In which, using an unlikely Nick Cave paraphrase as a starting point, we ask various prominent heavy metal people precisely that question… This time around, Witchgrinder‘s Travis Everett gives the answers!

Hi Travis – congrats on the new album and thanks for taking the time to answer these questions… To start, what initially drew you to heavy metal music, and how has your relationship with it evolved over time? “As far back as I can remember it was when I heard AC/DC playing on the record player and I wanted to know all about them. I asked my old man to then let me go through his record collection which introduced me to Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden et cetera. After learning all about these bands I moved on to Metallica and Pantera. I was just drawn in by the energy of these bands. It was powerful. I find no matter where I am in life or how down I can get heavy metal is one thing that is always there for me. Listening to the music really helps me escape and excites me”.

Can you describe a pivotal moment or experience that solidified your passion for heavy metal? What was the first heavy metal song or album that blew your mind, and why? “When I first heard Enter Sandman by Metallica it seemed to change everything for me. I was so excited because I hadn’t heard a band like this before. I remember taking a copy of the song to school to show my friends and we were all hooked. We all went out the next week and bought there albums from Kill ‘em All to the Black Album. We all wanted to start a band and grow our hair long. I had already been learning to play guitar but this was a massive turning point where I knew playing metal was something that was going to be what I wanted to do for the rest of my life”.

How do you think heavy metal culture and music have influenced your identity or personal beliefs? How has heavy metal influenced your personal style, or the way you see the world? “I think anyone surrounded by the culture and the music understands how many people are just so friendly to be around. No matter where you are in the world you feel accepted by others that enjoy the music and are there mostly for the same reason. I think what I have learnt the most is not to judge anyone by how they look and the way they dress. It helped me except things that were different”.

Do you have any rituals or traditions related to heavy metal? “I always like to sit down with a beer or a whiskey before listening to a new metal album in full. Before the band goes on stage we each have certain things we do in order to prepare us for the show. We always make sure we are together right before the show and remind ourselves why we love playing music and why we are there to do it”.

I love that team/gang mentality! What aspects of heavy metal do you find most captivating or resonant, whether it be the music itself, the lyrics, or the community surrounding it? “I think watching the music be performed live is the most captivating as heavy metal will get for me. More so in a small club. The energy from the bands, the people in the crowd, lights, sound, beer. It’s just an experience like no other when it’s done right. You and everyone else are right there in that moment and there is really something special about that”.

That’s true. The sense of being subsumed by, but still being a part of, the music is unbeatable. How does heavy metal serve as a form of self-expression for you, either through listening to it or creating your own music? “Both. I do feel when writing and creating music is more of a self-expression. It’s coming from a place inside myself. Somethings that I don’t even understand. Then getting to play that live is another level of that. I go to a place I can’t explain”.

Are there particular themes or messages within heavy metal that you find especially meaningful or empowering? “I don’t think there is any particular theme in general that are more meaningful than the other. If the artist is truly passionate in what they are singing about or performing I will take notice”.

In what ways do you think heavy metal contributes to broader cultural conversations or movements? “I think a lot of heavy metal does bring up social issues like politics, war, corruption. It brings attention to these topics through the music, lyrics and even film clips. I guess this helps raise awareness about these issues even sometimes if it’s not intended”.

What are some of the misconceptions you encounter about heavy metal fans? “I mean, so much has changed since I was a kid listening to metal. People would think because of the music and the way you were dressed you were out to cause trouble, fight people or somehow involved with devil all that dumb kinda shit. I don’t think that is as much as a problem these days but I do feel like people still think that metal is only for young people. I think some people are quick to judge others for listening to it. They just don’t get it and that’s fine but to say metal heads haven’t grown up yet is a joke and shows how out of touch they really are. While they are sitting there listening to some shitty no talented pop artist on the radio that the media are telling them to like”.

Truth! Looking towards the future, how do you envision the role of heavy metal evolving, both for yourself personally and within the larger music landscape? Are you optimistic about what the future holds? “I don’t think heavy metal was ever intended to be such a massive popular thing. When it started it seemed to be for teenagers. You were more part of a small group. A bunch of misfit. Now no matter who you are or what age what part of the world you are in there are people listening to heavy metal. I don’t think that will ever change. It’s to important to so many I don’t believe there would be a world where heavy music didn’t exist”.

And finally, here’s your chance to say, in one sentence, “That’s what heavy metal means to me”… “A sense of purpose and being a part of something that doesn’t judge you, excites you and will be with you till the end of time. That’s what heavy metal means to me”.

A nice sentiment to end on. Thanks again for taking part!

Witchgrinder’s latest album, Nothing Stays Buried, is out now. Read our review of the album HERE and then help the band out by buying it HERE!