– First off thanks for the interview and well, tell us a bit how has been this OZ’s come back to the Metal world?
You welcome Tania, Interview is cool. Well, 2 years ago I was calling to Jay C. Blade (Bass, Vocals and Song writing) after many, many years. We talk old memories and I ask if he have new songs, and he say yes. He sends some demo songs to me and those songs sounds really good. I call back and ask if we could do some music together, and after some weeks he says Yes. Then I call Ape DeMartini (Vocals) and ask same. Get also Yes from him after some weeks….;) Then more planning and February 2011 we open OZ official homepage (www.ozofficial.com) and people get quite fast idea of OZ comeback. OZ is now our part time work, because we have other projects in our lives too. First we ask some our friend to play guitar on new album. First we recorded 3 songs and make video for one of songs, Dominator. We hired Nicke Andersson (Ex-Hellacopters, Ex-Etomber) as Music Producer and Amir Chamdin (Singer in Infinite Mass and Film maker) together with Johan Bååth as Video Producers. 3 songs and Dominator video were ready at end of 2010. More recording in Finland and Sweden and now all 11 songs are ready to go. It have been a lot of work and too little time and so on, but it have been really FUN…;)
– How do you guys feel in this new period? And how will you approach the new album? I have listened your single and, honestly, is a blast fitting these current days but without losing the usual classic touch…
As I told earlier, it is really fun to be together with Ape and Jay again and make music. Nicke Andersson was the right man to produce OZ new Album. He told to us that we need to keep our OZ sound and way to play and sing from 80’s and just update the total band sound. And yes, I think that we have done it. New album Burning Leather will include new songs and old classics recorded with 2010 technique. New album sounds Killer…;) OZ Raw Metal with 2010 sound.
– And about the band, explain us a bit about the new members. Have they adapted to the band? And do they now want OZ meant and still means?
In Dominator video we have 2 Finnish Axemans Costello Hautamäki and Markku Petander, but after video recording Costello start to get so much work with his band that he have in Finland, so he couldn’t continue with OZ. So we take a new, but this time Swedish Axeman Michel Santunione. The new album including all 3 Axemans on guitars. Then Markku broke his leg and we have new Swedish Axeman with OZ on Stage, John Berg. Markku will be back when his leg is ready to rock. I probably should say here that I and Ape are living in Stockholm, Sweden and Jay and Markku are living in Finland. OZ headquarter is in Stockholm, so they have to fly to OZ meetings. We have been playing some festivals and hell yeah!!! OZ is back with this new line-up.
– If I’m not wrong, you will re-record some «hits» for this new album; is this something you already had in mind or are they some songs you didn’t like how they end up back then?
Yes new songs and old classics. Old songs Search lights, Gambler, Fire in the Brain, Total Metal, Third Warning and of course Turn the Cross Upside Down are recorded, mixed and mastered. Well all of songs were recorded in 80’s and when re-recording these songs using 2010 sound technology, well these songs were getting better…;) We like with this new album give to people possibility to listen a good mix of OZ songs and get the idea how OZ will sound in the concert.
– What have you been up to from 1991 until now? Were you involved with music or, on the contrary, did you have some other things outside it?
I was not working with music or music business by myself after 1991. Ape has been singing some local bands here in Stockholm area. Jay was leaving OZ 1987 and starts to play in Princess Bang in New York, USA. He was playing some other bands also when living in New York, but now he is living in Finland and playing in huge popular Finnish band Yö. He has been playing bass in Yö more that 10 years and that is his work.
– You’re heading from Finland, I have some bands from your period as RIFF RAFF, IRON CROSS or TAROT, how was the Metal scene like during that era? Did all the bands know each other?
Yes OZ is from Finland, but we move from Finland to Stockholm, Sweden 1983 after recording the album, Fire in the Brain. In that time before 83 when we were living in Finland, the Metal scene was not as it is now. New wave and old rock and roll and Finnish dance music were dominating music scene in Finland and then there was OZ. No we never met any of these bands.
– What has your best moment between 1984 and 1991? You recorded 5 albums but, eventhough, you didn’t gian much recognition. I remember it was quite difficult to get your albums in Spain, and when something appeared where 2 LP’s as one, as «III Warning» and «Decibel Storm» as just one.
There were a lot of fun parts and also not so fun parts. Recording Decibel Storm album was really fun. We get probably not so much recognition in Spain, well that time in 80’s we never think Spain as Metal music country. Spain was a place for vacation. Yes I remember that some Spanish company was doing that “double” album. Well, I think that we get quite much recognition other places in the world. We were selling records with licence contract, in USA, Canada, Japan, West Germany, Holland, Belgium and Scandinavia. If you mean Touring, Yes that was OZ not doing so much in 80’s.
– Between «Decibel» and «Roll» passed 5 years, did you rethink a bit the future into a more commercial sound as «Roll the Dice» (great album, by the way)? And, why was that your last album?
After Decibel Storm we were getting a lot of troubles, but we were still doing one demo recording with that line-up. Then both guitar players were leaving OZ and soon after also Jay was leaving. I and Ape left alone and finding new guitar players and bass player was not easy, but at last we get new line-up and new line-up is reason for new sound in Roll the Dice album. We have always done and will always do OZ music as we will, if we not like the songs, they never will be played by OZ. So we do not music for success, we do music that we like, if other people like it too…cool…;)
– Nowadays, thanks to the Internet, the «underground» term has got overcrowded and, for that I read and hear, OZ is one of those cult bands people look for these days; have ypou guys noticed this?
Yes, when I start to interest again about music, I start to check in Internet what I can find about OZ. And wow… a lot of people were making own t-shirts, patches and so on and OZ music was still around. Well it seems to me that our old Record Company was working under these years after 1991, but we never get any money from there, so I couldn’t know that. We have now people around the world who knows about OZ and are interested about OZ and for these people we play..;)
– I know next year you will play Keep it True, I don’t use to miss that date since many years ago, and I know you will enjoy it because of the bands’ style and the crowd assisting- How are going to be those shows like? And, do you have something else planned regarding gigs and festivals?
OZ on stage 2011, well same style as 80’s; Raw Metal ala OZ, and some show with Fire and Smoke. OZ shows never including playback as nowadays so many bands using…;) We are playing some festivals in Scandinavia and Germany this summer. Next winter we probably will play some gigs around Europe, touring together with some other bands.
– How does the future look like for OZ? Will be more albums or do you want first to see the feedback from your followers towards this upcoming one?
Writing new songs is not trouble for OZ, we have so many good songwriters in this band, but recording music cost a lot of money and selling music when a lot of people just listening mp3 format music, makes the whole thing really crazy. We made this new album Burning Leather using the best recording technique that you could find here in Sweden and Finland, so it sounds really good and the next album have to sound as good, so it just depending if we can finance that. Future for OZ looking good and as long we are healthy we will rock…;)
– So nothing else from my side, wish you good luck and see you at Keep it True, though I would love you to stop by in Spain. Best wishes and thank you once more.
Yes, I hope so that we see at Keep it True and check www.ozofficial.com and see what happens with OZ…;)