Interview with Jason from Hazmat

After the opportunity to review the album, ‘Atonement’ by Sydneysiders HAZMAT, we were lucky enough to catch up with Jason who is lead vocal and lead guitar with the band. Take it away HAZMAT…

Tell us something about Hazmat, why you play and the bands that make inspired you to make music?

I’ve always been a metal fan and have played metal from a young age. Writing is a passion for me and metal is a powerful vessel to deliver it. Growing up, the metal bands of the mid eighties and early nineties really struck a chord with me.The fortunate thing for me with Hazmat is the musical chemistry that comes from the four of us. Duck,Stu and Caine really get where I’m coming from with the songs and direction. They each bring their twists and individual styles to the music . It is working really well.

The first self titled album done particularly well, what pleased you most about getting your music out there?

I was very pleased with the reception we got from the first album. It’s a great feeling to have people find something in your songs that does it for them. Off the back of that we got to tour with some fantastic international artists and tour ourselves nationally and overseas which allowed HAZMAT to reach a much broader audience. To play with such legendary professionals and have the privilege of playing to their audiences was definitely a massive high point.

Theres a common theme on the covers of the first album and the new album ‘Atonement’. Is there a thing that pisses you off most or is it just the way that society is heading? Why is this a driver for your music?

I note a lot of people perceive an anger from the artwork which is not entirely incorrect but whilst there is a lot in the world to be fired up about, anger is pointless without a solution. The young child featured in both covers symbolises hope. History teaches us that not all trains of thought remain practical or relevant into the future.

The first album honoured the ANZACs with, ‘Ragged Bloody Heroes’ and the new album starts with, ‘The Theatre’. Unlike other bands in the genre there is no glory in war in these just amazement at the sacrifice. Is that correct?

Yes. I’d say respect of the sacrifice. I am proud of my country and heritage and Ragged is a great vessel to be able to honour and respect the sacrifice and legacy left that helped shape a nation and its culture. With The Theatre I’ve tried to bring light to the fact that there are still and will probably always be conflicts and there are still those who choose to answer the call. I don’t think it should ever be thought of as “that’s just what they do”.

For the majority of us that have never served it is impossible to grasp what it takes to enter any theatre of war. Whilst the battles are remembered for better or worse, other than certain days of reflection I wonder is enough afforded those who have returned and had to pick up where they left off with a war in between.

Also really keen to hear about the song, ‘SOLD’. Is that a by-product of living in Sydney where people will be inheriting mortgages soon?

This would be a result of what the song is getting at. It’s more focused on the questionable line of thinking that a country can sell its way out of debt. If nothing is owned then there is no source of revenue other than tax. Across the world not only here the numbers being thrown around in relation to foreign debt are almost incalculable they are that high. This filters down to individual circumstances and a reliance on credit unparalleled in previous times.

Regardless of political persuasion I fail to see how anyone could condone the liquidation of a prosperous nation. If there is such a high demand for the product, sell the product not the rights to profit from it.

Also on the new album ‘Atonement’, the song, ‘Social Mediocrity’, cracked me up starting with the old modem cackle. Does social media help or hinder bands? In particular, does it make it harder to get noticed?

It really is a double edged sword in my opinion. Time will tell if it is more good than evil or vice versa. Whilst not being a particular fan I understand and accept it is a part of promotion now. We have definitely reached a lot of people through this medium and have discovered a lot of great bands and friends through it. It’s definitely become a major tool for the music industry and picks up where the dedicated music internet mediums left off. The song looks at the world the social media has created. In an age where privacy is sacred and fought for, here we find ourselves willingly opening up our lives. Anyone with an axe to grind, point to prove or thing to sell can get an audience. Whether that is good or bad it’s not for me to say however it will be interesting to see where it leads us.

Getting on to touring, you seen to be getting out and about. Whats the plan for a national tour and overeas?

Definitely want to get everywhere we can on this tour. It is constantly building and we are exploring new avenues here and overseas. All the boys know the drill and we plan to work hard to get to as many places as possible.

I see that you are supporting the juggernaut Primal Fear on their first plunder down under. Good chance that will be insane, must be pleased to be on that bill?

Extremely honoured We can’t wait for this one I’m betting it will be a cracker of a show. What an awesome band. To get to open for such a legendary powerhouse outfit is fantastic!

You guys have supported Ripper, Paul (the first two albums were the best) DiAnno and the new prog superstar (!) Blaze Bailey. When you look out across the stage at these guys what do you think; overwhelmed, inspired…..

I can’t speak highly enough about these guys. They are all quite different in character and style but are all masters at what they do and sensational people. To have the privilege of touring with them was amazing and we hope to do it again. It was daunting I guess. You would be playing with them listening on which they did not have to do. You worry about your performance and what they will think of your material. We found ourselves spending a lot of time ( in tour terms ) with all 3 and they were fantastic to us. The things we learned and advice we got was invaluable. They are all hard working ultimate professionals and really down to earth great blokes. It was a great honour Last question, and here at DGM we like to finish with the deranged one. Our main readership is Europe and US, so I know you are in rugby league territory, but how would you describe Aussie Rules football to our readers in a sentence?

Aerial ping pong !

Thanks very much for your time Jason, its appreciated, and best of luck with the tour. Interviewer Craig Grant


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Review: Hazmat – 'Atonement'

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