The Zet Is Back!

interview zetro hatriot exodus

Ever since Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza left Thrash legends Exodus back in 2004, music listeners have been wondering what he’s been up to. Sure there has been a side project here and there and occasional live appearance with Testament but nothing solid enough for fans to say ‘yeah, he’s been doing this for a while.’ So it was surprising when his agent contacted BRUTALISM with news that there was a new full time band up and going with Zetro leading the group, so we had get in touch and get to know what the man behind the ‘AC/DC screaming’ of Metal had in store for us.

Hello there, Zetro. How are things? You’re pretty much forty eight now and still going along like you’re twenty. How’s that feel?
It feels great, man! I sound better than I ever did from practice and just keeping up with my music. It’s my life. Hatriot (my new band) is going to be absolutely killer; it’s going to bring back the old Thrash sound that I was doing in the 80s and 90s with a bit of new stuff. It’s not going to be a re-hash of Exodus, though some might call it that…

Will you be working on your other projects as well?
No, Hatriot is full time. It’s not going to be like Dublin Death Patrol (Zetro’s other band with Chuck Billy of Testament) or Tenet (with Byron Stroud of Strapping Young Lad). We’re already getting set up with a deal between two different labels- can’t say who- but I promise once everything is settled we’ll be getting a new album out each year and doing national as well as international tours. Maybe we’ll even come see you (in San Diego), haha.

That would be awesome! I know you guys have the EP out for Hatriot it sounds great. You sound like a beast, like nothing has changed in the past twenty years. How can you still scream like that?
It’s all me, all practice. I don’t use any of that studio bullshit. Like I said I have never felt better on vocals than I have ever before. The only time I think I’ve come close to feeling this good is on my work with Tenet; that was a lot of fun and I’m very proud of what direction I’m taking myself in as a vocalist and a Heavy Metal lover. It’s all I do! This is my life and I want to give listeners something that is really Heavy Metal! You can’t bullshit us, you know? We can tell the difference between the crap and the really awesome stuff. Hatriot is going to be the awesome stuff.

So what will fans expect from Hatriot? Is there a particular message or idea you want to give to listeners?
No particular message at all. I guess you could say I got the idea of Hatriot partially based on Jesse Ventura, the former Vietnam Navy vet turned wrestler turned governor of Minnesota. He’s the ideal ‘Hatriot’ when you think about it. This isn’t going to be a concept album about him- no way- but you’ll definitely hear a lot of former Exodus and even when I was back in Testament in there, from ‘Tempo Of The Damned’ to ‘Pleasures Of The Flesh.’ But it’s not preachy- not this big ‘America is awesome’ or ‘America sucks,’ album- I hate it when I feel like I’m cramming a message down someone’s throat.

So I take it you’re not a fan of the whole ‘world may end in 2012…’ Hatriot may be your last band ever…
Nope. Don’t subscribe to that. I know people who go to church three days a week and believe God is the answer. I don’t believe that- music is MY answer. But, you can believe whatever you want, like I said, just as long as you don’t push it on other people. Whatever gets you through life, you know. So I’m in no way afraid that Hatriot may be my ‘last band,’ and I don’t intend to act like it is. Hatriot is going to be around for a looong time, haha.

Any idea of when you can expect a release date?
Probably early next year (2013). We actually have a music video coming up that we all paid for and did ourselves. It’ll be out there on YouTube and all those places; feel free to download or stream it. It’s going to be awesome because it gives listeners a look to see how we perform if they haven’t seen us live; they get to see me scream, my son play the bass… really see how much we Thrash. And the best part is that it’s going to be real quality- no bullshit. It’ll be like a MTV quality made music video that’s going to blow their minds!

That’s really cool that your son is in the band. He must have grown up with you as his idol.
Not so much an ‘idol,’ per say; I’m his dad and he grew up with my lifestyle of being a Metal Head. But it is cool that he’s in the band- we work really well together. But, then again I work well with everybody! Kosta (Hatriot’s guitarist) is amazing; he writes all the music and I write the lyrics so I am very fortunate to have him with me… to have pretty much everybody with me.

When looking at Hatriot and Metal today, do you think much has changed? I know that these days a lot of people out there have talent, and a lot of people just hammer out chords and scream with little backbone and they get signed. What do you think of that?
I know exactly what you mean! I’ve signed bands or heard demos and there are so many times that I’ve stared and said ‘Really… really you’re going to sign THESE guys?’ But this has always happened and always will happen. If you asked me what I thought of Metal twenty years ago, I’d still give the same answer. That’s why I’m pretty much trying to keep Hatriot old school Thrash, with modern touches of course.

Any modern bands out there you really emulate or love?
Machine Head! I love those guys! ‘Unto The Locust’ was awesome; I love so many riffs in there! In fact the guy who worked on the videos for ‘Unto The Locust’ is helping out with ours, so I’m really excited about that. Slipknot too… those guys just keep changing it up every time and it is very impressive. I haven’t ever collaborated with Robb Flynn or Joey Jordison, but we’ve talked and kept in contact, and it’s cool.

Is there anything you fear about Hatriot, like that people will say, ‘Oh you’re too much like Exodus…”
Nope. Don’t fear it all. Don’t care about criticism. People will take it as it is. I know I’m an old dude but Metal is my life and I’ve been doing this for so long I know I’m comfortable enough with what sound I want or concept and I’m able to pretty much say ‘fuck what you think about it!’ If you love it, great, if not… oh well. Understand man, I do NOTHING but music… aside from my other job(s) as a foreman. I get up and go to work almost every day and come home to work on my music, spend time with the family, and do interviews and press stuff like I’m doing here.

Wow, that’s intense and dedicated. Sorry if I took you away from your job to do this…
Don’t worry about it. I do this stuff for a living all the time. I usually get off at two in the afternoon so it’s totally fine, and even if not I’ll do it anyway! I’m not the most punctual but I will get it done! I just tell the other guys ‘OK, do this... I gotta do an interview!”  and I go. I had to do one yesterday and the guys was like, ‘Wow… a rock star called on time!’(laughs). No man, I appreciate what you and BRUTALISM are doing here… without you guys and other magazines, webzines, etc… we wouldn’t be here. So thank YOU for taking the time to do this with me!

Anytime! Got one last question though… always curious how you got the name ‘Zetro!’
Believe it or not: acid trip. Fourteen was sitting with my friend we were sitting in front of a stop sign and out of nowhere I just started saying ‘Zet.’ It caught on you know so at parties and stuff people always said ‘Hey, what’s up Zet!’ After a while someone threw in an ‘o’ somewhere and pretty much it has stuck ever since. I will always be Zetro!

Interviewer: devilmetal747
Jun 9, 2012

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