INTERVIEW WITH OTTO KINZEL AND ERIK MARTIN OF SKIN DRONE
Interview conducted live on Facebook by Lady Kat Chaos with Dave Wolff, Alan Lisanti, Iddimu Akhkharu and George Derenches, January 10, 2015. Reposted with permission.
Lady Kat Chaos: Hails Otto! How are you on this fine cold winters evening?
Otto Kinzel: Howdy! I’m doing ok; just drinking some coffee and relaxing.
Lady Kat Chaos: Musicians usually don't have that much time off to relax. How often do you take a break for yourself?
Otto Kinzel: Pretty much never, haha. I'm always working on something. Sometimes music for one of my own bands, or Bluntface Records, or doing a mix for someone. Plus I have a newborn at home so whatever small amount of time I had to chill out before has evaporated.
Lady Kat Chaos: Currently, you released a new song "Death Sentence", how has the feedback been thus far?
Otto Kinzel: It's been amazing. People are really into it. The most frequent feedback we get it that it's "disturbing" which makes us happy.
Dave Wolff: In our interview we discussed your promotional video for I Want To Report A Murder. How much more recognition has the video received since then?
Otto Kinzel: Actually a pretty good amount. The interview you did with me in Autoeroticasphyxium helped re-invigorate interest in it. People are getting back into the album I released, We Are All Doomed: The Zodiac Killer, since it came out back in 2012. bluntfacerecords.com/zodiac-music.
Dave Wolff: We talked about the influences of that song. Restate what inspired it here?
Otto Kinzel: The song, and the entire album, are based on The Zodiac Killer. It's a conceptual piece about the Zodiac and all of the killings he did, as well as the myth and the lore of how one person can hold an entire city in terror. I did a shitload of research and I’m proud that it's all historically accurate.
Lady Kat Chaos: Are you planning on releasing a full length or an EP sometime this year?
Otto Kinzel: Skin Drone will be releasing a full-length album in 2015. And I’ve been doing a lot of music with Sarah Wappler for a couple independent movies. We're writing the music for the soundtrack and will release that as well.
Dave Wolff: Who were the people who appeared in the video with you, and do you have plans to work with them on future projects?
Otto Kinzel: I’m always collaborating on stuff with people. For example, I'll be doing the mixing and mastering for the Critical Dismemberment album that’s coming out this year, and I have a bunch of other irons in the fire. That's in addition to two full time bands that will both be releasing albums, Skin Drone and Terrible Speed Of Mercy, the project with Sarah Wappler I mentioned previously.
Lady Kat Chaos: Have you found it interesting that the Zodiac killer's identity remains unknown?
Otto Kinzel: I find it very interesting. That's one of the biggest reasons I was attracted to the subject. It could be anyone, anyone's Uncle, Grandfather, Brother... who knows. We'll probably never know.
Lady Kat Chaos: How much research have you done pertaining to this?
Otto Kinzel: I did read Robert Graysmith’s book and saw the David Fincher film based on it, but you have to take that with a huge grain of salt because Graysmith has some very wild and inaccurate "findings". I primarily focused on what was concrete, and that was the actual crime scene investigations and reports. Plus reading a lot of old interviews with David Toschi and Paul Avery who were on the frontlines of this back in the late 60's and early 70's. Nothing can substitute for the real thing.
Lady Kat Chaos: Do you find when doing some research on the internet there can be false information or lack of information? Do you prefer reading hard-copy books?
Otto Kinzel: There’s a lot of bullshit on the internet. I started with a lot of periodicals and used those as a guide on where to follow up. That led me in that direction and I was even able to speak to officials at the police department in Vallejo, CA. Since almost all of the records regarding the Zodiac are public knowledge you can get access to *some* old police reports. Not a lot but some.
Lady Kat Chaos: Where are you at with the recording with your newer song, "What Nightmares Are Made Of"?
Otto Kinzel: Erik and I were working on ideas earlier today. I had lent him a stereo WAV file with the most recent mix and guitar updates. It’s a nine minute song, but not only is it long but it has layers upon layers of music. We're trying to orchestrate a deep, emotional arc for within this song. I'd say we're probably 70% finished. The hardest part isn't necessarily the writing, but in the mixing and making sure our vision will translate to the listener.
Lady Kat Chaos: I remember sometime in May of 2014 a man claimed to be the son of Zodiac Killer on the news. Do you feel some will do anything to be in the spotlight for a few seconds of fame?
Otto Kinzel: I remember that, but it's been widely disproven. Basically, he was totally full of shit and it was a cash grab on his part based on very circumstantial "evidence". No forensics were able to prove any of his claims, and there are some very serious holes within his story and the facts of the case. So like I said, it's bullshit. It's like Jack The Ripper; every few years there's a new book out that claims they have solved the Ripper cases. and inevitably it turns out to be complete bullshit. If they really had solved the Zodiac case it would be huge, national news. You'd absolutely hear about it, haha.
Lady Kat Chaos: Welcome Erik! How do you ever feel some reject two man projects in the extreme scene and Otto what is your thoughts as well?
Erik Martin: I personally haven't heard any animosity towards two man projects. Most of the time it's centered on the writing process and how we accomplish it being so far apart. I think it makes us work twice as hard to take that disadvantage and make music that is really special.
Otto Kinzel: My thoughts are this: it doesn't matter if you have a one man band or ten people in your band. If the music fucking blows than it fucking blows. If the music is awesome, then it’s awesome. People who reject a band because of something as trivial as how many people are in it are just ignorant; it’s that simple. If you're that narrow minded I don’t want you listening to my music, following my website or label, or even doing an interview with me. Go away and listen to a band with four people in it like Nickleback. I agree with Erik 100%. I think we force ourselves to be very focused and work even harder because of the distance. We both work hard to make sure our ideas are clearly thought out and developed before sending them to the other person. We talk daily; usually multiple times. S there's a constant dialogue about what we’re doing and what direction we want to go in, and HOW to actually achieve this.
Lady Kat Chaos: Do you find it easier in some sense that having the internet makes it easier for bands to send new material to view, compared to waiting for the next band rehearsal?
Otto Kinzel: Even when I’ve played in bands where we all lived close by and practiced together all the time, we still sent each other ideas and recordings. It just helps to make things more efficient and people can have their ideas ironed out before coming to practice, rather than wasting time at practice trying to figure out a riff or a section.
Lady Kat Chaos: At one point, I have heard when some musicians were using Sound-cloud for samples that there was issues about others stealing music because it wasn't copy-written. Even if your music isn't fully completed isn't it wise to have it copy-written before putting it anywhere on the internet?
Otto Kinzel: That's a no-brainer. Erik Martin can you go copyright our stuff?
Erik Martin: I'm on it man, though I'm sure our music might not be "mainstream" enough to be stolen.
Otto Kinzel: Everything I do is copyrighted, not only through the Library of Congress but also BMI, who I use for publishing.
Lady Kat Chaos: Several only use Library of Congress. Why do you feel it's important to also use BMI?
Otto Kinzel: For the extra protection primarily. There are a few other reasons but ultimately I just feel better having a secondary form of protection. You never know when it comes to stuff like publishing and copyrights; just look at the Beatles! Michael Jackson bought the rights to all the publishing out from underneath them.
Lady Kat Chaos: Do you feel the old man’s copyright works today, and can you explain how the old method has been used for centuries?
Otto Kinzel: I would NEVER trust my stuff to the old man's copyright! It’s $35 or so to copyright it with the LOC, and BMI is free
Lady Kat Chaos: Many will tend to read your band bio and wonder what you and Erik handle for Skin Drone, and what instruments do you like playing most.
Otto Kinzel: It started primarily with me doing the majority of the music and Erik handling the vocals and lyrics. But it's grown so much, Erik and I are both multi-instrumentalists. The newer stuff he has contributed guitar and synth to, and I feed off that to write my parts. So there is no clear line of "I play this" and "he plays that" except for vocals and lyrics, which are 100% Erik Martin.
Erik Martin: I usually write the lyrics off of what vibe Otto is giving me with what he writes, that's my favorite part.
Lady Kat Chaos: At times when I do interviews with different band members and they aren't responsible for the lyrics, do you feel it’s wise that each member should have a discussion about it so they can be more informative for their band interview?
Otto Kinzel: If you're in the band and you're putting your blood and sweat into the music, you should naturally know what the song is actually about.
Erik Martin: I try and send him lyrics as I finish them up for a particular song. Sometimes I can spend hours on one and just want to make sure it’s on par and raising the bar from what we did last time.
Lady Kat Chaos: Did either of you take lessons in any of the instruments you've learned, or are you pretty music self-taught?
Otto Kinzel: When I first started learning how to play guitar around the age of twelvw, I took lessons for a couple of years. and with recording I also took some lessons and did an internship, but really all the things I’ve learned have been from "doing it" so to speak.
Erik Martin: No lessons for me. I played drums for a band in high school and learned a lot of Ozzy, Maiden, Lamb of God etc. I read a couple books on lyric writing to help hone the craft, but other than that it was just listening to my favorite musicians and trying to play what they wrote. I will add that Otto is a good teacher when it comes to writing instrumentation, adding layers etc. I've learned a lot from him.
Lady Kat Chaos: When learning to play from of your own influences what were some hard lessons you had to overcome to get close to the original song and what songs did you at first struggle with?
Otto Kinzel: For me it was the emotion of the original. I learned how to play the song and could play it from beginning to end. The notes sounded right but something was off. It took a long time to figure out there's a lot more to learning a song than playing the correct notes. I learned to play guitar to Nirvana's Nevermind and it was a big challenge to convey that raw emotion Kurt Cobain had when I played his songs.
Erik Martin: Patience. That was a hard one. When trying to learn songs from Rush and early Metallica, and recently with Dream Theater, it was patience. Songs I struggled with when first learning them were songs like (Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth from Metallica, I still haven't learned Tom Sawyer, and when I got into bands like Lamb of God and Nevermore, it was songs like LOG’s As The Palaces Burn and Nevermore’s The River Dragon Has Come.
Lady Kat Chaos: I know both of you have a great deal of experience since you started playing. What are your thoughts about pro-tools today compared to a recording studio? Do you feel some bands will miss out on recording studios because it seems that many today are creating home studios instead?
Erik Martin: There's nothing like going into a recording studio. It was one of the highlights of my music career to actually do that, but it’s nicer (and cheaper) to write from the comfort of your own. I think every band should still experience it once.
Otto Kinzel: I’ve recorded in many studios over the years, both digital and using reel-to-reel tape. I've never felt 100% comfortable, especially since the issue of paying funds by the hour was always in the back of my mind. I could never really relax knowing that, for every mistake and re-do we had to do that was potentially more funds down the drain. So when I finally built my own studio and finally had things up and running, it felt great. I was completely comfortable and relaxed. the quality of my recorded takes improved. So for me, I don’t miss them. I guess it’s different for everyone.
Dave Wolff: What are the advantages of having your own home studio, being able to have complete creative control over your own work while recording your material?
Otto Kinzel: Also the freedom to experiment and try different things and techniques without having to worry about wasting money, in case those experiments don’t work out.
Dave Wolff: How much more creative control have you had recording on your own?
Otto Kinzel: Complete creative control; you can't even compare. I do a lot of experimentation with loops, FX, and especially delay effects. it takes a lot of effort and can sometimes be very frustrating, so to do that in a studio you're paying to be in and be "on the clock", for me it’s not artistically friendly.
Lady Kat Chaos: Many guitarists that I have spoken with who took lessons would say that "Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven" is a great song to learn because it teaches you many skills. Is this true or fiction?
Otto Kinzel: I don't know. I never learned Stairway, haha. I’m the wrong person to ask.
Lady Kat Chaos: Did you ever record in a room with a double cassette deck radio back in the days?
Otto Kinzel: That’s how I started, Then I "graduated" to a Tascam 4-track; one of the old ones that you put a tape inside of.
Lady Kat Chaos: Otto, when it comes to recording, a few musicians gave you some advice about drum tracks. What advice would you give to new bands who will be recording for the first time in a record studio out of their home?
Otto Kinzel: My advice would be to read a lot! Read articles from sound & recording magazines and try to learn some basic, black and white recording techniques. And before you start recording put together a plan for HOW you're going to track each instrument. In the end, education and knowledge is power.
Erik Martin: The best advice I can give you entering the studio is to WARM UP. I usually hum my ABCs and then progress to singing and then screaming in a song or two. Also, do not let your nerves get the best of you. I made that mistake when recording City Lights and it was frustrating. Go in, know your words having practiced the song A LOT, and kill it. A little fun fact: when recording for Death Sentence, all the vocal tracks were done in ONE take each following that method.
Lady Kat Chaos: What is your studio set up?
Otto Kinzel: My current studio setup is a combination of software. I primarily use Reaper for my DAW and lots and lots of Toontrack programs, and hardware, like a digital 24 track interface. And then lots of really good quality mics for drums, guitar cabs, bass, and vocals. Good quality mics to capture the sound is one of the most important outlets, along with great pre-amps. I built it in the basement of my house, 100% sound conditioned. And I built myself a mixing room for isolation within the studio.
Dave Wolff: Despite the frustrations of working with your own equipment, how do you generally view the results of your work?
Otto Kinzel: I generally think I do good work. But my best work is when I’m doing stuff for other people. I can be totally objective. I have a hard time working on my own stuff because it's a lot more difficult to separate myself from "the artists" to the engineer. I can't be 100% objective like I can when it's someone else's stuff.
Lady Kat Chaos: It can be rather frustrating with creating new material while trying to stay away of comparisons of other bands. Have you ever put a song aside because you felt it sounded too similar to one of your influences? Does it ever bother you when reviewers compare Skin Drone to other bands or do you feel when they do it helps more?
Otto Kinzel: I don’t really get frustrated by that. people are always trying to compare new bands to existing, established artists in order to describe them to their own friends so I’m fine with it. Especially if that comparison brings in new fans that previously had never heard us.
Lady Kat Chaos: A lesson learned so many years ago is if you have a practice rehearsal studio that bands should change it around to get different sounds and it does help with playing live at different venues as well. When it comes to recording how do you avoid different mic feedbacks?
Otto Kinzel: As for mic feedback during recording, it's just a matter of finding the threshold of gain you can apply before it starts hitting the red. It’s about being conservative; you can always add volume in mixing and mastering but you can't take away mix distortion from running things too hot.
Lady Kat Chaos: Erik, how often do you warm up? Have you ever watch different vocal coaches’ lessons? How do you avoid fucking up your chords?
Erik Martin: I practice every day, and really I learned from Randy Blythe. I just tried to emulate what his scream sounded like and then expand on it. Phil Bozeman of Whitechapel also put out some videos of how he executed his vocals and added those techniques into my style, but it’s really just me pushing myself to my absolute limit on every song, whether it’s Skin Drone or Critical Dismemberment. My scream sounds nothing like it did when Otto and I first rebirthed Skin Drone. Which is a testament to how much practice is essential to perfecting your art.
Lady Kat Chaos: What do you think is the hardest part about recording?
Otto Kinzel: The self-doubt, and trying to decide if what you recorded is actually "the" take to keep or if you need to keep pushing.
Lady Kat Chaos: Do you like when bands have intros and outros for their releases?
Otto Kinzel: I like intros and outros. I like music tracks that help to complete an entire album and tie it together.
Lady Kat Chaos: When you're sitting down writing lyrics that come to mind. Do you ever say this is for Skin Drone or Critical Dismemberment? What are you doing differently in each?
Erik Martin: Lyrics for Critical Dismemberment are based on things that have personally happened to me. Whether it’s dealing with my past addictions, past relationships that have scarred me, anything personally related. In Skin Drone I really wanted to keep away from that and make every song conceptual. The only two songs I put my personal life into were City Lights and Death Sentence, but I still built the songs around a fictional character.
Lady Kat Chaos: Have you ever found it difficult figuring out the order of a release?
Otto Kinzel: All the time. The track order is the lifeblood of the album, the ebb and flow. You can take a bunch of great songs and make them even greater for the listener if the track order is done right, or you can fuck it all up and make a bunch of great songs only so-so.
Iddimu Akhkharu: What do you think of the metal scene today?
Erik Martin: For me personally, I think the metal scene is full of promise, there are a lot of bands out there doing something new and different, but on the flip side there are also bands in it just to play Warped, make money and be "rock stars”.
Otto Kinzel: I think it's actually incredible. So many different types of music all over the world. My label releases a compilation album featuring all underground metal bands from all over the world. It’s called Operation: Underground and it was an amazing experience. Metal is alive and as healthy as ever!
Lady Kat Chaos: I was speaking with our younger metal generation (teens) and when talking to them about metal they tell me it’s all about traditional metal imagery. What was your first experience like when you first heard metal?
Erik Martin: I remember the first "real" metal song in the extreme genre was Slayers "South of Heaven". I was immediately hooked.
Lady Kat Chaos: What is your favorite Slayer album, Erik?
Erik Martin: Hard to pick, but Seasons In The Abyss was very influential for me.
Lady Kat Chaos: Reign In Blood, Show No Mercy, Hell Awaits, now I have Slayer songs running through my head. LOL What was your first album that you purchased? Do you like 8-tracks, cassettes, vinyl, CD's or digital downloads? Which format do you feel offers the best sounds of an album?
Erik Martin: Kat, I can't even remember haha, I know coming from the younger generation, you would think MP3s, but I'll take vinyl any day.
Otto Kinzel: I love the CD; it's my favorite form for music.
Alan Lisanti: Do you guys take any inspiration from horror or movie scores/soundtracks in terms of your approach to your songwriting? Would you say you are very conscious of mood and atmosphere in addition to structure when coming up with song ideas or progressing through the writing process?
Erik Martin: The intro for Death Sentence actually came from Tombstone. We have a couple songs we are writing based on real life, fucked up events that happened. When it comes to atmosphere, we definitely try to give every song its own heart and soul. Every song has its own story, its own vibe, its own personality. It is something we both concentrate very hard on when writing.
Otto Kinzel: I think with Skin Drone we're very conscious of atmosphere and how texture can color the overall vibe. I do a lot of music for soundtracks and scores for indie films (doing one for a horror film now) and I try to focus on mood and how a minimalist approach can affect that. I think it's about finding how a sound can affect your temperament and exploring that. In most of Skin Drone's stuff we use color within sound to try and paint a more disturbing audio landscape.
Iddimu Akhkharu: I feel that underground bands are being ignored as they prefer commercial bands instead. Personally, I feel that these bands don’t produce great music anymore. They were much better when they were underground. What is your view on this?
Otto Kinzel: I think by nature underground bands take bigger chances because they don't have anything to lose really. Sometimes taking extreme chances and really trying to forge something new can work, and sometimes it doesn't. But underground bands have the freedom to at least TRY. For the listener, it takes more effort to find underground bands. It’s much easier to turn on XM/Sirius radio and listen to bands that are being played than to search around Bandcamp to find something new. That's the way it’s always been and probably always will be. The artists at the bottom who are busting their ass to fight and claw to the top. But even the "famous" bands were underground at one point. I think the issue is more with the listener and fans and how much effort they want to spend to actually find this new music. Great music is always out there; people just need to find it. it’s a combination of the bands working hard and making the effort to get it into the ears of music fans, and of course the fans’ making the effort to find it. And like I said, this is true with every genre. Look at both Rap and Country music; they have the exact same thing going on. Tons of unsigned/indie artists trying to breakthrough in a heavily oversaturated and overcrowded field.
Iddimu Akhkharu: What do you personally think of black metal? Do you think it’s overrated?
Otto Kinzel: Personally, it's not my thing. I tried to get into it. I bought a bunch of stuff by Burzum, Mayhem, Abruption, Darkthrone; I just can't really get into it.
Iddimu Akhkharu: I think not just black metal. Some people have problem listening to metal itself. Do you think that’s why people hate or look down on metal/music/fans/musicians because of this?
Otto Kinzel: I don’t know; it's not something I think about to be honest. I don’t think about it because I don’t care. You can't change other people's opinions so why even waste the energy?
Alan Lisanti: What made you want to start your own label, and what inspired you to create your Operation: Underground compilation?
Otto Kinzel: I started my own label out of frustration from dealing with other labels. I had several negative experiences earlier in my life and it came down to wanting to take charge of my own destiny, for better or for worse. Operation: Underground was a concept that I was working on with Haniel Adhar Markradonn, to promote and feature bands from all over the word and give them some exposure. We wanted to try and shed some light on the dark world of the underground. I think we succeeded in giving all of the bands some new fans.
Lady Kat Chaos: With the net today, do you feel it’s better to preview some songs from the bands new release? I personally love entering a record store and spending many hours looking around and coming home to hearing killer releases. I am still getting used to this internet crap.
Otto Kinzel: I loved the aura of an old school music store. I’m not sure what the "right" way of promoting music these days are, but I’ve always found it helpful to share some music from an upcoming release to create a buzz. It’s not so different from the 80's and 90's when labels used to press promotional copies of singles and release those with a "B" side. it’s just adjusting to use modern technology.
Lady Kat Chaos: What was your own experience like entering a record store?
Otto Kinzel: It was entering Mecca! It was like walking into this room that held all this potential, I always felt like I was going to discover something that would change my life.
Lady Kat Chaos: Today the word underground has different meanings to different generations. What does the term "underground" mean to you?
Otto Kinzel: To me the term "underground" means complete creative freedom; no compromises. Being totally independent. It doesn't have to even be metal. I think any style of music that adheres to this ethos can be classified as underground.
Erik Martin: I completely agree with Otto on the underground definition.
Lady Kat Chaos: The internet is great for promotions along with the old school way of heading out to shows (handing out flyers and promos). Do you tend to use both methods to promote? How many hours per week do you spend on promotion?
Otto Kinzel: I use both methods, I think you have to. If you rely on only one or the other you're already behind the 8-ball. How many hours do I spend promoting? I don’t have a clue; a lot haha. it consumes most of my day, every day.
Iddimu Akhkharu: Many bands have trouble getting their stuff out under a label. Self release is the only option. So what does label actually look for in a band before signing them or release their materials?
Otto Kinzel: The more established a band is (selling tickets/merch/albums), obviously the more attractive they're going to be. A label is a business first and foremost and they want to get not only a return on their investment into the band but also turn a profit, so they are going to look for bands that are established and have a legit chance at giving the label a return on their investment. For us here at Bluntface Records the #1 thing we look for in bands is the quality of their music. If we're a fan of your band then there's a great chance we want to work with you. I naturally gravitate towards more avant-garde and strange concepts. I really like trying to get exposure for artists who are so far removed from the mainstream that "regular" people can't even begin to understand them.
Alan Lisanti: What are your favorite kind of movies to watch, and also to work on?
Otto Kinzel: My favorite films are in the Noir genre. Also anything that's mind-bending or dark and moody. like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Lost Highway and Blue Velvet (any David Lynch film really).
Lady Kat Chaos: Otto, do you feel that wrestling has become more like a bad soap opera? Remember the days of "Piper's Pit"? If you had to pick one wrestler to interview your band who would that be? What wrestler do you wish would approach you to use one of Skin Drone’s songs as their theme song?
Otto Kinzel: The Ultimate Warrior! He was the man! I also was a big fan of the British Bulldogs, Davey Boy Smith & the Dynamite Kid
Lady Kat Chaos: Do you go to matches these days?
Otto Kinzel: No I haven't been to a match since my dad took me when I was around 11. Bad News Brown was the main event, although I don't remember who he was fighting.
Iddimu Akhkharu: Inspiration comes at really weird times or places. What's yours?
Erik Martin: All day. Every day. Unless I'm super pissed, which is weird.
Lady Kat Chaos: Going back in time, one of the first bands you saw live Otto was Sam Black Church. What was your first impression at an early age? What was going through your mind during your first set?
Otto Kinzel: I remember clearly thinking "holy shit I’m going to get killed at this show" haha. it was so powerful, so emotional. I had never been so moved ever! even several days later I couldn't stop thinking about it. for a young kid who had never seen heavy, ugly, insane music up close and personal before, it blackened my soul. I was never the same again.
Lady Kat Chaos: Erik, do you recall your first show?
Erik Martin: If I remember correctly it was Motley Crue, haha.
Lady Kat Chaos: What did your parents think about you becoming a musician and now that you're a father how would you feel if your children in several years would like become one?
Otto Kinzel: At first I don’t think they were too excited. But my dad especially has always been very, very supportive. and if either of my daughters wanted to be a musician I’d be thrilled! that's be awesome, I’d support them 100%.
Lady Kat Chaos: Back in those days many venues allowed all ages shows and today many venues are doing 21 and up. Do you feel that the younger generation is somewhat getting rob out of seeing some great bands?
Otto Kinzel: Yes I do and it sucks. By far the most fun I ever have playing shows is when we play all-ages shows. The kids are so passionate and get so into it! If it was possible I’d only play all-ages shows. But unfortunately that's just not realistic anymore as more and more venues are in fear of getting sued. And I can't blame them. It’s people's livelihoods.
Iddimu Akhkharu: Coming from Asia, I can safely say there's a lot of promising bands making their appearance. Do you they can reach global if given a chance?
Erik Martin: Of course!! It doesn't matter where a band is from, if fucking Baby Metal can do it, they might pave the way for others.
Otto Kinzel: That was the point of Operation: Underground; we had bands literally from all over the world.
Lady Kat Chaos: What are your thoughts about the media labeling bands?
Otto Kinzel: I think it's natural to label things. People need to be able to describe music and put it into a context that they can relate to other people. It happens in film all the time. Yes it goes too far many times and gets way too micro-managed but if you're going to put yourself out there then you shouldn't be surprised that various media people will interpret what you do differently.
Iddimu Akhkharu: I know some label and bands refused to support bands that used drum machine/programming in their music. I felt that this not fair as some big bands used them in their releases, yet they still get support. What u think?
Erik Martin: Both Skin Drone and Critical Dismemberment use programmed drums, in Critical D we sometimes get bashed for it, but it shouldn't be a reason not to support a band.
Iddimu Akhkharu: I agree, Erik Martin. Until today, I don't know why this should be an issue. It’s music that counts in the end.
Otto Kinzel: Especially when you consider that almost all "big" bands in extreme metal use "drum enhancement" in the studio. That’s using drum samples from triggers to add more oomph" to the sound of their normal kit.
Erik Martin: I agree man; it’s all about the art, it doesn't make any band less superior than the other just because of the number of members.
Lady Kat Chaos: I know you have to head out soon Otto, what are some other plans for Skin Drone and Bluntface Records for 2015?
Otto Kinzel: We got a lot going on: a Skin Drone full-length and hopefully at least some touring to support it. Plus Bluntface Records will have new releases from Critical Dismemberment, Markradonn, Varicella Band and more! It’s going to be a fun year THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME!
George Derenches: What bands influenced you?
Erik Martin: I know for Otto, bands like Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, and Ministry are influences. For myself, it's more Lamb of God, Dream Theater, Avenged Sevenfold.
George Derenches: Wonder how many bands PInk Floyd influenced over the years.
Erik Martin: Haha same here man. They still have one of the weirdest movies I have ever
George Derenches: I remember I brought Another Brick on the wall on 45, haha.
Lady Kat Chaos: Thanks for all of your support Otto and for doing this interview.
Erik Martin: Thanks guys for all the questions and a special thanks to Kat for including me. This was super fun!!