When I saw thrashers Conditional Critical a live show recently I was very impressed. Then after hearing the bands cd, I knew it was a time for an interview so here in an interview with lead singer/guitar player Alonso Maguiño:
Have you lived in NJ all your life and what do you think of NJ these days?
Nah, I was born in Lima, Peru. I moved to the states when I was 9 years old. I think NJ is still NJ. fun/crazy/cool place to live I guess. There's a reason why they call this place dirty jersey!
At what age did you start to get into music and what were some of the 1st bands that you heard?
I got into it when I was 7 years old when I was still living in Peru. One of my aunts lived in states back then and she used to send me all the new releases from the U.S. at that time. The newer Metallica and Megadeth stuff from back in 98'.
When did you discover the wonderful world of heavy metal and what were some of the 1st bands that you heard and liked and are you still fans of any or all those bands these days?
It was when I was 7-8 years old. I watched a lot of MTV back then when they actually played music videos and I used to like Metallica and Megadeth a lot. After that I found Testament, Kreator, and so on. Those bands still influenced me a lot.
Were you in any bands before Conditional Critical and if so which bands and how did you end up joining Condition Critical?
Yea I started playing in bands when I was 16. Started out at a garage and playing small fire hall shows. It started to get serious when I joined "Legionary", a death metal band from the Bronx, NY. After that band broke up, I decided to start a Thrash Metal band so I turned to the internet to find musicians. I saw Ryan's (our old drummer) ad about trying to form an old school thrash band and I responded. The rest is history.
Where do you see the underground in 5 years and then in 10 years?
Hopefully on a bigger stage, although the "underground" is good I guess because it keeps a very simple and honest community together.
How did you come up with your and name at the time did you know it came from a Quiet Riot album ha ha? Are you happy with the name nowadays?
Ha-ha well a lot of different ideas were floating around at the time. We actually had 3 songs written before we even got the name. Our first band name was actually "Tortured Existence" but then we decided to change it for obvious reasons ha-ha. One day, "Condition Critical" came up and everyone kind of nodded and it stuck around. Later we found out that it was a Quiet Riot album and we were like "f***" but whatever, it stuck around ha-ha.
Do you feel you’re an original band music wise and for somebody who has never heard you, what would you say you sound like?
A lot of people say we sound like a mix of Slayer, Demo Hammer, and old Kreator because of my vocals so I guess that's a good thing because those bands kick ass. We really just write what we would like to hear. We don't go for a specific "sound".
Do you feel you’re a good live band and are any live concert clips floating around on say You Tube?
Like almost every band out there, we have our good shows and our bad shows but overall I think we do a pretty good job. Everyone always comes up to us after the gig and just hang out and tell us how much fun they had so that's a good thing. Playing Thrash Metal also helps a lot because the music itself is so damn energetic that it's kind of hard to have a bad boring show.
How does the coming of a song come together and what song so far has been the toughest to write and same with the lyrics?
Basically everyone contributes in some way or another when it comes to writing the music or lyrics. Sometimes one of us would come in with a full song written or maybe just a couple of riffs and we all contribute from there. I think the album "Operational Hazard" was hard for us to write. After we released our demo "Bred to Kill", a lot of people expected us to go beyond that and I think at that time we were over thinking it so things got a little rough but I think in the end we pulled through. We're all pretty happy with the album.
What bands have you shared the stage with so far and do you have a favorite show you have played so far?
Man, there were so many great shows and bands. Of course my personal favorite is still our gig in Philly with Whiplash and Morbid Saint. Everything went perfect during that show; from the crowd to the bands and sound. I honestly enjoy every show though. We just recently did a tour around the U.S. with the bands Killing Session and Insinnerator and I must say that every show on that tour was fun and special one way or another.
I have one release from you, the cd called "Operational Hazard". How long has that been out and how have the reviews/response been to it so far?
It's been for a little bit over a year now and the feedback has been amazing. Everyone really digs it and they always tell us that it's like a breath of fresh air which is cool I think.
What was it like going into the studio to record it? Did everything pretty much go smooth and where did you record it at?
It was definitely an adventure ha-ha. There was some arguing going on almost every day but I think that helped the album become what it is today. Everyone was just so worried about every little detail that all the fighting sort of helps the album in the end.
Are you starting to write music for a new release in 2014?
We do have a couple of songs/ideas/riffs floating around but nothing set in stone yet. We're focusing on our touring plans for this upcoming summer for now but once that's done, we'll definitely be hitting the studio again with some new material.
Do you as a band have any goals and of so, what are some?
The reason why this band is still alive is because we all have the same goal. Basically make music and tour for a living. We all know that we'll never be rich from doing this but that's not the reason we play Thrash. We do it because we love it and that's it.
Tell me a bit about each band member and in any given week, how many hours are spent doing band related stuff?
Mike (bassist) is the only other original member besides me. He's an amazing musician and he's always keeping the good spirit of the band alive. He sure does like his shots and beers before every show though! Tony (lead guitar) is just a crazy bastard. He has the tendency of freaking out over nothing but that's what makes Tony, Tony ha-ha. Dimitry (drummer) is a cool hard working dude. Pretty weird at times but fun to hang out with. Don't pass around him! You've been warned. We all talk to each other every day whether is through Facebook or on the phone. We practice once a week because we all sort of live far away from each other and we still have jobs so it’s difficult to schedule a set practice day. It varies from week to week.
What are some of your favorite concerts you have seen and what are some of your favorite bands?
My favorite band is always going to be Megadeth because they were the ones that made me realize what I really wanted with my life which is play guitar. Some of the best shows that I've attended were the Testament shows. They were always great and a lot of fun. And of course the Big 4 concert. I had mosh pit tickets; that was definitely an experience that I'll never forget.
What are some things you like to do when you’re not doing band related things and what do your parents think about you being in a band and have they ever seen you live?
I like to go to the gym and play fútbol (soccer). It keeps me in shape and healthy for the shows especially since I also do vocals, I try to stay as healthy as possible. I don't think any of our parents have ever attended any of our shows. It's not that they don't want to go, we just never invite them ha-ha. We really appreciate them though. All of us are very fortunate to have very supporting parents that also believe in our dreams.
When you listen to a band or a song, what are some of things you listen for and in your ears, what makes a good song?
Being a guitar player, I always listen for that one riff that makes the song complete. Also the drumming is very important to me especially in Thrash Metal. I like to have some Death Metal drumming in the songs too; it brings out the "brutal" stuff in a lot of songs that are just too bland and boring.
What are some of the things you like about NJ and some of the things you hate about NJ?
A lot of newer thrash bands are popping out of nowhere in the area so that's a good thing. Also the history that NJ has with Thrash Metal is insane. I mean the first Metallica album was recorded around here. I can't really think of anything that I "hate" about jersey except maybe the traffic and the shitty weather that we've been having ha-ha.
Who did the cover art for your cd and how did you come up with the idea?
The famous Ed Repka did our cover. We've always dug his stuff and I'm a huge Megadeth fan so after we decided to go with him, I was stoked. We're all very happy with the art work.
If you had to cover 3 songs, what songs would they be and why?
"Beneath the Remains" by Sepultura because that song kicks ass and me being a South American too, I think it would be pretty cool. ".44 Caliber Brain Surgery" by Demolition Hammer. We covered this song before but I would like to again. It's a very aggressive song. And finally, "Dyer's Eve" by Metallica. I personally like everything in that song and I've always wanted to cover one Metallica song
Please plug any websites and merchandise you have.
Main site: http://www.conditioncriticalthrash.com
Merch Store: http://www.shop.burnedbygodrecords.com
Any last words, horns up for the interview and keep thrashing
Thanks for taking an interest on us! We really appreciate all the support from everyone so far. It's been a great ride and we hope to make you guys happy with our music for years to come.
Interview by Chris Forbes
Answers by Alonso Maguino (g./v.)