Chuck Schuldiner Project

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Steeltrooper interview!

Two Guys Metal Reviews: Hey

Steeltrooper (Yes the whole band): HELLOOOOO

TGMR: Ok Hi.

Loz: It's working now it's working!


Steeltrooper: (Cheers) Maaaatt Baaacon!


TGMR: So can you each introduce yourselves?

Owen: Thats fine yeah. I'll go first, I'm Owen Hill, I'm the lead guitarist and lead vocalist.

Gaz: I'm Gareth Jones, I am the drummer person

Loz: I'm Loz Shaw, I do something... I play guitar and stuff...

Gaz: Are you sure 'bout that?

Loz: Yeah probably

Owen: And we have Dave Morgan on bass but unfortunately today he is very ill so he couldn't make it with us today.

Loz: He died

TGMR: It's ok he's just the bassist
TGMR: So my idea was to talk about the band, then the album then just general metal stuff. If that's cool with you.

Loz: Yeah that sounds brilliant.

TGMR: How did Steeltrooper start exactly?

Owen: Well this was before I chose to take my solo stuff that I did for college to the next level. I hooked up with Loz Shaw in 2008. And he got quite interested in what I was doing, and we started jamming a lot and we ended up doing a lot of stuff together and he ended up getting interested in joining me as a full band. We took it from there, and then Gaz joined.

Gaz: Yeah well I felt sorry for the guys so I joined. (Laughter)

Owen: We had quite a few lineup trials we did. We had quite a few guys who where really awesome
but they just weren't committing and there were not turning up and backing out on us last minute.
Gaz: So we killed them.

Owen: We did

TGMR: Thats horrible (laughing)

Loz: It's not horrible its metal!

TGMR: Fair enough (more laughter)

Owen: Don't worry for any cops out there we didn't.

Loz: We killed them.

Owen: So eventually Gaz proved to be one of the most...

Loz: Best drummer in the world

Owen: Punctual. Very punctual, he turned up on time he was always there for us so he just stuck with us. We had quite a few bassists though. We started out with Dan Jones Andy Plant. Those guys did a really good job but um...

Loz: They were shit.

Owen: Yeah, created a lot of differences down the line really did.

Gaz: So anyway...

Owen: Guy was just being a complete asshole. Creative differences.. served well for us in the time they had and eventually creative differences did get the better of them at the time. But Dave Morgan has done really for us at the moment and his fretless bass work is absolutely unreal. I play guitar with him in another band as well and he's great to work with. He knows what he's doing his bass work...

Loz: And he looks like a wizard!

Owen: Yes he's a wizard.

TGMR: He's a wizard?

Loz: He looks like a wizard yeah.

Owen: He's the band wizard and especially on bass. His guitaring is good but I've noticed his bass guitarings much better.

Loz: He's gunna hate you for saying that.

Owen: No he's not, he knows his guitarings good but he knows his bassing is much stronger.

Loz: But his cookings even better!

Owen: I wouldn't know that (Laughter) I don't want to try his cooking.
TGMR: So what are some of the big influences on Steeltrooper?

Owen: Definitely without a doubt Metallica and Iron Maiden. As you can probably tell in the mixes that we do they're kinda like the guys I grew up with. My dad is a massive fan of them and returned on to me quite a bit as well. And there's guys like Ozzy, Zakk Wylde, Dragonforce Ed Guy. And quite a lot of the other guys like that Gamma Ray, guys like that I generally got a lot of inspiration from them a lot of the time.

TGMR: When you think of Steeltrooper is their a mental image you have? Of like a giant robot soldier... or something?



Loz: I always imagine a Stormtrooper every time you (Owen) used to say Steeltrooper.

Owen: That's pretty much how it came about this was during Bloodstock 2008 wasn't it?

Gaz: Yes it was

Owen: We were thinking about doing Stormtrooper for the name of the band. But we thought “A bit to obvious”.

Gaz: We might sound like a Star Wars parody band.

Owen: My side project at the time was called Judas Steel so we replaced the Storm with Steel to make Steeltrooper and it just stuck ever since.

Loz: It's cool and people remember it.

Owen: It was just something unique.

Gaz: I hated it when I joined I was like (makes babbling noises)

Owen: When me and Loz started the band we just randomly discussed it and were like “Yeah that sticks” so we just went with that. Then we just tried to make it as cheesy but brutal as possible.

Gaz: It was Steeltrooper or Lightsaberforce so I don't know which one is better.

TGMR: Lightsaberforce is pretty cool


TGMR: Let's talk about the new album now. What was it like recording an entire album now after a long time as a band.

Loz: It was hard work it was. Took a lot longer than we expected but it wasn't too bad. When you consider that a lot of bands take years recording and it only took us 3 or 4 months.

Owen: It was well worth it was well considering how much effort we put into it. Because I think it took us well, 12 odd sessions a song. We had the rough mixes but there was always something that needed changing it took us ages to get it right.

Loz: The actual recording process was really quick though we did all the drums in 2 sessions.

TGMR: Wow. How long were these sessions?

Loz: I dunno, about a day.

Owen: It was about 8 hours.

Loz: Until poor Gaz fell asleep.

Gaz: My ankles are falling off!!


Loz: Recording was great but it was the mixing and mastering and trying to get that done that took a massive long time it was well worth it in the end.

Owen: Especially coming from university during our third years we were very taken for time as it was and we did it slowly at first. Then we graduated it spread up like you wouldn't believe. So eventually we just put our heart and souls into it and hopefully it will reflect on the whole thing when you hear it when it comes out.

Loz: In fact we just got the CD's delivered today!

TGMR: Oh nice!

Loz: We don't actually have them with us but soon we will actually be able to touch what we have made!

Gaz: Like a baby

TGMR: Please ship overseas otherwise I'll cry.


Gaz: We'll ship it wherever you want. We'll ship it to the moon if you want.

Loz: I'll collect it in a hundred years!

Owen: We can try that yes. I suppose UPS will take care of that.

TGMR: So let's talk about the individual songs one by one. The first one is Enter the Dragon.

Owen: thats one of our recent ones we wrote that one. We kind of decided last year. It was just a riff I started playing randomly. And we were just jamming it out randomly trying to find the beat and stuff. The lyrics just came randomly because we were jamming it and I wrote out the words for the vocals “Enter the Dragon”. And I could see the grins on their faces and I said “I'm keeping it, I'm remembering that one”. It was also.. the later lyrics came on because one of my favorite series is discworld and one of the books is about these bortherhoods releasing dragons. And thats where it came from some kind of monastery brotherhood summoning a dragon. It was just simple and effective really. It's kind of a random song but we managed to make it make sense in the end.

Gaz: It's one of the more collaborative ones we all put a bit more creative stuff in. Because some of the songs on the album are just songs Owen wrote ages ago. Because this is a new one we all kind of put our own bits in. Its a bit more progressive than some of the other ones as well.

TGMR: And after that one I believe we have Eternal Warrior.

Owen: Yeah this one was very interesting like Loz and Gaz said it was one of the ones that I did solo. Originally the vocals were shared by my friend Carl Dutton he did the screaming verses. For a project we did about a music video. And I chose to do the Street Fighter 2 anime film. I put that music over and it was a random song we made at the time. And I made the lyrics to go with the film.

Gaz: And we just kind of refined it over time. There was a previous version we did before the album version as well. This latest version is how we've been playing it live and is a bit more representative of the band.

TGMR: For the record, who's doing the growls on the album?

Loz: Thats me (Screams, Laughter)

Owen: He can't pull through right now because last night at Stafford he absolutely belted the living HELL out of it.

Loz: I have a very soar throat.

Owen: So he's gotta recover today.

Loz: (monster voice) Lots of tea

TGMR: So after that we have Night Prowler which is really cool I think.

Loz: You wanna know why? Because Gaz wrote that one.

Gaz: I didn't write it I wrote the lyrics!

Owen: Yeah Gaz wrote the lyrics and he did an absolutely fantastic job of it. The riff was something...

Loz: It was kind of old-school. Night Prowler was another collaborative one because Owen wrote some of the riffs and harmonies and stuff and we sort of took that and arranged it into a song. And Gaz brought the lyrics in

Gaz: I put some double bass in too.

Loz: Yeah, its kind of a mix of all three of us really. With an old school feel Judas Priest.

TGMR: After we have Silent Rage

Owen: Again one of the two in the album thats really the earliest thing I ever wrote. Something I did for a cabaret show I did for a performing arts school.

Loz: I never knew that!

Owen: I was actually in a music tech course at the time I played this track and I chose to do it live guys

Gaz: (singing) Standing by the window!

Owen: End of the cabaret show thing and I actually had the college dancers doing a dance piece in the back of it. And I was doing my guitar shredding stuff. And they did an absolutely amazing job for the choreography. It;s about when you've got these feelings you wanna unleash but its gunna cause trouble so you bottle them up and it makes things worse. Instrumentally I got a lot of inspiration from Paul Gilbert on that one I was trying to up my guitaring because at the that point I wasn't exactly great. So my friend Roy Taylor gives me a list of guitarists to check out Jeff Loomis and Paul Gilbert. And theres a Gilbert song and the stuff he was doing I kind of thought “I really want to be able to play stuff like this”. So I started to make me own random solos up and this is what I came up with.

TGMR: And then we have the single Patroller.


Owen: I'm trying to think how it came out. This was after the solo stuff.

Loz: It was a fairly recent...

Owen: Fairly recent it was still before the whole band thing kicked off.

Loz: I remember me and Owen were in the same class at Uni and he showed it to me and said “This is a really awesome song we should learn it” and I remember it was really catchy and I just kept singing it.

Owen: Yeah, it started out as a warm-up song because whenever I used to play I used to try and warm my voice up. And what I do when I warm up is I try to improvise lyrics. And it starts off with low vocals and goes into high which is a really good way to warm up. What I used to do when I had problems warming up. And it eventually became a song I don't know where the word “Patroller” came from but it was really random. Essentially it was a warm up song that got really catchy so I decided to record it! I didn't know it was gunna be this catchy! So it's no longer a warm up song but rather an ending song. Or a song in the middle that people can actually learn the lyrics too. It's actually evolved a lot. I like it.

TGMR: I think it was the first Steeltrooper song I ever heard...

Loz: Yeah we tried to make it real catchy so everyone would like the band.

Owen: Thats right it was the first proper single.

TGMR: Blew my head off.

So then there's The Truth about Heartbreak

Owen: That's the second of one of the first songs we ever did. A lot of people say “Oh this songs really emo”. But at the same time I was going through a lot of relationship stuff and getting into a lot of Dragonforce. And coming out of that, in a bit of a bad time and Dragonforce was helping me out of that. So it was a bit of a combination of the two really.

Loz: Thank you Herman Lee

Owen: Yeah, indeed. This started when I was halfway nto my college course and I discovered how great harmonizing was. And I started out quite simple at that time. And I wrote lyrics about how you shouldn't take me likely or I will come and get you. Then the harmonies are there to make it happier to balance it out. So it's like a revenge song but one that's quite lively and happy, uplifting.

Loz: Inspiring

TGMR: So after that we have the Poison Ivy song.

Owen: Yeah the soundtrack to a lot of Gaz's life and a lot of Loz and also mine. There are people who just want to lie and eat your heart out and say you're the best thing ever then say I don't like you anymore I was just lying. Its about the effects of that really. About, someone comes along and tries to manipulate you and then they basically destroy you. It's also one of my favorite things about Batman. The Poison Ivy the kissing and the killing both being there. So that's kind of where it came from really. The batman character because I'm a comic book nerd and then the relationship thing. And the riff is really aggressive to show its not about being sucked into it it's about combating it. Thats where the riff came from.

Does it go down really well at the pub The Poison Ivy?

Loz: It does.

Owen: Yeah the first time it went down really well especially the breakdown bits.

Loz: Yeah the breakdowns go really well on that one. It's hard to play tight though. It's one of our heaviest songs and its easy to headbanging too and it gets the crowd going.

Owen: Yeah it got the crowd moving a bit more than what we did with the other songs.

Gaz: Probably because there was an earthquake.

Owen: That explains that one.

Then theres Ashes to Dust

Owen: Ah yes! The girl apocalypse song. (laughter) this again was another one during my college time that I wrote. There were quite a lot of apocalypse movies coming out of the time and I thought well theres quite a trend of these. And I thought I should make a song about these because eventually all these apocalypse films are coming out like 2012 and Day After Tomorrow and all that and it was kind of based on those kind of films really. It was about people sticking together when they really need to as well. The riff was from when I was quite big on the dragonforce. Something I conjured up magically and kind of managed to demonstrate the energy involved. I got into the apocalypse films at the time. It was just a big trend. It wasn't really a meaningful one just kind of one... it was another random one that one.

TGMR: Ok Prosperous?

Loz: Ah yes the instrumental!

Owen: That really shows off the guitar. Its my guitar thing isn't it I think its quite a shock.

Loz: A lot of bands always like having one instrumental track.

Owen: It was a really tough one to title. Because again I probably spent quite a few hours of college writing that. It was another assignment I did. It was one of my final year project tracks I did and I was trying to think of a name for it. And it's really strong it requires a lot of energy to play it because there's a lot of fretwork. You've got to be really strong and the end result was strong and effective as well that's why I felt strong and prosperous. Prosperous thats where it came from!

TGMR: Then the last one, the anthemic Steeltrooper

Owen: This is a really good one. I like to think, one of my old bassists, Andy Plant actually helped write this the whole chorus thing is kind of his idea really. He still gets credit for that. Whose idea was it to do a self titled song?

Gaz: I don't know we just kind of looked at bands like Iron Maiden and stuff and said they've got self titled songs and we decided to do one.

Owen: Its basically who we are.

Lats: It's kind of our mission statement.

Owen: Its based of the chorus idea and I think we chose to have it in A flat as well so that is different from the other songs something unique and it's also 'cause me and him we;re quite big fans of Ed Guy and we were listening to a lot of that and a lot of their stuffs in A flat. And he said we could probably write a really good riff in that key.

Gaz: And it's a good ending because we are Steeltrooper so its like “Goodnight”

Owen: Yeah and lot of our songs have gotten more thrashy more than powery this one we kind of wanted to make more powery than thrashy really. And theres kind of a back story really And i'm a bit of a comic book nerd and a lot of bands like to have that kind of back story. So I kind of made ours. I tried to make ours as X-men as possible. (Laughter) I'm a guggalloooo.


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