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Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Leicester based Blackened Death Metal band Blood Oath! Huge thanks to vocalist Mark ‘Thrax’ Johnson for taking part!
What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Hi guys, my name’s ‘Thrax’ (it’s a nickname I’ve had for years) and I’m the vocalist of Blood Oath. We formed near the end of 2015 after several drunken conversations about ‘getting the band back together one more time’.
How did you come up with your band name?
That was the hardest thing. We came up with loads of ideas, most of them stupid or that have already been done. For me Blood Oath encapsulates the promise we made to play at Bloodstock. Something we achieved the following year in 2017.
What country are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
We’re all from the UK. I think the scene here is doing great. Maybe 10-15 years ago things were different, I don’t know, but now I truly believe that there’s so many great little one/two day festivals, both indoor and outdoor, going on all over this country now. It’s great to see that it’s not all about massive festivals like Download. These all day events are a great way for smaller bands like ourselves to get the chance to share a stage with a larger, more established band.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single or Video)
We’ve literally just released the first single (and hopefully a video) from our forthcoming album, the song is called ‘Infernum Diabolus’ and was inspired by a time a few years ago when I visited the ruined temple of Knossos in Crete. The supposed site of the fabled labyrinth and the Minotaur! The single is the title track off our latest album “Infernum Rex Diabolus”, which will be released in November.
Who have been your greatest influences?
Woah…too many to count! If I’m honest we’re inspired by more old school death metal bands such as Entombed, Dismember, Morbid Angel and Obituary. That said we’re loving the current wave of newer death metal bands such as Amon Amarth and Behemoth.
Frazer, our guitarist will not forgive me though if I don’t mention our greatest influence, Iron Maiden.
What first got you into music?
I must have been around nine years old when I started to get into music, but the current pop stuff on the radio just didn’t do it for me. I noticed rock bands like Guns and Roses, Kiss and AC/DC. I kinda liked these bands but it was the moment I discovered Iron Maiden that it all clicked into place. The Lyrics, the riffs and the artwork…I was in love.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Good question. Personally I’d like to do something a little different, maybe with Wardruna or Myrkur. Maybe something fun with Korpiklaani, who knows? Hahaha!
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
My first choice would have to be Bloodstock Open Air. I’ve been going to that festival for the last eleven or twelve years. It’s always an awesome, friendly and messy weekend and I’d love to play there again (hint hint).
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
We’ve not received any weird gifts yet but we’ve been told a fan has our rune logo tattooed on them which is quite an honour. I designed that logo a couple of years ago and I’ve got it tattooed myself but to hear a fan had it too kinda blew me away.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Don’t do drugs and stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water…hahaha!
If you could bring one Metal/Rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Tough question, jeez, so many inspiring musicians have left us before their time. I’d have to say Dimebag. The man was an absolute legend and I swear no one has been able to recreate his sound or attitude since. Truly one of a kind! Getcha pull.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
Being on stage and looking out over a mental crowd, throwing the horns and ripping the place up through our music. It’s an honour and a privilege just to see people enjoying our little band. It never gets old.
What I hate? Carrying heavy equipment up flights of stairs, we seriously need roadies.
Arrogant band members or sound engineers with egos! I mean seriously! Life (and gigs) would be so much easier if we all just got on and helped each other out…it’s not hard.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Live venues closing! It seems to be happening more these days and it’s a shame. There’s nothing like popping to your local, having a couple of beers and watching a decent unsigned band. Where’s the next Metallica or Black Sabbath going to come from?
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Sepultura – “Chaos AD”
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
CD’s with Vinyl a close second because I’m old!
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
My favourite occasion was when we opened for Soulfly, Kataklysm and Epica at the Metalhead Meeting in Romania. It was a great weekend. The people we met were fantastic and the venue was awe inspiring. The festival was held at an old Roman Arena so the sound was incredible.
My other favourite gig was when we played the HRH Vikings festival last year in Sheffield. Again the crowd was insane. I’d love to do all that again. This time though I’ll be getting a hotel room so I can stay the whole weekend, and drink.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Going to bed early! Hahaha!
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
I can’t think of a proper answer, so I’ll say all the members of ‘Footprints in the Custard’ because my guess is they’ll be really serious. Perhaps a cheese and wine party!
What’s next for the band?
Gigs! We require as much time on the road, promoting our new album as much as possible. You can catch us at The Flapper in Birmingham, 19th October. We’re part of an awesome charity event raising money for Macmillan. Selfish promotion there!
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
You can find us on Facebook.
I’m always on there so pop by and say hello.
Our videos are on YouTube.
They’re mainly us drunkenly talking nonsense so they are quite amusing.
Our merchandise is available on our Big Cartel page.
We’re selling off our old shirts for a fiver! Bonus! (Rick Here…they are indeed, I just bought one!)
We’ve even got an Instagram page, but that’s not as amusing.
As you can see, we take ourselves very seriously. Haha
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Yep. Support your local metal band!
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