We recently caught up with Rowan Radio’s resident Kings of Metal, Matt Balicki and Omarey Williams to discuss metal music and the duo’s show, Metal for the Masses, Hosts of the metal show since 2007, the pair participated in our latest installment of “Five Questions With…”:
1. What made you interested in Metal music?
MB: My interest in metal began in the late 90s. I was into Top 40 music. Then there was a band called Limp Bizkit that came into popularity. Their music is a mixture of hip hop, rock and metal. So they became a bridge from liking top 40 to liking heavier music. Eventually, I started listening to Linkin Park, Disturbed, Godsmack, etc.- all of which were heavier rock bands getting play on mainstream rock stations.
I’ve always loved the aggressiveness of metal both musically and lyrically (when you can understand what they’re saying). When you’re someone like me who didn’t really enjoy my high school career, being able to listen to songs like “Break Stuff” from Limp Bizkit made life a little easier to deal with.
OW: Passion. Where most people hear anger, I hear passion. It takes passion to scream and yell like that. Generally these artists really care about what they are singing about. If you take the time to dig deeper lyrically and thematically the song as about everyday struggles, life, and love just like every other song. These songs just have a person screaming, loud guitars and thundering drums. I like that the music is aggressive but it is also very melodic as well.
2. You get a lot of mail from prisoners, what are some of your favorites?
MB: I love the drawings that we get from our prison listeners. It amazes me how talented some of these guys are! We also surprisingly get an overwhelming amount of mail telling us that just because of our 2 hour show once a week, we are helping their stay in jail a little easier to deal with. I never imagined that a simple radio show could make a difference like that.
OW: We get tons of awesome artwork and really thoughtful notes. I treasure all of them because in this digital age it isn’t as often that people will sit down to write anything, let alone a letter. We appreciate all of the correspondence and interaction. When people say that this is their only release and that we provide music that they are not hearing elsewhere that is a good feeling. I like exposing people to new music so it is cool that we can introduce people to new artists and share some of our favorite bands music.
3. What’s your favorite part about doing the show?
MB: My favorite part of doing the show actually takes place off-air. Omar is such a great guy to be around and I really consider it an honor that I am the only Rowan Radio member that does a show with him. I love our conversations- sometimes about metal, but much of the time we cover a whole range of topics to talk about.
OW: My favorite part is hanging with Matt. We have a lot of fun together. It is neat showing each other new music and talking about the bands. In addition to all of the show prep we get to catch up with each other. We laugh, we chat, and we even do the “Anger” spin (MFTM hardcore tradition).
4. If someone has never listened to metal, what artist could you recommend in order for them to get into the music?
MB: I think that a good way to convert people to metal is to introduce them to a few metal bands that would guaranteed make them laugh. That’s how I got my girlfriend into it. I would recommend Austrian Death Machine- all comical songs about Arnold Schwarzenegger in his different movie roles. Next, I would recommend Steel Panther. They are everything an 80s glam metal band was in 2013. Big hair, makeup, spandex, everything. 90% of their songs are funny, raunchy songs about… Err.. Consensual adult activities. Guaranteed to make you laugh! Last, I’d suggest a band named psychostick. Also very funny songs from them.
OW: Hatebreed and Underoath are good gateway bands. Hatebreed are a hardcore band who are not what you would think when you hear their name. They sing songs with lyrics like “A New Life Begins! Destroy Everything! Obliterate What Makes Us Weak, Destroy Everything! Decimate What Threatens Me,” and “Sometimes standing for what you believe, means standing alone.” Their songs are largely about rebuilding your life and being the best person you can be. Underoath are a Christian metal band that have a neat sing-scream combo for those people that do not think they can take all of the screaming. Start with They’re Only Chasing Safety.
5. What’s your favorite metal song of all-time?
MB: This is a very hard question to answer, but I guess I could say that “Another Day, Another Vendetta” by Hatebreed could be my favorite song. It’s a song about life’s struggles and problems with this world that we can all relate to. The song ends with “All you can do is stay close to what is true to you. Never let go of what you strive for. Hold tight, never let go. Never think you can’t make a change.” Go figure- such a positive message from a band called Hatebreed! Those last lines always give me that tingling feeling on my neck.
OW: My favorite metal tune is a song called “The City” from a band called The Chariot. From the moment I first heard the song I knew it would be one of my favorites. I love the urgency of this song paired with its urgent message. I love the lyric, “They can take away one man, and they can take away his mic. But they cannot take us all, no, they can’t dig a hole the right size to fit all of our dreams.” It is an urgent call for revolution, being the change you want to see in the world and not letting anything hold you back. Also the music of the song is furious and chaotic until it hits the bridge then it slows down into a soaring bridge section that is filled with feedback and a gang vocal chorus sing “Woah, oh oh, woah,” until the song fades out. It is really uplifting and as I like to say about it, ‘Makes me feel like I could climb a mountain.’ although I haven’t yet.
Check out Metal for the Masses each and every Monday night beginning at 11 p.m. on Rowan Radio 89.7 WGLS-FM or online at wgls.rowan.edu