How has your tour been on the Montreal Assault Tour?
Awesome. This is our first good US tour we’ve had, ever. We’ve done like 10 full US tours and this is the first really good one. The turnout’s been great every night. The reaction for us is really good, a lot better some places than we expected.
How many people do you think have been in attendance just to see you guys perform?
Everybody that shows up to the show is inside when we play. Every show has had, you know, about a consistent 300 people a night. So that’s really good to have, you know 300 is not as big as some other shows or whatever, but to have it like that every night is really good. All five bands on this package are solid and we all have differences but similarities and everyone can be into the bands for their differences and the similarities and everyone has their own little edge and shit to them, it’s pretty sweet.
With the “economy crisis” going on, from this tour to the previous one you’ve done, would you say the economy has hurt the tour?
It’s hard to say because things weren’t so bad when we were touring with Obituary, but they just don’t have the draw they used to have, I guess. They were awesome dudes and it was quite an experience to be on tour with two legendary bands, them and Unleashed. But, tickets were so expensive and the turnout varied from less than 100 to 400-500 in some places. This tour is kickin’ the crap out of that tour, both in merch sales for us and everyone else and attendance to have a constant thick crowd every night. And we can call for stage dives and it happens, I don’t know if it’ll happen tonight because this stage is 10 feet tall.
Where would you say has been the best city you’ve toured in during your entire existence as a band?
Um… Probably Utrecht, Holland. That was an amazing show.
How many people were there, do you think?
It was sold out. The venue cap was 1000 or something like that, but it was sold out. It was packed. Just the town was so quiet and nice, it had coffee shops and it was all cool and I went and hung out, it was the only city I hung out and really sat and did anything, and then walked around and took pictures and then went back to the venue and all the kids were so stoked to see us and we played a great show.
Is there a particular city you guys would want to play in that you haven’t already?
Japan. I don’t know how many people say that, but yeah, I’ve been to Europe now, Australia would be cool, we can plan that, Japan sounds like the hardest one though.
When you get on stage, have you guys ever tried to experiment with new sounds, kind of how Pantera used to do?
Like feedback noise?
Um, no… We don’t, we’re not particularly fans of noodling… Like in the venue, when you hear the sound guy “give me the kick drum” and then all you hear is the kick drum and then one dude jerkin off the guitar. So we just kind of get up and we’re quiet and then the set that we play is the set that we plan out at practice and then practice it 100 times before we leave for tour. So that, even if the on stage, first night is rough, because it’s way different being in a room and having monitors and standing there jamming and paying attention to this and then going from that for a month and then driving in a van somewhere and getting onstage somewhere and having to do all of this other stuff that you weren’t doing, so we just practice forever, so the set that everyone hears is the set we practice. It changes sometimes, due to time, and when we’re at home, so we might play something that we don’t normally play on tour. Like last night, we had to cut a song, so we played “Slit Wrist” which we haven’t played in a while, we played it in Europe, and but we didn’t play it on this tour until last night. And then we played that and “Lie to my face”, we usually play other songs, so we’ll switch it up every now and then. But we do not do feedback or make noises and we’re super quiet as much as possible. We get on each other if we do feedback like “hey, I heard you doing that” “well it wasn’t me” “it was you! Stop it.”
What would you say is the difference between “Dead in my arms” and “The Diseased and the Poison”?
I think Dead in My Arms was a, I don’t know, I mean Scott kind of wrote all the lyrics and everything and he put meanings to the songs and we just tried to make the songs palatable musically, so if you’re a musician or not, you can be into it. I think the message on the last one was more of sorrow, like sorrowful stuff, heartaches and bad situations and this and that. And then Diseased and The Poison was more… I don’t know what to say, I mean some of the songs have, still have that same meaning, and the same kind of like angst and sorrowfulness to it but some of the songs were also just kind of straight death metal with lyrics that are just dark and evil, which is cool. I mean like, one of the songs was about the studio in March when we were there recording the album, I felt like we were trapped and we couldn’t go anywhere because we didn’t have any money to go do anything and we barely had groceries and since Zeus was in so much work that he didn’t need everyone for, so it was only one person at a time, you can only do so much on the internet and watch so much TV and not go do anything without eating all your food. So, we were all out of food within a week and we had 3 weeks to go, or 2… So it was pretty grueling and powerful and it was insane. Scott was still writing lyrics when we got there and the album was rushed and we just hated life, we were so upset. Just hearing everything played back, it’s like all of this is really good, but this could’ve been way better if we had had more time. So it was a real bummer, so this time we don’t go to the studio until October so we’ve already written four songs that are still changing as we listen to them in our head, so we made more changes on the road, we’re going to be way more than ready this time, when we go in.
How do you think your new CD is going to differ from your previous albums, instrumentally and lyrically?
The next album actually has – I’ve heard some of the lyric concepts that Scott’s working on. He doesn’t really talk about it, he just kind of writes them, and then we can read the lyrics if we want or ask him and he’ll tell us. But he’s not just going to say it, so that’s why I don’t really know what most of the songs are about because I focus on remembering or practicing parts I don’t play right. The lyrics, kind of, on stage or whatever, don’t really matter to me in a sense because I have to worry about or make sure the stage show and all this shit, the gears working right, I always try to think of new ways to make my tone better, I’m always focusing on that and writing riffs. So the lyrics and the meanings of the songs kind of come last to me, and if I don’t get to it, I don’t get to it.
The next album, we have already done a couple of things kind of out of character for us. Both of the old albums have back to back riffs that are all different, but this time we’re repeating a lot more but we’re making sure the riffs we repeat don’t go in the same way so it’s kind of like hearing the riff in a new light and it goes in a different way and we’re focusing more on having good songs to play and listen to as opposed to when we were kind of writing for stage show last time, so it was like “oh we could do this and this part and then we’ll play this part because we can do this live” and then we kind of realized we did that a lot so we didn’t do that this time, it’s just good riffs, we just want like, I don’t know like bands you have, like even old CDs or new CDs or whatever, you have songs on it that sometimes you just don’t like them or there’s just one part you like, so you listen to it for the part. But we want an album that you put in and it just plays and you enjoy the whole thing, the whole time, beginning to end. Then we got a song that starts with quiet guitars or clean guitars, ambient noises, and soft drums; we did a different direction with that and everything too.
If you guys could cover any 80’s metal song, what would it be?
I don’t know if it’s 80s but it’s Skid Row, Youth Gone Wild. We just listened to that song and Scott wants to cover it. So we might actually do it, I don’t know.
What do you guys plan to accomplish as a band for 2009?
Good tours ONLY. That’s our only goal at the moment, well that and to actually have money when we get home. Europe was the first one that we actually got anything from and the economy got back like while we were gone, it got worse and worse while we were gone so it was my birthday, the 2nd day of the Europe tour and then we got back so I bought myself a 360 and then I gave my Dad the rest of my money. So I was still broke, it was like a grant but I bought myself a birthday and Christmas present and then gave my dad money because he pays for the truck that I drive and always have a place for me when I get home. But yeah so this year, good tours only and actual money like it’s a good job or something.
Every band has a crazy fan story, or a crazy groupie story… What is yours?
Actually there was a cool one that I’m willing to talk about. We played Moscow after Europe and this girl was crowd surfing and I don’t know how old she was, everyone there looks younger than they are, so like 18 year old girls are 22 year old girls. So this girl looked like she was 16 or whatever and she’s crowd surfing and she has this button up red plaid thing on and that explodes open for some reason. And I’m headbanging and I go down and I’m looking and this girl is going “yeah!” and then I look up and I see the shirt explode and she’s wearing this bright red bra and I’m like “ok, cool” and then I see the bra move and I’m like “oh great, this girl is going to be upset.” She finally makes it on stage and her shirt and her bra are like whatever and she just takes them off! And she’s like “YEAH!!” She’s freaking out and she jumps into the crowd and then they threw her back on stage and she’s trying to put her stuff on and security comes up and pushes her in the crowd. It was crazy! I couldn’t believe my eyes. Some kid took a picture and I’m like headbanging and I come up and I look over and she’s there with her shirt up and I’m like “Ahhh!” So this kid snaps a shot and there’s a picture of me where I’m like “Ahhh!” and the girl has her shirt up. It’s like a full shot of actually what was happening and this girl has a stoked face and is like “YAY! I’m showing my boobs in Moscow!” and then I’m like “Yeah! I’m looking at boobs in Moscow!”