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ROCKET Interviews Guitarist Mike Kaval of PSYCHONAUT


Perth, Western Australia metal act PSYCHONAUT have been electrifying the underground scene in their homeland with their awesome sound and over-the-top live performance. The group cites influences such as Mercyful Fate, Loudness, Motorhead, Black Sabbath, KISS, W.A.S.P. & Slayer. They combine a classic metal & rock sound with lyrical themes such as Star Wars, Horror plus Science Fiction The band has already supported the likes of Death Angel, Exodus, Finntroll, Frankenbok, Lord, and Armored Saint.

A debut album called Masters Of Procrastination was recorded during late 2003 and released during early 2004. Now in 2012, their new record entitled Shock ’Em Dead! reveals the band’s 14 new tracks of power-speed-thrash-death-rock-metal.

The Metal Den’s Randy “Rocket” Cody has conducted an exclusive interview with guitarist Mike Kaval of PSYCHONAUT for his loyal worldwide Den Headz.


ROCKET: Where were you born and raised?

MIKE: I was born from an egg on a mountain top … the force was irrepressive! Perth Western Australia to be exact.

ROCKET: Do you recall your first rock concert?

MIKE: I think it was Silverchair in the mid 90s it was an outdoor show, gotta start somewhere.

ROCKET: When did you first start playing guitar?

MIKE: I was about 10 when my dad said to me and my brother Dave one day – right your both gonna learn a musical instrument and a sport! I don’t care at all what they are just decide and you’ll do it. Well we both hated sports so we chose martial arts and Guitar for an instrument. Unfortunately we quit both after only 6 months or so it wasn’t till a year later picking up the guitar again and teaching ourselves thru tab books n guitar vids.


ROCKET: Who are some of your biggest guitar playing influences?

MIKE: Definitely – Hetfield/Hammett – Becker/Friedman – Gorham/Robertson – Laiho/Latvala.

ROCKET: How did you join up with PSYCHONAUT band?

MIKE: I knew Mark from local gigs, he always seemed a cool guy when I’d see him out and I liked watching Psychonaut back then too. Once we got talking we had loads in common and so we were mates from then on in. He had put the band on hold while directing his attention to another project for a while. When he was ready to get his gruesome teeth into the hell of Psychonaut again he asked me to come audition, and I’ve been in the band now for about 5 Metal years.

ROCKET: Very cool! You guys released “Shock ‘Em Dead” album last year. I love this record! How has the reaction been so far on that?

MIKE: It’s been pretty good considering the amount we’ve actually promoted it so far. People are definitely getting back to their roots and its nice to hear them say that our stuff has it all for them, all their fave styles in one and takes em back to early days but still with a modern kinda twist……of Blood!

ROCKET: Where is the best place for fans to pickup a copy?

MIKE: Firestarter Music for hard copy / iTunes for downloads and ‘HELL’ for some kind of crazy wild red hot bonus version – www,psychonaut-au.com . The last pressing has all but sold out and the band is about to press more hard copies.


ROCKTE: Are you guys writing any new material right now for the follow-up to
“Shock ‘Em Dead”?

MIKE: Yep we sure are, Mark and I have some new ideas/songs and riffs to slam together this year so we are all looking forward to some new shit.

ROCKET: What is your favorite song to perform live and why?

MIKE: Ah… I’d say Dracula and Wolfman .. both killer songs and also my fave guitar solos to play in them.

ROCKET: Are you endorsed by anyone currently?

MIKE: No ….Money Down! lol not as of yet, I’ve never looked into it to be honest. We use what we use and are happy.

ROCKET: What kind of guitars and amps are you playing live and in the studio?


MIKE: My amp is a peavey 5150 Mark2 / Rocktron Xpression rack unit for FXs and my main stage guitar is a Peavey Rotor. But like all my gear I customize it by changing fixed bridges to Floyd’s with the big brass block / add extra lights to the amp and take off some of the excessive logos and shit that don’t need to be on there.

ROCKET: You are releasing a music video soon, correct? Can you tell me what track it is for and how much fun was it making the video?

MIKE: The song is called False Metal and is an homage to metal if you will. We thought id be fun to do a clip at a metal party with heaps of people going crazy. It was a blast having an arcade machine right there next to the stage /drunk loonies shouting random shit all night / ex girlfriends spewing on the carpet in the bedroom! Trying to get drunk people to all work together and pay attention was an experience but hell fun. All the props were from either my or Mark’s place so its all very us.

ROCKET: What are some of the upcoming shows PSYCHONAUT will be playing in 2013?

MIKE: Next gig is Fringe World Festival (22nd of Feb) and should be a little different from our normal gigs as this one we have a crazy 80s style laser show. Fringe has many different acts and hopefully we’ll get to show some new crew our brand of metal and spread some blood around. To be honest I really love lasers / lights (Pink Floyd Style) and its something I’ve wanted to do since I saw it.

ROCKET: Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?


MIKE: I’d be pretty at home writing music for anime and horror films in some kick ass studio on my billion acre block , throw in the epic world tour and I’m set! 🙂

ROCKET: Thanks for rocking this out with me. Best of luck with your music! Any last words for your fans?

MIKE: Stay Metal!! Thanks for having me Rocket!