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Patricia Lewis interviews guitarist Mark Dow from California's Pagan Metal band HELSOTT. They are going on a North American tour this summer/fall. Mark was good enough to take time out to answer some questions for THE METAL PIT.
THE METAL PIT: How did Helsott form? 
MARK DOW:    Helsott started as concept in mine and Eric's free time. Many discussions were had about musical style and direction. We both love pagan metal so it only made sense to start a pagan metal band. At the beginning there was debate over whether Eric would play drums or not. He has always been a commanding presence on and off stage, so it made sense to me that he front the band. Once that was settled we found people to jam with and everything kinda fell into place.
What does Helsott translate into?
Helsott is Teutonic for fatal illness. And the name did solidify the lyrical direction the band would take. We searched through Icelandic and Gaelic dictionaries online to find our name. Gaelic didn't work out so well haha!
  How would you describe Helsott's musical style to someone who has yet to hear your work? I would and have described Helsott as a melodic thrash metal. But we have so much going on in the music it's hard to describe to people who don't already know the genre. I tend to break it down in categories of individual style among the members. We all put our own little flair into the sound.
  What is it like to open for, and tour with well known pagan metal bands?  I've played a lot of shows with a lot of very professional bands. I'd have to say touring with Ensiferum on Paganfest 4 really opened my eyes as to how a band should conduct themselves on stage. But I've taken a lot from all the bands we've had the honor to play with. Good and bad, it's all a great learning opportunity.
  Has the release of your album Woven increased your fan base? I'd like to think that Woven has increased our fan base. I'm sure it has! It's hard to say for sure. Maybe the fact that it was torented a thousand times within two hours of its release answers that question. Otherwise, sales have been good, and Woven has been met with great response from the fans.
  When do will your next album be finished? Will it be before your upcoming tour with Arkona and Heidevolk? We're still in the process of writing the new record. Planning on production starting as early as November this year. So no it wont be ready for the Arkona tour. We're touring Woven at this time, and plan to be into next year. The release of the next record depends on how busy we are over the next year.
  At what age did you begin to play guitar, and what influenced you to start? I grew up watching my dad play guitar at the house. I walked in on him giving my older brother lessons when I was ten, and decided I wanted to learn. My dad gave me a book and his guitar and told me have at it. A few months later I was playing Rush and GnR tunes, so he bought me my first guitar. A black Fender Strat. I was heavy into Motley Crue at the time and Mick Mars is and always will be a huge influence on me.
  Is there a large metal community in your home town of Menifee, California? Menifee is a small town consisting of a lot of horse ranches. There is a small metal community here.
  Do you receive a lot of fan recognition in your home town?  or When you are on tour? Helsott has some of the best fans out there. Where ever we go we're met with love and appreciation. Whether it's a small venue and I get one fan come to me and shake my hand. Or a sold out Metropolis and dozens say hi. It's always appreciated, and I always have time for Helsott fans.
  Do you have any interesting touring stories you would like to share with us? Interesting touring stories? Hmmm... One name comes to mind. Vancouver! Anyone who has been to China Town knows what I mean. One of my best memories on tour is at this little bar in Worcester MA. I don't even know the name of the place, it doesn't matter. That night was the best party on Paganfest. It was the second to last night on tour and everyone was in the bar. Having drinks, hugging and just being real. The night was very genuine and I'll always remember the smiles and laughter.
  Is there anything else major coming up for Helsott? We have some things in the works after the first of the year. Nothing I can disclose at this point, but Helsott fans can rest assured knowing we will be hard at work as usual.
Anything else you would like to mention to your fans or new fans?
I'd like to thank all of our fans who have contributed to our indiegogo campaign. For those of you who don't know, we're doing another campaign to put money into fixing our tour van. As well as gas to get us to New York in September. There all multiple perks available for purchase from stickers to a fan drawn T-shirt. Click this link and check it out. We're not asking for donations. This is an opportunity to by Helsott merchandise and help us out on the road. Thanks to you all!!!