Friday, February 21, 2014

Tyrant's Blood Interview with Marco Banco

Tyrants Blood is an exciting death/black metal band hailing from Vancouver Canada whose members also happen to possess a fine metal pedigree. Here we get a chance to hear from Marco Banco, the band's guitar player on his thoughts about the band's music, particularly their 2013 "Into the Kingdom of Graves" full length, his own musical history, and of course what is in store for the future. Stay awhile and listen.

Apteronotus: Hello Marco! How are you doing today? For the sake of anyone unfamiliar with the projects you have worked on in the past, how would you describe your musical history?

Marco Banco: Hi, I'm good thanks. The projects I did in the past are;
Witches Hammer from 1984 to 1989, Blasphemy from 1989 to 1993, a bunch of local bands between 93 to 98 that I filled in for on studio work, song writing and live shows. Now of course, Tyrants Blood, since August 2005 until now.

Apteronotus: Along the same lines, what has the journey with Tyrants Blood been like so far for you?

Marco Banco: Well we started hammering out songs, and trying to get our original drummer, and founder, Kevin Volatile, up to speed on how to perform extremely aggressive and brutal music, as he had not played in this fashion before.

By 2006 we had our solid lineup, and put together the songs that are on the first release. After that recording we began writing an E.P , but unfortunately Kevin was not able to keep up with the way the riffs were moving, so we lost him and hired on Matt Blood from Abuse.

Since then we have recorded our 2007 e.p., and 2 more full lengths with pretty much the same lineup, except that our original vocalist, Andrew Russell, moved into the north and was replaced by Infernal majesty vocalist Brian Messiah back in 2008.

Apteronotus: How do you feel about the amount of attention that has been given to your work in Blasphemy?

Marco Banco: It's good, the internet, especially back in the myspace days, really made them popular back around 2003. Since then, they have really had a resurgence that has worked well for them.
Personally, I'm proud to have been a part of that time, but also satisfied that its in the past also.

Apteronotus: What is the story behind the very first time you started playing the guitar? What, if anything, made you pick the guitar of all instruments?

Marco Banco: I was going to play guitar no matter what. From the first time I listened to my dads Chuck Berry and Stones albums, I knew what I wanted to do there. From my earliest memories of sneaking into my cousins basement, and staring at those Kizz, Sabbath, Nugent posters and albums, I was fascinated and instantaneously chained to its allure.

I would say it all became an addiction really. No matter how much my parents wanted me to learn Piano and Brass, I always grabbed the bass at school band, until I finally got a guitar and never put the damned thing down since.

Apteronotus: Tyrants Blood has several years of history as a group now, and y’all are experienced musicians at this point. How does that influence your musical process?

Marco Banco: I say it makes thing quite smooth as far as writing goes. At this point, we are able to find what we need fairly easily, and use many different styles and techniques in putting together a song when we want to.

Not to mention, it also makes live performances move along properly, because we know what we need to do without becoming lost on stage or the road.

Apteronotus: How does the songwriting arrangement usually work in Tyrants Blood?

Marco Banco: Usually someone will bring in a song idea, sometimes the song will be written in its entirety, but it rarely stays intact. What will happen then is whomever has some ideas will add their time changes, riff ideas etc. and we decide whether it works or not until we feel the tune is completed.
At that point, I'll usually get an idea lyrically, or have them written already. Or what happens a lot of times, is Vinnie will have a story line he'll want myself or Brian to read and conceptualize lyrics for the tune that way.

Apteronotus: A lot of the time on “Into the Kingdom of Graves” the band gives each member a chance to be heard more as an individual: the vocal intro to the album, the bass intro to “Disowned and Defiled,” the instrumental and drumless “Within Outer Scars,” guitar solos, and massive drums fills throughout. How did these kinds of musical interchanges come about on the album?

Marco Banco: Naturally, they fall into place simply because they work for us. A lot of that stuff just goes by because of feel as we're jamming out the song to see how it plays out. Those parts will fall into place like that almost subconsciously many times. We'll often record the song and then shape it from there, so that it fits together properly.

Apteronotus: What kind of gear do you think is best for what you have been playing, is there any other kind of gear/equipment out there you wish you had access to?

Marco Banco: I think there are a lot of types of gear now that work well for this style. You really have to look at it all to decide for yourself, because the market for guitars, amps, effects, rack systems is vast.

I used Peavey for years and moved to Mesa Boogie now. But there is still tried and true Marshall, Laney, Roland, Crate, Line 6, Orange, Black Star, Jackson, Gibson, ESP, Ampeg, Carvin, Washburn, Ibanez, Dean, Ludwig, Pearl, and on and on and on and on. I have access to everything, so I am satisfied with my choice for now.

Apteronotus: What is up next for Tyrants Blood? What made the band decide to do the “Coven” compilation?

Marco Banco: Lets see, we have some shows to do here from March until May, and then we have an E.P. that we just wrote that needs to be recorded, a Live album from our European tour last year that needs a bit of mixing and also a Scandinavian, European tour that we are putting the plans together for also. Lots of stuff going on.

Tridroid records approached us to to a digital album of our past material from our first 3 releases, we decided to let them run with it. Never had a digital only release before, so that will be interesting to watch and see where that goes. Its compiled as a sort of "best of" album,with about 3 or 4 tracks off each one.

Apteronotus: What are your own personal musical plans for the future, short-term and long-term? Can you ever imagine getting sick of writing, playing, and performing metal?

Marco Banco: Write now, I have some short term goals with the band I'd like to accomplish that were answered in the last question, then from there long term I'd say that another full length for sure, and then getting us off into Asia would be great as far as touring goes.

Apteronotus: What would your ideal tour situation be like in terms of location, travel arrangements, brand of beer in the keg, other bands playing, etc.?

Marco Banco: I suppose going wherever , whenever, on our own terms.I don't really have a specific brand of alcohol or other bands I am dying to perform with.There are all kinds of those out there , and we're good to go all the time, so whenever with whomever really. We've met and performed with a ton of great acts, so anybody will do from that roster. But just to have the freedom to go at our own leisure would be where its at.

Apteronotus: What specifically do you and the rest of the band do to try to make Tyrants Blood stand out from the countless other bands out there?

Marco Banco: hmm, well when we started this band, the city we are from was terrible as far as metal acts are concerned, a real d rated talent roster. So we knew right from the gate that we were going to be bringing a pretty deadly game to a dead city. Since that time though, the talent has picked up considerably, and so what we do is basically be ourselves.
We are not trying to be, or wanting to be, or impressed by or influenced or looking up to anybody. We are what we are, heavy, fast and uncompromising as far as bending to any fashion or outside influence. We leave that weak shit for the rest to eat, and we dont give a rats ass what anybody else is ''trying'' to become.

Apteronotus: Are there any particular movies, books, or non-musical types of artwork that have inspired you musically?

Marco Banco: For sure; As a kid , movies like Dawn of the Dead, Evil Dead,The Exorcist, Nosferatu, Fire and Ice, Heavy metal, etc. these movies had an big impression on me. Books like Dragons tears, The Shining, Suffer the Children, Hellfire, and series by Dean Koonts and Clive Barker, Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, all were HUGELY influential on me.

Apteronotus: Just for fun, below is an ink-blot similar to those used in Rorschach tests. What do you see in this image?

Marco Banco: I see two strange birds facing each other.

Apteronotus: What are the downsides of playing in a metal band in your experience as a musician?

Marco Banco: A bunch of artists all trying to paint a similar picture on one canvas, good luck if your an A moral personality suffering from any form of anxiety, depression, ADD, panic attacks or high blood pressure. luckily for me, I do not have these issues. I find this stuff challenging and a good time. I know that many musicians find this impossible to cope with and drop out.
In fact you have to find what some find hard as a good time, and what others see as hard as easy to make this type of foray work for you I think. Of course Im speculating a bit on this, because its not an issue for me, but only from a perspective of what I have seen over the years.

Apteronotus: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview! Any final comments or anything you would like to add?

Marco Banco: Yeah sure, thanks for taking an interest and your support. For what you do in the music scene, it is a lot of work. All power to the underground and to all the Hell bangers, firebreathers, witches, black metal skinheads and destroyers out there.

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