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© 2019 Voodoo Queen Digital Magazine

VQDM Interview with Musician and Artist Joe Sonntag

 

Joe we are excited to be able to connect with you on this interview and bring out your thoughts with today's state of affairs. Going through music from the album EXILE it is interesting to hear such songs as Prime Order, America The Dead and Generations among just a few with such political view points that although written quite some time ago match what is happening in today's political battles. Let's start with a few questions on your recent album

 

VQDM: When you wrote the lyrical content to many of your songs there is a huge feel of political over tones, what drove you to that writing style?

Joe- You know I never was much into politics when I was a young song writer. In fact the first two EP's that we did had little to no political content. Right before we started writing Exile in 2011 I had a shift in my reality so to speak. I had an awaking, my eye's opened, I could see for the first time...and it pissed me off! I write from the heart and the songs reflect what I am going through at the at time in my life. No way around it, I found myself for the first time really singing about my strong opinions on the state of our world really. Exile was a no holds back all out assault on the system. 

 

VQDM: Which song from Exile in your mind best describes things now on a government level or political view in your opinion?

Joe- America The Dead.I can't speak much for the current state of the new President, that will show it's self either way in the future. But honestly I have to say ATD was written as the second of a four songs that ran together on the album. All had a similar feel and subject matter, ATD was directed more at the state of America then the political. A corrupt system controlling and directing your life, producing a generation a sheep. Ian and I were sitting around one day just going off about this younger, social media driven, head in your phone, over sensitive, overreacting, whining hateful generation. The next day I wrote the lyrics to ATD. Looking at the state of the country right now, I may have been right..

  

VQDM: Where does the sound and content of America The Dead come from, it has such a different vocal style as well?

Joe- Alex had this bad ass riff for a while, it was dark and ominous, everyone loved it. It kinda got lost for a sec because we knew we wanted to use it but it had to be for the right song. It's no secret that i do a lot of acoustic writing on the side and I had a song that one day I put to Alex's riff. It just fit, brought it all together. As far as the vocal style I think we always like to do different things on each album. I had used my actual signing voice a few times in previous songs but we really wanted to do something different with this song. I approached it as as low almost spoken style of singing, I really wanted to keep the dark feel of the song and the sadness of the lyrics. It aloud a fantastic emotion to emerge and changed the dynamic of the album completely. 

VQDM: Do you feel the current state of our United States is repairable?

Joe- Yes. I mean you have to have some hope that things will get better. but, right now the biggest problem is the people. I think there is a majority that love being lied too, they sit around surrounded in there own little world, they don't care about anything and they except whatever progressive trend they see and hear. All these people rioting and passing it off as protesting have no idea or credible knowledge on what protesting even is. Does anyone know what peaceful means? These young kids today are impressionable they go off at the drop of a hat. You want to talk about a controlled society, there it is. Crying an whining because someone hurt your feels, give me a break.Then you have a group of people that see things for what they are, they see control and manipulation by the media. They see the divide of the nation of ever possible issue race, sex, religion, politics. These two groups mix together like oil and water. In the end we spend more time fighting amongst each other then we do the real enemy. You really think that is a coincidence?  

 

VQDM: With your music that you have been writing while on hiatus what direction has it taken?

Joe- It's taking on a life of it's own. we try and do new things on every album although the over all style is there you can tell the difference between all of our releases. This new album we really wanted to get back to the groove style we had in " The Bastard Machine" EP. Exile was a very thrashy album, i loved it, but I didn't want to become a straight thrash band going forward. Bringing back that groove was important to us on this one. We are also experimenting with some new sounds, I'm doing a little more signing this time around but don't worry it will still be heavy as ballz!

VQDM: Where would you choose to live if you had to make another choice other then the United States and why?

Joe- I love my country dearly. That being said I'd move to New Zealand haha I don't know why really. but the scenery would be amazing! 

VQDM: How important is fighting for our rights and freedoms to you and to the band members?

Joe- Huge! We all cherish the rights our founding fathers fought and died for. There have been so many who have died to give you your freedom. If you were to just give that up because you don't know any better or you are tricked by some lying cheating manipulated system that preys on the weak minded, then you are pissing on the grave of everyone who came before you. You have to know your rights, fight for them, stand up for the weak. Don't let that smooth talking politician confuse you.

  

VQDM: Do you feel that taking a stand in the ways of music development is a safer way to express your thoughts and opinions verses just posting them on social media sites?

Joe- I don't know if it's safer but it is definitely easier. Social media is full of blow hards, over sensitive children that can't stand to see someone else's opinions. Some how that makes people angry like it's a personal attack on them and they feel the need to cry all over the place and prance around like they have it all figured out. All of a sudden everyone is ten foot tall and bullet proof. Sit there safely behind your computer and utter whatever stupid shit they want and feel like they are making some kind of difference. Fuck off. Music is full of opinions and it seems to be more acceptable to the core audience. Social media is just a big fight.  

VQDM: How do you feel about our military and do you and your band members have any connections with the different branches?

Joe- We are very proud and supportive of our military. I think any one that has served should never have to pay for another meal or drink again when they get home. We don't have any connections personally, the only friend I had that was in the military tragically did not make it home. We have donated merch and music many times to our brave soldiers, we try to let anyone with a military ID into our shows for free. That doesn't always work, but as much as we can control that, we do. We have lots of fans who are or were enlisted. We love them all.  

VQDM: In this new phase of Mine Enemies Fall do you sense change in how things will be dealt with on social media?

Joe- I mean, with have always been very much against social media as a band. I've always said it sucks that everyone is so into it, you have to be were the fans are though, they are the only reason we do what we do and they deserve that respect. Fortunately after joining with VQM, Yvonne and her staff have really help us spread out. It personally sucks for me because I run most of our sites, but I get so burnt out on all the bullshit i read. I have to take a break, takes a lot of patients to not say what I want on there. But whats the use? No one wants to listen to anyone else, it's a giant finger pointing game. No thanks I'm good 

VQDM: Some of your members have children if you could change one thing about the world today to make it better for them as they grow what would it be?

Joe- Changing one thing wouldn't help. There is some much that needs to change and it starts with you as an individual. We all want to point the finger and be like it's this or that, if this was just different blah blah blah. Most people are just talk with no do, thinking someone else has to change. Git rid of the log in your eye before you try and pull the splinter out of your brothers eye. For one thing you need to stop listing to the media pushing hate on you all the time. Ever notice whenever you turn on the news it's all so negative. Most might be like "well that just reflects the world today", we just except the hate because we don't see anything else. Question... look around, is that the world you see around you? The people you know? I look around and see men holding doors, black and white getting along, people caring for others more then I see the hate. Yet you look on tv and it looks like we are all ready to kill each other. Something doesn't add up, not to say hate and racism doesn't exist, it most certainly does. But don't get sucked into thinking that that is the way it has to be now. You change, be an example to others, be a leader, I see way to many followers these days. 

VQDM: Is there plans on making a video for any of your songs that have already been heard? If so can you elaborate?

Joe- Ha ha I feel like it's a never ending trek up hill trying to get these videos done. We have had three of four different attempts and they all have failed. We were supposed to have a lyric video for As Generations Die but I think that has since fell through. It's always a plan and a want to accomplish, but at this point we might have to wait until the next album is released. but you never know.

VQDM: Is the band primarily republican or democratic or neutral?

Joe- Is there really a difference between the "BigTwo" anymore? Most of us don't claim either party.

VQDM: How has it felt taking a break from touring and being able to work on things such as your own artwork and expanding time with your families?

Joe- It's been amazing! I have spent eight years pushing MEF as far as we could go, non stop full pedal to the metal. In that time I had lost touch with a lot of friends and even family. When you are so busy with shows and touring you end up having to give up something, and a lot of time it's actual contact with the outside world. Any musician that is a dedicated full timer knows exactly what I mean. One of my major loves has been drawing and that was another thing I had to put on the back burner, so much so I forgot how much I loved it. Rekindling relationships and being with family has been very precious to me the older I get. Plus the life style will wear you out and break your body down over time, so physical and mental time off has help my personal life a lot.

VQDM: Will 2017 be a year to look for new music by chance being released and will there be any surprises you can leak?

Joe- It better be! We have some amazing music to deliver to our faithful and I can't wait for them to hear it! There are always things in the works that I don't like talking about because you never know what will come about. But we are working hard with VQM to make the future special for our fans!  

Which song from Exile in your mind best describes things now on a government level or political view in your opinion?

Joe- America The Dead.I can't speak much for the current state of the new President, that will show it's self either way in the future. But honestly I have to say ATD was written as the second of a four songs that ran together on the album. All had a similar feel and subject matter, ATD was directed more at the state of America then the political. A corrupt system controlling and directing your life, producing a generation a sheep. Ian and I were sitting around one day just going off about this younger, social media driven, head in your phone, over sensitive, overreacting, whining hateful generation. The next day I wrote the lyrics to ATD. Looking at the state of the country right now, I may have been right..