Kontra: A Passion For Metal | Krazed Music Interview
Hello, and welcome to Krazed Mag! Today we have an exclusive interview featuring the hugely talented KONTRA. The illustrious sounds coming from the KONTRA camp are overwhelming; the efforts of these guys have been of the utmost importance – as one would say “give wings to my triumph” in their case.
Gareth: I am delighted to be joined by Marco Barraco, rhythm guitarist of KONTRA! The pleasure is all mine thank you for your time! I’m liking the beard; is it a preferred look?
Marco: For now yes, we all need a change now and then.
Gareth: So how are you, man? Nice to be here talking with you!
Marco: I am fine! Thank you for your time, it means a lot to me to be here! Right now I’m having a few issues.
Gareth: How come?
Marco: It’s basically due to a gig we have planned on the 11th of May in Naples; there is a bit of unrest among the band. We are not sure if we will go ahead with the gig because we are not 100% for it, and want to prepare properly.
Gareth: Fair comment…what position do you play within the band; whats your role?
Marco: I’m the lead singer of KONTRA, I also play rhythm guitar and am the main composer on all of the stuff.
Gareth: Wow, you’re a busy man! Who inspired you on the path to enlightenment?
Marco: Many years ago, in the 90s, I closely followed a band called Metallica; they were crazy! I found myself attached to them, and grew to admire their music – it is inspirational; my favorite album by them was called Master of Puppets. It was so enlightening, it was a breath of fresh air for the time it was out. I also liked bands like Slayer and Motörhead, Sodom, Kreator, Exodus, Venom and Xentrix; a lot of old school stuff, you know?
Gareth: Yeah, definitely some great bands there! i am a Metallica fan myself too! So what type of band are you?
Marco: We are a thrash metal band hoping to reach new levels and get better; we are learning each and every day!
Gareth: So would you place all your music under that category?
Marco: Well we are a thrash metal band, but we are also influenced by British heavy metal;
the structure of our stuff shows our diversity.
Gareth: I have heard your live tracks, they were pretty awesome! So who founded the band, and when?
Marco: Thank you! I was the founder of this band, and it was founded on the 1st of October 1999, when I was 14! So young, but we thought we could do this!
Gareth: Any upcoming tours?
Marco: We had to cancel the next one to stay composed and be 100% before we perform again. We are also looking at new material.
Gareth: Sounds promising. When was your first release?
Marco: 13 years ago! It was called Until The Last Breath, and was off the EP we released called Strike Zero.
Gareth: How do you think you think you have progressed since then?
Marco: Well, we like to try and improve everyday individually; we also practice a lot! We try to write complete structured songs, so we look at the lyrics carefully, trying to make them meaningful, catchy and intelligent. The complexity can sometimes be overwhelming, but we always progress day by day!
Gareth: Interesting answer. What challenges have you overcome as artists?
Marco: One obstacle was the metal scene here in Naples; it’s not the biggest scene here at the moment, so the culture wasn’t in demand, but we thought “you know what, lets just do this!!” Because one day we may prevail.
Gareth: What sacrifices have you guys made to alter the path you’re on?
Marco: Economical upgrades to instruments have been an issue in the past. All the new components to achieve new sound effects, etc. Meet-up times have changed frequently; for example the guys work hard, so if they’re not available to rehearse we have to alter our practice sessions.
Gareth: Through the grapevine! I heard a whisper that you guys are preparing an E.P for the Autumn! Is that true? Can you shed any light on that please?
Marco: [Huge smiles] Yeah sure Gareth. Well, back in 2005 we had a second EP that was kept secret and never released. We will hopefully be looking at that material and revisiting the past, where we want to possibly revive some of them tracks – update and give new life to them. We also want to to compose new material with precision, and with all the new skills we’ve learnt. The past EP was limited too 100 copies that sold out; maybe this time we can get more copies?
Gareth: That sounds epic brother, I look forward very much to that. Hey, I’ll review that too! So are you guys on any social media sites? I’m sure our fans would like to follow you guys and support you!
Gareth: Well, there you go guys – get adding and liking! Come Autumn they will be active once again! If you have any questions for the band leave comments. Anything is welcome!
Gareth: Do you have any rituals before you guys go out on stage?
Marco: Umm…yeah we have a few beers before, during, and after, haha! Otherwise it’s just a battle of the nerves really, it’s the same with most artists, I guess. I always use my lucky guitar plectrum too.
Gareth: That’s cool dude! Okay, right, let’s lighten things up a little. Big question: Blondes or Brunettes?
Marco: I hope my girlfriend isn’t going to be reading this interview, she would probably kill me, haha! Okay, okay…I would say Brunettes, but on behalf of the other band members I would say any pretty girls are welcome.
Gareth: There’s a good chance your lovely lady will be reading this, sorry dude. Do you guys have any cover songs? If so, what are the fans’ favorites?
Marco: We don’t really do covers live, we normally jam out in the studio enjoying the moment. Warming up our personal favorite is Metallica! I guess we find it weird doing covers, if that makes sense? BUT, in our next tour we will probably throw in a few cover songs because our set-list will be about an hour long, possibly longer?
Gareth: Where was your first gig?
Marco: It was June 2001; I remember it well! 15 years ago! it was in Rock Cafe in Naples. I was 17. We were inexperienced youngsters on the path to becoming legends in our minds. The crowd was really great! They were all young like us, mainly friends and their friends. The audience spurred us on to do the best we could. We couldn’t have been any more grateful, they were perfect! Thank you!
Gareth: Are you a signed band?
Marco: No, we’re not signed. We do have contacts within studios, including record labels.
Gareth: Okay, well this next question is probably the most difficult. How would you define the word ‘success’?
Marco: Wow uhmm….that’s a great question, haha! Okay here goes…success for us was playing our first gig as KONTRA; afterwards, the fans flocked around us, congratulating us on the gig – that meant a lot! Then, selling our EP, and the making of it, was huge for us! Getting signed is always an objective as a youngster, and being somebody out in the big wide world! Having positive critics and working hard to generate all this positive attention. Belief in yourself, and the ones around you, is always a massive boost! It’s all very satisfying for us, but most importantly success is a personal issue for me; living for the moment and making the right decisions.
Gareth: Okay that’s a damn good answer, I must admit, haha! I wasn’t prepared for that. If any rhythm guitar player had to sit out a gig, and you had to replace, them what band would that be and why?
Marco: Easy question mate! That would have to be Metallica, because I know all their stuff and that crowd would be tremendous!
Gareth: Do you have any lucky charms, or maybe some lucky pants?
Marco: Self-belief…and my lucky guitar plectrum!
Gareth: If you had to kiss, cuddle and marry 3 artists..who would they be?
Marco: I actually have a soft spot for Shakira [huge smiles] so…if it counts, I would marry AND kiss Shakira? And I would cuddle the lead singer from Nightwish – there a great band! She’s beautiful.
Gareth: Are you self-taught on guitar, or did you take any lessons?
Marco: At the age of 13 I had about 3 months of lessons with a female teacher who was into classical music. I learnt the basics then I left the lessons behind – from there on I was self-taught. In fact, I really like my music theory; I can’t describe how important that can be for any one learning! I also like to write the melody, then use my voice to find that sound on the guitar neck.
Gareth: Can you tell us 3 facts that will make us laugh?
- We had a school festival once, and we didn’t have a drummer, so we imported one from another school (which WAS allowed, haha!) We hid him in the toilet for 3 hours, then when we returned to collect him he had disappeared! We were searching for him, but when we called him he told us he went home…luckily he came back in time for our set!
- In 2003 we had our instruments and gear organised for us. When we came out to play on stage, we realized there wasn’t a snare drum! Which is a vital piece of kit to any drummer! But he somehow managed to play the entire show without a snare drum.
- When we were young we stole a big bottle of Jack Daniels and got very drunk, just before we were due on stage to compete in a competition. We were so drunk! But somehow we managed to make it on stage, and we actually won the competition!
Gareth: do you have any advice for bands out there?
Marco: To be honest, we aren’t famous enough to give advice, BUT we are professional. Follow your heart! Play what you wanna play; you don’t have to be mainstream. Good promotion and social media sites go a long way towards getting your name out there and getting recognized. Believe in yourself and your music, and most importantly have faith in your band! Just practice all you can, work hard, and believe! Back in 2015, we were published in Metal Hammer in between the likes of Bullet For My Valentine and Iron Maiden, so you can imagine how honored we were after all the work we put in over the years!
Gareth: What’s your favorite color?
Marco: Black! It’s every metal-head’s color; black also slims you down [then slaps his belly] hahaha!
Gareth: If you could have any artist come and sing with you in the shower who would it be?
Marco: Shakira or Amy Lee!
Gareth: Finally, do you have any questions for the fans?
Marco: Yeah sure! What would you guys like to hear/see from us in the future? A random question to you all now: what’re your reasons for following us?
Marco: On behalf of KONTRA, thank you to everyone for supporting us throughout the years! We owe everything to you guys! You literally are the 5th element of KONTRA, thank you so much!
Well, there you have it, straight from the man himself. If there are any questions you may have for KONTRA, please don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments box. We will respond as soon as we can. Your time has been much appreciated! Thank you on behalf of us here at Krazed Mag.Follow us on social media