- Hello, Rick! Let's talk about the origins. What actually motivated you to start playing the guitar? At that time, what guitarists did influence you the most?
- In the very beginning, it was the guitar players from bands like AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Van Halen, etc… Not very long after that it was bands like Slayer, Mercyful Fate, Dark Angel, Agent Steel, Celtic Frost, Sodom, Destruction, etc.
- In the late 80s, Death Metal as a term was still pretty new or even completely unknown. When did you hear about Death Metal for the first time?
- I believe it was in 1984, we used to go to this record shop called Middle Earth Records and they had this compilation LP that featured the band Hellhammer titled Death Metal! Not very long after that Celtic Frost came out and I recall some friends referring to them as Death Metal! Later on in 1985, I heard the song “Death Metal” by Possessed. Then after that, I think it was 1985 or 86 when I read an interview with Quorthon stating that Bathory was “Death Metal”! Those are some of my early memories of Death Metal…
- Do you remember your thoughts when you discovered this style for your self? Was it already the moment when you wanted to have your own band?
- The very first moment I heard this type of music was in 1983 when Slayer released “Show No Mercy” and it blew me away!! Before that I was already a fan of oldschool Hard Rock/Heavy Metal but when I held the debut Slayer release in my hands, every thing about it was so killer to me! From the leather, spikes and inverted crosses, Satanic artwork to the evil lyrics with the fastest and heaviest Metal at the time, simply amazing! However, that was not really the moment I wanted to start a band. That happened a little later on after I met Tom Araya’s younger brother who happened to be one of my classmates in high school! It was in 1984 and he handed me a flyer for a Slayer gig that stated across the top, “The Fastest & Heaviest Metal Band In The USA”!! I found that so inspiring because it was true and that’s when I told my brother Bay, we need to start up a band and that’s what we’re going to be, the fastest and heaviest band in the USA!! Heheh Back in the 80’s that was our mentality but honestly, the music has evolved so much over the years, that’s no longer something we’re trying to be! Hahah However, I still think that Sadistic Intent is pretty fast and heavy!!
- Sadistic Intent was formed in 1987. Who came up with that name? Is there any story behind it? Did you consider any other versions as well? Who made the logo for you?
- In reality, Sadistic Intent has it’s roots in 1986 when we were called Devastation. Bay and I had met a drummer and guitarist/vocalist in our high school that wanted to start a band with us. Bay wanted to play guitar so they were okay with it and the guitarist ended up becoming our vocalist. Bay and I wanted to play faster and heavier but the vocalist already had his songs written which were not that way and we compromised. After a while he told us that we needed to make radio friendly songs because with our style of song writing we’d never get played on commercial radio. Bay and I didn’t want that and the band sided with us, then we ended up finding another vocalist and that is when we changed the name to Sadistic Intent. As far as inspiration for the name, that came to me from the Slayer song “Angel Of Death” when Tom yells, “Sadistic, surgeon of demise”. That was the spark that lead to the name of the band. I remember we had come out with eight names but in the end, we narrowed it down to Sadistic Intent! Back then we did not have the internet and we figured that although some names sounded great, chances were that some other band(s) around the world would also think the same. Ultimately, we felt that Sadistic Intent was original and it fit our musical style well. As far as the logo, back then we had a friend who called him self Legionz, and he would draw a lot of our gig flyers in the early days. Every time we had a gig he would draw a new logo and we actually had several logo’s back then! In those days we thought that was cool but eventually we thought it would be a good idea to stick to one logo and it was hard to pick only one so we picked two of them! If you look at our first MLP you can see both logos. After a while we made the decision to stick to the one we use today and although we did modify a little bit, the guy who drew it was known as Legionz!
- The first Demo saw the light of day in 1988, and consisted of your rehearsals. Tell us a bit about that one. Where did you record it? How many copies did you have?
- That 1988 rehearsal was recorded at a friends house, actually his parents house in the garage in the city of South Gate, a small city in South East Los Angeles. I can’t remember why we ended up rehearsing at his house because we usually would rehearse at our house/garage in the city of Bell. Anyhow, our drummer brought his home stereo and hung a single microphone in the middle of the garage. We did not have money to record at a studio so that’s why we decided to record the songs that way. As far as copies, it was not that many, I’m guessing maybe like 100 copies the most.
- What was your first concert like? How active was the LA scene? What bands did you usually share the stage? At early days, did you manage to support any National acts?
- The Metal scene in L.A. was basically splitting up, there was the Guns N Roses and Poison type of bands that were allowed to play the Sunset Strip Hollywood clubs, and then there was the fledgling group of bands like us playing our new style of Extreme music. By 1988, with the exception of Slayer the popularity of the pioneering Thrash/Death/Black Metal bands had gone down, especially due to bands changing their styles or breaking up. By then the Hardcore Punk and Cross Over scene had gained a lot of momentum. Death Metal in those days was truly underground and there was not many fans of it here in Los Angeles at all. Therefore, we were sort of forced to play shows with a lot of the Punk bands and of course the Thrash bands. Our first gig was actually a back yard party in the city of South Gate. Honestly, I do not remember who else played that night but I remember it was a mixed crowd of Thrashers and Punkers of around 100 people and there was even a few skinheads who showed up! We thought they were there to start trouble but they actually ended up in the pit during our set! From what I recall, the crowd responded well to us but the police showed up during our set and we had to stop playing! They told everyone to leave and after the police left, most of the crowd was gone but we ended up hanging out there with music on a stereo and drank a lot of beer! Heheh I can’t recall all the bands we shared the stage with in the very beginning but some that come to mind are Terrorizer, Brutal Assassin, LKK, Darkness LA, Suburban Warfare, Demolition, Clowns Gone Bad, etc… Thanks to our dad and our 1988 rehearsal tape, we got on our first big show with national acts opening up for Dark Angel, Dr Know & Forbidden, the band that had Slayer’s future drummer Paul Bostaph. It went great and after that we started getting invited to more club shows and we stopped doing the backyard parties. At that time, I remember on the television news they would talk about the gang violence and death toll every week. Then some of the gangs in L.A. had started going to the backyard gigs and looking for trouble, it got really fucked up! There was literally some people who got killed at these backyard parties!! We seen some serious violence and we even had close calls with guns pulled out on us so once we started getting invited to do the club shows, it was time to move forward…
- During late 80s, tape trading was at it's best, so how did you distribute your demo? Do you remember the first bands you traded with? Did you also sent your tapes to Europe?
- We certainly did some tape trading! About Europe, yes, from the beginning we were fortunate to have several Metalheads throughout Europe embrace Sadistic Intent! As far as distribution, back in those days it was common for bands to make small flyers that would fit in envelopes for them and their contacts and so on to spread. The flyers would basically advertise the demo, next thing you know there would be some mail orders or trades. As far as band trades in the late 80’s, there was actually several and some that come to mind are Nihilist, Samael, Autopsy, Unleashed, Terrorizer, Rotting Christ, Darkthrone, Grotesque, Immolation, Carnage, Ripping Corpse, Anarchus, Revenant, Masacre (Col), Black Prophecies, Impetigo, Malevolent Creation, Invocator, Nocturnus, Baphomet, Nunslaughter, Black Prophecies, etc…
- In 1989, you released another Demo, "Conflict Within". What can you say about the recording process? How many labels did you contact with it? Was it actually when you've got interested by Wild Rags Records?
- We recorded that demo at a garage that was converted into a studio which was called Cage Studios. If I’m correct, it was a 16 track mixer recorded onto half inch reels. The owner of the studio was actually the uncle of our ex-vocalist from Devastation. At first we thought he would not record us because his nephew was no longer in our band but he was cool and still worked with us. He basically tracked (recorded) the drums first, then the bass, then the rhythm guitars, guitar solos and in the end the vocals. Then of course the mixing was the final part. We told him to put up the treble on the cymbals because with all the tape trading we did at the time, we would notice the treble/cymbals always seemed low. With tapes being a copy of a copy, the treble would get lower so we thought it was a good idea to raise the cymbals on the demo. As far as gear that we used back then, since we did not have much money, we bought some cheap used amps and cabs (speakers). The Yahaha solid state amp I owned at the time did not have self distortion so I used a Boss Heavy Metal to get that sound. I had a 4 x 12 cabinet (half stack) but I can’t remember the name brand, I know it wasn’t a Marshall because that’s what I really wanted back then. I’m pretty sure the guitar I used was an Aria Pro II that actually belonged to Bay. My guitar at that time was an Elektra (Les Paul copy) but I didn’t I use it on that recording. As far as labels, I personally do not recall even trying to send one copy to a label, at least I don’t remember thinking about that during that time. We were underground and that kept us busy just keeping up with all the aspects of the band. We took copies of the demo to Wild Rags Records, the actual record shop that was around back then. After the owner seen that our demos sold well and got good reviews in the underground ‘zines, he asked us if we’d be interested in putting out a record. That’s basically how that happened.
- Released in 1990, "Impending Doom..." EP became your first official release. How did recording sessions go? The songs from your previous demo, did you change them anyhow before the recordings?
- The label (Wild Rags) was supposed to have a recording budget for us but when the time came to record, we had to pay for it ourselves! The recording session went very quick because it was a relatively expensive studio in Hollywood and with our budget, we knew it had to be quick. They had the 2” reel to reel machine and a big mixing consule, I think 36 tracks. Generally our mindset back then was, we’re a live band and you’re getting that in a recording. Looking back, before we recorded there we checked out the studio and met up with the owner. When it came time to record it was a different guy who worked with us and he didn’t really have much input, he didn’t know about this type of music and he just recorded us. Morbid Faith was actually the only song from the previous tape. As far as the difference, not that I can think of, I have not heard or compared those songs in a long time but if my memory is correct, the song got a little faster on the EP.
- Who is that guy, Kisser, who did the artwork for you? Looks like it was his single work like that. Do you think that cover became some kind first step in development of your own, always recognizable style?
- He was a friend of our guitar player (Charlie Gonzalez) who was in the band for about a year (1989-90). Kisser would come around once in a while and from what I recall he was a graffiti artist. Truth is, we never hung out with him so I’m not 100% sure but he might have been inspired to draw something different because he was aware of Sadistic Intent. That drawing was a one of a kind drawing for him and although he gave it to our guitar player, it was not meant to be our cover artwork. Eventually when the time came that we needed artwork we used it! I remember Kisser looked like a gang member and two to three years later, he ended up getting shot and he died.
- "A Calm before the Storm" was released on your own. Tell us about this edition. And how did it happen then later it was re-released by Relapse?
- Yes, by the way, like our 1989 demo “Conflict Within”, it was also recorded at Cage Studios but with “A Calm…” we basically did it live in the studio. The only thing that was not live was the vocals. I actually borrowed a small Peavey combo amp in the studio and our other guitar player had his Laney half stack. As far as releasing it, well, we decided that since Wild Rags basically did not keep it’s promises, we decided we’d rather do it on our own. When Richard C (Wild Rags owner) found out, he got pissed off! We told him, at least maybe by doing it ourselves we’ll at least be able to buy some guitar strings, unlike working with him! Hahah Seriously, he basically lied to us about several things and not that we expected to get rich but we did not get paid anything! Anyhow, in 1991 the first 100 copies of “A Calm…” were released on clear (see through) vinyl. Those costed us more to make so for the next color, we ended up doing blue. We might have done some in red but at this moment, I’m not really sure about that. When Relapse got a hold of us and ordered 500 copies, we then decided to print some new covers adding the “distributed by Relapse” logo on the back. The total amount of those EP’s pressed was 1000 copies. Something else we should have put on that back cover was the year it came out! hahah
- Why did Enrique Chavez have leave the band? And how did you decide that Bay should also take care of Vocals?
- Enrique had a few different reasons, one of them was he wanted to concentrate on doing his own record label. Also, he ended up moving to Texas for a couple years so that was another reason. He actually left the band more than once and we had to move forward. I don’t recall any interview ever asking us so we have not really talked about this particular experience. One time we got invited to do a gig and as a band we voted, everyone wanted to do it except for Enrique and the day of the show he seemed upset. Well, about two or so bands before we were supposed to come out on stage, he ended up leaving!! He told some one he was not singing and that was it. I then told Bay, you are doing vocals tonight so you better start practicing in the car! Bay was like, “me”?! Hahah We put on Sadistic Intent and Bay began to do his vocals! When we went on stage people were surprised to say the least! Heheh A few months later Enrique apologized and we welcomed him back in the band. Then he ended up leaving again, but at least it was not right before we went on stage!!! Hahah Bay was the natural choice! I still recall a few guys asking us if they could be our vocalist and honestly, I knew Bay was the right one to handle it! Some of Enrique’s friends told us that we should give up without Enrique but we were determined and the result was “Resurrection”, after that all I remember hearing was positive things regarding the line-up change!
- "Resurrection" EP was already released with Bay's vocals, who brought more dark and grim sound to the band. How did you fans accept this material?
- “Resurrection” was accepted very well! As a matter of fact, I remember some people even saying that with Bay on vocals that they actually liked Sadistic Intent even more. For me personally, I’m very proud of what we captured with “Resurrection”, and I think it was a great start for the next chapter of Sadistic Intent.
- "Ancient Black Earth" EP was released in 1997, why did it take you almost 3 years to come with a new record?
- After “Resurrection” was released, we did several live appearances and after about a year and a half our drummer came across personal problems and decided to leave the band. We then had to find another drummer and that alone took a while and once we did find a drummer, we had to rehearse the songs and finally enter the studio to record. Looking back, for Sadistic Intent three years is actually pretty quick! hahah
- With that new material you showed once again that the band is not stuck in one place, as the play-style developed to the new level. How can you comment on it?
- The song I would say that we experimented with new ideas was “Funerals Obscure”. Generally, I feel those songs are a natural progression from the previous recording. Even though we may not always experiment with brand new techniques, we do our best to come out with different riffs and structures to give the songs their own identity.
- Following that, in 2002 you released new Sadistic Intent, where you performed a Possessed cover together with Jeff Becerra. How did you come up with that idea and how do you like the result?
- We met Jeff through a guy from Poland! I forgot his name but he had a label called Immortal Records and he was originally the one putting a Possessed tribute CD together. He had gotten in contact with Jeff as well as us and he was the one who asked us both if we'd be willing to work together, and that's basically how we got introduced to each other. As far as the idea to release the song on the Sadistic Intent “Morbid Faith” EP, I recall Iron Pegasus asking us if we could do a 7” and we figured we’d put the cover song there. The truth about “The Exorcist” getting done was an interesting weekend, Jeff drove down from Northern California on a Friday and rehearsed the song that night at the original Dark Realm Records location and he wanted to drink! We didn’t refuse and we got a lot of beer and some one brought a bottle of hard liquor. I barely recall the rehearsal and we ended up staying up very late and the thing is, we were supposed to be at the studio at about 12 noon! Somehow we barely made it to the studio and then the guy from the studio asked us if we wanted to get some beers so we did! To be honest, we barely got through the recording session because once the beers started flowing Jeff had a misunderstanding with the studio guy and Jeff basically started insulting him. After a while the studio guy had enough and was ready to kick us out so I had to defuse the situation and we managed to get that recording done! With that in mind, I think it came out good!
- Later on you joined Possessed. Tell us, how did it happen? What kind of experience did you get out of it?
- When we first recorded the song with Jeff Becerra, I had no idea or plans of ever doing Possessed back then, and neither did Jeff. It was only Bay and I who actually had a friendship with Jeff at the time and we would keep in contact through the phone. One day I thought of an idea to have Jeff appear on stage with us to do “The Exorcist” live. Jeff initially told me no, that he had left that life behind especially because he was in a wheelchair and he thought people would make fun of him. I told him no, that as long as he could still sing I did not think people would make fun of him. We talked it over and apparently I convinced Jeff to do the song with us live here in Los Angeles. We ended up doing the song live and it went great, the crowd went crazy leaving Jeff very happy. For me that was it, mission accomplished so to speak because in my mind, that was it, I did not see us doing anything more with Jeff Becerra. We kept in contact and if I recall correctly, about a year and a half later, Jeff called and he started talking about the gig we did together. He really liked the experience and we talked about our memories of that night, then he brought up the idea of doing some more Possessed songs! I wasn't sure what he had in mind but since I was a fan, I said okay, that I could try to learn some songs and then he told me ‘fuck that, you're bad ass Rick, I know you can play those songs and you know what, I'm gonna call it Possessed’. I remember that part of our conversation clearly, it's interesting how some things can stick in your head. As far as what kind of experience, well, in a nutshell, we did some great shows, egos started growing, we were working on new material, attitudes started changing, we received label interest, then we did the "Blackest Of The Black" tour as direct support for Danzig which was a success for us and finally things came to a very abrupt end. The truth of what happened in that band is extremely disappointing but I honestly don't see the point in dragging things out with Possessed by talking about every detail. When it comes down to it, we're no longer in Possessed and all it is to me now is just a part of our past…
- The latest band's release is another EP, "Reawakening Horrid Thoughts", which was recorded with update line-up. As I understand, it still remains unchanged. Could you present Ernesto and Arthur?
- You’re right, ‘Reawakening Horrid Thoughts’ marks the beginning of yet another chapter for Sadistic Intent with a relatively new line up. Ernesto Bueno joined the band back in 2007. Back then we were looking for a guitar player and he walked into our shop and told us that he could easily play our songs! So I got my guitar which was in our rehearsal room in back and told him, let me see you play our songs then! Heheh He tried playing a couple of our songs but the truth is he ended up admitting, our songs are not as easy as he thought!! Hahah I could tell he was a good guitar player so I ended up working with him. We met Arthur Mendiola through a mutual friend with a home studio. Our friend told us about Arthur, he said that although Arthur was a kid, he could tell that in a couple years he would certainly be one of L.A.’s best drummers! Our friend asked Arthur for us, “would you like to try out for Sadistic Intent?” and that’s how we ended up meeting Arthur.
- Finally, the most important question: what is current state of the full-length? Since when actually have you started working on the album? And when do you think it can be released?
- The full length situation is a very long story, we already had recorded it years ago but to put it bluntly, just about everything that could go wrong, went wrong!! With all the money we lost paying the recording studio and the friction it caused between us in the band, Bay and I got to the point where we did not care anymore and literally put the full length on hold for years! Eventually our line up changed and once we got the new members, the first thing we wanted to do is teach them our older songs, so that they can get the roots and right feel of Sadistic Intent. It’s a slow process but we’ve been taking the steps to get to that consummate execution level and it is challenging to say the least. When we finally start recording our full length, we don’t want to look back and say we could have recorded this or that better, we’re going to be ready and it’s going to kick ass!!! We’re chipping away at the stone but as far as a date, well, all I can say is that it’s a lot closer now compared to when it first got announced years ago! heheh
- Besides being in charge of the band, you also keep maintained Dark Realm Records store. Tell us how did you get started with it? What kind of merch do you have there ? Can people order anything online?
- Well, from what I remember, the idea started one day after a Sadistic Intent rehearsal. We were drinking some beers and after a while we started talking about the idea of a record shop. Bay and I talked about this little record shop that is no longer in business called Psychedelic Sounds, they were the oldschool Heavy Metal store that we would go to back in the early 80’s. We liked the Heavy Metal vibe of their store and we said if we ever opened up a shop we wanted to have a dark atmosphere, not just a ‘normal’ typical record shop. Next thing you know we went from just imagining to actually planning! As far as merch, well, we concentrate on mostly Extreme Metal music, from the bigger bands to the underground bands as well. From the music on CD, vinyl and even some tapes to the t-shirts, long sleeves, hooded sweat shirts, and other things like patches, jewelry, pins, ‘zines, etc. We currently do not have an online webstore but we have been taking care of the mailorders. A good way for people to order from us is through the facebook site (facebook.com/darkrealmrecords), we usually post the new arrivals/re-stocks and people then message us asking for the items of interest. For the time being, that’s basically the way we’ve been handling the mailorders…
- Thank you for this interview, Rick! In the end, would you like to share your plans for the future?
- Thank you very much Dima, we appreciate your interview and support! As far as plans, at the moment we are putting the finishing touches on our new recording for the upcoming split with our old friends Pentacle (Holland) which will be released via Iron Pegasus Records by mid 2016! The songs will be mixed by recording Metal legend Bill Metoyer (Slayer, Dark Angel, W.A.S.P., Cryptic Slaughter, D.R.I., Morbid Angel, etc.). Our very next appearance will be at Steelfest Open Air in Finland in May 2016!! After that it looks like we’ll be returning to Chicago in late July! We’re currently in talks about some shows in South America for September and last but not least, we’re also looking at going back to Europe for some dates in December 2016!! For more details and news with Sadistic Intent, search for the official Sadistic Intent site on Facebook!
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