Interview With Tom Wylde Of Wylde Metal Radio
Chicago, Illinois is the home to one of the hottest underground radio shows on the net called WYLDE RADIO on the Cygnus Internet station. The host is outspoken and truer to the heavy metal scene than most. His name is Tom Wylde and I wanted to give all of you a chance to learn more about the work that he does, so I tracked him down and got this interview done.
Rocket: How long have you been doing the internet radio thing, bro?
Tom: September 28th will be the one year anniversary of Wylde Radio, Rocket. About a year ago Swan at Cygnus said I should do a show because I'm fuckin' passionate about music and I kicked it around until she said she'd penciled me into the schedule. Then it was like, either put up or shut up.
Rocket: So then you are realtively new to the Cygnus radio station, right?
Tom: Actually, I started at Cygnus. I simulcasted my show to another station for several months but I left because the drama there wasn't worth it. I do this for the music-the artists and the listeners-and everything else isn't worth it.
Rocket: Right on. So are you a native of Chicago, Illinois? You know, oddly enough, I was born in Cook County, brother.
Tom: Born and bred here, man. Living on the N'West Side now. I've lived in a few different cities for short amounts of time over the years and always end up back here after missing the Chicago traffic, smog, sirens, random gunshots and mostly some of the coolest metal heads in the world.
Rocket: When did you first start listening to metal music?
Tom: Probably before it was even called 'metal'. I think what moved me past the hard rock scene into true metal was Metallica's Master Of Puppets album. I remember buying that vinyl along with Ozzy's Ultimate Sin album like it was yesterday and wearing out two of 'em.
Rocket: What are the specific sub-genres of metal that you play the most on your program? Do you cover it all from progressive to industrial to black metal?
Tom: I spin everything from some Lacuna Coil to Dimmu Borgir to outright thrash like Witchery and Kataklysm, Rocket. I don't believe in the labels good metal's had attached to it as sub-genre's. As a musician myself for several years, my taste is everything that rocks me like it has a fuckin' pair and I call it metal. It doesn't matter to me if it's Dragonforce or Fate's Warning, Arch Enemy, Fear Factory, Level-C, Evergrey or Napalm Death, man. If a song's good, it's good. On Wylde Radio, I stay true to two constants and that's ALWAYS playing music that's independent label or unsigned and the only other requirement is it has to be something that kicks me in the ass every time I spin it. If it doesn't make my head bang, I don't expect it to rock my listeners.
Rocket: I know how much you push the underground scene and it's absolutely killer. Now is that more the Chicago scene or are you hooking it up nationwide and playing bands from all over the states?
Tom: I'm more than disappointed in the lack of support of the metal scene all over the world, Rocket. There's a local scene fucking everywhere! While I admit a soft spot for my own scene here in Chicago, it's more to show by example that no matter where you're at, you can get the fuck up off the couch and go out to a local club, even in Bumblefuck Nowhere, Kansas or Oklahoma, get your hand stamped and support your local bands. Buy the swag. Visit their website. I've had a standing offer since I started Wylde Radio... if you go out and don't have a good time, I'll personally refund your money. So far, no takers. So yeah, it doesn't matter where you're at... there's a metal scene and it's up to everyone that bangs their heads and shakes their tails to get metal out of the underground in this country.
Rocket: Who are some of the better unsigned bands you've helped promote this year? You work with Skank, right?
Tom: Yeah, Skank's probably the hardest working band in Chicago. They haven't recorded a new song in 2 1/2 years and still fill every club date and are involved in the scene here nearly every weekend, whether it's doing gigs or supporting other wicked sick bands like Kastasyde, Chainsaw, Pist or even DJ'ing metal nights at a primarily hardcore punk club here. Had Johnny, Clay and the rest of the Skank gang in my studio a week or two ago, and like I said earlier, some the coolest metal heads in the world are right here in Chicago. Other bands... man, thank you for the chance to hook up some sick ass unsigned mutherfuckers! How many days do we have? lol... ok, to mention a few favorites of mine, Mindrought out of Detroit never fails to kick my ass, Asylum 414 (www.myspace.com/asylum414), a chick from NYC named Purple Pam (www.purplepam.com) has a 6 octave vocal range that constantly amazes the hell outta me. AnaDies out of Colorado Springs fuckin' rocks and Psycotron from NYC also are original rockers that don't bend under label pressure. These are just a few that I always expect to hear of signing a contract and deserve everything good that comes their way. I could go on for days on great unsigned bands that should have contracts.
Rocket: What was the last CD you actually went out and bought?
Tom: Let's see... I just bought Threat Signal's 'Under Reprisal' release and All Shall Perish 'The Price Of Existence' Both kick ass albums.
Rocket: What's been your favorite metal album for 2006 so far?
Tom: Man, tough one... so many killer releases this year! Norther's 'Till Death Unites Us', Callenish Circle's 'Pitch Black Effect', Metal Church's 'A Light In The Dark' is their best work ever, and moving over to the industrial end of the spectrum, Ministry's 'Rio Grande Blood' is their most original and ambitious work to date. Strapping Young Lad's 'The New Black' and Mystic Prophecy's 'Savage Souls' kick major ass, too. Not a 'throw away' song in any of these albums. All of these albums are favorites of this year so far. Too hard to pick just one, brother. Ask me again at the end of the year. Haha.
Rocket: What's your opinion of the current Rock scene? I mainly speak of the greedy corporate pop-rock bullshit that is being jammed down all our throats as the real deal.
Tom: Ready for a rant? lol. As far as the corporate major label suits (or MLS or Majorus Labia Shitheads as I fondly refer to them), these pricks have been trying to tell people what metal is by regurgitating their garbage on corporate owned FM like Clear Channel and have, in effect, ruined the rock scene along with FM radio. They care only about the numbers and sexing up or dumbing down true rock and roll to reach that 70% of their 18-34 demographic. Whoever's going to fill their already fat pockets with advertising dollars is what they're going to tell the sheep to listen to by having it spun 50 times a day on FM. Creed is NOT metal. Nickleback is formulaic pop music. Even Disturbed does what I call pop Tool. Clone bands... I tell my listeners to listen to whatever it is that rocks them and don't let themselves be told what's good by the RIAA reporting corporations. One good indicator that good metal is coming out of the underground are the number of truly dope metal bands that have gotten out of corporate contracts and have signed with indie labels. It just shows that the corporate business model doesn't work anymore... and they're too fucking lame and stubborn to change it to benefit the artists. They've done it in Europe and everyone makes enough money to keep recording and kickin' out killer tunage... they do awesome shows like Gigantour and Wacken and metal is NOT underground in Europe, but a respected and accepted genre. Finnish rockers Norther were actually nominated for the Euro version of the Grammy's this year. This country's corporate response to 'metal' has been to create the RIAA and arrest 12 year olds for downloading and sharing Staind songs. That's the biggest reason I put my time into promoting independent local scene artists. That, and artists that rock in the true spirit of metal... for the music and for their fans.
Rocket: So talk about the overall format of your show for everyone. If they were to actually tune in, break it down as to what they'd be getting from your entire program.
Tom: The best independent edge rock/metal I can find from all over the world, Rocket, is on at www.cygnusradio.com on Sundays from 2-6pm EST, Tuesday afternoons 3-6pm EST and Thursday nights 11pm-3am. I do a two hour podcast featured artist show on Fridays from 8-10pm EST with SwanSpirit that's just evolved from a one to two hour show. I try to be engaging and just hang with my listeners because it's not about me, bro... it's about the music. I try not to throw my own political, social or socio-economic commentary into the show because it's not about that... it's not about me. Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll without the drugs, baby. Metal is my drug, (although I'm not beyond twisting up and blasting a blunt or two on the air), but the main thing is just good music and fun. If it's not fun, it's not worth doing. I pay attention to my listeners that constantly hang in my chatroom and make it as interactive as possible because I'm just the guy spinnin' the tunage. I look at every show as an opportunity to just hang out with good friends and have fun and bang our heads and get the girls to shake their tails. Every show I tell my listeners to support their local scene, wherever they are, because it's up to them to pull metal out of the underground in this country... the majorus labia shitheads aren't gonna do it.
Rocket: How has Myspace helped out in all of this? Do you spend much time promoting from your page?
Tom: MySpace has revolutionized the way people listen to music, find new music and new artists on a mass scale. There's what... 104 million profiles on myspace? 250, 000 band pages... and I'm don't think more than 10,000 of them are corporate signed artists. There's a lot of tasty new tunage people are exposed to every day from all over the world. I think myspace is one of the best marketing tools in the world if used right, but being a co-owner and admin at Cygnus Radio keeps me busy and I don't really utilize myspace as much as I could beyond bulletins announcing shows are on and an On Air sign I use as my default pic while I'm on air. Most of my listeners are from word of mouth. I think if the corporate suits that own MySpace leave the music alone, it will be a major kick in the ass to help change the business model of music here. The more music people can hear for the sake of the songs instead of being told what artists to listen to, the more the industry is going to have to take notice and realize that formats like MP3 are here to stay.
Rocket: What's been your worst moment so far with the show?
Tom: Rocket, as you know, brother, the internet is still infrastructure that we can't control... servers go down, routers and backbones go down, ISP's have random problems. Everytime my listeners get disconnected or my show is interrupted is a worse moment. Fortunately, we've gotten the most stable stream and site servers we can find so we've minimized internet problems as much as possible, but that variable will be in place for a long time, I think. Sometimes it's like, goddamn Al Gore for ever inventing the fucking thing to begin with. Haha.
Rocket: What's the best?
Tom: Every time I hear a new artist that does nothing but remind me why I started banging my head in the first place and makes my ears bleed and I get to turn my listeners on to it, it's a best moment. Makes my dick hard. Every time a listener tells me they got turned onto a new band on Wylde Radio, went and bought the album it's a best moment, brother. Every time someone tells me they didn't really get into metal until they listened to my show, it tells me that every fucking second and every cent I spend doing this has been worth it all. Right after starting Wylde Radio, someone asked me why, when I have the medium to and opportunity to have a worldwide audience, did I choose to do metal. The answer was simple... I didn't choose metal. Metal chose me, mutherfucker.
Rocket: Hell yeah. That's the hardcore answer to give them. So it looks like the tables are going to be turned here shortly and you are going to interview me next week on your radio show. I'll be calling in next Thursday at 8:30PM PST/11:30PM EST. I'm sure we're going to have quite a few of my loyal Den Headz tune in for that, so I'll catch you later, brother. Thanks for taking the time on this with me. Go ahead and give a shout out to your biggest supporters.
Tom: I want to thank YOU for all your support of the metal scene, Rocket. You kick shit out the way it really is and the world needs more of that.Can't wait to have you on the show, Rocket. It's always awesome to have the chance to kick it with supporters of the scene and you're one of the biggest I know. It's gonna rock meeting some other Den Headz. I can't think of biggest supporters of my show without thinking of Purple Pam, Cheez, and everyone else that faithfully tunes in every time I'm on the air. Jim (from Post Mortem Grinner) you rock, brotha, and of course, Swan and everyone else at Cygnus Radio. Every one of my listeners rocks hell outta me, keeps it fun and drama free. They're ALL rock stars, brother, even if they don't know it yet.
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