6 mins read

On March 11, 2012 we talked to Jim Adams from SEVERED FIFTH, a metal band from Oakland, California. Jim has just left Oakland’s DEFIANCE as the band broken up in January 2012. Now, as for SEVERED FIFTH, play their tune and see the chat below.

Hey, guys. You’re the first real metal band interviewed by us. Pleasure to have you here.

Thanks! It is my pleasure to do it. :-)

You are hailing form the Bay Area. Tell us a bit about your music background and connections with local legendary musicians.

Well, I’ll do my best to sort this one out…my apologies to my band mates if I screw this up:
Jono (Guitar/Vox) hails from Northern England. He related to the Bay Area a few years back. He and I were introduced through a mutual friend. We talked on the phone once about what our vision(s) were for playing music, and decided we had a lot in common. Jono played in several bands while in England, doing many shows for local and international metal acts.
Ron (Bass) is a South Bay native. He has played in numerous bands locally, along with some extended adventures in Florida.. but I’d best leave it to him to tell those stories.
Jim W. (Drums) is also a native of the Bay Area. Jim played the club scene for years with a band called CULPRIT. That band broke up years ago though, and until Jim heard about our search for a drummer, hadn’t played in years. He really knocked off the rust in a hurry though when he joined SEVERED FIFTH.
As for me, I grew up in the Bay Area (Walnut Creek suburb of Oakland). Right after I graduated high school I was offered a chance to audition for this up and coming band from Oakland called DEFIANCE. 25 years later, 4 albums and a boxset is all I have to show for it. ;-)

Nice. You’ve just released your album entitled “Liberate”. How was it received by metal fans?

Well, it is early still and I’m not sure how far the word has been spread about our album being available… but as far as the folks that have given us feedback on the album, it has been very positive.
We have a lot more work to do though to get the word out about Liberate. Without the backing of a label, it is a pretty daunting task to market yourself. We are just taking it one day at a time.

The outing was produced by Juan Urteaga, who has worked with such artists as MACHINE HEAD, TESTAMENT and EXODUS. Tell us more about your time in Trident Studios.

Juan is a great engineer/producer. I had worked with him previously on the final DEFIANCE album “The Prophecy” which was released in 2009 on Candlelight Records. The drum room at Trident is fantastic! The tones that Juan gets for the drums is unreal! We definitely enjoyed worked with Juan.

The album features 11 songs from your previous release called “Nightmares By Design”. How exactly did you improved all these tracks?

When Jono met up with us, he had almost finished “Nightmares by Design” all by himself. It was mostly already “in the bag” by the time we completed filling out the line for the band. Other than a couple of guitar solos by me, the entire demo was all Jono. Which I think is pretty impressive. I wish I could play drums as good as he can.
What happened once the demo was released was we realized that as we were bonding as a band, the songs were starting to change. They were started to sound like the four of us, rather than just Jono.
It was decided that the best course to take was to re-record the songs as a band, as to capture the energy that we create when we jam together. Along the way, we did a bit of re-arranging of some of the tunes to make them “punch” through better…you know…really try and catch the listener early, and avoid dragging on.
Then when we went into Trident Studios, Juan really became an influential figure in helping to guide vocal performances. He really pushed Jono, and got him out of his comfort zone. I think the results of their work together, really pushed the overall project into a much higher stratosphere. I’m kinda biased… but that’s how it seems to me.

When can we expect some new songs? Are you writing already?

Oh yeah! We have already been working through some new tunes and song ideas. We actually have so many ideas and half songs floating around, it is getting a bit hard to keep track of them. I’ve started bringing a recording to rehearsals just to make sure we don’t let a good idea slip away or forgotten.

Why have you played so few shows? [laughs]

Heh. Well, when we first started to gig, I was in charge of booking the shows or finding shows to get on the bill for.. just using my connections and cold calling clubs. It started to work out that we were doing a show a month (some times more), and I think that was a good thing at the time, since we were still really coming together as band unit.
Now, we are pulling back a bit, so as not to burn out. If we play too much locally, then we may become ‘expected’ vs. something that people look forward to seeing live. Now that Liberate has been released, we are also exploring the idea of setting up a tour… maybe just a West Coast swing for starters, and see what happens from there.

How are you trying to get the word about the band out? How do you promote yourselves?

Jono for one is very gifted when it comes to self promotion. He has been doing an awesome job of using that skill to help promote Severed Fifth as well. Now that we are working with Tambre Bryant, we are started to work on getting some more traditional press kits and the like to get the word out, and hopefully, get some people to review the album which in turn would help to spread the word further.

You stated that your vision is a music industry is fairer for bands and fans. How’s that?

Fairer in the sense that there is no middle man… there is no wholesale mark up on our music. We give our music away freely under the Creative Commons Licensing. People can download, Rip, share and use our music anyway they see fit, so long as it is for a non-commercial use. If someone wants to use Severed Fifth for a commercial project, that’s something that needs to be worked out with us first.
Ever since Naptser hit in the early part of this century, the labels have been reeling, trying to figure out how to keep things status quo. We all can see now, that the “old guard” is failing fast. There are positive and negative points to that truth, but for me, I’d prefer at this stage in my career to have more control over the whole process.
If people want, we accept donations via our website No amount is too small..and it is all appreciated. If however, a person doesn’t want to or can’t pay anything…no problem. We just hope that they enjoy our work, and spread the word to their friends.

What’s the worst thing about living in Oakland?

Hah! Man… too many things wrong with Oakland… but that’s nothing new. Oakland is a lost soul, almost like a zombie.. just wandering around looking for rotten brains to eat.

Are you afraid of the Super Volcano under Yellowstone? [laughs]

Nope… so long as I stay in California… I’ll miss the ‘fun’ that everything east of Yellowstone is going to get dumped on it when it blows…

Is there any relation between you and your local hardcore scene? Do you go to hardcore shows?

By hardcore, are you referring to punk rock? I don’t know about the other guys, but way back in the day, I used to play bass for a skate punk band called S.O.S.A. I tended to hang out with the ‘punk’ crowds more so than the ‘metal’ ones. Now a days, I don’t really go to all that many shows, but when I do, I’ll go see anything that sounds like a good show. The style isn’t as important to me as the expression of music being done with honestly and conviction.

Thank you. Feel free to add anything you want.

Thanks for hosting his interview! I just realized, this is my first interview as a member of “Severed Fifth”. Jono usually handles the talking bits for this band. In DEFIANCE I had to do a lot of the interviews towards the end… it is nice to talk about a different band for once. :-)

Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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