Somojo Magazine

Ockums Razor
"Haven’t you ever heard of Ockums Razor?" - Lisa Simpson

Would you mind introducing yourselves and telling us what instruments you play?
Topher - I sing and play keyboard
Mike Viner - Guitar
Ryan Chepeto - Bass Guitar, Trombone
Hey, I’m Voodoo, drummer for Ockums Razor

How long has the current band line up been together?
Topher - Around Aug of ‘08
Mike Viner - Same answer as above.
Ryan Chepeto -  Since August of 2008
Voodoo -  I joined Ockums Razor back in mid
summer of ‘08.

How did you get to meet each other?
Topher - I met Viner at my first job at McDonald’s to earn money for a car, cd’s and whatnot. Years later after having been in different bands, I answered an ad for a band looking for a vocalist, showed up at their jam space and there was Mike from way back when....
Mike Viner -  I met Chris at my first job
(Mcdonalds).16 years old saving for my first car. there was this dude that walked around in the grill area singing songs to himself. I was a guitar player and thought I should ask him to start a band but I chickened out because he was mean looking .I quit Mcdonalds a couple months later. Fast forward 8 years later I had a band minus a vocalist. We put out an ad and after quite a few lack luster tryouts in walks Chris. It felt right, and it was.
Ryan Chepeto -  Connections...
Voodoo - We were introduced through Yvonne of Voodoo Queen Productions and through Topher’s other half, Donna.

Topher - In this band, we officially released three different things, they are as follows:
* ‘With A Clear View’ EP
* ‘Novocain’ EP
* ‘tHE tERRIBLE tRUTH’ Acoustic full-length
Mike Viner - Same as above.
Ryan Chepeto -  Idk, None for me
Voodoo -  Originally before Ockums Razor I was with semi-national Habit Of Force from Chicago.
I was with them for about 8 years. Internal conflict ended that one, right after the release of our new e.p. Hybrid.

What music did you listen to while growing up?
Topher - My first records, yes records, were Michael Jackson; Lionel Richie, Huey Lewis and the News, Elvis and also The Monkees. Then I got into the hair bands, then enlightenment came. I got into some Christian music like Saviour Machine, for example, started listening to Alice in Chains, Faith No More, anything I could get my hands on really at that point.
Mike Viner - Sad to say but I started my musical adventure listening to hairmetal. Motley Crue, Skid Row, Poison, Cinderella, because that’s all there
really was until I got into my mid teens and resources were more available. That’s when I got into More progressive music and not so mainstream.
Ryan Chepeto -  As a little kid, I listened to bands like Nirvana or whatever else was on the radio. I now listen to whatever.
Voodoo -  Anthrax, Sepultura, Pantera, Alice in Chains, Tool, Misfits, Danzig, Nine Inch Nails,
Ministry, Faith No More, Soundgarden, ZZ Top, a little bit of everything really.

How long have you played your instruments?
Topher - I didn’t really attempt singing in a band until 1994, but I had to sing in the choir at church, growing up.
Mike Viner - Guitar for 20 years
Ryan Chepeto -  Trombone for 6 years and bass for almost 4
Voodoo -  I actually didn’t start playing a drum kit until I was 19. Couldn’t afford one before that.

Ockums Razor

What was your first instrument?
Topher - My first mic was an SM-58, still have the same one.
Mike Viner - Guitar called a SERIES 10. piece of crap
Ryan Chepeto -  My first bass was an Ibanez
Voodoo -  My first drum kit was a 9 piece Tama Imperial, 2 kicks and all roto toms. Bought it for 300 bucks out of some drunk dudes garage when I was 19.

Are you self taught or did you have lessons?
Topher - Self taught. I did take one voice class in college too.
Mike Viner - I started taking lessons at first then found out I could do it on my own.
Ryan Chepeto -  Lessons, mentors, teachers
Voodoo -  Self taught mostly, spent a lot of nights listening to Anthrax.

Did you always want to be in a band when you were growing up?
Topher - I dreamed of it, yes.
Mike Viner - Yes
Ryan Chepeto -  I thought about it, but I didn’t think it would happen.
Voodoo -  Pretty much, except for how expensive drum equipment is.

What is your current equipment?
Topher - I use a the one God gave me, my Sure mic and Viner’s keyboard, you will have to come see us live to find out what kind!
Mike Viner - I play a Gibson Epiphone guitar/ Dual Rectifier Mesa Boogie amp with Mesa Boogie slant cabinet/ line 6 POD effect pedal
Ryan Chepeto -  Fender Jazz,  SDGR  Amps: Ampeg SVT 6 Pro w/ a 6x10 cab...Effects: Bass Pod (Line 6)
Voodoo -  Trick Drums, Sabian Cymbols, Evans G2 heads, ProMark Sticks, Gibraltor rack and a modified pair of Iron Cobra pedals. Thanks to DW and Axis.

If you had an unlimited equipment budget what would be on your shopping list?
Topher - Don’t get me started...
Mike Viner - A full road crew. I hate setting up, taking down, and carrying our gear.
Ryan Chepeto -  A 1989 Rickenbacker 4003 “Blackstar”
Voodoo -  Back up parts for my kit. Heads, cymbals, beaters, sticks, things I have a tendency to break.

Any new recordings planned?
Topher - Yes, we are starting the second block of six songs this month, then I have to do all the vox for 12 songs.
Mike Viner - Yes
Ryan Chepeto -  Yeah, full length album
Voodoo -  Yes, working on a new full length album at the moment.

Do you use the same equipment live as you do when in a studio?
Topher - I like to try different approaches and mics when possible.
Mike Viner - Sometimes. Effects pedal and guitar
Ryan Chepeto -  Yeah, for the most part, equipment is equipment
Voodoo -  Yes, just I have to gel tab my kit in the studio.

Do you record at a purpose built studio or do you record at home with portable digital equipment?
Topher - Both
Mike Viner - I have done both. “THE TERRIBLE TRUTH” was recorded at my house with my equipment. Everything prior we did in the studio.
Ryan Chepeto -  We record, that’s what we do. Does it matter where?
Voodoo -  Studio, many times.

When’s the new album released, how long has it taken?
Topher - Tentatively we are planning late summer, no longer than the end of the year.
Ryan Chepeto - That’s for me to know and you to find out
Voodoo -  As long as every thing goes right, by mid summer. We have been recording and still playing shows. We layed out the first 6 drum, bass and guitar tracks back in Feb. Going to lay the next 6 drum, bass and guitar tracks out in May. Then Topher will lay out his vocals. Lay baby, lay, muhahahahaha!!

Do you have any favourite tracks on your new album?
Topher - Too hard to determine right now.
Mike Viner - Mine has got to be ‘A New Thing’
Ryan Chepeto -  ‘Drowned’ is pretty BA
Voodoo -  Don’t know yet, still finishing some new tracks up for the studio.

Who are the main song writers for the band?

Topher - Viner and I are used to doing the bulk of it, but we have always done our best to inspire and share this with others, they have to empower themselves to be a part of it, though.
Mike Viner - Chris and I
Ryan Chepeto -  Not me, I lack creativity and can’t play worth a shit
Voodoo -  Originally Viner and Topher, but as of late, everyone of us has been a major contribute to the music writing.

Ockums Razor

Do you write songs only about personal experiences?
Topher - No, sometimes things mirror my personal experiences, but I try to add some irony or allegory to it. Leave it open to interpretation. I write about the human condition, sometimes even religion and politics.
Ryan Chepeto -  I’ve never experienced anything worth writing about
Voodoo -  Nah, just whatever mood we are all really in at the time.

Do you find song writing easy or difficult?
Topher - Depends on the subject matter and the particular structure of the piece.
Mike Viner - Easy when my mind is at ease. Life can make an easy mind difficult sometimes.
Ryan Chepeto -  If it’s difficult you shouldn’t be trying to write.
Voodoo -  At times. From my personal experience, music comes out a lot better when it flows. If it is something you are constantly fighting to write, it was never meant to be.

Is there anyone who you would like to collaborate with on writing songs?
Topher - I had the opportunity to collaborate w/ some on our acoustic cd we just released, now I am looking forward to doing the same w/ Dean Preacher from ‘Saence’ and also Butch Tocco from ‘Iron Fist Dillusion.’
Ryan Chepeto -  It would be awesome if my mom sang some lead vocals
Voodoo -  I’m down to work with any open minded musician.

Who are your favourite song writers?
Topher - Mike Patton, Jerry Cantrell, Saviour Machine, Celldweller, too many to list.
Mike Viner - Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Tool
Ryan Chepeto -  Mike Ness is pretty good and keeps things simple and to the point.
Voodoo -  Mike Patton, Jerry Cantrell, , Dimebag Darrel, Tool.

Which countries have you gigged in?
Topher - United States
Mike Viner - N/A
Ryan Chepeto -  In 2007 I did a tour of eastern Europe with this super-group I was performing in, but we like to keep things within North America,
Excluding Mexico (they didn’t pay us last time) - *Joke*
Voodoo -  Just in the states, Mid-west down to Texas

Which countries would be at the top of your list to tour?
Topher - Germany, Australia, Russia
Ryan Chepeto -  Lithuania, Russia, Estonia, people there really appreciate music more than in the states
Voodoo -  Europe, Australia, Germany.

Who would you like to tour with?
Topher - Any band that gives it all they have and have the talent to back it with.
Mike Viner - Tool, Snot. I think these bands really are great live and would love to see them for free every night.
Ryan Chepeto -  My friends, my band, doesn’t matter who else.
Voodoo -  Tool.

How do you promote your music and get your music to new fans?
Topher - Internet, word of mouth, putting myself out there.
Ryan Chepeto -  I drive around playing our music through my loud speakers at night...
Voodoo -  Myspace, between Ockums Razor and The Wolf Pack with all the cross promotions going on.

Do you think such sites are good for independent and unsigned artists?
Topher - Yes
Mike Viner - Yes
Ryan Chepeto -  No sir, I refuse to take part in terrorism.
Voodoo -  Yes, it helps unheard artist to get their music out there so you can hear it.

Do you think the internet overall is a good or bad thing for new artists?
Topher - Of course, but it is like any music scene these days, saturated.
Mike Viner - Right now it is the only thing.
Ryan Chepeto -  Music spreads like a wild fire. Things are different now. Everyone has to step up their game. The competition has grown. (people need to stop caring about people getting their music for free. No one is entitled to anything. Music is just sound. Be glad the little shits are even listening.)
Voodoo -  I think it is a very good thing, look at how many profiles are on myspace and facebook alone.

Would you sign with a major record company?
Topher - Open to the idea, but the idea is too hold out as long as you can, it also depends on the contract.
Mike Viner - Show me the money!!
Ryan Chepeto -  Depends, would you sell your soul to the devil?
Voodoo -  Depends on the contract, if I have to eat crap, no.

How did you come up with name?
Topher - Collectively by vote with our original lineup.
Mike Viner - Lisa Simpson said to Bart “Haven’t you ever heard of Ockums Razor’ the most simple explaination is probably the correct one.” in an episode and we thought it sounded cool. A bit of research later to make sure her definition was right, and here we are, OCKUMS RAZOR.
Ryan Chepeto -  I didn’t, but if I did it would probably have come from those hooligans that paint graffiti on my house.
Voodoo -  Topher and Viner did that one.

What would call your style of music?
Topher - I call it Rock/Experimental/New Wave, but it is hard to label it.
Mike Viner - Agressive, experimental groove-rock
Ryan Chepeto -  The tripped out experiment of 4 guys that have too much time on their hands.
Voodoo -  Rock, Alternative, Metal, hard to really just give it one genre, since we have so many influences.

What/ Who do you listen to when chilling out?
Topher - Saviour Machine, Enigma is a good one too, Pink Floyd, lots of them....
Mike Viner - the Meters, Stevie Wonder, Niel Young, Bob Marley, Pink Floyd,
Ryan Chepeto -  social d, suicidal tendencies, clutch, Kraftwerk, Fugazi
Voodoo -  Enigma

Have you ever entered any ‘battle of the bands’ competitions?
Topher - Of course, but these days, it seems that a lot of bands go into them with a lot of ‘false hopes.’
Mike Viner - Yes
Ryan Chepeto -  We were in one, but never played. We were too good and didn’t want to upset anyone.
Voodoo -  Yeah, those things are crap, most of the time it’s just a money scam anymore. They also cause too much competition between bands, which also cause controversy.

Where can you see yourselves in ten years?
Topher - Hopefully, in the mirror.
Mike Viner - Hopefully, playing music that I love, one way or the other
Ryan Chepeto -  Living my life, knowing more than I know now
Voodoo -  Shit, I don’t know where I will be in 10 months, lol!

What’s your best/worst experience at a gig?
Topher - Best and worst was one of the first bands that I was in, we played to a packed house at the original Creepy Crawl, both our band and also the other supporting local act brought peeps, the headliner was a touring band from Peoria, IL. under the name ‘Mudvane’ years later they changed it and added the ‘y’ but, point being is one of our members that was with me had to leave and I drove him so I had to leave. It blew when I found out how good the show was. Years later when they hit it big, I felt ashamed that I missed it, but I still have the flyer!
Mike Viner - I love to play shows, and we have been lucky enough to play a lot of good ones so that’s a tough one. It would be easier to tell about my worst, and that was December 6th of 2003. Mississippi Nights was the club. A big showcase style show with a big audience. I decided to drink way to much and embarrass my bandmates. It was the end of my drinking. I haven’t touched it since.
Ryan Chepeto -  I got into a fight with this big guy that called me a little kid. He kicked my ass
!Voodoo -  Best experience was The Rave in Wisconsin when I got to open up for Devil Driver and GWAR. The worst was the Creepy Crawl, gotta love their heart warming employees, sack of @$#%

Do you get nervous before a gig- how do you calm down?
Topher - No, just anxious.
Mike Viner - No, I get stoked
Ryan Chepeto -  No need to be nervous, I’m used to fucking up. I like to hang with friends before I play.
Voodoo -  No, if the gig’s too late, I might have a good buzz.

What are your day jobs if you have one?
Topher - Painting and drywall, etc.
Mike Viner - I make surgical instruments
Ryan Chepeto -  I go to school, I work at Imo’s pizza, I train cats to jump through firey hoops, (ignore that last part)
Voodoo -  Day care with my other half and Voodoo Queen Productions and The Wolf Pack.

Has your music been used on any film soundtracks?
Topher - No
Mike Viner - No
Ryan Chepeto -  I made a film documentary about how local bands ruin music, but we didn’t make the cut.
Voodoo -  Nope

Is it something you’d like to get involved in if the opportunity came along?
Topher - Sure
Ryan Chepeto -  Why would it matter, there’s so much music out there. I couldn’ t care less if we’re on a film soundtrack. Do you buy soundtracks?
Voodoo -  Yes

Is there anything you’d like to add?
Topher - We cannot wait for you to hear the new stuff!
Ryan Chepeto -  2+2=4
Voodoo -  Look for us in the late summer of 09, we have a lot of old tunes we are bringing back at fans request and we have a lot of new music in the works and we’re coming like a freight train!

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