1/ Hi, we're going to start this interview with a presentation of the band...
Joe : I'm Joe Sims, play lead guitar, and started the band back in like 85. Geoff McGraw is our singer; Damin Bennett is our other lead player; Denny Archer is our drummer, and Jim Curtis is our bass player.
2/ What were the main influences that motivated you to become a musician?
Back in the late 70's, old Kiss was what got me totally wanting to be a musician. A couple buddies in my neighborhood when I was growing up played guitar and drums, and I thought that if I played bass we could make a band and be like Kiss! So I got my mom to buy me the cheapest bass and amp there was, from an old department store called JC Penneys and I messed around with it for a while on my own. Eventually, I got bored with bass (nothing against bass any bass players out there, I was 12 years old hahaha!), so I started playing guitar and started this long, strange journey !!!!!!!
3/ Your new album, the fourth, "Crawling chaos", was released 6 months ago, can you tell us about it? What are the returns in the press?
The album contains 10 songs with professional sound that I think is some of the best writing that I have ever been a part of. It's also the first Axemaster album where I did not write 90% to 100% of the music and arranged all the songs myself, everyone played a role in that. So the album has a little different feel than past Axemaster albums since it reflects everyone's tastes and influences, not just 99% mine. It features more variety although still being 100% fucking METAL through and through!!!! Our last album "Overture to Madness", had a little different sound, more thrash elements. But while still having a little thrash in there, "Chaos" pays more respect to the old Axemaster sound. It's updated and more professional in every way, but it has more of a similar overall feel to the old stuff than "Overture" does. One major difference though is for the first time, the band has a second lead guitarist. Even though the songs were basically written by the time Damin joined, he SURELY put his stamp on all the songs. The album is a lot better with Damin than it would have been without him!!!!!!!!
The reviews have been good overall. Mostly good, some great, and a couple bad ones that I don't quite understand hahaha. Every album I have ever done has had a couple of those bad reviews for strange reasons. But overall I am VERY happy and satisfied with how the album has been received in every way: press, radio, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, by the fans. Honestly, I would surely rather have mostly terrible reviews and the fans love the album than vice-versa. And the fans have made it known how great they think the album is !!!!!!
4/ When we see the artwork of your album, we see the reference to Lovecraft's Cthulhu, why this choice?
Cool that you noticed that !!!!! Actually, the title track "Crawling Chaos" is all about Cthulhu, so it definitely made perfect sense. Jeff hired Noel Puente to come up with his version of that character. It came out so kick ass !!!! People are constantly telling me how killer the cover art is !
5/ How was the recording?
The recording was great! The producer who mixed, mastered, and co-produced the album with me (Richard Fuller), is a totally fucking awesome guy, was a joy working with him!!!! Of course I totally worked my ass off recording guitar and vocals, and then editing and pre-mixing everything at my studio, before getting all the finished tracks back to Rick; but it was more than worth it because I totally love how everything turned out. Sure, the long hours got a little tough at times, but overall I really enjoy doing studio work and watching my songs slowly come together and sound more and more kick ass, it's like watching your kid grow up!!!!! Honestly, I can't wait to get going on our next album hahahaha !
6/ Who does what in the band in the composition process?
The way we normally do it is that I write riffs and put them together into demo tracks that I record to a click and play to the rest of the guys to see if everyone likes the ideas. If everyone does, then we take the parts and make them into a song all together. Everyone has major input on everything: arrangements, writing a new part, coming up with bridges and an ending, the whole process. After that, Geoff writes all the lyrics, that's totally been his domain!!!! Of course there were exceptions when writing this album, like Geoff wrote 90% of "Shallow Grave" and Damin wrote and played everything on "Mystify the Dream Hypnotic", it's important to always be flexible to do things in different ways when there are different circumstances! Actually, part of writing the next album will definitely be different because Damin has a lot of kick ass riffs we are going to use, so we will be doing quite a bit of writing together. The next album should once again have a little different feel because of that !!!!
7/ You only tour in the United States?
So far that has been the case. We have had offers, but none of them made sense financially. It's a whole lot of money for 5 people to get over there and back, and the offers just were not big enough to justify trying to raise that kind of money. But we want to play Europe really bad, so we are SURELY listening to any and all offers and possibilities. The European metalheads have been totally AMAZING to both myself and Axemaster in general. Ever since the band first hit the international scene with "Blessing in the Skies" in 1987, the amount of support I/we have gotten from the European fans is nothing short of incredible! I totally love all the European fans, so when we have the chance to do some things over there that are totally cool, we will definitely do all we can to get over there and kick some ass !!!!!!
8/ What is your news and what are your projects?
Well, a couple months ago we signed with management, Smoke N Phire Productions, and we have high hopes for what they will do for us as far as touring and promotion. Other than that, we are playing shows, working on our own promo, and me and Damin have been doing a lot of writing on our own. We have come up with a bunch of new ideas that I am really excited about. Damin and me are going to start working on the new stuff soon, really looking forward to it !!!!!!
9/ Thanks for this interview, I'll let you conclude it...
Always enjoy doing interviews, thanks for the opportunity to do it and thanks to everyone out there who took the time to read all the things I rambled about here hahaha!!!! I always like to end interviews by giving a shout out to all the kick ass metalheads out there. Metal fans are DEFINITELY the best fans of anything in the world !!!!! The way the fans have supported Axemaster and myself from the first time I/we hit the national and international scenes way back in 1987 has been amazing !!!! I'm humbled and honored by the way the fans have always treated me and the fact that my work has made me be considered to be a small part of the history of the music that I have loved my whole life !!!!! Anyway, I invite all metalheads to check out the links below, lots of cool stuff!!! And feel free to get it touch with us anytime. It may take a little time depending on what's happening, but we ALWAYS return messages from fans !