– First of all thank you so much for answering to our questions. And with your new album out already; how’s the band currently doing?
You are Welcome Paco! Interview is Cool! And it’s pleasure to answer your questions.
Mark Ruffneck and also other OZ hard core members, Ape De Martini and Jay C. Blade just feeling well! And also both Guitar Players Michel Santunione and John Berg are just fine! So OZ is alive and breathing, ha, ha! To be back in action after so long break is just wonderful!
– The other time I interviewed you I didn’t hear the full album yet, this time that I have already listened this new piece, I can say is a good album on the traditional style and with a really good re-recordings. Has been easy to release again an album nowadays?
Well, doing this album wasn’t easy. We are living 2 different countries, Jay C. Blade in Finland and Mark Ruffneck and Ape De Martini in Sweden, so only that makes some logistical troubles to solve. A lot of phone calls and emails to each other time to time. We were also having 2 Finnish guitar players, Markku Petander and Costello Hautamäki working on recording studio and we also were recording some parts of the album in Finland and some parts of the album in Sweden. So, the whole recording process was quite complicated, but at the end we could make it ready. After recording the new album “Burning Leather” we also needed a distribution company for the distribution of the album and we were talking with a lot of different companies before we decided to work with AFM Records in Germany and Spiritual Beast in Japan.
– Tell us a bit what does an album like “Burning Leather” represent.
We wanted to combine the mystique of the 80’s with the relevance of the 2000’s and also restart at that point when the hard core of OZ at the first time came together. “Burning Leather “ is our first album since 1991 and there are whole new generations of heavy metal fans who do not even know our old songs. And for our old supporters, it is probably interesting to hear their favorites in new versions. In conjunction with old tracks and the new songs you get a package with «Burning Leather» that shows what OZ is today.» “Burning Leather” is representing the first gear on Afterburner time that we are living with OZ.
– Getting a bit into the album, there are 5 new songs with a marked 80’s style but, at the same time, really well adapted to a modern production. Did you have really clear what you wanted to do when you decided to release new tunes?
Yes, we have all songs listed when we started recording sessions. Of course during the recording sessions we made some changes to songs, but this is totally normal procedure when recording songs in studio.
Well, we were recording all song in the same “mixed” sessions and that’s probably one of the reasons why all new songs were fitting so well with the old songs. We were also using the same production system in all recording sessions, so we got the same sound for the whole album. We were only using new songs that were fitting well with old songs! The overall sound was just updated, and the old OZ Raw metal was still somewhere there! We were playing the same way as we were doing on 80’s, Raw Metal! Probably the new elements are perfectly tuned guitars! Thanks to Anders Tidell and his True Temperament Fretting System. And the new album is also having fresh and more compact sound than albums that we have released before.
– Of these 5 tracks, which I have liked a lot, I World like to stand out 2. One of them is “Burning Leather”, that has a certain PRIEST influence that makes it hyper Heavy, and the other is “Enter Stadium”, on my view a bit KISS, without loosing the OZ touch. Did you think about these bans when recording them or are just appreciations?
When we writing songs and recording those we always doing that with our way, OZ way! Yes, there are probably some similarities with those bands, but we are not seeing that as a trouble! And if talking in the general way, there are so many metal bands in the world, so your songs probably have some similarities with some other bands all the time, but in our case, we were not trying to sound as any other band on purpose! OZ is OZ.
– On the other hand, you have re-recorded 6 classics by the band. These have been quite respected and, though I’m a fan of the old-fashioned sound of the vinyl format, have improved a lot with a current production.
The overall sound was just updated, and the old OZ Raw metal was still somewhere there! We were playing the same way as we were doing on 80’s, Raw Metal! And OZ producer Nicke Andersson (Ex Hellacopters, Ex Etombed) was also controlling that we were not taking too long steps from the OZ Raw Metal.
– And talking about this; will there be a vinyl release or any special edition of the record?
Yes, there will be vinyl release of Burning Leather by German company Metalizer Records and the same company will also release Japan bonus songs as a vinyl single. The bonus songs are Signs from the Dead and The Show Must Go on. The first one is a new song and Jay C. Blade is singing that and the second song is from the album “Decibel Storm” and was recorded because of its lyrics! Those lyrics have in some sense the story that fits well in the situation that we are right now with the band, ha, ha
– Didn’t you think about featuring any song off “HMH”, “Decibel Store” or “Roll the Dice”?
We picked up songs from Fire in the Brain album and of course Turn the Cross Upside Down. Then we also liked to make 2 songs from Third Warning album, because we think that Third Warning album in original version is a disaster in sound. To choose the old songs were not “a big deal”, we got same favorites on the list quite quickly. We just picked up the songs from that time period, when we started to work together at past and the reunion is just the next gear to drive further. “Burning Leather” album is made as the package that shows what OZ is today. We wanted to combine the mystique of the 80’s with the relevance of the 2000’s.
– And now in a general view; did you have clear since the beginning the idea of unleashing an album with 5 new songs and 6 re-recordings? Didn’t you think that, now that you have come up with 5 really great new songs, you could have done a fully new CD?
Yes, the idea was in the beginning to make the album with both new songs and re-recordings. As I told before we like to combine the mystique of the 80’s with the relevance of the 2000’s and also restart at that point when the hard core of OZ at the first time came together. In conjunction with old tracks and the new songs you get a package with «Burning Leather» that shows what OZ is today and that was one of the major purposes with this album. We have more new songs! Songwriting is not a trouble for OZ! So, if “Burning Leather” album is selling enough, we will go back to studio and make a new album!
– On a view to your live shows, I guess you may have already done a few. How is the tour going? Do you feel OZ is a tight band on stage? And how are people reacting?
We have been playing on some Festivals during the last summer. Feeling when we have been on stage? Just Great Feeling!!! And, we have got feedback from both fans and press and the feedback has been really positive. Yes, OZ is a tight band on stage, but probably we will be even tighter in the future when we have been played more shows together.
– Another thing I’m curious about is that if for your shows will you play the whole album? As on it there are new songs and classic ones. Or maybe you also add some more to your set?
We play all songs from Burning Leather except Enter Stadium. Enter Stadium is a special song and that song will be never played on Stage by OZ. That song will only be on album “Burning Leather” and probably also on video later this year! Yes, we also have some other songs that we are playing on Stage, for example Megalomaniac and Stop Believing from Fire in the Brain album and we probably will also play Black Candles on stage in the future! And probably we will also play on Stage some songs from Decibel Storm album in the future.
– Well, this is it; our best wishes with this piece and, from my side, I will see you at Keep it True. Many thanks
Thank You! It was a pleasure to answer your questions and all best to you, too! We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our loyal fans out there, and also welcome new fans into our fold. For more info, please check out our website: www.ozofficial.com
Yes, we will see You at Keep It True Festival.
Mark Ruffneck (Drumz)