Interview "Metal Mark" James Online Metal Radio DJ by Patrick March 2021

 

Hello Mark please introduce yourself to the readers?
Hi Patrick, I am "Metal Mark" James host of the online metal radio shows "Metal Mark's Audio Aggression" and "Metal Mark's Vault that has been on air since June 1992. I started out at a college radio station as a non-student volunteer DJ at WNYO in SUNY Oswego and was there till 2001. After I left there, I took a break and then in late 2001, decided to start doing my show on the internet and started out on my own. I have also been a DJ at Open Grave Radio / Records (RIP) and I was also a DJ at a Christian metal station called Blabberjesus Radio (RIP Dale Huffman) then after OGR / BR folded I joined Brutal Existence Radio in 2008 (RIP Fowler who was GM/Owner) and was there till 2015 and after BER folded, I decided to go back on my own and do the shows DIY style.
When did you first start listening to metal music and who were the first bands and artists you listened to? Who are some of the current bands that you are enjoying?
 
I started getting into hard rock/metal around the late 70's and grew up on bands like Kiss, Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, Van Halen (RIP EVH), Black Sabbath and then in the early 80's bands like Saxon (all time NWOBHM favorite), Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Dio (RIP Ronnie) then in mid to late 80's I started getting into heavier bands like Slayer, Metallica, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Anthrax, Piledriver and more. Then in the early 90's, I started getting into death metal from that era, bands like Cannibal Corpse, Entombed (RIP LG Petrov), Massacre, Benediction, Asphyx, Massacra, Protector, Pestilence, Dismember, No Return, Malevolent Creation, Suffocation and tons more. Currently these days I have been listening to Deranged (Canada), the new Benediction album, a lot of the newer and classic OSDM (Old School Death Metal) bands like Kurnugia, Wombripper, Disrupted, Darkthrone (debut album only), new Asphyx, and loads more. Thrash metal wise Heathen, Razor, Sacrifice (Canada), Witches Hammer (Canada), Evildead, Blood Feast, and more. Doom metal wise, Elliott's Keep, Capilla Ardiente, Doomocracy, Dantesco (RIP Eric) and more. Heavy/Traditional /Power Metal stuff too like Attacker (US-NJ), Hexx, Metal Church and more. I would be here forever typing all the bands I listen to, hahaha! 

I believe you started your journey into the underground metal music scene back in the early 90's. What is it that has kept you going after all these years?
My start in underground metal actually goes back to the mid 80's with the now classic bands, Metallica/Slayer/Exodus/Anthrax as well as many other 80's independent label underground bands and then in early 90's I jumped into death metal as well. What keeps me going after almost 30 years (as of June 2022) is the passion I have for this music. It was a dream of mine to have a metal radio show and remaining loyal to the music and being true to the music. Overall I am a old school metal diehard and I do not cater to nu-metal/modern metal at all and I have no interest in those subgenres. I wave the flag of old school true metal with no regrets and no shame.
Back in the 90's I know fanzines were huge did you read a lot of fanzines back in the day? What do you feel made a good fanzine? What were some of your favorite fanzines to read back then?
Well fanzine wise, Metalcore Fanzine run by Chris Forbes and still going strong! I was a subscriber to the Wild Rags zine that Richard C had out, he ran a distro and his zine at a shop out in California. A friend of mine told me about the zine and later on I featured some of his distros' bands on Audio Aggression as well. His zine was informative, the layouts were cool, and his distro prices were affordable as well. I did a zine with a friend of mine in Oswego NY called "Into The Void", old school cut and paste style! hahaha! But as time went on, it only lasted for 3 issues due to high costs of putting it together. I learned a lot from that. Overall, if you have a nice layout and everything looks good, that's what makes a zine stand out I think. For magazines, I used to read RIP Magazine
and then Metal Maniacs which i was a subscriber to both. I have TONS of Maniacs and Wild Rags zines sitting in my closet! LOL!
Besides fanzines I know tape-trading was huge as well did you ever do much tape trading? What were some of the early demo's and releases that you traded for?
Well to be honest, I wasn't aware of tape trading at first, but I heard about it later reading in Wild Rags and Metal Maniacs. I didn't trade tapes at all and later I learned when you wrote to bands overseas, you sent a IRC (international reply coupon) and you waited for a response from the band. However, I have a good friend of mine (West Side Dave) who used to send me mixtape compilation cassettes of bands he turned me on to and was part of learning more about the underground bands on those tapes he sent me. I would call him weekly and tell him I would mail him blank cassettes and then he dubbed them for me and sent them back and I have still have all those tapes he did for me and I appreciate what he did for me.

When did you first become interested in being a DJ of a radio show? How did you choose Audio Aggression and Metal Mark's Vault as the name's for your shows? 
Well I always wanted to be a radio DJ since the mid 80's and then around that same time, 2 friends of mine told me about 2 radio stations that had metal radio shows. The first one was a show called "The Rock Shop" on WSFW in Seneca Falls, NY (RIP Bob Appell) and the other was an underground metal show called Metal Mayhem on WBER in Rochester NY. Then around 1987, there was a show that also influenced me to be a DJ and that show was Metallic Overdrive also on WBER in Rochester NY and that show pretty much introduced me to the underground / independent metal label artists as well as import releases. I was an avid listener of all those shows on Saturday nights from the mid 80's to Metallic Overdrive's final show in 1994.  My show was originally called Audio Aggression until a few years ago, there was another show with that same name, so I changed it to "Metal Mark's Audio Aggression" to avoid any legal issues. But the name of the show fits pretty much with how metal should be, powerful, heavy, brutal, aggressive, you get the idea. That's how I came up with that name. As far as "Metal Mark's Vault, well seeing that I have a large collection of older releases as well as reissues I either purchase or promos I receive from labels for airplay that send digital reissues, I felt that it was important to have a show to look at the past of the metal underground so I decided to start that show as well.           
You have been a DJ for many years now what is it about doing a radio show that you enjoy so much? Would you have any advice to anyone reading this who might be thinking of starting their own show? 
It will be exactly 30 years on June 5, 2022 that I started the show and I enjoy it so much because I am an old school metal die hard with a great deal of passion and I love interacting with fellow metalheads around the world during my shows and even when I am not on air. So overall simply, a passion and a love for metal music. My advice to those who want to start doing their own show is to make sure you are passionate and willing to work hard and if there's a college radio station or independent FM station in your city that allows community volunteer DJ's, take advantage of it and learn the process step by step. It's a great experience, or if you prefer doing an internet only show, surf online and check all the online metal radio stations that are out there and see what works best for you.
Are you happy with how things have progressed over the years with both shows?
Oh I am very happy since I went DIY, I'm my own boss and it feels great, haha! Everyone loves the shows I do and I understand not everyone can listen live at the same time because of the time zones hence why I make the shows available for streaming to listen to at mixcloud.com/Metalmark52.    
What styles of metal do you support and play on your shows? If there are any bands, labels or PR Companies interested in submitting music how can they get in contact with you?
The subgenres of metal I feature are: heavy/power/progressive/thrash/death/doom/speed metal.
Any subgenres I did not mention I don't play and also do not play modern / nu-metal either. Remember I am a old school metalhead, haha! Bands/labels/PR companies can submit their material to metalmark41@gmail.com or they can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MJP50
If anyone is interested in listening to your shows what days and times are they on? Where can they readers tune in to your shows?
Metal Mark's Vault is on Friday nights and Metal Mark's Audio Aggression is on Saturday nights, both shows are live and on at 10pm till 1am (EDT-USA) and you can listen live at http://metalmark.myl2mr.com  If you miss the live shows, they can be listened to as streaming only podcasts and you can follow at http://mixcloud.com/Metalmark52 where you'll find my massive podcast archive of over 500 shows going back as far as 2015 from the Brutal Existence Radio days!
When you need to take a break from working on your radio shows what do you enjoy doing in your free time? 
I prep the shows in advance during the week and check email submissions from bands/labels/PR companies so during the week I am busy doing all that. When I am not doing the radio stuff, well since CO-VID started I've been watching a lot of TV, movies/ documentaries and my family got me a nice Fire TV 2 years ago on Xmas so pretty much I like to stay entertained from that. I see my Mom once in awhile and we'll go shopping and stuff like that. I also like to meditate and it helps with my stress and anxiety as well. Since CO-VID, I only go out for 3 reasons, shopping/doctors/and seeing my Mom. That's it. Hopefully things will open back up and get back to normal soon.
What does Underground Metal mean to you? And how do you feel it has changed over the years do you feel it has gotten better or worse or just changing with the times?
Underground metal to me means a lot. Going to shows (before CO-VID) and I have made many new friendships in the underground, discovering new bands on an almost daily basis, the fun of shopping online and buying the artists' releases and surfing online looking for new bands in the underground. The internet pretty much makes it easier now as opposed to the pre-internet days when you had to write to a band and wait for a response. Overall, it is better since the pre-internet days I think because now you have easier access than before.
I know before the Covid pandemic you used to promote shows and tours on your facebook page what were some of the most memorable concerts you had the pleasure of witnessing over the years? 
The past several years before CO-VID I got to see bands such as Morta Skuld, Morpheus Descends, Solstice (US-FL), Hobbs' Angel Of Death (RIP Peter), the reunion of Baphomet (US-NY), Derketa, Embalmer, Deceased, October 31, Funerus, Prime Evil, Absconder, Cardiac Arrest, Warcurse, Scorched, Faithxtractror, Funeral Nation, Atomic Aggressor, Grave Descent, Hellcannon, Rottrevore, Oz, Wehrmacht, Master, Cain (US-NY), and tons more.
Who are some of your favorite bands that you have had the pleasure of seeing live? Are there any bands that you hope to see play live when bands are able to do so again?
My top favorites I got to see live were Judas Priest / Iron Maiden (Vengeance / Beast tour), Rush (twice, Moving Pictures and Hold Your Fire tour), Judas Priest / Great White (Defenders tour and GW's debut album tour which btw the debut kicks ass!!) One band on my bucket list that I hope to see before they retire-SAXON! \m/
Mark I believe you live in the great state of New York what is your opinion of the metal scene in New York over the years?
Yes, I live in the Central Upstate NY region in a small city called Fulton, which is approx 1/2 hour NW of Syracuse. There are a lot of great metal bands from Syracuse/ Rochester/Buffalo/Albany/NYC. Before CO-VID, shows were always happening in all these areas and the scene is great. After CO-VID, I think the scene will come back stronger than ever once the shows start back up again hopefully soon.
Who are your all-time favorite bands coming out of New York and are their any new bands you could recommend to the readers?
All time favorite bands from NY....whew a lot, LOL! Suffocation, Baphomet, The Rods, Dio (RIP-Cortland NY native), Manowar (from Auburn NY), older Anthrax, man I could go on, LOL! Too many!
Thank you Mark for taking the time to fill this interview out do you have any final comments for the readers?
First of all I want to say thank you Patrick for this interview and your support of my shows all these years and wish you continued success with your zine and Underground Metal Promotions as well. I also want to say thank you to my family and friends worldwide for your support of my shows all these years and supporting the metal underground. I will continue to wave the flag of old school metal forever! \m/

 

 


 

 

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