Cardiff’s Flailhead is the solo project of one Chris Lazo (guitars and bass). The EP ‘The Art of Absolution’ is Chris’s debut release. You can support Chris and Flailhead by visiting the Flailhead Bandcamp page.
We asked Chris about this solo project…
How did you get started, where did you form, how did you meet and when did you begin?
I play guitar for a melodic metal band called Insuna, which are also Cardiff based. In between writing tracks for the band I would just keep writing additional music and over time it became apparent that I had a huge amount of ideas that were very diverse and had a sound all of their own. It was at this point that I decided to create my own project called Flailhead, where I could write anything from death metal to acoustic guitars and enjoy the creative process without having any boundaries.
Did you have a specific sound in mind when you formed the band, or did that grow and evolve as you played together?
I play what I enjoy and therefore I write what I enjoy. I like music that has melody but also power, i enjoy the extreme variety that can be found in metal music and music in general. I see Flailhead as me combining my influences and the sounds I enjoy and adding my own stamp to it. I am not afraid of going from soft sparse melodies to blistering blast beats in a matter of seconds!
What kind of stuff are you and the rest of the band into? Who would you cite as influences?
I listen to a wide range of music, from old South American music from the 70s right up to Bloodbath, I think having a diverse range of tastes helps you to keep inspired and hopefully avoid repeating the same thing over and over. My main influences guitar wise would be James Hetfield (Metallica), Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth) and Trey Azagthoth (Morbid Angel), I think those 3 players bring a blend of incredible riffs, melodic phrasing and a playful and spontaneous approach to creating music, especially Trey. My main influences band wise would probably be Metallica, Opeth, InFlames, Morbid Angel, Katatonia and Death. But to be honest i absorb anything i listen to and if it clicks with me, it will influence my playing in one way or another I am sure.
How does your writing process normally work out?
The songs start out with me, my guitar and an amp. I try to come up with riffs as starting points and then write melodies which would add a ‘vocal’ element to the tracks (Flailhead is an instrumental project). I sometimes come up with the melodies by singing them, meaning i am not restricted by the guitar or by my preconceived ideas of what I ‘should’ be playing, I just try and come up with something which serves the song. This adds a degree of freedom and melody which I really value in music. Overall the process is a lot of trial and error, changing structures, adding or taking away layers. I always try and have some time away from the music once I think I have finished a track, it allows me to come to it later with fresh ears as a listener, and ask crucial questions – does it flow? Is there too much going on? Do I lose interest after a certain point? This allows me to refine things further and focus the tracks on being the best they can be.
What are your ambitions for the Flailhead?
My ambitions are simple, I want people who would enjoy the music I make to hear it. I do it because I love it and its been a dream of mine for a very long time to release my own music. It is about fulfilment and sharing something you are proud of with the rest of the world.
What’s been your best moment as a band? And on the flipside, what’s been the worst thing to happen to you in music?
My best moment as a musician was playing the Dames of Darkness festival with Insuna (earlier this year), it was incredible. For me personally, being able to release my own music via Flailhead means a lot, but I think the highlight was when I first received the ‘The Art of Absolution’ CD and I got to crank it in my car, it was a great feeling. It was almost as if the cycle was not complete until I had a CD in my hand! The worst thing for me as a musician is when you hit ‘the wall’, its that time when inspiration seems to have deserted you and everything you write sounds awful. My way of dealing with it now, is not to force it, I will go and do something else, maybe not even picking up the guitar for weeks, when I feel ready I come back to it and more often than not, it reignites the spark.
What’s next for you?
I am currently about 3/4 of the way through writing a follow up to ‘The Art of Absolution’, so I would like to have a new release by late 2017 or possibly in 2018.