Most of you remember when MTV played music videos right? The dedicated shows like Head Bangers Ball where we all took the volume capacity of the TV to its limits, when certain veejays were on you knew who played what and you tries never to miss there show. When the word ‘Music’ belonged in the title of MTV.
For you younger readers, it was a time when the internet, cellphones, cable TV, video games, portable music was just becoming available, and the 80’s music was a plethora of not only sound but now you could actually see your favorite bands performing. And man did they put on a show back then; no jeans and a t-shirt, it was a show. And then? It all went away. It became the land of pathetically bad and tasteless ‘reality’ shows. Teen Mom. Who the hell would make that and glorify these lost souls? But, people kept watching and slowly but surely the actual music video went away.
Not anymore, heavy metal bands were always on the cutting edge of the visual revolution in gear, presence, lights, and loudness. Finally once again you can watch these videos from Led Zeppelin to Five Finger Death Punch 24/7 with a few veejays and little commercials. The best part? It’s free and online.
I talked to the founder of Heavy Metal Television, Eric Braverman, just last week about what it is, what it’s about, and everything Heavy Metal Television. His enthusiasm is contagious and his zest for metal is matched only by my own and the legions of fans that crave the metal. Here is what he had to say!
Interview with Eric Braverman for Heavy Metal Television
Heavy Metal Television, tell me about it! How did it all start up?
Eric- “It’s an exciting thing for me besides all the heavy metal. We are the first and only internet television network ever that delivers the dish, antennae, or cable experience through the internet, turns the internet into a computer and our URL into a spot on the dial where the radio or the television used to be. And that’s what is really exciting! If you go through and look at our channel and our network, there is nothing that compares to it. No passwords, no log-in, no Facebook, no pop-up ads, no navigation; just a pleasant experience with just a couple of minutes of commercials an hour. We started this, we had an internet television show that we called ‘The Greatest Music Ever Created And How It Ruined Our Lives’, and we did it with Metal Hammer Magazines website but they didn’t play very nice with us so we wanted to go out and do our own thing. We were going to make just a website and I asked my technical people, “Why can’t we have just a television network?” They said, well we can! All the technology is right here but people are just scared to do it or they don’t have the content or are just always fighting each other. That’s how we beat Google, Microsoft, Intel, Apple, DirectTV, Disney, Fox; we’re the first internet television network ever.”
I’ve been watching it; it really is a cool experience.
“We are trying and a lot of things are going to change for the better here as we’re taking another big step in using more technologies, bigger playlists for more variation, just adding new stuff. I’m glad you’re already liking it, you’re going to like it even more!”
Now, do you do this out of a record store? Is that how it started or?
“Well no, the record store is just one of the places where we shoot veejays. We actually have a technical hub that pumps it out to all the routers of the world so everyone can see it. We have an office in L.A., like business offices, for our entertainment business manager, legal people, what have you; and then we shoot veejays all over the place. We shoot them on location in rock and roll places; it could be a bar, a record store, a playground, could be a concert, it might be some weird house.”
What kind of equipment do you use to do this? Is it expensive just for the gear?
“Well yeah it’s expensive, it’s a television network. But, I’m someone that just has the vision, I’m the world’s biggest heavy metal fan ever to live and I just wanted this to happen. I don’t know much technically, I don’t use a cellphone, I don’t text, I’ve never received a text, I’ve never put an attachment to an email, I don’t allow cable or dish in my home. I mean I don’t have a Facebook page. Especially now that we know Facebook and Twitter are fake, I mean you can buy Facebook likes or Twitter followers!”
Yeah, it is a bunch of bull!
“I know we had to have huge computer power, so we had to get a business internet from our local provider which is a giant building full of computers to get the streaming out; we have huge programs to run these files, I mean we have a different video file being pumped through every five minutes. We try not to change them that much from their original form, so if we get a video that was made for TV from 1984 we try to get the best possible copy that we can, show the video as it was intended to be seen in the first place. We try to have 40 years of heavy metal history every hour or so like Led Zeppelin to Thin Lizzy to the Butcher Babies and Five Finger Death Punch. We don’t have the ghettoization like all radio stations and televison stations; we don’t have like grindcore hour on Sunday nights. We play Cannibal Corpse right next to Def Leppard, Cattle Decapitation right next to Twisted Sister, and Van Halen right next to Mastodon.”
Everything that I love!
“We like to keep that mix going. We think we have not only the coolest network, I think we have the coolest play list of any website or radio station, anything. You know, most entities that do this are kind of genre based on a sub-genre level that they like, we really are the most exploratory and the most open.”
As Rob Halford said, “Who needs genres, its all just heavy metal damn it!”
“That’s right, that’s right!”
Now, how do you get you veejays?
“We got veejays when we started by contacting people we knew, we are always open for people to come in and say hey I want to be a veejay. We actually just had big, open veejay auditions at one of the last big record chains just about a week ago.”
You guys just hired Veronica Freeman from Benedictum too, right?
“Yeah! She was someone that’s a friend of a friend, these characters at this place called “That Classic Metal Show” which is really fun internet radio station and interview site especially if you like the classic metal, I’ve been a guest on there for years and they sent her our way! So we get veejays in every way.”
You told me as we emailed back and forth a little bit I asked you about some local, unsigned bands, if you are willing to play that and you said yeah man!
Y”eah! We just want things to be good! We want to keep the good experience going on. So, if a young band wrote a great song, is playing great, and bothered to, or are lucky enough to make a great video then we’re willing to check it out and put it on! Why not? That’s part of the plan with this, it’s an educational experience. We are trying to help a dying record industry. These young bands have nowhere to go to. I mean what are they supposed to do? Go to Youtube? So our thing gives them a chance! We encourage young bands that are looking to expose themselves. Its part of the forty years of heavy metal history. If you’re a young fan of Heavy Metal Television you might see a band that you missed out on or never heard of and then you can go to Youtube or Vevo and see more of them. Or you can be an older metal fan that loves the classic and you see a young, new band that gets you excited for the future of heavy metal music.”
And it’s needed, heavy metal is definitely under fire right now, there are people pushing it out of the clubs, out of the venues, it’s really a war to get it out there.
News and notes
Eric recently agreed to add upstate NY metal band Lowkey to the weekly rotation with a little push from yours truly.
Veronica Freeman has begun her VJ duties and Benedictum is releasing their fourth studio effort on November 29th in Europe and December 3rd in the United States titled Obey.