Photo Credit: Chris Schollenberger
1). Starting off, a Xylosynth? How did you come by this fantastic instrument and the desire to incorporate it into metal?
“John was a guy that we knew, a lot of the guys went to school with him. Through mutual friends, everyone was in the same scene. A lifelong friend of ours from the high school days and it really was a no brainer. We did not go far to find him. He was always there.”
2). Can you give the Metal Hobbit a brief history of the band? How do you guys write as a 6 piece? “Man, a brief history?
I hit up two of my best buddies who aren’t even in the band anymore and Martin and Chase over Facebook. And so many things have changed since then and here we are today. It’s kind of hard to give a history of the band as so many things have happened that it can’t possibly be brief.” “How do we write together? As a singer, I kind of leave, I like to guide but leave the writing to the instrumentalists and you know, it’s a lot of give and take and compromise and a lot of butting heads at times but we all get the job done and we like to balance each other out like Ying and Yang. We all have different influences that you can hear in Ironshore. It’s a collaborative effort that develops over time. We’re starting to write our second album very soon and I’ve already demo’d out a few different ideas and working together with our producer Josh always adds a different spice and everyone has an idea of what they think Oni’s going to sound like but only we really know what we want to write and what we want to do.”
3). What influences drive the band’s sound? I can personally hear a bit of Slipknot, Meshuggah meets Rush almost.
“That’s a very good way to describe it. Definitely the level of musicianship in the band- they love to play really technical stuff and they like different changing time signatures so that’s kind of where Rush comes in and like at the same time we’re just this pissed off force of metal heads on stage where you can get that primal energy and aggression from a band like Slipknot and Meshuggah in our sound. Especially me, like, as a vocalist, Cory Taylor is my favorite vocalist of all time and definitely the person that made me want to pursue screaming and metal so it’s a good comparison.”
4). So the name “Oni”, where did you guys first discover the name and would you say on reflection that it perfectly relates to the band’s sound and ethos?
“It was always a kind of thing that we didn’t think about really. The band name has changed a few times in its early days but it wasn’t something like the band name was the most important thing. I think it’s the band name that was everyone didn’t mind so therefore it stuck. We liked it because it was short and I remember Martin saying that he could imagine it being like this huge band because it’s three letters and only two syllables and I think it was just a band name that we all mutually didn’t hate and that’s why it kind of stuck like that. It (Oni) is an ogre demon in Japanese and I think it really personifies who we are onstage quite nicely.”
5). Ok, so “Ironshore” came out back in November. How has the reaction been from both fans and critics alike?
“It’s been amazing, you know. We’ve toured a bunch, still touring it, and this Bodom tour we are really hitting our stride live for sure and, um, Ironshore is great. It’s honest and it was an interpretation of who we were at the time.”
6). Also how was having Randy make an appearance on the record? Did you guys learn much from him?
“At first it was like crazy because we all grew up listening to Lamb of God- a huge influence on all of us in the band. And you know, when you meet him, he is just a normal guy and he loved the song. I think that it was a challenge for him. I don’t think he ever recorded on something like that before- that style of music. But hearing his voice go over the almost gent-esque odd time signatures of the Oni bouncy riffs is just amazing and I don’t think me or any of the guys in my band would have ever thought they would have a song with Randy on it.”
7). Ok, so Metal Blade, what was the band’s decision behind working with Metal Blade over other labels?
"I think that Metal Blade is a very prestigious name in metal and you know there were some offers early on that we knew we could go back to if we couldn’t get anything better but as it turned out, you know, holding out for a big name like Metal Blade to snatch us up was the right decision in the end. Really honored to be part of a killer roster of other bands and over time, when we release more albums, and tour the world more and more, we will prove how deserving we are of that spot on the roster.”
8). You’re back on tour with Children of Bodom after a US tour. How do you think this tour will play out for you guys or as you’ve already played how is it playing out?
“It’s already been, like, by far the best tour as far as the audience is concerned. We’re killing it and a lot of fans at the shows say that we were the best sounding band of the night. We are making a lot of new fans. Being out with Bodom is such an honor because they are such an influence on us all and honestly some of the nicest guys, I have ever met in this industry for sure. They’re just a bunch of cool guys. It’s been badass especially over in Europe of all places. We toured with them in the States but touring with them on their home turf, you know, you really see the beast that is Bodom and that’s an honor every night just to open for them. It’s been great and we’ve been loving it man. It’s been the best we’ve sounded, it’s the best we’ve performed. You know we grow with every show. We get that much more experience and we learn that much more about ourselves and our audience so it’s been a really good learning experience.”
9). You mentioned that, “This is the band you wanted to hear but didn’t exist” can you elaborate on this?
“Yeah, for sure. What I basically meant was a prog metal band with serious balls. And I don’t mean that other ones don’t like have that kind of attitude to it but we just wanted to be a more sinister force than we thought was around us at the time and I feel that Ironshore is a step in the right direction for that fight.”
10). Finally, what do you guys enjoy during down time away from the road and studio?
“All kinds of different things. I’m a proud father so I like to hang out with my little girl all day. I’m also an avid gamer and I think I am going to be doing some fishing in between tours. I am starting to get into fishing. I know that Martin loves hiking. Chase never stops playing. When he goes home and is away from Oni, he finds other gigs, jams with other dudes which is rad as hell. John and Joe are absolutely hooligan-esque hockey fans so they just get absorbed with that. Brandon is a foodie- he’ll be out taking his girlfriend to the farmer’s market or a nice restaurant. We’re all different people and have different lives outside of the band but then we all come together we create something special.”
Thanks again for you time gentlemen.
Enjoy the UK for your second time.
Nathan- The Metal Hobbit Speaks.