Cult of Luna
Voivod: Part 2
Voivod: Part 1
Dillinger Escape Plan
The Year In Metal
Dead to Fall
Tapping The Vein
High On Fire
Metal Meltdown IV
Metal/Hardcore Fest 2002
Century Media Records
My Dying Bride
The Year In Metal
Metal Blade Records
Maudlin of the Well
Thrash of the Titans
Dust To Dust
Six Feet Under
Metal/Hardcore Fest 2001
Metal Meltdown III
Pain of Salvation
Children Of Bodom
Cradle Of Filth
Lamb Of God
Garden of Shadows
March Metal Meltdown
Metal/Hardcore Fest 2000
Flotsam and Jetsam
It has been a long hard road for Steel Prophet, a band whose existence can be traced back almost twenty years. After signing to Nuclear Blast records a couple of years back, Steel Prophet is only now starting to get worldwide recognition. Fresh from their record release party to celebrate their brand new platter 'Book of the Dead', the Metal Update caught up with guitarist and band founder Steve Kachinsky to discuss the power metal label, the LA metal scene and their upcoming tour with Helstar.
METAL UPDATE: How would you describe Steel Prophet to the uninitiated amongst the Metal Update audience?
Steel Prophet is a heavy metal band with guitars, bass, vocals and drums.
MU: Is Steel Prophet a power metal band?
Everybody defines that term differently.
MU: How do you define it?
I define it as simply powerful metal. Powerful singing.
MU: Give me some examples.
To me, a power metal band is like Black Sabbath's 'Heaven and Hell'. It's like powerful, you know?
MU: Have you ever heard people use the term power metal in a different way, a more modern sense?
Then I hear that a band like Rhapsody is power metal. To me, that's a good band, but they're not powerful. It's kinda like fast and melodic and it sounds nice, but I don't know where the "power" is in that power metal.
MU: Is Steel Prophet closer to 'Heaven and Hell' era Black Sabbath or Rhapsody?
I'd say we're closer to 'Heaven and Hell'.
MU: What about bands like Blind Guardian and Helloween? How does Steel Prophet relate to them?
I have a number of CDs by both of those bands, and I enjoy them.
MU: Do those influences come into play when you are writing for Steel Prophet?
Never Blind Guardian. I just kinda recently got into their stuff, so it is never an influence. I've never learned one of their songs to figure out how it works or anything.
MU: What bands did you figure out the guitar parts for as an influence on Steel Prophet?
A lot of bands. It was more when I was growing up that I would pick them apart.
MU: Which bands were those?
Maiden. Priest. Metallica. Stuff like that.
MU: Just like everybody else, right?
MU: How does Steel Prophet take those influences to a different place?
Well, that's the stuff I was listening to, and that's the stuff I picked apart. But since then I heard doom metal, death metal and black metal. Stuff like that. And while I didn't sit down and learn these guys' songs, I took the flavor that I'd get from it, and I'd just interpret it in my own way.
MU: You do all the songwriting for Steel Prophet?
I've done the majority of it.
MU: You guys have five albums out right?
Actually we have seven records out, if you count the three records we did on a really small label.
MU: What was the first album you did for Nuclear Blast?
MU: And this new one is your third album for Nuclear Blast?
Technically, it is our fourth for Nuclear Blast. We did one called 'Genesis' that was a bunch of pre-release material like cover songs and an old demo tape.
MU: If you went back and listened to your catalogue, can you pinpoint where some of the newer influences, beyond Maiden, Priest and Metallica, started coming in to play?
The early records have a more transparent feel to them. Actually, our first record, it doesn't sound like Trouble, but a lot of the riffs are influenced by the band Trouble.
MU: How do you say a riff is influenced by Trouble as opposed to Black Sabbath? How can you tell the difference when it is filtered through somebody else? (laughs)
You can kinda pinpoint it . . .
MU: . . . 'cause you wrote it, right? You probably know! (laughs)
MU: Did you guys play the Classic Metal Fest?
We were scheduled to play there but we pulled out of it.
MU: What happened?
When we signed up for the festival, there was a certian amount of money, etc. And as the time grew near, we asked what the situation was, but he just couldn't come up with what he promised us.
MU: You gotta give the guy credit for trying.
Yeah, definitely give him credit for trying.
MU: Are you playing Milwaukee Metalfest this year?
Yeah, we're going to be doing that one.
MU: You ever play there before?
Not the Milwaukee one, but we did the one out in LA.
MU: You're from LA?
MU: Is Steel Prophet an "LA band"?
Well, we're all from LA, but we're not like Poison.
MU: What is the scene like for metal in LA these days?
It depends on what you mean by metal. If you want to call "nu-metal" heavy metal, it's huge.
MU: What big nu-metal bands come from LA?
Well Korn was from here.
MU: And probably a whole bunch of other bands who sound just like them, right?
Yeah, well System of a Down doesn't sound like Korn, but they were from here.
MU: They're a good band.
Yeah, actually I like System of a Down.
MU: So let's just talk about true metal. I saw you did a record release party in LA recently. That's the scene I'm talking about - the people who would come out for a show like that.
If we draw a gig with Agent Steel.
MU: By the way, are they still called Agent Steel?
They'll always be Agent Steel to me.
MU: Even without the singer?
MU: Yeah, the Agent Steel records I have are all about that dude's voice!
I used to listen to their records when I was growing up, even though there aren't that much older than me. I think that John Cyriis had a sound, but . . .
MU: What do they sound like now? When they play live do they play those old songs?
Yeah. It sounds great.
MU: So you did that gig with them, your record release party.
The club was packed. Of course it only holds 400 people.
MU: What was it called?
MU: What are the main places to go see heavy metal in LA?
People go wherever it is happening. It's not like there is one place devoted to metal all of the time. The Dragonfly will have shows. Tonight, Cradle of Filth is playing with Nile at the Palace.
MU: Are you gonna go?
I'm a little sick, so I'm still not 100% sure.
MU: Aw, man, you gotta go! It's a big heavy metal party, right?
Oh yeah, definitely.
MU: Was that record release party one of the bigger headlining shows that you have done?
That was like the only headlining show we've done. (laughs) A lot of times, we're more comfortable in the support role at this stage of our career. But because this one was our relase party, we had to go last.
MU: So is there a good scene for your kind of music in LA?
Yeah, it's pretty good. You have to really get the word out among "the crowd."
MU: How do you get the word out?
Any way you can. You tell your friends to tell their friends. You advertise it on the web. You print fliers. You pick up print ads.
MU: What are the music papers out there?
LA Weekly. Rock City News. Mean Street.
MU: These people will write about stuff like the Steel Prophet CD release party?
A little bit. They'll put something in there.
MU: How did that Koshick festival out in LA go for you?
It went well for us, but the festival itself was pretty much a nightmare -the way they ran it.
MU: Tell us about that.
I was there for two days, and I had a list of bands I wanted to see. So I look at the list and the times and which stage. First of all, I can't really identify which stage is which 'cause they're not too well marked and it is dark, etc. And a lot of these bands, I've never seen their pictures, so I don't really know what they look like. And everything is running late. Bands are switching slots. . . I don't even know who I'm looking at.
MU: Yeah, but you're drinking beers and there's a lot of heavy metal brothers and sisters in the room. Do you expect things be different at the Milwaukee Metalfest?
Yeah. I hear it is run a lot better.
MU: Is that the big Steel Prophet show of the summer? If you were a huge Steel Prophet fan, and you lived in like, Antartica, and you were gonna fly in and see one show this summer, what show would you have that person come see?
Maybe that one. It's hard to know what to expect. Actually, this release party would have been good. We give 100% every time we play. I think you'll pretty much get what you expect no matter what.
MU: What's different about 'Book of the Dead' from prior Steel Prophet releases?
Well, for one thing, we tried to get the guitar sound a little up in the mix, make it a little more beefy. We got Rick singing in a mid and lower range which sounds even more resonant, beefy and powerful.
MU: It sounds like you are happier with the production elements, but maybe the music is kind of the same.
We always try different things with every record. Our thing is about variety. Some bands, like AC/DC, put on ten songs that sound the same - they just perfect that one thing. Something like Hammerfall, is pretty much ten songs, all fast, double-bass, you know, sing along choruses. We don't do that. We do ten different songs. This one's a fast song. This one's a ballad. This one has a lot of black metal influence. This one is super melodic. This one has lots of double-bass. This one doesn't.
MU: What kind of market is there for Steel Prophet in Europe? Have you played over there?
Yeah, we've done two tours in Europe, one with Gamma Ray / Edguy and one with LeFay / Angel Dust.
MU: The Gamma Ray tour must have been great for you guys.
Sure it was.
MU: You were playing in front of a decent amount of people each night?
Pretty much sold out every night.
MU: Was that a good musical fit for you?
It's a pretty good fit. I think there are better fits, but it was definitely good.
MU: What is the bigger market for Steel Prophet, North America or Europe?
MU: Nuclear Blast does serious business over there.
MU: How many records do you guys sell?
In the 20-30,000 range.
MU: How much of that is here in the United States?
Something really small, like 3,000 people here in the U.S. I don't know what it breaks down to, to be honest. But when you compare the size of the United States to the size of European countries, and you look at it percentage-wise, it is just so much lower.
MU: Have you played any of the big European festivals?
Yeah, we played Wacken Open Air.
MU: That must be the big deal for you guys, playing those shows.
Sure. There's 15,000 people singing along with your songs and you can't see to the end of the crowd.
MU: That's got to be a hell of a lot more fun than playing at the Metalfests here in the U.S. It says something about the U.S. market.
You wish every show you did was that well attended and that well appreciated, but . . .
MU: You've got a black guy in the band, your bass player Vince.
No, you're kidding! (laughs)
MU: (laughs) But seriously, you never see any African-Americans in European bands like Helloween, or whatnot.
When we're on tour in Europe, you never even see a black guy, period. You go to thirty cities and you see a black guy like twice.
MU: Well skin color is skin color and the rest is bullshit.
Right on. You can listen to any kind of music, no matter who you are.
MU: What are the tour plans for the new album?
We're gonna do the Milwaukee fest, and then we're gonna head out for a week or two with Helstar. They're gonna headline, and there's gonna be an opener called Reign of Terror. Jacob's Dream and Pain of Salvation were supposed to be on the bill too, but that is not gonna happen now.
MU: Well good luck with the tour. Thanks for the interview, and go see Cradle of Filth and Nile. I know you are sick, but it's the right metal thing to do.
(laughs) Yeah, I know you are right.
review of Steel Prophet 'Book of the Dead'
review of Steel Prophet 'Messiah'
NUCLEAR BLAST AMERICA
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Editor: Brant Wintersteen [
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