Earlier today Jeff Alexis of Bloodstrike was kind enough to sit down with me and answer some burning questions I had for him about the new album In Death We Rot, as well as his favorite shirts and records. Check out the interview below and check out In Death We Rot.
When first starting Bloodstrike, what vision did you have for the band?
The vision has always been to keep it straight forward, old school and heavy. Holly and I had thrown around the idea of starting a band years before but nothing ever materialized. When the opportunity finally came around we both knew that old school Swedish style death metal was what we wanted to do. It just fit us so well. We grew up on the stuff and her vocal style fits so well. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel, we just want to add our style to the genre.
That old school Swedish death style is kind of making a comeback and there are a lot of other new bands that play in that style. What separates Bloodstrike from the rest of the pack?
I think what separates Bloodstirke is that we’re solid as a unit. We’ve taken our time putting this band together and everyone contributes to our success. We’re all veterans and use that to build on Bloodstrike.
How did you end up getting in contact with Redefining Darkness? And was it a lengthy search for a label that would help put the record out?
Redefining Darkness called me one day asking if we’d be interested in working together. Thomas from the label and our bass player Rhia had known each other from the local Cleveland scene when she lived there. He had been keeping an eye on us for a little bit and liked what he saw. It wasn’t much of a lengthy search for us. We knew we were going to put this album out no matter if we had a deal or not. We did send out our demo to a few labels but nobody bit. We were pretty stoked when we got the call from Redefining Darkness Records.
How exciting has it been for you and Bloodstrike to be releasing this album, and to have a label like Redefining Darkness release this record?
Very exciting. We’re very proud of Bloodstrike and have worked hard over the past couple of years. It just makes us want to work harder. It’s killer to have someone in our corner like Redefining Darkness. Thomas “gets it” for sure. He’s a smart dude and a true metal head.
When writing for this album, was there a theme that you had in mind for it?
No, not necessarily a theme. Since this was our first full length we just wanted to make sure we had quality songs all the way around. Holly likes to write songs about serial killers, rapists, cancerous people and other fucked up shit in the world, so I guess that’s a theme of ours on this album.
Can you tell me a little bit about the writing and recording process?
Our practice space doubles as a recording studio so it was real nice to record our practices. I would make CDs for everyone to track the progression as we worked on the songs. The songs would start by one or two of us coming to practice with a few core riffs/ideas and we’d build from there. And the recording process was pretty smooth since we have our own place. No time restraints, and the comfort of our own place helped a lot. We did go into the recording with all the songs complete. We were really tight as band with the songs before we even started recording. We had our friend Patrick Bruss of Crypticus do the mix and Thomas from the label had his guy Ken Sorceron master it for us.
What are some of the obstacles and challenges that you guys faced during the writing and recording process?
The biggest challenge for me was to turn over the mix to someone else. Lol. I’m a producer as well but realized that having someone else mix and master was the right thing to do. I wanted to have an outside ear to bounce things off of, but also have their input on the mix. It was a challenge for me to get that balance. The writing process was very smooth. Again, we didn’t have any time restraints. We took our time when we wrote the songs. Practiced them and listened until we were satisfied.
Who have been some of your inspirations to want to create this type of music?
I’ll start with the obvious ones. Grave is a huge influence. Entombed, Dismember, Unleashed. Venom, Black Sabbath and SLAYER as well. The not so obvious are all the shitty bands out there today. Over playing their parts or just playing breakdowns the entire song. These bands have inspired me to stay true to my metal roots. Also newer bands like Black Breath and Entrails have been an influence to keep the torch burning.
So I have just three more questions for you, three standard questions that I like to ask. The first being, which band shirt(s) is your most coveted?
My Triptycon shirt from seeing them a few years ago. Tom G is the man. The other would have to be my Grave shirt, I’ve only seen them once so that shirt is hung up in the closet.
My second question is, when growing up what were some of your favorite records?
I’m old school so for me it was Kiss Alive, SLAYER Show no Mercy, Black Sabbath Heaven and Hell and Iron Maiden The Number of the Beast.
If someone ever was able to put that together for a tour, I’d travel with it haha. My last question is, if you were able to work with anyone alive and deceased who would it be?
Alive it would be Toni Iommi because he is heavy metal and deceased would be Randy Rhoads. The way he combined heavy metal and classical guitar was amazing.
Dude, thank you for the interview. We really appreciate it.
Of course, and thank you for sitting down and taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it.
and their album In Death We Rot will be out through Redefining Darkness Records
on the 25th of this month.