Formed in late 2006 Auckland’s Melodic Metalcore outfit CAUSE FOR ALLIANCE wasted no time putting a self funded EP ‘Coalesce’ which gives even their major label overseas counterparts a run for their money. After marvelling at the band’s first release NZRock checked out the their equally impressive live performance in Hamilton with CRIPPLE MR ONION and WORLD WAR FOUR on 23 May 2008. Vocalist Michael Metzler and guitarist Anton Minenko fill us in on the CAUSE FOR ALLIANCE story so far…
Cause For Alliance BandNZRock: So how did CAUSE FOR ALLIANCE get together in the beginning?
Michael: Well Anton (guitar) and Sergio (drums) are brothers…
Anton: Yeah we’ve been jamming since we were kids, basically as soon as we could get into it we got some instruments and started jamming. It’s funny because I started on drums and he started on guitar and it was like nah, I’m too uncoordinated for drums so we switched.
Michael: Good thing you changed over because Serge’s guitarring ain’t that good either HAHA!
Anton: So we’d been playing for ages and then decided to get serious in 2006. We put some ads out there for band members and Michael happened to answer.
Michael: It’s quite funny because I was going to move back to South Africa because I’m originally from there. I thought I’d join a band before I go and that was two years ago now.
NZRock: You don’t think you’ll go back?
Michael: Nah fuck that, I was basically going there to drug myself to death and I didn’t, so there you go HAHA!
NZRock: Pretty much all of you guys have foreign surnames, are you all from overseas?
Michael: Well Anton and Sergio are Russian… Ukrainian…
Anton: Yeah originally, but the funny thing is originally we grew up in South Africa as well so a bit of a SA accent but with a Russian surname, no one can ever guess that.
NZRock: Michael, you don’t seem to have much of an accent, how long were you in South Africa for?
Anton: He does have an accent! When hes drunk… the r’s and the e’s HAHA!
Michael: I was born and bred in South Africa, moved here when I was 19… and now I’m 159 years old and the accent is gone HAHA!
NZRock: Your debut EP ‘Coalesce’ sounds awesome, you guys recorded it with a guy called Zorran Mendonsa, how did you first meet him?
Michael: I’ve known Zorran for four or five years now and he’s just a close mate of mine. I met him in one of the old bands I was in – we decided to do recordings with him and then straight after recording with him we broke up which ah, wasn’t a good thing… because kinda like Zorran is the catalyst for change. But yeah he’s good, he’s a mate of mine so we definitely went with him with the EP recording.
NZRock: What’s the secret behind the sound? The production quality is awesome!
Michael: Zorran has just got talent man. He’s not using special gear or anything. We recorded the guitars at this house in the garage. I tracked vocals in his bedroom type thing. He’s just got a really good ear and just knows what he’s doing. He’s a real geek about it you know and he’s happily called a geek about it. He’s researching on forums about mixing and all that sort of thing. That’s his passion and he’s just bloody good at it.
NZRock It’s great he’s bringing this sound into the NZ Metal community…
Michael: Yeah man definitely, he’s helping out a lot of bands and he charges next to nothing ay, which is good because with NZ bands unfortunately the ones really make it into mainstream are ones who can afford it. Or ones that are being given grants and those aren’t always the best bands given all the grants, or in my opinion anyway. So he’s giving that opportunity to good NZ bands be them Metal or Hardcore or whatever they are, to be able to do a good recording and get it out there without having to take out massive house loans and mortgages and shit to get it done HAHA!
Anton: Sell your soul… HAHA!
NZRock: Where do you guys get a lot of your influence from? Do bands like CHIMAIRA factor in there?
Michael: It’s such a wide range and it goes way back and it comes to fairly recent. I mean the energy of CHIMAIRA and all these new sorts of Metal bands, not Nu Metal bands
Anton: …Post Hardcore bands like ALEX IS ON FIRE.
Michael: And like vocally, Jeff Buclkey, DEFTONES – Chino, I mean there’s PINK FLOYD, Roy Orbison HAHA! And recently, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, CHIMAIRA has been one… there’s just so many bands coming out now which is awesome because there was a bit of a drought there for a while. And the Metal coming out, it’s just inspiring to be a part of the new frontier in Metal I suppose you’d call it.
Anton: Ultimately I don’t want to sound like anyone else. It’d be awesome to be at a level where other new bands get described as sounding like CAUSE FOR ALLIANCE.
NZRock What genre would you classify CAUSE FOR ALLIANCE as? Metalcore?
Michael: Yeah, I think we’re more like Melodic Metalcore. The kind of style we’re doing, we’re definitely one of the few. There’s a couple of other Metalcore bands, like ANTAGONIST and stuff call themselves Metalcore. We’re a bit more brutal in parts and sort of straight forward…
Anton: I guess we’re all about surprising the audience but with nice surprises. Instead of like “we’ll kick you in the balls”, we’ll take you to the next level instead. We just like to mix it up, just like brutal verses and brutal bridges and breakdowns, but then the choruses seem to soar quite high on melody and harmony.
Michael: The album, when it comes out, it’s going to be way different again. CAUSE FOR ALLIANCE formed in September 2006 and in six months we just wrote and then recorded our RP. We toured last year with it and we’re touring again this year and now writing for the album. So we’re feeling a bit more experimental, and more brutal, more atmospheric and technical so it’s going to be fun man. It’s going to be good.
NZRock Will you work with Zorran again when you do the album?
Michael: Yeah definitely. And actually James Boyd our other guitarist now, he’s done mastering for TOMORROW COMES IN SILENCE and a few other bands. He worked on some NEW WAY HOME stuff as well. He’s an awesome engineer, he’s got an engineering degree so we’ll be using him and Zorran at the same time.
NZRock: The last song on your EP ‘A Revelation… Deceit’s Death (demo)’ has quite a raw and abrasive sound to it, will you try and carry that through onto the album even though it’s one of your earlier songs?
Michael: Yeah it’s the very first song we wrote and we recorded, mixed and mastered it in just three days. It’s just a demo. We’re not too sure what we’re going to do…
Anton: I’d say we definitely want to keep that energy going. It was the first song and it was very raw and I think that rawness will generally fade as our sound becomes more defined. You’ll hear elements of it and definitely the energy but I think we’re definitely going for something new.
Michael: Yeah, it’s hard to say at this point. It’s always hard to say with guitar tones and stuff, it just depends on how everything is written. We’ll leave that as a watch this space HAHA!
Anton: Watch our Myspace HAHA!
NZRock: How did you guys get involved with the MTV Kickstart competition?
Michael: I saw it on Myspace or something I think and then we had an interview with Damian Alexander ex-BLINDSPOTT who’s actually one of the judges. We had an interview on the radio show he does on Kiwi FM and he was like man you guys should enter it. And I was like dude, it’s an MTV competition and we’re very far from being a pop band. And so we entered it not thinking we’d get anywhere and then lo and behold HAHA!
Anton: It’s funny because we were already touring and it was just like oh, we cant be bothered with this thing, we know we’re not going to make it to the final, why are we even doing this? And then we all showed up there at lunchtime on Sunday after being up all night playing…
Michael: Yeah where had we come back from? Was it Tauranga?
Anton: Yeah maybe it was Tauranga. I just remember I was in no state to play but I was just like ok, lets do this and actually we did alright. It worked out pretty well, of course I was ready to collapse afterwards and yeah they liked us. We got really positive comments from the judges which was interesting because the judges were Mikey Havoc who’s hardly into Metal, and then a couple of blondies, the NZ On Air girls.
NZRock: It’d be awesome if you guys, the Metal band, took out this competition. What would you do with the prizes if you won?
Michael: That’s the only other reason we entered it. It’s actually a decent set of prizes. You get $10,000 of flights, a $5,000 video grant, $1000 for recording and then there’s just heaps upon heaps of publicity and features on Myspace and MTV and playing in Australia, it’d be busy as fuck!
Anton: I think we’d do an Australian tour, put those flights to good use.
Michael: Yeah I mean we’ve got plans in the pipeline all the way from here to fucking Timbuktu all laid out. So this would basically just inject a bit of a speed trip on it.
NZRock: How are you funding everything at the moment? Do you have the classic kiwi day job going at the same time?
Michael: Yeah full time day job the chafe on my life UGGHHH. You had to bring up the day jobs dude? Oh I’m all depressed now, I’m going to go and cry in the corner HAHA!
NZRock: HAHA yeah sorry about that! Going back to the EP then, who came up with all the artwork?
Michael: Aleks Sakowski. He also directed our video which is on Youtube and he also did the artwork as well. He was a mate of Zorran’s who heard our stuff and loved it and wanted to work with us. Basically he just asked us all our viewpoints behind the band, the name for the band, all that sort of thing which we gave to him and then he came up with the concept for the logo and everything which is awesome.
NZRock: Have you guys had any label interest at all?
Michael: We’ve had some independent stuff from within New Zealand but we haven’t really approached anyone.
Anton: I don’t think it’s something we’d do though.
Michael: Yeah we just kinda want to learn all the ropes ourselves and do it all our own and just be a band, know all that stuff and then hand it over at some point I suppose to someone else. The digital age has changed so much in music. I mean first of all you don’t make your money off selling CDs anymore, you’re lucky to make your costs back on it. So yeah it’s completely changed and you don’t go to big studios to record anymore because you’ll never make that money back. Unless you’re a major pop band or something you know. Its amazing how it’s all changed, you can make music yourself, you can sell it all yourself it’s a lot different to how it used to be which is awesome because how it used to be sucked. It sucked for new bands I tell ya. Demo tapes, you’d send them off with no one ever listening to them. Seriously, God bless the Internet, and I’m not even religious! HAHA!
Anton: Even Damian Alexander said himself when he first got our demo, he was like oh not another one…
Michael: HAHA because I sent it on a white burned CD and just wrote on it with vivid and he was like not another fucking vivid one. But he put it on and he was like oh, actually these guys are quite good.
NZRock: What are you guys doing for the rest of the year?
Michael: Writing, recording, oh yeah and winning Kickstart, that’d be awesome!