- Hello, Lee! Over the years the band's line-up has change several times, so who are the current members of Monstrosity? How do you feel together?
- Doing good, thanks for the interview. Right now the lineup is the same as Spiritual Apocalypse but we have added Matt Barnes on second guitar. Matt is doing great and he contributed some good stuff for the new album.
- You are working on a new album now. How is the whole process going so far? How could you describe your new material?
- Yes!!! We are working on the new album at the moment. This album we are recording it a little different. We are doing the guitars first which we normally don't do but it makes the most sense for us right now. We have been taking our time as usual and making sure its going to be the way we like. We don't usually adhere to release schedules and all that. We don't want to dilute our music just for the sake of a deadline. I'm just getting ready to start intense rehearsals to get ready for the drum recording session. I'm going for a nice mix of modern production with a more organic "performance" sound. What I don't want is a "pro tooled" block of ice. That's the way I picture it. I love big productions but I don't like how everything is super quantized and sterile sounding these days. You don't have to fix every single thing. You don't want to leave mistakes of course, but fixing every little thing, just for the sake of fixing it all makes the music sound sterile to me.
- Are you cooperating with Morrisound Studio again? Looks like it's a long-term partnership for you.
- Honestly, were not sure exactly what were going to do. Morrisound was bought out by Paul O'Neill who runs Trans Siberian Orchestra. I guess he was renting out the place so much he decided to buy it. I'm sure that's a good thing for the Morris brothers but now we have to look at other options for recording. Most likely we will use Audiohammer out in Sanford Florida. Our good buddy, Jason Suecof runs it and a lot bands are going there these days. We were actually his guinea pig when he was starting to grow his studio. We did the Rise To Power album there before his studio took off. He did the Trivium record and then he became popular with the nu metal bands. He gets a pretty big production so right now that looks like what we will do. We have a few other ideas too so we will see. Recording for us is a huge thing and not something we take lightly.
- Is it going to be a conceptual album? What are the main topics raised in your new songs? For you personally, as for the listener, how important are the texts in Metal bands?
- The lyrics for the new album cover typical subjects for Monstrosity. Apocalypse, Death, Corruption, injustice, war, etc. I'm collaborating with Mike Hrubovcak on the lyrics. I want the lyrics to remain in the vein of the old lyrics and I also want Mike to inject his writing in so he can show his talents and bring something new to what were doing.
I think lyrics can be important but it depends on the group. I've always tried to make good lyrics so people will go back and reread them when listening to the disc.
- Have you already decided on the album's title? How do you usually choose it?
- So far there is no new title. That can be one of the hard parts of doing a new album. We still have a little time before were ready for it and I have a few ideas now but it will be decided for sure once the lyrics are all done. The title reveals itself when the time is right lol.
- Every time recording a new album you have some special guests, either on vocals or guitars. Have you invited anyone this time as well? How do you choose who should appear on your sessions? Is it any spontaneous decision or do you intentionally pick up certain musicians?
- I had Matt LaPorte help out on the last album because he was living with me at the time and he helped me beef up the songs I wrote. He helped with harmony guitar parts and some leads. It just made sense to have him help since he was working with us behind the scenes. As for guests, it just depends. Its not some big planned out thing. Its more organic and just kind of how I felt at the time.
- Mike Hrubovcak, vocals, is also an artist and created many covers for different bands. Is he going to be in charge of yours for the new CD?
- The artwork is another thing that is almost harder to nail down than the actual songs. Its just one of those things. We haven't decided on artwork yet so I really can't tell you. Of course, Mike is a great artist and he is doing great work for Six Feet Under and Sinister etc but that might be a little too obvious but were not against the idea we just haven't made any decisions.
- The release of this album will also mark the 25th band's anniversary. Are you planning any other activities to celebrate this great moment in your history?
- Yes, we hope to do some touring to celebrate 25 years. Hard to believe its been that long but time flies. The main priority is the new album though so were really concentrating on that. Once we have that finished we can look at doing some special things for our anniversary. Its harder for us now because we want to step things up in our live show so we want to avoid the "saloon" type gigs where there's not adequate stages. If its not going to be full lights and a real PA were not interested so that will mean less places for us to play, unfortunately.... especially in the USA.
- Looking back, what would be your main achievements as of a musician during that period of time?
- Through the years we've had many milestones , if you will. In Dark Purity was a milestone for Monstrosity because we finally had a production we could really be proud of. On Imperial Doom, the drums were too loud and the guitars buried. Millennium, the tracks are there but the mix was too dry. I would have preferred a more powerful drum sound on that. With 'Purity' we finally had a good mix so I think that really helped. Playing places like CBGBs, and Whiskey A Go Go were cool milestones. Doing 33 shows in 33 days in Europe 2006 was also pretty cool. Personally, for me recording Jon Oliva and Midnight together was very cool. They were the two top singers of the Tampa area back in the day and Matt LaPorte and I brought them together for a duet. That never would have happened otherwise and we put that together. Recording practically a whole discography for Midnight was a milestone. He was the original Crimson Glory singer and we ended up doing a bunch of recordings. Touring with Obituary was a cool milestone. Doing the 70k cruise 4 times has been cool. So there are a lot of highlights in my career. Its hard to just say a few.
- Tell us please about your cooperation with Terrorizer. How did you join the band? What can you say about your recent trip to Indonesia?
- Terrorizer was something that came about almost by accident. It was a case of I had learned the World Downfall album on guitar back in 1994. I hadn't played it in awhile but I ran into Pete and he wasn't really doing anything. I told him we should jam sometime and next thing you know were rehearsing every week. Things took off from there. Its great because since I play drums too we speak the same language of music. Plus I can just lock in with him and make everything super tight where I just don't get that with other musicians.
Do you have any clear plans for the future with Terrorizer?
- We have some shows lined up. Full Terror Assault and a couple of other things as well. We have been writing and at this point I'm working on song # 8 for a new Terrorizer album. Hoping to just keep writing ... I'm on a roll right now so I'm just going to keep writing.
- You also have another project, Lavoizen. Could you tell us a bit about it? What does this name mean? Is there any full-length planned?
- Lavoizen is my solo rock project. The name is a nonsense word that kind of morphed from a couple of nicknames. I grew up listening to classic rock bands like Kiss, Sabbath, Nugent, Montrose, etc so it harkens back to that style of rock. The influences come from what I was into when I was young. I've got almost 3 solid albums written but I'm hoping to pick my 10 best and record them with a bigger production and put them out. I'm finally at a point now where I can write and record my ideas at any time. I've got a guitar and drums set up so I can put down an idea and go to work on it. I do crazy experiments with production techniques but its not the same as going into Morrisound or another big room. I play all instruments, handle the production, and art etc so I really enjoy doing it. Lavoizen focuses on my vocals and the other instruments aside from the drums.
- So, what is more natural for you: playing drums or the guitar?
- Drumming comes more natural to me but I also enjoy playing guitar. They're different animals and I enjoy doing both.
- What can you say about your work with Midnight?
- In 2007, I ended up becoming the producer for former Crimson Glory vocalist Midnight. Matt LaPorte brought me into that and I was the guy able to produce the music he had been trying to get out for awhile. We ended up recording a bunch of stuff and unfortunately both Midnight and Matt passed away so I'm slowly starting to release all the material we recorded through Conquest Music. We did a 3 CD original project, a covers album, a DVD, and a bunch more stuff too. It was such a different angle from what I do with Monstrosity it was really refreshing.
- Thank you, Lee. What would you like to say to your fans in the end of this interview?
- Thanks for the support and look forward to seeing all of our friends and fans on tour. Watch for my projects, I have new stuff coming from Monstrosity, Terrorizer, Lavoizen, Midnight, and more!!! Thanks!!!