Michał Halamoda: Hi! So I’m Michał Halamoda and I’m lead guitarist and one of the two leaders of Soul Collector. We are from Poland and we live in the southern part of our country- Silesia region. Our band was created 7 years ago in the year 2007 something around June. Two original creators were Zbigniew and Łukasz Bizoń- two cousins who were leaders in their former band Goddess of Sin. So their main goal was to create band playing technical thrash metal. And they started searching for new members. The first one who joined the nameless band was my brother Rafał Halamoda who stood behind the microphone. They’ve lacked the second guitar and a drummer. There were some hearings but no interesting persons showed up. I was just a beginning musician and played just for 3 years but despite that my brother asked the rest if they want me to join. They agreed so I accepted the offer. And this is how it all began. It was a very difficult and harsh time for us. After about 6 months the tension and growing conflict between Zbigniew and Łukasz caused that Zbigniew left the band. So we were now without the bass guitar. We’ve started searching and we’ve found a young, promising bass player who was supposed to give us a kick and some fresh air…no I’m sorry. It wasn’t quite like that. Unfortunately the guy who came was just a kid. He was scared and had no idea how to play bass guitar (laugh). He bought it about two months before (laugh).
But we were desperate and had no other choice. So the young guy who joined us was Mateszu “Yogi” Wajs and he is still our bassist after those 7 years. Although we had many personal changes Mateusz is the one original member who was with us almost from the beginning and we hope it will stay that way (laugh). And I must add that he learned to play his bass guitar (laugh). So when Mateusz joined after some time we’ve started our first gigs, shows etc. We’ve recorded our first demo material which was quit awful (laugh). And it was very hard time for us mainly because of the fact that we had bigger desire to play than our abilities would show (laugh). After some time the conflict rose between me and Łukasz. But the rest didn’t like him either (laugh). Yeah and about two/three months later he decided to kick himself out of Soul Collector. He wanted to make musician career, joined some shitty bands and started believing in Jesus. It’s a long boring story. So after Łukasz we’ve found a real treasure for his replacement. The young guy who showed up was really a fine musician with great abilities. Dawid “Stafar” Stafarczyk was a really breakthrough in our band. So we’ve continued with shows, recorded our second demo material and luckily after three and a half year we’ve found our first drummer (laugh). Yes, through all that time we were forced to play with a drum machine. Still it was better than siting in garage and waiting for a miracle. So our first drummer was Krzysztof “Sacerdos” Ster. Although he was our first drummer he’s not a guy worth mentioning. Yes, he is the part of our first LP “Thrashmageddon” but after recording this album we’ve kicked him out and we just want to forget that fucker (laugh). The best way would be to delete him for our past (laugh). So after Sacerdos joined us we had another member changes. Unfortunately Stafar had to leave us. It was sad info but we’ve found a good replacement. Our new guitarist became a little older guy Artur “Iron” Kajzer but still a great musician and a great person. So about a year and a half later we removed our cancer (drummer) and replaced him with a former member of The Crossroads formation- Dawid “Dave” Kuźnik. And that was it. That was the guy. He is really one of the best metal drummers I’ve ever met and a really great guy. So this is our group I, Rafał Halamoda, Mateusz Wajs, Artur Kajzer and Dawid Kuźnik. We are together for about 2 years and it was really great time. I hope it will stay like that for many years.
2. What other bands have you played in previously?
MH: So before I’ve joined Soul Collector I used to play in a death metal band Moulded Flesh- quite known in our underground. But still it was not my type. I’m just not keen to death or black metal. It does not give me and fun and I just don’t like it. So when the first opportunity came up I left without any regrets.
3. What are some of your musical influences both in metal and maybe in other styles of music?
MH: I love Heavy Metal and Thrash Metal music. A lot of bands like Iron Maiden, old Metallica, Judas Priest, Testament, Overkill, Exodus, Megadeth, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, AC/DC and many, many more. But still my favourite band is out of those boundaries- it is Dream Theater. This is my number one.
4. Can you please share with us your band's recording history and any interesting stories and experiences from the studio?
MH: As I mentioned before. We’ve recorded our first material about 2008. It was called Demo(N) and it contained 3 tracks. It was really, really bad and sucked ass like hell (laugh). This is the part of our history which we would like to erase (laugh). But still if we look on Metallica’s first records- I mean demo material we weren’t so bad at all. After two years later we released second demo called just Soul Collector or without a tittle. It was much better but still you can hear that we haven’t found our style yet. And this year we’ve finally published our first LP “Thrashmageddon”. It’s not perfect and I’m aware that and this is not all that we can offer but nonetheless it was a milestone. It was a good lesson and a great experience for us to record that album and we are ready for more. Now we are raising more founds for further records but I can’t tell anything more right now.
5. How about your bands live experiences? Any amusing or memorable shows you would like to share with us?
MH: There is a lot of good and great shows that we’ve played and which will be remembered. But there are few gigs which will be forever in my mind. My number one are the two gigs which we played with Artillery on a big scene. It was a very good experience for us. And the second one was when we’ve played in a small pub in Rybnik with The Crossroads and some other bands and the pub was just flooded with people. We had something about 150 people in a really small pub. That was really fun. And the most amusing experience.. let me think. Few years back we got a call that there is a show to play and that they pay really good money. The fee was 1500 zl which is really quite big number for a small band. Most of the money we’ve spent to rent a bus and a driver. We had to travel many kilometers because the gig was on the border with Ukraine. So we traveled through many hours. And finally when we reached our target it turned out that it is a really small village, with dogs barking with their asses, without shops or anything (laugh). When we’ve arrived they told us that we are the only band which came that evening. So we’ve learned what was the catch. We had to play in front of drunk rednecks. They were throwing bottles at us, calling us names and getting really, really pissed. I don’t remember being so nervous during the show. First time I was worried that the audience will kill and rip us apart (laugh). And the most funny thing about it was that they didn’t like us because of the music. They didn’t because we have our lyrics in English and they wanted Polish singing band (laugh). But after the show it all ended good. We had a place to crush in a local school, masterminds of this whole evening provided us with food and alcohol and we had a really great night(laugh).
6. We have all heard of the big 4 of thrash. Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax. It has been talked about in the past and critiqued quite often. In your mind, what are the Big 4? You don't have to just list thrash bands, lets open it up to all metal genres, past or present, what is the big 4 in your mind?
MH: There is no doubt that those 4 bands you’ve just enlisted did a great job and had the biggest influence on thrash metal in its past. They were the one who started this whole thing but not the only one. Surly their legends dies if you look at those bands today. I mean mainly Metallica and Megadeth. They’re just a bunch of fucking clowns who lost their way some time ago. Metallica in the half of the 90s. and Megadeth recently after releasing their “Super Collider” album. But I must admit that the previous albums “The Endgame” and “13” are really good stuff. Yes but if I’m about to open it up the big 4 for me would be Iron Maiden, Exodus, Dream Theater and all work done by Ronnie James Dio.
7. What would be your dream supergroup? Again lets open it up to past or present musicians, what would be the dream band lineup?
MH: Three vocalists- Bruce Dickinson, Ronnie James Dio and Freddie Mercury, John Petruccie and Joe Satriani as guitarists, Steve Harris on the bass and Mike Portnoy behind the drums.
8. Now if you were to be a member of any band, who would you love to join up with?
MH: Of course it would be Dream Theater though I’m not so sure if I would be good enough (laugh). But I would do my best (laugh).
9. Now its time to get philisophical. What IS heavy metal?
MH: Some may call it freedom, some will say it’s just music they listen at home or wear specific cloths and hang out with specific people. For me it’s really hard to say cause it’s surly not only music. I’m stuck in this world almost through all my life since I was 10 so it’s really hard to say how it would be without it. I just can’t imagine that. And I guess I probably don’t want to know.
10. What has heavy metal done for you thus far both in music and in your personal life?
MH: As I said before I doesn’t do anything to me or my life. It is my life. That is all I ever had, what I have and what I will have. I always treated it as my personal belonging or something like that. Just can’t describe it.
11. Waht is your heavy metal dream? I am not talking about goals here, I am talking about going to bed and dreaming...what is the dream you are having? Or is it a nightmare?
MH: To stand on the desks in “Rock in Rio” or something like that before audience so big as Queen had. Hearing people shouting your name and your bands name. And another dream is that I would like to be so good and distinctive guitarist so people would learn my stuff, record it on youtube and so on. That would be something (laugh).
12. What is your view on the current state of heavy metal?
MH: It’s not so good as it was in the 80s. But on the other hand it’s not dead yet. And till there are people who love it, true hotheads, it will live forever. I hope so (laugh).
13. What are your thoughts concerning the digital era of metal. I am curious what you think of digital downloading, recording in the modern era and anything else that has changed since the early days of the industry.
MH: There are both good and bad sides as always. On the one hand it’s much more easier to promote your band all around the world. During one month the whole world may know that such band exists and so on. For example our music is broadcasted in Brazil, USA, Argentina and many, many other places. It’s something that about 15 years ago was just undoable. And this is good. But on the other hand there is this whole digital music, thefts of music and so on. It is frustrating in some way when you record your music and someone will simply steal it. It is good when you start you band, people download your music and start to know you. But with time passing by it gets much uglier. But it’s worth mentioning that the most important thing is playing shows. All these great bands don’t live from selling their music but just from giving shows all around the world.
14. Several musicians have gone on record to say that the full length album is dead. That with the digital age there is no need to produce a full length release. What are your thoughts, is the full length dead or still viable?
MH: I can’t agree with that. Full length album is something that should never change in metal music. It was always about LP. We remember titles like “Fear of the Dark”, “Black Album”, “Season in the Abyss”, “Painkiller” and many others. Of course someone will say that these records were made in the 90s. But there are still records released in the 21th century that will always be remembered like “Brave New World”, “Tempo of the Damned”, “Angel of Retribution” and in my opinion someone who claims that it’s not important to release full album simply don’t have ideas or concept to create it.
15. Okay time to talk and promote your band some more. What is the current news coming from your camp. Any new music, tours, festivals or anything going on?
MH: Now when it’s the end of the year we’ve finished playing gigs. We start with the new year so there is not much going on right now. We prepare to go in to recording studio to make some new tracks but I can’t say anything more right now. We’ll give you more details in a month or two. We play our first gig at the end of January and then we’re going to have a short break to make this record. And after that we’ll see what will do or what we’ll be our plans for the future.
16. What are the immediate short range goals for your group?
MH: Firstly, more gigs. Than as I said before we go into the studio to make some new records. After that more gigs I think. Also we want to develop our merch. We want to release our T-shirts, badges and all that stuff.
17. What about ultimately any long range goals?
MH: To release our second LP and afterwards to conquer the world (laugh).
18. Finally if you have any last words you wish to express to your fans and the metal community in general please do so here.
MH: Firstly, I would like to thank you for the interview and taking interest in our band. Also I would like to pay my respects to all our fans and people who support us, listen to our music and what us to go on. And finally I would like to encourage everyone of you to come to the shows. Not only to our but generally. The main problem of the metal music is not low sale of the records but the fact that people don’t come to the concerts. And that is the main problem that’s killing this magic of metal music. So come to the gigs and thrash ’till fucking death!