Welcome to Lords of Metal, can you shortly introduce yourself? Hello, my name is Zain Smith I play guitar in the hard rock band Anti-Mortem.
Where does the name of the band come from and what does it exactly mean?
The name came from us being so young and not really knowing the term antemortem (the Latin term). We thought it sounded cool and we spelled it anti-mortem. That being said we had some people on the way that wanted us to change our name because it sounds like a brutal death metal band, but we are far from that. To me we made our own meaning of anti-mortem and it means never let our music die no matter if it's ten years from now and we are unsigned, we made promises to always let Anti-Mortem live on. Anti-mortem means against death or never going to die in my book that is.
Anti-Mortem just released their first album with the title ‘New Southern’, how would you describe your new southern metal style?
This record gives metalheads and hard rockers everything they have been wanting, from heavy tracks such as ‘I Get Along With The Devil’ and ‘Ride Of Your Life’, also we hit the rock radio with 100% pure American rage which has more balls than anything else on the radio and it has a strong message. Then there's tracks like ‘New Southern’ and ‘Truckstop Special’ which have the old blues rock roots with a little hint of what Pantera brought to the table.
You guys are all pretty young, when and where did it all started?
Yes, we are all under 24 and our drummer is the oldest, but it started for me when I met Nevada and Rado. Nevada and I went to the same high school. Rado was in middle school at the time, I think seventh-grade, but I owned guitars and played and so did Nevada. I brought my acoustic guitar to school one day and I met Nevada. We formed a garage band shortly after meeting within two months we formed Anti-Mortem because it was the harder heavier cooler band to be in. I originally played bass with Rado on vocals, Nevada on guitar and our old drummer Mitchell played the skins. This was the first form of Anti-Mortem and we have stuck with it since with very few changes. I moved to guitar so we had to found a bass player, that's where Corey Henderson came in. Then it was time we had to find a new drummer and that's where Levi Dickerson comes in. We have been rocking steady since we put him in as our new drummer.
The influences of especially Pantera are very good to hear throughout the album, which bands are also influences?
For me it's always been about metal. Metallica, Pantera, Lamb of God and Mudvayne are some of my first loves for metal. For the other guys it's everywhere in. Nevada jams Led Zeppelin and Joe Walsh, anything old-school from the 70s he's all about it. Rado is a mix between me and Nevada he grew up liking it all as a whole we listen to anything that sounds good and is considered true music to us.
Can you tell us about your own influences and who are your heroes of all time? On guitar Dimebag Darrell and Randy Rhoads ,both were so unique and great people. I did my term paper over Randy and I found out he was going to quit Ozzy to go learn classical guitar, and to me I love that. He didn't want fame, he wanted to be the best at his instrument. If that's not a true musician I don't know what is. Dimebag was so nice to fans and the people in general. He was funny as well as one of the best shredders out there. He grew up not too far from home. Texas is our neighbor state and I was unfortunately too young to see him live but everyone I've ever talk to says he was the best. Everything I've ever seen or heard about Dime has changed my life. On the drums Chris Adler from Lamb of God. I learned how to play by air drumming his songs all day until I could do it on the kit. I started playing drums to become a more rounded musician and with the help of Chris. I feel a lot of work is paid off. He is a huge inspiration.
You and Nevada both play the leads, but your styles are pretty different and recognizable. Is that planned or is that by accident?
Well it's not planned or an accident, it's who we are! I live on metal and speed and Nevada likes to play with style and soul. We heard from several people on the Monster Magnet tour that he was uncle Ted and I'm baby Dimebag which explains it pretty well. I think it works perfect for what we do it compliments each other well!
Who is responsible for writing the songs, one or more or do you all write it together?
Me, Nevada and Rado write the majority of the songs but everyone is encouraged to write parts in our band. Even with Levi being our new drummer and he was too new to have any writing credits on ‘New Southern’, but he's already started writing riffs for our second record. We've always wanted everyone in our band to be a writer as well as musician playing the parts. The Eagles can all play several instruments write songs and sing really well, not many bands out there can have their own solo albums and do good as well with your main project, but we all envied The Eagles for that. It's safe to say that we all write together.
Nevada and Larado (vocals) are brothers, is that sometimes difficult or are you all just good friends with each other?
We all are brothers, but on decision-making it can be tough. The brothers stick with each other most of the time and it's up to me to get the other members of the band on my side or I lose the battle. That's why we like to run things by unanimous vote but in the end we all make it work because we love each other and our band very much.
In the video I see you play on a Dean ML guitar, just as Dimebag, but can you tell me what kind of gear you are using?
Yes, and for the record: I don't play the ML to copy Dime. NO ONE WILL EVER BE DIME. It just happens to be that the Dean ML is my favorite guitar ever. I've owned Les Paul’s, Fenders and Ibanez and none felt right until I got my first Dean ML. I run Mesa Dual Rectifier amps and cabs, totally swear by them from the sound to the durability of them. Boss pedals, I have a Noise Suppressor, EQ, Flanger, Tuner, Dimebag Wah and of course the Zakk Wylde overdrive pedal.
What do you hope to have achieved five years from now?
Five years ago I would've said Download Festival and we are playing it finally this summer. Five years from now I want to be successful enough to continue touring and playing for my fans. Money and fame was never the goal. I want kids to buy a guitar and learn to play because they saw me on stage or in a guitar magazine. I guess I want to be making more songs and living my dream five years from now.
When you guys are going on the road and where and when can we see you live here in The Netherlands?
We are going to be touring pretty heavy for a while and I hope The Netherlands happens very soon!
With which current band you really would love to go on tour with?
I would love to tour with Black Label Society, HellYeah, Blackstone Cherry, Metallica and I could go on for days. There is a lot of bands out there that have fans that would dig the sound of Anti-Mortem so I'm hoping to share the stage with these acts very soon!
Thanks a lot for your time. I hope I gave you the opportunity to tell about yourself and Anti-Mortem what you had in mind. I’ll say goodbye for now, hopefully until the next time. Is there anything you would like to say to close the interview down?
Please go support music, even if it's not my band. We are in hard times in the world and musicians and bands everywhere need your support. That being said, pick up your copy of ‘New Southern’ and show your face at an Anti-Mortem show. Anyone that has seen us live before will tell you that our record doesn't give our live performance justice at all.