Formed in late 1998 Auckland Metallers JUST ONE FIX are currently celebrating their 10th year on the NZ Metal scene. In that time the band has performed a ton of NZ gigs and supported the likes of international artists MEGADETH, HELL YEAH, KORN, BIOHAZARD and CHIMAIRA. Last year the band released their debut album ‘The Price Of $ellvation’ which saw nationwide distribution. This year the band’s legacy continues with the addition of two new members Martin (drums) and Lee (bass), and the writing of new material for a second album. Performing at the 1st year anniversary party for Oblivion Bar in Auckland, JUST ONE FIX included in their set a couple of new tracks from the forthcoming album. NZRock.com caught up with frontman Riccardo Ball to find out more about the JUST ONE FIX story so far and what’s in store for the band’s future…
You joined JUST ONE FIX a few years back now. How did that all happen and were you in any other bands before?
Yeah I met Sharne through a guy that I worked with and I used to sing in a Metal band back in the early 90s called DESECRATOR. The only guy that I know of who is still playing from that band is Craig Scott who is the main guy in PHOTONIC. He was the rhythm guitarist in DESECRATOR with me back in like the early 90s. Then there was Gary Lawson and he was in GOON for a while but he’s left them now. We used to play the Power Station, we played the Gluepot and opened for HEAD LIKE A HOLE there once. So that’s kinda where I came from. Before DESECRATOR there was a band of sort of not really any consequence. That was doing parties and playing GUNS N ROSES covers and AC/DC and we were called JAIL BAIT. HAHA!
After you joined JUST ONE FIX what were your first big international support lots in the band and how did they go?
Yeah it was really good actually. Our first big slot was HELL YEAH at Studio and that was massive. There was only 400 people there or whatever but still that’s a good crowd. The fact we were hanging with Vinnie Paul and the guys from MUDVAYNE and shit. So Sebastian Bach turned up with his band because they were in town early. And so they were there for like the last couple of songs from our gig and we ended up getting on the piss with them afterwards as well. An one of the guitarists from his band plays in Rob Halford’s band and you know, so these guys have all played in other bands and been around for a long time so it was pretty sweet ay!
Did you get a chance to jam with any of them?
No but we did get a lot of opportunities to drink with them HAHA!
What was Vinnie Paul like to hang out with?
Vinnie was cool man. You know it must’ve been a bit weird being in that scenario for him after sort of 20 years touring with his brother as best friend and shit. But he was cool man. Like him and Sebastian Bach were good mates so they hung out loads. I had one of those pinch yourself moments where Vinnie Paul handed me a joint and then Sebastian Bach was like “are you finished with that” and I handed it to him and I was like fuck, hang on, what’s going on here HAHA!
December 2008 will be the 10 year anniversary of JUST ONE FIX so what’s happening? Have you got anything planned?
Hopefully we’ll have a new album or at least start recording the album by the end of the year. We’ve got like half of it written. So yeah, we’ve got a couple of new members – a new drummer Martin [Kemble Ex-DAMNED AGE / BLOODLETTING] and new bass player Lee [Steele ex-NULLIFIER] and they’re really hungry and we’re doing heaps of writing with them. It’s good and we played two new songs tonight. We’ve got another ready to go and two more just about there. Those guys are playing our stuff that we wrote before and now they want to contribute and do their own thing. So we’re not going to do any more videos for the last album or anything. We’re going to concentrate on doing the new stuff and get that out there.
What happened to your former members G-Force and Ant?
Well it’s funny because when Ant our old bass player joined the band he had a girlfriend and then after a couple of months he didn’t have a girlfriend. And then about a month or two later he had another girlfriend who happened to be our drummer. So you know, that was all cool man, and they were really cool. We never had any dramas on that front but then she got pregnant, infact her last gig was HELL YEAH, she was three months pregnant when she played that gig. So they were married and then Ant wanted to take a break and he couldn’t say when he wanted to come back. So we just kind of moved on really. His priorities changed, he wanted to be a Dad and do that properly and all power to him for that. So it’s good, it’s brought the average age of the band down HAHA! Because you know like I’m the old bastard now. I’m 36, Sharne is 31 or 32 somewhere around there and Martin our drummer, we call him fetus he’s just turned 19 and Lee is 20 going on 21. So you know, those young guys they keep us hungry and they’ve got a different perspective on shit too. That helps balance the writing as well and I think you can see that in the new stuff in that it’s kind of a bit more intense than some of the older stuff and a lot of that is down to those guys.
Are they being influenced by different music to what infleuenced the other members?
Yeah I think so. I mean for me and Sharne one of the big bands that influenced us a lot was PANTERA whereas for these guys its like LAMB OF GOD and its just something slightly different. So we’ve got people coming from different points of view when it comes to writing.
How’d you first meet up with Martin and Lee to begin with?
Well Sharne knew Martin and Lee was playing bass in a band called NULLIFY and he’d been to a couple of our gigs. Martin knew him pretty well, they’d been to audio engineering school together so we hooked up with them that way.
How did you get into the music industry to begin with? You’ve been with the Rock FM for longer than JUST ONE FIX.
Yeah I’ve been doing radio for fuck, it’ll be 15 years in September. I did a bit of retail work. In between I got out of radio for a while and I managed a record store for a while. So I’ve done a few other things but I’ve been in radio for a long time and it’s a completely different beast, even The Rock. I program The Rock and do the music and stuff but I’ve got to have a different hat on for that than I do for the band. And I know what works for The Rock and you know unfortunately sometimes as much as I’d like to get JUST ONE FIX playlisted on The Rock its just not going to happen.
Is it a good release being able to do The Axe Attack show while the Axeman is away few a couple of weeks?
Yeah I love it. I mean the Axeman has been off obviously, he’s had some surgery so I’m filling in for him at the moment. And there have been a few other times when I’ve filled in for him. I used to be a jock, a DJ or whatever you call it and I don’t really enjoy doing that anymore. But when it comes to doing the Axe Attack I love it because I can program my own shit and play what I want to play. We’ve got that SLIPKNOT and MACHINE HEAD gig coming up so this weekend I’m just playing a shit load of live SLIPKNOT and heaps of MACHINE HEAD and doing all that stuff and you can just get away with whatever you want.
Are there any NZ bands playing support for that gig and have you guys been asked?
Yeah apparently they’re looking for one local support but they’re not going to decide on it until closer to the time. I’ve talked to the promoter and he said there are a heap of bands. I don’t know what SINATE are doing but I would imagine probably us and CRIPPLE MR ONION would be the most obvious choices maybe. So you know, it’s up to him what he does with it unfortunately. I’d love to jam us in there but can’t be too gready I suppose.
Going back to the new material, you’ve got these new songs, how many are you aiming for all up for this new recording?
So we’ve got five new songs all up at the moment and we’ll write another five I guess, you know 10 is a good number. From the feedback we’ve had tonight, and just personally what I think, we’ve kind of just taken it up to another level, stepped it up a bit and it’s more intense, it’s faster it’s harder. We shopped the old album about to a few different people and ended up getting a distribution deal through Border. So we’ll look to step that up. We really want to do more so obviously Roadrunner Australasia, like a deal there where we’re getting played in Aussie, that would be ideal. That’s a lot of work to get there but that’s got to be the goal.
Are you thinking about fully relocating the band over there at all?
Not right now but I mean if something like that happened, if somebody like Roadrunner Australia or whatever showed some interest that’s something that I would look at. I can’t say for the rest of the members of the band but I can’t imagine it would be that much of a problem if it needed to be done.
You recorded the last album with Paul Matthews of STYLUS, would you look at working with him again with the new album?
Well it depends because Paul is living in London now and is in DEMPSEY with the BLINDSPOTT guys. He produced the first BLINDSPOTT record and also like TAKE THE WILLING. He was really good to work with but it’s just a matter of what’s out there when its time to record. Ideally I’d love to record with Evan [Short (bass)] who plays in SUBTRACT and is in CONCORD DAWN as well. In terms of New Zealand that would be the guy I’d really want to work with but it depends whether it’s available or not and wants to do it.
You’re preparing for the new album, what else is JUST ONE FIX going to be doing for the rest of the year?
We’ve got a few more shows to play. Got a gig at the Kings Arms in October and we’ve got another gig here at Oblivion at the end of the month. We’re looking at possibly playing this tattoo convention on the Shore as well. We’re just waiting for confirmation on that. Basically try and get the SLIPKNOT / MACHINE HEAD support, just keep playing, keep writing and you know, be able to record an album at the end of the year.
You’ve got this band JUST ONE FIX and you’ve been working in radio for 15 years now. Is there more you want to achieve or do you think you’ve done it?
Nah you’ve never done it ay, there’s always something else to do. It’s easier said than done especially with the way the music industry is at the moment, but I’d love to get into the music industry on the other side from a label or A&R point of view and do that kind of work. As far as I know with the major labels there’s only one out and out A&R guy in New Zealand now and he’s at Warner. EMI dont really have one, they don’t have anybody. Universal don’t have one, SonyBMG don’t really have one. Its something that’s been built into other people like the GMs or music directors job descriptions. So its not easy to get into but you know, its something I have talked about previously and havent gone really any further with it but maybe starting a label and doing it that way. But that’s the hard way and you need a bit of coin beind you to start it. The guy that does A&R for Warner has signed like THE D4, he signed THE MINT CHICKS, he’s signed a bunch of bands that have gone on and done things. And that sense of achievement is pretty cool.
On the topic of A&R and labels, do you think there are a lot of misconceptions that bands have about the industry? I knew a guy in a band who was saying all they wanted was 40k each per year from the label etc…
Nah, that’s dreaming ay. That doesnt happen. The label, if they’re going to sign you they certainly won’t put you on a retainer, you’re going to have to work for it. If you need a new guitar or a new drum kit they might buy it for you but it’ll go on the ledger and that comes back out of album sales. I don’t even know if it happens but I wouldn’t imagine unless you’re a SHIHAD a FEELERS you wouldn’t have a shit show of that. You might get a signing bonus if you’re an established band but if you’re a new band you’ve just got to take what you can get and I doubt that you can get 40 grand out of anybody HAHA!
Do you have anything you’d like to say to the NZ Metal community?
Yeah just, you know, it’s a little bit frustrating and I understand it, being a fan. You go to a show like KORN or whatever and you’ve got CHIMAIRA and that and you’ve got 6000-7000 people there yet you only get about 80 people turn up at Oblivion when theres a big Metal night on. So I know what it’s like, you want to go out and see your favourite bands but sometimes theres really good bands on your doorstep and you’ve got to support it and just keep it going, keep the scene fresh. So it Oblivion’s first birthday. These guys deserve big ups for fucken carrying on with what they have and they’ve had a good crowd tonight but this place should be full every Thursday, Friday, Saturday. There’s no point in sitting around and complaining about how we don’t get bands and there’s nowhere to go and listen to Metal if you dont get out and fucken support it. You don’t have to be there every night but get out once or twice a week and enjoy a band or whatever and just help people that are trying to help Metal.