Interviewee: Mark Chapman
Label: 918 Records
Featured on: Loucifer Speaks Exclusive... So far!
CD Maximum has been a great way for me to find out about different bands recently... and one of those bands was Attackhead. I recently reviewed their album "Voices In The Dark" (check out the 'Other Links' section at the bottom of this page) and now I've been lucky enough to have Mark Chapman - lead guitar and lead vocals - answer my questions...
Lou: For the benefit of those who haven't heard of you yet, please could you describe the music that Attackhead creates?
Mark: We describe ourselves as Skull Crushing Heavy Metal with an Old School Edge. Basically we are very similar to 80s era thrash metal bands such as Testament, Slayer and Metallica.
Lou: When I listen to the album, I'm often reminded of old school Death Metal and Thrash bands. Was this intentional and who would you say were your biggest influences?
Mark: Yes, I guess it was intentional in a way. I have been playing for well over 20 years and actually played in metal bands in the 80s. I used to go to local gigs and see bands like WASP, MSG, Slayer, Armored Saint, Poison, etc. I was and still am very good friends with the members of Leatherwolf and used to roadie for them when I was 15 or so. One of the members of Leatherwolf, Geoff Gayer, actually taught me how to play. So our sound is what we know, we didn't have to try to sound like old school thrash cuz it is what we are. As far as influences go growing up I was into Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Tony Macalpine, Armored Saint, Rising Force, Slayer, Megadeth, Metallica, UFO, Ozzy, Testament, etc. I still listen to these bands today as well as Everygrey, Children of Bodom, and Black Label Society to name a few.
Lou: How long has the band been together and has there been many lineup changes in that time? Who is in the band at the moment?
Mark: I formed the band in late 2002 and am the only original member from that time. Our drummer Steve Cordero came on board in 2004 followed by Christian Bargados in 2006 and just recently George Portoulas about a year ago. We have been through several guitar players and singers but now have a great lineup with no attitude or drama. I never sang until about 2 years ago. I was just a guitarist in the early years but got so tired of flaky singers that I decided to do it myself.
Mark Chapman - Lead vocals/Lead Guitar
Christian Bargados - Bass/ vocals
George Portoulas - Lead Guitar/backing vocals
Steve Cordero - Drums
Lou: How long did "Voices In The Dark" take to record?
Mark: We laid down all the tracks in about 5 days. We are pretty good at getting good takes on the first try so we dont waste a lot of time. We spent a couple weeks editing and mixing and in the end I think it took about a month total.
Lou: What is your songwriting process like? Do you all write together?
Mark: No, we dont write together. I write the majority of the songs and almost all the lyrics. I usually come in with a completed song and show the other guys. We make any needed changes and a group until we are all happy with the sound. Christian also writes a lot of songs and has a lot of good ideas so between the two of us we usually have no shortage of new material.
Lou: Which is your favourite track from "Voices In The Dark" and why?
Mark: I am really happy with all the songs but if I had to pick a favourite it would have to be Tazer followed by Dark Ritual. I really like Tazer just because it sounds really good and everything came out spot on when we recorded it. Dark Ritual has an evil edge that appeals to me.
Lou: Which song do the fans seem to prefer? Which track have you received the most positive feedback from?
Mark: Most of the fans seem to enjoy them all. I have heard from different fans different opinions. Some really like Lead the Blind others Sweet Sounds while others like Voices better. The track that seems to be getting the most airplay is Waste of Life. I wrote Waste of Life in the early 80s and just added new lyrics to it so I guess people really do have a need for real old school metal.
Lou: Where can our readers buy the album from?
and for downloads we are available on iTunes, Rhapsody, Emusic, Napster, CDmaximum, Snocap.
I am sure there are several sites that I am missing but that should get them there.
Lou: Do you have any other merchandise available?
Mark: We have stickers, buttons, Tshirts, and CD's. You cant get the stickers and the buttons online just because the shipping would cost more than the item so its not worth it. We mainly sell them at gigs. Also if your readers go to attackhead.com and go to the fan club section they can sign up for the Riot Squad. The Riot Squad sign up gets them a free autographed 8 x 10 photo of the band. They also get Email updates about the band and upcoming shows. If they dont want to go that far they can sign up for the mailing list only as well. We will have new shirts with all new designs as soon as we can afford it.
Lou: Do you have any other albums, singles or EPs available?
Mark: No not really. Voices is our first album that has been for sale. We recorded a 3 song demo in 2004 with a female singer but never really sold any. I actually just saw someone selling them on Ebay yesterday and I have no idea how they got them since I was the sole distributor.
Lou: Will you be touring soon and if so, where will you be playing?
Mark: We dont have any immediate plans to tour anywhere outside our local venues. We are applying to do some shows for the military in other countries but have not heard anything yet. We are open to play anywhere at anytime all we need is an invitation. It is hard to get shows in other areas without a promoter and right now we are in that boat. We are hoping to get picked up by a label or good distributor and promoter so we can get on the road.
Lou: What can we expect from an Attackhead show?
Mark: High energy, flawless musical performance and cool props. As well as good times and the feeling that you are at a much larger show than you really are. We try to bring large venue ideas to where ever we play. We also like to hang out with the fans after the show to really connect with them and include them in the experience.
Lou: Do you ever play in cover versions live?
Mark: We haven't yet but have plans to include a couple of covers in our show. We plan to do "Bleed for me" by Black Label Society and "The torture never stops" by WASP. They keep getting put on the back burner due to working on new original songs but we'll get to them sooner or later.
Lou: Do you play any songs which are not on the album at gigs? If so, which ones and is it possible for us to listen to them anywhere?
Mark: We do have a new song called "Rebirth" and are working on "Skull Crusher" and "Possessed" but we haven't played them live yet and they cant be heard anywhere but our rehearsal room. We will be playing them live within the next couple of months.
Lou: I really liked what was said at the beginning of the album and in the inlay. The idea that some people feel they can do whatever they want as long as they believe in a deity / go to a place of worship once a week really does annoy me. What has the reaction been like regarding that part of the album from fans and critics?
Mark: I haven't really had any reaction. We play that spoken part via a sampler before playing Voices in the Dark but haven't had any comment as of yet. Unfortunately people are more likely to take it as Devil music simply because of the wording or imagery rather than seeing the truth in the statement.
Lou: Is there an ongoing theme running through the album?
Mark: Not really. I write how I see things. Many times I see the darker side of reality. Obviously there is some fantasy built in but most of my lyrics are short stories of a darker nature. You can always trust humans to give you plenty of demented material to write about.
Lou: Would you ever do a "full-on" concept album?
Mark: I doubt it. I think it would be difficult to come up with enough material on one subject to keep it interesting. We could write many songs about global warming but who the fuck wants to hear that. Music is more of an escape for most people and if your content is all about one thing I think you would have a lot of people who are not interested.
Lou: 5% of the profits from the "Voices In The Dark" CD are being given to the Melanoma Research Foundation. This is incredibly commendable and generous. What made you choose that charity?
Mark: Well, my Father died of a melanoma related brain tumor in July 2005. Melanoma is a scary thing that really flies under the radar. It is basically a form of skin cancer that can go to other parts of the body and grow. In America we have a 1 in 60 lifetime risk of developing melanoma. Melanoma is the primary cause of cancer death in women 25 to 30 years old and the #2 cause of cancer death, after breast cancer, in women 30 to 35 years old. The average lifespan of someone with advanced melanoma is less than one year. I recently read an article on the huge rise in melanoma in the UK and until now there has not been a group that has focused on educating a younger age group. If your readers want more information about melanoma they can go to www.melanoma.org.
Lou: I know that you're on quite a few websites now (CD Maximum, CD Baby, YouTube, etc). Please can you give links to where people can find you?
Lou: Do you feel that the pros of the Internet (easier to find fans, etc) outweigh the cons (illegal downloads, etc)?
Mark: I think the Internet is a great way to contact and stay in touch with fans all over the world. It is instant and easy to communicate and shop. As far as illegal downloads goes at this point I have no opinion. I dont know how that is any different from copying a cassette or CD for your friend. If you want your music out there then you have to risk it being taken illegally. So just limit the amount of songs out there so there is an incentive to buy the CD for all the songs.
Lou: Do you have any plans to make a promotional video?
Mark: Actually we are negotiating with some video makers right now. We plan to do a video for Waste of Life in the near future. But until then go to YouTube and you can see a live video and a picture video. We are also finishing up a video taken during the recording of Voices in the Dark which should be on YouTube soon.
Lou: What's next for the band?
Mark: World Domination.