Interviewed by Brooke Horsley
Date: September 2010
Brooke Horsley: What’s going on? How are you today?
Lazzo : Doing fine thanks, just working on some new tunes!
Brooke Horsley: You have such an original name. Is Lazzo a stage name?
Lazzo : Yes it is. My family’s original name was Lazzo before we came over to the United States. I thought it was a good tribute (and it sounded cool, haha), so I used it.
Brooke Horsley: What other bands have you been in?
Lazzo : I have been in only a few bands in the past. My first band in high school was called FEEDBACK, we thought we were the best band alive ha ha. I had another band in college called RANDOM FREQUENCIES where I started to dabble with synths in my music writing. After college of course, came RITES OF ASH.
Brooke Horsley: When did you first play an instrument and what was it?
Lazzo : I played drums in my elementary school’s band. I wasn’t the best drummer, so I usually had to play the cymbals. It was kind of embarrassing at the time because my hair would flip up in the front every time I banged the cymbals together, haha.
Brooke Horsley: Playing the guitar, keyboard and doing the programming for RITES OF ASH must be challenging. Do you ever feel like you are performing a juggling act?
Lazzo : I feel like I have found the perfect balance between all those instruments. Every song kind of comes together a different way; it might be a hot synth part, appregiated beats, or a raunchy guitar riff. 80-two and I bounce ideas off each other all the time. He sends me bits which I turn into full-fledge tracks. I sit down in my studio and lay down a synth or guitar riff, then I basically glue myself to my computer for hours programming and mapping out the song. No one instrument is dominant in my song writing, however, every song has its own personality and sound. I just go with the flow.
Brooke Horsley: RITES OF ASH has such a diverse combination of music styles and sounds. What genres of music would you say your band falls under?
Lazzo : This is a common question for us since it is really hard to nail down our genre. Everyone in the band comes from a different background musically, and that comes through in our writing. I would say in our heart we are hard rock, or commercially: "Pop/Rock"
Brooke Horsley: The new CD coming out this fall of 2010 "Like Venom" sounds like a combo of new wave, techno, rock, pop, hip-hop and a metal edge to some of the vocals. What inspired you guys to combine so many varieties?
Lazzo : Everyone in the band listens to all kinds of music on a daily basis. One of the main goals 80-two and I set out to accomplish when we started this band is to create something different that incorporated many types of genres into a palatable and consistent sound. Nothing is off-limits to us musically. If it sounds good, then we go with it.
Brooke Horsley: How long have you been playing guitar and keyboard?
Lazzo : I have been playing guitar for ten years and keyboards for six years.
Brooke Horsley: How did you get involved in the programming end of your music?
Lazzo : In college I got really turned on to NINE INCH NAILS and industrial music in general. I was amazed at how intricate music could get and how many limits one could push by using electronic and acoustic elements in harmony. I started reading every article I could get my hands on and asking every single question that came to my mind to professionals in the field. I got my copy of Fruity Loops and the rest is history.
Brooke Horsley: Rattle off some artists that inspired you?
Lazzo : BILLY JOEL, NINE INCH NAILS, MARILYN MANSON, GODHEAD, GUARDIAN, JARS OF CLAY, DC TALK, RAMSTEIN.
Brooke Horsley: When listening to your music I feel like I can dance and rock out. Is that what your fans do at your shows?
Lazzo : We have the best and craziest fans out there, they always surprise us! They dance, sing along, jump on stage. We’ve had them mosh to "Burn", but also slower tunes like "Three Leaf Clover". One of the best perks in this business is watching your fans enjoy your music!
Brooke Horsley: How did RITES OF ASH come to fruition?
Lazzo : The band was a project that my friend Adam and I worked on in college. I started purchasing my own recording equipment, so I was able to produce music in my dorm room. I would work day and night, with the occasional class getting in the way, learning how everything worked. Before I knew it, I had created a whole bunch of awesome songs. Right before I graduated, I placed an ad on Myspace looking for musicians to get the band off the ground when I returned to DC. 80-two answered the ad and the rest is history!
Brooke Horsley: What band would be your "dream come true" to play with ?
Lazzo : Besides answering the cliché, RITES OF ASH I would say Marilyn Manson. He is an incredibly brilliant guy.
Brooke Horsley: What was the first concert you attended?
Lazzo : The first concert that I can remember was THE MONKEES.
Brooke Horsley: What was the most recent concert you attended?
Lazzo : I recently attended the Uproar Festival featuring STONE SOUR, HALESTORM,AVENGED SEVENFOLD , and DISTURBED. We had backstage passes so we able to meet DISTURBED!
Brooke Horsley: When you aren’t playing with RITES OF ASH what do you like to do with your time?
Lazzo : I have free time outside of RITES OF ASH? lol
Brooke Horsley: How important are your fans?
Lazzo : Our fans are the most important thing to us. We work extremely hard to produce great music and put on a world-class show for them!
Brooke Horsley: The biggest part of your fan base I’m sure, are the "chicks". How much do you welcome that side of being in the music business?
Lazzo : We love the chicks of course! There is nothing better than seeing a sexy lady dancing to one of your tunes. We always like to reward each and every enthusiastic lady with free merchandise and after party access.
Brooke Horsley: When and where can we expect to see you guys play "live"?
Lazzo : We are always adding new shows to the schedule and we are working on a lot of dates at the moment. Plans are in the works for an East coast tour in the winter and a European tour early next year.
Brooke Horsley: What can we expect to see at a RITES OF ASH show?
Lazzo : There is a lot going on during our live shows. We have synchronized videos that play in time with our songs; these videos are displayed on mannequins with flat-panel monitors for heads, multi-screened monitor trees, a huge digital projector, and more. 80-two designed a custom light show that is just insane. Lasers, spots, smoke…you will have to see it to believe it! The sound is incredible and you would think there were seven of us playing up there.
Brooke Horsley: Thanks Lazzo for your time. I’m stoked about your new CD "Like Venom", is there anything you would like to add before we go?
Lazzo : Everyone reading: Go buy our record and see our show! Thanks so much for this interview, it was a blast!