Having just unleashed their magnificent “Godslayer” EP, especially for Record Store Day 2013, Lair Of The Minotaur’s mainman Steve Rathbone took time out to chat with ThisIsNotAScene’s Dewie about all things metal…
The new EP is a fantastic beast – what inspired you lyrically this time round – myths, legends and all things metal?
Thanks. That sounds about right! This is our 10 year anniversary. We wanted to release something special for the die-hards. The 7” is limited edition of 300, hand-numbered – the same number of copies of our original demo from 2003. The cover art is by Tom Denney, the artist for “Carnage”, “Ultimate Destroyer” and the 2003 Demo. It is a hail to the past 10 years.
There have been a couple of live dates last month – any more on the horizon?
Not right now. Taking the summer off!
You aren’t a band that’s easy to pigeon-hole (which is great of course) but certainly it seems you would fit in well with many of the European metal festival bills. Any plans to grace us with a visit in the near future?
We have been taking a break from touring. We have gotten many offers for tours and shows, but we have been declining them for a while now. We just wanted to take some time off to pursue other things. We would love to come back to Europe. You never know, we might show up at a fest in the future.
Is there a new Lair Of The Minotaur album planned or are you focusing on promoting the current EP first?
Always working on new material, but no deadlines are set. Just promoting the new EP and we have a new beer we are releasing this summer with Three Floyds Brewery. It is called Evil Power Imperial Pilsner. Tastes great and it will fuck you up!
How hard is it for a band like yours to get attention and recognition in the current climate where so many people download music illegally and record companies seem to have less money to promote acts that aren’t household names?
It’s not just getting people’s attention. It’s getting their attention and then hoping they will spend money on your product. Whether it be: CD’s, t-shirts, digital downloads, etc. It’s hard to compete with “free music.” Plus, there is so much entertainment these days. And now the new trend seems to be streaming services. The label receives like 1/100000 of one cent for a stream. So your song would have to be streamed millions of times to see any profit.
Are you optimistic about the future of heavy metal and do you think the internet is helping or killing music?
It’s a double edged sword. It’s good that someone on the other side of the world can hear your music so easily, without having to send a demo cassette tape around to every person on Earth. But, it’s bad that artists don’t get compensated for illegal downloads.
I try to be optimistic about the future of heavy metal. I will say, there always seems to be an audience for straight forward, kick ass heavy metal. Sub-genres and trends come and go, but balls to the wall metal continues to plow through on the warpath.
What’s your dream bill if you could tour with two or three other bands of your choice (current or historical)?
When I heard about Jeff Hanneman’s death, the first thing I thought was, “I’ll never get to see Slayer again.” I know they’ll probably keep touring. But Slayer has always been the original four guys to me. Never saw them live in any other incarnation. Their music enriched my life. It is an end of an era.
Do you listen to a lot of metal or do you prefer to explore other genres when you aren’t bashing out the songs yourself?
Big surprise, I mostly listen to older stuff. Faves are: Slayer, Celtic Frost, Bathory, Slaughter (CAN), Chaos from Order, Morbid Angel (A-C), Infernal Majesty, Motorhead, Conqueror, Black Flag (Rollins era) and SABBATH!
I like old soundtrack horror/sci-fi electronic stuff too. Like the A Clockwork Orange OST by Wendy Carlos. Fucking awesome. Tangerine Dream, Mort Garson, Tubeway Army, Goblin.
A fine selection! Who are the up and coming acts our readers should be looking out for?
Few newer bands I like… Craft, Hooded Menace, Coffins and Revenge (CAN).
Will check them out! Do you think you, or any other band, can ever top the video for War Metal Battle Master?
And who came up with the concept – was it the director Gary Smithson or you guys?
I did. It’s the storyline of the lyrics. It is about a warrior who lived to tell a story about a battle he was in. When the soldiers would fall from a fatal sword slice, these demon creatures called the Ceres would drag away the bodies to be eaten. It was a great time filming the video out in the desert in California. Here’s a fun fact: Where we filmed was about a ½ mile away from a church used in the Quentin Tarantino movie, Kill Bill. It is very expensive to make videos like that with lots of special effects. And way more hard work than recording the music actually. But the end result is usually worth it.
Thanks for taking the time to talk with ThisIsNotAScene!