Contact E mail : email@example.com- www.cyberramp.net/~aska - ASKA HQ PO Box 181144 Arlington, TX 76096-1144 USA
Answers by GC -- George Call (lead vocals/guitars) DK -- Darren Knapp (vocals/guitars) KK -- Keith Knight (vocals/bass guitar)
1 - ASKA has released with "nine tongues" a future classic heavy metal record. But it's not your first album. Can you tell us more about the first ASKA Album?
GC: Actually, NINE TONGUES is our third CD. Our first recording was mostly a learning experience for us. We were rather new to being in the studio and thus didn't exert as much control over our music as we would today. I think the music was well written but the production was not what we had envisioned going in. The producer was going for a "wet," Dokken type production and being inexperienced in the studio, we didn't quite know how to effectively assert our dissatisfaction with his course. I'd say that by the time we recorded our second disc, IMMORTAL, we were much more vocal about our creative input in regards the music, production, etc. So much so in fact that by the fourth or fifth session we got into it with the engineer/producer! After that we were a little intimidated again but it was clear now that ASKA was runnin' the show!
2- What are your most important influences?
DK: More than anyone, KISS is the band I look to for inspiration on how a REAL Rock 'N' Roll band does things. They were (and still are) the biggest, baddest band of all time in my opinion. I love their music, and nobody puts on a better concert!
KK: I would have to say Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Queensryche.
GC: I'd have to say KISS first and foremost followed by Judas Priest, and, though I didn't know it at the time, IRON MAIDEN!
3 - What sort of difference can be made between these 2 albums?
DK: There's a huge transition in styles from our first to our third album. The direction has certainly gotten heavier with each ASKA release.
4 - Can you explain why some songs are very different from the whole album like "little sister"s for example?
GC: Well, we didn't want to completely alienate some of the fans we'd picked up on the first album so we threw a song or two in there for them. I think we'll continue to do this in the future as well with at least one song per disc. I don't begrudge KISS a song like "Beth" or BLACK SABBATH a song like "Laguna Sunrise" or PRIEST's "Johnny B. Goode" as long as the majority of the particular record in which the song appears is not like that.
DK: I like the way George puts it... "Beth," and the other tunes he mentions are really good songs. KISS gained tons of fans with "Beth." It was a chart topper and scored tons of sales. However, KISS just wouldn't be KISS if every song they did sounded like "Beth"!
5 - You don't hesitate to play as often as possible & everywhere. Can you tell us more about countries you've played & those you'd like to play?
DK: I love to travel! I truly think my life is richer for having seen all the countries I've been to with ASKA. If I had to narrow it down--and believe me, it's tough--I'd have to say that Spain and Germany are at the top of my list of favorite countries we've played. We did visit France, but unfortunately have never played there--I'm definitely looking forward to doing so someday. I'd also like to jam for the Aussies--I bet they love to rock! One of these days, we'll have to open for AC/DC in Australia!
GC: Man, the countries we have toured all have a special place in my heart. The places we've played, the cool people we've met... There is something about Metal music that transcends cultural differences and brings people together like nothing else can. For countries I'd like to play, I'd have to say Russia would be interesting and it's one of the few places left that we haven't been!
6- Your albums are self-produced. Why is it so hard for a band like yours to get a good deal?
GC: Well, it's not any news that Metal music as a genre took a nosedive in popularity there for several years. It went out of "fashion" so to speak. It's coming back now though because of something nobody counted on... Rockers weren't listening to the music because it was fashionable, we were listening to it because it kicked fucking ass! The true metal fan--the true rocker--wasn't going anywhere. This was the music we loved and we were gonna listen to it whether YOU liked it or not. Major record companies didn't understand this mentality. They thought that because MTV and radio had abandoned the genre, it was dead in the water. Well, they were wrong and what they thought was "dead" has come back to bite 'em in the ASKA!! ha ha!
DK: Hey! We play the music we love! If the "major" record labels aren't into what we are doing, then fuck 'em--we'll do it ourselves! That's why we released our first three albums independently. Don't get me wrong, though, we'd love nothing more than for the major labels to get their heads out of their asses and embrace heavy metal again. In fact, that is exactly what they are doing. I know that Columbia Records, for instance, has signed several 80's metal bands recently. They've also approached us and are considering adding ASKA to their roster. But, if we never get signed to a major label, that's simply not going to stop us. We'll keep on crankin' out the albums by our fuckin' selves!
7 - Do you think that ASKA, as Manowar, is a real true metal band? & so, how do you define false metal?
GC: ASKA is a metal band, period. In my opinion there are only two types of bands that really matter...Good ones and bad ones! That's the only differential a music fan really needs! As for my definition.."False metal" is when somebody is just following metal as a fad or listening or playing it because it happens to be popular at the time. There are a lot of "False Alternative" and "False Grunge" bands and fans as well. As soon as the music loses fashion, off they go to the next HOOLA-HOOP.
8 Heavy metal is back with lots of new bands & some come back of "oldies" like Judas, Dio, Maiden, ...Do you think this return is due to the popularity of prog metal
GC: I think that the established media took so many potshots at metal and tried so hard to kill the genre that it has now backfired in their faces. And I don't believe there's been a "return" of the oldies. They've been here all along releasing disc after disc or replacing members but still officially "active." It's just now that they're getting all of this attention again from the press.
9 How do you explain this new increase of interest in "classical " heavy metal?
DK: Music runs in cycles for most people--that's the way it's always been. It only stands to reason that the mindless masses of music listeners would finally come back to the "classic" sound of metal. I consider those of us who stuck with metal when the media proclaimed it "dead" to be the "true" rockers. We never stopped loving the music. Mark my words, the "classic" days of metal are almost upon us again. When it gets here, you'll see tons of people shedding their Pearl Jam and Nirvana T-shirts in favor of '90's metal bands like ASKA!
10 What are your coming projects? Can we know more about the next album?
GC: Oh man, the new album is gonna kick some serious ass! Put it this way, if NINE TONGUES didn't get you to open the door the first time we knocked, it's comin' down for sure now 'cause we're breaking out the battering ram! The followup is almost 100% written and we hope to be in the studio within the next few months to begin laying these suckers to tape! I can't wait! DK: I love the new ASKA material! With any luck we could have the new CD finished right after the new year--just in time to kick-start 1999!
11 Do you search for distributors? Where? At which conditions?
GC: We're always on the lookout for distributors. Matter of fact, if you're a distributor reading this contact us NOW!! We do have limited distribution throughout the U.S. and abroad but I'd love to see us in EVERY store in EVERY country! We are also available through many of the reputable metal mail-order companies in the states so it may be difficult to get our album but not impossible!
12 But tell us how to do to get your 2 albums? At which prices?
GC: At present, our second CD is completely sold out. ASKA & NINE TONGUES can be ordered directly from the band at the following address: ASKA HQ PO Box 181144 Arlington, TX 76096-1144 USA Please include $15 per disc ordered plus $3 shipping to Europe. US funds only please.
DK: I'd also like to invite everyone to visit the ASKA web site at: www.cyberramp.net/~aska On the site, there is an updated order form you can print out to your printer. Simply fill out the form and send in your order!
13 A last word?
GC: We are extremely pleased with the positive response that NINE TONGUES has elicited, not only from rock critics but from metal fans around the world. We thank you for your support and look forward to playing heavy metal forever, despite and IN spite of current trends!
KK: Keep you eyes open, we could be playing in a town near you!!!!
DK: Keep the faith--heavy metal lives!