Skelator - Interview October 2012

1.         First of all, can you guide us into the world of Skelator, when did you start the band, releases, important live shows and significant line–up changes?

- Me and my best friend Max started the idea of the band when were young teenagers getting into Metallica. At first we wanted to write songs about politics, war and religion because we were both raised under socialist ideals. But later when we heard Slayer and Iron Maiden we decided to write songs that would paint a picture in your mind and let you make up your own story to them. I met Pat Seick in high school and he had been drumming for a few years at that point so we thought we'd have a go at it and see what could be done. We wrote some pretty awesome but really shitty thrash metal songs and played all over San Diego spreading the blood of posers everywhere. Later we had a falling out and then we went trough a whirlwind of new members until Pat came back and we had Jesse and Rah in the band in 2004.
Thus began the second era of Skelator “The Time of the Sword Rulers”. We had been listening to Manowar for a long time at that point and we wanted to go for a more epic sound. We recorded the “Swords” EP in the Winter of 2004/05 and began to send it out to the European labels/press and got some pretty cool reviews here and there. In 2005 the “Swords” EP was nominated as the best Hard Rock/Metal album by the San Diego Music Awards. During our first tour we started writing more songs for our next release “The Gore of War”. This was a split album with our friends GutRot. A lot of people did not understand why we did a split with a Death Metal band but honestly we did it to promote not only the San Diego metal scene but to promote diversity in the global metal scene entirely. Then in 2005 Patrick left to Olympia, Washington to finish his college degree. Robbie moved up to Seattle, Washington 6 months later and then I followed 6 months after that when Pat was done with school and living in the same place as Robbie. But in between all that we played one final show with Helstar and Agent Steel at the Burning Star Festival in San Diego.

The third era of Skelator goes through even more members than I even want to recollect, but we did get to opening up for bands like Slough Feg, Doomsword, Zandelle, Thor, Rotting Christ, Mantic Ritual, Hatchet and Witchaven. Patrick left the band in 2007 but to come back to the band in 2010 when we needed him the most...

The fourth era is where we are today with a band of hardened metal warriors. “Death to All Nations” was our first album to really penetrate the international market and the first album where we had found our true sound and not just rip off our heroes. “Agents of Power” was another leap beyond that and the response has been amazing from both our fans and the press around the world. In this era we got to open up for bands like Primal Fear, Accept, Symphony X, Anvil and Rhapsody of Fire.

2.         How did the collaboration with Italy’s Metal On Metal take place and how is it going so far?

- In 2007 we played at the Swordbrothers Festival in Germany. After our set Jowita came to us saying that she and her husband were starting a new label (Metal on Metal) and that they were interested in signing us. We decided to take it and they have treated us very well since. If it wasn't for them our album not be available in many shops and mailorders, as well as on iTunes, Spotify, Zune, Amazon MP3 and countless other official digital distribution centers.

3.         The new album “Agents Of Power” was just released. Tell us a little bit about the whole process (composing, recording, production).
- Well, like any album it takes a few months of collaborative songwriting to get even close to the recording process. We then took a week off to record all the drums, rhythm guitars and bass. Then another week to record all the fundamental vocals. After that it was every weekend recording guitar solos, backup vocals, falsettos and keyboards for another month or so. Then like 3 weeks of mixing and a week off to the guy to master it for CD and vinyl (coming later). Then we send it to the label and wait about 6 weeks till it is released and then another 6 weeks until we get our copies in the mail from Italy. By the time you get the CD in your hand you almost forget that you had just created an album and then you get happy again.

4.         After four independent tracks, the album continues with the conceptual alignment of tracks “Elric: The Dragon Prince (A Tale Of Tragic Destiny In 12 Parts)”. Can you guide us through this concept? Which books or stories particularly influence it? And what made you choose this particular character, considering that so many bands already did it in the past?
- I read the book in high school back when I started the band. It really hit close to home for me. Elric of Melnibone is basically a mix of Darth Vader meets Captain Kirk. He is full of hate and full of regret but he still knows how to save the universe and get some sex on the side. I based our epic on the first and third books of Elric because I feel they have the most important plot points in his life. Obviously I heard all those other bands and they helped me find the right aspect of Elric to sing about because they mainly covered the sixth book, the end of his saga and the end of his universe. So don't wait for us to write about that because Domine already beat us to it and did a better job than we ever will.

5.         Traditional Heavy Metal is not exactly trendy these days. Although Skelator has some back history, it is nonetheless an Underground band. Metal On Metal is also an Underground label run by two Metal fans. What are your thoughts on the current Hard ‘N’ Heavy scene? Are there any new bands that you like or you just stay faithful to the old school stuff?

- Yes we are underground and we are fine with that. We never started this band to make a bunch of money or fuck a bunch of chicks. We just want to write Heavy Metal the way we see fit and have fun doing it. As for newer bands? Evil Survives, Spellcaster, Vanlade, Borrowed Time, Split Heaven, Volture, Stonewall and Enforcer are great bands that have the same passion for real metal as we do and there are countless other bands as well.
6.         Is there a tour already aligned to promote this record?

- We are touring the west coast here in USA in a couple days and then we will do a couple shows in Germany in early 2013.
7.         What are your plans for the nearest future?

- After our west coast tour we will find a new bassist and begin our fifth wave in Skelator history. We are writing new songs and will continue to do so until we break.

8.         Thanks a lot for your time. Do you want to leave a final message to the Portuguese Metal fans?

- Thanks for having us and we hope to play in Portugal someday and lay waste to every poser in our sights with our metal and our might. The world is ours to conquer, War is Declared, Death to the False. GIVE ME METAL OR GIVE ME DEATH!!!!

Interview by: Ricardo dSdS
Answers by: Jason Conde-Houston (vocals) / /

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