Steel. Speed. Destruction.
|Power Trip at Chaos in Tejas 2011.
I recently was about to get an interview with Blake Ibanez, one of the guitarists for the DFW thrash/speed metal/hardcore crossover heavyweights Power Trip. This is how it went down.
SHDC: Thanks for taking some time out of your schedule for this impromptu interview. Would you like to introduce yourself our readers?
Blake: My name is Blake Ibanez, I play guitar in Power Trip.
How did you guys all come together? How did Power Trip begin?
Power Trip started in 2008. I was jamming a lot with my best friend at the time, Mark, because the group I was in was in the process of disbanding. After talking to Riley (singer) about starting a band for a while, we decided to write a demo. Us three wrote what became the PT Demo and I got two of the people from my old band to play (Nick-guitar, Chris-bass). We had another drummer Marcus for a while (2008-2010) then Chris Ulsh joined and he is our current drummer
Were you in any other bands worth mentioning before Power Trip?
A few of us were in a hardcore band called Reality Check. Riley was in a band called Balls Out that disbanded quite a while before this began.
You guys have a pretty distinctive, intense sound. Who are some of bands that kinda influenced the sound you guys have created?
Our sound has evolved throughout the years. It’s kind of a combination of many things–originally we wanted to sound stylistically like the late 80’s crossover bands (Cro-Mags, Leeway, Icemen, Crumbsuckers) that were hardcore oriented but also contained metal riffs. We always had metal influences from the beginning, bands like Nuclear Assault/Anthrax/Exodus but it’s safe to say we’re much more focused on that side of things now. The songwriters of the band (Riley/Ulsh/me) share a lot of the same influences but we each have our own style…which probably contributes to the uniqueness of our sound. We just want to write stuff that was true to the era it originated in and pay homage to all the right aspects of aggressive music. Ripping fast, heavy parts, classic structures, punk attitude and simplicity, classic 80’s sounds and riffs. Do everything the way it should be done and don’t get too fancy (cause that’s not punk). Influences now would be bands like Venom, Vio-lence, Exodus, Death, Discharge, Sepultura, Slayer, etc….
You guys are from the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas. How’s the music scene out there in DFW? I’m from San Antonio, myself. I hear that your home shows get a little crazy.
It’s awesome. There are a lot of good hardcore bands now and cool kids that are all about what’s going on here. There’s a lot of diversity. Metal bands, hardcore/punk bands, lots of different styles clashing. It’s cool because people appreciate different kinds of bands here. We don’t play in DFW very often but when we do it’s always guaranteed to be pretty crazy. It’s always a good time.
You guys are about to go out on the road yet again for an East Coast tour. How stoked are y’all to get back out on the road?
It’s only about 4 days, but it’ll be cool to get back to the east coast for a little bit. We toured probably 3-4 months out of this year, the bulk of it just ending late last month, so I think some of us are slightly relieved to have some time at home to get things in order.
Your recent LP “Manifest Decimation” has been voted one of the best Thrash albums of 2013 by multiple sources. How does that feel?
It’s really cool, and a good feeling. We come from more of a punk/hardcore background so when our album gets notice from other kinds of people it’s really fulfilling. We’re all about metal and punk and want different kinds of fans of heavy music to be able to enjoy what we do. This album is probably the most thrash record we’ve written thus far so it’s nice to know people are into it. Ulsh, Riley, and I worked super hard writing the album and it’s nice that it didn’t go unnoticed.
What do you guys do on your off time?
We all have our own things going on with work, school, friends, other bands, shows, etc. I’m currently in school, playing in another band (Eternal Champion) and working on other projects.
What is your rig setup? What guitar/amp combo do you run?
I use different guitars (Jackson Rhoads, Kramer SM-1), Lace Pickups, and Marshall amps. I also use different guitar heads. I usually record with Marshalls (JCM 800, 2000) and tour with Peavey amps (5150, 6505). Ibanez Tube Screamer, Boss RV-3 pedal, pretty simple setup.
Power Trip is signed to Southern Lord Records, which has really come to have a super stacked lineup, with bands like NAILS, APMD, Black Breath, and more. How did you guys end up getting hooked up with them?
We had some common friends and got in touch with Southern Lord through them. I think they caught wind of us when we put out a compilation song or our last 7″ and decided they wanted to work with us. It’s an awesome label run by a great guy. Not to mention the roster is impressive.
What is your dream tour? What bands would you like to have Power Trip play with?
My dream tour would probably be to tour with my favorite bands, some of which don’t exist anymore. It would be a dream to tour with an original Sepultura lineup, original Cro-Mags lineup, Devastation (TX), Exodus, Death Breath….as for current bands, I’d tour with Nekrofilth, Noisem, Cauldron, Nails, Black Breath…
What are your plans for 2014? Do you guys have plans for a new album this year, or mostly touring?
We have a song coming out on a compilation this year, ideas of a possible 7″, and mainly just touring here and there as much as we can.
What is the most fulfilling part of being a musician?
I think the most fulfilling part is just being able to do what you love doing and play your music live. Also when you get props for the music you wrote, it’s a good feeling. It’s fun being able to travel and have music be a big part of your life.
Is there anything else you want our readers to know?
Thanks for the support and reading the interview. You can keep up with us through Facebook (facebook.com/powertriptx), Twitter (@powertriptx). Check out the new full-length Manifest Decimation available via Southern Lord Records.
Alright man, well I appreciate you taking the time out for the interview. You guys are definitely one of my favorite bands, and I can’t wait to see what else you guys have in store for us.