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Interview von: arne mit OJ, am: 23.05.2004 ]

Byzantine aus West Virginia führen alte und neue Metalzitate unter der Flagge der NAWOHM zusammen. Dabei setzen sie weniger auf Hardcore-Elemente als auf erprobte Hardrock- bzw. Thrash-Passagen und stets heavigen Sound. Die vier Musiker präsentieren sich als gestandene Metaller und rocken dabei heftig. HEAVY METAL to the max!!!


Musicscan: For those unfamiliar with Byzantine can you tell us who the members of the band are and how you got together.

Byzantine: OJ: Vocals, rhythm guitar, Cid: Bass, Tony: Lead, rhythm guitar, Wolfe: Drums, We got together around 3 years ago. We were all in local bands and they all fell apart at the same time. We gigged around for a while and then Chris Adler from Lamb of God heard our music and asked us to play some shows with them. After that, they got Prosthetic to take a listen and they liked us so they signed us.

Musicscan: What, where and when was your first show?

Byzantine: Our first show as a full band was October 6th, 2002. We played a local venue and it was great the crowd was huge since they knew us for a while. We gigged around a while with a drum machine before Wolfe joined the band. But that time doesnt really count!

Musicscan: What happened since then, how did you develop as a band?

Byzantine: We have just played a shitload of live shows, just trying to get better and bigger. We have also being doing alot of press for our album. Just trying to get the name "Byzantine" known world wide.

Musicscan: Reading reviews for prostethic releases i sometimes find this term "typical prosthetic band"? Do you feel like being such type of a band? Or can you imagine what people mean?

Byzantine: I understand that sometimes people think that Prosthetic is just a Metal Core label but that is not true. With bands like All That Remains, Wolf, and Byzantine the label has expanded it's sound to include old school heavy metal. I think Prosthetic is the perfect small label. Great bands and great people running the label.

Musicscan: What is Byzantine all about in general. What can the listeners expact from you, What makes Byzantine stand out?

Byzantine: We are just 4 rednecks from West Virginia trying to leave a good body of work with our music. We have alot of old school heavy metal influences (Forbidden, Exhorder, At The Gates) and we also have alot of newer influences (Opeth, Meshuggah, Fear Factory). You can expect a really good album full of HEAVY METAL!!!

Musicscan: Where do you see yourself in the grand sheme of heavy music?

Byzantine: I think we have a long way to go. I believe that we have a really good start and if we don't lose sight of what we are trying to achieve, we can have much success. But it is a very hard and uphill battle to have a career in music, we are just in the beginning stages of that.

Musicscan: Many of todays heavy bands seem to miss originality and passion. Your band has lots of both. Is it just a question of the right attitude?

Byzantine: It is a question of being very fucking lucky! (Laughs)

Musicscan: What do you miss within todays heavy music?

Byzantine: I miss the solos, but they are coming back. I love what heavy metal is doing today. If we take out the rap metal shit, it would be perfect!

Musicscan: What is the driving force making you create such wide-styled metal music?

Byzantine: The drive to succeed. Noone ever expected us to get signed to a label. Noone ever expected us to play all over the US. Noone ever expected us to have our album come out in Europe. We are setting new standards for ourselves everyday. We need to succeed so we don't think we wasted our time. It is very important for West Virginians to make something out of nothing.

Musicscan: I like to think that you need open minded listeners, because you play a well belanced mixture of different styles with a very modern and a smaller progressive touch sometimes. Did you had problems finding your crowd in the beginning?

Byzantine: We still have problems finding our crowd. We throw in a touch of everything so alot of people get turned off by it. Some people dont like us becuase we are not fast enough, or heavy enough. But we write music for ourselves and having 4 guys in this band who listen to everything from Slayer to Bjork to Lynard Skynard, you have to end up with a variety in your music. If you don't, than you did not express yourselves properly.

Musicscan: You are playing a style that if very difficult to please technical. How did the sound of Byzantine develop since you started out?

Byzantine: We started with a more straightforward sound. The songs always had a little melody but not alot of off time stuff. After Wolfe joined the band, we started experimenting with time signatures. Now we try to emulate our heroes. We have some off time Meshuggah stuff, we have some prog stuff like King Crimson, and we have some fast stuff like Megadeth. Who knows what our second album will sound like! (Laughs)

Musicscan: Do you have something like an overall vision in mind concerning bands sounding? What are you heading for? Tell me something about your ideals, please.

Byzantine: We just try to make everyone in the band happy. We are very anal about our playing and our music. So if we are happy, than most other people will like it as well. The only vision we have is to not write shitty music.

Musicscan: What have been your expactations for "the fundamental component" when you entered the studio? Did everything went out the way you expacted it? What are your feelings about the record?

Byzantine: We were scared to death! We recorded it locally on a small budget. We didnt have any big named producer or engineer. It was all home grown. So we were scared. Once we started getting into the heart of the recording we started thinking that we had a really good album on our hands. I loved how it turned out. I wish we would have had more time. It really set us on the path to making a good second album.

Musicscan: What was your main focus creating this new record onto? To create a well balanced whole with a permanent flow? That what i personally like so much about the record...

Byzantine: Our main focus was to make sure the record has solid songs from the first song to the last song. We tried really hard to have no filler on this album. After we had all the songs recorded, we realized that the album had alot of diversity, and we liked that! We are very pleased that the metal fans are seeing our vision.

Musicscan: The songs are one the one hand very diverse but at the same time also very focused/ in one line. Do you feel it same way?

Byzantine: The diversity and the focus was our goal from the beginning. We are always going to make sure that our music is diverse and not just fast or heavy.

Musicscan: Byzantine's sound is really powerfull and highly metallic, but also very melodic. Was your intention to create that particular sound or did it just happen?

Byzantine: Very intentional. The next album will have more diversity in it. You wait and see!

Musicscan: Is there someone that writes most of the music and comes up with the framework of a song, or do you just all jam around?

Byzantine: Most of our songs on the first album was written by one person and then took to practice and the rest of the band learned it. I wrote about 5 of the songs, Tony wrote 3, Wolfe wrote 1 and we all jammed and wrote the last one. We demo them on a 4-track and then take it to practice. The next album we are writing more in rehearsal.

Musicscan: If you would summarise the message and atmosphere Byzentine's music in one sentence. What would it be?

Byzantine: It is like a Warthog chasing a butterfly. The ugliness following the melody.

Musicscan: Your biggest wish to happen for Byzantine's future?

Byzantine: That we could quit our day jobs and just play music!

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