Genre: Power metal
Artizan – EP 2009
Curse of the Artizan – 2011
Steffen Robitzsch – Lead Guitars
Jon Jennings – Bass
Ty Tammeus – Drums
Shamus McConney – Guitars
Tom Braden – Vocals
Pure Steel Records
1. When was the band created? How did you come up with the band’s name? Are you familiar that there is a very known athletic team in Europe named Partizan?
In 2008 I went a search for a guitarist to work with. I needed someone to co-create the actual music with. I have always worked well with guitarists who share my vision for how the music should sound. Although, I write all of the lyrics, I have always worked best writing the actual music with another musician, usually a guitarist who has a similar vision for the fundamental sound I want to create.Guitarist Shamus McConney joined me at that time. We proceeded to write the first three songs which are on the “Artizan” EP. I was able to locate Jon Jennings shortly after to play bass. I always knew my old friend, Tom Braden, would be the ideal singer for a new project. I presented the early music to him, and we was happy to join the group. As far as the name of the band, ARTIZAN; I wanted have a unique name that conveys a fantasy aspect, and also reflects my goal as a musician: to craft sound, or evoke emotion and imagery. The word ARTIZAN is derived from the word Artisan which means skilled laborer or craftsman- an artist. The concept of the actual ARTIZAN character came to me a little later, when I was writing the lyrics for the title track “Curse of the Artizan”.
2. Which were your main influences as a band and which were your influences as a drummer?
I am personally deeply influenced by Dio, as well as IRON MAIDEN, BLACK SABBATH, GENESIS; a lot of traditional metal bands. There are few new metal bands that really get my attention. The roots of metal are most important to me. I believe all of us in the band are influenced by many of the great traditional metal bands from the 80’s. Although, our music does have a slight progressive edge to it. We are not straight ahead traditional metal. I suppose influences of YES, GENESIS and RUSH show up. I believe Dio was the greatest lyricist in metal. He could write stories that evoke images and emotion. I really appreciate what he contributed. As far drummers who have influenced me, Vinny Appice, Nicko McBrain and Phil Collins are a few who have inspired me.
3. Which of these bands’ stuff is commercially available right now?
You ask what we have available right now. Right now, we have a very small amount of the first “Artizan” EP left. But, of course, the new, full album will be available April 29th from Pure Steel Records.
4. What feedback have you had from the press and the fans for ARTIZAN until now?
The early response from the press regarding the new album has definitely been very positive. The fans are just great. We have 30,000 fans on Facebook, and it is growing fast. We really appreciate the strong support. Our first album hasn’t even been released yet!
5. Did you start to write any new material with the band? When should we expect your next release?
We have already started writing new material for the next album. I would expect the next release , after this new album, in about 12-18 months.
6. Have you listened to any new good releases in the classic hard rock/heavy metal genre? If yes give us some basic info about these bands including their musical style. Tell us your opinion about the metal scene in your region right now.
I have heard a few new metal albums that I think are very good. I really like the new STARGAZERY album. They are a solid traditional metal band, very good. The new JAG PANZER is excellent. I love those guys. They also work with our producer, Jim Morris. Jim always produces excellent albums. Generally speaking, the metal scene in the USA is not what is used to be. There is some support here, but we have a lot of work to do to really get the masses supporting traditonal metal again. I do believe there is an upswing that is just starting to occur. The poor economy does not help. We really need fans to start putting more effort into going to shows. Part of the problem is the lack of exposure that the bands get here in the USA. Many of the labels do not promote the bands very much here. But, I do believe that now is a great time for our style of metal to make a strong comeback. The great stuff always comes back around. We are ready!
7. Tell us some things about the lyrics of the band, about the cover of your releases and about the band’s logo.
Fantasy artist, Marc Sasso, created the cover art for this album. The first time I saw Marc’s work was on the Dio album “Killing the Dragon”. Then, I saw his work for the Dio album “Master of the Moon”, and on some Halford material. I really liked his style. I approached Marc early in 2010. He said he really liked the music and would be interested in working with me. We had already created the song “Curse of the Artizan”, and I knew this song needed to be the title track. I really liked the concept of the Artizan character, which is essentially about a man who went through some very difficult times as a child. He was ostracized by other kids, had a hard time growing up, and basically ended up keeping to himself. As he matured, he discovered he was born with a special ‘gift.’ He is a talented artist who creates magnificent sculptures from granite. He is also a fine painter. So, he is essentially a skilled laborer or artist, which is where the name ARTIZAN came from. But, his talents come with a curse, if you will. He is compelled to create monstrous creatures that break free from the stone and wreak havoc on those that ridiculed and bullied him earlier in his life. The energy you see glowing from his body Is the power, or magic exploding from him as he works. His paintings contain scenes of tragedies that will happen to his enemies, as well. It will be interesting to see what the Artizan is creating on the next album cover. My brother-in-law, Nathan Lee, created the actual ARTIZAN logo for me. He presented me with 12 logo’s. I choose the one we use because it is very unique. It looks great.
Some other lyrical topics on the album are: someone who has all the riches of the world; they’ve travelled everywhere, seen everything, own everything you can imagine. But, they would trade it all to fly. There is a track about how we all have great dreams, and even though we age, they never go away; It is still there, you just have to rekindle that magic. There is another song about the whole game of life, and how each of us have our own game within the immense game of the world. People will have to listen to the album to figure these out.
8. Are you satisfied with Pure Steel Records until now? Is it better to sign with a record label or to do it all by yourselves?
Yes, I am happy with Pure Steel Records. They were very enthusiastic about our music when they first heard it. They have some strong business plans in place. I believe they will be the one of the most highly respected independent labels within a few years. I am sure ARTIZAN will contribute to the success of Pure Steel. We look forward to many great things with them. You can be successful if you create, distribute and promote your own album. But, I wanted to have someone who knows about the business, has experience and really shows that they care about what happens to the product during, before and after it is released. Pure Steel has a growing distribution network as well as some excellent partners which will contribute to the success of ARTIZAN . We have a great management company, Intromental, and now a great label to give us exposure on a much more broad scale.
9. Any plans for playing live in another country except from the States? Would like to play in Greece someday?
We do have a lot of plans for this year. Although I cannot release the specific information at this time, we do expect to be touring in both the USA and Europe. And yes, we would love to play in Greece!
10. Describe to us one of your live shows. Is it difficult to perform your stuff live?
The live shows will be seen later this year! 🙂
11. Do you think that the Internet has helped the bands by making their name known and “offering” samples of their music or has it harmed them because of free downloading of whole albums? If it is true that both happen, where does the balance hang out more?
I have mixed emotions regarding what the Internet and the digital transfer of music has done. The Internet has certainly provided a medium for awesome exposure. At the same time, it has opened a huge door to acquiring music for free. It is really a double edged sword. When I was playing back in the early 90’s we had to do all communication via phone or regular mail. Everything happened much slower. But, we also could go into many record stores and look through a much larger selection of physical CDs. You really had to purchase the music if you wanted to experience it back then. This was, of course, a better situation for most recording artists since they would get much greater record sales. It is very apparent that recording artists are losing a lot of potential sales and ultimately income to digital distribution. I, personally, do not believe the relatively greater exposure we can receive from the Internet now counteracts the loss of sales due to people simply copying the music or downloading it for free. All we can do at this time is embrace what we have available, try to make the best quality product we can, and hope that great exposure and great response to the product can translate into strong physical CD and digital download sales.
12. There has been a revival of the classic metal sound at least in some countries like Canada, Sweden and maybe Germany. How are things in the U.S.? Do you share that aforementioned view?
Yes, I do believe there is a strong revival of classic metal happening right now pretty much worldwide. The USA is a bit behind on this, but from what I am seeing, it is in motion. This will be great for a lot of old and new bands. ARTIZAN is in the right place at the right time. I believe our music is a fresh approach to traditional metal. We have a lot of traditional elements, but we are still unique and modern at the same time. People really have to experience our music. We are melodic, heavy and slightly progressive. There is a lot of emotion and passion in our music.
13. Thank you for the interview. Leave a comment to our readers.
We would like to thank you for this interview. We are looking forward to seeing many people on the upcoming tours. Thank you for supporting ARTIZAN ! Please visit us on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/artizanmetal
Ioannis “Knight of Light” Kaskamanidis