1. Were you involved in other projects or bands before you went full force as the solo artist Sam Astaroth. What instruments do you play? And I was wondering if you produced or have any other talents as well?
– I started my endeavor in music as a rapper when I was 16 back in high school. Drawing influences from the likes of DMX, Eminem, Ludacris, T.I. and Tech N9ne. Then I got into doing alt-rock/industrial/gothic music in my late teens like Linkin Park, Marylin Manson, Rob Zombie, AFI and Rammstein. This eventually led me to discover heavier music and I eventually got into stuff like Slipknot, Korn, System of a Down and Mudvayne in my early 20s and that’s when I got into metal. Although I learned how to rap, sing and scream, I never really had a band or producers to make original songs with so I wrote on top of existing beats and instrumentals until I finally started my first band Astaroth Incarnate when I was 28 back in 2013. This started off as an extreme metal band and eventually evolved into a symphonic extreme metal band with influences from Behemoth, Belphegor, Dying Fetus to Mayhem, Cattle Decapitation and Cradle of Filth. I ran the band for 8 years, during which I also put out 2 progressive folk metal albums with Iomair. With Astaroth Incarnate I played a lot of shows developing a love for theatrical performance akin to King Diamond. Finally, I started feeling limited being in bands while growing up with such diverse influences. That’s when I started to discover artists like Ghostemane, Corpse, Scarlxrd, $uicideboy$, Ic3peak, Ho99o9, Kim Dracula who I felt had limitless potential to do whatever they pleased with their music. This all led to me putting my band to rest and starting my solo career as Sam Astaroth in 2022. As for skills, I don’t write or produce music myself but I mainly write vocals and lyrics and direct songwriting structures as I have experience in multiple genres. I also write music reviews and perform as a host on BangerTV, teach harsh vocals and recently have been doing voice acting for Monster Factory. During covid, I also took up e-commerce and product management and learned to build my own website, run my shopify store, do some social media and email marketing and publish my music myself. Aside from that, over the years I also learned to write the script, produce and direct my own music videos. and finally, playing numerous shows, I learned a bit of acting, coming up with stage theatrics and creating characters which you may see in my pictures, music videos and live shows and mainly on my demon persona Astaroth.
2. Who gets bragging rights for helping you get to where you are now? Who are Sam Astaroth’s day ones?
– I would say first and foremost it’s my producer Alexandru Oprea who recorded my previous band Astaroth Incarnate’s music and when I decided to go solo, he offered to help me and we wrote my first original song together which was Demoncore. Since then we wrote a bunch more songs together and he has pretty much recorded all of my vocals for different songs. He also played guitar for me live for the shows I did last year. My other previous band Iomair’s main man Dylan Gowan has also been supportive and has played drums for me live on my shows last year. Aside from that, I got a lot of mentoring from my friend Lindsay Schoolcraft who showed me how to sing cleans better, taught me a lot about the music business side of things like e-commerce and really supported me when I was going through the transition towards becoming a solo artist. Another friend of mine, Reuben Pereira, helped me with a lot of financial situations for years during my time in bands and even when I went solo and I learned a lot about product management and general life improvement tactics from him. Also my friend Andrew Dunleavy supported me since I first started my band and still supports me today with photography, coming to my shows, helping with gear and human transport and is just an overall solid dude…haha.
3. What can we expect from you in 2023? New releases? Visuals? Merch? We want to know!
– 2023 I am gonna push myself as much as possible. In 2022 I managed to release 10 songs but I also bought a fuck ton of beats, secured features, collabs and wrote many more songs and currently, I am sitting on 60+ unreleased or unfinished songs so expect a lot of music from me this year. I also made friends with a lot of artists in the music scene worldwide so you might see me dropping a lot of collabs alongside my solo works and a few feature projects I’ll be appearing on. As for visuals, I’ll be focusing on creating maybe 1 quality music video like Demoncore over a lot of different videos. You’ll still get performance videos, AMVs and some videos on projects I am doing collabs for. As for merch, I really want to be able to up my game and produce unique items that showcase the vision for my brand and culture. Aside from that, I may drop seasonal limited merch items in small quantities and make them special for the fans that are really passionate about my music.
4. What is your music scene like? What are the pros? What are the cons?
The music scene here is pretty supportive I would say. Since I started my first band Astaroth Incarnate and joined the scene here in Toronto back in 2013, I got nothing but love when it came to networking with promoters, other bands and finding the right musicians to work with or share a jam space with. I got to play quite a few shows with some great local and international bands where almost all of them had great turnouts.
Also, I am still good friends with some of the people I met during my beginning days. Throughout the years, I met many existing and new musicians, artists and fans of the scene within the metal, gothic, industrial and theatrical performance scene. When I put my bands to rest and went solo in 2022, I got even more support and encouragement from the scene and got to play even bigger and more successful shows so I would say that the scene here is sustaining well.
5. If you could go on tour with anyone in the world, who would be on the bill with you? What is Sam Astaroth’s dream tour?
That is a great question. As a solo act without or with a live backing band or live performers, I would love to be able to tour with artists like Ghostemane, Scarlxrd and $uicideboy$, Kim Dracula, Ic3peak, Ho99o9, Sinizter, Bring Me The Horizon, Slipknot, etc. I could list many others as my music taste is quite diverse but then this list would go on to over 100 artists…haha.
6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What about 10? And what about your end game?
It’s 2023 now so by 2028 I would like to make sufficient ongoing income from my music streams & sales, merch business and shows & tours to be able to comfortably live off my music and grow my personal merch brand sustainably. In 10 years I will be 47…lol, so by then I would like to establish myself as one of the influential figures of the music scene that I end up being part of and help out younger artists who are hungry and have potential. My ultimate purpose and end game is to help the entire worldwide music scene across all genres come together and create a welcoming environment for fans of all music genres.
7. Who are your favorite producers to work with and why?
My main producer here is Alexandru Oprea who I have been working with on developing my personal unique brand of sound and most of my debut album since 2022. My song Demoncore was produced by him. He is the only local producer I see in person so it definitely makes the development process easier.
Worked with Brian Spencer on a couple songs which you will find out about in due time. He is a busy guy but he listens to your needs, talks to you quite genuinely and provides quality work.
Had a lot of fun working with KRMNL on my song Fxck It Up, he is very open to my ideas and we are working on a few more songs together.
Also, wanna give shout outs to these guys cause I got to work with them on at least 1 song, Sneaky Haxor, Plague, Cyanide, Cessir, Fallen, Nug Beatz, Kristof Bathory, Novo and Chipbagov.
Finally, I have worked on a bunch of unlimited leases and one exclusive so far with Netuh. He is very easy to work with and has been very insightful about the music scene.
8. You have some amazing merch. I’ll plug some pictures and links later in this article. Who does these designs?
Thank you. My logo and symbol is designed by Christophe Szpajdel who designed the legendary black metal band Emperor’s logo. The demon artwork I got made of me and my Astaroth character in reference to Jotaro and Star Platinum from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure was done by a Fiverr artist called AngryComputer. As for making the merch design mockups, I set up all that myself on my Shopify store.
9. What advice do you have for struggling artists trying to break into the underground music industry?
Never stop learning. Your skills as a musician is your base. Always practice that and try to become a little better each day. Take the same ideology into everything else in life. Don’t be a shitty human being. Be humble and learn the business side of things. Learn people skills and talk to fans as if they are your friends. Treat everyone how you want to be treated. Above all, network. Your network is your net worth.
10. As we wrap this up I just want to say thank you for your time, and I’m stoked for things to come. Is there anything else you want our readers to know?
Thank you Brett for doing this interview with me bro. It’s been a pleasure. I am super excited for 2023. Got some shows planned for later this year. Got a fuck ton of singles, a couple EPs and a possible mixtape coming up with a wide range of artists from various different genres. This year is gonna be a fun one.