Biohazard’s Billy Graziadei on ‘Reborn in Defiance,’ Evan Seinfeld’s Departure + More
New York hardcore veterans Biohazard released their ninth studio album, ‘Reborn in Defiance,’ earlier this year and have been on the road in support of the disc.
The new album is the final one to feature founding member bassist and vocalist Evan Seinfield, who left the band in 2011 shortly after the album was recorded. Biohazard now consists of guitarist-singer Billy Graziadei, drummer Danny Schuler, guitarist Bobby Hambel and bassist-singer Scott Roberts.
Loudwire had the opportunity to catch up with Billy Graziadei during a concert in their hometown of NYC -- check out our review and photo gallery of the show. During our conversation, Graziadei candidly dished all about the new album, the departure of the band’s former frontman Evan Seinfield and what keeps the band going as a whole.
The new album is named ‘Reborn in Defiance.’ What does that title mean to you?
I think it exemplifies everything that Biohazard has gone through even more recently -- from our reunion to going back on tour and getting a chance to show people and erase their last memory of Biohazard with a new one, of the original guys, being back together with [Bobby Hambel]. I think a lot of people wrote us off as “Yeah they did this with Onyx, they did that, they had ‘Punishment,’ it was big on 'Headbangers Ball,' but what are they doin’ now?”
We release records and people would come up to us like, “What are you guys doin’ -- you guys broke up?” and it’s like no we came out with a new record and they don’t even know about it, a lot of record label bulls--t and stuff. It’s timely too for a lot of things because people around the world are standing up and saying, “You know what f—- you motherf---ers, we’re sick of this s--t. Don’t push us around anymore, now we’re standing up for ourselves.” So Reborn in Defiance’ has a lot of meaning, a lot of parallels, a lot of things around the world.
And ‘Reborn’ is the first single?
It’s funny, it’s the first song we gave away, I don’t know if it’s the first song maybe we did ‘Vengeance is Mine’ but we ended up givin’ away three songs so far and then we gave away ‘Skull Crusher’ and then we’re going to give away the whole record for free. You know what, it’s a way of givin’ back. People have been standing behind us and the people who have stood behind us, it’s a way of saying thank you and we don’t do this for the money we never have. There’s no other way for us to say thank you, we can’t go to a club and give it to people and there’s no way for us to play a show for free because there’s other people involved like the owner of the club and all that s--t but our CD is our CD.
We’re going to release a physical copy later in the year, in a couple months with extra s--t only for the American release. We’re proud to be who we are and where we’re from it’s about time we do something cool for everybody at home.
There were auditions held to find Biohazard a new vocalist; what was that process like?
We opened up invitations to see who was interested in working with us and we came across some really cool and interesting people with a lot of talent, some guys were just f---in’ awesome, one guy from Australia, one guy from England, a lot of people from the states, guys from Germany. No disrespect, but someone with an Australian accent for example being a spokesman for Biohazard doesn’t really work for me. But in all due respect to everybody that sent in their stuff, when Evan [Seinfield] quit, Scott [Roberts] jumped right in and he fit. He was in the band the last two records and we get along with him, we got along with him, we know what he’s about, he’s a great performer, he’s f---in’ spot on, he’s awesome. So he was right under our nose, he’s the guy, he’s there so we started jammin’ and it worked and it’s been working great so Scott’s the man, he’s in like Flynn.
And Scott’s taking over the bassist and vocal duties?
Yep, he plays bass and sings. I don’t look at it like we’re replacing Evan because you can’t replace Evan. I mean it was his thing and God bless him but Scott brings his own thing; he was in CroMags and Spudmonsters. He’s a hardcore dude he loves what we do. His heart is into it and that’s what matters.
And you guys split vocals.
The backing vocals have got to be there. I love it and plus I love playing and I love singing but I got to have both. Running around a lot onstage as energetic as I am and I love to be, music just drives me but being tied down to the mic the whole time isn’t really my thing either.
Evan Seinfeld contributed to the album but decided to leave the band. Can you talk a little a bit what led to that decision and how the band reacted?
The record was made with the four of us; we went on tour as a reunion in 2008 and just toured around the world, played something like over 40 countries, it was crazy. While we were on that tour we just started sharing ideas, I didn’t think it was going to last for that long; it did and we got along and the machine just didn’t break, we didn’t add oil to it, it just kept workin’. So we were like f--- it, let’s not fix it, it’s not broken. The music just started flowing and we started exchanging ideas. Danny [Schuler] one day we were in my studio he looks up and he’s like “I guess we’re writing a f---in record” and we were working on a song and all we did was kept writing one song after another, just kept that focus on one song at a time.
When we finished the record, I was still in the studio working with our producer Toby Wright -- great dude, really talented. [We] were still working on the record and we really lost touch with Evan, didn’t talk to him that much, he was just doin’ his own thing. All of a sudden he calls me up out of the blue and he’s like “I’m out, I don’t want to do it anymore” and he quit. So it caught us by surprise I was pissed and felt a little bit betrayed especially making a record that all of us were proud of but he made a decision to quit and we decided to continue and I’m happy with that decision. We all made that decision, it’s not my band, Biohazard is all of us.
All of us sat down and we were like, “Well he quit, why should we quit?” and I’m not a quitter. I was raised to finish what I started and we worked hard on this record, we’re really proud of it, we put a lot of energy and time and I think it comes across as an honest and true Biohazard record. It’s like cutting ourselves in half, it’s everything I love about the band from the melody to the groove, to the heavy and the fast, from the powerful to the slower, grungier side of the riffs, it has everything and I love it.
Biohazard have been around for quite some time and have managed to persevere throughout the years; what keeps you guys going?
I think the same s--t that makes all of us get up out of bed and go to work and go to school, deal with the bulls--t, to be able to have the time to do the things that you like to do. The fighter who gets knocked down can’t win if he stays on the ground; you got to stand back up and fight again, to me that’s important. It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down, stand back up and that’s what we do, in the face of adversity we step forward and say, “Let’s go, f----in’ bring on the challenge” and it’s one challenge after another in life not just for Biohazard and for us but for everybody and you got to deal with it. New Yorkers, we’re resilient, tough motherf---ers; we’re survivors.