Exclusive: Frank Godla (Empyreon, MetalInjection.net) Interview

For quite some time I have been a fan of Metal Injection.net. The site is amazing: live photos, videos, news and updates and my personal favorite part, every Wednesday they hold a live Webcast called “The Metal Injection Livecast” which is full of whitty chit-chat, sexual antics and, on occasion, metal! I contacted MI’s co-founder, Frank Godla for an interview. Read on to learn about some of Frank’s favorite concerts, how Metal Injection began and what albums Frank is looking forward to this year.

Tell me how Metal Injection came to be.

Hah! That’s sort of a long story, I can probably write a book about it. However, in an effort to answer your question as brief as I can… At some point in my life I re-acquainted with a former school mate I barely knew, Robert Pasbani, who was hired at the telecommunications company I managed at the time. We became friends pretty quick and spent most of our breaks bullshitting about metal, until one day while hanging with what we now affectionately call “The Metal Injection Crew” someone suggested making a TV show that was better than the current metal show on cable access at the time. It took a while, but eventually the stars and planets aligned in our lives and we filmed 4 episodes (that you cant find anywhere on the web, and for good reason) made for public access TV to be aired in Brooklyn NY only. It really started off as just a fun TV show project we did with our friends, there wasn’t ever a thought back then about business, branding, marketing, expenses or anything of the sort. We continued airing episodes that consisted of hosting/sketch comedy with music video breaks for months, but it eventually became clear the cable access company wasn’t happy with a bunch of metal dudes taking over their hip hop marathon. At some point Rob and I had agreed that Metal Injection would be better focused entirely on the web, and that it would become our joint business venture till death do us part, haha. I’m sorry, I know that’s all sort of vague, but it’s such a vast question, I can literally spend hours recurring the past.

When Metal Injection began, you were already in a band. How was it working on the site and playing music?
Well back when MI began, I was also just getting back into playing music after a long hiatus I went through after quitting drums. As I mentioned earlier, those were also just very different times where everything we did was just for fun. I can honestly tell you that at this point in my life it is much more difficult to juggle 2 bands and a business like Metal Injection. Simply because they’re all always doing cool things, and I essentially have to split my time, patience, and mental capacity amongst each carefully. It’s not easy by any means, and I often run myself pretty ragged most days, but luckily I love what I do and feel very fortunate to do it.

Who is your favorite guest/caller to the LiveCast?
Well I personally love the Live Cast, but it’s really all about the 5 cast members you hear on the show doing their own thing in their own element. I stop in when I can to hang with my friends mostly, but I’m a pretty busy dude and unfortunately don’t get to listen in every single week (although I catch up on some of them via the archive when I can). So I feel it’d be unfair to voice my opinion on the matter, but as far as band guests on the Live Cast go, I’d have to say Greg Weeks of The Red Chord. He can put a smile on my face quicker than anyone, great dude.

Your favorite game/segment on the LiveCast?
The one where Rob, Noa, Darren, Sid, and Sean talk about the most intimate part of their lives for 2 hours, then continue on in real life as though that conversation never happened. It’s a hysterical dynamic to witness, at least for me because I know them all personally for years, yet would never think to ask them questions like “have you ever tasted your own cum?”. I’m not sure whats funnier, what I learn about my friends, or how I get to learn it.

Your personal favorite in-person interview?
Getting to the hard hitting questions now eh? Honestly, I have many personal favorites in the MI archives. Some because the bands are funny, some because of what was revealed, and even some because I think the host did a great job. At the end of the day I think a good interview is one that isn’t forced or uncomfortable, and provides you with information about the band you didn’t know before. Then there are some favorites where they don’t even necessarily classify as interviews, but are more or less a comic relief. Off the top of my head, a new favorite that comes to mind would be The Red Chord at Summer Slaughter Festival. The interview got pushed back probably 4 times that day, and eventually Rob and I were convinced they were canceling. We started partying with the other bands on the festival since our work was done, and at the peak of our intoxication in comes Greg and Gunface ready to go. It was barely an interview at all. They simply took charge of the situation because they saw what was around them, and it was just as hilarious watching it back while editing days later as it was the day of.

You are a fan of the one-man project Cloudkicker. “Beacons” made your “best of” list this year. What is it about Ben’s music that drew you in?
Yeah, I love Ben’s work with Cloudkicker. It’s just awesome to see a dude able to express himself so deeply in music with out words and without help of any kind. My first comment about it I believe was “this shit is the soundtrack of life maaaan”. I’ll let you figure out what else I was doing at the time.

What is your favorite album of all time?
Hahahaha, I always say if you want to stump a metal head for hours, ask him what his favorite LP of all time is. We’re fortunate to have 40 years worth of amazing recordings at our disposal, I cant even begin to guesstimate how many actual LPs that is. I just tend to feel that metal heads, unlike your average Top 40 radio listener, loves their niche of music on a whole other level. I don’t think any metal lifer out there would be able to answer this question honestly, committing to one record means you just offended 2000 of your other favorite LPs. Know what I mean?

What was your most memorable concert experience?
I got plenty of those. One of them has to be Iron Maiden in 1996. My dad and I roughed our way to the venue despite NYC being in a state of emergency because of a massive blizzard, and barely anyone showed up. Once Iron Maiden caught wind that only like 30 people showed up to their show they came down to shake our hands and meet us, it was pretty amazing. Another is when Meshuggah came to the U.S. for the very first time, they played a total of 2 shows in the states and one of them was a tiny club in NYC called Coney Island High. Their set consisted almost entirely of songs off “Destroy Erase Improve” because that was the LP they had just put out at the time. Another is definitely Death, Chuck’s last performance in NYC before him passing. Then of course there is also At The Gates at this venue called The Wetlands in the 90’s, The Misfits during the resurection tour of ’96 (Michael Graves climbed all the way to the ceiling of Roseland Ballroom and jumped into the crowd nearly killing himself),Dio at The Roxy in 96, Rammstein at The Roxy and again at Hammerstein Ballroom a few years later, Metallica in 91, Ozzfest ’97, Carnivore in the 90’s at Lamour and when they reunited for a secret show in NYC in 2007, everytime I’ve ever seen Dream Theater back when they played venues, Opeth and even In Flames playing tiny venues the first time they came to the U.S. Hmmm, Strapping Young Lad at this venue called Tramps when “City” first came out, holy shit was that awesome. It was my first time seeing Gene Hoglan and Devin Townsend play live even though I’ve been a huge fan for years. At the time I pretty much idolized Devin Townsend and his work, who knew 10 years later we’d get to work with him and smoke with him while listening to the new SYL record he finished the night before. Insanity!

Again, I can keep on going forever because I’ve been fortunate to see some awesome shit in my lifetime. It strikes me as insane how attendance is down for live shows these days, you never know when you’re going to see something unforgettable and historic. Bands break up, people die, shit happens, but an unforgettable moment in life can live on if you’re willing to get your ass to a venue and experience it. However, of all the shows in my lifetime (and we’re talking hundreds) I’d have to say the most memorable concert experience of them all for me would be my very first concert ever. It was Guns N Roses right when Use Your Illusion I&II came out, it was that day I realized I wanted to be involved with music for the rest of my life. I was 9 years old at the time.

Are you into any other metal blogs or sites?
Nah they all blow!  Jokes! I of course frequent our brohammers at Metalsucks.net who do a great job with the written word. There are many others as well, but I’d really hate to forget and leave anyone out, so I’ll simply answer your question with a yes.

How did you initially get into metal?
Truth be told, I’ve been a metal head my entire life man. My dad (also named Frank Godla), has been a biker and metal head since the beginning, and I owe a lot to him for starting me off so young. Naturally when people have kids, they love to share what they know right? Some of my first memories as a baby consisted of Kiss, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and all the other 70’s music that was considered the birth place for heavy metal. I was born in the early 80’s though, and as my dad and his friends continued seeking new metal bands out there I obviously became aware as well. Even as a little kid I was always super curious to know everything about bands, I remember staring at the covers of cassette tapes like Twisted Sister, Dokken, Metallica, Testament, Motley Crue, Skid Row, Ratt in the 80s and being totally fascinated by them. It’s really because of this that I know a lot about metal history, because I experienced it and lived it as it happened. Metal was what I did with my childhood, when other kids were at the playground playing basketball and football, I was out there trying to find anything I could on the next great metal band (fun fact: to this day I still dont even know the rules of any sport). I think when I turned 12, was about the time I began getting really involved with seeking out metal bands for myself and bring them home to my dad. I especially got into the European bands way earlier than most Americans did. It was a whole different time back then though, so I’d maybe read about a band through a fanzine I was handed that was copied on loose leaf paper. Then I loved the review of let’s say Samael’s “Blood Ritual” and would have to convince my dad to give me $30 so we can import their CD from Switzerland despite never having heard it before and going purely on instinct. I know that probably sounds completely ridiculous as far as music consumption goes these days, but that’s how it was back then and I have nothing but tons of respect for the old ways. People definitely appreciated absolutely everything about music much more then than they do now. From the cover artwork to the liner notes, everything was looked at 100 times, every note was consumed, every lyric known, every tid bit of information you can possibly find on a band was shared with each other. Dont get me wrong though, I definitely benefit and love the new ways of music consuption too, I simply just think fans care a lot less these days because they dont have to work as hard for anything. “Meh” is an easy thing to say when you’re spoiled by the times.

Are there any albums or events you are looking forward to in 2011?
Certainly! I’m looking forward to hearing a lot of new records from bands I love like Opeth, Dim Mak, Converge, Alarum, Grayceon, Animals as Leaders and plenty more.

In related news we’re changing up some things this year, and already have some pretty cool shit we’ve never done before lined up for Metal Injection. One being the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise we’ll be covering later this month. The other stuff I probably shouldn’t comment on just yet, but I can promise you guys some very cool work from us this year. We’re always updating the site, the company, the coverage, the shows we do, and even ourselves to some degree. It’s all for the best.

Review: All Pigs Must Die – S/T EP

“Hungry Wolf, Easy Prey” begins hot and heavy. Very catchy riffing. Fast and punishing. Vocals are in the hardcore punk vein. This song has a section of the riff that reminds me of “Bloodlust” by Venom. I’m not sure why, that has nothing to do with the track. This band has a great string section matched with amazing vocals. Around 2:09 a nice chugging groove sets in. Very nice. This band has a sound that a lot of other bands have nowadays, but that doesn’t make this band any less amazing. Great way to open an album. “Sermon For The End” begins with a driving riff. Very old school thrash-y. After the drums kick in, a killer solo brings us to the first verse. This is pure hardcore of the new millennium. . The same solo returns as the first verse ends. Nice chugging guitars keep me head banging throughout the verses. The drums change pace quite a bit, I like that a lot. It adds a lot of diversity to the track. The vocals are still in the same vein I spoke of before. Not a lot of variation in that department, but it in no way brings down the track. The long screams he executes remind me of Human Furnace of Ringworm. Also a good thing. The track goes out with a hanging chord and some feedback. Another nice track. “Die Ignorant” opens with fury. This band shows no signs of letting me down any time soon. More melodic chugging guitars carry this song. The vocals on this track seem more emotional than in the previous tracks. The breakdown is very catchy. Vocals are spaced out and very easy to understand. “Noxchi Assault” opens with my favorite riff on the album. Still very melodic chugging, but in a much lighter sense. This track reminds me of older Hatebreed, only better of course. Everything about this track makes me think back to my old days listening to Hatebreed. The vibe this track sets is the exact same as those set by said band. Along with the chugging guitars, amazing drumming techniques are being executed. Great track. “Death In My Wake” is the longest track on this album and also the last. I cannot believe I have listened to this whole thing already. This song has a very gloomy tone to it at the beginning that leads into the normal standard set by the tracks that preceded it. This track is very similar to the one before it. Melodic riffing and fabulous drumming topped only by superior hardcore vocals. The chugging sections of the chorus are pretty fucking brutal. This band is heavy without having to use an excessive amount of distortion. The production of this is very clean and crisp. The gloom sets back in just after the 3:00 mark. The drumming is amazing during this section. I am reminded of Hooded Menace through parts of this.  A large majority of this song is this melancholic instrumental. Which isn’t exactly a bad thing, but it doesn’t top the cake, if you know what I mean. The entire album up until this point was hard-hitting and heavy as fuck, and then they go all doom-y on the last track? I’m not too sure. I dig it, just not as much as I thought I would. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see how the LP plays out.