Interview with guitarist Mike Usifer and vocalist Andy Eichhorn
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: September 26, 2014
NYC-based underground Thrash/Death Metal warriors Prime Evil was resurrected 2011 by the band's founding members and songwriters, singer Andy Eichhorn and guitarist Mike Usifer. Soon after, Prime Evil recorded the band's 3-song opus, Evilution, at Starr Ridge Studios in Brewster, NY, which was then released on France's Infernö Records in 2012.
During 2013, Prime Evil went through a lineup change with both guitarist Steve Levinas and bassist Will Escolano leaving and some new blood was added in the form of Rob Broderick, whose responsibility was to bring more heaviness and brutality with his 4-string axe, and thus, Prime Evil continues as a 4-piece band.
In 2014, Prime Evil hit the recording studio again, again at Starr Ridge, this time to start recording their debut album, Blood Curse Resurrection. By the summer of 2014, the recording was finished and this is when The Metal Crypt decided to ask a few questions of both Mike and Andy about the forthcoming album, lineup changes, future plans and so on. Keep reading to find out more...
Luxi: The last time we "talked," you were waiting to get your 3-song EP, Evilution, released by France's Infernö Records. Since then a lot of water has flowed under the bridge. First off, let's talk about the new lineup you have now in Prime Evil. Both guitarist Steve Levinas and bassist Will Escolano are out and Rob Broderick, on bass, is in and no one has taken Steve's place on second guitar leaving you as Prime Evil's only 6-string axe man. Why did Steve and Will step aside? A lack of motivation, perhaps?
Mike: Yeah, you nailed it. They weren't showing up for rehearsals, and it was always just me, Billy, and Andy. We started noticing that we were a lot tighter than we were with them there, and when we played out live, it showed. Will was just temporary on bass until we found a permanent bassist anyway, and I got used to handling all of the guitar parts on my own, so we started looking for a permanent bassist, and I took over all of the guitar duties.
Luxi: What has Rob brought into the band, besides a lot of new energy, enthusiasm and that kind of stuff, of course?
Mike: Rob tried out for the band in February of 2013, and he was an instant fit. His sound and style compliment mine perfectly, so we finally have the sound we have been looking for. Plus, he is as dedicated to the band as we are, and he can write killer music. He also has great stage presence and a great attitude.
Luxi: Would you say the personal chemistry in Prime Evil is better today than it has been for many years with basically every one of you understanding what it takes to keep the band together?
Mike: Once again, Luxi, you nailed it. For the first time in 20 years, everyone in this band has the same goals and desire to achieve them.
Luxi: On January 13, 2014, Prime Evil entered Starr Ridge Studios in Brewster, NY, to record the band's first ever full-length studio album, titled Blood Curse Resurrection. Would you kindly enlighten us about this forthcoming album? We are curious to know more about it...
Mike: It's a collection of the 10 fastest, heaviest, and best songs that we've written to date. It's an accurate reproduction of where we currently are, musically.
Luxi: Where did you come up with the title, Blood Curse Resurrection, and does it have any deeper meaning or thought behind it?
Andy: The name remotely alludes to scripture and the title suggests that perhaps mankind has been struck with a second "blood curse" on future generations for the mindless destruction of himself and the earth.
Luxi: Do you believe you exceeded all your expectations in the studio regarding the recording sessions for Blood Curse Resurrection?
Mike: I don't think I've ever felt that in the studio. I always feel that I could have done something better, or maybe different. But, for the most part, I'm happy with what we recorded.
Luxi: I can assume that you, together with Andy (Eichhorn), were the men in charge in the songwriting for this album. I would guess you and Andy have a special chemistry or bond that allows each of you to know exactly how Prime Evil should sound. I would also think you are undoubtedly the main "filters" for the band and make the decisions about which stuff is usable for Prime Evil, and which is not. Did drummer Billy and/or bassist Rob contribute ideas to some of the songs on Blood Curse Resurrection?
Mike: Great question Luxi! Andy and I have been writing all of the Prime Evil songs since 1986, so we basically have always had the ideas. There's a lot of stuff that we have thrown out because one, or both, of us didn't feel it was good enough. That's just part of the song writing process. However, it was different this time around, because both Billy and Rob contributed by writing music and composing songs. The songs on this album are true representation of the entire bands' work together.
Luxi: What are your own personal standout tracks; which do you like the most, and for what reasons(s)?
Mike: My personal favorites are "Homicidal Assault," because it has personal meaning to me, "Plague of Humanity," because it was the first song that Billy and I sat down and wrote together, and "Horns of Rapture" because all four of us contributed to that song, which Rob started.
Luxi: Making a promotional video is always an important tool to get your band promoted these days. Have you been discussing this option?
Mike : Definitely. We are going to shoot a promo video for the song "Plague of Humanity" sometime in October.
Luxi: When you were in the studio, playing your guitar tracks for this record, you were in great pain and eventually had to go through spinal surgery. How were you able to concentrate on the recording sessions, knowing that, despite some painkillers, the pain would never go away completely. Talk about the true warrior's spirit, in your case...
Mike: I've been dealing with back pain ever since I was injured in a car accident 20 years ago, so I have a pretty high tolerance to pain. I don't take painkillers because they knock me out. I'm a very focused individual, so the recording came first, back pain second, haha! I actually spent the last two nights before my surgery recording my solo tracks. I have been waiting my whole career to record a full-length studio album and I was not going to let anything interfere with that.
Luxi: How has your recovery been progressing? When will you able to play live again with the troops in Prime Evil?
Mike: Thanks for asking. I'm still doing physical therapy, and I get stronger each day. I'm hoping to be able to start rehearsing again in a couple of months so that we'll be road ready by the end of the year.
Luxi: Do you still love playing live as much as you did back in the day? Nothing can beat an intimate interaction between the band and the crowd, right?
Mike: I love playing out live now more than I ever have. Since day one, nothing can beat the adrenalin rush I get from playing live! I LIVE to play!
Luxi: Obviously, once the album is out, you will want to hit the road to promote Blood Curse Resurrection, unless your doctor tells you playing live is denied, due to a risk of a long-term injury or paralysis, correct?
Mike: We're definitely hitting the road to promote the album. The surgery I had was to stabilize my spine. I definitely won't get paralyzed. I have a recovery plan in place that will make me stronger than I was prior to the surgery. Nothing will stop me from playing live again!
Luxi: Playing live at some big European summer Metal festivals would undoubtedly be tempting, so is contacting festival organizers to see what they can offer part of the plan?
Mike: We would love to go to Europe! It is definitely something that we will explore.
Luxi: What are your predictions for Prime Evil in 2015; another album and/or EP, touring, more touring, etc.?
Mike: All of the above! Haha! We're definitely going to play out as much as we can to promote the album, but we will also be writing material for the next album. Maybe we'll even re-record some of the old demo songs... who knows?
Luxi: When Prime Evil is no more, hopefully not for a long time, what kind of epitaph will be written on the tombstone of this semi-legendary NY-based underground Death/Thrash Metal act?
Mike: That's a tough one. I'll leave that for you to decide (how about: "True NYC underground Thrash/Death Metal brutality with no compromises, no sell-out, no wannabe bullshit, just true NYC-style underground Metal to the bone. That's what Prime Evil was and they will never be forgotten." - Luxi comments).
Luxi: I guess that's it for now, so thanks a ton Mike and Andy for taking some time to talk to The Metal Crypt about Prime Evil and especially your forthcoming Blood Curse Resurrection album. Greatly appreciated, bros! And those closing comments, they are naturally all yours...
Mike: Thank you Luxi and The Metal Crypt for doing an interview with us! We always appreciate the support! I would just like to thank everyone for supporting underground Metal, the BEST Metal in the world! If you wish, check us out on the web at www.primeevil.net. Thanks! HAILZ!
|Other information about Prime Evil on this site|
|Interview with guitarist Mike Usifer on August 11, 2012 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)|
Copyright © 1999-2019, Michel Renaud / The Metal Crypt. All Rights Reserved.