Monday, June 6, 2016

Matthias Steele Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?

Well, since we released Question of Divinity through Minotauro Records in February we have continued to play selective dates in our native Rhode Island but gaining a little more notoriety throughout Europe, which is a great feeling! It's been a lot of fun receiving reviews and requests for interviews from various online Metal magazines and websites. The reviews have been about 50/50 but any review whether it be good or bad is still good press.

2.In February you had released a new album,how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

The music on Question of Divinity this time around sounds a lot more "Raw" than on Resurrection which seemed to be a little more polished. The tracks on this album were recorded around 2008 or 2009 and sat in the can for a while. After we split in 2012 for 3 years and got back together in July 2015, Minotauro Records offered to release the album. Though we would have preferred re-recording them all we decided that those tracks really captured a moment in time and we probably wouldn't capture the energy now as we did then... so we let those songs fly as they were.

3.This is the first album to be released since 2007, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time frame?

After the 2007 release of Resurrection we went back to the studio to record what would eventually be Question of Divinity. But that album got put on the back burner due to playing live gigs and then eventually we had a 3 year split.

4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music?

Jami (guitar) and Tony (bass/vocals) are the primary writers in the band. My music is a little too "poppy" to be in a Metal band. Jami writes off the top of his head in which themes can range from story telling to personal experiences to something he read in the news. But his lyrics always have a meaning behind them. Tony likes to write his music with a little more musical whimsy sometimes, which could range from fantasy to real life situations. God may be a topic or what goes on in the Middle East could be another. Both guy's balance the band in a way that keeps us afloat!. It could be considered a healthy competition between the two musical styles. There is no one particular writer but there is one Matthias Steele sound.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Matthias Steele'?

The name came about back in 1985 when Tony had seen a movie called "The Omega Man" with Charlton Heston. There was a character in it named Matthias. This was brought up one night with myself and our original guitarist Todd Gencarella. We all like the name Matthias but being that we were a Metal band we needed to sound like a Metal band. Some of our influences at the time were Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Witchfinder General... So we went along with Matthias but we wanted it to sound heavy. Judas Priest had "British Steel" and Iron Maiden used the word "iron" so we used the word steel... added an "E" at the end of it, put the two words together and it sounded like a person, Matthias Steele... kind of like a knight riding on his horse. So from that point on for the next few years songs were written around that character. But after a few years the idea sort of waned and we just stated writing songs and got away from conceptual themes.

6.The band has been around since 1985, what is it that keeps you motivated to keep playing and recording music after all of these years?

After Todd and I left in 1988, Tony kept going with other musicians. So for a period of about 4 years there was a revolving door of players that came in and out. But in October of 1996 Jami came into the band with an abundance of music ans his own style that we gladly welcomed. So this versioon of the band has been the most consistent for the past 20 years and we're the best of friends because of our years together.

7.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?

Matthias Steele has had the fortune of opening for Blue Oyster Cult, Flotsam and Jetsom to name a few. But the best shows are the ones where people come up to you and tell you how much they love your music. That never get's old for us! One of the biggest compliments we get is that people always tell us, "you guy's are TIGHT!" That's always a good feeling and something we like to hear because it means they like our performance.

8.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?

As I write this, we have been offered the possibility to maybe do a 7-10 date tour of Europe. But we're in discussion of that at the moment and we don't have any confirmation as of this writing. We never do anything without thought. We still hold down real jobs, some of of have families or a wife or girlfriend, homes, mortgages etc. So before we would do something like a tour we'd have to make sure our personal live are taken care of first. But we all agreed that we would be fools not to take the opportunity and enjoy such an experience... so it could quite possibly happen.

9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of power and thrash metal?

From what we're read so far in reviews it seems like people are enjoying our music. The fans we've recently gained really enjoy it and people from Germany, Denmark, Italy and Greece are picking up on Matthias Steele music! We don't really consider ourselves thrashy but we've always described ourselves as "old school Metal." Because that's what we grew up on.

10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

We'll probably continue doing what we've always done. As long as Tony and Jami keep writing we'll always have material to play and record.

11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Each of us has our roots in Classic rock but Tony is a huge RUSH fan but his Metal roots are as deep as Raven, King Diamond, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden etc. Jami was always a Metallica fan along with Priest, Maiden, Randy Rhoads. I grew up listening to Queen and more rock oriented bands from the 60's to the 80's and pretty much listen to it still to this day.

12.What are some of your non musical interests?

Tony loves to go camping and fishing, bowling... spending time with his sons. Jami designs and builds his own amps and sells them to other guitarists. He's a very devoted dad to his daughters so he has his hands full being a dad sometimes. I enjoy photography as a hobby and sometimes shoot weddings for a little extra money. I also like looking after my home and taking pride in it. We're very normal men leading very normal lives apart from playing in a Metal band. But that's what we love to do!!

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

We appreciate all the people that have followed us for years and of course the newer fans that have gotten on board in the past year. Without you we couldn't survive in this business! But even after all these years we still have a lot of fun setting up the gear, getting onstage and bashing it for our audiences!!! But once we get any information of a possible European tour we'll be putting out a post on our Facebook page announcing it. Thank you to everyone for taking an interest in our music!!!

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