By: Benjie Stewart
Metal is international, and with members in three different countries within North America, and Finland, no band demonstrates this like Serocs. Serocs is a very unique brand of brutal technical death metal. Their second album, The Next, was a force to be dealt with. Metal Mayhem Underground caught up with guitarists, Antonio and Phil, to see what kind of extreme metal they had in store for their third album.
Metal Mayhem Underground: “Thanks for wanting to do an interview with Metal Mayhem Underground! So tell us, how did you come up with the band name Serocs?”
Antonio: “As a kid, I would use XeroX as my screenname for forums and online games. When I started playing in bands, local friends had not seen it written, only spoken, and it became sort of my nickname, which they started writing as Serocs. I liked it and kept it.”
MMU: “Tell us about the beginnings of Serocs?”
Antonio: “I used to play in different local bands, but none were the style I was looking for. During tours and downtime, I would write these technical riffs and melodies which would later become 'Homogenous Dissimilation`. I decided to release them myself, since I couldn't find anyone here to play the songs live. I released it and didn't do much with it for a few years, until the riffs for 'Codex For Protection...' came to me. Then I decided to turn it into something more serious and professional.”
MMU: “Did you just get a new vocalist? Why did vocalist Jason Hohenstein leave?”
Antonio: “Jason had already retired from music before joining Serocs. He was focusing on his family and work. Mike reached out to him to help us on The Next, which he was really nice to do. After that, we knew we would have to get a different vocalist. I had contacted Martin Lacroix a few years ago about joining, but he wasn't at a point where he could get back into vocals. Soon after Jason left, Martin contacted me about doing some guest vocals and I asked him to join full time instead.”
MMU: “Who writes the lyrics in Serocs?”
Antonio: “I wrote the lyrics for Oneirology, with some help from then-vocalist Josh Smith. I never really had the patterns into consideration when writing, but he did a good job making them fit. For The Next, some of the song titles were written by me, but Jason wrote all of the lyrics. There is a short section in one song that Josh wrote.”
MMU: “Who came up with the band logo?”
Antonio: “I did the first two versions of the logo but I always thought it was missing something. I contacted Christophe Szpajdel, who is a legend in logo creation, and told him my idea. I wanted a logo that reflected the Cryptopsy influence mainly, without being blatant. He incorporated the bat inside the logo in a really cool way, in my opinion.”
MMU: “Are you planning on doing any touring in the US or around the globe? If so what bands would you like to be on a bill with?”
Antonio: “I wish! It's pretty difficult because of our distance and jobs, but we are looking into it. There are so many bands I would like to share a stage with. In particular, there is Abhorrent, who are currently recording their debut album. I believe a tour with them would be awesome.”
MMU: “What drives Serocs to play such skillful technical brutal death metal?”
Antonio: “It's music that is really fun to play. The challenge and thrill you feel while playing crazy songs is incredible, and writing technical music that is enjoyable to the regular listener, while avoiding the clichés and flatness of the usual technical bands is something very difficult and rewarding.”
Phil: “I just want to challenge and surpass myself, and have fun while doing it. Technical death metal is far from being my favorite metal subgenre to be honest, but I enjoy playing it a lot. And having the opportunity to create and perform this music with some of the best musicians around (Antonio, Mike, Timo, Martin) is incredibly motivating.”
MMU: “This has sort of become a staple question to ask from Metal Mayhem Underground… Do you think the metal scene is better today or has it gotten worse?”
Antonio: “I believe it's the same. The difference is that now, we have the possibility of listening to bad bands that would've otherwise been lost in time before the internet. Plus, there are a lot of great new bands that you can find if you know where to look.”
Phil: “It isn't better but it isn't necessarily worse. There are as many shitty bands today as there were 20-30 years ago. And most people who think the metal scene is worse now are usually not listening to the right bands.”
MMU: “What can we expect from the third album with new vocalist Martin Lacroix (ex-Cryptopsy)? When will the new album be out?”
Phil: “Lots of contrasts and new influences.”
Antonio: “Definitely what Phil says. We're branching into new territories. Songs are much more varied now and everyone is bringing their best stuff. For the previous albums, I wrote everything myself, so it would get a bit same-y. Now, everyone has full freedom to write their parts. Phil and I wrote the guitars together, so there are equal amounts of both styles. Timo is doing some crazy, innovative drum work. Mike is free to use his gigantic bass and is writing on all 7 strings, while Martin will write his own ideas and do the artwork.”
MMU: “Any thoughts on the band, Babymetal?”
Antonio: “I’ve read some things but I've never heard them.”
MMU: “What bands do you look up to most?”
Phil: “Judas Priest. & Tony MacAlpine.”
Antonio: “Symphony X are my idols. In death metal, old Cryptopsy, Defeated Sanity and Nile. In other music, Arctic Monkeys- people might say ‘Yuck! Pop!’ But I admire that they change their sound completely on each album and still manage to kick ass every time. Also, my friend Marc Vogler who is unknown right now but, to me, he is the final boss of music.” ∆
Antonio: Sleep, Electric Wizard, Abhorrent, Bolt Thrower The Season Standard and some Pink Floyd
Phil: Been listening to a lot of Cirith Ungol, Disgrace (Fin), Gorement, Spectral Voice, Blood Incantation, Jag Panzer, Isen Torr, Worship, Funeral (Nor), Evoken, Skepticism, etc...
Mike: Frontal. Espermachine Trust. Solitary experiments.
Timo: Lately been spinning Wilson Pickett, The Sounds, Crippler, Aeon, Mass Infection, Bruce Springsteen, Devin Townsend, Jamiroquai and KT Tunstall.
Martin: Bohren & The Club of Gore, Strunz & Farah, Neurosis, Isis.
Check out Serocs and their last album, The Next… and watch out for what is next!