Hi Andrew! Mazikeen is a self-described “blackened melodic death metal” project in 2013- would you like to give our readers an insight into how Mazikeen started off?
I have been playing guitar and wanting to produce music since I was a kid but had mainly spent my time as a bedroom guitarist and never really stayed living in the one spot long enough to get a band happening. Between 2008-2010 I started thinking seriously about recording my own album but didn’t take the steps to get the gear and knowledge I needed to do it until 2013. Seeing a friend Chris Meyers/Aberation Nexus produce his own music gave me a lot of incentive. He was a big help in the early stages of the project also.
I had the pleasure of reviewing your previous material quite a few years back- do you feel you have developed musically since then?
Since the EP, I have further developed my skills in writing and tried to broaden my style as well as writing a lot of the synths myself; but the biggest developments since the EP would be getting Lord Marco on drums, as well as long-time friend Kris Marchant to do the Guitar Solos on all the original tracks of the Solace Album.
So how did you come across Lord Marco?
To be honest I can’t remember exactly. I think someone on Facebook shared one of his posts and it all went from there.
How long have yourself and Kris been friends and have you worked on any projects prior to Mazikeen together?
We have been friends since our early teens in Ballarat. There where times when things where in the early stages of being a project with Kris and I, but Crazy BS life stuff never allowed me to do anything much. Kris has been involved in several projects including Hakxwhore and is currently writing music for Devolved among other projects.
Would you mind sharing a few of your influences?
My favourite Black Metal band has always been Dissection and would be the biggest influence on my music. Many other bands would have played a part also. We did 4 covers which are released on the CD, these were recorded and released digitally during the writing and production of the Solace album. These seemed to upset some reviewers, while others suggested we had taken our influences from these bands; but the truth is, apart from the Dissection cover which I have known most of the riffs since the 90s, the other tracks were all learnt, recorded, and released in a very short time in attempt to retain interest in the project. When we had finished producing the 52 min album there was space to put these tracks at the end as bonus tracks.
So what do you personally find so appealing about black metal and what drew you to Disscetion?
When I first heard Dissection I had heard a lot of Black metal and did enjoy listening to some of it although my preference was for Death metal with bands like Bolt Thrower Carcass Deicide etc. Back In the early 90s Albums where bought based on Magazine writeups word of mouth and often Just a CD picked out from the Extreme Metal section in the Record stores based on the Cover. These where often swapped later if people didn’t like the album. I was at a house frequented by Extreme Metal musicians in Ballarat around 94 and a guy showed up with A Dissection CD The Somberlain. He didn’t like It and was looking to Sell it for Cash or for Pot. I cant remember what I had to give him for the CD but As soon as it was played I was totally blown away and had to have it. For some stupid reason for a long time I didn’t accept Dissection as a Black Metal Band. I think I felt that Black Metal could not be that good but still at that time I had not given BM much of a chance. Then when the Storm album was released and I got a copy of that I loved it even more than the first album. Nights Blood was just mind blowing. A fellow guitarist did most of the work figuring out the Guitar Riffs for that track and others and we spent a lot of time perfecting the playing. The Style Kind of Stuck to me from then and never went away.
I have noticed you recently completed a cover of “I am the
Black Wizards” by Emperor- fantastic job by the way! Do you have any plans to do any more covers?
“I am the Black Wizards” was another cover we have done, and one that was learnt on the spot. I had always loved the song, and someone had shown me how to play the opening riff many years ago, the rest I learnt as I recorded it. With recording guitars Just because Fuckit………I put a SM57 mic on a 5 watt blackstar practice amp in the bathtub with a Metalzone in the loop to record it which seemed to work quite well. I’ve recently recorded guitars for a Puritania cover which was originally for another project but will release it as a cover with Mazikeen. I’m currently doing the synths for it. Also, there’s an original which was late to make it on to the solace release that will be released this year.
I have to say that sounds like a really creative set up for your gear! What’s the strangest way you’ve managed to set up your gear for recording in the past? I did a lot of experimenting with Guitar Tones Plucking styles and Recording in the early years of the project to try and create my own sound. . I had a few different mics and a heap of different Speakers and Cabs including some stuff I customized. Different pickups and different mic types and positions but really the Miced Practice Amp in the bathtub with a metalzone was probably the most out there thing I did for guitar tone. Something no ones ever picked up on with the full album release is the first track is actually done with a miced practice Amp and all the rest of the songs where DI recorded and reamped by EOL studios. That was not intentionally done for any reason it just happened that way. The EP recording was done with a Customised Vader Cab that had mods to have the 2 bottom speakers sealed and the two top speakers open backed. Also the two top speakers where changed to governor’s. An off centre SM57 on a bottom speaker(very standard) and another SM57 Mic stuck into the open back of the Cab. And almost into the back of the Governor Speaker which added a lot of Depth and a growl. The Valvestate Amp also had alot of mods. The other thing that was a little off the traditional way of BM Recording is I use a Large Scale 6 string Baritone with very heavy tight strings and Thick Sharp Gravity Picks and I attack the guitar with as much aggression as the strings allow. This gives the guitar an Agonizing Tone.
Congratulations on releasing “The Solace of Death”- how would you personally describe this release?
I set out to create an album with as much fury as possible without it being ugly or difficult for a fan of extreme metal to listen too. I think I did a reasonable job of this and proud of the work that everyone involved has done
Do you have any musical directions in the future you are planning on taking Mazikeens listeners in?
Beyond another cover release and an original that will possibly have a film clip to go with it there is not a lot as far as future planning goes apart from talk so far. I am currently working with a local drummer on a cover and a few originals that are more in line with Straya style DM. I hope to find a local crazy vocalist who can play a bit of bass so we can have a 3 piece outfit.
That sounds awesome- do you have anyone in particular in mind that you’re thinking of working with for vocals at this point?
Ash Meadows for Drums but no one is lined up for vocals as yet.
So are there any plans for any Mazikeen live performances after all the restrictions have lifted?
Ive always hoped to do Mazikeen shows.
Thanks again for your time and thankyou so much for being interviewed for Morgue Rot, Andrew- I can’t wait to see what you do in the future with Mazikeen and your upcoming projects.