Band of the Day: Mask of Judas

Brutal and technical, Mask of Judas will release The Mesmerist in May, and our Band of the Day are here to tell you more about themselves right now…

Simple things first – where are you guys from?

We’re 80% from south coast of The UK, somewhere between Brighton and Portsmouth, and 20% from Telford.

How did you meet?

Jof and Jo initially started the band and George and Sam joined a few years later after a few member changes. Sam and Reece were friends on MySpace years back exchanging guitar riffs and after collaborating on a few solo projects Sam asked Reece to join the band.

How long have you been playing as a band?

This line up has been together for around 5 years now.

Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?

It’s a name our drummer Jof had for the project when he started it many years ago. The name got around the south coast and it has stuck.

What are your influences?

We all listen to many different styles of music, we’re open minded to a lot of material from different kinds of genres and eras. Bands like Sikth, Protest the Hero, Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza and Dillinger Escape Plan come to mind for the heavier techy side of what we do. Sam has a lot of 80s and funk influence behind his writing as well. Lesser obvious influences include Lauryn Hill, Michael Jackson and Anoushka Shankar.

Describe your music. What makes you unique?

I would say the variety of our influences and what we all bring to the band creates a unique sound. Jo has a soulful singing voice and a super raw guttural screaming voice, Reece and Sam’s melodic/technical guitar arrangement is re-enforced by Jof and George’s groovy rhythm arrangement.

Do you have any particular lyrical themes?

Jo says: Each song has a unique lyrical theme and I try to always put a positive way-out or clear, functional message at the end. Most of the songs are based around socio-political control. They reflect and question the illogical normalities we accept, the nature of our highly marketable weaknesses, and the subconscious manipulation we largely subject ourselves to, hence the title The Mesmerist. A couple of tracks are more personal and are written as metaphorical stories about experiences with misogyny following the release of our last record, and battling with long-term anxiety.

What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?

We have been playing various songs from our upcoming release The Mesmerist for the last couple of years. Even before then we had been playing many gigs and festivals. We have played UK Tech Metal Fest a few times and Bloodstock. Our live show is powerful, raw, real, and we like to have fun whilst we play!

What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?

We have seen things and stuff, maaan… lots of weird stuff happens at metal shows these days.

What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?

Sam and Reece play 8-string guitar, Sam works with Ibanez and Reece works with ESP guitars. George plays Ibanez basses and Jof works with Natal drum kits.

What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?

We have just released a single and music video for our track “The Conspirator” from our upcoming debut album The Mesmerist which is due for release online on May 11th.

What are your plans for 2018?

Release The Mesmerist, play lots of great shows, meet some amazing people. Then start writing more material!

If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!

We’d be supporting Sikth, and our friends in Core of iO would open for us.

From previous Band of the Day Stone Theory: What do you think of the relation between social media and being a band in this day and age?

The internet has made it possible for almost anyone to get their band heard by potentially millions of people. However, social media is getting more saturated and algorithms on these sites are always changing and sometimes make it harder for bands to promote to their fan bases that they have worked hard to build up. Bands have to be clued up on promoting themselves.

I have personally noticed that not many people are going out to shows these days as, say, back in 2005, so a band’s audience may be mostly online, which isn’t a bad thing. It can bring all kinds of opportunities for some bands if they are promoting something great in the right place at the right time. However for bands who excel live and give their all to a live audience, there is no way to emulate that magic digitally. Playing live makes being in a band incredible, and I hope it isn’t a dying art. I feel both the fans and musicians may miss out otherwise!

From another BotD, Vanity: If you could go back in time and tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?

Try not to grow a beard too early, it’s okay to look young. (Sam)

Self-doubt is a myth, and the world is scary but you can deal with it. (Jo)

And from Regulus: What’s your pre-show ritual or what’s the weirdest you’ve heard of?

Jo usually drinks a few shots and runs around the car park emulating the sound of an ambulance, Sam usually stretches his groin for safety reasons. Reece tends to eat around a herd of livestock. Raw.

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