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Interview with Johnny Roberts (Woe of Tyrants)

Interview with Johnny Roberts (Woe of Tyrants)
BANDS : Woe of Tyrants

Woe of Tyrants are a relatively new band from the United States. They propose us a death / thrash metal combination with various influences from power and heavy metal. Woe of Tyrants has just released the second studio album, Kingdom of Might, under Metal Blade banner. We talked with Johnny Roberts, the band’s drummer, about their recent signed deal with Metal Blade Records, about religion, metal, Seinfeld and more.



Metalfan:Hello Johnny and welcome to Metalfan!
Johnny Roberts: Hello and thank you for having me!

Metalfan: As far as I know this is your first interview for a Romanian magazine, so it would be great if you could make a short history of the band for our readers....
Johnny Roberts: Let's see, our band was formed around 5-6 years ago in the good old hills of Chillicothe, Ohio.  We've had a few lineup changes, our singer (Chris Catanzaro) and bass player (Adam Kohler) have been in the band since the beginning.  Our rhythm guitar player Matt Kincaid joined the band in 2006 and soon after they wrote the album Behold the Lion.  I joined the band in late 2006 right as we got signed to Tribunal Records, and we finished recording Behold the Lion.  We had a few months to support the album but in October of 2007 we signed to Metal Blade records, so we immediately began work on new material.  Here we stand now, releasing Kingdom of Might!

Metalfan: Not so long ago, on the 6th of January you have released your second full-lenght, titled "Kingdom of Might". I've noticed that a lot of things have changed since 2007, could you describe the way you see these changes?
Johnny Roberts: When I look back on 2007, I remember so many good times!  We played alot of shows that year, and had alot of fun doing what we love.  A big change between then and now is alot of work and not enough play!  With the Metal Blade signing at the end of 2007, we spent most of 2008 writing and recording Kingdom of Might. We have to look at our band in a more business-related matter.  We all have a driving passion for being on-stage, meeting new people, seeing the world and all the different music scenes that we can reach. However, there is alot more work that needs to be done in the music industry then just writing songs and going out and playing them. We had to learn to keep our moral up, because sitting at home for 2-3 months without playing a show when you have your fans asking for you is a hard thing to do!

Metalfan: Your music is often described as death/thrash metal, but I have to admit that it goes beyond this description. I see it closer to the European scene than the American scene, do you agree?
Johnny Roberts: I agree, our influences are very widely ranged. We have influences from both ends of the spectrum, and it was awesome to be able to work with the rest of my band on this album because when writing we all had this understanding of our influences and tried our best to expand upon them.  Nobody wants to sound like anybody else nowadays, and it's very hard because metal has come so far. There are so many bands out there, and when cornered into one genre it becomes predictable to many listeners as to where one's album is going to go. Bands like Between the Buried and Me or The Faceless are succeeding in fusing together different genres for an unexpected result.  The Faceless' new album Planetary Duality sounds like a Rush album at times! So all in all, we went at it our own way: we took our favorite elements from death, thrash, power metal and so forth... and blended them together in as many ways as we could. When I heard a power metal riff, I wrote a blast beat over it. When we had a good minute or so of death metal, we would split it and throw a thrash section in between. Writing was pretty intense and taxing at times, but we are satisfied with the end result and we hope everyone else thinks the same!

Metalfan: In the begining of the interview we've talked about changes, a major change is also concerning the record label, now you are on Metal Blade Records. How does it feel to be on the same label with Cannibal Corpse or The Black Dahlia Murder for example? Is someone would told you in 2004 for example than in 2009 you'll be on Metalblade what you would answer?
Johnny Roberts: Haha this is a great question, it's a question we've asked ourselves many times the past few years.  Metal Blade is an incredible label, full of many badass bands.  I've been heavily influenced by many of the bands currently on the label. Signing to Metal Blade was one of the best things to happen to our band, and it feels better everyday knowing we are on their roster. If somebody told me in 2004 that we'd be on MB in 2009? I wouldn't believe it whatsoever, hahaha!

Metalfan: What do you think is the most important thing for a metal band to do to achieve success in this scene?
Johnny Roberts: The number one most important thing you need to do is keep practicing and stay true to yourself.  As long as you keep doing what you do and always have the motivation to get better, from then on out it's just a matter of dropping your material in the laps of everyone that has an open ear. Success isn't measured by record contracts or music videos, it's measured by the joy you give to people that enjoy your music and the respect and love you get in return.



Metalfan: How did things go with Joey Sturgis in Foundation Studios? What do you feel that is the biggest thing that come from Joey on this album?
Johnny Roberts: Joey is the MAN! I highly recommend him to anyone looking to record, he knows his stuff. While in the studio, he definitely pushed to get the best sound out of us possible. I think we were spoiled, he definitely is too good at what he does. I think the best element Joey brought to the table is his efficiency and dedication. His style of production is a big factor in our choice to have him as our engineer as well, anything that comes out of his studio is golden. We love you Joey!

Metalfan: Who was in charge with the artwork for "Kingdom of Might"? Was a hard decision to make in this way?
Johnny Roberts: Metal Blade hooked us up with the artist, I believe his name is Colin. He did an incredible job, we had a few other ideas from different artists but nothing stood out.  After we saw this artwork from Colin, we knew it was the perfect artwork for this album.

Metalfan: How did the recording process go? Do you have some footage available from the studio that you are looking to release it as a bonus material or on a DVD? Speaking about a DVD, would you like to release a material like this untill the end of this year?
Johnny Roberts: Recording was a great experience.  It was pretty stressed at times since time wasn't on our side (we left for tour the day after we got out of studio) but recording has always been fun. We unfortunately don't have any footage available right now, I remember we might have recorded a few videos but nothing that has surfaced on youtube or anything. We would love to plan a DVD for the next release if possible, we are down for anything we can do to get our name out there.

Metalfan: What's your favorite album from 2008 and why? And also what's the album that you can't wait to hear for 2009?
Johnny Roberts: My personal favorite was Arsis "We Are the Nightmare". I absolutely loved the leads on the album and the drums were technical as technical gets.  Massive chills go up and down my spine whenever I hear the closing song "Failure's Conquest". 36 Crazyfists "The Tide and its Takers" is a close 2nd, they are an incredible band and one of the most fun bands to see live. As far as this year goes... I can't wait for some new Mastodon! I also am looking forward to the new Necrophagist. Lamb of God is releasing a new album soon too... Hell, who am I kidding I'm waiting for anything new!

Metalfan: Do you think that your music influences people in a way or another? If it's good or bad, how do you feel?

Johnny Roberts: Many of our fans express the influence we give them, whether it be musically or lyrically. The best part of writing music is hearing others actually gaining influence from it, nothing else can touch the sense of accomplishment in that. I wrote my part on drums hoping people would listen to this album and want to get on their drums and jam!  Our singer is very good at writing positive, yet abstract words to our songs. Our fans show love for the positive message we try to give.

Metalfan: I know that you didn't play too much live, how do you feel about the shows that are coming soon?
Johnny Roberts: Throughout 2008 the main thing we were missing was the lack of shows. So to make up for it, I believe we are going to be out playing shows all of 2009! We are more than ready, it's going to be awesome looking back on this year when it is over.

Metalfan: Also, have you ever played in Europe so far? Any chance to see you in Romania soon?
Johnny Roberts: We haven't played Europe unfortunately! We don't have any plans for overseas touring yet but it is definitely a goal. We haven't played much out towards the west coast of the USA, so once we tour the states a few times I'm sure we will have the option to tour overseas.

Metalfan: I've seen that your lyrics are related to religion in general, are  all of you christians? How do you feel that metal and religion can go together?
Johnny Roberts: Our lyrics are inspired by the Bible and, like I stated earlier, positive in nature. Our singer Chris likes to approach writing in a more subtle way. The lyrics are more geared towards looking at your own life and being happy for you are.  We are not a christian band, some of us including myself are not christian at all. We all want to spread a positive message with our music though and we feel the lyrics are a great representation of our beliefs in life and we hope anyone who takes the lyrics to heart will gain something beneficial from them.



Metalfan: Now in the end of the interview I have for you a quick-quizz. Please choose one between the following and argue why.
Johnny Roberts:
Carcass or Napalm Death - Napalm Death! Long-time fan, but in no way am I taking anything away from Carcass

At The Gates or In Flames - In Flames, just because they have more of a selection.  Slaughter of the Soul blows every In Flames album out of the water though :D

New Wave of American Heavy Metal or New Wave of British Heavy Metal - AMERICA! FUCK YEAH!

Easter or Christmas - Christmas, the easter bunny doesn't bring me presents

Jay Leno or David Letterman - Conan O'Brian!

Seinfeld or My Name is Earl - Seinfeld, one of the best sitcoms on earth

Metallica or Slayer - SLLLLAAYYYYYEEERRR!!!!!!!! enough said

Metalfan: Thank you Johnny for the interview! Good luck with "Kingdom of Might" and in the end feel free if you want to add something or to send few words to Metalfan readers...
Johnny Roberts: Thank you for taking the time to chat with me!  Anyone reading this, our album "Kingdom of Might" is in stores right now! Pick it up and commence headbanging.  One love.

Autor: H.
Vezi galeriile trupelor: Woe of Tyrants

   January 20, 2009  | 0 Comments  | 8852 Views « BACK

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