Let There Be Thrash!! Sy Speak's out.
Bristol thrasher's 'Onslaught' return to the UK shore and Europe recently in support to their current album 'VI', which was released through AFM Records. Having been around since the ealy 80's this bunch of thrash maniac's have been delivering quality British metal to the masses. With the bands debut album 'Powers from Hell' to 'The Force' and more recent album like 'Killing Peace' and more... I managed to catch up with the band on their recent UK tour with Artillery 7 Demonic Resurrection in Sheffield (UK) to find out about the new album and the tour. Here is what Sy had to say to the following questions."
Ok Sye, welcome to the world of Friday 13th Webzine, 1st of all I would like to ask you some warm up questions like I ask most bands... What recollections do you have of the good old days when you 1st joined the band?
"Well they are cloudy haha!! I joined the band back in January of 86 and the band were already signed to Music For Nations and in March 0f 86 we recorded the album 'The Force', the bands 2nd album and in May of 86 I played my 1st ever show at the original Marquee club in London, which was a blast. After which it all went downhill from there. Then when we got on the Motorhead tour I can remember bits of it in 87 on the 'Orgasmatron' tour in Europe which was a great tour & I think we did 25 dates with them in a month and been such a young bunch of lads been on tour with them was a blast and rather shocking (laughing)."
What do you think about Lemmy now with his health problems? Also have you tired to do another tour with them?
"Well it came as a shock I guess and if Motorhead can only play short sets of festivals so be it, I wish him well and I hope he recovers soon. Yes we have tried to do another tour with them but things are different these days and it is not as easy as it was back in the 80's. In the last 5 yrs we have tried to get on a tour with them but circumstances change in the whole touring set up which meant we were not able to do it."
Looking back at 'The Force' album, what songs stood out for you and why?
"Well it is a fantastic album and I have good memories of that album when we recorded it. It's great to see on peoples lists, weather it be on Amazon or webzines or magazines has just stood the test of time, it's a cult classic!! I am very proud of that album and we did a tour of South America 3 yrs ago and we played the full album front to back and there are some amazing clubs out there, metal music is massive too!!"
After 'The Force' album was recorded you left the band, what was the reason?
"I was sacked from the band, and that has been documented well in the past.. so I will give you a brief insight to what happened. Basically we signed to London Records, and they were not the only option and looking back now we feel the were not the right choice. Had we signed to A&M records who had Y&T, Rock Goddess, they had a great track record and London only licensed Slayer's 'Reign in Blood' album they didn't have to do any work with that album. So they thought let's get a real metal band and signed us. (Ed: Didn't you record the demo's for 'Search of Sanity' album?) Yes I did and they are fantastic!! They are raw and there is certainly a progression from 'The Force' material but it still has that raw energy"
What did you think of the final results for the 3rd album even though you didn't sing on it and Steve Grimmett did?
"I think the song's were great! I was there in the song writing process so all those melodies are still mine and Nige's. When I heard the album I thought it was the same as I had done or more then less. (Ed: Have you met Steve?) I have only ever met him twice, once was when he was Grim Reaper and I went to see Raven recently and he was there so we had a brief chat."
So why did the band reform later on and record 'Killing Peace' in 2007 and therefore carry on?
"Well unknown to us the previous albums had been re-released through Candlelight Records/ Blackened label and nobody had approached any of the band to clear it or to ask for our permission. If we had not discovered this and if the band had not reformed they could be still doing that now. We found out we were owned lots of royalties from the past as well. So we signed to them and released 'Killing Peace'. We recorded 3 songs for them which they liked.."
After leaving Candlelight you were signed to AFM Records, how did that deal come about?
"Well Candlelight had 1 option deal, with AFM they contacted us when they were putting together a compilation album together of thrash metal classic's, they had everybody except the Big 4, Sodom, Destruction and lots of new bands like Toxic Holocaust the newer bands. They asked if you could submit a track for the album and we had just done the 'Live Damnation' album and we gave them the song 'Let there be Death'. They were blown away by it and they said what our situation was with Candlelight as we would like to sign the band. We told them that we had done our 1 album deal with them and we were actually looking for a new label. So we had a meeting and the rest is history. They are a great label and they don't release tons of album as we feel it is best to release only a hand full and promote those albums well. They are a German based label and that is great, as Heavy Metal is massive over there, so it suited us fine!!"
Moving on why did you decide to call the new album 'V1', did you have any other names for this album?
"Well it is our 6th album and of course '666' is the lead track on the album and so it all fitted in nicely with the artwork as well and Jeff did a rough mock up for the idea for the album and we thought it was a good idea and then we got the artist in to do the rest. A heavy metal album does what the cover says... and we still have the best artwork. (Ed: Do you get any conflicts with the cover with religious groups?) Fuck them!!! I really don't give a fuck and if we upset somebody that's even better! The artwork was done by a new artist called Par Oloffson and we hope to use him again. We haven't had anybody do the artwork for us since 'In Search For Sanity' so we have set ourselves a new standard. So the next album has to be on par with this album really."
Do you all write the songs as a team effort?
"No Nige really does everything. With the album 'Killing Peace' it was a team effort and some circumstances beyond us we could not get together to do 'Sounds of Violence', our previous guitarist Andy and Nige got together and Andy was a established song writer in his own right and not 100% full on metal but he is a good rock writer. That worked for the sessions for that album and it may change in the formula works in the future. Nige and Andy got together for this album too and Nige does the lyrics and gives the music and he gives me the mp3's with him talking on it for the timings and then I do the melodies and expand on everything else."
Have you had any line up changes since the release of the new album?
"Well Alan was in the band but left because he could not tour and he was replaced by Andy who later on left the band because of personal relationships and he could not tour for the length of time we needed him to tour with the band. So Lee jumped in and Lee has been in the band for some amount of time, I think it has been 2 yrs now."
Did you audition many guitar players to join the band?
"No not at all, I think Jeff found Lee thought a mutual friend and Lee sent back a demo of his guitar playing and his band and we took him on."
Moving on... from the new album which sounds do you like and why?
"Well I like every one really... but my absolute favourite on the album is 'Fuel for my Fire', we are actually not playing this ion this tour. We are still playing the standard typical favs that everybody likes to hear on the tour. I think most people love the song 'Children of the Sand'."
So how well is the current album selling?
"I have no idea sorry downloading doesn't help bands at all."
Moving on how well is the tour going to far with Artillery and Demonic Resurrection?.
"It's going excellent!! It was suppose to Hatred, but Steve has rejoined Exodus so we got Demonic Resurrection to do the tour instead. They have been playing festivals over here in Europe like Wacken and Sonisphere & Download. So they had lots of time off and Jeff asked if they wanted to come on tour with us, which they gladly agreed to do. They are India's premiere metal band .
Do you have any new songs wrote already for the next album?
"I believe so (laughing). We are filming the London and Bristol shows for a live DVD which we are hopig it will be out by Xmas."
Well thanx for doing the interview Sy, do you have anything to say before we finish?
"Yes, thanx to the fans for coming out to the shows, for buying our CD's and support Metal!"
Thanx for the interview goes to SY, Onslaught & Mike Exley.