Interview with Ray Mazzola of Full Blown Chaos
While on the phone from one of the first stops on their tour with death metal veterans Malevolent Creation, Full Blow Chaos lead singer Ray Mazzola spoke about their brand new self-titled release, what their goals are for 2011, and about what this Texas t
Why did you guys decide to make the new album a self-titled release?
When the band first started, we did a self -titled EP ‘cause we wanted the name of the band to speak for itself; we wanted to stand alone. This is pretty much a rebirth for a band. We paid our dues. Get back out there and do our thing. With this record, we had that same mentality, that same anger, that same frustration, and the same struggle that was there in the beginning. That’s where our mentality is at. It’s revamped. There’s a new, fresh feeling. We’re hungrier than we were before. We have that drive and we want the name to speak for itself. That’s why we made it Full Blown Chaos. Just let it speak for itself and sit on its own.
How’d you guys hook up with Ironclad?
We’ve known Trevor from Unearth for years just from us all doing shows together and then tours together. We did Ozzfest together and we’ve always been friendly for a long time. We did a show a while back and Trevor asked “Hey, who’s doing your next record?” And we’re like, “You know what, we don’t know.” It is mutually beneficial, for Ironclad and for us. It was just one of those things. One hand washes the other. We like to work, they like to work. It worked out.
Now that you guys are a five piece explain a little bit about how different that can be for you now onstage.
It’s definitely gonna be more versatile. We’re able to a lot more where we can crush more dynamically with it. We’re able to write differently now. We can write within our means. The band has evolved musically. We’re not just a three chord hardcore band anymore. We have depth and have had depth for a very long time, but it’s just been hard to musically achieve it live. But now that we’re a five piece, we can do it live. We never wanted to record stuff that we couldn’t play live as a rule of thumb. That’s pretty much how we want to work. Now we can shred, crush, do everything that we need to do. All the breakdowns are still there, we’re just able to sweeten it out a bit better. We wanted it to be as aggressive as possible. We wanted people to hear the music and get what they need out of it.
You are currently on tour at Malevolent Creation. How’s it going so far?
We started out with a couple of our own shows to just kind of bleed out to the tour. One of the clubs totally fucking kicked it on us. They closed the doors before we even got there on a 12-hour drive. So we walked out on that and then we had to backtrack to a different venue. Malevolent Creation weren’t able to start the tour until yesterday because their bus broke down and then their axel on their trailer fell off. It sounds like our type of bad luck. Full Blown Curse. So a couple of the other shows got cancelled. We’re in a little bit of a financial stupor right now. It’s been a mess. We’re trying to maintain a little bit of composure just to make sure that we can kick off this tour financially. We’re not kids; we have kids. It’s different when you’re younger and everything. When we get older it’s a labor of love, but you still gotta pay bills, got mouths to feed. You’ve gotta keep a roof over everyone’s head and we’re just trying to keep rolling with it.
Next to Spinal Tap, you could be the most hard luck band ever. You guys have been through the wringer so many times.
It’s second nature now to us. We take a beating and it’s like, “Alright, whatever. You know? What do you guys want? Bring it on.” It doesn’t stop us. So we don’t stop. We stop when we feel it’s time… we’ll take a little break here, there, whatever. Life hits us and we hit it back.
It leads for good lyrical inspiration I would imagine.
Oh yeah. Well, we’ve never been the cool band. We’re not like the hype band or anything like that. We’re the fucking blue-collar working band. We work in factories. We work in retail. We get off tour we go right back to work and that’s pretty much how it’s always been. We’re not afraid to work and we have a lot of personal depth because of that. A lot of bands get a tour and say, “Hey, we’re on a bus and we’re 18 years old.” And I’m like, “Hey, good for you.” But discipline, there’s no discipline in it.
Do you think that the discipline came through your hardcore upbringing as much as it is just a labor of just learning the ropes?
I do think it’s because of- being from New York, just alone, you have that mentality. You have that work ethic. Don’t forget the struggle, don’t forget the streets. There’s a reason. There’s a reason that’s true. If you’re in a band and you come from New York, you know what it’s like to fucking play in front of three people on a regular basis or you can play in front of 3,000. It’s always hit or miss. So you have to learn a certain level of diversity and like personal strength in accepting how the shows are gonna be. There’s discipline. You have to accept and just give 100 percent every time. I do feel that’s because of New York hardcore. I do feel like that has a lot to do with it. You just gotta keep working. Even though, I mean we still technically a hardcore band that listens to metal and we’re a metal band that listens to hardcore, whatever you want-- however you want to genre it up, I think we’re a heavy band. We’re a heavy band from New York and that we feel have our roots and our ethics.
When you’re not playing music, what do you do when you’re home?
I recently moved down to Texas to live with my fiancée. So I’m down there now. I commute for the band. I just go back and forth and I work in a box factory. So yeah, I do 12 to 15 hours shifts in a Champion container company. We make boxes for Bell Helicopter and Ford Racing and stuff like that for like engines and everything. Pain in the ass job but it pays the bills. It’s not like we make that fat “Hey I just sold 100,000 records in one week” type of money. That’s just unheard of nowadays. People don’t understand. We don’t play for the money. We play because we love it and it’s a calling. It’s a labor of love. It’s just what it is.
What’s the worst thing about living in Texas for a Brooklyn guy?
The food’s different. They have great meat and that’s about it. It’s just the cultural shock. It’s a little slower. It’s like if my accent comes out a little bit and I say “ax” instead of “ask” I get abused. You know? It’s not ignorance, it’s the accent. That’s how it is. So it’s a little different. But we’re New Yorkers, so we can evolve with everything. We roll with the punches. It’s not a problem.
What’s your favorite song on the new album?
One of ‘em? To be honest I love every song. They all have personal meaning and it’s really hard to pick one song. It’s just the whole-- if we could play the whole album front to back every night, we would.
How long is your set this time around?
Between half a hour and 40 minutes. So we’re doing half old, half new. We’re doing like about four new songs and doing five or six of the old ones. We never deviate away from the originals.
How’s the reaction so far to the new stuff been live?
It’s been good. There’s a lot of metal heads are late to respond to breakdowns, but they get it. They get it. It’s been alright, it’s been alright. Everybody understands the circle pit.
Have you seen a discernable difference in the way the kids react? Have you seen more or less of an awareness of what to do or how to act or how not to be a dick in the pit?
There’s more respect, genres cross nowadays, but you’re gonna have knuckleheads everywhere. I mean that just comes with every generation. You’re gonna have the one kid that wants to be harder than everybody else and then ends up being singled out.
What’s the goal for Full Blown Chaos in 2011?
We want to tour as much as we possibly can. In the past we’ve done over 300 shows a year, for like years on end. We’re trying to go worldwide. We had Japan in January. We’re out on this tour now. We have Europe, the UK set again and we’re working on doing South America and Australia in the fall. We’ve got a lot of stuff on our plate. We just want to tour as much as we can and just get out to as many places in the world as we can.
Are you gonna go any place that you haven’t gone before? What places are you most excited about going to?
You know what I’m super excited about? We just came back from Japan, first time there and it was fucking incredible. What’s incredible is they have their own scene that’s just New York hardcore. I’m looking at old interviews that they just keep re-pressing… I’m like Billy Club Sandwich, EGH, Five Minute Major. I’m looking at, 36 Deadly Fists demo reviews in Entertainment Magazine. It’s incredible that they hold onto that work so much. I’m definitely looking forward to Australia, though. Australia, New Zealand. I want to hug a fucking koala. I want to be like one of these assholes that go there and take pictures of that, like I need that shit; I need that in my life. I need to hug a koala and punch a kangaroo and I’m not gonna be happy unless I can do that.
Get more info about the band and their album FULL BLOWN CHAOS from Ironclad Recordings @ www.ironcladrecordings.com