Hatriot, Heroes Of Origin, family business

It seems that the Dublin Death Patrol project with his friend Chuck Billy (Testament) gave wings to Steve Souza to return to the business with a new thrash metal project : Hatriot. Interview.

What was the response on Tenet's album, Sovereign ? You shouted as ever on this record...
Steve Souza : That was a fun record to make. It is the only album I have ever done in my career where I didn’t write anything on it! I sang what was given to me. Jed Simon created that project and I was featured as a guest singer. Basically the record company wanted a known vocalist so they approached me to do it. I had time so I did it. It was a great experience and the response was pretty good in the metal community. The record didn’t get a big push, and a lot of fans don’t even know that it exists, but I do agree that I screamed my fucking ass off on that one!

Let us know about the beginning of Hatriot ? Is the so-called thrash metal revival gave you the impulsion to start the project ?
Actually the thrash revival had nothing to do with it. I was against starting a new band at this age,
just because it seemed like a ‘no-win’ situation. There are too many bands and the industry doesn’t
support bands like they did in my glory days. What happened was I went to a show in town to watch my sons play. One of the bands on the bill was called Kranial Damage, and they had an amazing guitar player named Kosta Varvatakis. I was blown away by the kid and I approached him after their set and we talked metal for a couple hours and really hit it off. We exchanged numbers and started writing together, and that’s what led to the formation of Hatriot. We made some demo recordings and I let my peers hear them. They all had the same reaction – they pushed me to form a band with the guy. So I did, and the rest is history !

What's your most vivid memory of the recording process of "Heroes Of Origin" ? Has there been any difference in the writing/recording process today for you ?
My most vivid memory is probably how easy and painless it was to record it. We were a well rehearsed machine before we even got to the studio, and then producer Juan Urteaga made it so comfortable it almost felt like just hanging at the house with friends. It was very painless. The writing process is a simple one as well. Kosta, my guitarist, writes and arranges everything, and then teaches the band the material. The guys will then add their own fire to the riffs and they will record a jam room demo of the song. From there I take the recording home and write all the lyrics. We have it down to a science at this point.

What's the story behind the album's cover ?
Mark DeVito did the artwork and layout. You’ll have to ask him what the story is because I told him we wanted a band picture on the front, and for him to take it from there and make it sick and brutal. He added all kinds of war scenes and carnage, and in my opinion the record cover is fucking amazing. It definitely jumps out and grabs your attention. People can spot that album cover all the way across the record store, and that was the idea. Mark did a great job.

Thrash is now including more influences from the extreme metal. I think that's a little bit more restrictive than in the 80's. What is your opinion ?
I think it is because the bands coming up are younger and have a wider variety of influences. Hatriot is no exception. The guys in my band like a lot of death and black metal, and they add that sound to the thrash foundation that I bring to the table. Back in the day we had no idea what we were doing. We just wanted to play fast. We liked Diamond Head and Venom, but we also liked Motorhead and some of the faster punk bands. That meshed all together became thrash metal and there was no blueprint at the time. It was very genuine and pure. Now there are all kinds of extreme metal bands that kids are influenced by. There were not so many in the 80’s.

Have you seen the book Murder In The Front Row of Harald Oimeon & Brian Lew ? Do you have special memories when you see the first photos of Legacy at Ruthie's Inn ?
I have seen the book and it is fucking amazing. The pictures definitely bring me back to a time when we were all about making a name for ourselves. Metal was new and fresh, and we had no idea that we were changing world culture with our sound. We had no idea at all. We just wanted to play fast and party with our friends. Ruthie’s Inn was a huge part of metal history. All the great Bay Area thrash bands started right there.

What will be the next step for Hatriot in 2013 ? What can we wish you for this new year ?
Now that the record is out the next step is to tour our asses off and bring the music right to the faces of the fans. We want to spend most of 2013 on the road, then come home and get right to work on the next album. This band is going to take the metal world by storm. Mark my words!

Edited by Laurent Gilot
Photo : DR

Hatriot, Heroes Of Origin (Massacre Records)
Out on January 25th 2013

Hatriot, Blood Stained Wings, live video