It’s a cold night in New Jersey when Julius Seizure frontman and vocalist Yosef E. offers me a chair in the cozy back bedroom-slash-recording studio of guitarist Steve Toth’s modest Sayreville dwelling. Drummer Kyle Wilson is seated close to the desk where high-quality speakers and a laptop boasting a new song visualized in mix serve as a DIY soundboard, drinking an alcoholic root beer. A cat named “Kitty” observes.
Fans and critics of music alike sometimes overvalue genre classification, and because of that, so do musicians. Julius Seizure, the burgeoning quartet from Clifton, NJ, wants to get away from that. Bending metal with minds concerned with expanding musical horizons and, therefore, their reach, Julius Seizure is in studio now recording a new album that promises to surprise, delight, and entertain. Because more important to the band than being “hardcore” or “heavy” or “metal” is entertaining and having a good time.
During the interview, the band (minus bassist Brian Daniell) is a deft body of enthusiastic energy, bubbling at the edges in the form of finishing one another’s sentences and nearly talking over each other at times. But as all great bands do, they always come to the same conclusion.
Thanks so much for having me in studio. Real treat here. Do you have a nickname for your studio?
Steve Toth: The Executioner?
Kyle Wilson: The Executor? The Executor…Yes.
Yosef E.: The Executor. Since it is Steven’s bedroom, who is Darth Hater [Steve’s side rap project], it only makes sense. Lots of magic goes down in this room. (ALL LAUGH)
Your first full-length album, The Verdict, rereleased this past November. Would you call that an album?
KW: More like a compilation of our two previous EPs [Beware The Ides Of March and Trials].
ST: It’s like Green Day’s first album. They had a whole bunch of EPs and put them all together…They had the 1000 Hours EP, the Slappy EP…
YE: So we are just like Green Day. (ALL LAUGH)
ST: Well, Dookie was the first album I ever owned…
Tell us a bit about why you decided to rerecord your previous material to release as a new album.
KW: I was never really fully satisfied with how the first EP sounded, and when Trials, the second EP, came out, it just sounded so much better than the previous EP that I fought to make it happen, that first album was redone to sound was good as the second. And to also have the vocals redone so we didn’t lose the timeline on the period where we did not have a vocalist. So we sort of had to retrace our steps to erase history a little bit.
YE: This was all Kyle’s doing.
KW: Yeah, pretty much.
Are you the only person in the band like that?
YE: I wouldn’t say that.
KW: Yeah, I wouldn’t say that. But they do call me The Brain…Or, The Craing. When they can’t figure out if something is off, they turn to me.
YE: Kyle’s opinion is valued in the band…Let’s just put it that way. (ALL LAUGH) He is definitely the hardest to please.
Kyle [In a funny voice]: Thanks guys. (ALL LAUGH)
ST: I don’t know if that’s a compliment though…
YE: I mean, it creates a standard…I know if you like it, and I like it, then the vocals must be pretty decent.
KW: If you’re done, and I’m looking at you and nodding and giving you a thumbs up, then you’re done, then you’re good
YE: Like the laugh at the end of “AKA-47”…
KW: A laugh is always the sign of a good job.
YE: It’s on the new [The Verdict] recording.
How is the new album you’re recording now a progression of your previously recorded material?
ST: We are still a metal band but we are not limited by that genre.
YE: We have always tried to go in that direction.
ST: This album is the most drastic step.
KW: This one is pushing the envelope; big time…This is not your “normal” metal album.
Speaking of being a metal band, do you describe your place in the New Jersey metal music scene at large?
YE: I think we fit in with a lot of different kinds of genres.
ST: Because we are heavy and melodic, we can play with really heavy bands. For example, we played the Summer Slaughter Tour with all these death metal bands.
YE: And the live performance adds to it as well. When we play something like New Year’s Bleed or New England Metal and Hardcore Festival—those are heavy shows. So they expect a certain level from you. And being a band that sings, we were almost…
KW: Too light.
YE: Exactly. You border on that edge of, “Are these kids going to dig us? Are they going to just stand and nod?” (Kyle laughs, softly) But when we perform the way we do, there’s a lot of energy. I think we fit in with everybody. It’s hard to not enjoy yourself when the band is enjoying themselves.
KW: They feed of your energy.
YE: It’s the goal! (In exaggerated voice) “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!”
I remember seeing you three and a half years ago at the Hard Attack Thursday One Year Anniversary show at Dingbatz in your hometown of Clifton. SiriusXM Liquid Metal host Jose Mangin was in attendance—the energy that night was one for the books. What are some of your favorite memories from touring and traveling?
KW: Niagara Falls is definitely one of the coolest. The Summer Slaughter Tour.
ST: New England Metal Fest.
YE: Which one was the one with the girls punching the hole…
KW: That was New England Metal Fest…
Wait! Say that one more time…
YE: Now that is a good story.
So there’s a story where a girl punched a hole in the wall…
YE: No, in the face.
ST: Oh, no…
YE: We were hanging out with some girls we met at the show [New England Metal Fest], and I went back to our room, and left Steve in the room with the two girls. I came right back, I couldn’t have been gone for more than two minutes, and apparently they just started punching each other in the face? Like the one girl was like, “Punch me in the face!” and her friend punched her, and she’s like, “My turn!” She punches her back…and punches her tooth, through her lip. There was blood…I walk in and there’s just blood everywhere. Steve’s standing there, the one girl’s crying, and I’m like, “What the f_ck?” (ALL LAUGH) Needless to say, that’s not where we thought that was going. Then we broke down in Virginia. That was a good story.
KW: We were drinking out in the open at a repair shop because they were closed.
YE: There’s more to it than that.
ST: It’s a long story…
KW: Well, long story short we were guided by a tow truck to this repair place and the cops pulled up because we had set up shop outside the bus waiting for the place to open in the morning. And we were drinking out in the open, but nothing crazy. There was nobody around, we were in the middle of Virginia.
YE: It was like a little picnic, basically.
KW: And then the cops come up…and we do have some marijuana on us….drying on the dashboard. Because this genius…(gestures to Yosef)
YE: I had put it in one of those decoy soda cans and put it in the cooler with the rest of the cans. I had bought a SLEEVE of Sunkist so it would fit in with the rest of the cans!
KW: Meanwhile, the cop that pulls up was a canine cop.
YE: The dog is going crazy….
KW: The cop walks up and makes mention of Steve’s tattoo, and he’s like, “Is that Spawn? That’s a cool tattoo right there!”
YE: The cop was really infatuated with the fact that we were in a band…They ended up letting us go and said someone would be back to check up on us, and they never did. The next day, the bus gets fixed…
KW: I’m at the register, I look to my left and I say to myself, “This is the cop from yesterday!” and sure enough, he looks at me and goes, “Y’all finish that PBR from yesterday?” Unbelievable. The odds of that cop getting his car serviced the next day…
YE: He knew we were going to finish that beer.
It has been said that Julius Seizure follows a DIY approach in making and promoting your music, as if evidence by your at-home studio here. Would you expand on that?
KW: Well, drums always go first. Last album, we recorded at a studio where we had to start at 9 a.m. to ensure that no one would be there, because you can’t have noise…Then we go to guitars, to this guy… (gestures to Steve)
ST: Which is at home. Where we are.
YE: I have recorded vocals in three different bedrooms. All three of ours! Good stuff… Definitely do it yourself. I feel like that’s the way you got to start out. If you’re not putting in the work yourself, by yourself, who is going to want to invest in you later on?
Who is one of the favorite bands you’ve played with?
YE: War Of Ages has been very good to us.
ST: They by far have been the friendliest band to us.
KW: Absolutely. They helped us out by letting us play the start of their last tour back in April in Erie, Pennsylvania. We played the opening night of their tour and it was just incredible.
YE: Amazing show. The kids in town…
KW: The kids went nuts in their hometown. It was incredible.
YE: It was the first time we covered “Toxicity” [by System Of A Down]. It was awesome, everyone was singing along.
If each of your band members were a Roman god, which Roman god would y’all be?
Yosef on Kyle: Since you own most of the band, and are the band’s drummer, I’d say Zeus.
Kyle on Steve: Since you are Darth Hader…you should be Hades. You should come on stage with, like, a big hooded cloak.
Kyle on Yosef: Somebody with a fantastic mane of hair…Maybe Hercules, but he’s only half a god. Maybe chaos…
Yosef on Brian: We can’t forget Brian! Who is the lazy party god? Because he was a partier back in the day…We was a frat boy….
KW: Let’s keep that off the record. (ALL LAUGH)
What are your plans for 2016 aside from the new album?
YE: We’re going to play a lot of shows, that’s for sure. Try to book some shows in New Jersey, New York, Philly…Delaware and Massachusetts have been pretty good to us, so we’d love to hop on to something there.
For more information on Julius Seizure, go to juliusseizureband.com. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.