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Bulletbelt are the ever evolving masters of Metal. One of New Zealand’s most recognisable bands in a country that boasts an ever evolving diverse extreme movement. Their last album Nine centuries continued the momentum built on rigorous touring and as Drummer Steve Explains another is on the imminent horizon…

What has Bulletbelt been up to lately?

We spent the first half of 2019 writing our new album then recorded it in October at The Surgery studios here in Wellington. We then came over the ditch in November and played Melbourne and Sydney (Steel Assassins festival) which was a blast. Our last show was with Ross the Boss here in Wellington.

I hear you have an album in the works and how far along is it?

It is 100% finished and we are now working on the release date and all the planning around that.

How does it differ from the last record Nine centuries? There was a common goal and plan that we worked to this time around. Tim, Josh and I created these 9 tracks together and all had a shared vision of what we were trying to achieve. Great metal anthems with big hooks and even bigger choruses.

You have a new Guitarist as well? Andrew is 2 months in the band and doing a great job. Reliable, motivated, great chops and an awesome team player. In a small place like Wellington we were beginning to wonder where would find someone so we’re happy to have him!

You have had a few members over the years is Bulletbelt a collaborative effort when writing and how does it affect your overall sound The sound has evolved over the years as we’ve gotten better at writing so that’s natural and healthy. In terms of new members I believe it’s important to let people work to their strengths. So as long as we stick to being Bulletbelt it is a collaborative effort. If it’s heading away from the vision then a small nudge back keeps it on track

How did you approach this album drum wise from your previous work? As always my goal in this band is to keep it hard, heavy, and simple and play to the song. Don’t overplay and let the riffs do the talking. In terms of past album this one is very ‘live’ and real sounding. Real drums, no triggers, no replacement sounds. Just my Ludwig mic’ed up well in a great sounding room and hit them hard!"

What influences these days? Is any new music making an impact? I have been listening to Power Trip, Bonehunter, Tomb Mold, Uniform, Scars on Broadway, Midnight, Mgla, and Violation Wound among others. All killer bands that write great songs.

As a drummer who are your inspirations and do you let it influence your arrangements Ian Paice, Fenriz, Lars Ulrich. All originals that created their own niche and sound.

Help I've just been assaulted by your music. When reporting it to the cops how would I describe it? An ugly 5 headed angry beast that has a very charming side (on the choruses) It’s been a while since you've done a headlining NZ tour. Plans? Our goal is to do an extensive NZ tour in the 2nd half of 2020. We plan to hit all the smaller town that don’t get many shows and get them onside and part of team Bulletbelt!

What has been the biggest change in Metal over the last ten years? Obviously technology has enabled people to make music at home. Now there are millions of bands doing their thing, some good, some bad but IMO the more people making music the better

Has this been a positive/negative influence? A bit of both but as I said in the last question I am all for humans creating art.

Is the NZ metal scene thriving or declining, and is it hard to gain international recognition? It is thriving. The strongest it’s been. In terms of gaining international recognition it depends on how hard a band wants to work. There are tons of very talented bands down here who have no idea about marketing and promoting themselves. Some of it goes back to some weird idea that promoting and pushing yourself isn’t cool. New Zealanders are mostly very laid back and don’t like to be seen to pushing their own barrel. That attitude is fine if you just want to play your home town once a month. But if you want to get overseas and make a name for yourself it takes lots of planning, sacrifice, social media nous and money. No one else is going to do it for you. If you’re dedicated and have a vision then anything is possible. My best mate is Sam from Dragonforce and he came from a shitty little town North of Wellington called Carterton and he did it.

What is true metal?

28 year old me would have had a very different answer to 48 me which says as long as you play from your heart and blaze your own path you can’t go wrong.

Your top six albums/demos of all time?

Ha-ha now that is an impossible question to answer! But off the top of my head 6 big ones for me are • WASP – Debut album • Van Halen 1 • Tragedy – Nerve Damage • Venom – Black Metal • King Diamond – Abigail • Midnight – Satanic Royalty

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