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INTERVIEW: Mark Menhgi & Alex Skolnick (Metal Allegiance)

Mark – We did our first show on Motorhead’s Motorboat cruise and then literally from there. Within twelve months we did our first shows, wrote our record, recorded our record and mixed our record, mastered our record and now we’re putting out that record. Worldwide in under twelve months.

Levi: Was the record inspired by the Roadrunner United record which came out a while ago?

Alex: I wasn’t familiar with the record…

Mark: I wasn’t familiar with it either. I’ve heard about it now, I’m still yet to hear it. From what I hear that record was conceived by the guy who signed us. The way he described it was, there were team captains and each person would be responsible for writing his songs. With us it was a lot different, there were four people in a room writing a record.

Alex: The small unit of us wrote the whole thing. And then we peppered it with all the guests.

Levi: All the guests would all have busy tour schedules. Was it hard getting everyone in to record?

Alex: The logistics were tough, we knew the timeframe we were working with, and we spoke to everybody, a lot of it was just “when can somebody do this?” Like if you’re going to do that track the first week of April, then we are going to work with so and so, last week of May. Somehow it came together but yeah we were biting our nails a couple of times. We knew we wanted it to come this year and in time, not the end of the year either. Luckily it worked out in the end.

Levi: What are your favourite tracks from the album?

Alex: I don’t want to pick favourites. Everybody was just amazing to work with, we all probably have different songs we lean towards. I’ve switched allegiances a couple of times, no pun intended. For a while “Dying Song” has been a big favourite because it was so different from everything on the record and it was fun to explore more of a 70s vibe. I think with all the songs you can hear we’re playing the stuff for real. It’s not an internet record, it’s not computer plug-ins, its real tone, its real gear, and it’s the way they used to make records.

Mark: For me lyrically speaking it’s “Can’t Kill the Devil”, and musically and lyrically it’s “Let Darkness Fall”. Two of the tracks I guess I’m personally closest to.

Alex: “Darkness” is another one of my picks too, just got to love the diversity in it. I love the fact that it’s second on the record, I love the fact that it just goes so many places and you’re not expecting it. So to me it’s a great setup for the rest of the record.

Levi: Working with such big artists, were there any ego clashes?

Alex: No, that was kind of a requirement for everybody to be a part of this. These are all people we like and like hanging out with as people. I can’t think of one person that I’m like “I want to avoid that guy”, if that was the case then they would not make the record. I think that makes it a better record because the feeling is good, it’s not done under a bunch of pretences. Working together, but you actually don’t like each other. Everyone likes working together, they’re all great people to work with. Very down to earth, egos can really get in the way.

Levi: The album drops in ten days, can we expect to see it on vinyl as well?

Mark: Yeah, I actually per-ordered a few myself.

Alex: I think it’s actually on the website, on the Nuclear Blast page you can order vinyls, you can order bundles.

Mark: I saw gold vinyl, red vinyl, clear vinyl, black vinyl. I’m a vinyl freak I actually just gave Alex a vinyl right now, a Black Sabbath record.

Levi: Which one?

Mark: Masters Of Reality, we’re both vinyl freaks. So it was important that this came out on vinyl.

Levi: Any chance of more lives shows soon?

Alex: We have several coming up, this works no matter what the line-up is. We did the bare minimum for a bunch of music students, we did some of the songs as a three piece. Just bass, drums and guitar and they went nuts! So it can work like that. We have an album release show that’s going to be a big event, it’s got a little over half the personnel from the record. We have a show in Mexico coming up that will be a small unit with just us and a singer. Then Japan, Loudpark that will be slightly bigger. It’s going to be a surprise every time, every show.

Levi: Will you come down to Australia too?

Alex: We hope so, we’re waiting for the invitation.

Mark: We’re waiting for that invite man!

Levi: Do you think you will do a sequel to this record as well?

Alex: We know we will.

Mark: Defiantly

Levi: I’m guessing you will get different musicians, if you could choose anyone who would it be?

Alex: I think it will be us four writing the record again, and we will be a part of it but we haven’t thought about it. There were some we had in mind we could see working with, it will be a surprise.

Levi: I don’t know if it would ever happen but do you think you could send a request to Lars Ulrich and Dave Mustaine to come on the record?

Mark: They’ve got to deal with Dave Ellfefson first. We love both those bands, they’re both amazing.

Alex: They don’t do a lot of guest spots…

Mark: Maybe you could put in that request for us

Levi: You never know it could happen…

Alex: Our door is open…

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