By: Addie Hayes, Editor/Lead Writer, Regional Music Journal
Enid based metal band ShadowAxe has made their mark on the Enid music scene and now they are ready to bring their act to the Darkside Stage at Rocklahoma 2019. ShadowAxe will be part of the Thursday night pre-party performances and will take the stage at 1:00 AM to rock out with fans late into the night. We had a chance to sit down with the band for an interview leading up to their performance at Rocklahoma.
ShadowAxe is made up of Mkarkus on vocals and guitar, Chris Rogers on lead guitar, Arik Prince on bass and Mickey Myers on drums. “I came from California and I’ve lived here for about 10 years,” said Mkarkus regarding the history of the band. “Finally, I met Chris (Rogers) and it exploded since then. We got Mickey involved in the project, we’ve all been playing since we were kids and in high school.”
Mkarkus explained that he was in “moderately successful bands in California and took a break…I missed it and started writing stuff on the side.” Now with ShadowAxe in full swing, Mkarkus said, “we’re enjoying it, it’s kind of a rekindling of the fire, of the dream.”
Enid, Oklahoma is somewhat isolated in the north central portion of the state, however, it’s in close enough proximity to places like Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Wichita and Dallas to draw bands from other areas in the region. Mkarkus said, “there’s a lot of great talent in this town…a bunch of bands come up from other areas to play up here, that opens a lot of doors.” The band has done some show swaps with a few of these bands, which has allowed them to perform in Dallas and Missouri.
ShadowAxe has managed to standout in the Oklahoma music scene due in large part to vocalist Mkarkus. He delivers a clean, clear vocal performance reminiscent of early metal bands. Myers said, “we’ve heard that a lot, where you can actually understand what he’s saying.” Mkarkus said, “that’s crucial to me, because if you’re up there saying something, especially if it’s a positive approach, you want people to hear it.”
The band’s sound is best described by Rogers who said, “you’re hearing classic rock influences and metal.” Mkarkus said, “we all come from such a varied background.” This is most noticeable in the youngest and most recent addition to the band Arik Prince. He said, “when it comes to musical influences, I listen to everything these guys don’t.”
Mkarkus speaks highly of the young bassist saying, “he’s a phenomenal bassist but he’s an all around musician. He has keyboard experience, drums…he’s a welcome addition to this project.” Each member of ShadowAxe brings a different and crucial piece to the band’s musical style.
ShadowAxe thrives during their live performance. Mkarkus said, “we have such vast influences that I think, if we like what we’re doing, based on what we’re used to listening to, and setting the bar kind of high, he (Rogers) puts the bar high, so does Mickey and I know Arik does and I do to…if something we’re doing makes me groove and feel good, then I know somebody is going to like it, there’s something for everybody.”
Rogers said, “I want to be able to touch the people just right and I thought, they say we’ve got such an explosive sound…we’re just having a good time…I try and play my solos where it’s gonna stick in somebodies mind.” Mkarkus said, “you can hear the passion in his solos. He goes technical once in a while, but he just falls into that.”
Independent artists in local and regional music scenes are facing an industry in flux. The music industry changes so rapidly due to technology. From the way music is recorded and distributed to handling social media accounts, independent artists face unique challenges and every band’s approach to the business side of music is different.
Mkarkus said, “we focus on doing what we do…that’s crucial in this day and age, in that we can do it all ourselves and we can sell merchandise on our website. We can distribute our CDs ourselves on the website, we don’t need the industry as much as we did in the past.”
Recording and releasing music has also changed drastically over the years. ShadowAxe has not officially released an album, but Mkarkus said, “we have a demo, like a 9 song demo and I only put 5 on our website for now, because it’s a demo. It’s kind of a rough recording through a studio that’s not really a metal studio…we’re going to redo those songs, as well as our 5 new songs and we’ll have (an album).”
As for a producer, Mkarkus said the band will be working with “Jason Clark, he’s a great guitar player here in town but he’s loving the studio thing. He’s got a great setup.”
ShadowAxe is a band to watch in the local music scene. They have a great, traditional metal sound and fans love their live performance. The guys are excited for the opportunity to perform at Rocklahoma 2019 on the Darkside Stage. If you are planning on catching the Thursday night performances, head over to the Darkside Stage at 1:00 AM to see ShadowAxe make their Rocklahoma debut.
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