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Ira Hunter

Ira Hunter

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AU Vol. 13–6 Issue 78

Sunday, 01 October 2017 00:00 Published in Volume 13

Absolute Underground #78 - Halloween Issue of Doom! featuring horror icon interviews with Doug Bradley, Tim Curry, Linnea Quigley, William Stout, Tarman, John Dugan, Susan Backlinie, Dick Warlock.

Also in this issue:

  • Nearly Dead
  • Bison
  • Paul Archer
  • Meat Loaf
  • Beefcake
  • Goblin
  • Dreadnoughts
  • Return of the Leech
  • Unsane

AU Vol. 13–5 Issue 77

Tuesday, 01 August 2017 00:00 Published in Volume 13

Absolute Underground #77 - Molten Metal Issue featuring interviews Gene Simmons of KISS, Diamond Head,Venom Inc, Galaktikon's Brendon Small, and Quiet Riot's Frankie Banali.
Plus we check in with Sam Dunn about his latest project Welcome to Wacken VR.


Also in this issue:

  • Neck of the Woods
  • Anciients
  • Dropkick Murphys
  • The Creepshow
  • Dead Boys
  • M.O.D. 
  • Zaum
  • Aggression
  • B.A. Johnston

Out For A Riff

Saturday, 12 August 2017 20:55 Published in Underground News

Black River Productions & Art Signified Present


Out For A Riff is a brand-new heavy metal BBQ taking place at the Waldorf in Vancouver, BC on August 26th. It is set to feature 14 local and international bands over the course of the day, along with art, food, and merch vendors. We had a chance to chat with the co-organizers at Black River Productions and Art Signified to learn about the origins of the event, and what to expect from the inaugural year. 


Monday, 31 July 2017 15:07 Published in Underground News


Monday, 31 July 2017 14:55 Published in Underground News

Element Music Festival

Monday, 31 July 2017 14:38 Published in Underground News


The property at Snug Lake, home to the first annual Element Music Festival, August 3-6, was purchased in Spring of 2014 by Rob Christy. Since the purchase, it has been the team's dream to have a summer festival on the beautiful landscape with amazing views of the mountains surrounding it. “We’ve been looking for years. Looking for the right piece of property,” said Keither, “and our friend Rob has been keeping his eye on this property for a long time.  He didn’t tell us about when it went to auction, he was all over it.  He gave us a call and was like “dudes, get in your cars and come check this place out!”  We checked it out, we quit our jobs and moved here.”


“There’s so much serendipity,” said Keither, one of four festival organizers said about the creation of buying this property and creating this dream with some of his best friends. “We traveled to the States for so many years to see the bands we like. In our entire lives, there has never been a jam band festival in Canada.”


Bonfire Festival was a festival on the Sunshine Coast for many years that was created by Keither and his team. It was considered a “jam band festival,” but nothing like this year’s Element Music Festival.  “It was such a small scale,” said Keither. Bonfire had an attendance of 450 in 2005, and grew rapidly in 2006 with an attendance of 1200. Over the years, Bonfire had many issues with venue location and had to move from the Sunshine Coast to the Pemberton area, which was like starting over. “When you keep having to move locations, you can’t grow.”


Now that Element Music Festival organizers own their venue, they can build the festival every year.  This year is just the beginning. With the audience they built up through the Bonfire Festival, and with the purchase of their new property, Element Music Festival was ready to be birthed.


The team feels that with all the work they put into the festival, the property, building their audience, bringing in a stage and infrastructure to the Snug Lake Amphitheatre grounds... it’s now permanent.  ”We aren’t going anywhere,” said Keither.

“Rob, Bruce and I sat down and we went, okay, we have our venue.  In a dream world, who would we want to book?  Well, Phish is out of the question, for now…who knows about the future?  The next band on the list was The String Cheese Incident, and we’ve known these guys since 1999…and it would be really good to have a Garaj Mahal reunion.”


“We just got on the phone with some of the agents, we started sending pictures of the venue, told them our idea of building this incredible ‘mecca’ for jambands and this venue that can be compared to The Gorge Amphitheatre, on a smaller scale…it’s a lot like Hornings Hideout”.  Many attendees of the 2016 EMF are already referring to Snug Lake as 'The Gorge of the Okanagan/Kootenays'.  “The Gorge is 27,000 (capacity), when we’re done development, we’ll be in the 7000-8000 range” says Duggan, “and we've got a lake, right on site!”


With a population of 3000 in Princeton, BC, festival organizers can’t rely on the local community to attend the festival. The festival is looking at a crowd of over 4000 and have ticket holders from over 22 states, 7 provinces & 7 countries (Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Netherlands & England). The festival site has 8 lakes within a 20-minute drive and 3 lakes within a walking distance.


The festival has 4 nights of music with individual day passes that include parking & overnight camping, and the festival is highly encouraging people to stay the night so there is no drinking & driving.


The Element Music Festival won’t be serving alcohol, but there is a BYOB policy in place so people can bring their own alcohol to drink anywhere on site. Big Fun Circus will be on site and are coined the "Avatars of Joy" who specialize in circus performance and festival fun for both adults and children.


Top acts at the festival this year are: The String Cheese Incident, Garaj Mahal, Steve Kimock, Five Alarm Funk, Brickhouse, Big Easy Funk Ensemble, Artist-At-Large, Roosevelt Collier, Bokanté, Oteil Burbridge (Dead & Company) & Naryan Padmanabha.


I got to talk to Michael Kang from The String Cheese Incident from his home in Santa Cruz and this is what he had to say, “It takes time (to build a festival), but if you go into it and create a good experience, people will always come back. BC is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been”, he said. Kang is excited to play his new electric mandolin handcrafted by a renowned guitar designer, Scott Walker (www.scottwalkerguitars.com). Kang is a pioneer and key player in the evolution of the electric mandolin. “Scott’s a bad-ass builder…it’s been a work in progress, not too many people make these things. Kang’s 5-string octave mandolin is one of kind and he thinks that someday they will become more popular.


You can plan on seeing Kang sitting in on many peoples sets at Element Music Festival set to happen on August 3-6 at Snug Lake Amphitheatre near Princeton, BC in the gorgeous Cascade Mountains. The forecast is calling for blue skies, hot weather and starry nights. Weekend and day passes are available at www.elementfestival.info.

AU Vol. 13–4 Issue 76

Thursday, 01 June 2017 00:00 Published in Volume 13


Absolute Underground #76 - Punk Rock Bowling Issue featuring interviews with Cock Sparrer, Municipal Waste, The Real McKenzies, Choking Victim, The Spits, The Venomous Pinks, Rat Scabies with The Mutants, Lion’s Law. Also Calgary Horror Con and John Kassir the voice of the CryptKeeper.

Also in this issue:

  • Sado Mannequin
  • Pervcore
  • Return of the Leech
  • West of Hell
  • John Kassir The Cryptkeeper 
  • Annihilator
  • Unleash The Archers
  • Vancouver Fetish Weekend
  • World Ski and Snowboard Festival

DEAD ASYLUM - Interview

Thursday, 15 June 2017 17:35 Published in Underground News

Samantha Landa and Mike Lister of DEAD ASYLUM (Vancouver, CANADA)

AU: How are you? Where are you now, what is your view is out the nearest window? Set the scene for us.

 Sam: Well, I’m lying in bed at 11:30 am on the Saturday after our album release show in Vancouver, and thinking I should join the land of the living soon. The nearest window is a weird angled skylight, so I can see from here is the sky and the corner of a tree. It’s not very exciting. And here I was, thinking I was being so badass answering these interview questions from the comfort of...well, you get it.

 Mike: I’m at St. Augustine’s having a beer. The Skytrain just rolled by and I see somebody setting up their market of stolen goods.

 AU: You're on the verge of dropping your latest effort “Death Always Wins”. How does it feel and what are your goals with this release?

 Sam: It feels good, but at the same time, anytime you put out music you really believe in, you’re going to be a little nervous about the response. We make music we like, and that isn’t going to change, but there’s still the question of “will anyone else like it?” So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. The goals with this release are to capture Dead Asylum’s sound that has been developing since our debut (2013’s General Carnage). We spent the last few years dealing with lineup changes and reevaluating where we want to go as a band, and now it’s full steam ahead. It’s a more developed sound now, and we think we’ve figured out who we are (as cheesy as that sounds). We’d like to get as many ears on Death Always Winsas possible, and that starts with a US tour in August/September.

 Mike: The goal is world domination.

 AU: The recording process can be rewarding and challenging at the same time. Tell us about the highest highs and lowest lows of tracking this record in studio. What did you learn?

 Mike: I’ll start with the lows. Recording guitar solos is not my forte because I’m a rhythm guitar player first and foremost. Having to record them over and over and over again and making sure they’re in the right key and the timing is right is a process, especially with two astute musicians like Eric and Roger lurking over you as you’re recording. The highest point for me was recording ‘Welcome’ because I screamed so high and so hard that when I listened back it just gave me goosebumps.

 Sam: As a drummer, I usually focus more on the energy of a live show than the precision of my playing, so studio work is always stressful for me. There’s nothing like playing through a song and messing up the same part--and the more I focus on it, the more frustrated I get, and the worse I play. I’m working on relaxing more, which is tough when your playing is isolated and all ears are on you. But let’s focus on the highs now. Being done. And also listening back to a part you nailed and feeling like you don’t suck that much after all.

 AU: For all the drummers out there, what is your game changing piece of drum gear?

 Sam: Having a drop clutch for my hi-hats was a game changer.

 AU: Current influences in your playing... what are you listening to and finding inspiring?

 Mike: Old school. Motorhead is what inspires me the most. And James Hetfield’s rhythm playing is incredibly inspirational to me.

 Sam: Currently listening to lots of melodic stuff. Mors Principium Est, Omnium Gatherum. Finland rules.

AU: Tell us about how the band formed, and what keeps you going, keeps you together.

 Sam: Mike and I started jamming and writing, and joined forces with another pair of musicians who had been playing together for years. We were all dying to play shows again.

 Mike: What keeps us going? Dogged idiocy. We’re too stubborn to stop. As Lemmy said, “We’re not qualified to do anything else.”

 AU: Since you're doing some dual album release shows with Unleash The Archers, we need to ask an important archery themed question: if you were the leader of a small medieval army on a open battlefield versus a similar sized army, would you prefer to have a dozen archers to unleash (for a distance approach) or a trio of heavy armour horse cavalry (for a up-close shock approach) and why?

Mike: Well, considering the English longbow at one point was considered the pinnacle of modern warfare, archers win over heavy cavalry every time. Personally, I’d prefer to swing an axe into somebody’s face, but hey, if I had to choose, it’s archers.

 Sam: What he said.

 AU: Death Always Wins; what do you think about advances in medicine and death being delayed or non-existent? We could live in a digital world infinitely!

 Sam: There’s an episode of Black Mirror about this. If I could save my consciousness and live forever in a digital utopia, as long as it’s big enough, maybe I would. But death will always claim your physical body--and it should, because this planet wasn’t made to handle billions of immortal humans.

 Mike: No matter how many cures they come up with, you’re still going to get old and die. Even with all the medicines in the world, you can’t beat the clock. Death will always win, even if it takes 100 years. It’ll win eventually. Patience.

 AU: Who do you want to tour with in Europe? Let's reach out to 'em via this article and make connections.

Mike: Kreator, Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy.

Sam: What Mike said--especially Kreator--but I’d also love to tour with Izegrim (Listenable Records). They’re from the Netherlands and kick ass!

 AU: Last words to Canadians in the mosh pit:

 Sam: \m/

 Mike: Show me something!

-Erik Lindholm



HELLYEAH - Interview

Thursday, 08 June 2017 10:07 Published in Underground News


 Absolute Underground: Hello out there, who are we talking to? Where are you? Set the scene for us.

 Hey it's Kyle Sanders.  Enjoying a nice day off in Boise Idaho.... actually headed to a private outdoor shooting range to blow some shit up and let off some steam!!

 AU:You're set to tour Canada and the US for the summer. What are you most looking forward to, and what are your goals for the tour?

It's a pretty exciting time. Love Falls is making a huge impact at radio and our fans are crazier than ever. Really looking forward to hitting Vancouver.  

 AU:Everyone in the band comes from other established metal bands with distinct sounds. How do you find the HELLYEAH sound and separate that from other projects? What do you describe as the HELLYEAH sound?

 The band is really back to the roots where we all came from. Heavy music. The band is more focused and more driven than ever before.  We write the music we love and it translates great to our fans....new and old. 

 AU: Thematically, what is the latest record “UNDEN!ABLE” about for you? What inspires you about the record?

 This is actually the first record where this line up all contributed to and it shows.  This record means a lot to us all....Blood for Blood really turned a corner for the band so to follow that up wasn't easy, but it seemed to come pretty naturally.  Now we're starting to think about the next one. 

 AU:What music is on your workout playlist right now? What gets you stoked?

 Funny you ask.....I just left the gym before heading to the range. Today it was Mastodon, Maiden, Sabbath, Kyng, and Clutch!

 AU: The band has ties with Dallas, TX via Vinnie Paul. Do you have a good hockey adventure story with the Dallas Stars for us? Also, who is your favourite player of all time and why?

 Yeah it's fun going to Stars games with VP. There's of course the crazy story of the Stanley Cup and Vinnie Paul but I can't go into that. Haha!!  

I grew up on Atlanta and remember going to Flames games with my dad and have some great memories when I was really young. I always liked Dan Bouchard. 

 AU: On your previous two tours you've been out with In Flames and KORN. What did you learn from each band on the road?

 It's always cool to tour with other bands and see how they operate. Everyone has their own methods and routines. There's always room for learning. Making your camp on point and running smoothly. But mainly it's about respect for other bands...weather you like them or not.  I am a fan of both those bands so it was a great time. 

 AU: Who do want to play with most live, and why?

 I love old school metal so Metallica, Priest , Maiden I love.  I really dig the Deftones and Gojira as well. 

 AU: Last words to Canadian metalheads out there:

Other than crossing that damn border we love Canada. You guys are some of the most passionate crazed fans out there.  We really hope to put together a full run West to East. Hopefully that will happen soon. Canada rules!!!







MONDAY, JUNE 12, 2017


Doors: 7:00PM Show: 8:00PM

AU Vol. 13–3 Issue 75

Saturday, 01 April 2017 00:00 Published in Volume 13

Absolute Underground #75 - 420 Issue! Featuring interviews with Jodie Emery, The Green Ceiling, Hempology 101, and The Weed Olympics.

Also in this issue:

  • Testament
  • D.R.I.
  • The Isotopes
  • Phil Anselmo
  • Ninjaspy
  • Drakulas
  • Cro-Mags

Copyright Absolute Underground 2011/2012. All rights reserved.

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