Militia is a powerful progressive metal band from Austin, Texas, that’s been around creating and performing since the mid-1980’s! Read on to learn about the trailblazing metal movement in the Austin in the mid-80’s and why after almost 25 years Militia will be releasing a new album during 2011. Rock on!:
Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?
Power/Thrash/Melodic/Progressive Metal with creative and catchy riffs with melodic vocals.
Q: What is your musical background?
We all started playing over 25 years ago. For some of us, Militia was our first band. We were part of the metal uprising in the mid 1980s, as well as the emerging Texas metal scene.
Q: How was 2010 for you?
It was a challenging year for us, as we kinda came face to face with the difficulties of creating a brand new full-length album. The project is of the do-it-yourself variety, and there were many logistical issues, mostly the fact some of us live a great distance apart from one another. But we finally resolved some of the most difficult issues and are now making some good progress.
Q: Who inspires you musically?
Actually, we try really hard not to be influenced! But I suppose inspiration and influence are not quite the same. I know our guitarists Jesse Villegas and Tony Smith were inspired by Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen, and as a bass player, I decided that I wanted to play bass in a metal band after seeing Cliff Burton of Metallica in 1983. Our drummer Phil Achee is a big fan of Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden) and Neil Peart (Rush), and our vocalist Mike Soliz has been inspired by Rob Halford of Judas Priest.
Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?
We’re cool with gigging with any band that has a similiar audience and energy. Metal has many sub-genres, and many fans of metal are in to multiple sub-genres. A band doesn’t have to be in our sub-genre to be a good fit to gig with us.
Q: What songs are on your ipod at the moment?
Shoot, we’re all over the place when it comes to what we listen to! I listen to a bunch of totally obscure, jazz-influenced technical metal bands (Spiral Architect, Exivious, Scale The Summit, Watch Tower, etc.). Mike listens to everything except pop. The others don’t do the Ipod thing, and don’t listen to too much music to avoid being influenced too much.
Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?
The process begins with our guitarists, who write all the music, usually collaborating their own riffs/rhythms to compile a complete song. Then we rehearse the song as a band and start to work out the bass and drum parts. All of us contribute ideas on the structure and arrangement of the songs. Once the rhythms are put toether, Mike handles lyrics and vocal melodies.
Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?
In Metal, the lyrics are secondary. It’s the music that grabs you. Even though we’re a metal band, we still want our lyrics to be measure up to the music.
Q: Where are you based?
We are based in Austin, Texas.
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
It was amazing in the mid 80’s, when there was a significant metal scene in Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas/Ft. Worth. It was common to see a crowd of 500 or more at metal shows. The shows were took place in theaters that were much like playing in a small arena, as opposed to a club or bar. These days, there is no metal scene in Austin. But there are several clubs that have metal shows.
Q: What are you currently working on?
We have a couple of projects going. The first is a vinyl re-issue of an EP we released back in 1986. The original EP was a 12″ vinyl release called “The Sybling”, and we could only afford to produce 100 copies. As a result, the EP became one of the most highly sought-after metal albums. In the 1990s, a 7″ bootleg version of the EP began circulating in Europe. In 2003, an original version sold on Ebay for over $1100. Then, in 2008, our drummer Phil Achee sold his own personal copy of the EP for $3000! This was the catalyst for the band re-awakening after disbanding over 20 years ago. The re-issue is called “The Second Coming” and will feature the entire “The Sybling” EP, along with two demo releases from 1985-86.
The second project is the most important, our all new full-length album, entitled “A Call To Arms”. We hope to complete it in time for a summer 2011 release. This will be Militia’s first release of new material in 25 years.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
In April 2009, we played our first-ever show in Europe at Germany’s Keep It True Festival. The show was attended by 2000 people from all over the world. We met many people who had been fans of the band for many years. Many of them never thought they would ever have the opportunity to see Militia live!
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?
We would love to get the new album out and get another opportunity to play in Europe. We have a much greater following there than we do in the USA. But it would be nice to make some inroads in our home country as well. All of this will depend on how the new album is received.
Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?
We’re actually not taking any shows at this time, as we’re focused on completing the new album. After that, we’ll be back playing shows again.
Editor’s Note: Without trying to sound like a cliche, Militia are one of the godfathers of progressive metal. By releasing and promoting their new album in 2011, I’m sure that they’ll develop a whole new group of loyal followers throughout this year and into the next.
If you’d like to contact or learn more about Militia, follow these links :
facebook link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Militia/207886886157
myspace link: http://www.myspace.com/militiatexas
web page link (merchandise): http://bctrophies.com/militia.htm