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
Dan Gargiulo Revocation - Interview
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After speaking to Dave Davidson, the frontman for Boston technical metal masters Revocation last year to discuss the re-release of their now classic debut album "Empire Of The Obscene", it further cemented my interest in the band who I thought were a band that completely stood out from the rest of the pack in the metal scene. Seeing them live for the first time a year prior was a real treat and now they have another album to be released called "Great Is Our Sin" which takes us back to some of their earlier work in some ways. I find out from guitarist Dan Gargiulo about how the new songs came together and whether the band will come back to Australia in the future.



Andrew: So obviously we're here to talk about the new album "Great Is Our Sin" and I've just been spending the last few days listening to it. Fantastic stuff, I've been a fan of you guys for a number of years now and I feel this album is a sort of a throwback to some of the earlier stuff, it's a little more melodic than the last album I guess.

Dan: Yeah that was one of the things that we wanted to do, kinda change what we did on the last album slightly and we happened to go in a slightly more melodic direction. It's a little more death metal, it's a little darker, kind of like the old stuff.

Andrew: The last album "Deathless" was quite successful for you guys but what was some of the things you wanted to achieve with this one aside from the more melodic side of things?

Dan: We want to sound like Revocation on every album and maintain our core sound and the things about us that our fans like but at the same time, we want every album to have a different vibe from one another. So we just try to push the envelope while still retaining what makes us Revocation, this album is just the culmination of that and also what we've been listening to lately.

Andrew: What have you been listening to lately?

Dan: I've been listening to a lot of Deathspell Omega, Blut Aus Nord, the new Gorguts, stuff like that. Dave (Davidson, vocals, guitars) I'm not really too sure what he's up to lately, he's always moving onto something new. We don't really live too close to one another, I'm about 4 and a half hours away so I don't really see him on a day to day basis so I can't really answer what he's listening to but that's the kind of stuff I've been into lately.

Andrew: Yeah it was mentioned in your press release that you guys live quite far apart from each other so how difficult was it to put this album together because of that distance?

Dan: Yeah that was an issue that we faced more now than on the last album because our drummer Ash (Pearson, drums) lives in Vancouver which is in Canada on the west coast and we're all on the east coast. So Dave didn't really have a chance to write stuff in the jam space like he used to do with Phil (Dubois-Coyne, former drummer). So what we did this time was - and this is how I always did things with Revocation because I live very far away - but we would write songs on our own at home, make demos with a click track and then send it over to Ash and then he would record his drums and send it back and we would email one another and talk about what we thought needed to be changed. So there was more pre-production on this album than previously.

Andrew: OK so was that the main difference between this album and the last as far as the process was concerned?

Dan: I would actually say yes, that is probably the biggest difference. I mean we have a new drummer now so the whole feel of the rhythm section is slightly different just because of the way they play but also in terms of the writing process. Because Dave and Phil grew up together, I think they have known each other since like middle school or high school and they live very close so they can jam whenever and they would jam all the time. So they had an intense chemistry that had been brewing for years and they had the ease of a jam space close to one another, so this album was a challenge to getting that chemistry with Ash and I think it worked really well with Dave but also in terms of they couldn't jam too often. So yeah that was probably the big difference, probably the main difference on those albums.

Andrew: And how was it working with Ash being it's his first album with the band? Has it been an easy process with him so far?

Dan: Yeah surprisingly it has been an easy process with us. We were just talking about how complicated and how hard it is to get together but Ash did a great job, he has a really musical way of playing drums where he wont rip into a double bass when it's not appropriate and he'll hang back when that suits the riff. I think that's his main thing, thinking about what beat best serves the riff and what the riff is going for. So I love that about his playing and he came up with different stuff than Phil did, like Phil came up on Judas Priest and Iron Maiden and also death and thrash metal but Ash likes Frank Zappa and he loves Rush...not that he doesn't love metal but that's where he is heart wise. So there's a different vibe from how he plays drums due to that.


Andrew: Yeah well one of the things I picked up on Revocation pretty early on was there was a lot of throwbacks to a lot of classic rock here and there and I feel n this new album, some of that has come back. On Deathless it was pretty full on and a little more extreme and focused on a certain kind of thing and this new one has a little more of an organic feel like the earlier stuff.

Dan: Yeah I think part of the organic feel was due to pre-production. We wanted it to be crystal clear and competitive with the other stuff that's out there today but at the same time, we wanted the performances to sound natural so that definitely contributes to the feel. But also you were saying rock, Dave is huge into rock guitar. He loved Joe Perry from Aerosmith, players like that and I think that really shows in his playing. The last album, yeah I feel like there were slightly less rock riffs whereas this time around there's a little bit more of them and like you said earlier, back in the day the earlier recordings had a lot of that stuff. I don't think that's something we're conscious of, like we never said, 'Hey let's have more rock riffs', it just worked out that way and we like the riffs so there's no need to change them.

Andrew: You re-released "Empire Of The Obscene" a little while ago, did that have any kind of influence or impact on this album at all?

Dan: I wouldn't say it impacted the writing of this album because "Empire", they started writing that as long ago as 2006 when they changed the band name so it was 10 years ago. I know that Dave has been working on stuff now that sounds a bit different so I don't think he's trying to go back so I wouldn't say it impacted the way we wrote. But we were happy to finally re-release that because we only printed a couple thousand copies back in the day and it was sold out and never had more so now it's seen a proper worldwide release, so we're stoked on that.

Andrew: It was good to see that album being re-released, it was one of the first albums I ever got into. I just absolutely love that album and it certainly paved the way for Revocation's sound because you guys sound like a sort of hybrid kind of band. There's a lot of different influences thrown in and it's hard to pinpoint what kind of genre you belong to.

Dan: Yeah we never really think about that so much anymore. We didn't like when back when we first started where people would lump us in with the "re-thrash" scene and all of us like thrash, some more than others, but we never intended to be a thrash band. We wanted to be perceived the way you said, as like a hybrid band. More like the band Death who is like a death metal band but became more progressive and other influences started to seep in and we all love that, Dave and I grew up on Death so I'm sure that shows in the riffs sometimes. We always wanted to be perceived as a cross between genres rather than adhere to one genre specifically.

Andrew: I wanted to ask you about Marty Friedman guesting on this album which came as a bit of a surprise to me as I didn't think Marty was into this kind of music to be honest. How did that come about?

Dan: Well actually it came about because Marty had asked Dave a couple of years back to write a song for one of his solo albums, so Dave wrote...and I forget what the song is called (editor: song is "Sociopaths") but he wrote a song for that record and I think Marty wrote a couple of riffs in that song as well and he did vocals on that song. So they had somewhat of a business relationship already established and we were thinking about having a guest guitarist do a solo and Dave was like, 'What about Marty?', and we were all like, 'Yeah ask him!' We were lucky enough that he said yes and he contributed an awesome solo.

Andrew: Yeah I guess he's big in Japan at the moment and he plays different music to what he was known for in Megadeth so that's why I thought it was a surprise to see him on a Revocation album.

Dan: Yeah we were really happy about it!

Andrew: What have you got planned for touring and is there any chance you guys can come back to Australia? I guess it was a year or 2 years ago when you were here opening for Thy Art Is Murder.

Dan: Yeah that was an awesome tour and we definitely want to come back to Australia. I don't think we have any concrete plans as of yet but our main goal is to hit all the markets all over the world that we did before, on this record. As for touring, we're doing Summer Slaughter which starts really soon in a couple of days, I'm heading up to Boston to rehearse and then in October I believe we're going to Europe with Obscura, Rivers Of Nile and Beyond Creation. And then after that we have some in the works which I can't talk about yet but I think we will be on the road before Christmas as well for the holiday season.

Andrew: OK cool! Like I said we would love to have you back in Australia, what do you remember from your time here?

Dan: I remember being exhausted! That was the tail end of a long series of tours that we did and I actually twisted my ankle real bad in Europe, so I wasn't in tip top physical condition and we had been flying every other day. We were playing Asia, played Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore before we hit Australia so I was so exhausted. It was just days of drinking every night and traveling all over the place but it was amazing, I loved Australia. I had never been there but always wanted to go and we had some friends on that tour, we made friends with that band Disentomb, those guys are really sick. For the first time in Revocation's career, we did 2 shows in one day at Crowbar venue (Brisbane). We did a matinee show and we did another show that night that was the final show of the year of that album cycle so it was a really sick way to end the entire year and a half of touring, with 2 shows in the one day that were both killer.

Andrew: We managed to catch you on the west coast of the country, an all ages show and another show with Thy Art Is Murder and being a fan for a number of years, I never thought I would see you in Australia so it was fantastic to finally see you. You have toured with many bands over the years, is there any band you haven't toured with that you would love to tour with?

Dan: Actually Nile and Suffocation are both on my list and we're about to tour with them this summer. It would be awesome to tour with Death To All if they ever end up going out again but I don't know, I kinda never really think about this until we actually have to put a tour together. But I don't know, I guess Slayer would be awesome [laughs]. Or any of Devin Townsend's projects, Anthrax would be sick, Testament would be sick, stuff like that. But I'm happy to tour with nearly anybody.

Andrew: It's good to see you touring with Nile, I'm a big fan of them as well and they are super progressive and technical in their style of music so it seems like a pretty good fit with you guys.

Dan: Yeah I'm excited to tour with them, I've been a big fan my whole life pretty much.

Andrew: Well congratulations on the new album, as I said it's fantastic and I think it's one of the better ones you have done in a while. So thanks for your time today, it's really appreciated and hopefully we can see you in Australia sometime in the future!

Dan: Yeah I can't wait to come back, none of us can!

Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on July 11th 2016