Lunatic's Serenade

Interview with J.J. Tartaglia

Last year Canada took part for the very first time in Wacken Metal Battle. A plethora of bands took part in this competition that embarked on some serious head to head performances, only to have one band reign supreme at the end. That band was the Crimson Shadows, proving their mix of epic death metal and power metal was no fluke, leaving their competitors in the dust.

To top this off, The Crimson Shadows went on to Germany to compete in Wacken 2013 and winning it all. The band has since gone on to earn a record deal with Nuclear Blast and they have J.J. Tartaglia to thanks for helping to organize the Canadian competition. We took some time out to chat with J.J. about the success of WMBC 2013 and also talk about the competition’s return for 2014. This year’s event is expanding into western Canada, so J.J. will be hard at work to continue the success that began in 2013.

HMS: Let’s start out with some quick thoughts about WMBC 2013. Were you surprised that Crimson Shadows took it all in the end?

JJ: I was to be honest! Just because there were so many other top quality bands at Wacken, so the odds are really tough, and plus it was Canada's first year competing so I wasn't sure what the reaction would be. I try not to let hopes get ahead of myself in order to avoid disappointment, so I did my best to keep a neutral mind state until the end. But yeah, surprised and very pleased.

HMS: How did you feel about how WMBC 2013 was perceived overall?

JJ: We really couldn't have asked for a better result. Band battles are typically frowned upon because so many other competitions don't have pure intentions, and have given battles a bad rep in general. So I'm glad to see that we are rising above that, and that it's been accepted by the metal community.

HMS: WMBC is returning in 2014 and expanding to include cities in Western Canada. How did this come about?

JJ: Having the competition run across Canada has been the vision from the start. It's been tough because our country is so huge. There are a lot of challenges that come with that, but we're working through them. I attended the Noctis Conference / Festival back in September, and met some good people out there that are helping to make the Western expansion possible. So there will be 5 cities in total: Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

HMS: Again, you will be employing local music industry representatives to judge individual rounds, so who will be on the judging committee this year?

JJ: We are just starting to compile the names which will be in our 'judge pool', so it's too early to announce. But typically they will be respected music industry folk who have a passion for metal. We are aiming for some 'celebrity' judges for the Final, possibly Sam Dunn and Danko Jones.

"We want to make it bigger and better."

HMS: I know year one was a learning curve, so do you plan on doing anything different this year?

JJ: We want to make it bigger and better. There are a lot of ideas on the table that would enhance the experience for both bands and fans; backline providers, more prizes, ticket packages for fans, bigger headliner for the Final, merchandise, etc. Hopefully a few of those will come to fruition in 2014.

HMS: Crimson Shadows have a record deal now with Nuclear Blast as a result from winning WMBC 2013. How does that make you feel?

JJ: It's great to know that we were able to contribute to the success of a Canadian band and to Canadian metal. That's why we do it.

HMS: Submissions for WMBC 2014 opened on Dec 5, 2013, so can you comment on how many bands have applied so far?

JJ: I believe we've got nearly 200 so far.

HMS: How important do you feel Canada has become in the global metal community?

JJ: The recognition is really starting to come around. For our population I think we do more than our part in contributing to metal and upholding metal culture. We have the quality bands, we have the fans, and we have the beer, plus the cold (haha). More outdoor festivals that are happening feature metal. Metallica shot that 3D movie here so I think that says a lot. Canada already has a pretty solid 'metal image', so all of these things are helping to reinforce that.

HMS: This might be too early to tell, but do you think WMBC will be back for 2015? Making this an annual event for years to come?

JJ: Yes, that's the idea. Providing that the demand is still there, it will happen. So let it be written, so let it be done!

For more info about WMBC 2014, check out their official website for further details.

Kenneth Gallant, Editor HMS

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