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A Q&A with Woe Of Tyrants drummer Johnny Roberts
(This interview by Out Of The Blue was conducted in 2008 after WOT announced their signing to
Metal Blade Records, before they recorded Jan. 2009's
Kingdom of Might and after participating in
OOTB's final "Battle For The Cover," before OOTB's online transition.)
Describe your music in 4 words.
face-melting
hair-swinging
dragon-slaying
whiskey-chugging

What artists / bands serve as your primary influences?
We have a wide range of musical influences. You name it, one of us likes it.  We jam A LOT of metal on a daily basis.

When and how did you become personally interested in music?
All of us pretty much grew up on music.  We were the ones in class playing desk-drums at school everyday.

Who taught you to sing / play guitar, drums, bass, etc?
Ronnie James Dio. We jam with him all the time.

How does the writing process work?  (Who does the lyrical and instrumental writing, and what role does each band member play in the
process?  What comes first, music or lyrics?)
Burns (lead guitar) and I (Johnny-drums) write the basic structure first.  The rest of the band is always involved at this point when it
comes to songwriting, creating and re-arranging riffs, and so on.  Once the basic structure is complete, Cat (vocals) gets familiar with the
song and gets busy on vocal patterns and lyrics.  Burns, Matt (rhythm guitar) and Kohler (bass) work together separate from band
practice on riff structure.  Within a few practices the song is complete and it just takes more and more practice to get a solid song done.  

What’s the lyrical inspiration / motivation?
Our motivation is to be a positive influence on society as opposed to taking the easy route and being the next 'non-core' metal band to
focus only on the negative aspects of life.   We are trying to use our position and whatever influence we are given in this to show kids that
you don't have to cater to any stereotypes when it comes to extreme music.  If you don't want to focus on death, destruction and evil, then
don't.  There are enough people out there that are focused on that already.  Also, we like spreading the ideal that even if you like blast
beats, death metal roars and sweep picking, it's still ok to love people.

How do you separate your sound from other metal bands for uniqueness?
That is a very hard thing to do considering how long metal has been around.  Metal always has to change or else it's going to be the same
forever. So, the best way to be unique is to push the envelope and try something you've never done before.  

How did the band name originate?
The name stems from the Bible, as do most of our song titles/concepts. Woe of Tyrants in particular comes from the book of Isaiah,
chapter 10.  The name is just a reminder to us (and whoever else cares) to not be intimidated by anyone just because they are in a position
of power. Also that we have the authority to stand up for what is just and correct  no matter the odds we are facing.

How did Woe Of Tyrants form?  When did WOT form?
Woe of Tyrants was the band Abject Fear in the past, and they were formed about 5-6 years ago.  But after numerous lineup changes the
band eventually changed the name and it evolved from there!  I (Johnny) most recently joined the band in December 06.  Matt joined
more than a year and a half ago and Cat, Burns, and Kohler were all members of Abject Fear.  

Where is everyone from?
Chris Burns is from Chillicothe, Ohio.  Matt Kincaid and Johnny Roberts are from Marion, Ohio.  Adam Kohler and Chris Catanzaro are
from Waverly, Ohio.  

How often do you guys get together to practice?
Before we were practicing every weekend, 2-3 times a week.  Once Metal Blade came into the picture we had to crack down on writing
the new album, so we have been practicing around 4 times a week now.  We all practice as much as we can aside from scheduled
practice as well.

Does your music have a goal or primary aim for listeners and concert goers?
We are all about having a great time with our music, and we definitely draw a crowd that loves to have a great time with us!  Our music
and lyrics are of a positive nature and we don't try to have it any other way.

How did the signing with Metal Blade happen, and Tribunal end?
We basically sent out press kits to as many major labels as we could once our CD was released on Tribunal Records.  Tribunal was a one-
release deal, so our terms with Tribunal were at an end once Metal Blade contacted us.  

Did you have any other offers? If so, what offers, and why did you choose Metal Blade?
We had more labels turn us down then offer us something!  We are fortunate that Metal Blade stepped up because they couldn't have
offered us any better.  Not to mention they have signed some of our favorite bands ever!  

How will
Behold The Lion compare to Kingdom Of Might ?
In reality,
Behold the Lion was a CD of songs made within a 2-3 year span...and only 2 of the tracks were recorded with the lineup that
Woe of Tyrants is now.  
Kingdom of Might is all fresh material, less than a year old, and it's an album that's going to show everyone
what we can do as a band now.  

Who will design
Kingdom Of Might art and packaging?
That is up in the air now, it will be decided soon.

How do you guys spend your free time?
Video games all day, everyday.  And the occasional band practice.

If WOT could open for any band, what band(s) would it be?  Why?
IRON MAIDEN! It's self-explanatory.

Are any of you involved in any side projects, if so, what are they?
No side projects, our full focus is in this band alone.  

Each member’s favorite song to perform live?
All of them

Anything you’d like to add?
We are recording our Metal Blade debut
Kingdom of Might in May of this year. We'd like to thank Out of the Blue for the sweet
interview and continued support of the local scene, and congratulations are due to Razorbliss for winning the cover!  Good job guys.