Japan Nick


Hey, whats up? If you don’t know me, this is Japan Nick. I’ve been WMSC ‘s resident old-school heavy metal DJ since 2010. I was also their metal director until 2011, when I won DJ of the Year. I have been published in Blabbermouth, Brave Words, The Aquarian Weekly and a number of heavy metal zines such as Headsplit Magazine (Portland, Ore.), Soulgrinder Zine (Allentown, Pa.) and Bulldozer Magazine (Calif.). Here at WMSC, I run an extreme music program which ranges from hard rock to, all forms of heavy metal to stoner/psychedelic music. I try to conduct frequent interviews with notable underground musicians from all over the US and sometimes internationally. You can check out my iTunes page for my archives which now have over 44,000 listens, like my stuff on Facebook and follow me on Twitter. If you want to find out more about me, check out this killer interview I had with the Montclarion, the school newspaper of Montclair State University.



I have 26 interviews including 1 cover story,  5 album reviews,  2 top 10 lists (2013, and 2014) and 2 concert reviews published in the Aquarian Weekly. I have 9 interviews published on Blabbermouth. I have 1 interview published on BraveWords. I am thanked in the liner notes of 7 albums and 1 movie (Condition Critical’s Operational Hazard released in 2013, Paralysis’s No Turning Back Ep released in 2014, Witchaven’s Blood Sacrifice in 2014, Nuclear Hatred’s Self Titled album, SOG The Gift of Aggression, as well as SOG’s God Complex albums, Rigor Mortis Slaves to the Grave, as well as the documentary movie Welcome to Your Funeral (Rigor Mortis).


Rat Skates started his musical career as the first drummer of Overkill, a band he was with until 1987. Shortly after leaving Overkill, Rat released Some Stuff I Recorded, which was a hit in Japan. Since then he’s appeared and contributed to a number of music documentaries, such as Born In The Basement and Get Thrashed.
Rat and I discussed various topics, including his new film and how the North American concert market has changed dramatically with the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation.

http://www.theaquarian.com/2012/11/28/interview-with-warbeasts-bruce-corbitt-thrash-renaissance-man/Rigor Mortis/Warbeast Singer Bruce Corbitt speaking about the new albums coming from Warbeast and Rigor Mortis as well as the split with Phil Anselmo called War of the Gargantuas

Klara Force is a guitarist for Swedish sleaze metal band Crucified Barbara, who are currently on an American tour with fellow Swedish luminaries Crashdïet. Last July, Crucified Barbara released The Midnight Chase, their third full-length, and it came with a North American exclusive track called “Acid Rain.” I recently spoke with Force to discuss The Midnight Chase, their tour, and more. The transcription is below:

http://www.theaquarian.com/2013/06/20/sacred-mother-tongue-out-of-the-darkness Sacred Mother Tongue  Out Of The Darkness album review


Holy Grail are a traditional metal band from Hollywood California with influences like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, HellOween, and more.  Earlier this year they have released their sophomore album Ride the Void and are preparing for their first headlining tour with Anti-Mortem from Oklahoma. I had an interview with the singer James Paul Luna and guitarist Eli Santana. They discuss topics such as performing at festivals, and what you need to prepare for when it comes  to using new equipment.  They spoke warmly of pastimes playing cassettes and are getting ready to release their new album on cassette.

Special b side tracks such as Lucifera, Go Down Swinging, and Can’t Hide the Wolf were given an in depth description. TGPF and For All Eternity, which are recordings from Holy Grail’s first demo were mentioned. Luna discussed various other bands in which he has contributed vocals to such as Children of Bodom, Parkway Drive, 69 Eyes, and perhaps Monster Magnet in the future? A Deep introspective dialogue was held when the topic of explaining the difference between paying your dues, and being taken advantage of was gone over.  

Speedwolf Riding with Death

Speedwolf is a thrash/speed metal band from Denver Colorado on Hells Headbangers Records in the US and Spiritual Beast Records in Japan. This is an interview with the singer Reed Breummer and Drummer Richie Tice. They have appeared at influential concerts such as the Maryland Death Fest, Thrasho De Mayo and toured the West Coast alongside LA Black Thrashers Witchaven, as well as hitting up concerts in Philadelphia, and New York City . Last year they were able to get their debut album Riding with Death pressed on the Tokyo, Japan label Spiritual Beast Records which has two exclusive live tracks on it (Up all Night, and Denver 666.)
Speedwolf not only spoke about their band, but also important issues facing young musicians such as what is  a radius clause and what happens if you break the terms of the contact. Advice was given on how to communicate with international entities for getting albums pressed overseas, as well as booking international concerts. In depth information was provided for topics such as running your own independent label. Recommendations were given on what type of steps a band should take before releasing their debut album on an independent label. Intelligent tips were given for bands after  releasing one’s debut album  and what you should do and how you should conduct yourself afterwards. Also information such as what the actual meaning of getting a release on an underground label was compared and contrasted with what the typical young musician thinks it means, vs what the actual meaning is.

Diamond Plate’s first release was the Thrash Clash Vol. 2 split with Oppression, which had Konrad Kupiec on guitar and Jim Nicademus on drums. One of their most popular songs, “At The Mountains Of Madness” was on that split and later included on Generation Why? a few years later. The band is currently signed to Earache Records/Century Media.

The group recently released their sophomore album, Pulse. It’s essentially a new band with their new lead singer, Matt Ares. There was a darker and more serious vibe to the writing of this album with longtime fans noticing a more mature sound. The art of picking out the tracklisting and how to pick the order of the songs was compared to putting random puzzle pieces together to form a work of art.
The band now works differently than in years past, introducing jamming into their live sets as an important component of their songwriting and performances. In the interview below, Kupiec, Nicademus and Ares, as well as radio host Neil Wonnell, discuss the group’s songs, advice for young musicians, and more.

Dir En Grey Becoming Unraveled

Dir En Grey are a heavy metal band from Osaka, Japan, that has been around since 1997. They formed after La:Sadie’s broke up and reformed with four of the old La:Sadie’s members and added a bassist named Toshiya. Dir En Grey typically use events going on in their everyday life to record new music, and are one of Japan’s most successful metal acts.

In 2014, Dir En Grey are looking to release a new album and may possibly revisit the American shores for yet another visit.


Ramming Speed are a five-piece thrash metal band from Boston, MA that released their new album a few months ago. In the past, they’ve worked with labels such as Tank Crimes and Brutal Panda Records, but on their latest effort, Doomed To Destroy, Destined To Die, they released it through Prosthetic Records.

I got a chance to speak with Ramming Speed drummer Jonah Livingston and singer Pete Gallagher before their CMJ Metal Insider performance at Club Europa in Brooklyn. In the interview below, they talk about the new CD, touring, and more.


Emilie Autumn is a gothic industrial violinist and singer-songwriter. Her most recent album, Fight Like A Girl, has shaped up to be the biggest and most important release of her career, appearing on her new label, The Asylum Emporium.

She recently chatted with The Aquarian to talk about Fight Like A Girl, her appearance in the 2012 film The Devil’s Carnival, touring, and more.


Katherine Thomas, also known as The Great Kat, is a violin and guitar prodigy who was born in London, England, and was enrolled in the prestigious Juilliard School of performing arts. She ended up becoming concertmaster at Juilliard and taught classes as an adjunct professor. Her debut as a professional musician was at Carnegie Concert Hall.

As she describes in the interview below, The Great Kat transitioned from a classical musician to a speed metal wizard after watching a music video by Judas Priest. She also explains the inspiration and writing techniques used to record some of her classics, the 1996 album Digital Beethoven On Cyberspeed, and more.


Warbringer IV Empires Collapse Album Review


Winds of Plague Resistance album review

 http://www.theaquarian.com/2013/12/25/the-top-10-albums-of-2013-according-to-the-aquarian-weekly-writers/ Top 10 List for 2013. I was one of 13 writers chosen to make a top 10 list.

http://www.theaquarian.com/2014/01/01/an-interview-with-sin-quirin-from-ministry-bottoms-up-for-the-beers-to-eternity/ Sin Quirin is an industrial metal guitarist for Ministry as well as Revolting Cocks and The Great AmeriCon. A few months ago, Ministry released From Beers To Eternity, dubbed the swansong of Ministry due to the passing of Ministry and Rigor Mortis guitarist Mike Scaccia.

The Aquarian recently spoke with Quirin about From Beers To Eternity, touring, William S. Burroughs and more.


Gama Bomb The Terror Tapes Album Review


Paradox Tales of the Weird Album Review


The Masters Of Illusion performed on Feb. 6 2014 at Harrah’s Casino in Atlantic City, and featured routines with Rick Thomas and Michael Finney. The Masters Of Illusion live event magic show will be taking place every Thursday in February at Harrah’s Casino.

Feb. 20, 2014 features Peter Gossamer and Ed Alonzo. Gossamer has exhibited his talents in magic on stages in New York, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Singapore and Guam. Alonzo, meanwhile, was one of the featured magicians working on Michael Jackson’s This Is It concert series as well as The Circus tour starring Britney Spears in 2009.

Feb. 27, 2014 hosts Michael Turco and Jonathan Pendragon. Turco has headlined at Planet Hollywood with Magic & Mayhem and has collaborated with Dancing With The Stars‘ Lacey Schwimmer to assist with choreography. Pendragon has entertained for Presidential Galas in Washington D.C., the Queen of England, the Prince of Wales and the Royal Family of Monaco.

Rick Thomas (Feb. 6) was named “Magician of the Year” by the Academy of Magical Arts and “Stage Magician of the Year” by the World Magic Awards. He has also appeared on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson and last year was brought in by Robert Weiss, the artistic director of the Carolina’s Nutcracker Ballet, to be the creative director for the ballet’s magical effects.

Finney had early accomplishments in his career by appearing in 1986 on Star Search on NBC with Ed McMahon as a comedy finalist, and in 2004, performed at the White House Inauguration Gala for President Bush. He is also a Silver Lion Head recipient from Siegfried and Roy.

I discussed with Thomas and Finney what types of illusions audience members can expect to see at the February shows.


Exmortus are a Whittier, California-based death/thrash metal band that was formed in 2002. The group released the albums In Hatred’s Flame (2008) and Beyond The Fall Of Time (2011) through Heavy Artillery Records before signing to their present label, Prosthetic Records. They just released their third full-length album, Slave To The Sword, in February, and are fresh off a tour with the Gothenburg, Sweden, death metal group, Dark Tranquillity.

In the interview below, drummer Mario Moreno discusses the band’s new album, some of the equipment used, advice for young musicians and more.


Tim Barr is the lead singer/guitarist of the Williamsburg, NY-based indie rock band Silverbird. He has been in a number of groups including Recluse and Father And Son, in which he learned about the DIY nature of being a musician. Barr has also learned from seminal jazz musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie and Mike Longo.


Surface Life, the first EP from Silverbird, was released May 27 2014. I recently talked with Barr about the band’s history, collaborations with other musicians, touring and more.


Chiodos are a six-piece post-hardcore band hailing from Davison, Michigan. They formed in 2001, and released their first three albums—All’s Well That Ends Well, Bone Palace Ballet and Illuminaudiothrough Equal Vision Records. Just this April, they released their fourth album, Devil, through Razor & Tie. The original lineup of the band is reunited minus Jason Hale, founding lead guitarist, who was replaced by Thomas Erak in 2012. Erak not only fills in for the departed lead guitarist position, but adds backing vocals to the sound of Chiodos as well. The band recently performed at the South By Southwest Festival, and even performed in March at the Punk Spring concert in Tokyo, Japan.


Gypsyhawk are a four-piece rock band that formed in Los Angeles, California, in 2008, and presently have two albums to their name. Their first release, Patience And Perseverance, was released in 2010 on the Creator-Destructor label, and their last record, Revelry And Resilience, came out in 2012 on Metal Blade Records.

The band has a new album coming out through Metal Blade in the near future called Fortune and Favor. I recently spoke with bassist/vocalist Eric Harris about Revelry And Resilience, his influences, touring and more.


Hatchet are a four-piece thrash metal band from San Francisco, California, that formed in 2006. They have released two albums to date with Awaiting Evil in 2008 and Dawn Of The End in 2013, and after the tour for Awaiting Evil, singer/guitarist Julz Ramos had to completely rebuild his band from the ground up.

The Aquarian Weekly recently caught up with Ramos to discuss Dawn Of The End, touring, and what it really means to be signed to a label.


Tankard are a member of the famous 1980s “Big Teutonic Four” thrash metal bands from Germany. The band formed as Tankard in 1983 and released their first album, Zombie Attack, in 1986. Their core lineup of Andreas “Gerre” Geremia on vocals and Frank Thorwarth on bass has always been part of the band. Olaf Zissel has been their drummer since 1994’s The Tankard, and Andy Gutjahr has been their guitarist since 1998, first appearing on Kings Of Beer. Theiralbum, R.I.B., was released in June 2014 through Nuclear Blast.

Right after Tankard’s Maryland Deathfest appearance and their second American concert, I had an opportunity to sit down, drink and talk with Gerre and Gutjahr about the new album, the Maryland Deathfest and more.


Rattlehead are a thrash metal band from Hollywood, California. Their most recent album is The Blackout Brigade, which was released last November. Rattlehead’s lineup currently consists of vocalist/guitarist Nick Baranov, guitarist Francis Ausley, bassist CJ “Shadow” Valtierra and drummer Hector “The Butcher” Llentillin.

The Aquarian got to speak with Rattlehead lead guitarist Francis Ausley about The Blackout Brigade, touring and more.


Shadowplay are a five-piece indie/hard rock band hailing from Mount Laurel, New Jersey. Two years ago, they released their debut album, Vision. They have toured nationwide a number of times and have opened up for major concerts in the thousands for musicians like Hoobastank, Lit and Alien Ant Farm in Michigan, as well as Doug Wimbish of Living Colour.

The band’s singer, Andrew Corkery, just got back from a semester of study abroad at Capa International in London, England. During his travels in Europe, he visited locations such as Ireland, Amsterdam, Krakow, Budapest, Prague, Istanbul and Morocco. He was doing an internship at a brand content video production company doing work for Paul Cannon, Paul Smith and more.

The Aquarianrecently spoke with Corkery about the band’s history, their New Jersey roots, and more.

Overkill Another Day To Die


Overkill are a five-piece thrash metal band that have been around since 1980, and are one of the most important heavy metal bands in the Tri-State Area. They formed when two groups of musicians contacted each other through the classified section from a copy of The Aquarian Weekly. Their current lineup has been stable since 2005, and the first album this lineup put out together was 2007’s Immortalis. This past July, they put out their 17th album, White Devil Armory.

Overkill singer Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth has quit smoking in the past two years, and in a recent interview with The Aquarian, spoke about how that has affected his live and studio performances. We also looked at the two music videos, “Bitter Pill” and “Armorist,” shot in promotion of White Devil Armory. In addition, Blitz spoke about recording demos for the album with a Tascam 8-track recorder as well as contributing a song and perfo
rming at the Rock Against Dystrophy event in support of muscular dystrophy research.


X Japan formed in 1982 and released their first full-length album in 1988 with Vanishing Visions. They put out five full-length albums over the course of their career which included 1989’s Blue Blood, 1991’s Jealousy, 1993’s Art Of Life, and their last full-length release in 1996, Dahlia. In 1997, the band played their final show together called the Last Live at Tokyo Dome to a sold-out crowd of 55,000 people. The following year in 1998, X Japan’s lead guitarist, Hide, who appeared on all five studio albums, passed away. As of 2008, Hide’s parts have been performed by Sugizo. Taiji Sawada was on X Japan’s first three albums as bassist and quit the band in 1992, and was replaced by Heath. Taiji passed away in 2011. In 2007, X Japan resurfaced for their first public appearance since 1997’s Last Live concert in Tokyo, and in 2008, they played three consecutive dates at the Tokyo Dome from March 28 to 30.

            X Japan’s current lineup is Yoshiki on drums and piano, Toshi on vocals, Pata and Sugizo on guitars, and Heath on bass. I got a chance to speak with Yoshiki about their tour stop at MSG on Oct. 11 2014, his drumming, movies and more


At The Gates are a death metal band from Gothenburg, Sweden, that formed in 1990. They have five albums to date, including this year’s At War With Reality. At War With Reality is available on Century Media Records, and has a deluxe CD issue including two bonus tracks, which are “Language Of The Dead” and “The Skin Of A Fire.”

I was recently able to speak with At The Gates singer Tomas Lindberg about At War With Reality, the recording differences from 1995’s Slaughter Of The Soul to the new album, the concept of magic realism and more.


Steve “Zetro” Souza is the lead singer of Exodus and Hatriot from California. 2014 had two major releases for Zetro, including Exodus’ 10th studio album, Blood In, Blood Out, as well as Hatriot releasing their sophomore album, Dawn Of The New Centurion.

. In a recent interview, Zetro and I spoke about his bands’ new albums, how the setlist will go for this tour, and more.

http://www.theaquarian.com/2015/01/07/the-top-10-albums-of-2014-according-to-the-aquarian-weekly-writers/ Top 10 list for 2014. I was one of 12 writers chosen to make a top 10 list


Live concert review of X Japan’s MSG show.


Live Concert Review of Slayer/Suicidal Tendencies/Exodus show at the Welmont Theater.


Aaron Akin is the singer/guitarist of Black Fast, a four-piece thrash metal band from St. Louis, Missouri, that has been around since 2010. When Aaron was 19, the members met in a college town in Illinois near St. Louis and have been friends as well as proficient musicians before founding the band.

The Aquarian Weekly recently caught up with Akin to discuss the band’s new album, Terms Of Surrender, various songs from the recording sessions, the filming of their music video for “I Conspire” and more.

Aquarian Weekly As Paradise Falls Starblind with the Digital Ritual Shawn Coar is the lead singer of the Brisbane, Australia-based heavy metal band, As Paradise Falls. Formed in 2014 — singer Ravi Sherwell left the band early 2015 — with Coar then assuming vocal duties. Sherwell had originally recorded their new album, Digital Ritual — released on New Jersey label Eclipse Records — so Coar wrote and re-recorded the vocals.

Coar spoke to The Aquarian Weekly about the history of the band, how several songs from the new album were recorded, as well as a new song that the band is working on for their next album.