Bringing back a fury

The Black Dahlia Murder

How are you doing, sir?

Good man, how are you doing?

Not too bad! I really appreciate you giving me a call here.

Ah dude, no worries at all, man.

Thanks for talking to Metal on Loud Magazine. It’s an honor to speak to you. You’re actually one of my favorite bands!

Thanks a lot man. Thanks for having me.

I consider you one of my musical heroes for sure, so thanks!

Oh man, thanks a lot!

I know the Black Dahlia Murder was formed in Michigan in 2001, but other than that, I don’t know a whole lot about you guys, so my first question is how did you and the original lineup get started playing music?

Man, it’s a pretty typical story. I was looking for a band to be in kind of as an outlet. I was in bands all through high school. Like punk bands and hardcore bands and stuff. But I really always wanted to be in a metal band, but I didn’t have the guitar prowess that required, you know. So I used to play guitar in a lot of bands, but I was horrible. I never learned properly. So it was mostly three-chord punk stuff up until I met the Black Dahlia guys and Brian, he’s the other original member, he was there obviously, and John was the other guitar player at the time and I just thought, man, these guys are quite a bit younger than I am and they’re so much better at guitar. I think I should put that thing down.

Well, I definitely empathize with you on the guitar.

I still dream about getting back into it. I’d love to write my own music just for kicks and crap. I used to mess around in my room with a four track recorder and stuff like that and you know, it was fun. I do miss that a little bit. But yeah, we started out just like any other band, man, just a bunch of nerds that met through liking music and we started playing shows locally to no reception whatsoever pretty much for the first few years, man. We were just kicking it around here. We were playing as many shows as we could. We used to play at this place called Mr. Mug’s in Michigan and it was where all the punk shows happened and we used to play there on Friday, leave our equipment, drive home, and come back and play on Saturday which was with whoever was in town pretty much. You know, nothing was really happening for us at the time, but we had dreams of getting out and getting on tour. That was really the ultimate goal – was to like get somebody to put some kind of record release out and be able to tour on it. That was the dream. My inspiration for wanting to get out there so bad, I think, came from reading Henry Rollins’ book about being in Black Flag. I read that as a young kid. Really, honestly, most of the book is just complaining about how much tour sucks, but somehow I just wanted to do it so bad. But they had it way harder than we do. We’re not getting beat up or burned with cigars or anything like that. But yeah, you know, I just really wanted to get out there and play our music and have somebody like it. So just the first while was hard. No vehicle, no label support. Just standard local band stuff at that point. Then we got picked up by this smallish label that was starting up called Love Lost and we were gonna be the first release and we did an EP with them called “A Cold-Blooded Epitaph” and some of those songs would end up on the first full-length “Unhallowed.” At the time, we were just so stoked to have a real CD that you could send out to get reviewed and stuff. We looked at that as like, okay, now we’ve got some ammunition we can use. Now we can try to put together a rap sheet that could help us stir label interest, you know. Even then, we weren’t any good, but we were thinking how you should. We were reaching out to the labels and stuff like that and our ultimate goal was make some sort of a package. We eventually got John on guitar, and that was the first time we had solos and shit so we thought, man, the EP is cool, but we gotta record a couple of these songs so we can show the labels what we can  do with this lead guy. So we recorded three more songs and then we sent out these packages to about thirty labels. You know, all the labels you’ve ever heard of. You know, Century and Metal Blade obviously and all the big stuff and on down to indie labels. So we sent out the EP and we sent out that newly-recorded three-song demo and the rap sheet where you talk about how awesome you are in the third person. Well, we played with this band and we really wanna go on tour and take over the planet! You know, all that shit. Twenty-eight rejection letters later, we were sitting there with an offer. We were really happy with that. That was going to be a great starting point for us, but then Metal Blade came knocking shortly after that. So that was the beginning man. When they first called us, we thought it was a joke because it was so far after we had sent out all the shit. We had gotten all the rejection letters from the other labels and stuff. But then they called us and they called us again and we were like, alright, this is awesome, this is real! That was like the big moment, dude. Brian and I decided we were just going to put everything else on hold and just go 1000 percent in the direction of trying to be a touring and professional band and we haven’t stopped. We’ve been on tour the entire time since.

That’s great. My next question was actually going to be if you could point to one thing that was your “big break” in getting The Black Dahlia Murder started, so I guess that would be it.

Yeah, the signing. I think the next big phase happened because of the second record and us being on OzzFest, because Metal Blade had this idea to front all this money and get us on OzzFest. That was the moment where we really started to get exposure. We were hitting magazines next to bands like Killswitch Engage that were, you know, probably a little more accessible than we were, but we were lucky just to be lumped in with them. We were being called a bunch of different genres. And we still are by a bunch of magazines and things. It’s hard to pinpoint us. We’ve always seen it just as melodic death metal, you know. Opinions vary, but I think that’s really been helpful for us. We have a bunch of different kinds of fans from all walks of the underground. You know, deathcore people, true metal guys with long hair, punks, just everything man. And I’m glad to see ‘em all. It’s definitely been kind of interesting for us. I think if we just looked like a normal band with long-haired, leather-clad dudes, I don’t know if we would have made as many waves as just nerds that didn’t really belong. I think that really spoke to people who said, fuck man, anybody can do this. It has appeal, I think.

That’s a great point. Talking about Metal Blade – I watched the documentary you guys put out with them. It kind of shed some light on as to what life on tour is like with you guys and you really just seem like normal, everyday guys that I think people can empathize with. So, what is touring like for you guys today? I know it was probably a lot of hard work in the beginning, but are you still having a lot of fun?

It’s necessary to kind of create your own fun out there because there’s so much downtime. The actual concert is such a small percentage of the entire tour. The rest of it is like driving, hanging out in gas stations, flying, waiting around, and there’s so much boring shit, so you gotta have good friends with you and you gotta make a joke out of everything pretty much. You know what I mean? So we’ve just been laughing the whole way through. I think now we’re a little bit older, a little bit crankier. Our bodies are a little older than they once were. But we also have a couple new guys that are in their mid-twenties. So we gotta keep with those motherfuckers now too! Alan on drums is 26 and Brandon, our new lead guitar player, just turned 23 so he’s just so young and full of energy so we gotta keep up with him. But it’s cool to have young blood in the band, too, you know. They’re so excited to be there. We kind of feed off their energy. But I’m still glad to be out here doing this and that I’ve been able to survive when so many bands didn’t have the same luck. We never said we were an original band by any means. It’s been a lot of luck, a lot of good decision-making on our part. You know, that whole thing about being put into different genres. I think that really helped us and still does. So I think it’s a really unique circumstance that we’re still here and get to keep going. It’s awesome.

That’s great. I was kind of surprised to look up your founding date and see that it was 2001, so you guys have been around for 15 years now. How would you say your priorities have changed after being a band for a decade and a half? Is it still touring and playing music or are you guys kind of holing up more and focusing more on writing these days?

I think they’re pretty much the same. We did have to back off on how much we go out on tour a little bit for our own sanity’s sake. I think also now that the band is established, there’s actually… you know, we can back off a little bit and create some anticipation for us to come back and play some of those places. So that’s cool. It works in our favor a little bit. I’d say now, we tour about eight months of the year in a good year, but we used to do ten. That was just relentless. We would do three tours right in a row. They would be three different tours where you just drive from the ending of one to the beginning of the next with all the new bands and you’re on another tour. So I appreciate my time at home – that we can afford a little bit of that with our success. That’s been awesome. The last record is the longest it’s taken us to write and record an album, so we definitely have been affording ourselves a little more time, but we still operate at a pretty fast schedule that would scare most people. We don’t leave a lot of time at home to write. There’s not a lot of writing on the road. The guys just like to keep as a separate entity, I think. Just focus on playing shows and playing well and just keep the creative stuff at home when you’re in your underwear with a guitar on. Which I think is what they do. We’ve been going at this rapid-fire rate. Putting out albums every two years is a lot of pressure to deliver the goods in that short amount of time. But I think we’re kind of used to this insanely fast pace by now.

You’ve kind of got in a groove, I guess.

Yeah. It’s just always how we’ve been. Trying to cram as much into a year as we can. As much touring, as much everything, you know. Brian and I just have kind of have this unwritten thing where we just don’t say ‘no.’ There is no ‘no.’ You know what I mean? You don’t call your guys and tell them there’s a tour. You put your fucking band on the tour and we’re going. That’s pretty much how it works.

Keeping busy.

Yeah, just keeping as busy as possible. Trying to be as visible as possible. And just the relentless touring has probably been the biggest point of advertisement for us the entire time. Just always being on tour. It’s good to have people talking about you. Keep the energy up on all the social media fronts and touring just does that. It lights that fire, you know.

Yeah, I was going to say, just following you guys on social media – Facebook and Twitter and so forth – it’s pretty obvious that you guys are really busy. So I’m sure that’s paid off for you guys.

Yeah, it’s been cool. There’s been a lot of sacrifice. I mean, obviously. I wouldn’t say I live a normal home life, you know. I feel like I’m definitely out there more. But anyway, that’s kind of where I do my thing, you know. I’m comfortable with touring. We do it so much that you just kind of have to make a home away from home, you know what I mean?

Your latest full-length, “Abysmal,” just came out last year to pretty good reception and reviews. Definitely for me anyway – it was one of my favorite records of the year. How was recording different this time around? And do you enjoy playing your newer or old stuff more?

Well, you know, the album – I do see it as a little bit different. I think it was a conscience decision to make the album more raw-sounding and more live. You know, like how we would sound in person. Everybody’s going towards fixing everything so perfectly with ProTools that the drums sound like shotguns and it sounds like robots are playing it and everything’s perfect and sheeny shiny. And there’s a million records that come out like that now. It’s just getting kind of boring to my ears, man. I miss when albums had personality and they weren’t all sound-replaced and stuff and it was just the instruments. How they sounded bare when coming through. That’s what we were trying to go for, just approaching recording how it was pre-year 2000. Because we were thinking, why do the classic albums always sound better no matter what? Why is that? And that was one of the factors that we realized. Not doctoring the drums up. Purposefully making that record imperfect. But it was all of our real performances, you know. There was no bullshit. The guys are extremely good. They can play it. I think it’s disrespectful to take a drummer that’s so good and just make it into a drum machine track. It has more personality, I think. It’s the most energetic-sounding album we’ve had since “Unhallowed” and it was approached in that same live way. So it was kind of like bringing back a fury that had been missing, I thought.

So that’s almost like a black metal sensibility there. Just keeping it raw and stripped-down.

Yeah man, just keeping it real. We’ve never been a band to like over-track stuff. We always keep the guitars simple so we can reproduce it live. You’re never gonna hear like, five guitars going at once on an album or something like that, because we just want to be able to do it. We want to sound like how we sound on the record, you know, and deliver the goods live. That’s been one of the goals.

Well that’s great to know. That you guys still consider performing and being able to reproduce your albums a priority. I think a lot of bands today are missing out on that.

Yeah, I think that’s one of the things that’s helped us go far. That’s really been the most important focus of the band: to be a good live band, to deliver live, and the rest will kind of fall in place. So that’s the most important thing. We are sworn to each other to be responsible for our instruments and do the homework. To be able to kill it. And then the rest you can celebrate. But after the work is done.

Yeah, for sure. So I saw at some recent shows you actually played “Unhallowed” in its entirety. What made you decide to do that and what was that like?

It was really cool, man! It was something that we talked about in passing a few times over the years. A lot of those songs… we haven’t played ‘em in ten years. A lot of ‘em up until we did this. We had Ryan Knight stepping down from his lead guitar position, which was kind of a big blow to the band and we wanted to play with the new guy. So we’ve announced Ryan’s departure and the “Unhallowed” tour in the same paragraph, you know what I mean? You know, bringing in the new guy, bringing in that new energy, but going back to play that first record all the way through and just tell people, ‘Hey, we’re Black Dahlia. We’re the same band. Listen to this.’

My next question was actually about Ryan Knight. What was his reason for leaving and do you have an official replacement that’s going to be on the next record?

Well, Ryan, you know, I knew from the beginning and getting together with him that he was gonna have to leave someday. I mean, he left his kid’s birth at the hospital the same day and drove to play with us in Michigan from Chicago. So, I mean, it was bittersweet. He was way more talented than what we’ve been used to and he wrote songs and all this great shit and helped us so much, but I always knew in the back of my mind that there would be a time when he had to go. Because he’s gotta be a dad, he’s got responsibilities, man. Don’t wanna be that dude, you know. He was a great member. I love him to death still. He did a lot of great shit for us. He helped us write a lot of great songs and expand out horizons as song writers and helped us so much with music. He was the most musical person we’ve had. And he was cool enough to warn us that, ‘Hey man, I think I gotta leave,’ about a year and a half before he actually did.  He was trying to make things as smooth as possible. He helped us find Brandon Ellis, who we’re playing with now. And we recently accepted Brandon’s membership into the band, because he’s just been doing so awesome, man. So I really appreciate everything Ryan did. I don’t think we’d be here without him. He helped us write a few of the killer key songs that are on the last few records, I think, and, so, you know, it’s another era here. It’s been a really smooth transition. Brandon was practicing the songs for almost a year in advance before he played with us, so when he stepped into that practice space, he was just killing it. He’s a young energetic guy with a huge stage presence. He’s really cut from the same cloth of influence as Ryan. They’re very much ‘80s in what they like and influenced by the records of old. So it’s not a super big departure in style, you know what I mean? They’ve both definitely got that vibrato love. Brandon’s awesome. He’s just as good as Ryan and he’s only 23, so who knows what’s going to happen with him in the future? I’m just excited to know that he’s here to be part of the action.

That’s great to hear. I’m really glad to know you got that sorted out.

Yeah, we toured with Brandon and we didn’t announce anything about the change yet, because we… you know, any time you come out and say you’ve lost a member, people get really bent. Especially with this band. You know, watching the DVDs or reading interviews or whatever, everybody who’s been through this band has been cool, I think. We always look for people who are going to be cool to the fans. People who are gonna be outspoken about what we do. It’s a personality that we have, as a whole.

Yeah, for sure. You guys are very unique stylistically, both aesthetically and from a sound standpoint. Are there any other bands that you think you sound the most like?

Oh, there are tons. I can tell you the whole formula. There’s Carcass and At the Gates, who are probably the bands we take from at the most. Especially in the early days. “Unhallowed” was a lot of At the Gates. Those, I think, are the key influences. The heavier stuff, the slower, sludgy kind of stuff, like on “Stirring Seas,” is like Morbid Angel-style. That’s some American stuff for you. I’ve always liked their tracks like “Where the Slime Live,” you know, the slow, crawling songs. They’re really masters of that. What else? There’s a little punk in there sometimes. You know, like when we do a little grindy song like… that song from Ritual. It’s escaping me right now. We’ve done a couple punkish tracks here and there. We’re kind of a melting pot, man. We listen to a lot of stuff and there’s a lot of influence from other kinds of music as far as song structuring. There’s a lot of AC/DC influence, which is probably pretty funny to hear, but just the way that they structure songs and how they don’t change. They’re just always AC/DC. We kind of wanted to be like that, too. Where you hear it, and you go, ‘Damn, this is Black Dahlia Murder.’ You know what I mean? So we’ve been trying to entertain ourselves as players as we get older, which means more challenging material and just cooler technical stuff and just more nuance, I guess, to the music. But the goal is to still be Black Dahlia Murder. To still continue down the path that we started with “Unhallowed” and still be recognizable as that. To be like bands like Cannibal Corpse and just stay the course. Just look at the success they’ve had. They’re the biggest thing going, you know?

I mean, I think you guys have really done a good job of capturing that. Staying the same but still shaking things up enough and being recognizable.

It’s a conscience line, you know. You want to stay the course, but there’s always room to grow and try different things, try different time signatures… that’s what we’ve learned later on, you know, to do subtle things and to get quiet sometimes and have build up. You’ve got to make things kind of swell and to build drama.

Is it the song “Stygiophobic,” on your new album that was slower? Is that what you’re kind of getting at there?

That’s exactly some of the Morbid Angel “Slime” I was talking about. That’s a perfect example of that. Yeah, just trying to mix things up. That song was about halfway through the record and something of a palette cleanser. Something a little bit different than the other songs and that was kind of a wild card move. We tried to do a little bit of that with each record. There was a lot of like, subtle changes we tried to do in the new record. There was a lot of synth tucked into some of the songs. “The Advent,” for example. I did a lot more layering with vocals, of course, and stuff like that. I’ve always tried to become a better vocalist or at least more understandable. I think that’s really the key to making things catchy. It can still be aggressive. It can still be pissed. But I’ve noticed that a lot of the records I listen to, when you can pick up on a few words here and there that are cool as fuck, it makes you even more excited about things.

It definitely makes a difference. And that’s what makes you stand out to me. You really can understand what you’re screaming or shouting there. Technique-wise, what advice can you give to an aspiring vocalist?

Well, the first few years, honestly, I just didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. I used to go out on stage and just go nuts, literally. I would run around and jump off of things and just scream bloody murder from the bottom of my ball sack. No technique, no control to the approach, and the end of the first song, I’d be past my adrenaline rush, just totally woofing like a dog for air. Learning how to do what I do with actual technique and control and doing more sound with less effort is one of the best things I can tell someone to try to do. And also learning how to breathe properly was a big turning point for me and that came from that Melissa Cross DVD that everybody watches, “The Zen of Screaming.” It’s one of the few training DVDs for screamers out there. A lot of the stuff I forgot or it went in one ear and out the other, but really the breathing process on there is really helpful and it helped me get a lot more rapid-fire, you know, like increase my speed. You know how I do the vocals, man. I never shut up. I never know when to quit when I’m writing. So I have a lot to say in one set and the breathing just blew the doors open and changed everything for me. So I highly recommend looking into that: “The Zen of Screaming.”

Well, I appreciate that. That’s probably a good resource there. I also have a few questions here about you personally. Kind of tying back to the vocalist stuff, what are the influences on you personally that have made a difference for you doing vocals? If you had to pick one artist that shaped your taste in music the most, who would it be?

Oh, it’s gotta be Megadeth, man. Even before you got halfway through that sentence, I was like, it’s gotta be Megadeth. You know, they were my first love in metal. You know, I had heard the Black Album and stuff and liked it. I had it on tape and everything, but when I first heard “Symphony of Destruction,” it was the first day of sixth grade after I got home from school. I saw the video and I was like paralyzed. I was like, this is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen or heard. That was a turning point when I just went out and got “Countdown to Extinction” and just dove off a cliff of black t-shirts and hanging out with like-minded individuals. Up to that point, I was lost. I didn’t really know what I was into. It wasn’t sports. It wasn’t the same shit that everyone else seemed to like. I didn’t know my place. But when I heard those riffs, man, I was like ‘Holy shit.’ And this whole path just opened up before me and I’ve been kind of going down that ever since. But it was definitely huge.

So, you would put Megadeth over Metallica?

They both have amazing songs. Metallica doesn’t have as many goofy songs. I like goofy, you know. You gotta give it to Metallica for keeping a straight face. But I love ‘em both so much, honestly. For me it’s all about “Justice.” That’s my favorite Metallica record. And “Rust in Peace,” obviously, for best Megadeth. Some people may say “Peace Sells,” or whatever, and I can appreciate that as well, but fucking “Rust in Peace,” man. Come on.

I think you have it right, for sure! So, obviously, you’re somebody who’s very passionate about music. I really enjoy reading your column over at Metal Injection. A lot of people are looking to you today for your opinion on metal today. What’s it like to be considered to be an opinion leader and a trendsetter in heavy metal today?

It’s cool! It’s something I’m just kind of realizing, I guess. The column has been getting a lot bigger over the last few months. They said that the last one – it was only like the second day it has been up – and it already had like 10,000 views or something. The idea that I’m bring this obscure cool music that I love that I’m out here buying already anyway for my own fandom… that I can help those bands and help people find music that’s not just handed to them by labels, you know what I mean? Basically, I just got tired of not seeing anything that I liked anywhere in the media? And I was like, I don’t want all these awesome bands to just go under everyone’s radar. So I thought, well, man, I have a pretty good pedestal. I can bring some awareness to these bands. I had no idea it was going to catch on like it has. You know, to think that thousands and thousands and thousands of people are finding out about a weird-ass brutal death metal band from the Ukraine or something because of me? It’s cool! It feels great. I do it purely for the love of it. I’m out here just blowing all my money on metal albums! I don’t know, man, it’s like still the biggest joy in my life to collect music and find out about new stuff – new and old – in the world of metal and just… spreading the gospel is something I really enjoy. Really freaking cool, to say the least.

Well, I know you’re a big collector. I was curious – how do you go about that? Have you always collected music? How do you discover so much good stuff? I know Bandcamp is a pretty big thing right now. Are you into that kind of thing or do you collect more of the physical format?

I do like Bandcamp. I will go digital if I have to – if it’s the only thing available. I buy a lot of physical copies through Bandcamp, through their stores, and I love that. I love giving my money right to the band. And that’s one of the cool things about Bandcamp. You don’t even need a label. And it provides a lot of same things a label does, you know. A storefront to sell your product. You get a digital product immediately in any quality that you want. I’m a FLAC guy. I keep all my music in FLAC, you know, like lossless CD-quality. You know, it’s bigger files. It takes up more room. You’ve gotta have bigger hard drives and crap, but just having it in perfect quality is just kind of my anal retentive thing that I do. I somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,000 metal CDs. Mostly death metal. I love old school the most, I think. I used to go to the record store a lot, and they kind of all died around here. The ones that still around… like their inventory hasn’t changed in five years. They’re on their last legs, so. Being forced to go online and buy stuff directly from the bands and labels has been really awesome for me, actually, because I’m so into weird shit that I’m not going to be able to walk into a record store and find something I want anyway. It’s such a niche thing. When you really get out there and get into all the foreign bands all over the world and all the different crazy shit, you know, it’s so niche that cutting out the middle man and going right to the labels and the bands was like the best thing I ever did. And it ended up being a lot cheaper, because new CDs are ten bucks, you know, right from the band. It’s fucking awesome. I’ve always been a CD guy. I appreciate vinyl. I have vinyl. Some records I’d rather have vinyl than nothing if that’s all that’s available for a physical copy of whatever it is. So, I get vinyl sometimes. I appreciate it, but I just don’t want to go down that road because I’ve already blown every dollar I’ve ever had on metal CDs. So I don’t need, like, two vices, you know what I mean?

I hear you!

I do think they’re cool. I love the packaging, I like listening to it, I like the ritual of listening to records and stuff, too. But I’m just kind of staying the course with my CD collection honestly. I do a lot of downloading too. That’s my research. That’s kind of like the radio for me. You know, there is no fucking radio for metal and death metal. I’m checking out everything through that. But I also feel so responsible to these bands that I buy so much shit, too. I back up the talk. But I’m not gonna lie and say I don’t download, because it’s such a huge tool for digging in the cracks of metal and the annals of time, you know what I mean?

Now I’m jealous of your CD collection.

Well, it’s something I’ve been working on forever and it’s funny because it doesn’t mean anything to anyone! You know what I mean? What are you gonna do, bring somebody over and show it to them? That’s not gonna happen. I’m 35, you know what I mean? Nobody fucking cares about this shit. (Laughs.) I just like having the artifacts. Like this fucking really happened. It’s not just a file that you can get for free. You know, people made this record and here it is in my hand with the booklet and the artwork, the lyrics, you know. That’s how it was just buying CDs back in the day. There was no way to find anything out before the internet. So the internet has just been awesome for discovering every nook and cranny and really, one of the best things I ever did was put my guard down about foreign bands. Well, who cares if they can’t speak English properly? Who cares if their band name’s dumb? Who cares if the artwork sucks because they were broke? You know what I mean? You just look past that shit, man, because there are so many great gems just from local bands all over the world, small bands that never went anywhere, and the internet is just like, a time capsule that captured all of it.

Speaking of the internet, how do you feel about all the streaming services that are available today like Spotify and Apple Music? Are you supportive of them? Do you view them as a positive or a negative to the metal scene?

Well, you know it’s hard to say. I guess as a positive, I like that people are giving some money to the artist through this path, because it’s just as easy to download everything for free, you know what I mean? I can appreciate it at that level, but you know, I am more of a collector, so physical copies just always have that kind of weight with me. I appreciate the ease of Spotify and everything to kind of… oh crap, I wanna hear this weird song out of nowhere! I love the ability to like, summon it. So I can totally appreciate the appeal of that, especially for people who like pop music and music that’s more readily available. But I also find that, if I was only a Spotify guy, there would be so many records that would come out that I would miss. I would say they probably have about 60 percent of the shit that I listen to on Spotify and then the other 40 isn’t because it’s either so underground or who knows what, you know. I think to limit yourself to that would be a disservice as a real fan. But I appreciate that it’s bridging that gap between just being able to reach out and take everything and then also being responsible, too. It’s kind of a best of both worlds. It’s compromise.

I know it’s probably pretty early, but do guys have any plans for new music at this time or at least an idea of what your next record might look like?

No, there hasn’t been any real talk about that. It’s going to be coming time soon where we gotta start thinking about the future. Obviously we’re gonna stay on that two-year cycle, so you can expect another record on the normal schedule. But for now, we’re still kind of reveling in the touring thing. Now that we have the new guy in the fold and it’s going really smooth and really well, we’ll be able to start thinking about the future and I’m pretty sure Brian is going to undertake the writing of the new album himself entirely like he used to do basically up until “Nocturnal.” Yeah, there’s gonna be no changes on that front. There’s gonna be some wild new solos, man, because Brandon is pretty goddamn incredible. Yeah man, I’m looking forward to it, but so far, the slate is entirely blank.

Well, I’m definitely looking forward to it as well and I know a lot of people out there are too. Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

Well, Bandcamp is good place to start getting your feelers out there, because like I said, it can take the place of a label. So I would recommend going down that route. But I’d also recommend not releasing any music until you get good. We look at our first demo as a strike against us. It’s just so old and so different from what we ended up being, even by the time of the first record… you know, just don’t release anything that incriminates you eventually. Wait until you’re good to put something out that’s quality, because it’s honestly better to be sick right out of gate than it is to get good later and already have this one album against you. You know what I mean? For most people, I would recommend don’t even bother going into music because the climate is so hard. It’s so fucking hard to exist as a touring band. There are a lot of circumstances and things that make it possible to live off the band. We live in Michigan, for one, which is very cheap, because the economy pretty much fucking collapsed here with the auto industry. So that’s been pretty awesome for us, you know, to stay stationed here. Yeah man, it’s just harder and harder to sell physical copies and things like that. Obviously the world is changing and we’re going with the flow of that. We’ll see what happens, but it’s hard. The music industry is kind of on its back right now, just flailing around. You really gotta want to do it, man. That’s all I gotta say.

Is there anything else at all you would like to add or tell our readers about you or your band?

No, man. Just we’re all humans, man. If you come see us, come say hi. We’d be glad to see you. You can find our website, you can find our Facebook. We have Twitter. Each of the guys in the band has individual Twitters, we have Instagram. You know, we’re not the best on social media. We’re pretty big stoners, but we’re trying to keep up. We’re trying to get better about it.

Well, that’s about all I had. This was a great interview with plenty of material, here, so I really appreciate it!

No worries, man! I thought it was really good, dude. You’re off to a great start.

Well, thanks so much! I know you’re a busy guy, so I really appreciate your time!

Dude, no worries at all.

Chase Lindley

This author is no longer associated with Metal On Loud Magazine.

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