Genre: Thrash metal
1. Hello! How are you? “Heroes of Origin” is your debut album and will soon be released. Do you feel anxious about it? Which are your expectations from it?
I’m doing really well. Thanks for the interview. We have been really busy promoting the new album and I don’t think anxious is the word, but very excited might be the better way to say it. This is my first real band since EXODUS and the press and the fans have been very supportive, to say the least. With the modern music industry I try to not really have expectations, other than for the record company to do its job and for the fans to hopefully go get the album. I promise it is the best record I have done in my whole career, and that is saying a lot! Honestly I am just happy to be back in the scene making albums and playing for the fans.
2. How long did it take you to compose and produce the whole album? Did you have any main difficulties during the whole process? If yes, how did you overcome them?
There were no difficulties at all, and in fact, this is probably the most hassle free record I have ever done. My guitarist, Kosta Varvatakis, does the majority of the writing and arranging, and then I write lyrics to what he creates. It makes a very easy work environment and we get a lot of stuff done with HATRIOT in a short amount of time. We have been working on the material for this record for the better part of a year now.
3. From all the songs included in “Heroes of Origin” which one was the quickest to compose and which one made your life difficult and why?
Again, it was a fairly simple process and I can’t think of one in particular that gave me any trouble. Kosta is such a gifted writer. I am hoping that the world will recognize what a great talent this kid is. I wouldn’t have even attempted a new band without him. We have a great writing chemistry and it is hard to find a songwriting partner that you just click with on every level. Kosta is the guy. He will be this generation’s thrash metal guitar hero.
4. Have you left any song out from your new album and if yes, why? Also have you thought of leaving out any of the songs that you have included in your debut album and what made you change mind?
Well we have a 4 song demo EP that we did last year just to show the world what we were doing at the time, and 3 of the 4 songs have been re-recorded for this album. The only one that didn’t make the cut was “The Fear Within,” and it’s not because it is a bad song. It’s a great song! The fact is it has a mellow section and we didn’t want to let up the intensity on this record one bit. So it may be on the second album. It depends on what else we come up with. We are always writing new material and working on stuff. We have another three songs written now for the second album.
5. Who had the idea of forming HATRIOT? How easy was it to find the other band members?
Nothing is easy in the music business, but this time things fell into place rather quickly for me. It started when I found Kosta and then started writing material. We went through a few minor line-up changes until we arrived at this group of guys. It wasn’t hard at all really. Our second guitarist, Miguel Esparza, was referred to us, and the rhythm section consists of my sons – Cody Souza on bass and Nick Souza on drums. Both of them tried out for the band and proved to be the most qualified for the position.
6. Steve Souza is a very known musician, so I would like to know if the other members of the band have participated in other groups before HATRIOT and if they have released anything with them….
They have all played in local bands around the Bay Area, but nothing that went to the next level. “Heroes of Origin” is their first record, but you would never know it from listening. We really worked hard to make sure we had everything down before we hit the studio, so these guys sound like seasoned veterans themselves. Aside from doing demos with their other bands they had never been in a studio before. They all went straight into the major leagues.
7. I want to stand a bit on the band’s name. Is HATRIOT a combination of words between hate and patriot or between hate and riot? How did you come up with the idea of this specific band name?
It is a combination of hate and patriot, and I took the name from the line in the EXODUS song “Scar Spangled Banner”’ where I say “I’m no patriot, just a hatriot.” The word sounds pissed off and angry, so I felt it would be perfect for a thrash metal band name. It also ties this chapter of my career to my days in EXODUS, so it worked well.
8. Also I want to stand a bit on the cover of your album which shows you holding the U.S. flag upside down and also shields of Captain America with a pentagram on it. I like it and I believe that there is a strong symbolism on it. What exactly do you want to express with it?
Mark DeVito did the artwork. He has done several known bands, MOTORHEAD being one of them. I didn’t really have a concept, other than I wanted the band on the cover somewhere. Bands just don’t do that anymore. I wanted the band on the cover and for Mark to use his own visions to create the rest. I wanted chaos and violence, and Mark fucking nailed it. I think the artwork is great. I see all the little poser kids trashing the cover on the Internet, but it is amazing art in my opinion. It is one of those records that you see in the store and it grabs your attention, like back in the day when you would buy an album just because the art looked cool. The art on “Heroes of Origin” is very recognizable and I think it stands out amongst the other bands. If you saw it on the store shelf you would be like “oh shit there’s the HATRIOT record,” and that’s the whole idea behind it.
9. How important are lyrics for you? What kinds of things inspire you to write about? What kind of message do you want to pass through them to your audience?
Lyrics are very important to me. I know most people think of the riff as being the key factor in metal music, and in many cases it is, but the lyrics in HATRIOT are a huge part of the equation. My lyrics are always dark and sinister. You will never hear Zetro do a love song! I write about anything that intrigues me, and on this album that happens to be suicide, school shootings, and monster movies. There is no shortage of brutal topics out there.
10. How has the press accepted your new album? Which was the most interesting and which the most bizarre comment that you have received about the album?
The press has been praising this album, giving us near perfect scores. I have done a lot of interviews around the globe and I have not yet had one guy in the press tell me the record was okay or could be better. They are all floored by it and that is a huge accomplishment for me. The most bizarre comment would be when one journalist said the album is the best EXODUS record Gary Holt never wrote. That’s a pretty big statement!
11. I will ask you to change a bit your role and become the interviewer. So what would you like to ask yourself about HATRIOT?
I would ask myself what in the hell are you doing starting a new band this late in life? The answer is I am taking over the fucking world!
12. Thanks for your time answering my questions. The album is very good and I wish you all the best! Please put the epilogue you like to this interview…
Thanks a lot for the interview and for spreading the word of HATRIOT to your readers. The album is out right now and I need all the old school thrashers to go out and get a copy today! We need your support to get this thing to the next level. I plan on touring this year so come out to a show and let’s thrash!
Nick “Verkaim” Parastatidis