So here we go…
Hate Storm Annihilation
HSA (Konstantin) - Not in a million years. I never even thought I would get to meet them in person, let alone play with them. To take it a step further, some of them have complimented us on the performance, which is even more mind blowing!
HSA (Craig) - Oh yeah, it’s just been an absolute blast being able to play with all the bands we have. “Live’n the Dream” as some would say. But to be honest with you, the majority of the fun I get from touring isn’t so much in the headliner as it is the opening/support bands on the tour with us. I know it sounds a little strange, so let me explain. Say for example we’re talking about the Europe run we did with SFU back in December. I’ve seen SFU about 6-10 times live before we went on tour with them so I KNEW they were going throw down every night. It’s the other support acts/local bands I was excited to hear/see because it’s something fresh and new.
HSA (Konstantin) - Perhaps the entire first European tour we did. It was as close to Rock'n'Roll heaven that you can get. Pretty much lived the road stories we always here from our Metal icons, on a smaller scale of course, as we are not rich or world famous. Still, the crazy parties and womanizing and wreckage and insanity was all there. Will never forget it!
HSA (Craig) - I’d have to say my favorite tour experience was at a venue we played in Glauchau, Germany. The place was just absolutely massive and it was completely PACKED with people. The sound (particularly my guitar and Konstantin’s Kicks) was just perfect. And any time I get good sound from my guitar live I just know it’s gonna be a great show. Between the crowd, the sound, and just the all out Vibe it is a show I’ll never forget…well that and I once almost got raped by a pitbull… but that’s a whole other story on its own.
TDBS (Feind) – I’m not so sure we want to hear the “pitbull rape” story. Wait… what am I saying? I can’t believe you’re withholding that one!
HSA (Craig) - Yeah, we played around the local Chicago scene for the first year of our existence. It was alright, definitely more talented bands playing shows then, people that actually wanted to come out and support.
HSA (Konstantin) - Not so much, to be honest. Since the metal scene in Chicago is more focused on the metal-core bands, we were never really too well liked. We have pretty much played all the local venues, small and big alike, however, we never really got much response. As far as locals that I think need to be more revered, Age of Ares. Killer band, killer people. Some of our best friends in the music scene, and superb musicians. As we in HSA always say, "If anyone is gonna 'Make It', it will be Age of Ares".
HSA (Craig) - Honestly, this was the first REAL band I had ever taken part in. Sure there was jamming around with close friends and what not, Rock’n Metallica tunes in my basement, but nothing serious. The majority of my time developing my techniques for playing the instrument was just spending lots of time practicing with recordings of my favorite bands.
HSA (Konstantin) - Actually I have never been in another band. I have played with other musicians, for example I played with a guitar player, that had something like 7 albums written already, with programmed drums, so I was gonna be the "live" guy, but it never worked out. Also, I did a month in a cover band, but again, that was fruitless. Then I met Craig, and his dedication inspired me to really go all in on this one.
HSA (Konstantin) - Perhaps my biggest influence as a drummer would be George Kollias of NILE. I am lucky enough to be good friends with him, and be one of his students, so I have learned a million things from him. On the other hand, I am also inspired by drummers outside of death metal, such as Jojo Mayer,Venelin Venkov, Ian Paice, Benny Grebb, Virgil Donati, Thomas Lang and a million others.
HSA (Criag) - Haha, not far. One of the big things that makes us (Konstantin and I) different then a good deal of musicians that play our style of music is that the influences go far and beyond that of just metal.
HSA (Craig) - Well unfortunately there are some issues. First and for most, when we play live and I go to take a lead it can leave the mix sounding very empty.
HSA (Konstantin) - Well technically we are a 3 piece, but we can’t seem to find a bass player. We had a couple of failed ones, and now, nobody seems to want to be as serious as we are about playing. We literally have put all of our money and time into this band, and it turns out most people just want to "jam" now and then, which will not cut it. If you know somebody, PLEASE, send him our way!
TDBS (Feind) – I have a friend in the area who I already put on the case for you!
HSA (Craig) - To be honest with you, I was never really much of an Iron Maiden fan. Now Cannibal Corpse on the other hand, haha. Cannibal was my first death metal band and has since been my #1 heavy influence in anything/everything I’ve ever written for this band.
HSA (Konstantin) -
Oh man, Maiden! Powerslave and Brave New World come to mind. There are some sick tunes on those. Anything from Cannibal Corpse really, I dont think they have even a mediocre album. As far as Morbid (Angel), I would have to say the classical Covenant, and then Heretic. I saw the entire Covenant album live on their last tour, and they had Tim Yeung, and man, this guy destroyed.
TDBS (Feind) – Thanks Konstantin! (*This needs to be said with snarky sarcastic attitude for the full effect) Cult we need to do Morbid Angel get your keyboard warmed up!
HSA (Konstantin) – - As far as labels, yes, we have had a few options and opportunities, but nothing enticing really. The really big ones have not come to us with an offer yet, so we have decided to not wait, and do it on our own. Money-wise, it’s actually quite good, as we pretty much make 100% of the sales.
TDBS (Feind) – Between ReverbNation and Bandcamp I really feel labels are going the way of the dodo, direct sales to fans is the way to go. You guys should look into Bandcamp my understanding is the % you get as the artist is pretty damn good.
HSA (Craig) - My personal favorite is “From the Inside Out”. That particular track was actually originally written when I was a sophomore in high school. The lyrics were written by me and my bud Tony in our study hall period haha. And the album didn’t take too long to get recorded and mixed. 2 weeks at the studio and another week of mixing after.
HSA (Konstantin) - The entire process of recording and mixing and mastering took 2 weeks. The tight budget we worked with really cut our time, which hurt us some, and every time we hear the record we tell ourselves "Man, we could have done this and that much better if we had a little more time". But Oh well, it’s all a learning experience. We know that next time we are going to take our time, rush nothing, and will come up with a much better album, I promise. As far as a favorite track, it would have to be the title track, Storm of Flames. I like the drum intro
TDBS (Feind) – You’ll hear no complaints here. Cult & I both think it sounds great. Production value can always improve but great sounding shit is still just shit. You guys are definitely far from that.
Live at Reggie's in Chicago
Live at The Brass Mug in Tampa, FL
HSA (Konstantin) - Yes, for sure. Very shortly we will start writing the new material, and we already have some sick ideas. The record, I guarantee you, will be fast and brutal, but we will add some newer elements, like some more twisted time signatures and interesting beats. We hope for a bigger sound as well. Wait and see, it will be good!
TDBS (Feind) – We have abso-fucking-lutely no doubts about it!
HSA (Konstantin) - Both myself and Craig are huge Metallica and Rammstein fans, so we often listen to that. Craig turned me onto Tool, something I have been really laying into lately, killer band. As a joke, a lot of the times on the road we would listen to Bulgarian music, which I like anyway, but the other guys usually make fun of. It is pretty funny at times, actually.
HSA (Craig) - It really kind of matters who’s driving/who’s awake at the time haha. See, when on the road you REALLY have to play the music that makes everyone happy because the last thing you want to do is piss anyone off knowing you have X amount of miles left traveling in a van with pissed off dudes. So pretty much metal if everyone’s awake, but personally I like to listen to my Instrumental Guitar guys (Satch, Vai, Gilbert, Timmons, Johnson, ext) Tool, APC, NIN, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Melvins, or whatnot when everyone’s asleep haha
TDBS (Feind) – I’m a giant Maynard James Keenan fanboy so Tool, APC and Puscifer are definitely high on my list!
HSA (Craig) - Honestly, what you see is what you get with me. Guitar, Guitar, Guitar 24/7. My other hobby, Animals. Particularly Dogs. I go absolutely nuts for them. My plan for the future is to buy myself some serious farm land to just spend all my time on practicing while spending time with my 20+ Akitas/Alaskan Malamutes.
HSA (Konstantin) - I really dont have other hobbies. In my free time, I am almost always in the studio, drumming, practicing, trying to learn something new. Other than that I love being lazy.
HSA (Craig) - I’m more of a Coffee guy.
HSA (Konstantin) - Yes, but you will probably never see one in person. It’s a classical Bulgarian beer called "Pirinsko". It’s been around for like 60 years, but we don’t really export it. It is pretty strong, too.
TDBS (Feind) – I prefer Guiness or Hornsby’s Dark Cider when I drink which isn’t often. Hey Craig, Tim Horton’s coffee is the shit, try that when you're in the northeast or Canada!
HSA (Craig) - Great Horror films…hmm…the original Halloween Movies, as well as the new Rob Zombie remakes. “The Thing” with Kurt Russel. Both the Jeepers Creepers films. Dawn of the Dead (1978). And Silence of the Lambs, probably my favorite Horror/Thriller of all time. Anthony Hopkins’ performance was something unlike anything I had ever seen when I first saw the movie at the age of like 7 or 8.
HSA (Konstantin) - I really like the Hellraiser series, and Friday the 13th ones, but we don’t really take influence from those. World is messed up enough that we can draw references from the daily life.
TDBS (Feind) - Absolutely excellent selections gentleman. As well as being a huge MJK fanboy I am most definitely a Rob Zombie fanboy as well!
HSA (Konstantin) - Usually it starts by Craig bringing in a riff or an entire song, to which I will write the drums, and we take it from there. Most of the times, at the end, the song looks nothing like the original idea, but I guess that is the creative process.
TDBS (Cult) - Do you find that movies, books or real life provide more inspiration for your creative processes?
HSA (Craig) - Oh absolutely. There has been more than a few times that movies or books have inspired writing materials for us. And as for real life, there is no better inspiration to creativity than real life.
HSA (Konstantin) - Mostly real life. As I said earlier, books and movies cannot even touch the gruesomeness of the real world (unfortunately), they only show us aspects.
TDBS (Cult) - Is there a particular song on the album that stands out for you from an inspiration standpoint that was stronger than others.
HSA (Konstantin) - Maybe "The Blackened sun..." one. I really like that song because it’s a real punch in the dick, so to speak. I would like the next album to be more like that, so I find a lot of inspiration there.
TDBS (Cult) Deep dish for me please. *stumbles to an empty freezer with a ray of hope that the pizza fairy may have been unseasonably generous.
HSA (Craig) - To be honest with you, I find deep dish Pizza to be one of my most un-liked choices when it comes to the beloved pies, just too much bread. My personal favorite happens to be the thin-crust option at my little farm town’s local joint “Vita Belle”.
HSA (Konstantin) - You know what, I am not much of a try-food kind of a guy, I like the food at like 3 places in Chicago, and that’s about it. If I am not around them, a good ole' Big Mac does the job!
TDBS (Feind) – I think you both may have your Chicago card revoked. HA!