Metal music is not a mainstream genre in Madison. Yet in spite of this fact and because of his love of the genre, Andrew Schneider hits the WSUM airwaves every Tuesday at 10 p.m. to indulge listeners’ metal fixations with his show “ROCKSTAR NAILBOMB!” Andrew sat down to discuss the broodingly beautiful genre of black metal, metal subgenres and his induction into metal music.
The Badger Herald: Tell us about yourself.
Andrew Schneider: My name is Andrew Schneider. I’m a senior English major at Edgewood College. I currently host “ROCKSTAR NAILBOMB!” and co-host Live@WSUM on Fridays at 3 p.m.
BH: What was the inspiration for “ROCKSTAR NAILBOMB!?”
AS: “ROCKSTAR NAILBOMB!” is the name of the opening track from The Fall of Troy’s debut record. The Fall of Troy isn’t a metal band, but I’ve loved that band since high school, and the impetus for the show stemmed more from punk rock than metal. It was a gradual stylistic shift into the show’s “all metal, all the time” format.
BH: Heavy metal music can be classified under a barrage of different genres and sub-genres. Can you explain the classification system of metal music? Are genres solely based on musical aesthetics or does ideology play a role?
AS: Almost all of these styles are defined by how the music sounds. For example, a black metal band (fast tempos; tremolo-picked guitars; blast beats; shrieked vocals) is going to sound vastly different when compared to a groove metal band (midtempo; lower, growled vocals; riff-heavy).
This is not to say that ideology doesn’t come into play. For example, black metal started as a very specific style of music played by a small group of people in the early ‘90s in Norway. The initial movement ended after a series of murders and church burnings. (For further reading on early black metal, seek out “Lords of Chaos” by Michael Moynihan and Didrik Søderlind, as well as the documentary, “Until the Light Takes Us.”)
When black metal made its way to American shores, the longtime fans of the Norwegian scene immediately dismissed it for not resembling the original pioneers: Mayhem, Burzum and Darkthrone. Many of the American black metal bands do not focus on the same themes as the Norwegian bands, eschewing the Satanic and anti-religious in favor of more spiritualistic and emotional territory.
BH: Recently, I read an article about Botswana’s heavy metal subculture. In Botswana, dressing in leather and black is a way to form a sense of camaraderie among peers and earn cool points. What has made you gravitate toward metal music and the culture of metal?
AS: I discovered metal at age 14. I was at that perfect, angsty age, but the radio rock scene that was popular at the time (Linkin Park, Disturbed, etc.) never appealed to me. The first true metal song I ever heard was “Peace Sells” by Megadeth. I had never experienced that much aggression in music that didn’t feel contrived.
These days, I gravitate towards the darker, more brooding genres. I identify most with black metal. I enjoy the atmospheric nature of black metal. Most black metal bands are able to write songs that sweep you off your feet and take you into another world for six to 15 minutes. I enjoy how poetic and darkly beautiful the lyrics can be, especially coming from American black metal bands such as Deafheaven.
I am also a diehard punk fan, as well, so I also enjoy subgenres such as grindcore that mix punk and metal and are perfect for moshing and relieving tension in a thoroughly primal fashion.
I’m not into metal because it’s trendy, I’m into it because I would probably go insane without it.
BH: If your metal show were a real metal what would the atomic number be?
AS: “Woe to you, O Earth and Sea, for the Devil sends the beast with wrath, because he knows the time is short. Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the beast for it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty-six.”
BH: What are you currently listening to?
AS: Pallbearer’s Sorrow and Extinction. A Pregnant Light’s Before I Came. Shining’s Halmstad. Jesu’s Lifeline. Cult of Fire’s मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान (Ascetic Meditation of Death). Entombed’s Wolverine Blues.
BH: Why should people listen to your show?
AS: I feel as though metal is extremely underappreciated in Madison, so if you’ve ever had any interest in the genre, listen to my show. I play a lot of metal that does not receive much mainstream attention, making “ROCKSTAR NAILBOMB!” a fantastic source for new music.
“ROCKSTAR NAILBOMB!” airs every Tuesday at 10 p.m on WSUM. To listen live, stream through wsum.org or tune your radio to 91.7 FM.