Interviewed by Simon Lukic
Transcription by Mike ‘Fucking Hostile’ Holmes< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
Age Of Evil will be a new name for many of you, but this anonymity will soon be a thing of the past. Based in the United Sates, Age Of Evil are a four piece that is comprised of two sets of brothers, with the youngest a mere 15 years old. Far from a gimmick the members of Age Of Evil are accomplished players if their debut album LIVING A SICK DREAM is anything to go by. With an opening slot at the Bang Your Head Festival!!! (they have been asked to play again next year) a guest performance from Marty Friedman and industry assistance from Tom Gattis, Age Of Evil are certainly going about things in the right away. The entire band contributed to this interview so let’s gets things started with Garrett Ziff, the band’s drummer.
Tell me how the band first discovered Heavy Metal?< ?xml:namespace prefix = o />
Garrett: Well, years ago we all listened to and played punk rock. After a while, it just seemed like we were repeating the same shit over and over; power chords, catchy drum beats and lame vocals. I was introduced to metal by the band Avenged Sevenfold. Being a drummer the drum solo at the beginning their track “Chapter Four” off the album WAKING THE FALLEN caught my attention. It wasn’t like anything I’d ever heard before. This was a style of music that actually took talent to play, had sweet guitar harmonies as well as intense, yet melodic vocals. I’ve been listening to heavy metal ever since. Whether it’s modern metal, old school metal, or even 80’s hair/glam metal, this style of music always helped me kind of take a break from reality or escape any issues I might be having. It’s something I can always turn to if I had a shitty day, or just want a good tune to rock out to.
So when did the desire to form a band begin to take shape?
Garrett: Oh god. Where to begin! Years and years ago. When I was in fifth grade, I saw the movie “That Thing You Do!” It’s a film about a one hit wonder rock ‘n roll band. The drummer, known as “Shades” (played by Tom Everett Scott) caught my eye. He played the drums, always wore sunglasses and always got the girls. He was cool. I started up with the drums as soon as possible. Jordan (Ziff – Lead Guitar) and I started playing our instruments around the same time, Jacob (Goldberg – Bass) and Jeremy (Goldberg – Rhythm Guitar and Lead Vocals) didn’t start for a few years after. We’ve been jamming out ever since.
Jeremy: The band started out playing cover songs in Garrett’s room, crammed and sweaty, but with a fire under our bellies that drove us to practice. We evolved and began writing our own songs, when we were introduced to a man by the name of Slate. He worked with us for hours at a time and still to this day I cannot believe that he stuck with us and really saw all of our potential so early. He actually started working with us when we were about 11-14 years old.
A lot has been said about the bands age? Is it beginning to wear thin?
Jacob: I am the youngest member of the band at 15 years old and we are noted for our age all the time and it is not something that we want to focus on. We want people to say that we are a good band and realize after they listen to us that we are kids, not think of us as a good “kid band”.
Having two sets of brothers involved in the band obviously helped the process along. How did everybody fit into the picture?
Garrett: The fact that the band is made up of two sets of brothers actually helps a lot. Instead of bringing in random musicians, we just merged our friendship into a business as well. We’ve all been friends for about 12 years, so why start something with new people when you’ve already got the resources right in front of you? I don’t look at the band as two sets of brothers – I look at it as a family of four brothers. We’re all so close and this “family” that we’ve established is just unbelievable. We’ve all known each other for so long that we are able to connect on a level that you can’t get with new people. We all want the same thing out of the band and we all know what we need to do to get there. We will stop at nothing to achieve our goals. This is what has gotten us so far, friendship and integrity.
Does the name of the band reflect on the members in any way?
Jeremy: At the time the CD was being recorded we had no name and some of my lyrics had reflected my worldview and issues that were taking place in our country. Although Jacob had thought of the name, it seemed fitting because we are in reality living in an “Age Of Evil”.
Your debut LIVING A SICK DREAM is an accomplished effort. Considering that the band formed under the name of Age Of Evil in February of this year, things have come together rather quickly?
Garrett: We have been performing under the name Age Of Evil since January or February of this year, but have been together as a band for about four years. After the first two years of just messing around with our instruments in my room, we realized we had aspirations and visions for the band that couldn’t be reached by sitting on our asses playing cover tunes all day. We wanted to get serious and start writing our own shit. From then on, we spent 6 plus hour days of writing, playing, sleeping and that was it. We came up with ten songs and were introduced to our producer John Herrera in the summer of 2006. He helped us out a lot by showing us what we were doing wrong with our songs and how to correct them. Just a few months later, we entered the studio and LIVING A SICK DREAM is the result. Long days, long nights and lots of hard work finally paid off. We had a product.
It’s also refreshing to hear such a young band focusing on solid arrangements and strong hooks instead of being technically proficient for the sake of it. Is that important to the band?
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Tell me a little about the songs themselves? What are the tracks that you are proudest of?
Jeremy: We are proud of all of our songs, especially since we wrote them when the whole process was a new experience and challenge for us. Some of the songs we expected to come out better than others, but after the songs were completed that had changed. We are very proud of ‘Call Me Evil’, ‘Living A Sick Dream’, and ‘Fingertips Of Fate’. At the time of recording we did not even know if we were going to keep “Call Me Evil’ and played it at the last minute. It evolved over time and has become one of my favorite tracks to play live.
So what did you want listeners to get out of the experience?
Jacob: We want our listeners to connect with the songs and find meaning in them. Every song on our album is different from each other so listeners will not all find the same songs to be their favourites. The live performance is also where our fans and first time listeners will make a connection. Our live show is very intense and full of energy and aggression.
You’ve also got an interesting array of guests on board. Marty Friedman played a solo and has endorsed the band. Tom Gattis (DEUCE/WARDOG/BALLISTIC) even wrote lyrics to the track ‘Call Me Evil’. How did they get involved?
What was it like working with Tom?
Jacob: It has been great working with Tom Gattis who lived in
Age Of Evil received an invitation to open the Bang Your Head!!! Festival and you’re making a return visit next year. What was the experience like?
Jeremy: Bang Your Head!!! was an experience that changed us forever. We worked with Tom Gattis who had played the festival a few times and he gave us advice on what to do and what not to do. We were invited only 12 days before the festival was to begin and were scheduled to play the Warm Up Show. That went over very well and we got a great crowd response from the hard to please German audience. The organizers of the festival liked us so much that they made a special spot for us on the main stage in the morning. Ever since then we have become more confident on stage and we are more excited and ready for next year more than ever.
You’re a young band playing an old school sound – were people surprised when they heard you?
Garrett: I think we shocked a few people. Most of the kids our age are playing simple tunes with screaming over the entire song. When we came out with the shredding leads, guitar harmonies and old school vocals, I really don’t think it was what people were expecting and I mean that in the best way possible!
People have been talking about the resurgence of Metal. Many of the old bands are reforming which is great but the genre needs a new crop of acts to step up. Where do you see Age Of Evil’s place in the scheme of things?
Jeremy: Metal seems to go through a cycle and is coming back strong. We believe that our timing is perfect and our main goal is to stand the test of time. We strongly believe that we will play a big role in the metal scene and will fly the flag of true metal.
So what’s next for the band?
Garrett: The next step for the band is to continue to promote our current CD and gain new fans. We have started writing new songs and cannot wait to begin hammering down on them. We are very excited to see where our next CD takes us and we can only promise great things to come.