Today, we have the privilege of sitting down with the musical powerhouse behind IMMORTALIZER, a one-man heavy metal force that has been turning heads with his classic heavy metal sound and relentless dedication. From early vinyl inspirations to a DIY recording journey, IMMORTALIZER’s story is one of passion, perseverance, and a steadfast commitment to the art of music, lets dive in!
You credit your father’s Rock & Metal vinyl collection as a catalyst for your musical journey. Could you share a few of those iconic artists that left a lasting impression on you as a musician?
When I heard Black Sabbath’s Paranoid for the first time at 7 years old it truly changed my life. I was immediately drawn in and learned a great deal from Black Sabbath records. Alice Cooper was another artist that greatly influenced me. Same with Van Halen. I was mesmerized by Eddie Van Halen’s guitar playing in particular. Some of the others early on were Deep Purple, Nazareth, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. I spent countless hours playing those records over and over. I knew without a doubt that music was going to be my path in life.
Your journey began with a modest drum kit, and now you handle guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, and vocals. How did you master these diverse instruments, and what drove you to become a one-person powerhouse?
Immortalizer | I was very driven as a young kid and I wanted more than anything to become a professional musician and tour the world. I was determined to make it happen. I got my first drum kit for my 9th birthday and played that thing into the ground. I would play until my hands blistered and bled. I’d stop to bandage my hands up and then I’d continue playing haha. I just couldn’t get enough. I was so obsessed with music that I wanted to learn other instruments as well, so I started learning guitar on my father’s old acoustic guitar. My parents had an upright piano downstairs, so I would mess around on that as well. I learned to play everything by ear. I played along to my favourite records and started writing my own songs. Over the course of 28 years I slowly developed each instrument by practicing all of them as much as I could. I never took music lessons but I learned lots of tips and tricks from family and friends. A big shift was my journey into recording. Home recording started being more affordable when I was a teenager, so multi-track recording was a total game changer for me.
My solo career was a bit unexpected. My best friend Jay and I started our first band when I was 9 and we went on to form 13 bands together. We both loved music and practiced in his parents basement every single day after school and even more on weekends. They were so nice to let us jam full volume during our formative years. It was considerably raw at first and always very loud. A few years later we started performing all over our home city and outside it as well. It’s not an easy business however, and after years of effort Jay decided to return to school. I couldn’t picture myself doing anything other than music however, so I decided to continue solo. I had already begun recording full demos at that point, so I just dedicated all my time and energy to my new project Immortalizer.
Creating a DIY recording setup in your basement is a testament to your determination. Could you elaborate on the challenges and rewards of producing your music independently?
I have improvised quite a bit in my home studio. For example, my vocal booth is made of a foam mattress wrapped in moving blankets and propped up with fence posts. It doesn’t get much more DIY than that haha. Though funny enough it does work quite well. I couldn’t properly record acoustic drums with the gear and space I had, so I decided to go with electric drums instead. I’ve spent the last 28 years slowly beefing up my studio and equipment, trying to get a decent set up for each instrument.
I think the main advantage is creative control over my work. I can create exactly what I hear in my mind and what I envision for the song. I also feel you can’t rush creativity, so I enjoy being able to decide when an album or song is ready. However doing everything myself means a lot more pressure and a lot more time. The biggest disadvantage of all is not being able to perform, tour and write with other musicians. That’s why I’m planning to find full time band members to be able to bring Immortalizer to the stage and tour around the world.
How did you develop your signature sound, and what were some of the influences that guided you?
When I started Immortalizer I envisioned fusing classic style Heavy Metal with contemporary Metal. I thought it would be fun to create something a little different. I only realized after my first tracks that I had pulled from other sources as well like Thrash, Prog Metal, Heavy Rock etc. I also realized that I wouldn’t really fit into any one category which complicated things a bit, but my focus has always been to just make the best music I can.
I’ve been greatly influenced by those first bands like Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper and many others along the way. Ozzy’s solo records were incredibly impactful on me since childhood. Another life altering band for me was Megadeth. I found out about them when I was about 12. I bought Countdown To Extinction and it completely blew my mind. Metallica, Pantera, Kiss, Symphony X and Black Label Society were all big influences as well. A year or so later I learned of bands from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal like Motörhead, Judas Priest, Saxon and Iron Maiden and once again my life was forever changed! German Metal was an equally impactful influence on my evolution as an artist. Specifically Primal Fear and Helloween. I was blown away by their talent, powerful melodies, incredible performances and production quality. I began digging into more German and European Metal bands and found so many new favourites like Yngwie Malmsteen, Accept and Michael Schenker.
Collaborating with Ralf Scheepers of Primal Fear sounds like a dream come true. Could you share how this partnership came about and what it meant to have his involvement?
Absolutely! I’ve been a huge fan of Ralf’s and Primal Fear since I was a teenager. I consider Ralf to be one of the greatest Metal vocalists out there. I first reached out to him for help to further develop my vocal abilities and recording knowledge. I’d been singing for over 20 years but had no formal training of any kind. I felt I had hit a wall and wanted to expand my vocal range and learn from someone I greatly admire. We both live for music and got along really well, so we started becoming friends. Ralf has been very supportive and helped me in so many ways. He graciously created my new vocal sound, helped me with gear and shared all kinds of info and advice. Ralf kindly offered to mix and master one of my first singles (I’m Gone) and afterwards we began working on the entire album together. When I showed him We Were Born For Metal he really liked the song and volunteered to do some guest vocals on it. I was beyond thrilled! He did such an incredible job on the single and the album production. It’s especially impressive when you consider that he was working from home recordings. It’s been such an honour to become friends and work directly with one of my heroes. I’ll forever be grateful to him.
As an indie artist, gaining recognition and building a fan base can be a challenge. How has the response been to your music, and how do you feel about the support you’ve received from your fans?
The response from critics and fans so far has been incredibly positive! It’s been very encouraging and humbling to see so many people enjoying my music. I’ve received a lot of kind messages from fans. Their support has been really great as well, people from all over the world have reached out for CD’s, vinyls and merchandise. Digital downloads and streams being the most significant. I’m extremely grateful to all Immortalizer fans for their support! It’s definitely a challenge for indie artists though. I’ve tried to keep costs as low as possible for fans but the manufacturing and shipping costs have gotten so high that it’s hard to get albums pressed and released independently.
Finally, your dedication to music for nearly three decades is truly remarkable. If you could send a message to your younger self, just starting out on this journey, what advice would you give based on your experiences?
That’s a very good question. I think I’d say: never give up on yourself or your dream. Incredible things can happen when you work hard and stay true to yourself. Don’t let other people’s negativity discourage you and never stop reaching beyond your grasp.
Check out this fine new single on YouTube.
See more of this journey on IG.
Interviewed by Stefan Toren