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ROCKET Interviews HIRAX Vocalist Katon W. De Pena


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American thrash metal band HIRAX was founded by vocalist Katon W. De Pena in 1984, gaining a legion of fans while playing in Los Angeles and San Francisco with other pioneering thrash acts of the era: METALLICA, EXODUS, and SLAYER. After initially releasing some demos, HIRAX signed with Metal Blade Records and debuted with their first full-length recording, aptly named Raging Violence in 1985. Since 1986, the act has undergone many lineup changes, including the departure of De Pena himself for a long period between 1988-2000. The act is going stronger than ever today, having most recently released the album entitled ‘El Rostro de la Muerte’ in the spring of 2009, which is now being followed up with the forthcoming ‘Immortal Legacy’.

The Metal Den’s Randy “Rocket” Cody has conducted an EXCLUSIVE interview with HIRAX vocalist Katon W. De Pena for TMD’s loyal following of DEN HEADZ all across the globe!

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ROCKET: How has life been treating you?

KATON: Great we are here in Los Angeles, California getting ready for our HIRAX South American tour! It starts off in Brazil on July 5th 2013.

ROCKET: Jeff Hanneman of SLAYER recently passed away. I was wondering if you were friends with him and if you would share any thoughts you have about the man and his great musical legacy.

KATON: What happened to Jeff was very sad he died way too soon. We had the pleasure of playing with Slayer back in the very early 1980s And he was a very nice guy. I did party with him a few times. One of my fondest memories was hanging out at Ron McGovney Ex Metallica bassist house In Norwalk, California And Jeff got so drunk that he passed out on the stairs. We left him alone so that he could sleep it off. Jeff was a great guitarist And an awesome songwriter. His music and his legacy will live forever. Rest in peace brother.

ROCKET: Do you think SLAYER should call it quits now or keep going?

KATON: Even though Slayer will never be the same In my opinion I think they should continue on the rest of the band (Kerry and Tom) didn’t work this hard all these years to quit now and I have to respect that. Nobody likes a quitter.

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ROCKET: Let’s talk about the new HIRAX album due to come out later this year in September called ‘Immortal Legacy’. Who is the producer and where was it recorded?

KATON: The release date for the new HIRAX abum has been set back one month it will be out in October 2013 on SPV RECORDS And it is being produced by Bill Metoyer who has previously worked with (W.A.S.P., Armored Saint, Slayer) and many others… the album has 14 new songs Of pure thrash metal music the production is very epic sounding and the cover artwork is being done by Philip Lawvere Who has done work with Kreator and Celtic Frost. We want to give our fans the best album package ever because they deserve it.

ROCKET: What can fans expect from the new material? I hope it’s going to be heavy as hell like everything else you do. Please tell me there’s not going to be any ballads. LOL

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KATON: We never want to let our fans down so don’t expect any ballads or sappy songs. We always stick to our roots fast and heavy is mandatory. The main focus on the new album is to never compromise and stick to what we believe in heavy thrash metal music. After the release of this new album in October we will be touring all over the world in support of the new record. We look forward to seeing all the fans on the road when we come to your city or town. Stay Heavy stay Metal.

ROCKET: What record label is HIRAX signed with currently?

KATON: SPV records worldwide! Some of The bands they have released are: Whitesnake, Kreator, Saxon, Moonspell, Anvil, Sodom, Lita Ford, So I think were in good company And on the right label for our kind of music.

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ROCKET: How long did the recording process take from start to finish?

KATON: With HIRAX we always record in between touring. Which makes it kind of hard because were always on the road, But we always find a way to get it done! Normally three months In and out of the recording studio But honestly Probably 10 days of recording the music We work really fast and we do a lot of preproduction before we go into the recording studio.

ROCKET: What is your opinion of ‘pay to play’? You see it happening mostly in Los Angeles. Has HIRAX ever paid to play a show?

KATON: We don’t do pay to play shows But I can tell you it has been going on a long time, Most Band would be better off Renting a hall and putting on their own concerts.

ROCKET: What about these buy-on tours where bands can go out with big name national acts? Do you think it’s a good thing for newer bands to put out $10,000 for X amount of shows opening to a handful of people who could give a shit about them. Is it a waste of time and cash? Should they instead hold onto their money and just keep working on building a core following out on the club scene?

KATON: It depends on what band it is, If it’s somebody like Kiss Or AC/DC Bands of that stature And you have the money It would probably be worth it Otherwise no just keep building your own following up. Make a name for yourself first!

ROCKET: HIRAX had a show in June at Century Media Records. I understand it was free to the public.

KATON: Yeah that show just happened and it was great, were asked by Century Media Records To play in There parking lot It was a free concert Open to the public And it was a great way of giving back to the fans.

ROCKET: How important is music marketing with the social sites nowadays? How much has been using sites like Facebook and Twitter helped to get the word out about HIRAX?

KATON: Social Networking websites are very important And Have helped us To reach a whole new audience and many more fans We have a very high profile On websites such as Facebook, Reverb nation, Twitter, Spotify, Tumblr Also including our main website Hirax.org. We are easy to find on the Internet.

ROCKET: What metal albums released over the past couple years have impressed you the most?

KATON: Funny thing is I don’t listen to very much new music The last Record I bought was DIO’s last record With Heaven and Hell. Besides that was the legend of Loudness Live complete best of 4 CD box set Of the greatest Japanese heavy-metal band of all time.

ROCKET: What is the best way for fans to show their support for HIRAX? Do you have a fan club they can join? Street team where they can help get word out?

KATON: There are so many ways but I will name three, 1. Go see the band live in concert, 2. Buy some merchandise/T-shirt or CD or vinyl/album, 3. If you don’t go to record stores go on the Internet and find iTunes you can download our music from there.

ROCKET: What kind of touring do you plan to do once ‘Immortal Legacy’ is released? Will there be a lot of shows in the states?

KATON: There will be a North American US tour in 2014 And We will embark on a major world tour Playing in more countries than ever before it Is a very exciting time in the HIRAX camp.

ROCKET Any last words for your fans?

KATON: Thank you for your Diehard support! Immortal Legacy is coming get ready to bang your heads…

http://www.hirax.org/