After nearly 10 years since its original debut in 2001 at the infamous Fairbanks Inn, the most anticipated event of the Metal community has finally returned, The Orlando Metal Awards. To quote Mattdaddy (Wagner) of FLmetal.com, in his 2003 article “the stars have aligned,” The Orlando Metal Awards has returned. Hosted by Mattdaddy (Wagner) and FLmetal.com the Orlando Metal awards is designed to support and promote the METAL community. A monthly series of local Florida METAL showcases will be held at the Haven Lounge, and will include the state’s most talented METAL bands. The official launch date of the first showcase was on March 11, 2011. I had a chance to interview Mattdaddy (Wagner) and get more information about the Orlando Metal Awards, this is what he had to say;
Liz: What are the Orlando METAL Awards?
Matt: The Orlando METAL Awards were created in the year 2000 as a vehicle to support and promote the Orlando METAL community as a whole. The general idea was, and still is, to break down false perceptions of political barriers, elite cliques and the ever-elusive “metal brotherhood” that some believe exists. There is a long and proud history of METAL music in the Orlando area, and the Orlando METAL Awards is designed to support and promote the fact that “Orlando has the best damn METAL scene on the planet.”
The Orlando METAL Awards was developed to recognize and reward those bands and individuals who eat, breathe, live and die for the local METAL scene.
The first two Orlando METAL Awards took place at the Fairbanks Inn back in 2001 and 2002 with the third Orlando METAL Awards taking place at the Lost and Found Nightclub in 2003. Bands spanning all genres performed with several gaining national recognition by the likes of TRIVIUM, INDORPHINE, ROB ROCK, IRON CROSS and PAIN PRINCIPLE. Among other performers were legendary local bands like O.F.BEATDOWN, DOUBLE VETERAN, ULCER, LUNATIC CANDY KREEP, NOIR and who could forget CHUNK BUCKET?
Now, in 2011, the Orlando METAL Awards are being broken up into nine once-a-month (perhaps more) showcases held at the Haven Lounge in Winter Park. These showcases will attempt to showcase the area’s best local METAL bands regardless of genre. Bands and fans of Death, Doom, Power, Prog, Thrash, Nü-Metal, Hardcore, and any other genre, or sub-genre somehow related to METAL are welcomed and encouraged to participate. If your band has any questions as to “IF we are METAL or not”, then the answer is simply… you’re NOT METAL. Certainly METAL is subjective, but one thing remains certain; METAL is a way of life.
The Orlando METAL Awards do not wish to be elitists or exclude anyone of course. There are plenty of great bands around the area who are fantastic, and whom may not necessarily be METAL in nature. We want to support those bands as well and hope to point them in the direction of great resources such as OrlandoBands.com who exist to support all forms of music. In the case of the Orlando METAL Awards, what we are trying to do is simply spelled out by the title of the event. “The Orlando METAL Awards”
Liz: What are the different categories?
Matt: Individual and group awards are chosen for the following categories:
METAL Band of the year – this award is given to the band who has made the most impact on the local METAL scene over the course of the year. These bands were easily recognized by the sheer amount of determination, hard work and dedication they put not only into themselves but into the scene as a whole. Past winners include: O.F.BEATDOWN, LUNATIC CANDY KREEP and PAIN PRINCIPLE.
Best METAL Performance – Winners of this award were recognized by their on-stage performances including the blood, the sweat, the beers, general mayhem and giving each and every performance 150,000% night in and night out. Past Winners include: INDORPHINE, NOIR, and LUNATIC CANDY KREEP
The remainder of the categories are self-explanatory:
Best METAL Vocalist
Best METAL Guitarist
Best METAL Bassist
Best METAL Drummer
This year the Orlando METAL Awards may add a few more categories such as a HALL OF FAME award. There are many folks who work tirelessly behind the scenes who deserve to be recognized for their selflessness, tireless hard work and un-dying dedication even though they may not actually perform on-stage.
Liz: How is a band selected for an award?
Matt: The first step will include the launch of a new website at FLmetal.com – we’ve been hard at work trying to develop a new site to include and promote more ‘social’ interaction with like-minded individuals. We will be asking users of the FLmetal.com FORUM to nominate their favorite bands and musicians. Surely there will be plenty of opinions of who the clear-cut winners should or should-not be, however, everyone will have an equal chance to be nominated and chance to participate regardless of their musical style and skill level. The Orlando METAL Awards encourages everyone to participate, recognize and discover new talent which they may not have been exposed to by checking out the nominees.
Liz: How does a band win an award?
Matt: Only those bands and individuals who bust their asses through hard work and determination will generate the kind of respect and fan support they’ll need to achieve an award worthy of a GOLDEN SKULL. As the ceremony draws closer there will be an online voting process through FLmetal.com which will recognize and develop a comprehensive list of nominees. As the nominees become clearer, further rounds of voting will take place until finalists are determined with the winners being presented at the awards ceremony.
Liz: Who will judge the awards?
Matt: The Orlando METAL scene belongs to the PEOPLE, therefore, the bands and the fans who eat, breathe and live for our METAL scene will collectively chose the winners. The concept of including everyone together with an equal voice to determining the winners is a primary focus throughout the judging process as it evolves. Inevitably, not everyone can win an award, and thinking of the Orlando METAL Awards as a competition to be judged is in some ways counter-productive to the concept of trying to knock down barriers and create a more unified METAL scene.
Liz: Do you see the Orlando Music Awards uniting the METAL community? How?
Matt: It’s fairly unrealistic to believe any community, regardless of origin, could ever be unquestionably unified. After all, it is our differences that make us unique as individuals and as musicians. Despite our most sincere efforts to break down political boundaries, perceptions of cliques and favoritism, there will always be nay-sayers quick to criticize our efforts. Metalheads are typically cynical, pessimistic creatures who live to voice their opinions when something “sucks”. It’s that kind of passion that also makes Metalheads loyal and dedicated supporters when they believe something doesn’t suck. If the Orlando METAL Awards can turn even a small fraction of negative energy into positive for the local METAL scene the the OMA has achieved the goals of supporting, promoting and perhaps further unifying our METAL scene.
Liz: When are you planning on having the Orlando METAL Awards?
Matt: Friday, December 2nd and Friday, December 9th at the Haven Lounge in Winter Park. In past years, each of the Orlando METAL Awards were held on consecutive weekend nights, billed as “2 Nights of Beer Drinkin’ and Head Bangin'”. This year the plan remains the same, however, everything (as always) is subject to change!
Liz: You hosted the Orlando METAL Awards many years ago what made you decide it was time again to host another?
Matt: Ten years after the first Orlando METAL Awards in 2001, the Orlando METAL scene hasn’t changed much, except we have a whole new generation of Metalheads infiltrating the scene. The biggest difference is the state of the economy being in the tank making the success of local bands and venues an ongoing challenging. People simply can’t go out to support music like they used to, therefore it just felt like the right time to give people a reason to get out and support music. By presenting the bands and fans with the Orlando METAL Awards, it is with great hope these efforts will help stimulate the scene and open the doors even wider to audiences and greater acceptance by the many venues we have in our city.
Liz: If someone wants to be a part of the Orlando METAL Awards what do they need to do?
Matt: For BANDS and FANS who want to be a part of the Orlando METAL Awards, it’s really as easy as simply coming to one of the monthly showcases being held each month at the Haven Lounge. Visiting FLmetal.com or facebook/FLmetal online and engaging in conversations within the FLmetal.com FORUM or facebook wall. We encourage everyone to promote their favorite artists, and share their thoughts about upcoming shows, the latest METAL news, and things as simple as mentioning a new album they think others would enjoy. The Orlando METAL Awards invites everyone to get involved. Who knows how many METAL bands actually exist in the Central Florida area? There are likely hundreds of bands that exist, but haven’t made it out of the garage yet. Those are the bands we want to reach out to and give them a chance to be heard.
Liz: What is your favorite part of the Orlando METAL Awards?
Matt: The real payoff is looking around the room during the event and seeing nearly every local band represented. Sharing drinks together at the bar, joking around, laughing and generally just having a great time together. That’s really what the Orlando METAL Awards is all about. Bringing friends together to celebrate METAL and have a blast doing it. My favorite part is actually the day after it’s all over. It’s only then that I’ll be able to take a deep breath and finally get a good night’s sleep.
Liz: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Matt: WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. That is and has always been the mantra of the Orlando METAL Awards. Regardless of musical tastes, genres or opinions, bands typically play on the same stage, and fans find themselves at the same clubs which make up our music scene as a whole. The Orlando METAL Awards has a mission to make a lasting impact on the local METAL scene, but the scene will not exist without support from the bands and fans. Together we can make a difference, therefore, the Orlando METAL Awards challenges everyone to open their minds, get off the sidelines, and help make a difference in their local METAL scene! See you in the PIT !!!
Thank you Mattdaddy (Wagner) for an awesome interview. The next showcase “Road to the Orlando Metal Awards” is April 15, 2011 at The Haven Lounge in Winter Park, with GOLLUM (NC), STILL LIFE (tribute to Opeth), 5 BILLION DEAD, and DRUID LORD. Whether you are a band or a fan, come out and help support our local METAL community. For more information go to FLmetal.com