Interview with Steve Souza of Hatriot
Metal-Rules.com caught up with Hatriot, ex-Legacy (aka Testament), Dublin Death Patrol, ex-Exodus Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza and talk about the new Hatriot album, the social media, the possibility of his return to Exodus, the most electric band of the world: AC/DCand many more…
Metal-Rules.com: Hello! It’s Hellias Papadopoulos from Metal-Rules.com First of all, how are you doing? And where are you checking in from today?
I’m doing great, and have been busy doing interviews in support of the new album, “Dawn Of The New Centurion.” Checking in from the birthplace of thrash metal – the Bay Area here in Northern California.
Metal-Rules.com: Congratulations for the new album DAWN OF THE NEW CENTURION. What’s the new thing on this record in compare with your debut album HEROES OF ORIGIN?
I think “Dawn Of The New Centurion” is a step up in all areas. The songwriting is more mature, the band is tighter, and I think the record is heavier than “Heroes Of Origin.” We have been a band for another year, and the guys have grown as players. There is more experience under our belt now, and that reflects in the music. These new songs have more dynamics and more complex arrangements. It’s just a stronger record in all areas.
Metal-Rules.com: Can you tell us some words about the production of the album, and who is involved and responsible for the sound and mixing?
That would be Juan Urteaga at Trident Studios. He did engineering and production on both Hatriot records, and has worked with a lot of big bands like Machine Head, Testament, and Exodus as well. Juan is the Bay Area’s secret weapon. He’s fucking killer!
Metal-Rules.com: How did you come up with the band name?
We chose the name Hatriot because it connects this band to my days in Exodus. The word is in the lyrics of the Exodus song “Scar Spangled Banner,” and it sounded angry and aggressive, so we went for it.
MetalRules.com: As I have heard you new album, it sounds as a primal thrash metal album, a mix of Exodus and Testament sound. Do you agree on that?
It is definitely an old school thrash metal record, but there are hints of moderns sounds in there. An thrash riff with my vocals over it is going to have a remote similarity to Exodus, just because of my signature vocal snarl, but in my opinion this record has a lot more early Testament influence in there, especially in the melodies and song structures. If you took the Exodus album “Tempo Of The Damned” and crossed it with the first Testament album you would get a sound similar to what Hatriot is doing these days. It will definitely make the old school thrashers proud.
Metal-Rules.com: Can you tell me a little more about the lyrics, did anything particular inspire you?
I’m inspired by this fucked up world we all live in. The more violent the world becomes, the more violent and aggressive the music becomes. It all goes hand in hand. I write about dark subjects, and no topic is off limits for me. This record has songs about cabin in the woods killers, pedophile Catholic priests, corrupt world leaders, the end of the world, and a whole lot more.
Metal-Rules.com: How did you get into playing music?
The same way any kid does really. I grew up around heavy rock and all my buddies were aspiring musicians. My brother played bass and had a few bands. The defining moment was when I saw AC/DC play a festival show in 1979, and right then I knew I wanted to be a singer. The first band I formed was called Metal Warrior, with Phil Demmel, who went on to be in Machine Head and Vio-lence. After that Legacy was formed, and the rest is history…
Metal-Rules.com: What’s your opinion on other kinds of music?
I like most anything that is in the rock genre. It can be hard rock, classic rock, or whatever – as long as it rocks! I hate rap music and despise country music. I can recognize a good song, and there are good songs in other genres of music, but I’m a fucking rocker. I like my music hard and heavy!
Metal-Rules.com: Is there any Greek metal bands that you really like or want to share the stage? Suicidal Angels, Rotting Christ, Septicflesh, Firewind and Gus G. to name a few.
That is really a question for my guitar player, Kosta Varvatakis. He is full blooded Greek! As for these bands, I am definitely familiar with Firewind and Rotting Christ. Maybe not their music, but I have seen their names in magazines and that kind of thing. I would love to share a stage with any of them!
Metal-Rules.com: What are the plans for you in the near future?
We have a full plate this year. Right now we are doing a lot of press promoting “Dawn Of The New Centurion,” and writing new songs as well. In July we are going to Europe for a tour with Artillery and Onslaught. We come home in August and do a local show with DRI (w.n.: they are gods!!!) that is being filmed for a Hatriot DVD. After that we head to South America for some dates, and then get back into the studio for record number three! This band is working hard and we are kicking ass!
Metal-Rules.com: How important is it to you that people pay attention to your lyrics apart from listening to your music?
I think it’s very important. The riff and the groove of the music is generally what catches people’s attention in the beginning, but after that there needs to be a real meaning to the words. That’s my opinion anyway, but I view myself as having something to say lyrically.
Metal-Rules.com: What do you think of today’s music industry in general?
I think it is in the shitter. I think the internet has made music less important to people. Gone are the days of really getting into a band, and listening to a record over and over, while reading the lyrics and really absorbing it. Now people just quickly browse the internet, and maybe stream a song and see if they like it, and then they are on to the next thing. It’s just quick and disposable. There are too many bands out now, because it’s so easy to record and distribute a record. All we can do is roll with the changes and try to adapt the best that we can.
Metal-Rules.com: Is technology part of your life or are you still a “romantic”?
Technology is definitely a part of my life, but not to the degree of some people. My sons run my social media pages. I don’t live on a computer like a lot of people do. I check email from my phone, and that’s about the extent of it really.
Metal-Rules.com: Will be released something new with Dublin Death Patrol?
I think Dublin Death Patrol is over, at least for now. There’s just not enough time to devote to that thing. Chuck is busier than ever with Testament, and I want to focus all my energy on Hatriot. DDP was never meant to be a real full time band. It’s a fun project that we do with our friends. We don’t tour or try to make it a big band. That defeats the purpose. We created DDP as a fun thing to get away from the bullshit that comes with being in our ‘real’ bands. Right now there’s just not enough time to mess with it.
Metal-Rules.com: If Rob Dukes will announce that he will leave from Exodus, would you be consider yourself as a perfect candidate for the vocal post as you know it very well?
Definitely not! That chapter in my life has been closed, and I have put way too much into building Hatriot at this point. I would be letting the rest of my band down, and it just wouldn’t make sense. If I went back to Exodus we would just be a retro act. I am building Hatriot at a nice pace, and we are putting out an album every year to a year and a half. It’s been four years since the last Exodus disc. I can’t work like that. I’m very happy where I’m at right now with Hatriot.
Metal-Rules.com: I have beholden that heavy metal changes through the decades. Heavy and Thrash metal dominated over in 80’s, Death, Black and Power metal in 90’s and Metalcore and Nu Metal in the 00’s in general. 2010 was the beginning sign of the new decade. What do you see for the future?
I think the only way it can go is heavier and more extreme. Like I said earlier, as the world gets more violent, the music will get more violent as well. I believe extreme music is the future.
Metal-Rules.com: One of the last trends in music business is iTunes. More and more metal bands sell albums through this way. What’s your opinion on that?
Personally, I like a physical product. It can be CD, vinyl, or even cassette. I just like a tangible product. I like opening the shrink wrap, holding the cover, and reading the liner notes. However, iTunes is the new medium that everyone is going to. We just have to roll with the changes. It’s not my thing really, but I have accepted it. It’s not going away, so you might as well accept it and find a way to make it work.
Metal-Rules.com: If you could pick only one musician to work with, who would that be and why?
Living or dead?
Metal-Rules.com: Pick one being still alive and one from the dead.
If he is alive I’d say Jimmy Page. Why? Because he’s Jimmy fucking Page, that’s why! If we are talking dead musicians I’d have to say Bon Scott. Why? He’s my ultimate hero and the reason I sing.
Metal-Rules.com:Which big metal loss affected you the most?
It would definitely be losing Ronnie James Dio. That was devastating to me. Exodus toured with Black Sabbath in 1992, and I became good friends with Ronnie. We stayed in touch in the years following that tour, and I’m honored to be able to call him a friend. He will forever be an icon in heavy metal, and will forever be missed.
Metal-Rules.com: Could you respond to the following terms in just one word or sentence:
Thrash metal: My love and my craft. It’s what I was put here on Earth to do.
Greece: Fucking insane metal fans!
Politics: Hate it, but I get good heavy metal lyrics from politics.
Favorite TV series: Dexter
Black Sabbath: The gods! The creators of metal! They are The Beatles of heavy metal.
Strip show: Don’t waste your money on strippers. They are all hoes!
Metal-Rules.com: Thank you for this interview. I wish to you and the rest guys of Hatriot all the best!!!
Thank you for the opportunity. I hope to see all of you on tour very soon!