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Faith Factor Interview
Here we have a detailed interview with a man who is really the heart of classic heavy metal sound in America! His name is Ski (a.k.a. Norman Kierznowski) and he used to sing in the mighty Deadly Blessing. Starting from Faith Factor, he talks us about all his bands: Deadly Blessing, Faith Factor, Zygo, Obliterator and Altered State. He tells us about his Judas Priest audition and about the classic metal festival that he runs (for which he loses every year thousands of dollars!!!). So stop reading this prologue and get right to the interview!
1)When was the band created? How did you come up with this name? Tell us some things about the first days of band before it released anything official.
We started in February of 2006. I knew it was going to be a Christian band, prayed about a name and god said Faith Factor to me. Well out of the ashes of Factor Five in 2000, we became Faith Factor in 2006.
2)Which are your main influences as a singer and as a composer?
As a singer at an early age I was influenced by the 70’s bands. Singers like Steven Perry (Journey), Dennis DeYoung (Styx) , Steve Walsh (Kansas) were my early influences. Then when the 80s came around it was Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson, and Geoff Tate.
3) Tell us some things about the current members and about all the bands that they have played in.
All of the band’s members right now in Faith Factor, played in local bands for years and no one knows them of until now. As of right now we lost Joe on bass and Chris on guitar and are holding auditions as we speak right now.
4) Tell us some things about the all the bands that you have played in with as many details as you can. Tell us some things about the first days of Deadly Blessing before it released anything official. Why eventually the Deadly Blessing re-union didn't last for a long time and why the band disbanded at the first time?
Ok! My first band was Zygo, where I cut my teeth as a lead singer it was at first a cover band doing everything from a to z. Then we developed into an all original rock ‘n’ roll band this was at the time when I was in high school. This lasted for about 4 years. I then went into the U.S.A. Navy to serve my country. When I came out I still had the itch to sing. In 1986 I read an add in a local music paper about a metal band forming and they were looking for a singer, so I called and I had an audition. Well I got the job on the spot, me and Tony became close friends an formed a cover band called Tormentor. We played everything from a to z in metal, then we slowly transformed into Deadly Blessing.
The reunion happened mainly because of a local club that we used to pack back in the day called “Bonnie’s Rocks”. We decided to have a 2 day reunion show of all the bands that played at her club. Everybody from Deadly Blessing wanted to do it except Tony, so i asked from Jim Aleesi one of the guitar man from the “7/7/7” Faith Factor EP to take his spot for that show. After that show we were approached by Mark Groman from BWBK zine, he said you guys should play in Germany, I said hook us up and will go play. So I called Tony and told him what we were about to do and Tony jumped back in the band. At first we were just relearning all the old songs of ascend from the cauldron, then went in 2004 to play keep it true 4. It was awesome a great festival to play. Oli and Terick were awesome to us.
Then in 2006 Volker from Sword Brothers festival asked us to come and play to Sword Brothers 4 that was an awesome time to. Between 2004 and 2006 before we got to Sword Brothers 4, we started to write some new Deadly Blessing songs. While we were writing I knew in my heart this was not like the old blessing metal, and I didn’t think it would be accepted, but I decided to hang on and see what the reaction would be. When we came home from the Metal Boricua festival in Puerto Rico I knew I was done with Deadly Blessing, and it was time for Faith Factor to get off the ground. So I left from Deadly Blessing.
5) Your Ep is one of my favorite new power metal releases! Tell me about all the stuff that Faith Factor have released and make a comparison about them. Tell us which items are commercially available from your entire career?
The 3 song EP’s intention was for the record companies in order to shop for a record deal, and to sell to our devoted fans. We have a song on a Lizzy Borden tribute cd comming out soon (we did “American Metal”), we did a song for a Deliverance tribute cd comming out soon (we did the song “Weapons Of Our Warfare”), and before we were faith factor we were factor five and did a song for a Queenrÿche tribute cd (we did “Nightrider). We are working on our next cd called “The Wrath” that is yet to come.
6)My favorite songs is all the Ep, and "Keep it true" (which is a hymn to the fathers of our favorite music!) and "Ascend Unto Heaven" from your full length album. Tell us your opinion about that.
We were at the end of writing adds and we needed one more song for the cd, I knew we were going to Keep It True festival, and I was praying to God to help me write a song that honour him and all of out metal heroes and the song came together so fast it truly was a miracle. About “Ascend Unto Heaven” , haaaaa funny thing about this song it was actually called “Ascend From The Cauldron” when we were Factor Five, who knew 6 years later it would be a song about the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
7) Tell us some things about the lyrics of the band and about how you maintain the magnificent vocals of yours. Tell us some things about the really nice cover of your full length release and about your logo.
All of the lyrics are first prayed for, what I mean by that is we go into prayer an ask god what it is that he wants us to say, sometimes the music comes first, and sometimes the lyrics, me and Blaine are the main lyric writers that god uses, some of it is scripture based, and stories from the bible, and some are testimonies from our lives. As far as my vocals I never took lessons, I just study and copy many different singers while I was growing up and took different things from all singers and developed them into my own, like putting them all in a blender and hitting the mix button. It is truly a gift from god. Look I am 47 years old and I can still hit them high notes from “Ascend From the Cauldron” and you think that’s all me. About the cd cover, I had a vision from god and I contacted this awesome artist from Finland named Kirsi Salonen, I explained my vision to her in an e-mail and in 3 weeks I had a rough draft of my complete vision right before my eyes, the only thing left was to graphic for the Christian record label we were on. What you see is not the original cover, if you want to see the original artwork go to http://www.faithfactorband.com or http://www.myspace.com/faithfactorrocks to see the original cover. Needless to say the artist was very upset that the cover had to be altered to sell in Christian market. Now our band logo design came from the famous Christian melodic metal artist Rob Rock’s wife Liza at http://www.lizarockdesigns.com
8) Are you satisfied with Retroactive Records which released your debut album?
Ahhhhh yes this was the best offer we had gotten. They didn’t know who I was, we started fresh from scratch, and are building everything from there, they did a great job with everything, the mastering, the printing, the distribution worldwide etc.......I think we have learned our lesson now. The recording and mixing was not up to our liking but that’s mainly our fault not Retroactive’s, we only gave them what we had recorded and I think that is why the production suffered a lot. But now we know what to do, so the next one will be awesome. Retroactive was very attentive, they said we are gonna do this and this by this time , we told them we would like to have the cd done before we go to kit, we got the cds on November 5th of 2008 and the show was on November 15thof 2008. It all worked out well, they are very good to us.
9) Do you believe that the somehow complicated material of your albums is it easy to be played live? How easy is for you to keep your really high-pitched vocal in shape?
I put the set list together to help the way I sing them, also keeping in mind that the tune down songs go first, it is easier to sing them in a lower range ,even though they are high. When we first hit the stage we want to punch you in the face for a full 20 minutes, then we want to slow things down give you and us some time to think and breath a little, and then slowly build up to ascend to close the show with song of Deadly Blessing ,or a cover song Faith Factor’s style, most of the songs are easy to be played live. What we do in the studio it would better to be able to be translated live. As long as I get plenty of rest the night before a show, my lungs are fine, but if I have a sleepless night and toss ‘n’ turn, I sound like crap, or if I can’t hear the monitors on stage and the band is louder then me I have to watch how hard I push my vocals or I can blow them out.
10) Any plans for some gigs in Europe ? Would you like to play in Greece some day?
We will play where ever god calls us to play. In Christian and in secular bars, venues, backyard parties, etc...... But the timing and the money has to be right. I personally wanted so bad to play at up the hammers this year, but our economy got so bad and some members lost there jobs. We just didn’t have the money to come play, you know they don’t pay for your flights and that can get very costly. Two nights in a hotel and a performance fee makes it very hard to come and play for. We would play for free as long as the flights and the hotel are paid for. Now we lost our bass and guitar players so I guess everything happens for a reason beyond our understanding. We would love to come back to Germany but I was told they don’t always bring the same bands back for a while; I would love to play in all the European festivals like Wacken, Hoa, Bang your head, etc.... heck any festival in any country.
11) Do you plan to write any new material with the band? If yes when should we expect your next release?
We just started writing “The wrath” that is yet to come, and lost our bass and guitar players, so right now were auditioning guitar and bass players, until we have a solid lineup intact. When we fill those needs we will see what the new guys have to offer as writers and we will pick up from where we left off. We were hoping to have something out in 2011, that is the goal.
12) Deadly Blessing's "Ascend from the Cauldron" was released two times on cd format: one from New Renaissance Records WITHOUT the permission of the band and one from a guy who released many '80s metal bootlegs. These illegal releases even though they contributed to a loss of money helped to make the name of Deadly Blessing known to a newer generation of fans like me and my friends. How do you feel about that?
Any body who steals from us will have there payment in the end, I give that all to god, and let him deal with it, its all small stuff to me.
13) Any chance of "Ascend from the Cauldron" re-release with bonus material (an old live or something like that?)? After all these years the rights aren't back in the hands of Deadly Blessing?
There is no talk about re-releasing the cd with bonus tracks, but now that you brought it up, I will talk to nick and tom about it, and see if there interested in doing so. If the rest of the band agrees to do it, I will talk with some of my connections and pursue it.
14) Do you have any unreleased demo material from the old days? If yes do you plan to re-release any of it some day with a remix and a remaster? Maybe some demo material from your older bands like Oblivion and Altered State ? There was rumor that they would be re-released with better sound.
I have Obliterator, Altered state and Zygo already remastered and ready to go. I just don’t have the permission to release them yet. There are some live deadly blessing, and rehearsal demos, there are also some altered state tracks too, but until all the band members in all the bands give me their permission I can’t release them, and on top of that the money to do this. If I do it, it will all be from my pockets, so I have to do some more research.
15) Tell us some things about "true metal America festival" which you run. You and Keith Menser are two of kind! You are the only ones from the "old guard" that try to promote underground classic metal bands by organizing festivals and not the silly groups that are promoted via the mainstream "metal" press.
True metal America was originally run by bobby Mitchell the singer from Attacker. When he left Attacker I called mike Sabbatini the drummer from Attacker and asked him if I could run it now, he gave me his blessings to do so, I just thought I was really the only old school metal thing left to keep true metal alive in America, so I poured my heart and soul into and my money also trying to keep it alive, much like Keith tried to do back in the 90s. In U.S.A. it is very hard to put theses shows on and to at least break even. I started to put local shows together in the New Jersey,New York, and Philadelphia areas, then I had an idea to put on out first festival with Ross the boss as our headliner. I am sad to say after 5000$ invested in that show I only walked away with $900. It really showed me how dead metal is in America, but we will keep on trying to carry the flame.
16) Have you heard any new good releases in the classic hard rock/heavy metal genre? If yes give us some basic info about these bands including their musical style.
Well to be honest there not to many new bands of the old style, but there is Eternal Winter, Armory, can’t really think of any others at the moment maybe Ravage.
17) Considering the things said above you must have a great collection of cds, lps and demos! Tell us a few words about your collection.
I have a ton of stuff, and a very good friend of mine has everything I ever did as well, plus more our very first deadly blessing demo with songs and line up different from what you know, but it was still me and Tony, on drums it was Chris brown, on guitar it was Chuck Wild, and Joey Galloway on bass. Very bad recording demo with songs like “Angels Of Steel, “Red Handed”, “Love Ain’t For Me”, “Nightstalker”, “Queen Of Sin” , an instrumental called “Armageddon”, Altered state songs “Never Rely” like, “Final Holocaust”, “Another Meaningless Death” ,no extra Obiltereator songs, some Zygo songs like, “Do You Still Believe?”, “Faded Dreams” , “Buster Billy”, etc.... some where there is me doing “Beyond The Realms Of Death” for Judas Priest management when they were looking for a replacement for Rob Halford, which I sent and got turned down twice for.
18) Do you think that the internet has helped the bands by making their name known and "offering" samples of their music or had harmed them because of free dowloading of whole albums. If is true that both happen, where does the balance hang out more?
The internet is good and bad. Good for promotions but bad when you illegally download songs without paying for them.
19) Do you make a living from music or do you have a "regular" job in order to live yourself and your family?
No I have a day job to provide for my family, but I have been doing some side studio work for a band from Norway called “Tomorrows Out Look”. Me, Micheal Kiske, Graham Bonnet are at http://www.myspace.com/tomorrowsoutlook. I also did one song for a Christian artist named Pastor Brad a song called “Cold Blooded Killer” coming out on April 27th 2010 http://www.myspace.com/guitarjams. I also did a song for a Virgin Steele tribute cd with “Tomorrows Out Look” (we did “Victory Is mine”). I don’t know when that is coming out , but the singer from Virgin Steele is shopping for a label to put it out.
20) Thank you for the interview. Leave a comment to our readers.
I really enjoyed this inerview, some really good questions, thanks for you support in what ever I do.
Interview by: Ioannis "Knight Of Light" Kaskamanaidis
Interview by: Countraven
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