– Thank you so much for answering our interview. How is the band currently doing. with the release of your album?
ZETRO – Thanks for the interview! We are busy right now promoting the release of our new record, «Dawn Of The New Centurion,» which is out right now on digital outlets and mailorder. The record will be in stores on April 1st. I’m doing press interviews pretty much every day, and the band is rehearsing three nights a week in preparation for upcoming shows, so we are extremely busy right now.
– Before digging into the new opus, I would like to review a little bit your career. How did HATRIOT born?
ZETRO – We started out in 2010, when I met my guitarist Kosta Varvatakis. He was in a local band called Kranial Damage. His band was on a show with my son Nick’s band at the time, and I was there just showing support. I was real impressed with Kosta and we talked heavy metal after the gig, and exchanged numbers. A few weeks later he quit his band and was making demos, and I heard the material and was blown away. We started writing together, and that became the beginning of Hatriot. We went through a few different line-ups in the beginning, just trying to find the right chemistry, and in early 2011 we made a demo and started shopping for labels. Massacre was interested and we made a deal. The rest is history!
– Checking the band members I see a lot the «Souza» surname, is a familiar band. Is this something positive or rather de opposite when it comes to record? I guess the bulk may lie on yourself, doesn’t it?
ZETRO – It’s all positive. Obviously with my history in Exodus, and even Legacy, there is an interest in what I am doing, and because of that we get to cut to the front of the line and avoid a lot of things that young bands have to do when starting up. Building a fan base, getting a record deal, getting management, and all these other business things take years to happen for bands, but with my history we had all that come in to play very early. That is a huge positive. Two of my sons, Cody and Nick Souza, play in the band with me, so there’s another angle there that the press likes to talk about. I don’t look at it as a novelty, because they both can fucking play, but it definitely helps keep an interest in the band because it is such a rare situation. I can’t think of another 80’s rock star with two of his kids in his band. Van Halen has one. I think Max has one of his kids in Soulfly now, but nobody has two sons in the band. So the bulk of everything does ride on my shoulders, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. The guys in my band are all amazing players and have great work ethic.
– This new record is entitled «Dawn of the New Centurion». Tell us a bit about the lyrical themes on it and the meaning behind bots its title and cover artwork.
ZETRO – It’s nine tracks of old school thrash metal with a new twist. Lyrically I cover a lot of ground. There are songs about corrupt world leaders, cabin in the woods killers, pedophile Catholic priests, and the world coming to an end from too much technology. I always write about the dark side of life, and I think there’s a lot of material to absorb on this record. It may take a few listens for it all to sink in. The artwork was done by Mark DeVito, and he’s the guy who did the last record as well. On the debut we wanted bright and vibrant colors, but this record is a lot darker, so we wanted to do the opposite from the debut. We wanted dark and moody colors, and almost a Medieval knight feel. With Mark all you have to do is tell him the overall concept and he can bring it all to life. He did a great job once again!
– The effort is, with no doubt, a true pure old school Thrash Metal assault, on my opinion near to those albums by EXODUS such as «Fabulous…» or «Pleasures…». Was it supposed to, somehow, get back that feeling or is this something that just comes out naturally?
ZETRO – It was definitely just a natural thing. My guitarist, Kosta Varvatakis, writes and arranges all the music, and he is very schooled in thrash metal. He learned to play the guitar by copying the styles of all the Bay Area greats, like Gary Holt and Alex Skolnick. So the music is definitely rooted in old school thrash, and that’s perfect for me to write to. It was a very natural thing, and not forced at all. I think fans of the my era of Exodus will be very pleased with this album.
– On the other hand, production sounds more current but it doesn’t have a mechanized sound at all, as happens to some other bands into the genre that just want to provide power. Did you have a clear idea on how you wanted to sound? Are you satisfied with the final outcome?
ZETRO – I’m very pleased with the outcome. We did both Hatriot records at Trident Studios here in the Bay. Juan Urteaga produced, and he has built quite a reputation in the heavy metal scene for providing quality production at an affordable price. I was looking to make a solid, classic thrash record for the modern times. Juan basically captured our live sound on tape, and made us sound heavy as fuck, without losing our signature sound and tone. I think a lot of bands get caught up in being the «heaviest» and they lose touch with being musical. We didn’t want that. The way the record turned out is exactly how my vision was.
– As I said earlier, listening to the album I have the feeling of being reviving passages of old Thrash Metal. Unavoidable on this CD songs such as «From my Cold Dead Hands» or «Your Worst Enemy», that kick off the album on a terrific way. Were these the proper tunes to start the album with?
ZETRO – Definitely! I do all the track sequencing for the Hatriot albums, and it is important to make sure that every song flows into the next. Track order is a big deal to me. So yes, these two songs are full-on thrashers, and there’s no better way to open an album!
– Though I absolutely enjoy the songs that got that Speed bonus, such as «Honor the Rise and Fall» or «World Funeral»; tracks full of violence, both in vocals and musically, and specially in backing vocals. Tell us a bit about these tunes; how did they born?
ZETRO – They were born just like any other Hatriot song. Kosta writes and arranges the music, and then teaches the rest of the band the material. They work it up and put their own individual touch on the arrangement, and then we make a jam room recording of the song – basically a live rehearsal demo. I take that home and write the lyrics. «Honor The Rise And Fall» is a song about ancient Roman gladiators, and how they would kill people for entertainment in the big arena. «World Funeral» is about technology getting out of hand, and ultimately being the end of the world.
– It’s also essential that song close to Hardcore with a weird or special title, this time around that one is «Suprekillafragsadisticactsaresoatrocius», the «mosh» track on the album, similar to that «Toxic Waltz» by EXODUS; something aggressive yet danceable. Tell us about this tune.
ZETRO – I came up with the title before I had any idea of what it would sound like or be about. The title was really funny and I knew if I could make that into a killer song the whole metal scene would be talking about it, and I was right! We refer to this song as «Super Kill,» and it’s probably my favorite on the record. It just has a great groove, and is definitely the mosh track of this album, as you stated. The lyrics are about corrupt world leaders, and how they always fall in the end.
– And well, in general this is a tight album, but I would like you to highlight some songs (or a song) that represents something else for you.
ZETRO – I would have to say «The Fear Within» is a special one, because it is the first song we ever wrote together as Hatriot. There is a primitive version of it on our 2011 demo, and that is being used as a bonus track on the record in certain territories of the world. The album version is the most dynamic song on the record, in my opinion. It is just fucking killer. We were going to put it on the «Heroes Of Origin» record, but it really didn’t fit in the context of the other songs, so we saved it for this album. I’m proud to see it develop into the song that it is now.
– This is your second full-length, last year you released «Heroes of Origin». How has the evolution between them been?
ZETRO – With «Heroes Of Origin» being the debut record, we wanted to hit people hard from the opening riff until the end of the album, just pummel people and kill everyone and everything in our path. On «Dawn Of The New Centurion» we are a little more refined. We are a stealth killer this time. The songs are just as heavy, if not heavier, but we have elements of melody in there, and a lot more dynamics. The structure and arrangements are more complex. Some people have said if you cross «Tempo Of The Damned» era Exodus with what I did with Legacy, you’d get something close to what Hatriot is doing right now. That pretty much sums it up.
– And how will a third album be like? Will it follow the same patterns or do you already have any ideas in mind?
ZETRO – Believe it or not, we already have two new songs written for the third album. We dedicate one practice a week to writing new material, and that keeps the ideas coming and prevents us from getting into a rut with the material. So we are always staying one step ahead. By the time the promotion cycle is done for «Dawn Of The New Centurion» we will be ready to go back in and cut a new record. Kosta is always writing riffs and has some killer stuff already in the works. Hatriot is a fine tuned machine at this point, with no signs of slowing down.
ZETRO – There’s a lot of stuff that’s being talked about right now. We are supposed to head to South America for some shows this summer. It looks like we will be in Europe for a few weeks this summer with Onslaught and Artillery, and we will be returning to the Eindhoven Metal Meeting again this winter. As for the USA, it all really depends on what bigger bands are touring, and who needs a support act. There’s a lot of politics involved with that, so we will look into any offers that come our way, and if it makes sense to do then we will do it. We are not going to go into debt just to keep the band on the road. It has to be feasible for us.
– Will there be a special vinyl edition for the album?
ZETRO – Definitely! I’m old school, and I love to see an album released on vinyl. The artwork looks so much cooler when it is that big, and there’s just a feeling when you listen to a vinyl record that you can’t get in digital form. It’s fucking killer! Both of the Hatriot records have been pressed on limited edition vinyl. «Dawn Of The New Centurion» is limited to 500 hand numbered copies on black vinyl, and 500 on red vinyl as well.
– That’s all from our side, our best wishes and hope to see you soon on stage.
ZETRO – Thanks for the support. I hope to see everyone on tour!