I had the great pleasure to once again interview Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza, singer for Hatriot and find out all about the band and their new album Heroes of Origin as well as their plans for the next Hatriot album and what’s in store for the fans!
HE: First of all congratulations on the new Hatriot album, Heroes of Origin. I love the album and was blown away at how well the band captured the 80’s. You haven’t missed a beat.
SZS: Thanks! That’s great, it’s pretty ferocious isn’t it and that’s the reaction we’ve been hearing
HE: How has the fan response to the new album been?
SZS: A lot of people are saying that it sounds like the 80’s as well, but there’s a very new nuance to it. There are blast beats; there’s breakdown in there. They’re kids, so they know what’s going on today. Cody and Nicholas listen to The Faceless and Black Dahlia and they’re very much aware of what’s going on today. With Kostas, he is so well in tune with old school thrash metal and remember he writes every riff and comes up with everything himself. I just write the lyrics to it. He’s only 24, imagine what he’ll be like at 34. This album doesn’t sound like you have a 19-year-old, a 20-year-old, a 22 and a 24-year-old playing the music, not at all. It’s been 100% and I have not yet read a bad review and we are searching for anything and everything. We’ve gotten perfect scores and perfect reviews. 10 killers, no fillers. We’re aware of what people are saying and want to know what people are thinking. The response has been what we were hoping for. We’re excited about that and gives us momentum to write the next record.
HE: It reminds me of Exodus a.k.a Gary Holt etc…
SZS: I think the influence is there. The kids are big fans of all of these guys. Those are their influences and now they get a chance to play alongside of them. For them it’s great. So if someone says it sounds very Gary Holtish in a part here or it sounds very Slayerish then thank you, that’s exactly what we wanted to do. I think we’ve taken the best elements of Bay Area Thrash as well as other areas. We haven’t been on tour since the record was released and we’re already written half of the new album, so to listen to the new songs, it’s like, WOW, we’re seeing the progression of the music already. It’s amazing.
HE: You were so right when you said your voice is better than ever.
SZS: Confidence has a lot to do with it. I keep myself in shape. I listen to nothing but this and play this. I don’t have a hobby. People ask: “So Zet, what do you do?” I play music. I have to go work during the day and then it’s metal. My life revolves around this band. When it was Dublin Death Patrol, Tenet or whatever band I’m in that’s what I do. I put my all into it. I am not even involved in side projects anymore though. This is THE project.
HE: It definitely shows through and I think your voice is even stronger than ever today.
SZS: I agree. I listened to Force of Habit the other day, just to listen to it and I was like I fuckin’ destroy myself now. I listened to the vocals and thought I should never have done stuff like that vocally. I like the way, I do things much more today, more pissed off. Even with Tempo of the Damned I think that was more of the inception of the anger. As that carried on, I did the Tenet record and I think the vocals are very over the top on that record as well and now I get to do this. I’m locked in; I know what I want to do with the songs. It’s gotta be heavy and it’s gotta be fierce and I am singing on top of my game right now.
HE: There are so many more issues and problems in the world today that come through in your voice and music.
SZS: It’s interesting that you say that. I’ve done interviews where people have looked at the lyrics on this record and looked at the vocal approach to it. Those who know me, know my style and my approach and say “Wow, you are spitting venom on this, aren’t you almost 50?” And I say “Yeah I just turned 49 last week and not only am I just way vocally stronger, it’s just the stuff is more ferocious and that’s how I’m hearing it in my head. It’s just drawing right off.”
HE: Listening to the album from start to finish I couldn’t get over how well all the parts combine together to create an album that sounds like the 80’s never left.
SZS: I think that no one has recaptured, since that initial time, the sound of the 80’s. There have been tryers and they have had a song or two. I’ve done a full record and this is what I do and I found a kid who writes in my vein. You’re not going to get anything different from this. It’s what it is. This is what the band sounds like. The 5 songs we have for the next album, you see the progression. You got Kill ’Em All….we’re gonna give you Ride the Lightning and it’s that progression and musicianship. To watch my son play the drums through the progression of this record was awesome. It’s now a solid band and everyone is comfortable now. We have a full record under everyone’s belt and it screams in volumes.
HE: How was the writing and recording process for Heroes of Origin? Can you tell us about each member’s contribution to the album?
SZS: Cody and Nick are always at the studio working together and they live together, so they work well together and with Kostas. Cody and Nick pick up quickly from Kostas. Miguel and Kostas get together and rehearse all night. It’s not a one-man event. When we recorded the album, we were prepared and rehearsed every day for a month and ran the set 3 times at every practice. So when we recorded the album, the recording was quick. It took about a month from laying down tracks to mixing.
HE: Was there anything that wasn’t put on the record?
SZS: No, everything we put on the album we had planned. The Fear Within, off the demo will be on the next record. Lots of people ask me about that song and say that it’s their favorite song. I just felt that the record was way too brutal and heavy for that song. Other songs will make it a good balance. Everything on there is everything that was wanted. I don’t write filler songs. We don’t write songs we don’t use. I can hear them right out of the gate if they are good or not.
HE: Now that both your boys are in Hatriot, how is it being in the band with both your sons? Was Nick’s initiation into the band the same as Cody’s?
SZS: Nick didn’t have time to audition. We were at Mayhem Festival last summer and he tried out that Tuesday and in a month he was recording the record. He did have to play two shows and sit in the under 21 booth, when we weren’t on-stage, which he wasn’t so happy about. I think it’s the greatest thing and they’re awesome bandmates. They get it, we talk everyday and they want to know what’s going on. I watch them and preach to them keep in shape, keep your head together and that’s how I want this band to be everytime I play. I want them to enjoy things but when it’s time to play you better be ready. Everything is serious and we know what’s going to put us on top.
HE: Kostas and Miguel also nail their parts down so well and they’re very talented. Do you give them any pointers or advice from your experiences from working with Exodus as well as all your other projects?
SZS: Every practice, everything we do is monitored because of what I’ve done in the past. Everything is a lesson. I let them know, I don’t sugar coat shit. I do not lie. Everyone who knows me knows I’m an honest person and that I speak my mind and let people know. The world is a very fucked up place and this business is tough and I am not afraid to tell them especially if you get out of line. I tell them that we’re gonna go out on the road and we’re gonna come back with nothing. That’s how it is. You have to do that a couple times and build it up. Baby steps! Don’t think it’s all going to come to you. It takes 8 years to be come a doctor it’s the same thing in rock n’ roll. Kostas sees what this is all about. People buy him drinks and congratulate him. Those are the good things that happen and it gets bigger from that. I always try to lay it on the line that along with good there are other sides to see.
HE: I loved the video for Blood Stained Wings…when will we see the new video for And Your Children To Be Damned?
SZS: The video will be out very shortly. It’s complete and we used 3 beautiful girls for the video to tell the story. They did a great job, very awesome, very cool. We used 40 gallons of blood. (Stage Blood). We also had a few late nights. One Sunday night we got a late start at 7PM and didn’t finish till 5AM.
HE: Wow and then to go to work the next day….
SZS: This is what’s important and if I have to go, I go. The band is number one thing in my life. About a month ago, we had a talk and I said I’m your boss and when it’s time to go you go. There are no holidays, you work 365.
HE: You are really driven!
SZS: Never say die I’m very driven and I do not sit down. I never succumb and I never give up. I want to succeed. I do what it takes to make it happen. This is what is important to me!
HE: What are your tour plans for the new album?
SZS: We just signed with a booking agent, so there are some plans in the works for us for us. We are going to hammer them hard to get us out there. Keep checking our website for details and dates.
HE: The new Dublin Death Patrol record released last year was received really well from what I read. Any future tour plans for the band?
SZS: Chuck and I don’t really have the time for Dublin Death Patrol. We couldn’t go on a full-blown tour due to the members having other commitments and Hatriot is my main priority. Everything will be directed to Hatriot. Chuck is really busy with Testament on the Dark Roots of Earth tour and I am knee deep in Hatriot.
HE: You’ve started work on your next album. Can you give us some insight about it?
SZS: I am working on producing the next Hatriot record. We have 5 songs written. We are planning to be back in the studio hopefully by August. We’re going to put The Fear Within on the next album. The first album is Kill ‘Em All. Now I’m writing Ride the Lighting. I am writing all the lyrics, that’s what I’m known for and that’s what I do. I have a couple of political subjects I want to write about. The subjects are pretty twisted, pretty wild. The second record will be even better we’re a full band now. It’s all five of us getting it now.
HE: Any guest stars?
SZS: I don’t know yet.
HE: So Hatriot is on world domination route.
SZS: Yes it’s Hatriot all the way. We’re gonna get it down. We’re gonna get on the road and kick some ass that’s our next thing. Wait till you see the live show!!
Thank you so much Steve for taking the time out of your schedule to talk with HearEvil.com. As we concluded the interview, he promised to keep metal alive and will make sure Hatriot is out there for all to witness. The path to world domination is paved and Hatriot are on their way.
For more on Hatriot, visit their official website here or via their Facebook page here and don’t forget to pick up your copy of Heroes of Origin. Also check out the video below for And Your Children To Be Damned if you haven’t yet seen it.