MetalInjection Co-Founder, Sirius XM DJ Robert Pasbani: Noisecreep Interview
365 days a year, Robert Pasbani lives and breathes heavy metal. The Brooklyn-based music journalist not only co-runs the popular MetalInjection.net website, he recently also joined the DJ family at Sirius XM's Liquid Metal station (channel 40) where he hosts the late shift every weeknight. Noisecreep wasn't surprised he landed the gig, since anyone already familiar with Pasbani's on-camera interviews knows he's one of the most entertaining dudes working in the metal world right now.
Noisecreep caught up with Pasbani during one of his rare breaks and got all up in his business.
When did you first discover your love for heavy metal?
I never really had any friends who listened to metal or hard rock until I reached high school. This is going to sound ridiculous, but I got into rock by watching wrestling. Diamond Dallas Page would come out to a fake version of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' and that's how I discovered Nirvana, who I still adore. I started out listening to active rock radio during the mid-'90s and then got into punk and then really got into Metallica and Slayer and from there developed a full-on relationship with the genre.
Where did you grow up and did you ever play in any bands?
I grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., not too far from Coney Island, a short train ride away from the legendary, and now closed, L'amour rock club. My musical talent is very minimal, and I would usually do vocals, so any bands that I was in ended very prematurely. I can do a mean cover of Dying Fetus' 'Kill Your Mother, Rape Your Dog.'
I was honestly more interested in broadcasting than I was actually playing in bands. I started young, as my high school had a TV production program, which was a life-changing experience for me. I realized that being involved in broadcasting was what I wanted to do with my life. In college, I majored in TV & Radio production and was a mainstay at the radio station, until I decided to drop out and just get a job/focus on Metal Injection.
How did Metal Injection start? What is your proudest moment in the history of the site so far?
Metal Injection was conceived in the summer of 2003. I was watching a local public access metal show while getting high in my friend's basement (as all great ideas are conceived). This show was just terrible. I just remember saying something like: "This is so lame. We could do so much better. Hey, why don't we try to do this?" I eventually told a friend of mine named Frank Godla about this and he wanted to get into video production, so we formed a partnership. We launched in January of 2004 as a half hour public access show on Saturdays at 3:00AM and a website, which was primarily a news site initially. The show featured music videos and live footage (a lot of which was from VHS tapes that we had and our friends lent us). Also, we would insert some skits in between videos which was kind of like our show within a show.
After a few weeks we realized that our reach on the Internet was far greater than a local public access channel and started uploading the full 30 minutes online. Keep in mind this was before YouTube, and slightly before MySpace even was huge and hosting video was very expensive. We were the first to put a long-form heavy metal show online. After several iterations, we stopped doing episodes and starting releasing clips as we finished them, and eventually introduced a feature where anybody can submit video. We are a completely DIY operation and super proud of that. We now have expanded also have audio podcasts (including a live weekly talk format called the Metal Injection Livecast) and a huge user community we affectionately refer to as "junkies."
My proudest moment was the day I was able to quit my daytime job and make my full-job concentrating on Metal Injection, which was about two and a half years ago. I still sometimes feel I am cheating somebody or stealing something by being able to live this life.
How did you land the DJ gig at Sirius?
I have known Jose Mangin, the head of programming at the channel I am on, Liquid Metal, for a few years. We would always run into each other at metal events and formed a friendship out of our mutual respect for one another. He contacted me last summer and said there was an available spot during the nighttime shift and they had the budget to hire somebody part-time to fill it. He asked if I was interested in auditioning. I was floored. This was a dream come true. I auditioned and after a painful waiting process I was finally offered the gig and started in November.
What kind of show do you do?
I go on the air weeknights, 9:00PM Eastern until 3:00AM eastern. The music you will hear on my show ranges from mainstream metal to the super extreme. There is a one-hour slot at midnight, called 'Beyond the Pit,' where I get a break and I play all extreme music. You can hear me once every 15 minutes making terrible jokes, trying hard not to burp on air, and just keeping the listener up to date on any news about the band that I'm about to play.
How involved does Jose Mangin get with your playlist? Do you have a lot of freedom?
Jose is the programmer of the channel, so he has ultimate say in what gets on the air. He is the one that makes all the playlists which I then have to structure my show around. Jose is probably the nicest guy in metal, and gives me a lot of freedom in suggesting bands to play during my show, as well as getting new tracks that I like added to the station. He is always asking for me to recommend stuff, which is great. He has a very inclusive attitude when it comes to what gets on the air. During my show, I try to put in as much Pig Destroyer as possible!
What advice would you give anyone reading this who is interested in getting into the DJ thing?
Have a backup plan! My advice would be that you should look into colleges or vocational schools with a good broadcasting program and get involved in the production aspect. Most of the other DJs have full-time jobs at the company, working in other departments and the on-air thing is something they do for fun. Also, don't expect to be making ridiculous money because everybody does it for "the love." If you're not into all of that, do what I did. Start a website and a podcast, develop a following and carve out enough of a niche for yourself, that you get noticed and offered a job.
Who would be your dream interview?
If you had asked me this a few years ago, I would have said Megadeth's Dave Mustaine or Slayer's Tom Araya but I was lucky enough to talk to those two icons for a few minutes on the black carpet of the Revolver Golden Gods a few years ago. Mustaine was especially awesome, because he ended up walking away after babbling nonsensically for a few minutes. It was a huge achievement for me. I guess it would be awesome to hang out with James Hetfield for a few minutes. He seems like he could be a fun guy. I also wouldn't mind sharing a spliff with President Obama.
Check out Pasbani interview your favorite metal and hard rock artists at MetalInjection.net. Listen to him on Sirius/XM's Liquid Metal station every weekday from 9:00PM-3:00AM EST.