O.Z – Interview –
Hello and Welcome to Acier Doux. What kind of good Metallic things happened in the world of O.Z recently ? What should the cryptic readers learn before they keep on decrypting these words ?
…….. We’ve been working on new album and we’ve also been working on a music video for one of the songs on that new album. Some weeks ago it came to our attention that AFM Records is releasing OZ’s new album Transition State on 20. of October in EU and on 27. in USA. The recording process was historically the most crazy one I’ve ever been part of.
See here…… AFM Record Album Release Announcement :
Finnish Heavy Metal cult band OZ is back ! More than five years after the re-start of their career with the ”Burning Leather” release, the band led my founding member and drummer Mark Ruffneck finally delivers the anticipated new studio album (their first all new songs album since 1991!), titled “Transition State” (out October 20th). And OZ doesn’t fail to impress with thirteen cracking and fresh, traditional Metal tracks of immensely high quality. Even though Ruffneck is the last remaining member left from the original line-up, OZ are as strong as ever and continue to haunt you with the relentless, uncompromising sound they are known for !
Mark Ruffneck – Drums & Percussion
Vince Koivula – Vocals
Johnny Cross – Guitar
Juzzy Kangas – Guitar
Peppi Peltola – Bass
1. Bone Crusher
3. Heart Of A Beast
4. Drag You To Hell
5. Whore Of Babylon (Bonus Track)
6. The Witch
7. In A Shadow Of A Shotgun
8. Never Close Your Eyes
9. The Mountain
11. We’ll Never Die
12. Sister Red (Bonus Track)
13. Midnight Screams (Bonus Track)
You find it here/ https://www.facebook.com/afmrecords/
Your recent album ” Burning Leather ” was released in 2011. How would you compare the new compositions to those of your first Albums ? There has been a lapse of 29 years between the debut release “ Heavy Metal Heroes “ and ” Burning Leather ” , so one might wonder if there is an evolution a way or another ?
The first album was the first album and also recorded with the first line-up. The second album Fire in the Brain had a new line up: on Guitars Spooky Wolff and Speedy Foxx, also a new Bass Player and songwriter Jay C. Blade. The core members in OZ had been Ape DeMartini (Vocals), Mark Ruffneck (Drums and The founding member) and Jay C Blade (Bass and Vocals and Songwriting) for a long time, but now that era is over and we are moving to the future with a new line up, where the only core member is Mark Ruffneck.
Of course there’s been evolution between those albums, both technically and spiritually. When doing those first albums in early 80’s we were young boys and we were just doing things that felt great. Nowadays we probably think more. Also technically we are on a different level nowadays when comparing to how we were in the beginning of the 80’s. When we were recording Burning Leather album we were trying to get back to OZ sound and feel from 80’s, and somehow also update that 80’s sound to one we have now. And I think that we were quite successful with that.
How long did it take to compose the album ” Burning Leather ” ? Was it a matter of months or years ? What are the main ideas and morbid energies hiding behind these new cryptic compositions ? Is it better to listen to O.Z at night in total darkness, or the environment doesn’t matter ?
Matter of months, most of the new songs were already quite finished and Jay wrote some new songs quite fast. The recording of the album was made in several short sessions, so we were working in a totally different way this time, when comparing to how we were recording albums in 80’s. Back then it was 2-3 weeks in a studio and everything was ready. Also recording techniques with all digital recording machines were totally different when comparing to the recordings in 80’s, so I could say that it was different to record Burning Leather, but at the same time much more fun.?Well you can listen to Burning Leather any way you like, but I think at night in total darkness is the best choice. Then you can really feel the music the right way.
Would you say your music is more into Heavy Metal or first of wave of Power Metal ? Are you generally into the old or newer bands ? (There are so many new kicking bands that some metallers might listen only to new bands…)
When we started to make music in early 80’s we called OZ’s music Heavy Rock and back then there were no names such as Heavy Metal or Power Metal, but I think that OZ’s music has elements both from Heavy and Power Metal on it. The energy of Heavy Rock was the reason why I started OZ in 1977. As a Drummer, it was much more fun to play Heavy Rock than any other music. And I still like to play drums and the energy of Heavy Rock is still the main force that keeps me playing with OZ. Nowadays, I don’t listen to other music that much. The Recording work with the new album forced me to focus on that and I felt that the best way to make own music was to focus on that and not listen so much any other bands. When I listen to music, it depends on the situation; sometimes I listen to old bands like Led Zeppeling and Black Sabbath, but also sometimes new bands with no clues about their names. There is so much music out there that it is not possible to me to know all these new bands. But everyone can listen to the music they like, I’m not a right man to tell what music you should listen to, but hopefully you check my band’s music out too, and hopefully you like it.
Where does the O .Z name come from ?
When I was thinking about the name for the band, one of my friends told me that OZ would be a cool name and he told me that OZ probably was a name of some old Greek god…It is not…It means nothing, but I took that name and when we started, it was written The OZ, but soon we started to use just OZ. And I still think that OZ is a cool name and the logo of OZ is also cool.
What does Heavy Metal mean for you ?
Now in 2017, it seems everyone wants to play ” Modern Metal” or to be labelled as ” New wave of Metal” while it’s not really their style… It sometimes seems the genre has become another product, some labels pay their bills selling only “Heavy Metal ” all the day… Doesn’t it lack of spiritual resonance, underground obscurity and morbid dementia ….Well, for me it is music I fell in love with more than 40 years ago and I’m still in love with it. As I told earlier, there was only Heavy Rock, and nothing else, but even in the 80’s the story was the same. When some bands were getting popular, other record companies started to immediately go the same direction and release similar music as soon as possible. Well, we were playing Old School Metal back then when it was just School Metal. For OZ, music with lyrics tells a some kind of story and we are storytellers and nothing more or less.
Do you like The Stormwarrior”s cover of your great ” Turn the cross upside down ” ?
That is cool….I left Music business 1991 when we put OZ on the hold and I started to study chemistry in the University and during that period I didn’t listen to so much music, so for me The Stormwarrior’s cover was a big surprise, when I heard it for the first time.
Which bands did you listen to the most the last months ? Are you mostly into albums, or are demos and Eps also exhausting the tape player ?
The Last months I’ve been working on OZ’s new album Transition State, so I have not been listening so much other bands, but usually I tend to listen Old Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. I listen mostly music when I’m working with my computer, so I listen albums and mainly digitally from Streaming service Spotify.
What are the next plans of O.Z ? What should the morbid readers expect and fear from your throats of vomiting damnation? Thanks for the answers !!
Next plan is to make OZ music video for the song Bone Crusher ready, so it can be released for the public and we continue promotion work for the OZ’s new album Transition State. Next Year we will be back on stage and play some festival shows. We will soon start working with a new album so we have a lot of work to do.
Keep on rocking and just check OZ homepage http://www.ozofficial.com and you will get information what happens in the near future.
Interviewer : Speedskullcrusher