Mount Pleasant, Michigan Band Nagazi Talks New EP, Michigan Metal and More

2021-10-07

A photo of Mount Pleasant, Michigan, metal band Nagazi standing against a brick wall.

Nagazi – Story by Anne Erickson, photo courtesy of Nagazi’s official Facebook page at Facebook.com/Nagazimetalband

Local Music Beat: Members of Mount Pleasant, Michigan metal band Nagazi discuss the band’s new EP, their love for performing live, Michigan music and more in this edition of the column

Mount Pleasant, Michigan, band Nagazi has crafted cutting metal music for nearly a decade. The group is coming up on the release of a new EP, “March of the Serpents,” which drops Dec. 2, and recently unveiled the title track as the set’s debut single.

The band planned to record the album in April 2020 in Los Angeles, California, with producer Ulrich Wild, who has worked with everyone form Deftones to Breaking Benjamin. Of course, the pandemic hit, and plans got pushed back. The band decided to forge ahead with the recording with Scott “Scooby” Bush, who they met on tour with Smile Empty Soul and Cinder, and hit the studio January 2021.

Nagazi caught up with Audio Ink Radio to discuss the new EP, the Michigan metal scene and more. Nagazi’s current lineup features vocalist Joe Hafer, drummer Jeff Hafer, lead guitarist Matthew J. Ruffino, bass player Nakkim Gall and rhythm guitarist Andy Ferda. The guys have a show coming up at The Music Factory in Battle Creek, Michigan, on Oct. 23 with Michigan bands Heart of Jordan, From Blue to Grey, Distant Decend and Into the Void. Keep up with Nagazi here.

Anne Erickson: To begin, Nagazi is such a unique band name. Tell me about the significance of the name and why you chose it for the band.

Matthew J. Ruffino: It was suggested a long time ago by a friend of mine. He asked if I had ever heard of a Nagazi? I had not, but the name sounded cool. He went on to tell me about this large dog that was very protective and once used to fight off bears. Then, I just needed the right project for the name.

Congratulations on your new EP on the way, “March of the Serpents,” out Dec. 3. You recently released the title track off the EP. Tell me about the them of “March of the Serpents.”

Joe Hafer: “March of the Serpents” is about venomous people are all around you. They don’t always show themselves as snakes. Some come dressed as your best friends and loved ones.

Band members Joe and Jeff Hafer are brothers. What’s it like being in a band with your siblings?

Jeff Hafer: It’s awesome. We’ve been playing in the same bands, Nagazi and Knickelshot, for over 20 years now. It’s great to rock stages and see so many cool things on the road. It’s even better to experience it with family.

Live music has pretty much been halted for more than a year. What does it mean to you and Nagazi to be able to get back on the road and perform live again?

Jeff Hafer: It means everything! The fans are the reason we do this. Writing and recording is fun, but to see the reactions on peoples faces is what I really love. To talk and connect with the people, that’s what it’s all about.

Nagazi is based in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. What are some of your favorite local music venues? Also, when it comes to local music, what are some Michigan metal bands you think should be on people’s radar?

Joe Hafer: In Mount Pleasant, for us it’s Rubble’s Bar. It’s our home. It’s a dirty dive and it fits us like a glove. Around Michigan, we like The Music Factory in Battle Creek. It’s our home away from home. We also played at The Loft in Lansing, which closed in 2020 and was my favorite Michigan venue to play. I’m gonna miss that place. For bands, Michigan locals should check out Heart of Jordan and Heartsick out of Lansing, From Blue to Gray in Mount Pleasant and My Own Will in Oxford.

Anne Erickson’s column appears regularly in Audio Ink Radio. Have a band or concert to share? Contact her at anne@audioinkradio.com.

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