Satan's Host

Exclusive Interview Series: The internet and the music industry – Satan’s Host

The American metal masters return with the defining album of their illustrious 34+ year career, “By the Hands of the Devil”. Featuring the return of original vocalist Harry Conklin of Jag Panzer fame Satan’s Host unleash The Metal Album of the Decade! Conklin’s powerful clean vocals lead the charge, enhanced by an enviably tight ensemble and the utterly scorching guitar work of world renowned axe- master Patrick Evil. Satan’s Host revive their cult for more extreme modern times without losing their traditional heavy metal might. Epic in every sense of the word, this is still “Metal from Hell” but shaped “By the Hands of the Devil”!

Back in April I had the chance to send questions to the band about the album and also their thoughts on the music industry. Due to the bands busy schedule it took them a lot longer to reply and while many of the questions related to the album may have been answered in the meantime elsewhere but be sure to check out what Anthony Lopez has to say about the industry.

Interview

25 years a formidable force, did you ever think Satan’s Host would last this long?

Patrick Evil: You always want to believe you can make your music last forever. I never thought about that in the early days.

You’ve seen a lot of bands come and go, what is it that has kept the band together for so long?

Patrick Evil: I think the love of the metal has kept us going for so long. Being able to create music and keep the fire burning within the band. The excitement of hearing what you have done on albums.

You’ve also seen a lot of changes over the years in the industry from the way label and bands operate to how technology has affected the industry. From the view of Satan’s Host, do you prefer how it was 20-25 years ago when you were breaking in or now?

Patrick Evil: I think there is upsides to both old and new technology it seems it is more accessible to the media and fans these days.

Track: By the Hands of the Devil

Leviathan Thisiren is back on vocals after all these years, how did it all come together that he would re-join the band?

Anthony Lopez: Harry had been headlining the Keep True Festival for many years with Jag Panzer and became really good friends with Oliver the promoter of the Show. The European legions had been demanding for an appearance of Satan’s Host, and Oliver asked him if it would be possible to do a show with the Metal From Hell line up at the KIT festival. Harry and Pat have all ways been in contact and felt they had unfinished business and thought it would be great to do a show with the Metal From Hell material and also bring our current vocalist at the time along and do some newer material since we well established, but he wanted to part of it and was transitioning out of the band at the point, so with him gone Harry came back home to Satan’s Host and here we are now.

The world is eagerly awaiting the release of ‘By The Hands Of The Devil’ and I must say it is an excellent album. What can you tell us about the album, the direction you have taken with this one?

Anthony Lopez: Well we felt we had gone as far as we could go with the last vocalist, because the last three albums kind of went full circle with the elements we were touching on and we felt that the band had a lot more to say and a lot more different ground we want to cover. And as far as the music goes we always out do what we have done in the past, it is constantly growing and we like to keep growing and do things we have never done musically, the spirit and the signature sound are the same, just with new colours, perception, and textures.

What lyrical themes are you pursuing on this album?

Anthony Lopez: We explored more about world history, about Satan himself, enlightenment, and a quest to find truth within the world and within ourselves. We are just trying to get people to think more out of the box and muster up the courage to find their own truth, not what the government tells you, not what organized religion tells you, and not what society is telling you. The Human being is still a young animal that somehow skipped a large part of evolution according to modern science, how did that happen, and why do the powers that be want to hide this from the masses??? So we skip around with some really heavy topics.

Where would you class it in the mix of all your releases to date?

Patrick Evil: I always think that we keep growing as a band. So even as this album is released I am already thinking about the next album so far to date I love the album and consider it at the top of what we have done so far.

Satan's Host By the Hands of the Devil ArtworkThe band has been widely praised for the work you have done, ‘Power~Purity~Perfection…999’ received some incredible reviews, but do you ever worry or get nervous about the reaction to a release?

Anthony Lopez: Well you always hope for great reviews and great reception with anything you put out, but the bottom line is that we really don’t think about that when we are writing, it’s the furthest thing from our state of thought. When we write we are in the frameset to out do what we have done in the past. I think many bands repeat themselves, their creative juices run dry quickly, and with us the creation is always flowing, it is probably one of the most constants that we have instilled in ourselves.

The latest preview for fans is ‘Fallen Angel’, what can you tell us about this song from the sound to the lyrics?

Anthony Lopez: Fallen Angel is just a straight up song, kind of old school with some modern element thrown in. The lyrics are about Satan himself, he is the Fallen Angel, the king of Mankind, and his struggles.

What are the plans for the rest of 2011?

Anthony Lopez: We are working on tour plans at the moment, also preparing for a few American shows during the summer, and basically writing new material for the next new album which we are slated to probably start production at the end of the year.

One question that is always on my mind when I see the band’s name, if you were to host Satan, where you host him?

Anthony Lopez: That’s an odd question, lol, Satan is in everything we do, all creeds and cultures in some aspect, everyone host’s Satan in some form or shape within their lives, but would never expect it or admit to it. Everyone sins, everyone is out for themselves, everyone is a hypocrite in their own right, from the Sunday preacher who has the extramarital escapades to the devout housewife who prays all day and judges all her neighbours. Satan’s Host is about truth, it’s about all the dirty secrets and deceiving ways everyone lives their lives by. The world is scared of the wrong person, of the wrong ideals, and until an individual because a Host to Satan, to research history and try to understand and see why society is the way it is and move on to some form of enlightenment, they will always be enslaved and left out in the dark.

Thanks for taking some time to answer questions, really appreciate your time. Please feel free to add anything you wish.

Anthony Lopez: Thank you for your time also, we’d like to thank all the Legions World Wide 9, our families and friends, and to Moribund Cult Records family for believing in us.

Internet and the music industry

The biggest issue with the internet for artists is of course illegal downloading and there has been a rapid decline in value of the industry as the internet expands throughout the world. Several artists I have spoken to have stated that it has become part of life and that now selling albums is no longer a profitable business; money is solely earned from touring. What are your views on the matter of illegal downloading?

Anthony Lopez: Well why cry about spilt milk, the industry saw the writing on the wall in the early 90’s and decided not to do anything about it, when Lars Ulrich stood up to try and protect all the artists they basically crucified the poor guy. But in reality it isn’t much difference than borrowing your buddies cassette tape or album and takes it home and makes a copy of it, that was the primitive download aspect, now it’s just at a global state now. What should be done now is that when a band turns in their music for manufacturing and distribution to the labels, a legal binding digital signature should be put on each track so that it can be tracked, so that it is a legitimate purchase, where you receive a code to open your tracks, now if the listener wants to lend out the track and code, well that’s their business, they paid for it already. So now all you can do is hope that people download your material and create a demand for you within the touring/merchandise markets, because that’s where the real money for bands is today.

Do you feel that any of the current methods such as watermarking or streaming based models which have users paying a fee to stream music will take off and help stop the illegal sharing of music files? Or do you see any strength with the idea of giving away your music for free, having it shared around the world and again relying on touring to make money?

Anthony Lopez: I think the industry should just put their heads together, quit being so greedy and find a win-win solution that will benefit all party’s associated with the problem. At this point on the bands point of view, you just want to get your name out and draw audiences.

Track: Before The Flame

The global recorded music industry saw a 31% decline in value from the years of 2004 to 2010 but the digital music market has seen a 1000% increase in value over the same period. Do you see the internet’s influence on the industry as the sole cause of this decline or do you believe there are any other factors which you consider an issue?

Anthony Lopez: The ones making all the money from the digital music market is the middle man hosting and selling the digital music, kind of like the distributors pushing all the hard copies around the world, but we need them because they get our product into the stores, I think the record company’s and bands need to eliminate the middle man and solely sell the product from their own respective websites or e-Commerce stores. For Example, if they did away with hard copies and distribution, and we solely rely on digital media, you should purchase directly from the source. Say I love Iron Maiden for example, when Maiden puts a new album out, I just have to get up early on the release date, go to Iron Maiden.com or their labels website and just buy it direct from them, why go to iTunes or some other middleman website to purchase it and have them take revenue from the band or their label?

With such a growth in the digital music market, many artists have already stopped creating physical albums; the most notable is Rob Zombie who stated his most recent release would be his last physical album as the growing popularity of iTunes and Amazon is now controlling album sales. The IFPI recently published findings that 16.5% of internet users in the United States purchase their music digitally than physically.
Firstly as an artist and music fan, do you still buy physical albums or do you download from digital music stores? Secondly, do see the digital music markets as something positive for the industry and your career as a new and cheaper distribution method?

Anthony Lopez: I still love buying the actual album/CD, the packaging is the exciting part, there is nothing like looking through the packaging while enjoying the music. But if it is all taken away, I guess you will always get the PDF file with all the artwork etc…

As the digital music stores assist in distribution, other factors that come into releasing an album are marketing and promotion of any sort. What are your views on the ability to use the internet to promote and market yourself?

Anthony Lopez: The Internet plays a major factor for marketing and promotion, any one not maximizing on this has all ready put the coffin lid on the situation, It’s a fast changing world and you don’t want to be left behind. It is hard to find Metal magazines anymore. The best thing to do is market and advertise yourself on websites such as Blabbermouth, and sites like it to where there is a large amount of traffic hitting it constantly.

Social networking has naturally become a massive asset in the industry for labels and artists to be able to interact with fans on an everyday basis from anywhere in the world. Do you feel that if the social networking boom hadn’t taken place that it would effectively hinder careers as there would have been no direct route to communicate with fans?

Anthony Lopez: The social networking pages are very crucial, they are your lifeline to the fans. But at the same time, a high profile band should have their own web domain; not having your own identity on the web is showing that you have no real stake in your band. If I hear a new band’s music and don’t find an official website, they get tossed with the rest, because it shows me they are not a serious band, and they will be short lived anyways. Why waste the time on it.

A big development in recent years has been the hardware and software that has been created for anyone and everyone to purchase. We now find aspiring artists building their own home studios at their computer by purchasing top of line software, sound cards, microphones and such. What are your views on the technology advancements in recent years from software, hardware and even to the MP3 itself? What positives or negatives if any do you see from these advancements?

Anthony Lopez: Doing all your own production is great for doing demos, but in the end, you really need to get in with a professional and get your recording done correctly. There is nothing better than working with a trained professional with the expertise. It calls for a much more stronger product in the end. That’s why there are so many terrible sounding bands out there, because they are all doing it themselves, a polished turd in the end will always be a polished turd.

Satan's Host Anthony LopezWhile purchasing hardware/software and recording in your own home studio is a method of removing big studio costs and staff costs, recently fan funding in return for incentives has become a new way forward. Recently in the UK bands such as Madina Lake, Funeral For A Friend and The Blackout have used Pledge Music (Kickstarter in the US) in which fans contribute towards the cost of the studio in return for signed albums, special gifts and more. Do you think this method of involving fans more intimately in the creation of an album and offering them incentives to do so could be a way forward to combat the losses through piracy?

Anthony Lopez: Sounds like too much work and distraction, unless you are able to have someone solely to take care of it, it sounds like another avenue to revenue.

In the United States from 1999 to 2009 there was a 17% fall in the number of people hired as a musician and in Europe, while not directly musicians, the estimated number of jobs likely to be lost due to piracy in the creative industries will reach 1.2 million by 2015. Do you worry as an artist that you will ever be swept by this wave and be forced to leave the industry you love in order to provide a better living for yourself?

Anthony Lopez: Truth of it all is that we will be a creative force till we are dead and gone. 95% of all recording artists have a day job, if you’re not investing in yourself with some means, it will decline your success, this isn’t the 80’s where you’re getting a million dollars for an album, or unless your super huge like Metallica or Iron Maiden, you get home and you carry on with the day job. Maintaining a true working Metal band that has a global identity takes putting money into it.

When you consider the industry previously to the time before the internet and to now with the internet in full swing, what do you see for the future of the industry?

Anthony Lopez: I see the record companies disappearing unless they do something to rectify a solution to make a win-win situation with the Internet, I see the regulation of weeding out the weak bands and the talentless going away, the internet is going to be flooded with polished turds and people’s appreciation for true talent and art will degenerate.

     

About Michael

Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.

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