Hatriot - 06/06/2012

Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza has once again stepped into the thrash metal world, and has made an immediate impact on the thrash metal scene. The veteran metal singer from proven bands such as Exodus, Legacy (Testament), Dublin Death Patrol, Tenet, AC/DZ and now with his newest band HATIROT takes his musical roots back in time to the 1980’s when metal was fast, furious, yet still melodic. The Bay Area home base is what sets Hatriot apart from today’s metal world. Not many bands have been able to establish themselves as contenders in this genre since the biggest bands emerged from this time period, but few bands have the musical direction of Steve Zetro Souza, who has been there and done it with global success.


Steve Zetro Souza has a vocal style that few vocalists possess. He has the power and sting, yet at the same time, his fans can understand the lyrics he’s singing. Not many singers in thrash metal can give you that. Most of all, Zetro delivers! He has his own style that has made him one of the premier singers of metal. Few bands are able to sound fast, loud, powerful and ferocious, while staying musical, melodic and crushing. Hatriot gives you this, along with the pure intensity of a hungry band that wants nothing more than to tour and play live music to fans.


Hatriot, never satisfied with the new trends in the metal scene, has re-discovered going back in time and making quality “old school” metal with a proven formula that only Steve Zetro Souza could create and re-invent for this modern era. He has put together a band which understands this direction, has perfect chemistry and hits the stage like a freight train! Hatriot, faster than you’ll ever live to be! Already, the band has earned world wide respect having supported Testament and Forbidden. While only playing several live shows, Hatriot has broken out of the Bay Area metal scene with a vengeance. The band is currently receiving a lot of record label attention. They have written enough strong material to release a debut album that will crush and elevate them to the next level.


In order to get to know all about Hatriot we tracked down frontman Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza (Vocals) to answer some questions. Here you can read what he had to say to the readers of Metal-Experience.com.




Hello there, Eugene here from the Dutch e-zine Metal-Experience. Could you please make the answers a bit extensive, so our readers get to know as much as possible about Hatriot?


Zetro: Sure thing my friend.  First off, I want to thank you for the interview!  It is the webzines such as yours that keep metal alive.  I appreciate your support and help with promoting Hatriot.


First of all, could you start this interview off with a short introduction of the band, the origin of its name and how you guys got together? What were the goals you had in mind when you started this band?


Zetro: Hatriot has been a band for a couple of years now.  In addition to myself, we have Kosta Varvatakis on guitar, Miguel Esparza on second guitar, and Cody Souza on bass.  Alex Bent played drums on the demo, but has left the band to pursue other interests.  We are looking for a full time drummer right now.  I formed Hatriot after meeting Kosta at a show that his band was playing.  I was very impressed with how solid of a player he was, and how knowledgeable he is about classic metal and thrash.  He is on the playing level of the big boys – guys like Gary Holt and Alex Skolnick – so I had to form a band with him!  We did name the band after the lyric in the Exodus song ‘Scar Spangled Banner.’  The name seems to fit the style and aggression of the music.  As for goals, I was basically looking to continue with the sound I had helped establish with Legacy and Exodus – pure thrash metal!


In 2010 Hatriot Released a 4 track demo EP. Have you already launched in writing new tracks?  


Zetro: Oh yes!  Hatriot is constantly working on new music.  We have enough material now for a full length album.  Right now we are shopping for a record deal and will be releasing a full length disc hopefully by the end of this year.  I hope to release an album each year, so we are always steadily writing.


Which approach did you choose to write those songs, did you go for a more raw exposition... or something more reminiscent of your previous other works, or something all together different?           


Zetro: Well, it is very deeply rooted in the classic thrash metal sound.  I helped to innovate that style back in the 1980’s so it comes naturally to me.  The guys in the band are much younger, so they are very in touch with the modern day scene.  They throw in some modern influences, like blast beats and triplets, to keep things from getting stale.  Kosta writes all of the music and I write all of the lyrics.  We make a great team.  The other guys add their own twist to things and it becomes Hatriot!


After listening to some of the demo songs it becomes clear that this material is very similar to your works with Exodus. Was this a conscious choice, or just a coincidence?


Zetro: I think it was conscious in the fact that I was ready to return to pure thrash again.  I had done other things with Dublin Death Patrol and Tenet, so I was feeling my writing moving back towards thrash.  I think Hatriot is a natural progression from the Exodus ‘Tempo of the Damned’ record.  This feels like the next step to me.  It is very important for me to deliver a solid album, and one that stands up with the rest of the records I have been a part of.  I think Hatriot does that.  This album is going to kick your ass!                              


In your opinion, how was your experience with your previous band helpful concerning your compositional skills and how does that affect the way you write now?


Zetro: Well there is no question that Gary Holt helped pioneer the thrash metal sound.  That’s just the way it is.  I spent so much time with the Exodus and Legacy guys that the sound is ingrained in my thought process now.  I have definitely matured as a writer, but the old school influence will always be there.  I think Hatriot is a natural continuation of what I have done with my other bands in the past.



Could you please describe the implications of some of the titles of the new songs, what do they stand for and is there a special meaning behind them?


Zetro: Well, all my lyrics are different.  I generally write about dark subjects, from murder to horror films.  It just depends on the vibe of the music.  When I first hear the music I get a certain feel as to what I will be writing about.  The topics are almost certain to be dark and twisted.  “Weapons of Class Destruction,” for example, is about school shootings and violence in the schools.


How important is it to you that people pay attention to your lyrics, apart from listening to the music?


Zetro: I would say it is very important.  I don’t just write stuff that sounds good or sounds heavy together.  If you read the lyrics to any of the music I have written over the years you will be able to tell what I am writing about and it will make sense to you.  So, yes, the delivery and the lyrical content are very important to me.


Can you give us a little background information on the songs? Is there a story behind them?


Zetro: I paint scenes that are very dark.  Anything social or political, horror, things that I have seen, or things that I think up in my mind can become topics.  My lyrics are usually very dark, and always tongue in cheek.  It is kind of like the Exodus writing style, which is something I’ve gotten used to.  People see the flag on our demo and assume it is all political, but that’s not necessarily the case.  We touch on that, but every song is different.  It has to be something that intrigues me.  It has to be dark.  I don’t write love songs and I don’t write happy shit!


What is the utmost important ingredient for a song according to you? Is there a typical way in which your songs come into being?


Zetro: It is the hook, it is the riff… it’s the whole god damn song!  It has got to be heavy, the break has got to be right, the lead has to be right, and the vocals have to be right.  When it comes to music I don’t let anything slip through the cracks.  My songs are very thought out.  I am very meticulous when it comes to that.  So I am very lucky to be writing with Kosta because he handles most of the arrangements.  I don’t really have to get him to change anything.  He brings them in and I’m like “wow I like that!” 


How can we imagine you work on new songs, what's the typical writing process like for Hatriot?


Zetro: Well, we have been pretty lucky with that because Kosta V. basically writes and arranges all of that stuff on guitar.  So Kosta will tell the drummer what to play, and the rest of the band kind of picks up on it from there.  When it is all finished I take it and write the lyrics to it.  My writing process is very fast.  I usually have ideas and I write really quickly.


Have any labels showed an interest in the band yet? If so can you reveal any details yet?


Zetro: I can’t really talk about it in detail, but we have two offers on the table right now from established metal labels.  I think the deal will be sealed sometime in July and we will make an announcement then.  We will definitely be recording a full length record over the Summer and plan to have it out by the end of the year on a label.



Can you tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of things that motivate you in your writing, your poetry, and your lyrics? What are you personally into?


Zetro: I am into anything that is dark and evil.  I don’t write any happy shit!


Are there any particular bands which have been a big influence on your song writing, metal or otherwise? Which album was your biggest musical influence, one that made you think “this is what I want to do!”?


Zetro: I saw AC/DC play in 1979 at a festival here in California called “Day on the Green.”  Right then I knew that this was what I wanted to do.  Bon Scott’s voice and stage presence blew me away.  That was a day that definitely changed my life!


How would you describe your own music and what are your musical influences?


Zetro: I have done a lot of different things with different projects, but I think the overall best description of my music is old school thrash metal.  Most of my name in the business was built around the success of ‘Fabulous Disaster’ from 1989.  That was definitely classic thrash metal!!  As far as influences, if you are speaking of my early ones, it would be the guitar driven rock and early metal of the late 70’s and early 80’s – bands like Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, and UFO.


What have been the highlights and low points throughout your career?


Zetro: They are all highlights.  Highlights are every time I put out a record and every time I go on tour, no matter what band I am in.  Being able to be considered what I am considered in the business is a high point.  Being able to do this interview thirty years later is a high point.  There are definitely disappointments in the business, but you can’t look at them as low points.  If you are looking for a low point in general, I think the 90’s were terrible for metal.  Anything from 1991 up until 2001 couldn’t get any attention anywhere.  Nobody wanted to hear it because there was a whole new scene and sound.  I don’t know why it happened but it seems that the whole industry just stepped on metal and crushed it. 


Could you respond to the following terms in just one word or sentence?


Metal:  My religion and my love.

Underground:  Where all metal starts!

Internet:  The double edged sword of metal.

Religion:  None!

Politics: A great thing to write metal lyrics about!

The Netherlands:  Love you motherfuckers!  You get two sentences, because we always base out of Amsterdam when we are in Europe.

USA:  I love my country, but I don’t necessarily agree with the hypocrisy in the government.


What makes Hatriot different from the other thrash bands out there?


Zetro: I think we take the old school elements that I helped pioneer and mix them with the newer elements of what’s going on today.  That is the cool thing about my band mates being much younger.  They are very tuned in to what is happening in the current scene – anything from Job For A Cowboy to The Faceless to Slipknot and Shadows Fall.  So I think you get the best of both worlds with Hatriot.  I think we have crossed it over pretty well and that’s why the response has been so good.  I don’t think too many people have pulled that off real well.



What is your opinion on the metal scene these days? What do you think of the overload of bands at the moment and is there anything missing in the scene?


Zetro: I think there is an overload in any scene in general, but I don’t think there is an overload in metal necessarily.  I used to think in the 80’s that it was cool to be in a band so that’s why every Tom, Dick, and Harry was forming a band.  That was the joke then with the glam metal bands.  If you could play three chords and puff your hair up you could start a band!  I think the bands that deserve to be here are definitely here.  Metal fans are very smart, so they can tell when something is not genuine.  You can’t put one over on them.  If it is good and solid they are going to support it.


Which goals did you have when started out as a singer back in the day and how do these goals stand now?


Zetro: My goals back then and my goals now are very similar.  I just wanted to be in a band where people would want to hear my music.  I dreamed as a kid of doing interviews, doing photo shoots, writing songs, and making albums.  All of that came true for me.  The goal now is to keep this thing going.  I don’t take any of this for granted.  I want to continue doing this for the rest of my life.


What can we expect from Hatriot in the near future, any touring plans?


Zetro: Yes, definitely.  First things first, we have to get the deal signed and get a record out.  From there we plan on touring the world.  I want to get into a routine like we did back in Exodus – record an album, then go on tour, then record another album, and then go back on tour.  That cycle worked well for us back then and I want to use the same plan for Hatriot.  My goal is to have three or four records out in the next few years and really establish the band in the metal world.


And what about the new Dublin Death Patrol album? Last year you played some shows in Holland and Belgium, and you announced that the new record was almost finished. Can you give us a little update about DDP?


Zetro: Yes, DDP has a new album coming out on July 13th.  It is called “Death Sentence” and it will be out on Mascot Records.  I am not sure how much promotion we will put into it, because Chuck has the new Testament record coming this summer as well, and I am one hundred percent devoted to Hatriot right now.  If we can find time with our schedules we may do a few shows to support DDP, but I don’t know for sure.


What happened to your other bands Tenet and AC/DZ, can we expect some new music from those bands as well?


Zetro: AC/DZ is an ongoing thing.  We do a couple of shows a month here in California.  We had originally planned on doing a record, but that is on hold for a while, because I am focusing on Hatriot.  At some point we may do one when the time is right.  Tenet was more of a project than a band.  That is Jed Simon’s baby.  All the guys from that group are very busy right now doing other things, but if we were to have the time I would definitely be open to recording with Tenet again at some point.  Right now all my eggs are in one basket, and that is with Hatriot.


Anything left to say to our readers?


Zetro: I want to thank all the Dutch fans for being so supportive of me throughout my entire career.  You all are very passionate about heavy metal and I can’t wait to meet everyone when Hatriot goes on tour.  Thanks again for everything!  ZETRO



Thanks for your time,

Eugene Straver




Current Members:

Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza – Vocals

Kosta Varvatakis – Guitars

Miguel Esparza – Guitars

Cody Souza – Bass

Alex Bent – Drums



2010 Hatriot – Hatriot