This may be the only time I interview a non-band member (unless Ving Rhames finally returns my calls), but I see something of a kindred spirit in YouTube Reviewer Joshua Armijo. Joshua Armijo, a.k.a. runnerjma, began filming spoken word music reviews on YouTube several years ago and has since grown to over 3,000 subscribers. The man is one of the strongest supporters of the Texas black/death/thrash/heavy metal/metal of death cults and has a wicked hat collection to boot. Josh answered these questions by email and laid out his opinions on current releases, reviews, and yes, hats. Here you go!
Joshua and I at Disentomb in Austin. Cameo appearance by Sterling of Id! Credit: J. Armijo
1. You’ve risen to prominence as a reviewer of metal on YouTube. What are some advantages and disadvantages of this type of reviewing format?
First of all, thank you for the kind words. It helps to be animated and visually express how someone would feel about an album, and encourage someone to go out and listen to and hopefully purchase whatever it is I discuss. Also the opportunity to have like minded discussions with subscribers about how they felt about it. Then and again, there are people who can't seem to appreciate a difference of opinion and act like imbecilic pussies about it, its a nuisance but it makes for fine entertainment.
2. What is the craziest show you’ve ever seen? Feel free to not limit it to just one for the entertainment of our readers.
Well, the one show that stands out to me more than any other was seeing Exhumed at The Korova basement in December 2012, they were having van issues and needed to play some one offs to help get back on the road, so a gig got booked in San Antonio. Something about that night felt very visceral and completely without restraint. The environment, crowd participation, and of course Exhumed themselves being as insane as ever in a small surrounding like that made it all the more memorable. Also, seeing bands like Morbosidad and War Master for the first time in 2014, both violent, primitive, and aggressive as can be in the metal underground. And Revenge at Destroying Texas Fest? Wow. EQUIMANTHORN!!!!
3. If there was one split-up Texan band that you could resurrect for a single show, who would it be and why?
I would have to say Averse Sefira. In my humble opinion, I firmly believe that their send off has been bittersweet, and I don't feel the band's legacy has been closed properly. I can imagine them doing just one last show, and then moving on from there. Don't see that happening anytime soon, but regardless of which, the impact that band has made on Texas black metal has been very long lasting. [Forever hailed. Anoint. Alight. Align. - Ed.]
4. You’ve been to a ton of underground shows in this state over the years. However, since we can’t be in two places at once, what is one show you missed that you’re kicking yourself for? Ed: My two are Order From Chaos and the Meat Shits, both separate shows in 2010. *beats self with chair*
Can't make em all, life gets in the way and responsibilities set in. I would have to honestly say Chaos In Tejas 2013 with Bolt Thrower, Integrity, Cruciamentum, all bucket list bands in my view. Even that pre fest with Imprecation and Tragedy seemed like an amazing time. Shit happens.
5. How do you find the inspiration to consistently review new material without getting burned out or feeling like you’re repeating yourself?
Because I've always done things on my own terms and have answered to nobody. I also have never treated this hobby like its a job, this is passion for metal more than anything. I've been doing this on my own for almost five years without anyone's assistance, aside from the many great friends and colleagues I've met through YouTube who've helped me get to where I am. In recent times, I've been slowing down on content, but that's because I don't want to run myself into the ground. My love and passion for metal is another reason why I remain inspired, I've often seen people cry foul about how they've become tired of metal and wanting to drift away from it. Their disappointments fuel my need to be successful. Metal has no place for "part time metalheads" or infiltrators with no passion, heart, or love, the former and the latter can fuck off.
6. There is no way I could do an interview with you without asking this question: What is your favorite hat? Follow up: Since your hats get passed around pretty often at shows, who is your favorite musician to throw your hat on during a show?
I knew this was going to happen haha! I have quite a few, obviously anything in my Spongebob collection. I also have a hat inspired by Dr. Dre's "The Chronic" with some really cool woven gold threads. And I love my Doge inspired hats, shibe inus are the cutest, meme or not. [Fuckin’ love Shibes - Ed.] And King Fowley of Deceased is the one guy I can attribute to having interaction with my hats. Goregrowler's Ball in 2011, he wore one of my Spongebob hats and did a backhand toss and I caught it, there's video of it on YouTube I think. Ironically, fast forward to the last time I saw Deceased, King did the same thing. Its stuff like that, that can stay with you forever.
Speaking of Deceased…, here’s a live photo from February! Hail King Fowley!
7. What is your favorite band reaction to one of your videos?
I am always eternally grateful whenever a review I do has the approval of a band. I was taken by surprise when Paradise Lost shared a review I did of their album Tragic Idol. Or when notable figures like Antti Boman of Demilich and Stephen O'Malley of Sunn O))) came across video reviews I did of their respective bands, its a very surreal feeling. And Full Of Hell have been supportive of my quirks and exploits. I value their friendships probably more than any piece of physical music I could own.
8. Judging by the entire left side of your vest, you love Texas metal just as much as I do, if not more. What are your favorite current/active bands from the Lone Star State?
In no particular order, Blaspherian, Imprecation, Morgengrau, Birth A.D., Absu, Flesh Hoarder, Cheese Grater Masturbation, Sturmgewehr, Womanthrower, U.S.O., VBT, Hexlust, Whore of Bethlehem, Devourment, Plutonian Shore, Sacrocurse, and some newer bands like Id, Absurdist, Oceans Of Slumber, Desecrate The Faith, Defiled Crypt, Funeral Ash, and Hellknife are ones to be on the lookout for, a glimpse into the future of Texas metal.
9. This zine will be released at the third quarter of 2015. As of the time that I’m sending the interview, what are your ten favorite albums of the year?
As of this writing this is my current top ten (this list is subject to change):
1. Leviathan- Scar Sighted
2. Archgoat- The Apocalyptic Triumphator
3. Genocide Shrines- Manipura Imperial Deathevokovil
4. Misþyrming- Söngvar elds og óreiðu
5. Hic Iacet- The Cosmic Trance Into The Void
6. Author & Punisher- Melk En Honing
7. Dodheimsgard- A Umbra Omega
8. Crowhurst- Crowhurst
9. Ranger- Where Evil Dwells
10. TRTRKMMR- Avec La Souillure Nous Entrons Au Règne De La Terreur
10. This space is yours to hail, shout, kill, etc etc etc:
Once again, thank you so much for this opportunity to be included in your amazing 'zine! You are an ambassador for the greater good of Texas metal Jake! (Aw shucks - Ed.) And an immense thank you to any and all who have been involved in this unique journey of mine, it means more to me than you can imagine. Remember, metal can be a forever thing, and can lead you to long lasting life and enjoyment. Learn to love it, learn to live with it, metal is the best thing going today! Diamonds are forever, and so is the Texas metal underground. Hail metal! Hail death! Armijo Out!