Alessandra: I'm Alessandra and I do the keyboards and the vocals.
Nazareth: This is Nazareth Sando. I do most of the guitars and occasional electronic drumming.
Kurtis: I'm Kurtis Kyllo. I do nothing but play bass.
You do nothing but play bass. That sounds good. You guys are from all over like Salt Lake City, Arkansas, and up North. How did you all manage to run into each other and wind up in San Antonio?
Alessandra: Well, actually I was in New Jersey and Nazareth was in Arkansas. He met me over the Internet. We just talked and then we started doing flights back and forth between Arkansas and New Jersey. Then my family ended up moving to Salt Lake City and I was 17 at the time so I had to go with them and Nazareth moved there and that's where we got Kurtis. Salt Lake City doesn't have the best metal scene and we had the opportunity to move to Texas. We moved to San Antonio six months ago.
Kurtis: For me it's three.
Alessandra: Yeah, Kurtis just got here. That's where we picked up our new drummer, Carlos, who's not here.
Salt Lake City is home of the Mormons.
Alessandra: Yeah, that was one of the reasons for leaving. We moved around a lot trying to get away from it, it seems like.
Oh they keep coming. They've taken over Oregon and now they're all over Texas.
Kurtis: They're taking over Idaho and Washington state. Salt Lake will always be the stronghold for them, I think.
It's scary. It's like a fucking disease or something.
Kurtis: It can be.
Alessandra: Sadly, my mother was converted to that. She's what we call a Jack Mormon which is basically a non-practicing.
Oh, they don't get into the five wives and no coffee thing.
Alessandra: That's scary. The Mormons have this no drinking rule and no coffee and Starbucks is my mother's hangout.
Kurtis: I remember a couple of years ago they had these parodies of the state quarter in the Salt Lake Tribune and one of them had this dude in the middle with two wives on either side and it said "Utah, the I do, I do, I do state".
That's a scary thing. Everything is fine in moderation. It's when people start getting extreme that it gets frightening.
Alessandra: Exactly. I didn't even know what a Mormon was until I moved there. For the most part, the ones in New Jersey and New York seem fairly normal. When you get a large concentration of them, it's real bad.
Kurtis: Let's just say, we can define it by the word orthodox.
Exactly. Hell they even have their own book.
Kurtis: Yeah, the Book Of Mormon. There's been huge controversies about the Mormon church actually owning parks and streets in downtown Salt Lake and people getting arrested for wearing "offensive" shirts and things like that on Mormon grounds which until certain deals were made, the controversy being under the table, people were allowed to just walk freely on them.
Alessandra: I never want to go back. I think it was real good that we got out and we're not planning on going back.
Kurtis: I want to go back because I miss my mom.
Maybe you should take her out of there.
Kurtis: I can't afford that yet.
How did you guys get your band started?
Nazareth: It was mostly through the Internet. I found an ad of Alessandra's online and wrote her. I asked her if she wanted to start a band basically. It was an online thing that actually worked out.
Alessandra: Yeah, we were pretty young. I was 16 and he was 19. It was this thing but we did it. It just happened to work out and somehow I got my parents to let me fly back and forth from New Jersey to Arkansas and that's when we started collaborating. Then when he moved to Salt Lake, we thought naturally we might get a physical band together.
Nazareth: I take a lot of pride in the fact that we're all from very, very different portions of the country. I think it brings a lot of diversity.
That's cool that you've managed to meet up from different parts of the country and get together like that. Your CD was absolutely amazing.
Alessandra: Thank you.
Nazareth: Not bad.
Alessandra is a former Utah opera and symphony composer.
Alessandra: Yeah, it started because of the Olympics. The Winter Olympics in 2002. I was finishing up high school and I somehow got into contact with a woman that was a Grammy winner opera composer that was coming to Salt Lake to work with kids on making their own little opera. I was supposed to go write a story on her and when I got there, I ended up meeting one of the people from the Utah opera and she said that they were doing this thing. They were writing a new opera and she asked me to audition. I basically just sent in some Of Infinity music and she said she wanted me on so we spent about a summer writing a half Spanish and half English opera. I didn't really do lyrics or anything. They had people come in for different things like lyrics and direction and costumes and stuff like that. They brought me in for writing. I did the title song called "Illusions" and that's the name of the opera. It's been on tour since 2003 in the Midwest and it's concluding a tour in May 2005 I think. I got paid.
That's the best part right there. You got paid. Tell us a bit about your three track CD.
Nazareth: It's been a long time in the making and we just had bits and pieces of music sitting around. We just threw them all together in a way that seemed best to us and found this excellent studio in Salt Lake City and we recorded it. I'm pretty pleased with it and there's always things that I would change but it's pretty good.
Are you guys working on a full length?
Kurtis: Very much so. I think a lot of the focus over the past little while, especially since I've gotten here, has been working on new material. For the songs that they already had when I first came into the band, they had primordial bass lines that I just kind of tried to put my own flavor to. Once we all really start getting our 100 percent even input, I think it's going to turn out to be even a lot more flavorful than it has been.
Nazareth: Yeah, Kurtis has just wanted to add that hip hop flavor to it.
Alessandra: We actually have about I say 50 percent of the songs basically done. We just pre-record everything here and then when we go into the studio, we'll do it professionally.
Kurtis: Yeah, I have a lot of song ideas right now but I can't really work on them until my brother gets the rest of my computer down to me.
Nazareth: The full length is going to be very different I think. It's still going to be very heavy but there's going to be a lot of definite influences like Turkish, Greek, and traditional Italian sources of music incorporated into everything.
Alessandra: And some of Nazareth's older black metal stuff refurbished into stuff without screaming.
Nazareth: Yeah, better stuff. Possibly a little screaming. We haven't decided yet.
I love black metal.
Nazareth: I guess I probably listen to the most extreme metal out of everyone else in the band.
Alessandra: His former band was Fallen Empire and he wrote some music that he never let them use after he left. We're going to be using it with us now.
The guy who produced the record is the nephew of a guy who produced stuff for Megadeth.
Alessandra: Yeah, his name is Jonathan Shults and he opened a studio in Salt Lake and I think prior to that, he was in San Diego. I guess his uncle recorded people like Megadeth and Backstreet Boys.
Kurtis: I didn't know that. That's pretty sick. He also hated me because I didn't share my pizza with him and I swore too much.
Alessandra: I guess Jonathan basically learned from him and he's really good. I think he's probably one of the best people you can record with in Utah.
Kurtis: In Utah, definitely. Very open minded. A lot of the metal bands around there go to a place called Sound Studios which equipment wise and production wise, are just not up to par with what Jonathan did for us.
Are you going to use the same guy again or are you going to use someone locally?
Alessandra: We were thinking about going back to record with him but we're not really decided. We're not really sure where we're going to record the next one. We've considered going back to Jonathan.
Kurtis: If time and money permit.
Especially the money part.
Kurtis: Yeah, we're completely self-funded. It's pretty difficult trying to find time when you can make all your schedules.
Alessandra: Then shipping equipment around.
Kurtis: Not to mention CD duplication costs on top of that.
Alessandra: Maybe we'll find a good place in Texas but so far we haven't found anything yet.
I'm surprised at that. Have you been shopping around for a label?
Alessandra: We haven't really even started doing that yet. We have a bunch of smaller indie labels. There's a local one here that was talking with us called Seven Records which is also up in I think it's Boston, New York, and San Antonio. We haven't really been looking for anything. I think we wanted to go with a bigger label. A label that could offer us more because all they could really offer us right now I think was CD duplication which we were already in the process of doing at the time we were talking about it.
Kurtis: I still think it was pretty impressive that we were offered a record deal. They came to us and they said they wanted to sign us. This was before our CD had even come out which I think is impressive.
Alessandra: They were saying they were having talks about merging with Roadrunner but they haven't really said anything more about that. We're kind of at a stop. We're just waiting to see what happens. I guess our thing is that we want to get a lot of reviews and interviews done before we actually even went ahead and tried to present ourselves to any labels.
Kurtis: We've got new reviews pouring in practically almost every day.
Things you have to look out for is if you go with a bigger label, they tend to want to control everything. If you stick with an indie label, they let you control everything.
Kurtis: The difference between record labels in the '80s and these days is that back in the '80s, the record labels were at the mercy of the bands. If the bands didn't like what was going on, they just bugged off and found someone else. Nowadays you get a contract. It's inked in blood pretty much. You're stuck to that.
Alessandra: I guess we just have to take a lot of time to figure out what we really want to do. I don't think we're going to stay indie for too much longer. We want some kind of something so we don't have to support ourselves as much. We don't have the money to keep on putting out and being in debt all the time. We don't like doing that.
Kurtis: I like putting out.
You can always rent Kurtis out for $100 a night.
Kurtis: There wouldn't be enough takers. I would starve myself to death doing that.
Put a big sign on Kurtis that says "I like to put out."
Kurtis: I can see it on the back of tee shirts. Walk up to strange women on the streets.
Do you guys do a lot of gigs around San Antonio?
Alessandra: We actually haven't done much of anything since we got here. Basically the concentration has been on releasing the CD and getting reviews and stuff like that. We just recently got our new drummer so he's still learning the new stuff. As soon as everything dies down from the CD release, then we'll be doing shows around San Antonio.
One of the songs on the CD was an older one and you redid it.
Kurtis: It was originally an instrumental.
Nazareth: "Shadow Of A Lie" was recorded I think in 2000 when I had first left Fallen Empire and I had been playing black metal for a while. I sat back and I decided I didn't care, I'm going to play some slow stuff. That's just what I came up with. Well, slower. I just got the idea of doing acoustic and clean layers over distorted guitars and so on and so forth. A lot of inspiration from The Theatre Of Tragedy's Aegis album. Just various crap that I listen to.
Alessandra: We actually had it recorded once before but with no vocals and no violins.
Kurtis: The violins weren't added and almost didn't happen because Emily Hesterman who did the violins on it was doing a wedding I think that day. I never actually met her because Nazareth and I had to go back to where Nazareth and Alessandra were staying back at the time so I never actually got to meet her. They only had an hour to do it in the studio and it turned out pretty well. I remember the first time I heard the finished thing with Alessandra in her car, it absolutely blew me away because I never heard it before.
Alessandra: We were really lucky to get Emily. She's a Berklee College Of Music student that I actually met. She transferred back to the college in Salt Lake. She was really good and we had previously recorded something for her with her old band in Boston. She owed us a favor and she came through.
Kurtis: We're really happy.
Happy happy joy joy.
Kurtis: I'm always happy. I should do Prozac endorsements or something.
If you take these little pills, you too will be happy.
Kurtis: And grow a large penis.
There's this one channel, A&E I believe, where every commercial is "if you have this problem you can take some pills" and "if you have that problem you can take some pills". This is one pill popping nation.
Kurtis: The pill popping nation.
I think someone did some research and concluded that the U.S. is one of the most drugged nations in the world.
Kurtis: As far as drug companies go, we try to stay away from that kind of politiking.
I'm a non-pharmaceutical person. I don't think people need all that shit.
Kurtis: They don't but they think they do anyway.
Nazareth opened for Danzig, Nile, and Morbid Angel.
Nazareth: That was a long time ago. It was a hell of a hell of a show. Fallen Empire was unsigned and basically unsigned bands that go to these metal fests, they get the ass end of the deal basically. You have less than five minutes to set up and sound check so really there is no sound check and we just sounded like crap but the crowd was decent. It was pretty good for us. We had a metal fest in San Antonio in '99.
They were probably well lubed on beer so it was all right.
Kurtis: Well lubed on beer. That's kind of sick. I'll have to write a reggae song about that.
Will that be on the next record?
Kurtis: That will be on my self-financed release.
The well lubed people. What kind of future plans do you folks have?
Kurtis: Go home and raise crops and God willing.
Alessandra: I think we're just going to be working on the new album and playing shows around here. Hopefully, possibly being signed.
Kurtis: One of my main motivations because our brand of music, while it is becoming rampantly more popular every day in the U.S., is still hugely successful in Europe and especially in Japan. I would love to tour Japan. It's because I used to have a fetish for Japanese girls.
Now the truth comes out.
Kurtis: I like to put out. I told you already.
Make sure he wears a sign in Japanese saying he likes to put out. He might actually get some takers. Any other thoughts or comments?
Kurtis: We try not to think as much as we can.
That can be a painful process. Make sure when you put out that you wear a condom.
Kurtis: Too late.