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Holy slaughter
Hello Phil, a few days ago I've heard two tracks of your band HELLBOUND ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE on MySpace site. I was captured by your creation right at first listening, so the question, HZA, what is it about?
HZA is all about having fun writing brutal metal and not being confined to a single style / genre. It is also about being able to have a project I have the time for while doing my computer science degree.

Seems that you recorded some demos, could you write something about them? What purpose they fulfill and what you expect from them?
The demos served the personal purposes of creation, creativity, learning recording techniques, and having a lot of fun. I don’t expect much from them because I recorded them with minimal pro audio gear. It is cool though to get your music heard by fellow metal heads and musicians.

I have perceived you listen to many things, from jazz through extreme metal to classic music, so why just death metal? On some photos you use even war paint with EMPEROR t-shirt...
Yes it’s true I do listen to a wide range of music. The reason I chose to write death metal is because it's my favorite style of metal and also lends itself to my personal style more than any other metal genres. However, the song I am currently working on is more Black Metal style. The photos of corpse paint and EMPEROR shirt were taken Halloween 2006. I scored the shirt at the 2006 limited EMPEROR tour at the Hollywood Sunset Strip House of Blues.

I have to say your approach to death metal is suitable for me. It comes out of old school and you don't forget either technique at the same time. Most elemental thing is that it has atmosphere (I feel dark and fearful feeling from it), hmm, many death metal bands forget the atmosphere today. They play complex technical riffs without good music composition...
I totally agree with you; my rule when writing metal is, “If you can’t head bang along with it, it’s not good metal”. The groove is the most important thing to me when writing metal; not about how big your metal penis is…..

Next thing I like is good song writing you use many slower passages, middle and faster rolling rhythms. I always liked bands using slow tempos. I feel that today death metal bands play often quickly only, but not every one...
A lot of metal heads have commented saying HZA reminds them of old Morbid Angel and 90s Death Metal cause of the slower drums and groove. Eventually I will write some faster material with more technical guitar parts but for now I like writing what comes to me depending on moods. I agree with your comment about today’s death metal bands and how a lot of them play too quickly/technically and lose the groove.

How much time you spend with guitar playing? Seems that you are multi instrumentalist...Is the guitar your priority?
About 2-3 hours a day when I don’t have other things like work, college homework, and web development/management invading my music time. Yes guitar is my primary for sure; but I love playing and recording all instruments (except drums cause I suck at real drums).

In which mode have you recorded demos? I'm aiming on technical side, studio, PC...are you satisfied with sound you got? To me, it's ok for demo stuff and heaviness can’t be missing of course...
I would have to describe recording mode as Home studio; Digital Audio Workstation (PC). The two demo songs were recorded with my old system which was not very stable for audio recording. Since then I have built a new DAW system and it’s much more stable and is capable of incredibly low latencies. The sound is ok but can be much better. I plan on re-recording the two demo tracks when I get two new songs done and release an official four song demo EP release.

Are you working also on new tracks? How will or won't they differ from the old ones?
Yes I am working on two new tracks. One of them feels much more black metal and atmospheric then the previous two death metal demo tracks. The fourth track is more straight forward thrash metal. As I said before I think it’s really important not to limit musicianship to specific sub-genres of metal because this makes it less fun, and also displays less versatility as a musician.

You write in your profile that you want to form a band with several members; but not until you move to a bigger city. What is it like in your city…is there a lack of talented death metal musicians?
My city is small and has only a few local metal bands playing shows. I don’t go to shows in my city because I am very busy with my life right now focusing on getting my college degree done. There are some decent musicians in my area; but what is the point of playing in a scene where 20 people show up to a show? I choose to focus my efforts on getting my degree done and then care about seeking out band mates when I move to a bigger city.

Don't take this question too seriously, but I'm interested why just HELLBOUND ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE? How did you think out just this insane name?
Funny you ask about this cause it’s actually a goofy story how the name HellBound Zombie Apocalypse became the name of my one man band. About a year and a half ago I was working with a couple metal head friends on a possible project. The three of us came up with HellBent Zombie Apocalypse. Then the keyboardist lost interest and quit the project. At this point only two of us remained in the project and this is when I made the decision to do my own one man band project. I didn’t like HellBent as much as HellBound; so I changed it and used it since the studio project had dissolved.

Can you tell something about your musical progress? What have you been listening in childhood and how did you get to metal genre? Which albums influenced you most?
I started out back in the day listening to old school punk rock; The Misfits, Minor Threat, Screw 32, Good Riddance. During this time I was skateboarding many hours every day and not playing much music. My first instrument was bass guitar but I really didn’t take it very seriously back then because I was so obsessed with skateboarding. After skateboarding for 13 years I quit skating and moved to Ashland, Oregon and began taking music seriously in the year 2005. By this time I was regularly listening to Thrash metal bands such as; Pantera, Slayer, Burn The Priest, Lamb Of God, and Solient Green which where the gateway bands for me; to more brutal technical death metal and atmospheric Black Metal music.

Now again similar question…which three albums you personally regard as the best in death metal history? Which metal musician influenced you most and regards him as god? haha.
Necrophgaist - Onset to Putrefaction (1999) and Epitaph (2004). I regard Muhammed as a guitar god. 2nd choice would have to be Emperor - Prometheus (2001) and I also regard Ihsahn as a god (I know EMPEROR is not death metal but so many bands spawned from and were influenced by them; Ihsahn is sort of a godfather of Black Metal to me). 3rd choice is a tie between Morbid Angel - Domination (1995) and Opeth - Blackwater Park (2001). I regard Trey as a guitar god because he is a metal guitar wizard and has never taken lessons in his life.

I got to know from your profile you are orthodox metal maniac and you don't like modern and trendy bands considered to be metal today. I, personally, have equal sight on these things. Are these mainstream "metal" bands spreading also in your place? I think that situation in 90's was completely different...
Yes; DEATH TO ALL NU-METAL, EMO/SCREAMO, HARDCORE, [Insert Talentless Band here]. In my area there are a lot of Nu-metal and Emo bands, in fact usually the only bands that come through on tour are Nu-metal bands like Static X and Killswitch Engage. Yes the 90s where a better time for metal when it wasn’t all about Hot Topic trendy bands captivating youths interests for profits.

What do you think of metal scene routing in general?
Well all metal bands need money to get by and tour. I disagree with trying to stay, “Underground” by only releasing a limited run of disks. With great talent comes great success naturally. The thing I wish would happen less is bands conforming to what their record label tells them to sell more albums and make more money. Metal to me is about writing brutal music and not giving a fuck about what anyone thinks about it. My choice has been to not intertwine making money with making music because this is usually a painful path unless you are a shear wizard composer (Ihsahn).

Sure you know film production of David Lynch. This director has pretty much lunatic imaginings. Have you already seen his last work Inland Empire? Which his film you prefer?
Yes, Colleen and I watched Inland Empire together and we both agree it is his worst work ever. We were so disappointed with this film. I would have to say Twin Peaks, “Fire Walk With Me” or “Lost Highway” would be my favorites of his work.

What is the metal scene in Oregon? Which band is biggest there?
The metal scene in Oregon is, in my opinion; is in Portland (4 hours and 30 minutes drive north of where I live). Other then Portland I really don’t even pay much attention to anywhere else when it comes to metal in Oregon. Hm biggest local Oregon metal band, wow I can’t even answer that because I don’t know haha.

Hmm, I'd like to know if you have played some live shows even though you are one man band. E.g. Shawn of INSIDIOUS DECREPANCY has no problems with it...and it sounds very good live…
The only live show I have ever played was 02/28/08 for my friend Tenaya‘s birthday party (he played drums). It was really fun; even though there weren’t many people there but you can’t expect much local metal scene from a small town like Ashland, Oregon. As I said before I am focusing on getting my CS degree completed and putting my time into practicing and writing new material for HZA. Once I live in the city; I will then pursue finding band mates to play live shows and eventually tour.

What do you think of MySpace phenomenon? Site of your band is very interesting as for graphic point.
I think myspace is pretty amazing how monumental it has become. Its crazy how having a myspace profile is like having a cell phone; if you don’t have one of either you’re considered a caveman lol. Thanks, I am pleased you like my band page ( http://www. myspace. com/hzaband ) because I put a lot of hard work and effort into custom coding it. Myspace code is considered hybrid code. You mainly have to know HTML/XHTML/CSS and quite fluently to be able to custom code a, “div overlay” profile.

Ok, Phil that would be all from me, if I forgot something, add your comments. I am pleased I managed to do interview with you, wish you many successes and all the best!
I don’t think you missed anything; you did quite a thorough job with the interview questions you chose, well done! I also wish you many successes and extend my kindest metal regards out to you and everyone at Necrosphere Webzine!