Interview with Carmine Blades of SEAX
Conducted by Robert Williams
SEAX hail from Worcester, Massachusettes and are quickly making a name for themselves as one of the most exciting forces in Speed Metal today. With the release of their third full length album “Speed Metal Mania” the quintet deliver unrelenting, headbanging, fist-pumping steel in the same glorious vein as such eighties titans as Exciter, Razor or Whiplash. Do yourself a favor and check out SEAX today! Pick up their new album “Speed Metal Mania” and enjoy our chat with SEAX vocalist Carmine Blades below!
How are you doing today Carmine?
I’m doing awesome today, thanks!
SEAX recently self-released your third full length album “Speed Metal Mania” and it totally rules. SEAX originally formed in 2009 in Framingham, Massachusetts before relocating to Worcester, Massachusetts. Tell me about how you guys all met and ended up forming a metal band together…
Thanks so much for the positive feedback about Speed Metal Mania! We had a blast recording it and it’s been great playing all those songs live and it’s truly rewarding that people seem to be enjoying it! Just going by what Hel told me (I didn’t end up joining until late 2010), he had been playing in more extreme metal bands in the Worcester area such as Zircon and Fires of Old. Hel wanted to start a project that was more old school. I joined, like I said, in late 2010 after I posted a Craigslist ad that mentioned that I was looking for a similar type of project. Hel responded and asked me to come down and try out. I jammed out with them the whole night, pulled some lyrics out of my ass for a song they had written which would later become “Blade of the Seax” off High on Metal and that was how it all began (for me, at least). It took a few more months and a few more Craigslist ads, but we finally solidified what was our original lineup before the summer of 2011, started gigging, and the rest is history.
What was the local scene like in Framingham in 2009? I know prior to SEAX forming you sang for a band called Raging Fire. Was there a lot of like-minded metal bands performing around town at that time or a small contingent of true metal believers?
There’s a building off of Waverly Street there that has quite a few band spaces so a lot of bands rehearse there, but as far as shows, there wasn’t, and still isn’t a hell of a lot going on outside of the DIY gigs. 2009 was when I was jamming with the project Raging Fire that you mentioned. That brings back some memories. It was a project I was part of with a few good friends where we recorded a three song demo and never really made it past the “garage stage.” We were young and dumb and didn’t know what the hell we were doing, but amazingly still had all these visions of being the next big thing! Oh, how naive we were! I have no regrets about that project though. We’re all still really tight and hang out quite a bit. They’ve got a new vocalist now and they call themselves Reckless Force. Playing shows with them is always a hoot! Bunch of metal maniacs for sure! And back then, we had a few like minded bands playing around the area such as From The Shadows, Razormaze, Skull Hammer, Ramming Speed, Ravage, Iron Will, among others. It was a small, but dedicated scene!
How did you guys come up with the band name SEAX? What does it mean?
Going by what Hel told me, when he was trying to decide on the name of the band, our good friend Jeremy Hunter suggest the name “Seax.” Now I know what you’re probably thinking (and we get this all the time!). Sex with an “A” right? Wrong! Seax is actually an Old English word for “knife.” When people talk about a seax, they’re referring to a sword that was commonly wielded by the Saxons and they say the Saxons actually derived their name from it.
Does the speed metal zombie that adorns the SEAX album covers have a name?
We’ve never really decided on a name, but I like to call him Sid Psycho. I don’t know, I feel like it suits him!
Your original two-year stint as vocalist for SEAX lasted from 2011-2013 and then you returned to the band following the release of SEAX’s second album “To The Grave” that featured vocalist Steve “Ace” Hammer. What were the reasons for your departure and return to the band?
There was a lot of personal shit going on in my life which I think it’s probably best to not speak about publicly and I couldn’t continue with the band. Fast forward to early 2015, I started hanging out with Hel and the guys again and Ace had just left the band and our original bassist Matt had recently moved out of New England so I reached out to Hel and said I wanted to give things another shot if the guys would be cool with it. So I joined along with the new bassist Mike Bones and so far it’s worked out better than we could have hoped! Things are better now that they’ve ever been on all fronts!
The lyrical themes on the new album “Speed Metal Mania” are mostly dyed in the wool tributes to metal with song titles like “Leather and Spikes” or “Forged By Metal” but there are also some more Sci-Fi topics like “Doomsday Society” or “Nuclear Overdose”. What would you say inspires you as a lyricist?
I’ve always had an affinity for old school heavy metal and in all honesty, early on, I was just trying to follow along with the genre’s cliches. I definitely still do, but now I’m trying to explore other topics to make things a bit more interesting. I’ve always been a big fan of 80s/early 90s action, sci-fi, and dystopian films and some of those films have some great material to sing about. Bottom line though, I guess anything that the guys and I think would be a cool concept for a song!
SEAX has performed at some pretty cult US metal festivals such as Ragnarokkr Metal Apocalypse in Chicago, Illinois and Frost and Fire II in Ventura, California. What was your experience like performing at these festivals and is a more comprehensive U.S. tour currently in the works for a D.I.Y. band like SEAX?
It was a great experience playing at both festivals! Especially Frost and Fire. Ragnarokkr was amazing and that fest was always a blast whether you were playing or not, but I felt more like we had our shit together by the time we played at Frost and Fire this past fall. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist with things like that so maybe I’m a little biased in that sense, but all in all it’s been truly amazing being part of all these great bills with so many great bands and meeting so many awesome people! That’s one thing I’ve always loved about going to heavy metal festivals. You meet all these awesome people and even though you might only see some of them a couple times a year or even once every few years, they end up being friends for life. There’s nothing like it! It just makes the whole experience that much more awesome. OK, I rambled a bit there. But as far as a U.S. tour, we planned a three week U.S. tour around our Frost and Fire apperance and that was an amazing experience. Traveling to so many states/cities I’d never been to before, made a lot of great memories, played a lot of great shows and maybe a few not so great ones, but fuck it! We were on the road seeing lots of great sights and doing what we love every night and that’s the important part! We may do a couple smaller tours to promote Speed Metal Mania and maybe embark on another huge tour once we release our next album.
Speaking of being a D.I.Y. band does SEAX have any ambitions to sign with an indie label for your next album or is there a benefit in handling everything by yourselves at this point in time?
We certainly wouldn’t be opposed to it. Even if we don’t sign to anybody, we’re still gonna continue writing music releasing albums because this is what we love to do and we make it happen even if we have to do everything ourselves.
With such a great talent pool to choose from I feel like the current U.S. metal scene can stand up to anything Europe or Scandinavia has to offer. What are your thoughts about the current state of American metal and in contrast how has the overall European reception to SEAX’s music been? Any plans to ever perform overseas?
I completely agree with you. Newer bands such as Vanlade, Hessian, Eternal Champion, Night Demon, Skelator, Savage Master, Visigoth, among several others could definitely stand alongside what Europe has had to offer in recent times. I definitely feel that in the last few years , in our particular niche at least, underground heavy metal in America has made leaps and bounds. I remember just five or six years ago, the only American festivals of that type going on were Ragnarokkr and Warriors of Metal Open Air. Neither fest was very well attended and now this past year, festivals such as Frost and Fire, Metal Threat Fest, and a few others have been selling out and that is a great thing to see! And so far from what I’ve seen, our album has been quite well received overseas! I’ve seen our album in a couple of Top 10 lists and some amazingly good reviews. We had a great time writing and recording our album and it’s great to see that people seem to be digging it. As far as playing overseas goes, we don’t have any set in stone plans yet, but that is the next big thing we’re shooting for!
Tell me about how you originally got into metal and eventually became so obsessed with it to the point where nothing else really mattered in life… Who were the bands that originally sunk there hooks in you and changed your life?
Both of my parents were always listening to classic rock/heavy metal so I’ve always been around it and it just kind of stuck with me. I can remember when I was around 12 or so trying to get into what most other kids my age were into at the time, which at the time was nu metal such as Limp Bizkit and like that. It just didn’t do it for me. Bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Helloween, early Blind Guardian, Exciter, Megadeth, Overkill, Exodus, and like that…. that was a whole different story. I got addicted to that and just had to start digging deeper and well, here we are!
At what point did you discover that you were an exceptional screamer? Who would you consider your biggest influences as a vocalist?
Exceptional? There’s a strong word for you, haha! Well… in the summer of 2008 when my good friend Paul, the bassist from Raging Fire/Reckless Force and I were first discussing the idea of starting an old school heavy metal band, he convinced me that I should take a crack at being a vocalist. Before that, I had just been a bass player and we couldn’t have two bassists and the guys apparently thought I had a decent scream so I figured why not? And I’d say some of my biggest influences would be John Cyriis, Dan Beehler, Paul Baloff, Rob Halford, and Bobby Blitz.
Who do you think would win in a street fight between Klaus Meine and Marc Storace? Why?
Shit this is random…. I’d have to say Marc Storace. Both are exceptional vocalists. I fucking love Scorpions and Krokus, but Marc comes off like he can really fuck shit up!
If you could resurrect one deceased metal superstar from the dead and could spend one day with them and were provided $10,000.00 spending cash; who would it be and what would you do?
I’d have to say Lemmy! There was a guy who just wanted to live life to the fullest. I’d just bring the whole band along and I feel like it would all just go from there. He’d show us a great time, we’d show him a great time! I’m not sure what we’d do specifically, but in all honesty I feel like it’s better to take that as it comes. Kinda live in the moment, you know?
Where should people go to purchase your music and merchandise? Do you have a website?
Thank you for taking the time to talk metal, Carmine. Any last words before we wrap this up?
Hell yeah dude anytime. Thanks for having me! I’m always down to talk metal. And for anyone who decides to buy our newest album, or any of our albums for that matter, be considerate of your neighbors when you listen to it. Turn it all the way to 11 so they can hear it too!