Rock Overdose and Antonis "JK" Katsaros contacted Steve Souza and discussed about Hatriot and their debut and the glory days in Exodus! Enjoy....
Rockoverdose: Hello Steve, welcome to RockOverdose.gr. How are you?
Steve: I am doing great. Hatriot is up and running at full speed and it is a great feeling. I want to thank you for the interview and the chance to talk about the band.
Rockoverdose: How is going the recording of the new album from Hatriot?
Steve: Everything is coming together. We have two well-known metal record labels that have made nice offers and we are trying to decide who to go with right now. Both have brought some really exciting things to the table and we will make a decision here real soon. Studio time has already been booked for the month of August, so regardless of who we wind up signing with we will have the album recorded by the end of the summer. Our goal is to have the record released worldwide sometime in January of 2013. That way it is one of the first records to be pushed in the new year and will hopefully get a lot of attention from the label. I am very excited to get this thing out. It is long overdue for me.
Rockoverdose: Would you like to share with us some important details about this material, the title, some songs, or anything else?
Steve: Well we are thinking of calling the record “Heroes Of Origin,” and it will be ten songs of pure old school thrash. I am looking to get Jowita Kaminska, the artist who did the art for “Tempo Of The Damned,” to do the cover art for this record as well. We are constantly writing and revising our songs, so I can’t really give you a final song list because it is too early to tell. We did a four song demo EP last year and have recently released a video for a song called “Blood Stained Wings,” so there is a good chance that some of those songs could be recorded for the full length. Time will tell. I can tell you that the record will kick your ass!
Rockoverdose: Also in the new album will you be a traditional thrash metal band or will you have and modern elements?
Steve: The guys in the band are all in their early twenties, so they bring a lot of newer elements into the music. They are influenced by a whole new generation of metal, whereas I am firmly rooted in the classic thrash sound. I think the Hatriot record will be a natural continuation of where I left off with Exodus in 2004. Expect it to be old school thrash but with some modern elements. The lyrics will all be tongue in cheek the way they were in Exodus. I can promise you that my style will not stray from the sound the fans expect me to deliver. I am 48 years old now, but more pissed off than ever.
Rockoverdose: I have seen that you did some gigs. How were they and what was the reaction of the people?
Steve: We have done a handful of shows here in the bay area. We did a gig a few months ago with Forbidden, and another with Testament, and the response was amazing. The band just keeps getting tighter and more comfortable with everything. The reaction to the demo has been great too. When I first put the band together I let some of my closest friends hear it, guys who I really respect in the business, and they were all like “Zetro you’ve got to do this.” So I feel that the initial reaction from everybody has been great so far. Right now we are slowing down the gig schedule a bit to get ready for the album. Getting a record out there is top priority.
Rockoverdose: Does the band start having more and more fans or you think that after the release of the album there will be many more?
Steve: Obviously there are the core fans that are curious because of my history in Exodus and Legacy. There is a built in audience based on my past and we are lucky to have that. The thing with Hatriot is I don’t want to rest on my laurels and exploit the Exodus fan base. I want this thing to be its own entity. The label that we wind up signing with will have to put us on tour so we can build fans the old fashioned way – by getting in their faces and playing live. I won’t allow a label just to throw something out there with my name on it. This will be done the right way. I do think there will be many more fans once we show them what we can do live. Once they see that this isn’t a side project, that this is my full time thing, I believe we will have the support of the people.
Rockoverdose: What were the circumstances under which the band has been created?
Steve: I built the band around my guitar player, Kosta Varvatakis, and his writing skills. He is a virtuoso and is cut from the same cloth as the big metal shredder guys like Holt and Skolnick. Basically I met Kosta at a show his band was playing and we hit it off. He knows his shit man. Kosta really impressed me with his knowledge of metal, and of course his abilities on the guitar. He comes into practice with complete ideas and I rarely hear something I don’t like from him. We make a great team. He writes the music and I write the lyrics. It is that simple. I also have Miguel Esparza on second guitar, and my son Cody Souza on bass. These guys are young and hungry for it. Right now we are looking for a drummer to make the lineup complete.
Rockoverdose: Also there is and a Greek man in the band Kostas Varvatakis, right?
Steve: Yes! It is kind of funny. I had never met a Greek person in my life until a few years ago when I met my girlfriend, who is Greek, and then I met Kosta who is also Greek! The ironic thing is his family actually knows some of her family. It is a really cool thing!
Rockoverdose: Let's go now to the past. You went to Exodus two times and you left them two times too. What happened in both of the situations?
Steve: I didn’t leave Exodus the first time. We were in Japan doing some shows and these press people came up to me and said “Hey Zetro, we hear you guys are going to disband when you get home.” Gary had decided to take a break from it for a while and that’s how I found out. Our drummer, John Tempesta, had left to join Testament and we had been using the guy from Mordred on drums. We were just tired and needed a break. The second time was all my fault. My head wasn’t together at the time and I had some personal issues I was working out at home. I left the band just before a tour and it was a bad situation. The guys were pissed at me for a while, and rightfully so. I dropped the ball.
Rockoverdose: Do you have any contact with the guys in the band?
Steve: Oh yes, we are all good friends now and everything is fine. They have had a stable lineup for over seven years now and are doing great. My mind is full on now with Hatriot and everything has worked itself out. I talk to Gary Holt all the time and have a great relationship with the Exodus guys.
Rockoverdose: Do you miss the old days when you were in Exodus?
Steve: I do miss the old days in Exodus. All of that stuff was great. Like they say, all good things must come to an end I guess. I am bringing back the old spirit of the Exodus days with Hatriot now.
Rockoverdose: You were in Exodus for nine years, so will we see any clues from that band to the new material of Hatriot? I'm asking you this because I regard it as something logical, without meaning that they’re going to be an imitation of them. Above everything is the personal character of your band.
Steve: I don’t think it is an imitation at all. I think this band is the natural ‘next step’ from what I did with Exodus in the ‘Tempo Of The Damned’ era. All the key ingredients that make good thrash metal are in the Hatriot material and I think the fans are going to love it. I have been around since the beginning of thrash metal and it is ingrained in my soul and spirit. Never did I change styles when it was out of fashion. I have always been a thrash metal singer and I can promise you that the sound fans expect from me is the sound you will get with Hatriot.
Rockoverdose: What do you have earned as a musician from all those years on stage? Are you satisfied, would you change anything?
Steve: I have earned a place in the history books and that is very satisfying. I wouldn’t change anything and I am every satisfied with my career. If you had come up to me when I was 18 years old and said “in 30 years you are going to be considered a vocal legend for the style you helped pioneer” I would have thought you were crazy! I would have said “where do I sign on the dotted line?” My career has been amazing to say the least. It has been a wild ride and it isn’t over yet! Hatriot begins the next chapter and I am very much looking forward to that as well.
Rockoverdose: What's your message to all your fans out there?
Steve: I just want to thank all the fans for being so loyal and for following all my projects throughout the years. I am so fortunate now to have people interested in what I do and I don’t take any of that for granted. Look for a new record from Hatriot in the next few months and I hope to meet all of you on the road!
Rockoverdose: Steve thank you very much for this interview, I wish good luck to Hatriot and hope to hear your debut soon. Be well!
Steve: Thank you as well my friend for the opportunity to do this interview. It is the magazines and webzines, such as yours, that keep metal alive and you play a big role in what we are doing. Thanks again and I hope to see you soon.