Haniel: Special bonus video for you guys hehe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBSX30Uu-Ms. This is an example of the effects on the video from the Sony handycam, and using Vegas 10. Another: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGYQACrhjY8. Just a quick shred practice w/ a drum machine. Nothing special, just practicing chops. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whNM5djwUHM. Just call me "the broom" ('cuz I sweep a lot...get it?) Here is me just jamming out some solo ideas at 4am. It is a little. This is the last one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haHz961uTAE. Internal Hate Unbounded/band introduction This a song from the first performance this band has ever done.
Frank Sommers: That's what I mean everyone in the band has diff friends n outlets and that’s why it’s important each members does his part even if it’s once a week at least it’s something which many bands don’t do n to me that’s when I say well if they can’t take 5 min to promote the band there heart ain’t in it n don’t let the door hit ya in the ass see ya! that’s what I tell my bands I work with.
Haniel: There are some guys that can't promote, such as some of the brass players. That's cool with me. I want to make music. I can handle all of the promoting myself. I have a lot of experience in this
Frank Sommers: I understand that but to me with all bands have to work with 5 minutes to do some promotion is not much to ask 1 man can’t reach what 12 can do. Let alone when it’s a 4 or 5 man group I should promote. Unless you consider this more of your solo project with just backup players and not an equal type of band.
Haniel: Ya gotta understand Frank that most of the guys in this are professional musicians who only play music. They don't have the time to go out there and hand out flyers, post to a message board, or pound the pavement. I am not going to kick out one of the best brass players in the state just because they "won't promote 5 minutes a day". This isn't that sort of band. I have a huge team of people doing the promotion so that it doesn't require any one else to do what they can't do. Part of the reason why I am able to put this together the way I have is that I put *zero* pressure on everyone, except to play their instruments and work with me around the schedule. It has been hugely successful because I have music professors at the local college playing brass with me in this, as a full time member of this, helping me with the arrangements, putting hours in to writing stuff out, and so on. So, everyone has their job to do. I have worked very diligently at delegating responsibilities to make this work, and it has gone smoothly. There is no drama. There are no altercations. No one practices drunk. We don't have any druggies in this. Everything works, so I am not going to start being a dick about how much promotion the flippin timpani player does on a daily basis. I feel as if I have a great handle on this, great control over the situation, and a lot of people simply do not get how I work and how I do things. In fact, I have gotten more "shit" from people telling me how to "run" this than I have about the music itself. Well, the reason why the music has been making massive strides is because of how I set up the dynamic. There is no reason for me to take a 49 year old professional trombone player and grill him because he went home to be with his kids instead of handing out flyers at the local bar for the next gig. I am pretty confident that we will have great numbers that the next, our second, gig in 11 days.
Frank Sommers: I mean when I started my band way back in high school in the early 80s it was mainly me n 1 other guy writin then when I moved back to jersey from South Carolina I owned the name n rights so I restarted it all with new players n it was sorta a concept idea like you are doing band was called Morlock .but then I got tired of doing most of the work n disbanded it n went into the other side of the biz which I like a lot better n do more I still write n play but with injuries n stuff I’ve had n surgery n stuff now I can’t play more then 15 to 20 min before my arms n hands go numb so playing anymore I don't do much of but I do write with others on occasion n always writing for myself n also working on 3 diff books one is all in verse so that taking a while to keep a story going doing it that way but sooner or later it’ll be a complete book ready to publish. Hopefully, haha.
Haniel: "unless you consider this more of your solo project with just backup players n not an equal type of band" No, not at all. I don't understand your remarks. This is not a solo band. What gave you the impression it was?
Frank Sommers: No, I get that n ur doing a great job from what ya said n yes it’s a big project n great you have top players in all aspects ..I’m just asking general questions and stuff like that. So please don’t take offense. I just see so many bands that have 1 or 2 members doing the work and the others just sitting around getting fucked up and shit. I didn’t say it was a solo project asked if that’s what it was as we were talking about promoting and such but you gave me the answers already so all good.
Haniel: Frank, you are so right. However, I tend to do the work of 8 people by myself, and I have literally boundless energy for this. I get pumped up. I have no issues with doing a lot of the work myself. In fact, I enjoy it. I want these guys to play some music, have some fun, and have some laughs every week when we practice. I like the hard, laborious, boring crap. These guys do everything I can possibly ask, and more. I want to reward them with some good times and some fun and inspired music.
Frank Sommers: That’s awesome ya have a great working environment within the band very hard to come by today with all the egos n extra stuff they putting in their bodies. So I give ya props brother for keeping it all good with that many people involved ya should get a lot of kudo's for that alone..
Haniel: Thanks Frank! That means a lot! I give credit to the team for working hard and being so receptive to everything.
Lady Kat Chaos: Did you have anything specific in mind prior to starting the process of composing your songs?
Haniel: Not any more. It just sort of happens now. Mostly what I have been doing lately has been layering and building the songs and arranging the other instruments and parts. So, I think subconsciously I write with brass and timpani in mind now.
Lady Kat Chaos: Did you find the addition of the "newest' members of the band helpful in achieving will help with more of an impressive result?
Haniel: Yes, Richard Blankenship has been a god send. Drew on Cimbasso has really put us over the edge and has been so helpful in getting the brass written out. He is a great asset and I love working with him.
Lady Kat Chaos: I know that Allen is handling rhythm guitars. Do you prefer playing leads over rhythms? Does Allen ever come up with some lead sections of your songs?
Haniel: I prefer playing the songs, and I get a little turned off by my own lead playing sometimes. "Does Alan ever come up with some lead sections of your songs?" No, strictly rhythm. He has his own project he is working on and I am looking forward to hearing it.
Lady Kat Chaos: How do you avoid too much overdrive or distortion when layering guitars?
Haniel: I have no idea haha that's why I teamed up with a good audio engineer to help me with that!
Frank Sommers: I agree definitely hard with that many players to keep ego's in check n just do it for the love of music it’s kinda like what Paul O'Neil does with Trans Siberian Orchestra.
Haniel: Exactly! We are a bunch of fun loving guys who spend more time cracking on each other than we do actually playing the songs haha! But it is so much fun.
Lady Kat Chaos: Do you feel that this new EP will be guitar-based album or will each instrument play a very important role in the way your music comes across? Do you feel that each member should standout?
Haniel: This will be actually *less" guitar driven in the sense that 2 of the 3 songs with vox do not have a solo. The guitar *sound* will be vastly improved, but this is more about the songs, and how they impact the listener. I do not like to play solos for the sake of soloing, and I do very much like how the brass and the bass are sounding together. Tim's drums on this one will be really fun to listen to. This isn't about the individual members; it is about the team as a whole. They all work well together and the songs are what are important. They all focus on what the song requires, and our fretless bassist Nicholas Weaver really does a phenomenal job with his parts that he plays bass in, and his brass parts, to make them work in the context of the songs. I couldn't be more proud. If there is one guy that I really need to send props to, it's Nick.
Lady Kat Chaos: As you mention, that you also keep in mind brass and timpani when it comes to your writing, do you ever get stuck and how do you overcome the block? Are you now also learning how to play other instruments to help with your creations?
Haniel: I really don't have writers block or mental blocks, because if I know when to quit and go watch some TV or play with my cat. The process has been very liquid and very fluid the past year or so, and I don't get worried any more. There is so much material to work with...we do not have any issues with content. Plus, we have guys that if I just hit "record" they can bust out this big improvisational thing...man, I love that. I also make sure I take a lot of brain nutritional supplements that really help me stay focused and improve my energy greatly...No, but I am learning more about notation and how to write music out...
Lady Kat Chaos: Talking about the sound, how do the new songs come across in a live environment in your opinion? Is it hard to maintain the same sound from your release in a live setting or do you like to change it up?
Haniel: Not sure yet! We will find out in two weeks! Is it hard to maintain the same sound from your release in a live setting or do you like to change it up. Again, we shall see in two weeks!
Lady Kat Chaos: How hard was it for you to find the right musicians? Do you feel this line-up is solid? Are you still looking to add other musicians?
Haniel: Literally, 20 years. I hope so! We are working great together...Yes, I would love to add a trumpet player who has a lot of jazz chops for some recording and possible live playing.
Lady Kat Chaos: Some individual's would say that Death Metal shouldn't have jazz fusion mixed and I often wonder if they are truly listening to some of the bands fully. Who would be some bands that you've enjoyed that has combined them both?
Haniel: Atheist, Early Cynic.
Lady Kat Chaos: I was just thinking about Atheist's after asking you that question. Do you feel that your fans and friends will find some sort of connection with your releases?
Haniel: That's why we are taking the sort of marketing direction we are taking. My goal is to have deeper, more personal relationships with the people who appreciate the music we are doing. I mean, I am splitting my soul open for the world to see, so the fan-base is almost like "part" of this journey with us. We are still in the early stages, but as we release more material we will see a much deeper connection between the music and the fans and the band. I have a hard time with people so this is yet another challenge that must be met haha!
Lady Kat Chaos: Do you feel that you have managed to achieve a big part of the artistic dream that you had when you started Markradonn?
Haniel: Not even close. That won't happen until the last album we do.
Lady Kat Chaos: I know that you had to head out Haniel. I thank you for stopping by and answering many questions from other hordes. Is there any last words that you would like to add.
Haniel: Sure. Support local music. BUY CDs. Support bands that are working hard. Don't be a bitch about "genre"; it is all just METAL. Plus, please consider making a donation to us for some really cool Markradonn gear!! Thanks folks, have a great week! http://www.gofundme.com/Markradonn
Alan Lisanti: You mentioned Florida Death Metal earlier as being a big part of the core of the band’s sound, what bands drew you to Death Metal starting out, and what are some other influences or genres that inspire you?
Haniel: Thanks Alan Lisanti, last one of the night! Death. Death. And MORE DEATH!!!! Hahira But also brutality, Monstrosity, Obituary, and of course, Nocturnus AD.
Frank Sommers: Great talking with ya Haniel look forward to hearing more from ya take care n keep it \m/ brother n best of luck n if I can be of any help in the future don’t hesitate to ask my number n addy in the ad i posted earlier \m/
Haniel: Hey guys, I leave you with my favorite band!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8WKr5SvBnk. The song "Arctic Crypt" by Nocturnus (a damn good band of old-school death metal) from the album THRESHOLDS.