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
Trevor Strnad Black Dahlia Murder - Interview
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The Black Dahlia Murder have been around for a number of years now, built a solid fanbase and released several great albums that have catapulted the band into the big leagues. But the one thing that remains constant no matter what is the band's drive to keep things interesting and varied. The last time we spoke to Trevor Strnad was just after the release of their last album "Everblack" which was a hugely diverse album and wildly successful effort which has kept the band on the road for a couple of years. The tour cycle may have wrapped up for that album now but they are set to return to Australia for a headlining tour in June just ahead of a brand new album that is currently being finished so there was much to talk about when we caught up with the frontman.



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Andrew: So hows things with the band?

Trevor: Good man, we've been home for a long time! We basically wrapped up the Everblack touring cycle around November and we've been off since then but as we've been laying low here, we wrote and recorded a new album and we're in the final mixing stages of that right now. So a lot on the plate here because we got the record coming and then we have all these tours lining up and this Australian one will be our first one back on so pretty excited to get back out there in the world and to not be sitting at my house like a troll.

Andrew: Haha! So I'm guessing the Australian tour will be the launch of the new album?

Trevor: Well it won't be released until around either late August or early in the fall so I wouldn't quite call it a launch for the new record but maybe we'll be playing a taste from it or something. It hasn't really been discussed yet but we'll probably be back another time in the album cycle as well so we'll be playing new stuff eventually there. But yeah man I'm excited to get back out there, excited to hook up with our buddies from Psycroptic again. We've always had a good time with those guys.

Andrew: Yeah the last time we saw you was at Soundwave in 2014 so it was good to see you then as well.

Trevor: Oh yeah I'm so glad not be at Soundwave this time and just be back at the clubs and be doing things on our terms. The first time that we did [Soundwave 2013] it went really smoothly but the last time we went was pretty rough for us man. They moved the bands around and we were supposed to be right after Amon Armath which would have been a good slot for us but then we ended up getting moved between Five Finger Death Punch and some other crap and we could barely get up on stage on time because the equipment was showing up on all these different trucks and it was such a fucking mess. It was a lot of stress man and so I'm really glad to be back to what we consider normal, just a club tour and a good metal show. We got Psycroptic, we got Colossvs, we got a lot of cool support bands on different dates. We got Boris The Blade on a couple of shows, this band The Seer which I think is pretty cool so I'm really excited about it!

Andrew: Yeah I know on the Perth date you got a band called Malignant Monster. I'm not sure if you have ever heard them before but they are opening for you guys.

Trevor: I've only heard the name but I'll have to check them out dude.

Andrew: They are pretty heavy, pretty extreme stuff so I think you may be impressed by them.

Trevor: Cool I'll check them out before I even go so I can be prepared. I like to do that, do my homework man!

Andrew: Is that something you like to do, to check out some of the support bands who do open for you?

Trevor: Yeah sometimes it's like that, it depends on where we're going too. I feel like Australia is really a hotbed for bands right now in all different facets of metal. There's just so much stuff coming out, it's pretty amazing so I like to keep an eye on that. I pretty much keep an eye on the underground as a whole, I still listen to a lot of records, I still check out new bands all the time. I just have a lot of enthusiasm for it and I think that with all this stuff that we've been a part of and been able to do, just keeping my connection with the underground and checking out new bands and all that stuff just keeps me grounded, keeps me centered. And really there's just thousands and thousands of awesome bands that should be in our place, it's just a really lucky circumstance I think that our band is where it is and I think the underground is so rich with talent. Bands that are on labels and stuff I think is really only about 25% of the talent that's out there in metal, there's just so much undiscovered stuff and I never seem to lose my enthusiasm for it. There's always new sounds and there's always old sounds coming back and I just love it man.

Andrew: Yeah I totally agree, I think at the moment metal seems to be in a pretty healthy state. Do you think it's better than it has been for quite some time?

Trevor: Well it's hard, on the one hand over here especially in the U.S. we have our economy [which] is on the decline and I think that has hurt music as a whole in the last couple of years as far as record sales and show attendance. But even in times like that where it's hard and metal is just flourishing. I think there is like what you were saying, kinda of a renaissance right now, there is just so much enthusiasm for it. So many new sounds and bands and young people getting into it and I think the internet has been instrumental in that. Metal used to be a rare kind of music, you really had to comb for stuff and the internet has really made it so you can find out about the newest brutal death metal band from Indonesia by noon while you're sipping your coffee haha! So I've totally adapted to the times as far as hunting down bands and stuff, I think the internet is fucking awesome for helping me go in every nook and cranny there is.

Andrew: Aside from the internet which probably helped with some of the success of The Black Dahlia Murder, what else do you think is the main reason why you're so successful and other bands doing the same kind of thing have dropped off the radar?

Trevor: I don't know man! I think it's just been a combination of a few things I guess and one of them was us being a band that's I guess hard for people to define or certain factors that made it hard for them to define. Whether it's that we have short hair or that we kinda have a comedic slant to our videos or that we're just ugly, fat wierdos haha! I think that spoke to a lot of people too, it kinda says...fuck, especially about me...they look at me and I'm just so atypical as far as what you know as a metal dude. Just a wierd, fat nerd guy with glasses and 'Oh wierd, he gets up there and sings in this death metal band!' So I think it brought it down to earth for a lot of people and said 'Hey man you can do this if you fucking want to dude', if you put in the love and you have the love. I also think the passion of the band kinda spoke to people too because we've worked really hard, we're always going around the world and basically playing as many shows per year as we can as we have been since 2003, going at it like total maniacs. Being called a million different genres by people - 'No they're metalcore, no they're deathcorem no they're this, they're that' - that has helped us reach fans from all those different walks. So when you see a Black Dahlia Murder crowd, I would think you would be pretty hard pressed to just pigeonhole all the fans there because there's going to be all different kinds of people. There's punks, there's metalheads, long hair, short hair, friggin' everybody! I'm happy to see the variety and I'm happy to see nthat people are still into it after all this time, we're getting old man! I remember when we were the new kids on the block and it was really exciting, that we were young but now we're getting old. The picture's are getting ugly haha! But they stick with us man, pretty excited about that.

Andrew: Do you find yourself now that you are in this stage of your career that you kind of identify a lot with some of the older bands that are going through the same period, or have gone through the same period like your Metallica's and Slayer's and all those kind of bands?

Trevor: Well I think it's a different ballgame. Really noone in metal can get to that point of Metallica anymore or even Pantera. I just don't think there's going to be another huge metal band like those bands but I do feel that was the most influence I took as a kid. Looking to Dave Mustaine and Metallica and they were always metal guys but they always just wore their regular clothes and they liked punk, they weren't ashamed to like other kinds of music. I think in some ways there's too much rules in metal, it's like high school all over again to some of these guys. Whether you look a certain way or..I don't know man, it's interesting. But it used to be something that pissed me off, I just wanted us to be considered a death metal band but I realize now that probably would of put a glass ceiling on things really early for us because I think our ability to branch out and do all these different kins of things has stemmed from this confusion about us so I'm thankful for how it's played out.

Andrew: Yeah I think it is part of the reason why so many fans are into you, because you're not just into the one kind of thing. You branch out and are quite diverse musically speaking.

Trevor: Yeah it's a melting pot of what we like basically. At the time when we were first starting to make music we didn't feel like there was anybody doing it with a hard, aggressive edge. There' were a couple of bands teetering on it - The Crown was a big influence, Dimension Zero at the time was a huge influence on us. But we just wanted to incorporate blast beats and stuff because that was such a prominent thing in modern death and we were also listening to that kind of stuff so that was really where the marriage came in. We have a melting pot of sounds, a little bit of black metal, little bit of thrash, definitely a lot of European stuff as well like melodic death thrash to Swedish black metal kind of stuff. But none of it is anything new, we never said we were an original band haha! We're just thankful and we try to be appreciative of the love we get because it's an amazing circumstance. Once in a lifetime, one in a million opportunity so on our end we're going to go as hard as we can and tour as hard as we can and play the best shows we can because Brian ( Eschbach, guitar) and I made a pact to each other, a silent agreement that we would never say no and we would never pussy out. That if we got the opportunity we would take it to the fullest so we're trying to hold up our end of the deal.

Andrew: So it's been a couple of years since "Everblack" came out and that album has been quite successful for you guys so looking back on it now 2 or so years later, how do you still feel about it?

Trevor: I feel really good about it, I feel it was a great era these couple of years touring and the fan response was exactly what we wanted. "Ritual" did really well for us and that was an exciting record and we felt intimidated to follow it and we didn't know if we could achive the same amount of success and same amount of spotlight with "Everblack". But it appears we hit the nail on the head twice in a row whereas with "Deflorate" there were a few detractors on that album because it was too technical or I don't know what it was but I liked it! But anyway it was really exciting for us to hit 2 albums in a row that they really took to so now we're just looking forward to the future and the album is almost done here, we're really excited about it. All good things, all good things are coming!

Andrew: Does that get harder and harder with each album to try to outdo the last effort, to try to make it even better?

Trevor: Yeah it's hard because it's not just one thing that is the answer like 'Oh we'll just be faster'. It's just a lot of little things, there's a lot of little tweaks and I think it's just growing as songwriters with every album. I think that basically the forumula has been the same since the inception but we try to have a sonund that is ours that you can recognize immediately but also trying to do different stuff within that sound to keep us interested and kind of incorporate all the different stuff we listened to and are listening to. It's a constant evolution honestly, I think that the band is still alive, it's still growing, still changing and I'm just as happy as I've ever been. I'm just excited to still be here and amazed it's gotten this far and I don't want to see it stop.

Andrew: Yeah definitely and we're all happy for your success and we are looking forward to seeing you guys come to Australia for your headlining tour. It's been a pleasure chatting to you today, see you in June!

Trevor: Thanks man it's been fun, thanks a lot!

with Psycroptic & Collossvs

Wed June 17 - Brisbane / Crowbar
Thurs June 18 - Perth / Capitol
Fri June 19 - Adelaide / Folwers
Sat June 20 - Melbourne / Northcote Social Club
Sun June 21 - Melbourne / Northcote Social Club (All Ages afternoon)
Sun June 21 - Melbourne / Northcote Social Club (18+ evening)
Thurs June 25 - Newcastle / Cambridge
Fri June 26 - Canberra / The Basement
Sat June 27 - Sydney / The Factory Licensed (All Ages)

Tickets available at various outlets, details HERE

Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on May 5th 2015