Interview: Mazz Gambardella of Pariso on Holy Roar and the podcast

By Ollie Connors

As the ever-influential Holy Roar Records reaches its tenth anniversary, we are delving into their history with a series of interviews and features. In this installment we chat to Mazz Gamberdella, formerly of Pariso and the voice behind the Holy Roar Podcast. The photo above sees Mazz deep in the live throws at Kingston’s Fighting Cocks, with a guest appearance by interviewer Ollie Connors looking far more bored than he probably was.

Hey Mazz! So, first of all, tell us a bit about who you are and what your involvement is with Holy Roar Records.

Hello! My name is Mazz, I’m from Guildford and I run Esoteric Screenprinting. But as well as that I used to be the vocalist in Pariso and I currently host the Holy Roar Podcast.

So, before you were in Pariso, were you into the label? How did you discover Holy Roar?

Yeah! I was massively into Holy Roar as a label. I first heard of them in 2006 and at that time in my life I identified with their roster musically and it got me to discover new artists within that realm also. At that time I was a live music promoter, I used to put on shows in Guildford and Reading, as I was a big fan of HRR I wanted to put on live shows in my area for those artists. Back in 2007 I booked a UK tour for Throats, Maths and Crocus just because I loved all three bands so much I took it upon myself to book a 7 day UK tour for them.

I met Alex for the first time at the Kingston show and we became equated. After the (somewhat) success of that tour, I then ended up booking a two-day all-dayer comprised mostly of HRR and BSM bands called Rapturefest in 2007.

I was a huge fan of screamo, post-hardcore and anything abrasive and eclectic and at the time Holy Roar was producing and releasing some of the UK’s best bands for those genres.

Sadly Pariso broke up earlier this year, tell us some more about your favourite memories of the band.

I had a lot of favourite memories, most of them involved the fact that I was able to travel the world with my best friends! We got to meet some amazing people along the way that I still consider my friends. I don’t know, we were a band for 6 years and even to some that might be a short career but a lot of it most of the time becomes a blur! That’s why the podcast is good for me because I can remember those funny little stories that scatters our band’s lifespan. We always had a great time touring with Bastions, Svalbard, Employed To Serve and many others. As far as specific memories, I will always treasure the memory of when we hit a horse with a bus! Unfortunately I’ll have to leave that story for another time.

However, this year you’ve ventured into podcasting, and launched the Holy Roar podcast which we must say is fantastic listening! How do you feel about how it’s been going so far? Any dream guests?

Oh thank you! I think it’s been going pretty well, I get a lot of positive feedback on most of the episodes. When we started the podcast last year, I’ll be honest I knew nothing about how to set up or do a podcast, but I’ve been learning from each episode and I can tell by the progression of the episodes. Luckily I have people behind the scenes who help us a lot with the episodes. I’ve really enjoyed the episodes, I’m a huge fan of listening to people chat freely with various tangents, and that’s normally how the best episodes happen. I’m a big fan of WTF with Marc Maron and The Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana. They have podcasts where they will have a guest who are normally their friends and they can bullshit, that’s what I wanted to achieve with the Holy Roar Podcast.

Outside of Pariso, what have been your favourite Holy Roar bands over the years? Any absolute favourite records or albums?

Well, the way I was introduced to Holy Roar Records was Alex’s previous band Cutting Pink With Knives, I was a massive fan (even though it didn’t come out on HRR) of Oh Wow!; it was a belter of an album. I’ve been a fan of a lot of the bands on the HRR roster who found a lot of success like Maths, Throats, Employed To Serve, Rolo Tomassi etc. As far as this year, a lot of the HRR roster have delivered some fantastic records. I was a big fan of the new We Never Learned To Live record, the new Svalbard record, new Rolo Tomassi record and the new Employed to Serve record.

We understand that outside of podcasting that you’ve just started your own t-shirt company – tell us more!

Well last year year I was made redundant from my dream job. Obviously that was awful but since I was in my twenties I’ve always had a passion for screenprinting and I’d always wanted to screen print full-time. So once I was released from my job, I started setting up Esoteric Screenprinting. I was inspired by my friend Mikee Parker who has been running Vinosangre for many years now. I was sick of being in jobs I didn’t have much passion for, in my mind I thought “Well, I’m going to be doing this nearly all my life I might as well make it something I enjoy”, moreso than the monetary value of it. So in July I opened my doors, I’m based in Guildford which is great because I work in association with The Boileroom who have been so supportive of me over the last couple of months, helping get my name out there and letting be a part of some great stuff in Guildford.

What would you say to someone completely new to Holy Roar Records to sum up what they’re all about?

Hmmm… Well, I’d probably say that HRR is an independent record label that releases music that is passionate, aggressive, melodic, abrasive, haunting and fun. If that’s something you’re into, go check them out. They’ve been the top dogs of UK hardcore, punk whatever for many years now.

Finally, is there any message you’d like to send to Alex and all at Holy Roar on the big tenth birthday?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GUYS! Haha! I can’t think of anything funny to say to them.

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]