Friday, May 7, 2010
Hellborn Militia is the epitome of heavy metal. If you thought heavy metal was dead, then HB brings back a taste of its rebirth. Hellborn Militia's delivers heavy guitar cords and bellowing vocals that is reminiscent of the days of Exodus, Slayer, Pantera, Metallica, Testament, Slipknot, and Death Dream Theater. Man, those were the days.
Although, Hellborn Militia's music is still in pre-production, you can hear a sample of their music right here with special guest, Joe Jaramilllo only on The Great Unknowns Presents
I spoke with lead guitarist and musical genius Joe Jaramillo and asked him some compelling questions about the lost art and about his band, Hellborn Militia:
Tell me a little about your bands history. Did you all meet in a party in hell somewhere? Ha-ha, just kidding! But, seriously, how did you guys all meet?
We met thru the parallels of the universe in Weslaco, Tx. and thru some uncertain circumstances. The death of “El Padrino”, father of vocalist/rhythm guitarist Pablo Ybarra, introduced Pablo to new fate. He met a half brother who was a good friend to Joe Jaramillo lead guitarist. Once the good friend and half brother (Daniel Ybarra) decided he knew such great musicians who shared the likes of great bands, ideas, and interest in metal music we were introduced. It wasn’t long at all but the same night we met and the foundations of Hellborn Militia acoustics/metal were born. Eventually Rolando Chavez Jr. drummer was brought in a couple months after. He was a jazz drummer in high school and attended school with Joe, which they had previously jammed before. Bass-man Robb Ruth was brought in couple years after, and after numerous bass-man had tried and failed, the creative level of Hellborn Militia arose and the future was destined.
Did it take long to decide to create a band?
No. We knew we had something special. The second we started to play, we kind of had a premonition that that was what we wanted to pursue. As far as inspiration, we all had different experiences but it all came down to the usage and amount of alchohol and mary jane and other substances.
How long before your first song was created that you realized you had something?
Usually, it’s that first live performance when you feel that rush from a screaming crowd. Can you still remember that first concert? Describe that feeling of that night?
We had two first shows: one acoustic and one metal. The acoustic show was at a small bar in Weslaco, TX. California Sports Bar just Pablo and Joe performing. We surprised the people because it was original and not the typical music. Other musicians were at the bar at that time and after the show they gave us compliments, family and friends also attended. The first metal show was at a party in Donna, Tx. which consisted over 50 people. Performing for Hellborn Militia was just Pablo, Rolie, and Joe and no bass-man at the time. That was the rush and feeling we wanted to achieve with the band. There was a strong anxiousness before the show but soon after the first song started, that was the beginning of the rest of our lives. It felt like we were Metallica, Slayer, Megadeath, ect. We were the kings of metal at that time. Our buzz was gone after the show. The adrenaline was fucking high. It was very gratifying what we accomplished that night.
You all share rather interesting backgrounds. Joe, you’re a Business major, Rolie is a Pharmacy major, and Pablo is a war Veteran. Are we missing anyone else? If it wasn’t for music, do you think you’d still all be friends?
Hell no! (Laughs out loud) Being in the band and sharing the shit we have, excitement, struggle, work, alcohol, shows, friendship, and family those are the things that the band and music has brought us. Since that we have shared so much and become real good friends. If it wasn’t for the music we probably would be having completely separate lives unbeknownst to each other. Music makes life a blast at times and interesting, metal is our lifestyle and for certain that’s one thing we share. Robb has also become apart of the family he is a college student and works as a meat cutter.
2007 was the same year you released your first Hellborn Militia demo, you started your own record company. How many bands do you manage now?
2007 was a pretty important stepping stone; we put a rough cut demo out to get an internet audience and also started Raw Cut Records LLC. It is a registered organization that we wanted to use to develop bands like ourselves and become more professional and recognized in the music industry. Unfortunately, our financial status won’t let us quickly achieve the goals we set for this company and the future. Only through our diligence and hard work will we overcome the obstacles that every starting business encounters. Through personal contributions and affiliations we will continue marching forward.
Do you often perform with your clients?
As RAWCUT RECORDS, LLC, we’ve done shows for bands that are local and from other cities upstate.We’ve performed with a lot of bands that either we invited or have invited us to do shows. We do it for the pleasure of doing the shows and meeting new people. Sometimes we let the other bands perform and we sit back and enjoy the show. We have hosted numerous shows in the past at, Texas Rose Gentlemans Club in Weslaco and in other bars. We put live metal shows in areas that usually don’t have this type of music but through experience doing those type of shows have given us better sense in where to work and who to work with.
Your band doesn’t sound exactly like these bands, but you definitely belong in the same category of Exodus, Slayer, Pantera, Metallica, Testament, Slipknot, and Death Dream Theater. If you had five bands to chose who you are most influenced by, who would they be?
As for the heavy aspect of our music, yes you said it. Those were our main influences, but we go beyond when it comes to music. We appreciate all kinds of music that we can relate to from an artist point of view. Good music is hard to come by as you may see or hear for this matter.
So tell me, what is your process in creating a song?
It took us a while to understand the process of writing a song and lyrics. When we did learn, it was like graduating to another level of intensity and power. At first, we struggled and loomed in adversity but we kept going and broke our backs in doing it. It became clear that in the end it becomes easy writing songs and lyrics through determination and hard work. Our process is bringing what we have to the table and building from this experience.
One of my favorite songs is Rio Grande Bayou. It was a pleasant change from your hardcore sound that I didn’t expect to hear. What is the bands favorite song to perform?
Its hard to say because we love every song we perform. “ Zombie Gods” has that slow drag of a heavy riff that just gets people move to the rhythm. “Resistance” is a neck breaking song that usually starts the mosh pit. If we had to pick one song we all agreed on it would be “Dominate”. Listen to that song and you’ll understand what we’re talking about. METAL WILL ALWAYS LIVE FOREVER.
What song is the most personal and why is it personal?
Even though they are all personal to us there is a new song that seems to be a personal gut wrencher. It has the clean feel of a power ballad but at the same time the heaviness doesn’t let it be a power ballad. It also has bluesy tones in the melody. The song title “To live again” is best remembered by a performance we did in Corpus Christi, TX. at Zero’s Hard Rock Club, which some fan yelled out once the song finished, “that’s a sexy song!”
Today, we have a whole different kind of metal that has basically replaced traditional metal that we were used to hearing back in the late 80’s and 90’s. Metal music today is saturated with scream-core rock which is commonly referred to as metal-core, for example bands like As I Lay Dying, Killswitch Engage, and Devildriver. How do you feel about today’s metal music?
Musicianship wise they are all very talented. As far as the music goes, it is very uplifting. The only thing we don’t appreciate is the singing. The melodies in the verses and choruses are missing. Back then we loved how ‘bark at the moon’, ‘master of puppets’, ‘symphony of destruction’, ‘south of heaven’ had that killer melody that we all sang loud while we were young and drunk and still love. We are bringing that back with some new style. We even thought of a genre to label this type of new style lead metal. Lead (led) metal is just that heavy metal with unique techniques incorporated that don’t make it quite the same. There needs more Hellborn Militia in today’s music.
So, what is in store for Hellborn Militia? Do you have some newer material that you guys are working on in the studio?
Find more of Hellborn Militia at:
Hellborn Militia guest appears on The Great Unknowns Presents
Interview by Michael J