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Ski (Faith Factor)

Interview with Ski from Faith Factor
by Grigoris Chronis at 26 February 2009, 8:35 PM

Ski, the voice behind FAITH FACTOR, is the same guy who fronted DEADLY BLESSING in the 80s; their Ascend From The Cauldron album may still hunt enough old-school metalheads. FAITH FACTOR's debut album, Against A Darkened Sky, is an interesting piece of American Power/Prog Metal music and we grabbed the chance to 'steal' a few words from Ski regarding him and his new band.

Interview with: Ski from FAITH FACTOR

Ski, millions of greetings from Metal Temple mag. Really an honor to talk to you!

Well, it's an honor to be here, were you guys around in the DEADLY BLESSING days?  Don't remember you!!!

Nah, that was quite a long ago! Let's start with the latest release you've been involved with, FAITH FACTOR's Against A Darkened Sky. Would you like to tell is under what circumstances did FAITH FACTOR form in the first place? Is it your band or a band you're a member of?

Well, before we became FAITH FACTOR we were fACTOR FIVE and we \[did] Nightrider for a QUEENSRYCHE tribute CD called Rages Of the Mind on Siegen Records. Kieth Menzser, bass player for MYSTIC FORCE owned the label. This band is God's Metal ministry, he put it together , we're running it for him.

Should we consider FAITH FACTOR to be a normal band or it's strictly an one-off project?

Haaaa, no it's a real band, but I am doing some project work for a band called TOMORROW'S OUTLOOK, from Norway. Also FAITH FACTOR is doing American Metal for a LIZZY BORDEN tribute CD called Baptized in Blood, on Metallic Archangel Records.

The 07-07-07 EP preceded Against A Darkened Sky in 2007. I think no track off this EP made it to the album, even if many believed it was an 'advance' promo CD. Did the same lineup record the EP's three songs?

First of all the 3 song EP was meant to be for shopping for a record deal, but the fans wanted something to, so we had a use to do both jobs. It was not a promo to the full-lenth Cd, it was an introduction to the new band. There's one other guitar player on the EP, Jim Allessi; he's no longer with us and it was his choice to leave.

Against A Darkened Sky is a nice surprise for 'classic' American Metal fans, but I think you've included in your music elements that shall draw the attention of more current Metal followers. What was the motive while working on Against A Darkened Sky anyway? Did you have even a drift idea where you were heading to in terms of style/sound or you just found the way in the rehearsing/recording process?

Well, we never sit down and say we want this song to sound like this or that, we trust our influences, growing up to develop our songs, like PRIEST, MAIDEN, 'RYCHE and also newer bands like JAG PANZER, ICED EARTH and CAGE.

The tracklist in Against A Darkened Sky - apart from any other fact - carries the special (in my ears, at least) attribute that it can be hard at once in its entirety. To be more specific: the songs' coherence and the tempo changes, the intermezzos in or in between tracks and the whole atmosphere is relative to album so called 'concept' ones. Is it a valid theory, in your opinion?

No, theres no concept to this CD. It's all Metal an all for God, if God is a concept then maybe that answer to your question could be right!

So, Ski, FAITH FACTOR is a band dealing with lyrical themes about Christianity in Against A Darkened Sky. Is this also a factor solidifying the album's atmosphere, in your opinion? Do you feel the songs' value may not be unveiled in its entirety due to many mumbling 'bout Metal and Christianity and stuff like that (you know)…

Music wasn't meant to be analyzed, it was meant to be enjoyed, critics were meant to analyze an criticize, and both sides of the fence like and support what \[we] were doing. We played Keep It True 11 in Germany with non-Christian bands like FLOTSAM & JETSAM, GIRLSCHOOL an' NASTY SAVAGE, we can also play Christian festivals, and churches and bars, we cover it all and we will play with anybody, even SLAYER; music's not evil!!!

Your voice seems to be in great shape, thumbs up! Still, Metal fans familiar with your deeds with DEADLY BLESSING will probably find out you do not want to reach 'sky' notes all the time. Is it something you gradually abandoned as years passed by or you believe it's the specific album's requirement to sing more to-the-ground (I hope you can understand what I mean, haha!!!)?

I don't contemplate, what songs will be sung high or mid ,or low, in db I wanted to make as hard as possible to be copied, really stretch the boundaries. in F.F. it's all about writing good catchy Metal songs, with hints of highs, not over due it. I can sing high anytime, I really didn't like my mid range, so I worked hard at it.

Against A Darkened Sky has just been published via Retroactive Records. Was it a reasonable move to ink deal with this fine label in the first place or you surveyed before deciding? I read you have a 5-year contract with them right?

We shopped the 3 song EP to secular any Christian records label, most labels these days won't pay for recording, but they pay for printing, distro. The 5-year deal is for this CD only, when we do a new CD they get first crack at matching any offer.

Will Against A Darkened Sky be available to all territories? Who'll handle the promotion/distribution to the rest of the world, by the way?

Yes, Retroactive Records is. Also, Brutal Planet worldwide they handle all of our sales other then US selling our CD on our website at faithfactorband.com.

Did you have any particular obstacles while recording Against A Darkened Sky? Was it stressful enough to achieve the desired sound/vibe? I think half the album (or more) needed quite a hard work in order to come up with the preferred result. Who took take care of the production/mix, by the way?

On this CD Steven Parks an' Dan our drummer did all the mixing. Then, we  gave it to Retro, they mastered it and pressed it.

In an era of labels and trends, would you accept the 'modern US Power Metal' title for FAITH FACTOR? You think the songs in Against A Darkened Sky do flirt with the 'progressive' side of Heavy Metal music a little bit? If yes, do you think that this came on naturally?

We consider our selves a US Power Metal band, I think the CD is heavy, progressive, melodic, but the label see us differently, I don't thnk were anywhere near the 'modern' Metal sound, nor do we care to be.

A word or two for each player in the team would be great, since insufficient past bands data are available for Blaine, Chris, Joe and Dan. Do you think you have 100% of the chemistry wanted in FAITH FACTOR?

Blaine the priest booth, we like to think of him as the pastor of the band, loves his PRIEST Metal and his savior. Chris the professor mo, guitar ,keyboards the hermit of the band. Joe the demon slayer big in-your-face teddy bear! Chris 'n' Joe are the main music writers; they bring the ideas in musically and it goes from there.

Dj the karaoke kid, Dan our drummer, he's the brain and treasure. I have the best chemistry, and the best friends, in this band.

Christian Metal bands were a big part of the Rock/Metal world all these three decades. Who were/are your favorite ones, all these years? For the reason that this specific sub-genre is often neglected in printed or online Media worldwide, do you feel there's still a strong scene with bands of this specific blend?

As far as christian bands I admire , will have to go back in the DEADLY BLESSING days when I first heard STRYPER. I wasn't a christian then, but I said hey, if they can write about God so can I, which became the song of Ascend From The Cauldron, Deliver Us From Evil. I like any band that sings about God; DEMON HUNTER, Rob Rock etc.

While being famous with DEADLY BLESSING in the 80s (mainly), do you think your reputation may be the 'guiding light' for FAITH FACTOR's acceptance from metalheads that would - in any other condition - not even 'try' FAITH FACTOR's music?

Yes I have to agree on that, if it wasn't for D.B. no one \[would] know who I was, but if it wasn't D.B. it would have been some other band, I was driven to be somebody before I die.

Are you in talks for a FAITH FACTOR tour in 2009? Don't know 'bout America but I think Europe is still more familiar to this sound. By the way, you participated in the 11th installment of the Keep It True festival in Germany, right? How was it over there?

I love Germany, no matter what band I play in they love my work, and love me for me, not just in what I believe. As far as tour, well, we have no management, we do it all ourselves and \[…] guidance. I've played \[at] 'Keep It True' 4, 'Swordbrothers' 4 with DEADLY BLESSING and 'Keep It True' 11 with FAITH FACTOR. We hope to return next year, not that we're not trying to get back now.

I guess you were told non-stop to perform DEADLY BLESSINGS songs also, right? Did you play songs from the DEADLY BLESSING days live, by the way? Is the rest of the band in for playing DEADLY BLESSING songs?

I always give the fans what they wanna hear, and the band backs me up on that. We did Deliver Us From Evil and they went nuts.

Ski, do not have something to add for now. Really wish FAITH FACTOR and Against A Darkened Sky to fulfill all your wants and let's hope we'll be hearing more form you in the future. Anything you'd like to add?

Well, thanks for all the support. I plan on doing another CD with FAITH FACTOR, if God grants it to us and finds our ministry of Metal, worthy of his praise. But, as I'm getting older - 46 now, 47 Aug 14th - my time in the Metal world is coming to a close; I hope to at least do 3 CDs with FAITH FACTOR and ride off into the sunset, and maybe one more DEADLY BLESSING reunion with Nick or nothing. Metal blessings, Ski.



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