Interview With Hayg Terzian From Orcus
Hayg Terzian on lead guitar for the poignant yet darkly themed progressive black metal band called Orcus is quite a pleasant revelation. He is not one of the new breed of axe slingers that thinks going fast is the only way to impress anyone, yet he seems to be more than capable with both tremendous dexterity and ability to stir emotion from his notes, which is the highest compliment I think that can be paid to any electric guitarist, no matter what style of music they play. Orcus is a very unique and I believe meaningful unsigned metal band at this point in time and are due to be releasing their new album entitled Birth at a record release party Saturday, June 17th at the famed Whisky A Go Go.
Rocket: When did you first start playing the electric guitar?
Hayg: I picked up guitar at the age of 15 after hearing my friend play Pink Ployd songs. He taught me "Is There Anybody Out There" and after that is when I really seriously started getting into it.
Rocket: Very cool. Did you ever take any lessons or are you pretty much self-taught?
Hayg: I took lessons from a local music store for about a year. I wasn't able to drive at the time and the lessons were kinda expensive so I had to quit. Everything else after that first year is self taught.
Rocket: Who are the top three metal guitar players of past or present that have had the biggest influence on you?
Hayg: Needless to say Dimebag was one of the main three. Tony Iommi , because he is the riff master and in a way, neither one of us would be sitting here talking about metal if it wasn't for him... hahahaha. And third, I'm gonna have to go with Jeff Loomis from Nevermore. I've been getting into them more and more recently and he is an AMAZING guitarist. His style of soloing is just very appealing to me.
Rocket: Very good point about Iommi. He is certainly a crucial person to look to when talking about the most important guitarists in metal's epic history. What kind of guitars are you playing on stage and in the studio?
Hayg: On our album BIRTH, I mainly used my Gibson Les Paul, along with my Washburn Dimeslime. Both these guitars are used onstage and in the studio including an ESP F-250 and an Epiphone V.
Rocket: What kind of amp?
Hayg: PEAVEY PEAVEY PEAVEY PEAVEY.
Rocket: Wait a second. Peavey, right? Ha! Just need to make sure that was made damn clear.
Hayg: Hahaha, man... my first practice amp was small 60 watt peavey, and when I needed to go bigger I was skeptical . . . then I tried the Peavey XXX. That first power chord I hit was the closing deal. This amp is a definite paint peeler. No extra distortion needed. PERIOD.
Rocket: Do you play with any effects?
Hayg: At the moment, as far as effects go, I go through a BBE maximizer for the extra set of balls, and the Crybaby Dime Wah. I'm definitely looking into getting a wider range of sounds for solos though.
Rocket: What brand of strings do you use? And is it a heavy or lighter gauge that you prefer?
Hayg: I'm torn between DR and GHS. I LOVE GHS cause they have the signature Zakk Wylde series and you can tune those bastards down to whatever the hell you want. I LOVE the DRs cause they make this certain type of string caled the Black Beauties which are all covered with a coating that helps these string last for a LONG time. But all in all, I do prefer a heavier gauge string, nothing under 10s. I just feel I have more control with those as opposed to a lighter gauge which can feel floppy and loose.
Rocket: Right on.. do you hear that kids? Uncle Hayg is taken you to school on this stuff. I hope you all are writing this down in detail. How does the songwriting process work for this band?
Hayg: It's definitely a team effort. Each member encourages everyone else to come to the studio with their own material. Whatever we don't like, we toss. Whatever we like, we use. Simple as that.
Rocket: From a personal standpoint, how did Dimebag Darrell's murder affect you?
Hayg: Oh man, at first when my friend told me I thought it was a big joke. Then he sent me a news article. In high school, Pantera and Metallica were my life, more so with Pantera. Just seeing pictures of Dime you can tell he was such a nice and loving guy. I was crushed when I heard of his tragic death. But on the other hand, I was fortunate enough to see Pantera on their Reinventing The Steel Tour in 2001 before all that bullshit with Phil started. I'm sorry to anyone who still likes that guy, but I cant even stand hearing his voice anymore, clean and sober my ass, just watch the Behind The Music on Pantera.
Rocket: Each to their own on that subject matter for sure... it's compelling and sensitive stuff still after all this time that Dime was taken away. Onto a lighter topic, what's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you on stage?
Hayg: Hahaha, when we played the House Of Blues a few months back, I was coming down with a nasty cold that day it seemed. While on stage playing, my nose was running really bad. So as im playing and headbanging, I can feel snot flying out my nose and landing who knows where. After the song was finished, I looked down at my forearm and was not too surprised to see a huge goop of wet boogers jiggling around...hahaha.
Rocket: So much for eating lunch today. I think I'm gonna be sick! Ha! So how was the Obituary show at The Whisky A Go GO on May 23rd for Orcus? That had to be a dream come true, playing on the same bill with the legendary death metal act. I just want to send a special thanks to Andrew for not inviting me to the damn show! Hahaha... oh well, so much for being significant. Hahaha.
Hayg: It was a great and fun show. Before we went onstage though, we ran into every god damn problem you could imagine, from no sound check, no room on the stage, no dressing room. We ended up sitting out in the hall on the stairs by the fire escape and warming up before our set because we got assed out of our room by another band which id love to rail but shall keep them un-named, probably better for people not to know about them anyway, save them the agony.
Rocket: What will be some of the upcoming Orcus shows in June we need to be aware of? And do me a favor and please mention to Andrew that maybe I oughta be included in this one. Haha. Andrew, I'm just playing around... you know how much I like you. He really is a good guy. (insert ass kissing FX here)
Hayg:June 17th, we're holding our album release show at the Whisky where we'll be playing tracks off of our debut album, Birth (THANK YOU ANNA AND ANDREW AND EVERYONE AT POISON CAROUSEL PRODUCTIONS!!!) We'll also be headlining the Key Club July 7th, and we definitely hope to see everyone there.
Rocket: That is so awesome, bro. Thanks for taking time out to shoot the metal music breeze with all of us. I am really excited for you guys. Give a shout out to your biggest supporters
Hayg: First and foremost my family. My parents and sister have given me nothing but endless and unconditional love and support with our band. They've been to every show ON TIME ahahah! Same deal with my girlfriend. She is front row center everyshow!!!! And ofcourse all our loving and lovable friends and fans. Needless to say, we'd be nothing without you.
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