Public News (Houston) - - FRONT PAGE - By Robert Castro

Theocracy started as a one-man pro­ject cre­ated by Matt Smith, who played and sang ev­ery­thing on the self-ti­tled de­but al­bum re­leased at the end of 2003 on Metal Ages Records. The al­bum re­ceived great re­views for its epic, melodic Power Metal.

What you find on each of Theocracy’s al­bums is a spec­trum of dif­fer­ent pro­gres­sions, which will tan­ta­lize ev­ery metal heads senses. From crush­ing gui­tars, to soar­ing vo­cals, Theocracy brings the goods but most im­por­tantly, melodies that get stuck in your head.

Since his start as a one-man show Matt has added a com­plete and very im­pres­sive line-up of mu­si­cians

Jonathan Hinds –Gui­tar Val Allen Wood- Lead Gui­tar Jared Old­ham-Bass

Now, the lat­est chap­ter in Theocracy’s ca­reer is here with Ghost Ship. The band comes out fir­ing on all cylin­ders across ten tracks where ev­ery song is iconic and strong enough to po­ten­tially be some­one’s fa­vorite. The al­bum was con­ceived, in the words of Smith, as “a song-ori­ented al­bum where each track stands alone, and.” The re­sult fea­tures ev­ery­thing a Theocracy fan could wish for; the band looks for­ward to tak­ing the new ma­te­rial to stages across the globe. I sat down with Matt for a few ques­tions and one from one of their many fans.

PN: I was won­der­ing about the name of your band, how did you choose it and what is the sig­nif­i­cance for you or to­wards your mu­sic.

Matt: We’re a Chris­tian band, so the lyrics all come from that world­view, and the name is a dif­fer­ent twist on that. The word “theocracy” means a gov­ern­ment ruled di­rectly by God in­stead of men, but we use it in a dif­fer­ent way: in­stead of a gov­ern­men­tal sys­tem, it’s an in­di­vid­ual life. So it’s per­sonal: Theocracy within. It made sense for our mu­sic, and also sounded cool for a band name!

PN: Who are your big­gest in­flu­ences (col­lec­tively )

Matt: Well, with five dif­fer­ent per­son­ali- ties, there is a huge va­ri­ety of in­flu­ences, but for me Queen­sryche was the big one. They were do­ing things that were so much more in­tel­li­gent and com­plex than most metal bands, and that had a big in­flu­ence on me as a youth. From there it was ev­ery­thing from Me­tal­lica to Iron Maiden to Edguy to Neal Morse. As long as the songs are great, and the mu­sic is pow­er­ful and melodic, we can usu­ally en­joy it. Per­son­ally, I’m still in­flu­enced by great song­writ­ers more than any­thing.

PN: Where do you gather your song­writ­ing in­spi­ra­tion

Matt: It re­ally varies, but it al­ways has to be some­thing that has mean­ing to me per­son­ally. We al­ways want to avoid the clichéd ver­sion of what a lot of peo­ple think of as “Chris­tian lyrics,” so we try to find an­gles that haven’t been done to death on the top­ics we tackle. Some songs are about some­thing I’ve gone through, or some­thing that hap­pened in the life of a friend. Some­times we cover more his­tor­i­cal top­ics, such as in the songs “Nailed” or “Ichthus.” But there al­ways has to be an emo­tional thread to latch onto.

PN: This ques­tion is from one of your many fans (Matthew Ler­oux ) The Song “Lay the De­mon to Rest” What in­spired those lyrics/was it writ­ten from a per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence

Matt: Yes, it was from per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences, but I tried to make it univer­sal. It’s a song about temp­ta­tion, but I didn’t want to make it about any­thing spe­cific, be­cause that can change from day to day and from per­son to per­son. So we made it more sym­bolic, meta­phoric and al­le­gor­i­cal, and I think that was the right de­ci­sion be­cause peo­ple con­stantly talk about how much that song helps them, re­gard­less of their strug­gle. I strug­gle with a va­ri­ety of things from time to time, so I didn’t write it about any one thing in par­tic­u­lar, but just about temp­ta­tion in gene.

You can check out Theocracy July 28th at the BFE club in Hous­ton. This is one show I will refuse to miss.

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