Interview with Curt Smythe (guitar) and Bart Maslikowski (bass/vocals)
Interview conducted by Scott Murray
Date online: April 1, 2003
Greetings and congratulations on the pure metal glory that is Elevator 22! Tell me whatís going on with the band right now in terms of recording and live shows.
Bart: Thanks for the compliments! Shows are pretty steady right now. Weíre playing more or less every weekend these days, which is both good and bad. Itís nice to get the exposure, but we donít want to get overexposed. Weíve got some shows lined up in London and Hamilton over the next little bit. As for recording, weíre dealing with some pre-production details right now.
What can fans expect from the forthcoming EP?
Bart: More of the same but a little more streamlined. The last recording was done pretty hastily in an effort to have something to Ďshop aroundí and to get feedback and to facilitate scoring gigs. Hopefully, this EP will be a little more polished. The songs are more refined in the sense that they all sound as though theyíre all Elevator 22. Last time it was more like, Ďthis is the thrash song, this is the black metal song, this is the death metal song, etc.í Also, Iíve been involved more in the song writing, whereas on the demo, two of the three songs were written prior to my joining the band. Weíve also got some good ideas for vocal layering. Both Curt and Casey (guitar) are itching to do some back-up vocals. Casey has a killer shriek that weíd love to catch on tape!
Curt: The track listing will be: Boreallis, Mindless Wonder, Mind Trap, B.B.B., and Hallowed. I donít even know what to expect from this recording. Our sound has evolved so much since the last recording.
Is the next CD going to be recorded in the same studio as Hammertown Heavy was?
Bart: Itíll be at Fly Studio (Oakville) again. The engineer/producer is a really talented guy whoís honing his craft. He recently renovated and heís invested a tonne of cash into the studio, so things should be better this time around. Also, we were his first metal band, and he now knows what to expect. In the meantime heís done some other metal acts, so things can only be better.
What was the recording of the first demo like?
Bart: It was sort of déjà vu for me. Iíve done a handful of recordings with my former band, and it was all pretty weird recording with a new band. Seeing how everyone reacts was probably the biggest adjustment. The studio does weird things to people. But it was nice to establish a good rapport with Tim Wayland (engineer/producer). As a recording experience goes, this was my best one.
Curt: Hectic, very very hectic, We had huge problems with Mike's drums sounding like complete ass. We ended up triggering his bass drums and snare; we kinda rushed things toward the ends of the recording.
Was this your first recording studio experience?
Curt: As for Casey and I, it was our first time in a studio. Mike did some recording with previous bands, and Bart did some with Humus.
Bart: I recorded two full lengths and a couple of demos with my old band Humus.
Why was the name Elevator 22 chosen?
Bart: When I was doing my Masterís, there was a particular hospital elevator that I used periodically to get to a certain restricted facility. The elevator also serviced the Pathology department and the morgue. On occasion youíd be riding the elevator with a corpse - a little macabre. Since elevators donít have names (that would be silly), it was numbered Ď22í, and was referred to as such by staff. I thought it was a suitable name for a metal band and had a reasonably cool story behind it, so I proposed it to the band and it stuck.
Before joining Elevator 22, how much experience did you have as a metal musician/performer and what have you learned in the short time the band has existed?
Bart: Iíve been in one band or another since I was fifteen. My first metal recording was a demo I made when I was sixteen where I performed guitar and backing vocals. Iíve gigged a lot since then, performing guitar and both back-up and lead vocals. Since Iím naturally introverted, the first couple of years as front man were tough. I still need a couple of drinks before going on stage. But most of the bugs were worked out before I joined this band.
Curt: Before E22 Casey, Mike and I played 2 shows together as a "metal band", which were really bad. I havenít really learned much, so far. We havenít really played that many shows.
How did living in the Hamilton area influence your music and attitudes towards the business?
Bart: Have you ever been to the East End? Itís a veritable industrial wasteland! Thereís a lot of inspiration for a metal musician in Hamilton. Everyone has a story in the Hammer, and itís usually heartbreak and hard times. Perfect metal fodder. As to the industryÖweíre not affiliated to the industry as such, but everyone tends to support everyone else. Thereís also a strong independent record company presence with the likes of Sonic Unyon and Goodfella Records, which is generally positive.
Curt: Hamilton has a huge lack of metal bands, with the exception of a few. (Hallows Eve and Vertigo) The scene here is mostly punk, emo and hardcore.
What song or band got you hooked on heavy metal music?
Bart: The first metal I was listening to was Motorhead, Metallica and Maiden (all M bandsÖhmm) back in the late eighties. Soon after I got turned on to Slayer and Megadeth and then shortly after onto Sepulturaís Schizophrenia and Deathís Leprosy.
Curt: Casey got me hooked on metal. I've known him since grade 5. I remember in like grade 6 or 7 he lent me the Suffocation album Pierced From Within and I was hooked!
What bands would you say are the most prominent inspirations behind your music?
Bart: Thatís a tough question. Iíll probably forget a pile of bands, but certainly Devin Townsend (especially SYL), Cradle of Filth, Emperor, Disincarnate and Death. Iím also pretty heavy into Yngwie Malmsteen, James Murphy, Judas Priest and Iced Earth though you likely wonít hear too much of that in Elevator 22! Lately Iíve been listening to a lot of Origin, Old Manís Child and Children of Bodom.
Curt: Me personally, Strapping Young Lad (or any thing Devin Townsend has released, Iím a huge fan!), Hypocrisy, Death, Cradle of Filth, Emperor, Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Cryptopsy, to name a few...
Iíve gotta ask about the nicknames of each band member. Is there any special significance behind them?
Curt: I donít know about the nicknames, that was just something Bart started. Being called the Fornicator has gotten me quite the rep. donít take it too seriously.
Bart: First, I have to state that everyone in the band loves metal, but it seems a lot of bands really take themselves too seriously. Itís just music. Itís not going to cure cancer, or disarm North Korea. Having said this, we do take the band seriously, just not ourselves. Pseudonyms are fun, when weíre on stage we feel like different people and we need different names. Caseyís last name is Reaper, so ĎReaperí was just a gimme. Curt is a sex-crazed little munchkin and he became the ĎFornicatorí. The name Mr. Sexxxy for Mike comes from an inside joke. As for Perriwinkle The Monstrous, itís sort of two fold. I am on the large side and not especially pretty so ĎMonstrousí isnít a stretch. I just added something thatís completely incongruous to add humour. I mean seriously, some of these guys out there have names like íVlad the Impalerí. Is you name Vlad? Have you impaled anyone? Some bands can get away with it. Others, not so much. We canít get away with it. Unfortunately not everyone seems to Ďget ití.
What kind of feedback have you been receiving from the public in regards to the Hammertown Heavy disc and your live shows?
Bart: No one has told us to our faces that we suck. Weíve certainly had our share of positive reviews. Turnouts at shows are decent, but Iím sure not everyone enjoys the music. We have had one prominent negative press review, but others seem generally positive.
Curt: good and bad, Every one seems to love the live shows, even if they donít like the music they are always entertained. Most people love the CD too; we only have like 23 copy left out of 350!
Your webmaster Osiris recently posted a couple of reviews on the website with this statement: "Öneither compare them to tinfoil on a cheese grater, or some fucking thing." Is it safe to say youíve gotten some negative/uninformed feedback from writers who wouldnít know metal if Euronymous came back from the dead and bit their balls off?
Bart: Weíve had a negative review from a prominent magazine. I feel we were slighted. The review seemed to focus on the aesthetics of the CD layout and the pseudonyms we chose to use and not on the music. The only critique of the music was of production aspects that were more or less out of our control. We werenít recording in Armory studios and we didnít have an unlimited budget after all. However, it was his opinion and heís entitled to it.
Curt: We're all goofs at heart, sometimes people take things too seriously. He compared us to "tinfoil on a cheese greater...in a bad way."
Who are some of your favourite independent metal bands who you could see making it big someday?
Bart: We recently played with a band called Wetwork from Ajax or someplace, who will definitely make it. Thereís also a band from Oakville called Roses Dead who kick some serious arse even though they are a hardcore band! There was also a band we played with on several occasions called The End of Eternity who were quite killer, though they seem to have disbanded.
This Nanook the Nude dude you have profiled on your website, whatís his story?
Bart: UmmÖdrugs and alcohol? Ask Curt!
Curt: He's a good friend of ours. The first show we played he streaked through the moshpit. He has been doing it ever since! Some people love it, some hate it! Itís just funny! He always comes out naked when we play Burn the Heretic.
How far can you see the career of Elevator 22 going? On the same note, how far are you willing to go with this group?
Curt: I am willing to go as far as possible, this is what I love doing, I'll do it until I die!
Bart: Weíll see where it takes us, but things appear to be on the up-and-up.
In conclusion, good luck with what should be a highly successful year for Elevator 22! Iím really looking forward to the next CD!
|Other information about Elevator 22 on this site|
|Review: Hammertown Heavy|
|Review: Manifest Destiny|
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