MATREKIS – A Talk With MIKE ANNIS (Vocals)

Posted on September 15th. 2017

Questionnaire by Jason Houston on behalf of METAL TO INFINITY WEBZINE BELGIUM

Jason: Hello Mike and welcome to Metal To Infinity. I’d like to thank you for taking time out of your very busy schedule to speak with us. I understand that the band is based out of St. Paul, Mn. Is there much of a metal scene there these days?

Mike: Hi Jason! Thank you for reaching out to us! The Mn. Metal Scene is in pretty good shape still. There are a lot of talented and diverse groups here. Our biggest problem, like other areas, is the closings of live music venues.


Jason: I understand that the members of Matrekis are influenced by Old School Metal bands. Are there any newer metal bands that you’re into these days as well or is it old school metal that really rocks your world these days?

Mike: I will always be a part of the Old School Metal Family, but yes I do follow some more newer bands also. I really dig All That Remains. Had the good fortunes of being able to meet Oli Herbert a few years back. Such a great dude. A HUGE FAN OF CHAD GRAY and HELL YEAH, FFDP, LIKE A STORM, HALESTORM. list continues.


Jason: Mike do you remember what was the first metal band that you were exposed to and what was it about that band and their music that really got you into metal?

Mike: KISS!! The stage show and make up creatures just ruled the Rock World!!


Jason: Just recently the band release it’s latest cd Kill Your Captor in June 2017. Talk a little bit about the new cd. How many songs are on the new cd?  Who produced the cd?

Mike: KILL YOUR CAPTOR is 9 tracks long. It has a very roller coaster ride type of feel. There’s a party anthem feel to ROAD GRIME, true to life SHOTGUN JACKET, teen suicide acoustic song BROTHER, to a complete rip your face off title track KILL YOUR CAPTOR. The album was entirely self produced and then final mix done by a friend of the band, Earl Drake III


Jason: In regards to songwriting I was curious if you’re the primary songwriter in the band or if everyone in the band takes part in the songwriting process?

Mike: The entire band plays a role in the song writing and creations of MATREKIS music. Although Guitarist, Mick A. Rotella, is role leader in the writing of KILL YOUR CAPTOR.


Jason: In regards to the recording of the Kill Your Captor cd, I was curious if the whole band was in the same room at the time and recorded as a live band or did each member of the band record their parts separate from one another?

Mike: There is no live recordings on the album. ALL songs were tracked and mixed separately at Mick’s studio, STUDIO DOOM. We all feel you get a much better groove and emotion on tracking each individual player, rather than an all at once recording.


Jason: I understand that over the years that the band has done shows with acts that’s with acts as diverse as Faster Pussycat, Lizzy Borden, Broken Teeth, and Lynch Mob. It must be a great feeling not to only be able to do with national acts such as these but to know that the band has the ability to play with such diverse acts.

Mike: Diversity has always been and always will be our goal. Too many albums are out that the first song sounds like the next ten. Diversity in song writing has lead us down this journey of sharing the stage with many great local, regional,  and national bands. I don’t feel that there is a band out there that we could not play with and entertain. Our constant change in tempo draws in the classic rockers to the thrashers.


Jason: Could you please tell us the story of how the band came to be named Matrekis?

Mike: HAHAHAHA! This is when i usually turn the mic over to our bassist Ty Hall. But since he’s retired now, guess i’ll have to take it. Ty came to me with this name, Matrekis. I was like yeah cool man, very different, probably won’t run into another. but…. what is it??? Ty sent me on a weekend long internet excursion for this so called Greek Warlord Of Metal. As Ty would say, DOOOOD find this guy and let’s get a logo and mascot started. After a weekend of finding nothing, I called him on it. As it turns out Matrekis was a screen name for one of his computer games. Ty said he didn’t want to feel like a geek! HA…. Too Late. Thus MATREKIS was born and according to the urban dictionary it is now the GREEK WARLORD OF HEAVY METAL. Worst part, it’s seldom pronounced right. MATT-TRUH-KISS


Jason: How happy are you with the way the band’s fans have reacted to the new Kill Your Captor cd since it’s been released?

Mike: Thus far it has been a successful acceptance of the new album. Many are impressed with the before mentioned roller coaster ride of tempo and emotions.


Jason: Do you have a favorite song off the new cd?

Mike: I would have to say for me, my favorite song is SHOTGUN JACKET. It was written in its entirety by Mick about 20 years ago. It is based around the Columbine shooting and other school violence.

Plus for me vocally, It lets fans here that ok this guy is more than just an angry screamer but he actually has a set of pipes too!


Jason: How important is it for you to interact with your fans on-line and respond to e-mails that your fans send to you?

Mike: Fan appreciation is what makes us continue on! We will answer any and all emails, questions, concerns, requests, etc. At shows….. please please come see us at the merch booth or on the floor. We will always be out watching the other bands on the bill. Love pictures, signing merch, clothes, body parts( yes that has been known to happen)


Jason: As far as places the band has performed over the years where’s been your favorite place to play so far?

Mike: Oh man very tough to rule 1 favorite. hmmm Q n Z Expo Center in Ringle, Wi., Acadia Bar and Grille in Houston, Tx., and Hollywood Loaded in Hollywood, Ca.


Jason: As far as your live performance, I was curious if the band has a fixed set list or do you mix up the set list from show to show?

Mike: We write a new set list for each and every show. Now, there has been many times where we go off the cuff and read the crowd. I believe one show in Minneapolis, we looked at the set list and said, great reference but let’s play this song. haha


Jason: Has the band had the opportunity to tour much outside of your local area?

Mike: We have been fortunate enough to travel. great spots through Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Texas, California, and Ohio. We are always looking to broaden our fan base.


Jason: I have to ask you Mike as far as your influences go who were the singers who influenced you and played a major role in you doing what you do today?

Mike: I Would say my biggest influence in my early stages was bar none, Geoff Tate. I would study Operation Mindcrime until i could sing it note for note word for word start to finish. Then as life changes your course of direction, the next in line was Phil Anselmo and Chad Gray.


Jason: What was the point in your life when you knew that you wanted to take a shot at being a professional musician yourself?

Mike: Attending multiple concerts and watching how music was such an international language. The way it touches people’s souls is just magical. I’ll bet there isn’t a person out there that can’t identify to at least one song like they wrote it themselves. As i mentioned the song BROTHER before. It is an acoustical song written by Mick and I about the loss of son’s very best friend to suicide will they were still in high school. Every time we play that song live, there is at least one person in the crowd, man or woman, that has come up to us in tears, saying THANK YOU!! That is magic!


Jason: Is there an album/Cd in your collection Mike that all these years later you can point to and say that’s the album that really inspired me and had a major impact on me?



Jason: Anything else that you’d like to say to all the Matrekis fans out there?

Mike: Yes, we don’t have a current online store set up: please contact us on our facebook page, for any gear or albums you may desire. We are all very people and fan driven members, never hesitate to confront us for photos, etc. LASTLY, you want us in your region tell your promoters, clubs, talent buyers to contact we are 100% DIY no middle man.

CHEERZ Jason and thank you again for reaching out to MATREKIS … HAIR aka Mike