Crannk Interviews Psykotribe Guitarist Jamez Madness

Hailing out of Tampa are Psykotribe a heavy metal outfit,family and a band that have been a stalwart of the Florida Underground Heavy Metal scene for the last ten years, in which time Psykotribe have shared the stage with the likes of Deicide, Dying Fetus, Morbid Angel, The Faceless, Combichrist, Cradle of Filth, Mushroomhead, Doll Skin, Goatwhore, The Agonist, Soilwork, Doyle, Mortiis, Thy Art is Murder, and most recently supported Six Feet Under across Europe.

Psykotribe mixes death,black metal Industrial and thrash influences and combines it with the brutally beautiful dual vocal assault from Dana Darkly and Jacob Sin while weaving it all together with great musicianship. Psykotribe recently released their debut LP “The Devil’s Complex” which is a really great album vocally and musically, It also features a track “End It” in which the legendary Megadeth Bassist David Ellefson plays on and that track also appeared on his “Sleeping Giants” solo release.

I recently caught up with Jamez Madness Guitarist, unofficial head of the Tribe and all round cool guy to talk first instruments, David Ellefson, playing with Six Feet Under and all things Psykotribe. Check it out then go Crannk the heck out of their latest release “The Devil’s Complex” I’ll add in links down the bottom of the interview.

G’day Jai That Aussie Metal Guy here with Crannk,thank you so much for taking some time to go through some questions for our readers,Crannk and myself and congratulations on the release of “The Devil’s Complex” album.

PT (Jamez): Thank you!

Jai Q:First off can you tell us who are Psykotribe and how would you describe your sound?

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PT (Jamez): Psykotribe is Dana Darkly – vocals, Jakob Sin – vocals, Jamez Madness – rhythm guitars, Chris Lewis – lead guitars, John Williams – lead guitars, Chad Zielesch – bass and Adam Zielesch – drums.  It has always been difficult for us to describe our sound since we stem from so many different influences, I guess the one thing we hope to achieve through our sound is to make the listener feel like they are getting repeatedly hit by a train.    

Q: How and when did Psykotribe form?

PT (Jamez): One thing to understand about Psykotribe is that we are family, not only through the band but many by blood as well.  Dana and myself are married, Jakob Sin is my son, Chris and John are cousins, Adam and Chad our brothers.  When we claim to be a dysfunctional family, this is absolutely 100% real.  Psykotribe in a way started by accident, Dana threw a house party and invite a lot of my band friends over.  She got on the microphone and started screaming gutturals.  Jamez had never heard her scream like that, it kinda changed everything and that became the birthday for Psykotribe.

Q: How and when did you first get into playing Guitar,and what was your first Instrument?

PT (Jamez): My first instrument believe it or not was the violin.  It was actually a required class for all 1st graders in my school at the time.  I excelled at it so I continued the classes for about 7 years.  I turned to guitar when I reached high school and never looked back.

Q;What Guitars are you using now?

PT (Jamez): I have many different guitars but my favorite one right now is my new Ibanez RGA.  Just totally fell in love with it and haven’t been able to put it down since.  I recently also purchased a Kemper power amp that I absolutely love. 

Q: How and when did you first get into heavy metal music and what was your first album you bought for Yourself?

PT (Jamez): I grew up listening to all sorts of music but my Uncle Mark was the one who really first introduced me to aggressive music.  At the time he was a drummer in a punk/hardcore band so he began sending me cassettes of the music he was into.  If I remember correctly the first album he sent me was The Exploited’s “Punk’s Not Dead” and I immediately fell in love with their gritty sound and utter defiance of everything and that kinda changed everything for me.  It wasn’t a big stretch moving from punk and hardcore to metal especially when Thrash started getting big.  Slayer became one of my favorite bands in my late teens and that is pretty much the band that inspired me to start playing guitar. 

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Q:Who do you feel has helped inspire and influence you as a musician?

PT (Jamez):  Now that is a loaded question, haha.  I draw influence from all types of music and many different musicians.  I try not to be trapped into any type of genre box because honestly it has a tendency to limit your creativity.  As far as inspiration, for me it is being able to create and perform with my family.  To me it’s very freeing as a musician, being able to write what you want with your family is just awesome.

Q:Psykotribe have a dual vocal assault from Dana Darkly and Jakob Sin which works really well and I enjoy hearing bands like yourselves that can really make that work.Can I ask how you approached the songwriting and vocals for The Devils Complex?

PT (Jamez): Dana literally has books of lyrics she has written, she started writing well before she ever considered becoming a vocalist.  “The Devil’s Complex” is a very angry album which comes from a lot of her personal hardships she had growing up, something I think most of us can relate to.  With writing the music we put ourselves in the place where the emotions were.  The music was written to match those emotions she wanted to convey.  Jakob is a drummer at heart, he started playing when he was about 7 so he would take her lyrics and the music and put together the vocal arrangements.  Through we treated the vocals as a percussion instrument which I think effectively puts the emotion not only in your face but with the anger it is meant to convey.

Q:The almighty Bassist David Ellefson appears on the track “End It” how cool was that to work with him can you tell us a little about that and how that all came about?

PT (Jamez): First off, David is probably the coolest human being I have ever met.  Such a chill guy.  December of 2018 my production/promotions company helped put together the PBX event in Tampa that Ellefson and Thom Hazaert hosted.  Thom helping us produce the album had of course heard “End It” and had the idea of asking David to play on it.  David enjoyed the song and agreed…the rest is history.  On top of having David track on it they also decided to have the legendary producer Max Norman (Megadeth/Ozzy Osbourne) mix and master it for us.  Such an amazing experience and yes, my mind is still absolutely numb.  haha!

Q:If you had to pick one track that you are most proud of off The Devil’s Complex album which one would you pick and why?

PT (Jamez):  Haha, another tough question.  I guess I would have to say the title track “Devil’s Complex”.  I think for me it is because it truly encapsulates the meaning of the entire album.  A god complex refers to someone who thinks they are a gift to the world, full of ego, full of narcissism.  To us a Devil’s Complex is the complete opposite and not only does that explain our album…it explains everything we do and I think it’s relatable.  I think that there are many in our society that work hard trying to hide themselves behind fuzzy avatars instead of expressing who they really are.  They see their imperfections and quirks as demons they can never let anyone else see.  We live in a world where perceived perfection is admired and creates standards that nobody can live up to.  The truth is, we all have monsters inside of us.  I think holding back and hiding who you really are makes you feel like the devil inside of a fake exterior.  We wear our monsters on our face and wear our emotions as a badge, we want to show that our scars and differences are not only acceptable but something that should be admired.  We aren’t monsters, we in fact live on the side of love and community. 

Q:Can you tell us about the recording and production process for “The Devil’s Complex” ?

PT (Jamez): Oh it was a process….haha.  We began working with Alex Vincent at A/V Studios in Clearwater Florida.  For those of you who don’t know, Alex played Andy in the cult classic “A Child’s Play”.  Great guy, great studio and staff.  We had a great time working with him but in the end we just weren’t able to put together what we were looking for.  No fault of his, just had a few creative differences.  It was at that point I decided to work with a couple friends of mine to open up a recording studio of our own, that was the birth of MasterSound Tampa studios.  Through opening up our own studio it gave us the time and ability to work together more closely and create the monster we envisioned.   

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Q:Psykotribe have shared the stage with some awesome bands from Thy Art Is Murder to Deicide and recently supported a favourite of mine Six feet Under do you have any highlights from any of these shows that have really stuck with you?

PT (Jamez): Sooo many great memories, I could go on for hours…haha.  The Six Feet Under tour will stick with me forever.  We toured with 3 other supporting bands in Europe, shared one bus which could be a total clusterf**ck…but it wasn’t.  We all created lifelong friendships and I consider them all family.  A lot of people don’t realize how much work touring is but let me tell you, there is so much more to it than just jumping on a stage and playing.  Every day is a 12 hour day and all of it is hard work.  I think it truly reinforced the reason I love metal so much, for such an aggressive genre there is so much love.  Competition is replaced by cooperation and that tour really showed that.  Oh, and the beer is sooo much better over there than in the States.  haha

Q:So before we go have you got shows coming up and where’s the best place to get Psykotribe merch and music?

PT (Jamez): The quickest way is to visit but you can literally find our music on all digital platforms and our CDs can be purchased at most retailers all over the planet.

Thank you so much again for taking the time to do this for our readers, crannk, and myself.I’ll add in all your social links and links for merch and music into the Interview piece when it is finished.And

Congratulations on the album it’s a great album got it Crannked right now as I typed this out today cheers and horns raised from the land down under\m/

PT (Jamez): Thank you so much!  Crannked totally rocks!!!  \m/ <3 \m/

Psykotribe will join The Convalescence for select dates on their upcoming tour with Casket Robbery, Filth and Blood of Angels, and headline their own PSYKO-FEST 2020, on March 7th at the Brass Mug in Tampa.
w/The Convalescence, Casket Robbery, Filth, and Blood of Angels.
May 16th – Gulfport, MS @ Gulf Coast Metal & Beer Fest
May 18th – New Port Richey, FL @ The Verona
May 19th – Orlando, FL @ Soundbar

Psyko-Fest event link

Psykotribe webpage

Psykotribe Facebook


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