MudKiss.com recently said of LA’s Black Belt Karate, “In essence, Black Belt Karate is a super group, part of the high echelons of California’s rock elite…” It’s high praise—typical of what the band members might say themselves, although they’d likely add something about Chuck Norris.
Black Belt Karate is Ryan Hanifl (vocals), Jason Achilles Mezilis (guitar), Harry Ostrem (bass) and Ryan Brown (drums). Their track, “Man On Fire,” was featured on Marquee Music’s “Indie Nation” release (MQ009) earlier this year, and in addition to taking time out from being generally awesome to talk to us about it, they recorded an exclusive video for Megatrax of Ryan and Jason performing an acoustic version of the song. Take a moment to get to know Black Belt Karate, and watch out—they could be ready to spring out at you (figuratively speaking, of course) the next time you’re in LA.
Megatrax: How would you describe your sound in general?
Black Belt Karate: BBK is a cross between Queens of the Stone Age, T-Rex, and Chuck Norris’ laughter. Black Belt Karate has a certain swagger to the music. It can be very in your face and rough around the edges, but still confessional and very soulful.
MX: What’s the story behind Man on Fire?
BBK: Someone tried to set Chuck Norris on fire…THAT MAN DIED! No, but seriously, the song came from a jam from one of our rehearsals. We recorded it immediately.
MX: What would your ideal placement for this track be?
BBK: The Expendables, or other kick-ass films!
MX: Do you feel like Chuck Norris’ tears affect the music you create?
BBK: Though the Norris has tears, they are like liquid metal—so unattainable. We aspire to such heights.
MX: Organic Audio described your music as “fueled with an old-school east coast frenetic punk energy, attitude, and grit.” How do you feel about this characterization?
BBK: Organic Audio is to Black Belt Karate as Chuck Norris is to Mr. Miyagi: pure, clean, and will cut you with inches…
MX: What are you working on now, and what do you have in the pipeline?
BBK: That’s sort of a dirty question, isn’t it? ☺ Black Belt Karate is currently engaged in a UK Promotional campaign related to the release of our debut EP, Volume 1, which came out on August 19th on Organic Audio. We recently performed on the same bill as Iggy Pop & The Stooges, The Offspring and Sublime on the Queen Mary at the Ink-N-Iron Festival in Long Beach, and we’re working on a video for our most recent single, “Building Walls,” which was featured for a week in the “New & Noteworthy” section on iTunes.