Interview with Johnny Cyriis of Agent Steel.
It has been a few years since the announcement that you were going to be active again. What inspired you to release an album now?
Johnny Cyriis: First and foremost, I would like to thank you for this opportunity to speak out on behalf of Me, Myself…and I! and the New Era of the Agent Steel Metal Outfit I launched as far back as 1983 —and that for the most part has remained dormant since 1987—until now, in the year 2021 when the first lightning bolt marking the continuation of my last recorded work in 1987 (Unstoppable Force album)—raises its bulbous head out into the world for all to hear its mighty sound
Before continuing on with this interview, I would like to add that this opportunity is graciously appreciated!
Inspiration has been ascending to crescendo—that I was contacted by an external source through my innermost warrior—to prepare for this manifesting work for some time. However, for the most part, it should have come about long ago. The only reason it hasn’t is because for a period and a half sustaining for decades, there have appeared some Clique Termites, off-the-wall crusaders, their trolls, and “others”, who are all against my philosophies and musical ideas—that have declared an all-out bizarre campaign to intercept my works and its progress. But wait, the time has come for the harvest of all my works to pierce the veil of this dumbfounded world, and come to its fruition. The seed has been planted, and so it is too late to be stopped, its already coming. On the 19thof March, 2021, the first seedling will poke its bulbous head above ground, and a MF of an album will manifest “right before everyone’s very eyes”—and this, for the entire wotld to fathom in awe! All one has to do is listen up and the Metal Calls and sounds will transmit its Metal arsenal bolting outward onto the world of Men, woman, and beasts…. hahaha.
Metal Does Rule indeed!
The First True Agent Steel album (since 1987), No Other Godz Before Me, is going to be released March 19, 2021 via Dissonance Productions, a Cherry Red Records label.
In addition, I am proud to affirm that a man whom I have nothing but the greatest respect for, a friend, forever bandmate, Mr. Juan Garcia—has wished me the very best in the revival of this new Era Agent Steel and the No Other Godz Before Me album. Wish you could’ve been included on this one buddy, just want Mr. Garcia to know that “The door is always open to Mr. Garcia in the mighty Agent Steel.”
Where are you drawing your lyrical inspiration from these days?
Johnny Cyriis: Consciousness comes in flutters, and not necessarily every day, and certainly not when we would like it to. But the elements that transmit the energies associated with consciousness, are not necessarily what society expects or perceives them to be. Great art, and Metal music, are merely the tip of the iceberg—if one is to observe and evaluate the precepts to consciousness—and how it brings about change, recognition, and all its associated resurgences—it can be very inspiring and fulfilling to take in. To take notice of, and observe a precept of consciousness—and feel from a work of art its euphoria—it is most important to keep in mind the uniqueness from which it originated and realize just how different from you, the disassociated individual observer—is dissociated/or detached—from the creator of that Art. After all, is this not what has drawn you into the euphoria that has captured your attention and hopefully, entertained your senses?
YOU are the one who brought to yourself, a piece of art to observe, unless someone is forced to “Listen to this song, or band, or look at this painting or sculpture, read a book, etc”—you are the ship and its captain that brought on the absorbance of a work of art— into your psyche. Therefore, is better to allow yourself to be open to observing and even taking in a work of art with an open mind so its precept can fully transmit to you magic panacea?
Lest those who observe art open themselves without prejudice and fully experience it for its precepts, a psychosis often associated a psychic disease commonly known as “envy”, or for lack of a better word… “jealousy”— can enslave the consciousness to psychosis, even bringing about obsession, rendering oneself a slave to counterproductive emotions and false pride which can bring about much damage to oneself and/or others. Phenomenally, from conception to delivery, every work of art is an altered state of perception to something other-dimensional. How a work of art is delivered depends on the perpetrator himself/herself. Every work of art is channeled from a reaction by those who are far from able to draw, harness, and cultivate, mediocrity—as a trifling from which one chooses to project the “Self and The Ego”—onto the world. A level of consciousness, attained and refined, delivered through a work of art—powerful enough to bring about change—is a Magical spell of the highest order, whose prerequisite energy is the distiller, or volcanic consciousness, that is brought out through consciousness and necessary to render any work of art powerful enough to move a mass—or in my case, ruffle some feathers.
That said, the lyrical prose on the No Other Godz Before Me album has to be heard via my vocal delivery, and read on the album inner booklet by any interested fanbase—or even the curious—to be understood—and/or properly evaluated for either debate, or taken in for simply for entertainment purposes. After the album is officially released, and saturates a bit, we can revisit this question at some near future time and space.
Was it difficult to recruit the caliber of players that you for an album of this magnitude?
Johnny Cyriis: Well, after having experienced so much “Mediocrity” and negativity coming from the new breed (and even some of the older) of worldly Metal Musicians—I hold a new philosophy very close, and that is “Everyone is Guilty until Proven Innocent”. So, with that said, we will have to see how this New Era lineup works out, and what their true intent is toward my cherished band, Agent Steel—will be disclosed soon enough. Before I go onto over-praising this new era lineup, it’s best left at that for now. What I will say is that the band has been blessed with an absolute phenomenal guitar team, both gentlemen being extra-talented and in reality, extraordinarily gifted individuals. It just the sort of “happened”, that we all hooked up! This is exactly the way things usually happen—other than with situations where those who have been friends for ages decide to start up a band—for example the bands that have demonstrated lasting longevity and success such as Metallica, Slayer, etc. This Agent Steel continuation to the tale of the “Unstoppable Force” had to find a portal back to this dimension in Time and Space, taking on a continuing blasting forth from where Traveler left off —as those who still have access to that album can look and see that after Traveler it reads “To Be Continued!” Well, I think the beam ships have again descended to this earth to fulfill the prophecy and once more “Deliver the Cosmic Metal Goods” products rendered—and guaranteed to ruffle some feathers and bolt down from other Galaxies the Message of “The great Metal work!” (and via the New Ones—so to say, as this New Agent Steel Guitar team are fairly young—yet very energized musicians who are Ready to Rock.)
On a related note, can you tell us a bit about the new guys in the band?
Johnny Cyriis: As I said, I think this subject is better left for a future interview or after the follow-up to No Other Godz Before Me album enters into pre-production stages—where I will have a better idea of just who is “IN” and (if there are any) who will be “OUT!” Hahaha…
I’ve heard the album and your voice is still bulletproof. What do you do to maintain your vocals chops?
Johnny Cyriis: I think it’s a matter of principle and consciousness that transmits the phenomena known as “The Human Vocals” singing voice. Where there is no churning consciousness there cannot be any transmittance from the Human voice—especially through the art of “singing.” I see so many bands especially in the Metal music genre who have all but completely given up the will to develop a basic discernable voice to transmit consciousness and the personality that accompanies and translates that consciousness to music art. I think that on the 80’s Agent Steel albums, I was experimenting with my voice as a singer, this due to the fact—as some may or may not know—I was coming from guitar, as I played guitar for over 10 years before I ever grabbed a microphone and sang through a rehearsal.
There are two reasons why I transmigrated over from guitar to vocals: the first, I cannot extrapolate here for maintaining brevity in this interview; the second, because of the frustration I endured after having auditioned hundreds of vocalists, and throughout the course of many years —trying to fit someone into the character I had envisioned would best represent my philosophy, and successfully become the convincing character—who had the necessary range to properly front and represent that philosophy live, in front of an audience. Despite having been blessed with a few very excellent singers in the bands in which I played guitar, I never really found the right man/woman for the job. All and all, during my guitar days, I certainly never thought that even in my wildest dreams, I would end up eventually singing, fronting and representing my own lyrical prose—for any band—let alone my own….
With that said, the only thing I can say—for now—is that my motivation to transmit my vocals onto the music platform of Agent Steel lies in my willingness to delineate my hypothesis of the human condition—that will be extrapolated onward through byways of the title of the follow-up to No Other Godz Before Me which is tentatively titled: SEX, LOVE AND HATE EP and the Follow-up Full album, tentatively titled, SPACE MIGRATOR. (This second chapter in the catalog of New Era Agent Steel albums—is now in preparation and tentatively scheduled for an imminent 2022 release.)
A million things can go wrong with an album or tour and the frontman always seems to get the blame. Do you ever tire of the Metal media taking cheap shots at you?
Johnny Cyriis: It’s not so much the metal media but the “clique termites” (a lyric statement appearing on the song Outer Space Connection—from the No Other Godz Before Me album) who retain biases toward my person. It doesn’t matter what shots they take; the No Other Godz before Me album and my vocal alchemy as delivered on the album—as well as the masters work by the New Era Guitar team, Mr. Atanasov and Mr. Carvalho—will speak for itself and stand on its own merits. Order the album, access this gem of an album—it will certainly be a wise investment indeed, especially for any and all true Agent Steel fans, as it is they who will decide for themselves—what many already have—and that is…that the No Other Godz Before Me album is “light years beyond all the previous albums”… and certainly “the best Agent Steel album to date.”
I know in the past there has been some controversy surrounding the band, various lineups and so on. Is all that behind you now and can we hope to see a more stable productive version of Agent Steel?
Johnny Cyriis: Everyone who ever walks through the grand palace of the mighty Agent Steel—is innocent until proven guilty (this is based on past experiences I’ve endured in my dealings with various snake-in-the-grass underhanded betrayers and opportunists). I always stay with the philosophy of the late Neil Peart (RIP), who via the song ‘Limelight’ wisely stated: “I can’t pretend a stranger is a long-awaited friend.” However, with that said, the current lineup of blokes who performed on the first insurrection of the New Era of Agent Steel (No Other Godz Before Me) seem to be well-intended and professional—to a point where I just may not have to sleep with toothpicks in my eyes, grow eyes at the back of my head, and worry about one or more of them secretly taking vocal lessons and trying to take my place on the frontline—anytime soon. (Hopefully)
Furthermore, adding on to finalize my answer to your Q: In the 21st Century, it seems like bands seem to be more of a gathering of conglomerates with an understanding toward their association and intended work to be done—or simply a brand or corporation, fronted, engineered and maneuvered by a sort of music conductor/CEO.
One example of this is Megadeth: One musician I have nothing but the sincerest respect for; is Dave [Mustaine], has all but mastered the trade as far as this subject is concerned. A gathering of conglomerates are hired to assist him in executing his musical campaign and objectives. That is what Agent Steel has become: More or less, for the fact that I place individuals to assist me in my campaign—to expedite my musical and philosophical objectives, though with a significantly larger chunk of real-estate than what Mr. Mustaine distributes amongst his associates, but I really don’t know so am not entitled to comment on anyone’s behalf. Agent Steel can semblance the frontline tri-headed cobra musical and Live show attack — with a presentation and business association more resembling such entities as Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest.
What is your proudest moment of the new album?
Johnny Cyriis: I am especially proud of the fact that me and my number one (of two) master head honcho associate, Nikolay Atanasov, have created an awesome, kick-ass, monster album—which in my truest, sincerest opinion can affirm is… absolutely…the best Agent Steel album to date!
It all starts up from the eerie intro, Passage to Afron-V, and continues on through to the poignant and powerful liturgy of the album’s closing statement (i.e., the closing song/album’s outro, Entrance to Afron-V)—AND…everything in between was intended to be, and is…successfully manifest as a blistering coverage of one polemical shoutout after another, garnished into a pounding kaleidoscope of blasting, “tearing and ripping guitar solo virtuosities” (purposely melodic)—surrounded by eerie, puncturing riffs and haunting harmony guitar solos, weaved by a constant flux of speed and heavy ever-changing, fluctuating drum tempos. Every lyric is a total idealistic metal epiphany of face-slapping, anti-social, politically-bizarre…and proudly SO… politically incorrect thesis’.
Yes, as if you haven’t already guessed, I am certainly very proud of this album! It is lightyears beyond any of the 80s albums, or any attempt by any other lineups to create what was impossible to reproduce—let alone conjecture and fathom what was to be—and is NOW become manifest, in the here and now, via this first album of the true Agent Steel’s New Era, No Other Godz Before Me.
My greatest overall pride is the fact that I brought back the original intro ambience (brainstormed by none other than me, myself and I)—resembling that of The Calling(from the first truest Agent Steel Past Era album, Skeptics Apocalypse)—and again, showcasing the voice of yet another (this time totally known and legit) special-gifted individual, who makes a haunting statement from extra-dimensions—all sported on the eerie cosmic resurgence, which opens the album, titled Passage to Afron-V, and, attached the Mighty diamond Metal composition by Master Nikolay Atanasov (one of my very favourites on the album) titled > “Crypts of Galactic Damnation!” This album is tread grounds of spaces unknown that is a must be heard by The Truest Agent Steel fans — both Near and Far!
I’ve heard the album and it is superb. In your words, what can fans expect to hear when it comes out in March?
Johnny Cyriis: I will go on an in-depth, track-by-track explanation of the entirety of the album:
The opening intro (Passage to Afron-V), resembling The Callingfrom Skeptics Apocalypse, continues the Agent Steel traditional eerie statement, that of someone making an “out of the ordinary statement”, which draws the listener into an other-worldly semblance of eerie extra-dimensional cosmic array, mitigating the gap between the two bridges, that from waking—to the peripheries of other cerebral extra-dimensional landscapes—where humanity may be capable of making contact with beings from other realms and distant galaxies—all by way of the intro, Passage to Afron-V ( and, Outro “Entrance to Afron-V” ).
Then, the listener is hurled headfirst into the Metal concert arena for participating in the witnessing of the “metal calls”, initiated by the second track, Crypts of Galactic Damnation,which is intended to be a sort of host-to-guest formal invitation, welcoming onlookers/fans who attend the Metal music live shows expedition —to be immersed in the initial thought and wonder—as to what may truly be awaiting every individual on this earth upon his/her’s transgression into the afterlife, and posing the question “Is there an afterlife?”, and if so, could it be that what awaits us there is a complete cumulative of all that we have sown in this life-time?; and if so, we would either find ourselves on our destined (harvest) thrones—as either being our torment and “cumulative Bad Karma, or Good Karma” depending on what it is that we have sown during our occupation on earth!; are we to face our joy and the rewards for our deeds on our Solemn and peaceful harvest, or is it our “Rotten Thrones” that await us? I guess “We will Know, someday.”
Then we move on through to the speed/thrash piercing, jet-propulsion-driven title track, No Other Godz Before Me. This is a song that has to be a pathway to my personal award-winning Cosmic Polemicists trophy, extracting forever the cliché celebrated by the Rolling Stones song Satisfaction, stepping all over the Stones song thesis and hurling it out the window— as this title-track has definitely given me total satisfaction, because I am proud to say that I finally wrote a song that has something to say about “almost everyone.” And to purposely inject insult to injury, I can proudly say that “if I left anyone out, it has been a very long year in the making of this album; “I was a bit tired, but I promise I will definitely not leave you out, and definitely find a place for you on the next album, which is already in its pre-production stages, and rightfully titled SEX, LOVE AND HATE.” “….Do try to check the contents of the lyrics on the title-track, No Other Godz Before Me, and send me a note if I left you out—just so you can confirm your reservation as to definitely being mentioned on the next Agent Steel effort, SEX, LOVE AND HATE.”
The fourth track is the Agent Steel inauguration of the alien phenomenon, most shrouded in mystery, which involves the multitudinous crop circles that have been mysteriously appearing throughout the course of history on farming landscapes in various countries, but primarily (and initially) appearing in the United Kingdom. There is, however, a twist to my interpretation as to the meaning of these manifest phenomenon, based on research I stumbled upon when working with a documentary film group whom I cannot further elaborate on within the context of this interview.
Next, Along comes the fifth song, which was the very first single released from the album, titled The Devil’s Greatest Trick. The lyrical concept delves deep into an encounter on all Hallows Eve (Halloween), with a female vampire magistra who possesses special powers, including Second-Sight into the true intentions and weaknesses of the male species on earth.
Next is the sixth track (and second single from the album), Sonata Cósmica,which in Portuguese means “cosmic song/composition”. It is a very significant song, and is rightfully attached the number six, which is exactly the time—at twilight—when one of the most fascinating, extra ordinary, and Gifted individual was born; he is a person who was a part of—what may well be the most significant paranormal event in the history of this earth. I will elaborate more on the details of the song in future interviews.
Lucky seven, is a track titled Veterans of Disaster,co-written by an old buddy, Michael Estes, and our engineer friend and genius virtuoso guitarist, Galin Ivanov.The song is about the various military divisions—from countries where freedom and democracies are exuberant—who stand to defend their country and family from oppressors…and those who would like to strip us of our just freedoms. There is however, a twist to the song: at the end, a report by a navy unit from an aircraft carrier describes various unidentified aircrafts displaying phenomenal acrobatics at unintelligible speeds—appearing by the starboard bow of the ship, and as the air command officers communicate with the carrier tower, they describe the unidentified craft as “looking as if they come from outer space”.
In addition, it is a tribute to my father, who was a Coronel Lieutenant in the third Army Special Forces of the Brazilian army.
Veterans of Disaster, is a must-listen song, and the minute it drops to earth and becomes available—on Friday, March 19, 2021 — everyone interested should have a listen and email me, or text my son on the “Official John Cyriis/Agent Steel Facebook” letting me know your thoughts on this awesome piece of Metal music majesty.
Next, the eighth track; —a very special song—and one of my personal favorites on the album—titled Carousel of Vagrant Souls, a song basically describing my roots, from childhood—when I first discovered that I loved a genre of music which separated me from the norm of herded society (that being metal music)—to adulthood, which led to my experiencing further betrayal from the denizens of this planet, who turned their backs on me…due to living onward through life on this shitty world, not having the courage to share in the likes of society due to speaking outwardly regarding questions I posed associated “the true meaning of life” — and the music I Loved, which carried with it the attitude associated a bold and aggressive stance, which I discovered early on—would be the only outlet by which my polemicists/warrior campaign against all the dumbfounded society assholes and their herd mentality—could rightfully be expressed.
The main thesis of this song, elaborates on the haunting thought as to why we are taught there is nothing more than living a life of mediocrity—and then suddenly it’s all simply supposed to end…and we’re merely shoved into the ground, six feet under, to be eventually forgotten— and rendered as “just another piece of meat” in the meaningless existence—of the innocuous herd of human insignificance. Bullshit, there has to be More! There has to be more to the meaning of life which surrounds the bullshit gag-orders imposed by society and even governments— as we are all born alone, and pass on alone— after this earthly existence demeaned as “Natural!” ….
The ninth track, The Incident, covers the true exposition of a historical documented event where the landing of a flying saucer (disk, or more popularly referred to as a “UFO”) in the middle of a city in Brazil, called Virginia (in the state of Minas Gerais). After the aliens made landfall, they literally walked out of their craft and strolled into the backyard of a local resident, and as it turned out, the aliens hung out in that particular town for about a week, until the army and air force came to evaluate the event, whilst the denizens of that town (Virginia) sat about, looking onto the entire event, in total shock and awe. This is also the first song whose lyrics are entirely in my native tongue of Brazilian Portuguese.
The tenth song on the album (as well as the third and final single), Outer Space Connection, is also one of my favourite songs on the album. Written by Joe McGuigan, bassist of Gama Bomb—and extra-energized song by various genius guitar solo interjections, from the hands of Nikolay Atanasovand Galin Ivanov, and the cake added its final icing—by a solo and concluding harmony—composed by the master axe-man Vinicius Carvalho—all attached in the making of a song bolting out a Metal supra-energized supernova, garnished by the lyrical prose of rage, covering subject matters from “why do the worlds masses enjoy being psychically-manipulated into pitting against one another—ever so tragically—to the point of exerting violence toward their fellow man (and woman), and even dismantling and wrecking their own cities— simply for what seems to be spontaneous outbursts of frustration and lack of basic emotional control—all for baseless and even meaningless causes, which I believe are instigated by negative psychical influences, initiated by some bizarre underground cabal—unknown and unsuspected by most—who have never researched or stumbled upon their existence.
The eleventh song, Entrance to Afron-V, is the album’s outro/epilogue, which opens the passageway, and taking off from where the intro weaves the listener into the Metal Journey blasting from the album’s track list—finalizing into an alternate world/dimension, where all the stresses and bullshit we endure -day to day- on this shitty planet—are banished, cleansed, and… left behind!; It is via these positive energies that the art of Metal is strengthened via this true New Era Agent Steel effort—and which will strengthen the band and its solid new entourage—bolting open the portals onto beginning the work for the next (fifth) true Agent Steel release…
Aside from world domination what is the next step for Agent Steel?
Johnny Cyriis: Pre-production for the follow-up to No Other Godz Before Mehas already begun; seven songs are complete, which may be released by the fall or end of 2021—beginning of 2022—tentatively titled SPACE MIGRATOR. The all-new recorded material is a collaboration of songs which feature cutting speed-thrashing compositions by Nikolay Atanasov as well as the officially-knighted guitar master, Vinicius Carvalho—and myself >Back on Guitar.
All answers copyright © Johnny Cyriis 2021