First of all – can you introduce yourself?
My name is Okoi Jones at the ripe age of 33. I come from a loving, musical home, my mother being swiss and my father english/nigerian, and 3 younger sisters living around the globe. I was born in Switzerland, but my parents immigrated to New Zealand when I was 4 years old, so I have spent a proportionate part of my life there, having only moved back to Europe in 2006. My sisters and I attended a Rudolf Steiner school, furthering my interest for music, art and history. My father Paul Ubana Jones has made guitar and voice his life’s profession and I guess having him as a role model and the plethora of musical styles I grew up with at home spurred me to pick up the guitar at 12.
Can you tell us about your band Bölzer?
We are a duo from Zürich, playing a more unconventional hybrid of the black and death metal disciplines. Master of percussive disasters HzR and myself began jamming together back in 2008 and a tangible direction was established soon afterward. Our music is in essence minimalistic, utilizing only one guitar, voice and drums. This initially came about out of necessity as we were unable to find a suitable bassist, but soon grew fond of the challenge we faced when writing and performing with sparse instrumentation. The concept of the band and my lyrics revolve heavily around existentialism, philosophy, history and a general love for nature and the human condition.
What peaked your interest and got you into death and black metal in the first place?
I always loved the 70’s rock records my parents had, and it wasn’t long before I was listening to Nirvana, Metallica, Slayer and Obituary – much to my mother’s dismay I might add! During this time I started making music with a few friends, and black metal became a big passion of mine. It was the perfect soundtrack to a tumultuous adolescence, with a fascination for all things unconventional and existential. I continue to listen to a wide variety of music, including a lot of classical but my fascination with the heavier tonal spectrum remains strong… the sounds of existence!
Reading older interviews, you’ve mentioned that you’re into psychedelic drugs, which might come as a surprise to a lot of people as you’re not exactly the flower lovin’ paisley kinda guy that pops to mind when talking about LSD, acid and mushrooms – how big of a role does the psychedelics play in the music you make?
Haha, well I believe that was intended to be a passing comment, but it seems to have secured itself regular appearances ever since! We are not the drug-fueled psychonauts some take us to be, at least not to the extent of allowing any kind of substance to directly influence our music. We very rarely consume anything grossly mind-altering and even then it never finds it’s way onto a stage or rehearsal room. Needless to say, the experiences we’ve had left a lasting positive impression I’m sure and certainly allow us to view certain aspects of life from a different angle. We are both very imaginative and curious by nature so doing things differently comes naturally.
You just released your debut album ‘Hero’ a couple of weeks ago – how was the build up and the process of doing so?
Arduous! Well at least with respects to completing the artwork and layouts, and then coordinating the finer details with the pressing plant. We are well accustomed to obstacles as a band – if anything can go wrong it usually does! But any hindrances only make you stronger, so we see the process as fruitful either way. The recordings as such went very well, only more time was needed to reach a satisfactory mix which was obtained in the end. Everything was done with two stellar engineers and friends, Michael Zech and Victor Santura at the Woodshed Studio in Bavaria, so a very enjoyable, albeit demanding time! We remain overwhelmed with the growing response to the new record, something we are very grateful for!
Which three words would you use to describe the album?
Warm, resplendent and courageous.
And last but not least, why Orange?
Because aside from good looks they give my guitar the gain-laden voice of death she needs to perform victoriously on the fields of reckoning! The suffocating drone I get from my low A string and a hot Rockerverb is unmatched!