By now most of you are probably nursing your Easter hangovers. Well I have just the thing to help you through this Hangover Monday: an interview with none other than Scott Lee, founder and organizer of the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival, which just wrapped up its SIXTEENTH year! For those of you that went this year, all I can say is that I’m extremely jealous. No less than four major tours all converged on the event at the SAME TIME!! We sat down with Scott to find out just what goes into keeping all of this chaos organized. Take a look:
Amps: First question I have to ask…how in the HELL did you manage to get something of this magnitude not only going, but going strong 16 years later??
Amps: As far as putting it together, are you stuck with a phone to your head for half the year?
Scott: It’s work. There’s a lot of going back and forth between agents. Mass Concerts, we book concerts year round so we’re talking to a lot of these people anyway. It’s just some extra work, really.
Amps: Describe the weekend for the uninitiated.
Scott: It’s a big, big step up from your normal regular concert. It’s a fun time, it’s meeting new people from all around the world, it’s great. It’s a great atmosphere and a good vibe.
Amps: What about for you, what’s your weekend like?
Scott: I’m kind of doing that chicken with no head kind of thing (laughs). But it’s fun and I have a good time doing it. If I didn’t I wouldn’t be doing it at all.
Amps: I think I’m gonna have to hop a plane from Texas next year and check this thing out.
Scott: Do it, man! Do it! We were just in Texas at South By Southwest taking over Austin.
Amps: Are there any of the younger, newer bands that you’re particularly stoked to see?
Scott: KUBLAI KHAN from Texas, definitely. FALLUJAH from the California area, this band Barrier from Chicago. That’s about it for the younger bands. I’ve seen a lot of bands over the years.
Amps: When I saw the line-up it actually inspired me to check out some of the bands I hadn’t heard. A year ago I didn’t listen to ANY of this stuff, really. Now here I am giving BEHEMOTH a 10/10!
Scott: They’re one of the greatest bands ever. I love BEHEMOTH. So happy to have them playing the festival.
Amps: Do you think that this festival is a really great platform for people to get exposed to bands they probably never would’ve had a shot in Hell at seeing?
Scott: Oh yeah, definitely. All bullshit aside you come to the festival you’re gonna see so many different bands and different things. You’ll probably gain a ton of knowledge about different genres. If you really love extreme music, this is it. This is the circus.
Amps: The fact that you have Best In Brutality, Metal Alliance, and Mission Quest to Metalfest all converging at the same time, was that planned or a happy accident?
Scott: It was aligned to make it happen. We’ve been doing this for 16 years and people set up tours around the festival. People look forward to playing it because it’s a great party.
Amps: When you’re not organizing the madness what do you do in your spare time?
Scott: I book for Mass Concerts, I have a management company that I share with one of my best friends, Leigh Urbano, called Crimson Management, I have a clothing company, Trip Clothing, with my good friend Kyle Lusky, and I have another business called Soundwaves which is a VIP ticketing company that I do with two other people. I sleep six hours a day. I have a beautiful girlfriend, so my hobby is hanging out with her!
Amps: Well at least you’re getting some sleep. But man, you are really busy!
Scott: I am. But there really is nothing to complain about, you know? Everything about the festival is all good, there’s no negatives, honestly. I mean sure, you put 2000 people in a room there’s gonna be assholes, but everyone’s just there to have a good time. That’s it.
Amps: What do you love most and what do you like least about doing this?
Scott: I wish I could do these as a full-time job and put on more of them. What I love most is watching the bands, watching the crowd pop. Because I’m a fan.
Amps: So do you still get that same rush as a fan when these bands go on? You haven’t lost that since you’re an organizer?
Scott: Fuck no, man. I love these bands, I love it! It’s in my blood, it’s part of my life. Having SAM BLACK CHURCH on this festival is one of the best things I’ve done in my career. If you’re not aware of them, SAM BLACK CHURCH came out of Boston, toured all over the country, got a record deal, and it fell through, so they kind of fell off. They would fill the Worcester Palladium on their own, man, They were a big band in New England. Every area has one of those bands, you know? And there wouldn’t be bands like LAMB OF GOD, or THE ACACIA STRAIN if it wasn’t for bands like this, you know? People pay homage to these bands and it makes me feel good to bring that back to the people. I’m excited for that, I love that shit.I can’t wait to see NAILS, one of the best bands for extreme music. They don’t play very often, so I’m glad to have them on the festival.
Amps: I know it’s still early, but 2014 has been an AMAZING year for releases so far. Anything really hit you?
Scott: The BEHEMOTH record’s fuckin’ sick!
Amps: What would you say to a 17 or 18-year old kid right now who’s thinking about going to this festival, but he’s unsure?
Scott: Just do it, it’ll fuckin’ change your life. Expand your horizons, you’ll see different bands and meet different people from all across the world. We have bands coming in from Japan, we have bands coming from Poland, BLEEDING THROUGH is here for their final U.S. appearance. Open your mind up, check it out, and meet some new people!
Scott Lee is one cool dude, no? Just a fan who loves to put on shows people love. And THAT is what genuinely excites him. Well, he’s convinced me, I’m going to the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival next year. And if any of you guys went please share your experiences with us.