Interview With Seth Uldricks Of Southern Cross
In the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the residents of Asheville, North Carolina may not know it just yet, but this wonderful place to live has bred Southern Cross, one of underground metal music's brightest new talents. Southern Cross is made up of Seth on vocals, Jenna on lead guitar, Ranke on bass and Maxfield playing the drums. They blend the obvious Southern flavor of bands like Eyehategod, Down and Soilent Green with the battering til your knocked out monster riff assault of Pantera and Corrosion Of Conformity. They are quickly gaining thousands of fans via Myspace in a frenzy that seems to have no slowdown in sight. They are working on their debut CD and have been stomping through venues all over their local area with other blazing underground acts, like Evansville, Indiana's Deliver Us From Evil. I wanted to get more in depth now with this rising act, and so I am pleased to present this discussion with their extremely gifted and highly outspoken singer, Seth Uldricks.
Rocket: So are you originally from Asheville, Carolina?
Seth: Well, I was born and raised in a small town out side of Asheville called Candler. It's just a pain in the ass to say that I'm from Candler and then have to explain that it's just out side of Asheville cause they've never heard of it. So I just give 'em that. Either way, I'm a product of the South and fucking proud of it! It's one of the few things I've been blessed with in my life besides my music and my beautiful woman! And while I'm at it, goddamn it let me make one thing perfectly clear to all the dumb fuck ass holes out there who think just because I fly the Rebel Flag high and proud that I am living in ignorance or treason!! The only ignorance here exists on their side with the way they persecute us and our heritage. Go learn some goddamn history! Were not flying the flag of confederate government or lifting up the atrocities of slavery - of any people in any time period! It's about Southern Pride and rising above that bullshit!! It's about being your own person and not letting anyone tell you what the fuck to do or how to live your goddamn life, rebelling against what you know isnt right - and that is oppression of any kind!
Rocket: Mighty hails on that one, bro. Let these people know what's on yer damn mind. Ha! So when did you first start singing? And did you ever take any vocal lessons?
Seth: I started playing guitar right around the time I started singing. When I was about 12 - 13 years old I found this old beat up acoustic guitar out in this shed we had behind the house. After dickin' around on that for a bit, a buddy of mine noticed I was starting to get interested in music. He asked me if I wanted to sing in the 8th grade talent show. We were gonna play "Enter Sandman." Ha ha ha...if you could've only seen it, man - bunch of chubby ass kids jamming some Metallica. I gave it my best shot, but I was God awful! However, that sparked something in me that changed my life, man. Over time I was able to develop my voice and gain control over those goddamn vocal chords. It took a good while as I floated between bands but I never took singing lessons - just like I never took guitar lessons. And just like with the guitar, I find that when you can discover it on your own, you play with so much more soul - because that's all you know. Don't get me wrong - you must learn at least some of the technical aspects to become truly great - but you can only get so far on theory. Singing is the same way in many respects. Although, singing lessons are not a bad idea. It could only enlarge that muscle memory - as long as you don't let that crap overshadow your soul, which is where it should come from!
Rocket: I definitely agree on all that you just said. Too much of the metal music we hear today is formula-driven... totally devoid of soul. And that's what drew me to your band when I first discovered you. Who are a few metal vocalists past or present that have been the biggest influence for you?
Seth: Well,- that goes all over the place brother. It's not just the throat of metal that I look to for guidance!! Eddie Vedder, Stevie Ray Vaughn (RIP), Phil Anselmo, Glen Rambo (RIP), Cash (RIP), DIO, B.B. King, Pepper Keenan. Shit, I'll fuckin say it - even Etta James and all those bad ass early Motown mother fuckers!! There are just way too many to list. But I'll say it like this, I'm influenced by any one who sings with their heart and soul - from the gut - and maybe with a bit of that ol' Suthern drawl!
Rocket: Exactly when did Southern Cross form as a band?
Seth: The idea of Southern Cross developed a long time ago. I was fuckin tired of all the mainstream bullshit bands I was jamming with. I wanted to go harder and more Southern. And and they all wanted was to back off a bit. All the while, my tastes and influences were getting meaner and darker - and I was developing an intense feeling of pride for my homeland. I looked and looked for so long but I couldn't find any one who was into that shit. So in late 2005, I started jamming with some musicians out of Asheville with the hopes that this was finally it. Those guys were great and all very talented - but after a while it became obvious that it just wasn't working. Shortly after time spilled into 2006 I met up with bassist Adam Ranke and he helped keep the dream alive. He and Jenna were both looking for the exact same thing I had been looking for and as we started jamming, it seemed almost as if all the bullshit in life was laying bricks to this inevitable path. Enter Jenna's little brother Max on drums and there you have it. Officially it was some time around February 2006.
Rocket: Wow, that's not too long ago, is it? Well, from your current demos, I can certainly hear the Pantera influence going on in your sound. Can you tell me some other metal bands that this band looks to for inspiration?
Seth: Collectively we take a massive amount of influence from all the kick ass NOLA bands out there. Eyehategod, Down, COC, Crowbar, etc... but what's great about this band is that each member comes from a little different place in there influences. Ranke comes from Old school punk and hardcore with some outlaw country thrown in there. Max loves him some low-fi gut busting black metal. Jenna is a child of the 80's and loves everything from thrash to the Crew. And I love the goddamn blues and the power grooves of the early 70's to the 90's. But all together we find common ground on SOUTHERN HEAVY METAL!
Rocket: Speaking of Pantera, how did Dimebag Darrell's on-stage murder affect you personally?
Seth: Goddamn it, man... all the rock god stuff aside - he was an innocent human being murdered by a selfish son of a bitch!!! It was heartbreaking to all that loved his music - and I was very much one of them. I can't say too much more about that.
Rocket: Right on. On a lighter note, what's the funniest thing that's happened to you on the stage?
Seth: Ha ha ha...oh fuck! I was in this band once where we had a douche bag of drummer. He was the manager at a pool and they were having some sort of fund raiser event down there with food/raffle tickets/and entertainment. Our drummer signed us up to be the entertainment. I was pretty pumped. I was thinking that there would be some bad ass kids our age down at the pool. Some metal head guys - and some hot ass metal head chicks. We get there...and goddamn it, there was nothing but little children and old ladies...HA HA HA ! We played the show - but they did NOT enjoy it to say the fuckin least!!!! Now that's hilarious right there!!
Rocket: Oh hell yeah. Force feed them the heavy shit! Tell me, who are some of the other local metal bands on your scene right now that you are really impressed by?
Seth: I'll tell you what - those record labels better sit up and take notice of the Appalachian Mountains and the surrounding areas of North Carolina/South Carolina because they are missing out on some bad ass musicians. I'm a big fan of INTETHOD!!! They've got a bad ass Megadeth sound going on. We just got done playing a show with DIXIE DEATH WISH - now that's some goddamn heavy metal!! Dissent, Muleface, Cerberus, One Shot Kills, Thoracopagus, Juggernaut, Calus, Weedeater - just to name a very small few - there are so many more out there that we all know personally and fuckin love their music - not to mention the heart they put into it.
Rocket: Do you ever takeout time to answer your fan mail on Myspace?
Seth: Hell yeah - we try to get back to as many people as possible!! Some times when you get a ton of e-mails its hard to keep up with everyone - but we love to stay in contact with any one who gives us a holler on that ol' myspace. And it's cool when we finally get to meet 'em at a show. When any one takes the time out of their lives to show us some love we feel it big time!! And we send it right back!
Rocket: What metal record labels do you respect the most?
Seth: Any label that WILL NOT compromise the music made by their bands and will work hard with them as a team.
Rocket: Southern Cross is actually recording some new material right now as I understand it. Can you tell me more about that? Is it going to be an EP or an actual full length?
Seth: Yeah man - we're very proud of our first "demo" that is about to come out. It's called "THE SOUTH IS RISING!" and info on how to get it will be up on our myspace (www.myspace.com/southerncrossband) within the next two weeks or so. You could call it an LP because it'll be a 6 song disk. Even though it's sort of a demo - we approached it like an album in that we felt we were creating a document of something we loved more than anything - something that was very special and we hope will last through out our lives and beyond - and it shows!! I'm very proud of Max, Ranke, and Jenna for all the hard work they've put into it - and I feel it's the best work I've ever done!!! The next song that we'll have up on myspace off the album is called "Purge." What I love about SOUTHERN CROSS is that each one of our songs is different, and the same goes for this one. It's a bit slower at first - but keep your asses in the seat cause after the sonic heroin gets done with you the song gets right back up and kicks you in the fuckin ass!!! It'll be up before the end of the week!
Rocket: Awesome. I know tons of us in the underground are waiting for that! What are a few of the next upcoming shows for Southern Cross?
Seth: We're workin on 'em right now!! We're taken a short break because I have to go to Europe for school for about 18 days - but after that we're gonna be booking like crazy. One that we're VERY excited about is the DOOMED TO FALL festival in San Antonio, Texas. It's this massive doom/sludge/southern metal fest that they're putting on at the Sanctuary. We'll be down there in October on the weekend of the 20th, 21st, and 22nd with such bad ass bands as SUPLECS and THE HAZARD COUNTY GIRLS. Otherwise, if there are any clubs, bands, promoters, or booking agents out there who want the CROSS at a show - give us a holler on myspace or send us an e-mail at email@example.com.
Rocket: Thanks for taking time out with me. Give a shoutout to you biggest supporters.
Seth: Hail the SOUTH first and foremost!! And much respect goes out to Frank Glover and his wife Crystal!! They have been beyond bad ass and very supportive!! If any one ever needs any tile work, you give Frank a holler at firstname.lastname@example.org. A big thanks to Kelly from Mz.Metal Promotions and her husband Shawn!! Thanks to all the bad ass mother fuckers in the SOUTHERN CROSS ARMY who have come out time and time again to our shows to bang their heads with us!! And last but not least - brother Rocket!! Thanks for all the help from you and The Metal Den!
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