Interview with Razormaze at the Middle East
By Jim Slimedog
Razormaze is a Boston thrash band that I really like as some of the more extreme elements in current metal takes me awhile to get. The strong, high traditional vocals of Alex Citrone with the pyrotechnics of Dave Carlino’s guitar backed by the kick ass rhythm section of Nick Lazzaro on drums and Sam Nevin on bass creates a wild, high energy live show. And winning Best Local Metal Band in the Phoenix this year kind of implies they got their finger on the pulse of current head bangers. They are one of my favorite metal bands on Thrash N Bang.
Slimedog- How did you guys get started?
Alex (Vocals)- Nick and I started a band called The Hounds, started a joke band after that called Agriculture, which was about farming. (Laughter) It was silly stuff; it was supposed to be Luddite metal, like the first hardcore band, Amish metal, all about being organic.
Nick (Drums)- it was totally silly.
Alex- So after that we decided we wanted to do something serious. I always loved thrash metal and I never played in a thrash band before so we started Razormaze in 2007. It started to kick off and people really liked it.
Nick- We did an East coast tour and that went great and around that time our original guitar player, Jack, he went to China and we’re like, “What do we do now?” This guy we know Dave, a really sweet shredder, and he kind of filled in for us.
Slimedog- Does he play a 12 string?
Nick- It’s 8 strings.
Alex- But he can do it, he’s incredible.
Nick- So he’s a great balance to us because we like strong riffing and good songwriting and he brings all the technical stuff to it.
Slimedog- Congratulations on being voted Best Local Metal Band of 2011 by the Boston Phoenix.
Alex- We were not expecting that. We were up against a lot of great bands; it was a really good pick this year. We were surprised that we won. We were actually on the road at the time.
Slimedog- I’m not surprised I think you guys sound great.
Alex & Nick- Thank you.
Slimedog- How would you describe your style?
Alex- Well, it started off as very traditional thrash metal but as we go on it gets a little more progressive, a little bit heavier. With Dave in the band, like we said, he sort of challenges me to be a better player. Now, I couldn’t really say what we are- I guess, Technical Progressive Thrash Metal would be the really douchy label.
Nick- It’s tough to say we just play thrash ‘cause we just kind of agree that we play heavy metal.
Slimedog- Any recording plans coming up?
Nick- It’s been a long journey, since we did the “Miseries” EP, to come up with new material but we’re about 8 songs deep toward a 10 song album.
Alex- Soon we’re going back with the guys who did the EP, Fred Sladkey at Mudskipper studio. He does a really great job of capturing our sound.
Nick- Totally professional quality, he does it up in his bedroom. Our first recording (before this EP) was done in a very professional studio setting and I found all the professionalism made it a little too clean and didn’t come across as strong as our live sound. And Fred can capture that and it’s more what you get when you see us live.
Slimedog- Who writes in the band?
Nick- It’s definitely a group effort. We’re all so different; what are backgrounds are and what are tastes are. Basically our writing process is, someone brings something to the table, a riff or a partially written song, and then we all dissect it and turn it into our own. Eventually when we decide, “This is an ok song,”- that’s what Razormaze is.
Alex- My theory is if we are all on board with it than other people will like it, too ‘cause even in the band we all like different shit, if we can all say, “This rules!” other people will like it too.
Slimedog- Who writes the lyrics?
Nick- Mostly Alex.
Alex- Sam (Bass) definitely helps me out, finalizing them. It’s definitely from personal experience and personal interest, that’s where they come from.
Slimedog- What do you predict for the future of metal?
Nick- I think, in America anyway, it’s getting better, it more eclectic. I think more people are open to listening to the genre and it’s definitely seeing a boom. Because of the way the music industry is set up now theirs death metal bands in the top 50 Billboard charts and that’s happened before but that hasn’t happened for a long time.
Slimedog- I think it’s a great time for metal and bands, who if they’re not death metal, they’re at least influenced by it and still be successful.
Nick- The great thing about heavy metal is it has a very loyal fan base and I think our challenge is-
(A girl is yelling at Nick from across the street, “Nick, buy me a pack of cigarettes.”)
Nick- I will, I’ll buy you some smokes.
Slimedog (yelling at the girl)- You can’t say that, You’re not in the interview. (He proclaims, visibly upset).
Nick- Anyways, you have to transcend the genre. For awhile I felt that metal was getting to the point of, “How extreme can I be?” and I feel a more healthy place to be is you take some of the extreme elements, like technical death metal and make it a little more accessible to people. If you can kind of encapsulate the genre than it reaches a lot more people.
Alex- With us, we’re trying to incorporate so many different elements at the same time. We started off as a traditional thrash band but we’re not that anymore. We’re a lot of different things and though that is our base we have to move on.
Slimedog- Who drinks the most in the band?
Nick- Sam or Dave (old R&B act), I probably drink the least.
Slimedog- I saw you doing a shot earlier.
Nick- Yeah, if you give me a shot and a beer, I’m fucking great. I don’t need anymore.
(Sam enters the interview area)
Slimedog (accusingly)- You drink the most in the band! (Still shaken from the earlier interruption).
Sam- Yeah, probably but I wasn’t off drinking I was having a nice falafel dinner with my girlfriend.
Alex- But I think we need to look at your track record.
Sam- Oh, absolutely, absolutely. (A vodka reference, I believe)
Slimedog- So who’s most likely to become a serial killer?
All (simultaneously)- Dave! (Laughter)
Slimedog- I love when it’s unanimous.
Alex- I love Dave but he’s a sociopath. There’s no doubt about it.
Nick- Dave is an aggressive young man, very opinionated. He can be very extreme but that’s part of his genius. (I had asked for Dave to be part of the interview but for my own safety the band had warned me against this.)
Slimedog- Any funny stories about disaster gigs?
Alex- We did a full U.S. tour for the first time. It went really well but some of the places were completely fucking bogus. In Redding, California- it was like a dude and his two daughters and that was in a garage and there was no one else there. And we’re like playing covers, having fun and after we’re like, “Hey, where is everybody?” And they’re like, “Well, we didn’t promote your show,” and we’re thinking, “What the fuck is wrong with you?”
Check out their profile here and cd review here. I also can recommend them live as they put on a great show.