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INTERVIEW BLACK DAHLIA MURDER Trevor Strnad 2013

 

HARD ROCK INTERVIEWS 2013 - Trevor Strnad of BLACK DAHLIA MURDER

 

Trevor Strnad

BLACK DAHLIA MURDER

 

Andrew: How are you doing?

 

 

 

Trevor: Pretty good, just hanging out here on a day off in Norfolk, Virginia.

 

 

 

Andrew: Oh yeah so obviously you guys are on tour at the moment, how's that going so far?

 

 

 

Trevor: Pretty good man, we're on the Warped Tour, it's largely a punk tour so we're kinda standing out there but it's pretty cool actually but it's been going pretty well I guess.

 

 

 

Andrew: I heard a bit of criticism of you guys doing this tour, I guess the album is a bit of a rebuttal to that, what's the story behind all that?

 

 

 

Trevor: Yeah some of the metal fans wanted to not see us on this tour, they consider us some kind of a sell out or something but you know, this entire journey has been a lot of compromises and a lot of different avenues that we've taken to make this thing work and make this thing successful and there are people that will go to the Warped Tour that will come like our band and it's definitely working out in our favour so it's an effort to reach out and get some more fans but right after this we'll be back touring on our own terms and headlining and doing things like we usually do.

 

 

 

Andrew: As long as your having fun that's the main thing I guess. So the new album "Everblack" has been out since June, how has the reception been? Have you guys been playing many songs off that album?

 

 

 

Trevor: Yeah half the set is comprised of new songs for the Warped Tour and it's the first time we've played any of this stuff live and it seems to be going over really well. The reviews are good mostly but what counts is that the fans seem to really like it and that's what we're really going for. They seem really happy with it and really excited about it so looks like its gonna be a good 2 years for us.

 

 

 

Andrew: Obviously this is the first album with the 2 new guys, Alan (Cassidy, drums) and Max (Lavelle, bass) how was the recording process with those guys?

 

 

 

Trevor: Good man, they both did very well! I think that Alan had the biggest hurdles to overcome because he had come into the band so close to the recording and he had to learn a shit ton of songs and write a ton of fills. He was also learning our live set at the same time to go out on tour with us with Dethklok a while back. He just did great, he really shines on the album, he took on a humungous workload to achieve it so I'm proud of the guy and he definitely stepped up and proved himself to us definitely. And Max, he brought an overdriven sound to the fold, something a little more gritty that we had done before in the bass department. I think it kinda helped the guitars gel together in that kind of wall of sound thing. Max is a real positive dude, he killed it in the studio so yeah the guys did great and I'm proud of them and I'm really glad to have some proof of them being in the band out now, an album that people can be like 'yeah these guys are awesome!', they can know how awesome these guys are.

 

 

 

Andrew: How did both of them intially join the band and what made them the right choice for you guys?

 

 

 

Trevor: Well we were looking for members at different times because Bart (Ryan Williams) and Shannon (Lucas) both departed at different times and pretty much on the same tip, they were tired of touring, tired of like the gruelling hardships of the road, waking up early and flying all the time, some shit like that, gross bathrooms, it's kinda like camping full time. They just got sick of it, both had been with us for 6 years apiece. The thing is we didn't want to announce publicly that they had left because it was gonna cause such an uproar so we tried to just go on tour and keep our heads down and kinda let kids figure it out as it went to lessen the blow. It did work somewhat but we can't really go public with looking for a member because it would totally blow up the spot so we had to kinda had to ask around, other bands, kinda hush hush. And with Max it was kind of an arranged marriage, we've known him for a long time through Despised Icon and before that a band called Goratory, used to go crash at their house in Massachusetts back in the day. He's been a long time friend of the band and he's a long time friend of Bart's too so it's a pretty natural fit there. Alan was...we saw him play with Abigail Williams and they were wrapping up their final tour so I had no bones about calling Ken (Bergeron) up and saying like 'Dude, I'm gonna level with you. I need your drummer!'. Normally I wouldn't do something like that but they were announcing that they were breaking up and everything so it was worth a shot. And we heard that Alan was a fan of the band so we started talking to him and got things together as quickly as we could with him cause the recording was coming pretty quickly. But he's a killer drummer, I'm really happy with him. He's having a blast out here, he's only 23 so he's just loving it out here man.

 

 

 

Andrew: So have the dynamics within the band changed much at all and did it affect the recording process for the new album?

 

 

 

Trevor: Not negatively in any way. We were definitely on a lot of positive vibes, were really excited about the material. I was just excited like I said to get the new guys out there and for them to have some music out there for people to grab onto and shit because they had been touring with us for some time and people keep asking about the other members and stuff and there were some skepticism on whether we would change or whether we would sound as vicious as we have in the past so it feels good to get those fears out of people's heads. Things are just going really well, it's a good time right now for us.

 

 

 

Andrew: That's good to hear. So the band has obviously been around for quite a while now, you have several albums under the belt, do you feel the band has reached a good position in the metal genre or do you think there is still a lot more room for you guys to expand out?

 

 

 

Trevor: I would be happy to just stay right where we are. I'm just glad to be out here on tour, to be able to keep doing this and just glad the fans are still excited. But I never imagined it would get to this point, I do wanna see what's going to happen in the future, I do wanna see how far we can take it but we'll always be doing that on our own terms if you know what I mean, we gotta stick with the groundwork that we laid, stick with the sound so that we can be a band that the fans depend on.

 

 

 

Andrew: So when you see bands doing different stuff especially ones that have been around for a long time do you find that it's a little bit disappointing or do you understand what they are trying to do?

 

 

 

Trevor: I think it varies from different situations if you know what I mean. Sometimes bands will throw you a curveball that can be cool, sometimes a lot of the bands that influenced us like In Flames and Soilwork and a lot of the melodic bands had a kind of arc of going a little bit into the nu-metal direction like inviting a lot of clean singing into the music. We used to be really...we're just against that, it just wouldn't really work with our band, it's just not something that I could see for us either. This band is pretty much a melting pot of everything that we like.

 

 

 

Andrew: Yeah just listening to your music, it's really quite difficult to pinpoint specifically what kind of band you really are, there's lots of different stuff going on, especially on the new album, there's a little bit of thrash, little bit of death so it's really cool that you guys mix everything together.

 

 

 

Trevor: Yeah I think it's just as we gotten a bit older we've been able to not just wear the influences on the sleeve but combine them into a kind of style, which is everything that we like, there's some swedish style black metal on the new one like in the last track there's that kind of that black and roll song, "Every Rope A Noose" is kind of new territory for us a little bit. That's just fun dude, we try to make stuff more various, that's what we really learned in the last couple of albums, "Ritual" was the big one. Just how to make things with more variety and how important it is to have really creative dynamics and just to change it up a lot and make things interesting with different kinds of instruments being incorporated and sampled and stuff like that because before Ritual we had never done anything like that and we hadn't done it live either but once we figured out that we could do it live, it just blew the doors open so we were able to incorporate the cello strings and stuff like that and just add a whole other dimension that would make things more dynamic and more interesting for the listener.

 

 

 

Andrew: Do you find a lot of your hardcore fanbase have embraced it or have they been a bit more skeptical on that side of things?

 

 

 

Trevor: Oh I think they like it and I don't even know if they know why they like it, they're just like 'yeah!', kind of like help smooth things out from one song to another with more attention to detail, just make it flow better. Really it's just been I think advancements in songwriting in the last album, I think that we''ve always had pretty decent riffs but just the way that we're delivering things now just has more thought and more time put into it, I think it's more potent that way.

 

 

 

Andrew: Yeah I think it's good that you guys are interesting to listen to, I think it's good that you try a lot of different stuff. The other thing I wanted to ask, you guys were in Australia last year for the Soundwave Festival, how was that tour for you guys and do you have any plans to come back to Australia in the near future?

 

 

 

Trevor: It was a riot man, it was awesome! The moment I remember the most is the party in the prison where they have all the bands backstage at this old prison for the day and people were just fucking with cables back there and going crazy, it was fun man. The shows were killer, we hung out with Chimera a lot, that was fun, saw Meshuggah for the first tme which I had been waiting for. Actually saw them 3 times on that tour, that was great man. We actually have some plans coming together to come back but I can't really give any info out yet but it's definitely in the cards man, it's quite exciting cause I do love it out there.

 

 

 

Andrew: That's good to hear. Just have a couple more questions for you just to wrap it up. For any classic album in history, if you could be a fly on the wall for the recording of it, what album would that be?

 

 

 

Trevor: hmmmm it's hard to say, I'm such a nerd for like... right now ten thousand things are going through my mind. I guess a Megadeth album, maybe Rust In Peace. Megadeth are like my all time favorite band since I was a little kid. That record is just so awesome, I would love to see it coming together and especially how clean and perfect the record is before pro-tools was around, you would be seeing it onto tape which would be quite impressive.

 

 

 

Andrew: Yeah that's one of my favorite albums as well, I think most Megedeth fans would probably agree that Rust In Peace is probably their pinnacle album, good choice!

 

 

 

Trevor: I think that those are probably the best solos in metal history you know what I mean? The stuff they are pulling off on that record, some of those songs have fucking 10 plus solos! They are all awesome cause they are fucking killer. Not everybody can beat that man.

 

 

 

Andrew: That's right, and it's also interesting that you bring up the analog and pro-tools stuff, what's your take on that kind of technology used in music today?

 

 

 

Trevor: I think any of the old bands would be using pro-tools too because it's just way more affordable and they just didn't have the option back then but I also think that there is a line where a lot of people abuse pro-tools and a lot of metal records are just...they sound too sheeny, they have the same fake drum kit on every record that sounds humungous and every hit sounds like a shotgun blast and it's just that there's a lot of over-production in metal records right now so in the last few records we tried to keep it a little bit more natural. But on the other hand there's a whole bunch of bands in the underground that totally reject that movement, they wanna sound like Entombed and all the forefathers and just going that old school style, play it really raw and stuff so it's interesting, so many different sounds within one blanket of genre.

 

 

 

Andrew: Yeah I definitely agree there is some positives and negatives out of it but overall I think it's more positive, if you can make music in an easier way, why not.

 

 

 

Trevor: Oh yeah it's made it so much eaiser for people like demos can come out now that sound absolutely pro and even a lot of advancements in the drum machine category, drum machines are starting to get pretty good. You can get that sound pretty real when they're blasting. That's cool for making demos and for one man band's, I think it's cool that it's made things much more economical for metal and for everybody pretty much.

 

 

 

Andrew: Yeah definitely. And one more question for you, what is the meaning of life?

 

 

 

Trevor: The meaning of life, I guess it's music man, it's the first thing I thought of and it drives everything in my life. I just love metal and my commitment is totally to music. I see how it helps people, I see how it makes people happy, it makes me really happy and it's awesome that I got to leave a regular life behind and I just get to tour with this band and be completely submersed ín metal culture.

 

 

 

Andrew: Sweet, awesome man! Thanks very much for the interview, it's been great talking to you and I hope we can see you guys downunder real soon.

 

 

 

Trevor: Yeah man like I said, it's definitely in the cards, we'll be out there. Thanks a lot for the press, we really appreciate it.

 

 

 

Andrew: No worries and good luck with the new album, it sounds really good, nice work!

 

 

 

Trevor: Thanks man appreciate that!

 

 

 

 

By Andrew Schizodeluxe July 2013

 

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