The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world







Legendary death metal veterans Obituary have a new album out called "Inked In Blood" which some are saying is some of their best material in their long career. Helped along by the fans through the Kickstarter crowd funding program, it's truly an album for the fans but as we spoke to drummer Donald Tardy about their latest release, there is even more interesting things about this album that make it quite special.

Andrew: How are you?


Donald: I'm doing good dude!


Andrew: So the new album "Inked In Blood", sounds fantastic! Tell me a little about how it came together?


Donald: It was an amazingly fun project actually because as everybody knows, it was nearly 5 years since the last album. We just really took our time with the writing process of this album, we don't pressure ourselves with deadlines, we're not a band worrying about trying to put out an album every year or even every 2 years as everybody knows. When we got into the jam room the date that we were going to start writing, Trevor (Peres, guitars) and I didn't think too much about anything, we didn't worry about what other bands are doing, we just let the music find us. Because it was a 3 and a half year process of the songwriting, it really does seem like these songs individually have their own vibe and their own feel and their own indivuduality and it really does make for a monster record.


Andrew: As you mentioned, 3 years of album writing, what were the main things you got out of that because of the longevity of the process?


Donald: I think it's that every song has got a little bit of it's own feel. We've never been a band to rush anyway, our whole career. But I have seen bands that wait until the last minute to try and finish up writing albums and I think it hinders, it makes the songs kinda sound the same and...whatever the word is. They don't flow one after another like this album does so we're just excited about it. We never would of guessed it would be 5 years since the last album, we didn't plan that, we didn't really think too much about it. We stayed very busy as a band, inbetween the writing process we were still doing shows and tours and the classic setlist live and everything. By the time we made it to the studio, we were just so confident and comfortable with these songs and each song really does have it's own heartbeat.

Andrew: Yeah it does sound great. One of my favorite tracks on the album is "Visions In My Head" which is stuck in my head. Do you have any favorites at the moment?


Donald: You know, I don't because I'm proud of every one of these songs that we did and if somebody walked into the room and they said play me a song that would represent this album...I mean you could literally throw a dart on a board with all the song titles and I would be happy with whichever one it would hit. That's how proud of these songs I am, that's how confident that I think we wrote some of the best material that we have ever written and that's just a good feeling. At this age at this part of our career, things are just flowing pretty well for us.


Andrew: Well that's really good to hear! The 2 new guys Terry (Butler, bass) and Kenny (Andrews, guitar) how did those guys go on the album?


Donald: It was really cool because the main songwriters is my brother, myself, and Trevor so when me and Trevor would have riffs...I mean we wrote for years before Ken was a part of the band. We wrote even before Terry became a part of it so some of the songwriting was obviously me and Trevor and most of it is me and Trevor but having Ken and Terry there, they just had fresh ears. They brought in an outside ear, not necessarily trying to write a riff for us but to listen to the song and critique it a little bit and give us their 2 cents worth and I think that helped. Terry has been around the metal scene for a long time so when he brings in a suggestion, you gotta take that to heart. You gotta understand that he probably has some meaning behind that and that's exactly what we did. And with Kenny, he's just incredibly creative with his guitar solos and the harmonies that he did on this album. I worked with him because I engineered the album, I worked with him a lot with just keeping him comfortable, don't panic, don't get nervous. Let's just flow, let the song find us, do whatever solo you're feeling and if you don't like it we can do another take. And he just nailed it on this album. I think his solos on this record really brought this album to a higher level.

Andrew: It sounds like it was a very relaxed atmosphere when you guys were recording this album.


Donald: Yeah it was and I think that's due to the fact that again, we took our time. When these songs were already written, because we own the studio, we were laying down songs just to lay the whole song down and then be able to take the computer down and come back the next day, listen to it and once you're able to do that, you start realizing what songs you need still or maybe don't need. Or getting rid of a second half of a verse or something and we were able to do that long before we hit the record button. So by the time we were recording the songs, we were just so happy with the song structure and everybody was just so relaxed and of course it's our studio so it is a relaxed atmosphere and there is no pressure that we put on ourselves so that was an amazing feeling.


Andrew: So on previous albums, what did you do compared to what you did this time around?


Donald: The last 2 albums before "Inked In Blood", we still tracked it at the studio. When we were done with that we would take it and go to our engineer Mark Prator and he did the mixes. This time we didn't want modern technology to kinda rule these songs, we were very clear with ourselves that we wanted to come in, we wanted it to be microphones around the drumkit and the sound of that room and that's it. No triggers, no sound replacement, no technology editing afterwards to clean it up or make my performance better. We simply hit record and what you hear was the drumkit coming through those microphones. And with Trevor's guitar we did zero to it, it was no EQ's on Trevor's guitar. Just simple fader volume to tuck it right in there and I think we pulled off a classic death metal sounding album but yet the songwriting, it's kinda got a little bit of an Obituary modern feel to it so it kinda appeals to both the old crowd and I think the new people who are just discovering Obituary.


Andrew: Yeah it does have a modern vibe to it but it's interesting that you mention how you recorded it all that it also has this raw feel to it as well.


Donald: Yeah and we will be the first to say this might not have been the most properly recorded album because in the world of modern technology, there's click tracks, there's sound replacing bass drums after the drummer is done, there's gaining the toms. There's so much stuff that happens to make modern sounding albums sound modern and we knew that's not what we needed for an Obituary song. Those bands that do it, it's killer and I appreciate it and I think their albums sound great that way but Obituary is a band going on 30 years of playing death metal. It doesn't need modern technology, it doesn't need to be cleaned up, it doesn't need to be overproduced. And what you hear on that record is what came through those microphones when we were playing them.

Andrew: Yeah and that's exactly how you guys started so why not continue with that, it's what a lot of fans love.


Donald: Exactly.


Andrew: Another good thing about this album was that it was crowd funded which is an interesting idea. How did that come about?


Donald: We knew nothing about it, somebody brought it to our attention. We knew for a fact that we didn't want a typical record deal anymore, we're too old for that. We were not just going to be some typical band on any typical record label so we researched kickstarter. We had an idea that we could probably raise a certain amount of money so we really just tried to guess how much money we would need to just record the songs and that was our intial goal, was $10,000. That would of gotten the songs recorded and if we had to go to a record label and go to a producer and let them do it and spend a ton of money..we could of done that but with just the enormous support that the kickstarter backers gave us, I mean we were able to upgrade some of the studio stuff that we needed to do the mix and the production and we were able to literally record the album, do the mixing and editing, produce it and even master it, along with paying for the album cover and all that layout shit that just costs a ton of money. We were able to have final product in our hand before we even had to ask a record label for any help or let record labels tell us what they want to do for us knowing that we just completed a complete album by ourselves without any help besides the kickstart backers. So incredible feeling, super proud of those people, I think they got what they wanted. Honestly it was a logistical nightmare for the band because we did not have any idea it was going to be that successful and because it was, it was a huge chore to pack and ship 9 hundred and something pieces before the release date while the band was still trying to prepare for the world tour and getting signed with Relapse and really finishing the album because the kickstarter thing was nearly a year and a half ago so it was quite the challenge but we pulled it off.


Andrew: Obviously it's a testament to the fans who have a lot of faith in the band by putting in some money and wanting to hear the new album. It's great!


Donald: Yeah and they really got the full stuff. People who don't understand what Kickstarter is and there were a few of those, you know when you start reading posts from people on social networks and people are like how can a legendary band beg for money. Those are obviously people who are ignorant to what really happened. All we simply did was ask all those fans that were a part of it to pre-order the album and then if they wanted the sticker and the coozy and the poster and everything, then they can spend money on that too but everybody that put even the first penny they got something so that was one thing that we were very deliberate. We weren't asking or begging for money, we were asking people to just pre-order the album because that's what we were trying to deliver as a new album.

Andrew: That's just great to hear. There's a few bands that have tried the same thing and I think it's been pretty successful for a lot of them so why not you know?


Donald: Yeah well I hope we opened a lot of eyes and a lot of doors because it was fun doing the campaign but it was not very fun doing the packing up and shipping and all that good stuff. Again we pulled it off but it just goes to show that if 5 rednecks in Florida can pack up 9 hundred and something packages then I think anyone on this planet can do that.


Andrew: So I had heard that you guys were about to tour with Carcass in North America is that right?


Donald: We actually just finished the Carcass tour the night before last. It was 11 shows with Carcass, unbelievable! It was literally the best time I have ever had on an American tour. Super cool dudes, very nice guys, good friends of ours and we just had a blast every night. And the crowds reaction to Carcass and to Obituary with these new songs, it was just unbelievable!


Andrew: I was going to ask how the fans reactions have been to the new songs, obviously they loved it!


Donald: Yeah dude I don't know how, I guess maybe the world of the internet and because Obituary has been touring and so we were playing a few of these songs live. So maybe even if people were not at these shows in Europe that we were playing them, they're still watching somewhere on youtube I guess 'cause the reaction from the crowd was unbelievable! This was before the album was even released, when we kicked into "Visions In My Head" by the second verse it seemed like the whole crowd was singing it with John (Tardy, vocals) like they knew it. I know the single was pushed and Relapse did an amazing job creatively doing a great marketing campaign along with us really busting our asses to make sure the world knew about this album and putting the single out there but the crowd reaction was just incredible on the Carcass tour.


Andrew: It doesn't surprise me because as I said, the album is solid stuff. So I gotta ask then, any chance that you guys will be coming to Australia sometime?


Donald: Yeah we are discussing everything right now and things move very fast in the world of music when you have an album, especially an important album which we think it is, one of the most important times in our lives. So things are moving quick confirming every show around the world that we possible can do, it is a big planet when it comes to the band, getting on airplanes and making it. But there's nothing better and nothing more fun than this band going to Australia. There's something about you Aussies that we absolutely love, you're a lot like the Florida people that I know. You're kind, you guys are passionate about the music and you guys love Obituary. We're dying to get down there and we will be there as quickly as we can.


Andrew: That is good to hear! It doesn't surprise me that Australians love Obituary because death metal is a pretty big genre over here and Obituary is a legendary band in our metal communities so yeah it would be great to see you guys over here.


Donald: There's no question, we will be there as soon as we can get there.


Andrew: Sweet man! Thanks again for taking the time to chat with us and we will catch you next time!


Donald: Alright dude cheers man!


Donald spoke to Andrew Schizodeluxe November 2014





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