Insanity Alert Interview
Insanity Alert is a great thrash metal band and I was a little late in sending off the questions to them, but I got around to it and here is the interview with singer Heavy Kevy
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
HK: I was born in Lekkerkerk, a small town close to Rotterdam, The Netherlands. I lived there with my parents and my sister until I was 23 and then I moved to Rotterdam.
What sort of kid and teenager were you growing up?
HK: A friendly kid and a punk rock teenager, into music and skateboarding.
How did you discover music and then how did you discover metal music in general and then underground music? Was underground music something you got into right away or did it take a few listens to really get into it?
HK: When I was 13 I heard Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ at a techno party and I was sold, never looked back. I sucked up all that I could find, including Dead Kennedys, Sepultura, Life Of Agony, NOFX, Faith Mo More, Dinosaur Jr., Pantera, Beatles and the list goes on. Underground automatically became my thing, cause I started a band and we were super underground 🙂
Were you like me, when you heard underground music, you craved it so much you wanted to hear more and more?
HK: Yes, it felt like I had opened an endless treasure box. Everything with guitars and real songwriting blew me away
Now if this is the singer, what are some of your favourite singers and do you feel you’re a good singer for like underground music?
HK: I don’t think I’m a good singer, but I think I’m pretty fast and I love doing it. Some of my favourite singers include Mike Patton, John Connely, Fat Mike and John Tardy. I also dig Amy Winehouse
So now how did the coming of Insanity Alert come together? Did you go through many members before coming to a core line-up with the only change in 2018 with a new bass player?
HK: Started as a four-piece while partying and drinking in Innsbruck in 2011. The Dave Of Death on guitar, Don Melanzani on drums and yours truly on vocals. Our founding bass player left after two years and it’s been an endless stream of 4-stringers since then. But we’ll manage, no worries.
Does Austria have a solid metal scene? Are there many clubs for bands to play and are there any other bands from there that you know of or are friends with?
HK: Austria is a really long country from west to east, so we are also involved with countries like Germany (Munich) or Italy, simply because these places are way closer to us than for example Vienna. But overall we’re in a good scene with many nice clubs and festivals and shitloads of talented bands. We are friends with many cool people.
So what were the early practices like for the band? Did you fool around with cover tunes or did you sit down and work on originals right away?
HK: Both! Playing cover songs is always fun, but we penned down a bunch of songs straightaway. Glorious Thrash is the first song we made and it’s still in our set.
Now how long was the band together before you released your demo, which came out in 2012? The tunes were shorts blasts of crossover thrash. Was this the style and sound you were looking for? What are your thoughts on this demo these days?
HK: We started in the summer of 2011, so it was less than a year. This was exactly the sound we were looking for and I still love those recordings. Super raw and full of energy and motivation.
Now, what was the feedback like on social media? Did you get good reviews and start to develop a following off of it? Did you manage to play any live shows at this time and if so how wild were the shows?
HK: Yeah, people from all over the world, hungry for crossover, contacted us. We started touring in Europe and all the shows were always crazy. Metalheads, punks, skaters, hardcore people, all moshing together.
Now in 2013, you released your own EP called “Second Opinion”, which I feel is a step up from the demo. The production is better and your starting to develop more of your own sound to a point. Did you go to the same studio as your debut release? How was the response to this release? Do you feel you were growing as a band at this point?
HK: This one was recorded at the Toxic Basement Studio in Milan, Italy. Great dude, the Hand Of Doom. He also released the EP on his label and we landed a deal for a full length with Empire Records through this EP. Dave was really growing as a human at this time, adding kilos every week
Now how did you come up with the name Insanity Alert, which I love? Who came up with your logo and who does your release cover?
HK: Before we had songs, I had the whole concept planned out. A friend of mine, Michiel from The Real Danger, designed the logo. Our covers are done by Bouzikov, Roel Smit, James from Barf Comics and the most recent one by Mark Riddick.
In 2014 you signed a deal with Empire Records and released your first full length which was self-titled. Did you feel any pressure at all going in to do a full length? Were the songs pretty much ready to go, going into the studio? How did you end up hooking up with Empire Records and did you think it was a fair deal at the time?
HK: There’s never pressure cause we do what we do and we love it. We had all the songs ready, so it was by far the easiest recording process. We met Tony from Empire at a show in Belgium and he was a nice dude with a plan. He was super fair and really put time and energy in it. He also came up with Bouzikov for the artwork. Still proud to have done that album together.
Were you able to play live much and being on an actual label did that increase your popularity at all? Did you get to do any touring or get to play outside your country at all? Describe for me what a live show is like with you guys?
HK: We have been playing a lot since day one, but I think that mainly has to do with the band and the live shows. A live show is like a get-together for people that want to mosh & party and don’t give a fuck. Almost a ritual ha-ha
From reading reviews of your stuff most say you sound like “Municipal Waste” or “DRI” and have that party-like atmosphere as far as lyrics go. Do you think that’s a fair description? What would you say you sound like?
HK: Yeah, we love both bands and had the privilege of playing with them a few times. Of course, it’s not fair, but life never is. All bands have influences, but it seems to me that crossover has never been taken really serious by reviewers. Nothing we can do, we just keep on putting out records and play shows.
We fast forward to 2016 and you’re on a different label from your last release, this time you’re on “This Charming Man Records” and your release is called “Moshburger”. What happened with your last label and how did you hook up with this new label?
HK: Nothing happened, we just moved to a slightly bigger label with better distribution in Germany, which is a very important country for us and metal in general. I knew Chris from This Charming Man for a long time and asked him if was interested. He was already putting out records by Space Chaser, so it seemed cool, and it was! Cool dude, cool label, great to put Moshburger out together.
Now with each release were you going in different studios and pretty much recording the same way or were you experimenting and doing different things to see how things went? What are your thoughts on “Moshburger these days?
HK: Moshburger was recorded in Germany with Andy Classen (ex-Holy Moses) at his studio somewhere in the middle of nowhere. But it was a great experience, and Andy knows thrash metal. He made us sound tighter and he was also super fun to work with, with lots of 420 action. I love the whole thing about Moshburger, from the songs and production to the artwork and memories.
Now you didn’t release anything for 3 years why the sudden break? You also got a new bass player, MC Brownnose, how did you find him?
HK: If you call 3 years of hardcore gigging a break, then I don’t wanna go on a holiday with you hahaha. We played so many shows and also wrote and recorded a new album in the meantime. Bass player Moosi decided to leave after a tour with Hatebreed, Madball and Power Trip, so we looked around for a new one. MC Brownnose was an old friend and he joined the band to help out. He stayed for two years but left the band again last December, just before Corona hit. We have a new dude now, but he has only played one show 🙂
Now in 2019, we had your latest full length called “666-Pack”, which I think is clever and funny on “Season of Mist” Records. How did you hook up with this long time label and they are not really known for their thrash bands so were you worried at all signing with them?
HK: After playing Hellfest in 2017 we started playing more in France and finally we just wrote Season Of Mist if they were interested. They were and we are proud to call the label our home. We weren’t worried because we’re always a bit of an outcast band. They have been supercooled since day one, helping us with weird ideas and promoting us fantastic! Nice people with a big heart for metal.
Now the album has been out a while, how was the feedback on it cause I loved it? Has it sold better than all your other releases? I imagine it has been cool working with them cause you released a new single with that label this year as well.
HK: Record has been doing great! No idea about sales but we get rid of some at live shows. I think it has done better. Season Of Mist has really brought us to a higher level in terms of being known.
How does the music for a song come together and how about the lyrics? How much time is spent in say any given week doing band related stuff?
HK: We smoke, we drink, we go into the rehearsal room. Dave does a lot of riffing at home in between changing diapers and Klemi switches between drum sessions and working out. I mainly write down every weird idea I have or record it on my phone.
In August of 2020, you released a one-song single. When can we expect some more new material from the band and are you still on Season of Mist?
HK: Working on many new tunes now. Corona has cancelled all our shows, and the new bass player lives far away, but with the three core members, we’re working on new songs and funny shit to send into the world.
How long would you guys like to see the band continue? Is there a strong underground scene over in your country these days?
HK: As long as it’s fun for those involved I don’t see any reason for the band to stop. Austria has a good scene, but Europe is small and we travel all over the place. France, Holland, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, the UK, we’re there!
Horns up for doing this with me and sorry for the delay. Any last words the floor is yours?
HK: Thanks for your time and interest, glad you dig our shit and keep on thrashing harder! Metalpunx Never Die!!!