During our coverage of Jrock bands at Aftershock Festival 2022 in Sacramento, CA, we sat down with the official host, Jose Mangin. He is regarded as the most distinguished personality in hard rock and metal today.

At SiriusXM, he helped launch the biggest hard-rock channels on the network, Octane and Liquid Metal. He still leads those channels as the DJ and host. With this remarkable career, he is often referred to as the “Metal Ambassador”. Fortunately for us, we got a moment to ask his thoughts on Jrock and Jmetal, along with the increase of foreign languages in modern rock.

First, we would like to know how did you become the “Metal Ambassador”?

Jose: When I was in kindergarten, my Nana gave me 20 bucks the day after Christmas. I went to Kmart with my dad and I bought Shout At The Devil by Mötley Crüe. I’ve been a complete, obsessed metalhead since I was a little kid, and I’ve never, ever strayed from it! My parents thought it would be a phase that I would get through. Nope! It became my whole life.

Yet, I went to school to be a pharmacist. I’m a chemistry major. Though I started college radio in Tuscon, AZ, and I did that for four years for fun. Then, I went to graduate school in Tennessee to be a pharmacist and I got a job at an FM rock station. There I started a metal show and a year later, I won an award for best metal DJ in the country.

From there, I got job offers to work in the industry, but I still had three years of pharmacy school left to be a doctor. I decided, standing at a fork in the road… Like Zeppelin says, “There are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on”. So I chose rock ‘n’ roll.

I moved to New York City to work at a record label for a few months. Next, I got a job at Sirius Satellite Radio in the summer of 2000. They were very impressed with me and brought me into the company to help build the rock department. So I’ve been there for a very long time representing the music as best as I can and everywhere I go.

The “Metal Ambassador” tag came from a friend of mine in Jersey who said, “You are the Metal Ambassador”! I love that, I am that, and it just stuck. So that’s how all that happened.

We talked before about a band, Paledusk, and their new song SLAY!! feat. Hideyoshi. You played their song on SiriusXM Liquid Metal!

Jose: Yeah, I love that band so much! The first person to show me Paledusk was my friend Jeris Johnson, a performer here at the Aftershock Festival. We play him a lot on SiriusXM Octane.

One day, he was at my studio in California. He showed me the video for SLAY!! and I was like “Oh my God! I love it”! I love just how they hit all these different genres in one two-and-a-half-minute song. It stands out so hard from anything else that we play. But, I just love being able to support those guys like that. Big fan!


“Jeris Johnson…showed me the video for SLAY!! and I was like, Oh my God! I love it!”JoseSteve Thrasher

My daughter is heavily into Kpop and Jpop. She dances to K-pop stuff and is obsessed with these bands. She goes to concerts and I’ve been to a few of them with her. I’ve never seen anything like it! The culture and the way these fans are so into the bands. I’ve been to shows all my life and I was like this is going to be nothing.

I went to BTS at SoFi stadium. It was sold out! I’ve never felt that place be louder, ever in my life. I’ve never seen people crying and screaming as they have at a BTS show. So, I wanted to play more Jrock on my channels as a way to be seen as cool by my daughter.

Then I made it one of my goals, as the programmer of Liquid Metal on SiriusXM to feature global metal—to really bring it to light and play as many artists from all over the world and in all different languages.

But I love Paledusk and BABYMETAL has been such an amazing band as well. Again another polarizing band. We’ll play BABYMETAL, especially when they first came out, people would complain. Then there would be the same amount of people that love it.

You got complaints like people saying “get your pop music out of my metal”?

Jose: Yeah. Especially years ago when females in metal weren’t as accepted as they are now. It’s only been recent that acceptance has increased so much. Now we have so many female-fronted bands all over the world, singing in all different languages, and all within the heavy metal spectrum.

But I think there was a combination of “Who are these little girls”, and “I don’t like this”! But we didn’t care, I’m still going to force it down the same way I forced Latino metal, Indian metal, Mongolian metal, and whoever else! Whatever it is, I’m going to play it. Metal is a global music format and it’s not just in the United States or English-based songs.

So, I’ve known that forever and I want to see more music. I know you were telling me about the Jrock bands performing here at Aftershock. I saw them in catering and I wanted to say hello to them but I was kind of nervous! [laughs] I want to explore more and I know you’ve already introduced me to a few bands and that’s good. That’s what it takes. I get introduced to stuff just like you do and I do want to support more of that. I think the growth in our music is going to come from them. Outside of our country, those bands will unify the whole place.

Right, which reminds me in one of your social media posts, you said metal music is for everyone. It’s an inclusive genre and it’s open up to everyone around the world.

Plus, you hit on a very important point there which was something else we are seeing. A rise in more girls stepping up and getting into the “old boys club” and saying, “Hey, we can do this too”. Particularly here at Aftershock, we have NEMOPHILA and BAND-MAID from Japan. We also have The Warning who have had their songs played on SiriusXM Octane.

Jose: Yes, from Monterrey, Mexico! I’ll be introducing them on stage in Spanish. I did that same thing in Kentucky when I hosted Louder Than Life. The audience was looking at me like “What are you saying”? And I didn’t care! I’m going to represent because there are not a lot of people like me that are Mexican-American and in this position to help this heavy music scene. I’m going to shout it from the rooftops! I’m a proud Mexican-American and I speak fluent Spanish. I’m going to support all these bands.

Yeah, The Warning is amazing, also Spiritbox, and Eva Under Fireshe’s killing it. We have so many bands that are here and even at Louder Than Life. It’s just awesome to see the rise of the bad-ass female-fronted bands. They are breaking through barriers. I love it!


BAND-MAID (Japan) and The Warning (Mexico) meet at Aftershock Festival

Octane was the first station to play In This Moment and Halestorm on a mass level. In the beginning, people hated it! People were like, “What is this girl’s stuff”? So many people came out of the woodwork on social media and said some rather gnarly stuff.

Nowadays, that’s not the case. The shift has been happening for the past ten years or twelve years. It’s been shifting more so now than ever.

Changing the subject a bit, I want to ask you about the language issue. For fans in the Jrock community, even though we don’t always understand the language, what we hear in the music hits us on an emotional level. It’s like we understand it like a universal language. Do you experience that as well, that music can be universal to break through language barriers?

Jose: That’s music! Like you just said and it’s all music.

But for us, speaking of heavy and hard music, it’s like a family, a big community. We are very tightly bound together and we can understand what somebody’s doing even though we don’t understand the language. I don’t know what Till Lindemann from Rammstein is saying, and who cares! It sounds awesome!

Some people say they don’t understand Spanish, but it sounds killer! Then there is The Hu from Mongolia and Paledusk from Japan. So it’s not so much about the lyrics, it’s really more about the music for us, unlike other genres like hip-hop that are lyrically based. For our genre, number one is the energy, the feeling of the music, and everything else is second or third place. That is a universal language, so we don’t have to speak any specific language. We speak the language of metal!

Absolutely! We have seen this happen throughout music history where foreign language songs have gotten popular, such as K-pop. There is a blend in the lyrics where K-pop does Korean and English. So too does Jrock with English lyrics because they want to reach out to international audiences.

Jose: It’s so funny that my daughter, when the bands are singing in Japanese or Korean, she prefers that. The fans like the real stuff, the authentic language. So it’s really cool that the hardcore fans prefer the native tongue over something that’s trying to reach out to a different audience.

Along with that, do you think there are opportunities for more Jrock and Jmetal in the mainstream culture in America?

Jose: Yes, one hundred percent! I will help too and do my part. I can do more and I want to do more. I want to learn more about these bands I don’t have people telling me except this weekend, you talked to me about it. I appreciate that so much. I need to talk to more people like you because that’s what inspires me to pick songs and bands to feature.

While we can’t play everything, what we do play counts a lot and it moves the needle. I want to help move the needle because I am a unifier. That’s all I want to do, be a unifier!

We need that now, peace and unity!

Jose: I don’t want divisive people, bands, subjects, or anything. I will unify through love and positivity, through true passion using this music. So, I don’t care where it comes from. If it passes the “awesome” test, then we are going to feature it.


“If it passes the ‘awesome’ test, then we are going to feature it”. JoseNathan Zucker

Thanks for the support, Jose. We are happy to be here at Aftershock and have this chat about unifying through music. Finally, how can people find you?

Jose: You can follow me on social media. I’m on Octane and Liquid Metal, Monday through Friday, six hours each day! And I’m also hosting all of DWP’s rock festivals. I did all of them this year and will do them next year. You’ll see me on these stages starting May 2023. I’m all over the place, as much as I can get out there, and spread the good gospel of heavy music. I will do that!

If you want to join us and help Jose learn more about Jrock then follow the Metal Amabasdor on his social media, links below. Lastly, it’s worth noting that Jose was also familiar with Crystal Lake and the unfortunate news regarding Ryo. After the interview, he reminded us to check out Ryo’s collaboration with Canadian metal band Spiritbox.

Be sure to keep up with our coverage of Aftershock Festival 2022!

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