Chemicide is a awesome thrash metal band and here is an interview I did with guitar player/singer Frankie
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
Frankie: was born in Costa Rica and grew up in the USA.
What sort of kid were you growing up? Did you have a lot of friends?
Frankie: I was a very energetic kid, I have ADHD so you can imagine. My parents had it rough with me but I turned out alright (I think lol) I didn’t have a lot of friends growing up, most of the friends that I had were from my street but I didn’t have many in school.
Now when did music start to enter your life? What were some of the first bands that you heard?
Frankie: Music entered my life thanks to my dad and one of my cousins. My dad loved Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and The Clash so he was responsible for me listening to these bands growing up. My cousin introduced me to different music like RHCP, Metallica and Ramones.
Now when did you start to listen to metal? Was it you and a bunch of your friends? Was it like a drug that you wanted more and more of?
Frankie: I started listening to metal thanks to one of my best friends, I was into punk and hardcore punk but he showed me first-hand what Carcass, Sepultura, Kreator and Morbid Angel sounded like. I didn’t really get it at first, but it piqued my interest because I wanted to understand it and once I did, I couldn’t stop listening to it.
Now how about the underground metal scene? What were some of the 1st bands you heard from that genre? Was this style something you took too right away?
Frankie: I saw this underground movement when I moved to Costa Rica so the 1st bands that I saw live were actually my friends’ bands. I was more into the punk scene so I had seen a lot of bands from Costa Rica live but none or at least very few were metal bands. I saw: U.F.O, Código Penal, Xpunkha, Eternal (thrash metal) this last one being my friend’s band and the one that got me into thrash metal.
Now you and the band are from Costa Rica. From the early days of the band in 2011 up until 2022, has there been a healthy metal scene and by that, I mean other bands, clubs, and places to buy metal music?
Frankie: Well, it’s been rough, man. A lot of the places that we used to play at, started to close down a while back so, for a while, we didn’t really have a lot of places where we could go and do some shows. Luckily, that has changed; there are a lot of new bars and venues that have opened their doors to our style of music so more kids are starting to go to shows and experience what we did back in the day.
So now what were some of the events that led up to you deciding to become a guitar player? Did you ever take any lessons or were you self-taught? What are some of your favourite guitar players?
Frankie: I started playing the guitar because I saw that all of the bands that I liked had a singer/guitar player, so I wanted to be like them. I wanted to be James Hetfield, I wanted to be Joe Strummer or Max Cavalera. These guys’ presence on stage made me pick up a guitar and try to write some music. I never took guitar lessons because I couldn’t really afford them so I stayed home hours practising and practising.
So take me through the steps of how Chemicide came to be. Did you go through many members before you came to the line-up that would record the first release in 2011?
Frankie: I founded Chemicide with one of my best friends from school, we wanted to play music like Sepultura or Slayer; fast and not so complicated. We were into Misfits, Ramones, Black Flag, that types of bands and we wanted to write songs that criticized our society but we wanted it heavier than these bands, so we started the band and asked 2 friends from ours to join.
So how soon was the band together before you started to write original tunes? How was it decided you would be the singer and be a 4 piece band?
Frankie: We started writing our own music from day 1, mostly because we couldn’t really play covers from other bands; not because we didn’t like them, but because we didn’t have the talent lol. I started singing because of necessity, we needed someone who could do both at the same time and wasn’t shy about it, so one day I started to sing while playing and that was it.
Who came up with the name and logo of the band?
Frankie: I came up with the name because we needed something that nobody else had in the world so we glued up 2 words together: Chemical + Genocide and BOOM! Chemicide came to be. We had several logos that a lot of our friends helped with but we decided to go at the end with David’s proposal. He is a graphic designer, and owner of Estudio ESM in Costa Rica and we’ve been working with him for a while now.
Now in 2011, you released an EP called “Radioactive Annihilation” that was later released that same year by “Blazing Obscurity Records” as a split cassette. How did you hook up with them and what are your thoughts on your debut release these days? Can you even listen to it?
Frankie: Back in the MySpace world, I had seen their profile and I reached out to them and asked them if they were interested. Lucky enough, they said yes! And they released the cassette that sold out in 2 weeks.
So now it wasn’t until 2015 that you released a full-length, which you did as a self-release. Don’t you think taking a 4-year break really hurt the band in a lot of ways or did the band actually break up?
Frankie: It did, man! It sucked being away for almost 4 years, but it happens. Having a band is complicated so we had several lineup changes during that time and we were forced to stop for a little while but I was determined to keep going. So I kept writing music and I told Nash (who later became the drummer of the band) to help us out and record the album. We recorded it back in 2014 and it took us almost a year to have it ready because we were in College and had a lot of things going on. We published it on Bandcamp and it was picked up a few days later by PRC Music in Canada and it started our long-lasting relationship with them.
Now this 2015, how long did the songwriting come together and how many members were in the 2015 line-up that was in 2011 one? Do you feel the style of the music changed much from 2011 to 2015?
Frankie: Well, there was only Sebastian and me still in the band, our bass player and drummer had left the band at the time so we had to figure it out on our own. The music has changed but because we are more “mature” we kinda know now how to write songs, back in the day was more like whatever riffs come to mind goes in the album.
Did you get to play many live shows and is thrash metal popular where the band is based out of?
Frankie: We go to play more shows but not as many as we should’ve. We’re lucky that we have a great fan base and they go to every show we play. And yeah! Thrash metal is huge in this part of the world.
Now in 2017, you were back with another self-release called “The Act of Retaliation”. What are your thoughts on this release these days and will this release and/or the release in 2015 even see a re-release perhaps?
Frankie: The Act of Retaliation was actually released under PRC Music and It helped us “cement” our name in the underground thrash metal world. We were starting to get noticed more and people bought the album like there was no tomorrow. It opened the door for our 1st Northamerican tour, so I have really fond memories.
Tell me all about the North American tour you did a few years back.
Frankie: We’ve been on tour twice through Canada and a small run through Mexico. We were able to get on the road, thanks to our label at the time that were able to put on 14 dates the first time (approximately) and 12 on the 2nd run
How were live shows for the band back then? Did you get to share the stage with any national acts at all that came through?
Frankie: We were lucky to share the stage with bands from other countries like Introtyl, Vortex, Saccage, Anonymus etc…
How serious would you say the band was around this time? How much time was spent on the band? Did you ever send either the 2015 or 2017 release to any record labels to try to get a deal?
Frankie: The band has always been serious since day 1. We’ve been lucky to have the support from Canadian record label PRC Music which released our 3 albums so we didn’t really see a need to send this out anywhere else because we were selling out with them.
You guys were keeping busy as in 2019 another full-length came out called “Inequality”, also on your own. By now, was writing songs pretty easy for the band. Who writes the music mostly?
Frankie: This album was also released under PRC Music, we had a 3 album deal so we had to keep busy and working on the music. I write all the music and lyrics for the band so it has helped me become more efficient at it.
Now most thrash bands after a couple of releases, slow their music down and lose their identity and speed. What is your opinion on that?
Frankie: I think that bands have to try different things to be successful. I enjoy listening to different styles of playing in a record so I don’t think is a bad idea to change a bit.
What are some of your favourite bands in the overall underground and then in the thrash metal genre?
Frankie: Power Trip, Paralysis, Crisix, Conditioned Critical, Höwler, Demencia, Plagas, Inersia.
Do you feel over the years you have gotten better as a singer and is it hard to sing and play the guitar at the same time?
Frankie: I think that I know what I can do now so I don’t really hurt myself singing lol. I think that playing for so long has helped me understand where my boundaries are as a singer and guitar player.
Last year, in 2021, you released 2 separate singles, one being a cover tune of the band Negative Approach. Why that band and why that particular tune?
Frankie: I love Negative Approach and I think their lyrics and music have influenced Chemicide in a lot of ways so, paying tribute to bands you love is always a good thing to do.
If I gave you 3 songs to go in and do cover tunes what songs would they be and why?
Frankie: Dead Kennedy’s Nazi Punks Fuck off for obvious reasons. Ramones Havanna Affair because we love Ramones. Maybe one from la Polla Records or Sin dios.
Now COVID sucked the life of pretty much everybody for 2 years, but you rebound with an excellent new album called “Common Sense”, once again on your own. If anyone reading this has any common sense they will check the release out. At what point did you decide to get together to get this release out?
Frankie: This album is being released by 4 different labels: Concreto Records (MX) Ripride Records (CA) Marquee Records (BR) and Ragnarok Records (DE). We have to keep the band busy and the only way of doing that after 2 years of not having any shows, is by going back to the studio and working on new material.
Did you decide right away you were putting this out on your own and didn’t want to deal with any record labels? What if someone came along and offered to put it out on vinyl would you be open to that?
Frankie: We had deals already lined for us when we started working on the album so it really made it easy for us to concentrate and work on our songs.
Do you hope to get to play live a lot over the course of the year to really hammer home just how good this release is?
Frankie: We are very lucky things are starting to open up, we just played in Nicaragua a few weeks ago and now we’re heading to Colombia after a month of non-stop shows so we are back at it again!
Are there any live clips of the band on say YouTube and places like that?
Frankie: Yeah! Just look up Chemicide on YouTube and you’ll find a lot of our material live.
When your not doing band-related stuff, what are some things you like to do? Favourite non-metal bands, do you like?
Frankie: I like to do some skateboarding with my son, and play some video games as well. I like a lot of not-metal bands like Chicano Batman, King Krule, Alabama Shakes, Tyler the Creator, Kendrick Lamar etc…
How long would you like to see the band go on?
Frankie: I dunno, man. Hopefully another 20 years or more
For someone who has never heard the band, what would you say the band’s sound is like?
Frankie: its punk but a little faster.
Please, oh please, continue to bash my skull in with your music dammit.
Frankie: Yeeeeeaaaah buddy! We will try to go to a city near you!
Please plug any social media sites and also where people can pick up your fine music.
Frankie horns up for doing this great interview, Chemicide crushes. Any last words to wrap this up?
Frankie: We have to be better people. We have to help each other out. We are all SCUM!