Aug 202014


EDITOR’S NOTE: West Virginia’s Byzantine are nearing the end of a Pledgemusic crowd-funding campaign to help finance the making of their next album, To Release Is To Resolve, and NCS writer TheMadIsraeli caught up with the band’s main man, Chris “OJ” Ojeda, in an exclusive audio interview that we’re streaming at the end of this post. TheMadIsraeli introduces the conversation as follows:


Chris “OJ” Ojeda from Byzantine is a riot.  The guy’s got an obvious fire for what he’s doing, and handles the hardships he’s endured with a surprisingly casual and hopeful outlook.  He’s one of my favorite vocalists out there, and his riffs are distinct and have always stood out to me.

As the driving force behind Byzantine, the guy may feel like he’s got a load on his shoulders to prove that the band’s stellar comeback comeback album (2013’s Byzantine) wasn’t a fluke.  From what I’ve heard of the new record, though, I’d say we’re in for something better than even that last one. You’ll get a taste of it at the end of this post. Continue reading »

Apr 012014

(We welcome Chris “OJ” Ojeda, frontman of West Virginia’s Byzantine, with an eye-opening guest article about the economics of music streaming and what fans can do to increase band revenues. Despite the April 1 posting date, this is no joke.)

Hello friends and audiophiles. This is OJ from the band Byzantine. I want to spread some information that I have been wanting to tabulate and disseminate for some time now. This information is based on 1 topic only: Legal Music Streaming and the Amount An Artist Gets Paid.

Before I get into the hard numbers of this topic, I want to make clear that I am completely bipartisan on this issue. I do not feel that legal streaming has ruined my band’s chances at being a top-tier money-earning act. We have attempted to do that all by ourselves and I am completely fine with that. I also do not feel that legal streaming has afforded my band or myself any luxuries. The figures I have compiled will back that up. With that being said, I have to admit I am very grateful to be spreading this information on my band because it means two very important things:

1. At 39 yrs old, I still have a band, and that’s pretty awesome.
2. A small number of people actually listen to our band and that’s even more awesome. Continue reading »

Dec 112013

(Today we begin our 2013 Listmania series, in which the NCS staff and a variety of esteemed guests name their favorite albums of the year. And to kick things off, we’re stoked to present this piece by Chris Ojeda, the main man of two bands who are big favorites around here — Byzantine and Black Cap Miner.)

Hello, my name is Chris. My music friends call me OJ. I front the heavy metal band Byzantine. Been doing that since 2000. I’ve been a die-hard metal fan since 1989. I have been asked by the fine people at No Clean Singing if I would give my $0.02 on my favorite musical releases of 2013. With that offer, I have compiled for you a very short list of fantastic albums that came out this year. I have limited it to metal and/or heavy music since that’s what we dig here.

I must preface this piece by mentioning a few things. 1. I am not a music reviewer and have no prior experience writing such pieces. I am just a music lover who happens to have the opportunity to write a piece such as this. Any typos or musical poor judgments can be filed in the “fuck you” file. 2. Even though I operate in the metal community, my band is on the fringes of said community, and therefore I can freely speak my mind about what sucks and who sucks, in my opinion. I won’t be getting a nasty call from our booking agent, manager, or record label, since I have none of these.

So… Here we go! My faves of 2013. Continue reading »

Feb 142012

(TheMadIsraeli scored this interview of two very talented dudes — Chris (“OJ”) Ojeda and Tony Rohrbough — of the revived and rejuvenated Byzantine. We could hardly be more excited about the rise of this band from the ashes and the promise of new music to come. We wrote about them most recently HERE, in a post that included their appeal for help with a Kickstarter campaign to assist in the financing of the new album — a goal that has already been met and exceeded. But the campaign is still open, and you can GO HERE to contribute.)

It seems appropriate to do this after Byzantine officially reached and exceeded their Kickstarter goal.  Now, production of a new album can officially commence in earnest, and I’m quite looking forward to seeing and hearing what will happen.  I hope you will enjoy reading this interview of Chris Ojeda and Tony Rohrbough as much as I enjoyed doing it.

Alright guys, I don’t want to bother with the bullshit formalities.  Let’s start with what I think of as the ideal opening question is here.  Byzantine: What happened to break you guys up, why did it happen, and why did you get back together?

CHRIS OJEDA: My perception of what happened is this: and it might differ from the other guys because we all were dealing with this internally and processing it differently… We signed a deal with a label and we didn’t really know what we were doing and weren’t prepared for the task at hand. And by task at hand, I mean, going broke, working shit jobs between tours, and not having one single thing in common with your boss at the record label. It started out nice, turned sour and then ate away at our friendships.

When you’re in a touring band, certain things are destined to happen if you do it long enough. 1: You will begin to lose sight of why you became a musician. 2: Relationships will falter back home and/or family members will die while you are gone and you will resent it. 3: Your hatred for your spiraling life will turn and focus its vitriol on your band mates because… well, because they are there. We essentially signed a recording contract, said “Fuck it! Sink or swim”, tied an imaginary chain around ourselves and dove into the water. Unfortunately, I was the first band member to wiggle out of the chains and swim for shore. I bailed. A divorce happened between friends and we wound up not playing music for the better half of 4 years. Wow… that was long winded!!! LMAO! Continue reading »