(In this companion to our full-album stream and review of the dynamic new album from Stealing Axion, TheMadIsraeli interviewed the band’s Daniel Forbrich (guitarist/vocalist) via Facebook chat, and this is the result . . .)
Daniel Forbrich: Oh herro
TheMadIsraeli: Hey there man! Wassup?
DF: Not much, I just read on Josh’s screen that we could do the interview now lol
TMI: Yeah if you want. Here is how this works. I ask questions, and we bullshit on stuff that’s relevant. This conversation, aside from formatting, will be totally unedited except for typos.
TMI: Ok cool. So, the only person I’ve talked to of you guys has been Josh (Josh DeShazo). Explain yourself a little bit and how much of a role you play in the Stealing Axion machine. Just as a little introduction, you know =P
DF: My name is Dan Forbrich, I play guitar and sing in the band. Behind the scenes I share writing responsibilities of the music with the other guys. We all live together, so much of the other work is delegated pretty evenly. We also all work together at our day jobs in one form or another, so we are inseparable it seems.
TMI: Brutal man. Just brutal.
TMI: So, musically, how do you fit in? I was surprised to find out Josh actually isn’t into metal too much despite the fact your music crushes my intestines. Are you into the genre at all yourself?
DF: Definitely. My roots are in metal… My dad raised me on the classics… Slayer, Pantera, Metallica, Sabbath, and what not. I still say I listen to Metal about 80% of the time. He and I still actually go to shows quite regularly together… metal head for life. I did however start to get into stuff like Yes/Pink Floyd/Frank Zappa in my teen years for whatever reason. I’d like to think those bands have had just as much impact on my songwriting as the metal.
TMI: I’d guess that Josh brings the more fusiony elements to the table. Fair assessment?
DF: I’d think the fusion probably comes from all of us in one form or another. Phil and I are also big fans of fusion.
TMI: Same here. So, do you guys just happen to write djenty groove metal or are those the characteristics you enjoyed most in heavy music? You’ve got a unique style but it’s obviously very influenced by the modern metal scene for sure.
DF: It’s funny, in a lot of interviews I see with the other bands in this scene it seems like we all kind of grew up listening to the same things. I kinda figure it might be a natural culmination of these influences in metal music. I think it’s just the music we enjoy writing the most. Plus it’s really fun to play haha.
TMI: What is your take on djent anyway? I think while it’s obviously grown stupidly stale with the amount of copycats that it changed the face of how groove was viewed in metal for sure
DF: I don’t really have anything against the label, although I do see the backlash it receives. I listen to quite a few bands that are called “djent” bands but I don’t really think about it much
TMI: Can’t deny that its influence on metal has been massive though. Lots of bands love all their digital tones and syncopation now. Even in a way, last year when Decapitated released “Carnival Is Forever”, there were Meshuggah touches here and there that couldn’t be denied.
DF: And then they toured with them =) Incredible show. Yeah definitely. I think it happens all the time whenever a new style comes out. Something new and exciting comes along and people want in.
TMI: So, how does it feel to finally be putting out this beast of a debut out? I’m listening to it as we speak and am floored, as I expected to be.
DF: It’s very exciting but also a relief. It’s been a long time coming to finally get it out there, and it’s been hard to keep it a secret for so long! I’m very proud of the record, and it’s definitely like a dream come true for all of us in the band. It’s funny looking back to where we were 2 years ago and what’s happening now.
TMI: Signed to a label, releasing a debut that’s got a killer-ass mix on it most bands would do illegal activities to acquire, sounds pretty good =p. What are your favorite songs on the album, considering this album’s stupid amount of diversity?
DF: My favorite songs to play are Collapse and Moments Pt. 2, just cause they are so damn fun and challenging.
TMI: So, Josh has informed me you guys have already been well under way on the next album, maybe even the album after next? What’s up there?
DF: This is true. Since we had quite a bit of time waiting for Moments to be released, we spent a lot of it on writing/rearranging new music. We have the whole 2nd album written and laid out ready to start tracking actually, and we definitely have material that will probably be on future albums after that. I’m sure a lot of the songs will change quite a bit in the recording process, cause that’s just the way we work.
TMI: How do you feel about the newer material as opposed to what’s on Moments thus far? If that’s a hush hush matter, I get it =P.
DF: It’s definitely a natural evolution; it maintains the heaviness while exploring some new things that we didn’t utilize on Moments. I’m really excited to see how these songs are going to materialize.
TMI: Gear nerd time. What do you you and Josh use?
DF: We keep it simple and affordable. Ibanez RG’s + POD HD500’s.
TMI: What pups are in the RG’s?
DF: Got EMG’s in the 8 stringers and *ducks and hides* the stocks in the RG7321’s. Haha.
TMI: Hey man, if the shoe fits. Sounds great on the album, so who gives a fuck.
DF: Haha that’s what I figure. I have been playing that guitar for so long I think I just have figured out how to tweak the sound to my liking.
TMI: I’ll have to ask Phil about his bass tone though. I’m in love with that shit.
DF: Bass tones are the most fun to make.
TMI: I haven’t heard a bass so well mixed and that stands out at the same time since Byzantine’s …And They Shall Take Up Serpents.
DF: I love it when a bass screams in a mix. I also really love how Gojira has their bass mixed.
TMI: Oh yeah, for sure. But that’s Gojira. No surprise there really.
DF: And of course Yes.
TMI: Speaking of, name your top 5 metal bands.
DF: Hmm… This changes quite often, but right now I’d say Metallica, Meshuggah, Dream Theater, Gojira, and Opeth.
TMI: Ah. Meshuggah never gets old. I’ve never been able to understand Metallica or Dream Theater though. Given them multiple chances, never clicks.
DF: I think we all have bands like that. I’ve pretty much been listening to Metallica since birth and Dream Theater for many many years. Although even at a young age I only listened to pre-Black album haha. …And Justice for All is probably one of my most listened to records ever.
TMI: Darkane’s Rusted Angel for me. So how have the touring and shows been? You enjoying it?
DF: Oh yeah! We did a tour with 7 Horns 7 Eyes a few months back, and have Euroblast coming up. It’s going to be awesome touring with our good friends in those bands, as well as meeting up with tons up people at the festival. Got some other exciting prospects on the horizon as well =). It’s really awesome being on the road, seeing new places, meeting new people. Can be rough at times, but the good definitely outweighs the bad.
TMI: Yeah, I heard unfortunately the attendance at the 7H7E tour shows was small. That saddened me to hear. You’re both great bands.
DF: We had a few great turnouts, but yeah mostly smaller crowds. It was a totally DIY tour, but the fans who did come out were awesome… bought merch and kept us alive.
TMI: It’s about the music and enjoying yourself at the end of it all and getting to do what you love.
DF: Yeah, it was a great experience overall and we learned a lot. I’m very honored to have the opportunity to play music for a living. Will never take it for granted.
TMI: So, what’s next for Stealing Axion once Moments releases and Euroblast is over?
DF: We’re working on some touring plans that I can’t quite talk about yet, but they are very exciting! Promote the hell out of the album, try to reach as many ears as possible, and of course work on new music.
TMI: So, let’s see if we can get you on some more serious topics… Piracy/Downloading/whatever the fuck you wanna call it. How do you feel about it?
DF: I think if people knew more about the impact that downloading has on bands that are in situations like ours they might be a little more sympathetic to the damages it can cause. I think enough new bands are releasing free demos/putting their albums up for free stream that downloading has just become habit rather than an alternative way to hear a record.
TMI: Right. Well, I think I’ve seen an uptick in real sales though. It seems people are buying albums more. Maybe because the artwork is getting better, pre-order bonuses are nicer, so on and so forth.
DF: For sure. I also just think that more and more info is being spread about the benefits of buying an album for bands, especially pre-orders and first week sales that more people understand. I hope the trend continues, it is looking up. I’ve had conversations with co-workers/family about this kind of thing and they just had no idea about the struggles of musicians. Many casual music listeners just may not understand since downloading has become so commonplace.
TMI: Right. I’ve noticed this quite often as well, they just have no idea.
DF: I see the same thing at my job (Projectionist) with the movie industry as well. People will openly talk about downloading movies instead of seeing them and what not. Seeing them in theaters I should say.
TMI: That’s something I get less than downloading music. Nothing beats the theater experience.
DF: It’s a similar thing really, except movies are made on a much larger scale (in theaters at least) than almost any album. Much more is invested and what not.
TMI: Right. It’s sad in general, art definitely has a venue and a way in which it’s meant to be fully experienced. I used to be a total pirate, and a total believer in the idea that all art should be free, but I realize providing the best experience for the listener DOES cost money. Now I do anyhow. The music, art, and production ALL factor in. Graham Pinney from Aliases told me something pretty poignant once: Do you really want all bands in the world to be Axe-FX and Superior Drummer jobs?
DF: That is definitely an interesting point. Yeah man… sometimes you just look at the budget to say a tour, or recording an album… or printing some shirts, and you just get sick. It’s a constant struggle and weight on your shoulders juggling budgets.
TMI: I think we should move on to a more uplifting topic at this juncture =P. Speaking of movies… The Dark Knight Rises. Did it rule, or did it rule?
DF: Amazing. I think it may be my favorite trilogy. I’m a long time Nolan and Bale fan. I’ve actually seen it 4 times already… one of the benefits of being an employee of a theater haha.
TMI: Five times here.
DF: Bane is just badass. My favorite villain of the trilogy. I find myself quoting him quite often lately haha. “And this gives you power over me?”.
TMI: Dude I fucking love that shit.
DF: “WITH NO SURVIVORS!”. Lol. Yeah… and man does Nolan how to wrap up an ending right?
TMI: I still maintain it isn’t fucking over.
DF: One can dream.
TMI: Dude, dude. Ok, he’s broke. But the technology is still there, the people are still there and he’s Bruce fucking Wayne. SURELY he can find a new financial venture. WHY SET UP ROBIN IF THEY AREN’T GOING TO KEEP GOING!? I don’t believe Nolan that it’s over.
DF: Haha.. well they have announced a reboot I believe?
TMI: It’s tentative I guess. Either way, if they reboot I’m not watching it. A better job can’t be done.
DF: There’s been some pretty crappy reboots… I’m always hesitant to give them a chance. There was actually an article I read recently about 50 REMAKES in the works. 50!
TMI: ………………………………. DOWUT. I heard the Spiderman reboot is off to a good start.
DF: I wasn’t a big fan of the new Spiderman, but a lot of other people really liked it.
TMI: But yeah, I mean for me Batman and The Punisher are the only truly metal comic heroes. Just too bad The Punisher hasn’t gotten due proper film treatment still.
DF: Yeah haha.
TMI: Anyhow, what modern bands who are currently like you guys that you’re currently into or think are kicking ass right now?
DF: I like so many… I’m still listening to Vildhjarta’s album quite a bit… (THALL)… new Monuments is going to kill… Omega experiment… There’s a really cool rock band in Seattle called The Mothership that are very very good. Just saw them the other night open for Just like Vinyl and they were awesome. Love 7 Horns 7 Eyes… Safety Fire… Chimp Spanner! Haha so many.
TMI: Haha, I get cha.
DF: And of course Mark Gormley.
TMI: Mark Gormley is the shit! “Little Wings” still makes me tear up every time.
DF: The power stance is one of my biggest influences.
TMI: And why shouldn’t it be!?
DF: His voice just soars
TMI: He may be the ultimate exception to the rule for NCS. Gonna consult Islander on this.
DF: I would. Would broaden the horizons a lot.
TMI: Anyways, I think we’re gonna wrap the shit up here. Was great talking to you, Stealing Axion kicks ass, Moments is amazing, wish you guys the best, and keep doin’ dat thang.
DF: Thanks a lot to you and your readers! Preorder the album and catch us on tour soon! Been fun!
EDITOR’S NOTE: Moments will hit the streets via Inside Out Music and Century Media on August 28 in the U.S. and a day earlier in Europe. It can be pre-ordered here or here (U.S.) or here (EUR). You can connect with Stealing Axion on Facebook via this link.