Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (https://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?
Kasey Haze: HELLRAZOR is HELLRAZOR, it’s a mish mash of all the bands I enjoy listening to and throw into a blender. HELLRAZOR isn’t about writing the fastest song or the heaviest song or being the most brutal or “innovative” or whatever. HELLRAZOR is about putting out music that the fans can enjoy and relate or at least interpret the songs the way they hear the song.
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.
KH: Grew up in Canada where my best friend who was from Sri Lanka bought a guitar so he could be like Slash from Guns and Roses which influenced me to buy one when I was a teen. But I started playing guitar to attract the girls, that was the real reason I started playing guitar, girls. There wasn’t a lot of guitar players growing up in high school either, most of the boys were playing football and driving their moms’ cars around. I’m not saying I was a total loser with no friends who sat in the basement learning how to shred on the guitar though. I was fairly popular but playing guitar just did it for the girls.
PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?
KH: I don’t think anything specifically inspires me to write music because I just enjoy writing however I’ve always found it challenging writing a theme for a song. The music is the easy part but the lyrics have to have a meaning and not be some cryptic sentences thrown together. You’re trying to write a story that hopefully a listen can relate to. I think the 2022 Hanging On By A Thread album is definitely some of my best song writing. I had lots of time to work on the lyrics and really opened up in my lyrics about things that were happening in my life during that time. Interestingly enough though, I wrote “The Boy That You Once Knew” in a few hours one day. It all started with me plucking the first 6 tones and the idea of a boy following the footsteps of his father who is doing life in prison.
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
KH: World tours and complete domination.. obviously, but all joking aside, writing songs that people want to listen to on a regular basis and have a solid audience. It’s funny because I was recently speaking with a promotion company from the UK where their big pitch was Tik Tok and Snapchat. I told her I wasn’t interested in instant gratification that will disappear in less than twenty-four hours but rather target fans of the genre who would listen to songs over and over for years. Never heard from them again.
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?
KH: I spoke with a music engineer once and he said any idiot can record music however not everyone can record good music. Or as he put it “shit in, shit out”. There are many people that want instant stardom and fame and want to increase the number of subscribers, likes, retweets whatever. And power to them if they want to go that route but that’s not for me or HELLRAZOR. I’d rather have a fan buy HELLRAZOR albums, HELLRAZOR shirts and listen to HELLRAZOR because they’re fans enjoy the music rather than have that person hit the like button because they listened to it once and move on. That’s not sustainable in the long run and you fizzle out when the next new shiny object comes around. There’s a reason bands like Judas Priest or Metallica or ACDC have been around for thousands of years. And I understand they all came from a different era but they relied on their hardcore fans and still rely on them to this day.
PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?
KH: Booking agents in whichever city. These days it’s a lot easier to book and promote with the internet than it was 20 years ago. No tours scheduled as of yet but anything can happen!
PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?
KH: I remember when Metallica sued Napster. I received a notification from Napster that I was no longer able to use their service because I downloaded Metallica’s songs. The interesting thing about it was I already had all the Metallica albums on CD but I just didn’t have them on my computer. Sorry Lars, let’s do lunch? .. At that time downloading music online was still fairly new compared to now. I think it’s a great way to reach audiences in ways that couldn’t have been done 20 years ago. Lots of people have itunes or spotify or whatever platform which makes reaching audiences out in Japan or wherever easier. Only downside is people may only purchase a few songs rather than the entire album which has made physical albums almost obsolete. I still believe in releasing a CD with a booklet. I remember growing up reading the lyrics while listening to the song and reading the booklet notes about which instruments who played, who they thanked and whatever other useless information was thrown in. To me it was so fascinating and you felt more connected to the music.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
KH: Never really thought about it.
PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?
KH: There are many things but I think the amount of material being released so fast bands have very little time to get any ground before something “new and fresh” is released just after. The music industry has always been that way but I believe especially with the rise of social media, bands and solo artists are pumped out a lot faster. Some get to the top really quick, thrive for 2 or 4 years then no one cares about them anymore. There is certainly a correlation between social media and people’s attentions spans being smaller which is a result of being constantly force fed with something new.
PD: So, what are you working on at the moment?
KH: Besides HELLRAZOR, I’m looking to record and produce solo singers and songwriters. Just acoustic with vocals to do something different and a change of pace.
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?
KH: HELLRAZOR can be purchased on many different platforms such as itunes, apple music etc. www.hellrazorband.com has links to the platforms or https://hellrazor.hearnow.com/hanging-on-by-a-thread